Tap Dance

Tap Dance

This song wins the “triple threat” award — it manages to combine instrument play, movement, and gradual increase in tempo — with bonus points for being super simple and repetitive. One of those tunes I whipped up on the fly and yet is incredibly handy to have in my toolbox.

What I like most about this song is that you as the music therapist/teacher/facilitator can choose your own dance steps and rhythms depending on the child or group with whom you’re working. Or, you can let your kiddos choose their own (which is what I usually do!). There really is nothing more entertaining than watching a room full of preschoolers make up dance moves while playing rhythm sticks at the same time.

I didn’t include an instrumental version since the tempo increase would make it difficult to record over or sing along to. A lot of times, I sing this a capella anyway and use the rhythm created with our “dancing” and stick-playing as accompaniment. Sometimes I’ll even use a metronome to add a visual and extra audio component to the tempo change. Fun stuff!

Back to the Gym (Or, Reclaiming My Sanity)

YMCA Family Membership

I really miss working out. Up until the week before Parker was born, it was a regular part of my day. I had every intention of getting back to that routine once Parker started sleeping through the night, but once that finally happened, Zach had already joined CrossFit and hijacked my 5:30 am gym time.

And since I work until at least 7 pm every evening and have no physical energy left at that point, my only option was to work out somewhere I could take Parker along. So I quit my Anytime Fitness membership this month and joined the YMCA. Parker and I went this afternoon to take a tour, and I also signed us up for a mom and tot swim class that starts at the end of April.

I am so looking forward to getting back into shape, not to mention having a reason to get out of the house every day. I think Parker will enjoy having some social time with other kids at the daycare, and I have to admit it will be nice to have some “me” time.

There are a million things going on in my life right now, and I feel like I am falling behind on a lot of them. There seriously are not enough hours in the day, and I am completely over staying up until midnight working every night. Working out has always been my outlet for stress, so my new gym membership is for my health AND my sanity. Can’t wait to reclaim both, starting tomorrow :)

My Go-To Song for April

Good Green Earth Music Therapy Song for Spring

There’s a certain song that I look forward to pulling out every single year. Some years, I have the willpower to wait until April; this was not one of those years. I caved in March and reintroduced my students to “Good Green Earth” by James K.

I call this my go-to song for April because it’s the month during which Earth Day falls, and I originally learned this song for an Earth Day school assembly. It doesn’t spread the “reduce, reuse, recycle” message — but it DOES touch on many of the earth’s cycles (the clock, days of the week, months of the year, and seasons). These are all important concepts that are included in many of my students’ learning objectives.

Interestingly, the YouTube video I recorded of this song has been viewed more than almost all of my other videos, so I’m not the only fan! I talk more about how I use this song in sessions below:

I’ve written my own songs (many, in fact) on the topics of telling time, days of the week, months of the year, and the seasons, but I love how James K has combined all of the above into a catchy, singable tune that just screams for corresponding motions.

I sing this song with toddlers who are learning to imitate those motor skills, and they enjoy it just as much as preschoolers and older elementary kiddos who are working hard to learn all the information presented through the lyrics. (However, they probably don’t enjoy it quite as much as I do. I really, really love this song!)

{Mama Moment} When the Cat’s Away…

Baby Playing With InstrumentsThis weekend, I snuck away for a little lunch and shopping date with my mom. Of course I had to check in on my little guy while I was gone, and my husband sent several photos — all of Parker playing with my instruments.

“When the cat’s away, the mice will play” was the caption that popped into my head immediately. Just look at that face; he knows exactly what he’s getting away with!

I wasn’t the least bit surprised when Zach told me that all Parker wanted to do was play my instruments, considering he makes a beeline for my studio first thing every morning. I usually let him explore (completely supervised) for a little while, and then redirect him to the living room full of his toys and more age-appropriate instruments. As much as I love that he is obsessed with my guitar, I’d rather him stick to his toy guitar for a few more years ;)

For more mama moments and Parker updates (including an abundance of adorable photos and videos), check out my family blog, www.therambachs.com.

Double Digits

Parker at 10 months

Less than two months from now, we will be celebrating this baby’s first birthday. Mind-blowing. This has without a doubt been the fastest year of my life, and I fear they will only get faster from here on out. At least, that’s what everyone tells me.

At 10 months, it is becoming apparent that Parker is a very curious little boy. I love the way his brow furrows at novel sights and sounds; you can almost see the wheels turning inside his head as he tries to understand the world around him. He’s really starting to enjoy books, and will even flip the pages himself.

Baby reading books

The one thing that I wish Parker was more curious about is food. We are still having a tough time with that. I have just about given up trying to spoon-feed him, as he has been refusing purees since we first introduced them at 6 months. We did have a little bit of luck with yogurt last week, and by that I mean he took 6-8 bites without turning his head and making a “yucky” face.

Baby's first yogurt

I introduce (and re-introduce) new foods every day, so there’s not much else I can do besides continue to nurse — I’m lucky that is his main source of nutrients until he turns one!

Sleeping through the night is a regular thing around here these days, and it is GLORIOUS. I don’t dare complain about the early wake-ups, though an extra hour or so in the morning would be nice since I’m usually up so late getting work done. Naps aren’t quite so consistent, but we are working on them. It has been hard to get into a consistent schedule, because lately I’ve had lots of morning appointments and meetings that get in the way of naptime.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this month; it’s going to be relatively low key with no travel plans, work starting to wind down in some areas, and best of all, the weather getting nicer. A daily dose of fresh air makes a world of difference after spending so many months cooped up inside.

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