Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Is it Okay to Ask for Help?

Our friend, accepting gifts.

I have been thinking back to another mothers meeting we had a year ago at our church.  The moms meeting topics have really stuck with me, partially because I finalize plans and topics, but also because we have many great moments there where topics and discussion really hit home.  

A year ago in October of 2014, we had a counselor come in and talk about time management.  Right after her presentation we decided to do something special for a mom who found out a month prior that she had colon cancer.  She is a very sweet lady and is the historian for our group.  She is a very generous and kind person and I find her constantly in an encouraging mind set.  When we found out she had cancer we were all in shock and were especially concerned because she had a 4 yr old son and 6 yr old daughter.  So, I asked our assistant pastor, Fr. Servando to come join us at the meeting and pray over our beautiful friend.  He was very glad to join us.  

Before he did his prayers and blessing, I had decided to open up the moment with a few words about asking for help.  The gist of it, was that sometimes as moms, we either forget to ask for help or think that we should not have to or that we should be able to "do it all."  After all, we stay home all day, right?  Or perhaps we do not want to burden someone else.  It had struck me earlier that week as I thought about these things, that even Jesus asked for help or accepted help.  During the feeding of 5000 people, Jesus turned to his apostles and asked if they had any food.  Maybe he knew what he was going to do and maybe he needed something to multiply, but he still turned to them and asked.  They also helped him collect the leftovers.  The end result was a little bit of team work and allowing the apostles an opportunity to serve too.  My next thought was Jesus accepting help from Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross.  Maybe he could have done it himself because he is God, but the way it turned out shows a good example to us accepting help from others during struggles which does not indicate that we are week, but instead, courageous and part of a community where all take opportunities to serve each other.

Our friend mentioned that she often did not like to ask for help often, but she admitted that now she needed others.  She would need meals, rides to chemo when her husband went back to work after taking off as much time as he could, someone to watch her children, support, encouragement, prayers, and lots of love.  A care calendar was made and the community served her through her times of difficulty.  Our friend, a year later, is now in remission. 

In my own life, I have recently had to ask for or accept help in many ways with the birth of our 3rd child.  I can no longer squeak by on chores and the older kids now have a few more responsibilities. I sometimes have asked Zac to help me make my own breakfast when we are trying to get out the door to school on time.  One bigger example is my trips to the grocery store.  I usually decline help out of the store with the cart, avoiding having someone push a cart that I am capable of pushing, getting out of small talk until we find our vehicle, and enjoying the extra exercise, but with our weekly cartload of groceries and a tired back from wearing Lincoln in the sling, I have had to say "yes please!"  

I strongly dislike making mistakes and who doesn't? It is also often frustrating to not be able to do something ourselves especially opening the silly pickle jar! Or figuring out technology!!  Or figuring out how to perfectly raise children!!! Who likes having their independence inhibited or taken away?  Fortunately, it helps us to keep reaching out, keeps us talking, sets a good example for our kids to accept help and help, and keeps humans in communities. I'm not one who can survive without social interaction anyhow and I am pretty sure that "I am not alone" in that!  

Kids working together and helping each other fill the bucket.

Zac helping the family with Sunday lunch.

Zac and cub scouts helping the school by cleaning up

Adelyn helping Mom to get ready by playing with the baby.

Adleyn helping mom to eat dinner while playing with the baby.

Lincoln coaching Dad on how to fix some computer problems.  Well okay, not really.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Joys of Motherhood

There have been many changes here in the Miller house. It all happened right at the end of August on the 2nd day of school.  After a lot of preparation and lots and lots of waiting, we were able to welcome to the outside world our 3rd beautiful child, Lincoln Scott.  

I am delighted to now have three.  I have loved being part of a large family thanks to my parents having many siblings which then gave me tons of cousins. I loved marrying into another large family. My dream for our family was four children, but I cannot say that we will ever get there. I am definitely thankful to have the three we have. I know many who pray to have at least 1.  

The Joys of Motherhood This September we began our 9th season of Moms Meetings at my church.  The topic chosen to open out the year was "The Joys of Motherhood."  I have to say, that was a great opening topic for the year and I am thankful it was suggested.  We had our experienced moms present to us on finding these joys even through the rough days or moments when we wonder if we are going to survive or just make it through the day. This past year I have been reminded that in pregnancy and childbirth there is real rough stuff, but yet there is definitely real beauty and real joy.  

We Forget There are many things we forget about from previous pregnancies or birth experiences. The first time moms are pregnant we encounter many experiences we had no idea we would encounter that no one ever bothered to mention before, some wonderful and some that are just dreadful.   The wonderful ones we remember and maybe as humans we hold onto those and block out the dreadful stuff so that we are not intimidated to have more kids in the future. 

With this birth I once again remembered those difficult things I had forgotten.  Like how you feel like doing pretty much nothing except sitting in the recliner during the last few weeks of pregnancy, how difficult it is to carry a full term baby in the womb up the stairs, how many times you wake up every night BEFORE the baby is born just to go to the bathroom or get water, how impatient we become waiting to go into labor, how some of us start shaking going into labor that has nothing to do with nerves, the difference between contractions before and after your water is broken, and then once the baby is born, how anxious you feel when the baby goes off to the nursery, how intimidating it is to know that you are responsible for the well being of such a small being,how difficult it is to sleep in the hospital, how you should ask for a stool softener before giving birth,  how cloudy you are for days and days, how hard it is to remember to shower, how your breasts feel like they are on fire for a month, how postpartum anxiety sucks so bad, how you wonder if you will ever get to enjoy leaving the house again, how there are moments when you just start pouring out tears, how you want to hang out with friends, but you are too exhausted or in no shape to enjoy friends, how going out to the store for the first time feels like you have to walk 10 miles AND jump through 10 hoops at each one, and well, I'm sure there is more, but I have since started blocking it out again. 

We Remember There is however, beauty and joy through all of this.  And those joyous moments are the ones worth remembering.  Like feeling those little butterfly kicks, feeling those powerful, the-baby-just-took-a-shot-on-goal kicks, seeing and holding your baby for the first time, seeing your husband hold your baby for the first time, watching your stomach deflate when the baby comes out, introducing the baby to siblings, introducing the baby to family and friends, loved ones bringing meals because they care, parents and in-laws who come and devote themselves to helping you and the family, looking or staring endlessly at your baby, when your baby smiles at you, watching your baby learn new things, and watching them grow and learn every day for the rest of your life. 

There Will Be More
There will be more moments of frustration and walks through the valley.  The frustrations will change.  Instead of not sleeping because we have  a baby we are trying to get to sleep, we won't be sleeping because we are anxious about our 16 yr old making it in for curfew. Instead of wishing our toddler would sleep in, we will wish our 13 yr old would wake up. But we will also have more moments of joy.  I have found more joyous moments than bad and those joys outweigh every frustration and dark day out there for me. To have a community is my dream and to me it is all well worth it. But don't ask me if I'm going to do this again any time soon. 

It will pass. It will all pass one day.  These moments will not last.  We will wish we could hold our babies again.  They will not be perfect.  They will make mistakes. But the hope is that we will shine with joy when we see all they have done in their precious lives, growing, persevering through trials, accomplishing goals, and living life in our family.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Developmental Speech and Language Training- Letter Sounds Practice- Little Green Frog

I used the Little Green Frog Song to help a student articulate letter sounds and also blend some sounds together.  This can be effective with students who have apraxia as well.  

I have recently changed this activity so that the students can place the letter they are working on, on a lily pad at the end of the song. This also gives them the opportunity to choose the correct letter from a few choices. Another way to do this file folder is to have them put the frog on the lily pad with the correct letter.

Travel and World Geography Fun

This summer we decided to have a themed week where we studied different concepts about world travel.  My children love to look at maps, as I did as a child. I think many children do.  It is part of building spacial awareness. 

I am definitely interested in other cultures.  Part of that comes from my experience living over seas when I was a child.  We moved to the UAE when I was 6 and stayed until I was 12. We took many school field trips were to learn about the culture. I wish my children could experience the markets, architecture, and just way of life. I hope to expose them to other cultures in various ways at home.

There seemed to be a plethora of activities we could have done this week. Lots of great ideas on Pinterest! Being in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy, I tried to pick activities that were fun, but simple!  Here are some of the things we did. 

Learning About Passports

We made our own passports and took trips to many countries around the world! I used picture cards of famous places to visit around the world to choose our destination.

Our airplane was very simple.  We put a few chairs together and then brought a small bag for luggage along with our home made passports.  One of us sat at the desk while the other waited in line to have their passport stamped. We pulled out my stamps and ink pads. The kids now understand that they cannot get into another country without it. 

Adelyn going through customs and getting her passport stamped by Zachary.

Zachary stamping passports. 

I am being approved by Adelyn.

Play Doh Structures

We took out our Play Doh and chose a structure from the cards to make.

Zac made the Alamo. I cannot get it to upload correctly.

Adelyn making her pyramid.

Flying to Bed

Each night my husband likes to fly the kids to their beds. This week they expanded their process by waiting for Scott at the "airport," selecting a few places to go from our map, and then having Scott fly them to those places on their way to bed. Sometimes they pick other countries, US cities, planets, or fictional places.  This week they chose countries!

Zachary is going to Italy

Scott is confirming a location chosen by one of the kids and showing them where it is on the map.

Learning the 7 Continents Song

Check out our movement activity for learning the 7 continents in song here!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Song for Counting to 100

The above song I recommend to use to help with counting up to 100.  There are a few reasons I recommend this song which you can learn about below!

When working in the school districts as a music therapist, it is very common to have a student who is working on an counting objective.  There are hundreds and hundreds of songs and activities for counting to 10 or 20.  The selection of songs to work on counting past that is much fewer and many of the songs that exist out there are just too FAST.  

Most of the students I see have autism.  All of them are quite different, but some of them take longer to process auditory information.  In a post in my speech/language section, I talk about the steps our auditory system takes to take in and process sounds.  Just a review, to process one sound like the sound of letter "b," our brain has to:

1. Catch the sound
2. Learn the sound and how to recreate it
3. Sequence the sound(s) in the order heard
4. store it in memory
5. Tell muscles how to move and in what order to recreate it. 

This is all just to process one sound. Can you imagine what our brains go through to sequence all of the sounds in one word, let alone a sentence? 

Some children take much longer to process auditory information.  Perhaps their brain has a difficult time with one of these steps.  Music however, is wonderful because we can stretch out sounds and put emphasis on what the brain needs to learn better.  Music therapists often write songs to fit these needs. 

It is important for those writing songs to help children learn academic concepts to remember this information.  It is much better to write songs that are slower so that kids can hear all of the sounds in a word clearly and also write songs that have repetitive lyrics to help with memory. 

This song above by AJ Jenkins, is one of the slowest counting songs that goes all the way to 100 that I have found. It also does a little bit of place value at the end.  I recommend this song to help with counting concepts. 

Greg and Steve have a counting song from back when I was growing up, that goes to 20.  What is great about it, is that is has an echo for the kids to practice only a few numbers at a time.  They only have to memorize a few sounds at once instead of the whole song. 

As the music therapy community grows and learns about these needs, there will be more song options out there to help with these needs!

Monday, June 29, 2015

4 Steps in Teaching Kids to Accomplish Something

For our summer trip we took during this month of June, we stopped at the public library and checked out about 10 audio books for the car ride.  We play them on the car CD player and also bring a portable one with headphones for the kids to share. We were listening to one of the books in the Magic Tree House Series where the characters in the book are given 4 secret words that teach on how to accomplish a goal or "get good" at something.

The words or virtues the characters uncover during the stories to find out about success in accomplishments are humility, hard work, meaning and purpose, and enthusiasm.  I liked that the author included these concepts in the books and the creative ways she used to teach these words to children.  I do think though, that if I had to put them in order, it would be different from the order they uncovered the words in and I also think that there is another word that is necessary to have in addition to these other four words.

If I had to list these virtues in order to teach how to achieve accomplishments, I would choose meaning and purpose as the first. Generally, a person has to believe in what they are doing.  We choose to do things that are meaningful to us. That very meaning and purpose in a skill or task can give us the motivation, interest, or enthusiasm to get started and be persistent. There likely are those who do something because they were told to do it and do it to be obedient without thinking about it, and perhaps maybe those people eventually find meaning and purpose to what they are doing in some situations, after they practice and work hard. As my husband told me, he has considered working at other jobs he has heard about, but in the end stays where he is because he likes what he is doing and believes in what he is working on.

In considering the next virtue of accomplishment, I would say that enthusiasm is next.  It is a result of finding meaning and purpose to a task or building skills.  Once a person finds something they truly believe in it, enthusiasm comes naturally in wanting to accomplish this goal. Upon discovering that all positions on a soccer team are necessary and contribute to goals scored, a person is likely to be more excited to practice and play their position. In high school, when I had the desire to take percussion lessons, I became even more enthusiastic to practice and audition for the drum line and wind ensemble band when I realized that I had a chance at getting in to both of these.   This enthusiasm or interest, greatly affects the progress we make and what lengths we are willing to go through to be successful.   On the days my son decides that he is not interested in learning piano, he hardly gets anywhere in his lesson, grunting, speeding through the songs or pieces, and allowing himself to become easily frustrated. He also has no interest in learning anything from me or finding other resources to help him. On the days he is eager, he is willing to be patient with himself, sit and work hard, practice more frequently, ask me questions, and see how it would be useful to his life.

I think the next virtue following enthusiasm would be hard work.  Once the interest is there, then the person can focus much better on practicing and working hard.  I am much more willing to sit at the piano for extended periods of time when working on preferred pieces.  I also love to be outdoors playing sports and can easily stay out there for hours assuming the weather is pleasant. Pretty straight forward...

Finally, I would say that humility is the last step usually learned.  Once we start working hard, we will likely hit road blocks. Maybe we have all had moments of refusing to accept help from someone for whatever reason.  Maybe it is wanting to know that we could accomplish it ourselves without help, maybe we just get frustrated in the practicing process and do not feel like talking to anyone, let alone accepting help, maybe we have a grudge against the person offering...As we know though, help is necessary often times in achieving our goals. Others with more wisdom, experience, and patience have a lot to offer to us in how to achieve something and how to be persistent in doings so.  Sometimes it just takes time for us to learn this virtue of humility.

There is one quality that my husband and I both find absolutely crucial to possess along with these four words is self confidence.  If a person lacks a belief in themselves and their ability to achieve anything at all, how likely is it that they would even try? If they do not like who they are or do not think themselves worthy of being anything great, would they try, participate, or practice anything? If they do not see purpose to their own life at all, would they find purpose in tasks, have enthusiasm or be willing to work hard?

As babies, enthusiasm or interest in something may be the key word that begins the process of self-confidence.  Interest in reaching a toy may be what motivates a little one to start crawling and practicing with their muscles, once they are at that point of development.  Hard as it is to accept sometimes, it may be failure that encourages this self-confidence. When they fail and then try again, they learn that hard work leads to success.  When we as humans fail and then achieve, we learn that we can keep trying and achieve.  Failure can be discouraging, but it is also an important tool in encouraging hard work and achieving this self-confidence that is significant to a person's life.

It is important that we do not skip over teaching this concept for fear of arrogance.  As the author mentioned, humility is also key, but we will not learn anything from anyone if we do not first believe that we can be successful and that we are indeed, worthy of success.

The author's four words of important virtues I believe are absolutely necessary to have to be successful and accomplish goals.  I think they were presented in a way that children can understand.  I do also believe that we also need to make sure we see the value of self confidence.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Music for Relaxation of the Mind and Body

As I have been preparing for the birth of our third child, I have been giving a lot of thought and research to the music that I have during labor and delivery. My 2nd baby was born over 5 years ago and I was still carrying around a ipod Nano...(do they even make those anymore??), but now with phones, I have access to an even bigger library as well as Spotify.  

Everyone is different and music preference depends on many reasons, a few of them being what you were exposed to growing up, what you preferred in your late elementary to early 20s, and personality.  Music that relaxes one person may not be the same that relaxes another, but there are some wonderful guidelines or suggestions to follow that many people have in common when it comes to relaxing the mind and body. 

Suggestions to Follow when Selecting Music for Relaxing the Mind and Body

Select music without words.  Adding lyrics to music adds another element for the brain to focus on, taking your focus off of emptying your mind of stressors and your breathing. It just adds another distraction that your brain subconsciously is hearing and processing.

Simple, slow melodies- Many songs that are written for relaxation actually have melody lines that move very quickly.  The brain will track that quick paced melody causing a lot more activity in the brain than desired for a relaxed state. I would suggest finding music with a lot more sustained pitches that do not have a lot of complicated rhythms as well as syncopated ones. I like to use a composer name Chuck Wild as a great example for relaxation.  In his Liquid Mind series, he uses his slow breaths to determine when to change chords in his composition. A resting heart rate of 60-70 beats per minute is often suggested for tempo.

Simple arrangements- Music with too many instruments and too much harmonization adds more complicated sounds for the brain to track and focus on, making it overstimulating. 

Dissonance vs. not- I personally do not like to have chords in my relaxation music with a lot of dissonant chords.  I find that it causes too much tension in my mind and I feel much more at ease with chord progressions consisting of more major chords and some minor ones.   Many albums out there for yoga and meditation do have some pieces with a lot of dissonance. Some people enjoy that and you may too.  It just is not my own preference. 

My favorite pieces will be listed below!

Quiet Music for Babies or Early Childhood

All of these suggestions are important to keep in mind for yourself, but especially for young children and babies.  Babies are still developing their sensory systems and complex information is more difficult to process.  I find that simple music lowers the chance of becoming overstimulated.  

Volume is also a key element in seeing that they can rest or calm more peacefully.  Volume that seems okay for your own enjoyment may be much too loud for such little ears.  When studying in our music therapy program many years ago, research had shown that the loudest healthy volume for adult ears was the volume of a hair dryer.  Can you imagine how unhealthy a concert is for our hearing, especially for young children?

Timbre is another component that can affect a babies ease.  When working with my students with autism, I have noticed that metallic tones can be quite bothersome such as some glockenspiels or tamborines.  Low, fuller tones may be more pleasant to the ears such as low tones on the recorder, piano, or clarinet. 

I have also heard it said that music can help us get to sleep, but it should be turned off after we achieve sleep because we actually do not sleep as well with the noise in the background. It may be useful to set a timer. Many devices allow you to do this. 

My favorites for  meditation, yoga, or just calming the mind.

  • Liquid Mind Albums- Chuck Wild
  • Relaxation: 101 Relaxing Nature Sounds-Relaxing Sounds of Nature White Noise 4 Mindfulness Meditation Relaxation Specialists
  • Ambience -Yoga and Spirituality: Mindfulness Music by Ambient Music Creator
  • Reiki Healing Music for Health- Yoga and Spirituality: Mindfullness Music by Reiki and Reiki
  • Sounds of Nature without music such as Ocean Waves from Rest and Relax Nature Sounds album.
  • Disney's Lullaby Album Volume 2- Fred Molin- This album is instrumental version of popular songs so your brain will think about the words, but I still enjoy it.

    If I have the need to slow down and chill out where I am not actually trying to meditate or concentrate on deep breathing and mind training I enjoy Jim Brickman or David Tolk.  Brickman has beautiful piano arrangements, although there are a lot of moving lines in the melodies.  I enjoy Tolk's beautiful chord progressions and also his beautiful instrumentation. 

    Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    The Last Supper Experience For Children- A Progression from Our Home to Our Church

    2010- Last Supper Experience in our home.

    2015- Last Supper for Children at our church parish 

    5 years ago in the month of March, my second child/daughter was born,  Easter was about 2 and 1/2 weeks away from that time and I knew I was going to unfortunately miss attending the Tridduum weekend.  My church here in San Antonio, St. Francis of Assisi, has extremely beautiful ceremonies that are a wonderful experience. This particular year though, I was not up for taking my 2 week old and my almost 3 yr old out late at night. 

    That school year, I had gotten into doing "Tot School" at home with my 2 1/2 year old son who would turn 3 a month after his sister was born. We had our daily routine with a weekly theme for crafts, music, and activities most weeks. The week of Holy Week that year, I decided to do some things that would teach him about holy week and the Tridduum at home and still give him a good experience even though we were missing out on attending with the church community.  

    On Holy Thursdsay, my mom and I put out special meal decorations on the dining room table, set up a foot washing station and the plate in the above picture.  We read a kid friendly version of the readings and acted out The Washing of the Feet from the Gospel of John and The Lord's Supper from Luke. It was very sweet watching Zac participate in this hands-on, pre-school friendly way. He had a great experience and remembered it. 

    The next year in 2011, we did our special Holy Thursday again.  My daughter had just turned a year and was even able to participate while sitting on the table with us. 

    The following year we extended our experience and invited friends to join us.  Our family friends offered to host at their house on the afternoon of Holy Thursday before we headed over for The Mass of the Lord's Supper. There were four families who attended. We had a special meal as Jesus did at his last supper, washed the feet of our own family members (although the kids helped with many of the families), and then broke the bread and grape juice. It was special doing it as a community as the apostles did in Acts of the Apostles "devoting themselves to the communal life." Right after this experience the kids got to apply their experience as a church community at Holy Thursday Mass/The Mass of the Lord's Supper.  

    A side note:
    This same year I also wanted the kids to experience stations of the cross in a way that would be meaningful to them and on their level. I came up with a way for them to walk from station to station, stop at each one, and collect something that they put in their Easter baskets.  Our first experience can be found here.  Stations of the Cross 

    The families that participated in our Last Supper decided that it would be nice to open up our experience to members of our church.  We started mainly with the St. Francis Moms Ministry.  We had about 8 families join us from the ministry and a couple that were not in the ministry, but were parishioners at our church. We were able to reserve our youth room which has a table area and a carpet area where we set up several foot washing stations. 




    The Moms Ministry decided to continue hosting this event each year at St. Francis. We thought the teaching behind it was important to emphasize to the kids.  Our pastoral associate thought it was a great idea too and liked the theology. We had planned to use our youth room again, but it turned out to be taken the night we asked for it.  This was fortunate because we instead got to use the parish hall and it turned out that we needed it!   We had about 20 families join us! 

    To prepare and get this great turnout, we had a great team of moms help in many ways for our event including publicity, supplies coordinating, set up and decorating, photographing, and food coordinating!  We also had a few people provide live music with a guitar player and vocalists. My role was to lead the night.  I was extremely nervous about it. I'm not great speaking in front of large crowds, but I do enjoy teaching and working with kids.  I did some preparing to make sure this was going to be on an appropriate level for a variety of ages. Most of the children were about age 2- 9.  

    To make things run as smoothly as possible and not take more than 2 hours we had the schedule go as follows.

    • Welcome and opening prayer
    • Interactive discussion and questions for Children about Last Supper
    • Foot washing reading from the Gospel of John
    • Washing of the feet opportunity and dinner
    • Experience sharing
    • Breaking of the Bread reading from the Gospel of Luke
    • Closing prayer- Whole group made a large circle and started off singing We Are One Body

    The tables had paper across them for the kids to color on. Each table also had bread and grapes for the center. Live music started off the night.  Dinner was really like a feast. I imagine that Jesus's last supper with his apostles was a special feast. Each attending family brought something to share. There were two semi circles on each side of our stage with 3 foot washing stations in each semi circle. The children got to sit in front of the tables in an open area with pillows and carpets spread out. Before each reading I asked questions to the kids to engage them in the facts of the Last Supper.  After hearing a reading, I gave instructions on the hands-on participation they would get to do with the foot washing and dinner.  We had a large chunk of time designated for families wash to wash their feet at the stations and share a meal. After the foot washing and dinner time, I invited the children to share their experience of having their feet washed and also washing someone else's foot.  We then read the reading from Luke and had each table share the bread and grape juice. I thought the closing prayer with the entire group making a circle was beautiful, as it showed that we were really one body, united in Christ. 

    I was fortunate to host this event with a wonderful team of ladies.  One person doing all of the work would have been extremely difficult. Each of them did a beautiful job taking charge of their role and putting forward great ideas to make the night special. I thank them for sharing their efforts and ideas and also for making this event a priority. 

    I definitely wanted this tradition to continue at our parish. I felt like it was a great way to help children learn about Holy Thursday and prepare for that Mass of the Lord's Supper that we celebrate that day. At St. Francis the assembly is invited to wash the foot of someone else at the Mass.  It's beautiful to see the service to other members of our church family in such a way that we do not see ordinarily. Our Last Supper for Children can be a great way to encourage kids to do this at the Mass.

    I invited moms to sign up to help on the team and had a whole new team of ladies who wanted to participate in a leadership type role.  This year we had

    • 2 supplies coordinators
    • Food coordinator
    • 5 Set up team members on the day of the event
    • Laisson for set up (coordinated with the office)
    • Photographer
    • Choir and music laisson
    • Opening prayer and foot washing demonstrator by one of our priests!
    • 2 readers (one adult, one child)
    • Go to assistant or go-for
    We had our same schedule, but I added a few more interactive ways of teaching. For instance, I showed the kids the picture of the Last Supper, and showed them an analogy for what "we are one body" means. I also used a calendar and had kids put icons in the calendar slots for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday so that they would know when each was coming, 

    • Welcome and opening prayer
    • Interactive discussion and questions for Children about Last Supper
    • Sang and did motions for This Little Light of Mine and We Are One Body by Dana Scallon
    • Foot washing reading from the Gospel of John
    • Washing of the feet opportunity and dinner
    • Experience sharing
    • Breaking of the Bread reading from the Gospel of Luke
    • Closing prayer- Whole group made a large circle and started off singing We Are One Body

    This was a great experience for the family as a whole.  Whether families had a baby, toddler, or adolescent, it was something special that families and/or friends got to share together. It also taught the young children to have courage to do something kind for someone, even if it means washing their foot. We hope that it helped to prepare them for Holy Thursday Mass as well.   Looking forward to next year!