Saturday, November 30, 2013

First Turkey Day in Turkey

As I've mentioned many times before, the consulate here in Adana is small.  There are only 5 FSOs on staff and a little more than a handful of locally employed staff.  Because of that, the employees and their families are pretty close. Happy Hours and Ladies Nights aside, we also gather for random BBQs and celebrate all the kids' birthdays together. So, it was a no-brainer that we would celebrate Thanksgiving as one big, happy family.

We each contributed some of our favorite family dishes then gathered in the early afternoon to feast, drink and be merry.  Being nearly five months pregnant of course meant I couldn't partake in the drinking, but the eating?  Oh yes.  Plenty of that.  And all of it guilt free.

Dinner was followed by some football, of course, and then we went home for back-to-back Skype sessions with our families back in the U.S.  It is always sad to be so far away from our relatives during the holidays, but we also enjoy creating new family traditions and celebrating with new friends.  And this is only the beginning.

The kiddos

Carving the Turkey

Just a fraction of the food that was served.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Growing By Two Feet

"E, do you want a baby brother or a baby sister?"

"Ummmm, a baby jaguar!"

And so began our conversation with our two-year old about the fact that yes, we are expecting another baby.  I am due at the end of April, shortly after E turns 3, so I keep telling him that mommy is going to bring him a baby brother to play with for his birthday.  That's right folks, we're having another boy!  Not a boy jaguar, mind you, but a human boy.  Hopefully, E won't be too disappointed.

S and I knew we wanted to eventually have a sibling for E, but we had originally planned to time a second pregnancy so that we were back in the States for training for his second post.  We obviously changed our minds.  But because of our original plan, we left everything baby-related back in storage in Maryland.  Or so we thought.  Come to find out, while looking for Christmas decorations in our storage room the other day, we discovered a large box containing a changing pad, a breast feeding pillow, the cradle E slept in as a newborn, and some old bottles.  Some of E's 0-6 month clothes were even in there.  The box was labeled "basement," so I had just assumed it was camping gear or something.  I'm glad we decided to look! The rest of our things, like the baby swing and tummy time mat will have to be re-purchased. Such is life.

Needless to say, we are excited.  I have a lovely doctor here in Adana who has been a-okay'd by the Med Unit in Ankara, and the hospital where I plan to deliver has been approved as well.  I debated med-evacing back to the States (and even received a bit of pressure from the powers that be to do so), but after hearing glowing first-hand stories from expat Americans and other FSOs about their delivery experience here in Adana, I decided I would stay.  My only concern was that because Turkey has a VERY high c-section rate, I would have a doctor subtly try to convince me to have one myself.  (Different people have told me that child birth is often viewed by the Turkish people as dirty and should be done as quickly and cleanly as possibly, thus the sudden rise in c-sections here.  And it might even explain this.) So, the first thing I said to my doctor was I did not want a scheduled c-section (emergencies are a different story, obviously) and I planned to deliver naturally.  He agreed, said he actually tried to encourage all his patients to do that, but he always honors the mother's wishes, even if they choose a scheduled c-section.  I was happy with that answer, and I am happy with the decision to keep him as my doctor. I am hoping that all goes according to plan with the rest of the pregnancy and the delivery.  

For now I am focused on eating right, taking my vitamins, getting the right amount of exercise and having baby-related conversations with two of my expat friends who are also pregnant.  We are all due within weeks of each other and we are all going to the same doctor and plan to deliver at the same hospital, which I find very exciting. 

Also, S and I have already started the fun task of choosing (and agreeing on) a name.  Right now we have a pretty good list going, but we have only agreed on a couple of them.  But we have plenty of time.  Who knows, maybe we'll just call him Jaguar. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Halloween was a blast this year.  That's not to say we didn't have fun last year, because we did, but this year was particularly fun because a). E got to do real trick-or-treating b). he was actually old enough to understand the holiday and know what was going on and c). there was a party for adults too!

We kicked off Halloween week by going to a Fall Fest at the airbase about 25 minutes from our apartment. The fest, which was more than we expected, was complete with a bounce castle, funnel cakes, hamburgers and a haunted house.  We didn't go into the haunted house even though E was begging us to take him (the kid has a serious obsession with ghosts and monsters), so we let him run around the playground and jump in the bounce castle instead. That seemed to distract him long enough because he forgot about the haunted house and never looked back.  Apparently E could bounce in a one of those all day if we let him.  Only the promise of face painting was strong enough to lure him away.

Then on Halloween night, we went back to the base with a group of Consulate families for a little trick-or-treating.  Several neighborhoods were participating in trick-or-treat, so we chose one of the more popular spots and let the kids have at it.  Was E scared or nervous or shy?  Um, no.  I think the kid was born to celebrate this holiday.  On the drive there he was convinced witches were following us on their broomsticks, which he found hilarious, and when we arrived, he boldly walked up to every house and screamed trick-or-treat as loud as he could.  We had to remind him to say thank you, but he eventually started saying it on his own.  

My favorite part of the night was when he walked up to a house with a woman (dressed as a black cat) handing out candy, and a very still, statue-like man sitting next to her in a wolf costume.  E took his candy, said thank you, then turned to the wolf (who had still not moved at this point) shook his hand and said, "Hey! You're the Big Bad Wolf!"  The wolf/man was so surprised that he took off his mask just to get a better look at this tiny little child who had just befriended him.  His black cat wife said he was the only kid who was brave enough to come near him all night and proceeded to reward E with extra candy.  Now, I love my kid,  but I don't know whether I should be concerned or proud of his "bravery."  But, I'm telling you--Halloween is his holiday.  

The night ended with E clutching his bag of candy with all his might and telling us all about the fun he had. And with me kicking myself for not snapping a picture of him with the Big Bad Wolf.  

Trick-or-Treat! He was very quick to point out that he was a crocodile, not an alligator.

The Trick-or-Treat Gang
On his way!

The following evening, all the adults got dressed up for their own night of partying.  The Consulate hosted a Halloween bash at a local restaurant with a beautiful view of the lake.   Everyone came in their best costumes, including me and S who dressed as Buddy Holly and his Sock Hop Girl.   I think the party started out a bit slow, but once the lights dimmed and the music started blaring, everyone let their guards down and had a blast.  My favorite part of the night was when the PD officer and I tried to teach the Principal Officer and a few of the local staff how to do the Time Warp.  Because what's a Halloween party without a little Rocky Horror Picture Show!?

I can't wait for next year's party.  S and I are already discussing costume ideas...

Group shot!

Buddy Holly and his Sock Hop Groupie

A Gangster, The Mad Hatter, Zorro and Buddy