Sunday, October 15, 2017

First Half Of October

Half of October is officially gone. While the first half of the month hasn't gone by quite as quickly as September, it's still hard to believe it's fall. The weather here can't make up it's mind if it's ready for cold. We dropped to low temps and had some chilly rain and then this weekend was sunny and perfect for being outside. We will see how the rest of the month goes as we get further into the PSL season (which is available here and yes, I've had a couple already when the temps first dropped ;-) ).



  1. Enjoying the first drop in temps with a walk outside and lots of love and hugs from these two. 
  2. And... Olivia is weird.
  3. Zoey in a new lounging spot.
  4. Temps swung up so tshirts at the playground.
  5. More playground fun.
  6. Craft time with their birthday gifts from this summer.
  7. Hugs. Sitting in the window. With rain boots on. And no pants. 
  8. Double chocolate muffins (egg free of course). :-)
  9. Sipping their babycinno (yes, that's what it's actually called!) before celebrating Jaxon's birthday.
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We missed Jaxon's birthday party during our Madi-Mom trip to Antalya so Emma was kind enough to organize pizza making for the two of them before we left. They had a blast making their bunny pizzas, decorating a small cake (aka. dump as many sprinkles on top before mom takes them), and running around Vapianos. Apologies to anyone who was there that evening. 


This one is full of attitude. We can't wait for the teenage years...

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  1. The temps dropped again and we got some rain, but it didn't stop these little ladies from our regular walks.
  2. Playdate at Wonderland. Olivia was super proud she climbing all the way by herself.
  3. Super cute glass mugs I purchased at Sederek.
  4. Delicious smoothies.
  5. Sister love at Hard Rock Cafe.
  6. Mastering the art of fake smiling.
  7. Merry-go-round.
  8. We signed Madi up for a sand art class we saw online and she loved it. We will definitely be back!
  9. My first ever chicken pot pie. It doesn't look pretty, but it tasted good!

Madi has been saying blessing before meals lately and she goes around the table thanking God for each of us, then the cats, then her grandparents, school friends, etc. Naturally, Evy now thinks this is the prayer order and has asked to start praying. So sweet.

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And we are still singing the VBS songs from this summer. :-)

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Madi-Mom Trip: Antalya, Turkey

I've been wanting to go to Antalya for awhile and decided it would be something fun to do with Madi. I don't get as much one-on-one time with her as I would like since she's in school and I feel constantly rushed with her or impatient. We needed some bonding time!

We hopped on the plane Wednesday morning and wow- let me just say - traveling with one child, and an older child-has much less stuff and is soooo easy. Ha!




We had a quick, nonstop flight in and got a taxi to our hotel. We didn't really venture out much on this trip since our time was short (2.5 days) and the goal was to relax and hang out. We picked a resort with a pool, kids pool, playground, and beach nearby and it was all-inclusive.

We got checked in and began exploring. Madi wanted to see the kids club and I knew I'd be taking her Friday morning for me to visit the spa solo so we went together to make sure she'd be comfortable staying on her own. She had a blast and I snuck away for a coffee, ha!




Thursday we spent basically the entire day at the beach. Madi had been asking to go back to the kid's club so I put her in for about an hour and took advantage of the time to shower before picking her back up to hang before dinner.







We made reservations at some of the non-buffet restaurants for Thursday and Friday night and decided to dress up a bit for our Italian date.



Friday morning I had scheduled a spa appointment so I dropped Madi off at the kid's club and got to experience a Turkish hammam, sauna, bubble massage, and deep tissue massage. Heavenly!

I picked Madi up afterwards and we headed back to the beach for our last afternoon. We *almost* lost my wedding band, but thanks to a group of strangers sifting the sand with us it was located and Madi made a friend with a girl close to her age.

It was the sweetest thing - the girl just came up and handed Madi an ice cream. Madi hesitantly looked at me and said "she's trying to give me ice cream. what do I do?" I encouraged her to take it, say thank you, and then go sit with the girl who had already hopped back over to her parents in the row of beach chairs in front of us. The two of them sat giggling and laughing while eating their ice cream and then ran off to play in the sand together. Amazing. No common language and yet through unspoken kindness they bonded and enjoyed one another's company.


We repeated our evening with dinner at one of the restaurants and called it a night. The next morning we got packed, had a leisurely breakfast, and then made our way to the airport to fly home and see our family!




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Sunday, October 1, 2017

September Recap

So looking back at the posts and calendar since we returned from our summer trip to the US, we've been quite busy. We spent almost every weekend of the month exploring Azerbaijan with day trips or overnights (see link here) and loved it. The weather was still warm, but not unbearable and we took advantage of that!

We've also had some changes at home. We reduced the number of hours that we have our amazing nanny because I felt like I needed to be more accountable to spending time with the twins (and wouldn't be good about doing it with the safety net of our nanny daily). I spent part of the summer evaluating all the commitments I've done previously here in Baku and making some changes according to our family goals and priorities. It was also our last month using a driver and I've now taking over driving daily for our family (which deserves its own post explaining the chaos of driving here - ha!).

We've gotten underway with school for Madi (who is attending the same Bumblebee Montessori as last year) and she's started swimming again (but with a new instructor and is thriving after just a couple lessons) and we got her into gymnastics. The grin on her face after that first class ensured me we'd picked right and the teacher complimenting her physique and saying she was a natural encouraged her.



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The twins and I have been attending playgroups, doing some learning activities (this month I tried focusing on teaching them Colors), and taking walks around the neighborhood. They are at a really fun age and enjoyable to be with 98% of the time (they are working on their terrible two tantrums and sharing struggles during that rare 2%).

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It was also a hard month in that with the other changes I had to say goodbye to my very close friend, Tricia. We got a final night out together, but the time went too quickly of course. I've been blessed to have known her the past year and am going to miss her tremendously. 😢


Here's the remainder of what we've been up to in September aside from the weekend trips around Azerbaijan -



  1. Madi fell in love with the cinnamon swirl bread in America and I set out to find a recipe for an egg free one that I could do in one-step in the bread machine. Success! We've been making one loaf a week the entire month.
  2. Climbing into their high chairs...
  3. Really? How is that comfortable?!
  4. Climbing into more high chairs...in the garage.
  5. Traditional Azeri breakfast with our family and Tricia's.
  6. Playing in the dirt. Hey happy place.
  7. Playground fun.
  8. Ice cream smiles.
  9. Delicious homemade tortillas from my friend Laura paired with my homemade salsa for taco night. Soooo yummy! 😋



  1. Timehop gets me daily. So cute!!
  2. Proof they like each other (sometimes).
  3. Batch of salsa and homemade pizza dough - busy nap time.
  4. Jason's expensive drinking habit. 😂
  5. Madi played hooky one Friday to play with her sisters and loved it. They are really noticing her gone and missing her during the day. (And asking to go to school 😳)
  6. Homemade caprese skewers with tomatoes from our garden and basil from my friend Tricia's plant.
  7. Sorting bears. They don't quite have the correct names with colors, but they definitely can sort them appropriately.
  8. Olivia loves all blankets to snuggle up in (she gets that from me) and of course panda. 🐼
  9. Madi and her bff Clementine practicing safety first. 



  1. Apparently we ate a lot this month based on the pictures... lazy morning breakfast.
  2. Play date with plenty of ride-on toys for everyone.
  3. Sleeping bunny (see video below - please don't judge my awful singing...).
  4. Sometimes this is how you get through a meal with toddlers... 
  5. Matching shirts as a going-away gift for Tricia.
  6. Ready to hit the road!
  7. Fall hit us quickly. As in less than a day we went from shorts to jackets and rain. There was no transition time. However, the girls loved wearing their new rain boots and getting outside still.
  8. The quick fall gave me a craving for tomato soup - Norwegian-style (with boiled egg and corn).
  9. Birthday party fun.
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The last weekend of the month we participated in our first-ever Roving Dinner. We were assigned appetizer and made chicken tortilla soup (again with my salsa - we really love it, haha) and delicious margaritas. We had great food and company for the houses we visited for Mains and Dessert and I'm glad we participated!


It was a busy month overall and October is shaping up to be as well with Madi and I leaving on our first Mother-Daughter trip tomorrow! The weather is finally cool enough to order and enjoy that pumpkin spice latte (yes, they do have them here for us), but I'm happy to escape to a warmer climate for a few days this week with my eldest. 😉

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Exploring Azerbaijan: Lahic

This past weekend we headed out of town to see Lahic, a mountain area about three hours outside of Baku. We were told that it can start to be inaccessible in the winter so we took the weekend to make sure we visited... and we will definitely try and go back in the spring! It was a lovely weekend, a nice drive, and so refreshing to be outside in nature and around mountains!!

We left Friday afternoon to try and catch the twins during naptime for the car ride. Didn't work. They did great though and we arrived around 5:30/6:00 pm and got settled into the Lahic guest house before exploring the grounds until dinner.



 


There was a slide, swing, and some outdoor seating areas along with cherry and apple trees for us to pick fresh fruit. The girls spent a good part of the weekend just playing outdoors with us, which was so relaxing.




Saturday morning we lazily had breakfast at the guesthouse before heading out to hike a waterfall we had heard was close by. It ended up being way farther than we anticipated and we were hiking for about three hours. We ended up carrying the twins most of the way back, but they walked pretty much the entire way there as did Madi. We were really proud of how well they hiked and with very little complaining! They enjoyed picking wild blackberries en route and playing in the river we followed the entire way.





Once we arrived back in town we leisurely walked along the main road visiting the shops and picking out our copper souvenir. We then headed back to our guest house to relax and let the girls run around before dinner.






We slept in again Sunday and after breakfast played until a horse arrived for the girls to ride. They did a short jaunt with us and then we walked around some more and played before packing up and loading the car. We had one last delicious meal before getting on the road back to Baku.






We hit a bit of "local" traffic on the way home and stopped to buy some delicious honey and jam. The guesthouse was amazing, the food delicious, and the weekend a wonderful time of relaxing and checking out since there was minimal cell service and poor wifi. The girls did great hiking and loved being outdoors, which is also our happy place!




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