Monday, April 30, 2012

Miss Middler Weekend: Finishing Up

All too soon our fun weekend was almost over! We snuggled in bed Saturday night and watched the original version of Parent Trap (from 1960) together. The next morning, we dressed for church and came down to enjoy one last breakfast.
In the dining room, I was at a complete loss about the people group having breakfast around us. They were clearly Asian. Mongolian, maybe... I wondered. Curiosity was getting the best of me. And what really drew my interest was that they were all covered. Were they a tour group, showing respect for the host culture Turkey, by wearing headscarves when traveling? Their clothes were not modern. They reminded me of old-style village clothing, but expensive. I simply couldn't leave it alone...elderly Asian people traveling in the capital city of Ankara with headscarves? So, when getting some fruit, I smiled at one table of them. The old gentleman smiled back. I asked where they were from. They spoke not a word of English. Then one younger woman said haltingly that they were from China. We discussed which cities they would see, I welcomed them to Turkey. I told them they were beautiful, and that I'd love to take their picture. Then one older gentleman explained to me that they are Chinese Muslims. I was dumbfounded. Later I did a google search. Turns out that 1.6% of China, over 20 million people, are Muslims. I had no idea. I told them we are from America, that we are Christians. They were delighted to take pictures (and video!) of us. Over and over again, at times like this, I am reminded that I am exactly where I should be. My heart felt very full that morning.

A few more shots of my beautiful girl before we left....

I loved my weekend with you, sweet Essie!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Miss Middler Weekend: Golbasi

We listed out what we might like to do together, as we talked about all those 'growing up' issues. We decided to drive just to the outskirt of town to the lake called Golbasi. We wanted to ride a paddleboat (called a sea bicycle here!) Unfortunately, the water was choppy and we could not get one. Instead, we walked around and just looked at the beauty. Can you spot the 2 birds in the bulrushes? Her honey-wheat hair is the same color.
We found some pretty tulips and took some pictures. Did you know Turkey originally gave tulips to Holland, which has made that country famous?

 Together time! I love being alone with her. She is a quiet, pensive girl. But many thoughts and questions come out when she is one-on-one.
 I love this picture.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Miss Middler Weekend: Breakfast

We clearly picked the hotel for the breakfast. It was amazing! I totally spoil them on this one weekend. She got coffee, as much as she wanted.
 Real bacon.
 An omelette and waffle made to order.
 Then she wanted to go for a swim. I love this picture in all its 4th-grade-ness.
I enjoyed a nice long time to get my Bible study done while she swam in the cold water. (Turks don't heat pools...unhealthy, they say. I am far more concerned about the heart attack I might have upon jumping in the frigid water. But lest you think me a poor mom, I did swim later that night. For just as long as she wanted. And just as soon as she said she was ready to go warm up in the hamam, I exited the pool with a very delighted smile.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Miss Middler Weekend: Friday Night

Well, my little Singapore baby, who was only 18 months old when we moved here, has turned 10. It was time for our "You Are Special and You Are Growing Up" weekend together. CC has been so gracious to keep the other kids for a weekend and let me get away with each girl when she is in the 4th grade. Miss Middler and I greatly looked forward to it. We skipped out of school a little early on Friday afternoon, drove to a hotel in town, then hit the town in Bachelievler, a fun shopping district. I had heard about a new restaurant that had American food. We shared a plate of fajitas and treated ourselves to Dr. Pepper's. Dr. Pepper is not sold here, I have no idea how this guy got it to sell. I guess I don't want to know. What I thought was so cute is that Miss Middler had a school friend who had gotten some Dr. Peppers from the American base. They struck a deal. She was to trade 3 Easter peeps with him for a Dr. Pepper. He never came through. But she was smart enough not to hand over her peeps til she saw the Dr. Pepper! Anyway, she finally got her wish.
We walked and talked and browsed. She had been wanting some big sunglasses. We had fun trying on, picking out, and negotiating the price down.
It's all a game. We pretend to not be all that interested in the item in which we are very interested. He asks if she is my only daughter. I tell him no, I have five children. I am just having a special weekend with one of them. He says I deserve a better price. I get 25% knocked off. I'll have to remember I can't negotiate in Walmart this summer.
Then we hit Starbucks for a little treat. We were amid a young crowd, all on i-phones and chatting with friends. We felt pretty cool ourselves, at 40 years old and 10 years old, in our new sunglasses!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Surprise! Care Package!

Our sweet, sweet friend who served with us one semester and is now in college sent us a care package last week! Inside were all kinds of goodies, and she spent far too much in mailing. Spoiled. That's what we are. Big Ben got to dig for his goodies...sports-themed Easter eggs with candy inside.
There were little happies for all the kids. Bobbing chicks. Bunnies that connect like monkeys in a barrel. Peeps. Grits. Salsa packets. (Speaking of....just a little miracle from God, I thought. Firstborn had one request for her birthday sleepover..."Mama, would you get me one jar of salsa? I know it is hard to find and expensive, so if you can't, it's ok." I never found any. What came 12 hours before her party? A salsa packet!!!)
 CC got the oreos.
 Thank you, sweet Missy, for loving us and sending us this spot of joy!
And let me just say that the malted Easter eggs were never seen by the other six members of my family. They will have absolutely no idea that they were in that package until they read this post.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seventh Grade Sleepover

Firstborn had a sleepover in honor of her 13th birthday. We invited all of the girls in her class, plus one former classmate. (There aren't many of them, the boys far outnumber them!)
We had an American, Italian, and Korean friends join us. And we had Mexican to eat! They didn't seem to mind.

Her friends brought the most darling gifts. Her Italian friend brought a Sephora bath gift basket. Man, wish I had an Italian friend!
Make up, in a handmade basket.
A charm necklace with sewing trinkets on it.
This friend had just returned from a trip to London. She found a little tin in the shape of a kilt, with shortbread in it and "Campbell" stamped on top. I want that tin!
Stationary and hair accessories, a must for a 13 year old girl!
The girls were so easy! They watched Fireproof, talked, painted nails, and were asleep by half past eleven. Coffee and cinnamon rolls awaited them when they woke up. The biggest challenge of the night was not the sleepover with a roomful of girls (though I did have to go open windows and air out the nail polish smell!). It was keeping the little Turks out of the room after bedtime! Big Ben personally kissed every one of those girls goodnight. Sigh. We are creating a monster.
Happy birthday party, my sweet girl. I thank God for our friends here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Science Center with First Grade

I was delighted to get to go on the Science Center field trip with first grade. Sweet Cheeks' teacher is a dream. She suggested I come along and bring Big Ben. "He'd love it!" she said. She also suggested that I attend, since I'll be teaching next year and more limited in getting to do these things. Have you ever had a teacher that nice (to think of that and even suggest that you bring your rambunctious little boy)? Here is Big Ben looking at a louse in a microscope. (If you read this blog 3 years ago, you'd understand why I have absolutely no comment about that.)
 Here is the amazing first grade with Miss B.
 Sweet Cheeks with her Albanian sidekick, who I think is a Dora-the-Explorer look-alike.
 Here are some other darling girls. One Korean mother came along and gave me sushi (kimbop) for lunch. I love Koreans! One of my jobs was to keep the Turkish teens (who were skipping school) from pinching the cheeks of all the kids while we played in the park. You can see why it is tempting.
We had a great time!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Easter Morning Pictures

My kids.
 To me it's a sin to be from Tennessee and not wear a hat on Easter Sunday. Just livin' out my convictions.
My darling Miss Middler always signs up for the Christmas and Easter choirs. She was the only kid. I was so proud of her!
 Twinkies by choice.
An Easter not so very long ago. Sweet Cheeks wore Twinkle Toes' pink dress this year. SC was a bun in the oven when this picture was made.

Plague of Frogs Part II

We brought the babies home on Good Friday. The next morning, I was out for a morning walk when my cell phone rang, "Mom, hurry hurry! Come home!! The frog eggs are hatching!!" Sure enough, within 24 hours, the little dots had turned to commas and were eating their own eggs for nutrition. All I could think was, we are about to have 700 frogs in our house, we have to do something! Let My People Go! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Capturing Cappadocia: Final Post/Plague of Frogs

We really are enjoying our new phase of life, where the kids are old enough to go and wander and explore on their own. We even felt comfortable letting them do this in Cappadocia, though it is not our home town. CC and I would linger over a cup of Apple Tea, while the kids ran to find their own adventures at times. On one such day, they returned with the most enormous bullfrog I have ever seen in my life. They had him in a 2 liter bottle and he took up the entire circumference. We properly greeted him, then explained that he could not come back in the van with us. "How about a couple of fish eggs instead, one for us and one for Miss B in first grade?" I suggested. They came back with (we estimate) 700 fish eggs. Giggles and explanations about how hard they were to separate all ensued. I certainly did not want to reach in and disturb them, so we set up a little frog nursery right behind the van until they could hitchhike a ride home with us. Those hearty little guys all survived the night.

Here's Firstborn on our ride back....instant coffee in one hand, frog eggs in the other. Such is the life of a 13 year old!
Well, of course, if your child brings home baby frogs, they are going to need fresh spring water to go with it. We made a slight detour on our way home and let her traipse back into the wild to get a jug of water.
We at first instructed her to hold the (open) bottle of fish eggs between her feet and "Just Don't Forget and Move!" Then on second thought, CC and I decided to babysit them up between us in the front. Keeping them upright between my purse and the gear shift was decidedly better than the constant fear of Firstborn "forgetting" them and gelatinous frog babies all over our van carpet.
 We came home and put the babies in a strawberry container.
And then we began transporting them to various that Firstborn got for her birthday and two others found on the street (empty 5 liter water bottles), because of course every bedroom needed its own habitat. Still, we had disposed of none (all except the 3 that slid down the kitchen sink as we poured them into containers. (I felt terrible, I really did. I am pro-life, even for frogs.)
And we began the process of watching God's creative metamorphosis of frogs. And every thing in the house began to look like frog eggs, even the raspberry jelly at breakfast.

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