Ice cream is my happiness

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I am an ice cream fanatic. I could eat it anytime, anywhere (I always have room for it). I love trying local ice cream places- the popular, well-known ones, as well as the have-to-drive-around-looking-for-them ones. Whenever I travel somewhere, I have to check out the local ice cream shops. Last year, my boyfriend was in North Carolina for a few months; we found a few out there that were delicious. Last summer, he lived on Cape Cod, and we would walk Provincetown, asking the locals which shops provided the tastiest cones. I was never disappointed. Everywhere I go- a new town, a new state- I keep my eyes open and my mouth watering.

I’ve lived in my town for the past 3 years. Just last year I was told about an ice cream shop less than 15 minutes away from me. I went- and it was the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Ever. My favorite bowl of it is their cake batter ice cream. It has the consistency of whipped frosting (and that flavor actually taste like it, too!) Their portions are HUGE and their prices more than fair. A small ice cream in a dish costs $2.99 and you get the equivalent of a large anywhere else. I added M&Ms and Oreo pieces to mine last night and paid $4.96 total (well, my boyfriend paid $4.96..because he refuses to let me buy my own ice cream. He says he likes to treat me and feed my addiction 🙂 )

If you are ever in the central Maine area, I highly encourage you to make your way to Fielder’s Choice. (They actually have a few locations.) I guarantee you will not be disappointed; in fact, get a hold of me, and I will buy your first one 😉

Inspired! 10 things for the 10th day of slicing!

10 things I can’t live without:

1.CHOCOLATE

2. ICE CREAM

3. my yellow rain jacket

4. the gym

5. mascara

6. my daisy shoes (and actual daisies:))

7. my pearl earrings

8. goats (or I guess, pictures of them, since I can’t have the real thing yet)

9. mountain and ocean views

10. PIZZA

 

10 places I want to visit:

1. Italy

2. Grand Canyon (Havasupai waterfalls)

3. Olympic National Park

3. Arches National Park

4. Plivice National Park (Croatia)

5. Norway

6. Australia

7. Iceland’s Silfra fissure

8. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

9. Hawaii

10. Any place my boyfriend wants to take me 🙂

 

10 things I want to do in my life:

1. Hot air balloon ride

2.Write a book

3. Perfect my homemade meatballs

4. Visit every U.S. National Park

5. Eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

6. Run in a marathon (next year!!)

7. Hike the Pacific Crest Trail

8. Hike the Grand Canyon on NYE

9. Get certified to teach yoga

10. Live an adventurous life with my love ❤

 

I’m on the run

I love my kindergartners. They keep me on my toes, they makes me realize the more simple things; they make me appreciate the small things. I enjoy surrounding myself with the frequent “you’re pretty’s,” “I love you’s,” and “you’re the best teacher I’ve ever had! (even though I’m usually the only teacher they’ve ever had…but hey, I’ll go with it 😉 ).

But I need something more. I need to feel like I’m truly making a conscious difference in the lives of children. (I’m not undermining my role as a kindergarten teacher- keep reading, you’ll understand.) I need to speak and really have them listen. I need to teach more than the basics. I need to really hit heart and souls hard about important things that matter in life beyond the classroom. Things like self care, acceptance, and awareness. How to love who you are, how to be confident, how to build strong and healthy relationships with everyone, including yourself. How to handle the bad things and how to truly enjoy the good. I want to use the lessons that I’ve learned the hard way and give my advice to those who will someday encounter similar experiences.

2 years ago I was asked to coach a program at my school for girls in grades 3-5 called Girls on the Run. This program teaches the girls all of the above and more. It’s an amazing program that fell into my lap at the perfect time and I’ve taken that role as a coach and I’ve ran with it. I’ve done 3 seasons and I will be starting my 4th this month. I love connecting and creating a bond with these girls who can understand more than “raise your hand if you have something to say” (who am I kidding- no one ever really plays by that rule). I love lighting these girls up all while teaching them how to keep your body healthy with exercise- this program trains them for a 5k. It’s amazing to see these girls with smiles on their faces after running 3.1 miles- like it doesn’t even phase them. It’s truly inspiring.

Yesterday while I was running, a song came singing through my head phones that made me realize that this program isn’t just for the girls. It isn’t just for the ones who haven’t experienced it yet, or who have experienced very little of it; it’s for me. It’s for me to run. Run from all the negativity that’s ever been present in my life, either by other people or thoughts of my own. It’s for me to run from the fear and doubt that I’ll never be good enough, to run from the bad that has suffocated my life for far too long. To run from the people and things that have made me feel so little of myself. This program is for me to run toward a better life. To run for the power to prove to myself that I am good enough. To run to the people and things that make me so much better than I am without them. To run to myself-a stronger, happier, more positive version of me.

I’m on the run. I’m on the run for my life- slow, fast, silly, cold, hot, sweaty, relaxing or fired up. My life will be a mess of events and emotions, but I’ll always run from the worst and for the better.

“What…?”

“My hearing aid died!”

4 words I never thought I’d speak at the age of 25. And yet, there I was, in the middle of my kindergarten classroom filled with 20 bouncy children, and all of a sudden I heard the dreaded sound in my ear that is my battery dying-preventing me from now hearing the mischief going on at the hands of 5 year olds. The rustles and giggles of students sitting only a few feet in front of me are now muffled. The strong voices I heard across the room are now distant and almost nonexistent. I could no longer hear the teacher down the hall, or the little sounds buzzing throughout the room. I felt almost alone, which is hard to imagine when I have at least 3 kiddos swarming at my feet every few seconds; but I felt just a shudder of loneliness in the midst of a busy classroom. I wanted to cry.

I saw my Ed Tech walk by the classroom door. “Lynda!” I called, louder than I probably would have had I been able to hear myself. “My hearing aid died!” A look of sadness fell over her face. She knows how badly I need it; she works along side me daily and knows how much it helps me. She ran around the school trying to find one for me, and finally came back with no luck. “I’ll run to the store for you!” She says.

My heart. That woman is so wonderful to me and everyone she works with. She is everyone’s second mom. She bends over backwards for the people she cares about, and in the middle of the morning, she made her way to Walmart to buy me some hearing aid batteries.

I popped a new one in, put the device back in my ear, and smiled with relief and happiness; I could once again hear the giggles, the loud mouths and the soft spoken. I was no longer alone.

He thought I got a haircut

Every night I apply coconut oil to my face. It’s a routine I’ve only recently gotten into, but one I cherish simply because I love the way it feels and smells (and of course the benefits it’s ‘supposed’ to provide-I’ll be darned if my forehead wrinkles are actually fading and God knows I still have under eye circles). This routine also gives me a prime shot of my newest tattoo. It’s almost a year old, but it’s really only visible in a reflection or photograph where my arm is above my waist.

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It’s my favorite of my 4 tattoos, for many reasons.

I’d been itching for a new tattoo ever since my 3rd. I’d always talk about getting a new one, but never made a point to get to a shop because I never knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted it to represent something I loved. The sun? I do love the sun. It’s brightness, it’s warmth, the way it looks at any point in the sky. Daisies? My favorite flower. So simple, so beautiful. A little mountain? Hiking is one of my favorite activities. It brings me peace, awe, and the realization that I am only but a small piece of this beautiful world. A cloud? I do love me a fascinating cumulonimbus.

I’d never thought of an apple. I never thought of the beautiful message it carried or the simple way it captured my heart. I never knew that something so small could start such meaningful conversations or how it could give my soul away to a perfect stranger.

I was scheduled to fly out of Portland that day. I had spent the previous night at my best friend’s house. I desperately needed girl time and it was a perk to be a little closer to the airport instead of driving a few hours before a flight. That night we had the following conversation:

“What if we just went and got a tattoo. Like, tomorrow morning, before you leave.”

“But I have no idea what I really even want?!”

“Me either. Maybe something to do with photography. I want it to mean something.”

“Ohhh, I could get something to do with teaching! Yeah!”

We slept on our ideas; honestly, I never thought we’d go through with it. But the next morning, we made our way in to Portsmouth bright and early- precisely at opening hours. I remember saying “If they have an opening right then, we’re taking it! If not, it’s just not meant to be.” We walked in, and the guy said that he had just had a cancellation, and depending on what we wanted, he could probably squeeze us in. Oh. My. God. My stomach flipped. This was going to happen! I knew what I wanted and where, but I just couldn’t believe how quickly I had decided and how real it was becoming. I went first, and I’m a huge baby. Like, just the sound sends shivers up my spine. I’m pretty sure that if I had squeezed any harder I would’ve broken Joan’s hand. She is the definition of a true best friend- the kind who calls you a loser to your face for feeling pain with the smallest of tattoos, but who will hold your hand through the entire thing anyway. She was the real trooper during that 5 minute time period- seriously, I think she felt more pain from my hand than I did from the tattoo.

When we left, I was grinning ear to ear. I was in love with this tiny piece of fruit on my wrist. It was exactly how I pictured it and it meant more than I could have imagined. Not only was the tattoo itself important to me, but the experience I shared with her that day was. Our tattoos are a symbol of our love for our passion and a reminder of our support for each other. She creates beautiful pieces of photography for friends, family, and strangers to enjoy, and I (crazily) mold and teach the minds of tiny humans.

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That afternoon, I got on a plane to North Carolina to see my boyfriend. I told him I had “something new” done to me to show him. He thought it was a haircut.

6 Hershey kisses

Why do you workout? Is it to stay healthy? Is it to get in “good shape” so that you feel comfortable in your own skin? Do you eat so much throughout the day that you just feel the need to burn off some calories? Does it calm you down or boost you up? Do you exercise to stay focused or to let your mind wander? Do you do it because you have to or because you want to?

I work out for all of the above reasons, and more. It keeps me sane, it keeps me comfortable, it keeps me enjoying life. (Enjoying the workout is a different story..:))

I love the feeling of a good-paced run. Running outside invigorates my senses and makes me feel alive. Breathing in the fresh air, feeling the warmth of the sun beat down on me, the smell of the blooming trees, freshly cut grass, or calm ocean- every step I take feels like I’m bouncing on clouds and flying with birds.

Lifting weights is more of a testament to my strength. I like to see how much I can lift and for how long I can do it; it excites me and reminds me of how strong I truly am. No matter what muscle group I’m working on, I always feel strong throughout my whole body- I push until I reach my limits, and I know I’ve reached my limit when I feel weak all over.

It’s Monday afternoon and I’ve had a long day. I still have some school work to finish up and I know I have laundry and dinner waiting to be done at home. But I have the urge and desire to get to the gym. It’s time to myself that I get to work on myself. I’m in control of what I’m doing and for what reason. Maybe it’s because I ate 6 Hershey kisses today. Maybe it’s because I remembered I’ll be on a beach all summer and am no where near comfortable to be out there yet. Maybe it’s because of my long day and I need some time to let my mind dance to the sound of the music in my ears rather than run frantically with the thoughts in my head. Maybe (probably) it’s all of the above. Whatever the reason, I’m making my way over there and I’m dedicating some quality time with the treadmill (GROSS. Can it be warm enough yet?!) and the free weights. Will you today? Tomorrow? Remember, working out isn’t always for your body, it’s also for your mind and soul.

Few precious hours

I’d like to think of Sunday as a relaxing day- a day spent sleeping in, making breakfast, lounging around (preferably outside, but not in this weather), getting a little house work done, making a nice dinner (grilling! almost that time…), etc. That’s how it was when I was growing up. Now, Sunday’s are spent in my classroom, prepping for the week ahead. I’m not too fond of this routine I’ve gotten myself in- it usually means time away from those few precious hours I get with Zach, but if I don’t do it, I go in to my week on screech, unprepared, and anxious.

He’s always so supportive of it, and he usually will stay behind and clean the apartment for me- he’ll do the dishes, sweep the floor, take out the trash…anything he notices that will take the weight off my shoulders (this morning he finally moved the bikes out of the kitchen and in to the living room and I finally felt like I could breathe again- we have a pretty tiny apartment). He knows the way to my heart.

Today though, he’s decided to come to school with me. He says he’ll help with anything he can, but if I don’t need it he’ll find a cozy spot like my kindergartners do and read. On the outside I smiled and gave him a hug and a kiss, but on the inside I teared  up a bit. It’s things like that that remind me of how much he misses us (me) when he’s away. “I want to be near you” he says. Those words mean so much.

So here we are, at school. I’m over here at my desk putting conferences together, writing plans for the week ahead, and about to go spend some quality time with the copy machine (dear God please let this thing work today), and he’s tucked away in the corner of my classroom library quietly reading.

“I know you need to do this to feel calm and relaxed. I’ll be right here if you need me.”

A swept floor, clean dishes, and wiped counter surface will never compare to the happiness that I feel right now knowing that I’m sitting here “wasting” our time and yet he’s fully supporting everything I’m doing and doing whatever he can to be near.

Strong for 2

My boyfriend and I spend more time apart than we do together due to his career path(s). He’s a law enforcement park ranger as well as an EMT in his off season. For now, he’s working 2 hours away, so I see him on the weekends; come May, he’ll be down on Cape Cod until October (6 hours away). Starting in June, I’ll see him 4x a week vs. 2, so that’ll be great; but when August hits I’ll spend from August until October seeing him only a few times a month (and that’s if schedules/time allows). This cycle will continue for another year at least, probably more like 2 or 3, until he can get a permanent job at a park (and I can get a job teaching in that area). So for now, this is the reality of our life. It’s not ideal. It’s not entirely fun and it can be incredibly lonely, especially with the type of work he’s doing and the hours he works.

One of my biggest fears is being alone. I hate it, and I have to face it every night I go home. People often wonder and ask why I spend so much time at school or the gym. I can joke, and feed them half truths- “I have so much work to do”, “I’m training for a marathon”, “I want to get ‘summer ready’ for my beach days to come- but the truth, it is so hard to go home to an empty apartment. It not only makes me sad to cook dinner for one or to watch a movie cuddled on the couch alone, but it’s also the constant fear that something could happen to me. I don’t consider myself to be extremely strong mentally, physically, or emotionally. I’m not weak, but I don’t know how I would handle something dangerous like a fire in the kitchen or a fall in the shower, or something scary like a knock on the door in the middle of the night or the sound of someone trying to break into my car in the driveway.

I’ve taken self defense classes and I know how to call for help or how to get out of a burning building; but the thought of having to go through any of that alone terrifies me. I want to be independent and I want to know that I could handle anything that happened to me, but I long for him to be around for comfort and protection. I have a man who is a federal officer. He’s trained in law enforcement and pre-hospital emergency medicine. Everyone who encounters him during his shifts is extremely lucky because he will do everything to make every situation as safe as he possibly can. He’s there for everyone else 5 days a week. He’s here for me (physically here) for 2. I can’t help but feel jealous of those strangers who get his strength, help, and comfort, while I’m at home with my eyes wide open hoping I can make it through another night alone.

It’s paramount to him to know that I am safe here, because without that knowledge, he can be mentally and emotionally preoccupied, which is never good in the emergency response field. He consistently reminds me of how strong I am, and even though he’s gone so frequently, he never lets me forget how important my safety is- because I am important to him. While I can’t always do something about my mental state of fear and anxiety, I can do everything in my power to make myself physically strong. I will continue to work out and take classes that teach me how to take care of myself in all aspects of my life. Weight training, boxing, yoga, meditation- I need to be strong. He needs me to be strong.

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“Kid, you’ll move mountains”

I had my whole week “planned”, as most teacher’s often do. I knew which days we were doing what activity and what book I wanted to go along with each. I had everything placed in their respective day bins and I felt overall ready for the crazy days ahead. Monday went well, Tuesday was good, Wednesday went fine… then Thursday, on the day of all days (being the big “celebration” day), I had not one, but two wrenches thrown at me. We had our usual Thursday guest reader show up, and she had brought a “special” book for a “special” day- she brought Green Eggs and Ham. Now, if you’re a teacher, you know how it feels to read such a fun book on such a fun day; well for me, Green Eggs and Ham was one of my “fun books” for such a “fun day”. I had even made green eggs and ham candies for my students. She started to read and I wanted to cry. “That was supposed to be my book” I thought. “Now I can’t have fun with it.” I had been waiting all year to do this read aloud. It’s one of my favorites. Needless to say, I was crushed. I  moved on, though. “I still have ‘The Cat in the Hat'” I smiled to myself.

On Thursday’s after snack, I have a former student who is in second grade that likes to come read to us. She was a part of my first class, and I grew close to her family throughout the years, so she is a different kind of special to me. (I know, I know, I shouldn’t play favorites- but she’s not in my class anymore so it’s fine!) She came in to the room today, beaming, hiding a book behind her back. “Miss Sementelli!” she says. “Guess what book I have today?!” I made my “thinking” face. She pulled the book from behind her back.

The Cat in the Hat. 

“The Cat in the Hat!” she excitedly yells. “It’s my favorite Dr. Seuss book!”

“Yay!” I say, trying my best to be as genuine as possible. I felt so sad. And not just sad, but also a little embarrassed, maybe even ashamed. I was getting upset because a student wanted to read a book that wanted to read. Was I 5 again? Getting upset because someone else got to the pink marker before I did? I felt so awful for feeling anything but excited and happy to have a child want to read a book. I internally smacked myself in the face a few times. I could not spend a second longer being grumpy. It’s a book. It’s a read aloud. 1 read aloud.

I sat there with my students while she proudly read her favorite book. She was animated and interactive- everything I like to think I taught her, only I know she’s had 3 awesome teachers, so she’s got a little of all of us with her. I could’ve cried sitting there listening to her. This little girl, who could barely read or write when I met her and was so shy around her classmates was now reading a 20 minute long story to a group of students she doesn’t even know. And it’s because she asked to. She wants to read. Every negative feeling I had from earlier on that day was gone. Watching her, listening to her…she made me realize why I teach. Why I read the books I do and the way I do. I want to make these kids feel like they can do anything. I want to make them feel so comfortable and so confident that they can be whoever they want, whenever they want, doing whatever they want. I want them to want to read and share that love of reading with others. I want them in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 years to come back to my classroom and ask me if they can read The Cat in the Hat because they know how fun of a book it is and how much people enjoy it. (Ok, maybe I did secretly shed a tear.)

So, thank you, Dr. Seuss. Thank you for making reading so enjoyable and fun to students and teachers- young or old, you make everyone enjoy the silliness and simplicity of life.

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To my students today, my former students, and my future students: “And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and 3/4% guaranteed) KID YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS.” ~Dr. Seuss

 

Positive attitudes…from the gym?!

Struggles from yesterday:

Little sleep- but I managed to get dressed appropriately for school, so high five to me!

No breakfast- but I always have access to chocolate, so is that really an issue? Didn’t think so.

Raining outside- Guarantee it’s an inside recess day-but hey, no snow pants and boots to deal with!!

Change plans to accommodate something only to have it fall through and need to be accommodated again someplace else in the day- but hey, I’m quick on my feet; I have ideas for any (read:some) hiccups throughout the days.

Found it super hard to find motivation to get to the gym- then I remembered all the chocolate I ate for breakfast (and snack, and lunch…) and suddenly found motivation.

When I got to the gym, there was a girl in the locker room, about my age. She smiled as she walked in and sat down with a huge sigh and said “I’m so tired!” I chuckled, matched her sigh, and said “I feel ya. And to think it’s only Wednesday!” To which she responded “yeah, but Wednesday’s almost over, so there’s that!”

And that was all I needed.