Life Stuff


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Today is the day. It’s the day. I know you’re thinking “Why did you wait so long to tell us this amazing news?” It’s incredible. The news I have to share. SO many feelings.

You know that today is always a special day. I know you’ve celebrated all day but don’t let the celebration cease just yet.

It’s my blog-iversary! Seven YEARS of inconsistent blogging.

You’re welcome, world.

Life Stuff, Yearly List

2018 Birthday List

It’s that time of year again…time for the yearly recap of last year’s birthday list and the presentation of this year’s birthday list!

For last year’s list…we did pretty well considering we were tending to a new human in our lives. We’re pretty excited about this year’s list already!

Last Year: 30 Things To Do Before 31

1. Take Baby G to Tennessee – completed 6.22.2017-6.26.2017

2. Take Baby G to Iowa

3. Blog morecompleted 2017-2018

4. Read 20 books by December 31stcompleted 12.31.2018

5. Hike to find five waterfalls – we hiked to find three waterfalls

6. Breastfeed in public – completed 6.14.2017

7. Go to the Taste of Tremont on July 16thcompletes July 16, 2017

8. Go visit Kelsey!

9. Go to the U.S. Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships – completed 6.24.2017-6.25.2017

10. Try East Coast Original Custard – completed 6.10.2017

11. Take Baby G to a Cleveland Indians baseball game

12. Watch the sunset from the Solstice Steps in Lakewood

13. Attend the 2017 Star Spangled Spectacular on June 30th – this ended up being canceled due to the weather. But we went to the Blossom Music Center for their 4th of July performance instead!

14. Take a walk through the cultural gardens

15. Go to a Cleveland Orchestra concert at Severance Hall

16. Go see the worlds largest rubber stamp

17. Keep a monthly photo journal documenting Baby G’s first year.completed May 2017-May 2018 thanks to Chatbooks!

18. Go to Cleveland’s Labor Day Oktoberfest

19. Go zip lining with Boone

20. Take Baby G to the Cleveland zoocompleted June 2, 2018 (is that cheating?)

21. Make a meal out of ingredients found at West Side Market

22. Go to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

23. Take Gus to doggy training classes – completed 6.27.2017

24. Take a glass blowing class

25. Get a couple’s massage

26. Visit Elliot in Illinois

27. Make progress on the yard projects we have plannedcompleted May 2018

28. Try a new restaurant every monthcompleted June 2017-May 2018
June – Crepes in the City with Tori
July – Flying Fig with Marc and Darla
August – Munch with Elliot
September – Yamato Sushi in Baltimore, MD
October – Choolah in Beachwood, OH
November – The Schlafly Taproom in St Louis, MO
December – Paradise Biyrani in Gates Mills, OH
January – Winking Lizard in Mayfield Heights, OH
February – Phoenix Coffee in Cleveland Heights, OH
March – Mod Pizza in Cincinnati, OH
April – Beezy’s Café in Ypsilanti, MI
May – Zuki Sushi in Macedonia, OH

29. Write and illustrate a children’s book for Baby G with Boone

30. Donate Baby G’s preemie clothes to the NICUcompleted 8.17.2017

This Year: 31 Things To Do Before 32

1. Take Baby G on her first airplane ride.

2. Go to an Edgewater Live concert.

3. Drive the Emerald Necklace.

4. Have a kingdom weekend with Baby G.

5. Go to the Willoughby Farmers Market.

6. Take Baby G trick-or-treating for the first time.

7. Go see Hamilton.

8. Take Baby G to the aquarium.

9. Take Baby G on her first picnic.

10. Go pick our own strawberries.

11. Go to a Captains game.

12. Go swimming with Baby G.

13. Chalk drawing on the driveway.

14. Take Baby G on a bike ride in a park.

15. Go to story time at the library.

16. Take Baby G on the polar express.

17. Celebrate a year of Title Boxing.

18. Make progress on the picnic area next to the garage.

19. Watch Baby G take her first steps.

20. Teach Baby G at least five signs.

21. Start a literature review for NICU research project.

22. Find a choir to join.

23. Go sledding with Baby G.

24. Chop my hair off!

25. Practice piano more.

26. Sign up for the summer reading program at the public library.

27. Go to a Browns Game 😂

28. Go to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

29. Go to the Cleveland Flea with Boone.

30. Go to the Cuyahoga County Fair.

31. Take Gus to Pet-A-Palooza

Life Stuff

Be Kind. Be Strong. Be Brave.

I remember the moment we found out we were having a girl. I would’ve bet money that it was a boy. All the wives tales told me “boy”. When I went shopping, I looked at all the boy clothes, we had a boy name picked out, when people asked me if I had a feeling, I told them “I think it’s a boy.”

We went to our 20-week appointment and the ultrasound technician said “do you want to know the gender?” I was prepared to hear “it’s a boy!” And then I heard Boone say “I already know! I can tell!” And my eyes saw it but my heart needed to hear it. And the tech said “I am 99.9% sure it’s a girl!”

I started crying. I cried because I was pregnant and hormonal. But I also started crying because all of a sudden this little human inside of me was a human girl. She instantly became more real to me. I cried because I realized I could call her “her” instead of “it”.

And then I cried because I was scared. Scared because sometimes the world is really scary and unfair for girls. Scared of the “what ifs”. What if someone hurts her? What if she suffers from the body image issues so many girls and women suffer from? What if she doesn’t love herself as much and as unconditionally as I already loved her? What if she goes through a phase (or several phases) in life where she hates me because I’m her mom? What if I don’t have all the answers when she needs me to have all the answers?

And then she was born and I realized that those fears aren’t going away. They will always be with me. Along with many new fears and what ifs. Someday I may come to terms with the fact that I won’t have all the answers. But for now, all I can do is surround her with love and experiences and kindness and challenge. I can be open to newness and things that make me uncomfortable with the hope that she sees my willingness to be open and vulnerable.

I can show her what it means to be kind, be strong, and be brave. I can show her forgiveness, compassion, and empathy. I can show her respect.

Every morning when she gets in daddy’s car to go to daycare, I say “Be kind. Sit with someone you don’t know at lunch”. And from now on, I’ll add “Be Strong. Be Brave.” to her daily parting words.

I’ve been watching all my friends share wonderful posts about the strong, opinionated, brave, warrior women in their lives and I am so grateful that my girl will have such incredible role models as she grows to become her own warrior.

Life Stuff

I See You

To all the working moms who nurse at home and pump at work. I see you. (Well, not really, because you’re probably hidden away in some dark closet that nobody knows about.)

I see you picking out your outfit for the day not based on the latest fashion or really even that it looks cute but based solely on whether or not you have easy access to pump.

I see how bored you are as you pump for several sessions a day thinking “I could really be getting a lot of work done if I wasn’t pumping.”

I feel the guilt you feel when you realize you should be grateful for the fact that you’re pumping at work. A) Because your boss/workplace allows it. B) Because not all moms can.

I also feel the guilt you feel when you realize you should be grateful for the fact that you’re pumping at work because that means your little one is getting your milk, from you. Because again, not all moms can.

I see you trying with all your might to form some deep, emotional connection to this machine so that you produce more milk. This thing that just takes and takes and never gives back. I mean, what kind of relationship is that? Is a little affection too much to ask?

I see your frustration when you don’t get the amount you need for the next day. I feel that frustration because “your body knows what the baby needs” and yet, you’re not getting that.

I feel your stress when you can’t get what you need for the next day.

I see your annoyance that you’re stressed over the fact that you didn’t get the amount you need. Because, you know, stress means less milk.

I see the 15,000 bags you carry with you to work each day. I see you lugging those bags through the heat, wind, rain, snow. I see your sudden empathy for all mail carriers “neither rain, nor sleet…”

I see how much planning goes in to making sure you have everything you need for the day.

I see the thousands of times you’ve washed those bottles and pump parts. And I see you wash them again at the end of the day to be extra sure that they’re extra clean for the next use.

I also see you kicking ass at your job. Even though you’re tired…no, exhausted and sleep deprived. Even though there are probably days where you would give anything to just be at home with your little love.

I see you. And I am proud of you. I know you’re working hard and you might feel drained by the end of the day (both literally and physically) but these days won’t last forever. Any maybe someday, we might look back through a bittersweet lens and wish even for just a second that we were still carrying 15,000 bags and washing bottles every second of our lives.

And just so nobody feels left out, if you’re not a working/nursing mom, but a working mom, you’re kick ass, too. And I’m proud of you, too. Or if you’re a stay at home mom. Basically any mom, because this mom thing is no joke. I think being a mom might give you superpowers.

Life Stuff



The best day of the year has come again. That’s right, y’all. Six years of inconsistent blogging. Let us all celebrate the day the best way we know how…by scrolling through social media and showing support by clicking those little electronic thumbs up.

I know this is a very special day for us all. I hope you always remember where you were today. And every day.


Life Stuff, music therapy

8 Things I Learned During My Music Therapy Internship

I initially wrote this as part of the requirements for my music therapy internship credit at the University of Iowa. But I realized that it might have some useful information for new interns so why not share publicly? I’ve been out of internship for a while and into professional MT-BC life but hopefully this post will help shed some light on some of the things I realized at the beginning of my internship.

About me:

I did my internship at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. When I did this internship it was set up as three different rotations: 1) pediatric inpatient units, 2) adult psychiatry & neonatal intensive care unit, and 3) adult palliative care and child psychiatry.

A little backstory before I start rambling on…when I originally wrote this, I had just finished my rotation on the inpatient pediatric units which included working with a variety of children with a variety of diagnoses. I saw patients on the burn unit, bone marrow transplant unit, in the pediatric intensive care unit, and the general inpatient units. I saw kids with cancer undergoing treatment, kids who had surgeries, kids undergoing stem cell transplants, kids being monitored for seizures, kids who had really bad respiratory illnesses, kids with intellectual disabilities who had comorbid illnesses, and many others!

To any new (or future) music therapy intern,

For this post, I’ve decided to talk about some of the things that surprised me about being in internship, some of the things I wish someone had told me before I started, and some of the things I never thought I would need to know.

Alright…without further ado, my top 8 things about beginning internship:

1. Internship is hard 

I thought being in school with a ton of jobs was difficult; I was trying to balance homework with my other responsibilities (teaching private lessons, music interning at a church, research assistant at the hospital, recreation aide at a retirement community, not to mention hanging out with my lonely husband). I was actually looking forward to only working a 40-hour work week and coming home at a regular time. When I left my first day at internship and didn’t take any work home with me, I felt GUILTY. As the weeks progressed, that feeling of guilt quickly wore off.

Internship is difficult in ways that I didn’t think it would be. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to see kids who are in bad home situations. Or kids who don’t have supportive families. To see that situation play out day in and day out is heart breaking. And to realize that there is really nothing you can do to fix their family situation is humbling. Also to realize that you’re not there to fix their family situation, you’re there to provide only what you can provide and hope that is is impactful in some way.

Internship is difficult because I didn’t realize how many assignments there would be. I thought “I’m done with school! I can burn all my pencils.” Unfortunately, I still need pencils. And highlighters. And post-it notes. And my computer. On top of planning individual and group sessions for the week, there are additional readings and assignments. Add that on top of learning new songs, learning the charting system, documenting, filling out assessments, observing other disciplines, learning new names, new diagnoses, new ways around the hospital, etc. and you can very easily become overwhelmed. I often found myself taking reading assignments home and spending a lot of time planning my groups at home because I just didn’t have time to do it at work. I realized quickly that I couldn’t take a ton of work home every day (see #8) and that I needed to figure out a way to get it done at the hospital. A realization I have come to in this first rotation is that I am probably prone to compassion fatigue—I put 110% of myself into the things that I do. I will work from the time I get up to the time I go to bed if I’m not careful. And I don’t want to work all the time. That’s the reason I didn’t become a doctor! Eventually, I want to have a family. Therefore, I have set some boundaries. There are some assignments that I have to work on at home and my internship supervisor has allowed a specific number of hours for work at home, but for the most part, when I come home and take my badge off, I am at. home.

2. You’re going to be really tired

This one is especially true for those introverts out there. It took me a long time to realize that being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean that you are shy and reserved. Being an introvert means that you expend energy when you are around people. Well…I am around a lot of people at the hospital. It takes a lot of my energy to work an 8 hour day. And it takes even more energy on the days where I have to lead groups. I found that I was coming home angry for no reason and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Finally, I took a step back and thought about what I was feeling and realized that I just needed 10 minutes to myself at the end of the day where I wasn’t thinking about anything, I wasn’t driving around, I wasn’t planning or reading. So every day when I come home from the hospital, I take my badge off and take my keys out of my pocket and that is my transition into being at home. Then, I take the next ten minutes and do something that doesn’t take any brain power—whether that be quietly listen to my music, rest without listening to any sound, watch a silly YouTube video, or practice mindfulness, whatever I feel like I need to do to unwind from the day and reenergize for the evening.

I also have some new habits that I am trying out to help set boundaries for myself. For example, when I am driving to work, I will listen to music that my patients enjoy so I can learn new songs and catch up on what is current. But when I am driving from work, I listen to what I like to listen to or, sometimes I don’t listen to anything at all if it’s been “one of those days”. My new favorite activity happens on Friday after I get off work. I get home, go upstairs, get into my PJs, and get into bed. I don’t necessarily go to sleep. But it’s a very peaceful time where I can unwind and celebrate that it is the weekend!

3. You’re going to spend a lot of time planning a really great intervention or group and then the patient will decline your service or nobody will show up. 

Our professor does a great job selecting practicum sites. She tells you to set your clients up for success during your interventions. Well, she is also setting you up for success in your practicum setting! Sneaky little devil—we never even KNEW! Most of the time in your practicum setting, your clients will be there. And they will probably respond to the things that you do and the interventions that you bring. In my internship, I have spent quite a bit of time planning sessions that never actually come to fruition because the patient declined services, or discharged, or was sleeping. But hey! I have a really cool adapted piano version of Shake it Off if ever the time presents itself. And many more really cool things that I may never use.

 For my last school-age group session, I planned an entire group around discussing change and feelings. Since the seasons are changing, I wanted to talk about what else changes in their lives, how they are different from last year to this year, how they are different from when they came into the hospital to now, and how the kids feel when they’re in the hospital. I had a TON of instruments with me, a fun game to play that talked about different feeling and emotion words, a really cool Orff group improvisation. I was ready. When it came time for my group…only one kid came. And he only spoke Hebrew. So, you can probably guess how that went. We didn’t really get to talk about change or our feelings. Also, although I had planned a lot of adaptations for this group, you bet your little tooshie I did not plan to have a kid who didn’t speak any English. So, don’t get discouraged if you spend time on a plan and don’t get to do it while you’re in internship. Chances are, you’ll use it one day. But that leads me to my next really important point.

4. You have to be really. flexible. 

And I’m not talking about being able to do the splits. (Although, that’s a cool party trick.) I remember one day in my second or third week of internship, I was riding in the elevator with my supervisor on the way to see patients and she said “Alright, I’d like you to try the preschool protocol with Patient X when we get up to the unit.” And in my mind I thought “okay, I’ve played through those songs once, I don’t remember exactly what the preschool protocol is since I’ve only seen you do it once.” But on the outside I said “okay!” And I did it, and I learned from the session, and the next time I led the preschool protocol, I was much more comfortable with it.

I have learned that I have to be able to get out of my own head, be present in the moment, and react to situations that are happening in front of me. I am still working on this and will probably continue to work on this my entire professional life. But being flexible in many ways will help me become a better learner, a better musician, and a better therapist.

5. You’re going to see (and smell) some really gross things [WARNING: THIS SECTION MAY BE GRAPHIC TO SOME, IF YOU’RE SQUEAMISH, SKIP THIS SECTION. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU].

This mainly pertains to working in a hospital, I think. But I never thought about what exactly it means to provide procedural support. I mean, yeah, okay, we are in the room when a procedure is happening. But that means that we are in the room when a procedure is happening. When the nurses ask if you can come in and play music during a tracheotomy change, you’re going to see a hole in someone’s throat when they take the trach out and put a new one in. I played relaxation music for a patient in the PICU who was feeling very nauseous. I developed a strong enough rapport that he felt comfortable having me in the room while he was throwing up. And I felt comfortable enough that it didn’t bother me, because he told me the music helped him relax. We walked into a room after a colostomy bag had been changed, which did not smell like roses, and stayed for 35 minutes leading a session.

6. You need to have really solid music skills.

I know our professor talks about this until she’s blue in the face so I’m going to get up onto her soap box and reiterate! If you don’t have solid music skills, you will not be able to be present and in the moment with your clients or patients. If you are not confident in your music skills, you will not be able to focus on whatever group or 1:1 session you are leading. Internship is one of the first times you really get to practice your counseling skills, so if you’re confident with your music skills, you can spend a lot more time focusing on learning how to do the therapist part of the job.

7. At some point, you’re probably going to feel like you suck. A lot. 

Learning a new skill is really difficult. And it doesn’t feel that great. When you’re around professionals who have been doing this for longer than you’ve been in school, you may feel like you’re a terrible music therapist. But that’s because you haven’t been practicing your skills for very long. Give yourself a break and really take in what could be one of the last long, supervised learning opportunities you have. Your supervisors will not expect you to be perfect. If they thought you were perfect, you probably wouldn’t even have to do an internship. Take in all of the learning opportunities that you can while you can. Observe as much as you can while you can. And know that when you feel like you’re failing, you’re growing into a strong, smart, passionate music therapist.

This has been especially difficult for me. I have felt a lot of challenge in this internship. I will say that this has been one of the most difficult learning experiences I have faced. That has been frustrating for me in some ways because I want to provide a quality therapeutic experience for my patients and sometimes I feel that they get the short end of the stick because they’re with a student. I see the amazing therapeutic work being done by the other music therapists in the hospital and I strive to do that quality work. But the reality is, I can’t. I don’t have the experience that they do, I don’t have the knowledge that they do. That experience and knowledge will come with time. And if I am kind to myself, and let myself experience the growing pains of becoming who I am as a therapist, one day, I will be able to provide those quality therapeutic experiences.

8. You need to take care of yourself

This is so important. YOU are important. Without you, your therapeutic work will not occur. But, you cannot spend all of your time worrying about the patients that you work with, completing the readings and assignments, working at your internship, learning new music, etc. You have to have some boundaries. There’s no better time to start setting boundaries than during internship. Especially if you’re not getting paid ;-). Initially, I had a difficult time getting all my work and assignments done in the allotted time, so I sat down with my supervisor and let her know and we scheduled some daily office time into our schedule. I hope that you all feel comfortable enough with your internship supervisor to let them know how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, tell them! They want you to be successful and want you to participate in as many learning opportunities as are available. But it’s also a very short period of time. Six months will go by so. fast. Set boundaries, do things that you enjoy, have FUN, don’t spend all your time worrying about internship. It’s not realistic and it sets you up for failure in your future job. You’ll have to take care of yourself when you’re employed, so why not learn those habits while you’re learning everything else.

All that being said. What do I know. I’m just a lowly intern :)

I miss seeing all of you around the building! But I gotta admit, I don’t miss those Dr G tests ;)

If you ever want to chat or have questions about anything feel free to comment or drop me a line! My electronic door is always open.



Doggy Adventures, Life Stuff

The Time I (Almost) Lost Gus…But Definitely Lost It

I figure everyone likes a good story. Especially when that story contains excitement, fear, and the occasional cuss word. Well have I got a good one for you…

Gus’s Big Adventure

Once upon a time there was a (mostly) good dog named Gus. He decided that he wanted to come to the park to go for a walk with mommy and sissy while daddy went on a mountain bike ride with his friends.

Gus liked walks.

Unfortunately, sissy needed to eat before said walk could occur.

Gus did not like waiting.

He wriggled out of his walking harness and darted around the parking lot.

Mommy thought, “Oh dear…” and put sissy back in the stroller to try to catch Gus.

Gus was fast. Gus did not want to be caught. In fact, Gus mocked mommy by running close to her…close enough to grab…and then darting off again.

Mommy screamed many bad words in public.

Gus saw a cyclist on the trail. Gus likes bikes. Gus chased the cyclist.

Mommy could not chase Gus because sissy was still in the stroller. Mommy made a choice. Sissy was the choice.

10 minutes later…

Gus comes back and lays down in front of mommy.

Mommy now has high blood pressure but is (mostly) grateful that Gus is back and safe.

Gus now has a new friend who is helping to train him to be an always good dog.

The end.