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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pace Family Sneak Peek

The photo session with the Pace Family was truly an adventure. We were 20 minutes into the session when we got attacked by Yellow Jackets. Big sister got stung on the head and she didn't even cry! She is such a brave "big girl". Little sister and Mom got away without being stung. I got stung once. My niece, Cheyanne, who was acting as my personal assistant for the day, got stung 4 times. The worst was "Dad" as he is the one who stepped on the nest. I am not sure what the total was but I am sure it was at least 10. Last I heard, all were doing fine.

We took a snack break and calmed our nerves for a bit before heading back outside to finish up our session. Despite the bee stings, I had a wonderful time with this family and I can't wait to chase the girls around their yard again.

I almost forgot to mention that during our snack break, "Dad" showed me the old cemetery in the woods on their property. There are only three tombstones that you can still read the engraving on. This is possibly one of the creepiest messages I have ever read on one. It reads "Remember youth as you pass by. As you are now so once was I. As I am now so you must be. Prepare for Death and follow me."

Just your typical Saturday at the park...

I arranged to meet with a family at the local park this morning. They have two active boys and the park was the perfect place for them to unleash their energy. I had a blast chasing them around as they slid, swang and ran all over the place. Here's a preview of their shoot...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Project 365 Days 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9

Here are the photos from my first full week as a 29 year old...

Day 3: Inching Along

I almost stepped on this little guy while out on the playground with my preschool students today. I gathered the kids around and we spent almost 15 minutes just sitting quietly and watching as he inched along. We talked about where he might be going, what he might do when he gets there, what he eats, etc. It was a wonderfully peaceful moment filled with communication, learning and fun. One of my students insisted we find a stick and move the Inch Worm to a tree so that no one would step on him. We named him "Thumbs" and sent him on his way to a new home.

Day 4: New Student

A student from the 3 year old room moved up to my class a few days early. The hat says it all: I sense a challenging year ahead...

Day 5: Obstacles

So today the kids and I were reminded of the importance of overcoming obstacles gracefully. We found this caterpillar on the sidewalk on our way to the playground this afternoon. Once again the kids and I sat and watched as he crawled along. In his path was a small stick. The children were upset that this stick was in the way and they wanted to move it but I encouraged them to leave it and see what the caterpillar would do. Would he go around it? Would he crawl over it? Would he stop and stare at it? We all made our hypotheses and waited for the results. He slowed as he approached but then quickly built his speed back up. It was as if he had a moment of doubt before decided to surge ahead at full steam. He made it over the stick with no problems and then continued to crawl toward a large tree. A child stated this; "That stick was just practice. He knows he can make it over that stick and he isn't afraid to climb up that tree and find an awesome branch to build his cocoon. Soon he'll be a beautiful butterfly and he will always remember how proud he felt when he made it over the stick." Just a few minutes later a child who has been afraid of to try out the swings decided to give them a try and credited her braveness to the caterpillars journey. What a wonderful lesson we all were taught today.

Day 6: Belated Birthday Wishes

I arrived home today to find a package in the mail addressed to me and covered in a child's stamp artwork (stamps as in ink and rubber stamps). I recognized the return address and I couldn't wait to open it up and see what wonderful surprises were in store for me. My niece, Devin, made some truly wonderful birthday cards just for me. Thanks D! (And Emily) This was the best birthday present I have ever received.

Day 7: Belated Birthday Outing

Okay, this may make me a nerd but I LOVE to play Putt-Putt (AKA: Miniature Golf). When I was growing up my parents would load up the family into our station wagon and off we would go in search of ice cream and putt-putt. My brother shares this passion with me so it's become a summer tradition to go play as often as we can. This year we decided it would be our birthday presents to one another as we both have summer birthdays. We went to our favorite local course and had a truly great time. Thanks for the fun and laughter "Brubber"!

Day 8: A day with the best sister and niece in the whole world!

I decided to venture to Charlotte today for some much needed sister/niece time. Turns out my sister, Jody, was in the middle of a rather large project: Switching my nieces room and the work out room. We started off the day moving shelves, boxes and odds and ends from one room to another. Then we made out a shopping list, loaded up and headed out. First stop: IKEA where we had lunch and then spent 3 hours pushing out way through a mob of back-to-schoolers in an effort to gather needed items. We felt like we deserved a treat after surviving this so we treated ourselves to some frozen yogurt and a cinnamon roll. Next stop was WalMart. This stop didn't take long but it was again very crowded and a bit overwhelming at times. Our last stop for the day was Target where we had difficulty locating the extension cords and called for help only to find out we were two aisles away from them the whole time. When we returned home we hauled our purchases upstairs, did some more moving of items and then decided to take a break for dinner. Devin wanted some chill time and needed some help setting up her new computer so I assisted in the setup process while Jody grabbed some yummy salads from Panera for dinner. I got home at 10:30pm, said a quick "Hi" and "Love ya" to Buck then fell into bed and was asleep in a record 45 seconds.

Day 9: "Cattitude"

I spent the day at home for the first time in weeks. It felt great to sleep in (even if it was only until 7:30am). I spent the majority of my day reorganizing the office which turned out to be a bigger project than I had figured it to be. In fact, it's still only 3/4 of the way finished as I type this blog. I managed to squeeze in time for a family portrait session with Kaelee.Denise Photography. Buck, Roxy, Duchess and I spent an hour posing and smiling for the camera. I was really pleased with how well the dogs did and I am anxious to see the photographs. Witty felt a little left out since we didn't include her in the portrait session and she wasn't a bit shy about expressing her emotions....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Project 365 Days 1 and 2

So I am a day late posting the first entry in my project....oops. I have been busy working at the group home this weekend and editing photos from my Birthday, which I spent exploring the Biltomore Estate. (I literally spent 6 hours walking through gardens taking photo after photo and enjoying Mother Natures gifts.)

I am exited to get this project started. I am hoping that through this project my photography skills, my mind and my imagination will soar to new heights.

Here's Day 1: "Taking Flight"

Day 2 was inspired by the fact that I was a day late. As the old saying goes, I was "A day late and a dollar short."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me; Part 1

Anytime my birthday falls on a weekday I take the day off from work. When my preschool students learned that I was going to be absent on my birthday they insisted that we have a "Party Day" on the day before my birthday so that they could celebrate with me. Even though this meant a lot of work for me (planning games, crafts, snacks, etc.), I was so moved by their love for me that I decided to do it. We went all out! We tie-dyed t-shirts to wear on this special day, played games like "Pin the Glasses on Miss Mandy", and had pizza for lunch. Here are a few pictures from our special day together.

(Don't worry, she could breathe just fine under there.)

*Note: Anytime you have a group of active preschoolers who have just eaten ice cream, the last thing you worry about is hiding the camera remote when taking a group photo. You just keep clicking away until you get the best shot possible. All this was done without the aide of a second adult.

*I adore the expression on his face. His mantra that he chanted over and over was, "I really, really hope I can do this." Take note of the dropped purple plastic egg in the background. It was a harder game than they thought it was going to be.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Project: 365

Friday is my birthday (yes I am aware that it falls on "Friday the 13Th" so lets get it over with, give me that chorus of "oohs" and "uh-ohs" that I hear every time this is mentioned). I am entering the last year of my twenties and, while age is just a number to me and I actually am one of those odd people that enjoy ageing, I have to admit I am a little sad to realize that my twenties are almost gone. A lot has happened to me during this past decade of my life; I fell in love with and married a wonderful man. My grandmother passed away. I gained a couple of new family members in the form of pets. I lost some friendships. I rebuilt some friendships. I went from being a preschool teacher to being a mechanic shop supervisor, then back to being a preschool teacher. The most recent big event was suffering the loss of my mother and learning how to continue living my life without her guidance, support, love, encouragement, and most of all, friendship.

In honor of this, my final year as a 20-something,and in the honor of my Mother who even in death is my greatest teacher, I have decided to do a 365 Project. (Click here for an explanation of what a 365 project is.) This is my way of making sure I take the time to truly cherish the good, the bad, the silly, the serious, the odd and the "normal" (whatever that may be) of my 29 year old, day to day life.

Project start date: August 14Th, 2010.

Bookmark my blog and check back often.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good-bye Preschool, Hello, Kindergarten!

I am always amazed at how quickly the months of summer pass me by. In April I start preparing for a busy and fun filled summer with my preschool students. In May I send home letters and reminders and I redecorate my classroom, giving it a Summer-y feel. June we hit the ground running with our Summer plans. The next thing I know it's August and I am preparing to send my 5 year olds off to Kindergarten or "big school" as they prefer to call it. One of the things I do for my "parents" each year is to create CD's containing all of the photos I have taken of their child(ren) during their time in my classroom. I am in the process of organizing my photo files, preparing to burn them onto discs and I have come across several "favorites" that I couldn't resist sharing.