Saturday, January 31, 2009

A little weekend fun

It's the weekend, and everyone knows that weekends are for fun. In order to inject a little fun into our (this means me and you) weekend we're going to play a game. (Aw...come on. You know you want to play!) Here's how it works. I'm going to ask a question. First person to comment answers my question and leaves one of their own. Next commenter answers that question and leaves one. And so on and so on. If for some reason two people are commenting at the same time and answer the same question the next commenter gets to answer two questions before moving on. Since it's the weekend it might be a little slow going at first. I'll be heading out of town this afternoon for a couple of days so hopefully this will keep us entertained while I'm gone. I'll have my computer, but I don't know that I'll have time to write a blog post.

Now for the question...

What's the best gift you've ever gotten?

Oh, and thanks to Ronnica for the idea!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Lately I have been craving a few Turkish food items. We didn't bring any foodstuffs back with us, because we literally had no space for anything extra. I was thinking I was going to have to have someone send me some of the things I miss in order to survive. Then I remembered that a Turkish friend here in the states told me about a place I could go and get some Turkish foods. Today the cravings finally got the best of me and I ventured out to find the store, Phoenicia. I was very pleasantly surprised that it was so close to our house. About a 20 minute drive. In Houston that is like just around the corner! When I got in the store I was even more thrilled at the things they had. The prices weren't any higher than they would be in Turkey either! Since I went alone I took my time and walked up and down every aisle. They had foods from all over the world!

This is what my basket looked like when I was ready to check out. Well minus the beyaz peynir (feta-ish cheese) which I picked up after I took this picture.

They also had yufka, lentils, bulgur, jars of salca, and many more items. I will definitely be going back!

The two main things I've craved are Turkish tea and Maramarabirlik olives. They had both. I was a happy girl.

Here's to satisfying cravings!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I just had to pop in and let everyone know that I did let the girl from 9th grade know about my blog post. I debated it and decided that I would love to know if someone had a memory of me...good or bad. It was 25 years ago after all. Today I got a response from the girl. She said she does remember me. She apologized for being mean...and really I don't think it was mean at all. She talked about the insecurities we all had in high school. It was a very nice note. Very sweet. At the end she said she was glad I asked her to be my friend. That made me smile.

Monday, January 26, 2009

No wonder...

And now an announcement concerning food and the amount we consume.

I found the following paragraph here.

The average dinner plate today is 11 to 12 inches across – small wonder that we’re all eating too much. A few decades ago they measured a mere 7 to 9 inches. With this in mind, try using a salad plate when you dine at home. You’ll find your meal still looks adequate, even though it’s much smaller than before.

We recently got new dinnerware. The first time we used it we discovered that it didn't fit just any old place in the dishwasher. It had to be put in the front of the bottom rack on the sides only. Anywhere else and it was hitting the top rack. Very frustrating! I measured it after reading the above paragraph and it measured 11 inches across. The salad plates were 9 inches. We have started using the salad plates as dinner plates at home which makes for easy loading of the dishwasher and hopefully will help us limit our portion sizes as well!

Because Mamadallama asked to see a picture...my plates also have a raised edge, but it is so very slightly raised and food still sits on it quite easily. I elected to measure the entire plate knowing that I had no problems piling food to the edges if necessary!

That's all. Now back to normal. You know where I talk about a whole lot of nothing and take pictures of food.


So this morning as I was waiting for the kids to get dressed for school I was scrolling through my google reader. Thankfully there were only a few blogs to catch up on. I came across June Cleaver Nirvana and noticed that I was crowned Peep of the Week for the witty comment I left on one of Holly's recent posts. She even linked to my blog. As I thought about all the traffic I would get from Holly's site I realized that said traffic would land at my last post. The one where I posted a picture of a plumbing mug. Seriously good stuff. Ha! I can't even imagine anyone reading past the picture. I thought about all the amazing stuff I've written over the almost 3 years I've had this blog. And again I have to say HA! There are some posts that I love though. That post about Jacob would pull on their heart strings. The post about my 9th grade angst...brilliant. (Speaking of brilliant I left a message on facebook for the girl I wrote about. I thought about it and decided that I would love to know something like that. I never did hear back from her. I am not bothered by that because if I was it would be like 9th grade all over again!) I've blogged about camping trips, trips to France, and trips to the pazar, yet the post linked on Holly's blog is about a whole lot of nothing. Oh well.

In other news I was messing with my camera last night hoping some kind of inspiration would hit me. I really want a new camera...one that comes with inspiration, but I know that isn't going to happen anytime soon. I figured I should just accept that and move on. I did get some cool water pictures which inspired me to take more during daylight hours instead of waiting until it is almost midnight to take pictures!

This picture just makes me thirsty. Despite the nasty looking background the water looks refreshing to me! Um...pay no attention to the nasty looking drain.

Moving on...
My wii fit age is now 28. Considering I'm 39 I am quite proud of that. Of course the wii fit still told me I was overweight, but then it complimented me saying that I was strong and had great posture. All this back and forth is confusing me! I don't think I can do another wii fit age because there is no way I will ever hit 28 again.

Good grief, this post is just as bad as the previous one. I think I'll quit while I'm ahead. I am ahead right?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pictures for the week

Thanks so much for all your well wishes and thoughts for Jacob. He got off the bus yesterday still wearing his coat which made me sad, but he said that things were better. The friend he plays with everyday was nice. Another kid asked him what it was, and he said excema. He explained that the other kids couldn't get it and things were fine. Kids sat by him at lunch and were fine. Hopefully that is the end of that!

And now...the three whole pictures I took this past week. Well the three besides the picture of Jacob's hand! I won't post that one again!

January 19

This mug was in our cabinet when we got here. Actually there are two Daniels Plumbing mugs. My kids made up a song with this number. Crazy. They were quite disappointed when we called someone else for our plumbing needs this past week. We decided to go with the company my family uses instead of the recommendation on a mug.

January 20

There are some pots on my front sidewalk. Mostly they look like a lot of junk all mixed together. They need weeding. I have no idea what much of it is. The other day I noticed something sprouting in one of them. A bulb of some sort! I can't wait for it to bloom!

January 21

My flowerbeds need lots of work, but there are a few spots that I love. This is one of them!

Yeah...I'm slacking on the picture taking. Oh well. I'll continue to post the weekly pictures even if they aren't so great. Because I said I was!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Yesterday Jacob came home from school a little sad. He said he'd had a bad day. I told him to come sit by me and tell me about it. My 10 year old boy sat in my lap and burst into tears. My heart was breaking, and I hadn't even heard the story yet.

A couple of days ago, right before bedtime Jacob showed me his hands. The skin on top of his hands was really dry. We put lotion on them, and he went to sleep. The next morning I gave him some lotion to use at school to help with the dry skin. I don't know how much he used the lotion, but his hands didn't seem to be getting better. Then yesterday when Jacob was at lunch the boy sitting next to him noticed his hands. He made a huge deal about the "rash" on Jacob's hands and made sure all the other kids sitting nearby heard him. Then everyone got up and moved away. Jacob ate alone. Kills me! At recess Jacob sat on a swing by himself because nobody would play with him. Makes me want to cry just thinking about it!

We talked about what he could have said or done to help the situation. He said he tried to tell them it was just dry skin, but they wouldn't listen to him. He asked if he could stay home from school today. I told him that he had to go to school but that we would go to the doctor first. This morning we went to the doctor, and she gave him some cream for excema. Jacob was so impressed with me, because I had already told him that it looked like more than just dry skin. It looked like excema. He dealt with excema some when we lived here before. He had a couple of bouts with it when we were in Turkey. This is the first time it was really noticeable. This was the first time anyone had ever treated him like that.

When we were on our way to school I noticed that Jacob was wearing his jacket. The weather had warmed up, and a jacket was no longer necessary. I told him he could leave it in the car if he wanted. He said he wanted to wear it. That's when I realized that he was wearing his jacket so he could hide his hands.

I dropped Jacob off at school at 10am this morning. I hope those kids have short term memories. I hope that nobody looks at his hands to determine his worth today. I wonder if this event will be one that shapes him. After writing my last post about one of my own experiences in school I can't help but wonder.

Jacob is one of the sweetest kids I've ever known. Both my boys are. Anyone who's ever met them can vouch for that fact. They are well liked by everyone and have always had lots of friends. To see the look on his face when he explained what happened just killed me. So here I sit counting down the hours until he gets home. I hope someone was exceptionally nice to him today. I hope he comes home smiling. I hope.

(Yes, I noticed that I didn't say anything about my girls being the sweetest kids ever. And that's all I have to say about that!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

At last!

The summer after 8th grade my family moved to a small town north of Houston. It was only a move of about 20 miles, but those 20 miles were significant. Those 20 miles meant changing schools. I had already gone to three different schools so it wasn't a big deal to me. I started high school that fall and loved the small town feel of it. The best part was that the high school had been growing significantly so the 9th grade was given a campus all it's own. I loved that! I didn't have to wonder who the upperclassmen were. Everyone in my school was in 9th grade just like me.

Because I was new in the district I didn't know anyone. I watched the kids to see who I wanted to be friends with. I always seemed to plan these sorts of things. I guess that was a side effect of moving a lot. The planning. Friendships happened naturally for me, but for some reason some people stood out more than others. There were people I noticed. In 9th grade that person was a cute, blond girl in my dance class. She seemed fun and was well liked by the other girls. She had a best friend who she seemed to spend a lot of time with. I tried to be her friend. I tried to sit by her in class. I did whatever my 9th grade self thought to do to be noticed by this girl. Once she was fixing her hair after class, and I told her how cute it looked. She asked her best friend what she thought and then proceeded to take her friend's advice and change it. It was obvious. She wasn't interested. She had friends already and didn't need another one. I eventually stopped trying to be her friend and made other friends. I never did stop idolizing this girl though.

The funny thing is that I'm sure she had her own insecurities back then. What 9th grade girl doesn't? I'm sure she had no idea I was trying so hard to be her friend. I was fairly shy so I didn't do anything over the top to get her attention. I bet she didn't even think about it. She was never mean or ugly to me at all. She just didn't notice me.

Recently I noticed this girl, the one I had so desperately wanted to be friends with, on facebook. I didn't go searching for her. We had some mutual friends, and a notice popped up on the sidebar that told me I might know her. I thought about how much I had wanted to be her friend back in 9th grade. I wondered how she had changed since that time. I decided to send her a friend request just to see what would happen. She accepted it. After all these years I can finally say I'm her friend. I don't think she remembers me, and I didn't send a note with my request. Still, she said yes so I am counting it!

Amended...I certainly hope nobody is taking this post the wrong way. It was meant as a look back at a little of the angst of a 14 year old, and as 14 year olds go I had a perfect home life so really there was very little angst there. Having a 9th grader who is new to a school has had me thinking a lot about 9th grade and making friends lately. It was interesting to me that I saw this girl on facebook after I had already thought of "our" story. I am even tempted to let her know I've blogged it. She seems like a lovely person and might like to know that someone thought she was so great all those years ago! If she hadn't accepted my friendship request I wouldn't have been offended at all. I honestly can't see how she would remember me. I moved again after 10th grade so we only went to school together for 2 years. And in the grand scheme of life and things it really wasn't much of a story!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


After reading some of the comments on my House Things post I felt like I should explain a few things about our house. Answer some questions so to speak.

No, this is not the house we lived in before we moved to Turkey. We sold that house when we left. This is not the house we lived in when we were back in the states for 7 months in 2006. That house is basically a family house, and it is being lived in by someone else.

When we knew that we would be coming back to the states for some amount of time we started looking at housing options. When we were here last we had issues registering the kids for school. I wrote about that here. Because I was already feeling quite a bit of stress the thought of house-hunting and living with family until we found something just stressed me even more. I didn't want to have to live with my parents and put the kids in school only to have to pull them out if we found a place to live in another school district. I wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible for all of us. With that in mind Brian and I asked my parents if they would be willing to house hunt for us. We are fairly easygoing and had no problems with moving into a place that we hadn't ever seen before. We did it when we moved to Turkey and ended up living in that apartment longer than we had ever lived anywhere. My parents have moved more times that I can count and are expert house pickers. They agreed to do the shopping for us. I didn't care what color the house was or how big it was. I didn't need fancy flooring or fancy anything. Just a simple house. Our only request was four bedrooms in the school district that we lived in before. The district is huge so that wasn't a big deal at all. Four bedrooms because there are 6 of us and the boys can share. If a four bedroom wasn't possible I was ok with the girls having to share, but it certainly wasn't ideal. A messy 16 year old and a strong-willed 9 year old don't make for good roommates. Trust me. We've done it! So my parents set out to find a place for us to live. They narrowed the field down to 2 choices. They were able to send us pictures of both houses online so we could see what they found. Still we didn't have a preference. We told them that they were there and could walk through them. We told them to just pick the one they thought was best. They did.

This is that house.

Before we arrived from Turkey my parents moved all the furniture in. They made the rounds collecting the furniture that belonged to us from the family members who had been storing it. My siblings and parents threw in other things that they didn't need or that they thought we could use. The people they bought the house from left a few pieces of furniture which helped as well. Sheets, towels, kitchenware, and other necessities were put in closets and cabinets. A new mattress was purchased, and a sprinkler system was installed. A new kitchen sink, a new oven vent, and new bathroom faucets were added to the house. My mom didn't like that there was carpet in one hallway so she bought tile and had it installed. So much was done to make it move in ready. More than move in ready.

I arrived from Turkey on a Monday night to freshly made beds and food in the refrigerator. I woke up Tuesday morning ready for a shower and realized there was no shampoo. I had to run to the store to get shampoo and ended up getting toothpaste as well. Later that day my dad called to check on us. He asked if we had been out so I mentioned running to the store that morning. Then my dad, my sweet dad, apologized for forgetting to get shampoo!!! Shampoo...good grief! The entire house was more than I could have ever dreamed of, and he felt bad because he forgot to get shampoo. I love my dad!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

pictures for the week...kinda

Ok...I have been a bad picture taker this week. I was busy, but really there just wasn't much to take pictures of. The pictures I did take have already been shared with you for the most part. Here's what's left from the week. Get ready to be blown away by their awesomeness. HA!

January 11

I honestly don't remember taking this picture. I seem to remember messing with my camera and accidentally taking one. This might be it.

January 13

Jacob's birthday. He requested Taco Bell for dinner. It was way better than the Red Lobster Erica requested 5 days earlier. Way better. I will never eat at that Red Lobster again. Yuck! And I love love LOVE seafood!

January 14

I took this picture the same day that I took the one in the previous post. The only difference is the blinds were open. The backyard isn't as small as it looks. Notice the new fence. That was another thing that happened this week. The fence at our house was old and rotting then hurricane Ike showed up and left it leaning. The new fence smells so good!

January 17

A golf lamp I bought for Brian for some holiday, birthday, whatever day years and years ago.

January 12, 15, and 16 are just blurs. I have no idea what we did or where I was. Obviously I am going to have to work on this picture taking thing. I think I need a new camera. Maybe that would put me in the mood.

In other news my wii fit age is 31. Not too shabby! (Whew...big sigh of relief!)

Friday, January 16, 2009

House things

Thanks to all who outed themselves as blog readers the past couple of days. I love that you took it upon yourselves to come up with something to talk about! Tamara and SparklieSunshine both asked to see pictures of our house so I thought I would oblige them.

Here you go.

I know...they wanted a photo home tour. I'm not quite ready to take pictures of everything yet. It's clean, but there are a few things I would like to do to it before I take the time to photograph every room.

Here's a sneak peak at some of my favorites things in my house so far.

The bathroom. I love the tile and the glass shower. And don't even get me started on the bathtub. Love it! I do think I need some candles to complete the look though. Someday...

This wall. First of all it has the window seats which I am so very fond of. They look small, but I am able to sit with my back against the side and my feet up and look out of the window. Plenty of room. Also there is the dresser. Love this! My mother bought me this dresser and a matching taller dresser about 10 years ago. They are massive and heavy and great. My sister had been using them while we were in Turkey, but she willingly gave them back when she heard we had an empty house and plastic tubs of clothes. Whew!

This light fixture. Not sure why, but it makes me smile.

The windows behind my kitchen sink. The ceramic clock is from Turkey, and I needed some green so I bought some little plants to put there with it. If I am going to have to stand there and wash dishes I at least want something happy to look at!

This spot on my island. I searched high and low for a fruit bowl that I liked. They were always either too big or too small. I found a couple that were the right size, but they were plain. I'm not usually picky when it comes to things like that, but I was willing to wait since I had a plastic bowl that worked perfectly fine. Last week I was at Walmart when I saw this bowl. It was plain, but it had a metal stand! I loved it. It was the only one like it anywhere. There was no price on it or on the shelf where I saw it. I carried it all over the store looking for another one. I did find a price on a shelf that said "ceramic casserole with stand". I have no idea what that looked like because there were none there. I was determined to have this bowl so I just figured I would beg the cashier to let me buy it. (This is turning into a post in and of itself...sheesh!) When I was done shopping I scouted out the checkout lines. The lines closest to the grocery section of Walmart were definitely longer. I didn't mind long. What I was looking for was a cashier that could help me. I knew that whoever I chose was going to have to call for back-up. There were going to be price checks and waiting. I didn't want the line behind me to be full of people with full grocery carts. I decided to check out the other side of the checkout lanes. I was presented with a dilemma. There were three cashiers to choose from. One was a young guy probably of Indian descent. He seemed perfectly nice, but would he be able and willing to take the time it would take to find me a price? I wasn't sure. Next there was an even younger girl. The poor girl seemed lost and more than a little stressed. Then there was an older gentleman. He didn't seem to be happy to be there. Should I choose the young guy who was horsing around, stress out an already worried little girl, or choose grandpa? I chose grandpa. He was older, wiser, and surely knew the ropes for getting a price on something that I wasn't sure even belonged in that Walmart. I am here to tell you that I chose poorly. I'm not sure where grandpa was from, but I could barely understand him. Now I personally have a problem with accents. After living in Turkey for almost 7 years I have gotten accustomed to English spoken with a Turkish accent. Anytime I hear English with any other accent I have to really pay attention to get what is being said. I'm sure in time my ears will retrain themselves, but in the meantime I have to ask people to repeat themselves way more than I am comfortable with. That is what happened with grandpa. And because he was older he also mumbled. I had no idea what he was saying. He finally called for back-up. While we were waiting on more help he proceeded to scan the rest of my items. I was buying some plants for my house. The plants you see in the other pictures of this post. One of those plants had some water standing in the pot. He managed to dump all the water out all over his scanner. He walked away. I wasn't sure where he was going. He finally came back with a roll of paper towels. About this time I decided I better let the two people waiting behind me know that I was needing a price check and that it could be awhile. One immediately left our lane and went to stressed-out-girl's lane. The other figured she had time to wait. The manager finally came over to see what we needed. I explained the dilemma of the fruit bowl. I told her that I had seen a price for a casserole with a stand. She asked me if I was ok with that price. I was. She then told grandpa to enter it under 14 and type in the price. After he was done scanning the rest of the items he looked at me and asked me what number he was supposed to punch in. I told him. He asked me the price. I told him. He asked me what it was. I said a bowl with a metal stand. I was dumbfounded. Poor guy. He had probably had a hard day, and here I come with a basketful of problems! Oh, and I love that the black stand matches the "vase" the bamboo is in! So fun!

Ok. That's it. That's all the house tour you get for now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

your words rule.

Today I have felt a nagging sense of need all day long. I've wanted to express myself, but I wasn't sure what to say. I still don't know. Since I seem to be lacking in the words department I thought I would ask you guys to say a few. Evidently Monday was delurking day on the world wide web. Bloggers everywhere asked people to step out and comment on the blogs they read. Today I am asking you to do the same thing. If you've commented before please help get the ball rolling and comment again. If you have just been a lurker step out and say hello. I would love to know who all is here!

And now ladies and gentlemen I give you my commenters.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Taste Test - Adult Edition

After subjecting my kids to various taste tests over the past 6 months I decided I needed some fresh meat. Last night my family was getting together to celebrate Erica and Jacob's birthdays with a hamburger cookout. I decided to add to the fun by bringing a little appetizer for everyone to try.

Enter sushi.

California rolls, Philly rolls with salmon, and spicy tuna rolls. I wasn't sure who had and who had not already tried sushi, but I was fairly certain there were a few sushi virgins among the bunch. I was not disappointed!

First up was my dad.

He'll try anything.

And pretend he doesn't like it! I should tell you that he tried all three types and said they weren't bad despite this look he gave the camera!

Next up was my brother, John.

He didn't mind trying it. He had tasted some before and wasn't crazy about it.

Not bad. I don't like the seaweed taste in it though. I've had some that had rice paper instead of seaweed, and it was better.

Next up are the outlaws...I mean in-laws.

Michelle and Paige are my lovely sisters-in-law. Paige loves sushi so she didn't mind it at all. Michelle was a little nervous but a great sport!

Down the hatch...

Not bad.

The seaweed is kinda chewy though. (I have to tell you that Michelle is adorably cute, and not one picture I took showed this. I must scour my files for an adorably cute picture of Michelle to post later to make up for these not so cute ones I am posting now.)

And Jeremy...

My brother-in-law.

Who said something about how much he loved when we lived in Turkey.

But that he would rather try sushi than do that thing I made them do last time. Jeremy loves us! (He really does...he's a great sport and lots of fun!)

Next up...my mother.

My mom said she wasn't going to try it. I wasn't going to make her. (Like I could make my mother do anything!) After the others tried it and lived to tell about it she decided all on her own to try it. She even tried the spicy tuna. Raw fish and spices. Wowza!

Not a big fan. That's all.

Then we have my sister, Vanessa.

Vanessa was nervous.

She doesn't like dark meat chicken because of the sliminess of it. Here she is about to try some raw fish. On purpose.

She ate it. She didn't like it, but at least she tried it. What a good sport.

Then it was Matt's turn.

Matt is the youngest of the 4 of us. Matt is married. Matt has two beautiful girls. Matt is stubborn! "I'm not trying it. You can't make me. Neener-neener." Little brothers. Sheesh!

Vanessa's youngest tried it.

And she liked it!

Jacob tried it and thought it was pretty good.

Anna Grace loves sushi!

Matt's oldest daughter tried it.

Another one of Vanessa's kids tried it.

He actually went back for seconds!

She didn't. But at least she tried a bite.

She passed it off to her mother.

And we're back to Matt. "I'm not trying it. You're not the boss of me!"

If you missed any of the previous tastes tests and want to see what all the fuss is about here are the links.

Taste Test #1

Taste Test #2

Taste Test #3

Taste Test #4

Taste Test #5