It's 2 am and I'm awake

I think they call it jet lag, I prefer "airplane lag", that's how the Things refer to the feeling, quote taken from the newest Karate Kid movie.  And boy is it ever right, lag.  What a word, definitely one that I am relating to this early morning. 

We are home, in Izmir.  After a nearly 24 hour day of traveling all 6 of us are tucked into our own beds, exhausted and surely dreaming of the last three weeks.  It was a challenge leaving Franklin on Saturday, saying goodbye and see you later and hugging.  Especially those hugs where one party did not want to let go. 

Mission accomplished though.  And if I may just brag on the Things for a sentence or two.  They are expert travelers.  Right down to meal schedules and gate finding and coordinating our seating arrangements.  Navigating International airports and foreign languages is enough to send me realing and the Things,  not even phased.  This Mama was proud.  I don't recall hearing a complaint or sigh, of course until we made it home.  The first task on the agenda, run out to find friends and see what we've missed.  A kiss on my cheek and a yell out the door that they would unpack when they returned.  Life is good. 

Just wanted to check in, I suppose I should be trying to catch some z's, morning sun will be here before long.

A Morning HIke, Visit with Friends and a Road Trip

And yes, that was all accomplished in one day.  That Thursday morning we woke, enjoyed breakfast and set out for a hike on Thunderbird Mountain, grandparents, Things and even the dog.  It was a gorgeous day and Thing 3 and I decided to push our heart rates up and run down the mountain.  Oh my.  That girl can move and this Mama had a hard time keeping up.  To further bruise my pride Thing 1 asked to race me.  Feeling quite confident I didn't refuse but felt I was ready to rise to the challenge. The fact that her legs begin at my rib cage did not discourage me.  Needless to say I lost.  According to Poppi, I kept pace for the first 15 yards or so. 

We returned home to visit with Framma and Kaya and Eden.  I challenged Framma to a game of cribbage and actually won.  That does need to be recorded here for all to see because it is a special day when a family member triumphs over Framma.  Her skills are impressive and ever since I was a little girl her and I have played, typically I lose and a lesson is learned. This day was different.  We laughed and I celebrated with a victory dance.  What's that they say about being humble? 

Then onto a visit with my girlfriends.  We have been friends for over 10 years now and even though we have not seen each other in over 2 years we were able to pick up right where we left off.  Sharing kids stories and life stories and just enjoying being together.  It was a sweet afternoon, that of course ended too quickly. 

When I arrived back at the Stuck house the whole clan was ready to depart for California.  The other Stuck household was our final destination.  We would camp out there for the weekend.  The Things could harldy wait to see their Uncle J and greet Auntie Corynn's belly with their soon to be new cousin!  The drive was uneventful and the Things slept most of the way, thankfully.  They needed to catch up on some zzzz's after dealing with jet lag all week.  And with that I will end this post and share photos from the weekend and all our adventures in CA the next time around.

Stitches, yet again!

On Wednesday night, after our zoo day, Thing 4 was out playing basketball and hurt himself.  Husband Jared and I were at the grocery store preparing for our Turkish meal we were cooking that evening and when we arrived home we were met at the door with "the news".  Thing 4 hesitantly peeled off the bandage and Husband Jared and I knew we would be headed to the ER.  We whisked him to the car and headed out.  Thing 4 was quite nervous and was adamant about not having a shot.  Unsure of what to expect I carried him to the room and Thing 4 told the doctor that his cut "looked like the continent of Africa".  Priceless.  After 4 stitches and no painful shot we were on our way home with a grand story for Thing 4 to tell.  Despite the fact that Thing 4 repeatedly told me that having a story was not worth enduring the pain of stitches he does eagerly tell his story and show off his wounds for anyone who will listen. 

Here we are at the urgent care facility in AZ, waiting for the doc to stitch him up.

Great Grandparents Photo Montage

 Framma with Thing 1 and Thing 3
 Papa & Linda with all the Things
 Framma and I playing cribbage, for the record I won, might have been the first time ever!
 My Framma
Husband Jared and his Papa

On Tuesday night Framma drove in from Kingman and Papa and Linda joined us for a slide show and visit at Nani and Poppi's house.  We shared Turkish stories and photos from our last 8 months abroad.  It was a fantastic evening.

Zoo Day

Our wild bunch headed to the zoo on Wednesday, and no we weren't dropping anyone off to stay permanently.  The Phoenix zoo is set in between the beautiful red Papago Mountains in the land of the sun.  We walked the hills, saw the animals and watched the Things and their cousins run around and make animal noises.  
 The Things and Cousin spotted a baboon and sat talking to him through the glass, entertaining.
 The Things, Nani and Aunt Tina and Kaya and Eden fed the giraffes.  Their tongues are 18 inches long and feel like sandpaper according to the bunch.

 After the zoo we headed to Macayos at the train depot for some chips and salsa, mmm good!


We have arrived in America, Phoenix, Arizona to be precise.  Actually we have been here since last Sunday night.  And with the exception of a race to the gate in Chicago, no boarding passes for that flight and a few pieces of misplaced luggage the trip was uneventful.  Oh, and of course I must mention Thing 2's lost Ipod.  How do those things happen?  Oh well, we must be thankful that the six of us arrived unscathed and with a majority of our sanity in tact.  After a 24 hour day of travel there is something to be said for those accomplishments.

Since witnessing Thing 4's non-stop talking about how excited he was and how waking early and flying all day was "so worth it" we have made the most of every moment.  From the neck squeezes in the airport baggage claim to the daily mundane, this trip will be filled with sweet memories.

Our first stop before heading to Nani and Poppi's was In-n-Out.  The Things were craving a proper cheeseburger, seems the kofte in Turkey just isn't the same.  Auntie Robin and Nani drove through and we were greeted at the house by our beloved Polo and cousins, Kaya and Eden.  They had made signs welcoming us back to America, so fun.  Polo jumped on the Things and showed his excitement, which in turn made the Things squeal.  It was a sight.

Our first day was spent relaxing, catching up and enjoying the Arizona sunshine.  Target was calling the girls' names and we headed out for a quick shopping rendezvous with the store we missed the most while in Turkey.  Poppi and the boys left us for an electronic and sport trip to Best Buy and Sport Chalet.  Target apparently doesn't hold the same appeal for the opposite gender. Anyhow, we met Aunt Tina at Babbo for dinner and she was our waitress.  The Things and cousins haggled her and continued to tell her that she looked so familar, duh.  Nani and I went to Bible study together and the Poppi and Husband Jared treated the kiddos frozen yogurt.  A great start to our holiday.

Day 2 had a surprise in store.  Poppi and Nani took us all out for mini golf, bumper boats and go karts.  The Things could not have had more fun.  We raced on the track, were competitive as ever with our golf scores and got ourselves soaked on the bumper boats.  Thing 1 wound up completely drenched, so much so that we had to make a run to the store for a new outfit for her.  Laughter was the theme for the day.  After a tasty lunch and a round of new training shoes for the family we headed home to meet Papa and Linda and Framma for dinner.  What a treat.  Stories were shared, photos shown, slide show style on Poppi's fancy tele and the Things told stories of life in Turkey.  Our night ended with a blazing fire and s'mores.  We all collapsed into bed dreaming of our plans for the zoo on Wednesday.

Burns Night

This past Friday the six Hansons experienced a "first".  Our first Robbie Burns night.  Robert Burns is the Scottish National Poet and a man celebrated every year for the past 200 years.  Robert Burns, affectionately referred to as the "Bard" lived from 1759-1796.  Around the date of his birthday, January 25th, Burns Suppers are held in honor of this man's life.  He is an esteemed literary figure who contributed much to Scottish history and the like.  And up until a few weeks ago our family had never heard of the man.

That all changed when our friends, one of whom is Scottish, was reminiscing about past Burns Suppers he had attended.  The ceremony which he described and of course the menu intrigued us all.  Fast forward to last weekend and we found ourselves invited to a traditional Burns Night.  The Things and I deemed a school lesson to learn about the man, Rabbie Burns, was appropriate, in order to be prepared for the evening ahead.  Upon doing so we came across countless poems, most of which were written during the Revolutionary time period.  The website,, says of Robert Burns, "Burns' poetry falls into two main groups: English and Scottish. His English poems are, for the most part, inferior specimens of conventional eighteenth-century verse. But in Scottish poetry he achieved triumphs of a quite extraordinary kind."  The above site describes in great detail Robert Burns life, his work and the man that he was, if you are so inclined to discover more.  We found it fascinating. 

We also were curious as to the "ceremony" aspect of the evening.  Labor intensive, serious yet jovial and quite entertaining, are the words I would use to describe a Burns Night.  It seems to be all about honoring the man that was Rabbie Burns and his fondness for food, drink and women, or lasses, is quite apparent through it all.  All that is needed is a "gracious host, a foolhardy chairman" and of course a wealth of Scotch.  Check, check and check.  The menu included, haggis, tatties and neeps (potatoes and turnips) and for dessert a combination of delicious berries, cream and toasted oats, traditional fare.  Throughout the night glasses are raised and toasting occurs, accompanied by poetry reading from the "Bard's" collection and the sharing of stories from friends. 

This honorary supper night was began by a group of Robert's friends a few years after his death and it seems as though the tradition is as alive today as it was then.  So much so that our friends decided last night that this was only the first of many Burns nights to be spent together, no matter the country.  Seems that our January 25th's have been decided for the upcoming years.  Next year, maybe Scotland, possibly Budapest.  Who knows?  Either way, I am sure that Rabbie would enjoy knowing that friends are gathering and indulging in honor of him.  His poetry really does steal the spotlight. 

At our supper I even read a poem titled,

"To a Mouse"

Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

Now imagine an American accent, trying to sound Scottish and attempting to understand exactly what the poet is communicating.  Honestly just trying not to dissappoint our friends, whom this meant so much to. I was most definitely laughing at myself.  At the same time I found myself intrigued by this man's prose and of course his topics of choice.  The time period in which he wrote provides such an exciting backdrop. 
* The men parading the haggis, I almost forgot to mention the "friendship cup", that is what Husband Jared is holding.  It is a traditional silver chalis of sorts that is passed around the table amongst the guests.  Yes my friends, that is a kilt, traditional and authentic.  To say the Things got a huge kick out of that would be an understatement.  Bravo!

 * A toast to lassies and laddies
* My turn to read

*Our friend, the "foolhardy chairman" addressing the haggis and the Things and friends gathered around

The night eventually came to an end, rather early in the morning, and at the end of it all the host was thanked, the chairman applauded and farewells shared.  Traditionally, the song, "Auld Lang Syne" is sung in turns by the group.  Although our night didn't conclude with singing we did leave with memories not only of the food, (haggis was a first) but of a night shared with the dearest of friends.

** Disclaimer:  My Scottish references may not be accurate and please do not judge and my history of Robert Burns leaves much to be desired, this I know.  Go find out for yourself what this night is all about, that is if you're so inclined, or just enjoy my photos and my description of the evening we participated in and take it for what it's worth.

A Story

My story.  Everyone has one.  I recently read a blog that encouraged women to share part of their story with someone today.  In fact the author suggested, "whispering" in a friend's ear, just a bit of your story.  Well me, I prefer to write.  In fact I much rather write a letter, write a poem, journal, even make a card over hearing myself speak.  So here today I am going to just share a piece of my story with a few defining words.  I hope.

Brave and fearful all at the same time
Loud and obnoxious yet quiet and reserved, a recluse even at times
Passionate, empathetic
Thick-headed, simple and emotional

That's all I have for today.  Just a whisper.

Thankful Thursday #56

* photo above is from last Friday night, dubbed "curry night" at our dear friends' home, to say it was delish would be the understatement of the year.  more on that night in another post.

501. sweet friends
502. impromptu laughter in the car
503. cloudy school days
504. Thing 2 making muffins for breakfast
505. the sounds of teenage friends of Thing 1 filling our house
506. Thing 4 making dominoe trains across the table
507. watching my husband treat our eldest to a dinner date for her birthday
508. Thing 3 watching a movie with me and holding my hand
509. 3 more days
510. 3 more days

Ordinary Day

 This cutie patootie asked me to play Legos with him the other day.  After school work and during quiet time, we sat in his room together and created.  He had dumped his collection onto his blanket, courtesy of Mema, and we went to work.  Our task: creating a battle ship to defeat the monster and his ghouls.  And so we did.  Then Thing 4 turned the music on and prepared for our fight.  Of course he would triumph, good always will he reminded me.  There was shooting and sound effects and flying and lego parts a scatter.

Another ordinary day made extra-ordinary by a Thing.  

The First Teenage Birthday Party

This past weekend Husband Jared and I hosted the first, of what I am sure is to be many, teenage birthday parties here at the homestead.  Thing 1's birthday was approaching and she invited 12 of her comrades over for some fun.  I was not sure what to expect.  I was brave.  I boldly asked if we should have craft time, maybe decorate cookies, or possibly make our own pizzas.  What was I thinking?  After a heavy sigh I collected my thoughts and begin planning the food.  Craft time, no thanks Mom. 

Music, food and a newly hung disco ball!  Recipe for a party.  And a party it was.  The teenagers enjoyed treats, cake and icecream, and F-U-N!
Take a look.
 The friends gathered around our school tables, enjoying cake and icecream
 The pink cake, as requested
Things 2 & 3 and friends, helping light the candles.

The Birthday Girl

This sweet Thing turned 14 today.  Oh my.  Did I just say 14?  Where has the time gone?  So cliche, I know.  And if I was Thing 2 I would have said, "I know right?"  With the accent and everything.  Yet, this post is not about Thing 2.  Enough.
The birthday girl is out celebrating her day with her Daddy.  They have ventured into the city for a dinner date at the Chinese Restaurant.  Exciting.
Sweet face.  Gorgeous smile.  Fantastic hair.  Eyes that swirl with emotion and cheeks that are so rosy. 
I feel like I am back journaling in her baby/toddler journal, all the new words and everyday accomplishments.  There really is so much to tell though. 
How responsible she is, how capable she is in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking.  The way she snuggles in with a good book with the blankets pulled up to her neck.  Dancing to music, any kind and making unknown noises to accompany any mundane household chore.  All with rythym and flare that she surely has not acquired from me.  A certain passion for football and a real understanding of the game.  Talent that is waiting to be unleashed.  Deeper than the surface reveals and a heart that loves intensely.  Committed and enthusiastic, especially when it comes to shopping.  Ha ha.  
Happy Birthday Thing 1! 
I am praying that the year ahead is a glorious adventure on the path that He has marked for you.  You are a gift, one I am grateful for everyday.  I love you with all my heart.  Don't forget, you'll always be my baby.