Music Play

***Note to anyone who comes by here to listen to the music ...You will now have to scroll down to the player on the right side and press play yourself. This is to accommodate those who only come to read and are distracted by the music;}

Sunday, September 2, 2012

First Days and Weeks in Budapest…

Our friends, Jen & Ryan and their three boys Ben, Drew & Cade hosted us for almost 3 weeks when we first arrived here.  We are forever grateful to them!

Playing the Wii was a favorite while we were there {We may ask for this as a family for Christmas…we’ll seeSmile}

First set in Budapest 001

We found the Hungarian-English Bi-lingual school that the kids will be going to through this family.  Cade will be there for his second year this year and JJ & Susie are excited to be at school with him!!

First set in Budapest 004First set in Budapest 009

I think she’s Wii bowling or just being goofyWinking smile

First set in Budapest 010

The very first thing we did on our bed after it was set up was to let the kids jump on it!  Our dear buddy Jasper who moved to East Asia one month after we got here got to enjoy this inaugural jumping with the kids.  In the process he taught JJ & Susie how to count to three in Hungarian!  Great fun all around!!!

First set in Budapest 013First set in Budapest 014

{Later that day Jared and I had the best sleep we’d had in a year collapsing on our long lost bedSmile}

First set in Budapest 017

We take walks around our neighborhood in this Radio Flyer wagon.  And it creates quite the stir…there is nothing like it sold here.  We are always asked where we got it which immediately tells everyone that we are Americans.

In the background is a uniquely shaped Catholic church that you can see from far away.

First set in Budapest 019First set in Budapest 024

First set in Budapest 023Jared has been getting ready for the baby by holding our friends’ Dave and Rivers’ son, Jackson.  He hasn’t lost his touchWinking smile

First set in Budapest 025

JJ, Susie & Jasper jumpin’ on the bed, Round #2!!!

First set in Budapest 033First set in Budapest 031

Jasper & Family :: If you see this, we love you and miss you!  We think of you a lot and can’t wait till we can jump on the bed with you again!!!!

First set in Budapest 046

This was my first batch of chocolate chip cookies made in our home in Hungary!  They are usually chocolate chunk cookies since you can’t get chocolate chips here and you break up chocolate bars to make the cookies.  I am really happy that my Pampered Chef chopper works well to do thatSmile

First set in Budapest 055First set in Budapest 056

Our flat is in a building of four flats and there are three more buildings like ours.  There is a common courtyard with this sandbox.  The kids love to play thereSmile

First set in Budapest 059

First set in Budapest 060

This is the view of one of the other buildings {the cream-colored one} that is like our flat building.

First set in Budapest 061

There is a slide that goes down into the sandbox which, of course, the kids love!!

First set in Budapest 064

Our neighborhood is located on the outskirts of the city of Budapest and is called ‘Gazdagret’.  It is in a beautiful part of the city that is built among the Buda hills { Buda is the side of the city to the west of the Danube river}.

First set in Budapest 069

Cherry trees are big here and they were in season about 2 weeks after we got here.  There is a big one in the courtyard area and therefore a ready snack while playing!

First set in Budapest 071

What can I say?  She’s quite the characterWinking smile

First set in Budapest 074

In action!!

First set in Budapest 081

She’s our little artist!

First set in Budapest 090

Jared has been taking the opportunity to do some cooking.  This was a bread pudding that he looked up and made himself.  He’s already stellar with {usually} late night omelets for his preggo wife.  He’s so patient that I have no doubt he has amazing potential and can give me a run for my money!!

First set in Budapest 093

They REALLY DO love each otherSmile

First set in Budapest 095

And she REALLY is crazyWinking smile

First set in Budapest 097


Friday, February 3, 2012

Growing up IN BETWEEN…ALL I want to hold tight & remember

So, I’ve been thinking about this lately as I watch my children grow before my eyes and as their Florida babysitters & friends shed tears when they see how much bigger they are since we left there which is closer to a year than I can believe.

And I get misty-eyed thinking of how in their little lives so much, especially for Susie, has been lived in transition.  As I try to not go crazy in the waiting and lack of definition, they are growing & changing and I can’t help but think I’m missing so much.  All I know is that we’ve been in the reality of this in-between closing in on two years and Susie is not too much older, and I WANT TO REMEMBER more from these days than just that we were ‘in-between’ so, I dedicate this post to that…

I only have a few scattered pictures from these months and I’ll use them to remember ALL I can about our little loves in these days.

And I’m treasuring up in my heart and trusting that Helen Keller is speaking truth {in the plate picture below}, whether we experience the ‘part of us’ in our days here of these priceless little ones when the sight is by glass dimly OR it is a ‘part of us’ in the forever restoration when we see face-to-face.

Gossamer Sunset, & Life! 010

All of the home shots are from the missionary house that we have been living in since the beginning of October…now four months!

This is JJ’s room AND the family room. 

As you can see we have TWO jumping beans! 

The bed to the right is ‘Susie’s bed’ and on it she draws with crayons {one of her favorite things}, has tea parties, plays her leapster2 and sometimes eats snacks, lunch and treats.  We believe in the power of wipes and dust busters for the spills and crumbs are certain.

But more than anything, Susie loves to jump on this bed!  It was on this bed that she first learned to jumped defined by lifting her two feet a measurable distance off the ground for a series of repeated motions.

JJ also loves this bed.  It’s a good jumping bed because it’s the older kind with the traditional springs. JJ loves to jump from his bed {the middle one and where he sleeps very well!} and to this bed and back and forth. I told him to be careful not to fall and he said, ‘oh, I never fall.’ And I said ‘ok, Mr. Jumper’sunset, souderton parade, around the house 001

To the left of JJ is the Dora kitchen that my sister-in-law and I found at a ‘Mommy Market’ which also supplied some winter clothes for the kids. {none of us had winter clothes as we packed them to ship overseas because we believed we would DEFINITELY be there by now}

Anyhow, the Dora kitchen was a $5 steal and we are keeping it for my niece who will use it in the future.  It’s like most of the toys that we are borrowing or picked up second hand and will be given away when we move.

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 004

This is the view out the window of this room.  There is a nice back yard with a fence and a pond behind it.  Many geese gather at that pond and Susie loves to watch them.  Also, the kids love to play in that backyard and can even play at night, which is their favorite, as there’s a great spotlight that shines on the yard.

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 007

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 009sunset, souderton parade, around the house 012sunset, souderton parade, around the house 014sunset, souderton parade, around the house 015

Another thing that has been wonderful about this in-between and its extension, is that the JJ and Susie have gotten to spend so much time with their cousins {pictured below}.  There is a sheer joy in their being together that has shone whenever any of the four greet each other after a time apart.

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 131

We are having to make it clear to JJ that his ‘best buddy’ James is not moving to Hungary. In his heart he wants it so much that I think he thinks he really is.:(

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 134

In the fall they had a great time with their cousins and MiMi and PopPop at the local parade.

For both JJ and Susie, there is no one that they feel safer and happier with than their MiMi and PopPop.

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 139sunset, souderton parade, around the house 140sunset, souderton parade, around the house 141

Susie’s personality seems to have just gotten brighter and brighter.  For having spent most of her life away from PA previous to last August, it has seemed like the perfect environment for her colors to shine!

She is high-spirited and makes everyone laugh.  She seems to have a sensor for when she has an audience and kicks it into high gear.  I always say she has her namesake, my Mom’s sharp wit AND the silly fun-loving humor of her MiMi. 

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 144sunset, souderton parade, around the house 149sunset, souderton parade, around the house 150

JJ looks so grown up especially in the picture below to the left.  He also looks a lot like my dad who we have seen the resemblance to since he was a baby.  Although I feel like I’ve gotten through the ‘losing baby fat’ stage and embracing this little boy, I’m sure the big steps ahead will test the trust in this Mama’s heart.  It helps that JJ  continues to be so loving and cuddly and always has hugs and kisses for us.

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 151sunset, souderton parade, around the house 153sunset, souderton parade, around the house 154

And his favorite things still revolve around construction vehicles, tractors, cars and trains.  He hasn’t shown too much interest in superheroes {yet}.  I am glad for the wonder of the locomotive and automotive world as he will have one GIANT playground for all of that living in the BIG CITY overseas.

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 157

Susie loves to hold special things like this flag below.  In fact, she will have no greater meltdown than if said thing she is loving to hold is taken away from her.  Especially bags of food.  Like pretzels or chips or any other snack thing.  More than loving to eat the snack, she loves to hold the bag.  Beyond everything she is very decisive and knows what she wants!

sunset, souderton parade, around the house 159sunset, souderton parade, around the house 160sunset, souderton parade, around the house 165sunset, souderton parade, around the house 170

These months of ‘in-between’ have also provided fun hang out times with cousins on my side who, though they live further, are still very special to us.

more beauty...clouds&sunsets 015

We watched my twin sister’s kids in early December for a couple of days.  Susie took to her cousin Layna like a fly to a swamp;} Layna has a princess castle bed which was a favorite hang out for her.  Susie loves little closets and secret coves to nestle inside. She also loves playing house but I haven’t gotten her too into ‘dress up’ yet though she is much more picky about what she will wear than JJ;}

more beauty...clouds&sunsets 028

And OF COURSE she loves to have her fingernails and toenails painted and we had a very fun painting party with her cousin!  And for Mama me there’s something about taking little toes in my hands and putting just a teeny tiny bit of paint on each, because that’s all you need, and seeing that little face of wonder at the ‘pretty’ that just makes me so happy:}

more beauty...clouds&sunsets 030

Cheesy smiles…Susie is very good at those {like her mama;}

more beauty...clouds&sunsets 031

THIS is Susie…Princess

more beauty...clouds&sunsets 033

I don’t know how long it will be the case for him, but JJ absolutely loves his blankieSmile Blankie has taken on a life of its own.  Perhaps we have our own little Linus?  We have weaned from the situations in which he can have good ole B, but the truth is there’s a kind of permanency with Blankie that has not existed for JJ with just about anything else.  Blankie has been his companion through the nights of sleeping in too many different places to count and settling into new in-between homes.  All the while his little heart comprehending pretty deeply all of this change.  There was one day when he probably went about 12 hours without having Blankie with him and it was a most delighted reunion at the end of that daySmile

more beauty...clouds&sunsets 036

We would say JJ does not like change…cautious at new things and craving the comfortable and cherished.  Sounds a lot like most of us.  But we also see how this transition, the constant need to adapt to new people and new situations is growing him at a young age.  He is quick to warm up to new friends and engage them in conversation.  When he started his preschool in October a month late and the youngest in the class, although nervous at first, he won everyone over quickly and soon had many playdate requestsWinking smile

When I pray for him at night by his bed, I pray that the LORD would assure him of His presence with him always.  And in the too-many-to-count changes to come as he adjusts to life in a new country, I believe that the LORD not only called his parents to this journey but also him {and Susie}.  And in the midst of it He will write their story and grow and change them and weave His work deep within them…even though there may be a good deal of pain and insecurity and hurt to face as a third culture kid.more beauty...clouds&sunsets 038

And Susie, this is what she wanted to wear to play and draw and be a happy little girl this day…her pink snow boots and Dora nightgown.  We have learned a whole new meaning to ‘pick your battles’ than what we learned with her brother.  It has been good although, as all worthwhile journeys, trying us too.

As with her brother I pray that the LORD will harness her passion and zest for life and use it for His Kingdom.  I could see her being a missionary in the bush or jungle and I’m praying every day for a heart to encourage her in her passions and dreams as far-reaching as they may go and the letting go I will have to do in the process.

Gossamer Sunset, & Life! 001Gossamer Sunset, & Life! 002Gossamer Sunset, & Life! 003

Cereal and sticking up hair and love to make the world go ‘round…wherever we are, that’s what breakfasts are made for!

Gossamer Sunset, & Life! 005

And Susie absolutely has a flair for music.  Ever since she could say anything, which was early, she has been learning songs to sing along.  When we were sharing at a church before Christmas, her Sunday School teachers asked if we could bring her back the next weeks so that she could sing at their kids’ Christmas program.  She learned and sang all of the songs and was the star in the class even though the others had been learning the songs many weeks!

Gossamer Sunset, & Life! 006Gossamer Sunset, & Life! 007Gossamer Sunset, & Life! 008

This is the dining room area at the house where we’re staying.  JJ wanted to bring all of his CARS movies trucks & cars down to play on.  Normally he plays on a card table in his room, but today playing was for THIS table.  And Susie, who ADORES her big brother, was very happy to have cars and play alongside of him as she often is.  It is true that she plays more regularly with cars, trucks and trains than with dolls.  Sometimes I feel bad about that, but I don’t think she doesSmile

Playing cars at the table 001

OF COURSE, Susie’s favorite is the shiny purple Holly Shiftwell.  But she definitely likes the bad boys too like Chick Hicks and the professor from Cars 2.  We hope she doesn’t carry that preference too far or too longWinking smile

Playing cars at the table 004

I LOVE this guy so much! and tell him every chance I can with a hug and a kissSmile There are already some signs that I will need to be more discreet as he gets older BUT for now, that isn’t the case and so I will shamelessly keep on doing what my Mama heart is bursting to do!

Playing cars at the table 006 (640x474)

When his face lights up my heart melts! 

Sometimes {and for a while now} I will catch a glimpse of him as a teenager and not only will he be dreamy but way too charming to keep any girl’s heart safe from falling in love with him…in my honest, unbiased opinion.  His Daddy is a very good intentional teacher so by this example and God’s grace I think he will be very respectfulSmileand decline them all until he is at least 25Winking smile

Playing cars at the table 008

And THIS is my girl, my helper in the kitchen.  JJ was much less interested in what I did in the kitchen so it has been really fun to see Susie take an interest so early.  It’s really fun to have her pull up a chair to help wash dishes or, in this case, to help me make our family favorite ‘Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake’.  She was a great ‘smasher’ of the brown sugar, ‘cracker’ of the eggs, ‘stirrer’ of the crumb mixture and ‘spreader’ of the chocolate chips!  She barely ate any, so proud of her work putting them on the cake!


This is her ‘mmmmmm good!’ face.

I look forward to many more fun times for us in the kitchen.  These are some of my best memories with my mom.  I was interested early on in whatever she was making and how I could do it too and make things just as good as her:)  Though now I don’t know how I thought that possible because NO ONE can make anything as good as my mama didSmile

003 (2) - Copy

Fun little extras:

JJ: Sometimes he says things in the cutest, most unique way.  Like Garbage truck was ‘buddage truck’ for the longest time and there was an ‘in’ before the ‘ing’ in any word like ‘jump-in-ing’ and ‘sing-in-ing’.  While most of that has stopped he still pulls out some fun JJ~isms.  Like after he got his leapster2 for Christmas {great for travel and not big to pack;} he asked for his ‘hamster’ to play with. It was so funny!!!

Susie: When she was a baby, the first animal sound she learned was the ‘roar’ of the lion! She still shows a special interest in the more wild animals.  She loves to say any of the names even the longer ones, pulling out a very impressive version of ‘hippopotamus’ and always making me laugh with her ‘rhinosserusus’ or something like it.  People often remark on how articulate she is! It’s definitely a part of what makes her unique and she will always surprise us at the words she knows and answers she gives to questions!