Monday, February 16, 2015

Parenting Tip - Go Ahead and Use That Cell Phone!

Technology is here to stay and it just keeps getting better and smarter.  We can stay in the dark ages and fall behind the times, we can worry and fret about the bad uses of technology, or we can educate our children (and ourselves) and use technology!

I could not see the advantage of having a "smart phone" and was content to keep using my old cell phone.  I have a computer at home, I teach from home and I stay at home quite a bit, so why not just use my computer for all my internet needs?  But my children and friends told me once I bought a smart phone, I would immediately see the advantage and wonder how I got along without it.

They were right!  I LOVE my smart phone and use it all the time, especially to stay in touch with family and friends.  But I also use it when I teach piano and music classes.

I especially LOVE to use my phone when I'm around my grandchildren.  I take way too many photos and videos of them, but it's so easy to delete the ones I don't want, and it's so fun to utilize the ones I do want.

Not only is the camera fun to use on a cell phone, but I love using the video recorder and voice recorder.

Here are some ways I've taken technology and used it to enhance my fun--yes my fun!
Video recordings of:
1.  my grandchildren digging holes in the back yard, putting on puppet shows, dancing, coloring with chalk on sidewalk, singing
2.  my 92 year old father telling stories of his childhood on his dairy farm 
3.  my grandchildren making a "how to" video, such as "how to make a peanut butter sandwich"
4.  my piano students playing a piece, then uploading it to my private you tube channel so their family and friends can see it
5.  my banjo teacher showing me a new lick to learn on the banjo
6.  Church children singing a song that I sent to a sick teacher
7.  and of course, a million jumping on the trampoline stunts!

But here's the thing I love about using videos and having your cell phone so accessible.  You can use it to STOP TEMPER TANTRUMS, KEEP KIDS QUIET IN CRITICAL SITUATIONS, OR _________________ (you fill in). 

video 
Scene: Grandson, Tac, is playing the piano, but grandson, Asher wants to play it. Tension is building!
Dialogue--- Me: [Look how Asher's] waiting patiently.  Notice he's not crying.  He's frustrated and he wishes his brother would hurry up but he's patiently waiting. 
Asher:  No, I'm not!
                                               (Well, at least he's not crying and hitting his brother!)
IDEA:  Video record or snap a picture of your children doing what you want them to do.  In other words, be positive and focus on the short times you catch them doing what they should be doing or encourage them to start doing it by video taping them.  How about when your children are picking up their toys, brushing their teeth, getting dressed, or practicing an instrument or doing their homework.  Send the video to Dad or grandma.  Make a slide show out of photos.

Here are some ways I've used Voice Recordings:
1.  My text notification is my grandson saying "grandma, you've got a text, grandma, you've got a text"
2.  Me playing a piece on my banjo.  It makes me nervous to record myself, but it helps me get over my nervousness when I record myself several times in a row.  It's a great way to practice for a recital or performance.
3.  My grandson saying words.  He is delayed with his speech, and this is a fun way to help him  practice saying tricky words.
4.  Music groups rehearsing for a performance.

IDEA: Record your child saying his spelling words, reciting a poem, playing a piece of music on his instrument.  Record yourself quoting a scripture you want to memorize, or a mantra to help you during the day.  Record your baby or children laughing.
 So go ahead and use your cell phone.  But make sure YOU are in control of it, not IT in control of you.  Use it for good and worthwhile purposes such as bringing loved ones far away closer to you, or as a teaching tool or as positive reinforcement.

What are some ways you have used your cell phone to help yourself or your family?

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
*********************************************************************************

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Parenting Tip - Just accept it, don’t make excuses and get on with it.



I have a friend, Maxine, whom I’ve known for years.   I want you to know her too, because she has a lot to teach those of us who are mothers.

Maxine is married to Galen Updike, and they have 5 children and 9 living grandchildren.   Many years ago, Maxine had two arterial blockages in her foot.  They were both removed, but in Dec 2008, she had another blockage in the same foot and was told she would have to have her leg  amputated.  Through blessings from her Church leaders and many surgeries, the doctors were able to save her foot, but not for long.  In June 2009, her foot became so bad, that amputation was the only choice left.   However, due to prayers and a miracle, the doctors were able to amputate below the knee.  Galen, Maxine’s husband, said this was a huge blessing.  People who lose a leg above the knee from disease such as the kind his wife had (as opposed to an injury), only live an average of 2 years.

Maxine didn’t get her prosthesis until 10 months after her amputation and she became use to life in a wheelchair.  Did you know if you lose a leg from an injury, you are immediately fit with a prosthetic leg  and so you can adjust more quickly to wearing one?  Maxine uses her prosthesis when going out of the house, but uses her wheelchair in her home.  Wearing a prosthetic leg is not without pain and Maxine often gets phantom pains in her foot after wearing it.

I asked Maxine how her life has changed.  I thought that was probably a lame question, and it is, but Maxine shared a couple of examples.   She said she stays home a lot more.  She can still drive a car by using a left foot accelerator, but she said it was tricky for her to learn how to use one.  
Maxine has traveled a few times since the amputation, but it has taken its toll on her health.  She and her family were able to go on a cruise and she traveled to her son’s out of state wedding, but she found it took several months to recuperate and build her strength back up besides have other medical issues crop up.  Maxine is able to keep up with laundry and cooking, but has someone come in to help with housecleaning.

Maxine moves and walks slower now, but her husband is very patient with her.  She says it’s frustrating when she can’t just get up and walk over to fix or get something in the house.  But she is grateful she has a trial that people can see, in fact she didn’t want a plastic leg that looked real because she wanted people to see why she was being slow and what her handicap was.  Maxine feels sad for others who have depression or emotional issues that are unseen but still need the same compassion others freely give to her.

Children are more open in asking questions about Maxine’s missing leg than adults.  Some children will come up to her in a store and ask what happened.  One little boy after gazing at her asked, “where’s your leg?”  Maxine replied, “it got sick”.  The little boy ran over to his mom and matter-of-factly said, “her leg got sick.”  Some of Maxine’s grandchildren have never known their grandmother when she had two legs.  They happily push her around the house in her wheelchair, or if she is sitting in the recliner, they play in the wheel chair and have lots of fun.

I asked Maxine how she got through her trials to become the happy person she is today.  Her simple, yet profound answer was, “prayer”.  She has prayed every step of the way through every surgery and set back that has come.  And she has received grace and peace.

What has she learned?  Patience.  Lots of patience.  And to speak up.  She contracted a bed sore which caused awful pain, plus eventual surgery and months of wound care.  She had other medical oversights, which caused major problems, so she has learned to “speak up” to doctors and nurses.  Tell them when you hurt and ask questions if you are unsure about instructions or procedures.

Finally I asked Maxine if she had any parenting tips—her 5 children seem to ‘ have it altogether’.  She said:
****teach your children to be responsible.   
****Teach them to accept what challenges they have or obstacles they need to overcome and just “work with it”.   
****Don’t make excuses—just do it.

Actually, that sums up Maxine’s life.  Just accept it, don’t make excuses and get on with it.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Parenting Tip - Book Review



I couldn't help but write a blog post about the book I just finished reading today, because there are two interesting coincidences connected with it. 
The book is called, Rooftoppers, by Katherine Rundell.

First off, I have to say that I've had company for a month in December and it has been WONDERFUL!  I have been having so much fun with my daughters and grandchildren that I haven't had a chance to read a book for a long time.  But as everyone started to fly back home, I had a tiny bit of leisure time one evening, so I grabbed this book off my shelf and started reading it. 

It's about a girl trying to find her mother, who, it turns out, is a wonderful cellist.  As is the daughter. 

Coincidence #1: I'm reading this book as I'm taking my daughter and her boyfriend to the airport to fly back to Chicago.  And my daughter is a cellist.

After coming home from the airport this morning, since I have no more grandchildren to play with at the moment, I decide to finish reading the book. Great book.  I read about the author from the back insert and then look at the illustrator.  Her name is Lizzy Bromley.

Coincidence #2:  My youngest daughter had a baby a week ago and they named him Bromley! 

Yeah, weird, right?

Hear are two quotes from the book that I love:
"Almost impossible means still possible......never ignore a possible."
"Love and courage.....two words for the same thing.  You didn't need the person to be there with you, even, perhaps.  Just alive, somewhere....a place to put down [your] heart."
 Thanks for reading,
Cathy

*******************************************************************************


Friday, December 12, 2014

Music Tip - Free Christmas Music

Do you want to listen to beautiful Christmas music this season?  Here are some FREE sources that may interest you.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir offers free downloads of 5 of their Christmas songs.  I LOVE the beautiful renditions they have.


The choir also has free 24/7 streaming.


Want to watch and listen to past or current episodes of Music and the Spoken Word?  Go here for their archives.



Want to watch and listen to past Christmas concerts?  Go here for archives.

Enjoy the wondrous, marvelous music of Christmas!

Thanks for reading,
Cathy
****************************************************************************

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Parenting Tip - Eyes to See

Eyes.
Eyes to see.
But what if you don't have eyes?  Even though this video has been going around a lot, I would like to share it again.
This is such an inspirational story.  I love it.

I listened to a talk this morning as I walked that was also about seeing, but from a different perspective.  It was focused on we,who DO have eyes. As a biologist, the speaker talked about how animals can camouflage themselves from predators.  He also talked about how Jesus taught with parables to hide the truth from disbelievers.

I thought how as parents, sometimes we don't SEE our children as they really are.  We get so caught up in life and living, or we're so frustrated and worried, that we miss what is in front of our eyes.

I remember praying for days and weeks that I would have more patience.  With 3 small boys running around the house playing loudly and fighting and crying, and with me lying on the couch, not feeling well because I was pregnant, I felt I really needed patience to get through this period of my life.

I was frustrated because I was definitely not becoming more patient.  Then the thought came to me to just ENJOY my children.  I started watching them as they played, how they talked to their cars and made up stories.  I listened to them as they sang little songs while concentrating on coloring a picture or putting a puzzle together. I marveled at how they could figure things out while building tents with blankets and how they problem solved when the blanket kept falling down.  Suddenly I WAS more patient, because I SAW my boys with different eyes. (Hey, was and saw are the same, spelled backwards.  Is there significance in that?)

I think if we can stop and SEE our children, our frustrations and anger, our impatience and irritation, our resentfulness at staying home will become dissolved. We will see them as they are.  Sons and daughters of God, entrusted into our care.  We'll see them as children who are learning, experiencing, wondering, practicing, forgetting and relearning, doubting, feeling, trying, marveling and loving.  We'll see them as God sees them and we'll be up for the Challenge of raising them.  Because we'll have God's love for them within ourselves.

At this Chrstimas season, I am excited to SEE all the wonder and love and magic that is around.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

Parenting Tip - He is the Gift

I had Family Home Evening with my sister and mother and father.  My sister invited us to see if we pictured or thought of something different each time she said the following sentence, as she emphasized a different word in the sentence.
HE is the Gift
He IS the Gift
He is THE Gift
He is the GIFT

It was interesting how in just changing one word, my idea and thoughts would change each time.

I hope you can share THE GIFT this season in your actions, thoughts, with your family and with others you meet.  I hope I can, too!

#ShareTheGift of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
****************************************************************************

Friday, November 21, 2014

Parenting Tip - Teach Gratitude

My son and his family sent me a Thanksgiving round they recorded of themselves.  It wasn't perfect, but it was awesome, anyway.  I couldn't figure out how to embed the song on my blog, so here are some other Thanksgiving songs for you to enjoy instead. 

                                          Here's a funny Thanksgiving song for you to enjoy.
Oh Gag!  I did this chant and movement (but in a circle) with my K-2nd graders at school for several years.  I hope no one took a video of me!

                                        The pictures that accompany this song are gorgeous!
                                                One more funny one......
                                Beautiful pictures of America and the things we are thankful for.
And my favorite...The true meaning of Thanksgiving with beautiful music and wonderful quotes from the Bible and our Founding Fathers.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to ....... give thanks!

"Thanks" for reading,
Cathy

**********************************************************************************

Monday, November 10, 2014

Parenting Tip - 3 Cheers for Cub Scout "Moms"!



I have 4 boys, but have never worked in cub scouts, even though all my boys attended and advanced in scouting.  I was always the Mom who was asked to volunteer to work with the children’s music programs.  My mother was a Den Leader when she was in her 60’s and truly loved it.  I think maybe I missed out on something.  Maybe with my grandsons I’ll be able to help in the cub scouting program.


A friend of mine, Alyson Gardner,  has worked extensively in our local cub scouting program.  I’m amazed at her enthusiasm and love for the boys and for scouts.  Here are her words:

“I love working in Cub Scouts!  Cub Scouts is one of the times when I can truly enjoy everything good about a boy being "all boy."  Sometimes at church I might be quick to notice the boys' irreverent behaviors such as wiggling in their seats, shouting out answers or poking their neighbor.  At cub scouts I notice these same behaviors but in a different light. Suddenly, that restless boy is a fast runner or good at basketball.  Or the loud boy becomes the inquisitive boy that wants to understand the what and how of a science experiment.  And the rowdy boy discovers he makes a great bear when performing in the den skit.  Cub Scouting is a wonderful opportunity for boys to discover hidden talents, develop confidence in themselves and have fun!

One of my favorite things to do as a Den Leader is to go into the home of a boy who is about to turn of age and join my den.  I sit down with him and his parents.  I explain the ins and outs of cub scouting including the reasons we wear a uniform.  Often I'll help him pass off a simple requirement or two.  We talk about what he can expect from me his leader - a fun, productive and safe learning environment and what I will expect of him - a good attitude, coming prepared and treating others with respect. The best part is that while I'm making myself familiar to the boy and getting to know him a little better, I'm also spreading enthusiasm for cub scouts.  I've found that when I take the time to hold this personal meeting, that the boy is more excited to come to den meetings each week and his parents are more committed to helping him.  I feel that when I sacrifice a little of my time I send the big message that "You're important and I care about you."

Some of my best learning moments with the boys have been when we are working on the religious knots.  My all time favorite was with a group of 8 year olds.  We were discussing the principle of faith and sharing stories from the scriptures of people who had faith.  We began our den meeting by doing some fun hands on activities that demonstrated aspects of faith such as hope, courage and trust.  Then we broke into two groups and each boy chose one story of faith.  They studied it and then shared it with the group asking specific questions and ended by bearing their testimonies.  It was an amazing experience to have the boys go from laughing and playing as they practiced having faith, to bearing their personal witness of our Savior Jesus Christ.  As they bore their testimonies, it was a silent audience.  

Always remember that we do it for "the one."  My first year as a Webelos leader I only had 2-3 boys.  Occasionally, because of conflicts in some of the boys' schedules, only one boy would show up.  How easy it would have been to justify cancelling cub scouts by telling myself that it was an awful lot of work for just one boy.  But I didn't.  Instead, my assistant and I would present the material and have that one boy do the requirements.  This young man earned his Webelos and Arrow of Light ranks and continued on into Boy Scouts. Eventually, through his experiences in scouting he earned his Eagle.  I had nothing to do with him earning his Eagle, but maybe my small act of holding consistent den meetings and having a genuine interest in his success, helped him along the road.

And then there was Danny (name changed).  He acted up in church and so the other children avoided him.  I wasn't his den leader but I knew him because he was in our pack.  I tried to say hello and visit with him when I saw him at church, school or pack meetings.  There wasn't much I could do to help him have friends, but I could try to help him feel loved.  I tried to notice every time he did something nice or "good," no matter however small and compliment him on it.  He didn't have a uniform so I found one to give him.  I remember how happy he looked at pack meetings to be wearing a uniform like the other boys.  I was his sub in his church classes several times.  He always had behavior issues, but I noticed that he was quick to respond to my correction. I think that was because he knew that I loved him.  He felt safe.

I would love for every cub scout leader to realize the importance of his/her calling.  I feel sad when I hear leaders say, "I'm stuck in cub scouting," as if they've been put in exile.  I worry that they feel their position is insignificant when in reality it has the potential to change the lives of boys.”

Wow!  There is a mother who in actuality is a mother to many other children—all boys!  The world is a better place with moms like her who see great potential in rowdy little boys and help them grow into responsible young men.  

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

***********************************************************************************

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Parenting Tip - How To Be Happy

One of my favorite authors is Gretchen Rubins who wrote The Happiness Project and Happiness at Home. Her ideas are so simple and doable, yet they are so significant in adding to your happiness,   like: get enough sleep.  This is a no-brainer that no one does!

I just read an article about Hank Smith who gave a talk called, The Surprising Science Behind "Supremely Happy" People.  It's a great review--you should click on the link and read it.

I would like to add two more ideas on the subject of "how to be happy". Find something that you can totally be in control of.   This may sound weird at first, but one of the reasons people become unhappy is because of the situations they are in, whether it be financial, relationship problems, health or job issues, or many other things that seem to be totally out of their control.  I have found that if you can find just one thing that you can control in your life, your happiness level jumps skyward.

I found this out early on in my married life.  Situations would arise that were totally out of my control in regards to my husband's work.  Then as children became teenagers, their choices were sometimes not my choices and I really felt out of control.  But anytime this happened, I would find a sewing project to keep my mind focused elsewhere, and I discovered that being totally in charge of how I was going to implement that sewing project, made me feel more in control of other aspects of my life and I could cope and even be happy.

A couple of weeks ago I felt totally out of control and overwhelmed.
My waterbed heater burned a hole in the mattress, which flooded and destroyed my bedroom carpet.  My homeowners would pay for new carpeting, so I planned on re-carpeting the bedroom. But when I removed the waterbed and sold it, I discovered that I had never painted the wall behind the headboard.  So now I needed to paint the bedroom before getting the new carpeting.  BUT, my bedroom has that horrible popcorn ceiling, so since the carpeting was gone and the room cleared out, it only made sense to scrape off the ceiling, then paint, then get new carpeting.

Enter stomach ache.  

We're talking about a major project here.  I don't have time for a major project.  I have company coming for Christmas and I am redecorating and painting the guest bedroom and sewing a king size quilt for the bed.  I don't have time for two bedroom projects.

Enter stomach ache and head ache.

What do I do?  After thinking and thinking and becoming more and more stressed, I talked to a friend and said I wished I could save my bedroom project for January when I would have more time and be looking for something to do. I told her I didn't mind sleeping in the new bed I bought in an uncarpeted bedroom with a crazy paint job on the wall.
 I just wanted the guest bedroom to get finished before Christmas.  Then it hit me!  Okay, just wait on my bedroom project.  Stay on task and do the guest room project.

The relief was enormous. 
My spirits lifted, I felt happy, relieved, energized and proud that I had used SELF CONTROL to help me become more IN CONTROL of my situation.

So the next time you are feeling down, stressed, or out of control--find a project where YOU are totally in control of it's destiny, whether it's a sewing project, book to read, new recipe to try or whatever.  Then DO IT. CONTROL IT.

                                                           Or, use


 to get back on track of where you want to go.


Either way, it's a win-win situation where YOU are in control and HAPPY.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy
PS Have you had a similar experience?  Share your story with us.

********************************************************************************









Sunday, September 21, 2014

Parenting Tip - You DO Make a Difference

For all mothers and women, and men, and....... and sisters and cousins.  For all of us.  This message will bring you comfort.


Maybe this mom didn't make the same choices you would have made, but we have all been where she has been and had those kind of days.  The key is to have the Spirit with us to know when to say "yes" to someone else's need or when to say "no" and put our needs and our family first. That's the hard part, knowing what choices to make.

But it's comforting to me to know that Heavenly Father cares about the "one".  So if we can help ONE, then we are choosing the best choice.  And sometimes that ONE will be yourself.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

********************************************************************************

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Parenting Tip - Grandmothers

Grandmothers.  Unconditional love.   Special treats.   Toys.  Stories.

What is there about grandmothers that bring a lump to the throat, a wistful smile, and forgotten memory?

Grandmothers = LOVE
Grandmothers = ACCEPTANCE
Grandmothers = SECURITY

As a grandmother, I cherish notes and letters I've received from my grandchildren. 
      Kimball wrote, "Just to let you know, I'm still singing."
      January left a note, "This is the best summer I've ever had!"
     Graham sent a text picture, "Don't I look like Grandpa?"
     Elise emailed, "You should read this book, grandma."
     Dean cried until he could talk to grandma on the phone and then said, " aharrggdhhheapokn."

video

Remember your grandmother today.  Tell her you love her.  If she's gone, share with your children your memories of her.  Say a prayer of gratitude for her wonderful influence in your life.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

*****************************************************************************

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Parenting Tip - I Could Have Been Rich, Instead I'm Happy

I just finished reading Paul Stutzman's book "Hiking Thru".  I cried and laughed all the way through it.  This is a man who lost his wife to cancer, then followed God's counsel to retire from his career in the restaurant business and hike the Appalachian Trail (which took him 5 months to do).  During his hike he found peace with God and found a new direction for his life.

The author met many other hikers on the trail and hiked with them during different sections of his 2,000+ miles hike.  A fellow hiker named Pathfinder, also lost his wife.  Pathfinder told him that after his wife  died, he sold his construction company at the height of the building boom and left to hike the Appalachian Trail.  He told the author, "If I'd kept my business and not done that hike, I'd be a rich man today.  Instead, I'm happy."

That thought has stayed with me since reading the book.  "Instead, I'm happy."

What choices have you made--and are they making you happy?
Have you chosen to stay at home with your children so you can teach, love and mother them?
Have you chosen a smaller home to live in so you can have financial peace of mind?
Have you chosen to not nag your husband/wife and instead nourish and enjoy him/her?

                                            Look at your life and look at your choices,
                                                                             and
                                                                  BE HAPPY!


Thanks for reading,
Cathy



****************************************************************************






Saturday, August 9, 2014

Music Tip - Sign up for a class!


Hey Moms and Grandmas- Want to have some fun with your preschoolers? 
Sign up for the PARACHUTE music class I'm teaching at the IDEA MUSEUM on Aug 15 and/or Aug 30




http://www.ideamuseum.org/classes.html


Music for Tots   
Friday, August 15, 2014 10:30-11:15

Parachute fun! This class will have your child singing and dancing, while launching balls and scarves up, up and away. Pre-registration required. (Registration includes all day museum admission for both parent and child)

Ages: 1-5 years (Child must be accompanied by an adult)

Cost: Members $3, Nonmembers $10

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Parenting Tip - Slow Down-Look up


 "It is not so much the major events, as the small day to day decisions that map the course of our living." Gordon B. Hinckley

 "We would do well to slow down a little.  Focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most.

Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light.  It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most.

"Diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the world." Dieter Uchtdorf

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Parenting Tip - Daily Checklist for my Children

Are you a LIST person?  Do you make lists and check them off?  I definitely am a list person--so is my mother--so are my 3 daughters.  If I do something during the day that isn't on my list, I write it on just so I can check it off.

So you can imagine my excitement when hearing about the book: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.  It was a great read.  Atul Gawande is a surgeon in the United States.  He is concerned about the errors made by the medical field when treating patients and though he realizes the complexity and variety of medical issues and treatments there are, he wonders if some sort of "checklist" can be used to lessen the degree of errors--and deaths.

Dr. Gawande studied and interviewed people in the airline industry.  We are all acquainted with a pilot's checklist, the one he goes through before taking off.  What ideas could the medical field use from their checklist?  The author also researched the skyscraper industry; how do they ensure they are building safe skyscrapers with all the steps that are required to build something that tall?

Reading this book made me excited to apply the author's ideas into my own life.  How could a checklist help me make sure I am living my life without "error" and that I am building the best person I can build?

I remember as a young mother discussing this very idea with two close friends.  I made a list of what I wanted my children to learn before they became adults and then set goals to make sure I was teaching them properly. 

I wondered what a mother would put on a daily checklist.  Here's an idea:

There's no mention of music lessons, sports, or gymnastics on the daily checklist.  While those activities do enhance and develop your child's abilities, they certainly aren't required to produce an outstanding, responsible young adult.                                                                                                  

 So what would you put on a daily checklist?  Did I forget some essential items?

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

***********************************************************************************


LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...