Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Playin' in the Sun

Our family vacation was peaceful, relaxing, and the perfect dose of crazy.  Since I have a big family, there is always something to do and someone to be with.  I love going to the beach because it is the perfect place to relax and play.  While I spent a lot of time floating in the ocean or snoozing in my beach chair with the waves crashing over my toes, I had plenty of time for adventure as well!

My mom is so wonderful and created welcome bags that were placed in each of our rooms full of things that would come in handy throughout the week!

We can't, nor will we ever, smile at the same time...someone always has to have a face and it's usually the one on the left.

Forever is not long enough with this sweet boy!  He was constantly making us laugh and has figured out exactly how to be the center of our attention.

My sisters and I always create friendship bracelets on our vacations.  It is a tradition that we have had since our first beach trip when I was in elementary school.  My mom probably started it because it would distract us for hours in the long car ride, but, almost 20 years later, we still end up with an arm full of bracelets by the end of the week.

This year my aunt and uncle came to stay for a few days and brought glass to create mosaics.

We went kayaking in the ocean and on the bay, which proved to be rather dangerous as the many bruises will show...we can't do anything half way.

Family vacations are the perfect opportunity to rest, relax, and reconnect.  As we get older, we spend less time playing together and {for some reason} focus more on work and grown-up things than enjoying each other.  A good vacation will create memories, a lot of laughter, and remind us of the precious things in life -- family.  What is your favorite vacation memory?


Thursday, June 20, 2013

kinda sorta stay-cation

Our family beach trip is in Sandbridge this year.  Today was the first day I was able to join and it was perfect.  We had beautiful weather for laying out, warm water for dodging waves, and a cool evening for riding bike.  Jared decided we should take advantage of the weather and off we went...

We have wanted to do False Cape for quite some time, however, I did not do my research and I had no idea how long we would be riding. 

We finally found this sign and figured we had come this far so we might as well finish.  The trail was not awesome and parts were rather difficult to ride through because of the gravel/sand mixture.

But, eventually, we made it to our destination and it was completely worth it.

When the trail ends, we were on a beach with no people, no buildings, and no distrations as far as the eye can see.  It was beautiful and I could have easily spent the evening enjoying the scene with my hubs, if only I didn't have to ride back.

I would definitely do this trail again.  Next time I would want to start in the morning so we had time to relax on this beautifully hidden beach before riding back.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Care Tags

Ever buy a really great dress or amazing shirt?  It probably makes you feel good when you put it on and gives you confidence for the day.  But the thing about a great dress or fancy shirt is it needs to be taken care of and cannot be cleaned with just any detergent.  There are care instructions so that the piece of clothing can last and be enjoyed for a long time. 

Consider the amount of attention we give articles of clothing - what if we gave that same attention to our relationships?

We all respond to experiences differently and it is important that we respect those differences.  We cannot assume that we know what a person's reactions mean, but we can use the great gift of communication to learn more about those we love.

Care tags are a wonderful way to help children understand their reactions to emotions.  They also allow children to identify how others can best support them when they are feeling a specific emotion.  When a child feels understood, he is better able to accept his emotions and consider healthy ways to handle them.  This understanding can create open communication and feelings of safety and love.

 These care tags are great for kids who are learning about emotions, but they are also helpful in other relationships, especially for those dating or married.

Update: Thank you Jodi Smith, LCSW, RPT-S for finally giving me a reference for this activity! I had been taught it years ago during internship, but never knew its originality. Now you all will have a reference as well as a resource for more therapeutic activities to use! Enjoy!

Smith, J. (2008). Care Tags. In Lowenstein, L(Ed.) Favorite Therapeutic Activities for Children and Teens:
Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Techniques. Canada: Champion Press.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Time to get messy!

You know those kids that have enough energy for an army?  They run and explore until they can't run and explore any longer!  And every experience is new and wonderful!  It's called being a toddler.  This is one of my favorite ages because of all the excitement and exploration.  This week, I have spent a lot of time playing with a little friend who is at this stage.  Yes I work in the PICU, yes he is to healthy to be there.....but that's a different issue and I don't mind, because I have been having so much fun.

One of the things I have learned from this little man is to chill out.  There will be spills, the playroom may look like a tornado went through it, loud toys are the best toys and things get sticky (I don't know how or why, but I know they do) and it's all ok.  I am so thankful that I have grown in this area and that I no longer cringe at a potential mess.     

This week we played ball a lot, raced cars and we even did some painting, which turned out to be a wonderful mess.  There's just something about walking in to work knowing that I am going to get a huge smile, a hug, and asked to "go play?"  Thank you child life for these opportunities!

Monday, June 10, 2013


I love group work.  I think that groups have the power to make people feel included, supported, and empowered.  There are groups all around us and if you stop to think about it, you can probably identify several groups that you belong to.....family? friends? work? church? school? sports?  The list can go on and on. 

This is an activity we did at work to show the value of a group.  Each person was given a square with a 1/4 of a circle drawn on it and asked to simply be creative.  As the squares were returned to me, I was amazed at the talent and the and individuality of each one.  We already completed two of these boards and we are working on a third. 

In the hospital, it can be difficult to find the postives of working with such a large group of people.  Even with all the bodies, it can feel lonely and stressful.  The key is to remember that on the loneliest day, there is only a certain group of people who get it - who know that working in the PICU is terrible, wonderful, and everything in between.

Today I am thankful for the people in my work group.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Imagine me...

One of the most wonderful ways to consider future plans and goals is by doing the "Imagine Me..." activity.  In this activity, I prompt the patient to close her eyes {if she is comfortable} and consider her life in 5 or 10 years.  I ask her to think about the environment, the people that are present, and the items she sees.  I then give her various modalities to create a piece of art based on the scene she envisioned.  After the patient has had enough time to create her piece, I ask her to share as much or as little as she wishes.  If she should choose to share, we then discuss potential goals to make that desire a reality. 

Patients often choose to share and tend to be excited about the potential to work toward a positive creation of their imagination.  At times, I will encourage patients to add goals that could be started in the hospital or that relate to their treatment plan {if appropriate}. It is important that patients have the opportunity to see success early on.

This activity has been successful with chronic patients, older school age patients, and adolescents.  I have also used it with children who have just received a new diagnosis to help assess misconceptions and potential grief.

This activity can be a wonderful way for adults to look at life and future goals...

How life has changed in 5 years!  I wouldn't change the experiences I've had or the people I've shared them with.  Now to "Imagine Me..." in 5 years?  10 years? 20 years?
Where do you imagine yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Birthday fun

What better time to play than on your B I R T H D A Y!!!  Birthdays are big in our family and are not taken lightly.  As a child, my mom would always make birthday signs and decorate the dining room on our birthday eve.  We would choose our favorite meal and dessert for birthday dinner and we usually had a birthday party {or two} to include extended family and friends.  For each of my birthdays, I have been blessed to be surrounded by so many people that love me.
This year, Jared and I went to the Shenandoah Valley to celebrate my birthday weekend {yes, you should have a birthday weekend, week, or month-a day is simply not enough}. 

We had margaritas at Las Trancas
tasted wine at the Shenandoah Vineyards

and explored Skyline Drive
What is your favorite birthday memory?