Thanksgiving *Superstar* In The House!

Thanksgiving for our family for the past 8 years has looked like this: Thanksgiving Day, we go to my families.

Just my immediate family: My Mom, Dad, Sister & her Husband (along with way too many dogs); but my extended family always gets together out at my parents’ house the Friday after Thanksgiving for a fun-filled day of food, games (The Family Thanksgiving Olympics), bonfires, etc.

We’re always missing it though, because we are usually headed to Disney World with my in-laws.
See, to say my kids have been spoiled in how many times they’ve gotten to experience the magical world of Disney would be an understatement.

My son, Buddy: who’s 6 (7 at the end of next month) has been to Disney world 6 times. And my daughter, Sissy: who’s 5 has been there 6 times.  I guess those are the perks of having a Grandma and Grandpa who are Disney Vacation Club Members.

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What Makes You Happy? What Makes You Unhappy?

It’s funny where the inspiration for these posts sometimes comes from, and this one comes from my decision to listen to an old George Michael cd the other day! In case you haven’t heard of him, George was a hugely successful singer mainly in the 80’s and 90’s. One of the albums he made and the one I chose to listen to yesterday was called: Listen Without Prejudice. It was a really great album and one of the few albums from the 90’s that I re-visit with any regularity. It’s an album where his fabulous voice, his genius songwriting skills and his love of truly great music shine through.

Sadly, he brought out albums in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that were, in my opinion, bland and forgettable, I guess most artists get into this situation eventually and then gradually get forgotten. Last year, on December 25, George died but until then he kept on making the headlines, but usually for all the wrong reasons. George’s claim to fame in those days was for getting stoned and driving into lamp posts and shop windows! Not pretty! George made so much money, (he is said to be worth around £100 million) he never had to work again. But was he happy? Err obviously, not.

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All things need to be done before we move in

It’s bright and early on Saturday morning – well, it’s about 9:30, so maybe not all that early, but it sure is bright! I’m tricking myself into thinking that it’s gorgeous out, since it’s so sunny, but as I sit here listening to the heat feverishly rising into the radiators, I can pretty much surmise that it’s probably a good twenty degrees outside, IF that.

I’m still sleepy – yesterday, my husband and I both left work early because we had our home inspection. We met up at the house with our realtor, the inspector, and my parents. My mom and I scurried around the house, measuring all of the windows for curtains and blinds, and we giggled over where we would put things, what we needed, and how it would look when we’re done, as my husband and dad followed the inspector around – my dad translated to Aaron, since he is not fluent in “house speak.” Continue reading

And life goes on-moving to a new house

I am. so. tired. The last few days have just been…crazy. I’m the kind of tired that coffee’s not even touching, you know? So, because I’m tired and also quite lazy, I’m gonna post about random things and use bullets. Because bullets are fun!

  • There are a lot of bugs here at our new house. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re “out in the country”, but we’re much more rural than we’ve ever been before, and with rural comes bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. The mosquitoes are especially relentless; I have twenty-six bites between my two feet alone. Julia’s are more angry welts than bites and they’re downright painful to look at.

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In keeping with yesterday’s topic…

I’ve always felt that a disadvantage to having Julia at home with me is that she’s missing out on the structure and social interaction a daycare setting provides. I am grateful beyond words that I’m able to stay at home with my children and although being a stay-at-home mother is hard – damn hard, sometimes – it is without question the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Yet there are things I feel are integral for children to have and experience that I simply cannot give Julia here at home; structure and social interaction top the list. I’ve done my best to ensure that Julia interacts with other kids her age as much as possible and I try to offer her as much structure and routine as I can here at home even if I am every day busy with my GED prep that I take on BGC website. It’s difficult, though, to balance both Julia and Oliver’s day-to-day routines, which are almost never in sync, and offer a three-year-old a structured day when I’ve got a one-year-old and a house to take care of, too. Continue reading

Every Day

Every day. I promised myself that I would write something every day for a year. What was I thinking? Zero to every day? At the time I didn’t think about what that would mean or even what it would take to do it.

What if I can’t think of anything to write (like tonight…as you might have guessed)? Then what? Isn’t it better not to write anything than to write something silly or meaningless just so I can keep my promise? I guess it would be for some people but not for me.

For me, it’s either all or nothing. Either I do it every single day or I don’t want to do it at all. I know it doesn’t make sense but I’m kind of nutty that way.

I’m like that with other things too. I don’t do things halfway, which isn’t always good. With food, friendship, love, work, everything….if you’re going to do it or have it, then jump in and DO IT or HAVE IT, don’t just take a little off the edges.

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Masterclass tonight

Julia and I hung out on the porch yesterday afternoon while Oliver recharged with a twenty-minute power nap (gawd, I wish that’s all it took for me to recharge…). While we were out there I drank my coffee and took in what was around me – the sun, the breeze, the earthy summer smells, the bubbly sound of children’s laughter drifting from nearby backyards, Julia pretending to water our flower graveyard garden – and I thought about all of the people in the world who will never get to sit on their porch and enjoy little things like these. I suddenly felt incredibly fortunate.

After dinner, before the kids and I left to meet Dave at work and trade cars so I could go on and get a massage, I wrote a little ditty about it: We were restless, but Oliver’s nap had us tied to the house. We decided on the porch, me with a coffee in one hand and the baby monitor in the other, Julia carefully carrying a bowl of Cheerios and apple slices. I settled in one of the elderly wicker chairs left by the previous owners and curled my hands around the warm mug while Julia darted up and down the porch, pointing out birds and flowers and such.

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Brand New Start to a Healthier Me (And You!)

All the statistics say the same thing every year–the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. In my opinion, setting a goal weight by a certain date is stressful and can cause a major blow to your self-esteem. I’ve been there. I see the numbers on the scale say the same weight for a few weeks when I expect a loss, get frustrated and then my motivation goes out the window.

The smart thing is to set a goal that centers around a healthier lifestyle. For instance, rather than cutting out all junk food cold turkey, set a goal to eat an extra fruit (or at least one, in my case!) a day. Or stop buying white bread and buy whole grain or wheat (I’d do this but my hubby would freak out!) Once you stick to healthier alternatives, you’ll no longer want the junk you were used to!

I am personally setting a goal to work out at least 3 times a week. Hopefully, it will become normal for me and lead to other healthy choices and some weight loss. I have about 15-25lbs to lose but is that part of my resolution? NO! Because if all goes to plan, that will be the end result and I won’t be fussing over the number on the scale. As long as I reach my goal of exercise 3x per week, I’ve done my part.

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Expats Learn Hard Lessons : Moving, House-Hunting & Getting Ripped Off

Do you heed advice or throw caution to the wind when living as an expat in a foreign country? Just in Istanbul alone, I could write a series of books about stories of how expats get ripped off, but more than that, allow themselves to do so with the desire to save a buck. Recently, I’ve again observed this in action where a few questions ahead of time would have saved many headaches.

In June and July, I wrote a series on home crime, finding an apartment, and then moving. Oddly enough, one of my favorite writers for Today’s Zaman, Kathy Hamilton, wrote about her home invasion during this time too. Then on Monday this week, I marveled at her again, who evidently, doesn’t read my blog or heed advice. Well, maybe she’s just a fiction writer who spins a great story. If not, I understand her disappointment and pain. I noticed that she just went through a move from hell due to the movers.

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5 Things You Should Know About Toxins in Your Home

Recently, I saw a local news story on the topic of toxins in the home. Although I have heard these concerns in the past, I personally haven’t looked into the issue with much detail. After seeing this news story, however, I knew I had to get more information.

I have done some searching online and am surprised at the lack of information that is provided on many products that are used every day to wash our homes, our bodies and store/cook our food. A lot of products we use in the house are alarmingly labeled as a health concern or have “no data provided”. Apparently, it’s not necessary for all chemicals to be tested before they are released to consumers. So, the assumption that if it’s being sold, it must be safe, isn’t always true.

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