Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving in Turkey

Last year we gathered as a whole staff at the school for Thanksgiving. This year, because we didn't organize it until just before, many of the staff had already made plans. So, for those who still had the date open and wanted to join together for the day (which ended up being 18 of us!), we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone brought the traditional foods and we had a super time. Here are some photos from last night. In the photos...Eric and Hannah-Lee Lawrence (our Canadian long-time friends from Singapore); Leticia Lawrence (Eric's neice visiting for the semester) and Rachel Park (Mary Erin's 4th grade teacher); the guys' table with Eric, Brian Dixon, Daniel Schultz (9th grader), and Wayne Elliot (our new guidance counselor); Brenda Morton (aka Auntie) with Eva (who was recovering from a stomach flu last night); and Benaiah in his fall sweater.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Weekend In Cappedocia Part I

A few weeks ago we had a Women's Conference here in Turkey. This is an annual thing and I have enjoyed the chance to go each year I've lived here. Ross tells me to go, he keeps the kids, and I enjoy some spiritual refreshment for a couple of days. This year it was in Cappedocia, which is only a 3 hour drive from Ankara. Just before leaving, I opted NOT to take our playpen for Benaiah to sleep in. We stood at the van and Ross said, "Are you sure about that?" and I said, "He can't roll yet, it'll be ok." What we didn't say, but both knew, is that no matter what bed the hotel would provide, it was sure to be unsafe. You can see the bed in this photo above. Please note the sides of the crib. The holes would have made a great jungle gym for my preschooler to crawl through! And if you look very carefully at the bottom corner, you can see what the bottom of the crib is held together with...a plastic bag tying the frame together. I am sure when we agreed to move to Turkey, there were some guardian angels rolling their eyes and murmuring, "Oh great, another one going to Turkey!"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fall Carnival

A couple of weeks ago our school hosted a Fall Carnival. It is one of the highlights of the year. Each class comes up with a game for kids like bowling with 2 liter bottles or fishing with a pole and magnets. The kids buy a card of tickets for $3 and just go. It is one of those times that I realize how very different, and how very nice, our school is. They can just go from room to room with their friends unsupervised. This year our 3 school-aged girls were old enough to go on their own. When it was time to go, I walked by one room called the "Scary Room". Inside it was pitch black and filled with things all over the a bowl of jelly stuff to feel and wet beans and flour all over the floor. The kids were to crawl through the room and try to find tickets. The color of ticket indicated what kind of candy they won. Gross, I thought. I couldn't see in, so I said to the teacher, "Esther isn't in there, is she?" The teacher said, "No." and I thought to myself, "Good, that's disgusting." When I finally found her and we recapped her night, she said, "I spent a ticket to get my face painted and almost all the rest on the Scary Room!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Look alikes

I find genetics and 'what someone's kids will look like' to be very interesting. Only God decides. Most people say Mary Erin looks like a Campbell and Esther looks like me. People have definite opinions on Annika, but some say Ross, some say me. What I have decided is that Benaiah and Eva look alike, so much so, that I have to study the surroundings from time to time to tell the pictures apart. You would think they were both born from chipmunks with those cheeks! I am looking forward to creating some new posts this coming week. We had our Christmas craft fair this week, so it has been a busy one.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kidney Crisis

Last night at 1:45 am, I woke from a sound sleep to a growing pain in my back. I went to the kitchen for a drink, then to the bathroom...suddenly the pain became much greater, to the point that I could hardly speak. Ross heard me and woke up. He ran to the computer to type in symptoms and try to figure out what we should do. I then began envisioning 'something' rupturing and poison filling my body, so I said, "Just get me to the hospital." We can't leave our kids alone, so Ross called a taxi and got me downstairs in my pj's, then told the taxi to get me to the hospital quickly. I kept thinking I just can't throw up in this guy's taxi. I stumbled through the Turkish explanation and all the allergies, normal deliveries, 1 surgery in 1996, where the pain was, etc. while in excruciating pain. They put in a pain relief drip and though I am a teetotaler, I thought, "Ok, this feels like I've had 7 beers." I was able to call my parents and Ross' parents before my speech became unclear. The ultrasound confirmed it, a kidney stone. I got this once before in Singapore after taking calcium tablets prescribed for me after giving birth. Same deal here. I guess it is a toss-up for me..osteoporosis or kidney stones? They said the stone was already on the path out and sent me home with orders to drink as much water as I could stand. I came home and drank 2 liters of water and went to bed. Meanwhile, my mom, who is in Memphis for the week helping with my Granny, just 'happened' to be meeting with her old Sunday School class for a time of prayer that night. They, and others, prayed and the kidney stone left sometime during the night. The maternal instinct is so strong, all that time, all I could think about was poor little Benaiah waking at 5:30 to eat with no mama to feed him. Thankfully, I made it home in time. So, this post isn't particularly funny, but I just thought you'd want to know about my eventful night.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dr. Pepper Disaster

Dr. Pepper is an American product not sold in Turkey. Of course you want what you can't have, so during the summers in the good ol' USA I always get Dr. Pepper when we go out to eat. One sweet friend with US base access here in Turkey bought me a 12 pack of Dr. Peppers. I made it last for 6 months. For those of you who are mathematically challenged like me, that means I drank 2 a month for 6 months. One way I made them last was to NOT refrigerate them. Who wants a warm Pepper? When I got a strong enough urge, I'd throw one in the fridge and have it while NO one else was in the house. (Esther got the "Sharing is Caring" award in Kindergarten, I am not sure I'd be nominated.) Well I got to my last can in the 12 pack and wanted it badly that day, so I threw it in the freezer. Then I forgot about it. The next day as I reached in for some frozen veggies, out came a bloated can, oozing from the top, ready to explode. So instead of enjoying my last Dr. Pepper, I poured out the thick syrup threatening to erupt and set the can down in a coffee mug. It would no longer sit on its own. Then I had to wipe out my freezer. I am sure there is a Biblical principle here, but I haven't figured it out yet. Any thoughts?

Friday, November 14, 2008

You have my permission to laugh

Ok, readers, it gets worse. I made a VERY conscious choice NOT to dedicate a blog post to a louse or to lice. However, today it must be done. I took 3 of my girls and Benaiah to the mall last night to buy a gift for a birthday party Mary Erin will be attending tonight. On the drive home, I felt itchy. Is is psychological? Is is nerves? Is it a dry scalp from 3 bottles of pesticide? Is it a raw scalp from one, Ross Campbell, faithfully pulling my hairs one by one for inspection? How is one to know? There it was again, a definite itch. I called Ross, we met back at home for another 'episode of combing.' After about a 1/2 hour, we both wondered, even if he didn't find anything, would I feel satisfied that the lice were gone? no. never. We decided to try mayonnaise, after hearing from several that it works like a charm (and after putting so many chemicals on my head that I began to feel like a commercial for Chem-Lawn). We put the kids to bed none too soon,
and Ross said, "You do have mayonnaise, don't you."
"Sure. I have Miracle Whip."
"Miracle Whip?! That's not mayonnaise, Sara. That's what I ate as a kid because I didn't like mayonnaise."
"Well, I didn't. I thought it was mayonnaise."
"Where did you get Miracle Whip?"
"It was a gift from someone with US base access."
"So you are telling me that at 9:00 at night, I have to go hunt down mayonnaise."
Off he went, and as I watched him leave the room, I stifled a laugh. And that would be the first laugh I have had all week. I am not sure why I stifled it, I should have let it out, I suppose. Ross' shoulders were slumped, head down, pajama pants already on. I apologized for laughing and he then pretended to be holding a gun and said, "I will win! I will kill them all!" (referring to the lice or the louse).

He first went down to the bakkal (a tiny one-room grocery in the bottom of our building). He found one small jar of mayonnaise. Then he came back and rushed the grocery, entering at 9:29 (it closes at 9:30) and bought two VERY large bottles of mayonnaise. This is when it got funny. Ross began lathering thick, strong-smelling mayonnaise in my hair. I was gagging from the smell. We began joking. "Mmmm, you smell good enough to eat." and "I am not sure I'd like mayo on my sandwich...for a very long time." It was good to laugh, finally. Benaiah, feeling neglected these last 4 days, began to cry. Have you ever tried to hold an infant in your lap while mayonnaise is being spread on your head? I have. Finally we decided to let me finish the lathering while Ross held Benaiah.

After being so covered with mayo that I could hardly turn my head for the weight of my 'crown,' Ross wrapped my head in Saran Wrap. I felt so good about this, knowing the Saran Wrap would hold all the mayo in. I was looking forward to holding the baby, watching CNN, with my white bee hive. I got in the shower to get rid of any residual mayo, when I realized the mayo was separating, with the oil from it running down my body. You do have permission to laugh. So, I tied a bandanna around my head to stop the oil. It still ran. I stuffed cotton balls all around the bandanna. It still ran. I tied another bandanna around those. It stopped.

At 5 this morning, I took my mayo-wrapped head and fed the baby, then promptly washed my hair 3 times. Guess what? No itches today. And I think the egg and oil in the mayo must have healed my tender scalp, too.

I will NOT attach a picture of this unfortunate event, you'll just have to use your imaginations.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hickey on my boy

Well, most of the last 1/2 week has been consumed with de-licing the 3 of us who contracted lice and sanitizing my home in case the lice decided to make a home with us. 22 hours of egg searching, 12 tied-up bags of laundry, 8 lice treatments, several dust-free couches and rugs, and 3 cleared-up heads later, we are finished. As unpleasant as it was, it became a family affair and I have to say I was impressed with how everyone chipped in. Ross methodically combed my hair piece by piece, the girls bagged up stuffed toys, and everyone found ways to help. It is a joyous Thursday morning because we are finally all clear. The girls have all been sent off to school with tight braids and stern warnings not to share hats (and every other piece of motherly advice I could think of). After reading about lice on the Internet and even dreaming about them, I decided NOT to dedicate a blog post to them, hence a new subject completely. Enough said.

Hickeys. That is my subject. One morning I went to wake Benaiah and dress him. I discovered this strange mark on his arm. I thought it must be that some really chic Turkish woman had kissed him with her maroon lipstick. Upon closer inspection, I saw it was a hickey! During the night, he had given himself a hickey trying to get some milk. So now that he knows what they are like, he won't ever need to get another one. :) You can see his sweet little hickey in the above picture, along with some serious fat stores.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What I am thankful for in the last 24 hours

This weekend I went to a retreat in Cappedocia. I have so many super blog ideas from the weekend, but this must be posted first. One of our speakers, a godly woman who has been persecuted for her faith, said, "There is power in thanksgiving." Therefore, here is my list of reasons to be thankful in the last 24 hours...

I am thankful...

1. that when I discovered the bug in my hair, I was able to save it.

2. for the internet, which has photos for easily identifying lice.

3. that the Lord prompted me to check my children's hair before bed.

4. for a friend who loves me enough to go out at night and find the only pharmacy that was open.

5. that my friend needed to be at this pharmacy 3 days earlier, otherwise she said she would not have easily found it.

6. that pharmacies in Turkey are required to be open 24 hours on a rotating basis.

7. that the pharmacy had lice medication (not a given that it will always be in stock).

8. for a daughter who did NOT freak out about her lice and calmly sat for 2 hours while I picked nits out of her hair (much better than her mother's reaction at age 15).

9. for a husband who was willing to go through my hair for 2 hours looking for nits with very little complaining.

10. that I didn't have lice, other than the 1.

11. that I had 1 louse, which alerted me to check my daughter, who was covered with them.

12. for a quiet day at home to do a second treatment.

13. that God reminds me He is here when we go through trials (by allowing me to find the louse at the end of my weekend rather than the start so I didn't dwell on it all weekend; by giving me a little louse so I'd know about my daughter; by giving me a sweet friend to help me get the right medication; by giving me a bald baby who can't get lice)

I have posted a photo of my beautiful daughter, in honor of her maturity last night. When I got home from a trip to Guatemala at age 15 and discovered lice, I sobbed in horror. She just smiled and said, "Can you get them out?" :) My encouragement to you today is to make the list of reasons to be thankful instead of that list of reasons to be discouraged. God is with us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Fun Kid

Sometimes as I am picking things up around the house, I will stumble on something that makes me laugh out loud. I once found a Barbie car with Barbie herself in the passenger seat in a wild reckless merriment, arm in the sky. Her boyfriend in the driver's seat was not Ken, it was Shrek. Without fail, the scene has been created by Esther. She makes the strangest combinations of toys and when I study the set up closely, it always makes me laugh. Last week I got in the shower before bed and found this. A little giraffe had been put to bed on top of my apricot body scrub. His pillow was the soap and his blankey was Benaiah's washcloth. I had to take a picture, but I didn't have to ask which kid had done it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cowboys or Redskins?

I grew up being a Dallas Cowboys' fan. My big brother ensured that I properly memorized all the names and positions of the players each season. You can imagine my dismay when I discovered my (then) boyfriend Ross was a Redskins fan. I wasn't sure how we'd navigate through this as a couple. We finally agreed not to talk much about it. As you know, we married, so I guess that was a good strategy. Now that we have a son, the issue has resurfaced.

I was given some Cowboys pajamas for Benaiah and giggled one night as I slipped them on him. Ross said very little. It happened to be a night that Benaiah cried quite a bit before bed, which is rare for him. I attributed it to a gassy tummy. The next morning Ross attributed it to his distaste for his pajamas. I have come to the conclusion that it may just be a hopeless cause, but I did make sure to get this photo, so that one day when Benaiah is older he can see I tried.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Turkey Trick O' Treaters

Being born overseas, my kids have never really experienced "Halloween," until last year. (We once bought an imported pumpkin in Singapore and carved it with Mary Erin, she wanted to know why we were carving a Papaya!) But last year, we were thrilled to be joined with other young staff kids for the first time, so we decided to let the kids all dress up and Ross drove them to staff houses to trick or treat (we all live in the same neighborhood). They enjoyed it so much, we made it a yearly tradition. This year I asked them what they wanted to be for Halloween. We had not talked it up, it was just a casual question over dinner, but the 3 older girls blurted answers out without hesitation. Mary Erin wanted to be a Professor, Annika a witch, and Esther a ghost. I suggested Eva be a pig, knowing we had a pink jogging suit for her.

The teachers graciously signed up to have their houses visited. I appreciate how they can so quickly morph into Aunts and Uncles for our kids, who are away from relatives.

We had so much fun creating the girls' costumes, and I was continually reminded of Halloween when I was a kid. No Walmart. Low budget. High creativity.

Mary Erin was inspired to be a Professor by some eyeglasses she snagged from the Lost and Found bin at school at the end of the year. (There are perks to being a Principal's kid.) Annika and Esther both wanted to be something scary. They know so very little about Halloween, which I am happy about, but they said a witch and a ghost were "true Halloween costumes."

Ross is the artist in our home, so he made the witch's hat. Mary Erin found Annika a broom today outside (being thrown away). Esther's costume was a 5 dollar sheet bought at the local market. Eva just needed a 1/2 of an Easter egg to be turned into a pig nose.

The best surprise of all was during dinner. Ross didn't come to dinner, but locked himself in the bathroom. He then emerged as a pirate with one of my earrings in his ear! The girls squealed with delight and started begging him to actually take them as a pirate.

I hope the preparation for this night will be as sweet of a memory for them as it will be for me.

Site Meter