Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Update

Not much new to write about. Still busy, but at least i was able to finish my first tape of my counseling session with my partner. I was so nervous, and you can tell if you listen to the tape!! I said the word "um" so many times, it sounded so dumb. I found out, though, that most of my classmates had the same problem, so i don't feel as bad. The main idea of this first session was to gather information from my client about what her problem was and what has been going on in her life to get her to come to counseling. The goal is to get the client to do most of the talking, with the counselor only asking open questions, then reflecting back to the client what she heard the client say. So, we each had to role-play the part of the "client" for our partner to "treat". Then we had to transcibe the 30 minute session, but we only needed to type just what we, as the counselors said (the questions we asked or the responses we made), not what the client said. If we did it correctly, we wouldn't have too much to type, because the client should be talking at least twice as much as the counselor. My partner told me she had 81 statements that she had said to me (when i was her client). I had 172 statements that I said to her( my client)during our session!! That's way too much. So, i guess that is proof that i talk way too much :0) In my defense, my partner is shy and i had to pull some information out of her, but i could have done better. Either way, it was an eye-opening exercise from which i learned a lot.
My other class, Ethics, is going ok. Most of it is book work, and i got 106 on my first test. Yay me! The only big project we have in that class is to interview two professionals who work in the human services field. I'm gonna have to set those up soon. I think i will ask the kid's old school counselor if i can interview her, and then maybe one of the pastor's of my church. It should be interesting.
The other thing that has been keeping me busy (other than homeschooling, dinner, laundry, cleaning, shopping, church, Bible study, homework, budgeting, and other "mom" stuff) is my involvement with the two honor societies i am a member of. For Phi Theta Kappa, the college-wide honor society, last week Rachel and I went to Dover Downs after the Friday evening race to help clean up 10 sections of the stands. It was neat to be able to drive on the tracks, it was HARD work to clean all the beer cans, soda cans, peanuts, cigarettes, wrappers, etc. from those stands. It took about 2 hours of back-braking work, but it felt good to know that we had participated. Tomorrow i am going to the Fall induction for new members to help set up, break down and direct the new members. I found out that PTK has just as much trouble as my other honor society, TUA, getting members to get involved. So, i'm trying to do as much as possible to help. It makes me feel useful and it also helps me look good to the advisers and helps me network for possible future jobs. I try to get the kids involved when possible, so that i can spend extra time with them and also so they can do some community service projects.
My other honor society, for which i am the president, takes more work for me because i am at the head of it. It is not a position i enjoy, i only volunteered because i saw a need. However, the lack of member involvement makes it very difficult to get anything done. And there is so much to do. We are not as formal as PTK, thank God, but i think sometimes we are too informal. Right now we are trying to raise money for the club, so we are doing a flower bulb fundraiser. We also are trying to put a yard/bake sale together for the middle of October. We have not really discussed any community service and the meetings that we have had so far have not really accomplished much. I need to run the meetings better than i have in the past, but it's not as easy as i thought it would be. I feel very responsible for the well-being of this club and i feel that i could be doing a lot better than i have been. I will not be running for office come next spring!! I would rather work on the sidelines.
Erin has decided to take her SAT's so we are in study mode. I am gonna be helping her study for the next month and then she will take them in November and again in December. I don't remember if i blogged about her maybe deciding that she may want to go off to college, but if i didn't-- she's thinking about it. Which doesn't give us much time to figure out what we need to be doing in order for that to happen, but we are working on it. She has been working a lot of hours at Mcdonalds and is co-oping for school, so she is only at school for a half a day. We are sharing the car and that is working out pretty good as well.
Matt has started work-outs for the basket ball season, and even though they are very hard on him physically, he feels good when they are done. His knee seems to slowly be getting better, thank God. He is enjoying working at McDonalds on the weekends and is slowly saving up for a car. By the time he gets his license, he will be well on his way to having enough for a car. I'm very proud of him because he works all weekend, but only keeps a fraction of his paycheck for spending and puts the rest away for his car.
Steven and Rachel are going down to Florida in December to help celebrate Steve's parent's 50th wedding anniversary. It would have been nice if all the kids could be there, but the tickets are just way out of our price range, and Rachel asked first.:)
Well, that's about it for today, i need to go get ready for school.
Today, i am thankful for:
1. Weekends
2. Sleep
3. Cool weather

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Busy Week

Its been a while since my last post so i thought i would take a break from studying for my upcoming HUGE ethics class and do some blogging.
To update on my last blog entry, Rachel went to the Doctor for her leg pain and we got some blood tests done to make sure she wasn't vitamin deficient or something like that. The doctor said that if the tests came back normal, then we should consult with a Neurologist about her leg movements. I'm not sure that we will actually do that, because at this point, her leg pains/movements come and go and it seems to be getting better. However, the levels for her thyroid came back a little wonky, so the doctor wants us to get her retested in a couple weeks and then come back to the office and talk about what should be done if the levels are still too high. I'm not surprised about her thyroid being a little off, because she has a family history of thyroid problems on both sides (both grandmothers), however, she is kind of young to have thyroid problems. Plus, she does have some symptoms of a wacky thyroid, and maybe some medicine would help. At this point, it's just wait and see.
Matthew's doctor said that his knee will not need surgery, thank God, but he will have to go through some painful stretches every day to get back to normal. I'm not really sure what the problem is, but it has something to do with the tendons in his leg being wound way too tight. He has been faithfully doing his stretches once or twice a day and is still experiencing some significant pain, so we are going back to the doctor in the beginning of October. I'm not really sure how i feel about this particular doctor because he is the type who has no problem telling his teenage patient to "suck it up" and Matt isn't sure that the dr.'s diagnosis was correct because he is still hurting. He feels that there just has to be something wrong if he has been this uncomfortable for this long. I feel bad for Matt because he lost the opportunity to get a part in the fall play because the director thought Matt might have to be on crutches for a while. Now we know he won't be on crutches, but it is too late for him to get a part. And Matt was really, really looking forward to being in the fall play this year. In fact, he decided to give up football this year so that he could try his hand at acting, and now he can't do either. He still can not participate in Basketball workouts because he is hurting, and so now he is kind of down about the whole thing. Right now, he can really use our prayers. Even though his attitude remains great, of course, i can tell that he's been feeling a bit down.
Erin has been talking about maybe wanting to maybe go away for college next year. Which is great, but i'm not sure it is a reality or not because we waited so long to start looking and she did not take her SAT tests last year. She has her eye on Drexel University in Philly. I would love for her to experience going away to college, but i'm not sure how to start or even if it is too late. She got a letter from Drexel about open houses next month. After this week is over (it's a VERY busy week for me) I am going to invest some time and research to find out what we need to do next. I would hope and pray that her being in the number one position in her class GPA-wise would get her a scholarship. But, who knows what else it takes. Probably some SAT grades would help. She finally relented and said she would take the SAT's this fall, but it would have been great if she had taken them last year. She is not comfortable taking tests, so i am on the look-out for some good, fast SAT prep courses. I think I saw one on my friend Debbie's blog, so we will have to go check that out next week too.
As i said, this week is a busy one for me. Tomorrow, i have a lunch date with Matt, i think we are going to waffle house. I am looking forward to it, because we have not spent quality time together in a while. Then, i need to go down to my college and practice taping my "intake counseling" session with my partner. I am really, really nervous about this tape and the fact that i am being graded on it. I am not comfortable with the counseling style we are being graded on, as it just feels fake to me. But, it's what i have to do. Then, i have to meet with my TUA adviser about some fund-raising issues, get some studying in for a quiz and go to class from 5:30 to 10. Wednesday I will finish studying for that big ethics test while Rachel is schooling and then go to school from 5-9. Thursday is Rachel's Three M class and I have to work my mandatory day in the nursery that day. Then i need to meet with my partner again to actually do the tape for our session and then hopefully make it to bible study. Friday I need to work on some things for TUA and then go down to do race-cleanup for a PTK fundraiser. Saturday, cook and clean for the upcoming week ( i try to get it all done in one day so that dinner is made and the house is decent for the upcoming week) and Sunday we are going to a fundraiser for Steven's job in Pennsylvania somewhere. I'm tired just writing about all the things i need to do. Plus, of course, there is laundry, homework, grading papers and lesson planning and probably a few things i haven't mentioned.
Well, back to studying. Wish me luck.
Today i am thankful for:
1. A good night sleep
2. My sister
3. The Bible, which gives me direction and helps me keep perspective and reminds me how much God loves me.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

All or Nothing

I seem to have only 2 speeds in my life. All or nothing. Right now i have jumped into the All phase. As in ALways busy All the time. He-he. I guess my boring summer did not teach me much about good time management. I think that is something i will always struggle with.
My college classes are going good. I am very nervous about my Interviewing and Counseling class. Last week we practiced meeting our "client" in the "waiting room" and how to introduce ourselves to him/her and what to say as we walk back to the office, and what our opening words should be. This is something i really never thought about, but it is so important because it sets the tone for the WHOLE session. The whole time i practiced with my partner, it just felt fake and unnatural. We are also learning about reflective listening, and it's a lot harder than it sounds. I always thought i was a good listener, but it turns out i talk too much, especially when i'm nervous. And i'm nervous. I need to tape my first 20 minute "session" within the next 2 weeks, and i feel totally unprepared. I have no idea what i'm doing and I feel very inadequate. I do not like group practice, but i see that it is necessary. My partner is also intimidated, so i tend to take on a mothering role with her to set her mind at ease--which is not a role that entails reflective listening. We are not to give advice, lecture, agree, disagree---just reflect what we hear the client say. It is a skill i will need to practice, but it is uncomfortable thing to practice unless i know i have it "right" which i won't do until I practice......and around it goes. It's just a comfort level thing that i'm sure will get better with time.
Ethics class is easier. Just a lot of reading right now. And a lot to think about. When a person is a counselor, she has a lot of responsibility for her client. It's like we as counselors hold the life, or at least mental life, of our clients in the palm of our hands. Big responsibility. It's not all about "listening" and their are many issues i had not even considered. It is all very enlightening.
Rachel's schooling is going pretty good. Her first day at Three M, the school she goes to once a week for Science and martial arts, went REALLY well. Thank God she loved it. She just loves being outside of the home and being around other people. The science work is really challenging, as the book was actually made for eight graders, but she is learning effective note taking and reading comprehension, which she will need in her future. Her attitude remains pretty good in general, and it has been a pleasure teaching her these last 2 weeks. One problem we are having with her is a problem she has been having in her legs. Her legs have been hurting a lot and the pain is only relieved if she walks on them. She says that they fell like they "have to move". This is a new problem for her, so i took her to the doctor, mostly because her dad has RLS (restless leg syndrome) and it is hereditary. She will need to get some blood test to rule out a few things, but i'm glad we are getting it checked out. I never know if the physical problems my kids have warrant a doctors office visit or not, but many times i am wrong. Either i take them and it was not a problem, or i don't take them and it really was a problem. Once, Erin had a broken wrist for almost a week until we went to a doctor, and on the other hand, once i rushed Rachel to the hospital for a glorified tummy ache (which, i should add, we are still paying for). I'm clueless.
Matthew has been experiencing knee pain since we were vacationing in Florida this summer. I have been telling him to ice it, take ibuprofen, rest it, etc. But, it started getting really, really bad in the past week or two and he went to the trainer at his school to have it looked at. The trainer told him it looked and sounded like a meniscus was torn in his knee-cap and that we should get it looked at by a professional. Which we did the other day. And, the doctor thinks it very well could be a tear than may require surgery. We just had an MRI done yesterday and will follow up with the doctor in a couple days. We are all anxious to find out what is going on, me because i want his knee to feel better, and Matt because he tried out for the fall play but he doesn't know if he will soon be on crutches or not, so he is not sure if he will actually be able to preform the part even if he gets it. Of course, if it does require surgery, it will need to be done soon because (according to Matt) he needs to be in tip-top shape for Basketball season, which starts in late fall/early winter. He has been practicing all summer, so it is pretty important to him to play on the team this year. As for me, I just feel bad that i did not get him into the doctor sooner so that we could have had this taken care of when we had nothing else to do. So, as you can see, i never know whether something should be checked out by a doctor or not, and since we have sooooo many medical bills already from all the times we went to the doctor unnecessarily, i was trying to cut back. I guess i guessed wrong about this one. Please pray for Matt.
On to Erin......I just ordered her senior pictures. As we went over the list of all the pictures we wanted, i started wondering if it would be illegal to order just a couple poses and than scan and print more for myself. That would be WAY less expensive, but would it be legal?? We weren't really sure, but Erin said it was not legal because we don't own the rights to the negatives. I really am not sure, but we decided to air on the side of caution and just order all the pictures we would need from the photographer. WOW. Expensive. It's gonna take me at least 2 months to pay off that balance!!! But, i must say, the pictures are gorgeous!! If you want to take a peak at them, e-mail me and i'll give you a link to the web-site of the photographer, they have her proofs online. Erin is paying her senior dues herself, thank God. 135 dollars for cap and gown and year book. I had originally told her i would pay for her yearbook, but i did not know how expensive everything else would be, so she's gonna do it. I'm sure between now and her graduation on June 10th of next year, there will be LOTS of things to pay for. Senior year is expensive. BUT......i'm so proud of my baby for sticking it out and graduating. There were many times she wanted to throw in the towel, but she didn't and now she's almost done. She has grown into a beautiful, sweet young lady, and i love her sooooooooo much.
Well, that's enough for tonight. I'm going to bed.
Tonight, i am thankful for:
1. Health insurance
2. My daughter's employment
3. The Great Physician, who always knows