Friday, July 31, 2015

This is OLD. Like, really old. Cade asked me to repost, so here you go. A blast from the past...

soooo...I started college yesterday! :x One of my classes is English 1010. First assignment, to write a narrative on an event that occurred in my favorite environment. whew - HARD, I tell ya! This is a posting of what I came up with. This storm actually occurred in September of 2008, while Cade & I were on our way back from a motorcycle rally in Colorado. :)

I duck my head to avoid the big drops of rain that have started protruding from the dark, ominous looking clouds that cover the whole sky above me, and stinging my already wind-beaten face. The nervousness inside of me screams to find shelter from the wretched storm, yet there is nowhere.
My surroundings are barren. For miles, desert sage, the infamous low-lying red rocks and cacti are all that can be seen. I cling to my husband as the wind proceeds to toss us about and he tries his hardest to maintain control, to remain on the road. We proceed on, into the eye of the storm. We have no other choice, it must be.
Soon the rain becomes thicker, harder, colder. I want to cry out from the sharpness of the stings, and maybe I do, but no one hears me over the low growl of the engine. As we carry on, the rain and the wind are so extreme that we can't see but a few feet in front of us, at one time even coming upon an area of the road that was being washed out even as we crossed.
I search the gray skies, looking for just an inkling of hope, just a smidgen of blue sky where we might get some repreive. I see it! It's not far! Nearly a half hour after beginning this war with mother nature, we have found shelter - a decrepit gas station.
The people at our place of refuge seemed to have been living there as long as the gas station, their dark skin weathered and beaten as if they had been working in the desert their entire lives. As we tried to regain our composure and dry out a little, we sat under the sagging awning that was covering the old, rusted gas pumps. A seemingly stray, pathetic, filthy, three-legged dog begged us for a few scraps of whatever we might have to add to his skin and bones body. As I dug out some jerky from the inside of my very wet coat, I must have alarmed him, for he ran off before receiving any morsels.
We waited and watched as the storm passed us by, leaving us free to go about our ride home.
As we resumed our adventure, I pondered on the events that had just occurred. As I was caught up in the fear and trepidation that we had experienced, I felt a calm. We had come through. We were safe. As I relaxed, I soon became aware of my current surroundings. First, the wetness of the road. How the steam from the heat of the warm September sun was drying the dark asphalt even as we rode over it. Next, the smell of wet sage that permeated my nose, the scent of the red dirt fresh with the wetness of the storm. And lastly, the crispness of the air as we cut through it on our way back home. All of this together revealing to me yet again the greatness, majesty and grandeur that we enjoy on this earth.
I was anxious to be back in my warm, safe abode, yet with time I would look back upon this trial with admiration, for without this storm I would not have ever experienced the intimacy with the earth that one can only have while riding on a motorcycle, through the vast desert during a downpour, and after the storm has subsided.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Teacher Appreciation

I love, love, love to help with Teacher Appreciation Week!  In my eyes, teachers could never get paid enough.  Who could possibly want to be with the same 25+/- children, 5 days per week for 8 months?!  So, I do my best to honor my children's teachers. 
Nearly every year since Ethen started kindergarten, I have worked with the PTO in some capacity, to pull off Teacher Appreciation Week.  I think there were only two years when I planned everything, and that was too much (fun, but oh so much work!)!  So now I am content to merely help find parents to decorate the faculty doors, and decorate some doors myself. 
As I was scouring the internet for door ideas last night, I decided to check out some of the doors that I have done in the past.  These are the ones that I could find pictures of:

 This was Rainbow Fish, and I cut every one of those
scales by hand.  The ones that look white were actually
made from a shiny, silvery scrapbook paper. 

I found a Mii generator online, and with Ethen's help, we created Mii's for each kid in his class.  I also found the Nintendo Wii font online. 

This teacher had a Movie Set theme in her room that year. 

I've done more...many, many more, but either I never took pictures, or I just can't find them on my wide array of discs (because who actually prints pictures anymore?!). 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gotta type it so I don't forget it!

Every year, with the Christmas season, my biggest concern is my kids being a little too honest about their opinions on gifts.  This year was no exception.  On the way to my in-law's, for the extended family gift exchange, I prepped the kids on proper responses.  It went like this:
"Children, the budget for gifts this year was only five bucks.  Now, five bucks doesn't buy much, so if you get something you don't like, I don't care.  You smile, pretend like it's gold and say, "thank you!". 
I made certain children (the ones that I was most concerned would be overly honest) repeat back to me how their response should go, regardless of the gift.  They all did well in rehearsing the script, and we proceeded on to the big event. 

Luckily all of the kids were pretty darn happy with what they got last night, and I didn't have to worry about the honest truths coming out.  Christmas morning, however, was another story...

We were back at the in-laws this morning, Christmas, and everyone is opening gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.  Roxie opens hers, and it's a box.... a Slider Burger Press Box to be exact.  Poor Roxie must have been so sad to see her sisters & brothers opening all of these fun toys, and hers was just a  boring Burger Press, for adults.  But that little smarty pants put a smile on her face, and said "thank you!" to her grandparents!   It was a proud mommy moment for sure!  Of course it turns out that her gift was inside the Burger Press box, and once she was informed of that, she seemed much more pleased with the contents! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Who Needs Real Trees Anyway!

Mother Butter! This is why I don't get real trees! #$(*)(#*$%(#

Last Friday we went on our annual tree hunt with the in-laws, except we don't usually get a real one, because I prefer fake. Well, Cade had to stay home and work, and I thought I would be all nice and get him a real tree (because he likes to complain about how I make him put up an ugly fake one). We get home, my BIL sets it near the side entrance to our house, and guess what? That's where it's sat ever since.

So today I chug down a Pepsi (to get some motivation, you know), and haul my butt out there to take care of it. First, since it's been sitting so long, I must chop the bottom off. Okay. So I started meandering around our yard/sheds looking for some tools that my husband doesn't seem to know how to put in their proper places (or maybe I just don't know where their proper places are -whatever). I find a rusty hand saw. Yep...I'm sure you can see where this is
going. So I literally saw the poop out of that sucker for at least 30 minutes. I got a good start at it, but my arm felt like it was going to detach from it's socket and fall off.   I headed over to our wood pile, and grab this huge monster ax. This thing comes up to my chest, it's so big, and it's HEAVY. I drag it over to the tree, and heft it over my shoulder (which I'm sure will be sore tomorrow from the seriously lack of previous use), and proceed to slam it down, occasionally being lucky enough to at least hit the bark. After about 8 times of this, I decided the rusty saw was good enough. I finally got that dang thing off, and drug that wretched tree in the house.

Gotta' say, the kids thought that me throwing that ax over my shoulder like a lumber jack was a good time.  I was just glad that I didn't accidentally chuck it like an Olympian throws a shot put, and hit one of them in the brains. 

THEN I tried to get the tree to stand up in the tree stand! Another reminder of why I prefer fake. The dang thing WILL NOT stay up straight. It's refusing to cooperate while I try to screw these flat headed screw knob things into the bark. Have you ever done this, people? Have you ever watched your husbands do this? Who can hold the tree perfectly erect, while screwing screws into it?!? If you know someone that can do it, you should give them a gold star! I finally got 3 of the screws in, but that last one, the last one was being a major pain in my butt.

About midway through the holding-the-tree-up/screwing-the-flat-screws-in scenario, Asher came in and said he would be glad to help me out, if only it would make me work faster in order that I might put the password into the computer for him to play it.  Despite his genuine desire to help me, him holding the trunk was not helping matters. 

I finally grabbed a couple of toys from nearby, jammed them down in the tree stand, rigging it to hold the tree upright until Cade gets home.

I give up. (Asher is happy as a clam, however, since I was then free to get him on the computer.)

Oh, and I have a flippin' blister on my thumb now.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Is the suspense killing you yet?

Okay, so I know my last post was pretty vague.  I didn't want to post anything until I was 100% certain that we would be able to start the process. 

We have hired an attorney, and we meet with him this next Monday, to start the adoption proceedings of Kelly, Tajia & Colby! 

We are so excited.  We have been working towards this point for a long time now, and we're thankful to our Heavenly Father for leading us in the directions in which he desires for us to go.  It's amazing how, when you rely upon The Lord, He will bless you.  We are truly blessed. 

We have created a blog in order to help us raise the funds required for the adoption and attorney fees.  You can read all about it at: 

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2012

Exciting things are brewing in the Campbell household, but I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch.  ;)  You'll just have to stay tuned. 

And NO, I'm not pregnant! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

It was like a scene from a National Lampoon's movie

Our "vacation" was insane.  Don't ask me why two grown, mostly intelligent adults would willingly choose to take eight small children on a vacation in the first place.  Dumb idea. 

This vacation took me months of planning.  Ethen had really been wanting to go to Arches National Park, so that was the destination of choice this year.  I researched all of the possible, cheapest, ways for us to travel.  Getting a hotel room, or rooms rather, was out of the question.  Renting cabins- too expensive, staying in a comfortable campground - too expensive.  It appeared that our least expensive option was to camp on BLM land.  They have some group sites that are able to be reserved, so that's the route we went. 

Now, according to google maps, Arches is about 5 hours and 15 minutes from Hurricane.  Throw in 8 kids, a 23 year old Suburban hauling a camper older than that, and you can imagine how long the trip really took us. 

Before leaving we prepped everything.  We got new tires for the camper, Cade cleaned the camper all up, made sure everything was working, etc, and I took the Suburban in for a tire rotation and balance.  Previously the camper was a disaster on the road, flailing all over.  Cade thought that buying new tires would solve this problem, but when he took the camper for a drive the day before we were to leave, we found that no, it didn't solve the problem.  Cade was scurrying all over, trying to secure a sway bar and hitch at the last minute.  He was up very late trying to solve the problem. 

We were supposed to leave at 8am on Sunday, but ended up not getting out of town until about 10am.  This is when the fun really began.  We're driving along I-15 and no kidding, we had to stop at least ten times, because that stupid trailer was fish-tailing all over the place.  Cade would try to get it under control, speeding up, slowing down, whatever would work, then he would end up pulling over as fast as he could, wrenching the sway bar down as tight as he could, and then we would repeat the entire scenario over and over for the next three-ish hours.  I seriously thought we were going to die a number of times. 

We (I should say Cade, because I surely didn't do anything except tell the kids to pray) finally got that sucker wrenched down as tight as he could, and that darn trailer didn't move again, BUT the air conditioner went out.  Yep.  100 degrees outside, ten people crammed in a Suburban, on the hot asphalt pavement of the interstate and no air conditioning!  We were about a half hour outside of Richfield by this time, so using our cell phones, Cade and I called every parts store from Richfield to Green River to see if they had the part for our A/C.  No luck.  So, we settled in like we were kickin' it 1987 style, and rolled the windows down, occasionally spraying ourselves with the spray bottle I had brought with, to style the girls hair. 

Around 6pm we finally rolled into camp.  Pretty much the minute we pulled into camp, the sway bar cracked and broke right off.  Silver lining moment: we were AT camp.  Debbie Downer moment:  We still had to get home in a few days, now with a broken sway bar.  Needless to say, Cade was a super bundle of joy the entire day.  Not that I blame him.  I was only trying to keep a decent attitude in order to keep my sanity. 

The next day we ventured out to Arches, hoping for better luck.  While Cade drove, and the kids admired the pretty rocks, I tried to study the map of the park, deciding on a couple of hikes that the kids could tackle.  I settled on The Delicate Arch hike, which was 3 miles long, round-trip, and gained 400+ feet in elevation, but I swear (I SWEAR!) it said it was an easy hike. 
Before the hike to Delicate Arch

We set out on the hike, prepped with sunblock, a water bottle for each of us (plus a few spares in Cade's pack), and hats for my white boys.  We're trucking along, sweating like workhorses, and start a huge climb on slick rock.  About mid-way up, Cade makes a comment that if this hike was "easy", he wonders what the National Park Service considers "strenuous". It was so hot! 
We were maybe half way here, but had definitely just completed the hardest portion.

All along the way, people were making comments on our family.  One man wanted a picture of Cade with the baby in the pack on his back, another lady wanted to take pictures of all the kids, and many, many people made comments about the kids doing the hike and how motivating it was.  We were like the freak show at Arches! 

In this next picture it shows the drop off on the side, and this is the point where I decided that I had read the map wrong.  There was no way that this hike was an easy one, no way.
I made the kids hold onto the wall on the right, even on the way down when they technically should have moved to the other side when others were coming up.  Let the other people die, my kids aren't! 

Despite how hot and strenuous the hike was, it was well worth the work to get there.  However, if I was to do it again, I would do it sans kids and I would definitely start a little earlier in the morning, when the sun wasn't blazing like a hellish inferno. I was seriously concerned about the welfare of the kids on the descent.  Asher and Colby were especially red-faced, and dragging.  I kept pouring my little bit of water down their backs, and making them drink a swallow every five minutes.
At the top!

Word to the wise: carefully check your maps before setting out on a trek with eight small children. 

I know, this is getting long and we're only on day one.  I can't help it, I'm long winded. 

After having a picnic in the park, and doing another (easy -for real this time) hike, we went to a little place tucked away in Moab, called Mill Creek.  It was awesome, and the kids had a blast cooling off in the water. I wish I would have gotten pictures, but I'm pretty sure my brain was fried by this time. 

At camp we had our little camper that sleeps about three people snugly, so Cade, Calum and I slept in the camper while the rest of the kids slept in the tent.  Around 11 that night, the wind picked up.  And when I say, "picked up", I mean 40+ mph winds.  The tent was right behind us, and seeing as it was 80 degrees even at night, we had the windows open in the camper.  When the wind started whipping the tent around, I heard Kelly crying.  I tried to calm her, and she quieted, but I was so nervous about the rain fly flying off, and the kids being scared, I ended up grabbing a blanket and cuddling up on Ethen's single bed air mattress for most of the night.  I think I slept about 2 hours, thanks to the wind howling and the tent flapping around.  It was miserable, and it didn't stop. 

We hit Canyonlands National Park the next day, and the wind was relentless. We did one simple hike, got sandblasted, and decided that was enough for us.  The rest of that park was a drive-by tour.  If it looked really cool, a few of us would run to the ledge, I would snap a picture, and we would run back to the car. 

We were supposed to go back to camp to grill hot dogs for lunch, but the stupid wind prevented that, so instead we headed into Moab to grab some Wendy's and hopefully find someone that could weld our sway bar back together.  We were successful in finding a mechanic to weld the sway bar.  He said that he would do it for $20, but his good welder was at his home, so we had to pick it up at 6pm.  In the meantime, because of the lovely wind, we headed over to the Moab Aquatic Center.  The kids had a great time playing in the swimming pool, going down the water slide, and even a few of them braved the low diving board! 

For dinner we had to build a stinking shelter.  Lucky for us, we had a nice covered eating area, so we just hung a tarp on one side, and we parked the suburban on another side, and that helped prevent the wind from blowing out the flame on our camp stoves.  Cade made us some fantastic fried chicken and dutch oven potatoes.  Who cares if it was 8:30 before we got to eat it! 

The wind was still blowing at bedtime, and I was not looking forward to no sleep again.  We ended up clearing everything out of the Suburban and throwing the kids in there to sleep.  I should have taken a picture.  They were like little sardines.  Ethen slept on the front bench seat, I made a comfy bed for Kelly on the floor between the front bench and the middle bench using some blankets and a thick memory foam pad, Cailin slept on the middle bench, and Asher, Tajia and Colby slept in the far back (where the back seat was removed from).  Roxie ended up sleeping with Cade and I in the camper.  They were cozy and slept like rocks. 

The next morning we were homeward bound.  I forgot to mention that the day previous, Cade had the inclination to check the air pressure in the tires.  They were considerably lower than they should have been!  So on the morning of our departure, we pumped those suckers up to the appropriate weight, and who woulda' thunk it, but that darn camp trailer didn't fish-tail once on the way home!  The horrible Russian roulette ride up there could have been prevented had Discount Tire properly inflated our tires!  We weren't even too hot on the ride home, because we have this very odd little swamp cooler that plugs into an AC plug in the car (don't ask me why we possess this, but it came in very handy).  We just plugged that little thing in, situated it between a couple of kids, and it kept the car moderately cool.  It was no air conditioning, but at least we didn't have to have all of the windows down, and the hot air blasting us. 

I gotta' say, I know this will be a "memorable" vacation for all of us, but it is surely not one that I wish to recreate.  I think next time we will stick to something a little closer to home, not so hot, and not windy.  Cade says there won't be a next time.  We'll see about that...