Sunday, November 29, 2009

Santa IN the Aquarium!





MY personal favorite part of the entire Columbus Zoo is the Aquarium. Allen & I got separated from the rest of our tribe and got 'lost' following our delay to get a hot pretzel..... all of those colorful lights had us completely confused. So we wandered for a while in search of double-wide strollers. Eventually we caught up with our crew, who were engaged in watching the amazing sharks and bright tropical fish in their continuous cavort together.

Who would appear for our complete amazement? Santa himself!! With complete Santa suit and scuba tank -- to feed the fish and tickle the fancy of the throng in attendance. The fish swarmed him. Whatever he had to share the schools of fish were in holiday heaven.

I think that it's safe to say that McKenna was not as delighted by the gi-normous tree frog as her brothers. When she became increasingly more upset, her twinsie brother smacked the frog to back off. Interesting protective action. A memorable time was had by all. Fa-la-la-la-la.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Company for the Holiday






With Auntie Bean and Uncle Zac home for the Thanksgiving holiday, it's a great idea to head to the Columbus Zoo for their holiday festival of lights. We will out-number the children!! Where did this sudden dip in the thermometer come from? Seriously. It's a good thing that the zoo's gift shop was selling warm, fuzzy hats and gloves. Our southern family didn't bring their winter wear along.... but now they will be extra ready for the winter ahead.

One of the biggest hits of the night was the farm's barn with hug-able, brush-able miniature goats.


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving & Gratitude




Tis the official season of Thanksgiving, the giving-of-thanks, the counting of our blessings, reflection, gratitude. A day is hardly enough for such consideration. Pumpkin pie and gathering close around the table. Traditions. Recipes from earlier generations. Telling of stories. Gratitude. Miracles. Gratitude. Miracles.

May we hold tight to this season of celebration at hand -- filled with lights and glimmer. Smiles and concentration. Candles lit to brighten the night. Memories made and memories stored. A day filled with opportunities for sharing and appreciation. A day filled with big boxes and shiny mini-cars. Come on over and we can play. I baked plenty of pie. Pie for all: One cup November sky. Two cups safe travels. A heaping heart of gratitude for family & friends. Stir together and bask. Bask in the splendor of the day. Plop a dollop of gratitude on the top and grab your fork! Dig right in!!

I honestly remember sitting on a bench, at an oversized table in kindergarten & playing with playdoh. I remember rolling out long coil snakes and building birds nests with an enthusiastic squeeze and then rolling up doh-eggs. I don't need to close my eyes to recall that sensory celebration. There were bells ringing in my heart and stars twinkling from my eyes, generated by my delight. I remember watching my daughters in their playdoh play, at a much younger age. I was ecstatic with memory fun on their behalf. How fortunate for me now to watch the third generation with this lovely material. We built a bird nest together. He filled it with no less than a hundred cylindrical eggs. I know what it feels like to be the 'someone special' on Bring Someone Special to preschool day. Gratitude. Miracles. Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tie-Dye & Joy, Joy, Joy











There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to attempt to share what an incredible evening transpired. Suffice it to say that we all enjoyed ourselves, and in the process I think Mimi was given just a glimmer of the sparkle that she has sprinkled on all of us thru the decades of her antics and shenanigans. We have listened. We have learned.
Joyce Grimes brought the sound system. Her daughter Krysta captured these pictures. [Together they have been my 'go-to' people of extraordinary energy of late.] Tammie created a scrapbook get well gift for all to sign, in addition to the posters that added color and heart to the evening. It was indeed an explosion of love & celebration. Let the healing continue. Let the mending be saturated with the delight of this evening. The village gathered. The village danced. We have learned much from the master. It was our great good fortune to have had the opportunity to celebrate our growth with our mentor-of-the-heart. Thanks be to all that is good in the universe for this rare occasion: the chance to say thanks & to say it publicly.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Mimi Love Fest











Peace, Love & Get Well Soon: Mimi Rally!! JCC. Bexley.
It's an idea that began over on Facebook when I posted a status about Mimi's accident and rehab process. People responded there and before you know it, Tammie Ezzo had volunteered to organize an event that would bring together happy faces and multiple generations from Mimi's diverse travels. Email trees sprouted all over the web.

Dress code: tie dye. When we originally percolated this idea our intention was to film the fun for her to watch at her leisure...... but Mimila is so very gifted & talented and her rehab is unfurling with such determiniation, that when someone let the cat outta the bag, she insisted on joining the fun. Mim is not one to miss out on a party, especially one in her honor. So Taryn signed her out, bundled her up and escorted her across the campus for an evening of utter adoration, joy and celebration.

What a GLORIOUS surprise to those assembled -- to see her roll in, beaming from ear-to-ear. It was an amazing event. There were dear friends from GCAC, Days of Creation, Action for Children, Artist in the Schools, Hilel Dance Troupe, Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children, Head Start, JCC staff -- present & past and of course children, lots & lots of children in all sizes and smiles.... and those are just the categories of people that I'm aware of.

The Schottenstein Auditorium was filled to the brim. The children sang for Mim. Then they danced. They clapped. I remembered to take my dozens of pompoms and they cheered and cavorted on cue. We froze funny faces.... and Mim made funny faces right back. Then together we learned a folk dance and had the young preschoolers circle up in the middle and a concentric circle of loving adults on the outside. It was a marvel. Truly an event filled to the brim with gratitude and joy.

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UMD Concerto Competition





"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
-- Beverly Sills
Divine timing. For months & months & months I have had this week marked off on my calendar, saving these days for our convention. Then just 24 hours before I was set to leave my home and head east, Noelle called to share the good news that she had advanced from the prelims to the finals of her University of Maryland's concerto competition. The even more amazing news: the finals were scheduled for Saturday night -- while I was ALREADY in WashDC!!

I drove across town, again. All by myself. Just head out north on Rhode Island Ave. Very straight-forward, actually. I arrived just in time to greet my new son-in-law and head in to Dekelboum Auditorium together. EXCITING!!!!

Noelle played her piece with calm and verve. The judges thought so, too, and she was given the $1000 cash prize for third place. Truly amazing for a classical music performance. There is apparently some consideration for her to get to play her concerto with the school's symphony orchestra. Wouldn't that be amazing?
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Saturday's Smiles







The conclusion of an amazing week. Exhilarating. Exhausting. Enthusiasm-ing. Making connections. Cultivating new invitations. Hugs. Autographs. Posing for pictures. More hugs. Making plans. I think that it's time for me to get my passport renewed..... several of these possibilities would require one for travel. Let's start making plans!! That last picture is our "511 sorority-of-smiles" from left to right: Renee Sutherland of Conscious Discipline training, polka-dot-me and Mrs. Snow from Vermont. Old friends. New friends. Making friends. NAEYC. Priceless.

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Friday's Fun has Begun!








Back to the ZB booth for more meeting of the public. What a way to start the day: a Mary Jo Huff encounter, dear friend and fellow presenter from southern IN. Mary Jo is an amazing story teller and entrepreneur -- always in the midst of launching a new project and teaching me along the way. We have always referred to each other as the "JoJo Girls" -- as I'm her Debbie Jo..... and she's my Mary Jo.

There's always someone eager to trump a friend. Not too much after I'd had my Mary Jo hug-fix, I got talking to a fellow Deborah. Turns out that she has a preschool blog. We exchanged cards. On her card her middle initial was registered as the letter J. Inquiring minds want to know. Turns out we are each Deborah Jo. Cue the theme song from the twilight zone. To make that little story even funnier, we passed each other on the street in the throng of wall-to-wall people and she called out, "Hey, Deborah JO!" and I returned in step, "Hey!! Back at ya, Deborah JO!!" Yes, we are easily entertained in the early childhood world.

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