Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recorded Readings

It's so much fun to listen to my sister read these stories!  I'm just as hooked as Beansprout!

In an effort to be present in my nephews' lives while being so far away, I decided to record myself reading books for them.  When I moved out here from Michigan, it was one thing to maintain a connection with my oldest nephew, but only seeing the younger ones once or twice a year felt a real challenge to me.  The CDs have been a huge hit!  Not only do the boys still enjoy listening to me read to them as they fall asleep, but I was also able to make an instant connection with my nephew whom I had only met once before.  On one trip home, it made us all laugh when my (then) 2-year-old nephew gave me this wide-eyed stare when he heard me talking.  You could almost see the light bulb going on in his head as he made the connection between me and the "Aunt Shell" on his CD.  

Our latest read from Auntie!

Lucky for me, my sister has since done the same thing for Beansprout!  He and I will often listen to her stories when we're sitting around playing - I especially like to put them on when I'm feeling a little bit homesick.  Just as it did with me and my nephews, listening to my sister read aloud had really helped Beansprout make a connection to who "Auntie" is.  He can name everyone by their picture, but I love that he also has a voice connection to her and can recognize her even on the phone.

To do these recordings my sister and I both used Audacity.  It's a free download and it's pretty easy to use, even for people who aren't extremely tech-savvy.  It's something I highly recommend for anyone living far away from family!  

Hallmark Recordable Stories are easy to use and a great way to keep in touch!

There are other options that have been really fun for us, too.  The grandparents have sent recordable books from Hallmark, which we love!  At Beansprout's age the nice thing about these books is that he can control flipping the pages and listening to the story.  He often goes back and forth between one or two pages listening again and again.  I get the feeling sometimes that he is just trying to soak in their voices.  Only yesterday he said, "Momma, Grandma's going to read me a story," which is what she says in her introduction to reading the book.  Soooo sweet!  I am really grateful that we have these small ways of helping Beansprout stay connected to the people who love him so much!

Do you live far from family?  What are some ways you try to keep your family close?  

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