Saturday, March 31, 2007

Spring Break

This week the kids are on spring break. Erica is going to a retreat, and we thought we would just hang out in Istanbul for a few days after we drop her off. A couple of days ago some friends from Istanbul called and wanted to know if we were interested in going to Bulgaria with them over spring break. They have 7 kids and 3 of them are going to the retreat. I guess they thought they might be bored for a week without all of their kids so they invited us along. So now Brian and I, plus Will, Jacob, and Anna Grace, will be going to Bulgaria with this family. There will be 11 of us in a car that holds 13. Should be fun.

I mentioned not sleeping well a couple of posts ago. Well last night I was able to go to bed at 9:05. Since it was a Friday night the kids wanted to stay up late so I set them up with a movie and instructions to go to bed when it was over. (Brian was at the internet cafe playing video games with some friends.) I told the kids that I didn't want them to wake me up for anything that didn't involved blood or vomit. I have also been fighting a cold for a few days so I took some Nyquil which helped! It was a great night's sleep!

I'm not sure if we will have internet access while we are out of town so this may be the last blog for a few days. Hopefully I'll come back with some good pictures and stories to tell.

What am I doing here?

Yesterday I was asked to substitute in the second grade at the kids' school. I had never subbed for Anna Grace's class before and she was really excited! I got there a few minutes before school started and was happy to find out that the kids all left the room for various activities right after the bell rang. Well, all the kids except one. This student didn't go to Turkish classes nor did he go to ESL with the other kids. The teacher usually worked one on one with this kid for about an hour. I started working on some phonic's papers with him. On one paper he was asked to write a sentence using one of the words he had learned. He started to write a sentence and then asked me how to spell something. I wasn't sure what he was saying so he asked again. I still didn't understand the word he wanted help spelling so he just started to spell it asking after each letter if it was right. I figured I would let him finish the sentence and that maybe at that point I would know what he was trying to spell. When he was finished this is what the sentence said.

hey their waraiy doing hear. I figured out that he was saying "where I" but it didn't make any sense. He was running the word together so it sounded like weareye. I guess he meant to say "what am I" but considering he was a Korean boy who already knew Turkish trying to learn English he was a bit confused! He did end up going to an ESL class later with kids from other classes who were about at the same level in their English abilities. I can't imagine knowing one language, learning another to survive in this culture, and learning a third language in order to be schooled. Wow!

Friday, March 30, 2007


I need to post. Unfortunately for those of you who are waiting for something new to read, today will not be the day for something exciting. I am tired! I haven't slept well for three nights, and I want to go to bed early tonight. I would have taken a nap today; however, I substituted at the kids school today so I didn't have the chance to rest.

On Sunday we are leaving to go out of town for several days so I probably won't be posting during that time either. I will be back though...don't worry. I don't want anyone thinking that I am tired of blogging and am quitting. I might try to post while we are gone...it will depend on the internet access. And I do plan to post tomorrow. I have a funny school story to share as well as a couple of other ideas. Talk to you then!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

I finally figured out how to post a video. So for your viewing pleasure here is an amazing example of people who have way too much time on their hands. But it did win a YouTube video award for Most Creative video. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Going, Going, Gone

I have a complaint. It really isn't a big deal, but I am disturbed by it. My problem is dying blogs. They bother me. They make me worry about the bloggers. Especially the ones that I only keep up with through their blogs. I have a few friends who rarely update their blogs. I don't think everyone needs to update their blog everyday. Or even every week. But what about once a month? Is that too much to ask? I would like for them to be updated more often, but I understand that people are busy and some things must take a backseat to more important things in life. A blog is an easy sacrifice. My reasons for updating my blog so often are actually lazy ones. It is easier to update a blog for the masses than to email everyone individually. Some of the things I want to write about are not the things people want to receive emails about...candy bars, my broken dryer, youtube...so the blog is an easy outlet. These are the things on my mind so that is what comes out. Sometimes there are funny stories that I want to share, but I'm not sure who would appreciate them so instead of looking through my address book to pick and choose who gets to hear them I blog about them. That way anyone can read them and laugh if they want or think I'm an idiot for even thinking something was funny, and I will never know. What disturbs me about dying blogs is that so few of them are ever resurrected. I see people posting once a week or maybe less. Then it gets to be once a month, then every three months, once every 6 months and then they just stop. The blog dies. I have one friend who hasn't updated her blog since July. She had been updating it almost once a week before that. There was a month of nothing and then it started up again for a couple of months. Now it is a sad site/sight...suspended in time....always July 2006. I wonder what happened. I've commented and asked but got nothing in return. I have several friends who post updates and pictures galore for a couple of days and then nothing for 3-6 months. I guess that's okay. I think that because I love to hear about what is going on in people's lives I love reading blogs. I want the stupid stories and the funny pictures and the hard times and the life is normal posts. They help me feel connected and in community with my friends all over the world. I need that.

If for some reason I decide to slow my posting down I will blog about it. If I decide that this blog is too much for me to handle and decide to stop blogging I will blog about that. I don't expect that to happen, but just in case I don't want anyone wondering where I am or what happened to me.

Monday, March 26, 2007

More Candy

Since the candy bar pictures were such a hit I decided to show you a few more. My kids think it's great because they get to have them for a snack. They did ask me why I only bought one of each kind though!

Dido - basically a KitKat
Albeni - a Twix...but a little bigger
Rodeo - a Snickers

Coco Star - Mounds
Luna - wafer cookie surrounded by caramel coated with chocolate and crispy rice
Rocky - crispy rice with peanut and raisins covered with chocolate

Metro - Milky Way
hobby - chocolate and hazelnut cream covered with chocolate
Piko - crispy rice with raisins and some other dried fruit covered with chocolate

Cokomilk - 3 Muskateers
Tonus - a Snickers with hazelnuts instead of peanuts...I think

Now many of you may be asking how I know what all of these taste like. Did I actually taste them all to be able to describe them to you? Of course not. Most of these we have had at some time or another while we have been in Turkey, but there were a few that were new to me. I read the wrappers on those to make sure I knew what I was talking about. I have never tasted a Tonus, Rocky, Luna, or hobby. Anna Grace tasted the Piko today and after one bite didn't want the rest. I took a bite and agreed with her...it was terrible. Jacob ate the rest and said he thought it was good. I was able to eat one of the candy bars this time...the Coco Star....yummy! And I hid the Cokomilk so I could have it tomorrow!

Dryers vs. Drying Racks

My dryer is broken. It started making a funny noise on Friday. Because it was the weekend there was nothing we could do about it until today. We called the repairman this morning, and after he came out he determined that the dryer needed a new part. He is coming back tomorrow with the part so that he can fix the dryer. Because the dryer is broken I have to hang the clothes I wash on the drying rack you see pictured below.

One good think is that these drying racks are everywhere in Turkey. I don't know a family that doesn't own one. When we first moved to Turkey we didn't even have a dryer. We always used a drying rack. We even bought a second drying rack because with 6 people in our family one rack wasn't enough. One time I had the drying racks loaded down with clothes on our balcony. It was a windy day which is nice when you are trying to dry clothes! Well, the wind got stronger and stronger, and all of a sudden I heard this strange noise from the balcony. I went out, and one of the drying racks full of clothes had been picked up by the wind and blown over the side of the balcony. It landed on the marble sidewalk below. Thankfully nobody was there when it hit the ground, and other than bending the drying rack beyond repair there was no other damage. I did have to rewash a few things though!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Poetry Coffee House

Last night the kids' school held a Poetry Coffee House fundraiser. Admission was about 75 cents and then drinks and snacks were available to purchase as well. A small cup of water...and I mean really small...like 1/2 cup...was about 35 cents. One of my friends ordered a flavored mocha for about $3. It came in one of those small styrofoam cups! Cookie bars, brownies, and coffee cake went for about $2 for a small piece. I'm sure they made a killing with prices like that! Oh well, it was for a good cause!

The students could sign up to participate if they wanted to. Erica, Jacob, and Anna Grace all signed up to something, but Will never even considered doing something in front of all those people! Here are a few pictures from the event!

Several kids in Jacob's class did a poem called If I were in a Rock and roll Band by Shel Silverstein. It was really cute! Jacob is on the end in the red shirt.

Anna Grace signed up to recite a poem called Wait, Wait, Wait. She was second to perform and did a great job!

Erica and her friends, Maryam and Jessica, sang a song called Breakaway.

A shot of part of the crowd!

We sat at a table with our friends Namik, Songul, and Shawn.

Here is Anna Grace reciting her poem. The room was candlelit so she is hard to see!

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Fruity goodness!

When I came to Turkey I was introduced to many new types of food. One thing that I never expected was for there to be so many new kinds of fruits. Even fruits that weren't exactly new to me were a new experience for me.

This is a pomegranate. Growing up in America I had seen them before, but they were always used in decorations. Gilded or painted pomegranates in flower arrangements or on wreaths...I never knew they could actually be eaten. I guess I never thought about it. After arriving in Turkey I experienced the deliciousness that are pomegranates. They call them nar here, and when I asked Will and Anna Grace if they would like me to cut one for a snack the other day they didn't understand the word pomegranate. When I used the Turkish name they knew exactly what I was talking about!

Inside there are clusters of juicy berry like fruit pieces. They have a small seed inside each piece that like in other berries is just eaten with the fruit.

Here is Anna Grace eating her half of the nar. The juice stains so I made sure both she and Will changed out of their white school shirts before snack time!

Here is Will's face after finishing his snack. They are quite messy but oh so yummy! We have even read that they have the same health benefits as red wine so eat up!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Why we love youtube.

I have tried to actually post this video several times and have not been successful. No matter what I do youtube tells me that my blogger site is not valid. So I have decided to just post a link.


I don't know what we would do without videos like these! I'm so glad youtube is back in Turkey!

And notice how straight his bottom teeth are! Amazing!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My day

I've been thinking about blogging, but again I have nothing to say. I'm not sure why there are times when nothing comes to me. I thought about what I did today...Anna Grace came home from school yesterday feeling sick and had a fever a couple of hours later. She slept pretty much all afternoon so she didn't go to school today. I had originally planned on going town scouting with Brian today. There are several small towns fairly close to our big city, and we decided that we would drive to a couple of them and see the sights, have lunch in a small local place and see who we might meet. Since Anna Grace was at home sick Brian went without me. He thought about not going, but he needed to pick up some dirt from several places for Will's science fair project on porosity so he went anyway. He came home talking about the roads to some of these small towns and about the hitch hikers he picked up between towns. One of them was a farmer who invited us to come to a picnic at his farm sometime. He had lots of fun exploring, and I was stuck at home! I played several games of Go Fish, a card/board game called Sequence, put together a puzzle of animals around the world, watched The Cheetah Girls 2, read several chapters of my book, and ordered groceries. All was not lost though. I had never played the game Sequence before, and it was really fun. I want to play it again with someone who doesn't need help deciding their next move! The book I was reading was one from my list that I was dreading, and it turned out to be a really good one...so good in fact that I finished it in one day! I hadn't planned on being home to order groceries so that was a chore that was taken care of. And we got to eat leftover chicken manicotti from last night for lunch...yum!

While ordering groceries I searched all categories for crackers. We have some EZ cheese that was given to us, but we didn't have any crackers to eat it with. In my search for crackers I came across these interesting food items.
I had never heard of Bumbo, Golden Mountain, or Kanky crackers before. Thankfully there were pictures, and after seeing them I was pretty sure I didn't want to try them with EZ cheese! I finally did find some crackers that were somewhat normal looking, and upon tasting them decided that it was pretty much like eating EZ cheese on a piece of cardboard! Where, oh where, are the golden buttery crackers called Ritz? Not in Turkey that's for sure!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


When Anna Grace and I went to the store the other day I decided to buy some candy bars so that I could take a picture of them and write a blog. Strange, I know. After we got home I realized that Brian had taken the camera with him on his golf trip. I bought the candy bars on Saturday and resisted the intense temptation to eat one or more of them until he returned yesterday. I took the pictures last night...and surprisingly enough I still haven't eaten one! After this post they might be calling my name though! So, drum roll please, introducing...

Yami - Milk chocolate covered crispy rice and nougat bar
Wanted - Milk chocolate covered crispy rice and caramel bar

SOHO - Milk chocolate covered soft nougat and caramel bar...Milky Wayish
Maximus - Milk chocolate coated nougat bar with caramel and peanuts...Basically a Snickers...and the packaging even looks like one

And believe me there are plenty more where that came from. They have just as many if not more kinds of candy bars than we do in the states. They do have some of the same ones we have...some of the ones offered by M&M/Mars. Snickers, Milky Way, M&M's, Mars. Also several Nestle products. They are more expensive than the Turkish versions though. Now...which one shall I eat for my snack?

Monday, March 19, 2007

For Gina

Zucchini Fritters...American style

2 cups grated zucchini, peeled or unpeeled
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil

In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, eggs, onion, flour,Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and salt. Stir well to distribute evenly.
Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drop the zucchini mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden. Serve hot.

Kabak Mucveri...Turkish Style

2 cups grated zucchini (peeled for Turkish style)
1/2 cup onion
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp flour
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled into small pieces
1 small tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 bunch dill, chopped
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried mint
2 tbsp olive oil

Sprinkle squash with salt. Knead and squeeze to extract extra juice. Drain well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Heat oil in frying pan. Drop the zucchini mixture by tablespoonfuls and cook for a few minutes on each side until done. Serve hot...or cold!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I edit and republish

I have a confession to make. I am somewhat of a sloppy blogger. I write my blog and then proofread it like any normal person would do. Then I publish it. Later I check it or reread it and I almost always find mistakes that I missed during the first proofread. I then edit the blog to fix the mistakes and republish. I just can't let the mistakes go. I know there are probably times I miss some of my mistakes and they never are corrected. The obsessive part about this is that even if I find mistakes on blogs that I wrote a while ago I correct them and republish. People probably aren't even reading them anymore, but I feel the need to correct misspelled words or sentences that don't make sense. I was reading an email I sent to someone the other day, and I saw numerous mistakes in it. The funny thing is I didn't need to send it again. It would have been weird to send it again. I felt the need to fix the mistakes in the email because they bothered me, but resisted knowing that it wouldn't matter. But it was disturbing. Sometimes I see grammatical errors and leave them because I like the way it sounds better than how it would sound corrected. Usually it's misspelled words or words that were accidently left out of sentences or sometimes even the way the sentence sounds to me later that kicks me into 'I have to fix that' mode. I wonder if those of you who subscribe to my blog get a note saying I have updated whenever I edit a blog with mistakes. If so...sorry! We'll see how many mistakes I find in this post tomorrow!

Cok Tatli

I walked to the store today. While this doesn't seem like big news it was big for me. I have ordered my groceries online quite a few times since we have been back. I have also sent Brian to the store more times that I can count. The kids have made several trips to the store for me. While at church or at the mall or in town for other purposes I have stopped by the store to pick up a few things, but I haven't left my house for the sole purpose of going to the store since we have been back. That is huge. There are a couple of stores very close to our house. It's not like it would have taken much effort to go at any given point. I just never did. I really don't know why. But this afternoon I realized that we needed a few things from the store for kids lunches tomorrow. Brian is out of town, Erica wasn't feeling well, and Will was at a friend's house. That left Jacob, Anna Grace, and me as options for going to the store. I would never just send Jacob and Anna Grace, nor would they go without one of the bigger kids. I decided that I would have to be the one to go. I asked Anna Grace if she was interested in going with me, and she was. We walked to the store talking about the new family that is coming in a month. We talked about how there would be new friends to play with. We just talked. It wasn't long before we were at the store. I decided to go to the bakery as well since we were in the neighborhood. We bought a few yummy things there including Pez candy which Jacob had been asking for earlier in the day. At the store we bought chips, bread, and snack cakes for lunches. We also bought some diet coke, of course. On our way home I realized how much I had enjoyed our little trip out of the house. As we were walking down the sidewalk I saw a couple of ladies approaching us from the opposite direction. As they came closer they looked at Anna Grace and said, "cok tatli, cok tatli, masallah" or so sweet, so sweet, God has blessed you. I looked at Anna Grace and her blonde hair and blue eyes and smiled. When we first arrived I heard those words about her and the other kids all the time. Good memories and a feel good moment!

Friday, March 16, 2007


Recently I shared a poem that I wrote back in 2003. I was looking in that same journal, and I found another poem that makes me laugh everytime I read it. I thought that I would share the story behind the poem and not the poem itself. It is much better read aloud!

Once upon a time, my senior year of college, I had an experience with Louie Giglio. Seriously! At the time Louie was the leader of a bible study called Choice at Baylor University. Everyone loved this bible study, and it was always crowded. Choice on Monday nights was the place to be. I went to Choice one time, and it was good. But, I also sang in the college choir group at my church and had practice every Thursday afternoon plus I went to a Wed. night bible study as well. I CHOSE to participate in those activities and CHOSE not to go to Choice. A friend, who will remain nameless, loved Choice. She had great admiration for Louie and all that he was doing. She couldn't understand that I didn't want to go to Choice. It was beyond comprehension to her. Why, when given the opportunity to study under such an awesome leader, would I pass it up? I just didn't want to go. After several weeks of her asking me to go and me saying no we were both finally frustrated with the situation. I stalked out of my apartment and decided to go talk to Louie himself. I walked to his office and waited to talk to him. I told him about my friend insisting that I go to Choice. He was very nice and gracious and told me that he didn't care if I came to Choice or not. He understood that I was busy with other things and was perfectly fine with that. There were times, he said, that he didn't even want to go himself, and he was in charge. I went home feeling much better and told my friend that Louie said I didn't have to go to Choice. She was mortified that I would "tell" on her to one of her heroes. She was brushing her hair at the time and threw her hairbrush in my general direction. She wasn't aiming at me, thankfully, and it bounced off the wall. I see now that my running to talk to Louie about her was a little rash. I'm sure we could have worked it out some other way. She did forgive my rashness, and I now understand that CHOICE was her PASSION at the time. I know she learned a lot and grew a lot through that bible study and under Louie's direction. Sometimes I wonder if Louie remembers our little talk.


For the past several blogs I have not taken the time to write anything much. I have had pictures I wanted to share and everytime I've thought that the next time I blogged I would have more to say. But, alas, it never happened. Then I began thinking that I needed to start signing my posts with LLL or as any schoolgirl from the 70's and 80's would know Longer Letter Later. I remember writing letters to my old friends after we had moved to a new city, and even if the letter was long I always signed them that way. There was always the promise of more exciting news in the next letter. The funny thing is that even in the next letter I still made that promise. I guess I never thought my letters were good enough or long enough. And now what news do I have for you today...nothing...I got nothing! Just wanted to share! LLL!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Brian's birthday dinner

Tonight we went to dinner at Hacibaba for Brian's birthday. They have really good Turkish food are known for their baklava. Since everyone was enjoying Turkish food they decided to "smile like a Turk" which basically means just sit there. The kids learned to do this when they had their pictures taken in Turkish school. We think that serious pictures must mean serious students.

Brian showing off the lavas...or flat bread. We also ordered hummus which we spread on the bread...yum!

I love icli kofte. They are meatballs that have been covered with a corndog like batter and fried. Pretty fattening though! I refuse to not smile in pictures...mainly because I can't do it...I've tried and I smile everytime.

Will and Anna Grace had Iskender. This is sliced meat over cubes of bread covered with tomato sauce. The side of yogurt is to dip the meat in.

Jacob had beyti kebap. This is basically spicy meatballs wrapped in tortillas with tomato sauce on top.

We always bring our guests from America to Hacibaba to eat. Come visit and we will bring you there, too!

More pictures

Anna Grace enjoying her cay...Turkish tea.

Erica showing off one of the lemon cologne wipes that came after our meal.

Jacob enjoying one of his favorite dishes...red rice...or bulgur pilav.

Brian getting ready to take a bite of his kiremitte tavuk sarma...or baked chicken stuffed with pistachios and mushrooms.

Lahmacun. Basically a tortilla with a meat tomato pepper onion paste spread on it.

March 14

Yesterday it snowed. I couldn't believe it. It is mid-March and it is snowing. This is what it looked like around 5pm. Thankfully the snow didn't last and had melted by this morning!

Yesterday was also the 5 year anniversary of us moving to Turkey. Well...I guess we haven't been in Turkey the whole time considering we were in America for 7 months of that, but we arrived in Turkey March 14, 2002. So much has happened in those 5 years. We've made many friends both locals and others who've come to Turkey to visit or come here to live. I think we have all learned a lot about people and culture and our world view has increased dramatically. We are excited to be able to be here in this place. Thanks for sharing in our lives as we experience life here!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Birthday party

Brian, Namik, and Greg pose for a birthday portrait. Greg's birthday was today...March 14, Brian's is tomorrow, March 15, and Namik's was March 8.

Some of the football players help the guys celebrate!

Doing lunch

One of our good friends, Derya, and I went to lunch at the mall and then out for coffee today. Here she is with her Starbucks. She is also an employee with Brian's company Anatolian Advantage.

Lunch...a salad bar that had pickled green beans, eggplant salad, zucchini fritters, stuffed grape leaves, stuffed peppers, noodles, yogurt and several other items. It was yummy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's back

You tube is back. I'm not sure what happened, but enough people must have complained about not being able to see it. To celebrate the return of You Tube I decided to post a video. Then no matter how hard I tried to get one to post it didn't work! It kept telling me my username and password were incorrect. So I guess I won't be posting a video.

Blogger peer pressure

I wanted to be the first to let everyone know that my husband has decided to start a blog. I think he was jealous of all my new blogger friends! Anyway, he wrote his first post the other day, but I didn't want to send out a link just in case he never posted again. Well, he posted twice today so I think he deserves a shout-out! Here is a link to his blog, and I've added him to my links on the sidebar. You may have already checked out his blog since the link has been there for a couple of days. If not here you go.


Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

Monday, March 12, 2007

At home with Will

Will stayed home from school today after having a meltdown this morning. He was so exhausted from the weekend that he was basically non-functioning. Will had a basketball tournament on Friday night and all day Saturday, and we had three kids spend the night Friday night. Then after basketball on Saturday Will and Jacob went to spend the night with some friends. I think Will might have been home for 20 minutes that afternoon. On Sunday after church another friend invited Will over. I almost said no, but they had not had much opportunity to hang out since we have been back. I asked Will what he thought, he said he thought he was okay to go. The good thing is that Will does know himself well enough most of the time to be able to make that kind of decision. He has often not gone to someone's house when he thought he was too tired or just didn't feel like playing. He knows that if he doesn't get enough sleep or have enough downtime he will be a basketcase the next day. Good morning, Will! He couldn't handle it. I should have said no.

Having a Turkish breakfast at 11:30am. You can tell just by looking at Will that he is still tired.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, boiled eggs, feta cheese, olives, and bread. Traditionally this is what Turks eat for breakfast. They might also have jelly, honey, garlic sausage, and some other bread items.

And then we can't forget the tea. I didn't make tea at first, but Will requested it. Here he is talking about his weekend.

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Friday afternoon prayers

Here is another video of the mosque during the call to prayer. This video was during the Friday afternoon prayer time which is when the Imam reads a "sermon" as well as leads in prayers.

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Both Will and Jacob have been playing basketball at the military base in town for the last several weeks. Will is also playing on the junior team at school. It is a 5th-8th grade team. Here are a few pictures of the tournament they were in this weekend. You can see by the pictures that Will is the shortest kid on the team, but he can move the ball down the court with the best of them!

This video is from Jacob's game on Saturday. He is doing much better this year with staying focused and trying. He does get tired about halfway through the game though.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Video from October

I have talked before about Will having the chance to play football while we were in America. He really had a great time. One of my favorite things was listening to the announcer for the games. He made it lots of fun and the boys loved hearing their names!

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Random Pictures

Gina mentioned in a recent comment that she likes seeing the pictures, and since I hadn't posted any in a while I thought I would add a few random ones now. These pictures aren't necessarily showing Turkish life, but they are glimpses into our lives.

Recently I was telling a friend about my mom's amazing quilting abilities. I looked through my pictures to see if I had any examples of her work and found this picture. This is a quilt she made for my friend, Abby.

I can't remember if I have ever posted pictures of our cats. This is Daisy, in front, and Pugly, in back.

After The Chronicles of Narnia came out last year Jacob requested a lion cake for his birthday. This is my attempt. He liked it, but did say that he meant for me to make the whole lion. I'm glad I didn't know that at the time...I'm not sure what I would have done!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saturday, 6:25 pm

I got a comment from someone about my frequent blogging that I thought I should share with you. This comment was made while on the phone with this person which is why you don't see it on the blog. She shared that because I have been posting a lot lately it made her think that I wasn't doing anything else...like my job. I assured her that the majority of my postings are after 9pm when I am at home and after the kids are in bed. Sometimes you will see a post during the day. Most of those are short and are done between loads of laundry or other household chores. The first month we were back I didn't do much other than get over jetlag, get my stomach back to normal again, and readjust to living in Turkey. It's funny to me. Life here is definitely different this time around. When we first moved here we had to adjust to living in a different country, city, neighborhood, house...pretty much our whole world was new. This time we are in the same country, city, neighborhood, house, and it feels different. I think it's because our job has changed. What Brian did before is not what he does now. I had gotten used to who my friends were and was very comfortable with life the way it was. That is not the case now. By nature I am not an initiator. I am not usually the one who calls my friends to make plans. I am always up for a night out or a picnic in the park or whatever outing my friends come up with. Things have changed in the few months I was gone. Some of my friends have moved on. If I want to make new friends I will have to be the one to step out. That's going to be a lot harder than it sounds.


As I thought about writing again I decided to look back at some of the things I have written in the past. Some of them were funny and some...interesting. I thought I would share one that I wrote in November of 2003. It is serious with a twist. Enjoy!


I know it seems like an aggravation
Moments of joy then desperation
Trying to feel good with determination
Usually results in complete frustration

We need to accept our limitations
And take our lives off of acceleration
Stop looking within for explanations
And let God be our eyes' fixation

He is working on our renovation
A total heart transplantation
When we let Him be our inspiration
We have no need for compensation

He works throughout His whole creation
Changing lives through situations
Sometimes sickness or deprivation
Helps us desire Him to saturation

And now for the end of this elaboration
Draw near to God - gravitation
And make this your daily proclamation
God is good and He's my salvation!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Funny videos

I only thought my kids would be disappointed with the You Tube ban. Evidently the funny videos they watch are at www.getamused.com. Jacob does a great impersonation of this guy...
http://www.getamused.com/videos/numanumadance.html. It is quite funny!

So that is it for post number two for today!
Over and out...


A friend...the same friend I have mentioned in several of the previous posts...has informed me that I am blogging too much. She says that I should never post more than once a day and less might even be better. Well, I have a hard time believing that. I know that lately I have been posting about once a day and sometimes even twice a day. Most of the time when there is more than one post a day it is because I post one after midnight and one sometime the next day. But, I don't see a problem with that. I love to read other people's blogs. I love it even more when they are frequent posters. I understand that some people are too busy to read a new post everyday. I don't mind if people don't check my blog everyday. I don't mind if people skip some posts and read others. I guess there are some people who feel the need to read everything that is written, and if they only check the blog once a week they might have some catching up to do. Does that mean I should post less frequently so that these people will be able to stay caught up? I think not. So now it is up to you to tell me. Do you have any advice for how I should handle my blogging? Should I post less?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

You Tube

I just had to announce to everyone that the internet video provider You Tube has now been banned in Turkey! I can't believe it. Evidently someone put a video or two or three on You Tube that had anti-Turkish comments so now we can't see anything. I heard it was something about the Greeks invading Turkey but that might not be true! I even tried to go to a friend's blog that had a You Tube video on it, and there was a nice blank square where the video used to be. When I tried to access the You Tube site this is the message I got...

Access to www.youtube.com site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/384 dated 06.03.2007 of Istanbul First Criminal Peace Court.

I guess that means no more funny videos for us! My kids will be disappointed!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


A friend has challenged me to write. Not necessarily blog writing, but to think about writing a book. It has been a thought of mine, but I can't wrap my mind around a topic yet. I decided I would start with an exercise called freewriting. Freewriting is basically choosing a topic and writing about it for a set length of time without stopping. In freewriting you aren't supposed to worry about grammar rules or spelling mistakes. I decided to write about moving overseas. Here is what I wrote in my fifteen minute time limit. (I fixed my spelling mistakes before I put them on here just so it wouldn't be a distraction. I'm not sure about the grammar!)

Moving Overseas

When we first decided to move overseas I was really excited. It was something completely new for me. I had never even been out of the states except for two times to border Mexico. I didn’t think that counted. We planned and prepared and packed for over a year before we finally got on the plane and headed out. We arrived in Ankara, Turkey exactly 15 months from when we first applied to go overseas. It was amazing.

My first thoughts as we got off the plane were how much of our luggage actually made all 3 flight changes with us. Would it all actually show up? It did, and then I wondered what kind of car would we be taking from the airport? Was there a vehicle that could fit all 19 pieces of checked luggage plus about 10 carry-ons plus all of us as well? I didn’t think so. We ended up putting people in one van and luggage in another and headed to the place we would stay for the first week or so in country. After seeing the traffic and the way that people drove in our new city I didn’t think we would ever even make it to our new home. I was so used to the kids wearing seatbelts and being in car seats that I wasn’t sure what to do with a van with no seatbelts. The kids however thought it was great!

After a crazy ride we finally arrived at our new home to drop off some of our luggage. We couldn’t move in just yet because the house had no furniture in it, but there was too much luggage to bring to home of the famliy we were staying with. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice our apartment was. I had looked online at our city and saw apartment buildings but never expected them to be so nice on the inside. Brian commented that it wasn’t the dirt floor hut he was expecting. I was praising God it wasn’t that dirt floor hut! We had wood laminate flooring in the bedrooms and living area, and tile throughout the rest of the house. It was great. The rooms were quite a bit smaller than what we were used to, but I was so thankful that the house was nice I don’t think I even noticed at first.

After dropping off some luggage we went to our host family’s home. We stayed with this family for about a week while we shopped for furniture for our new home. I have never shopped so much in my life. A teammate took us to quite a few furniture stores so we could pick out couches, beds, tables, chairs, and everything we would need to make our house a home. Everything looked so different from the furniture I was used to in the states. The couches were much harder and more modern looking. The dining room sets had a table, chairs, a sideboard, two china cabinets with glass doors, and a TV stand. I thought it was strange that the TV stand came with the dining room furniture, but apparently this was normal. The dining room and living room were one big room called a salon so I guess the furniture needed to match. Another thing I found interesting was that the living room furniture sets came with a couch, a loveseat, and two chairs all made from the same fabric. This went against my antique living I was used to in America. I had lots of different furniture in the states, and none of it came together in a set. It all went together in my mind, but I think the Turks might not agree.


I was talking to a friend on the phone last night, and one of the things we talked about was movies. I was watching Notting Hill when she called, and then after we got off the phone I decided to finish the movie. I love that movie! I didn't love that I stayed up until 2am watching it, but it was worth it. I had a good conversation with her and watched one of my favorite movies of all time. Well all this got me thinking about what other movies I considered my favorites. Then I started thinking about my favorites in general, and that is where this blog came from.

Favorite Movies-
Notting Hill, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Truman Show, The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed, A Walk to Remember....and the list goes on!

Favorite Foods-
I love food. Especially rich creamy foods. fettucine alfredo, chicken and dumplings, lasagna, quiche, cheese enchiladas, shrimp...cooked almost any way, beef stroganoff, eggplant, black-eyed peas and cornbread, homemade pizza, and again the list is endless!

Favorite Color-
red and yellow

Favorite Music-
country...especially Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Gretchen Wilson, Dixie Chicks (I know, I know...but they can sing!), Collin Ray

Favorite Books-
Right now I am working on reading all the Newbery Award winners and honor books 1922-Present. There are so many really good books on that list that I can't decide which are my favorites. I recommend most of them! There are about 375 books on the list, and I have read 176 of them. I have been working on this list for almost 2 years. During that time I only read 4 books that weren't on that list besides my bible. Other books I like: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, also by her the Lineage of Grace series, the Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery, anything by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Almost everything I read would be considered children's literature which I love!

I know I could list more of my favorite things, but I thought I would let you ask me what some of my favorites are. Fire away!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Grocery Shopping

Yesterday I had to be home from 1:30-4pm so that the groceries I ordered could be delivered. The fact that they deliver groceries in Turkey may come as a surprise to some of you. I love it! I especially love it because I don't drive here. I would usually wait until Brian could take me grocery shopping, or I would take public transportation. The only thing I didn't like about taking a taxi home from the grocery store is the numerous trips from the taxi to the apartment door with a gazillion bags. Then I had to unlock the building door and take many trips from that point to the elevator. After arriving on the third floor I had to take several trips from the elevator to my front door with the bags. After entering my apartment I had to bring the bags from my front door to the kitchen. After that I usually felt like I needed to sit down and have a cold one, but I couldn't because I had groceries to put away! It was better when Brian could take me to the store because then there were at least two of us carrying the bags. And if the kids were with us we loaded them down with bags as well. But all of that is a thing of the past! I order my groceries online now! I get to choose a 2 1/2 hour window of time when I want them delivered, and only once in the couple of years I have been doing this have they not made it in that time limit. They have also only missed delivering something that I paid for only once. They called the next day and delivered it then. There are the occasional items that are out of stock and then they either give me a similar item instead or just don't charge me for that item. If you are interested you can check out their website to see what fun food we have here in Turkey. The website is in Turkish so here are a few instructions once you get to the website to be able to see the food items.

Click on the top right orange "Migros Sanal Market"
Click on "lutfen seciniz" and pick "Ankara"
Click on "semt" and pick "Cigdem Mahallesi"
After that you can choose "Tum Reyonlar" from the list in blue on the left. This gives you the entire grocery store by labels. You can start picking things and some of them will have a camera next to them. If you pick that item you will be able to see a picture of what that item is.

Some items you might want to look at are Meyve, Sebze, Cips cerez, Icecekler, and Cikolata.


Have fun shopping! I love technology!

Oh yeah, I still go to grocery stores on a regular basis to get the couple of things I need for dinner that night or to get something that I can't find online, but I never do a big grocery store trip anymore! Yea!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What's on?

Several people have asked me what kind of TV we get here in Turkey. Are there just Turkish shows or are we able to get American TV as well? And the answer is...

I, personally, don't watch a lot of TV. I never watched much before we moved overseas and I think I watch even less now. When in America I did have a couple of shows that I loved and was pretty faithful in watching. I loved Survivor! I started watching Survivor 1st season, episode 2. I watched it every Thursday without fail. I will admit that one time when the power was out I sat in my car which had a TV in it and watched it there. Pathetic I know! I also liked the Rosie O'Donnell show...at the beginning of her talk show career. Later it became too political for me, but early on it was quite entertaining. You know she was crowned the "Queen of Nice" back in the day.

When we moved to Turkey I watched some BBC, National Geographic Channel, CNN international, and a few other TV channels that broadcast in English. I didn't enjoy them much to tell you the truth. I tried watching Turkish TV, but since I wasn't a huge fan of TV I had a hard time watching something I couldn't even understand! I did watch a lot of movies though and accumulated quite a collection while we were here!

When we went back to the states for 7 months Brian and I both watched quite a bit of TV. We really enjoyed the last season of Survivor when Yul won. We didn't miss an episode! We also watched CSI, Lost, some HGTV, and several other shows. I watched enough TV to make up for the years I didn't watch!

Since we have been back in Turkey we are, again, limited in our selection of English speaking TV channels. We have discovered a new channel that must have made it's debut while we were gone. This channel has lots of American shows. Desperate Housewives, The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Rachael Ray Show, and several others are dubbed into Turkish. It's quite funny to watch Ellen Degeneres "speak" Turkish. The lady doing the dubbing laughs when Ellen laughs. Even if I can't understand what is so funny I laugh because of how funny it seems to me!

One of our favorite shows is American Idol. They are showing the current season in English about a week behind what is seen in the states. I had never watched it before so I had no idea what to expect. It is actually very entertaining. I know that a lot of stuff is done for TV purposes, but I still have a hard time believing that so many people think they can sing well. Some of them were terrible. Some were okay. Very few were great. So currently that is what I watch. American Idol in English twice a week. And that is pretty much it. Well, I do get glimpses of whatever shows the kids are watching...Power Rangers, Heathcliff, and several cartoons that I have never heard of before. Lucky me!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Where in the world?

I have been debating posting about this topic for sometime now, but decided I would go ahead and do it. Hopefully I won't scare anyone!

When I put the new sitecounter on my blog it added several features. One of the things I can do is check to see where in the world people are who are viewing my blog. There are almost always views from Houston, Spring, Cypress, and other cities in Texas since that is where we know the most people. I can rarely tell who is actually looking at my blog because it doesn't give me names...just server names. It also tells me when people from other states view my blog. Sometimes I can tell who viewed the blog only because I only have one friend in that location. When it says Lancaster, PA I'm pretty confident that I know who looked because I only have one friend there. What I find facinating about the whole thing is that I am getting views from places where I don't know anyone. Now, I am not trying to scare anyone and make them think that I can track their computer business. I can only tell that someone has looked at my blog, and like I said before, most of the time I have no idea who it is. I personally will blog hop at night when everyone else has gone to bed. I have visited numerous blogs of people that I don't know. Usually I get there by clicking on a link in a friend's blog and then clicking on another link and so on. By the time I am done I have visited lots of people I don't know. Some of those I have bookmarked because I really enjoyed the writing style or the topics discussed. So I visit them by going straight to their blog now. And they don't know me! I'm sure they are looking at their sitecounter and thinking...hmmm...Turkey...I don't know anyone in Turkey. I wonder who looks at my blog from Turkey. So here is my list of cities and countries where I know someone has looked at my blog, but I don't know who it is.

Slovenia...I don't know anyone in Slovenia! But, welcome!
Africa...I don't remember which country, but again...I don't know anyone there! And I think this was only once!
New Jersey...Maybe someone I know moved there. Who knows?
North Carolina...now I know several people in North Carolina, but not always in the towns that are listed. Maybe a different server is used sometimes so different cities show up on the map.

Again...this isn't a big deal, and I actually like that people I don't know are looking at my blog. I guess it makes me feel good since I do the same thing! And for those of you I don't know, please feel free to browse the blog. Enjoy!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Oh yeah...

Something else I thought I should fill you in on...
You can comment on any previous post, no matter how far back, and I will know you commented. I have the blog set to send me an email when someone comments so that I don't have to check all the posts all the time. It sends me your comment and a link to the post you commented on. I didn't know if people knew this or not.

Okay...that's it. This must be a new record for me. The shortest post ever! Maybe I should add a picture just for fun!
Erica, Anna Grace, and our friend, Alyssa, pose as the three kings...Charlie's Angels style!
Jacob had a pool party for his 9th birthday. His birthday is January 13, and we knew it would be our last time to swim in my parent's pool for quite some time...since we were leaving on Jan. 24 to come back to Turkey. My dad heated the pool, and all the kids went swimming! It was great. This is also a great picture of how long Will's hair was. Except for having it trimmed once while we were in the states he didn't get a haircut the whole time we were gone! Unfortunately he did have to cut it for school in Turkey so he is no longer so shaggy! He was really disappointed!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Just so you know!

I was just answering some questions on my blog and thought that maybe people didn't realize I do this. I thought I should fill you in! If you post a comment with a question in it I will usually answer the question with a comment of my own. Tiffany and Gina asked a question in the comment section of my last post, and I posted a comment on it answering them. If you are asking questions be sure to check back for the answer. Sometimes I take a few days to answer. If you are just asking the question to be nice and don't really care what the answer is I guess you are missing out on the enlightened answers I am giving. And I do realize that most of you aren't stupid and probably already know this, but I do have a few friends that I'm not so sure about! Happy reading!