Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bike Ride in January

I was so excited that we were able to bike up into the month of October and remember the day when I said it would be our last bike ride for the year.  Well, I had no idea what an unusually warm winter we would be having.

Our family joined Gary in Slovakia when he taught in January.  We had less than a week before he left for his next teaching trip.  The high that Saturday was 50, so we decided to go for a bike ride (and figuring this would be it for a while).

IMG_8636IMG_8638 Ethan taking a little break. 

IMG_8647Biking on one of my favorite roads…one that was paved last summer and is very wide.  It’s probably the nicest road in our village (though, it’s not a main road at all). 

IMG_8656Ethan taking another break.  He doesn’t normally take several breaks, but for some reason wanted to on this day.  His bike is too small for him, so I think it’s actually harder for him to pedal with it this way.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Building a Fort

The kids enjoy building forts and have done so in several different rooms of the house.  Here are some pictures from the beginning of January of them enjoying a fort in Ethan’s room.

DSCN0740I was a little big to enter the fort.  As you see Sienna is coming in via under the chair.DSCN0731DSCN0735Lovin’ it!DSCN0744

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Alumni BB Game

Each December, after Christmas, ICSB (International Christian School of Budapest) has an alumni basketball game.  I have always enjoyed going especially to see the alumni.  It has been a bit different since having kids.  A number of years one of our kids needed to take a morning nap during that time, so Gary would stay home.  One or two years Ethan didn’t like the loud blow horn (which was actually unusually loud at those times).  Last year Gary needed to work to prepare for a course that he would teach a few days later.  But, this year our WHOLE family was actually able to go (possibly the first time since having kids)! 

IMG_8609Sienna wasn’t interested in the game, but Ethan sat on my lap and watched about 3 quarters of the game. 

IMG_8621Early on Sienna ended up going in a lounge area next to the gym to play with the “big girls” (who are in middle school).

IMG_8616After the 3rd quarter Ethan decided to join them for the remainder of the game.

IMG_8618The kids both loved playing with Jessica and Nicole (who are twins) as well as Anna.IMG_8617And, as you see, all of the pictures are of the kids… not the alumni or ICSB kids.  Life is definitely different now.  Of course, I also realize that there probably isn’t anyone reading this blog who would like to see pictures of the current students or those who graduated in the last 4 years.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas Day and Small World

We originally invited some families over for Christmas Day, but things were changed around and we went to the Beattys’ house.

DSCN0718It’s amazing at how it is such a small world! Ben and Rachel are missionaries in Russia and came to Budapest to work on some visa and medical things.  Yulia knew Ben from many years ago and recognized him in a mall a few weeks ago in Budapest.  She and David invited him and his family to our church.  After church I walked by Rachel and was shocked to see her.  I asked what she was doing here and found out that she was the wife of the guy I had heard about from the Beattys.  Well, Rachel and I went through a mission training together in 2003 when she was heading overseas and I was changing to a different mission organization.  She and I were both in the same group for Eastern Europe.  And then the next year, she came to Budapest and went to church with me.  That is the last time we’ve seen or had any contact with each other.  Now, we are both married and each have two kids! 

DSCN0678Rachel and I saw each other several times over a week, but it was fun to continue to catch up on Christmas Day and for them to have a place to go on Christmas Day (versus the hotel apartment where they had been staying).

DSCN0669Eight kids in all—two being girls.  I think they all had a great time playing together.   

DSCN0706Singing Christmas songs

DSCN0725After singing the kids played hide and seek.  Ethan, Lana, and Sienna decided to hide in the dog’s cage.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas Eve

We invited several families over for Christmas Eve to have a Swiss meal called Raclette.  We actually met three of the people when they came to our house.  They were a single girl and her parents, all of whom teach at a school in Kenya.  They came to visit one of the single teachers from ICSB that we had invited over, so we extended the invitation to them as well.

DSCN0527We started off by singing Christmas carols.  Gary normally plays the guitar for us to sing, but one of our guests knew how to play the piano so we sang while she played the piano and the kids played instruments (Sienna is doing the sand blocks in the picture above). 

DSCN0545This was the first time that we did raclette with other children, but I think it worked fine.  We borrowed a raclette grill from some friends since one wasn’t enough for a group this size.DSCN0546Ethan and Alister enjoyed sitting next to each other.  I was thankful that Ethan ate (which he often doesn’t when socializing interferes with eating).

DSCN0564After our guests left I tried to get pictures of the kids together.  They mostly wanted to goof off.  Ethan has a funny face in this picture above, but I love how it shows Sienna laughing at him.  He makes her laugh a lot. 

DSCN0571I love watching Ethan and Sienna play and laugh together.  I especially like it when I can get a decent picture of the two of them together smiling and looking at the camera at the same time.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ethan Learning to Play Checkers

Happy New Year!

We will see if I can keep up with the blog better in 2014 than I did in 2013, but I’m not really counting on it, especially since we will be in the States this spring.

But, I will continue to post some things from December (since I’m normally a month behind and only did one post from December).

My associate pastor and his wife mailed Gary and me this Christmas checkers set our first Christmas.  This year, Ethan said that he wanted to learn how to play, so Gary taught him.DSCN0326Sienna was interested for a very short time. 

DSCN0354There have been several nights where Ethan wanted to play before bedtime.

DSCN0358Now it’s become serious—the little chairs have been pulled out to play.

DSCN0364Contemplating what move to make next

DSCN0368Happy about what he just did (even though he isn’t going to win this round).

Thursday, December 26, 2013

St. Nicolas Day

December 6th is Szent Mikulás (St. Nicolas) Day in Hungary.  This is the day that Hungary and most other European countries celebrate St. Nicolas.  I love it that he is separated from Christmas Day, and after the 6th there is no more Santa Claus.  In Hungary children put their boots out and wake to find sweets in them.

I found out that the óvoda was going to have a St. Mikulás come on the 6th and do a celebration, so I asked if I could take pictures.  The teachers were excited about that and asked if they could have my pictures to put on the class website too.

DSCN0032St. Mikulás arrived to the children sitting in their chairs.  One of the teachers gave him a wrapped book.  DSCN0043He read from this book.  I have no idea what it was or what he was reading other than it was fairly long and there were things that the kids responded to.

DSCN0087Then, while St. Mikulás was there, some of the children played some different types of games and had some sayings that they did.  Ethan said that he hadn’t seen the children do these things before, so we were both pretty clueless.DSCN0094DSCN0121After the games each of the kids got to come get a present out of St. Mikulás’ bag.  DSCN0122Unfortunately he called on Ethan to be the first kid to come get a present.  Normally, this would probably be exciting for a kid, but Ethan usually watches what the other kids do in order to know what to do himself.  He understood St. Mikulás telling him to come, so he did and he figured out to take a gift, but I could tell that he wasn’t real sure what was going on.

After St. Mikulás left, the kids had a snack (which wasn’t the normal fruit, but sweet and salty things).DSCN0213I’m including a picture on here of the snack time because I think a few things concerning this are interesting in the Hungarian culture.  One is that the sweet foods and salty foods are always separated.  They aren’t put on a plate together.  Secondly, it’s just put in the middle of a table and the kids just reach for it (as you can see Ethan doing above) and eat it, instead of having their own plates.  And this way of doing things continues into elementary school from what friends have told me.  In fact when I have the women from my Body & Soul exercise class to my house for parties, they always stay in the kitchen standing around the food, even when it could be taken in the next room where they could sit.

DSCN0230These are Ethan’s three teachers:  Eszter néni, Zsofi néni, and Andi néni.  Néni means aunt, but that is what is used at the end of all of the teachers’ names.  (In Hungarian, the names come before the titles.)  The two on the left are Ethan’s teachers.  They rotate each week with one working in the mornings and the other in the afternoons, and then they overlap from 11:00-1:00.  The one on the far right is probably best described as an aid.  She doesn’t do any of the teaching but helps the kids with certain things.  She is also the one who cuts up the fruit for snack, etc.