Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cappadocia Getaway: Firstborn's Birthday Dinner

Firstborn officially turned 14 while on our trip. We let her pick the place to eat. She chose "House of Memories" to make her 14th birthday memory.
 We were served some welcome apple tea.
 At this place, you sit on cushions and recline at the table.
It reminds us a bit of Mr. Tumnus' house in Narnia. It gets very warm inside with a big wood burning stove, our bellies get full, sometimes they play music, and soon we are all falling asleep.
Our friend Bayram Bey made us a big pot of guvec, which is a lamb and vegetable stew cooked over a fire for a couple of hours.
 I had made Firstborn a cake, so our friends cut it for us, added sparklers, and presented it to the birthday girl.
It was a fun way to spend a birthday!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cappadocia Getaway: Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday, we hiked near our cave hotel. We had been on this path before, but still thought it was the best place to go on a day like Palm Sunday.
 This chuch is believed to have been built in the 11th century.
 We worshipped there together as a family in celebration of the day Jesus rode into the city on a donkey.

Here is my son in the pulpit of the church. He may be a preacher one day, who knows. When we asked him last week about the upcoming Easter party at school and the telling of the Biblical Easter story, he assured us that he had told all his friends about it and that they'd better not "waugh" at the story, because it was weally God.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cappadocia Getaway: Pigeon Valley Hike

After a delicious Turkish breakfast the first morning, we set out on a hike. I really enjoyed seeing the start of Spring all around us. Cherry trees and almond trees were in full bloom. And this was the day my firstborn daughter officially turned 14!

 As we hiked back into the valley, we saw bee hives, placed by a local entrepreneur. Local honey is delicious!
And he planned to collect a lot of it! The almond trees around gave him a good spot to get bees working!
For this little girl, collecting walnut and almond shells was enough!

Cappadocia Getaway

Spring Break began this week! Most of the teachers flew off to exotic lands...but we decided a few days in Cappadocia, away from our city and work, would be enough to refuel us. Friday night, we closed out things at school and packed up. Saturday morning we were off to Cappadocia, a must-see place in Turkey, which is only 4 hours from our city. The first night, we went to Avanos to get some dinner. Avanos is famous for its red clay pottery. Cappadocia's signature dish is the "pottery kebab," which is a stew baked in a clay pot, over a fire. To open the seal, the chef breaks the clay lid to the pot.
The next morning, CC decided to try to do something he has not done here before...mountain bike on these beautiful landscapes. He went to the bike place at 7AM as agreed upon, but the bike man must have not quite finished his breakfast. He wasn't there. Instead, CC said he went to watch the famous hot air balloon take-offs. Hot air balloon rides over these amazing earth formations are big business here.
CC was horrified to see this balloon catch on fire. And yet, the participants were already loaded and went on up! He snapped this photo, wondering what others might think of a ride in a singed balloon. It was about that time that he saw another balloon float by, with a big singed hole in the side. Oh well. Safe travels!

The balloons are gorgeous. We've never gone up in one, but we hear the sunrise and landscapes are beyond description. We have a creative God!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Firstborn's Fourteenth

I just can't believe my little firstborn turned 14. I guess in my mind, when she turned 13, I could still think of her as a little girl (even though she had become a teen). But I just can't do that with the number 14. 2 years until her driver's license? 4 years until she graduates? I am so proud of the young woman she is becoming. We took Firstborn and some friends to the mall to celebrate. These are all sweet young girls, from 3 continents!
They choose Arby's for dinner. Beef N Cheddar with curly fries. Me? I had the garden fresh side salad and whole wheat bun sandwich (and wished for my fourteen year old metabolism!).
We took them to see Oz the Great and Powerful. We have a pretty tight standard as far as movies go, so we were pleased to find one that was appropriate. CC and I, of course, sat in a separate row from the girls! We enjoyed the movie too.
Happy fourteenth, Firstborn! We celebrated as a family in Cappadocia...more on that later.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dr.Seuss!

The lower elementary celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday by wearing pj's to school and reading all day. They had a special guest reader...I couldn't resist posting his picture....
And at least one little guy was very interested!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What to do...

My blog is suffering! I knew some things would go when I started teaching. I seem to stay behind on posting, but I'm determined to keep it up as a memory journal for my kids! It's Spring Break, I'm going to try to catch up!

We had a day off of school on March 1 because we have not yet had a snow day this year. My friend T called and asked us to join her and her kids at the zoo. We had a super day. We sweet-talked the horse man into giving us a 2-for-1 deal and let the kids take a horse-drawn carriage.

Big Ben found something he'd rather ride than a horse.
 Here's my buddy and me. We'll admit arranged playdates are just as much for mommy as the kids!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Winter Ball 2013

My beautiful daughter attended her 2nd Winter Ball.
 Just on the heels of her daddy flying in the country, she was flying out to her event.
 She had a great time!
 It's not Pinterest, but I did her hair for her.
 Hubs and I popped in to see her, all of her cute friends, and the amazing decorations that transform our school each year in February.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Surprise!

I'm a little behind in blogging, but really wanted to do this post, even though we've now entered March. On Valentine's Day, CC was gone to the US, but surprised me with red roses. There is a florist on our street. When I walked by him to school on February 14, he smirked at me. I thought it was strange, but just smiled and waved back. Little did I know, he would be the delivery man for my husband's sweet gift. The roses were a deep red and were beautiful. I displayed them on my kitchen table and faithfully trimmed them and freshened them up every few days. They (or at least some of the roses) lasted 2 weeks.

But the biggest surprise was that the bouquet included 3 sprigs of a Pussy Willow bush. I have never in 10 years seen a Pussy Willow tree in this country. Not here, not down South, not in greenhouses. I was stunned, for I grew up in Indiana with 2 giant Pussy Willow bushes just outside my bedroom window. (By giant, I mean at least 6 ft.) My great grandmother, who outlived both her children and lived into her 90's, had given them to my mom (her granddaughter-in-law) to plant at our Indiana house. I lived under these trees! I hid in them. I pulled the blossoms off and pretended they were kittens. I made little families out of the fuzzies and hid them in my closet. I played in the bushes every day. So to find them in my bouquet, here in Turkey, touched me. You'll think I'm crazy, but I had this strange feeling that God was telling me something. Something like..."I've known you always."

I pulled the springs out and put them among some other flowers in my bathroom. My littlest girl, Sweet Cheeks, took a strange liking to them. She adored them. I told her about my giant Pussy Willows and how much I'd loved them. I told her Grandma tried to bring a cutting down to Tennessee when we moved, but they didn't survive, and that it made Grandma sad. She asked if she could plant one of the little fuzzies to grow her own tree.
Then I went online and discovered that I could keep them in water for a very long time, that roots would grow, and that we could grow a bush in a pot once the roots got long enough. That's exactly what Sweet Cheeks and I are attempting to do. I'd love to have a daily reminder in my home that God has known  me always.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pieced It Together Just Now

I finally pieced it all together at 6:47PM. The multiple frustrations of today...adding up, more and more, until I wondered how this could all happen in one that normally get along really well have just not today, one daughter gashed her knee at recess, 2 drinks spilled at the table (not 1, 2!), rush/stress to get one daughter to her class, dinner on the table late, trying to sort out who needed to apologize, the sad feeling I've had in my heart all day, the lack of sleep last night, the panic that my powerpoint needed to be fixed. All minor inconveniences, but I kept thinking, "Why in the world did ALL this happen TODAY?" Then it hit me. Tomorrow morning I will get to share with the whole elementary that God can forgive them. If you think unseen forces don't know what it going on, you're crazy. They see. Let Jesus be praised! Satan can bug me all he wants today, I'm still saying it!

Friday, March 1, 2013

When the cat is away....

...the mice will play. We do try to have a little fun when Papa is gone, to make the time go a little faster. This was taken at my birthday dinner with friends...I think I look pretty good for 41, don't you? Strong, anyway.
The second weekend CC was gone, I made pancakes, and we went to the mall for our annual bowling game. Unfortunately, the rates to bowl had gone up significantly. We opted to play a few arcade games instead. Bumper cars were a hit with everyone.

 Big Ben wanted to drive a motorcycle. I am still amazed by having a boy. My little girl would never have wanted to get on one (still wouldn't!) Thankfully, this was one of those games in which you never really crash. If you fly off a mountain, you just land back on the bike and get points for how many times your man flips in the air. Big Ben chose a bare-chested, muscular African-American with a lot of chains and tatoos to represent him.
We also played a little air hockey. Twinkle Toes and Miss Middler were great competitors. I assumed Big Ben and Sweet Cheeks would just hit the ball back and forth and be thrilled with the idea of how smoothly the puck would glide. Not a chance. The minute Big Ben knocked it into the goal, he threw both #1 fingers in the air and screamed,
"Benaiah 1. Eva 0.Whoooohoooo!"
It was a nice diversion to kick the weekend off. But I'd take CC being home over arcade games anyday!

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