Sunday, April 30, 2017

Firstborn Is An Adult!

Bam. Just like that, she turned 18. My memories of her as a baby, a toddler, in elementary school are so fresh in my mind. It's flown by. I know everyone says that. I was warned that it would, but it's still a shock.

I posted this on her 18th birthday.

When I turned 18, my dad surprised me at my high school by having flowers delivered. CC decided to do that for our sweet girl.

We took her and a friend out for Turkish breakfast, then had a family gathering that night. She wanted  Singapore Chicken Rice, of course. It was truly a special night. Twinkle Toes painted her watercolor scenes of Turkey. They were destined for a calendar, but we all screamed, "NO! FRAME them!" They are unbelievable. I have friends asking for color prints of them. We thought stringing them across her dorm room would be beautiful.

I ordered a USA cake mix on Amazon, CC brought it in his luggage, and I wrote all over it, "For ME's birthday! Don't touch!"

Big Ben ran up and got his box of money and just dumped it all out for her.

Sweet Cheeks made her a homemade gift.

And Miss Middler (whose hair I love here) painted her a card and wrote a sweet note, with a promise to buy her a gift in Cappadocia.

And our gift to her was a big one this year...her first take to college.
Happy birthday, beautiful! I couldn't be prouder of you!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Cappadocia, Camp, Coffee

For several years, this sweet gal has been a big part of Firstborn's life. Since Firstborn never did the balloon ride with us over Cappadocia, B wanted to do that with her once before she graduates. They picked one of the very few weekends left in this school year, packed up, and promptly drove into a snowstorm! I've never been to Cappadocia in the snow, but Firstborn assures me it was breathtaking. 

She sent me these lovely Turkish shots over the weekend.

I love my kids. I stalk my kids. I don't stalk them because I am worried they are getting into trouble. I stalk them because....I just love knowing whats going on with them. So, you know what I did? I got up before sunrise on the day she would have her balloon ride (it's a sunrise ride) and stalked her while  she floated over the beautiful landscape of Cappadocia.

Meanwhile, back home, we had a great week doing something we've never done before. We flew in a young man (American living in Germany) from a group called "News Release Basketball." It's like a "Spirit Express" or "Athletes in Action." The camp was for kids in grades 3-6. Some of our teen basketball players served as volunteers. It was a great event and Big Ben adored the basketball coach.

While Firstborn was in Cappadocia, some of us met up to go see a movie. I had to take picture with her friend and send it to her!

Coach Andrew (the basketball guy) was the best. Big Ben just could not get enough of him. When he left, they exchanged texting numbers.

Here I am with some crazy friends at the 3D movie!

When Firstborn got back, we had to do her follow up appointment one morning to see if she could get her cast off. When the appointment is at 9 and your dear daughter is moving 6000 miles away after the summer, you grab a coffee together while waiting!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Winter Ball 2017: A Night In Paris

My girls looked lovely. Our winter ball here isn't so much of a date thing. Most everyone goes, and they just pair up and dance with everyone. Sometimes there's a special someone, but it's mostly a group event.

So many people warned me about the teen years. I just feel completely different. I have loved them.

My girls aren't the sit-around-wait type. When the music started, she grabbed one of my 7th grade boys and said, "Let's dance." I think she was his only dance that night, because he was too shy to ask. But something tells me he'll remember this dance with a Senior girl.

I love this picture. I love the friends God has given my girls.

CC and I were chaperones. We had a great time. He made sure to get a dance with his girl that is leaving so soon.

It was a beautiful night, and I am glad I got to be part of it.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Winter Ball 2017: Gettin' Ready

CC made it back JUST in time for the Winter Ball, our big prom event for the year. This would be the first time to host it in our new campus. The decision was made to have it in the Sports Complex. So, the kids got to work with the help of Miss V, their sweet do-anything-for-these-kids teacher.

CC brought back these cool Memphis t-shirts to the kids, a gift from their aunt.

As the day approached, I kept thinking, "NEXT YEAR Sweet Cheeks gets to go!!"

The kids chose the theme, "A Night In Paris."

Miss V knows to whom to delegate the artsy stuff. These girls covered a bulletin board with paper and just started painting. They truly think anybody could do it. But some of you readers will agree when I say, "No. I couldn't do that." They got their papa's artistic ability.

Here's the Winter Ball committee, hard at work, along with my sweet friend B, who loves these kids enough to help them do pretty much all they want to do.

And the painted Paris scene is coming along...

Meanwhile, stars are hung and city buildings are recreated. An Eiffel Tower goes up.

And they are done. Paris behind a bridge.

The next day we began an all-out effort to get everyone ready. Everyone wanted curly hair. The hot rollers and sponge curlers were in use the entire day. My bedroom became the fair maidens' chamber.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Happy National Day, Kuwait!

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I really thought I'd be living in a hut somewhere in remote Mexico. But I didn't end up there. I ended up married to a wonderful man and going with him to the Middle East to work in a school in a city where many businessmen, embassy workers, ambassadors, and even presidents would like their children to be educated in English. Hence, we get invited to many national celebrations.

While CC was gone, I went as our family representative to the Kuwait National Day/Liberation Day celebration.

This "tree" in the reception room was made of dates! mmmm.

This picture I took with my iPhone as the Turkish national anthem was sung and the acting Kuwaiti ambassador to Turkey (a school parent) was standing with a member of Turkish parliament.

This sweet friend went that night, too. We both tried Arabic coffee together. It was delicious, but a little dab will do ya!

I asked these beautiful ladies to let me take their picture. The lady in the center is the ambassador's wife, and the young girl next to her is in our high school.

 These events are more fun when you have a buddy to attend with.

And I really like how this picture turned out. These young boys, students of ours, were adjusting their headwear.
 I am happy the USA helped Kuwait and that we have an ally in them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Hodge Podge of Winter Fun

Well, you know, it's not all fun. But this stuff is. Almost all of it, anyway.

Right after our birthday, CC hopped on a plane to go to the US to recruit, participate in annual meetings, and share about our awesome school. I got to watch him via livestream, and here's a screenshot of it. He concluded by reading a valentine made by Firstborn, handed to him as he left. She mentioned how she wished all the potential teachers there could see what she sees...that Turkey is not a place of unrest and danger, but it is home. I was so touched to hear him read it, as I had not yet read her card.

One day just for kicks, we let the boys' team scrimmage the girls' team. That's one way to work up a sweat....either trying to keep up or trying to prove how good you are!

When we moved into our new campus, scads of odds and ends, most of it trash, were left behind. But Firstborn found one treasure that was being thrown in a trash can. It was a piece of art done by a student from the former school. An oil pastel of a Turkish village scene and a treasure to her, I decided to get it framed for her to take with her when she moves on to college. This was a sample frame from which I could choose.

My friend T had a surprise birthday party, thrown by her husband and a few friends. It was a bittersweet night because only a few people there already knew that she would be moving to the USA in the summer. I was one of those people. It wasn't an easy night, and it won't be an easy goodbye.

I let the kids have a Valentine's party. The younger kids invited a friend each, and the teens invited a handful. We ate, watched a movie, then played a charades game on my iPad. It was a fun night, and I'm thankful for their good friends here. 

And then, the next weekend...ahem, Firstborn was asked out. We tried to be calm. We tried to act nonchalant, but here's a picture of the kids spying on her as she got in the car. I've known this boy since he was just a kid. There was no hesitation on this one. Yes, you can go.

And I just had to snap this from my vantage point. She's all decked out in jeans, a suede jacket, and a boot cast (from an old soccer injury that just wouldn't heal until we finally immobilized it.)

While CC was gone, we had a game night and played one of our favorites, Chinese checkers. Why this simple game entertains us so much, I don't know, but we play it often.

One Sunday afternoon while CC was still gone (2.5 weeks!), I took Big Ben and Sweet Cheeks out for lunch and let them pick whatever they wanted. One got honey filled gozleme. The other got chocolate filled. Oh well, I said pick anything. I even let them get Fanta, a rare treat.

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