We’ve arrived!

Well everyone, we’ve made it to Ireland and are starting out on a whole new chapter of life! I think it’ll be a bit crazy for a while, but it’s great to be back here, with lots of family around and loads of old friends to re-connect with.

Since I’m about out of space on this blog anyway, I’ll be doing my ‘family’ blogging over at my new site – This Wild Life: Ireland Edition.

So, add this new site to your list if you want to see what we’re getting up to. I won’t really be posting anything on this current site now, just so you know.

Anyway, see you on over at the new site! I’ve managed to squeeze in a bit of time to write down the crazy tale of our journey here, so you can that out 🙂


I can’t believe we’re counting down until the end of our time in Istanbul! I just looked at the calendar – 17 days left!!!! Aaaaahh, I’m not ready!

We started making minor progress on throwing stuff out yesterday. You would not believe how many bags of junk I pulled out of our tiny kitchen. Mental.

Today I tackle the bathroom, which is long overdue for a clean. Blah.

In other news, my friend Paul is arriving from the US tomorrow! The last time I saw him was when I was pregnant with Liam and he left the day Liam was born, after visiting us in the hospital. A few things have changed since then 🙂

So, this visit will be a good excuse to have some fun. We’ve been trying to be very frugal lately, so a few small splurges will be a great treat. And best of all will be a chance to catch up with Paul after so long! I might even have some photos to post!

New project…

In less than a month we are embarking upon a crazy adventure, moving countries, looking for new jobs, etc. Major life change. There’s lots to do and organize!

So, guess what I’ve done? Started a new fun blog project. Yes, I am a procrastinator, and this is the sort of thing I do.

Anyway, basically it’s all about sharing the sorts of amazing things I come across that really change my perspective on things, make me think in new ways, add a new dimension to things I already know a little about. I love feeling like my brain is growing! It’s a way to focus on the wonderful and amazing things in the world and share those things, because it’s fun and I get quite a buzz out of that sort of thing. Anyway, if you’re bored and want to see what I’ve got so far, here’s the link:

I Wonder While I Wander

It’s a work in progress, so keep that in mind. Any feedback is welcome! Now I should do something responsible, like get some sleep so I can function tomorrow and do proper grown up things!

Fred at six months: food and attempts at crawling…

Well, Fred has started on solid food… although I suppose puréed apricot and baby rice aren’t really that solid, but you know what I mean. We’re off to an auspicious start. He is already an eating machine! I’ve made him small portions of course, but he’s eaten loads for his first three ‘meals’ and sort of strains to get closer to the spoon and looks like he’s dying to get the next bite! I know it’s a bit too early to get my hopes up, but if things continue like this, it looks like we might have yet another little foodie on our hands. Yay!

I have to say, I’m delighted it’s time to start him on food now. It’s more work of course, because apart from the baby rice, I make everything else from scratch. But sometimes it feels a bit challenging getting him to breastfeed, especially now that he gets so distracted by what’s going on around him and because I think he just wants so much to be on the move, it can be a bit annoying trying to get him to feed, even when I know he must be hungry. So, now with solid foods coming into the picture, I feel like I won’t have to worry so much about his feeding. I know breastmilk is the most important food for him for the entire first year, but still. It’s good to know he’ll be getting a bit extra in his belly each day!

He also looks like he’s going to start crawling pretty soon, which is mental! He’s only just six months old! He has been scooting around, spinning and doing the backwards wannabe-crawl for weeks now, but he’s been able to get up on his hands and knees properly for a few days, and this morning he was doing the rocking back and forth thing a bit. My leg happened to be behind him at one point, so he pushed off me a bit to do a sort of forward dive, which was his first successful forward move full stop, but he was cheating a bit, so it doesn’t really count. Anyway, I just keep thinking that Liam’s peaceful existence is almost over and soon he’ll have a mobile little brother trying to get him and his stuff all the time! He doesn’t know what he’s in for! Then things will really get interesting around here.

Trip to the American consulate and more moving prep…

Tuesday was a big day… we finally took the boys to the American consulate to apply for their American birth certificates and passports! They are now on their way to officially being American citizens. Since we’ll be living in Ireland, they won’t be Irish Americans, but American Irish! Strange to think that I didn’t even have a passport until I was 20 and my two boys ages 2.5 and 6 months, will have not one, but TWO passports and are already international travellers! Crazy to think how different they’re childhood experience will be from either Richie’s or mine, although I suppose that’s true for most kids in one way or another. Things change fast!

Next I have to sort out dentist appointments for myself and Richie, because doing that here will be much cheaper than in Ireland. Besides, we haven’t been to a dentist for YEARS and it’s just way past time we got that done. And then I have to do a bit more research on shipping our stuff. It looks like we won’t have enough to go with an actual moving company, so we’ll just send things with UPS or something like that. This move is a great opportunity to minimize our possessions again. We arrived here in Istanbul with two rucksacks and two carry-on bags. We won’t be able to go with quite as little as that, especially since we’ve added two people to our travelling party, but we’re only taking and shipping the necessary stuff. It’s hard thinking of leaving things behind, even stuff that wasn’t ours to begin with but we inherited when we moved into this apartment… possessions become an extension of yourself and symbols of your life, but at the same time, it will be liberating to leave behind unnecessary clutter and try to just stick to the essentials. Besides, we’ve got quite a bit of stuff back at Richie’s parents’ house, from our ‘former life’, so it’s not like we don’t own anything at all! I bet there are loads of things packed up there that I don’t even remember having! It’ll be like getting a load of new stuff!

Well, Fred’s awake so that’s the end of this post!

So, is it seriously February of 2014?

How did this happen!? Time goes too quickly. Also, the weather here in Istanbul has been very un-wintery (which I’m not complaining about!), so it is a bit difficult for me to actually get my head around the fact that is is February. Woah.

Well, life has been pretty good around here. I won’t even bother trying to do a proper re-cap of the last month + since my previous post…. just too much to say, and if I start along those lines, let’s be honest, I’ll NEVER finish this post!

So, everyone is happy and healthy. Liam is now 2 1/2 and Fred turned 6 months last week. I did a couple of weeks of work (teaching a one-to-one lesson with a teenage boy at my school), and it was a bit rough the first week, but better the second week. Fred is not big into the whole bottle thing, which isn’t a big surprise since we never tried to give him one until about 2 days before I started work! Ooops. That’s procrastination for you. Luckily, I wasn’t gone for long each day, so taking a few sips from a cup was enough to keep him alive until I got home!

Other big news!!!! We booked our flights back to Ireland! This whole move thing is really happening! I’m really excited about, but it is sort of a bittersweet sort of thing. There are so many things about Istanbul that I’ll miss and it will be hard to leave behind this part of our lives. We’ll miss our lovely friends and wonderful relaxed lifestyle most of all. Being in an amazing beautiful crazy busy interesting city. Delicious food, gorgeous fresh produce, street markets, etc. Having a real summer with sun and heat (and sometimes fantastic holidays to the sea and that sort of thing). Lots of things. It’s hard to list them all.

January 2014 196

Looking at this photo makes me feel like I might die of the cuteness!

One thing I think about a lot is how lucky we’ve been to start our family while living here. We’ve been able to comfortably live on one income since Liam was born (although I did work part time before Fred was born), and I know I’ll always have fond memories of our tiny little cramped and sort of crappy apartment, with it’s lovely windows, sunshine, amazing view over the city, sparrows darting past in the summer mornings and evenings, and even more than all of that, I’ll miss all this time we’ve had together. First the three of us, and then the four of us, just spending so much time all squished in here together, talking and playing and eating and reading stories, and snuggling together for naps, having the luxury of family time ALL THE TIME! How many people get to enjoy that!? Not too many I’d imagine. I know that our current lifestyle isn’t sustainable, since we have no savings (and actually, no jobs at this particular moment!), no insurance, you know, that grown up stuff that you need, especially when you have kids to look after! But the four and a half years we’ve spent here have really shown me that it is possible to live simply and just enjoy the people you live with, make lots of time for friends, find pleasure in small things like cups of tea, visits to playgrounds, picnics in parks. I haven’t even shopped for clothes for over two years (apart from a couple of maternity items), and I don’t miss the shopping at all! In a way, I just feel liberated! Don’t get me wrong… occasionally I’d love to go out for a fancy meal and a bottle of wine like Richie and I used to, but I know we’ll do that again someday, and for now, I’m very satisfied with life. Doing with out all the fluffy things also makes me appreciate it more when we actually do get a treat, which is nice too.

Anyway, I am looking forward to a new start, a new job, hopefully having something rewarding to work at, a new direction, etc., but I know I’ll miss our magical, free-and-easy togetherness years in Istanbul.

On that note, I’ll head off to bed. Here are a few photos and more to come!

Merry Christmas!

Here are some videos of Liam and his stocking from Santa. He’s been having fun with his cars and oranges (which he calls apples) all morning. We all had some fun popping open some Christmas crackers too. Now we’ve got a roast in the oven and some apple desserts waiting for us for later. Yay for Christmas!

New directions, changes on the horizon and Christmassy fun…

Well, I’m going to try and actually WRITE a post, instead of just putting up photos. I feel like I’ve had lots to say, but no time or energy to say it!

First of all, I’ve started a training course to become a doula, aka birth assistant. I’m so excited about it! I had two such great doulas for Liam and Fred’s births, and their help made such a big difference in how I experienced the births and the overall outcomes, I basically want to be able to give that same help, encouragement and care to other women during their childbearing experience. Right now I’m doing some online studying, learning lots about the physiology of labour and birth, as well as lots about nutrition during pregnancy, routine hospital procedures during labour and birth, managing pain in labour, breastfeeding, etc. It’s so fascinating and I love it! I never would have imagined I’d find this stuff so interesting until I started doing research when I was pregnant with Liam. Since there’s such a high c-section rate here in Turkey, I was really nervous about what would happen when it came time to give birth. I wanted a natural, unmedicated birth and the more I read, the more I was convinced that that was the best option for me, and with some luck, a few helpful connections from friends, and a bit of persistence, I found a way to have a natural birth here, and in the meantime, found a topic I’m pretty passionate about! Anyway, it feels so refreshing and energizing to be starting on a new path. I haven’t decided that I won’t go back to secondary school teaching in the future.. it’s just that with the uncertainty in the job market, I don’t want to have all my eggs in one basket. It feels great to be taking a real step to hopefully giving myself a better chance of finding work when we leave Istanbul. If I can get started as a doula when we get back to Ireland, I have a sort of multi-step plan for the next few years… I’d also like to train as a breastfeeding counsellor and childbirth educator. I’ll still be in an educational role, working with women and their families in a caring and supportive role, doing something important that I can feel good about! The brilliant thing is that, even if I end up as a secondary school teacher, I could still do some of this birth related work too, maybe not much, depending on my schedule, but a bit here and there. So, either way, it’s a win!

Besides new job/career options, the other big thing is that Richie and I are planning to move back to Ireland next year! Richie’s brother is getting married in June and his sister in July, so we’re going to be spending a bit of time back there anyway for the weddings, so we decided we should try to find work while we’re there. It’s nothing against Turkey… Istanbul has been very good to us. But at the same time, I miss Ireland and with two little boys, it’s really hard to be so far from both our families. And I suppose, realistically, it’s time we got going on a more sustainable way of life. It’s been great here, Richie having so much free time to be home with us, having a comfortable standard of living on such an easy work schedule, etc. It’s been a great few years and I’m really thankful this is how we got to start our family. However, in some ways it feels like things have stagnated and we need to make a change. Also, there will be other things to think about in the not too distant future, like Liam going to school, us needing to save a bit of money, have insurance, more stable jobs… grown-up stuff like that. Basically though, it just really feels like it’s time to start a new stage of our lives. It’s a bit terrifying at the moment, because we have no idea if we’ll be successful in finding work or what exactly what is in store for us in the next year or so, but it’s exciting and it’ll be so great to be home, with family and some of our closest friends, and all that kind of thing.

Hm, I guess that’s about it for now. Fred’ll be awake soon and Richie will be back from work any time now. Tomorrow afternoon/evening, we’re hosting our little Pre-Christmas cookie party with a few friends, so I’ll be heading out when he gets home to get some delicious cookies from the bakery, some wine and odds-and-ends for mulled wine, and that sort of thing. Yum. I’ve never made mulled wine, but I’m really looking forward to giving it a go and having such an indulgent festive treat tomorrow. I think it’s going to be a mix of this recipe and this recipe, so we’ll see how my improvised version turns out! Also, I know one of our friends, Marijke, has been slaving away in her kitchen, making about 5 kinds of treats for tomorrow and I can’t wait to eat all those goodies!!!!!! On that delicious note, I shall finish up here! Hopefully I’ll have some cute Christmassy photos of Fred and Liam soon!

Liam climbs mountains…

But first he builds them, on his bed. Having our double size spare mattress on the floor in his room has been the best thing ever! It makes such a great place for him to jump and tumble and we take naps with him there too. So, one of his latest things is to pile up all the pillows and cushions in our flat and then throw himself on them very dramatically and flop around the place. Endless fun, and luckily, not too many bumps and bruises so far.