Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Menu Plan...Wednesday?

In light of all my newfound energy and re-desire to plan our meals and actually prepare them myself, I thought I'd share with you our menu for the week (which started...Monday. Sunday we moved, so we had pizza for dinner). So far it's involved very little prep work, which has been really, really nice. I love it when we can eat healthily without me spending hours upon hours in the kitchen!

First let me say that I rarely plan to cook breakfast. Sometimes it happens on weekends, sometimes when I have a random potato (for hash browns), but usually we just eat fruit and cereal. I'm lazy like that (or it just takes me long enough to wake up in the mornings that it's usually lunchtime before I'm capable of cooking without burning the house down).

lunch: leftover braised balsamic chicken from Saturday night
dinner: homemade chicken and rice soup, bread

lunch: leftover pizza from the move on Sunday, chicken soup from Monday

lunch: Shannon ate out with friends, Lane and I had leftover rice and beans and cornbread from Tuesday
dinner: sautéed veggies, couscous pilaf, and chicken paillards (chicken pounded flat, dredged in breadcrumbs, and pan-sautéed)

lunch: tuna salad with avocado (if I can find one) on whole-wheat bread, carrot sticks
dinner: leftover rice and beans, cornbread from Tuesday

lunch: leftover chicken paillards, couscous pilaf, and veggies from Wednesday
dinner: spaghetti, garlic bread, green salad

lunch: leftover spaghetti from Friday
dinner: whatever our small group decides to cook

lunch: leftover spaghetti from Friday
dinner: that southwestern salad that I mentioned yesterday

Ahh. Healthy food all week long! There are times that I wish I lived in the States when it comes to cooking. We can't get whole-wheat pasta here, which would make our spaghetti healthier. I want to put an avocado in our tuna but I don't know if I'll be able to find one at the bazaar tomorrow. My chicken soup only had about half the amount of celery in it that I'd like because it's over $2.00 for a super small amount (about 1/3 of a bunch that you'd get in the States), and I just can't justify buying more for soup, especially when I'm using it twice in one week. I just trust that if I do as much as I can to make our food healthy, God will take care of our bodies and redeem my efforts, even if we could eat "healthier" in the States.

Anyone have any fantastic recipes out there? Anyone have any great ones that involve little prep work (no canned soups or pre-packaged goods to save time...they're not available here), are cold dishes (I'm not going to want to spend lots of time over a stove come August!), or are recipes specifically for tuna? I'm trying to eat it at least once a week since I'm pregnant and it's good for me, but I'm worried that I'll get burnt out on tuna sandwiches. Any ideas are appreciated!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Bit of This and a Bit of That

Right now it seems like my life is just insane and that the insanity will never end. The past week has been spent packing up out of our previous apartment in preparation for a move to temporary housing until our new apartment is finished being painted. We got all moved in on Sunday evening.

I feel like I'm always moving.

In almost four years of marriage, Shannon and I have lived in 8-10 (10 if you count anything two weeks or longer that wasn't vacation) different apartments/houses in two countries and four states. We have had the majority of our belongings packed in suitcases/boxes/trunks and have been living out of a select few of those for 22 months. That's almost half of our marriage, and Lane's entire life. I am SO ready to unpack. Next week. I can't wait.

This is the kind of stuff Lane does when we're busy packing. The stroller is FOLDED UP for crying out loud, and she's still climbing on it!

I have been a royal klutz over the past couple of days. On Sunday before we moved I scraped my arm across a chair, leaving a lovely red mark all the way down my forearm. While moving I banged my knee up so badly that the bruise was black within a couple of hours. Today I sloshed soup all over the kitchen floor, and tonight I banged my head on the rack hanging inside the shower. What on earth is wrong with me? And don't say, "You're pregnant," because I think that "pregnancy clumsiness" thing is...a bunch of bull.

This salad is TO DIE FOR.

Meet the new love of my life (food-wise): homemade...Southwestern Salad? In an effort to eat more protein and leafy greens I created this salad last week out of leftover Mexican food. I love it. Shannon deemed it so good its new name was "Not A Salad." Try it for yourself and see.

Ingredients (to measurements are strictly estimates):

*2-3 cups leaf lettuce (none of that iceberg crap that has zero nutritional value)
*2 tablespoons homemade pico or diced tomatoes
*1/2 cooked chicken breast, shredded and warmed
*6 or so tortilla chips, broken
*1/4 cup black beans, warmed
*1/4 cup Mexican Rice, or brown rice, but Mexican is better
*a bit of shredded cheese
*1 1/2 boiled eggs, chopped
*2-3 tablespoons ranch dressing

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Serve. Eat. Compliment me on my fantastic idea.

At my doctor's appointment last week I was told that I'm actually too thin to be three months pregnant and that I really need to try to gain some weight. In my defense, I've always had a weight range of about 10 pounds, and if I'm in that range I never worry about my weight. I don't own a scale, never have, and only weigh myself when at the doctor's office or at a friend's house. I was about two pounds under the low end of "normal" for me.

Now, I agree, I shouldn't be pushing the envelope when it comes to my weight, especially being pregnant. But it's hard for me to gain weight here. I dropped the remaining 5-6 pounds of baby weight from Lane within a week of moving here. I walk a lot, and there's no way to avoid it. I mean, I had to walk 25 minutes to get to the doctor's office! Anyways, now that I'm out of the First Trimester Black Hole I have been better at menu planning and actually cooking, and have been trying to eat more protein, more dairy, more leafy greens (hard when they're not really available here right now), and well, just more period. It should be easier to pack on a few pounds now that a) I don't feel like throwing up everything I eat, and b) I have more energy to prepare good, nutritious meals. Oh, and c) I'm not hoofing it all over the city looking for an apartment and furniture. Been there, done that.

Lane. 17 months old. Loves to get. into. everything.

Today I took Lane outside to play. You know what she did? Laid down on the ground. On her belly. Slithered around on the sidewalk. Tried to eat snails. Climbed up and down the stairs a million times, using her hands on the next step to help her up (instead of the, oh, handrail that we've taught her to hold onto). We came inside and washed her hands. While I was in the kitchen, she climbed onto the table to get the ice out of my drink, spilling the entire cup of water. We got cleaned up and sat down to eat. She promptly dumped her milk right onto her front. New outfit for her after lunch. Later I caught her fishing in my tea for ice (what is WITH that child and ice?!?). She played with the toilet brush and dumped the water from the bowl (have I ever mentioned how disgusting I think toilets and toilet brushes are?) on the floor (not on my watch, that was daddy). She peed all over the floor immediately after removing her diaper to give her a bath. Today I was oh-so-relieved when it was bedtime.

And I think that's enough randomness for today. This is proof that I do think of you all. I do have things to write. I'm eagerly anticipating the day when I have somewhat of a schedule to my life again instead of a hodgepodge of moving/packing/cooking/learning a language/setting up utilities/cleaning/parenting/wife-ing that is my current life. I've been doing this randomness thing for too long and I'm ready for some routine in my life!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

17 Months Old

I'm a day late on Lane's monthly post due to uncontrollable circumstances last night (the hubby wanted to watch a movie and actually let me pick...hooray for watching Fried Green Tomatoes for the first time together after almost four years of marriage!). However, as of today you can learn all about her new, amazing, super-cute antics.

At 17 months, Lane:

*makes more animal sounds: "moo" for cow, "ba-ba" for chicken (bock bock), and "zzz" for bee. She also says "la, la, la" for pig...blame that on Sandra Boynton's Moo, Baa, La, La, La.
*can identify new body parts: bottom, fingers, neck, and cheeks (pretty much all of them except harder-to-grasp ones like "elbows" and "eyebrows," things like those).
*loves the song Old MacDonald. It is by far her favorite song right now, and she indicates that she wants us to sing it by clapping (no idea where she got that from). She'll even sing along a bit, making "moo moo" and "nay nay" sounds.
*still just says three words. I was slightly worried until I did a bit of research, and it said to only be worried (up to 18 months) if your kid doesn't say "mama" or "dada," and can't identify any body parts. Guess we're ok since she's doing all of those.
*loves ice. She always wants to fish ice out of our drinks and is upset when the ice is gone.
*has 12 teeth. Her last (fourth) molar is a little over halfway through. Only eight teeth to go!
*likes to "play" nite nite. This involves getting into the bed and laying down and covering up for 4-5 seconds until it's time to get up, roll all over the place, and do it all again.
*has got some CURLY hair! It's cracking me up, since Shannon and I both have stick-straight hair. I never in a million years thought I'd end up with a curly-headed kid.

Check out those CURLS!

*can stack blocks at least seven high.
*likes to do puzzles and can put the pieces in the right spot, even if she can't always turn them around to make them fit.
*likes to help me snap green beans.
*can get all of the shapes in her plastic shape sorter without any help and can get all of the shapes in her wooden shape sorter with very little assistance (the wooden shape sorter has holes on four sides whereas the plastic shape sorter has all the holes on the top).
*likes to circle around while I sing Ring Around the Rosie, promptly running off to dive on the floor for "we all fall down!"
*gives "snuggles" if we ask (hugs with her patting us on the back).
*is starting to be very whiny. We've started putting her in her pack-n-play for whining/pitching a fit when she doesn't get her way.
*is still a pretty good eater, although it's tapered off a bit. I think she's finally gotten full for the first time since she was born! Current favorite foods include cherries, peaches, watermelon, strawberries, soft cheese, beans, and rice.

Aaaand...that's all I can think of right now.

***forgive the lack of photos this month...I haven't taken that many since we've been out-and-about a lot, and it's difficult for me to watch Lane and take photos when we're out without daddy.***

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

Shannon is the kind of guy who never will tell me what he wants for his birthday, Christmas, our anniversary, or any other holiday. I always feel bad because there's always something I want, and his list is always super puny. Actually, he just always says the same thing: "I want to spend time with you." Blah. We usually go to dinner and a movie for his birthday and maybe for his Christmas present, but you can't really ditch the kiddo on Father's Day to see a movie, you know?

So this year I didn't get Shannon anything for Father's Day. I'd asked him what he wanted. He had no answers. So I made him a big breakfast and his favorite dinner (spaghetti). And I decided to treat him for lunch: we went to a place called Numnum Cafe and Restaurant. We'd heard they had good burgers, and Shannon's been on a quest for a good burger ever since we got here. We'd also heard they were a tad on the expensive side, so we'd need a good reason to visit. Father's Day seemed like as good a reason as any!

Our table. Love the fatty bird.

The waitresses gave Lane some balloons to play with while we waited for our food.

We didn't know when we went to Numnum that it was Father's Day in Turkey, too! Good thing that Turks don't seem to have the American tradition of taking their fathers out for lunch after church! We had the restaurant practically to ourselves, they had menus in English (thank goodness), and the food was yummy. Well, the fries left something to be desired, but the main dishes were good.

Shannon's burger. The best one he's had in Turkey so far.

My club sandwich. Yes, I know that pregnant women aren't supposed to eat cold lunch meat. But 1) I don't like burgers, 2) they didn't have any chicken sandwiches, 3) I figured that one serving of cold lunch meat in 9 months probably won't kill me or the baby, and 4) their meat is probably sliced on site anyways since it's not a fast-food place, and that kind of lunch meat you ARE allowed to have.

I felt like a slacker of a wife, getting my hubby nothing for Father's Day except a day full of food. But he thanked me over and over for a great Father's Day. I guess it just goes to show that the way to a man's heart really is through his stomach.

Lane and daddy on Father's Day.

Family photo op at Numnum. Shannon's last Father's Day as a daddy of one (outside of the womb).

Friday, June 17, 2011

14 Weeks (second time around)

Well, just like when I was pregnant with Lane, I don't have much to show for my first belly pic with this baby. But, seeing how I've already gotten a couple of requests from my sister and friends for belly pics, I figured I'd go ahead and start at 14 weeks again. Plus, this just goes to show that not everyone starts showing super early with their second pregnancies. (You can see my 14-week belly pic the first time around here.)

Forgive the horrible glare from the overhead light and the frizzy ponytail. This is what you get after a long day with a 16-month old and a husband who didn't want to take lots of photos.

I can tell that I'm a tad bit thicker in the waist (1/2-inch to an inch), but overall all my regular clothes are still fitting just fine.

I've been feeling better this week, nausea-wise. I've been really blessed this time around, just as I was with Lane, to not feel too badly. This go-around I had about a month where I just felt icky. I actually threw up once, too, so I can no longer say that I've never thrown up while pregnant. Sad. There were a couple of weeks where I was more tired than usual. And of course, my sense of smell is so heightened that I can smell the Atlantic Ocean from here. But I think that I'm on the upswing and will hopefully be feeling completely back to normal in a week or so.

Lane at "mama is 14 weeks pregnant."

That's about it that's up in pregnancy-land. I have my second doctor's appointment on Monday. Hopefully as I come out of the First Trimester Black Hole I'll be better at updating again. My lack of blogging correlates 100% with the pregnancy, I feel better I fully plan on updating regularly. Lest anyone wonder if this blog will ever regain it's once-regularity, I promise, it will.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Living in another country, in a large city, with a baby/toddler, is exhausting.

I forget sometimes that my life is quite a bit different than the average 30-something American parent's life. Today I feel like I've accomplished almost nothing. I:

took a shower
read my Bible/had prayer time
took Lane to a friend's to play
took a short nap
made dinner
entertained Lane

And that's about it. And I'm exhausted.

In America I think that the above list would go something like: wake up, take a shower, eat breakfast. Read Bible and have prayer time either before kiddo awakes or during nap time. Toss backpack/diaper bag/purse into car, strap Lane into car seat, and go to friend's house. Come home via same way and cook dinner with what's in the fridge. Play with Lane and the multitude of toys she'd have, take her outside to play in the yard, etc., etc., etc.

Here the list goes like this: wake up, take shower, throw everything for the day's outing in my purse. Walk, carrying 22-pound toddler, 15 minutes to a bus stop, wait on the bus, and then ride the bus 20-30 minutes, feeding Lane apples to keep her quiet and occupied. Get off the bus and walk another 10-15 minutes until we're at our friend's house. Stay for two hours and then leave because it's already nearly nap time and we still have a 45-60-minute commute home. Repeat transport story in the reverse order, sharing a seat (a bit bigger than a normal seat, but still not big enough for two bottoms) on the bus with a handicapped man because nobody else would move for him to sit down. Get home, get Lane in bed, eat lunch (Lane ate while at our friend's) read my Bible and try to pray but fall asleep. Wake up and send Shannon to the store across the street to buy stuff for dinner because produce here lasts maybe two days, so it's hard to stock our fridge for more than a day or two. Finish my prayer time while he's gone, chop veggies and make dinner while Lane watches a show, and collapse exhausted when finished, still having my fingers pulled off by the almost-17-month old who wants to drag me around the house to play with her.


I shouldn't complain. I have a good life. Compared to a lot of moms out there, I have an easy life. But I'm reminded on days like today (which happen more often nowadays, probably because I'm pregnant and more tired/emotional than "normal") that my life is quite, quite different. I get a break when Lane sleeps, if Shannon takes her to the store or ATM with him, and about once every 4-6 weeks when Shannon watches Lane for a few hours so I can go out with the girls. Or when I go to the doctor. No relatives to babysit. No friends to come over to babysit, because let's face it, nobody wants to travel an hour on public transportation to watch someone else's kid just to have to travel that same hour home. I haven't gained a single pound this pregnancy because I walk an average of at least two miles a day. I can't eat what I'm craving most of the time, because Chic-fil-a, Mexican food, a nice, affordable filet, and good pizza are all thousands of miles away. To go outside to "play" means either Lane plays on the concrete that is our courtyard, or I push/walk her 25 minutes to the nearest park.

I'm just tired. And I'm tired of this city of 18 million people. I need a vacation.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I'm still exhausted. T-minus-5-days until the first trimester is over. Oh, please, come quickly.

We're still looking for an apartment.

We're still eating out way more than we should (due to being exhausted and gone all the time while looking for an apartment).

Our house still isn't very clean (although it's cleaner than it was 2-3 weeks ago).

I still have to hang our laundry up to dry.

Everything still stinks.

Lane is still cute.

And I'm still (trying) to take photos in the midst of all the insanity.

Lane still likes Noah and the ark, and is getting better at playing by herself.

She still likes to unload the silverware.

She still likes to eat.

She still likes to climb (and got curls from somewhere!).

And climb.

And climb. And suck on blankie.

And she still likes to be outside.

And that's all the "stills" for today.