Sunday, September 25, 2016

Summer 2016: A Wrap

I wanted to get a picture of the grandparents and all the beautiful grandchildren. All 14!

And then three little girls wanted us to see their little forest home they had created back in the woods.

And then it was time to go. Summer flies by. Bags, loading, tickets and passports, a good breakfast for the trip. And goodbyes.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Summer 2016: Squeezing In Some Finals

The three girls had the wonderful opportunity to fly to Philadelphia to spend a week with my aunt and uncle. They got to do a whirlwind tour of Philly, DC, and NYC. They saw museums, monuments, a Broadway show. My uncle's generosity was a highlight of their summer. It was the first time I had ever put them on a flight alone. They did great! Their week flew by, they returned, and it was time to wind things down for the summer. We tried to squeeze in some lasts....

Here are some fun last photos I took from our fun last hour at the swimmin' hole.

It makes my heart so happy to see these genuine smiles. Not the shy smiles and slightly fearful smiles from when these boys first arrived in country, but the real ones that say, "I am loved. I belong in this family."

I love all these kids!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Summer 2016: Celebrating MQ

It was our joy to be in Nashville during the time of MQ's baby shower. We love celebrating her life and her adoption into our extended family.

Here are all the girls in the family.

And three generations with my sweet mom holding her. (Is MQ laughing or crying?)

And this one never minds getting in grandma's lap.

I love real pictures. Not fake. Real laughs. Cute girls.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Summer 2016: Official

CC took off back to Turkey. I remained in the US with the kids.

Here are the results of my official, "I am really taking your picture before church" photos for the summer. They suffer through these 5 minute shoots about 3 times a year. It's actually their fault; they are so cute, I have to photograph them.

I framed this one.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Summer 2016: Finishing Up Memphis

Our week in Memphis was so short! CC had to fly on back to Turkey, so we just had to cram in so many things so quickly. One afternoon, we took the kids roller skating. I spent my every waking afternoon roller skating as a kid, so this was an absolute blast for me. I've only lost my ability to spin in continuous circles without getting dizzy!

This little guy had never roller skated before. I suggested he start out using the rail, but he said, "No, then I'll get used to it." He proceeded to skate and fall until he taught himself to skate. I was so proud of him! 

Our week ended with a luncheon at our church. Our sweet friends who helped us start the school in Turkey came to see us. 

And I got to hug this friend, who also lived in Turkey for many years. 

All too soon, we were hugging our Memphis family goodbye. It's always a year-long goodbye. That's what makes it so hard. We had a great time with them. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. We love them all. 

We left Memphis and drove down to Clinton, MS, to see Mississippi College. CC had taken Firstborn here last summer, but I had not seen it since I was 18. She's honing in on her decision. We drove up to find her name! What I love is how excited all her siblings are in this picture! She said something like, "What? Are you ready to get rid of me?" No, I'm not. 

I'm not at all. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Summer 2016: Celebrating 50 Years

We had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary with my in-laws. My sister in law and I worked together to plan a dinner to honor them. She arranged these flowers, which I thought were beautiful.

Our guests of honor arrived!

Here they are are with all 8 grandkids!

The cousins enjoyed sitting together and trying some exotic foods.

We all shared things that we have appreciated about them as parents, grandparents, in-laws. We ended with this beautiful cake and manipulating our voices with the helium balloons!

Happy 50th to my in-laws! Thank you for protecting your marriage, which has given us a heritage!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Summer 2016: Sweet Cheeks Turns 11/IHOP Invasion

This is by far one of my favorite summer memories. My blog includes all the good stuff, but there are also hard days. During this time, we were getting the news of the summer crisis in Turkey. Our hearts were so heavy. People were asking, "Well, surely you won't go back, right?" and that's not how we felt at all. Not even our kids felt that way. We began praying that things would settle down and that we'd have no obstacles in the way our our return. It just didn't "seem" that the Lord would provide this beautiful new campus only to have us never occupy it. Its provision had been so miraculous.

Sweet Cheeks birthday #11 was that Friday we were in Memphis. We surprised her with the suggestion that we get her ears pierced. She wanted to! 

My baby. With ears pierced. 

I always buy birthday cakes for her. She's the only CampbellClansKid with a birthday in America. And America has SUCH good birthday cakes. Corner piece. More icing. That kind. 

And amid the heartache of what was going on around us, we woke up and took the kids to IHOP to celebrate SC. They had never been to IHOP, so we explained the entire concept. It's called breakfast, but it's really dessert for breakfast. Here's what she chose. 

I remember that morning feeling like my eyes were swollen and my heart was heavy. But we went to IHOP and my focus shifted for a wonderful, brief time to all that God has given me. A husband who loves me and loves Jesus, kids that are doing well and discovering God on their own (not just because it's our faith), health, people who love us, a God who is in control. This picture reminds me of the shift I had that morning. Please also note what everyone ordered. There was exactly one thing on the menu under 500 calories. It's sitting in front of me. We had a good laugh about the limited options. But I did enjoy my meal, not because of the food, but because of these sweet 6 around me. 

And the IHOP girls didn't disappoint. The blonde in the middle heard it was a birthday and rallied her troops. It was so fun. 

And after all that sugar and goodness, they delivered a dessert to her!!! Everyone was up to their eyeballs in sugar, but I forced them all to eat a bite so it wouldn't be so rude that we left the dessert untouched. One bite turned to 2 and between the 6 of them, we ate it! 

I'm thankful for this escape this summer! 

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