Friday, April 30, 2010

Photo #120: Columbine

This is a picture of the columbine that is growing all over my back flower bed. It's pretty, but I really hate it, because it takes over everything. Is it a flower or is it a weed? It's choking out the iris! Round Up is on my shopping list.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Photo #119: Under Construction

They are adding a new water park to Adventureland. This colorful tangle of waterslides caught my attention. It looks like they have a lot of work left to do, before people can shoot through these tubes into the water. But I'm betting it will be well worth the wait.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Photo #118: Huntington Learning Center

I started a new job this week. I'm working a few nights during the week teaching. I have done this sort of thing before for a different company. I think I'm going to like this a lot better. I'm a little stressed right now, because I hate starting a new job. There's always so much you don't know. But the people are very nice. Once the school year is over, it will make a really great summer job.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Photo #117: Shelby, Again!

I stopped by after school to visit with Mom. It's really nice to have her back at home. When I arrive, Shelby the watch dog greets me at the door, serenading me with her high pitched yelping. Once I get through the door she begins running lickety split, circling through the kitchen, dining room, and back through the living room. She grabs her toys, jumps on the couch, and rolls over on her back to get her tummy rubbed. Then it's back on the floor, circling through the rooms. It is always a crazy performance, but one that makes me feel very loved. That is just one of the many wonderful things about dogs.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Photo #116: Giant Paper Dolls

Today was a crazy Monday. Core Knowledge night is coming up in just a week and a half, so we started our Giant Paper Doll project today. The kids signed up for committees to study people from the middle ages. We have committees to study knights, peasants, nuns and monks, the nobility, minstrels and jesters, and the merchant. They will do some writing about how these people lived. Then each committee has to cooperate to create a giant paper doll of their person. They have one member of the committee (usually the smallest person) lay down on the paper. The other committee members trace around them. Then they draw in the clothing and details. I get a kick out of watching them do the tracing part.

After school, I stopped at home briefly to let Zoe and Bailey out, and to give them some dinner. Then I started training for my new part time job at Huntingtons. I'll write more about that later.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Photo #115: Shelby, the Dog

You may have noticed that in an earlier post I had a picture of my cousin's daughter, Shelby. In our family we have Shelby the girl, and Shelby the dog. My mom's dog is named Shelby. Actually this is Shelby II. Shelby I, was Karla's dog, and later my mom's. I guess my mom and Loren were out of inspiration, because after Shelby I passed away, they also named this little Bichon, Shelby.

Mom, Shelby, and Jacci arrived home today. They left Arizona on Friday, so it was a long drive. Shelby was delighted to be back in her own house, where she has her own back yard to run around in and bark. Here she is seated beside Mom in the recliner.

I am so happy to have them all back home.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Photo #114: Back of a Snowman

We had a beautiful morning, but the afternoon has been wet and dreary. Drake Relays are going on, so it isn't surprising. The only time I went out today was to go over to my mom's house. I picked up her mail from the post office, and turned the water back on. When I got there Donner and Kendrick were there working on the lawn. Jacci flew to Arizona on Wednesday, and she and Mom are on their way home. They should be back some time on Sunday. It's a long drive, and I am looking forward to seeing them both.

My photo for today was taken a few days ago at the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden. This one is called Back of a Snowman in White, and Back of a Snowman in Black.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Photo #113: Tweet Your Taste Buds

You know that I love Jimmy John's, and I haven't done a Jimmy John's photo in a while. This Tweet Your Taste Buds sign caught my eye. Jimmy Johns is now on Twitter.

It was a wet and dreary day today. We had inside recess. I had a lot of catching up to do, since I was home sick yesterday. I'm usually the last teacher in the building on Fridays. Others want to get out as fast as they can, and get their weekend started. I like to stay and get my lesson plans laid out for the next week. I know when I walk in there on Monday, my brain is going to be foggy, so I want everything planned out.

I have been trying to cook and eat at home more, but I don't even consider it on Fridays. I do not cook on Fridays. Most of the time I eat at Jimmy Johns; #12, The Beach Club, and a medium Diet Coke. Yum! (Notice that I already took a couple bites out of the sandwich. I could not wait.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Photo #112: Yellow Tulips

I stayed home sick today, so my photography consisted of hanging over the back fence and taking a picture of these yellow tulips in my neighbor's back yard. Between the flowering trees, and tulips I am really enjoying her yard, and it's a lot less work than me having to do anything myself.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Photo #111: Lilacs

My driveway is starting to smell really good. The lilacs are in bloom. This is my favorite time of the year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photo #110: The Back of the Iowa State Capitol Building

Now that I am working on this photo challenge I am noticing things around town that I have never noticed before. I was on my way to Gong Fu to buy tea when I saw all these flowering trees just to the east of the capitol building. When I investigated, I discovered that it is a memorial to Pearl Harbor. I wasn't really satisfied with any of the photos I took of the memorial, but I like this shot that I took from the memorial looking at the back of the capitol building.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Photo #109: Zoe

Zoe was photo #1, and she and Bailey were featured one other day as BFF, Best Friends Forever. That's a little surprising since my dogs are very important to me. I am definitely a dog person. I might be more of a cat person if I were not allergic to them.

Zoe and Bailey are enjoying their back yard now that spring has arrived. They are also doing even more barking than usual. Several new dogs have moved into the neighborhood over the winter. Two new dogs have moved into the house behind us. There is a new dog next door, as well.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Photo #108: T8

I took another trip to the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden today. This time I went with my sister, Jacci. We walked around in the sculpture garden and then walked down the street to Starbucks. On the way to Starbucks we noticed they are opening a Jimmy John's nearby, which will make this area even more appealing. I am a big fan of Jimmy Johns.

This sculpture is called T8. You can see the 8 in the middle along with several Ts. You see something different from every angle. I like looking at the sculpture in contrast to the construction that is going on in the surrounding area, along with the crane in the background.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Photo 107: The Walkathon

Today was the Phillips Walkathon. For the first time, we were able to do it on our own walking track, which was built with walkathon funds from last year. It was a beautiful day! We didn't have a very big turnout, because ball season is in full force, but the kids that were there had a great time, and raised money for the school. These dedicated walkers walked at least three miles.

The tigers on the walkathon t-shirts were designed by Phillips kids in art class.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Photo #106: The Magnolia Tree

I took this shot when I left school tonight. I figured it might be the last chance to take a photo of the magnolia tree this season. It is getting near the end of the blossoms, as you can see from the carpet of petals beneath the tree.

It's been a really exhausting week. I'm really glad it's the weekend, although I'll be back at school tomorrow for our school walkathon.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Photo #105: Pear Blossoms

These beautiful blossoms are on my neighbor's tree. I believe it is an Ornamental Pear Tree. I looked it up in my Best Garden Plants for Iowa book. The tree has a beautiful pyramid shape, and I enjoy gazing at it as I relax on my deck. I really enjoy all the flowering trees that are blooming In Iowa this time of year.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Photo #104: Cute Bailey

The last time I had a picture of Bailey in the blog was after his terrible haircut. It took him several weeks to get over that, because he had an allergic reaction to something they used in his ears, not to mention he was almost bald. His hair has grown back. In fact he needs to go to the groomer, and get a haircut that will help him look more like the Bichon Frise he is. We have to find a new groomer though, because he is not going back to the old one.

I thought he looked awful cute here, looking over his shoulder.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Photo #103: Shirkahn

This is Shirkahn, one of my sister's five cats. This is a lot of cats for someone who has been allergic to cats since she was a little girl. Shirkahn's Mama arrived at Jacci's house one winter, had her five babies, and disappeared a few weeks later. She knew a soft touch when she saw one. She knew that my sister and her family would take good care of her kittens. And they have. Donner built them a cat condo under the deck, but they like the garage better, and why wouldn't they? They have heated mats in that garage, with a cat door to get in and out.

As soon as I laid down on the ground to photograph some flowers, Shirkahn came right over to check me out. He was right in my face. Even so, he managed to look aloof when I tried to take his picture.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Photo #102: The Magnolia Tree

I took this picture through the window of my third floor classroom. The view is actually better from up here than it is from the ground. This tree blooms for only a short time. The blossoms are beautiful and I look forward to them every year.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Photo #101: Sparrows

After looking at this picture, you're probably thinking that I spent the day in the out-of-doors. Actually I was sitting by the window in the cafe at Barnes and Noble, when I took this shot. I bought a copy of the "National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America". This fellow appears to be an American Tree Sparrow or Spizella arborea. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of sparrows until I looked at this book.

I really enjoy watching birds, and it got me to thinking about putting out my birdfeeders again, and moving them to a place that I can more easily observe my feathered visitors. Summer and Jill gave me a hummingbird feeder for Christmas, and I also need to find a place for that.

It's been a very nice weekend. The weather has been beautiful. I've been cooking up a storm, so I should eat better this week, instead of eating out so much. I've done some school work, but not nearly as much as I should have. There are still many things on my "to do" list that I probably will not get to, but I'm okay with that. I'm going to enjoy what is left of the weekend, and prepare for another busy week.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Photo #100: One Hundred Days

At school we make a big deal out of the one hundredth day of the school year. Well this is the one hundredth day of my blog and the 365 Photo Challenge, and that means it is also the one hundredth day of 2010. I cannot believe that I have done this every day for 100 days. I'm pretty impressed with myself, and I can see that I am growing in my photography skills. It also helps that I have a better camera than I started the year with. As much as the photos, I am enjoying taking the time to reflect and write about each day. It has definitely made an impact on my life. I am more observant of my surroundings, and I have become more active, making it a point to go out and look for things to experience and photograph.

We are about to begin our castle project at school, so I went downtown to the central library to pick up some books I needed. The day started out as beautiful and sunny, but it clouded over in the afternoon. After I found what I needed at the library, I spent some time walking around in the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden. The last time I was there was on my birthday in January. It is much more inviting now. When I arrived a wedding party was just leaving. The grass is green, people were walking around, one group was picnicking, kids were playing among the sculptures. There are lots of places to sit and relax and enjoy the art. This part of Des Moines has changed so much in the past year or two. I'm sure I will be down here often. The sculpture garden is just one block from the library, coffee shops, and places to eat.

Afterwards I spent about an hour at the Starbucks down the street. Days like today make me very thankful for my life. Sometimes I just need to remind myself to slow down and smell the coffee.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Photo #99: Hyacinth

It was an exhausting week at school, so I was really excited when my sister invited me out to her house for a campfire, and a glass of wine. It was a really beautiful evening, though it got cool once the sun dropped down. This did not deter us however. We just covered up with blankets. I had just been out there on Sunday for Easter dinner, so I was surprised to see that the hyacinth had bloomed in those five days. I love the vivid purples and pinks of the flowers. After such a harsh winter, it's really exciting to see the grass green once again, and plants emerging from the soil. Buds are forming on the trees, and it won't be long before they begin leafing out.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Photo #98: Grow Bulldogs

We took a field trip to Drake University today. Both fourth grade classes and three second grade classes have been working with Drake students to learn about track and field. These education students come to our classrooms each Friday. They teach math, health, and other skills using information about Drake Track and Field. Other grades have worked with Drake Students and staff to learn about football and basketball.

The field trip is the highlight of this association. We toured the Bell Center, field house, and Drake Stadium. The coaches and students set up stations, and the kids learned to run the hurdles, throw shot put, do the high jump and the long jump. It was a beautiful day, and the kids had a ball. I took about 75 pictures of the kids in action, so I'm going to cheat today, and post the Animoto I made with those photos. There was no way that I could narrow it down to just one shot.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Photo #97: Security

It was a rainy, dreary day today. I enjoyed it at home, because I took the day off to have a security system installed in my house. It turns out this is a very complicated process. In fact it took most of the day, but I wasn't the one crawling around in the attic. I corrected some papers, created an Animoto with my March photos, and enjoyed being at home. Zoe and Bailey weren't very happy about the whole thing, because they spent most of the day confined to an upstairs bedroom. Tomorrow it's back to school, and a class field trip.

The Month of March in Pictures

I noticed that a lot of people who are participating in the 365 Photo Challenge created a montage of their photos at the end of the month. I got the idea to make an Animoto of them. This Animoto includes photos that have been included on this blog, as well as many that did not make it in.

So here is the month of March in review.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Photo #96: Fire

Jacci and I built a campfire on Sunday. We love sitting by the fire and talking. I am fascinated by the flickering flames. I used my telephoto lense to take this picture of the fire.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Photo #95: Spring Flowers

It seemed like one day everything was dirty, drab and brown, then all of a sudden the grass has turned green, the tips of lush foliage are peaking up out of the ground, and overnight we see blazes of color as the spring flowers begin to bloom. I saw this crocus growing in my sisters flower garden, along with beds of daffodils. I loved the subtle purple stripes in the petals.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Photo #94: The Wood Ducks

It was a beautiful Easter Sunday. Most of the day was spent here at home, working in the yard, doing laundry, writing a blog post. I went out to Jacci and Donner's house in the late afternoon, to have dinner with them. What a delicious Easter dinner; spiral cut ham, roast potatoes, corn, crescent rolls, and the delicious strawberry cream cheese pie from yesterday. My contribution was a ham and vegetable casserole. I used my grandmother's recipe, which is posted on our Grand-Cooks Wiki.

After dinner Jacci and I went outside and built a campfire in the fire pit. It was a perfect day for that. The dogs and the cats gathered around. The highlight of the afternoon was when a pair of wood ducks flew into the trees. I couldn't pick up their beautiful colors and markings with my camera, but they were spectacular. While you can only see the outline of the wood duck in this photo, I like the way the camera captures the texture of the tree bark.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Photo #93: Pie

Jacci and I met at Village Inn for breakfast this morning. I was surprised when I walked in and saw stacks of boxed pies. I hadn't thought about having pie for Easter, but we decided it was a pretty good idea. Jacci picked up a strawberry cream cheese pie. I'm looking forward to having a piece tomorrow.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Photo #92: Our Front Doors

This was a long week at school. Students came through the doors each morning, ready to take the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. We took less of the test than we have in previous years, but the pressure was more intense than ever. There is an unbelievable amount of pressure on kids to do well on these tests, and even more pressure on teachers to have their students do well. According to NCLB, If my students do not do well on the tests, it means I haven't done my job. These tests determine whether our school will be classified as failing or successful. So far Phillips is one of the few schools on the east side, that has managed to stay off of that failing list. I miss the days when this test was just a test.

On Monday, these doors will begin opening ten minutes earlier, and students will be dismissed through them ten minutes later in the day. We are adding twenty minutes to the day to make up for three of the snow days we had during the winter. We are actually making up 30 minutes each day. We are supposed to find an additional ten minutes during the day. During the day? What a joke! It's not like we spent ten minutes with our feet up on our desks taking a break. We are fully engaged every minute of our school day. The extra twenty minutes a day will help me get some things done that I have had difficulty fitting in. I am looking forward to spending more time on Social Studies and Health. I think we will adjust quickly to these additional minutes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Photo #91: Beautiful Daffodils

My neighbors are probably beginning to wonder what I'm up to, sneaking into their yards with my camera, and snapping pictures of their plants. I noticed these daffodils growing along the side of my neighbor's house. I think spring is finally here. The temperature was all the way up to 86 degrees today. It has been in the seventies every day this week, and all of sudden the tree branches which had been bare are now budding out. I love the blase of color from the spring flowers, especially after such a long difficult winter.