i don’t think i’ve done one of these posts on the new blog, but i used to write these posts filled with random thoughts, or GEMS if you will…and i think that right NOW is the perfect time to get that up and running again 🙂 you’re welcome.  HA!

  • my cats are obsessed with me…especially when i return from vacation.  since i’ve been home from lebanon, they have basically been right beside me (or ON me) at all times.  it makes sleeping a bit more difficult than usual…


  • speaking of cats…my cats are still fighting.  there is a smaaaaaaaalllllll chance that they are fighting less?????  but they are still fighting!!  i hope that this stops soon…because how am i supposed to leave them for the summer if they are still like this?!  being a cat mom is hard, i tell ya!
  • there is a couple in our community who are due to have their baby any day now…or any minute now for that matter.  today, nory saw the daddy-to-be and suggested that EMILY might be a good name for the baby!!  how much do i love that girl?!  FOR REAL.
  • i bought a new nail polish yesterday and was inspired to get back into painting my nails.  shockingly, it was a colour i didn’t already have…a sort of light greenish, yellow??  in the pastel family??  i don’t know how to describe it, but i am going to try to be better at keeping my nails painted cause i really do love having them painted!
  • as you likely know, i am a huge fan of the avenues (the best shopping mall ever, that happens to be here in kuwait).  and just last week, avenues phase 4 opened!  and it is EPIC!!  as in totally amazing and breathtakingly beautiful.  i LOVE it.  so.  much.  here are just a few pictures, but i feel that you can’t even capture how amazing it is.  truly!  i went back a second time this week and i’m still obsessed!
  • i have a new coffee obsession.  it is an instant coffee but tastes fabulous and comes in the shape of a sweet little heart…fitting, since they are called COFFEE HEARTS!  anyway, the point is that they are cute.  and delicious.  and i’m super into them.  HA!
  • i’ve been watching ‘friends’ on netflix and although i didn’t watch it consistently when i was younger, i like it so much better this time around!  i just really feel like i can relate and i totally want to hang out with these friends…i think we would be great friends…you know?!

i must say, this was a GREAT reading month for me!  i don’t know why i got through so many books, but i am happy to report that this month i read SEVEN whole books!  i think that partly, my speed can be attributed to the fact that i read a couple of mystery/suspense/murder type books and they were SERIOUS page-turners!  also, i read two of the three books i posted about in my ‘GOALS’ post in january this month!!  woop!!  here’s what march brought to the bookshelf:


All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

this was one i had kept to read from school before putting it on the bookshelf.  being in kuwait, there are some added censorship issues with books, especially in elementary school.  sometimes when we get new books, i read the synopsis and decide that i should probably take a closer look, just in case.   this junior novel was SUPER adorable and i am so glad that i read it.  i am also happy to report that it made it’s way to the shelf and i have had some students report back that they loved it as well!  it’s a sweet and easy read about a boy who was raised in a jail with his mom and it gives such a sweet perspective on family.  super cute read!


Rules by Cynthia Lord

i’ve been meaning to read this one for a while now and after a colleague read it in one sitting, i decided that it was TIME!  and it was definitely worth the read.  another easy junior novel but this time about a young girl and her brother who is autistic.  it’s really interesting to hear her thoughts on dealing with her brother and how she feels other people are toward him.  as an educator, it definitely hit home and i think that it was really well written and gives a clear picture of what living with someone with autism could be like.  a great book to help young people understand autism as well.  loved this one!


Girl Up by Laura Bates

this book wasn’t really what i was expecting, to be honest.  i had been wanting to read it for ages and i don’t really know WHAT i was expecting to be honest, but in some ways, it wasn’t this.  don’t ask lol anyway…it was good.  sort of like a self-help type book for teenage girls i guess.  and there were some really hilarious parts.  and many very honest parts (and sometimes graphic/explicit parts).  i think that reading it as a teen i would have been obsessed.


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

i saw a mom from school reading this book.  she had just started it and said it was good so far.  the NEXT DAY she delivered it to me in the library to read.  i think it took me about two days and it was REALLY good.  super interesting and a definite page turner.  it isn’t my typical style of book but has opened up the doors to a new genre for me i think!  it was also written in an interesting style…a bit different and i had read reviews that some people hated the writing style.  i enjoyed it though and if definitely suited the story.  i would definitely recommend this one if you like mysteries!


Summerlost by Ally Condie

another one on my shelf at school to read before putting them out.  and i LOVED it.  it took a few chapters to really get into it but i was totally into the sweet storyline and relationships in this story.  it’s about a young boy and girl who are working at a theatre festival for the summer and there are a couple side-stories that really make it really easy to fall in love with the characters.  the different family stories make it seem like real life.  i think this super sweet read will be very popular in my library!


The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl by Tess Holiday

as usual, i had read mixed reviews about this book, but i absolutely LOVED it.  i laughed out loud so many times and just felt like i could really relate to a lot of what was tess was talking about.  and not even just the parts about being over weight, but also because we are about the same age and some of the hilarious 80’s and 90’s trends really were amazing.  i think her message of self love is SO, SO important and she encourages women of all shapes and sizes to embrace what they have, love themselves, and be confident!  also, her hashtag, which has been used almost 3 million times, just might be my new fave: #effyourbeautystandards – L.O.V.E.


One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

my second murder mystery of the month…and i could NOT put it down!!  as in…reading in the car while my friends were in starbucks.  reading while i ate my lunch at school.  whenever i possibly could!!  i NEEDED to know who did it!!!! the suspense was killing me!! lol so i have decided that while i’m not into gore or anything super scary, i do love the mystery of trying to figure out who did something or how they did it.  the expression ‘page-turner’ couldn’t be more accurate and if you’re into that sort of thing, i would definitely suggest looking this one up!

a little glimpse of what’s up over here!  don’t forget to CLICK on the pics for a closer look!

HA! see what i did there?!

i have a love/hate relationship with pinterest.  sometimes i go on insane binges where i am obsessed with all pins.  ever.  and other times i forget that this fabulous site exists and don’t look at it for days.  it’s so strange.  but when i’m on it…i’m a scrolling fool…so many cute quotes and pics…it’s like a vortex of goodness!!  here are some examples of some recent(ish) pins (click on the pic for a better look!):


that’s just some of what i get sucked into.  so i’m wondering about the rest of you…DO YOU PINTEREST?!  what are your thoughts??  what do you spend hours scrolling though!?


this is me and a former student, salma, who holds a very special place in my heart.  seven years ago she passed away very suddenly, but it still feels like yesterday that she was in my kindergarten class in cairo.  i am so blessed to have taught her and gotten to know and love her and her family.  they opened their hearts to me and continue to do so.  salma will always be with me in some way…and i truly believe that she was brought into my life for a reason.

i imagine she would have been the most beautiful, kind, and caring young lady.  even as a young girl she was so compassionate and loving.  she was a gentle soul.  although i am sad that she is gone, i am so honoured to have known her.  special doesn’t even begin to describe her.


salma, i think of you often.  and i will always be grateful for the lessons that you have taught me.  it’s funny…i just looked up the meaning of your name and they say that one of the meanings is ‘STAR’.  i know you are up there, with all of the other stars, looking down on your family and taking care of them.  they love you and miss you more than you will ever know.  as do so many other people whose lives you touched in your time here with us.  forever and ever you will be missed, but never forgotten.  keep smiling, sweet girl.  i love you.  xo

p.s.  can you please pass along a BIG happy birthday to my aunt diamond for me?  thanks 🙂

since the new year, i have been doing REALLY well with drinking water!  i made it my goal to drink more water and with the help of my accountability buddy, shanice, we have both managed to KICK WATER’S BUTT!  after successfully drinking at least 3 litres every day at school, we have even started messaging each other on the weekends to make sure we are keeping up!  and it’s GREAT!  i feel SO much better.  i feel like my body needs it and is much happier when i drink a minimum of 3 litres.  and on days like today, when i was slow getting started, she reminds me to DRINK UP and stop making excuses!

sooooo…..if accountability buddies worked with water, it should work with other things right?!  as in…can it work with exercise?  can i MAKE IT WORK with exercise?  i need to get my butt moving.  i need to be more active.  and i do feel so much better when i do it.  today, i came home and was going to just sit around, maybe read or watch ‘friends’, but i was feeling anxious and decided that i would likely feel better if i got my butt off the couch and just GOT MOVING.  and guess what?!  it WORKED!  i covered the timer on the treadmill, put on ‘queer eye’ (aka most amazing make-over show EVER!) and the 30 minutes was up before i knew it!  so then, what’s stopping me from doing it more often??!!  it’s out in the universe now…so NO excuses!!  i’m going to try…but if we’re chatting, ASK ME if i’ve gotten up off my butt that day!!  please and THANK YOU!  xo

as a cat mom, i feel that it’s only right to post about my kids every now and then.  but in reality, i can’t really sit here and brag about the accomplishments of my fur babies…so instead i will tell you about how weird they are and WHY.  you’re welcome.

licking milk off the counter.

this is basically loomi’s favourite activity and the funny part is that he KNOWS when i am going to be taking out the milk.  like if he sees me starting to make a tea, coffee, or oatmeal, he is on that counter faster than you can even imagine!  and somehow, if i’m making anything else, he knows there will be no milk so he doesn’t need to bother.  it’s weird.  but i may have created a bit of a monster with that one.

my salad eating, milk drinking BIG boy. HA!

eating salad.

this is a new one.  and i think it is linked to his love for cat grass and the fact that i never grow it for him anymore.  but every single day when i take out my salad for dinner, loomi is up on the counter (like milk on the counter style) and STEALING my lettuce out of my salad!  he really loves those leafy greens!

poop in shower.

now, onto cat number two.  and his bathroom business.  auggie has this ridiculous habit of pooping in the shower.  and what you really need to know is that the litter box sits IN the shower.  and auggie chooses to poop BESIDE it!!  he pees IN the box.  but does not poop in the box.  AND to make things worse, when i was gone for christmas holidays and coco was checking on the cats, he pooped in the box.  WHY!?!?!?  does he hate me?!  or really love me and show his love with POOP??!!  get it together, auggie…PLEASE!

but like how can i be mad at this face?!

doorway standoffs.

i have had auggie since the end of october now i reallllllllly thought that by now they would be getting along.  but i am here to tell you, they ARE NOT.  and of course, somedays are worse than others, but sometimes i just want to CRY!  however, the strange thing is that they seem to be fine, until they have to cross paths in a doorway.  then SUDDENLY the space isn’t big enough for some reason and we all freak out.  i can’t explain it.  it just happens.  multiple times a day.

one of the rare moments when they are getting along!

well, there goes month two of 2018 and i am proud to say that i am AHEAD of my reading schedule!  i read 5 books this month which puts me at 10/52 for the year so far!!  WOO!  here is what i got into this month:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

**WARNING: if you are a huge HP fan, you may want to skip this one!**  i didn’t love this book!  i LOVED the end…like the last quarter…or less…but i found that it took SO long for enough action to keep me excited.  i was just kinda bored.  i wanted more!  and then there would be — for like 0.2 seconds — and then back to details, details, details, too much fluff…WHERE IS THE ACTION?!  i’m sorry.  i know this goes against the popular consensus, but that’s how it goes!  now, i should say that by the end, because i loved that part, part of me wanted to start into book 5 right away, but i decided to take a break for now!


A Corner of the Universe

this one was recommended to me by a student in fifth grade.  i knew i had heard of it but somehow i had never read it.  ANYWAY, i am super happy that she recommended it because it was such a good book!  it was a quick and easy read but has such a great message!  there is also some pretty serious content which surprised me, but takes an interesting look at people with special needs and their families.  after i read it, i passed it on to another fifth grade student and since then, the three of us haven’t stopped talking about how sad this book is! HA!  if you’re going to read it, be ready for a tear or two!


Maxi’s Secrets

ugh.  and speaking of crying…there is a chance that i finished this book during D.E.A.R. time with a fourth grade class and cried.  like kinda a lot.  but somehow managed to keep it concealed! HA!  but books about animals ALWAYS get me!  this book was SOOOOO sweet and each chapter ended with a “secret” that the boy learned from his dog.  he learns that “bad news is still bad news — even if you’re expecting it” and that “sometimes love stinks”. the way that the lessons are explained is SO sweet and the relationships in this book should make people step back and think about all of the relationships that we have.  a quick and easy must read!


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

i have been wanting to read this book for a while because i super loved watching the mindy project and i find mindy kaling to be super, duper funny.  i must say that the book wasn’t exactly what i was expecting.  although it had many cute and funny short stories, i guess i expected it to have more of a flow, or storyline, or something.  i don’t know really.  anyway, i read it and i did enjoy parts of it but found it to be work at times.  at other times i found myself laughing out loud or reading it (in my head) in mindy’s voice.  after reading it, my opinion remains the same in one respect – i want to be friends with mindy kaling.  pretty please!


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

this was hands down my favourite read of the month!  i actually picked it up with the intention of RE-reading it, but as i read, it became clear that i hadn’t read it before.  and then i read it in one sitting.  i couldn’t stop.  i mean it wasn’t super long or anything but it is SWEET and LOVEABLE and SAD and allllllll kinds of other emotions.  SO. GOOD.  like i just need to know how kate dicamillo is such a genius??!  honestly.  i have yet to read a book by her that i haven’t loved and most of them i am just HEAD-OVER-HEELS for!  she’s THE BEST.  if you haven’t read this, i promise you that it will be a couple hours well spent!!  these characters.  UUUGH!  i want to read it again right now!  HA!


sometimes i wonder if i should consider being back in the classroom.  sometimes people say “don’t you miss it?” or “i wish you would teach grade one again” and it makes me think.  but then there are the moments when i KNOW i am where i should be.  that i KNOW i am happiest when i am sharing my love for reading.  i have so many students (and even teachers!) who tell me library is their favourite time of week…how is that not the BEST compliment ever?!

my absolute favourite moment came about during DEAR (drop everything and read) time with a grade 5 class.  i was sitting beside a girl who is constantly in the library and now struggles to find books she hasn’t read.  she was reading ‘the alchemist’ and i was reading ‘harry potter – the goblet of fire’.  she looked over at my book and whispered “LUCKY!”.  when i asked her what she meant, she replied that she loves when books have super small font and there isn’t much space between the lines…because in her book, the font was too big and too spaced out.  i had to hold in my laugh, but i just replied with “you’re amazing and SO cool, you know that?!”.  she’s basically the COOLEST.

of course there have been other awesome moments, like when a fifth grade boy shared the story of his grandfather in the kuwait war and how that related to what he was reading.  there was also the time that i was reading to a fourth grade class and after the read aloud we had a great discussion about the book.  then the teacher raised his hand and said that before we talked about it, he hadn’t really enjoyed it, but that the group discussion made him appreciate the book so much more.  i’ve even had parents of kindergarten students tell me that their kids play ‘ms. emily’ at home and pretend to read aloud to each other!!  and then today, at the mall, when a fifth grade girl came running, out of breakfast with her family, to chase me down the mall and give me a hug.

yup.  i am so lucky.  so, so, SO lucky!

and i’m exactly where i should be.

well, let’s start with the last part first…


he’s 6 today!!  and i was thinking it would be funny if i invited everyone over today to celebrate since he’s such a grumpy gus.  BUT…i never made it that far.

so i woke up this morning to the sounds of cats fighting at around 5:30 a.m.  i JUMPED out of bed and as i was trying to break up the fight, i suddenly felt a lot of pain in my back.  i went back to bed for a while and it seemed to be okay while laying down.  so i thought it would get better…i was wrong.

when i got out of bed at 8:00, the most EPIC cat fight of ALL TIME broke out.  like i am talking INSANITY.  i am talking fur up and down the entire apartment.  i am talking sounds that i can’t even explain.  it was bad.  but as i tried to separate them, i realized i was in so much pain there was a chance i was going to fall down.  so i held auggie off with a metal pole, messaged kevin to come over and sat on the couch, trying not to cry.  kevin saved the day as he split up the cats and cleaned up the entire third cat worth of fur that was now on the floor.

the good news is that i already had a massage/acupuncture/cupping appointment booked for 9:45.  so she worked her magic on my back (and for the record, it’s not perfect at this point but definitely better than it was) and then she also wanted to do some ‘therapy for weight loss’.  ok sure, fine.  but THEN, at the end of it, she asked me if she could put ground up ginger and chinese vinegar IN MY BELLY BUTTON!!!!  she then covered it with a big bandage and told me to leave it there for FIVE TO EIGHT HOURS!  what???!!!!  oh, but i let her.  and then once she left and the vinegar starting dripping, that was the end of that!  (i think i lasted 10 minutes!)

oh ya…so this is what my back looks like right now…


i’m sure you’re thinking ‘okay, it must be done now.  that’s three bad things that have happened’. but you would be wrong.  although the next reason that my life is in shambles is not BAD, just embarrassing.  you’re welcome.  as i sit on the couch, trying to figure out what i’m going to do with my 900 year old back, the fab kumari poppins shows up at the door with some of my clothes that she has ironed.  and that’s not the embarrassing part.  nope.  she went and put the clothes away and then asked me when she can come back to fold all the clothes in my cupboards because sometimes i put them in inside-out and some things are not folded nicely any more.  **insert face-palm emoji here**.  i am SO embarrassed.

today…as coco would say…


and it’s loomi’s birthday.  and it rained all day.  and my back is hurting.  and today was the worst.  and now i’m over it.

thanks for letting me vent!