Friday, April 4, 2014

A few tips from your friendly neighborhood Hair Stylist

Coming down from the busiest month of the year, I just thought I would pass along some advice.  Here are a few random tips that your hairdresser may be too nice to share with you. Lucky for all of us... I'm not that nice :). Enjoy!!

1.  When you ask us to "hook you up", what you're really asking us to do is basically hand you money out of our own pocket.  Most of us are commission based, or self employed, which means... time = money.  Believe it or not, we are not making a killing off of you.  We paid $10,000-$20,000 for an education that we may or may not still be paying on.  We have overhead costs, continuing education costs, and someone had to pay for that color I am putting on your hair, and if it's not you, it's me!  We have to buy our shears, and pay to maintain them, we have to buy our own brushes, appliances, and product.  We have to pay to replace the clothes that we ruin with color almost every day, and to replace the bras, that after a few wears have hair stuck in them that you can never get out.  In other words, it's not free for us to come to work, so we certainly don't want to work for free.  We offer discounts and promotions when we can, but when we do give you a discount, graciously accept it, don't EXPECT it.

2.  So you're ready for a major change, but you don't want to lose any length, you don't want any layers, you don't want to do color or a perm, and you don't want your eyebrows waxed??? I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do for you then!  Go buy a new outfit.

3.  I CAN NOT give you 3 layers.  Well, I can, but I can also promise you won't like it.  You pick where you want your shortest layer, you pick where you want your length, and we blend from there.  Trust me, you don't want me to chop 3 layers into your hair.

4.  3 terms your hairdresser can't stand: die, pluck, and roots.  People die... You COLOR hair.  You PLUCK chickens, you TWEEZE eyebrows.  You have "regrowth" or, you just need to get your hair done, but ROOTS are for trees.  Know that your stylist is silently cringing if you use these words.

5.  I would rather fix your hair and have you happy, than for you to leave hating your hair because you're afraid to hurt my feelings.  It's not going to hurt my feelings if we tried something and you don't like it.  Anything is fixable.  We will figure it out!

6.  Hair doesn't fix itself.  One of the biggest complaints I hear from people in my chair is that they can never get their hair to look like It does when I do it.  Your hair will never look like it does when your hairdresser fixes it if you don't buy the products necessary to style it.  We don't recommend these products just to try to sell you something.  Once again, believe it or not, we're not making a killing off of the product either.  We are tryng to give you the tools to put in your tool box to make it easier for you!  Just like the house doesn't clean itself, your hair doesn't fix itself.  You have to do what it takes!

7.  If Pantene worked as well as the commercials say, all salons would carry it.  Don't ask me what you can buy from Walmart that will work.  I, personally, will not recommend anything from a discount or grocery store.  In fact, I don't even know what they carry!  And by the way, the only way to fix split ends is to trim them, all Pantene and other like products are doing is coating your hair in wax, causing more build up, which leads to less shine, and less volume.

8.  Just as I have the ability to brighten your day, you have the ability to brighten mine.  I have some of the best clients.  There have been plenty of days that they have completely turned my day around.  On the flip side of that, there have been a lot of days that have been ruined due to someone taking their bad day out on me.  Bottom line... We're people too!  But always remember, don't be mean to the girl with the scissors.  Unless you have eyes in the back of your head, you can't see what I'm doing back there ;).

9.  Don't call me on a Saturday, 2 hours before I get off, and expect me to be able to squeeze you in. Sometimes, I can.  But a lot of times, I just can't.  It's not always possible for me to stay late to get someone in just because they didn't plan ahead.  If it's that important that you get your hair done, plan ahead... We have to.

10.  The biggest compliment you can give me, is a referral.  If you love your hairdresser, assure that she stays in business, and spread her name around!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring 2014... Bring it on!!!

I don't mind winter. In fact, I love fall, it is my favorite time of year.  But I can honestly say, I have never been so ready for spring before in my life!  I'm ready for the renewal, and the new life spring seems to represent.  We had a tough fall, with the unexpected loss of my cousin, Rochelle.  And winter just seemed to drag out, with the multiple LARGE snowfalls, my mom breaking her foot,   And the utter lack of energy I had. February and March are a very high stress time for me at work, and of course that was proceeded by the busy hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Not that there weren't good times in there, because there certainly were.  One of them being our "big kid" trip to Vegas in February.
Russ and I at New York New York after the dreaded roller coaster ride!

So bring on the warmer weather, bring on April, and bring on baseball season (go Braves!!!)

This spring we have our 2nd annual Ichthyosis Day at the K planned, with a very good response already!! Yay!! Thank you "Team Ashlynne"!  We are very much looking forward to that and are hoping to make it bigger and better than last year.  We also have a trip to the Wizard of Oz museum planned.  We have a certain little toddler that currently has her Papa watching that movie at least a couple of times per weekend.

Breckyn's 3rd birthday happens to fall on Easter this year, so that will be a very busy weekend for us. Aunt Carol is flying in for her birthday weekend, and our friend Shane is coming down from KC, so she will be very excited about that!

Logan will be graduating from preschool this year.  We will officially have another one in school!  And Ashlynne will be making the big transition into middle school.  Time really does fly. And Gavin is gearing up for baseball season, and has promised that he is going to help Logan learn how to play, as this will be Logan's first summer that we have him in t-ball.

Russ is working for the Salina Bombers again this year.  This is our local arena football team. Last year they finished as CPIFL Runners Up.  Pretty good for the organizations first year.  But as a perk for Russ working for them, I get into the games!  They are incredibly fun, and incredibly brutal.  And I love every second of it!  I'm going to take Misty and Seth to their first game in a couple of weeks.

But this weekend, was all about Elmo.  We took Breckyn to Sesame Street Live in Wichita on Sunday.  Of course, when Russ's mom and I are involved there has to be a certain degree of shopping involved.  So we left plenty early and stopped at the mall first.  Russ was quite he trooper for that part.  Breckyn had a blast, and thanked her grandma at the end of the night for her "best day ever".

Miss B at Sesame Street Live 

Grandma Susie and Breckyn

Russ, Breckyn, and I 

I think he was excited too!

But her reaction was priceless!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2013 recap

Ok, I have really been slacking on my blogging lately!  So I just thought I would post a recap of our year, and share our highs and lows.

In January, Ashlynne turned 10, which I was VERY emotional about, however, soon the pre-teen attitude set in!  This dried up my tears rather quickly!

In February, Russ and I went to Florida with his parents for vacation.  When we left Abilene, there was not a drop of precipitation on the ground.  However, the next morning when we were preprint to leave, literally 2 feet of snow was dumped on the ground, stranding us in KC, and delaying our flight for a day, thus forcing me to consume entirely too much wine!  We made it the next day, went to the NASCAR race, where we witnessed a horrible wreck on the last lap resulting in an engine flying into the stands and multiple fans being injured literally rows in front us.  We left in a hurry among all of the ambulances and panicked spectators.  The highlight of the trip for me was getting to see Krista, a long time friend who moved to Orlando the previous April. This was the longest I had ever gone without seeing her.  We went to Epcot Center and spent a day catching up.  On the day we were to leave, Kansas got slammed with another snow storm, delaying our flight home by a day.  I was so ready to get home at this point it wasn't even funny!

April brought Breckyn's 2nd birthday and a visit from my Aunt Carol.  She was able to be here for Breckyn's birthday party, which was very much a bonus!

In May, we held a fundraiser for FIRST at a Royals game and had a week long visit from our good friend Jordan.  When we wrapped that week up, Russ and I traveled to North Carolina to see Alexis and Danny. I blogged all about this amazing trip, but it was still worth a mention again!  This was definitely one of the highlights of my year!

We had a great summer with the kids full of ball games, swimming, and little "mini vacations" to Omaha and to Kansas City. I treasure my time off with the kids dearly. While it can be very stressful, I wouldn't trade it for the world.  The summer ended with the official start of school on Gavin's 8th birthday!

After school started back up it has been a flurry of activities. The older kids are doing great in school, and both had great conferences.  Then we had Halloween, and of course Thanksgiving started the official holiday season.  That means extra hours and lots of business for me at work.  It is an exhausting time, but I love the holidays.  Logan turned 5 December 8th, and we also had him the week between Christmas and New Years.  It's so nice when we have him for longer than a weekend and can really enjoy our time with him.

2013 brought a lot of changes for me with work.  My job has become more demanding of my time with changes in the hierarchy of our company.  All I can hope is that some day it will pay off.  Sometimes I question whether or not it is worth missing out on as many of the things that I do, but I love my job and my clients, and the girls that work for me, so for now, I will keep plugging away!

I hope that 2014 is as good to us as 2013 was!  We have 2 trips planned for the year, 1 to Vegas in February, and 1 to Indianapolis for the FIRST conference in June.  Other than that, we will see what the year holds for us!  But each and every day, I am reminding myself to count our blessings, we are all healthy, and together, and at the end of the day, that's what matters!

Happy 2014 from the Cossels!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bye bye dog days, hello school daze

Gavin and Ashlynne on their first day of 2nd & 5th grade
August 20, 2013
Well another successful summer is in the books.  While I always welcome back the routine that the school year brings, I am always sad to see yet another school year start because it is yet another reminder that time passes too quickly.  How is Ashlynne already in 5th grade?!?

The first week of July we shipped the older 2 off to spend a week in Lincoln, NE with my great aunt.  They always love the time they get to spend with Aunt Lois and always come back incredibly spoiled.  They got to go to movies, shopping, Chuck E. Cheese, and the Children's Museum (twice).
Breckyn kept calling the goats at the petting zoo
"Little Horsies"
 At the end of the week, Russ and I headed up with the you get two and finished off the week with a trip to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo.  I have heard so many good things about this zoo, and let me tell you, they are all true. This place was amazing! They had a petting zoo, train rides, a carousel, and every kind of animal you could think of. The kids loved the monkeys. They had more kinds of monkeys than any zoo I had ever been to. And some I had never even heard of.  My favorite part was the butterfly pavilion.  Breckyn LOVED the petting zoo. Logan liked the train ride. Ashlynne of course loved the bugs, as did Gavin.  And I'm fairly certain that Russ's favorite part was lunch!!!

The end of July/ beginning of August brought fair week to Abilene, which is always a fun time for the kids.  The week starts off with the parade, and the carnival lasts all week. We went and watched cousins show their goats and sheep, and went to the Demo Derby.  Breckyn got to ride her first carnival ride, and Ashlynne walked away from the games with a HUGE stuffed dog.  But the icing on the cake that week was that Lex was in town.  Ashlynne and her have a special bond, so she was very excited to see her.  Breckyn hasn't seen her since she was a baby, but we talk about her so much, that Breckyn went right to her and didn't skip a beat...  Not that Breckyn is shy with ANYONE!

Gavin, Ash, Logan, and Breckyn
Henry Doorly Zoo
July 14, 2013

Logan, Ashlynne, and Gavin at Fritz's
At the close of summer we decided to take a trip to celebrate Gavins birthday, and have one last hoo-rah for summer.  We went up to Kansas City for a long weekend with some friends who have a little boy around Breckyn's age.  our first stop was a cute little diner called Fritz's Railroad Cafe.  The kids LOVED it. They got little conductors hats, and a train brought us our order. A little boy's paradise! That night we stayed in a hotel close to Oak Park Mall so mom could do a little shopping. The kids had a pool so they were fine with that! The next day we got up and went to Legoland and Sea Life Aquarium. I seriously could have spent all day at Legoland.
Breckyn on a giraffe made of Legos
The kiddos at Sea Life
This place had entire mini towns made out of Legos.  The aquarium was a hit too. My kids are such animal lovers, that those kind of things never get old to them. And I was impressed that we made it through both places without any of Breckyn's famous epic meltdowns!!!  So all in all, it was a good day. But it was far from over. Our hotel for that night was at Coco Keyes water park.  I don't know who had more fun, the 5 kids, or us 4 adults.  Either way, everyone slept very well that night!

When we retuned home, it was time to take Logan back to his mother, and back to reality for the rest of, school shopping! While most of you reading this know how much I love shopping, I do NOT love it with a 2 year old...  Ashlynne called that shopping trip the worst one EVER!, was even in tears at one point, and instructed me to take Breckyn to the sitter next time so we can shop in peace! I think I will take her advice on that one!!!  All in all, we had a great summer, full of memories that I hope my children will cherish as much as I do.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Birthdays, and life's greatest blessings

Tomorrow when Gavin wakes up, he will be 8 years old.  I can not even put into words how this makes me feel.  Every time one of my kids's birthday rolls around this overwhelming sense of nostalgia seems to rush over me.  I have heard it said countless times by other parents, but seriously... Where has the time gone?

While it is nice that my older two are now MUCH more self sufficient and can now do things to help me out, such as folding laundry, and vacuuming, I would trade that for being able to make time slow down, for being able to make those precious moments last just a bit longer.  Time is the one thing on this earth that money can't buy.  I wish I could bottle Gavin's laughter, or somehow preserve one of Ashlynne's sweet kisses. Because I know that some day, that laughter will be saved for his friends, because mom will no longer be funny, and those kisses, they will be saved for a boyfriend, or only for me when no one is looking. I wish I could stay up all night, and just watch them sleep, because I know overnight, they will have grown just a little more.

Tonight, when we were driving to dinner, I overheard Ash and Gavin talking about their friends. Ashlynne was talking about all of her best friends, and I was teasing her, asking her how many "best friends" she had. Gavin piped up and said, "I only have one, and it's Mom".  It seriously made my throat close up, and my eyes fill with tears. In times when they frustrate me, and make me want to pull my hair out, these are the moments I hope I always remember.  When Breckyn is throwing one of those lovely "terrible two" fits, I stop and tell myself, this too shall pass. But the trade off is that she, too, is growing up way too fast.

To all of my friends with young children: stop, take a deep breath, and enjoy it.  Time really does fly.  I know that I am a better person because God has blessed me with these amazing children.  Being their mommy has been the greatest joy of my life.

Happy birthday, Gavin!  I am so proud of the amazing young man you have become!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Momma's little get away

Well, Tuesday was back to reality for me after almost 2 weeks of fun for us.  And I'm having kind of a hard time getting back into the swing of things!
  I picked up Jordan from the airport on Thursday May 2, and she stayed with us for a week.  During that week we held "Ichthyosis Day at the K", which was awesome and successful!!! *two thumbs up*, we shopped, ate, hung out, shared a lot of laughs, and made a lot of memories.  It was great having her here with us for a whole week. We got very spoiled. I keep trying to convince her to move to KS, we will see if my power of persuasion works :).
I don't think it's in our DNA to take a serious picture
  When it was time for Jordan to leave the following Thursday, we all hopped a plane and flew into Charlotte, NC together, where my friend Alexis would be picking us up to spend a few days with her.  After lunch together, where we got to meet Jordan's husband Chris, and a few tears, we said goodbye to Jordan until next June, when we will be seeing her at the 2014 FIRST Conference in Indianapolis.  Jordan and Chris drove home to Columbia, SC and we headed north to Winston-Salem.
  We started off with some shopping, which for any of you that know Lex, this was a concession for her. She doesn't have the shopaholic gene that I do. But she was very patient with me, especially in the Coach store ;).  My favorite part about vacationing with Lex is that I actually get a chance to relax. Sleeping in for me is anything past 7 am, and I got to do this everyday!! We got massages on Friday while Russ stayed at her house and puppy-sat, then we headed down to Darlington, SC to the Nationwide NASCAR race.   This is 2 races I have been to this year, so I would call this progress. I am learning to embrace Russ's inner NASCAR fan.  We were down in the pits for the race, and seeing the inner workings of all of it was, I must admit, actually pretty cool.  It made Russ's day to be down there, he loves that stuff!  Saturday we went and had lunch at the Childress Winery, and I proceeded to polish off a few peach bellinis, which has become a tradition for Lex and I.  We went back to the house and continued the festivities with a get together with several of Danny & Alexis's friends.  While the guys watched the race, all of us girls played a card game called Anomia (if you haven't heard of this game, go check it out... FUN!!).  It was nice to meet Lex's NC friends and be able to put faces with the names. Some of her friends I already felt like I knew!
  Sunday brought a day of some serious sleeping in, and probably my favorite part of the trip, ZIP LINING!!! This is something I have wanted to try for a long time now, the DIY one from childhood put the taste in my mouth, but that one ended with a neighbor kid's arm broken. We had about 2 hours of zip lining through the trees, and had a lot of laughs throughout the day. Our guides were funny, and pretty good sports considering some of the comments that were made from our little group!  (Danny and I have a knack at being inappropriate) The harnesses were less than comfortable, and way less than flattering (more awkward for the guys if you catch my drift) but it definitely made for some good laughs.
  We flew home Monday.  It's always bittersweet.  I miss my kids when I've been gone, but its very hard leaving Lex.  I have known her since 1st grade, and that is such a valuable bond.  There's times it is so lonely knowing that she is that far away.  It really makes me cherish the friendship I am able to maintain with her. I am so glad that all of the miles between us has not caused us to skip a single beat.
  We got home at about 1:30 Tuesday morning, and after just a few hours of sleep, Russ was right back at it and headed to work.  I went to my mom's to get the kids, and was greeted with some of the sweetest hugs and kisses a girl could ask for.  Ashlynne was glad to see me, but still wanted to stay with grandma, of course, but Gavin and Breckyn wouldn't let me out of their sight.  I like to think they missed me as much as I missed them.  Later that morning, I discovered that my closet rod had broken and dumped all of my clothes onto the floor, and one of our hamsters died while we were gone... It's back to reality I guess!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Laughter is the best medicine

  On Monday we had a girls day.  Ashlynne, Jordan, my mom, and I all decided to go to Salina and do some shopping. Normally shopping trips for us start out fun, but by the end of the day I am so mad and frustrated by all of the rude stares and rude comments that we have gotten throughout the day that I am just ready to go home.  The questions about Ashlynne, I can understand, and in all honestly, I welcome them because it gives me a chance to spread awareness. But the ignorant comments that come from some people continue to blow me away, even after 10 years of dealing with it.
  However, Monday had a different feel for me. It wasn't just Ashlynne this time. Jordan was there as her ally. We had a pretty smooth day, no stares, no comments (that I heard) until we got to Target. We were checking out, and the guy looks at Ashlynne and says "Looks like someone got a sunburn!" I replied with my usual "no, she has a skin disorder called Ichthyosis", but this time I was holding back a laugh, because I saw the man's eyes drift to Jordan, and I'm sure he was thinking "do these people not believe in sunblock?". In my mind, I was thinking of all of the comments I could make back to him such as "Ya, she's sunburned, and this girl (pointing to Jordan) was the babysitter. They spent the whole day at the beach."  When we got back into the car, we all laughed so hard that tears were rolling down our faces as we were saying all of the things we "should have" said. The girls both have confetti ichthyosis, which means they have white spots all over their bodies. So one of the scenarios was "ya, we were at the end of the sunscreen tube and it just splattered out, so we just left it" and, "they were sunbathing on the deck. They use rotisseries to get it so even! Isn't that such a good idea?!"  Another story could have been that my mom was all of our mom, and that she said oldest to youngest with the sunblock, and I hogged it all, which is why I am so pale, and they were burnt to a crisp.  The list goes on an on with all of the things we were saying. In fact, a road trip has been discussed, to see just how many funny scenarios we can find ourselves in.  We could do a video montage, or even a book, we could call it "The good and the bad of Ichthyosis". 
  To some people, from the outside looking in, this may not seem that funny, or it might kind of even seem morbid.  I know that Ashlynne's skin disorder is no laughing matter.  In fact, i know just how serious it really is. But for the first time, I can honestly say that I was able to laugh about Ichthyosis.  For the first time, I didn't walk out of that store mad. We were able to turn an upsetting situation into a light hearted matter.  Ashlynne didn't feel alienated or singled out, or like she was being stared at. With Jordan there, she felt like she was part of this exclusive club.  She had someone there who knew exactly how she felt in that moment.  It made me realize that sometimes, I need to not always take life so seriously. It's always good to be able to find a reason to smile. And I know that when I look back on that conversation, and the laughs we shared together, it will always bring a smile to my face. 
  I guess what they say is true... Laughter really is the best medicine.