Thursday, May 21, 2015

Our Secret Beach & Turning 30

This past Sunday it was my first Mother's Day as well as my 30th birthday. But instead of wallowing in misery over the passing of another year, we packed up our things and headed to our secret beach spot.

I call this our secret beach spot, but really anyone could find it by looking up Yumurtalik on Google Maps and then locating the vacant beach just a few miles up the coast. At least that's what Will did to find it. 

There's not a whole lot to it necessarily, but you can drive your car right onto the beach, it's usually vacant (this time there were a couple of other families way down the beach), and it's only about an hour-ish from the house. So for us it's the perfect place to spend an afternoon with the dogs, leash free.

And it's pretty fun watching little babies play in the sand :)

This picture, well both the one above and the one below, kind of makes me swoon. I am one lucky duck with that adorable baby and handsome man! 

And one of the best birthday/mother's day gifts was that this little one finally has cheeks! 

I could seriously eat them up!

I always thought I would have a hard time turning 30, but in reality I kind of just felt too busy to stop and think about it much. Maybe that and I'm tired enough that I feel every bit of 30. Either way, I'm ok with it. I'm learning age doesn't have much to do with anything. As long as I get to keep on living (meaning in all the senses I consider to define that term), I don't really care what birthday it is.  

Twinkle toes had her first dip in the ocean. She didn't really react to the ice cold water reaching up her ankles, but we sure did! 

And to make the day complete, we watched as not one, but two goat herds made their way across the beach, flanked by a few Turkish wild dogs causing us to have to keep our dogs out of their line of sight down by the water. 

Only in Turkey friends. Only in Turkey. 

Cheers to year 31, and a great Mother's Day with four of my greatest blessings! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Around Adana: An Organic Farm in Turkey? Exploring Ekotepe

The area where we live in Turkey is known as the bread basket of Turkey. There is a lot of poverty here, but one thing is for sure, there is lots of food to go around. 

Each summer we see field after field filled to the brim with a variety of fruits and vegetables. And while garden fresh goodies come cheaply, the range of what is available is a bit limited, and for the most part you can forget anything organic. Trader Joe's is a mythical place in a far off land. 

So when we heard of an organic farm located just outside of town that offered a great brunch, we knew we had to pay it a visit. 

We were greeted with a colorful peacock.

The buffet was a traditional selection of Turkish breakfast items including a variety of cheeses (my favorite thing about Turkish breakfast), fresh and cooked vegetables, and a selection of fruit spreads with fresh baked bread. 

In addition to the buffet you had the option to order an omelet to your liking, and partake in the homemade lemonade.

Bread being baked on site is pretty typical in Turkey. 

And of course there was Turkish tea. I don't know if I've mentioned it before or not, but Turkish tea is basically the same black tea that we brew for our sweet tea in the South. And like our sweet tea, it's served sweet. Only the Turks prefer theirs served hot, and sweetened individually with sugar cubes.

The top pot holds the strongly brewed tea, the bottom pot holds warm water. you pour your tea as strong as you like, then top it off with the water and sweeten to taste. 

Our serious breakfast date was present.

But after she filled her belly she lightened up :) 

She only has eyes for dad.

The countryside around the farm was beautiful, and actually a little reminiscent of South Dakota.

The water from this fountain flowed through a trough that wound it's way through multiple levels of the eating area and finally emptying into a pool on the lower level. 

Our peacock friend came back by to see how brunch turned out. 

Then we took a stroll around the farm to see the animals. 

And before we left we stopped back in for some Turkish coffee. 

I've had many people ask me if it's true that the Turks love babies and will just take them from you. The answer is yes. Yes. Yes. Yes! 

It happens so often we no longer think anything of it. And we're pretty sure there are about a million pictures of Aubrey floating around Turkey by this point because for some reason they always takes selfies with her, or just pictures of her in general. 

As the photoshoot came to an end, and our coffee cups emptied, a few rain drops started to fall so we headed to the car to make our way home.

We did learn they also serve lunch, which features braised chicken. That term, "braised," peaked our interest as it wasn't shish or kebap. So we'll be back as soon as we find another free weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The 2015 Inaugural Lake Trip

Every year, on whatever weekend that falls near April 15, we kick off the season at my parents' lake house. 

This year Aubrey and I were lucky enough to be home at the time of the inaugural weekend, so Aubrey was able to get her first taste of lake life. 

The weather wasn't super cooperative. It didn't really rain too much, but the overcast skies weren't exactly the sunny and 75 climate we were hoping for. 

But we weren't about to let the weather get us down.

Instead, we outfitted the babies in their swimsuits...

and filled up a couple of coolers with some warm water for a little lakeside playtime.

Aubrey was not a big fan until we moved her into the cooler with her cousin Evan.

Luckily he was a good sport for a while, until his little legs got tired of providing a seat for Aubrey. 

The rest of the weekend was spent lounging, eating, and catching up.

All things a good weekend at the lake is supposed to include :)