Sep
15
2009
3

Eliza multi-media extravaganza

Mom & Babe

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:

http://www.facebook.com/laura.b.baker

Of course you have to be a friend to see stuff, so friend-away!

Written by Christopher Baker in: Slide Shows | 3 Comments »
Sep
14
2009
7

Eliza Frost Baker has arrived!

Here’s a sneak preview of our lovely new daughter.
Eliza Frost Baker

Vital Stats:
-Born at 1:19am, UTC+2
-3630 grams
-54 cm
-dark hair
-dark eyes
-exceptionally smart

Written by Christopher Baker in: Slide Shows | 7 Comments »
Sep
11
2009
1

Keeping my spirits up while we wait for baby.

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.

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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.

Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 1 Comment »
Aug
02
2009
0

Friend with a capital F.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | No Comments »
May
28
2009
4

Mothers’ Day

Chris and I celebrated my first Mothers’ Day this year. It felt a little like cheating considering motherhood has been pretty easy up to this point. Besides the baby’s current obsession with punching me in the bladder, it’s been a walk in the park. So to celebrate this fact alone, we decided to take: a walk in the park.

On our way to the People's Park, as it's known here, Chris bought me a rose at one of the many flower stands that dot the city. I really do love the walkable nature of Budapest. Just stroll down the street and in one block you will walk by a flower stand, a grocery store, a Turkish gyros restaurant, a lotto kiosk, a cafe, and a 24-hour market (known as "ABC, 0-24, Non-Stop" here--as if one title weren't enough).

On our way to the People's Park, as it's known here, Chris bought me a rose at one of the many flower stands that dot the city. I really do love the walkable nature of Budapest. Just stroll down the street and in one block you will walk by a flower stand, a grocery store, a Turkish gyros restaurant, a lotto kiosk, a cafe, and a 24-hour market (known as "ABC, 0-24, Non-Stop" here--as if one title weren't enough).

(more…)

Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 4 Comments »
May
02
2009
3

Hungarian Wine Country

Last weekend Chris and I went to Eger, Hungary for an overnight stay. Eger is a quaint little town about two hours away from Budapest by train. We had heard there were some nice sights to be seen and some nice wine to be had. Of course, Chris did all of the drinking, but the sights were definitely sights to be seen. With your sight. Which is how you see. Okay, I’m done.

They weren't kidding about the quaintness. This is the local high school. We sat at a cafe next to the this building and all the children came pouring out of the school singing songs and playing guitars. I am not kidding.

They weren't kidding about the quaintness. This is the local high school. We sat at a cafe next to this building and at one point all the children came pouring out of the school singing songs and playing guitars. I am not kidding.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 3 Comments »
Apr
16
2009
3

Helsinki Part 2

On the Sunday before we left Helsinki, Chris and I took a boat trip to Suomenlinna Island, which is a short 15-minute ferry ride off the main harbor of Helsinki. The island has functioned in a number of ways over the centuries, most notably as a military fortress and most recently as a residential neighborhood/tourist trap. The day we went was chilly but calm and we walked all over the island, exploring the oddities and beautiful views.

There was still a lot of ice near the shores that scraped the bottom of the ferry as we passed over it. Good thing we were close enough to the shore that if there happened to be a Titanic reenactment, we wouldn't be too far away from rescue. But I would totally want to play the part of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

There was still a lot of ice near the shores that scraped the bottom of the ferry as we passed over it. Good thing we were close enough to the shore that if there happened to be a Titanic reenactment, we wouldn't be too far away from rescue. But I would totally want to play the part of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 3 Comments »
Apr
10
2009
4

Helsinki Part 1

Chris and I had the opportunity to go with some of his colleagues to a “Festival of Electronic Arts and Subcultures” in Helsinki, Finland at the beginning of April. I have never before been a part of a festival of subcultures before. According to the dictionary, a subculture is “One culture of microorganisms derived from another.” There MAY have been other definitions, but I am choosing to use this one. There were definitely lots of microorganisms floating around in the brisk Finnish air during that week. Microorganisms armed with dreadlocks, MacBooks and thousands of electrical cords. I was almost swallowed up by one particularly tangled mass of cords near an exhibit.

However, since I am not actually an electronic artist, nor am I part of some sub-group of microorganisms, I was able to do a little sightseeing around the city. Helsinki has a strangely familiar feeling in the air to Minneapolis. Granted, they look nothing alike, but the sky and the smell of it made me feel at home.

The Helsinki harbor was beautifully fresh and still filled with ice chunks floating in the water.

The Helsinki harbor was beautifully fresh and still filled with ice chunks floating in the water.

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Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 4 Comments »
Feb
07
2009
5

Hungarian Cuisine Level One

Friday night Chris and I were invited to dinner by two of my coworkers who wanted to share with us some classic Hungarian dishes; a tour around the country, if you will. They also invited a few other friends and the evening was filled with laughter and interesting new food experiences.

The table itself was scrumptuously decorated. First up was a goose liver appetizer. The proper procedure for eating it is as follows, and can be seen on the table:

The table itself was scrumptiously decorated. First up was a goose liver appetizer. The proper procedure for eating it is as follows: First take a piece of bread and spread onto it a thin layer of goose fat (bottom left on the table). Then put a piece of perfectly cooked liver on top and sprinkle, or should I say pour, salt onto the liver. After that comes a red onion/tomato mixture and if you are really daring (I am not) add some spicy peppers. Then take a bite and wait for a taste explosion.

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Written by Laura in: News,Slide Shows | 5 Comments »
Jan
30
2009
5

Locked Out

Some days just have more crap in them. I mean this both literally and figuratively, especially living in Budapest. There are stinky little (or not so little) reminders of the presence of dogs ALL over the sidewalks here. I still have yet to figure out why this is. It’s not like Budapest is the only city with dogs. But every city has a collective personality and I think Budapest’s personality is like those people you meet who don’t seem to realize that their actions have consequences for the people around them. Very stinky, gross consequences.

But as for the figurative use of the word ‘crap’ to describe my day. It started out as a pleasant one. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t have to go to work today, which meant that I slept in, took my time showering, primping, etc. I decided to take out the trash, which is a bit of a chore because we live in an apartment with a separate entrance from the rest of the building. So, when I’m alone, I have to lock the door outside, get into the main building, drop off the trash and unlock our door again from the outside.

I grabbed my shoes and went out. When I came back to unlock our door, IT WOULDN’T OPEN. There’s this weird sliding bolt thing on our door and it’s been acting funny since we moved in, but we had always been able to get in before. This time, the sliding bolt would not slide. And I was outside without a coat, a phone, or any money. In a foreign country. At least I had my shoes.

I just stood there for what seemed like 20 minutes, but probably was more like 5. I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know the apartment management company’s number or anyone’s number for that matter. And Chris is in Berlin, so I couldn’t even walk over to his work and see if he could open the door. As I stared at the door trying to demand it to open with the power of my mind, I noticed an ad taped to it stating that there was an apartment for rent in the building. It had the number of the real estate agent on it. Ah ha! I could call the agent and see if they had the number to the management company! I ripped the ad from the door and started walking…somewhere. I figured I would have to walk all the way to my office to get to a phone, but I passed by a travel agency. Maybe someone there spoke English…

Sure enough, someone did, and after a few phone calls and lots of me saying (okay, probably shouting like a stupid foreigner) “I LOCKED OUT. NO, I HAVE KEYS. DOOR NOT WORKING. NO, YOU CAN’T CALL ME BACK. NO PHONE. NO COAT. PLEASE COME NOW. NO, I SAID I HAVE KEYS. KEYS NOT THE PROBLEM. DOOR NOT OPENING” I finally got someone to say they would come see. In an hour. So, I had time to kill and nowhere to go. I couldn’t even go and sit in a coffee shop because I had no money. I felt like a homeless person. To keep warm I would go into a store and walk around until the owner would start to look at me funny, no doubt wondering why this woman was walking around without a coat in January and not buying anything. So I would move on. One more hour of that, and I probably would have started digging through the trash to find cans to recycle.

But, finally the guy came, and after lots of gesturing he determined that I was not a stupid foreigner who didn’t know how to unlock a door. At one point we thought maybe we were going to have to break through one of the windows. I bet you’d like to have seen us gesturing about how we would do that in our respective languages. Funny times, let me tell you. Then, through sheer brute force, the guy managed to bust through the door. I was really hoping it would look like it does in the movies, where all it takes is one swift kick and the door pops wide open. But, alas, it was a lot less exciting. It was full body weight into the door more than a dozen times. Not exactly cinema-worthy.

But, I was in! The guy fiddled with the lock for awhile and, shockingly, determined that it was not working and needed to be fixed. And then he said, or at least this is what I surmise that he said, “In the meantime, I would suggest not using this bolt.” Sound advice, my friend, sound advice.

Written by Laura in: Slide Shows | 5 Comments »

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