Saturday, November 26, 2011

Aliaga vs. Besiktas

First things first.  Ryan was picked again this week to be "Top Performing Player #6" in Turkey. He played last weekend and ended with 28 points and a WIN! He's working so hard and doing so well. Proud of him!
As many of you may know (or have no clue/don't care) there is an NBA lockout going on right now.  Because of the lockout a TON of NBA players have made the jump to overseas Basketball.  Before the lockout a lot of NBA players would come to Europe if they got cut, weren't signed, retired from the NBA etc.  Well, this season has been different.  A lot of BIG named players have made their way over to still make money while the issues in the States are resolved.  Players such as Deron Williams, Sasha Vujacic, Tony Parker, Mehmet Okur, Omri Casspi and many more are currently playing overseas.  There are plenty more still talking about coming overseas if an agreement isn't worked out some time soon such as Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.  It's fun for Ryan to play against a lot of high profile names giving him the chance to prove he can compete with these guys.  Last night for example his team played Besiktas.  Deron Williams is currently playing for Besiktas.  Ryan was guarded the entire game by Deron Williams himself.  Ryan had 15 points and played really well against him!  It was such an amazing game with an awesome atmosphere. Crazy, screaming and whistling fans were jammed into the arena. More people were standing then sitting. Unfortunately, we lost but Aliaga didn't go down without a fight and it was a really great game! This is definitely something we'll remember forever.  Ryan playing against the best point guard in the NBA.  
Way to go Ryan!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday morning

Monday morning Asher decided to wake up and stay up at 7.  By 8am Ryan was also awake.  Usually our mornings are pretty low key until Asher takes his nap and Ryan heads out the door for his first practice.  Monday was different.  Ryan woke up with the genius idea of heading to McDonald's for breakfast. YUM!  There are a ton of McDonald's in our area but only one location serves breakfast. AND it's the only location that has sausage.  The reason for that is because here in Turkey any sort of pig is almost impossible to come by.  In the muslim religion they don't eat any pork.  That's why we ran so quickly at the idea of going! We got on our sweats, threw on coats, we didn't brush our hair but we did brush our teeth! We looked pretty sketchy to say the least.  Actually, I looked pretty sketchy.
 Asher ready for his first trip to McDonald's!
 Loading into the car
 Asher with the one happy face he gave me the whole drive.  He hates his car seat.
 (this is for Kim to get an idea of what our streets look like)
 Then we were there 10 minutes later.  The crazy streets of Karsiyaka at 8:30am
 We were the first customers of the morning. We arrived just as the doors open.  
 Our delicious Sausage and Egg McMuffins. YUM YUM!

 Trust me, I know I look horrible but I'm not ashamed.  It was well worth looking awful for. I'm also not afraid to admit I look like this more often then not! I'm loving the fluffy hair on the side.  That's taken me years of practice to perfect.
 This is a very ordinary sight to see in Turkey.  Incredibly fresh produce just driving down the street.  The merchant will pick a random street corner to sell his fruits/veggies right out of his truck. I love it!
 The damage was done. It tasted even better then we hoped.
Heading back home...tummies full!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving week!

I am grateful for...
A wonderful, loving husband that is kind to me always and loves me just the way I am
A sweet baby that has changed my life forever and is teaching me to love like I have never loved before
Supportive family members that are constantly making sure we know they love us and care for us from thousands of miles away
Parents that care about our lives and are always checking in to see if there is anything we need
Siblings that are always there for me and never too busy to talk 
Friends that treat me the same when I come home and the amazing friend I have that talks to me at least 3 times a week on the phone
The gospel that is with us no matter where in the world we live and the blessings it brings into our lives
The opportunity I have to live in beautiful, interesting and at times chaotic countries
Food. I love food
I truly am grateful for trials that remind me to rely on our Heavenly Father
Skype that saves me day after day and makes the time away a little bit easier
My body and health. I feel like I finally appreciate how incredible our bodies are
Ryan's body and health along with the opportunity he has to work in an industry that he is so passionate about
Grateful that Ryan has a job at a time when many overseas players have been replaced by NBA players (NBA lockout)
Asher's health (when you live in a Foreign country it feels like your world is coming to an end the second your baby coughs)
The opportunity to attend church even if there are six people
Kind people that smile at me in a culture where it's abnormal to make eye contact. This is random I know but I need interaction and I love to smile
The opportunity I have to live this life even though it is very difficult at times (holiday season) and the incredible adventures that come our way year after year
A dryer! Usually you have to hang dry your clothes but luckily the team bought us a brand new dryer
Another year of challenges that help us grow, successes that makes us grateful and for blessings that don't go unnoticed.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving festivities and time with family and friends! 


Here are even more photos of our little man.  I'm not going to apologize for all of the pictures because this is how I keep our families informed with all that Asher is doing. We love him!
 Full of smiles
 Sucking his thumb and toes at the same time
 Our Nascar driver on Halloween....
 Then he gets his hands on a water bottle...
 his favorite toy...
 then POP!!! He unscrewed the lid. He was in a little bit of shock!  We've learned no more lids for Asher. Choking hazard!
 On the way to church.  He hates shoes and kicks them off after 3 seconds of having them on.

 He loves to look over your shoulder and look at everything behind him as you walk by.
 Joel (a branch member) is the only one that can do this trick with Asher.
 Asher just chillin' at Ryan's game waiting for it to start. He watches Ryan warm up. Very serious about watching his dad. 
 AMAZING! He fell asleep at half time or what I call coffee/smoke time because the arena EMPTIES out for everyone to smoke.  Asher stayed asleep the whole 3rd quarter. I think he was in shock by the crazy fans and loud noises.
 Out for Chinese
Asher hasn't been feeling very well so for him to just fall asleep on me was pure heaven.  This never happens! He's been so fussy and uncomfortable the last few days which has been rough.  He won't even really snuggle with us anymore so having him sick and in the mood to snuggle is actually enjoyable. He now does the "throw my head back and arch as hard as I can."  It's quite sad!  I'm missing the sit and snuggle days.  When he's awake it's go, go, go!  Keeps us entertained!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Teething baby

We went in to check on Asher the other night. 

Think he is teething? And yes, he is sleeping!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Out of place...

 Notice anything that looks a little out of place?
Sorry about the incredibly bright picture.  Again, I don't know how to use my camera.
 Yes, that is our bed IN the family room.  Why?  Let me explain.  First off, there is usually only one AC unit in the whole apartment when you live in Europe.  We've become used to this over the last couple years.  When we first moved in it was incredibly hot! What do you do? Bring the bed to the AC unit.  Now you're probably wondering why we haven't moved the bed back to our bedroom since we no longer turn on the AC. Easy explanation.  There is no internet connection in our room which means no American TV watching in our room which means ruining our nighttime ritual.  It's as easy as that!  We have to watch our TV shows together when we get in bed at night so this bed will most likely stay in here until we have visitors and then we'll maybe consider moving our bed back.  This might sound a little crazy but trust me, it's not. 
Thought I'd show you our irregularly LONG kitchen.  Isn't that so long? Welcome to our corridor...I mean kitchen.  

Just because...

I have noticed that my posts have a lot of pictures.  Actually, a lot of pictures of Asher.  I just can't help myself! He is into so many things and cracks me up all day long.  I wanted to share! Also, what better way to document his changes then to blog about him. After all, this is our journal!
 Ryan likes to eat a snickers bar before bed.  This one had been a little bit melted which left a wonderful surprise for Asher.  Melted caramel and chocolate on the inside of the wrapper!  Let's just say that he licked the wrapper perfectly clean and maybe enjoyed it a little too much.  When I finally took the wrapper away he started to cry.  That was the first time he has ever gotten mad at something being taken away from him. uh oh! This baby knows what is good for him!
 Now that Asher is army crawling he gets himself into a lot of things. We like to call him our "wounded soldier" because he always leaves one leg dragging behind quite lifeless. He lifts himself up and over anything.  Lately his favorite is our electronics.  DVD player, speakers, Satellite box and chords. I finally just unplugged everything and let him have at it! Now he probably won't be as into since I've stopped paying so much attention to him when he goes over there. 
 We've made some new friends! Another American couple with a 15 month old little girl.  It has been great to make some new friends and I'm not complaining about the toys Asher has been able to borrow.  They are letting Asher borrow Adi's walker and he is obsessed! He doesn't even mind that it's pink with  butterflies and flowers all over.  He gets around so quick!  He slides passed the doorways when he gets going and then scoots his little legs in reverse to turn the corner.  He gets really excited and makes screeching noises when he gets cruisin' too fast.
Ryan has a teammate that has a dog named "Turk." Asher loves him.  I feel like they both know they're babies and so they have an instant connection.  Asher loves to pet him and have Turk lick his fingers. 

 Moms out there! Have you seen these things? They are the BEST! My mother in law bought Asher these little gadgets.  You stick food in them (apples, pears, carrots etc.) and then the baby can sink their teeth into it and suck and gnaw to their hearts content.  It keeps Asher busy for a good half hour.  He is loving them just as much as me. Amazing for a teething baby!
 Asher has discovered his tongue.  
Have you heard of the mini show "Small Potatoes?"  It's our favorite! My sister Kim introduced us to these little episodes and they are perfect! They're 4 or 5 minutes and Asher loves every second! Check them out! They are adorable! We just watch them on YouTube.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's about time...

I thought it was about time I blog about this Basketball season! The season is under way and has gone well so far! In the preseason there was the first round of the Turkish Cup which is a huge tournament that is amongst all 16 teams in Turkey. It is the next biggest thing to playoffs at the end of the season.  All 16 teams participate and if you qualify for the next rounds they take place throughout the season. Ryan's team Aliaga Petkim lost their first game to Ryan's previous team in Turkey, Karsiyaka but then they came back and beat one of the top teams named Turk Telekom!  Ryan got MVP of this game and had 22 points!  The next day would say if they were able to move on in the tournament or not.  Of course, they had to play the #1 team Anadolu Efes.  Well, guess what! Ryan's team beat them!  Aliaga made it to the next round of the Turkish cup which will be in January.  I was so bummed that all of this went on while I was in the states visiting family.  I always have the worst luck with booking trips to go home and then something huge happens! At least Asher and I will travel to the next round FOR SURE!  Ryan played incredible and had fun in the tournament!  If you are an NBA fan then you may know these players.  He played against Mehmet Okur and Sasha Vujacic in these games.  Mehmet Okur even told Ryan he was a an incredible shooter, which is pretty cool! Ryan would be embarrassed if he knew I told you that!  

The first game of the actual season was October 16th.  They have played 3 games so far this season (including Efes again but this time the lost in another hard game.)  Ryan has been playing really well and is really enjoying this year.  In this last game he had 20 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists and they won!  He was made the 4th best player in Turkey this week and is in the top 10 in the country for assists per game. I am so proud of him and his team!

 Asher and I love being at the games! And yes, Asher wears these headphones! The first game we didn't have them and he screamed the whole time because the fans were so loud!  Then, next game he wore them and didn't even make a sound! He even watches Ryan run up and down the court!

Ryan works so hard and I love that he is able to fulfill his dream of playing Pro Basketball.  He is such an amazing father and husband!  He commutes 30 minutes to and from practice everyday so that we can live in the same city that we lived in the first year.  He has two practices a day about 3 times a week and he never complains about all of the traveling.  It makes his days so much longer but he is amazing and sacrifices rest so that Asher and I can have more to do and live in a place where we have friends!  I am so grateful for Ryan's hard work and dedication and doing everything he can to provide for our family!  We love you Ryan! 

Here are a couple pieces of articles on
Aliaga - Tofas 74-73

The most surprising game was the first loss of undefeated Tofas (2-1) on the court of twelfth ranked Aliagaon Sunday night. Visitors were edged by Aliaga 74-73. It ended at the same time the two-game winning streak of Tofas. Tofas was trailing by 9 points at halftime but managed to get 2-point lead after three quarters before a 17-14 charge of Aliaga, which allowed them to win the game. It was a great evening for American guard Ryan Toolson (193-85, college: Utah Valley St.) who led his team to a victory scoring 20 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists (on 7-of-8 shooting from the field). Serbian guard Branislav Ratkovica (193-85, agency: Beo Basket) helped adding 15 points and 4 assists. Aliaga's coach used a ten-player rotation in such tough game. The best for the losing side was American forward Bradley Buckman (203-84, college:Texas) with 22 points and 8 rebounds and the other American import point guard Ronald Steele (187-86, college: Alabama, agency: SportsTalent) scored 7 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Aliaga (1-2) left bottom position moving up to eighth place, which they share with 5 other teams. Tofas at the other side keeps the fifth position with one game lost. They share it with Turk Telekom and Mersin. Aliaga is looking forward to face bottom-ranked Trabzonspor (#16) on the road in the next round and are hoping to win another game. Tofas will play against Olin Edirne (#10) and is hoping to win this game. 

Other top performing players last week:
4. Ryan Toolson (193-G-85) of Aliaga - 20 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists
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