Monday, May 31, 2010

Morning Sunshine

How's your weather been? We've had a beautiful Spring! The girls leave the house in light jackets, but by 10AM, it's warm! I've been taking BB to the park some mornings before his nap. He loves it! What I had to convince his older sister to do at 4 years old, he readily attempts at 20 months...the tube slide!

I've also included a video of my little guy because it is CLASSIC BB! Down the slide...giggles...helicopter overhead....excitement....where'd it go?....oh well, back to the slide. This is my everyday with him! Enjoy!
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Don't Mind it a Bit!

A precious couple enabled us to buy our van, one of them in heaven, one here on Earth still serving the Lord. It's more of a mini-bus sometimes. We're constantly picking up folks and stuffing even more in. This morning, BB's carseat had been removed to make room for hauling some folks, and it had not been replaced.

I told him, "Just this once, I'm going to let you ride in a big boy seat around the corner to home. Just this once. Just down the street."
And he did not mind a bit!

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wizard of Oz: Final Post "Things We Learned"

This was a great experience for my girls... in my final Wizard of Oz post, I thought I'd mention a few things we learned....

how to be flipped up in the air by high school guys (I pre-approved all 3 of these guys, they're some of the best I know!) to be a part of a team and work together to accomplish something great.
...that prayer helps on opening night.
...that it takes longer than I thought to do stage hair and makeup!
...that it's nice when people clap for you!
...that friends make long practices more enjoyable!
...that there are some very nice girls in the high school.
...that we have some teachers who care enough to work for slave wages and still give it 100% and love their kids.

I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse of this little highlight of our year!
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Wizard of Oz: Part VI Flowers

I wanted to surprise the girls after their last performance with a bouquet of flowers. I knew just what to get...

Red for Esther.
Pink for Annika.
Blue for Mary Erin.
All the way home, the girls said, "Oh, mama, you didn't have to do that...." and "Oh, mama, you are always getting us things, we should get you flowers." Then I told them that I got them flowers because I wanted them to know how very proud I was of their hard work, and that I got them individual colors (their favorites) to tell them that they are each unique and special to me. Having girls is nice....!
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wizard of Oz: Part V Jitterbugs

Mary Erin was chosen to be one of the five jitterbugs.
A jitterbug is a little 1/2 plant, 1/2 animal critter who interrupts the process of following the yellow brick road. The jitterbugs method of disturbance? They make you dance...and dance and dance and dance!
The girls learned the Charleston (a harder version than I've ever tried), as well as Swing Dancing. All week I've tried to upload a video of their dance, but it must be too big, it just won't work.
Still shots will have to suffice. Take my word for it, they were fabulous!
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Wizard of Oz: Part IV Munchkin Land

See my comments below to identify each video.

Our drama teacher envisioned munchkin land to be whimsical, fun, colorful, silly. The kids' clothes were mismatched. All the socks were striped (and, I must confess, most came from our house!). The hairstyles were adorable and crazy. Annika had so much gel in her "heart on top of her head braid" that the 3 twines of the braid stood straight up when we took it out! All these little peeps did a wonderful job. They remembered their lines, they stayed in character, and they were just darling! I hope you enjoy watching them. So, Here are some video clips of my munchkins!

Video 1. The munchkins discover the Wicked Witch has been killed and Essie's big 'sneeze' that scares her fellow munchkins. (Annika is in the striped top, and pastel halter top and pant set. Essie is in the yellow top and hot pink patterned pants.)

Video 2. Munchkins meet Dorothy and sing "The House Began to Pitch...."

Video 3. "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" (and Annika/Esther's special solo singing lines)

Video 4. The Lollipop Guild

Video 5. (below) And finally, the appearance of the Witch (which I just HAD to include because Esther's scream center-stage is so priceless!)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wizard of Oz Part III: Friends

The girls had some very special friends in the audience!

Here's Annika's friend Emily.
And here's "The Other Esther" as we call her. She brought our Esther some roses.
Here's The Other Esther's sister Christy, who was also a jitterbug. Friends make everything better!
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Wizard of Oz: Part II (Jitterbug Jitters)

We made it to the theater on time, with time enough for last minute touch-ups. The word on the street is that my friend Tiffany does the 'best buns' so she did ME's for me!
And what does a jitterbug do when she has the jitters before her first performance?

She prays...
And when I saw these sweet girls huddled up together, praying of their own initiative, I knew this Wizard of Oz whimsical comedy would hold much deeper emotions for me than just humor. I am so thankful for so many things. I am so thankful for the friends God has given my children. I am so thankful for a remnant here. And I am so thankful when my children begin to grow on their own in their faith.
And then as she walked down the hall to 'backstage,' all I could think was, "Her dad is going to die when he sees her in that costume!!!" Yes, she's growing up. I love you, jitterbug!
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Wizard of Oz Part I

Well, last night was the big night! This morning, we all (teachers) sort of stood around the office just basking in that..."These are OUR kids! Can you believe how well they did?!" glow. Our director told me I am free to post pictures now, so here we go....

The girls got home at 3:30, after their walk home from school. Then began the organized, but fast, plan to get them rested, fed, watered (yes, I remember to 'water' my children better than I do my plants!), make-upped, and out to door to the theater by 5:30. All went smoothly, except for one thing. Big Ben did NOT like how his sister looked in stage makeup!
I have a confession. I know I should not want to make my son cry, but there is this little part of me that thinks it is so adorable when he is scared, I have to do it just once. I think Firstborn inherited that trait. She would peek out at him, see his darling face start to tremble, then just cry, "Oh, he's sooooooo cute!"

Firstborn was a jitterbug...half plant, half animal. Her animal of choice was a cat. How does she look?
And these two precious babies are munchkins. They were supposed to look as whimsical as possible. Being the good Southern woman that I am, I had plenty of red lipstick choices for them. I gave them sparkly purple eye shadow with little curly-Q lines just outside of their eyes. Oh, how they liked those curly-Q's.

Next up: Pre-stage jitters!
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

We're Off to See the Wizard!

It's finally here. They've been practicing for about 3 months, and all of it culminates tonight and the next 2 nights!

I was instructed NO Wizard of Oz photos on my blog, facebook account, or anywhere else until after the performance. Our drama teacher adheres to the old (best) ways of doing things...nothing should spoil the show ahead of time for the audience. I complied, but it was oh, so hard. When the middlers were giggling at the purple eyeshadow they got to wear for rehearsal, it was hard to not share it with you! When I saw my beautiful firstborn get tossed in the air by a 9th grade boy, I resisted the urge to snap a photo and blog about what my heart was saying to me! But I obeyed and kept it all quiet. All that work and all those practices have been worth it all! I was so proud to send them off to school today, the day of Opening Night, sporting their cast t-shirts and jeans!
For these two days, they get to defy their Papa's school rules and wear t-shirts and jeans to school. It's a fitting reward for their hard work, I think!
And their names are on the back of the t-shirt!
And just because they could, they wore flip flops to school! That alone made it worth all the work!
Stay tuned for photos AFTER the final performance on Saturday night. As for me, I'm off to see the wizard...
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Weekend Project

Any little snippet of free time for my kids this weekend was consumed with the following:

We have a little store with food basics in the bottom floor of our building. Almost daily I ask them to run down for a loaf of bread (It has no preservatives in it and has to be bought daily).

So, Firstborn came up with the idea of stringing some bands together and tying a bag on the end. That way, when I want a loaf of bread, one sister can go down and buy it and place it in the bag. Then another sister can hoist it up. However, it was one of the windiest days I can remember, so part of the process became making the bag something other than a kite. I just had to stand on the balcony and watch because the laughter was so contagious. And then there was the ever-present possiblity of it flying onto Mrs. Neighbor's balcony, and that added a whole other element of suspense.

Then finally, success. A fresh loaf of bread hoisted up 5 stories! Shrieks of laughter and joy erupted.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why I would not make a good P.I.

Have I ever told you about my neighbor below? It seems like I haven't, maybe because it is not one of the prettier aspects of my existence here. I strive to help you walk away from your computer with a warm-fuzzy. But Mrs. Neighbor does not evoke warm fuzzies. I must first say this, I have WONDERFUL other neighbors. All except this one. The others are precious. They've hand-knitted my baby sweaters, they offer me plates of food, they put my children in their cars and driven them to school when the street dogs are out. I could go on and on.

Just after we moved in, a neighbor told me in confidence that the previous tenant had moved out because the downstairs neighbor was so nasty. Surely that was just a rumor. But even if it weren't, I wouldn't have let that stop me from moving in. This apartment is perfect for us. But in a very short time, I realized exactly what they were talking about. She began banging her broom on her roof at us anytime she heard something in our apartment. We'd get 'banged' for pulling out our kitchen chairs to sit and eat. We'd get 'banged' when one of the kids dropped a toy.

So, what did I do? I heaped some coals. I bought pads to put on the feet of all our chairs. I baked her cookies. She loved my cookies, and even asked for the recipe. I told her they had peanut butter chips from America in them, that she couldn't make them without those, that I'd bring her some back. Then I did. (I gave up luggage space with God's help!) I had the kids try to stay on the rug in the morning. I did everything I could think of to try to appease her.

One day the kids got the idea to roller skate on our outside balcony. We have a two story apartment and on our second floor, one balcony totally hangs outside of the building so I didn't think it would disturb anyone. When they roller skated, she started banging because she could hear a faint rolling sound from two stories down. Then suddenly the banging stopped. And the police came to my door. (It seems like I did tell you this, didn't I?) I'll spare you the details, but I'll say two things...I was told it was "against the law to roller skate on the balcony" (to which my Turkish friends have rolled their eyes and said, "Please!" in their own Turkish way!) and I experienced discrimination in a way that I never have before. I know the Turkish word for "foreigner" well, but this day I experienced unfairness to a new degree. It was not a happy day.

Now, are you ready for the point of this novel? My latest offense against my neighbor is where I shake my rugs. Shaking your rugs out the windows/balconies is done by every Turk I know. So, I shake too! Mrs. Neighbor has a glassed-in balcony, but I shook my rugs out that balcony one day when one window panel was about 3 inches open. She started screaming about dust coming in, then she ran into the common area of the apartment and screamed more. Then she banged at me every 1/2 hour the rest of the day. It was not a happy day.

What to do? I pray for her. I greet her warmly. I have asked the Lord what to do. But I have finally come to the conclusion that she is not a healthy woman. I doubt I can ever please her. A thought occurred to me one day. I hear and see her shaking her rugs on that exact same balcony below me (you know, the one she screamed at me for using). If I took a video or pictures of her, then if (WHEN!) she reports me to the apartment manager, I'll just smile and run the clip. I'd become a Private Investigator!

So, I began to develop a plan. Video. That's the key to solving this. But let me tell you, every time I heard her rug shaking, my heart started pounding! I began to sweat! I'd run for the camera, then she'd be gone. I even once saw her shaking them when I was down on the street outside, so I hid behind a tree, fumbling for my camera. Then finally, glory be...after weeks of these unproductive heart-stopping rituals of running for my camera, one day this week I heard the "VWHOOM!" of a rug. I stealthily (actually, shakily) made my way through the house, grabbed my hand cam, hid behind the door, then click-click-clicked away. I took at least 6 shots, including a video. She didn't see me until the end, when she scowled at me. I think I shook for 30 minutes after that. I called CC and said, "I did it. I did it. I'm ok. Whew." And I wondered, "Do Private Investigators shake this much on a stakeout?" I doubt it. Anyway, I pray she leaves me alone, and I do NOT plan to publicize this video to anyone here...unless of course she pulls out the big guns on me. If I get a knock at the door and a complaint, the photo above is my evidence! (See, my life is not all roses! You've encouraged me to be real. I am just being real.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pooh's Pot O' Huny

This Sunday morning, I made pancakes, strawberries, and bacon (saved, frozen, and now freely served since we can stock up on more this summer!) Perma-Baby kept trying to tell us something about her pancake. Then we figured out it was Winnie The Pooh's pot o' honey.
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