Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nothing to do with William!

Elijah and William being goofy during dinner.

It has been a very hard week. I hesitate to write this in fear that my friend Stebbs will think that it has to do with her son William being with us for some of the week while she and her hubby Ryan were attending an award ceremony in Germany. William came over around dinner time three days this week, spent the night, and then went to school and another friend's house every morning.

But truly. When you already have three kids, and two of them are boys, William's age, another kid, especially one as good as William, is really nothing. William was fantastic. Very easy. Totally go-with-the-flow-guy. Okay so yes, he got a stomach bug one evening that involved some "buggies in his tummy" as William calls them. (And some vomit, as I call it.) But otherwise, truly, William was a very low end of the issues in our house.

So where did the hardness come in?

It started with each of the kids getting sick. It came and went fast. A little here. A little there. One would be better. One would be worse. Another would be getting it. JB was finishing up a nasty two week cold that had travelled the Base here, and now I was starting to get it.

But as that finished up, and I got the same cold, I then found myself in the midst a two-day long migraine, and JB got some sort of new stomach bug. He couldn't stand up without feeling the need to throw-up. He couldn't work on Thursday or Friday. Very unusual for him.

We just felt totally and utterly beat down. The second night of my migraine, we actually had to choose. I pulled the short straw and had to take care of the kids since he couldn't stand up and I could. Ugh!

Add to that JB had to spend the night at the Clinic with a very sick patient, and we are starting the process to move across the world again, and well, we just weren't feeling at the top of our game.

Weary. Exhausted. Overwhelmed.

And yet in the midst of it, the Lord provides reminders, continual reminders, of his love for us. I am always amazed of how He is present in the little things.

A few examples:
  • I had a friend skip Mass to take my boys to the park so that I could take a nap while Abigail was napping. I didn't ask her to. She just said she knew that she was where she was supposed to be. Amen to that.
  • A sweet couple came over and made dinner and helped me get the kids to bed on the evening JB had to stay at the Clinic overnight.
  • I had another friend let the boys play at her house one morning, so that, yet again, I could try to sleep off that migraine. She even took pictures and videos to share with me.
  • I had numerous other friends email or call and just check in on us. Ask us what we needed. How could they help?
  • The boys went over to a our back neighbor's fun backyard playland to give me some time to regroup in the house.
  • Three different people brought us meals. One because JB was sick -- soup! One because the Lord told her to. And another because we had an extra child who wasn't feeling good (poor William) and she thought I could use an afternoon free of preparing a meal!
  • Another woman I don't know that well, saw on the Incirlik Yardsale page that I was looking for transformers to handle our move to the Azores. (These are used in houses which don't have 110 voltage.) She offered to give me a bunch. When I asked for how much she just said, "Pay it forward."
God is so present in the little things. Thank you dear friends for being God's hands on Earth.

Enough is enough!

Seriously. How long can I take listening to Turkish music? You can see outside of the Base perimeter from our house which means we can often hear the partying in the Alley. But c'mon I think 8 hours (8am until 5pm) is enough! (Someone said it started Friday evening but I don't remember that.) Turn it down and turn it off. I'm through!



P.S. It is now 8:15pm and it is STILL going on!
P.S.S. It is 9:55am on Sunday morning.  Still on. Although the song appears to have changed.

Duggars


I just finished reading Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar's The Duggars: 20 and Counting!


Let me say that I loved this book! And not just me. I loaned it to Rana after I read it and she loved it as well. Amanda gave it to me. And she loved it.

If you are not familiar with the Duggars, they are a family with 19 children (18 when they wrote the book.) They are strong Christians. And they have a show on TLC. A lot of people that live here aren't familiar with them because we are all so out-of-touch with TV here on Incirlik. But I remember seeing bits of their show before we moved here.

While I don't necessarily subscribe to the Duggars philosophy of children (have as many as God gives you), what I can say is that this is a family living debt free and raising fantastic children. They must know something. So I read it with that in mind. I might not agree with the dress code their children adhere to or the limitless children philosophy, but I can definitely take her advice when it comes to how to cook dinner!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"As the parents of all these children, we've gotten over any perfectionist tendencies we might once have had. Our relationship with our children is more important to us than a clean van or a strict schedule. The goal is to have fun and enjoy being together, and to go with the flow, no matter what happens." -- Duggar parents

"...we are grateful to God for each one of them. They are a gift and a joy." -- Duggar parents

The Duggars spend about $3,000 each month on groceries, diapers, and miscellaneous items such as shampoo and detergent. During a typical week the family does 40 loads of laundry and goes through 16 boxes of cereal, 6 gallons of milk, and 16 rolls of toilet tissue.

"... show me your friends, and I'll show you your future." -- Jim Bob's mom to him when he was a little boy.

"You never know when a kind deed you for for someone will make a big difference in that person's life. It might seem like a small thing to you -- like giving someone a free haircut -- but it could be something big for the other person. Every talent God gives us, we use to honor him." -- Jim Bob Duggar after a neighbor gave him renewed confidence with a good hair cut. 

"In the seminar, we teenagers were encouraged to make two important commitments: first, that we wouldn't date anyone who wasn't a Christian, and second, that we wouldn't date anyone who didn't love Jesus as much as we did." -- Jim Bob Duggar referring to a junior high lesson he had learned.

"...we should owe no one anything but love." -- Jim Bob Duggar referring to their debt-free lifestyle.

The Duggar Motto: Buy used, Save the Difference -- But be careful!

"And we realized that TV would stifle creativity and devour the most precious resource we have: time." -- Jim Bob Duggar in response to the question of why they do not have TV in their house.

"The speaker said that if someone had wronged you, it is important to forgive that person in your heart even before he or she asks for forgiveness. And then one way to overcome the bitterness you automatically feel is to do something nice for him or her. I decided to give this new idea a try." -- Jim Bob after he was robbed at gun point and he decided to bring a Bible to the criminal.


"I tell our children over and over 'You can gain all kinds of training, but no matter what skills and talents you possess, if you do these two things you'll be successful: first, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and second, love your neighbor as yourself.' If our children learn those two things while they're under my tutelage, then I've been successful. And they will be too." -- Michelle Duggar about teaching her children through homeschooling.

"Through all our years of parenting and homeschooling, we've learned a lot. But please keep in mind that we never claim to be parenting experts. We want to share what we've learned through trial and error. For instance, we've learned (sometimes the hard way) that consistency is one of the most important tools of correction. It makes life much easier when our children know we will be consistent in enforcing the rules, especially the first and most important rule: to obey Mommy and Daddy. Sure, there are warnings first. But if the disobedience continues, there will be consequences." -- Duggar parents

"We take very seriously our job of preparing our children to become responsible adults. We love them unconditionally, just as God loves us, and we want what's best for them. We want them to learn to make wise choices, and one of the most powerful ways to do that is to let them experience unpleasant consequences when their choices aren't wise ones. That lesson begins with choosing to obey Mommy and Daddy. We don't just lay down a stern do-what-I-say-or-else rule. We teach them why obedience is so crucial. I tell them, 'As I teach you to obey my voice, I'm also teaching you to learn to obey God's voice. Someday, you will learn to hear His still, small voice in your heart, and you know to obey Him. You'll know what's the right thing to do.'" -- Michelle Duggar on obedience

"... I don't start potty training until the child is able to take his or her pants off and put them back on without my help. (I'm not a perfectionist. If they get them on backward, that's okay; at least they got them on!) The other requirement is that they have to be able to climb up on the 'big potty' by themselves.' I never liked the separate little potty chairs. They just added one more thing that had to be cleaned in the bathroom..." -- Michelle Duggar in changing how early she started potty training.

The Duggars have some emotional and behavior goals they have set for their children and for themselves:
  • Always use soft words, even when you don't feel well.
  • Always display kind actions, even if you have been mistreated.
  • Show joyful attitudes even when no one is looking.
  • Have sincere motive with no thought of self-gain.
  • Think pure thoughts.
  • Always give a good report of others. (Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone -- Matt 18).
  • Never raise a hand to hit, a foot to kick, an object to throw, a voice to yell or an eye to scowl.
  • Use one toy/activity at a time.
  • Never let the sun go down on your wrath.
  • J.O.Y. (Put Jesus first, others second, yourself last.)
"We strive to praise their good character qualities ten times more than we correct them. That means overlooking some of their shortcomings and complimenting every little positive thing we see ... we praise them when they demonstrate diligence, thoroughness, punctuality, patience, compassion, orderliness, generosity, and other Christlike character qualities ... we watch for opportunities to praise them in front of others."  

"We teacher them that any kind of vocation is a way to minister to others. We hope each of our children can spend a few days shadowing someone who's working in the field he or she is interested in pursuing in order to find out if it's as appealing as expected. We will encourage them to do that before going to college for four yeras, then deciding that they don't like the job they've trained for." -- Jim Bob Duggar on preparing for adult life

The Duggar parents allow their children to put their hand on their arm and gently say, "Daddy, I think you're getting angry," to help keep their personal anger in check. They encouraged the parents to lower their voice instead of raising it when they feel anger welling up.

"Our goal is to have them understand four different points of obedience:
  • Instant (if it doesn't happen instantly, it's not obedience)
  • Cheerful ("Yes ma'am. I'd be happy to.")
  • Thorough (We make sure they're looking us in the eye when we make a request. Then we wait to hear "Yes ma'am" or "Yes sir" in response.)
  • Unconditional (without argument)
The Duggars use a "Yes Ma'am Chart." This is similar to what I referred to in this post which discusses how I used this in my home. They put a mark on a chart and then get pennies for each mark. I skipped that and went straight for the penny to the bank.

"You will never regret spending too much time together as a family," -- Jim Bob Duggar

They keep all of the families clothes in a family closet in the laundry room. This cuts down on steps as you don't have to move the clothes from the laundry room back to the bedrooms and then back to the laundry room.

Resources they suggest in the book
  • Bill Gothard's Operational Definitions of Character Qualities 
  • Steve & Teri Maxwell's Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores
  • Emilie Barnes' Survival Book for Busy Women
  • Sing, Spell, Read, and Write (Phonics homeschool program)
  • Engelmann, Haddox and Bruner's Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (homeschool materials)
  • ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) is their homeschool program of choice as is Alpha Omega's Switched-On Schoolhouse (SOS)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Oreo Bon Bons

My friend Tina made these delicious bon bons for my surprise baby shower.  I borrowed the recipe for Casey's shower. These are so easy and SO delicious. And so not diet-friendly.

Ingredients:
  • One package oreos (approximately 15 ounces)
  • One 8 ounce package cream cheese (softened)
  • Chocolate for dipping (I used semi-sweet chips); you can use white or chocolate
Grind all the cookies in a food processor. Mix in the softened cream cheese. Roll out small balls of the cookie and cream cheese mixture, set on baking pan, and put in freezer for a few hours. Then dip them in melted chocolate and chill in the fridge again until chocolate is firm. 



Scrubby's buddy

Our neighbor's behind us have a little boy, Braden. Braden is ... in love. He's in love with Scrubs. As soon as I let Scrubs near him, he goes crazy with excitement. Braden has a virtually limitless amount of energy as you can see from the pictures below. When Scrubby grew tired of getting the Frisbee, Braden decided he'd fetch it himself!





11 things

I've decided to allow Veronica's older sister English (Yes, that's her name, lest anyone be confused) to be my tag for the post below. I read it, thought it was fun, and am doing it. So here goes.


There are five rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you've tagged them.






11 Random Things:
  1. I'm probably diagnose-ably afraid of heights -- although I don't let it stop me from going to high places.
  2. Even though I don't play them, I can see myself being a video game / computer game junky. 
  3. I often wish/wonder what life would have been like if I would have gone to a smaller college and been a big basketball fish in a small pond, instead of the other way around. 
  4. I also wish/wonder what would have happened had I chosen volleyball over basketball in college.
  5. If our infertility was not an always-present issue, I think we would tell you that we definitely want to have more children. But due to those years of waiting, we are ten years older, and we'll have to see what God has in mind.
  6. I have the ability to eat a box of thin mints or an entire bag/box of Oreo cookies in one sitting ... but I never have.
  7. Nothing in the world could ever convince me to return to school/education as a student, ever again.
  8. I think cockroaches (palmetto bugs) are the worst animal ever created.
  9. I once scored 52 points in a basketball game. 
  10. I do not plan to ever return to teaching but would if I needed to.
  11. I do not like cottage cheese, guacamole, or parsley. 
Questions from English answered by me:

  1. What is your favorite vacation spot? Anywhere with my husband, with a book, with unlimited naps, and with no responsibility.
  2. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten? Both in five years and in ten, I see us living on a small hobby farm in the Carolina area somewhere. I see myself very involved with my children's schooling and with my passions: infertility and adoption.
  3. What is your biggest pet peeve when eating out? People shaking my hand while I am eating or right before I eat. Also people being rude/mean to wait staff.
  4. What is the hobby that occupies the most of your free time? Writing; blogging
  5. What is your occupation? Mom (retired English teacher, retired coach, and sort-of retired writer/editor)
  6. What is one skill you think everyone should have? Kindness
  7. Your biggest fear? Something happening to JB and me not knowing where to live
  8. One thing you hope to achieve by the end of the year? Get back in shape; lose 10 pounds; tone up
  9. What is your favorite movie? My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  10. If you could have any animal in the world for a pet, what would it be? I think it would be a perfectly manufactured grown dog with no bad habits.
  11. What cheers you up when you're having a bad day? Time for myself specifically napping
New Questions for me to the people I am tagging:
  1. If you could spend one day with one person, who would that person be?
  2. If you could be any height you wanted, how tall would you be?
  3. If you could have one skill that you don't have, what would it be?
  4. If you could magically turn any junk food into a healthy food, what food would it be?
  5. If you had to read one book over and over again each month for the rest of your life, what book would it be (other than the Bible).
  6. If you could spend 24 hours in one place in the world, where would it be?
  7. If your name wasn't what it is, what would you want it to be?
  8. If you could pick a second occupation, what would it be?
  9. If you had to go back in time, which five years of your life would you avoid at all costs?
  10. If you had to spend the rest of your life living in a room with one person that you were not related to, who would it be?
  11. If you had only one wish, what would you wish for?
And I tag: 

Update on fallen airman

Here is an article discussing the death of a 20-year-old airman here on Base. Please pray for the family of this young man. Apparently, four airmen were canoeing. Rains came in. They went to find shelter. And he was electrocuted inside the building they took shelter in. It's a hard day for all those who knew him on Base. I know that Joel Barrow's family could use some extra prayers and love today.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Love this picture

With each of my kids, I have a favorite photo of me, with them, when they were babies. Up until now, I really didn't have a favorite with Abigail. But now I do.

This was taken candidly at Casey's shower the other day. (Courtesy of Linda). Abigail absolutely loves to chew on this necklace of mine. I actually purposefully wear it to church and other events where I know she will need some extra entertainment.


Here is my favorite with Elijah taken in February of 2011, when he was just over one year old (courtesy of Joan). This was taken at Keenan's Safari-themed birthday party. Here's a link to the original post. 

Here is my favorite picture with Isaac. This was when he was just a few weeks old (courtesy of Kendra.) Here is a link to the original post. This was at my church's baby shower for me, and I just love the look in my face. It really echoed how I was feeling -- extreme excitement to get to be a mom. (I was actually pregnant here but had no idea yet.)

Our pup


"And the best part of this relationship is how simple it is. While we often ask so much of them, they require almost nothing in return. You can ask your dog to chase a Frisbee, take a nap on the couch, herd some sheep, or run around a show ring and he’ll do it, happily, for hours on end. He only wants to be fed, and told he’s good, and most of all loved. If a dog has love, he really needs nothing else. Unlike your kids, who will bug you for money until the day you die." (Source)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sometimes I don't like ...

... being married to a doctor.

I find out things. Painful things. Maybe not specific (patient confidentiality and all that jazz) but I still hear generically sad stories.

Last night JB received a phone call. He was asked to take over for the current doctor on call. Phone call. (There is always one doctor on phone call -- handling emergencies in off hours.)

Why did he have to take over? Because there had been a death. A young airman. And the current doctor on call was on his way to the hospital to deal with the details.

Here is a link to an article about the death. 


While JB knows more, and I subsequently know more, I don't want to post more until that information is public knowledge. But what I will say is, becoming a mother has made me more sensitive to these types of things. I was changing Abigail's diaper when JB told me, and all I could think was, "This young man was someone's baby. IS someone's baby."


Our Base is small. And these things hurt deeply. I did not know this man personally. But please pray for all who did.

Talking about moving

Before I started this blog, our lives took us from Kentucky to Minnesota, where JB attended Medical School. In 2007 we said good bye to four years of medical school and moved from Minnesota to the Panhandle. In 2010 we moved from Eglin to Turkey. And now, 2012. The time has come again. Last week JB got our tickets assigned. Our flights to the Azores. Early June. We leave in early June.

This will be the seventh time we have moved in fourteen years of marriage. I really don't get tired of moving. To be honest, it is invigorating, as a woman who loves organization, to clean out things we don't want; purge; start again.


But leaving people. That is something I will never get used to.

So here is an actual conversation on my bed. Me and my boys. We were snuggling. Reading. But my voice is shot and I ended up not being a very good reader. So we started talking instead. Kids ask questions I'd never think of. They are aware of so much and yet so little all rolled up into a huggable package. Watching my boys navigate this move is quite hard for me. It's so different than the last time. They don't remember last time. They'll remember this time.

Isaac: "Mommy, when are we going to go to the Azores?"

Wendi: "When Elijah's Flintstone vitamins are all gone, it will be time to go."

Isaac: "Are Patty and Mr. 'Meal' (Yamil) gonna go to the Azores with us?"

Wendi: "No, they have to stay here. But Mr. Shane and Dr. Linda are going to come visit us."

Isaac: "But Veronica and Joni are going to come to visit too, right Mommy?"

Wendi: "I hope so."

Isaac: "Roy and Joni?"

Wendi: "I hope so."

Isaac: "Are we going to take all our stuff?"

Wendi: "Yep. Everything in our house."

Isaac: "The electricity switches?"

Wendi: "Um, no. Not those."

Isaac: "What about the bathtubs?"

Wendi: "No, not those either."

Elijah: "But all our shirts?"

Wendi: "Yes."

Elijah: "And our toys?"

Wendi: "Yes."

Elijah: "And we are going on a plane?"

Isaac: "And will Mr. Shane and Dr. Linda watch Scrubby until we get back?"

Wendi: "No, honey, we aren't going to come back. We have to leave this house forever. A new family will move in to this house. We are going to get a new house in the Azores."

Elijah: "Is Daddy going with us?"

Wendi: "Yes. You tell me. Who is going with us?"

Elijah: "Daddy and Mommy and E-yi-yah (Elijah) and Isaac and baby Abigail and Scrubsy."

Wendi: "That's right."

Isaac: "Scrubby is going to fly in his cage under the plane."

Elijah: "But what about William? Is he going to move too?"

Wendi: "Yes, but not to the Azores. They are going to America. And Noah and Rowan are going to Japan."

Isaac: "And a big truck is going to come get our stuff?"

Wendi: "Yep."

Isaac: "And it's going to go on a big boat?"

Wendi: "Yes."

Isaac: "A cargo ship."

Wendi: "Yes, a cargo ship."

Elijah: "But not our bathtub."

Wendi: "No, not the bathtub."

Some videos to share:

Here are some videos that while, not incredibly exciting, do tell a little about our life right now.

Package from Tara Receiving packages from people back in the USA is SO wonderful. I cannot tell you how awesome and loved it makes us feel. Our good friend from Mayo, Tara, sent us a package. We get interrupted in the video by some neighbors stopping by, but it was so wonderful of Tara to think of us. She wrote in the card that she thought that while we are getting ready to say good bye to friends, she could send us some love to remind us of our other friends. So wonderful! Folks, if I love these packages THIS much, I cannot imagine how much they mean to deployed servicemen and women. If you know one, PLEASE send them something today.


Abigail wrestles Isaac Here is Abigail attempting to get Isaac's apples. It also shows Hatice and how much BOTH Scrubs and Abigail are IN LOVE with her. Abigail has, honestly, started choosing Hatice over me sometimes, despite the fact that she only sees her 1 or 2 times a week. And Scrubs, well, if someone gave you 10 times more treats then normal, wouldn't you love them too?


William joins the fam Here is the biggest news going on currently. We have added a boy to our family. Not really, but William (Stebbs' son) is staying with us for four days while his parents get to attend an award ceremony in Germany for Ryan. William's dad is quite the officer and is up for a big award that Sarah went with to see him possibly get. Another family has him during the days and we are taking him from 5pm-8am every evening. He is such an easy kid. It truly doesn't feel very different.*


P.S. William slept until I woke him up this morning -- 8:30am. All my kids had been up for nearly three hours. I cannot fathom how different my life would be with three Williams!

It has begun

Here is what happens when I start a post and leave the computer unattended. I'll leave it here for you all to read, with the creative juices of (and either Isaac or Elijah) three year olds included.

JB has his orders.

This means our PCS is beginning.

P = permanent
C = change (of)
S = status

We are PCS'ing to the Azores. Moving dates will be scheduled. It could be as early as the week after Easter that the trucks will come and load our stuff! "Stick" furniture will be loaned to us. Flights will be permanently booked. Good byes will be had. Last dinners. Last cups of coffee. That sort of thing.

And we will leave.

I'm not ready for this. At all. For a yfddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd of reasons.

But nonetheless, it is ready for me.

Let the PCS season begin!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A few life snaps

Here's just a few random pictures that tell a little about what has been going on in our lives:

Abigail eating some Turkish bread. This gal LOVES food.

One of the Turkish nannies on Base brought some Turkish food for us to eat during our Friday "Open Gym" time at the Youth Center. The gym is open for any moms of preschoolers to come and let their kids run around and play. This day we played ... and ate.

Love this picture of Stebs and little Abigail both in pink. 

These are some gals that I don't hang out with as often but so enjoy when we get to spend time together. They are all much younger than me, more newly married, and just starting their families. Casey, next to me, is my friend who did IVF here in Turkey. She is expecting a little boy in June. That's Ms. Logan in the back and two other friends: Katie and Molly on the right.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Under the couch we go

Not a joke. Saw a toy under the couch. Saw another. Decided to move the couch. Here is what I found:

Apples and Bananas vs. Carrots



You can see by the video above that Abigail definitely approves of fruit over veggies. She also knows how to make her opinion count. If you want to see a much longer video of her getting mad when mom walks away and expressing her opinion, click here. 

yellow maracroni

JB decided to get creative with the boys' dinner. He'd die their macaroni. What color did they want? Isaac picked green. Elijah, who absolutely loves yellow picked ... yellow. He seemed very excited even though there was no color changing to do to yellow macaroni to make it yellow. Here's JB with the finished product and the boys enjoying the fruits of his labor:



Casey

I had the honor of hosting a shower for Ms. Casey at my house this past Saturday. Fellow co-hosts Logan (top right) and Stebbs (bottom right) helped make the day a roaring success for Casey and little Deacon Blair Clark who is due sometime in June.

Normally, I don't put pregnancy-related stuff on this blog. But Casey and I became good friends because of IVF. Deacon is here because of the Lord's miraculous provisions here in Turkey. What an honor it was to stand alongside Casey during a very bumpy road to motherhood.

If you'd like to see more pictures you can do so by clicking here. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Nappy time

Not sure if this picture should be this way ...

or this way ...

... but either way, I love it. JB home from work (thus still in his military uniform). The kids all down for their naps. JB opened the window on a cool, sunny day and both my hubby and my dog took a brief snooze in the sun. 



Time for some :) :) :) (smiles)


While looking at the book I referred to in this post, Isaac stopped me when we got to this page. He looked at the tiny man at the top of the ladder and said, "Boy, he must have been firsty." 

*****

Our friend Patty is a professional ballerina, and we often see pictures of ballerinas and say that that is what Ms. Patty is! While making cookies, Elijah stood on his stool on one foot and said, "Look! I'm standing on one leg, just like Ms. Patty!"

*****

Elijah: "We are pirates Daddy!"
John: "Wow, you are! Look at that boat you made!" (Pillows under the kitchen counter.)
Elijah: "Yeah! It's our boat!"
John: "Are you going to sail the seven seas?"
Elijah: "Ummm ... no. We are going to stay right here."

*****

I was talking to Logan in the van, heading to the mosque park, telling her about Elijah's birth. I said that he had meconium which meant (although she already knew) that he "pooped in the womb." Elijah thought that was so funny and started saying, from his seat behind us, "Pooped in the womb. Pooped in the womb."

*****

You can really see the age difference in the boys when it comes to saving their pennies. Isaac seems to understand that, "A lot of pennies are a nickel. Right Mommy?" Elijah on the other hand would much prefer a penny to a nickel anytime. They saved twenty pennies and got to buy a car at the thrift store. 100 pennies meant one at the Optimum Toy Store (Turkish mall.)

*****

Wendi: "What do you want for breakfast, Elijah?"
Elijah: "A granola bar."
Wendi: "No, those aren't for breakfast. Those are for a snack."
Elijah: "Okay. Can I have a snack?"

*****

Elijah has been saying some cute things. Instead of calling a polar bear it's real name, he accidentally says snowlar bear. Like the other day he walked up to me while in the living room and said, "Mommy, where's my shadow?" Another time he said, "Mommy, can you say Yo Ho like Jake. Not Jake like Aksel's Daddy. But Jake like the Neverland Pirates." (Aksel still comes out a bit differently than it should ad you can see from the video below).



*****

Elijah while praying for dinner last night said, "Dear Lord, thank you for my food. And please listen to my bottom." (He smacked his hind end when he said this part. We have no idea where he got it from or what it meant.)

*****


Threatening Elijah does NO good. He calls my bluff each and every time. Take these two examples
Isaac: "Mommy, Elijah took some of my apples and fed them to Scrubby."
Wendi: "Did you do that Elijah?"
Elijah: "I did."
Wendi: "Why?'
Elijah: "Scrubby wanted them."
Wendi: "Well how 'bout I take some of your apples and give them to Scrubby? How would you like that?"
Elijah: "That would be fine Mom."

-- and --

Wendi: "Elijah, if you don't lay down and be quiet, I am going to make you go sleep in the bathroom."
Elijah: "Oh yes! Can I go sleep in the bathroom now?"

*****

As Elijah talked back to me, I reminded him that he was supposed to say, "Yes Ma'am." He said it and then said, "Now I get a penny." When I told him that in order to get a reward penny he needed to remember it on his own, his reply was, "Awww man."

*****


Elijah and I were playing on the couch with pillows. He put some around me and then said:
Elijah: "Mommy, you are in jail."
Wendi: (sad face)
Elijah: "Don't worry Mommy. It's a nice jail."

*****

Elijah has started telling me I am his son. "Now what, my son?" he'll say.

*****

Isaac came downstairs after going to bed to use the bathroom. Afterwards, he walked out in the living room to ask JB to bring him back upstairs. And so he says, "Daddy," and he pointed at the light on the ceiling. "Excuse me. But that light uses electricity. And would you take me upstairs now?"

*****

Isaac has started referring to himself in the third person. "Let me see. Isaac can figure it out." or "Let Isaac take a look. He can fix it."

*****


Elijah: "Mommy can you help me color this picture?"
Wendi: "No, but I'll stand here and answer any questions you have."
Elijah: "I have a question Mommy."
Wendi: "Okay, what's your question?"
Elijah: "Can you help me color this picture?"

*****

I have instructed the boys to keep an eye out for small things Abigail could put in her mouth. If she has something, to take it from her or tell me. If they see something, to pick it up and put it in the trash. Isaac saw a leaf near her the other day and said, "Oh dear oh dear oh dear." He picked it up. "Here you go Mommy," he said. "I saved Abigail."

*****

When Elijah had his black eye, I asked him one day while he was riding in his seat in the car if he could see out of his eye. He obviously thought I meant, "Can you see your other eye?" Because he kept trying to look from one eye to the other and saying, "No, Mom. I can't see my eye. Maybe when I get home, I can look in a mirror and see it."

*****


John: "You are a lion."
Elijah: "No I'm not."
John: "You don't want to be a lion."
Elijah: "No, I just want to be Sidge." (Our nickname for him)

*****

The only underground parking in  Turkey is at the Optimum mall. In Germany, there is underground parking everywhere! When we drove into the underground parking at the Optimum the other day, Elijah said, "Are we in Germany?"

*****

When trying to give Isaac a bit of hamburger the other day, JB told him that he will like it. "It's a hamburger," JB said. "You'll like it." Isaac wrinkled his nose, looked at the burger and said, "But it doesn't have peanut butter and jelly on it."

*****

Click here for a short video of Elijah's cute way of saying "zip."

Modeling

Elijah has stopped wearing pants to bed because they bunch up too much and it drives him crazy. And us crazy because he wants us to come in and fix his pants over and over and over again. We try to have him put on pants when he gets out of bed, but on this particular morning, he told us he was cold and ran down the stairs to "warm up" with Daddy's hat and some slippers. And no pants:



Isaac decided to put on a ball cap and join his little brother for the modeling session:


I love when Isaac gives the camera a smile. It's not often I can capture on camera his sweet smile:


Abigail Speaks: Date Night

Shane and Linda took the kiddos over night last night so that JB and I could have a bit of a getaway. We went and saw the movie Hunger Games (AWESOME!), ate dinner on the terrace overlooking the huge Adana Mosque, something I had always wanted to do, and then we stayed in one of the suites in the hotel on Base. It was a fantastic 18 hours in our life, and we needed to just be husband and wife again so much! So very fun. I decided that, since I wasn't there, I'd let Abigail tell you about the rest of our evening:

The first thing they did is strap me into my car seat so that we could go to the BX for dinner. I was happy with that because I can keep a good eye on my brothers from my car seat. And, I really like Burger King.

Mr. Shane wasn't steering me so good. So Ms. Linda took over. Here was my view the rest of the way. Perfect. This way I can make sure everyone is doing as they are supposed to do.

Mommy would be proud that the boys waited at the curb until a growned-up person told them they could cross.

Ms. Linda being silly! She's a very special lady, and I thought this crown was so her!

My big brudder Isaac looking so grown up. He loves to look at car magazines which is why Mr. Shane is a perfect babysitter for him since he likes motorcycles and cool cars too. (Daddy and Mommy make sure they don't have pretty ladies in them and Shane did the same thing.)

All right. Finally. Time for dinner. I really needed some caffeine!

But first, I must figure out how to use this red thing. What the heck? 

Despite these adorable faces and pitiful looks I kept giving Mr. Shane, it got me nowhere! All I got was a measly ketchup pack. I am sure going to have to work on my feminine wiles. 

 Yes folks. You counted right. Two cones. And none for me. how fair is THAT? I was quite disappointed at this point. So disappointed, that I decided I'd get them back with a dirty diaper! What power I have.

 This is why I thought vanilla woulda made a much better choice.

That's a lot a chocolate. (Mommy would be proud.)

Time for a bath. It's also time for a hair cut, don't you think?


We are hoping to get to see Shane & Linda a lot when life takes us to the Azores and them to Germany as we will only be a rotator away. They are such great friends to us and all our kids (including the black and white spotted one.) Thank you dear friends for blessing us beyond words! We love you both so much!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Craftically Challenged

I am not a crafty person. At all. I am not a creative person either. If it doesn't involve writing, I don't do it. Yes, I scrapbooked. Okay, so that's one thing. 

I'm not a science person either. At all. Truly, Isaac knows more about electricity than I do. (He's fairly obsessed with electricity, and we watch videos like this and like this nearly every day.) (He's also obsessed with warning signs on buildings and fire and how it works and how you can put it out with a fire extinguisher. Youtube is awesome for explaining what I am unable to explain.)

Anyways, I say all that to tell you that when you look at the things I "do" with my kids on this blog, you must understand that if I can do it, anyone can do it. You must also understand that I do something like this, once a day. (If they're lucky.) Our day is filled with lots of boring, mundane activities and sprinkled with the one thing I might highlight on the blog. I don't write about the other stuff on my blog because ... well, it is boring and mundane stuff. 

Before I was a mom, and even after I became one of preschoolers, I would read these other blogs from moms who seemed to do all these incredible crafts and activities. That is not me. Firstly, I have two boys. And a baby. And a dog. I'm quite outnumbered. I can't devote myself to that type of thing. Are they nuts? Why would they want to do crafts with their children?

But as my boys have gotten older, I have seen the need to challenge their thinking. To help them learn. To help them grow. To fill our day with positive things instead of TV and video games. In order to do that, you have to do a bit of creative work. I see that now.

We got a great book from the library called: Everything I Need to Know Before I'm Five.  The kids love it. I love it. It's incredibly interesting. They show you numbers. And shapes. And colors. Inside/Outside. Up/Down. That sort of thing. 


They have an entire page illustrating how to make different colors using a picture of a duck. A yellow duck plus a picture of a blue duck equals a green duck. The boys totally got it. Especially slightly older Isaac. I decided, spur-of-the-moment, to show them these by using food coloring and paints. It was great! We had a fantastic time making different color water and paint. Way easy. Way fun.


Trust me. If I can do this, you can do it. Seriously. Craftically Challenge. Really.

Domates

Here's Abigail with Sema (Hatice's sister-in-law who will often stop in to see the kids and have ├žay.) I would have never thought to let my daughter try a tomato. But try she did. And ... she loved it!





Friday, March 23, 2012

Our House!

Folks, I am utterly speechless. We had decided to live off-Base in the Azores. In Turkey, you don't get the option, but there you do, and generally, most people agree that when in Europe, living with the locals is the best way to experience the culture. So off-Base it was.

The military gives you a set amount that you can spend based on JB's rank. You can spend more, but you have to pay the difference. In the U.S., if you spend less, you get the difference. However, overseas that is not the case. If you choose to get a smaller house, you do not get the extra money that you have "saved" the government. 

Our friends Nick and Kristy who were with us in Eglin and in Turkey, are there now. JB and Nick will be the only two family medicine doctors on the Base! They have been looking for houses for us, and I have been religiously checking a popular military website for a place that fit our needs. (Nick and Kristy are SO amazing in the help they have provided us. First in moving to Turkey. And now in moving to the Azores.)

Nick and Kristy told us we just had to live in Porto Martins -- the town they live in. We took their word for it, and limited our search to houses in that area. We had a few other requirements. We wanted 4 bedrooms. We wanted at least 2 baths. We wanted a yard.

This one house popped up. The rent was nearly identical to what we had to spend. It said it had 6 bedrooms. 3 bathrooms. A pool. And more. I sent the address to Nick and Kristy. They went and checked it out. We did some emailing. 

We worried and prayed. We knew that June is still a bit away. Maybe they'd rent to someone in coming in earlier. But God worked it all out. The woman who owns it is a widow with many children and grandchildren. It was time to downsize. And she wanted to downsize by letting us rent her beautiful home. 

And so rent it we shall! It's in Porto Martins. You can SEE Nick and Kristy's house from the balcony (so they tell us.)

Here are just a few pictures of the house. To see more, click here. 

See that pool!? That's gonna be our pool. What I especially love is that it is surrounded by a very secure gate that will keep the kids from wandering in.

See that grassy area straight ahead that is completely walled in!? That is Scrubs and John's heaven-on-Earth. Yes, that is a fountain. Yes there is a path. And everything in front of it is fenced in driveway for the kids to play and ride their bikes! 

The kitchen. 

A view of the house. That's an outdoor kitchen and a Florida room!

Nick and Kristy toured the house. From what we understand, it is 3 floors. The first floor has a Florida room, a kitchen, an office, a den (with fireplace), and a huge bedroom (which we think will be a playroom. It also has one bedroom. The second floor has three bedrooms and 2 baths. This is most likely where we will be with the kids. There is another fireplace. There is an ELEVATOR! And then there is an upstairs which is for guests. We understand that there is another, at least 3 bedrooms up there. That means 8 bedrooms? We aren't sure. We know there is an outdoor kitchen. Jets in the tub. A freezer. Two refrigerators. And furniture to go with in some of the house as well.

What's even better is that when we get into town, Nick and Kristy will be able to pick us up and take us RIGHT to our house. No need to go into TLF (Base hotel) or put Scrubs in a kennel.

We are honestly, just reeling from this! We are also hoping that we will get a lot of visitors. We have decided that we will probably not do much traveling during our time in the Azores. The kids are at an age where this is just too hard. So we'll be laying low. And hopefully having some wonderful people to keep us company!

Joni's lasagna


One thing that we love about Joni coming to visit is that each time she does, she makes a whole pan of her awesome lasagna, and then she cuts it up and freezes it for us, and we have six meals ready to go whenever we need them. Here is Elijah majorly enjoying Joni's lasagna which she made when she visited us back in October. I wrap it in saran wrap and then put it in freezer bags. When we are ready to eat it, I put it in the refrigerator for at least a day and then just put it in the microwave. It tastes fantastic!

Ms. Logan

You don't have to have a lot of money to make someone's day. All it takes is a bit of time. My friend Logan has been coming over on most Fridays. She stays for a few hours. She plays with the boys. She holds Abigail. She gives them so much attention that for the hours she is there, I am able to get tons of chores done around the house. 

Here's a couple photos I snagged of Logan reading with the boys.

ELijah being goofy and Isaac refusing a photo op.

The boys LOVE Logan. Especially Isaac who is pretty particular about people he lets into his "inner" circle. Logan is just that "cool aunt" that attracts children wherever she goes.

Logan reminds me to think outside myself. That a little bit of you can go a long way for someone else. I remember JB and I used to do tons of babysitting and hanging out with other people's children before we had our own. I understand now why all those parents were so appreciative. What a blessing!

P.S. Oh and Scrubby is IN LOVE with Logan too. Dogs know a dog person when they smell one!