Sunday, December 22, 2013

Observations From America

Last Thursday we left our new homeland to come to America for 6-7 months. We'll celebrate some holidays and birthdays and welcome a new baby, heading back sometime mid-summer. Until then, though, we're soaking up all things Southern and American.

Hopefully in the next few weeks (after we're not living out of suitcases, crashing with my in-laws, and preparing for Christmas and a certain 2-year old's week-late birthday party) I'll have a bit more time to update the blog on the goings-on of the last month and the upcoming weeks. Until then, here are a few of my initial observations of America after being gone for nearly 3.5 years.

*Everything is big. Everything. Grocery store aisles, grocery store carts (both of my kids could sit in one and still have room for groceries. Huh?), roads, stoplights, cars, food packages, parking lots, homes, shopping malls, signs…everything. It's all big.
*Toilets have a lot of water in them.
*Toilet paper is very soft. Even the cheaper stuff in public places…definitely soft.
*There are so many choices for everything. For these initial purchases of toiletries and things I've had to just buy something "familiar" and worry about price comparing or ingredient comparing later. It's too overwhelming to attempt to do it with too many things right now.
*People actually obey traffic rules. I haven't heard anyone honk their horn at anyone else.
*School buses look weird.
*The water pressure…wow, at the water pressure.
*Everyone on the roads is so…polite. Drivers actually let you merge over, give you space, nobody tries to pass you on the left (or the right)…for all the talk about road rage, drivers are very considerate.
*Stuff is cheap here. I mean, yes, there are definitely expensive things as well, but overall…clothes, shoes, toys, and basic foodstuffs are not expensive.
*People wait their turn, patiently, in a line.
*Everything is so clean. There's no trash on the roads, the grass, etc.
*It seems like everyone has a smart phone. Even my electronically-challenged in-laws have them (love you guys!).
*It's easy to get caught up in the consumerism. A week in and I already find myself "wanting" all the newest, prettiest things that I see everywhere.
*There are so many cars…on the roads, in the parking lots…so many cars. And so few busses.

So there it is, a few initial observations. I feel like the reverse culture shock is not as bad this time around (so far) as it was when I came back from living in Poland, but it's definitely still weird. When I came back from living in Poland everything was strange, light switches and toilet-flusher handles included. Those things aren't so strange to me this time…it's more of the underlying attitudes of the culture that are getting at me. But we're only a week in…I'm sure I'll get used to it!

Friday, November 15, 2013

23 Months Old

It's here. Less than a month until she turns two. Cuh-razy.

At 23 months Noel:

*has 18 teeth and her last two 2-year molars on their way. When Noel gets teeth, she gets a lot of them. I think of all the almost-20 teeth in her mouth that she's only gotten two of them individually. The others she has gotten in groups…2 here, 3 there, 3 again, 3 again, etc. I'm hoping we're done with teething by the time she turns two…the poor girl's mouth has taken a beating in the last year (she will have gotten 12 teeth [8 molars and 4 incisors] in less than a year)!

*is a hoot. She's started giving a "cheese" face for the camera (scrunching her eyes closed and "smiling"). She'll pick up our…phone that connects with the buzzer outside…and say, "Heh-do? Was your name? Is Miz Janna. Bye-bye!" The first time she heard our home phone ring she stared at it and then said, "Heh-do! Was your name?"

Playing with "Snow Dough" earlier this week. The girls played with this stuff for 1.5 hours.

*knows a lot of letters (can identify about 20 of them), numbers (can identify 8 or so), and the sounds the letters make. She doesn't get them all right, but she knows a lot of them. Thank you, The Letter Factory!

*is now napping in our bed instead of in the pack-n-play. Either Shannon or I lie down with her until she falls asleep, which usually doesn't take more than 15 minutes. She was to the point where if we put her in the pack-n-play for nap time she'd play and toss and turn for a good hour or longer, and then she'd want to sleep until 4:00. Then she wouldn't want to go to sleep at a normal bedtime, so…we're doing this for now. And it's working for now. She can also skip a nap if need be and be fine, for the most part, as long as we put her in bed quite early.

*has decided that she likes chicken. I remember that Lane was right around 2 when she started to eat meat, too. She does not like sauce of any kind on her noodles. She does like things that Lane still does not really like a lot…cucumbers and raw bell peppers. She still loves cheese and yogurt and fruit and pizza and french fries. She's a pretty good eater…I have found that she is more likely to eat something new off of my plate than her own, especially if I have it in a room other than the kitchen. I did that with Lane, too…would purposely bring my own lunch into the living room and let her decide she wanted to try it (and like it) before giving her her own. Reverse psychology, I tell you.

*is starting to get whiney sometimes. I'm sure that some of it is the new teeth (wow am I ready to be done with teething for awhile!) and some of it is just her age. She's pretty good at stopping the crying when I tell her to use words, though, and she'll tell me what's wrong. If I explain to her that she can't have such-and-such for whatever reason, she still might start crying again, but generally I can redirect her to something else and get her to stop the fit. When she's unconsolable, though, she goes to lie in her crib or on a bed until she's done.

*had her first tea party last week. We got some cold tea and dried fruit and the three of us girls set up at the table in their room and had a tea party. "Real" tea parties are old news for Lane, but for Noel they're still quite novel.

First real tea party. Excuse the sweaty bed head.

*can count to 14 accurately. Sometimes she can count objects correctly up to three or four. This is not consistent at all, though.

*loves to cut our cut-able fruit. As long as I will put the pieces back together she will keep cutting them apart.

*can successfully narrate what she did when I was gone, what she saw, what she ate, etc.

*is wearing a size 6 shoe. She's still wearing a few of her 18-month clothes but is mostly wearing 24-month clothes. Later this month when we start packing in earnest for the States we'll figure out what we still have stored away for her, because I know we have more clothes…I just don't know where they are right now.

That girl loves her some ice cream!

*is still just really good at playing by herself. She loves to play with someone, to have directed play, but if she's on her own…she's just so good at playing alone. And playing pretend alone. It's gotta be because she's not a firstborn…she's had plenty of opportunities to watch other people play whereas, for example, Lane, did not, and therefore it's taken her a long time to play well alone.

*still loves to be read to. Currently she loves this book called Wiggle Waggle. It's about how different animals walk and it's her favorite. Honestly it's kind of a lame book, but hey, she loves it! She also likes A Potty for Me, and our Little People Let's Go To the ______ books.

*lets me clip her fingernails and toenails, clean her ears, put a ponytail holder in, etc., with no balking or fussing or complaining. She's still not a big fan of getting her teeth brushed, but I think that has a lot to do with big molars coming in.

The next update I write about Noel will be about her birthday celebrations. I can't believe my baby will be two in 27 days!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Life Lately

Life is crazy like always. But that's not why I haven't been around…I just haven't felt like blogging. Maybe my blogging days are coming to an end? I don't know, though…I really enjoy reading over past posts. Maybe that will motivate me to keep on posting. Maybe a new blog look would do it. Maybe I just need some rest to refresh me. I don't know. What I do know is that today I'm going to update.

So, here's the deal.

1) I'm 16 weeks pregnant with our third little miracle. I had a month or so, between 7-11 or 12 weeks where I was exhausted and didn't feel spectacular. But overall I've been feeling alright. We'll have this baby while we're in the States, and I think we're going to let it be a surprise baby, since we'll be able to buy whatever we need in the States. I'm guessing it's another girl, just because I feel similar to how I felt with both the girls. Who knows, though! We haven't spent much time thinking about names yet…we have a boy's first name picked out, but that's it. We need to spend some time working on it.

Our Facebook pregnancy announcement.

2) We will be here for about six more weeks (give or take a few days…we haven't booked our tickets yet) before we head to the States. We are very excited to spend the holidays with family, to take our kids to the zoo, to Chic-fil-a and the movie theater, and so on. I already have a HUGE running list in my mind of places to visit, places to eat, and so on. Before we actually leave I think I'm going to type out a "bucket list" of things to do in the States. And this time in the States is going to just be different…we've never really been parents in America. When we left we had a 5-month old. So we were just getting started in the parenthood thing, and let's face it, having a newborn is about the same wherever you are: you're exhausted, they eat, sleep, and poop, and you're just trying to adjust to life with them. So we're excited to be parents of little girls while in America. I'm so excited to experience the States through their eyes.

3) Our past few months here have just been insane. About a week ago we learned that our visas had been renewed, so that answered quite a few questions in our minds about our future. Before that we had thought we might have to leave the country and that if we didn't that we would definitely have to move apartments. Turns out we didn't have to do either, but of course we didn't know that until the last-minute, making life oh-so-stressful for awhile. We've also had two colds and a stomach bug. Add that onto morning sickness / pregnancy exhaustion and the result is that September and a large chunk of October are barely memories in our minds, because we barely survived them.

Just for fun…this was Shannon's birthday cake. We made it for him in late August or early September since he was in the States without us on his actual birthday. I don't know what happened to the cake but it obviously didn't set right. I dumped it on a plate and covered it in frosting. Ugliest cake I've ever made in my life, but Shannon still thought it tasted great!

4) Our kids have been so cranky lately. Seriously. Noel is cutting her third 2-year molar and is just. a. grump. All day long. It's miserable. I wish I hadn't lost our amber teething necklace because I really think it helped but…it's gone. So we're all pulling out hair out around here. Lane has had a virus or something…I thought she had the beginnings of pink eye but her eyes never turned pink and the goop in her eyes let up. But then she was saying her ears hurt and they were oh-so-red around the eardrum but not the eardrum itself. And she had a fever. And then she fell and busted her chin open, large enough that it made me slightly panic but not large enough to actually need to go to the doctor. The girls are just cranky and it's making me batty that we're cooped up indoors due to not-so-great weather.

5) Last Sunday the ex-pats in our city had a Harvest Celebration party. We all dressed up, ate yummy food, and played some games. We were going to carve pumpkins but didn't because it got dark and then we had cranky kids who needed to sleep. So I still have a pumpkin and am trying to decide if it's worth roasting…it probably is, I just need to get off my lazy tired bum and do it. One of the games that we played at the party was that game where you put your head on the end of a baseball bat, spin around X number of times, and then run to a marker and back. I was last for my team, and Shannon was last for his. He got a couple-spin head start on me, but as soon as I stood up from spinning myself around I took off…right for the wall of the house next to me. I don't think I actually went forward at all, but totally just crashed into the wall. After things had stopped spinning and friends had helped me up, I learned that Shannon had also crashed into the house, albeit five or six feet in front of me. So, I don't think anyone will ask the Scarbroughs to be on their team for that game again! (Although in my defense I did ask before we started if pregnant people got to spin fewer times…I was dizzy already from the 3-legged-race!)

Our crew in their costumes. Bonus points if you can figure out who I was.

6) There are just days when the culture here just drives me nuts. Today was one of them, and I wasn't even out much. I drove to my favorite grocery store, and they have one of those parking lots where the parking spaces are slanted, indicating the direction you are supposed to park, drive, etc. Well of course the parking lot is packed. So I see some guys getting into their car (which is of course parked the wrong way) and figure that I'll wait for them to pull out and then I'll take their spot. They just sit in the car looking at me for probably 3-4 minutes. I'm thinking, "What, you think you can pull out this way? There are cars behind me." So they attempt to pull out and turn around but are completely incapable of doing so, which was just so annoying because they were in a little car. I could have done it. Eventually someone else pulled out, they were able to pull into that spot (going the right way), and then back out and leave and I could finally park after waiting for 6-7 minutes on a spot. This might not seem like such a big deal to you, my reader, but trust me when I say that all I think about in situations like that is about how I live in a country full of people who think of nobody but themselves, especially when it comes to driving. I cannot wait to drive in America where people actually follow traffic rules and for the most part are respectful drivers.

And…there you have it. It's not even 9:00 yet and I think I'm going to head to bed. This has been the theme of my life lately…always in bed before 10:00, often before 9:00, and frequently before 8:00. This pregnancy is wearing me out.

Friday, October 18, 2013

22 Months Old

My youngest is almost two. I can't even believe it.

At 22 months, Noel:

*is just plain sweet. She often wants to be held, for us to pick her up, to just lie her head on our shoulders. She is generally compliant, will usually come when asked or stop when told to stop. Honestly it's a nice break after the hard-headed nature of our firstborn!

*plays well alone. She has a great imagination for not even being two. She'll put small toys "night night" in blankets, play hide-and-seek with toys, and so on. Of course she loves to actually play with someone, but she entertains herself well if no one is available.

*still loves farm animals. She's still sleeping with "big cow" and "little cow" every night. And if you ask her what she wants to play, 99% of the time she'll say, "Wes pway fawm animals!"

*has cut two of her 2-year molars in the past month. The bottom left one is about 3/4 the way through, the bottom right one is about halfway through.

*can put all the numbers in our Melissa & Doug numbers puzzle, and most (20 or so?) of the letters in our ABC puzzle.

*is getting better at eating a variety of foods again. Of course she still has her favorites, but she's trying different things again. I think it has to do with her teeth finally being through and not hurting so much.

*speaks so well. It's so crazy that she can form complete, correct sentences. And not just 3-4 word sentences, but 6,7,8-word sentences. I'm still amazed.

*is potty-trained. I think I can say it's official. She's only had two accidents in the last two weeks. She takes her nap in undies. And she's dry in the morning if I go get her within 5-10 minutes of her waking up.

*loves to play with Lane, and they are actually starting to be able to play together. Of course both girls are still opinionated and want to do what they want to do, but they are capable of communicating with each other and playing together. It's wonderful.

*is getting good at using a spoon and not spilling.

*does this hilarious saunter thing. I can't describe it, but hopefully just by writing it down I'll be able to remember what she looked like one day. She also still loves to jump, and is getting better at it. She probably actually gets an inch off the ground now.

There you have it. 22 months. It's almost time to start planning a birthday party, I think!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

21 Months Old

Well I'm a week (ok, ok, nine days) late, but better late than never!

Wearing a dress that belonged to a little girl I nannied five years ago. I asked for the dress when she outgrew it in hopes that I would one day have a little girl to wear it!

At 21 months Noel:

*is still doing well in the potty-training department. She's not 100% trained (like, she won't always come up to me and tell me she needs to go), but she is trained enough. She tells us often that she needs to go. She is dry about 85-90% of the time after naps or even in the morning when she wakes up. She has accidents when we're not paying attention to her small signs that she needs to go. But overall, for not even two years old, she is quite potty-trained. It makes this momma happy.

*is starting to cut one of her molars. Lord help us.
*likes puzzles. We have an animal puzzle and an ABC puzzle and she's a fan of both, and can get most of the letters in their slots. She's a master at the animal puzzle.
*speaking of ABC's, she can sing the ABC song. She of course does not pronounce all of the letters correctly, but she gets a lot of them right, and she has the tune down. She also likes "twinkle, twinkle" and "the wheels on the bus."

*loves animals. She loves to pet one of the strays in our courtyard, and she loves to play with every farm animal toy we have. There are a few Little People cows and horses that she frequently sleeps with. Actually, she doesn't just sleep with them, they go everywhere with us. It's really funny how attached she is to those small plastic cows.
*has reached that stage where you have to repeat back everything she says so that she "knows you heard her." It's both endearing and annoying, but she will repeat whatever she's saying (at a very high decibel as well) until you repeat it back to her.

Her first time eating corn-on-the-cob. Neither she nor Lane could figure out that they were supposed to pick up the corn to bite it!

*has graduated up to 24-month clothes and size 6 shoes. She can still fit into a lot of her 18-month clothes, but since the weather has cooled down and most of her 18-month things are summery, we've just swapped out most of her wardrobe.
*gives us good-night kisses on both cheeks. It's very sweet.
*is just plain funny. Yesterday she was so upset because we didn't have any grapes. I showed her in all the fridge and in the fruit bowl that we didn't have any. So she looked at me and said, "Get some. Go outside. Now." Bwahaha, she's too smart for her own good!

*loves to be read to. She really loves our Little Pookie books, but really she likes any of our board books and a few of our "regular" books as well.
*will lie in her bed for a time out when she's pitching a fit. We'll ask her, "Do you need to go lie down in your bed?" and she'll say, "Yeah." We'll put her in her crib and she'll lie there, quietly, until she's ready to not pitch a fit and then she'll start yelling for us to come get her.
*loves to watch Mickey Mouse or Dora. It's kind of funny because Lane is about over those so she doesn't ever want to watch them, but Noel loves them. We sometimes let her watch one if she's up earlier than Lane in the morning or after Lane goes to bed at night.

Notice she's got that beloved cow?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Life Lately (Otherwise Known as Single-Parented Potty-Training)

I've been home alone with the girls for the past 23 days. Shannon comes home on Thursday. And I am so ready for him to be back! Yesterday I (accidentally) put Noel down for her nap without a diaper. It turned out ok because she wakes up from her naps dry at least 2/3 of the time so she was dry. But then I put her to bed for the night without a diaper, too! What is wrong with me? So of course the first thing I had to deal with this morning was a soaked toddler and her sheets and foam mattress. Thankfully everything came clean and we're no worse for the wear, I'm just obviously tired.

Six days into this crazy-long single-parenting gig I started to potty train Noel. Other than her showing absolutely no actual interest in the potty I could tell she was ready. She had all the words. She woke up dry from naps sometimes and could stay dry for an hour or two at a time. She would tell me when she had pooped. So I decided to go for it with "3-day potty training." And it worked. It was a rough first few days but by a week in I think I could say she was officially trained. She still has accidents but they're usually my fault for not making her go (and thankfully she will now pee on command unless it's only been like 30 minutes). In the past few days she's decided she'll go on the "big potty" so that has allowed us to venture farther from home and be gone for longer stretches of time. She's doing great, our budget is doing great (no more spending $32 for a package of 66 diapers!), and I just can't believe she's so big.

Torturing Playing with a neighborhood stray. Lane named the cat "Paint." She loves that cat and it *almost* makes me consider getting a pet. But not really.

We're also packing for yet another move. Our lease is only until September 15th and we had greatly hoped to be able to stay for longer, but I've had two neighbors approach me and say, "So, you're moving in September, right? The brother is going to live there, right?" So I think our landlady's brother is, indeed, planning on moving in here after he gets married. So in all my free time (ahem, at night after the girls are in bed) I've been packing up some of the things we can live without for the next three or so weeks. I seriously am beginning to loathe packing.

This is the longest that I've ever done the single parent thing. My previous "best" was 13 days...this will end up being twice that, including a solo international flight with the girls. But I think it hasn't been that bad up until the last 4-5 days, and I think we're just all kind of bored. Life has no real routine, I'm tired of my house being dirty, and I'm tired of eating PB&Js. I'm ready for real life to begin again, even if that includes *gasp* going to language class again.

A few tips for those (especially who live overseas) who will be embarking on single-parenthood:

1) Keep your expectations of yourself low. Yes, you may get all sorts of things done while the kids are sleeping, but you may also be so exhausted from handling "those days" all by yourself for days on end and in turn just want to go to bed at 9:00. It's ok. Get some sleep. The projects can wait.
2) Try to get up before your kids do, even if it's just long enough to drink a cup of coffee, say a quick prayer for the day, or take a shower. This is not always possible (when Shannon was gone for two weeks before Noel was sleeping through the night I took showers at night and slept until the girls got up), but is highly advisable. When the only minutes of silence you'll have all day are those that will happen before your kids wake up, try to make them happen. You'll be in a much better frame of mind for the day.

Beans, noodles, funnels, spoons, and tupperware. An hour of fun.

3) Stock your freezer and pantry before your spouse leaves. Make sure you have lots of canned whatever-you-use-a-lot-of. Crackers, raisins, cereal, the kinds of things that don't go bad. As well as flour and sugar because you will want to make cookies or need to make banana bread since your children refuse to eat the ones you buy without daddy around. Stock your freezer. Our staples this go-around have been bags of frozen veggies (because I'm too lazy tired to cook fresh ones), homemade frozen pesto, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, and pizza dough.
4) Make mealtime easy on yourself. It's not a time to be fighting food battles. Trust me: I'm all about the food battles...I want my kids to not be picky and to eat what they're served. We fight these battles regularly. But not when daddy's gone for almost four weeks.
5) Try to have some fun things that they haven't seen or played with. I'd been saving a few things since January for just a time like this. It was new entertainment for two days. We bought brand new markers. We borrowed a LeapPad for a few days. Save some of the things from packages that grandma sends and pull them out when you're at your wits' end.
6) Let your kids watch more TV than usual if you need to. We have a fairly strict no-more-than-two-shows-a-day policy at our home. And those are the 22-minute shows. But my girls have been watching probably twice that on most days so I can hang laundry (without them trying to un-do my work), take a shower, wash dishes, type emails, or just read a book for a few minutes. A bit of extra television won't hurt them for a few weeks. So relax about it and enjoy some peace.

Playing in the fountains on one of our long walks.

7) Do special stuff with them. Go out for ice cream. Go to indoor play places. Go out for pizza. Go for long, leisurely walks and don't hurry them home for dinner but let them eat sweet rolls and drink juice boxes. Make it a fun time for them. Try to enjoy the time with them. If you try to make it enjoyable for them, you will in turn enjoy the time more. And let's face it, a mom who's two or three weeks into a single-parenting jaunt who's still sane and enjoying her kids is worth much more than one who has insisted that her children eat every green bean and take a bath every night. Keep it fun.
8) Give your kids grace. They will not act the same when daddy is gone. They might not sleep as well. They might need extra discipline for a few days. They might need lots of comfort on others. Just remember that they don't necessarily understand that "daddy will be home in X number of days." All they know is that daddy's not home, and they miss him.

So there you go. I figured up the other day that Shannon has been gone for about two months of Noel's 20 months of life, so about 10%. I know a lot of other dads miss a lot more than that and that the moms have to "single-mom it" for much longer, but for us that's a good chunk of time. And these are the things I've learned that work for us, and help me to not count down the days (in a bad way).

Hopefully I'll be back soon but who knows with all the single-parenting and all the packing... 

Monday, August 12, 2013

20 Months Old

I missed Noel's 19-month post because we were traveling the two weeks before and the two weeks after, goes month 20!

At 20 months Noel:

*is potty trained! She's been "trained" for about a week now but has only gone two days with no accidents and seeming to really understand the whole thing. Tonight she was playing and suddenly shot up (she was squatting), said, "Oh! Poo in da potty!" and ran for the bathroom. It was hilarious. And great. We did the "Three Day Potty Training" and I have to say...days one and two were awful, days three and four were alright, and by day five I think she pretty much had it. She is definitely enjoying wearing panties and seeing what she produced in the potty.

*says some really funny things. Some of my favorites recently are that she says, "Umm...yeah," a lot when you ask her if she wants to do something. She also gets all worked up about wanting something that she can't have (cookies, for example) and will pitch a mini-fit, yelling, "I. Want. SNACKS!" and lifting onto her tippy-toes at "snacks" and throwing her head up. And then she'll burst into a fit of giggles because all I ever do is laugh at her when she does because it's so funny.
*really enjoys coloring and is always asking me to draw her something...a ladybug, a giraffe, a cow, whatever. It's a good thing she's easy to please since my artistic abilities are seriously lacking.

*knows all the main colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, black, white) and can usually tell you what color something is.
*calls all letters "ABCDs."
*has finally been swimming. We spent a week in Cyprus so we took her to the pool a lot and she had a blast. She really enjoyed walking around in the mini-pool and jumping to us in the big pool. She did not enjoy the sea, though.
*can walk up a few (four or five) steps without holding onto anything/anyone.

*has had a rough couple of weeks. She got an ear infection (to the best of my ability to tell), was really fussy, and didn't want to lay down to sleep, so I ended up holding her to fall asleep for a few days. Then she decided she didn't want to have to fall asleep on her own ever so has been pitching fits at bedtime and nap time for probably a week now. I think that she may finally be broken of it, after letting her cry it out at bedtime last night and nap time today, and at bedtime again tonight but she only cried for maybe five minutes before she gave up. I'm glad, as it's been rough!

*can sing along with some songs; "10,000 Reasons," "Wheels on the Bus," "Sanctuary," and a few others. Of course she can't sing all the words but she gets a surprising number of them correct.
*cut that last incisor tooth about a week before she turned 19 months old. I have definitely noticed an improvement in her mood!
*repeats, "I do it" about a million times a day. I've determined that toddlers want to do it themselves as soon as they learn how to express it!

*is still pretty picky when it comes to food. Four weeks of traveling followed by two weeks (with ten days to go) of single-parenting (with a week of potty-training thrown in there) are not reinforcing good eating habits. I seem to recall that we didn't really start cracking down on Lane until she was two and a few months, so I suppose we'll tolerate Noel's pickiness (but not cater to it) for another few months. I've noticed that she is big on texture. She doesn't like quinoa although she likes rice. She doesn't like pesto. She even turned her nose up at spaghetti sauce last week even though she used to really like it. She goes through phases with fruits, veggies, and varieties of crackers that she likes, though, so I think she's just a typical toddler. We'll focus on it more when life regulates itself a bit.

So there you have it. I'm sure there's more but as anyone can see from my lack of posting, I'm busy, busy, busy. So this will have to do. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hello, Cyprus!

Four weeks ago today we flew out of Istanbul and headed to North Cyprus for some much needed vacation. We hadn't been on a real vacation in two years (since we went here), so it was definitely needed! It was so good to just relax and swim and visit with friends. There doesn't seem to be much to do on North Cyprus, but that was fine because between two preschoolers, a toddler, a baby, and a rental car that wouldn't hold all of us (in our own seats) and our stroller, we just ended up staying at the resort most of the time.

The view from our balcony of the offices, pools, restaurant, and shops at our resort.

The view off our balcony toward the water. We watched the sun set every night.

Our living room.

We were headed to Istanbul (and I got LASIK while we were there!) so we investigated places we could visit that wouldn't cost too much to get to. North Cyprus is what we found.

Noel had fun!

The harbor in Girne.

And while North Cyprus itself didn't seem to have much to offer, we did have a good time at the resort, just swimming,


and playing in the sand at the beach.

We also left the resort a few times and ate out,

drove on the wrong side of the road, 

spent some time together as a family,

(Sadly, this is the best family photo we have from vacation!)

and climbed some castle walls.

All in all, we just hung out, chatted, ate out, and got some sun.

And it was great. It's seeming that our pattern for a "real" vacation is about once every two years. Any suggestions as to where we should go in 2015?