Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The last 14 days

It's a rarity for an entire two weeks to pass by without a single blog post!! Life is good. Busy. But good.

We've done birthday parties, playdates, movie nights, tball games. And we've managed to (kinda) keep up with the routine things of mowing, feeding the kids (if hotdogs and frozen pizzas), laundry, so on and so forth. We've spent the last two weeks working very hard (in the way that I look forward to going to work, so I can take it easy), but it's been so worth it. We have finally finished our basement!!!!! I will share pictures once we've moved everything in! (right now we just have the necessities-- like a couch and TV) :)

Schoolwork has been demanding. Derek had four papers due Monday and I submitted my huge 20 page paper yesterday. That paper has been the real reason I have been MIA. It just sucked the life out of me! And actually, it's only in "revision" so I will get it back in a few days for it to suck the life out of me a little bit more. One month from today and I'll be done with graduate school forever and ever and ever. I cannot wait. (Also, Julie is flying in that day too!!!!!)

I barely even have any pictures as of late. Here's a few:

Lots of Birthdays!!

Lots of t-ball

(Belle just plays in dirt at the games)

We enjoyed a parade last weekend

I wouldn't go so far as to say that Derek ENJOYED mowing, but he at least enjoys the time with Belle-- she loves the tractor.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

T-ball AllStar

Jackson has played in three t-ball games* now... let me just tell you-- there is so much cuteness I can barely take it! There are a ton of pictures!!!
*Game = two innings where every member of the team hits once and everyone progresses one base at a time. After each hit, the outfielders are to throw the ball to first base regardless of the runners status. 
Now, I know that most parents think their kids are great at everything and will grow up to be professional athletes. And while I'm not already planning a future where my son makes millions of dollars and can pay off our house and student loans (because we will still be paying those off well past his own college career)... Jackson really does have some talent.

Now, at age 4, that basically consists of good hand-eye coordination. But the thing that Jackson has that most of his teammates don't, is passion and concentration and focus. He takes his game seriously and he's will do exactly what he's supposed to. When his entire team ran to the outfield to chase a ball, Jackson was the lone member who stood in his infield position because the coach told him too. While the other boys might spin in circles or throw dirt, Jackson will get down and ready-- he is watching the ball. That being said, he can get very upset when he doesn't get the opportunity to do what he has been told to do (like if the ball doesn't come to him for an entire inning).

Jackson wants to practice almost everyday and he just loves playing! And as long as he loves playing, we'll sign him up!

The boys get a little bit of practice before the game

 Down and ready!

At the first couple of games-- each play looked a little like this. But in tonight's game-- the boys all did a great job of keeping their own positions!

First baseman!

Throwing it home! If Jackson had a baseball card, this would be the picture!!

Another throw home-- he got some air! 

Practicing in the batter's circle. My sister asked him to smile and he said, "No, I have hard work to do!" Like I said, he is pretty serious about his game. 

Pep talk from little sis!

Belle deserves a picture in here too!

And it's a hit!

Running to third-- he's even smiling as he's running!

Almost home!

The "good-game" line up-- so cute!!!

All games are finished up with a big "Go team!!"

Well, they actually officially finish with some sort of juice and/or popsicle. :) There are still several more games in the upcoming weeks! I just love watching Jackson having so much fun!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Anniversary #7

Derek and I celebrated our seventh anniversary today!

I'm not sure who created the idea list for anniversary presents. Apparently, the traditional 7th anniversary gift is wool or copper. The modern gift is either a desk set or pen/pencil sets. While we didn't stick to tradition-- we still gifted each other equally un-romantic gifts... new shoes.

They might not be romantic, but they are certainly pricey!!!

I guess this means that by year seven comes around, you can pass up all extraneous gifts and go for the practical things! We both have particularly tender feet and it's important to have a good shoe to prevent many trips to the podiatrist. I wanted to stick to the doctor's orders when picking out my shoes... and that led me to getting a pair of shoes that are only two velcro straps away from being the number one shoe sold to senior citizens. At least it has some pink. Derek's shoes are cool, though!

Truthfully, the best part of our anniversary is that Derek wasn't away at army training!! His unit is typically scheduled for annual training during our anniversary and thanks to a change in plans, annual training isn't until August, so we got to spend our anniversary TOGETHER! How much more romantic can it be?!? 

Well, Derek actually took today off as an optional holiday so we got to spend all day together! We ventured to new restaurant for lunch and to went to a movie. We were a good three decades younger than anyone else in the theater! ... at least they weren't texting!

We opted for a day time-date to accomodate Jackson's t-ball game tonight. Going to a ball game might not sound like an ideal anniversary activity, but I think it was just perfect. Seven years ago, we said our vows and committed ourselves to each other and our future family. Today, we spent the evening supporting our little boy as he played a t-ball game having the time of his life (other than the inning he didn't get to catch the ball...). 

Celebrating marriage doesn't always need a romantic getaway. Today, we found joy in the life we started together and brought us to where we are... even if that means cleaning out the gutters. We cherish our family, we're thankful for our house, and we love each other more than when we said "I do".


Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Internship

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced my degree program. Today, I'll talk a little about my internship. Similarly to most programs, the internship is one of the last courses completed and is an opportunity to implement, practice, and enhance the skills learned in the classroom. Though in order for our degree program to prepare individuals for licensure, the internship requirements are different for each state. The internship requirements at Avila require 750 hours (half must be direct client contact) over a period of at least two semesters in which the instructor for the classroom portion must be different.

I have acquired quite the knowledge of the 12 steps during my internship! 

As for the classroom portion of internship, we meet for class weekly. We prepare case reports and share with the class, seek advice or suggestions about things going on at the internship sites, along with some coursework, too. This is the "capstone" course in which we will complete what is essentially a thesis during the final semester of internship. I am working on this now and it is by far the most lengthy, in-depth, and time-consuming paper I have ever written.

Lastly, my internship requirements also include weekly supervision at my internship site. My supervisor  reads over and signs off on all of my paperwork including my diagnoses, progress notes, and reports. We talk about each of the clients on my caseload and offers guidance and direction.

Students seek out their own internship sites. My classmates work in a variety of areas including the university counseling center, women's shelters, inner city mental health clinics, and inpatient children psych facilities. When I first began looking for internship sites, I was looking for a place to work with veterans and military personnel. It turns out, there isn't such site.
Side note: The VA didn't even recognize Licensed Professional Counselors as qualified personnel to work in the mental health services they offer until this past year. As it stands now, LPCs are eligible, however, openings for fully licensed LPCs are limited. Students are ineligible to serve as interns unless they are members of a specially accredited university, in which, only one school in Kansas City is such. 
Another side note: My degree program does not prepare students as school counselors. People always ask if I will do school counseling, but the truth is... I can't, at least not in the public schools. Basically, it all boils down to state regulations and requirements. Some schools may offer this option as part of a counseling psychology degree, but they are generally two separate degrees (at least in MO and KS). 
So, after coming to terms with my inability to serve the population in which I desired, I began to search out a site that claimed to have any veteran population whatsoever. I found a single site in all of the KC Metro that is all but officially a veteran facility-- a transitional living substance abuse treatment facility for homeless men. I work with veterans on a daily basis. In fact, almost 75% of our facility are veterans (ranging from the Korean war to OIF/OEF) and there have even been a few currently active duty military personnel while I have been there.

Despite the unfortunate reality of the alarmingly high rates of homeless veterans (and homeless individuals of any status, for that matter), I absolutely love my internship. I work 25 hours a week and at least 12.5 of those hours are required to be direct client contact, such as an individual session and/or group therapy (I love group therapy!! Actually, I love working one-on-one, too. I just love it all!... except the paperwork...).

At our facility, the clients work with their Substance Abuse counselors to create a treatment plan for their substance addiction (including plans for recovery, housing, employment, etc). Furthermore, all clients are required to participate in a mental health assessment. Clients may then chose to continue to participate in individual counseling sessions. The latter two fall into my job responsibilities-- to make an official diagnosis for each client along with a psychotherapy treatment plan if they so choose.

Often times an individual who presents with a drug or alcohol addiction has underlying issues that have contributed to the addiction in the first place (and many times, the drugs or alcohol use began as a means to self-medicate). It's my job to work through the underlying issues, such as depression, trauma, and/or anxiety. I have worked bipolar and schizophrenic individuals, too, though I work in conjunction with the staff psychiatrist and clinical psychologies who administer medication prescriptions and testing, respectively.

I lead three groups each week- Relapse Prevention, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and a Veteran's Processing Group. My average caseload is approximately 5-6 returning clients and I average about one new intake each week. I was told that I'd need to acquire some "tough skin" to work in this population, yet, I don't feel as if I have had to all that much! I am well respected by the clients, as well by other staff. The men hold the door when I walk by and they take me seriously. In the very few times a client has displayed a perceived disrespect, the other clients are quick to defend me-- even if it's unnecessary! I wish I could experience working where I do. I think it'd be such a great opportunity to realize that a majority of the homeless population don't fit the stereotype.

Internship is clearly a dedicated process, which will hopefully explain why my blogging has declined over the last several months. I started in January and will end at the end of July-- just seven weeks! This was a bit longer than I anticipated, but I wanted to cover the requirements, but also my experience of internship!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Just Lately...

More zoo fun with our little friend Avery a few weeks ago

Jackson reading TO daddy! Grandma Linda has been teaching Jackson to read the Bob books. He does a good job!

I have been venturing downtown on my lunch break recently to visit the Kansas City Public Library. It is absolutely beautiful-- and what's not to love about a city block of book spines of all the classics??

Swinging!! (notice the big girl swing!?)-- And the Carolina Tarheel shirt-- well, Belle says "there's chocolate on the foot!" 

Belle spent some time up with my parents last week I got to spend some time with Jackson. We had so much fun!! I kept thinking about how I could blog about it, but ultimately, there just aren't words to express how neat it was to just hang out and have awesome quality time with my son doing the things he loves-- games, puzzles, reading, snuggles, and lots of conversation! 

I taught him how to play Slap Jack and War. He loves it!

We also played Cooties a couple of times. This is my picture of the cooties and a cutie! :)

Belle is always quite the helper when we box up items at Aldi....

Glass doors-- the best way to play water guns with the kids! 

Belle and our little friend Yooli on a wagon ride! :)

And today, I volunteered at the HUGE Convoy of Hope event up in KC. People could come to get groceries, new shoes, clothing, hair cuts, family portraits, and more. Lunch was served and there was a great big kid area with inflatables and face painting... and all of it was free! It was such a great event for our city. I volunteered with friends Caren and Jeanette in the Breast Cancer Awareness Tent!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The zoo with Aunt Ashley

Aunt Ashley came home for a few days this summer and she came down to visit yesterday. We ventured out to the zoo and had a fun day!! 

The Mizzou Tiger!

We had a super fun time at the zoo! Several animals were out and about that have been boring when we've visited before. But it wasn't those things that captured the excitement of my children. Oh no. That's reserved for the not one, but two, elephants who pottied in front of us, a puddle, a worm, and a train. We only paid to see one of those four things and I'm pretty sure I will spend the rest of my life trying to unsee it (while my kids, on the other hand, are rather eager to share about it to everyone who will listen.)

And this is what happened when I told the kids it was time to leave. 

I love getting to hang out with my sisters and my kids love it too! Aunt Laura is watching the kiddos this summer every Wednesday and Thursdays while I finish up my internship and so they are spending a ton of fun time together! 


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