Friday, December 31, 2010

December Recap

Now that New Year's is quickly approaching (2.75 hours and counting), I'm getting really glad that I've been doing these monthly goals for a couple of months now. We all like to think that we'll keep any New Year's resolutions that we make and that the beginning of the new year is the perfect time to make them, but over the past couple of months I've determined that once a year is not often enough to make new goals. I like doing it once a month. It gives me a solid 30-31 days to attempt to do something and if I fail at it, I can try again the next month. It also helps me keep my goals small and attainable. Instead of trying to conquer the world in a year, I'm settling for conquering small things each month. I like it.

So, here's how I did in December:

1) Memorize...a verse. I memorized Luke 6:45.
2) Read my Bible daily in accordance with my read-through-the-Bible-in-one-year plan. I finished my Bible reading this afternoon. I made it! I read it through this year. I'm debating whether I want to attempt it again next year or if I want to spend more focused time in a specific few books. I'll let you know what I decide in a few days.
3) Listen to 1 online sermon. Nope. Didn't get this done. I think it's mainly because I usually listen to sermons on Sundays while I prepare dinner, but this month we were out of town for one Sunday, had company for another Sunday, and a third Sunday was Christmas weekend. So...I just didn't make it a priority I guess.
4) Make a monthly prayer calendar. Didn't get this done either. Anyone know of a good calendar template out there? That's half my problem with this goal is that I don't want to spend the time searching for a calendar template. I'd really like one...then I could use it for recipes and stuff too.
5) Read "Shepherding a Child's Heart." I read 3 or 4 chapters, but definitely didn't come close to finishing. Next month. :-)

In relation to my family:
1) Have a date night without Lane. Yes! We went to the Maiden's Tower. It was fantastic.
2) Take Lane outside every day for at least 15-20 minutes unless it's raining. I took Lane outside not every day, but darn close. 23 out of 31 days, and 4 of those days it was either raining or too cold, so I really only slacked off 4 days. Not bad.
3) Take a 2-3 day vacation to another city in Turkey. Yes! We went to a little town on the Marmara coast to see some friends for a couple of days. It was fantastic.
4) Go to the park once a week as a family. Sigh. We didn't go to the park at all as a family. Maybe I should nix this goal until the weather is nicer. Shannon hates going outside when it's chilly.
5) Visit a new part of Istanbul by public transportation. We didn't really do this. We kind of did, when we went to the Maiden's Tower, but we had been down there before, so I don't think it counts. We also went to a different part of the city when our ferry home from our mini-vacation docked, but since we took a cab from there to the port we're familiar with, I don't think it counts.
6) Be in bed, lights out, by 10:30. I think we were in bed by 10:30 about 1/3 of the month. We were in bed by 11:00 most of the month. We'll keep working on this one next month.

Personal goals:
1) Do a trial run on Lane's birthday cake. Yup! Although guess what? My mom sent me all the stuff to make fondant! (I think). So...another trial run, at least of fondant, may be in order...
2) Make our bed every day. 27 of 31 days. And 2 of those days were Christmas and the day after. Not bad.
3) Offer Shannon a back massage every night. 24 of 31 nights.
4) Try 2 new recipes. Yup! I made black beans from scratch (like, from dried beans, which I'd never done before) for Mexican food and a yummy breakfast casserole.
5) Finish our Christmas shopping and order photos for Lane's scrapbook. I haven't ordered photos yet for Lane's scrapbook, but I have purchased credit to buy them and chosen which photos I want. I'm just waiting for info about who can bring them to me and when and their mailing address.
6) Get out of bed by 6:00. Ha. I only got out of bed by 6:00 four times this month. Yikes. But I got up in the 6:00 hour (ok, I'll call it like it is: before 7:00) 13 times. I'm still going to be working on this next month too.
7) Take a pair of pajama pants and 3 tanks I bought to a seamstress and have them taken up. I took the pants too, but the lady undid something I'd already had done (having the crotch taken up), so now I got one problem fixed and am back to the same problem I started with. I'll have to go back again in January.
8) Do 4 pages in Lane's scrapbook. Done! I did them last night. I'll take pictures and get them up soon.

So there you have it. How'd I do? Would you like to join me in setting monthly goals? I'll be praying over mine for the new year and for January in the next couple of days and will let you in on them once my birthday extravaganza is over on Monday or Tuesday.

Speaking of birthdays, I've decided to extend my giveaway for a few more days...until the 5th. (It's my giveaway, so I can change the rules if I want to. :-) I think that I have a lot of friends who have been out of town and away from internet access due to the holidays and I want to give them an opportunity to enter. So, you all have until midnight on January 5th to enter instead of until midnight tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's My Birthday!

Well, not quite. But almost. And, in honor of my completing 31 trips around the sun, I'm having a GIVEAWAY!

Up for grabs:

This Turkish pashmina. 90% cashmere, 10% silk.

How to enter (leave a separate comment for each (on the blog, not on facebook), up to 4 entries per person):

1. Become a follower of Scarbrough Fair or subscribe to receive updates. I don't care if you're a public follower or a private follower or how you receive the updates, but leave a comment letting me know you're a follower or that you receive my updates some other way.
2. Wish me a happy birthday!
3. Leave a comment with one topic you'd like me to blog about in the upcoming year.
4. Tell me either how long you've known me or how you found my blog.

This giveaway will end on January 1st, 2011, at midnight TURKEY time (that's 5 p.m. East Coast time). Open to residents of anywhere. Winner will be chosen by and will be announced Sunday, January 2nd. Be sure to leave contact information if I don't know you personally. Good luck!

***No extra entries for my contest, but while you're visiting, would you mind clicking here to vote for me? One click, that's all. Thanks!***

And on another note, Kim Skinner, did you ever receive your earrings? I did mail them...

Good Dental Hygiene... important to establish early in life, which is why we got Lane a toothbrush for Christmas.

Look at that technique! She's a natural already!

Ok, that's not the truth. The truth is that she hated the baby toothbrush. You know, the kind you put on your finger and use to scrub their teeth with? Yeah, she'd immediately suck all the toothpaste off and then cry because she couldn't hold it herself. So Santa (or mommy) put a kid's toothbrush in her stocking and she loves it. She gets so excited and actually does do a bit of brushing with the toothbrush. She also does a good bit of sucking the toothbrush, touching the bristles, and changing the hand she's holding it in, but that's besides the point.

My child is going to be a dentist. I can tell.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Baby's First Christmas

Merry Christmas from Lane!

Our Christmas Day began with Lane sleeping until after 8:00 a.m.! We were shocked. I nursed her and then led her out into the living room. She lit up and threw her hands in the air (a new thing she does when she's excited) and immediately bee-lined it for her Haba blocks. A few minutes later she played with some of the letter-link crabs.

Oooh, new blocks!

A little later she discovered her piano, shape sorter, and giraffe puppet.

She likes to carry the piano around now...showing off her strength!

We played a bit, snacking on our Asian pears and chocolate, and then went into the kitchen where we feasted on pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes (just pumpkin pancakes for Lane) I had made on Christmas Eve. We drank coffee from America (thanks, Aunt Teresa!) and Shannon ate more chocolate.

We got cleaned up and Lane got her Christmas dress on.

Cute dress, huh? We had to make due with pink tights since the white ones my mom sent haven't arrived yet.

We bought her this dress before she was born. We knew that we wouldn't be in America for Christmas this year (hence no Christmas dresses available), and all the dresses were on sale after Christmas, so we went ahead and bought it. It fit her just perfectly and she was able to get around in it just fine. It was really funny, though, when she'd drop something and it would land underneath her. She'd keep leaning over, picking her dress up and trying to look between her legs. It was too funny.

Lane's first dress with a petticoat.

I started some rolls for dinner, we played some more, ate lunch (leftover pizza), and put Lane down for a nap. We relaxed while she slept and when she woke up we headed out the door to some friends' place. It was 65 and a gorgeous day. We had church and ate turkey (yes, we found one! But I didn't get a picture of it before it got massacred.), and then we booked it home in order to skype with all of our families. The streets here were packed. We couldn't figure out why on earth it was so busy...Christmas here is just a regular 'ol day, but it seemed busier than usual. It took us about 15 minutes longer to get home than it usually does.

Some of Shannon's haul from his dad: Auburn stuff in the newspapers and magazines.

When we got home we skyped with Shannon's parents first, then my parents. Then we got Lane to bed, and then Shannon and I watched Miracle on 34th Street. We hadn't seen it in years. We watched Christmas Vacation yesterday, much to Shannon's relief...he was so scared we weren't going to work it in!

Today all of our decorations are put up, the tree is down, and things are back to "normal." We have company coming this weekend and we're moving in 12 days so it didn't make sense to postpone putting up the tree. Neither of us feel like Christmas is over. We don't really feel like it's come yet. I think that having classes and having to study and things like that contributed to the lack of it feeling like Christmas.

I find myself mourning the fact that Lane's first Christmas came and went and we didn't really do any of the fun things that I remember doing as a kid. But then I tell myself: she won't remember this Christmas. She probably won't remember next Christmas. And she might not even remember her third Christmas. We'll be in America for her fourth Christmas, right about the time that she'll definitely have memories associated with the holidays. And by then we (hopefully) won't be learning a new language and our way around the city, what we can find to make our traditional recipes with, and so on. By then we'll have time to watch movies and bake cookies and make gingerbread houses and cut out paper snowflakes and read Christmas books. It will get better. One day Christmas will feel like Christmas again. One day.

Merry Christmas from the Scarbroughs!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa Came!

While we actually don't plan on "doing Santa" with our children, it really doesn't make any sense to wrap a bunch of presents for an 11-month old who doesn't yet know how to unwrap them! So we put most of her gifts under the tree unwrapped. She has (left to right): clothes and Haba First Blocks from Mimi and Papa, a shape sorter from Papa Buck and Nonna Lou, books from us, Mimi and Papa, and Grandma, letter link crabs from Aunt Rachel and Uncle Lucas, a giraffe puppet from Pops and Grandma Joyce, a keyboard from Papa Buck and Nonna Lou (and family), and a Haba Nelly Doll from us. There are some other gifts wrapped under the tree, mostly books and clothes, and I think two dvds.

We're very, very proud of our families. We feel like Lane is going to have a fantastic first Christmas and be very, very blessed, and we feel like our families honored our wishes to not go overboard. She'll be getting more stuff for her birthday in four (FOUR!) weeks. But we just want to say "thanks!" to all of our family members for all of the fun stuff they sent for Lane, and for keeping it simple. We're sure it was was difficult for us too!

I'll be back in a few days with pictures of Lane in her Christmas dress, playing with her toys, and of our turkey (yes, we found one!) that we'll be eating tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

11 Months Old

Dear Lane,

Wow! Today you are 11 months old. You're almost one! It's so strange to think about this time last year: we were hoping and praying that you wouldn't be born on Christmas Day, but that you would be born before January 3rd, when your Aunt Rachel would be leaving. We had no idea that you'd wait another whole month before joining us!

Lane, in the past month you have become a joy. You were fun before, but in the past few weeks you have gotten over the stranger anxiety that overtook you about two months ago, and it has made you much more fun to be around. You no longer cry the entire time your babysitter is here, but instead you play with her and have fun. You no longer cling to mommy's legs the entire time she's cooking, and you can let her leave the room without wailing (most of the time). It's so nice to see you learning things, like that mommy will come back.

You got a new tooth this month! You got your other top tooth exactly one month after the first one popped through. You are the most fantastic teether in the whole wide world, Lane. You don't drool, you don't have bad diapers, and you're barely even fussy. You're spoiling us.

You are finally learning how to actually play with some of your toys! One of your grandmas got you a Melissa & Doug "fill and spill" picnic basket for Christmas, but we gave it to you early (as per her request). At first you were just enthralled with the lettuce, which crinkles. Now, however, you are starting to understand the concepts of fill and spill. You put all the pieces into the basket and take them all out, and you like to pull all of the velcro sandwich pieces apart. You still like to play with clothes pins too, but now you dump them all out of their storage basket and then pick them all up, putting them back into the basket and then repeating the process. You've started trying to stack the rings on your stacker, but you haven't had success yet. You also have started to like books a lot this month. You've gone through phases in which different books were your favorites: first it was Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Then it was Farm Friends. Then My Little Word Book. Now it's Dr. Suess' ABC Book. And there are lots of other books that you prefer to chew on, although you're doing better at not putting everything in your mouth.

This month you took your first long bus ride: we took a 4 1/2-hour ride to another city in Turkey to see some friends, and you did great. The bus ride didn't even start until your bedtime, but you were fantastic until the last 45 minutes when you were just so tired and it wasn't comfortable to sleep on mommy anymore. We've also started to transition you into just one nap each day, and you're doing really well with it. Now you take one 2-3 hour nap instead of two 1-hour naps. We also let you taste cow's milk for the first time, and you like it ok, but definitely not cold!

You have a few new words as well! You say "mama" and "dada" of course, but we've also heard you say "nite nite" and "nana" (for banana), although it's been awhile since we heard "nite nite." You started pointing at things too, and now you point at what you want to eat or play with if it's not in your reach. The pointing is often accompanied by a "NEH!" which we think means "that," or something similar. You are now notorious for grabbing us by our fingers, leading us into the kitchen, pointing to where the bananas are, and yelling, "NEH!" You, my child, are a banana monster. And a cheese monster. It's a good thing you also love apples and plums and vegetables!

Lane, we love you so, so much. Every day we remark how sweet you are, how cute you are, how blessed we are, and how God is so good to us to give us you. You love to be chased and tickled and you oblige when mommy holds her arms wide open, running in for a hug. You give us kisses sometimes when we ask for one making smoochy noises. You love to play outside and poke at the dirt or pull up grass and pull leaves off of plants. You examine what you've picked up or pulled up and proudly hand it over to us, waiting for us to look at it as well. You're such a little person, and mommy, at least, gets overwhelmed with God and his creativity and ingenuity in designing people and the whole growth process. Watching you grow is like taking a class on apologetics, as there is no way that someone could look at you and the way you learn and grow and determine that you were caused by chance. God created you. And he gave you to us. And for that, we are grateful.

We love you,

Mommy and Daddy

In your new froggy jammies, mommy's favorites! You now like to drag that magazine basket all around the house with you!

"Look, Lane, look!" On your first long bus ride.


Love that smirk! Betcha anything there's banana in your mouth!

Mommy got a birthday present, and you were fascinated with pulling the tissue paper out of the bag.

Another early Christmas present. You've enjoyed chewing on the case as much as actually watching the show (which you won't do at all unless mommy or daddy are snuggling with you)!

While this is a horrible photo, quality-wise, I love the action of it: this is exactly how you look when you're excited and going fast!

You've started pointing to your blankie and giraffe and wanting to carry them around the house with you. You love them.

You really like refrigerator magnets now!

You're becoming so independent, wanting to feed yourself, use a spoon, and we're working on helping you drink from a regular cup without our help.

Outside in the snow for the first time (when you could actually see the snow coming down).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Bit about the Mop

Vacuuming. Sweeping. Mopping. Cleaning toilets.

Anyone care to venture a guess as to what those are?

Chores I hate. Notice how the list is decidedly lopsided? I really, really hate cleaning floors. There's just something about cleaning floors that seems pointless. I mean, it never fails that less than 10 minutes after you've swept and mopped that someone comes along with muddy shoes, spills apple juice (oh-so-sticky yet clear enough that you can't see it), or gets crumbs all over the place. I sweep and later that day you can't even tell I ever did it.

All this loathing of cleaning floors may stem from my teenage years, when I had two little brothers and one of my sister's and my chores was to vacuum the entire house every. single. day. Ugh, what an awful chore for a 13-year old! Now, of course, I understand, since Lane is all over our floors and manages to find the only itty bitty teeny tiny piece of anything that the vacuum missed. Or dead bugs...yes, she's found those too.

And now that we have a Turkish babysitter who comes while we have language class, I'm even more paranoid about how clean my floors are. Normally I don't care all that much. But she plays on the floor with Lane a lot and I don't want for her to think we're filthy because there are a few dust bunnies and our windows aren't spotless all the time.

Anyways, all that to say that I swept and mopped the kitchen, entry, and bathroom just 2 days ago. Today we had lasagna for dinner and of course Lane now loves to drop things over the side of her chair and watch them SPLAT on the floor. The other day she was naked before we were going to take a shower when she squatted down to pick something up and her bottom touched the floor, which was cold, so she peed all over the floor. Every morning, as the used coffee filter is en route to the garbage can, Shannon drips coffee on the floor in front of the refrigerator. And I spilled a jug of ayran which ran down the cabinets and what wasn't absorbed into the kitchen rug pooled on the floor.

Yeah, I think I'll mop again in...March. That's soon enough, right?

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Christmastime!

You know, there's just something about living in a Muslim country during Christmastime. I mean, it just doesn't feel like Christmas! They do celebrate New Year's over here and they put up trees, but it's just not the same. There isn't Christmas stuff, oh, everywhere. I've seen a very select few "Christmas" things out there. There's no snow, it's not very cold, and well, quite frankly it's just a little sad to me.

A Santa made from a coffee can that my mom made like 10 years ago, and a tray and coasters that Cindy, Shannon's stepmom, gave to us 2 years ago.

For all of those reasons, I'm very, very glad that we have a Christmas tree, a nativity (two, actually!), stockings, and a few other Christmas-y things. We paid $200 to bring a trunk full of nothing but Christmas stuff with us, and while it was hard to justify spending that money at the time, right now I'm very, very glad that we did it. I kind of wish we had more!

Our nativity. I've been hauling this around with me since college, so at least ten years.

I wanted to share with you a few of the things that we brought with us, things that make our home feel Christmas-y. Things we deemed important enough to pay $4 a pound to bring with us.

Our Christmas book collection (yes, I know, it's small. But it's growing!), and a few Christmas stuffed animals.

Our second nativity (oh, so small...great for traveling!), a box that holds my Polish ornaments, and an ornament hand-painted by my mom.

I inherited this pillow when my grandmother died. She did all the needlepoint.

Then we have our stockings, but you've seen them before here. And then there's our ornaments. I love ornaments.

Our ornament from last year, hand-painted Polish ornaments, and an ornament that was mine when I was a little girl.

My hot-air balloon ornament that my sister got me and an Auburn ornament that some of Shannon's friends got for us our first Christmas together.

Our " Our 1st Christmas" ornament.

Lane's "Baby's 1st Christmas" ornament.

Another ornament from my sister: it's Italian blown glass and a nativity scene (although it's hard to tell in this photo).

This year's ornament...we think it's perfect...a daddy marshmallow, a mommy marshmallow, and a baby marshmallow!

The blue ornament is from Prague, and the Auburn tiger is well, strangling an Alabama elephant. :-)

A Polish pottery ornament, a wooden "three wise men" ornament from Bethlehem, and a glass-blown ornament from my dad and stepmom.

And last, but not least, we have the few ornaments that are so ugly that they are relegated to the back of the tree. They were all Shannon's, pre-marriage.


Double ugh.

Oh, the humanity...

Anyone else notice a trend with all of Shannon's ugly ornaments? They're all Auburn ornaments! I mean, we have nice Auburn ornaments that we can display on the parts of the tree that people actually see. But these...these are too hideous to make people look at, don't you agree?

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Package from Mom

Well, after receiving this package from my mom, she told me that she had sent two, so I've been waiting on the other one to arrive before posting about it. However, since it's the end of the week and we usually get our packages on Thursdays, I guess we won't be getting it very soon. I hope it's here by Christmas, though...I think there's a pair of white tights to go with Lane's Christmas dress inside...

Fun stuff! A stocking for Lane, window clings, Christmas cookie cutters, more vanilla, stocking clips, paper plates and napkins and a musical candle for Lane's 1st birthday, and handmade hats!

This was a super fun package to receive. We have some Christmas stuff that we brought with us, but we didn't have a stocking for Lane. We didn't have any cookie cutters. And window clings are just fun!

Only after getting all the pieces stuck to the window did I realize the tree is crooked...

And the hats! I had asked Mom to make Lane some hats, because she only had the one kitty cat hat, which is a bit big on her and falls over her eyes sometimes and totally ticks her off. So Mom made Lane four hats! Now we have a variety. They are all SO cute! If anyone wants to have her make one for your kids, I can hook you up. :-) I've told her to open an etsy shop, but she's just not sold on the idea yet.

This one is my favorite. I actually asked Mom to make me one to match. Is that sad? That's how cute I think it is!

Thanks, Mom, for all the loot! It sure has been fun, and we can't wait to get the other package!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lane's First Snow

This past weekend we took a little vacation to see some friends in another city in Turkey. We had a blast, staying up late talking and playing cards, which is something we haven't done much since having Lane, due to needing to stay at home because of the kiddo's bedtime and the fact that most of our other friends have kids and can't come to us because of their kiddos' bedtimes. It was so much fun. On Saturday as we were walking to the bus stop it was slushing snow, but Lane didn't seem too interested in it, nor did we have time to stop and let her play in it. So while we were on vacation, when it started to snow one day, I rushed to bundle Lane up and get her outside in order to check out the snowflakes.

Unfortunately the snow was coming down so lightly that she barely even noticed it. She was much more interested in rocks on the ground and on getting her hat and gloves off:

Isn't her coat totally adorable? When I tried it on her for the first time one of the other little girls that we know said, "She looks like an old woman." Ha! Totally true. I love it though...only babies and old women can really get away with wearing fake fur on their collars and cuffs.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Birthday Cake

As I mentioned here, this month I wanted to do another practice run on Lane's birthday cake. My first practice run taught me that margarine here is nasty in frosting, that I'd need to make two cakes, that brown frosting is hard to make, and that I can't find my frosting tips.

Enter practice run #2. I used butter instead of margarine. I baked two cakes. I crumb coated.

Yellow cake on the bottom, chocolate on the top 2 layers. Crumb coat layer of frosting.

This time the frosting was much better. The layers looked about right. The cake ended up crooked a bit, so I'll need to fix that for next time, and I'll probably make all chocolate, as the yellow cake wasn't all that. I need to find my frosting tips, as the Pampered Chef's frosting thing-a-ma-jig is just not all it's cracked up to be, in my humble opinion. But it worked for now.

It will have a number "1" on top, and some edible ladybugs that my mom is making and mailing me.

I'm still not really all that pleased with the cake. I guess I'm comparing it to one of my mom's cakes. But I suppose that all things considered (lack of ingredients and so on...I can't get the stuff for candy clay or to make fondant) it'll have to do.

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