The various branches of Ivan’s family require a Christmas letter every year, signed in triplicate and with accompanying picture and blog address. I wrote ours a few days after Halloween this year after receiving the first mass email request. I decided to wait a few weeks to post it on the blog (Halloween seems a little early…) but I’m afraid if I wait too much longer I’ll forget, so here it is. I left off the picture and blog address since you seem to know the latter already and the picture was not actually part of the original letter.
I think Ivan’s graduate school has been about the only constant thing for our family this year. Ivan finished the first year of his Ph.D. program this April, thus completing most of the coursework part of his program and moving into the more research oriented part. School has definitely been challenging and in a lot of ways we’re still adjusting to it, even after a year.
And now for the ups and downs and round abouts. The year started with us all together in our little apartment in Budapest. Ivan went to school and Rachel adjusted to the strange new country that would be home for a few years. The day after Valentine’s Day Rachel flew back to Texas to her parents’ house where she would stay until after the baby was born, the plan being that Ivan would fly back to Texas in April after taking his qualifying exam, about two weeks before the baby was due. Alas, it was not to be. Rachel went into labor while Ivan was taking his exam and a mere 22 hours after Ivan took the exam our little Evelyn was born. Needless to say, Ivan didn’t quite make it, and on top of that his flight for three days later was cancelled due to the volcano in Iceland. In the end Evelyn was a week old before Ivan got to see her. We have definite negative feelings toward volcanoes now.
Evelyn was beautiful and healthy and had to spend one day in NICU due to a little glitch in her breathing, but still came home at the normal time. She’s got beautiful blue eyes like her Daddy and grows like a weed.
Avery has had a fabulous year. She LOVES her little sister and is just now beginning to be a little sore that she has to share her toys. In March Rachel and Avery went to LA to visit Avery’s Aunt Linden and Great Grandpa Virgil and Avery got to go to the beach. I’m not sure that there ever was a happier kid. She chased the waves out and then laughed and laughed as she ran away when they came back in.
In June we all took a trip to Utah to see friends and family before heading back to Budapest for a few years. We were lucky and got to see Avery and Evelyn’s first cousin, Kevin. He was born a couple days after we got there. We also got to see Grandma Andrus and lots of Aunts and Uncles. We had a good time, but both kids were pretty darn ready to be done with the car by the time we got home. Twenty five hours in a car does not a happy child make, and that was just one way. Come to think of it, it doesn’t make parents all that happy either.
We came back to Budapest in the middle of July to beautiful weather and lost luggage. It took two days for them to get us our bags and in the meantime our landlord informed us that he needed our apartment back and we would have to move. We took our time finding an apartment and moved about two weeks later. We like our new apartment better in most ways anyway.
Since then things have calmed down a little. School started again in the middle of September and Rachel and the kids are back into the playgroup and rhyme time schedule that lapsed a little during the Summer. It’s so nice to have English speaking friends here to talk to and to do kids’ activities with. We’ve been able to travel a little. We took a day trip to a little town a couple hours from Budapest called Eger. There’s a castle there and some museums and it’s really a delightful little place. We went to Vienna for the first time for Halloween.
So as you can see, we’ve had a downright boring year. We miss all our friends and family and hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season.