Author Archives: maryannlieb

Gymboree Play and Music is back in Scottsdale

Adam and Lane Abrahamsen with (from left) Aarik, Aaron and Athena.

The Abrahamsens were the perfect Gymboree Play & Music Family. All three of their children (Athena,  Aaron and Aarik) attended classes. One had made an about-face in personality because of the program and another jumped and giggled to his heart’s delight when he got there. It made sense for the loyal Gymboree Customer to become the Gymboree Franchisee.

Lane and Adam Abrahamsen inquired about the rights to the Scottsdale Gymboree Play & Music location in late 2010 and found that it was available. After months of training, planning and hiring, Abrahamsen Enterprises, Inc. opened the new Gymboree Play & Music Scottsdale on Jan. 31. Their site manager, Kori Newbill, and her staff, have created a wonderful, safe environment where children and their families can laugh, play, sing and climb (that’s the best part!) together.

Lane and Adam are excited to bring the experience their children had to the moms and babies of Scottsdale.

“It’s great to see happy faces, hear sunny laughter and watch toddling babies enjoy time with their moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunties, nannies and our teachers.” says Lane. ” We love what we do and hope the next shy little one comes to us to learn how fun it is to go out and experience what the world has to offer.”

Visit for yourself: Gymboree Play & Music Scottsdale,  7077 E. Bell Rd. #205, Scottsdale. 480-656-0801 or

MaryAnn Ortiz-Lieb


What’s in a picture?

By MaryAnn Ortiz-Lieb

It is that time of year again when we are all taking photographs of our families. This is our way to have memories, keepsakes of time spent together.

For many years, we have gathered our children together and visited photographers. Sometimes we are better at planning and have even made it out to the California beaches in the summer to have family portraits taken by some of our favorite photographers.

We realize that we are a tad bit behind the ball for the holidays, but it is never too late to think about portraits — for graduations, family and extended family gatherings, weddings and all of the other momentous celebrations we enjoy or endure over our lifetimes.

With the Internet and the Facebook craze anyone with a digital camera becomes a photographer — NOT. Each one of these photographers and may I dare say friends are true artists.

Sean Lieb, photo by Brad Reed.

Artistic Impressions by Mara
Mara Blom Schantz

Brad Reed Photography
Brad Reed

Sandra Tenuto

This Is Life Photography
Marisa Danielle Schibilla

Kay & Co Photography
Kay Eskridge

Phoenix Elementary teacher leaves an impression

Twenty-two years ago, when the magazine was just a glimmer in our eyes, I imagined one day that I would follow my dream and become a teacher.

Teaching is the most respected career and one that has endless effects on a child’s life. We can all remember our favorite teacher, one who made a significant impression on our lives. Mine was Frank P Slusarczyk, aka Mr Slu, my sixth grade teacher at St Ignatius Elementary in Cleveland, Ohio. He used to take us outside for class and sometimes he’d play his guitar. He respected us and we respected him.

Recently, I was invited to a Business and Community Partner breakfast at Phoenix Elementary School District #1. Kim Hertzog, director of general studies, followed Superintendant Myriam Roa with a math display.

I love math, always have. I am also a huge proponent for the push to encourage math and science studies, especially for young ladies. Hertzog, who is one of those teachers whose influence will remain with her students, presented a second grade math problem to the business partners in the room and asked us to solve it two ways. She encouraged each of us to work with a partner and think outside the box. Then she shared the many different ways her students solved the problem, sometimes coming up with the correct answer and sometimes not. She focused on the different ways there are to solve a problem. I was impressed.

But the purpose of this breakfast wasn’t simply to test the minds of local business
professionals. It was put together to acknowledge and continue open communication with the business community, and express appreciation for those who had stepped up to assist students in the Phoenix Elementary School district by providing school supplies.

Several community partners had initiated programs. One of the groups in attendance, SCF Arizona, completed its eighth year of “Pack to School.” SCF adopts an elementary school and provides every student with a backpack filled with school supplies.

Students check out the new school supplies they received from SCF Arizona.

The company has donated nearly 10,000 backpacks to Phoenix Elementary students and others across the state since 2004. This year, the school was Garfield Elementary, which has about 450 students, 95 of whom are on the free/reduced lunch program. SCF buys the backpacks and their employees donate all the supplies — including pencils, paper, erasers, scissors, glue, markers/crayons, ruler and sharpener — and SCF designs a bookmark with the school logo for each one.

SCF executives donate so that they can purchase memberships in Treasures 4 Teachers for each teacher. T4T is a nonprofit in Tempe that enables teachers to purchase at a deep discount, or get free, all kinds of items for the classroom.

SCF employees delivered the backpacks to the classrooms on the first day of school, and got to see the kids’ faces when they opened them to see their new supplies. They also donated 160 backpacks to Labors Community Services Agency’s transitional housing program, and to programs in Lake Havasu City and Tucson, through employees in those offices.

I will be back ~ Thanks for the invite, Sara.

MaryAnn Ortiz-Lieb