Sunday, October 31, 2010

halloween hoop-law!!


I hope that you all have had a festive halloween so far! Here is a photo montage of my weekend :)

Friday night I made Spooky Witch Fingers. I found this recipe online and loved baking some festive halloween cookies! I had made these cookies about 12 years ago with my stepmom and it was so fun to find the recipe again. (They are a yummy finger food too--gotta love bad puns, right?)

I also carved a pumpkin. I haven't done that in about 4 or 5 years. It was so much fun!  And then... I Toasted Pumpkin Seeds using a recipe I found online as well. They were deeeelicious!

I stalked up on candy for tricker or treaters! (Which I also haven't had to do in 4 years.) I am sooo very excited to see the kids of the neighborhood all dressed up and ringing my door bell!

The roommates! 
Saturday night, I went to a halloween party. People has really great costumes! There was a bunch of grapes--this guy used purple balloons and pinned them to himself-- I loved it! There was Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's. There was the little boy from Up. There was a quail man, a unicorn and a dinosaur. People went all out, and it was so great to see. I really love dressing up, so this was a little piece of heaven for me!

My roommate Sarah and her boyfriend both went as Michael Jackson, and they looked great! Kate (my other roommate) and I went as Thelma and Louise! It was so fun!

We had a great time! And, as always, it was great to have an excuse to dress up! 
Did you do anything fun this Halloween weekend? Any plans for tonight?

Happy Halloween! I hope it is a great one :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

highlights of the week!

Happy Friday!! We made it through another week--and what a wonderful fall week it was! In Seattle we had lots of rain but today is pure sunshine! What a gift :) It doesn't get much better than a crisp yet sunny fall day!

Lots of little highlights from the week.

by Ali, age 4
1. On Wednesday, we used the last 15 minutes of Colorful Hands, the preschool program, to draw in our journals--to reflect on the day. The kids (3 and 4 year olds) are all at very different levels of development--with gross and fine motor skills, body awareness and socialization. This journaling time is really wonderful. It is a great way to practice reflection and develop pre-literacy skills that enable solid literacy skills to form in the upcoming years. During this time, several of the kids drew pictures of me! It was so cute, just melted my heart. I love these little munchkins.
by Kevin, age 3.5

2. On my drive home yesterday I saw a new New York license plate. I miss the east coast so much, especially New York and Gettysburg. Thus, whenever I see a bit of overlap in my Seattle life with my loved ones on the east coast my insides get all warm and fuzzy feeling. Just a little connection to those wonderful people makes me smile all over :)

3. YOGA! I am a recent "yoga convert." I absolutely love what yoga does to my body. It releases so much tension while working the muscles and stretching them in much needed ways. I walk into a yoga studio and I feel at peace, almost to the point of tears. It is just wonderful. So this week, I pushed myself way outside of my comfort zone. I went to a new yoga studio, by myself. For some reason, I get super apprehensive about trying new things like this that have the potential for me to make a fool of myself. Thus, actually getting there was a big deal. I left feeling relaxed and so accomplished by overcoming my silly little fear.

Megan and I--spring 2010
4. Getting to talk to Megan White and Teryll Evans :) These two ladies are two of my best friends ever. They are from different parts of my life (proving my blog title to be true!).Megan and I went to Gettysburg College together and became best friends freshman year. She took me home for all those breaks I couldn't fly home for and totally allows me to be completely me. She is just wonderful! She is in the middle of wedding planning, so getting to hear all the fun and exciting details and just talk to such a loving person makes me one happy lady!

Can you tell we have fun together? Megan and I--fall 2009 

Teryll and I have been best friends since 3rd grade and have been neighbors since I was in 4th or 5th grade. We just get each other and I totally trust her. I can be me, all sides of me, and trust that she will have my back and support me always. I love them both, so much!
Teryll and I--Summer 2009
Megan is currently in Baltimore and Teryll is in Portland, so getting to have sweet conversations with each of these ladies makes the distance seem that much smaller.

What were the highlights of your week? Anything special planned for the weekend? I hope you are able to dress up, be silly and have fun this halloween weekend!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursdays: My brothers

summer 2010--dad's company picnic!
Hello there! Happy Thursday (almost Fridayy!!)! 

I've decided to start something called Thankful Thursdays. I have so much to be thankful for in my life, and I believe it is so important to reflect on and appreciate all that we have been given. Hellen Keller says this beautifully, "So much has been given to me I have not time to ponder over that which has been denied." This quote continues to humble me each time I read it--it reminds me to rejoice over all that I have been given and choose contentment around each bend in the road.  
Summer of 2007 Matthew, Andy and Sean

So why not write about one thing in particular each week?? Today, my brothers are what I choose to express my abundant thankfulness for! These three little guys have completely changed my life. Completely. They have challenged me in such profound ways and brought about the deepest and most primal human love that I have known. Matthew (now 10) was born when I was 11 years, 11 months and 20 something hours old :) (I was basically 12). He challenged my view of reality by simply being born and taught me so much about children and love. My twin brothers, Sean and Andrew, were born two years later (they are now 8 years old). They too enhanced my changed perspective. I was no longer the center of the universe. What a wonderful thing to learn--yet as an adolescent, it was a tough lesson! 
story time! 2008

These boys delight in spending time with me and I with them. They have always had crazy amounts of energy and have wanted me to take part in all their adventures and games. I am awed by their pure love and how they see the world. I spent many weekends in high school visiting my dad and stepmom, Carol, to hang out and love on these little guys. I can't believe how much they've grown! Going off to college on the other side of the country, these boys are who I missed most! They are constantly in my prayers. I try to write letters and make phone calls when away, but nothing can ever convey how much love I have for them. They are simply wonderful and my greatest desire is for them to know how much they are loved and valued. 
Matthew--Christmas 2006
When I'm with them, man, I can't help but hugging them and kissing them on their cheeks and heads (believe it or not, they still allow me to do this!). When I am in town, I try to plan individual play dates with them--they used to be day trips when they were younger, like to the zoo, or a movie, but now I do overnighters at my grandma's house. It is just perfect to spend extra one-on-one hours with them. I just want to be with them and loving on them all the time! They bring me such joy! I am so thankful to Jesus for these sweet gifts in my life!
Summer 2010

And aren't they just sooo cute?!? Just writing about my brothers makes me smile from ear to ear, and looking at these pictures sends me over the top--I love my brothers sooo much! 
What are you thankful for? I hope you enjoyed my Thankful Thursday blog as much as I enjoyed writing it! 


ps Happy Halloween Weekend! 

Halloween 2009--the three musketeers! 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cookie and Cake

Some of the highlights of my time at New Futures are the littlest of things--little things that make my heart swell up so big that I have an uncontrollable goofy grin across my face when I think about them. Every child I work with speaks English as his/her second or third language. This means that inevitably there are misunderstandings, words that come out funny, and combination words created between the child's native language and English. This is especially true among the younger children. A couple results of these language confusions are nicknames for me!

During my time taking care of the kids whose parents are going to English Language Learners (ELL) class, I take care of twin 3 year old boys who speak Amharic and a bit of English. I realized after a couple days of taking care of and playing with them that when they call me, they call (what sounds like) "Cookieee!!!" or "Cookie, look!!!!" It is SOOO cute that they call me cookie and even cuter when you hear what Diego calls me.

Diego is a little boy from El Salvador who is 6 years old. He is as cute and as full of energy as can be. I am constantly working with him to listen and self-regulate. He is so fun loving and happy that it isn't a burden to be constantly working with him. For whatever reason, he has it in his head that my name is Cake, not Kate. A couple of the other kids in our table group have tried to correct him, but he just keeps calling me cake, and I have to say, I love it!

Two highlights from my experience with New Futures, being cookie and cake :) I hope you enjoyed them! Any little highlights that brighten your day?

 ps I have one follower!!! wooohooo, how exciting :) Thanks, Daddy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The ArtsCorps

Last Friday we had the Washington State AmeriCorps Launch. This is where all the AmeriCorps members serving in Washington State gather for the official kick off for our term of service. There were over 1000 volunteers there, all serving in various ways with AmeriCorps. I recognized some familiar faces--AmeriCorps members I had met on the bus to work, or at a tutor training, it was pretty cool to see how many AmeriCorps members there are and what a presence they make in the city of Seattle. The event took place at the Seattle Center, which is right next to the Space Needle. It was a beautiful day and I got a couple great pictures using my phone.

My favorite part of the day was not the Pad Thai I had for lunch (surprising, I know!) or saying the AmeriCorps pledge, or even hearing testimonies from AmeriCorps past; my favorite part of this gathering was a presentation by The ArtsCorps. This is an INCREDIBLE organization that seeks to empower and inspire children and communities through art. If you know anything about my passions, you recognize that art empowerment with children is at the core. I super impressed by the woman who presented about the organization, and how through simply listening to her, I felt empowered to be more of who I am. This organization that art exposure and art education are crucial in the development of critical thinking, persistence and reflection--I couldn't agree more! Two artists from this organization then led an interactive component to their presentation, where all the AmeriCorps were challenged to follow different rhythms and lead and follow based on the need of the group. I was overwhelmed and so heart warmed by this.

President Obama is using this organization as pilot organization (since it has existed for the last 10 years) for an Artist Corps based off of the New Deal. He used this in his platform during his election and is following through with his commitment to the arts and arts education. Not only does this make my heart smile, I just hope in some way, whether with this organization or a similar one, I can become part of this movement. Art is empowering, liberating, healing and so important. There are no rights or wrongs, just an expression of self and how one views the world. How beautiful is that?

I hope you all have had a wonderful start to your week!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

overnight adventure!

Hello!! I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend :)
I had quite the adventure this Friday/Saturday. My AmeriCorps site had an overnight field trip with the 4th-6th graders. I wasn't required to go, but I thought it would be a really great way to connect with the kids and get to know them on another level. At first I was apprehensive about the whole thing, recognizing that after spending two hours with these kids in program, I left exhausted and sometimes rather defeated. I wasn't sure how the overnight would go, but I decided to pump myself up for it, thinking of it as a great way to get to know the kids.

making pizza Friday night

The overnight took place at a cabin on Crystal Mountain (in Washington state). We had four adults and nine kids--a perfect ratio in my mind! We played games, sang songs, made meals and went on a hike. It was so much fun seeing the kids in a setting that most (if not all) had never been in before.Most of these kids had never hiked on a non-paved trail, been without cell phone service, or seen a camp fire before. It was so humbling to see this trip through these kids eyes, to recognize the simple beauty of nature and to  and experience their joy and excitement (and their fears) of each element of the adventure.

plaster face masks!

The kids got to see my goofy and fun loving side. It turns out that it wasn't so much me getting to know the kids more, but THEM getting to know ME. One girl even told me, "Kate, you're not shy anymore." Hmmm... how easy it is to focus on what I will get out of a situation. We had a great time, and I came home exhausted. Completely exhausted. It was nothing but wonderful though to spend the night with these kids, and then come home to a long night sleep before starting the week again.

peace and love,

ps. have you noticed a change? I've decided to move my blog from wordpress to blogspot. Both have been easy to navigate and have advantages and disadvantages--what it came down to was something as simple and silly as the look of the page and accessibility to other blogs. I hope you find this site enjoyable too!


Happy (almost) Friday everyone!

leaves of Gettysburg

leaves of Seattle
One of the things I expected when I left Gettysburg for Seattle was to miss the vibrant fall leaves that Gettysburg explodes with each autumn. The crisp air and the breathtaking shades of red and orange one never imagined possible create a picture perfect fall in Gettysburg. I also love the beginning of boot season-- it means the end to my chronically cold feet :) Boots and scarves, nothing is better than that! Thus, as the leaves started to turn in Seattle, I was excited and as the weeks have passed, I have just been awed. Beautiful beautiful colors lining the streets of my neighborhood, the park by my work, and so many places in between. Experiencing fall in Seattle has been nothing short of wonderful.

leaf fight in DC
One of my favorite memories from last year was an epic leaf fight I had with a couple of great friends and my wonderful boyfriend at the National Zoo in DC. No leaf fights yet, but hopefully I can find a willing participant :)
How are the fall leaves for you? Are you surprised that Seattle leaves rock? Love leaf fights too?
Thank you to all you who have checked out my blog!! How exciting to have viewers :) Please leave comments and let me know what you think!
ps I promised shorter blogs, and wahla here you go!

The beginning of this journey

Hello everyone! It has taken me a while to figure out how best to keep in touch and communicate with those important people in my life that I don’t get to see everyday—but here it is, my new blog, All the Places I Call Home! (Fitting, isn’t it?)
As most of you know, I am in Seattle! I am loving the city itself. If is so different than any other city I’ve spent a good chunk of time in. Not quite as laid back as Portland, but definitely very green (both literally and in the environmentally friendly way too!) The people are socially conscious, involved and all sort of funky. When it rains, it is gray gray gray. But—you gotta believe me on this—it doesn’t rain (or I should say, hasn’t rained) as much as everyone gripes about! The sunny days are breathtakingly beautiful. I am literally surrounded by mountains and bodies of water. Everywhere I go, it seems like a postcard perfect picture.
My apartment is wonderful too. It definitely has character. It is 100 years old this year, my roommates and I are planning on throwing a centennial birthday party for it—we’re still making all the arrangements J I have a westward facing room, meaning I have a view of the city skyline, of the sunsets and of hilly seattle neighborhoods, it’s pretty perfect in my mind. Besides the absolutely horrible water pressure, and my squeakly closet door, which makes me dislike early morning just a bit more, I couldn’t be happier.
My AmeriCorps placement seems to be just right as well. I am currently serving with AmeriCorps for the year. I am on a team, which consists of 14 people, and we are all serving through the King County Housing Authority. Our ages range from 22 to 32, with most of us being on the younger side. Each AmeriCorps member on my team is located at a different site, and all of us do overlapping, yet quite distinct tasks. My site is at New Futures in the Windsor Heights Apartment Complex, located in SeaTac (about a 30 minute drive or 1 hour public transportation commute). My official title is “Youth Education Assistant,” sounds pretty snazzy doesn’t it? The title basically sums up what I do. I am the assistant to the Academic Coordinator, Ellie. She really values my ideas and input; this is such a blessing! Thus, she has given me a lot of responsibility, which is wonderful. It seems we both fundamentally believe in the power and beauty of art as a means of expression and empowerment for children, wooohooo!
Now onto the specifics. I work with the preschool program, Colorful Hands, which meets twice a week, and the After School Program (ASP) which has two age groups, 1st-3rd graders and 4th-6th graders. Each group meets alternating days Monday-Thursday. My weekly tasks include helping lead Colorful Hands, being a tutor (talbe group leader) in the afterschool program, planning the preschool lesson plans, organizing snack for both the preschool program and after school program, reflecting on the preschool goals, prepping snack, data entry, providing child care for ELL classes, offering ideas for ASP and other odds and ends. I totally love all the little things, even the data entry, I feel like all that I am doing is giviving me valuable insight into the world of nonprofits. I also am involved in meetings through the week, including our site staff meeting, meeting with my supervisor, Ellie, Academic Coordinator meetings with other New Future sites, and all staff meetings.
Onto the personal note. Though I have loved each day at New Futures, I really miss the reflection that past positions have offered. Working at the Center for Public Service was perhaps the best experience of my Gettysburg career, and there are so many more things I appreciate about it now that I am no longer working there. The specific emphasis on big picture social justice issues and the small details of how these play out and the time for personal reflection in both journals and with supervisors and coworkers, oh how I miss this! I didn’t realize how much reflection really kept me going! Reflection is so powerful for positive growth! The kids are challenging, and I feel I am slowly starting to develop relationships with them, it takes time, I need to continually remind myself this.
I could go on and on and on, but I want you to make it through this and come back to read more, so I’ll save more details for another time!
A couple more things. My church searching has gone well. God has been so faithful with providing me a means to go church hunting, and the support I’ve needed to take the first steps. I tried out a couple different churches and finally landed on one (made the decision last week)! Currently, I will be regularly attending Bethany Community Church which is in Green Lake, just north of where I am. I am so thankful to have found this church community, and I am excited to get more involved!

my roommate, Kate, and I at gasworks park!
I have also become a new yoga go-er. One of my roommates loves yoga. We found on this wonderful website: a free yoga class and checked it out. I love it, and what it does to my body! I have also recently tried hot room yoga too!
More updates to come, hopefully a bit shorter and  more consistently!
Love to you all! I’d love to hear what you think of my new blog, my experience, and any questions you have!