Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 12 of 2012

Why not relive my Top 12 Favorite Moments of 2012? Here it goes!

Cape Cod Beach Jump.  See how excited we look? It's the January promise of a new year...416402 10100105461511097 1853989146 o
Toasting at the Top of Cathedral Rock- We had another amazing trip to Sedona with many highlights. I loved hiking to Devil's Bridge with my cousin as well, so that moment is a tie with this one. I love the Cathedral Rock hike and somehow we had to foresight to bring drinks to the top with us this time, because why not?
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Car Ride to Vermont. One of my college friends got married in Vermont this May, so we took a road trip up there with Katie and Adam. The backroads of Vermont are a unique spot, and finding Katie's mix from high school really added to our fun.
Meeting the Babies. This year three of my best friends had babies and meeting each of their babies was a special moment. I was completely shocked by Tiff's baby Lia, how SMALL she was! I've become more used to the smallness now but I'm still amazed by the kids. I have to admit that before this year I really didn't understand the greatness of babies, I prefer walking and talking children. I'm still not a "baby person" but I've come to love and appreciate Teddy, Lia and Liam because I love their moms so much.
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11 Mile Hike- Our week spent in Seattle with my college roommate Ash this summer was definitely a highlight of the year. I loved our 11 mile hike on the Olympic Peninsula. It really hard to hike on a beach for 11 miles, but yet there was something so peaceful about it. Plus, we really deserved that Thai food we had for dinner! IMG 5198
Train ride to Vancouver. Truthfully this whole trip was amazing. I got to "meet" Lisa, Amber and Anais and explore a beautiful part of Canada, all in less than a week. They are all so much fun to hang out with and such great friends, so it's difficult to pick a moment of this trip that I loved the most, but man that train ride up to Vancouver was unexpectedly so much fun. I wish all train rides could be this fun.
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Summer of Weddings. I know this isn't a moment, but Eric and I had 6 (or was it 7?) weddings this summer and we had the absolute best time at all of them, it's impossible to choose one moment.
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Inspiration Point in Grand Teton National Park. Another amazing trip this summer was a week spent with my family in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The beginning of the Inspiration Hike was a low point for me as my stomach was still really bothering me from the plane ride before, but eventually I recovered and got to see an absolutely beautiful view at the top.
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Crossing the finish line in Triathlon #3. Another highlight of my summer (obviously I love life in the summer) was training for another triathlon with 3 amazing friends from work. We had a blast meeting up for swims and bike rides all summer long. Then, we had even more of a blast doing a triathlon together after we survived the first week back at school.
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Cape Cod Visit. Most years Eric and I spent at least 1-2 weekends a month at the Cape. However this year with my parents house closed up, we only visited occasionally. This fall we took a trip down and stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in our old stomping grounds. We had the most relaxing weekend, visiting our favorite restaurants, taking a cruise around the harbor, walking the beach several times and both reading the same book and talking about it nonstop. We didn't even turn on the TV the whole weekend, which is pretty crazy for us.
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Dance Party with the kindergarten kids. My kindergarten class this year has it's challenges, but this past week I tried to focus only on the amazing things about them. They love, love to dance. We enjoyed so many great dance parties this week. They especially love the Kidz Bop version of "Call Me Maybe" (it actually says "smile showing" instead of skin was showing… amazing) and Cotton Eyed Joe.
Christmas Eve 2012. This was our third year hosting a Christmas Eve celebration and it was as much fun as it always is. I decided to give it a theme this year, and it was "Christmas Around the World." We enjoyed some food from around the world, and everyone shared where they most want to go in the world. Another addition was that our friends Sarah and Brian joined in the fun. Sarah and Brian are Jewish so we did an awesome "religious exchange" program with them this year. They served us a delicious Hanukah meal and taught us how to play dreidel. We got them their first Christmas tree and decorated it. Then, we finished it off when them joining our Christmas Eve celebration. Fantastic way to end off another wonderful year.
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What were your top moments of 2012? Share! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Helpers

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." - Mr. Rogers 


I feel like I need to say something, but like everyone, I don't really know what to say. 

As you all know, on Friday, 26 people were killed in an elementary school shooting. From what I can tell from the name/birthday victim list, it looks like most of what happened was in a kindergarten and first grade classroom. Kids who were born the same year, the same month, even maybe the same day as my 22 little kindergarten children. 

Meanwhile, I was at work, in my kindergarten classroom trying to get 22 excited for Christmas and vacation children to listen to one single word I said. My phone was vibrating in my purse, but I was busy attending to IEP meetings, concert dress rehearsals and trying to manage the tears and whines of "he pushed me!" and "but she cut me in line!" 

After work I continued blissfully in my work-related bubble, with a work holiday party and some after party drinks at our favorite bar. It really wasn't until I got home that night around 9:30, that I started to be exposed to Facebook and Twitter and realize what really happened on Friday. It wasn't until I had checked my work e-mail and seen more than one parent asking me what I planned to tell the kids on Monday...

It wasn't until I started reading the stories of teachers my age, with students the same age as my students, who had to shield their students from a killer, or barricade themselves into a bathroom with twenty something students… 

It wasn't until I saw the list of victims names, and their birth dates… 2005… 2006… that I realized the magnitude of what happened in Connecticut on Friday and how lucky I am that my biggest problem that day was students pushing each other in line, or fooling around when they were supposed to be writing. 

So where do we go from here?

Well I don't know. I really don't. I'm not going to point fingers and blame this person, or that law. I'm not going to blame the media, though I am going choose to not say (and hopefully eventually forget) the name of the person who did this. I choose instead to discuss the heroes, the helpers, and the kids. Victoria Soto was a 27 year old first grade teacher, who hid her students in closets and cabinets to protect them. Both Victoria, and her colleague Anne Marie Murphy, died shielding their students. There was a little girl (age 6) named Charlotte Bacon who was killed on Friday. Her mom reported that Charlotte had been wearing a beautiful pink dress and new boots that were supposed to be for Christmas on Friday. Apparently, her mom wanted her to save them but Charlotte insisted on wearing them to school. I can see this image of Charlotte in so many of my little girls. Chase Kowalski, another victim, also six year old, completed his first mini triathlon this summer and won it. There are many more wonderful, but heart breaking, stories like these. 

I hope that when my own students test my patience this week, and I know they will, that I don't let one second go by where I forget what is really important, that they will have the luxury of choosing their outfit the next day, of riding their bike outside if it's warm enough or playing in the snow when it comes. 


Also, some reads that I have found interesting this weekend: 

On letting the nurturer's nuture

On 26 moments that restored our faith in humanity this year

On being the mother of a mentally ill child

And of course, where I got the stories I mentioned above: On portraits of the victims





Sunday, December 2, 2012

Music, Miles, Looks, Books of November

Another month has passed and I peaked at my goals yesterday to see if I had met them… and I met, not a single one. Haha, oops! Let's just pretend that didn't happen :) 



It's all about Christmas music in my world right now. The country music Christmas station on Pandora is on repeat right now. Here are some of my favorites: 

Christmas in Dixie- Alabama + Kenny Chensey

I'll be Home for Christmas- Rascal Flatts

Away in a Manger- Brad Paisley

Put a Little Holiday in Your Heart- LeAnn Rimes

Thank God For Kids- Kenny Chesney (I'm not sure why this qualifies as a Christmas song but its on Kenny's Christmas cd so it goes here… absolutely love this song, use it in my end of the year kindergarten slideshow every year).



I ran this month, probably twice a week. I have no record of how many miles. That's about all :) 



About a month ago, I saw Caroline wearing a dress that I just had to have. I love it...

Here I am wearing my own:

Kelly dress 

And borrowing Caroline's:

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Obsessed. If I could own it in 12 colors I would. But alas I could not because it was on major sale and there were only 2 colors left when I got there. Oh well, won't complain about a major sale. 

Get ready to see an irrational amount of sparkles/sequins in my December outfits. 



It was not the best book month for me, so please send some recommendations my way. I'm still confident I will hit my 50 book challenge because I fully plan to spend my end of December vacation reading 5 books if that is what it takes, which it might if I don't start reading again right now haha. In my defense, I am taking a class right now so a lot of my reading has gone to that. I don't know how Iowa Amber reads so many books while in school, I can't do it. 


This is a story about a mother who has her second baby and learns right when she is born that her daughter has Down Syndrome. I personally thought it was a honest and very feel-good story. Probably my favorite read of this month. 


The history of this book is fascinating because it's about the people in Germany who were against Hitler (obviously they weren't in Germany for long!) It was something I hadn't read much about, so I loved that part of it. But the fiction part was a little flat for me… could be just me though. 


Obviously, I read this for work. I have a student this year who's parents have been using this approach for him and it's been working well so I'm trying to apply some of it at school. It's actually a really interesting approach and validates a lot of what Eric and I say we personally think works best with kids (hint: it's not just being mean and telling them what to do all day haha). It's a bit hard to change the mindset of "I am the adult and you are the kid so you will do what I say" (which by the way, is not a mindset I am against!), but it does make a lot of sense. I'd recommend this book for teachers and parents, even if your child isn't particularly "explosive." 


Goals for December 

I've set goals every month this year (I think?) so I'd love to finish on a high note! 

1. Take 1 photo every day and post to Facebook. I'd love to do a 365 day photo challenge, but I'm scared. I don't post pictures of my students and I don't have kids or a dog, so that kind of gets rid of all the default photos haha. I'm going to try to do it for the month of December and see how it goes. It's been one day and I put a photo up last night, so day 1 = done. 

2. Read 5 books. I have to be on my reading game this month to meet my 50 books in 2012 challenge. Second recommendations my way, please!

3. Stick to my own treats. This is a time of year of treats. Most important, Gharadelli Peppermint Bark is back. Heaven. Anyway, point is- there are enough treats around, I don't need to steal Eric's and therefore eat double the treats. I started this a week ago and so far I'm doing well, heres to hoping I can keep it up for the month. 

4. Enjoy the season. Ask Eric, I tend to wish away the Christmas season, not because I don't love it… I love it. But my kids at work are EXHAUSTING at this time of year and I get into "just get me to vacation" mode. But, this year I am not going to do that. I got all my Christmas shopping done already and all I really have to do is some wrapping and putting together… plus read 5 books and finish the class I'm taking. But I can do that. I know I can. So, I'm going to enjoy. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I didn't do much of a thankful post this year, but I am definitely thankful for four day weekends. I didn't take any photos on Thanksgiving Day, but I spent it with Caroline, so you can see her blog for way better photos than I would've taken anyways :) 


As I mentioned in my last post, my 10 year high school reunion was on Friday night. It was a lot of fun and good to see some old friends I had not seen in a very long time. And some friends I am lucky enough to see all the time...


Of course I stayed up a million years past my bedtime and paid for it in the morning, but I think in some ways I am much tougher than my high school/college self because I got myself up and went on an unplanned day trip with Eric on Saturday. We headed up to York/Ogunquit Maine to check out some possible houses to stay at in the summer with Eric's family. 


In between the search, we enjoyed some of the beautiful scenery in Southern Maine. I have to admit that before Eric and my last trip to Ogunquit, I only had a few (but all positive) experiences in Maine and I'm really looking forward to spending a week up there this summer and getting to know it better. It's kind of like a cool mix of Cape Cod and New Hampshire, with it's own unique twist and I am so lucky to live so close to so many beautiful places like this. 

Nubble Lighthouse, York. 

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 Perkins Cove, Ogunquit

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We ate dinner at a delicious restaurant in downtown Oguinquit called The Front Porch. Katie recommended it and it did not disappoint. Also, I think we found a house to rent next summer. So, success all around!

Today, it's all about productivity. I'm finishing up Christmas cards and getting some work done for class.

How was your Thanksgiving weekend (if it was Thanksgiving for you!) and what is your favorite place to go on a day trip from your home?  






Tuesday, November 20, 2012

High School. 10 Years Ago.

This Friday is my 10 year high school reunion. I'll spare you the "I can't believe it's really been 10 years speech" but believe me, I'm thinking it. 


I have had two reunions before this, my five year high school reunion and my 5 year college reunion, which was about a year and a half ago. Both I thought were going to be terrible for various reasons. Both were actually a lot of fun. So, I have low expectations for this one, with the understanding that it will probably (hopefully) exceed them. 


In no particular order, here are a bunch of things I thought in high school, that turned out to be wrong :) 


1.  It mattered a lot what I wrote under my picture in the yearbook It doesn't. t actually forgot what it said until my friend texted it to me yesterday. I now don't know what half of it means. But I know it was important to me at the time, and the people I referenced were important as well. I had a fear that if I wasn't friends with someone anymore I'd regret referencing them in my quote. Apparently I thought I was the type to have blow out fights with people. I'm not. 


2. It's going to be super hard to stay friends with my high school friends.  In fact, it's been quite easy with most people. Sure we don't see and talk even close to as much as we did in high school, but I still consider many of those people my friends. I listed 10 people, and of them 7 were at my wedding. Two of the three who were not I've talked to in one way or the other in the last 6 months. I still have a special place in my heart for all 10 of them. 


3. College will be the best 4 years of my life. Don't get me wrong, college was fun, however, like any time period in life there were many wonderful things about it and a few struggles as well. 


4. Time with family is not important. I've mentioned before that friends have always been a very important part of my life. In high school and the early years of college, I sacrificed a lot of time with my family to hang out with my friends (like many kids at this age do). I now value time with my family over pretty much everything. 


5. I knew everything. When you are 18, everyone wants to tell you that you don't know anything. I knew that was wrong, so I thought instead I knew everything. It turns out, they were wrong and I was wrong. There was a lot of great stuff I did know at 18. There was even some stuff I knew at 18, temporarily forgot, and had to learn again. I think I was a great friend-picker when I was 18 and I think I was a good friend to others during my high school years. But, of course I did not know everything and now I have learned- I still don't. Does anyone? 


What did you think in high school that turned out to be wrong? 



I know I knew everything. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Music, Books and Looks of October/Goals for November

Well hello everyone, I am reemerging from a few days without internet. Yay! I have to admit over the weekend, I was TOTALLY not buying that Hurricane Sandy was going to be a big deal. Eric and I were at the Cape and I took this gorgeous picture of the calm before the storm...

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As I always am when I am stupid enough to question God/nature, Sandy came back to bite me in the bum. I had no school on Monday or Tuesday, the wind was CRAZY on Monday night and we lost power around 6:00pm on Monday and it didn't return until 4:00am today. On Wednesday at work we all had parent conferences and some had Halloween activities as well. When I got to work on Wednesday at 6:40 am (which is a full 2 hours before the kids arrive), a LOT of teachers were already there. Everyone was freaking out because we all expected to have Monday and Tuesday to get things done. I have to admit I was feeling calmer because I totally snuck in the building on Tuesday to print out report cards and set up for conferences, mine started at 7:20 and I didn't want to be totally unprepared. Of course I hadn't showered, so I put on my nicest work dress to make up for it haha. I did shower at swimming the night before I swear!

Anyway, October! 

I did well with my goals: I read a long book (849 pages!), I went to swimming class and challenged myself with crazy drills, and I signed up for a grad class and technically started it this week except for the technical difficulties :) I did not go to yoga. Oops. 


I don't have any new favorite songs at the moment, but I really like this kind of silly one right now: 

One More Drinking Song- Jerrod Niemann



I only read 2 books this month, which is my lowest number in a long, long time. But I purposely didn't set a number goal because I knew I would have parent conferences and report cards to manage and plus I wanted to read a really long book. That, I did, so yay! 

Sam s letters to jennifer

Another fun, super light read by James Patterson. It was a quick read but I definitely enjoyed it. 


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My friend Sarah recommended this book to me and I knew it would be the perfect book for me to read since I wanted to try something longer this month. I ended up convincing Eric to read it at the same time and we had a little healthy competition going during this book- whoever would get ahead would torture the other by telling them just enough to be annoying. Fun times. It was also fun because we could talk about the book as we were reading it. Basically the plot is about a guy named Jake, who ends up going back in time and trying to stop the JFK assassination. It has a side love story as well. I really liked it and my ONLY complaint about the book was that I really don't think it NEEDED to be that long. In my defense, I'm really not good with long books and movies, they always can be shorter is my philosophy. 



I did not accomplish any amazing miles this month. I did a 5K earlier in the month, which was fun. Since then I've just been running a couple of times a week whenever I can fit it in. I haven't biked at all, but my swimming has been pretty good. 


No amazing looks this month unless you count my attempt yesterday to not look like I didn't shower… and my ridiculous amount spent at the JCrew outlet earlier in the month. Oh boy!


Goals for November

1. Plank 2 Minutes, 30 Seconds. I started a challenge on Tina's blog last week where I am trying to take my plank time, which is currently 1 minute and make it much longer. I'm hoping for 2 minutes by the end of the challenge, which is in a couple of weeks and then by the end of November I'd like to be at 2 minutes 30 seconds. I made it to 1 minute, 30 seconds the other day so I think I can accomplish this goal!

2. Read 4 Books. I have a goal to read 50 books this year and I'm at 42, so that means I need at least 4 each month until the end of the year. 

3. Run a 5K once a week. Not a race, but just actually run 3 miles, sometimes I get lazy when I don't have a race to be ready for, oops. 

4. Blog once a week. Yes, I am aim low but that would be an improvement over this month. 


Any goals for this month? Books you recommend? 




Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oh, The Places I Want To Go

If you know me at all, you were probably super nervous about how absurdly long this post might be when you read the title. I'm not really going to tell you ALL the places I want to go… because that could make up an entire blog topic, not just 1 post. Instead just some upcoming trips I'm considering. I'd love to get any thoughts you have, so chime in!


LA/San Diego

Technically I've been to LA and even San Diego once in college, but my priorities were a bit different back then and I'd like to go back and see something besides the inside of a Mexican bar. Ahem. Here are a few things I think it would be cool to see in SoCal:

1. A west coast sunset. I've seen this before, but it never gets old. 


2. Beautiful beaches. I did see Venice Beach last time and I'd like to see it again. I have not seen any beaches in San Diego, and I'm sure they are gorgeous. 

3. Hollywood. I don't know what there is to see, but I'm curious. 

4. Disneyland. Just for a day. I want a picture of Eric, Mickey and me. 

5. Wineries. There are some in between LA and San Diego? Perfect. 

6. Weather. I would go to LA/San Diego in February. I know that's not exactly the best weather, but I got a tan in LA in January, so I have high hopes that it will at least be better than Boston. 


Austin/San Antonio

I've been obsessed with a trip to Austin every since 2002, when I was obsessed with the song by Blake Shelton, Austin. My interest in San Antonio goes back even longer when my brother was obsessed with Davy Crockett. I'll admit though, I don't have a solid handle on what I want to see in both places. But here are some ideas: 

1. The Riverwalk. It looks cool, no? 


2. The Alamo. See above, re: Davy Crockett. 

3. Pearl Brewery. I just found out about this when doing research a few days ago, but I think we all know I love a good brewery. 

3. Barton Springs Pool. Another recent discovery, but after the trip to Yellowstone I love geysers. 

4. University of Texas. I like seeing random colleges and buying their sweatshirts. I really want to confuse my gym about what college I actually attended. 

Washington DC

The major draw of DC other than the million things to do is that I actually have friends who live in DC, who I could see. So that's a bonus. I haven't been there since 2001 when I went with my mom to look at colleges. I haven't done any of the tourist stuff since I was in 5th grade. I'll probably defer to Eric on this trip since he has gone a couple of times with his middle schoolers and knows the touristy things to do. I love tourism. Also potentially we could drive to DC. I know that sounds absurd (or totally normal if you are Canadian)- well particularly for me because I complain about even driving 3 hours. However, I could stop a lot on the way, in CT, in NY and even visit Philadelphia, where I've never actually been. So… that's another added bonus. Flights are pretty cheap too if I go that route. 

PS. If we go to DC, it would probably be in April rather than February. 

So… put in your vote? California? Texas? DC? Somehow get rich and go to all three?! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Stole this from Amber and loved it :) 


feeling stressed about work but happy about life :) 

reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King, it's 849 pages- maybe not my best idea for the month of conferences and report cards, I think I am currently 2% through

longing for a trip! (when am I not longing for a trip?) and for the day we can go back to the Cape regularly again

laughing at the hilarious things my husband says/does and the hilarious things my students say/do, I don't need to long to laugh in my life at all! 

crying about writing report cards 

looking forward to some fun this week, a possible Cape trip on the horizon and a family trip in December! 

journaling never… when I was little I kept awesome journals but ever since I started working I haven't been able to keep one up, I just tell Eric or my friends/family anything I would write in a journal at this point

celebrating swimming laps for an hour straight last night and somehow not being sore today! amazing! 

eating nothing at the moment, but my new favorite lunch right now is mashed sweet potato and avocado sandwiches, seriously- so good! 

running about two to three times per week, I need another 5K to look forward to

hoping my parent/teacher conferences go well, the first ones of the year are always scary because I never know what to expect! 

anticipating meeting Katie's baby! my best friend is in labor RIGHT NOW and I'm blogging to distract myself from freaking out haha (only because she's been in labor for like multiple days at this point!)

planning to visit Katie and new baby tomorrow, assuming he comes by then! 

drinking warm tea again, hello fall!

missing all my funny and cute kiddos from last year, and my college roommate who I once told we never get earthquakes in Boston, of course she called me out on that today after our minor earthquake last night (which I didn't feel because I was driving home from swimming)

listening to the TV in the background, Eric is watching one of his crazy shows… maybe listening is the wrong word, I'm not really listening...

making to do lists! It's going to be a crazy couple of weeks. I'll be a happy girl come November 1st! 


Just for fun, answer a couple of these in the comments section! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Crabby Moods to Happy Moods

I have a student this year who is moody. I shouldn't start with that. I actually love this kid. He is super funny, very cute and such a nice friend to his classmates. He could be a model student and friend. Except… all of a sudden he will get in a bad mood and suddenly he is whiny, frustrated (aka pushing everyone around who gets in his way or interrupts what he wants) and very difficult to get through to. 


In a way though, isn't this what we are all like? At least, this is absolutely what I'm like. What separates me and most of my other students from him is that we have all learned to hide our moods from most people, and my little "moody friend" has not. Well, and that he tends to yell out super dramatic statements like "School is stupid. I am NEVER coming to school again!" when angry. It's hard to keep a straight face when kids say things like this. Sorry bud, about 1 month down and 13 years to go… just before graduating high school...


Well last week, I felt like say "Life is stupid. I am NEVER doing life again!" Nah, not that dramatic. I was just in a little rut and/or crabby mood. I've mentioned before that fall is a rough time of year for me. Sure I love the pumpkins and beautiful leaves, but the beginning of the year is hard at work. My students need endless help and support and it's not usual for me to do work for several days straight without coming up for air. It often feels like there will be no end in sight, even though I know December will happen, and I'll get a vacation and this will go uphill from there. It's happened six times before so I know it will happen again. And yet… I was just in a super crabby mood. 


The weekend came around and I knew I needed a quick attitude adjustment. Since I subscribe to Amber's thoughts that happiness is a choice, I decided I had to do something and it wasn't going to be easy because I knew had (more) work to do as well. But just like that I looked for all the good in this weekend that I could… and of course, it ended up being a fabulous weekend. 


In case you want to share in my joy, here is what I loved about this weekend. 


1. A delicious Italian food dinner on Friday night with Eric, Caroline and Jimmy

2. A successful 5K race on Saturday morning with Caroline and Jimmy. Believe it or not, this was Caroline and my first time EVER running together… can you believe that? We did a great job telling each other stories and the 3 miles went by in a flash. The race we did was the Welles Remy Crowther race, which is the 9/11 hero that Erin's son Welles is named after, yay!

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3. Eric and I did a little day trip (yes, what makes me happier than trips?) up to Kittery, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I spent way more than I normally do on some new clothes at the JCrew Outlet (love that place!) and then we headed to Redhook Brewery. This is probably our fourth or fifth time at this brewery and I love it every time. Our most recent visit was this summer to the Woodinville, Washington location. Memories! Finally, we walked around Portsmouth downtown and ate dinner a delicious pizza place called Flatbread Company. Happiness. 

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When we got home, Eric and I decided to buy a new TV. It sounds impulsive but actually Eric has been trying to convince me for years, and has researched it pretty in depth. The TV he wanted was on sale, so I figured why not get his Christmas present early and have one less thing to worry about. The funniest part was that when we tried to buy it my credit card shut me off. I guess it looked suspicious that I spent close to $200 on clothes in one state and then decided to buy a TV in another. Definitely not my usual activity! But hey. Who says retail therapy is not real therapy? 

I guess that's also the difference between five-year-olds and me, I can snap myself out of a bad mood. 


What do you do when you need to be snapped out of a bad mood? 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Music, Books and Miles of September/Goals for October

The months continue to fly by! I still love this fun month recap from Lisa, so I'll do it again. I am skipping the looks because I don't have any interesting clothes at the moment :) 



I might as well rename this section Kelly's Country Music Selections of the month. Country music obsession continues. It's been an 11+ year love affair, so I think it's here to stay. 

Wanted- Hunter Hayes

Time is Love- Josh Turner

Ronan- Taylor Swift- Last week Caroline and I were swimming and got to talking about Taylor Swift. I said that I don't have anything particularly against her, I even kind of like her but I've never particularly loved any of her songs. Only a few days later my cousin posted this video on her Facebook wall and I think I may have found my Taylor Swift love. Hard to listen to this song without tears, consider yourself warned. 

What If She's an Angel?- Tommy Shane Steiner- This is a major flashback song from 2002. I was reading Erin's post about song flashback and I started looking at what songs were popular in 2002 to give me ideas. Had some fun with that as you can imagine :)




This was a good book- I really loved the characters. However, something about this author's writing style bothers me. I just felt like there was too much rambling in this book. Hard to explain!



I've been reading Jenna's blog on and off for the last three plus years, so I figured I would give her book a try. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. It was a quick read, I think I read it in a day, and I don't do that often. 


This was our Blogger Book Club selection this month. I absolutely loved this book, loved the characters, loved the description of the time period they lived in… could never have lived back then and so thankful I didn't have to. I would've been one miserable housewife, I'll tell you that much. 


 The latest Rizzoli and Isles book met my expectations. It was crazy, they always are. 


This was my favorite book I read this month. I've been looking forward to reading this book for months ever since I read and loved Violets of March and Bungalow. It met and maybe exceeded my expectations and I think was my favorite book by Sarah Jio so far. I wish that she could write books faster because I love reading them :) 



Unfortunately I didn't accurately track my miles this month so I can't see if there was improvement over August. I would guess there was not since I was so much busier this month. However, on the fitness front I did finish my third triathlon (which I still have not done a recap of, blogger fail). I also continued to run because I am planning to do the Red Bandana 5K in a few weeks. 


As far as my goals in September, I did a pretty good job. I was able to keep up with reading and working out despite being back to real world living. I also had a goal to remain calm and positive. I'm not going to go crazy and say I managed this all the time, but I did try really hard to bring myself back to calm/positivity in difficult times. I had a tough time with the kiddos this month, but I've really tried to keep my attitude in check at all times. When I go into the day focused on the strengths of the kids in my class, rather than the struggles, I find the day goes a lot better for all of us. 


Goals for October

1. Read at least 1 long book. I've been flying through my books lately and I'm 3 books ahead on my goal to read 50 this year. I think this gives me some wiggle room to read a super long book this month. My friend gave me a recommendation so, I'll let you know if it happens! 

2. Challenge myself in swimming. I'm taking a stroke development class starting next Tuesday, so hopefully this will help :) 

3. Go to yoga… once. Seriously I need to aim low! 

4. Sign up for a masters class. I got a free voucher for a class last year because I had a student teacher. I am 3 credits away from Masters plus 15, so I need to sign up for (and take) a class. It's so hard to motivate myself to go back to school these days. I like my free time and pleasure reading so much. But I'm going to do it. Hold me to it! 


What are your goals for this month? Do you enjoy taking classes? 

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Love Boston Project: Southwick Zoo

I'm back with another post for the I Love Boston Project. If you are interested in reading about my other I Love Boston adventures, they are listed below: 

I Love Boston Project: Museum of Natural History

I Love Boston Project: Day Trip to Ogunquit, Maine

I Love Boston Project: Blue Hills


Eric and I have visited a few zoos over the years, but we had never visited what most people say is the best zoo in Massachusetts, the Southwick Zoo. It's only about an hour away, but there are some times when you are driving through yet another random small town near Rhode Island that it feels much farther. 


Southwick Zoo Info

Location: 2 Southwick Street, Mendon MA

Cost: $20 for an adult, $15 for a child, discounts for military, teachers and AAA

Hours: 10:00am-5:00pm (April-October)


When it comes to the Southwick Zoo, I think the pictures tell the story better than I can: 


IMG 6771 

IMG 6797

IMG 6801 

IMG 6817 

IMG 6827


I loved how close I was able to get to most of the animals, and the animal selection was pretty cool as well. Another awesome feature of Southwick Zoo is the sky ride. It's basically a chairlift that goes around the zoo. We did it right at the beginning of our visit so that we saw everything from above and knew where to go after the ride. My only complaint about it is that it costs another $5 and I feel like the price is already pretty high, so I think it should be included. But oh well. 

Another cool aspect of Southwick Zoo is that they have rides for little kids, and also a couple of playground areas. It's definitely a place that a child could be entertained for hours. 


Do you like to visit the zoo? Where is your favorite zoo? 

















Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What is up?

First of all, if you grew up in the age of away messages and currently have twitter, please follow @YourAwayMessage it will bring you back to the hilarious away messages people used to leave, especially ones that tell everything the person is up to no matter how boring (shower, class, lunch, class…). I also literally laughed out loud when I saw the ones that end "leave me some love"- I totally used to write that at the end of most of my away messages. Very few things crack me up more than reliving hilarious teenage moments. And hilarious 5 year old stories. 


Lots of fun in Kelly land since I last blogged. I did my third sprint triathlon on Sunday! 1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, and a 5K. It was by far my favorite so far because I did the whole things with friends. I was super proud of my swim (as Lisa said, I was faster than 85% of people!)- We were middle of the pack on running, but I am so happy about my time because it's fast for me especially after a bike and swim! Our biking was slow, and I loved every minute of my slow biking. Haha. Well not every minute, every minute that was not uphill. I'm sad the tri is over because training was so fun but I do plan to swim and run still- we shall see about biking! 


School started last week. My class is… interesting? I'm trying not to say bad, yet. I always forget what babies they are at the beginning of K and usually spend the first two weeks plotting my eventual move to fourth grade (which I'm not even certified to teach, ha). Of course I always end up loving K by the end of the year, so the cycle continues. I can't wait until it's not too early in the year to take away a few minutes of recess and get rid of the use of the word potty, two mutually exclusive events- I don't take away recess for using the word potty, I just hate it. I swear my kids are going to be "potty trained" using the word bathroom. The word potty makes me shudder. 


That's it from me. What has been up with you? 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Music, Books, Miles of August/Goals for Sept.

I loved stealing Music, Books and Miles from Lisa in July, so why not do it again in August? 


Well, I still love all the songs I loved last month. Don't worry, I have a few more to add- all brought to you by the satellite radio station The Highway which my family can attest to the importance of this satellite station in our Yellowstone rental car. Thank you fantastic country station for calming us all down on the days of driving, sometimes right next to cliffs. 

Cruise, Florida Georgia Line- I like to call this song "you make me wanna roll my windows down" because that is a more fun name, I think. 

Take a Little Ride, Jason Aldean 

Time is Love, Josh Turner



I had a great month of reading, which I will credit to summer vacation, and the fact that I really liked all the books I read so I wanted to keep reading them. I read 7 books this month (and finished another on September 1st), and I gave ALL of them 4 stars. I swear I didn't do that on purpose!


Hotel1 Bossypants1

Looking1                      11thhour1


Gonegirl     Hide1



Like I said, I really liked all of these books. Gone Girl was crazy, but definitely held my attention, especially in the second half. Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? were similar, both funny and better than I expected. I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud several times during Bossypants, sometimes in public. Hotel on the Corner is a book I have been meaning to read for awhile and it was a great, historical fiction, love-story/coming of age book. Great month of reading. 



Total miles running and biking: 97 (up from 70 in July)

Swimming accomplishment: Swam 1 mile!

Biking accomplishment: Did every single bike ride with a friend!

Running accomplishment: Worked back up to a 5K with no knee pain! 


August Goals Recap

I managed to surpass my reading goal and keep up with my foam rolling (which my knee appreciates). I also incorporated abs a lot, but did not do any yoga. My biggest accomplishment of this month was definitely staying calm about school starting. This was my favorite August I can remember in awhile and there was no August breakdown at all. Wahoo. 

September Goals

1. Keep up with running, swimming and abs. I'm not promising biking. My bike and I are in a fight right now. 

2. See at least two friends per week and e-mail/call or text with one faraway friend per week. Caroline counts as a sister/friend. Working out with friends counts and earns bonus points. I love how social I am in the summer and I know I'll have less time but I still want to make it a priority. 

3. Read 4 books. Again, I'll have less time but I'd like to keep up with my ultimate relaxation. 

4. Stay calm and positive. This goal could be rephrased as: when in doubt, drink wine. There is no problem a Bud Light cannot solve. 


Tell me some great music, books or miles for you this month. 



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Triathlon Training- Post Vacation Edition

I skipped last week's recap because my training while away was pretty uneventful. I was able to find an amazing recreation center in downtown Jackson so I swam twice, and ran once which was exactly what I was hoping to do while away. 

I'm not going to lie, getting back into life this week has been a challenge. I've been in full on panic about school starting mode and I've been having dreams about laminating name tags and bulletin boards. Then I wake up super early and then feel tired all day. I definitely deserve an A in extremely stupid August behavior. The good news is, I've gotten a few important things done this week (plus some not important things- bulletin boards = massive waste of time) and I plan to get more done tomorrow. My hope is I can somewhat enjoy the next two weeks of summer if I am productive this week. We shall see how that goes. 

I started off this week of training (I'm counting a week as Friday to the next Thursday) well, with a run and swim workout on Friday of my vacation. I actually wish some of you were in Jackson to witness the hilariousness of this workout. I decided I would run to the pool, and then swim. Of course the pool was only .3 miles away, so I did a few laps around the elementary school and some of the downtown area to make it about a 2 mile run, which was more than enough in the high altitudes. I probably should've just ran, come back and changed and then swam but I decided I didn't want to keep coming in and out waking Eric up. So, my master plan was to wear a bathing suit with a sports bra on top of it (?), and then a t shirt and shorts. I had my spibelt for my phone and money of the pool, so I stuck my bathing cap in the belt part. Then I took my goggles and wrapped them around my wrist like a bracelet. I considered putting a towel around my neck but I thought that might be taking this absurd outfit too far and decided to just pay the $1 to rent a towel at the pool. It's actually not as uncomfortable as you'd think to wear goggles as a bracelet and my bathing cap only fell out of my belt loop once. 

Last Week Recap

Friday- Ran 2 Miles, Swam 35 laps

Saturday- Off, unless you count paddling while white water rafting...

Sunday- Off, unless you count sitting on a plane...

Monday- Ran 2 Miles, thought being back at sea level would make this easier but it was not!

Tuesday- Biked 14 miles

Wednesday- Off

Thursday- Open Water Swim 1/2 mile

Next week my biggest goal is just to be a little more calm overall, so maybe it will need to include a trip to yoga. But on the training front, I am hoping for 1 open water swim, 2 bike rides, 1 run and 1 swim/run workout. I think. 

Do you keep up your training when you are on vacation? Does it take you a few days to get back into the swing of things after a trip? 









Travel Debates: Where Do You Stand?

I am being a bit slower than expected with my travel recaps because I have had a lot to do at work this week. I don't think it's going to stop in the next two days so I'll get my Yellowstone part of the trip up by Monday. I do still want to talk about travel though :) Here are several travel debates I've been thinking about lately, I would love to hear where you stand on each one.


#1- To Travel or Not to Travel that is the Question: It begins with the process of packing all that you may need into a small suitcase, continues with long lines and hassles at the airport, and seems to hit its peak in ridiculous jet lag and a not so clean hotel room. Do you think travel is worth it?

#2- Plane or Automobile?: There are definitely perks to driving to your destination, including having your own car when you arrive, saving money and the ease of packing into a car rather than a small suitcase. But for me, the time spent in a moving vehicle is the biggest factor. I can't read or do much when moving, so I'd rather sit in an airport than in a car :)

#3- Travel locally or internationally?: Even though I did not get my first passport until I was 19, by the time I started teaching I had visited 8 other countries, but had only seen a very limited amount of my own country. At the time. I was big into the international travel. I loved hearing the different languages, experiencing different cultures and getting a new stamp in my passport book. Since then I have not traveled to any new countries except Canada, but I have seen 8 more states in the US and a very small amount of Canada. The verdict? International travel is still awesome, but local travel is cheaper, easier and I'm still amazed by all the beautiful things even in just the New England area.

#4- Does it count if you only saw the airport?: Eric and I like to keep track of how many states and countries we visited. Yesterday we were tallying up our latest numbers and we started to discuss this: does it count as actually going to a state if I was only in the airport? For example on the way home from Wyoming I had a one hour layover in Denver. Does that mean I can check Colorado off, or not? My initial thought was no because I didn't really see much of Colorado (except for the endless farmlands around the airport). On the other hand, I know some business people who drive straight to their hotel and spend the whole visit in a meeting room with no windows, so where do we draw the line?

I hope everyone is having a great week. What are you up to this weekend?


Monday, August 13, 2012

So Much to Do in Jackson Hole

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I will be recapping my trip to the Jackson Hole/Yellowstone area this week, but also will probably have a few regular posts as well. Hopefully I am as organized as I think I am going to be! A few people have asked me why we did a family trip to this area of the country so hopefully my next couple of posts will answer that question, since even I myself was not totally sure of the answer until I went on the trip. Last summer my dad did a fishing trip to Jackson Hole and thought the area had a lot to offer. I would say he was right. In addition to our successful hike at Jenny Lake here are some other things we did within 30 minutes of Jackson, Wyoming.

Jackson Hole Ski Resort Tram Ride

I'm sure the Jackson Hole Ski Resort is amazing and packed in the winter, but in the summer it has a lot to offer too. We decided to do the tram ride to the summit of Mount Rendezvous which is located about 15 minutes from downtown Jackson at the Jackson Hole Ski Resort. The tram cost $25 so I highly recommend looking for the discounts online and in the tourist pamphlets if you decide to go. The tram is a cool experience and reminded me a lot of the tram at Grouse Grind in Vancouver. The tram itself can carry 100 people and gains more than 4000 feet in elevation in less than ten minutes, and I thought I was having altitude problems before, ha ha! At the top, you are rewarded with hiking trails (you can even hike back down the mountain), homemade waffles in a small restaurant and of course, beautiful views.


We also saw some people paragliding at the top. I don't know what it is but I think other people paragliding and kite surfing etc make the best photos.

Grand Teton Brewing Company

In my family, we enjoy visiting different states and we couldn't let the opportunity to get to Idaho quickly slip away. Seriously, when else will we be in Idaho?! Since Jackson is in the northwest corner of Wyoming, it's only about 25 minutes from the town of Victor, Idaho. It's probably worth mentioning that there is not a ton to do in Victor especially since many of the people who actually live in Victor work in Jackson. But, there are two breweries, so why not visit one and then celebrate crossing another state off the list?

I should also mention that crossing from Wyoming to Idaho is sort of an adventure in itself because it involves a pass through the mountains called Teton Pass, which means yes, you have to drive through the Tetons.

Personally I thought it was pretty safe but according to a guy at the brewery it's the third most dangerous pass in the USA and they typically lose several people on it each winter, so I'd avoid this trip if you are not visiting Jackson in the summer. Yikes. The brewery itself was a small one room tasting room with a bar, tables and some nice outside space. They offer all of their beers, as well as samplers. All the beers have local names, and they distribute to many states including Massachusetts. My favorite was the Old Faithful pale ale.

On the way back to Jackson we got to renter Wyoming which provided more photo opportunities!

Whitewater Rafting the Snake River

Rafting is a very popular thing to do in the Jackson Hole area, and since I haven't been in over five years (since my spring break in Australia) I was very excited to do it again. We used the company Barker-Ewing which has a good reputation locally and positive reviews online. We did a special breakfast tour which involved eight miles of calm rafting ride down the river, followed by delicious pancake breakfast, and then finishes with eight more miles of whitewater rafting. The rapids this time of the year are only Class 2 and 3, but that means that we saw all ages doing this fun trip. It is such a gorgeous area, and obviously also a fun activity that I really think everyone should do. I don't have any photos of the rafting yet, but I do have some pictures of the floating part :)

Hello eagle...


Downtown Jackson

We also enjoyed a lot of fun right in the town of Jackson. The downtown area can be walked across in less than five minutes, but it has a lot to offer as far as restaurants and stores go. There a several stores to get a cowboy hat, any kind of outdoor gear or souvenirs. There is also a place to do old time cowboy photographs, and a playhouse that does shows. Since I was training for a triathlon while I was there, I visited the Grand Teton Recreation Center on Gill Street, right next to the elementary school. It is only $7 to go for the day, and they have indoor basketball courts, and an indoor pool with two water slides and a aqua rock climbing wall. Of course I only swam laps in the poll, but it definitely would not be a bad place to bring kids on a raining or cold day.

The town of Jackson itself has a population of only 9,710 which in my mind definitely makes it a small town. I tend to be more of a city girl than a small town girl, but I think Jackson proved me wrong in this case. There were still a ton of delicious restaurants, things to do and beautiful weather. That's about all I need to make it a great town.

What is the population of the town you grew up in? Are you a city person or do you prefer the small town life?