Thankful Thursday #63

* The coast line on the sahil (seashore road) towards our home in Urla

573. quiet time in the morning
574. laughing with friends over dinner
575. tick tock of the clock
576. welcome home hugs from Thing 2
577. red cheek of Thing 1 after a day in the sun
578. little feet of niece Autumn
579. coffee ready when I wake up
580. starry nights that take my breath away
581. Thing 4's best buddy taking him to the lake
582. Thing 3's dance routines

Thankful Thursday #62

 *Thing 2 enjoying her cornetto, laughing at her siblings in Alacati

562. a blank page, a pen and my prayer journal
563. a cup of coffee that steams my glasses
564. a quiet house in the morning
565. sky glory after the storm last night
566. laughter after the lights have been turned off
567. a day spent laughing with a dear friend
568.  the most delicious oyster po' boy
569. boys fishing
570. dinner with family friends
571. a fresh perspective

Ramo Beach

Our favorite place, hands down in Turkey.  It isn't that this is such a spectacular beach or that it has historical significance.  For our family it is full of memories, the favorite kind.  Ones where we stayed all day building sand castles, or walked the shore to find sea glass or swam as far out as we could, each time going a bit further into the deep blue waters.  Maybe it was the time we saw a shadow of a shark chasing a school of fish making them jump into the air, or when the Things buried each other neck deep in the sand.  Finding a white sun bed with my name on it, a straw umbrella and nothing but the sound of lapping waves and happy Things surrounding me.  And of course the view as you reach the top of the dirt road before winding your way down to the water.  Now that is breathtaking.  Somehow it seems to melt all our troubles away.  For just a day, if only a few hours, the outside world doesn't interfere.  It is just our family of six.  Occasionally a few close friends, or strangers waiting to make acquaintances.  Either way it has been a respite of sorts for our family.  One I am so grateful for and one I, or we, won't soon, if ever forget. 

Happy Birthday Husband Jared

On this day thirty some years ago Husband Jared entered the world.  Thank God he did.  And thank God for the man that he is today.  What a gift.  Each moment lived together has been an adventure, one memorable moment after another.  I love his dry sense of humor, the commitment he has shown to be a true leader with the One King at the center of it all.  I love when he makes the "Jared face" as lovingly referred to by our Things.  I even appreciate when he uses his persuasiveness to prove a point.  Or the way he encourages our family and provides the opportunity for such great adventures.  I am grateful for the way he loves me and the father he is to our Things.  He can be quiet and reserved, deliberate and intense.  Oh, especially when it comes to his football, there is but one United.  His determination is a gift from above.  I only hope that on his birthday he knows how much he is loved and respected.  Here's to you Husband Jared, happy birthday. 

The Last Week Or So

After getting over our jet lag and coming to the realization that no, we are not in Turkey anymore, we have been going non stop here in Tennessee.  From sun up to sun down there has been no lack of excitement.  Sometimes the mundane, must be done stuff and other times fun reunions and giggly sleep overs.  Even a trip out on a boat for Thing 4.  He was offered an invitation to spend the afternoon on the lake with his best buddy's family and he jumped at the opportunity.  About an hour later I received a text and photo with my little man standing on two water skis with the caption, "he got it his first try".  Way to go Thing 4!

We have also had a bit of a birthday bash at Pappo and Grammy's to celebrate Mema and Grandpa's birthdays.  The day was complete with pool splashing, barbeque, cake and even a football match to watch, USA v. Spain.  The latter did not end so well.  We also were able to pick rasberries and peas from the "farm", super tasty.  All in all a fun afternoon in the sun.  Take a look.

 Grandpas attack
 Auntie Leanna and Autumn
 The Birthday Peeps and Thing 1, helping
Grammy and Things looking for ripe rasberries
Other than that it has been life as usual around these parts.  Swimming in the pond, fishing on the dock, boat rides and yes, still running.  Oh how could I forget, preparing for the move to Minnesota and house hunting and neighborhood researching and  school studying.  Husband Jared has been busy.

Thing 2 and her bestest
 The Big Catch
Reeling in another "cat"

Thankful Thursday #61

* Thing 3's braided hair last summer

Today, June the 9th, I am thankful for;

551. impromptu meetings with sister in law
552. watching Thing 4 and Thing 3 fish in the early morning sun
553. having Thing 1 hug my leg in the swimming pool
554. the way Husband Jared looks at me before we say good night
555. a sweet mother in law who is concerned for my safety
556. Thing 2 and her reasoning skills
557. family, enough said
558. my new phone that I don't quite know how to use
559. hearing gratitude from the hearts of Things
560. magazines in English

Istanbul, The Experience, Part 2

This day started a bit more casually than before.  We slept in, enjoyed a late breakfast and even logged our miles for our half marathon training.  Productive.  We then took a leisurely stroll to Taksim Square, which the Things pointed out wasn't really a square but more of a circle.  From there they proceeded to inform us of all the other "squares" that they have seen that are not squares.  Go figure.  We explained the significance of the "square" and then went on our way.  Durum was on the menu for lunch per the Things request for their last Turkish meal.  Street vendors have definitely cornered the market on this specialty.  Simply put, it is shaved meat, similar to how the Greeks do their gyros, with pickled cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce and sauce and then wrapped in lavash bread.
 The Things in front of the statue dedicated to the laborers from May Day

 Govrek vendors- selling simit and boiled eggs near the square

 Doner lunch

 Flower market lining Taksim Square

For the afternoon we scheduled a boat tour on the Bosphorus River.  The river that connects the Black and the Aegean Sea and also the Golden Horn.  Historical.  On our way to the pier where our boat would be dparting from we made a quick stop at the Egyptian Spice Market.  A small han, covered market, filled with any spice you could imagine as well as an assortment of local produce, cheeses and nuts.  Not to mention butchers as well, fresh sheep skin, head and cow stomach lining, just to name a few delicacies you could pick up there.  I think I could have spent all day in there.  Perusing the wide assormtent of olives.  Tasting all the different varieties of cheeses.  Yes, even looking at the meat choices.  Spices to smell, to sample, to buy.  A foodies dream afternoon.  Sadly though, I only had about half an hour and five other people that weren't quite as entertained as I was with the crowds, the smells or the vibe.  Oh well.
 Things enjoying a Turkish dondurma experience
 The Things and me in front of the Spice Market
(Yes, 3 out of 4 are taller than Mama)
 A collection of spices
Your choice of olives

After a bit of bargaining and speaking our best Turkish to the vendors we boarded the boat while jelly fish danced in the water.  Of course the highlight of this outing for the Things were the dolphins that followed us jumping in and out of the foamy waves.  We viewed castles, fortress walls and even crossed over to the Asian side of Turkey.  Simply magnificent.  There were sea side villas that reminded us of Laguna Beach and every which way we turned there was outstanding architecture to soak in.  A lovely day on the water.  And an even better last night in Turkey.  We were treated to an authentic Chinese dinner, complete with dumplings and roast duck.  Succulent.  An evening walk for Cornetto icecream and coffee and then back to the hotel to prepare for our early morning departure.
 Husband Jared and his girly Things
 Me and Thing 4
 Dolphins, at least their fins!
Villas and the port along the Boshporus
Thank you Turkey!

About a Year Ago

Yes friends, that is all.  Not even one year ago the Things were positioned on this same balcony after just arriving in Turkey.  Eleven months ago this was just a foreign country and now it has become home.  We have all fallen in love with this land, we are smitten with the people,the food, the sea and all that we have experienced here.  As we say, "until next time", to this beautiful place look at just how much these Things have changed.  I have included last year's photo, although no matter how I tried I could not rotate it correctly, sorry.  Just turn your head to the side, you get the idea.  Change.  Growing up.  There are no words.
Last Year
This Year