Tuesday, June 30, 2009

53/635 - Now Presenting THE VA JJ'S

Jess came over for band practice tonight and we were messing around and decided to put on some ridiculous makeup. I'm talking eye liner, turqupise and purple eye shadow, and blush galore. The whole thing actually started when I asked if a tube of lipstick I found was hers and then she showed me the color and how ridiculous it was so we both put it on. From there is escalated to us doing full-on makeup which was hilarious. We officially started our band on Rock Band and made characters and everything. It was pretty baller. Tuesday night band practice is the best!

My bedroom - Lansing, MI

52/365 - Gettin' Wiggy Wit It

So while I was playing Rock Band in the basement with Jess, I found this random wig we have for some reason and put it on and surprised her. She thought it was ridiculous and I continued to wear it for the rest of the night. I even did a video chat with Leah, who is my best friend, and I totally didn't tell her it was a wig. Since it was so funny, Jess and I thought it would be funny if I wore it to work the next morning to see what the kids would say. When they asked if I had gotten a haircut, I'd tell them yes and then they'd ask to see what it looked like under my hat. I then told them I had a little mishap with some gum and didn't want to talk about it. They all totally bought it. Well, I have swim camp this week so I obviously needed to take it off to go in the pool and one of my campers was like "hey, her hair came off with the hat" and then I told them it was a wig. It was so funny!!! I pulled one over on a lot of people!

My car - Lansing, MI

Sunday, June 28, 2009

51/365 - I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

This is one of my favorite pictures from the weekend. Taylor has a very special place in my heart and I absolutely adore her. She was hilarious this weekend and we had so much fun with her. She would randomly look at me and point and tell me that I was grounded, which I thought was hilarious. Another time she wanted me to pick her up and I was messing with her and telling her no, then she gets this puppy dog face on and says "Please, I'll do aaaaanything." When I said no again, she continued with, "I'll give you candy!" It was so funny. She has the greatest personality and is such a wonderful little girl. I look forward to seeing her every summer.

Camp Rainbear

Saturday, June 27, 2009

50/365 - How To Use Leftovers

Tonight we got to have Messy Night, which is the highlight of Camp Rainbear in my opinion. We have whipped cream pies in the face, a water slide down a hill that is covered in spaghetti noodles, jello, leftovers from dinner, and all sorts of goodies. We all get completely soaked and covered in nastiness then we run down to the lake to rinse off. It is so so so much fun. The kids love it and the adults love it too!!

Camp Rainbear - Mayville, MI

Friday, June 26, 2009

49/365 - Swing Life Away

This year marks my 4th summer in a row at Camp Rainbear. This is a 3 day long camp for kids infected with or affected by someone with the HIV/AIDS virus. It's a fun weekend for kids, parents, volunteers, and staff alike and gives everyone a chance to take a break from life and just enjoy the simple pleasures. I had a terrific time as usual and I plan on going back for many years to come. Anyone who knows me knows that this camp is hands down my favorite place to be in the entire world and I can't explain how much I love volunteering there and seeing the kids. Allison and Molly came with me and we got to talking about how much fun the kids really were having. It's sad to know that so many other youth don't know how to truly appreciate life and the little things it has to offer. So many of us expect to just take, take, take and do so by as little effort as possible. Whereas other people live each day as if it could be their last (and for some of these kids and adults at camp, maybe it could be.) I try to make the most out of each day because I never know what tomorrow might bring. I never know if I'll even be blessed with a tomorrow at all. This is exactly the reason why I'm not afraid to tell people I love them, even upon first meeting them. Some people think the phrase is taboo or something but I don't. I say it several times a day and mean it when I do say it. I've learned so much about myself, others, and life in general through my countless volunteer experiences and try to incorporate everything into my life. I always said if I could make a living off of volunteering for the rest of my life, I'd do it without a second thought. There is something about giving unconditionally without expecting anything in return. I like to be pushed outside of my comfort zone. Hell, I don't even think I have much of a comfort zone. It's pretty hard to make me feel uncomfortable and I like diving into new experiences to see how it can make me grow into a better person. Every experience in life is to help us, whether we see it that way or not.To everyone who has crossed paths with me in life, thank you, and I love you.

The Fowler Center - Mayville, MI

Thursday, June 25, 2009

48/365 - Bright and Sunshiney Day

Sunshine and blue skies are enough to make anyone smile. We've had some really nice days so far this summer.

St. Gerard Softball Field - Lansing, MI

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

47/365 - Bulldozer

Today I went out back at my grandparents' to visit my doggie. It's only been 10 months since we put him down but I still miss him every day. I rode back there on Father's Day with Jamie to see all the work that's been done and we stopped by to see Dozer and I couldn't handle it. I had to walk away. I drove back there again today by myself and sat with him for about twenty minutes and just cried. We got Dozer when I was 9 and I had him all the way through college. Even now when I come home and walk in the front door, I half expect to see him sitting there waiting for me. I'm tearing up thinking about him now.

"Dogs aren't our whole life, but they make our lives whole." RIP Dozer. I miss you every day.

Out back at my Grandparents' - Lansing, MI

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

46/365 - Staredown


Monday, June 22, 2009

45/365 - Out with the Bad

For Arianna's birthday, we went to Hawk Island to swim and play in the splash pad. We were sitting out of the water and Arianna was anxiously awaiting the exact time when she was born and therefore "officially" 10. Allison and I told her that since she was another year older, she needed to get rid of all of the bad things... the whining, the pouting, the fighting, etc. and act like a big girl. In this picture she is taking all of the bad out. I love it!! Let's hope it lasts! :o)

Hawk Island - Lansing, MI

Sunday, June 21, 2009

44/365 - My Last Name

Grandpa and Grandma Clark's - Lansing, MI

Saturday, June 20, 2009

43/365 - Yeehaw

Jess and I went out to The Irish Pub for some karaoke. And by karaoke, I mean me singing and her dancing with anyone and everyone. It was hilarious. We both drank a bit more than we should have, but it was a fun night. I love karaoke and I had a blast. When we got there she immediately found a cute old man with a cowboy hat and decided she wanted his hat. He sang on stage and then sat back down. When he got up on stage again she went up there and started dancing with him and I was trying soo hard not to pee my pants. In the end, she got to wear the cowboy hat. Oh the two of us were trouble with a capital T.

The Irish Pub - Lansing, MI

Friday, June 19, 2009

42/365 - Seeing Double

Karen and Suzy are both leaving Grand Rapids to depart to different places on the East Coast. Karen is going to North Carolina and Suzy is going to New Jersey. I've really grown to love these two over the last two years and I wish them both the best in the years to come. I know I will see both of them again and I am excited for the adventures in store for us in the future. Karen and Suzy are two of the most genuinely nice people I have ever met in my entire life. Karen has such a passion for what she does and I know she will be an amazing teacher. Suzy knows how to make people laugh and I know she will do wonderful things during her time in New Jersey.

Mojo's Dueling Piano Bar - Grand Rapids, MI

Thursday, June 18, 2009

41/365 - My Buddy

This morning I was sitting in the Party Room hanging out with some camp kids... coloring, reading, playing games, etc. I got up to go out of the room for a second and I walked by Diego who was making a little kingdom with all of the giant chess pieces. I thought it was cute so I grabbed the camera and snapped a few shots. Diego is definitely worthy of making the blog considering I've spent the last two days with him and his mom. I love this kid. Every morning when he gets to the Y he comes and finds me and is like "JENNI!!!!" and it's so cute because the excitement never changes. Knowing that I'm that exciting to see in the morning makes my heart smile. I have so much fun with this kids. Every day at lunch he somehow finds me and makes his way right onto my lap. I always give him a hard time about it, but secretly I enjoy it. Diego is one cool kiddo, let me tell you.

Westside YMCA - Lansing, MI

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

40/365 - Hardcore

Tonight I worked out with Jessica and my dad. We're wrapping things up and my dad just has a few exercises to do left. He goes to the punching bag and I'm holding it for him. He does his first set then decides he needs a break and will go do his ball crunches. Jessica tells him he should leave the boxing gloves on, so he does. When I heard this, I ran for my camera and knew it was going to be a picture perfect opportunity. When Jessica heard me say that, she was like "Oooh! I want to be in the picture!" and ran down there too. This picture is ridiculous and I love it. It's hardcore because my dad is doing ball crunches with boxing gloves on for cryin' out loud. That just screams bad ass. And look and Jess go on that air guitar. Man, what a hilarious ending to my night! :o)

The Summit - Dimondale, MI

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

39/365 - A Love Hate Relationship

I've decided that Arianna and I have a love/hate relationship. Well, on her end anyways. I think it's hilarious that some days we're best friends and other days she likes to fight with me and beat me up. Luckily I don't mind and I think it's funny. Allison and I took the kids to Hawk Meadow so the kids could ride on the path and we could walk and it was fun. I love going there because it's so pretty and it's just a good place to relax. Once we were done on the path we just laid in the grass for a good hour doing a whole lot of nothing and I loved it. I love spending time with them because it just feels good to be around people who I can tell like to and want to be around me too. This is my favorite picture of Ari and I. As you can see, it's definitely a "love" moment.

Hawk Meadow - Lansing, MI

Monday, June 15, 2009

38/365 - Flyin' High

Today I took Allison and the kids out to one of my favorite playgrounds growing up. It's in Wacousta and I don't think many people know about it unless you live around the area. It's only 15 minutes from my house and I had cousins who live out there so I know where it is. Wacousta isn't very big so it's not something you'd just randomly stumble upon. The playground is one of those giant wooden ones that is fun no matter how young (or old) you are. The four of us played hide and seek for a while, then played on the tire swings. The kids had a blast spinning and flying. I remember how much I loved the swings as a kid and I saw a little part of me in their grins and laughter. We all have a little bit of an inner child within us, embrace it. Life's too short to take seriously all the time.

Wacousta Elementary - Wacousta, MI

Sunday, June 14, 2009

37/365 - My Best Friend

This is Leah, my best friend in the entire world. She was my first friend at Grand Valley and continues to be to this day. She and I have always gotten along well. We can be serious together, we can be crazy together, we can be old ladies who do nothing but read books together (which is basically the core of our friendship,) we can cheer one another up, make the other laugh, and be everything that being a best friend entails. I've only known Leah for just under 6 years but it feels like it's been so much longer. I have never worried what my friendship with her will be like in the future because I know she is one of the people in my life who is a constant. No matter where life takes us, we will always be friends.

Hawk Meadow - Lansing, MI

Saturday, June 13, 2009

36/365 - Peace and Love

Today was a Bonanza reunion! Leah drove up from Kalamazoo and Steph fortunately had the day off so we met up with her in Howell for some lunch and wandering around the outlet mall. It was so great to see them. These two, plus Alli-son are my only three friends that I have known and continued to be close with since my first year of college. I am so thankful to have them in my life still and don't know where or who I'd be without them. I always envied those people who have had that one friend since kindergarten because I never did. Going away to college was one of the best experiences of my life. I found myself, I found my true friends, and I found out what really matters in life. For all this and more I am grateful.

Tanger Outlet - Howell, MI

Friday, June 12, 2009

35/365 - Skyward

I met up with Karen for dinner in Ionia today, just like we did every Wednesday last summer. I haven't seen her in a few months but it feels like I was never gone at all. My mom's made the comment a few times... "It's like you never left, isn't it?" and I wholeheartedly agree. It's weird to think I was 4,500 miles away, living in Hawaii, for 9 months, yet it really does feel like I never left (minus all of the damn unpacking, that is!) It was so wonderful to see Karen. We grabbed dinner at Olivera's, our favorite place ever, and then wandered around downtown Ionia and chatted. She is one of the easiest people to talk to and I love her for that. We've only known each other for not even 2 years and she and I have grown so close. I'm glad that our friendship extended past Alternative Breaks, which many unfortunately do not. Karen is one of those people I can go a long period of time without talking to and we'll pick right up where we left off. That is a sign of true friendship.

Ionia, MI

Thursday, June 11, 2009

34/365 - Badass in Pajamas

So I'm sitting here looking at all 9 of the pictures I took today trying to figure out one to post (none of which I particularly liked) when my dad came up to say goodnight. He picked up my mirrored Aviators and put them on and then went to go see my mom, who was sound asleep to try and get some reaction out of her. When he came back I told him that he needed to be my picture of the day. This just made me a little bit happier, which I definitely needed right now.

My bedroom - Lansing, MI

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

33/365 - First Strike

Today was another fun day! After camp, Allison and I took the kids to Sharp Park to play and to work on softball stuff with Arianna. We threw around for a while then decided to have her practice some pitching. She was doing pretty well so we got it into her head that she should try pitching in her game tonight, which she of course initially freaked out about, but eventually calmed down. Pitching at that age is hard and no one is great, but she pitched for the first time ever today and this picture is of her first strike! :o) I'm really proud of her and I'm looking forward to helping her practice more this summer and going to more games! Everything is scary at first, but you just have to have courage and try, try, try.

Whitehills Park - East Lansing, MI

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

32/365 - The Gum Lady

This is my friend Allison. She is very special. Today at camp one of the other counselors comes into the room where our camps are eating lunch and is like "Yo Allison, can I have a piece of gum. I know you always got gum!" We thought it was weird that he knew that, but he was right. We counted how many packs of gum she had in her purse and it was over 10. She claims it was because she is always in the mood for different kinds... sometimes mint, sometimes fruity. I just laugh. So after camp we go to Meijer to pick up stuff to make pasta salad. We make a put stop in the candy aisle and lo and behold, where does Allison need to stop? In front of the gum. You better believe I whipped my camera right out. It was a perfect picture opportunity. Don't even ask how many packs are in her car! Well hey, at least we know there'll always be fresh breath around!

Meijer - Lansing, MI

Monday, June 8, 2009

31/365 - Glistening Raindrops

The Summit - Lansing, MI

Sunday, June 7, 2009

30/365 - I've Got Peeps

This is Diego and Arianna. They are pretty much my favorite kids in the world. I met them last summer at the YMCA when I was a camp counselor. We didn't really start playing together and hanging out until much later in the summer, but even throughout my 9 months of living in Hawaii, we kept in touch which made me happy. We wrote letters back and forth, mailed other things, and video chatted (once the technology was there halfway through my time away.) Of all of my friends and family who have been so excited to see me and have me back home in Michigan, these two take the cake with being the most excited. Every time I'd be video chatting with Allison (their mom) and they'd notice, they would literally scream JENNI and it was so cute. If we were on the phone together and they found out it was me... same thing. I am going to be spending a lot of time with them this summer and I am really looking forward to it. This picture needs an explanation. I picked up their mom to come short shopping with me for camp. They find out I'm in the driveway and tear out of the house. We tell them they can't come and they cling to my car and tell me they aren't letting go, even if I drive away. I decide this would be a perfect opportunity to snap some pictures which they eventually started posing for. I love them! I love how happy they are to see me and to spend time with me and I love that it's mutual! I'm fairly certain that this is NOT the first time you will see these two appear in my blog. Here's to the start of a wonderful summer with DJ and Ari.

The Salinas' House - Lansing, MI

Saturday, June 6, 2009

29/365 - Light at the End of the Tunnel

Big Walker Mountain Tunnel - Virginia

Friday, June 5, 2009

28/365 - Mmm Mexican

On The Border - Fayetteville, NC

Thursday, June 4, 2009

27/365 - Delicious Treats

Interstate 77 - Ohio

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

26/365 - Happiness

Waverly High School - Lansing, MI

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

25/365 - Soaring

Northwest Airlines - 30,000+ Feet

Monday, June 1, 2009

24/365 - Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Honolulu International Airport - Honolulu, HI