Friday, September 2, 2011
1.) Waking up feeling refreshed, thinking my daughter slept through the night. Until I realize I put her to sleep in her basinet, and she is now sleeping in bed with us. I had no memory of getting up with her and moving her.
2.) Daddy coo'ing at her with the biggest googlie-eyes and then watching her cover his face in a giant baby sneeze, followed by a large cheesy baby grin.
3.) Big sister snuggling up to her, and then explaining to me she smells like cheese.
4.) After church, letting Daddy having a turn to hold baby while I go to socialize with some women and returning to him holding her away from his body, with a giant wet spot on his shirt. Diapers do leak!
5.) Hearing baby make a surprise in her diaper during a middle of the night feeding, and having every intention of changing her. I get the diaper changed, only to wake up later and realize that I only had a dream of changing her diaper and fell asleep feeding her. She still was stinky.
7.) Being "that lady" to try and bring her infant to the movies and have to excuse myself and leave because baby doesn't appreciate the loud movies.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Technology is amazing, I doubt anyone would argue. It's difficult to believe that in times not long ago, women did not get ultrasounds, nor even think to consider what gender baby they might be having. Now, technology has made the ultrasound an automatic perk to pregnancies in modern countries. There is even the 3D ultra-sound. Expectant mothers like myself can learn that we are having a beautiful baby girl, or a boucny baby boy; and even possibly see any family resemblances. I thought I would share my ultrasounds in this blog so we can see how Baby Taylor has grown these past 7 months.
Here is a similar shot, but switched over to 3D. I am convinced by this shot that she has the same curve in her lips as her father, and his distinctive chin. I think I even see his curvy eyebrows here.
This is another 3D picture of the baby's face. It's a little more difficult to "see" in the beginning, so I will try and explain. Baby's hand is on the left side of her face, next to the placenta. It is covering her left eye. Directly next to her left eye is her open right eye. If you look very carefully, you can even see her iris. There is a large nose right where the nose is supposed to be. I think her nose looks very large, but the ultrasound is taken at an angle below the nostrils which makes it look larger than it actually is. The large black semi-circular shape inside the orange is the baby's open mouth. This particular image makes her look very surprised. I find it funny.
This image threw me off at first as well. I thought the circle at the top center was the baby's eye; it is actually just a reflection off the top of her head. We are looking down at an angle on her now. You can see her right eye and the profile of her nose, ending just beyond the left side of the picture. Her mouth and chin cannot be seen from this angle. She looks like she might have some eyebrows growing in this one.
Here is a short video of the baby opening and closing her mouth.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
One of the things that Arion does here in Turkey is be a Girl Scout! She has a great troop this year and one of the things her troop did this year to earn their sports patch is take a dance lesson. After their lesson they got to show us Brownie leaders and volunteers their moves. Here is their video! (If you have trouble viewing this video, you can also see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cNhnyJozNo&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL
Go Girl Scouts!
Go Girl Scouts!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I may have mentioned this before, but living on a Turkish airbase really is a great scenario to living in another country. We are surrounded by English-speaking people and have American amenities (excluding our severe lack of groceries as of late). Directly off base, the pace of life changes and we step into Turkish culture.
I have the world's cutest nieces and nephews and am ashamed to say that I have been late getting two of them their birthday gifts. I knew exactly what I wanted to get them but they are deep in Old Adana and the truth is, I have been to this shop once but have not been confident that I would ever be able to find it again. Michael, Arion and I decided to give it a shot this past Saturday since we were feeling adventurous and the weather was in the upper 70's to 80's.
Right off base is a dalmus stop. We prefer to take the dalmus into Adana, because driving there is terrible, and parking is impossible. This day seemed particularly busy; as a good three dalmus buses passed that were packed so tight the Turkish people inside looked like very warm standing sardines. Finally, we found a bus that we (sort of) fit in. Not that it mattered, as the driver picked up a good 7 more people before it seemed travelers began to get off on various stops. After the passengers thinned out and the three of us were able to sit together, another Turkish man came and sat with us. He introduced himself and told us that he used to work in "The Alley" (the small community right off base that focuses sales on the American's on base). He spoke great English and was very friendly and explained that he had just gotten back from visiting his sister in the States, who was a Turkish National who had met and married an American Airman and PCS'd back to the States with him.
It was particularly busy out and about this day; more so than we had seen in quite a while so we asked him what was going on. He explained that it was a Turkish holiday, for children. He added that there is a great "flea market" nearby. We explained to him what we were looking for; puzzle-boxes for my beloved niece and nephew. He said that he knew EXACLTY where we should go and said that he would take us, because it was at the same stop he was getting off. Fabulous! So we winded through the streets and alleys lined with vendors and shops and ended up at the same shop I had been before. I was thrilled we had a guide, as I was pretty sure we would not have made it again without his help.
I knew exactly how much I wanted to pay; when I had gone before with a friend we were told that they should cost 25 lira a piece. When they said "fifty" I agreed immediately. Did I have a sign on my forehead that said "stupid American"? I must have... because when I handed him 50 lira, he was unhappy. It turns out, he wanted 50 DOLLARS. Let me explain the difference. The exchange rate is about 1.57 Lira for every dollar. This means that 50 lira equals $31.84 USD. I was pretty irritated that our tour guide was trying to convince me that this was such a great deal when he knew I was getting "turked".
I talked our friend down to 55 lira for the two puzzle boxes and felt very accomplished. After all, 5 lira IS only a few bucks. I was, however, ready to lose our little volunteer tour guide. Our plan was to get the puzzle boxes, eat and go home. He wanted to take us to the flea market next so I kindly explained that we were hungry and were going grab a bite to eat, thank you. He grew excited and said he knew the BEST restaurant just down the street. We decided to join him to this restaurant and had delicious doners. At 3 lira a piece (which makes them $1.90 USD) one can NOT complain.
This picture is how the meat of a tavuk (chicken) is prepared. The cook slices the meat off, collects it, and then puts it into a wrap of flat bread along with other grilled vegitables. It is seasoned very deliciously; and I am not ashamed to say that Turkish bread is amazing!
Tavuk Donor, at its finest.
We dined, and had hopes of returning home. Our new friend wanted to take us to his uncles shop before we left, however. Reluctantly, we decided that we could take the time to go to his uncle’s shop only after reminding him that we had to get home soon. So, on we walked to a shop and met his family. This family sold rugs for a living and it just so happens that Michael and I are in the market for a rug.
After getting the run-down on rugs and what makes them great (or not great, depending on the quality) we did find a rug that we both actually really liked. Our new friend of course did try to make a sale, but after the puzzle box experience I was not trusting enough to buy one on the spot. I still need to compare costs compared to other rugs of similar quality and size.
One thing is for sure, the cost is significantly less than what a rug would cost in the USA. Now, if we decide we do want this rug, we get to try and find out how to get back to his store. Sounds like a never-ending story, right?
Until next time,
Monday, March 7, 2011
Being a military family has great benefits- and the Air Force absolutely does take care of its' own. We families do pay a price, however. As I said before, Michael is going to be State-side for the majority of my third trimester. While unlikely, if I happened to experience any third trimester complications during his absence and need emergency care I am on my own (with the help of Arion). Luckily, there is an ambulance on base that can take me to the hospital in Adana. We pray this does not happen, but are ready if it does. More than anything, I am going to miss him terribly and will be very excited to be reunited with him upon his arrival.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Off the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, in the present city of Mersin, lies two Amenian castles of Kizkaleski. One of the castles rests on the sandy beach and the other is literally out in the sea, about 150 meters. The city of Mersin is a two-hour drive from Adana, with the city of Tarsus rests between the two. The two hour drive is an interesting one; as Adana is flat, fertile and heavily agricultural. As we drove South towards Tarsus, we found ourselves entering into the Tarsus Mountains. Yet further south, in Mersin we found ourselves driving along the Mediterranean coastline. Although I have not spent a great deal of time around the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, I would have to say that the Sea I saw was an amazing clear turquoise-blue; much more so than the oceans I have seen in the USA.
We were under the impression that Kizkaleski was just past the city of Mersin, so when we passed Mersin and had not found it, we started to get a little discouraged. Leah encouraged me to stop at a gas station and with limited Turkish and a great deal of “charades” she eventually communicated that we were looking for Kizkaleski and the gas station attendant in return communicated that it was still another 30 km down the road.
It was impossible to miss. We found the castle out in the sea first; quite a way down the road, and then saw that another castle sat on the coast.
Visiting any of these castles is free; as one could actually swim to the castle out in the sea. Given that it is winter here right now, and at best 65 degrees, we decided to take a paddle boat to the castle which cost us 15 Lira. We enjoyed the paddle boat, and loved looking into the Sea and seeing our shadows, and the bottom.
The history of this land goes much further back than Yilankale. I learned that it even dates back to before Christianity. The original founder of this castle is thought to be a Cypriot Prince, built around 197 BC. It was then taken over by Syria and eventually the Romans. Christianity became this area’s State religion around 391 AD and numerous churches and basilicas were built in this area and the ruins still stand here today. The city continued to be developed and was finished during the period of the crusades and became part of the Cilician kingdom. It was then seized by the Sultan of Karaman and then later conquered by the Ottomans. Following the Ottomans, the area was abandoned and people began to settle and this is when this castle was named Kizkalesi (Maiden’s Castle).
Of course, there are also legends about why this castle exists. The most popular being that a prophesy foretold the death of a princess via snakebite. Her father, with hopes to protect her built the castle to prevent any snakes from being near her. Inevitably, a viper did get into the castle in a basket of figs and the prophesy was fulfilled.
The land castle was actually built-up by the Romans from the ancient Korykos remains, and therefore has many Roman columns, towers and doors, as well as three churches inside of it.
The sea castle has walls that are three meters thick and 8 meters high and has towers that are 10 meters. There is also ruins of a church located in this castle.
Leah and I are standing on one of the walls of the castle.
It feels amazing to sit uptop a castle tower and look out along the Mersin coast.
The towers, especially have many rooms and stairwells in them; perfect for exploring.
Here is another room in one of the towers. A window was at each side so one could see any trespassers or visitors coming from any direction on this side of the castle.
The stairwells were curvy and steep. Leah and I had to "duck" to get up them without hitting our heads.
Panoramic view of half the castle from the inside.
Although we did not get the opportunity to travel beyond the Kizkaleski castles, further up the road one can find ancient tombs, towers, Roman roads, gorges and caves and remains of ancient Christian churches. There are a few in mind that I am already looking forward to visiting. I'm sure they will be equally as spectacular.
All in all, it was pretty surreal that Leah and I, two related Wyoming natives spend our holiday together in Turkey, touring castle ruins. This is a New Year that will not be forgotten.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Feeling self-assured at our successful spotting of the castle without any real directions, we ventured up a windy gravel road towards the base of the hill. We found parking area and began our hike. The path began very wide and paved but soon transformed into a rocky trail. We followed this trail, until there was nothing of the sort left.
The precise history of this castle is unknown; however it is suspected that it was build by Armenian Crown Prince Leo III sometime between 1270-1289. This castle contains a cistern, storerooms, chapel, other rooms and several interior gates. Ancient mythology states that the castle was owned by a ruler who was half man and half snake and used snakes to enforce his will.
The view from any window in this castle could hold the attention of even a child for a long time. There simply is nothing else like it.