things I'm extra excited about

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30 September 2017

extra extra.

the photo that candid built.

1. London LittlesMy friend Janssen and her husband launched a line of kids' rain boots yesterday and as an unofficial connoisseur of kids' rain boots I'm here to report that they are GOOD. She didn't ask me to share and this isn't sponsored but if you've read her blog you know that she wouldn't put her name on anything less than perfect. If you follow the, "something to play with, something to read, and something to wear" rule of thumb for kids' Christmas gifts might I recommend a pair of rain boots? I might! I might.

2. Movies - I always feel way out of the movie loop so I get excited when there are flicks on the horizon that I've heard about AND want to see. I just rented The Big Sick but Simon and I decided that 9pm was too late to start a movie (L to the O to the L) so we'll watch it tomorrow and we're excited like the party animals that we are. I was hoping that Home Again would be out too but no luck, yet. Right now we're watching Grey's Anatomy while Simon tells me how unbelievable the entire show is like the grinch that stole vapid television.

3. Books - Well, one book. I just started Little Fires Everywhere and so far, so great.

4. Podcast - I'm starting one!

jk jk jk jk jk - gotcha! No, I probably didn't. It seems like all of Bachelor Nation has started one though and I might be the only happy human about that fact as they'll pull me through the Bachelor/etteless fall.

5. My little brother's wedding - it's coming up! It's a ten hour drive and I'm going to throw out the conservative estimate that it will takes us thirteen to get there. You know I'll circle back to report how laughable that estimate actually was.

6. Backyard Margaritas - we had them in Wichita and they were GOOD. Beerita, whatever - still good.

7. Shoes - allllllll the shoes on sale right now. Hunter boots! Ankle boots! Tennis shoes! You get the photograph.

Happy Weekend :)

Julia turns 7!!

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26 September 2017

"My mom never threw me elaborate parties but she was always sure to put up a celebratory blog post a few days after my actual birthday."

- future Julia

Her one and seven year pictures bear a striking "smile" resemblance. It was the best she'd give me and beggars can't be choosers, I suppose.

I'm going to have to argue with the old, "time marches on" adage because someway and somehow we've got a seven year old in the house and it feels as though time is doing more of a sprint around here. I remember feeling like we were "old" parents when Julia turned four and then five and then six and now SEVEN ... so I can't imagine what the high school years will feel like. Dentures + orthotic shoes, probably.

Julia has always loved drawing but this past year her works of art have taken on new meaning as she's started making herself, "drivers lisenses" and tucking them into her purse, rigid agendas for playtimes with her younger siblings, multiple heartfelt cards for the entire family and her friends ...

... and even room decor made out of pizza boxes she fishes out of our recycling bin.

I think (and she would agree) that she's earned herself an abbreviated stint in purgatory for the years that she's spending sharing a room with Phoebe. Julia is a very neat and tidy person and Phoebe .... is not. As soon as Julia gets home from school she runs into her room to survey the inevitable damage incurred by her roommate.

I see a lot of Julia in my former child self and I'm not sure if it's because we are both oldest girls or just that she's my child and the apple doesn't fall far from the mother tree but it's entertaining to relive my own quirks through a parent's eyes.

Ever since we moved to Florida she's been VERY dedicated to growing out her hair (you can see how short it was in her 5yo photo above) and has remained vigilant in her quest - only letting me trim it when absolutely necessary. She keeps a brush in her backpack just in case and is very proud that she can get the majority of her hair in a low ponytail all by herself. Emphasis on the majority.

We were in Wichita for her birthday and her Aunt Mary and Uncle Andrew very very generously rented a bounce house and set it up in their yard as a huge surprise for her birthday. She was so surprised and excited and I'm still trying to figure out a way to erase Sebastian's short term memory as he's expecting the same exact treatment (flight to Wichita and all). I'm enjoying the age where her biggest birthday present requests are a fidget spinner and a repeating bird although I might've rethought the repeating bird had I known what it was exactly :).

Happy belated birthday to our sweet, thoughtful, curious, and smart firstborn Julia Grace!!

Irma y mas

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18 September 2017

1. I've sat down to pound these out more times than I can count (lies! maybe three or four) but then Irma and um, excuses upon excuses got in the way. Better late (or extra early for this coming Friday?) than never, says I.

2. Speaking of Irma, I could and probably should dedicate an entire post to our time with her and her fickle antics but if I wait - I'll never do it so a take or two will have to do for today. So, we weren't too worried about Irma but as the track started getting closer and closer to Tampa and suddenly there was no bread on the shelves (of Costco! impressive, good people of Tampa!) and gasoline was becoming scarce we boarded up our house and loaded up on food and water. Simon prepared for the apocalypse by purchasing large vats of canned peaches (???), canned chicken, and canned salmon (more ?????) and we were all set to hunker down. And then we woke up on Saturday morning to alleged reports that the eye of a Category 4 Hurricane could come barreling through our county and we got a text from Simon's boss that we really should leave. SO! We did. We went to Orlando and stayed at a vacant condo (Simon's friend's friend's wife's mom's condo - you follow? me neither) and it worked out well because we could spread out and Diego had his own little area in the kitchen and the kids could sleep in the hallway the night the Irma hit (overkill? maybe! but the wind was alarmingly loud and I didn't want some flying gutter to shatter a window .. I know - overkill).

Sunshine after the storm. Our terrible view from the condo. 

As irony would have it I don't know if we were that much safer in Orlando (there were huge trees uprooted all over downtown Orlando so the gusts weren't messing around) but we felt safe on the 5th floor of a sturdy building where a tree couldn't crush our roof (a real fear at our house) and subsequently a Patton adult or child or dog.

3. We returned home after 48 cozy hours together to some very minor flooding and loads of fallen branches bedazzling our yard. We felt and still feel incredibly fortunate in the wake of so many people dealing with the horrific and catastrophic aftermath of both Harvey and Irma. Let's all pray that Maria behaves because I think everyone has hit their Hurricane quota for the year century.

4. I know everyone's talking about the new iPhones coming out (Ellen's take was hilarious - worth a watch) but you all know how I feel about my Fitbit -- did you see that they're coming out with a smart watch? One of the articles I read made a point to say how ugly the Fitbit Blaze is (the one I wear - L to the O to the L - I can't argue - but I still heart it) and that the newer Fitbit will be more aesthetically pleasing. Time will tell, I suppose. Punny? Never.

5. All you citizens of Bachelor Nation - did you stick it out to the boring end of BIP orrr jump ship? I stuck it out (barely) but was more interested to see where things stood with the Dean/Kristina/D.Lo love triangle post-show. After listening to multiple podcast (so many podcasts! Even Dean and Becca are starting their own podcasts!) interviews and watching their awkward body language on Ellen it seems like things may pick back up for Dean and Kristina? Maybe? I have to admit that initially I was excited about Arie as the new Bachelor (disappointed it wasn't Peter? of course) because I did like him on Emily's season but after reading a bit about some of his recent behavior - I don't know. We'll just have to see.

6. And on a less vapid note (forced/faux laugh) I've been slow to hop on the tied shirt trend (I was allll over it in middle school) but this version looks doable for an amateur like myself.

7. Oh! books! After a few people suggested Taylor Jenkins Reid's book, One True Loves that I'd already read I decided to try a few of her other books and so I plowed through both After I Do and Forever Interrupted. Enjoyed them both and now I've got to find something else to occupy my time that I should be spending sleeping/cleaning/etc etc etc.

Alright, have a wonderful rest of the week. I trust that you will :)

three months of Abe

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13 September 2017

"While I'm not exactly sure where the last three months have gone, I also can't quite remember life without this little baby" - me with every baby. Predictable as ever. 

While we had every intention of calling him Abe he still gets called Abraham, Babraham, Abey Cakes (??), and Abey Baby, more than he gets called Abe right now. Phoebe is constantly all up in his grill telling him, "you missed me - I know it!" (despite having just hassled him 5 minutes prior) and Bosco only asks to hold him when he's crying (convenient), the big kids like when he naps on their beds, and Simon and I still ooh and aw over him every night like he's our firstborn born just last week. We don't take photos of him like he's our first because I'm fairly certain these are the first non-cellular photos he's had taken by his doting mother. 

Bosco saw the camera, climbed into the frame, and went to work.

I have a distinct memory of craving a schedule and routine when Sebastian was 6 weeks old and Abe is more than double that age and we've yet to get that routine ball rolling. Soon! Soon. He naps semi predictably throughout the day but takes an especially long nap during dinner and the big kids' bedtime routine and perks up juuuuust as I start to think about doing something productive and stays up until Simon and I go to bed. If he wasn't consistently sleeping through the night (although! is it "through the night" if he goes to bed at 10:30/11?) I would probably be a little more motivated to be more regimented.

He seems to have such a sweet temperament but I'd be willing to bet most babies do and I always think every baby has a sweeter temperament than the last so - this sentence is essentially moot.

This photo is ever so slightly different than the first. Trust me.

Anyway, he's super chill in the car (which wins LOTS of points in my book because both of the girls were the opposite of chill and I've got the scarred drums of the ear variety to prove it), tolerates baths, and loves to be held and fawned over which is just fine by me. Usually.

And now for the fun part - which sibling does he favor? When he was first born I really thought he looked like a chubbier version of Theo (Abe weighed almost 2 pounds more) but now I'm thinking maybe a combo of Julia and Theo with a dash of Bash?

A refresher (I know we just did this with Bosco a couple years ago but humor me)  ...

Julia ...

Sebastian ...

(never has a child grown up to look so unlike his baby photos)

And Theo ...

Theo is 100% my side of the family slash Robin Williams lookalike.

And our sweet little Phoebe ...

glad I was diligent about those headbands to keep those locks out of her eyes.

And Bosco ...

I see zero of Bosco but maybe it's the hair/lack thereof?

I don't know.

I do know that there's nothing people love more than to stare at other people's baby photos - especially old ones. I'm no dummy.

Anyway, Abe's hair is lightening up and falling out at alarming rates and I'd be willing to bet that he'll be bald or blonde by his first birthday. Time will TELL.


play kitchen makeover

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30 August 2017

some might call it a makeunder (that missed spot in the middle bottom shelf - I see you) and I wouldn't blame them a bit.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I stupidly decided I had to give the kids' play kitchen a face lift. Call it nesting or call it crazy but I read a few tutorials and went to work. It was simple but took a lot of time and rather than give you a step-by-step (better blogs! better tutorials!) I'll tell you what I was glad I'd done and what I'd wish I'd done differently.

Let's start at the very beginning with supplies:

grey chalk paint + brush (I'm not sure how important it is to have a dedicated chalk paint brush though - I've used the cheap chip brushes they've worked fine too)
sander (not necessary but SO NICE TO HAVE)
matte clear gloss
gold spray paint (I tried two different colors/brands and this was so much better)
thick wrapping paper of choice
foam board

Maybe the most tedious and time consuming but most important step was taking all of the plastic hardware off because 23947289347289734 screws but it's a necessary evil. Also - I read how helpful it was to put the parts in bags and label them which I would've never ever though to do and would've thought I would "just remember" what goes where but no - never would I ever have remembered.

don't skip it. Don't forget the plastic sheets covering the microwave and oven doors - they probably need a good cleaning anyway (ours did).

I couldn't get the knobs off so I just taped them off while I was painting and then taped off the kitchen (after I made certain it was REALLY dry) while spray painting the actual knobs ... like so.

It worked fine and I was able to sand out that big drip of paint and touch it up with the grey chalk paint.

I went with chalk paint because we had some on hand and it goes go on VERY nicely/evenly and I wasn't looking to put 3-4 coats of paint on a tiny structure with a zillion hard to reach crevices. I experimented with painting the back of the kitchen without sanding beforehand and it went on fine but after sanding the fridge door and noticing how much smoother the pain looked I decided to just sand the entire front of the kitchen.

This is turning into a step-by-step. Sorry.

I did two coats of paint on the kitchen and sanded any rough spots in between (if the paint went on thick where I'd let an eager helper be a little too helpful). Originally I wasn't going to paint the inside but then I just --- did. It looks better and only took like 89 extra hours. The plastic kitchen parts needed two separate coats of spray paint and I decided to just go ahead and spray the few play bowls we have from Ikea with gold spray paint as well.

Originally I wanted to draw some sort of faux tiles on a foam board "back splash" with a gold sharpie but then remembered I had one last sheet of this wrapping paper and figured wrapping some foam board would be a heck of a lot easier than trying to draw perfect "tiles". It worked and Simon helped me use a staple gun to affix the totally practical backsplash onto the back of the kitchen.

I'm shocked it's still intact and untouched because the kitchen takes a beating daily by our resident two-year-old.

If I were to do it again I think I would probably just go with regular high gloss paint that I've used to paint the majority of our dressers. I think it would look better and the paint job would last longer. I would also go with a slightly lighter color of grey but - who cares.

I might also paint one of the sides with chalkboard paint for fun and I guess I can still do that but the painting ship motivation has kind of sailed ever since Abe arrived - riddle me that.

I know some people have put contact paper on to look like marble or granite counters (and it looks amazing!) and to be honest - I have the contact paper but I decided to quit while I was ahead and call it good - maybe I'll tackle that during a potential play kitchen remodel in like 10-20 years.

I made a mental list of things not to forget and now I'm forgetting them so if you have any questions - let me know! I'm glad I did it because the kids thought it was fun to help, they claimed to like the outcome, and it was a good distraction that got me through a few audio books during those last weeks of Abe baking.

I'm not crafty or particularly handy with a paint brush and if I can do it - anyone can, promise! 

dog days

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25 August 2017

1. I keep thinking I'll get my act together and carve out daily blogging time like I used to but it's as if the kids and the laundry and the messy, messy house don't make blogging a priority like I do. WEIRD. We'll find a groove - soon. I refuse to drift off into blogging neverland despite social media swallowing blogs whole left and right.

gearing up for lots of Butterball jokes circa Thanksgiving.

2. Well, I accidentally requested the audio version of Small Great Things and somehow it's a lot easier for me to read books than listen to them these days so I'm slowly making my way through but so far, so good. Tough to read but relevant right now and really well written. Oh! And apparently it's being made into a movie - how did I miss that?

3. I have to admit that I've gotten super sucked into Bachelor in Paradise (as has Simon! although - he'd never admit it) and I'm a little/a lottle disappointed in Dean. The season is young but I'm very curious to see how it plays out. I was never a fan of Derek or Taylor but somehow still find them adorable together. I still have no idea who is going to be the next Bachelor ... will they go rogue and pick someone formerly uninvolved with the franchise like they did back in the good old days? Time will tell!

4. My kids have heard how cool Alexa is from their classmates and it's 44% off at the moment - wonder if it will still be cool and relevant come Christmas? Group present?

5. I loved (!!) watching Kate's day in the life vlog and now I'm super tempted to attempt to copycat. I can barely manage the occasional IG story but ... stay tuned!

6. Okay, I'm on the prowl for a knockoff version of these (camel brown color) so if you've seen anything similar - let a mother know? thank you! I wore these all spring and summer and it shows but I'd like a sneaker-ish version for the fall and Florida "winter" ... (I did order these but they were too big and I just didn't love them SO back they went!)

7. Alright, it's movie night here at the Patton abode (Star Wars - yay) and I've got a whole lot of laundry to fold too. Happy, happy weekend!

linking up with Kelly!

(wedding) Bells in Buffalo

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24 August 2017

This past weekend Simon, Bosco, Abe, and I had the great pleasure of attending the nuptials of our good friend and Bosco's godmother Caitlin's wedding in Buffalo. My mom and Aunt Heidi were kind and generous enough to fly in and watch the oldest four who have yet to stop talking about what a fun weekend they had sans parentals. I'm not exaggerating when I say I have more photos of Caitlin and Chris's wedding on my phone than I have of my own wedding on my computer. And I have A LOT of wedding photos. It was a tough job but I narrowed them down to a normal number. Normalish number.


Bosco was the ring bearer (no rings involved - for the safety and well being of said rings) and while he is my own flesh and blood I have to admit that I thought he was pretty cute playing his strenuous role ...

A closer look? I thought you'd never ask.

We had to get some snaps of Bosco and Emma in the event that they are required in a wedding slideshow in ~25 years or so ...

This is how Bosco shows affection ...

Emma was a good sport - blue ribbon/gold medal/massive trophy for her patience.

But, back to the couple of the hour/weekend ...

How cool is this? If they don't frame and hang it in their home - I will.

The wedding reception was at a newly remodeled (restored?) insane asylum which was a lot less scary than it sounds - only because we weren't staying on the wing with the barred windows and abandoned cells (you think I'm kidding? would I ever?) ...

My cellular camera would only capture about 20% off the entire complex - it went on and on and ON.

Some interior shots ...

it was light, bright, and a serious IGers dream come true with all the white, white, and white.

Off track again, Patton.

Rewind to the rehearsal dinner where Abe cried almost the entire time (so unlike him! Don't all parents say that when their kids cry excessively or toddlers throw down some super bratty behavior?) ...

Bosco was actually pretty good aside from throwing a huge tantrum over wanting me to pour my gin and tonic into his sippy (I didn't give in - pats on the back please and thank you) and eventually found some kids watching a show on a phone and made himself RIGHT at home.

I was 99.9% sure he wouldn't go down the aisle at all but he surprised me and marched right down during both the rehearsal and actual wedding ...

Yes, he had the help of an iron fist (to his right) to assist him but still ... color me surprised. He's got another wedding on his busy docket in October so lets hope he gives a copy/paste - repeat performance.

(side note - if anyone needs a similar little boys' outfit to the one he wore - I found his here and she shipped it SUPER fast. I'm a paying customer aka #notsponsored - just had to mention and save you minutes of googling if you've got a shorts/suspenders sized hole that needs filling in your life) 

Caitlin had the thoughtful and wonderful foresight to find sitters for the parents with kids in attendance and I have to admit that it was REALLY nice knowing the kids were one floor below asleep and in great hands while we imbibed and requested Despacito mucho time-os.

I ran into a fellow Collower ... the lovely Pam. And naturally we had to take 56 photos. Here's one ...

Simon and Grace had the horrific and stupid foresight to book their return flight for 6am the following morning. We ALMOST didn't make it and I've never wanted to beg an Uber driver to speed it UP on the drive to the airport more than at 5:15 in the am on Sunday. Spoiler: we did make it. As did our bags and I believe that we've used up our one and only lifetime miracle because we cut it reallyclose.

Not that I've ever been to a wedding where the couple doesn't seem unbelievably happy and well suited for each other but it was so apparent how complementary Chris and Caitlin are. Their family and friends gave wonderful toasts that gave great insight into their relationship and Chris will be happy to know that he's got the Camp's coveted seal of approval as I always knew Caitlin would marry someone very special and she did!

I wish we could go back and do it all over again - not because traveling with two kids felt like a glorified honeymoon compared to flying with the whole crew ...

... but because it was so much fun and both families did such a phenomenal job of hosting the rehearsal dinner and reception and we felt so lucky to be in attendance.

practicing his fake smile on the way to Buffalo ...

... luckily I don't think he pulled that one out for the professional photos but I guess time will tell.

Anyway - Bosco's rates are great if anyone is in need of a bearer of rings that may or may not make it down the aisle. 1-800-bad-joke - give us a call.

My mom did a great job of keeping us abreast of the goings on back at the Camp ...

the kids taking their golf lessons VERY seriously.

And they even braved taking everyone to the beach ...

... the girls in matching suits and ALL. Bravo!

Congratulations to Caitlin and Chris!! Come visit! We'll only make you babysit for a few fun-filled hours ;)

weekend's end

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13 August 2017

1. IG repeat offender - I'm the worst, per usual. But, I wanted it to live on in blog infamy. Simple gal with simple needs, always.

2. Alright, I was a total slacker on the reading front this week BUT this book just came off the hold list and I'm excited to dive in - and I also put some of your recommendations from last week on my hold list so - thank you!

3. Did you see that season 2 of The Crown is coming out soon(ish)? Good, me too. On an unrelated note - Simon and I watched Manchester By The Sea last night -- so good but so, so sad.

4. I don't like beer but do enjoy beer pong (although it's been a year or nine since I've played) so this is something I could get behind (minus the inevitable and horrific hangover ...)

5. I keep reading/seeing that mules are the shoe of the season and I do love a good clog which is a close cousin of the mule. Anyway, behold!! Perfection? Methinks so.

6. Needless to say I wasn't in love with Monday night's finale but Rachel seems super happy and hopefully they live happily ever after. I found myself nodding in agreement (as official + amateur Bachelor Nation expert) with a lot of what was said on the Almost Famous podcast. If Peter's not the bachelor I'm very curious to see who they'll choose ...

7. And on the sale front ...

I have and love these heels and just saw that they are 50% off. Fiesta, fiesta.
+ flash sale! 35% off everything and 40% off clearance with code: BIGFAN (this shirt is so cute with great reviews)
+ 20% off dresses ... yee haw.
+ 40 OR 50% off everything at one of my favorites.

Have a great remaining few hours of your Sunday and/or happy Monday morning :)


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