Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Slugs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails

One of the most rewarding types of play is playing with nieces and nephews.  They are always ready for something fun and can be spoiled before going home with their parents!  The most impressive thing is...these little beings come into your life and change it forever!  

I never knew how much I could love another person until this little man came into my life!

He is the most wonderful blessing!  He loves to explore, color, and play with trains.  He is obsessed with keys and driving the car.  He knows more sign language than I do {which makes communicating rather difficult at times}.  And he loves unconditionally.  He melts my heart and has rocked my world.

So today {300 miles away} I celebrate the day that changed my life!  Happy Birthday my sweet boy!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Schedule - Schmedule

Given my love for books -- my time at the Child Life Conference did not disappoint!  I was introduced to numerous books that I cannot wait to get my hands on!   One of the books that I ordered as soon as I arrived home is entitled, The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister, by Linda Ravin Lodding. 

This is a must have for any parent who values play!  Children today are not given the opportunity to imagine, create, and explore.  Instead, to much for their time is scheduled with various activities and high expectations.  This book explains how Ernestine was able to get to the important stuff like rolling down a hill, building a treehouse, and explore with her friend.  When children are not able to play outside, explore their world, and interact with others their cognitive, emotional and social development is impacted in a negative way. 

One of my favorite childhood memories is playing with my siblings and cousins in our treehouse or creating a new world on the ridge behind our house.  What is your favorite childhood memory?  And, if you are a parent, how do you ensure your children have the opportunities for this kind of play in the busy world of schedules? 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I just got back from four days in Denver at the annual child life conference.  {Yes, there is a conference where all the play people get together and learn new ways to play.}  I love to travel and jumped on the opportunity to visit a new city.  The Mile High City is the most interesting mixture of bizarre sights - it's as if every riveting character has come to settle down in this one area. 

For example, a random piano in the middle of the street where people have an
hour time limit to make music.

And little shops in the middle of the street that sell treats like these fun cupcakes
{this little shop is called GiGi's Cupcakes}

But the greatest part of the city...the majestic Rockie Mountains

We found this little crepe restaurant that was absolutely amazing!  The strawberry, banana, and nutella crepe could easily become a staple in my diet when I talk my hubs into moving.
And the company wasn't bad either!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Playing as a big kid...

I love to play outside!  I am so thankful for the beautiful weather we have had this spring (yes I recognize it is cold for some, but I can't get enough) and the opportunities I have had to enjoy the weather.  I love being a big kid because playing doesn't just involve going to the park or building a fort.  Yes those things are fun and my imagination can certainly benefit from them; however, as a big kid I can plan adventures and have opportunities to explore places that my younger self couldn't easily take me. 

How do you play as a big kid?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

This is my new favorite children’s book.  I first saw it at the Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Training I went to in April.  The story is about the power of kindness, positivity, and consideration for others.  It teaches children that everyone has a bucket and that they have the power to fill that bucket with happiness for those around them.  It also explains that bullying, negativity, and fighting will dip into the buckets of others causing sadness and low self-esteem.  I asked a 14 year old patient to help me with an activity to go along with this book.  I asked her to think about her day and then draw a picture of her bucket for the day.  We talked about it and she shared that there was a lot of color because she was able to spend time with her family and had good time in the playroom.  But she added some black because she was grumpy about being in the hospital and taking that grumpiness out on others.  Then she drew a picture of her goal for the next day.  I asked her to think about ways she could change her bucket and her impact on those around her.  Her second drawing shows her goals to have an overflowing bucket and a bucket of color as she enjoys the people around her.
It can be difficult to engage teens in this type of activity.  I have found that one way to get their involvement is by asking for their help.  For example, I explained that I had just got this book and was excited to try out a new activity.  She volunteered to help me and then gave her suggestions of how to make the activity work for younger kids.  She suggested using it with kids who are bullies [and with older brothers]. 
The book was a little long so I would probably skip a few pages to make a shorter version for young children.  I would also modify the activity based on the child's needs.  For example, a child with low self-esteem could benefit from thinking about all the things [that fill their bucket] that make them special.  Or a child who is extremely selfish could consider his impact on the people around him.  This book is definitely a keeper!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Nurses Week!

In my job, I am so blessed to work with amazing nurses everyday!  PICU nurses have a special place in my heart because of my love for that unit and because I have seen firsthand the amazing things these nurses do to save the lives of the most innocent human beings.  To see a nurse hold a mom who is waiting for her baby to get out of surgery or a nurse sitting in a kid size chair coloring with a patient whose family can't be with him makes the world a better place.  These men and women love and care for complete strangers and give of themselves for 12 long hours, just to go home and care for their own families before coming back to do it all over again.  Thank you to all the nurses who have helped mold me, support me, and allow me to be a part of your team.  I am forever grateful!

And because we know a sense of humor will make all the difference...

Happy Nurses Week!
How has a nurse made a difference in your life?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Viva Fiesta

Last week Jared and I went to San Antonio, TX for vacation.  We stayed at the Yellow Rose Bed and Breakfast in the King William district and visited during the colorful, exciting party, known as, FIESTA!  The weather was absolutely beautiful and it was a perfect place for an adventure.   
 We were only minutes from the River Walk

and the Alamo

We went horseback riding

and wine tasting

Jared became a cowboy

We ate some yummy food

explored the Hill Country

and spent some quality time together

If you have never visited San Antonio, I would definitely recommend it.  We enjoyed the commerical River Walk and exploring the Missions, but we were just a drive away from Hill Country.  People were surprised to hear we were vacationing in Texas, but it was definitely one to check off our bucket list. 
What bizarre places are on your "must-do" list?