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.