Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Turkey Baby

Sometime around mid-October, I thought it was about that time to take a little test.  A pregnancy test!  I slipped silently into the bathroom, and two lines appeared.  I stormed into the living room, where he was sitting.  Our conversation went a little like this:
"Michael, come over here.  Now."
"What did I do now?" As he got up from the computer and walked towards me.
"THIS, is what you did!" I handed him the pregnancy test with two bold lines,, with a huge smile on my face.

We were very happy and excited, but decided to keep it (mostly) to ourselves for a little while, since we experience a painful miscarriage just before moving to Turkey and after telling the whole world..  There were a select few I HAD to tell, although I was mostly sworn to secrecy since Michael was gone the majority of the whole first trimester.  Now though, 14 weeks later, the cat is out of the bag.  It's a good thing, too because the blossoming body is not getting any smaller. Baby Taylor has been scheduled to make his first appearance on June, 28th.

Arion was very excited to learn the news and has been becoming increasingly excited as the reality of having a sibling becomes more of a reality. She and I have been talking and trying to already make habits around the house that are "baby-friendly". She is going to be a very involved and good big sister and this makes her Mom and Dad very proud.  When I asked Arion how she feels about being a big sister, this is what she said:  "It's kinda exciting knowing that I am going to have a little sister or brother to hang out with.  But I'm also scared because I know that the baby will look up to me no matter if I'm good, or bad and I'm going to be an example.  This helps me be a better person and do the right thing.  But at the same time it's fun that I am going to have someone to play with."

Since we are living in Turkey, I will be having the baby (most likely) in Turkey.  I will deliver in Acıbadem Adana Hospital.  I have not visited this hospital yet, but do hope to go check it out soon.  We preggies in Turkey are advised to make a few practice drives there, in case we need to visit the ER between now and the delivery.  The building itself is was build in 2009 and I have been told it is very "state of the art". Of course, I am not the first military spouse to deliver a baby in Turkey and from what I have heard from mother's who have had children here they found the staff knowledgeable, kind and accommodating.  I don't doubt this, as this has been my overall impression of Turks thus far in daily living.  I do though anticipate the normal awkward language barrier that I have gotten used to encountering on a daily bases.  I have my regular visits here on base with a Turkish doctor from the hospital who acts as a medical liaison. This doctor is required to speak fluent English and will hopefully be the same doctor through delivery. 

Should I encounter any unpredicted complications in my pregnancy, there possibility does exist that I could be "stork nested" to a large hospital in Germany, or possible come back to America for increased medical care at 32 weeks gestation.  We pray this will not be the case and mommy and baby stay safe and healthy during and after delivery. 

We all are so excited for our new addition to the family, and are optimistic of the experience of an international labor and delivery.  This is about all I know for the moment, but will keep all updated and we learn more!  Until next time... 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

House pictures!

Merhaba, nasilsiniz?  Iyiyim! As everyone following this blog knows, my husband has spent the last few weeks in Germany.  While we feel his loss, we have not been without a lot to do.  A few days after he left, we got notice that all of our belongings have arrived in Turkey, including our car!  FREEEEDOM!  :)

Since he has been gone, that has left me alone to handle unpacking everything.  I'm sure Michael is very distressed about missing the opportunity of moving our things, yet again.  Between just getting married and moving in, our enormous garage-sale and moving- out (not to mention helping friends / co-workers move), we have had our fair share in our five-and-a-half months of marriage. This was a large and daunting task, no question about it, and I have not been feeling well. I am proud to say, I have (mostly) finished the task and have some pictures to share. 

This is our home!  All the homes on base basically look the same, except some don't have an up-stairs, like ours.  They also come in different colors, as you can some-what see in the house in the background behind ours.  Notice our bright shiny car in the carport! 

This would be my kitchen.  I actually have a decent amount of counter-space, as well as cupboard space.  This is my domain!

As you walk around the corner, this is our living room.  Arion is dancing away. 

Another view of our living room.  Arion and kitty say "Merhaba!"

Heading up-stairs!

Our living room again, from the stairs.  I really like our vaulted ceilings- which not all homes here have.

Arion's room.  Admittedly, slim pickings. She went from a "baby room" to Michael's old bedroom set and we are starting over.  What can I say; it's a work in progress. 

Arion's bathroom.  There are three bathrooms in our home, however the other two are pretty bare and look exactly like this one.

Our back yard! I have had to have some work done back there, and it's a significant step-up from when we moved in. 

There are some additional rooms/ areas that I didn't include in here, such as our laundry room, another empty bedroom and various storage areas.  This is the basic idea, though. 

All-in-all, not too shabby.  We could use some rugs, to cover-up the mismatched tile on the floor, but this is a huge improvement to our bare-essential dwelling we had before our belongings arrived. It's starting to feel like home; if only the whole family were here in it. 

Gallivanting, German-Style

Merhaba!  Or, perhaps since this post is about Germany I should be saying, Guten-tag!  Today marks the two-week mark that Michael has been in Germany, and Arion and I have definitely felt his absence.  I'm afraid to say that between the two of us, he has probably had much more to blog about than I  and without question has had far less time.  His travels to Germany were strained, to say the least.  He decided to take "the behemoth", my giant orange suitcase that can pack 150 lbs of clothes and belongings. It seemed perfect for the job, since Michael is going to be gone for six weeks in the very cold Germany.  His TDY orders allowed him a certain amount of weight for his travels and he was careful to pack just that amount. 

His troubles began at the airport.  While his luggage was within the limits of the military standards, it was too heavy for the commercial airline.  It was above even the over-sized luggage requirement, so after much deliberation the airport personnel kindly told Michael to get rid of x-amount of weight in his bag.  When questioned where he should put it, the man shrugged. 

Once that debacle was settled it was time to fly to Germany.  Michael being the planner he is had a reservation for a shuttle from the airport to the base he needed to report to set up ahead of time.  He was also traveling with several other people, one of which had been allowed access to a rental car.  The plan was that he would take the shuttle, and the individuals in the car would follow the shuttle to the base.  When they landed in Germany, Michael’s shuttle was nowhere to be found.  After much waiting, calling and questioning he was told his shuttle was waiting for him on the other side of the airport.  By the time he got there, it had left.  He called the shuttle company and they confirmed he had just missed the shuttle and the driver was off for the night; and the company was closed.  He attempted calling the other two shuttle companies and got the same response.  When he returned to the place where his travel-partners were waiting, it became apparent that they assumed he found his shuttle and was on his way to the base and decided that they had better do the same.  At this point it was very late and Michael had two options.  Take a cab, which he was specifically told not to do, because he would only be reimbursed 40 euro, or sleep at the airport and catch a shuttle the following morning.  It had been a very long day and night for Michael and after much contemplation, decided to take the cab.  Traveling from the airport to base in Germany via cab is not easy on the pocket.  It’s not even hard on the pocket, its worse.  I’m not going to name a dollar amount, but it is very clear why his orders specified to not take a cab. 

Michael’s not-so-trusty cab driver did take him to a base.  Unfortunately, not the correct base.  When he learned he was at the incorrect base, he then had to get on another cab and pay more euros for a cab to the correct destination. 

The start to NCO Academy did not begin well; however my husband does have a very positive attitude, and was feeling somewhat better then next day when I was able to talk to him.  Because Michael is a Master Sergeant Select, and the rest of the class with the exception of one other student are Tech Sergeants Michael is a group leader.  On top of knowing and studying everything for his class, Michael is also responsible to make sure the other students in his group understand the assignments as well as organizing study groups.  He seems to have a good group, so this is an immense advantage to him. 

At this point, Michael has been studying hard and has been managing his course work well.  I am very pleased Michael is completing this big career requirement, but I do miss my husband already and look forward to his return.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Trials and Tribulations

Merhaba, mutlu Kasım!  It’s Thursday, November 4th and this could only mean one thing; the Taylor’s survived our first Turkish Halloween.  Okay, maybe this doesn’t come as a huge surprise to you all but regardless Halloween in Turkey was a great time.  The streets were full of spooky trick-or-treaters, as well as a few Turkish children who wanted to join in on the festivites.  I’m not sure they quite understood the purpose of Halloween; mainly because they showed up at our door without costumes, or a bag for their candy.  Rather, a bright smile with their hands held out.  But lets not get ahead of ourselves. 

I thought I would share the full Halloween experience, which for us include the creation of the costume itself. What a fun experience with some unexpected twists and turns... 

My good friend Amanda is the proud owner of a brand-spanking-new Singer sewing machine.  We were so excited to put this fine peice of machinery to work we could hardly wait to get it threaded.  I am not sure how many of my readers have tried to thread a sewing machine; but I had not.  The instruction manual was vauge, confusing, and ultimately little help. 

Assembly day 1 was successful to the point of taking the intimidating machine out of the box and getting a good look at it.  We did figure out how to attach the foot pedal, so that was a huge plus. 

Assembly day 2 was incredibally frustrating and about equally successful.  We did manage the thread the bobbin (kind of) and make a few practice hems.   We were doing somthing wrong though, because the fabric wouldn’t “move”.  It just stayed in one place, and the material wouldn’t feed!  So frustrating.

Assembly day 3; if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.  This my friends was the golden day.  We figured out that the dog-stitch was activated, so the machine was set to monogram instead of auto-feed.  Also, the instructions failed to tell us that there were TWO spools of thread required to operate the machine, not one.  Apparently this was such common knowledge, there was no point in mentioning this.  I do not have any common knowledge in the art of sewing.  Zero.  Well, maybe now I do since I now know there needs to be two spools.  Once we got this figured out, the complete sewing portion of the costume took about 20 minutes.  I’m not sure which aspect was more frustrating; the first two days we couldn’t figure anything out, or the fact that after all that it was so simple and easy.  Here is a visual sequence of events of the process:

This is the "base-dress".  We measured the length and width, but didn't take into consideration the head-hole.  Whoops.  Nothing some scissors can't fix. 

My helpers, Kerisa and Arion.  They were our dancing entertainment for the night.

Pinning the seams, getting ready to sew! (Note, my cheerleaders in the back)

Working hard!

The fruits of our labor!  Spook-tastic!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Carols

Today is Friday October 29th, the Friday before Halloween.  Arion's class had a full day of Halloween festivities and I was obliged to attend.  We started out making a quick change into Halloween costumes and rampaging into every elementary school class and singing pumpkin carols.  I could write paragraph after paragraph, or I could just show you.

Not sure how to upload a video directly to this blog, so here is the next best thing....


Can you see Arion?  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baking and Making

As promised earlier, I have more updates on the Halloween snack project.  I have learned many things about baking and making in this Halloween snack project; as this is without doubt the most complicated baking project I have tackled this far.  But I was fearless, and rounded up all my baking items and got to work. 

Lesson 1: If a website says, " They’re really easy to assemble", or "easy do it yourself" this does not mean that it will be easy for the reader.  It means that it was easy for the person who created this website, who probably makes these treats as a living.  If something looks really cute and custom-made, it's probably more complicated than it seems.

Lesson 2:  Practice rounds will always work in your best interest when taking on a new project.  Thankfully, I applied this to my craft and benefited greatly.  My first batch of brownies were too dry, and the chocolate was too drippy.  The second batch was too gooey and when I was rolling them they just smeared everywhere.  I finally figured out that frozen brownies worked well. Adding paraffin wax fixed the drippy chocolate issue as well.

Lesson 3:  Establishing a routine DOES matter.  I started out baking the brownies.  Then rolling one, dipping it in chocolate, then assembling it.  This was not conducive to chocolate spiders.  I eventually learned to bake the brownies, then roll them into balls at the same time, freeze, then dip, assemble and decorate.

Lesson 4: Enlist good help.  I did this, with the not-so-young lady pictured to the left.  Arion was a fabulous help for the assembly part of the project.  She played a very big role and attached all of the eyes and fangs on every spider.  She agrees, it isn't as easy as it looks.

I did notice, however, once the creatures were created and it was clean-up time, she quickly and silently disappeared!!!  I guess I have to be happy for the help I get around here! 

Lesson 5: Second graders can appreciate a good-looking snack, but don't care if they look ridicules, either!  I think I will stick to them as my cooking critics!    

Whew!  Now that I have finished this project, I think I will be finished with crafty baking for a while.  Maybe I will be feeling adventurous again mid-October 2011! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

October awesomeness

Here we are, mid-way through the second half of October, already!  Does this mean that soon I can say I have lived in Turkey for two months?  I think it does! 
This month so far has brought a variety of fun activities and events.  Being that the end of this month is Halloween, I have had to try some forced crafty skills.  I have volunteered to help Arion's class Halloween "Pumpkin Carols" and then provide and help with snacks afterwards.  Bring a chocolate cookie?  A cupcake?  I think NOT!  This is Halloween, it needs to be extra spooky.  Since assembling these 100% gooey, edible, creepy deliciousness takes some time, and moderate skill I decided that I needed to do a test run.  They aren't TOO bad (if you haven't seen the one's I was trying to make), but I see some improvement that needs to be made.   Our baking resources are limited here; especially since I still have not received our belongings so there is a lot of improvising that needs to be done.   I will let you know how the final product turns out. 

And speaking of Halloween, don't all children need to trick-or-treat?  From what I understand, this is not something commonly done in Turkey.  However, being that there are many American families here on this Turkish base, I can count on much trick-or-treating here.  Did I mention that resources are limited?  This does not exclude Halloween costumes.  As a matter of fact; there is approximately three girl costumes at the BX for sale.  I could purchase a cliche over-priced costume for Arion there; but why?  One thing that Turkey is bountiful in, is markets.  One can buy a great many things at these markets for cheap; including fabric!  Costume picked out, check.  Fabric purchased, check.  Now, with the help of my friend Amanda, costume creation will take place this weekend.  I will have a little second grade banshee for Halloween this year! 

 The banshee comes from the Irish culture and is a mythical omen of death, or messenger from the Otherworld.  There were some families in ancient Ireland who believed he cry of a banshee would herald instant death.  Traditionally, when a citizen of an Irish village died, a woman would sing a lament at the funeral. Legend has it that for five great Gaelic families the lament would be sung by a "fairy woman".   She would sing the lament when a family member died, even if the person had died far away and news of their death had not yet come.  The wailing of the banshee was the first warning the household had of the death.

Arion seems to be okay with the ancient myth of the banshee, but is more excited that she gets to be involved in the making of her costume and that a banshee "looks really cool."   Lets hope our costume-making ability lives up to her expectations!

October is also the beginning of Fall.  The base celebrated the coming of the new season with the annual "Fall Festival".  There was quite a bit to do for this, including a pumpkin carving contest.  Arion, being the mature young lady she is turning into, did not want any help from Michael nor I.  We were forced to supervise, but not assist, her pumpkin carving experience.  Needless to say it was fun, and Arion did not win.

Michael is continuing to stay busy here at Incirlik.  Since he doesn't have any career tests (outside of that pesky NCO Academy that has him leaving his family for six weeks) he is working hard on his formal schooling and aspires to finish his BA degree before our station in Turkey is finished.  Then, it will be on to his Master's degree.  He, like me, can obviously see the disadvantage of the timing and being away from his family but at the same time is looking forward to finishing this crucial part of his career.  We have to keep reminding ourselves that he already has been assigned to NCO Academy once, which was during our wedding and honeymoon and the military was kind enough to post-pone.  As much as it spites me to say, I would take this over him missing our wedding.  Him being gone for six weeks will never be good timing, so why not just get this over with!  

As for the old news; we still have not received our personal belongings.  We still have not received our vehicle. We have, however encountered a possible new obstacle.  In order to live here, we must acquire a residency permit.  This means we must supply a large amount of documentation, including our passports.  We were keenly told that the residency process took several weeks; however that has not been the case and as I meet more and more individuals, it took significantly longer for them as well.  Now, in order to drive in Turkey, I will need an international drivers license.  This too, requires an abundance of documentation, including my passport.  After several months, my temporary gate pass expires and I have to apply for a permanent gate pass.  For this, I need an abundance of documentation, including my passport.  In order to fly to Germany to be with my husband for Thanksgiving, I need... you guessed it, my passport.  To get a command sponsor letter, I will need, yes my passport.  Seeing a pattern here?  Since my passport is lost somewhere in Turkish/US Military Bureaucratic nightmare land, lets just hope I get it in time to get all of the above tasks finished on time.  

 So, maybe life is not 100% perfect, but whose is?  Ours is close. We are learning quickly to take the bad with the good and to make whatever situation work for us as best as possible.   Life is great! 

Güle güle!