Day 113: hair today, gone tomorrow

I *love* getting my hair done. It feels so good to get that fresh shave – it’s like a weight gets lifted whenever you cut your locks.

Finding a great stylist is actually a pretty difficult feat. A lot of people can cut hair, but not everyone can color and CARE for your hair the right way. I’ve gotten chemical burns on my scalp a few times from people who didn’t really pay attention or weren’t the most knowledgeable about the process. When my main stylist had surgery and then went on maternity leave, I had to find a new stylist. I know quite a few people in the industry, so I really had my pick of the litter. I opted to try my fellow pole sister, Amanda.

She works at a salon that’s like a solid hour from me but, let me tell you guys, it has ALWAYS been worth the drive. Every time I see her, not only is her lovely face and personality good for the soul, but I learn from her about proper care and management. She teaches me about what I can do to make sure I have a healthy head and hair. She teaches me about the composition of hair and, essentially, why we do what we do. I love that she takes the time to explain it to me… and make me look fabulous at the same time ; D

Getting your hair done is good for your soul. I always get color done. Over time the color fades, your hair grows out, and you look kinda like a slag… you kinda start to feel like one too. But once you get that fresh cut and color? Maaaannn, you feel like you can take on some shit and make it happen like a boss.

Good stuff.

Along with getting my hair done, yesterday was FULL of good things. I found out my bestest friend had her offer accepted on a house! How exciting is that? I’m beyond excited for her taking this next step in her journey. It’s so great to see how things have finally turned for the better in her life and to see her happy. That’s the shit I do like.

Another good thing that happened was a conversation to put past things in the past and move forward positively which led to…. are y’all ready for this?

I’M GOING BACK TO POLE CLASS!

After two years, it’s time to get back to the chrome. I’m super excited to make those positive steps in my journey. I’m super grateful for everyone who supported and encouraged me to take those steps. I’ve felt like a big part of me has been missing over the past few years and I’m glad to feel full and free again.

I’m especially grateful for my husband. He is really one of the greatest people on the planet. He is supportive, patient, encouraging, understanding, caring, wonderful and all other positive adjectives. I don’t think I would have made those positive steps without him. He really helps me to be the happiest me I can be, whatever that entails. I really hope that all of you get to experience a love like this.

Sometimes I have a hard time believing that it’s legit… Like it’s unreal. He is my best friend. We laugh all the freaking time. There’s like no boundaries. We can be ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, we have arguments sometimes, but that’s okay. The important thing is: after we have an argument, we come back to it and resolve it. We are very honest and transparent about how we feel and what we need. It only helps things get better. It keeps building a stronger, more solid structure. I’m excited to see how our future grows. It’s gonna be pretty great.

I think that’s about it for now.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

Day 111: the only way to do great work is to love what you do

Ever have one of those days where you feel like you have something to say, but nothing really comes to mind? I’m having one of those days. Today I feel like sharing, but I’m not really sure about what, exactly.

I had fun at work today. I like doing things for other people. To be more specific, I like doing absolutely ridiculous things for people to make them laugh or feel better.

We have weekly sales meetings and we always end with appreciations. Yesterday at our meeting, we appreciated our Head Decorator for always being so great and willing to help us determine pricing on our cake creations. As she is in production and not sales, she didn’t get to hear how awesomely helpful we think she is. So I told her. And I made her a Super Star! Complete with Super Mario font and everything. To me, she IS  a Super Star. You should have SEEN the shit she was putting out today. It’s AH-mazing! I can’t wait to take pictures.

Another decorator, tee hee, I turned in to Robocop. See, her nickname is Robbo. I had to. It was fate…. and totally worth it to hear her laugh and put it up on her station. Good stuff.

Stuff like that. I LOVE stuff like that. Silly little meaningful things that brighten someone’s day. I love that they are received so genuinely.

It’s lonely at the top, my friends.

At my BCBA study group yesterday, one of the ladies said, “You would be so great as an administrator.” While flattering, no thanks. Having been in management – it’s a lonely place. You can do the same things you did in your other position as a manager or administrator and, for whatever reason, it’s looked at COMPLETELY differently. It’s like we are conditioned to look… unfavorably upon the actions of our higher ups…. Which is sad because we are people too, you know? Cool people, most of the time, who just wanna do some cool shit and make some cool shit happen.

I don’t think many people recognize how many balls are in the air when you’re a manager. There are so many job tasks/responsibilities that aren’t seen or known and I guess, maybe, we don’t understand what we don’t see or know. Understandable. But it’s almost impossible to really lay out all of the responsibilities necessary in management. Pretty sure it would make some heads explode.

I did the same kinds of things I did today for my staff when I was in management. Most of the time it was highly scrutinized and the staff was skeptical – like “what is she going to want from us? what are we going to have to do now??” Smile, damnit. That’s all I was going for – to have a good day! You can’t force any one to see through their own fog, though. Ah well. That chapter is closed.

I really am happy to be where I am. I love what I do. I enjoy who I work with. I know I can be a little off the beaten path sometimes, but that’s okay. I really love seeing the creations come to life. There is something so exciting about having a vision in your head, putting it on paper, handing it to someone and seeing it brought to life… most of the time it’s even better than you initially imagined. It’s so cool. I get a little over-excited sometimes at work, hah. But that’s okay – better over excited than not at all, right? Totes.

Allright, I think that’s pretty good for today. I hope everyone is doing well out there in the interwebs-space.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

Day 109: paying it forward

This year I had to cancel and pass the torch of my baby – Speak to Me: A Pole Benefit for Autism. After three years and $7000 donated, it was time to walk away from the stress. I learned a lot about my self and my capabilities in organizing and maintaining the benefit. I learned that I am, indeed, capable of rallying people together for positive change. I am, indeed, a compassionate and passionate person with a purpose. I am a good communicator, organizer, and creator. I’m also able to shoulder a large amount of responsibility and maintain composure under pressure. I also learned when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.

One of the greatest things about the benefit was meeting so many amazing people. Generous, caring, talented people. In the pole community, when you meet people at shows and competitions, you become friends and fellow supporters. You are immediately a part of a large community that loves, supports, and accepts you for everything that you are, were and aspire to be. You immediately have a large, crazy family with an endless number of passions and abilities. The best part is that they’re all willing to share their talents with one another.

After I started the benefit, a lot of people came to me with questions about how to do it, what I did, etc. Just like everyone else, I am out there to help others and share information. I love to help others reach their goals and make their visions in to a reality. I’m not stingy with any information or resources – what’s the fun in that? You like what someone does and want to do it yourself? Dope! Let’s do it! How can I help?

One of the people who came to me was Jess. A sweet lady who had the idea to do a pole benefit to raise awareness of mental illness. As a person who battles anxiety and depression, her cause hit home. No matter what her passion was, I would have helped – but there’s more drive when it’s something that is near and dear to your heart. Shortly after, Jess created Pole Through: Art for Awareness. A pole benefit for mental illness.

I have had the good fortune of developing relationships and friendships over the years with a number of truly wonderful people. These people have been a huge part of the STM success as performers, behind the scenes workers, and raffle prize donators. When STM17 fell through, I still had some prizes left over. Most of them got sent back or away, but there was one leftover – an amazing pair of Aura Heels. The owners of Aura Heels have become some of my biggest supporters in life and otherwise and said that I could still gift the pair to a person of my choosing.

There was one person that came to my mind: Jess. A person who is just as passionate about mental illness as I am about disabilities, who has dedicated her life to awareness and helping others… there was no doubt in my mind as to who has earned and deserved such a wonderful gift. I was beyond happy to share this gift with her. ; )

It feels good to pay it forward. I was very blessed and fortunate for the few years STM was a part of my life. I’m so very glad to share that joy and happiness with another person, particularly one who is so dedicated and passionate. If you’re going to be in the Chicagoland area in January, I highly recommend supporting Jess, her show, and Mental Illness Awareness.

Sisters helping sisters. That’s what we do ; )

I hope everyone experiences some joy today. I hope that you take a quick moment to brighten someone’s day – even in the smallest of ways. Say something encouraging, post a silly meme, get someone’s coffee, let someone go ahead of you in line, be NICE, anything really – it can make a world of difference. Truly.

I’m a big believer in the more good you put out in to the world, it will come back to you. This was exemplified to the max earlier this year when I had my meltdown. Having others come to my aid and rescue was tremendous. The encouraging messages, the reaching out – truly touched my heart. It made me recognize how blessed and loved I am.

You know, the other day, Kevin and I were fairly social. It made me realize how off the path I got. I used to be hyper social. I’d talk to everyone, go out, hang out, message – all the freaking time…. Then I was in a relationship which caused me to become isolated. I stopped talking to everyone. For a year after the relationship ended, I became a hermit. Why? Because he would go where I was. He would ask everyone about me… so I hid. If I wasn’t out, he couldn’t be where I was. Then I had a falling out with my dance studio and didn’t even have that. I haven’t been to a dance class in about two years. That was one of the biggest driving forces of my dance – the people.

I miss being social and seeing people – hanging out, talking, just living. I miss seeing everyone’s faces. It’s something I need to get better at, for sure. I know everyone’s there – it’s just going to take some rebuilding. That’s okay.

Allright, that’s a lot of writing for today. Time to grab some lunch and do some more behavior analysis research and potentially submit for joining the local school board. We shall see.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

Day 108: father’s day special

Today is Father’s day!

This is the first Father’s day the kids have spent where they have a Bonus Dad! Boy child picked out a special gift and very appropriate card for Kevin for his first Father’s day. We had donuts and coffee, saw Captain Underpants (which was HILARIOUS btw), had father’s day lunch at B-dubs, went grocery shopping, did “yard” work, and now we are about to fire up the grill for some tasty dinner.

As Kevin and I were pulling weeds in the driveway, we were talking about the new house and the vegetable garden. We both got REALLY excited about doing yard work in a (wait for it) YARD.

OMG. GET. OUT.

Novel idea, right? We spend so much time “gardening” the driveway, it’ll be nice to spend that time gardening an actual garden. A garden that will be full of veggies and herbs for our own consumption. I am SO excited to grow all the things. My god, we will save so much money on produce by growing our own, I’m super stoked. I’m also super stoked to go through this experience with Kevin. We have the same vision for what we want to do/see and we know some amazing people who have offered to help along the way. We are very fortunate to have such great people in our lives, really.

We are also super excited to set a new expectation for the kids at the new house. Since we will have a yard to actually be outside in, we will make them go (are you ready for this?) OUTSIDE. Cayden spends SO MUCH TIME inside and in front of a screen it’s so sad. He’s so reluctant to participate in outside things and part of that is the lack thereof. Conversely, Kaylee loves to be outside but doesn’t have enough to do out there. Now she’ll have more space and opportunity. I’m totally cool with her sneaking tomatoes from a garden as opposed to picking bits off of a fucking chicken bone someone decided to throw in our driveway (true story).

Sigh.

I’m so ready for the end of this year and what’s to come. I’m excited to do it with my wonderful husband who is the best Bonus Dad a lady could ever hope for. He’s everything that a person could ask for in a partner and a father-figure – he’s funny, caring, compassionate, understanding, active, fun and a plethora of other adjectives. So long as everything goes well, we will be spending his next Bonus Dad’s Day in a home of our own.

Fingers, eyes, toes, and legs crossed!

Happy Father’s Day to Dads, Step Dads, Soon-to-be-Dads and Moms pulling double duty as Dads and everything in between!

Thanks for stopping by.

I am most certainly glad you exist.

Day 106: the aftermath

aYesterday was a high anxiety day. All day I had trouble focusing. I couldn’t type. The letters would be there – but no where near the right order…. Just about every single time. It was a little frustrating. All I could think about was meeting up with the family after work to talk about the house.

Work went off without a hitch, of course.

I got to the house and the family was already there (with the baby!). Every time I see the baby I just wanna snatch him up – he’s the cutest thing. He’s so fun and happy and funny. He had us all cracking up with his little baby antics. I love watching people figure things out, it’s so great. I needed that dose of happy baby after spending all day as a hot anxious mess.

Then we talked to the family about our plan to buy the house after the wedding….

I don’t know what I was so worried about. Of course it was fine! Everyone was excited and supportive. They’re excited that the house will stay in the family and that we will be the ones coming in to the house. It helps just to officially hear, “Yeah, that’s cool – let’s do that.” Now it’s a matter of having the funds to do so. Our goal is to spend Christmas at the new house. But we know we can’t do it alone. Hopefully with the help of our family and friends, we can make it happen. We have to. Look at this yard!

19349447_10158787447120534_1187594706_o

Its a half acre. A HALF ACRE. Where the sun is shining is a garden – a vegetable garden. Could you even imagine, guys? Going from literally no yard to a half acre with a garden? We could compost. I could grow veggies and herbs. We could have legitimate parties and get-togethers. There is a railroad track behind everything, so one of the first orders of business is to put up a fence. We need to keep Kaylee and Pepper safe. Give them all the safe space to run around in. It’s a beautiful thing. Isn’t that amazing? That will be ours, so long as it all goes well.

Hopefully, come November, this little ray of sunshine will be ours.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

19238291_10158787513150534_702858169_o

Day 105: ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I haven’t posted in well over a week and that’s because a lot of things have been going on and it’s been hard to keep up. I think one of the easiest ways to catch y’all up is to post my hubby’s status from the other day:

So I really haven’t had the chance to talk about everything going on in my life lately, but now that it all has sorta settled down I can talk more details. First, a few weeks back now on 5/24, I married my best friend. We had an earlier wedding than planned so we can both be on a single health insurance plan. Everything is still a go for 10/27, and we hope you all can still make it because we have quite the bash planned. Next, a week after that, I quit my job at Patriot to start a new career in the medical cannabis industry. Let me first just say that I had the opportunity to work with some wonderfully passionate people, and it really recharged my outlook on work. Everything there was going extremely well, EXCEPT my allergies. They decided that being around mass quantities of plant matter was not for them, and I began to break out in hives, sneezing fits, and sinus induced headaches. After a couple weeks of deciding if my dream job was worth all the physical pain it was causing me, I chose to resign. Today, thanks to some very generous employers, I began work back at Patriot. Although it is not my ideal job, it is giving me the opportunity to… WORK TOWARDS BUYING MY GRANDPARENTS OLD HOUSE!! Melinda and I feel this would be a perfect fit for our family, and we are doing everything that we can to make sure that we can purchase this home. You guys, You never know what kind of curveballs life is going to throw you. All you can do is step up to the plate and take a swing. So just stay positive, recognize why you are doing what you are doing, and keep at it. Much Love, Keps
It’s been a rollercoaster the past week or so. It was hard to see him in so much physical pain as well as be gone for twelve hours every day. I know going back to his old job isn’t his ideal, but I appreciate the choices he made. He is making the choices to try and push forward so we can move in to a house of our own. So that we can be our own unit and have our own space. To have a house with a YARD for the kids and the dog to run around in. That idea is so exciting.
Tonight we meet with his family to kinda solidify a plan. It’s a SUPER anxiety-ridden experience. We have had a few setbacks in trying to move in to a house. We have an even bigger setback with getting his grandparents house. It’s going to take a LOT more cash in hand than we anticipated. We are hoping that, with the support of our loved ones, we will be able to move in after our wedding in October.
The idea of it not happening and us not having our own space, to have to stay in a basement that smells like mold, to have another year without a yard…. It kills me.
I feel like my kids have grown up without a real space. I think every parent thinks of having the backyard space for their kids to run around and play in. Not having that makes me feel like a failure as a parent. Granted, I have done the best I could with what I’ve had…. Folding slides, water tables, collapsible pools, sidewalk chalk, a balance beam… It’s just not the same though. I always have to worry if Kaylee is going to run in to the street or down the alley. What kind of trash is she going to pick up and try to put in her mouth? And by trash, I mean literal trash. We live off a busy street and across from a barber shop and people are fucking disgusting – empty food items, used condoms, beer cans, drug paraphernalia, dirty clothes – you name it and it’s been on our property. Because people are fucking gross. There have been shootings in the barber shop parking lot and drug deals in the alley. I just want my kids to be in a safer place, where they can run and be safer than where we are now.
I really hope this works out. I don’t think I can truly and effectively convey how I feel in my heart. I just really, really, really hope this works out. Kevin has complete faith that it will and that’s one of the biggest reasons I love him so much. He is truly one of the best human beings on this planet.
I mean, really, he willingly and openly embraced my special little family. He jumped right in and loves the kids like they were his own. He has bonded with both of them and it makes my heart so happy to be with someone who loves boy and girl child almost as much as I do. I guess it’s a good thing I married him, right? ; )
Anyway, that’s what’s been happenin’. Work has been going super great still and I couldn’t be happier with what I do and where I’m at. I had my first behavior analysis study group on Tuesday and it went REALLY well. It felt so good to be with some of my cohort friends, reviewing, teaching – it felt really really good. It was super encouraging. They keep telling me after I pass the exam to get my supervisor cert and teach. Let’s hope I pass the exam! I’ll take it in August, then find out in October. Ugh. Waiting. I hate waiting.
Again, I’m super patient in almost all aspects of life, but the ones I’m not? I’m the worst.
Allright, time to get this day rockin’ and rollin’. I hope everything is going well for you guys.
Thanks for stopping by.
I am glad you exist.

Day 95: patience and understanding

Are both my virtues and weaknesses. I have a TREMENDOUS amount of patience. I exhibit it at work, with my kids and with others out in the community. My downfall is, for whatever reason, I don’t have much leftover for my super loving and patient hubs.

So he’s been working this new job, right? And he’s happy, which is great. Being happy at work can make a HUGE difference in your overall mental health. I’m happy for him in that way…. But he makes less and has been taking every single opportunity for overtime. So while the overtime helps to compensate for the pay aspect…. he’s gone like twelve hours a day. I’ll only get to see him for like… an hour or so a day.

I already don’t see my kids, I don’t want to not see my spouse.

Would it be different if he was gone that much and making more? I don’t know. Maybe. Probably. At least there’s more benefit coming from the time away, you know? Like, I know my dad was gone all the time, but it enabled us to go on vacations. This barely enables us to get a house.

It’s tough. I want him to be happy. I do. Like with the kids, it’s me being selfish. Being selfish of their time. Being selfish for my goals… which involves and revolves around them. A catch-22, I suppose. I don’t know.

I’ve been slowly coming to terms that I’m not going to have my family together any time soon. It’s just not helpful to both of them to have them in the same district. I’ll be talking with the director of special services in boy child’s district for Doods next week. I just don’t think she is ready yet. Maybe in another couple of years.

Do you even understand how awful this feels? Making the right decisions, the decisions that are best for someone else, but negatively effect you – is so tough, guys. It’s selfless. I guess that’s why I feel the way I do about everything else. Like, I have to make these sacrifices of not being with my kids and now I don’t really see my significant other.

I may seem like a horribly selfish person sometimes, I guess. I don’t think I’m asking for much though. Just to be around the people I love, care about and are for.

Sometimes, I feel like that is a monumental and even impossible request.

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.

Day 93: the parent trap

Parenting is one of the most difficult adventures life has to offer. It is selfless, trying, and immensely rewarding. It’s a life of anxieties, tragedies, celebrations and defiance. Defiance of the odds and defiance of the norm. 

Maybe that’s just for special needs parents. I don’t have a typical to parent so I can’t say much to the contrary… Although I’m sure those statements ring true as well, maybe to a different degree or in a different capacity.

Kevin and I continually talk about moving. I want my family back together. However, the struggle is real when you have two children on the spectrum with almost completely opposite needs. As we look around, it is almost damn near impossible to find ONE district to service TWO kids. It makes providing opportunities for the kids much more difficult.

It’s hard to find an affordable location that benefits both kids. Right now, the separation works and is, academically, best for them. It kills me as a parent.

My kids don’t have a yard to play in. We have a driveway. A large driveway. And a vast number of inside OT/PT like play things. It kills me. The dog isnt able to run and dog around either. 

I worry about continuing to provide the opportunities for them to grow and be successful. The worst fear of i think every parent is failing their child. 

I almost feel like I’m at a loss sometimes with this situation. And I feel like I am being selfish by wanting my family unit together in a house of our own. 

I just would like to not live in a basement for once in my adult life and be able to, you know, have my own home with my family actually IN it. 

I’ve accomplished everything else I’ve set my mind to, so I don’t see why this should be any different. With everything else completed and out of the way, I dont have much stopping me. Other than time and ability. 

Oh well. In the meantime, I’ll keep hanging outside in my driveway with my girl child, some chalk and a balance beam cause that’s what we’ve got. 

Thanks for stopping by.

I am glad you exist.