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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Our American Idol Mishap

Dang it! I missed Anoop. Let's face it. I cannot be counted on to post Noah Watching Anoop videos anymore. After last week's debacle and now this week's, er, embarrassing debacle... well, the glory days of videoing Noah may well be over.

You see, one of those spoiler sites said that Anoop would be singing fourth. So, obviously, I was in no hurry when the show came on. In fact, I was in the bathroom.

That's right.

The toilet.

The loo.

The john.

So, I was just meandering in the WC, doing what you do, you know, when I hear Ryan Seacrest's voice in the other room..... "First up is Anoop!"

What? What? He's not supposed to be first! He's supposed to be fourth!

So I scramble off the toilet, run to the living room shouting "Noah! Anoop's on!!! Come on!". I'm trying to pull up my pants. Can't find the video camera. I'm praying the neighbors aren't outside watching all this through our open windows. I grab Noah and ask Eli to help me. Eli, who has been a royal toot ALL DAY LONG starts going,


Then, out of the blue, he starts screaming, "I want a poppadom!" (An Indian bread).

What? For Pete's Sake. What????

Such an unbelievably random child.

Nandi, always the eager beaver, pipes up, "I help!" and shoves Noah flat against the television and pins his hands behind his back like she's just handcuffed him.

I mean, really? It's not like we sit around and let her watch COPS or something. Where'd this come from? Is it deeply embedded in her DNA? These things worry me.

So, while I'm trying to decide if Nandi is going to grow up to be a WWF Girl, Noah starts going nuts.

If you ever want to see an autistic child go ballistic, then just try to restrain him. Better yet, get a pint-sized baby sister to go renegade cop on him and see what happens. Goooood -ness.

Then the dog goes nuts and starts a 6 minute nonstop bark fest at.... heck, I don't know what... air???

In a nutshell.... crazy old dog barking at invisible cats, crazy little sister playing cops and robbers, even crazier 5 year old brother shouting for poppadoms, nutso half-dressed mother waving a video camera in the air and screaming for everyone to gather around the T.V., and one very smart little 7 year old boy who just doesn't want any part of this anymore.

He happily went back to his room where he retreated to his bed and listened to his Anoop music on the C.D. player in peace and quiet.

And I'm sure if he could talk, he would've have shouted, "Do Not Disturb!" before slamming the door.

So, sweet Noah. I am granting your wishes. No video cameras. None. Nada. Zip.

Well, I mean, not until next week. ;-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No Noah Video Tonight :-(

It's been a rough few days. I've said it before and I'll say it again, autism can be very unpredictable. The highs are high and the lows are low. Today was one of the lows.

Noah hasn't been sleeping much lately and he's been crying a lot. Getting frustrated really easily and hitting himself. The hardest thing is not knowing why he's doing this. Is he hurt? Is he mad? Is he bored?

I'm sure it didn't help that Tweedledee and Tweedledum spent the whole evening running around like wild banshees jacked up on speed. Sim actually asked me what I put in the casserole tonight. Seriously. Those two were wired. It was even stressing me out, so I can only imagine how it affected Noah.

Anyway, Noah has just not been himself these last few days. He started a new homeopathic remedy and he always has some sort of a reaction after the first week. Maybe that's it. It breaks my heart, though, to see him like this. And I cannot imagine living in a world where you can't communicate. I can think of no other way to describe it than this: It sucks.

We did try to record Noah watching Anoop tonight and the first few seconds were really good - Noah definitely got excited when he saw Anoop on the stage - but then Thing #1 and Thing #2 came tearing through the living room playing "T-Rex is going to eat you" and Noah ran out of the room crying.

And just because I want to stay in the running for Mother of the Year, I will NOT be playing that video for you.

So what'd you think about AI tonight? I will say that even though the song choice wasn't my favorite, I thought Anoop sang his song beautifully. He has such an amazing voice, and I'm glad we were able to hear his falsetto. Dude sure can hit a high note, can't he?

Anyway, don't worry, Anoop. Noah is still your #1 fan. He may not have caught your entire performance tonight, but he did spend the better part of the day in his room listening to the Clef Hangers "Time Out" CD.

BTW, Noah's favorite Anoop song from when he sang with the Clef Hangers is Keane's "She Has No Time". You can find a video of it HERE. MY favorite is THIS ONE. Sigh. Prepare to swoon.

Wow, I'm surprised I was able to type a coherent blog post. At least I think it's coherent. We're all working on practically zero sleep. I'm praying that all three kids have a restful, peaceful night tonight - 'cause I sure haven't been getting my beauty sleep.

Good night. Tomorrow's another day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sponsor a Surgery.... Change a Life

If you haven't visited Sarah's blog yet... then what are you waiting for? Sarah just posted
A LIST of surgeries that are needed for her kids. If you feel led, please visit this LIST and donate what you can. Plus, you get to see pictures of all her little cuties and read a little bit about the surgeon in the U.S. who thinks he can save RACHEL'S LEG.

Still not convinced to give? Want PROOF that these surgeries actually work? Then be sure to watch this video of DHIVENA WALKING unassisted for the first time in her life after her surgery. (How old is Dhivena, Sarah? 12? 14?) Dhivena has a twin sister who needs the exact same surgery.

Also, if you want to learn more about the remarkable work that Sarah is doing in the lives of children from India with special needs, please read her entire BLOG. It's truly inspiring.

Oh one more thing. See that button on my sidebar that says "Operation India Princess"? Click HERE for a list of FAQ's that will give you more information about how you can help. And if you're local and feel like donating a dress, please let me know. I'll be sending a shipment over and would be happy to pick up some dresses from you.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yes, I am THAT Momma!

Okay, before I begin, just look at that face. Is that not the cutest kid in the world? Look at that lovely fresh haircut he's sporting.

Curious to know how we got a child who is terrified of haircuts to actually sit still, grab the clippers, AND bend his head down so his Nonna could cut his hair?

That's right, people. I pulled the Anoop card.

Sho' did. And I'm not ashamed.

Okay, well, I am a tiny bit ashamed. But you will just not believe what happened.

Here in the Noah T. family, we give our boys short haircuts so that we don't have to touch their heads for at least 4 months. It is a nightmare trying to cut our boys' hair. God blessed us with two kiddos that have sensory issues (Eli even worse than Noah!) and my momma has sworn many a time over the last several years that we're just going to have to buck up and take them to a barber because she can't stand the squirming and flailing and crying anymore.

Well, Noah was starting to get antsy and getting all teary-eyed because he knew his turn was coming up and I just reached deep into my soul and pulled out the Anoop card..

"Baby, you have to get your hair cut. I can hardly see your pretty eyes anymore. Did you see Anoop's new haircut on American Idol? I bet he was a big boy getting his hair cut. Let's be a big boy and get your hair cut so that you can look just like Anoop."

I know, I know. I'm sure there's a special place reserved for moms like me. But what can I say?


Yes, it did. Anoop, honestly. What is this spell you have on my child???

Can you believe that he actually hopped his hiney right into my lap, grabbed the clippers and put them to his head? He was such a trooper. No screaming, no crying. Every time my mom would move the clippers away, he'd grab her hand and put it right back to his head. He didn't even mind when she had to shave the back of his neck.

We were all stunned. I mean, STUNNED.

So, I'm just wondering how far I can use this whole Anoop card thing. It opens up a world of possibilities...

Do you think I can pull it out at suppertime? "Yummm... eat up, Noah Bear. I bet Anoop likes his veggies!"

What about bathtime? "Hop on in, honey. I bet Anoop takes a bath every day!"

Brushing teeth, putting on shoes... the possibilities are endless!

It is just pretty darn amazing how Noah is doing something new everyday. I just can't get over it.

Freaky amazing.

Fantastically amazing.

Pretty. Darn. Cool.

Ain't Nothin' Gonna Break Her Stride.....

Nobody Gonna Slow Her Down...

Oh No!

She's Got to Keep on Moving.....

Ain't Nothing Gonna Break Her Stride

She's Running in a One Touch Ground

Oh No!

She's Got to Keep on Moving....

Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 20, 2009

What's up with my blog sidebar??

Something funky's going in on with my blog. All of my sidebars have completely disappeared to the bottom of the page. I haven't changed a thing. Just woke up this morning and saw that they were gone. Scrolled to the bottom of the blog - and voila! - there they are.

Since I didn't change anything, I can't for the life of me figure out how to fix it. Any suggestions? Has this happened to anyone before? When I go to my settings layout it shows that everything's okay, but when I click on "preview" from the settings page, it shows an error and won't pull it up.

Now Mike's saying he can't even read my blog because it's encrypted with the background. What??

Calling all computer people....



EDITED TO ADD: I fixed the problem. For some unknown reason, it wouldn't let my St. Patrick's Day blog post be called "Those Cheeky Leprechauns". Seriously, what??? What kind of weird thing is that? Those sneakly little green guys... they are definitely cheeky.

Anyway, changed the post title and suddenly everything reappeared. Weird, eh?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quick Thursday Morning Ramblings

First things first....

"We're going to Idols Live! We're going to Idols Live!" cha cha cha

Guess who did a conga around the living room last night when they found out that Anoop made the Top 10 and will go on tour late summer?

Ahhh, the kids were so excited. Noah didn't quite get it, but Eli did. He's never been to a concert before but he knows enough to guess that they'll be selling all sorts of things that I'm gonna be a sucker for and buy.

Oh that kid. He knows me well.

I hope they come to Dallas this year. We've never been to one of their concerts. Do their tickets sell fast? Am I going to have to wait in line and knock down grandmas and grade school kids to get first dibs? 'Cause I'll do it ya know. I'll do it.

Anyway, I'm hoping that if they swing through Dallas then Noah will be able to meet Anoop. Wouldn't that be awesome? Although, I have to admit, it looks like Noah has got some serious competition in the #1 Anoop Fan department.

Every time the camera would pan to Anoop during last night's show, Nandi would point to the T.V. and go, "That mine! That mine, Momma! That miiiiiiiiiine!"

Good grief. She's four, folks. FOUR!

I honestly don't know where she gets it from. I didn't discover boys until I was at least six....

(Oh, Scott Plemons. You and your red hair and freckles. Breaking hearts and stringing girls along in first grade. I've never recovered. )

Okay, that's enough rambling. We're about to pack up and head out to Dallas today. Nandi has to get her cast readjusted at Scottish Rite Hospital. This will be a weekly occurrence for the next month and then they'll fit her with a brace.

Did I mention that the Botox injections didn't work? What a waste of perfectly good Botox... tsk tsk

Gotta run. Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Noah Watching Anoop on AI's Top 11 Show

Wow! Did Anoop rock or what? He was fantastic!! Doesn't he have the most beautiful voice? I'm so glad he was able to showcase that tonight.

I think we recorded an awesome video of Noah watching Anoop tonight. If you've seen his other videos then you'll know exactly what I mean. He is so calm tonight. No shrieking or squealing or spinning in circles. Granted, he's chewing his shirt through the whole performance (his fifth shirt of the day)but he just seems so different tonight.

He's so calm and mesmerized. For most of it, he just sits there with Sim and watches - I mean, really watches - Anoop perform. It's just.. I don't know how to say it, but I'm sure any mom who has a child with autism will understand. Except for the shirt chewing, it just seems so normal.

And what a relief to see Noah watch a living, breathing human being perform... you know, instead of Barney or Elmo or a Baby Einstein puppet.

I'm just on cloud nine tonight. I know it might not make any sense to the rest of you, it's just that I feel... I don't know.. hopeful??? I know that's silly. But you just can't imagine some of the changes that are happening with him.

The best way to describe it is that it seems he's wanting to step out of his world - just a little bit - and kind of see what's in ours. For two minutes every Tuesday night, Noah comes into our world for just a bit. And I love it!

Like I said, it's silly, I know. And maybe you have to have a child with autism to understand.. And, who knows, next week Noah might not even give a flip when Anoop performs. But, tonight, it was kind of magical. For me, at least.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Last night was an exciting night in the O'Noah, O'Elias, and O'Nandini household. After reading The Night Before St. Patrick's Day and O'Sullivan Stew, we tucked them into their warm beds while visions of pots o' gold danced in their heads...

The trap was set
with caution and care
In hopes that a Leprechaun
soon would be there

The bait was gold coins
And a trail of Lucky Charms
With hopes that a Leprechaun
Would soon be in our arms

In the morning, however
We soon realized
That we had been tricked!
Right under our eyes

The chairs were upturned
And tied with string
Gone was the gold
And other shiny things

Wait! What's that?
Our cheering was loud
Could there be a leprechaun
Trapped under our cloud??

Those cheeky leprechauns! They tricked us!
They took our gold
And left gold chocolate in it's place
Well, Eli was sold!

Hey! Look here!
A giant leprechaun hat!
Could a leprechaun be hiding
Underneath THAT?

Aarrgh! Another trick
A Leprechaun toy
Mommy hates these things...
All the batteries and noise!

Would you look at that!
They left a surprise
The little green people WERE here
You know, leprechauns don't lie

Two more on the back door
So jolly and merry
I wish we'd seen a real one
They're not even scary!

Look! On the easel
A message before they left
"Ha! Ha! You can't fool us!"
We're quick and we're deft.

Farewell, O'Children
Never Fear
We'll certainly be back
Slan agat - see you next year!

Wait! There's more
The most amazing thing we've seen
Look closely, can you tell?
The milk has turned... GREEN!


P.S. If you want to make your own green milk, put a drop or two of green food coloring in the bottom of a glass. Let the kids see you pour the white milk straight from the carton and watch it turn green the minute it hits the glass.

Leprechaun magic!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Operation Indian Princess

I've wanted to write about Sarah for a long time now. Honestly, I just didn't know where to start. How do you describe someone is who so completely amazing and has the most beautiful and wonderful and selfless heart? I was afraid I wouldn't do her justice - and I really wanted to write something passionate and eloquent, something that would make all of you go straight to her blog and read about all the wonderful things she's doing for the lives of Indian orphans. But I didn't know what to write, so I kept delaying it... but today she wrote about a fantastic idea, Operation Princess, and I realized that, regardless of whether or not I can do her justice, I HAD to let you all know about her.

Sarah lives in India with her husband and three kids. They run India Christian Ministries, and Sarah "adopts" children from government institutions and places them in various homes that she's set up in her area. We're not talking healthy, robust children here. Sarah has a heart for those who are left behind... those with severe mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, birth defects - those who were never adopted from an orphanage and "aged out" and were put into institutional care.

There's Rachel - who's leg was in a cast for so long - who was never taken of - and who now needs an amputation.

There's little Noah, who has scoliosis, whose hip is out of joint and who has bilateral microphthalmia.

There's Promise - sweet Promise - who most likely laid on her back on a bare floor for the last 14 years. She is blind and has so many health problems that I wouldn't know where to begin. Was she ever held? Did anyone ever wipe her tears and tell her she was beautiful? That she is loved?

Sarah does just that. She takes these kids and see them how Jesus sees them. And she doesn't just put them in homes - she takes care of them. She makes sure that they have access to the best possible resources - OT, PT, Speech Therapy, Special Education - and all the operations they need to help them have a full life. She fights for them. Loves them. Grieves for them. Cares for them. 42 of them. All wonderfully made in the eyes of the Lord.

Today, Sarah started Operation Princess. Her latest three posts are about this new endeavor. You can find Sarah's full blog HERE .

Please read about Operation Princess. If anyone in our area has a dress to donate, please contact me and I'll pick it up. I hope to collect as many dresses as possible so that these wonderful, beautiful girls can feel pretty and special. Because they ARE.

And while you're at it, please look through Sarah's entire blog. It is truly an act of God. You will be amazed.

Nick Vujicic from Life Without Limbs Is On TV Tonight

Just a quick FYI....

You know that button on the my sidebar? The one that says "Life Without Limbs"? Well, the founder, Nick Vujicic (that's him in the picture) will be on T.V. tonight at 8:00pm. Well, that's if you live in our area. It'll be on Channel 58 during the "Hour of Power Show".

If you want to know when it comes on in your area, you can click HERE .

I've never seen this show, so I can't vouch for what it's like, but I have seen Nick Vujicic's videos on YouTube and they are incredibly inspirational.

Just thought I'd share this info for anyone who's listening.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guess Who Sent Noah a Message....

Isn't that amazing??!! I really wish you all could have seen Noah's face when I told him. The smile he gave.... I will never, ever forget it as long as I live. The only way to describe it is by saying it was pure joy. Like brilliant sunshine.

You know, it's really wild how this whole Noah watching Anoop thing has taken on a life of its own. I truly thought that maybe only a handful of people would watch it. You know, Mom, Dad, Aunt Jayne, a few friends. The thing I've learned is that you should never underestimate the power of a fan club! lol

Here's what happened...

Anoop used to be in a fantastic acapella choir at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They're called The Clef Hangers. There are some really great videos of them on Youtube HERE. Well, one of their fans spotted Noah's video and then forwarded the link to them. Then, one of their representatives contacted me and told me that The Clef Hangers would like to send Noah some of their CD's and a DVD performance. THEN, he told me that he forwarded Noah's video link directly to Anoop because he thought Anoop would want to see it.

Soooooo.... Anoop emailed him back and the message was forwarded on to Noah and the rest is history.

One happy little 7-year old boy coming right up!

Anoop was really sweet and wanted Noah to know that he'd seen the videos and that he was really touched by them - and he thanked Noah for being such a fan.

I know he must be really busy, so you can only imagine how in awe we were that he took the time to send a sweet little message to Noah. And, let me tell you, it made his day.

So, keep voting. Unless, of course, you're sick of all the American Idol blog chatter. In that case, you might want to hop on over to my friend Dreama's blog. She'll keep you up-to-date with weekly reviews of Dancing with the Stars. (No pressure, Dreama!)

Anyway, thank you so much Anoop! And a big thanks to The Clefhangers and for their "representative" who orchestrated all this together and the fan who made the initial contact. You two know who you are! ;-) It was completely unexpected but so incredibly appreciated. Noah's on cloud nine.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Noah Watching Anoop and Mindless Rambling

Ah, Noah. You're so unpredictable, aren't you? One minute you're jumping up and down screaming (with joy) and the next minute you're running in circles around the couch. You're causing Mama to do a lot of editing.

I'm afraid none of the videos are ever going to match that first one. But we still know that you're Anoop's #1 fan.

The best part is when Noah goes nuts over Paula (???) and then stops, scratches his head, and walks away when she calls Anoop's performance "karaoke". It might not translate well on the video, but we were dying with laughter over here. I also kindly edited out Eli's little dance fest to Anoop's version of "Beat It". I'm sure I've already worn you out with his Irish jig that I posted over the weekend. lol

Those younger two... I tell ya. SUCH camera hogs.

Will try to write more tomorrow. It's been a long day. Nandi is now in a leg cast for the next 4 weeks. The Botox didn't work, so they're casting her and then will fit her for a brace later on. She also has to sleep in a knee immobilizer.

Nandi + Anything that immobilizes her = Many Sleepless Nights.

Sigh. And did I tell you that I gave up coffee? At the absolute worst moment. My head's gonna explode. And I'm trying to give up sugar, too. AND it's Girl Scout Cookie season. Someone please knock some sense into me. Help me realize the important things in life...

Samoas and Thin Mints.

Oh, and we have a new dog. A big 'ol Mastiff/Lab puppy. Well, he's about 6-9 months old. And we have to let him out all night to pee. It's like having a baby, I tell ya.

Sim found him wandering the parking lot of his work. All alone and looking up at him with those big brown eyes.

We're just a bunch of softies. Really. Somebody stop us.

Needless to say, I'm knackered.

Anyway, be sure to stay tuned for Noah's REALLY BIG NEWS... which involves a certain special someone (ANOOP!) sending him a personal message.

Oh, yeah. The one time I didn't have the video recorder on hand to catch his reaction. Love that Anoop. Such a sweetheart. I may have to start a Cougar Fan Club.


Sort of.

He's really sweet and made Noah's day. I'll try to write about it tomorrow. In the meantime, if you're reading this on Tuesday... get off my blog and VOTE FOR ANOOP. ;-)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

THIS is why we're so exhausted all the time...

Are ya'll sick of all the videos yet?

This was taken last night at the North Texas Irish Festival. Sim and I used to volunteer there when we were first married, but it's been ages since we've been. And, let me tell you, I'm so glad we went! It was just fantastic to do something as a family - the WHOLE family.

The kids are already asking to go back and we're making a list of all the upcoming cultural festivals that we can go to. Let's see... the Ft. Worth Main Street Festival is next month, along with the African Unity Festival. The Dragon Boat Festival is coming up. There's Scarborough Faire (love me some Scarborough Faire! I worked there as a serving wench during high school). The Texas Scottish Festival will be in Arlington in June. Can't forget the big celebration for India's Independence in August. And don't get me started on everything in the Fall... The Tyler Rose Festival, Czech Fest, OktoberFest, GreekFest, WorldFest.

Basically, we love a good festival. I don't care if it's a festival celebrating, oh, I don't know, The Rituals of Worm Mating... if there's corny dogs and funnel cakes - I'm there.

And looks like I'm raising three little young'uns who are following my footsteps. LOL

Anyway, we had loads of fun. Oh, but don't even get me started on Nandi. She tried to strip off her clothes TWICE. I told you she was in training to be a future nudist. Honestly, do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to look over and see your daughter munching on a fried cabbage leaf completely topless?

That's girl's going to be dressed in overalls for the next 10 festivals we go to. (She can't undo the straps - ha!)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Noah Watching Anoop on American Idol's Wildcard Show

Yay!!!!! Anoop made it to the Top 12 - er, I mean Top Thirteen(!) - on American Idol tonight.

For those of you who don't know, Noah is crazy about Anoop. I don't know what it is about him, but Noah loves to watch him sing. We videotaped Noah watching him sing a few weeks ago and Noah loves to watch it play on Youtube. And he looooves watching Youtube videos of Anoop performing with the UNC Clefhangers.

Seriously, when this guy puts out an album, don't you know I'll be the first one in line to buy 1 or 2 or 10 copies.

Anyway, we had our Church LifeGroup tonight and Kim was gracious enough to postpone it until American Idol was over. No hate emails about priorities, 'kay? ;-)

I brought my video camera to see if Noah would react when Anoop sang tonight and he did... a little bit. Granted, he was in a new environment in a room full of people.. and he totally knew I was taping him. He kept getting all camera shy when he would spot me. But I thought I'd play it for you guys anyway. It's not the best tape, but you get a minute's worth of looking at my gorgeous little boy. Can't beat that, can ya?

Oh! I almost forgot. Noah actually said Anoop. Can you believe it? Not on tape, but earlier in the day - and then during the show, Kim and I both swear that we heard him say it again.

I imagine that if I were Anoop Desai, I would be a little weirded out that some strange thirtysomething mother of three is writing about me and taping her son watching me on the TV and then putting it on her blog..... but you have to remember that I'm the mother of a child who has been silent for 6 years. A child who's voice was snuffed out at 15 months old. A child who has very little interest in anything. A little boy who is the light of my life and darn it, if he finds something that he loves, then I'm gonna love it, too.

And I'm gonna write about it.

And you're all probably going to get sick of hearing about it.

But you'll still love us, right?

So, here it is for your viewing pleasure. Not much to look at this time around, but it'll be interesting to see if Noah's reaction progresses as Anoop continues to sing each week.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dino Math for Boys (and Girls) Who Love Dinosaurs

If you've read this blog for any amount of time then you know that my 5 year-old LOVES dinosaurs. In fact, I'm fairly positive that on some days he actually believes that he is a dinosaur.

We're an eclectic bunch.

Anyway, Eli really struggles with math. He has some learning issues and has yet to master recognizing his numbers 1 - 10. If he paces himself and doesn't get too worked up, he can count objects or dice, but has great difficulty actually recognizing numbers.

For example, in his mind, a 2 is a 5. A 4 is an H, a 5 is an S, 7 is an L, and 6 and are d's, b's, and p's. So, we are really, really focusing on recognizing numbers right now.

Here are the some of the ways we're trying to make learning fun for a little boy who is crazy about dinosaurs...

The Dinosaur Hunter Game

Print off numbers HERE. We used pieces (dinosaur footprints and paleontologists - which we call "dinosaur hunters") from an old Monopoly Jr. Diggin' for Dino's game that we found at a garage sale a few summer ago.

Dinosaurs are on the loose! It's up to Eli, the Brave and Noble Dinosaur Hunter to track down all the dinosaurs and save the city....

Eli rolls the dice or draws a card from a stack of flashcards and has to either count the number on the dice or recognize the number on the card. He moves his dinosaur hunter that many spaces (footprints). Each time he gets to "jump" over a dinosaur, it gets captured and he collects it. The goal is for the dinosaur hunter to track down all the footprints and get all the dinosaurs - just in the nick of time, of course.

It's a one man game and allows Eli to work on counting and number recognition.

Terry the Hungry Triceratops

Okay, believe it or not, this IS a Triceratops. I just happened to have some gorgeous purple felt that I wanted to use... but I guess I should've stuck with greens and browns. Anyway, you can find a triceratops template and leafs HERE. We used an old pasta box and covered it with felt and then made some impromptu arms to go with it.

Grrrrrrowl! Can you hear that? Terry the Triceratops is hungry. Can you help him find how many leaves he needs to eat until his tummy stops growling?

Basically, Eli uses his dice or his flashcards to determine how many leaves he gets to feed Terry the Triceratops. It works on his counting and number recognition skills and he has a blast pulling the leaves off the tree and feeding them to the dinosaur.

Oh, the tree is made out of a cereal box and we used velcro circles to attach the leaves to the tree limbs. We usually tack the tree to the wall when we play this game.

Stegosaurus Marble Fun

We found these stegosaurus bath thingies at the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago. They come 6 to pack for 99 cents. They're those things that you put in the bottom of the tub so you won't slip. Anyway, when you turn them over, they have about 20 little suction cups that are perfect for holding marbles. I saw a similar version on a blog using a teddy bear, but can't remember which one.

Eli rolls his dice or picks from his flashcards to get the amount of marbles that he has to transfer to the Stegosaurus. He works on his fine motor skills by picking up the marbles with a tong. It's a really good game for working on math, coordination, and concentration.

Dinosaur Number Flashcards

These are some of the flashcards that we use. You can find them at Kiddsoup, but it's subscription only, so I can't provide the exact link. I will say, though, that if you have preschoolers or kids in early elementary grades, I would highly recommend this site. It's only about $25 a year - definitely worth it!

Clothespin Stegosaurus

We originally did this as an easy craft idea found at No Time for Flash Cards, but quickly realized that we could turn it into a math game.

Poor Sam the Stegosaurus! He just woke up and has no idea what to wear. Should he wear 5 plates today? 8? 13? Will you help Sam put on his dinosaur armor today?

Eli rolls the dice (or picks a flashcard) and determines how many plates Sam will be wearing that day.

Good for counting and number recognition skills - and the clothespins are great for coordination and fine motor skills. And don't forget about the actual craft. Perfect for those kids with sensory issues who can't stand to get their hands messy. Well, okay, not really perfect, but gives them opportunities to get messy - which Eli needs.

Counting the Dinosaur Eggs

Very simple game that works on counting, number recognition, and fine motor skills. Pretty much self-explanatory. Count the eggs and put a clothespin on the number that correlates with the eggs. Templates can be found HERE.

Dinosaur Puzzle Math

I snagged this idea from Lakeshore Learning. Couldn't justify paying $15 for 3 puzzles when knew I could make my own. We have a ton of Dinosaur magazines that we bought at a garage sale last summer and we've been cutting them up, numbering them at the bottom, and laminating them. Eli has to be able to recognize his numbers in order to put together the puzzle.

The above puzzle is only numbered to 6, but you can number them anyway. For ex: if you're working on recognizing numbers 30 - 39, you could just start with that.

Dinosaur Bingo

Using the dinosaur footprints from the Monopoly Jr game, we printed off these bingo cards at Kidssoup.

Dinosaur Counting Cards

The picture explains it all. We just made up a grid showing 1 - 6 (7 - 12) are on the back side and Eli has to put the correct amount of dinosaur footprints on each spot. Sounds easy, but counting (specifically, not rushing to get it over with and therefore getting frustrated) is hard for Eli, so we practice with this a lot.

Eli's Favorite Game: Swedish Fish Dinosaurs

If you have a dinosaur lover, run to Walmart ASAP and buy these Easter dinosaur eggs for your little one. They're about $4.88 for 15 and you can throw the candy away that's inside (or save it for your secret Momma stash, like I did.)

We put little round stickers on each dinosaur head and numbered them 1 -10. Three of the eggs have one Swedish Fish gummy inside. We shuffle the cards, face them down and Eli turns over one card at a time. He has to recognize the number and then find the corresponding egg. Once he finds it, he opens it to see if there's a Swedish Fish in it.

There's no winning or losing. We just do it over and over to work on number recognition. Seriously, people, he has a MAJOR hard time with numbers. Either that, or he's playing me because he knows this is the only way I'll let him eat Swedish Fish! ha!

Hope some of these games will inspire lots of math learning for your little dinosaur lover. It certainly works for us!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Crafts, Dr. Seuss, and Losing My Groove....

Sorry, ya'll. I've been in a major blogging funk lately. I seem to have lost my mojo and don't know where it is. Oh wait. Yes, I do... K-I-D-S.

I've been spending a lot of time lately just spending time with them. Which is really how it should be, right? But I am one of those people who has a one-track mind. When I focus all of my attention on one thing, everything else gets left behind. Oh, you should see the state of my house...

We've been doing a ton of crafty things. Sim swears I'm making a ton of memories, but sometimes I think I'm just making a ton of mess. But you know that old saying... "How do you spell love? T-I-M-E".

I am thinking that I should be scrapbooking all of this, though. Anyone know anything about digital scrapbooking? I need a serious tutorial. Shara?

Anyway, we are currently doing monthly themes. This month we are doing Ireland and conveniently studying St. Patrick's Day and doing a load of crafts. I'll try to post about them later. I'm hoping to do our first lapbook ever. We found some good ideas on free lapbooks HERE. The one I've linked to is on St. Paddy's Day.. just remember that it's preschool based. I don't want any of our Irish friends (or Northern Irish friends... Barbara!) thinking that we Americans do immature school work. ;-) Oh, and I hope to include a scrapbook page that showcases all the crafts we're doing.

*Note: I just realized the link only takes you to the main page. Click on Lapbooks, then Free Lapbooks, then Master List. Scroll down to "That's What Leprechauns Do" and you'll see it.

On a different note, the kids celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday yesterday by making Cat in the Hat hats and the little flower with a speck of dust on it from Horton Hears a Who. We finished the evening by eating a plate of green eggs and ham, reading some books, and watching Horton.

And, yes, I did use green food coloring on the eggs. I know, I know. The horror of it all.

And guess what? Today I get to hang out with Christine! And Amy! Together! At the same place!

Now THAT is gonna be some fun!

May have to squeeze it around a doctor's appt for Nandini because her leg is hurting her after her injections :( but I'll definitely be there.

Okay, that's it. I promise to do my Dino Math post for WWFM tomorrow. I'm really excited about it. Eli is really struggling just to recognize his numbers 1 - 10, but he is so trying. And begs to do one game all the time... so I know he'll get there. Until tomorrow, here are some of the pics from yesterday's festivities...

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life's realities.” Dr. Seuss

"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

“If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

"I do not like green eggs and ham I do not like them sam I am.”

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”

"A person's a person no matter how small."