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.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Latin America: Here We Come!

Thursday was a real treat for me! Some of my daughters are dear friends with the Ecuadorian ambassador's wife. They do sleepovers, play dates, chats on facebook. When the Latin American embassies decided to put on a festival showcasing the food and fashions of their countries, these sweet friends asked my girls to help them represent Latin America! They went for several rehearsals and came home telling me stories of "amazing salsa dancers" and "how to walk the runway." I thought it was so hilariously creative of God to send us all the way to the Middle East to let my Turkey and Singaporean-born daughters represent Latin America! My friend M, the ambassador's wife (and pretty much the classiest lady I've ever met) invited me to be her guest. And my sweet hub CC said he'd substitute teach for me for the afternoon.

And so, I called out the spelling pre-test with lightning speed, gave them their homework papers, put on some fresh lipstick, and hopped in a cab with these great friends (whose daughters were in it as well). It was in the Ankara Palace, a decades-old classy hotel which reminded me ever so much of the old Hot Springs hotel where we used to sit and watch people ballroom dance. Creaky stairs, huge chandeliers, ornate woodwork. It was awesome.

What in the world does a school teacher wear to a fashion show? I threw on my boots and a Scottish scarf.

There were displays from all the countries. This jaguar is all beaded! We had hor dourves of real chips (fried) and guacamole, made by all the hispanic maids living with the embassy families. Um. Good. I threw down a drink that was solid white and cold (not milk. not alcoholic.). It was so smooth and creamy and cinnamony, I have no idea what I drank.

And then we entered the ballroom. With the paparazzi. And I realized this was an even bigger deal than I thought.

After some speeches welcoming us, we had some live Latin dancing. Salsa. Tango. Wow. I'd vote for them on Dancing with the Stars. I'd text their numbers several times. My friend L and I kept discussing how we might get our husbands to take lessons with us. I'll let you know if that happens.

And then the little dolls came out. Sweet Cheeks represented Ecuador proudly with her dear Ecuadorian friend.

Firstborn represented Venezuela. This costume is minus her amazing pom-pom ball headband. But not to worry, it's all on youtube. She was so poised and so proud to represent them, holding the little hand of the ambassador's daughter, and it shows as she walks the catwalk. The Venezuelan ambassador's wife was so happy to have her wear the costume, she brought her a gift of thanks. I told her we'd save that treasure, and she could one day tell her children all about it. (Please check out her ball headband and war paint, missing here!!) Twinkle Toes was dressed in a traditional Chilean costume. She was so proud to wear this beautiful suit, hat, and boots. Though that blonde hair looks very un-Chilean, she was proud to represent them. One of the school mommies said it perfectly, "They have the Latino heart, that's all that matters."
Here's the youtube link

Here's the newspaper article

And for this girl, who spent many months in Mexico and truly thought she'd be living there in a hut one day, loving on people, shining my light, it was a little reminder that God knows I have the Latino heart, too.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Winter Ball: The Roaring 20's

Our "prom" is in the winter, a perfect time, I think! This year's theme was the Roaring 20's. My friend L was in charge of it and went.all.out. She's our art teacher, so there was no end to the creativity! Even with limited supplies here (no Hobby Lobby!), she turned our atrium into a beautiful ballroom for the kids.

Here is Firstborn before the event.

Twinkle Toes...(her first one!)

In addition to the awesome decorating, one of our teachers gives them dancing lessons and teaches them proper etiquette. The guys learn to ask everyone, especially the quiet girl in the corner. The girls learn to accept every offer to dance. They learn how to escort the girl to the floor. They learn the proper distance and how to hold him/her.They learn waltzes, swing, line dances. It is the way it should be, I think.

And it is so much fun to see the kids out of school uniform!

Here Firstborn is dancing with her best guy friend. He's a great kid!

Here's, a-hem, another friend.

And the best part of all was that my sweetheart asked me to go with him. We had so much fun! A friend took a picture of us. When I get it, I'll post it!

CC had planned to dance with 3 girls, his 3 girls. Before he even asked her, Firstborn found him, grabbed his arm, and asked him to dance with her. I was touched. She really cared far more about dancing with her dad than the other boys around.

And though this picture is a little blurry, I just love it. He is so proud of his girls.

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