Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sweet Cheeks' Sweet 8th

We planned to celebrate Sweet Cheeks' birthday 2 days late this year, as we planned a Putt Putt party for the Memphis cousins later in the week. Still, we had to at least say, "Happy Birthday!" on her real day! Even better than that, several special people recognized her big day. A little friend whose mom was meeting me for breakfast brought her a little surprise gift. Her Aunt K had strung balloons, and her Mimi had bought her a birthday balloon.

 Sweet Memphis cousins spent the day with her and had some birthday cupcakes together!

When we got home that night, she found another gift from our host family.
 She only mentioned that it was her birthday about 23 times.
 And the very next day was CC's parents' 47th wedding anniversary. We had many reasons to celebrate!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mission Memphis

This year Firstborn has really gotten involved in our church's youth group. It's hard to be the outsider, and the out-of-towner, but she made an effort to go to some events and make friends. She also signed up for Mission Memphis, where the youth group goes into the inner city of Memphis to serve. They eat and sleep at the church, enjoying a message and worship time together at the end of each day.

She had heard that she'd get pretty hot and sweaty each day, so we hit the Blues City Thrift Store to buy some 99cent t-shirts. She surprised her papa by finding t-shirts with his alma mater Samford, and even his fraternity Sigma Chi.

One big draw to do Mission Memphis was that her sweet cousin did it with her. It was nice to not only know her floor-mate already, but to also be family! I just don't think there were ever cuter girls!

We dropped her off and gave lots of hugs.

And then we left her for the week. I will admit to being slightly helicopter-ish. Part way through the week, I popped into the church, just to leave a little note on her mattress. "Are you ok? I miss you." and Big Ben had signed it with one "e" upside-down. I knew she'd love it. She and her cousin C saw me walking down the hall. They both ran to me and hugged me. Awww. It's nice when your kids are happy to see you, even when you might be doing something slightly uncool. I was dying to know what her work project was and if she was sleeping at night. She said the Benedryl I sent helped her ignore the giggles of the girls in her room. She also said the work project was to work on bicycles for inner city kids, but that she did not have a clue how to fix them and take them apart. She had also been assigned to lay and spread mulch with her hands. That she could do.

I hopped in the car and told CC that she had been assigned bikes, but didn't know how to fix them. He was horrified. Wanted to turn the car back around. Wanted to give her a lesson on fixing bikes. Wanted to help her fix the bikes. Wished he'd taught her more prior to the week about fixing bikes. But as in so many things these days, it is time to let her sink or swim. She and her cousin were all giggles, happy as they could be. So we didn't turn the car around.

But then I went to pick her up at the end of the week, she burst into tears. I wondered where the laughter had gone. Why was she crying? Had the week been a disaster after all? We pulled to the side, and I got the story. "Mama, I've made so many good friends, and now I have to leave them all." (The goodbyes on both ends...USA and Turkey...are the worst part, by far.) But those are good reasons to cry. It's good to have good friends and to miss them when we have to say goodbye.
And then I knew the week was a success.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


While in Memphis, we enjoyed seeing some friends and getting to spend time with them. We got to enjoy dinner with the Lundy's, the family who helped us start the school in Turkey. They moved back to the US last year, and we miss them so much.

Big Ben found a buddy in their son Adam, home from university. I remember Adam when he was a little guy...

We were graciously given a home to stay in out in Arlington, just outside of Memphis. This family has hosted us several years now. It is such a blessing to us! Do your kids' pajamas match in the summer? Ours don't.

 It's a very kid-friendly house with a pool, pets, and 4 wheelers. And a laid back family willing to let us crash there!

Miss Middler
 Friend Megan

I also had a girls' night out with my Ouachita Baptist University buddies Kim and Laurie. I have so much fun with them! They honestly shave about 20 years off my life in a matter of minutes. Thanks for coming to see me!

Magic Springs Road Trip

My sis-in-law K suggested a spontaneous road trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas, to let the big kids go to the water/amusement park Magic Springs. My girls have ridden a roller coaster in Turkey, but let's just add right here that you can actually stop your roller coaster car with a manual brake at any given point, so I was excited for them to go to a real amusement park.

I found it incredibly funny that Firstborn brought a fun movie for the car ride, only to discover Tom and Jerry cartoons in the dvd case.

Leaving Memphis...

and heading to Arkansas.
 It has been awhile since I've ridden any rides.

Even the pirate swing had me spooked, and apparently Firstborn, too.

My niece and I rode together.

Miss Middler got the sis-of-the-day award. She did not want to ride this spider thing, labeled "high thrill" on the scare meter. But she also didn't want her sis Twinkle Toes to have to ride alone. So she rode it.

This was before the ride.

This was going up. And they were both pretty much green the rest of the ride. Well done, sister, she owes you!

Here the girls are driving an old-timey taxi. Firstborn is getting a little practice for her driver's license.

We put Miss Middler in the driver's seat of our car, but she quickly decided she did not want to steer, leaving Twinkle Toes the job of driving from the passenger seat!

These are some great girls, and they had a great time together.
 After hours on the water slides, including my favorite water slide The Toilet Bowl, where I got to be flushed down a giant toilet over and over,  we ended the day with the Arkansas Twister. It reminded me of the Zippin Pippin at Libertyland in Memphis (Elvis' favorite roller coaster!). Old. Rickety. Fast. Fun. The girls rode it 7 times straight since no one was in line.

We had an absolute blast! And now, girls, I think you can say you've ridden a real roller coaster! Thanks, Aunt K!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cousin Craft #2: Tie Dyed Shirts

Aunt K got some dyes and let the kids each get a basic white t-shirt. Each chose which way they'd like to try to tie-dye. Some went for the crinkle affect, others wanted to swirl, one even wanted to try an ombre affect.

Sweet Cheeks is working on her tie-dye...pulling little bumps from the shirt and tying them off with rubber bands.

The kids did participate, but at one point I noticed all of them in the pool and the three adults tie-dying! (Keeping it real on this blog.)

This was a camo shirt.

My niece C made a beautiful shirt, sort of like a bullseye with bright colors.

Twinkle Toes sectioned hers into 6 segments, which created the swirl.

I regret not getting a final picture, but here is the ombre that Miss Middler made. She squirted dye in rows, then painted it up with a paint brush, blending new colors in.
Fun summer days!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cousin Craft Idea #1

Related to my last post about Memphis fun, sometimes it can catch up with you...
Aunt K took the girl cousins to the craft store.

They each chose printed scrapbook paper. The sisters sharing rooms made sure they coordinated with each other.
 We bought each one their letter.
 And then they had fun using mod podge to affix the paper to their letters.

We also sanded the edges to take care of any rough edges.

And what goes better with a craft day than a make-your-own-pizza bar?

We are loving our cousin time!

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