Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Day

Bret, Seth, and Kenna were able to come over for a Christmas brunch before going to Denver.  Mom made an egg casserole the night before and then bacon, biscuits, and homemade gravy (of course, I requested the biscuits and gravy :-)).  Debbie made a braided bread.  I love eating breakfast things like this but never make biscuits and gravy and rarely make bacon.  It’s so yummy, but so bad for you.IMG_7203Ethan with his cousins, Seth and Kenna, above, and with his grandmothers below.  This will possibly be the only time that he will be with both grandparents at the same time.IMG_7205IMG_7206This was the first time that Mom has been in CO.  Gary’s parents had thought about taking her to the mountains while she was here.  I’ve never seen the Rocky mountains in the winter, and Gary hasn’t in a long time, so we thought that Christmas Day would be ideal to go since it shouldn’t be so crowded and we didn’t have plans after the brunch.  Debbie ended up staying home while Kent, Gary, Mom, Ethan, and I went to Rocky Mountain National Park.   IMG_7214On the drive up the mountain we saw some bighorn sheep.  There were several rams in the group. IMG_7221 Though this picture needs some cropping and enlarging, it’s the only one that turned out of all of us.  If I wait until it can be cropped then this post won’t go up for several weeks. :-)IMG_7226We were surprised at how sunny and warm it was in the park.  We didn’t even need to wear our coats.  The interesting thing is that CO hasn’t had much snow so far this year, and western NC got a lot of snow on Christmas.  I think it may have been their first white Christmas in quite a while.IMG_7229We saw these elk while in the park.  I like how the sunrays are coming down on them in the picture above.  Below is the bull  that was in the group.IMG_7236

IMG_7252We were standing on the frozen, snow-covered lake at Bear Lake.  The sun had gone down behind the mountain by this time, so it was quite cold.IMG_7268On our drive home (outside of the park), there were quite a few elk on the side of the road.  I took this picture of a bull with the side mirror in the picture to show how close he was to the car.

Christmas with Family

Since Bret and the kids were going to Lori’s parents’ house for Christmas dinner, we did a Christmas dinner and opened gifts on Christmas Eve.  Mom and I made the ham, and Debbie made the side dishes.IMG_7151Ethan played the piano while we sang Christmas songs.  Just kidding.  Actually, Debbie played.IMG_71602- However, Ethan got a toy piano from his Papa and Nana.

We got Ethan a transportation puzzle.  All of the grandparents got him really “cool” gifts (and, of course, the gifts that make noise).   IMG_7171 IMG_7190I thought this was a neat picture of Gary, Bret, Seth, and Kenna hanging out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Lights

Mom was planning to come to Budapest for Christmas, but was able to change her ticket once we found out that Lori died and that we would be coming back to the States.  She ended up getting a ticket to come to CO for Christmas.  We stopped in downtown Denver to see Christmas lights on our way to pick her up at the airport.IMG_7116This building is the Denver City and County Building and is lit up each Christmas.  I love Christmas lights, so it was fun to see this building.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before.IMG_7110IMG_7101

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Family Pictures

We had someone take some family pictures while Gary’s brother, Neil, was here from TX and we were here.  We did them in front of a fireplace in the assisted living home where Gary’s grandmother lives.  The background looked just as good as, if not better than, at a professional studio._DSC0015  _DSC0086I have several entries partially done and saved and may not even post them until after we return to Budapest.  I’m hoping to get some specific entries up sooner from Christmas. 

Merry Christmas to all of those reading this!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ethan in CO

Now, I will go back to putting more pictures than writing. :-)

Here are some pictures of Ethan with the family from the last couple of days.IMG_7004Ethan has absolutely loved playing with Papa.  Just like he is a Daddy’s boy, he is a grandpa’s boy.  Kent and Debbie had some little cars and toys here already, so Ethan has been very entertained with “different” toys and has wanted to show them to every person around.IMG_7016Debbie use to be a music and piano teacher, so she has two pianos at home.  Ethan has crawled up on the piano bench multiple times a day and has enjoyed playing the piano.  The impressive thing to me is that he doesn’t just always bang on the keys.  Sometimes he only hits a few of the keys and sometimes even does it softly.  Maybe Nana can teach him how to play before we leave. :-)IMG_7019

IMG_7026Gary, his two brothers, and Seth and Kenna played a game of Risk while Ethan took turns going around the table sitting in laps.  Ethan has just loved all of the attention that he has gotten and everyone holding him all of the time.  He will be in for a rude awakening when we return to Budapest, and it’s just Mom and Dad at home.


I’ll go ahead and say that this post will be a lot of writing and only one picture.

Probably most of you who are reading this know that our sister-in-law, Lori, died on December 10th after a 21 month battle with breast cancer.  Bret, Lori’s husband and Gary’s brother, sent an e-mail out that was a great testimony.  He wrote:  “My sweet, amazing Lori has fought the good fight, and this morning she passed on to be with the Lord.  Friday morning (12/10) at 5:20 am Lori gained full victory over the disease of cancer as her Lord Jesus ushered her to her forever true home.  Her sister, Brenda, her wonderful children Seth and Kenna, and I were all with her to say goodbye.  Shortly thereafter many family and friends have blessed us with their well wishes.  Lori’s faith in Jesus to completely save is now beautifully realized!”

We were able to get tickets to come back the day before the funeral.  Ethan didn’t have a seat, and it didn’t look like we would be able to get a seat with a bassinet, which meant over 10 straight hours of him being on our laps.  God continually provided, and our trip was much better than we expected.  We went from the very last 2 seats on the plane that didn’t recline to where one of us were able to get a seat with the bassinet and the other one would have to stay in the last row to where we were both able to get on the row with the bassinet but with 2 seats of other people between us.  Then once we got on the plane, the woman next to Gary noticed that we were together and asked if I wanted to change seats with her so I could be next to Gary and she could have an aisle seat.  So, Gary and I were able to sit next to each other AND have a bassinet for Ethan.  The interesting thing was that the plane didn’t take off for awhile because there seemed to be so many people complaining to the flight attendants about their seats.  Gary and I heard several people trying to switch seats with people and talking to the flight attendants about problems with their seats.  Neither of us have seen so much changing of seats and problems on a flight before.  That made me all the more thankful for how God provided for us.  And, to top it off, we were on a plane where you can go downstairs to the bathroom which was better for me than just walking up and down the aisles since I needed to get up and move around every hour due to blood clotting being more prone in pregnant women. 

We woke Ethan just before leaving the house, at 4:30 am, and just took him to the airport in his pajamas.  Surprisingly, he stayed awake on the whole drive to the airport.  The flight to Germany wasn’t full, so Gary moved to an empty row to get a little sleep.  As usual, Ethan was a big hit with the flight attendant, so she carried him around the plane several times.  Near the end of our 4 hour layover in Frankfurt, we were in the security line (which was very long).  That was the first time that Ethan began getting fussy and having a meltdown.  Before too long, one of the security workers let us jump line and go through since we had a young child.  I don’t know if she would have noticed us had Ethan been quiet.  We weren’t in a hurry but it was nice to not have to wait so long in line.  After getting up so early in the morning, Ethan didn’t sleep until his normal nap time and only slept the amount of time as his normal nap time.  He still did well on the flight.  We know that there were many people praying for us and our travels here, so we are thankful for that!  Please also pray for our return trip.

The funeral was a great testimony to the Lord.  Several of Lori’s friends shared some stories about her.  Bret played a recording of a song that Lori wrote a few months ago and he and one of Lori’s friends sang it and then taught it to everyone to sing along.  Bret said that at least one of her doctors was there.  He counted 470 people who signed the visitor book for the funeral.  One of the people commented to me, afterward, that it was the best funeral service they had ever been to.

We are all so glad that Lori is not suffering or in pain anymore.  I am sad for Bret and the kids who are 13 and 17 years old.  Even though my dad died when I was 26 years old, I can’t imagine what they are going through.  I do know that God is sovereign and His timing is perfect.  His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts.  I do pray that Seth and Kenna will know His presence and peace and feel their Heavenly Father’s arms wrapped around them like I did when my dad was dying from cancer.  I just don’t know how people handle these types of things when they are not Christians.  I’m sure God will be using this family as an example to those who don’t know God personally. 

Here is a picture of Ethan with his cousins, Seth and Kenna.IMG_7000

Saturday, December 4, 2010


We had a good Thanksgiving here.  The plans of where it would be and who all would be there changed around some, but it ended up working out well.  And, the food was delicious!

Since Thanksgiving is something celebrated in Canada and the US, it isn’t a holiday here, but ICSB is cancelled and the Americans do celebrate it.  Of course, you can’t just go to the store and buy a turkey like in the States.  So you have to either fix turkey breasts or go to a butcher shop and order a turkey.  Our group did the latter.  Here is a picture, below, of Justin carving it.IMG_6811 IMG_6808 Kids playing before time to eat.  It’s actually not Ethan in Gary’s lap.  This is William, Ethan’s friend who is 4 months younger.  His mom is also expecting their 2nd child.  Ethan is in the corner behind Gary getting a book.IMG_3917

We celebrated with an Albanian family, a family that is part American and part Belarusian, an American family, and one of the singles from ICSB.  The Beatty family didn’t make it into the picture.  Ethan was too interested in toys to eat, so we took his food home with us and gave it to him a few days later.  He’s very social (wonder where he got that from!), so when we are with a large group, he tends to not eat anything.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

All Saints Day

November 1st is a holiday in Hungary, All Saints Day.  It is interesting because in the States the only holiday around this time of year that I was familiar with was Halloween.  That is not celebrated over here.  However, Reformation Day, which is also October 31st is celebrated in Europe (where there is a larger Reformed population) in addition to All Saints Day which is celebrated in the Catholic countries of Europe.  Since Hungary is a Catholic country and has a small percentage of members of the Reformed Church, All Saints Day is celebrated here rather than Reformation Day.

The CCC office and school have Nov.1st off (since it is a major holiday where places are closed).  Gary had a meeting at the office in the afternoon anyway, but we decided to go hiking beforehand in the hills near his office. We enjoyed it because usually all of our Saturdays are filled with doing house and yard work.  It was a beautiful day for hiking too!IMG_6673IMG_6694 croppedIMG_6715Ethan had lots of fun with this rock, mostly just picking it up and throwing it down over and over again.  I know that these 2 pictures are similar, but I liked his smile in the one above where he was having fun with the rock, and I like how he is looking straight at the camera and reaching out in the picture below. IMG_6722

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Pictures

Here are some pictures that we took of Ethan in October.IMG_6592 IMG_6601 IMG_6609 IMG_6636 IMG_6646

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Screwdrivers, Vacuum Cleaners, & Pain

I posted pictures from when Gary’s parents were here and talked about how his dad fixed a lot of things around the house.  One of the posts talked about how he took the vacuum cleaner apart and how Ethan watched with great interest.  Gary’s parents mailed a new vacuum cleaner belt to us, so Gary got the tools out to take the vacuum cleaner apart and replace the belt.  Once again, Ethan watched enthusiastically.  Except this time, he wanted to “help” even more than with Papa.IMG_6560  He totally loved trying to use the screwdriver to take the screws out and put them back in.IMG_6564Once Gary got the new belt in, Ethan enjoyed vacuuming the rug.  The family who lived here before left us this vacuum cleaner.  It’s really old and loud, but it’s the only one we’ve found that works on this rug (that the family also left us).  So, the other vacuum cleaner that we’ve always had is much more maneuverable for Ethan, but it’s fun to watch him try to use this one.

In the last few weeks Ethan has been pointing to screws when he sees them.  Last week he pointed to a large screw that was in the bottom of a bookshelf.  He went and got the tool box, brought it into the room with the shelf and wanted to get the screwdriver to take the screw out.  I didn’t realize that he had picked up on where we kept the tool box, so now we have to find a new location where he can’t reach it.  It’s not much of a tool box.  It’s one that my mom got for me in college with a few things, but needless to say, even a screwdriver can be dangerous.

Well, little did we know that a vacuum cleaner can be dangerous too.  Last week, Gary was vacuuming the rug that’s in the picture above.  While he was vacuuming, Ethan turned the vacuum cleaner over and stuck his hand in it (while it was on).  You can see the wheel of it in the first picture, so that was turning when he put his hand in it.  It ended up taking a layer (or possibly more) of skin off of part of his thumb, index finger, and the corner of his palm.  It looks much better now since the scab has been forming.  I thought it would cause most of his hand to bruise, but surprisingly, it hasn’t.  He still keeps his fingers bent down for the most part, trying to protect it, but each day has used it more and more.

Our Little Helper

Ethan has become quite the little helper around the house.  Every Friday Gary empties out all of the trash cans around the house because that is the day our trash is picked up.  Ethan has observed this, and has started empting the little trash cans himself. 

I think I already posted a picture of him vacuuming, which he really enjoys doing.  He likes to get the broom and dustpan, but ends up moving dirt around more than getting it swept together.IMG_6481 At the beginning of October I decided to clean the windows before it got too cold to open them.  Ethan wanted to help, so, of course, I had to take a picture.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fall Leaves

I miss seeing the beautiful fall colors in Boone.  There isn’t much of that around here, so it’s nice to have a maple tree in our yard with leaves that change color.  It’s a big tree, so Gary and Ethan have been raking and picking up leaves almost every Saturday in October. IMG_6484  The first time that Gary took Ethan out to rake leaves, we were both surprised at how helpful Ethan was.  He didn’t seem to enjoy using the rake, but he saw Gary picking leaves up and putting them into a container that is for leaves, branches, etc.  Ethan started picking up leaves and putting them into the wheel barrel (which he could reach).  That was actually more helpful because it made it easier for Gary to put them from the wheel barrel into the tall container rather than having to pick them up from the ground himself.IMG_6500Ethan wanted to use Daddy’s gloves, so he tried to pick up leaves using them for awhile, but then decided that they were too big, so he gave them back to Gary.IMG_6503Ethan2cropped Afterward, Ethan loved being taken around the yard in the wheel barrel.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Feet Fetish

For several months now, Ethan has seemed to have a feet fetish, but specifically with my feet.  He likes to take my slippers and socks off and then put my feet around his waist.  He also holds my feet up to his face.  At first I thought it was because of the toe nail polish, but then he still did it when I wasn’t wearing any.  He doesn’t seem to do it as often as he was, but even this morning when I was getting ready in the bathroom, he was taking my slippers and socks off.  Of course, when I’m standing it’s a little hard for him to wrap both of my feet around his waist.Ethan1cropped 

These two pictures are the only ones that we have to show how he puts my feet around his waist.  The top one is blurry, but you can still tell.


Boy or Girl?

I think everyone knows the answer to this by now, but just in case I will post it on here that we are having a girl.  We found out over a month ago, but I just haven’t had time to work on blog posts.

Of course, one of my first thoughts was that we would have to buy all new clothes.  Most of Ethan’s clothes are blue or dark brown.  I love blue (and actually don’t like pale pink), but I don’t want people thinking that my baby is a boy because of seeing the boy clothing.  Nor do I want her to grow up and see that she was wearing blue in all of her baby pictures. :-)  Thankfully, my mom has already mailed a newborn outfit over here for her.  She’s very excited about having a granddaughter.  Kristen’s parents also brought a 3 month outfit for a girl and gave us when they visited a few weeks ago.  THANK YOU Doug and Patty!  That was very thoughtful when you had limited luggage and 2 grandchildren of your own to bring things to (as well as Kevin and Kristen).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Last Day with Papa and Nana

Sunday was our last day together before Kent and Debbie returned to the US.IMG_6351Ethan loves to sweep and vacuum.  Debbie was just going to vacuum the rug, but Ethan wanted to vacuum the rest of the living room.  This chore may be able to start really soon. :-)IMG_6369My mom made a little picture book from Ethan’s time in NC last fall.  He likes us to get it down so he can look through the pictures of people he knows… mainly himself.  He wanted to look through it soon before it was bedtime, so showed us that he wanted to see it and climbed in Gary’s lap to look.IMG_6384Ethan picked a book out to read while sitting on Papa’s lap before bedtime.  Kent and Debbie had to leave before he woke the next morning, so this was their last time together until we return to the States next fall.

“Helping Papa”

The family who use to live here left an old vacuum cleaner.  We have always used it for the rug in the living room because it’s basically the only thing that works to keep it clean.  It messed up this past year, and we didn’t know how to fix it.  So, Kent, being the handyman that he is, took a look at it and discovered that the belt had broken.  I thought these pictures were cute of Ethan trying to “help” him. IMG_6338IMG_6339“So, Papa, this is where you start to take it apart.”IMG_6340“I will watch to make sure you are doing it correctly.”IMG_6341“OK I’ll show you again.”IMG_6342“Yes, that is right!”

Thanks, Kent, for all of the handy things you did while you were here!  We hope your grandson takes after you in this area. :-)