Friday, October 30, 2009

Beautiful Christmas Cards For A Great Cause

Aren't these cards adorable?! Gateway-Longview's Christmas card campaign "Gateway Greetings" is in full swing and the cards above are available for purchase with all the proceeds to benefit the at-risk children in their programs.

Gateway-Longview, in Buffalo, NY, is one of the largest not-for-profit, child and family service agencies in Western New York that provides care, counseling and support to over 850 at-risk children, youth and their families in our community. The agency was founded in 1890 and provides community support through programs such as foster care, adoption, therapeutic education services, residential programs and therapeutic visitation.

Won't you consider buying one or more packs to help them out? Why spend the money at the big stores when you can buy these cards knowing the money will help kids in need? You can place an order by following THIS LINK.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cross Post From My Other Blog, About Tallen's Birthday

Were it not for my sense of humor, I probably would have cried myself to sleep last night...

1. For months, whenever someone mentioned that Tallen would would be turning six soon, he would either go into an hour long crying session or turn really pale and look almost frightened and then walk away without a word. I held out hope that, once the big day actually arrived, he would get so engrossed in the festivities that he would forget his fears about turning six.

2.For the past week, he has been telling me that Tuesday would just be a normal day, no birthday. So I had scaled back any plans for a large party. I had reduced the guest list to just my husband and me, his sisters, and his favorite aunt. I still had plans to make him a cake that looked like a hamburger, as he Googles pictures of them all the time. I called and reminded everyone that that shouldn't make any references to him about a birthday or turning six. I also reminded them not to sing happy birthday at the "No Birthday" party, so they wouldn't set him off. He hates that song at anyone's birthday party and covers his ears and cries.

3. On Monday, I had Renni sneak over the Play-Doh Burger Factory that I had bought for Tallen. He had talked and talked about this thing for days. I decided to give it to him a day early and make no mention of it being a present. Hubs hid it under his jacket and called Tallen into the room. He gave him the bag and, when Tallen peeked inside, he was speechless. He took it straight to his room, read the instructions, and assembled it quickly. I had to giggle about the fact that he can actually read instructions.

He was so precious! When I walked into his room, he said, "Welcome to my burger restaurant!" Then he pointed to the empty box, that had been tossed to the floor in his haste, and asked, "Who got this for me?" I said, " Daddy and I did." He said, "But it not a birthday present, right? It's just an everyday present." I nodded and said, "Exactly."

He played and played and played with the burger factory. Each of us pretending to be his customers. He had to order Ross out of his restaurant, as she insisted on trying to eat the burgers! LOL I have to tell you, it was 3 A.M. before he actually stopped playing with it. I thought I would die, when I walked into his room. It looked like Walt Disney had barfed in there! Little colorful pieces of Play-Doh were scattered about. He sat staring at the mess, exhausted. I nearly peed my pants laughing, when he turned his tired little face to me and said, " Mama, I was just kidding about wanting the Play-Doh burger factory. I really wanted the Play-Doh Spaghetti Factory! You need to box this back up and give it back to Wal-mart."

4. Yesterday morning, Tallen awoke and made his way into the kitchen, where I was busy making last minute preparations. Like removing crayon marks from the picture window, fingerprints from the microwave, and mopping the floor. "Would you like some sausage, eggs, and gravy?" I asked. I had made his favorite breakfast earlier and had it waiting for him. "Yes!", he said, eyes sparkling. As he sat there eating, looking so happy, my hopes were lifted. I took a deep breath, "Happy Birthday! You're six years old today!"

His face went pale and he dropped his fork to his plate. "No!" He jumped up, placed his hands over his ears, and started running back and forth across the kitchen. He acted like I had played some evil trick on him. "Why are you cleaning the floor?!" Because it is filthy, Tallen." He realized that all this hurried cleaning probably meant a party. "I like the floor dirty!" He knocked his plate to the floor. Percy was thrilled by this and happily ran over to eat Tallen's breakfast.

"I want everything back like it was! This day is over! I am not six years old! I am five years old!" He was sobbing real tears. it was heartbreaking to see him so upset and almost frightened. "Tallen, why don't you want to turn six. Lot's of kids are perfectly happy being six years old. Now you are old enough to ride a bigger bike and go hunting with Daddy." I had bent down on one knee, so I could look him in the eyes. I had my hand on his arm, trying to soothe him. "They are not happy! Now, no more questions!" He pulled away from me and stomped out of the room.

5. The "new" plan was that I would just make a simple sheet cake with no writing or candles. Renni would bring over pizzas and ice cream. She would give him the bike that she had bought him. Later, Tallen would go "hunting" with his dad. Hubs had arranged to have a friend go with him, to help wrangle Tallen. They would take the dogs in the woods and let Tallen see a coon up in a tree.

6. Tallen had calmed down a bit, when Cina and Selly came in from school. Before I could warn her, Cina shouted out, "Happy Birthday, Tallen! I brought you a present!" She held up a honey bun that she had gotten from the snack machine at school. Even though he loves these, he ran away, crying that he did not want it and telling her to eat it herself. She followed him and convinced him that she had been mistaken, that it wasn't a birthday honey bun, but just the regular kind. He gladly ate it then.

7. His dad came home and called him over to him. "Tonight's the big night! You are finally big enough to go hunting with Daddy!" A look of horror washed over his face, "No I'm not! Take Ross with you!" I could see that Hub's feelings were hurt, as Tallen had begged to go with him for so long and this was not the expected reaction.

8. Renni arrived with the pizzas and we laid out the table with all the food. Everyone sat down, except for Tallen. Ross, in her booster seat, started cramming in pizza, oblivious to the tension in the air. She happily chowed down, without saying another word, for the next hour. We were amazed at how much pizza that tiny girl could hold. She finally stopped and ate an ice cream cone. then went right back to eating pizza! Tallen refused to sit down, but did take some pizza and bread sticks to his room.The whole time we were eating, Tallen kept slowly pacing by the dining room door. He stopped a few times to say, "I hate you. I hate you all." He didn't shout this, he said it in a very monotone voice.

9. Renni took Tallen outside to present him with his new bike. The minute he saw it in the back of the blazer, he started walking back toward the house. " Oh No! Take that right back where you got it!" She took it out of the Blazer anyway and I saw a little smile come over his lips for a brief second. I thought maybe we had finally won him over. But just a quickly, he remembered that he was getting the bike because he was turning six and said he did not want it. I told him that he was being very rude and demanded that he walk back over to us. He let Renni put him on the bike and push him around the driveway a few times. As soon as our tenant pulled in and Renni was busy talking to him, Tallen hurried back into the house.

10. I am so confused at this point. I am just absolutely at a loss as to why he is reacting this way. He is completely willing to pass up gifts that he would normally adore, in order to avoid turning six. It creeps me out to a point that I have to ask myself if maybe he knows something that we don't. Maybe there is some merit behind his impending sense of doom. Then I snap back to reality and just chalk it up to the unpredictability of Asperger's I am praying that when he gets out of bed today, he will be back to normal and want to play with his new bike and go hunting with his daddy.

Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tallen!

I prayed to God,

“Can you please spare
A little boy with golden hair?
One that looks a lot like me?
That’s just right for our family?

With his big sister’s gift of song,
A smile that just won’t quit,
And his big brother’s love of art,
He’ll be a perfect fit!

Make him wise beyond his years,
Adored by those he knows.
And so he’ll stand above the crowd,
Please put him on his toes!”

God listened to this mother’s prayer
And made my dreams come true.
Six years ago, on this very day,
He blessed me with you!

© 2009 SRF-TGR

I love you, my precious boy. Thank you for taking my once average life and making it an amazing adventure!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birthday Woes

At the end of this month, Tallen will turn six years old. Average kids tend to get excited about birthdays. Tallen has never been like that. His first couple of birthdays, there was really no reaction to the party, cake, or gifts, whatsoever. By his third birthday, he went into a screaming fit, hands clamped over his ears, when everyone began singing Happy Birthday. He would do this at other peoples' birthday parties as well. Of course, so many people singing the song at once was an assault on his sensitive ears. So, we stopped singing it on his birthday and quietly "whisper sing" it, behind Tallen's back, to other family members on their birthdays.

On his fourth birthday, I had Tallen dressed up so handsomely in a new outfit. Ten minutes into the party, he had already stripped down to his underwear LOL He absolutely hated wearing clothes back then. All the guests were aware of Tallen's Asperger's and just laughed off their initial shock and the party went wonderfully. Later that night however, I awoke to Tallen screaming, "Fire, Mama! Fire!". I stumbled through the house, absolutely terrified! When I found Tallen, he was sitting in the floor, playing with a new truck he had received for his birthday, pointing to the flame decals on the side and screaming , "Fire!" LOL I must have nine lives, as he has given me many scares like this.

His fifth birthday went off without a hitch. We had a shrimp dinner (his favorite) and cake and ice cream, and nobody sang "the song".

This year, I can feel trouble brewing. A couple of months ago, Tallen's older sister reminded him that he would soon be six years old and would then be a big boy. He ran from the room crying and was out of sorts for many hours after. He finally said, " I don't want to be six years old! Then I'll be a big boy forever!" He is very sensitive about being called anything but a boy. He doesn't want to be a big boy. He even refuses to wear the Super Man PJs that his aunt gave him. When I asked him why, he said, "Because I am NOT a man. LOL Whenever I ask what sort of cake he might want for his party or similar questions, he falls silent and walks out of the room. I feel so sad for him, that he is so troubled. I am even wondering if, to spare him the trauma, maybe we should just not even make a big deal out of his birthday. Then I have visions of his calling me out on Dr. Phil, twenty years from now, because I didn't celebrate his sixth birthday. LOL

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I'm Not Expecting Starbucks To Market This Flavor In The Forseeable Future

Hubs is out of town. So yesterday evening, I parked myself in his usual spot on the sofa, propped up my feet, and was enjoying having control of the TV remote. I had just made a cup of coffee and it was sitting on the end table, by the sofa. After setting the TV to a channel I would enjoy, I turned to pick up my coffee. Tallen was standing by the end table, smiling at me. This alone, made me a tad paranoid. I noticed the contents of my cup sloshing back and forth a little, like maybe the cup had just been sat down.

"Tallen?", I asked. " Did you pour something into my coffee?"

"No.", He replied calmly, still smiling. "Your coffee tastes fine, I didn't pour anything in there."

Thinking that perhaps he had merely bumped into the table, causing the ripples I had seen, I picked up my cup and proceeded to take a few sips. That's when Tallen whips his hands from behind his back. One contains a towel, the other contains his little wind-up Thomas the Tank Engine. The same Thomas the Tank Engine that I have found in the floor many times, that I am positive I have seen in the dogs mouth, that Tallen loves "driving" through the dirt, that, as I recall, I even had to rescue from the toilet once. That one!

I was still trying to decode the reasons for the items in his hands, when he proudly announced,
"I didn't pour anything into your coffee, Mama. But I did wash my train and now he is all sparkly clean! I just need to finish drying him off."

"Washed? Tallen, did you put that toy into my coffee?"

"Yes, Mama. He needed a hot bath."