Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jodi and the Purple Crayon

You must remember Harold and the Purple Crayon. 
This year, in honor of all that is artsy and playful and my favorite color, I decided to get in on the Halloween action by wearing a purple crayon costume. The kindergarteners in Miles's class seemed to like my costume when I helped with their Halloween party. I even got some smiles when I handed out candy and went trick-or-treating with Miles, although he only wanted to go to two houses and then settled down to eat his "big" haul right in the middle of our sidewalk. That is one happy boy. This was also the first year Meredith went trick-or-treating without me ~sniff~ which just meant I could sit and snitch candy while waiting for trick-or-treaters. :)

For some reason Meredith is really into all things nerdy right now.
I admire her for not being afraid to be different.
And I LOVE her purple Converse!
(I can actually remember wearing those button-down oxford shirts
in the 80s and thinking I was cool.)

What would Halloween be like without kids?!
H A P P Y  H A L L O W E E N!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One Simple Thing...

I have one simple thing to say:

P L A Y   B A L L !

This is the first time the Rangers have made it to the World Series. It is a very big deal especially in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where I lived for several years. I have some very happy memories going to the ballpark with my family to see the Rangers play. It helped to go with my father because he could tell me all the strategy behind the game since he played ball for many years. My favorite parts of the experience are when they play the Cotton-Eyed-Joe during the 7th inning stretch, fans participate in the Dot Race or do the wave, and of course, the food and drink: hotdogs, pretzels, peanuts, and beer. Oh yeah, and then there's the game itself.

Here's the Cotton Eyed Joe

Here's the Dot Race

Go Rangers!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall = Play

What a fun time of year!
First, a trip to the roadside market.

Animals out of hay

Real animals

Tried so hard to get a good pumpking pic with the kids. The sun was in their eyes and Miles just wanted to play, naturally. "No pictures Mom!"

One more inside the market

A friend of ours has her birthday on Halloween. For the past 5+ years she and her husband have hosted a pumpkin party which seems to get bigger every year. It is a Fall highlight for me.

I love to see adults and children alike exercising their creativity!
Here are some of my favorites.

This carousel actually spun around.

Meredith made one with an Apple logo.

Of course, this purple one belongs to me.
 (With idea from Alisa Burke whose blog is so creative!)

My hubby was one of the judges. Judging takes a very long time because everyone gets an award and the judges develop creative names for the awards. Miles, in fact, who didn't want to decorate his pumpkin because he was too busy playing in these friends' lovely backyard, won the award for "Most Loved Pumpkin."

Something new this year: a magic show.
So fun to watch the kids' reactions to the tricks.

Guess how many pieces of candy are in the jar.

Miles really enjoyed the pinata.

Who are these two?

Here are all the beautiful children. An annual pic on the stairs. Miles is front row center, Meredith is directly above him in back row.

Here's another pic. Which one do you prefer?

We arrived home to find these fun Halloween figures made by my sister.

What a fun weekend! Just wait till next weekend...

Friday, October 22, 2010

2 things

Two things happened to me yesterday while teaching that I've never experienced before.

1) As I started my lecture in one of my classes and looked out at the students, one of them had on the exact same light denim jacket as me. That one from Wallyworld cheap one. I am happy to say it was one of my smart, engaged students who was sitting in the front row.

2) As I began to administer a test in my play therapy class, I looked down at the computer next to me and saw that someone was using it to charge his or her cell phone. Then, you guessed it, the phone began to ring. Thankfully, it wasn't too loud and didn't have an annoying ring tone. And thankfully, I have this same type of phone so I knew how to silence it.

By the way, administering a test in a PLAY therapy class is just wrong, don't ya think?

I could be annoyed in each of these situations, but instead I chose to be amused. Thankful again.

So dear reader, I thought you might need a more light-hearted post today. It seems you are more likely to comment when my posts are not so long and deep.

Here's hoping that something amuses you this weekend!

P.S. Go Texas Rangers! If they win tonight, they'll go on to the World Series, an experience they've never had.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why I'm Wearing Purple

Yes, it's my favorite color and the color of my alma mater, but there's a much more important reason for me to be wearing purple today. According to its facebook page

On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes and at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools. RIP Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas. You are loved.

Unfortunately, there are countless other LGBT youth who are hurting in major part due to not being accepted by their family, school, and society at large.

When I returned from the play therapy conference and caught up on my fb, twitter, and blog reading I came across this video you do not want to miss.

I have gay family members, friends, and coworkers. I've had gay clients. Having lived in Fort Worth for 3 years while attending college I know how brave Joel Burns is to make such a speech. I'm sure you can figure out what part he left out.

So what does this have to do with play and play therapy? As a humanistic play therapist I believe in the inherent worth of each and every person on this planet no matter age, race, gender, ethnicity, creed, and sexual orientation. It hurts me to know that there are so many that are needlessly hurting.

Two more things. I highly recommend the book, One by Kathryn Otoshi, a children's book about bullying that even we adults could learn something from. I recently purchased this author's latest book, Zero, as mentioned in my last post. Zero is about the value of each person and learning that you don't have to be like everyone else in order to fit in.

Mr. Burns relays what he would tell his 13-year-old self. I wasn't bullied, I'm not gay, but I did struggle and at times feel different as I described in this post as part of the I AM ENOUGH collaborative. I too would tell my 13-year-old self that it does get better. You are okay.

What would you tell your 13-year-old self? 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reflections on a Play Therapy Conference--Part 2

my favorites--love the guy kickin' back
and the 2 mother/baby nuturing figures
Here is why attending the Association for Play Therapy annual conference is like Christmas for me as I mentioned in my last post. I come home with new sandtray figures from exhibitors such as Kentucky's own Toys of the Trade as seen above.

Then there's new books from the fabulous Dee Dee of the Self Esteem Shop

and this fun new instrument made in Peru.

And because play therapy is so creative I often get to make things like...

puzzle piece where the prompt was to
make something important to you
(I was missing my kids when I made this.)

a healing pouch

and a

derby hat (We were in Louisville after all!)

I received this little affirmation in one of my workshops.

Since returning from the conference I've been decompressing through a trip to the park with two of my favorite people and playtime in the fall leaves.

Meredith Rose
Miles Nelson

Meredith with neighborhood friend


One more thing. I gave Miles a magnet of a feelings chart I got at the conference. He immediately taped it up in his room beneath his calendar he made. Notice the feeling he marked. How cute is that?!


Reflections on a Play Therapy Conference

Each year I look forward, maybe even moreso than Christmas, to the Association for Play Therapy's annual conference, the world's largest gathering of play therapists. This time the conference was held in my home state of Kentucky. (Actually, it's a little like Christmas as you'll see in a later post.)

One of those people:
my friend Jennifer whom I
met in grad school
And each year when I return home I am quite emotional. Why? Because once a year I see people who have had such a tremendous influence on me professionally, but even more importantly, personally. I feel so grateful they are a part of my life's story, and I am sad that I don't get to spend time with them more often. I also feel such a sense of community knowing that I am with hundreds of people who value play and the needs of children. Anyone who's ever been on a true retreat experience knows how bittersweet its ending can be. You're on an emotional high of some sort but sad to see the process end.

On my last evening there, I ate dinner with 6 other play therapists. We were male and female, gay and straight, married and single, parents and non-parents, older and younger, academics and non-academics, well-known in the field of play therapy and not so well-known, and we come from a variety of theoretical orientations in our treatment of clients. Some of these beautiful people already knew me and some didn't. At the end of the meal (and I think one could only do this in a gathering of play therapists), one of them asked us to each share one thing we learned about someone at the table and one thing we learned at the conference. I just love stuff like that!

I shared about a supervision workshop I attended wherein one of the activities was to choose a stone to symbolize a relationship we have had with a supervisor and then share in a small group an important quality that supervisor had. Immediately, I thought of a supervisor who gave me the freedom to be ME during I time when I was trying to fit within a box that I thought others expected me to fit in. This freedom and acceptance of the imperfect me allowed me to take risks, and thus grow/change as a play therapist and as a person. And this freedom and acceptance has a calming nature to it such as the blue color of my stone.

A personal struggle throughout my life is my tendency to be shy and introverted. Most of the time this is no longer a problem for me. But I am aware when I am at a large gathering such as this one where there are play therapists who have more experience/publications/presentations/
money/etc. than me, I find I may start to compare myself to these people. Then the shy, little Jodi comes out and I feel less than. So I push through it because I remind myself--how can I compare myself with all these various people when the stories of our lives have taken such different paths? I also remind myself that I AM ENOUGH.  I force myself to sit next to someone more well-known in the field or volunteer a comment or question in a workshop discussion. I don't have to do this, but I've learned that in doing so, I might learn something new from that well-known person or experience him or her in a new way. By commenting, others may learn from me or be appreciative that I asked the question they were afraid to ask.

So there are other reasons I am emotional at the end of the conference and feel wiped out. All that reflecting and pushing through means I need a day or two to rest, play, and decompress as you'll see in my next post.