Friday, November 28, 2008

Dear had a nice Thanksgiving Day....

We had a very nice dinner with the family (you had warmed up Domino's Pizza....nothing else).  You really enjoyed playing with your cousin Audrey!


Later in the afternoon we decided to go see your grandpa L in the Audrey and her mom rode down with us too!


Your grandpa was really happy someone came to visit him on Thanksgiving Day! 

I did notice before the day was over you started to get that glazed look you get when you are over is like you are there.....yet not.



can anyone else notice it?  You seem distant.....eyes look odd.....very tired.....serious......almost like your head hurts.....


not really alert or present in the moment.....


you laid on the floor in this position and interacted with the cat for awhile....



We had a good did very well and I don't believe you had any "moments".....though at the end of the day you did not want to go home.  That is understandable. 


Monday you will resume school......and we are both excited about that!

I love you Noah......hoping today you won't have too much of a walking zombie recovery day.....but if you need need it and take it.




Thursday, November 27, 2008

thinking of you grandpa ...on this early Thanksgiving morning...

My grandfather, Noah's great grandfather passed away early on Thanksgiving morning about 5 years ago. As the day begins I cannot help but think about him and grandma too...this picture was taken on November 10, I believe the same year he passed away....or it may have been a year prior. BUT I believe it was the same at that time he was still able to get around on his own a bit....but the few days before Thanksgiving he had a few spells and he was then no longer able to move around on his own. His heart was in bad shape but grandma kept grandpa at home and took care of him for as long as she could. They also thought he had Alzheimer's.

On Wednesday afternoon prior to Thanksgiving Thursday they finally had to take him to a nursing home...he did not even make it for 24 hours. Early in the wee hours the next morning he passed on. I know grandma felt horrible about having to put him in a nursing home but she could no longer care for him at their home. I know he did not want to be there either. I mean who does really?

BUT I remember happier days and times......and how mischievous he was his entire life.

Gone from this earth but not forgotten......we're thinking of you this morning grandpa C.

We love you!

Melinda and Noah

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
—Psalm 50:23

Tomorrow when you sit down at your dinner table with your family and friends...what will you give thanks for? WHO will you think of or remember to pray for? Who will you forget? How do your priorities line up in your life? So many things to contemplate on a day such as Thanksgiving.

I ask that we all remember those who are serving our country....

those little lives who survived abortions and prematurity as well as those who did not....

those who still lack and want when we have such abundance....those who are neglected and abused....discarded.......forgotten.....

Noah and I talked about what we were thankful for. I told him I was thankful for God and for him...for our family and loved ones...those special to us....for all the blessings God has provided us birds and animals that come up in our backyard to enjoy every many wonderful things.

Noah looked at me and said "I am thankful for love and my guardian and that would be you!" and he came over and gave me a big kiss and hug. When I told him he was so sweet....he so politely said back to me "thank you!"

He went on to say he was thankful also for his dad....and for family...and God....and then he said he was thankful for PIZZA, and old-fashioned urinals. Yes...that's my Noah....what he is thankful for are many things none of us would ever think of.

My dad is currently in the hospital and I am thankful things are being done for him ...and prayers are being said for him and my family.

I am thankful for all my blogging buddies and friends I have met all over the world via the internet. Just think about all the lives we touch or can make an impact on....and those who have impacted our own.

Yes I become very reflective this time of year...and maybe sentimental....but I am also so thankful for so very much. AND I ask that we all try to remember those less fortunate than ourselves.....because there are many.

Noah and I wish you a wonderful blessed holiday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dear Noah......Ohio Virtual Academy....

well...I have not been too impressed yet with the way they handle (or don't handle) your enrollment and getting you registered to access their online school. I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and think that with all the kids registering.....going into a holiday..etc....things might get overlooked. BUT you know what? Things regarding YOU get overlooked a lot and I am not going to put up with it from anyone any further! That is NO excuse...each child's needs ...need to be addressed and not written down on paper and the paper shuffled underneath a stack of other papers....all to be overlooked.

YOU were "officially enrolled" as of November 19th.....but we still have NO access to the online school because someone DROPPED THE BALL again and did not APPROVE you. They have dropped the ball twice so far....first when they failed to have the intervention specialist contact us to rewrite the IEP...which delayed you getting approved. NOW this....not following through on all ends with that information to get you "officially approved" so you could access online school stuff.

This ticks me off....but I am trying to look past these errors and focus on the bigger goals and hoping and praying this will all work out well in the end.

Time will tell. Meanwhile we will do a few things on our own.....still....but if the ball gets dropped again I would be very tempted to just homeschool you entirely on my own then again or find another school source for you. The problem is this can all eat up precious time.

We cleaned up your bedroom last night. You have such a small room and a QUEEN sized bed in there which takes up a lot of we don't have much to work with. I figured we could get in there and reorganize and sweep and dust and we did and it looks so MUCH better!

Today since it is raining outside anyway I will finish reorganizing my office and getting things cleaned off my desk and set up for your school desk..etc. I can only do so much with limited space......NOT enough shelves......or storage. BUT I think we can make it functional. I like living here but am already thinking we may have to find another place to move to come early the rent here is getting too high and to be honest for what I am paying it could be a house payment on a larger house with more space and storage. SO I may have to do something by then...not sure. SO I hesitate to unpack all the boxes I could....because why. I would just have to pack them back up....and find some place to cram the stuff now which we really don't have.

Well...lots to do on this end so I better get to it!

I love you Noah Wesley!


REQUEST for our Gingerbread cookie recipe (s)......

I just made and baked another 6 dozen PLUS gingerbread cookies yesterday for Noah. They have become a staple of food choices for him. We used the Pillsbury gingerbread cookie dough in rolls this time.....

Well I have a homemade recipe I will share....but if you want the homemade taste MINUS all the fuss....head to your grocery store's refrigerator section and look for Pillsbury Gingerbread cookie dough in about DELICIOUS, quick, easy.....they taste EXACTLY like homemade and out of the giant roll I get over 6 DOZEN cookies! SO that is the quick, easy way we make gingerbread cookies these days......but when we are out of the rolls of dough.....Noah WILL eat my homemade gingerbread cookie recipe which follows here....

OH...we always bake our cookies at 345 degree oven.....and only for a few minute so they are nice and SOFT cookies. If you want crisper cookies cook them at a higher oven temperature and for a bit longer. I take mine out of the oven as soon as they start to puff up a bit but are not yet done in the middle. Then I let them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes which means they finish baking but do not get too brown. Topped with icing it almost reminds you of gingerbread CAKE instead of a cookie! YUMMY!


Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter (I use salted)
1 cup dark-brown sugar, packed (I use light brown sugar)
2 large eggs
1 cup molasses
6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cloves (you can add less on any spices you choose or more)
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper (add more or reduce to your taste)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
Raisins, dragées, and/or red hot candies, sprinkles, sugar for decoration (optional)

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Divide dough into thirds and wrap each third in plastic wrap. Chill for about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick between two pieces of waxed paper. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer shapes to ungreased cookie sheets. If desired, decorate with raisins, dragées, and/or red hot candies. Refrigerate about 15 minutes. Bake for 8-10 minutes (WE NEVER BAKE OURS THIS LONG...MORE LIKE 5-6 minutes for ours!)or until crisp but not dark. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. If desired, decorate with icing.

Note: If you are going to use the cookies for decorations, make a hole for the cord or hook by poking the cookies with a toothpick or skewer as soon as they come out of the oven.

Source: Based on a recipe from Martha Stewart. I just toned down the black pepper a little bit. Martha uses 1 teaspoon of black pepper but we found it was a little bit too much for kids. Some kids, however, really prefer Martha's original, so to each his own! If you'd like to kick it up, add the whole teaspoon of black pepper.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Homemade turkey pot pie........mmmmmm.......mmmmmmm.......good!

I had some leftover turkey that I needed to use up so I decided to find a recipe for homemade turkey pot pie and make one today. This recipe is soooooo delicious and all made from scratch so I wanted to share it now BEFORE Thanksgiving and leftover time!


  • 1 recipe pastry for a (10 inch) double crust pie
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1cube chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup of turkey drippings/broth/stock
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out bottom pie crust, press into a 10 inch pie pan, and set aside.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion, celery, carrots, parsley, and salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the bouillon/broth and water. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in the potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the turkey and flour. Add the milk, and heat through. Stir the turkey mixture into the vegetable mixture, and cook until thickened. Cool slightly, then pour mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Roll out the top crust, and place on top of filling. Flute edges, and make 4 slits in the top crust to let out steam.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.








Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dear Noah.....we had our first IEP meeting with Ohio Virtual Academy.....

and it went very well. Talk about ZERO stress level.......that was worth it right there!

YOU are officially ENROLLED now in OVA and we will begin our studies. It is going to be a lot like homeschooling actually....just with the benefit of official documentation of things and materials and supplies and help when needed. Cannot beat that!

YOU my little munchkin are doing very well here at home. You have been so very very different than you were while still in public school! MUCH calmer....more polite and HAPPY! You are smiling all the time......and want to be with me more now. I think these are all HUGE indications we made the right choice for you for the rest of this year at least!

Today it is snowing. I had a sleepover in YOUR room because you wanted me to....but I slept I am super tired today. I think I got about 3 hours of I am going to take a nap!

LOVE YOU LOTS my little man!


DANIELLE! The QCHARMS are scheduled to be picked up by the mailman tomorrow! It is being sent PRIORITY mail so you should hopefully get it by SATURDAY I would think....latest should be MONDAY!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

AND THE WINNER of the QCHARM give-a-way is...........

Danielle from Indiana! I will send you an email to find out where you would like me to mail it to you. I hope this works out well for your daughter!

Around here we have been busy. It has been snowing off and on...and has been super cold outside. I was informed today that because Noah was still not "officially" enrolled at Ohio Virtual Academy yet he somehow is still on the role count at his prior school....and this means he could be considered TRUANT. After a lot of nonsense I finally got that all worked out...and we OVA and I rewrite his IEP tomorrow. We worked on it today...the rough draft should be here for me to preview yet tonight. I spoke with his new intervention specialist on the phone today. Even though she is new and does not really understand all she is doing yet she seems eager. She apologized for not calling me back immediately after they received all the paperwork for Noah from the school and myself.

Anyway.....we have continued to work on only minimal things here. SO Noah is enjoying his free time he does have right now when he has it.

Not much else going on. I think that is actually a good thing for once.

I love you Noah!


Friday, November 14, 2008

GIVE-A-WAY!!!! QCHARM........portable visual cuing system for children with autism....

Now, QCHARM, LLC offers an exclusive charm line that uses icons to represent activities, daily items and rewards (just for starters). They use a yellow wristband to support activity/schedule charms and a green band to support positive reinforcement stars. For those who prefer not to wear a wrist band, they offer a key chain version of the band.

QCHARMS offers a fashionable and functional system to assist in connecting with a child who has Autism. If we provide these special children with what they need, we will not limit their ability to express their needs, to prepare for task transition, to anticipate rewards, to learn cause and effect, and to connect with others in their own way.

Some time back I was given a SAMPLE kit from QCHARM to use with Noah...but by the time I got it Noah had already progressed to using PECS and larger visual cues....and he did not want to wear the bracelet or the keychain that is used with the QCHARM system.

I have had it ever since....tucked neatly away.....saving it for what I am not sure. I realize by doing this I have prevented some other child from getting perhaps some much needed help they could not otherwise afford.

SO......since this is the season for GIVING.....I am going to PAY IT FORWARD.....and GIVE this to a reader with a child who could really use this system. To read more about the system go to their website here:


MEANWHILE....anyone interested in having a chance to WIN this gift please leave a comment. I will accept comments for entering this GIVE-A-WAY till MONDAY night at midnight.....November 17, 2008. Then Tuesday we will take all the entries and print onto paper....cut them up and fold them...and I will let Noah draw a winner. I will announce the winner here on Tuesday and then the winner will need to email me with a shipping address so I can ship it to them.

So.....go check out their about it....check it out. If you think it is something your child could use.....leave me a comment!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dear seem much happier since I withdrew you from public school...

and you are slowly and surely reverting back to a very lovable little boy....who actually wants to spend time with me now and enjoys doing things with me more and more. This is not to say you still do not require a lot of alone time. I get that....but removing the "pressures" from public school has done a lot for you already and I am so thankful I did it. You smile so much respond so much more quickly. When you do have a "moment" I am there now to CORRECT you and GUIDE you through it right then not hours later.

We did run a couple of errands yesterday to get you your supply of Domino's Pizza and we stopped at a bulk food store to get some Christmas Cookie sprinkles for all those hundreds of gingerbread cookies we will be making!

In could not wait to get back home to make a batch of Christmas gingerbread cookies. I have to admit they are fun to make and soooo yummy!




You have come up and given me more hugs this past week or so I think than ever!  You come to check on me in my office when I am still working just to say hi and give me a hug....things you never did before.  You just interact more with me which is how you were in Colorado when I home-schooled you.....and you thrived.   So I am thankful...thankful for so very much.

Oh...and I love very much......did I say I love you?  Cause I do  you know.....I love you Noah the moon and back again.....forever and ever and ever I will.



Saturday, November 08, 2008

Dear Noah....we have had a busy week!

Monday since I was off work we went to the Cracker Barrel for of your favorite places. You were hungry and got a bowl of pancake with butter and syrup and 2 slices of bacon! PLUS MILK!

After our stop there we went to a nearby park where we saw some gorgeous fall leaves on the trees and an ALBINO SQUIRREL! You liked swinging on the swings and playing but took your shoes off and I am sure all the leaf dust is what made you start sneezing later!


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Then we had to come back home to get papers to take to Staples to make copies to send to your new school. All your paperwork has now been received and you have taken the placement tests....we just have to wait on a call from the special ed teacher to re-write your IEP and have teachers assigned to help us out when needed and we can get started! Meanwhile we have continued working on some things on our own here at home.

Then we drove to Richmond, Indiana and ate at the best Fazoli's restaurant ever! The atmosphere was so wonderful had 3 rooms for eating...the largest being darker and having a big fake tree with white lights all over it in the center of the room. I chose sitting in that room (though you wanted to sit right beside the bathroom!) We had excellent food and will be going back.

THEN we drove to Warm Glow Candle outlet to check out all their Christmas stuff. We love going there. Here are a few pictures from that.




OH and last night we went to Krogers to get cereal to make you party mix for snacking and they had your favorite Pillsbury create and bake refrigerated rolls of GINGERBREAD cookie dough and they now have CHUBS of the dough....2 POUNDS for less than what we paid for the 1-lb rolls in the past.  They are HUGE rolls of cookie dough....I love them. I just wanted to grab them all and take them home and bake them all up!  They have gingerbread and sugar cookie and peanut butter.....with a new way to open from the side seal now instead of having to cut the ends of the tube off.  CAN WE SAY YUM!!  AND 2 for 5.00 is so cheap for these! 


You also wrote your parapro from your former school a very nice letter which I will post about next week. AND a remark from you that I felt was noteworthy was last night when you came to me and said "I just pooped a log!" yeah.....that's my Noah! Job well done! haha



Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dear Noah.......I am finding out what I thought was the case IS the case......

I suspected last year you along with the rest of your class were not taught everything you needed to be taught. Especially in math. I expressed concerns about this to the staff and at your IEP meeting. The assured me you were doing well and gave test scores to show it. They said the same thing about your peers. However....I was concerned you and your class were not yet learning multiplication or division as it was on the LIST of things to learn in 3rd grade....and they kept giving one excuse or another for reasons you and the class would learn it "eventually"...but they were running out of time that year to do it.....or maybe we should just do it here at home (which I had already worked with you on some but figured since you were now attending school they were to teach you so I backed off from it a bit.

Big mistake.

Since enrolling you in the Ohio Virtual Academy and having you take their placement tests......I have found out you were required and should have been taught multiplication and division in THIRD GRADE! You did not do well on those portions of the 4th grade test because had only just touched the surface of multiplication before the school year was out last year and to date you had not yet even touched it in 4th grade! WHAT are they waiting on??? Same for the rest of your class. Same for cursive handwriting (which I remember learning back in first grade!)

I have been very upset about the way the school has failed you and your peers. I used to complain to them about dumbing down their curriculum......and just allowing you and others to GET BY. HOW long would this have gone on? How many years in a row would they have just passed you and your peers on through to the next grade making the next teacher responsible for playing catch up and teaching you and your peers all the things the former grade's teacher did not?

I don't get that. I know it happens. I was stunned to verify this as fact today.

There is no way I could ever re-enroll you in THIS district's school knowing this. I never felt confident you were being taught all you COULD be taught....and now I have proof it was not happening. And worse.....I was told by that staff that you had been taught all you needed to be taught during the 3rd grade. You and your peers were cheated as I suspected. I can only imagine all you could have learned and been taught if in the correct environment or even just here at home with me again as your teacher.

Now I know why the teachers did not like me checking on what they were (or were not) doing!

So we will press forward. We are already working on some things for school here at home. I have to get this room reorganized still....working full time and getting all the enrollment process finished up leaves me little time to do it...but it will happen. Meanwhile we are working on things to slowly prepare you for a routine here at home.

I will pray for God to give me the strength and wisdom to help you learn all you can and for you to be receptive! Here is to a great 4th grade year Noah!!

I love you!