Monday, August 31, 2015

Baltimore Wedding: Rehearsal Dinner

Sweet Cheeks and I, along with my friend L, were asked to stand with our sweet friend Hannah at her wedding. She was God's gift to me when Sweet Cheeks was transitioning from being my third grader to a new fourth grader. She was just what Sweet Cheeks needed in a teacher. Hannah, L, and I traveled together some and spent time outside of school together and grew very close. L and I were so honored that she asked us to be in her wedding. So, as summer came to a close, we flew to Baltimore for the wedding. Our flight was rerouted due to a storm. So, we breezed in just as the rehearsal dinner was starting.

Hannah met Daniel online, and they dated long distance during the last year. She grew up in Haiti and was living in Turkey. He grew up in Hawaii and was living in Baltimore.

I loved the multi-cultural touches of the wedding, like this Japanese origami.

If you're wondering how Sweet Cheeks did as an only child for a weekend...she hammed it up. Here she is practicing her diva walk down the aisle.

It truly was fun to get to be with one of my children for the weekend!

The wedding was in the beautiful chapel on the University of Maryland's campus.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

And then the goodbyes....

The best part of our summers is arriving with a whole summer stretched before us. The worst part is the goodbyes. It's not that we don't want to return to Turkey, it's just saying goodbye for another year to those we love. We were so happy to catch our dear friends S and C on the tail end of our trip. They were passing through Nashville, so we met up for Sunday lunch.

Our last week flew. Soon it was time for me to board a plane with Sweet Cheeks to be part of a very exciting wedding. CC and the two oldest girls would be heading on back to Turkey in the meantime. We went out for one last dinner with my mom and dad. I had shrimp n grits, what else?

We saw this beautiful spire with the sunset as its backdrop just as we left the restaurant.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hang Out Time

We had days and nights where the scheduled activity was a non-scheduled bathing all the little boys at once.

...or researching truck parts.

Dinner and conversation.

Teen hangout.

Lego building.

And unscripted soccer matches. Incidentally, Big Ben confided in his cousin that he didn't think his papa would be that good at soccer. So they teamed up, and CC teamed up with nephew J.

After about 4 straight goals, Big Ben's teammate was overheard saying, 'Hey man, I thought you said your dad wasn't that good." J didn't seem to mind pairing up with his ol' uncle!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Swim Days

We knew our time together was very limited. When we returned to Nashville, we had just a week before everyone began going in different directions with football camps and mission trips. So we popped over to my sis's mom's house for a swim.

Miss Middler took these, so pretty!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

50 and Counting: Part II

My sister-in-law and I split up responsibilities for the event. I told her I would get a cake. I was able to get this beautiful cake with a golden ribbon for their 50th! And it was sooo good.

We went to a country cafe that could house us all.

And one that didn't seem to mind kids.

Did I mention the cake was good?

And call us Turks crazy, but the biggest hit of the day was the fact that our little side room had its own fountain drinks. There is no restaurant in Turkey that serves free refills. We usually just order water when we go out. So, to get free refills and to be able to hop up and get your own, whatever concoction you choose, was so much fun.

But of course, every bit of fun has its consequences. (Please excuse me on this. I am just keeping it fun and took this picture with the upmost of caution! We are from Tennessee afterall, and they are just all so cute!)

One wonderful treat for the event was having a real life bridesmaid attend. Mom's friend J flew down for the week and was our special honored guest for the party. She was such a dear and just jumped right in like family. One day I came in and said, "Ok, I'll make some pbj's." She said, "Oh, I already fed all the kids!" She was precious.

I love this picture and treasured this day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

50 and Counting: Part I

My parents married on December 23, 1965. This Christmas will be 50 years. They committed to each other that day, and have modeled a godly marriage to my brother and me, and now our children, all these years. They are just so stinkin' sweet. I guess if you get to 50 years, you realize so many of the little things just don't matter anymore. It's a matter of enjoying the time you have, appreciating each day as a gift, and trusting the Lord in it all. We wanted to celebrate this milestone in the summer, as we will not all be together in December.

We met at my brother's house and had some fun hanging out. Here are the oldest and youngest granddaughters.

Dancing cousins...

..and ninja-ing cousins. (I think Big Ben is demonstrating how he wants them to pretend to choke him.)

My big brother...

...and my sweet husband. He wrote a song in honor of the day called, "Takin' Her Back." I can't even begin to tell you how hard I laughed as he sang it. It was all about the permission my dad got from my Papa to marry my mom, then how my dad gave that same lecture to CC when he asked for permission to marry me. He's so talented, and he makes me laugh. 19 years of it.

The kids each did something to honor their grandparents, in the way of a choreographed song or talk...

...or a piano performance or some creative artwork.

It was just what we wanted it to be. From the heart and simple expressions of love. My dad gave mom a necklace with all the birthstones of the grandkids....afterall, we take up nearly every month!

And then she had the biggest surprise of all. Dad's long lost wedding ring was, by act of God thanks to a simple ray of light, found in a box in the attic by my mom. She saved it for this day and gave it to him a second time. It was the best surprise of the day.
Next up: Anniversary Dinner

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Evel Knievel

I found a snow suit up in the attic that I had bought many years ago when we moved to Turkey. I somehow forgot about it (I think I must have been pregnant, and it didn't fit that winter anyway!). I let Firstborn try it on, then could not stop laughing, while explaining to her how very much like Evel Knievel she looked at the moment. She jumped in the fun by hopping on the mule and taking a spin like Evel himself. If you don't know who Evel Knievel is, it's because you are younger than me. He's awesome!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Final Night

After picking the kids up from Mission Memphis, we popped over to see CC's sister and family and say a quick goodbye. From the looks of this picture, it seems summer is truly almost over!

We spent a little bit of last minute time pouring over the yearbook we had brought and saying goodbyes.

After a wonderful dinner, some hot showers to recover from a week of church sleeping, and some big hugs, we hit the road for our final weeks in Nashville.

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