Saturday, December 27, 2008

Really: 5.5 Year Reunion!!

Noelle and Zac all cleaned up, (with shorter hair) and ready to head out the door for Noelle's 5.5 year reunion with all of her buddies from Thomas Worthington. Don't they look great? I can't wait to hear about all her ol' pals from back in the day! Where does the time go? I can't image that it's been five year, let alone five and a half?? Wow. Posted by Picasa

Busy Day@ Home Base

We're having a great visit and keeping our fingers crossed that everyone gets healthy at the same time. Most of us are relatively healthy. Healthy enough for the traditional Christmas haircut. (It's all in the product, ya know!) I just love having lots of activity, lots of excitement, plenty going on. Makes me feel like they're both back in high school!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Reason for the Season

Look at what I found in my shopping adventures, earlier this month. I just KNEW it would be the perfect present for Keegan. All of the characters are wooden and stand by themselves, due to their width. I gave it to him about a week ago, in an effort to familiarize him with THE story.
The picture above is his moving the people and animals around, after I built the barn for him. The best part of the afternoon together is hearing his little voice say, "Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus." That is still a lot for him to say in one phrase, but it's very clear and makes me smile, whenever I hear him say it.

We worked for quite a while to get the whole story 'orchestrated' for this photo opportunity. It wasn't till I down-loaded the pictures of the day, that I noticed we have a camel-doing-cartwheels, apparently. I think that's why everyone always appreciates seeing the Sunday School Christmas pageant, as there's always a little something that's unpredictable. May all of your camels cartwheel gracefully into the New Year!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Parker-the-Elf & HoHoHo!

Have I told you how much fun it is to have a blog? Have I told you just how much I enjoy it? What fun to have a visual journal to keep, update and share. The responsibility of reporting my amazing days, my incredible travels and my delightful visits is the single most glorious treasure of my year's professional growth. I ADORE the idea of looking at what I'm doing thru the lens of sharing the experience with you: the days with children, the days in front of & among teachers and librarians, the days in my studio, the days of creativity-tending: be they cloud counting, restorative hikes, sunset watching, wave walking, or the herding of grandchildren..... all of these days are woven together, quilted, and make up the actual fabric of my life. [Editor's note: as of now, today I have my first "officially-registered" blog-follower!! Welcome Timalia!!!! WOW. Another first...... who wants to be second??]
Follow me down the hall at The Childhood League Center (the program which genuinely launched me: in all truth, both literal and figurative. The place of my very first full-time employment, right out of college, circa-last-century-1979.) The extreme windchill factor on Monday necessitated a change in plans.... no school on Monday, rearrange my trip till yesterday, Dec. 23rd. I wear all of my festive finery, bundle up and get downtown in time to be greeted by "Parker-the-Elf", fourth grade son of the very man-in-the-red-suit himself. Parker's fan club of extended family came to see the fun unfold. His grandparents were particularly appreciative of Parker's kindness toward the young children with special needs and their parents.
We had an entire morning together traveling from room-to-room, in an effort to help the children be as comfortable as possible with all of the excitement. With guitar in hand we started our visits singing our traditional songs of welcome and then introducing seasonal songs (did you hear the jingle of the bells?) Then Parker and I helped Santa garner as many hugs and high fives as possible. There are pictures from the E.I. crew (early intervention: younger than 3) and also from the preschool classrooms as well.
I can hardly wait till next year! Fa la la la la.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Larry Cook, Guitar-Man

Look who's recently come to Amerisound to add his unbelievable talent to this newest project..... it's nimble-fingers, Larry Cook! Larry's traveled up from southern Ohio to play studio, session guitar tracks on each of my soon-to-be-SEVEN recordings. He's been involved from the very beginning. He's played every manner of guitar for my ditties: six string, twelve string, electric, steel dobro, bass and even the mandolin and banjo, on special occasions. This man's a one man orchestra. I'm so fortunate to have his expertise in the back ground. It's so much fun to finally be able to introduce you to these talented folks.

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, 3 in a Tub

I know there are a few of you who come here regularly just to see an updated peek at these gorgous grandchildren of ours. It's just amazing to see how they're growing and the fun that they're starting to have together!! Keegan is playing, "Rock the baby" with little sissie rolling on his tummy and happy brother scooting right up to join in the fun.
Recently we had the crazy idea to put all three into the tub at the same time. Actually it wasn't my idea at all.... so that earned me the role of photographer of all the mayhem, bubbles and splashing. Who do you think is having the most fun? The real trick was getting them dried off, lotioned and safely into jammies. We pulled it off like the true professionals that we are: mommy and grammy GeeGee to the rescue.

Oxford: Big Kindergarten

Now this is a l-o-n-g story, so get comfortable.......... Last month as I was driving outta town, I swung by the Oxford school to drop off a box of my books for a mom's-night-out sale. It dawned on me that the moms might appreciate if I signed the copies, so I sat in the lobby of a school where I'd never, ever been before and autographed a stack of my books. As I'm sitting there with sharpie in hand, I hear the very song of my book, wafting through the wall. I'm tooooooo amazed for words! Time to pinch myself, again.

As quick as a wink, I get the director to take me back to the classroom where my song is playing. We go down the hall to the kindergarten room...... and open the door and REALLY surprise the children who are in the midst of practising my song for an upcoming holiday show. The timing couldn't have been more amazing if it had been planned by a whole, entire committee of angels -- or maybe it was?

For the first time ever, after the song and sign language performance was complete, my new kindergarten friends READ my book to me!! Some of the kids even 'sang-read-sang' their two page spread. After lots of hugs, I hit the road for my mini-tour in Michigan. Welllllllll........ then under the capable hands of their creative teacher, the class crafted me a big, bright, paper quilted thank-you gift, but it turned out too big to fit in an envelope.

So then I got invited back to their classroom for the great reveal! Pictured here, at the end of their day are my creative kindergarten friends. I'm holding their AWESOME present. As a special reciprocal thanks to them -- I let them hear a couple of the new songs that I've been working on. They were the first kids on Planet Earth to sing along to these new pieces. This is an example of mutual fan-clubs in action.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!!

It's a great day when I get to lead the fun and games with my young friends. Today was another day for festive, seasonal songs: "Jingle Bells....... all the way!" Can you see the enthusiasm in these singer-ringers? We just LOVE putting on shows for each other!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dorigen Bamfo Koomson

Periodically, I have to pinch myself. Today was one of those pinching days. After my enthusiastic morning with my bouncing buddies at Children's, I proceeded directly, further west to Amerisound Studios. We have been making progess continually on the new recording for Zaner-Bloser. The arrangements are now each getting their own 'special' treatment. We've been adding the professional harmonies, studio musicians and are just about to launch into the sound effects. PROGRESS!

My dear friend, Dan Green, had a brilliant insight. He is working on another project where he is mixing a choir's recording that features vocalists from Ghana, Africa. Dan's thought -- how about we invite one of those soloists to add some 'world-flavor' on my ZB recording? Snap your fingers, click your heels and before you know it, we have the young and talented Dorigen Bamfo Koomson adding her UNBELIEVABLE talent..... singing lead, alto and "turner." (A term from her native Ghana -- the high descant part.)

The dittie of this brainstorm is "Rain, Rain Go Away." Yes. The traditional children's chant..... only Ronn has arranged it with a whole new sound and feel, including African drumming as the template driving this sentiment to a whole new stratosphere of wow. We have truly gone international with the flavor of this piece. I sing: 'rain, rain go away' and then Dorigen sings the same chant in her native Ashanti language, as a sort of rain-esque echo, 'ensu, ensu, ko ko.'

It's just amazing. Simply amazing. Think Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo and you'll be in the correct ballpark. Thank you Dan. Thank you Dorigen. Thank you ZB!! This newest VOICE on the project is award winning.
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Jingle Bell Ringer "Shows"

Here are the big, preschool children sharing their 'performance' skills, a culmination and celebration in our Arts Integration arc -- that encourages each child to participate to their fullest. Enjoy the girl-shows and appreciate the boy-shows, too! It's all a very natural process when the children have been immersed in the arts since their early toddling-times.
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Arts Integration & Goldie

It's such a thrill to be greeted at the beginning of a visit, with a special request. "Please, please, please, may we sing "Goldie Goldfish" today?" To make their point, here's the incentive the teachers dangled in front of my camera. Behold: this is the artwork that was created by my very own local chapter of my "Goldie, Goldfish" fan club, since our last visit together. How exciting to have special requests from my little pips. (I told you that whatever songs we sing on our first visits, become their absolute favorites through the whole year.)

Having the children create their own artwork to support a favorite song is the perfect example of "Arts Integration" in action....a cross-curricular approach to education. Let them experience 'goldfish' with all of their senses: Sing. Move. Swim. Shake. Paint. Count. Eat the crackers. Read the book. Dance the dance. Write the story. Then these little grasshoppers will say, "Ahhhh, yes. Goldfish. Now I get it!! Thank you teachers for helping me grasp this concept through immersing me in every possible learning style. I just love Arts-Integration-in-action..... it expands my horizons and helps clarify & answer all of my questions. Let's be certain to use this approach to learning, ALL the time!" ***

***Of course the fact that they're only two years old, we have to be given the editorial prerogative to edit some of their rambling discourse on the topic.

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Winter Wonderland of Art

Look at all the bright bulletin boards, down the hallway at Children's Hospital Child Care Center. I just love all of the bright colors and child-directed energy!! I think Eric Carle, Denise Fleming, and Lois Ehlert would be so proud -- to see what their work and illustrations inspire in children. I know I am. I'm so lucky to get to come here every month!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Silas and the Lion

Silas returned after my performance for his class, seeking an autograph on my CD that he proudly owns in his growing collection. He listened to it on the way to school this very morning. He has my second project, "Debbie's Ditties 2 Much Fun" and can you guess what's his favorite song? You got it! "Lion Prowl!" We're trying to give a 'snarling' smile. How do you like our claws? How do you like those tights?
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Merry Monday Morning

The day was very emotional. Seeing children engaged, enthused and particpating is the goal of every person who works with children that have special needs. I'm confident and willing to stand on my head, if necessary to accomplish those goals. I'm always touched to see children over-coming the circumstances of their birth. Even more emotional for all of us today is the fact that this school will be changing their focus in the future, due to the reality of these economic times. It is my understanding that the preschool division will conclude with the end of this school year. We had many heartfelt hugs at the end of the day, as a number of my 'wonderful' peers are now, or will soon be unemployed. I drove home scratching my head, sighing, reflecting and appreciating. Thank you E.S. Weiant program and staff. Best to each of you as you transition to new adventures.
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It's a Jolly Holiday SongFest

Today is an official, "Greater Columbus Arts Council's Artist-in-the-Schools" visit. That's certainly a mounthful isn't it? What a treat to have pictures that capture a portion of what happened during our day together. I think that you can see the diversity of children that they've served at E.S. Weiant for decades. They've always held a bright spot in my heart, for their dedicated work. Hopefully these pictures I'm able to share, convey some sliver of the engaged participation that I experienced. Special thanks to Lanette Dennis for making all of the arrangements for me to share with their incredible kiddos.
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Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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