Sunday, October 18, 2009

Change of Scenery

I have moved this blog over to Wordpress, because it's better.

The more intimate family pictures are password protected. If you would like this password, contact me at andrewbpaterson -at- gmail -dot- com
Moreover, all such pictures have been deleted from this blog.

Sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Comma, or a Period?

I apologize for the lack of communication as of late. The real world has me bouncing all over the place, leaving little time to post my life for the world to see.

Which brings me to my next issue: security. My little guy is unable to help himself in most every way:
• He can't dress himself,
• He can't feed himself,
• He can't choose where he wants to hang out, and
• He can't protect himself.

With the internet being what it is (a world-wide and collaborative forum for the exchange of information), I don't want the exchange of information to go from

A picture or information tidbit about baby Bradley ↔ an evil internet lurker with malicious intentions

During the past week, I have done a lot of prayer and reflection. Though conclusions were oftentimes iterated with new ideas, I know for sure that I want to add a layer of security to my blog.

Because Google's Blogger service (aka blogspot) only allows for 100 security enabled viewers, I am investigating other avenues. Wordpress is another popular blogging platform, which may have a higher learning curve, though the end product is much more robust. There are many who will argue to death the superiority of Wordpress. [ref 1, 2, and 3]

All this to say, dear family and friends, that I am hoping for this time of reflection to be a comma, as opposed to a period. My reasons for starting this blog were to keep friends and family in the loop regarding our little guy, as well as documenting fun experiences and ideas.

I intend to re-release this blog in the coming week(s) to a new and improved version! Stay tuned...

What about you? Do you use Blogger or Wordpress? What do you like about the platform you're using? What don't you like?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

QuikPic: All Smiles!

Our little guy's learned a new trick: smiling!
He's been showing off this new skill quite liberally. Though he learned it a couple of weeks ago, it's only been until recent that we've been able to capture it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Texting While Driving?!? No Thnx!!!

I am all about efficiency. I love to-do lists, organized events, and structured days. As often as I can, I like to double-up on tasks:

• Reading a book while rocking little Bradley to sleep,
• Blogging while watching our little boy (like I'm doing right now),
• Texting while using the washroom (hey, at least I'm admitting it!!!).

Though not an exhaustive list, there is one thing I will never again double-up on: text messaging while driving (when I have any family members in the car). I used to do this, in the name of maximizing productive output; in this case blending transportation and communication. But for two main reasons, I now refuse to do this.

The first reason is because of safety. I have heard of friends getting into fender benders because they were trying to text while on the road. I myself rear-ended someone around 2004 because I took my eyes off the road, if even for a split second or two.

A video has recently been released which tries to spread the message regarding the dangers of texting while driving. I was taken aback by its graphic nature, a stance which has produced some debate, questioning whether it's too much. So with that warning, here it is:

The other reason, as if that last one isn't enough, is becuase of the law. This past month, the Ontario Government put Bill 118 into effect, which will hand out a $500 fine to whoever's caught driving while using (or even holding) a wireless communication device, or other hand-held driver distractors. Find the complete text of the bill here.

So even though I like to squeeze every last drop of available time during a day being productive, you won't find me doubling-up by texting and driving. It's just not worth it.

What about you? Do you text while driving? I know of someone who can text without even looking at the screen...I wonder if the new law will affect this person's habbit.
Do you have any other awesome double-ups?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

QuikPic: 11.5 lbs and growing!

Our little guy was recently weighed and found to come in at 11.5 pounds. At six weeks of age, he's made progress from when he entered the World at 6.7 pounds.

With this physical growth, he's also enjoyed added responsibility and privileges being moved into his own room, fitting into his snazzy jeans, and laying under his playmat.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Tuesday night provided a monumental shake-up in our parents-baby relationship, as it was the first night we tried to have Bradley sleep in his own room. He was 5.5 weeks old.

Leading up to this arrangement, I would prod at Kristin over and over saying that it would be "so good" if he was in his own room. The advantages were evident, in my mind:
• Baby could sleep right through Daddy's alarm, which has the volume turned up quite generously,
• Baby could learn about responsibility, and get a taste and appreciation for not being at arm's reach to Mommy or Daddy, and finally
• Mom & Dad could sleep, without waking to every coo and grunt by Baby!

Being a selfish guy, the third point was the one I was most interested in. Little Bradley had been sleeping in a play pen yard/bassinet similar to this one. I thought sleeping in his crib would provide a more comfortable sleeping solution for him. No matter what my reasoning was, I was taken aback when I received a call at work from Kristin Tuesday during the day.

"I think I'm ready to try Bradley sleeping in the nursery."

Woah! A flood of thoughts and feelings went through me after that conversation (which consisted of more than that one line!). Was Bradley ready? Would he like his new room? What if we can't hear him and he's upset? What if he has trouble breathing and he's so far away from us that we don't notice???

I didn't have my main reference guide, so I went to the resource I did have at my disposal: the internet. What did I learn?
• There are a lot of stay at home moms who don't know 100% what to do about this!! Reference 1, 2, and 3.
• Every baby is different when it comes to this (and most everything else!), and
• Some babies don't move from their parents' room until they're several months (or even years) old!!!

I chose to camp on the second point when talking to Kristin. After all, our little guy's been growing steadily since birth, without even losing weight in his first week of life.
He's ready, I thought.
Of course he's ready, I persuaded myself.
He's definitely ready, I half-heartedly reassured myself.

Oh my gosh, what if he's not ready???

Well the first night came and went. Our little guy slept from 10:30pm until about 9:00am. He woke up once (to feed), and didn't fuss at all. How sweet it was, tasting what sleep used to be like: uninterrupted.

The second night was similar to the first, except he fussed for about 30 minuted at around 2am. Nothing a little bit of back-patting and back-and-forth motion couldn't take care of. The third night (last night) was exactly like the first!

So here we are, our little guy's sleeping in his own room after a mere 6 weeks. God willing he keeps up his good nights!

By the way, I think you hear even more coos and grunts having a baby monitor right beside your bed! The volume control must be used wisely.

What about you? When did your little one move into his/her own room? Do you have any tips or tricks?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Roger Federer: on a mission, or lacking drive?

A couple of weeks after Bradley was born, when my parental leave was done, I was dreading going back to work more than anything! I was graciously given two weeks of vacation/family leave, which I enjoyed to the fullest. The day before my return to work, though, I couldn't bear the fact that I would NOT be spending the whole day with my beloved wife and newborn son.

That day came and went, and before I knew it I was back to the grind. Things felt different, though. I knew that my winning the bread had implications which reached farther than ever before.

When I got married, my emotions, plans, and efforts were all shed in a new light: I wasn't just living for myself anymore. I had responsibility for someone else's well-being with respect to finances, spirituality, emotions, and much more. I didn't just need to make sure that I had enough money to buy a new 59Fifty baseball cap every other month and keep the kicks fresh. And this with Kristin being an independant person already!

When little Bradley was born, howm much more did my perspective and responsibilities shift! I brought a new focus and intensity to the workplace. I need to excel at what I do, not just to move up the corporate ladder, but to provide for those who need me. This enthusiasm was interrupted halfway into my first day back.

At around lunchtime, I was getting ready for my daily call home. I unplugged from my work tasks and noticed the picture of my little boy which I had put up at the office a few hours earlier.

Man, that picture is so cute!
Look at his little reminds me of mommy's!

I called home, and had the usual talk with Kristin. This time, though, there was some background noise I had never before heard. The little wimpers and coos, which I would sit around and listen to for half the day when I was at home when on parental leave, were coming through the phone as if he was right there beside me. And that's all I wanted; for him to be there beside me. I considered leaving work right then and there. My more sensible instincts kicked in, though, and at work I remained until the end-of-day whistle sounded.

When I reflected on the day, I found that my actions had me swaying to two totally opposite ends of the productivity spectrum. At one end, my new boy birthed in me a desire to do well, and to provide for the family. Conversely, all I wanted to do was to be at home with him (and my wife) ALL THE TIME! I've gotten used to daydreaming for 5 minutes every now and then while at work, wishing work days lasted only 6 hours, or that there were only 3 working days a week...isn't it that way in France? Switzerland? One of those sophisticated EU contries found a way to be more productive with 15 working hours a week, I'm sure of it!

Though I know the sensible and logical thing I must do is to remain a hard-working employee, I enjoy my escapes, 5 minutes at a time, a couple of times a day. It's like my smoke break!

With the recent poor performance by Roger Federer at the 2009 US Open Men's Finals, it got me thinking. He and his wife, Mirka, had twins on July 23rd of this year. Reports say that he's been feeling quite relaxed while on the tennis court since then. If this relaxation, though, leads to performances in the finals of a grand-slam event like the one we witnessed Monday night, I don't know how many more slams he'll take home.

Personally, I think Roger's got a lot of good tennis left in him, but I don't think he'll bring the heat the way he used to. He has the record for most slam wins in a career, and now he has a family. His best days are behind him.

Mind you, he's had an amazing career.

What about you? Do you think having kids would motivate one (has motivated you) to perform in one's field to the very best of one's abilities? Or would it lead to a distracted and mellowed-out version of oneself?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Amber Shereen Pictures

Today, we got our pictures which we got done a couple weeks back. I have nothing but good things to say about her work!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

QuikPic: A Movie Outing

This past weekend, the family went to catch a flick at the Ottawa Family Cinema! Having won four free tickets from CHRI, we also brought two good chums along.

Good times!

Friday, September 11, 2009

QuikPic: What Guys Do Best

Last night was the start of the NFL season, so Bradley and I did what guys do best: chill with no shirts on, and watch football.

During the opening ceremonies was when I realized, though, that children are not supposed to watch TV until they're two years old...oops!!! [ref: Eisenberg et al. What to Expect in the First Year] He won't be a TV virgin, but he'll be abstinent.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mom vs. Dad, Part I

Kristin and I are a parental unit. We must go into all interactions with our baby boy as such, lest he open our defenses and reveal the soft gooey insides of the Paterson/Armour partnership. As he grows older, it is all the more important that Kristin and I stand united - raising our child with a common voice, a common standard, and a common love.

There are times, though, when the boy may bias towards one side or the other. Expecting the relationship, temperament, or physical traits to be one and the same from father to mother is unreasonable. We are two different people with different personalities.

This post is the first of several which will examine our little Bradley, and compare him to the traits of his mother and myself. Today I will investigate baby's looks.

Babies' facial features are said to appear at 6, 7, or 8 weeks after conception. These features, though, are not strong and defined until later in life. Right out of the womb, it is said that babies actually tend to look similar and can even get mistaken by their own parents at the hospital! Nevertheless, I would say that our boy has three distinct features:

• A dimple chin,
• A cute little button nose, and
• Bright blue eyes.

My knowledge of Mendelian genetics goes as far as my Grade 13 biology class with Mrs. Bradley, but I would say that I could attribute his chin to me (and my mother, and her dad, and his dad...). His adorable button nose definitely came from Mom. His eyes, though, are a toss up. I would have been sure that my dark, chocolatey brown eyes would have dominated over Kristin's green eyes. When the little guy came out, though, he had bluish-grey irises. Now his colour's changed such that if we call Mike Fisher's eyes arctic ice blue, we could call Bradley's eye colour deep ocean blue.

At birth, Caucasian babie's eye colour is, the majority of the time, blue. It then changes (as by the literature) at 6-12 months. We'll see what the future has in store.

What about you? Do you think Bradley looks more like me or Kristin? Are there any other distinguishable traits you see in our baby?

Friday, September 4, 2009

QuikPic: Getting his explore on

Here are some recent pics of little Bradley.

He went on his first out-of-province trip today. With all the travelling this little guy's going to be doing, we thought that going to Gatineau (Quebec) to figure out his passport application would be a good idea. We also went to Starbucks, to keep troop morale high.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanageable." [Plato]

How disheartening!

I read this excerpt in the first chapter of my September book, "Bringing Up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson. I must say, I was quite blindsided by this first chapter. It presents boys as wreckless and mischievous little buggers getting into trouble whenever possible. Maybe the following quote was in popular culture a little before I would have heard it, but why didn't anyone tell me that

"Girls are made out of sugar and spice and everything nice,
but boys are made of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails"?

Snakes? Snails?! Puppy dog tails?!?
Though I like to think I'm a brave guy (having just touched a snake myself while biking recently in Stony Swamp, and touching a mammoth one while in Costa Rica last year), I certainly hope that my child isn't made of them!
Snails? Any memory I have of snails bring me back to when I lived in Nicaragua. A relative of the snail, the slug, had made its way into our home. We showered it in salt, which he didn't seem to like much. He died.
I don't have much of a comment regarding puppy dog tails.

Nevertheless, the way I saw raising kids, 18 years with a boy wouldn't be as challenging as with a girl:
• Early boy stage (≤ 10 years old) = destructive and untameable, like a hurricane;
• Late boy stage (>10 years old) = confident, more than able to bus around town late at night or do stupid things to get a chuckle from those around him;
• Early girl stage = angelic, always eager to help, can get whatever she wants with a puppy dog face; and finally
• Late girl stage = hormonal, showered with stereotypes of culture leaving her uncertain about herself and with mediocre confidence (though she could still get whatever she wants with a puppy dog face!).

But this book has left me thinking that boys may not be easier to raise. Note another excerpt: of the scariest aspects of raising boys is their tendency
to risk life and limb for no good reason...If a toddler can climb
on it, he will jump off it...He will eat anything but food and
loves to play in the toilet. He makes "guns" out of cucumbers
or toothbrushes...He loves to throw rocks, play with fire, and
shatter glass.

One way to put this to rest is to look what and who I know myself. What do I know as truth, from my own experiences?

From both memory and stories that come about at family dinners, my brother and I (separated by 19 months) got into as much trouble as possible:
• I once pretended to not breathe, hoping my mom would think it was funny!
• We once got a stray bull so mad (yes, they have those in Nicaragua - they're like stray dogs, except cows) by throwing rocks at it, that it chased us around the block!
• Biking in thunderstorms was awesome, helmets were optional, lightning made it extra cool!
• I, not so much my brother, got into the party scene at school, often leaving my parents with less than restful nights!

Now, what about my wife, and her two sisters:
• They once wore clothes that didn't match;
• They once saw a mouse in their house, but quickly ran away; and worst of all
• They once pretended to shoot an animal with a gun made from their index finger and thumb (this after learning about shooting guns from their male cousins)!
NOTE that this list omits certain mischievous acts done by the girls, in order to better prove a point (like climbing up a synthetic freestyle aerial ski jump during the summer and jumping into the pool below).

Putting both in the balance, I'd say that my brother and I were a little more mischievous. Even once older, internal emotional issues (along with continuing to laugh in the face of danger) didn't make it any easier for the parents of two boys than for those of three girls.

Now, I must step back and say that this small sample size leads to huge generalizations. Moreover, external influences on my family vs. my wife's family are countless: country of habitation, city vs. country living, parenting styles, dynamics with extended family, financial situation, number of siblings. There are so many factors to consider which influence how a child is raised and what demeanour they present that I can't possibly make a conclusion on which is easier, or creidbly compare one family to another.

All I can say is that God gave us a son, and I pray that God gives us the strength, wisdom, and patience to raise him well. I hope to glean some of this wisdom from the examples of both my parents, and those of my wife. I also hope for Dr. Dobson's book to offer some solutions in the next 16 chapters, now that he's shaken my foundation!

What about you? Do you think boys are better than girls? Which gender is easier to raise?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Slam Dunk the Funk!

I'd like to introduce to some, and reacquaint to others a little invention which I have thoroughly enjoyed over the past three weeks: The Diaper Genie.

Ironically, me "enjoying it" consists of being able to ignore it, because of this canister's contents. If you are as intelligent as you look, you'd have figured out that the contents are none other than dirty diapers. The premise of this product is to safely contain its gooey insides.

The purpose of this post, though, is to provide a multimedia how-to on using it. So without further ado:

With dirty diaper condensely packaged (with the weight and feel of a baseball), step on the foot-activated lever to open top lid. The foot-activated lever not only opens the top lid, but it also disengages a clamp just under the top lid. When the foot-activated lever is at rest, the lid is shut and the clamp cuts off unpleasant odours - maintaining room freshness.

Toss the diaper into the top orifice and take your foot off of the foot-activated lever. This situation is not unlike those seen in many exciting sports (like this one, this one, and - my favourite - this one). How much enthusiasm or creativity you use to toss the diaper is up to you, but 360ยบ, through the legs, or no-look are all interesting options and are sure to please.

Open the Diaper Genie by pressing in the button located half-way up the canister. It uses a plastic Snap Fit Joint to keep the two Diaper Genie halves together.

Cut the plastic bag using the convenient cutter, which is labelled "CUTTER". The process is easy to manage, even for the simplest of minds. That's one of the reasons why I like this product!

Once cut, tie both ends of the plastic bag. Any type of knot is OK.

Pull a generous amount of the bagging from the empty half (the half not containing dirty diapers). Remove the package of dirty diapers (note that the bag will be heavier than you think) and toss into the garbage. Close up the Diaper Genie.

You have now gone through a typical life cycle of Diaper Genie usage. Note that once the plastic bag feed runs out, you can conveniently buy a new one. They just poop pop into place.

So instead of belittling me for what my life has become (I did, after all, just blog about throwing soiled diapers in the garbage!), I hope you reflect on the joys of parenting, what it means to be a dad, and the similarities of baby products and kitchen products.

What about you? Do you think the Diaper Genie just a luxurious extravagance? If you have/had kids, did you use one? If you didn't, how did you manage? Is the smell really not all that bad?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

QuikPic: Delicious Subway

Here's a QuikPic of a family outing to Subway we had recently.
In case you're asking, we had the roasted chicken sub. It was delicious.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A little more space and A LOT more horses.

This past week, Kristin and I had the joyous task of finalizing our car purchase. After many (and I mean many) weeks of deliberation, we were finally able to put down our money!

If you know me, you know that I tend to do things quite logically, and systemically. In an effort to keep buyer's remorse at bay, I did what any logical left-side-of-the-brain type guy would do: I trusted the numbers.

Kristin and I developed criteria for what would make a car purchase-worthy; things like cost, colour, safety ratings (freely available from NHTSA), and whether or not it has a roof rack. These perfromance characteristics were given a weight factor depending on how important they were to us. For example, whether or not a car had All Wheel Drive could get either 0 or 1 point, but the colour and look of the car could get anywhere from 0 to 3 points.

After looking tirelessly on sites like Autotrader and Usedottawa, a fairly large database was amassed, consisting of RAV4's, CR-V's, and less-so, Tucsons. We visited dealerships, private sellers and were told countless times about the CR-V's picnic table in the back cargo area! After many close calls and a botched sell by The 4x4 Store, the numbers told us to go with a 2005 CR-V from Bridgeport Motors. Nice guys.

Our little guy's transportation means will now be provided not by our '98 EL (named Ellie), but by our new CR-V (named Rachel). As far as the space and horsepower increase, as by this post's title, Rachel offers over 20 extra cubic feet as compared to Ellie, and 33 extra horses. With the infamously high-revving Honda engines, though, and my miserly acceleration habits, who knows if I'll ever actually see those numbers!

What about you? What do you most care about when buying a car? Safety? Look? Performance?

Monday, August 17, 2009

The calm, soothing sounds of a Nikon D3

Today Bradley had his first ever photoshoot! Through a friend of Kristin's dad's receptionist's husband's brother (or something like that), it was brought to our attention that Amber Shereen required newborns for some free photo shoots. Quid pro quo, she was giving workshops to some trainees on shooting newborns. You can't be disappointed with that kind of an opportunity, though!

Upon arrival, we were confronted by this petite, unassuming woman holding a Nikon D3, which was half her size! She sure used it well, though, in her wonderful home studio in which she was using natural light to shoot baby Bradley. She also has a lit studio in the basement, which we didn't make use of. Her sunlit workroom had a heater (for baby) as well as a background noise-maker, spewing out sounds of the ocean.

Apparently, we were supposed to arrive to her place with baby sleeping. We thought we would make sure of that using some tricks we've learned:
• We made sure he was stimulated and awake the hours leading up to his appointment,
• Kristin fed him 45 minutes before his big shoot, and
• We went over in the car.

Even with all of these measures, though, he didn't arrive asleep. Since her studio is but a 6 minute drive from our place, maybe an extra drive around the block (or two) would have been a good idea! Nevertheless, Amber worked with what she had.

We started by trying some cute awake poses, but that had mediocre results because an awake Bradley is oftentimes a crying Bradley (and a crying Bradley is not conducive to a serene, artsy newborn photo). That was followed up with some mother-baby shots, which went quite well (check out this early release!), except that Bradley was still in and out of dormancy. When I stepped up to the plate, though, excited as can be for some memorable snaps to be taken, little Bradley peed on me. I guess that's one of the potential perils posed by taking pictures with a naked baby! Oh well!!!

On the bright side, her setup gave me the idea to buy a baby whitenoise cd from iTunes to help with his sleeping. There is another happy ending, though: Bradley did end up falling asleep. Amber will be giving us (8x10") shots of 5 different poses within 6 weeks.

What about you? Do you have any photography tips for shooting unpredictable subjects like newborns?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back from the Hospital!!!

Saturday, August 8th was the date we returned home from the hospital...what a relief! The whole process was amazing. Tiring, but amazing.

We arrived at the Queensway Carleton Hospital at around 9 am on Thursday, August 6th (Kristin's original due date). The progression of labour is oftentimes characterized by how dilated, or effaced, the cervix is. Starting at 0 cm (diameter of the opening), the walls of the cervix gradually become thinner and thinner, ripening 10 cm of dilation. When we arrived at the hospital, Kristin was around 2 cm.

After some walking about (to try to promote effacement), Kristin was soon at 4 cm, the point at which Active Labour is often classified.
After ~13 hours (from noon until 1am), including
1) A room switch from triage to the birthing unit,
2) A couple of hours in a tub with water jets,
3) Enduring contractions to exhaustion,
4) An epidural,
5) Some relatively painless contractions,
6) Some heavy pushing to exhaustion, and finally
baby Bradley was born!!!

What an amazing experience it was! All the noises of the doctor and nurses' instructions, instruments beeping, and Kristin's screams were more than drowned out by the fresh helpless cry of our newborn baby. Even as I type this, it's hard to comprehend that our little bundle of joy was released from inside Kristin's body - but I was there to witness it. The tears almost rendered me unable to announce to Kristin and grandma, "It's a boy!"

The next 40 hours were spent sleeping, feeding, taking pictures, spending time with family and friendly visitors, and just enjoying our little guy.
His data sheet:
• Name: Bradley Hudson Paterson
• Weight: 6 lbs 11 oz
• Length: 50 cm
Apgar score: must have been off the charts!

About 40 hours after delivery, on Saturday afternoon, Kristin and baby were released from the hospital. What a joy! It's now time to start a new chapter of our lives...the three of us.

What about you? How have you passed time at a hospital?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hello World!

Whether you are a family member of mine, a friend, or an anonymous blog hopper, I'm glad you stumbled upon my blog. This blog is meant to keep loved ones updated on my life, with particular emphasis on my little boy: Bradley Hudson Paterson.

When I was thinking about creating a blog, I pondered how I would give my blog some pizzaz. I wondered what my style was going to be - what persona would I release to the masses? I knew I wanted to blog about the ups and downs of parenthood, but what spin would I put on it? Would I try to be funny and sarcastic? Logical and structured? Serious and to-the-point? Having fruitlessly analyzed my life, I decided that I would be all these things (and more!).

I hope that through this blog, you learn more about me: my thoughts, my dreams, my day-to-day, my experiences being a dad. Because in the end, I am an amalgam of so many alloys of life:
• I am a twenty-something,
• I am a Christian,
• I am now a father (!!!),
• I am Canadian,
• I am an Engineering graduate (and EIT),
• I am a hockey official, and
• I love sports!

So please remember how to find me (in order of tech-savvyness): add to your RSS feed reader, bookmark this website, email yourself the url, or write the url down on a piece of paper.

I look forward to sharing with you the happenings of my life...being a dad.

• Photo - S. Cornette,
• Final push to start this blog - R. Kieley