Monday, September 28, 2009

Cute Shoes

My Granny went to heaven last Spring. I have so many good memories of her. Some of my favorite stories are of how she cooked a meal for all the wedding guests at my mom's wedding, and how she used to bake the communion bread for the little church down the hill. My Granny also used to love cute shoes and shoe shopping. Once I got my driver's license she would beg me to take her shoe shopping. She wore the same size as me, so this summer my aunt gave my mom all her shoes to give to me. I think of the verse, "Beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news..." She walked faithfully with the Lord, and thus gave me a heritage of faith. All day that I wore her shoes, I thought of her and her beautiful feet.
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Fun Breakfast Idea

We have a dear friend who worked with us in Singapore and is now living in Amsterdam. Though she is too young to really be a grandma, she acted as a grandma to my kids. When we worked with mostly singles, she was my friend with whom I could always tell my latest baby story. Our first year in Turkey was a hard one. She flew here to visit us. We talked, prayed, cried, laughed. She read to my kids and tucked them in bed. She helped me make Thanksgiving lunch without traditional ingredients. One legacy she left from that trip was the Puff Baby. She gave me this simple, delicious, non-healthy recipe which my kids request often.

Here it is:
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (or less) of butter
powdered sugar

Mix the flour, eggs, and milk. Melt butter and pour in a glass or metal dish. Pour the egg/milk/flour mixture in. Bake it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and let your kids peer into the oven. It puffs up HUGE. When you take it out, sprinkle the powdered sugar on it and serve. It is best in a pie pan because you get a bigger puff, but we have to triple it these days and rather than wash 3 pans, I put it in this giant square dish.
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Fall Photos

On our outing day, I took a few pictures of the kids. We weren't sure that tree would hold all of them! (Look at that grin on Big Ben's face..can't you just see him pulling pranks on these girls in a few years?)
They patiently sit and smile as I click "just one more" photo. But we always end with their favorite, a silly one.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Seker Bayram Part II

After our picnic lunch, we walked back to entrance of the park and played on the playground.

Campbell Clansman calls Turkey the plaintiff lawyer's dream. Check out the walkway bridge....that's an 8 foot drop into water below.
Remember these kinds of swings? This is what we used to play on...never mind the lead-based paint, the rusting parts, or the missing seats. We still had fun.

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Seker Bayram Part I

Recently the end to the month of fasting came. It was a 4 day holiday. This is like Christmas to the Turks. They eat a lot, visit family, give gifts, especially chocolates. For us, it was a welcome respite from work and school. We stayed home for 3 days, but on our final day off of school, we drove just outside of town for a picnic. This place used to have a big lake with a dam. There was a water shortage 2 summers ago, so the water has dried up. We enjoy the rustic beauty of this place.

Here are my 5 frogs on a log.
Campbell Clansman is eating a raw hot pepper (I pack weird picnic lunches sometimes.) Firstborn has bangs now!
Perma-Baby was waiting on her 'pock-corn' (popcorn).
You can see our moutains behind the girls. There is just a snippet of a little river now where a large body of water was just 2 years ago.
More on this outing later!
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Every summer, I try to buy/get/borrow the things I anticipate the kids will need for the next school year. What size shoe might they be in by next Spring? How many long-sleeved school shirts will she need this year? How many hairbands will we lose and need more of? My Walmart stress is high, but I usually do pretty well. Until this summer. Big Ben was clearly a big boy this summer. He wore his cousin's 18 month summer clothes at 10 months. I wrongly assumed he would be wearing an 18 month in the fall, through the winter, and perhaps in a 24 month by winter/spring time? He can't keep getting bigger, for goodness sake. This growth spurt has to level off..he'll walk it all off when he starts walking...those are the things I told myself when I packed in August.

Well the weather started cooling off. It was time to put up the summer pj's and pull out the things that help me not feel like a guilty mom when his little hands and feet feel like ice in the mornings. I found this adorable aqua blue footed pj I brought back. It says 2T. Now somebody tell me that after repeated washing and wearing, it shrinks. That's got to be it. The first set of snaps are above his gut!!
I clearly mis-estimated this one.
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Happy Birthday, Big Ben!

Dear Son, we simply could not be happier that you have joined our family! You were the biggest surprise of our lives, but now we can't imagine life without you. You will never know a house without pink and polly pockets and hair barrettes and kisses, but you will always be blessed with 4 big sisters and 2 parents who love you.
You were named for a mighty warrior who was loyal to and loved his king. Without that first Benaiah (who ensured Solomon was put on his rightful throne), we might not have the books of Proverbs and Song of Songs. We pray you will always be loyal to and love your King, and that He will use you in mighty ways as well. Happy first birthday, Son!
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekend Ahead

We are looking forward to the weekend. What's ahead for you? Our little boy turns 1 on Saturday. He had his (almost) first piece of cake this morning at school. We've invited our next door neighbors over for a little party tonight. I'm also looking forward to some papers to grade, no tests to write, no lunches to pack...maybe a curl-up with a good little girl found a spot where no one was likely to disturb her...
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Thursday, September 24, 2009


This has been quite a week. Exactly one week ago, I was just 'the lunch lady' happily handing out lunches to students and training two of our school moms to take over that responsibility so I could get back to some of the general-help-hubby-with-what-needs-to-be-done stuff. Then through an interesting, yet clearly God-directed, turn of events, I became the 7th grade English and 4th/5th/6th Bible teacher. Those of you that know me know I love teaching. It has been wonderful to be in the classroom. But all the changes are not without a bit of stress. So, now you've been briefed. I can tell you about an event that happened this morning in which God reminded me not to take things too seriously.

We moved Big Ben to a new room. It's pink. That will change once we have time to paint. But everyone's wardrobes had to be switched. I have 4 daughters who each own over 12 pairs of underwear. In the wardrobe switch, I must have put the wrong underwear in the wrong drawer. So this morning Perma-Baby was walking to school, grabbing and tugging and obviously uncomfortable in her underwear. Turns out they were size 8 bikinis (she's 4). Campbell Clansman told her to please stop tugging in public and we'd fix it when we got to school. A few minutes later, she was lagging behind. He turned and saw her underwear at her knees. But she was obeying!!! She had been told to wait and fix it at school, so she kept her hands off the situation and just let it ride down, walking with wide legs to keep it from landing at her ankles!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On the Menu

Sometimes people ask me what I cook in Turkey. We do eat some good ol' American home-cooked, but it all has to be made from scratch here. We also eat some Turkish. Having lived in Singapore 6 years, we grew to love Asian food, and I also cook that about one time a week. The other day in the foreign foods section (which happens to include such things as blueberries and soy sauce!), I spotted a jar of Indian tikka sauce. This was one of our favorites, so I decided to try to cook it with chicken. It was wonderful! We sheepishly admitted to our kids that THIS is the meal we go out for when we do that one dinner out in Nashville without them every summer. Now they'll be begging to join us. Tikka would not be complete with out Indian bread, called naan. I found a recipe on line and made some.

Grilled with butter on both sides...
Now I just need to get back to the grocery and buy up all they have of the tikka. For those of us who live here know that a sure way to never see an item again is for it to sell out! Restocking popular sold-out items is not a concept that seems to have taken off here..
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Big Ben Breaks Bed

Extra Extra! Read all about it! Big Ben Breaks Bed. That's right, Big Ben was having his afternoon nap one day, and I heard a little cry. Then I assumed he settled down. Later I came in to get him up from his nap, and I discovered this...
The front right corner of his bed had become detached, causing the front left corner to fall through. Where was baby? He was 1/2 way in the bed, 1/2 way out. His legs and feet were on the floor, this upper body was in the bed. He was wedged right at his pudgy tummy. And he had a big grin on his face. Of course, my heart stopped. I rescued him, all the while using my best counselor voice and wondering if I might have to resort to some sort of jaws-of-life EMT technique to 'un-wedge' him.

I will admit, for about 1 second I considered taking his photo like that just to show you. But considering that my heart had stopped, I decided it was best to get him out of it first. After all, if my heart didn't start back up, I am not even sure the 911 number for Turkey.

I called Campbell Clansman and prepared my speech. "Honey, B broke through his bed. We have only two options. Either we get a professional over here to fix this bed to my satisfaction or you bring home his playpen." Then I heard, "WHAT? He broke through his bed?! Ok, I'll fix it." I replied, calmly, "No rigging. No duct tape. No rope. If I don't feel it is sufficiently fixed, I'm not putting him back in it." (I don't usually get so hossy, but it's my baby....) Then Campbell Clansman (who's been makin' me laugh for 15 years now) said, "Well, I have just one suggestion. Tell him to go on a diet."

So, bless him, he fixed it well. He put reinforcement brackets on all sides, which fixed the problem with the base. Big Ben is happily enjoying his cage bed again.

It's been quite a week. This is a public blog, so I'll have to stop short at that. But it's nice when the problems of this world seem to make me fall through, 1/2 hanging in, 1/2 hanging out, that I have a God who can put reinforcement brackets on all the sides.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Mercies Every Morning

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that Perma-Baby had an unfortunate "clip moving" day at school this past week. That means her little clothes pin with her name on it got moved from the smiley face, to the not-so-smiley face. Last night she suddenly had something important to share with everyone, just as we sat down for Bible story. "Guess WHAT!!!! My teacher changed her MIND!!!" We replied, "About what?" She said, "She moved my clip back to the smiley!!" Apparently, PB thought once her clip was moved to the not-so-smiley face, it would never be moved back. We had a good laugh and explained she got a fresh start each day. Then I reflected how glad I am to get a fresh start each day, aren't you?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Humble Pie

If you are a parent, have you ever begun to think you've arrived, got it all together, have it all figured out? Just when I start to think that this parenting thing is easy, something like this happens...

I was walking through school, when I was stopped by Perma-Baby's teacher, who sheepishly told me that PB had gotten her behavior clip moved. I thought to myself, "Of course...she chit-chatted. She is her mother's daughter after all..." So I replied, "Well I am so sorry she misbehaved, what did she do?" Then my sweet little Arkansas friend said to me, "Well, Sara, she hauled off and slugged a boy." WHAT?! Her dad RUNS the school. I work here. We practically LIVE here!!! Campbell Clansman's kids DON'T HIT their classmates!! Talk about eating humble pie! So I went and yanked PB out of lunch and asked her why in the world she slugged her friend. She said, "He took my pot." "He took your POT?" "Yes, he took my pot in line and I wanted to stand by Kayla." Rest assured, she got a good talkin' to and a stern warning that it better not ever happen again. Then her cheeks got bigger, and her lip started to quiver, and I told her, "Don't cry. Just don't hit anyone else ever again, even if they take your pot."
And then she said to me, "But mama, I didn't bite him." And you know, I am thankful for that. I believe my slice of humble pie was quite big enough already.
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Her Favorite Thing

Many of you know this, but for a couple of years, I worked in the school office with Perma-Baby. It's where she learned to talk, walk, and eat Turkish black olives with pits as a toddler. On more than one occasion, she answered the school phone (when we weren't watching). She drank Turkish tea (with the real glass teacup... the Turks insisted she must have it in the right cup). Many of her first words were Turkish. She greeted our guests. She'd occasionally sneak off, and I'd find her curled up in a teacher's lap while they taught math. After a few months, I quit packing her lunch each morning. The 6th grade boys gave her so much food, it became unnecessary. Yes, she sort of grew up at school. She has dreamed of being a student ever since she can remember. This year it happened. I envisioned myself tearing up a little when I walked her to her classroom and saw her in her chair on the very first day. But it didn't happen like that at all. She so bravely marched to her classroom on her own, she didn't need me to take her to her seat. As long as I live, I'll never forget how she looked as she walked past me. Ready to take on anything the day held for her. I did get teary-eyed. But you know how it is, you wonder where the time went. I did have just one question, of course, at the end of the day. "Eva, what was your very favorite thing you did today?"
Her response? "Eating." I am glad she has her priorities straight.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tradition Part II

Several years ago when our school was started, Campbell Clansman had to decide exactly how we would kick it off. He didn't tell me what he was going to do ahead of time. But on that very first day, with our 70 students, he began some traditions that have carried. I remember thinking, "Well, that's a neat idea. He didn't tell me he was going to do that." Now we have grown to over 230 students, but the first day traditions live on. After gathering all the kids and teachers in the cafeteria, he welcomes us all. Then he asks who remembers the 5 things O-A-S-I-S stand for. The first person to correctly say them earns a 5 lira bill. They know this is coming now, and they're ready. He also introduces all the teachers, amid many cheers, claps, and yells. Then he reminds them why we should all be thankful...thankful for the sacrifice of so many who had a vision for this school and made it happen.
Then we have an opportunity to show our gratitude and pride in our school. One senior is chosen to carry our flag, and all the students from the 18 year olds, all the way down to the Pre-Kindergarten, silently walk one lap around the perimeter of our school. Some are just observing silence, but many of us pray. I always see the neighbors poking out of their windowsto watch. I usually get watery-eyes.
We walk in order of grades, with the youngest at the end. Look who brought up the very back of the line. The youngest one in the school, and the one who's been ready to go to school for about 3 years now.

After we finish the walk, we line up on the basketball court, raise our flag, and cheer for our school. I can't think of a better way to start the year.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009


It's tradition every year to take a first day of school picture, with each kiddo holding up the number of fingers for their new grade level. So far no one has failed a grade, so it's worked out nicely.

Firstborn, flashing a friendly five for fifth grade. (Will she learn to use that much alliteration this year?)
Awww. Twinkle Toes is going into 3rd, my favorite grade to teach. I always thought I might teach her in 3rd, but I'm home with that big ol' boy now. That's ok, I think I'll keep him.
And Miss Middler, my big second grader.
How can this be? Perma-Baby starting K4? She just learned to walk, she just learned to talk. Who in the world taught her to write her name? She's just a baby...

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