Monday, September 15, 2014

calling in

The kids and I all have fairly miserable but completely innocuous colds. Simon called it, "snot on tap" as he wiped poor Phoebe's nose for the 55th time over the course of an hour last night. As soon as we get struck by the head cold bug I just start saying prayers of thanks that it isn't the stomach flu because toddlers + projectile throw up is just the worst. I'll take faucet noses over the vom plague any day, in case the illness gods are reading. Thanks.

Anyway, so I'm figuratively blogging in sick so that I can let Julia nap in my lap while she tells me in 76 different and creative ways how much she hates being sick:

My nose is so annoying!

I just can't handle this any wonger!

My wife is so frustrating, Grace!

Maybe a milkshake will help?

Can you find some better medicine?

Where's my tissue?

Where's my tissue?

Where's my tissue?

etc - fun - etera


... and yet she still managed to pull together a half-bottomed Halloween costume for our emergency diaper run this morn.


the melodramatic doesn't fall far from the tree.

(and many thanks to sweet Megan for sending the headband our way!!)

Phoebe seems to have been hit the hardest but is proving to be the toughest cookie ... I took a tiny video of her stoic disposition and in case clips of other people's kids are your thing .... here it is.

I promise I won't mention Miss America again but did you see that my cousin Sierra won America's Choice last night? She wont by three votes and I have every confidence in the world that the Camp put her over the edge. Furious and exaggerated wink.

I tried to make dinner every night last week (oh, you think your standards are bad? come on over to disgraceville) and for ONCE ... I succeeded with the help of a couple of meals that stretched for two nights. Tonight's excitement comes in the form of shrimp and avocado quesadillas and maybe I'll even start paying attention to my What's For Dinner Pinterest board. My life is young. You never know.

I made a little witching hour playlist that will most definitely get your young folk up and dancing for anyone in a boat by the name of Desperado at the magical time of day like I am. Phoebe is just as much of a sucker as her mother for beats that are probably popular with the 14-year-old female crowd. You were warned.

I hope to get a video of Theo shaking his tail feather in the very near future. You were warned about that as well because I'm sure I think it's about 999 times more hilarious that anyone ever will.

And now Julia is trying to make Phoebe cuddle with a notsmall wooden statue of an owl so I better go referee that one-sided squabble.

Less blah blah blah in the very near future.
SAHM's honor.

Stay well, dearhearts.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

if the ballet flat fits ...



flats - c/o the root collective
jacket - Target (inspired by Jolie)
bag - c/o Lily Jade
denim - American Eage via thredUP
sweater - JCrew via thredUP
necklace - c/o Beso by Johanna


I'm not even going to admit to all of you how many years the whole, "if the shoe fits ... " idiom confused the bleep out of me. It finally clicked at some point and I know it makes no sense as the post title but my other option was, "shoe model" and I went with the lesser of the two evils. I think. 

Simon has been begging and begging for me to ask him to take some outfit pictures so I sighed a long and audible sigh and finally obliged. Not funny, I know. But there's a little something in it for you in a second, hold your bored horses. 

So the shoes I'm wearing and loving because they are super comfortable (I had planned to wear totally different shoes last weekend but Simon insisted I wear these - high praise from he who cares little about fashion) were sent over from The Root Collective which is an awesome new organization with a great mission to produce and sell ethically produced inventory for a stellar cause. 

Bethany, from The Root Collective, explains the history and concept behind the gorgeous flats ... 

"All the shoes from The Root Collective are handmade, including the fabric. The fabric for the main part of the shoe takes 2 hours to weave, and is created by women in the highlands of Guatemala in the tradition of the backstrap loom. Many of these women are war widows from the civil war that ravaged the country for 36 years. The detail on the back of the Diamond Collection takes 100 hours per meter to weave (crazy, right?!). Each pair of shoes is crafted by hand in the slum of La Limonada in Guatemala City by a man named Otto. Otto’s story is like so many in the slum: he was a member of a gang. The gang culture is very pervasive and very hard to escape. He managed to leave his former life behind and now views his business, not as one to just make shoes, but to bring hope. He wants to hire former gang members who want to leave their past life and make a difference for their families. It’s not just shoes, but it’s hope and life. And even better? The Root Collective donates 10% of its profits back to nonprofits who are working in the same communities that artisans like Otto live."

(Grace again)

Pretty incredible, don't you think? There are several stunning colors and different color combinations to choose from. The Root Collective is offering 15% off any order now through 9/21/14 with the code: CAMPPATTON AND they is giving a pair away to one of you! Fancy that. You know the way the Rafflecopter works by now (I hope) and I wish you loads of luck. Thanks for playing. And a huge thanks to The Root Collective for being so generous!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 11, 2014

some not terrible things

I always go back and forth and back again about how honest (or I believe the buzz word these days might be, "authentic") I want to be on thuh blog (or "this space" as some might say). I should probably rein it in but I'd hate to give you a watered down version of the fun around here. I also really appreciate reading fortuitously timed posts like this because I do love some e-kinship and solidarity on the difficult days. 

So. I'll keep the hose off and tell you that yesterday I was in a funk. 


Like this. 

A bad one. For no good reason! I think I was just fighting off the bizarre feeling of isolation and loneliness that can come with staying at home (for me!) but with kids-a-plenty grabbing at my "big mommy bottom" (thanks for that kind description, Bash!) and lone plastic pearl earring in my left ear and my hair (Phoebe + hair pulling = true love) it feels like such an oxymoron, you know? The kids were their usual level of handful but nothing out of the ordinary so I took them to a new-to-us grocery store for our staples (bananas, tortillas, generic Excedrin ... ) but even the 48 minute change of scenery did approximately nothing to rain on my pity fiesta parade. I practically sprinted up the stairs to our room to bury myself in a book for 45 minutes when Simon came home because I like to face my feelings and problems head on like a big girl. 

Anyway, we all have those days. I know it. And despite the devastating drop in temperature, today has been a million years better. It's just tough to be even the slightest bit circumspect when you're a little bit down and overwhelmed with your usual plate, I think. 

Okay! I'm done. Thanks for being a silent sounding board. I could've skipped the road trip to the desert where all forms of happy go, fail to thrive, and die but you don't get off easy around here. Aka ... LONG and windy way of saying that we've got a lot of good going on right now. And always. But here are just a few of the currents ...


The big kids went back to school.


Seriously. Freezing this morning. 

The kids love going to "school" (preschool, playschool, whatever) and were so happy to go back on Tuesday. Julia did have those weird freak outs last semester and I know they could return with a vengeance but for the time being, she's good. 


a pleasant surprise for Sebastian - I forgot that we signed Bash up for both days this year as opposed to just one like last year and so after explaining that he would have to come home with mom ("I promise you can have a sip of my coffee if you don't throw a fit when we drop Julia off!" discipline philosophy extraordinaire!) he was thrilled to find out that he'd get to stay for the morning with J. I love Sebastian but ... I was too. 

The school is just a block down from our house - so while the weather allows (two more seconds, is my prediction) it's nice to walk the kids to and from school. There IS a huge huge grassy hill to climb to get to the parking lot and wearing Phoebe and pushing the kids while huffing up the hill leaves me with fiery lungs and hot red cheeks when we reach the entrance. But today, Sebastian offered to get out and help me push. 

Such a sweetheart.


(more about that skin imperfection in a minute, don't deny you don't see it)

but then I realized he just wanted a longer stare at the big concrete and digger (technical term) trucks working on the road behind us. 

Semi-sweetheart. 

Okay. That's all for that. I could've thrown a back-to-school post at you but ... I snuck it in. De nada. 

blemish/zit/breakout - I know I've told you on many occasions before that my skin was really bad back in high school and college. I worked at Eddie Bauer my senior year of high school and we had to go around and clean all the mirrors at the end of the night and ah! It was awful because at that point my spackled on concealer had melted off and I my peripheral vision couldn't help but notice my face dotted with what looked like a bad case of chicken pox. After dining on a diet rich in junk this past weekend my skin rebelled big time and rolled out a nice little cluster of imperfections for your viewing pleasure (see above for my favorite one). I know it's cheesy as bleep but little skin skirmishes like this make me so happy and grateful that I'm out of the mirror-fearing woods of yesteryear because they were many and much. I should've skipped this one, huh? I know. I do.

killing the catnap - When Simon was on nights in July Phoebe got into a terrible habit of taking a little catnap around 7, waking up at 8 ready to PARTY until 10 ... or later. I surrendered to survival mode and let it ride because I was at that point in the eternal shift where I was super tired slash lazy. She continued the life ruining trend for the million weeks to follow and Simon and I would take turns swaying her back and forth and back and forth in spoiledville while watching a show of our choosing (FNL for me, PBS for Simon) until she eventually caved. But this week I rolled up my parenting sleeves and fought to keep her awake (a bath, having Julia snort-laugh at her .... nothing makes Phoebe laugh so hard, dancing, anythinging) and she's finally going to bed shortly after Theo around 7:30 for the night. Life ... I'm coming back for you. Get excited.

you! - You (and you! aaaaaand you!) all send me some of the nicest emails and leave the best comments ever ... all the time. Simon keeps telling me to put them in a special mail folder (but I'm like 9 year of age when it comes to email know-how) to read when someone exercises their e-right to be nasty and I start making plans to kill the blog forever (never, I wouldn't. I'm just an extra rational human in the face of ugly). Someday I'll figure out a way to thank you all adequately, I hope. But for now, take this paltry paragraph as the teeniest token of my appreciation. 

Okay. Let's stop there. Yep, that's it. I hope your hopes were high coming into today because .... nothing screams interesting and quality reading like preschool, pimples, baby sleep prattle, and a little Hallmarkage.  

Nothing at all.

(and if you have some not terrible things to share .... I'm all eyes ... let's celebrate the tiny and mighty together. Ahem. Speaking of Hallmark ... why have they not hired me to write for them?! Come on now.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

fanaticism in South Bend

Every fall Simon talks about how fun it would be to go up to a Notre Dame football game and every fall we have a million excuses by the name of residency (not to point fingers or furrowed brows but ... I see you fall month of night float + call weekends) but since Simon was assigned to his night float month in July this half of the year ... we were finally able to make it happen this past weekend for the Michigan game.


Just call us lucky charms because como se dice, "slaughter" in sportmanship speak?

Also, I see you handbomb + Julia's jovial temperament.

I'll just give you the weekend highlights although I do love a good detailed timeline ... as you know all TOO well by now.

The drive up!

Murphy and his law would have Simon stuck at work every single Friday we want to leave town (fact) and by the time we hit the road the sky looked threatening and ominous and very end-of-the-worldy. And then we drove through what felt like the longest ice bucket challenge of them all by way of torrential rains ...

Also, Simon and I had this nice conversation:
Grace: it looks like tornado weather
Simon: have you ever been in a tornado?
Grace: no, but I've seen Twister
Simon: heartiest laugh of our entire marriage
Grace: not laughing, still serious

So I took a gander at the weather on the old phone and would you look at that ... 


... our entire route dotted with red and red means: tornado warning + vindication.

Totally over it!

Moving on.

So Katrina had generously offered to host us for the weekend but at the last minute one of Simon's college buddies offered us his parents empty condo near campus and before he could retract the offer we snatched it up and camped out there ... much to the excitement and delight of the condo dwellers below us.

We got in around 12:30 on Friday night/Saturday morning and Sebastian marched right up to the door directly underneath ours and rang the doorbell.

A gentleman formerly known as asleep answered in a stupor and looked a little something like this ...


... and I don't blame him one bit.

Game day!

With the time change the kids were up right before the crickety crack of dawn. So we dined on grapes and waited and waited and waited until the local Super Target opened so that we could grab food and drink.


Sebastian knows he's on familiar territory. And we don't have any ND gear for the older three kids so I had to improvise ... and they looked exactly like leprachauns dressed for an event where the dress code was: business casual. Sue me.

We had the great pleasure of meeting up with Katrina, Ana, and Alexandra for a playground date complete with coffee and many donuts c/o Ana and Mike. It was definitely a huge highlight of the weekend ...


The husbands were SO excited when we asked them to grab an easy snap of us moms and our cooperative broods.

Since the older kids are at the age where they can get away without naps (and we can cash in on super early bedtimes that way!) but Theo still very much needs a lengthy afternoon not-on-the-go nap we went back to the condo and let him and Phoebe sleep. This is suddenly feeling very timeliney. I'm terrible. And predictable.

Shock of all shocks - Sebastian also crashed. And shock of not shocks Simon did too while Julia kept me wide awake company slyly trying to wake Sebastian, "I just wanted to tell him I loved him!" and asking exactly how many toys she could buy with the penny she found in the parking lot.

Phoebe sounded the alarm and woke Simon so we enjoyed a private tailgate on the balcony while Julia serenaded us with her made up song, "Notre Dame" (those are the only lyrics) and Phoebe eyed Simon's adult beverage ...


... very suspiciously.

A couple of Simon's college friends were in town so after the boys woke up we loaded up the triple, cooler y todo and were on our merry way to catch the tail end of the tailgating on campus ...


In front of his old dorm trying to figure out where his friends were. Times haven't changed one bit.

I was totally caught using those doors as a mirror to fix my windwrecked hair by a kind lady who came out and asked if we wanted in and .... happened to be a blog reader! Small world. And from now on I shall start carrying a compact a la 7th grade back pocket for hair fixing emergencies lest I'm caught like that again.


In front of the library where Simon and I met aaaaalmost seven years ago. 

After garnering exactly no stares while navigating through the crowds on campus with the triple wide we finally found the compadres and set up camp ...


with mimosas minus the fun for the kids (aka orange juice, in case you didn't pick up what I was throwing down)

We had low hopes for the kids on campus and fully expected to have to pack up after 20 or 30 minutes but they made themselves right at home ...


... the old "run around an empty beer can" game.

Fun times seeing Katie and meeting her husband, Brian (Simon is worried he may have thought his name was Mike ... his apologies, Brian!!!)


Phoebe calmly communicating that we needed to leave.

So we did.

We were fortunate enough to get the name of a great (and available on game night!) sitter during the game but I am a total nut and didn't want to be too far away from Phoebe because she is a really great baby until the hour of 8-9pm when she puts the fear of God into me nightly with her screams. But! Of course she was perfect for the sitter (we watched the VICTORY across the street at a restaurant/bar situation) but you know that if we'd gone into the game she would've pulled the terror card and Sebastian would've done something wild that required multiple stitches. Live and learn, I suppose.

When Julia was a baby and we would go out of town I would have insanely high expectations for the trips thinking that Julia would happily go with the flow and that the change of pace would be a breath of fresh air from my new day to day grind. And I would always be devastated when she seemed to ruin any and all fun and wish we'd never left our abode at all.

But now! Simon and I have learned to have SUPER low expectations when we travel and we are usually always pleasantly surprised with how nice it is to step away from the grind at home. And this weekend was no exception.

That is definitely NOT to say the drive home wasn't a bowl full of purgatory ...


Pretty. But painful.

There was a LONG detour and wailing and gnashing of tantrums by children and parents alike. You know the drill, I'm sure.

We pulled in the driveway at 7:11pm and the kids were all tucked in by 7:20 which almost made up for the odyssey across Illinois in its entirety and the fact that three days later, our suitcases are still sitting fat and happy and untouched in Theo's room.

Anyway. That's that.

No more trip recaps for several weeks. At the very least. I hope you can see my wink and I know I can feel your palpable excitement.

GO IRISH.