I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Christian the Hugging Lion

I'm sure most of you have seen this by now. It's had over 7 million hits on Youtube and been on loads of chat shows, but it's still worth another look - even if you've watched it a gajillion times.

It's a video of a lion who is reunited with his previous owners after they go to Africa in search of him. They'd been told not to expect much because Christian, the lion, was now a wild animal. Trust me, you have to watch this!

It's set to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You". After we had watched the video over and over again (Eli and Nandi LOVED it), I heard a tiny voice singing

"Liiiiiiiiiii-oooooooooooooooooons will always love you!"

And I turned around and found Eli dressed in a lion costume on all fours. He came running over to me and jumped in my arms. Too cute. All day yesterday he kept singing "Lions Will Always Love You." He honestly thought that's how the song went.

Alright. Headed to Austin in about 30 minutes for Noah's therapy session at HALO. He's doing SO good. We're starting him back on the basics (at home) and we're reintroducing everything with Sing, Spell, Read & Write. I love that curriculum! Even though he's progressed past it, I want to make sure we've covered all our basic and be certain that he's got a solid understanding of the alphabet and phonics before we move on. This coming semester he'll do English, Math, Geography, Elementary Astronomy, and Bible. Which means I'll be learning those subjects, too. Yikes! Remind me again why I'm doing this? :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My first time.....

I did something today that I have never done in my entire life. And I mean never done.

I mopped.

That's right. I have never mopped a floor. Ever.

Guess I blew my image as the perfect housewife clear out of the water with that little revelation.

Oh, come on. You've seen my room. It shouldn't come as a surprise.

But, yup, I finally did it today. I got the mop, stuck it in some water, and cleaned our floors.

Sim will be so surprised. That is if he doesn't slip and break his ankle first. How long does it take a mopped floor to dry, anyway?

And I would like to point out I'm not a terrible person or anything. We've just always had carpet (until now) and a tiny kitchen. And Sim loves to mop. Okay, that is actually an extreme exaggeration. He doesn't love to mop. He just does it. I guess he's known me long enough to figure out that I won't ever get around to it. But today I did. High-five to me!

So, here's the deal. Angel over at Voice of Adventure listed her organization strategies on her blog the other day and encouraged people to link their blog to hers so that we can read about how everyone keeps organized. Fascinating reading. I had no idea that there were so many organized people in the world. I, however, will NOT be linking my blog to her blog because I would be appalled for anyone outside of my faithful five blog readers to see how I really live... but for you faithful five, I'm letting it all hang out.

Plus, when your kids could make a meal off the crumbs on the floor... you know it's time to take some serious action.

First, I got out my beloved Dyson Animal vacuum. I love that thing. I have an obsession with it. Unfortunately, it's been a busy week and he's been stuffed in the closet for way too long. So I reunited with my second love and vacuumed up all the dog hair, chip crumbs, and cough, cough.. .ant trails.

Then, I went into the utility room and tried to find the mop. I've never used it, so I have no idea where it's stored. Finally found something that looked like a mop - yep, it's a mop - and surveyed it. Eeeww, it's kinda dirty. But the floor's dirty, so it evens out, right?


I then filled the sink with water and vaguely remembered Sim telling me that if I ever got a wild hair up my butt and decided to mop that I COULD NOT use hand soap to mop the floors. Something about ruining the wood floors.. so I filled the sink up with hot water and started mopping.

Did you know that you're meant to use floor soap? Did you? Because I assumed we couldn't use ANY soap. Man, it is hard to clean up 2 month old sticky Popsicle remains with just plain water, a mop, and my puny muscles.

Speaking of which... man, does mopping give you a workout. I should've done this before! I was really working up a sweat. I had to actually stop and put my hair up in a ponytail. I stopped short of reaching for a doo-rag. Only because we don't have one and my dad has bought up every single bandanna this side of Midland and Odessa. The point being....10 day leftover spaghetti sauce splashed all under the table is just what you need to burn off a package of Hostess Cakes and a Twinkie.

Anyway, it all got done. The floor is nice and sparkly and all wet. I'm hoping Eli doesn't wake up and tear across the floor on the way to the bathroom. Our doctor will never believe me if I tell her that he sprained his ankle on my wet, mopped floor. They'll have CPS after me for child abuse and lying about my housekeeping.

This is a first for me. I am well on my way to becoming a Domestic Goddess. Although my skills as a mother are going to go waaaaaaaaaaaaay down because there's no way this side of Mars that I'm going to let my kids outside for the next 15 years. What? And chance them tracking in dirt all over my clean floors? No siree, Bob. This is a perfect excuse for me to lock them in their rooms until they're ready to go to college.

Oh, I jest.

Sort of.

What a good idea....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Lazy Saturday Afternoon...

Take a lazy Saturday afternoon, one bored 3-year old, a thing of shaving cream, a muffin tin, and some food coloring.....

Take a lazy Saturday afternoon, one bored 6-year old, some dried rice, beans, a few hot wheels, some Smarties, and two Rubbermaid bins...

Take a lazy Saturday afternoon, one bored 4-year old...... and a couch....

Meeting a Brain

Hey, guess what? I got to meet a fellow blogger yesterday. Christine! From Welcome to My Brain! I've never actually met up with someone that I only knew from online before. But I've been reading her blog for awhile and was fairly safe and certain that she wasn't some crazy, psycho chick. And if she was -well, that made me one, too because we're actually a lot alike.

Plus, I had the good fortune of finding out early on that she and my sister-in-law were suitemates one year in college... so she truly was, in fact, a thirtysomething female with five kids and a degree from Howard Payne - and not some weird man who was posing as a thirtysomething mother of five in order to lure me into some horrid trap.

Clearly, I've watched too many Lifetime movies in my, um, lifetime.

Anway, we met up yesterday and had a BLAST! The kids loved it. Of course, they were strangely on their best behavior - which means we have to meet up again sometime so they can all see the wild and uninhibited creatures that they really are. But, seriously, they LOVED her kids and Eli keeps begging to go back over there.

Man, what a beautiful family! And smart, too. I'm definitely signing up her kids as my Phone a Friend Lifeline if I ever appear on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Oh, and Christine? FANTASTIC person. And an amazing mother. I practically begged her for parenting advice and then sat at her feet like an eager little puppy soaking it all in.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. So thank you Moers bunch for a great time. And big thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Deadman for letting us all come over and trash your living room. Oh, and for putting up with Noah's relentless efforts to steal your rootbeer.

It was fun!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sim's Take on Rick Springfield

Okay, I promise that this blog is not going to turn into an everyday discussion on Rick Springfield. However... I have to tell you something funny that's happened since I blogged the other day about my genuine shock that my childhood crush is 58 (turning 59 next month!) and is the exact same age as my dad.

Well. I had hundreds of hits to RecoveringNoah after I blogged about Rick Springfield. I mean, this little blog was hopping. So, I checked my stats and found out that they were all coming from RickSpringfield.com. Apparently, someone found my site and mentioned it on the Rick Springfield Message Board. Isn't that cool! I mean, what if Rick Springfield actually reads my blog post about him. Not that he probably reads all that stuff, but what if he did? Wouldn't that be cool?! And it would be absolutely fine because I only had good an wonderful things to say about him. Well, except that senior citizen remark. But, it was all in jest, Rick honey.

Anyway, I looked on the message board and found a whole thread about my post. It was so wild. If any of you from the Rick Springfield fansite are reading this... "Hi!" Ya'll seem like a bunch of cool and fun people.

Alright, so this is what cracked me up. I was out and about yesterday and called Sim to tell him that all these people from RickSpringfield.com visited my blog and after a few minutes he said,

"Okay, what's that site again?"

I could hear him typing.

"It's RickSpringfield.com."

"No, that's not it. It's pulling up some other guy's site. How do you spell it?"

"SPRING FIELD. F-I-E-L-D." Wow, I never thought about his last name. Spring Field. How pretty.

"Okay, that's what I'm typing. But that's not his site."

"Honey, what else would it be? Of course that's his site."

"No it's not. It's some other guy's site."

"That's impossible. Did you type it right? F-I-E-L-D.com."

"YES. I know how to spell."

"Then that's his site."

"I'm telling you. It's some other guy. There's no way this guy is 58 years old."


I knew at that exact moment that he WAS looking at the right site. And now he knows why I was so shocked the other day when Rick Springfield was on Oprah.

"Honey, that man that you're looking at right now on the computer... he is my dad's age. He and Dad are the EXACT same age. He is 58 years old. Now do you know why I was so stunned? Why it totally freaked me out? Why I still find it impossible to believe? Is there any way on earth that that man looks 58 years old?"

(Silence). I could practically hear him pondering...

"Wow, he's kind of good looking, isn't he?"

Uhm, ya think??!!

"I hope I look that good when I'm 58."


It feels so good to have your point proven. Doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Missing the Water Cooler

There are some things that I really miss about going to work. Or even just taking the kids to public school. It's those little moments when you would pass another co-worker or another mom down the hall and you'd stop and have some idle chit-chat. I really miss that.

Here's a conversation that I so desperately needed to have with another female the other day....

The scene is me walking down the hall to my office and passing a co-worker:

Me: (Stopping). Hey, did you know that Rick Springfield is 58 years old?

Co-Worker: I know! I saw him on Oprah the other day.

Me: Yeah! And there he is being all Rick Springfield and the guy's 58 years old. How did he get to be 58? That's, like, my dad's age.

Co-Worker: I know! What's the world's coming, too? It seems like just yesterday that I was kissing his poster's on my wall.....

Me: Yeah, and now he's practically a senior citizen.

Both of us are stunned into silence.

Me: But he sure looked good.

Co-Worker: Sho' did.

Me: See ya.

Co-Worker: Later

Now, that's a conversation that I needed to have. Instead, this is the conversation that I had...

Sim gets home from work and heads to the kitchen:

Me: Hey, did you know that Rick Springfield is 58?

Sim: Who?

Me: Rick Springfield. You know, "Jessie's Girl".

Sim: Who'd name a girl Rick?

Me: (Sighing) No. He sang "Jessie's Girl". Remember?

Sim: Oh yeah. What about him?

Me: Well, he was on Oprah today, and he's, like, my absolute childhood crush... and he's 58!!!

Sim: So.

Me: Yeah, but I can't have a crush on someone who's 58. That's my dad's age!! That's just gross.

Sim: I have a crush on Joan Collins.

Me: Okay. Yeah... but... you're just... odd. This is Rick Springfield we're talking about. Rick Springfield!!

Sim: What's for dinner?

Me: Okay. Dude. Do you get this at all? It's just that I'm a bit stunned to know that all these years, Rick Springfield is MY DAD'S AGE. He could be my dad! He could be YOUR DAD.

(Pause) Hey, can you imagine if Rick Springfield was your dad? Helloooooo, Mr. Thomas!

Sim: (Staring blankly at me)

Me: (Feeling defeated). Well, all I'm saying is how do I live in a world where Rick Springfield got to be 58 years old?

Sim: You know, you should be lucky you live in a world where Rick Springfield can be 58 years old. Did you know that the life expectancy in Zambia used to be 58? Do you know what it is now? 37. People my age are dying everyday in Zambia. You should be grateful you live where you live because in other parts of the world, your Rick Springfield would be dead.


Me: We're having spaghetti.

Sim: I'll set the table.

So, that folks, is the real reason I miss working and feel lonely homeschooling. He doesn't care that Eva Longoria cut her hair. Or that New Kids on the Block tried to make a comeback this summer. Or that Ingo Rademacher - who plays Jax on General Hospital - just had a baby boy and named it Peanut. How on earth is that kid ever going to get a girlfriend with a name like Peanut? And who am I going to discuss this stuff with? Because I bet a million dollars that if it isn't on NPR then Sim doesn't know about it.

But, oh, I love him so much. He's got such a good heart. He's so amazingly smart, and he fills his head with all sorts of important issues - like social injustice, poverty, and the healthcare crisis. The only reason he knows that People.com exists is because I dragged him to the computer last winter to show him pictures of Britney Spears' bald head.

He certainly keeps me grounded, that's for sure.

Anyway, the one-sided Rick Springfield conversation wasn't all a loss. It turned into a discussion about Zambia which then turned into a fruitful conversation about poverty with the kids over supper - and we had a discussion about what we should do, as citizens of the world, to help make a difference.

Man, our kids will be so well-educated and good-hearted. They'll be able to kick butt at Jeopardy... not only in the World Events section, but the Pop Culture one, too.

Anyway, that is the reason why a blog called "Recovering Noah" - that is meant to be about our family's life with autism... has turned into a bit of a smorgasbord. Because I so totally have to have a bit of watercolor chit-chat every now and again.

So, I'm just putting it out there. Rick Springfield is 58 years old. I am shocked. He's still looking mighty fine. So, there. There it is. I got it out of my system. I feel a lot better now.

Be sure to watch this space for more intellectually stimulating blog posts, such as...

" Did Tommy Howell's movie career go down the drain once he changed his name to C. Thomas Howell?"

"Does Kirk Cameron maintain the secret to the Fountain of Youth?"


"Was John Taylor really the cutest member of Duran Duran?" (For the record, he was.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

My friend Shara sent me a link to the video below. Wow! I don't know if I'm just an emotional wreck this week or what, but it really moved me.

I have to constantly remind myself to not judge people because you never know what they've gone through. We're doing a Women's Bible study on "Becoming a Vessel" and one of the chapters deals with judgement and how we should never be critical of anyone who is walking in the path of God. We have NO idea where they've been, how long they've been on the journey, or how long it took them to get there. Even people that we think have it all planned out and are so perfect... you just never know what hurt lies in their past. You never know what people are going through or what they've been through.

Anyway, most of you have probably seen it, but if you haven't, it's really worth watching.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Right to Bare Arms

Guess what? It's been ELEVEN days since Nandi has bit me. Isn't that cool? My arms are now turning back to a nice color and all the swelling went down a week ago.

Bring on the tank tops and tanning lotion. I can now bare my arms.

However.... the biting has been replaced with hurling. As in objects. Hard things. Things that hurt. Basically, anything that can make an impact.

Upon hearing the word "No", my little girl will quickly scan the room to find the nearest object to hurl at me.

Sigh. This will get better, won't it?

And would it be really terrible if I gave her a boomerang to play with??

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Poop, Papertowels, and Being a Princess

Right after Sim woke up this morning to go to work, he stuck his head through the door and said, "Uh, you need to get out here."

What??? It's 5:30 in the morning. On a Saturday. You've got to be kidding.

And then I heard, "Watch your step."


No, really. That's all it could be. Literally. Crap.

See, my mom has been sick and is in the hospital and we're keeping her two dogs for the next week or so.


I let them out at 11:30 last night, but one of them must've not been feeling good because it was like dodging landmines in our living room. Thank goodness we don't have carpet.

Let's add that to the list of "Let's Look at Noah's Autism with a Glass Half Full."

Toxins. We pulled up all the carpet to minimize toxins and trapped dirt and all that other gross stuff that hides in there.

If we had carpet, I would've been up a creek without a paddle this morning.

Of course, now we're dealing with a whole other set of toxins. But still. Thank goodness for bare floors!

So, anyway. I just sort of stood there in shock for a good five minutes. How do I clean it up? It was plopped all over the place. Like someone had filled a paintball gun full of poo, put a blindfold on, and let loose in our living room.

And we are a paper-free family. We haven't used napkins or paper towels or kleenex in almost a year. Well, except for toilet paper. I did cloth toilet paper for awhile but couldn't come to grips with it.

ha ha

Anyway, I remembered that we had 1/4 of a roll of papertowels left over from the good ol' days - and boy was I thankful. In fact, I am going to make sure that we have a roll of paper towels on hand for emergencies from now on.

And this, my friends, was an emergency. Which brings me to an important side note.

At our Women's Bible Study a few days ago, we were talking about being a child of God and I told them how whenever I've about had it with my day, I always say, "I'm a Princess" over and over again in my head. Because, if we are children of God - who is King of the World - then that makes all us women Princesses.

I read that in a book that I bought at a garage sale for 25 cents.

So, the first time I did this little chant was when I decided to potty-train Noah - not realizing that he had the stomach flu. But I realized quickly. Oh yes. In the toy box. Nasty. Nasty. Nasty. And I remember standing there, saying "I'm a Princess. I'm.A.Princess. At the end of the day, this is just poop. It doesn't matter. I'm a Princess."

And then, as my frustration grew,

"I'M A PRINCESS, DAGNABIT!" (Does anyone outside the South even understand that expression?)


Yes. I'm aware that I need help.

But, the point is that by the end of it I'm cracking myself up and realizing that really and truly, at the end of the day, it's just poop. It doesn't matter. There's no need to get my panties in a wad. It's poop. Or's it puke. Or it's being tired. Or it's a demanding child. Or it's blah blah blah. It doesn't matter. This world is just temporary. I'm a child of God. I'm A Princess.

So, this morning, after staring at the canine catastrophy that graced my beautiful bamboo floors, I just muttered, "I'm a princess" and I got to work.

And as I was on all fours scrubbing away, I took a minute to reflect on the unusual things that I have to be thankful for... Poop - to keep me grounded. Papertowels - to get me on my knees. And the fact that at the end of the day, nothing can take away the fact that I'm A Princess.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Since We're Getting Real....

A few days ago, I took part in Angel's "Get Real Challenge" and mentioned how Nandi has been sleeping in our bed and Sim has been sleeping in Nandi's bed. Here's the deal...

Sim cannot sleep in the same bed as Nandi. It doesn't matter if the bed is a mile wide. Nandi will find him, wrap her skinny little legs around him, bury her head in his neck, and sleep that way the whole night. Sounds innocent enough. But she has this thing that she subconsciously does in her sleep. She takes her feet and moves them up and down your leg and gets her toenails right in you. Oh, and she snores. Who'd of known that such a tiny little creature could make such a racket.

Anyway, as much as he loves and adores her, it drives Sim up the wall. So he's been sleeping in her empty twin bed so that he can get a good night sleep.

Now, you might be asking why we have her in our room to start with. Well, because she has terrible night terrors combined with an intense fear of abandonment. We've tried getting her to sleep on her own and it's about near impossible. She can't fall asleep on her own, so one of us would lie down with her in her bed until she fell asleep - but by that time, we had fallen asleep, too - and we'd wake up with terrible cricks in our neck from sleeping half off the bed. And if we actually managed to escape when she finally fell asleep, she would wake up in hysterics. She can easily wake up 12-14 times a night to see if we're still there. So, we weren't doing a good job of establishing trust by laying down with her and then sneaking off as soon as she feel asleep.

So, anyway. That's how Nandini ended up in our bed and Simeon ended up out of it.

Well, I confessed this on my "Get Real" post. And my friend Sandwich told me how she and her husband deal with it. (They have a 3 year old little boy who was Nandi's friend at the orphanage). They scooted a twin bed up against the wall in their bedroom and then put their bed next to it. Well, we don't have any extra space in our bedroom because our bedroom also doubles as a homeschooling room.

Doesn't that just scream romantic to you???

Clearly, we have space issues.

Besides, I didn't want to permanently move Nandi's bed into our room because then it would symbolize that she's actually going to sleep in our room.

And then I thought... uh, isn't that what's happening anyway? And isn't it better to get Sim back into the room? That's the point, right?

Oh, and let me just say a quick word to any of you youngun's reading this post. Don't go thinking this will never happen to you. Wait until you have kids. It.Changes.Everything.

So, I spent all day yesterday reconfiguring and rearranging.

This is what I started with.....

Yes. That's our bedroom. Shocking, isn't it? Hey, I said I was Getting Real.

If you've ever visited our house and wondered how we got it to be so clean... now you know. I shove everything into the bedroom and shut the door. I once actually stuffed a rocking chair into our master bathroom in order for our guests to think our living room was clutter free.

Thank goodness two of them didn't have to pee at the same time. My secret would've been revealed.

So, yes. That's our dirty little secret. Literally. Clothes everywhere. Some folded. Some not. Some dirty. Some clean. There's a wire basket under the dresser that contains all the mismatched socks that come from the dryer. Yes, that's a suitcase in the middle of the floor. Yes, I have been home from Austin for nearly three weeks. No, I haven't unpacked.

Confession time. I came home from India in November and my suitcase remained in the floor of our bedroom until the end of February.

I'm sure this comes as no surprise to those of you who shared a living space with me in college.

Anyway, this is what I did. I decided to move our homeschooling stuff into Nandi's room and move Nandi's rollaway bed into our room. Yes, she has a trundle. No, I'm not even going to try and explain why we didn't just sleep on the trundle in her room.

Nothing in our life is ever achieved simply.

After spending all afternoon working on it (we had swim lessons in the morning), this is the finished result:

And this is what Nandi's Room/The Homeschooling Room now looks like:

I am proud to say that Sim is now back in the bedroom!

You can interpret that anyway you want. (wink wink)

Nandi slept in her own bed last night. She didn't wake up once! I think she actually enjoyed having her own bed, but felt safe and comfortable knowing that we were in the same room. Will she stay in our room forever? Uh, NO. But for now? Yes.

So there ya have it. I owe it to you Sandwich. Thanks for the suggestion!

Oh. And lest you think I'm some kind of Superwoman who can manage to rearrange the house, switch out rooms, homeschool, entertain three demanding children and have supper on the table by 6:00. Think again....

Well. I had to find somewhere to shove everything before Sim came home.

Guess you know what's on my agenda for today.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Hero Holiday (Nikki)

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, then you've seen me post a few thoughts on Nikki - a college student up in Canada who I absolutely adore. She has a heart of gold!

Nikki's the one who designed my blog and who runs "Blogs for a Cause" as a way to fundraise money for several different charities, and as a way to pay for her volunteer trips to the Dominican Republic.

Well, I'm happy to say that after a whole year of fundraising, she raised all the funds necessary to return to the DR and arrived a few days ago. She'll be there for a month volunteering at various special needs orphanages and helping to build houses and schools.

You can check out her blog while she's there (she updates frequently) at http://www.heroholiday07.blogspot.com/.

I'm so proud of you, Nikki!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Homeschooling Finds @ The Dollar Tree

As much as I spout off about simplifying and consuming less, there's one place I can't resist... The Dollar Tree. Or, as Sim calls it, "The-Leslie-Can't-Leave-Without-Spending-At-Least-$20 Store".

Oh, he is SO right.

I try to go only every few months because I always end up coming back with sacks full of cheap plastic things that made sense for me to buy them when I was in the store... but then sit collecting in a corner once I get home. However, I spent all of last night browsing through the Lakeshore Catalog (it's a teacher supply catalog), making this huge unattainable - and unaffordable - wish list... and realized that I could buy or make half the stuff myself. So off to the Dollar Tree...

In addition to buying essentials - like toothbrushes (I have a thing about toothbrushes. I feel I have to replace the kids' brushes every month - and it's soooo much cheaper to buy 2 for a $1 this way), I bought some really cool things. Well, I think they're pretty cool.

Sim thinks it's junk.

But I'm the teacher. And the teacher is always right. Or, I like to think she is...

Okay. She is SO right all of the time. A Brilliant teacher. Fabulous actually. Knows EVERYTHING. It's a wonder she hasn't been on Oprah yet.

Snicker. Snicker.

Here's what I bought (all for 99 cents each -unless noted otherwise):

Lesson Plan Book
I never actually do a lesson plan, but jot down what I did for the day AFTER I did it. That's how I keep track.

Math Poster for Noah. He loves math. LOVES it. Clearly, he's adopted.

Number poster for Nandi & Eli - came with the ABC poster below. 2 for a $1.

Parts of a Flower poster that came with the Life Cycle of a Butterfly - 2 for a $1. We plan on growing our own flowers in the fall - in one of those thin see through containers that you can hang on your window so that the kids can see the flowers grow every step of the way. We're also going to order one of the grow-your-own-butterfly kits. So these posters will come in handy.

Pooh Number Match Game. I'm not sure it's going to be a big hit, but they love the Pooh "Things that Go Together" cards that we bought at Dollar Tree a few weeks ago, so we'll try it out. (Anything to get Eli working on his math skills).

I also bought a plastic "bug collector" that came with a net and some tweezers. Then I bought some plastic bugs (about 8 for a $1) and plastic frogs and now Eli & Nandi can work on their fine motor skills with the tweezers, their colors, counting, etc... "Pick up all the yellow bugs", "If you pick up 3 frogs and 5 bugs, how many do you have all together?".. things like that.

Have you ever seen those "Be Your Own Paleontologist" eggs at Target? They come with a hard egg and you have to chip away at it and uncover dinosaur bones. Then you have to put the bones together to figure out what kind of dinosaur you have. They have them at the Dollar Tree for $1!!!

Note: It's not as easy as it looks. That egg is rock hard! Plus, it's from the Dollar Tree.. so you can't guarantee that all the bones found will make up a certain dinosaur. But, hey, it occupied the kids for a good 30 minutes and provided them with quite the arm workout.

I think these would make really cool party favors for a dinosaur themed birthday party. (Speaking of which, they also have all the supplies you need to throw a Dinosaur Party - plates, napkins, goody bags, drink, signs - the works).

And last but not least... to add to the ever growing collection of dress-up clothes that we've seemed to accumulate... I present you with a foam knight's helmet, foam sword, and foam shield.

The kids decided to dress up and play "Chronicles of Narnia". They had a blast. Eli really enjoyed pretending to stab Nandini with a sword. Nandini enjoyed pretending to stab Eli with a sword. I enjoyed the fact that neither one of them thought it would be great to stab Mommy with the pretend sword (ahhh, progress!).

And then they realized that they couldn't fully play "Chronicles of Narnia" without having Aslan.. so they somehow convinced Noah to let them dress him up.

Awwwww, too cute!

And those are our Dollar Tree finds for the week!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Get Real Challenge

My friend Amy turned me on to a blog that I really like.. The Voice of Adventure. And, Angel, the owner of the blog, issued a challenge yesterday for us to all Get Real and stop sugarcoating things.

Well, I don’t think I try to sugarcoat anything. I think everyone and their dog now knows about all the problems we’ve been going through. The saga of the never-ending lice. The biting. The fact that we can’t seem to get Nandini to realize that my arm is not a chew toy. That no matter what I say, I’ve never quite gotten over Noah having autism. My fear that Eli will grow up to be a T-Rex impersonator at children’s birthday parties.

However, as I love nothing more than a challenge – and can’t afford therapy (because all our budgeted therapy money goes towards the kids’ therapy)… I am jumping at the chance, once again, to air all our dirty laundry. Because, there is nothing better than getting things off your chest.

So, here goes…

1. I am a procrastinator. We leave for OT in 30 minutes and two kids are still asleep and two of us are still in our pajamas. Oh, and since I went out in public yesterday, I actually wore make-up. It’s still on my face. I never wash my face at night, so I wake up with mascara caked eyelids and black smudges on my pillow. Very attractive, I know.

2. I have a million personal emails to reply to. See #1. Yes, instead of responding to everyone’s emails, I am blogging about how I haven’t responded to everyone’s emails.

3. I don’t have nearly as many friends as I used to. See #2 and #1.

Okay, seriously…

4. I still have meltdowns over Noah. Am I not doing enough? Did we choose the wrong things? Will he be in diapers for the rest of his life? What will happen when I die? Who will take care of him? Instead of giving all this God, I still carry this weight on my shoulders. Despite knowing all I know, I still struggle with the faith to turn all this over to God. Sometimes I actually do, and then the next day, I try to take control again.

5. Sometimes, I question God. And then I feel guilty and horrible. But, I still don’t understand why God created us if He knew that all this was going to happen. There is so much grief and pain and suffering in the world. I don’t think God created this. I think man created this. But why did God create us in the first place if He knew it would happen?

6. I think too much.

7. I feel guilty about the things I think.

8. I feel guilty for feeling sorry for myself, when I know that I am SO incredibly blessed and that, despite what I think, nothing bad has really ever happened to me.

9. I worry from saying that statement that something bad will now happen.

10. I then worry that I might need professional help.

Okay, enough about that….

11. I have struggled for the last several years with being a SAHM. Truthfully, I’m a career person. I enjoy climbing the corporate ladder. I LOVED working. It’s only in the last few weeks (literally) that I am coming to terms with staying at home.

12. Sim is trapped in a job that he can’t stand… but we need the insurance and two of our kids have pre-existing conditions. I hate the fact that he has to spend the next 30 years in his job simply because we need the insurance. Yet, I know how lucky we are that he has a good job and that we have insurance.

13. I feel guilty that we’re in Texas because of my family, while I know that Sim misses his back in England.

14. I sometimes (okay, most times) worry if I made the right decision to homeschool. I know I will continue to homeschool Noah, but I daily question whether to send Eli and Nandini.

15. I regret moving from Denton (and Midlothian). I miss my friends and my life. I miss the conveniences. I hate driving back to Dallas for everything. And no matter how nice everyone is out here, and how much I love our church, or how much I love our house and the lake… I worry that I will never feel at home here.

16. We spend $786 a month on gas. (!!!!) Sim still hasn’t been able to get transferred, so he spends 4 hours a day commuting to work. The housing market sucks, and my parents just moved to our town to be closer to us… so we feel stuck.

17. Despite being dead broke and at my wit’s end, I still want to adopt again someday. Does that make me crazy?

18. Even though I know better, I still rely on frozen pancakes and bagel bites for many meals.

19. No matter how hard I try, I am simply too tired to give up coffee.

20. Nandini sleeps in our bed…. And Sim is sleeping in Nandi’s bed. I HATE THAT!!! But he can’t sleep with Nandi because she tosses and turns all night. And if Nandi sleeps by herself, then she wakes up 10 – 15 times a night with night terrors – and then none of us get any sleep. I hate it so much – I can’t even begin to tell you much it bothers me. But we don’t know what to do. Does anyone have a king size bed they'd like to donate??? :-)

Ahhhhh, there we go. I feel so much better now. I’ve aired it all. Well, not all of it. Believe it or not, I do keep SOME things to myself. Like how much I chocolate I consume in one day……

So, if any of you want to do the Get Real challenge, just go over to Angel’s blog and sign up. It’s the best free therapy you’ll ever get.