Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hungary Happenings

Hello! A bit of this and that...

*We have been traveling like crazy people this month. We love it, but it does make us a bit crazy. We were just in Istanbul 10 days ago, and we are leaving today for Israel.

*Israel, yes Israel. A dream trip of ours since we moved here. It is just a 3 hour flight, so we knew we had to take advantage of the proximity. We hired a private guide, which will make everything so much easier. We will spend time around the Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the Dead Sea, hitting may places in between. We are hoping to go to Bethlehem as well. We'll see.

*We had our last first snow yesterday....we are pretty positive we wont be here next winter. Feeling nostalgic, but happy to head to the land of sunshine today.

*Kids are great. Logan is a wild man. Likes to swing from counters and sinks like a monkey. Likes to empty kitchen drawers. Keeps us laughing. Says Lots of words, one of my favorites is "whats that?" as he holds up his little hands. Cade recently learned the name of his...umm....male part. He likes to say it loud and often. He is so tender hearted and says "thank you" for everything. Melts me. Chelsea is getting ready for the Nutcracker in a couple of weeks. She is our mother hen and my little home helper. She is a read-a-holic and devours books. We are excited for them to see the Bible come alive this week!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Berlin - what an amazing city. We loved it. 

We hit all the highlights in a long weekend. Checkpoint Charlie museum was one of my favorites - loved reading the amazing stories of people that escaped and seeing their creative methods. 

Straddling the wall

Brandenburg Gate - beautiful at night! 

Big boy - so happy when he can just run free.

Shopped for a bit at the KaDeWe Department store - could've stayed in there for days! 

When did this guy grow up? He is quite picky about his clothes and chose this shirt featuring the Ampelmann traffic light men of East Germany for his souvenir. Logan got a Berlin car and Chelsea chose a music box and a keychain. Souvenir hunting is the highlight of every trip for them. We give them a budget and they love selecting the perfect souvenirs. 

This was our first official trip to Germany, other than airport layovers. I hope to see more of Germany in our time remaining here!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nana and Papa

We enjoyed a fun 3 weeks with my parents in town. They have done most of the Budapest stuff already, so we hit a few highlights and then they just hung out with me and my normal routine. I loved our time together! The big kids were in school most of the time, but still got lots of Nana and Papa fun. Logan got to accompany us on our daily adventures.

Our fun times included -
A forest walk, which was fun but quickly became "can we find out way out before dark?" 
Thankfully, we did. 

A trip to the Gellert Hill slides - haven't been there since Chelsea was 4 and Cade was 1...wahhh.
Logan is my daredevil and loved every slide. 

A walk through Fisherman's Bastion and the Castle District.

Feeding fish at Millernaris park

A trip to the zoo for some animal feeding, playground time, and a kurtoskalacs! 
My dad's trip is not complete until he has had a fahejas kurtoskalacs. 

We also enjoyed a trip to Berlin together - that is a blog post to come. 

It is quite possible that my parents were our last visitors - so strange! We expect to move back to the USA next summer, and we don't have anyone else lined up to come visit. For so long, moving back seemed like a faraway dream and now it feels oh-so-close, maybe too close. Weird. That is also a blog post for another day!

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Happy Hungary Halloween

Ever since the Halloween disaster of 2010, Halloween in Hungary has been much improved. Pumpkins for carving are much more plentiful now than in the past, and candy packaged for Halloween seems more available as well.
The big kids designed their own pumpkins. 

Our first celebration was with the McLendon's and friends. We have never dressed up as a family before, but since all 3 kids were super heroes, I decided Larry and I should dress up, too. He hesitantly went along with my plan. :) Logan liked my super mom belt, and helped himself to his paci. 

Pumpkin buckets for trick or treating are not available here, and I could only find one of ours. So, we improvised with one pumpkin, one Christmas bucket, and one Easter basket. Whatever works!
Our second opportunity was at the Embassy compound, thanks to sweet friends inviting us.
 Logan got a little more into the action there.

Our last event was a carnival/trick or treating at AISB. Fun times for all!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Belgrade, Just Because

A few weeks ago (that seems to be a theme, maybe I will catch up one day!), we we took a random trip to Belgrade, Serbia. Belgrade is just a 4 hour drive, and going to Serbia seemed like a good adventure. We had a little too much adventure when we hit the Serbian border, in the dark, and the GPS said "limited route information." Oops. Fortunately, it was a straight shot to Belgrade. Once there, we found a McDonalds, which meant wifi.  Once we got wifi, we could locate the hotel on our phones and we found it.

We were greeted at the hotel by security personnel with metal detectors. That was a first! We also saw the police come by once with bomb - sniffing dogs.  Other than those things, we felt like we were in any other European city. Belgrade was lovely, with a huge fortress overlooking the Danube.

We were blessed with great weather for exploring! A large pedestrian street led the way to the fortress. The kids loved running around and exploring these tanks. Chelsea was greatly amused that the statues were naked....there are plenty of naked statues in Budapest, but I guess she is just beginning to notice these things.
On our second day, our first stop was the Cathedral of St. Sava, which is the largest Orthodox church in the world. It is beautiful on the outside but has not been completed on the inside. 
Our next stop was to visit the Museum of Josip Tito, the former dictator of Yugoslavia. Interestingly, his wife died a few days prior to our visit, so the only portion of the grounds that was open was the museum housing gifts Tito had received from other countries during his reign. We found this belt sign interesting - never knew that was the reason for colds.
After visiting Tito, we headed back to the city center. Along the way, we passed this building which was bombed by NATO in 1999. Not something you see every day! 

Our last stop of the day was Skadarlija street. It is a cute cobblestone street full of cafes and galleries, and is known as the bohemian area of Belgrade. I just loved the flowers of the above restaurant! 

We ate at another cute sidewalk cafe, and all was well except for my order. I ordered the Gourmet Cheeseburger, which I really should know not to order in Eastern Europe.  What I got was not exactly what I had in mind, but living abroad I've learned to go with the flow and laugh at things that are lost in translation. 
After 2 fun filled days, we said goodbye to Serbia - thankful for another fun adventure!