Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Final Pics from Albania

IMG_1124Ethan and Luka hugged every time they saw each other.  Luka didn’t speak English, but each boy would ask us moms about the other one.IMG_1160Ethan didn’t really get in the sea much when we had swim trunks on him.  So of course, the day we decided not to put them on him, he wanted to go in further.  IMG_1166

IMG_1170Ethan loved playing in the outdoor shower afterward.

An Interesting Maid

We had some interesting experiences with the hotel staff in Albania. We can’t imagine them happening anywhere else!  Many of the families with babies or little kids were staying on the first floor of the hotel with the reception desk just down the hallway.  We borrowed a monitor from some friends to use while Sienna napped in the room.  Unfortunately, when you took the card that opens the door out of the slot, all electricity to the room was turned off, so we weren’t able to use it.  So each day I put Sienna down for a nap and then returned upstairs where Gary was teaching.  I would have to come down to the room when it was about her normal wake-up time each day.

I tried to communicate to the maid on the first day that she could still come in the room and clean but that Sienna would be taking a nap.  At some point during the morning, the woman from the front desk brought Sienna upstairs to me.  Come to find out the door was pretty loud, so anytime it was closed Sienna would wake up.  It finally got to where I would walk downstairs to check on Sienna and the maid would tell me if she was sleeping.  I walked down one day, and the maid was in our room cleaning the bathroom while Sienna was in the crib with music playing on the TV.  The maid told me that she was crying and stopped crying with the music.  I came down another day, and the woman at the front desk told me that the maid had changed Sienna’s diaper!

One day the maid told me that I needed to wash Sienna’s hair.  Since I couldn’t understand her, she could have been offering to do it for all I know.  I tried to communicate to her that I knew that and needed a towel  (we were only given 2 towels… I’m not sure if they assumed the kids would use our towels or just not need one at all during the week).  Evidently, I did not communicate effectively because I was not successful in getting anymore towels from her.IMG_1221 The maid and the women at the front desk all loved holding Sienna. They were continually kissing her as well. They also greeted Ethan by name every time he came through the lobby.

Sickness in Albania Strikes Once Again

If you keep up with our blog you may remember how a lot of people got sick last summer when we were in Albania (including Gary and me).  Well, Tuesday night Ethan woke up vomiting.  I got him cleaned up, the tent cleaned up, and changed his pajamas, and then he threw up again (of course on the clean pajamas).  This is the first time that he’s thrown up other than from trying to swallow too much food at the table.  The poor little guy was trying to hold it in his mouth.  When I got him to the toilet he didn’t want to try to spit in the toilet.

We found out that some other children were throwing up that same night.  Thankfully he was fine the next day and has been so far since then.  He hadn’t been drinking the tap water, but we were brushing his teeth with it.  We stopped doing that.  When I picked him up from childcare he was drinking something that looked like it had been mixed with water.  I’m afraid that the childcare workers may have used tap water, so that could be the reason.  We just aren’t sure.

On Saturday I woke up with some kind of stomach bug.  I wasn’t able to eat breakfast or lunch and still had things leaving my body.  At dinner I ate one bite of the meat and one bite of the potatoes, but then threw up afterward.  Gary had to help me back to the room.  He said that he’s never seen me that weak except after having a baby.  I do remember being this way last year when we got home from Albania. 

I’m thankful that it was our last day and not the beginning of the week.  Unfortunately, Gary and I both had problems after we got back home too (which happened last year as well).  Hopefully our whole family will be better soon, especially before we fly to the States.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Albania Again

Well, it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when we were here.  Ethan’s first flight was to Albania, and now we can say that Sienna’s first flight was here as well.  IMG_1047IMG_1057Ethan slept most of the flight when we brought him at 6 months of age.  Unfortunately, Sienna fell asleep just as we were landing. 

Our first night here was a little rough.  Ethan was sleeping on a couch with a pack-n-play up next to it so he wouldn’t fall out.  He tossed and turned a lot and somehow still managed to fall off the couch.  Of course, with Sienna in the pack-n-play right next to him, he woke her up when he cried.  Thankfully she went back to sleep soon afterward.  The afternoon nap for him didn’t go so well the next day either, so we decided to just make it work for Ethan to use the tent that we used during our time in Germany.  I’m SOOO glad we brought it!  Of course, he’s not falling out, and he loves it.

Well, Ethan has been in his element since being here.  There are LOTS of kids to play with each day.  After dinner our first night, Ethan began playing with one of the 6-year-old girls.  She would chase him to a building, then they would both walk back toward us parents holding hands.  They kept doing that over and over.  Our second night here, one of the women in Gary’s course said that her 5-year-old son wanted to eat dinner with Ethan.  So, we all sat together and Ethan and Luka kept hugging each other.  Ethan has not had any problems with me leaving him in childcare, even though the babysitters are Albanian, and the other kids are Albanian.  He is just so happy to be playing with kids.  He especially seems to enjoy playing with the kids who are 1-4 years older than him. IMG_1078Our hotel is by the sea, so we took Ethan there one afternoon to see what he thought of the water (last year he didn’t want to get in it).  On the way there he saw some of the older kids playing in the sand, and preferred to play with them.IMG_1089Ethan didn’t want to get in the water much more than this.IMG_1100He actually didn’t really like walking in the water much either.  He must be like his Mom and Dad… more of a mountain person than a beach person.  IMG_1083Sienna just went along for the ride.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Fun II

Here are some more pictures from Ethan playing with friends in the last week.  IMG_0899As usual, Ethan is going in for a hug.  Ellie was fine with it until it got to be around the 10th one (I’m exaggerating a bit, but it was quite a few).IMG_0900IMG_0930Seth was gone all summer, so Ethan was happy to have him back (as was his Mommy).  IMG_0923 IMG_0947When Ethan and Seth started to play with the swing set Ethan said something about spider webs then walked over to the patio, got the broom, and walked back to the swing set where he began getting down spider webs.IMG_0941IMG_0956I’m not sure what Kristen is saying to them, but I love the look on their faces as they’re eating and listening intently.IMG_0960Time for a break!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Fun

Several of Ethan’s friends were gone for the summer.  I had thought that I would be able to get together more with the ones who were still here, but sadly did not.  The summer has gone by SOO quickly! 

Here are some pictures of some of Ethan’s little get-togethers. IMG_9850 IMG_9853I had a couple of moms over for lunch.  Ethan, Evan, Tosha, and Zsuzsi actually ate better than I expected.  Usually when the kids are together they just want to play instead of eat.    IMG_1425Here is a picture of Zsuzsi (right) and Ethan from June ‘09.  Zsuzsi was 5 months old, and Ethan was 3.5 months old. IMG_9883Here is a picture of Kata (right) and Sienna from July.  Kata is about 8 months old, and Sienna is almost 4 months old in this picture.IMG_9973Dinner time with Ryan and Kevin.IMG_0644Ethan’s uncle Neil mailed this thing (I don’t know what you call it) over here for his birthday.  Ethan wanted Jasper to shoot the balls at him.  It took some coaxing from Julie for Jasper to think it was okay to shoot the balls at Ethan.  After all, we teach are children that doing such a thing is not being kind. :-)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

End of Vacation

IMG_0448Ethan loves trucks, tractors, motorcycles, etc. (basically anything moving).  He was excited to see this motorcycle pull up in front of where we were staying and of course wanted to sit on it.  He’s sat on a scooter before but not an actual motorcycle.  The couple actually were from the town where we hiked our first day, so that was kind of cool.

IMG_0557The place we stayed was a refurbished farmhouse.  It had a playroom for children, so that was a hit with Ethan, especially after his nap, when it was raining on our last day.  In the picture he is chasing Gary.

Ethan had asked about playing with kids much of the time that we were gone and sadly, there weren’t really any around.  At least not until the last place where we stayed.  There was a little girl and boy from Belgium who enjoyed playing with Ethan.  She actually played with Ethan while we packed up and loaded the car.  Then she asked if she could put Ethan and Sienna in their car seats.IMG_0614This was Ethan’s first time on a trampoline (besides a little jogging trampoline).  He liked it a lot.  We were happy for him to be jumping and getting some energy out before another long ride in the car—what ended up being 11 hours after all of the stops (would have been around 6-7 hours without kids).IMG_0620IMG_0635We stopped at a grocery store on our way out of town to stock up on foods that we can’t get in Hungary.  Gary got several kinds of cereals and Almdudler (an Austrian soft drink that can be bought in Austria and Germany, but not in Hungary).  Ethan enjoyed pushing this little cart around the grocery store.

Hiking Day 3

This was our final day of hiking.  With the issue of little kids, nap times, etc. hiking is a little different than what I used to do.  In the past I would have never ridden a cable car up a mountain when I could have hiked up it.  Not just because I didn’t want to pay the money, but I much preferred to hike.  Well, those days are gone…. at least temporarily.  We took a cable car up part of this mountain and then hiked from that point.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t have made much progress by the time it was Ethan’s naptime.IMG_0484 IMG_0490 IMG_0500 IMG_0505You can’t see it but there is a cross on top of the mountain behind us.  We hiked up to this meadow but didn’t have time to hike up to the cross or some other areas.  We planned to get back in time for Ethan’s nap, and it would have been a couple more hours of hiking (without kids) to go up to the cross (thus more than 2 hours for us). 

When we were walking back to the car Ethan pointed to a tour bus and wanted to ride the bus.  He started walking over toward it and a woman was standing nearby.  He kept pointing to the bus, so she held her hand out and said something to him in German.  It looked like she was saying something about him going with her or he could go to his mom and pointed to me.  He held his hand up to take her hand to go with her, and she looked at me with this shocked look like she couldn’t believe he just did that.  I laughed because I was not so surprised at our little social butterfly.  It’s pretty bad if he will just go with a complete stranger who talks to him in a language that he doesn’t understand.  Course, he is used to being around people who speak different languages that he doesn’t understand.  Whatever the case, we will have to be real careful when we go to the States and will need to do some major work on stranger training.

Gary’s neck ended up hurting some with these hikes (you can see the posts from the end of June that talk about Gary’s back/neck problems).  Sadly, we forgot our walking canes which I need to take pressure off of my knees when hiking downhill.  My knees still hurt a week later. Maybe one day we can go back and take the kids when they can hike themselves.

Hiking Day 2

After driving around 6 or so hours we arrived at our destination in Austria.  We spent the night and left the next day for this gorge.  Some of the places were a little narrow to get a large backpack between the rock and the railings, but we made it fine.IMG_0329 IMG_0330 IMG_0403After we got through the gorge, we stopped by the river to eat our lunches.IMG_0435And, of course, Ethan had to throw rocks in the river, or as he calls it, “make waves.”IMG_0438We took a different way back down.  It wasn’t quite as exciting as the water rushing through the gorge on the way up.  As you can see the kids partook of a nap on the way back down.IMG_0440

Hiking Day 1

This is from our first day.  We spent the morning in one area and the afternoon in another area.  Sienna napped in the backpack, and Ethan had a short nap in the car between the two hikes.IMG_0034 IMG_0102Ethan enjoyed watching the cows with the big bells.  It actually started snowing (yes, in July) while we were looking at the cows, but didn’t last for long.IMG_0151Mom gave us the backpack that Sienna is in, which has been quite handy to use with her and Ethan.  We borrowed the one that Ethan is in from some friends.  It was too big for Sienna.  Our backpack is really not supposed to be used until 6 months.  We used it for Ethan when he was 5 months to do the same thing- tie in some hiking to my classes in Germany.  Course, he was a good bit bigger than Sienna is at this age.  Thankfully, it worked for her.IMG_0222IMG_0209Sienna conked outIMG_0303This is a picture of the area where we were.  It was taken the next day on our way OUT of town.  It was sunny and beautiful, but we had a 6 hour drive ahead of us, so we couldn’t stay.  The first three pictures above were taken above the waterfall in this picture.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Traveling with Little Ones

I shared in the last post about us going to Germany.  We weren’t planning to have a vacation this year, but since we had to be in Germany we decided to tie in two days to go hiking.  We actually ended up adding a 3rd day since we didn’t do anything to celebrate our 5th anniversary. 

The weather in Germany was cold and rainy.  The forecast called for rain on the days we were supposed to hike as well.  We had nothing planned except to hike, and there wouldn’t have been anything else to do if it rained.  The kids were going to be on our backs in backpacks, so it wouldn’t work to hike in the rain with them (except Sienna would have something that could go over her backpack for rain).  So, I prayed that God would not allow it to rain on us for our first day of hiking.  He answered that prayer.  It was a mostly cloudy day, but it did not rain.  It was disappointing that it was overcast because the view would have been spectacular had it not been for the clouds.  I can’t complain, though, because God answered my prayer.  I told Gary that I would pray specifically about the following day, so I asked God to not allow it to rain and for there to be some sunshine.  Once again He answered.  And, again on the 3rd day of hiking.  There were just a few drops of rain at the end of our hike on the last day, and as we drove back to the pension it began to rain.  And, we left the next day, driving back to Hungary in the rain.  I’m so thankful that God cares for us and loves us so much to give us such blessings as being able to have 3 days of vacation hiking without rain.  There are so many “big” concerns going on all around the world, but He also cares about the little things in our lives such as this. 

I want to share a few stories and some pictures from our time traveling.IMG_0609 We took our pack-n-play with us along with this tent that my mom gave us.  Ethan loved being in the tent, and it was nice that we could zip it up so he didn’t get out unless we unzipped him.  The room at the first place was so small, there actually wasn’t room for both of them in the room with us, so the hotel gave us a second attaching room for free.  That was really nice not having them in the same room with us.  I feared that he would wake her Sienna since she goes to bed earlier than him, and he often wakes her up.  But, she must have gotten used to him because he didn’t wake her up during our travels except once when he screamed from having a bad dream, and then she went right back to sleep.  This picture was taken at the last place we stayed.  You can see how close they were to each other.  IMG_0017If you haven’t been to Europe then you may not know that it’s common for a double bed to be two twin beds put together.  Sometimes you can find a place that will have one big sheet that just covers the two mattresses, and in a few cases you may find a place that has a real thin big mattress that covers the smaller ones and then has a large sheet over it.IMG_0272Amazingly, Sienna usually smiles despite how rough Ethan is with her.  He moves her arms and legs around rather roughly, but she really likes that a lot.  Sometimes his hugs are a bit too much.IMG_0282This is one of the few pictures that I actually have of the two of them where they are both looking at the camera, and probably the only picture where they are both lying next to each other.