Friday, November 30, 2012


The American missionaries here celebrate Thanksgiving.  Though we celebrate the holiday, there are certain things that are different because of living overseas.  The main one is that you can’t go to the grocery store to buy a turkey.  But we can order one from the butcher in our village.  He has gotten used to the Americans here coming and ordering turkeys from him this time of the year.  A Hungarian friend said that the butcher told her that he sold 40-some turkeys last year for Thanksgiving.  A long time ago, you would have picked up your turkey with the neck still attached.  When we picked ours up, the neck was cut off and placed inside the turkey, and the giblets and insides had all been taken out.

One interesting thing about getting the turkey was that we didn’t get to decide what size turkey we wanted.  The butcher just said that it would be between 6 and 9 kilograms (13-20 pounds).  He also didn’t tell us how much it would cost.  When Gary went to pick it up, he asked for the smallest turkey he had, and the butcher gave him an 18 pound turkey!  The price was shocking too.

DSCN1676We were glad to have the Custer family join us for Thanksgiving this year. 

Kim and her first turkey!My 1st turkey

Some of you may be wondering how I could have gone this long without cooking a turkey.  Before Gary and I got married, we would always be invited to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving. Since we’ve been married, we’ve only been in Hungary for 2 Thanksgivings (this was our 3rd) due to being gone for furloughs and recruiting trips that were over Thanksgiving.

everything from scratchI’m not a huge fan of the traditional Thanksgiving food (LOTS of starches), but the food was good.  Michelle and I spent a long time cooking since everything has to be done from scratch.  She even made the onions from scratch that go on the green bean casserole. 

CIMG0854Gary read a Thanksgiving book to the kids. 

CIMG0857After the book they drew hand turkeys.

It’s fun being able to do more things in regards to holidays as the kids are getting older.  I’m eager to see what all Ethan is able to understand with Advent this year.

There are soooo many things to be thankful to God for.  I’m not even going to begin to write them on this blog or I will be writing for a very long time!

Pumpkin Pics

I thought it would be fun to compare some pictures of Ethan at 20 months and Sienna at 20 months.  Since they have the same birthday it is fun to look at pictures of them wearing the same coat at the exact same age.

 DSCN0913  Above is Sienna at 20 months, and below is Ethan at 20 months (from two years ago).  Notice how much bigger the coat is on her than on him.IMG_6601

DSCN0751Here is another picture of Sienna from this fall.

DSCN0762Here are a few pictures of Ethan from this fall.  DSCN0890

DSCN0954And here they are together

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Sienna dropped her morning nap the week before Gary went to Russia.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to do a “special” outing with Daddy gone and us having the time to go somewhere.  So we went to the Tropicarium (which is only a 10-minute drive away).  The Custers joined us, which made it much more fun for the kids and for me!

DSCN1277Watching the sting rays   

DSCN1260Ethan really enjoyed the “rain forest” and especially the waterfall.

DSCN1294I think Michelle’s favorite part was this little area that had a black light.  Very cool!  And, everyone was appropriately dressed for the photo except Ethan, who was wearing a dark shirt.

DSCN1320This tunnel was my favorite part.  I think Ethan and William liked it a lot too.DSCN1322There were several different kinds of sharks in the tank.

DSCN1346On the other side of the tank there was a sitting area where everyone sat and watched the sharks and rays swim around. 

DSCN1357Sienna liked all of the pretty colors.

DSCN1366The kids could climb into this little thing that went inside one of the smaller tanks that had sting rays.

DSCN1384 The guinea pigs were a hit with the kids. 

DSCN1397Face-to-face encounter

DSCN1409I guess he is making an alligator face.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Update on Ethan

Since I gave an “update” so-to-speak on Sienna I thought I would also share some things that Ethan has been up to.

DSCN1015I mentioned that Sienna has dropped her morning nap.  Ethan has mostly dropped his afternoon nap.  He still has a quiet time in his room and sometimes will fall asleep during that time.  One day he asked if he could read his Bible downstairs while we both had our quiet time.  As you see, he fell asleep while “reading".

DSCN1201Ethan enjoys showing Sienna books and telling her what is in them. 

DSCN1481Ethan is very social, like his mom, but chose to look at this motorcycle/race car magazine during a birthday party instead of jumping around the room with the other kids.  This was very unusual for him.  We don’t have any books about race cars or motorcycles, so maybe that is why he was so interested.

DSCN1533Ethan was playing outside one day while Gary was in Russia earlier this month.  I heard this strange noise and realized that he was moving this green trash can (that is for leaves, branches, etc.) to the other side of the house.  He then spent quite a while putting leaves in the can.  Later in the week, before Gary returned, we all spent time outside raking leaves and putting them in the green trash can.  I kept thinking how great this was that Ethan WANTED to do this type of thing (and doesn’t know anything about receiving money for it like with an allowance).  That will probably change when he’s older.  DSCN1534

Ethan is VERY curious about EVERYTHING.  I thought it was normal for him to ask so many questions until we had dinner with a family who has 7 children.  She home schools and asked me if he was always so inquisitive.  That was when I realized that all kids weren’t this way.

He is very good with remembering names of people and often recognizes what car belongs to whom.  We can pull up in the parking lot where we go to church, and Ethan can say, “There is so-and-so’s car.”  He is good at connecting one piece of information with another.

DSCN1708He likes instruments, especially the guitar.  He would probably like the piano more if we actually had one.

It has been interesting for me to look back at some notes from graduate school concerning mind styles, etc. and be able to look at the styles with my own child (rather than a student).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

21 Months

I haven’t given an update on Sienna since she turned 18 months.  It seems that she is changing and growing so much every week, so I thought I’d go ahead and give one for the family members who haven’t been here visiting. :-)

DSCN0195My aunt and uncle sent this panda bear pillow over for Ethan.  He slept with it for a long time and enjoyed it, but Sienna loves it more than him now.  She often just throws herself down on the pillow when it’s lying somewhere.  Then she just lies there with a big smile on her face and sometimes giggles. DSCN0602 DSCN1246 She and Ethan are playing more and more together.  She enjoys dolls, but still likes to play with Ethan’s cars.   DSCN1069Ethan covered Sienna with books and toys in this picture above, but as you see she doesn’t mind.  She just sat there and started looking at the books that he put around her. DSCN1079DSCN0734She loves being outside.

She enjoys coloring (Ethan has just started getting into it during the last 3 or 4 months).

Her favorite food seems to be peas.  She eats them hot or cold, and can’t have enough of them.

She is talking a lot more.  She says new words all the time now.  She is saying several two-word phrases, and she is still doing some sign language for words.  She often does the sign and says the word at the same time.

DSCN1225She still loves to “read” and can sit and look at books for quite a while.DSCN1238

We dropped her morning nap a few weeks ago.  I dreaded that with Ethan but was told that you can’t wait when it’s your 2nd.  I found that to be mostly true.  I often used her morning nap time to exercise, so that is the one negative about dropping it.  But, otherwise, I’m very glad for it to be gone!  I feel like I have so much more freedom to go somewhere or even go out for a walk or whatever.  I think the kids inherited having long breakfasts from Gary, so by the time they finished eating, I got them dressed, teeth brushed, etc. it would almost be her nap time.

DSCN1046Sienna enjoys climbing up on the bench in Ethan’s room and looking out the window.  She is finally tall enough to climb up onto the kitchen chairs, and she has started trying to walk up the stairs while holding the railing instead of crawling (our stairs are quite tall, so little legs can’t walk up them very well).

My mom made this dress (above) and gave Sienna these cute, purple boot slippers.  Sienna loves the purple boot slippers.  I’m not sure if it’s because they are purple (her favorite color) or because they are furry little boot-type things.

DSCN1244This dress (above) was mine when I was a little girl.  My dad was a pilot and brought it back from some place in Asia (I think).  It’s been exciting to see Sienna finally fit in it.  I wish that I had a picture of me in it that I could put next to Sienna in it.

She lets us know when she has a poopy diaper—a couple of times she has told me before she needs to poop.  I’ve thought about just sitting her on the little potty to see if she will use it when she lets me know ahead of time.

DSCN0329For as long as we can remember Sienna has loved being held upside down.  So much that I asked the doctor at her 18-month check-up if it was a problem.  She often walks over to Gary or me and bends over putting her head to the ground and her bottom in the air wanting us to pick her up, flipping her legs over our shoulders where the front of her hangs upside down over our chest.  When she sits on our lap, sometimes she just lies back to where she is hanging off of our legs upside down.  I’ve never seen a child who wants to be upside down so much.  She is very limber, so maybe she’ll end up being an acrobat in the circus or something. :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Buda Hills Hike

We had a long weekend near the end of October due to a holiday, so we took advantage of the last of the nice weather we had this fall.

DSCN0817We went on a trail that went in a circle.  The first part was fairly steep and not very exciting.  When we got to the top of the trail there was an overlook tower.  The Beattys met us there, at the top. 


The 2nd half of the loop was much more interesting with things like this little bridge  DSCN0825

and this door that went into the side of the hill  DSCN0835

and one of the best things… this tree that was across the trail.DSCN0836

DSCN0842“Look how strong we are!”

DSCN0858Ethan and Evan were walking along behind everyone else and actually having a conversation with each other.

DSCN0863Time to catch up with everyone else!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Training Wheels

We bought a bike with training wheels from a family who is moving back to the States.  The training wheels were actually lop-sided where one wheel never touched the ground until Gary’s dad fixed it when he was here.

IMG_6727Gary giving Ethan a few pointers the first day he rode it.  As you see, this was with the wheels lop-sided, so the bike always leaned a bit to the left. 

IMG_6731Ethan getting the hang of it, and Sienna loving the opportunity to go for a walk rather than be in the stroller.

DSCN0965Ah, yes—both training wheels are on the ground! 

IMG_7397We had some beautiful Saturdays in October and took advantage of them.  This was the first time that we went for a bike ride with 3 of us on bikes. 


IMG_7407Family photo op

IMG_7409I love this picture of Gary and Ethan riding beside each other.