Tag Archives: mother in Istanbul

Positive Photo Diary

18 May
Baby, Mommy, and Doggy

Baby, Mommy, and Doggy

Marker Mayhem

Marker Mayhem

Maybe coloring with markers isn’t an age appropriate activity for an 11 month old. It was an experiment that lasted nearly three minutes.  Willy Wonka’s room has plexiglass on the back of the door.  Before Willy Wonka it was used to keep our Boxer from destroying the door.  In the future it’s going to be wonderful for washable markers and toddler art.


Long Time Gone

17 May

I’ve been a bit of a Negative Nancy lately.  Being a SAHM (stay at home mom) and being a SAHM in Turkey is making me lose my mind! I’m feeling isolated and bored.  My good brain cells are fluttering away.  I can barely put a decent sentence together for my blog.  So yes, I’ve been a Debbie Downer.  Now it’s time to take my mother’s favorite advice and put it into action.  

In 8th grade, when I was sooooo depressed about being away from first boyfriend for the summer, Kay suggested I find 5 positive things about my day and write them down. To this day, when I start whining about my life she says, “Ann write down your positive things.” I’ve decided to kick Kay’s idea up a notch.   It’s going to be my positive photo diary.  Simply, I’m going to take pictures of things that make me happy throughout the day.  Now I just wish I could get a picture of my neighbor who always wears the most amazing wolf jacket.  It’s like something you’d see in Montana.  I’ve never seen another Turk with anything like it!  

Here are my entries in my Positive Photo Diary for today:

Vibrant Orange Flowers

Vibrant Orange Flowers

Beautiful flowers in our garden

Beautiful flowers in our garden

Giant flags blowing in the wind

Giant flags blowing in the wind

The Barbun Challenge

11 Feb

Over my years in Istanbul I’ve fallen in love with balik (fish) restaurants.  Ask anyone what goes with balik and you’ll hear the word raki; the delicious national drink of Turkey.  I had to break-up with raki while I was pregnant but one week ago we met again. I missed raki and I think raki missed me too. It’s said two people strangers are no longer after a glass or two, or three of raki.

On Friday we went to my favorite area for fish; the Besiktas Balik Pazari.  Fish restaurants surround a small bazar where you can find fresh fish and produce.  It’s one of those places in the movies where two people fall in love.  Yes it’s that picturesque!

Credit: The Guide Istanbul

Here are the steps to a successful evening at a fish restaurant:

1) Sit down and order your preferred bottle of raki.  One large bottle for four people should be sufficient.

2) Select your cold mezes (small plates) I suggest a variety: eggplant, marinated sea bass, octopus salad, a yogurt dip, rice stuffed clams, spicy tomato salsa, ect.

3) Start drinking your raki!!!!!

4) After stuffing yourself with cold mezes, order your hot mezes.  I enjoy calamari or prawns in butter.

5) Drink raki while you contemplate if you’ve left enough room for the fish course.

6) Order your fish.  By this time I’m usually stuffed full of bread and raki, and in a near meze coma we order fish for the table.  My favorite is sea bass, but red mullet (barbun) is starting to grow on me.

Hey there little fish

Hey there little fish

Barbun is a small fish.  They are fried and served WHOLE.  There is nothing like your food staring you in the eye.   My one challenge is getting the yummy meat from the barbun without getting bones or head.  As a novice I’d use my fork and knife  ended up with a pea sized amount of meat on my fork.  Last Friday I finally mastered the most effective way to eat barbun.  I’ll use my video and not my words to explain it all!


Happy 7 Months!

28 Jan

Happy 7 Months!

Time is flying by because my little Willy Wonka is 7 months already.

Turkish Football: A Small Rant

21 Jan

Imagine if the NFL was dominated by just three teams.  And if one of those three teams won the Super Bowl every year.  You’d just ask yourself, “Will it be the Packers, the Cowboys, or the Patriots?”  How boring!  Well this is the unfortunate situation in Turkish football.  Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, and Besiktas are the three powerhouses.  Since 1957 one of these three teams has won the title of champion 87.5% of the time (yep I did the math).  The only other two teams to claim the title are Trabzonspor (8x)  and Bursaspor (1x).  ONLY TWO!

Even with this dominating trio, there remains much passion for Turkish football. Fans in sections of the stadium don’t rest for a breath between chants.  An empty section must be left between the home and away fans to keep fans from fighting.  I once witnessed fans destorying their own statium, yep the crazies were ripping out the seats, because their team underperformed.  I’m provinding the link to a fascinating article from The New Yorker, titled “Life Among Turkey’s Soccer Fanatics.” Sadly you can’t read the article in its’ entirety but here is a link with more information.

At one time I donned a yellow and blue jersery in support of Fenerbahce.   With recent changes in my husband’s work I’ve found myself loving an underdog team.  Who isn’t an underdog when you’ve got less than a 13% chance of becoming champion?  My new team is Kasimpasa.  This year it went from a second division team to a first division team, SuperLig.  At this time  the team is in 5th place out of 18 teams in the SuperLig.

Kasimpasa: First Goal Celebration

Kasimpasa: First Goal Celebration (husband on the right)

Second Goal Celebration

Second Goal Celebration

On Friday KP played the league leader, Galatasaray.  I left Willy Wonka with my MIL and headed to Kasimpasa for the match.  I was fully prepared for a nice ass kicking from GS.  I just hoped KP could score a goal (goodness I sound like an awful fan). The gods laughed at my pesimism and KP won the match.  It was thrilling so see GS fans handed a big dose of reality. Yes, come back to earth GS because you arent the sole star in the sky.  After the match I wanted to shout “haha suckers” but sadly I have yet to learn this phrase in Turkish.

2-1 KP Wins

2-1 KP Wins

Although KP played an outstanding match the football commentators spoke mostly of GS faults rather than KP successes.  Again the focus stayed on the top three teams.  One newspaper went as far as to call it an “embarassing loss for Galatasaray.” Really? Embarrassing?  Are the other 15 teams just around as mice for the big cats to play with until the top three can meet each other for one large cat fight?  Wow… I’m starting to sound like I care about football. I’ve even started calling it “football.”  What has happened to me?

Flying with an Infant

11 Jan

Willy Wonka has crossed the Atlantic Ocean six times and he’s just 6 months.  Before my first flight with Wonka I had major anxiety as he was just one month old.  To cure my anxiety I read over blogs and forums on the best way to fly with an infant.  Surprisingly (sarcasm) not too many people offered good information about flying with a four week old.  Yes, I’m the crazy lady who took her new bundle of joy on an international flight at such a young age.

After flying six times with Willy Wonka I’ve got a few tips.  I’ve done my trips in multiple ways: alone, with help, with a lay over, with a direct flight, with a stroller, without a stroller…

Jet Set Baby Boy

Jet Set Baby Boy

DO… pack extra clothes for the baby and yourself.  Pack lots of extra diapers and wipes. For some strange reason Wonka enjoys having a nice blowout diaper right after passing through security.

DO… bring ziplock bags for dirty clothes and bottles

DON’T… put all your things in one giant diaper bag.  It gets disorangized no matter how hard you try to keep things tidy.  I found having two smaller bags works better.  One bag for imediate needs (a few diapers, wipes, a bottle, a toy) and one bag for surplus items(more diapers, pump, forumula, clothes).  The bag with surplus items stays in the overhead bin until you need it.

DO… plan ahead and reserve the baby bassinet in the bulkhead area.  Also call and confirm with the airline a million times (I had a horrible experience with Luftansa and wonderful experiences with Turkish Airlines).

DO… bring a toy or two. Even at one month I brought Willy Wonka a book with bright colors just for looking.

DON’T… be afraid to say what you need on the plane.  If you need to adjust with another passenger, ask.  If you need help from the stewards, ask.  Don’t wait for them to come take your meal tray 45 minutes after you’ve finished.  Just take it to the kitchen.

DO… buy these wipes.  They are wonderful for the plane.  Things drop and planes are DIRTY

DON’T… forget baby pain meds, gas meds, gripe water, ect

DO…  look for opportunities to pass lines.  Everytime I’ve flown with Willy Wonka I’ve gotten help from workers.  I’ve moved up the passport line, been checked in at comfort class, passed long lines at immigration, moved to the fast track security lines.  When people see a mom with a young baby they want to make it easy and fast for you.  Just give them the “I’m a mom face.” BAM you’re at the front.

DO… baby wear if possible.  I used my Ergo carrier for 2 of the 3 trips.  It’s much faster than using a stroller.  At times it got a little sweaty, but after exiting the aircraft you don’t have to wait for your stroller.  You also don’t have to search for elevators.  Plus airport workers are more likely to feel sorry for you and bump you ahead in lines!

Baby wearing at the airport

Baby wearing at the airport

DON’T… worry about liquids (breastmilk, water for formula).  You’re allowed to carry them through security.  I’d suggest printing this in case you encounter a difficult TSA agent.

DO… consider ready-to-feed formula.  It was so helpful when Willy Wonka got hungry in the the passport line.  Sometimes you’re just in a place where you can’t nurse or make a bottle.

DON’T… stress about a crying baby.  Willy Wonka’s first flight the baby next to us cried for 8 of the 11 hour trip.  It was horrible.  But we all survived and now it’s just a distant memory.

Getting used to Business Class

Getting used to Business Class

On our last trip back to Turkey Willy Wonka was a true jet set baby because we flew Business Class.  The easiest, most relaxing flight EVER!  We were able to lie down completely.  We slept for 5 hours together.  Sadly he didn’t get to enjoy any of the champagne, but I, clearly, did not pass up the opportunity.  It’s going to be very difficult getting used to riding in coach again.

Christmas Cookies

22 Dec

One thing I love about being in the United Sates is having lots of yummy ingredients for baking. Butterscotch chips, condensed milk, marshmallows, chocolate chunks, sprinkles, peanut butter . . .  I am not a talented baker but I do enjoy attempting new recipes.  Here  are two I good ones for Christmas.

Snowmen Cookies

Snowmen Cookies

These little guys require no oven.  Thanks goodness I don’t need to worry about burning them.  You simply dip Nutter Butter cookies into almond bark.  Use M&Ms and Tic Tacs for decorating.

These cookies taste like the holidays. Mine aren’t as perfectly round as the ones from the recipe.  But I’m no professional and I’m just impressed that nothing was burnt.  We did have a small oven fire earlier in the week.  It’s not the holidays if something doesn’t start on fire.  Isn’t that a saying?



My Life

Postcards from Istanbul

Istanbul Experiences and Insights

OkobojiCreaseys Community Site

Growing Up Willy Wonka