Thursday, December 29, 2011


I mentioned in my previous post that we had a former 2nd grade student of mine come to visit us for 5 days.  Since we had church Christmas morning and Melanie had to be at the airport a little after 5:00 pm, we ended up doing our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.IMG_3490Justin and Michelle came over and brought scalloped potatoes, homemade rolls, and a Hungarian dessert.  I made a ham, green bean casserole, and a salad.  I’ve never made a green bean casserole here before because you can’t get the fried onion type things that you use in it, but we actually brought some back from the States this time.  We weren’t able to bring much “fun” type stuff back from the States, but I did bring that.  Melanie doesn’t eat pork or red meat, so I made a chicken for her and planned for it to be a meal for us another night.  Plus, I am able to use the carcass to make chicken noodle soup.IMG_3481Joshua is 6 weeks younger than Sienna.  Before too long, they will be running around and playing together.  It looks like he’s playing with her foot even now. :-)IMG_3500

Christmas DayIMG_3502 I didn’t want to just have sandwiches for Christmas lunch, so I decided to do raclette, a Swiss meal.  If you don’t know what raclette is, it’s where you have baked potatoes, and melt toppings in the thing you see on the table.  Some typical toppings are black forest ham and raclette cheese.  Raclette cheese is pretty expensive, so we started using cheaper kinds (mostly the main Hungarian one).  I thought raclette would be a fun experience for Melanie before she left.  I heard that a couple of teachers from the school didn’t have plans for Christmas Day, so I invited them to join us.  Since we’ve been gone this fall, I actually had never met one of them, who was a new teacher this year.IMG_3522


IMG_3537We opened gifts in the evening after taking Melanie to the airport.  Ethan and Sienna got a percussion instrument set.IMG_3555Gary got a kick out of the gift certificate that I gave him.  It was for raking the lawn.  We returned from the US with leaves all over the yard, and a former horticulture professor told Gary that it wouldn’t be good for us to leave them on the ground.  With the busyness of Christmas and having company as well as several teaching trips that Gary will have in January, I figured this could be a good gift since Gary won’t really have time to rake the yard anyway.IMG_3556Ethan trying out his new drum.IMG_3565

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pre-Christmas Pictures

I’m just going to post some different pictures from the last few weeks and mention a few things about them.IMG_3322Ok, so this isn’t a Christmasy picture, but I thought I’d post it anyway.  Ethan loves to help Gary water the plants.  He used to pretend or ‘help’ Gary pour the water, but now he actually waters them himself.  Watering the plants was part of the weekly routine.  It is definitely nice to be back into a normal routine!IMG_3161 Taken at our team leader’s house.

IMG_3346We have people over each Advent Sunday.  Just a few minutes after Gary took this picture he showed Ethan how to blow the candles out.  While doing so he caught his dress shirt on fire.  It was one of his nice dress shirts (actually the one in the picture above of the 4 of us), and sadly it was ruined.IMG_3394Melanie, one of my former 2nd grade students from the Christian school in Boone, came to visit for 5 days.  I haven’t seen her since 2nd grade because I came to Hungary the following year.  She is a junior in college now and studied at Oxford this semester.  It was strange but fun getting to see her and spend time with her, especially over Christmas.  We had several long nights of interesting conversations.

The rest of the pictures are based around one “outfit” for Sienna that was a hand-me-down from a friend.  Jamie, I still can’t believe that we brought this over, but Sienna looks adorable in it. IMG_3412All buckled up and ready to go!IMG_3438


IMG_3458 Our little Christmas tree cutie!IMG_3470And, once again, Ethan pulls her over.

Friday, December 23, 2011

10 Months Old

Hopefully I can keep up with Sienna’s monthly birthdays now that I’m back.  At least there are just 2 more until she turns one. :-)IMG_3252I included a picture in her 9 month update of her holding her leg up in the air while in her high chair, and I said that she wasn’t doing that much anymore.  Well, she wasn’t doing that exactly, but she does still enjoy putting her right leg up.  And, it always seems to be her right leg that she is holding up or propping against something.  IMG_3288

IMG_3329She isn’t crawling yet, but really wants to.IMG_3375She still doesn’t have any teeth.IMG_3367She likes to pull her socks off, but these tights just won’t come off.IMG_3383She loves Ethan and kicks her feet from excitement when he comes in the room or she hears his voice (especially after waking from a nap).  However, she doesn’t like it when he pulls her over like he often does.

Decorating the Christmas Tree

As much as I love real Christmas trees, it has gotten too expensive to buy one each year.  They are cheaper here than what we’d pay in the US, but we make less than what we would make in the US too. :-)  So, we finally broke down and got a fake tree.  We looked for fake trees here last year or the year before, and just couldn’t find any good fake trees.  For the most part they were pretty dinky.  We borrowed one from a family last year, but didn’t get it decorated before we ended up going back to the States for Lori’s funeral.  While in the States we looked at trees thinking maybe we could buy one after Christmas inexpensively and bring it back, but the boxes were beyond the size limit we could take on the airplane.  So, when we came back to Hungary we asked the family who we borrowed the tree from if we could buy it from them, and they said yes.

It was nice not stressing about getting a tree this year.  I wish we could have put it up earlier than we did, but with not getting back until December it was a lower priority.  I decided this year not to put our really nice, breakable ornaments on the tree because if one broke we wouldn’t be able to replace it.  Ethan has been good about not messing with ornaments, but there is always a first time, there are other children over here, Sienna is getting a little more mobile, and accidents often occur around young children.IMG_3211My mom had an ornament made for Ethan’s first Christmas and one for the 3 of us in 2009. Ethan hung his ornament first and then our family ornament from 2009.   IMG_3220This year Mom gave Sienna one for her first Christmas and gave us one for the 4 of us. IMG_3225IMG_3197Sienna looking cute in her little dress that belonged to a friend in NC.  We actually got two 12-month Christmas dresses from her, and they both fit well enough for Sienna to wear.  Other than “hanging her ornament”  Sienna sat and watched. IMG_3234Gary and I were impressed at how well Ethan did with hanging ornaments.  A lot of them were difficult to get the string open, but he managed.IMG_3240All done!

Monday, December 19, 2011


We went to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving.  My cousin and her family were coming to town the next day, so it was just Mom, Gary, Ethan, Sienna, and me for the meal.  My mom is an excellent cook, so I was glad that she decided to make something (which wasn’t originally going to happen since we were technically planning to celebrate the next day with the rest of the family).IMG_2917  Ethan watching the Macy’s Day Parade--his first parade.  It didn’t last for long before he wanted to be running around outside.IMG_2925Helping Grandma make sweet potato soufflĂ©.IMG_2920He’s just loves to cook.IMG_2970Such a cutie!IMG_2983Sienna’s 1st Thanksgiving meal—turkey, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.  Yum, yum!

After the kids’ naps we went to my aunt and uncle’s house to spend some time with them and one of my cousins.IMG_3019

IMG_3029Ethan was very excited to drive my aunt’s convertible—a new experience for him.

And Sienna was glad to spend time with my uncle.IMG_3039So, the next day we met my aunt, uncle, 2 cousins and their families at a restaurant to eat.  Ethan decided, for the first time ever, to take his pants off while we were in the restaurant.  I was sitting across the table and looking a different direction, so I actually didn’t see it, but someone else at the table said that the men at the table next to him were laughing a lot (which probably just encouraged the behavior).  I’m not sure what got into him, because he’s never done this before.  I do have a friend in Boone who has a daughter about the same age, and she said that her daughter often takes her clothes off in public.IMG_3058Ethan and his cousin (well, my cousin’s daughter) Paige. 

Believe it or not, I took a lot of pictures, and this was probably the best one.  Most of them actually were blurry.  (And the one with Nikki and Josh all had one of the kids blocking half of their face or something where it didn’t turn out so well.)  We had a nice group picture last time we saw them (Thanksgiving 2009).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

American Football

Ethan learned about American football while we were in CO,where it seems that everyone is a die-hard Broncos fan.  (Football in Europe is what Americans call soccer.) He talks about how they wear helmets so they don’t get boo-boos.

While we were in NC a friend noticed that he was talking about football and let him borrow a helmet.  Ethan enjoyed wearing it, and even wore it into a store one day when it was raining to keep his head dry.IMG_2638Ready to play ball!IMG_2639

Ethan Loves to Cook

Ethan loves to “cook”. In doing this he will push a kitchen chair over to a cabinet, reach up and pull some spices down, pull some cans of food down, and sprinkle spices on top of the cans. He also like to put things into the oven. It occupies him a lot, but he does tend to make a big mess with pulling everything out, and especially if he actually uses the spices.IMG_3066He likes to tell me what he’s making. What he makes changes from day to day. He may be making pizza and salad one day (which he doesn’t even eat salad), and he may be making asparagus or peppers the next.IMG_3067He likes for Gary or I to sit at the table to “eat.”

He will bring me one of his plates with “food” on it and then later bring me a bowl and spoon out some more onto the plate. He will often say that it’s hot and that I need to blow on it.Ethan teaching Sienna how to use a steamerEthan teaching Sienna how to use a steamer.IMG_2862He loves to wash dishes too.  Of course, he gets himself pretty wet.IMG_2882One solution to him getting wet—no shirt or pants.

It has been nice for him to be able to do all of this because we have safety locks on our cabinets in Budapest. Also, he hasn’t been able to reach the cabinets in our kitchen even if he has a chair. He has enjoyed playing in one of the cabinets we have in Budapest, but I guess I’ll need to get some pots and pans out when we get back so he can cook some things.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Ethan has really gotten into the pretend thing since we’ve been in the States. He likes to pretend that he is eating fire trucks and all kinds of tractors. He “cooks” almost every day. The funny thing is that I thought that young children could not tell the difference in real and pretend, but he often tells us that he is doing something pretend.IMG_3065I wrote the above part while we were in the States, but this next part has happened since we’ve been back in Hungary.

Gary was going to take Ethan to the posta (Hungarian word for post office) and then to the playground next to it. Ethan looked at me and said, “You can make real supper while I go to the posta and playground.” I guess since he makes “pretend” supper, he was telling me that I could make the real thing.


This is another little short thing without pictures that will probably only be interesting to some family members. :-)

In October Gary asked me if Sienna needed a coat for us to go out to the car, and I said that I thought she would be fine. Gary said, “I’m going to wear what’s it called?” (not thinking of the name of it) and Ethan said, “Fleece.”

In October I blogged about something similar that happened in CA with Ethan saying the word that I was trying to think of.  It’s pretty bad when your 2 year old child has to keep helping his parents complete their sentences. :-)

Going to Church?

This entry was done a while back, but I just never posted it. 

The conversation below started in CA but has continued during the rest of our furlough.  In CA every time we got in the car this was what was said.  Now, it’s not when we get in the car, but when we are getting ready to go somewhere.  It has settled down some since we sometimes get in the car to go to the grocery store.

Ethan:  “Going to church?”

Gary or me:  “No”

Ethan:  “Going to someone’s house?”

Gary or me:  “Yes”

Ethan:  “Toys there?”

(I don’t know how to get this to single space when I hit enter.  Julie, if you’re reading this and there is a way, can you e-mail me and tell me how?)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Visit to Chattanooga

We had a wonderful time seeing people in Chattanooga.  We haven’t been there since we had children.

We don’t have pictures of Calvin and Margaret, with whom we stayed, but we do have pictures of their turkeys.IMG_2793IMG_2796Ethan actually got to play with someone during our time there, which was nice.  He enjoyed the tire swing with Jonathan.  IMG_2806Sienna also enjoyed the swing in the front of the house.IMG_2817We’re excited for Drew and Amy, who will be traveling to the East in a week or two to adopt a little girl.  They’ve been waiting on her for years.

When we got to the Barbers’ house, it wasn’t too long before Ethan noticed some guitars in a bedroom.  And, of course, he knew exactly what kind each guitar was.IMG_2822Katy Beth and Ethan jamming together.

IMG_2831Say “Cheese!”IMG_2834IMG_2839I just love this family!!!  Jim and Tammy were my Sunday School teachers in Boone.  They moved to Chattanooga the same month that I moved to Hungary.  It’s still hard for me to see their “kids” all grown up now.  One of them was missing in this picture due to being at college.  When we left, Gary commented about how Katy Beth and Hamilton hung out with us the whole time we were there.  Most people in high school and college wouldn’t be doing that, especially when they have rarely seen me over the last 13 years.