24 July 2009

Two for the Price of One

This is my second post in one night. I am doing this because I can't mix weekending events with pre-school events.
I feel the need to separate Everyday Life from internship/volunteer/play because they are two worlds that consume my life but have very little to do with each other. I mean it's not like I can call up my pre-schoolers as if they were co-workers and ask them to do lunch and then hit up a matinee on Saturday.
The above picture was taken at yesterday's Jumpstart Session. Hoedown was the theme and my girl Julia played a hoedown song on the violin. This picture encompasses every Tuesday and Thursday of summer 2009. I love this picture because it shows the outcome of team work and the reward of working with little happy children. We have a special little individual in our class named Brandy. She wasn't originally part of Jumpstart, but when Alyssa's partner child was absent, she would fill the vacancy with Brandy. We are sure Brandy comes from a difficult place - she does not have many words, her clothes are too small for her and she resorts to whining to express herself. Jumpstart has worked wonders for this little girl. She smiles when she walks through the door, she uses gestures to convey meaning, and she has started giving hugs. Alyssa gets the credit for most of this because she connects with her in class, on the playground, in English and Spanish. She also showers her with hugs and affection. These warm embraces are changing someone's life. Never underestimate the power of a smile or hug.
I know Jumpstart is good for the kids, but it is good for me, too. I can honestly say I know what team work means. The next job interview I have, I will tell them one of my strengths is team work. I have not mastered it and I am probably not even that good at it, but I live this principle every single day. We are consistenly coming up with fresh ideas and planning sessions and compromising to get it done - whether it be delegating who goes to Costco to get the boxes or who gets to tie the cape around their partner child that day in the classroom. Everything is team work, everything is hard, but absolutely everything is worth it.
We're sticking together for the kids:

My Summer Hasn't Hit Me Yet

strolling through joseph smith's neighborhood.

this is the grove called sacred.

this home belongs to a very special family.

andrew and a sacred bird nest.

I spent my weekend in a rental, in the back seat, with a book, the freeway, and my four roomies. I spent the weekend in Rochester, New York.
My roommate's and I have been planning this trip for a month. We had everything planned to the T, but if you have ever rented a car before, you can imagine how easily plans change.
We were about to pick up the car when they told us it would be significantly more expensive. Being the volunteers we are, we had to stick very close to our frugal budgets and push for the original estimate they gave us. The lowest they went was about $10 more than the estimate. We settled and headed to the vehicle they reserved for us and noticed there was a slash in the tire. Next! In the next one, a nail had impaled the tire. Next! Our dilemma resulted in success and they went back to the original estimate and cleaned a brand new rental for us to ride all the way.
I just feel like that experience was enough discouragement to erase weeks of planning, and it could have stopped this trip from ever happening. Evil has a way of creeping in and disrupting things that can be so good, beneficial and constructive for us like a trip to the sacred grove or glance over niagara falls.
But perseverance is key!! Pulling through and sticking it out is what I have to do.

it was windy and rainy for my oregon girl.

niagara mist.

This past weekend, I went places I always thought of seeing SOMEDAY. I don't have to wait and dream and plan on that anymore because I actually went and saw and can continue dreaming about in live technicolor. It just hasn't hit me yet - i'm seeing far more of the world immediately around me than I thought I would. It is all thanks to the people surrounding me. Just eat these up:

I just want to make a shout out to my camera - you better not let anyone bring you down just because you're 5 megapix.
no one.

11 July 2009

BaRock the Monuments

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Independence who?
Independence Obama.

It all depends on Obama.
You should here our babies at school:
"Who is the president?"
"rock-o-bama, rock-o-bama!!"

This blog is to commemorate my Independence Day experience. I toured the Museum of Natural History where I saw a very large dead squid, walked around Eastern Market and made friends with a man who makes jewelry from watermelon seeds, and then waited in front of the Washington monument for 5 hours for the fireworks to start.
My friend, Brittany Shaw came to visit for the 4th. We lived in Niceville, FL in middle school . I made friends with her in 5th grade in Mrs. Lofe's class and we've been friends ever since. She needs me and I need her. We waited together:

10 July 2009

Them Bones Them Bones Gonna Walk Around

Everyday of my summer begins with breakfast, teeth brushing then some morning routine songs like Move little bitty body move or The Muffin Man or The Wheels on the Bus and of course the Hokey Pokey. My job is precious but not at all easy.
The past month has been really interesting. I've been on an emotional roller coaster. The source of this comes from my current job. I am a classroom assistant in a pre-school. I get to work with the most beautiful children of all backgrounds - Nigeria, Ethiopia, the hood, etc. The struggle comes with communicating with these little individuals. Sometimes I feel like I am so passive and not in control so much that these kids see right through me. They won't listen to me or consider what I am saying because they sense incompetence. They are like animals in the wild safari - they sense fear and will act accordingly. I'm sure all people would sense some degree of this when working with little children, but if you know me then you know this is a sizeable trial.
So the month of June showed me the cold hard truth. I need to reform my ways and start living with real conviction and real confidence and real effort. I'm already through the first week of July and I've noticed somewhat of a difference. The kids remember my name, they know exactly who I am and even the toughest, angriest ones who believe they are reincarnated carniverous dinosaurs seem to sit by me in class, look in my eyes and smile.
A preschool is a great place for different personalities to come together and unite. You will always need a stren, aggressive person, an organized, timely person, an energetic, playful someone, and then the laid back, calm person. Children need love from all people.
Like Bobby Johnson, my team leader would say, "These kids ain't street enough to mess with you."
I am in control...nice, malleable, translucent, light-weight control.

By the way, my cute sweet hilarious partner child's name is Clara and she's got rhythm. Today she sang Beyonce's Single Ladies to me. all of it. I just can't seem to get away from it.