Saturday, May 31

As my regular readers will know, my grandson, Brandon is on the autistic spectrum. He wasn't diagnosed until he was six years old and that is the age when the Ontario government cuts off all funding for autistic children.

Something in the news today made me madder than a mad hatter. Five year old Adam Mels has severe autism. He is not potty trained and his motor skills, both gross and fine are extremely delayed. However, the Ontario government denied Adam eligibility to Intensive Behavior Intervention, (IBI) which is a program funded by the government. IBI aids children in learning skills by using repetition in a one-on-one setting.

Adams father, David, has appealed the decision that was made by a panel of doctors, clinical directors and psychologists at the Hamilton Niagara Regional Autism Intervention Program. These professionals state that Adam's autism is too severe for him to benefit from the therapy.

What is making David Mels upset is that he and his family have not been given a reason why Adam is ineligible. He wants answers that are clinical and objective, not just someone saying that his child is incapable of learning.

The Autism Intervention Program Guidelines states that the program and services are for children with autistic disorder considered to be more towards the severe end of the autism spectrum. This means that Adam should be eligible.

Why is Adam not eligible if he fits the criteria. There has been no attempt made to teach this child and now the professionals at IBI are saying he cannot learn. How can they know this if they have not taken him into the program and allowed him to take part in the therapy. Why does one child get funding while the next does not? Because eligibility criteria is not objectively stated. Parents don't know or ever find out why their children are not accepted into the program.

David Mels has tried to get his son help at privately operated clinics, but cannot afford the fees. Is it not up to the Ontario government and programs such as IBI to take care and help to teach our disabled children?

My heart aches for Adam and his parents. I know what it's like to advocate for a child with autism and keep running into one brick wall after another. Our children are our future and we need to start caring for each and every one of them - yes, even those with autism.

Programs such as IBI need to be accountable for the decisions they make because children like Adam are falling through the cracks. If you are Canadian, please write to our Premier and voice your opinion. Let the provincial government know that this is not acceptable.

To see a photo of Adam and his family, please click HERE. Does this adorable boy not deserve help from IBI?
And now off my soapbox and wishing you all a safe and enjoyable weekend. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, May 30

A Wildlife Surprise at the Farm

As soon as Jordan got home from school on Thursday, he phoned to see if we were going to the farm. It was a beautiful spring day with clear, sunny skies. The perfect opportunity to get away for a while and enjoy the outdoors.

When we arrived, Jordan went and knocked on the door to let the owners know that we were there and to ask if there were any new animals. He came back to the van and told us yes, there was a new animal but it was in the house.

I was talking to one of the ladies who work there and told the boys to go ahead and I would be right there. The next thing I knew I heard a bleating sound and lo and behold look at the photo below to see what was coming down the walk.

I'd like to introduce you to Bambi. She is between one and two weeks old. One of the women who work at the farm saw that a doe had been hit by a car and killed not far from where the boys live. She knew that this doe had just had a new fawn and went looking for it. She found it tucked away in cover at the top of a hill not far from where its mother was killed.
Here are Brandon and Jordan petting Bambi. They were quite delighted that they could touch a fawn. Last year they got to pet a baby tiger. If you missed that post, you can read about it HERE. What lucky boys they are.
Bambi is a doe and the owner of the farm is not sure what is going to happen to her. For the time being they are keeping her in the house. She has her own bed and a kennel. The woman who found her contacted the SPCA and the Ministry of Natural Resources but neither would take Bambi. They couldn't tell her who to call for help in this situation. So she phoned the farm and the owner told her that Bambi could live there for now.

Bambi's future concerns me. If she gets used to humans and the dogs at the farm I doubt she will ever be able to be released into the wild. I did a little research and fawns are seldom seen in the wild when they are this young because the mother keeps them well hidden. At this age they have no scent, which is nature's way of protecting them.

After the boys visited with Bambi, they went out back to play on the trampoline. I followed to keep an eye on them. At the back of the house, the Hawthorne tree was in bloom. It looks lovely.
And here are the blooms in a closeup. They are beautiful, yet the thorns are dangerous. I showed them to the boys and explained how thorns very similar to these were braided into a crown that was placed on Jesus' head before he was crucified. The boys touched the thorns and couldn't believe that anyone could be so cruel as to shove these into someone's head. A good lesson for them to learn.

After the trampoline and the lesson on thorns, we went back to the front of the house and visited with Bambi a little before heading home. It was a fun day and the boys really enjoyed seeing the fawn. A beautiful experience for all of us. We never know what blessing God is going to send our way next. Take care and have a great weekend. ~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, May 28

Thankful Thursday

Brandon and Jordan dropped by after school today and Brandon read all of the birthday messages again. He asked me to thank everyone for all of their birthday greetings.

The boys helped me plant some tomato plants. They are Beefsteak tomatoes, the kind that Grandma used to plant. They are very small plants and I hope that Brandon's green thumb will get them started. We're looking forward to some tasty tomatoes come August.

The boys planted sunflowers and they had fun doing that. They always like to sneak one in where it will be a surprise. I know they did it again this year because they were laughing and giggling after I had come into the house. I wonder where that sunflower will turn up? One year they planted two of them right in the center of the flower bed. I was able to work around them and leave them. The cardinals and blue jays like to feast on the seeds in the fall.

Thanks to each of you who sent Brandon birthday wishes. His self esteem raised about 20 notches to know that others cared that he was turning 13. You made his day.

I'd like to thank all of my readers and visitors for praying for my Aunt May. Today there was more sad news. The cancer is now in her liver. She has to go for more chemo on Friday and they will be doing a PET scan to see if it has invaded other organs. Thus far they know it is in her bones, her spine, her head and now her liver. Again I ask for prayer that God's will be done.

Thank everyone for prayers, kind words and thoughts and for the love and support you have given me. I have made so many wonderful friends since I came here last September. I appreciate each and every one of you. I have so much to be thankful for.

Today is Thankful Thursday. It is a day when we list the things we are thankful for. If you would like to participate, be sure to stop by Sting My Heart and pay Iris a visit. You can find all the information there.

1. I'm thankful that Brandon had a great birthday. Turning 13 is a milestone in his life. He is also thankful that everyone left him birthday greetings. He was overwhelmed.

2. I give thanks for the many years that I've had my Aunt May. She helped me in so many ways when I was a single mother.

3. I'm thankful that there are signs that the tenant is getting ready to move. I will be so glad when we can get that apartment cleaned up and rented out.

4. I'm thankful for all the love and support that is given to me by my friends here on blogger. I value each one of you, for friends are treasures more precious than gold. You lift me up and make me smile. Your caring touches my heart.

5. I am thankful that I am a child of God and that my heavenly Father watches over each of us.

I try to always look for a silver lining in every cloud. Be sure to count your blessings and keep a positive outlook on life. ~Blessings, Mary~

Prayer Request myspace graphic comments
Myspace Christian Comments & Graphics

It's been a while since I posted a prayer request, but we have a grave situation in our family.

Some of you may have noticed that on my sidebar is a ribbon in honor of my Aunt May struggling through bone cancer. She had a masectomy three years ago. In the beginning of 2007, she was having terrible pain in her right leg. She asked the doctor about it many times and he kept telling her it was sciatica.

One day as she was going into the kitchen to start dinner, the telephone rang. She turned to go back to answer and right there in the kitchen doorway, her leg broke. Her husband and son were able to lift her in a chair and get her to the hospital. When they did the x-rays and further tests, they discovered that she had bone cancer.

Aunt May was in hospital from late April until the end of August. They had to place rods in both legs and eventually the surgeon rebuilt her hip. He described it as building a bridge with wire and steel.

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to her and she told me that there is a spot of cancer in her brain. She explained that she had to have further tests so the doctors could determine how much cancer was in her body.

Aunt May was told she couldn't take chemotherapy because she has a rare blood disorder. They did give her a chemo pill, but it wasn't putting the cancer into remission. Last Friday when she went for tests, her doctor told her she had to have chemo while she was there. When she explained about the rare blood disorder he told her that she could take her chances with the chemo and maybe live two months or go home and die within two weeks. She took the chemo. So far she hasn't had any negative repercussions. She has to go for another round of chemo this Friday.

I am worried that because of the blood condition that the chemo could kill her, which is possible. She had been warned never to take it. But what choice does she have with the prognosis she was given. On Friday they also found she has cancer in her spine.

Please pray for God's will in Aunt May's situation. If God is going to call her home, I would like her passing to be pain free. If He has more for her to do here on earth, I hope that the cancer will go into remission and she will be pain free.

My request is simply, "May God's will be done." I do appreciate your prayers. ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, May 27

Happy Birthday, Brandon!

Brandon, I hope you have a very Happy 13th Birthday today. You are turning into a fine young man. Over the last few years I have seen you grow both physically and mentally. You're doing an awesome job. Keep up the good work and remember to be honest, respectful of others and to do your best at all times. I love you and am very proud of you. Love, Grandma.

On Sunday, some family members gathered to have a little party with Brandon for his birthday. We had it early since his birthday falls on a school day this year. Here are a few photos of his big day.
Here Brandon is showing everyone his PSP (Play Station Portable.) He had no idea he was getting this. When we went to Zellers on Friday night he told me he'd really like to have it. I said, "Sorry, Grandma already has your birthday gift." LOL I knew he was getting it but didn't let on. As it happened, his parents had bought him the exact one that he wanted. The graphics on this game are awesome. He can also watch movies on it. This is the big fad for kids right now.

He got money from his other grandparents and this is what he likes to get from them. Some other people also gave him money. Brandon likes to have his own money to spend, as all kids do.

This year Brandon read every card as he opened it. In the past he would lay them aside so he could get to the presents right away. He is maturing. However, he has entered his teens and is showing a bit of a tendency to talk back. I put him straight about that when he tried it with me and his mother did as well.

Brandon has always loved Lego and this year was no exception. He got two Lego sets. One was a robot and the other was Lego City which will go with all of his other Lego. He has tons of it from when he was very small. Grandpa and I gave him the robot.

Brandon likes to play cribbage and has been wanting his own crib board for a long time. I searched high and low for one that he would be able to have for a keepsake and I found the one in the photo above online. It has a picture of a cougar on it and it's very pretty. He told me he'd never seen a crib board like that one in his entire life. LOL

Brandon was more interested in the Lego that he was in eating his cake. He just couldn't wait to get that robot together.

He had a fantastic time and he was really happy that Melissa and Griffyn could come. Griffyn has been sick with a cold and we weren't sure if he was going to be well enough to attend. I will post some photos of Griffyn sometime this week.

If you have children or grandchildren, remember to give them words of encouragement. They need to build confidence and self-esteem. Have a great week. ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, May 26

A Visit to Apps Mills Nature Center

On Sunday's post I mentioned that the boys and I had gone to Apps Mills Nature Center on Saturday afternoon. When we got to the area I found it had changed a lot since I've been there. The boys have been there with the school though and they were quite familiar with all the changes.

As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw the dead tree above. The boys told me that the woodpeckers like to congregate here. Apparently they were told this when they visited with the school. I can see how there might be a lot of bugs and mites in here that woodpeckers would enjoy. I was hoping to see one, but luck was not with us. We did hear a bluejay screaming though. It seemed pretty upset about something.

We approached the Nature Center. It was closed. The boys told me that there are interesting things on display there and lots of information about the critters that make their home in the woods.
We went in search of the trail head and found this sign. App's Mills is taking part in trout restoration. We decided to have a look at that area first.
There are many markers in the water here and some plaques with information. The one in the photo tells about the rock layout.
The boys went ahead and were very interested in what the Nature Center is doing in this area.

After we had scouted out the trout restoration project, we stopped here for a photo session.

We followed the trail and crossed the the creek on an old metal bridge. You can just see the railing in the bottom of the photo. The north side of the creek has lots of trees and bushes along it.

Downstream on the south side we saw some kids using nets. They were with an adult and seemed to be having a lot of fun. The boys have taken part in this activity with the school. They go to App's Mills for science and have to makes notes of the things they see in the creek and plants, animals and birds that are spotted. What kid wouldn't love to spend a morning or afternoon here instead of in the classroom?

Once we crossed the bridge and continued down the trail we ran into a marshy area. Brandon took the photo above. We all found the large green leaves on the other side of the marsh very interesting. I should know what they are, but haven't seen them since I was a kid and have forgotten what they are. If anyone knows, please refresh my memory.

Jordan took the photo above. I find it interesting how each of the boys can spot a photo opportunity. Brandon wanted to photograph the green leaves and Jordan the tree with the water.

Just beyond the marshy area, Jordan found a path that went up a steep dirt trail. Of course he climbed it. Jordan is an adventurer.

As we continued along the trail, we saw these lovely purple violets and a few yellow ones. I had never seen yellow violets until a few days ago when Ruth posted photos on her blog. I did take a photo but all you could see were the leaves. The yellow violets didn't show up.

Then I spied a bench and went to sit down for a minute. My legs give me a lot of trouble and I wanted to rest them for a minute. Jordan came and sat down beside me. Brandon had the camera and snapped this photo. Not very becoming to this lady, but a good one of Jordan.

Just after snapping the photo, Brandon told me that he thought there was a bug in his shirt. Brandon has an aversion to bugs of all kinds. He says they make his stomach all queasy. So I looked to see if there was anything there. Jordan saw the perfect photo opp here and took a photo of me looking in the neck of Brandon's shirt. LOL

Once Brandon was assured that no bugs were in his clothing, we headed down the trail and came across a patch of Trilliums.

Every province in Canada has an official flower and the Trillium is Ontario's. Brandon explained to Jordan that these flowers are not to be disturbed and that if you pick them or dig them up, you can go to jail or get a heavy fine.

After that we ran into an overgrown area. The woods are quite thick here, but the colors were very pretty. It is a great shady spot to take refuge on a hot summer day in the heart of summer.
Not far along, the sun was shining through the trees and the colors were very dappled. There are a lot of young trees in this area.

Then we came out of the trail where the old mill stands. The mill was purchased by Charles Apps and his brother, William, in 1858 when they first settled in the area. In 1889, Charles Apps died. His Will was probated and the property remained in the Apps family until 1956 when a severe flood washed out the mill dam. The property was then sold. Today it is a nature center for school children.
Here are the boys heading up the trail to the road. We walked back to the parking lot that way instead of by the trail. I love the white birches along the trail here. They are my favorite tree next to the weeping willow.
As we were walking down the road, we heard a noise overhead and there was a light aircraft. It looks like a mosquito against the beautiful blue of the sky. This reminded me how small we are in the scheme of things.
Just before we reached the parking lot we crossed Whiteman's Creek once more. The photo above is looking north. We saw some very small fish in this area.

This is the creek again looking south from the bridge over the road. We watched carefully for larger fish but didn't see any.

Once back at the parking lot, we opened the doors on the car and let it cool out a little. It was a lovely day but the interior was quite warm. Then we headed back into town for an ice cream before heading home.

We were a little disappointed that there was a lack of wildlife here. We did hear the bluejay and a few robins singing, but didn't see many bird species. Brandon told me that when he was there with his class last year that they saw quite a few different animals and birds. The woods seemed to be very quiet. We didn't see a snake or a chipmunk, which was a little discouraging. However, we had fun and made a few happy memories and that is what counts.

Happy Memorial Day to all my friends and readers in the US.

Though we don't celebrate this holiday in Canada, I pay tribute to all who have sacrificed so much so that the people of the US and Canada can live in freedom. Enjoy your holiday. Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, May 25

Green Thumb Sunday

It's Green Thumb Sunday, hosted by Tricia at As the Garden Grows. If you'd like to participate, just click on the link to find out how.

I made a comment on someone's post the other day about the Balloon Flower I bought. I had never seen these before and thought they were lovely. When I bought it, it had three purple flowers. It seems they don't last very long, but there are more blooms coming.

The reason they are called Balloon Flowers is because the buds puff up before the flowers blossom. Here it is basking in the sunlight.
Later, I moved it to my porch to sit beside my little bluebird. Once the weather warms up, I will plant it. It is a perennial and will propagate itself.

The hanging basket above is a scarveola. Pronounced scar-v-oh-la. The first time I ever saw these was about eight years ago when I received one for Mother's Day from the boys. At that time the lady at the garden center told me they were a new type of plant.

Last year they were very scarce and that was the first time I hadn't had one hanging on my porch since that first one. Michelle tried to find one this year, but no luck. So, when I saw this at a little out-of-the-way store, I snapped it up. They only had two and I wanted to be certain I'd have one this year. I wish they were perennials, but alas, they are annuals. It is one flower that I want to have every year.

In other news, Brandon came for a sleepover Friday night. It is his birthday on Tuesday and the boys are always invited for a birthday sleepover. Brandon got to choose where we ate and he chose McDonald's. He hasn't eaten there in months because we don't encourage it but birthdays are special. I was surprised as Brandon is not a McDonald's fan. I think he wanted to try their cherry milkshake.

Once we had eaten we came home and dropped Grandpa off and then took Jordan the DVDs he had forgotten to take with him to his other Grandma's. Then we headed to Zeller's, which is a department store and we looked around a bit there. We didn't buy anything but had fun looking at things. After that, we came home, had a game of crib and by that time Brandon was ready for bed. He's an early to bed, early to rise kind of kid.

This morning we had breakfast and all he really wanted to do was lounge around in his pajamas and watch TV. I did a few chores and then at noon Jordan was dropped off by his parents and we got ready and headed to Apps Mills Nature Center. On the way, we stopped for gas and I couldn't believe that $30.00 only gave me a little over a half tank. The gas price was $1.27 per liter. Multiply that by 4.5 and you get $5.72 per gallon. I almost died when I got back into the car and saw I only had a half tank. I used to fill my car up for $30 not that long ago.

It was a beautiful day here today. The sun was shining and there was a light breeze. It was a glorious day to be out and about in the woods. One day this week I will tell you all about our trip.

Take care and if you are in the US, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. ~Blessings, Mary