Monday, January 31, 2011

Mini miracles

Meant to post this a few weks ago but life things (i.e. surgery) got me distracted.

The night before Bible Study a few weeks ago, our Leader, Amanda, emailed us. The Beth Moore video was missing. I remember she wrote in her email that we should all still show up for the Bible Study. We'd have our discussion and then, as He always does, watch God come through.

We got to the meeting. Five minutes till "Go" time. No video anywhere. It's a smal thing right? Why would God really care. There was a new gal in the Study. She hadn't gotten the email. When Amanda mentioned that the DVD was MIA, the new gal says: "Well I have a copy of the whole study on DVD at home. I got it for Christmas. Want me to go get it?"


Reminded me of a time when I was a kid. My parents lived paycheck to paycheck. I remember my Dad and Mom praying for $100. They needed it for a bill, and they just didn't have it anywhere. The mailman came. And there was a check for the exact amount from a family member just wanting to "bless us." They had no idea about the prayer. They just sent it.

Really? Coincidence? I think not.

It wasn't a big deal. Life would have gone on as normal. But it was really cool to watch God step in in such a small way.

Do you have an example of how He has come through recently for you in a small way? I know everyone would love to hear your "proof" of the existence of God.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2 Years Old

Today, Elijah Luke K. turns two-years-old officially. Starting today, through May 7, I will have two boys who are both two-years-old. Craziness. This list is mostly for me and JB -- a highlight of our boy and where he is at. I recognize it is much the same as any other two-year-old with slight variations. I'm not one of those moms who thinks my son is more brilliant than all the others and especially equipped to be President above and beyond all other two-year-olds. But he's still our little two-year-old. I am truly in love with him. I am amazed by him. I feel so lucky to be his mother. And in fact, it is his propensity to be a regular ol' Joe that we love so much. He loves food. He loves coloring. He loves movies. He loves books. He loves toys. He loves cheeseburgers. He loves his Daddy and Mommy and his brother and his dog and his best friend William.

Here are just a few of the fun things he is currently into that I want to make sure to remember for years to come:
  • If we are reading something and he sees cheese or milk or some other favorite food, it will remind him of what he is missing. "Need. Cheese. Please," he'll say. Then we have to stop reading to take a food or drink break.
  • Calls his brother I-zee. Calls himself "Lijah." Knows that Mommy's name is "Wenni" and that Daddy is "Don."
  • When you ask him a question, he loves to say, "Hmmmm..." Then he might say, "Help me," or "I know know." Other fun phrases included "need" (for anything he wants), "read da book", "gam-cacker" (for graham cracker).
  • Loves magnets on the fridge -- loves finding the one you ask for and bringing it to you.
  • Starting to sing ABC's with help.
  • Can count to 19 in English with help; can count to 10 in Turkish with help.
  • Doesn't cry anymore when I leave him at church or with friends and doesn't even seem to care so much that I am back.
  • Enjoys sitting in church for the first 10 minutes before going to nursery. He loves the music and loves to clap whenever anyone else does (or even when they don't.)
  • Absolutely LOVES LOVES LOVES music. Dances to anything and everything. This reminds me of JB who has always had a love for music.
  • If you ask him for a kiss, and he agrees to give you one, he will have to give three kisses: one on each cheek and one on the lips. If he misses any of them from hitting square on, they must be redone. We aren't sure where this came from since JB and I don't intiate lip kisses with our kids. But he loves it nonetheless.
  • Recognizes family and friends in pictures and on Skype. Anytime he hears an airplane he says, "Pane! Sky! Go Gama Di's house."
  • Loves puzzles. Is getting quite good of them. Can nearly put together a 9 piece jigsaw puzzle by himself and the block puzzles for toddlers no longer challenge him. He can do a 0-9 number puzzle by himself and can do most of an Alphabet puzzle but he gets bored with it.
  • Recognizes the American and Turkish flags and can point them out.
  • Has selective hearing. Isn't really phased by punishments. Just likes to have fun.
  • Says a lot of words but still speaks in 1-2 word phrases. For instance, last night for dinner he laid his Mickey Mouse doll down and said, "You. Stay. Here. I. Eat." He also grunts his words a lot like, "Funnn," or "Hereeee."
  • Can do most animal noises. Yesterday he and Isaac were running into the room saying an animal name and making the noise. "Duck! Quack!" and then "Hosre. Neigh." Suddenly Elijah said, "Giraffe!" But what do they say? He had no idea so he just started hopping around and trying to look tall.
  • Has done a lot of pee-pee in the potty. Once of the other. I think we will try to train them both together soon and see what happens. Lately he's lost interest in the potty.
  • Loves to read books: favorites are his Mickey, Cars, and Little People Flap books. He could read those over and over again. When he brings me one flap book, he brings me all three.
  • Loves all food and all drinks. Will try and eat most anything. Has started eating sweets a bit, but they still aren't his favorite. If he hears the word food, he goes to his booster seat and starts begging to get up in it to eat.
  • Loves watching TV or videos -- especially Mickey Mouse
  • Loves to take naps -- will go down and sleep for 3 hours without a second thought. Will often ask to go to sleep.
  • Still wakes up too early for my taste -- 6am is a good day!
  • Still allows Isaac to run the show. He seems to recognize that he is the alpha male between the two of them. Will often give up his toy willingly to share with an upset Isaac. (Isaac usually has no desire to do the same for Elijah.)
  • Have to get his weight/height measurements. Will fill this in when we do. Our appt. is in two weeks.

Elijah's 2nd Birthday Party

Saturday was Elijah's 2nd birthday party. Since you have to reserve the Community Center for a party, I did it many weeks ago -- right after Christmas I think. When the whole surgery thing happened, I really thought we'd just cancel it and let the whole idea of a party go this year. But then my friends started emailing me and telling me that they would help with anything that needed done, and we decided to move forward.

The Community Center charges you $30 to rent it out. If you want the jumpy houses, it is $80. Well worth it. The kids had a ball as you will see from pictures below.

Everyone brought a dish to share in staying with our "indoor bbq" theme. Linda took photos. People got there early to help us set up -- like Ryan! And people stayed late to help us clean up. (I use the word "us" in both senses lightly.) Tina O. took over the desserts and was just the "party guru" for the day. We were so blessed. I think nearly everyone was able to be there, and it was just a fun time for family and fun out of the cold, wet weather.

We also asked people to only bring a used gift if they wanted to bring one and to instead consider a gift to Because of Isaac. We are happy to report that Because of Isaac raised $385 at the party! How amazing is that. And Elijah (and Isaac) still got way more gifts than he needed. (Dad and Mom -- both boys love the Lightning Etch-a-sketch.)

Here are some pics of the day!

P.S. I posted all of the pics on FB if you are interested.

Elijah in the jumpy house.

He was so anxious to tear into a cupcake.

JB praying over food (and me staying in my assigned seat -- a requirement for the day.)

Our photographer Linda (with Shane) -- they were also the dog watchers this weekend.

Elijah was not in the best of the moods for his own party. At one point he told JB he just wanted to go home and take his nap. When Mr. Shane suggested they take a photo together he replied with now famous, "Not!" (He says this instead of "no" quite regularly.)

Here is Tina -- she was AMAZING! Thank you Tina for saving the day (among many people.) Her daughter Hannah babysits for us and little Caleb is about the same age as Isaac.

Isaac telling Elijah which presents will belong to him and which will belong to Elijah. (Isaac wanted this to be his party very badly.)

Opening some tools from Ms. Beth and Samuel.

On a side note, I managed the party-day pretty well. I was exhausted from my first outting, but really did lay low at the party and stay seated with my feet up (most of the time.) Overall, I am doing much better this weekend. The doctor started me some antibiotics, making the decision to just treat me for the secondary infection c-diff without testing me for it (since results could take so long to get back.) I noticed stomach and appetite improvement within about 16 hours. I did lose 5 pounds over the last week but really seem to be doing well. Keep the prayers coming.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Big day!

Today is Elijah's second birthday party. Was it only one year ago that my buddy Kristi flew to Destin to celebrate birthday number one with us? So much has happened in one year. But today we are going to have Elijah's birthday party at the Community Center. Everyone is bringing a dish to share, and we've asked for either used gifts or a donation to BECAUSE OF ISAAC since our house is still recovering from two litle boys celebrating Christmas. It's an "indoor bbq for families. Thanks to help from quite a few different people, the party is still a go!

So last night JB got out some candles so Elijah could practice for his big moment. Thought you would enjoy this video.

I find myself quite emotional. The biological child we prayed for for so many years is two years (well, on Monday, but still.) Hard to believe.

2010 in Pictures

Well, at long last, I am finally ready with my pictures post for 2010. This is my third straight year for these posts. You can click here to see 2008 in photos. Or you can click here to see 2009 in photos. I love looking back at these posts! They are a way to summarize our last year as a family in quick snapshots.

So here we go:
I am so excited that one of my very dearest friends, Kristi, can get away from her own three children and join us for Elijah's first birthday party. She brings swords for the boys (All brothers need something to beat each other with.) She also gives the boys their first pairs of rain boots to the boys. (All kids needs rain boots.)


Joan joins me for a visit in January and February. Here we are celebrating Keenan's African Themed Birthday Party in attire from our nigerian adventure.

Kristi was right. As early spring rolls into town, boots are all the rave in our house! Both of these pairs are from Kristi.

Keith and AD come to visit with cousin Charleigh. AD has to go back to work, but Keith stays another week and helps me manage all there kiddos and dog while JB is on a hard rotation.


As the boys are both walking securely, I start to take more "risks" venturing away from home 1 on 2. Here I am at an Easter Hunt with both boys by myself. (My friend Robyn talked me into going!) Neither boy, however, thought this whole bunny idea was very cool.

Nice weather begins to emerge in the Destin area, and for the first time, we take both boys, now walking, to the beach! We no longer have a baby and a little boy but instead are starting to see the "twin" part of "Irish" emerging.

With twin boys comes twin adventure. (This did not end well.)

April is a jam-packed month. JB is out-of-town. John has to go to San Antonio, So my goddaughter Jessie decides to come and help me for a bit. While JB is home with the boys, I drive north. I meet my friend Shea at a hotel for the evening. Our old friend Heather joins us for dinner. The next morning I pick up Jessie who has driven with her mom. The hand-off occurs and we had back to Eglin.

Jessie helps me all week as JB leaves for San Antonio. After a week, Jessie drives with me to Disney World! JB flies into the Orlando airport. We pick him up. Josh and Sarah and their kiddos come to Disney at the same time! It's a grand time.

Here is our group in front of the Magic Castle. The best we could do!

All the work of getting to Disney World was worth it when we saw how excited our little Isaac was to see Mickey Mouse (although you can't tell it from this photo.)

We stayed with John's sister Katie and her husband Eddie. We would spend our mornings at the park and then our afternoons resting back at Katie's.

We also took in a day at Sea World! Jessie flew out of Orlando back home. JB, me, and the kiddos continued on to South Florida for the rest of our vacation.

The closest we could come to a picture of Grampa K. with all four grandkids.

We spent a ton of time in the garden JB's parents and his sister Elizabeth have created behind their house. Shows what you can do with just a little bit of space and a lot of love. Isaac LOVED sending the lady bugs off to help the plants.

The highlight of my April and probably my entire year was that in April, I flew out to New Mexico and ran a sprint triathlon with my dear friend Kristi! This will be one of my major adult accomplishments and I truly help that Kristi and I can do this again some day again in the future. I was in the best shape I have been in since college. I had hoped to do another one in the months to follow but some stress fractures side-lined me.


Before life takes us to Turkey, we decide to take a family vacation to Washington State -- a place we hope to buy land in one day. You can see my big boot here as I recover from my triathlon-induced injuries. What a beautiful week.

We do some travelling on our own but also stay with our great friends the Gustafsons for a few days! Man I miss this family so much. They were such a blessing to us at Eglin.

After our return from Washington, we begin our good byes at Eglin. The wifia -- a group that sustained me without measure during my three years at Eglin has our farewell at Sarah's house.

It really was a happy day! Isaac and Bri celebrate their birthday together at Cherokee Park. Isaac is now 2 and Bri 20!

We attend our friend Kendra's wedding -- such a joy to watch people see an end to year's of waiting.

My Dad spends his traditional teacher-time-off with us in Eglin as we pack up and begin preparing for the movers to come.

This is it! Graduation from residency! The time has come to say good bye to Eglin forever. JB's parents join us for the ceremony.

Our family at graduation.

The moving begins. Can you believe all this stuff will go over on a ship to Incirlik with us?

After we moved out of Eglin, we headed to South Florida for some time with family before our adventure began. JB and I took a short break away for the weekend in Key West.
We got to spend some time with JB's last living grandparent -- his Dad's Mom Theresa. As of today (January, 2011) she is sill alive but we know her days are numbered, and we were glad the boys got to see her again.

Spending time with Papa is always fun!

We also got to hang out with cousin Charleigh quite a bit as well! We had a great time (despite that terrible South Florida heat.)
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It was time to make the drive from South Florida to D.C. where the military flight would take us to Turkey. We stopped night 1 at a hotel and then stopped and saw my childhood bosom friend Michelle, her husband Hershal, and their beautiful children: Edward and Annabelle.

From there we were off to see the Rabens for two nights: Clay, Brittney, Madison, and Jocelyn (a fellow adoptee!)

And the last night we would spend in America would be with our good friends The Connors who made us an All-American meal as we prepared to say good bye to the USA for at least two years. Turkey here we come!

We were quite the sight preparing to PCS out of the country!

But great news awaited us in Turkey. We were getting one of the new Eagle houses! Hurrah! This will be our new home.

After a few days in TLF (hotel on Base) we moved into our new home where loaner furniture would be out friends for another few weeks.

We felt incredibly lucky when our furniture was here by August. We had heard horror stories of waiting until October. But all our stuff arrived in great time.

We (almost) bought a handmade carpet during our first few weeks in Turkey. But either way, we were inundated with Turkish culture from new friends like Esref, our housekeeper Hatice, and gardeners. This was a whole new world!
We had the opportunity to attend a dinner during the Muslim holy week with Muslim leaders. What an educational opportunity. The first few weeks and months went by in a blur as we tried to take in the world of differences outside of our door.
There wasn't much to do early on so we had plenty of time for things like: the boys first movie. We saw CARS at the theatre on Base. The boys LOVED LOVED LOVED it and sat still for nearly the entire thing.

We also began enjoying Turkish food. We loved it, but it was a lot of the same food from restaurant to restaurant.


We had the opportunity to visit Tarsus! Caesar and Paul walked here!!!

I bought some Turkish attire and we began frequenting the market for fresh produce.

I made two friends that I know will be friends for life: Angelica and Stebbs. Here we are at the Air Force Gala during our first months on Base.

A wonderful week away was spent in the Moselle Valley in Germany. We stayed at an amazing B&B and just relaxed in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

How amazing to have Joan and my Mom here to visit me so early in our time here! How wonderful to show them the world we were now living in.

Halloween came and went with Clifford, a penguin (William) and a lion. JB was out of town for work during this event, but we are pretty sure I was already pregnant unknowingly so in this photo.
A few weeks later we let Elijah tell the world the news we had just found out. A third child was on its way to our home. God is full of surprises!

Thanksgiving (yes, a Turkey in Turkey -- go ahead and laugh) was spent with some wonderful friends and already people we loved liked family. (Yerrington, Stebbins, Jones, and Beaudoin families.)


JB goes to Izmir for work. I brave the skies (pregnant with two little boys) by myself to join him there. The highlight was our time touring Ephesus and the play of Mary's death.

Now five weeks pregnant, we attended the end-of-the-year ball for the hospital staff.

We ended our 2010 in Istanbul with, from left: Angelica, Dan, Rowan & Noah, our family, and Ryan, Sarah, and William. It was a crazy couple of days but a fantastic way to say good bye to 2010!