Friday, January 30, 2009


it has been one crazy week around our house.

we've started up a couple of new client families with our team, and the process of getting started has been tough. we've also had just some complicated, frustrating, exhausting situations with the families. i won't get into details, but just know that i'm worn out and have never been so glad to have a break than i am this weekend (even if i am on crisis phone duty.)
at the same time, i'm helping to start up the new team and help maria, the new team leader, learn the paperwork and the office routine. i'm really excited about having a new team and getting to know her better.

we also got the difficult news on monday night that my cat from home, misty, had passed away. she was 18 years old and had been getting worse, with pretty much all of her hearing gone and a lot of weight loss. i've been trying to find a photo of her here, but haven't been able to place one yet. she will be missed and i know it'll be quite an adjustment to go home next weekend and not have her there. we'll be heading to fayetteville for my birthday celebration, which as usual, includes a show at CFRT (west side story this year) and dinner with the family.

the big story, though, is this sunday. the super bowl. with the steelers playing. it will be a big time at our house, and we're going to host our small group from church. i gave justin the choice of whether or not we had people over, and he promises to be on his best behavior regardless of how the game goes. we'll put on a big pot of chili, have rock band set up in the game room, and hopefully watch the steelers pull off the first "six pack" of super bowl championships. of course, if you're in town and want to come over and watch the game--the more the merrier! just as long as you're pulling for the steelers...

i think i have found a solution to my "many hours in the car" issue. i've been trying to find some options for books on tape, and the libraries around here don't seem to carry as many audio books as i'd thought. there are services online where i could download books to my ipod, but they are fairly expensive because you essentially have to buy the recording. we had dinner at cracker barrel tonight, and it hit me--they have a great selection of audio books, and give an almost-full refund when you return them. so i will definitely be checking them out to make some of my nearly hour-long drives back and forth a little more productive.

and i have my first photo job in over a month tomorrow night. the school of music scholarship gala--be looking for it on sunday at! honestly, i've enjoyed the break. my rule of "no mid-week photo jobs" has made my schedule much more managable, and i've enjoyed the weekend trips and holiday celebrations without getting so stressed out.

that's all for now. go steelers!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

revolve tour weekend

this weekend, i was able to go with 16 other teenage girls, moms and youth group leaders to the revolve tour in greensboro. this is a conference specifically designed for teenage girls and is associated with the "women of faith" conference that is held annually as well. i checked out the information about the conference beforehand, but was only familiar with a couple of the artists. this didn't stop me from having an AMAZING time, though!

so, in pictures--my weekend with the girls...
natalie grant was one of the top acts. she was a great performer and also did a fabulous job speaking on saturday afternoon!

the "girl talk" session on friday night--all of the performers and speakers came out and answered fun questions about growing up as a teen and their relationship with God.
a picture of the full stage that i was able to take at the back of the colesium. the theme was "all access" based on matthew 16:19: you will have complete and free access to God's kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven.
two of my favorite new musical finds of the weekend? group 1 crew--a fantastic blend of hip hop, funk and rock that was just jamming. i mean that. they're my new work-out music.
and the reason i will have ringing in my ears tomorrow? hawk nelson. the girls screamed and screamed and screamed when they came out on stage.
they did rock it out. another addition to my work-out mix. more great rock, with almost a bit of...ska? punk? i don't know. but it was fun to jump around.
the colesium going nuts. the energy was palpable. and the temperature went up about 10 degrees. but it was exhilirating! we also had a great time bonding as a group... (alyssa, emelie and christy)
and listening to some wonderful speakers. jenna lucado, max lucado's daughter, was there and she was so relatable in a funny, somewhat awkward--but so down-to-earth--way. and chad eastham was an awesome male role model who knew just how to capture the attention of 7,000 girls. his story was amazing and so powerful as he shared his own issues with self-esteem and history of drug use and recovery.

one last big shot of the whole tour group as the program closed on saturday afternoon.

and our group before we got back on the van to head back home.
i know i work with kids all during the week, and one would not think that i would also want to do that on the weekends. but i enjoy it so much, and i love being a part of a group where i feel like i can make a difference. remembering what it was like to be a teenage girl and how important my relationships were with youth group leaders, how important my experiences were at retreats and conferences--i guess i just want to give back and do the same for the next generation of girls. cheesy, perhaps, but it's a great way to spend your weekend when you leave motivated, refreshed, and ready to change the world.

just saying. and a few more pictures are up on flickr, of course.

alright, i'm off to relax and enjoy a quiet evening at home with my husband. it'll be a busy rest of the weekend and an extremely hectic week as i help start up the new IIH team and assist with new referrals while also keeping our caseload of 7 families going at the same time. there aren't enough hours to make this quite work, but we're going to try.

that's it for now. later, y'all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

some more photos from our snow day

and it's still really coming down. this is big for eastern NC. i mean, really really big.

pepper remembers the snow from our WV trip. still not a huge fan, though.
main road in our neighborhood.
so appropriate for this very patriotic day!
love love love this. (and yes, she's wearing a pink cable-knit sweater. she looks adorable in it!)

it's only 2 pm... i'm sure there will be more photos to come!

plan for the day

we got some of this....

with more on the way.

so i'm working from home and wishing i was here....
(taken last february on the DC trip with the 8th grade class)

but am content just to watch the inauguration day events from my couch as i work on finishing my case study and check in with clients.

by the way, anyone else loving the variety of marches being played as they introduce people? it's totally taking me back.

Monday, January 19, 2009

monday holiday

it's been a terribly relaxing monday, and i had a few thoughts i wanted to share before heading back into the abbreviated work week.

first of all, what's the deal with this snow forecast? i'm hearing 2-4 inches, 3-6--even 4-8 inches on some forecasts! the schools are already out, but as an employee that spends a lot of time on the road, i'm curious as to what this may do to my plans for tomorrow. i guess we'll just wait and see what happens over night.

i must also share that i have found some great deals lately in the stores. there's a certain part of me that is sad to see the closings of stores around here lately. it's painfully obvious when you have people planted on every corner along the main roads holding "closing sale! everything must go!" signs for multiple weeks on end--just different stores. BUT i will say that i was very pleased with a recent trip to goody's (so sad to see them go--they were a favorite store of mine for good deals) and even though they're obviously not closing, i totally scored at the gap outlet this weekend. three sweaters for under $30, and nice ones, too! i love finding good deals and unfortunately, i justify many shopping purchases because it's such a great sale and it's too good of a deal to pass up. i rarely pay full price for things--except the necessities, like a fabulous pair of jeans. those are full dollar purchases any day.

and i just had to share--i vacuumed with my new vacuum cleaner today. the bissell pet hair eraser, specifically designed to deal with pet hair. it did a fantastic job, just so you know :)

okay, off to walk the dog before doggie class tonight. i have a feeling she's going to struggle. we were gone for the weekend and she may have fallen off the wagon a bit...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

mountain weekend

i feel like the last couple of posts have been lacking something... mainly, pictures.

this post will make up for it.

i go through phases with my photography, and i've been through a low point lately. not really inspired by much, very few photo jobs, and lacking the motivation to go out and find something. this weekend brought some of that energy back, though, with gorgeous landscape and some fun spots to photograph.

i also loved having a weekend away with my wonderful husband. we dropped pepper off with the laws, gave the cats a boat-load of food and water, and we were off. the fact that we had no responsibilities--and very little planned as far as our itinerary--made a nice change of pace for our relaxing get-away.

so, in pictures, here's what we did.

we drove along the parkway and stopped at numerous overlooks, braving the cold to get some awesome pictures.

it was worth it.
my west virginia husband loved driving the mountain roads. it felt like home to him.
i loved taking the pictures.
we saw some of the local wildlife, even though we couldn't go see the animals at grandfather mountain. everything was closed!

we could see the mile high swinging bridge from a distance, though.

and drove over the linn cove viaduct, with pictures taken from a distance. the visitors center was closed with the driveway blocked off by metal gates, and my adventurous husband actually suggested parking in front of the gate and walking down the driveway to get a better picture. needless to say, i suggested that that was stupid.
we also stopped at the original mast general store in valle crucis. and thought about playing checkers with rc cola and a&w root beer caps.
but decided instead to get some candy from the candy barrel, some way-discounted "life is good" stuff, and some apple butter for our wonderful dog-sitters.

we went tubing! which, by the way, is so less-stressful than skiing. no ski boots that make your ankles feel weird, no skis to trip over, and no chair lift to fall off of. it was awesome!

(that's justin in the middle)

we loved spending the afternoon outside, and it was actually quite comfortable walking around. we were ready to take our coats off by the time our session was over!
chair lifts=not cool. carpet "people mover" lifts=totally cool.

finally, we got to enjoy some beautiful scenery. i do love a good mountain sunset.and fun icicle-covered water wheels.
but my favorite picture? this barn with an absolutely gorgeous design on the front. it just popped out to me as we drove past on the way to the river house. i loved it and had to take picture when we went back by it the next day.

a close up of the design. it reminds me of quilt patterns, especially the detailed amish or mennonite patterns.

we had a great time at dinner with pete and mary last night, and we cannot say enough "thank yous!" for their wonderful hospitality. it was just the weekend away that we needed.

now it's back to reality. that includes work, finishing my LCSW case study, and keeping our fingers crossed that the steelers win tonight. please, let them win tonight. i'm not sure my ears can take it otherwise.

last but not least, one of the blogs that i follow, kelly's korner, needs prayer. this woman is amazing, and after two years of infertility, she and her husband welcomed their daughter harper into the world on friday. harper isn't doing too well, though, and if you're the praying type--lift her up today. she is truly inspirtational and a fabulous Southern woman to boot!

that's all for now. later, y'all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

fun stories

we celebrated my friend heather's birthday at work yesterday. it was a busy afternoon, and we had a cake with candles, though we didn't treat her to our singing :) christie was determined to light all of the candles with matches, rather than lighting one and then using that one candle to light the rest. it took us several minutes to get them lit!
as clients were coming in and out, we invited heather up to the front and had her blow out the candles. and she blew them out and we fanned away the smoke from our smoke detector, the candles re-lit themselves. and we weren't aware that they were relighting candles until someone got the package out of the trash and confirmed that yes, they were the trick candles. so as our billow of smoke continued to fill up the office, i filled a cup of water and quickly started putting the still lit candles inside. we were about to die laughing--

and then the frosting turned our teeth blue. always a good time.

i've gotten the opportunity to go on the "revolve tour" with several of our teenage girls, moms and other youth group sponsors next weekend. it's in greensboro, and it looks like it will be an awesome experience. very excited about this! you can find out more about the event at their website,


pepper found this warm spot between us last night. she was nice and comfy :)

it's going to be really really cold in the mountains this weekend. i think it's going to be really really cold everywhere, but i'm still looking forward to getting away. anyone else have big plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

doggie class, week 2

we had our 2nd basic obedience class last night. since i did the class last week, justin took this week. we had our regular teacher back, who i recognized from one of the marley fund auctions that i covered for the reflector. pepper was distracted, per usual, and had a particularly tough time with "down-stay." she was the practice dog with the teacher and popped up about 15 times before she finally stayed down for 2 seconds and was praised. it's going to take us a while to get this straight.

she also got groomed on sunday and we bought a new harness, which has made all the difference when we go for walks. rather than pulling the whole time and choking herself, she actually seems to respond better to the tugs for correction.

alright, enough about pepper. can we get to the main event in our household?

it would be....


can i even begin to describe how excited i am about the super bowl? not necessarily because it could involve justin's team (the steelers) but because IT IS THE END OF FOOTBALL SEASON.

i reach this point every year around this time. so sick of football that i'm just done. between playoffs, bowl games and the "big" game, it's football overload. and so the super bowl party ends up being a celebration of it being THE END more than anything else.

that's my two cents.

we're planning on heading up to the mountains this weekend to enjoy some brisk moutain air and gorgeous views from pete and mary's river house. we'll be able to visit with them and my cousins and aunts while we're up there, so we're excited about getting that family time as well.

finally, i'm excited about our youth group starting back up and several new program and events to look foward to. we have an awesome mentoring program that will be great for building relationships within the group, and a couple of fun retreats coming up. good times!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

doggie class

so we had our first class on monday evening at top dog academy. drake was our teacher, filling in for our regular teacher, kristen, who was sick. we met with drake during our consultation, and he was great, so it was nice to see a familiar face who was already aware of our issues.
in the class, we have:
a french bulldog named lotus
a tiny tiny yorkie maybe? named baxter. he probably weighs 3 lbs at the most.
a border collie or some sort of herder breed named charlie
a king charles spaniel named webster
and a brother and sister pair of yellow lab/golden retriever mix named chloe and rooster.

chloe and rooster are apparently very dependent on one another and have to be separated during the class. that doesn't stop them from whining and "talking" to each other through out the entire class, though.

baxter has a napoleon complex. little tiny dog that thinks he's in charge.

lotus can cry like a baby. i'd heard of french bulldogs doing this before, but never actually heard it in person. it sounds like just a human baby crying.

and pepper... well, pepper was a mess. she wanted to do nothing more than bite and yank her leash. and when you're trying to get her to sit, or stay, or walk nicely beside you, biting the leash does not work. we spent a lot of time on the ground, doing the "no bite" technique that they taught us. the trainer, very politely, said to us, "she's a little dog with a big personality!"

yes. yes, we know.

it's been a very busy week for us at work, with several new clients starting up soon and tons of paperwork to be done. i feel like i've gotten a lot done, though, and we kept up a great pace over the vacation.

i've also made it to the gym twice this week, and will shoot for one more visit tomorrow morning. feels good to be back :)

and i leave you with a picture of our dog that thinks she's a cat. we've noticed she has picked up several traits that you only see with cats. licking her paws and cleaning her face, climbing along the back of the couch and curling up on top of the cushions to take a nap. it's weird. we know.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

plans for 2009

i had to include one of our pictures from new year's eve--rock band was the big hit, and we were able to get everyone involved.

(fun fact: we figured out that rock band and guitar hero equipment IS interchangeable. we were using rock band drums and mic with guitar hero games and guitars! ha! outsmarted the system.)

we spent friday afternoon watching the sad event that was the liberty bowl, where our pirates were plagued with bad calls, knees on the ground, and just some overall crappy football. maybe next year?

yesterday, we got up and took pepper to her "consultation" with top dog academy. they had asked about some of the specific behaviors and gave us some great suggestions for how to work with her and apply more effective discipline with her. we were also encouraged to sign up for one of their basic obedience classes, which we will start tomorrow evening. it should be interesting to see how this goes! i think more than anything, we just want to feel like we're doing something to address her problem behaviors and preventing them from progressing to anything more severe.

we then headed out to raleigh to see the dead sea scrolls exhibit, which had been extended by a week at the museum of natural sciences. i had just been to the museum of history earlier in the year when i chaperoned the 8th grade trip to see the lost colony exhibit there. i can't remember the last time i had been to the natural sciences museum, but it was awesome. and it's all free!

we did pay extra for our dead sea scrolls tickets, of course, and they were well worth it. the exhibit was fascinating, with lots of artifacts on display, as well as information about the various theories surrounding the scrolls. the last two rooms had the actual six sections of scroll on display, and then several historical Bibles on loan from the duke rare book collection. you can read more about the exhibit here

after our tour of the exhibit, we explored the rest of the museum. my favorite part was the butterfly conservatory on the fourth floor. i only had my little camera, so the quality of these photos aren't the best. but it was so cool!
(not either of us in this picture, but the butterflies were everywhere!)
as i was watching, trying to take pictures of certain butterflies, i heard justin ask behind me, "hey, is there a butterfly on my head?" i turned around and took a picture as quickly as possible! it's not exactly in focus, but this was his butterfly friend.

one of the better pictures i got.
after we left the museum, we headed to crabtree valley to browse some of the stores and eat at the cheesecake factory. it was so good, and i felt saavy because we managed to grab a table in the bar area rather than waiting almost an hour to be seated. justin got to watch the play-off game while we ate, so we were all happy.

today, we're going to concentrate on taking down decorations and getting ready for our first full week of work in a while. it'll be a rough adjustment, but in a way, i'm ready for things to get back to normal.


so, here are my goals for 2009. i won't call them resolutions, because those are so easily broken. these are goals (i am a therapist, after all.)

1) take care of myself--this means in general, exercise, eat better, take vitamins, get sleep. i have a gym membership that hasn't been used in weeks, and i'm determined to get back there! i'm not putting any number of pounds that i want to lose or size i want to get to. i've essentially been in the 10 lb weight range since i was 18, and that's not really what matters to me. i just want to be healthy!

2) read the Bible and keep up with daily devotions. i have one of the 365 Bibles that breaks down the entire Bible into daily readings (this one is nice cause it gives an old testament, psalms/proverbs and new testament excerpt for each day, which is great when you're bogged down in numbers) and i'm determined to get through it this year! i also have some devotional books that i want to work through, including beth moore's "90 days with Jesus." i'm going to make this a priority and put forth time each day in my own studies, not just when i'm at church or meeting with small group. and of course, to continue working with the youth group and getting involved with church activities.

3) compile a family tree for me and justin for six generations of family (up to our great-great-grandparents.) i did several of these projects in school for sociology and family social work practice, and then lost them all in the "great computer crash of october 2004" as i like to call it. i would love to have all of that information written down again in one place, and for justin's family, too. if i could turn it into a cool display or piece of art for our home, that would be even better.

4) finish my provisional status for my license for clinical social work. this will happen this summer! it will have taken 3 years for me to complete all of the clinical hours, the exam work and the case studies for this, but it is well worth it. once i am fully licensed, i will have so many opportunities! short of getting my doctorate (which i would only use if i wanted to teach in the university setting, and even then many of my professors didn't have doctorates) it is the highest level i can achieve in my field. and i guess i could get some other certifications or something, but this will allow me to practice anywhere, in any setting.

5) go on a big vacation with justin. we've been eyeing disney for a while now, and i would love to make that happen this year. especially if we can go when they have the christmas decorations up. not necessarily when everyone else is there for the holidays, but like the middle of november or the week after thanksgiving, before schools get out. that would be awesome.

what do you think? good goals for 2009? anyone else have things they're working towards?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

giddy like an 8th grader

so for the past month or so, my extracurricular reading activities have consisted of this:

and the three other books in the twilight saga. i was lucky enough to borrow them from a co-worker, and several of us in the office have been passing them around as we finish them.

typically, vampires and werewolves are not my preferred reading choice. in fact, they tend to be my last choice. but i got caught up in this series and flew through the books, finishing the last one on christmas night. always careful not to read them too close to bedtime (or at least giving my mind time to get other, more pleasant, thoughts in my brain), i fell headfirst into the story of bella, edward, jacob and the rest of forks and la push.

i have this thing about books turned into movies. rarely am i impressed with the movie versions of books. i LOVE reading--always have--and i'm a stickler for details. there are some movies that are done well, and they allow me to more accurately picture the characters, or they at least fit the ideas that i had about them. another guilty pleasure, "sisterhood of the traveling pants," was definitely an example of this. i had big issues with "the notebook," as there were major discrepencies between the book and the movie. i always read the book first, though, so as not to ruin my first impressions with the book. purposefully, i chose to wait to see "twilight" after i had finished all four books.

let me put a disclaimer here--i'm not saying these are well-written, complex books. we're not talking about "war and peace" here, folks. they are written for adolescents and are wondeful "fluff" books. they are entertaining, they are addicting, but in the same way that you secretly enjoy eating cotton candy. you know it's not good for you, but it's just so darn good.

(i also don't believe that reading about vampires in any way affects my faith or religious activities. just like reading about wizards with "harry potter" didn't convert me over to witchcraft. )

so today, as we had a relatively relaxed schedule and one of the theaters had a matinee showing, i decided it was time to see what the fuss was all about...

i will say that i'm glad justin didn't come and i somewhat pity anyone who attends the movie without reading the books beforehand. the storyline stayed very close to the book, as did much of the dialogue. there were snickers and reactions from people who had obviously read the books throughout the theater, and it set up well for the next book/movie (not leaving you hanging like they do in the book.)

however, it moved slowly and i felt like there were erratic pauses and gaps in the dialogue that were attempting to be dramatic, but more just seemed to make it drag. since i had read all of the books so closely together, i forgot when some events occurred and kept waiting for the whole "crazy jasper" scene that apparently happened in the second book. the casting also surprised me with some people--i guess i pictured jacob as being bigger and older looking since i've read the whole series, and some of the friends that they put in the high school scenes weren't what i had imagined. and i always thought of alice as a blonde. not sure why, but i just did.

there were also some very cheesy special effects that just didn't translate to the big screen. the "sparkles" and wild vampire jumps/running just looked better in my head than trying to do it in real life.

so if you've read the book(s)--go see it. it's worth it. it allows me to look forward to future movies like an excitable middle school girl. i can't wait to see how they show the werewolf transformations (though i'm realistic now that it could look incredibly stupid--but i'm at least interested to see their attempts.)

if you haven't read them, well... take your chances. but don't expect an oscar-worthy flick. this is for the "twilight" fans and it's worth reading the books first.

p.s. also read "marley and me" over the holidays. READ THE BOOK! this one is well-written, touching and worth the box of kleenex you'll need by the end of it.