Thursday, April 24, 2014

Capturing Cappadocia: Dinner

So many times I think that I wish I had taken more pictures when we first moved to Turkey. What used to be fascinating is now common. This is "home" sort of, and one day my kids will want to see our everyday life here. Hence, common pictures follow.

The one thing about Cappadocia that we have NOT liked is that it seems food prices are much higher than in our own city. It's a tourist town, so it makes sense. But this year, we found a good restaurant with good food and decent prices. We went every night! With hospitality and relationship so important in this country, they did not think we were weird at all to show up night after night! (My kids thought we were weird.)

Here Miss Middler is enjoying lentil soup. Red pepper flakes are sprinkled on top.

 Cheese pide, the Turkish version of pizza, without sauce, though.

Here's a claypot dish. Coming out of the fire oven in its own pot, it stays hot for a long time in this. This one had onions, peppers, eggplant in a tomato based stew. The bread behind it came loaf after loaf, as much as we could eat.

In my effort to start snapping pictures of normal life here, I took this one. It's a brick oven, where our bread was made. It's ancient. I really like how this picture, with the long paddle for retrieving bread, and the claypot of food baking inside, turned out. The pot is cracked by the waiter, and the food is served just like that.

Big Ben took this one of the pideci (pide man). He may look irritated, but he was actually proud (and serious about this picture).

Not a selfie! Firstborn took it.

See the man's claypot dish right behind the water bottle? It comes with its own little fire that burns for a few minutes.

We really do feel so safe here. After the kids ate, we let them walk back through the town to our cave room to go to bed. Cappadocia is sleep-inducing! Only Firstborn stayed with us.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Capturing Cappadocia: Picnic

For Spring Break, we went back to our old favorite, Cappadocia. Much of the staff travels out of the country, to Europe and beyond. It's important to us to get to come "home" each summer, so we try to keep our during-the-school-year excursions fairly simple and easier on our budget. Though it is near to us and we've done it many times before, it makes a great getaway for us with kids.

On our first day, Big Ben had a sore throat. It quickly morphed into the kind of sore throat where you can't even swallow. After breakfast, CC drove me to the next town over, where I knew where a pharmacy was, and I bought him an antibiotic. (Don't judge!) We had decided previously on 3 big events while we were there....mountain bike riding, horseback riding, and hiking. Since the two little Turks are not quite ready for their dad's kind of mountain biking, we decided to let that be the first event.

I stayed back with the little ones while they biked. We did get out in the sun a little and had a good time together. They played at the little park, while I enjoyed some Bible reading.

Then we ventured on and explored a little....
 ...and had a picnic! (Someone was feeling well enough to eat by then.)

It was simple and fun. And we got some amazing biking stories and videos when the others got back!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dyno-mite Field Trip

There's a new hands-on children's museum in our city. I decided to be the guinea pig and try it out with my class. It was a very well-done museum. I do think it was a bit below age-appropriateness for my kids (well, and there's just really smart, too), but I am happy that those who created this museum have done this for the city. It was truly hands-on. They touched everything!

Found this one baby dinosaur coming out of her egg.

To end our tour and lunch in the food court, I let them try out the mall's massage chairs if they wanted to. It was hilarious! They made their own sound effects.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Well, right on the heels of the soccer mom morning, we had planned our first-ever surprise birthday party for a CampbellClanKid. Firstborn was turning 15. I had secretly invited a bunch of her friends and gave them the evil-eye warning look as I told them it was a secret! The plan was for CC to 'forget' something at the soccer game, require Firstborn to go back to the field with him, then bring her back to a room full of friends and a surprise birthday party. It was a perfect plan. But after 2 games in the sun, she was tired and even feeling a little down, wishing she had done better in the second game, where she was put on the field rather than goalie. CC got the wonderful (ha!) idea when we pulled up to the house to tell her he wanted to take her out for a coffee and talk to her about her attitude. This plan, he thought, was brilliant...the only problem was that she was already tired and a little discouraged, and it just made her cry. She ran up to her room, as I called up, "Please get a shower. You'll feel better." (didn't want her to stink at her party!!!!) Then she got on her laptop and browsed facebook, pulling on her pajamas! This was not going as planned. Some twerp made a less-than-positive post to her facebook page. Guys sometimes think 'mean' equals 'flirting.' That made her cry more. Suddenly, we were in a panic. She was in pj's, crying, and Twinkle was downstairs, eyes-wide, telling us the friends were signing off of Facebook and heading to our party. Firstborn kept saying, "But I'm just tired, why in the world do I need to go out for coffee?" Clearly, no one had broken the promise not to tell her!

We quickly scrambled and went to Plan B. CC got her on the upstairs terrace, while I sent Miss Middler, ever the helper in times of panic, downstairs to keep them all from ringing the entry bell. I ushered them in, having them leave their shoes outside instead of inside. Once they all arrived, we hid in the den, proud of our quick change of plans.

She walked in, then quickly turned away...shocked, happy, but wanting to hide her red face! CC burst into the room with, "It's tears of joy, everyone!" ha ha! She quickly washed up, then came in to many hugs and laughter. I think it was just what she be reminded that many, many people love her and that God has blessed her with many friends.

This gang  consumed more pizza than I thought humanly possible. Now I know to order 8 larges, not 6!

We served them cake and ice cream.

I should add here, that as the story unfolded and the humor of the situation was understood by all, her friends started whipping out their iphones, etc. and texting Mr. Twerp to let him know he'd hurt her feelings. The next day he showed up with a birthday gift for her! (Though I wanted to let the guy know exactly what I thought of what he said to her, I let it work itself out...a much better plan.)

Then, they watched a Spiderman movie. When it was over, they made no move to leave. CC said, "Well, we can't just force them out." We. were. exhausted. I said, "They're preteens, yes we can." I assured them all we were thrilled to have them, but I just knew their parents would be expecting them soon! It was a great day. Sometimes I think the Plan B is more memorable, don't you?

Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Official! I'm a Soccer Mom!

Last weekend marked a new day for me! I officially became a soccer mom. I can't say that I have ever even watched a soccer game! This year both my girls signed up to play on the Oasis team. Firstborn played soccer at PE when she was young, got a good hard kick to the shin, and decided soccer was not for her. But this year, she decided to sign up just to stay in shape for volleyball and basketball, with some shin guards! Twinkle Toes had determined years ago that when she hit 7th grade, she wanted to try out for soccer. They both made the team, and last weekend was our first tournament.
I was completely and totally clueless. I know all about screaming in a gym for volleyball and basketball, but what does a soccer mom do? I teased the girls that morning that I would be running up and down the sidelines, screaming, big sunglasses on, like a real soccer mom! But I clearly learned what I should do NEXT time...sunscreen, waters, a blanket to sit on, breakfast for the girls before the game!!!

I knew the base sold some breakfast sandwiches, so I decided we'd just eat there. I didn't factor in the fact that the girls would be warming up right when they got there. I sent out their sandwiches to the field. Firstborn promptly put them down near the goal. I started worrying later that maybe they never ate. At that point, Twinkle was on the field playing. My friends clued me in...ya gotta feed them at home. No time to eat here. (Insert here the fact that we just had Twinkle checked out for fainting so often and were told she needed to get some breakfast earlier and snacks mid-day!) So I jogged over to the other side of the field and whispered, "Psst! Did you eat?" Firstborn said, "No, not yet." I said, "Well, where's the food?!" She said, " the goal...I think." So I had to sneak down the sideline and grab their breakfast before a goal shot into it! If only you could have seen me, my friends were laughing. First day as a soccer mom FAIL! Anyway, they did eat after the game and won their first game!

Firstborn played the second half. She's a goalie. I don't think my heart beat when the ball was down there....but she blocked them all! I've seen that girl tackle, I knew she could do it!

And like real soccer parents, we had an injury. Twinkle got a solid kick to her ankle which swelled up and turned black and blue. A couple of guys would have been happy to carry her to the car, but a certain gentleman would not have anyone carrying her but him!


And so, now that I've done it, I can say that I love soccer games!!! Kids running around, snacks, cheering, sunshine. Soccer moms, what's your best advice for me?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

CC in Moscow!

CC was asked to be part a team to travel to Moscow, Russia, to visit and serve on an accreditation team for a school similar to ours. Basically, the school pays hotel/food expenses for the team to come, and the team volunteers to observe, question, and then write a report recommending accreditation for the school. He had a wonderful week and brought me back these pictures.

This was his team. He thoroughly enjoyed his week with them and made some great friends.

This picture is, of course, my favorite!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Look What I Got To Hold

This was a highlight of the week! I got to hold a 12 hour old baby boy! This is the new nephew of my friend L. Her brother and sis-in-law live in Turkey, and came to our city for the birth of their son. He was awfully sweet....hmmmm.

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