Thursday, September 25, 2014

USO Tour: Matthew Lillard & Josh Charles

There are moments in the life of a military family that are just pretty awesome!
We were fortunate enough to be able to attend a USO Tour meet & greet with 
Matthew Lillard (Shaggy from Scooby Doo) & Josh Charles (Dead Poets Society). 

David was all about meeting Shaggy! 
(Sorry Josh Charles! It was nice meeting you too!)

One of the great things about the people who join the USO Tour, is that they show a genuine interest in meeting everyone. Matthew Lillard immediately got down to David's level to talk to him. He asked if he knew who he was, to which David immediately responded "You're Shaggy from Scooby Doo!" 

A whispered secret question ... "Do you want to hear my Shaggy voice?"

What happened next was nothing short of magical! As Matthew Lillard starts speaking as Shaggy... David bursts into hysterical giggles!!

 "Scooby Doo, do you see any ghosts?! Ahhhh! Run for your lives!!!"


 A very nice gentleman took our photo... he accidentally cut David out... 
(side note: I pretty much cracked up at this photo... Josh Charles is workin' that camera!! lol)

As we walked away, David said "Mom! He sounded JUST like Shaggy from Scooby Doo!! That was AWESOME!!" As we went to dinner the chatter continued.. he even had to make a phone call to his Poppi to tell him about his big moment! I honestly wasn't sure that my little man was ever going to sleep tonight! He was just so excited!

So thank you to the USO for arranging such an awesome event, An even bigger thank you to Matthew Lillard & Josh Charles for giving of your time & talents to come brighten up our little community. There is a little boy whose world was just lit up by meeting you both.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Late Night Crafting: A Shadowbox for Amy

Tonight we surprised my friend, Amy, with this gorgeous gift her husband put together to honor her career in the Air Force. 

However, before I get into how we surprised her, I should go back to how I even got involved in this surprise. A couple weeks ago, my husband told me he was going out to help Matt pick out a nice shadow box to commemorate Amy's service to the Air Force. The next thing I know, I have this empty shadow box in my house as we were volunteered to hide it until it could be completed and presented. We had a couple close calls with Amy being really close & a blanket quickly thrown over it... obviously our hiding skills need work. lol. 

The past Friday, I go with Matt to pick it up from the guy who was putting everything inside. Well..... it was pretty much a hot mess. It wasn't like he wanted, it looked sloppy, and to top it off.. there were greasy finger prints all over the backing. Matt was really upset, I could just picture steam coming out of his ears... So I did what I do best, I volunteered to fix it. What I actually said was "we can fix this"... but Matt, in typical guy form, assured me he wasn't crafty & that it was best if he just let me handle it. I did manage to drag him into putting it together.. he was "lead supervisor" as fabric was measured for a new background, as glue dots & needle/thread came out, & he even seemed to enjoy an opportunity to tease me as I pulled out 3 different rulers to make sure the spacing & layout was perfect... he had never witnessed me in "crafting mode". lol. In the end, Daniel & I enjoyed some quality time with a friend, and Matt was able to have his gift completed to match his vision. (I even got him in on the glue dot parts towards the end... victory!!!)

The only thing left to do was to give it to Amy. So we got a couple of ideas together about how to get her to just randomly come over to my house at 930 at night...she thought Matt was helping us move boxes. Do we just tell her to come? no...what is she asks why? oh... tell her Matt broke something in the house!... what did he break?...everything! HA!. oh, tell her Matt's back seized up & he's in pain (Matt suggested this one.. i vetoed I finally just decided to wing it, called her & said "hey! i need you to come over here real quick!". And this is one of the reasons I love Amy so much.. she just replied "ok! i'll be right there!" & hung up. No questions asked..

This is Amy's "oh my gosh I'm so excited!!" face 

Before she arrived, we put a piece of fabric over the box. Amy shows up & says "what's going on?" I told her Matt broke something..she was like "oh my gosh! what did he break!?" Matt just looks at the covered box & Amy gently lifts the bottom of the fabric to peek under. I really wish I had caught that moment.. it was soo funny! She was looking for something broken, and as she's looking, you could see the moment that it clicked "hey! that's MY name in this box!". She jumped back, eyes wide & mouth dropping open! Most likely the best reaction to a surprise I've ever seen!!

To Amy... I'm so glad I was able to be a part of this surprise for you! You are always putting forth your best into everything you do & always willing to help those in need. I admire the positive attitude you have as your begin your transition from active duty to spouse. *which by the way, is an AWESOME title to have.. if i do say so myself! :) I have no doubts that your future will continue to be full of amazing things as you blaze a new path in life. Both you and Matt have made our time here at Incirlik a greater experience through your friendship. Thank you for being a steadfast friend.. I look forward to our paths crossing again down the road! (hopefully sooner, than later!)


Friday, September 19, 2014

Turkish Treasures - Mosaic Lamp

As I sit here enjoying the quiet morning hours while avoiding contemplating my large 'to-do' list that has a deadline of just a few days... I thought I would share my latest Turkish treasure.

*sigh*..... this just makes me soo happy!!

Over the past 2 years, I have added some neat treasures to our home... but I never could make up my mind about the mosaic lamps. There were just too many beautiful ones to choose from!! However, last night... with the clock running out... I finally found the perfect lamp!!

look at those colors on the wall!!

Originally, I had always been drawn to the chandelier version... but I decided that a floor lamp would be a more versatile choice for us.

I think that after carpets, mosaic lamps seem to be a big seller. There are soo many choices!! chandeliers & floor lamps of all different sizes, lamps that hang on the wall, lamps that sit on tables, candle holders, tea light holders... there is something for every taste! After you choose which style you want.. then you have to pick which color. There were at least 20 different color choices for me to pick from...and on top of that, if by chance I didn't like any of them, they offered to find whatever it is I wanted! I've been pretty set on this particular rainbow version since the first time I saw it (there a few variations available), but I almost swayed to a gorgeous emerald green that caught my eye at the last moment. The shop owner, Fuat, was extremely patient with my indecision, and even turned off all the other lights so I could get the full effect as I made my choice. In the end, my heart was set on the beauty of the rainbow pattern and I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous lamp!

I love the light glow cast onto the walls... not to bright, not too harsh.... it's simply perfect!

I could sit & gaze for hours.... I'm in love! 

I can't wait to find the perfect spot in our new home for my gorgeous Turkish lamp to shine!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Anavarza Castle

Our very first adventure upon arriving in Turkey 2 years ago was a trip to Anavarza Castle.

Now for anyone who may consider venturing out to this beauty... be forewarned, when people say that it is a difficult hike.. they are not lying!! We took things at a decent pace since we were exploring with children along.. and all in all, i'd say this was probably a 4 mile hike start to finish. 

We parked at the base of the hill by a little shack, where a local villager agreed to watch our car while we were off exploring. From there, another villager offered his services as our tour guide. There are two ways up: a steep, barely visible stone staircase OR a steep (but only for a few minutes) hike up a small dirt trail. We chose the later and off we went...

Upon arrival at the top of the hill, we were met with the sight of lots of open & destroyed tombs. Whatever or whoever was in them, is long gone... i peeked. There was a certain elegance to the stones, and I'm sure that in its prime, it was a glorious site.

This picture of the castle is by far one of my favorites! I love it so much that I had it turned into a canvas & it now graces my 'travel wall'. I sometimes don't feel the picture does this place justice. Standing and looking at this castle... I was filled with awe. A sheer drop off a cliff to the left, a seemingly endless field of stones all around & the beautiful Anavarza Castle directly ahead. We were standing in front of a structure that dates back to the Byzantine Empire! and not only were we standing in front of it.. we were getting ready to enter it & be allowed to explore (and touch!!) to our hearts content!!

Our first 'official' family photo in Turkey -- Standing atop the wall of a Byzantine Castle! 

A Christian Church inside the castle walls.

Villagers bring their cows into the castle to graze.

The King's Chambers

Not only was this our first Turkish adventure, but I also managed to check an item off my bucket list (that I wasn't aware was there) & have a 'please don't let me die' moment all at once. Remember that cliff in the first picture?? At this point in our hike, we have made it up into the King's Chambers via a rickety little metal ladder (see above photo, bottom left). What you cant see in the above photo.. is that ladder is right against the cliff's edge! Now I don't mind heights... I do however have a problem with ladders. I really didn't want to have to go back down the ladder, so I asked our guide if there was another way down. He immediately directed me to follow him (as the rest of my group went down the ladder). This is where my sense of adventure was tested. This man had me slide down a flat rock, towards the cliffs edge. Then once we stood on this little ledge (on the edge of a cliff!), I thought 'ok, no big deal.. it must just go around the corner to where i need to be'. What he failed to tell me was that what i perceived to be just turning a corner, was in fact a jumping point. I had enough room to stand with my feet side by side, a rock wall with no holds to my left that turned 90 degrees... and I was expected to jump across from my ledge to the ledge on the other side of this wall...all while trying not to look the thousands of feet down. I'm not going to lie.. I had to take a few moments to gather my courage (& receive a pep talk from my husband). So with no choice but to jump.. I pushed for all I was worth & reached for my husband's outstretched hand. I am pretty sure angels were watching over me, because I still don't quite understand how it felt as effortless as it did. 

Our final view of the castle as we drove away

Of the castles we have explored in our time here, Anavarza is probably my favorite. All of the castles here are, of course, in some state of ruin due to the centuries of exposure to the elements, lack of upkeep, and human/animal visitors. However, the other castles we've visited have parking right next to, or nearby, the structures. I think the hike to this castle will always be a sweet memory for me, not only because it was our first castle, but because we had to hike up to it in order to experience it. The view, the silence, the crumbling walls (& even that scary leap)... it all adds to the charm that is Anavarza Castle.

If you are ever in Turkey & and are up for an adventure.. this is your castle!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Adventure is out there!

Welcome to my blog! 
My name is Ashley & I love a good adventure!!

I am blessed to be the wife of an amazing man who works hard to take care of our family & the mother of a sweet little boy who keeps me on my toes! We are an Air Force family & have been living in Turkey for the past 2 years. It has been such an adventure for us to explore ancient castle ruins, make new friends & experience another culture. While we still struggle with the language barrier at times, we've managed to get by with smiles, using the little bit of Turkish we do know & some impromptu charades moments. We are currently preparing for our next adventure... Japan!!

I hope you'll check in from time to time to see what's happening in our little corner of the world!