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On a sunny, crisp Fall morning this week I met with Robert Welsch, of Westover Landscape Design and two of his team at Peabody Outdoor Classroom for a collaborative project with The Public Schools of the Tarrytown.  Robert had kindly donated approximately 2,500 daffodil bulbs for the 7th Grade team Sharks to plant in several prominent locations at Peabody.  Mr Garguilo and the rest of the 7th grade Sharks team directed the children and put them into groups.  They worked diligently and were very enthusiastic.  For many of the students it was their first experience of the new outdoor classroom and it was certainly very well received by them.  Afterall, what better place to learn about nature?

Thank you so much to Tracy Brown, Katie Scully and everyone else involved, for presenting this fantastic idea to the School Board and having the energy and drive to see it through.  This is just the beginning of something truly magical for our school district.  Take some time to bring your family and explore the trails.  The Fall color is spectacular this week and the weather is amazing to go with it.   Unplug for an hour and take a walk in the woods that are right here on our doorstep.

I read a great saying today

Think outside, no box required.

This is so fitting for todays blog post.

LOVE LOVE LOVE this community we live in.

Here is the slideshow of the action packed morning.

Sometimes I think I strive too hard to get the PERFECT shot.

Last Friday was our youngest son, Campbell’s 9th birthday. I always love to get some shots of the boys on their birthday and this year was no exception! Of course I got some great images of him completely in focus, eye contact, following all the “rules”.

However this image below is my favorite. I was stretching my camera in a low light situation and just LOVE the result. Through the grain you can see the happiness on birthday boys face, as he prepares to make his wish and blow out the candles.

This one image will be treasured forever for it is PERFECT in so many ways.

 

 

Happy 9th Birthday Campbell.

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to work on a small pro bono project, something a little different from my usual sessions. The Tarrytown YMCA asked if I could shoot some of the new classes and studios they had recently introduced to their health and fitness program.

Yoga class takes place in a beautiful, sun filled studio. I could have photographed in there all day long, the light was amazing!

Barre classes are proving to be really popular. It was interesting to watch. I am looking forward to trying it out soon.

Boot camp takes place at OnTrack every Wednesday morning with Anna, the drill sergeant! I need this class to become part of my weekly routine too. She is tough.

Wishing the sweetest little girl a very happy first birthday. Such a special day. I remember so well hearing the news that you had arrived. The boys and I came into the city straight after school to meet you when you were just hours old. How time has flown and how you have grown into a beautiful, funny little girl.

Cannot wait to see you again soon.

We made it. Successfully got everyone out of the door on time this morning. No time for the usual outdoor photographs before heading for the bus – it was POURING and so we quickly took a few and then each parent took a child to their respective school.

I am happy to report that both boys seems ok about heading out for a new school year. We shall see what the report is when they come home!

I will try to get one of them together this afternoon. I think they deserve a visit to the ice cream store.

Wow, it feels like summer only just began. The boys go back to school tomorrow and I have mixed feelings about that. I am sad that our days will not be carefree, fun packed, filled with memory making moments, sunshine and sand; however I do need to get us all back in the groove of WORK!

It has been wonderful to take a few weeks off and have some quality family time together. However Fall is rapidly approaching and with that comes school, homework and a busy schedule for all of us.

We took a well deserved back to Cape Cod in August, with our good friends. We were so lucky to have excellent weather every day. We were closely following the weather reports as Hurricane Irene was due to hit the east coast at the end of our week. We made a last minute decision to head home a day early, which was not something that any of us really wanted to do. However we felt that it made sense to get home and prepare our home as best we could for the possible arrival of Mother Natures unwanted visitor.

As it turned out we were very lucky, we had a great ride home, allowing us plenty of time to pack up garden furniture into the house and generally ready ourselves. We were relatively unscathed, with the exception of a few tree limbs down and loss of power for several days. Thankfully no flooding or other damage, unlike many thousands along the Eastern Seaboard.

Here are just a few of my favorite images from our relaxing vacation in Falmouth, MA. I came home thinking that I would LOVE to move to Cape Cod. How do I make that happen?

One of the many reasons I love the Cape is for its network of bike paths. The one close to the house we rented is called the Shining Sea Bikeway. It is just over ten miles in length and offers amazing views for its entirety, passing through salt marshes and hugs the Vineyard Sound coastline.

We headed east on Wednesday to visit the Moody family. We had a wonderful afternoon catching up with everyone. We had a swim in the (neighbors) pool, kayaked on the bay and beach combed for a while too. A full afternoon of summertime adventures.

We figured that is really was a good time to leave when we saw the beach front houses being boarded up in preparation for Hurricane Irene! Sad to have to head home, but we had a magnificent time and cannot wait until next summer to do it all over again.

Watching the slideshow bought a tear or two to my eyes – why did summer have to pass by so quickly? I know that I will sit and watch this over and over again in the depths of winter, when the snow is on the ground. I hope it warms me just a little.

Today is World Photography Day. Grab your camera, take a shot or two. I did.

I thank my two favorite models, they are so patient with me!! Without their “willingness” to be in front of my camera my photography would not have grown. Watch out boys vacation is just around the corner and that means a lot more photographs will be taken!

The shot on the right sends shivers down my spine, as I can almost see the military uniform on him. He was standing to attention with his shovel – all set for some serious digging at the beach next week. Big brother on the other hand will be taking the desk job and issuing orders!

Earlier this week I took a personal day, or should I say a personal morning. It felt so great to allow myself a little “me” time. The boys were in camp and so I planned several weeks ago with two wonderful friends that we would take a tour of Kykuit. Once the home to four generations of the Rockefeller family and now owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation this incredible six story, rambling house truly took my breath away.

If you ever find yourself in the area during May – October it is so worth taking the time to book a tour. We opted for the Grand Tour, a three hour experience incorporating visiting the garden, the two main floors of the house and the basement, as well as the impressive Carriage House with its collection of vintage cars and horse carriages. The basement is home to Nelson Rockefeller’s vast collection of modern art, including many oversized tapestries of Picasso paintings. Having been to MOMA several days before I commented to my friend that I thought the modern art collection in the basement of Kykuit was more impressive.

Unfortunately photography is not permitted inside the house, however I certainly made up for it by capturing a great deal in the grand gardens.

I cannot wait to go back. Next time I think I will take the Garden Tour, enabling me to gain even more photography time!

Of all of the sculptures in the garden I love this one by Henry Moore the most. Our tour guide made reference to how the young Rockefeller children used to enjoy playing Hide and Seek in the gardens and how hiding in between the two pieces was a favorite hiding place. I can only imagine the adventures the children had in these vast gardens. Hide and Seek could have lasted for weeks at a time!

This morning the boys swim team organized a sponsored swim to help raise money for the local chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Before we headed out the door a little before 8 this morning I said “I will sponsor you each one $ a lap. I was thinking 15 -20 laps each was a reasonable amount to donate. As I sat on the pool deck watching them I quickly realized that I was going to be donating a little more than I had expected!

When they climbed out of the pool they came running over to me to announce that they had each swum 56 laps (52 = 1 mile of our pool). Wow, how amazing that at the ages of 9 and 6 they have the stamina to swim for a little over an hour and cover such great distance. I could not be more proud. They understood what they were raising money for and took their role very seriously.

Needless to say they are spending the rest of the relaxing at home.

They even had the energy after the swim to climb up on the lifeguard chair! Could this be in their future???

If you would like to make a donation to this incredible organization please click here.

 

Poems on the Underground

Back in 1986 London Underground introduced Poems on the Underground, a great way to enable poetry to be enjoyed by more and more people. Such a wonderful concept, I remember fondly when it was first introduced. I was always on the lookout for a new poem to read on my way home from work! London Underground have continued to display poems on the underground ever since and have published a series of poetry books, which have proven to be very popular.

Fast forward to 2011 and our visit to London, during our visit we went on the tube with my mum and dad to travel on the London Eye. On the journey home my dad put pen to paper and wrote his literal poems on the underground:

Poems on the Underground

A poem on the underground
I’ve written just for you
To say a special thank you
For our trip to London Zoo

Oh no it was the London Eye
Today that we went on
Another special treat for us
How quick this day has gone

We decided Buckingham Palace
Was a place the boys would like
There were oh so many people there
Some even on a bike

As we left the palace
And headed on our way
A motorcade drove swiftly past
And The Queen gave us a wave

Down to Earth we quickly came
And a pizza next we had
Right now we’re sitting on a train
Heading home to our nice pad

A day out with the family
Where we went on London town
We even saw The Queen today
She smiled at us, no frowns

The London Eye we went on
And viewed the many sights
Whislt spinning around so slowly
We had no fear of heights

We walked right through a lovely park
St. James’s it was called
We ended up at a pizza house
Everybody had a ball

Finally we headed home
To Hornchurch on a train
A hectic day had ended
Someday we’ll do the same again

 

I love how he can just reached for a pen and paper and within a few minutes he had created an ode (or two).  Such a talent.

 

He did write another at the end of our trip which I will post in part iii.

 

As we walked along Victoria Embankment on our way to Buckingham Palace from the London Eye we happened upon the most incredible monument, commemorating the Battle of Britain. We had no idea it existed and so were thrilled to have stumbled upon it. It was unveiled in 2005 by Prince Charles and was created by sculptor Paul Day. The site of the monument was donated by Westminster City Council. The site is based on an existing panelled granite structure 25 metres long. This structure was originally designed as a smoke outlet for underground trains when they were powered by steam engines. It had been filled up and blocked for many years.

The idea for the sculpture came about from the Battle of Britain Historical Society as they felt it important that the battle be recognized for future generations. If this battle had been lost it is possible that World War II could have been lost. Read more about the monument here.

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