Friday, December 31, 2010
It is now January 1, 2011 here in Turkey.
It is still December 31, 2010 back in the country we will always call home.
No ball dropping here ... but if we get up at 7am we'll probably be able to see it happening live in the U.S. of A. We had a wonderful evening at Dan and Angelica's and for the first time in more years than I can count, I managed to stay up to usher in 2011. I think the company we were keeping was responsible for that!
Happy New Year everyone. I pray today for those of you praying for and believing for something in your life. I pray today that 2011 brings an answer to your dreams and a peace to your sadness.
Happy New Year!
Isaac: "I love you Mommy. And I love pluto (play-dough."
Mommy while changing Isaac's diaper. "Oh, Isaac, You have diarrhea."
Isaac: "It's not diarrhea. It's poop."
Isaac walking around wearing his pretend stethoscope. "I'm a doctor just like daddy. I make people feel better."
Mommy: "You do?"
Isaac: "Oh yes!"
Elijah has been using the phrase "Got them!" to express his excitement at catching bubbles. The only thing is, "Got them!" in Elijah grunts sounds more like "God ___." Not good. He also says his friend "Aksel's" name like another bad word.
Isaac to Mommy as she emerged from the bathroom she often shares with little kids and dog: "Did you go potty all by yourself Mommy?"
Isaac: "There's a baby in your belly Mommy. Do you like babies?"
Mommy: "Yes, I like babies."
Isaac: "Do you like ice cream?"
So, back to Friday, the biggest adventure-filled day on our Istanbul trip. After our morning at the Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern, we got some quick lunch at a nice Turkish Cafe. Once again, your order in the hopes you are getting something you sort of wanted. (I ordered a quesadilla and ended up with what was actually a fajita filled wrap.) Here are a couple of pics from our lunch stop:
William lovin' the fries as well.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Here are a few pictures from inside the Cistern:
One of the most notable features of the Blue Mosque is visible from far away: its six minarets. This is very unique, as most mosques have four, two, or just one minaret. According to one account, the Sultan directed his architect to make gold (altin) minarets, which was misunderstood as six (alti) minarets.
Whatever the origins of the unique feature, the six minarets caused quite a scandal, as the Haram Mosque in Mecca (the holiest in the world) also had six minarets. In the end, the sultan solved the problem by sending his architect to Mecca to add a seventh minaret.
We certainly enjoyed touring this incredible mosque. The architecture was amazing and the kids had plenty of space just to run around and be kids. One of the hardest things about traveling in Turkey with kids is that there are so few "kid-friendly" places. Everyone loves kids and welcomes them, but safety and fun for them is just not taken into account.
Here is a great piccture of Dan and Angelica with Noah and Rowan. It isn't often that you meet couples that match you so wonderfully but our travel partners were just that. Dan is a very outgoing and caring guy -- (and he's a pilot!) Angelica is one of the most beautiful people (inside AND out) that you will ever meet. She grew up in Spain and while she lived for seven years in the U.S., is still learning some of the nuances of the English language. Their kids are bilingual.
Our little stinker!
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Packed in the back of a taxi cab somewhere in Istanbul with my youngest son throwing a fit beyond anything I've even observed as an outsider, Stebbs said that sometimes you get to a point where you either have to laugh or cry. "They really are the same emotion. They just come out in different ways."
At the moment I wasn't sure I agreed with Stebbs. Laugh? I think not. We had taken a beautiful boat toar of the Bosphorous that morning followed by a cable car ride down a beautiful hillside. While Elijah had done well on the boat ride, sometime on the bus ride between the boat and the cable car, he lost his mind. We think it was fatigue. And heat. And being squished. (Kids are free for everything in Turkey if they do not take up a seat but this often means big ol' Elijah sitting in a less than ideal spot on our lap.) He had sobbed. Thrown his body around. Screamed. Yelled. Begged. JB and I were completely at our witts end. Each of our travel companions had taken a stab at calming Elijah to no degree. We think he was just so over-tired (which is our fault) that he had moved beyond the ability to reason.
I felt like crying. In fact, I think I teared up on a few occasions. I was incredibly hungry and not feeling well myself. Eljiah wanted nothing to do with JB, and while I wasn't fairing much better, it was a slight improvement with him on my lap over his Daddy's. I tried letting Elijah stick stickers all over my arms and face. I tried singing. I tried lollipops. I tried pacifiers. I tried games and stories. Nothing worked.
But laugh? No Sarah. I don't feel like laughing.
And then we got into McDonalds, and JB put Elijah into a corner to sit down. He wouldn't sit on any of our laps. His pacifier didn't help. Toys didn't help. Food (which always helps him) didn't help. So he gave up and told Elijah he'd just have to sit in a corner next to JB until he calmed down.
And calm down he did. He fell asleep sitting up. The poor little guy. He wouldn't let us touch him. When his head jerked forward, and he woke up, he got mad at JB for trying to fix it for him. He wanted nothing to do with any of us. He just wanted to be by himself and sleep.
And as he nodded off, I found myself starting to ... well ... laugh.
Stebbs was right. Sometimes the way you are feeling can only come out in one of two ways. And when it isn't crying, it's laughing. Which feels much better in the long run even though you are laughing at your own child in a most unfortunate situation.
Christmas Eve in McDonalds in Istanbul trying to communicate that you want nuggets of the chicken variety not a sandwhich of the same meat with your son sleeping sitting up in the corner.
Gotta love an adventure don't you?
Istanbul, historically known as Constantinople is the largest city in Turkey and 5th largest city proper in the world with a population of 12.8 million, also making it the second largest metropolitan area in Europe by population, and the largest metropolitan city proper. Istanbul is the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. The city extends both on the European and on the Asian sides of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. The history of Istanbul generally begins about 660 BC.
I'm not sure I have ever taken a trip where JB hasn't done all the planning. But for this trip, it was Dan that took the lead. He booked us a fantastic hotel in the heart of the city, and after checking into our rooms, we enjoyed a wonderful Chinese dinner before the women and children turned in for the night and the men hung out for a few extra hours before hitting the sack. It may seem strange to eat Chinese, but in Adana, we really can only get Turkish food. So anything different is a treat!
Tomorrow (Thursday) will bring new adventures. We'll get to spend the first of three full days in Istanbul before we had back to Base on Sunday.
It is a bit strange to not be "home" for Christmas. But since we are all "family-less" we thought, why not be family-less together. I think Angelica is the least homesick of our crew. She grew up in Spain and then spent seven years in America away from her family. So she is used to living away already. And while we have always lived away, this year feels particularly hard for me. We are living in a country that doesn't celebrate Christmas and have had trouble even Skyping due to connection issues around this holiday time. I just want to be on the phone with my Mom for a bit and have a normal conversation.
We are looking forward to a few days of the "Europe" side of Turkey!
Friday, December 24, 2010
I am homesick.
And I know I am not alone.
Unlike many of the servicemen deployed on this day, I am "deployed" with my family. They often call it that in Turkey. "Deployed in place." It's why JB does not deploy while we are here. They consider it enough of a sacrifice to serve where we are serving. (That being said, there are a few servicemen that deploy from Turkey! How agonizing that would be for them and their families.)
But many people don't get that option.
And while I am homesick with my husband and two little boys, I can only imagine the mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and children and grandchildren who are homesick with no one they love close by. Sure we have our surrogate family. Our support system. But it just isn't the same.
It's funny. I'm not sure what I miss exactly. A country that celebrates the holiday maybe? My family maybe -- even though sometimes I celebrate without them. The comforts and familiarities of home? I just miss "home" even though I am not exactly sure where that is for me right now.
And I know I am not alone.
Merry Christmas to everyone we love today. Please remember us in your prayers today. Please ask the Lord to give us an extra "oomph" as we miss home and loved ones and the home we are familiar with.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9
I am taking B6 (someone on the blog recommended that but JB beat you to the punch and started me on it a few weeks ago.) I am also taking another over-the-counter medication that I am currently drawing a blank on the name of. Not sure if it is the B6 or the OTC or the fact that I am starting to near the end of the first trimester but my morning (and afternoon and sometimes evening) sickness, is all but gone.
I am still dealing with some fatigue but it has lessened. I also have to limit how quickly I try to"move" throughout my day. I just don't have the ability to conquer the day as I once did before. For instance, if not pregnant I could spend the day at the zoo walking around, I now have to only tackle half the zoo. Or tackle the zoo at half the pace. (I haven't been to the zoo in ages but you get the idea I think.)
But other than that, I am doing wonderfully. Praise the Lord. Taking care of the boys while not feeling well was quite a challenge. But the Lord is sufficient. He provided the friends on the days that I needed them. A husband who tackled all his jobs and mine too. I also had the co-op and naptime to push me through.
Either way, life has improved drastically. Thank you to those of you who were praying for me. Please pray that this improvement continues.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Both of these things happened on the exact day we found out we were expecting again.
The first was that, the day we found out we were pregnant, we were scheduled to call Mayo Clinic and discuss returning for some of our embryos in the spring. The exact same day! We were going to go over to Shane & Linda's and use their magicjack to make the call! How amazing is that? God really does have things scheduled on His time table doesn't he?
The second was that, the morning of our positive test, I received an email from a long-time family friend. Veronica is the daughter of our great friends in Minnesota Ron & Ebby Ray. We have known Veronica since she was four-years-old, and in fact, lived in the same house with her for a year when we first moved to Minnesota. Anyways, she just graduated from high school and was hoping to "see the world" a bit. She asked via Facebook message if I might be interested in her being our live-in nanny for a year or so.
I didn't think much of her message until later that evening, when I took that positive pregnancy test. I emailed her back and told her that we were in fact, very interested. Long story short, it appears that if everything goes as we hope on her end and on our end, Veronica may be moving to Turkey to live with us as early as March! She would stay with us, help with the kids, travel with us, and just get to explore a different part of the world for at least a year of her life.
Veronica is working on her passport and some things on her end. We've been meeting with the legal office and some other places here on Base trying to get things sorted out on our end. We are excited about the possibility of having another set of hands available around here. We just don't think we can look a gift horse in the mouth!
Just a few fun tid-bits that, to me, illustrate God's perfect plan! He really does have things figured out way before we do.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Is that a bit of a smile from Isaac for a photo? Could it be?
Elijah, who has not been feeling well, did not want to take a picture with Santa. So JB sat down with him on his lap and Santa snuck in behind him!
Monday, December 20, 2010
Things I learned today:
- Scrubs barfing is bad. Always is. But Scrubs barfing when I am on the verge of barfing is an absolutely horrible combination. I calculated the time to see how long before JB was going to be home. Could it wait? It could not.
- Candied ginger is terrible stuff. I tried it. Bad. It almost made me sicker than I was to start with.
- Your kids are smarter than you are. While reading through our animal book, Elijah pointed to a bird and asked me, "What's dat?" While searching for the specific name of the bird on the page, Isaac sighed and said, "It's a bird Mom." Right, it's a bird. I knew that!
- Puppies are scary. We let the boys go outside to meet a new boxer pup on Base. The dog began jumping all over Elijah. We watched as Elijah grew afraid of the puppy and actually sought refuge with Scrubs! Scrubby is such a good dog.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I kid you not folks! It is almost comical. Do people really buy these? I certainly hope not. I'm already missing my family a lot right now. We are all a bit homesick. Everyone on Base I think. And to add this tree to our home would just bring a constant reminder that we are not at home for the holidays. That we are in another country. A country that doesn't celebrate Christmas at all. (They decorate some but it is all in celebration of the "New Year"). The holidays are a hard time to be away from home and this tree ... oh my ... there is so much I could say about this tree. But I'll stop here. Apparently Turkey doesn't have any other options for us outside of this tree. Oh my.
We decided to pass on purchasing this tree and just go tree-less. I think we made the correct decision, don't you?
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
So for all of you out there who have never seen me with a basketball stuck under my shirt, here I was back in December of 2008. Isaac is about seven months old. And I am due to deliver in just about one month. You can read the previous post here that I wrote and see more pictures if you are very interested.
I cannot believe how little Isaac is in this picture. Last night we had some friends over for dinner and they had a tiny baby in a swing. I realized that this time everything will be different. I will have toddlers. I will be having to teach them how to share Mommy. How to be gentle with the new baby. How to accept the new baby. How to understand why Mommy isn't able to run or wrestle as easily as she did before.
Isaac was just a baby the first time we did this. But now he is understanding. When we told him that I had a baby in my belly he said, "Mommy, there's no baby in your belly, okay?" And then he changed his mind and said, "What's it gonna be?"
And worse, he's totally figured out how to stall!
"Isaac you must go to sleep," I say as I peep in to make sure he isn't climbing on the walls or doing some dangerous something-or-other. I then begin to shut the door.
"Mommy. Wait. I need ..."
"What do you need?"
"I need ... something," Isaac says in a very sweet, sleepy, cute voice.
"You don't need anything. You need to go to sleep," I say (and begin to shut the door again.)
"No. I do. I need ... a huggie."
Oh geez. Like I can turn that down. "Okay," I say as I cave to his cuteness. "I''ll give you a hug." I do, and then I say, "Okay. Now you need to go to sleep."
"But wait Mommy. Could you stay here with me?"
"No, I can't. You have to go to sleep."
"But could you just hold my hand?" he asks.
Oh for crying out loud. How manipulative and gooey and amazingly intelligent can a two-year-old be? Who taught him how to do this? Of course, I sit there, holding his hand. I then allow him to lead me to his toy box full of stuffed animals so he can pick just one more out to have in bed with him.
When I finally do give in and shut the door, it's only because I was quicker to the draw. I shut before he could come up with something else that would draw me back in.
Isaac is definitely growing up. For the first time in his entire life, he is challenging us. He is starting to talk back, "I don't want to eat those, okay?!"
He has learned how to skirt the truth by answering, when asked why Elijah is crying with, "Because he hurt himself." Asked how he hurt himself? "He got hit." Only when asked what hit Elijah does he finally reply that, "I hit him."
But even though I know he is growing up and getting wiser and becoming more sinful in nature, my love for him seems to double by the moment. By the day. I feel so lucky, every day, that two teenagers saw fit to make me his mom. Truly can there be any better gift?
Sorry. He's calling me again. And if I have to be honest, I know I'll probably be a sucker and be watching a movie with him on the couch before a few minutes have passed.
Love that little boy. Even if he's making me work harder with every day that passes to out-wit him, to out-think him, and to discipline him. My sweet little Isaac.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
"If you could go back in time and tell infertile Wendi one thing, what would it be?"
It's funny she asked that. It's a question I've thought about many times. And I've formulated many different answers.
But here's the one that resonates most within me.
I would tell myself to try my hardest to enjoy my life. To try to embrace where I am at currently instead of wishing the months and years to speed ahead until our next treatment or the next holiday that maybe I would be a mom. I would tell myself to sleep in as often as I could. I would tell myself to take more naps. Lie in bed and watch movies and don't get up just for the sheer relaxation of lying around Wendi! I would tell myself to go on as many dates with my husband as I could. Go for runs whenever you want Wendi. Take long walks in the park for no reason at all. Travel. Travel. Travel some more. Volunteer. Embrace your hobbies. Sit on the kitchen counter and drink a coke and stay up way too late talking with a girlfriend. Don't worry so much about becoming a mom. Try to remember that God doesn't promise us tomorrow. Children won't solve your fears of being alone Wendi. And then travel some more gosh darn it!
There's more. But you get the general idea.
What I find interesting is that this is the first place I have lived where people did not know me "before" kids. I had someone mention to me that they have trouble picturing me as anything but a "mom." Yikes! Really? This is so foreign to me since I spent from ages 21-31 as a married wife with no children at all.
But seriously. I was that woman. I was the woman that people would have bet money on would not have biological children. Ever. When we got pregnant with Elijah my doctor said to me that if I would have asked her if I thought I would ever bear a child she would have had to be honest with me. It just was not going to happen. Not ever. Three clomid cycles, five failed IUI's, and four failed IVF's didn't leave a hope left floating around.
It only left God.
I think we have this idea that if we "just get married" or if we "just have kids" or if we "just get this job" or if we "could just pay off this debt" or ... well, the list could go on and on, that then things will be perfect.
But they won't. We will never arrive. There will always be something we are seeking. There will always be sadness and disappointments. Only a relationship with our Heavenly Father can bring us the complete peace we think a certain thing will.
When we pulled away from the hospital with little two-day-old Isaac strapped into his car seat on May 9, 2008 ... with the lawyer and nurse waving at us and feeling like we had no idea what we were doing ... I realized that I was now, nearly officially, a mom. (His five month court hearing would solidify it.) But I didn't really feel different. Something could happen to Isaac the next day. Something could happen to all of us on the way home. Isaac was the child we always hoped to have. But he was not the answer to the hole in our life we often try to fill with things other than Christ.
I pray for those of you today praying for answer to your prayers. For many of you it is a child. For others of you it is something else. A spouse. A job. Reconciliation.
Whatever it is, I hope I can encourage you with three main tidbits of hope:
1. Embrace, as best you can, where you are today.
2. Believe that miracles are possible.
3. Remember that only Christ will bring you the peace you seek.
I always seem to have a group of about 5-10 women in my life that are in my "infertility group" of the moment. Women that I am watching walk the walk I walked just a few years ago. Please know that you are at the forefront of my mind all the time. Really. I am thinking of you by name while I write this. When I see you. When I email you. When I talk to you. I am thinking of you. I am wanting to fix it. And I am praying for the answer to your prayer.
P.S. Happy birthday to my "unofficial" goddaughter Raylee and my cousin Sarah.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Must share my excitement that our government did not vote to repeal a longstranding ban on abortions on U.S. military bases last week. This provision would have allowed abortions to be performed in taxpayer-funded facilities in the States and abroad.
No matter what your opinion on abortion, the idea that tax-payers should have to pay for someone to receive an abortion is completely ludicrous in my opinion. Individuals can still receive an abortion but must pay for it themselves and go off-Base to receive the services.
Good job political leaders. Well done.
So here's the thing I've learned this week. The "rainy season" is exactly that. R-a-i-n-y! Not rain like I've ever experienced before. I've experienced hard rains and a lot of rain, but I've never experience rain for such an extended period of time. It has rained seven days in a row. Yesterday there was a break in the action, but otherwise, it has rained from morning to night, overnight. There is a cold wind that blows. And it drizzles all day. It has rained so much that I finally gave up waiting for a break in the action to get Scrubby outside for exercise and agreed to let him play Frisbee in the rain and just give him a good wipe-down afterwards.
P.S. Happy birthday to my nephew Nathan!
Monday, December 13, 2010
I do not miss the incredible cold in Minnesota for what can be up to 8 months of winter. (And don't say that isn't true locals. We had a snow in May when I lived there and a snow in October. That's 8 monts!) But while I don't miss the cold, I do miss the beauty of snow. It was such a reminder to me of God and his creativity. (Especially when I was inside the warmth of my house watching it and not having to drive in it.)
As I also mentioned earlier, I had no idea that this was a formal event until just a few hours beforehand. I dropped-in at the Turkish beauty salon on Base and pulled out the black dress from my friend Michelle's wedding and made the best attempt I could at looking put-together in a very short period of time.
This will be the last time I wear this dress for quite some time. It is true that baby #2 starts protruding much faster than baby #1. The dress will need to be retired for at least a year.
This is a great friend of mine, Tina. She has five children. Her oldest daughter, Hannah, was babysitting for us that evening. She is a wonderful Christian gal with a lot of parenting knowledge that I am always willing to "steal"!
This is Tina and her husband Mark. They live just around the block from us. It was so fun to sit next to them for the dinner.
This is Andrea, a fellow doctor, with JB. Nick couldn't make it due to his family just returning from the States and Linda was out-of-town. So Andrea and JB held down the fort.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
The boys did, however, have a fabulous time, and while Elijah may have been impressed by Santa, I am pretty sure Isaac would have gone into complete rivolt at the idea of sitting on some strange man's lap.
Isaac wanted to make a candy bag with JB. Here they are working on it.
It was while I was at the party that, in conversation with other women there, I discovered that the party I was attending that evening with just JB for the medical group was more of a "gala-style" event isntead of a "casual event." In other words, my idea to wear a skirt with a sweater was probably not a good one. Ugh! That's not something you want to find out with 3 hours before event time.