7 months

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Dear Cris,

Sorry it’s been a while since I wrote your last letter. I kind of wish I’d written a little more often but it seems like time is going SO FAST these days and look at you now, you’re already more than HALF A YEAR OLD. I seriously can’t believe it. You’re growing so fast & you’re learning so quickly, it amazes me each time I have the chance to see your cute little face.

We spent some time together last weekend. It was Mother’s Day and you were in an amazingly good mood. That’s no surprise though, you’re almost ALWAYS in a good mood. Let the record state that you might be one of the calmest, easiest babies to please. Ever. You’re kind of like your dad that way, because apparently he had a pretty easy disposition as a baby as well.

At one point you were sitting in your car seat while we were all standing around outside waiting for your dad, and you were extremely giggly. I looked at you from the rear window and you BURST into laughter. We started playing a really serious game of hide and seek and you were laughing so hard it made me start laughing, too. I seriously love how much you love playing games, and it just makes my day when I can make you giggle.

Giggles in your little suit on Mother’s Day! 

The last 5 months since I wrote to you have just been crazy. You’ve done a lot of growing, getting bigger, and becoming the little boy that I have imagined you to be for SO long now. Your face is a real tiny person’s now, not just a newborn baby’s. Your smiles are more than just you learning how mimic other peoples’ faces. Your face genuinely lights up with delight when you recognize someone, and you are learning the difference between friend and stranger. Random people love saying hello to you and giving you little pats on the back because you’re so cute and round and you’ve got the biggest, bluest, most curious looking eyes. And when they try and get your attention? You smile and cover your face up. YOU’RE A SHY BABY. Who would have known?!

Drooling on Mother’s Day. It’s your thing, now that you’re getting teeth. Woo! Ha 🙂

On your half birthday you finally started eating food. It’s a bit of a challenge because your mama and daddy are teaching you what it means to put actual food in your mouth instead of just milk. I personally think it’s hilarious to watch and I love snapping pictures of you with food all over your face. We’re going to have so much fun looking back at all this when you’re older. Just wait until you bring a girl home. Hehe 🙂

Food. Everywhere. You’re still cute! ❤

Seriously though, you’re just all kinds of cute. I’ve wanted to be an aunt ever since I can remember (more than wanting to be a mom. I am NOT ready for that yet!) and you have been the perfect baby to learn the ropes with. In your first letter I told you that I needed some time to get used to you and how to hold you comfortably; now I know that I’ve got the hang of things. I was so NERVOUS when you first got here that I wouldn’t be able to do things right when I saw you & that scared me. I’ve had so much fun figuring out what you love and don’t love, and I can easily say that you get excited and antsy when I come to pick you up now. It’s such a heart-warming feeling. I un-buckle your seat belt and you start moving your legs and giggling and you hoist yourself upwards to make things easier.

Clearly, I need to write to you more often. This is becoming a long letter. I can’t WAIT to see what the next few months have in store for you. I’d like to just say that my new favorite thing is taking walks with you and showing off how freaking cute of a nephew I’ve got.

Kid, you’re gonna be a heart breaker.

Love always,

Auntie Melissa

Oh, hey there.

Chit-chatting with squeaky Elmo. It’s like your videos come to life!

Mirror picture!

Have I mentioned you’re cute yet? ❤

The Book Chat {Vol 10}

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The Book Chat is hosted weekly by Jessica over at Sweet Green Tangerine. Go link up!

Today’s question: What are you favorite childhood books?

I was a bit of a strange reader as a kid. To be honest, I don’t remember reading picture books with my mom when I was very young, but I do have vivid memories of my father taking me to the library and looking at stories for a few hours. I don’t remember ever having a favorite though as I never owned any of them- I think I liked just going and looking at everything the library had to offer.

As I got a bit older he would also often bring me (strangely enough) to the place where I now work. It’s been open for about 15 years now, which was just a few years before he passed away. When the store was first built there was a huge castle in the kids’ department with computers to play games on. I loved going and playing with the other children, looking at the thousands of books, and every once in a while I was treated to a new chapter book! Those are my fondest memories as a child, which may kind of explain my fondness for where I work now. It’s changed a LOT (and expanded somewhat) since then, but it’s always felt like I came around full circle when I started working in the place that I practically grew up in.

I started remembering the books I read when I was around 7 or so. Other than buying them with my dad, my mom would often give me two dollars to run across the street to the Dollar Store to pick up the newest edition of The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin. It kind of feels like every girl my age read those; I’m sad I don’t remember much about them other than the cheesy 90’s covers, but I constantly recommend them at work to girls who were the same age as me!

After those books, I read a lot of random Scholastic titles; Animorphs, Amazing Days of Abby Hayes, Goosebumps, Fear Street and other various chapter books that I was allowed to buy at book fairs or through the Scholastic flyers at school. I’m not even sure I can begin to explain my love for Scholastic. Even today? One of my top picks all the time for customers. I’m just going to throw this out into the Universe- I would TOTALLY work for Scholastic. 🙂

Other than Harry Potter, I started reading a series around the age of 9 called the California Diaries. They were also by Ann M. Martin actually (I think this was her series right after Babysitter’s Club?) although not many people remember them besides me!I still have a few of those and I can’t even tell you how many times I read them. Over and over again. Unfortunately they’re way out of print now, but I’m fairly convinced I’d still totally love them if they came back out. They all followed a group of friends who had to keep journals in school. Each of the friends had their own series of books (Dawn had a few, then Amalia, Ducky, Sunny, and Maggie) and at some point in their journals they meet and all their lives start to become intertwined. I loved it. I remember their individual stories SURPRISINGLY well- they each battled their own important real life situations, and even as a kid I could appreciate how scary the world could be for other people.

I think it was right around then that Harry Potter came out and, well, the rest is history! 

I feel like I kind of went on a little tangent with this Book Chat, but I suppose that’s what it’s all about? Little tidbits about my reading life and how it shaped me as a person! As an adult, I buy books in excess. I think I like making up for the fact that money was so tight as a child and receiving a new book was a REAL treat. I still have a ton of those first chapter books and keep them in a safe place- I just wish I’d kept those cheesy Babysitter’s Club books! Those covers are so priceless.

What are some of your childhood favorites?

An Adventurous Weekend

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Today I am guest posting over on Stephany’s blog Stephany Writes about vacation must-reads. I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what books you would recommend to someone leaving on a trip? Steph is currently on a cruise. You should all be jealous.

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So I ended up taking a relatively spontaneous long weekend off from blogging. Often by the time Friday rolls around, I’m already beginning to draft up posts for next week. But as of right now, I have NOTHING. I think every once in a while it’s nice to just take some time to LIVE and everything else will catch up eventually.

I had one of the best weekends that I’ve had in a long time. I had a spontaneous 4 days off from work, and although I already had a little road trip to Vermont planned with two work friends, I ended up packing my entire weekend with plans. Since today I’ll be heading back to work (in just a few hours, sigh!) I thought I’d share some photos from the last few days before truly getting back to reality.

Thursday– I don’t have any photos, but I had a really lovely day anyway! I spent the afternoon at a L’Oreal sale with one of my best friends where I spent FAR TOO MUCH MONEY on makeup and hair products, followed by a really nice dinner and an Italian restaurant with some friends. Another one of my good friends is leaving for Florida tomorrow so we all wanted to get together for a little goodbye dinner kind of thing.

Friday– I got ready and met my two work friends (well, ex-work friends. I mean we’re still friends, we just don’t work together anymore!) and we drove over the border to Burlington for the night. We bought tickets to see FEIST in concert months & months ago, and had planned to stay overnight to do some shopping the next morning before heading home.

Sitting & waiting for Feist to start! Not our best picture, but the only one we got together

The lovely & extremely talented Feist! She put on a great show. Can’t wait to see her again in August!

The service at our hotel was amazing, but the place itself was SO sketchy. These tips were nailed crookedly to the back of our door…

Walking the gorgeous streets of Burlington on Saturday morning. We walked through a Farmer’s Market before heading into the mall for some serious shopping!

Although Vermont is only a couple hours from home, it still feels like an entirely different world. I always love going to the States for little trips because I get to eat and shop at places that don’t exist just a couple hours North here in Montreal. Although I do go a little crazy turning my cell phone off most of the time, I actually enjoyed it SOSO much this weekend. I happily turned it on to Airplane Mode as soon as crossed the border, and just spent the entire day enjoying a lovely city without worrying about who was trying to get in contact with me. It was VERY nice. ‘

We had a quick lunch at Panera (my first time there!) before heading the 2 and a half hours back home. I was VERY excited about trying this place out because I’ve heard so many good things about it, and it did NOT disappoint! My food was the bomb.

On Saturday night, we had a big girls’ night with a bunch of the ladies from work. I wasn’t able to stay for very long because I had to be up early on Sunday, but I was there long enough to take some yummy jello shots, HOLD A SNAKE (my friend’s pet!) and spend some time in the hot tub.

A few of us girls around the kitchen table!

Me being terrified while trying to hold Timmy the snake! I actually can’t believe I was convinced into doing this, ha 🙂

Sunday– Mother’s Day was another non-stop day for me. I woke up bright and early for a brunch with my family, followed by a baptism & finally the most delicious meal EVER as an after party for the baptism. I was out basically from 10am until 7pm and by the time I got home I was completely exhausted.

I had SUCH a lovely day and spent tons of time with my nephew who I hadn’t seen in almost two weeks. It felt like way longer- every time I see him he changes and does fun new things. Plus I think he gets cuter every time too. Seriously.

Me and my super giggly nephew at brunch. I freaking love this little munchkin! ❤

My brother and I with my nephew at brunch 🙂

Happy Mother’s day! I’m extremely lucky to be able to call this woman my mom 🙂 ❤

Hanging out with daddy during the baptism. His eyes just melt my heart!

It was my sister-in-law’s first Mother’s Day! Baby loves his mama 🙂

Goodness, it takes a long time to write about 4 days of awesome. I love weekends like this, and I hope there are many more to write about this summer. So far, May has been such a good month to me.  I’ve been working so hard at making the best out of all the little moments I have- with family, friends, and just the time I spend on my own. This weekend was, if anything, the exact kind of thing that reminds me why I’m so lucky to be surrounded with the family and friends that I have in my life. 

Did you do anything special this weekend? 

The Book Chat {Vol 9}

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Thursdays are Book Chat days! You can link up on Jessica’s blog Sweet Green Tangerine 🙂

Today’s question: Choose a book and make a playlist for it! 

I should probably start off by saying that this is such a Jess question it made me laugh out loud. I know that she LOVES making playlists to go with her books, and I love seeing what she comes up with when she does it. (Remember her guest post while I was in Florida?)

I am ashamed to admit that as a book lover AND music addict, making a playlist to go with books is not something I’m very good at. Although to be fair, I’ve never tried. Usually when I’m reading, I turn on my ‘Faves’ playlist. It’s constantly refreshed (like, daily) with whatever songs I’m listening to on repeat.

So today, I’ve decided to share with you a good book & some good music. They don’t necessarily go TOGETHER but it’ll give you a little peak into what I’ve been reading and listening to all at once! I actually finished this book just yesterday, so I thought today’s post would be a great reason to do a little book review & share some of the songs I listened to repeatedly while I read it.

The Book

Book: The Truth About Forever

Author: Sarah Dessen

Type: YA Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: May 11th 2004

Publisher:  Penguin Group

This was my very first dip into the world of Sarah Dessen and I must admit I quite enjoyed it! The story revolves around Macy, a young girl who lost her father suddenly to a heart attack a year and a half earlier. Since then, she has mastered the art of seeming perfect. Her looks, her behavior, her grades, even her boyfriend.

But when the perfect boyfriend leaves for the summer, sticks Macy with his extremely boring job at the library, & breaks up with her, Macy finds herself looking for something more to life. She comes across a job at WISH, a catering company owned by the wonderful, chaotic, imperfect Delia.

With Delia & her crew, Macy begins to truly grieve for her loss and realize that being perfect is not only unnecessary, but not possible. With the help of Wes, the gorgeous boy who works for Wish and becomes Macy’s best friend, she learns that there is more to life than perfect grades and a desk job that makes her unhappy. She is in control of her forever, and with Wes Macy begins to see that she can be happy once again.

Truth About Forever is a story about loss, love, truths, and a great coming of age novel for girls at any age.

The Short Review

I would normally make this a bit longer, but since this is like a three-in-one post I’ll try and keep it short and sweet! Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think Dessen has a great style of writing & she gives each of her characters a depth that I had almost forgotten could exist- it’s been a while since I’ve read a story who’s characters felt so incredibly REAL to me. 

I’ll be honest, this book was a bit tough for me to read. Not only because the first 100-150 pages are a bit slow going, but the topic itself. I’ve gone through losing my father & I connected with Macy on A LOT of levels. We’ve had completely different lives of course, but being inside her head and reading things that felt so real to me too was not easy. It was, however, wonderful. This book definitely made me cry. 

Other than the slow start, the only thing that I wasn’t crazy about in this book was the slow plot development. The “climax” of the novel wasn’t until MUCH further in the story, and that made it hard to want to continuously follow along. I wish there had been more development between Wes & Macy, but that’s just my romantic side wanting to read more about them- not a fault on Dessen’s part at all. I actually really like that the focus was so much on Macy and her grieving process.

I would definitely read more Sarah Dessen, so let me know which are your favorites so I know what to pick up next!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Playlist

Here are a few songs I obsessively listened to these last few days while I made my way through this book:

Hold On by the Alabama Shakes — This is currently my favorite song. SO GOOD. The whole album! Thanks Jess 🙂
Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran — You should be listening to this guy. What a talent.
Called Out in the Dark by Snow Patrol— I love this music video!
From Finner by Of Monsters and Men— My ongoing love affair with OMAM continues
Body Work by Morgan Page (feat. Tegan & Sara)— Thank you random radio station for this. Love!

What are you reading & listening to these days?!

The 411 on the 101

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This month, I am taking a huge break from goals. I decided this earlier in the week when I wrote about giving up my 12 Changes. I was so immediately RELIEVED after writing those words. I thought to myself “when did you start achieving goals as a chore, rather than as something that makes you happy?”

So I’m taking May as a guilt-free month off. I didn’t write about any specific goals for May, and I fully plan on keeping it that way. That being said, I’m trying to find the love in my goals again. When I look at the lists I have made for myself, I am still so happy & proud of all I’ve done, but mostly I am excited for what I have left to do.

My 101 in 1,001 is coming to an end in FIVE MONTHS. I still have about 30 or so goals to complete. I know they won’t all be finished, and I a 100% okay with that. In fact, a lot of the ones that are left are the goals I’ve outgrown. I remember who I was when I wanted to complete them 3 years ago, but that just isn’t me anymore.

There are still a few on there that I want to complete. Even if my deadline comes up and I don’t get them done, I know I will one day- hopefully soon. Ironically, it’s #1 on my list that I want to accomplish most. I guess some things don’t change? Getting a tattoo is something I have wanted for SO long. I now want THREE tattoos- one for each of my big passions in life. I should probably start with one though, right?

#4 on my list will happen in the next few months. I’ve told just about everyone I know that I fully plan on getting my license this summer. With my job, school, and just the fact that I’m getting older, it’s time I pass my license & get my own little car. I really WANT to drive, it’s the time to physically accomplish this goal that has been missing. This summer, it is definitely happening.

There are some silly things on my list that feel more like little nagging tasks, but I still want to do them. Things like putting together a music scrapbook with all my ticket stubs, sleeping under the stars, having a Lord of the Rings movie marathon & baking a rainbow cake. They’re all fun little things that I still want to make time for. Now that my list is dwindling down to the last few things, I feel like it’ll be much easier to cross these things off. As long as I have the motivation to do these things for MYSELF, I know I’ll get them done.

I’ve had SO much fun completing the other 60 or so items on my 101. I have learned so many things; having multiple reading goals is never a good idea, creating nagging chores as items on a list will ensure that they’ll never get done, and making goals too long and boring to actually accomplish will mean the exact same thing. I look at some things on my list and think “what on EARTH were you thinking, self? Did you really want to watch the news every day for a month and KEEP TRACK OF IT?” At the same time though, I’m so happy that I wrote those goals to begin with. They gave me a starting point for setting goals, and some of the silly ones GOT DONE ANYWAY!

I’m excited to dedicate some time to my 101 list this summer. I think I can make good progress on a lot of the remaining goals that I’m still motivated to accomplish. Regardless of what happens between now and the end of semester, I already consider my very first list of 101 goals a HUGE success. When I originally wrote the list, I didn’t think I’d make any progress at all. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I’ve done so many of these things just for ME, and that’s how I know that I’ve been doing it right.

I can’t wait to see how many more things I cross off in this last stretch!

Have you ever written a 101 in 1,001? Would you ever consider doing one? 

Summer & Being Happy

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Since finishing school (and getting grades back, I’m officially FREE!) I’m trying to live more in the moment. Right now. I’m teaching myself that everything I do should make me happy, rather than stressed or guilty or worse, bored.

So far, this has been working fantastically. The best part is that I haven’t even had to remind myself that this is the goal; I’m just living it. I’ll stop every once in a while and realize that I am doing something that makes me happy and stress free, and that makes me even MORE happy. I want to keep track of all these happy summer days so that I can look back on them, and today was definitely one of them (and by today, I mean yesterday, because this post was written & scheduled ahead of time of course!)

The last 3 or 4 days have been BEAUTIFUL here in Montreal. I mean, warm enough to sit outside and get some sun. Summer isn’t far now, and it’s really starting to show. Before writing this post, I decided that I wanted to do one of my absolute favorite things- lay out in the sun with some good music, a book, and just relax. I haven’t been able to do that since last summer, and honestly it was just the loveliest thing. My reading always picks up around this time of year simply because I am SO HAPPY to sit outside with a couple hours to kill, guilt-free. I put on the radio on my iPhone, brought out ‘Truth About Forever’ by Sarah Dessen, and just enjoyed some of the beautiful temperatures before heading off to work.

In an effort to remind myself of everything I love about this time of the year, I wanted to write a little bit about the simple things that I just love about this time of year, and that I was reminded of today while I was outside.

– When it gets too hot in the sun, I love cutting up a fruit and eating it in the shade, just before heading back out for a little while longer.

– While the sun is hot & I’m reading, I love when a really great song comes on & I have to put my book down for three minutes, close my eyes and just enjoy the music. Especially those really great songs that remind me of summer time! 

– Going to sleep knowing that I have the next day off and it’s going to be gorgeous outside. I love deciding that I’m taking a ‘me’ day with the sun to just relax, or making plans to do something fun in the nice weather.

– When I get scheduled a little bit later in the day, like today, and I can enjoy a couple really great hours in the day before heading to work! 

Maybe it’s because the weather here is only this gorgeous for a few months out of the year, but I have this extreme appreciation for summer, and it only grows every single year. I mean, of course there are those suffocatingly hot days when I’d prefer working in the air conditioning than being anywhere near the sun, and I curse my mother for being a non-believer in air conditioning for our home. But overall? It’s kind of like the sun reminds me just how happy I am to live in this city, especially at this time of the year.

I really just love the endless possibilities that comes with this season. Don’t you?

An Update on Goals

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In January, I decided to join a group of bloggers in a project called 12 Changes. My first month was awesome- I went vegetarian (and stayed more or less that way for nearly 6 weeks), became a MUCH healthier eater, started to think more consciously about my fitness, and overall had a more positive outlook on the parts of my life that I wanted to improve.

Slowly in my second and third months, I stopped thinking about my project. I was feeling motivated at the beginning of each month to take on a new goal, but within the first week I would entirely stop caring about accomplishing it. Maybe I took too much on at the same time; with work, school, regularly blogging & other various things, it became really difficult to think about this extra project that required quite a bit of time and conscious thought.

I persisted, though. In March and April I set myself up with yet another goal, and both times I didn’t even care to try and achieve it after writing down my objectives. It was in the middle of April, when I realized how much I was failing at another goal in my 12 Changes project, that I realized I just wasn’t dedicating any kind of thought to this project anymore. On paper, it sounded awesome- but in reality? I wasn’t following through with ANY of my challenges.

The truth is, even though I’m a huge procrastinator, I’m also extremely ambitious. I constantly convince myself that I can take on yet another thing, and another, and then another, until finally I realize I probably shouldn’t have agreed to all these projects. I mean, I currently have a semi-full time paying job and I’m now doing two part-time NON paying jobs. I try and blog  5 days a week. I have a 23 Before 23 list of goals with a looming deadline, a 101 in 1,001 list of goals with a deadline a little further away, and a ton of other commitments that take up my time.

I’ve got all these plans, but having too many is starting to get to me. It’s never easy to admit that you’re giving up on something, but I know that by finally deciding this project isn’t for me I’ll be able to focus my time into the things that I’m actually feeling good about.

So today, I’m shutting down my 12 Changes. It was fun while it lasted, but truthfully it was one thing too much for me.

That being said, I’m excited to play catch-up with all the other things I’ve got going on. Like I mentioned last week I really want to take advantage of this summer, and I just don’t want to stress myself out with yet another deadline.

I plan on writing an update on the other things I’ve got going on later this week, just to get myself back on track. The whole accumulation of TOO MUCH these last few weeks has meant that the things I actually managed to work on this year haven’t been going very well. I’m excited to re-focus my attention on the projects that I still feel passionate about, and see where that takes me for the next few months! 

Have you ever given up on a project, or felt like you took on too much?