bikes, blouses, and books. oh MY.

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22 July 2016

Ohhh, I know you're jonesing for more travel/reunion posts and I will not disappoint in the coming days but I'm linking up with Kelly for a real quick Friday post.

1. Fine, one reunion photo.

Safety first. Phoebe shrieked, "ride!!!" as soon as she woke up every morning which worked out well because I've always wanted to throw, "Clydesdale" on my resume. 

2. Okay! a video too.

Sebastian was very proud that he learned how to ... "dive".

3. I picked up The Hypnotist's Love Story while we were in Moline and so far - so great! I thought I'd read all of her books but I thought wrong. I'd forgotten how much I love Liane Moriarty's writing.

4. I was able to watch The Bachelorette in real time at my grandma's this past week and of COURSE they pulled a, "to be continued ... " WHY. I always listen to the AfterBuzz show/podcast and James F was on this past week and offered a lot of interesting insight if you're in the "insider info but no spoilers please" market like I always am.

5. I've been eying this (embroidered - my love language) top forever and it was finally restocked in my size and arrived today. It's not that I'm opposed to tank tops (at ALL) but I love finding lightweight summer tops with sleeves (another winner) that aren't sheer so they don't require an undershirt/cami situation. Love.

6. And while I know the (trumpets) #nsale is all the rage ... I've always got my eye on the Nordstrom rack deals and saw that these Madewell flares are on clearance ... all sizes stocked (almost spelled: stalked). Everyone keeps saying that they are so happy flares are back in style but I was unaware they EVER LEFT.

7. Welllll, the older two kids have organized a party complete with a bowl of ice, a large bowl of milk (??), and a huge bag of popcorn so I'm off to paint the living room red. And then sweep it up.

Happy Freakin' Weekind.

family reunion: the food edition

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20 July 2016

There are many highlights of our annual family reunion that I love but I have to admit that one of my very favorites is the FOOD. We are always spoiled with my grandma's cooking. She's always planned and frozen batches of delicious homemade food accordingly and so this year I thought it might be fun to give her a very well deserved break.

Oh, that's nice Grace! You made a meal one night? Well, sort of. Blue Apron kindly (so kindly!) sent us two family meals one night and I kindly (so kindly!) put my mom and my Aunt Rebecca to work with said meals.

Two chefs and an imposter/supervisor.

We've never gotten a Blue Apron meal we didn't enjoy but I especially loved the meals they sent this past week. We had the Green Chili Chicken Roll with Lime Jicama Fries ...

(created by a young guest chef from New Mexico! Fate!) and the Beef and Summer Corn Enchiladas ...

Enchiladas under construction.

Grandma and Mom talking meal logistics ...

... and the final Enchilada finished product!

I was a little weary of the jicama fries but they were the perfect fresh and crunchy addition to the entire meal ...

I managed to cut up some limes for the fries ...

with the help of my pink moscato.

In case you're new to Blue Apron here's the genius deal:

+ Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that delivers farm fresh ingredients to your door in a refrigerated box in the exact portions needed for the delicious chef-designed meals.

+ There are two types of plans: the 2-Person Plan and the Family Plan. The Family Plan serves four people and we had two Family Plan meals for nine adults and had leftovers.

+ Blue Apron offers a recycling program and you can return all of your packaging with the provided USPS return label. Learn more here!

+ There's no commitment with Blue Apron - you can skip or cancel anytime

+ Each menu is 500-800 calories per person and most meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less and has been a huge help to get me out of meal planning ruts. You can access all of their recipes for free here.

Even Phoebe Minnie approves.

I'm a big fan of Blue Apron for our family but also love sending it to friends and family members that might need an extra hand during a certain week (hello new babies! moves! illness! etc).

If you're interested in trying Blue Apron out for yourself - click here to get three free meals with your first order.

Many thanks to Blue Apron for making our reunion quite a bit tastier and for sponsoring this post!

the friendly skies

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19 July 2016

My mantra for our flight up here to the Quad Cities wasn't all that different from the one I use on a daily basis: expect the absolute worst and hope for the absolute best. And it worked! My expectations were exceeded and while it wasn't any sort of dream flight (but it was direct! that was kind of a miracle) - it could've gone worse and I don't think we made any lifelong enemies out of any of our fellow passengers (to my knowledge). 

6:30 in the am. Theo is in a frenzy because he hasn't had his coffee yet.

Simon took one look at his outfit and asked if he was en route to a game of Parcheesi ...

PERHAPS, Simon. Perhaps. 

Anyway, let's just cut to the highlights:

As soon as we got to the airport Phoebe wandered into the gift shop and started looking for GG (great grandma) and then slyly tried to steal a Beanie Baby.

Failure on both fronts.

I was slightly worried when I realized we forgot the carrier we've grown to love but was SO happy we decided to buy a double stroller (fits through doors! folds down easily! has lots of storage! didn't break the bank!) at the very last minute right before we left. It's made the trip a lot more of a breeze than it would've been otherwise. Nice job, last minute Pattons.

And speaking of the last minute - we waited until then to board so that the kids wouldn't be asking how much longer before we'd even taken off and I was so glad we did.

I also broke the one carry-on bag rule (although I think technically you can have a diaper bag with a lap child) ... I think Phoebe's antics distracted them.

Getting up at 4 drove Bosco to mid-flight tears that finalllllllly ended in a little nap ....

... 10 minutes before we landed. Not complaining. Very much.

I thought I had been smart and packed some magic ink coloring pads (I'm saving the water painting for our flight in a couple weeks) but no, no I hadn't. Phoebe managed to only color a smidge of her seatbelt and her entire sweatshirt so -- it was fine.

Julia asked for her sweater as soon as we sat down. 

Like mother, like daughter.
Saving his energy for his impending meltdown ...

smart baby.

post-landing with GG ...

and we decided to go with something simple and compact for our rental ...

dream whip. The kids can spread out so they fight a lot less and we can't even hear the fighting if it's happening in the very back seat because it's essentially in a different zip code.

So, back to minivan reality tomorrow. No one is ready. Especially me. I will survive. I think.

quick takes: travel edition

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16 July 2016

Linking up with Kelly and her adorable new pets.

1. Greetings from the midwest where we are taking in a family reunion ...

... and Bosco's aversion to tan lines.

The kids are in total heaven - I don't think they would have this much fun at Disney World (or so I tell myself) with an aunt that is skilled in balloon art (? correct terminology?), all of Great Grandma's delicious cookies, and a sun that rises at 5:50 in the am -- letting them get their party started with at a most reasonable hour. I can already tell re-entry is going to be a nightmare (Julia said this morning, "I never want to go home" -- wonderful!!) but we're not focusing on that quite yet.

2. Nana and Bosco ...

"can someone please get a picture of me looking like a wonderful grandmother?"

her words not mine.

Bosco has since warmed up to the floating device and Nana (anyone other than Mom is automatic enemy for the first several hours - fun age! fun age ... )

3. As someone who M-U-C-H prefers the heat to the cold ... I still have to admit that I haven't hated the break from the humidity. However, anything dipping below 70 in the morning makes me oh-so happy that we call Florida home these days. I could go on and on about the weather but I won't. For now.

4. So, I'm still working my way through Elin's book (I like it - just lots of characters) but my trusted literary (and librarian!) friend Mandy told me about A Man Called Ove and The Girls so I've got those on deck to read next. Hopefully next week.

5. This 15 second clip prettttty much made my week - many thanks to Heather for posting.

6. Okay, the new (is it new? am I just late to the game?) S'mores flavor of Boom Chicka Pop kettle corn is SO GOOD. So good, so bad. So going to get three more bags later today. Consider yourself warned.

7. Much (exactly) like Prime Day - I've never given a second thought to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale but this top is making me think about rethinking that decision. Just thinking about rethinking - that's ALL.

Have a great rest of your weekend. More, more, more from the travel front coming next week- worry not. 

Julia Styles

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14 July 2016

While eating bacon ...
Julia: hey Bash, you'll never guess that this chicken is made out of PIG

Watching me make lunch for everyone ...
Grace: you guys must be ravenous
Julia: you can just say, "hungry" Mom

After Sebastian brought me a bouquet of flowers from the backyard ...
Grace: You're so sweet, Bash
Julia: He's not that sweet

While trying to decide what to do one afternoon ...
Sebastian: Oh, can we watch a CVD?
Julia: Bash! I keep telling you! It's called a DIVA-D

Watching me struggle through wall-sits while I did a little workout in the living room ...
Julia: want me to get you a chair to sit in? I think that would make it easier ...

While trying to teach Sebastian all about rhymes
Bash: okay so like dog and hotdog?
Julia: no, not exactly.
Bash: oh
Julia: more like: planet and dammit. 

One morning recently ...
Julia: can we please have juice boxes?
Grace: um, no sorry - we don't have any
Julia: okay, that's fine.
Julia: thinking ....
Julia: we don't mind just having one of your little wines instead

During an imaginary game of "wedding"between Julia, Sebastian, and a left out Theo ...
Grace: hey you guys need to include Theo
Julia: sigh ... okay, Theo I guess you can be the church mouse


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