So, for the moment, to keep things simple, we’re uploading photos/videos of Eliza to Facebook. If you haven’t already been over there, take a look here:
Of course you have to be a friend to see stuff, so friend-away!
Here’s a sneak preview of our lovely new daughter.
-Born at 1:19am, UTC+2
So, I have a lot of time on my hands these days–hands that will soon be holding our beautiful baby boy or girl and may forget about the existence of time for awhile. But for now, I wait. I read all about “natural childbirth,” how to have the happiest baby on the block, how not to irrevocably screw up this kid even though I know it’s inevitable… And I read a lot of blogs. I have my favorites, one of which I found because my friend Lauren pointed me to an amazing weekly photo series by a guy named Ryan that shows his beautiful wife through her 40 weeks of pregnancy. Ryan is a wonderful writer, so I have continued to read his blog even now that his daughter has come into the world and there are no more cute belly photos.
This week Ryan is hosting a give-away for a supply of cloth diapers from FuzziBunz to a deserving set of new parents (hey! we’re pretty deserving, right??). Chris and I had already decided months ago that we want to use cloth diapers but knew that it might take us months to build up a supply because of the higher initial costs of buying cloth. So I just about jumped out of my seat–if I could actually manage such a miraculous feat at my current stage of hugeness–when I saw that he was offering a whole set. FuzziBunz seems like a great brand, so I have no problem plugging their product into my blog on the off-chance that we get an entire supply for free.
I would like to point out that I have never won anything in my life. OK, I take that back. I once won a box of doughnuts at a church function when I was 16, but I don’t know how much that counts, considering there are only so many doughnuts one person can eat in a sitting. Winning one doughnut would have been just as thrilling as the whole box. So wish us luck! It would be great fun to win something a little more useful than an extra two pounds on my rear end.
We are excited to announce that we will be participating in an experimental program that places mothers and babies in the precise, yet caring hands of baby delivery robots. These highly skilled Japanese robots, working closely with our doula, will make the baby’s transition into our world as comfortable as humanly possible. While Dr. 19x has less experience with autonomous operation during human birth, doctors 445x and 887x more than make up for it. We are grateful for their assistance!
According to the central computer, we have 7 days, 0 hours, 29 minutes and 15 seconds until birth. It’s coming right up!
In celebration of the 1009th birthday of Hungary, the current king of Hungary invited Redbull to organize an air-show and race. Here is our experience watching the race on the internet and from the balcony at the same time. Here is a clip showing American Michael Goulian, today’s champion, in a preliminary race.
Here are a few other photos from the day’s events.
Hello friendly readers. I’m Christopher, Laura’s loyal husband and proud father of her soon-to-be-born child.
In the coming weeks as things heat up around here, I will be posting some of my own thoughts and media-rich documentary installments while Laura is otherwise occupied with tasks such as birthing, nursing and sleeping. That’s not to say I will be speaking for Laura — to do so would be daft. Rather, my contributions will specifically target the vast untapped male market segment needed to bolster the already vast quantities of Google advertising dollars generated by this website. While baby does not yet need new a new pair of shoes, baby soon will.
My first installment is a little video documenting our first trip out to the hospital where we plan to deliver our baby. Funny thing — this 5-star-hotel-like hospital is out in the middle of nowhere. Of course, on game-day, we will take a cab. We’ve got that much figured out. But on this little exploratory adventure we decided to take the bus. Of course, we missed the stop and had to traipse through a very unfamiliar neighborhood in search of the hospital, but we eventually arrived. All in all, the trip took about 5 hours.
I am also including some images of Telki Hospital. These images are included for your personal enjoyment and to allay any concerns that you might have about the quality of maternity care in Budapest, Hungary. Rest assured we will be in good hands (and individually swaddled in 1500 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets).
When I started this blog about ten months ago I made the decision to keep it focused mostly on our adventures here in Budapest and only share personal feelings on a surface level. Chris, mostly for the better, has been my personal Internet Regulator, reminding me of how anything I write on the World Wide Cobweb could be used against me in a court of law. Or by my grandchildren, who would one day have a treasure trove of examples as to why they need to send Grandma down to that “nice home” in Missouri. So, for those reminders, I am eternally grateful to him.
Two weeks ago one of my oldest and dearest friends, Sarah, came to visit us here in BP. She dropped by after fabulous stays in Paris and Amsterdam, the top two cities on my list of cities I want to visit and STILL haven’t, even though I am literally a cheap, two-hour plane ride away. And for beating me to the punch, I will from this day forward hold a grudge against her. Which now I have to drop, because how can I hold a grudge against someone who LEFT Amsterdam to come visit her slow, large-bellied friend living in a strange Hungarian city? Dear Sarah, you are a saint.
The poor girl also happened to come visit us on four of the hottest days we’ve had here. And yet she happily followed me, her snail-paced tour guide, around the city as I showed her the sights and the sites in the crazy heat. First stop was the Castle District, full of castle ruins, Gothic churches, fountains with naked-people-statues, and amusing drunk musicians playing for money on every corner.
These guys were the most entertaining, for sure. We sat down on the steps for a rest and a listen after dutifully throwing a few coins into the violin case. Violin Guy asked us, “Where you from?” and when we replied the U.S. he exclaimed, “Aahh!” and the two of them promptly broke out into the worst version I have ever heard of “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof. It was so bad it was beautiful. My question, however, is this: why was Fiddler on the Roof the first thing he thought of when he heard the U.S.? Wasn’t that play about a Jewish family in Russia? If I knew any more that Toddler Hungarian I would go back and suggest he learn something like “God Bless the USA” or anything by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
We seriously ate ice cream every day that Sarah was here. Okay, truth: Sarah ate ice cream every day she was here visiting me. I have been eating ice cream every day since the start of my third trimester.
We also went to the thermal baths, walked down the famous Vaci and Andrassy streets, saw the heroes at Heroes’ Square, toured the House of Terror Museum, had our photo taken on Freedom Bridge by a guy who had apparently never used a camera before, and ate more ice cream.
The last night Sarah was here, we went a club called Szimpla. There are these crazy bars here in Budapest that started out as basically squatter joints run out of old, abandoned buildings. They are hopefully up to code at this point, but there’s really no telling. That’s the excitement and danger of going to them, I guess. You never know when you’ll fall through the floor. And since Sarah was stuck at a bar with a pregnant woman, her funny artist husband and a camera, this was bound to happen: instead of pints of beer, bottles of water. And instead of dancing the night away, stupid photos of us shaking our heads as fast as we could so that our cheeks took flight.
So, Chris and I went to Croatia a couple of weeks ago. Up until I moved to Budapest, I always thought of Croatia as this war-torn dead zone in Eastern Europe. I was so ignorant, I didn’t even know that Croatia was located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. So, when Hungarians started to tell us that their favorite vacation spots were in Croatia, I thought, “Whoa, I know that Hungarians are a somber lot, but really? Do they just huddle in the fetal position in bombed out buildings, letting the rain mix with their tears?”
I have since been duly corrected. Croatia is what travel books like to call a ‘hidden gem’. It’s this crazy mix of Greece, Italy, and Eastern Block-ness and it is beautiful. After our busy trip back to the U.S. in late June, Chris and I needed a “real” vacation, so we borrowed a friend’s car and in seven hours found ourselves in paradise.
First stop was Split, where we then hopped on a car ferry to the island of Vis, where even the hardest of souls cannot help but be melted by the warm waters and friendly people. Dang, I sound like a travel bureau commercial. Croatia should hire me for their marketing schemes. Except for my complete lack of experience or talent in marketing I would be perfect.
The beaches and the food were incredible. Especially the beaches. And the food. Most of the beaches were either white stone or slab stone shorelines, which took a little getting used to. The first day we went out we looked like total amateurs. All around us were beautiful bronzed people sprawled out luxuriously on top of these big white pebbles and here we come–white as ghosts, mumbling, “Ouch. Oh this hurts my feet. Can you carry me? Oh, my large pregnant belly is getting in the way. Oh, ooh, ouch. Quick, get to the water! Aahh! There are sea urchins in here! I’ve been attacked!”
But after that first day, with a little sun and a little walking practice , we looked like we belonged and we pretty much didn’t move for seven days.
The island of Vis has two towns on eastern and western ends: Vis Town and Komiza. We stayed in a lovely little apartment on Komiza, which is the quieter, more secluded of the two towns. If I had been thinking at all I would have taken photos of the apartment. But every time I stepped into it I immediately fell into a deep trance and slept for twelve hours.
Komiza reminded us of our trip to Sardinia, Italy, when we were on our honeymoon four years ago. The small, winding streets were full of people milling about till the wee hours of the morning. And tons of children. Chris and I were reminded more than once of how this was going to be our last trip for a very long time without the responsibility of babies to take care of. Which gave us an excuse to sleep in until 10 AM every morning.
One of the highlights of the trip was when Chris’ brother David and his new wife Heather met us on the island on day four. For some crazy reason, they wanted to hang out with Oldest Brother and his very pregnant wife on part of their honeymoon. (By the way, don’t even think of asking me to post a photo of myself in my bathing suit. It ain’t gonna happen. Especially now that Chris has taken to calling me “Biggens”.)
Anyway, David and Heather. Newlyweds. Young, spry things spending their honeymoon with two people who were feeling decidedly un-spry. But they were great fun to be with and we gladly invited them to join us in continuing our previous three days of doing nothing.
As we sat on the ferry, watching Vis disappear beyond the horizon, we marveled at how seven days of sitting around on a beach like a bunch of sloths could make one so very tired. I have never been so relaxed in my life. The only thing left to do to make our trip complete was to have our car break down 20 kilometers from Budapest after a long, hot car ride with four sweaty people crammed into it.
I suppose it was a fitting way for Reality to punch us in the face and get us moving again.
A very long time ago, I promised to post an entry titled “Baby’s First Rave.” Well, it didn’t happen quite as soon as expected. Deal with it. But, hopefully it was all worth the nervous anticipation I’m sure you were all feeling before this moment. Below is another poorly edited video of a rave that Chris and I attended back in April when we were visiting Helsinki, Finland.
First, a few notes for those mothers and grandmothers out there: We did not stay long, I was only offered water the whole time, I had earplugs, and the baby’s ears were not fully developed at the time of this crazy experience (I checked beforehand). So, I think we all came out of this no worse for the wear. However, I cannot guarantee that our child hasn’t gotten a taste for an insanely loud bass that makes you feel like your throat has traveled down into your stomach. We will just have to see once the kid hits puberty.
Finally, a warning: turn the volume on your computer WAY down. I am not kidding.