Thursday, September 30, 2010

What is it?

Me: Girls, what exactly is this?
Middlers: Oh, mommy, can't you tell? It's for our Littlest Pet Shop animals.
Me: Oh, you made them a house.
Middlers: No, a disco.

Of course, see the light bulb they scavenged from the trash and painted orange/blue/yellow/red? Would that be a strobe light? And don't you see the tile dance floor, taken from the falling tiles off our building? How do they know what a disco is? And how long should I keep this?
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Big Ben's Big Birthday #2 (Final Post)

Finishing up BB's birthday posts, we opened gifts Sunday night, on his actual birthday. He received some precious gifts.

This one was from Sweet Cheeks. She drew a picture of all the things he likes. Cars. Horses. Planes. Monsters. Herself.
He got a hardhat with a worklight from Grandma and Grandaddy. We're planning on a Construction Man costume for Halloween! He got this, backhoe, me out here..."construction vehicle" from his aunt/uncle. He knew exactly what to do with it. It has scooped rocks at the park already.
Here he is clutching his shake-it-up, set-it-down, make-lots-of-noises, then speed off car from his Campbell grandparents.
His auntie here in Turkey even gave him camoflauge band-aids, which I am sure will come in handy...most likely some point. Thanks all, for loving our boy and thinking those little-boy-might-like thoughts when shopping for him.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big Ben's Big Birthday #2 (Part III)

We tossed around several ideas of where to go for BB's birthday. Maybe the zoo? Maybe an arcade/playplace? Then we all settled on this fun park just on the outskirts of town. It would get us outside, and we all thought it would be fun for BB as well as everyone else. They have a 'roller coaster' which is really more like a bob sled ride. You can control your speed and even stop yourself on it. We counted several reasons this ride would never pass code in America. At one point a man was running through the tracks to retrieve his hat that blew off. Firstborn and I nearly slammed into him. These two agreed before it speed the whole ride.
The highlight of BB's day was this ride. He is belted in there. His papa couldn't go fast enough for him. Not surprisingly, Sweet Cheeks opted out of this one.
We also all rode the train around the park.
We happened upon a bride and groom getting their wedding day photos there. Happy marriage!
Up next: BB's presents!
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Big Ben's Big Birthday #2 (Part II)

Big Ben got his own happy meal in honor of turning 2. He usually has to split with Sweet Cheeks and then steal from the rest of us, but this time he got his own. I also made a simple yellow cake with chocolate icing. For the boy who hardly talks, he knows exactly what we are saying. I said, "Now you need to blow out your candles!" and he did it. For some reason, he picked his birthday to sport some new looks.

I think I need to start spraying, gelling, moussing, or something. The time of ignoring his hair is over.

We were dying laughing. Everytime we asked him to make a 'mad' look, this is what we got!

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Big Ben's Big Birthday #2 (Part I)

Big Ben turned 2 this weekend! Oh, it has gone so fast! We started the day at our normal Turkish breakfast out. He seemed to somehow know he was going to get extra attention that day!
This was his birthday breakfast...tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, potatoes, and a stuffed grape leaf. Mmm! He always yells, "More, more!" so our Turkish grandpa, Turgut Bey laughs and translates it for him, "Daha daha."
After breakfast, we made a trip to the hardware store. And for a two-year-old boy who loves tools, that was a perfect idea.
Up next tomorrow: where and how we celebrated his milestone. (Can you find the 4 kids in the cart?)
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Sunday, September 26, 2010


I was making enchiladas one night and the two Turks wanted to help. Actually, just Sweet Cheeks did. But whatever SC does, BB has to do also. He went and got his stool and proceeded to eat the filling for me.
Then they each wanted cheese.
It's hard to get good help like this these days.
Up Tomorrow: Big Ben Big Birthday #2!
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Surprise Visit

I had a friend call and say she needed to stop by to show me something. She turned up with THIS!
Pure puppy cuteness! When Big Ben saw him, he patted his own chest and said, "Ma! Ma!" which in Benaiah-ese means, "Mine!"
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Post about CC

One of my favorite readers and commenters, MK, asked me to post more about CC. What a great idea! I can't write enough good about my husband. He's an absolute gentleman, which makes the following story even more funny.

CC almost always does the appropriate thing. He's from the old school in every way. And I love that about him. In a generation where everyone just lets it all hang out, he's always a gentleman. I NEVER walk next to the road when we are out walking. I NEVER (almost never) open my own car door. He didn't discuss marriage with me until he was ready to propose. He asked my dad to give my hand to him in marriage, totally unbeknownst to me. He did everything, and still does, the way my grandfather might have. He just always does the right and mannerly thing. (Everyone is different, not saying you are wrong if you do things differently!) So that gives you a picture of who my husband is. He is hilariously funny, but not everyone gets to see that side. Anyway, on to the story.

CC is the director of our school, and he has lunch with every new student their first semester here. He treats them to pizza and cokes and gets to know them a bit. This week he ate with the first graders who were new.
The conversation over lunch went something like this:
CC: So, ____________ (boy student), do you have any brothers or sisters?
Boy Student: No, I'm the only one. But my mom says she's going to make a baby soon!
CC: (polite cough)
Girl Student: WHAT?! Your mom knows how to make babies?! Oh oh oh oh! I WISH I knew how to make babies, I want to make one, too!!!

Enjoy your weekend!
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A Fall Saturday

I love fall, and it's on the way! Right now the rule of thumb is that we wear short sleeves and long pants OR long sleeves and shorts/capris. It's much cooler in the mornings and at night than the afternoon.

This was a Saturday morning Turkish breakfast.
There's an ongoing debate. I say she has CC's eyes. He says she has mine. (The literal quote was, "She got those cat eyes from you, Sara!") Wherever she got them, she's pure cuteness and turning 10 next month!
And this little guy is holding up his "one," but he is only one for 3 more days!
My two little Turks.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Mango Lassi

Tonight CC took Twinkle Toes on a date. I usually do a simple meal on Dad date nights, but when I grocery shopped, I didn't remember he was taking her out. Plus, I was starvng. So, I proceeded to make what I would have normally made for dinner. I had planned to make Indian food. I made chicken tikka and basmati rice. I knew I'd be in trouble. I knew CC would walk in the door to pick her up and smell the tikka. When he arrived home, he said to me, "How can you do this to me? Why would you make it on a night I'm not home?" (Picture a sad, pitiful look here.) You see, we fell in love with Indian food in Singapore. On our one hour bus ride home that first year, we passed right through Little India. We could stop and have curry and rice for about $2.00 each. Why would I cook? But when we moved to Turkey, we left all that curry behind. So, I learned to make it. The two people who appreciate this food most in our home are, you guessed it, CC and Twinkle Toes. (Twinkle Toes used to eat spicy curry and naan when she was hardly 2 years old.) Twinkle begged me to save her some. I told her if she gave me a kiss for each dish, I'd save her some...she covered me in kisses.

So, CC was a bit sad as he left for his date night, then I did the ultimate in 'wrong-ness'. I whispered to Twinkle Toes to tell him I was going to try to make a mango lassi for the first time ever. He turned to me and said, "That's just wrong, Sara. Wrong." Every summer we have a tradition of going out for a nice Indian meal with my brother and sis-in-law. It's our way of remembering the good times we shared in Singapore (They were there two years during our time.) We always all treat ourselves to a mango lassi. It's a cool, smooth fruit drink that helps to soothe a flaming tongue, set afire by curry! I have never tried to make it, I didn't think I'd be able to. But today, I just decided to look it up online. Do you know what it takes????!!!! All these years, I've never tried to make it...but it is yogurt (YES! We live in the Middle East, we HAVE yogurt!), mango, sugar, and ice. I can find canned mango on the specialty corner of my grocery store. CC thought I was trying to somehow punish him by making this favorite drink for the first time on his night out, but I really just had a craving and couldn't believe how simple it was.

Here's the recipe if you want to try it sometime.

Mango Lassi (serves 2):
2 mangoes, peeled and cut (I used 1 can and included the syrup)
2 cups yogurt
1 cup ice
1/2 cup sugar.
Just blend it up!

You can try other fruits. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quote of the Year

Sweet Cheeks was asked this week to circle all the "living things" on her toads, plants, people. But she circled a book. Her teacher said, "Now, are you SURE a book is a living thing? Remember what makes something a living thing." Sweet Cheeks said, "But it looks like a Bible. And the Bible is living because God speaks to us through the Bible." Her teacher paused, smiled, and said, "You are EXACTLY right." and didn't count off.

I am not sure if I'll start to forget things when I get old, but I hope I never forget that story or this face.

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Red and yellow, black and white

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.

Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.

Jesus loves the little children of the world.


Living overseas is such an adventure. It's a scene like this that reminds me not to take things too seriously and to just trust.

This man was apparently selling large rodents...for dinner.

Ghana was beautiful, but CC said what had the most profound impact on him was the children. He walked into their chapel service and heard nearly 200 voices singing, "Our God is an Awesome God." He had to stop and regroup. And then it hit him, he hadn't heard that many children singing praise to God, all at once, since Singapore. We always felt like Singapore was our greenhouse, but we were destined to be planted elsewhere. Still, reminders like that cause us to miss the greenhouse sometimes.

Gretchen took this shot of the four ICS Singapore administrators, past and present. The guy on the left is one of our favorite people in the whole world. When we'd been married only a few months, he sat in our den (in our 50 year old musty apartment in Memphis) and told us about the exotic land of Singapore and how he had a position for Secondary Social Studies teacher and 3rd grade teacher. And then he sat in our den once again, this time on another continent. And that night he said, "The Board unanimously wants you to step in and finish this school year as the new Head Administrator. And by the way, you've got 12 hours to decide." Everybody needs a Steve in their life, one who believes in you and has a history with you.
Though there's always work to do here...there are always more emails waiting when you get back....there's always a bit of exhaustion after a trip. Still, I am glad CC got to go. See that happy grin on his face? He loves what he does, and it shows.

Beautiful Ghana

CC made it back home! He had a great week with his fellow administrators. He said it was a great time of fellowship and encouragement.

I sent the camera, but he hardly shot a photo. Then I discovered one of the lady admin's took several great pictures. She agreed to share them with me for my blog (thanks, Gretchen!).

So, here are some of the sights, sounds, colors, and flavors of Ghana!

I'm glad our God is creative, aren't you?

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