Monday, January 31, 2011

The Circus in Ankara

Sometime this past cold month we went out to the circus. This event is free and is sponsored most years by our city government. (The potholes in the roads and the rusted/broken playground equipment isn't so much of a priority, but we do get a circus each year!) The circus here is a bit of a flashback to the 70's for Campbell Clansman and me. We don't mind the traditions they continue to showcase here. For us, it's ok to put aside political correctness and ecological soundness once in awhile. (There, I said it.)
The performers are from Russia. They are into bears. You can see these furry fellas rode on the back of water buffalo.
There were some amazing acts, some without nets underneath! For Big Ben, the best act by far was the motorcycle show. After it was over, he kept saying, "More vrooom vroom?" You'll have to ask your dad on that one, son! (I grew up riding motorcycles. CC is a bit more safety conscious than me.)
They knew how to rev their engines and get everyone all excited. Then the three motorcyclists rode their bikes into this enormous metal hamster ball. Then they rode in circles in the ball, all at the same time. Major thrill. Big Ben was speechless.
We had a super time! Well done, performers!
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ya Never Know What You'll Find

I happened to come up to the school this week, which I do many weeks. When I arrived, there were a group of boys playing football. One girl, just one, was right in the mix. Twinkle Toes.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Split Shoes Kids: Follow Up

I've hardly blogged this week, have you noticed? There's a flu going around our town. The Turks are calling it "Goat Flu" which just gives me the heeby-jebbies! But apparently, "The Goat Flu" is an email hoax. I'd vastly prefer some type of "Lamb Flu" anyday. We just have a good ol' winter virus. There were so many kids out this week, and so many teachers still teaching but needing to be home in bed, that CC canceled school one day. He called it a "Wellness Day." Translation: Stay home. Get well. Our family has not been hit with this virus, so we used the day to figure out Twinkle Toes' birthday board game, "Clue: Secrets and Spies." (I'm hooked. Just call me Miss Peacock and page me in Cape Town with the briefcase and cell phone.) Big Ben has been sick, though he's had his own illness, not what everyone else has gotten. His virus turned to an inner ear infection, but we're on meds and on the mend now.

I did use one day this week to visit the house of the Split Shoes Kids. I gathered up a couple of bags of stuff and headed down to their house. I am dying to get the kids' picture because they are so stinkin' cute, but I just felt it would be best to wait on that.

I drove down, down the hill. Here is their house.
It's non-stop snowing today. I can't even imagine how cold this house must be.
As it turns out, these kids and their parents are the people I see going through trash cans at night. They make the run ahead of the garbage trucks and pull out anything they might find remotely useful or anything they can get money for recycling. This is their front yard. It's basically a trash dump.
This is the back of their house where their coal-burning stove has its' exhaust.
One of the moms met me as I approached. I told her I had some extra things I'd like her to have. She was very gracious. She told me to come back and have tea when I had time. I think I will.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Essie's Birthday: Family Dinner

Essie's party was on Saturday, but her real birthday (and her grandma's!) is January 18th. For that night, I made a lasagna, garlic bread, salad and a giant chocolate chip cookie with almond icing. I happened upon a cute sweater at my little local grocery store, so I got her a new sweater to wear to school on her birthday.
She got many fun things from her relatives and us!
We let Big Ben hand out the gifts. He did a great job handing out the first few, which were small. But as soon as he got to the big ones, he froze in place, squatted down, and tore them open yelling, "Mine?" The temptation was just too much. Esther was very gracious and let him help with the job.
Happy 9th, Esther!
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Essie's Birthday: A House Full of Girls

This past weekend we celebrated Esther's 9th birthday. In spite of having 4 girls already at our house, we invited about 10 more! We had a great time, even Phaselis The Great (see above). We set up a fishing hole for the girls (blue sheet on our door with cut out fish on it) and let each girl fish two times for prizes. As you can see, Kitty got in on the fishing action.

Another game we played was a skit game. I gave each team a purse with five objects. They had to make up a skit using all the teammates and all the objects. Twinkle Toes had us rolling with her Granny role.

Here are the sweet friends that celebrated Esther's big day with us.
Firstborn was in charge of the craft and she did a bang up job! Each girl painted a sled made of popsicle sticks. Then they got to embellish it with stars, snowflakes, snow, etc. Then I wrote their names on them for them so they could hang them on their bedroom door at home.
Here are the samples we made.
As I said earlier, the fishing hole was a big hit. There was a HUGE fish behind the sheet, clipping on prizes, and giving the line a tug when it was time to reel them in. (I think I might have heard it giggle a time or two.)
Big Ben did not feel ambushed in the slightest by such a load of girls in his house. He handles many women at once with ease. He sat right down, ready to pull his prize out.

We had games, cake and ice cream, then a Barbie movie. Surely a pink day in our house! But we all had a great time and love our sweet Essie!!!
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Ever Have a Morning Like This?

Ever have a morning like this? Never fear, fun posts to come...Essie's birthday celebration, a drop-off to the Split Shoes kids, etc. etc. but today my heart is heavy, and so I blog what is taking up the most space in my heart.

We received an email yesterday from our boss telling us that the director's wife (Linda) in our school in Korea had suffered a brain aneurysm. She's 52, with a son still in high school. That's just not that far away from me, I thought. We've all been praying, checking email. It seems that as of this morning, she is soon going to meet Jesus. A couple of our staff gals served alongside of her, it's going to be a hard day for them. Linda is a godly woman who has given her life to lead those around her to her Savior. I first met her when I was pregant with Firstborn. I was in Korea and felt a baby move inside of me for the first time ever, I'll always remember that week. Later Linda's school gave a large sum of money to keep our school afloat that year before we officially opened. We wouldn't be here without them. More recently, she came with her husband to visit our school and treated me to some good ol' US products since she had US base privileges in any country. She is a dear, and she'll be missed.

So, last night, I hugged my husband and kids just a little bit harder.

This morning I woke a little groggy. It's funny that yesterday I was talking to teachers about morning routines at home. They were all saying, "Oh, my roommate and I don't really speak in the morning." I remembered my fun college roommate L.D. who would just smile and coo at me as I walked out the door to my 8:00's. We didn't speak either. I don't have that perk anymore. When you are a mommy of 5, you have to talk, and brush, and tie, and pack, and review, and answer...

This morning, I thought I'd make the kids something different for breakfast. I put a flat tortilla in a pan, with butter under it to make it sizzle,then spread sour cream on it, with some sugar/cinnamon sprinkles. Mmm. Sweet Cheeks dilly-dallied as always. And it was to be Pajama Day for her, so all she could think about was getting to wear pajamas, and thus did not rush to get them on. Miss Middler had to say not 1 verse for Bible class today, but all of the past 6. She did not know the references. Twinkle Toes didn't have any major stressors on her except wanting to offer up how her little sister would be quizzed in Bible class. Oh, and how can I forget that today was Community Service Day? (My idea.) If the kids bring a bag of rice or beans or a bottle of cooking oil for refugees, they can dress in jeans for school today. So, Firstborn waltzed down the stairs, looking all of 15 at 11 years old...cowboy boots, skinny jeans, long hair flowing...then tripped on someone's toy that was not taken upstairs and put away. Big bruise on her shin, no ice pack to be found, a bag of corn would have to do. And she's headed out to a sleepover tonight, so there's all of the..."Do you have your toothbrush?" questions to be asked. The clock is ticking, time to leave for school. I hear Big Ben crying. Crying? He never cries in the morning. He yells funny things like his sisters' names so they will come get him up. I tromp up the stairs like a giant or monster yelling, "Boom. Boom. I'm coming to get ya'..." but he doesn't laugh. Oh, he has fever. He becomes, at 35 lbs., a little "cling on" like those little magnets you can put on a fridge.

Then it was time to rush out the door. Do you have your lunch? Do you have your water? Do you have your permission slip? Do you know your verses? And then I thought of Linda. And I told them each, you will go out this door one at a time, I don't care if you are late, and I am going to hug and kiss every single one of you and make sure you leave here with a happy-non-stressed heart. And I did just that.

Please pray for Rex today, Linda's husband. He's just a hop and skip older than Ross, and he's losing his wife. They are transferring her now to another hospital so they can harvest her organs. Her children are in flight to say their goodbyes.

Kiss the ones you love today. May God be glorified.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday to two wonderful girls!

On January 18, my precious 3rd daughter was born. Never one to be left behind, she walked the earliest, talked the earliest, even rode a stair gate down the stairs like a sled at 15 months. We tell her there'd be no fun in our family without her. There's never been a dull moment with Esther, and she is a delight through and through.
Happy 9th birthday, sweet girl!
We can not imagine our family without you!
And the best part is that you get to share your special day with Grandma! You could not have a better godly example to follow! Happy birthday, Mom! I love you!
Happy birthday to you both!
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Last of Goynuk

Well, I've reached the last of the vacation photos and stories! On our last day, we headed back to Phaselis, the place where we visited three years ago and brought home Phaselis the Great (our cat). It's a beautiful place where people long ago had a thriving city of trade. When Alexander the Great approached them to conquer their city, they met him at the city gate with a gold crown. (If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, maybe?) All they cared about was being able to continue trading, and Alexander allowed it.
This little big guy wasn't with us last time. It was right after the first visit to Phaselis, that I found out about my big surprise to come.
By this last day, the weather had turned cooler, but we still had a fun day outside together. And the girls still swam! We came back to the villa, had one last meal, had one last good sleep, then packed up and headed home.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Goynuk: Part IV (Saving a Goat)

As we hiked up to the ancient city of Silyon, we saw a few village families. There were several ladies out with their goat herds. We greeted them along the way and went on to see some of the old castle remains. It was then that Firstborn realized she'd somehow lost her little purse (without valuables, thankfully). She and I began to backtrack through the knee high grass and over the fallen rocks. We didn't find it. We started back to meet the others when we saw this little black ball of fur, covered with flies. I assumed it was dead, but said anyway, "Hey, little guy." just to see. Then a little head flopped over and a baby goat bleated at us. Precious. It then tried to stand, but fell on its face. What else could I do but scoop it up in my arms and make the trek back to the goat shepherdesses?
We found them. They fell all over themselves with thanks to us and praise to their god for returning the baby goat. It had evidently just been born but had lost its mother. I asked them how old, they replied, "One day." It was then that I saw its still attached umbilical cord. Firstborn and I agreed it was worth it to lose her purse to find and help the baby goat.
They walked back with us to meet the rest of our family. Sweet ladies, as you can see. No doubt they rarely come off that mountain. They took this picture of the kids, the "kid" (little black spot in front of Big Ben), and me. It was the first time the lady had ever used a camera, she said.

I was amazed at how instinctively my little people knew to be gentle with the baby goat. Finally, he stood on his own for a short time. They planned to take him back and give him some milk.
Even more so, I am amazed at the opportunities the true God has given me in this place. (And CC found Firstborn's purse!)
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Goynuk: A Little of This...(Silyon Part III)

A little scouting...
...a little prodding to get back on the trail...
...a little stopping for sister time...
...a little sitting on old Greek monuments...
...a little explaining of the historical significance...
...a little sightseeing...
...a little stopping for rest, all made for a great hike!
Next up: Saving a goat!
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Goynuk: Silyon Part II

Soon, as we ascended, we came upon an old shepherd and his flock. He was very friendly. Can you spot the baby lamb at the back of the flock (not the one in pink)?
We came to this water source. I asked the shepherd if it was old or new, he replied, "Eski. Cok eski." (Old. Very old.) It still had fresh ice cold water coming from it.
Seemed the girls were not the only ones wanting a little refreshment.

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