Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Accommodating Grandpas

My kids are absolutely in love with both of their Grandpas. Of course, I love them too, but the phrase "conflict of interest" comes to mine when it comes to parental and grandparental roles. Surely other mothers can agree?

This is the motto of both Grandpas seem to embrace. I swear, I have even heard my father-in-law say this!

And let me tell you-- they are veeeeeeery accommodating. 

You want to bounce the basketball on the kitchen floor, sure! Oh, you'd like a drink of my highly caffeinated beverage, you betchya! Oh, you want to talk back and scream at your parents, don't mind me... I'll just sit over here and laugh (egg you on!). 

Their purpose goes further than just giving me a reason to roll my eyes, but to love our little kiddos and build a special bond that only a Grandpa can have. I just love how my kids love their Grandpas and vice versa. 

Today, the kids went fishing with Grandpa Forrest (and Grandma Linda, too). Belle caught her first fish!

My dad came down this evening to help with the pesky mower... and he welcomed Belle hugs even when he was a little preoccupied.

But as we were outside, we began to hear some music in the background coming closer and closer. Jackson was just excited to see a truck go by that played music. But Papa Johne couldn't resist-- and he introduced my children to the fact that musical trucks sell ice cream. My life will never be the same (though I do plan on telling my kids that the ice cream is special treat to be enjoyed with grandparents). 

Jackson was SO excited when he realized he had so many choices of ice cream!

They both ended up with Ninja Turtle ice cream cones. 

Derek and I were blessed to have such great fathers and our kids are equally blessed to have such loving and "accommodating" grandpas. I am so thankful for their presence in our lives... even when I hear stories like, "Grandpa told me that monkeys throw poop!"


Sunday, May 19, 2013

My MSCP: the details

Despite my frequent mentions about grad school here on the blog, including the post of my graduation last week, I'm not certain I ever formally introduced my degree program. I started graduate school in January of 2008, though my case load varied from semester to semester. There were times in which I'd manage a mere six credit hours a year and others I'd complete sixteen. Either way, it's just been a part of my {our} life for so long that it never actually warranted it's own blog post... until now.

Actually, I've had several people ask. I love what I've studied and therefore love the opportunity to talk a little bit about it. Truthfully, my favorite blogs to read are the ones that give me a glimpse into an experience in which I'm not, and most likely will never be, acquainted (from reading about applying to med school to self-publishing a book), so that's my intent here. My goal is to put out some sort of psychology topic on Sundays, hence the oh-so-creative title for this "series", PsychSunday.

So, without further ado...

Once I finish my summer class, I will have earned my Master's of Science in Counseling Psychology degree (MSCP). Universities across the country vary in offering MA and MS degrees. This is an expert from a counseling blog that sums up the difference, though the biggest difference is likely the color of the hood received at graduation.

MA: Master of Arts. Clinicians who hold this degree are generally educated in programs that combine coursework and applied practicums. If they are also licensed, these individuals are either counselors or therapists, often depending on their theoretical persuasion. 
MS: Master of Science. Also counselors or therapists, these professionals come from degree programs that focus more on research (hence, science). For all intents and purposes, the Master level degree carries about the same weight when it comes to applied practice.
Basically, this degree prepares students to assess, diagnosis, and provide treatment for mental health disorders. That is a very general statement considering that the recommendations for licensure vary from state to state. My program at Avila University meets the requirements for students to pursue licensure in the states of Missouri and Kansas.

Master's programs often vary in credit hour requirements. Master's degrees in the teaching field are often 30-ish hours and the IT program Derek is starting is also in the 30 hour range. Due to state licensing requirements, my degree requirement consisted of 60 credit hours, all of which were required to be obtained in the physical classroom. While their universities that offer online courses that count toward graduation, those courses are ineligible to count towards licensure (which means you'd have to take them over again in a brick and mortar school). At times, it was a real pain to travel to school especially knowing that there are thousands of other people are obtaining their degrees in sweatpants on their couch. However, counseling and psychology (often considered two distinct fields) are very social fields. The experience of classmates, group projects, and even observing the demeanor of the professors are huge components to the learning experience.

The coursework required for this program includes counseling skills, theories, assessments, developmental psychology, diagnostics, statistics and research, along with some cognitive and biological psychology classes too. Of course, there is practicum and internship too, though I'll share about those next week!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

I graduated!!!!!

After five long years of grad school, I graduated last weekend!!!  Of course I've been so anxious to share this exciting milestone, but I've spent this week enjoying family time and getting newly acquainted with the concept of free time!

 Getting hooded by the program directors and a favorite professor.

My Grandma came down to attend the ceremony. She has always been such an advocate and encouragement in seeking my degree. 

Four Generations!

This is the best family photo we got- a crying 4 year old, a zombie 2 year old and parents who can't even produce a fake smile. But hey-- this is our life. ;)

My proud parents. I think they are smiling because they didn't pay for this degree. 

Derek's family so wonderfully endured the long, boring graduation too! Linda is an Avila University alum. 

This pic with Derek is one of my favorite. I couldn't have even made it through without this man!!

We met up at KFC for lunch (avoiding all other graduation lunch traffic!). Belle crashed on a booth seat. 

Is this not the cutest picture?!? I felt so proud when he put it on and said, "I'm just like Mommy!!" 

While at KFC, a fellow patron asked if I just graduated. When I confirmed that I did, she proceeded to ask from which high school. You can imagine her surprise when I mentioned that I just received my Master's Degree. Maybe someday I'll look like an accomplished adult. Until then, I'll just keep surprising people with my intellect for such a young looking person.... or convincing people to hire me at a job paying more than minimum wage.

Okay, and I must actually confess-- I still have to finish my internship and take another class this summer. It's a small, private university so they only do one graduation a year, so I went ahead and celebrated. :)  Feel free go ahead and just call me Master Amy. :)


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Big Machines

There was a fun little citizen appreciation fair tonight at the park across the street. It was a kick-off for the completion of the renovations that have been taking place over the past two years. Have I ever mentioned that I love living less than a block away from a park?? If I haven't already, I absolutely love how close we are to such a fantastic park! There's a playground, but also an open area along with walking trails. The outdoor water park is right there, too. Best of all, we live on a side street, so we don't even experience the traffic!

Anyway, back to tonight. The city put on this event and had hotdogs, chips, cookies and drinks for dinner-- my kids' favorite meal. Even better, the city invited different "big machines" for kids (both young and old) to explore!

The helicopter was the first thing we visited and was certainly the coolest thing of the evening.

Exploring the firetruck...

Playing around in the digger...

While I was snapping photos, Jackson ended up pushing the horn and it scare the you-know-what out of me!! Not just because it was loud and caught me off guard, but the thought of "oh dear, did my child just break this giant piece of machinery!?!?" went flying through my head.

The police motorcycle (Belle wasn't invited to participate in this photo because she hasn't mastered the skill of "not touching" and I didn't want to pay for the damages.)

The kids also got to climb in this ladder truck thing. We got to see a guy get in it and go way high, so Jackson wanted to go high too, but had to settle for ground level.

The city had this cute idea to have different concrete squares out for the kids to put their handprints and/or initials! The slats all had 2013 in the middle for the grand opening of the park. There wasn't much space left when we got there, so I just squeezed in their initials. 

It was fun evening! I think the kids would say that the coolest part was seeing the helicopter take off. And by kids, I mean Derek and I too. :) 


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day outtakes

I wanted to take a quick pic before church this morning to show a pic to my mom how cute Belle looks in the dress she bought! Isn't she a doll!?! And she wears that pearl necklace (handed down from Gram-Gram) every week to church. I love it. :)

Yes, Jackson is technically wearing a soccer jersey to church, but the criteria for "church shirt" is to have a collar, and well, this does.

Whereas I normally sort through my collection of pictures to share only the best, I thought I'd include some outtakes. Taking pictures of these kids is an absolutely ridiculous task. Here's what the pictures most often look like:

I love these next two because they show the each of the kids in a genuine laugh! Too bad they aren't in the same shot! 

I love these kiddos and that they made me a mommy!!

Today was a fabulous day (...especially considering that I GRADUATED yesterday. I will get those pics up soon!) It was a simple day, which are growing to be my favorite. Simple meals, simple plans. Just family time. 

My wonderful Danish daughter wished me a Happy Mother's Day today. She's coming back this summer and we're totally excited!

And a quick note to share how grateful I am for the Moms in my life. My mom is a wonderful Grammy to my kiddos and she's been so encouraging as I've worked to finish my degree. Plus, when I visit, she takes requests and it's always delish. My mother-in-law is top notch. We live in the same town and while some have "Everybody Love Raymond" type of mother-in-laws, I certainly don't! She has watched the kiddos so many of the nights I've had class, and even for us to go on dates. And she makes the most wonderful chocolate chip cookies. In fact, I don't even bother to make them because they will just be a disappointment. I stick to oatmeal or sugar cookies whenever I'm domestic enough to make them. I certainly have great Moms to look after and try to be for my kiddos!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Polar Bear swimming in the bafftub!

The end of the semester is upon me right now and I am highly anticipating my graduation ceremony next week. My absence of blogging hasn't been so much as not having time, but simply being tired from so much writing. I've had so many papers lately! My client list at my internship is quite large at the moment, which is awesome, though it means lots of progress notes and reports. So I find myself at the end of each day with minimal energy to write even more. This is finals week, so this shouldn't last long!

Here's our week via Instagram pics:

 I picked up my graduation attire last week-- so excited!

The weather was absolutely beautiful on Monday and we visited the zoo! The polar bear was doing back flips ("in the baff tub" as Belle would say). The kids just loved being so close!

After the zoo, we met up and had lunch with my dad!

I took this picture on Tuesday-- I just LOVE tulips!

 And then this happened on Thursday-- SNOW! ... in MAY!!! What on EARTH!? It's been so cold ever since. Where is spring??

Belle fell in the gym (with the help of her big brother) at church on Wednesday night and acquired the largest goose egg I've ever seen. It was HUGE, but by Thursday morning it managed to turn into just a yucky bruise.

Belle made bracelets out of onion slices today... and she proceeded to actually eat them. I was quite surprised! But then, her breathe smelt so bad that I could barely snuggle with her all night! Hopefully she still likes onions when she's old enough to date! :)

This next week should be a good one! I graduate (have I mentioned how excited I am?!) and Jackson starts t-ball practice. And hopefully it might start feeling like spring again!



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