$1 Opportunity

Simply put shoes are something I take for granted.  Well, not unless I am on a mission for new shoes.  Cute shoes, trainers, heels, sandals and now the coveted boot with the weather cooling down. I do love me some shoes.  Shoes are the accessory that you can buy no matter what your weight is, what mood you're in, how you're feeling.  They complete the outfit.  And they must be worn when venturing outside one's home. Or at least they should be. 

 However, I recently learned that there are over 300 million children that do not have a decent pair of shoes.  (cue the woman with over 10 pair in her closet as I type, ME.)  That because they don't wear shoes and are often trekking across rough terrain their feet are cut and then they are at risk for contracting deadly parasites.  Can  you even imagine that?  While I love being bare foot it is by choice.  Walking over garbage, rocks, cliffs, etc. with no shoes.  No protection.  No thank you. 

I have shared about this organization before. About a walk the Things and I took barefoot, a hike through some challenging terrain.  I don't think that is something they have long forgotten.  At least I hope not. 

I wanted to share this opportunity with you all.  Not because this is some sort of endorsement but because I believe in the mission of this organization.  Soles4Souls provides shoes for children and adults alike that do not have them.  Throughout the greater Nashville area there are collection bins for your gently used shoes.  Just drop them off and they will take care of the rest.  They also have an informative and easily navigated website where you can make a monetary donation.  Check out their website, look around, http://www.soles4souls.org/.  For only $1 you can provide a pair of much needed shoes, for $15, 15 pairs and for a generous $50 donation you can purchase shoes for an entire orphanage.  Think about it.

Random Photos From Our Wednesday & Thursday

Wednesday we had lunch at a stable in Urla with our language instructor and her other classes.  Beautfiul grounds, extremely rare in Turkey.  We enjoyed lunch and visiting with the horses.  Our friend's daughter's horse is boarded here and we brought him carrots.  The Things loved this day.  Yet another advantage to homeschooling.  They sat at their own table for lunch and were quite impressive.  All 4 of them spoke with the owner of the stables and  participated in the "adult" conversations.  Not to mention they even practiced their Turkish.

Thing 1 made a fast friend.  This little one followed here everywhere she went.

Yesterday the Things were on a walk and they captured this fellow near the basketball court.  Of course they brought him home and had to take pictures.

Thing 4 posing with his newfound friend.

Thing 2 had the lizard in her pocket, clever.

And to top a perfectly great day we had this show in the sky for us after a hail storm that rocked our house.

Thankful Thursday #48

No Polo, we are not cheating on you with another pooch.  This is our friend's dog LuLu.  She went to the beach with us last Sunday.  LuLu loves the beach and we loved playing football with her.  Polo, you will always be our favorite mutt.  Truly.
And now back to thankful Thursday.

480. good morning phone calls from traveling Husband
481. surprise packages for Thing 2 from her friends
482. SKYPE
483. rainy school days
484. new friends
485. the gift of learning something new
486. understanding, however minimal, a few more Turkish words
487. planning crafts for Christmas time
488. Things that help plan our art lessons
489. encouragment from unexpected sources

A Good Day

gentle breezes in our faces
rock climbing
exploring green cliffs
smooth pebbles under foot
tiny shells being searched out
squeals of fun from Things and friends
blankets for laying on and watching sail boats
chasing the dog
juggling footballs
snacks shared
smiles worn, all day

Food For Thought

"It Couldn't Be Done"
By Edgar A. Guest

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't", but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face.  If he worried he hid it. 
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off  his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it. 
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done", and you'll do it.

* Thing 1 is memorizing this poem for her English class and I wanted to share it, I just like it.

Thankful Thursday #47

Comin' back at you this Thursday with "Thankful Thursday" after being MIA last week due in part to our travel schedule.  There is so much to be grateful for today, this is just a glimpse.  Please share your "thankful Thursday" in the comments section so we can give thanks together.

470. safe travels
471. my own bed
472. fits of laughter with the Things
473. sharing inside jokes with the Things
474. watching the Things share knowledge with each other while abroad
475. passport arriving on time
476. experiencing culture, together as a family
477. Husband Jared's diligence
478. candle lit dinners (all 6 of us!) 
479. my washer and dryer, both of which are working over time right now!

Homescholing Day

Now that our holiday is over.  Now that our curriculum and supplies have cleared customs.  Now that all is back to the "new normal" we have begun homeschooling.  Technically we started the week before we left for the UK.  This won't be a complete week but it is the official start.  If there could be such a thing. 

We have decided that we don't need a rigid structure.  That's just not the way we roll around here.  In fact, most days the Things don't even roll out of bed until close to 9am.  We're not telling their friends that though.  The friends' moms' have forbid me to tell.  Each of the Things learns differently and prefers various locations and times for such.  I try to work with that.  Be flexible, that's my motto.  At least for right now.  Of course there are certain things we have to get done, and we do.  There is a particular day I prefer to teach art history and a time I enjoy reading aloud.  My advantage to being the "teacher".  Above all else we want to teach our Things to love learning.  To enjoy the process of discovery.  We want to help them realize that in our everyday life there are opportunities for learning.  Like when we make the glazed apple cake later today.  We will be incorporating math as well as listening skills, team work and of course practicing our Metric system studies.  And right now the Things are playing 4 square.  Together.  Yes, there is bickering over whether the ball went out or whom broke what rule, but they are figuring it out.  Together. 

This really wasn't supposed to be a post about my views on homeschooling.  I hope it's not.  My true intention was to document a "normal" homeschooling day for us.  So I can read this and remember just what it was that the Things and I shared everyday.  Here goes.

Wake up and Breakfast - together, in shifts, whatever
Daily chores, make beds, get dressed, brush teeth, put laundry away
School time - Different for each Thing based on needs and the day
Brain breaks - laps around the garden, fresh air required!
Finish up major subjects for the day
Lunch time - together, usually outside
Outside break
Read aloud - as a group
Art, worldview, music, etc. (elective time)

Well usually that is what it looks like.  For now, this is it.  It may change tomorrow, or maybe not until next week or next month.  I'll keep you posted.

Take Me to The Queen Please

The train departed Manchester early this morning and we were South bound for London.  More homework to be done and reading to do the Things were sleepy and grumpy.  I don't think any of us were really ready to leave Manchester.  Such a neat city.  So much to see and definitely a slower pace.  Much more our speed.  The trip had to be made nonetheless, the palace was waiting.

First stop in London, the Hyde Park Hilton.  I had left my cowboy boots in our room and they were waiting to be retrieved.  Thankfully they were in lost and found.  Whew!  My little keepsake from Nashville was not lost.  Then onto Paddington.  And another Hilton hotel.  No, this is not an endorsement.  Once arriving at the hotel we unloaded our luggage and set to making plans for the remainder of our day.  We had not been able to view Buckingham Palace up close and personal so we decided to take the Tube and do some sightseeing.  Yeah!

Awestruck.  The only word to describe our faces as we approaced the enormous iron gates and fountain.  Things went running to look at the guards.  We had arrived just in time to view the changing of the guards.  Not the parade or procession changing but a ceremony worth seeing.  For the rest of the day Thing 4 marched around as though he was the Queen's guard.  Quite entertaining.

For dinner we had plans to meet one of Husband Jared's colleagues in Shepherds Bush.  A quick taxi ride from the palace and we met at a little Italian restaurant near one of the largest shopping centres in Europe.  As our food arrived we all noticed that each one of us had ordered some dish containing pork.  Go figure.  We shared stories from the week, listened to Camille's latest adventures about her move to the UK, and we laughed over gelato and chocolate syrup.  A fantastic meal shared with a great friend. 

And that my friends is the conclusion of our holiday.  Monday is travel day.  Back to reality.

Match Day - Manchester Day 3

Need I say more?  Most likely not.  Match day was the ultimate.

We all woke with butterflies and the Things with a case of ants in the pants. Really.  They just could not contain themselves.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 joined me in walking to the city centre of  Manchester.  We finished up some last minute shopping needs there and enjoyed seeing the city.  It looked like something out of a story book.  Quaint cottage style architecture, surrounded by large buildings filled with all the finest shopping.

Thing 3 and Thing 4 accompanied Husband Jared to the Museum of Science and Industry.  Five buildings of FREE entertainment for children and adults alike.  They visited aircraft replicas, had some hands on experiences and enjoyed some Dad time.

We all met back at the hotel and donned our United gear proudly as we walked to the corner pub for lunch and beverages before the match.  The six of us were once again the "monkeys".  Dressed head to toe in black and red, we looked like our own firm.  Could have been too. 
 After lunch we caught a taxi and headed to Old Trafford confident that the Red Devils would provide us with a good showing.  Our seats were quite close to the opposing team's section.  A sea of West Brom fans taunted us and sang loudly.  They quieted when only minutes in Thing 1's favorite, Chicharito, put one in the back of the net.  We were on our feet and singing, "Glory, Glory, Man United" with the rest of the crowd.  I had to pinch myself.  As I looked down our row and saw the Things smiles from ear to ear I couldn't help but smile myself.
We cheered, we sighed in frustration and looked on in disbelief when our seasoned goalkeeper made a rookie mistake.  Oh well, it happens to the best of them, right?  West Brom ended up with two goals in the second half to even up the score.  And although there were attacks they were not enough to pull off a "W" on this day.  Husband Jared saw his favorite, Rooney, take the field.  Not a great appearance, but seeing him live and in person was alright for him.  The whistle was blown and the mass of Red Devil fans sadly exited the stadium while listening to the celebrations of the West Brom fans.  The Things were dissappointed in the result of the match.  Husband Jared was upset.  Ultimately we all decided watching a draw in person was a fantastic experience no matter the outcome.  Don't get me wrong, we would have loved to see Utd. win, but nevertheless we were there.
Our highlights do not end there though.  After leaving our seats we followed dedicated fans to the players' exit.  The spot where chosen security guards bring the players' cars to them, where their family and friends walk with them and where they sign autographs.  We were positioned opposite the exit and behind the coach for West Brom.  Although we didn't have a clear view of the player's faces when they exited we knew who was coming from the chants of the fans.  First to leave, Nani.  No, not our Nani, Cheryl.  The Nani.  And his vehicle of choice, a white lamborghini that made Thing 4's eyes pop out of his head.  Wow.  Next up, Macheda.  The young, Italian super sub as we call him.  No PT for him at this match, but his "entourage" was right beside him.  He waved and we watched as he walked to his car.  Then there was Vidic, and
Van der Sar and Berbatov.  They signed a few autographs and we clapped and watched slack jawed at our proximity to these athletes.  Scholes left and then the young twin, Rafael and then Rio Ferdinand.  Captain of the England squad and otustanding defensive player.  He signed a wealth of autographs.   And then Thing 3 spotted him coming to our side and she ran to greet him.  Guess what?  He signed her program!  Oh the excitement.  The smile on her face, priceless.  Husband Jared and I were sure that the Things enthusiasm would be waning at this point but no they wanted to see Rooney and Giggs.  I can't blame them, I did too.  Rooney did leave, his vehicle right near the doors and his wife and baby with him.  We waved.  I think he waved back.  We are still fans.  After nearly an hour of standing and waiting Giggs was the last to leave.  He did not sign any autographs, just waved and drove away.  That was good enough for us and worth the wait.

After the player's show we left Old Trafford, still in awe at the day we just experienced.  All four Things still telling stories of chants, and revisiting the plays on the field that should have gone a different way.  Talking about the way "their" players did this or that, the way they moved or didn't and then the goals.  Oh the goals!  Always exciting.
We decided to walk to dinner near the City Centre.  Not a good choice with four Things on a Saturday night at 7:30pm.  Three restaurants all had near an hours wait so we ended up dining at Subway.  Good enough for the Things.  The Subway here in Turkey is not quite the same.  High's and low's of the day were shared and all six of us decided the low for the day was definitely the outcome of the match.  On our walk back to the hotel after dinner we stopped for dessert at a corner market.  Our basket was loaded with all the candy we don't have access to in Turkey, M&M's, Oreos, Dr. Pepper and Skittles.  Just some of our favorites.  The trek to the hotel was chilly and once back in our room we threw our jammies on and snuggled in bed watching Nanny McPhee 2. 

A perfect ending to a nearly perfect day.

* please excuse the quality of the photos, they were all taken with Husband Jared's phone

Two Different Ideas of the Perfect Day

Another full day was on the agenda for the six of us.  We began as we have all other days, with a yummy English breakfast at the hotel and then we set off to see the sights.  A stroll down Deansgate brought us to the John Rylands Library.  The sight of a perfect day for me.  
I could have spent the entire day in this library.  Quiet reading rooms surrounded by stain glass literary figures and floor to ceiling book shelves, encased by glass.  Books every which way you turned, some from the 18th century.  There was an activity room for the Things with papyrus dating from the 1st century and a station to create your own book.  Simply amazing.  All of us roamed the halls and gazed in awe at the old printing machines and beautifully carved sandstone.  My perfect day.
And then we were on to Husband Jared's perfect day, Old Trafford.  A tour around the stadium where the Red Devils play and a look in the museum containing history from the team's beginnings.  A boy's dream.  

Towards the end of the tour we were allowed into the players room.  The place where they all sit at half time, change their boots and have a cup of tea.  Surreal.  We all took turns sitting in our favorite's spots.  

Thing 1's favorite, at least for right now.  
Towards the end of the tour we walked down the player's tunnel to the recorded screams of fans.
 The boards that SAF and the players stand in front of for interviews was just to our left in this photo.  Husband Jared had no words.  In fact, there may have been tears.  And then the finale of the tour was the dug out.  They actually allowed us to sit in the seats.  Wow!  
All in all this was a superb day.  The history, the tour, our guide and not to mention being a finger tip's touch away from the pitch, beyond words.  I have no adjectives to accurately describe this 100 year old "Field of Dreams".  Truly a memorable experience.  For all six of us. 
To top off an already perfect day we headed to Chinatown for dinner.  Upon a reccomendation from our concierge we went to Yang Sing for dinner.  It was the Thing's first experience in a "Chinatown".  This one was even complete with an arch designed by an artist from Peking.  
We dined and laughed and listened to jokes from our waiter.  There were roast chickens and pig and another unknown animal hanging in the window of the kitchen.  The Things' curiosity  was peaked.  Husband Jared asked our waiter what it was and his reply had us all in stitches.  He said, "human", Husband Jared said, "little one?" and our waiter said, "Yes, that's my baby with soy sauce".  And then at the end of it all he said, "My baby is called roast duck".  Ahh, and then we almost fell out of our chairs.  I guess you had to be there.  
It was one of those moments.  The whole day was filled with those moments.

Manchester Day 1

We spent at least 10 hours in the confines of Trafford Centre with the 4 Things yesterday.  An enormous shopping centre with over 200 shops and possibly just as many restaurants.  We made our way through the maze and managed to finish our winter wardrobing.  At least the Things are taken care of, top to bottom.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 had their ears pierced.  We enjoyed Tapas for lunch at a delish Spanish restaurant and after a late night run at Asda we tucked the weary Things and our aching feet into bed. Not much else to say about that.  Shopping, the theme for the day.

London Day 3

Cue the Hallelujah chorus!  No really that is what Thing 1 and Thing 2 said as they approached Harrods.  Land of shopping.  Land of excess.  Land of a beautiful bounty of gourmet food products.  Land of Krispy Kreme.  Yes, the Things sniffed and found a comfort food from home.  We enjoyed a dozen.  Thank you very much.  There are not too many donuts to be found in Turkey. 

So, in the Six Hansons fashion I am bringing you highs and lows from our day yesterday.  
Thing 1: High - MAC counter at Harrods
Low- Homework on the train ride from London to Manchester
Thing 2: High - Navigating our route to the hotel on the Tube, on her own
Low - We forgot the Krispy Kreme on the train
Thing 3: High - Japanese Dinner in Manchester
Low - We missed the Changing of the Guards
Thing 4: High - Train ride to Manchester
Low - Wandering around Harrods
Husband Jared: High - Eating Chocolate flavored crisps at Harrods
Low- Repeating myself to the Things about hotel behavior
Me: High- Train ride through the English country side
Low- No lows, we are on holiday!

An Opportunity

Yesterday during our travels the word "opportunity" was continually being  pressed upon my heart.

Let me back up a bit.  We create quite a spectacle when we travel.  I have referred to this before, us being the monkeys, our family on display for all to see.  Until recently I was never bothered by this.  I guess largely due to the fact that in the Southern United States we most generally received smiles, knowing nods and affirmation that our family was special.  Fast forward to our recent relocation to Turkey.  The smiling, not so much.  The nods, not so much.  Blank stares, definitely.  And now here in London, those same stares.  My protective Mama instincts want to explain.  To share the joys of my four Things.  Rattle off all the wonderful qualities of each of them.  Even our reasons for traveling to foreign countries and sharing these experiences with our children.  Of course I don't.  Unless I'm asked.  And even then some don't get it.  That's OK, sometimes I don't get it.

So now we are in London and like I said, still the monkeys. I must admit it was getting to me a bit yesterday.  Everytime we boarded the bus, anytime we were on the train together, everywhere we went.  At lunch we had to all sit in pairs, no big deal really.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 sat together and behind them and next to them were two tables with ladies sharing lunches.  I couldn't help myself.  As soon as the Things sat down all eyes were on them.  In turn all eyes were on me.  So in my most syrupy sweet voice I said, "I guess we can't escape the staring, just like Turkey".  I do not know if my statement was heard by either bordering table but I do know my Things heard me.  Innocently enough they laughed.  As I walked back to my counter seat at the bar I knew I had not made a good choice.  I missed an opportunity.

That lesson was not lost on me.  I shared with Husband Jared and he even chuckled.  He knows how protective I can be and how silly I can be as well.  In this case silly was not a compliment.  It was at that moment that God reminded me of just what "opportunity" means.  Defined by Dictionary.com it is,
a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.  My attitude yesterday was not attuned with the higher goals that it should be.  Upon realizing this I made an effort for the remainder of the day to pay close attention, "mind the gaps" if you will, where opportunity was lending itself.  
Not too much later such an opportunity was presented.  Funny how that happens.  There was a woman, her companion and his elderly mother riding atop the Big Bus.  We sat behind them and proceeded to take out our camera for the next photo-op.  They said hello and were laughing dismally when they told us that both their cameras batteries had died and they had no replacements with them.  Just that morning Thing 1 needed new batteries for her camera and we had purchased a four pack.  Two of the four were safely tucked away in our back pack.  I immediately offered the two "extra" batteries to the woman.  Her face lit up and she even offered to pay me for them.  I refused.  The Things were all ears.  I told the woman that it was our pleasure to help her.  I was grateful for the opportunity.  She happily clicked away once the batteries were in place.  The man that was with her took my hand when we left the bus and thanked me.  Not only that but he reassured me that they would "pay it forward".  Remember that movie?  And now the most recent commercial?  The one where one good deed leads to another?  I do and I smiled when he said so.  
That was an opportunity.  One in which we may have been stared at but not for the same reasons. I pray that I am mindful of the opportunities that are afforded to me each and every day;  That I don't turn a blind eye and make the choice to ignore the situations or conditions that are favorable in attaining the ultimate goal.  

London Day 2

On the agenda for day 2:
Big Ben (really the name of the bell inside the clock tower)
London Tower
Buckingham Palace
St. Paul's Cathedral
Dinner at Hard Rock
I am pleased to announce that we accomplished all but 1 item from the agenda.  Impressive for a family of 6 forging their way through the city. 
After a hearty breakfast and a check of the weather conditions we headed for the tube.  The Things were rather excited about this part of the journey, their first underground train experience.  A short two stop ride and we were at the bus stop where the Original Big Bus tour would collect us for the day. 
With this particular bus route we were allowed to hop on and off the bus as we wanted.  And we did.  The first stop was Hamleys.  A 250 year old toy shop, filled to the brim with 7 floors of pure FUN!  We ventured to each and every level.  The Things raced cars, received sparkle tattoos, flew a remote control helicopter and even posed for a photo with a Lego Buzz Lightyear.
There were even costumed Knights and Ladies greeting us as we entered.  From there it was time for a hot chocolate.  The wind was quite a force to be reckoned with on the top level of the bus.  We found our way to Carnaby Street.  
An infamous street where rockers such as Jimi Hendrix and McJager have enjoyed a few pints together and near the shopping district where the first mini skirt was sold.  Ever.
Back on the bus and onto another sight.  Along the way we passed Big Ben, The London Eye and Trafalgar Square.  St. Paul's Cathedral awaited.  And on the steps the Things seemed rather small.
 You are not allowed to take photos inside the Cathedral.  I merely stood in awe at the majestic architecture, painted ceilings and mosaic floors.  We visited the Crypt, the Chapel and the Whispering Gallery.  And then Thing 2 and Thing 3 climbed over 1,000 steps with me to a viewing balcony.  The view was phenomenal and worth every stair.  We learned the history of the Cathedral, read efegees from the 1600's and quieted ourselves in amazement.  Truly breathtaking.  
Lest you think that was the end of our day, oh no.  We refueled at a delish, all natural cafe.  The tomato soup warmed me and I was energized for round two.  On to the London Tower.  The Things weren't quite sure what to expect which made the experience that much better.  We were greeted by a Yeomen Warder, more commonly referred to as Beef Eaters.  
We followed one of the Warders on a guided tour in which he proceeded to inform and possibly scare the Things.  Stories were told of executions, traditions related to such and all the details of torture and blood that took place within the Tower.  Fascinating.  And to think they thought the tour would be "boring".  Hardly.  We also gained knowledge as to the qualifications of such Warders and why they are referred to as Beef Eaters.  Truth is, they don't really know.  
Once again we boarded the bus and toured the city.  This time our destination was Hyde Park.  Our touring had come to an end.  The Things were troopers and remained engaged and interested throughout the day.  I kept pinching myself.  The entire day was surreal.  London.  With my Things and Husband Jared.  
What a gift.  
And at the end of the day the tired, overwhelmed Things posed for one last photo for their Mama.

Planes, Trains and Taxis

The six of us experienced quite a few forms of transportation yesterday.  An early morning flight, transfer, a train and a taxi ride and we are now in London.  To stretch our legs and catch a glimpse of Hyde Park we walked through the grounds, chased squirrels, stopped to stare at some rather interesting art pieces and ate dinner at a quaint Italian cafe.  And after an early  morning start and a day full of travel we retired early to our hotel rooms.  All in all it was a great start to our UK holiday.  Today, the Big Bus tour and photos to follow.

Taxi, the Things and I in our first Black taxi ride in London
 Train, The Things and I on the Heathrow Express

Eyes Opened

You know those days where you're just not sure?  Or those weeks, you know the ones where your eyes are closed and so is your inside?  Closed for business.  The walls are up and you're on guard.  Not sharing, not participating.  Not living. 

I know those ones well.  In fact, they can be my best friend.  Just curl up right beside me and get all cozy.  I let them.  Sometimes it's just easier.  That is not what this post is about though.  It is about the times when you get those glimpses.  The why becomes clear and apparent.  You are living.  Feeling.  All the way to the core. 

Right now, that's where I am at.  No, that is where I am choosing to be.  The place I can only be with a load of grace.  Undeserved. 

Today I was reminded of why I choose that place. 

I was on an important phone call with the US Embassy.  The one where I was hoping they would tell me my passport was en route to Urla and would arrive before Monday morning.  The Things had just finished school for the day and were running around like wild chickens planning what to get into next.  Or maybe plotting.  Anyhow, Thing 2 ran off to the neighbor's house.  Without asking.  Not a big deal.  I was finishing up my call and thanking the attendant for the good news regarding the passport situation and I heard the door slam.  I hung up and looked up to find Thing 2 out of breath and wet.  Before I could ask she was spilling the details.  She saved the twin!  The little toddler girl fell in the pool and Thing 2 pulled her to safety.  Their sitter was watching nearby but curious toddlers being who they are she fell in.  Mind you, it is a cold and windy day here and the water was quite chilly.  Thing 2 continued on when her siblings asked, "aren't you cold?"  "Of course", she replied but wouldn't you jump in to save a life?"  Gratefully they all responded loudly with resounding confirmation that her choice was a good one.  As the twins' mom arrived home she thanked Thing 2 and told her that she was thankful she was there because their sitter does not know how to swim. 

Alright God, I'm paying attention now. 

I looked into Thing 2's eyes and the only words I could muster were, "God's timing".  And it was. 

That is why I choose this place.  The place where I am aware of just what the above scenario entails.  A situation that could so easily be shrugged off as coincidence and not celebrated for what it was. Ordained timing.  Not by human hands. 

Another day I may have offered Thing 2 a rash of emotion for leaving without asking, for not telling me where she was going, today though I chose to be present.  To have my eyes opened.

Thankful Thursday #46

* A photo of Husband Jared and myself that I borrowed from Thing 1's collection.

460. hot coffee first thing in the morning
461. hugs from Thing 1, the kind where she doesn't want to let go
462. "I am sorry" from Thing 2 and the prayers that followed
463. Thing 4 telling me, "don't let the bed bugs bite" and then making bug noises to scare me
464. Thing 3 being proud that she doesn't have to plug her nose when she goes underwater
465. starting homeschooling
466. being able to learn everyday with my Things
467. craft day
468. only 4 more sleeps until London
469. kahvalti

A Day At Sea

Well, if you guessed on a boat, to answer my last post's question then you are correct!  Or if you read the previous post and saw that I was looking forward to a day at sea than kudos to you as well.  Husband Jared informed me that I gave the answer away for my guessing game.  Anyhow, we did in fact spend Saturday at sea, all 6 of us together.  In addition to three other families. 

The day began with a sleepy ride to the marina where we were to board the boat.  Our captain, Mustafa, had overslept so thankfully our tardiness was not an issue.  Mind you, it was the 6 Hansons that ultimately made our party late.  I had to have coffee.  Go figure.  And when we arrived and said good mornin' to our friends I was greeted with a, "How American of you", by my friend Ana.  Why yes, thank you.

With giddy Things and loads of gear and goodies we boarded and began our adventure.  The Things ran around and claimed stake to the top of  boat and everything inbetween.  Thankfully Mustafa is a man of patience.  He was even brave enough to allow the Things and their friends to be "captain" for a short period of time.  While this was amusing, it did cause us grown ups some concern. 

And with a child at the helm we were heading to Donkey Island.   Land of the wild donkeys and goats.  Or so we thought.  Come to find out the donkeys are actually "caged" now and taken care of by a family who lives on the island.  Once tied up to the dock we all went about exploring.  Kids fished, jumped off the top of the boat, searched for seashells and listened for the familar "hee haw" of the donkeys.  Once the courage was mustered by Thing 2, which didn't take long, she climbed to the top of the boat and cannon balled her way into the clear blue water.  A resounding scream and "it's cold"! echoed from her lips and she was on her way to do it again.  What a trail blazer.  The other Things and friends followed behind her after the discovery that the water was safe. 

From donkey island we cruised to our next destination, Blue Lagoon.  There was more fishing, chipura, needle nosed fish, open clams and a multitude of other smallish fish swimming around the boat teasing the fishermen.  A few were fortunate enough to make a catch, albeit small, they were proud.  Thing 3 was able to add her accommplishment to the list of successes. 

Lunch was served and was it ever good.  Mackral, chicken, pasta, eggplant and yoghurt puree, Turkish potato salad, bread and salad.  Delish.  And for dessert we celebrated two upcoming birthdays, Siobhan and Matt, with chocolate mud cake brought to us by the talented Suzanne.  Wow, talk about chocolate overload.  Nap time anyone? 

The afternoon was filled with naps on deck, more swimming, jumping and exploring, snorkeling and fishing of course.  No big catches but plenty of small fishies swam onto the hooks.  So many that all the kids were feeling quite proud.  That's a great day fishing if I do say so myself.  As we made our way out to the deep we allowed the rocking waves and gentle breeze to lull us into the sea's song.  It was magical.  I could do that all day, everyday.  Really. 

Our day ended peacefully, until the children had decided to hold an all out protest on the dock.  The seven of them sat in a circle chanting, "take us to dinner".  I know it sounds demanding, but trust me when I say it held the sweetest of intentions.  How could we resist?  We didn't and it was pide for everyone.  That's Turkish pizza.  When we arrived I was told that the eldest child in the bunch had told the grown ups he was riding with, "I really am not that hungry, I just didn't want the day to end". Salty discharge enter here.  The next thing you know I hear same child rallying the troops again, only this time he says, "next week let's protest to go to a theme park together".  The stakes are escalating.  We will be on guard next time. 

All that to say our day at sea was absolutely fantastic.  A dream.  Memories made.  The Six Hansons on a boat in the Aegean Sea.  Who would have thought?

* this post would have photos but just 2 days ago when I was writing this our external hard drive was broken. Argh.

So Sweet

Just had to share, so I don't forget.  Thing 4 couldn't sleep the other night.  He quietly shuffled into mine and Husband Jared's room and climbed into bed with us.  He layed his head on my chest and snuggled.  I was scratching his back and enjoying the unsolicited cuddle when he kept moving his head.  I wasn't sure what he was doing and when I asked he replied, "just moving my ear so I can hear your heart".  Oh my.  Tug, tug.  At the heart strings that is. 

And just as I was writing this post, Thing 4 and Husband Jared are playing Donkey Kong on the Wii. Thing 4 turns to Husband Jared and asks, "you did have colored TV's didn't you Dad?".  So much for the heart strings, I will definitely have a side ache.  When I stop laughing that is. 

Guessing Game

Can you guess where we spent the day yesterday?