Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Letters to Me

On the way to work the other day, I heard Brad Paisley's Letter To Me and it gave me the idea for this blog post. You can see the lyrics here, or watch the music video. Basically, the song is a letter to his 17 year old self. I thought it might be fun to do a post with letters to myself at different ages. I hope you'll join in and write a letter to your younger self in the comments or on your own blog.

Dear 10 Year Old Self,

Do not... I repeat do not EVER think it's a good idea to systematically steal every single item from your enemy's backpack on a day when he has particular annoyed you. If you do, please think of a better way to do it than signing out and heading to the "bathroom" every five minutes for one whole afternoon. That is bound to raise red flags. Duh. I promise fifth grade will not last forever.

Dear Middle School Self,

That black binder with all the "cool kids" name on it won't matter in a few years so don't bother celebrating the day your name gets on it. Instead celebrate the life long friends you have made, the Spice Girls dances you have made up, the notes that have been passed, the 20 million hours on the phone, and the other luxuries of middle school. Oh and please resist the drama and speak to Tiff at 8th grade graduation, in fifteen years you won't remember what the argument was about, but you will be in each other's weddings.

Dear 17 Year Old Self,

You love life right now, and what's not to love? You've got amazing friends, decreased homework in the form of senior slump, the ever-amazing "free blocks" and seriously competitive bowling games. Be thankful for these simple pleasures every day. I know this sounds crazy but your parents borrowing "your" (aka their) car for one day will NOT be the end of the world.

Dear College Self,

You will not spend one single moment of your life contemplating what you should have been doing in college vs. what you did do. Guess what? It didn't matter at all that you left college the very first night you arrived to go visit a friend from high school. You still made best friends. In only a few short years what you did over the weekend, whether or not you went out or stayed in won't matter at all. What will matter is the meals enjoyed with friends, Boston traditions like ice skating and tree lighting, watching TV with roommates, and summer nights in the pool. Don't judge: quality guys can be found at bars, best friends may at first seem to be your opposite, just because someone is in a different phase than you, doesn't mean they are in the wrong one.

Dear First Year Teacher,

This is going to be a hard year and all the advice in the world is not going to change that. Kids are going to test you, parents are going to test you, your principal is going to test you. You will pass. You will question teaching. You will question yourself. You will spend almost every waking hour trying to figure out how to be a better teacher. You will become a better teacher. Remember, the first year of almost everything sucks. Marriage won't follow this pattern for you, so you have that to look forward to. That AND you will never ever be a first year teacher again.

Dear Wedding Planning Kelly,

aka Kelly "I f- hate weddings!",

Don't discuss the wedding on Sundays and/or after 8:00pm. Don't argue about things you don't care about. Please figure out a better way to record and edit your guest list. Don't let one single person tell you that you will miss wedding planning when it is over, you won't. The wedding will be worth it though.

What would you say to your younger self?

Monday, November 28, 2011

All I Want For Christmas...

I don't know what my deal is but I really enjoy when bloggers that I read make their Christmas wish lists. Yes, I know we have everything we want and need, but it's fun to add to our own internal wish lists with the ideas of others. Who knows, you may even get an idea for someone you need to shop for by reading my list.

Special Note to Eric: I know you hate when I do this, I promise you get your own list and it's probably going to include camera bags. Yes, I need more than one. But didn't you tell me to get you two pairs of sneakers? I knew we were meant to be.

Long Sleeved Shirts


Due to my newfound obsession with sweater dresses, I need some long sleeve shirts to wear under them on cold days. I especially need black and white, since I already have this exact shirt in purple and blue. I highly recommend the JCrew Outlet since they have nice ones for reasonable prices, but I'm really not picky :)

Camera Strap


Totally copying Caroline here, I want this!

Running Tights


As always, I have high hopes of continuing to run in the winter. Most likely this running will happen on the treadmill but hey, it's still running. Sure the Lululemon ones would be fantastic, but I also saw some C9 ones that looked pretty nice at Target too.

Boots, Boots, Boots


I'm kind of loving boots right now. Caroline has these and I have boot envy. I previously though they could never be found again but I just found them on Zappos so now I want them.

Of course I always love gift cards to my favorite stores. Who doesn't really?

What do you want for Christmas this year? Share :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful for Family

I hope everyone who celebrates had a great Thanksgiving weekend, or just a good weekend in general :) I have really enjoyed the past few weeks where I have blogged about the many things I am thankful for. I could easily do it for another month but with Thanksgiving behind us, I think I will finish up today with the number 1 thing that I am thankful for. My family. This includes my little-family, aka Eric and me, as well as my Mom, Dad, sister, brother, and all of Eric's family. I am very lucky to have all nine of these people constantly supporting me and making my life much more fun.

This weekend was a 4 1/2 day weekend for us so we had a lot of time for fun with family and friends. We started the weekend with an impromptu party with Eric's friends. My one condition of having the party was that Eric had to clean up for it and I came home on Wednesday to a sparkling clean house. I swear Eric has speed-ability when he really wants to get things done. I think it's the multi-tasker in me that always makes things take way longer than they should! We also made it look like we planned to have people over all along with our party snacks. I was baking brownies when I took this picture. Just call me impromptu party extraordinaire.


As always at my own get-togethers, I failed to take many pictures but I did capture this keeper of Eric and his friend Brian.


Fun facts about Brian: He is 31 and still drinks Keystone Light. Brian is partially responsible for Eric and my meeting + dating. Brian married us!

Thanksgiving Day was spent at Eric's parent's house. This is year 2 of us doing Thanksgiving at one house and Christmas at another and I continue to love the ease and lack of stress involved. There is something to be said for trying every ridiculous plan before getting married and then finally having a good plan once you do! Oh, and something else to be said for not hating each other at end of every holiday. I mean, what?


Fun facts about Libby the dog: She knows how to give hugs (see above). She is the first Poodle I have known without the ridiculous Poodle hair cut. When she goes for a "walk" she jumps the vast majority of the time.

IMG_1707.JPGFun facts about Nana: She loves my used Vera Bradley bags. She (usually) refuses to smile for pictures. She gets mad at Eric if he does not smile in a picture.


A lovely brothers + cousin shot. Take note of Mike's new tattoo of Dribble.

Friday was spent at my parents house where I seriously failed to take pictures, except this ridiculous one of Caroline, Jake and Eric. Oops.


Saturday we said goodbye to Thanksgiving and got into the Christmas mode. Both families got together to get some Christmas trees.





Once the tree was safely in the house, I went into Boston for dinner with my family. Japanese food is always so eventful!


Then we all joined back together for a big game of Liars Poker, which I now declare the only form of Poker I like. Not sure if this was a made up game or not, but it was fun nonetheless.


The weekend ended today with my mom's fabulous brunch starring my favorite apple french toast.


The rest of the day was spent in super productivity mode. I crossed all but one item off my to do list, which is great because I have a super busy week ahead. I still have grand plans to blog though, so let's hope I do!

How was your weekend? What was the best thing you did?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thoughts on Health

Today I am thankful for my health.

Yes, my stomach hates me as always. Yes, I have spent the past week semi-successfully fighting the cold that Eric and all of my students have. But in the grand scheme of things, these little problems are actually very, very small. Considering the number of germs I must be exposed to on a daily basis, my immune system does a pretty good job... and that's only on the little germs- colds, flus etc. God only knows what things I do that I don't even KNOW about that cause terrible long term illnesses. Oh sure, I obviously don't smoke, I eat healthy etc, but it seems like SO much causes cancer these days I can't even keep track of it all, let alone actually avoid all of these things. It can be overwhelming at times.

It's so overwhelming actually that I've spent the vast majority of my adult life ignoring most of the claims. I've done everything I need to to stay healthy in the short term. I eat healthy food because my stomach will immediately punish me if I do not. I exercise because my stomach and my mind will immediately punish me if I do not. I wash my hands because I will immediately get a cold if I do not. I get plenty of sleep because I will immediately get a cold/lose my mind if I do not. Fortunately for me, a lot of these "short term" solutions will also help me in the long term. But what about things that do not affect me in the short term? Especially claims that maybe are not 100% proven but certainly could be true?

I'm talking about things like taking a daily multi vitamin (which I used to not do because it immediately made my stomach feel terrible), avoiding BPA plastics, using aluminum free deodorant, limiting time with a cell phone attached to my head and along this same lines avoiding unnecessary XRays at places like the airport. This is the stuff I am not as good at. The funny thing is, if I had immediate stomach pain right after putting on deodorant, we wouldn't even be having this conversation, I would've given it up years ago.

Finally, at the old age of 27 I have decided it's time to get more serious about some of the long term health stuff. Recently, I've made some big changes that I hope will be better for me in the long term.


1. I've started taking a daily Multivitamin and Omega-3 supplements. As I mentioned earlier, I have not had good luck with Multivitamins, but I finally decided to splurge on a brand called Rainbow Light. Rainbow Light actually puts some natural stomach-helpers like ginger into their vitamins which helps me to avoid any pain or discomfort after taking them. I have been taking Rainbow Light Calcium/Magnesium pills for awhile with success and the transition to the Multivitamin has been very smooth. I've even been able to handle the version with Iron (not pictured above) because my last blood test revealed I was a little low in iron. Finally, I've had success recently taking one of the pills (it's 3 per day) in the early morning which is something I could never do even long before my stomach issues. If only I could somehow receive an insane discount on these ridiculously priced Vitamins, I would be singing my praises from the roof tops. Hmm, maybe they should give me free vitamins to sing their praises from the roof tops?


2. I have 100% given up deodorant with aluminum in it. Starting about a year ago I began using some of the natural deodorants on days when I knew I'd be home most of the time or at least not in a place where I was likely to sweat. I just feared that they would not work as well. Guess what? I've fully switched over and so far I haven't had any smelling problems... at least that I know about :) The only thing I haven't tried yet is hot yoga, we shall see how that goes!

On my agenda next in tackling my water cooler. You know the office water colorer? Eric and I actually have one of those at home because we like bottled water and don't like buying a million plastic bottles. It's cheaper and easier. My mom has been on me about how this is in fact NOT a good idea because the water bottles are probably filled with BPA (even though they claim they are not) and BPA is absolutely terrible for you. As always, I know she is right so I finally found a local company that will deliver in glass bottles. I'm sure it will be more expensive but I like that it's a family business so I'm willing to pay a little extra. I told Eric today that I am making it my mission of the week to set up this new company so, I'll keep you posted!

It's also probably possible to go broke on health... but then again what's the point of saving money if I don't make it to 30? Something to think about!

What are some things you do for your long term health?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Yesterday was a sad day. We had to say goodbye to Eric's family dog: Dribble. Today I'm thankful for her for providing amusement, cuddles and love for the past seven years that I have known her.

Dribs in photos:









Saturday, November 12, 2011

Three Day Weekends

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love three day weekends. For me it just makes a huge difference to have that extra day as far as getting my mind off work and having enough time to get some things done but also just have fun :)

I missed a few days of posting what I'm thankful for, so to make up for it, I have quite a few things I am thankful for today.

I am thankful for Veterans.


I am thankful to have a busy life, full of great things.

Saturday was a pretty busy day, in a good way. In the morning, I headed to a town nearby to see one of my student's perform in a play. I've mentioned this particular girl many times, as this is her second year in my class. She did a great job remembering her lines and it was the perfect play for her because it was low key, but really cute.

After that I headed home and ate lunch with my mom and got our dining room hutch delivered. It's hard to get me excited about furniture, but I actually love the new hutch because now we can display some of the stuff we got for our wedding and it gives us more storage space which is always useful.

Then, Eric and I headed up to Nashoba Valley Winery with his family to do our second annual wine tailgate.




We keep meaning to do it when it's warmer out, but a busy fall made this the first available weekend for everyone. On a positive note, the holiday spiced cranberry apply wine was available already and that is my favorite so I was happy. I also had like 4 jackets on... so I was pretty warm.

I am thankful for Shutterfly and TripAdvisor. Yes, I am aware of random combination of the two. I've spent the morning catching up on my DVR (does anyone else watch the new show Unforgettable? I love it), making Christmas cards and starting to plan our trip to Seattle/Vancouver for next summer. I love how easy Shutterfly makes it to create Christmas cards, photo books, calendars etc. I love that TripAdvisor feeds my need to read about every possible option for trips before I start formally planning. I'm right now just trying to narrow down where exactly we will go, besides Seattle and Vancouver. I'm thinking maybe a trip to San Juan islands, or Victoria or something else, but I'm not sure what makes sense, how long I need at each place etc. If you have any experience traveling in the Pacific Northwest I would appreciate any advice :) In the meantime, I will continue to play on TripAdvisor.

I hope everyone had a great weekend! What did you do?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Adult Best Friends

In middle school, my best friends and I passed notes in class and talked on the phone for hours every night.

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In high school, my best friends and I played sports together, learned to drive together, got part-time jobs together and shared a limo to the prom.


In college, I lived with my best friends, eating dinner together at night, gathering together for nightly TV shows and watching out for each other on the weekends.

Digital Camera Pics 1113.jpg

When I was a kid, I thought that adult best friends had it so easy. Adult best friends live next door to each other. Their kids play together. Since they are adults, they don't have rules about when they can and can't hang out. Easy.

In reality, I've seen that adult best friends have many more obstacles to overcome. We have work, school (often times work and school), maybe husbands, and it turns out we do not live next door to each other. We are lucky to live in the same state.

But I am still thankful for adult best friends. For our on-the-way-home-from-work phone calls. For our life update e-mails. For our g-chats and facebook comments. For our reunions for parties and weddings. For our dinners and drinks. For the fact that no matter how long it has been since we last saw each other, it's like no time has passed at all.

For the fact that on Tuesday morning no more than 20 minutes passed from my best friend sending a bad news e-mail that the other five (college roommates) had planned a reunion weekend to surround her with love :)



Not that I didn't love a passed note in history class complete with food code names for boys that we liked... cuz that was fun too.

Why do you love your adult best friends?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's the Little Things

Today I am thankful for post it notes :)

At least once every few weeks one of my students will "forget" his or her backpack. I always find it slightly impressive that they walk out of their house without their backpack and usually joke about it with them for awhile. But in all reality, I am a kindergartner. This morning, I successfully walked right out of the house without my purse. In my defense, I did have my giant school/tutoring bag and my lunch so it's not like I was empty handed. But still.

Enter the new post it on my door:


I also use post it's a lot for "To Do" lists. Since I have a life planner and also a school planner, I find it easier to move to do lists around when they are post its. I am definitely a "To Do" list person. On days when I go to work without a plan for what I'll get done before the kids arrive, I am SO much less productive. I need a "To Do" lists. I guess you could say I'm thankful for "To Do" lists.


Do you love post it notes as much as I do?

Monday, November 7, 2011

What I've Been Reading Lately

Today I am thankful for books. I am thankful to the teachers who helped me learn how to read, and to the authors that wrote books that made want to keep reading. I am thankful that I still love reading (even after all my high school English teachers attempt to ruin it with terrible books!) and that I have many people in my life who enjoy talking about and recommending books.

In the spirit of that I have some book recommendations for all of you :) If by some chance you have some little ones in your life who enjoy reading books on a preschool/ kindergarten/first grade level, please check out Little Oink, Little Pea and Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal... so cute and pretty amusing too. But the rest of my book recommendations are for adults, I promise.


I got the idea to read this book from browsing Lisa and Nora's read books on GoodReads :) Both of them enjoyed it so I thought I would too. In this story, a husband and wife pass away and their children come to stay at their Bed and Breakfast for their funeral. While there, the "children" (grown adults) learn that mom and dad wrote letters to each other every week throughout their marriage. As you read the book you learn more about the marriage and also about their children. This was a very fast read and I enjoyed it a lot. I felt attached to the characters and wanted to know what would happen to them. Plus, it's just nice to finally read a story where the husband and wife actually like each other despite many ups and downs over the course of a long marriage.


My mom has been telling me to read this book for awhile but I kept forgetting to get it from her so finally I just took it out from the library on my Kindle. This book explores the many life changes caused by a scandal at a private boarding school in Vermont. I thought the story line was really good- and it should probably be required reading for all high school kids, seriously. However, I personally would've liked it better if she chose to focus on less characters overall- there were times when I was like wait WHO is this person? I know her point was to show just HOW many people were affected but I found myself caring less about the characters because I didn't know them as well. Still I thought it was a good book and I'd recommend it especially if you like Anita Shreve's writing style.


Okay yes, this is totally the 10 years later Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I didn't say I was recommending classics, did I? I just loved these books when I was in college (I was going to say high school but the first one came out when I was in early college, oops). I had read reviews that this book was depressing, and I can see where those reviews came from but I thought overall it was really happy, and more just realistic of how life changes and some serious things can happen when you are no longer in high school anymore. It was fun to see what happened to my favorite characters and in the end I thought it was quite uplifting :) If you were a fan of the original books, I definitely recommend checking out the 10 years later book.

Next up, I am about the start The Postmistress which is our blogger book club book this month. I'm a little nervous because I've been told the beginning is slow and I am bad at making it through slow beginnings. I will really try though.

Who has another book recommendation for me? What have you been reading lately?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful for Weekends

I hope everyone is having a nice weekend. It's been a pretty relaxing weekend over here which was definitely due after the last few weekends of class and trips. I didn't have a chance to post what I was thankful for, but don't worry I've been thankful for something every day :)


On Friday I was very thankful for my first round of conferences being over. I had a great round of conferences. Parents were very accepting of suggestions that I made and very appreciative of the progress their children have made so far. If only every round of conferences could go that well, I may not mind them so much. Maybe. I celebrated conferences being over with a few friends after work and then by going to my favorite restaurant with Eric.


All homeowners can relate to my Saturday morning. I open up the cupboard under the sink to grab a bag and some bad smelling, sticky, brown stuff is all over the bag I was about to grab. I immediately yell for Eric to come check it out and after pulling everything out from under the sink we realize the disposal has been leaking and it's destroyed all the tile under the sink AND it's still leaking. Begin internal freak out: Oh my god, I have to call the plumber on the weekend AGAIN and it's going to cost a million dollars and what if we need a whole new disposal and what are we going to do with all the stuff under the sink and it's going to cost a million dollars and CRAP I hate calling people especially on the weekends. Even Eric had a (much smaller) internal freak out thinking that he really doesn't know much about plumbing and what if he turns something and it ALL comes flying out at us.

Luckily the two of us calmed down enough to call Eric's dad, who was at our house within the hour and the two of them set out on Operation: Fix Disposal. Several hours but only $17 later, everything is fixed and I did not have to call a single person NOR did I have to shell out god-only-knows how much money. Oh, and most importantly, I don't have any nasty brown liquids coming out below my sink.

And that, my friends, is when I decided that I am thankful I married into a family where household problems are just another challenge to be solved :)


Today I am thankful for the foods of fall. Sure, we've already had a big snow storm here, but technically we are still in fall and will be for awhile. Fall is my favorite season when it comes to food: squash, apples, pumpkin etc. This morning I cooked up a couple of delicious honeycrisp apples and enjoyed them on top of some pumpkin oatmeal. This combination gets old for me come springtime, but then I'm ready for it again when the cold fall air rolls back around.



What is your favorite season for food? Do you have someone in your family who is good at fixing things? (I hope so!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Milky Ways and Mountains

No, I'm not thankful for Milky Ways and mountains, well I suppose I am, but that's another post :)

Today I am thankful for kids.

I know, it doesn't happen every day, that's for sure! I kinda love my class this year, and not because they are easy, because they are definitely not. Every year seems to come with it's own new set of challenges :) But I just like these kids. They have some great personalities and even when they are being crazy (which they have been all week- thanks a lot whoever decided Halloween would be on a Monday), they are still pretty cute.


I have this one kid who is a small kid with a huge personality. Today he was trying to explain to me where a girl in our class lived and he actually said, "yeah she lives just right up the mountain from me." HAHAHA... there are no mountains in the town I teach in. There is maybe a hill... but he doesn't live near it. I seriously can't even picture any remote hill in his neighborhood so it must be something really small and yet he refers to it as the mountain. Amazing.

Same kid, the other day I'm working with him in a small group on the most boring skill ever... breaking sentences into words. I'm trying to make myself not want to cry while teaching so I was making up sentences about Halloween. I asked him what his favorite candy was so I could say "D's favorite candy is _____" He tells me that his favorite candy is Milky Way. I said, I love Milky Ways too. End of conversation. Move on to teach seriously boring lesson. Today... what does he bring me but a Milky Way?! This means he not only remembered that passing comment but ALSO gave ME one of his favorite candy. Probably the most delicious Milky Way I ever had.

Now if only I could find a way for kids to have less germs, we'd be smooth sailing.

Are you a kid person? Tell me a cute kid story. Ready... go!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Walks and Talks

I'm already loving my thankful challenge because it's making me think several times a day, "oh I'm thankful for this, I could blog about it!" I had lots of ideas for today but one stood out as the best.

I am thankful for late afternoon walks with Eric. Sometimes it's a run, and I'm equally thankful for those, but today it was a nice long walk around our favorite reservoir in the area...



It's so nice after a long day of kiddos and conferences to just debrief the day with Eric and enjoy the nice scenery. Oh, and play with Instagram on my phone...




Ah, this might be almost as fun as getting my new fancy camera in the summer. Almost.

Do you ever take a break from running (if you run at all) to just go for a walk and soak in the scenery?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Thankful November

In honor of the month of Thanksgiving, I am going to challenge myself to tell you one thing I am thankful for every day. Some days I may have another blog topic and some days it might be super short, but hopefully (if all goes to plan) I will post every day. I hope many of them will be simple pleasures in honor of the fact that there are so many in life that often go completely unnoticed.

Today I am thankful for the beautiful sunrises I've had the pleasure of seeing on the way to work for the past two weeks.


The picture doesn't really do it justice (it turns out driving while taking a picture is maybe not the best... oops). Basically I come up over the hill and I look in front of me and I can see the Boston skyline with a beautiful sunrise behind it. You can kind of see the skyline in the picture on the right, just before the trees. Although this is my commute most mornings (except when I tutor), I usually miss the sunrise because I'm either too early or too late. However, the timing working well the past few weeks has made it okay that it is has been pitch black when I wake up :)

Tell me something you are thankful for today. Join me in this challenge if you want :) I know Canadians don't really celebrate Thanksgiving in November, but it's always good to be appreciative, right?