Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Four Years Old

Ethan turned four in February, and I wrote most of this blog then but am just now getting around to posting it.

Ethan has been so excited about turning 4.  He if often saying that next week he will be in a new Sunday School class (the kids move up from the 2 and 3 year old class to the 4 year old class).

He’s quite the extrovert.  Many of the middle school kids (especially girls) at church know his name and enjoy playing with him.  We have been in a few occasions recently where he was only around Hungarian children, and he had a blast playing with them even though they didn’t speak English. 

DSCN3644He enjoys helping out with things such as defrosting the freezer as you see above, refilling the toilet paper holder, vacuuming the rug, shoveling the snow, raking leaves, hanging laundry on drying racks (or handing it to me to hang), peeling carrots, etc.

DSCN3237There is some kind of order to what you see above. :-)

I’ve had a few people ask me if I’m teaching him at home (regarding school).  I haven’t been purposefully teaching him, but do answer his MANY questions.  Even as I’m working on this blog post he has math questions.  He currently counts past 200 and enjoys looking at the page numbers in “grown-up” books to recognize the numbers.  He often asks how old someone (in our immediate family) will be when another person is a certain age.

He likes knowing the differences in how Europeans and Americans show the numbers 1, 2, and 3 with their fingers. (I think Europeans do 3 the easier way, so I’m never sure how to answer the question as to why Americans do it the way they do.)

He loves to look at the calendar on our wall and always talks about the days of the week and the date.  When I taught kindergarten and first grade we would say, “yesterday was…”, “today is…”, and “tomorrow will be…” , so I’m often reminded of my teaching days with his calendar questions.  He started counting down to spring 10 days before.  Course, the first day of spring he asked if I would get his “spring clothes” out so he could wear short sleeves.  He knows the seasons and knows what kind of clothes you wear in each season, but doesn’t quite understand that you wear clothes based on the weather rather than just the season.  We’ve been trying to explain to him that in Hungary we still wear winter clothes the beginning of spring.

DSCN3481I have my dad’s helmets and gear from when he flew in the Marines.  Ethan has two helmets and a picture of my dad flying in his room.  Here he is sporting one of the helmets.

DSCN3531My mom made this quilt and pillow case and brought over for his bed when she came in January.  She helped put the bed together too.  Before, we only had a blanket-type bedspread that my cousin had given me for a crib/toddler bed.  Sienna will get that now, and it will be nice for Ethan to stay under the covers (since they are bigger and will stay in place). 

He is very animated, which makes us laugh A LOT!  He has a great sense of humor and likes knock-knock jokes.

When we are out he is protective of Sienna when it comes to her getting too close to things such as escalators, metro or train tracks.  He always puts his arms around her or his arm out if he thinks she is getting too close.  Course, she doesn’t like him “hindering” her from going where she wants. 

DSCN3801 Ethan “reading” a Bible story book to Sienna.

I’m constantly amazed at what he is able to do, comprehend and how quickly he grows and matures.  I’ve never experienced another young child with so many questions, and it is fun to see him soak in so much information this way.  I have looked back at some of my notes from a graduate class on learning styles, and have looked back over a book by Cynthia Tobias.  It has been neat to read the book from the perspective of a parent instead of a teacher, to learn Ethan’s mind style and how God wired this little boy.

I’m thankful to God for Ethan.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two Years Old

Sienna turned two in February, and I just find it so hard to believe.  The time has gone by so quickly (more quickly with her than during Ethan’s first two years). 

DSCN2945  Sienna enjoys people, but is much more introverted than Ethan.  It’s still hard to tell if she is an introvert or extrovert because she is not extremely either way (unlike her brother, who is an off the chart extrovert!).   

DSCN3319She typically eats a lot of food.  Sometimes she eats more than her brother (which is amazing!).  Her breakfast sometimes consists of cooked oatmeal, home-made granola, eggs and Canadian bacon and sometimes a banana. And, she is ready for a snack soon afterward!  She asks for frozen peas all of the time (she likes them frozen, cold, or heated).  She still has not had chocolate or sweets. 

We’ve actually been more strict with what she eats than Ethan (though, he still doesn’t get chocolate or sweets either).  By this age he had been given fruit yogurts and juice mixed with water.  She hasn’t had juice yet and has only had plain yogurt with fresh fruits.

  DSCN3624We typically need to wash her face after each meal, but it’s usually not as messy as in this picture above.

DSCN2652She likes being a “helper”.

DSCN2108She puts everything in her mouth, but probably enjoys putting her thumb in her mouth the most.  She puts her index finger from her other hand to her mouth (as if to hold the thumb there) like in the picture above.

chasing Ethan or being chased by EthanShe loves chasing Ethan and playing Hide ‘N Seek. She enjoys counting the most during Hide ‘N Seek.

She is often concerned about Ethan having a turn too, so many times after she does something once she will say, “Ethan’s turn”.

She loves nursery rhymes (reading them as well as saying them) and the song Jesus Loves Me.

When we are looking for something, she always says it’s hiding.  She actually hasn’t done this in the last month or two, but it was humorous while it lasted.

If she asks for more milk she uses two syllables for “milk” (wonder where she got that from… though, I really don’t use two syllables for “milk”… I can’t say that for some other words that are only supposed to be one syllable, but I don’t say milk that way).

It’s amazing to see all of the things that she has learned from Ethan such as the ABCs and counting.  She wants to do whatever he is doing.

DSCN3373She is such a gift from God, and we are so thankful for her!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Monday Excursion

Easter Monday is a holiday in Hungary, so we decided to go to a small village that is two hours away that has an Easter festival each year.  Holloko is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.DSCN4059 We had to park on the side of the road, 200 meters from the turnoff to go to the village (which was another 2 kilometers away)—about a mile and a half from the village.

DSCN4007This is a large, edible cookie that says Holloko Easter.

DSCN4014Many countries in Eastern Europe are known for making eggs.  There are a number of different types that are common in Hungary.  Here are just a few that were being sold at kiosks.DSCN4018DSCN4048While most sellers are young people just selling a product at kiosks, there were also some older women in front of their houses selling things they have made.

DSCN4027 We were thankful for a sunny day!  The old town, where the festival takes place, is all cobblestoned and has a small castle (more like a fortress).  The town’s population is 387.

DSCN3868Traditional dressDSCN3908And the traditional custom at Easter is for the boys to throw water on the girls.  The modernized version is to put perfume on their heads.  I actually had a Hungarian student do this to me when I was the elementary principal at ICSB. DSCN3874DSCN3875And, as you see… they actually threw the buckets of water!

DSCN4034Some of the old houses are now small museums such as this one which showed egg painting.

 DSCN3972This swing was the highlight for Ethan and Sienna.DSCN3945They did it twice and would have done it more had we stayed around.   DSCN3950

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Resurrection Day

I hope everyone reading this had a great Resurrection Day!  Honestly, I had a difficult time focusing on Easter this year due to it being in March and us still getting snow three days before.  I’m just not used to having snow around when my mind is focusing on the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  I’m a visual person, and though snow is a great metaphor for how Jesus cleanses us from sin, I am used to seeing the daffodils, tulips, and forsythia blooming around Easter which reminds me of the new life we have through the death of Jesus.  This year all of these plants and bushes were snow covered until the afternoon and night before Easter (and even when the snow melted none of them had bloomed yet due to all of the snow and cold weather we’ve had recently).

We invited two American families and one Hungarian family over for dinner.  There were 10 kids (with the oldest being in kindergarten).DSCN3829I forgot to take a picture before our plates were empty.  We had wonderful food that everyone made:  ham, chicken and leek quiche, sweet potato casserole, green beans, mashed potatoes, spinach salad with strawberries, braised carrots, deviled eggs, rolls, and two desserts.DSCN3823The younger kid tables—amazing!  They are all looking at the camera!

DSCN3845The snow just melted the night before, and it rained most of the day, so the kids looked for eggs inside the house.  Michelle had some Christian Easter stickers that she put inside the plastic eggs, which was a hit for my kids.

My mom sent us some plastic eggs with little things such as leather, thorns, a home-made wooden cross, etc. for us to make Resurrection Eggs.  After Easter Gary went through all of the Resurrection Eggs to tell the Story.DSCN4106The kids eagerly looking on the couch to see what is in the next egg.DSCN4102Afterward, the kids wanted to go through all of them again.