Wednesday, May 28, 2014


After spending quite a bit of time at our place, we spent 3 days in Istanbul with Grandma and Grandpa. We stayed in the Old City and did all of the major touristy things including Topkapi Palace gardens, Hagai Sophia, the underground cisterns, the Blue Mosque, and we even walked through the Grand Bazaar.

The palace gardens were beautiful, peaceful, and enjoyable to walk around.

There was an ice cream vendor on the street that had a pretty good routine going.  He teased Hannah and Sofia with their ice cream and they totally ate it up.

We went through Hagai Sofia, but just looked at the Blue Mosque from the outside.

We got good use out of our carrier.  We've only used TJ in it until now, but with lots of walking we got to try it out with both girls.

Grandpa and Grandma enjoying the afternoon in the gardens.

We even made it to church.  I love the Metro, but the bus system is like it is anywhere else - confusing unless you use them a lot.  But, we did eventually get on the right bus and make it to church with time to spare.

After the weekend in Istanbul Grandma and Grandpa headed home.                                

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Big Vacation

Grandma and Grandpa Flammer came for a visit.  We spent 10 days here in Erzurum mostly at our place.  James had classes to teach so we pretty much stuck with day trips around Eastern Turkey.  The girls (and us) were thrilled with their visit.  Let me tell you - they are pretty good sports.  Here are just a few of the hundreds of photos taken:

Our cozy car with 4 or 5 of us in the back seat most of the time.  Car seats aren't required here.  We bought them and usually make the kids use them, but there just wasn't room with 7 of us in 1 car.  Did i mention, they were good sports?

We visited Paisinler Castle.  Here's our first time using the ergo baby on the back.

We took a 2 day trip to Trabzon, a city on the Black Sea.  i wish we had a better zoom on the camera. I love how excited the girls were to hold hands/walk with/be attached to Grandma and Grandpa.  

Me and TJ with the Black Sea  in the background.

Our 1st family pic without using the timer on our camera (in a long time).

They sure liked their Grandma and Grandpa.

TJ with Hagai Sophia in the background.

Our 1st palm tree in Turkey.  I find it ironic we had to drive 4 hours north to find one.  We really are meant for a warmer climate.

I love this one of the girls talking/playing with each other.

We visited Sumela Monastery.  After a rough time finding was worth the experience.  It was built on the side of a mountain (a very steep mountain). This is the front porch of the monastery.  Pretty good view, I'd say.

After you walk through the gates you see the little 'city' they had build inside the cave.

This is a picture of the Monastery from afar.  It's that yellow spec.

We also visited the ancient city, Ani.  Another family photo.

While we were there we got caught in a pretty good rainstorm.  Here's a selfie of me and the girls trying to wait it out under cover.

After a while, we decided it was only going to get worse.  So, we headed for the car.  here are the girl sharing our very broken umbrella.

James had his bday while his parents were here.  We had planned to bake a cake, but his mom brought the ingredients (brown sugar, normal oats, and chocolate chips) to make her famous chocolate chip cookies.  So, we decided to have that for his bday.

We went to Tortum waterfall.  This time around there was a tad more water in it.

I truly do get a kick out of Sofia's style.  Her headband makes me think of a headlamp, but she refuses to wear it any other way.

A nice backdrop!

James has been making a conscious effort to get me in photos.  I know it's a good thing, but I obviously didn't want to be in this one.

Grandma does yearly Valentine's and Easter parties.  Since we missed them, she brought them to us.  There were bags with Valentines candy and an Easter egg hunt.  I think the girls enjoyed it.  We've still got plenty of candy to tide us over for a while.

James had done most of his prep work at school, so the only time he had to spend on campus was while he was teaching.  it was fun to spend more time with him and grandparents.  I think Grandma and Grandpa wore us out, but it was fun.

Friday, May 23, 2014

10 Months

Hard to believe this little guy is already 10 months.  He's been busy.  He:

* Now has 7 teeth poking through.  The past month or two he has been a LOT fussier and I have been attributing it to I'm happy they are finally appearing.
* Needs a haircut.
* Totally knows how to put on the charm.  People here LOVE kids so he gets lots of attention.  And he knows how to put on a good show (most of the time).
* Started taking his first few wobbly steps.
* Likes to cuddle.  When we get up with him during the night he just nuzzles right in.  It almost makes waking up with him worth it.  ALMOST (but not quite).
* Slept through the night for the first time (2 or 3 times actually), but don't worry, there hasn't been any repeats since then.
* Eats constantly - at least it feels that way.
* Always needs a nose job...I swear someone that small would run out of snot, but nope.

Since we are now a few weeks past the 10 month mark he is now walking pretty well.  Here is some proof:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reality Check

We have been partying for quite some time.  James parents came to visit. We spent

* 10 days at our place in Eastern Turkey
* 3 days together in Istanbul
* 2 days in Izmir on the beach

We got home this morning.  After 2 weeks of playing we're back to reality. This means:

* No more treats whenever we want.
* I actually have to cook - on a daily basis - like 3 meals a day on a daily basis.  Bummer!
* We need to incorporate some veggies back into our diet - I think I remember what those are.
* I actually have to clean.
* There are many piles of laundry awaiting us. And then some.  And then a few more.
* I actually have to think about the cost of something before buying it.
* We have to discipline a little more.

The joys of returning from vacation!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Little Spring Cleaning

A few weeks ago it was time for a little spring cleaning.  I don't enjoy doing it, but there's just something so satisfying about having things clean.  Especially after a LONG winter.

Anyway, our FHE was wiping down some walls to get rid of those hand/footprints that have mysteriously appeared.  The girls were excited (they got some weird gene from my mother) and had fun....for a few minutes anyway.  

Their favorite part was discovering that a wet rag will stick to the wall when you throw it.  Who knew?!

Hannah has reached a point where she can actually be a pretty good helper for a few minutes at a time.  Sofia pretty much spent her time throwing wet rags at the wall.

After a while we had some clean(er) walls and we all enjoyed the treat!

Monday, May 5, 2014


We made it through.  Last week was a rather rough one, but we survived.

We took a 5 hour drive (our longest yet) to a nearby city and the kids did great, but everyone was a little sick and a lot tired. 
I got strep.  We survived another crazy trip to the hospital.  Some antibiotics and a few days later I'm feeling much better.
The kids all seemed to be better....but then Hannah woke up with a sore throat (please oh please don't let it be strep).
TJ had a major case of the sniffles, fever, and fussiness.  But, we seem to be over the fever and the sniffles seem to be getting better.  I'm sure if he slept at night he would start feeling better.  :D

So, it was not as fun of a week as it should have been, but we made it.  I think we're on the up-and-up.  At least we better be because GRANDMA and GRANDPA COME TOMORROW!!!!

We're a little excited, in case you were wondering!

Bath Train

Hannah was still drying off from her bath and we still hadn't gotten TJ dressed from his.  TJ started following Hannah around doing a cho-cho train.  For some reason it cracked me up and I got a picture of it.