The Aftermath

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My goodness I've just been dying to blog, but didn't want to dislodge the posts about the contest.

Alas, we've almost certainly not won.  It was a close race....what am I saying, we were blown out of the water.  We came nearly to 5000 votes and there did seem to be alot of support going for it.  I heard from all sorts of friends and acquaintances who told me about all the people who were voting, or to whom they had forwarded the information.  There was of course the 2 articles that were published, and a third from an online news outlet. CHCH never did even respond.  That was disappointing.

At the risk of sounding like sour grapes, it all seemed rather suspicious though.  There were 3 videos at the top of the page (more on that later) who were far ahead from the very start.  In fact, between 3:30pm when I had last checked the Kraft site on the day the finalists were announced (they hadn't at that point) and about 9pm when I could next get on my computer, those top three had already amassed hundreds of votes.  Ours had half a dozen.  I quickly got on FB, email, twitter and a few other online outlets and got the word out.  Our video slowly started to pick up.  We averaged about 200 votes a day.  The top three would get 2-3 times that.
After the articles came out, I had alot of hope it would really pick up, and it did.  But not enough.  While our video picked up closer to a thousand votes a day over the last 3-4 days of the contest, the top three, narrowed now to two, picked up 2-3 thousand per day.  Many people expressed to me that our video was definitely the cutest.  Not as polished and edited as two of the top three perhaps, but REAL.  And about PEOPLE, not animals.  The two that ended up neck and neck by the last day climbed dramatically in votes those last hours.  So quickly and consistently did those votes come in, that many have suspected they might have been inflated artificially.

I imagine however, that we'll never know.  I haven't even been able to bring myself to look at the site again, to see which video actually won.  I figure if by some miracle our video still won, Kraft would contact us, as the rules said they would.

I felt throughout the contest that it wasn't a fair playing field.  With 10 videos picked as finalists, Kraft arranged the rather large thumbnails on the Spread the Feeling site.  This meant however, that about four videos were immediately in view as soon as you arrived at the site.  The other 6 you had to scroll down to see.  Ours was the very bottom one on the right hand side.  Can you see why all was not fair in love and peanut butter?  The imbalance was obvious as the videos at the top were viewed in excess of 10,000 times, while ours was viewed only 5-6,000 times.  I emailed Kraft twice during the 2 weeks of voting politely and respectfully requesting they rotate the videos.  I received canned responses both times.

If there's one thing I have become thoroughly sick and tired of, it's the passivity of your average computer user.  Yes, we did have a great show of support for the video and the reason we were attempting to win the contest.  But there was also a whole lot of people who ignored us.

I have a little over 400 'friends' on Facebook, and this was the main outlet I relied on to spread the word.  I figured that if we could get people to share it on their walls, our impact would multiply exponentially.  And many did.
Because of the recent changes to the FB platform, it's now impossible to send a message to groups of people.  I used to be able to make a list of 20 people and send them all the same message.  Can't do that anymore.  So instead, I created an event and invited ALL of my friends to it.  Then my friend Cari added her list to the event too.  So that made in excess of 800 people invited to our 'event'.
I made it clear that this wasn't something to attend, but just a call to vote and share the information.  I was rather shocked when people started responding and I quickly had about 1/2 a dozen who clicked 'not attending'.  Not attending!?  You have a problem with your hand that it can't click a few more times to vote for the video!?  This so bothered me that I actually went to the walls of these people and in a very friendly way, reminded them that this wasn't an event they had to attend and I would really appreciate their support.  Some responded that it had been a mistake, or just how they 'manage' their FB invites.  Others just didn't respond.  Same with those who had clicked 'maybe attending'.
And then there were those that responded positively.  Out of more than 800 invites, 101 people clicked 'attending'.  Not even 10%.
On the Friday before the contest ended (on a Monday) I was starting to get desperate.  I decided to personally FB message all my friends.  It took hours and I got to about the J's when I started skimming and skipping.  I probably sent messages to close to 200 friends.  I got perhaps 20-30 responses.

Since when has it become acceptable to completely ignore a personal message from someone you consider a friend?

I tried to keep in mind that people might have been voting and not just letting me know, not responding to the event invite, my emails or my private messages.  A few people I messaged did respond that they had been voting, or had at least voted once.  I tried to keep in mind that it was voting that was the important thing, not letting me know they were voting.  But with so few responses and the votes still lagging behind the top videos, it was, at times,discouraging to have so few speaking out.

In the end however, the most important thing is that the money was provided.  Through a completely different means, the thousands of dollars needed for Esme to have her therapy came through.  I thank and praise God for this.  And next week, Jairus starts his therapy, thanks to many other amazing and generous people.  I know this is a glass-half-empty or half-full thing.  I could focus on the emails, messages, phonecalls and face to face messages from the many who supported us.  Or I could focus on the hundreds who didn't.  I waffle and find myself doing both.

And as much as I did all of it out of obedience to God and love for Tamara, I will certainly think long and hard before embarking on anything else that will require me to reach out and ask alot of people to help out.

C'mon Hamilton, step up here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

We're down to the last few days of the Kraft Peanut Butter contest.  We've seen some amazing things happen---an article was published in the Spectator and the Mountain News, but still, The Night Raider lags in fourth place, the winning video showing twice as many votes as ours.  But there's still 3 days left to win this for Esme! Here's the articles from both newspapers:

Paying it forward with peanut power

The Kents, at right - Leslie and James and their children Honour, Afton, Verity, and Jairus, front right. They want to help out the Youngberg family, left - Tamara, Jason, their son William, and daughet Esme, front.
Peanut Butter Contest The Kents, at right - Leslie and James and their children Honour, Afton, Verity, and Jairus, front right. They want to help out the Youngberg family, left - Tamara, Jason, their son William, and daughet Esme, front.
Cathie Coward/The Hamilton Spectator
Local acts of goodwill helped pay for Jairus Kent’s medical treatment. Now, the 10-year-old’s family hopes some goodwill of their own can help another child.
Jairus, 10, was born with Pierre Robin Sequence, which causes a cleft palate and underdeveloped jaw. Jairus is largely nonverbal, speaking at a 21-month-old level. Beginning Tomatis therapy to improve his audio and listening skills costs $5,000.
While applying to charities for assistance, Jairus’s parents Leslie and James Kent signed up for Kraft’s online contest encouraging people to display their love of peanut butter in a short video.
They entered because Jairus is a“peanut butter freak,” Leslie said, and the grand prize winner receives $10,000.
Two days before their video was named one of the 10 finalists, Mountain Citadel Salvation Army on Stone Church Road East surprised them with a fundraiser that helped cover most of the cost of starting Jairus’s Tomatis therapy. The Astley Family Foundation pitched in with a donation to cover the remaining costs.
That gave the Kents a chance at helping someone else.
If they win, the Kents will give the money to Tamara and Jason Youngberg to help their daughter, Esme, who also faces expensive medical treatments.
Tamara has been a big part of the Kents’ life as the midwife who delivered their four children. She operates Access Midwives in Stoney Creek, and the two mothers have remained close over the past decade.
Eight-year-old Esme was born with albinism and later developed epilepsy and autism. The cost of Esme’s autism treatment, at the renowned Son-Rise Program based in Massachusetts, is roughly $20,000, Tamara said.
“There’s such a strain on yourself when you’re trying to get that help for your child but aren’t able to because of financial restraints,” Leslie said.
Tamara resisted at first, telling Leslie she would think about her offer of help.
“But at the same time I don’t think she would take no for an answer,” Tamara said with a laugh.
She was hesitant to ask for help since she earns decent money, and took on a second job selling jewellery at house parties “so I can feel like I’ve worked for it,” Tamara said.
If they win the grand prize, Leslie says she’ll be thrilled.
“To have seen the joy (Tamara) has brought to people by bringing their children into the world, and then to see what’s happened with her and her own child … this would be really amazing.”
The whole situation has been overwhelming for Tamara, who says regardless of the outcome, the fact the Kents are willing to do this is remarkable.
“It’s my hope that one day, when my daughter has recovered, I could give to someone else in the same way,” she said.
You can vote for Jairus’s video, entitled TheNightRaider, by going to the PB&__ Video Contest Voting closes Monday, Oct. 10.
Family hopes pantry raid video will help a friend
photo by Gord Bowes
By Gord Bowes, News staff
The video is an exaggeration, but it’s not far off the mark, says Leslie Kent.
Her son, Jairus, really does sneak into the pantry for spoonfuls of peanut butter, but not usually under cover of the night sounding like a cat burglar.
“I’ll get up for breakfast and there will be a spoon stuck in the top of the peanut butter,” says Kent.
So when the mother of four saw a commercial back in June for Kraft’s Spread the Feeling video contest, she quickly knew they might have a winner.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought my son would be perfect for it,” says Kent.
They filmed the 33-second entry, which shows Jairus sneaking peanut butter out of the pantry of the family’s west Mountain home in the middle of the night, in just two takes.
The goal at first was to win the $10,000 prize to help pay for special therapy for Jairus, who was born with Pierre Robin sequence.
The condition, which resulted in a cleft palate and small lower jaw, has left Jairus with limited speech. The therapy is designed to help him speak clearly.
But between the time the Kent family entered the video contest and making it to the final 10, their church, Mountain Citadel of the Salvation Army, had raised the money for Jairus’s therapy.
Now they are hoping to win so they can donate the money to Kent’s friend and midwife, Tamara Youngberg, and her daughter Esme, who was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and autism.
“I think for someone who has given so much to Hamilton, (donating the prize money) is an easy thing to do,” says Kent.
Jairus attends Gordon Price, where his peers are encouraging him and voting in the contest daily to help him out.
As of Monday, the Jairus’s video, The Night Raider, trailed in fifth place. The Spread the Feeling contest ends Monday, Oct. 10.
Votes can be placed at

Peanut Butter Update

Monday, September 26, 2011

WHAT an amazing day I've had.

First of all, we got our permits submitted.  Until that had happened, there was this weird, irrational feeling like it all wouldn't come together.  Like it all wasn't real.

Secondly, we sold our house.  It was on for less than a week and we've sold for MORE than our asking price. Lovin' that.  I'll chat more all about the house stuff later.

Thirdly, I had this craving for Little Caesars cheese-stuffed crazy bread, so James went out about 10:30.  He called me just before 11 to say that they didn't have any, and wouldn't make any because they were closing at 11.  Bummer.  He wanted to know if I'd settle for the regular crazy bread.  I said sure.  He came home a few minutes later with not one but FOUR bags of crazy bread.  Seems the girl there felt so badly for not having any stuffed bread that she gave us all the bread that was left....for FREE!

Fourthly, Jairus' video in the Peanut Butter contest has been named a FINALIST!  This means we are in the running for a $10,000 prize.  I have sent out emails and messages through every possible online means I can think of so you've probably heard all about it. (lol!)  However, if you haven't, please go to and vote for him!  His video is called "The Night Raider".

As you've likely read earlier on this here blog, we entered Jairus' video into that to take a stab at winning the money to pay for his Tomatis therapy.  This past weekend however, all the funds needed were raised through the Garage/Bake Sale, Auction and BBQ fundraiser that the Quilting ladies put together.  Ever since I was contacted and told about the fundraiser, I had an idea about the contest, if by chance we should win.

There's this very special lady in my life.  I'm not going to name her, in case she'd rather not be named, but she has been with me, and helped me through two of the most terrible and stressful times in my life; the birth of my sons. (Update: yes, I checked with her, and she's ok with me mentioning their names)
6 weeks after she helped me deliver Honour, (yes, ok, she's my midwife) Tamara Youngberg gave birth to her own firstborn daughter, Esme.  (see her picture above)  I remember that she had been concerned on and off through her pregnancy: she kept noticing worrying things about the pregnancy, but we both figured it was just a case of 'the doctor doctoring herself' and finding things 'wrong' because of her vast knowledge of pregnancy.  Unfortunately, her gut had been right.
It took a few months, but Esme was eventually diagnosed with Albinism. With that, Tamara and her husband Jason have had to deal with many of the common accompanying issues of this congenital deficiency, but have also had to handle her further diagnoses of epilepsy and autism.  You can read an article about Esme here.
Tamara is now one of the moms I connect with often to share our latest therapy discoveries.  She became determined over a year ago to take Esme to the States to be a part of the Son-Rise therapy, a specialty therapy for autistic children pioneered by Barry Kaufman back in the 70's.  His son was autistic during a time when nobody knew what it was or what to do with children who had it.  The cost for this therapy is approximately 3-4X what we needed to raise for Jairus.
Despite her own dedicated fundraising through selling jewelry this past year, they have not reached their goal.  Still, they intend to follow through and take her at the end of next month, in any possible way.

I think you've probably figured out where I'm going with this.  If Jairus' video wins, we're going to be giving it to the Youngbergs.  She doesn't really know this; (Update: Um, yes, she does now) I joked about it last time we met for coffee.  She probably doesn't realize that I was serious; she said she would refuse it.  And I don't think she reads my blog, so she won't see all this.

So please vote everyday for Jairus' video, "The Night Raider".  I really want to help this precious family.

He's My Son

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hopefully, you've all noticed the link at the top of my sidebar. It's to a post about the Kraft Peanut Butter contest and how we hope to win it in order to send Jairus for some specialized therapy. Well, now there's something else happening. The ladies in my mom's quilting group at church were all talking last month about Jairus and the money it costs to send him to his therapies. My mom admitted that it was expensive. This is when they came up with the idea.
They wanted to hold a fundraiser and the ideas started flowing.  A garage sale.  A bake sale.  An auction (with, of course, a quilt). A BBQ.  Plans came flying thick and fast.  And now it's all in place.

On September 24th, from 8am to 2pm, all these things will be happening at my church, Mountain Citadel Salvation Army, in order to raise funds for Jairus to get his Tomatis Listening therapy.  A little about the therapy.

I first learned of Tomatis a number of years ago from a friend whom I would connect with every once in a while.  We both had children with special needs and would swap ideas about things we'd tried to help them in their development.  My friend had been especially impressed with the results her daughter showed after the Tomatis therapy.  I'm not expecting that Jairus will start spewing forth with words after this therapy, but it will strengthen and re-program his listening and focusing skills to better enable him to talk.  If you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll know that we're often looking out for therapies such as this.  For instance this past summer we tried some music therapy (why I waited so long is highly ironic and just plain weird, considering what I do).  He did fabulously with it.
The Tomatis therapy is offered at The Listening Centre in Toronto.  The program would take place over the span of 6 weeks: 2 weeks of active therapy involving 2-3 hour sessions daily, 2 weeks rest and then 2 weeks back in sessions again.  I would be driving Jairus in every day for the sessions.
I've recently been revamping Jairus' blog site, which was my original blog.  It's a little better organized now and if you would like to read more about what Jairus was born with and those early weeks of his life, read it here.
Finally, the quilting ladies asked me to make up a powerpoint presentation to show in church.  I put something together and James converted it to video.  Now you can see it too. :-)  Make sure your volume is up.

She does it again!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I was a little surprised when Honours teacher suggested we enter her in another competition only 2 weeks away from her first. We were planning to be camping for that weekend, so I wasn't sure how we would work it out, but fresh off the excitement of her first medal, I both really wanted her to do another competition, and was scared it was just a fluke and she wouldn't do well at another. We decided to try to get her to it.

In the meantime, I really wanted to get Honour a proper Highland dance outfit. I had hopes that I could do it before the next competition, the Cambridge Highland games, but figured it was wasn't very possible. I started looking online for what could be found secondhand, but didn't see much out there at this time. I sent an email to my cousin Claire, who danced for many years, to see if she still had any kilts and such. She wouldn't be able to find out for another week, so I took a chance and ordered an outfit from Tartantown. It arrived in 2 days and Honour was so pleased that she was going to look just like the other girls. :-)

We arrived at Flamboro Valley to camp with friends on Friday night. Knowing how excited the kids were to be camping, I suspected they wouldn't mind staying with our friends on Saturday morning, while we took Honour over to the competition. It was quite pleasantly only a 20 minute drive away.

Things looked much the same as the Embro games, just a different backdrop. We parked and made the trek from the makeshift parking lot through the various gates. We realized somewhere along the way that we had left our lawnchairs back in the camp. Fortunately, there were about three other families from our school of dance, so we bunked with them for the morning.
I had put Honours hair up before we left camp, so now all that was left was to get her into her outfit. I had checked multiple times over that I had brought everything needed. She looked great.
The competition was about 45 minutes late in starting. Then when it did, Honours group (Beginners 7) was first up, with Honour up on stage with the very first group. The piper played the familiar Highland Fling tune (as opposed to Embro) and Honour did well. About 15-20 minutes later they moved onto the Sword and Honour was again first up. There was some stalling and confusion as they placed the swords up on stage as there didn't seem to be enough for all the dancers. When they finally located another pair, they placed them in the spot Honour would be dancing. I was chagrined as all the other swords were slim and flat, while the pair set before Honour had a high, rounded hilt. Unfortunately, the dancers are supposed to be able to dance over whatever they are presented with, so while it didn't seem fair, there were no grounds to protest.
Sure enough, she nicked the top of the hilt a couple times which led her to actually step on the swords as she danced. But she kept going, and did really well despite that. She finished her dances a bit later with a try at a new dance called the Sean Trews. Her teacher Dianne didn't have any expectations that Honour would place with the Sean Trews, but wanted her to try it anyways, as she feels that competition really lights a fire under dancers to work hard.

By 12:30, I had Honour back into her outfit with her dancers card on a lanyard around her neck. (Learned that from the last competition). We were so thrilled when they called the numbers of those winning a medal for her group and she was included. Up she went, standing smartly in first position (also something we learned from the last competition) and waited for the announcer to begin...
I said later to Dianne that "if she's anything, she's consistent!", as Honour again was awarded a third place medal, which meant another stamp on her card, in the Highland Fling. We were so excited!
Now it appears we'll have a longer wait until another competition, as Dianne recommended one in Pickering on September 17th. I was again both pleased for the interval, so that Honour can really work up her dances, and disappointed to have to wait so long until another. Plus we'll have the added conflict of my Musikgarten classes starting up that day (if I get students) so we'll have to figure something out if she's to dance at that one.

Honour waiting to go on stage.

Up on her toes for the Fling

The Sword Dance

Waiting to see what she won.

(If any family would like to see a video of her getting her award or dancing the Sean Trews, just email me or leave a comment and I'll send you the private link. :-)

Honour's First Highland Dance Competition

Saturday, July 2, 2011

In case you hadn't heard, Honour has been taking Highland dance from the Blackman School of Dance since last fall. I started thinking about it a couple years ago when the girls were interested in dance of some kind and I wasn't so thrilled with the idea of them going into ballet. My cousin did Highland dance for many years, and we do have some Scottish back on both sides of the family, so it was a natural consideration. I remember sitting with Honour and watching some videos on Youtube and she was quite interested and positive about the idea. So last fall we followed through and signed her up.

A couple months ago, we decided to enter her into a competition, upon her teachers recommendation. We almost ran into a bit of a crunch, as I didn't send off her registration for the Canadian Highland Dance organization (Scotdance) until the start of June. She needed a dance card to be eligible to dance and when the strike struck, her card was still en route. Fortunately, it arrived the day before the competition. (Phew!)

Honours teacher has been very positive about her progress and potential in Highland Dance, which of course we're very pleased about. I was happy to put her into a competition, because I think there are elements of competing that are good for kids to experience. Plus, it's like preparing a piece of music and having nowhere to perform it. It just loses some of it's appeal.

So yesterday was the day. I was up late the previous night getting her outfit ready, packing lunches and bags of all the paraphernalia we were going to need, as all four kids, plus Honours friend Tia were going. Then neighbours setting off fireworks at 3am didn't help matters. My mind started whirling again and between nerves and monitoring the clash between another neighbour that ran out to tell them off, I lost a good hour there. The alarm went off at 6am. Ugh.

As we drove, Honour was excited and giddy, telling us all how she wanted to win a First, a Second, a Third and a trophy. I tried to soften her expectations somewhat... :-)

The competition was taking place in Embro, which is about an hours drive west of us. It was happening as part of a larger Highland Games festival which attracts about 5000 people each year. We got in the gates, through admission and planted ourselves on some bleachers.

The competition started about 9:00am. Out of four possible dances Honour could have done, she was only entered into two of them, as the others weren't ready for competition yet. She would be dancing the Highland Fling and the Sword Dance. She was in the Beginners 7 group, which appeared to have about 18 girls entered.
I nearly goofed right at the start. We'd only seen one competition before, Honour and I, a few months ago when there was one happening in Ancaster. I had forgotten that they dance all the girls (I should say entrants; there were a few boys) through the same dance, all the age groups. Then when that is done, they all dance through the next dance. (Yes, it means you see and hear the same dance about 15 time in a row :-).
I had forgotten this, and even though there were groups up there dancing a different dance from Honours two, when they called the Beginners 7 group, I took her up to the ready tent.
Fortunately we realized the mistake and pulled her out before she got up on stage!

I had a severe bout of nerves for her as the Fling dances started and I didn't recognize the music. Honour has been practicing every day for the last two weeks or so (and close to everyday before that) with the help of a sticker chart on the fridge. But for the physical ability, I could dance those dances myself, I've heard them so many times! I knew that some girls might dance the various dances with slightly different steps from each other (making it difficult to focus on your own dance), but I didn't realize that it wouldn't be the same music. I was just sure this would throw Honour off completely, but she surprised me!

With just one tiny mis-move of her foot, she danced her Fling quite nicely. I was so relieved I could have cried. Over my life time, I have sung for thousands of people, and sometimes even that many at one time; none of these compared in how nervous I was for Honour.

By the time the Sword dance came around, I felt significantly better. She did great with the Sword, but touched it as she danced, a no-no. She would likely be out of the running for any medals because of that. I really didn't care: she had done it! Gotten up and danced in the sun in front of hundreds of people!

We got her out of her outfit after that to have some playtime. It was a clear shining day and the kids were anxious to get away from the bleachers for a while. We had some lunch with other dancing friends from the Blackman studio under a tent one of them had brought. The kids had lots of fun.
Soon after, one of the moms mentioned to me that Honour should get back into her outfit for the awards ceremony. I guess I hadn't really thought that she might win anything and had figured we would get her back into her outfit if we really needed to. It seemed I needed to. :-)
At 12:30 we made our way to the arena for the awards, as further festivities were happening out at the stage area during that time.
They started calling up all the little wee ones (4, 5 and 6 years old--soooo cute!) and they all got a prize for dancing. The best of the little ones were given medals for placing.

Suddenly Honours teacher came running over asking if we'd heard them call number 135. That was Honours number (which I had kinda forgotten). We hadn't; the sound system was not the best quality and was rather muddy sounding in the arena. I was confused, because I didn't realize that her entire group wouldn't be standing there: they would only be calling the numbers of the winners with the older dancers. Once they went up to the presenting area, then we'd find out what they'd placed in. I figured they would call them again and a few minutes later, they did. To our great excitement, they had called #135. "This means she's won something", said her teacher. I grabbed Honours hand and started around the back of the crowd to get to stage right where the dancers were lining up. I noticed that all the little girls were clutching their blue dancers cards. "Does she need her card?", I asked one of the ladies in charge. She answered affirmatively and I scurried off to my purse, thankful that I had it close on hand. I delivered it back to Honour before her line proceeded across the presenting area. Phew!

They gave out the awards for the first dance that Honour hadn't danced in. Then came the awards for the Fling.
First was awarded.
Second was awarded.
Third was called....#135. We all broke into cheers and claps!

Strangely though, the lady handing out the medals did not come over to Honour. Honour kept looking around with a slightly anxious look on her face, but did not say or do anything. A bit of commotion broke out amongst the other parents from our studio and the teacher. They had called #135, hadn't they? Why weren't they handing her the medal? I was fairly sure that the lady presenting had gone down the line and handed it instead to #145. Ohhh dear....
Fortunately, Honours teacher is extremely experienced and judges competitions herself. James had even seen some of the organizers consulting her during the course of the morning. She hurried herself over to the announcer and at a pause, discreetly inquired as to the true winner of 3rd place. The awards froze for a moment while the kerfuffle was sorted out.

In the end, the medal was taken away from #145 and given to the the true winner, Honour wearing #135. I was so relieved. I would have felt badly for poor little #145...(if she didn't already have a couple medals around her neck:-)
They went on to announce the Sword dance winners and the other dance that Honour hadn't competed in. The parents around us congratulated us all, and, as nearly all the Blackman Dancers placed in more than one dance each, were beaming themselves.
What a fabulous day! When's the next one!?!

Our little Peanut Butter Freak

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I don't remember when it was that we discovered Jairus' deep and abiding addiction to peanut butter. It's been at least a few years, as this summer will mark 3 years that he's had his augmentative communication device (his talking computer) and when I was programing the All about Jairus page, I just couldn't resist...

My name is Jairus
I am 7 years old (at the time)
I have brown hair...

I like to eat peanut butter out of the jar.

I suppose I've always found that humorous because while I do like peanut butter, and thankfully we have no allergies in this family, the thought of pulling out a spoon and scarfing it down had never entered my mind.

And so this was why, when I saw the ads for the Kraft Peanut Butter contest, I immediately thought of Jairus and how many times I've caught him at the pantry eating PB out of the jar, found a PB covered spoon lying next to the PB in the pantry, or actually opened up the jar to find the spoon still stuck there (oops! caught in the act!) How, though, could we actually videotape him doing it?
Well, in the end, I had a vision for how his PB thievery could be caught on film and we set about doing it. I think it's absolutely hilarious! You can see it here.

I'll admit, I really hope, and think we have a chance of winning it. Maybe that's because he's just so darn-giggly cute, but maybe it's also because (and not that this is a criteria for winning) of why we want to win this.

As I'm sure all who are reading know, Jairus cannot speak. He does make sounds, they do sometimes sound like words, and we who have lived with him for 10 years can usually figure out what he's trying to say (usually). But we pray nightly over Jairus that the Lord will heal him and he will be able to speak someday.
To this end, we are in a constant search and battle to find and provide any solutions that will help. I've taken him to cranial sacral therapy, Turner's therapy (chiropractic), looked into Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. He's seen naturopaths, countless specialists, and of course, speech therapists. Today I'm taking him for an appointment at Blue Balloon, for a screening to determine if he'd benefit from music therapy. And last fall we went to Toronto and had an intake consultation at The Listening Centre, one of the few places in the world that offers Tomatis listening therapy.
I've been especially excited about this one, as my Musikgarten training last summer included information about the five foundations of the curriculum. One of them, ironically was the work and research of Dr. Alfred Tomatis. I hadn't known this before I headed off for the week of seminars and it was really amazing to find this connection; I had been introduced to Tomatis therapy a few years before, even contacted the centre the previous year, but hadn't yet followed through due to the great cost involved. It was going to be about $5000 for Jairus to take the 6 week course of daily listening therapy.
After we followed through with an appointment last fall, I really set about trying to pull the funds together. There were a number of charities recommended by the centre to help with the costs. One by one, we were turned down by them for various reasons--usually that they didn't help with such an 'unorthodox' therapy. (Tomatis has been around for at least 30 years, how long does it take to gain acceptance?) We did receive some help from the Jennifer Ashleigh Foundation and a bit more from our church, but the bulk of the money has remained out of our reach.

So this is what the money would go to, if Jairus' video should win. I'm kindof tickled that he could be getting this therapy due to his own terrible cuteness, his proclivity for peanut butter and the opportunity to show the world how sneaky he can be!

SO blessed...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The last five days or so have been very car-stress heavy.

We're old car owners. I would say Dave Ramsey car owners, but I've heard him say that he doesn't like people calling their clunkers DR cars because of course, he's advocating that if you do things right, in due time you will be driving a very nice car. Like he does. But I digress.
We buy 8-10 year old Hondas (only one exception and it taught us a good lesson) outright with cash and have been rather proud that we don't have car payments. The Hondas usually do us well and I still extol the virtues of our first Accord Wagon which was about 16 years old when we had it towed to the great junkyard in the sky, with nearly 700 000 KMs on it. I'd been hoping to get to 726K kms which was the dealership record where we took it for service.
We bought our first Odyssey in 2005 when we finally couldn't fit all our kids into the Wagon. We upgraded to a 2000 Oddy in 2008 and then just two months ago traded in the 2000 for a 2003 with about 216K kms on it from a little shop in Stoney Creek called Motormax. (Yes, I mention the name on purpose).
We were pretty gleeful for a few weeks....and then I went to turn the van on and noticed it had gone through a voice change. It was now revving a little lower than before and I was pretty sure I detected the sound of an exhaust system problem. We took a look at our warranty but after a good mechanic friend listened and told us what he thought was wrong, we were chagrined to find it was a part not covered by the warranty. Of course.
Then about a week later I went to put my key in the ignition and it wouldn't go in. Numerous tries finally got it in, but it would not turn. This began a pattern that would continue up until now, that each time I tried to start the van I'd have to give it about 10 running starts to get the key in to the 'sweet spot' that would let it turn. My brother who owns a CRV said that a similar problem he experienced a while ago proved to be some loose doohickeys inside that get jammed up.
We had the repair of these items on our budget todo list when last week I started to notice a few odd things when I shifted from park to drive. It would hesitate a bit and then give a jolt before driving off normally. Then after running some errands on Friday afternoon, I was coming back into our neighbourhood (driving around 40km/hr) when for a brief moment the engine revved quite high--without my pushing on the gas any farther, and then returned to normal. I was concerned, but also had stuff to get done and put it out of my mind.
Going back out again a couple hours later, I was just about to get on the parkway near my house when the high revving happened again, but for longer, and this time was accompanied by a loss of power to the wheels. Every time I pushed the gas, it would rev far higher than I was pushing, and sometimes gave me spurts of power, but mostly not. I got off an exit before I needed and hoped I could coax it along a side road to my destination. No such luck. And having forgotten my cell phone at home, there I was knocking on some strangers front door.
After calling hubby, I went back out and restarted the van. I managed to get it the few blocks to my church parking lot, with two or three stops to restart it along the way.
James came and got me (I won't go into how this forced an immediate overhaul of all our plans for that evening) and tested it out around the lot. (What is it with guys never trusting their wives description of car problems?) only to have it completely lose power whilst not in a parking space. Mrs. Muscles here had to help push it into place.
We went home and pulled out the warranty. Though we've never had a transmission problem, it sounded like what I've heard one is like. We breathed a sigh of relief that the warranty, still one full month from it's time limit would cover a transmission.
That sigh caught in my throat however when James drew his brows together and asked me how many kms we had put on the van since we bought it. I wasn't sure...but 45 minutes sitting staring at my dash while waiting for James was giving me a sickly feeling that it was more than the 3000km limit on the warranty. James went back over in his civic to wait for the tow truck...and confirmed that we were 278 kms over the warranty.

The garage we took it to didn't have a diagnosis until Monday. He apparently called the warranty company and gave it his best shot, but nope, they weren't covering any of it. It was going to cost $2900. I could have cried right there in my kitchen. And that wouldn't even fix the exhaust system or the ignition. I would still be driving a van that sounded like David Meece's mother. (Her car that have to have heard him tell the story in concert...hilarious).

As all this was going on, we were getting into the nitty gritty of buying the property. (Have I mentioned how the girls bring us their quarters and nickels and want to put it towards 'the poperty'? Melt ma heart...) One thing we were scheduled to do on Friday night was meet with our realtor and sign our first offer. We still did this, and by mid Saturday we heard back of a counter of about 5K higher than our offer. We were pretty thrilled, but then the issue of whether or not HST would apply came up. Ugh. After checking around various sources and talking to the lawyer who did our wills, we discovered that it would be applied. So last night we sent back a new offer that would include the HST.
Our savings, which had looked quite adequate to cover a thousand dollar down payment (due upon acceptance of the offer) was now looking a little scary in light of a $3000 car repair. Again I had thoughts of 'are we nuts' to be considering buying a lot and building.

This morning brought some good news though. James called the warranty company and pled our case personally. It was an interesting turn of events that led to them agreeing to pay about 40% of the repair.
When we had first found the exhaust problem, James called and asked about the repair being covered. He was told to take it into the garage that they dealt with and get an estimate and they would go from there. Well, after our mechanic friend told us what the part was, we knew it wasn't covered and so didn't bother taking it in. This was noted on our file at the warranty company though.
The guy James was talking to looked back and saw this note. He asked James what had happened with that and why it wasn't followed up on. James told him the plain truth about finding out it was a part not covered. This guy was so impressed that we had not tried to lie and push the repair through as one that is covered, that he offered on the spot to cover nearly half of the repair of our transmission. I was pretty blown away. And thrilled. :-)

So, at the end of this long story, what I really wanted to say was that after reading a blog post by Simple Mom yesterday, I decided to read it to my girls this morning for their geography lesson. I followed a link from that post to an amazing story about Compassion, whom we sponsor a little girl through. As I read the Simple Mom post to my girls and watched their little jaws drop at the sight of the room this Philipino family of 5 had to live in, I was convicted anew about taking for granted the blessings I enjoy in this country. As we traced the route it would take to fly from our country to theirs on our atlas, I thought about how my ancestors might not have come to Canada from the various countries that represent my heritage. Today, I could very well be sheltering my four children in one room the size of a walk-in closet. I know we read that kind of rhetoric all the time, and click away from it often when we see it on TV, but every once in a while it seems to really hit home. You know what I mean?

I'm off Facebook.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It kind of makes me feel a little fickle....that doesn't seem like quite the right word, but you know, someone who just can't stick to their guns. Flip flops. Can't make up their mind and knuckle down. It's only the second time I've done it though, that can't be too bad. I'm sure there are lots of people who have gone back and forth many times. There has to be---one of the click boxes FB provides when it asks you as you are deactivating, why you are doing it is, This is just temporary. I'll be back.

I clicked 'other'. I wrote in the box It's so shallow.

It was about 4 years ago I think that I got off FB for the first time and I had some specific and pretty much completely different reasons for that which I won't go into here and now. This time however...I'm just tired of the shallowness. Now, for anyone reading this now who is still on FB, please don't take offense. As I heard recently, and quote with satisfaction: "this is descriptive of my life, not prescriptive for anyone elses".

I'm just tired of seeing status update after update about trivial things that people are doing. But it's not even that so much, it's the lack of interaction--true, real interaction. People just making flip, sarcastic comments, trying so hard to be the funniest, the cleverest, the cutest. I was falling into it myself.
And then the politics. People accepting friend requests who don't even know each other, people cutting others out of their friend lists without even as much as a 'hey there'. I'm just tired of it all. You send messages to people that they don't respond a real friend of mine said recently on FB, she wonders why it's become acceptable to ignore invitations or stand people up. I learned the hard and disappointing way that FB allows you to reach this huge group of people...only to have 75% of them ignore your plea. That hurts. And we shouldn't be doing that to each other.

So now I've deactivated and I've got a page up that will show me how to actually delete (cuz you know when you deactivate, you're still actually there...what makes it different from logging out is beyond me). My husband wondered why I just didn't stop going to it....because I'm weak I suppose. I keep thinking of things that I'll miss and regret about doing it...a few friends who I enjoyed seeing their posts, the PRS group I started and now has over 700 members actively talking and sharing their experiences and problems. My business page is a sticky problem that I'm working on and should be able to get around...I hope. But even if I don't fix it really going to make that huge of a difference if my business doesn't have a FB page? I suspect not.

So, for anyone who's reading (mom, lol) this is why I'm not there today. Or tomorrow. And hopefully not ever again.

Little boys

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

As you might have read, I watched a live performance of Annie on Friday. Sometime on the weekend, I pulled up some of the songs on youtube, specially the ones from the 1999 movie remake, which I favour. One song I watched though was the old Carol Burnett version of "Little Girls". I remember quoting some of the words on my blog when I found out I was having Afton and would therefore have 3 girls. :-)

But I don't think you can find a song about how exasperating little boys can be. Not that they aren'

I was just directed to this through Cindy Beall and read it with interest...but as usual, I sigh at the end. I don't like to be the mommy that's always pointing out that my boy is different, but it's a little like being a handicapped person who has to be the one to speak up about the lack of ramps around the church, school, whatever. So many resources out there are addressing.. ...ahem...typical boys (that's specialneedsspeak). Certainly I can read that post and take things from it. But alot of it I can't. And after 10 years of reading advice that I can only use 1/2 gets a little discouraging.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Or is it tattle-tail?

I have a real problem with the general parenting philosophy that discourages tattle-tales. I've heard it since I was old enough to have ears, you've heard it just as long, tattle-taling is wrong. A sin, right?

Well, I would love to be enlightened with the scripture on that one.

Now that I have kids who are well acquainted with the blessed skill of tattle-taling, I've been questioning this more than ever. Let me tell you why I have a problem with the anti-tattle-taling movement.
  • We tell kids that if they are being bullied, they need to come and tell a parent. Of course, we don't call that tattle-taling. But how's a kid to know the difference? Take this even further, we tell kids that if they are being abused or molested by an adult, they need to tell someone. But just don't tattle.
  • When Cain asked God "Am I my brothers keeper?", he was not setting an admirable precedent. He was being sarcastic, because, yes, we're supposed to be concerned with the safety and well-being of our brothers, friends, neighbours, etc. We want to teach our children to be sensitive and compassionate, ready to reach out and help someone in need. And yet when we tell them not to tattle-tale, we're instilling a sense of apathy, of self-centredness.
I started to realize this when I would go to have a shower, or otherwise leave the kids playing somewhere where my eyes were not watching every second (down in the basement or backyard, let's say) and have to admonish Honour to keep an eye on her siblings. I would often add, 'But don't come running to me every 5 minutes tattle-taling'. But then I'd rethink that and say--unless they are doing something dangerous. I used to often say that 'it's not tattle-taling if it's happening to you', to encourage my kids to stand up for themselves and get help from an adult if they were being hurt by someone else. So now we have two exceptions to the tattle-tale rule. That's alot of distinctions to expect from 5 and 7 year olds.

So then I analyzed, why do we discourage tattle-taling?

Well, it's cotton-pickin' annoying for one. We can all remember a whining, constantly complaining kid in our past who came running to you or his parents or whomever with a teeth-grindingly exasperating litany of "she did this to me, he did that to me".

So is annoyance a good enough reason to lay down a wide-spread moral law to keep your hurts to yourself?

We can see this played out to the final result on your average cop show. Bad guy or witness gets caught, is being interrogated and encouraged to tell the police what he knows. But he won't budge--why? He ain't a snitch.

If there's something that really gets my goat, it's when I see people or kids getting angry at someone who 'told' on them when they've done something wrong. This is just so wrong in itself! My kids do it all the time--they get told on, or tattle-taled on and found out for the wrong they've committed, but they aren't remorseful or repentant...instead, they are angry at the person who told on them! I'm usually quick to nip that in the bud. If you do the crime, you do the time--no one else can be blamed for your bad decision and all that.

There is the heart condition of the tattler to consider however, and perhaps therein lies the key to this. We don't like tattlers because they are smug. They are usually self-righteous. They are often quite pleased to have caught someone else--often a sibling, in a wrong. This is so far from a godly attitude that it's not funny. We are told in scripture to graciously uphold and correct one another. We need to remember when we're 'tattling' that there but for the grace of God, go I. Even a child can recognize that they themselves have likely done the very wrong they are tattling about, or could easily do it.

I don't know where this leads. I'm not writing a nice, neat, loose ends tight, Focus on the Family type article (No offence to FOTF meant WHATsoever; I'm highly supportive of them, but you know what I mean, right?)
I think it will mean for me that I will not be so quick to lay down or enforce the "don't tattle-tale" law. Because if in the future one of my girls is making some really bad decisions and putting herself in mortal (or moral) jeopardy, I want her sisters to feel they can come and tell me. I just can't be present and involved for every minute of my children's lives and sometimes, I'm going to have to rely on others to be eyes and ears for me--until they reach the time that they are fully accountable for their own actions.

A review of "Annie"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On Friday, I took the girls to a production of Annie at Hamilton District Christian High school, which is a quick 5 minutes away from me. I've never written a review for something like this, but I thought I would give it a shot.

We arrived at about 11:40 for a 12noon matinee showing. We were directed at the front door by a student who was apparently part of the production, that they weren't quite ready for guests to come in. We sat out on the front patio for a few minutes before one of the girls indicated a need for the facilities, so we went in to get that task taken care of.

When we came out, I decided to head for the gymnasium as it was now between 10 and 5 to the hour. I was a little chagrined to come in and see about 75% of the seating already filled. This would put my little girls and I about 3-4 rows from the back which was a little disappointing. Fortunately we were facing a bonafide stage which was raised about 4 feet off the floor. Still, we ended up stacking their chairs so that they didn't need to perch uncomfortably for the entire production.

And it was fortunate that we did that, as the the production ran, with intermission, a full two and a half hours. Phew! My five year old barely made it.

I took note of a live orchestra/band off to stage right, but on the floor and prepared myself for the inevitable sounds of a high school band.

The production began only a minute after 12 with an exuberant introduction by a teacher (I assume) who was part of the direction of the musical (I assume). He told us his name, but I don't recall it.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you the cast, as there were no programs, and my online searches have not turned up any listings. They did have a 'Wall of Stars' outside the gym on a large bulletin board, but I didn't take the time to note any names. So I'll just be referring to the actors by character.

The musical began with a view of the room where the orphans live, plain metal beds lining the back wall of the set. The girls took their places and the lights were dim; they were obviously supposed to be sleeping. A slightly confusing moment occurring shortly after as Annie enters to calm the nightmares of little Molly, leaves the viewer wondering why Annie was up and roaming the house at 3am.
It appeared that each girl was outfitted with a head mic affixed along their cheeks, however the sound quality left something to be desired, quite muffled and fuzzy sounding (my technical words). I grew accustomed to this as the show progressed, so it wasn't a lasting annoyance.
The first vocal number arrived, with Annie consoling the young pigtailed Molly as she insisted that her parents would be returning for her, performing "Maybe".
While Annie's arrival on stage had been somewhat lackluster and void of definite function (was she the kind big sister? The tell-em-like-it-is hard nose? Not sure...) this young actress had most definitely been chosen for her singing voice. Pure and clear, with a strong sense of pitch (a necessity when accompanied by a high school band), her songs from beginning to end were strong. Her range from low to high was fairly consistent, her very highest notes slightly thin and less full bodied, but still quite adequate for the part. Her very pleasant voice nearly made up for her somewhat stiff appearance, her acting not quite reaching her eyes.

The rest of the orphan cast were average singers, with none standing out particularly during their one-liner opportunities. "It's a Hard Knock Life", usually a rousing, attitude laden number, was somewhat less saucy then hoped for. I would have to give the girls the benefit however, as the kind of belting, broadway type voice needed to give that song real oompf, is just not commonly found among teen girls. They did the best they could.

The shining, wise-cracking breath of fresh air arrived with Miss Hannagan. I would truly say that she was the star of the show. Full of vim and vigor, and just the right amount of sleaze, Miss Hannagan was all I hoped her to be. Young actors can often overdo the anger emotion, and Miss Hannagan came dangerously close as she arrived on the scene to scold the early rising girls, but she reigned it in and showed us some coy stylings that were a delight to watch.

A beautiful Golden Retriever made a quick appearance during Annie's runaway street scene...with the dog nearly running off with her. I suppose it was necessary to have a leash on the dog, although a simple leather or even rope lead would have been a little less distracting to the 30's style set than the bright blue extend-a-lead. While I applaud the director for incorporating a real dog into the cast, poor Annie had to adlib a stage right to left movement during the climax of the flagship song as Fido decided he needed to smell something particularly yummy, singing actress on the end of his leash or not. Annie graciously and easily finished out her song with a quick kneel to give the dog a squeeze (and warn it to behave, I'm sure!)

A poised and beautiful Miss Farrell arrives to introduce Annie to her future father. The assistant to Oliver Warbucks was well done, her cultured yet not arrogant character just the right blend of style and competence. As Annie catches her first glimpse of the Warbuck mansion, we meet the timeless Daddy Warbucks. Also well done, Warbucks is tall and striking, his strong baritone sometimes rushing his lines just a bit. The staff, including butler Drake are crisp in black and white, appropriately demure and helpful.

Hannagans brother "Rooster" and his dame are next to arrive on set. As sly and greasy as his dame is ditzy, their trio "Easy street" was arguably the weakest song of the production. Again, the kind of vamping required for this big band/New Orleans jazz number can hardly be expected from high school students. The incredibly high key of this, and other pieces throughout, also handicapped many of the singing actors. Miss Hannagan made an admirable stab at all her numbers, but it was apparent that her chest voice vastly out performed her head voice. I would imagine that little could have been done about this however, since the band provided live accompaniment and incidental music for the full 2.5 hours of the production. While the musical fare was as you'd expect for a high school band, I have to give them kudos for keeping it up for that length of time. (And a weekend of performances to follow...poor little chops!)

The sets were quite impressive. Two large panels on either side of a middle entrance doorway were expertly hinged to swivel from the centre, creating the two main sets of the orphan bedroom and the Warbuck mansion. A few stand alone panels were rolled out to add a street scene, the Oval Office, and the orphanage door from a street perspective. All were artistically rendered and scene changes were smooth, if not somewhat lengthy.

Overall, I would give the production three out of five stars. For a such a reasonable entrance fee (free!) I would head over to HDCH again. Especially if Miss Hannagan found her way out of New York!

Evolution Vs. ID

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last night there was nothing good on, so I picked out a documentary from Netflix. My hubs is rather pleased that I'm displaying a propensity for documentaries as of late....

This one was called Flock of Dodos by Randy Olson. I hesitated just slightly when choosing it. Amazon has this description: In a light-hearted take on the culture wars, FLOCK OF DODOS tweaks egos and pokes fun at both sides in the evolution vs. intelligent design debate. Evolutionary biologist and filmmaker Dr. Randy Olson rides along with jargon-impaired scientists and jargon-rebranding intelligent designers as they engage in the comic theatrics that erupt wherever science and religion clash over the origins of life. From the shadowy, well-funded headquarters of the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute in Seattle to the rarefied talk of Olson s science buddies around a late-night poker table, FLOCK OF DODOS lends a thoughtfully critical ear to the wonderful personalities and passions driving the Darwin wars.

By explaining the quirks of evolution with colorful visual aides while respectfully listening to people of faith, FLOCK OF DODOS is intelligently designed for popular appeal (VARIETY). And if you find it difficult to determine which side of the issue is the bigger flock of dodos, Olson offers up his 83-year-old mother, Muffy Moose, as the ultimate head dodo who provides the Rodney King perspective of can't we all just get along? This enlightened, fun film is a must-see for anyone who cares about the issues of our time.

I only got part way through it when I finished my laundry and decided that the previous nights 2am bedtime due to a frantic search throughout the household for a precious 'blankie' meant that I would watch the rest later and head my little self off to bed.

But back to my hesitation. Evolution/Creation has been a special interest of mine since mid highschool when I heard speaker Ron Carlson up at Fair Havens. I was around 16 years of age, impressionable, searching out my faith and Dr. Carlson's seminars made a huuuge impact on me. I spent many a bus ride to my full time job at Subway sandwiches post highschool, listening to his tapes and transcribing them so that I'd have all his information in written form. I relied heavily on his illustrations and proofs for an OAC geography class presentation that was supposed to be 20 minutes and ended up being twice that.
I didn't want to watch something that was going to attack my faith and beliefs and just distress me. By the end of the day, I need to de-stress. But I was interested to hear a more recent account of the arguments.

Not that I lost interest in the topic, but I haven't really been keeping up. I went away to school, got married, started having kids, kept on having kids, got more involved in music and here I am about 20 years after the erruption of that interest feeling like my news is old news. I started realizing this a couple years ago when I found a few Facebook groups on creation/evolution and was pretty lost. I mean, I barely passed math and science in highschool and took the 5 year B. Music degree partly because it meant I didn't need to have any more math or science. (Pathetic, I know). I've always been an average student and while my ability to understand logic and methods of argument is not stellar, I think I can get by. I realized though, that the illustrations and proofs of my highschool days were fodder for the birdcage now. Sneered at. Pretty much considered irrelevant.

I had heard something about Intelligent Design sometime over, oh, the last 10 years perhaps and thought it sounded like a theory a little closer to what I could stomach. I didn't do any research or reading into it however. I was too busy feeding little mouths, changing little diapers, etc...

I was rather proud of myself as I watched, that I could keep an open enough mind not to snatch up the remote and flick to another doc. I'll admit, I'm not used to watching/reading something of this nature that starts with a premise completely opposite from my worldview. (Of course, it could be argued that most of the primetime TV and movies I watch are produced by someone with a completely opposite worldview....still, they usually aren't actively trying to bring down my beliefs. Again, that's debatable).

It was definitely interesting. A particularly cringe-inducing moment for me was early on in the doc when they were discussing the whats and whys of ID. Where did it start? Who is a proponent? Why is it such a raving debate these days? How did it oust the traditional Creation/Evolution debate?
The doc producer/host was talking to many people, experts or not, to get this all important definition. A number of the speakers went at it from the perspective of un-intelligent design. We've probably all heard about the various parts of the body that are so awe-inspiring that scientists, if they're honest with themselves, don't know how they could have come about simply by evolution. The eye is a famous example. These un-intelligent design accusers were quick to dismiss these 'few' examples and jumped instead on aspects of man and beast that are simply bizarre. The first I remember was a cardiac specialist who told us that if he had designed the heart, he would have done it much more effectively than the "intelligent designer" did. And then another hombre extolled the ridiculousness of a rabbits digestive system. I didn't realize this, but apparently the little brown balls you see rabbits leaving hither and yon have already been down that road, if you get my drift. He was especially derisive towards the IDer which since that place in my beliefs is filled by GOD, I found especially offensive. Still, I kept watching. Me and my open mind.

I waited with bated breath when a couple of outspoken Christian members of the Kansas state board of education were interviewed. Were they going to be fairly represented? Ridiculed? I was fairly pleased to see that while it was an obvious effort for Mr. Olson, he didn't completely shudder in disbelief.

Ironically it was nearly at the stroke of 10:30 that Netflix had a little freak-out session and stopped playing the doc. As I transfered my piles of folded laundry to the baskets, James and I talked a bit about it. He and are on the same wavelength when it comes to the creation of the world and he had found it difficult to keep his opinions quiet as the film rolled.

I told him about how I feel quite inadequate to enter into the debate now. I had been burned a few years ago during a FB discussion with a girl I grew up with, now a teacher. This was when I first started to realize that all the cute illustrations I knew to prove creation and disprove evolution (the hurricane ripping through a junkyard one? Rolling a dice to see if you can get a 6 ten times in a row?) were passe. More recently, I was talking to a young mom (oooh, notice I don't put myself in that category? sigh) about how to explain dinosaurs to her young son. I got the distinct impression after I shared my thoughts--established at the end of highschool during that period of study, that it was all stuff she'd heard before, and it didn't really cut it.

Well, I never did get around to watching the rest of the doc. Nothing against it, just everytime I saw it sliding by on Netflix after that, there was just NO desire to finish watching it.

Interestingly though, I was at the OCHEC homeschooling conference last Friday. It was especially good this year (I'll post later perhaps all about that). There were two seminars in particular--and this is unusual, in 5 years, I've not seen seminars at OCHEC--about Darwin and Creationism. I discovered a wonderful organization called Answers in Genesis. I sat in their lecture about dinosaurs and got some really great information. Some was similar to what I learned 20 years ago, but much was new and ever so interesting.

Looking back at it all, I'm just rather touched that even without me asking, God provided answers to questions I didn't even realize I was asking. Hmm. :-)

Chiropractor Praise

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Look at this!!

Two posts in as many days!?

What is the world coming to....

Well, I'm on livechat with my budgeting program, Mvelopes and I'm having to wait (sort of like being on "hold") as they look into my issue. So I'm stuck here at the computer. So I might as well blog about another topic I've been meaning to address for a long while.

I didn't grow up going to a chiropractor. In fact, for a number of my adult years, I was one of those skeptical, suspicious believers of all the rumours you hear about chiropractors.

Then I got pregnant with Jairus, and by week 33 was measuring 40 weeks. I had too much amniotic fluid, due to his birth defects and this caused an incredible amount of pain. For about a month I was pretty much couch-ridden and had to quit work earlier than I had planned. It got to the point that I was desperate for any kind of relief. My midwife recommended a chiropractor in the city next to mine and so I went for my first visit.

He was nice, seemed competent, did his thing on my back but couldn't really fix things. Looking back, I don't think anyone could have helped me. This wasn't something out of place or strained--well, my muscles were strained, but there was no way to take that strain off, short of giving birth.
He was pretty 'natural health' oriented (as many chiropractors are) and gave me a book to read about vaccinations. I'm sure you can guess what that was about.

After Jairus was born, he came to see us in the hospital and gave him an adjustment with a teeny-tiny little pogo stick instrument. But shortly after he left the area and the next time I needed a chiropractor, I had to find someone else. Into the picture came Dr. Ferretti.

I don't think I've ever recommended any person, professional or service in my life as much as I have Dr. Ferretti. She's in Dundas and works out of a remodeled house clinic.

I don't remember my first visit with Dr. Ferretti or why. I remember taking at least 2 of my girls to her within 2 weeks of their birth. Now I take all four of my kids and of course, my husband and myself go regularly.

I remember being amazed when taking Verity to her shortly after birth. Verity had gotten a little stuck (just a little, honest) during birth and my midwife had had to step in and give some good tugs on her poor little head.

During your first visit, you'll always have some computer scans of your back and neck done. They can tell, I think with thermal technology, where your problem areas are. Dr. Ferretti doesn't actually need these, but I suppose they're good for the records. No, Dr. Ferretti has always had me lay the babies on my front and lay down on the bench (actually a cool motorized thing like being at the dentist, but the whole thing tilts up and down so you don't have to actually lower yourself). Then she closes her eyes and starts gently squeezing and feeling down the length of the babies body, and over the top of their heads as well.

With Verity, she practically described for me what had happened during birth before I'd even told her or shown her Verity's scan. She could tell just by what she felt in Verity's body, that she'd gotten stuck.

There's rarely any crick-crack with Dr. Ferretti. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever felt any crick-crack. And this isn't just about backs. My goodness no, Dr. Ferretti is about the whole body. Let me expand.

When Jairus was about 2ish or perhaps just before, a regular check at the doctors revealed a click in his hip. We were sent to a specialist in Brantford, and for the next few years had regular check ups. They said that his hip was uneven or something of the like, and was probably the reason why he didn't walk until 2 years of age. It was just slightly within the boundaries of 'not a huge concern'. It could slowly move into the 'concern' area so they kept an eye on him.

When we moved to Hamilton, we transferred specialists. Off we went for our first appointment at Mac, and the Dr. we saw checked him over and promptly started telling us the opposite of what the Brantford specialist had said. He didn't walk because of this problem, it was because he didn't walk that the problem occurred. Sounds like semantics, but it makes a big difference in the conscience of a mother. The dr. furthermore told me that Jairus would require surgery for this 'dysplastic' or malformed hip. I was quite upset.

It so happened that I had an appointment with Dr. Ferretti that afternoon. I told her what we had found out that morning and she very confidently told me to leave Jairus in her hands and not to let them get near him with a scalpel. (or laser?)

I did so and for about 6 months or perhaps a little longer, she saw Jairus regularly. She also began a therapy called Turner's on the bones of his skull. I had already taken Jairus for cranial-sacral therapy so I wasn't freaked out by it. Essentially she made sure that the plates of his head were all in place and encouraged proper blood flow around his brain, especially in the areas concerning speech.

At our next follow up appointment, that specialist had his intern see Jairus first. He carefully checked him over and I could tell by the look on his face that he was wondering what the issue was. When the specialist came in and the intern gave his report, he told him that he couldn't see any signs of the hip problem. The specialist checked himself and concurred, telling me that he didn't know what I was doing, but whatever it was, keep doing it.

By this point, Verity was starting to swing from the rafters--I mean, she was definitely showing signs of her gymnastic skill. I think the first time her elbow popped out of joint, she was about 18 months old.
It would leave her in considerable pain for a number of hours, often crying herself to sleep. By the time she woke up, it would usually be fine. But every 2-3 months, this would happen. The family doctor didn't have much to offer on the subject, just that this was not uncommon, it was just a matter of loose and still forming joints/ligaments/bones and she would grow out of it.

After about a year, my mom thought to mention it to Dr. Ferretti. Right away she knew what the problem was and told my mom to bring her in immediately the next time it happened. She even gave my mom her home number in case it was outside of office hours. Which of course it was the next time we needed her....

It was a Sunday just as our church service was ending. I remember the various nurses and health professionals at our church crowding around offering their advice, but I called up Dr. Ferretti and we headed off to Dundas. She came down and opened her clinic. She explained exactly what was going on and with a quick squeeze, rub and flick of her wrist (with no extra pain to Verity) things started to improve immediately. Within 10 minutes Verity was back to normal and I was amazed. From then on, we ran right over to Dr. Ferretti's whenever that happened. Interestingly, she grew Check Spellingout of it shortly after, which I think was due to the fact that Dr. Ferretti was not only correcting the problem each time it happened, but healing up the scar tissue from the other times, and allowing the arm to fully heal and strengthen.

Verity has continued to be a fairly constant source of pulled muscles, twisted joints and pinched nerves for Dr. Ferretti to ply her trade on, lol. With gymnastics class weekly, she often is complaining a day or two after that something is hurting, usually her legs. Time and time again, Dr. Ferretti will check and find that something has been jarred out of place (not dislocated, just not in the optimal position, and therefore causing pain) and with a few smoothing motions of her hands, puts everything aright once more. This is something I really appreciate about seeing Dr. Ferretti; she gets to the root of the problem. No Tylenol to mask the pain, or 'this is normal, she'll grow out of it'. No, when the girls have tummy troubles, she can tell me that their tummies are in the wrong position (for instance after having the stomach flu--did you know that your actual stomach can be wrenched up too high from vomiting?), or a bit of their intestines are pinched, or some other such malady. And then, she can FIX it. Not tell me it's a virus and it must run its' course, or it's a normal part of childhood and they must grow out of it. I detest band-aid solutions and Dr. Ferretti is really good at getting down to the bottom of things.

One of my favourite Dr. Ferretti accounts occurred when I was 37 weeks pregnant with my last baby, Afton. At 37 weeks, I was getting into bed one night. It was a Sunday. I had spent the day in a lazy fashion, sitting on my moms couch while family was visiting for something, likely Easter. I think that Afton didn't care for my lazy day, because as I tried unsuccessfully to get comfortable that night, I sat up with the strangest thought that something was not right. Sitting in the dark, I felt over my basketball of a belly and realized that I was feeling something rather hard and round at the top of my uterus. Are you getting the picture? Yes indeed, an emergency visit to the midwife the next morning, followed by an ultrasound showed that Afton was now breech. Panic ensued. I wouldn't be able to homebirth if she was breech.
The soonest I could get into Dr. Ferretti was the next morning, so I anxiously awaited that time and tried as many natural techniques to get a baby to turn as possible.

Dr. Ferretti found that my pelvis was not aligned, and things were quite cramped down in my lower right section as a result. She said she wasn't surprised that Afton had gotten herself out of there: babies go where there's room, she said. Sitting on a comfy couch for many hours that Sunday had not been wise. She quickly got things in order and I left with high hopes that all would be well.
By that evening I suspected things had changed. I called my midwife, who got me in for a quick ultrasound in the L&D ward around 10pm that night. It was confirmed; crisis was over.

There have been many other ailments and misalignments that Dr. Ferretti has worked her magic on, but we'd be here all day....

So if you are ever in need of a chiropractor, see this lady here!