Sunday, April 5, 2015

fall, winter, & spring

This is a bit belated, but life has been pretty hectic...School started at the end of August and my second year of graduate school took off like a rocket. I started right away with seeing the maximum amount of clients allowed, teaching an undergraduate 3-credit course, and also overloading on courses.

This doesn't include client appointments, office hours, or RA hours....ah. 
September: Luna and I continued to learn more about each other...specifically, I learned more about her love for boxes and how much she hates her collar.
She doesn't wear a collar anymore :(
I also participated in a poster presentation at South Dakota Psychological Association (SDPA) about living in Mongolia:

Luna and I worked on eating better and keeping our weight healthy while I successfully proposed my thesis!

In October the annual Bowl-O-Ween rolled around and I was the "Great Pumpkin" from Peanuts, and this is Euodia (3rd year and the best buddy ever) being Woodstock.

In December, a friend hosted an awesome Christmas party, and this is Jill (friend in my cohort) and me wearing our best Christmas attire. 

After the semester wrapped up, Luna and I made the 17-19 hour trip straight home. Luna did amazingly...I didn't do so well and ended up sleeping at a random gas station for an hour or so.

But it was so good to be home! I saw my brother and his girlfriend, Kat. Kat and I went and got massages and had a girl's lunch at Panera. My parents and I saw a play downtown, we went out to eat, checked out the Duluth Farmer's Market, and relaxed.
what a gorgeous couple!
I took an additional break and went to see one of my favorite professors and her husband down in Milledgeville, GA. My parents took care of Luna. :) 
Lap kitty warms up to my dad 
Chloe helped me unwrap my presents, sweet baby.

I also saw some of my FAVORITE friends around town, but mostly spent time with my family. We went to the Botanical Gardens and the Atlanta skyline was just fantastic.

Dad, me, Mom, Kat, and Stevie at the Botanical Gardens
selfie with my poppa baer and the Botanical Gardens all lit up at night!

Over winter break Chloe and Luna worked on their tended to unite them briefly, but we saw Luna give Chloe a couple head bumps.

I brought in the New Year by eating dinner with my extended family and watching the Twilight Zone with my Mom, Dad, and Aunt. We drank champagne and relaxed. It was perfect.

Shortly after that, mom and I hit the road to go back to Vermillion. Mom and I stopped in St. Louis and stayed in an amazing hotel and had a fantastic time braving the cold to find food. Our hotel had unlimited happy hour + cookies and milk before are definitely going back :D

We arrived in Vermillion and had a great time decorating my apartment, relaxing, and meeting up with some of my friends for dinner.

And then mom left. :(

Spring semester started with taking an overload of classes, teaching an undergraduate 3-credit course, and also seeing clients. (Sounds like my fall semester, huh)
Doesn't include client hours, time that I go crazy, or time that I'm trying to be productive and failing.
But Luna has been making sure I've been doing my homework... but really, it's just a busy busy semester.

In February I went to Iowa for a conference to learn more about a therapy called "Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)" 

 Been trying to hang out with friends in the program and take some time off, but didn't really get to do that till my spring break...when my professor and her husband came to visit...
Ryan (5th year), me, Euodia (3rd year), and Matt (4th year)
I'm from Georgia College and State University and I love my undergrad institution! Aside from an amazing education, I met phenomenal professors and have been lucky enough to stay in contact with them. One in particular, Dr. Robin Harris, taught my sociology course. I loved the class so much that I signed up to take every other course she offered and ended up minoring in Sociology. She and I have kept in contact though the years and she's my second mother. Her husband, Don, is a clinical psychologist and we clicked right away.

They came up to visit me and we traveled around South Dakota, Wyoming, and even Montana! It was seriously the best time of my life and I have never been happier. It was perfect.

We started off the trip by going to Wounded Knee.

Wounded Knee Massacre Monument and Cemetery.

After visiting Wounded Knee, we drove through the Badlands with the car on E...for about 50 miles...laughing nearly the entire way until we found a gas station. We had 1/10th of a gallon left in our car by the time we filled up!

But we arrived in Custer, South Dakota in the evening and found an amazing little hotel that was just perfect.

The next day, 2nd dad and I went to Crazy Horse while 2nd mom slept...the trip wore her out. We had a great time learning all about the incredible history behind Crazy Horse and learning more about Native American history (specifically the Lakota people)

This is a Ghost shirt worn by members Lakota tribe...meant to protect them from the white man's bullets.

I also learned about the various uses for the Buffalo...

Even learned how to grind corn..

And then we had Native American food! Fry bread is amazing.
Native American taco and soup
Custer, South Dakota. Absolutely gorgeous.

To end this perfect day, the three of us went out to eat at this amazing steak got one "option" for an appetizer, a steak or vegetarian option for the entree, and then 30 choices for dessert. It.was.fantastic.

The next day, the three of us went back to the Crazy Horse memorial for a bit, and then we went to the Devil's Tower in Wyoming

How Lakota people believe the marks around the side of Devil's Tower were made.

Don and I decided to walk around the base of Devil's Tower. It only took about 45 minutes and it was so much fun!

Amazing company, gorgeous was wonderful.

After that, we were getting ready to go and then suddenly, I made some friends.

Prairie dogs! They were so friendly.

After leaving my new pets, we saw a line of deer..and then dozens more as we were driving away. Such a beautiful place.

Then we were on our way to go to Montana for this saloon. Robin and Don had been there a few years ago and loved the character of the place, and really wanted to take me there. I loved it...especially the bathroom...

An interesting place that served a really good beer called "Moose Drool"
These pictures COVERED the women's restroom, and you can also imagine how the guy's restroom was decorated, haha.

The next day we took a trip to Wall Drug, relaxed, and saw some beautiful scenery.

Our final day we went to a Lakota school (but I didn't take any pictures!) and then we drove back to Vermillion. 

Sadly, less than 48 hours later my 2nd parents left to drive back to Milly, but Luna was happy to have me back.

I hate to end a blog post this way, but over spring break, Chloe, our family dog passed away. Chloe was 13 years old and was the best dog that our family has ever had. She had spunk, would back-talk you in a heartbeat, would boss you up the stairs for bed, and when all else failed...would sit at the top of the stairs and bark at you to come up. Sadly, her health was failing and her quality of life had declined isn't the same without her.

Miss this sweet girl always. I'm just counting down the days till the end of the semester. Summer holds a lot of exciting adventures and I'm thankful for those who are in my life and for those that I've met along the way.

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