Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Girls Trip

This past weekend a few girls and I (a few meaning 21 girls!) headed to Destin, Florida to celebrate our friend Ashley's Bachelorette party. I met Ashley about 6 or 7 years ago when we were in Auburn. She dated one of Matt's good friends, Austin, and now they are engaged to be married in 2 weeks. The thing about Ashley is is that she is so sweet. She truly has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know and apparently I am not the only one who feels that way, hence the 21 other best friends she invited down to the beach to celebrate with her. She is one of those people you meet who are beautiful inside and out, who makes you feel special to be her friend. I was really excited to spend the weekend at the beach with her and some of my other great friends.
We arrived to Destin Thurs night after leaving straight from work. We immediately met up with Ashley and some of the others girls who had already arrived. We went out in SanDestin at Baytowne Wharf. We had a blast. Here's a pic of Mere and I at the bar.
Friday we enjoyed the beautiful weather on the beach. Luckily, there was no oil in Destin and we got to enjoy the beach and water. That night, we relaxed in the condo and had a lingerie shower for Ashley. Here's a pic of the beautiful bride-to-be.

Saturday we had beautiful weather once again and were able to lay out at the beach all day. That night we headed to Fort Walton to the Crab Trap for Dinner and to Howl at the Moon, a piano bar. We all wore black and Ashley wore a cute blue dress. Here is a picture of Amanda and I.

Ashley and I.

A picture of Jenn, Autumn, and I in the taxi on the way out.

Dancing the night away!

We were supposed to stay until Monday but were so very tired and exhausted that by Sunday morning we decided to head back. Now I can't wait to celebrate Austin and Ashley's wedding in 2 weeks!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

I just wanted to say a belated Happy Father's Day to anyone who is a Father and especially to my own Dad. I have been very blessed to have a great, funny, caring, and kind man who is my Father. I know if I need anything I can call him and he will do whatever he can to help. He can always entertain me with funny stories or give advice when needed. I wish I could see him more often. Thanks Dad for all that you do and being who you are. You have helped shape me into the person I am today and I am so lucky to have you as my dad. I love and appreciate you!

And also to my Father-in-law, Bob, who has always made me feel so welcome and part of the family. You are a great man who I admire and am so thankful to be able to call you my Father as well. I couldn't have picked a better man to be the father of my husband. I truly believe you have strongly influenced Matt to be the wonderful person he is and I am so grateful for that and for you.

Happy Father's Day!

Weekend in the ATL

This weekend was great, but like all others, of course went by too quickly! Matt and I headed for Atlanta to visit my family Friday afternoon after work. We arrived around 7:30 Atlanta time (Birmingham is an hour behind Atlanta). We ate dinner and just relaxed that night. My mom and I sat on the porch and talked for a few hours enjoying the beautiful night. It's funny, even though we talk at least once daily (sometimes more) we still never run out of things to talk about!

Saturday was a big day for us. We started with a pool party at my mom's condominiums. They had food and drinks catered in so we were sure to take advantage of that. I got to meet some of my mom's neighbors and it reminded me of how much my mother is a social butterfly. Everyone knows her! The weather was beautiful as well, so that was also a plus.

Saturday night we met up with my dad, step-mom, brother, and sister-in-law for the Braves Game. Dad decided he wanted to go to a Braves Game for Father's Day and wanted to know if we would like that. Would we like that?! Of course!! What a great way it was to spend time with my Dad and other family members while also getting to go somewhere really fun and exciting. We decided we would go eat at The Varsity before going to the game. If you are from the south and have never heard of or have eaten at The Varsity than you are missing out! It is a historical site that should definitely be visited when going to Atlanta, especially a Braves Game. They are known for their hot dogs and Orange Freezes, which taste like a Flinstones Push-Up Pop. But, they get really crowded so you better know what you are gonna order when you get to the cashier. They will yell "Whadya Have? Whadya Have?" at you! Also, be prepared to wait in a very long line:

But don't worry, Its worth it!!

The weather Saturday night turned out to be perfect. It was not too hot or muggy and felt just right. We had great seats, probably the best I've sat at for a Braves Game. The pictures doesn't do it justice to how good they actually were. We had a blast though and the Braves won the game at the bottom of the 9th with a walk-off home run. Go Braves!

Sunday we had to head back to Birmingham early to meet up with Matt's dad and family to eat lunch for Father's Day. They took us to eat at Ruth Chris' which we had never been to. It was fantastic!! The problem is, that I ate so much I couldn't do much of anything the rest of the day because I was so stuffed! Now its back to work today....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What I do

I always tell people what I do what my occupation is and often get confused looks. I usually have to give a little more explanation to help people understand but sometimes I get the feeling that others, even ones close to me, don't really truly understand what my job is. Usually when I say I'm a therapist, most people immediately nod their heads and say "oh yeah, a physical therapist!" and then I have to correct them by saying "no, like a mental therapist."

I have a master's degree in Social Work. Am I a Social Worker? Yes, and no. I am a Social Worker in the sense that my degree is in Social Work, after I document anything I have to write LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) beside my name as my credentials. But no, I am not the stereotypical Social Worker that works for the Department of Human Resources, or otherwise known as the Department of Child and Welfare Services in Georgia. With a master's degree in Social Work one can do many many different things, which could make a whole other post, to which I will not delve into here. But, back to the point of this post, I am actually a clinical Social Worker, which means that I work as clinician or therapist in the mental health field.

I work at Hill Crest Behavioral Health, which is a free-standing psychiatric hospital many people have never heard of here in Birmingham, Al. We have Acute units for children, adolescents, and adults. These are just like the psychiatric wards in hospitals, except Hill Crest is its own hospital. We also have residential long term programs for teens. I work on the Adolescent Acute Unit. So basically, I work with adolescents who are admitted to the hospital for "stabilization" or short-term psychiatric care.

I am one of the two therapists on the adolescent acute unit. We work in a treatment team with Psychiatrists, Nurses, Psychologists, and Mental health workers. When a patient becomes admitted to Hill Crest, they are assigned a doctor and therapist (that's me!). I usually carry a caseload of around 9 patients. These kids come from home, from DHR placements, or from detention. They go back home, or to another DHR placement, or to detention. Just because they come from somewhere doesn't necessarily mean they go back to where they came from.

My daily activities include gathering psychosocial histories on new patient's which are assigned to me, writing treatment plans for their treatment, conducting 1 hour group therapy sessions, and Individual and/or family sessions. I also do discharge planning, which is planning for what will happen when they leave (where they will go, who they will follow up with). I do what most people think Psychiatrists do. The truth is, most Psychiatrists don't provide any therapy, they just write the prescriptions and monitor how the patient does on them, often in very brief visits.

The reasons that a patient could be admitted to Hill Crest can be due to Depression, attempting or wanting to commit suicide and/or homicide, a person is psychotic, has behavior problems, or any other mental illness. We basically try to help them as much as we can until we feel they are stable enough to leave the hospital and return home or to a less restrictive setting. On the adolescent unit, we work with a lot of teens who have anger, impulse control problems, or are just plain defiant. Those are the ones who can be a pain in the butt!

No day is the same and I love what I do. I am blessed to be able to have a lot of freedom and flexibility with my job, I can come in and leave whenever I want, and can choose who I see and when I see them each week (for therapy sessions). I can play games, watch movies, color, play sports, art, and do pretty much anything with the patients as long as I can make it somewhat therapeutic. I can't believe I am so lucky to have such a great job which I feel truly impacts others lives at the same time. Though I will probably never become rich doing this, I still feel rewarded by my job. And not too many people can say they feel that way!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vacation Pictures

As promised, I have posted some pictures from our cruise. Enjoy!

This is a picture of our group at the restaurant in Jacksonville. Clockwise staring from the top left is Amanda, Matt, me, Angela, Matt B., and Mitch.

Here is a picture of the whole group when we got on the boat on Day 1.

Here is a picture of Matt and I at the Captain's dinner.

The ship looked so beautiful lit up at night.

Matt and I in front of the first bar we went to on the Pub Crawl in Key West.

Amanda and I by the Marina in Key West. One of the bars that we went to on the pub crawl was right by the water. It was probably my favorite bar and I can't remember the name of it!

Here is Angela and I at Cabbage Beach in Nassau, Bahamas.

Matt in front of our boat docked in Nassau.

Last night together, along with a couple from Texas we met (in the blue shirt and black and white dress).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Vacation/Cruise Recap

We left last Sunday morning (really early, like 5:30am early) to fly to Jacksonville, Florida where our cruise was leaving from. We went with our friends Mitch and Amanda, who live across the street and another couple, Matt B. and Angela. Matt, Matt B., and Mitch have known one another since they were much younger (they went to school together) and over the years Angela, Amanda, and I have become close friends. We knew we would be in for a great time being all together and we sure did!

We got to Jacksonville around 10:30 a.m. and headed to the hotel pool to catch some rays and later went to eat dinner. We ate at this amazing restaurant in Jacksonville called the Millhouse. They had some amazing food and drink specials. What a great way to start off the trip!

Monday we headed to the cruise terminal and got on board around 2 p.m.. The weather was beautiful so we headed to the deck and enjoyed a few drinks and some sun. That night we began the first of many amazing dinners in the "Sensation" dinning room. Afterwards we headed to the casino where Matt ended up winning $300!

The next day was a "day at sea" which basically meant we had all day to play on the boat. We ended up waking up really early every day during the trip so we got up, ate breakfast at the fantastic buffet and headed back out to the deck to lay out. The boat had entertainment and contests all day every day so it was very hard to become bored. Matt B. entered a cocktail contest and made a "Matteo Special" drink. He didn't win, but I think he looked the best making his drink and it tasted great! The weather was extremely hot that day the sun drained our energy, so we headed in early that day and took naps. Captains dinner was later that evening which meant we had to dress up. Not only did Captains dinner entail dressing up, but it entailed eating the best food of the whole trip. Lobster and steak galore! I had never had Lobster before and I can now say I'm a big fan!! I think all the boys had several plate-fuls that night.

The next day we arrived in Key West. We had booked an excursion to do a "pub crawl" which meant we went on a tour to five bars and got free drinks at each. It was neat because the tour guide didn't take us to regular touristy bars but more unique, out of the way, ones that locals frequent. None of us had been to Key West before and we all loved it. We all agreed our next big trip needs to be to there. I wish we had more time to sight see and check out more of the island.

The next day we went to the Bahamas. We didn't book an excursion for the Bahamas, only knew we wanted to find a beach and grab a few drinks. So we found a taxi driver who drove us to Cabbage Beach which was on Paradise Island. It is the same beach that the famous Atlantis is on and we were told it was rated in the top ten of the best beaches in the world. It was pretty, but I don't think it compared to Jamaica. But hey, maybe I'm biased. It rained about 20 minutes while we were there and we grabbed some shelter under a tent that was nearby. The rain came and left quickly and we enjoyed just relaxing on the beach. We met a local man there and he talked to us for a long time and the island and about their culture. It was really neat to hear about the differences between the Bahamas and the USA.

The next day was our last full day and it was another "day at sea". We all just used our last day to relax and take it easy. We spent a lot of time playing on the water slides which were on the boat and just laying out. We enjoyed our final dinner together and went to see some karaoke and the late night adult comedy show.

Sat we were up early and flew back to Birmingham. We arrived back around 1:00. It was bittersweet to return home. I wanted to see our dogs and rest but I also didn't want to leave the days of laying out, eating all the food I wanted (that was amazing!), and seeing great places. But here I am at home so now I guess its time to get back to the daily grind. I'm not sure how productive I'll be at work tomorrow after being off for so long! :)

For some reason I am not able to post pics on here so I'll try to make another blog ASAP with pics to follow.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I'm sorry to you, my 3 readers out there (my father has informed me he has been reading this so I can estimate at least 3 readers now ;) ) I have been slacking lately on my posts. I'm not sure If it's been because I've been busy or not busy enough to have much to talk about. What a paradox.

So anyways, this weekend we were very busy. I decided I would fill you in on that. To start off with, who doesn't love a 3 day weekend?! Here it is on Wednesday, and the work week is half over! Yeah! Okay, back to this weekend. Focus, Jessica!

Friday night Matt and I enjoyed a nice relaxing night at home, eating pizza and watching the movie "It's Complicated". We had terrible weather here, so we both had no motivation to leave the sofa.

The bad weather continued throughout most of the weekend, especially storming Saturday morning. As Matt and I were laying in bed that morning procrastinating getting up, we became engaged in a show on the DIY, or Do it Yourself network. Where have I been? I have never seen this network!? Wow!! After watching a show or two of people renovating their homes, we were motivated to do something. Matt suggested we paint our kitchen. I was completely up for it. So we headed for Home Depot and picked out some paint, came home and got to it. No sample colors or days to debate what paint to pick for us. We jumped right to it! It was actually pretty easy and turned out good, so we think. Here's a picture of the completed kitchen taken from my iPhone so please bear with the photo quality.

We finished up with the kitchen around 3 and I got a phone call from one of my friends, Meredith. She invited us to meet up with her and her husband at the pool. By that time, the sun was up and the rain had ceased. We went and layed by the pool for awhile and ended up grilling out over there with Mere, Ben and a few more friends. Later we headed back to our house with a few others to watch the UFC fight. Or shall I say, for the guys to watch the UFC fight and me and Amanda to chit chat.

Sunday was a wash-out again and we headed to Matt's grandparents house for a cook out. It was great to see all of his family and eat some good food. It is so nice that his whole family is so close by and get to see one another so often, it makes me miss my family so much and wish we were closer. Sunday evening we met up with some more friends and ended up playing "Minute to win it games". Very fun! We are even talking about having a "Minute to Win it" party now. I better start practicing.

Monday the weather turned out nicer and we went to our friend Amanda's parents pool. They are always so fun to hang around and welcoming us to their home. I think we have made it an annual tradition to be at their pool for at least one of the major summer holidays. We always have a blast! That night Matt and I headed to his mother's for dinner. She made a really good Boston Butt and we were more than happy to help her eat it.

Now do you see why I haven't been able to post!? I have been so busy! Though we were so busy it really was a great weekend.

Next up, we leave for Jacksonville, Florida early Sunday morning. We are taking a cruise Monday morning to Key West and to the Bahamas. I can't believe it is already here!