Monday, September 19, 2016

Wow, almost two years!

Since I last blogged!! For my possible followers still out there, I'm still alive and well. I am sure you thought nothing less, though. I am still working out near daily (6 days a week and one rest day) and doing "bonus workouts", which are walks with my kids while I still can (weather-depending).

I started a new job on February 1st of this year. It has taken a lot of my time, not because it is challenging, but it was a step up for me and I am now working 80 hours a pay period (which doesn't sound impressive by any means, but I was 5 hours less/pp at my old job and that has made a big difference). I am still killing it with my side business doing photography, and am almost TOO busy. I have my loyal repeat clients and these new ones come to me and they really just want photos of their family and I can't bear the thought of them getting ripped off by one of the "big places" in town, so I offer my shoots for $75 a session. $100 for senior shoots (seniors in high school, not the elderly, although I'd definitely give them a silver discount). Speaking of seniors, I am still in the senior housing industry, although my new role is in marketing, not human resources. It was tough to leave the job I loved and knew for over 11 years, but it was time. The hours were having to be cut across the board due to low census, and now I don't ever have to worry about that. I have joined another non-profit company which is expanding and also delivers an excellent service to seniors. I would never say anything bad about my last employer, as I loved it. I think it's a great role for the one who is in it now, and I run into her from time-to-time. She's a great fit. I took a lot of pride in what I did and was happy to "hand off the baton", so to speak.

So what exactly does it mean to be in marketing? It may sound as if it's one of those things where I am selling. Not really. I get to take phone calls and tour families through our beautiful facilities, which are more like a five star hotel than anything else. The place sells itself. I get to talk and give the specifics while getting to know these wonderful families, and see them through the moving process, which can sometimes be tough. It's a change. I like it to be a positive thing. I am told more than once that I have been "wonderful" throughout the process, and I don't ask for compliments by any means, but it makes me happy to know they're happy. I guess a friendly smile does go a long way. Other things I get to do -- well, I was able to demonstrate my photography skills at work and that took me to suddenly getting a new laptop at work with all the software I need (InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator). I somehow have the nicest damn setup of anyone at the whole place. I am happy to get to use the "art" and "photography" part of my degree so I work on brochures and our website and have fun with all of that.

THE KIDS. Yes, the kids. Andrew is now NINE YEARS OLD. He's in third grade, enrolled at a different school as of December of 2014, one that has the programming he needs (EBD Specialist). Basically, if his body needs to take a break, it is perfectly acceptable for his homeroom teacher to send him to the special classroom, where the teacher (who KNOWS him in and out) is there to support him. He takes his tests there. He has a therapy dog available to him. There is a "treehouse" indoors he can sit at. He can earn rewards for good days. He has a point/behavior sheet he carries with him throughout the day. He has all of the needs met through his IEP, including OT services. When his body is ready to go back to class, he can. His teacher impressed me on our initial tour, because she said, "we won't set him up for failure, so if his body isn't ready to go back, he can stay here, even if that means all day". WOW. As it is, most days he just starts and ends his days there, as is customary for all the "EBD kids". I can't tell you how impressed I am with this school. This is public school, by the way. In Wisconsin, I believe we lead the nation, or are at least at the top of the list for public schools. His homeroom classroom has 13 kids. He has a special desk that goes up and down. An adaptive PE teacher that will break down the tasks for him (he has dyspraxia as one of his diagnoses which means most complicated tasks like dribbling a ball, jumping rope, or doing obstacle courses are impossible for him to complete himself). Also, Andrew wears size 6 men's shoes. Yeah. Big feet.

Elise is 6 now and enjoying first grade. We have battled anxiety the past several years but this year, haven't had one single bout of it. Knock on wood. She has already been invited to two birthday parties. When I dropped her off at the one yesterday, the birthday girl ran up to her: "ELISE!" and gave her a huge hug. My girl is more reserved than me. It's funny to see her quiet personality around others. At home, she can be rather demanding because I think she seeks attention at times. It's all good. I enjoy doing her hair for her. Most of the time, she paints her own nails, sloppy or not. I am all about her being independent.

Jameson turned 5 last month, a few days before his big brother turned 9. He's just started pre-k (half days) at school. He's definitely quieter than his older brother, and will fit in nicely in the classroom. He is a rule follower and a listener/observer. He likes to play quietly; always has. It's so funny how different he is than Andrew was... I didn't realize way back when that it was so abnormal that Andrew wouldn't play by himself or with anything. Or that he wouldn't sit still and would jump down the hall or crawl instead of walk (he still does this now at age 9). In pre-k, Andrew didn't understand basic instructions such as "sit outside the circle" (taped circle on the classroom floor). "No, move backwards" -- he'd move forwards. "Move this way". He'd move that way. It all has to do with proprioception/body awareness.

That's about it in a nutshell. I am too busy to think sometimes. I feel overwhelmed with most everything some days, but I power through. I run on little sleep and fill up on exercise. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, as Kelly Clarkson would say.  ;)