Sunday, October 23, 2016

the fair!

We went to the fair last weekend and had a great time. Matt's sister, brother in law, niece, and nephews were in town from NY. It was great to have them down and to get to share one of our favorite things of the year with them.

And this one is from a date night Matt and I got the other night, courtesy of my mom. We went to dinner and to the mall to get smiley face cookies. Because we're mature grown ups.

Friday, October 21, 2016

slices of life, vol. 10

Here are some funnies from the last few weeks:

Commenting on the sunrise one morning -
Gideon: Mommy, have you seen the colors? Dere's orange, yellow, pink, and blue.
Me: I know. God is quite the artist.
Jonah (chiming in): He sure is. You know why?
(Points at himself)
Cause He made this guy.
Jonah: Dad, did you fart?
Matt: No.
Jonah: Ok, I must be smelling my fart then.
From Matt:
Patrice called me on my way home from work to ask me how close I was (5 minutes out), and tell me she left her purse at school and needed to get it. She was going to leave Jonah home alone since I was so close.
I passed her in the driveway, so he was in the house for about thirty seconds by himself. When I went inside Jonah proclaimed, "Dad, I was the only human here! It felt good to be king of the house with Deac as my sidekick!"
From Matt:
Jonah was having a tough time today following directions, being respectful, and was not using his brain at all.
For example, he threw up (not because he was sick, but because he took too big of a bite and gagged) and then immediately blew his breath in my face.
Patrice: Every decision you are making is horrific.
Jonah: Can you change that "H" to a "T?"
My kid has his moments, but most of the time he is "torrific."
From Matt:
Two of this weekend’s many disagreements:
Jonah: I’m done.
Giddy: Jonah, play with me!
Jonah: No! No hitting, no weapons, no playing dead. (brief pause) Actually, yeah, just play dead.
Giddy: You’re a dork!
Jonah: No, you’re a dork!
Giddy: Gideon’s not a dork, and Dad’s not a dork, and Mom’s not a dork, because none of them are Jonah.
From Matt:
Scene: Giddy spills yogurt on carpet and Patrice discovers it a few minutes later.
Patrice: Gideon, did you spill yogurt on the carpet?
Giddy: No.
Patrice: Then what is this all over the carpet?
Giddy: (Looking at yogurt) Dust.
From Matt:
Giddy seems to be getting really excited about praying lately.
Dear God,
Fank you for dis day. Fank you dat giwaffe not eat me. Fank you dat hippopotamus not eat me...(this continued for about two minutes of thanking God for a host of carnivorous and non-carnivorous animals not eating him).
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Dear God,
Fank you for dis day. Fank you for Darf Bader. Fank you for my family.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
The force is strong with this one.
From Grandaddy (Matt's Dad):
It was time for the afternoon sword fight in the front yard. Giddy had a foam sword in each hand. I had an identical sword. Jonah came outside, after getting a drink of water, and said he needed a sword. Gid just looked at him, with a sword in each hand. So I gave Jonah my sword. I told Gid I couldn't fight because I did not have a sword. Using perfect 4 year old logic he told me, "Well doofus, you are the one that gave your sword to Jonah."

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

a long overdue update and the pumpkin patch!

Friends! I've missed you! Are you even still out there??? I honestly and truly do miss blogging. I can't make any promises that it will get better (I kind of have three jobs right now), but please know that I do love you all and miss you, and we still covet your prayers.

Jonah is doing well. He had a virus a couple of weeks ago that ended with a two week stent of horrible coughing. He eventually had to go on prednisone to kick it. It's pretty typical for him to do that, but it doesn't make it any easier for him to deal with when it happens. I've noticed his skin, primarily on his face, severely deteriorates when this happens. I imagine it's because of restless/little sleep. After he recovered from that, he got strep bacteria infections on his hands (and consequently infected his nurse, grandaddy, and two cousins with strep throat... oops), and is now on a 10 day dose of antibiotics for that. They look better now, but last year we struggled with infection coming right back after the 10 days, so we'll see.

Overall, he's healthy, happy, and incredibly brave and strong, like always.

Gideon is a hot mess, and we love him to death. He has endless energy, endless curiosity, gets into everything, eats on the run, never flushes the toilet, and keeps us in stitches. He is so funny, you guys. And he's adorable. He is a huge blessing to our lives, and I just can't believe he's already FOUR. He's older than Jonah was when he came to us. It blows my mind where the time has gone.

Here are some photos from the pumpkin patch this weekend:

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I have two beautiful boys. And every day I’m realizing more and more that they will both be judged for their skin – one with more compassion, for the most part. One with more disdain.

When Gideon is with us, he will be okay. Not because of who he is, but because of who we are. He will not be like “those others” because his parents are white. While this will certainly present him with some problems – maybe he will be teased, maybe he will not be considered “black” enough, maybe it will make him somewhat of an outcast with peers of similar skin tone, it WILL likely ensure his safety. When he is with us and we get pulled over for a busted tail light or an expired registration, he will likely not be shot four times and killed for reaching for his wallet.

But I fear for him when he is on his own. We will most definitely have to have conversations with him that don’t make any rational sense. Matt was just saying this week that we will have to make sure he knows not to EVER cut through someone’s yard, even if it is the quickest route. He should not wear a hood when out in public. He should never knock on someone’s door unannounced. Jonah could do these things, but Gideon cannot. Now we will add to these warnings. Don’t ever carry a gun, even if you are carrying it legally and with the proper license. Don’t ever get angry out in public. Go completely and ridiculously above and beyond with respectful and placating words when talking to police officers, even if they have pulled you over for no reason. Even if they are accusing you of something that is totally ludicrous. Even if they are being rough with you, grab you, shove you, push you, curse you. Do not speak up for yourself. Do not show any disrespect. Keep your black mouth shut.

Your life may depend on it.

Are you pissed off yet? Are you pissed at me or are you pissed at the reality of this country where we live? Are you in complete denial? Do you know that one aspect of white privilege is that we have the luxury to pretend that there isn’t a problem? We can close our eyes to oppression and abuse, because we are not directly affected. We can view ourselves as the “we” and view “them” as the “others” and live in our ivory towers of complacency and apathy.  Our black friends do not have that luxury. They live every day in this REALITY, with these FACTS, and I get to say that because your reality does not affect me, it does not exist. I am white, and you are a liar.

To make matters worse, we start spouting phrases like “All lives matter” to try to make ourselves feel better, like the oppressed are at fault. I was reading a Relevant article today, and it said that this is similar to running a race for cancer, all the while screaming, “THERE ARE OTHER DISEASES TOO!” Of course all lives matter. Because they are precious and God given and beautiful. But ALL lives are not being senselessly and repeatedly taken. ALL lives are not being oppressed and threatened on a daily basis. ALL lives are not having to live in fear when they are wrongly accused by the privileged or pulled over by the cops. Yes, all lives matter. But that does not stop us from standing up and saying that Black lives matter. Because right now, it is our Black brothers and sisters who are being persecuted, are living in fear, and who need our voices. Not because we are white. But because we are human. I am them and they are me, and I stand up and shout out and demand what is right and good for my fellow human beings.

You can be quiet and pretend these things don’t exist if you choose. It is not right and it is not okay, but it is your choice. I will not. I will no longer be silent. Matt said, “The laws may be the same for everyone, but the rules are completely different.” THAT is the truth. THAT is the reality.

And when a black man brings it up, someone who has an audience and a platform and a voice, we, the privileged, start a petition to get him kicked off the TV. Because the last thing we want is to feel uncomfortable or to be accused of the truth.  Can you please stop messing up my entertainment with your realness? It’s awfully inconvenient. I just want to watch my stories.

Meanwhile we share on Facebook, over and over, a white teen being tazed to the point of a coma and permanent brain damage, because he looks like me and what if that was my son and oh, the humanity! But the guy who got shot four times reaching for his wallet? Or the guy that was shot to death while cuffed on the ground? They are not my people. I cannot relate to that. Also, I’m sure they had it coming. I don’t need to stand up and make a big deal about that because ALL lives matter. Haven’t you heard?

No. Stop it.

When does the us stop being the us and the them stop being the them? When do we stop viewing our family in compartments of “otherness” and decide to fight for our brothers and sisters, because they are just that. When do we scream no to apathy and denial and start standing up for something? Something more than fighting the persecution of Christian Chicken or that the lines are too long at the DMV and start standing up for something that really matters?

Someone. When do we start standing up for our someones who really matter?

Enough is enough. And I’m truly and sincerely sorry that it’s taken me this long to say it. I should have never chosen silence. It was wrong, and I am sorry.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

catching up

Just a quick update on the goings on around here. Life is busy but good. Jonah just finished up 1st grade and had an amazing year. God has seriously provided just what he needed in any and every situation. He tends to do things like that. We are so very loved and have fallen in love with his school and his teachers - from Kindergarten and First Grade. Everyone has been amazing.

Jonah is still into cars like always. His obsession only grows. He can tell you the make and model of almost any car he sees on the road. And he usually gets the year right too. It's pretty crazy. He has so many matchbox cars now, I can't even buy him any because I don't know which ones he has and which ones he doesn't. So now we get him gift cards or he makes specific requests, and Granny goes hunting on Ebay. Last week Jonah got a surprise package from a friend with a bunch of older ones that he didn't have. He was totally pumped.

Gideon is into all things superheroes, Avengers, wrestling and fighting. He is our full throttle, go all the time, can't take your eyes off him for a second, almost-four-year-old. Can you believe he's almost four??? He's extremely mischievous and often maddening, but I wouldn't trade him for the world. He is also the sweetest, most tender, loves-to-snuggle, double dimpled, hilarious little stinker you'll ever meet. He loves adventure and learning new things.

They both keep us laughing.

Matt and I are doing well. My Dad and his wife kept the kids last Saturday, and Matt and I went to Blowing Rock for the day. It was really beautiful and so nice to get a way for a whole day!

Because most days go something like this - 

(From my Facebook page on the 6th)

Just stepped outside to make an important phone call. I get on the phone call. Gideon follows me out there, goes out into the front yard, and starts pulling down his pants.
Me (while on the phone): Gideon, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Gid: I need to doe poopy.
Gid: (pointing at Deac) My dog does poopy in the yard.
Me: You are not a dog!!! GO INSIDE!!!
Gid: I jus' wanna pwetend I'm a dog and doe poopy outside.
(Gideon goes inside. Comes out a few minutes later, carrying the wipes, with no pants on...)
Gid: I all done.

I'm told I'll really miss these days, but right now, they seem pretty exhausting. I'm thankful for laughter in the middle of the crazy. Stay strong, Mommas. You're doing good work. And even when you don't, tomorrow is a new day. And the coolest thing about kids? Their love is pretty unconditional. They tend to love the best parts of us and let go of the not-as-great. And that's pretty spectacular.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

Washington DC hopes and a funny story

Hi Friends,

This is going to be random and seem out of place but give me just a second and read to the end please. :)

Do you guys remember a post I did three years ago about starting with a company called Beautycounter? I have been with the company for almost three years, and I am just more and more impressed with the products they make, but even more importantly the work they're doing - selling high performing SAFE personal care products, educating women through access to information and education/mission focused socials, and even lobbying in Washington for more health protective laws. Did you know that the European Union bans 1,400 ingredients from personal care products? The United States bans ELEVEN. We are seriously behind in this arena.

I haven't blogged about it except for that one time, just because I didn't want this blog to become a sales platform. (But I've wanted to a million times because I really wanted to use it as an education platform. :) )


I have a really cool opportunity I thought some of you might want to know about. The top three sales people in NC this month (along with the top sales folks in other states) get a trip to Washington DC in May to actually meet with Senators and other Congressmen/women to talk about the lack of regulation in the personal care product industry, and ask for better laws that are more health protective. I would actually get to go and share Jonah's story with CONGRESS MEMBERS and talk about how concerning it is that in just putting products on his skin to heal wounds, I never know if that product is safe and free of toxins that could contribute to skin cancer (or other cancers) down the road. And how that is not okay.

If you think this is crazy, will you please watch this? It's a piece that ran on MSNBC last year that really sums up what Beautycounter is all about and the work they're trying to do.

I can PROMISE you that the products are amazing and that our ingredient selection and screening process is above and beyond anything else you will find on the market. Our never list is made up of over 1,500 ingredients they will never ever use in their products.

So if you'd be interested in trying products (and maybe helping push me to DC), you can order here:

Of course, feel free to email me with any questions of if you need recommendations or gift ideas at patricesbeautycounter (at) gmail (dot) com. There is also a 60 day full money back policy, so it's pretty risk free. :)

Okay, thank you guys for "listening." I'll update soon on the family. We are all doing well. Jonah remains stable. Gideon remains silly and mischievous. I remain tired. Just kidding. It's a wonderful life. I miss blogging and I miss all of you. I really do have lots of thoughts I want to share all the time but don't ever make it here to share them... because, you know, sleep. The ol' grey mare ain't what she used to be.

If you want to hear a funny story, here is one I posted on Facebook last week. Every day is like this. Well, maybe not exactly like this.

From March 9th:
This just happened. Soon I will laugh. Not right this minute. I was letting Jonah and Gideon play outside while I got lunch ready. They had been out there approximately 120 seconds when Gideon came in, having pooped in his pants. As I was getting his underwear off (sticking my hand in poo), Jonah starts incessantly ringing the doorbell for me to let him in (he can't open the door handle by himself) because he has to pee. When I let him in, the dog runs out and won't come back because there are people walking on the street in front of our house THAT HE MUST SNIFF RIGHT THIS MINUTE OR HE MIGHT DIE. I go out to try to get him to come back and next thing I know, Gideon has gotten off the potty and runs out to us (yes, the walkers too) without pants or underwear, just as free as he can be, in his t-shirt and tennis shoes... with poop STILL on his bottom. Things like this are the answer to my question when I get to the end of my day and wonder why the heck I haven't gotten anything done.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Precious Vanessa

This was Vanessa's status earlier today.

This morning:

I woke up early this morning in a panic because I couldn't find Anton. I couldn't remember which bed I put him in to sleep. Then I realized he was gone and my heart broke all over again...

I can normally get though the day okay but waking up in the mornings is the worst. It's when I first wake up that it hits me... That it really happened and he isn't here...

I miss him so much.

This evening:

Anton's plane just landed in Texas. I know he is in Heaven but the thought of his little body being in a different state than me is too much to handle.

Guys, can you even imagine? I can a little. I remember the morning after Gabe's funeral was the worst - realizing that I could never touch or feel him again... never again hold him in my arms. Now to imagine having to do that with a child I got to know and love about breaks my heart in two. Will you pray for my dear friend? Mornings are the absolute worst, and if you've ever lost someone so close to you, you know that feeling when you wake up and realize it's NOT a nightmare and the grief physically presses in on you to the point where you feel like you can't breathe. And you relive it all again, and it's almost too much to bear.

My body is in North Carolina but parts of my heart are in Minnesota and Texas. I can divide mine into three parts. Hers is shattered into a million pieces. Will you pray for my friend?

Many have asked how to help, and Vanessa has requested that as people feel led, to please contribute to Dr. Tolar's continuing groundbreaking research. When you would ask Anton what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would say that he wanted to be just like Dr. Tolar and find a cure for EB. His research and trial are the closest thing we've ever had to a cure. We are close. I can feel it. And Anton was a part of that.

If you would like to contribute in honor of Anton, to help realize his dream, you can do so HERE (you can also read more details here as well). 

Thank you for your continued prayers for peace and comfort. They will be moving back to Texas on Tuesday so please be in prayer for all of that too. They're having to say goodbye to their Minnesota family and their home for the last 10 months and going home without Anton. 

Lord, wrap them tightly. Fill those grief suffocating spaces with your life giving breath and sustenance. Hem them in on all sides and make each moment bearable enough to survive to the next. Give them moments of joy in the mourning. Moments of laughter in the sadness. Fill their hearts with the joy of who Anton was and comfort them in their brokenness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Beautiful Anton

I sent my family to church without me, which I never do... because sometimes you just need a minute, you know? I've needed several over the last week and a half.

I'm sure many of you have heard by now, but for those of you who haven't, Sweet Anton went to be with Jesus last night. Do you remember him? I first saw his picture and found out he needed a forever family in early February of 2011. I have NEVER in my life felt so pricked and so immediately called to do something as I did the first time I saw his face. On that day he stole a piece of my heart and I knew I would never be the same.

Do you remember what happened next? Do you remember how God moved? Do you remember how He used me AND YOU and so many beautiful, wonderful, life-giving, love-exuding people to fight for Anton? To give him hope and a future? Do you remember how we came together to find him a family, started Hope for Anton and fundraised to bring him home? Do you remember how God used us to change a little boy's life forever? Do you remember the God story?

Do you remember when I had never met Vanessa but she came here and lived with us for a week to learn everything she could about EB? We met for the first time when I picked her up at the airport and that day she stole a piece of my heart and I knew I would never be the same. She is one of the most incredible people I've ever met and we were instant friends, even sisters.

Do you remember how God entwined our lives and wrote a beautiful story of love, redemption and faithfulness that changed not only Anton, not only their family's life, but ours as well? Her story became mine and my story became hers and God did something so big it took my breath away and I wondered in awe why in the world He would let me be a part of something so amazingly spectacular. 

Do you know how I have loved that child as if he were my very own from the moment I saw his face? Do you know how the light he gave to the world changed it forever and how it is ever so much darker now that he is gone? 

I got to travel to Minnesota over the weekend to see him and tell him goodbye. I can't believe I had to tell him goodbye.


And now he's gone. And I know where he is and that he no longer suffers. I know that God is good and Anton is healed and whole and running and jumping and playing and wrestling. I know that he's met his older sisters by now and hopefully even run into Gabe and Tripp. I know he's in the arms of Jesus.

But my heart is breaking. I miss his voice and his light that radiated from Russia to Texas to Minnesota and back again. I miss his silliness and his sheer will to fight and live. I miss the happiness he unleashed wherever he went... and even where he didn't. One day I'll be okay. But today is not that day. I miss Anton. As Vanessa said, he charmed the world.

And we will never be the same.