a {not} long December

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14 December 2019


1. I could've titled this post, "space heaters and stomach bugs" but didn't think that had the same ring to it. A relatively mild but still unpleasant (even took Simon down which is rare) bug has been making the rounds at our house and either my will to never get sick while the kids are sick or my "take charcoal immediately when someone gets sick" rule saved me (so far! knock on all wood). In the thick of what felt like the worst of it our temperamental boiler (anyone else still have one of those?) went out and apparently our auxiliary heat was never wired correctly to begin with (the charms and headaches of old homes - luckily the charm wins the vast majority of the time!) so we had a chilly couple of days + nights but we survived. Thankfully the kids don't seem to have inherited my hate for the cold slash being cold and were total troopers. Can they say the same for their mom? She'll never tell.

2. Anyway, back to above photo! Clement turned one on Wednesday and I know it's cliche but it truly felt like the fastest first year of any of our kids lives. His birth feels like mere months ago! He's at the golden happy baby age and isn't getting into TOO much mischief (as long as we close the bathroom doors, I know all of his siblings are working on that, ha) and pretty much everything pleases and excites him. Abe calls him, "temmy" or what sounds like, "dammit" but we're working toward, "Clement" :) He was so engrossed with his birthday cupcake that we didn't even get to his two presents and they are now tucked back under the tree - no complaints!

3. Simon and I watched The Peanut Butter Falcon this past weekend at the suggestion of my parents and I have to pass the recommendation onto you! It was a pleasant surprise, delightful, and entertaining. A feel good flick without being TOO feel goody, you know? You do. Shall I start writing movie reviews? I shall. And I'm now fully invested invested in season 3 of The Crown. I'll be very sad when we're finished with it - JUST in time for cheery January ;)

4. Since I'm still working through Don't You Forget About Me (subpar so far but getting better) and listening to Little Women I'll tell you that Simon just finished All Creatures Great and Small and enjoyed it if you're looking for something engaging and ever so slightly off the beaten path.

5. If you're a Bachelor/ette diehard fan like myself you might enjoy the recap and ranking of ALL the seasons on the Bachelor Party podcast. If you're a newbie - it's my favorite podcast to listen to during the seasons!

6. A couple of recipes worth sharing (saying a lot! I've got some selective palates!) if you're forever in search of good ones to add to the rotation like I am: A) Change Your Life Chicken - I have to do half the pan with certain veggies for certain kids and go crazy with the other half but it's so so good!! and B) BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs - I used boneless/skinless thighs because that's what we had on hand and I don't like dealing with the bones and left the sauce off a couple for my couple of condiment-averse kids but even Clement couldn't get enough. It's so easy and so delicious.

7. A. Despite feeling like I'm set for years to come in the leggings department I ordered these on Cyber Monday at the recommendation of a friend and I am now a ruined legging wearer. The pockets are a game changer for getting in and out of the gym with the kids and the keys and the headphones and the phone because why bother with one of those genius inventions by the name of a .... bag? I love the high waisted fit and how they are both super comfortable but also hold things in like compression leggings without feeling like they compress SO much. Anyway, I know Zella goes on sale on occasion and if they do - I highly highly recommend this exact pair!! Nordstrom Rack looks like it sells an identical pair but I need to know if they are the same.

B. For the past two winters I've been looking for a pair of tall black boots but keep finding myself a little too fickle and henceforth .... black bootless. If you have a pair you love - I'd love to know! No crazy (or any) heel but dressy enough for church but not too flashy, if that makes sense. These are just a hair too fancy but I do love them so much - something a little more casual! I'm leaning toward these right now!

Alright, lots of wrapping and baking awaits (going to make these for neighbors!) ... hope you have a wonderful third week of Advent!!

XOXO,
GP

the most wonderful time of the year ...

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07 December 2019


wrong holiday but had to post it nonetheless ...

1. ... or is it? Kidding - ish. Mostly kidding. I think the hustle and bustle of the season contrasted with the notion that we must simplify simplify simplify and focus on what's important can be hard to reconcile (for me!). As much as I'd love to have all the gift buying and wrapping to be done long before the start of Advent and the decorating a slow and intentional process, real life trumps these idealizations and my inner grinch is quick to come out to play. Hopefully I'm not alone here but if I am - I've found the Little Women soundtrack (from way back in 1995) steers me back into a cheery disposition.

2. We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you did too! I made this stuffing and loved it so much that I think I might sneak it onto our Christmas menu. Simon asked if we had any leftover the next day which is always a good sign in his book. I also made a pumpkin cheesecake and as a, "take it or leave it" pumpkin pie person - I really loved the cheesecake so much more - sorry traditional pie! I should probably also tell you that we bought a smoked turkey and have no regrets. Maybe next year I'll brave an actual Turkey prep and cook extravaganza but this wasn't the year.

3. I cant believe the kids have only two weeks until Christmas break and are therefore halfway through the school year because I'm just now getting used to them all being a grade older than last year. I usually do gift cards for teacher gifts because I know the last thing they need is another mug or candle (although! I am a sucker for candles) and realistically I wont get around to making anything they wont want to accidentally sweep into the trash but if you have any other fun ideas - I'm all eyeballs here.

4. Books! I've read a lot of books but few stand out as worth sharing so I won't but I finally read Educated and found it to be as engrossing as everyone said it would be. I couldn't plow through it because I was terrified of what terrible accident or incident was going to happen in the next chapter but I do hope she writes a sequel of sorts. I was SO EXCITED to see that the sequel to The Royal We (worth reading if you haven't) is available for pre-order! It doesn't come out until June but still - I can't wait.

5. Simon and I are back on The Crown train. I had a hard time making the mental transition to the new actors (I really really loved Claire Foy as the Queen) but we're managing and I keep hearing that season 3 was a lot of peoples favorite so I think we'll survive. We watched, Where'd You Go Bernadette and found it enjoyable. We couldn't get over her house - (complete with old confessional!) such a beauty!

6. I've had some great luck with Amazon buys over the past few months and while I know Amazon Hauls have become quite popular I feel like you really could use my 1/2 a cent thrown into the pot: this vitamin C serum is a really good one + the girls and I are loving these hair clips and headbands. This face wash lives up to all the review hype (it restocks frequently!). I finally bought this roller after letting it sit in my cart for months and it's a great natural headache helper (technical term) and really does help alleviate puffiness.

7. I think I already sang the praises of these pants but they are worth singing about again. If in between sizes I would definitely size down - grocery store/school pick-up/most things friendly. Maybe not holiday party friendly but who am I to judge? My pregnant/postpartum feet of last December/cold months stretched my slippers way out so I took a selfish moment to find some new ones on Black Friday. I'm usually a size 8/8.5 but the kids size 6 in these slippers fit like a very comfy glove. It's scary that Sebastian will probably be able to borrow (in theory - no borrowing will be happening under my watchful eye) them any minute as his feet seem to grow a 1/2 size every month but I digress. They go well with the aforementioned, "butter pants". I also bit the Sorel bullet on these boots and have no regrets after accompanying Phoebe's class to the pumpkin patch on a ~20 degree morning - worth every penny but I do wish I'd done the kids size thing because I think they would've fit just fine!

That's all for now! I always say the tired, "I'm going to blog more!" but I really do want to. Hopefully I will - even if it is into the readerless abyss ;)


RIP summer

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06 October 2019


1. I'm not sure how I went two months without updating the dusty blog but I'm great at procrastinating and not-so-great at quitting so the blog show must go on! So much time away + report on that I think it would bore you to near tears to go through it all but we'll hit the big ones!

2. My brother got married! Andrew married a very lovely lady by the name of Kathleen and we enjoyed a fun trip out to Denver for their wedding. The night we arrived was our 10 year anniversary so we took the kids to a highly recommended + kid-friendly beer garden and had a wonderful evening (photo above). Did we go to Vegas the following weekend sans children to celebrate in WiLd AnD cRaZy style? Yes, we did. Also - wonderful!

3. The kids started school! Phoebe had a rougher transition into kindergarten than we anticipated but has since settled in just fine and asks me to text her teacher to set up a play date (with .... her teacher) almost daily. The other kids are doing well and Bosco's first year of (very) part time preschool is going swimmingly. I've said it before but one of the hardest things to leave in Tampa was the kids school because it was so amazing but the kids are so happy at their school here that it almost makes me forgive the winter weather - almost.

4. Julia turned 9! I wasn't feeling very sad because at least 9 isn't into the double digits but then someone pointed out that 9 is half way to 18 and that ... blew my mind (simple math - yes, I know). She got her ears pierced and roller blades and a whole slew of llama (the obsession of late) things for her big day. Sebastian is right behind her with his 8th birthday despite finally edging her out ever so slightly in the height department - something only one of them likes to discuss.

5. I'm sure there's more but I gotta leave some content in the wings lest the well ever runs dry, right? Right. Oh, books! I've been sort of striking out, sadly. I read American Royals thinking it would be similar to a favorite of mine, The Royal We, and it was not. It was a pretty interesting and intriguing premise and I'm guessing the author set it up for a second book but no loose ends were tied up and I actually googled, "abrupt ending American Royals?!?!" immediately after finishing. I read A Fall of Marigolds for a book club and it was pretty good - kind of newish flavor of my beloved Beatriz Williams and Kate Morton. I also finished More Than Words and enjoyed it but it wouldn't be my first response to, "any new book recs?" -- thats for sure. Simon read Educated and said he thought I'd enjoy it so as soon as I finish The Bookish Life of Nina Hill -- I'm on it.

6. Hopefully I'm not the only one frantically scrambling to fill wardrobe holes the first time the temperature drops 40 degrees overnight (whywhywhy) ... for both myself and the kids. I finally took the plunge on these pants I've heard so many amazing things about it and I love them even more than I expected I might. I wish I'd listened to the reviews and sized down because they do run a little big but they are super soft and still structured enough for public outings which is really nice for dreaded winter months. I also pored over denim reviews from one of my favorite retailers and decided on these pretty ladies in an effort to branch out from the skinnies. They aren't here yet but if they don't work out I'm going to try these because I have a similar pair and really love the fit/feel!

7. I've been shopping for the kids more and more at H&M because their things seem to hold up better + longer than Old Navy (I still love + patronize you, ON) and they run promotions often enough that the prices are comparable. Speaking of Old Navy - I think I've mentioned that I really love their Ballerina Jeggings for the girls because they have enough structure and a button + zipper to not be true jeggings but are super soft and the girls aren't loathe to put them on like the boys and their jeans.

Alright, enough typing for today. More to come, as always!

Happy (almost) Monday!!


everything + August

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09 August 2019


1. I think I'll just have to dub this the summer of the blog post draft since I started and didn't finish many a post but overall it's been a good summer off-screen so I'll take that over a good blog summer any ....  summer. While we didn't do anything wild and crazy the summer still felt like it flew by and I think I was even more surprised than the kids were to realize that school starts next week. We've all gotten accustomed to sleeping in way past school start time so the mornings are going to be rough - to put it mildly.

2. Last weekend we road tripped up to the Quad Cities for my cousin Peter's wedding. While it was a LOT of driving for not a lot of time not spent in the car - we had so much fun. The kids absolutely loved getting to be apart of the wedding reception and I think ring bearer Theo made a lifelong friend in the flower girl - it was really sweet. It was fun seeing the old haunts Simon and I would visit growing up and it was fun driving by our grandparents old homes and realizing we'd become our parents driving our kids by houses that mean almost nothing to us but I digress. Simon and I listened to this book on the way back and I don't recommend it at all. Ha! But! It did help pass the time and drown out the fighting in the way back of the bus.

3. Speaking of books I read Evvie Drake Starts Over and LOVED it and then moved on over to Ask Again, Yes and could not put it down. It was a very engaging story and unlike anything I'd ever read. I don't know - I'd recommend it albeit cautiously because it's pretty heavy. I'm in the middle of The Most Fun We Ever Had and it's not the best book I've ever read. I'm not finished yet though SO - we'll see!

4. I should dedicate a whole blog post to this but with my recent track record I probably won't but I went on the whirlwind trip of a lifetime two weeks ago and got to go to the live Bachelorette Finale (night uno)!! It was amazing and surreal and I could type so much about the whole experience. It was all thanks to Mary of the I Just Wanna Chat podcast and we did talk about our experience on her most recent podcast if you want to take a listen. She is a real life angel and I'll forever be indebted to her. I got to see some other California friends too (HUGE thanks to Meg for her incredible hospitality) which was the icing on the cake. Simon insisted that I go even after we found out I had a ticket the day before I flew out and he held down the fort with the help of some sitters and he wins Patton spouse of the year. Better luck to me nest year. Anyway some quick takeaways: the studio is a lot smaller than it seems on TV, I never got the Peter appeal on the show but IRL he has a lot more of a presence (so tall!) and Hannah's interest in him made more sense to me, and I knew but didn't fully grasp how many moving parts are going on behind the scenes with the crew and the set and the producers etc etc - it was so fun to see after watching the show for SO many years. That's all. For now.

5. Tough to transition from so much excitement (ha!) but I keep meaning to mention this and now I am!! A few years ago a kind reader told me about this discount code finder and it's still working like a money saving charm to me. I thought I was the last person to find out about it but just in case I'm not - had to share.

6. The only thing I bought during the Nordstrom Sale was this sweater which might seem boring (because it is) but I've found that staples make my closet go round and I love the fit/length and that it's not super heavy or bulky. I also bought this dress for my brother's wedding but returned it because the zipper was broken even though I really loved it and wish it was still on sale and not out of stock. Boo. (hmm light blue version here and floral version here though - thanks Google! still not on sale though!)

7. I took major advantage of this buy one get one 1/2 off sale for school shoes and wedding shoes for the kids. I read rave reviews about these shoes and it's rare to find matching shoes for all four of the walking boys - dreams do come true.

And now I'm off to get these going - fingers crossed I don't ruin them!

7/11 on the 12th

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12 July 2019


Simon + Abe taking in Sebastian's last baseball game of the season.

1. The kids have started to notice the back to school ads lurking around and while it still feels a long way out - it's just about a month away! Crazy but ... not. Just as I'm starting to think maybe all the kids have summer shoes that fit and gotten most of their winter clothing out of their drawers - school will be coming round the mountain, won't it? If you'd like me to make apt and obvious observations about anything - anything at all! Let me know - I'll be here all day/night.

2. So I finally finished The Lake House and while I felt like it really dragged on and then the ending was a little abrupt and too "neatly tied in a perfect bow" for my taste - I find myself really missing the characters and the book as a whole so - I think I would recommend it. Ha. I also read Dear Mrs. Bird for book club and it was unexpectedly delightful. You know when you start casting the potential movie roles to certain actors/actresses - the author has done a good job. I've moved onto Summer of '69 and while it's not my favorite Elin Hildebrand book - its far from my least favorite and it really is the quintessential "beach/backyard by the baby pool" book.

3. A John Francis update! He got a new heart! While I'm not personally at the hospital with him it sounds as though he's doing and feeling well! The road to recovery is long and not easy but thank you so much for all of your prayers!! His siblings are here in town for a visit and my kids are in absolute heaven getting to spend time with them. A summer highlight? For sure.

4. Alright - it's down to the final four on Hannah's season and Lauren did the best job recapping last week. She makes me laugh so hard. I'm Team Tyler Forever but if she doesn't pick him and he goes on to be the Bachelor? Lose/Win.

5. For a long, long time (my entire motherhood?) I've sung the praises of these sound machines. And while I still love them I bought this one because it was on sale and now I'm finding that I like my mistress sound machine more than I thought I loved my steady betties? Wild life, be mine. Abe can suddenly sleep through a pack of wild elephants (the older kids + friends) tromping through the house during his afternoon nap which is not a testament to how deep he sleeps because he doesn't but I think it's the sound machine, I do.

6. It seems as though some retailers might be trying to keep up with the infamous Sale of the SEASON because Madewell is doing a rare 30% off sale styles sale, tons of things are on sale over at ye old LOFT, J.Crew is running a 40% off everything sale, and Hanna Andersson is doing a 25% off sale.

7. And while the inventory is slightly different I think that the deals over at this Black Friday sale - (vacuum steal!! for example) are quite a bit better than aforementioned sale. But, that's just ME.

have a great weekend!!

some more summer

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23 June 2019


I have to watch Phoebe around Clement closer than I watch Abe because she picks him up and all but totes him around like a rag doll. All day.

1. A month into summer break and it's finally feeling like SUMMER summer with the hot and muggy weather. The kind of weather where you feel like you've earned the pool. I love it. I should probably get the boys those fancy foam stroller clip-on fans (anyone have one they love?) because I could go on long walks with them but also don't want to be cruel as not everyone loves sweating like a pig in the heat of the day like I do.

2. Nothing new to report on the book front because I'm still reading and enjoying The Lake House. I know I'll be sad when it's over because Kate Morton always has some crazy twists at the end of her books that make you want to reread them from a different perspective - I won't but I'll be tempted. One of my favorite authors just released a new book and that is very much up next on the docket for me.

3. Too much to cover as far as Bachelor Nation goes this week (despite the weird half episode they threw us on Monday) but I'm still team Tyler C all the way and wish never had to see or hear from Luke P ever again. Lauren Zima killed it once again this week!

4. Alright, I have to share this ice cream cake recipe because if I can make it and have it turn out and taste amazing - then anyone can and you DEFINITELY should. I added graham cracker crumbs and plastic dinosaurs to the top for Abe and Bosco's birthdays and used store bought fudge but used her whipped cream recipe AND swapped vanilla for chocolate ice cream but other than that (ha) - the directions were pretty perfect. I might've waited 10 full minutes to cut the cake because the oreo crust didn't want to budge initially in it's very frozen state. Make it! If you want!

5. Huge thanks to Kari who let me know that the dress I wished would go on sale in fact DID go on sale. Wedding season, here it comes (as long as it fits!).

6. This romper would be cute on a boy or a girl and even though it's not on SALE sale - if you sign up for their emails and get the 15% off - that helps. And these shortalls are adorable and could be worn with tons of different shirts or onesies to change up the look - Clement might wear it to church nine Sundays in a row and no one would ever know (except you).

7. Hanna Andersson is having an insane sale ($42 dresses marked down to $10 - and more!), 50% off so many things (swim! shorts! activewear!) at Old Navy for 2 days only, and J.Crew is having a one day flash sale (40% off your purchase with code: BIG)!

Have a wonderful Sunday -- and beyond!

summering

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09 June 2019


1. We're a solid two weeks into summer break and I think the kinks are slowly working themselves out as we find our groove and routine with the few scheduled activities we have on our plate. The kids are loving life and I'm trying to let my Fun Mom flag fly more than I usually do. The pool has been a welcome addition and we've mostly mastered biking/strollering around the neighborhood as a semi cohesive unit. Is the house messier than ever and has dinner been a lot of the formerly frozen variety? Yes and yes. Baby steps summertime mastery, baby steps.

2. I've decided at almost 6 months postpartum that I need some exercise outside the house without the kids (need is a strong word - "would like" is more appropriate) and decided that getting up and going to a class at 5am is the best move for now. I'm a mere two days in and I can barely walk down the stairs because I'm already so sore SO - we'll see how strong my resolve is these next few weeks/months. I'm not a morning person but I really want to be a morning person so - carpe now. I've been loving these especially because they were on sale but am oh so intrigued by these and all their high waisted glory too.

3. I started The Lakehouse last week as I thought I might but devoured both The Last Mrs. Parrish and Ghosted. Ghosted was SO good. The Last Mrs. Parrish kept me up late and reading but ultimately was kind of just okay. I'm tempted by The Dinner List next but will finish - The Lakehouse first (I'm really enjoying it I'm just easily distracted it when it comes to books and um, everything else).

4. Alright - I know it's a total cliché and I'm eating out of the producer's hands but I'm suddenly team Tyler C all the way. I was a skeptic but no more! I don't even want to waste my breath/finger muscles on the Lukes (plural) drama but my distant second and third place guys are Pete the Pilot and Garrett. I'm not the biggest fan of Jed but will be happily proven wrong as the season progresses. If you're not watching Lauren Zimas Roses and Rosé recaps - you're missing OUT because she's hilarious.

5. I'm a little (or a lot, probably) old to feel any nostalgia about the Jonas Brothers big comeback because I just don't remember them being a big deal (what was I doing? I don't know) but I coerced Simon into watching their new documentary with me and we didn't hate it! I'm rooting for them even though Sucker isn't my favorite song (but Rollercoaster is!).

6. I couldn't resist ordering this Amazon dress that Kendi wore this past week - and I LOVE it. (I'm 5' 7" and the medium hits me just above the knee) Super fun + lightweight for summer. Kopycat 4 life.

7. On the sale front ... extra 40% off sale at LOFT, tons of new markdowns at both J.Crew Factory and Nordstrom (this dress especially caught my eye and my favorite basic t-shirts {size down} are 50% off!!). There's also a big Nike sale going on at my very favorite Nordstrom Rack. Yee haw.

And that's all she wrote - over the course of 3 summer days.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

week at a lengthy glance

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24 May 2019

1. Alright, summer 2k19 begins in earnest today and we've got no bucket lists, big plans beyond piano lessons, or even the swimsuits pulled out of storage bins quite yet. It'll be a good one but it needs to stop raining first. I foresee lots of bike rides and popsicle breaks punctuating our afternoons. Stay tuned for the inevitable excitement ...


last weekend during a break in the rain. it was glorious!

2. John Francis (Simon's cousin's son) underwent a rather risky + lengthy surgery on Tuesday and is recovering well! Thank you for your continued prayers! A Chicago news station ran another story on him, his Caringbridge page is here, and his fundraising page can be found here as well.

3. Did you see the Downton Abbey movie preview? It looks QUITE good. Simon and I (or maybe just I, don't tell Simon) are excited to finally watch Isn't It Romantic tonight. We watched Wine Country on Netflix last weekend and I was shocked that it was just kind of ... okay (at best!).

4. I read Meet Cute this week and it left a lot to be desired (although I did fly through it so obviously I didn't hate it). Back to my list of book recs I go for my next victim. Beatriz Williams is a tried and true fave so I might have to go down that road or a book I heard a lot about a few years ago might be worth giving a go - we'll see!

5. It's not surprising but I'm really enjoying Hannah's Bachelorette season so far. I feel like she's proved a lot of the naysayers wrong and it feels more like an old school season than any of the recent seasons have (a good thing, I think!). My faves are Mike and Peter the Pilot. My least favorite of all time is Luke P. Sharleen always serves the recap gold and this season is no different!

6. So many sales, so little time. Everything is 40% at LOFT with code: FINALLY. I'm loving the look of this romper + these striped pants. I ordered + loved + kept these shorts if you need some non-denim shorts!

Everything at Boden is 30% off with code: C7R2. I bought these suits for the girls (the pink + purple) so hopefully they fit and they like them (two very different things)!

I've had some good Old Navy luck lately with both this pair AND this pair of slides. Both very comfortable and cute (I think!). And even though Abe is pretty much always getting into serious mischief these days - this shirt is a cute little oxymoron on him (joke!).

Insane deal (53% off!!) on the most used appliance in our kitchen that I have no doubt will outlive me (really).

7. Nordstrom rarely has sales so when they do I like to comb through as much as much of the new new markdowns as possible. I should've added these to my pink shoe lineup - esp at that price. It might be summer but I'm always on the lookout for the perfect cardigan. I'm really hoping this dress goes on sale soon (did I see former Bachelorette Ali wearing it? Maybe, yes. Of course) but am tempted to try this one (on sale) in the mean time -- similar print, cut, and same brand.

Alright, I'll come back and add them as I see them. I've got to go see about a figurative Lakehouse.

 

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