29 October 2011

Fall has come to El Paso!

We have finally reached fall-like temperatures...the 60s-70s! And this morning the thermometer tipped into the 40s...practically the Ice Age, considering until Wednesday it was 85-95 degrees! I am so thankful for this beautiful weather...it feels so nice outside!

In other news, life is good here in EP! The past few weekends, I have been working with other wives from our battalion to create props, signs, tombstones, and the like for a haunted house. Our battalion sponsors a local elementary school, and since the guys are gone, we're taking up where they left off. Thankfully, we have several soldiers still here so they were able to help out! Last night was the haunted house, and it looked awesome! (And was probably too scary for lower elementary students, but whatever...) You know the Army is in collaboration with something when the outside section of the haunted house is covered with camo netting and lit up with chem-lights...ha! We thought we were going to be selling tickets, but instead they needed more actors in the haunted house so we got painted up and scared little children for 3 hours straight. Dana pretended to eat a (plastic) rat as well as follow kids around with it, Michelle scared kids to death with her scary eyes and mutilated cow head, I jumped out from behind hay bales, and Sue was the school marm, shooing kids into the "school". The haunted house theme was a haunted ghost town, so we were western all the way. Here are some pictures...we look RIDICULOUS.
To make it even better, the inside part was the scariest of all; very dark, very creepy. We probably lost 40 people after they got done with the outside portion to tears...there was an "emergency exit" near us, and we watched countless kids leave!

Props we made:

 Dana and I  built/spray painted this, came up with this "caption" and painted the whole thing!

 Michelle and Sue!

Aren't we creepy?

The end of the night-we were pooped!

The Halloween fun will continue tonight--we're carving pumpkins!  I'm going to try and make mine a little more advanced than my normal...we'll see what happens!

I've gotten to talk to Brian on the phone once since he's left, but I get emails every few days. He seems to be doing well and is so happy to hear from us! School is going well too; we're in full "holiday swing" and my Christian Honor Society students have lots to do...Thanksgiving food drive, Angel tree adoptions/party and some other ideas they've dreamt up...I have some awesome students!

I'm sure there's more to report, but pumpkin-carving is calling my name! Have a spook-tacular weekend!

10 October 2011

Cool-Weather Camping!

Hello bloggy world...sorry for my long absence-the past 2 weeks have been insanely crazy!

I think I'll start with the most recent events and work backwards...
This past weekend, my friend Dana and I decided (at the last minute) to go camping. We needed a break from El Paso and her 90 degree days and went in search of fall-like weather up in New Mexico. Thankfully, we found what we were looking for only 2 hours away in Cloudcroft, NM. The elevation there is almost 9,000 ft., so the temperatures were much cooler. We decided to just go for a night, since we both had things we still needed to get done at home. We drove up on Saturday and found ourselves surrounded by pine trees, aspen trees whose leaves were a gorgeous yellow (think gingko tree on State's campus...) and cool air! We went to a "dispersed campsite", which is "maintained" by the National Forest Service. A dispersed campsite is free to use, and is basically found off of the beaten path--which also translates into no bathrooms and no running water. Yes, we can pee in the woods! We found our campsite about 1.5 miles down a gravel road. Surprisingly, we had quite a few "neighbors" who were also camping/ATVing, so it was nice to know we weren't alone in the vast wilderness!

After setting up camp, we took her hilarious dogs, Bruno and Howdy, on a long hike through the woods...gorgeous. It was just the medicine we needed! We spent the rest of the evening cooking hot dogs and smores and drinking hot chocolate that was waaaay too hot...but it felt good on our cold hands! We even managed to keep our meager fire going for over 3 hours! We basically scavengered for wood and what we found did not want to cooperate with us! That was really the only thing we weren't prepared for; both Dana and Stuart and Brian and I (as well as our families...) are camping/hiking junkies, so we have ridiculous amounts of gear between the two of us. Stuart even has two large tupperware boxes completely organized for camping...it was awesome! After seeing those I'm inspired to make some for us--it makes it so you can literally throw them in the car and you'll have almost everything you need to go camping for a few nights!

Once the sun went down the temperatures dropped dramatically. The weather said that the low for the night was going to be around 38 degrees....chilly, especially to us "desert" girls. Well, the weather LIED. It definitely got down to somewhere between 20-24 degrees...we were freezing. We even had good sleeping bags! The next day we had planned on going on another hike, but it was so cold (at 8:30, it was still only 28 degrees!) we decided to pack up and try again another time...Dana's poor dogs were shivering they were so cold! It was such a fun trip though and we hope to do it again...although we might not camp with these cold temperatures!

In other news, I've been keeping myself busy around the house with lots of tasks that I wanted to get completed. Brian has been deployed now for about 2 weeks, so I'm trying to keep busy with little projects around the house as well as other goals I'm trying to meet while he's gone. So far, deployment hasn't been too bad, but I'm sure those bad days will come. We've gone weeks as well as a full month without seeing each other (and sometimes without talking to each other) so I think this whole deployment thing will really set in once he's been gone longer than that. To keep me occupied I have loads of school work I can always do (joy, joy...haha!) as well as some fitness goals and projects to fill up my time. We girls try to make a point of seeing each other often, especially on the weekends so that the time doesn't feel so lonely.

The Lord was so good to us before he left; we got to spend some great quality time together and make a lot of fun memories. Saying goodbye was pretty awful...the hardest part was walking away from each other-neither one of us would move after we ended our 4 minute (or more?) hug...That was definitely when it hit me. Thankfully, Dana and Stuart had to say goodbye at the same time we did, so Dana and I had a brief cry-fest in the parking lot before heading home...

Since then, I've gotten to hear from him via email every couple of days. We're hoping Skype will work, but apparently their Internet isn't too great where he is, so we'll see! He says that he is always busy and is enjoying what he's getting to do, so that's good!

School for me is going well; we're to our 9 week mark which is crazy to me! I think I've finally settled into teaching and it's getting easier to plan/create for my lessons. Well that's about it from El Paso; we finally got a "cold front" this weekend, so we're now down to the 80's--haha! I sure do miss those crisp autumn days at home!