Thursday, March 31, 2011

Passing the Time

With JB gone, I have found myself quite busy. A few highlights:
  • Tuesday night, Angelica had us over for dinner. Always crazy with four kiddos in the mix, but always wonderful company hanging out with Angelica.
  • On Wednesday evening, we went to the CDC (Child Development Center) on Base for an "open house." They were having science projects in every room. The boys made homemade ice cream, we ate dinner, and we got messy and washed our hands over and over again as we played with more goop and paint and mud than I knew was on the agenda. I'm all for my kids getting dirty but I think just a pile of toys would have done the trick entertainment-wise. Either way, it was fun to see the CDC on the inside. I'd never really looked around in it before. It's a nice place. I'm not planning preschool for the boys while we are in Turkey, but it was nice to see just the same.
  • Today I tried something very new. I tried Zumba. Hmmmm ... exercise mixed with dance. My friend Casey teaches the class so I decided to be fair and see what it was. It was: fun, hard, and humbling all rolled into one. I think I will definitely try it again at some point in the future, but I don't think, no matter how hard I work, that I will ever actually do more than memorize the moves. Actually look like a dancer. Not sure it's possible. Either way, it fit my criteria for exercise because I got my heart rate up and no one blew a whistle at me. (I promised myself I would never answer to a whistle once my last days as a basketball player came to a close.)
  • And of course, my dear friend Becky is coming into town VERY SOON! This will definitely help pass the time until JB returns from the USA.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Calling All Polar North Wanna Be's!

Okay folks. I have an idea. I've been toying with it awhile and have decided just to "throw it out there."

I have this "idea" to feature a series of posts on the following topic:

"What I want to the world to know about ____________."

I am looking for individuals who are interested in sharing knowledge of THEIR passion. I have my passions. But what is YOUR passion?

Topic ideas could include:
  • A job you have had.
  • A grief you have suffered.
  • A incorrect assumption people have made about you.
  • A Biblical topic your are very knowledgeable about.
  • A place you have visited.
  • A mistake that you made.
  • A fear that you conquered.
Get the idea? A topic may be: "I want the world to know a bank teller is the best job ever." Or: "I want the world to know that losing your mother at a young age is difficult." or "... That spreading a rumor is painful" or "...that living in Texas is the best place ever." Maybe you can share what being a child in a divorce is like. Maybe you can share about your adventures with dieting, extreme sports, mission work, or getting fired.

Really it can be ANYTHING! ANY topic could fit into this. Truly. And if you have your own blog, maybe you just pull an entry you have already written that you think would fit into this concept.

I am asking that you email me ( either your blog idea (and I can tell you what I think of it) or the blog entry itself. It can be as short or as long (but maybe not TOO long) as you would like.

I really hope people will participate. I think this would be an awesome way for us to learn some very cool things about some people who read my blog. There are now about 400 visitors to this here blog a day. Surely there are a dozen or so (or more?) who would like to share something they love (or don't love) with all of us?

You can also leave a comment, and I will respond that way as well. C'mon folks. Don't make me beg but please consider participating.

JB arrives in America

From JB:

..." 30 hrs and I am done! Not a bad trip at all. Had exit rows the entire way. The Paris to Atlanta flight I had no one sitting right next to me. Still couldn't sleep much - so I am beat! I'm going to bed. I'll call you when I get up. Love ya!"

Now I only to have to wait like a full day to be able to talk to him. He went to bed just as I got up!

The U-S-A ...

... is where JB is at or in route to as we speak.

He has a Conference he was asked to attend back in the States. He will also get to spend a few extra days with his family. This is especially nice on the heels of his Grandmother's passing.

While I am excited (for him and his family) that he gets to go home, I already miss him. Having Veronica here is, of course, an incredible gift and makes the whole thing a lot better. (Veronica is a-w-e-s-o-m-e!) In addition, my friend from Eglin, Becky, is due in later this week. Another bit of cool timing by our Lord.

But it is still weird to be here, a foreign country, without the reason that we are here in the first place. I'm so happy he gets to go home but jealous just the same. We considered, for about ten seconds, me going with him. But, we knew that me traveling with both boys at this point in my pregnancy was not a great idea. The trip would either be (a) too short; or (b) I'd stay longer and have to do the return leg by myself.

So we opted to leave me here. A wise move I think, but I'm still quite jealous of JB eating Chik-Fil-A and me eating Turkish donners ...

... at least the Commissary had OJ today. That makes it all better (almost) I think.

Monday, March 28, 2011

China Shoes

It was back in August of 2007, just a few weeks after we had moved to Florida from Minnesota, that we received a gift in the mail. They were shoes for a little girl as you can see by clicking on this link to a past blog: China Shoes. They were from an online friend and were the first gift I had ever received for a child of my own.

Those of you who have been with me on this blog (or in real life) long enough, know how the story played out. Much differently than we originally dreamed. Even after Isaac's unexpected adoption and my even-more-unexpected pregnancy with Elijah, we planned to move forward with our adoption of a little girl through China.

We were on the waiting list well over a year. Isaac had been born. Elijah had been born. And we made the difficult decision to withdraw our Dossier from China.

I won't get into the whole story now, but I will say that that decision was incredibly emotional and difficult for both of us. So much so, that I had to remove some girl items that I had received from my house. I just couldn't look at them without remembering the daughter we always pictured in our family. I sent the shoes, a onesie, and a few other small girl gifts we had received to our friend Rachel in Minnesota who was due to have a girl in the near future.

While this new daughter, due in July, won't look like the little girl we planned to adopt, she will be our daughter of course. And as such, I was incredibly excited to receive these items back in the mail this past week. I didn't expect them. It had been a few years since I had sent them. I hadn't asked Rachel to keep them or to hold them for me. So the fact that she did and sent them to me, made me cry all over again.

Bittersweet. Sad that our China adoption (which we would still probably be waiting another five years for -- minimum) could not be seen to completion. But excited that a new little girl will get to wear these precious items.

God is cool.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Some things in Turkey ...

... are just done a bit differently.

For one, we "Spring Forward" a week later than the USA. But not just a week. A week and a day. While my computer fast forwarded me on Saturday evening, Turkey actually fast forwarded last night, on Sunday evening.

That means that we are now back to 7 hours ahead of the East Coast. (8 hours ahead of Eglin, 9 ahead of my buddy Kristi in New Mexico, and 10 ahead of all of you Californians.)

And check out this link to witness another way Turkey does things a bit different. I've been reading this gal's blog for a bit. She's an American living in Turkey by choice. Just up and moved to Istanbul. While it is Istanbul (very different from here), it's still fascinating. Ashtrays advertising no-smoking? Could someone please explain this to me (and this blog's author.)

It doesn't end there.

Yesterday on our way to our little getaway, we actually received a speeding ticket. Firstly, I had no idea that they even gave speeding tickets in Turkey. Don't know if I had ever seen a cop pull someone over before. But apparently, I was wrong. They do.

But here's what's strange. A cop clocked us going 134km. A few miles up the road, we were pulled over as we went through a toll booth. I, being our Turkish speaker, got out of the car to speak with the officers. They informed me that the speed limit was 120 (yuz yirmi), but Turkish law allows us to go 133. We were going 134, and thus, a ticket ensued.

What I found interesting about this was that they actually "told" the upper limit. I mean, in the USA, there is a speed limit, and we all know that we can go "a bit" over without getting a ticket. But could you imagine if someone were to actually pull out a chart telling us what the upper limit was? What would the point even be of having a lower number if it was the upper number that you couldn't break?

Just a few things that are a bit different over here on the other side of the world.

Trip to the Fire Department

A huge, humongous THANK YOU to the Incirlik Fire Department for allowing us to tour their "home" last week. And an equally big Thank You to Sarah A. with Little Trees Photography for taking these amazing photos of our kiddos enjoying some time with the big trucks. We took about 6-7 little ones over to the Base Fire Department. They took the time to show us their trucks and even give us some goodie bags. They also made us promise to come back. Heck yeah we'll be back!!

Isaac thought this trip to the flight line was a fantastic idea. He walked around holding the Fire Fighter's hand and "helping" him go everywhere. But as soon as he got up in a big truck, he'd say, "I think it is time to come down now." He didn't want to venture too far away from familiarity.

Elijah on the other hand, was definitely eight months younger on this field trip. The load noises and big trucks were a bit too much for him and he hung tight to Mommy the majority of the time.

A great little afternoon activity. I suggest that everyone on Base takes the time to make a phone call and set up a time to come visit the Fire Fighters on Incirlik Air Force Base.

P.S. I think you should be able to click on the story board to make it bigger.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I really miss ...

... my Tropicana Orange Juice!

When, oh when, will the Commissary have OJ that is not from concentrate available?! It's been weeks since we have had any fresh meat. Weeks since I have seen any OJ. Milk comes in every few days and is gone in a few hours. If you want cream or milk or any of those fun things, you are encouraged to visit the "milk" section in the canned goods. Yes, milk in a box or a can. Not something I have eagerly jumped on board with.

Apparently, all these empty shelves are due to the crisis in Lybia (and possibly in other countries throughout the Middle East?) Flights have been rerouted and changed and planes diverted to other areas as what was supposed to be used to bring us milk is now being used to help another people group.

I think that is a worthwhile reason to not have OJ, don't you?

There was a meeting late last week, and we have been told that our position as family members here seems extremely secure -- that no evacuation is anywhere in sight. Some of you have asked me about Veronica. Since she is not here as a "sponsored family member", if she had to leave the country, it would be at our cost. Something we will obviously take care of if it comes down to it.

But for now, all appears well. We are very grateful for this as one of our main reasons for coming to Turkey was to stay together as a family.

Please keep praying. (For the Middle East, not really the OJ.)

Kizkalesi (Castle by the Sea)

We've been sticking to our "do it while the weather is nice and Wendi feels good" adventure schedule. So this past Saturday we went to Kizkalesi.

The castle floating in the blue water 150 meters offshore from this eastern Mediterranean beach resort town -- is actually Kizkalesi. However, we took this picture from Korykos -- making this a two-castle town.

The sign outside of the castle. Once again, the English translation of Turkish is done so badly, you can barely read it. I will never understand why they don't find someone who speaks English to help check translations ... or spellings. The baseball fields here on Base all say "Keep Of The Grass." Sigh ...

I really believe that the boys need only a big pile of rocks to entertain themselves with. They LOVE rocks! Because they didn't have any pockets themselves, Isaac began "borrowing" my pockets to carry his treasures. "Daddy'll love this," he always says when he finds one when JB is at work.

More rocks. I find these things EVERYWHERE -- primarily in the seat cushions of their car seat and the couch.

No amount of rotating could get a good angle to demonstrate this picture from.

The three greatest "men" I know.

After our time at the castle, we headed to the beach. It went well until Isaac got wet. He was distraught with the idea of being wet and proceeded to cry for the next half hour or so.

You can tell from this photo how much Elijah cared about getting wet or dirty

But prior to the "wet times" the boys played like crazy in the dirt. I just love seeing my guys get dirty. Am I the only mom who thinks like that?

Building castles.

A Whole New World

I love the way that Veronica captures life from a much "shorter" perspective in these photos:

Sunny Times

Veronica really captured this beautiful spring day so wonderfully. I love her photos! (I think I would have "hired" her in Turkey just for the pictures.) The weather is warming up here. I am still not used to the huge temperature shifts between early morning and late evening. (It can be 50 in the morning, 75 by midday, and back to 50 again in the evneing.) But I do love the middle part of the day, when the sun comes out, but it is still cool and delightfully comfortable. We know summer is coming (and here in Turkey, that heat is something to be feared), but for now, we are loving this Turkey weather.

Happy 79th Birthday Grampa!

In love

Love this picture Veronica took of Rowan and Isaac! How sweet!

Friday, March 25, 2011

No name tags for us!

My boys have decided that putting a name tag on their backs to go into MOPs is the worst idea conceived by man.

At first it was just Isaac. He'd claw at his back and cry and beg for me to take the tape off. I would do my best to put it in a place he could not reach. Eventually, I would figure out a way to put it on him without him noticing, and class would begin as promised.

But then Elijah decided to join his brother in the masking-tape-lamentation-dance. He, too, would try to reach his tape. He'd cry. He'd yell. And again, eventually, I would succeed in sneaking it onto his back without him realizing it, and class would begin as promised.

Mom 2. Boys 0.

But then, my little men, decided to team up against me.

They decided that they would watch each other's backs. And thus ended my ability to win this tape war. If I put a piece of tape on Isaac, Elijah would quickly take it off for him. And if I succeeded with Elijah? Isaac to the rescue.

I thus informed all teachers at last week's MOPs that name tags on their shirts was beyond my mom skills. I was out of ideas. Their names would have to be forgotten or memorized. And because I've been here on Base for nearly a year now, most everyone knows my boys -- although they still often can't remember which one is which.

I suppose the previous score of 2-0 means nothing if they now will win every time. They had out-conspired me. I had been out-witted by two toddlers.

And to be honest, deep down, a part of me was proud. Proud that as brothers they worked together to accomplish a task they both felt important (for who knows why.) I wanted so badly to be the mother of just one child. So when I see two of them wrestling and fighting and teaming up and laughing, my heart is glad. It's very happy.

And I find it completely acceptable that I lost.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Look at that uniform!

JB! You are famous! I don't tell you as often as I should, but I'm really proud of you. Thank you for being a good doctor (everyone tells me so!) and such a good husband and father. We love you!

Please pray ...

... for the Middle East.

First Egypt. Syria. Lybia, of course. Now Yemen.

We are watching things very closely over here in Turkey. We are blessed that the country we currently call home is a democracy. Praise the Lord for that. But we do grow concerned because we have been told, often, that family can be evacuated from this Base at a moment's notice. We don't want to be away from JB for any length of time and so we continue to pray that the violence in the countries that border us stays at bay.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adoption "Rocks"

How amazing is this song?! Adoption is awesome.

As Bill Schick, an orphanage in Mexico, says, "Adoption of children in our family has taught me especially that an adopted child is no less a son or a daughter than my natural-born children. And to apply that in a spiritual sense, I have learned that to be a son of God, makes me no less his son than his true Son. Adoption has changed my life, but it has also changed my relationship with my Father in Heaven."

I couldn't have said it better myself. I have such an improved understanding of my relationship with my Heavenly Father thanks to our little Isaac.

Please take the time to view this video below. And also, please take the time to visit our organization: Because of While you may not be in a place in your life to adopt yourself, you may be in a place to help someone help bring a child into their home and help them grow in the love of Christ, forever.

Apple-Rosemary Blue Cheese Bites

Can you believe that I, yes, me ... yes, Wendi ... made these little beauties for our Bible Study potluck on Tuesday. Amazing, huh? For the complete recipe, click here. But be warned, you won't be as impressed with me when you see how easy they are.
P.S. I sprinkled rosemary. And if someone doesn't like blue cheese, you won't like these, but I'd imagine you could substitute with relatively no major trauma.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Aunt AD!

In celebration of your birthday AD, here's a video of Elijah: Me Like Quesawiya!

And here's another entitled: One Mickey Mouse!

First real visit to the Med.

On Sunday, we decided to stick with our "get out while the weather is nice and Wendi still feels like it" theme and head to the Mediterranean Sea.

We have been to the Mediterranean Sea, technically, when we visited Izmir (west of here) and Istanbul (northwest of here), but we haven't just driven an hour south and seen the sea that so much of our faith as Christians was surrounded by.

So on Sunday, we did.

Shane and Linda joined us. So did Dan, Angelica, Noah, and Rowan. We went to a town called Yurmatalik. The weather was overcast and rainy, but when it did clear up, the kids had a fabulous time just running around, playing in the dirt, and wading into the ocean.

These first two pictures are absolutely two of my most favorite pictures of the boys that I have had. I love them. (Thanks Linda and Veronica for taking all the pictures, but thank you especially to Linda who captured these first two).

And here "just a few" other favorites from a great day enjoying a world so far removed from the land we truly call home.

Linda and Elijah building a castle.
This is such an Isaac shot -- doing his own thing, in his own way, content to do it solo.
I love this picture of Elijah because it so reminds me of JB -- investigating everything and anything he can close up.

Shane and Isaac building a castle with a moat.

John investigating a couple of jellyfish. Told you he likes to study things just like Elijah.

Isaac had a bellyache for part of the time -- he just wants JB when he feels like this.

Isaac and Noah enjoying the water together.


Veronica and Isaac building "Snake Castle." Veronica had to do a lot of guarding to prevent the kiddos from knocking these castles over.

Isaac and Rowan watching the birds.

Elijah and Noah heading down to see the jellyfish.


Our photographer/nanny!

Veronica and I at a little Cafe, waiting for the rain to pass.

Isaac demonstrating how he says, "You are a crazy person," without saying a word.

Rowan and Noah.