And the awards for worst costumes go to ...

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31 October 2012

Sebastian and Julia who dressed up as ...
Julia and Sebastian.

They both struggled with getting into true character. Faux-Sebastian's "toenail huwt" apparently. Or was this when he-she was still waking up from the nap that ended 47 minutes earlier? All the pleasant blurs together.

I'd say trick-or-treating was 45% successful. Of the six houses we hit Julia successfully waltzed into one and perched herself in front of the big screen tv, tried walking into two others but was stopped by "where do you think you're going, little fella?", and eventually just dropped her bucket-o-treats at the stoop of the last three houses and walked away as her understanding of the entire process clearly matured. And because Sebastian just sat pretty in his pink umbrella stroller the entire time, everyone just thought Julia was a not very smart little boy with a shaggy half-mullet who was not even kind of in costume.

Maybe we'll try again when real-Sebastian is five.

And the coveted Grace Award for Best Costume goes to ....

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Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus.

aka Jessica and Reed (Riley?) in real life ...
(sadly, my bff+e Jessica's blog is private now but if you email her she'll let you in on her e-writings, I know it)

Not enough Jess? I know.

You can also read last year's birthday tribute
or about her visit to see us here
or her stellar post on infertility right here

Happy Halloween.

(and for my fellow don't-have-their-ish-together ... ten last minute costume ideas that I will be utilizing in a few hours)

Giveaway: Oreck AirInstinct 200 Air Purifier ($500 value)

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30 October 2012

I don't know where I've been all my motherhood but life with smelly toddlers + an air purifier is significantly less smelly and a lot more pleasant than life with just smelly toddlers. I think I'm immune to it but Simon is always commenting on the odd smell that emits from Julia's quarters. Is it due to the fact that she still saturates a diaper overnight? Maybe. Is it due to the fact that her room is where we change 98% of the diapers soiled in this house? Maybe. Is it due to the fact that Sebastian hides all his used socks behind her cage? Most likely. Whatever the reason might be ... her room isn't a field of pleasantly pungent wildflowers. It's getting a little too chilly to keep her windows open all day and the musty smell of winter is just waiting to get his grubby paws on her lair.

Enter the AirInstinct 200 that Oreck generously sent me to put through the ringer. (Trumpets blaring). After just one night of the air purifier running in her room ... it smelled ... normal. It smelled like nothing which is exactly the way this pregnant nose likes thing to smell. And b-b-b-b-onus -- it makes NOISE (if you want it to). We have noise machines galore going at all times around here to keep people from waking up other people and to keep people asleep and to keep moms from hearing toddlers get into BIG trouble. We like our white noise.

AND .. one last little factoid. This bad boy is very lightweight (which I appreciate because it is about to be transported up to Sebastian's area of the cottage to work its magic there) but has taken kindly to Sebastian's maul-esque advances.
Not a wimp. Very impressive.

To win one of your very own and significantly improve your nose's quality-o-life just follow the Rafflecopter's prompts. Thanks much.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Dear Sebastian,

I would've loved to have had the luxury of sitting down earlier today and penning a sappy Hallmarker for you to read when you reach the age of reading and comprehension milestones but I am 99.9% sure you threw my glasses away yesterday and so far I've spent 99% of the waking hours of your first birthday tearing the house apart looking for them (still lost - FYI). I really need to find them because when I can't see then I squint and I look angrier than my baseline look (which is contemplative-angry) and our trip to to buy a box of Duncin Hines Red Velvet cake mix (I've learned my lesson) was met with lots of angry stare-backs from all of our Target co-patrons.

Anyway, thank you for being a mostly happy human.
You defy the Patton nature and wake up in a weirdly good mood day after day and nap after nap and I can't tell you how nice this is after dealing with two years of someone else's record-breakingly ugly wake up moods. You are very proficient in lots of important arenas: dropping it like it's hot to anything that slightly resembles a dance-able beat, pulling and tugging my always elastic waist pants down around my knees (not in public, yet - thank you), never ever wanting to be held or touched, driving Julia to hourly tears, pulling everyone's hair, and bemoaning bath time. Your greatest talent is run-wandering. You snuck out the front door a few weeks ago and we let you think you were getting away with something while you sprinted (supervised!!!) down the sidewalk. You made it five houses down before Simon (your father) went and caught you but I have no doubt that you would've made it all the way to California if your energy stores would've allowed. You are always getting in trouble with the mom-choppers at the park for putting acorns, rocks, and leaves in your mouth and wandering more than 8 feet from my person and I'm getting really terrible at hiding my eye rolls when they tattle on you - somethings we can both work on together.

I hope you have the best birthday you've ever had. So far, so productive ...

We love you,

Grace (mother), Simon, (father), Julia (sister and sometimes nemesis) and the other (sibling)

You want to read more about Simon's heir? I can do that:

Birth Story
3 Months
6 Months

it's like they have no toys

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29 October 2012

The novelty of watching me shower has pretty much worn off for Julia so I can usually sneak an every-third-day rinse in during Sebastian's morning catnap. You're already intrigued, aren't you? I understand.

Today was the fourth day sans hair wash and while many people can rock the dirty hair look and rock it well, I cannot. Sebastian was showing no signs of fatigue and when I tried to put him down he all but shrieked "bleep no, I will not nap!!" over and over and over and over again so I went ahead and showered while he stared to his weird little heart's content in between frantic scrambles of trying SO hard to get his little butterbody into the shower with me. He finally lost interest in mama mammoth and left me with two minutes of peace before my "it's! too! quiet!" momdar went off and I wrapped what I could of my body in some hooded terry cloth and went to investigate.

Oh, I know. It's no Frankensandy and the kids weren't bleeding or knocking on death's door but I discovered the snow storm circa 8:30 in the am and it is now 2:00 in the pm and still still STILL after 3 sweeps, 8 mops, 18 texts to Simon, and 34 curses there are infinite and endless particles of powder clinging to the floor crevices, my nose hair, and Sebastian's diaper area.

"all bedder, mommy."

Right, Juliarella.

So when the cashier at the grocery store this morning took one look at Julia repeatedly asking to read "the book" (US Weekly) on the shelf, Sebastian pulling all the not-yet-paid-for items off the conveyor belt, and my bebe oven offered the always creative and appreciated, "you're going to have your hands full!" with a (was that a hint of sinister?) laugh I wanted to retort that I already did but I just gave her a quizzical look and a flash of a smile instead.

What I Wore Sunday

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28 October 2012

I think this sums up what Simon calls our 'very dysfunctional relationship' nicely. Are my eyes closed? I don't know. Is she gazing lovingly at her selfless caretaker? I don't know again. Do you want the name of my bronzing cream? I'm guessing that you do.

Linking up with the fancy females over at Fine Linen and Purple for the What I Wore Sunday linkup. I had so much fun giving everyone's Sunday 'fits an up-down last week that I thought I'd do what I do best and copycat copycat copycat. You should join the crazy too. I'm going to a baby shower in a few hours and after looking at this photo I'm wondering if I should maybe wash my tangled nest of locks. Probably.

the fundown:
scarf: gift from my Gram
vest: Ralph Lauren outlet
shirt: Target Maternity via Goodwill
pants: Forever XXI
shoes: Blowfish

the kids' Mass behavior grades:
Julia: A-
Sebastian: C+
(graded on a curve and I'm in an oddly generous mood)

Enjoy the last of your weekend if you must.


7 Quick Takes

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26 October 2012

Joining Jen and the givettes ... you know the drill.


Cuz I'm craftay.
I think it's called nesting.

No, I might not decorate a tree and wrap gifts for Christmas or grill burgers on Memorial day but the kids will remember me fondly as the mom that planned and executed elaborate displays of scary for Halloween. Costumes Schmostumes -- we've got fatty bats in the house. Be intimated.

2. Simon and I equally grossed each other out with our lunch choices yesterday. He said to "take it to the blog!!" to prove that I'm the grosser eater. His meal: mac and powdered cheese drenched* ** in ketchup (vom, vom, and vom again) and my meal: soy beans (edamame is the profesh name, I believe) and shredded mozzarella (admittedly not a fancy feast). You decide. I better win.

*Simon says he prefers "adult Fettucini alfredo with a light tomato sauce"
**Grace says he is delusional 

3. And typing of gross meals, Julia has eaten an entire apple - core, seeds, stem on two separate occasions this week. What does it all mean? I'll tell you ... it means that she has serious stomach ish at three in the am that a half awake Simon suggested we rectify by just "letting her get in bed with us".

Um. Hell to the absolutely never ever no. No.

Caged for life.

4. I think I'm going to need to demote myself from the torture that is Crazy J to the monotony that is Summer Sanders for the remainder of this gestational period. I usually just stare and pant during the ab minutes and even the modified moves are getting to be a little too much. I'll blame the physics of my bell and the anatomy of my lazy.

5. If you've had the pleasure of visiting our abode in the past month or so you probably saw that 60% of our spacious kitchen's counter space was occupied by this gleaming beauty ...
you like that little peek of blurred bat? I thought so.

because Sebastian's stomach does not discriminate and would go through and eat a handful of dryer lint, an entire banana peel, the squishy innards of a used diaper, coffee grounds, a waxy Q-tip, you get the appetizing photo. Before you suggest the logical: put the trash can in a cabinet ... I'll tell you that our cabinets are approximately tall enough to house coffee mugs and dwarves' newborns ... something I imagine broaching with the former owners that "completely remodeled and updated the kitchen" and even a bathroom trashcan would be a squeeze. Short story long? We finally sprang for a trashcan with a lid. I'll keep you posted on this and less exciting developments in the future.

6. Did you enter the shoe giveaway that ends tomorrow? I would.

7. Simon just learned the invaluable lesson to never ever blindly stick a finger in a diaper you suspect just might be soiled. I can't stop laughing.

And now I'm off to go do something even less productive with my life.

To Jen's with you.


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25 October 2012

  "Get mipstick off."

Are you a birth story junkie like I am? Good, I've got two great ones. Carve some time out of your day to read Lucy's here and Lincoln's here.

Kelsey always writes the most helpful posts and recently went from working full-time to part-time in order to spend more time with her daughter, Rooney. Read both installments of how they're managing financially and otherwise ... part 1 and part 2.

Both Simon and I laughed out loud at almost all of these ... thanks Kristina!!

This is my favorite song of the moment.

Someone else ventured over to Grant's Farm and almost died the same untimely death by goats that Julia and I did a few weeks ago.

Sarah packs the prettiest pregnant photos and the best looking stuffed pumpkin recipe all into one post ... check it here

Cynthia wrote a super helpful post for beating that before-dad-gets-home but after-naps-and-snacks window of time that is ripe for a meltdown via both mom and kiddos.

Adorable new mom Meg has a 6-week-old little lady and some survival tips wrapped up in the prettiest post.

the Grands (finale)

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24 October 2012

tickle tickle

Fell for the old "pushing is MUCH more fun than riding" lie.

 Favorite great aunt.

 Simon wouldn't let me post the photos of him hula-ing. Snore.

Despite Julia's helmet of two whole hair bows ... the hair puller reigns victorious.

The last of the incongruous vacation photos. Promise.

We're back and reporting live from our own turf after a mostly uneventful trip home. Simon only corrected my driving three whole times, Julia and her machine gun whines only warranted two "you'll be lucky if you live to see three!" threats, and Sebastian waited until we were a-a-a-a-a-lmost home to finally fall asleep which is never not annoying.

And now we are left with the serious conundrum of ... do we or don't we take the kids to the "non-scary, kid-friendly Boo at the Zoo" night that features (among lots of other bulleted points, of course) "a haunted hallow with sinister creatures beware!"


27 Weeks

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23 October 2012

Simon suggested I "go and grab a shawl" to complete the look. Maybe next time.

Despite all the television excitement via the big Debate and the big Game last night Simon conked out before the clock struck 8:30 in the pm and left me with the great quandary of 2k12 ... "am I really too scared to go get my book out of the van in the super safe and well lit driveway?" um, yes. So I pulled a curious G and started Googling, "how to know if you're having a boy or a girl" ... something I previously wasn't terribly curious about but all of a sudden ... curiousity wracked my uterus. Don't worry, I'm back from neuroticville and am mostly ambivalent now - I think.

Anyway ... the Google led me down a lot of helpful trails:

Mix urine with Drain-o: tempting but pass
Heart rate high or low?  "normal range" says my obstetric practitioner
Have little boys taken an interest in the belly? (if yes, girl) One time Sebastian gave it a brutal beating and a bite
Facial fullness? (if yes, girl) I thought that came with preg territory
Are your cravings for sweet or salty food? All. All food, please.

So I'd say odds are in favor of another sweet and mild-mannered pretty, pretty princess but we'll all just have to wait and see.

outfit deets:
pants: Target
shirt: Target maternity
boots: Famous Footwear (similar)
smiles: genuine

27 weeks with bash
27 weeks with little J

the Grands

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22 October 2012


We are currently hailing from Quad Cities, America where we are visiting my grandma and Simon's grandpa. After Simon got off his last night shift on Friday morning we hit the road ...
I've been thinking about offering an e-course in below average photography skills. I think this abstract of the windshield wiper was the final straw. Doing it.

 After 15 hours at el hospital ... wimp.

On road trips, sometimes Julia lets him watch 3 minutes of Barney in between marathons of Dora. It makes his whole life.

G(reat)G(randma) gave the kids some trendy mocs. Sebastian can't get them off. Double W.
Tell me your grandma can rock some zebra like mine does.

Entire ensemble c/o GG ... scando baby included.

 Going for a speedwalk in his swanky monkeyknit.

Notre Dame giving Simon an eye pop or ten.
Sebastian about to massacre that cabinet full of catalogs. 

Sebastian refuses to let me get a closeup of his forehead goose egg c/o a long fall off a tall bench and has since added fat and attractive lip to his resume of temporary facial anomalies.

~ Julia has taken to calling Great Grandma, "GG Cakes" and Great Grandpa, "Crampa Cakes"
~ I've gone on one six minute wog since we've been here.
~ Sebastian is overwhelmed with the many, many toilets in GG Cakes' house.
~ Simon has asked me three times if "denim tops are really in?" while glaring at my shirt choice today.
~ We celebrated Thanksgiving last night. Beat you.

More to come, as always.

7 Quick Takes

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19 October 2012

Joining Jen again. I can't quit her. 

1. Sebastian is going through a really horrible hair pulling phase.
Specifically a Julia hair pulling phase. She takes it and laughs and tells him he is being goofy until he starts physically pulling her across the room by two big fistfuls of hair. He has a serious deathgrip and I'm sure it hurts but I'm not exactly sure how to discipline him. Pull at his tufts of fuzz in return? Simon threatened to put him outside in a cage full of Pop Tarts. Ever the logical parent.

2. Julia has started consistently saying "yes" instead of "yeah". Yes, my life is one big roller coaster of CrAzY. I'm sure tomorrow she'll count to 100 and teach Sebastian how to sing the ABC's. Before you go dip your face in a vat full of envy ... please know that she also said something along the exact lines of "bullshit" tonight. I'll give you one guess which parent will be getting full credit for that one when he gets home tomorrow morning.

3. I'm sure you've heard that Jef and Emily broke up. I hate it. The only balm for my wounds was this post that my favorite funny girl authored. Never not a masterpiece theater of comic relief.

4. I really wish I could send all you who responded to anonycray an e-hug or some tangible cookies or your favorite shade of dark nail polish. Thanks a ton. And another ton. You're the best.

5. I've only watched the Nashville pilot but I am already hooked on the show. I love Connie Britton. I don't love Hayden Panettiere but I think that's the point.

6. Simon recently made the mistake of Googling Honey Boo Boo to see what all the fuss was about and after watching half a clip I have to say how much I appreciate Jimmy Kimmel's assessment that, "Honey Boo Boo makes Jersey Shore look like Downton Abbey."

7. Julia's hair is finally sort of starting to grow out
Unfortunately, I think she is one box of chestnut dye away from looking eerily similar to this guy ...
Don't even try to disagree. Girl, you know it's true.

Have a nice weekend. I'll be really busy trying to outfun you, fear not.

Go see Jen for all the betters. 

The second to last night

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18 October 2012

of el hell float for Simone (and me! and you who have been so patient with my endless songs of praise for the month-o-delight!) was last night so we celebrated by risking a visit to dr. vampire. I don't like to exaggerate but it was basically raining elephants and killer whales by the time I got the kids dressed in semi-public approp clothing, (although Simon said Julia's outfit was "bordering on trashy" and after surveying what appeared to be powdered cheese stains on her white leggings and her boxy cropped unbuttoned polo ... I agreed) realized I had no idea where either set of car keys were, tore the house apart looking for the (curses!! many curses!!) keys, begged and pleaded with St. Anthony to help a motha out and was just about to pull out my big guns with promises of a possible namesake when I found them in the pocket of the vest I had been wearing the entire time, and loaded the kids up into the ark.

Right on Dad's heels ...
and right before a passing nurse asked a fellow nurse, "is that little girl wearing Uggs?"

no, she is not. 

We lucked out and found an empty and confined space where the kids could play in peace ...
and gentle harmony.

Sebastian refuses to wear a hat for more than .2 seconds but he can't quite figure out the complicated physics of the hood
it tricks him real good.

And now I'd like to wax wordy about the impending joy of the sheer variety that pulses through my veins at the mere thought of night float being over (until February when I should hopefully be joined by an ex utero security guard). Yes, I'd love to drone on about how there were many, many moments that sometimes stretched into a smileless and melodramatic hour or eight of self pity and (ridiculous now, ridiculous then) proclamations of yokes and burdens that were too much!! far too heavy!! me! me! me! You know I'd enjoy diving into all that but I'll resist, I guess.

Because it's almost over ...
... and Stella gonna get her groove back.
She's gonna get it back stat*.

*triple cheddar? don't care.

(that much)

Once Upon a Nope

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17 October 2012

It recently occurred to me that maybe I needed to provide Julia with more structure in her day. After all, she is two mature years old and maybe she should be given some purpose-driven tasks and a little bit of responsibility aside from throwing diapers away, dutifully telling me I look "cute" when I change out of my jams, and putting the dirty silverware back in the drawer while chanting "helper!"?

destined to be the only high schooler with a bottle tucked into her Dora Trapper Keeper. 

I don't know. I'm a super novice and a real sucker for feeling guilty especially after hearing about the kinds of impressively inventive activities my fellow parents put together and execute on the daily for their little scholars.

So I left a sleeping Sebastian with a sleeping Simon yesterday and took Julia to the library's preschool hour. What? If that doesn't scream "impressive" and "inventive" to you I don't think we can even be friendly acquaintances. I had big plans to wash and fold an enormous load of whites (the most fun and not tedious kind of laundry) but I put my selfish wants aside and made the breaths-away-from-an-adolescent's needs a priority.

My mind's little wheels churned out questions. So many questions:
would 45 minutes would be enough time to quench the pupil's thirst for learning?
if not, should I make tentative plans to go to another preschool hour the next day at a different library?
was it important to mentally prepare Julia for the education voyage she was about to embark upon?
do my purpley-black toenails scream 'trashy mom'?

Let's cut to the action.

I felt triumphant after successfully getting Julia out of the van without her blankie (tag always tucked tightly under her nose) and bottle and even let the scholar walk into her domain although I always welcome a chance to carry her instead of her butterball boulder of a brother. 23 seconds in and things were looking sparkly. Then we strolled into the children's area of the library to be greeted by literal preschoolers with their little army of teachers and nary a parent in sight. My infant refused to join the gaggle of 4-year-old giants on the magic carpet and sat dependently on my lap while the nice librarian started talking about Halloween.

When it was Julia's turn to share her name the exchange went exactly like this:
Librarian: and what is YOUR name?
Librarian: do you have a name?
Julia: Joo-wee-uh
Librarian: Drew! and what is Drew going to be for Halloween?
Julia: (whisper) doodle-doodle-doodle-do
Librarian: oh?  do you have a Halloween costume?
Julia: birthday!!


Then the actual storytime started just as Drew spotted a huge display of Barney DVDs and couldn't stop gawking and squawking about the goldmine. She suddenly became aware of the fact that we were in a large room filled to the brim with packed shelves of books she had never ever seen and curiosity eventually slayed the kitten and she pulled 14 books off the lowest shelf before I could inhale deeply enough to give me enough momentum to heave my hips out of the 10-inch-tall primary colored chair.

We lasted 18 eternal minutes before I ducked out with the prodigy bidding a loud farewell to Barney while pinned tightly to my hip.

I took advantage of being a one kid gig and fulfilled my overachieving aspirations by braving Trader Joe's to purchase frozen vegetables for a healthy dinner and a decorative mini pumpkin for a festive table.


We'll try again in a year or three and pray that her brain doesn't rot by way of Basher bossing, free-range play, and unscheduled days in the meantime.

Simon Says

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16 October 2012

"Please stop taking creepy photos. I was buying a stroller fun pass ... not making memories."

Regarding the recent lack of Simon Says posts Simon said, "people are going to start suspecting marital strife."

While looking at Sebastian Simon said, "if we're being honest with ourselves we both know he's going to have to be pretty funny to attract any ladies' attention in the future."

While watching in horror as Julia threw one of her inexplicable tantrums Simon said, "are there any 'My Toddler is a B' camps we can look into?"

After a tiny little bathless week (to be blamed on a major case of PTSD after he was accidentally bathed with a minor diaper rash) Simon said, "if you're feeling adventuresome I highly recommend giving Sebastian's feet a whiff."

In response to my observation that this pregnancy seems to be dragging Simon said, "I can't say that I agree. It's actually flying by for me."

After Julia happily said goodbye to me in between zombie stares at the Dora-filled computer screen Simon said, "how does it feel to be a distant second best to an animated character that wears socks with her shorts every day of her life?"

Right before the kids and I got home from my (long, long, long) Dora DVD-filled road trip Simon said, "Dora's fire is waiting."

Grant's Farm (a pictour)

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15 October 2012

Doing something a little bit different today and posting a bevy of photos. Sorry for the deviation from the norm. Tolerance is a virtue and I appreciate your cooperation.

Proof that I'm not e-pulling your leg. We really went.

Our little unicorn was impressed.

I believe this was when Julia started yammering on about "stinky poop" for the entire train-tram-thing to hear.

fun for approximately no one involved.

 Smarties staying outside enemy lines.

Minute 9 of indulging in her obsession. Maybe for her 3rd birthday we'll come here and get our party on.

"You want me to act unnaturally happy? fine."

riding a bunny. I don't know.

not riding a bunny.

knows it.

solace sought in a snowcone.


Simon said, "your attire would lead me to believe you came to ride."

Her new thing ... taking off her shirt wherever, whenever.

Anyway, we highly recommend you make the trip if you're ever in the area.
We had a blast.

I promise.


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