Teacher Stephanie graduates her class of 2008

Last weekend, Stephanie officially graduated her first class of California preschoolers here in Palo Alto. It was my first time seeing her school, meeting her fellow teachers and of course seeing all of the crazy kids that she deals with every day of the week.

Let me simply say that I have a whole new respect for her and for what she does each day while teaching at that preschool. The kids are awesome and hilarious, but it takes a special type of person to teach them every single day. Isn’t she awesome?

Of course I couldn’t miss out on getting some video of the sweet graduation action. Check out the video below or over here on YouTube when you get a chance and be sure to leave a comment and tell Stephanie congratulations!

Nerds Gone Wild! Photobucket party in San Fran

Last night me and my man Jeff headed up to the ‘big city’, aka San Francisco, to chat with a big time radio station about utilizing the awesomeness of PhotoCrank for their online properties. The meeting went awesome (another post here soon) and needless to say they were really diggin’ what we have going on with the product – which gives me a great feeling going forward. The opportunity is amazing out here in Palo Alto and it seems like with each day more and more doors are opened to me. It’s incredible, really.

After the awesome meeting Jeff and I decided that we needed to celebrate by heading over to an invite-only party that was thrown by the guys over at Photobucket (Wikipedia entry). This entire week San Fran is hosting the Web 2.0 Expo, so almost every cool, hip and rad Internet outfit are throwing parties to celebrate. Photobucket definitely has the means to throw a sweet bash (open bar, food, the works) considering that they were bought by FOX for $250 million about a year ago.

The party was an amazing time and I had the chance to meet some AMAZING people including the 8th guy to work at Napster, the 3rd guy at Photobucket and Jeff even met the guy who created AOL Instant Messenger. God bless that man, I think that me and all of my friends owe him a high five for what he’s given our generation. Like I said, awesome people…now I just need to get in touch with all of them.

Here are a few photos from the bash – click the Crank button in the bottom right-hand corner of each pic for my thoughts on each one and feel free to get your Crank on, too.

Did that really just happen?!?

null It’s true, as of today I am officially a working woman again:) I met with my first kiddo and his family this afternoon and boy am I in for a treat. I drove up to the quaint little house with absolutely NO IDEA what was in store for me. Now, I don’t mean I wasn’t prepared for the talk about the therapy and the various interventions that will be taking place; THAT, I was ready for… I was unprepared for the awesome craziness that I was about to witness. I knocked on the door and the mother welcomed me immediately with a “hello and welcome to the crazy house!”. I laughed and didn’t think too much of it, since I’m used to houses with little ones being a bit more hectic than most. Little did I know that the mother was being absolutely and completely honest with that statement.

Here’s the funny part.. it wasn’t exactly the child that was the crazy one. It was the mother, and I love it! I couldn’t ask for a better family to work for. The conversations that we had within the next 3 hours were most certainly ones for the books! I don’t think I have laughed so hard in such a short period of time in my life. Let’s just put it this way…. we were all very open and shared some pretty hilarious information as we talked about our personal lives with one another. I suppose I’ll try to keep this blog at least G rated so I’ll spare you the details.. but Ryan is going to have the pleasure of hearing some pretty hilarious stories over the next few months as I work for this family that’s for sure! We all agreed that there should be a camera crew working within this household to capture the most hysterical events that happen periodically throughout the day, and that the reality tv show that would spawn from this would be the most viewed of all time, hands down.

Needless to say, this might be the best first day of work that I’ve ever experienced. I was properly initiated into the family and am now ready to get to work as I laugh all along the way.

We all must change…

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I think one of my favorite authors Donald Miller put it best in his book, Through Painted Deserts that everyone must be continually changing and growing in their life in order to be truly capable of living this life to the fullest.

In the forward he writes, “I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently. Only the good stories have the characters different at the end than they were at the beginning. And the closest thing I can liken life to is a book, the way it stretches out on paper, page after page, as if to trick the mind into thinking it is all happening at once. Time has pressed you and me into a book, too, this tiny chapter we share together, this vapor of a scene, pulling our seconds into minutes and minutes into hours. Everything we were is no more, and what we will become, will become what was. This is from where the story stems, the stuff of it’s construction lying at our feet like cut strips of philosophy.

And so now my story is changing. I’ve recently been working at a school for students that have severe disabilities. Since November I had taken on the role of pseudo nurse/caregiver for 55 students ranging from the ages of 5-21. With a background in special-education, I thought that this would be a perfect fit for me for awhile,and in just the few short months that I worked there I fell in love with each and every student. It’s hard not to, trust me. But all good things must come to an end, or so they say ( i’ll believe it when I see it) and since I wasn’t exactly a permanent teacher, just a sub, I decided to move onto a bigger and better opportunity. From the very beginning of my special-ed. career ambitions I have wanted to be an independent consultant. I love being in the classroom, but there is somewhat of a business side to me too that I long to explore. Starting an independent consultation service would be just the right fit for this kind of aspiration.

So like clockwork, God’s perfect timing interceeded at just the right moment. I was beginning to get a little burnt out on my substitute position at the school when a lady contacted me who needed some extra help with her consultation business. I jumped to the opportunity and in no time I now have several families that I will be working with in the next few weeks. The goal of this business is to incorporate a developed therapy plan called ABA therapy into a child’s daily life. I’ll save all of the theory talk for lack of space but basically ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy involves creating a highly structured environment in which a child with autism can more easily grasp the necessary skills for learning.

Sounds pretty fun huh? Well… I think so at least. Special education definitely holds a special place in my heart and I look forward to exploring this new avenue of opportunity. And so, now to continue in my changing season of life, next chapter please.

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