Monday, February 28, 2011

Second winner

I just closed my second book-give-away contest.

I used this website to generate a random number between 1-13.

The winnter is: SUSAN! (

Susan, I don't think I know you personally so please shoot me an email with your address and I will send your book today.

A video (and some more bathroom talk)

Below is a funny video of my boys as we attempted to entertain ourselves at the house, close to the potty for the entire day. Elijah can't wear pants while training. If he does, he doesn't feel himself starting to go and wets his whole self. So just underwear is the way to go. Isaac has this thing down. He even (and I swore I would never be one of those moms would talked about this on the blog or to other people, but hey, it's awesome) ... did the big deed in the potty today. In fact, JB was home with him, and I came back from the post office to be greeted by the following words: "Mommy, I did poopy in the potty! And it was a BIG one!" JB agreed.

Anyways, someone mentioned in a comment that I was making them afraid of potty training. I can't say that it is easy. Next to the first year with two babies, this has been one of the most physically taxing things I have done, but I waited for a good time. I am feeling good, second trimester, more energy. The boys feel good and are on board. And truly it is going well. I did lay down for a nap this afternoon and got up thinking I hadn't even fallen asleep only to realize that two hours of sleep had come and gone! (It's a wee bit tiring.)

I think if you can find a time for both you and hubby to have a week home together to do this, that would be ideal. 1 on 2 is a little tricky. But it's going great. And thanks to our great friends Shane and Linda, we got to go out after the kids went to bed for a date to recover from all this potty talk. They have opened a new restaurant in The Club on Base. It is an American Grill (something like a Chilis) and it is REALLY good! They even sell Cheesecake Factory Cheesecakes for dessert. No kidding. Yum! It's just nice to sort of "pretend" to be in America for a few minutes. Afterward, we played the penny slots. That was fun. There was a sign on the Casino window saying that it is illegal for Turks to gamble. Is that true?

Anyways, I'm off to bed. Here's the video I promised.

Book giveaway

Closing the contest on this book giveaway in just about 24 hours! Enter now or forever hold your peace!

potty training x 2 / 1 = exhaustion

Potty training with a partner (aka JB) this weekend was tiring enough.

But doing it by myself today x 2 minus my partner.


I ... am ... exhausted.

The boys did great! Each had one accident when I put pants on them so they could go outside. Elijah also a #2 accident which was less than appealing and made me feel even less excited about the possibility of doing cloth diapers with baby #3.

Isaac is getting the training nearly perfectly (although no #2 for him yet). Elijah dribbles in his underwear every time he realizes they are wet, and then goes running. Doesn't leak out but does require a new pair of CARS underwear every time.

JB is home for lunch and we are going to diaper and nap them pronto! Whew ... that was a long morning. The boys were great but I felt like I was running back and forth between them without ceasing. Maybe I should rethink and do this once at a time?


We often tell Isaac that he may not be allergic to eggs any longer when he is a big boy. He'll ask if he is allergic, we'll say yes, and he'll ask if he can have them when he gets bigger and we tell him that hopefully, when he grows up, he won't be allergic to them any longer. Somehow, this conversation transferred over to potty training.

Check out this train of logic:

Mommy: "You need to put on your underpants, Isaac."

Isaac replies with, "I don't want to put on underpants."

I reply with, "But you are a big boy."

Isaac comes back, "I am not a big boy."

"You are a big boy," I say back.

"No I'm not. I'm awergic to eggs."

I suppose his little mine translated the fact that he is still allergic to eggs as indicating that he is still a baby? I don't know. What I do know is that this morning, we are back to training again, and he is, still, naked. Somehow we'll have to figure out how to do this with pants on!

I also love that Scrubs is getting in on the pee-pee action. When one of the boys yell, "I need to go pee-pee," Mommy jumps up and so does Scrubs. We all head to the bathroom to see how things are going.

I have decided to hang out at the house this week. Gonna skip co-op and Bible Study and just hang out close to home so we can try to conquer this journey.

Veronica comes in later this week!!! We are so excited to have her join our family for the next year. We will be going from 5 family members (counting the doggie) to 7 in a matter of months. And two of them will be girls. :) This will make us 4 boys to 3 girls. But since Scrubby is more of an "it", I think we are sorta gonna be equal!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beautiful Weekend

This weekend included:
  • A trip to the Sunday market in beautiful weather! Strawberries are out -- you can smell them under the tents.
  • Sunday morning at a make-shift "dog park." There is a dog park on Base but it's miles from housing and not a fantastic place. So some people have been meeting at a soccer field on Base at 9am every Sunday morning. This morning there were 15 dogs! What a great time. Scrubs bonded with a HUGE Turkish "mutt" named Bebek (Turkish for Baby). The dog towers over Scrubs, and they played like crazy.
  • Purchasing girl clothes from a gal on the Incirlik Yard Sale webpage. Girl clothes. Crazy. Really, really crazy. Pink? For real? I'm a tomboy who lives with four boys (counting the dog.) This girl thing is taking us for a spin.
  • A lunch with good friends! Dan & Angelica had a few friends out for lunch today. The kids played outside and we enjoyed delightful weather and space for the boys to romp!
  • Dog dayz! How fantastic of our Base Pool to allow the dogs to come and splash away before they clean out the pool in preparation for the reopening in May. Scrubs jumped in once after his Frisbee before he realized that getting out of the pool was going to require too much work. From that point on, he spent the afternoon humping any dog who would let him. Silly Scrubby.
  • Church. Isaac is now attending the preschool class. Elijah is still in the nursery. They come to church with us for a few songs of worship before being dismissed for their classes. It's a bit of craziness in service, but they, especially Elijah, love the songs.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Tale of the Salad Spinner

Here I weave a tale of a salad spinner.

Actually the tale to weave is one of Wendi needing some maternity shirts. Elijah was born in the winter. This young lass will be birthed in the summer.

Need short-sleeved shirts.

Found some on Target online in my price range (aka CHEAP!)

Emailed JB at work. Told him that I was going to (asked him if could ) make a purchase online. He said that was great but to please add one item to the check-out.

A salad spinner.

Okay. No problem. We had one. It broke. Can't find another one at the BX. So we add one to the order. (I won't go into a lengthy detail about how I think a salad spinner is a kitchen item that takes up much more room than its worth. That's a story for another time.)

As the order is placed online, the people tell me that my items are on the way. The first half will be here AT THE END OF MARCH! The second half will be here AT THE END OF APRIL!

Egads! That's, like, forever ... especially when you are only pregnant for ten months.

But what else can I do? There are like 10 maternity items here at the BX and they are not anything I would wear, like, ever. So, await my order I must.

You can imagine then my excitement today when I received an email from Target saying that they could in fact ship one of my items TODAY. So excited! Which item will it be?

You can see where this is going I am sure. That one item would be ...

The salad spinner.

And thus ends my rather sad tale.

Happy Birthday Grama K!

Here is a picture of my little brother Elijah the day he was born with our Grama K! She drove all the way up to Eglin and then stayed with me (the big brother) for a whole week while my Mommy and Elijah got better in the hospital. We love you Grama K! We wish we could see you more but we know this is just a season in our lives and soon we will get to see you a whole lot more often! -- Love Isaac (for Elijah too)

Friday, February 25, 2011

The pee-pee diaries

6am JB and I, both awake, sit in the living room and go over our plan. Today is the day. We've decided we aren't reading any books or doing any research. We are just going to try this our way based on conversations we've had with other parents (mostly moms). I am not a "pee-pee" party sorta girl. But we think Isaac especially is ready to start toilet training. He gets very upset whenever his diaper is dirty or wet. Elijah has started retreating to corners, and, if prompted, will sit on the potty and go pee-pee in it. So we've decided to just jump in and see what happens.

6:16am We walk up the stairs and open the boys' bedroom door. They are jumping on the bed and throwing stuffed animals at each other. We joyfully announce that today is the day we wear big boy underpants. JB pulls out some dinosaur underwear Grama K. gave the boys about a year ago and some mader underpants Grama Di sent just a few weeks ago. Elijah gets very excited and quicly chooses a "mader" to wear. Isaac starts sobbing. "I don't want to wear big boy underpants. I want to wear a diaper," he weeps. I head downstairs with Elijah. Isaac and JB finally decided to put on a "Lightning" pair.

6:22am When Isaac joins us downstairs, he is pulling at Lightning and begging to have him off. So we take him off but tell him there are no diapers today. He sobs harder but decides to go naked instead of putting Lightning back on.

6:26am With the promise of M&Ms, Elijah quickly lets me help him take Mader off and beings trying to put pee-pee in the potty. Nothing comes, but he is quick to try over and over again.

6:40am Isaac, obviously having to go the bathroom very badly, dribbles on the floor in the kitchen. JB (who is better with Isaac overall) decides to go into the bathroom with him and have a joint bathroom seession. Suddenly Isaac looks up and smiles very big. He has gone pee-pee in the potty!

6:50am Isaac sits at the kitchen counter eating his bowl of Raisin Bran and his five Valentine's Day colored M&M's with giddy joy. He is still naked other than his shirt but doesn't seem to care at all. Elijah continues to try the potty again and again with no success. Mader comes on and off frequently.

7:15am Mom sets up the "Mickey Christmas" movie on the kids' table in the dining room which has no carpets and vinyl chairs so that accidents can be cleaned up easily. Other than the dribble on the kitchen floor, no accidents yet. Daddy begins his "Insanity" work-out in the living room while Mom mans the battle stations.

7:30am While drinking their third glass of water/juice, Isaac and Elijah continute to decline offers to go the bathroom. (Mom is asking nearly every 30 seconds and starting to drive them crazy.)

7:32am Isaac gets a panicked look on his face and tells me that he really has to go! This is the moment we have been waiting for! Feeling the sensation on his own and deciding he needs to go. We run to the bathroom and he instantly begins to go! Celebrations ensue! So very exciting. This is the first time either boy has made the decision on his own and followed through.

7:45am Boys return to their movie ...

7:59am Isaac stands up from the movie table and goes running to the bathroom without telling either of us. He sits down and goes! JB follows him and begins cheering.

8:00am As Isaac stands up, I hear something and turn to see that Elijah is peeing all over the floor under the table. I grab him and we run down the hallway (where rugs have already been rolled up) and run to the bathroom. I quickly empty potty from Isaac and pull off Elijah's wet Mader pants. He shuts the door and when JB walks in to check on Elijah, he has gone in the potty! He gets his own M&m's and a new pair of undewear. (The Lightning ones Isaac didn't want.)

8:03am Elijah is scarfing down his 5 M&M's and Isaac continues to eat about 1 every 6 minutes. So far, it appears that Isaac has gotten the sensation. Elijah doesn't seem to get the sensation part yet but is totally achieving the potty idea when prompted.

8:09am Isaac goes running back to the bathroom but I think it was only becaause he is out of M&Ms. He asks to sit on the little potty and then the big potty but nothing happens. He does ask me, "Are you too big to sit on the little potty Mommy." Ummm, yes I am.

8:10am Isaac asks to wear dinosaurs. Deciding to wear underwear instead of being naked is a good thing I think.

8:11am Isaac decides he prefers nudity and removes them! The movies seem to be helping us "contain" them so we decide we are going to continue watching them even as Mickey concludes.

8:22am "Does anyone need to do pee-pee in the potty?" is met with a "Yeah!" and a sweet giggle from Elijah as he goes running down the hall with JB at his heals. Success results. As he comes back and begins eating his M&Ms, Isaac takes off and does the same thing. Two successes in one minute. Way cool.

8:49am Isaac takes off with his little naked buns running to the potty and goes! Five more M&Ms. We are now worried about sugar highs.

8:50am When asked if he needs to go, Elijah heads down the hallway and successfully delivers the same result! He is still wearing Lightning underwear. (Isaac is still naked.)

8:51am Isaac runs back to the bathroom and says he has gone but I hadn't had a chance to empty Elijah's yet. Did he go? Did he not? We give him the benefit of the doubt and give M&Ms anyhow.

9:10am JB spots Elijah in a poop squat. By the time we have gotten him to the bathroom, he has gone a bit in his underwear, but he sits down and does a bunch more in the potty. Poop in the potty by the little brother! A major accomplishment. During this time, Isaac runs in saying he has to go so we get the second potty from upstairs which Isaac pees in. (He is still quite naked.)

9:45am Elijah pees on the floor. He definitely doesn't seem to get "I'm feeling this and have to go." It seems we have to get him to go sit on the potty before he feels the urge. Isaac has had no accidents but has not done #2 yet either. I am off to take Scrubs to "dog dayz" at the pool which means JB is going to be on his own. Not sure he will update the diaries.

11:00am We opt to move to diapers when I leave to take Scrubs to the pool for "dog dayz" (they let the dogs take over the outdoor pool one day a year -- Scrubby loved it!) and JB was busy booking our tickets to Spain. We'll try again post naps -- I think. Overall ... big success! Very happy with how things turned out for one mere morning.

4:00-7:00pm After a break in diapers for birthday party and naps, we returned to the world of underwear. Isaac put underwear on with his pants and went outside. He had an accident. I think it is harder for him to feel when to go when he isn't naked. However, for the rest of the night, he wore nothing but his birthday suit and the occasional underpants and did really well with no accidents. He even went on the big potty once, and, once he was in bed, asked JB to come get him up so he could go potty again in the big potty. (We did put them to bed in diapers.) Elijah stayed in underwear all evening and had no accidents and a few successes! Very exciting stuff. We'll see how tomorrow goes. And, Brittny, I have no idea what I am going to do come Monday when JB returns to work. Maybe I should have waited to start this until Veronica got here next week.

*** I have put up more pashminas on the website. Click the link at the top of the page to check out the new selection!

Conversation to note

Isaac has been saying some really cute/sweet things lately.

Today he said, "Mommy, I'm so happy." I asked him why he was happy. He said, "You make me happy Mommy."

After Hatice left today he walked into our super clean kitchen and said, "Oh! This is so nice and beautiful!"

He loves to say, "I love your kisses," or "I give the best kisses."

We have also been having a very typical "arguing" conversation when one boy wants one thing and the other does not. A typical conversation in the car yesterday illustrated this perfectly:

Elijah: "Need. Gam cacker. (Graham cracker.)"

Mommy: "Okay, when we get home I'll get you a graham cracker."

Isaac: "I don't want a graham cracker."

Mommy: "Okay, you don't have to have one."

Elijah: (Crying now) "No! Need. Gam cacker."

Mommy: "Right. YOU can have one."

Isaac: "But I don't want one."

Mommy: "I know. Isaac you don't have to one."

Elijah: (Crying harder) "But. No! Need. Gam cacker. Ewijah!"

Isaac: "I don't want a gam cacker Ewijah!"

Elijah: (Full out crying now) "Ewijah need gam cacker."

Mommy: "Yes! Isaac you don't have to eat one. Elijah you can have one."

Isaac: "I don't want one Mommy."

Big sigh from Mommy.

(And repeat and repeat and repeat.)

P.S. You can click on the Baby #3 update above for details about finding out the sex of our little one. Also, I have had many people express interest in sending us girl "stuff." Please email me at and I will gladly send you our address.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Changing Course

Following up on JB's ultrasound from yesterday, I saw the Turkish OB today who confirmed in a matter of seconds that this one should wear pink. Go figure!

It's a ...

Well I had my 20 week ultrasound today. Sort of. The radiology tech had to go back to the States on emergency leave. The Turkish OB got called away for an emergency hours before my appointment. And so that left JB and me and an ultrasound machine.

JB did the ultrasound and felt 95% sure that he saw the sex of this new little one accurately. He said he was confident enough for us to make "the call."

So, if you want to get a vote in on our little "baby detail" game you need to do it now. I plan to close the polls in a matter of hours so I can make the grand announcement.

P.S. Also, if you'd like to enter my current book-give-a-way drawing, click here. We only have 10 entries at current, and I want to make sure that everyone who would like the book, gets a chance to own it. Our previous winner, Joy? Her book is on the way!

P.S.S. I also took a new video of the boys, mainly just for the gramas to see what was going on in their lives. You can really hear Elijah talking, see him doing puzzles, and see both of them sharing the states and flags. Click here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BOI Update

I sold out of my pashminas (again!) So very exciting. We have raised $130 for Because of Isaac in sales to date. (Each pashmina generates approximately $10 for the organization.) Please continue to share this donation opportunity with anyone you know.

We are nearing on $7,000 raised! So very exciting. Remember, we are looking to raise $25,000. This is 2,500 people sending in just $10. This is 250 people sending in $100. Please continue to help us spread the word about this opportunity to change the life of one child and one family.

Today we received our second monthly pledge donation! So very exciting!

Told you he even sleeps in his blue hat


If you get a chance, will you pop over to my friend Joia's blog for a moment? She and her two kids just said good bye to their Philip for 7 months. Even if you don't know them personally, consider putting a comment on her blog to tell this family thank you. Philip is going to overseas to be a doctor for our servicemen. This is an amazing sacrifice four our country. Whether or not you agree with the war, the fact is, we need a military and the military needs their doctors. She is the second "Wifia" member to say good bye to her husband. (My friend Tiffany said good bye about a month ago.) Seven months is a long time to not have your spouse with you, especially when family lives very far away. I know this family would appreciate all the love, encouragement, and thanks you can give them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Prayer Requests

Today I have received three different requests for prayer. I can't share most of them, but I do feel the burden to share one item with you.

I have a friend here who is going in tomorrow for her retrieval. This is where they will go in surgically, remove the follicles from her ovaries, and fertilize them. A few days later 1-2 of those will be put back in her uterus.

Please pray for this family this evening. I remember this journey all too well. So many people have success through IVF. While I was not one of them, please pray that they are able to meet their little one ten months from now!

Also, there is a link on the side of my blog for people who want to request prayer -- prayer can be for all things although I am specifically interested in people who want prayer for their adoption and infertility journey.

Please share your own request or take a look at the requests of others by clicking here.

Another book give away

On my trip to Cyprus, I finished the first book in Francine Rivers MARK OF THE LION series: A Voice in the Wind. It was fantastic! (Thank you AD for sending it to me for Christmas.) I am determined to allow someone else the chance to read this one. Francine Rivers is, in my opinion, in a league all her own when it comes to Christian fiction. Her writing is perfection and something I can only dream of being able to capture in small portions of my own writing.

"The city was silently bloating in the hot sun, rotting like the thousands of bodies that lay where they had fallen in street battles.” With this opening sentence, A Voice in the Wind transports readers back to Jerusalem during the first Jewish-Roman War, some seventy years after the death of Christ. Following the prides and passions of a group of Jews, Romans and Barbarians living at the time of the siege, the narrative is centered on an ill-fated romance between a steadfast slave girl, Hadassah, and Marcus, the brother of her owner and a handsome aristocrat. Confused and alone, she has only her faith to cling to as she tries to subtly bring God into the lives of her captors. This is the time of Rome's decline and the decadence of a civilization on the verge of self-destruction serves as a powerful backdrop to an amazing piece of historical fiction.

Interested? Leave a comment below. This book is too good for me to keep to myself. I will give the contest one week yet again and then randomly choose a winner to whom I can send the book to! This is a long, deep read, but one that you truly cannot wait for an opportunity to pick up again. I have already started book #2!

Please only leave one comment with your name and email address. Next Tuesday I will close the contest and pick a winner. And, yes, past winners may apply again! :)

P.S. The pashminas continue to sell! Please check in frequently to see if there are any that interest you. If you live in the Rochester, MN area, please feel free to email me about another way you can shop for these pashminas.

P.S.S. If you are interested in following my pregnancy up-close, you can visit the Baby #3 update at the top of the screen regularly. I find out what I am having for sure on Thursday so if you want to participate in the contest to guess the details, you can do so on this page.

Monday, February 21, 2011


So, you may be asking. Where have all the blog posts gone? Where has Wendi gone?

Wendi, went to Cyprus!

Cyprus is an island off the south-central coast of Turkey. The northern half of the island belongs to Turkey. The southern part of the island belongs to Greece. If you are a fan of My Big Fat Greek Wedding you may recall the Grandmother being paranoid about the “Turks.” We came to an education (via our cab driver on the ride into our resort) that this is for good reason. A war in 1974 separated the two sections of the island and Greeks are no longer allowed north; Turks are no longer allowed south. In fact, when we made it through customs, they encouraged us to get a stamp on a piece of paper that we could slide into our passport when we so desired. If we had a stamp permanently in our passport, the Greeks would not let us visit their side. We must fly into their airport to be welcome there! And the Turks are not welcome there at all unless they fly in through their airport.

Aaaaah … Customs. Let me begin our trip there.

We decided many months ago to get away, just us gals. Linda, Stebbs, Angelica and myself. We found a cheap flight to Cyprus (under $100) and a resort that included breakfast and dinner for a very reasonable fare. We were so excited for an opportunity to just rest and relax us girls.

So needless to say, we became quite flustered when it appeared our trip may not happen before it even began. Thirty minutes before our flight was to depart the Adana airport on Friday afternoon, the Customs officials informed us that while Linda could go through (she is military and had orders) and Angelica could go through (she had brought her “residency permit” papers), Stebbs and I could not go. We had only brought our passport.

I won’t get into all the details, but suffice it to say, I will now travel with my regular passport, my no-fee passport, and my residency pass AT ALL TIMES! All the confusion stemmed from the fact that when Stebbs and I moved to Turkey back in July, we came in on a military plane. The Customs officials in the airport in Adana stamped our no-fee passport but not our regular passport. (I am still not sure why we have two of these.) This meant that when I showed my regular passport to the Customs officials to leave on Friday, I did not have proof that I actually belonged in Turkey in the first place. And I guess you can't leave if you shouldn't be there in the first place.

Angelica and Linda, already through the gate, began feverishly calling our husbands to fax over paperwork, only to be told that the fax machine at the airport was broken. In the end, moments before the plane was to take off, the Customs officials decided to manually look us up in the computer. They discovered we were in fact residents of Turkey and permitted us to pass. But not without much sweating on the part of Stebbs and myself. Travel “snafus” are not my strong point. My well-learned Turkish went out the window when I attempted to communicate with the guards in the heat of the moment. I can get very stressed when things don't go according to plan (although I was pleased to see that anxiety which would normally overrun me, stayed at a very comfortable level.) Alas, they were very kind and very helpful and ultimately figured out a little “loop hole” to get us on our way to Cyprus.

The flight was only about 40 minutes. Here is a quick photo of our group before all of our Customs problem began:

Angelica, me, Linda, and Stebbs (aka Sarah)

And here is a photo of us once at our resort; we are casually enjoying dinner and trying to forget about the fact that two of us almost didn't make it there!

We got two rooms. I roomed with Stebbs and Linda and Angelica roomed with each other. We booked rooms in the cottages outside because they were cheaper, but when they got there, they informed us that due to plenty of space in the resort off-season, we had bumped for free to the main part of the hotel and had rooms next to each other. How wonderful!

On Saturday morning, we woke up leisurely (8am!) and had a Turkish breakfast. Once again, not my favorite fare, but the food was very good and we were able to all find something to our liking.

After breakfast we headed to the spa! Since I am with child, I could not get a real massage, but I did opt for a pedicure and a head and neck massage. To save money, Stebbs and Linda opted for a "couples" massage! They allowed Angelica to get one for the same price but she got to go solo. The rates were amazing and those three got a whole package of treatments including a massage, wraps, exfoliation, and time in the hot tub.

Here's one of the beautiful spa rooms!)

Here we are before our spa day began.

And here we are relaxing before the relaxation really began!

What a great group of friends.

My head and neck massage was great. So was the pedicure although I have now officially come to understand that Turkish pedicures include no massage at all. Bummer! I was especially excited to get my non-alcoholic cocktail while I got my pedicure and also excited that the nail technician and myself communicated in Turkish the entire time.

After our time in the spa, we went back to our room, changed our clothes, and a had a light a-la-carte lunch before going up to our room, resting, and then having dinner downstairs again. As is often the case, Turkish dinners are quite yummy. I still miss American food, but they had a few items (like steamed vegetables and fettucini) that really tasted familiar.

On our last full day in Cyprus we decided to venture into the nearest town for a day out. Our experience with Customs left us not desiring to try and get into and out of the Greek side of the Island. I think this was a wise choice. So we instead just took a local bus 15 miles to the town of Girne.

Since the other three gals on our trip speak, well, no Turkish, I was the official communicator for the weekend. I am pleased to say that I have now gotten to a point with the language that I can really communicate on the basic level pretty well! I can't venture out of normal points of conversation but I can get directions, ask questions, that sort of thing really well. I am really happy about this. I have worked really hard to learn this language, and it's always encouraging when you get into a real world situation and can use it.

Two things about the Turkish culture make this easy to do. One is that the people are so friendly and so helpful. If you ask them where something is, they will actually walk you to the location! I always feel that I am not alone even if I am lost and confused. The second thing is that the Turks appreciate your effort to learn their language. They help you and work with you as you muddle through. I wonder if we, as Americans, can say either of the things about foreigners in our country who are trying to acclimate to life there. Something to keep in mind.

Anyways, here are some pictures of this delightful town on the water.

Turkish delight (Narnia!)

The flag for the Turkish side of Cyprus: a slight derivation from the flag of Turkey.

I'm not sure I an explain accurately what is occurring in this photo, but it is proof of the kindness of these people. I was walking up ahead of the other gals when these people started making jokes with each other in Turkish. They looked at me to see if I understood what was occurring and I told them that I did indeed speak Turkish. They were ecstatic and started talking at me a mile a minute which I was unable to take in accurately! They were so happy to talk to me in Turkish, and even pulled their van over on their way out of the parking lot to share some Turkish cakes with Angelica and myself.

A rare site indeed: a Turkish church!

I have no idea what this is or why we felt compelled to pose by it.

Finding a clean bathroom is always a challenge so when we saw this nice hotel with a cafe at the top, we jumped on the chance to sit down, have some "dondurma" (ice cream) and use the restroom. We left in plenty of time to catch our bus back to the resort only to see him leave us five minutes early. However, I was able to find a nice man to help us and we got a cab for a bit more money to take us back.

We finished off our Sunday with a nap and dinner.

On Monday it was breakfast and a bit of down-time before it was time to check-out and get a cab the thirty minutes back to the airport. Here are a few pictures of us outside our resort before we left:

We did end up making it home fairly successfully although the Customs officials back on the mainland gave me a lecture about the fact that we only had copies of our "Residency Permits" (JB emailed them to me) instead of the real one. I told him repeatedly that "Yes, I understand and am sorry" in Turkish and was relieved when we got onto the other side and onto our Base shuttle to take us back to Incirlik.

This island was GORGEOUS, and I do hope to take JB back for a weekend at some point. Thank you to our dear husbands who took care of our kiddos (and our dog -- Linda) for the long weekend so that we could spend some much needed R & R together. What a wonderful time!!!!

I feel so incredibly blessed, each time we move, to make life-long friends. What a gift from the Lord. Angelica is one of those sweet souls. Her Spanish accent and passionate zest for life keep us all at peace and comfortable in her presence. Stebbs is just our funny friend. She makes us laugh and never takes life to seriously. She was a great "roomie." And Linda is proof to all of us that we don't have to be in exactly the same "place" in life to be at the same "place" in the Lord. She may be a working woman and newly married, but her peaceful spirit and calm demeanor were such a great addition.

Thank you gals for a weekend I will not soon forget.

Lots to share ...

... I have so much to share about the weekend I just had! Stay tuned for a post later today about a sweet time of rejuvenation with some sweet girlfriends. Thank you to my husband for allowing me to rest and relax and spend some time away so I can come home a better wife and a better mom. I love you JB!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Love. It.

I love that Elijah calls me, "Mama." It's his own way of saying my name. His unique style. Isaac is purely "Mommy." And I love the differnce.

I love that when the boys get in the tub, Isaac always gets to sit under the water simply because he is the big brother. Elijah accepts this almost always without complaint. I love that Isaac will say, "Need it hotter, Mommy." I spend the entire bath knocking it slightly warmer. Sometimes he will also ask for "Need it hotter, smaller Mommy." This means he wants it hotter but not coming out so fast (so he can fill up his yellow bowl to "make coffee like Joni and Grama Di.")

I love Elijah saying, "Mama, come." He takes me by the finger to various places where he wants me to play with him: leggos, trains, books, you name it. He also brings me legos he builds. He'll hand it to me and say, "For you!" and I'll say, "For meeeee?" And he'll just get this big smile and repeat himself. "For you!" Then I tell him I love it and then he often asks for it back.

I love that Isaac has his very special bedtime routine with JB. A derivation usually results in tears that means JB has to come back to complete this missed item. If JB forgets to do "rock a bye baby" or pray with both boys on each knee, Isaac reminds him. We must read our Bible and our devotional. We must say "See you in the morning" just as the door shuts.

There are tiring parts of being a mom. There are parts that make me weary. But the things that make me happiest are the tiny, little things. I am truly happy when JB is holding the boys and they are laughing uncontrollably, unable to hold that in. That laughter doesn't come from DNA. It comes froma father and a son -- adopted or biological.

Love. It.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Please continue to click on the link above to see updates of my pashmina sales. I also continue to update my pregnancy page. I encourage you not to visit this page if you in a spot where it may cause you pain. I talk openly on this page and find it a good "compromise" so that I can share my heart but do so in a more "private" place. I want people to be able to continue to visit my blog without worry that baby talk might abound.

As for the pashminas, I sold 5 of the 6 within about 48 hours. So I have put a few more up and will continue to do so as long as sales are trickling in. Please share this link with friends as a portion of all sales go to support Because of Isaac.

My blogging may be a bit scant over the next few days and I'll fill you in to why later. But for now, I'm enjoying spending the morning with my little boys. They just took a bath. They are watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Thanks to a good friend who sent a VHS tape of taped episodes). They continue to say and do things that cause me huge smiles, exhausted sighs, and great big laughs. They are more twins now than ever, and I love watching them playing together, conspiring in a corner, or chasing each other all over the house. How God so fit to bless me with two little boys at the same time, I'll never know. But I'm so glad he did.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Let's get some discussion started

I'm a little against maternity photos.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the sentiment behind them. And if you remember, I did do some maternity photos with my friend Kara right before I delivered Elijah. You can click here to view them if you would like.

However, I think my photos were pretty tastefully done. They were more about family and celebrating the three of us before we became four. I didn't get half-naked or look lovingly into my husband's eyes.

Now please. Understand me. If you have done this, that is totally fine. I know some people are really into it. I think my discomfort with the idea really stemmed from a lot of our infertility. And John, even now, doesn't understand the point of the photos at all. It all seems strange to him.

But others enjoy it. The pictures are often very beautiful. And people like them. So that's fine.

However, I did get a kick out of a post recently sent to me by one of JB's medical school classmates. Lisa, sent me this link sometime ago. I think I went in for surgery shortly before or thereafter, and as a result, this got pushed into the background. But I've been meaning to share it for some time.

These are some photos taken for a couple preparing to adopt. They are designed to "mimic" maternity photos in a sort of a weird, twisted, and humorous way. I am not sure how I feel about the pictures, but since they are being done by a couple "in the know", I give a little more credence to them.

I'd love to hear what some of you fellow adoptive moms think of these.

Metaphorical Adoption Maternity Photos

Now pictures aside, I did find some of what the blog author wrote about adoption on her post very interesting. A few excerpts:

During the past year that I’ve known our friends. I’ve witnessed some of the more excruciatingly difficult and exquisitely painful moments that accompany the adoption process, while coming to terms with just how little most of us really understand about it. And it seems like one big part of being adoptive parents, no matter to whom, is having to play the role of benevolent public educator to an ignorant public who will take the existence of your children as some kind of personal challenge or display of moral one-upmanship.

And then there’s the obnoxious questions that will always follow them: why can’t you have children of your own? Don’t you know that they’re going to wonder why they look different from you? How much did they cost? Why didn’t their mother want them? What if there’s something wrong with them? What are you going to do with That Hair? You are going to induce lactation, aren’t you?

Even as an innocent bystander, these really raise my ire because of the amount of unthinking, condescending privilege that underscores them. I don’t know a single biological parent who’s had the very choice to give birth to their children questioned so constantly, and throughout her child’s life; you just don’t see pregnant ladies having to face an inquisition squad in line at the grocery checkout, full of people wondering why they didn’t choose to adopt? Couldn’t they have investigated foster care? Don’t they realize that there are already so many children already out there who need homes?

As you can imagine, a sense of humor is integral. And, at some point, Alana got the idea of taking a few metaphorical maternity photos, starring a large beach ball in lieu of a pregnant belly. This, after a couple of Google searches, led to the wide, bizarre, pretentious, tacky, often-naked, and always moodily black-and-white world of maternity portrait photography. And creative inspiration.

Anyways, I'd love to get some feedback from people on "both sides" of this issue. Does anyone else find the whole maternity photo a weird thing? Or is it simply because of my history that these strike me a bit funny?

And what about these adoptive photos? In good taste or sort of strange? No right answers here folks. Just something to think about.

And also something to remember. Adoptive moms have to answer a TON of questions. I don't mind doing that, but it is true that I often find myself as an educator instead of just a mom. I wonder how biological moms would feel if they had to answer some of these questions.

Just thinking outloud ...

P.S. I have some new pashminas! Click here to check out the new selection.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Boo hat

Yes, he even sleeps in that darned blue hat! Isaac will part with his brown hat on occasion but Eli is in this blue one at all times except the bath. We've even started using it for discipline purposes in public. "Come here now or I will take your blue hat!" Ha! Works like a charm!

P.S. I have already sold 4 of my first 6 pashminas! Check out the link at the top of the screen to see the two remaining pashminas. I also hope to replenish my supply soon and keep 5-10 up on the screen at all times. So check back regularly. And share with your friends!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Get in bed!

Our boys play quite a bit after being put down at night. And for the most part we let them. But they are supposed to stay in their bed.

Last night JB went upstairs, yet again, to quiet them down and encourage them to go to sleep.

"Boys," I heard him say over the monitor which was on downstairs, "You need to lay down in bed."

"But Daddy," Isaac started, "Can I dance?"

Not sure where that came from and JB said he couldn't formulate an answer. He just shook his head, stifled a grin, and shut the door.

Don't keep it to yourself

I am pretty open about my opinion regarding whether or not to share your infertility journey. My opinion? Don't keep it to yourself! My friend Sarah recently shared this link on Facebook. It discusses why it so important that people keep conversation flowing about this important topic. Wanted to share it with those of you on this journey.

I also just completed a day of Beth Moore study devoted to this topic. I plan to post about this soon so stay tuned.

I miss ...

... American food. I had a great time at our holiday resort for the weekend, but Turkish breakfasts just don't cut it for me. They usually include some plain white bread, honey, corn flakes, cocoa puffs, hard boiled eggs, and then a variety of meats and cheeses that just don't "fit" with what we Americans want to eat for breakfast.

I just want to go to Ihop. I want to have pancakes and eggs and waffles. You know, an American buffet breakfast! Ohhh how I miss that! Oh what I would do for oodles of syrup and fattening buttermilk everything.

Our brand new MAC computer just arrived this past weekend. (Joan, you're going to love coming to visit now.) My other computer which was given to me during my tenure at RLSF has reached the end of its leg and is no longer usable. So we decided to splurge and buy a real computer. I'm a bit tired of typing and working on this tiny little laptop.

(It may seem like I have totally changed subjects, but I haven't.) We can watch HULU on it. We are trying this for the first time. The first show that JB picked? Bobby Flay's throwdown challenge. What are they throwing down? Blueberry pancakes! Oh my oh my oh my. Blueberry pancakes at a pancake house. Could there be anything more delightful.

Yes, of course, we can make pancakes at our house, but these little things are things that you really miss living across the world from home. If we were in Europe, we could still get tastes of home. But here, it is really no longer Europe. It's Asia. And it's so different.

I wrote about some of my frustrations with Turkey on a previous post here. And I promised to revisit these when the fog cleared. So, here I am, revisiting a bit.

Let me preface by saying this. I am happy here in Turkey. We belong here. This is where we are supposed to be. JB works good hours. He works short days. He is off on the weekends. He is not deploying. We are experiencing a brand new culture. Turkish people are incredibly kind. The opportunity to learn a new language and experience a different place in the world is something we can never exchange. We are not bitter. We are not sad.

But we do get frustrated.

The Base itself is frustrating. We had been told that most people love living on Base at first and then it turns into a pressure cooker. That has all become understandable to us recently. The Base itself is run by the Turkish military. They own it. We, as Americans, are guests on their Base. For example, if the Base in Eglin decided to allow a small section of Turkish military occupy a section of their Base, we would find it incredibly rude if they started telling us how to do things. If they started telling us we were doing things wrong, it would be offensive.

The same is true for us here. We are the guests. And as such, we have to remember that this is a different culture. They do things differently. For example. Does it make any sense to me that I have been here seven months and still do not have a permanent residency pass? Does it make any sense that every January they reissue passes to the entire Base, and therefore, if you are anywhere close to January, they won't reissue you a pass?

I rest my case.

It makes NO sense at all. I could help this run so much more efficiently myself. But alas, I am not a member of the Turkish military. I am a guest. I am subject to how they do things. And so I do.

These things carry on off-Base.
  • I don't understand why drivers move back and forth between lanes randomly. It seems unsafe.
  • In the malls there are carts with wheels that don't move forward. You have to slide sideways. I don't really understand why they don't fix this wheel issue.
  • Why do they have lights in the middle of their round-a-bouts? I don't get it.
  • Turkish breakfasts? There isn't necessarily anything wrong with them. They are just different.
  • Sitting in the middle of medians during a warm day? Doesn't that seem a bit dangerous?
  • There is a new thing on the highways now. You have to use a pre-paid card to go through toll booths. But if you get to your turn in line and your card is out of money, you are stuck there! Fifteen cars behind you will have to back up so you can get out and maybe cross six lanes of traffic to find the little house that allows you to replenish your money. This makes no sense to me!

I have learned that if I start any sentence with, "Why do they ..." or "I don't understand why ..." I am going to just get frustrated. JB and I have found that if we do this regularly, we will end up getting bitter or down on where we are. So we try to remind ourselves that things here are not wrong. Yes, we see a way to do it more efficiently. But we don't live here. We don't own things here. We are guests here.

And that is what hard. You really can't make a change. You have to go with the flow even if the flow doesn't seem to flow very smoothly at all. I would imagine that anyone experiencing a new culture struggles withe adjustments, even if things are being done better. But your prayers that I would continue to see the good and not get frustrated would be most appreciated.

P.S. Thank you to those of you have purchased a pashmina. I have sold 4 of the 6 already. You can click on the link on the top of the screen to see what I still have. I plan to replenish my supply regularly and keep selling them as long as they are selling. You can pay through paypal. Email me at with any questions.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A few more retreat pics

Here is a picture of the two doggies Shane and Linda took home with them. If they took one, they had to take both, but I think it will be Bonnie (the black) one that becomes a permanent member of their family. "Clyde" will be getting a new home (with our Chaplain and his family!).

How beautiful -- just one hour from our home!

A playground shot of Boy #1

Aaaaaah what a typical Elijah face!

And this is so Isaac.

Unfortunately a broken playground toy is a frequent occurrence around these parts.

Thanks Linda for taking these photos! How you managed one of the boys and Scotty all semi-looking at the camera is remarkable!

Pashminas for sale!

Okay blog readers, here is something new. I recently became aware of websites like this which sell pashminas for upwards of $100! Seriously? The same pashminas I can purchase in the Alley for a fraction of that cost?

That got me thinking. Could I not share some of these with my blog readers and raise money for Because of Isaac? So that's what I have decided to do. I decided to pick a few pashminas and just try this and see if there was any interest.

The selection is below. If you want one, just send me an email at: Once I have received confirmation you intend to buy it, I will remove the product from the website since I only have one of each. I will then contact you with payment options.

Please note: only a portion of your donation will go to Because of Isaac. A portion will be taken out for my time and energy and a portion for the cost of the product and the postage. The donation to Because of Isaac will come directly from John and myself and you will not receive recognition as a donor. This will allow us to properly process this for tax reasons.

Want to see the items available? Just click here (or on the link at the top of the screen).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Great weekend

I'll have more pictures when one of my dear buddies Linda shares her pics, but for now, here is are a few photos I stole from another buddy, Beth, of our time at Pendosis Holiday Village.

Our entire group. I think there were 23 couples in total for the weekend. Our Chapel has a variety of services Traditional, Mass, Gospel, and the Contemporary Service which we attend at 6pm. The majority of people seemed to come from the Gospel service, but there were a few people there from our 6pm service, and some people who aren't church attenders at all. Can you find Wendi and JB?
We can actually see these mountains from our home on a clear day. But here they are up close and beautiful!

The building we had our meals and conference sessions in.

The front gates

Another view of the moutains. See the building on the far right? Our building was right behind that. It was located in the farthest back corner of the complex -- not too easy for a still quite gimpy Wendi and two little boys with very short legs.

So quaint.

Another beautiful shot. We hope to return here when the weather warms up with some families for a hiking adventure. The guys will hike and the gals can hang out by the pool!

Once I steal a bunch of pictures from Shane and Linda, I'll have some more to share with you, but for now I'll just tell you that we are home from a trip most of you had no idea we took. Our fam just got back from a great weekend at a resort about an hour from here where the Base Chapel hosted a marriage retreat for couples. Included was free childcare! Can't really beat that. JB and I had a wonderful weekend just having the opportunity to talk uninterrupted. We really reconnected. We also had fun with friends like Micah & Sarah and Shane & Linda (who had a very productive weekend -- they came home with two new family members ... dogs!) More to come on this fantastic time.

Revisiting China

It is still hard for me think about the fact that we came soooo close to adopting from China and then withdrew. (To read about our decision to withdraw, you can click here.) For those of you who are newbie readers, we were on the list to adopt from China when Isaac was born. We stayed on even after Elijah was born, and then, due to the incredible growth in the wait-time, decided to withdraw.

But at MOPs on Thursday I met a fellow adoptive mom. She ended up adopting a special needs son from China when the wait time grew so incredibly. (We were unable to switch to waiting child because of the ages of the boys when we pulled out of China amongst other reasons.) Her log-in date was April 2006. Mine was April 2008. They are not anywhere near processing April 2006.

Meeting her flooded me with memories of what could have been. It is still painful for me to think about our China adoption. I wish so badly we could have seen it through. But I also know we did the right thing.

Here are some facts I have recently gathered about the China adoption wait which has confirmed in my heart that we made the right decision:
  • People receiving referrals to their child today will have waited approximately 3 years (3.5-4 year total wait) when they were told one year. (It is estimated that we would still be five years or more away from getting a referral.)
  • People putting in their dossier today can expect a wait of EIGHT years.
  • There are only two things that can reduce wait times for people who are already waiting: either the CCAA must process dossiers faster, or some of the people in the queue must drop out.
  • It is unfortunate but true that supply and demand don't track with each other. The number of people who work at the CCAA is determined by China's budgetary processes, like any other government agency. The number of Westerners who want to adopt is determined by public perceptions of how adoption from China compares to other adoption programs and to other methods of building a family. While visibility and acceptance of adoption from China has vastly increased, the number of people employed at the CCAA has not changed at all.
  • China has 669 days of dossiers to be processed before they get to our (now removed) dossier. 669 doesn't seem like that many, but China currently processes about 4.6 days of dossiers each month.
  • Using one online calculator, the best guess for how long it would take for OUR dossier to come to the front? February 2019! I kid you not! That means every single year, from now until 2019 we would have to be getting new fingerprints and homestudy updates. This was what most concerned JB and myself. We had already spent a good bit of money. But the money that it would cost to make these updates for 5 or 10 years would be the equivalent of what we had already spent. We felt we needed to cut our losses when we did. We felt that the extra money we would be paying could be spent somewhere else -- in helping others adopt or adopting again ourselves.

Anyways, just wanted to share. This information confirmed that JB and I guessed right and it was time to "get out" before had to spend another thousand dollars to updaet our dossier in 2009, right after Elijah was born. It still hurts that it had to be this way, and I often wonder why God lead us into China instead of another country where wait times were considerably lower. But we continue to move forward, step-by-step. What I do know is that if we had gone a faster route, that child would already be with us, and we would be facting the prospect of welcoming a fourth child into our family. (Woah!)