Saturday, October 3, 2015


Ysmaille left for South Africa today, and I am truly so excited for him.  For 25 years he never left the island he was born on.  After we got married we travelled a little, but we haven't really done much travelling since our first child was born almost six years ago.  And he needed to do this.  I encouraged him to go.  But, oh, the emotions I am feeling!

Typically I am a very strong woman.  I handle what comes my way.  I may complain once in a while, but I usually put my "big girl panties" on and do what needs to be done.  I am actually quite good at balancing a career, my family, and all the other hats I wear.  But here is the thing.  I can only be good at those things because I've got an awesome support system.  Ysmaille is always cheering me on.  He believes in me.  I have a truly amazing husband.

And now he's gone.  And, yes, I realize it's only for a week.  But. I. Can't. Stop. Crying.  I honestly think it's because he is going out of the country.  I think it feels like our long-distance relationship all over again.  That was such a painful time.  For two years I lived in the States and he lived in Haiti.  We only saw each other three times a year- for a few days or a week at a time.  Even during our year-long engagement I only saw him twice.  It was absolutely tortuous to get on that plane and know that it would likely be three or four months before I would see him again.  We only talked on the phone once a week for an hour or so, and relied on e-mail for the majority of our communication. 

And you know what the really weird thing is, and I literally just now realized this? I am living in the same house I was then.  Before I got married, my dad owned this house and I rented him from it with two wonderful roommates.  Years later, Ysmaille and I moved in and bought the house.  And I hardly ever even remember that I lived here as a single person.  But I did.  And the empty bed I'm going to sleep in tonight will be in the same room, in the exact same place, that I would sometimes cry myself to sleep eleven years ago, because my heart ached to be with the man I loved.

I know things will look better in the morning.  And I know people have much harder situations than this.  But for right now, in this moment, I just cannot get over the fact that I miss my husband.  I'm never one to wish time away, but I hope this week goes by so quickly. 

On a lighter note, since I have the TV to myself does anyone have any good recommendations for a movie? 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summer 2015

Summer 2015 was so much fun, and so very short.  We packed a lot into our summer, but I also had so many moments to just sit and savor the sun, my family, a few good books... 
We went to Outer Banks with my family.  My kids had a ridiculously fun time. 
If you've followed me at all on facebook you'll know that I spent several months decluttering our house.  See those bins in the back of the basement?  I currently have ten of them empty.  I also have an extra drawer in my dresser and plenty of room in my closet, even with all my fall and winter clothes in there next to my summer clothes.  It feels amazing!  And, yes, I do realize this is not a blog-worthy photo.
I was so nervous about my kids taking swimming lessons, but signed them up anyway.  I'm so glad I did.  Amirah started out the summer being absolutely terrified of the water and now she is able to put her face in.  Xander is a total fish.  Up until this summer he had hardly every been in a pool, and now he can put his entire body under the water. 
The park I refer to as 2nd Street Park has another name, but I can't remember what it's called.  Whatever it's called we love the splash park there.  Our good friends Hayden and Atlea joined us one hot summer day.  They had a blast.
This was our first trip to Knoebels, and we can't wait to go again.  What a great day.  If you are local, and haven't taken your kids here, you need to.  There are TONS of rides created just for young kids.
 Crafting is close to my heart.  I was so excited that North Square Farmer's Market offered a day for kids to share their crafts.  Amirah sold out her play dough, cards, and paintings.  She had a great time.  The best part for her was buying other kid's crafts.  She bought lip gloss, bubbles, hand scrub, an a flower pen.  You know.  Supporting the local economy.
I do love a good lemonade stand.  Amirah had lots of help from her cousins and the other kids in the neighborhood.  Lots of sticky fun!
Painting the hallway was one of the things on our list.  And one of the reason we did it was because our house is on the market.  We weren't really planning on moving until next summer, but a lot of things just fell into place and so we are giving it a try.  I'm sentimental about the whole thing.  I truly love our little home.  At the same time, I'm really excited about the idea of moving on.  Weird how that works.
Painting in the park was really fun.  We went to Memorial Park twice this summer with the intent of inviting our friends (and strangers) to paint with us.  We met some great people and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
So, there you have it.  Our fun summer in a nutshell.
Now tomorrow my baby girl goes to kindergarten.  And this mama needs her beauty sleep.  First day of school is upon us!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


This time of year fills me with such joy!!!!  Bring on the heat, the humidity, the sweat.  Anything is better than winter!  On a side note, I think I am going to look for one of those lamps that people use in the winter to help with SAD, because I am pretty sure that might help me.  I never feel quite like myself in January, February, and March.  Anyway, that's not why I am writing.  I am writing because some of you actually look forward to these crazy lists that make my heart happy.

Here's what we've already checked off the list:
  • Trickling Springs Creamery tour.  Last week was their Open House and they offered tours of their plant.  We only made it part way through because my children found it very boring.  In their defense there was a guy asking a lot of questions about organic milk.  Not very exciting for a three and five year old.
  • Yardsale and lemonade stand.  I love a good yardsale.  Interacting with people.  Making money off things you no longer want or need.  What's not to love?  My neighbor commented that she wasn't sure where I put all that stuff in a two bedroom townhouse.  That's a very valid question.  I was slightly embarrassed by how much stuff I had.  Also, I would like to say sorry in advance to one of the teachers at Scotland Elementary.  A sweet lady picked up my teacher Boyd's bear and commented to her son, "Great!  A gift for your teacher for Christmas next year."  Nothing like a used stuffed animal to say, "Thanks for all you do, Teach."
Here's what is left:
  • Make family yearbooks.  I no longer find joy in scrapbooking, but I want a way to document all our precious memories.  I am planning to make photo books (from My Publisher) for the years of 2010-2014.
  • OBX!  We are Outer Banks people.  Our family rents a beach house in Corolla every year and spend a week together at the beach.
  • Finish decluttering.  Probably more than anything else this is what I'm looking forward to.  I am so tired of having things I don't need or don't bring me joy.  I am have been working for three weeks on getting rid of the things we don't want in our life anymore.  My house has been in a constant state of disarray as I do this.  I have piles all over the house to donate, consign, throw away, give to friends... 
  • Swim lessons.  My beautiful Amirah has been afraid of the water for years and I am determined to change that.  Yesterday was our first day and it was painful to watch how fearful she was.  She refused to participate.  Yesterday afternoon my friend, Kelly, let us use her pool and for 30 minutes Amirah and I worked on getting her used to the water.  She's excited for lessons today, and I'm hopeful that she will be able to face her fears.
  • Splash park.  The Second Street playground has a splash park this year and it's really fun.  I've noticed when I go there I am often the only white person there.  So I take my kids there on purpose.  I think we do our children a disservice when we don't expose them to other cultures and ways of life.
  • Knoebels.  We have never taken our kids here before, but I've heard it's a great place for rides if you have young kids.
  • Powerwashing the house.  I know this sounds like work, but there is such a satisfying feeling when you've done something like this.  It makes me happy just thinking about it.
  • Kid's craft stand at the Farmer's Market. Every year our Farmer's Market has a day where kids can sell their artwork.  I thought that would be really fun for Amirah to do.  I don't have any specific ideas yet...  Stay tuned.
  • Paint hallway.  We want to move by next summer, so we've been working on projects to get our house ready to sell.  Our hallway (up the stairs) has been touched by messy fingers for half a decade. Time to touch it up.
  • Roller skating.  The kids really like going roller skating when we went in the Spring.  I thought it'd be fun to try it again.
  • Painting in the Park.  I'd like to set up a table at Memorial Park with watercolors and paper and start painting with my kids.  Then the best part?  Invite other kids to make their own creations.  Doesn't that sound like so much fun?  I love watching kids create.
I'm sure we'll find some other fun things to do as well, but these are the ones that have made it to my list.  Bring on the summatime fun!

Monday, April 13, 2015


Today was a day that should have been a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad" day, but the thing is it actually wasn't.  There were many things that should have thrown off my day, made me grumpy, and yet, I felt surprisingly cheerful. 
My day started when I just couldn't get out of bed.  I kept hitting my snooze alarm over and over and over again.  I didn't actually crawl out of bed until 6:50.  Somehow we managed to leave at our usual time of 7:30 or so.  Keep in mind I not only have to get myself ready, but I also have to get two kids out the door.  Luckily for me they could eat breakfast at the babysitter's this morning. 
When I got to work I found out that I wouldn't have my planning period because the librarian was not feeling well and there was no one to take his place.  Typically that news would have made me grumpy and frustrated.  Today, however, I didn't seem to mind.  We got some things done, and had a chance to work on a fun project-- making marble tracks out of cardboard tubes (read: toilet paper rolls).  One of my friends had been saving them for months thinking I might be able to use them.
During the morning block I had an issue with a student.  I can't post details due to confidentiality reasons, but just know it was frustrating!
Finally it was lunch time.  I was so excited to eat my delicious, homemade split-pea soup.  I popped it in the microwave, and when it was done, pulled it out and promptly spilled it all over the front of my dress and on to the floor.  It looked like a child had walked up to me and vomited!  It was so bad that I couldn't clean it with paper towels.  I finally took my dress and held it under the faucet.  Seriously, the entire front of my dress was soaked.  When I got back from cleaning the mess on my dress one of the other teachers had cleaned the mess on the floor and was cleaning out the microwave so I could enjoy the rest of my soup.
After lunch I noticed that I had broken a nail.  In an attempt to tear off a part of the nail I pulled too much.  In the middle of my teaching I noticed blood dripping from my finger, and I had to stop teaching to bandage myself.
All of these things could have left me frustrated and upset, but instead I just felt grateful.  Thanks to my babysitter, Melissa, who was flexible enough to let my kids eat their breakfast at her house I was able to get to work on time.  Thanks to my friend, Jen, I was able to have a project to work on during our regular library time.  Thanks to my coworker, Regina, I was able to enjoy lunch because she had taken care of my mess.  I am so grateful for the women in my life who take up the slack when I'm having one of those days.
That brings me to the second thought of the evening.  I am truly grateful for a job I love.  It really is so much more than a job to me.  I get to impact kids everyday.  I teach them new things.  I show them love.  I have a chance to speak life into them everyday.  Then I get to come home and spend my evenings with my family who is the very heart of everything I do.  I want to honor my husband above everyone else .  He is so supportive and helpful.  I just feel so blessed by him everyday.  I am truly and completely a blessed woman!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Winter's Over and Spring Has Sprung!

The last time I blogged (over two months ago) my winter list was well on the way.  Since then I accomplished a few more things on my list.  Despite my list, winter is such a challenging time for me.  I cannot express in words how happy I am it is over, and spring is here.  One of the things I wanted to do for a long time was make an apron from an upcycled man's dress shirt.  The picture below is  an apron I created with some help from my mom.  I've had a sewing machine for years, but it has been broken, so whenever I have a sewing project I end up at Mom's house.  Lucky for me she is much more talented than I am when it comes to sewing and ends up doing the challenging parts of the project.

Speaking of sewing machines... one of the things that has been on my list for months has been to get the previously mentioned sewing machine fixed.  On Thursday I finally got around to taking it to Carey's Sewing Machine Center.  Mr. Carey is a dear man who has been fixing sewing machines out of his house for decades.  I remember going there with my mom as a little girl.  It had probably been 15 or 20 years since I'd been there and I had a hard time finding the exact house.  It was after 5:00 until I left his house, and Ysmaille called me on the way home wondering where I was.  I told him I had finally decided to fix my sewing machine.  Ysmaille was quiet.  Turns out he had actually bought me a new sewing machine for my birthday and it was supposed to be delivered that very day.  The irony!  Below is my new machine.  I cannot wait to use it!  I absolutely love that Ysmaille knows me so well.  He is so good at picking out gifts that he knows I'll like.
I haven't finished my spring/summer list completely, but I have a few ideas rolling around in my head.  Below is a side table that has been in our kitchen since we moved to Chambersburg.  I love the character of it, but it definitely needs a paint job.  I'm thinking of maybe painting it a fun color.  Any ideas?


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter List 2015 -- Off to a Great Start!

Typically winter loses its magic for me somewhere around January 2nd, but this years feels a little different, and I can't quite put my finger on it.  I mean, let's be honest, the thought of daffodils peeking their head through the cold, hard dirt sends a shiver up my spine with anticipation; however, I am really trying to live in the moment.  I've been doing lots of projects around the house, and that always fills me with delight.

The first project I tackled was my basement.  I went through boxes, bags, and bins.  I gave away things, sold things, and threw away even more.  I found all of the e-mails Ysmaille sent me while we lived apart for two years, the letters I sent him, and all the other "proof" we needed to prove that we weren't just a "green card marriage" to the USCIS.  That got me sidetracked for an entire evening.  Anyway, I digress...  Believe it or not, the pictures you are about to see are the "after" pictures.  It may not look amazing, but almost everything is in a bin, all my glassware for Vintage Companion is in one spot, and my craft supplies are in one area.  I do apologize for the quality of these photos.  Clearly my blog isn't going to win any awards for visual beauty. 

We've lived in our house for almost seven years, and we've painted our bathroom a total of five times!  We could never find the right color.  Last spring when we painted our living room a neutral color we decided to paint the bathroom as well, but it really needed some other sprucing up.  The dark teal curtain was too long for the pitiful, bent rod it hung on, and the artwork was less than stellar.  The picture below is what it looked like.  Notice the teal curtain hung over the new one, because I forgot to take a before picture until the curtain was hung.

 It's amazing what a new curtain, some nice towels, and a new piece of artwork can do.  I used a gift card for the curtain.  Ysmaille bought a new curved rod with a gift card also, and the art we already had hanging in our bedroom.  The towels we also had packed away.  I believe they were from our wedding 9.5 years ago!  Total spent out of pocket was only $30. 

The person who designed these town houses we live was a genius.  The walk-in pantry is my absolute favorite part of the house.  It does, however, need frequent purging. 

The picture below may not look much different than the before, but notice the space on the shelves?  I got rid of old candles and cookbooks.  Then I put everything back in its place.  So much better.

I've been wanting to buy some essential oils for months now.  I've heard such great testimonies from friends about how they are keeping their families healthy and treating symptoms with oils.  I saved all my extra money for two months-- checks from consignment stores, selling things on facebook yardsales, selling my crafts, etc.

My kit just arrived on Monday, and I am delighted.  We've been diffusing the oils in the house, and it smells great.  I've also been mixing lavendar oil with coconut oil for Amirah's skin.  I'm really hoping it clears up her eczema.

Speaking of Amirah... I cannot believe my baby is five!  She wanted a unicorn party this year.  We made chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing, and then she had fun adding sprinkles and unicorns.

We made rainbows out of paper and glitter ribbon.  She had so much fun with her friends and family.  Unfortunately she flitted around so much all I have are blurry pictures of her.  Below is a picture of her cousins and friends who came to celebrate her.

I also hosted my bookclub, "Reading Between the Wines", in January.  We read Love with a Chance of Drowning.  It's a memoir about an Australian who falls in love with an Argentinian and must choose whether or not to wish him bon voyage as he travels part way around the world in a sailboat, or join him.  It was a fantastic read.

Next on my radar is getting my sewing machine fixed and making an apron from a man's button-down shirt.  Stay tuned.