Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I've had several emails and comments from people wondering where I am. I'm still here...just really busy. There's a lot going on. I'm not quite comfortable talking about most of it here though. So for the time being...until I get things sorted out...I probably won't be blogging much. I always promised to let you guys know if and when I decided to stop blogging altogether. That is not the plan as of now. If it comes to that I'll be sure to tell you. Thanks for being such faithful readers.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

just a quick trip...ha!

While in Oklahoma we've become acquainted with a certain convenience store...Quick Trip or QT for short. The drink choices at this place...wow!

frozen coffee drinks, hot coffees, cappuccinos, mochas, lattes, dairy and non-dairy flavored creamers...

milkshakes, smoothies, slushes, fountain drinks, iced tea (which is next to the cups on the right)...

a whole bar of lids for all the different cups

And when you're buying drinks for 8 thirsty kids it's anything but a Quick Trip.

As a side note...I love the looks I get when I pull out the camera and take pictures in places like this. Thankfully I think the wonderment on my face excuses my backwoods behavior.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

party at my place

One of my most favorite restaurants in Turkey was a little local place right up the street from our apartment. When we first moved to Turkey they were just a little hole in the wall kind of place that had about 7 tables. 7 plastic tables with plastic chairs. By the time we left, almost 7 years later, things had changed. They had expanded to be quite large, had nice booths and tables, and were very popular! They made home-cooked kind of food. A dish called manti was their specialty and so they were called Manti Evi or Manti house. Manti is basically a dumpling or kind of ravioli with a meat and spice mixture tucked inside the dough. It is served with garlic yogurt and red pepper paste on top. Delicious!

Several years ago I went to the Manti Evi to learn how to make Manti. I had grand plans to make it in the states when I came here for a visit. It is quite tedious and I am quite lazy so those plans never did come to fruition. (And besides once I got to America there was Pappadeaux's to consume. I must admit the manti making took a backseat to stuffing my face with Cajun cuisine.)

Several weeks ago, before our friends came to the states for their visit, they visited the Manti Evi and took this video.

And today we sat down and made some manti ourselves.

It was still quite tedious, and nobody really ended up with a Turkish sized serving of manti, but we did it!

My taste buds and tummy had a party today. I love it when they do that!

Day one

We came to Oklahoma to visit some of our closest friends from Turkey. The ones we camped with in this post. The ones we shared Thanksgiving with in this post. And I talked specifically about Shawn here. I'm sure they are scattered elsewhere throughout this blog as well.

Today is day one of our trip. So far we've...

dressed up in all kinds of outfits.

Jacob decided to join in as well. I must say he makes an ugly girl! The old lady hair and goggles certainly don't help his look any!

There have been water balloon fights.

Joint Nintendo DS games.

Face rearranging.

Turkish food making...

And eating.

Did I mention dressing up?

And this was only the first day. Tomorrow we have Chuck E. Cheeses, rollerskating, a possible concert in the park, and renting movies for late night movie watching planned. Read the above post about Shawn to understand how much fun we have been anticipating having. It will be a jam-packed few days. My kids are in heaven! And I'm tired already! I love that.

Monday, July 06, 2009


One morning when I awoke very early, I saw my mother walking up the hill to the barn. Mist hung about the ground, finches were singing in the oak tree beside the house, and there was my mother, her pregnant belly sticking out in front of her. She was strolling up the hill, swinging her arms and singing:

Oh, don't fall in love with a sailor boy, a sailor boy, a sailor boy--- Oh, don't fall in love with a sailor boy, 'Cause he'll take your heart to sea---

As she approached the corner of the barn where the sugar maple stands, she plucked a few blackberries from a stray bush and popped them into her mouth. She looked all around her---back at the house, across the fields, and up into the canopy of branches overhead. She took several quick steps up to the trunk of the maple, threw her arms around it, and kissed that tree soundly.

Later that day I examined this tree trunk. I tried to wrap my arms about it, but the trunk was much bigger than it had seemed from my window. I looked up at where her mouth must have touched that trunk. I probably imagined this, but I thought I could detect a small dark stain, as from a blackberry kiss.

I put my ear against the trunk and listened. I faced that tree squarely and kissed it firmly. To this day, I can smell the smell of the bark---a sweet, woody smell---and feel the ridges in the bark, and that distinctive taste on my lips.

In my mini journal, I confessed that I had since kissed all different kinds of trees, and each family of trees---oaks, maples, elms, birches---had a special flavor all its own. Mixed in with each tree's own taste was the slightest taste of blackberries, and why this was so, I could not explain.

From Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.

Have I mentioned how much I love children's literature? I have. Ok then...carry on.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

How I spent the 4th

My entire family went to Lake Sam Rayburn for a little 4th of July fun. My parents brought their RV and boat, and my sister and brother-in-law brought their wave runners. Their were air conditioned cabins, bikes, s'mores, hamburgers, tubing, skiing, swimming, and even a pinata. All kinds of fun was had. Well except the first day when I decided to water ski even though I hadn't been water skiing in over 12 years. Yeah...I'm about to be 40 and could totally tell. So could the hamstring that I pulled that first morning. Thankfully there were air conditioned cabins since I was pretty much out of commission that first day. The rest of the time I limped around determined to spend some time in the water. Here are a few photos of our weekend.

The kids taking turns with the pinata.

Jacob and Will cooling off.

Everyone you see in the picture belongs to us. Wait...except the kid with the buzz haircut. I have no idea where he came from.

Paige enjoying the lake.

Little Luke

Hannah having fun.

Vanessa and Jacob prepare to take off.

Will and Erica tubing. Lots of laughing involved.

Will and Jacob waiting their turns.

Vanessa and Jeremy taking the girls out for a spin. Anna Grace has been compared to a bronco bustin' rider. She LOVED going fast, spinning around, and jumping waves.

There were several more pictures, but they pretty much look the same as these. And I totally forgot to take pictures of the food. We were all so ravenous that it was gone before I thought about it.

Good times.