2012 recap + New Year’s Eve outfit idea

December 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hi everyone! Hope you’ve had a nice weekend! I am a sucker for those end-of-year montages that most news shows do during this time of year. I get sucked in every time. I usually like to take time to reflect and gear up for next year’s goals. Yep, I’m one of those people that makes goals and lists and stuff. I haven’t always been this way, but I don’t know what I would do without my notebook of lists. 😉

So if you guys don’t mind, here’s my own little end-of-year recap:20121228-152217.jpg

1. My sister came to visit! I hadn’t seen her in over a year. We had a blast catching up.

2. O had a blast reconnecting with his auntie.

3. Ah, the husband surprised me and took me to Paris. Sans kid. This was certainly the highlight of my year. I still dream of those buttery croissants.

4. This year we finally made our way to Cappadocia. If you’ve never been, please add this to your bucket list. This place is my most favorite in all of Turkey.

5. Our friends took us to many delicious picnics like this. You haven’t been to a picnic until you’ve picnic’ed with a Turk.

6. We got to vacation on the Aegean sea. I just consider it a highlight every time I get to lounge on the sand by the sea. 20121228-150906.jpg1. We got back to America and took O to the zoo. My face doesn’t show it, but I truly enjoyed taking O to do something he likes so much. (keeping it real though, if I never have to set foot at another zoo, I’d be so glad!)

2. O enjoying all the wide open spaces America has to offer. I loved seeing his reactions to everything here. He was obsessed with mailboxes when we first got back. So cute.

3. Thanksgiving with family.

4. Oreos. And m&m’s. And jelly beans. And every other American candy I can’t get back in Turkey.

5. Enjoying O thrive in America, including watching him be a shepherd at our church’s Christmas play.

6. It was our frist Christmas in America in three years. We had a blast.

7. This hug. After a long journey across the atlantic, these two finally got reunited. Just looking at the picture, I get all teary eyed again.

2012 was such a great year.

I will be ringing in the New Year from the comfort of my pajamas and bed. And that’s just how I like it these days. But I put together this little look, should the right invitation come my way (ha!).

{dress (similar), tights, booties, nail polish, coat, clutch, headband}

So what plans do you have this New Year’s Eve? Do share and let me live vicariously through you!

Have a very Happy New Year guys!


on reflections of the past year

December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

We had to take down our Christmas tree early because we had guests coming to stay and we needed the space. Normally, this would have made me cringe. I mean, what kind of person takes down Christmas on the actual Christmas day? Honestly, it felt good to put everything away. Ready to start the new year. I’m ready to set new goals.

First, however, I like to take the time to reflect on the year that has past. It’s been a good year, I have to say. Unexpectedly good. Like last year, I’m using Simple Mom’s reflection questions, answering the ones that are pertinent to me. Hope you enjoy them, as much as I enjoy answering them.


What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

As always, many wonderful things happened this year. On personal, spiritual and even physical levels. But when I look back on this year, the one thing that stands out is our trip to Paris. It marked a new beginning for me, not to mention a dream come true.

What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Ah, there are many a challenge I lived through this year. Understanding friendships in cross-cultural settings, packing up and leaving for a six-month long trip…

What was an unexpected joy this past year?

Can I bring up Paris again? Because that was a surprise I won’t soon forget… The buttery croissants, the macarons, French being spoken all around. It was glorious!

Also, parenting O has been such an unexpected joy this year. Not that before it wasn’t. But I think I’m finally coming into my own as a mommy. Plus, parenting a little boy is so.much.fun.

What was an unexpected obstacle this past year?

A week before we were to leave Turkey, the husband got really sick. It was crazy and unexpected, and yes, I was panicking. After he received some fluids at the hospital, he fell asleep and woke a new person. I was so glad! I don’t think we could have crossed the Atlantic without his invaluable help.

Pick three words to describe 2012.

fun = I had a lot of fun this year. After two years of dealing with cross-cultural adjustment and stress, I finally reached a point where I could have fun again. That was such a blessing.

morning= 2012 is the year I became a morning person. Well, not really. I did finally achieve my goal of waking up before my boys were up. To have some Bible time, some workout time, some quiet time. It didn’t happen every morning, but it happened most mornings and I’m so much better for it.

simple= it was the year of going back to basics. Finding my way back to my roots, relearning to apply my gifts and talents in new ways. Most importantly, it was the year of keeping things simple and meaningful.

What were the best books you read this year?

I always say the best book is the one I’m reading at the moment! I read two wonderful parenting books, that, in many ways, changed my outlook on motherhood. One was The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson and the other was Wild Things:The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David S. Thomas.

A fun light read that I thoroughly enjoyed, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.

Honorable mention goes to Thin Within by Judy Halliday, a book that has helped me in my journey to stay healthy and not be controlled by food.

With whom were your most valuable relationships?

Always and forever, my guys. Not a day goes by without my heart exploding with gratitude to God for these two wonderful people in my life.

Going back to my words (simple), I learned even more the value and the beauty of the relationship I have with my family. My sisters were my very first friends and continue to be my best friends. I miss them, immensely, everyday.

What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

As mentioned before, I turned a new leaf. To quote Florence + The Machine:

Happiness hit her like a train on a track… The dog days are over, the dog days are done.

It was the year of many prayers answered. Big, small and outright impossible requests were seen. The God of Impossibles showed me, once again, that He is control. That with Him, the possibilities are endless. It was the year of finding a childlike faith. Gone is the cynicism, I’m not so jaded anymore. And that friends, is pure victory.

I am most certainly not the same girl that woke up on January 1st, 2012. I’m thirty, I’m thinner and I’m certainly happier (not because Im thirty and thinner, mind you!) 🙂

In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I am about the complete my 2nd round of the Insanity workouts. Just the fact that I was able to complete the first round is victory enough. But decide to go through it again and actually enjoy it? That, I never saw coming.

What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

Laughing, wrestling, baking. Drawing, watching, playing. Running. Smiling. Learning. It’s been a fun year for this stay at home mom. Oh, and reaching an Advanced level of Turkish was the cherry on top!

What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

Time management and flexibility. At one point I had four different guests coming to stay with us one after the other. One day the husband dropped off one of our guests as he was picking up some more friends that were coming to stay. I barely had time to throw new sheets on the bed. It was challenging, but we did it!

What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Oh, the usuals… Facebook, Pinterest. Of course this was the year of Instagram. Everybody and their mother is wasting time on Instagram these days.

What was the best way you used your time this past year?

Maximizing my times in the mornings was crucial to set the tone for the rest of the day. I am finally seeing the value in some housekeeping rules my mom taught me growing up. Finding a place for everything has helped me keep everything in its place.

What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

I learned that after a storm, comes the calm. And that in life, I’ll live through many storms still. Knowing that I have Eternal hope helps me know that there’s always light after some dark times. And dare I say it, there’s light even during it.

Create a phrase or statement that describes 2012 for you.

Joyful Endurance.

Wishing everyone a fantastic new year. 2012 was great, but I’m ready to see what the new year will bring.

Happy New Year sweet friends!


A baby, a toddler and a little boy’s Christmas pictures

December 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

A look at our little boy over his past three Christmases.

1st Christmas, 2010:


2nd Christmas, 2011:


3rd Christmas, 2012:
(look at that big boy!)


I just can’t get over how cute he is. It’s ok though, ’cause I’m the mama!

Check back Monday for a 2012 recap! 😉

Christmas and Forever 21 pants

December 27, 2012 § 3 Comments

We had a lovely Christmas in America this year. Filled with family, presents and joy! This year was extra special because it was the first one O really understood what was going on. Plus we were so blessed by our family’s overwhelming generosity!
Here are a few of the highlights:

1. I have wanted a Kitchenaid mixer for a long time and my wonderful in-laws decided it was time I got one! When in Turkey, I host often and this mixer will be a lifesaver. One of my favorite things to do with my son is to bake. I can’t wait to bake many memories together!

2., 3., 4. and 5. The rest of the pictures just reflect the fun morning we had. Look at that banana-eating monkey! He didn’t eat breakfast because he was too busy playing with his new Legos. So he had to refuel with a banana mid-morning!

We have made it a tradition to take special Christmas pictures of O. This year I might have gone a little too far with the production, but isn’t he just the cutest?20121227-153838.jpg See past pictures here.

I went ahead and asked the husband to snap some outfit photos. I wore this on Christmas Eve to the husband’s family’s annual get-together at granny’s house. It was comfy and relaxed, with a touch of Christmas. I found these pants two days before and I couldn’t be happier. They have a great fit and are a great price for such a trendy piece. I know everyone in the States has been doing colored pants for ages but I’m just now jumping on this trend. 😉


pants, Forever 21/sweatshirt, ?/ flats, Deichmann/ necklace, Kotton)


Merry Chrristmas

December 24, 2012 § 4 Comments



high five for Friday + simple gift wrapping

December 20, 2012 § 4 Comments

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you are taking the time to enjoy the season. Sippin’ hot cocoa, listening to Christmas music and waiting in anticipation for our dear Savior’s birth!
Today I’m high five’ing the kind people in our community that make this season all the more special:

1. We have been enjoying all the excitement in the Christmas activities at church! This was a fun night of crafts and baking and singing for the kiddos. Love the people that go out of their way to bless our children! #goodwill


2. The firefighter that went out of his way to make my son’s day. We didn’t have scheduled visit. The man was busy cleaning the firetrucks. Oliver wasn’t feeling his best, fighting a sinus infection. After he got his firefighter hat and badge, his mood changed. :)#selflessness


3.My sweet mom-in-law taking the time to spend with her grandson so I could run some errands and take time to write. #generous


4. I don’t have a picture of the man at the pharmacy that voluntarily helped carry my heavy bags to my car. #kindness

5. The sweet new pediatrician that welcomed us into her practice and took the time to thoroughly examine our son and hear all of our questions. #attentiontodetail

I was truly blessed this week!

Right quick, I wanted to share with you guys a last-minute gift wrapping idea. There are a lot of more elaborate and beautiful ideas on the internets right now. But I haven’t had the time to make pompoms or dip-dye feathers or even carefully select some wrapping paper at the store. So this is a simple idea to wrap small last-minute gifts with things you may already have on hand. Hope you enjoy!

Simple gift wrapping from Priscila Smith on Vimeo.

Little boy style, puffy vest

December 20, 2012 § 2 Comments


Christmas sweaters in general are not my cup of tea. But someone gave us this cute little snowmen sweater so I thought the puffy vest would break the nerd-factor of the sweater.
This was the first time O got to cut his own tree. He got scared by the loud noise of the chainsaw, but loved running around the trees.
I’m loving making new memories and seeing Christmas through his eyes!


So tell me, do you cut your own tree, use an artificial or go for a pre-cut?

linking up with Mama loves Papa

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