Tales of the Toot

'Cuz special needs kids need special mamas!

Product Review-So Smart! Award Winning DVD’s for Children January 20, 2010


It was an exciting day at our house when we checked the mailbox to find 2 new DVD’s from the So Smart! Collection waiting for my our review. Aiden was ready and willing to be my little guinea pig for this project and promptly exclaimed “New movies for me! Can I watch them, mama?” So off to the DVD player they went.

We first watched “House” from the Babies First-Word Stories series. This series is created for toddlers, aged 1-3,  who are working on language development. “House” is aimed at children 1+ and introduces your child to words and names of objects found in your home as well as sounds the objects make and uses of the objects.

Although, Aiden knew most of the words covered in this particular video, he still enjoyed interacting with the characters/narrator as they would urge the children to recall the names of the items found in the home or playing hide-and-seek with the characters.

I loved the way this video encouraged interaction and not just mind-numbing vegetation in front of the TV! From calling out names of objects as they appeared on-screen to finding where Dee-Dee was hiding in the house, my little man was encouraged to be an active participant in learning as he watched.

Our second selection from So Smart is from the King Otis and the Kingdom of Goode series and is called “Lollybird’s Tale of Being Different.” This was a wonderfully imaginative story that teaches a valuable, universal lesson – it’s okay to be different! It is geared for children 3+.

Aiden (and myself!) loved the music in this story and followed along intently asking me questions about the story-line. This is a great DVD to sit and watch with your younger children so that you can engage in dialogue about what it means to be different.

Both DVDs are PC and MAC compatible and include bonus activities such as: printable activity sheets, music videos and on-screen tutorials.

Overall, I am impressed with the content of both So Smart! selections. They were both educational, entertaining and age-appropriate. It is obvious why the So Smart! Series is the winner of over 30 National Parenting Awards. If you are looking for quality, educational entertainment for your children, I would encourage you to consider the So Smart Series. These videos are a great educational tool and an investment into your child’s learning.

You can find more information and order your So Smart! DVDs by clicking here.

The DVDs reviewed in this post were provided by So Smart in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation has been given.


The Wisdom of Yo Gabba Gabba, eh maybe… January 18, 2010

Filed under: family — christycross77 @ 6:08 pm
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Listening to Yo Gabba Gabba in the background today (and most days). Today’s theme is all about dreams-something that I’ve thought alot about lately. It seems “dreams” are the subject matter everywhere I look! I even wrote a blog post last week about dreaming for your kids. In church, we are going through a series called “Ignite” and it’s all about finding and pursuing your dream and God’s purpose for your life. I’m beginning to think the man upstairs is trying to tell me something 🙂 .

In church last week, we learned that by the time most of us are young children we have a dream, a God-given dream, of what we want to do….fewer and fewer of us can name that dream as we get into our teenage years, and by the time we are adults only about 5-6% of us can identify our “dream”. Wow, I wonder why that is?

As we age and get “smarter, more realistic, grown-up” do we just give up on our dreams? Are we smart enough to know that they were just silly dreams? Or are we leaving the “child-likefaith that we need to instead pursue monotonous jobs and tasks that are what we “should” be doing?

If God has formed each and every one of us with a purpose in mind, how do we go about finding that purpose? How do we get back to our 5-year-old hearts and minds? The ones that weren’t afraid of failure or expectation. The ones that didn’t even know that failure was an option.

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but wanted to put this out there for your thoughts, your perspective. Please share with me.

As for me, I recently (accidently) began doing something that was always my dream as a child. From the time I was a very young child until around my teen years I said, “I’m going to be a writer when I grow up!” Through this space and through www.travelingmom.com I have started pursuing that dream again.

Jeez, I was so smart when I was 5…


When Your Nightmare Becomes Your Reality January 13, 2010

Dramatic title, huh? Maybe not- if it’s YOUR truth. As moms, we hope, dream, wish, and pray for nothing but health and happiness for our kids. From the time they are in the womb we are dreaming big for them. We are tenacious in our love, and fierce in our instinct to protect them at all costs. Is it any wonder that we are then shattered when we are told they are sick? Can we help but feel that there is no hope for all the dreams we had for them?

Let me tell you something, mama. Don’t stop dreaming.

When my sweet little boy was diagnosed with an ultra-rare disorder, I felt robbed. Robbed of the ability to kiss all the boo-boos away; robbed of a “normal” life for him and for me; robbed of the dreams that I had for my little boy. I cannot tell you how many nights I literally lay on the floor in his room, sobbing and praying and asking “Why?” And then I realized…

If I stop dreaming for him…I am robbing him….I am robbing myself. So, I looked around at the blessings, the joys, the wonders of all that he is. And, I thanked God for every good day we had and made plans to have as many of those good days as possible.

It’s not easy having a child with special needs. We don’t fall into the “normal” category, but we make it work. We’re okay with being “special”.  Today, I dream of a cure, a holiday season without a hospitalization, a transplant and a life without a dialysis machine. In the meantime: we take family trips, we play, we LIVE and we DREAM.

We have vowed to make everyday count. We will not let this disease define our family, our son, or how we live – and we will never stop dreaming.


3 people you meet in the hospital… January 7, 2010

We have spent way more than our fair share of time in the hospital over the past 2 years. Although living in the hospital is NOT my preference, it has allowed us to encounter some of the most wonderful people. Here are the 3 people you meet in the hospital.

1) The Angel — aka the nurse. This is not any or every nurse, but the one who reaches out to you. The one who loves and takes care of your child as if they were his/her own. The one that cares not only for your child, but for you. Some of the wisest words ever spoken to me were from the mouths of these angels. They are truly heaven-sent and I thank God for them. (We love you Grandma A and Debbie!)

2) The Other Mother – This is the one that has been there as long (or longer) than you. The one who REALLY knows what it’s like to live with a sick child…the one that you can hear say “Just trust God” and believe that they know what they are talking about. The only one that can get away with telling you “It will be okay”…because they know it will be okay, they have been there, they are there and they are invaluable as a source of inspiration and comfort. (Much love to you, Heidi!)

3)The Dr – I pray that you are as fortunate as we have been. We are blessed to have been surrounded by doctors who not only are excellent at what they do, but have a real heart and love for the kids they treat. Our doctors have been encouraging while remaining honest; have never given us false hope but have never given up and have laughed and cried with us. They love Aiden, they love what they do…and it shows. (Many thanks to the ICU staff of Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas, the surgeons and the ARCH group…and of course Dr. Q )

If we have learned anything, it is that God is always present. On days when I just couldn’t quite feel his presence and didn’t quite know what to say God always had someone ready to minister to me in the way that I needed. I thank Him for that and feel so very blessed to call the “people you meet in the hospital” friends and family.


Accidently Green… January 6, 2010

Filed under: family,going green — christycross77 @ 1:29 pm

Ah, as I sit here in my Texas home today, where we are in the midst of our coldest winter temps in years, I cannot help but think of global warming.  (snicker) But seriously, whether I agree with Al Gore or not, whether I believe that we are daily destroying our planet with hairspray and the like…I have gone green, sort of.

Shortly before Christmas, I traded in my beloved 4×4 V8 truck (yes, I am from Texas thank you very much) for a compact 2010 Ford Escape. Not only does it use far less gas, it is also about 1000 times easier to park! And the purchase of it has stimulated my economy at home by reducing our payment about $250 per month and greatly reducing our gas cost! It’s not easy being green and helping out the economy and all…but I’ll take one for the team 😉

We have also recently started recycling our aluminum cans. Doesn’t seem like much, but hey, it’s the little things, right?

Next week maybe I’ll work on actually turning the water off while brushing my teeth….


Putting Your Love of Reading to Good Use!! January 3, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — christycross77 @ 1:25 pm
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I have become a Book Review Blogger!

I am so very excited about this. Those of you who know anything about this sassy mama know that I read like CRAZY and I’m also a wee bit opinionated (hold your comments!) So I decided, “Hey, why not?!”

I will be reviewing Christian Books for Thomas Nelson beginning this month! I already have my first selection in hand and am ready to get started!! Please sign up as a subscriber to my blog for new updates!

For more info you can click on my big blue Thomas Nelson button or contact me!!


What will you do differently in 2010? January 1, 2010

Filed under: family,home — christycross77 @ 12:30 pm
Tags: , ,

Each year brings new lessons, new challenges and new victories…as we say good-bye to 2009 and look toward the new year, what are some things that you will do differently this year?

Here are a few of mine:

1 – Seek Him. There is nothing that changes your life more profoundly than consistently seeking God. This year I will be studying his Word more and devoting more time specifically to seeking Him.

2- Be Still. This is a biggie for me. It is so hard to take time to just “Be Still” — I truly believe it is in these quiet, still moments that God is able to speak volumes to us.

3- Serve. Giving myself. Actually using what God gave me! What a concept!

Your turn! ……