Thursday, May 31, 2012

Favorite Foto

It's time to say good bye to more people. As I write this, JB is doing the final inspection on our big house on Edirne drive.

This time, the friends aren't leaving me. I'm leaving them. It's time to go.

Stebbs wrote a post about her favorite memory of Turkey. It's a picture of our three boys running in front of the big downtown Mosque, and it's my favorite picture too. Click here to read it for yourself.

Believe it or not, Stebbs and I each got each other a going-away gift. I got her a frame which included this picture. She got me a frame which included this picture too. I was hoping she'd put it in William's room so he could remember his first real friends. She was hoping I'd put it in the boys' room so they could remember their first real friends.

It was a picture of the mosque. Of our boys. Running and playing. Oblivious to the world around them.

Time to say good bye.

For more, visit Facebook album

I've been taking a lot of pictures durin the last couple of weeks and especially during the last few days. It's as if I am trying to squeeze two years of time that I should have been taking more pictures, into a few days. I want to make sure I capture all of the people that have made our life here so wonderful. And I've especially wanted to capture the boys and their friends. There is absolutely no way I can pick these to put on my Daily Blog. So if you would like to see my Facebook album with pictures of our most recent events during our final week in Turkey, click here.

Stebbs and Bri (second from the right) had a little "going away" party for me and Sarahbee (pictured second from the left) on Tuesday evening. The rest of the pics are in my Facebook album.

We had a BBQ at Arkadas park last night. We threw it together but a lot of people were able to come. Again, the Facebook album has more snaps.

We've been spending a lot of time with Stebbs (and William) and Sarahbee (and Peter) since all three of us are in TLF right now. Sarahbee is leaving on the rotator with JB. Stebbs will be here for a few more weeks. Pray for her as Sarahbee and I both leave here.

We thought we said a final good bye to Ms. Linda but she may be getting back from her house-hunting trip in Germany early so that we can get some final hugging in. We'll see!
There's been quite a few friends that have had us over for some final dinners. We watched Beauty and the Beast with Patty, Yamil, and Troy on their awesome TV. And ordered pizza from the Bowling Alley. Jake and Rana have had us over once a week for the last few weeks. Again, Facebook album can give you even more snaps of our current life.

A hug

My friend Patty. Such a beautiful person. I avoid hugs. Avoid tears. But you can't avoid hugs with Patty. She doesn't take no for an answer. I had no idea JB snapped this picture while we were saying an early good bye. We'll see each other again before we leave. And it's not good bye forever. They plan to visit us soon in the Azores. But we both know the days are numbered. We didn't say good bye. But as I gave her this hug, we both knew that that's was this hug was. A good bye to a huge part of my support system in Turkey.
While it's hard on me, Patty is staying another year, and most of her "people" are not. She could really use some extra prayers as she manages her last year here in Turkey with a brand new baby boy. In fact, it is the people who are here another year that I worry the most about right now. I didn't make a lot of friends who were a year ahead of me when I came in. And even if I did, I was stork-nesting in Germany when they left. But many of my new friends came in on the "second boat" as I like to call it. They are watching a lot of people leave. And it's hard on them.

Christina lives right behind me. They already have workers in our house, getting it ready for a new family. "I mean c'mon," Christina said to me today as I dropped Scrubs off to play in her yard for a bit. "Couldn't they give me a few days before they started turning it over?" 
This photo with Patty and me was at an last-minute bbq we had at the park across from our hotel. I took a ton of pictures at this event last night. To see more pictures of this bbq, click here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A spout of air

That's what I would have blown up at my bangs. If I had bangs. Which I don't. But if I did have bangs, I'd have blown a pout of air up at my bangs many times today.

In exasperaration.

It was just one of those days.

But firstly, the good news. It appears (and I use that word very loosely because after all, this is Turkey) that the strike by Turkish Airlines employees has been lifted. We aren't positive. But right now, all seems well for my flight in a few days. Praise the Lord on that one.

More good news. We had an impromptu cook-out with some of our friends here on Base this evening. Nearly all of our friends were able to come even though it was last minute. We had a wonderful time.

Those were the highlights.

And now ... on to the air blowing part.

JB's out-processing on Base has been wrought with so many frustrations, I could scream. Seriously. Scream. (And blow a spout of air up at my non-existent bangs too.) And if I feel like screaming, you can only imagine what JB feels like doing since he is the one that really has to do the out-processing.

Basically, he has to go to every single entity on Base and get "released" to move to the Azores. He has to go to the library and have them sign out stating he doesn't owe any more books. (They informed us that we were one of the largest utilizers of the Base library -- a huge compliment.) He had to sign out at the Vet. At The BX. Everywhere. All these different places have to give permission for him to leave. Why this can't be done electronically in the year 2012, I have no idea.

Because Scrubs broke a vent on a door in our house, we owed $80 to Housing. Even though we told them about this two months ago, it was yesterday that we got the bill. And today that he had to go to Finance and pay the bill to get a receipt to bring back to Housing so Housing could release him so we could move to the Azores.

JB got to Finance at 8:00am. They didn't open until 8:30am. Okay. That would work. I was due to meet Todd from Pati Pets (the off-Base American-run Vet) at 8:45am to pick up Scrubs and take him to his 9am vet appointment. Why me? Well ...

JB couldn't pick up Scrubs. He is not allowed to go off-Base in uniform. Pati Pets is not allowed to come on Base because they don't have the required clearance. This means that I had to go and meet them immediately outside the gate since I don't wear the aforementioned uniform.

8:40am. JB is supposed to meet me back at TLF. He's supposed to switch with me. Watch the kids while I jumped on the bike to pick up Scrubby. But he's not there. He calls.

Finance requires cash. There is no sign saying that Finance requires cash. But if JB is going to go to the money machine and get cash, he is not going to get back to TLF in time for me to ride my bike to the gate and pick up Scrubs.

Plan B goes into action. I put Abigail in her stroller. I put the boys in our borrowed wagon since their bikes got mailed out yesterday. I jog pushing the stroller and pulling the wagon, (with the boys asking, "Why are you running Mommy," repeatedly) to my friend Tina's house. I knock on the door. Didn't even call first. Could she watch 3 kids for just 10 minutes? She could. Could I borrow a bike to ride to the gate? I could. So I did.

I biked to the gate as fast as I could. I go through the exit security we must go through every time we leave the Base. (No idea why we have to get exit clearance, but we do.) I got there at 8:59am. Todd was there. But just barely. He had said that he was going to give it until 9:00am before he assumed we had miscommunicated and took Scrubs back to the kennel. Not good since I had a 9am appointment at the Vet to get Scrubs cleared to fly. With no cell phones, you don't really have any other options.

I paid Todd for Scrubs' four days with him (I had had to get Lira out of the money machine even though I knew JB had done it earlier since I wouldn't be able to get the needed Lira from JB), took his leash, and then biked, Scrubby running alongside me all the way around to the Base entrance. Back through security. This time in reverse. Back on the bike. Pedaled like crazy to the Vet. Only to find out that the road closure had moved since the day before. I would have to go around, two blocks, to get into the vet.

They had had to let someone go in front of me at the Vet. Understandable. When I finally left, it was nearing 10:30am. I went back to the hotel expecting to find my family there.

No JB. No kids.

Went to Tina's. The kids were still there. One and a half hours since dropping them off for a ten minute stay. Wonderful Tina. So understanding. What a friend.

JB would get back to the hotel about the same time as me. By the time he got the required cash for Finance, there was a long line. Oh and another thing they didn't have posted? Vendors could cut to the front of the line at any time between 8-10am. So every time JB got close to the front of the line, a Vendor came in to turn in their money and he was ousted back a spot in line.

Big sigh ...

The middle part of the day went okay. But then it went down hill again.

Elijah and Isaac were taking turns spinning each other on the swiveling desk chair we have in TLF. JB said they should stop. Isaac informed him that "Mommy said it was okay." And I had. There isn't much to do in our tiny TLF. Spinning in a swivel chair seemed harmless enough. John acquiesced.

A few seconds later, Isaac finished spinning Elijah. Elijah stood up. He was dizzy. He stumbled. He fell. He hit his head on the coffee table.


I opened my arms to allow him to get a comforting hug. That's when I saw the blood ... basically pouring from the back of his head.

You think I deserved an "I told you so," for that one?

John told me to find a ride. I propped Abigail on my hip and went over to the next building where Stebbs and Sarahbee are residing, their cars having not shipped out yet. Most people who are going back to the States, have a second vehicle waiting for them back home, and thus, they can ship their car at the last minute.

Not the case for us. We've been carless for almost two months now.

Sarahbee took JB and Elijah up to the Clinic while I took Abigail and Elijah over to the park to let our bbq friends know that we'd another "grill-meister" until JB could return. He ended up returning in plenty of time to cook the hot dogs. It was after-hours at the Clinic so he put Elijah on his lap and promptly gave him two staples in his head to close the wound.

Peter was waiting in the hallway. He heard Elijah cry and cute little two-year-old that he is whispered, "I'm really worried."

But Elijah was fine. He showed up at the park and didn't even want to come see me and get a hug and a clean shirt. He just wanted to play. You'd never know he had cut open his head less than an hour before.

I'd like to summarize this post with something brilliant. But it's after 9pm. I'm tired. And tomorrow's a brand new day. Scrubs has been cleared to fly. We've paid our $80 for the broken door. And Elijah's wound is sutured nicely.


JB's Farewell to Turkish Soil

JB wrote a post today that I just had to share with my blog readers. My husband said good bye to Turkey in his own way -- a "nature-al" way. His post capured the beautiful flowers, abundance of fruit trees, and unique birds that he has seen during his two years in this beautiful country. He took pictures on a walk with Isaac of all the beauty on our Base alone. (The picture above is just one of them.)

You can visit JB's post by clicking here. While John's posts often go over my head, this one is a piece we can all appreciate, just on pictures alone!

Forever a Family of Three

I have been meaning to post a congratulations to my friend Becky. John & Becky's adoption of little Joshua recently became finalized. While they were already a forever family, it is now official. They are a family forever! Congratulations to a wonderful family of three!

Ninety seconds

The boys were playing cars next to me while I was typing on the computer. I decided to record, for just ninety seconds, what they said to each other. It is so random. I can't follow half of it. And yet they are communicating in their own way. I love listening to them. I love to think that because of our infertility and because of our adoption, they will forever have each other. They have a playmate all the time. That will change who they are and what they become. I love that they are "twin" brothers.

Isaac: "Elijah, is this your house? This is my house and this is my house and this is my house."
Elijah: "You can't come to our house."
Isaac: "This is my house and this is my house and this is my house and this is my house ..."
Elijah: "And these is my house and these is my house."
Isaac: "Uh oh. Time to wake up."
Elijah: "So he jumped over that car and backed up."
Isaac: "Don't come thru here."
Elijah: "Don't come thru here. Uh oh, it's time to leave our house. It's time to go. Uh oh. I got to go back to my house. Scuze me."
Isaac: "They said, 'May we please come to your house.' We have to go to your house and if you don't let me frew, I would have to go around. May you please ..."
Elijah: "Me too."
Isaac: "No, you aren't come to mine. The end. We are having a meeting right here."
Elijah: "No, these are a race car."
Isaac: "Only slow cars can come in."
Elijah: "Well he's a slow car."
Isaac: "Only super cars."
Elijah: "He's a super car."
Isaac: "I'll call the police on you."
Elijah: "Look! He crashed."
Isaac: "I told him to go and he said 'no' so I'll call the police." (Pause). "This is the police."
Elijah: "He's flying."
Isaac: "Police, he's not going can you take him to jail? The police said, 'we'll take you to time out.'"
Elijah: "He can fly. Oh. Big crash. Ooops. He crashed again. He will not go to the police. He's a bogo."
Isaac: "Elijah? Excuse me."
Elijah: "Yeah."
Isaac: "This is a police."
Elijah: "Where?"
Isaac: "Right here."
Elijah:"He's flying around."
Isaac: "No don't. Don't. Don't."
Elijah:"But he's flying around."
Isaac: "Don't fly around mine's. Your cars want you to sing a song."
Elijah:"No, they don't."
Isaac: "Mommy, is this a bad word? If I say, 'I don't want to talk to you?'"
Me: "It isn't nice to say that."
Elijah:"What about idiot and shut up. Are those bad words?"
Me: "Yes, those are bad words."
Isaac: "Time to wake up and play."
Elijah: "No, he's not waking up."
Isaac: "I just said it to my stuff. Let's go get some more cars. Heyyy, that's mine from Er-onica. Hey Grama K. gave that to me."
Elijah: "Hey Mommy, I got this one first."
Isaac: "But that's mine. I'll call the police on you."
Elijah: "Isaacccc?"
Isaac: "What banananny?"
Elijah: "I was lost. Thanks for finding me."
Isaac: "I live right here."
Elijah: "It's time for beddie pie."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I recently received a link to a video from Tyrone Howard. I don't know Tyrone personally. He found me through my blog, and he sent me a copy of a short film he had done that he wanted my opinion on. He also hoped I would share it with my blog readers if I found it appropriate. "Unforeseen" was actyally designed to illustrate a life of second chances. However, Tyrone found that it was gathering good support amongst individuals who lost a child before he/she was born.

After watching the video, I can see why. While I have never experienced pregnancy loss, I do believe my history with infertility allows me to be a fair judge of the appropriateness of this video. I am asking my readers, especially those with a similar history to mine, to watch this video and help provide Tyrone with some feedback. Butbe forewarned that if you have faced pregnancy loss or even infertility, it may make you quite emotional. It is incredibly well done (in my opinion) and I believe very accurately portrays this difficult part of life. Please leave a comment that I can share with Tyrone -- either positive or negative. Here is the link to the video. We need more individuals opening up dialogue on this part of life, and I think Tyrone's video is worth your time.

Bitter Sweet

Linda took this photo. A few days later, she boarded a plane for Germany, and we said good bye. (Or said "see you later" which is about all I can muster these days.) I have now said good bye to another great friend. Too many good byes to count right now. Shane and Linda were our kids' aunt and uncle while we lived here in Turkey, and we will miss their presence in our life tremendously. (Not to mention, the gorgeous pictures Linda takes for us!)

Good bye House!

Yesterday, we said good bye to our home in Turkey. We walked through it with the boys. Abigail was in my arms. And we said good bye. The boys got silly. "Good bye cabinet. Good bye shower. Good bye windows."

It started me thinking back to all the homes I had. Since the blog is designed to be a history of my life for my children and grandchildren some day, I thought I would take a bit of a walk down memory lane, home-style.

My parents were born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Before I was born, they moved to South Florida where my father took a job at Fort Lauderdale Christian School. I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1977. I don'thave any memories of the homes I lived in prior to when I was four years old and we left South Florida to return to Illinois. Below is a picture of my brother and me with my great aunt Helen and Uncle Ray outside of the home I lived in pre-memories. Maybe my parents could fill me in. How many houses did I live in prior to Illinois?

This is where my memories of where I lived first began. I can vividly remember our home in Thorton, Illinois. When I was four and my brother was two, they relocated to the north again. My Dad and his four brothers were going to start an aluminum siding business. But after about a year, they decided to return to South Florida as the business, while successful, couldn't fully support five families. I remember we had a dog named Brandi. I remember that the house had a huge basement. I remember watching parades on the street. I remember thinking my bed ate my socks in that house. I remember eating M&M's in the backyard. Here is a picture of my brother and I preparing to go trick-or-treating on the porch of that home.

When we returned from Illinois to South Florida in 1983, my parents bought this mobile home. It was a double-wide. I would live in this house until I left for college in 1995. It was my childhood home. Today, that mobile home park is long gone. Replaced by a shopping center.

My first home "away from home" was my college dorm room at Western Kentcuky University in 1995. Here is a picture of me with Kristi Hartley Hunt. She and I are still the best of friends to this day. Hard to believe after living in this tiny space with each other for two years that we still liked each other. But this little room has some powerful memories for me!

After my second year in the dorms, I moved into an apartment with four other girls: Kristi, Laurie (who lives in Kentucky with her twin sons), Leah (who I visited with in Germany last year), and Shea (who just had her first son and I stay in good touch with.) This was before digital cameras, so photos were not abundant for broke college students. I did find a picture of my apartment building though that we took after a hail storm ravaged Bowling Green in 1998. We lived on the bottom floor of the picture in the middle. I shared a room with Leah. Everyone else had their own room.

In December of 1996, JB finished art school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and decided to move to Kentucky to work as a graphic designer. He rented a 2 bedroom apartment a few miles from Western Kentucky Unviersity. His classmate Shawn was his first roommate. Later he had another roommate, Anthony.

It was in the apartment that I shared with my girlfriends that JB proposed to me at 12:01am on my birthday -- May 22, 1997. Here we are that night with our friends Shawn and Leah who were in on sneaking JB into the apartment to propose to me.
Then, JB and I got married. June 20, 1998. We moved into a two bedroom town home for a year that I cannot find a picture of. It was my senior year of college. When I graduated college a year later (1999), I got a job teaching in Franklin, Kentucky, and we moved into a brand new two bedroom two bath duplex. We loved this house! Here we are with our godchildren on a rare Kentucky snow day.

And here is that home on a beautiful spring day. The thing I remember most about living here was that my cousin Josh and his wife Sarah lived across the street. We were Lucy and Ethel in those duplexes. It was a fantastic three years in that home (two years for Josh and Sarah.)

In 2003, we were off to Rochester, Minnesota. JB had gotten into Mayo Clinic Medical School and our life would begin anew there. The first year we were there, we rented this house (pictured above.) Our great friends from Kentucky, Ron & Ebby (and their children: English, Veronica, Hunter, and Cole) moved into the upstairs of the home. And we rented the mother-in-law apartment down below.
After one year in the rental home, JB and I decided to buy our first place. We found an awesome condo one block from the medical school with underground parking. I quit teaching and began writing and editing. We walked everywhere! All of Mayo is connected by an underground people subway so you could not freeze to death. We lived on the second floor: #207. It was a building filled with mainly elderly, retired folks. It was quiet, warm, and peaceful.

We renovated the tiny kitchen of the condo. We had tons of meals with friends in this space. Because we lived so close to the school and were an "older couple" in the class, our house became a hang out for medical school friends -- especially many of the single ones. This house had so many warm memories. It also had a lot of painful memories as our infertility journey was its peak during the three years we lived here.

In 2007, JB began his residency on Eglin AFB in the panhandle of Florida. We decided to keep things easy and get a house on Base. This house would come to raise Scrubs, Isaac, and Elijah until 2010 when we moved to Turkey.

And then our home in Turkey. 2010-2012. Good bye sweet home. We loved living here!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hallowed Ground

I received this email from the Senator of the State of Florida, Bill Nelson. (Florida is currently our state of record despite being out of the country. It is the state we can vote in.) I thought it was a great reminder of why we all have off of work on Monday and are celebrating a holiday. 1.3 million men and women have given their life so that we can be free. Over a million families have grieve and are grieving the loss of someone they love so we can be free. Please join me today in helping honor them.

Photo: Grounds Maintenance, Jacksonville National Cemetery
On Monday, at cemeteries large and small, veterans and volunteers will be placing American flags along seemingly endless rows of headstones.

One such headstone, at Arlington National Cemetery, marks the grave of Susan Shulman’s father. The Boca Raton, Florida woman recently sent me a brief note in which she wrote that she plans to observe this Memorial Day at Arlington with her children, knowing that her father’s “service and sacrifice” is being honored with dignity in “our nation’s most hallowed ground.”

All across the nation this Memorial Day, millions of Americans will be paying tribute to 1.3 million fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends who we’ve lost in wars and battles since our country was founded nearly 236 years ago.

I hope you take some time Monday to remember, and to thank those who have given their all.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Last Supper

Hatice had the Stebbins and Kitsteiner families over for one last dinner before we leave. My friend Sarah Ashmore introduced me to Hatice back in 2010 when we first got here. I immediately asked her to be my housekeeper. As more and more of her clients PCS'ed (permanent change of station) away from Incirlik, more and more of my friends began using Hatice as well.

Housekeepers and gardeners on Base are "the norm." Most people utilize them -- it is sort of encouraged -- creating good relations between the two countries sharing a Base. And then Hatice's sister-in-law, Sema, started working on Base as well, and I started helping her find work too. Housekeepers and gardeners are not permitted to solicit themselves on Base. But their employers often help solicit on  their behalf. We joke that I am Hatice's "pimp."

So last night, Hatice made my favorite: lahmacun. She invited the Stebbins family too, and we ate in the living room on a blanket. "We are having a picnic!" Elijah exclaimed midway through the meal. I have had dinner at Hatice's house numerous times, but this was by far my favorite. Here is a video introducing Hatice, three of her four daughters (Leyhan, Tugba, and Eyda -- her oldest daughter Elif is married and living in Istanbul with one daughter.) Click here to view: Dinner at Hatice's. (Hatice's husband, Mehmet works at a convenience store on the corner, and he is there from sun up to sun down -- every day but Sunday.)

The boys (including William who isn't in the picture below), had a fantastic time playing on the porch and throughout Hatice's house. Here they are with Sema's two daughters (outside edges) as well as their cousin, Aleyna (whose parents run the tailor shop that I frequent.)

I got a video of the kids playing. What I love about this is that the boys speak relatively no Turkish. And the girls speak relatively no English. And yet they are playing and understanding each other perfectly. Kids are so wonderful like that. Here's the video: Kids playing in different languages
I started filming the kids, but then Hatice and I got in a conversation about a plant on her porch. Here is that video: Kids playing outside of Hatice's. This is a plant that was on our porch for two years. I bought it from someone on Base for $5 way back when. Hatice loved it and so, since the plant can't come with us, I gave it to her. However, I didn't know that the plant flowered. We realized it was because the last time it flowered, I was in Germany ... the entire time. I forgot that I was filming while we were talking.

I have also now grown accustomed to Turkish customs. The first of which being, you don't wear shoes in the house. And often, especially after you have eaten, slippers are the "norm." Hatice has told me that this is because, if you are cold, you will get bad gas. So here are Ryan and JB wearing their "required" slippers (with Abigail playing with a small blanket in between them.)

Another custom that Rana has explained to me surrounds gifts. I always wondered why, whenever I went to a Turk's house bearing a house-warming gift, the recipients barely acknowledged the gift. In fact, it is quickly set aside after a brief thank you. In an American home, the gift would be ooohed and aaahed over and shared and eaten right away if designed for that evening. Rana explained that it is seen as rude to pay attention to the gift while the gift-giver is present. This is because it shows the person cares more about the gift than they do the person.

Monday, Hatice will come and clean our home for the last time, preparing for our inspection on Tuesday. Just a few more days in Turkey. Surreal.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Things I will miss most about Turkey

I miss America. I miss my family. I understand why many people can only do two back-to-back overseas assignments before they want to go home.

But this has been an experience. I will always remember my two years here. I will be a better person because of this adventure. My horizons have been broadened immensely. Even though I knew things before, I truly know them now. I know that ...
  • 99.9% of Muslims are peaceful, wonderful, beautiful people that dislike terror as much as 99.9% of Americans do.
  • America is very small in the grand scheme of the whole world.
  • we are an incredibly blessed country and people.
  • military families are amazingly awesome and strong.
  • I am capable of much more than I ever thought I was.
So, what will I most miss?
I will miss seeing new things, (like a toothbrush head in a vending machine at the airport):

 Reading translations of the English language (you can click here for another post I did with many examples) that make me smile, (like this one in the  packet of communication cards they gave Patty to use when she was in the hospital) ... (I just don't understand why they don't get someone to read the translations and edit them before printing final copies):
I will miss my gardening team: Ilhan, Halil, Ayreef, and Faree. Abigail is absolutely in love with Faree who is our main gardener over in Eagle housing. He helps me with anything I need during the day while JB is gone. Brings in my groceries, cleans up our toys, washes our car, takes out trash. He especially loves to hold Abigail. Elijah told him yesterday, "Faree, you're my best friend." Fifteen dollars a week doesn't seem nearly enough for everything he does for us.
I will miss the roses that the gardening team bring me as a gift. When they prune, they'll often bring me a bunch to put in the kitchen. They've probably done this a half dozen times in our two years here, and each time, they bring me such joy.

Wonderful, awesome, fantastic women like some of the women pictured in this photo below. Everyone on Base has such a similar attitude. "We are all in this together. We are all we have. We are each other's family." People are so willing to go the extra mile, all the time. This group below, only touches the surface of the wonderful gals in my life here.

Riding and walking everywhere. The picture below is of the boys riding their bikes to the BX on a night that Shane and Linda were watching the boys. My boys ride these three-wheelers everywhere. They are very good on the bikes and stop at all intersections. People get a real kick out of our family -- Abigail in stroller or in Bjorn and boys on bikes navigating our way all over the Base, especially since our car got shipped out last month. We walk to the grocery store, the BX, JB's work, the library, church ... I love it.

Hatice. Just one word. Without a doubt, when I think of leaving, leaving Hatice is the hardest part. She has no passport. Her ability to visit us is nerely non-existant. I hope to see her again but am not sure I will. And far away from family, Nene Hatice has become Abigail's surrogate Grama. I will miss her so deeply it hurts me -- physically. She and I have agreed not to talk about. Not to say good bye. We just have to pretend it isn't happening.

This is just a few of the things I will miss. The list is far from exhaustive. I will always have a very special place in my heart for this country. I wouldn't ever want to live here always. It is not home. But it's people and memories will remain in my heart forever.

Friday, May 25, 2012

No matter which way you slice it ...

... moving = exhaustion.

You try to plan ahead. You try to not leave too much for the last day. You try to make concessions. Adjust readily. Stay flexible. Think positively. Limit expectations.

Moving across the street would be one thing. Across the state another. Across the country yet another. But across the world? For the second time in two years?


Here we are, mostly moved into the Hodja. And we are just ... plain ... exhausted. We still have odds and ends at our real house. We are still making trips back and forth. It's only a few blocks, but without our van, we have to recruit friends (thank you Tina and Bri) or walk pulling a wagon (again, thank you to Bri) full of stuff.

We could rent a vehicle but there really aren't any to rent that would fit our whole family. So what's the point?

Believe it or not lodging put us in the exact same room we stayed in when we moved onto Base. Seriously. Talk about everything coming full circle. It's nearly eerie. I feel the same fog. The same dichotomy of emotions. The same fatigue.

The only differences? This time there are three children. And this time (game-time decision) there is no dog.

We were planning on having Scrubs with us. But it was actually Stebbs today who said to me, "You are a better woman than me. I'd just put Scrubs at Pati Pet instead of adding to your responsibilities."

Picture a big light bulb popping on above my blonde head. Pati Pet? Why hadn't we thought of that? It's a wonderful facility off-Base. A non-traditional kennel run by Americans. Of course! Taking Scrubs out on leash every time he needs to use the bathroom while chaperoning three tiny children is a lot. Add to that the fact that this little two bedroom is already quite tiny without an eighty pound dog, and Pati Pet it is!

In the meantime, we are settling in for about a week. The exhaustion is so thick. But thick is good because thick doesn't allow other emotions room for visitation. Early this morning I sat in Tina's van. My gardener told me how sad this all was. "You say hi. Then you say bye. Again. And again," he said. I nodded. I started crying.

But that was this morning. Before I was so tired. Now I am too tired to cry.

The kids are very out of sorts. Scrubs is really out of sorts. He has no idea what is going on. Just knows the house is getting emptier. And his people are getting crabbier. And he has no idea where he fits in. Everyone who stopped by the house was met with Scrubs jumping into their vehicle. Four different people. I kid you not. Each time, you could tell, he was wondering is this who is going to take us to our next place? If so, make sure I'm going with you!

Home stretch. But still a ways to go before we settle into a normal life again. Your prayers for stamina. Stength. Peace. Appreciated.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Friday funnies

Loving this picture of these brothers and best friends. They are so different in such wonderful ways and yet they will share a bond forever.

This was my, rather pathetic attempt, at making them a pirate ship. Where is a Daddy when you need him?
It doesn't look quite as bad from this angle.
While laying in bed this morning, Elijah had his head on JB's chest. "Elijah, do you have hair on your chest like Daddy?" I asked him.
Elijah: "No, I don't."
Me: "Why not?
Elijah: "I'm too little."
Me: "How old do you have to be to have hair on your chest?"
Elijah: (looks up at JB) and asks, "How much are you Daddy?"
Isaac: "Is that how Scrubby duze a trick?"
Isaac: "Is there a person in there Mommy?" (He was pointing at the ATM.)
Isaac: "Oh. That tasted fabulous."
Elijah: "That was a gweat book."
Isaac loves to ask me if I have tried something. Often times it involves junk food. This morning it was, "Mommy, have you ever put chocolate syrup on your cheerios?" My response was, "No I haven't and either will you!"
Elijah: "When I get bigger I can do lots of things?
Me: "Like what?"
Elijah: "Well, I could feed Scrubby and give him his water."
Me: "Yeah but you already do that."
Elijah: "But I just help you. When I get bigger and you get smaller, I can do it myself."
Me: "Am I going to get smaller?"
Elijah: "Yes. When will you start getting smaller Mommy?"
Elijah hit his funny bone. When Stebbs told him what it was he hit, he cried, "But dats not willy funny!"
Elijah can still be very hard to understand. Some days he'll be trying to tell me something, and I just canNOT figure out what it is. He'll try to say it in a number of ways. But finally, when he realizes we aren't going to figure it out, he'll just say, "Mommy, just come. I'll show you." He then takes me to whatever it is so I can see what he was trying to say.
Isaac: "Mommy, did God not put black in the rainbow?"
Isaac: (Came to me and the library tag had come off of the library book.) "Mommy, look. This book is not a library book anymore."
Isaac asked me, "Are we going to say good bye to this house before we move?" When I replied in the affirmative he said, "Well, that's silly because houses don't talk."

Congrats to ...

Congrats to Carrie who is the winner of my Busy Bag Swap! I sent you an email Carrie. Please send me your address as soon as you can!

Off to TLF

TLF. An acronym. The military. No big surprise.

TLF = Temporary Living Facility

In other words = hotel.

That's where we are headed tomorrow. Tomorrow they will come pick up all our loaner furniture. We will move into a two bedroom hotel room.

Monday Hatice will come and clean our house top to bottom to pass inspection. Tuesday they come and inspect. The clock is ticking down. About this time next week we will be on our way to the Azores.

We want to get rid of nearly everything we have by the time we go to the hotel. Nearly all our food. Nearly all our toilet paper. Nearly all our cleaning supplies.

We want to have mailed nearly everything we aren't going to take with us in suitcases. It causes you to be very creative.

For instance, a shortage of toys? No problem. You just share a toy:

A lack of activities? No worries! Watching Faree wash the porch can kill ten minutes, no problem. Especially for Abigail who is in love with him!
Don't have anymore white milk but want to use the last of the cereal? Why not use a bit of chocolate milk? To my defense, it was Isaac's idea. "How 'bout I put chocolate milk in my pink oatmeal squares cereal Mommy? I've never done that before?" First I said no. But then I thought about it. We had nothing else for breakfast. Why not? Absolutely disgusting? Yes. But filled his belly? Yes sir.

Don't have a lot of furniture? No worries. Three people can fit in one chair as Stebbins and the boys demonstrate below. (They are looking at a car magazine -- sans women.) No problem.

If you think you have it hard ...

... imagine spending ten months apart from your husband and then getting to see him for two weeks before he heads back to Afghanistan ... again. Just a few more months to go Dani. My sister-in-law Danielle is my hero along with all the other military wives saying good bye to their husbands for such long periods of time. There is a husband on Base here that is single parenting two children in Turkey while his wife is deployed. The sacrifice is so great. What amazing people our miliary is.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Boys will be boys

P.S. If you want to enter my BUSY BAG GIVEAWAY please click here. I plan to pick a winner sometime tomorrow.

I absolutely LOVE to see my boys play. I love when they play in the dirt. I love when they get dirty. I love when they smell sweaty. I know that may sound weird, but I just love them enjoying being a kid. Right now Elijah's absolutely favorite thing to do is play with his cars in the "sand box" next to the porch. This is some sand that our gardeners brought us many moons ago. It's Turkish dirt. Not smooth. Lotsa rocks. But they love it. Especially Elijah. He goes out there any chance he gets to play. Sometimes Isaac joins him. But many times he is just by himself, playing away.
Here he is in his pajamas (and of course his blue hat.) His buddy Dylan lives through that fence, and I often hear him calling to see if Dylan can come over to play. If not, he's just talking to himself.

Here he is in his second-favorite hat. A cowboy hat he permanently borrowed from William.
And here he is with his buddy William. He recruited William to join him in the dirt.
And while Elijah plays in the dirt, Isaac often finds his own entertainment. He loves to pour water on the porch and then sweep it. And here he is putting the rocks we dragged home from Shane and Linda's backyard in separate squares on the porch.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

As election season begins ...

"Values do not equal 'religion.' ... While it is indeed our religious faith that informs our values, we must remember that we are electing a president, not a pastor, priest, rabbi, imam or elder. It is a civic, not spiritual, position with secular, not sanctifying, duties. What is of paramount importance in selecting an occupant for such an office is not whether he or she attends the same house of worship as we do; it's whether he or she adheres to a moral and ethical code, rooted in natural law rather than doctrinal purity, that we believe offers a better vision for America." -- Jim Daly

Fanks Joni!

Have I mentioned previously how much we LOVE mail? Yes, we have technology now-a-days so we stay connected well. But oh man, the mail is such a reminder of the family and loved ones in the USA. Thank you for remembering us with even the smallest little things. To those of you I know well who have sent packages ... thank you. And to those of you who I don't even know in person ... thank you! It is such a wonderful piece of home.

Joni sent us a box for my birthday. There was a present for me, of course, but that's not what the boys wanted to play with. "Is there anything in that box for me?" Isaac asked as he stood up on his tip toes, chin perched on the kitchen counter. Elijah leaned around from behind him, not-so-patiently waiting as I tried to cut off the tons of tape that Joni always uses!

There was an airplane for each boy. Nice and soft so that it couldn't take an eye out as it went whizzing through our living room. And, there were also ... well ... what are they called?

These things that have been around forever but I don't know the name of. Anyone know the name of these things? The boys love them . Abigail wants to eat them. Scrubs is scared of them. Here's Elijah showing off his skills:

Thanks Joni! The boys are having a blast hitting each other in the face with them every chance they get!

And what would a birthday be without a poem from my father. Here is this year's birthday poem:

Buying gifts and baking cakes
Are pretty standard birthday acts;
Lighting candles and singing songs
Are things we do so fun protracts.

We’re not doing these this year,
They have their place for sure;
We’re simply giving Wendi love,
The gift that will endure.
As daughters go, she’s the best,
We really are quite proud;
When we consider our “little girl”
Our smiles are shout out loud!
Happy Birthday, Wendicles!
Have a day of niceness…
Our gift to you is that we say…
Praise God, Our Wendi is priceless!

 Mom and Dad

Mission Monday

If you missed me on Mission Monday, you can listen to an archive of that program by clicking here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

100 Comment Vigil

Many kids in foster care feel like they don't have a prayer ... let's change that.

There are more than 400,000 children in the United States foster care system. Each of their stories is different, but in many ways, each of them is alarmingly similar. No matter their story, each and every one desperately needs prayer.

The National Foster Care Prayer Vigil was created to call followers of Christ wherever they are to ask the God of the Universe to do great and mighty things on their behalf. He hears our prayers, and we know He will answer our plea for these precious children and for the people who love and care for them.

The 5th annual National Foster Care Prayer Vigil, is scheduled for May 20-27. The 2012 National Foster Care Prayer Vigil offers followers of Jesus the opportunity to pray for the children, the workers, and the families in our nation's foster care system. Perhaps most importantly, it offers an opportunity for believers to ask God to work in His church on behalf of the children, to change our hearts, and use us in their lives.
I am in the midst of a move across the world so organizing an actual Vigil is not something I can do right now. But I did think it'd be great to organize a virtual Vigil. I am asking that those of you who can take the time to pray for those children in foster care, leave a comment on the blog. Would you leave a comment which includes the place you are located. It can say "Anonymous in California" or "Jamie in Raleigh." Whatever you want. Whatever you like. My goal is to get 100 people to comment that they have prayed.
You can download this
prayer guide, but I am also asking that you pray specifically for the following things:
The children
  1. Pray that children in the foster care system come to know Jesus as their Lord and savior.
  2. Pray that these children experience God's love through the care given to them by all involved in the foster system.
  3. Pray that these children would be given a "Forever Family" and that their hearts will be ready for the family they have waiting for them.
  4. Pray that sibling groups can stay intact or in contact with each other.
  5. Pray that God would heal the deep hurts these children have experienced and protect them from future harm.
  6. Pray that the lives of these children will be transformed and that they will be able to forgive those who have wronged them.
  7. Pray for the hundreds of thousands of young adults in this country who have "aged out" of the child welfare system. Pray that they can still find a family to forever call theirs through mentors or Godly mentors who can help them navigate life wisely.
The church
  1. Pray that God would raise up people to launch ministries for orphans and waiting children.
  2. Pray that church leaders would respond to the needs in the foster care system and actively engage these children.
  3. Pray that believers would be consumed with compassion for these children and make themselves available for how God wants to use them.
And of course, please consider donating to the cause of adoption through our organization: A donation in any size will help a child come into a family forever!

Scrubs turns 5

As I write this post, all three kids are asleep at the same time for naps. Scrubby is curled up on one of the loaner chairs, loving that he gets to lay on the furniture. Since both of Scrubs' dog-beds (an old couch cushion we found on the side of the road and one of those kid-fold-out-sofas) are packed, we reserved one of the borrowed chairs just for him. It's raining outside. It's incredibly peaceful. He's konked out next to me.

And, he's passing terrible gas.

That's my Scrubby.

And here's my Scrubs when we first brought him into our family, just about two months after his May 18th birthday:

For those of you who may be new to my Daily Blog, you may not know what a blessing this pile of black spots was to me when he came into our home in 2007. I was working from home full-time. JB was working 80 hour weeks in his first year of residency. We were in a new town. I didn't really have any friends yet. I lived on a military Base which means there were kids everywhere. We had just decided to stop infertility treatments after our 12th failed attempt at Clomid, IUI and IVF.

I was on the verge of depression when JB surprised me with a puppy.

It was the best decision we ever made. Scrubs gave me something to love on. He gave me someone to occupy myself with. He was my jogging partner. He helped me to meet people. He kept me busier than I ever wanted to be. He was my best friend. I truly believe God made Scrubs just for me. Just to fill the hole that was burning in my heart.

A lot has changed in the last five years. Scrubs now has two brothers and a sister. There are toys everywhere. He is definitely not the center of attention. But he fits into our family so perfectly that I cannot imagine him not being there. He is a perfect mix of family member, guard dog, loyal friend, and goofy puppy. The kids love him. I love him. He drives us all crazy. But I'm sure we drive him crazy too.

Here's a look back at Scrubby's past birthdays.
  • 2008 Scrubs turns 1 Scrubs turned one year old just a few weeks after Isaac joined our family. He immediately accepts him in the pack and lays by his crib as if he's Isaac's protector.
  • 2009 Scrubs turns 2 Scrubs turns two. Isaac turns two. And Elijah is now 1.5. It's a busy house with three toddlers!
  • 2010 Scrubs turns 3 You will notice that I don't mention Scrubby's birthday in this post. That's because not only did I forget to feed him dinner that evening, but I also forgot it was his birthday. This was just before we moved to Turkey and life was just a wee bit busy.
  • 2011 Scrubs turns 4 He gets a small call out here on his 4th birthday. We live in Turkey for this birthday but the kids and I are bunkered down in Germany waiting on the arrival of Abigail.
Scrubs, you saved my life during one of the darkest years I have ever faced. I plan to pay you back with treats and ear scratches and cheese and peanut butter for the rest of your life!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mark your calendars!

As I mentioned previously,  I am going to be speaking with Linda Ballesteros on the Tough Talk Radio Network.

Linda contacted me after hearing about Because of Isaac. They are going to be specifically talking to me about Because of Isaac and adoption and the costs and difficulties than can make it prohibitive.

There is actually a page online now that advertises this particular show. This is where you would go on Monday, May 21st at 3pmCST, 4pm EST, 11pm Turkey time to listen to the show live.

I would love for you out there to not only be able to listen but to encourage others to do so as well. You actually can also call in (347-989-1363) to listen on your phone; you can also call this number to ask questions.

Please join me on Monday evening! It would be a great encouragement to know people who support me are listening!

P.S. I believe you can access it after the show is over in archive format but am not sure about that.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Click the picture above to read JB's post on Hollyhocks (that's the flower he has Abigail planted in front of.) While I am not ready to leave Turkey, JB is definitely ready for a change. When I asked him if he is sad to be leaving he told me today, "I'm most sad I won't be here long enough to see bananas on my banana trees and figs on the fig tree."