Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Art Show

Our sports complex was set up with examples of art work from the entire year from every class. It looked stunning down there! I snapped pictures of what the Campbell kids had displayed this year.

Here's Big Ben's art! Looks like he needs a werewolf in it! 

Here's Sweet Cheeks perspective drawing! 

Twinkle's paintings from her fall art class. 

And Miss Middler's paintings. 

Beautiful work!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Senior Sunday

Our church here has a special Sunday service to send our seniors off. This year, it was extra special. The elder in charge asked several prominent members of our congregation to wash the feet of our seniors. Here is Firstborn having her feet washed by the Ambassador to Turkey from Zambia. It really touched me deeply as I watched it. 

Her papa was introduced as a man who started and directs a premier international school in this city and has shaken the hands of presidents. He was happy to wash their feet as a symbolic act of serving brothers and sisters. 

They were each given a plaque with a Scripture engraved on it. 

And then the parents were called up to pray over them. I won't forget this service. It was wonderful! 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Now Ever After

This year our school had an after school drama club for upper elementary. They worked to produce a play called, "Now Ever After." In this play, a cheesy talk show host invites guests, who are former fairy tale characters, and attempts to have them reconcile with each other. Big Ben tried out for the play and landed the lead, the talk show host. I helped him memorize his 58 lines (!) but he did most of it himself. We did explain the idea behind talk show hosts and their incessant actions to keep the show rolling, to keep guests happy, and to come across as insincere. He nailed it.

When he came out in his suit coat, tie, and cowboy boots, hair gelled up, I died laughing.

He was so funny and did all the right things to come across as a really convincing talk show host.

Sweet Cheeks was assigned the role of an old woman, who was continually overcome (in tears) by every guest and every interaction. She burst into tears, unable to finish her sentences. She was hilarious!

Here are several guests. The ugly stepsisters no longer wished to be called as such, so the talk show host called them "Beauty Impaired Family Members." Snow White finally reconciled to the Queen once the Queen admitted her unhealthy dependence on the mirror. Cinderella let her stepsisters come live with her, so long as they kept away from her Prince. And the frog finally got his kiss from the princess to get rid of his frog body.

They did great, and we were super proud of them! We were able to snap just a few pictures before Big Ben got the tie off and ran up to the soccer field to kick some balls before we left to go home! 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

Early one Sunday morning, I smelled something being prepared in the kitchen. It was not even 6AM! So, I tiptoed downstairs to ask the chef, maybe we could wait until after 7? I got down a couple flights of stairs (remember our house is tall and narrow!), then it hit me, "It's Mother's Day!" I crept back up and crawled back into bed!

My Sweet Cheeks had fried me an egg, made toast, and prepared me sage tea, from her endless collection of sage leaves in the neighborhood. It was delicious and so thoughtful! 

We had a fun lunch at my favorite place, Quick China! Here are the beautiful kids that I have the joy of being mama to!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Losev: Proudest Moment

I'm not sure anything my girls have done this year has made me more proud than this.

There is a cancer hospital and school very near our new campus. It is modelled after St. Jude's Children's Hospital in my hometown of Memphis, TN. It is fully supported by individuals and provides cancer treatment and support for families. Sadly, we were told that many times when a child is diagnosed with leukaemia here, the father blames the mother and leaves the family. So, this hospital opened a village of homes to support the families during this difficult process of recovery. As children are ostracized at school, Losev also has a school for them. So that's the background, and they've been on our hearts as a possible outreach now that we are out here near them.

They contacted CC and asked if we had any events the children could attend as a fun outing. Did we ever! We decided to offer them a special matinee performance of "Give My Regards to Broadway"! They bussed in 100 kids. The kids were beautiful, some in face masks and some with a bit of hair loss. But all with bright shining faces.

Our kids performed their hearts out and put on such a good show. And the best part of all was that a few of our cast knew some Turkish, so they began ad libbing lines and explanations for the kids to understand more. It was precious and really touched my heart.

It was one of those days where I had to put on a diplomatic smile and greet the directors on behalf of Oasis, but it was quite hard to hold back the tears.

After the show, we let the kids come out and take pictures. This is one of my favourites. 

This little guy wanted a selfie with the leading male star. So sweet. They loved him because he threw in so much Turkish. 

Lots of high fives, hugs, and pictures. 

I'm pretty sure this is the finest thing our kids have done all year. This far takes the cake over winning a sports tournament! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cuteness Overload

The kittens are so cute! We all run down to see them as soon as we walk in the door each night. Cappy is doing a great job feeding them and taking care of them. Sometime she licks them so hard she pulls them up into the air! We've started to hear their little rattle purrs alongside their mama.

This is the one that had such a hard time being delivered, then got left alone for part of a day which caused us concern at one point. It is also the LOUDEST, letting us know very clearly that it doesn't want to be lifted up away from mama. So, we always fuss over this one a bit. But last night I got an email from a darling Korean girl in Sweet Cheeks' class (who Firstborn tutors weekly) that her mom finally agreed she can have this kitten. So that makes homes for all three when it's time to leave mama. The calico will go to one of Miss Middler's friends who just had an elderly cat pass away. 

And this chubbiest fluff ball (the kitten, not the gal!) will go to my friend B, who loves kitties, never had a yellow one before, and told me before they were even born, "I want a yellow one if she has one." 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Give My Regards to Broadway

Three of my girls tried out for the musical "Give My Regards to Broadway" at our school. Sweet Cheeks, in spite of being in 6th grade, landed a spot in the chorus for this high school musical. She learned her dance moves and songs and was so cute up on stage. It was set in the late 1940's so we had a lot of fun coming up with costumes and "victory rolls" for their hair.

Miss Middler landed a major role. She was "Betty," a Virginia-born Southern girl who had moved to the Big Apple to launch a career on broadway. She maintained her Southern accent, however, and wowed us with her solo, "I Was Born in Virginia." Betty had bragged to her kinfolk back home that she was rich and famous and was going with a rich and famous piano player. She was so darling up there and represented the South well! Putting on that accent was no problem for my girl! I actually had NOTHING to do with this play, other than finding a 1940's dress on amazon for them, then showing up at dress rehearsal to do hair/make-up. So, I had no idea what to expect. But when my sweet girl started singing that song, all I could think about was her sweet Grandma,  born in Virginia. I sent a short video clip to her. Miss Middler was cute and spunky and Southern, nailing her solo, dancing while she sang, and laying some Southern charm on the whole audience.

Firstborn landed the lead female role. She was "Mary," just off the train and hoping to hit it big in Broadway. Her innocence and kindness took her far, and in the end she was given her big chance. At one point, "Mary" thought she had lost the part, and was planning to go back home to New Rochelle. All the gals in the show sang with her, "So long, Mary." It hit a little too close to home! The thing that struck me was that I have never actually heard my daughter sing. I have, of course, been next to her in church. And I've always thought she had a beautiful voice, but I have never once heard her sing a solo. She had multiple solos in the play. And out of her came this angelic, beautiful, strong voice. CC and I just looked at each other, "Where did THAT come from?" I am deeply grateful to her director, the pianist, and the music teacher for finding this voice! In the end, Mary gets a proposal from the director. She accepts and throws her arms around him. The most laughable part of the whole play to me, is that her true beau, in real life, is the one who says the line to break up that hug! It was such a cute musical.

It was a lot of fun for them to do this. They worked hard and performed in two evening performances.  They are also set to perform for Losev, the children's cancer hospital here in town, as well as a matinee for the elementary. I couldn't be prouder of them!

(Firstborn and her beau)

(Miss Middler and her young Southern niece sidekick. They really pulled it off, though this gal is 1/2 Northern USA and 1/2 Welsh!)

And these sweet ladies have invested so much in my kids. I texted them both on Mother's Day to thank them for being a 2nd mama to my 5. Don't know what I'd do without them!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Celebrity Status

This week brought the end to volleyball. We had agreed to play in a Turkish public school league, but the schedule was entirely dictated by them. Our games fell three solid days in a row. Volleyball for women in Turkey is king! These teams gave us some great competition. We didn't win overall, but we did beat them on a few sets during the matches.

It was a total Turkish experience, however. We had to have major documentation to participate. We signed all kinds of paperwork when we arrived, including the Captain (Firstborn) having to sign for who won the coin toss! The refs were kind, but we did notice calls against us increase each time we began to win. Still, we were determined that the most important thing we could do was to accept what was given to us, play hard, and let the rest go. We were told once, upon first arriving in this country, at a school fair in which we were promoting our soon-to-be-opened school, "We are watching you." So, we want whatever they see to be the best we can be. 

I loved seeing my girls play together one last time. I thought I might be sad, but there is so much hype at these games, it's hard to settle into sad! The boys in the gym snuck over to see our roster, got the names of the girls, and began chanting loudly every time the ball was in play. Twinkle started getting friend request on social media, which she promptly deleted. Good girl! 

And at the very last game, they begged for selfies with us. I told the girls to only do a group photo. 

Once we were back at school, Firstborn and I went out to take a picture. This picture is, "Thanks, mama, for coming to all my games." and "Thanks, Firstborn, for allowing me to watch you play." I have loved it! Wouldn't miss a second. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nature Calls

We are loving our weeks with these kittens! Cappy is a champ! She's such a good mama. 

One morning, I woke to the sounds of bells and baaaaas. The shepherd had brought his sheep to graze in the field across from us. I couldn't get enough of it! 

I know she looks cramped, but this is the box she wants! 

The little grey was the first to open its eyes, but just one eye. 

We called it the little pirate. 

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