a birthday, a blue mosque, a baby

our audrey is now three and so full of words and songs and mischief and wondering.  gosh i am amazed by her.  we are so lucky to have her.  for her birthday we got a large trampoline which has been greatly enjoyed by sophie and me (audrey is getting used to it though).

i went back to the states for a month with the girls to soak in the autumn weather and to celebrate my sister-in-law's wedding (ben was able to join us for a week for that occasion).  we went to the library and the park as much as we could squeeze into our time.  oh, and ate at culvers.

homeschooling has taken a drastic turn and it started while we were in the states for that month.  i have resolved to letting things go, so to speak. i cringe when i say that because i think about all of the money i spent on books and curriculum.  but going to parks and reading to her are now at the core.  that, along with time and space for her to play and do things she enjoys doing (which now involves coloring and playing legos).  so far, i think we'll continue on for the rest of the year like this.

i think my husband is super awesome.  there's a place i feel like i've come to where it just feels more and more solid and delightful in our marriage.  we've had hard conversations and there are days/weeks where he is uber busy.  but more than anything, i'm so glad he's my partner!

i've got a new tattoo.  and i'm designing my next one.

my beautiful mom is visiting with us until mid-january and i'm so thrilled with her presence here.  she's actually on her way to see my sister in south korea right now for a few weeks before returning here. 

audrey would rather play with her sister at home then go to nursery school most days.  and i really don't fight her on this.  i kind of miss being more involved with her school, but it has been pretty amazing to see her and sophia become friends and playmates.  sure, they fight, but that's normal stuff.

we took a short trip to istanbul last week and enjoyed some of the major sites there.  ben and i took turns with nasty head colds, so we did have to limit our time out and about (which we do anyway with two young kiddos).  it was fun to spend that time with mom too.  we found a hotel serving up some american thanksgiving fixings, so that was a treat to have a thanksgiving dinner in turkey (the irony of it all)!

now we are gearing up for an exciting trip to sydeny, australia and then over to new zealand!  hoping for good health and safe travels.  we will return, very jet-lagged, to doha a few days before christmas! 

and that brings me to the last "b":  baby!  We remember the Salvation of the World came as a baby:

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.