Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday, Friday.

Wednesday was my last day at my internship. A bittersweet day. I was working at such an amazing school with some of the most amazing students. I loathed leaving them all. That's the bitter part. Now, I'm on my Christmas vacation. I'm spending the next week at my Grandmom's. My parents, brother, Grammy D, and my dog Jake are coming here on Saturday. And for the first time in a LONG time, my entire family will be together. That's the sweet part :)

This week has been a good week. I experienced a minor funk at the beginning, but thanks to Amanda, Alex, and some delicious wings the funk quickly disappeared. With Christmas only 2 days away, I'm finding myself thankful and humble for what I am blessed with in my life.

This week saw:

~ Christmas cards and cute gifts from my students.

~ Christmas movies like Elf and The Santa Clause

~ Taking in what the city had to offer for Christmas light displays. This house was top notch, a little overboard, but quite breath taking.

~ Finishing my Christmas shopping. Dear brother: You were the hardest to shop for this year. Next year, make a list :)

~ My last day at my internship. The students planned a surprise pizza party for noon hour. Though I had a inkling that there was a pizza party, I had no idea that there would be cake and a card signed by the students. I was pleasantly surprised and had to hold back tears. I honestly can't express in words how much I have enjoyed, learned, and loved these past 7 and a half weeks with the students. They have opened my eyes to the joys of teaching and I've learned just as much from them as I have from sitting in classes. I can't thank them enough and I'll miss them terribly!

~ Making Skype date plans with my best friend, Sara. She and I live in the same city, but because I'm home for Christmas vacation for the next 2 and half weeks, we thought it would be an awesome idea to Skype between now and the time I come back. A first for us :)

~ A messy road trip to my Grandmom's. Freezing rain and dark roads made for a long journey. But I am so happy to be here now!

Tomorrow Grandmom and I will be baking up a storm. Christmas Coffee Ring, Chocolate Roll, Marshmellow Squares and Ice Cream Squares. Pictures and blog post to come!

My blog posts for the next 2 weeks will be sparse. With Christmas this weekend, life will be busy and family filled. I'll be home for 4 short days, then the family and I are off to Florida for a weeks long vacation! Needless to say, I'm very excited!

If I don't get back on here before Sunday, Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!
Thanks for reading :)

Imagine via weheartit

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bucket List.

A couple of weeks ago I did a warm up activity with my students that involved this video below. The first time I watched it, my jaw was practically on the ground with amazement. I had to watch a second and third time to catch everything that was happening and to get my goosebumps to calm down.

To see a murmuration is now on my bucket list thanks to this video.

My students had a lot to say about this video. They did an awesome job coming up with some figurative language to describe the flock of starlings. Such as, "the birds flew through the air like rapid waves on the water."

What are your thoughts? How did this video make you feel? Maybe I'm crazy to have such strong feelings about this video - I honestly can't express how it makes me feel. Exhilarated, maybe? And I didn't even see it in person.


Last week was another fantastic week. I can't believe how quickly December is flying by. Only 6 short days till Christmas, ladies and gentleman.

I'm linking up with Amanda to talk about all the things I've loved over the last 7 days!

~ A week full of advent fun. Amanda and I made a donation to a charity, drank hot chocolate and watched Friends, and went to Christmas at the Playhouse! …speaking of which….

~ I went to Christmas at the Playhouse this year - which is something I've wanted to do for the last 4 years. I've heard of other people going and loving it, and I knew that it would be something I would also love. AND I DID! The music was amazing, the acting was great, and they sent a powerful message to their audience about perfection.

I think my favourite part was when they song "O Come All Ye Faithful." It was so good. A man and a woman did a duet of the song, which a huge choir of 30 people backing them up. It gave me the most goosebumps I've had in a long time and literally took my breath away. There was a tear or two, too. If I'm in the city this time next year, you bet your bottom dollar I'll be back again!

~ I downloaded new Christmas music this week. A few John Mellencamp songs ("I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus") and the new Michael Buble Christmas album. Fantastic and definitely putting me into the Christmas spirit.

~ Amanda gave me my Christmas present this week. It was a Christmas ornament that says "Christmas Together, Nothing Better." It now sits pretty on our Christmas tree in the living. A perfect symbol for the traditions and Christmas joy we have shared together this month.

This is what the verse on the box for the ornament said.
~ I had a great conversation with my Dad on Facebook chat last week. He asked me to quote him in my next blog post. So here it is Dad - I hope you're reading:
[When talking about what we got members of our family for Christmas - so there would be no duplicate gifts]: "being together is a big gift in itself...right!! You can use that quote in your next blog"
Love you Dad!

Dad and I bringing in the Christmas tree for the house. Thanks for all the help, Dad!
~ Another great Sunday supper was had last night. It was much smaller, and we ordered pizza this time. The plan was to watch a Christmas movie, but the chatting and catching up trumped the festive film. Which I didn't mind at all, because we had a sweet dance party in the living - remotes as microphones and all! 

Thanks to all my friends and family for making last week another fabulous week. Here's hoping for the same this week! Wednesday is my last day with the students, and I am not looking forward to leaving them. I'll miss them lots. Blogposts about my last day to come!! 


Friday, December 16, 2011


This week in class we are discussing with the students how the holiday season is celebrated in different cultures. Today, I had a chat with the students about some of the traditions they have at home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I was interested to know how many of them woke before the sun and had their presents opened by 8am. I would say more then half the class fit into this category. I then shared with them how my family goes about Christmas day and it was amazing how many of them were shocked at my traditions. I think some of them thought they were pretty bizarre compared to their traditions.In telling them my stories, I got a pit of excitement in my stomach to see my family and share the joy of this holiday season with them.

In our family, Christmas truly is an all day event. It's been a rule since I can remember that the presents do not get opened until after breakfast and all the dishes are done and the turkey is in the oven. So, while enjoying a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate as a family we open our stockings. When that's done and we've oo'd and aw'd over our trinkets, Dad starts cooking an enormous and divine breakfast. Uncle Mark and his family venture over from around the block, and we usually sit down to dine on a wonderful breakfast feast around 9:30 or 10:00am. Just thinking about the deliciousness of that morning is making me drool here on my keyboard!

Afterwards, the grandkids usually clear the table and dishes get underway. Another round of coffee or tea is poured, and we cram into Grandmom and Grandad's living room. Rachel and Rebecca (my younger cousins) begin to distribute gifts, and one at a time we open our presents. No two people open a gift at the same time - we want to see what everyone gets. By the time we finish the present opening, it can be sometimes almost 2pm or later. After a nap (cause the morning and early afternoon is exhausting!), we begin eating again - app's and a delicious turkey dinner with ALL the fixings.

As I'm telling my class this, I see their jaws drop in amazement. Many of them yelled out "I couldn't wait that long to open my presents!" "That sounds brutal!" "How do you contain your excitement?" I reminded the class that my brother and I are older now (Brad is 19, I am 22 - soon to be 23!). After explaining the age situation to them, I had one of my eager beavers yell out "But you wouldn't have time to play with your toys before your turkey dinner!" I laughed out loud and couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I gently explained to him that because my brother and I are older, we don't get toys anymore - mostly clothing and gift cards. His face turned to utter shock! "What's a Christmas with no toys to play with?" I smiled again, and said "Thanks for your concern, sir. But I love the gift cards I get. However, my favourite gift has to be spending the time with my family." He agreed that that was a pretty spectacular gift in itself too.

Day after day I am amazed by the intelligence and kindness that my students show. With less then a week left with them, I am coming more and more to the realization of how much they have impacted me, taught me, and how much I'm going to miss them in the new year.

On a different note, as I write this blog post I am enjoying the music of Michael Buble and his Christmas album. Currently, this has to be my favourite Christmas song this holiday season (you were right mom, a tear jerking song - but it just hits home):

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Love Weekends.

What a happy weekend this past one was! Extremely busy and filled with love. Wish every weekend were like this.

Thursday was winter formal night, and my great friend Cara traveled all the way from Vermont to spend the weekend with her university friends. It was a fabulous night and probably one of my favourite formals! Everyone was happy and having a good time. I got to see some great friends who I haven't seen for what feels like months. I wish I could relive that night over and over again.

Friday was also an extremely busy day. After teaching all day, I zoomed home to spend as much quality time with Cara as I could. We ended up going to Snooty (one of my favourite restaurants!) for dinner with friends. Minus the enormously long wait (...again - considering it was a Friday night and we wanted to seat 7, I'll forgive and forget), the evening was joyous and full of laughter. It warms my heart just thinking about the great fun we had. Later, I attended a staff party for the school I'm interning at. It was great getting to know some of the staff outside of the classroom! I really felt part of their working family.

Saturday was great! I spent a wonderful morning walking around the market and having heart to hearts with Cara. She always knows what to say to make me feel better and helps me make some difficult decisions in life. If you're reading this Cara - thank you!

Afterwards, I jumped into the car and zoomed off to visit my Grandmom. She had the 3 granddaughters for the night and we helped her decorate her Christmas tree and enjoyed a delicious home-cooked dinner. That night, we watched two movies - a Christmas one, "Santa Baby" and a pre-teen gymnastics movie called "Stick It." I thought it would be a great movie for my cousin Rebecca because she is a gymnast. She loved it! And so did Grandmom and Rachel.

Sunday saw the end of another weekend. They always seem to fly by so quickly! After a delicious breakfast of pancakes, bacon, homemade rolls, and coffee, Grandmom and I ran some errands, picked out a beautiful wreath, had a delicious dinner at a restaurant called "The Mediterranean" and then ventured home. It was a short, but wonderful visit! And now I am anticipating and counting down the days until the 21st when I head back to her place for the Christmas holidays!

How was your weekend? Anyone out there as excited for Christmas as I am?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday, Once Again.

Another week come and gone...quicker than usual. So, here I am channeling my inner Amanda and listing all the great things that happened this week (and man, it was a good one!)

~ Saturday, Amanda and I truly kick started the Christmas season. Dad came to the city and helped us pick out and set up our Christmas tree! On Sunday, we decorated the tree and it is now adorned with lots of Amanda's decorations from her childhood with a beautiful angel proudly watching over us everyday. Ah, Christmas and its traditions.

~ Christmas shopping with my brother. We got just about everything on our list and didn't argue once! Thanks for being so cooperative this year, Brad!

~ Another great Sunday supper with friends. Chicken, kale, broccoli salad, and fries! Thanks for dropping off the cupcakes to excuse your absence, Justin!

~ Despite giving myself a huge gash in the leg from a broken tree branch, Amanda and I successfully put up some Christmas lights on our house. How did I get a gash from a broken tree branch you ask? Well, I climbed the tree in our front yard to hang lights in it, slipped, and landed on a branch. Quite disappointingly, the lights had to come out of the tree because half of the strings were burnt out. Bah humbug! But as Amanda so kindly pointed out, the scar on my thigh will make a great memory someday!

~ Snooty fox with friends! I'll tell you something - never will I EVER wait an hour and a half again for a table! But the laughter, good company, and delicious food made up for it. :)

~ My fifth, and potentially final, winter formal. This year it took place at the Crowne Plaza - very fancy! It was crowded and hot, but I had a wonderful time! Pre-formal gathering a Kate and KP's saw catching up with friends, delicious homemade food, and dancing to classy Christmas songs. And, to add the cherry on top of a great night…

~ Two great friends from university ventured to the city for the weekend! Katelin and Cara came home for a wonderful December visit. It's so good to see them again, and I look forward to our visits over the weekend!

What a great week it has been! And it has certainly flown by. The weekend is set to be jam packed as well. Visits with Grandmom, decorating the Christmas tree at her place, Sunday supper, and lesson planning.

What are your plans for the weekend? Are you feeling the Christmas spirit?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Road Not Taken.

This week, I'm teaching my students about symbols and symbolism - in life and in literature. In planning this lesson, I expressed to my cooperating teacher how much I loved Robert Frost and his poetry. She asked me why. I answered "Because the symbolism and the messages he writes about in his poetry always seem to find a way to impact me. His poems also tend to correlate with what is happening in my life." Smiling, she handed me a picture book filled with Robert Frost poetry. She recommended that I read through it and use it as part of my lesson this week. It was so hard to choose just one poem! They are all so good!

I did end up choosing one poem. This poem had me pondering for days afterwards, reflecting on the symbolism and the message Frost was sending to his readers. A simple but impacting message.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

I asked my students what they thought Frost was saying through symbolism in this poem. I was astonished and pleasantly surprised as to how many of them caught on to the message and the bigger picture. Some of the answers they yelled out: "Uniqueness" "Don't be ordinary" "Don't be a follower" "Follow your dreams" "Be your own person." These are all superb answers and it warmed my heart how many of them were impacted by this poem, too.

Frosts message about following your own path - though maybe more difficult, results in a feeling of accomplishment and a life-time of happiness - makes me ponder my current situation in life. As I approach the end of my 2nd degree, I see the light of difficult life decisions approaching closer and closer. As well, family and friends are constantly asking what I'm going to do when I'm done school in the spring.

To be honest, I really don't know. I know I want to travel, and of course work with kids. But a part of me also wants to relax, go home for a while, and be me.

Take the road less traveled me implies going out of your comfort zone; thinking outside the box. At the same time, I need to follow the path that sees me happy and enjoying my life. I can tell you right now, I am THE WORST at making decisions. However, the not knowing (for the first time in my life) is kind of exciting. My life thus far has been so planned out and nailed down in stone. Finish high school, go to university, summer jobs, get a BEd - all things that I've planned or been obligated to do. Now, this upcoming chapter in my life sees room for new beginnings, new traditions, and new territory. Scary and intimidating, but refreshing nonetheless.

So, here's to the unknown! But first, let's finish this degree :)


As the first week of December comes to a close, I find myself reflecting and being thankful for the things that I have and for the memories I have created this year.

Last night, I was writing Christmas cards to some of my long distance friends - looking at the pretty pictures on the front and reading the generic messages on the inside, trying to decide which card best suited which friend. Then came the personal messages I'd write to them - what do I say? How sentimental do I get? How much do I write? Is my printing legible? Oh, what a process!

Then, I found myself beginning to reminisce about the days I'd spent with these friends - whether it be in high school or through our 4 year degree at university. I am always so amazed and dumbfounded as to how quickly time flies by. It only seems like yesterday that I was crying and toying around with the idea of leaving university and spending the year at home because I missed my family and friends so much. Little did I know as that 18 year old first year university student that I would grow up in four years to become a more independent and self reliant person. I've come to appreciate the notion of family more and I've learned not to sweat the small stuff - that life could be much more complicated and filled with its daily hardships. Despite my insecurites and worries about being a bother to my friends, when they ask me what's wrong and if they can help, they actually do mean it. Friends are the shoulder to lean on and the presence in my life that keeps me level headed. Life, all in all, is pretty good.

So, if you're reading this post, here is my Christmas card to you:

Merry Christmas!
May this holiday season find you happy, relaxed, and filled with joy.
I cherish your friendship and the memories we have created together.
My life would not be the same without the impact you have had on my growth as my own individual. 
Thank you for being you.

Love, Melissa

On another note, Amanda and I got our tree this past weekend. We decorated it with lovely decorations from Amanda's childhood (and a few cheap, cute ones from the Dollarama that I chose). Oh! And the tree skirt at the bottom is from my childhood :) More on these new lovely traditions on Friday! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Smile, it's Friday.

I'm channeling my inner Amanda and creating a "Happy Friday" post, because this week has been a pretty darn happy week!

~ Here's to Sunday suppers with amazing friends. Delicious food, laughter, and reminiscing. A great way to kick start a great week!

~ Here's to phone calls from family. Caught up with my Grandmom this week, and shared some funny stories and got some advice from my Mom. Thanks, Mom!

~ Here's to one of my students telling me I was his favourite student intern ever! This same student has said "Good Morning, Miss Dickinson!" when he enters the class every day this week. He always brings a smile to my face and a warmth in my heart.

~ Here's to creating an advent calendar and new Christmas traditions with my roommate and great friend Amanda.

~ Here's to a movie night and one-on-one time with my best friend, Sara!

~ Here's to the first day of my favourite month of the year and the last page of my Michael Jackson calendar.

~ Here's to sipping hot chocolate and watching Friends.

~ Here's to getting a good review during my 4th week of my teaching internship!

I'm hoping the weekend carries out the good feelings and experiences that have taken place this week. My amazing father is traveling to the city this weekend to help Amanda and I pick out, bring home, and set up a Christmas tree! Then, a late night film at the movie theatre: "Christmas Vacation" with Chevy Chase! 

Happy December, everyone! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Have I told you how excited I am for December to arrive? It really has to be my favourite month of the year for many reasons. Why you ask? Allow me to explain:

  • Even though I don't like winter, I like December because winter is fresh and exciting. I haven't gotten annoyed yet with slipping on ice and scrapping snow off my car every morning. The weather and scenery is just gorgeous. Throughout the month of December all I want to do is curl up on the couch in my blanket, sip a cup of hot chocolate, and watch fun and heart warming Christmas movies. My favourite - A Christmas Story. Every Christmas, my brother and I watch this movie on television. One of the tv stations played it on repeat all Christmas Day when we were kids. By the end of the day, we'd have watched it probably twice. Oh, the memories.
  • All the family time. I traveled home and spent this weekend with my Mom and Dad. We decorated the house for Christmas. Mom and I went to the only hardware store and the only "general" store in my hometown on a search for bows and lights. We got the lights, but were unsuccessful in getting the bows. Nevertheless, the house looks festive and happy! In a couple of weekends, I'll be heading to my Grandmom's house to help her decorate her Christmas tree - which leads me to my third point…

  • Traditions. Most of our traditions take place on Christmas Day. We get up, open our stockings, make a delicious and grand breakfast, eat, do the dishes, open presents (one at a time so everyone sees what each other got), nap time, mingling, Christmas dinner, movie time!, bed. One of my favourite traditions was started about 4 years ago. It has been tradition that I stay at my Grandmom and Grandad's house 2 weeks before Christmas and work for my Uncle Mark. In that time, we take one night and decorate the Christmas tree. There is a method to our madness. The lights have to be equally distributed throughout the tree, the beads have to hang just right, and Grandmom always shares the stories for different ornaments when we take them out of the box. Grandad always sat and watched. He would often tease us about the tree being lop-sided or not having enough lights on one side of the tree. Memories that always bring a smile to my face. I'm excited for new traditions too - this year I will be purchasing and decorating my very own Christmas tree in my own house (with my roomie and friend Amanda). I can't wait! 
  • Christmas music - there really is nothing like it. I can't chose a favourite, but one that brings back a lot of memories and reminds me of my Mom, Dad and brother Brad decorating our tree at home throughout the years is Mary's Boy by Boney M
  • And a new addition to this December…a family trip! On December 31st, Mom, Dad, Brad, Grandmom and I will travel to Florida and spend a week away together. A trip that we have been planning for quite some time. I can't wait! 
Here's to December, and the hopes for another great month! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Little Things.

The last couple of days have been quite strenuous with lesson planning and organizing for my first experience teaching an entire unit. As such, I found myself quite self involved in my thoughts and my attitude and spirit were a little on the down low. Some may call it a funk. When I find myself in this state of mind, I have find a release and a new found joy for the small things that happen in life. Here are a few examples of some of the small things that happened this weekend that lifted my spirits:

  • Disney movie and junk food night with my best friend, Sara. A great time to catch up, act foolish, and reminisce about our childhood days.

  • Getting random text messages from my brother. For example, I got a text message from him after work today with a picture of a delicious looking omelette and the words "look who learned how to cook for himself!" with it. It made me smile and laugh and be thankful for the sibling relationship we have built over the last 4 years. 
  • Spending a night at home. It was exactly what I needed. A hug goodnight from my mother, watching SNL with my dad, curling up into my bed with freshly cleaned sheets that smelled of summer, eating a delicious home cooked breakfast Sunday morning, getting greeted at the car door by my loveable dog Jake. Just thinking about it puts me at ease. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) 
  • Blaring Michael Jackson and having alone time on the car ride back to the city. There's nothing quite like belting out "Smooth Criminal" at the top of your lungs while cruising down the highway. 
  • Another delicious Sunday supper with my friends. Delicious oven roast chicken, mashed potatoes, a new found love for turnip, and cooked carrots! Yum-o. An impromptu dessert of crushed holiday cookies and vanilla ice cream was a delicious follow up. (Thanks for the idea Kate - we decided to call them 'Kate Monsters') 

So, thanks to my family and friends for the pick me up this weekend. I needed it :) 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Daily Smile.

A little over a week ago, my friend Tyler and I were walking around downtown. As we walked past a local park, a little boy dressed in a homemade super hero costume was running around chasing pigeons while screaming at the top of his lungs. Meanwhile, his parents sat lovingly on the nearby bench taking pictures of their son's spontaneity.

As we walked by, I said to Tyler: "Gosh! I hope that when I have kids they are as unique and outgoing as that!" And I creepily stared and smiled and daydreamed about my future. I've found myself over the last week thinking back to those 2 minutes walking past the park and smiling in reminiscing about the joy that was on that little boys face. No worry. No stress. Just happiness.

Unfortunately, I didn't snap a picture. I thought that staring was weird enough.

So, here's a quote I recently stumbled upon that sort of fits this memory from last week. Just something for your daily smile :)

(Image from weheartit)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

For Grandmom.

This past weekend, I ventured to my Grandmom's house for some quality family time. (Only person missing was my younger brother. Oh, to be a busy hockey player). Though she had an enormous list of things she needed done around the house, it was so relaxing and therapeutic. Here are some of the reasons why I always love and get so extremely excited to spend time at my Grandmom's. 

1) She gives the best hugs. And she always says things like "You can eat, but I need a hello hug first." Then she'll give you the biggest and warmest hug and whisper something heartwarming in your ear like "I love you." 

2) She will let you do loads and loads of laundry. And if you talk nicely, she'll probably fold your clothes and bring them up from the basement for you (when you accidentally forget about them). 

3) She sends you home with a fridge full of leftovers. This weekend I came home with 3 containers full of homemade minestrone soup, a container of homemade clam chowder, a container of leftover spaghetti, a container of homemade chili and half a dozen of her famous Grandmom rolls! She also has a special cooler that she sets aside just for my food that she sends me home with. I don't know why, but the cooler makes me smile more then the food. 

4) Sitting and watching movies with her on a Saturday night. This is one of our rituals. One night, we watched 3 movies! We just recline in the lazy boys, she'll drink a glass of wine and I'll have a beer, and we watch chick flicks and intense dramas. And we always turn the television off raving about how good the movie was as we both walk up the stairs to go to our bedrooms. Bonding. 

5) She loves when I cook for her. Even though my portions are always way to big for her to eat them all, she'll try her best to clean the plate. When she doesn't, she'll say over and over again, "This doesn't mean I didn't love it. It was delicious!!" 

She's a pretty special lady, and I love her with all my heart. Grandmom, if you're reading this, thanks for being the best you! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thank you.

This week, I hit 500 views! This is just a quick post to say thank you! I know 500 views isn't a lot, and some people are hitting thousands of views. However, for someone who had no desire to write a blog and was skeptical about her ability to keep it up, 500 views is a big step and a motivator to keep up the blogging. So here's to you and to many more blogs!

On another note, Grey's anatomy is getting really good lately! 2 weeks ago the final quote from Meredith couldn't have been more perfect to describe how my life has developed over the last year.

"It's a little bit horrifying just how quickly everything can fall to crap. Sometimes, it takes a huge loss to remind you of what you care about the most. Sometimes, you find yourself becoming stronger as a result; wiser, better equipt to deal with the next big disaster that comes along. Sometimes, but, not always"

I remember watching the episode and listening to her say this and nodding continually through the entire thing. It's exactly how I feel after experiencing an immense loss in my life. As much as it was a sad and emotionally enduring time in my life, but I also grew up and became more thankful for what I have in my life. I try and treasure the small things, and take every opportunity I can to experience new things, and old things that I love the most. I try not to let small things infuriate me and get me down, because life could be worse. 

So much reflecting on my part lately…thanks for always reading :)

(Image via weheartit)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Sometimes I can be an awkward person. I say things at the wrong time, and sometimes (frequently) have a hard time verbalizing what I'm thinking. I complicate simple tasks, and tend to over think simple concepts. Sometimes these characteristics of myself can lead to awkward and hilarious situations. Allow me to share with you:

This one time, I said in an interview (for a job that relied a lot on communication and personable skills) that my weakest attribute was my ability to communicate effectively. Might I add, that when i attempted to tell the interviewers this flaw, I mumbled and grumbled and said something along the lines of "I just can't communicate well, you know?" -- I didn't get the job.

A wonderful and hilarious situation occurred this weekend when my best friend and I ventured to visit her boyfriend in his hometown. When leaving his apartment to go to the corner store, I was unaware of the considerable step down on to the deck. This lead to my ankle rolling, leaves rustling and me going face first into the deck. Thank goodness I put my hands in front of my face to lessen the impact on my nose when I made contact with the wooden deck. While my friends questioned my ability to get up and walk again, I laughed and said "Hey guys! Watch your step!" I proceeded to say this EVERY TIME we left the house. And as you all may gather, I thought it was the funniest thing I've ever said.

These awkward little moments in my life, I think, help shape and characterize who I am as a person. They add character to my everyday life, and give me something to look back and smile about - even though in the moment I may think what just happened is the end of the world.

I find that I've done a lot of growing up and finding myself over the last year. I've learned the difference between when something is truly life altering and when something is less devastating as I may make it out to be. (I'm not sure if that makes sense, but it makes sense in my head -- like I said, not so good at verbalizing what I mean.) I've become more mature and better able to deal with problems and situations that take a toll on me emotionally. I've learned that it's okay to depend on your friends and family for advice and comfort. I've learned that growing up does not mean becoming independent emotionally and having to work through your problems and conundrums alone. I've learned that it's okay to be different and okay to have different views. I've also learned how to express those views effectively and proudly.

I've found me -- almost. I know I still have a lot of learning to do about myself. We are always growing and evolving, and I'm quite excited to see who and what I'll become in the next 22 years.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Sundays are great days. Especially now that I have no homework to do! I spend the days sleeping in, catching up with friends, reading great books, and skyping with long distance buddies.

However, one thing I love more then anything else on a Sunday, is the tradition some of my friends and I have started that we simply call "Sunday Supper."

It's a fairly simple concept. Someone calls dibs on the main course by throwing out some delicious idea. Everyone else chips in with sides and desserts. We all gather out mine and my roommates' house, we catch up on the week's events, and chow down on delicious home cooked food. In weeks past, we've had roast beef dinner, delicious vegetable sandwiches (who knew a meat free meal could be so yummy!), and a spaghetti supper made by Amanda that I was unfortunately absent for.

This week, two of my roommates Amelie and Camila (our vegetarian diners!) made us a delicious pasta dish of homemade alfredo sauce and rotini!

Only a small group of us this week (cut one of my friends out of the picture.
Sorry, buddy!) 
I love how routine this has become for us. Adam always shows up after 6pm due to one of his classes. He non-chalantly walks in, grabs a plate, and helps himself to whatever is left.

We have a "whoever cooks doesn't clean rule." It never has to be mentioned. Tonight, the boys went right to work on cleaning dishes, while Amy was the puter-awayer. The rest of us sat in the kitchen, watched them putter away, and told stories of home and of the week and shared lots of laughs. My heart is all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

This week I attempted making apple crumble. Let me tell you, this is a huge step for me in the cooking world. I love to cook. But I hate baking. I hate measuring and having to be exact. I'm jealous of those people (*ahem*...AMY) who can make delicious pastries and sweets without flubbing them up some how. With cooking, you can add a mish-mash of whatever's in the cupboard and come out with something unique and unlike anything else you've ever tasted before -- in a good way :) I think a cooking blog post is in order!

Nevertheless, the apple crumble making went decently. My dad makes the world's best apple crumble (in my heart anyway), so I have big shoes to fill. I chopped apples for what seemed like hours, mixed up the crumble and set it in the fridge, and tossed the cubed apples in lemon juice and cinnamon.

It perfumed the house with the best aromas. Once the apples had a chance to break down and create delicious juices, the crumble was added and baked for another 30 minutes

And this is what resulted. The apple to crumble ratio was off a bit. Guess I didn't account for the fact tha the apples would break down and reduce when they cooked. Oopsie…beginner's mistake, right? Nothing a little scoop of vanilla ice cream wouldn't cure I say!

Everyone swore it was good. I've personally had better. But practice makes perfect. Guess i'll be calling my dad up for some lessons :)


A lot of my friends find joy in reading, posting, and sharing quotes they stumble upon on the internet, in literature, or through many other means. I never grasped on to this leisurely activity until recently. More and more I'm finding myself happening upon quotes that strike a note or explain perfectly how I am feeling -- better then I can verbalize myself.

So, when preparing a card for my friend Amanda on her birthday, I stumbled upon the following quote:

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just something to think about on this Sunday night.

I would love to hear from my readers. Leave a comment with one of your favourite quotes that I can add to my newly created collection!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Always and Forever.

This summer I got a tattoo...

Here's the thing:

For a long time, I've always known I wanted a tattoo. I went through the typical adolescent desire for a tattoo and something pretty, like a dolphin on my ankle. But it had no meaning. It was a tattoo solely for the purpose of saying "I have a tattoo." -- thank God I didn't do it!

So, I waited. I waited for the right thing to come along. My Grandmom has a painting that she made that hangs in my room that I stay in at her and Grandad's house. I've always admired this painting. For about a year, I thought of ways that I could incorporate this painting into my tattoo creation.

This is only a portion of the painting. When I took a picture of it for
a reference for the tattoo artist, I focused on the hummingbird and not the
entire painting. 

Then my Grandad got sick. Very sick. With cancer. And I felt like my world was crashing down. My family played a huge role in my ability to get through those 7 months of his battle. They were always there to talk and keep me level headed, even though they were going through the same pain and mourning. So as Grandad's demise got closer, I came to a clearer realization of how I wanted to thank my family and commemorate my Grandfather.

So what I did was take the painting that my Grandmom created of the hummingbird. When I did some research, I learned that hummingbirds are quite similar to my demeanour and personality. They symbolize embracing life and finding the joys in the circumstances at hand. Hummingbirds are independent and protective. They symbolize optimism. All of which I think I possess.

Then I decided that I wanted my tattoo to have colour. To incorporate all of my immediate family memebers, I used the birth stone colours in the shading of the hummingbird. Sapphire for my brother and Grandmom in the bird's wings; emerald in the body for my Mom; peridot (yellow-green) in the body and the breast of the bird for my Dad and Grandad; and ruby in the neck for my Grammy D.

Finally, I knew I wanted a script. Something I remember saying to my Grandad in the last hours of his life was "I will love you, always and forever." It's something my entire family says, and something my Grandmom told me she and Grandad always said to each other. It's script that truly embodies the reason for the tattoo. My family. Always and forever with me. Always and forever mine.

That's the story of my tattoo. I love it. It was so painful, and I'll probably never get another one, but so worth it! I miss my Grandad every day. But every morning I look down at the tattoo and remember what he and the rest of my family means to me. They have supported me through every one of my life decisions and they motivate me to always put my best foot forward. They have helped to shape and create the woman I have become today, and I love them with all my heart.

This one is for my family.

My younger brother and I

Grandad cutting my hair for cancer patients (April 2010)
Mom, Dad and I. Graduation 2011.
My beautiful Grammy D.
Grandmom and I. Granduation 2011. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Amanda!

In the spirit of my dearest friend Amanda, I'm dedicating this entire post to her and to celebrate her 22 years of existence! 

I'm not usually one to remember specific situations and what was said in those situations and how I felt. However, over the last year and a half, there are a lot of big changes that I experienced in my life that involve Amanda and I can remember vividly what we were doing, how I felt, and what was said. 

Firstly, I remember so vividly the day I moved into Vanier to begin my first year as an RA. Amanda was my RC. I remember I texted her to tell her I had arrived. No sooner had I settled in my room did she come barreling through the hallway into my room with a huge welcome hug. She and I knew each other from living in residence together in our first year, and part of second. But we both agree that we weren't "friends," more like acquaintances. So, little did I know going into Vanier that I was coming out with a best friend - but the welcome hug was a slight indication. 

Secondly, the day I found out that my Grandad had been diagnosed for a second time with cancer, she was on the other side of the door to literally pick me up off the floor when I collapsed and felt my world was caving in. She has been patient and listened every time since then when I felt that life couldn't get any worse. 

Let me tell you of a few more reasons why Amanda is such a great and unique individual:

  • She always knows when you have a lot on your mind and are having a bad day. She'll say to you "Do you want to talk?" When you say you don't feel like it, she'll always keep her door open for when you're ready.
  • She gets excited about the little things in life like hot chocolate on a cold day, the sound of leaves rustling when you walk through them, and taking out a book at the library.
  • She buys the most thoughtful gifts. 
  • She'll never forget your birthday - she has a knack for remembering dates!
  • She'll put up with your obsession with Michael Jackson and Gordon Ramsay
  • She'll sit with you on a Saturday night and watch Friends and eat junk food - even if she does fall asleep almost every time (but I love that it makes her feel comfortable and relaxed to fall asleep on the couch when "happy" things are going on in the room) 
  • She gives the best advice - seriously!
  • And she is the best listener. When you need to talk, no doubt that she'll give you her undivided attention, her thoughtful words, and her honesty. She knows exactly what you need to hear, even if it isn't what you WANT to hear. And I hope that she knows how much I appreciate this. 

Amanda, I truly hope that you have a wonderful birthday full of life long memories and surrounded by the friends and family who love you for who you are, inside and out. 

Here's to you, as you turn 22 :) 


Happy Halloween!

Any excuse to listen to Michael Jackson is a good excuse. 


Saturday, October 29, 2011

There's no place like home.

This post is long overdue, but as I suggested yesterday, life was sort of busy this week and my posts suffered as a result. Better late then never I always say.

Last weekend, my friends and I ventured to my hometown for a little fall fun! (Sadly for Amanda and I, our fun was limited to 3 hours as homework consumed our lives. Same story, different day) Going home this time of year is always perfect. The streets are covered in leaves that rustle under your feet. The potato fields are turned over and a nice contrast to the fall colours in the hills. The air is crisp and smells different then the city air I've come accustomed to over the last 5 years. I love my home.

(Isn't it just a beautiful landscape!)

My friends and I made our way to a local farm market that has a huge corn maze, fun farm and pig races! Things that really shout COUNTRY living, and I love it! 

 Saying hi to this cute little guy! (Who happened to get stuck in the fencing)

Good thing Amanda was there to help him out!

 Here we are making our way through the intense maze. 

Our awesome corn maze team! 

After our a-maze-ing adventure (yes, that just happened), we went on a hayride and watched an intense pig race featuring Kevin Bacon (my personal favourite!), Lindsay Loham, and Shania Swine -- love pig puns! 

Kevin Bacon was the clear winner! 

And just as the pig races ended, the skies opened up and it began to rain. It was a perfect way to spend an afternoon at home. It's kind of funny how I had never done any of these things before (minus the corn maze) and I only live a matter of minutes away from the farm. I'm glad I got to share these experiences with my wonderful university friends. Thanks for a great day, ladies! 

There truly is no place like home. 


As of 1:30pm this afternoon, I am completely done my first term of my BEd. *sigh*

It's an understatement to say that this week was difficult. In fact, in a matter of 2 months, I have completed more classes and more course work then I ever did in one semester of my undergrad degree. Nevertheless, the experiences and lessons I have learned over the last 2 months have made me a better person and more confident in myself as I embark on my first adventure as a teacher.

As I sit here and reflect on the last two months, I think back to the week before I started this BEd programme and how nervous and anxious I was to begin. In fact, I found myself a couple of times dreading the thought of having to go back to school. However, in only a matter of days after starting, I began to realize that I was truly committing myself to something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I have met some fantastic people who share the same philosophies and outlooks on life as I do. They encourage me to follow my dreams and to reach my goals, and I couldn't have gotten through these last 2 months without them and my always supportive family.

One of our PD days in the programme had us viewing this video below. It's by a poet named Taylor Mali who is a vocal advocate for teachers and the work that they do. This is probably one of the most inspirational and uplifting videos I have ever seen. Take a peak!

And now, I embark on the next leg of this adventure: actual teaching! Bring on those eighth graders :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Feeling Good.

This week's theme for blog posts are short little blurbs to keep you all hooked. My apologies for not posting more frequently - this week is insane with final projects and last days of classes. I swear, this weekend will be Melissa overload for you all!

Today ended on a good note. I had a fellow classmate approach me about my internship, where her daughter happens to be one of my students. The classmate told me that her daughter came home after my first day as her "cooperating" teacher and said something along the lines of this to her mother:

"Mom! One of your classmates is my new teacher. She's really nice, and made everything make sense and explained things so clearly. And she's not scary!"

I could do nothing but smile :)

I think I'm gonna like this being a teacher business!

Monday, October 24, 2011


I may have picked a terrible time to start a blog.

Tomorrow begins my final week of classes before starting my internship as a teacher. So, the workload is overwhelming and sometimes it feels like something is going to be forgotten or something won't get done in time.

It's times like these where I need to remind myself that life keeps chugging along and everything always gets done.

My friendly reminder for the night:

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear Melissa.

I came home from school yesterday to a friendly letter waiting for me from my Great Uncle David who lives in Vancouver. He's a pretty special guy, and I had the pleasure of getting to know him for the first time this spring during my Grandad's illness. It was so ironic that the letter was sitting pretty on the table when I came home as I had thought about Uncle David yesterday and wondered when I would be receiving a response letter from him. I walked in the door and yelled out "YES! I had a feeling I would have mail today!" :)
This letter was a little bit different then our past exchanges of written word and email. This letter was emotional, it made me rethink where my life is, and it inspired me to pick up my socks and be the best Melissa I can be. I wanted to share some of the quotes that impacted me the most when reading this letter, in hopes that it will evoke something from within you:

- "I might have wished that I could have done more, or done things a bit differently, but usually I can say: "I did the best I could."
- "Death is so much a apart of life. We are living and dying at the same time."
- "I'm much more determined to get the most out of life [and] to not waste my time."

Though this mail brought out more emotions in me then I have experienced in a while, I carry it close to my heart. It is one of the most special pieces of writing I have ever received. Words can not express my sincere gratitude for this letter. All I can say is thank you, and send my love and hugs through a letter to him in return.