Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Budding Scientists

For the last month, our two oldest girls have been preparing for the school science fair. Planning, testing, recording, analyzing, preparing. It all culminated Friday night when the judges arrived. I said what every mom says and truly means, "No matter what. I am proud of you. You've worked hard, and you're a winner in my book!" Just before the fair, Esther began to run a fever. I called my fellow teacher buddy and said, "I'm stayin' home unless I need to come. You call me if any of them get anything, even an honorable mention." (It should be noted that the day before one of the kids piped up to CC and said, "What's 'honorable mention' mean?" Do you know what he said? He said, "It means you didn't quite get good enough to get first, second, or third." Seriously. And this man runs a school. I quickly edited his remark for him.)

So, anyway, I got a call. "You need to come. At least one of them got something."

They sure did. Annika took first place for all of 3rd grade. Her project was testing whether your brain works better after exercise. I did a lot of jumping jacks for that ribbon.

And Mary Erin's project was to determine which nuts gives the most energy to us, based on burning them to see how much it heats up water. My kitchen became a pyro-maniac's dream. When the result was called for fifth grade, she did not get a ribbon. I turned immediately and looked up at the atrium's balcony at her. I knew she was disappointed. I mouthed to her, "Yours was my favorite." And it was.

And then they got to the end and announced "Best of Show" ...the one where you get a trophy, and only two kids in the school get it. And Mary Erin was one. And I bit my lip so hard trying not to cry, it almost made me cry. Way to go, girls!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Maple Syrup

Before I moved here, my friend Vicki gave me some tips on life in Turkey. I remember her telling me, "You'll have to make your own maple syrup." Make my own? How do I do that? Tap a maple tree?

Turns out, it's not hard to make it artificially.
It's just a little water, a LOT of sugar, a little vanilla, and a little maple. Mmm.
It makes pancakes so good, you want to lick your plate, or even try to eat your plate. And some nameless folks don't just 'want' to, they do.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 29, 2010


Not sure if I've told you this, but my 3 Singapore girls all tried out for our school play, the Wizard of Oz. I had to talk CC into it. They have too many activities already. They might not get a part.
I did all of the following:
1.I took the schedule and broke down exactly how much time it would require for any part allotted to an elementary student.
2. I explained to him how important it is to just try. Even the disappointment of not getting a part was worth the experience of trying.
3. I begged.

And he agreed. Guess what! They all got a part! Mary Erin is a jitterbug (more on that in a later post) and a general in the Oz army. Annika and Esther are munchkins.
Last Saturday, I took them to their practice. I fully intended to leave and go make my weekly Spanish lesson plans.
I could not leave. I was mesmerized.
Have you ever just watched your kids do something new, something you had no idea they could do, and been speechless? That was me. I was so proud of them. I was glued to my seat. Funny thing is, though, they are munchkins. Watching their practice, all I could think of was how big they've gotten.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Date Night

Friday night we were to have our weekly date night. But the big girls all requested permission to 'do stuff.' Two wanted to attend a church function. One had a play date with a friend moving back to her home country soon. Our Firstborn, who normally babysits, would not be home. So, we took the "Two Turks" as we call them on our date. We ran into a family we know at the mall, they greeted us and said, "You look...." I said, "I know what you are going to say, "Normal." She said, "Yes!" Two kids, manageable. We hardly knew what to do with our manageable selves.
We ate a bit of Chinese and got them a happy meal to split. Bad idea. Big Ben had wolfed his half down before we ever got our food. I ordered an extra rice to remedy the problem. Then we passed by the toy store. I said, "Let's just be normal all the way around. Don't normal people take a stroll through a toy store with their 2 kids?" So we did. Here is B anticipating going in.
Oh and then he spotted the rides. I told CC, "Let's just get them a token. Normal people only have to buy 2 tokens for all their kids to ride. Let's be normal." B enjoyed his ride best in the floorboard of the car.

Fully three years older, Perma-Baby was slightly apprehensive of her ride. I promised her that her 18 month old baby brother would protect her. She would only ride with his 'help.' Fortunately for her, he wanted to ride in the floorboard, so she got the seat.

But soon, the ride was over. And a monster emerged. B did not want the ride to be over. CC said, "See, this is why we don't do normal things. Now he's going to beg for rides every time."
Next thing I knew, B was slung over his Papa's shoulder and I heard, "No kid of mine is acting like that!" He had a nice training session about how to be thankful and not scream for more right there in the mall. And that, my friends, was the most normal thing we did all night!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why My Son Has a Hard Adjustment at 7:45AM

This is how we look in the mornings. All dressed for school, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, ready to put on shoes and head out the door. Big Ben was too quiet one morning, so I went looking. He had not one, but all four sisters attending to his every desire. One was pulling him, the others were congratulating/conjoling/admiring/whatevering him.
He's so happy at 7:30AM. (Don't let the biceps fool you, it's all fat.)
And then they start to put on their shoes. He cries to go, too. He begs. He lunges for the door.
His only consolation is that we go out to the balcony for one last wave goodbye to the beautiful sisters.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 26, 2010

And a last goodbye!

Thanks, Grandma and Granddady, for visiting us. Thanks, readers, for enjoying it with me!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cappedocia Part VII: Our Amazing Discovery (Best Blogpost Ever)

If you're ever going to read my blog, today is the day. If you're ever interested in coming to Turkey, this will seal the deal.

One night while in Cappedocia, CC suggested we take a short hike. We opted to stay this one extra night, and the next morning was Sunday morning. Big Ben was fussy, the result of one too many naps missed. My mom offered to stay back with him and let me go on the hike. The big girls had just started a game of "house" with all the ancient pots and pans and water troughs at our cave hotel. So, just my dad, my husband, my 4 year old daughter, and I went. We drove down the hill from our cave, parked the car, then looked at the possible paths. CC's famous last words were, "Sar, take the road less traveled, it will make all the difference." So we started to walk up the path that looked a little more remote. It made all the difference.

First, I noticed some carvings on one of the cave structures. Upon closer inspection, we realized they were crosses. Then we came upon a huge gaping hole in front of which had been placed a fence. What do you do when you see a fence in Turkey? You either hop over it or climb under it. We found an opening and went in.

You'll never guess what we found. A church. A really old church. No signs. No guide books pointing us to it. We just found it. I can not even begin to tell you the thrill that is to me. When I was a kid, we used to find arrowheads with my mom, while living in Indiana. That was thrilling. But a church? I was speechless. Then I was full of speech, "It can't be. Why isn't this in a book? How old is it? What is this for?" Then I was speechless all over again.

We only spilled the beans to my mom that night. I had to tell SOMEONE and I couldn't tell YOU because I couldn't blog from a cave! So the next morning, we got everyone up and dressed, ate breakfast, then announced, "We're going to church."
Inside this structure were benches. Sadly, I am sure they were for tour groups at some point who merely appreciated the historical value. But for us, the dusty pews made a perfect spot for us to worship the Lord together, in a place over 1000 years old, where people worshipped Him before us. The spiritual impact of that upon me was significant. I wonder if they can see us from heaven? I wonder if they know I am thankful that they sacrificed so that the truth of Christ could come to me and my people?
This was perhaps an area for confession.
Tombs of those who died in the faith long ago. There was even a place big enough only for a babe to be laid to rest.
I suppose what struck me the most about this is that it still included much of the 'furniture'. This is an ancient pulpit. We let the kids take turns going up and leading us in songs. Then CC got up to read God's Word to us. He started out on the ground level. The kids begged, "No Papa! Go up! Go up there to preach!" I admit I loved hollering out, "Brother Campbell, if you have a word for us, say it boldly!" And so he went up.
Oh how I pray my kids will never forget all this. Mostly, I pray they never forget their spiritual heritage!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mary Erin!

Today, my firstborn daughter, you are turning 11. The last 11 years have just flown by. It seems like yesterday I was holding you for the first time and saying, "Hello, I'm mommy." And now I stand across from you and marvel that we stand almost eye-to-eye. You are so beautiful, inside and out, and I am so proud of who you are becoming.

We won't be able to celebrate today. Your day is filled with school, clogging club, and then play practice. But we'll have a great time on Saturday! And since you won't be home til bedtime tonight, here's a birthday surprise for you! "Your" balcony has been cleaned for Spring! I love you.
Posted by Picasa

Cappedocia Part VII: Landscapes (No Words Needed)

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cappedocia Part VI: Church Tour

Cappedocia is most famous for being a hideout for Christians many years ago, under the persecution of Nero. They ran to this region, dug into the rock, and lived free from him. It became a 'sending' region, a sort of training ground to send out those who would share with others their faith in Christ.
To go in the churches, you sometimes have to duck...
It has been made into a tourist place, where many can now see the amazing paintings and frescos from so long ago.
I appreciate those folks and their sacrifices so I could hear truth, don't you?
Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cappedocia Part VI: Rug Shop

No visit to Turkey is complete without a visit to a rug shop. Our friend in Cappedocia gave us a wonderful explanation of the culture behind rug weaving. In this region, a suitable husband must be able to make a good pot. A suitable wife must be able to weave a good rug. I am glad CC didn't hold me to that back in '96!

The way the rugs are shown is to throw them, one at a time, in front of the customer, creating big piles of rugs. Big Ben made himself at home!
Then the rug owner brought out an antique bag used to swing babies to sleep. It was made in a village hundreds of years ago. I'd say the woman that wove it ought to have found herself a good man, considering it held my 30 pounder after all these years!
You can not even imagine the shock on my face when the rug shop owner told all my kids...including my almost 11 year hop in!
Now that's a swing!
Posted by Picasa

Site Meter