Monday, June 29, 2015

The Back Porch Spa

Grandma and I were cordially invited to the Back Porch Spa. You only ever thought of this picnic table as a place to eat on the porch, but it can also serve as a massage table.

The cousins spent hours setting up the back porch as a Spa (Remember when you were little and the set up and anticipation of the game was half the fun?)

We were thrilled to get our garden mud washed off and get the pampering.

And just the Back Porch Spa, you can even bring your laundry to dry while you are getting your mani-pedi!

Summer Fun! It's the best. What creative plans have your children made today? Tell me about them!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Swimming with the Fishes

Big Ben did great on his annual swim lessons. This instructor is so very good. The kids who do not know how to swim are swimming by Day 2! This year Big Ben needed to improve his stroke and work on his dive. It seems every year, the moms who bring their kids and sit and chat for the 45 minutes become new friends.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Reunited and It Feels So Good

After the weekend, it came time to pick up the rest of the Campbell Clan. Though they had early morning workouts and football practices, these two awesome kids agreed to go to the 11PM airport pick up with us.

And surprisingly, Santa and Mrs. Claus showed up, too. (I literally have no idea why he was there. But I think he is the real one.)

We waited and waited. Lots of people came down the airport hall, but then my beautiful daughters and handsome husband finally rounded the corner.

And their grandparents were very, very happy.

And then we grinned and descended the escalator to get their luggage. From behind the pillars came their cousin buddies. Big surprise. Big wonderful hugs and lots of laughter. I think it warmed the hearts of everyone at the luggage terminal. The Singapore toddlers reunited.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Piano Concert

We got here just in time to get to see my nieces perform at their piano concert!

I've never gotten to see them perform before! Way to go, girls!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

One of the Best Days of the Year

You know I love my calling, and I love my "home," but it also takes me far away from many people I love. So, that moment of arrival after being gone for an entire year is very, very special.

My parents faithfully make the drive to come get me, arms open, year after year. (And now that I am a mom, I get that!)

This will likely be one of my favorite pictures of the entire summer. Once these cousins got to each other, they never let go of hands until we arrived home.

My brother treated us to a fun weekend on the lake. I can't tell you the joy of getting to see my two new nephews, who just arrived from Congo last summer at this time. They speak English. They are darling. They are so compliant and sweet. They remembered me! And it's a very, very good thing I am not their mommy. I doubt I could ever say no to them!

My nieces and nephews had all grown so much! This sweet little doll who shares my middle name makes me laugh every day that I get to see her. (Last night she explained to CC that lightning bugs won't electrocute you, as he tried to convince her, they just "glow up.")

My oldest nephew C faithfully got the little ones set up for "duck boarding" (a kid-friendly learning ski board) and knee boarding.

It didn't take long for Big Ben to start trying to emulate Cypress Gardens!

Alan Jackson's house boat (right around the corner from where we hop out of the boat to go potty!) Star struck!

We are not a perfect family, but there's a lot of love and recognizing what a gift we have in each other.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Flight Over the Pond

Just as soon as school ended, we headed out across the Big Pond, as we call the Atlantic Ocean. We'd signed Big Ben up for swim lessons, as we have for the last couple of summers, and they were set to start the morning after our arrival. (You may think this sounds crazy, but after 18 years of annual jet lag, I've learned a few things that work. One of those is getting up and at 'em and in the sunshine right after we get there.) We had the privilege of flying with our family friends as far as Germany. Here's Big Ben next to the love of his life.

And Sweet Cheeks next to her best buddy in all of Turkey. The little doll next to her, the littlest in their family, hadn't flown since she was about 3. I had so much fun sitting across from her watching her raise and lower her tray, order and down a Coke in a minute flat, and lick all the butter on her roll. Her mother, on the far side of me, was out of a reasonable distance to correct any behaviors, which made it all the funnier.

My kids are great travelers. I am so thankful for that. I came with the three youngest this time. CC would arrive a few days later with the other two. Here the girls are drawing unusual animal heads, holding them up to "attach" them to the bodies of people in the airport, then clicking a picture with a phone. The results were hilarious without anyone knowing what they were doing.

Here's my selfie with Big Ben, who was far more interested in a Lord of the Rings lego game on my phone.
 That's better.

After Ankara-Munich-Newark, our next flight was Nashville!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Goodbye for summer, Turkey!

Turkey is a crazy place sometimes. There is an expression, "Burasi Turkiye!" which means, "This is how it is in Turkey!" I will miss it this summer. But yes, I'm ready to board a plane and go "home."

I thought this was a great last picture for my summer goodbye. (These are plastic water bottles on the back of his truck.)

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