Saturday, June 30, 2012

Living It Up at the Lake: Weekend 1

Fresh off the plane, we started swim lessons for the two Turks. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing the last little Campbell was learning to swim. After our lesson on Friday morning, we headed to Center Hill Lake with my folks and my brother's family. Laid back and fun summarize our weekend. We let some of the kids play and explore the beach and shore while some took turns on the boat. The little ones seem just as happy finding shells and wading in knee high water as anything.
 Big Ben and his two boy cousins showed us they were not afraid to ride the innertube. My oldest nephew kept protective arms around the little ones, well, except in this picture.
 My mom enjoyed watching the little ones play.
 Firstborn got her first taste of learning how to wakeboard.
 Yet another photo of  Big Ben below. I should note here that strangely absent from this post are pictures of Sweet Cheeks, the other Campbellclankid present with us that day. She spent most of her time gathering chiggers into her body with her cousin Ruth. Ruth and Sweet Cheeks are about as opposite as they can be. Sweet Cheeks loves the life of cuddling, curling up in your lap, letting you get her dressed and bathe her, letting her older sisters dote over her. Ruth, I have no doubt, will one day be on a tv show called, "Roughing It With Ruth." She finds wild blackberries and brings them in with stains on her shirt and hands and clothes. She discovers lizards and critters and makes them her pets. She has a darling scratchy little voice, and no challenge is too great for her. I remember seeing her climb up her mama's counter, stand on it, and get herself a cup when she was about 2 years old. She and Sweet Cheeks are different girls, and yet they click as friends. When I was painting Sweet Cheeks' body with clear nail polish to smother all her chiggers, I thought how good it is that we have friends that bring out new things in us. But I also told her to let Ruth get the blackberries from now on!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Begins/Living Dangerously

I don't normally do as much blogging in the summer. I guess I'm too busy living life. But I would really like to keep up this summer, as so many of our fun family memories happen in the summer, and this is a record of our family. So, we've made it to America. I know I've said this before, but my kids are just great travel buddies. To fly 20 plus hours, get baggage through customs, and smile when you reach the other side of the world is more than I can ask for. And yet they give it to me year after year. I flew with the two Turks and Firstborn. Here they are in a photo below after a 3 hour flight to Germany, and 3 hour layover there, and then an 8 hour flight to Toronto, Canada. It was about 3AM for them, according to our Turkish clocks. They look ok, I think. Campbell Clansman flew a few days later with the Middlers. They agreed to stay and babysit Papa those last few days. They also decided to 'bake' with whatever ingredients they could find at home. The creation involved using a base of Cocoa Puffs rather than flour, forgetting it in the oven while they showered, and pulling something akin to rocks out of the oven. Oh well. What hilarious and dangerous thing did you do when Mom was out of town?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Field Day

The last Monday of school finally came, Field Day! I got a call late Sunday night to see if I'd help as a team leader. I reminded them that Big Ben and I are a package deal. They said, "Bring him! It'll be great." I love how we do this. Big kids and little kids are all mixed up on teams. It makes it less about winning and more about helping each other.

Big Ben was prepared for the shoe mix up game. He wore his crocs, no laces to tie. I'll admit, I knew that game was coming and advised him on shoe-ware.

They got to mix up the shoes of the other team. I thought they were very clever to pair them wrongly.

Get ready. Get set. Get on crocs!

Miss Middler was hung up in a human knot here.

And here Twinkle Toes helped with the team cheer. My team won the team cheer. We always get the on the judges' soft side when we build a pyramid. I have no picture of it. But we built a 3 layer pyramid. Big Ben's job, all along, was the stretch out across the front, arms open wide, and smile. But when the competition started, he just crawled right up on the top of the pyramid. It was shockingly funny!

And when it was done, we came home and....napped!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Special Orthodontic Treatment

We have a great orthodontist. He is doing a super job on the older girls. But it is Sweet Cheeks he has fallen for. I think at one point she drew a picture of him, giving him lots of bushy hair (and he has a bit of a receding hairline). He placed the drawing prominently on his waiting room wall. He always wants her to attend the appointments, too. But it is not always convenient. Several times I've left her at home. He finally told me, on this last appointment before summer, that he refused to treat my kids unless Sweet Cheeks came along.

She happily hopped into his chair, and they discussed which teeth might be getting loose. He assured her that her two bottom teeth are indeed loose. She was thrilled. Bless her, she is the only girl in first grade not in the "Tooth Club." We are still waiting for the first one to come out.

But I am certain, once they do start falling out, and new ones growing in, Dr. Murat will fix her right up with some braces. He has beautiful teen girls. I am guessing Sweet Cheeks reminds him of his own little girls long ago.

Birthday Girl?

This is the very first year that Sweet Cheeks has made any sort of comment to me about not having her birthday during a school year. (She's a July baby.) She just casually said one day, "I don't ever celebrate my birthday with my school friends, do I?" It wasn't a complaint at all. The girl has 4 siblings and 9 first cousins. I can't remember a year, other than the one in which she was born, that she had less than 2 birthday parties! Still, I decided to surprise her with some cookies to share with her class. I said nothing to her ahead of time. I came in and said, "First graders, there is someone in this room who has a July birthday. I thought I'd bring some cookies so you can help her celebrate her summer birthday." She had a big grin on her face and began scanning the room to see who it might be!!!
It finally dawned on her. It's me!
Happy almost 7th birthday, Sweet Cheeks!
Don't worry, the real parties begin very soon!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Make new friends...

...but keep the old.

One is silver,

And the other gold.

Here's to a great group of friends, some leaving, some staying, some hard goodbyes, some see-you-in-August. The 2011-2012 elementary teaching staff.

Flower Child

At the end of the year music concert, Miss Middler was asked to introduce the 60's musical piece. We tie-dyed, head-banded, beaded, flowered her up to fit the part.

Peace out.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Italy

We had the pleasure of attending the Italian Embassy reception in honor of Italy's birthday. It is by far one of the, um...yummiest, receptions. We enjoyed hanging out with our Italian friends. Here, he is pictured in his official military ware. His hat resembles one of the oldest styles used by Italian military. Isn't she a doll? I can just see her strolling down an Italian street with a basket of roses.
This man is cooking an enormous pot of risotto.
We had a wonderful time!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Korean Delicious-ness

We were invited for lunch at a Korean friend's house. There's nothing better than food at a Korean's house.
She made us some beautiful sushi (it's not called sushi in Korea...but you get the picture.)

....and bulgogi. If you've had bulgogi before, you know I don't need to explain. Yum.
Thank you for your hospitality!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ballet Baby

Sweet Cheeks was in the ballet class after school. I know, I many of you, she is still the pudgy toddler with the big round cheeks. But both her dad and I and several folks at the recital were shocked at the grace with which she performed.

Here she is with Ceylan, the daughter of our good friend who just had heart surgery. Her parents were unable to be there, so I got this sweet picture of her for them.
 It's very easy to get a pose from this one.
 She got a certificate from her instructor.
Good job, Sweet Cheeks! You grace our every day!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Amelia Earhart

Firstborn had to represent an American from the 20th century. She chose Amelia Earhart. I"ll be honest, it was because she had a cool jacket already for the costume. She wrote an amazing report and presented it in first-person to her class, leaving them all wondering what really happened on that last flight of hers. I kid you not, with a plastic grocery bag, duck tape, and aluminum foil, she and her dad made this flight helmet. She also made this cool Electra plane out of water bottles, cardboard, duck tape, and pringle's can lids. Well done, Amelia! Interestingly, just this week the news boasts they are a little closer to solving her mysterious death.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Turkish Breakfasts

A typical Turkish breakfast: cucumbers and tomatoes, jellies, honey, olives, cheese, sliced meat, grilled veggie. Even I was surprised by the French fries.
 Here's another. An omelette.
 A grilled cheese sandwich.
What foods do you eat for breakfast that are not your typical egg/cereal/toast type of meal?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunday School Girls

Our upper elementary/pre-teen girls' Sunday School class completed their Bible Study. For our final party, I offered to take them out to breakfast down the road from our church.
 The girls indulged in caramel hot cocoas. I personally went for the basic Turkish tea, but wished I had the calorie-burning metabolism of all these cute girls.
 We were missing two of our girls that morning, but here is the class. They are so sweet.
 And of course, because they are upper elementary/pre-teen, they had to kiss and take a picture with the waterpipe smoking Pink Panther at the restaurant.
 I have really enjoyed teaching this class and will miss it when I need to back off of that next year. Thank you, girls, for faithfully coming, sharing, and growing with me. I know exactly what your favorite lesson was..."The List" (of what we want in a man), right? I am praying God will give you your heart's desires.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

First Grade Froggy

Sweet Cheeks' class did a little reader's theater presentation for my Pre K students. The teacher told them they did not HAVE to have a costume. Bless him, Campbell Clansman was up at 10PM making these adorable frog eyes, so she would look more like a frog. Anyone else out there ever stayed up late making a costume?
I took several pictures of her. Every single one of them look like this. Someone doesn't mind having her picture made, it seems.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

After the Play

Each night after a performance, the actors and actresses came down and greeted the audience. Firstborn's biggest fan was her roommate, Sweet Cheeks! She yelled, "I knew it was you!" as if the costumes were perhaps meant to disguise them.
Another night I brought Miss Middler. She loved seeing her sisters' scenes, as well.
 Their teachers came and supported them.
 Our Bible teacher was in the 'bought-a-ticket-every-night' club with me!

The best part of all was that after the final performance, the directors let them stay in costume, come back to the school, and have a King's Ball. They had food and got to swing dance the night away. I let my girls stay til the very last dance, at midnight. I assure you this Queen was ready to get them home, tucked in, and hit the sack after such a busy week.

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