the thing is…i think i have an addiction…TO READING.  like i don’t know if that’s a real thing…but i think it might be.  and i think i have it.

i have always loved reading and it started at a young age.  i was three when i learned (thanks, angela!!) and so i was reading before i even started school.  i loved the library in elementary school.  i spent a lot of time there.  and then worked at the public library in wawa for years as i went through school and started teaching.  books have been a huge part of my life.  basically forever.

BUT.  in the last two years as an elementary librarian, i have been reminded of my joy for reading and i feel so lucky to share that with my students every day!  i find myself thinking of my books all the time, and sometimes, even skipping out on stuff cause i really just want to read.  i L-O-V-E reading!!  so, so much!!  go for a walk?? watch a movie?? or sit at home and read?!  BRING ON THE BOOK!  HA!  i’m telling you…it might be a problem.

but then here’s the thing…here’s when i DO NOT think it’s a problem: when i have inspired SOMEONE ELSE to read!!!  GUYS!  it makes me so happy!!  i’ve been posting my finished books on instagram and i have had tons of positive feedback and people messaging me who have said that because of my reading challenge with myself, they want to start reading again too!  or start reading more in general.  or just turn off netflix and pick up a book.  and i am SO stinking happy about it!!  how cool is that?!  let’s DO THIS THING!!! – shoutout to carol-ann, cindy, laura, megan, kristen, and anyone else who has decided to pick up a book and READ.  because it’s AWESOME!  (if you’re on goodreads, look me up!!  we can be friends and encourage each other!!  WOOOO!)

so, YES.

i, emily abbott, am addicted to reading. 

and i am SUPER happy about it! 🙂

 

so this journal has only recently even come across my radar, but i promptly found one of my own and got started right away!!  if you’ve never heard of ‘wreck this journal‘, you NEED to!  go to the link now and read up or BUY up!!  cause i think you’ll be obsessed, like i am!!

my plan is to work on wrecking my journal with my friends or students (depending on the activity) and to document it all with photos and videos.  THEN, every wednesday, i will come here and update you on the progress — hence, WRECK IT WEDNESDAY!

and i won’t keep you waiting any longer…here’s some of what we got up to this week:

^^ pouring drinks on a book (on purpose) is certainly a new experience!  

^^ this student was OH-SO-HAPPY to be asked to help with this page!

^^ as linds says, it feels rebellious.  but kinda exciting too!

it’s funny because as a librarian, i always talk to my students about taking care of their books (nory doesn’t appreciate this wrecking thing AT ALL!) and then this book encourages DESTRUCTION!  it also encourages creativity, thinking outside of the box, and being wild with your imagination.  there are no rules, no confines, no restrictions.  only an invitation to be create.  i am OBSESSED.  let’s see what next week brings!

the first week back at work after a holiday is always difficult.  no matter what your job is or how long the vacation is.  it’s hard.  we have all been there.  and this week was NO exception.  it was SO hard to get out of bed in the morning this week.  and i’ve felt exhausted no matter how much sleep i get.  HOWEVER, i’ve also found myself in many situations this week where i’ve felt SO LUCKY to live and work where i do and with the people around me.  here are just SOME of the reasons that i have felt super THANKFUL this week:

  • a colleague and i are both trying to drink more water.  so every day this week we have been checking in on each other, motivating each other, and also bumping into each other in the bathroom about 300 times!  but it’s GREAT knowing that she’s there and that she will give me heck if i haven’t been keeping up! (ahem…like today!)  #accountabilitybuddies
  • when a teacher friend comes in and shares the most hopeful story about her son and his love for his teacher.  ‘mom, i just love my teacher SO much and i can’t wait to go to school tomorrow!’  how can that NOT give you goosebumps?!  as a mom, i can’t imagine the relief and gratitude that she felt, but even just as a friend, i felt so happy for her, her son, her son’s teacher, and thankful that these people are a part of the same community as i am!
  • as another part of my effort to work on my health, i have been trying to be a bit more active.  i am SO thankful for walking buddies who motivate me to get going at times when i would normally just be SITTING.  on sunday, linds and i walked laps in the courtyard, on monday linds and i walked laps around school before heading to kevin’s soccer game, and on wednesday linds, coco, and i walked laps around school before heading to two basketball games!  THANK YOU ladies, for giving me the push i need!

 

  • it’s thursday.  after the first week back (you saw the first paragraph…) and when linds and i got off the bus, we bumped into two colleagues from high school that i never, ever get to see!  anyway, we stood around for a while and chatted but the BEST part was that we were able to share some SUPER-AWESOME stories about our students from this week!!  it’s SO refreshing to hear these positive and encouraging stories, especially on a thursday afternoon!

to some they may not seem like big things, but i think it’s important to consider the little things and realize what an impact they can have.  and these are only SOME of the little things.  i am sure there are others that i am forgetting…but that’s okay.  the point is, these are the reasons that community is so important…and i’m thankful this week for mine.

 

^^ WE FOUND KEN DOLLS!!!  you may remember…the struggle was REAL!

here’s a look at what we got up to for the rest of our time in warsaw!  it was a really great vacation with the PERFECT amount of GOING and the perfect amount of RELAXING!  for a closer look, don’t forget to click on the pictures!

and that is it!  that’s warsaw!  i am so glad we went!  i would definitely go visit other parts of poland but as i said, i’m so happy that we didn’t try to cram in a bunch of stuff and decided on a more relaxed vacation!  i hope that wherever you were for the holiday, that it was a FAB one and that everyone is transitioning smoothly back into the grind!

now that we are home and i am reflecting on our holiday, there are some things i thought you should know.  i feel that you may really appreciate some of the “quirks” (shall we say) and what travelling with the parkinsons + an abbott entails exactly 🙂

  • phil LOVES to do laundry.  he does it daily.  it’s a good thing we stayed in an airbnb with a washing machine.  he claims none of the laundry is his.  but he definitely finds joy in it as far as i can tell!
  • i don’t like other people doing my laundry.  i know it’s weird.  and with phil’s love for laundry, i should embrace it.  but i can’t.  nope.  not evening hanging it up.  just let me do it.  please.
  • linds is an AMAZING singer.  she likes to really emphasize and highlight parts of the songs.  we also feel there is value in living ones life as a musical.  and as much as phil pretends that he doesn’t like it, he wants a roll in the musical.  just saying.
  • we bring poop spray.  where ever we go.  what’s poop spray, you might ask?  it’s spray from bath and body works that smells like fresh balsam and lives in the bathroom.  on EVERY single trip.  it’s courtesy really.  it started as a sort of christmas joke a few years back but now we bring it everywhere.
  • i need a window seat.  and if i don’t have a window seat i get a bit crazy.  as in a bit (or a LOT) anxious and i feel super claustrophobic from all the people around me.  oddly, being at the window seat makes me feel less anxious and like i can actually breath.  luckily my travel companions are pretty flexible when it comes to this and they let me be crazy.  or i try to move to a seat with extra legroom.  this also helps.
  • phil has a ‘different’ strategy to dealing with things that linds and i do.  we tend to be more go-with-the-flow and he tends to be more…freak-out-and-realize-later-it-wasn’t-a-big-deal (love you, phil!).  we saw this a couple times on the trip and luckily we are laughing about them now, but at the time, catching a cab in the old town was a BIG DEAL (for one of us…) and that was a SMALL problem compared to the ‘missing HATCHIMAL incident of 2017’!!  picture this…the girls have 24 tiny hatchimals…it’s almost bedtime…one hatchimal is MISSING.  the girls are fine.  phil is freaking out.  looking everywhere.  mad at everyone.  storming around the house.  and mad that we don’t think it’s a bigger deal.  BUT, don’t worry friends, linds found it (in the playdough!) and phil calmed down, and now we laugh (at him and with him!) about the “incident”.

just keep swimming! or smiling!! we’ve GOT THIS!

  • linds is always cold.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.  our apartment in warsaw was so adorable and newly renovated and the heating was really good.  so good, in fact, that the apartment was super hot.  as in 26+ degrees indoors at all times.  AKA TOO HOT!  we had to crack the window most of the time when we were home just to make it reasonable inside (getting the temp down to 25 degrees was hard work!).  phil and i were dying.  phil was walking around without a shirt on.  and linds was wrapped up in a blanket.  i’m usually on her side in this regard.  and i am often cold.  but holy moly.  it was hot in there!!
  • on this trip, i assumed the role of chef and we made most of our meals at home.  it was really lovely and a great way to cut down on cost while you travel.  but apparently in my role as chef, i have also become super awesome and making…PEANUT BUTTER TOAST!  just ask juliet!!  i’m the only one who can make it!!  TAKE THAT, masterchef!
  • sweet baby angel and nornado.  also known as juliet and eleanor.   these little sweeties have alter egos and when they are ON, they are ON!  we came up with ‘sweet baby angel’ for jet this trip when we went through a serious NO spree one day.  there were moments where she brought the sweet baby angel back out.  and moments where she really was a sweetie!  as for nornado, i think we saw her at her best as she cartwheeled her way through the ariport at 1:00 a.m.  and for the most part…we managed to keep laughing about it all!
  • linds and phil started this awesome tradition when nory took her first flight (i think they said when she was around 4 months old) of having the ‘airplane fairy’ visit before heading out on a long flight.  the airplane fairy brings tiny toys, activities and treats and puts them into the girls’ backpacks the night before the flight.  they can’t open their bags until we are through customs but they are always SO excited for it!  it’s great because these new little activities and toys are exciting and hold their interest, especially when embarking on a long journey!
  • unpacking is really awesome.  this is a little quirk that i learned from phil, but i must admit he knew what he was talking about on this one.  i used to always make fun of him for unpacking his suitcase the second we arrived, but there is something to be said about NOT living out of a suitcase!!

well, i think that should give you a pretty clear picture of what travelling with us looks like.  the important part is that we have fun and even with our little quirks and moments of crazy, we love each other and manage to travel very well together!  and what fun would it be if we didn’t have some keep-you-on-your-toes moments?!

i was doing some reading about resolutions and i’ve never really been a fan of them to be honest.  i think that people often make resolutions but then are unable to follow through.  i think GOALS sounds more positive and more attainable for some reason.  so, no resolutions for this girl, but here are some GOALS that i will set for the new year (based on a list that i found interesting on pinterest).

 

a bad habit i’m going to break 

over-eating.  i want to be better at stopping when i am full and make better decisions when it comes to food.  i know i CAN do it, it’s just a matter of actually DOING it.  in line with that, i want to be less lazy and be more active.  i’m not planning to run a marathon or anything, people, i just want to try to get in a few more active minutes a day doing things that won’t hurt my back.  INSHALLAH!!!

p.s.  dear kevin and/or phil…i need someone to move my treadmill back to my house and put it back together.  PRETTY PLEASE!!!

 

a person i hope to be more like

this one is easy.  i want to be more like my mom, ESPECIALLY when it comes to patience!  she is SO, SO patient with others and at times when i want to explode, my mom is really good at biting her tongue.  she knows when it’s not worth the argument or the fight and i really admire that.  i wish i were better at that some times!  i think it’s so honourable to be able to know when to voice your opinion and when to keep your comments to yourself.  and my MAMA is the BEST at that!

mom and i in vietnam…i think we need more pics together!

 

a good deed i’m going to do

i don’t think i will focus on one good deed, necessarily, but i hope to continue to spread kindness with ‘the little things’.  i love surprising someone with a coffee.  or a basket of warm clothes and treats.  or buying them lunch.  or writing a thank you note.  or a JUST BECAUSE card.  i think that these little things really are the DAY MAKERS that make a difference to many people.  being a good person can be a lot of little things…it doesn’t have to be huge gestures.  but it should be and CAN BE everyday!

 

a place i’d like to visit

i would LOVE to go back to portugal because i loved it SO much and i feel like i could spend HEAPS and HEAPS more time there.  i didn’t expect it, but it very quickly became one of my very favourite places EVER.  as for first time locations, i am hoping for a trip to scotland next christmas!  just picture it:  people speaking english AND sleeping in a castle!!  fingers crossed!!  that or somewhere warm.  because i WAS NOT made for cold weather and all of the clothes that go along with it.

PORTO, PORTUGAL. this city has my heart!

 

a book i’d like to read

how do i choose only ONE?!  i have so many on my list!!  BUT i am pretty excited to read ‘the zookeepers wife’ which i bought today (at an awesome bookstore in warsaw).  even though it isn’t my typical choice for reading (aka HISTORY related), i am excited to read it after being in poland.  i also really want to read ‘girl up’ by laura bates and ‘the not so subtle art of being a fat girl: loving the skin you’re in’ by tess holiday for some serious GIRL POWER and CONFIDENCE BUILDING!!  so, ya.  i think i will go with those three…for now!!

i’m going to do better at

i want to be better at doing things that make me happy like BLOGGING and READING.  i did WAY better than ever with my reading this year…i read 30ish books…but my goal for 2018 is to read 52 books, averaging one a week.  i will definitely have to work hard to accomplish this goal but i think i can do it!!  i also really want to keep up my blogging.  i love that when i am into the blog, my mind sort of thinks in blog lingo…like i hear myself blogging in my mind as random stuff goes on throughout the day.  so yes.  GOALS!  #goals and of course, going back to the first point, i want to be better at working out.  not to be crazy about it or anything but to be stronger…in terms of my back and all over health.  and making my health (including MENTAL HEALTH) a priority.  doing things for ME.  that i want to do or need to do for myself.  without being selfish, i need to be able to think of myself sometimes.

 

what are your GOALS for 2018??  i would love to hear more about them!!

i have always loved reading but there have definitely been times in my life that i have neglected my love of books and let other things get in the way.  HOWEVER, since moving into my role as ES librarian, i have realized just how much i miss it and how much i truly LOVE reading.  i feel so, so lucky that i get to share that love of reading and all things books with over 1000 students in my current role and i like to think that i really am building a reading community at my school.

in 2017, i made it my goal to get back into reading and i am pretty proud of how it went.  i read 30 books this year, which isn’t bad considering how many i read the year before (hangs head in shame…).  i hope that in 2018 i can do even better (my goal is 52 books!) and i will share what i’m reading on a monthly basis so that my list doesn’t have to be summed up all in one post!  here is a quick review of my fave books that i read this year.  i tried to choose one for each month but some months i didn’t do very well and some months i couldn’t choose just one!!  that’s the nature of it, i guess!!!

if you’re interested, below is a full list of what i read, along with links to summaries on goodreads!  also, please note that i am aware that i read a lot of young adult and kids books.  the kids chapter books i read because i want to make sure they appropriate for the library, BESIDES the fact that some of them are completely BRILLIANT.  and YA is my fave and i’m not ashamed to admit it!!  it is what it is, people! 🙂

#girlboss by Sophie Amorusa

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli

There’s a Boy in the Girls Bathroom by Louis Sachar

Secret Cooking Club by Laurel Remington

Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye – Abandoned

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Seven Letter Word by Kim Slater

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting By 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan – Abandoned

A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Nine, Ten: by Nora Raleigh Baskin

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

Turtles all the Way Down by John Green

wellllllll……since i was terribly out of touch this past year, especially in terms of the blog, looking back at 2017 was more difficult than i imagined.  it’s HARD to remember a WHOLE year!!  **note to self: be better at blogging in 2018 so this is easier next year!

anyway, here are some of the HIGHLIGHTS of the past year (of course it wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns), but in this post, let’s look back at some of the GOODIES!

JANUARY – JANVIER – GENNAIO – STYCZEN

FEBRUARY – FEVRIER – FEBBRAIO – LUTY

the kite festival takes place yearly around national day and even for the ‘big kids’ it’s always a HIT!

 

MARCH – MARS – MARZO – MARZEC

portugal with my super awesome travel partner. i miss this guy!! so glad i could explore this AMAZING country with him!

 

APRIL – AVRIL – APRILE – KWIECIEN

we celebrated the glue’s FIRST BIRTHDAY!! who would believe that our little passion project could turn into a successful side-business that we LOVE so much?!

 

MAY – MAI – MAGGIO – MAJ

JUNE – JUIN – GIUGNO – CZERWIEC

my trip to cyprus to end the school year was AMAZING. i couldn’t have asked for a better trip with a SUPER DUPER friend, suhaila!  let’s go back!!!

arriving home also meant meeting this little nugget and her mama. so happy for my brother and his little fam! xo

 

JULY – JUILLET – LUGLIO – LIPIEC

AUGUST – AOUT – AGOSTO – SIERPIEN

SEPTEMBER – SEPTEMBRE – SETTEMBRE – WRZESIEN

an outing with these lovely ladies for AUNTIES DAY!

 

OCTOBER – OCTOBRE – OTTOBRE – PAZDZIERNIK

this little guy walked into my life and he TOTALLY has my HEART!

 

NOVEMBER – NOVEMBRE – NOVEMBRE – LISTOPAD

my highlight this month was a professional one. i arranged an author/cartoonist visit for my school and it was a HUGE hit!!! MATT SMITH – BOOK HIM!!

 

DECEMBER – DECEMBRE – DICEMBRE – GRUDZIEN

coming to POLAND with my bestie and her family for an awesome vacation full of adventure and relaxation!

last year when i was in budapest for christmas, i wrote this post for my old blog and as it turns out, there weren’t many posts to follow.  ANYWAY, i was thinking about christmas and all of the wonderful trips i have been on over the past years as an international teacher.  and i think this time of year is a great time to look back at this post, add a new adventure, and be super thankful for all that i have seen and done.  

while i considered writing this post, i was worried that it would come off as brag-y or boastful, and that isn’t my intention at all.  you have to know that i feel completely and utterly blessed and grateful to have seen and done all that i have in the past 11 years abroad.   TRULY.
 
and as i was thinking about this post i found myself wondering…where was i that year?  or what did i do the year before that?  i had to give it some serious thought, but here it is…
 
the ghosts of christmas past.  em kat edition 😉
 
p.s. can we talk for a minute about all of the fabulous people i have celebrated with over the past ten years?!  being away from family is made just a little bit easier because of THESE amazing people! xo #framily #BLESSED

christmas 2007.  cairo, egpyt.  my first away from home, spent in egypt with aunt melissa and heather.  we visited the pyramids, went on a camel ride,  and of course, we dressed for the occasion!

christmas 2008.  tanzania.  one of the most magical christmas days EVER with kelly, valerie, and naomi in tanzania.  we watched this herd of elephants cross the road and drink and play in the water…with tears in our eyes!  we also saw the migration of the zebra and wildebeests.  simply.  amazing.

christmas 2009.  wawa, canada.  home for the holidays this year.  but apparently i was too cold to take any pictures…cause there are only about 10.  and they are all of makai.  here are fynn and makai after a busy christmas day!

christmas 2010.  mirissa beach, sri lanka.  whale watching in sri lanka!  except we didn’t see any whales! LOL travelled to sri lanka with colleen quinn and met up with lindsay and phil there.  we had a great time travelling around the country with our awesome tour guide, lal.

christmas 2011. florence, italy.  after a week of touring around italy with naomi, we met up with valerie in florence and had a wonderful christmas together!  the food.  the drinks.  bring me back!!!!

christmas 2012.  kenya.  i mean just look at this picture!  how did i get so lucky?!  this was my second trip to kenya and it was just as amazing as the first time.  and this time with an even better camera lens 😉 we all know i can’t pass up a member of the cat family!

christmas 2013.  copenhagen, denmark.  we were there for the world junior hockey championships!  well actually that was happening in sweden the next week but first we enjoyed some time in copenhagen!  i just love all of the beautiful building everywhere you look.  love.  love.

christmas 2014.  salzburg, austria.  driving through the country side.  what a way to spend christmas day!  the hills really were ALIVE!  and then we ended up in a TWO horse open sleigh!  AMAZING!

christmas 2015.  helsinki, finland.  i really LOVED it in finland.  and it was such an easy place to love.  and to add to the excitement, we were seeing the world junior hockey again AND sandra and caleb and family were there from home!!  how does it get any better than that?!  this christmas day proved to be a COLD one at the helsinki zoo! #christmasdaytraditions

christmas 2016.  budapest, hungary.  another christmas day, another zoo!  and this year we were much warmer!  we had a great time checking out the zoo and heroes square in budapest this year! aside from the terrifying birds of course lol

christmas 2017.  warsaw, poland. spent another christmas with my family (away from family) and OF COURSE we spent christmas day at the ZOO!