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!