Monday, May 28, 2012

Zoo Day

It's the time of year that I have no shortage of blog material! There is so much going on. I have been teaching the Pre K class while my friend is in the US to see her daughter graduate from college. We planned the annual zoo field trip to be while she was gone. The kids were so excited.

The little girl in the middle rarely smiles, hardly talks. I saw her smile more on the zoo day than all year long.
She stayed by my side all day. The Turks are not used to seeing Africans. They tend to photograph and pinch their cheeks more. She hid behind me all day. I didn't mind being her body guard!
 No zoo day is complete without a shark picture!
 And we always end our fun with some ice cream.
This is the Pre K class of 2012, minus one boy who was having a post-zoo meltdown, plus one boy who couldn't get enough of the zoo, the ice cream, the photo op's, the fun! (Big Ben!)

Friday, May 25, 2012

How Do You Say Goodbye?

Every June means more goodbyes. It's always hard, but this year is by far the worst. I am saying goodbye to some of my dearest friends. So, how do you say goodbye? I decided to host a tea in their honor, put my best face on, and send them off knowing they are loved and appreciated.
 I opened my home, made a few things, and let others bring food if they had time. The food was amazing!
 We chatted, ate, drank tea.

 Lots of tea!
And then we shared a little...some funny stories, some tears, lots of reasons we appreciate them. Below is a picture of all of my friends who are leaving...left, counter-clock-wise
Julie, a school mom friend with 3 boys (I have lots of guns/swords/light sabers thanks to her, as well as some good memories of many times she has blessed me)
Logan, the sweetest girl you'll ever meet, who has taught 3rd grade for us and also taught me about having a spirit of humility and teach-ability
Jenna, who came 7 years ago and was Firstborn's 2nd grade teacher. She has become more than a friend and teacher, she's like a little sister to me and a big sister to my daughter.
Stacey, a dear friend and Bible-study partner, who understands me many times so much better than anyone else, as she has been an administrator like my husband (she also taught Sweet Cheeks to read!)
Beth, who has given so much of herself to our school, from the very first year it was opened, who has given three of my girls the confidence to be on a stage
Alli, who is an MK from Africa, and has such a gentle spirit, has gotten an A plus in flexibility, and who freezes dead birds in our fridge at school for disection (I'll miss opening them, thinking it was a stash of coffee)
And Jen. Where do I start? She was one of the crazy ones who came here when this was all just a little mustard seed of faith. Losing Jen and her husband means losing the only other "originals" from our first before-the-school-started year.
I'm going to miss them all, so much.
 And yet, while it is hard to say goodbye, I also smile and thank God that I knew them and got the chance to work with them here. CC fixed my blocks for the says it all...Goodbye Dear Sister.
May God go with you all!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hair and Make Up

It's almost time for the play, Into the Woods, Junior. I got to do the hair and make-up for my two girls who are in the play. This is going to be a fun week! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


We have some sweet friends here who are from Italy. They invited our whole family over for dinner. We began with some appetizers.

Tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and basil, along with Mozzarella cheese.
 Smoked meats.
I do realize appetizers are supposed to be light fare. But how could we resist filling our plates when our food looked like this?

Here is their darling girl, Sweet Cheeks' friend, who made her appetizers into a face.
I am not sure how I managed to NOT get a photo of the homemade lasagna. Anyone reading this ever made their own lasagna noodles? Wow!  Nor did I get a photo of the homemade pasta with a cream and butter sauce, tossed with mushrooms, picked on the hillsides of Italy by the grandmother of this family. I'm serious. Perhaps I got no photos because my mind was on the food!

For dessert, she served something I've never eaten before in my life. Creamy Italian deliciousness topped with a caramel sauce. I will find out how she makes it. Big Ben had been on his best behavior and got extra cream from our hostess.
We were stuffed. Literally. As in, not-another-bite stuffed. And then they offered an espresso. How could we say no to an espresso offered by an Italian? It's their word, after all! It was perfect.
 Many thanks for an amazing meal and a sweet time together!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Red and Yellow, Black and White...They are Precious in His Sight

Last week was our lower elementary International Day. Sweet Cheeks did a report on Tennessee.
 I just could not get enough of the costumes! Here Japan, Italy, and Ecuador are represented.
 And beautiful Africa! That dress looks like it was MADE for that little girl!
 I'm pretty sure this Korean baby doll will never be put up for adoption, but if she is, I'm first in line.
I love our colorful school!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spring Family Picnic

Last weekend was our Annual Staff Family Picnic. It's always so much fun. For a day, we get to pretend that these dear people on our staff are not just our kids' teachers, but also aunts/uncles to them.
If the truth be known, there are many days that I feel just that way.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

1000th post

I guess it is fitting that when hitting my 1000th post, it would be a post about my precious family, the reason I started this blog. Here I am with my kids on Mother's Day. The other night as I was crawling in bed, I thought to myself, "This is perhaps the best time of my life." I have enjoyed EVERY, EVERY stage of my growing up, my marriage, my children. But right now, I'm just about to cross over into having all my kids school-aged. That means I'll get to return full time to the job I love so much I'd pay them to let me do it! I have a preschooler, but also I still have five years with my wonderful oldest daughter, and then all the darlings in between. These five years will go fast. I want to treasure them.
After lunch, we stopped at Decathalon (so Papa could look at bike stuff!) The kids and I enjoyed the fountain.
And like the crazy Americans that we are, we decided to run through to the other side between bursts of water. At least until the security guard told us, "Yasak." (forbidden)
I am so thankful for my God, my husband, my children, my job. And for my 1000th post, I dedicate it my family. I love you!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spring Piano Recital

The girls did a wonderful job playing their songs for the recital. We were so proud of them!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bad Guys' Forum

Big Ben asked me to come play with him this week. He said he had all the bad guys set up. I asked where the good guys were. He said, "Nowhere. They're all bad guys."
 Some of them I understood. Sharks. Dinosaurs. Wolves.
 But Puss in Boots? Tigger? You too, Winnie?!
 Evidently looks can be deceiving. He assured me they were all bad guys.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012...Unforgettable!

I'll follow this post up with some cute pictures we took today. But it will not be the pictures that I will remember about this day.

CC loaded the kids up after church and took us to one of my favorite places to eat....Chinese. It's a bit of a splurge, but it's Mother's Day, and we got the kids to split meals and fill up on extra rice! Our waiter was so friendly. He's been our waiter every time CC and I have gone to eat there on a date. He gave us a couple of free appetizers, wished me a Happy Mother's Day, was just all around nice.

After the kids ate, they went outside to look at the turtle swimming in the stream outside. Firstborn stayed with us to try some Chinese hot tea. Our delightful waiter asked her if she was the 'boss' of all those sisters and brother. We all politely chuckled, said, "Oh yes, she's the abla!" (big sister) He told her if she didn't make enough money looking after them, she could come wash dishes in the kitchen for money. We all politely chucked again, and CC said in Turkish, "Where's the soap!?" ha ha ha. It was all fun and games at that point.

It was time to leave, he shook our hands as we left. Into Firstborn's hand, he placed a tiny folded up note. The baby just turned 13, she didn't have a clue what to do with it. She shrugged and handed it to me. Oh, I knew what it was. I knew. I was once a sweet, little thing like her. About that time, totally unaware of waht had just happened, CC said, "You know I left him the standard tip, but he did give us extra appetizers, should I leave him extra?" I said, "Well, he just gave your oldest daughter a note, most likely with his phone number in it." It didn't take long for CC to decide he'd given him PLENTY of tip!

We were sort of in a state of shock. I mean, she does look older. She is gorgeous. But it was just the first time anything like that has ever happened to one of CC's girls. It's likely not the last.

Anyway, we had some fun with it on the way home. Firstborn giggled so hard, I told her that if only "Mehmet" could see her now, he'd know she is only 13!

And so, on this Mother's Day, I became very, very aware that my little girls are growing up.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pre-Algebra Can Be Fun?

Let's face it. Kids learn so much through projects! I am not sure how much I learned from my chapter reading on pioneers, but I sure remember making a covered wagon from balsa wood with my dad.

Firstborn was assigned a fabulous project for Pre-Algebra about finding geometry in the real world. They had to do a photo compilation of 40 geometry findings on a power point show, along with written proofs about 10 of them. Incidentally, my new college course for re-certification is PowerPoint 101. Maybe my 13 year old can help me on my homework.

Here's some cute shots from her project.

Acute angle.
A vertex.
Similar shapes.
A rotation.
And they got harder: angle bisector made with chopsticks. The hardest to find was an oblique cylinder. She found one on the architecture of the school!
She worked hard, and I am certain learned a lot. I appreciate teachers who make learning fun!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

From the Past

My mom, whose family did not own a camera, found this picture of herself with her siblings. She's not even sure who took it. I thought it was so darling. She's on the left. I think I can figure out where my two girls got their thick blonde hair!

International Kids

We've been sporting international clothes this past week. Twinkle Toes represented good ol' Tennessee as a cowgirl. Miss Middler represented Singapore in her Malay dress. At the last minute, Twinkle Toes wanted to change to represent Singapore, as well. I said, "But I baked you banana-nut-chocolate muffins to take! I don't think you'd find those in Singapore!" Then Firstborn came to the rescue and set her up with this cute skirt to help her figure out her Tennessee costume.
Later in the week, we received a care package from our sweet Singaporean friends. Included was this Chinese dress. Twinkle Toes wore it to church and was told by a Korean man she looked Chinese!
Big Ben looked so handsome in his batik shirt, too. One of the male teachers commented he wished he had one like that!
I thought this picture from International Day was beautiful! This is Oasis, every color!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

All Good Playdays Must Come to an End

Every Wednesday is "Wexi Day." Big Ben's best buddy here is Lexi. He asks me everyday if it is a "Wexi Day." Soon she is heading back to the US for a few months. He's going to miss Wexi.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Waterlily Weekend

Twinkle Toes' sweet friend N came to visit us. She flew down from Istanbul for the week, and spent most of it with us. It was a wonderful time of fun, friendship, encouragement, sharing. She is fluent in English, Turkish, Farsi, and is now learning Spanish. I should have had her call in a pizza for me while she was here!
I have a feeling that N (whose name means Waterlily in Turkish) will be one of those forever friends.

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