Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thirsty Thursdays


In my latest life adventure, 
the definition of "Thirsty Thursdays" 
have taken on a whole new meaning. 

These Fridays-in-disguise begin for me at 8am 
in a classroom located directly underneath the Carousel 
at the Lincoln Park Zoo (no joke!) 

Each and every Thursday morning a member of our Summer Staff team is asked to give a 30 minute presentation on something they are either passionate about, or a topic they feel the group could benefit from. 
  
It's like a breath of fresh air meets a tall
drink of ice cold water when needed most. 
      
I gave mine on camp songs and taught how it's not only great fun for the little ones, but that singing has been scientifically proven to boost your mood and also enhances immunity by increasing antibodies that fight sickness.  WINNER-WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!

Other PD's (professional development) sessions have included: how to fly an airplane (as one of my brilliant co-workers is also a commercial pilot), how to raise honeybees (as another is a beekeeper by trade), and this morning's breathtaking session on the art of Spoken Word
  
I'll never be able to do justice to Jeff's performance, but he opened up his speech with a summary of Maslow's hierarchy of needs:

After a basic understanding of the key foundations necessary to truly reach one's full potential, he performed a piece he wrote specifically for our team.  

Maybe you had to be there. Or maybe, you just need to open your heart and take a moment to read his prose for yourself :) 

Bon Appetit!

one thing I ask is that you would keep your minds, your hearts, and your ears just open 
for the word thats about to be spoken

see we were born to succeed. But before we go into that…

Let me ask you a question, have you ever felt pain?
physically, emotionally, spiritually, in your life
causing you strife, hearing the bark? but also feeling the bite.

Let me ask you a question, have you ever felt rejected?
by a boy, by a girl, by a team, by a friend, by a parent, by a church?
it relates to the first question cuz I know that it hurts.

Let me ask you a question, have you ever experienced a loved one pass away?
a situation expected, a situation unexpected, wishing for a kiss, a hug,
handshake, a simple touch?
cherishing the moments that seemed so small, but meant so much?

Let me ask you a question, have you ever felt drained?
tired of life, tired of the same old same old,
too much on the plate? don't even got time to just chill?

we are in a world that is full of choices
our minds conflicted with disputing voices
repeating lies that only disguise the blessings that are right in front of our eyes.
should I do this or should I do that?
hit or miss, theory vs. fact
will this risk stay intact?
will I fail? should I bail?

Usually we tend to not go for the road that is narrow,
but go for the road that is wide, but why?
why is our peers’ perspective of our lives is something that we cant deny?

see the choices we make today have consequences for the future
see consequences whether good or bad they come at a cost
I once heard that if you mix love with lust? you become lost

But we were born to succeed, believe!

it's sad, lately I see people living life engulfed with fear
facts of life seem blurry
we create habits to be in a hurry to worry,

We were born to succeed, believe!

Ladies and gentlemen, just open your eyes, step out from behind your disguise,
reach for the prize and try it on for size,
see in this world ppl look, but they dont recognize,
so eventually they live their lives in a lie, doing only what they need to get by.

See through this spoken word, I wanna encourage the lost, I wanna encourage
the weak, don't do what's wrong please listen in the things that i speak, cuz i
know what its like going through this life with temptation all around, so take my
advice and dont give up fight the fight stand your ground

I also once heard...
watch what you think because your thoughts become your words
watch what you say because what you say becomes your actions
watch what you do because your actions become your character
and watch your character because your character becomes your destiny
now see the only reason every single one of you is in this room is because you
were birthed successfully.

I don’t care how bad our economy is
that means that we were born to succeed. believe!
every single breath you take is a form of prosperity, a form triumph

Now this right here is a command
reminisce about the blessings of the past,
be satisfied about life in the present,
but dream big about the future
because we were born to succeed.

Now that we know this. ..
Let me ask you one, final question, are you willing to live to succeed?
If you say yes.
This risk will increase the potential for success, our true identity will become
amplified rather than suppressed.

Amen.
  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

LOVE WINS :)



To all you remaining haters (I have no clue why you're reading my blog when you should be nose deep in a self-help book) but here's a handy guide by David Wong on how this decisions impacts you:


If You Are a Homosexual and Are Already Married:
The federal government now recognizes your marriage as a thing, and you are eligible for tax, health, and pension benefits under federal law like any other married couple, pending further political shenanigans. You can file taxes jointly, all that shit.
If You Are a Homosexual and Want to Get Married:
This does nothing to affect you UNLESS you live in California. States are still free to decide whether or not same-sex marriage is legal; if you live in Mississippi, this does not help you. But, the voter initiative to ban gay marriage in California is now dead, pending further legal challenges or other fuckery.
If You Are a Heterosexual and Do NOT Want to Enter into a Homosexual Marriage:
You will not be required to marry a gay person. This is a common misunderstanding. This decision actually does not affect you in any way.
If You Are Currently in a Heterosexual Marriage:
This decision does not affect you in any way.
If You Are a Heterosexual Who Is Not Currently Married:
This decision does not affect you in any way.
If You Are a Heterosexual Who Hopes to Eventually Marry:
This decision does not affect you in any way.
If You Are a Member of a Church That Performs Wedding Ceremonies but That Does Not Believe in Gay Marriage:
This decision does not affect you in any way.
If You Are a Religious Official Who Performs Wedding Ceremonies but Who Thinks Gay Marriage Is Wrong:
This decision does not affect you in any way.
If You Are an Individual Who Believes Gay Marriage or Homosexuality in General Is Wrong for Religious Reasons, and Wish to Continue Expressing Those Beliefs:
This decision does not affect you in any way.
If You Are an Individual Who Believes Gay Marriage or Homosexuality in General Is Wrong for Non-Religious Reasons, and Wish to Continue Expressing Those Beliefs:
This decision does not affect you in any way.
If You Are a Heterosexual Who Fears This Decision Adversely Affects Your Marriage or the Concept of Marriage in General:
This decision does not affect you in any way.
If You Are a Heterosexual Who Fears This Decision Negatively Affects You in Some Way:
This decision does not affect you in any way.
If You Are a Heterosexual Who Suffers Anger or Anxiety at the Thought of Gay Couples Getting Married as an Abstract Concept, and Believes the Only Cure Is to Legally Prevent Gay Marriage:
This decision will cause you some degree of anger or anxiety. Otherwise, this decision does not affect you in any way.
Hope this helps!  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

You Say Tomato, I say Tomahto. Edition #2


FAVORITE LINE OF ZOO CAMP TODAY

Location
Classroom during Arts & Crafts time
after touring the Bird House with the kiddos.

Activity
Create your own bird out of egg cartons, pom-poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes and feathers. Invent your own bird species and present it to the class :)

***

Gavin: 
This is my bird, M & M.

Me: 
Like the candy? I love it!

Gavin: 
No, like the wrappah... 
First name, M & M. 
Middle name, Featuring.
Last name, Jay Zeeeee.

Me: 
Oh yes, that "M & M". My bad.
{Shaking my head laughing}
  
***
To be 5 years old in 2013... 
Lord help us all!
       

Monday, June 24, 2013

HAAAAAAAAAAWKSOMENESS!!!!


BOOM!

Lord Stanley heads home baby :)
YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!
    

Work Perks :)


Oh hey there, Anana!

LOVE


"Good Idea | Bad Idea"


Every morning while waiting for all the other minions to arrive, 
we play a lil' time-passer-byer called, "Good Idea. Bad Idea."

FACT 
It really doesn't take much to entertain 4 & 5 year olds

Typically, the "game" goes as such...

Good idea:  Eat salad
Bad idea: Eat poison ivy

{insert roaring laughter from my short friends}
  
Today, the set that got the most laughs was from my little pal, Claire. She said, 
  
Good idea: Wear your bathing suit to go swimming. 
Bad idea: Wear your bathing suit to go sledding!

{insert the contagious sound of children's laughter here}

Since the kiddos have no clue what we're saying half the time anyways, I quietly whispered to my co-instructor:

Good idea...
PBR by the pool

Bad idea...
Bud Light Lime-a-Rita's by the pool. 
Or anywhere. Me no likey.
  
The moment we start laughing the campers immediately want/need to know what we were talking about.  I say, "Big Balloons & Bouncy Houses!!!" which pretty much gets them giggling every time because the mere thought of either entity completely blows their brain cells.  Again, as I said, it doesn't take much to entertain my mini-martians ;)
          

Case of the Mondays


Hilarity that I could not LOL at today in
the classroom but continue to chuckle about :)

***

Me: 
Haymish, why are you under the table?

Haymish: 
I just need to be alone in order to write my name, Miss Stacey. Sometimes I just need to be alone to do drawings. 

Me: 
Right on, buddy. Right on. 

***

Me: 
Charlie, why aren't you coloring your journal cover babe? 

Charlie: 
It's just too hard for me. I can't today. I don't have any feelings. 
  
Me: 
{Speechless. This kid fractures my sides!}
  
***
  
Harlow: 
Miss Stacey, today I'm having a play date with Maya :)

Me: 
I LOVE PLAYDATES!

Harlow:
You don't have playdates silly -- you're too old.

*** 

Great Minds Think Alike ;)


While at a Bachelorette party this past Saturday night, 
we all took turns buying rounds of bevs at the bar. 
Common practice. Makes life simple. All are happy :)
   
When it was my turn, I memorized the order and recited it in my head umpteen times so not to forget.  I weaseled my way through the crowded bar and waited my turn, only to go completely blank when the bartender yelled, "What are you having?"

"Ummmmmmm, ummmmmmmmm, ahhhhhhhh"
I replied :S 
  
It was as if my mind could not make word pairs. 
That all the sudden, my bestie couples: "Bud" & "Light" and 
"Gin" & "Tonic" were not at (or on) the tip of my tongue.
   
So this morning, when my new class of 4 & 5 year old munchkins arrived and we all went around the circle saying our name and favorite animal -- I was entirely empathetic to the "Uhhhhhh"s and "Ummmmmmmmm"s as my little short friends temporarily forgot their names for a hot sec. I wanted to be like, "I feel your pain buddy -- been there too -- we're more alike than you think ;)"
     

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On the topic of ROCKIN venues...


I couldn't be more proud of my buddies, 
Nick Moretti & Mario Minelli 
for the immense amount of 
hard work and dedication 
they've given to creating

Check out their awesome write up 
in Modern Luxury CS mag

T-minus one month to the grand opening!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lincoln Hall = Rockin'


Regs & I caught artist #6 last week 
on what has become a decade long 
concert going series together :) 

I highly recommend every musician we've seen so far:
and last but not least...

I also recommend checking out Lincoln Hall.

Ditto goes for City Winery | Chicago
where we saw Rachel play last year as well. 

   I had never been to either venue before her shows and most definitely would love to go back to both! 
      

No Filter


There is nothing more honest than the raw thoughts that come out of a small child's mouth; they literally do not have a filter yet. This characteristic is entirely refreshing -- until the thought is about you...

{after reading Bear Wants More aloud and discussing how grizzly's wake up feeling thin and hungry after hibernating all winter}

Hayden raises his hand.
I think he has a question. 
Instead, he has a comment: 

"Miss Stacey, my mom is thinner than you."

I no longer call on Hayden ;)

Note to self: 
Call Tom


You Say Tomato. I Say Tomahto.


While telling my campers all about Anana
Lincoln Park Zoo's 14 year old female Polar Bear
Blake raised his hand and shouted, 
"I have a Nana! and a Papa too! But they live in Michigan 
and I lives here in the Chicago." 

#waytoocutetocorrect :)
    

Sooooo close! Yet so far away...


99.9% of the time, I am capable of translating everything 
my mini-martians are saying. It's as if my days have turned into professional games of word scramble and "Guess Who?" 

Little by little, I'm working on ways to make covert corrections...

***

Charlie
Miss Stacey, if I find a cine-pone when we're outside today - 
can I keep it? 

Me
Absolutely! I'll also be on the lookout for PINE CONES today. 

Charlie to the classroom
Cool! I hope we all find lucky cone-pines today :)

[For whatever reason, this word is a lost cause for the fours]

***

Naomi
Miss Stacey, today my mom is going to take me and my bigh-brodder to Barns & Owl after camp to get a books. Is that cool?

Me
Yes, Barnes & Noble is a very cool place to buy books. 
And I have a big brother too!

***

Dash
Today do we get to go to the Small Aminal and Rectangle House to see the Amphibens? 

Me 
Yes! Today we are going to the Small Mammal & Reptile House to see the AMPHIBIANS!

***

LA-LA-LA-LOVE :)

Thoughts on Temporary Amnesia


At least a dozen times a day, my short friends raise their hands with anxious excitement and when I call on them, the response is something along the lines of, "Ummmmm. Ummmmmm. Oh. Uhhhhhh. I forget. It slipped. I was going to say something but now it's hiding. It popped out of my head." 

These mild moments of memory loss are highly entertaining, especially when the answer is literally at the tip of their tongues. My favorite one today went as such: 

Ashley
Did you know that carrots and oranges and 'umpkins are all the same color? 

Me
That's right! And what color are they all?

Ashley
Ummmmm. Ummmmmm...

Me
I'll give you a clue. You just said it...

Ashley
Said what?!

{insert me trying not to laugh here}

Life, Under the Bus


I have one six year old in my morning "4's & 5's" class who is as innocent and adorable as could possibly be. The only problem is, he loves to throw me under the bus...
  
Case in point

{insert the Lincoln Park Zoo's Director of Educational Programming checking-in on camp}
  
And what is your favorite part of camp so far, Spencer?

My boy, Spence-Dog:
My favorite part is "dance party time!"

Oh that's so silly; there's no dance party time 
in the zoo's camp schedule...

Spence-Dog (getting ready to toss yours truly):
Yes there is silly. After we come inside from the zoo to our class room we have snack time and craft time and story time and then DANCE PARTY TIME! Right, Miss Stacey? 
  
Me:
     

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Beautiful Minds


While teaching my 4 & 5 year old campers about pollination, I used an example of how some flowers at the zoo are tall and visibly beautiful so to attract their pollinators whereas others are not as noticeable but they give off a beautiful smell which allows them to have the same affect. 

Blake asked, 
"Is it the same with peoples?"

After thinking about it for a moment I said back, 
"Hmmmm...in a way, yes. Very smart question little man."

He then immediately moved on to talk about how he had a bagel for breakfast and other things that have absolutely nothing to do with anything.

LOVE :)
  

Quotable Kiddos: Week 1 | Edition 2


Scarlett
Miss Stacey - I'm chilly :(

Me
Here, take my jacket sweetheart.

Scarlett to Alexandra
Are you cold too? We could share this big coat...

Alexandra
Thanks!


Scarlett to Alexandra
This cape is so soft. It feels like we're covered in baby bunnies :)

{insert my heart melting here} 

My Zoo-niform


Cody
Send me a picture of your zooniform. 
I need the full visual of your new gig. 

Me
It's simple really... I have the choice between my "lesbian chic" camel toe khakis or my lesbo-cargos:

Cody
Hahahahahahaha! I cannot wait to come make fun of you this summer. What are you going to say to people you haven't seen in forever when you run into them at the zoo? 

Me
Well, I could either tell them the truth - that I work for the LPZ Department of Education, or  that I joined a women's softball team called "Just Friends" and that's why I'm dressed like this ;)
  
Side note: 
This SNL sketch cracked me up :)

Happy Father's Day, Papo!


I love you very very much :)

Happy 1st Father's Day, Stephen!

Impossibly Adorable



I could stare at my niece all.day.long. 

I want to eat her :) 
  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tried to catch some fog but I mist ;)



Wild weather in the Windy City

Chicago, you complete me :)

Quotable Kiddos: Week 1 | Edition 1


Things my 4 & 5 year old campers say aloud
that I was silently thinking in my head: 

Is it snack time? 
(5 minutes later) 
What will the snack be tomorrow? 
(5 minutes later) 
Do we eat lunch after snack? 
(5 minutes later) 
Can a Kangaroo really punch you in the face?

***

Things I never used to say in my corporate job: 

Henry, please put your shirt back on. 
Gabe, fingers in the paint - not in your nose, please.
Boys! Pencils are not swords...

***

Things I'm not used to saying before 4am:

Do you know how to spell your name? 
Will you be ok in the bathroom or should I wait outside the door?
Annie, please don't lift your skirt over your head. 

***

Scenes from the classroom today

Me: 
Welcome to Zoo Camp! Can you please tell the class your name and your favorite animal? 

Lane: 
My name is Lane and I have a guinea pig. 

Arden: 
Today is my dad's birthday! We eat cheese.

Henry: 
My name is Henry and I like African Wild Dogs, Zebras, Apes, Dolphins, Red Pandas, Python Snakes, Polar Bears and Giraffes!

Patrick: 
My cousin's name is Simon...

Gabe: 
My favorite am-in-al is the LION SEALS!

Me: 
Yes, sea lions are wonderful animals :) 

Carter: 
Ummmm.... Ummmmm... Miss Stacey, 
Andrew & Evan look exactly alike 
and it's creepy to me. 

Me: 
Andrew & Evan are twins - that is why they look alike, Carter.  Do you have a favorite animal?

Carter: 
Were you two born at the same time? 

Andrew & Evan: 
Yes

Carter: 
Do you eat breakfast at the same time? 

Andrew & Evan: 
Yes

Carter: 
Do you go to bed at the same time? 

Andrew & Evan: 
Yes

During this 2.2 second side conversation, Charlie has attempted to crawl inside his backpack (twice). Aria has taken off both of her Velcro shoes and Naomi is anxiously waiving for attention because her pigtail braids "feel messy". 

Side note:   
Later in the morning, when Andrew had to use the bathroom but Evan did not, Carter's mind was visibly blown. I went to talk to him thinking he'd have questions about multiples, but he proceeded to tell me that his friend Evelyn's little sister is allergic to chocolate. So we moved on.

***

This entire "exercise" has taken me longer to write out than the ~20 minutes it all took place in. Camp goes from 9am - 3pm... 
You do the math ;)

My sides physically hurt from holding in belts of laughter ALL day long :) Needless to say, I massively adore these little people!