Just a quote

for a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life.  
but there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.  
at last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.  
this perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness.  
happiness is the way.  so treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one. 
happiness is a journey, not a destination...
- souza

Guest Post #2

Today, Sunday June 26th, I would like to introduce my second guest writer, Thing 3.  Enjoy.

What i am going to talk about is today!!!!!!!! We took a taksi(that is how the spell it in Turkey) to the Agora mall and ate at Kitchenette amd then walked around the malll!!!!!!! One of the stores we went to was Mudo and my mom found a skirt and my sister found a shirt!!!!!! When we saw the kid's we were amazed the kid's section was so small!!:( We also went to GAP again only my sister found some shorts!!!:(:) For dessert we ate at a place called Reyhan.We all had our own dessert!!!!!!!!!Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When we were done with the mall we went  in a taksi and came back  to the hotel. We went up to the excutive lounge and watched the ENGLAND-GERMANY game. After that we went swimming and my parents went running nd now we are at the hotel eating room service and watching the Argentina-Mexico game. OH, after I took a shower my mom and I watched the sun set it was beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                 PICTURE PREFECT(ALL OF THESE PICTURES WERE EITHER TAKEN BY MYSELF OR MY MOM)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    this is a picture of a turtle in the bay!!!!!!!!!
thia is a picture of a cow close to the outside restaurant
sunset view from hotel room

Guest Post

So for today, Saturday 26/06, I would like to share my first guest writer with you, Thing 2.

Hey everybody!! I am out here in Izmir,Turkey thinking to myself how can I wake up between 11-12!! The food here is amazing!! They have excellent dessert! I have had it with almost every meal!! Our house is huge and I get my very own room! The pool is deep and a weird shape,but its very fun to swim in!! Yesterday, I went swimming at our house and I made up this exercise club! I did 50 sit ups with my legs hanging over the edge of the pool and then I swam a lap around the pool! I did free-style,back stroke,under-water, and the frog!! It was fun and my abs hurt after! Then we came back to the hotel and walked to dinner! We walked by the water after and the waves were so small compared to California!!(they were only like a foot tall and some not even that!!) Oh and something weird about Izmir is there are a lot of stray dogs and cats!!! We walked past a dog and it came over to me and looked at me with it's sad eyes and so of course I pet it!!I told my mom after that,"How could I say no to those sad eyes,it makes you feel bad for them." I love you all!!

Thing 2!!<3

So Much More

I do, I really do have so much more to tell you.  To share.  To laugh at.  Like the 6 of us walking through International airports with 10 pieces of luggage, each toting a back pack stuffed full of comforts from home, trying to decipher the next destination and plan of attack.  Now that is a sight.  "Monkeys" if you will.  That is what we call ourselves.  Amidst stairs and chuckles and covered mouths, amongst "oohs and aahs" and "would you look at that's", and of course the occasional, "are they all yours?", here we are.  Embarking on this next journey.  Together.  As a family.  A united 6.  Pardon the reference all you football fans, I couldn't resist. 

It all began with a canceled flight.  Three hours before departure and a phone call to inform us that the first flight of the excursion was canceled due to the weather in Chicago.  Oh my.  An hour worth of phone calls later and we were scheduled with a different airline and on our way.  We passed through security, check in and all the rig-amoral.  We were on our way.  And then from Chicago and a late arrival we were racing to our gate with 4 hungry Things and two weary yet determined parents.  After being separated on the tram to our International terminal we successfully boarded for our 10 hour and 15 minute flight to Istanbul.  The Things were completely enamored with the large aircraft.  Leather seats, blankets, pillows, a video screen and gaming control for every seat.  Impressive.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 sat in a row all to themselves and not once did they call on their Mama for help.  Husband Jared and I were so proud. The Things slept most of the way and we have officially decided that the over night flights may be the best thing going.  Well that and of course flying business class, if we could.  Thing 4 inspected and took detailed notes of all the differences between coach and business class.  Someday Thing 4, someday. 

At 5pm local time we landed in Istanbul.  We made it through more lines for Visas and the such. The Things were ecstatic about having their passports stamped.  Now on to baggage claim.  Nine out of ten suitcases arrived.  The tenth one being Thing 2's.  She was not too thrilled about that.  Of course she rolled with it.  We arrived at the hotel, checked in enjoyed snacks on the Executive floor and ate dinner.  The Things were relieved to see that the menu consisted of recognizable food.  Our waiter embraced the Things and even brought Turkish delights and baklava to our table for dessert.  Not to mention the doner and butter rice he had shared with Thing 4.  Delish. 

Day 2 in country and we were preparing to depart for Izmir.  Breakfast brought an entire new gastronomical adventure.  Olives, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and yogurt so very different from what we are used to.  The Things tried new chocolate croissant, and various breads, or "ekmek" that they loved, even with kiwi preserves.  The flight to Izmir was uneventful, with exception to the meal we received (for an hour flight) and had to hold onto while we landed.  Turkish airlines is defnitely a full service airline. 

We decided after a day of traveling that we would stay close to the hotel for the evening.  Although we did manage a quick trip out to our new home.  The Things toured bedrooms, checked out the pool and Husband Jared and I received the stamp of approval from the harshest critics.  Thing 2 still did not have her luggage and not knowing when it would arrive we decided that her and Daddy would do some shopping.  Sound familar?  Well she handled it much better than her Mama for certain.  She also experienced her first taxi ride.  The shopping was, "dificult", in her words, albeit successful.  More firsts and learning opportunities.  We dined at the hotel restaurant once again and the Things were feeling rather brave.  Husband Jared was sharing some phrases in Turkish and the Things were trying their hand at the language.  The watiers were more than patient and impressed with their skills.  I, as Mama, was relieved to see the Things embracing this new culture.

The Things seemed to have been experiencing jet lag and confusion because their bodies were not ready to sleep at 13:00 local time.  Another adjustment for us, military time and the metric system.  So needless to say we slept in rather late Wednesday and then hit the ground running.  Lunch at the hotel, we missed breakfast, and then off to the house to take window measurements and make lists.  Things 2, 3 and 4 swam for the first time in our pool!  They loved it and I must say to hear their happy screams and laughter made my heart smile.  Husband Jared had a conference call with the States and so Thing 1 and measured windows.  And oh the windows.  There are too many to count.  We are grateful though because of those windows we have an amazing view of the sea and our Things when they are playing in the pool.  The day was not over.  We made a family field trip to Ikea.  Wandering through the aisles, reading labels in foreign languages, not understanding a word and feeling slightly overwhelmed at the daunting task in front of us we survived.  Another first.  We even managed to take care of the bedroom's windows.  No small feat.  And to celebrate, as mentioned in other posts, we walked to the Konak pier and celebrated with dinner.  The most notable experience for this night was the Movenpick icecream the Things devoured after dinner.  By far the best.  Their words, not mine.  The debate after dinner was whether to walk back to the hotel or take a taxi.  Thing 1 and Thing 4 rode in a taxi with me for the first time.  Amusing.  And then bed at 13:30 this time. 

Just a side note, it is after noon here and the Things are still sleeping.  It might take them a while to adjust to their new time zone.  All in all the first few days in country have been memorable.  Last night we met another American who is here teaching at a private school not far from Urla, where we will be living.  We exchanged information and are looking forward to connecting here soon.  Now that was a treat. 

I think that covers the "so much more".  I am convinced that there will still be so much more to share.  As in photos and stories and blunders.  I can't wait!

Izmir, Hanson Style

So we are safe and sound here in Izmir and the chaos continues.  We have secured our stay at the hotel through Monday, our goods should arrive in customs Monday, Delaney's luggage arrived today and we visited Ikea to purchase window coverings for the new house. 

It was quite a day.  The Things slept in until almost noon today and then we went full force until well after dinner tonight.  Life continues to bring us surprises, and ongoing lessons in humility.  Business as usual is just not the same as in the states.  Delivery trucks with appliances just don't show up as planned, light bulbs don't function, and cars are not delivered until August.  Wow. If we are being tested we shall rise to the challenge. 

The Things are coping better than expected and Husband Jared and I have much to be grateful for.  The photo in the previous post is from a local restaurant here in Izmir on the pier.  We celebrated and toasted our first official night in Izmir and our new country.  Serefe!  That is the Turkish expression we all learned this evening. 

And on another note, I must share what Thing 4 noticed upon our arrival at the hotel in Istanbul.  The bode' in the bathroom Thing 4 said, "Look at that baby bath tub".  I love it.  In fact, Thing 4 it is a "tuvalet" to wash your bum.  Those are the moments I don't want to forget.  I am sure that there will be plenty more stories to come.

So for now, İyi geceler ve tatlı rüyalar.  Which is Turkish for "good night and sweet dreams". 

Thankful Thursday #31

On this Thursday, June 24th, I am thankful for,
299. safe travels
300. family dinners
301. SKYPE
302. impromptu meetings at Cool Springs Brewery
303. sleeping in
304. World Cup
305. taxi rides
306. Grandparents
307. flexible Things
308. swimming pools

We are here, we are here, we are here!

The Hanson 6 have arrived in Istanbul.  After a full day of traveling we are safe and tuckered out here in Istanbul. Our hotel overlooks the Bosphorus River and the beautiful bridge that transports you to the Asian side of Istanbul.  The view is breathtaking.  I will have photos to share soon.  The Things immediately ran out onto the balcony and spotted a local fair and the football stadium.  More on that later.  For now, I am signing off.  We are watching the second half of the soccer match. Priorities, you know. 

Happy Birthday Husband Jared

 Today this man celebrated his birthday.  And we celebrated him.  All 35 years of him. 
His day began with a World Cup match at 6:30am.  After an exhilerating viewing of the Netherlands vs. Denmark we were off for birthday shopping and lunch with Papa and Linda and Thing 1 and Thing 4.  The other Things were at friends' houses.  We lunched at 55 South, enjoyed delish oysters and took in yet another soccer game.  Italy vs. Paraguay this time around.  We snuck in a quick stop to see Natalie and Autumn and then out to Reeves' place once again for another birthday dinner.
We ate raviolis, salad, garlic bread and chocolate pudding pie for dessert.  I will have photos to show, later.  As when we are actually in Turkey and settled. 
Anyhow, it was a satisfactory birthday.  Husband Jared was pleased. 

And I am beyond pleased and grateful and in love and all of the above for the man whom I call Husband.  We have celebrated many birthdays together.  Not too many to count and each of which was full of memories.  Every year a gift waiting to be opened, surprises unfolding and adventures waiting to be taken.  You are an amazing man Husband Jared, happy birthday to you!  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your story.

Just Alot of Stuff

Well, I forgot "Thankful Thursday".  Not intentionally, in fact rather unintentionallly.  I apologize.  Thursday the moving company arrived.  Six hours LATE.  They packed, they moved, they weighed and then they were off.  And so were we.

We were off to a soccer party hosted by Thing 4's team.  Swimming and pizza, a signed soccer ball, and time with the boys.  Fun. 

Early the next morning I was off on a plane to visit with the family, in Vegas.  A wonderful two day stay celebrating Cousin Kayla's 21st birthday.  We walked, we talked, we ate, we swam, we watched the World Cup, and we just had a swell time being together.  Really. 

And then Sunday I was off again.  Home to my Things and Husband Jared. 

And then as a family we were off again to our "farewell for now" open house.  Family and friends spent the afternoon with us out at the Reeves' house.  The Things and friends climbed trees, played in the tree house, went boating, ate hot dogs, ate sweet desserts and had fun. 

Now the weekend is over.  Today marks the one week count down.  One week until we are off again.  It has been a whirlwind.  A wonderful reminder of what is important.  So sweet to be loved and to love.  We are grateful for those reminders.  I am grateful for this blog so I don't forget a moment of this journey, despite the whirlwinds along the way. 

* Photos are missing because the device that allows me to download my photos is en route to Turkey, my apologies.

Sittin on the dock of the pond...

We weren't really sitting at all.  Actually, I was sitting but Things 2,3 and 4 were definitely not sitting.  They were jumping, diving and cannon-balling into Mema and Grandpa's pond.  Take a look.

Yesterday we celebrated Mema's birthday with family dinner, presents, cake and icecream and some pond swimming.  The Horel family was there and the cousins were able to dote on Autumn.  They watched her sleep and oohed and aahed.  We noticed her baby rolls on her arms and legs and kissed her forehead.  Oh how sweet.
The Things helped Mema blow out the candles. 

I think they thought it would get them to eating cake faster.  They were anxious.  We made a homemade strawberry cake and a chocolate amaretto cake.  Delish, if I do say so myself.  Thing 3 and 4 decorated Mema's pink cake and it looked stunning. 

What a perfect way to start summer vacation!

Citizenship, tearful goodbyes and The Cheesecake Factory

This might just be the most random post ever so I will apologize up front.  Please keep reading, it is worth it. 
Thing1 and Thing 2 both received The Citizenship award for their grade last week, unbeknownst to this Mama.  I was taken by surprise while sittting in the bleachers. 
 First, Thing 2's grade.  She also earned an A Average Award, for the entire year, and highest average for her science class.  Side note, she might be teaching science for the upcoming school year.  And then the teachers explained the next award, how important it is, what it means and the deserving young lady who achieved such an honor.  Whoa.  I was in tears already before I even heard Thing 2's name.  When she went to the front of the gym and looked up to see her Mama's tears she mouthed to the entire 5th and 6th grade classes, and a group of parents, "please don't cry Mama".  And then wouldn't you know it, everyone turned and looked at me. 
Now, Thing 1.  I knew by staying for her grade's assembly I might be risking embarassment and the possibility of being shunned by my ever so cool almost 8th grader.  But stay I did and when Thing 1 saw me sitting in the bleachers she too felt it necessary to stand and mouth the words, "Why are you here?".  Someone please tell me why we parents do this to ourselves?  Oh yeah, we love those Things like crazy, I birthed them, do I not have the right to support their endeavors?  Well someday she will understand and for now I will be there for the milestones, big and small.  And maybe seemingly irrelevant to them.  So, the ceremony was coming to a close and Thing 1 had not been called to the podium, as of yet.  Ms. Vines, one of her core teachers explained to the group that the next award was most important.  More so than letter grades and academic acheivements.  While I agree completely with her I had never heard a teacher say so publicly.  Amen sister.  She went on to explain what a difficult decision it is to choose the recipient, what is required of the student and so forth.  Needless to say, not an easy task.  And then Thing 1 heard her name.  Of course she scanned the room to ensure that everyone was watching her and in all her surprise she wandered to the front and received her award.  No pictures with teachers or the award were allowed so take a look below, this is the best I got!
After recovering from the emotional state I was in we did make it to the last day of school.  Which I knew in my heart would be bittersweet.  While you may know I am not a fan of the institution we were welcomed into the PGS family and it has not been easy to say goodbye.  Even though it is only for a short while.  The Things had parties, yearbook signings, t-shirt signings and recess and I ran back and forth to all 4 classrooms doing my best to deliver presents, thank you's and hugs to all our amazing teachers.  Friends of Things were hugging me, asking me to sign t-shirts and telling me how much they would miss my Things.  Do you know how hard it was for this Mama to stay together?  The water works came pouring down.  One staff member and friend asked about our departure date and plans and I just stared blankly at her.  I don't know what came over me.  Poor lady just backed away slowly and said quietly, "I understand, no more questions".  Thank you.  Enough said. 

I must not forget Thing 3's and Thing 4's awards assembly.  Each child that is leaving the school family for whatever reason is acknowledged.  Mr.K, our principal, announces the students and they receive a certificate.  Thing 3 and Thing 4 were announced and asked where they are moving to and Thing 4 loudly said, "Turkey".  In his cutest Thing 4 little boy voice.  And then the water works started again.  Thing 4 was also part of a very special math class this year.  Her teacher Ms. Lampley was a gift.  They had a math olympiad and Thing 4 was acknowledged for participating in that as well. 

Here are Thing 3 and Thing 4 with their teachers on the last day of school. 

And after the 2 hour last day of school Thing 3, two of her bestest friends and I headed to Cheesecake Factory for a long overdue birthday celebration.  Mmm, mmm! 
The girls were so excited.  We shared popcorn shrimp, ate our entrees and ended with a slice of cheesecake, not to be shared.  They even sang to  Thing 4, quite loudly I might add.  These two friends made the day so special.

The day did not end there.  Thing 3 had her two friends for a sleep over, Thing 1 had two friends for a sleep over, Thing 2 headed to her BFF's for a sleep over and Thing 4 had pool time with his friends.  All in all an eventful few days.  This is what my house looked like the morning after the sleep over extravaganza!

And now moving on, but not without first saying how proud I am of the Things.  Awards aside these Things have weathered many changes.  They have adapted, shown their resiliency and displayed admirable character through it all.  Of course not without bumps in the road.  Here we stand ready to embark on yet another adventure and we will celebrate where we have been and where we are going. 
That my friends shall conclude the most random post.  Seriously, I will get it together and post something cohesive soon.  Thanks.

Thankful Thursday #30

Today, June 3rd, I am thankful for;
289. 4 more sleeps
290. Ikea
291. Thing 3 and piggy back rides
292. polka dots
293. fishing
294. Thing 1 showing off her retainer
295. Thing 2 and her bake offs 
296. Thing 4 saying "Yes Ma'am"
297. Hair appointments
298. nail polish