Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30

We took this photo on the 4th of July, now that's planning ahead! Kevin is at a conference in Washington State, but hopefully he will be home in time for trick-or-treating. I've had a busy day with the costume parade at school, a SMART meeting and carving pumpkins! I'll hopefully have lots of photos from the weekend. Here is one of my faves from 2007.

Hope you all have a safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You Capture - Autumn

Thursday, October 29

I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of leaves for this autumn challenge, but I couldn't resist.

I keep noticing this strange tree on the way to school. These look like buds, but they are actually the fruit.
Luckily my neighbor stopped by and told me she knew it as a Peanut Butter Tree, so I Googled it and she was right. It's also called a Japanese Clerodendrum or Harlequin Glory Bower. It has white blossoms in the summer and I read that when you rub the leaves together it smells like peanut butter. I guess you learn something new everyday!
Last, but not least a little Oregon rain on my window. I can see the fence and our play structure upside down in that one drop.

Getting SMART

Wednesday, October 28

Wow, I'm really getting behind on the blog these days. With both girls in school all day ('til 2:15) I was supposed to have all this free time to get caught up, work out, blog and keep up with all the normal household chores. If I haven't been doing any of that, what have I been doing?

Well let's see. There was soccer. A lot of soccer. I think our last practice is today and we have about 3 games for each girl left. Sometimes I feel like I never get anything done. I just get started and then it's time to stop and get ready for something else. I have totally lost my ability to be efficient at getting things done at home. . . or maybe I never had it!

The other big thing I have been doing is volunteering at the girls' school. I try to help out in kindergarten every week, especially when they have their writing workshop time. But my new job (no I'm not getting paid) is coordinating the SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) program at the school. Thank goodness I'm not doing it alone, because it really feels like a part time job. I'm a co-coordinator with my friend and fellow parent Ann. We go way back (about 5 years ago) to when we were both on the board at the co-op preschool. It the first time for both of us and I don't think we realized what we were getting into. Don't read this next part Ann, but between the two of us we have worked 80 hours in the last two months. We had to go to weekly training in September and scheduling with teachers and volunteers just takes time. We've been up and running for two weeks now and things are going well. I'm looking forward to when it will only take about 4-5 hours a week.

If you don't know about SMART, let me try to sum it up. It's a non-profit volunteer organization in Oregon, that provides selected K-3 students one hour/week of reading time with a volunteer from the community. The kids also get to take home and keep 2 new books per month. This is their 19th year and this year they are trying to serve 9,078 students! It's a really great program and already I can see how much the volunteers and kids enjoy it. It's great to see kids get excited about books and reading.

During the month of November, SMART will receive donations from Safeway checkout stands. So if you are asked to round up or donate to support children's literacy, you could help support SMART!
Thanks for reading this almost no photo post. I leave you with a random picture I took at the University of Portland a few weeks ago. The weather is getting colder, but flowers are still blooming.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You Capture - Technology

Thursday, October 22

I'm late with this post as we just got home from a night at the beach. If only they had wi-fi at our resort! love most technology and the whole Internet blogging thing is awesome. In fact this post is #200 for me. It all started as a way for my friends and family to keep up with us while traveling in Europe for 6 months last year. Now, I try to keep them updated with happenings here at home in Oregon. I have really enjoyed doing the photo challenges this year - a great way to keep the creative juices flowing. Thanks Beth!!

Here is a favorite thing that really saved us during our travels. Our video MP3 players, which my hubby loaded up with music, books on tape and even cartoons and shows for each member of our family. When the kids got bored at a museum they could just rest and watch a cartoon!

I told my hubby, Dr. C, the chemistry professor to bring me some technology to photograph, so he brought home his tackle box full of stuff like this. He told gave me a long technical explaination and I mostly understood it, but I'll just say he uses it to build chemical sensors.I had to replace my headlight bulb this week. Does anyone know if these can be recycled?
Click here to see more great Technology at I Should Be Folding Laundry.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You Capture - Still Life

Thursday, October 15

This weeks photo challenge was still life and I'll have to admit I was definitely lacking inspiration. Maybe I should have sculpted and photographed a huge pile of dirty laundry - that's about the only still life I've been noticing around here. Sorry, I know you didn't come here to hear about that stuff!

I should really know what these are, but if my kids asked I would tell them it was a seed pod. That is my answer for anything that falls out of a tree that is not a leaf or a blossom. Anyway, someone (not me or mine) took the time to line these nut things along the groove on a picnic table. Thank you someone.
For a week we had some beautiful flowers in our dining room and they used to look like this, but not so blurry.
By the time I got around to the subject of still life they looked more like this. Is there still any life? or still life?
Here is me playing with the composition.

OK, let's go visit the other Still Life photos.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Take a break from school and learn to read!

Monday, October 12

Last Friday the girls didn't have school, so I took them to the library. I was specifically searching for beginning reader books for Sydney because I new she was just about to start reading. Then this little red book, with no picture on the cover caught my eye.

Inside were 12 tiny books with simple pictures, one sentence per page and all the words were one syllable all short vowel sounds. Jackpot!
In the car she immediately started sounding out words. After a couple pages she shouted, "Mom, I'm reading, I'm really reading!" Music to my ears! Kyla helped her for a while at home.

it took her two days, but she read the whole book all by herself. She is sooo proud! Now we joke about how she used to read "the" like "tuh-hau-eh". That was so funny and it was only two days ago. What's even better is that was level 2 and I've reserved the rest of the sets (5 in all).
If you have any emergent readers in your future I highly recommend the Bob Books. After just now checking out their web site it turns out they were developed right here in Portland, OR. Nice! I'm looking forward to some quiet winter evenings with the whole family reading.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You Capture - Red

Thursday, October 8

I was thinking that I didn't take that many Red photos for the challenge this week. I even caught a cold, but now I'm having troubles narrowing down the selection. Glad I don't have to pick just one. So glad I didn't forget my camera when I found myself walking around downtown over the weekend and found this beautiful church.

I also love to use the color accent setting on my camera. I know it can be annoying, but I don't care.
My trusty old Schwinn mountain bike.For this one I used photoshop.
To see all the other Red photos, click here!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Read to the Dogs

Tuesday, October 6

First, I have to start off by saying that we have the best public library ever, Multnomah County Library in Oregon. It's really true - they just won a National Medal for Museum and Library Service. My favorite thing is that you can search for and reserve a book online, then they just send you an email when it's time to pick it up at your neighborhood library. You can even recommend books for them to buy, and they do it. OK, enough about how great my library is. Well, just one more great thing is Read to the Dogs, a program that Kyla has always wanted to do, but we never remembered to sign up. We just happend to be there at the right time and she got a change to Read to the Dogs. Actually it's just one dog, named Sita. She is a therapy dog and kids sign up to come and read to her. If you know Kyla, you know she doesn't really need help with her reading. She spent most of her free indoor summer time reading. The girl loves to read. She also loves dogs, but hasn't spent much time with them. She also had a couple of bad dog experiences this summer and now is actually afraid of dogs, especially big ones. So this program is really helping her get comfortable with dogs again.
Doesn't Sita look happy!

So does Kyla.