Sunday, May 31, 2009

Use Me

I'm not good with words. I've always been a better listener than talker. I've always felt a little bad about not being very open about God. I've admired how some people can just go up to a total stranger (or worse, someone they know) and start sharing about their faith. I'm blown away when those encounters end with prayer and "leading to Christ".

Friday evening, our church held a youth/young adult concert. The pastor said something that really stuck with me. He said that our job is only to sow seeds. We can't make someone come to Christ, and honestly, it's not in our power to change lives. Only God does that. He said, "Actions speak louder than words, but actions and words speak the loudest."

"Actions speak louder than words, but actions and words speak the loudest."

Wow, that struck a chord with me. Until then, I'd always gotten the jitters about sharing (kind of like when I had to do speeches in school...I was terrified I'd vomit all over the front row). What stopped me was - what if I can't say it right? What if they ask me something and I don't know the answer? What if they aren't interested and I look like a loser? What if I say something wrong? I figured that if I couldn't carry it through from start to finish, then it would be best not even to start.
It got me to thinking, though, that maybe I had my role wrong. As the pastor said, all you have to do is sow seeds. God will take care of rain. He'll worry about the harvest. Just sow a seed.
So, I'm trying to sow. Inviting friends to special events at church. Name dropping (like, "I was at church yesterday, and..." or "My pastor said something cool the other day..."). Mentionning that I'll pray for someone. Even just sincerely being interested in people and being friendly. Those things make a difference.
My prayer that night was pretty simple - use me. Use ME. Not use someone I wish I was, or use me the way other people work. Use Me, as I am. That's all I can do, and I think that's a start.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I Have No Time to Eat Bonbons

I came across a post my friend wrote about Doing Less. The idea is to simplify, do your best and not stress about doing everything for everyone. The post suggested keeping a running list of what you do in a day, rather than what you should get done.

Here's my list for the day:

6:31 Maddie wakes me up demanding breakfast.
*take a few minutes to wake up.
*chart my BT
*start the washer that I loaded last night
*send Rich off to work after a healthy dose of flirting to get him through the morning
*make breakfast and feed 3 kids & myself
*made brownies for church concert tonight
*clean up from breakfast
*check e-mail
*check Facebook
*comfort Graedy
(at this point it's 7:48 am)
*e-mail client
*do school with kids. This means: sing O Canada in english & french, sing songs (4), mini french greeting lesson, devotions, read picture book, read 2 chapters of Magic Tree House book, calendar time, puzzles, 2 pages in workbook each, french lesson, Canadian geography (during all this I brushed my teeth and frosted brownies, put ham in the oven)
*collected garbage
*check e-mail
*do another load of laundry
*call Dr to discuss Graedon's weight
*do exercises

At this point I stopped keeping track because my paper was all filled up. It was 9:45 am.

It's no wonder I'm so tired.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sexy Underarms

Secret has a new add out. It's about their Secret Flawless antipersperant (or deodorant). The catch phrase is "Getting Sexy Underarms is No Sweat...because you're hot!".

Seriously? Sexy underarms? Is that really necessary? I highly doubt that men waste their time rating the passing women on how sexy their underarms are. "Say, Jim, check out Susie's legs. Whoo-eee, and that money-maker is outta this world! And her pits - *wolf whistle*".

It would be nice to get some slack on at least one part of our bodies. We're expected to regain our 17 year old bodies after having 3 kids. We dye our hair to hide the natural shade it turns as we mature. We diet ourselves sick. We go to our bi-monthly appointments to rip the hair out of our follicles. Women hide their stretch marks, go under the knife for the extra flap of skin that resulted from bearing babies, buy bras designed to lift and separate (and cost almost as much as a mortgage payment) and for what? Health? Themselves? Nope - for fear that men, or worse, other women, will look down their noses and pronounce them unattractive.

Cut us some slack, Secret. Your ad is the pits.

Losing a Tooth

Maddie had been wiggling one of her baby teeth for days. Last week, we had spaghetti for supper. In true Maddie fashion, she requested hers without sauce. She spent the sup time chewing her noodles and spitting them out into her plate (don't ask, but if I had noticed, I'd have made her stop). I'm sure there is a fancy french term for this type of dining, but it escapes me now. Of a sudden, Rich squinted at her and asked, "Maddie! Is your tooth still in your mouth?" It was gone. Into the bowl of teeny, chewed up spaghetti noodles - just the size and colour of an eensy baby tooth.
Richard got the job of sifting through the ABC (Already Been Chewed)* noodles. Finally, metal spoon clinked against little tooth, and we got it!
That night, Maddie and I prepared to put it under her pillow. Maddie, ever nervous, peered at me from a worried face and asked, " the tooth fairy real??!!" Noting the terror in her expression, I asked, "Do you want it to be real?" "NO!!!" So, another childhood tradition dashed at the Patterson household. We talked about how the tooth fairy is a fun game, but just pretend. I guess the thought of a strange half-clothed flying woman coming into her room and stealing her teeth was too scary for this 5 year old. I can't blame her.
By the way, did you know the going rate for teeth is $5??? Crazy stuff! I guess that's inflation for you.

*ABC is also the name of a little squirrel my brothers and I found as children. It had been attacked by our family pet, Tigger. In that case, we thought ABC was appropriate on two levels - Attacked By Cat and Already Been Chewed. Despite our best efforts and excellent medical care, ABC died shortly thereafter. :(

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Today I learned that it is a bad idea to carry loose thumbtacks in your pockets. Of course I knew this in theory, but now I know it in practice.

I hope this blog is an educational opportunity for us all.

Balls in Your Court night on the town, and, oh my! What's that hanging from the backend of that truck?
Is that what I think it is?
Yup. Classy, I tell you.

I'd be the talk of the town if I hung a pair of ovaries off my trailer hitch. What happened to the Taz mudflaps?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Everyday, I look at my house and make a mental checklist of what needs to be done. Then, I grab a pen and write it all down. Then, I lose the paper.

This weekend, though, I finally got to some stuff that needed to be done. Here are some examples of what makes me a procrastinator:

1) I finally took down the pink butterflies and lanterns in Graedon's room. He moved in there over a year ago, after Eva moved out. Everytime I changed his diaper, I'd look around and declare, "Graedon! I declare, it's time to make this into a little boy's room." Finally, that's on it's way.

2) I put away all of my clothes. The stacks on the dresser were driving me crazy. I also put away Rich's clothes. I know, that should be his job, but he was busy being busy for the greater good, so I did it for him. I emptied his drawers, re-folded everything and organized according to sleeve length. Highlight of my job? Finding an old love letter I'd sent him years ago when we were newlyweds. It was nestled in nice and snug between his tube socks and unmentionables. Sweet :)

Next, I'm going to tackle my sewing box. Scary!!

What have you been putting off?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Poop Update

Graedy eating Cheerios sans milk.

What a title, right?

So, if you've been following along for Graedon's pooping issues
, here's the latest:

He's been off milk products and on soy milk for a week and a half. He is pooping a bit less, and it is a little bit more solid. I still wouldn't call his bowel movements "normal", but I'm wondering if maybe he needs a bit more time on the soy milk to really be sure. Any advice out there, I'd love to hear it!

A grrr moment: My co-worker (who scared the wits out of me by suggesting that Graedon's diarhea was actually a sure sign of cancer) asked how he was doing. I gave her the run-down. I expected a little, "yay!" or "I'm glad he's not terminally ill!", but she kind of pursed up her lips and started talking about all her cancer-ridden aquaintances. I understand that healthy kids are boring to talk about, and that sick people make better gossip, but seriously? I know, it's selfish of me to think this, but could she please have mustered up a little "woot"? My kid doesn't have cancer! I say that deserves at least a smile. Maybe even a cupcake.

Heck, I'm going to go bake a cake right now. Double fudge. My kid is healthy!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Doula Oasis

6 months ago, I was seriously considering quitting the doula-ing. 6 months ago, it seemed like no one cared, no one was interested and no one saw the value of labour support. That was 6 months ago.

Today, I am preparing to drive to the city to meet with a client. VBAC, no less!

Whence 6 months ago, the doula world seemed like a dry desert to me, my summer is shaping up quickly - birth in July, potential client in August, much interest for one in September, 2 interested in December...

I don't want to be like that girl in America's Next Top Model (what was her name, Tahlia?) who wanted to quit at every bad photo shoot, but was over the moon at every good picture. I know I need to work on that - being hopeful and having faith that it will work out. Meanwhile, I'm thankful for the work and very excited to see what comes of this.

In the meantime, while I wait for my life plan to be revealed, I'm wearing my doula hat with newfound respect and faith, and working my butt off. :)

Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pregnant Smoker - What do you think?

I learned a lot when I took the DONA birth doula training 2 years ago. One of the things that really stuck with me was about judgement. Our doula trainer, Evelyn, asked us what our reactions would be to a client who smoked during pregnancy.

Try it: How do you react to a woman sporting a baby belly, smoking outside a store or going out on her coffee breaks to have a cigarette?

Disgust? Surprise? Anger? Think she's negligent? Irresponsible? Abusive?

Now, think on this: What if that smoking habit is replacing a crack addiction? Or that half-pack per day is chopped down from 1 pack per day? Hmmm...that puts a new spin on things, doesn't it?

The truth is, that none of us really know what is going on with other people. We think we do, but we don't. First impressions may be memorable, but they are rarely the full picture.

Weekend Madness

The weekend was busy with a capital B. First up was our homeschool group's Culture Fair on Friday night. Each kid chose a culture or time in history and made a presentation on the subject. We learned about the Holocaust, Ireland, England, cowboys, Nigeria and New Zealand. The great thing about our group is that the kids are all different ages. There were kindergartners, all the way to middle school. It was fun!

Saturday was the annual Women's Fair. I had a booth again this year. It's my biggest advertising of the year, but it's hard to say how successful it was. Attendance was down because of the weather (gorgeous!). In a few months, I'll be able to judge whether or not I have a new set of clients from the fair. The fair is a long day. It starts at 9 am, and goes until 5 pm. I work alone, and so most of the day is spent standing around, chatting with people as the pass by and trying to look interesting.

The evening was spent with Rich, who took me out for my birthday. Yay! I can't believe I'm 27...that's very close to 30. Eep.

The problem with our town is that there really isn't much to do for fun. Our dates are pretty predictable - we go out to eat, drive around trying to figure out what to do next, then go shopping at Walmart. Call me picky, but I just didn't want to do that on my birthday. We ended up visiting with some friends we hadn't seen in months. She'd just made brownies, so double score!

Sunday - Mother's Day! I got spoiled with bacon and eggs breakfast, annuals to plant in my garden and lots of hugs and kisses. We spent the entire day visiting our moms, and came home exhausted and ready for bed!

Next weekend, we're doing nothing. And that's cool, too.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tears and Tantrums

There's been much drama at the Patterson household of late. Crying, shrieking, tantrums, tears....and that's just me!

There's been a lot of this:

And a fair bit of this:

And even some of this:

Don't worry, though. We'll soon be back to this:

Hope your day is more like the bottom photo than the first three!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

African Birth Collective

I'm very excited! I'm applying to go on a short-term trip to volunteer at a birth clinic in Sénégal. The organization is called the African Birth Collective. They are a non-profit organization that sends midwives and doulas to Sénégal to exchange midwifery skills and learn from each other. The participants bring over much needed medical supplies, equipment and funds to the clinic. They try to mesh the best of the traditional art of midwifery with the best of modern western medicine.

I am only in the first stage of this project. Once I apply, the application will need to be accepted, I'll have to pass a phone interview, other applications, get the support and set everything up... but, it's still a step forward for me.

I am not a very experienced doula, yet. That will probably work against me. I do have some things working for me though - namely, being fluent in French, and a willingness to work hard and learn tonnes!

You all know that midwifery is something near and dear to my heart, especially third-world midwifery. I would be honoured to be a part of something so basic, yet so incredibly important! Tough, tiring and taxing wouldn't begin to describe this trip, but here's how I look at it: If you never leave your comfort zone, your comfort zone will never get any bigger. Rather it will shrink and your world with it.

So, keep me in prayer for this, 'k? I'll update when there is anything new!

Milk Fast

If you don't like talking about poop, then this post is not for you. If you're a mom, then you're likely up to your elbows in it right now, as you read.

Graedy has weird pooping patterns. He went through a 2 month phase where he only pooped once per week and it was very hard. Then, once he started eating food and drinking big people milk, his poop changed. It became very loose, very frequent and stinky. And I mean stinky. As in, open all the windows, apologize to the neighbours kind of stinky. I didn't think anything of it because he was happy, growing, pudgy and generally well.

Yesterday, I mentionned the poop problem to one of my co-workers. In no time flat, she had him diagnosed with cancer! Freaking out, I called Rich and my doctor and got an appointment for Graedy the next day (today). I picked up Graedy from my SIL's and didn't put him down the whole evening. I beat myself up for putting off his 1 year appointment, and I convinced myself that he was seriously ill.

Fast forward to this morning...I sat, tense, with Graedy in the doc's office. He's NOT DYING! Fiew! Dodged a bullet there! As she pointed out, people love to give scary, unsolicited advice and that cancer is a pretty far-fetched conclusion for toddler diarhea. If he was 60 or 70, then yeah, it could be something bad. For a 1 year old, it could be either of 3 things:

*an intolerance to milk or gluten or something else
*malabsorbtion (not being able to retain the good stuff in food cuz it goes right through him)
*his bowel is not yet mature and his body is adjusting to foods

On the bad side, he has been steadily slipping on the growth charts. He started out at the 75th% for weight, and dropped to 50%, and now 25%. Not a good thing, but he is otherwise healthy. That means that there is probably something that he is eating that he shouldn't. On a plus note, his head is huge (cuz he's smart like moi!). LOL

So, we are on a 2 week milk fast to see if that helps. If not, then we'll go on a gluten fast (?). Still nothing, I'll be collecting stool samples and getting tests done. We go back in 3 months for a weigh-in just to keep an eye on things.

Wish us luck!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Popsicle Treats

Lately, Eva has been whiney. Really whiney. Tear my hair out and lock myself in the bathroom kind of whiney. She breaks down in fits at any time and screams bloody murder when it's convenient for her. Notice I said "for her". It's never convenient for me.

Saturday we went to a yard sale. The little girl who lived at the house was chowing down on a pink ice-creamsicle. Eva took one look at her tasty treat and decided that it just wasn't fair! She clenched her fists at her side, took a deep breath, threw back her head and SCREAMED! And CRIED! And hollered, "I WANT A POPSICLE!!!!"

I nearly died of embarrassment. I tried to steer my crew out of the yard and into the van, but had to double back because we'd accidently shoplifted a pair of slippers in our haste. Meanwhile, Eva was still screeching and the mother of the little girl piped up with, "I'll get you a Popsicle, Sweetie!" and ran into the house. I tried to tell her not to (please don't reward my kid's tantrum!), but to no avail. Eva was obviously bad for business and needed to be shut up NOW!

So, we left, Popsicles in hand and my pride in pieces. Sadly, Eva dropped her Popsicle in the driveway and I was secretly pleased.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I receive a magazine called Above Rubies. They send e-newsletters and a quarterly magazine in the mail. This week, some quotes from past American presidents were included in the e-mail:

"When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." ~ John Quincy Adams

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

"We do not need more intellectual power; we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. If the foundation be firm, the foundation will stand." ~ Calvin Coolidge

"The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas-a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated." ~ Ronald Reagan

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are... I'm from the government and I'm here to help." ~ Ronald Reagan

I hope they make you think today.