Sunday, July 31, 2011

20 Weeks and a Birthday Boy

Friday was a fun, albeit exhausting, day.

Shannon turned 37. The day started with birthday pancakes and a skype call with his dad.

My first attempt at number pancakes. Not too bad!

Then we walked Lane down to some friends' house where the dad babysat Lane and our friends' kid while we all went to IKEA. Thank you, Tim, for giving us a relaxing day shopping instead of a stressful one!

Lane loves to ride on daddy's shoulders.

No photos of IKEA. I mean, it's IKEA. We did eat lunch there and spent a long time there. Our friends needed to pick out big things like a couch, so they wanted to be sure to get what they liked. Our list was much shorter and was mostly things for Lane's room. When her room is all put together you'll see photos.

After IKEA, we rushed home in order to spend a few minutes with Lane before heading out again. Our friend Kristina came and babysat so that we could go out for dinner. Thankfully Lane loves Kristina, so it wasn't any skin off of her back that we only saw her for about two hours all day long!

Technically this was our anniversary dinner, but we went on Shannon's birthday since Fridays are less hectic than Wednesdays, generally speaking.

My chargrilled chicken sandwich. It was yummy!

So, on Shannon's birthday, on a Friday, we went to TGIFriday's! We hadn't been before, and quite honestly probably won't return. The food was good, but by the time you take into consideration the hour it took us to get there, the hour it took us to get home, the fact that they didn't have their air conditioning on and it was about 87° outside (and inside too), and that our dinner was about $40 (a burger, a chicken sandwich, and two small waters) was good, but not that good. Shannon's still on the quest for the best hamburger in Istanbul, as Friday's burger was not, in his opinion, worth the extra cost over and above NumNum's burger.

Shannon with his birthday/anniversary burger, complete with fake (not pork) bacon!

We were so hot after traveling an hour in the heat and eating our meal in the heat that we were honestly not up for being out in heat anymore. So, despite the fact that Kristina was spending the night at our house and we could stay out as late as we wanted, we headed home and were home by about 8:30. Shannon bought ice cream and we all made banana splits/sundaes and watched You've Got Mail, which Shannon had never seen. I assembled the step stool we bought for Lane, and we stayed up way too late. It was a good birthday/anniversary celebration!

20 weeks + one day.

And lastly, Friday marked 20 weeks, or halfway through this pregnancy. Only 4.5 months to go!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Seven Links-Flashback

Barbara, over at Footprints in the Sand, has nominated me to participate in Tripbase's 7Links Blog Project! The purpose of this project is to bring to light older blog posts that have either been forgotten, or that may have been written so long ago that current readers haven't read them before. It's a great idea, and I'm excited to participate! Without further ado...

My most beautiful post: an outpouring of my heart to my daughter when I felt (and feel) so inadequate, pointing her to God when I fail her.

My most popular post: as funny as it is, if you google "18 weeks pregnant" and click on images, my picture from this post is on the first page. If you google "16 weeks pregnant," I'm currently on page 5. So...this post has resulted in the most visitors to my blog. I think it's funny that my little ole' blog gets lots of hits from a photo on google...I'd think that bigger blogs than mine would get many more hits than I do from photos of their pregnant writers, but nope, I'm on the first page!

My most controversial post: I, like Barbara, don't tend to write much on controversial things. This blog is mainly to remember fun moments and for our families to keep up with us. But once I ventured into my opinion on a child's name...and was shown to be ignorant. But I still don't like the name. And I'm entitled to my opinion.

My most helpful post(s): I think I have two of these. The first one is entitled 10 Easy Ways to Go Green and is my attempt at helping ordinary people learn simple ways they can impact the environment in a positive way. The second one is my experience with cloth diapers, including the pros and cons, in my opinion.

A post whose success was surprising: all about becoming a Southerner. Or not becoming one. Take a look and tell me what you think: am I a Southerner or not?

A post without the attention it deserved: I climbed a mountain at 25 weeks pregnant and only got one comment. Sad!

The post I am most proud of: Baby Girl turned 1 and I made her a great cake.Or maybe this one, chronicling the process to claim residency in Istanbul (which, unfortunately, we'll have to do again this year!). Or maybe this one: hubby's birthday and a great alliteration, filled with fun photos from the beach. Yeah...I like all of these.

There you have it. Seven posts I think you should go back and read, if you never have before.

My nominees to participate:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Disaster Strikes!

We moved into our apartment on a Thursday. It took all day for the movers to pick up our things from the family from whom we bought them, move them to our apartment, and put them back together. They didn't leave until nearly 7:00 that evening, at which time we ate, got Lane's pack 'n play set up, and got her in bed. We then set about getting a few necessary things in order and crashed, completely exhausted.

Friday we had planned a few things: namely, I was going to go back to the apartment where we had been staying and clean it really well since the family would return from vacation on Sunday. We had been keeping our money, keys, and Shannon's phone (my battery was dead and the charger was missing) in his office, which we had been warned we could get locked out of, but the door had to be closed forcefully, so it was unlikely to happen.

Well, guess what happened? We didn't get locked out of his office, since the door wasn't locked, but we couldn't get into the room as the door was completely stuck closed. Did I mention that we didn't have a home phone or internet access yet? I ended up walking to a friend's place and using their phone to call someone who could call someone to come fix the door. Praise the Lord that Shannon had unlocked our front door earlier that morning (you have to use a key to lock it, even from the inside) to set trash out, otherwise we would have been locked in our apartment with no phones, no internet, no money, and no keys. I have no idea what we would have done. Anyhow, later that day the door finally got opened and we got a new doorknob for it. And we got very little else done that day.

Saturday came and we spent the day doing all the things we had wanted to do on Friday but couldn't do because of lack of money/phones/keys/etc. I think we finally got our phone set up, but our internet still didn't work. We went to church that evening and I babysat for a couple, not getting home until almost midnight. Shannon unpacked a little bit and we went to bed, exhausted, at around 1 a.m.

At 4:00 (or thereabouts) I woke up to go to the bathroom (I am pregnant, after all). And as I swung my feet out of the bed and put them on the floor, I stepped into water.

A lot of water.

I floundered around for a few seconds, trying to figure out what was going on, turn the lights on (oh, no power), and figure out where the water was coming from. A loud gushing was coming from the bathroom and I managed to wade through the two inches of water to the bathroom, open the cabinets, and turn off the water source, all while getting sprayed like crazy with water.

Shannon and I wandered down our hallway and into his office and our living room, all of which were two inches deep in water. Water had seeped into the kitchen as well. We stood there in complete silence and complete darkness trying to figure out what on earth to do, who to call, how to fix this! We finally decided to call the guy who had organized our movers and who had hired the guy who painted our apartment and is a general fix-it guy. After talking to us on the phone for a few minutes and walking us through trying to figure out if our whole building was out of power or just us, he said that he'd be over soon.

I don't think the photos do the amount of water justice.

5 a.m. came and they showed up. In the meantime we had been using our cell phone lights, mini squeegee (you know, the kind you use for showers or windows), and a dustpan and mop bucket to bail water. It's amazing how much better the situation looked when our friend and the handyman showed up with big squeegees, more buckets and mops, and got our power back on.

Our hero with the large squeegee. I think if you enlarge the photo you can see how deep his feet are in water...

We bailed water, moved furniture, squeegeed floors, and in general worked like crazy for two hours. At 7 a.m. we all sat down for a breather, and Lane woke up. I peeked into her room to find an absolute disaster: Shannon hadn't cleaned up her toys/books when he put her to bed the previous evening! But not a single drop of water was in her room. I have no idea how or why water got everywhere else, 2 inches deep, but didn't go into her room, other than giving credit to God for looking out for us. All of Lane's things would have been ruined which would have been devastating to me, since she doesn't have that many toys to begin with!

Moving furniture to mop/squeegee underneath.

So we finally got all the water bailed out of our apartment and our floors fairly dry. The handyman fixed the problem (a hose to our washing machine). I went to the family's apartment to try to get it clean before they arrived home at noon-ish. And then we set about to cleaning up all the wet stuff. I did laundry for days. I hadn't unpacked my clothes yet, and a lot of them got soaked. And a lot of them bled onto each other and got ruined.

Wet clothes, wet clothes, and oh, some more wet clothes.

A few days ago I finally got the last load of laundry done. I'd been washing things separately, trying to see if stains would come out, letting things [air]dry first so that they wouldn't mildew while waiting to be washed (any of you who have lived in Europe know the fun of doing one load of laundry with a 2-2.5-hour cycle and then having to hang your laundry to dry). The good news was that I was able to salvage a lot of my clothes. The bad news is that some of my favorite things were ruined. Hopefully our insurance will cover them!

Stuff drying on the balcony.

And that is our disaster. It seems that disasters always come in threes. So we're still waiting on number three to strike, since we only had two! We've been here almost three weeks now...maybe it will pass us all together? We keep having nightmares about flooding...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

18 Months Old

Once again, a day late. How is my baby girl one-and-a-half?!?!

at 18 months, Lane:

*makes more animal sounds, although most of them aren't correct! At least she's trying. She says "lalala" for sheep (?), "bock bock" for bird, something uninterpretable for frog, and she growls for a lion. It's fantastic.
*still loves the song Old MacDonald. She's also decided to "relike" Twinkle, Twinkle, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and If You're Happy and You Know It. She indicates she wants to sing Twinkle Twinkle by opening and closing her hands (like the "twinkle twinkle" sign in the hand motions), Itsy Bitsy Spider by putting her index fingers and thumbs together, and If You're Happy and You Know It by clapping and then squeezing her cheeks (we point to our mouth when smiling at "face will surely show it" part). It cracks me up.

She loves this book, CAT, so much that she's ripped all the "extras" out of it (flaps, the cat's movable tail, etc). The book is only three months old but it looks three decades old.

*still has 12 teeth but her first eye tooth is about to pop through any day.
*loves to jump on our bed. Since moving we now have a chest of drawers with a mirror over it that she can see into when she's on our bed. She likes to watch herself in it, jumping, twirling, and swaying until she tumbles over or dives face-first onto the bed.

One of her new favorite things is to climb in this bag (LOVE the bag, by the way...think it's Land's Inn) and then have us carry and swing her around in it.

*is very good at stacking blocks. She is very precise in setting them down and will readjust them if she can tell that the stack is going to fall. She can stack larger blocks on top of smaller blocks, and can stack them quite high.
*loves to kiss people and her dolls and stuffed animals. She also loves to kiss Aubie (Auburn's tiger mascot) on Shannon's wall calendar.

With her "guys": kitty, giraffe, and blankie. These are what she sleeps with and what she most often totes around the house.

*is taking great naps since we moved and got darker curtains for her room. Usual is three hours now!
*is starting to get into her 18-24 month clothes (although honestly it's so hot these days that most days she just wears a diaper unless we're going somewhere). Still wearing size 5 shoes.
*can climb ladders at the park, go down the slide on her own (she prefers to flip to her belly), and is a master at stairs. Sometimes she can walk up a few stairs without holding onto usually depends on how tired she is.

Snoozing hard! (And still sucking on blankie when she's upset or at bedtime.)

*still just says three words. I'm beginning to think she's just stubborn (hmm, wonder where she got that from?).
*Is back in cloth diapers after a 3-month hiatus (nasty diarrhea from getting her molars + my sensitive first trimester nose + two moves = 'sposies for her). Her bottom seems to be faring well. =) She also frequently grabs the underneath of her diaper but I'm not sure if it's when she goes to the bathroom (sometimes she's wet, sometimes she's dry) or what. She also likes to sit on the potty but only for about two seconds. We're hoping to get her her own little potty in the next week or so.

Playing in the pool on our balcony. She prefers to toss the crabs and clothes pins out and then get out and get them, or to use her cup to dump water out of the pool and then get out and play in it. She spends very little time actually IN the pool.

*will "help" me with the laundry. When I'm taking laundry off the rack on the balcony if I give her a piece of clothing and ask her to go put it on the couch, she does and then comes back for more laundry.
*Loves her Frosty the Snowman Hallmark recordable book from Nona Lou. She likes all of her Hallmark books and will open them, turn the pages, and listen to them on her own, but Frosty is the one that she brings to us the most often to have us read to her as well.

My girlie drinking from a cup and eating her favorite snack (black olives and fruit) on her 18-month birthday. I can't believe she's so big!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Big Move

In case you've been wondering where I've been, you could start by looking here:

Or maybe here:

Or, if you're really brave, you might find me here:

Two weeks ago we moved.


However, the good news for us is that, pending disaster in our apartment (we've already had one [upcoming post...I know you're curious...], but fortunately it didn't require us to move out) or our landlord deciding he hates us, we will not be moving again as long as we live in Istanbul.


One of our balconies.

The past two weeks have been spent cleaning, unpacking, shopping, cleaning, organizing, rearranging, and did I mention cleaning? Apparently Turks don't have the same understanding that you when you leave an apartment, you leave it clean that we Americans do. So I've spent probably eight hours on my hands and knees scraping paint and lacquer off the tile and numerous other hours scrubbing tubs and toilets (well, Shannon [my hero] has done the toilets), cleaning windows and grill racks, sweeping, mopping, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping some more.

Small bathroom off our bedroom.

We're gradually getting things squared away. There are two totes full of "random" things that either don't have a place at all, have a place but need something (like screws, picture frames, or small storage containers), or need to be repaired (namely about seven things I've been trying to get to a seamstress for about four months now, but she's never there). Yesterday we got all of our shelves and wall hangings hung, other than the things that go in Lane's room, since we've decided to ditch the toddler bed we got her and get a twin bed instead.

Lane's room needs the most work, mostly because this is the first time since she's been born that I've had the opportunity to decorate a nursery/kids' bedroom, and I want to do it right. I want everything to be nice and to match and for everything to have a place. So we're having to wait to buy a few things due to the insane amount of necessary furniture and appliances that we bought in the last month. Tomorrow we're getting the twin bed for her delivered and hopefully next month we'll get a bookshelf, toy basket, and bedding for the big girl bed. We'll also get her wall hangings hung and her fragile things on a small shelf.

Shannon's office is, contrary to the looks of the above photo, the only complete room in the entire apartment. It's full of Auburn paraphernalia. You'll get a photo later, I promise. And I'm so glad I convinced him that we needed that makes a pregnant lady happy! (Ok, ok, he convinced me we should buy it. But I'm so glad he did!)

We've also started our language lessons again (and the homework that goes with them), so between classes, homework, shopping/cooking, and finishing the last bit of settling in, we're pretty swamped. We're working hard to get it all finished, though, so once we're settled in I'll fill you in on all sorts of things!: our disaster, Lane's newest antics, summer heat in Istanbul, pregnancy milestones, and of course, final photos of our place (well, those may have to wait a month or two), and our upcoming anniversary celebrations.

Until then, you can find me up to my elbows in chicken and bones or watermelon juice and seeds, unpacking odds and ends, or shopping for hooks and potholders, bookshelves and end tables, bathmats and light fixtures. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

18 Weeks (second time around)

18 weeks.

Today I went to the doctor for my 18-week check-up and all is looking fine. This baby is still measuring right on track, has big feet (an inch long already!), and is a GIRL! We're excited that Lane will have a little sister to play with and be buddies with. And daddy's excited to have a gaggle of girls in his house. *grin*

I'm feeling great. I don't even feel pregnant most of the time (well, other than the middle of the night when I have to pee at least twice). I started to feel the baby move sometime in this last week, which is, of course, oh-so-fun. I can't wait until the kicks are strong enough for Shannon to feel them. I'm still wearing all regular clothes, although I did get a pair of maternity shorts from the Gap that I could wear now if I want to (they have that adjustable elastic in the waist), but I don't need them yet by a long shot.

Unfortunately I'm still holding as far as my weight goes...I didn't gain even a single pound in the last month. I'm trying, really I am. I just know that eating lots of junk just to gain weight isn't any healthier for the baby than not eating the junk and not gaining weight. Surely weight gained from empty calories isn't good weight, even when pregnant. Right? I'm trying to eat extra dinner, nuts, olives, cheese and bread or crackers for snacks, lots of fruit and veggies, and a milkshake every night for dessert. I'm getting my 300 extra calories each day...I just think I'm burning them off just as quickly as I eat them!

That's all that's up in pregnancy-land. We just moved last week and I've been busy unpacking, cleaning, and organizing. I have a TON of photos of our place but have been too busy to give you all a tour, assured one is coming. As well as lots of "fun" stories about moving in. Trust me...they're so good they get their own post.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Happy, Happy 4th of July!

Some of you may remember our 4th of July celebration from last year. Namely, moving across the world.

This year, we got a bit more "normal" of a celebration, or at least normal for living overseas. We went to some friends' house and ate chicken sandwiches, fries, and watermelon and enjoyed fun conversation and kiddos playing.

Family photo on the 4th of July, 2011. (We have so few photos of all of us together that it's important to get them when you can!)

And we got a package! What a fantastic way to celebrate being receiving American treats!

Foam letters for Lane, Ovaltine and water flavoring packets, Inception, the Auburn vs. Alabama football game from last year, cayenne pepper, and Reese's pieces and M&M's.

Lane loves her letters/numbers and has been playing with them a lot. Once we're all moved into our new place we'll let her play with them in the bathtub. We watched Inception on the 4th and were reminded once again what a great movie that is and we're so glad to own it now! The cayenne pepper will be put to good use in some yummy recipes. The Reese's pieces lasted all of two days, and I, for one, am SO grateful for the Ovaltine (more calcium for the bebek!) and water flavoring packets (you can only drink so much water and tea, you know?). Thanks so, so much Angela, for showing us the love! (And for coordinating the package to arrive on the 4th of July. Very smooth. =)

Friday, July 1, 2011

16 Weeks (second time around)

16 week belly shot on the balcony. I think I'm showing a teensy bit.

In pregnancy-land, I had my doctor's appointment last Monday and all looks well with Baby #2. This baby is measuring right on track for an EDD of December 16th, which makes me SO happy since Lane was always measuring small (which might be part of the reason I went 17 days past due with her and still had to be induced). I'm really, really hoping that this baby decides to debut on a day other than Christmas, and of course it'd be nice if he/she is early, but really I just don't want a Christmas baby. My birthday is on New Year's and one holiday birthday is enough for this family as far as I'm concerned! Of course God will probably decide to give us a Christmas baby just to teach me something about trusting Him for what's best...

It's fun because here you get an ultrasound/sonogram every time you go to the doctor. So I get to hear the heartbeat and see our little bebek ("baby" in Turkish) every time. It's fun. And it makes me wonder what on earth American doctors charge so much for since you only get 2-3 ultrasound/sonograms in the States. Hmm...

My doctor also advised me to really try to gain some weight over the next month, so I'm enjoying the freedom to do things that I don't usually do, like get whipped cream on my frappucino at Starbucks or eat bigger, more filling snacks. I'm not sure if it's helping me gain any weight, but I can definitely say that I'm trying everything I can short of just sitting down with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, which wouldn't be the healthiest way to gain some weight anyways.

I'm enjoying reading back over my bi-weekly posts from when I was pregnant with Lane and comparing then with now. For example, when I was pregnant with Lane I was still super tired at 18 weeks. (You can read my 16-week post from my first pregnancy here). Granted, I was working 30 hours a week waiting tables, but still, this go-around I have a good bit of energy and have for a week or two. We're usually in bed by 10:00 or 10:30 and I usually wake up on my own after eight hours and can't go back to sleep even if I want to. I guess that's good?

I've also noticed that my emotions have toned down a bit which has been quite refreshing. When I was pregnant with Lane I think I really only had 2-3 times that I could blame the pregnancy for making me super emotional and overreact. This pregnancy...I felt like I cried every day over the silliest things for weeks. I'm so glad to be back to my (fairly) level-headed self.

So there you go. I'm trying not to post too much about pregnancy in my "regular" posts and to save it for my bi-weekly posts, because I know that it gets annoying reading peoples' bemoanings about their pregnancies if they do it too much. I figure if I can keep my bemoanings to once every two weeks, my readers might actually find them interesting and not annoying. Capisce?