Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy 21st to Us and Gettin' Ready for Thanksgiving

Last weekend my love and I celebrated our 21st anniversary! We are fast approaching being married 1/2 our lives.

He took me out to see Murder on the Orient Express (Loved! Especially because it was Istanbul in the 1930's) and out to dinner, then surprised me with a night in a hotel. I was down in the Turkish bath at midnight getting scrubbed. I think I fell asleep! It was a wonderful night out, and I love my man.

We are getting ready for Thanksgiving over here. Going to have a crowd of 23 today! I came home last night and my housekeeper surprised me with stuffed cabbage, Turkish style. The stuffed red peppers were oh, so good. We threw in some sweet potatoes and let the countries unite for dinner!

I've been cooking my 18 lb. turkey all morning. Miss Happy wants in.

This will be my first Thanksgiving ever without Firstborn. She is well loved there by my folks. But we miss her.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Some Friend Pictures

I've had a couple of fun times with friends and have a few more coming up. You remember I took Firstborn to Moscow to visit my friends (for her 17th birthday)? Well, I found a deal on airline tickets to Dusseldorf, Germany. So I'm going to take Twinkle there for her 17th. A few of my friends are joining us, too. We will get to see a Christmas market! We leave the night of Thanksgiving, right after I've hosted 23!

This is my Kentucky friend. She is in exactly the same boat as me. She's got a dear daughter in college at Union. We talk about care packages, phone calls, and how to get them into Turkey for the holiday with a visa ban!

And these are some of my awesome students. This group did not attend a field trip one day for various reasons, so we had a tea party while the others were gone.

And this is one of my go-to groups. All these ladies are, ahem, over 40. We've been friends a long time. We went out for Turkish breakfast to celebrate the birthdays of 2 of them.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Finding Fun this Fall

Oh goodness, what a busy season it has been!!! We were forced to start school late, so this first quarter had NO breaks. Just straight 5 day weeks for 9 weeks with lots of extras throw in!

We had our annual Fall Carnival, which is so simple but so fun for the kids. Miss Middler created this Lilo and Stitch costume for her and her friend. She's soooo cute, isn't she?!

Every class created a simple game for kids. This little courtyard once had some of the nastiest, poorly-cared-for chickens you have ever seen. The previous school had a "petting zoo" in which each class took turns caring for the chickens. And yet, it didn't look like they did! We gave the chickens to some folks in the village, then cleaned up the courtyard. Recently CC had some extra turf from a soccer field project, so he had it laid it in the courtyard, just to spruce up the look. The 11th grade chose that spot and created a mini golf course with pool noodles and cardboard boxes for the Fall Carnival. Brilliant!

Miss Middler is taking Spanish II this year. Her teacher is my buddy and is AWESOME. She taught them about "The Day of the Dead," so Miss Midd created this skull cake.

And the staff gathered for a hayride and cookout. My comments on it: it was freezing.

The harvest moon was beautiful. It was freezing.

The fire pit for marshmallows was fun. It was freezing.

I finally warmed up the next morning! ha! We went out for Turkish breakfast, and our friend took us in his big dining room where he had built a fire.
Fall is by far my favorite season, followed by winter, which is a close second. What activities are you enjoying this Fall?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Twinkle's Big Surprise

Twinkle turned 17 just at the end of October. I just feel like their years are spinning by!

We celebrated with a dinner at home and Mulligatawny Soup and a chocolate cake with cream cheese icing, her choice.

Meanwhile for a couple of weeks, I had been planning a joint surprise birthday party for her. There's a fella in her class with the exact same birthday, so we teamed up! I threatened her chatty friends with everything I had that they had BETTER not tell her! She thought she was having a few friends over to spend the night, and that we were picking them up AFTER we dropped her sister off. Meanwhile, this sis made up fake plans and stood out on the street to get her ride to the party. She took all my food, except that I had stored it previously in the car. When CC got in the car, WITH Twinkle, he started commenting about why the car smelled like food!!! I shot him a dagger look, and he started driving!

She had absolutely no idea that she had 15 or so friends behind a door when she walked in! I'm not sure how we pulled it off!

Her class is unique in that it is the one class on campus that has kids that have been with us for a very long time. She has known some of these boys and girls since they were in Kindergarten and loves them very much.

What a great bunch of kids who helped pull of a great big surprise! They are from: USA, S. Korea, Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey. Are they great looking?!

Happy 17th to my beautiful girl. I can not imagine life without her. She's a kind-hearted, big-praying, people magnet. Love you so much, Twinkle!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Firstborn's Fall

Firstborn is truly doing great! She misses home, she misses us, she misses Turkey. But she's adjusting well, making friends, and doing great in her classes. I love it when she sends me pictures! Here are a few of her "perks" recently.

Her cousin C and family came down to visit the college and her. What a bright spot for her to see family!

She had all kinds of parties and events leading up to her induction into her new "tribe." She was assigned a "troll" theme. With the help of Walmart, she and her buddy whipped up some great costumes! She made her skirt. It makes me laugh every time I see it. And that hair! In a Coke bottle!

A big joy came when my folks came down and spent the weekend with her.

It was the mother-daughter tea where she would be pinned. I was really sad to miss this with her, but nothing could have made me happier than for my mom to stand for me!

For Halloween, she dressed as one of the Despicable Me girls.

I am so proud and so happy that she is doing well.

As you may know, the Turkish government and the US government are not offering tourist visas to the other right now. This was the visa with which she would have entered for her Christmas visit. When we hit about 7 weeks until her flight, I asked some friends for prayer about the matter. A friend emailed and said she could get us a home in Spain to stay in for the break, while some friends traveled. As hard as it was to tell her she could not come home, we did not feel the risk was worth it. Maybe she could have made it in, but maybe not. And if not, then we would suddenly be facing Christmas break with no plan to be able to get to her easily (or cheaply). So, we made the difficult decision to change our plans. We will all be going to Spain for the break and are deeply appreciative of the housing. It involved an entire day to reroute her ticket, get refunds on the Turkey segment, get one way tickets for us back to Munich where her flight to the US leaves. But it's all done. I will admit seeing her bed (and remembering that we were going to set it up on Christmas break) made me so sad this week. We are trusting that God opened this door for us, as we asked Him what to do.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Getting To Be Mom

We tried to keep the tournament costs as cheap as we could for the kids. So one mom organized each kid to bring an item, then put together a picnic lunch for them. I helped manage the meal times to get it distributed to 30 kids and coaches!

We stayed in Besiktas in Istanbul. Our hotel was a "training hotel" so it was sparse, but I was just so happy to be there. This was our sunset.

They are just great kids, and I am happy to say I got to go. And that I survived driving in Istanbul trying to keep up with this bus!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Istanbul Soccer Tournament

If you've read this blog over the years, you know that as we've built our sports program, we've had many disappointments when we have to cancel tournaments or our participation in them because of security concerns. This year we were invited to a soccer tournament in Istanbul for international schools and were so happy (holding our breath the whole time) when it became a reality!

CC subbed for me, and I got to go as one of two moms who helped the kids at the tournament.

My girls did great! Miss Middler is an unstoppable defender!

Twinkle plays as a forward and has gotten so good. It was a joy to watch them!

They took third place overall, and I was so proud!

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