Monday, December 27, 2010

He DELIGHTS in me!

Some would call my daughter strong-willed. I prefer to call Amirah spirited! Today was a beautiful day for Mommy and Amirah. She has been so happy and energetic. As I was playing with her today I pointed at her and she began giggling. She fell to her bottom and then on her back in anticipation of being tickled.
Amirah, my beautiful princess, makes me so happy. I delight in each new skill she learns. I love her passion for life. As we played I was reminded that God feels the way about me. He is delighted when I learn something new. He loves it when I am passionate about the people in my life. He DELIGHTS in me.

delight- (noun)- a high degree of pleasure and enjoyment; joy; rapture

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Time. It's such a precious resource and yet I use it so wastefully. Yes, there are moments when I know I'm using my time to make a difference-- when I take the time to call someone who's had a rough day, when I purposely smile at a stranger that looks sad, when I stop what I'm doing on the computer to chase Amirah around the living room and let her giggles fill my soul. I don't do it enough though. I also use precious time to mindlessly google things. I use precious time to dwell on how someone offended me. I use precious time to watch TV, even when it's not that interesting.

Two days ago a friend of mine lost her life in a car accident, leaving behind a husband and three beautiful daughters. I try to imagine what life would have been like for Dad and his three girls if we had lost our mom, and I just can't do it. She didn't know it would be her last day. Never even entertained the possibility.

Today when I layed Amirah down for her nap she cried and cried. I listened to it for a few minutes and it didn't sound like she was settling. I went up to her room and scooped her up from her crib and began rocking her. Within minutes she was fast asleep. I breathed her in. She smelled a little like the bananas she had for breakfast and a bit like the formula she had spilled on her pajamas, but you know what? It was perfect! She smelled like life. Like she had been living. Sometimes when I'm experiencing a beautiful moment like the one where my baby girl falls asleep in my arms, I purposely stop and breathe in the moment, and like Mary I treasure it in my heart. Life is bound to get tough and I may need that beautiful moment to get me through a rough patch.

My time will not be wasted today! It's just too precious!

Friday, December 10, 2010

lots of random thoughts tonight

  • loved hanging out with my sisters. we don't do it enough and i love it when i do. they get me. no pretenses. just me. plus, we are so funny when we are together!
  • my eyes have been getting "gooky" at night. not sure why. need to look into that.
  • did we water the christmas tree tonight? or the night before? need to look into that, too.
  • i really need to go to bed. do you think ysmaille meant it when he said he would let me sleep in and take the baby tomorrow morning? i really hope so.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I love lists. I am thankful. Let's combine the two...

I am thankful for:
1. My relationship with Jesus Christ. I know it sounds cliche, but it's true. I don't always spend enough time with him, but I sense his presence with me and know that He is sustaining me.
2. My husband, Ysmaille. I often take him for granted, but his love and grace for me is beautiful and I feel blessed to be his wife. No one gets me like he does.
3. My daughter. Each morning as I pick her up out of her crib each morning my heart is overwhelmed for this little person who came from me.
4. My parents. What a wonderful heritage I come from. They have always been supportive of my dreams, while still keeping me grounded.
5. My sisters. I feel sad for any girl who doesn't have sisters. Not only do I have two people that I can call on to borrow a necklace, bracelet, or scarf, but I have two people who understand the very core of who I am. We came from the same place. We shared the same childhood.
6. My diverse group of friends. My friends include teachers and performers. My friends include working moms and stay at home moms. My friends include singles and woman who have been married for decades.
7. My job. I sometimes don't look at my job as a blessing, but it truly is. I am making a difference in the lives of children. I can be creative. It allows me to help pay the bills and gives me good health insurance.
8. My house. I don't mind that it's only two bedrooms and there isn't a ton of room when friends come over. It's mine. It is filled with the treasures that fill my soul-- the bright colors, the Haitian pottery, the paintings, the furniture. I love it all!
9. My health. I have recently started an exercise program. I am amazed that in two weeks time I have already made progress.
10. My church. I am encouraged and challenged each week there. I have friendships there. It's a beautiful place to be.

I am truly a blessed woman!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Time to Start Again...

It's that time again. Time to start. Again. Over the years I have started various exercise and diet routines. I have had a few flops, but many successes as well. About four years ago I lost 20 lbs. and have managed to keep the pounds off. I gained only 24 lbs. during my pregnancy. I am proud of those healthy lifestyle feats. It's time again. I have noticed since having Amirah that I am becoming increasingly flabby. I think I look okay with clothes on, but with clothes off I am shaky, jiggly, puckery. You get the point.

Yesterday I started the "Couch potato to 5K" program. Basically you start out by running 60 seconds, walking 90 seconds,60, 90, 60, 90, etc. for 20 minutes. I was actually scared to start. I know that I am really out of shape. Ysmaille was there behind me (with Amirah in the stroller) encouraging me. There was lots of huffing and puffing. I know. I know. Only 60 seconds at a time, but did I mention I am out of shape?

I am raising my glass and toasting to my future as a more in shape woman!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reasons I love November...

Oh, sweet November you have arrived again. You are a teacher's dream! Parent teacher conferences, while in and of themselves, are not exciting, the fact that it means that I get a break from teaching and have extra time to plan and organize between conferences means I get caught up on life. Then there is Veteran's Day. I am so grateful for those who have fought for my freedom. I'm also so grateful for a day off school. Next is Thanksgiving. What's not to love-- six days off school, lots of good food, time spent with my beautiful family....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Random Statmens and Questions

1. This is the second cold I've had since school started. NOT a good start. Typically I get one a year, at the most two. I need to research immune boostings foods. I'll put that on my to do list along with making baby food, climbing Mt. Everest (just wanted to see if you were paying attention), and cutting out this week's coupons.
2. I am love, love, loving Amirah at this stage. Ysmaille and I spent all evening trying to get her to walk from one of us to the other. She is getting much better. It's a cycle of stand up, take a step, fall, crawl, crawl, crawl, stand up, fall, stand up, take a step, fall....
3. I made homemade calzones last night and they were a big hit! I love it when I make something Ysmaille loves. Too often our mealtimes consist of me trying to get him to eat broccoli.
4. I haven't had my hair cut since last November. Not even a trim. I think that might be a crime in some states. If not, it probably should be.

1. How bad is it for my skin that I wash my face with bar soap and take showers so hot my skin turns red by the time I get out?
2. How do I respond when my student says someone called him the "ch" word? He meant the "sh" word, but he has a little trouble spelling. Should I laugh or cry?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My blog inspiration

I never know what to write until I read Sabrina's blog. She's my blogger inspiration. She is amazing. Did you know she actually takes a picture on the day of her children's birthday each month. I think what that means is that if her child was born on December 8, she takes a picture on January 8, February 8, etc. I, on the other hand, haven't even had Amirah's six month pictures taken and she is 8 months old. This is my first child. Shouldn't I have done this by now? I blame it on working outside the home, but really it's just my procrastination in overdrive.

Here's what's happening in our world:
1. Ysmaille is an official U.S. citizen as of October 8. Have you noticed how many times the numberal 8 appears in this blog so far? Count them. Six.
2. Amirah is almost walking. Our little peanut is moving along furniture and standing by herself (but only for a second or two at a time).
3. I made lots of applesauce, which means I feel totally domestic. I also have a 1/2 bushel of apples left over. I see lots of apple crisp and apple pie in my future.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Once a Month Freezing

I've been toying around with the idea of the once a month cooking plan. I want to modify to suit my own needs and tastes, because I really don't want a whole month of eating burritos and lasagna. My plan is to start small. Here's what I'd like to do tomorrow (if I can find a good deal on meat. I haven't researched that one yet.):

1. Brown five pounds of ground turkey and freeze it.
2. Marinate and freeze three pounds of chicken.
3. Cut up a bag of onions and freeze in individual baggies.
4. Cut up four peppers and freeze in indivdual bagges.

Baby steps. Eventually I would like to have multiple meals in the freezer that I can serve on those nights where I just don't have the energy to cook. Right now my freezer has really random things like Eggos (I got a great deal on them, but don't use them), corn, tilapia, strawberry jelly, banana chocolate chip muffins, etc. Nothing from which I can make much of a meal.

Well, Ysmaille is out watching a movie with the rest of my family members, but I knew I would just end up falling asleep so I opted to take Amirah home and put her in bed. She's been sleeping for over an hour. In that time I've managed to rearrange the living room furniture, check my e-mail, check facebook, check my friend's blogs, look for a good price on library card pockets for my classroom library, and dream about my potential freezer day tomorrow. Time for bed!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Life

Things That Are Tough:
1. The fact that I just can't seem to muster enough strength and/or motivation to make dinner every night.
2. I can't quite figure out what I am doing at school. I feel like a first-year teacher all over again.
3. I am hungry because I haven't eaten dinner yet and it's 9:50, so it doesn't look like it is going to happen (see #1).
4. I want a pair of skinny jeans, but can't find a pair that isn't too tight on my calves.
5. My face is breaking out and I think it's the stress.
6. I think I might have to stop eating less because I am no longer pregnant and breastfeeding.

Thing I Really Like About My Life:
1. When my students eloquently explain how to solve a math problem, and I know they learned it from me.
2. Amirah is walking behind her push toy and I feel like such a proud momma.
3. Watching Parenthood. This is the best show since Gilmore Girls!
4. I am almost finished with my lesson plans from next week.

Things I Am Not Sure About:
1. Ysmaille is going to become a U.S. citizen on Wednesday. It's weird. I know nothing REALLY changes, but I kind of liked the fact that I was married to an islander.
2. I am done breastfeeding. My baby girl is growing up. I really wanted to continue until she was 1 year, but things didn't quite work out that way. I thought I would be so sad, but part of me feels relieved.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Sister, My Hero

I babysat Natalie tonight. It started out well. And then it was dinner time. Angela had packed peas, rice, and applesauce. I put Natalie in the high chair and warmed up the rice and peas combo while I fed her the applesauce. Amirah was content playing in the living room until one ill-fated mood and then things fell apart.

With one slip of my hand peas and rice went everywhere! Have you ever tried sweeping up peas and rice? Let me just say it doesn't work very well. Amirah suddenly became interested in what was happening and headed toward the kitchen. I quickly moved her away and began sweeping Natalie's meal away. Natalie just looked at me with a look that said, "My mom NEVER sweeps my food off the floor and throws it away. What are you doing?" Natatlie ended up eating a turkey burger and bread.

How does Angela do this everyday? God bless her!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Making a Difference!

Six days in and things are going pretty well. I am determined that this year be different. I've always been a good teacher, but this year I want to make sure I am doing more than affecting their minds. I want to also affect their hearts.

It's going to be interesting. I have two students who can't spell their last names, a student who has been out performing third graders since first grade, a child who has peed his/her pants, several students with attention difficulties, etc.

In the midst of all the craziness their are 26 students who come to school everyday and whether or not they now it or not-- they need me!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Fresh Start

I often start our writing paragraphs, only to erase them because I find I just like lists better.

Why I love my job:
1. Each year is a fresh start. I get to learn from last year's mistakes and move on.
2. I get to be creative.
3. I love the people I work with.
4. I am affecting destiny!
5. The hours are great (despite having to take things home to work on.)

Today at church Mark prayed for teachers and one of the things he said really stuck out to me. He said that it doesn't matter how you start; it matters how you finish. In other words, the fact that all my name tags aren't labeled doesn't really matter that much. What matters is at the end of the year I have spoken life into my students and have made them more prepared for life!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer-- Was it all I wanted it to be?

It's hard to believe that summer is quickly fading away... It has been filled with beautiful moments.

One of my goals was to be domestic-- I did grow several plants; froze corn, strawberries, and blueberries; made strawberry jam; made homemade yogurt; baked cinnamon rolls, muffins, and cookies. I have yet to make a loaf of yeast bread or make laundry detergent. There's still time left...

Another goal was to spend time with my Creator. I am happy to report that my most noble goal has been met. I have had lots of time to know Him better and He is doing a work in me that is not over yet!

I also intended to get in shape. Haven't totally reached this goal, but I am making progress. I've done lots of strollercise sessions and Ysmaille has been helping me lift weights. It's a never ending process.

Most importantly I have spent lots of time with my baby girl. This summer has been full of milestones-- her first airplane ride, sitting up by herself, her first tooth, rolling over, etc. It has been such a precious summer!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sleeping Through the Night

I am embarassed that this is happening to me. I am so struggling with feelings of failure as a mom. In general I think I am a great mom, but I just can't seem to help Amirah sleep through the night.

-- I just wrote a long, detailed paragraph about our ups and downs of sleeping through the night, but it got too boring so I'll just sum it up: She can do it. Her sleeping patterns have been poor all summer long. I am tired and sad. --

Two nights ago she woke up at 3:30 and I instinctively went over and fed her. Halfway through nursing I thought "Why am I doing this? We were making progress." Last night she woke up at 11:30 and my brother-in-law and his wife were here so Ysmaille and his brother went up to comfort her. After about 10 minutes she fell back asleep. At 3:30 she was up again. I tried letting her cry it out, but after 45 minutes or so I gave in and nursed her. I didn't want to make Dukens and Angela suffer because they had to drive to Tennessee today.

Tonight we start OPERATION: SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. In typical style I've created a spreadsheet to help us. It lists the days, the time she starts crying, and the time she stops crying. At the bottom it has the rules: NO paci, NO nursing, etc! Then is the best part: a reminder that my MOTHERLY INSTINCTS ARE GOD-GIVEN and I can do this!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Taking it Easy

Last week, with the new-felt freedom of summer, I think I might have taken it a little far... Amirah and I packed so much into four days our heads were spinning. We had several playdates, ran errands, took a stollercising class, played outside under the oak tree, and in the midst of all that took a few naps.

This week I am trying to give her more of a schedule. So far today we've only been out for stollercising and we are spending the rest of the day relaxing around the house. She is sleeping now and I really want to nap (despite the fact I've already taken one nap today). Summer just fills my soul!

I am also trying my hand at making homemade yogurt again. Tomorrow I want to make Sabrina's garbanzo bean cake. It sounds so interesting I can't help but try it.

On Thursday we leave for Florida to spend several days with the Burch's (Ysmaille's American parents). We are looking forward to having Amirah meet the other side of her family. Already I'm overwhelmed with what travelling with a baby means. How many diapers should I bring? Should I bring toys for the airplane ride? Do I bring my breast pump or not? No more just picking up and leaving. Each trip (even a trip to the grocery store) becomes more calculated.

I think I've made up my mind about that nap. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

Life is mostly about your perspective.

When Ysmaille and I argue about something and I feel so angry and hurt inside, at the same time I am so grateful that I have a husband and I know in the secret places of my heart that this too shall pass and we'll have forgotten all about it by tomorrow.

When I've had a difficult day at work and it's so hard to feel like I am really making a difference. When I feel like I've blown it because I've yelled or been impatient, at the same time I remember the note that I got that morning that said, "Mrs. Eliacin, your the best teacher ever!" and I know that I AM making a difference.

When Amirah is crying for no apparant reason. When she has been fed, and cleaned, and kissed, and cuddled, and still insists on crying and I feel like crying too because I just don't know what to do, at the same time I am so thankful for her and know that nothing is more fulfilling than knowing that I am her mom and she is perfect!

When I feel overwhelmed by all that has to get done in a day-- report cards, laundry, making dinner, teacher conferences, grocery shopping, cleaning... At the same time I am grateful for my health that allows me to get so much done in a day.

Life is a matter of perspective.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two and a half months to a better me...

Ever feel like you just aren't living up to your potential? I'm there right now. Being a full-time teacher and a new mom has been both delightful and challenging at the same time and I know that I have let parts of me fade away. This summer I am going to find those pieces of me that have been lurking in the shadows of my busy life.

I have come to terms with the fact that I can't do it all. And I'm okay with that. But with summer coming I know I can do more because I don't have the stress of working. I am already so excited to report that I have achieved one of the items on my "bucket list". I have a pumpkin, a tomato, a pepper, oregeno, basil, and mint thriving in my back yard. It's a small start, but I feel so domestic. On my list of domestic hopefuls is making homemade yogurt again, trying my hand once more at making laundry detergent, finding even more coupon bargains, and baking at least one loaf of bread.

I am also really excited to rekindle my times with God. I am sad to say that I have often let my head hit the pillow without really setting time aside for my Creator-- the lover of my soul. I have felt Him by my side as I tackle what it means to be a mom, a teacher, a wife, a friend, a daughter... I want this summer to cement the things I've already learned about who He is and how He operates.

The goal that will be hardest for me to achieve is getting back in shape. Right before I became pregnant I was beginning to jog-- only short distances at a time-- but jogging none-the-less. I really want to start lifting weights and jogging. I am starting tonight. Ysmaille is waiting in the basement for me to start my first night of training. Here I go. Wish me luck.

Here's to my potential and the new and improved Melanie!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Dreamin'

I am really trying hard to relish each day, but I have to admit I can hardly wait until school is out and I can revel in the freedom that is summer. Despite the stress of this particular job I don't know of any other job where you can work 9.5 months of the year and get paid for 12. (Although anyone who is a teacher or is married to one knows that we spend hours in our classrooms even during the summer months). I am more thankful than ever for summer vacation.

I can't wait to really get to know my baby girl. I know a lot already: she hates tummy time, although she is now able to lift her head 90 degrees; she loves to chew on everything (her fingers, my hair, car seat straps...); she knows when she is hungry and lets everyone around her know it as well. I have some burning questions of my own though: How long will she sleep in if I don't wake her up at 7:00? If I am home all day will she take a morning, afternoon, and evening nap? Will she be okay eating every four hours instead of three? She is surrounded by people who love her all day long-- Aunt Angela and Natalie, Grammy and Monica, Mommy, and Daddy, but she doesn't have a ton of consistency. I'm so anxious to give her that.

Here are our summer plans:

- Go to school once a week to work in Mommy's classroom.

- Go to the pool

- Play with Natalie and Aunt Angela

- Visit Pappy and Nana Burch in Florida

- Lots of kissing and cuddling

- Strollercising so Mommy can get back in shape

Amirah eating rice cereal for the first time. Another thing we'll need to work on this summer!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My "Bucket List"

After being inspired by my good friend, Erin I have decided to create my own "bucket list."

Here it goes (in no apparent order)...

1. Grow my own vegetables and freeze/can them. My plan is to grow tomotoes and peppers this summer. I am also hoping to freeze corn, strawberry jelly, and applesauce.

2. Travel to South America.

3. I have always wanted to bungee jump before I turned 30, but that is only a month away and seeing as I have a 2 month old at home it doesn't seem like the wisest idea, so I am now chaning that dream to riding in a hot air balloon.

4. Make an office in a closet. They show these all the time in decorating and organizing magazines and I really want to try it.

5. Make a canopy for my bed. Before I do this I want to buy a new bed, as we are sleeping on the same mattress I've had since middle school.

6. Weigh 130 lbs. Right now this seems harder than all the above put together.

7. Finish the book I started this winter. I know this sounds like an easy accomplishment, but it seems that when I have any down time I just want to read magazines because it's less of a committment.

8. Go to Paris. I know it's overrated, but I want to see it for myself. Plus, having a husband that speaks French makes it seem a little more doable.

9. Sleep through the night.

10. Buy $100 worth of groceries for $25 or less.

That sums it up. Some are more attainable than others. I'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, March 15, 2010

My "Relaxing" Massage...

For my graduation present Mom and Dad gave me a gift certificate to Warm Springs Day Spa. That was all the way back in May and I just never got around to using it. It was one of things where you know if you use it you won't have that luxury again for awhile so you just want to save it. Last week I made an appointment for Saturday. I thought I could use a little pampering before returning to school.

At 2:47 my massage began and it was glorious! About 10 minutes into I suddently thought, "Oh no! I have no idea when I last shaved." With having a newborn at home, shaving somehow didn't make it the top of my to-do list. I figured it probably hadn't been more than 2 or 3 days, and that probably wasn't the worst they've seen.

I was able to relax until I thought, "Oh no! I am going to have to turn over and she is going to see that I buy my underwear in packs of five at Target." How embarassing.

As I turned face down and put my head in the hole I willed myself not to drool. For some reason I've been a drooling machine lately. In fact, the other day I took a nap with my adorable baby girl and she woke up with drool on her face. Not hers. Mine! What kind of a mother am I?

I was able to control my drooling, but then another terrible thought crossed my mind... What happens if my breasts start to leak? After all I haven't laid on my stomache in almost a year. First because I was pregnant, and now because breastfeeding has taken over my life.

The next thing you know the massage therapist said, "Okay, Melanie. Thank you. Take your time getting dressed and I'll meet you in the hall." Wait! It's over already? I looked at the clock and sure enough... it was 3:37. Fifty minutes had passed. I think next time I'll use my certificate to get a pedicure. So much less to worry about.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our Sweet Baby Girl

Nothing could have prepared me for this love I have for Amirah. I love her with a fierce love-- a love different from how I love Ysmaille. I know it is my job to protect her, to intercede for her, to love her unconditionally. Each morning when I pick her up out of her crib my heart melts like I am seeing her for the first time. When she stretches and makes her screeching noise I have to stop what I'm doing just to pick her up and snuggle. It's an impulse I am unable to control. At least once a day I look at Ysmaille and marvel to him about absolutely perfect our little girl is.

When I think about going back to work I am so conflicted. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I can still be a great mom and work full-time, but it is hard to think of someone else seeing her firsts-- first giggle, first roll-over, first steps. I keep thinking that God knows how important that is to me and maybe he'll reserve those moments for a time when I am with her. Whether to stay at home or not is a choice that every mom must make. This was the choice I made and it is the right one for our family. One thing for sure, I will treasure every moment I have with my little princess.

My greatest prayer for her life is that she knows who she is at a young age. Although I want her to be proud of her earthly heritage-- part American, part Haitian, it is even more important to me that she know her place in the Kingdom. I pray daily that she won't have to go through the same struggles as Ysmaille and I did. I want her to be confident in who she is as a child of the Most High. One of the reasons we chose the name Amirah is because it means princess, for she is truly a child of the King!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

39 weeks and counting...

Last Thursday the midwife at Keystone told me that I could go anytime. I was 2 cm. dilated and 70% effaced. For those who think that information is TMI please do not ready on, because it only gets worse from here on out. My parents planned a trip to Virginia for that weekend and were nervous to go because it seemed like I could go into labor that weekend. Friday at school I was miserable. I was having Braxton Hicks and my back hurt. Saturday night I lost my mucous plug (I warned you about TMI, didn't I?). I knew labor was imminent by that point and my parents considered cutting their trip early, but I wasn't having any contractions, so they stayed. Well, that was 9 days ago and here I sit. I am now nearly 3 cm. dilated, fully effaced with membranes stripped and still.... nothing!

My bags are packed, my lesson plans are completed, my house is clean (relatively). I am ready. My arms are aching to hold the beautiful baby girl that I have carried in my womb for nine months. We have read to her, sang to her, prayed destiny over her, and now just want to hold her in our arms. The waiting seems so long. The unknown so exciting. Who will she look like? How much will she weigh? Will she have hair? Will her skin be the color of mocha?

Until she decides it is her time, I wait (impatiently) for Amirah to make her presence known. I love you, baby girl!