Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mackinaw City Michigan


This summer we had the opportunity to take the boys to Mackinaw City for the day. They had never been to Mackinaw and since our vacation place isn't too far, we decided to drive up for the day. Michigan really is a beautiful state if you really look.

Photo taken by: Melissa H 2019
Photo taken by: Melissa H 2019
The water was blue and green and the bridge was covered in fog. It was eerie looking but cool at the same time. The boys loved seeing the bridge and the water. It was a bit chilly but hey, it's Michigan...if you don't like the weather, stick around for ten minutes and it will change.

 We decided to visit the fort, which I'm glad we did because I forgot all the history it holds. The boys are very into things where they are learning. My oldest took tons of pictures and my youngest was into seeing all the artifacts. We got there just in time for a weapons demonstration. It was LOUD but very cool.


Photo taken by: Melissa H 2019
Photo taken by: Melissa H 2019

I'd like to take them back but this time go to the island and look around. We did get fudge and go out to eat in the city though. I'm too terrified to drive over the bridge but I may want to take them across the bridge too. I've never been to the U.P. but I hear it's beautiful!



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Why I Started Blogging

Blogging was something I started doing in 2008. It started off, for me, as a way to write down my feelings or connect with other parents that were going through similar things I was. You can share with family and friends but unless you go through the things I went through, you would not be able to fully understand.

It was three years after I hear the word, "Autism." I felt alone, confused and lost. What was going to become of my child? Would he have to struggle his entire life? Would he make friends? Would he have a good job? What will others think of him? What would others think of me as a parent? Why did this happen? These are the questions that ran through my head. Looking back today, those questions were silly. Would he have to work harder than the other kids? Sure. Would he make friends? Yes. What would others think of him? They thought of him as a well behaved, smart, kind person. The point is, I didn't have to worry. As for what others think of me? I don't really care. It wasn't about me, it was about my son.

Fast forward to today, he is still that kind, well behaved kid he was. Does he still struggle? Yes but he has made it to his Senior year of high school and is looking forward to graduating. He has been participating in a construction class for the past two years that is giving him skills he will need once he enters the workforce. I have learned so much from being his mom; patience, kindness, determination, motivation, and adaptability. Sometimes you have to just let things go and sometimes you have to change plans on the fly.

Having my first born son on the spectrum prepared me for my second son on the spectrum. While they are both completely different people, they share things in common. They both struggle in the public school system and they both struggle with making friends but they are both determined to be good people with successful careers. I like their quirks and like how they look at the world. I used to, regretfully, think of them as "weird," but now see that I was totally wrong. They see the world as we all should. So, there you have it. My boys are the reason I started blogging so long ago.

Why did you start blogging? Share you story in the comments.



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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Be A Memorable Job Candidate

Credit: Google Image Search

First impressions are something that happen within seconds and cannot be repeated. So, make that first impression count. Before a recruiter even contacts you, he or she has already began judging you. How? Based on your resume a recruiter may decide if they want to contact you or not. There is no need for crazy fonts, colors or templates. A nice, clean, and proofread resume will do the trick. Make sure to update the dates and include your duties in detail. Each position should have between 5 and 6 bullet points that describe what you did for the company.

If you made it past the resume stage, you can expect a call from a recruiter. This is the continuation of your first impression. Remember, the recruiter only knows you on paper at this point. The call is a way for you to introduce yourself to the company and talk about any information that isn’t on your resume. Highlight your strengths and describe what you can bring to the organization. What are your plans for helping the company reach their goals so you can achieve yours? The phone interview is also a time for you to ask questions about the job, company and what their expectations are of you. However, do your research before the phone interview so you don’t embarrass yourself by knowing nothing about the company. This will for sure cause the recruiter to second guess your eligibility.

Credit: Google Image Search
  
Your recruiter has now viewed your resume and spoken to you on the phone. It’s time to bring you in for your in-person interview. This is your chance to close the deal and land the job. This is also the first time the recruiter or hiring manager is seeing you. Dress in business professional attire, unless the recruiter tells you otherwise (suit jacket, dress shirt, dress pants, skirt, blouse, dress shoes) and don’t forget to bring your resume with you. If you are unsure how to dress, call the recruiter and ask. When you arrive to your interview try to arrive ten minutes early. You don’t want to be late as this can create a bad first impression. A firm handshake, smile and eye contact while introducing yourself helps you build a relationship with your recruiter. Its all about selling yourself and creating a memorable first impression.

Credit: Google Image Search

 During your interview don’t just go over your resume. Explain to the recruiter or hiring manager why they shouldn’t consider anyone else for the job. Tell them what you can do for the company. Don’t be afraid to prepare a presentation on how you may be able to help with a problem the company currently has. If they see your passion and you go that extra mile during your interview, they are going to remember you. Go into the interview thinking that you already have the job and if you present yourself poorly, you lose the job to your competitors (other candidates). Be careful not to be cocky though. This could be a turnoff. Confidence is powerful but arrogance can cost you the job.

Credit: Google Image Search

Finally, sending a thank you note the day after your interview shows the recruiter that you appreciate their time and that you are interested in the job. Its also a way to keep your name fresh in the recruiter’s mind when they go to present potential hires to their hiring manager. From the moment you submit your resume to the sending of a thank you note, you are creating an impression that should make you stand out among the crowd of candidates. 

Be confident, prepared and professional. Be memorable. The job is yours to lose. 




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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Knowing When It's Time to Get A New Puppy After the Loss of A Pet

In 2003, we brought home a white little ball of fur that we named Daisy. She was an American Eskimo and fit into our family of three perfectly. I can remember her running through our yard and she was so tiny that the blades of grass nearly made it impossible to see her. 

Daisy


In December of 2017 I took her to the vet because she had been coughing and it wasn't clearing up. I thought she just had an upper respiratory infection and was just expecting to come home with antibiotics to clear it up. I packed her into the car, went to my son's school and picked him up and then drove to the vets for our appointment. We took her out of the car and walked her the eight feet to the door when she collapsed at my feet. The receptionist yelled, "We have a dog down out here!" I went to my knees and tried to get her to respond but she wasn't responding. The vet ran outside, picked her up from the sidewalk and rushed her to the back. My kids and I were standing in the lobby in shock! I called my husband at work and told him to come to the vets right away because it didn't seem good. After about ten minutes the vet came out and said that Daisy was starting to come around but she suspected that her heart was giving out. She ordered x-rays and blood work to see what was going on. It wasn't good. Daisy was in heart failure at the age of 13. I wasn't ready to say goodbye just yet. I told the vet to do whatever it took to make her better. So she began an IV drug to remove the fluid from Daisy's heart. 

We were at the vets office for about an hour and a half. She finally recovered enough to go home but we had to give her medicine to remove the fluid around her heart and also a blood pressure medicine. The doctor said that Daisy would need to be on the medication for the rest of her life. That was fine with me as long as we had our Daisy. We went home and began Daisy's long road to recovery. The next day I called the vet because Daisy had the runs and I wanted to know if that was a normal effect of the medication. The vet called me back to discuss Daisy's blood work. She told me it wasn't good. Daisy not only was in heart failure but she also was in kidney failure. The medication to help her heart would potentially harm her kidney's. It was a double edge sword. It wasn't until day four that I realized that things were not good. She wasn't eating, she was shivering and just looked like she was ready to give up.  We talked it over as a family and decided the best thing to do was to let Daisy go in peace. It was the hardest decision I've had to make in my entire life. 

How do you say goodbye to a friend, a companion and something you consider as a part of the family? We all cried, pet her and told her we loved her and thank you for being such a good girl. I leaned down and told her I was sorry. Sorry because I couldn't save her and sorry because I felt guilty for deciding to end her life. I couldn't watch her suffer and I know it was the right decision but the guilt was horrible. How do you look at your children and tell them their friend has to leave us? Yes, my kids are 16 and 12 but it was their first long-term pet to pass away. I'll never forget her and miss her to this day. We buried her on our 10 acre property so we can see her and talk to her in the Summer time. She will always be in our hearts. Plus the vet gave us a memorial paw print of hers along with locks of her fur. It was a sweet gesture. 


At the end of March, my husband came to me and told me he was ready for a new puppy. How do you know when you are ready? I know I wasn't ready yet. I'm still grieving for my little fur baby. You can't just replace a companion you had for 13 years. Grief has different stages and everyone moves through those stages differently. While my husband worked through it, I was and still am moving through the stages. I was open to looking at puppies and even consider purchasing a puppy but it had to be the right puppy. I had to get over thinking that I was replacing Daisy because no dog could ever replace her. I had to think of getting the new puppy as adding to our family and Daisy being her angel sister. I don't have to forget Daisy and it is okay to make new memories with our new puppy. It's okay to enjoy the puppy and have fun. That is what Daisy would want for us. 

I began my search and found a German Shepherd puppy that was about an hour out from my home. I drove out with the kids to see and was told she was the last one left. I knew she was supposed to be with us when I looked at her face and held her. She began licking me and wagging her tail. We decided to purchase her and bring her home that day. We've had Lilly for 2 weeks now and I couldn't imagine our lives without her in it. In a way, she is helping me through my grief. She is helping me enjoy having the playfulness and spunk in our house again. Our 12 1/2 year old Australian Shepherd isn't too fond of her yet but she is slowly coming around. After all, dogs grieve too. 

Lilly 

My point is, you will know when it is time to add to your family. Talk it over with the entire family to  see where each member is in their grief and then respect that stage. Don't get a new puppy right away though. It's not fair to the new puppy and it's not fair to yourself or to your family. You have to give yourself and your family time to grieve.  

Have you ever lost a pet? How did you handle the grief and when did you know it was time to add to your family? How do you remember your lost pet? 


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Thursday, January 25, 2018

I Received My First Stitch Fix Box

Disclaimer: I have not been contacted by Stitch Fix for any mentions in my post. All of these thoughts are my own. You may have differing opinions.

A few days ago I made the leap to try Stitch Fix after seeing ads on Facebook. Today I received my first "fix." I'm so excited to try everything on and see how it fits. I'm not very fashionable so I more or less want to use the service to help me look professional and not frumpy.

The first thing that stands out to me is that the prices are not cheap. My entire box, should I choose to purchase everything, will cost me $226. It was nicely packaged and had suggestions on how I should style the different pieces. I only have 3 days to put what I decide not to purchase in the mail. There is a prepaid envelope in the box for me to send items back, which is nice. I guess I have to checkout online for the pieces I decide to keep.

I'll post pictures of what I received and what I decide to keep in a different post. I was so excited about receiving my box today that I had to share it with everyone. Have any of you tried Stitch Fix? What are your thoughts? Is it worth it to keep using the service or would you suggest a different service? Please share in the comment section below.



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Monday, January 22, 2018

Dressing For An Interview If You Are A Plus Size Petite Women

Disclosure: I have not been asked by any of the stores mentioned in this post to write about them. I am writing about my own personal experiences and have purchased all items with my own money. I have not been paid or sponsored in any way. Your experiences may be different than mine.


After being a stay-at-home mom for the past 12 years you kind of forget how to dress for a job interview. For the past week I’ve been busy trying to find something that looks good on me, is professional and doesn’t make me look like a ginormous blob. The first two outfits I put on, I thought, were okay but after taking my picture in them I realized that they both made me look HUGE! I mean, I know I’m a big girl but these outfits made me look terrible. You can see that they both have buttons that go across my midsection, which is where I carry my weight. I’m also short in the torso so I tend to look a little boxy.


Sweater from Kohl's
Blazer from Lane Bryant

As a 5’3” plus size women, I found that 98% of fashion out there is NOT made for us. I got really frustrated and began to have doubts about my job interview. Who is going to want to hire someone that doesn’t look and feel confident in their own skin or clothes?

So, I pulled up my big girl panties and let my fingers do the walking online. I searched: Old Navy, Kohl’s, H&M, Lane Bryant, Dress Barn, Avenue, Maurice’s, and Torrid. I didn’t think Torrid would have anything for me, a woman in her 40’s but I was wrong. I figured that it only catered to younger people but surprisingly they have several tops in their store that I love. I found this bright pink top and ruched sleeve blazer. Once I tried them on I fell in love. Not only do they fit me really well but I don’t feel like a giant sausage. I already had the black pants, from Kohl’s and my shoes from Famous Footwear. To top off my look, I purchased the heart necklace from Torrid.

Blazer and top from Torrid

What have I learned from my shopping experience? 1) Make sure to try everything on. There were items that I tried on where I needed a smaller size because of the cut or style. 2) You have to feel good in what you are wearing in order to look confident. People can tell when you are uncomfortable and that can cost you the job. 3) Play with colors you might not normally wear. I normally wouldn’t wear bright pink but it works on me. 4) If you aren’t sure, take a picture of yourself. It took me several pictures before I found the outfit where I felt I looked my best.

First impressions are really important in a job interview. You only have one shot at it so make sure you look the part and feel confident in what you are wearing. If you are unsure of how to dress, contact the interviewer and ask. I made sure to ask how I should prepare for my in-person interview and I’m glad I did. I know that I have to dress professionally, where to arrive and what to bring.
If you are looking for your first job or next employment opportunity, Good Luck!!


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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Why Is Diversity Important?


Dictonary.com defines diversity as, “the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc. (Dictonary.com, n.d.).” We all know that it is best to work for a company that practices having a diverse workforce but what does it mean? Diversity can mean different things to different people. Here is my take on how to explain what diversity is.



Think of a box of crayons. There are several colors in the crayon box. Now think of a child drawing a picture. It doesn’t matter what the picture is, just that the child is drawing the picture with the crayons in the box. That child is going to use all the crayons to make their picture. He isn’t just going to use one crayon for the whole picture. Each crayon helps that child tell his story or draw his picture. Without one crayon the picture is not complete. It is dull, unfinished, missing something special.


How can we relate this to the workforce? The crayons represent our people, or Human Resources and the picture represents the project the workforce is working on. Each person working on the project, no matter their cultural background, education, religion, age, size, or gender has something to add to the project. It’s these different points-of- view that bring life to the project. If we only had one point-of-view the project wouldn’t be successful.

Diversity is about embracing our differences and finding a way to work together for the benefit of the project and for the company. Can you think of another analogy to explain what diversity means to you? Share your thoughts below!



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