Friday, October 31, 2008
Our November issue is very special because of our coverage of the Jorge Family in Ayer.
Please pick up a copy of our November 2008 issue.
If you'd like to post a message for the Jorges, please leave a comment here.
We'll share your thoughts with them.
In our November issue, columnist Kerri Augusto explores the issue of when children answer the phone in, "Mom, Some Lady is on the Phone!" She points out that it's never too early to start teaching your kids to use the telephone properly. It's so simple but makes you think: Do you let your children use the phone? Do they know how to use the phone properly? Moreover, do you let them leave the voice mail message? ? Augusto points out that this is her pet peeve.
I have been "guilty" of letting the kids talk in their baby voices and sing songs on the machine. It's usually our message for a day or two. Is it cute? Or obnoxious?
I do know that one of my favorite "kid" messages is on my friend's machine: two kids clearly "yelling" into the machine, "We won't let Mom come to the phone right now. Leave a message." Beep.
So, let's hear it out there. What message is on your answering machine right now? Leave a comment here.
P.S. And if you are curious about Augusto's answering machine? Here's what she said after writing this month's article:
Truth be told, I have a terrible habit of answering the phone like this: "Kerri
Augusto speaking. How may I help you?" Too many years of being a receptionist.... But it beats my mother who has 45 years of being a nurse to thank for her slip: "Labor and Delivery. Is this an emergency?" Needless to say, we both get a lot of ribbing from the family.
My answering machine is simple: "You've reached the Augusto residence. We are unable to answer the phone right now. Please leave a message."
But if I were to say what was REALLY on my mind, it would be: "You have reached Kerri Augusto. If you need a ride, I'm already on the road. If you need money, I'm broke. If you need answers, I'm out of ideas. If you're offering free coffee or want to schedule a playdate, leave a message and I'll call you back right away!"
baystateparent's contributing writer, Sue Lovejoy of Holden, wrote a strong special needs story for our November 2008 issue entitled: Hosting the Holidays: When Little Guests Have Big Needs. Her very helpful story on how to welcome families with special needs children into your homes this holiday was inspired by the following letter.
We hope it helps you this holiday season.
The following letter was written in 1999 by Viki Gayhardt, mother of two teens on the Autism Spectrum and Autism Family Support Specialist for The Family Place, a program of Easter Seals, NH. It takes the perspective of a child on the autism apectrum, providing a clear overview of the challenges that individuals with autism may face during the holiday season.
-Sue Lovejoy, contributing writer to baystateparent
Dear Family and Friends:
(by Viki Gayhardt)
I understand that we will be visiting each other for the holidays this year! Sometimes these visits can be very hard for me, but here is some information that
might help our visit be more successful.
As you probably know, I am challenged by a hidden disability called autism, or what some people refer to as a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Autism/PDD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which makes it hard for me to understand the environment around me. I have barriers in my brain that you can’t see, but which make it difficult for me to adapt to my surroundings.
Sometimes I may seem rude and abrupt, but it is only because I have to try so hard to understand people and at the same time, make myself understood. People with autism have different abilities: Some may not speak, some write beautiful poetry. Others are whizzes in math (Albert Einstein was thought to be autistic), or may have difficulty making friends. We are all different and need various degrees of support.
Sometimes when I am touched unexpectedly, it might feel painful and make me want to run away. I get easily frustrated, too. Being with lots of other people is like standing next to a moving freight train and trying to decide how and when to jump aboard. I feel frightened and confused a lot of the time. This is why I need to have things the same as much as possible. Once I learn how things happen, I can get by OK. But if something, anything, changes, then I have to relearn the situation all over again! It is very hard.
When you try to talk to me, I often can’t understand what you say because there is a lot of distraction around. I have to concentrate very hard to hear and understand one thing at a time. You might think I am ignoring you — I am not. Rather, I am hearing everything and not knowing what is most important to respond to.
Holidays are exceptionally hard because there are so many different people, places, and things going on that are out of my ordinary realm. This may be fun and adventurous for most people, but for me, it’s very hard work and can be extremely stressful. I often have to get away from all the commotion to calm down. It would be great if you had a private place set up to where I could retreat.
If I cannot sit at the meal table, do not think I am misbehaved or that my parents have no control over me. Sitting in one place for even five minutes is often impossible for me. I feel so antsy and overwhelmed by all the smells, sounds, and people — I just have to get up and move about. Please don’t hold up your meal for me — go on without me, and my parents will handle the situation the best way they know how.
Eating in general is hard for me. If you understand that autism is a sensory processing disorder, it’s no wonder eating is a problem! Think of all the senses involved with eating. Sight, smell, taste, touch, AND all the complicated mechanics that are involved. Chewing and swallowing is something that a lot of people with autism have trouble with. I am not being picky — I literally cannot eat certain foods as my sensory system and/or oral motor coordination are impaired.
Don’t be disappointed if Mom hasn’t dressed me in starch and bows. It’s because she knows how much stiff and frilly clothes can drive me buggy! I have to feel comfortable in my clothes or I will just be miserable.
When I go to someone else’s house, I may appear bossy and controlling. In a sense, I am being controlling, because that is how I try to fit into the world around me (which is so hard to figure out!) Things have to be done in a way I am familiar with or else I might get confused and frustrated. It doesn’t mean you have to change the way you are doing things — just please be patient with me, and understanding of how I have to cope.
Mom and Dad have no control over how my autism makes me feel inside. People with autism often have little things that they do to help themselves feel more comfortable. The grown ups call it “self regulation,” or “stimming.” I might rock, hum, flick my fingers, or any number of different things. I am not trying to be disruptive or weird. Again, I am doing what I have to do for my brain to adapt to your world. Sometimes I cannot stop myself from talking, singing, or doing an activity I enjoy. The grown ups call this “perseverating” which is kinda like self regulation or stimming. I do this only because I have found something to occupy myself that makes me feel comfortable. Perseverative behaviors are good to a certain degree because they help me calm down.
Please be understanding of Mom and Dad if they let me “stim” for awhile as they know me best and what helps to calm me. Remember that my Mom and Dad have to watch me much more closely than the average child. This is for my own safety, and preservation of your possessions. It hurts my parents’ feelings to be criticized for being overprotective, or condemned for not watching me close enough. They are human and have been given an assignment intended for saints. My parents are good people and need your support.
Holidays are filled with sights, sounds, and smells. The average household is turned into a busy, frantic, festive place. Remember that this may be fun for you, but it’s very hard work for me to conform. If I fall apart or act out in a way that you consider socially inappropriate, please remember that I don’t possess the neurological system that is required to follow some social rules.
I am a unique person — an interesting person. I will find my place at this celebration that is comfortable for us all, as long as you’ll try to view the world through my eyes!
The malls are Solomon Pond in Marlborough, Greendale Mall in Worcester, and Auburn Mall in Auburn.
We will be there with our November issue and plenty of candy.
See you there!!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Reach Out and Read's 5th Annual Read and Romp will be held at the Seaport Hotel, Plaza Ballroom, in Boston. Read and Romp is a unique family event which allows children to travel through the pages of some of their favorite storybooks. Activity booths, games and arts and crafts based on such family favorites as Charlotte's Web, The Jolly Postman and Runaway Bunny are designed to provide hours of fun for children and their families. Along with interactive storybook stations, there will be a buffet lunch, and a visit from storybook characters like Clifford the Big Red Dog and Clifford author, Norman Bridwell.
The cost of the event is $50 for individual tickets and children under the age of 2 are free.
Web site: http://www.readandromp.org
Readers, please check our BLOG throughout the month. We'll post the latest information on happenings and need-to-know info for families in Massachusetts.
WHAT: This Halloween, families can take to the harbor for an unconventional and fun trick or treat extravaganza aboard The Spirit of Boston. The luxurious cruising vessel is spicing up their traditional brunch cruise with some Halloween festivities. In addition to a scrumptious buffet brunch, families can delight in games; a live DJ as well as a kid’s costume contest and trick or treat goodies.
WHEN: Sunday, October 26th
Board 11:00 a.m. - Cruise 12 noon – 2 p.m.
WHERE: The Spirit of Boston
Seaport World Trade Center Marine Terminal
COST: From $37.90 per adult
From $9.90 per child (3-11 yrs old)
Reservations Required: Call 866-307-2469 or log on to www.odysseycruises.com/boston and click on Special Offers.
ABOUT THE SPIRIT OF BOSTON:
Spirit Cruises, LLC, is recognized as the largest harbor cruise company in America. The fleet of 12 beautiful ships offers dining, entertainment and sightseeing cruises in seven of America's most popular port cities including Boston, Chicago, New York, Weehawken (NJ), Norfolk, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Keep checking our BLOG throughout the month for bonus calendar listings for Halloween and other fun events!
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Choate Park, Oak Street, Medway, MA
This 4th annual Halloween Touch-A-Truck event welcomes children to come in their Halloween costumes to climb aboard many different trucks from around town including fire trucks, police cars, a big yellow school bus, tractors and more. A Halloween Parade is at 12:30. Admission is $5 per child.
A Jack-O-Lantern and Water Fire Walk around Choate Pond will be held from 6 - 8 p.m. Bring a flashlight. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Concessions are available.
Web site: http://choatefriends.blogspot.com/
What is Your favorite feature in Bay State Parent magazine? Calendar
Which feature could Bay State Parent eliminate from its magazine? Fashion Reports
The New England Cord Blood Bank is pleased to present an educational
television program on cord blood banking. This special is hosted by Liz
Walker and will air on CBS TV - WBZ Channel 4 on Saturday October 18th @ 8:00pm on WSBK Channel 38 -in the Boston area.
For anyone who cannot watch the show,it will be available to watch online at www.wbztv.com/cordblood.
New England Cord Blood Bank, Inc.
153 Needham Street, Building One
Newton, MA 02464
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Local husband and wife team, artists Kim Poler and Marc Albanese, proudy present BEEHIVE ART gallery and art studio for classes, workshops and parties.
Located at 339 Boston Post Road in the Country Living building, its bay window looks right onto Route 20, just a couple buildings down from the Mill Village retail complex.
They've created an open spaced, visually exciting and stimulating setting where artists and budding artists can come and be exposed an ever-evolving variety of materials, techniques and projects. Their objective is to inspire with and to share their love and passion for the creative process of making art.
Art Classes for children ages 2 to teens and for adults start October 20.
The studio will be open to the public with an OPEN HOUSE Ooctober 11-17,
Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday to Friday 9 - 11 a.m. & 4 - 6 p.m.
All are welcome to bring friends and the kids to see what the buzz is about! There will be free, hands-on activity stations set up and the staff will be available to meet, greet and chat art.
A variety of workshops and events are scheduled throughout the holidays starting with...
HALLOWEEN TRICKS, TREATS and GHOSTLY TALES
Saturday, October 18 3-5:30pm.
This features painting festive trick or treat bags, decoupaging jolly jack-o- lanterns, spinning glittery ghost or bat garlands, spook-tacular snacks and the artistry of ghost storyteller KEVIN MAHONEY.
Saturday, October 18th from 1-3 p.m.
This event is free and open to the public
The Trustees of Reservations invite families to the opening of their 100th reservation, Cormier Woods, a 175-acre farm located on the border of Mendon and Uxbridge on Saturday, October 18th from 1-3 PM. Bring family and friends and be among the first to walk new and enhanced woodland trails, learn about the native grasslands and rich cultural history of this iconic farm, and enjoy free ice cream to the sounds of local folk band, Blackstone Run.
Visitors may be intrigued to explore several miles of trails looping through a wooded landscape, laced with stonewalls, some large glacial boulders marking the last ice age, and cellar hole remnants of the old White homestead. Some may even reap the bounty of an informal “pick-your-own” activity at the blueberry patch and orchard trees that remain in the meadows.
Cormier Woods was bequeathed to The Trustees as a gift from D. James Cormier. The 175-acre, largely intact farmstead landscape consists of an 18th century house, barn (with an active bat colony), and shed surrounded by stone walled meadows. These features help tell the story of modest farmers settling the Colonial frontier and later immigrant groups working the farms, which supplied the industrial enterprises spread along the Blackstone River.
DIRECTIONSc: Cormier Woods is located right down the road from Southwick’s Zoo.
For more information and to view the range of activities possible at Cormier Woods and other Trustees properties, visit www.thetrustees.org.
Tickets are still available for American Girl fashion shows sponsored by the Medway Foundation for Education. And models are wanted (size 6X - 10...Keep reading for details).
The Medway Foundation for Education (MFE), a non-profit, volunteer organization committed to promoting excellence in the town’s public schools, is holding the events at the Medway VFW, 123 Holliston Street,in Medway.
It will feature shows at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1 and Sunday, Nov. 2. Show highlights will include a fashion show, raffle prizes, doll hairdressers, show souvenirs, holiday shopping opportunities and refreshments.
An American Girl Fashion Show is a fun-filled event for girls, their families, friends and favorite dolls. Participants share the experience of being a girl, whether yesterday or today, through a colorful presentation of historical and contemporary fashions. Attendees will learn how clothing has changed over the years to reflect history, culture and girls’ individual styles.
Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased online by visiting the Foundation’s website at www.medwayeducation.org. Fashion show tickets are limited and will be issued on a first come first-served basis. Parties who wish to be seated together should purchase their tickets on the same order. Every ticket order must include at least one adult. A ticket order confirmation will be provided upon purchase.
According to Ann Williams, event coordinator, the MFE is looking for character “look-a-like” models. Girls must wear size 6X or Size 10. Models must purchase a seat and a model spot. Applications are available online at www.medwayeducation.org. No phone calls, please.
Adult and teen volunteers are also needed to help staff and organize the program. Anyone interested should contact Ms. Williams at 508-533-1122, or online at email@example.com. All proceeds go directly to the MFE.
Formed during the summer of 2002, the Medway Foundation for Education (MFE) is a non-profit organization charged with raising capital to fund innovative, educational projects throughout Medway’s public schools. Using moneys generated from community events, contributions, and educational grants, MFE allocates funds through a grant process to teacher-sponsored projects that dramatically impact the quality of education that students receive.
Since its inception, the all-volunteer organization has raised more than $220,000. A total of over $100,000 in grants has been awarded in recent years, and an endowment fund exists with over $35,000. More information is available at www.medwayeducation.org.
baystateparent will be there with balloons, tattoos and magazines on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Visit munchkin-land.org to view a full line-up of events.
Here's how owners, Michael and Liz Giguere describe their new family destination:
"Munchkin Land is a respite from boredom on a rainy day, a meaningful shared experience between an adult and a child, a hands-on learning experience in a relaxed environment, laughter among childhood friends, and so much more…
Munchkin Land is the culmination of ten years of research and the fun family day trips of the Giguere family of Northborough, Massachusetts. Michael and Liz Giguere, the parents of four children, drew on personal experience in creating this unique children's gym and play facility!
The Munchkin Gym is a children’s gym that has developed an age-specific curriculum for young children. Each of the classes has been designed to engage and challenge your child while keeping their age and developmental level in mind. The classes incorporate games, music, fitness and parental interaction as they develop your child’s coordination, and fine and gross motor skills!!!
Tiny Town is a 4000 square foot interactive play area with elaborately designed "Theme Rooms". We have combined the most creative toys and playground equipment, to provide hours of playtime for your child, whether through dramatic or manipulative play.
We are planning:
* An Interactive Horse Farm
* A Captain's Ship
* Doll Boutique and Hair Salon
* Tiki Beach Grille
* Soft Play Toddler Area
* Mock School Room
* Planes, Trains, Automobiles and so much more"
How to Get a Full Heart and Tired Legs
Here are all the details about how you can change lives by signing up for the May 2009 7th Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
By Leslie Castillo
The 2008 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer greeted me much like it had in 2007: the opening ceremony included an inspirational video, animated speakers, a wide array of breakfast foods, and, a side order of dousing rain. Still, I could barely contain my enthusiasm.
I grabbed a banana and coffee and scanned the crowd for Christy. When I finally spotted her navy-blue rain gear, I ran to meet her, thrilled to once again see my friend from New York. In less than thirty minutes we would set out on another adventure, catching up on each other’s lives and motivating one another over the next two days and forty miles.
At 7:30 a.m., a winding caterpillar of pink hats, tee-shirts, and rain gear from some 2,900 participants made its way from the campus of UMASS Boston on a journey which would pass by Carson Beach and meander through the streets of the North End. It would include sights such as M.I.T and the Museum of Science before reaching its final first 26.2 mile destination at Prowse Farm in Canton.
Husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, moms, dads, sons, daughters, and friends, including 200 survivors, some native Bostonians, others from different states and even different countries, set out to participate in this 6th annual event to raise money, awareness and hope. We walked as one, sharing stories and songs, band-aids, tears and smiles.
Along our route we encountered the wonderful crew members that made the walk possible, some of whom had traveled many miles by motorcycle in the pouring rain to make it to Boston; others would honk and cheer us on from bra-clad vans, keeping an ever-present vigil on our progress. Some manned the rest stops and kept us laughing with their creative costumes and interesting themes.
And then there were the survivors who clapped us on and thanked us, and the residents whose homes lined the routes, generously supplying us with their never-ending coolers of water, Gatorade and other goodies.
Like Boston’s walk, all other Avon Walks for Breast Cancer, (now hosted in nine cities throughout the US) take place over a weekend. Participants register on Friday night. An opening ceremony on Saturday and an optional 13 or 26.2-mile walk are followed by a night spent in the Wellness Center. Walkers then head back to the starting destination on Sunday, trekking the last 13 miles.
The day no one really tells you about is Monday. You may walk a little different for a while but you’re filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment like no other. This year, after Christy and I rested a bit too long at Mile Marker 24 and cramped up a bit, my new shirt, which read “Full Heart – Tired Legs,” seemed especially fitting for Monday.
Walkers must raise a minimum of $1,800 in order to participate. This year’s Boston participants raised over 6.9 million dollars. As a result, grants were awarded to different hospitals and organizations throughout the city.
The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer will always be my walk of choice. It is superbly structured and caters to the comfort and safety of the walkers by means of informative literature and instructions, well-spread out stops and the ever-present van patrol. If ever hope were tangible, nowhere has it seemed more visible than in the faces of the participants in the weekend’s parade of pink.
Leslie Catillo is a Wayland-based freelance writer and mother of two boys. She regularly contributes to baystateparent.
Ready, Set, Hope: May 16 – 17, 2009: Walk for 2 days and 39 miles. To RSVP for an introduction meeting or to get more information, please go to www.avonwalk.org or call 617-576-3113.
Meeting Friends along the Way
Rosemary Akin, Yarmouthport
For a stretch I walked with Rosemary Akin, an incredible woman who made me feel that all good things are possible. Her tee-shirt first caught my eye: two appropriately placed baseballs with the phrase, “Save Second Base.”
Akin, survivor of colon and breast cancer, has faithfully participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer every year except for 2007 when her daughter underwent open-heart surgery. This spirited wife, mother and grandmother refers to her breasts as “bionic boobs,” rides a motorcycle and works as school nurse. Her strength comes from her faith, especially prayer, and from the everlasting support from husband and best friend, David, who constantly assures her that no matter what she looks like on the outside, she’ll always be beautiful on the inside.
Although this year’s walk broke cold and damp, Akin found inspiration early on.
“An elderly woman was waving and cheering from her porch,” says Akin. “I waved and she told me to stop (I was proudly wearing my Avon survivor hat). She made her way down the stairs and gave me the biggest hug and said, ‘God Bless You.’ My feet and damp clothes did not matter because my heart was warm.”
At the Wellness Village where she is always amazed by the number of tents, an exhausted Akin was soon sound asleep after a welcome shower and dinner.
On Sunday she hit the road again for the 13-mile trek from Canton back to UMASS. Her excitement built as the mile markers got closer and closer to thirteen. Akin who admits never being able to walk the entrance to UMASS without tears running down her face, met her daughter, Danielle, and granddaughter, Preleigh, at Malibu Beach where they walked the final mile together.
Akin proudly gushes, “I did it – walked 39 miles and raised over $4,100 for breast cancer research. The closing ceremony was very powerful. All the walkers were parading in, making a horseshoe followed by all the Survivors wearing our light pink tee-shirts and shaking our white pom-poms. We were one that afternoon hoping that soon a cure for breast cancer will be found… I look at my daughter and granddaughters and hope they never have to face the pain of breast cancer.”
Daniel Flaherty, East Walpole
Christy and I met Daniel Flaherty on a long, straight stretch of hill in Dorchester. Flaherty remembers that hill well. “That hill was the worst part…it never seemed to end! It was so long and when it was over, I was thrilled!”
Nevertheless, although Flaherty was unable to train for his first walk due to his final schedule as a sophomore at Babson College, he completed all 39 miles and plans to make it an annual event.
Clad in a gold “Men with Heart” tee-shirt, this cheerful and pleasant young man decided to walk after his mother, Elaine, was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in October 2007. Flaherty, who initially thought that raising the $1,800 would be difficult, will not forget how generous people were. In total, he raised nearly $4,000.
“Throughout this experience I was astonished by my mother’s strength and her ability not to allow her illness to consume her life. Throughout her treatment, she worked as a full-time nurse. It’s amazing that even though she was going through this, she was still there to help others.”
Flaherty, who found that the walk “ran smoothly, especially for the amount of people present,” met “kind, generous, and strong people” along the way and felt warmly welcomed by “Men with Heart,” a team of men dedicated to helping raise money and awareness for breast cancer (To learn more, visit menwithheart.org)
Robin O’Leary, Amesbury and Paula Kelly, Plaistow
A close-knit quartet is clad in customized wings and embroidered hats with halos, thanks to a creative streak by team captain Sherie Bourgeois. It was Bourgeois who also coined the group’s name, the Pink Angels of Hope.
Robin O’Leary joined the Angels when her sister Diane was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time after a ten-year respite from the disease. “I heard an ad on the radio and decided in that moment that if she was going to have to go through the ordeal she was facing then the least I could do would be to walk 39 miles to raise funds and awareness. “ Soon thereafter she connected with Sherie Bourgeois, Bev Gaudet, Paula Kelly and Julie Hagel, via an Avon website bulletin board, and the North Shore women became fast friends and team members.
This year marks O’Leary’s third year participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and she is committed to walking until either a cure is found or she is no longer able to walk.
She credits the Avon Foundation for its dedication.“It never ceases to amaze me that the primary funds for breast cancer research and support programs come from ground up efforts such as the Avon Walk. There are many other organizations that run similar programs but the Avon Walk is the only one that returns over 90% of funds raised directly back into the community.”
Angel Kelly credits the walk with changing her for the better. “I’m in the best shape of my life at 49, and this is a gift the walk gave me.”
She adds, “The people I’ve met, the lives I’ve touched in both fundraising and in actually walking have enriched my life so much…My wonderful friends, the Pink Angels of Hope, are people I would have never met without doing this walk. They are truly special to me.”
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Thank you for entering our online contests.
Here are some of our winners:
Gina Fields of Worcester won a Red Sox hooded baby towel.
Elive Burke of Boxford and Mary Jacquith of Franklin won the EcoTarium's Siegfried books.
Jeanette Lundgren of Worcester won a hard-cover Mother Goose book.
Kelley Davis and Denise Mejia of Fitchburg and Ann Lasoskie of North Grafton won Bob-the-Builder DVDs
Cathy Mealey of Lynnfield, Heidi Boyle of Webster, and Michelle Maley of Grafton won lil' Bratz DVDs
Anne Bembenek of Dudley and Michael LaFerney of Lakeville won Carrie Rowan's Almost Home CD.
Prabhu Iyer of Ashland won a Barney DVD.
Congratulations to all of our winners.
If you won an item and have not received it in the mail yet, please double check that we have your mailing address and first and last names.