Jun 30, 2009

It's so hard to say "Goodbye"

Goodbyes...why do they have to be so hard? And whoever came up with that term anyway? Good bye...I think Bad bye would be more fitting.

Today was Olivia's last day at Wee Care. I had known it would be coming, but I still was not prepared. I have worked with Olivia for 1 1/2 years and have become quite attached to her. She was one of those children that you couldn't help but fall in love with. She was this tiny little girl who just full of sweetness, and hardly ever naughty. I was wrapped around her finger, and I admit her big brown eyes and beautiful smile made me give her anything she asked for most of the time.

Working with children has great rewards, seeing them mature, watching them make progress both mentally and socially, and falling in love with their unique personalities. Olivia was a definite favorite of mine and work will not be the same without her. I feel so blessed to have played a role in her life for this short time, yet so sad to see it ended. As I hugged her for the last time and felt her little arms squeeze my neck and heard her whisper in my ear, "I love you Miss Nicole," I realized that although goodbyes may be difficult and painful I was so very lucky to have met someone who makes saying goodbye so very hard. "You never truly leave someone and say Goodbye; you take a part of them with you and leave a part of yourself behind."

Jun 27, 2009

Growing Up...

Once upon a time there was this family, a daddy, a mommy, and a little girl. This girl was so spoiled as she was the only one in the family...However all this changed when the little girl was 3 1/2 years old. Mommy went to the hospital and came back with a baby girl who, she was told would some day grow to big like her. Mommy explained that this little baby was her sister and that it was now her responsibility to watch out for her, and most importantly to be a good example, for someone would be looking up to her. At first, she didn't understand what her mom meant, after all she was so very little.

As the little girl grew older so did her baby sister. They played together, built forts, made frequent walks to the park and library, had sleepovers in each others rooms...and fought. They would bicker, argue, call each other names, hit, and tattle incessantly. Mom really knew how to punish the two. She would make the girls hug each other and apologize. She would tell them, "Having a sister is the most wonderful thing in the world. Your friends will all move on with their life someday; but your sister will always be your constant companion. She will be there no matter what. Someday girls, you will be the bestest of friends."

The girls would look at each other, the younger with a longing in her eyes, but the eldest thinking, "No way, my sister my best friend...that will be the day..."

Well, years have went by and now the two are best friends. They got to go through a semester of college together, they've been able to work the same job for over a year together. The eldest thought she didn't need sisters, she thought she would be married and living her own life. But, life didn't go according to her plans, in fact, it is so much more than she could have dreamt up or imagined. Why? Because she does have a sister who has grown to be just what her all wise mother once said...her best friend.

Yesterday, Brooke celebrated her 19th birthday and I am ever so very proud to be her big sister...

Jun 25, 2009

Fun in the Sun!

I haven't had much time to post due to my work hours this last week...I have been opening, meaning I have to be to work before 6:30...that's a.m. in case you were wondering! Anyways, my evenings have been pretty busy this week and I'm exhausted and ready for bed earlier than usual, which cuts out any blogging I may have wanted to do...
Here is my work week in pictures...

This is our brand new playground made with +20,000 milk jugs!
Can you believe the things they can make out of recycled goods?
We no longer have mulch, which is a huge benefit-less dirty
and a whole lot less painful on the knees.
The ground is made out of 2,500 recycled tires!
Sarah B and Me, chilling in the shade...
Sarah B and my mature sibling doing what
they do best...acting weird!
Every Monday and Thursday we have sprinkler day...
a highlight of the kids' week!
"Libby Lu" taking a break from the sprinkler
Logan refuses to go in the sprinkler, so we hang out
under the tree and look for frogs!
We celebrated Brooke's birthday by eating Popsicles,
which the children really enjoyed!
Madeline is the photogenic one of the bunch!

Yum, yum, yummy!

Comparing flavors...

My little ham!

So, I've got to say I really love my job...I mean where else can you get paid to eat Popsicles, play in the sprinkler, or run around on a recycled playground??

Jun 18, 2009

Ode to a Bird

Witnessed today on US Highway 49
At approximately 4:28 pm, in the north bound lane, a Ford Escape struck and killed an oncoming bird. The driver operating the vehicle, named Lori LaBate, and the passenger, Nicole E. LaBate of Chesterton, said that the bird came from the west at unusually high flying speed. It flew into and struck the antenna of the vehicle. The bird was pronounced dead upon impact and was found 25 feet from the accident scene. The occupants of the vehicle suffered no visible injuries, although Miss Nicole LaBate seems to have went into shock. She was seen frantically pulling at the steering wheel and trying to persuade her mother to back up and make sure the bird was really dead. She says she can still hear the thud of the bird against the antenna and is afraid she will need therapy to get the images and sounds from her mind. Services will be held over in the meadow by an officiating robin.

Jun 11, 2009

Dinner and a Show (For Mrs. E)

Last week I had the opportunity to accompany my piano teacher along with my best friend's parents to Chicago for a concert in Millennium Park. We started off the wonderful evening by eating at the Grand Lux Cafe. For those of you who have never had that divine experience, it is definitely something you will want to do in your life time. We were able to sit by the glass windows over looking the city of Chicago. After dinner, as we awaited our valet, Mr. B eavesdropped on some teens standing outside of the Grand Lux and discovered that apparently one of the girls was a four-time Grammy award female rapper. Mr. B refused to get her name and autograph...;)
From there we went to the opening night concert in Grant Park...
Every Wednesday all summer long they host free concerts, I had only been one other time, and was quite excited to be there the first night. With Chicago traffic, we managed to get there about five minutes before show time. The place was packed out, but we did not fear, for Mrs. E was there! She somehow managed to get us awesome seats, about seven rows back from the orchestra, it was completely and totally amazing! They opened up with the National Anthem, which gave me goosebumps, hearing the loud throng of people singing with one voice and the amazing orchestra leading us. Then it got even better...Steven Hough, the word-renowned British born pianist started off the season with Tchaikovsky’s beloved Piano Concerto No. 1. (which I got the whole history/music lesson on from Mr. B, who is our church music man-choir director!) The song last 32 minutes, and was totally entertaining. Not only was it amazing to listen to, but also to see Mr. Hough up close and all his facial expressions and body movements as he played really was quite comical! The mesmerizing music was the best thing I had ever heard in my life; it was so peaceful and relaxing. It made me wonder how any one in their right mind can listen to rap, or rock and roll and actually call it music. The pieces I heard that night, were definitely what real music is supposed to sound like. Our eventful evening did not end with the concert...but without incriminating any adults, let me just say that we all got our exercise for the week when we aimlessly walked around all 8 floors of the wrong parking garage! But besides that, I had a great time hanging out with the cool and not so grownup Mr. and Mrs. B and my great piano teacher, Mrs. E, who let me add informed us that she had played that same piece, at age fourteen...:)

Jun 3, 2009

When I Grow Up...

"When I grow up I want to be..." How many times have I heard those words come from a child's mouth...usually followed by a whole array of careers. Working at a Pre-School, we just completed our school year and had two graduations-one for the pre-4's and the other for the pr-5's. It wasn't really a big deal, no gowns or crossing of the tassels or anything. It basically was just alittle program for the parents to watch and hear their children tell everyone what they wanted to be someday...
"The Three Stooges"
"Partners in Crime"
When we practiced, we stressed to the children that no they could not be flowers, no they could not be Ariel or Santa Claus, and no they could not magically turn into a great white shark no matter how cool they may be. Being 3-5 year olds, most everything we practiced went out the window.
Of course we had the usual, a policeman, fireman, princess, mommy, teacher...but there are always that group of special children who just have to be different...
One little boy insisted he was going to be a karate fighting Jedi, and to show how serious he was he did a karate jump off the platform.
Another over achiever said he wanted to be a hockey player, basketball player, football player, baseball player,...let's just say we actually had to stop him or else he would have went on all day.
The baby of the family told her mommy that she wanted to be a big sister some day...
The nosy boy of the class, smugly told everyone he would be their future president.
The son of a policeman informed his dad that no he did not want to go into the line of police, but would rather be a superhero and catch bad guys...
Another little boy proudly told the audience he was going to be a transformer???

Listening to the kids give their "plans" for the future made me reflect upon my childhood and all the many different things I wanted to be. As a younger elementary student, I just wanted to be a mommy...as I got older I decided I could handle being a nurse on the side as well. From there, watching my mom at work made me want to be a secretary just like her. Candy selling in Chicago made me have a desire to be one those business woman who look oh so important carrying their satchels and Starbucks. After seeing my best friend in the hospital I decided that I wanted to be a doctor and make people better. Finally when it came time for college, I took secondary education with a major in English and a minor in business; in my mind thinking I could pursue teaching or business.

While we were practicing with my little 3-5 year olds, I walked on the platform to show them how it was done. When I stood there looking at my kiddies, one of them shouted out, "So want do want to be when you grow up Miss Nickel?" I stood there for a second thinking, "English teacher, ...youth director's wife,...princepal,...photographer,...mommy,..." I really did not know how to answer, I for sure do not feel grown up yet and it just made me feel like I was still such a kid, with all these dreams and aspirations yet to be fulfilled. I was no different from them, of course besides the fact that I don't want to be Cinderella or a flower...

Tonight in Institute Preacher gave an awesome lesson on basically just doing the work God has put me in, and waiting for Him to lay His plans for my life before me. He used Saul as an example: one morning he went out herding his father's donkeys, and he came back King of Israel. So for now, I really do not know what I will be "when I grow up" but I am content just to enjoy my life, my family, my ministries, my job, and wait on the Lord.


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