Monday, September 06, 2010

Nana & Papa's Visit: July 2010

We were so glad Jess's mom and dad got to come in July. We were all just certain Moses would arrive by the end of June, so imagine our surprise when he overshot his due date and waited just about 36 hours after their arrival in Istanbul to make his debut!

So, the first day, as bleary-eyed Nana & Papa got used to our time zone, we enjoyed a picnic at the seaside park:
complete with a soccer game
and rock climbing!
That night, labor contractions began, and by the next morning, they were holding their 8th grandchild in their arms-- Moses Henry had arrived!
Enjoying getting to know him...
...burp him... movies while holding him...
We were all so glad Moses had waited until after their arrival! It made it all the more special.

Of course the other kids got lots of Nana & Papa time too!

It was such a special visit, and we're all so thankful for the week we had together!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Moses Henry's Birth

Our sweet little man arrived July 12th. I just realized I've shared pictures via e-mail and Facebook, but never posted them here... so here he is, in all his preciousness:

Our new family of 7, ready for action! :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bodrum Beach Vacation - 2010!

...snuggling with Silas in the shade...

This year, for vacation we were fortunate to find a home to rent near a beach in southwest Turkey. We all enjoyed every bit of it!

The kids enjoyed having grass to play in... a yard all their own for this one week!

And while we all got in the pool to swim throughout the week, Baxter, Maranatha, and Silas had the most fun just sitting on the side and dumping water from bucket to bucket (and splashing Ethan and Daddy occasionally!).

The house had beautiful flowers around it... which Silas enjoyed "watering" with his water gun :)

(randomly, here's a pic of me in the garden @ 35 weeks pregnant, for anyone who's curious) :

While we all loved it, Ethan enjoyed the pool most of all and spent a good portion of every day paddling around in the water:

And we ALL enjoyed the beach-- our first time as a family!

Silas thought Doug's sea monster impersonation was hilarious! He couldn't stop laughing at Doug snorkeling around the bay:

A nearby island with ruins was attached to the beach by a rocky sandbar, so we trekked out through the water to the island to have a look, only to see a sign prohibiting us from actually entering the ruins site once we got there (bummer!):
But still, we made it out to the island and had a good time!
Sandcastling was a big part of the fun for Doug, Ethan, and Baxter:

Well, mainly Doug... :)

The various finished products of three days' work:

Ethan and Jess enjoyed swimming out to a buoy and back!

One day while we were at the beach, Doug found a crab in the shallow water and scooped it up for the kids to observe. That crab scooted around the bucket so quick, and Maranatha offered pretzels while Silas tried to feed him seaweed (he liked neither). We named him "Sandy Claws" (though Baxter was still a bit partial to the name "Mr. Crab").

Maranatha loved playing in the sand:

On the last full day, we took turns, each of us taking one of the older boys for a kayak ride around the bay:

Ethan burst with excitement and joy for the entire ride, and declared that it made him feel like a grown-up man to go on such an adventure.

Doug took Baxter out for his ride (with Ethan running out to see them off), and they had a great time too!

We're so thankful to have enjoyed this week as a family of six... cause it won't be long now until Moses makes his debut. :)

There and Back Again... tales from the road

We had some adventures going to and from our vacation house ... on the way there, we got flagged down and the policeman said the road was closed ahead (yes, a "major highway" that's just two lanes wide... one each way) for the next hour, hour and a half. So we turned around and backtracked 5 minutes to see the gorgeous lake we'd just passed.

The landscape was a bit, well, like what you might think of as the wild west... dusty, jagged rocks, spiders, short scruffy trees... but for some reason it never crossed our minds that in just a few minutes Ethan would come tearing up back towards the car screaming "snake! snake! THERE'S A BIG SNAKE DOWN THERE!!!" Sure enough, Doug went to have a look and a nice long snake was there... 3-4 feet long, but about as thick as his forearm.

We hastily returned to the van and snapped this nice picture. :)
The wildflowers reminded us of home... though they're different varieties than what we'd see in North Texas, the roadsides were covered in them and made for such a beautiful drive.

On the return trip, we passed through some of the mountains in western Turkey and enjoyed amazing views of canyons, bluffs, train trusses, quarries, lumber yards, mining sites, and more... all kind of out-of-the-ordinary experiences for our kids who are growing up in a concrete city.

And our gracious Father, Who delights in giving good gifts to His children, showered our kids with opportunities to interact with all kinds of interesting animals during this week's getaway... including the peacocks in the museum, the owl that flew into the side of the villa and hopped around on the patio while Ethan and Baxter looked on, the crab we caught and observed one whole day at the beach, dragonflies buzzing around the poolside... AND in addition to all the donkeys, cows, chickens, turkeys, and horses they saw on the farms in our driving, there was one more little gift God gave us...

Doug saw a turtle slowly plodding along in the middle of the two-lane highway when we were returning. After he carefully drove around it, we looked at each other and knew we had to go back and get that turtle out of the road. So we did, but not before Doug took the opportunity to show it off to all the kids. Maranatha (as evidenced by her bedhead) even roused from her nap to have a gander. And "Mr. Turtle" popped his head and legs out several times during his short exhibition, to the great thrill of our kiddos.
And then we were on our way. We got home late last night and absolutely enjoyed our vacation-- even the all-day drives both ways. God provided us with so many interesting things to see and a few funny stories along the way. He is so good to us.