weddings and engagements

done some photo shoots in the past week. here's a sneak preview...

hope you don't mind me posting them even though they're not taken in costa rica....


summer snapshots

so I thought it was about time to tell you more about how my summer is going, and pictures are a quick way to do that. and of course I love taking photos, so I have plenty to share! I haven't quite figured out how to load photos in chronological order... so forgive me if it seems like I'm jumping around.

I have been busy planning lessons and overview calendars for my 4th grade endeavors, and I've been making lots of classroom posters! I have also been spending as much time as possible with friends and family, making the most of every opportunity! and of course, I have been nannying and working for my hard-earned living. :)

alright, let's get down to business:

something I really wanted to do this summer was to fly to Florida to see my good friend Qwynne. with some careful financial planning, I was able to do just that! this seagull was at the Boca Grande beach and liked his photo being taken (I have 5 more photos of him, all in different poses, as proof!)

apparently I've been practicing my hand at animal photography as here is another example. this lizard was not happy that I was interrupting his sunning time, as he avoided the camera.
and here's Qwynne. isn't she lovely?
me and Qwynne. we ate lunch at her favorite place called "two senoritas." why a mix of English and Spanish? not sure.

another weekend, my great friends from home (Chelsea on the left, Erin on the right) came to visit me in Elgin and we headed downtown Chicago for the day.
an ambitious young sailor we encountered at the infamous bean in Millennium Park. a flower girl and ring bearer also at the Millennium Park bean. I love taking pictures of kids!
at the amphitheater in Millennium Park.
we walked all over Chicago on the hottest day of the year. we were exhausted at the end of the day!
oh, here we are again at the bean, taking our own portraits!

I had to say goodbye to my dear friend Tiffany. She and her husband, Dave, are headed to Indonesia to teach for 2 years. We'll keep in touch over Skype!
then another weekend, I spent time with these crazy people and their dogs. recognize any of them?
yes, they are racing their dachshunds...
I worked with the Judson University Design Camp for a week in July. here is a critique set-up. Julie and Marjie and I were looking at their work and making decisions about where to take it next.
and we couldn't help but get a Camp photo at the bean. I've spent a lot of time in Chicago!

oh yes, and then I spend quite a bit of time with these fellas. here they are wrestling on the garage floor.
and going into forbidden territory... I have the photos to prove it! :)
I babysat these beautiful girls in June. LtoR: Simone, Chavonne, Vashti. precious and so fun! we did girl stuff like dress up and painting our nails!
and then back to boy stuff: guns and getaway drivers.

I think that's a good quick summary. perhaps I'll post more later :)


hello from florida!

quick trip to florida to spend some quality time with my good friend qwynne. a mini-vacation of sorts. sorry, i don't have my camera cord with me to post photos, but trust me, it's gorgeous! photos to follow :).

this has been a busy summer. my week off from nannying was consumed by the Judson design camp as i was camp counselor and studio assistant. that was lots of fun too! perhaps i'll post some photos of that too.

as i sat in the airplane yesterday, making the journey from Chicago to Ft. Myers, i realized that it is exactly a month before i leave for Costa Rica. wow. everything is happening so fast and i think it's only going to feel faster! Two more weeks of nannying and two weeks at home and... then 10 days until i have my own classroom in another country. sheesh!

i'll be sending out my support letters this next week. if you would like to receive one, email your home address to kathrynsiscoe@gmail.com. thanks!


books, books, books

Only 6.5 more weeks of living in the States!!! Oh man...

I'm beginning to prep plans and paint posters for my classroom. I know I spend way too long on the posters, but it's so much fun! Photos to come when they're finished :).

In reflection of my visit to Sojourn, I have realized that an educational tool that is much needed are books. Sojourn does have a school library, but these books are mostly chapter books and, well, somewhat outdated. I would love to be able to initiate a "book drive" to aid both teachers in teaching and students in learning.

In fact, I already have some book donations. I will take anything. I did notice the library is lacking in picture books, so that might be a starter. But of course, chapter books are welcome too -- Geronimo Stilton, Magic TreeHouse, Chronicles of Narnia to name a couple series. If you need ideas, here's a link to one of my professor's top picks of children's books: <http://www.stevelayne.com/webdata/resources/Handouts/Dynamic_Read_Aloud_Programs_and_Titles_that_Work.pdf>

These would all be great additions to any school library!

I also need to raise some funds to ship the books to Costa Rica. I researched this a bit last weekend at the Post Office and discovered I can send quite a few books for about $40-50.

All that to say... anyone interested? Have some used books? Want to donate new ones? Want to sponsor mailing books to a school in Costa Rica? If so, let me know.


baby steps toward moving from here to there

A detail I didn't think too hard about when I decided to accept the teaching position at Sojourn was the fact that I would have to sell my car. I've been procrastinating on selling my car... because it feels a lot like giving up my independence.

I realized last week that the license renewal sticker expired at the end of the month, so I knew I needed to sell it within two weeks before I was forced to park it or renew the sticker for an unnecessary year-long fee for driving the car another month or two.

So finally, on Saturday, I put "For Sale" signs in the windows. 1992 Ford Tempo, 125,000 miles, 25 miles to the gallon, $1200. You know, all the basics. I also put the information on Craig's List, because covering multiple advertising bases can't hurt anything.I began praying that it would sell before my sticker expires June 30th.

Phone call this afternoon. Set up appointment for 6pm this evening. A family of 4 arrive. He looks under the hood, in the interior and trunk. Offers me $1000. I say I'll give it to him for $1100. Since it will be her car, she drives around the block. He says he'll give me $1100 for it; can they take it right then? I say sure. Sign the title. Empty the glove box of my maps and Kleenex. Unscrew the license plates. Watch them drive away.

Wow, that was fast. Definitely sold it before my two-week deadline (thanks, God!) It sounded like they really needed the car, too, as she had missed a week of work after her car broke down. I'm glad I was able to pass it on to a family that really needed it. Another sign that I'm taking steps in the right direction!


just what you wanted... more photos!

more photos from the trip!!! enjoy :) I apologize, I think they are in backwards order. Oh well, enjoy the captions :)

At the San Jose airport, we had 4 hours to waste, so Jaclyn was sick of me taking her pictures. Her expression says it all.

And again, her "stop taking pictures!" expression :)

Finally on the plane!!! We're all smiles now!

Can you see the lava? We had to go at 4am to see the bright red lava flowing down the volcano's sides.

Costa Rica sunrise!

Vulcan Arenal and the sunrise.

Taking Jaclyn's picture when she least expects it :).

And again, capturing her hands on film.

We ate lunch at this sit-down place for less than $2. That fit nicely into our budget!

The waiter and waitresses at the restaurant. They were teaching us Spanish!

Beautiful leaves.

The outside of the hostel we stayed in. $15.00 a night for the two of us was definitely affordable!

The inside of our room.

Matias helped us set up the activities in La Fortuna. Here we are at his restaurant.

Vulcan Arenal is hiding in the clouds.

We could see Laguna Arenal from the place where we hiked on the volcano.

For some reason, our driver insisted on hiking the volcano trail with us. He is from Romania and speaks Romanian and Spanish -- no English. Interesting communication, that's for sure. We thought maybe he just didn't want to drive back on the really rough road to Fortuna so he joined us. It kind of felt like we had a bodyguard that wouldn't leave us alone.

There's a black squirrel in the grass. Can you see it? We were hoping to see monkeys, but we had to settle for this little guy.


We're back in the States!

So after a 1 hour cab ride, a 1.5 hour bus ride, 4 hours at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, 3.5 hours on a plane to Houston, only 30 minutes to transfer planes, 3 more hours on a plane to Chicago, and a wait for a ride from the airport, we are back in Illinois. Somehow that adds up to a 21 hour day, once we include the lava viewing before the cab ride and a food run as soon as we were back in Elgin. Whew! I'm tired! But it was all well worth the long travel hours.

Here's some photos of our time in La Fortuna. I think we had too much fun. What do you think?

A view from Parque Central in Fortuna. You can see Vulcan Arenal in the background!

A better view of Arenal

Monday, we hiked to a waterfall. This bridge was the easy part of the hike!

Most of the hike was on rocky paths like this.

Here's the waterfall! Ha, just kidding. This was a tiny one on the way.

We could hear the waterfall during the whole hike, like a loud roaring sound. Here's a glimpse through the trees.

We made it! I love this photo.

Compare the size of the waterfall to the people! It's huge!

One of my favorite photos from the day.

A gigantic tree during the hike.

Monday night, we swam at a hot springs. It was gorgeous and definitely much more relaxed than hiking.

Tuesday, we hiked closer to Vulcan Arenal. Here it is hiding in the clouds.

Jaclyn looks so tiny!

Jaclyn and I chose dangerous things to do apparently. I guess hiking waterfalls and volcanoes is dangerous, huh?