Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Morn in Turkey

We are flying out this afternoon to Israel!!! It's a dream come true for me! One of the advantages of living here is a a cheap flight to Israel and only 3 hours by plane.

So we celebrated the morning of Christmas Eve. First, stockings!

Then, Christmas breakfast. Pardon the non-fancy dishes. Kept things simple this year, knowing we'd be leaving this afternoon. Coffee (with American creamers!), sausage and egg casserole, cheese grits, cinnamon rolls, and cut fruit.

By far my favorite find this year for the kids for Christmas were these cups. I met a man who lives in a village outside of Ankara. For $3 each, he sold me the glass mug and engraved it for them. For the older 3 girls, I put their English name on one said, and their Turkish name on the other. (Firstborn is Meryem (Mary in the Turkish Bible), Twinkle is Latife (which means "grace" in Turkish just like her English name), and Miss Middler is Yildiz (which means "star" just like her English name). So fun! Sweet Cheeks and Big Ben got one, too. I got one for CC that says "Papa" and one of me that says, "Mama." I planned to get "Sara," but the 2 girls with me said they wanted it to say, "Mama." I had to laugh...Papa and Mama, we look like Hillbillies!

This was our birthday cake for Jesus. Three candles for the Trinity.

And then we opened gifts. Things were simple this year, as we are taking a bigger trip than we normally do, but everyone was just as happy.

CC never wants anything. ANYTHING. But I did get him an Oasis sweatshirt. And this morning I woke up early and used my blueberries (not sold here...they were gifted to me) to make him some IHOP blueberry syrup. He was pretty excited.

A fun morning with the people I love!

Presenting the Christmas Story

We have the amazing privilege of presenting the Christmas story to any students who are given permission to hear it. I was asked to help with the upper elementary's story time. Here are the sweet kids, eager to listen.
 We tell the full story!

I took this sweet girl's picture. She's now in third grade and has been at our school since K4. This was her first year to get to come. She was reading the words on the screen and singing along.

The fourth grade students who are in the afterschool Bible club put on a little reading/play to explain the story.

Sweet Cheeks was a shepherd.

This little guy is from Palestine. It's his first year to come, too. He's just moved away this past week. But he heard! He heard!

This is the sort of thing that makes Christmas magical for us!

And yes, I've bombarded you with 4 posts today, but I've got to get this blog caught up because I am leaving on a jet plane in 2 hours!!! Going to Israel, MY DREAM!!!

Gettin' Out!

The teachers are more than a little excited about the start of Christmas break. Right before our last day, several of us went out to celebrate L's birthday. As I wrote earlier, the malls have been transformed into Christmas wonderlands...trees, reindeers, angels (!), and yet they don't celebrate Christmas! ha! We headed to Panora to treat her to dinner. Have I mentioned I love my new camera?! It has a selfie feature that gives a countdown.

This Santa is pretty much like a clown in my mind. I didn't like him so much.  

Yea, this is what you do if you are a 70's girl!

It was a very fun night, and I hope this sweet friend felt loved!

A Christmas Carol

I have loved teaching 7th Grade English. These are the sweetest kids. They thank me after class. They are so receptive to instruction. I just don't think there could be a sweeter class.

Our literature book contains the play version of A Christmas Carol by Dickens. Rather than just read it, we performed a readers' theater and invited the elementary. On the Monday and Tuesday before Christmas break, pretty much every elementary teacher was more than happy to bring their squirmy kids to a play.

Miss Middler was the Ghost of Christmas Present, here dialoguing with Mr. Scrooge.

We threw a few tricks into our play, though we did not have a stage or lighting capabilities. We brought our battery operated candles from home that can click on. Here she is sprinkling some glitter on them to light them!

Marley became more ghostly with some white face powder and some lines. CC's clothes added the final touch, though CC had to question when he got home how I thought his clothes could outfit an old dead man.

The Phantom was made complete with one of my thin infinity scarves!

The kids did a great job! Whew! Now it's time for Christmas break!

Basketball Match

Just on the heels of all our December excitement and activity, we threw in a basketball game! This was not a tournament, just a friendly match with the Department of Defense School.

The girls' team is much bigger this year, and neither of my girls knew if they were starting or not. They faithfully came to every practice and have learned so much! Sure enough, coach put them both in to start.

Firstborn did the tipoff and snagged it.

And then the little stinker made 10 of our team's 15 points! And her sis made 4 of them! Yes, I was screaming my head off.

And so were the cute little cheerleaders beside me!

Twinkle stole the ball multiple times. That's her ace in the hole.

And after many years of trying to get a basketball program up and running and still not even having our own gym, it sure was nice to beat the pants off of 'em!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Staff Christmas Party 2014

Friday nights are our date nights. We decided long ago that with 5 kids needing us, we needed to carve out some time together alone. The kids are actually disappointed on the Friday nights we don't go out (hmmm? What are y'all doing when we are gone?). Even though we would not have much time to go out in December due to scheduling conflicts, CC asked me to grab a late night pizza and coffee with him after the girls' concert. I forced him to get this selfie with me!

The next night, Saturday, we hosted our staff and spouses for a Christmas party. It is truly a highlight for us to get to do this!

I pulled a fast one at the end. We did the gift exchange with the numbers. I drew number 1, so I got to be the last to steal. This gal tried to be sneaky and bring this hand-made gingerbread man (with our Secondary principal's face on it) along with a bag of coffee for her gift. I had chosen her package, and of course, no one wanted to steal what I got! The last play of the game was that I stole HER gift, leaving her with exactly what she brought. It was pretty funny!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Concert #2

It was an emotional day, for sure! The boxes were delivered. We all felt a sense of relief that it had gone well, the people were blessed, and we got all the kids returned safely to school!

And suddenly, upon arriving back at school, and sharing with everyone how well it went, I felt like I could fall asleep. Literally, I sat on the chair in the office and nearly fell asleep.

Soon, the bell rang, and we were off for our next big adventure...getting three girls ready for their yearly Christmas recital!

Miss Middler played "Tennessee Waltz."

Twinkle played a classical piece.

Sweet Cheeks played "Maleguena."

And once again, the girls got to sing their duet.

They were also asked to play in a couple of ensembles.


Here they are with their piano teacher, Mrs. Park.

And friends!

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