Monday, April 30, 2018

Mid-Spring in the Mediterranean: A Drive to the South

What a busy year it has been! Soon Spring Break was just around the corner. We had a full week off just after Good Friday. CC and I began thinking about what we could do with the family that would be restful and easy and cheap, but would get us out of the city a little for some family time. We almost always go to Cappadocia for Spring Break, just a four hour drive and always wonderful, no matter how many times we've been. So, we called Hassan Bey where we always stay. He said he was fully booked (which made us happy, as business has been low for them recently), but that we could just come stay in his home! (Only in Turkey!) We decided not to take him up on it, but I suggested to CC that we could go to Antalya, the Mediterranean Coast. It's a long drive, 8 hours, but I thought I could find us some cheap flights, and we could just stay in one place the whole time with no need for our van. Sure enough, I found $20 airline tickets for the 1 hour flight. CC began investigating some places to stay that would be more like our Cappadocia adventures and less like a big hotel. He found the perfect spot, called Cirali. Cabins, no frills, where the entire family could stay for $30/night, including breakfast! The catch was, though, he wanted to drive. It's just too beautiful to see the countryside and too good for our family to do a road trip to pass it up for a flight. 

So, we loaded up. Kids. Bags. Snacks. And we were off. 

We always always always stop at the McDonalds half way. It's basically the only time we eat at McDonalds, but it's the perfect rest stop when everyone is getting hungry. 

I just really enjoy seeing the landscapes as we drive and try to take pictures as we go. I spotted so many sheep and shepherds! Sweet Cheeks, the one who can find the tiniest detail that everyone else misses, spotted wild mountain goats as we neared the mountains.

This country is beautiful! 

Soon we came down down down the big mountain into the flat, palm-tree laden streets of Antalya.

And we began to see the beautiful sea with the mountainous rocks jutting out.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dorothy in Wonderland the Musical

My kids had the wonderful opportunity to participate in our high school drama, "Dorothy in Wonderland the Musical." They tried out last fall, and Miss Middler landed the party of Alice. She was hands-down the best Alice I've ever seen in my life. Innocent, clueless, trusting, bewildered. She just nailed it! I decided to just order costumes this year, then use our very inexpensive seamstress to have them taken in here and there. Here she is getting her Alice make up on.

There were a few extra roles and Big Ben was asked to step in as a playing card. #5 did great and was so cute up there getting bossed around by the Queen of Hearts, his sister! He didn't much like the make-up, or the make-up removal each night, but he survived.
 Twinkle Toes was the Queen of Hearts. She was SO mean!!! Screaming, ranting, demanding all over the stage. It's SUCH a cute musical, as the characters from Oz don't make it back to Kansas, but somehow end up in Wonderland. There they each interact with another character, and those gifts....a heart, courage, and bravery....are put to use. The Queen of Hearts comes up with a brilliant idea to get the Tin Woodsman to chop heads off for her, but you see, he can't. He has a heart now.

Darling Sweet Cheeks was the Cheshire Cat.

She had all kinds of tricks on stage for disappearing!

Twinkle practices ranting during a dress rehearsal. I declare she doesn't behave this way at home!

The lion gets to prove his bravery over and over as he saves and defends Alice, who is falsely accused of stealing the Queen's tarts! It's such a good story!

Sweet Cheeks also played a fun role as Tweedle Dum!

The kids had SO much fun and built new friendships!

Getting on stage each night was so much work! For some reason, any time a character needs "big hair" I am called! Sweet Cheeks' hair was covered with a purple wig. Miss Midd did her own hair, a sweet style befitting Alice. But Twinkle needed volume. We teased and sprayed and teased and sprayed.

I teased while she applied more eye liner.

And then we pulled it into this big do, which made her look even meaner.

The kids performed twice, once on Friday night and once on Saturday night. But by far, my favorite performance was the day time matinee they performed for Losev, the children's cancer research hospital near us. The kids who were well enough to come, got to see the play free. We took up a collection for the hospital by allowing students to wear jeans to school if they brought a donation.

For the Losev kids, the biggest star was Tuck, the sweet little dog who played Toto!

God bless these brave kids and their families!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Getting My Man Back

I was so happy to get CC back from America! I survived it, but I'm so much better with him here!

My basketball girls made me this beautiful card as we ended our season.

The weekend after CC returned, we hit the streets for a Friday night date. These little guys we spotted seemed to feel exactly like I did after a few weeks as a single parent.

Yes, life back to normal.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Off To Play Some Basketball Outta Town

At the tail end of CC's time in the USA, our basketball teams loaded up on a big bus and drove to our Istanbul tournament. Our other girls' coach was unable to attend, so this one was on me! The drive to Istanbul is beautiful, especially around Bolu.

Ironically, the beauty outside the bus combined with the fun inside of the bus is a highlight to me. The kids are just great. I love them.

I was so happy my buddy came along too. She takes good care of me!

The kids really stand out when we go. They are so international, but also their good behavior usually lands us some compliments at the hotels.

I's extra time each week. It's a commitment for a very busy mama. But I get to be with these precious girls and their friends for practices, games, and tournaments. It's worth it!

Strategy talk. Always.

Our girls placed third overall, and I was super proud of them! They had some really tough competition, and they worked hard.

Junior class basketball players.

CC sees ME; Artwork Sales

CC added a weekend on the front end of his trip to see Firstborn. I was so happy to get this picture texted to me! What a bright spot for this little gal who can't drive home on a weekend like so many of her college mates. Yes, having that weekend in February with her papa is going to be golden for her!

He needed to rent a car to get from her college town to his administrative conference. He told the rental company he would take anything cheap. They upgraded him to this. Firstborn sent me videos of him revving the engine!

Back in our city, the girls had their artwork on display from their Studio Art elective course. Twinkle created this clay sculpture of a village home. I love it!

The girls also whipped up a few watercolors to sell for some spending money.

For these Turkey scenes (and verses), I suggested they could paint some, then put them in the teacher lounge. They were all sold by 8:45AM.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Birthday In There Somewhere

At some point during these busy weeks of basketball games and CC flying to America, we had a birthday! We have had 23 birthdays together (including our 2 birthdays while we were dating). Based on that, half of my birthdays have been spent with my beloved!

Sweet sweet Cheeks baked us a lemon birthday cake.

And CC took us all out for Chinese, my favorite! As he was hitting the milestone of 50, I planned a big surprise birthday breakfast for the staff. He woke up that morning sick. So, we Facetimed him at his party he did not attend!

And this was a very lovely surprise. The cleaning staff at school had a little lunch and cheesecake for me. These are precious women who speak a different language than me, but have the same heart for their children and families. This blessed me very much!

After CC went out of town, these two gals treated me to a nice dinner out. Guess where. Chinese!

Site Meter