Friday, October 31, 2008

Mr. Wake Up

Annika is in 2nd grade now. Last week they were studying about consumers and producers. Her unit project was to be a 'producer' and make something to sell to her class. We told her the best inventions are made out of a need someone has. She decided one of her biggest needs is help getting out of bed in the morning. So, she took a tin tray and made it into a bed, then cut out a little man called "Mr. Wake Up". Ross showed her how to use a paint stirrer and duct tape to make a lever that would flip her bed up. Mr. Wake Up can lie (not lay!) on his pillow and when it is time to get up, the bed flips up and he slides down into his pants, ready for the day. Ross wanted to order one, but I was opposed. I don't generally get up exactly when Ross does and the last thing I want is to slide down into my pants at 6am. Annika is taking orders.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Freedom to blog/Canadian Thanksgiving

Ross just sent me a text message that blogspot had been re-opened! I am so happy to have the freedom to blog again. Many times "youtube" is blocked for weeks, so I am surprised blogspot is back so quickly. Thanks, Cassie, for being my Ghost Writer. Does that make your entry a Ghost Post?
Last Saturday we enjoyed celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in honor of our Canadian friends, Eric and Hannah-Lee Lawrence, and Eric's niece Leticia (of whom I remember seeing pictures as Hannah-Lee's flower girl back in our Singapore days!). We had all the delicious dishes we normally eat at Thanksgiving time, but I am sure they required much more effort. When you don't have canned pumpkin, you cook the pumpkin to make pie. The cranberries were frozen, brought on a 20 hour flight, then re-frozen to use just for this event.

Here are some photos from the day, including a shot of Benaiah and how he spent the day. It is wonderful to share in the holiday traditions of other countries, as we live in such an international setting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wait and See

This is Cassie, Sara's sister in-law, posting for her. She asked me to post and let everyone know that Turkey has blocked blogspot for now for all people using computers in Turkey. Most likely someone on blogspot has said something negative about Turkey, so the website is under review. She is not sure how long it will be blocked, so please check back in a week or so. She may end up having to change her blogging site, but she'll just wait and see what happens. Thanks for being patient.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Co-ordinated Kids

When I had my second daughter, I thought it was just so cute to dress my two girls alike. I did it. A lot. Then I had a third daughter and began to realize that if I continued to dress them alike, my poor little Esther (#3) would end up wearing the hand-me-downs of her sisters..basically consigning her to wearing the exact same clothes for 5 years as she grew into those 'matching outfits'.

So, I began to 'co-ordinate' them rather than match them. It's actually a fun challenge. I think that on some days, I am the only person who sees the connection they all share (butterfly theme...or denim cowgirl motif...or athletic shirts), but I still do it.

Now I have a boy. And we have a lot of pink. In the photo above, I co-ordinated all the girls in a theme. I started with Esther who had a hot pink and black dress. Then I moved to Annika who had the dark dress, but a white shirt with hot pink hearts. Eva moved the group from the hot pink into solid white, but held her own with the dark dress. Mary Erin ended up in a long denim jumper, but pulled the hot pink back into the mix. I know. I think too much. But who better to tie Mary Erin in than her baby brother with some denim overalls. But he will not be in pink, and as I said, we have a lot of pink, so the game may need to end at some point.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Spot the Difference

Recently, my sister-in-law Kathleen sent me an Internet game to try. It was called "Spot the Difference." I stared at 2 pictures of Florida condos for about 15 minutes and only found about 2 of the 7 differences between the pictures. I became increasingly impressed with Kathleen because she told me sometimes she will play the game and challenge herself to find all the differences before she 'makes dinner' or whatever task she needs to do. Not so for me. After staring at the computer those 15 minutes, I realized that I should be honest with myself, some days, I'd just rather not be intellectually challenged. I do realize that perhaps I'll be the most likely to lose my memory in old age, but at least I'll have Kathleen to bring me crossword puzzles to try to stimulate my brain.
Well, today I challenge you to stare at my 2 pictures and "Spot the Difference." This is an easy one. Did you find it? It's the salami. The morning after I gave birth to Benaiah, the meal on the top was brought to me. The meal on the bottom was brought to Ross. It is a typical Turkish tea, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta and regular cheeses, olives, bread. (This has become one of my favorite breakfasts.) But I noticed that I didn't get the salami on mine. I mentioned it to Ross and he said, "Oh, Sara, it was just an oversight." Not so. The next morning, the exact same thing happened. I looked at Ross and said, "Oh. No meat. Mummy gets no meat again." (in my best Singaporean accent). He grinned, realizing he had the advantage and said, "I can cut you a little sliver maybe." Evidently there is some Turkish superstition I am unaware of. I'll have to ask around. It is meat products? No, they gave me beef for dinner. Is it dairy? No, there are the cheeses. Is it spicy? No, this salami wasn't spicy. Why does Mummy get no meat? I've only just birthed a nearly 9 lb baby and am producing food for him 8 times a day. But Mummy gets no meat.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Smidgeon of Pigeon

Before we moved to Turkey, we were told, "Turks have a love affair with their balconies." Indeed, it is rare to see an apartment building without at least one balcony per apartment. We have 3. As a way of coping with living in an apartment without a yard, the girls have adopted a balcony. Routinely I hear one of them calling across the front of our building to a sister on another balcony, "Hey, come over to my house. I am having a dance party!" and then the sibling will come over for a visit to the other balcony. I do borrow a spot on Annika's balcony to hang my laundry, but other than that, the girls have ownership.

I decided one day last week to fix the small balcony off of our bedroom for Eva. I scrubbed it down to remove all the pigeon droppings. I put her little toddler table out there, as well as her kitchen toys. Then I proceeded to hang some silvery cd's from the ceiling to detract the pigeons. Eva was my big helper. She brought me duct tape and string and scissors. We carefully hung them up and talked all along about how much better it would be so we wouldn't have to clean bird poo off her special balcony. We finished the job and Eva sat down to play. As I left the room, I heard, "Birds! Birds! It okay. Come play with me."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Comforts of Home

Things didn't go quite as planned yesterday. The doctor brought in was not Jewish and did not speak English. Ross said he looked more like a Turkish mad scientist than a doctor....loud gruff voice, wild hair, fast jerky movements. We had been told he would use the latest technology to perform Benaiah's circumcision (and I promise this will be the last post on circumcisions, as I am sure Benaiah will be reading fairly soon and won't appreciate this discussion). When he arrived, he said his latest shipment of rings (what is used for this) weren't to his specifications, so he would be performing it 'the old way'. I stayed in the car, realizing that I could not possibly hear the wailing without my heart breaking in two. Ross agreed to take him and said it would be a good 'bonding' experience for them. Well, as many of you know, Ross has a hard time even pulling a tooth. When he saw the amount of blood, and saw the doctor begin to stitch the baby, Ross started to pass out. The doctor had Ross go lie down and finished the procedure. I had been waiting in the car for 45 minutes and began to get worried, so I came in the clinic and asked the receptionist if it was done yet. She said, "Yes, and he didn't cry much." so I sat down to wait. Then I heard the most horrible wail and knew it was my son. Evidently, they weren't done yet. I cried and bolted for the door. Ross momentarily heard me in the waiting area and thought if he could just make it 3 more steps without passing out, he would tag team with me. By the time he got there, I was gone.
It was just one of those days when it is hard to be in a foreign land. There are not many days like this for me anymore, but today was one. I don't know the language well enough to understand what is going on and I must submit to doing things 'their way' rather than the way that is familiar to me (I had been told by many in the US this would all be no big deal as it is done almost routinely at birth). It was just different here.
On our way home, we stopped at a friend's house to pick up the dinner she graciously made for us. Now I have had some amazing dinners made for us these past 10 days...meatloaf, lasagna, enchiladas, hearty delicious soups. But on this night, the friend cooking for us happens to have US base access. Out to our car came an enormous ham, stuffing, American green beans, jellied cranberry sauce, pecan pie, and mint chocolate chip ice cream (every one of the previous items are unavailable in Turkey and I am certain I haven't had pecan pie in 15 years). As we sat down to our Thanksgiving meal in October, it occurred to me that God may be telling me, by sending me a meal from home like this, "I know you are here, in a foreign place and that can be confusing, but I am here." I took great comfort in that thought.
The night progressed and Benaiah was bleeding and seeping, so we called the English-speaking doctor as we were told to do if that happened. He coached us through what to do and Benaiah is ok. The procedure was done well and he is going to be fine. It just wasn't what we expected.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On the 8th Day

You know the command...on the 8th day boys were to be circumcised. Well, in Turkey, they circumcise at 8 years old (the time Abraham would have circumcised Ishmael). Our hospital would not do this procedure for us when Benaiah was born, so we had to search out someone else. I would, of course, prefer that he be too young to ever remember this procedure! Today, on his 11th day of life, he will be circumcised by a Jewish surgeon at a private clinic. We'll see how well the good doctor knows his Old Testament when we tell him Benaiah's name.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thought I'd take a walk

Benaiah suited up for a walk in the park today.

Friday, October 3, 2008

2 Strange Happenings on Friday Night

Last Friday, September 26, it began to rain. Rain is very unusual in Ankara (until this past week, I don't think it had rained since May or early June). Not only did it rain, it down poured. Those of us left at school by 5pm Friday even watched the outdoor overhead light fixtures fill with rain and turn into full blast shower heads. Then it began to hail. At that point, something told me the night was strange enough that we just might see an appearance of our baby boy before midnight.

We locked up the school and headed home to pick up our bags just in case we needed to go straight to the hospital. Ross took me to the Armada, which is a large mall near us, just across the street from my hospital. We had a dinner of Chinese food and when my watch hit 7pm, I popped a miracle pill. My doctor had given me a medication that is technically for heartburn, but has a side effect of triggering labor. She told me to take it Friday evening and we'd meet at the hospital in the morning, if not sooner. Thankfully, my friend Tiffany warned me that it worked for her within a 1/2 hour.

As I said, I took the pill, to which Ross exclaimed, "You just took it?! Just like that? No comment? No analyzing?!" I trotted off to the bathroom, wondering if this pill would even work...10 minutes later Ross began calling my cell phone (do you know how embarrassing it is to be called in a restroom stall?) and threatening to come in after me. I assured him that I was fine, but the pill was working. By 7:20, my contractions were 2 minutes apart. I asked for a cappuchino, in case the night went long, and we started walking the mall. I really was content to keep on walking until they got more severe, but Ross insisted we call the doctor. She told us to head straight over.

When we checked in at the ER, Ross left me and began searching for a newspaper. I held my tongue but continued to watch in complete shock that he felt he'd have time to read a newspaper in the delivery room. After we got to the room, I said, "Can you fill me in on the intense newspaper search?" He said, "I think this boy is going to be born before midnight and I want the day's newspaper for him!" :) Oh. Glad I held my tongue.

By the time we got to our room and met with my doctor, it was about 8:00. At 10:10pm, Benaiah(Ben-I-uh)Ross Campbell entered the world. Even though we had been told he was a boy (and this was a first for us to find out ahead of time), my first response was just complete shock and amazement that we had a boy. And of course, lots of that love that is indescribable when you see your offspring for the first time.

He was a whopping 8 lbs, 12 oz, and 21 inches long. His first few minutes with the pediatrician brought cries followed by the saddest frowns between cries you have ever seen. I am attaching my favorite picture because it captures it perfectly.

The joy that comes with being given such a gift as a newborn baby, entrusted to us by the Lord, is beyond description. How can I blog such deep wonder and love? It's impossible. He is perfect. We don't deserve such a privilege as becoming parents, and yet God has allowed me to do this 5 times and has given me a son on the tail end of our family.

So the 2 strange happenings...a hailstorm and a boy for the Campbells, both rarely, if ever seen, and both on Friday night.

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