Monday, August 29, 2011

24 Weeks (second time around)

24 weeks and 2 days. This photo brought to you from Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gabriel's Good Tidings

A few (eek) months ago, Shannon and I ordered some reusable snack bags from my friend Amy. She sells on Etsy at Gabriel's Good Tidings, and I'd been eying her stichery for a looong time. I can sew on a button that's fallen off, and that's about it, but I absolutely love all the creative things that others can do with a bit of fabric and a sewing machine. Anyhow, I'd been following Amy's blog for awhile and thinking that I'd love some reusable snack bags (I consider it my Earth Day Challenge for this year). Amy ran a special one time so I jumped at the chance to get some.

Amy shipped them to my in-laws, who were coming to visit. And she also slipped in a few other goodies for us! I was so excited!

Auburn coasters (even though Amy's an Alabama fan, she made these for us!). These reside in Shannon's office where he uses them during his language lessons. They might move to our living room...once we have end tables to put them on!

The snack bags: two small and one large.

I love these snack bags. They're cloth on the outside and PUL on the inside, so they're waterproof inside. To wash them we usually pull the PUL out and scrub it with a soapy sponge and then let it air dry and tuck the PUL back inside. But you can toss them in the washing machine if the cloth part gets dirty. These are a great way to carry snacks around; they're super cute and environmentally friendly. We reuse plastic baggies anyways, but...I like these better. I'd like to buy some more one day so I have a bigger stash of them.

The only thing that's not as good about these reusable baggies (as opposed to ziplocs) is that they're not airtight, so if you live in a really humid place and you put something like crackers or cookies in the baggies for very long they'll absorb the moisture. That wouldn't happen in a ziploc. BUT, I still wouldn't trade these in, as they're great for grapes, raisins, cookies and crackers when the weather's not humid, chopped hard fruit like apples, cubed cheese, and so-on. They're stylish. And green. I like green, and I like supporting my friends' businesses.

A super cute clutch! I hadn't gotten to use it until about two weeks ago (because let's face it, most moms don't get to go many places without a gazillion things in their purse) when I went alone to a friend's mother's...hmm...kind of like a courthouse marriage ceremony. (But they'll have their big wedding party later.) I loved it! It was just the right size for my wallet, spare contact lens and eyedrops, and package of tissues.

A ladybug bib for Lane. Unfortunately Lane's never worn it since she stopped wearing bibs about the time we received it. But now that we're having another girl, girlie #2 will get to wear it!

So, a big shout-out to Amy at Gabriel's Good Tidings. THANKS! for the snack bags and for the other goodies! Sorry it took me so long to blog about them (in my defense I wanted to be able to give an honest review =). Head over and check out Amy's Etsy shop and her blog, where she gives lots of tutorials on all the crafty stuff she does around her house. And if you want to order something "specialty," just send her a message and ask her...just because it's not currently available in her shop doesn't mean she wouldn't make it for you!

***Can you please, please go vote for me if you haven't already? I'm only 14 votes away from the person in first place...***

Monday, August 22, 2011

19 Months Old

Ahh, I've gotten back on the picture-taking bandwagon! Well, maybe not quite, but I have been able to take more photos this past month than in the couple months previous. I've started just leaving it on the kitchen counter, even though that means it sometimes gets food on it. But, it's allowed me to catch some hilarious shots of Lane this month, for which I'm sure the grandparents will all be happy about.

At 19 months, Lane:

*has 14 teeth. Both top eye teeth came through this month, 11 days apart. Only six teeth to go!
*can open doors (if they have a "pull down" type of knob) and turn on light switches (ours are different than switches in America...they're easier...and lower).
*can climb up and down a ladder by herself. I think she could kind of do this last month, but she can definitely do it now. Scares the crap out of me.

Climbing, climbing, climbing!

*isn't talking any more than, oh, the past six months. But she's learned new signs and is using them: sleep, wash hands, flower, doll, baby, help (she's been doing this one for months, actually), train, socks, stop, go.
*knows the difference between a bowl and a plate and a cup and will get you the item you ask for out of "her" cabinet in the kitchen when you ask her to.

We finally gave Lane some new blocks that her grandparents brought for her in April. She meticulously took each one out of the box and stacked them all next to each other.

*is making new animal sounds: "rrrr" for lion or tiger or bear...and some others. I can't remember them right now. Lots of animal sounds going on around here, though!
*loves, loves, loves to stack blocks. And knock them over.
*always wants to talk (or listen) on the telephone, and also likes to hang it up. I think it's all about the buttons.

Happy, happy girl, playing on the balcony. She loves it when the wind blows.

*is sleeping in the big girl bed! We had a few rough days of transitioning over, and now at nap time I still lay down with her until she falls asleep, but at night time she falls asleep in the bed with no problems. She may get out and get a stuffed animal, but we have yet to catch her out of bed in order to play.
*is a pro at washing her hands. She can climb up the step stool and loves to stand at the sink and wash her hands or brush her teeth.

This is the hilarity that Lane does on a regular basis. You can't see that she's only wearing a diaper, socks, sandals, and that ring around her head.

*does NOT want to wear clothes, ever. Hence the majority of photos with her in just a diaper. I don't see the point in making her wear them if it's not cold and we're not going anywhere. So a diaper and socks and shoes it is, most days.
*speaking of socks and shoes, she has a fascination with them both. She goes from one pair of shoes to the next all day long, mostly favoring sandals. But ever since she learned the sign for socks she asks for them all day long as well.

See? A diaper and sandals. All. day. long.

*loves to look at herself in the mirror. She likes to either "jump" (aka: run around on) on our bed and look in the mirror while doing it, or watch herself brush her teeth, wash her hands, and in general make a soapy, watery mess out of our bathroom. It's so funny to me that nobody had to teach her to look at herself in the mirror...she just likes to do it.
*will put her baby dolls "nite nite." She'll give them a kiss, a hug, put them under the blanket on her bed, pat them, and maybe snuggle them for a bit, too. Too, too cute.

See the q-tip sticking out of her ear? She's been doing this for months but I'm never fast enough to get a picture. Finally: success! She also likes to stick them in her nose...

*likes to "help" with chores: sweeping, putting plastic dishes away, washing things with a sponge or washcloth, etc. Today she "helped" me snap beans for dinner: she put them all on the floor, and put them all back in the pot. Then out on the floor, and back in the pot. She tried to help me snap them but couldn't quite get it. So she bit one in half instead and put it in the pot. She, of course, usually makes more of a mess than she helps clean up, but it's all about the process, right?
*can open our refrigerator. Fortunately she usually obeys and closes it when we tell her to.

Washing hands/playing in the water. She loves the water. I love her smile.

*is altogether a joy. Yes, she's a toddler. Yes, she pitches fits, still is in diapers, doesn't sleep as late as we'd like her to, and in general makes life more difficult. But she makes us laugh numerous times a day whether it's because she's wearing some ridiculous outfit, attacking us with "snuggles" and biting kisses, or going crazy over some new food/drink that we're letting her have. The joy she brings definitely outweighs the work.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Snippets of My Weekend

Every time I think I'm going to have a chance to catch up on blogging, life gets ahold of me. Studying Turkish for 20 hours a week while Shannon works and has language classes along with being pregnant in a city this size seems to be taking its toll on me. I feel highly unproductive and like I spend so much time trying to do normal "life" that I don't have time for anything fun.

I think that having just moved (eek, like six weeks ago already?) is also taking its toll...all the loose ends from moving are slowly getting accomplished, they just take time, you know? So here are a few snippets of this weekend for me...and maybe it will help me justify why we still don't have light fixtures, why there are still plastic totes full of random things lying around to be put away, and why I still haven't cleaned most of our windows even once since moving in. One can hope, anyway.

Park time! The best time to go to the park on the weekends is before 10:00, since there's nobody there. Lane has free reign and we have no worries of her being bullied/knocked over/spit at (and yes, all of those have happened to her here).

Pizza: it's what's for dinner! I actually made pizza twice this weekend. I discovered that it doesn't take much longer to slice double the veggies, make double the sauce, and make double the crust. It made for about 20 extra minutes of work the first go around, but no extra work (apart from shredding cheese) the second go around.

We've been transitioning Lane to her "big-girl" bed. She has no problems at night, but for naps I lay down with her until she (and sometimes I) falls asleep. We'll fight the battle of getting her to lay still and fall asleep without me...later. I'm not up for it this month. (She currently has a thing for socks and wants to wear them all the time...hence the "nothing on except for socks" look.)

Yogurt-kiss marks on my pants (courtesy of Lane).

Dessert for after church. Brownies (these, without the "mocha" since I didn't have any instant coffee) on the left, the glaze for them on the right. We don't have a microwave, so I have to melt things and warm things up on the stove.

Every momma needs a break sometimes. Lane's new favorite show: Signing Time. She's already learned about five new signs (socks, flower, train, baby, doll, wash hands) in the ten or so days we've had two DVDs.

Ahh, Turkish. How I love thee (you're easier than Polish) and yet loathe thee (you're harder than Spanish)!

Nice days just beckon for us to play in water on the balcony.

One of my favorite pastries around here: a çikolata açma: a chocolate croissant. Few places have them, but one place, Ceviz Ağcı (The Walnut Tree-man), has fantastic croissants, warm on Sunday mornings, for only 1.25 lira (currently about $.70). I consider one my treat for pushing Lane the 1/2 mile to the park, the 1/2 mile to the bazaar, and the whole mile back.

My view on the way back from the park and Sunday bazaar. Our new stroller loaded up with my haul: bananas, grapes, zucchini, green beans, carrots, fresh basil, and eggs. We also stopped for three liters of milk on the way home. I bought less today than usual since we're (insert excited noises here) going on vacation later this week.

That girl has got some CRAZY bed-head!

Last but not least, what weekend would be complete without a load of cloth diapers to wash, hang, stuff, and put away? We wash every three days and are lucky to have a large enough supply (now that Lane only uses about five per day) that we can start the load after Lane goes to bed at 8:00 and not worry about hanging them until the morning. The first cycle is about 30 minutes long. We start the second cycle before we go to bed, and it finishes 2-3 hours later. I hang them first thing in the morning and fold them that evening or the next morning.

***Can you please, please go vote for me, if you haven't already? I'm only 12 votes away from the person in first place...***

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Shameless Plug for a Vote

I found out the other day that Scarbrough Fair has been nominated for a Best Mom Blogs Award from How fun! A big THANKS to whoever out there nominated me, and to whoever has voted for me so far!

Anyhow, I'd like to ask for your vote! I don't know what I'll get if I win (waiting on a reply email), but...surely I'll win something! So, please go vote for me!

To vote, come to the blog and click on the bright pink voting badge over on the right. Or you can click the voting badge that should be at the bottom of this post.

Thanks, thanks, and more thanks!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All in a Doctor's Appointment...

Today I had two doctor's appointments back-to-back, since they were both in the same area of town. It takes me about an hour to get there, so I figured that I'd try to knock them both out on the same day to avoid an extra two hours of traveling later in the week.

My first doctor's appointment was scheduled for 10:00 with a doctor who specializes in cardiac ultrasounds on babies in utero. My regular doctor gives me an ultrasound at every appointment and said that she trusts herself to detect any defects in the brain, lungs, liver, etc., but she says that there are so many things that can be wrong with the heart that she likes her patients to see a specialist between 20-22 weeks for an ultrasound of the baby's heart. No problem.

So, I left my apartment at 8:45 this morning. Out the front door and walk up this (killer) hill:

Up the hill and through the gate at the back.

Turn left behind the post office and walk up some more stairs.

This is only half the flight of stairs...

And then through a big parking lot.

Funny that we looked at an apartment up here on the left.

About seven minutes after leaving my front door I reach the main road, where I catch a minibus to Kadiköy. 15ish minutes later, I reach this insanity:

One of the bus depots in Kadiköy.

Here, I walk another 10 or so minutes

getting views like this

until I find the correct dolmuș.

A dolmuș: a shared taxi. You pay a set amount for up to a certain distance, and they only go on set routes (like a bus, but less crowded).

The dolmuș takes me another 10-15 minutes and I get off near Göztepe Park. My doctors are on Bağdat Caddesi, which is a one-way street going the opposite direction than the direction the dolmuşes go. So I get out and walk through the park.

Ahh, greenery in the middle of 18 million people!

I turn right up Bağdat Caddesi, walk about 10 more minutes, and I've reached doctor #1. Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes.

I arrive just in time. I look at the board to see which floor my doctor is on, since I've never seen this doctor before. I don't see his name so I ask at the information desk, which floor is he on? "He's not working here today." "Huh? I have an appointment." "You have an appointment?" "Yes. Today is Tuesday, August 16th, right?" "What's your name?" And she proceeds to confirm that I do not have an appointment, that the doctor is not working today at this hospital or at the other one I was told he worked at. Now I'm wondering if I have an appointment anywhere today, and why I don't have an appointment here. Plus, I'm thinking that I'm going to have to travel the 1 hour, 10 minutes again later this week, since I'm almost to 23 weeks and will be out of the window of time that this doctor does ultrasounds. Sigh.

I ask to use their phone and call the call center where I made my appointment (in English, by the way, so there was no misunderstanding on my part, at least, the first time around). I explain the situation to them and they say they'll call back once they know something. Five minutes later they call and confirm that I don't have an appointment. Thank you. I figured that much out. Why not? What happened? Do I have an appointment somewhere else? "We'll call you back."

Meanwhile, the receptionist disappears. She reappears 20 minutes later and informs me that there's another doctor there who can do an ultrasound. Ok. But I don't want to pay for any ole' ultrasound. Is it a specialist? So I call my doctor on my cell phone while talking to the call center on the hospital's phone (trying to make an appointment for tomorrow with the original doctor) and ask her to talk to the receptionist, since by now my brain is fried and my Turkish is definitely not good enough to handle this. I hang up with the call center and tell them I'll call back later if I need a new appointment.

My doctor confirms that this doctor can indeed do this special ultrasound. Great. So I go and have the ultrasound done. But Baby Girl doesn't want to cooperate. She won't show the doctor her face, and he wants to make sure she's not blind and doesn't have a cleft palate. I get up and walk around, drink a cup of hot chocolate. Go back in. Nothing. They make me eat cookies and tell me to drink some coffee. Walk around some more. I call my doctor and make sure it's ok that I'm going to be super late. No problem. I walk around. Eat some cookies. Drink two cappuccinos from the machine. Finally she cooperates. No blindness. No cleft palate. Thank goodness.

I try to leave but they need to process my insurance claim. It takes forever. I finally leave. It's 11:45. I'm already 45 minutes late and I haven't even left yet! I leave, turn right down Bağdat Caddesi, and walk about 15 minutes until I come to my doctor's building.

Finally! Only an hour late...

I go up the elevator, get the doorbell to work for the first time ever, and tell them I'm there to see my doctor. They tell me to sit and wait. A lady comes and asks me my name (in Turkish). I tell her. She asks again, in English. I tell her again. She laughs. Brings me some initial paperwork to fill out. I'm confused because I've been here before...why am I filling out this paperwork again? I fill it out anyways to the best of my ability and read Turkish magazines while waiting. Finally, at 12:30 I get to see my doctor. She looks at the report from the first doctor, says all looks fine. Gets me weighed and is happy that I've finally gained weight: FIVE kilos in a month. She is happy at my weight gain but warns me not to gain five kilos (eleven pounds) each month from here on out! Takes my blood pressure. Prescribes me some iron pills. And lets me leave without even paying, since she didn't do much (ha, like THAT would ever happen in America!).

Out the door. Try to catch a dolmuş, but they're all full and passing me. Walk to the bus stop. Catch a normal bus.

Ride the bus 10-15 minutes. Nobody gives me a seat, because my belly isn't big enough yet.

I get out near the train station. Walk about seven minutes. Grab a döner kebap from a street vendor because it's after 1:00 and I'm pregnant and starving. I eat it while walking down the street, not caring that it's Ramazan and I'm being rude by eating in front of everyone who's fasting. I am pregnant, after all. Stop staring. I walk another 10ish minutes, up another hill. Catch another minibus.

Minibuses. Their only redeeming quality is that they'll drop you off anywhere on their route, not just at bus stops.

Ride the bus 10 or so minutes. Get off and walk back through that parking lot, down all the steps, down the big hill. And I get home right in time for my by-then-postponed-twice Turkish lesson.

I was so glad when this morning was over.

Friday, August 12, 2011

22 Weeks (second time around)

Today I got my BabyCenter update in my inbox with a link to their website telling me all about being 22 weeks pregnant. When you go to their site there are usually questions and answers that might interest you over on the right side of the page. Today I noticed that there was a question from someone about their being really big for 22 weeks and was it normal, etc. What caught me was the "top answer." It started with "22 weeks pregnant is 6 months and 1 day pregnant..."

Does anyone else see the error in that statement, or is it just me?

First off, let me state this: this is my blog so I'm entitled to say what I want (ahem, that's for you, Chach [my sister]). Therefore I will go into this rant, and if you don't like it, don't have to say anything. It's not directed at anyone in particular. It's just a pet peeve of mine. That being said...

40 weeks of pregnancy does NOT equal 10 months, ever. You can say that each month has 4 weeks, blah, blah, blah, but the truth of the matter is that February is the only month that has only 4 weeks in it. 7 months have 31 days and 4 months have 30 days. That means that for every 9 weeks pregnant you are, you get about 2 months, not 2 months plus a week. 40 weeks is approximately 9 months and 1 week. Considering you're not even technically pregnant the first 2 weeks of that 40 weeks, if you deliver before 41 weeks (according to your LMP), a pregnant woman isn't even technically pregnant for a whole 9 months, let alone 10 months.

All that being said, I fully understand that pregnancy can feel like it lasts forever. I was pregnant with Lane for 42 weeks and 3 days (including the 2 weeks you're not "technically" pregnant in the beginning) and I get it: it feels like it lasts forever. It feels like you should be able to claim 10 months. But you can't, because it's just wrong. If you're pregnant for 40 weeks and that equals 10 months, how do you fit the remaining 12 weeks of the year into the 2 months that you have left? Answer: you can't; 40 weeks does not equal 10 months!!!

There. I feel better. Now everyone out there knows how I feel about women who lament their 10-month-long pregnancies. Consider yourselves informed. =)

22 weeks today! (love Lane in the background...cracks me up.)

So, I'm 22 weeks pregnant (almost 5 months, nowhere close to 6-months-and-a-day that mystery-answerer on BabyCenter claims) today. I have no idea if I've gained any weight in the last 4 weeks (I've been trying!), but I can tell that my belly is getting bigger. I can still wear most of my regular pants, although my maternity shorts (I only have one pair) from the Gap are pretty comfortable these days. I'm feeling fine, have plenty of energy, am sleeping pretty well, and overall can't complain a bit. Baby Girl is kicking up a storm and I'm still surprised how much I can feel her moving, since I didn't feel Lane at all until 21 weeks. It's still a novelty at this point. I have two doctor's appointments on Tuesday, one at my regular OBGYN and another with an ultrasound specialist who will look at Baby Girl's heart and make sure she doesn't have any cardiac problems.

Well, that's that. We're on the mend, for anyone who's wondering. Lane still has a nasty cough and I've got some stuff clinging onto my nasal passages, but overall we're much better. This upcoming week looks pretty mellow compared to the past few weeks and I'm so excited to not be super busy...just normal busy! It'll be fantastic.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Once Upon A Time

We hosted a slew of people for five days straight...different people, in and out, for four days. We washed lots of clothes, cooked lots of food, cleaned lots of toilets and vacuumed lots of floors. We got through the five days and were exhausted.

Some of our guests had a cold. And they gave it to Lane. She was awake from 11-2 last night, so, consequently, so was I.

And then Lane gave the cold to me after I only got four hours of sleep. And we looked like this:

Lane coughed so hard today that she threw up, multiple times. She went through multiple shirts, took a 3 1/2-hour nap, and might have kept down a bit of quesadilla that we had for dinner and some milk.

I worked on our insurance claim from the flood, washed two loads of laundry, had Turkish class for two hours, made quesadillas for dinner, and watched two episodes of Friends with Shannon after Lane went to bed. It's 9:22. Now we're going to bed.

Until we've returned to the land of the living...