My Photography

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Springtime in Ifrane

While school was out last week, Othman and I made a short trip to Ifrane, a small town in the Moroccan mountains about four hours away. He had caught a nasty chest infection so in addition to needing a break from Casa and everyday life, we were in search of fresh, clean air.

And we got lots of it.

We followed paths, roads, and streams,

found wildlife,

(of course these were Othman's favorite.)


trees full of character,

and signs of spring.


We visited Ifrane's famous lion at night,

and were impressed with the giant seal of Morocco on display.

It was a trip that made me wonder...

why hadn't we done this before?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Lion King

WOW I work at an amazing school. During the second week of April all of the teachers and students in grades 2 through 5 pulled off a spectacular feat: preparing and performing The Lion King! 

Zazu and Scar at Pride rock. My camera performs very poorly in the low light of the
theater but for the purposes of this blog that's a good thing, because I can picture
the kids without them being identifiable.
Fourth and fifth grade students auditioned for the speaking roles, and every other child in grades 2 through 5 appeared at least three times during the performance, so as you can imagine it was a huge team effort. A 5th grade teacher wrote the script and directed 1/2 the play, 2nd grade teacher #1 directed the other half and choreographed it all, the music teacher taught all the kids their songs, 2nd grade teacher #2 designed ALL the costumes and set pieces, the art teacher helped out with that, and the rest of us helped them all put their plans into action! 

Kids lining the aisles singing Circle of Life during the dress rehearsal,
attended by Nursery through 1st grades.

Though the main cast had already been rehearsing their speaking parts after school for a month, the rest of it, including costumes, songs and choreography, got pulled together in just a week. 

Dead Mufasa with guilty Simba and Scar

Each grade was assigned a song, and all the grades sang Circle of Life at the beginning and end of the performance, so they had to learn and memorize the music for their songs. Then each class had to learn their choreography no mean feat considering this included more than 200 kids.

I just can't wait... to be KING.

The same song during the performance, with the second graders turned
into elephants, zebras and giraffes!

Throughout the week the students made their own costumes in class, which involved lots of messy painting, cutting, and hot gluing, with super adorable results. For teachers it was all hands on deck, especially considering quite a few teachers were working on the play all day and needed help covering their classes. Being a specialist teacher meant all my classes were canceled and I was just helping out where needed, which meant I didn't sit down much the whole week! Plus since I'm the unofficial lower school photographer this year I was kept busy documenting the whole thing. I ended up with lots of great photos that I can't post here since they include the kids' clear and smiling faces!

 The play really came together when it needed to, and was a spectacular success! The parents, teachers and students were all incredibly proud!

The fifth graders had the hardest song: Be Prepared. But they did a great job
not only singing but also looking evil and scary!
Before the final performance for the parents on Friday at noon I made sure that the slideshow I had put together of pictures of the preparation during the week was playing in the auditorium. Then I ran around and got pictures of each class in their costumes! Here are the classes that had masks and I therefore feel comfortable picturing here:

Elephants, frogs, monkeys and birds!

It was an exhausting week (my FitBit logged soooo many steps) but tons of fun and well worth it! But of course the fact that the next week was Spring Break certainly helped us all get through it cheerfully. One way or another, I'm so thankful and proud to be part of a school that can accomplish so much!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Coloring fun

Casablanca's annual book fair happened a few months ago and Othman and I got it together enough make it there this year (usually we find out about the dates a few days/weeks after it's finished). It's a massive affair and for this girl who gets anxious in crowds it's quite an ordeal. This time we managed to make it in and out, shoving our way through the masses of people, in under 45 minutes, so that made the adventure less overwhelming. What did we buy? Oh not much... just $40 worth of coloring books! 

One was a gift for a friend, two are for painting that I've only experimented with so far, and I got this mandala coloring book that I've been loving. Working on one of these as I watch a show is a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon.

I've had fun playing with different color combinations, as that's one thing I know I need to work on with my art; I have a hard time knowing what matches and how many colors to put. The fact that I'm coloring all of these with only a 12-pack of Crayola colored pencils limits my choices and makes things easier.

Forgive the lopsidedness of these pictures it's hard to photograph a book that barely stays open! 

If you've ever thought about buying an "adult" coloring book but haven't made the plunge yet,  I'd recommend going for it. You may find it fun, relaxing and rewarding like I do, or at worst if you decide coloring isn't for you, you'll be able to hand it off to a friend or coworker who does enjoy it and they'll like you all the more!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

It's National Siblings Day!

What to say? I have the best siblings! We're all so different and unique and bring different things to our family to make a whole.

Patrick: the engineer. gets really excited about dorky things. ubersmart. the generous one. makes us laugh like crazy. 

Gus: the linguist. the social butterfly. laid-back. enjoys the good things. guitarist # 1. unfailingly cheerful.

Thomas: the geo-genius. the quiet one. guitarist # 2. the workhorse of the family. always steady. the gamer.

Isabel: the piano virtuoso. naturally-good-at-everything-but-you-somehow-can't-hate-her-for-it. the leggy one. master of efficiency. future best teacher ever.

Maria: the philosopher. the writer. the singer-pianist-organist. thoughtful. helpful. the (other) steady one.

Tessie: the artist. the teenager. the (other) one who gets really excited about dorky things. the guarder of colors. Dr. Doolittle.

We really are a patchwork of talents and passions and beauty! I love you and miss you alljust because I'm far doesn't mean I don't think about you every single day. See you this summer!!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A new project

The inspiration, found long ago on the internet and saved to desktop (though I'd love to take credit for the idea):

The studies:

The canvas (Othman helped with the drawing part) and workspace:


Saturday, April 2, 2016

An afternoon at the beach

Last Sunday Othman and I ventured off with Gioia and Driss to a beach outside of Casablanca that we hadn't been to in years. First we filled up on lots of fresh fish at a busy little restaurant by the port, then we drove off and found the entrance to the beach we wanted. We parked behind a row of houses and walked up the path, the sound of the waves getting louder each moment. We paused for a moment for a photo.

This next picture is ridiculously over exposed but I find it too cute not to include! These two are such good friends and Gioia and I just love that.

The majority of the time we just relaxed, enjoying the sun and the view while lying around.  

But we also wandered about and found some cool stuff:

Othman and Driss made a game of throwing pebbles, trying to hit off the smallest top rock of the construction below. There ended up being many incarnations and rounds of the game! I'm not sure I ever won though, oops.

One rock even turned into a big project: Othman found this one and got an idea... 

So he and Driss planned...

Went to work...

And voila the final product!! It's sitting in our living room now and never fails to make me smile! Othman has been a lover of everything-dinosaur since he was a kid, and it shows!

A little while later, Driss took some nice pictures of us girls; thanks Driss!

Eventually the wind picked up and the sun's heat weakened, and it was time to go. But not before getting some group pictures!

The day was the exact mix of fun and relaxation that we all needed!