Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Recap

Earlier this month I shared with you all some of my goals for November. Now that November is over (where on earth did it go???), I'm here to share how I did!

In relation to God:
1. Memorize Ephesians 4:29.
2. Read my Bible every day in accordance with my read-through-the-Bible-in-one-year plan.
3. Read "Shepherding a Child's Heart."
4. Listen to 2 online sermons.
5. Choose a Bible study plan for 2011.

So, I memorized my verse, I read my Bible every day, I listened to 2 sermons (wow, I'd forgotten how much I miss going to a "real" church!), and I chose a Bible study plan for at least part of 2011. I'm going to be doing Beth Moore's new study on Esther. Has anyone out there done it? Is it good? I've already ordered it, so if it's not...don't tell me. :-) I didn't do very well at reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart." I think I read maybe 2 chapters. That'll be on my goals list again in December.

In relation to my family:
1. Do something touristy once.
2. Have a date night without Lane at least once.
3. Go to the park 2 times per week as a family.
4. Be in bed by 10:00.
5. Visit a new part of Istanbul by public transportation.
6. Take Lane outside for at least 15-20 minutes every day unless it's raining.

We did manage to get a date! We went to see the new Harry Potter movie, and it was great. The books are better (of course), but still, the movies are fun. We visited quite a few new parts of Istanbul due to our ikamet adventures. And while I didn't take Lane outside every day, I did take her outside most days (like, 25-26 of 30). It rained a couple of days and I was sick a couple of days, and then I was just lazy a couple of days.

We didn't do anything touristy this month, even though we took the tram right by the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia 5 times. We were just always too tired, or we had a class to go to, or it was Thanksgiving... Maybe this month we'll get to do something touristy. I think we only went to the park as a family once this month. Eeek. Honestly this month was just insane, so that's part of the reason, but part of it was just unintentionality (is that even a word?) as well.

And, oh, my bedtime. Sigh. I'll try again this month.

Personal goals:
1. Make our bed every day.
2. Try 2 new (healthy) recipes.
3. Do another practice run on Lane's birthday cake.
4. Buy myself a new article of clothing (or at least go shopping).
5. Get my booty out of bed by 6:00.
6. Write in my journal every other day (last month's goal was every day...proved to be too optimistic).

While I didn't make our bed every day, I (or we, or Shannon) did make it most days. I didn't make it the 2 days I was sick, and I didn't make it on Thanksgiving. I'd call that a success. I did try 2 new recipes this month. I made a friend's recipe for chili, and it was good, although not chili like we're used to. I also made a chicken-and-rice soup that was to die for (expect a recipe on the recipe blog soon). I made stuffing and rolls for Thanksgiving, and I made some pumpkin apple muffins. And I went shopping! Alone! It was fabulous. Did you know, the last time I went anywhere by myself that was not to the grocery store or to pay a bill was in March? I didn't even realize that until a few days ago. This is going to be on my list every month from now on. Anyhow, I bought a new belt (I so needed one) and some new undershirt/tank tops. I looked at jeans but they're so expensive here that I'm going to have to really love them (or really need them) before I fork out almost 100 lira for a pair.

And my shortcomings: I never did do a practice run on Lane's cake. I'll definitely be doing that this month. I didn't write in my journal much at all. I was doing really well until I got sick and then I just got out of the habit and before I knew it, it was yesterday and I hadn't written in it since the 13th. It really is a chore for me to write in that thing! Any suggestions? I really want to do better at it! And then there's the 6 a.m. thing, which, let's be honest, didn't happen but a few days. It really is hard, though, to get up at 4:30 or 5 to nurse Lane and then either a) get up then, or b) get up less than an hour later, especially when I haven't been going to bed as early as I should. However, the past 3 nights in a row Lane has slept straight through until 6:45. So...this goal might be more doable now, if she keeps it up.

So, there you go. I really do like setting goals. It helps me to be intentional about things that I enjoy doing and should do (like listening to sermons), but forget to do or forget how long it's been since I did it. You'll probably start to notice repeat goals as I find ones that I like and that help me, as well as some new goals that are "limited-time only" goals.

Stay tuned...tomorrow (ok, probably not tomorrow since tomorrow is a busy day...more like Thursday) I'll update you all on my December goals. Start thinking of your own goals as well...it helps to be accountable!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

All it Takes to Get an Ikamet

Is a million trips to the Eminyet.

Ok, maybe not a million, but in our cases, it took four trips to the Eminyet. I'm not sure what the exact translation of "Eminyet" is, so how about "Residence permit place"? Anyhow, it all started a couple of months ago when we got an appointment for November 9th to go to the Eminyet and apply for our ikamets (residence permits). On November the 9th we got up super early in order to make sure we all got there on time, and since we'd never been there before and Istanbul is a typical big city of, oh, 18 million people, we figured we'd need lots of time.

Side note: a trip to the Eminyet is not a short trip, nor is it a piece of cake. First, we have to walk five minutes to the bus stop and catch a minibus. "What's a minibus?" you might be wondering. A minibus is a little blue bus. They have insane drivers, and the drivers are contracted out (or something like that), so they either fly like bats out of hell or they stop at a stop and wait forever in order to load up on passengers.

A minibus, pulling out of "minibus row."

Anyways. We take a minibus to end of the line and then walk to the ferry port, which altogether takes about 30 minutes. Next we have to board a ferry, wait for it to leave, and sail across the Bosphorus. This also takes about 30 minutes.

Chillin' on the ferry.

After departing the ferry, we walk to the tram stop (about 5-8 minutes) and wait for a tram. When a tram comes, we cram inside and ride it about 20 minutes. We get out of the tram, cross a pedestrian overpass, and walk another 10 or so minutes to the metro station. We then wait a few minutes on the metro, take it 1 stop, and come up from underground. We walk another few minutes and then we're finally there.

The Eminyet.

So, about 2 hours after leaving our front door on November 9th, we finally make it to the Eminyet. We apply for our residence permits and are told to come back on Friday and that they'll be ready for us. So we make the trek home: walk, metro, walk, tram, walk, ferry, walk, minibus, walk, home.

Riding on a minibus. No seat belts. No car seats. Pray fervently.

Friday we went back to the Eminyet, but this time we caught a ride with some friends who were hoping to pick up their residence permits too. So, we walked to this guy's office, waited a few minutes on him, drove with him to pick up his wife, and then drove to the Eminyet. Total time: about two hours. And we arrived to this:

An insane amount of people crammed into the waiting room.

Can you see the tiny door in the back right of the photo? You shove your way through the crowd, turn in a piece of paper, and wait for them to call your name. Yes, that's right. They call your name. From that office. And then they wait for you to come in and pick up your permit. So, after waiting nearly an hour we lucked out and they called our names and Shannon was close enough to hear. I was in the back trying to get some breathing room with Lane, so I shoved and pushed my way through the crowd and finally made it to the front. Things are looking great, we sign for our ikamets, and then they tell us that Lane's isn't ready yet and we need to come back in 10 days (after the week-long holiday) to get hers. "Do we both need to come?" we asked. "No, just one of you." Well, that was a relief, because each time we go to the Eminyet Lane misses at least one of her naps and is just a grouch. So we started the trek home, since it was rush hour and we didn't want to be stuck in a car at rush hour with our friends. Walk, metro, walk, tram, walk, ferry, minibus, walk, home. (And we made it home before our friends did.)

That night at least we got views like this on our ferry ride.

"Well," we're thinking. " Two out of three isn't bad. And at least we don't both have to go to get Lane's."

Waiting on a tram to take us to the ferry. Or to within a 10-minute walk, at any rate.

Wednesday the 24th, Shannon went back to the Eminyet with our same friend from before, who hadn't gotten his that previous day either. And guess what? We both did need to be there to get Lane's ikamet. Sigh.

Lane's first metro ride ever, and my first ride in Turkey.

So on Thanksgiving Day we all got up and left the apartment at 7 a.m. Walk, minibus, walk, ferry, walk, tram, walk, metro, walk, Eminyet. Fortunately this time we only had to wait about 15 minutes. We signed some paperwork. The lady thoroughly examined Shannon's passport photo against Shannon himself. And we got Lane's ikamet and began the trek home. Walk, metro, walk, tram, walk, ferry, walk, minibus, walk, home.

4 trips to Europe. 3 missed naps. 1 car ride each for Michelle and Lane, 3 car rides for Shannon. 5 ferry rides, 5 minibus rides, 5 tram rides, and 5 metro rides each. Approximately $60 in transportation costs. And approximately 19 hours of traveling or waiting at the Eminyet.

And we're legal to stay in Turkey until next October.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Package!

This package was sent from Shannon's mom and stepdad. Sharon wanted to try mailing something via Priority Mail, since it's insured and should get here faster. The results were that it cost more and it took almost a month (2-3 weeks longer than her previous packages!). We were actually starting to think that they (two bubble envelopes) weren't going to come, but last week (when I was under the weather) they finally showed up. The moral of the story: if you want to mail us something, don't send it Priority! Regular post works just fine. :-)

Some of you may not quite understand why I feel the need to write a post every time we receive a package. If that's you, then you must have never lived far from home, and surely you've never lived in another country.

There are not words to express the joy in receiving a package from America, no matter what is in it.

This package's contents.

It's kind of funny how when you live overseas, the most ordinary and commonplace things are suddenly SO valuable to you. Baby socks with those rubber grippers on the bottom are like gold. I can find them here, at the Gap which is about an hour away by public transportation. But they cost 10 lira per pair. That's $7.14. That's $3.57 per sock. That means that for Lane to have just one week's worth of socks would cost me $49.98 if I bought them here. And that's just ridiculous.

More cute clothes for Lane.

Then there are the things that just make you smile. You can't put a price tag on the look of joy that came over Shannon's face when I showed him the Auburn coasters and cookie cutter. You can't bottle the excitement when a grown man gets all excited over Lane's new Auburn teddy bear, squeezing the bear over and over again to hear "War Eagle!" and the fight song being played.

Auburn stuff! Coasters, a cookie cutter (hello, gingerbread!), and a sippy cup for Lane.

And then there are the things that just make the fact that I have to cook everything from scratch a little bit more enjoyable. It's so nice to know that I have everything you need to make dishes that are familiar to us, or are a special treat during the holidays.

Tarragon and pecans!

So, any of you who think that my posts about packages are boring...deal with it. :-) Because I'll be posting every. single. time. we receive a package. You will all know the contents of the packages. And those who send them to us will know that everything in them is much appreciated. Because it is.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Answer

So, nobody got the answer to my puzzle. I guess it was too hard.

Last Sunday I woke up with a headache. I was freezing cold. And I had a fever. It then proceeded to cause me to be sick all week. I'm usually a pretty high-output person, even when I'm not feeling well. Well, last week I was not high-output. I was a bum. We ate out three times. We usually don't eat out more than once a week, if that often. Our apartment was a wreck. I didn't do any of my homework all week long. And Lane was cutting a tooth and whining a lot and driving me crazy (not to mention making my headache worse). But I survived and on Friday morning when I woke up my head was suddenly cleared out (although my sinuses still aren't) and I felt a million times better. So now our apartment is clean, we have clean clothes, I've cooked real food every day since Saturday, and I even made cranberry bars with a friend yesterday. I hate being sick.

So the answer to the puzzle is: I was under the weather. Har har.

10 Months Old

Dear Lane,

Today you are ten months old. We can't even believe it. How did you get so big?

This month you didn't really learn a whole lot of new things, but you've gotten better at all the things you already knew how to do. You're great at walking now and sometimes practically run. You've learned how to hold onto the door frame when going into or out of a room from the hallway in order to not trip on the lip on the floor between the rooms. You like to pause and squat down to look at stuff on the ground or to pick things up, and then you continue on your merry way. We can't even believe that you're walking so well.

You are a hoot, Lane. You now like to hide things under the couch. You push your toys under it and leave them for us to find later. You hide stuff behind the door in the kitchen. You hide things in the magazine basket. You love the refrigerator and when we're in the kitchen and you hear the refrigerator door open, you book it for the fridge and stand there, touching all the bottles in the door. It's hilarious. You also like to come to mommy or daddy and grab our index fingers and drag us off throughout the apartment, sometimes without a real aim in mind, it seems. You still love to play peekaboo, and you also now love kitty cats. When you see one all you want to do is get to it, and when we do get to it, you want to hit it and touch it, and you shriek excitedly.

You got another tooth this month, too! The top left one popped through about a week ago. You were not a happy camper the week it was coming through, and you were very clingy and fussy. But since it popped through you've been in a much better mood. You like for us to "get you," and we chase after you and tickle you and kiss on you when we finally get to you. Sometimes you like to "get" us, too, and you'll grab us and give us a big smile.

Lane, you love food. Yesterday for breakfast you ate a banana and two pancakes. And these were not little pancakes, either! We haven't yet found a food that you don't like, but you really want to feed yourself everything and get so mad if we don't let you. You're wearing a combination of 9-month and 12-month clothes. Most of your tops are 9-months and most of your bottoms are 12-months, although it's mostly because you need a bigger size to fit over the cloth diapers. You're still really petite so we don't know where you put all the food you eat! Some of your current favorite foods are egg yolk, cream cheese, bread (oh, how you love bread), plums, and grapes. You're still nursing three times a day, and it's now one of my favorite times of the day, as you are very snuggly and take your time, whereas it used to be a fight to get you to drink enough because you wanted to go play.

Your little personality is so cute, Lane. You so enjoy being outside with the wind blowing in your face, or looking at the birds or the trees. You love other children and get so excited that you smack their faces and pull their hair. You have quite the little temper, too, and sometimes throw little tantrums where you hit your head on the couch repeatedly and smack your hands on whatever is nearby. You're not very obedient yet when we tell you "no," and you usually look right at us and continue to touch whatever we don't want you to (usually the garbage, the toilet brush, or a wire or outlet plug). But you are still so happy and joyful and are generally really good and fun to be with. We are so blessed to have you, and we love you so much.


Mommy and Daddy

Caught in the act! You're so good at walking now!

Mommy helping you pet a kitty cat.

You're a goof: beating mommy with your toothpaste.

Loving on daddy (he's got a banana).

You love bananas!

Some rare down time: watching Baby Einstein with mommy.

You rode on a tram (and a metro and a train for that matter) for the first time this month. You liked looking out the windows on the doors.

This is new for you: throwing everything (socks included) out of your pack 'n play before falling asleep at nap time.

You're such a cutie-pie!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where I've Been (a puzzle)

Nov 24
Rain / Thunder
High 17°C
Low 12°C
Precip 60 %

Nov 25
Scattered Showers
High 17°C
Low 12°C
Precip 30 %

Nov 26
High 17°C
Low 11°C
Precip 30 %

Nov 27
High 15°C
Low 10°C
Precip 60 %

Nov 28
Light Rain
High 14°C
Low 10°C
Precip 60 %

Monday, November 15, 2010


I've lived in 6 states and 3 countries.

9 : hours we spent in transit on public transportation last week to get our residence permits.

I drink 1 cup of coffee each morning.

I'll be 31 in 46 days.

There are 280 days in an "average" pregnancy.

I was pregnant with Lane for 297 days..

Lane has 7 grandparents, 3 aunts, 7 uncles, and 3 cousins.

I need
8 hours of sleep each night. I usually get about 6 1/2.

We own 27 cloth diapers.

I've been to 22 countries, unless you count Hong Kong and Vatican City, in which case it's 24.

That aforementioned cup of coffee? It usually takes me at least 2 hours and 2 reheats to finish.

67 days until my baby girl's 1st birthday.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I WON!!!!

I won a giveaway! I can't even believe it. I'm in shock.

I get $65 to spend at CSN Online Store, which is awesome, because they have, like, everything. I can get whatever. I. want. :-)

That's ↑ me! I can't even believe it...but I won! Look here and you can see for yourself.

Aaaahhh!!! I won!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today was a good day.

A rare snuggly moment.

We've been here for a little over four months now and I've been praying regularly for some English-speaking friends because, let's face it, my Turkish is going to need a LOT of practice before I can handle non-English speaking friends. Last week I met someone at the park and plan on having her over for tea soon, but last week and this week have just been a bit on the crazy side so it hasn't happened yet.

Anyways. Today I took Lane to the park (I've taken her outside EVERY day this month so far...aren't you proud of me?!? But let's not discuss what time I've gotten out of bed every day yet...) and she wanted to cross through the fence and walk on the sidewalk (she likes to touch the...I don't know what they're called...metal things that the city puts up to prevent people from parking on the sidewalks?). So we were walking and then she wandered into a small courtyard and up some steps. Soon a door opened and someone said, "Come in" in English. So, Lane went that way so we went in. And guess what?

EVERYONE in that office speaks English. Because it's an IKEA purchasing office. 7ish minutes away from my front door. Near the park. And did I mention they speak English?

My (mommy) day ended with this: Lane smearing yogurt and soup in her hair so it stuck straight out. And I think she looks like a boy in this picture.

Lane and I will be going for tea tomorrow. And maybe on Friday too. And next week. And maybe the next week. And maybe by Thanksgiving I'll have some friends here. Because let's face it: I need some friends here.

Did I mention that my God is faithful? Because he is. Oh, yes, he is.

***Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement about my Mommy Regrets. I know I'm just normal, but still...it's good to be encouraged, you know?***

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mommy Regrets

Dear Lane,

Sometimes I feel like a horrible mother.

You have slept in a pack 'n play for all except the first 3 1/2 weeks of your life. You don't have a nursery with pretty paint and decorations, and you might never get one. The counted cross-stitch that I made for you in still in a box. You've never seen it. Your current bedroom often smells of cigarette smoke because the neighbors smoke and it filters into your room...but we can't move you because there's not room for your pack 'n play in the other bedrooms. So your little lungs breathe that junk every single night.

By the time you were five months old you'd slept in 12 different places. You don't have very many toys yet and are bored with the ones you do have, so you often end up playing with things like paper towel rolls and magazines and chewing on your shoes and socks. People say you'd do that anyways, but I'm not sure, since you're my first baby. You're getting a new tooth, and I lost your favorite teether, so now you gnaw on the end tables and the chair legs instead of on a teething ring, since we only have one now and it's not your favorite.

Lane, you had a diaper rash for almost two months. We put every cream we could find on it and it only went away after I finally figured out maybe you were allergic to cinnamon, even cinnamon that you would get through my milk. Just the other day you got another horrible rash, and I think it's because of another spice I ate, although I'm not sure which one. Your little body has some dry patches on it and I can't tell if it's just dry skin or if it's an allergic reaction to something. You're getting that new tooth and I had some teething tablets to help with the pain, but they got recalled so I had to throw them away, and I don't speak enough of the local language to go and buy you something else to help ease the pain.

Baby, sometimes you really, really drive me crazy. I can tell that you're in pain or frustrated, or just exhausted, but all I can think of is how annoyed with you I am and how I just want you to stop whining. I could care less about what's really bothering you: I just want you to stop crying! I'm so, so selfish.

When we have our language lessons and your babysitter comes, I sit in the kitchen with our teacher and listen to you cry after I've left you. You usually have fun after a little while, but sometimes you don't...and I just have to leave you. And sometimes you want to do things that I just can't let you do, like eat dirt and rocks or pet a kitty that's hissing at you, and you get so mad at me when I make you stop.

Lane, you will probably never have roots like your daddy and I have, because we're raising you far, far away from all of your family. You might not get to see your grandparents more than once every couple of years, if that often. It breaks my heart that you already recognize the sounds of skype and know that you'll get to see your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins through it. You probably won't even get to meet your cousin Maddox until you're both talking.

I'm so sorry that I'm so far from perfect for you. I'm sorry when I make mistakes and when I just don't care what you want or need because I'm too focused on myself. I'm sorry that you're going to be so far from all of your extended family and will know them better through a computer screen than you will in real life. I'm sorry for the times I'll disappoint you and the times I'll be too harsh on you, expecting you to be more grown up than you are. And I'm sorry that you won't have a better role model than me as to what a mother and a woman is supposed to be. Please, look to Jesus to fulfill you and teach you and help you, because he'll do a perfect job when I only let you down.

I love you,


Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Day in Pictures

Foggy, foggy morning.

Banana time!

Pumpkin pancakes for breakfast...with chocolate chips.

One of our house guests left today. He left us these to say "thanks."

Messy bedroom.

Ahh, much better.

Diapers to be put up from yesterday.

Yesterday's laundry...


Lane helped by eating the clothes pins.

Nap time.

Quiet time for mom.

More laundry.

I'll never tire of teeny clothes hanging on the rack.

Lunch. Poor baby has a cold and is cutting a tooth.

Trip to the store for basil and bread.

Trying to grab the grass or a rock.

The aforementioned basil.



Lane's Christmas/birthday loot from all our families!

All organized into stacks according to who it's from: us, my mom, my dad and stepmom, Shannon's dad and stepmom, grandmother, and brother and sister-in-law, Shannon's mom and stepdad, and my sister and brother-in-law.

Buying some new music.

Unmake the bed...

Bed time: in my Auburn jammies! ('cause you know, they play while we sleep...)