Apparently I am a monthly blogger now…

Apparently I am also a phone photo dumper blogger. Since my last post that was an update and lots of phone photos from about a month ago, I have had to pay for my website again for the next year, so I figure I better use it since I pay for it. Haha.



So E has finished a month at her school and is still doing well and liking it. It helps a lot to have a little friend there! Here is the picture we had taken for her for school. They basically ask for the equivalent of passport photos.  I thought she looked so pretty and grown up in it! She loves purple!



One day after we took her to school, we went over to the park and sidewalks by the water and went for a walk with little brother. It was a chilly day but nice to see the boats and the cats that hang out on the rocks by the water.



We went to the mall for lunch one Sunday after church and E and I had a little dessert. Frozen yogurt is a little lower in carbs than ice cream or custard so I shared one with her.(null)


We have gotten to see baby #3 a few times lately. He is doing well. Measuring at 6 lbs 10 oz as of 34 weeks, according to the ultrasound machine. Which isn’t huge but isn’t small either. Both my other kids were about 8 lbs 12 oz. Thankfully, my amniotic fluid level has gone down since controlling my gestational diabetes through diet (it was too high) and I have also lost about 7 lbs. so that is good.



Cutie tootie likes to eat yogurt with corn flakes in it. But he makes a huge mess! Sometimes mommy doesn’t have the patience for that and just feeds it to him herself. But sometimes he gets to play. And then he gets a bath.



We had planned to celebrate Easter with some foreigner friends in a big forest like last year, but some people thought the weather might be too chilly, so it got moved to the indoor location, which was our house! We didn’t mind hosting since everyone was bringing everything, they just needed our space. But it was a busy day, and at the end, after everyone had gone home, I started looking at Facebook and realized I didn’t get anyone to take  a picture of our whole family. C and I had already changed into comfy clothes. So I got a pic of the kids. T likes smiling for the camera these days. He likes eating pears too. He actually likes to get food and walk around the house eating it, but I really need to stop letting him do that because I find apple peelings that he didn’t eat laying around!


Some of the moms and I walked all the kids over to a nearby park for an egg hunt after lunch since we weren’t in the forest all day. E spied an egg up high.



E was excited about her school outfit this day and wanted a picture of her Elsa shirt and Elsa socks.



On Wednesday last week I had a doctors appointment. She has two offices, one near our old apartment, and one that is more on this side of town but still takes 40 minutes or so to get there. Well I drove to the one on this side of town, only to find out that she was not there that day, she was at the other office! Gah! Also, the store I tried to go to that was nearby closed down last week! Double Gah! So I had to reschedule my appt for Friday and this little guy came with me. He did well and sat in his stroller and ate apples during the appointment. I treated us by going out to lunch afterwards. #selfieinanelevator


He was excited to get a balloon all to himself. Usually sister gets the balloons.


Life Here: Grocery Shopping

Let’s kick off our “Life Here” series with something no mom can avoid….grocery shopping!

Basically we have a few options.

Option 1: Small neighborhood convenience store

These small stores carry just the basics. No fresh meat. Limited produce. We had one within walking distance from our old apartment that we used a lot. Its like the size of your living room . Now there is one near us that is also a liquor store, so we don’t go there much, but maybe if we run of out of Nacho doritos. :) There is another one close, but it is always smokey inside and doesn’t have much so we don’t really go there either.

Option 2: Medium size market

Lots of locals use these and make daily or maybe every other day trips for what they need from small neighborhood market. Good for getting your basics but not giant selection. We like a certain kind of milk. Most milk sold here is the ultra radiated kind that you don’t have to refrigerate until you open it. We think that tastes funny and like what they call “daily” milk that does actually last more than a day. So some of these small markets don’t carry that kind and right now we use a lot of milk. We have one of these within walking distance now that even carries our milk. Score! Ours has a meat counter and good produce out on the front porch. It only has one freezer container so I can’t get any frozen french fries here! I have enjoyed going here because you can get done quickly and get almost everything you want.

Option 3: Large chain supermarket

Often these large chain markets are in malls. This can be handy as you can get lots of things done at once. Also the malls almost all have parking garages so if it is raining or cold you don’t have to brave the weather. These have foreign foods aisles, so you can find M&M’s or taco shells sometimes. Or a $40 jar of Jamie Oliver pasta sauce or a $35 jar of maple syrup from “Vertmont”. The oreos have even made it onto the cookie aisle at one store so I think they are here to stay. Some of these are so big, they are like Super Walmarts, with electronics, home goods, and clothes. I like to go here and make a giant grocery run, but it does take longer especially with the kids.

Option 4: Weekly farmers markets, stand alone bakeries and butcher shops

If you want to make lots of stops, you can go to these. Every week on the same days, in the same spots, big tarps go up and farmers markets are set up. This is the place to find quality produce and good prices. I have unfortunately never lived in good walking distance of one of these, especially if you are taking kids along, so I have not made a habit of frequenting these, although I do like them.

You can also go to butcher shops and bakeries, but I don’t have any right around the corner so don’t usually shop at these.

I guess I should include in these, the guys who walk around with their carts or drive down the streets in their trucks, calling out what they are selling. Every morning a guy walks around with a basket selling hot pastries, kind of like a bagel but with sesame seeds on it. Every afternoon during nap time, a guy drives around with a loud speaker attached to his truck saying “Onions, Potatoes, Tomatoes”. A guy also goes around selling fish. I don’t really think I want to buy fish from a guy pushing it around on a cart all day! But plenty of people do apparently!

That’s all I can think of as it relates to grocery shopping! Any questions?

Life Here Series

You know how people always say they get great ideas in these shower? Well today in the shower I was thinking about blogging about some routine daily things here that might give people a glimpse into daily life for us.

So here are some ideas I came up with to write about:

our house

grocery shopping



going to the doctor

getting mail

paying bills

eating out




parks/things to do for kids


Do you have any other ideas? Things you are curious about?

I will try to write about these from time to time and if you have any other ideas, leave those in the comments!

Around the neighborhood

E was given a hand me down tricycle that was loved by some of her friends. She took a little ride around the block one evening. Complete with Teddy riding in the basket on the back. Our street is pretty quiet.


(In the above photo, our building is the one that you see in the very top right corner of the photo. It is light green/yellow. It is the one that has the black iron gate in front of it.)

Daddy and T had to stop and wait for a little while (and T had a toe snack)…

While E made good use of her rain boots in a nearby mud puddle!


Our New Apartment

Hello readers! We have been in the states for about four weeks now and I finally had a chance to do a little blogging.

Here are a few pictures that I snapped quickly of our new apartment before we left. I will show you a few rooms today but have to finish the tour later because I don’t have good pics of some rooms.

This is E’s room.


T’s room:


And our crazy big (for this country) kitchen!


I even have room for a table!


Check back the next few days for more posts!

A bargain!

Can you tell who is who?



At about 5 months of age, I bought E’s high chair. I got it off Craigslist for $60. I had to drive up to Cypress to get it and then I got it home and realized one part was missing so the next day I had to drive up there again. But I really liked it and it was totally worth the money instead of buying new. Especially since when we moved, I sold it on Craigslist for $60! Free high chair!

Well when T got to be about 5 months old, I started thinking about high chairs. I had wanted to wait til we move to a bigger apartment to buy one because our apartment doesn’t have much extra floor space, but I decided I was ready. I had tried feeding him in a bumbo and bouncy seat, but I didn’t like either option.

The high chair we had for E was Chicco brand, and they have that brand here. In fact they have Chicco stores here. But it is a bit more expensive. A new one in the store here is about the equivalent of $170, whereas the same model is about $120 at Babies R Us. So I looked on our version of Craigslist and found one on sale. I had to message with the seller in the local language and they agreed to bring it to me on the subway that goes under the Bosphorus Strait. So I drove to the mall next to the subway station and parked,  met them in the station, got it and brought it home! It is in really good shape. One part of the foot rest is missing, but they didn’t remember it having it at all, and its not really a big deal.

I am so excited! He already likes to sit in it and play with toys while we eat at the table. He doesn’t, however, like any of the foods I have tried to give him! But that will come with time and I am so glad to have something we like and to have figured out how to get it for a better price than buying it new!

I’m back, Jack!

How is it almost April of 2014? Time flies when you are having fun. Or when you are sleep deprived. How does that saying go again?

It appears my last post was on Valentines day, and shortly after that on February 20th my husband gave me the late Valentines day gift of having surgery and thereby giving me more work to do! Haha! But seriously, we are beyond grateful for good insurance, a good doctor (whose name is Dr. “Trust” if you translate it), a friend who could fly over on one day’s notice to help out, and our great Healer who makes all things well. C has started physical therapy and can drive our stick shift car again and so that says to me that progress is being made.

In case you didn’t hear why he had surgery, he was throwing a snowball last winter and hurt his right shoulder. Since then it hurt anytime he tried to throw something, so after a year of that, he decided that since he wanted to one day teach his son how to throw a ball, maybe he should get it checked out. He has the video of the surgery for those of you who might like that kind of thing, and he would probably love to show it to you.

We have just been doing the usual around here. Me home with the kids, trying to keep us all fed and some clean clothes washed for us to wear. My sweet precious smiley baby is STILL waking to feed 1 or 2 or 3!!! times a night. Its a good thing for him that he is so cute. He had one glorious night where he went 12 hours between feedings, but did grace me with a diaper change at 3 am. Otherwise he is not sleeping so great at night and therefore neither am I.

It also appears that my American children have somehow instinctually known that America has started Daylight Savings Time, whereas the country in which we currently reside does not start it until March 31. It is getting sunny here earlier and earlier. They have woken at 6 or 6:30 most mornings the past two weeks! Stop it already! Hurry up, time change!

One thing that C’s surgery has done is forced me to drive our car more. I learned how to drive C’s stick shift car in America, but I didn’t like it. It stressed me out. I had to drive it to work a few times when mine was broken, but I was not friendly with first gear. So you add being a little stressed about driving a stick shift, with this city’s crazy traffic, and it didn’t really make me want to drive. But while he has been recovering, he couldn’t drive, so that forced me to. One day I even spent most of the day driving as we drove around where we were looking for an apartment. It has made me feel a little more comfortable driving, and less trapped in my home because I was afraid to drive.

Well, that’s the update on what we have been doing lately. I made a fun purchase yesterday that I will blog about soon. What fun things have you been doing lately?

Baby T’s Birth Story

(Long birth story ahead, I don’t think I tell anything in gory details, but now is your chance to not read if you aren’t interested.)

E  came right on her due date, so I had big hopes that T would too. But alas, it was not so. As time went on and I told neighbors who I saw (and who commented on how big I was) that I was overdue, some of them told me that here they say boys are often late because they are lazy. Ha!

I have a friend here who was due with a girl a week or two after me but was having a scheduled C-section on October 11. Well my due date was the 3rd, so I told her that I had better beat her! Well I just barely did.

My parents arrived on October 2 and we waited around for much of the first week they were here. I had a doctor appointment on October 4th (an appointment that I was hoping not to have to go to). She said he looked fine, but since she could still see breathing movements on the ultrasound, he probably wouldn’t be born in the next 48 hours. This is the second thing that has happened this pregnancy (the first being the prediction that he was a boy at 13 weeks) that is very different from anything that happened with my American birth and that I had never heard of before. Maybe its just because they don’t do ultrasounds every appointment in America. She scheduled me for an appointment the next Friday the 11th (right after my friend’s c-section), and said that if he wasn’t born by then, she would induce me because she was going out of town that day for the weeklong holiday that was the next week. I sure hoped that wouldn’t be necessary. I was hoping to try to go natural, but knew that pitocin had equalled very strong non-stop contractions last time for me.

After hanging around the house for most of the first week of my parents visit, on Wednesday October 9 I decided I wanted to go to a mall and walk around. That morning I had a little bit of something that made me wonder if the show might be finally getting on the road. I debated going to the mall after all but figured it would be okay.  So we went and walked around IKEA and another mall, let E play in the ball pit, had some burgers, and bought E some shoes.

That evening, as E was sitting on my lap and we played a game with my mom, I started feeling what I figured  must be contractions. I had never felt contractions other than those after I was given pitocin during E’s birth, so that is all I had to go on. I wasn’t sure what it would be like when it just started on its own. I got out my contraction timer on my phone and started timing them. They were about 5 min apart. After about 30 min I got up to do some stuff and they stopped so I figured it must be Braxton Hicks.

As I was going to bed at about 11:25, I was reading a verse on my phone and thought it was good so I took a screenshot of it:


Not long after that, I laid down and they started again. I started timing again and this time they were like less than 5 min apart. My doctor had said to call her when they had been 5 minutes apart for an hour. So I started walking around to see if they would stop. They didn’t and in fact, grew even a little closer together. This continued for about an hour when I started to think I should call her. But it was all happening faster than I had imagined, I guess I thought they would be farther apart to start and gradually move towards being five minutes apart. Then, in the midst of my classic indecision, I had a really strong one and announced to C that I was calling her!

She said go ahead and pack up and head to the hospital and they would call her and tell her when we got there and she would come. Ack! Craziness! So fast! So we woke up my parents and told them we were leaving and called a taxi. Here we are before leaving.


Contractions in the taxi were interesting, but at least we only live a five minute drive from the hospital. I timed them with the clock in the taxi. 1:01, 1:06…

We got there and walked into the emergency room. Contractions were pretty strong by then. I don’t really remember what we told them but there was almost no one there! Not the bustling hive of activity I would imagine an emergency room to be (I had never been in one!). They walked with me down to an elevator and down to what seemed like the basement. There was hardly anyone around, it was so wierd!

They took me into the labor and delivery room and a couple of nurses came in and started asking me questions. This hospital is supposedly known to cater to international patients. It is a private hospital so it isn’t just teeming with people like a government hospital would be. I incorrectly assumed that since so many internationals supposedly go there, they would have hired nurses etc who speak some English. I mean even the guys at Burger King know a little English. My nurses didn’t know any, much less medical terms. So getting my medical history questions answered in a foreign language was interesting, but I was pleased with how I could mostly do it. I did learn that it is completely impossible to understand a question in a foreign language while having a contraction!

They kept asking if I wanted an epidural and I said not right now. I wanted to be able to do it naturally if possible, but was open to an epidural if I reached a point and wanted it. They checked me and I was a 5! They didn’t require me to stay in bed and only monitored the baby for a few  minutes every now and then to check on him. Mostly I walked around and had some music playing on my phone.

They kept asking if my water broke, and at one point I thought it had, but I was wrong because a few minutes later, during a particularly strong contraction, it be came quite evident that it was breaking then! After that point, it got really painful.

I knew it was supposed to be painful, but about that point, I passed where I could really handle it and started getting anxious. They checked me again and that is when a language misunderstanding occurred. I thought they said I was still a 5-6. Well after an hour of pretty strong contractions, that was upsetting. I knew I couldn’t keep going for 4 more cm of that! So I wanted an epidural. But they kept telling me how it was going fast, second babies come fast, and it would take a while for them to draw my blood and do a blood test and then have the anesthesiologist come. (Turns out they said I was an 8!)

Finally about 30 minutes later, my doctor showed up.  Contractions were crazy painful by then. Breathing through them and walking around no longer helped. They were strong and had a small break between them. I couldn’t find a good position. I kept thinking that there was something I should be doing, or some way I should be sitting or standing, to help it. I kept asking C, “What should I do?!” Like he knew the answer to that! He just kept telling me to keep breathing. They gave me a little oxygen thing that I put up to my nose to make sure I was getting enough oxygen.

I literally wondered what they do if a women straight up passes out during childbirth!!!

All through this I kept praying and thinking of that verse. God gives strength to the weak, power to the faint! I needed strength to do this!

My doctor checked me and I don’t remember what she said but it was time. They started setting up the room but that meant I had to lay on the bed which was killer! My doctor is great. She is so calm. She speaks English well and has tons of American patients. She is used to the way Americans sometimes want to do things differently. Here a lot of ladies, a really high percentage in fact, want scheduled c-sections!

Finally it was time to push. I had pushed for two and a stinkin half hours with little miss E, so I was very worried it would be the same this time. I pushed two or three times and then was getting upset that he wasn’t out yet. I took a minute to rest and pray and then pushed really hard! And he was here in just 4 or 5 total pushes! They put him on the warming tray right beside me and cleaned him off.


{Notice on the wall beside him, they have wallpaper that is a bunch of baby names! In case you get to that point and still haven’t decided on a name, they offer suggestions. A friend I know might could benefit from this, (ahemjessray).}

A few minutes later they laid him on my chest in a towel for me to see!



Then they took him to the nursery to wash him off and then finished up with me and wheeled me upstairs to my room.


Here are my two nurses on the right and the cleaning/transport lady on the left. One of the nurses was named Meltem which is a name I had not heard before, but close to my dad’s middle name, so that was neat to me.

He was born at 3:54 am on Thursday October 10. (E and I were born on Thursdays too.) So if you count from when I had those contractions that evening, it was a total of 7 hours, but I really would start counting at 11:30 when I had them the second time, so that would mean his whole birth just took 4.5 hours! The nurse was right, this second baby did come quicker. (Although all through laboring, I refused to believe her because I know that all second babies are not fast!)

I am so grateful for the chance to experience natural childbirth. I knew that most women in history have birthed their children without epidurals, so I knew that I should be able to at least survive it! Ha! It would have been nice to take a natural childbirth class to know some strategies to work through it. Really I was just basing it on what I had read. Breathing, relaxation strategies, walking around and rocking side to side and sitting on a birthing ball. All of those things helped. It really only got unreasonably painful during what I now recognize was transition, which was the hour and a half or so before he was born, after I was 8 cm. I really haven’t experienced much pain in my life, no broken bones or surgeries or anything, so I didn’t have much of a pain threshold to compare it to. I was for sure the crazy lady on the birth videos who is yelling the whole time. C was quite surprised as he has never heard me sound like that! I also think my body felt better and recovered much faster after not having all that stuff in my system.


Here he is when he first came in our room.


We caught about 1 hour of sleep before it was time to wake up for the day!

The Lord really did give strength to the weak that day, as I could not have done that without his help. I am glad for the experience, and grateful for the blessing that it was quick and without any interventions, however, I do think that next time, I will choose that epidural. If there is a next time!!!!


Christmas 2012

I am a little late in posting this but here are some pictures from our Christmas 2012.


Look what Santy brought!


E got a Doc McStuffins doll. The people at the store told C that the langauge she speaks could be changed to English but its not true. So she talks in Turkish!


C is saying “A globe? Why did you get me a globe?” I didn’t even think about it but the words for countries are not in English, duh! So we are going to take it back I think. He didn’t really want it anyway. Womp Womp.


Christmas isn’t complete until someone super glues their finger to a teacup.


We opened gifts in the morning while we skyped with Gigi and Nena and Pappaw.

(7 am here = 11 pm on Christmas Eve there)


Baby T mostly watched the process. I mean what can you really give a two month old. His “Christmas” present will come in a few months when we get him a high chair and big boy toys.


C ordered me a pastry mat and olive oil sprayer that I had been wanting and secretly had family bring it over back in October.

We all woke up at 7 to do presents. The electricity went off right before we started and we were so relieved that it only stayed off for about 10 minutes.

Last year I made a big meal for us for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I made a big meal for Thanksgiving this year and we had guests over for dinner. So C suggested I take a break from the cooking and we just get pizza for Christmas this year. But it turned out that we needed something from the store, so we decided to go to the mall for lunch.

I didn’t really think much of it at the time we decided to go, but once I walked into the mall and it hit me that I was at a MALL on Christmas Day, in a foreign country, surrounded by people who, despite the “New Year’s” decorations that were up,  had NO IDEA it was Christmas day and didn’t care… Not super fun.

But later that night we got together with some friends and celebrated with gifts and snack food dinner and just chatting while the kids played. That was super fun and a good way to end the day.

We came home (driving in our new car, which is still fun) and then called a few more folks to say Merry Christmas. We went to bed late, thankful for the many gifts, not least of which is the baby born so long ago.



New year, new car!

Well new to us anyway!

We have been pondering a car purchase for a while now. We knew with two kids, it was just going to get harder to get around this giant crazy city. And we wanted the freedom to be able to take a little adventure out of the city every now and then.

So the Lord provided a way for us to get a car and a person to help C with the logistics of purchasing a car in a foreign language and the perfect car. It was from a dealership which meant that we weren’t getting possibly scammed from an individual or used car place that might try to take advantage of our foreigner-ness. It also came with a one year warranty. That also meant they replaced brakes and cleaned it up for us before we got it. It is an 2008 but has really low mileage since it was driven by (we think) an elderly handicapped man, possibly just at his summer home.  It even has a tape deck. Bonus!

I knew C had gone to look at it, but since it was snowing that week, I didn’t think he had driven it. He and his language helper did all the work to purchase it and get insurance and stuff, and then he drove it home with a wreath on it and surprised me that it was all done and it was ours!


A few Saturdays ago, we took our first little road trip to a town on the coast about an hour away. So fun!

Here we are all ready to set out!


IMG_4656 IMG_4657 IMG_4658

Here is a pretty view from a park along the shore. There is a lighthouse and the water is such a lovely blue.


Then we found a good park to picnic with a playground. It was a little cold though!






We are so used to driving all around Texas, so it felt completely normal for our family to be on a road trip. It was great to see some of the country instead of just city. We had told E that we might see some farms, so she was eagerly looking for a farm. On the ride home, we did see some sheep and cows! We also got out on the beach and walked around, although it was too cold to stay long. We would definitely like to repeat this trip in warmer weather.