Monday, December 27, 2010

So This is Our Christmas

Christmas at the Patterson household...

Christmas Eve with the Noble side has come and gone - this year we tried something new and got together in the afternoon so the kids could play outside.  The annual feasting, Christmas Eve service, stockings and present exchange went well. 

Back at home, the little ones slept in on Christmas morning.  Our traditional Christmas runs like this:

When the kids (and parents) wake up, they discover their stockings at the foot of their beds!  They can open them as soon as they're awake.  The kids usually end up with a good dose of candy before breakfast (although we went easy on the goodies this year - only a handful of special treats).

We have a special breakfast.  This year was chocolate crepes, stuffed with berries and bananas, served with chocolate flavoured whipped cream.

Daddy said grace, and we all ate together, taking our time.

Next, Daddy read the Christmas story from Luke.

At this point, the kids are getting a bit impatient...Mommy, too :)

Then, we open presents! 

 Here's Graedy, with his Black & Decker tool kit.  He's been "drilling" anything and everything in the house.

Maddie got a pogo stick.  She needs to gain a few pounds to make it work right, but she's been trying hard to get it to bounce.

Eva with her very big doll.  She named it Lucy-Anna.


Baby Gen was my best present this year!

Later, we congregate at Grammy & Grampy Patterson's for the traditional Christmas turkey dinner. 

Merry Christmas from all of us!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How Mothers Shower

I laughed so hard at this video...so true! 


What's missing is a part that describes How Mothers Shower.  Here's how that would look:

Around 11:45 am, realize husband is about to come home for lunch.  Glance in the mirror.  You look like crap.  Plop kids in front of TV to ensure relative safety while you hose down.  Lock all the doors.  Put up all the baby gates.  Order the kids not to open the door, answer the phone or touch anything.  Make them repeat it. 

Grab clothes from the dryer.  Slip on a puddle on the bathroom floor.  Turn on the water.  Shut off the water.  Go back to the kitchen and turn off the dishwasher, since you want an even water temperature during your shower.  Try again. 

Put your jammies (the flannel ones) into the separated hamper.  Sigh.  Take all the clothes out and put them back into the hamper in the right place.  Make a mental note to show the kids and the husband how neat and tidy the bathroom is when the hamper is used correctly. 

Step into the tub.  Grab the shower rod when you slip on an entire shampoo bottle's contents all over the bottom of the tub.  Rip down the shower curtain while trying to save yourself.  Tread carefully.

Grab a cloth.  Look for the soap.  Try and salvage all the little bitty pieces on the edge of the tub leftover from the kids' game of "Make Barbie Soap".  Give up.  Rub the bottom of the tub with the cloth and use the leftover shampoo instead.

Stick your head out the curtain (what's left of it).  Yell, "WHAT ARE YOU KIDS DOING?"  Don't believe the, "Nothing!!"  Yell back, "I CAN SEE YOU!!"  Smirk satisfactorily when you hear them scamper back to the couch.

Wet hair.  Grab shampoo.  Lather, rinse, don't repeat.

Open the peanut butter jar that the 4 year old just stuck through the curtain.

Look for your razor.  Find it next to a bald Barbie doll.  Skip it.  Make a mental note to put razors on the shopping list.

Yell, "WHAT ARE YOU KIDS DOING?" again, for good measure.  Step back and trip over the naked 2 year old who decided a shower sounded like fun.  Sigh.  Hose him off. 

Shut off the water. Puzzle at the silence from the other room.

Get out of the tub.  Grab the only towel and dry off the kid.  Do your best to dry yourself with the wet towel. 

Write "razors" on the steamy mirror.  Write "Tylenol" as an afterthought.  Write "liquor" as a joke.  Well, not a funny joke.

Start dressing the kid, back into his old clothes.  Shiver, since you're still wet.  Pull on your own clothes.  Realize you took 2 shirts out of the dryer, instead of 1 shirt and pants.  Make a run for the dryer, again.  On the way to the laundry room, trip over the toys, crayons and books that weren't all over the floor when the shower began.  Evidently the kids didn't stay on the couch like they were supposed to.

Pick up the baby for some much needed cuddles.  Get spit up on.  Decide paper towel will work just as well as a shower to clean up with.  Answer the door bell to let the husband in, since you forgot to unlock the doors and dismantle the baby gates. 

Decide to "go green" and save water with monthly showers (worked in the middle ages!).  It's the only way to save the earth, AND your sanity.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Craft Fair

The craft fair is done, over, finito!  It went quite well, I think.  I'm a bit biased, but I think we had the most interesting table at the fair.  Here's a quick look:

We've got quilting, candles, painting, prints, ornaments and kids' toys.

This is my stuff, below.  The crayon rolls sold the best, followed by the I-Spy bags.  I sold every one of my Play-Dough mixes.   


Our strategy was simple:  Bait the crowd of holiday shoppers using cute and cuddly babies.

  

See, it worked!  Hi, Bob!

Most men ... can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it obligates them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught others, and which they have woven thread by thread into the fabric of their lives." - Tolstoy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

5 Little Monkeys

My little niece, K, turned one a few weeks ago.  I'd been knitting her little finger puppets and I'm so glad she's received them because now I can share them with you!

I went with a 5 Little Monkeys theme.  I printed and laminated the poem, and made 5 monkey puppets.  They're all a little bit different from each other. 


Here's a close-up of one of the little fellas.  I hope she likes them and has fun playing with them!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Homeschool Christmas Get Together, and My Little Piano Virtuoso

Last night was our annual Homeschool Christmas Concert/Get Together.  Each family or child can participate.  All you need to do is let the coordinator know what you are planning to do, and sign up.  Usually, our family does a little something for each get together.  It's usually a reading, or a poem or something simple.  This year I just hadn't had the chance to organize anything that involves practice.  Lack of time and sleep, I guess. 

So, we went to the Christmas party to watch and encourage the other kids.  And for the food. 

We sang some carols, listened to a couple poems and enjoyed some piano playing.  Those kids are pretty good!  Better than me, anyway.  We were all having a good time when I noticed Eva fidgeting in her seat and whispering with our coordinator.  After the last kid was done, wouldn't you know it - the coordinator announced....Eva!

Now, understand, we hadn't practiced anything and Eva hadn't mentionned a thing to me about performing.  She marched up to the piano, sat at the bench and played a little melody that she just made up as she went along.  It was actually pretty good for a first time at the piano.  She finished her song, got up, turned around, smiled at everyone and sat down.  I'm pretty sure I clapped the loudest of all the parents.

She surprises me sometimes, that one.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Future Doula?

The girls were pretending to be mommies having their babies.  Maddie and Eva discussed which one of them was going to have the breech baby, and which would have their baby head first.  Eva lay on the floor, crying out while she pushed.  I watched from the couch and finally said, "You know, Eva, you don't have to lie on your back to push the baby out."  Maddie pipes up from across the room, "Yeah, you could just squat!" 

I guess they do listen to me! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Craft Fair

A friend and I are booking a table at the annual Christmas Craft Fair at the mall.  This is my first time doing a craft fair, and it's going pretty good.  Not great, but good. 

I'm making educational toys and activities for kids.  The crayon rolls look sweet, the I Spy bags are nifty, the play-dough kits are innovative, the felt dolls are amusing, and the lace-up cards are laced.  I'd been hoping on a few other ideas, but sadly, they didn't quite work-out. 

I'm a bit confused as to how much stuff I should have.  Like I said, this is a first for me.  I don't want to have too much left over, but I also don't want the table to look bare.  I guess we'll call this a practice run?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Breakfast Enchilada

So, remember when I started The Breakfast Project?  I was going to get really, really, really good at making breakfast, and track my progress on my blog?  Then, I completely ran out of time and kind of forgot about it?  Well, for those of you who were breathlessly waiting for news on The Breakfast Project, this one's for you.

My friend Abi gets the credit for this one.  It starts out with homemade tortillas.  Surprisingly easy, quick and cheap to make!

Yes, I meant for it to be square.  Ahem.

I scrambled some eggs, poured enough of them to thinly cover the frying pan bottom, added shredded cheese, onions and peppers (which I had pre-fried to make them a bit less crunchy).  I slapped a tortilla over it all, and waited for the magic to happen.  Once the egg was cooked, I flipped it through the air and caught it on my plate.  Sadly, I don't have video evidence of that.

I rolled it up like an enchilada.


I put it pretty on a plate with a green salad, added some salsa and ta-da!   Lunch! 

I know, it's The BREAKFAST Project.  So, to make it the real deal, I would have put fruit salad with it.  In this case, though, it was 5 pm, and I wanted greens. 

The kids declared it yummy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lick My Floors!

I finally broke down and hired a cleaning lady. I'm not one to pay for something I can do myself, and I don't normally spend money on me but facts are facts. Obviously, I can't do it all myself, and the money is going toward a calmer, healthier, less stressful home for our entire family. Good and good.

So now that I'm done justifying...I LOVE IT!! The bathroom is shining, the floor could be eaten off of (not that Graedon was ever picky), and she even unearthed the book I started a month ago and couldn't find. We now have a standing date for every Thursday morning.

I'm liking this. The only problem is that I've spent the afternoon wandering around not sure what to do with myself. So, I made cheesecake. I am now destined to have a clean house and a thick waistline.

But the floors! Oh, my!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Laugh of the Day

Watching the food network.

Maddie: Mom, what's smoked salmon? Does it smoke cigarettes?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spooky Halloween Lantern

This post should have been done before Halloween, but I finally got my new camera and couldn't figure out how to get pictures from it to the computer. Better late than never, though, eh?

Here's a quick and easy project for kids. All you need is a mason jar (or any glass jar), tissue paper, white glue, water, a brush, black paper and scissors. First off, mix up the glue with the water to make it runny and less white. Then, brush the mixture onto the jar. Tear off pieces of tissue paper and smooth it over the jar. Once it's wet, it gets a bit fragile, so go carefully.


Then, cut out eyes, a mouth and a nose out of black paper and glue them on. When you've got the jar covered, let it dry a bit and then brush on more mixture to "varnish" it.
Pop in a tea light and ta-da! Jack-o-lantern!


Of course, it helps to have a little munchkin around to supervise.


This is great for Halloween, but how cute would this be in red and green for Christmas?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Graedon

It is November. We've had a few flurries in the last couple weeks. The grass is yellow and dry, the trees are bare. Maddie and I stopped on the side of the road on the way to town to watch a flock of Canadian geese. There must have been a few hundred. With babies so small, I've spent most of my time inside. Cabin fever is already setting in.

It's that time of year when the cold cramps your fingers and you finally give in to making a fire in the furnace...piling the kindling into a little teepee, lighting the match then slamming the furnace door shut and racing upstairs because you forgot to open the switch that feeds air to the fire. Come December I might remember to do that before I go to the basement.

I've been in a major decluttering spree. We've been deciding whether or not to sell the house. After a visit from the realtor and a disappointing look at the comparable homes in our area, we've decided to stay put for the time being. We'll renovate instead. I'm disappointed. I had hoped for a better price on our home, and to be able to buy a little homestead. This house is a good house, but not at all how I envision my dream home. When the market turns around for the better, we'll take a second look.

Who knows what might have happened between now and then?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday, Eva!

Today Eva turned 5. She's thrilled. This means that she is now only 1 year younger than Maddie instead of the usual 2. At supper today she sat up very straight and asked, "Do I look bigger?"

She's a sweet little girl with a big heart which is usually located right on her sleeve. She loves to hug and kiss her Baby Gen, and feels safest cuddled up to her Mama and Daddy. She's already reading 3 sound words and is always in the mood for telling jokes.

Happy Birthday, Evie-girl!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cat Talk

Maddie is best friends with Tigger, our cat. I'm not sure how he feels about it, but Maddie always has Tigger's best interests at heart (except when they conflict with her best interests). She came to me tonight and asked me not to let Tigger outside after dark anymore.

Now, please understand that going outside is Tigger's only escape from the kids' clutches. If he doesn't go outside, he will be forced to endure endless hugs and kisses, used as a blankie, pinned to the couch and made to cuddle and carried around the house for hours on end. You can understand why I wouldn't want to keep him inside, the poor cat. So, I tried to hem and haw my way out of keeping Tigger from going out.

Mad: "But, Mom, I don't want Tigger to go outside because of the coyotes. They're meat eaters!"

Me: "Coyotes mostly just like rabbits. They won't bother Tigger."

Mad; "Well, what about black bears? There's a bear in our woods, you know!"

Me: "I know, but Tigger just stays near the house. He doesn't go to the woods. And, anyway, why don't you just explain to him to be careful when he goes outside?"

Mad: "Mom! How will he understand what I'm saying?!?! He's a CAT! He says "meow meow", I say "la la"!!


And that's when I lost the argument and Tigger stayed in.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

And Life Goes On...

With hardly time to shower, I haven't been keeping this blog very well...A quick update is in order, I think.

Maddie and Eva are well into their fall activities. Homeschooling is going very well. They are both reading at a good level, and math seems to come quite easily to them. Their favourite school subject is read-aloud time. They have tried out Totally Girlz (a local church group) and LOVE it. They take swimming lessons, and are learning new skills there, too. They get together with their friends and homeschool group weekly at least.

Graedon is finally starting to potty train. He talks and talks and talks. He is all boy, and we love him...messes and all!

Geneviève is almost 2 months old! I can hardly believe it. At her last doc's appointment (at 7 weeks old) she weighed 11 lbs 11 oz. She has developed conjunctivitus in her eyes, and is now on antibiotic eye drops. Hopefully that will clear up in the next few days. It doesn't seem to bother her too much, but I think it bothers me more.

After a month of no camera (the last one was left in the rain), we now have a new digital! Expect more pics soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Budgie

When I was very young, perhaps about 4 or 5 years old, my mother and I were out in the front yard. There was a big tree in our yard. On that day, we looked up into the tree. There in the branches was a little budgie bird. Strange! My mother called to the little bird and it flew down from the tree to perch on her finger. From that day on, that little budgie was our pet and lived in a cage in our house.

Sometime later my Aunt C. "baby-sat" our budgie while we were away. She let it out of it's cage so that it could fly around the house and get some exercise. It flew into her dishpan and died.

The End.

Friday, October 8, 2010

War, Peace, Mice

Last night, I sat on the couch with Gen in my arms, nursing her. I admired her smooth skin, her delicate ears, the little fingers that flexed open, shut, open, shut. She met my eye and we understood each other for that moment. The older kids were upstairs, playing quietly (War - they have discovered World War 2, and have built a bomb shelter in the house. Their game consists of staying in the shelter and writing secret messages and avoiding bombs. Graedon doesn't quite understand the game, but he likes to warn me about the bombs.)

I held my baby tighter and as I did that, a movement caught my eye. A teeny little mouse crawled out of the register and wiggled his nose at me. A mouse. In my house! It was all cute and gray and furry. It had little pink ears and a tiny tail. It was adorable!

Today, I set the trap.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vacation!

Rich had some work to do in Saint Andrews last week, so we took advantage and went on vacation! Saint Andrews is a cute little town if you like boutique shopping. Kids do not. Thankfully there were other things to do. We visited with some new friends and picked apples from their orchard. The kids loved petting their horses (one of which is a teeny miniature).

Then, we went to the market. The kids picked up some knit toys.


We went to the public school after hours. They have an awesome play structure. What is in this picture is only about a fifth of what is actually there. It's full of nooks and crannies and medieval inspired fun.


Maddie, trying out the tire hole. That's not the official name for it.


We stayed in a little condo-cabin on the beach. That's it in the background.


Graedon, enjoying the low tide.


It's nice to get away once in a while.

Tasty Science

The girls are studying animals in science right now. Along with their textbook, they are reading a series of books on animals from different parts of the world. I thought it would be appropriate to start with the animals from our own area. One of the animals we studied was the porcupine (which is a rodent and a mammal!).

Okay, textbooks can be a little dry. So, I supplemented again with a craft - a yummy one at that!

Our math for the day (not really):
1 marshmallow + dozens of toothpicks + 3 cloves = a porcupine

Maddie with her porcupine.

Eva with hers.

Graedon and his.

I love how different they all look. You'd think that there wouldn't be much leeway for creativity but they each have their own individual look.

BTW, they didn't last long.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Parenting Ain't For Sissies

I enjoyed this article. Such truth! It's so hard to be a parent when we are overwhelmed with information - some relevant, some not-so-relevant. We live in such complicated times. Parenting used to be a heart and soul matter, where parents were required to look to themselves, their own mothers and fathers and the Bible to keep their children safe, healthy and happy. Now, parenting is ruled by "experts", studies and self-help books. Every decision we make is wrong in somebody's eyes. Every move we make will have studies for it and against it. There's no right anymore.

Here are some things that confuse me as a parent:

*sunscreen I know, right? Kids in Canada are Vitamin D deficient. Sun is good for them. But, gak, what about skin cancer? Does the Vitamin D need outweigh the risks of a possible cancer and chemical laced sun screen?

*discipline. To spank or not to spank, that is the question. Time out to cool down, or is that emotional deprivation (as some "experts" say)? Take away privileges, or is that emotional blackmail?

*crap food. My word for processed dinners and empty calories. How much is too much? When is it okay to crack open the KD? What if I top it with real cheese and sneak some pureed squash in there?

*routines. Is there security in routine, or are we training our children to be inflexible?

Geez. No wonder I'm stressed.

What are your parenting questions and dilemmas? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Anyone in the Market for Another Wife?

I'm reading The 19th Wife. It's the story (or stories, since there are 2 different plots in one book, that I assume will merge somehow at the end) of a woman who is born into a family of early converts to the church of Latter Day Saints, back when they introduced polygamy into the religion. The co-story is set in present day and is about a "lost boy" who was excommunicated from "The Firsts" (what they call the group who split from the Mormons and kept up the plural marriage sacrament).

Any friend of mine knows how much I love a good historical fiction novel. Actually, I think this one is based on a true story...anyway.

In the book, they mention the website www.2wives.com I checked it out, expecting a dead-end. Lo and behold, it's a real website. Their slogan is: "Where Good Pro-Polygamy Families Find More Wives" Seriously.

You'd think that with all the extra heads in the family to put together, they could come up with a better slogan than that.

Adventures in Cloth Diapering

I used only disposable diapers with the 3 older kids. This time, I thought I'd branch out and try the cloth diapers. I was rather surprised to find out that the higher end diapers are about $20 each! Luckily, I found some basic prefolds and covers through Baby Best Buy for much cheaper than that. I also made some using a free pattern on the internet, and used receiving blankets.

Cuteness! These are sweet and absorbent. They're harder to wash though, and dry slower since they are so thick.



My personal favourites: boring white prefolds with velcro cover. They may not look like much, but they're versatile, easy to wash, and easy to use.




I only have a half dozen covers, so my stash only lasts about a day before I have to launder them. Once I get my second order of covers, I'm hoping to only do an extra load twice a week or so.

I'm enjoying it though, and it is helping with the cost of diapers. Gen tends to get a little irritated in the bum area with the disposables, too, so double bonus for cloth!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Summer Ends

Summer is ending. School has started (more on that soon). The evenings are cool, and it gets dark earlier. So, in a last ditch effort to hold on to the hot summer sun a little longer, we crammed in as many summer activities as we could into this year's last hot weather week.

We had campfires and stayed up late...



Ate many marshmallows...



Had a picnic at the park and climbed really big rocks...



And went river wading, our favourite summer activity.



It's been a good summer. I'll miss it.

3 Weeks Old


Geneviève is 3 weeks old, already! The time has just flown. She's more alert now, holding her head up a bit longer, and she's forming a bit of a schedule. I've even caught her looking at me with bemusement...not quite smiling, but with a definite twinkle in her eye. I weighed her a couple days ago, and she's a whopping 10 lbs!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Reflections of Motherhood

I've been thinking of having a Birth Talk meeting on this subject, so I was glad I stumbled on the video. Looking back, and now, watching new moms, there's so much I would have liked to have told myself 6 years ago when Maddie was a baby. Hind sight is 20/20, I guess.

Some of the insights I could have used, back in the day:

*Don't try to do things according to everyone else's version of perfect. If it works for your family, then go for it.

*You know those Supermoms? No, you don't. What happens in their house is pretty close to what's happening at your house. We all have bad days.

*Nothing lasts forever. Soon enough, you'll be able to get some sleep, eat a meal while it's still hot and not get pooped and puked on.

*There's nothing wrong with taking a fun day. Leave the house chores for a bit, snuggle on the couch and read fairy tales, watch a fun movie together, paint rocks...reality will still be there tomorrow.

*Ask for help, and accept it when it's offered. You'll pay it forward someday.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School!

I'm trying to get everything organized for our Back to School. We loosely follow the public school schedule, although we don't have snow days or Parent/Teacher days or planning days. That means that we will be having our first day next Tuesday!

I have all the books ready, the pencils are sharpened, the craft supplies accounted for and random ideas are floating through my head. Only problem - getting those ideas down on paper! This is the first year that I'll be schooling 2 kids. I'm not quite sure how to coordinate the two of them and keep them on track and independantly working on separate subjects. Some things they'll do together, like science, french and reading aloud. Other things, like Math or reading lessons, they are at different levels. I have a feeling it's going to take quite a bit of juggling and trial and error to find a system that works.

In elementary school I attended a very tiny public school. There were only half a dozen kids per grade, so the classes were mixed - Grade 1 with Grade 2, Grade 3 with Grade 4, etc. I can't help but wonder how 1 teacher was able to handle all those kids doing different things all at once. Back in the one room schoolhouse days, they used the same system...but with even more of an age gap. And, yet, it worked! I'm sure we'll figure it out.

In the meantime, what are your suggestions for making the day flow? Any ideas that I can use to make our time productive, fun and kept on track?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Writing Wizard

With school just around the corner, I am busy getting books, supplies and ideas organized. I am loving this website to create my own tracer sheets. I'll be using it to practice their printing, all the while learning to write their full names (why did we choose such long names?), phone number, address, spelling words, short stories they'll make up, etc.

I'm going to get lots of use from Writing Wizard!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

She's Here!

Richard and I were blessed with a beautiful little girl! Geneviève Anise Patterson was born yesterday, August 17th, at 9:25 am. She weighed in at 8 lbs, 3 oz and is 20 inches long. Her brother and sisters are very excited, and everyone is home and doing well.

Pictures will be coming soon!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Belly Painting

39 weeks tomorrow...I thought it was time to do a last minute pregnancy activity with the kids. We got out the paints and brushes and transformed my belly into a masterpiece! They had a ball!



Summer Fair

It was "Old Home Week" in our town. When I first moved here, it took me a couple years to figure out just what "Old Home Week" was...no one called it "the fair" or "the expo" like the carnivals where I come from. No, it was just referred to as Old Home Week - which didn't strike me as an interesting place in the least. Now that I've figured it out, though, it has proven to be entertaining enough, and the kids like it. Personally, I like Loonie Night - where the rides are $1.

We bought $15 worth of tickets and popped the kids on some rides. Here is Graedon taking Maddie for a ride. He's very serious about the job. He was pretty upset that the ride operator made him get off the ride at the end.



Eva, driving herself.



The girls went on the fastest roller coaster ever!



We visited the petting zoo, which consisted of a turkey, a pony, some fowl, a rabbit and possibly a dog. Graedon was terrified of the turkey.



A $5 bag of cotton candy later, and our evening was complete. Not bad for an evening of family fun!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

38 Weeks

tick. tick. tick. tock.

It's coming soon! Baby has a very strong, variable (that's good) heart beat. Stubborn as all get out, as he is still resisting getting into position. Those fourth babies...they just do what they want anyway. I've been told to lie on my left side and coax the baby into place as much as I can. He complies when I do that, so really, I think it's just a matter of time before he decides to line himself up. Unfortunately, I don't like my left side and this makes for sleepless nights and a tired mama in the daytime.

I'm anxious to see what this one will be like....boy or girl? Dark hair like me, or strawberry blond like the others? My midwife has estimated at a good 8 lbs, which is a wonderful size. We'll know soon!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Swim Time Video

video

Living the Safe Life

Part of Francis Chan's sermon from Challenge 2006. "Safe" has a different meaning for everyone, but regardless, this challenges me to step a little further, do a little more, maybe even make some waves...

Watch it on You Tube!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Baby Update

Well, I'm all packed...baby's things, my things and the birth supplies are all ready to go for when this baby finally decides to show up. I had my 37 week prenatal yesterday, and we got to hear a good strong heartbeat (about 135 bpm), the baby has wiggled back into an ROA position (on my right side, head down, facing in - yay!), and all systems go from here. The baby is way, way, way down low, which is a bit unusual for a 4th pregnancy. Babies don't normally drop before labour, but normal isn't really my forté. Obviously, this one must feel a need to get ready ahead of time. I'm hoping it means a shorter labour and less pushing for this time.

So now we wait.

Birth Talk

I think I wrote about this on the blog before, but I figured it was time for an update. I started a group called Birth Talk last February (I think). We meet every 3rd Tuesday of the month. Every month has a different topic. So far, we've done The Business of Being Born, cloth diapering, comfort measures, birth plans, prenatal/infant massage, belly casting, etc. So far, it's been a really good experience. We usually have 4-5 ladies come (other than me).

This next meeting will be a showing of Orgasmic Birth. It's not really about orgasms (actually, not about that at all), but it is about birth and how to make it into a pleasureable thing instead of a "labour" that you have to plow through in order not to be pregnant anymore :)

September we're hoping to have a photographer come and show us her work doing prenatal/birth/infant/family photos.

I love the Birth Talk group! I love that it's a safe place for women to ask questions and to learn from each other. It's not a class. I do lead, but I regularly ask other women to contribute on topics of which I know they're knowledgeable. It leans a bit to the natural side, since I felt that there was plenty of support for the usual births (hospital, medicated, etc) but not a lot of info or support for women seeking alternative care and options. Most - if not all - of the women are having hospital births, but it's my hope that Birth Talk will have encouraged them to explore what's out there, ask questions and become active in their care.

I'm excited to see what will happen with the group in the future!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Bigger They Are...

The bigger they are, the harder they fall...

The bad thing about being 9 months pregnant is that when you're squatting to pick something up, you are completely at the mercy of the 2 year old's tackles from behind. The good thing about falling over at 9 months pregnant because of a 2 year old's tackle is that they provide an excellent cushion to land on.

He's fine, by the way.

Some Days are Hard...

We've been having a hard time with our middle one. She is normally the cheerful, snuggly child, but in the last few weeks she seems to have developed an extremely stubborn, whiney, and defiant personality. Perhaps she senses the changes to come with baby? Maybe she resents that I'm no longer able to do all the things I used to with her? Either way, Rich and I have had it up to here!

We went to a friend's house a few days ago. In 2 hours, Eva refused to share, whined for no reason, demanded dessert (no please or thank you), threw a tantrum when she realized it was Jello and not candy, and generally made a ruckus. I tried to hide my red face, and vowed to never let her leave her room again. When we got home, our conversation went like this:

Mom: Hey, Eva, let's play a little game!

Eva: Okay! *giggles & claps*

Mom: It's called the Good or Bad Game. I'll say something and you tell me if it's good or bad. What if you're at someone's house and they offer you lunch. Should you cry?

Eva: *realizes it's a trap* No.

Mom: What if they offer you Jello and you don't want it. Should you throw yourself on the floor and scream?

Eva; *realizes she's been found out and that Daddy now knows her naughty ways* No.

Mom: Let's play another game. It's called the Feeling Game. What if Mommy is at someone's house with Eva and Eva throws a fit. Do you think Mommy feels happy, or embarrassed at Eva's behaviour?

Eva: *quiet pause* I don't want to play anymore.


So, we're trying to figure out what to do about Eva. Any suggestions? Remember, they have to be legal.

I'll post another entry with some ideas I've got.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Are You a Good Parent?

Yeah, we all have days where we think we're great parents, and days we think we suck. Test yourself!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The "I Can't" vs "I Won't"

I thought this blog post was very interesting. I live in an area where breastfeeding rates are quite low. As a doula, many women come to me with a desire to "learn" how to breastfeed, or to "fix" whatever isn't working. It's always so hard to find the right way and the right words to help. The same applies to birthing vaginally, and especially naturally (by natural, I mean without meds).

When a woman comes to me for help, naturally, I do my best to support and give information. However, it's so incredibly tricky to say and do the right things without hurting a mom's feelings or damaging her already shaky self-confidence (remember, I work with moms who are going through a huge hormone and life change). Even trickier is when I am faced with the reality that telling my story of successful VBAC, HBAC and breastfeeding relationship - including overcoming weeks of breastfeeding pain and frustration, and months of post-partum depression - makes other women feel angry and guilty. When you go through something so difficult and come through the other side in one piece, you want to celebrate and tell people, "I did it!!" But, I guess every personal victory can be taken as a personal attack. I wish it wasn't that way, but, it is.

I digress. The blog is about the difference between women who can't and those who won't. The comments are really interesting, too, where some women who didn't breastfeed voice their opinions. What I've taken from it is the importance of supporting women from every walk - those who can, those who will, those who try, those who do their best, and those who choose not to as well.

What I'd like to know, Blog Readers, is how does a doula and fellow mother do that? If you have struggled with breastfeeding, what was most helpful to you? What was least helpful? Did you feel put down by anyone, and why? How could you have been helped better? Leave a comment!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today's Funny

I've been interested in Herbalism for years, and I'm just now starting to really get into it. I've been learning about plants' uses, preparing simple remedies and trying to identify plants in my neighbourhood. Obviously, because of my limited knowledge and my pregnancy, I've been sticking to the less potent plants.

I brought Eva and Graedy into the back yard with me to collect St John's Wort. I chatted with Eva about how to identify the plant, what we were going to do with it, how to prepare it, etc. I repeated it a few times to really drill it into her - she might be an herbalist someday, who knows? After a while of picking the plant I asked her, "So, Eva, do you remember what this plant is called?"

"Yeah! It's John Deere."

Such a Daddy's girl.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Swimming Pictures

Here are some photos of the kids swimming!

Maddie - The Fish


Eva - The Duckling, Graedon - The Frog, & Grammy P. - The Enforcer (keeps 'em in line and safe LOL)


Graedon with his very nifty and extremely helpful swimbelt.



I have a video, too, but I'm still working out some bugs with uploading it. Enjoy the last few days of this heat wave!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

34 Weeks

Eep! 6 weeks to go!

I feel kind of funny blogging about my prenatal since it's just more of the same. Once again, I am the most boring pregnant lady in history. Baby decided to wake up and jazzercise as soon as my midwife went to take the heartbeat, so the FHT were 160/min. It's been running on the high end since the start. Some people assume that means a girl, but I think there's still a 50/50 chance either way. I started the pregnancy measuring small, but since the baby has wiggled it's way into the correct position, I am now measuring a bit ahead. Fiew! I hope this means that I'm not really a week or two behind. My weight gain has slowed a bit, but at this point, it's no surprise. The heat we've been having and the smaller tummy space accounts for that. Just less to lose in the long run :)

I had all three kids with me at the appointment. There was nothing to be done for Graedon. He was hot, he was hungry, he was cranky, and I really wasn't much help in providing what he wanted - swimming, candy and a nap. Even going to visit the farm animals didn't distract him. Thankfully, he fell asleep on the way home and is peacefully napping right now. I think we're all due for a swim in the pool, and as soon as Daddy gets home, that's where we're headed.

Stay cool during this heat wave!

At the Pool

I always hoped that my kids would learn to swim. The girls have been taking swimming lessons during the colder months for the last couple years. In the summer, thankfully, we've all been able to benefit from my mom and dad's pool.

The lessons have been okay. I wouldn't term them excellent. Mostly, they have one-on-one time with the teacher for about 5 minutes of every class and the rest of the time they play "What Time is it, Mr. Shark?" and sit around waiting for their turn. I know it's important for them to learn through play, and that it all serves for the purpose of getting them comfortable in the water, but the progress has been slow.

In the last couple weeks of unstructured swim time at Grammy & Grampy's pool, though, their swimming skills have just grown in leaps and bounds! Maddie and Eva are both jumping in from the side of the pool, swimming underwater short distances, doggie paddling across the pool (we insist on pushing a noodle ahead of them in case they need a break halfway through), and holding contests for who can stay underwater longest. Maddie has even been able to touch the bottom with her hands. She is definetly the stronger swimmer, but Eva isn't very far behind. Even Graedon has come a long way. He has become much more comfortable in the water, and with the help of his floaty belt, he can now float on his own without freaking out, and can do a sort of beginner's doggie paddle. He even ducks his head under water and rides on Daddy's back.

I'm very pleased with their progress. They are definetly nowhere near the non-supervision swim stage (and, really, I don't think anyone should ever swim without a buddy), but it's calming to know that they can at least paddle to the side of the pool if they ever fall in. By the end of the summer, who knows? They might be doing the butterfly stroke!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fishing

This summer the Patterson family has rediscovered the joy of fishing. Every few days Richard will go tramping through the brush on his quest to discover the best fishing hole in NB...
My bro and his family enjoy the sport, too. We brought the kids on a little fishing expedition the other day.

Graedon mostly just enjoyed playing with sticks and wading in the muck.

Maddie, hard at work, catching supper (we went hungry on this particular day).

I think Richard really enjoys the quiet and solitude fishing provides. I guess you don't get much of that in a house full of kids.

What to do when the 2 year old wets his pants beyond repair and you realize there aren't any extras in the van? You mickey-mouse a new pair of pants using his shirt as a substitute! As an added bonus, the neck hole provides good airflow in the crotch.

I am not included on the family fishing license (just Richard and kids), but I do like to tag along. It's a fun project in which everyone can participate. Some of us fish, some of us play on the shoreline, some throw rocks, and some of us "stream-walk" (wading up stream and getting wet). All of us get to eat! It's a good time!