Not much to say. Just had a lovely day chilling out with Liam, and especially enjoyed some peaceful and relaxing time in our garden downstairs. Such a perfect Friday afternoon!
Over the last week I’ve decided to get a bit more creative and do some artsy/ craftsy type things with Liam. I’ve been browsing around a bit on the internet and have found a few blogs with some things to try with a toddler under 2. It is a bit hard to think of ideas for such a little guy, but we’ve experimented with a couple and I’m glad we did. I don’t think he really cared too much, but still, I want to keep at it, maybe doing a couple a week for now, just to give him something different to do. So far we did painting in a ziplock bag, which I think I mentioned in my last post, and yesterday we did painting in a box. The best part are that both projects are mess-free! Yay!
Now that Liam has his own nice room that he can actually play in and spend time in, we decided it’d be fun to decorate it a bit. I’d actually thought of creating some animal pictures to decorate his old room too, but I never got around to it. Also, he only slept in his room as it wasn’t really very child-friendly, so I never really had the motivation to do the pictures. But, with a new burst of inspiration, I made the first animal ‘wall hanging’ over the last couple of nights and I really enjoyed it. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but it’s about 1 ft high and 1.5 ft long. I used watercolours to paint a big yellowish sheet of paper and reddish/brownish one, then cut and pasted the pieces of the lion together, and finally, added details with little bits of the painted paper too. It was quite a fun puzzle to piece together and I’m pretty happy with the results, if I do say so myself! Today I was excited to hang it up on the wall and to also hang up the few painted things Liam’s done too, however, Liam didn’t quite have the reaction I was expecting. I think he was quite intrigued by the lion I made and as soon as I put it up on the wall he threw a fit! He wanted to play with it, not have the stupid thing put up on the wall! What was I thinking? So, I decided to wait until tomorrow at naptime to sneak up the paintings he did, so maybe then he won’t get upset about it. So funny. Ah, kids…
Another slightly creative thing has been playing with stickers. One day last week stickers saved my sanity! Liam was very cranky with the ol’ teething, so I got out these tiny little stickers and he was instantly engrossed in taking them one by one and sticking them on his leg. He loves tiny things like that and was absolutely silent and in deep concentration for ages, just putting them on, repositioning them, taking them off again, etc. It was amazing to have a quiet break after a morning of him repeatedly falling apart!
So, that’s what we’ve been up to. I’ve got a few more interesting projects I’d like to try with Liam in the next week or so, and I also have an elephant, owl and gazelle planned for Liam’s room. But tonight, I’m skipping the art and opting for a film instead!
Well, since my last post, nothing extraordinary has happened. But I did get the results of my glucose test thing and I’m normal! As my doctor reminded me when she passed on the news, that doesn’t mean I can eat sugar freely still. I have been incredibly well behaved these past few weeks though, if I do say so myself, but it’s nice to know that if I have the occasional potato or treat I’m not going to die of carb/sugar overload!
Which is a good thing, because yesterday was Richie’s birthday, and I’ll admit to indulging in a small piece of delicious chocolate cake. Since he was working yesterday, we sort of celebrated Sunday as his birthday, and it was mother’s day too, AND our friend Marijke shares the same birthday as Richie so we saw her in the evening for wine and cake too! Actually, it probably wasn’t the most relaxing day because we decided to do some apartment rearranging we’ve been wanting to do for a while. It was a bit of physical labour, especially for Richie, but we got a lot done and are feeling really good about it. Basically, we switched rooms with Liam, so now he’s got the nice sunny big room as his bedroom/playroom and we’re in the smaller room. We still have lots of throwing away of things to do, and organizing before everything will really feel settled, but we’ll get there. Yesterday Liam and I just stayed home all day because it was a bit drizzly and overcast outside and I had a headache, so while he played, I just pottered around throwing things away and sorting stuff out in his new room, so even though I felt a bit blah yesterday, I felt like things were certainly accomplished. I think Liam’s having fun in his new room too!
I’m also making plans to decorate his room more, make it more colourful and kid-friendly, because it’s a bit plain and boring now. I started on a bit of a project last night to make some colourful animal pictures for his room, and he did his first ever painting project yesterday too, so we’ll be hanging up his artwork in there as well! I put a piece of paper in a ziplock baggy with a couple globs of watercolour paint, a small bit of water and a small travel-sized shampoo bottle, just to put some object in there to help squish around the paint. I found the idea on this website, and I’m excited to try a few more things too. It is hard to think of many crafty/arty ideas for an under-two-year-old, so this was helpful. Honestly, the ‘project’ kept him interested for about 2 minutes, but still. I think I still want to try and do more arty things with him, just to give him something different to do really, and I’m sure he’ll get more interested in such things when he’s a bit bigger. But no harm in letting him play around with stuff now.
This morning I’m feeling much better so we headed out to the playground for about an hour, which was refreshing even if the weather is still a bit dodgy and a few drops of rain fell on our heads. Liam definitely needed the outside time though. I just wish a) birds and cats and dogs didn’t poop and b) people would never ever drop rubbish or cigarette butts on the ground! I hate having to tell him no ever 2 minutes to keep him from picking up gross stuff! It’s not like the park is really dirty or anything. It’s actually pretty clean. It’s just that Liam manages to find every minuscule bit of junk around, no matter how out of the way or tiny! If only he were that tidy at home! But despite that, it’s still great to see him have fun outside and it sure makes him take a good long nap!
Well, I don’t have any photos for now, but I’ll work on that! Now, however, it’s naptime! Yippee!
So, this is kind of a random post, but I had my first experience of passing out yesterday. At least that I know of. I had to do one of those glucose blood test things I’ve heard of so many pregnant women having to do, but somehow I got lucky and didn’t have to take one when I was pregnant with Liam.
Anyway, Richie took the morning off work yesterday so I could go to the lab to have the test done. Little did I realize that it would take more than THREE HOURS! As a result, Richie’s morning off morphed into Richie’s entire day off, and he’s just going to make up an extra day of work in a week or so.
I think the fact that I walked to the clinic, up a giant steep hill, on an empty stomach of course, was probably a contributing factor. I felt fine when I got their and surprisingly not really that hungry (pregnant or no, I’m always starving in the morning!). I don’t really have any problem with getting blood taken generally, and at first things were fine. Then after the initial blood sample was taken and I was sitting in the chair for a minute, I started feeling funny and woozy and like I just wanted to curl up and lay on my side. I remember the nurses there bringing me a drink of water and turning on the air conditioner for me and then…
I was in a happy place! Haha, it’s so weird, the experience right before passing out feels miserable, but being passed out feels kind of nice! It was like dreaming a bit, that’s all. I have no idea how long I was out, but I opened my eyes with one nurse holding my feet up and another one rubbing lemon-scented Turkish cologne on my arm and holding it under my nose and rubbing it on my forehead. Funky. I think the lemon cologne was particularly magical.
Then after I recovered a bit, it was back to the waiting room to drink the most sugary lemonade ever, which made me feel a bit ill for a while. During that first hour of waiting I just had the strongest urge to lay down and fall asleep, and I must have dozed off because the nurse came to tell me not to sleep. Luckily I had my kindle with so I just read loads, and it got easier as the time passed. I didn’t faint again anyway!
So, I get my results in another day or two and fingers crossed I don’t have a big blood sugar problem. I’ve been really behaving myself for the last week or so, cutting down the carbs and sticking with the protein and stuff, so I really, really hope that’s all I have to do. I guess I’ll find out.
All I know is that, either way, when this baby arrives, I’m treating myself to a great big giant cake and I’m going to enjoy every single bite of it! Can’t wait!
Today was picnic-adventure day, and it was lovely. We went with our friends Katherine and Alper and their baby Daniel, and had breakfast in Yıldız Park, which is a great big park not to far from us, with lots of grass and trees and all that good nature sort of stuff. It was an absolutely gorgeous sunny morning and we laid out blankets and enjoyed a delicious Turkish breakfast, with all the usual stuff; tomatoes, cucumbers, cheeses of various kinds, boiled eggs, olives, honey and cream, pastries, and tea. We provided the easy part, which was the stuff from the bakery. Katherine and Alper brought everything else!
It was great to be out, and there were lots of other people having their Sunday morning breakfast in the park too. It was rather interesting trying to keep Liam from stepping in all the food, as he basically wanted to climb right into EVERYTHING. Or if he wasn’t about to climb into it, he was doing things like trying to take each little cherry tomato half and lick it, or stealing ALL the cheese, or play with all the cups of tea, etc. It was a bit mental, but hey, whatever. The only down side was that he only slept for a little while in his buggy around noon, and then that was all the sleep he had for the day. 30 minutes instead of 3 hours is quite a difference, so it was a bit of a cranky afternoon. But it was still nice to do something different with our Sunday free day and the park was absolutely wonderful. Despite the cranky toddler, I felt quite refreshed by the morning outing. It really made it feel like summer has arrived!
Maybe because it’s spring, I’ve been having some nature cravings lately. There are lovely green leaves everywhere now, and blossoms, and swallows zipping about in the morning and evening, and that freshness in the air… there is nature in the city to be sure, but getting a taste of it in an urban setting seems to make me greedy for more! I want fields and forests and fresh streams or sea, wild spaces where you can’t here any traffic or construction sounds. I want some wilderness!
However, since I can’t get that right now, I’ve been re-reading the poetry of one of my favourite poets, Mary Oliver. I just love the nature imagery that her poems evoke. They bring up all kinds of associations for me, of a particularly American sort of wild landscape, open spaces, a sense of freedom, freshness, exhilaration, all that good and inspirational stuff. For any of you nature lovers out there, I recommend getting your hands on some of her poems!
The other day I was reading ‘The Summer Day’ and I absolutely love it and the sort of ‘life questions’ of the poem, so I thought I’d share the second half of it. Actually, I think I could do with writing the last line of this poem down and posting it all over the flat, because I think it’s the sort of question I’d like to ask myself every day for the rest of forever! I’m going to make it my mantra! Anyway, here it is…
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
– from The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver
I’ve been having some fun recipe experiments lately. That is, on the days when I don’t hate the sight of the kitchen and the mere thought of having to cook. I’ve been a bit back-and-forth on the whole kitchen/cooking thing for months now, probably pregnancy related, but my desperation for healthy new recipes and inspiration has led me to some delicious discoveries.
My favourite food blog at the moment is Stonesoup, for many reasons. One of the highlights are all the recipes featuring only 5 ingredients, most of which are prepared in about 10 minutes. Time and time again I’ve looked at such a short ingredient list and simple cooking instructions and been sceptical that the end result would end up being very flavourful, but each and every time I’m delighted with the delicious food I end up eating! Obviously such quick and easy cooking is a great thing when one has a toddler to chase around. There are also tons of high-protein and low-carb recipes, and lots of great vegetarian recipes too, which have been a lifesaver during pregnancy. I actually just had a routine blood test last week and apparently my blood sugar levels are too high. This has been a wake-up call to cut back on the carbs again. I have to have a follow-up test as soon as I get the chance, so hopefully it won’t be a major problem, but still, I do need to cut down on all the pasta and potatoes and sugary stuff. I’m also trying to find new and creative things for Liam to eat, or at least to try. He eats really well, fruits, veggies, meat, everything, but I want to keep introducing him to new stuff, especially some vegetarian stuff. He loves his meat, the little carnivore, and I’m perfectly okay with that, but I’d just like him to have wide-ranging tastes, so I would like to have him at least try more lentil/bean type stuff. With a little coaxing, he did eat some of the lentily fake-meatballs we had for dinner tonight, so that was a success!
Anyway, here are some of the Stonesoup recipes we’ve tried recently and loved, for anyone interested. There are so many more I want to try!!! Unfortunately, there are some I can’t really do here, because of the ingredients available (or not available), but I’m sure I’ll have a chance some day!
Lentil-balls with tomato sauce (just had this for dinner tonight with fried courgettes/zucchini and it was really good. Liam even tried some! It was a delicious and MUCH cheaper alternative to meatballs)
Chickpea burgers with yogurt sauce and cucumbers (haven’t tried this yet, but it’s on the menu for tomorrow night)
Butter chickpeas (mine took a bit longer than 10 minutes to cook because I added some extra vegetables, but it was still really quick and easy. Had it a second night substituting some left-over roasted chicken breast instead of the chickpeas and that was delicious too)
Carrot ribbon salad with pesto and cashews (love it!)
Anyway, it’s a fun blog to explore! Love it love it love it!
The weather here has been absolutely gorgeous and I feel so energized by it. It’s amazing what sun and warmer weather can do for one’s whole outlook on everything! I’ve especially been enjoying the mornings. Although it’s still (barely) April, the days have been hot enough, especially when one is pushing a toddler in a buggy up a hill! But the mornings have been perfect, just a nice touch of coolness, and plenty of sun, but still not the sort of glaring hot sun of the afternoon. So I’ve been making a point of getting out the door at around 9:00 or 9:30 to take Liam out to play at that lovely time of day. He gets to have some fun, I get to enjoy the relative quiet of the morning, the playgrounds aren’t too busy, and then Liam takes a great long nap after all that running around. It’s wonderful. I also find that if I do something productive like that in the morning, the whole rest of the day is more productive. Or even if it isn’t, I feel better knowing that I got something done earlier in the day, so I don’t feel like a completely lazy slacker. So my May resolution is to get out just about every morning with Liam. This month will be the nicest weather and I won’t yet be quite so huge and uncomfortable, so I really want to make the most of it! Come June and July I’ll have a huge belly and it’ll be scorching hot, so I might not have quite as much motivation to get out tons, so I better just go for it now while I do!
In other news, our doula came over again today, which was lovely. We went over some breathing techniques for dealing with labour and contractions and talked about this and that. It was a nice visit and it’s good to start thinking about all these things. I just know the next three months will fly by at a ridiculous speed and it’ll suddenly be time to pop out a baby! Don’t want to leave all this preparation until the last minute!
Tomorrow is May Day and Richie’s off work, so that’s a nice treat. Richie said he heard that tons of things will be shut down tomorrow in the centre of Istanbul, in an effort to avoid or cut down on the rioting and craziness. None of this effects us much, since we’re out of the middle of the city, but it’s nice to get a day off together on account of it! We’ve got some modest spring cleaning and organizing plans for tomorrow, so it’ll be much easier to get that stuff done with two of us here. And then I think we’re meeting a friend for lunch, so it should be a well-spent Wednesday!
Well, the weather today is just absolutely gorgeous so Liam and I got an early start and headed to our nearest playground at about 9:00. I felt super sleepy this morning, but being out on such a lovely fresh morning in the (relative) peace and quiet was quite rejuvenating!
Liam enjoyed wandering around, chasing pigeons, inspecting berries and stones and all his usual stuff. But the big deal today was that he climbed up into the playground equipment and then came down the big twisty slide all by himself (with a little spotting from me on the slide bit)! I was so proud of him and he was all excited and proud of himself too! So cute. He’s been going up in that stuff for ages but with Richie or I to help him on stairs and go down the bigger slide with him, but with my belly getting ever bigger, it’s getting more difficult to squeeze myself up into that playground stuff! So, it was one of those moments to give him some encouragement and then trust that he could handle the new challenge. I know this is such a small example of it, but it was definitely a mini ‘letting go’ parenting moment for me. I try not to hover too much with these things and crowd him, but of course I want him to be safe and careful, but I let him try it on his own and he did great! Yay! Funny how exciting these little milestones are when you’re a parent, and the best part is seeing how happy he was with his big-boy accomplishment.
Well, having been out for a bit on this gorgeous day, I’m feeling greedy for more and after nap and lunch-time, we’re going to head out again to another park, the lovely grassy one down the hill from us. It’s got ducks and a pond and everything! But first, a bit of rest to recharge for the afternoon.
Oh, and here are the latest photos. The ones of him on that panda-bike type thing crack me up. We went to another playground in our neighbourhood on Wednesday and a kid there had that bike, and was really good about letting Liam ride it. I ended up just pushing him around on it FOREVER, and he just didn’t want to get off. He loved it! So much for him getting exercise! I was the one doing all the work, but oh well. Sadly, the family eventually had to go home and take the bike with them, which meant Liam had a complete meltdown for a few minutes and was inconsolable. After about three minute though, during which no comfort from me helped at all, he discovered a stick and then was perfectly content to poke around in the dirt and forgot all about the terrible trauma of the bike. Ah, the emotional upheavals of being a toddler!
Well, we had an extra especially nice weekend this week. Saturday was the last day of the term for me, which was nice. I’ll still teach the same classes next term, but it’s still a sort of relief to finish up that nine-week period. Usually I stay after my Saturday classes to do all my planning for the upcoming week, but our friend Amanda was having a barbecue at her place so I left right after my class so we could head over there.
It was such a nice evening. We couldn’t stay too long, so we could get Liam to bed at a reasonable time, but it felt so good to be out. We don’t get to do that sort of thing too often these days, so it was a special treat. They had an old mattress brought out into the courtyard for Liam to play around on and he got lots of attention and got to do lots of exploring, so he certainly had fun. Richie and I had a great time too, and there was lovely food, great weather and it was very pleasant to get to chat with friends we don’t see often and some new people as well.
Sunday was our normal day off and we did our usual stuff… chilled out morning, naptime, then out for lunch and some playtime in the park. Today Liam had a very cranky day, which was a bit exhausting, but Richie came home early from work which was a treat and my friend Katherine and her baby came for a visit, so that redeemed the afternoon anyway! The weather’s been a bit all over the place, but hopefully we’ll have dry weather so I can get Liam out to play a few times. And Thursday I have a doctor’s appointment, so I’m looking forward to that.
Liam’s still sprouting teeth all over the place! He’s gotten 5 new ones in the last month and I think it won’t be too long till he gets more! Poor kid. He’s taking it all very well though. The latest cute things he’s been doing are giving us kisses and giving Richie hugs goodbye before he goes to work. With the kisses it’s cute because he pooches out his lips so much and gives me a kiss on the lips. First he would just lean in his face towards Richie so that Richie could give him a kiss on the cheek, I think because of Richie’s beard, but now he’ll give Richie kisses too. It’s adorable. Last week Liam started giving my belly kisses too! So cute! He’s also started taking notice of my friend Katherine’s baby. We’ve been visiting Katherine every week for ages, but usually Liam didn’t pay any attention to her baby Daniel. But just recently he’s started patting him, giving him hugs, talking to him and trying to play with him a bit. It’s so sweet to see him interacting so nicely with Daniel and it also helps me imagine how he’ll be as a big brother in a few more months.