mom-mode post #220- on preparing for traveling with a 2-year-old

October 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

We have three days left before we start on our journey back to America. Here are few of my preparations gearing up for the long plane rides and lay overs:

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1 – McQueen stickers and coloring books

2-Aquadoodle travel pad. Coloring without the risk of ended up with marker all over the airplane seat.

3 – Airplane seat organizer

4 – A bag already packed inside the carry on bag, ready to be pulled out with all of our snacks, iPad, etc. So the carry on goes in the overhead compartment once and it doesn’t come down until we land.

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5 – Wrapping small cars, so O can open one by one as he gets tired/bored. I wrapped the coolest Hot Wheels I could find!

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not pictured:

6 – iPad loaded with new shows/favorites shows and apps as well as headphones.

7 – Snacks galore. I’m packing fruit leather, suckers, starburst (to chew on during take off and landing), raisins and the usual crackers…

8 – A few lightweight favorite books and one new one.

9 – A pair of pjs and socks to change into and get all cozy ad ready to sleep on the longer flight!

Pray for me friends!!!

I am going to need it.

p.s.: For next time, I wanna get my hand in one of these!

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mom-mode post #218 – on another transition

September 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hey there friends!

Just thought I’d write a little note to let you know that things will be a a little quiet around here. We are getting ready to go to the States in the next week or so. Needless to say there’s not much time for blogging left.

I do hope to get back into blogging stronger than ever once we settle into things in America. I hope to bring you more outfit posts and more essays about becoming a mommy.

Enjoy this lovely beginning of Fall!!!

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mom-mode post #192 – on a trip of a lifetime final part

June 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

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We only had the morning to sightsee on our last day, so we opted for a laid back morning of a croissant and cafe au lait breakfast at a historic area around the Notre Dame. We chose the charming Au Bougnat Cafe, and were not disappointed.

We took a leisure stroll throughout this neighborhood. Did a bit of last-minute shopping and then headed to Cafe Carrette for one last round of macarons. And fit in one more sighting of the Eiffel tower. Just the perfect way to end our time in City of Lights.

Our journey back to Bursa, Turkey was long but relaxing. Traveling without a toddler is such a breeze! We came in the middle of the night, so I didn’t get to see O until the morning. It was the first time I had left him for this long. It was so strange not to know what he was doing at every moment of every day. He seemed to have missed us, but had a lovely time with his Gram and great-aunt. I’m so grateful for their willingness to stay in foreign country and watch our son, so we could have some time for ourselves! I’m also, of course, grateful for the husband, for orchestrating such a great surprise. A trip of a lifetime indeed.

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mom mode post #191 – on a trip of a lifetime part III

June 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Thursday morning woke us with a nice warm breeze. We decided to try a new patisserie for breakfast. We were so pleased, the people there were so friendly. Actually let me make a parenthesis here and just say how the french were so friendly to us. We didn’t meet one sales person, one waiter or anyone for that matter, that wasn’t extra nice to us. The husband’s high school french (i.e. May I got to the bathroom please?) combined with my 5th grade french (i.e. Good morning, how are you?) didn’t amount to much, but everyone went the extra mile to help us out.

We sat on an iron cafe table. No tourists in sight. Just regular Parisians having their cafe au lait. And the grotesque Brazilian having mounds of macarons for breakfast. What can I say? I just couldn’t have enough of them. That morning we visited the Jardin de Luxembourg. After a long day of sightseeing the day before, we welcomed the sight of crisp french gardens and delicate English roses. We sat there for a long while, resting our tired legs, letting go of all the stress of the past two years. Afterwards I wanted to hit up two other museums, but I also wanted to save enough time for some fun shopping. So I let go of seeing my beloved Degas (hope to catch it on another trip!) to go see the Rodin museum. My sister had said it was fabulous. And it was. The gardens, the sculptures, the Van Gogh and Monet! My eyes relished on it all, inspired for decades to come.

As I sat there admiring the large replica of “The Thinker”, a group of school children came in with their teacher. I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I could make out that he was telling them to admire the way the Thinker was posing, for they all started to copy the statue’s pose. It hit me how lucky these children are, to get to go on field trips on a city that breathes so much culture and history. Another important note, the teacher was there by himself with the kids, and they all behaved quite all. No other chaperones needed. I thought of all the field trips I chaperoned as an ESL teacher. How much us Americans (most of the times with reason) tend to overprotect our children.

The rest of our afternoon was spent at the Lafayette Galleries. We had lunch at their Gourmet space, the husband found a comfy sidewalk to wait on and I set out for some fun shopping, but mostly exploring. For I don’t think I could afford much of what is sold there. I was amazed at the sheer greatness of it all. Six floors filled with every possible designer need. Gorgeous architecture and crowded, crazy crowded. To my surprise (not) there were tons of Brazilians! In all my travels I hadn’t seen that many Brazilians in one place outside of Brazil! But more and more Brazilians are starting to travel. Everywhere we went we met at least one or two Brazilians. Crazy. And most Brazilians, of course, love some good shopping.

We topped off our afternoon with a pre-dinner picnic on the lawn by the Eiffel tower. The husband and I took off our shoes and proceeded to have one of the most relaxing dates we’ve had. Ever. It was just magnificent. I don’t remember when was the last time our bare feet had touched grass. The sun shining just so, the breeze going just right. It was the most normal we felt in some time.

Dinner was had at the yummy Cafe Constant. If you’re ever in Paris, don’t think twice, just go there. We aren’t big fans of fancy stuffy restaurants, so casual dining is the way to go for us. This was casual dining at its best. The service was great and the food, amazing. The creamiest mashed potatoes, just-right steaks and sweet to the point Creme Caramel for dessert!
Our evening was crowned with a view of Paris and the Eiffel tower from the top of the Maine-Montparnasse Tower, a gorgeous sunset, wonderful view, even better company.

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mom-mode post #189 – on trip of a lifetime part II

June 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

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I don’t stop to be amazed at how my God continually answers my prayers and realizes dreams I’d had since childhood. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve longed to one day see Paris. Maybe it was when I started studying art in 6th grade and fell in love with the ballerinas of Degas. I longed to be bathed in culture, fashion and gourmet cuisine like Audrey Hepburn’s character in Sabrina.

Our first full day in Paris started off with a bit of that: the most amazing croissant, chocolate macaron and a cafe au lait, savored on a sidewalk table. I wrote postcards to my family, excited about the day had to offer. The husband and I taking turns talking, no interruptions. We knew we only had a limited amount of time in the city, so we circled on the map our top must-see sights and tried to hit those up first. If there was time leftover, we would try to do more. We took to the Eiffel Tower first. I didn’t think I was going to think it all that majestic. But it was. To think it was built a century or so ago, the beautiful ironed architectural details took my breath away. The husband was thrilled by the view you see from the top of the second floor. We decided to just take the stairs and not go all the way to the top. We planned to go to the top of the Montparnasse building the next night and see the tower and the city lit up. I tell you though that even from the second floor, the view was worth it and breathtaking.

We found lunch at this delicious tiny restaurant, Cafe Corrette. The dessert displays alone will have you salivating, but the pink packaging they put their sweet treasures in, is also to die for! Too bad we didn’t have time to sit down and eat there. We went back the next day for some more macarons. We decided to just take some pastries and the most-amazing-oh-my-goodness-melt-in-your-mouth macarons. After I tasted the salted caramel I was hooked. We ended up having macarons every day on this trip. Our little daily ritual. They were life-changing at every bite. We then took the metro to check out the Triumph Arc and the Champs-Elysee avenue. Beautiful, gorgeous street, but crazy busy. It was there, however, that my eyes spotted an H&M, towards which my feet started walking to, as if my mind had no control over them. The husband found a comfy place to sit and let me enjoy a whole hour of mindless meandering and shopping. I grabbed a handful of stuff to try on, but in the end only came out with a simple pair of little black flats. Does that ever happen to you? You finally get the chance (and a little budget) to go shopping at one of your favorite stores yet you can’t find a thing that you truly love to take home with you. Oh well, the flats ended up being the purchase of the trip, as I wore them every single after I got them! Quick note: yes I was in Paris and chose to shop at H&M, please don’t judge me.

That afternoon we still had time to go see the Sacre Coeur church. The whole area where this church is situated is just so charming. I had fun looking around the thrift stores and artsy shops. It was there I found the cutest eco bags as a souvenir for my sisters!

We had heard the Louvre had fewer crowds and cheaper rates on Wednesdays, for it stays open until 9:30. So we saved our evening for a walk through the Louvre. The entrance alone is a feast for the eyes. That glass pyramid is just so gorgeous. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you go in, they say it could take up to four months to go through it all! With that in mind, I knew I just wanted to go in and get a feel for this place and, of course, get a glimpse of Ms. Mona Lisa. She was tinier than I anticipated. But isn’t that with most works of art? They become so huge and famous, you picture them larger than life. “Tiny” as it was, this piece is indeed a work of art, and a cut above all the other pieces of that period. I was truly in awe.

After a stop by the gift shop where I scored the cutest hide-and-seek book about Paris for O, we went to look for some dinner. After much wandering around, the place we were looking for had closed down. We settled for a place near the Louvre. I had a yummy Quiche and the husband had duck with potatoes. Talk about dinner envy. I wanted his dish so badly! 🙂

Calorie-filled, we went on a fun walk, stopping by the Pont du Carrousel. A bridge where lovers lock a lock with their initials all along the sides of it. The atmosphere there was so fun. Young people had brought their picnic fixings, wine and guitar. The husband enjoyed taking pictures of this fun crowd, while I just got to sit down and think on all the day’s adventures!

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mom-mode #188 – on a trip of a lifetime part I

June 10, 2012 § 1 Comment

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For Valentine’s Day (and my 30th birthday) the husband surprised me with a gift I never thought I’d get: a trip just for the two of us to Paris! My mom-in-law agreed to keep O for a few days while we got to tour and enjoy Paris. I don’t think he will ever be able to top this gift! Last week, the day finally came. I got my hair done, packed only MY suitcase (no need to think about every possible thing a toddler might need!) and with passport in hand, I was ready to board!

Since we were traveling without the kid, we decided to take the bus to the place where we were staying. That alone was an experience! We got to see a lot of the real Paris, not just the touristy stuff. We rented an apartment on a not sot touristy district of Paris. It wasn’t luxurious, but it was full of charm and it had everything we needed. Plus it was a very close to a metro station.

First order of business? Food. We stopped by the local Carrefour and stocked up on baguette, gourmet butter, great cheese, madeleines and most importantly, ham. We live in a country where you can’t get pork products, so any chance we get to savor some, we are all over it. I savored each bite while looking out our window into the tree-lined street. This was probably the most memorable meal of the trip!

Tummy full, we decided to go explore. We wound up at the Notre Dame. It was right during mass. The place was packed. The candles burning offering the place a warm light. It was silent save the priest preaching calmly in elegant French. As soon as my eyes took hold of its gorgeous gothic doors, I knew I was going to love French architecture. Inside was just as gorgeous. Tall high ceilings, refined chandeliers. Not to disturb the parishioners, the husband and I quickly got out. But I could have stayed in there a lot longer.

When we got out the night had come, we walked along the empty sidewalks searching for a place to eat. We found a few souvenir shops where I stocked up on postcards to send out the next morning. After a yummy steak and pomme frites dinner, we walked to the metro, my mind already busy floating in inspiration by this gorgeous city.

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mom-mode post #171- on pasta and ayran

January 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Um this spaghetti thing ain’t so bad mommy.


Chomp, chomp.

Ooh delicious!

If I can just shove it in there a little more...Now a little Ayran to wash it all down.

We are having a lovely time hanging out with my parents. This was during one of our outings. Ayran is a buttermilk type drink that Turks love. It is, to say the least, an acquired taste. One which my little Turkey-born has certainly already acquired.

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