Saturday, October 30, 2010

Company Part V: Ulus

Some shots of the other side of town: Ulus
We met a young man, clearly skipping school. To do what? Catch birds in his hand.
These kinds of homes are being torn down and replaced by apartment buildings. I'll miss them.
As I see this photo, I am thinking it might have been easier to buy pumpkin seeds from this guy rather than the straining them from the pumpkin which I plan to do tonight.
Ancient street, still inhabited.

Here are our precious friends, the Englishes.

And here's us, minus 4 kids.
Ya'll have a good, safe weekend. I've got to get outside and get a picture of CC carving a pumpkin.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Company Part III: Caught on Film

Most of our guests' days were spent at the school, meeting with each staff person, offering encouragement to and prayer for them. But we did want them to see the other side of life in our city as well, so we took a half day to head to Ulus. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you've seen this amazing and ancient side of the city before. However, my friend took such great pictures, I have to share them with you.

Big Ben went with us. Those barrels of dried fruit and nuts are right at his hand level.
And so he stops for a snack. (This is a great problem when we are back in America. I have to constantly remind my kids they can't sample things at grocery stores like they can here. It's stealing there, it's encouraged here. It's especially encouraged when a toddler is involved.)

Since we didn't plan to patronize this man's stall, CC was planning on diving in to recover the dried apricot. Big Ben got it in his mouth so fast, it was as if he knew it was the only safe place.

And he was so proud of himself, he showed the half-chewed apricot to us all.

Well done, little guy!
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Company Part III: Capturing Love in Our House

Our home office visitors happened to stay in our home this time. We enjoyed the time with them so much. They took many random pictures of our family, which was so nice...capturing life in and around our house. I treasure these photos.

Here's Miss Middler offering a final goodbye to Phaselis The Great before she left for school.
And here's Sweet Cheeks planting one on Big Ben.
Here are my four school girls, just as they look many mornings, heading out the door to school....fed, dressed, packed up, prayed for.
And yes, Sweet Cheeks really is wearing leopard tights with Pink Dora tennis shoes. Only some of us can be trend setters.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Company Part II

Another great thing that comes from our Home Office visit each year is that they get to see the classrooms and teachers in action!

Apparently someone wasn't paying attention!

Our teachers work very, very hard for very, very little. All I have to say is that their crowns may topple from the weight of the jewels.

This is the classroom where I teach two afternoons a week.

More on this tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27

20 Years Ago Today: CC was in the Sigma Xi fraternity attending a Hoe Down Party (I know this because I have his t-shirt from it sewn into a quilt on our bed).

10 Years Ago Today: My beautiful second daughter was born on a Friday afternoon, right about the time school lets out. One friend's mother was visiting Singapore, and, upon seeing her, said, "That's the most beautiful baby I've ever seen." (I've learned that comments made about babies, their names, their features...right after they are born...are etched in the mommy's mind for the rest of her life.)

Today: This beautiful and precious girl turns 10.

Happy Birthday, Annika Leigh! You have a tender heart toward the Lord, what more could I ask for?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Company Part I

Each year we have the pleasure of hosting a person or small group of people from our home office in the US. We were thrilled to get to host the English family. They have been such a blessing to us! One thing we do when folks come for their visit is to let them see the school. They spend hours and hours helping us from that end. It is so nice to get to show them life on this end.

Here is CC showing them the inside of our school.
Seems this little host wanted to head straight for the basketball court.
We are proud of our school and it is fun to show it off!
More tomorrow on their visit.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Twinkle Toes Starts Orthodontics!

We are blessed to find a great orthodontist in our city. He started Firstborn's dental work last fall. I asked if I could go ahead and bring my 2nd daughter in to see if she was ready for work. I can't drive to this clinic, so we have to taxi it. This way I knock out two birds (girls) with one stone (taxi fare). Anyway, it was time to start! Isn't she cute???
My orthodontist can't understand why I don't bring all my children to each appointment. He has two girls and wanted many more. I try to explain what my son would be like in a dental clinic, and he just laughs and says, "Just bring him. We'll watch him for you." What do you think? Should I try it? There's an awful lot of buzzy machines/tools in there....

Friday, October 22, 2010

What We've Been Doing

Wow, I've missed blogging! We've been busy with life and hosting company, but it's nice to be back!

On Sunday, some dear friends from our Home Office arrived to spend about a week with us, encouraging the staff. We could not exist without our Home Office, and it is so good for us to remember that they have not forgotten us out here. We look forward to a visit each year. And it doesn't hurt that these folks are good ol' Arkansas, down-to-earth, love-our-kids type folks. We're having a great time!

Last weekend before their arrival, we spent Friday night and Saturday at volleyball games. We were proud of the Lions, and our Varsity Boys' Team took first place in the entire tournament. There's just no celebrating victory like when you remembering back in the old days when we were so small and just starting out and getting stomped by everyone. Most importantly, without fail, our guys and gals set an example in character on the court.
In addition to our busy week, some of us have taken a little time out to sleep as well.
We have just one more weekend with our visiting friends, so we plan to take them to Cappedocia! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

My girls burst through the door after piano lessons today, exclaiming, "Mom, there's hundreds of snails outside!!!" One said, "Really! Millions!"
And then, the question I knew was coming, "May we PLEASE get some for pets?" I momentarily struggled. Snails are just slimey. Oozey. Was it a snail I once poured salt on, or a slug? And, as I was preparing dinner at that very moment, I also thought, but didn't explain, how escargot is made. And then I thought of my mom letting me bring home a kitten one day to live with us. I always said I wanted to be cool about things like she was. "Ok. But you'll need to read up on the internet how to care for them."

And so they each brought home a massive sampling. They already had names. Rascal. Yagmur. ("Rain" in Turkish.) The little snails are having to share a very small space (an ice cream container) with each other.

I went online and I found out the following:
1. They devour strawberries with relish.
2. They can get sick from tap water. (I have to buy them bottled?!)
3. They like cooler temperatures (should be happy in my house).
4. Do not overcrowd snails. They will get sick and die. (Note: make girls put some back tomorrow.)
And finally...5. Slugs and snails are hermaphrodites, meaning that each slug has both male and female parts. Because of this, any pair can breed. Some slugs and snails will act as a male one time and then a female the next time they mate. Other times, both will play both rolls at once and fertilize each other simultaneously (which makes for a lot of babies). Many species can even reproduce when alone, and even if you keep only one slug or snail, you may be surprised by eggs!

Well then.

So, the middlers came into Firstborn's room and we began snipping a plastic wrap lid with airholes. I casually explained point number 5. One of my daughters, I won't detail which one, had a HORRIFIED look on her face. The other burst into laughter and said, "We thought they were kissing!" I don't guess I'd looked at them closely enough at this point to realize that perhaps mating among the little colony may have already begun.

Firstborn immediately decided to cull based on the information I shared. She chose two to be returned to the wet sidewalks of Ankara. Now, as I type this, CC informed me that while I was on the phone earlier, the middlers came downstairs, promptly donned their rain boots (with pajamas) and returned ALL their snails to the wet outdoors. I guess the thought of mating snails with a not-so-secure lid creeped them out. (Creeped Out was their exact word.) They said they'd never be able to sleep, thinking of them escaping and slugging around all over them while they slept.

I know Firstborn, though. (I sometimes call her Templeton.) She'll keep them, study how to raise them, and give it her best shot. And perhaps if they continue in their hermaphroditic ways, I'll give escargot my best shot.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beauty Outside

On our trek to the "Fall Place" two weekends ago, I happened upon these beautiful little hanging flowers. I momentarily let go of my toddler's hand and tried to capture the beauty with my zoom button. Aren't they pretty? And delicate?

When we got home, my older girls commented, "Oh yea, we saw those. Did you look underneath?" I had not. They added, "They are really ugly underneath." I guess anything, or anyone, can be beautiful on the outside, but not so beautiful on the inside. I think the inside is more important.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


No photos today as my battery wasn't charged. My weekend, however, was! Friday I devoted to winterizing my house. Though I do believe it will warm back up, a cold front has taken us into the 30's at night. Friday morning, 3 of my 5 children crawled in our bed and said, "I'm cold." I knew it was time to put on the flannel sheets and thick comforters and pull down the footed jammies. I tidied up the house, which is ever-so-fun with Big Ben, who routinely rides my vacuum cleaner, never understanding that it is his very bottom which turns the power off if he rides too far back. Then I steadily worked through each room, making it cozier for each of my children. How can I describe this? It brought me so. much. joy. to do that. That my hands could bring warmth and comfort to my children in the nights to come.

Saturday a dear friend arrived. This gal has known about me long before I actually knew her. When CC was dating me, he made a trip to Turkey and Jordan. This young couple had a little one year old who CC taught to give "High 5's." She's 16 now! And she and her mom flew in to Ankara so she could take the PSAT at our school. Time flies! I'll forever be indebted to this couple, and their brother and sis-in-law in Jordan. Evidently when CC described me to them, they all said, "What in the world are you waiting for? Propose!" And he did. Thanks for your vote of confidence, guys!

Now she and I are good friends. It's really neat to have someone from your same home fellowship, at your same walk in life (or just a step ahead), who lives in the same country. We have so much to talk about. CC put the kids to bed for me last night, and she and I headed to the mall. We ate Chinese, we caught a movie, we shopped for jeans. And for groceries! Why is it so much more fun to shop in local grocery stores with a friend to whom you can turn and say, "Should I buy these dried black-eyed peas?" and she will answer, "But what good are they without a ham hock?" She totally gets it, good Southern girl!

And so, we had a good time and she'll be here a few more days. Then to end a great weekend, I got to watch my favorite tv show. Pretty much all we get in English is BBC. I watch "Strictly Come Dancing," which is like the US "Dancing with the Stars" only less provocative and with some serious British accents. I love it! Every week someone gets voted off. Oh, the suspense.

So, how was your weekend?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Beauty All Around Us

My friend Brenda took this picture in our neighborhood yesterday. We've had a busy, but good week. We had some company from our organization. Today we get our second group from Izmir. Fall has officially arrived, or is it winter? We went from 60's-70's in the daytime, to low 40's! We also had rain, but it brought this beauty...

Have a great weekend!
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Karagul Part IV (Final Fun Pics)

Thanks for sharing my fun day with me!
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Karagul Part III (Attempt at a Group Picture)

Anyone out there reading this ever tried to take a family photo of more than 2 kids? It's challenging. See if you can follow a theme here. Hint: check out the girl on the bottom left.

No, not time for the silly posed picture yet.
There we go. The best of the bunch.
It's tiring work trying to be cute.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

Karagul Part II (Kids' Pictures)

Several years ago, CC asked me why I would take the kids to a photographer here. There, they usually add a strange background, photoshop all their freckles out, and require them to stand in some type of gangsta pose. He said, "You take better pictures anyway. Just take your own." So, I try each season to get some good individual shots of the kids.

Big Ben
Sweet Cheeks
Miss Middler
Twinkle Toes

I am one blessed mama!
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