Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lessons Learned By A First Time Mom

I'm a bit ashamed to admit just how much googling I've done since Aubrey was born. Neither Will nor I had any previous experience with babies, but even if we did I don't think anything can really prepare you to be a parent, besides becoming a parent. Every baby is so unique. Every situation is unique. Every parent is unique. So that equates to approximately five million different scenarios and ways to handle them by my calculations.

This week I decided to start a true schedule with more concrete times (following Babywise), and jump into sleep training. I also had the grand idea to try to wean A off the paci after realizing what a crutch it had become for her. Talk about throwing her for a loop right? AND, this is only just over a week before we leave on an extremely long trip back to the states so she can meet all the friends and family who have thus far been loving her from a distance.

If you google about sleep training, and crying it out, and weaning your baby off a paci, the vast majority of opinions out there will tell you that there are specific ages when it's ok to try these things...and only a slight few that feel that it's ok to start as young as Aubrey, or younger. In fact, most advise against trying these things with young babies claiming they aren't capable of self soothing, or handling it until they are more mature. Note I don't say older, although that is how most seem to classify it. The concept of maturity was one part of my learning this week.

Going forward with my plans sounds insanely stupid, even just typing it. But, I have my reasons.

Aubrey has done a great job of sort of falling naturally into the holy grail of routines, the 3 hour feeding and nap schedule. Without much effort at all on my part, following the eat, wake, sleep routine, she would wake from a nap, get a diaper change, eat, lay on her playmat for a bit, hang out in my arms for a bit, then go back down for a nap for a couple of hours. And even more magical, after wearing myself out at every nap rocking and bouncing her, to the point I thought her tiny brain might have turned to scrambled bits, to get her to sleep, one day I just tried laying her down with no rocking...and she fell asleep immediately.

But there were two issues with this seemingly seamless scenario.

Because we had no set times for waking up, napping, or anything for that matter, every day was different. And if you know babies at all, they thrive on predictability. Between a growth spurt and the erratic nature of our everyday schedule, Aubrey began cutting 3 hours down to 2, and sometimes even less. Which led to me nursing more frequently than I probably should have, causing me supply issues and Aubrey a lot of frustration, not to mention a drastic shortage on quality naps.

Problem two was that A required her paci in order to go to sleep and resettle. This meant trying to figure out how to carefully rig her paci in such a way that it would stay in her mouth long enough for her to go to sleep, a couple (hundreds) of trips by mom back up the stairs to the nursery (talk about a leg workout) to pop it back in when it fell out before she was fully asleep, and watching the video monitor like a hawk for the 45ish minute mark when she would inevitably transition though a sleep cycle, and if the paci was not in position, she would wake up either ending the nap way too early, or causing me a terribly hard time getting her back to sleep. Multiple times when she woke up I would try to soothe her without the paci, holding her, rocking her, patting her back, patting her bottom, holding the white noise closer to her ear, turning the white noise down, swaddling her tighter, swaddling her looser, swaddling her with one arm out, adding a blanket, taking a blanket away, you name it, I tried it. NOTHING worked but the paci. This was when I knew she needed an intervention.

Basically, we needed to make some changes for both of our sanities.

Another problem, which is not actually a problem, but more like something everyone strives for, was that she still isn't sleeping more than 4 hour stretches at night with any regularity. We've lucked out with a few 5-5.5 hour stretches (so I know she is capable of going that length of time between feedings), but they are rare. Supposedly she should be capable of sleeping 7 hours at a time by this age. I know that part of the problem is her body has become sort of programmed to eat at that time of night because it's what she's always done, in other words it's habit. Babies metabolism also gets on a schedule, so if they always eat at a certain time, they will naturally get hungry at that time every day. Another part of the problem is that she doesn't have the ability to go back to sleep on her own without that magical paci. This was yet another issue the Babywise method is supposed to help.

And after that entirely too long intro (yes I'm just now getting to the gist of this entire post), this all led me to the conclusion that it was time to get down to business. And this is what I learned.

There is nothing truer than the statement, "You know your baby better than anyone else." 

I felt Aubrey was ready to give sleep training and crying it out a go because in a way we were already halfway there. She was already able to put herself to sleep with the help of a paci, so taking the paci away was a natural next step. I realized that I had not been letting her cry without immediately tending to her in some way, and thus never letting her learn even the first thing about soothing herself. I also wasn't learning to identify her cries very well, because I never let them go on more than the few minutes it took for me to calm her back down.

The first day we started our new schedule and tried CIO, I hadn't yet made the decision to also make her quit the paci cold turkey. So I gave it to her, settled her in for her nap, and left. She went to sleep quickly as usual, but when the  sleep cycle ended and she woke up paci-less, she cried. She cried for a long time. She cried until she had to take a rest to catch her breath (with me secretly hoping she was finally falling asleep), then she would cry some more. Basically every nap besides her first one (which for some reason is always very easy) that day, involved starting with 30-45 minutes of sleep, followed by a series of crying fits until nap time was finally over. I even broke down in the evening nap and gave her the paci back at one point, but she was too upset for even it's magical powers to work. I was beyond nervous that I was slowly sabotaging us for the night ahead. Here my child was a decent sleeper, and because I wanted even better, I was ruining the good thing we already had. My worries only escalated when she fussed and cried practically through the entire two hours from when we put her to bed to the 10:00 "dreamfeed," even though I had given her the paci back, but with the slight alteration of a needle sized hole (another method I read to help with the weaning process). I had accepted that I would not be getting any sleep that night, and told Will to get out his ear plugs so he could get some sleep so he could function at work the next day.

Fortunately the day hadn't scarred her too bad. After the last feeding session she went to sleep (sans paci) very quickly, and slept solid until 1:42am. This was only about 3 hours and 15 minutes, but it was right in line with the normal time she had been waking up each night for weeks prior. In an attempt to try to push her wake time out, and get her body used to a different feeding time, I gave her the paci, and she went back to sleep. She woke up again at 3:12, and again I gave her the paci and she went back to sleep. She woke a third time at 3:50, the paci was not sufficing, so I nursed her. Stretching the time between feeds to just over 5 hours. She didn't wake again until I woke her up the next morning at 7:00 (normally she would wake at 1:30, again between 4 and 5, and again at 6:30 - wanting to nurse each time). *I feel I should note here I would never keep my baby from a needed feed. I only felt comfortable trying to push her night feed out because she had shown me on multiple occasions that she was able to go that long between feeds. 

The second day she went down for her morning nap, sans paci, without a hitch. Only fussing for about 3 minutes. She slept solid for two hours, even stirring at little at the transition, but never waking up. I actually had to wake her up. During nap two she put up a fight, but went to sleep after about 15 minutes. Unfortunately the base had decided to do an exercise that day and a siren went on and off during her entire nap. Each time it would slowly wake her up, then she would have to cry herself back to sleep. But she did it. Every time. Never taking more than 10 minutes to so, and most times much less. We are on day 6 and she still needs the paci like a lifetime addict needs their fix. However, we have moved full-time to the pin-hole altered paci (which she totally hated at first, and still rejects slightly because she knows it's not right). She is able to go to sleep most nights after the dreamfeed, after the night feeding, and for her morning nap all paci-less. She is still needing it to fall asleep and stay asleep during her day naps. I also give it to her at night while I am trying to stretch out her middle of the night feeding. Last night she woke around 1:00am and again at 3:00am, both times I gave her the hole paci, then she didn't wake until 5:00 - finally making it to the 7 hour stretch we are aiming for. Now if I can just get her to stay asleep those whole 7 hours...or figure out a way to strap that dang paci to her head :)

Obviously we're still in the process, so I don't know the final outcome, but I have full faith that she is capable of learning how to put herself to sleep like a pro. Which leads me to the second thing I learned.

Babies are smart. A lot smarter than we give them credit for.

I think it's easy to assume babies are these helpless, dumb creatures. But after watching Aubrey wiggle and squirm and root, completely unassisted, until she had inched herself up my body to nurse - I realized that that would be a very mistaken assumption.

Every baby has a different learning and development curve. Since the day she was born Aubrey has been very alert and aware. Part of the reason I'm convinced she isn't a mellow baby. She isn't happy being left to lay on a mat or blanket, or sitting in a seat. Normal tactics to calm her down and trick her don't work. It's like she knows what you are doing. She also very much knows what she wants. If she she hungry, she HAS to eat. If she is tired, she will not be happy until she is down for a nap. There have been times when she is exhausted and is upset because of it, and if I utter one "shh" in her ear, the light whimpering will explode into a full blown fit of rage. Our baby will NOT be shushed, when there is something she needs or wants. Which subsequently concerns me for her later years haha! Making my next point of great importance.

I have more patience than I ever thought I would.

Taking the chance of being snubbed by every mother, grandmother, aunt, etc...out there, I personally, have never liked babies or children - and neither did Will. Neither one of us really grew up around babies or children much younger than us. Neither of us babysat (Outside of one time when I watched two older kids for one of my teachers who had already fixed them dinner and provided a movie for them to watch, and they went to bed an hour after I arrived.). To say we were uncomfortable when left alone with a small child, would be a drastic understatement. Until our nephew Noah was born, Will had never held a baby before, and I had never held one so young. We were those people who got annoyed when there was inevitably a crying baby sitting next to us whether it be at a restaurant or on a plane (still are actually - although we now share a bit of pity for the exasperated parents). And even now that we have a child of our own, we still don't particularly like babies and children, although granted we have a newfound appreciation for them and their parents, but we love our child.

So to have a tiny human screaming like a banshee, at a decibel that seems certain to rupture my eardrum, on a regular basis, one would think that I would literally lose my $hit (excuse my French). But by the grace of God, I haven't. I actually haven't even come close. Whatever hormones are pumping through my body, and whatever bond and love that develops when you give birth to your baby, they are magical. I read somewhere that mothers are incapable of getting mad at their babies (something fathers sometimes have a hard time understanding), and I've realized that it is very true. No matter how many times Aubrey throws up on me, screams in my face for multiple hours, drags me out of a deep and much needed sleep, or blows out a fresh diaper I have only seconds before finally snapped the last snap on...I can't help but look at her with love and adoration, albeit sometimes with a very weary heart and bloodshot eyes.

I cannot tell you how many times I've wanted to apologize to every parent who has confided in my their parenting challenges, and I've responded with comparing their children to my dogs. Dogs are a lot of work, and a lot of responsibility, and many may think they are babies...but they are NOTHING compared to a child. Nothing. I look at my dogs regularly now and tell them what wonderful, amazing, easy creatures they are.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

When You Hate On Your Body, Does It Hurt Your Mother's Heart?

Tonight I was nursing Aubrey before putting her to bed, and like I do every time while she is eating, I silently observed every perfect little feature on her tiny body. As I look at the curves of her ears, her adorable little button nose, and the long lashes that line her eyes, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that every part that makes her, her, was knit to perfection in my belly. Pregnancy is a miracle, that's needless to say. But tonight, I focused in on her super long eyelashes.

They are so long that they end up bent every which way from her sleeping on them. And with her eyes closed , they make her look simply angelic. Admiring her natural beauty, the random thought of her curling those amazing eyelashes popped in my head. I envisioned her as a teenager, struggling to find the self security that for some reason eludes us during that fragile time in our lives, standing in front of a mirror, all but torturing those eyelashes I can't get enough of, trying to curl them to her idea of perfection, before coating them with unnecessary layers of dark goop. In her eyes, enhancing the drab features she is forced to work with...but in mine, covering up something that I will only ever see as beautiful, just the way it is.

It hurt my heart to think about. To think that one day my little girl will look in a mirror, and instead of admiring all the beauty wrapped up in her unique self, she will pick apart all those features I love so much.

Then I wondered if my mother ever felt the same. When I complained about my boring brown eyes, did it sting knowing that when she looked into them, she saw her own? When I fussed over my stick straight hair that would never do what I wanted, did she remember waiting all that time for hair to actually grow on my head (I was pretty much bald until I was two) so she could finally secure it with a tiny bow? When I hated on my body, did it hurt her heart as she thought about carrying me for all those months, and being speechless the day I arrived as love filled her, and she laid eyes on a person she already knew she loved, and who looked like perfection sent from God above?

I hope I am able to teach Aubrey to love herself. From every hair on her head, to the wrinkles on her toes. I hope she hears her Dad when he tells me repeatedly that I don't need makeup, because he truly believes I'm prettiest without it. I hope she focuses on health, on kindness, on compassion, on caring and love, so much so that she never finds one second to hate on the body that I love so much. I hope when she looks in the mirror, she see the reflection of perfection that I do, every time I look at her.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

5 Lessons For Traveling With An Infant

We just got back from a long holiday weekend, and our first real traveling experience with Aubrey now that she is past the initial newborn phase and has developed into a active baby, screaming included.

We traveled a lot in Germany after she was born, but at that point she just needed to nurse every 2-3 hours and happily napped in the Boba wrap the rest of the time. People are not kidding when they tell you traveling with a newborn is the EASIEST time to travel with your child. Going into this weekend I had no real plan, and no expectation for how it would go. In the week leading up to our departure, Aubrey had finally started to let me put her down while she was awake and she would go to sleep on her own (with the help of a paci, swaddle, and some white noise but who's counting), and she was functioning on a pretty predictable schedule. So I was hopeful that keeping that in mind it would be relatively easy to just plan around her needs.

Big mistake.

I wanted to believe that she would be happy napping in the Ergo, or on a bench in a restaurant if needed. I wanted to believe that because I was breastfeeding I could nurse whenever needed, avoiding a screaming hungry baby. I also had an awesome portable changing pad so I could change a dirty diaper no matter the disgusting surroundings we could find ourselves in. And if all else failed, I had a paci (and extras) and her favorite white noise app on my phone that would save the day. 

If no one has said it to you yet, I'll be the one to do it...babies function on their own schedules...and they are unpredictable. Also, no matter how hard you try, you cannot tailor the way you care for your baby to what is easy and convenient to you. 

While Aubrey did nap (on and off) in the Ergo, that kind of nap is not the kind of quality sleep a baby needs in order to maintain a good enough mood to allow you to enjoy your day. And while I have nursed in a number of public situations at this point, doing so in a very small, intimate restaurant, WHILE wearing clothes that I packed without considering their practicality for nursing, did not work out so well. And then there was the case when the small turkish bathroom that only had enough room to stand to wash your hands, or sit to pee, AND happened to be the only bathroom for the entire restaurant, meant there was no way I could bend over (even if I was actually flexible) and somehow contort myself to change Aubrey on that awesome changing pad in the floor...and the only other options were changing her by our table, or somewhere outside in the freezing cold weather. 

Basically we had a couple of disasters. But I learned a lot of valuable lessons. 

Lesson # 1 (this one is number one for a reason - it is probably the MOST important): Make sure that baby gets 1-2 good naps (in a bed or crib) a day. It may not be realistic for them to get all of their normal naps in, and in their ideal location and setting, but guaranteeing that they get at least a couple of hours of quality sleep will make a huge difference in their tolerance for the rest of the activities you have planned. 

Aubrey was about 5.5 weeks old for this trip and is following a 3 hour schedule (give or take) that includes and hour of eating, diaper change, and wake time, followed by a two hour nap. That two hour nap is ideally taken in her crib or bassinet (or at least a flat, still (as in non-moving) surface, with her being swaddled and blissfully unaware of her overstimulating surroundings thanks to white noise. Trying to make her nap in the Ergo or the car seat meant she would really only doze on and off and never got quality sleep. This compounded into a worse and worse problem as she progressively grew more and more overtired. Eventually we ended up with an angry screaming banshee who was completely OVER everything and just wanted to be back at the hotel in bed. I ended up spending about 90% of a meal running in and out of a restaurant (so her screaming wouldn't disrupt the rest of the patrons), trying to soothe her, and finally had to skip the dessert course and walk back to the hotel alone while Will settled the check, to put her to bed. 

Lesson # 2: Only plan one big outing/event per day. Babies only really have the capacity to accept so much stimulation in a day. And for a small little being who finds a white wall to be very stimulating, going on a three hour tour, or taking a 5 mile hike in the hot sun, or spending an afternoon checking out every shop that lines the street of whatever town you are exploring, is already too much. You can't really expect them to make it through that, take a less than satisfying nap, then accompany you to a second round of exploring, or a loud restaurant filled with lots of sounds and smells. 

We set out to hike the Pigeon Valley in Goreme to see all the fairy chimneys and crazy cave dwellings. However, we got our directions to the trail head mixed up, and no exaggeration, ended up walking a few miles south of Goreme, then over 4 miles north of Goreme to Uchisar, then BACK to Goreme (because a dang taxi was no where to be found!). And even though we had stopped to nurse and change Aubrey, and even though she got in a few winks in the Ergo, over 4 hours of hiking was way beyond what she was capable of happily doing. THEN, being the terrible parents we are, we let her take a short nap, then put her back in there Ergo and went to dinner at our favorite restaurant in Goreme, that also happens to be reservation only and very small and intimate (the one mentioned above). I knew before we left that she was not in a good mood, had not had nearly enough naps, and really just needed to stay in. She basically screamed from the time we left till the time I walked her home a few hours later. And that was in spite of my attempts to nurse her, change her diaper, and give it my best shot to soothe her with my rhythmic bouncing. I knew then we would have to change our way of planning things in the future, which leads me to the next two points.

Lesson # 3: Go to dinner early. It is not a good idea to try to extend your little one's bedtime, or hope that a nap in the baby carrier will be a suitable substitute for actually going to bed. Going to dinner early means you can hopefully eat in the company of a semi-happy baby, and end the night with them sleeping peacefully while you enjoy a glass of wine and wind down, which leads to my final lesson.

Lesson # 4: Splurge a little and get a room with a few creature comforts than you normally would...because you will be spending more time in it than may be your norm. Something like a jacuzzi tub, or a sauna, or a fireplace can double as entertainment when you find yourself stuck in the room while your baby is catching a few much needed zzz's. 

On the night of Aubrey's meltdown, Will and I found ourselves eating our dessert (that the restaurant had so kindly packed in to go containers) in a dark room while she slept. We were SO thankful that we had a room with a fireplace and a huge jacuzzi tub (and a few bottles of some delicious Cappadocian wine). It meant that mom and dad still had the chance to have a nice, romantic night together. I kept thinking how bad it would have sucked if we just had a standard room where the only entertainment would have been the TV, which in Turkey sucks because, well, we don't speak Turkish therefore the shows are not very interesting. 

Lesson # 5: Prioritize your to do list, and make sure to do your most wanted in the first day or so of your trip. In spite of your best efforts, baby may still be done with all the excitement after a few days, which means you may not get to everything you had planned. Make sure you get to do the things you care the most about by tackling them first, so in case little one quits cooperating, the activities that get nixed won't ruin your whole trip. 

Because I was pregnant last time we visited Cappadocia, we didn't get to try any of the local wines. As it turns out, they are REALLY good. We also found out that the winery was just a short detour on our way back from Avanos where we planned to go to buy some pottery. This was day three of our trip though, and Aubrey's meltdown had been the night before, and she was still recovering. Not wanting to make the same mistake we made the day before, we had to postpone the winery visit to our next trip. 

I'm sure there are a million more tips and tricks to be learned, and we are by no means experts at this parenting thing. But we do travel a lot, and plan to continue to do so. There is nothing we want more than to instill some of our wanderlust in our little girl's heart. So maybe consider this our first installment of traveling with an infant :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Pictures of Balloons...Because They are THAT Pretty

On our last morning Will got up to get another look at the balloons floating over the town while I decided to stay in bed.

I'm so glad he did.

The light was perfect.

Illuminating the rainbow of floating carriages.

The clouds painted the perfect background.

Some of the balloons were just taking off from the hill in the distance.

And as the sun came up, the land lit up really showing off it's natural beauty.

I don't think a view like that ever gets old. (BTW, that is our terrace just up those stairs there)

For those who are curious, the balloon rides last about an hour, but from the time the company picks you up from your hotel, to the time they drop you off, it takes about 3 hours. The baskets can hold up to 20 people, but for a price, you can arrange for more private tours. Many of the balloon companies offer a buffet breakfast prior to the flight, and almost all celebrate a successful flight and landing with champagne at the end.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Cappadocia Balloons

Our second room was a dream. We had a wood burning fireplace, and extra bed that made the perfect place for Aubrey to sleep, tons of space, a great top of the mountain view, and a jacuzzi tub with jets ready to pound our overworked muscles into relaxed jello.

Mithra Cave Hotel is located at one of the highest peaks in Goreme, so the view is excellent.

Especially from the window lined breakfast room (with a spread of Turkish breakfast delights like fresh bread, a variety of spreads and compotes, dried fruit, eggs, cheeses, and beautiful tomatoes and cucumbers).

And if you can get yourself to wake up at the literal crack of dawn...

you can catch the most glorious site of the hot air balloons taking flight. 

Which of course made us even sadder we weren't able to work it out to take a ride this time.

They are just magical dotting the sky.

Avanos is a small town located about 10 minutes past Goreme.

We briefly drove through it on our last trip, and picked up a handmade pot to hold something green once we got back to the house.

The town is situated right on the river, and when we last passed through, seemed to be lined with unique little shops and some interesting restaurants. We had also read that the local potters were more than willing to give you a short lesson on making pottery of your own. So that was our goal for the day, in addition to buying a few more pieces to add to our collection.

We drove back through the town and parked planning to stroll through the shops and find some lunch. And we did do just that, but were a little disappointed to find that it all looked a little more interesting than it actually was. It was a pretty little town, and we did find some decent lunch, but after spending about 10 minutes walking around we hopped back in the car and drove back to the ceramics shop we stopped at the first time and asked if we could try our hand...and they said yes. 

They started by demonstrating how they create one of their most difficult (and popular all around Turkey) pieces. The guy made it look so simple I was sure that he if could manage that, I could easily make some sort of basic pot or vase.

Man was I so wrong.

Check out the nice pants they provided...and ignore the double chin action.
It is no lie when they say pottery is an art. It's sheer talent to be able to control your hands and the wheel (which in this case has to be spun with your feet) to mold the clay to even proportions, and create a beautiful smooth finish.

I had to have a LOT of help.

Many interventions later my masterpiece was finally finished.

And then it was Will's turn. 

I just knew he would be a natural...

but it turned out, his pottery skills are about as good as mine. 

My dreams of having my own wheel and spending my days making beautiful pieces to gift and sell died a painful death that day haha! 

This is what Aubrey thought of her parents' talents. 

On this trip we had the pleasure of finally trying some Cappadocian wine. I'm normally a little skeptical of local wines because in past experience they have been pretty terrible. But to our surprise, the local wine in Cappadocia is incredible! 

The Turasan winery is located in Urgrup, which happened to be just a short detour on our way back from Avanos to Goreme. But, having learned a valuable lesson about our tiny traveler, we decided to postpone that experience until our next visit.

Instead we went back to the hotel and put Miss A down for a nap, while we took our thick plaid wool blanket out to the terrace, along with some of that awesome Cappadocian wine, a pipe for Will, and enjoyed watching the sun set over the town. This was another time we were so thankful the cave hotels are so homey. We could easily leave Aubrey in the room and still be able to keep an easy eye on her and hear her, even though we were up on the terrace enjoying ourselves. 

* Prepare for some mush...

It was also a great moment to share with Will. It's not new news to anyone that when a baby comes into your life, life gets busy, and time together as a couple is hard to come by. I can see how a new addition can easily cause strain in a relationship, and possibly completely tear it apart. I've been so grateful that since day 1 Will has not only been right by my side, but even during the birth he played an active, and in my opinion, equal part in bringing our little girl into this world. We've discussed both how we feel more connected now that we have truly combined ourselves into this one beautiful little being, but we've also acknowledged that we miss each other and have to work a little harder to make sure we are still tending to the love and relationship that started all of this. Before we ever decided to have kids we were very adamant that once we did, we would not let "us" fall to the wayside. And I feel like we are doing a pretty good job of that. I know Aubrey's needs and wants will produce bigger demands on our time and attention as she gets older, but it speaks volumes to me that my husband still makes a point to carve out at least a few minutes here and there to spend as just the two of us, talking and relaxing. 

Our preacher back in Charlotte talked one Sunday about how our relationships should be prioritized. He said God should come first, your spouse second, and your children third. I think that is a hard concept to wrap your mind around when you feel the need to put your child above everything, but when you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. Without God you have nothing. Without your spouse, your child wouldn't be, and neither would the life you've built and grown to love. Your child is a beautiful reflection and result of all the love God and your spouse have given you, and for that reason absolutely deserves to be celebrated. I want Aubrey to always know just how loved and wanted she is, but I also want that for my husband, and for myself if I'm being honest. 

Back to our day...

After A's nap we walked the short distance a few hotels down the hill to the Seten restaurant we had heard such good things about. This place was probably the nicest restaurant we have seen in Goreme, and thankfully Aubrey fell back asleep on the walk so we got to enjoy dinner in peace. Our food however, was a bit underwhelming. It came out about 2.5 seconds after we ordered it making us question just how fresh it really was. The portions were pretty small compared to other restaurants we have tried, and in general the flavor was pretty lacking. After that we called it a night, excited to get back to our fireplace for one more night.