Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weird Dream I Just Had

I had 13 siblings. It was me and Kelsey, and then 12 kids that my mom adopted with some guy she married after she had me and Kels with my dad. All of these 12 kids were kind of like "The Lost Boys" or something...they were all boys, and they all hung around this big empty school bus that was like their fort. Some of them even slept in there? (Note, my mother would have never let 12 adopted children sleep in a school bus).

One morning I was about to leave to go "into town" for something and I saw this one kid who looked like he was about 9 hanging around by himself. I asked him if he wanted to come to the store with me, and he got all teary and kept saying, "Really? You'll take me?"

Later that day, I was talking to the same kid, who I had never remembered seeing growing up...I had figured my mom adopted him recently. We were pushing rocks around in the dust in the driveway. He said to me, "You know, I think we are treated differently." And I said, "Treated differently than who?" He said, "Us boys are treated differently than you and Kelsey." My mom's husband (I guess he was my step dad?), who turned out to be my Uncle Bill (weird), was sitting on the front steps and kept creeping closer so he could listen to our conversation.

The little boy said he didn't think my mom loved him. I told him sometimes it takes some time for adopted children to be loved (even though that's not true in real life, usually) and asked him how long he'd been living with us. He said, "9 years". Then I started crying and realized this poor kid had been living with a family since he was born who acted like he didn't even exist and that I was his sister and I never even knew him.

Then my phone rang, and I woke up and I was actually crying.

Sooooooo weird.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Heaven Birthday #4.

Happy 9th Birthday, Liam.


I love that I am here right now. I miss NC, my roommate, and my friends down there, but sometimes it's just good to be home. Friday night we went to Staff Training and got a lot done - I am so excited for my values group and classes, and I can't wait to start planning for our staff special event. Each night at PACAA there is a special event put on by a group of staff (Jr. Staff, Staff Associates, Senior Staff, etc.) For our senior staff special event we are doing stations, where the kids are split into groups and hit each station throughout the evening. Usually at the stations we do games or silly things, but for our event, each station will be a small service project! I was put in charge of figuring out the "Alex's Lemonade Station" ... so I need to figure out a small service project we can do to benefit ALSF.

After training was over, we went to Rachel's and cooked out, played games and talked all night. Yesterday we had lunch in Chatham with Em and then drove back to DE. Last night was like a blast from the past. After chinese food with my mom and Carlos, I went to Matt's mom's house, which is right over the line in NJ (About 10 mins from my house). In high school we used to go out there all the time, because Matt's mom lives on a tributary that leads to the Delaware River, so she has a 3 story barge that sits behind her house in the water, and we used to have parties on it all the time. Last night I went over there and hung out with some kids from high school who I haven't seen in four years. Seriously, since the day we graduated high school. It was great...and Becky (Matt's sister) was there, so it was fun to hang out with her too.

Today I'm just hanging out, Matt and I might go take some photos downtown. Wednesday I'm going to the O's/Red Sox game with my dad and then staying in Ctown for a few days.

If the weather stays like this, I will be a very happy girl!

Friday, June 26, 2009


I finally arrived home yesterday after a drive-gone-bad. It was a crazy day on the road.

Tonight Dan and I are driving up to Madison for Staff Training. It should be a good time, and hopefully productive.

It's good to be home!

J's reaction to me telling him "we're going to take just FIVE more photos!"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sneak Preview

I'm too tired to post a series of photos - so here is one of the two cuties I was photographing today. J & J were so patient and the oldest J was such a little model! I'm having some issues with Aperture, so this is the unedited version of this photo, however I don't need to make many adjustments (noise reduction, definitely) but those boys really were a pleasure to photograph.

I'm pretty much packed up now - my alarm is set for 6:45am, and all I need to do is fold the dry laundry, pack my PACAA things (sheets, fan, stickers...you know, the important things!), pack Sydney's things, and then we are off. But not before stopping for the largest Star.bucks ever on the way out of town!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We'll see...

I have an actual photo shoot tomorrow ... YIKES! I'm so nervous! I was asked by a family, after they saw some photos that I took, and they want me to do their children's portraits. I wish I had a better lens... I'm drooling over this 50 mm f/1.4 lens. Ahh, if only I had $450 to my name :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Sevens 2009!

Saturday was the big Sevens tournament that the local men's team hosts every June. I missed the last 3 because staff training weekend always coincides with it (and the one year I didn't have to attend staff training, I was working at camp in New Jersey). So, finally... I was able to be there!! After hearing about it for close to 4 years, I knew it was going to be an exhausting, fantastic, HOT, fun-party day!!

The photo is of our team - it was 5 UNCG girls, 4 girls from Fort Bragg, and Suzi. (Thanks for the photo, Turtle!!) Suzi and I doctored up some old plain white jerseys we had- mostly because it was supposed to be around 95 on Saturday. So we cut the sleeves off, added a blue stripe, and ironed on some awesome Triad Women's logos. The tournament itself was the most tiring thing I've ever done. The way 7s Rugby works is that each team has 7 players on the field, and you play two 7 minute halves. Sounds easy, right? I mean, it's only 7 minutes! WRONG!! In rugby you normally have 15 players per side. When you drop down to 7, you lose people who would be tackling, rucking, sprinting - basically, you end up doing double the amount of work you would do in a regular rugby game - simply because there is no one else to do it.

We came in last in our division, but the day was not a waste- I learned so much and had a great time - plus I probably lost about 2 pounds in all the sweat that poured off of me. I thought I'd been physically exhausted before - but never have I felt like I did after our 4th game - feet throbbing, shoulders sunburned, lungs on the verge of collapse, etc. However, one of the men's teams was very smart, and brought a baby pool, so after our last game, we cooled off and had a cold beverage in the water!

After the games, we went to the bar that sponsors the men's team, where there was amazing food, numerous kegs, and tons of people. All in all, it was a great day!!

Sidenote: I, for once, did not sustain any injuries during the game. However, I slept in Suzi's guest bedroom after the party, and awoke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. In my drunken stupor, I forgot that I wasn't at home, and I rolled off the bed to walk the 4 feet to my bathroom (as it is in my apartment). Instead, I rolled off the bed and landed into a bicycle that was leaned against a dog crate. I sustained more injuries doing THAT than actually playing rugby!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I just haven't been in the mood to write lately.

I need to finish unpacking, and I need to think about starting to pack my bags to go home, but I can't find the motivation to do either. I'm hitting what I usually refer to as my "Summer Slump". I've been trying to find a job, but who is going to hire me to work with such a "splotchy" schedule? I'm going home for staff training, an O's/Red Sox game with my dad and then a few days later, a Phillies/Reds game with my mom and Carlos. Then Meg's wedding shower is a few days later, so I figure I may as well stay. And then before you know it, wow PACAA is only 9 days away - does it make sense to come back to North Carolina in between? After PACAA, we're going to the beach with my Mom and her best friend for a few days, then a week at the beach with my dad's family, and then school starts up again a week after that. Plus, Meg's bachelorette party at the beach thrown in there at some point in August.

There's just so many things I want to be home for - I may end up just staying there, because it really doesn't make sense to keep coming back. Especially with the cost of travel.

Sorry for the lame post. I've been having a few "off" days. Yesterday was J's funeral, and I wish I had been in Wilmington. I talked to a friend who went, and she told me that there were SO MANY people there. I bet it was beautiful...

The suspect was caught and charged, so at least that's a little peace of mind... but it's still so unfair and unbelievable.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Yesterday I was so lucky to be able to babysit for my two favorite kids in Greensboro. When I started babysitting for their family, V was 18 months old, and M was only 2 months old. Now, V is 4 and a half and M will be 3 tomorrow! Sadly, after babysitting them for almost two years, their family decided to hire an au pair (actually, a series of au pairs). I understand that it made more sense for their family, since they have four children (they have 2 older children as well, who are now about 9 and 13). However, I miss them so incredibly much, and truly miss being a part of their daily lives. At one point, I was spending pretty much every day with V and M, and really felt like I helped raise M, since she was an infant when I started. I have very fond memories of feeding M bottles as she fell asleep in my arms before bed, playing for hours with V outside, helping M learn how to say words and helping with potty-training V. Luckily, every once in awhile, they still need me and I have the privilege of hanging out with two cool kids, who still remember me and love me!

I brought them to my apartment complex and we swam for a few hours, and had a picnic lunch next to the pool. After that, we watched Cars for a little bit, before I had to take them back home. M even let me brush and braid her hair - something that she really dislikes (I think because she's so prone to tangles!)

It made me so happy to spend time with them yesterday. Over the last year and a half, I've tried to stop over and hang out with them when I'm free, and I've taken V to the Science Center here a few times. I hope I can do that a few more times this summer.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Been having a rough last couple of days.

I posted last night, and then took it down. Sometimes, it's just too hard to read your own words.

To put it shortly- a girl who I used to know when I was younger, spent many summers with, and who's dad used to coach with my dad... an amazing 23 year old girl who had her entire life ahead of her, was found murdered in her apartment in Wilm. ington on Thursday.

Pretty much everyone is in shock, I think.

I just don't understand... senseless acts of violence.

Rest easy, Julie.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


4. Wear your hair entirely different for one day.

Last week, when we moved into our new apartment, I couldn't find my hairbrush for the life of me. Usually, I just get out of the shower, dry my hair, and immediately brush it. But, I discovered during my brush-less period that if I just let my hair dry, it gets a little curly-ish. However, I'm super impatient, so I always just throw it up in a bun, half-wet, and get on with my day.

So, today I decided to take this LTLYM challenge and wear my hair entirely different for a day. I let it dry completely - and to my complete surprise - it dried totally curly! I mean, yeah, it was wicked frizzy - so if I ever wanted to wear it like this and actually have it look good, I'd need to invest in some anti-frizz pro-curl hair products, and actually USE the diffuser that came with my hair dryer (never knew what it even was until Kim told me.. haha)

So there you go, my very first day of having curly hair! And I am not counting the cocker-spaniel perm I got when I was in 6th grade. We all make bad decisions... ;-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


18. Recreate a poster you had as a teenager.

Yes, you may all laugh at me! When I saw this challenge, I knew I would have to recreate that poster! And, with me being a worse-than-horrible artist, I knew it would come out looking FUNNY. I mean, when I finished, I stared at it for a few seconds and just started cracking up!

Yes, I am aware that Baby Spice looks like she had a stroke. And that Posh looks pregnant instead of sassy! And that Posh looks like a sidekick ... I screwed up the spacing.

My sister and I looooved Spice Girls - maybe not so much in our teenage years, but as preteens-definitely!

Here is the actual Poster we had:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Photos, Plans, Funny Story

Last Saturday night I babysat with Kim for a group of 5 children (from two different families). I brought along my camera at the request of one of the mom's, and got some really great shots. I love the first one, of Mara. She is incredibly photogenic!

I've been really lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with Jacob, the boy who Kim babysits. He's 4 and he's an absolute joy to be around. I am so proud of him because today he jumped into the pool all by himself - no arms to jump into!

I'm making plans to head back up north for the end of June for Staff Training and July 4th, plus my mom just got tickets to see the Phillies on July 9th. I'm excited, I can't wait to go home and hang out in Ctown for awhile, it was such a tease to go there for Meg's grad party and not be able to stay and hang out, go on the boat, go to the Fi.sh Whis.tle, etc.

Funny story from today: We were in the pool, and Kim went to work out and left Jake with me for awhile. The sun went behind a cloud, and I got a little chilly. We all know what happens to girls (chest wise) when it gets a little chilly. Well, Jacob jumped into the pool and swam over to me. I was in the shallow end, so the water only came up to my waist. I picked him up and he pointed to my nipple and said "What is that? The start button?" !!!???!!! I have no clue where this came from, or if he heard it from somewhere, but I laughed so hard I had to get out of the pool. It didn't even phase him, he just went about splashing in the pool. Kids are so crazy!

Monday, June 8, 2009


I was going through a bunch of old emails tonight. I've had my email account forever, so there were years of saved emails that were ready to be sent to the trash bin.

My ears are ringing, my face is burning, and my heart feels as though it's slowly descending down into my stomach right now.

I found an email that I'd written to Lance Kowalski's mother back in 2005, shortly after Liam passed away. Lance's mom, Justine, made a playlist on iTunes in honor of her son. I was making a slide show of some photos I had of Liam, and I was looking on iTunes for some music to add to it. I came across the list she made for her son, who had, ironically also passed away from Neuroblastoma. The playlist was great, and I emailed her, thanking her for making it. We shared emails back and forth for about a year and a half, and then we lost touch. She was an amazing lady.

Tonight I found one of those emails and it made me think of her. I emailed her, asking how she was, etc. The email came back right away, saying it was undeliverable. I knew it was the right email address. So I went to Lance's caringbridge, and noticed that it hadn't been updated in over a year. I went to the guestbook, and found that sadly, Justine committed suicide in May 2008. My head is buzzing, and I just can't believe it.

I can't fall asleep, and I feel so incredibly sad.

LTLYM # 11

11. Photograph a scar and write about it.

Bet you thought I forgot about LTLYM!

Actually, I have been thinking about it a lot - I just haven't had the time to do the challenges, let alone find time to write about them!

I only have two permanent scars on my whole body. I say "permanent" because I have a big scar on my knee from an enormous scrape that I got in a rugby game in March. It probably won't totally heal for another 3 or 4 months. But - of my two scars that I will have for the rest of my life - one is from when I was 6, and the other is from last February.

The one from my childhood is hard to photograph, as it is underneath my chin, and even kind of hard to see. I have a much more concrete memory to go with it - and a better story! I went to a huge daycare (the kind that is a "chain daycare" and not a home-based daycare). During their summer program, we would take trips around Wilmington and do fun things. One day, we went to my elementary school for a kickball game. By some stroke of luck, I was chosen to be a "captain" along with another boy. This was so exciting for me - the teachers had never chosen me to be a captain! We picked out teams, and I was so excited to get started with the game - I ran back to the dugout. On my way back, I tripped and busted my chin on the ground. I remember crying so hard - not because it hurt - but because they had to take me back to the daycare to decide if I needed stitches or not. I couldn't believe I was missing the whole game - and I was a captain! They eventually decided that I didn't need stitches - called my mom - and taped some gauze to me. I got to watch Snow White with the 3-4 year olds who were too young to go play kickball, while I waited for my Dad to pick me up.

The scar in the photo that I posted is of a biopsy done on my arm a few months ago. They are still trying to figure out what this mysterious "rash" is, and what is causing it. Basically, they've narrowed it down to it being "contact dermatitis" which is commonly caused by certain laundry soaps, perfume, or body wash. I haven't figured it out yet - and I continue to use my normal laundry soap, perfume, and body wash. As of right now, my body is rash-free... I think it's because of the sun, though. Being in the sun seems to cure it, which is fine by me, because if you know me well, you know that I absolutely LOVE being in the sun!