Monday, August 29, 2011


Calvin's been adding a few more features to the people he's drawing. I think they look like little monkeys. Totally adorable. This one he even drew with "a lot, a lot of hair."

We've had more fall weather than end of summer weather recently. It's been nice, but strange at the same time. We seriously only had a couple weeks of hot weather this summer, don't hate us.

I've been doing lots of canning since it's been so cool. So far this year I've made strawberry jam, plum jam, blackberry jam, and canned 20 kilos of tomatoes. I'm hoping to get one more batch of tomatoes done and some applesauce this year and I might squeeze one more batch of plum jam in since I have one more box of sure jell left.

I've been obsessed with this jam. Oh good gravy, it's delicious. It's spectacular over waffles.

Marvin bought me a waffle maker for our anniversary. I may just be one of these strange women but I don't mind getting stuff like this as a gift. I've been wanting one for a while, but only wanted to buy one that you could remove the plates. I was so excited when I actually found one, but he beat me to the purchase. He's sweet like that.

Marvin went out on a bike ride with one of our teammates and he's been drooling over bikes during the evening. We had planned on purchasing one next year and he can't wait for next spring. Too bad they are so expensive here (well at least the ones he would love to buy).

I was at a little store that sells office supplies and snatched up some finger paints. Can you believe that I've NEVER done this with Calvin before? He was in heaven, but told me later he really likes to paint with brushes.

A new little playground opened up near our favorite park. It's amazing, like a real playground with the padded landings and everything. Unfortunately you have to pay to play there, $3.50/child, not bad but still not something we can do every day.

Our little Spiderman is the perfect height to explore our washing machine and he can open it without any problem. Which means anytime I have clothes in there he loves to help take them out. He also tends to pinch his fingers, a lot. So I found a child safety latch the other day that would work, and wouldn't you know that little bugger figured out how to open it, without batting an eye, in record time.

Micah caught his first cold. I'm thankful he's been a healthy little guy. I'm also thankful for this. Gross, I know but it works. (I still have to hold him down, but it's a MUCH faster process.)

What's been going on in your world?

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I finally figured out a trick to help Micah be a little more adventurous in the eating department. It was quite simple, but I'm so thankful it seems to be working. All I need to do is give him a spoon or spatula and make sure it's warmed up a bit.

It's beautiful. In the past week he's gobbled up, scrambled eggs, rice, the stuffing of our Italian zucchini boats, and taco soup. I couldn't be more thrilled. Now if we could make our eating experience a little less messy I'll be elated, but for now I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

From Spiderman to Pooh Bear

For some reason 10 months seems way too grown up for our little man. I've found myself give him extra squeezes recently, savoring our moments rocking. Remember the way he falls asleep in my arms in the middle of the night.

But he's growing up, and I can't stop him. This last month has been a big month for him.

For starters he's walking like a champ now and gaining speed. He's graduated from his spider crawl, where he got his nick name "chilovek pauk" (spider man) to a "Vinnie Pooh" walking style (walking with semi stiff legs, with both hands in the air.)

He's also into EVERYTHING. I love the curiosity; don't love the extra work it takes to make sure it's expended in the right places.

This little man absolutely refuses to eat any baby food these days. Breakfast is about the only time I can actually feed him, he loves to feed himself. This is good and bad.

He's also VERY picky. I'm not sure what to do with that, Calvin ate anything and everything. His current favorites are cheese, and bread. I'm going to keep pushing veggies, surely one of these days he'll decide to eat them without physically taking them out of his mouth and gagging or splattering it all over the place.

He started to sign more and all done; although I think I'm the only one who can tell the difference between the two.

He's crazy about peek-a-boo and love how he hides his head to play randomly. My favorite is when he plays it and crouches down and tilts his head. So cute.

He loves making motor boat sounds. It's his sound we hear most often when he's playing.

He loves to eat books, still working on sitting through them. I'm lucky if we can get through 2 before he wiggles out of my arms. Although he has a few he loves browsing through.

He's still our serious child.  Anytime we're near a crowd he's very attentive and just takes it all in.  He's also wondering why I made him sit next to this strange little man.

I must wrestle him every diaper change, to the extent that I'm ready to start potty training, and I'm VERY serious about that, not at all joking. All the locals do it, so it's possible.

He gave me about two weeks of consistently sleeping through the night, then we went to camp and he decided it would be fun to wake up again 2 times a night minimum. Those two weeks were beautiful.

Three new teeth appeared this month; three more are working on pushing through the gums right now, which can explain the sleep change.

This month Micah's #23 1/2 lbs. and #inches long.

He's growing up too fast.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mountain Camping {trip two}

We went on our second family camping trip last weekend, again with other expat families.
We headed higher up in the mountains this time.
Marvin found a great spot for us.
After we finished setting up our tents some farmers came to tell us that they cut hay there and we needed to move.

*Land here is not privately owned, people are just given the right to graze their cattle on it or cut the hay, so technically we could have stayed, but we're nice and so we took down our tents while a couple of the guys went to scope out a new camping spot.
So the second time around everyone worked hard to get stuff set up before we ran out of daylight. We got it done in record timing.
We had an unplanned progressive dinner. While the guys were out searching for a new place, the kids started to get hungry, so we all dug through our bags and gave them our lunch leftovers. Muffins, granola bars were split, apples and oranges were passed around, baby food and supplies were shared. It was great teamwork because NOBODY enjoys a hungry child.
Then we decided it would be good to eat the salads I made so that the kids could go to bed on time once we got to the new campsite. I'm so thankful I decided to make several salads; we were able to fill our bellies with plenty of food before we made the switch.

Once we got camp set up, for the second time. Marvin started the fire. We put the kids to bed then we all enjoyed our roasted meat. We just passed a bowl of meat and a bag of sliced bread around the circle. It was a great little system.

The next day a few people went hiking. Calvin played with his buddies. He was tired and had quite the attitude all day, not so much fun. I took two naps. (A big reason why I love camping. Can you tell I'm a little sleep deprived right now?)

Calvin also decided to wear his brother's pants for the day, because they fit him.  They were a bit on the short side.
Micah enjoyed playing with his little pal in the swimming pool.  It was a great place to contain our little guys and it turns out that Micah isn't the only one who love playing with the frying pan.
Mountain weather changes in an instant, we had several little showers, when the sun shines it's hot, hot, and hot, then a cloud comes and it's freezing. I don't even know how many times I took my jacket on and off last weekend. But I'm thankful it didn't rain the entire time like it did last time.

I'm also very thankful for some amazing allergy meds that made this trip one thousand percent more enjoyable.
It was gorgeous. These cliffs, and mountains are stunning, and the grass is dotted with sweet beautiful flowers. This refreshed my soul.
God's an amazing artist.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hi my name is Sleeveless Undershirt

When we named Micah we fully intended on using the name as it is translated in the local scripture. What we didn't expect is the difficulty this name brings to locals. Apparently the translated version isn't real common in our part of the country.

When I introduce Micah to locals I usually tell them his name is Me-hey, to which most of them respond, Me-hi-el? Where I then must correct them by saying ,"No Me-hey"

Well our nanny goes by the English version, which also translates as a sleeveless undershirt. Not something we really want people here to call him. (Although on all his official documents it's translated as Meeka so we could technically call him that, but I've digressed.)

So when the boys were outside with their nanny last week a little boy asked her what Micah's name was and she told him "Micah."

To which he said, "That's a strange name."

Then she added "well translated it would be Me-hey or is it Me-high?"

The little boy responded with astonishment, "You don't even know his name!", and then walked away.

So sorry little buddy, we didn't mean for your name to cause so many problems.

We still like it and hope you do too.

Even if it means, a sleeveless undershirt in this language.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

1 more month

Marvin was able to secure Calvin a space in a local preschool this last week. It starts in 1 month and I'm a mess.

I'm nervous, excited, unsure if we're making the right decision, ready for him to dive deep in language and a bit sad. How is it that he's already ready for preschool?

Seriously it feels like just yesterday we were watching him toddle along.

He's spent almost every day of his life with me and the part where he'll be spending a fair amount of hours each week with a teacher makes me sad to miss out on some special moments. I LOVE watching him work, and discover things. He loves learning and I love watching how his eyes light up as he does so.

It will be new for him. He had a little taste of school this summer and loved it. He also loved the part where everyone spoke English. That part was probably his favorite part.

But I'm ready for him to speak this language. I'm ready for him to be able to communicate with his little pals in our building. (Just today one little guy came by our apartment wondering if Calvin was going to come out to play.) I'm thankful Father gives me little things that encourage my heart.

I'm scared that he'll be picked on. Called names. Not understand. Be shamed.

But in one month it will be a reality. Preschool here we come.

I'd appreciate your prayers as I try to navigate into this new life stage.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Forced Rearrangement

If you come to our house you may find a few things that may seem a bit odd. This is due to the fact that we have a VERY curious baby right now. He's into everything, and we've had to be a bit creative at how to prevent him to get to certain off limit items.

Chairs have been our lifesaver.

They are…

In front of the stove and drawers, prevents little hands to explore those interesting knobs and helps little fingers not be pinched in drawers.

Blocking in our trashcan, another favorite place our little explorer loves to visit.

Often times in front of our drop leaf table, since Micah's figured out that you can lift the side.

Used as a baby gate, containing the curious child in the living room.

And finally making sure our fan doesn't topple over and making a little more difficult to access those buttons and cord.

I am loving this stage, but I'm exhausted at the end of the day.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Sometimes it takes me a while to finish a project. I'm great at starting projects but finishing them is a whole different story.

Shortly after we moved here I found some chalk board spray paint. It was something I was very excited about because I really wanted a chalkboard in the kitchen but could not find them ANYWHERE.

I started my little project and after creating the chalk board and doing one coat of paint on the frame I found out I was pregnant. So the painting had to wait.

Then we returned and I didn't have any brushes.

I bought a brush then forgot where I placed it.

I finally found it and finished her up one day.

Then I decided it needed something else, some polk-a-dots and two weeks later it's finished and hung.

My wonderful husband also hung up my plates that have been collecting dust on our balcony for the last few months.

I feel like I have a brand new kitchen. Considering I spend a lot of time here. It's nice to change it up a bit.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The second time around

I'm so thankful we live where we live. I've only been rafting in this country, and was thrilled to get to go again. As we were going down this river it was absolutely beautiful. I wish I had photos, sadly the only one I have is this one Marvin grabbed of the river just a short ways away from the camp we stayed at.

So here's a little summary of this rafting experience.

Our guide arrived to pick us up in this old, old station wagon, and half of us squeezed in. He drops us off with the rafts and gear and someone goes to pick up the second raft full of people.

Our rafts were these old catamarans held together with wood and banana shaped tubes for the floating part. (One of them was pretty flat by the end; thankfully I was in the nicer of the two.)

We were given some wet suit shorts to wear and then he looked at our shoes and if anyone had shoes that stayed on they could wear them, if not you were instructed to wear a pair of these with a string tied on to make sure they stayed on your feet. Thankfully mine were okay.

Then we were given helmets, however when the second group arrived we were short two helmets. We let the minors have the helmets which meant I was helmet less. I'll also add that one of these helmets was a motorcycle helmet.

During this time our guides were airing up our rafts using a tube and air from their own lungs.

A couple of the girls didn't swim, but the guide told them it was okay because he didn't either. NICE.

He gave us a few instructions on how to rescue someone if they fell in. How to paddle, etc.

Then he read us a poem.

We put the rafts in and were off.

The water was freezing. I was on the front so braced for the freezing water to come overboard as we hit each rapid. Once my foot went numb it was more enjoyable.

It wasn't too exciting but the most exciting thing was that the girl behind me, one of the two who didn't know how to swim, fell out and was hanging on the side of the raft.

For the next 5 minutes we tried to get a girl was most definitely scared to help us pull her back on the raft. So rather than enjoy the rapid part I was trying to pull her back in the. Thankfully we finally got her in the boat. She held on tight the rest of the trip.

It was just nice to get out and enjoy the open air. I was so amazed at how magnificent his creation is. I hope to do it again in the future.

A little caveat…..I almost didn't post this, because our friends who live just a few hours away lost a dear friend who they worked with often this past weekend in a river rescue. Even though I've never met this man personally I've often prayed for him. It has reminded us of the brevity of life and given us a new urgency for our friends and those who haven't even met. Thanks friends.


Sunday, August 07, 2011

More sleep please

I think it's time to once again showcase some of the places Calvin's fallen asleep recently.

After a full day at the park, and tromping around the European side of Istanbul, he just couldn't make it home without falling asleep on the empty ferry.

Sitting in Marvin's lap during our evening family worship time.

One day he was extra whiney as I was preparing dinner so I sent him to his room until dinner was ready, 15 minutes later I called him to dinner and no answer.  I found one tuckered out cowboy. 

He takes a nap some days and some days he doesn't.  It's a tricky thing because if he does nap it's 10 p.m. before he's tired which when we have homework doesn't work so well, but it's great if we have evening plans because he has plenty of energy for the evening. 

This particular day he wanted to help me with some housework, so I told him I planned to fold the diapers and would be in my room in a minute.  Maybe 2 minutes later I found an exhausted little boy who had tied himself up with his favorite "rope". 


Saturday, August 06, 2011


We spent the last week here

Helping out with an English camp. It was a busy week. Marvin led an English group, and I helped with meals for 65 people, which was the first time any of us ladies had cooked for that many people. It was a learning experience, but there was food for every meal. We had our share of moments that made us sweat. Like when the oven was shooting out flames from the knobs.

Or how it literally took forever for water to boil at the high altitude.

Or trying to be patient and loving towards a local guy trying to take over our coveted pots and stove to make herbal tea with flowers he found in the forest.

Then also trying not to spill boiling water as I attempted to lift pots of boiling water over the giant pot of herbal tea.

It went well and we were able to meet some new people. Discussions went well after the evening talk. Although it really gave me motivation to hit language hard. It's so frustrating to be able to understand so much more than you can actually verbalize.

and we're thankful that we were able to help fill some needs.

Calvin had so much fun. He tromped around with his pals all week. They went on expeditions, played tag, hide and seek, found "treasures" aka trash.

We had perfect weather; it was cool and sunny all week.

I even got to go rafting, which was so much fun. But really deserves its own post.

The last afternoon we headed up to the closest ski resort that we've heard wonderful things about. It was beautiful. Sometimes it's amazing how close we live to all this.


Monday, August 01, 2011


Marvin humored me and let me bring the camera, even if it added one more thing to carry. He's sweet like that.

I enjoyed capturing a few fun shots of the boys with such amazing lighting and scenery.

Here are a few of my favorites. I have so much more to learn but I've enjoyed practicing recently.