It is week 6 of the term ... 10 weeks total.

But this post is about the weekend The Moms came to help me look for a dress.  And because I may or may not be watching videos on Collaborative Problem Solving with children at the same time I'm drafting this, it will be mostly images.

It is fall.  We are happy in NW Portland.  And we three look exactly alike, you are correct.  I am not including any pictures of Shoes' mom in this post.  Maybe later.

I tried to talk about the use of puppets in children's therapy, but they were just too much fun to ... play with.
I don't know why Cheryl is hiding behind the pink monster.
I will have my blue monster ask.

Cheryl is a super hero in an action shot!  This, unfortunately, is not an option for the girls.
Not available in the right color.

Not the dress.  But it was a serious contender.
The real dress?
It was found.
And I am a happy, happy girl because of it.

Good weekend.  Silly.  Loving.  Joyful.

More of that would be good in my life.

... planned.  Of last weekend, when my mom and Shoes' mom both came to Portland to look at wedding dresses.  With pictures of happy and love and joy and silly.

But I don't have time to download the pictures on my computer.  I don't have time to sleep or grocery shop either.  My bills were late this month because I forgot it was time to pay them.

I have never, never been so busy in my life.  I'm confused most of the time due to lack of sleep or time to plan things out.

If you know a graduate student in your life (especially of the class/internship/work variety), do me a favor and give them a huge hug.  Or a care package. Or a little love note.  And always ... give them lots of grace if they do not return phone calls/emails/text messages.

In all of its loveliness, this is still one of the hardest things I've ever done.
Where the cuss words is the year going? Halloween already??

I spent quite a few years purposefully not observing Halloween at all, and I was ok with that.  As an adult, however, who is not purposefully not "celebrating" Halloween, I'm beginning to notice all of the fabulous costume options being marketed to me.

It's like a whole new world.  I can be a witch ... or even better, I can be a sexy witch!  I could be a nurse ... or even better, a sexy nurse!  Or a sexy policewoman!  Or a sexy pirate!

Or, I could also be .... a sexy Tootsie Roll!  What!  Nobody ever told me about this before!

Sexy Tootsie Costume

This will be so attractive on me.  You have no idea.  Totally appropriate for a children's therapist to wear (I might even wear it to the outpatient clinic on Monday!) and Oh. So. Comfortable.

And these silly people at the Huffington Post?  So uninformed.  Take a look at this crazy article.  I mean, whatever.  Just because so many costumes sold in stores are hypersexualized does not mean, in any way, that women are objectified in our society.  I mean, if I want a non sexy costume, I'll probably have to make it myself, but the absence of tamer costume options in stores doesn't mean that society thinks women should act or look a certain way.  (But who wants a non sexy costume?   I know I'm a little new to the Halloween game, but I can tell from print images how I'm supposed to look!)

And the image below?  This lady is totally NOT supposed to look like a sexualized girl scout.  No.  It is so stinking normal for the little darlings who sell you Thin Mints outside of Safeway to look like sex kittens.  That's not a confusing message at all.  And I'm sure the little darlings who are selling Thin Mints outside of Safeway aren't confused about it either!!  Silly.  They're SAVING their girl scout money so they can wear these costumes when they grow up!  (Or when they're in high school - either way!)

I sure am glad that I get to partake in Halloween this year.  Now, if I could only figure out how to make a sexy Gollum costume, I will be all set.....


... because you can make anything sexy!!
Last Sunday whirled Elizabeth and I to the bridal show at the Convention Center in N Portland.  I had incredible company, the free cake was delicious, but the vendors?  Predatory like a T Rex.  And the vendor that scared me the most?  The ladies who asked me if I had considered a little color before my big day.

Hard to take the question seriously from somebody resembling an Oompa Loompa.

I declined politely.

And oh, the week that followed. 20 hours at the Lab.  19 hours at my internship and getting assigned my first two families.  6 hours of classes.  Reading.  Writing.  Research.

Trying to find time to set up a meeting with potential wedding photographers.

Getting my business in order so I can fully spend time with the moms next weekend to look for a wedding dress.  Their first meeting, and I could not be more excited for them to get to know each other this far in advance of the wedding.  It's one of my biggest hopes that the two (or in our blended case, four) families truly feel like family the day of.

I don't know where I'm finding time to pin things to Pinterest, but would you like to take a miniature sneak peek at what I'm thinking for our big day?  (Or is that, a very expensive little party?) ...



Vintage Wedding Inspirations

All these delicious little ideas and details that get to be tucked away with joy.  Good thing I don't have to worry about how to translate theory into practice until next summer ... I'd have absolutely no idea what to do with myself!  For now, Shoes chuckles gently and says, "All right, love.  If you want to think about it now, that's fine.  Just don't stress yourself out."

This wedding?  The least of my worries.  I have the partner.  We have a venue and the food.  Everything else is just gravy.

I'll save my real worry for my paper on non directive play therapy that's due soon ....
two organizational parts to this post.
a million little parts of my being.

i have two extremely important children entering and leaving my life right now.  at the end of the month, the child for whom i've been advocating as a guardian ad litem will be finally leaving the foster care system ... 4 years later.

in a week, i will be meeting with my first child client in therapy.

a going.  a coming.

to my g.a.l. child,

when i first met you four years ago, i had no idea where your case was going.  i had no idea if you would be returned back home or if you would find a separate forever family.  i did not know if you would fall into that oh-so-scary netherworld of not going back home and not having a forever family to go to.  you were 10 when we first started visiting.  you are 14 now.  there is a lot that goes on developmentally there.  you are not the same child i first met, but you are the same person.  you were a fantastic 10 year old.  you are a fantastic 14 year old.  you know so many things now that you did not know before.  unfortunately, you now know how slow the system is and how heart breakingly long closure (if it comes) takes.  and now you know what it's like to have adults listen to you.  you know how to use your voice.  you know that you are worth believing.

you are so worth believing.

you have a long journey in front of you.  14 is old than 10, but so much younger than  anything older than 15.  my hopes are for you now. and also for your 15 year old self ... your 18 year old self ... your 30 your old self ...  your retired self.  my hope is that you find out which stories mean the most to you in your life and to pursue those whole heartedly.

again, because you are so worth it.

good luck, kid.

to my incoming therapy child,

i do not know anything about you besides the fact that you are 6.  6 is supposed to be a fun age - imaginative, sassy, figuring things out, figuring you out.  but the simple fact that somebody thinks you need to come speak to me says that something might not be going exactly well somewhere.

i am terrified of you.

i have worked with families and teens and kids and mommies and babies for 11 years, and i am terrified of our time together.  will you think that coming to see me will be helpful?  is it more your mommy or daddy's idea?  will you run out of the room screaming because you are scared or mad or tired or don't know how you feel?

i want you to know that all of those things are ok and that whatever journey we need to take together, i'm in.  i'm all in.  i hope you like playing and coloring and making art because i'm learning a  lot about those things and am excited to do those things with you ... if you want to.

because even if you are "just" 6, you know what?  we're going to be working on who you want to be and what kind of feelings you're feeling.  your six year old self is awesome.  you might not be able to tell me, at least at first, but trust me, kiddo.

i'm going to be listening very, very, very hard to all the different ways you might tell me those things.


these days i'm unable to separate out the hope and anticipation and concern i hold for the people i work with.  some days, many days, i just hold the fact that i hold all of these feelings simultaneously.  and, especially now in the  middle of school/work/internship/wedding/reading/writing/research, that is a lot to hold.
1. I have ants in my kitchen.  Little, tiny, disgusting ants crawling everywhere.  My kitchen is spotless.  I've bleached the counters several times.  I'll have nightmares about them tonight, but that might be better than the zombie nightmare I had last week.  Still ... gross.

2.  I've my hands full with theories and weekly papers including:  child centered play therapy, filial play therapy, therapy with families experiencing multi stressors, attachment, abuse and trauma, child suicide ideation (that's not a fun thing to post about, but it does give you a realistic description of what I think about on a weekly basis) ...

3.  I have multiple stressors ...

4.  I am behind on all of my wedding benchmarks.

5.  Is it Saturday or Sunday?  I think it's Sunday.

6.  I forgot to wash my hair this morning, but did put deodorant on before my shower.

7.  That wasn't exactly helpful.

8.  I have not, and will not, see Shoes for a total of 4 or 5 weeks.  That's the way we roll with our schedules sometimes.

9.  I get my first client this week at my internship.  I've worked with kids for 11 years and ...  I.  Am. Terrified.

10.  That's normal.

11.  I wrapped up my 4 year Guardian Ad Litem case yesterday.  All of my heart's good wishes to you, young man.

12.  I have no less than 6 phone calls to return to family and close friends.  Love you guys.

13.  This could rank as the most boring post ever. EVER.

14.  We will return to your regularly scheduled, non boring programming at some point in the very near future.

15.  I hope # 14 wasn't a lie.
In fact, I got it here.

In a rare moment of quiet I watched this very short, very cheesy, YouTube movie trailer and I thought, Yep. This is what we do with orphaned kids.  Somebody just has to step up and say, "I'll be your big person, half pint."

(Please don't mistake this as maternal stirrings.  We'll cross that bridge when we get there and that bridge is several hundred miles down the road.)

Gosh I sure do love this chimp.

Didn't I just post that classes were beginning and internship starting?

Now it is week two of classes with 10 weeks left in the term.

With class, internship, work at the psych lab, grad school reading/writing/research, planning the wedding and making the best attempt I can to stay in touch with family and friends, I'm beyond exhausted.  My poor little black planner is beat up, bruised, bent, and consulted nearly 15 times a day.

I have no idea where I'm supposed to be at any given moment.

And there is so, so much to love.  Like my Social Work with children, adolescents and families instructor (who is also my advanced practice instructor) who is so genuine and so authentic and so encouraging that I don't want to leave class when class is over.  Like my internship (more on that to come), where my colleague team of therapists is so loving and validating and committed to the children we serve.  Like the fact that I've found a way to snake my way from SW Portland to my internship in NE Portland completely avoiding I-5 and I-84 and saving at least 10 minutes by doing so.  Like my job in Psychiatry Research, interviewing parents and children with ADHD.  Like my friend B. in Psych, who started when I did, who is in my same graduate program, and who has quickly become my touch point when she's at the lab.

Last year you read about the ins and outs of geriatric psychotherapy and how profoundly and fundamentally changing it was for me as a counselor and human being.

This year we're going to return back to the minds and hearts of children. And the minds and hearts of children can be a foreign landscape, for which you might need your passport.  And if you don't think you have time enough to get a passport, it's ok.  Because these are kids ... and they would tell you to get out a piece of construction paper, scissors, glitter, and stickers; grab the best picture of you ever (even if it's bigger than 1" x 1") (or a picture of anything you want [mine would be of a sea turtle]) and get to work.  This landscape can also be a little heartbreaking, but that's ok.  Even in the story of big heartbreak in little bodies, there's this amazing story of resilience you can't even imagine exists.

And just as a reminder, my tiny body clients have the same rights and privileges to confidentiality and privacy as my larger bodied clients (check out legal issues above - I'm not messin' around here).  So we talk about themes.  And we use conglomerations. And more than anything, we talk about how their stories change me.

Their stories always change me.