Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Hearts at Halloween

I'm getting this blog out of order. Twinkle Toes did turn twelve prior to Halloween, but since tomorrow is the 31st, I'll post this first. There's no Halloween or trick-or-treating in Turkey. And for us, it's not a holiday we take too seriously. Christmas, Easter, those have meaning. But we also want the kids to have fun memories of growing up. Even in something as insignificant as trick-or-treating, they have been blessed over the years. There's no Target to buy a costume. There's no WalMart for good candy. But somehow, we always pull it together and have some fun. The biggest heroes are the teachers, who open their doors to little people and somehow provide really good candy, even when none of us have US base access! I thank God for them.

This year Sweet Cheeks' costume was oh-so-easy. She wanted to be a waitress.
 This picture absolutely makes me laugh every time I look at it. Firstborn wasn't going to go trick or treating until the 11th grade guys (who are staff kids) talked her into it. With about 1 hour's notice, she turned out a great nerd costume.
Amazing Miss Middler and her sidekick Twinkle Toes spent all Monday (a holiday from school for us) making these costumes. I did not do one thing except safety pin the shirt for her apple costume. CC wanted her to have an apple head like the Fruit of the Loom guys, so he made this one last night. Is there anything he can't do?
 Batman. This was decided many months ago.
 And the apple's sidekick, a Chiquita banana.
 My kids make me proud...they are creative and fun.
 And weird.
After they left for the teachers' houses, I threw together this little man to put by the door. (CC drew the face. Then he added the mustache. We decided he needed to be Turkish.) I should note here that play guns in Turkey look like the real thing. We don't really have an assault rifle.
Have fun and be safe this Halloween! Praying for those in the NE and for the election.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Papa Gallery

Big Ben's been into drawing his dad lately. Then he tapes his drawings on our bedroom door. And he notices if I gently remove them. So, for now, they stay.

Papa, beardless. Papa, bearded. Papa, surrounded by "P's." (It must have been "P week" at school.) One of these days Papa might get some arms. And ears. But for now, I think he is cute as is.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


This is a small area with gecekondu houses. "Gece" (pronounced "gaye-jay") means "night." "Kondu" means "to put or place." Basically it is the name for houses that can be "put up over night," little shacks that did not get proper permission, but are allowed to stay. Our city is little by little demolishing them. In return, they give the gecekondu owner a little apartment in the new, modern building that goes up on that land. I realize the people are safer and warmer in the new place, but I will admit I will miss these little homes that dotted our entire city when we moved here 10 years ago.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day Out of the City

CC and I have both been working long hours since school started. So, last Sunday, CC suggested we buy some pide and kebaps and drive to a spot just outside of the city for a picnic after church. It was fun, relaxing, and a change from our normal routine...just what we needed.
 And no picnic outside of town is complete without Mom (me) taking pictures.
 Firstborn snapped a few, too.

 And so did the little timer on my camera.
Enjoy your family this weekend!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Big Ben's Backpack

Last week my sister-in-law posted about what she had found in her daughter's backpack. It got me to thinking that Big Ben's backpack had been heavy lately. A bead bracelet, numerous lego-man parts, and 37 buckeyes later, I realized why.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Carnival

Friday night was our school's yearly family fun event, the Fall Carnival. For about $3 you can get 40 tickets to play games, with candy as prizes. My class hosted a bean bag toss.
 Here is a dad who volunteered for a face-painting shift.That impressed me.
 Firstborn ran around with friends all night, in and out of "jail." It seems her friends liked using tickets to lock her in jail and force her to sing a song. I am sure she did some locking up (I know she jailed her dad at one point...and so did I.) 
 I donned some rainbow-striped false lashes (I hope you can see them in this picture) and enjoyed seeing my students and their parents having fun together.
It was a great time! And after organizing this event and staying until it was cleaned up, I came home to a hot bath and a comfy bed!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Recipe for a Perfect Fall Night

The perfect Fall night to me has the following ingredients:

5 children at home (well, I only had 4 that night, one was out earning some money!)
1 little boy who drinks hot tea because it's just what you do here.
1 Autumn Festival Yankee Candle burning (thanks to a sweet friend who sent it in her husband's luggage to me!)
1 big box of flavored teas, given to me by my Israeli friend.
1 fun husband willing to give many nights to our family.
1 wild game of Apples to Apples Junior (especially now that Big Ben is old enough to "get it" and not just pick cards like "Power Rangers" and "Batman" every time_.
What about you? What's your recipe for a perfect Fall night?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rainbow Promises

I realize the rainbow is hard to see in this picture, but I took it out of a van while moving! On a Friday night a couple of weeks ago, we were invited to have dinner with a dear couple friend. These folks are almost indescribable, but I'll try. They've been in this country for at least two decades and were with us during those first couple of years that we struggled to become a school. They've been persecuted time and again, but they just keep serving, loving, sharing. We love to be with them. The really shocking thing is that in spite of how amazing they are, whenever you are with them, you leave the time being told you are their heroes! I thought it fitting that we spotted a rainbow on the way. God has promised us so many things. One of those promises is that we are not alone here. He is with us, but He has also given us friends.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Big Ben's Blunders

This little boy is the apple of our eye, even if he can be a rotten apple sometimes. This past week our boss (I mean, THE boss) of our entire organization came for a short visit. He isn't all that girls call him Uncle Joe. When he saw Big Ben, he teased a little. He told Big Ben that he'd brought him some spankings all the way from America. The next day when Uncle Joe visited the PreK class, Big Ben announced to everyone that he needed to go to jail, that he was a bad guy!
And then completely out of the blue, Big Ben told his Papa one morning this week that he looked like a Grandpa. CC said, "Why do you say that?" He replied, "You look really OLD!" We've had a few laughs this week, realizing that Papa could actually be his grandad!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fun Field Trip Part II

Our field trip was a lot of fun. The kids enjoyed the freedom to hike and explore.
They collected many leaves for their collection.
We stopped and had lunch. One perk to these days, and my job, is that I almost always get some type of meal-sharing gift from a school parent. This day I got some juice, peeled pears, and kim bop. Yum. Sure beat my peanut butter and jelly!
They are darling, aren't they?
We had fun!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Field Trip Fun: Part I

I really wanted to take my students on a field trip to Karagol, the place our family goes each year to see the fall leaves. We had studied deciduous and coniferous trees, and I wanted our study to culminate by letting them make a leaf collection. So, with first aid kid, permission slips, and wet wipes in hand, we loaded them up on a bus.

 They were so excited. I think I had 20 minutes of questions the day before, including an explanation of what each of them planned to wear (well, the girls, anyway), as well as the question, "How will my mom get to school in the morning?" Here are two friends from America and Iran.
We drove 1 1/2 hours. When we arrived, we were greeted by cool air, a rainy mist, trees that had not really turned beautiful fall colors, and a pack of wild Turkish sheepdogs, who were very happy to see a busload of children (with yummy lunches) get off a bus.
 The enthusiasm of the children was not dampened in the slightest.
Tomorrow I'll post pictures of our hike. The best quote of the day came from my little student Max, who said, "This is like the Magic Tree House, only it's real!"

Monday, October 8, 2012


Not long ago, I woke very early. I was happy to realize that I was fully-rested, and the sun had not yet come up. I had not even heard the early morning call to prayer outside. My husband was getting some much needed sleep. The children were snuggled down in their beds. I sat down to open my Bible and spend some time with the Lord, when I realized I was not alone.
G. I. Joe and his German Shepherd had evidently been assigned the night watch.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


My darling Sweet Cheeks came home from Sunday School a couple of weeks ago, proudly showing me the paper she had done in class. After listing some of the idols worshiped by the Egyptians so long ago (sun, moon, river), she had to draw some things that could become an idol to her today. She explained to me that they did not have to be made of stone or metal, they could be anything.

Hamburger. Ice cream. Popsicle.
How true, honey, how true.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Big Ben's Big Day: Gifts

In the morning, Twinkle Toes asked me what time she needed to be home from school (and the park) for Big Ben's party. I could not even get an answer out before the birthday boy said, "Right away. It starts right away." Man, he was excited. After dinner and cake/ice cream, we all went into the den to open gifts. I think this picture is perhaps the best one I've ever caught on a birthday. Power Rangers dvd's. Need I say more? 
He was so excited to get everything!
His sisters got him gifts at the Dollar Tree in Memphis, brought them back, then faithfully hid them from him. Sweet Cheeks' gift also came with this note:
He got to open his gifts from grandparents via skype. That was fun! And his final gift he had to wrestle away from his dad. It's ok, honey, there's a little Batman in all of us.

Four gorgeous girls with Batman.
Enjoy your fourth year, Big Ben!

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