Monday, December 20, 2010

@ free

What a little ball of energy you are at 3, or as you say "free"!  We've so enjoyed watching you grow this year.  I decided to jot down a few of my favorite memories of you this year:

-Your language literally exploded, one day you were only saying a few words, the next day you were talking in complete sentences from the time you woke up until the time you fell asleep.  You've certainly amused us with your stories and communicating how you see the world.

-We love your laugh, and love it when we can laugh together,which is often.  You've even attempted making your own jokes.

-You are still a little snuggle bug.  I love our time reading books together and our one minutes at night.  I love how over the course of this year you are now able to "read" a few favorites on your own.

-The entire day you are busy, usually moving, it's such a joy watching you bounce, run, play soccer, or "ice skate"(which is wearing your pooh slippers and using the shoe horn as your stick). 

-What a little builder you have become.  You still love anything you must figure out how to put together.  Friends rocked your world when they gave you Duplos, they are one of your favorite toys this year.  Other favorite toys this year include:  your soccer ball, puzzles, Candy Land and about a month before you turned 3 you developed an obsession for playing with anything with wheels.

-The great outdoors calls your name and you love to be outside, although you weren't too excited about getting bundled up to go outside during the winter.  This past year you've honed in on your snail finding ability and it literally amazes us at how you can spot them so easily.  You love rocks, and sticks and most days want to bring a few you have collected indoors. 

-I would say you are an introvert who loves people.  You are shy around those you do not know, you observe first and once they've become a friend they would never know you are an introvert.  You particularly love it when people come to your house and play.

-Your imagination has grown this year.  It's developed from pretending to eat play food, but really wanting to put it in your mouth, to developing stories through your play, evening creating an imaginary playmate, Pooh. You and pooh do a lot together but one of your favorite things to do is to play soccer together.

-Your our little artist and love to draw and paint. Some days you sure fly through paper.  You've become interested in your letters, you are particularly fond of the letter A as you write it the most.

-Your counting skills have improved significantly and until you usually will count to 14 without a problem and can remember how many of that item you have counted.

-Physically you're bigger now, weighing 30.5 lbs at 3 years and standing tall at 38 inches.

I can't believe how quickly 3 years has passed.  Thanks for growing with us this past year.

We Love you so much.
Mommy and Daddy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

just another crazy flight

So traveling back home to Nineveh is always an adventure…………you never know what might happen. Our flight time had been bumped up and when I got into line at the airport in Istanbul it went very smoothly, I didn't have to wait very long and fellow passengers helped me with my luggage. I cleared customs grabbed a bite to eat and fed Micah, checked into my gate and the plane arrived and it seemed like we would leave close to our departure time, which rarely happens. The flight home went well, it was a full flight but the ladies who helped me check my bags sat right next to me. They held Micah as I filled out my immigration card and we started to descend, then we landed, and we taxied for a long time. (My first clue we weren't in Nineveh because our airport is tiny.) I looked over and could see the pizza place we usually stop at when we travel to see friends. Then the yelling began....oh my, we weren't in Nineveh, we couldn't land there due to fog and we were to wait on the plane until it lifted.

So the waiting began and the yelling went in waves. It was pretty hilarious. One lady had a group of about 4 other ladies who were adamant about getting off of the plane. Inevitably someone would yell stop arguing because the baby is trying to sleep (meaning Micah).  Which I was thinking, "please leave us out of this, I really don't want to go there."

When Micah started to get fussy the girl next to me took Micah and walked the aisle with him, (mainly because I was wedged into my seat due to my carry on bag being at my feet).  Of course she told everyone on the plane that he was an America baby, and his name was Michael.  (We'll be using the local equivalent name for him.)  After about a million announcements that we would leave in 20 minutes we finally left after 3 hours of waiting on the plane. We arrived to a foggy Nineveh 5 1/2 hours after boarding the plane. I was very thankful they didn't make us get on the ridiculous bus and go to the building that is 50 feet away. I'm almost positive there would have been a riot. Thankfully Micah and I were pushed through the lines, quite literally and after we got our bags and stopped at all the little desks, we were out of there, PTL! It feels great to be home.

These two were happy to see each other.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

One last trip

Just in case you didn't think we were crazy enough to take a trip while Micah was both 2 weeks old and 3 weeks old we thought we'd throw one more into the mix. One of my friends (she taught English at the institute I taught at when we lived here before, and when we came back she was our office manager) moved to central Turkey after she married a man who lived there in September. We wanted to work out a trip to see her and thankfully we received Micah's LOI and were able to turn in his paperwork on Thanksgiving, it worked out that we would have a free weekend before Marvin and Calvin had to fly back to Nineveh on Monday.

We are so glad we went to see her, and even more thankful we flew. Calvin ran to her and gave her a BIG hug, it was super sweet.

They picked us up from the airport and took us back to their apartment. The company her husband works for owns a hotel in the same complex of their apartment so they arranged for us to stay there. Did I mention we planned this trip two days before going? We also couldn't find any hotels in this city online, so we weren't sure where we would be staying. It was perfect; we checked in and then headed over to her apartment for "breakfast" which was really closer to lunch time. It was wonderful as we love Turkish breakfast.

It was so neat to see her happy and in love. Her husband really is a sweet guy and loves her and takes care of her well. After we ate they took us to Cappadocia and it was so cool.

Unfortunately our camera battery died shortly after we arrived to the area and guess who didn't bring the charger? That would be us. Oh well we'll have memories of this trip forever.

We stopped for chai in a city where her husband had a friend who owned a cafe, then headed back to their city. We enjoyed dinner with them at the hotel then went to their place for chai that evening. Her husband's family came over, and they were very worried Micah was cold since he wasn't bundled up enough, even though he was sweating. Both boys melted about the same time so we said goodbye and went home.

The next day we joined them for brunch and then our friend had to go to some parent teacher conferences at the school she worked at. Calvin enjoyed the break from people trying to kiss him and hug him. I'll tell you his blonde hair sure attracts so much attention. Everywhere we go he has people trying to take pictures of him or with him, it's crazy.... but I digressed. It was a beautiful day so we headed to a park, found a bite to eat and then came back to the hotel to rest. Our friend returned and chatted for a while before they said good bye as they needed to head out of town for a funeral. They ordered us dinner at the hotel, and then we headed to the airport, 4 hours later we were home in bed. It seriously was the quickest trip I've ever had flying somewhere.  We are so thankful we went to see her and hope to visit her again, only next time we'll stay a little longer.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Enjoying life in the big city

It's no secret, we love Istanbul.  It's a great city, the people are friendly, we love Turkish food, it's so nice to have beautiful parks within walking distance and it's easy to get around via public transportation.  So while we were still waiting on Micah's visa we enjoyed the beautiful weather and were able to see a few new things and visit a few of our favorite parts of the city.

While Marvin's family was visiting, we all went to Chora Church.
Talk about amazing frescos and mosaics; it's unbelievable that so many of these are still there. It was very impressive, and neat to think how these images have communicated biblical truths for centuries. It's hard to imagine life without knowing how to read or write but for an oral culture these mosaics could communicate so much. That was fun to imagine how they have touched peoples' lives. Calvin enjoyed hearing stories about each picture. The rest of the day he was asking me to tell him the story of any picture he saw.

We walked on the old city walls.  This one freaked me out a bit, but I'm glad we did it, and glad our kids weren't any bigger and could be carried the whole time.  I have a healthy respect for heights, especially with no railings to stop little ones from falling. 
The way back to the bus Marvin's dad and brother even got to help do some Turkish kids English homework.  (They're quite clever to hang out where there might be English speakers.)

A friend recommended a great restaurant in Sultanamet area.  We ordered a dish that is baked in a clay jar and then broken at your table.  I was impressed and like most foods we've eaten in Turkey very tasty.

Marvin was able to take in football game with his dad and brother.

And he also took them to see the Cisterns.....just a little jealous about that one, but we'll be back.

We needed to pick up a few gifts to take back to Nineveh and so we headed to Ortakoy.  It's one of my favorite places in Istanbul, not only is it right on the water but it's by one amazing bridge and there are venders selling jewelry everywhere, and tons of quaint restaurants.

I'm so disappointed this picture didn't turn out better; I was trying to capture the two covered ladies who were smoking the nargala pipe.  I just thought it was rather odd.

We didn't stop for kumpier (loaded baked potatoes) but come on isn't this clever?  It almost made me want to stop but I needed a more discreet place to feed Micah.

As much as we love Istanbul we're very thankful to live in a city where it doesn't take an hour or more to get somewhere via public transportation. We will miss you Istanbul but thanks for the wonderful memories.

See you again this summer!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

1 and 2

Dear little Micah,

You're first month was a busy one.  You won us all over with you sweet chubby cheeks, squeaks, yawns and how content you were in our arms.  As we adjusted to deciphering your cries and needs, you adjusted to having your big brother love on you any time your eyes were open.

2 weeks old
 You had a busy month of traveling your first month one international trip and you were able to walk the streets of Ephesus snuggled up in the ergo.  We were so blessed that Grandma and Grandpa S and Uncle John were able to come all the way to meet you.  They were able to watch you grow from a tiny little thing to a 10 lb. 12 oz. little guy.  You even grew 2 inches from birth, making you 21.5 inches long.  You definitely are good at eating and growing.  The end of your first month you even started smiling.

7 weeks old

As I look back at your one month pictures you were so tiny, because you are officially a chunky monkey at 2 months!  At your last doctor's appointment shortly before we left Istanbul (7 1/2 weeks), you weighed in at 11 lbs. 14 oz. and 22 inches long.  Again you were a super traveler as we headed out east to visit a sweet friend and again on the long journey home, you don't know how thankful we are for that.  You finally got your visa and we made it home and you are settling into a good predictable routine now.  You are starting to reach for toys, after your big brother showed you how, but are surprised when you finally get what you are staring at.  You love lights and are pretty mesmerized by our Christmas tree.  Your smiles sure melt our hearts, and I love our times when you want to talk, but that's usually when the house is quiet.  It's so good to be home and to introduce you to our normal life.  You're growing up too fast, but I'll treasure these days forever.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Vaca Part 2

Okay so after a long blogging break, it's time to play catch up...................starting with our vacation

After our day of touring Ephesus, we decided to head to a little village near Selcuk. It was a sweet little village filled with homemade crafts and all the usual tourists' souvenirs.

This little town is known for its wine, but since we don't drink it that part didn't appeal to us. However, Marvin and I both thought It would be a neat little village to spend the weekend at just relaxing, without children of course.

Calvin didn't think so fondly of this village, he decided to pick a flower and it turned out to be covered in fine prickles that stuck in his hands. Thankfully a chai house owner came to our rescue with a pair of tweezers and saved the day. After a good 30 minutes of tweezing and a few tears his hands were prickle free.

We grabbed a bite to eat for lunch before heading to Izmir by train. Our hotel was a breath of fresh air after being on the move for a while. It was nice to be able to nurse Micah in a proper chair, and without using the nursing cover. Micah and I needed a little break from touring so we just hung out in our hotel, while the rest of the group explored a bit of Izmir.

They headed to the water. Found a sidewalk that made my MIL a little motion sick, took a carriage ride and explored an old bazaar, while I napped, read, and enjoyed some travel channel at the hotel.

When planning this trip Marvin and I both felt like flying back would get us home quickly, and it wasn't too much more expensive. Little did we know fog would decend on Istanbul and that our flight would be cancelled. Thankfully we were able to get on a later flight that was delayed, but we finally took off around 12:30 a.m.  Our nephew was playing football that night and we were able to get free wifi before we passed through security.  Our computer speakers are pretty weak, so John played sports announcer and gave the play by play.

Both boys were troopers; Micah was a bit over stimulated, but hung in there. Calvin did a great job playing in the airport and entertaining himself, while we waited, finally we decided we didn't know when we would actually leave so it was best to put him to bed. So here is his make shift bed, in a corner under a tree to help shield his face from the light. In less than 5 minutes he was asleep. I'm so thankful for flexible sleepers; I'm not sure what would do if our boys had to be in their room to fall asleep. It sure would make traveling a little harder.

We finally arrived and unfortunately our new flight arrived on the European side, and the bus/ferry that we usually take from that airport wasn't running, so all of us squeezed into a taxi. It was quite the ride.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Homeward Bound

In just a few hours I'll be HOME (insert lots of jumping up and down)!!!!

This whole being separated from your family stuff isn't fun and it will be good to give my other guys big hugs.


I have a whole list of things I'm looking forward to here are just a few:

A big hug from Marvin and letting him get his arms around his growing cubby baby boy

Having my One minute with Calvin again at bedtime

Introducing Micah to friends and our family there

Family Devos

Starting life as a family of 4 at Home, in our typical environment and routines

Cooking in my kitchen, with spices, good pots and pans and knives

Grocery shopping in a place where I have trusted brands and products I love

Being able to communicate beyond hello

Seeing our neighbors

Getting my mind back in language learning, its way too hard to do here

Sleeping in my own bed

Our tiny little apartment, it's a breeze to clean

My kitchen aid mixer, can you tell I'm thrilled to cook again in my kitchen.

Starting to use our cloth diapers

My sewing machine

Opening my birthday package, the fabric I ordered for my birthday this summer finally arrived!!!

Studying or snuggling on our couch after the boys are in bed

Decorating for Christmas


Pray that we have an easy flight and not to many problems going through passport control and customs.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The party continues

Marvin's parents graciously agreed to bring a few bags of things we needed, and a few things we really didn't need but were sure enjoyable. (Everyone at thanksgiving said thank you for the imported treats!)

They also brought a few a lot of gifts for Calvin, I seriously think his toys about doubled and he hasn't even opened all of them. We had to save a few for Christmas.

He loved everything and thank you to all who send something for him.

Here's he is opening his birthday gift from my parents. He loves his book. It was so cute that when he opened it and he heard my parents voices he said, "Hey that sounds like, Gramma and Grampa Bares". It thrills my heart to know that he knows the sound of his grandparents voices and knows who they are, praise the Lord for Skype. He almost has his entire new coloring book colored too; he had fun coloring his favorite Cars.

Marvin's folks brought a ton of gifts most of them he has not opened, I'm looking forward to spreading those out and seeing his reaction them. He loves his Cars book; it's sort of a where's Waldo book. I wish I would have recorded grandpa and him reading it as they did it often. It seemed to be THE book he wanted to read with grandpa.

One unexpected gift came from our nephew's girlfriend, she's so sweet and oh how she has blessed Calvin. He loves his CARS; he now has all his favorite characters. It's been so fun listening to him play with them, and even though they look like certain characters he even pretends they are different cars. He's such a hoot, one day I even found him putting them to bed using a pair of his undies as a blanket. That boy has quite the imagination, I love it.
Thank you to everyone who sent something, you loved us beyond words.

love 'em

So cute.......................I just love how Micah’s birth announcements turned out

i also love how easy it was. The company I used also mailed the for me, all I had to was enter the addresses and pay for the stamp.  SWEET!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vacationing with a newborn

Yes we're crazy, we took a little trip right at Micah's 3 week mark.  We traveled by ferry, then two different trains to get to a little city near the Ephesus remains.  We had two great little travelers, and it was a very comfortable way to travel with two little boys.

We would highly recommend the place we stayed, it's only a block away from the train station and within walking distance to several places in town, and just a short walk away from public transport to get you to various surrounding places.  The staff spoke English, the rooms were clean, they had a great breakfast every morning and the price was very affordable.

Ephesus is a place we've wanted to visit for a while now but just now have had the opportunity, and I'm glad we did it, even if it meant traveling with a newborn.  We hope to go back when the boys get older, because even though Calvin had a blast climbing on and jumping off of marble columns, he didn't quite appreicate the history behind those columns he loved to climb on.  The beginning of November was absolutely goregous, and it wasn't peek tourist season, a double bonus.

We also were able to stop at a place that makes carpets, they gave us a great lesson in how they make them and let's just say it's amazing.  We all were impressed by this demonstration and we were not pressured into buying, which is rare among those selling carpets.  We would love to buy one, but really do I want to worry about cleaning spills out of such a piece of artwork.....someday.

I'm too tired at the moment to put these pictures in order, but it gives you an idea of what we saw,
 The carpet weaving school
 Making the silk thread, which is a very cool process
 At this point I believe we were going on a bear hunt.....we didn't find any bears though.
 A rare moment where Calvin was actually still
 People knew how to build things back in the day
 public potties
 the library was very impressive
Micah slept the entire time

 the theatre.
So grateful to get to share this experience with these two, and John as well, but his pace was quite a bit faster than ours.