Natural Family Planning (minus the planning)

31 July 2013

I hate to be the mom with the three little kids to write a post about Natural Family Planning because I'm sure to get the "What do you call people that practice NFP? Parents!" joke which is stale and not funny. But I also don't want you to think I'm some bizarro baby machine that resents her life deep down. We're just practicing Catholics that realize that we've been blessed with three healthy children and hope to have more ... as long as they are just a little bit better behaved than their earthly siblings. I'm mostly kidding but if you think that we're weird and crazy ... that's totally understandable.

More than a handful of times someone has commented on a post or an Instagram that I'm making them scared to have kids or another kid or more kids and that makes me feel terrible.  As crazy as these kids drive me ... I love them so much and almost every night before Simon and I go to bed we are those parents, "have you heard Julia call Bash, 'sweetheart?'" or "Sebastian was a happy baby but Theo is happier, don't you think?" or "I think Julia is out of her bizarre Theo-hating phase ... maybe."


I'm proud of my kids but I write about the trials that come with motherhood not because I hate being a mom but because I find solidarity in hearing and reading about other moms fighting the same battles that I am. Oh, Jenny's almost three-year-old wasn't potty trained in a day, either? Thank goodness. We can be failures together. I could write post after post of the hilarious (only to ME) things that the kids do every day. About Sebastian's affinity for sitting in my lap for a solid hour after he wakes up from his nap every afternoon before he squeals excitedly that Theo is awake and how Theo squeals with delight in return because that baby kicks and grins in response to even the briefest glance from any human being. And those posts would be sweet and nice but they would be boring and the readership would dwindle right back down to its original reader of: me.

This weekend I had a positive pregnancy test and we were so excited. So excited. Simon was on call so he went to the hospital chapel to say a prayer for baby number four and I started thinking of neat ways to tell my family when we visit in September and hatching plans to get Julia and Sebastian to sleep in the same room because they can't be sleep-pampered forever. But then I don't know if it was a false positive or a chemical pregnancy but just two days later it became clear that it was the late beginning of a new cycle (I'm sorry! I hate the word "cycle" too) and not a true positive at all and I was so sad.

I've avoided writing a post about Natural Family planning because there are scads of posts out there that are so much better than anything I could ever ever write. And when I asked if anyone had any questions re: NFP several months ago the majority of the emails that came in were (polite!) ... 'were your kids spaced intentionally?' and while that's really none of anyone's business I have no problem sharing that they absolutely were. We have yet to use NFP to avoid a pregnancy so I don't even know if we'd qualify as true NFPers but I think the most important and most difficult thing about the Natural Family Planning concept is that we are not in charge. We can be as open to life as we want but ultimately it's never up to us if and when there will be more kids. Oh, we can cling tightly to our "NFP is 99.6% effective when used correctly!!" statistics and line them up against artificial forms of contraception and I'm sure it is but ultimately no one ever really has total control over their fertility. And that is a tough concept to grasp and accept for people on both sides of the "achieve" and "avoid" fence.

Several weeks ago I noticed some traffic coming in from a forum where a kind individual had guffawed at the kids ages, wondered if we even knew how to use NFP, and then typed, "her poor vagina!" .... of course my initial reaction was to pull a modern Van Gogh and email her my middle finger but ultimately it's sad and frustrating that that is her take on three young children. Then at the zoo this weekend a gentlemen shook his head at us and said that, "at least you're getting it out of the way all at the same time" as we smiled and pushed the stroller past him. And that was sad and frustrating too.

So while I sit here and type this while wiping honey from Sebastian's morning snack that took a tour of the entire house off of the space bar and the "y" key and now somehow it is all over my right elbow I don't think how much easier life would be with a clean keyboard or a quiet house or even a house that wouldn't shock and horrify you with it's current state of dirtyDIRTAY. No. I think that I will never make honey on peanut butter on banana for snack time again until our youngest is about 10 years old. And I hope that that time doesn't come for a long long time.

Don't be scared of kids or my dramafoyomama tales of my kids because you have to know that I almost started crying tears of grossed out when Simon Irwin coached the kids through holding this small snake/monster worm the other day ...


... and I'm still able to overcome the hundreds of diaper situations hurled my weak stomach's way on the daily. And just like the millions that have gone before us - you will too. I promise.


And while I love love love your comments if these could be kept on the nice side that would be great. It's only July 31st and I've already hit my mean comment limit for all of August. 

269 comments:

  1. I love your sense of humor. You keep things real and put a bright spin on the craziness that is parenting :) Sorry to hear about the false positive. We'll pray another bairn arrives soon :) I think you're "use" of NFP is right on target. NFP isn't an alternative form of contraception. Huzzah to you and your hubby for making it past the crazy 3 young one stage and being so upbeat about moving on to a number four. I hear it gets easier once you break three :)

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    1. Oh yes, and we haven't used NFP to avoid either and our two are two years apart, it's all God's plan! God must think you are a superhero!! (which you are :) )

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    2. Totally agree with all of this!! Love that you wrote it. One thing we know even more is that after having 3 kids pretty close and now 3 miscarriages is that WE ARE NOT IN CHARGE. When people think they can plan perfectly their family and space it right, they probably never experienced loss. Bravo, Grace! Love that you keep it real!

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  2. Why do people post mean comments?!?! I no understand.

    Love you - your kids - the whole Camp!

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  3. when these three beautiful kids of yours (and possibly more of their siblings) grow up, they are going to be such good friends and have such crazy, wonderful memories. they're very lucky. (: {and so are you and Simon}

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  4. Love! And what I'm actually curious about, because we're kind of in the same "not using NFP to avoid" boat is this: Do you chart? Because I haven't since we got pregnant with John Paul and I kind of wonder if I even count as "using NFP" anymore since really, we'll have babies when we have babies and as long as we don't have 20 it'll all be cool... But I know my signs and Cecilia and the twins were 100% planned but at this point I just kind of feel like - whenever? It can't possibly get harder than it already is! I've been trying to get my thoughts together to write a post on it, but me and writing serious things aren't so much friends, soooo it might sit in my drafts folder forever!

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    1. Also curious if I'm an NFP fraud for this reason. No babies yet- but I think NFP's the bomb and yet... we don't chart. Heh.

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    2. Rosie- We don't really chart either. I'm like you. I know my signs, but we don't have a huge reason to avoid. Just spacing if we want, I guess. The thing is, I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited to get pregnant with #3!

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  5. I love this post. YOu have a lovely family. and I'm sorry about the positive pregnancy turning out to be -- what, a false positive? I'm sure that's difficult to understand. Don't let negative comments get you down -- remember those insensitive remarks say more about the person saying the words than about you.

    I think it's so wonderful that you are able to be open to children as God sends them. I also think it's wonderful that at our house, using NFP to space has been available, too. And you're so right...no one is completely in charge of their fertility because God is God and He will do what He wills.

    I have a sister who had 5 children in the span of 8 years (and that includes 2 who went on to heaven before they were born on Earth). A saying I have always remembered ever since the day I heard it was "God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called." Most people don't think they could handle this situation or that situation -- but what they don't understand many times is that OF COURSE they can't handle it before the situation is in front of them, God hasn't finished with them yet!

    I never would have believed I would have 5 (+1 in heaven) children when I got married 14 years ago. Never. I was way too selfish and self-focused and into money and free time for that. But, here I am...and I love my life, too.

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  6. I love your honesty and humility. I come from a big family, and there's nothing better than siblings!

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  7. This post makes me super sad that we are not neighbors. (But you should be really glad we aren't, because I'd basically just sit on your couch all the time and be like, "talk to me.").

    Also, in a total weird stalker-y way, I keep thinking about Simon's post saying that RL Grace blows Blog Grace out of the water. And I'm sad to only know blog Grace.

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    1. what she said. and i know how devastating that late period is. i'm so incredibly sorry.

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  8. Seriously, why do people think its their business about how many kids a person has or how spaced out they are? No ones business but the parents raising them! I'm pregnant with my 3rd and we didn't plan any of them/do anything to stop it. Our choice!

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  9. Thanks for blogging despite the negativity - a few other blogs I loved shut down for said reasons and I'm so, so sad about it. I love reading about your crazy kiddos - and yes, it very much gives me hope to go on as we hope to embrace a house full of kids! So many people tell us as soon as we have more than one we'll change our mind about welcoming in a houseful.

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  10. Love you, love your blog, love your kids. Hate that you have to defend yourself. I realize this was just posted, so it makes me smile to this of all the scads of comments that are going to come in saying the same thing--you are awesome.

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  11. I have four kids ages 5, 4, 2, and 1, and we are expecting our 5th this November. My oldest (finally?) starts kindergarten this year. Anyway, I love reading your blog because it's so easy to feel inadequate as a mother or parent, and I also find solidarity in reading about other people's problems.

    Anyway, I think you're doing a great job!

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  12. I have a friend who is pregnant with her first and I think your blog keeps her going because she knows she's not alone and that some other Catholic mom out there has a sense of humor and a sense of reality - at the same time! Keep blogging and keep having babies! And your loving readers will be praying for both (partly selfishly because they're each awesome :)) Your kiddos are adorable!

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  13. I'm 18 and pretty much ready to get married and have kids, and your blog is MY FAVORITE. I've babysat a lot and occasionally I would think, "why is this kid so mean to me?" and then I learn that it's not just me--that this happens to everyone. I hope you're still blogging when I have babies so that I can come here and know I'm not alone. You're an inspiration.

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  14. Such a lovely post--thank you! And your writing is beautiful. Love the Pattons!

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  15. I love your honesty about life and raising a family! I follow another blog that makes child-raising seem absolutely idyllic all the time, so much so that it just doesn't seem real. Everyone's always happy, every day is a professional photo shoot picking berries in sundresses, and it's just a little much. I'm always thinking - why doesn't this writer tell me the truth? It's so much more interesting (and much funnier). So, thank you. Yours is the one blog I never skim over.

    p.s. I cannot get enough of your Conversations with Julia series, and I'm expecting Conversations with Bash ASAP :). xoxo

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  16. Oh Grace, sorry for your loss.

    I think... so many things that I am way to scared to type online, but most of all... it is important that we are not in control...and what an absolute gift gift gift each of our babies is - I keep being completely amazed by the kicking of the new little one inside of me and remembering that it is a GIFT that they even make it to this stage, and praying so much that I get to hold them in my arms and watch them grow and develop and learn to kiss and hug... so exciting to be on another adventure with another sweet baby. And...clinging to the fact that we're not "done" even if we have one boy and one girl... we are not "done" until God says that we are done, because he is the giver of the greatest gifts, and it is our "job" to appreciate and receive with joyfulness what he is giving...

    Sorry for rambling! Much love to you all at the Camp.

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  17. Oh can't people be rotten? They sure can. I get negative 'spacing comments' and I have *only* two and they are two years and 1 month apart. Many people have told me how I have 'two such young and close together' children and I think: really? One is one and one is three. That's close?

    And I'm sorry about the false positive. My prayers are with you.

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  18. I'm really sorry for anyone who would look at your beautiful kids and loving husband and think negatively about your family. You and Simon seem like great parents, and I admire your openness to whatever God's plan for your family is.

    By far, this is one of your best posts (and I pretty much say that about everything you post, but this time, it really is).

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  19. I love your blog because you don't talk about all the roses and glitter and unicorns of parenthood. Anyone with half a brain knows you love your kids and you love having them, even though it's hard. And it is. Like you said, I am sometimes desperate for validation that other moms have it just as hard as I do. Strength in numbers.

    And on that subject, I admire you for holding fast to your faith and allowing God's influence to prevail in your family. Truly. I'm a practicing Mormon and while we do believe in having lots and lots of babies, I'm not great at it. I wish I had your courage.

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  20. Just remember next time a crazy comes calling - for every ten crazies who don't understand how you could do this every day or who get scared of having kids after seeing a glimpse of your life, there's at least one crazy like me who's jealous of your life and who wishes her empty womb would as blessed as yours.

    Some of us envy you - triple diaper bombs and all.

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  21. I loved this post, it was probably my favorite out of all of them. We get asked so often why we don't use NFP considering we have three boys in three years and the youngest has what was just diagnosed as a potentially fatal genetic disorder. Ultimately, my response is that my children bring me so much joy and I would never consider putting my plans before God's. If we are meant to have 20 children all with genetic metabolic disorders- thanks be to God!

    On a slightly unrelated note, it took our youngest almost dying multiple times for me to get to the point that the kids do not stress me out everyday. I remind myself that I would much rather have a dirty, loud, and crazy house than one void of all of those things.

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  22. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss! It is never easy, no matter when it happens. And I think your blog is great! I take a lot of solace that someone else out there has the same issues as me, and gets many of the same trite and tired comments about children and child spacing (see Simcha Fisher's excellent post for snappy comebacks on the topic!)

    This is a great post--motherhood is the best, and it is the worst, and I think you have captured that nicely.

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  23. Honestly, your stories of Julia, Bash, and Theo make me want to have *more* kids. You are such an amazing mom and they are unbelievably adorable kids. I'm so sorry about the positive turned negative test. :(

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    1. I have to agree with everything Hallie said. Everything.

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  24. I really am grateful that you share your view of life and fertility. It has influenced mine in a very positive way. All your kids--the ones you have now and your future ones--are blessed to have you as a mom. And I can honestly say that your kids make me want to have more than one! I really look forward to the day when my son can have a sibling.

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  25. Best post you've ever written. I'll be honest, your blog has made me scared of having kids at times—and this is coming from an oldest of 7. I adore your blog's honesty, but it's also so good to hear that it's not all messes and frustration all the time with a bunch of little kids around. Positivity looks good on you, Grace. :)

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  26. Love your blog and loved this post! I'm so sorry to hear about your false positive and all the internet/real-life mean comments. As another mom who literally feels like "cause of death: driving insane by whining" might appear in her obituary but an hour after bedtime is showing her husband more cute pics/videos of their offspring, thank you for doing what you do!

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  27. I think because of pregnancy, your amazing honesty and the image of you two getting a false positive just made me cry through the whole post. Seriously though because I started crying when I just read the title!

    Loved this post, Grace. I could go on and on about it. Your family is amazing.

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  28. Oh come on, no more honey until they're 10?! I think it's so sweet when mine asks for Honey Toast- it reminds me of Winnie the Pooh I think...Rethink the honey for a moment. Maybe just in another month we can revisit it.

    To each his/her own, Graceface. Judge not, etc. XO

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  29. I love this blog and it makes me sad that people post mean comments. I hope you find the strength to just ignore the haters and carry on. I have four energetic (read: crazy) boys and they're young (none of them in school yet) so I love reading your posts because I know I'm not the only one running through Costco on the crazy train with their kids. I'm also sorry about the false positive, it hurts to get your hopes up only to have them dashed. Just remember God has timing in everything...He is never late. Chin up - you have honey smears to find in your house.

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  30. I loved this! Everyone has already said it better, but this is everything I love about NFP in one post. It is so...I don't know....freeing, to let God be in control of our family size and the spacing. As mothers, we have enough to worry about, whether we have 1 kid or 10. And seriously, having 7 is so much easier than 1. I am so sorry about your false positive and for the sadness after. Our capacity to love even the smallest of people is truly amazing. It's really too bad about the negative comments. Those that can't see past their own selfishness or guilt or anger, hurt etc...really miss a lot of joy. Keep telling it like it is. We love you for it!

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  31. Sorry people were mean to you, you guys are awesome! I always get the your hands are full crap and my kids are 6, 4 1/2, and in my belly. So I think that's a little ridiculous. I keep getting asked if I am having twins by complete strangers every time I leave the house and I'm only 30 weeks, and I'm not over weight so... The point is it's nobody's business! I personally love the fact that you are putting the real deal on mommyhood out there. It is a crazy mess, but I'm sure we wouldn't have it any other way.

    Sorry about the false positive, I had the exact same thing happen a few years ago. It's a total bummer.

    Anyway, you are awesome! Don't let those crazy peeps get you down!

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  32. Love your blog. Thanks for writing.

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  33. Personally, I love your blog (I even started a thread on GOMI about how awesome you are in their SOMI section, I know stalker much). I am so sorry to hear about the haters out there. The internet creates this weird anonymous world people turn into nasty little trolls, and that sucks. At the same time, the internet creates this weird anonymous where people like me can follow your blog and find comfort in your honesty.

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  34. Please know that you and your sweet kids make at least one person excited to have children. And lots of them!

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  35. Oh dear. People on the internets really can be cruel. For what it is worth, I don't think the world will ever really understand natural family planning let alone natural family lack-of-planning. What you're doing is a beautiful thing. Sorry for the potential loss. Whether it was a false positive or a chemical pregnancy, it is still a loss and I can only imagine the plumeting feeling you had when ehm, things, started back up. Prayers for you Grace and seriously, haters gonna hate.

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  36. Babies are such gifts! Thanks for your post. Captive audience to speak to!

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  37. I can't believe anyone would think little of you as a parent, wife, person, human being. I think you are fabulous and I've never even met you. I feel like I know you because of what and how you write. You don't make me dread parenthood - you make me excited for it. It's so nice to FINALLY see someone being real about the confusion/frustration/hard work that parenting is because when I see all these perfect moms using cloth diapers, homemade baby food, handmade onesies, etc. I get worried that I can't be Super Mom! In fact, I've penned a post about this exact topic for next week. I look to you for inspiration, encouragement, and relatability. It's nice to know that I won't be the only one struggling. And I have to say I'm so so sorry that you got a false positive. I think NFP is perfect for you and your family and it's working for YOU. Maybe not the way someone else thinks it should, but it's not for them. And we aren't truly the ones in control anyway. (as you clearly stated) I love you. I love reading about your kids (the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hilarious). I constantly find myself sharing pictures from your instagram with my husband and friends, calling you my friend, and sharing stories of your child bearing days. Don't every stop being you - you rock.

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  38. So, I'm an agnostic-atheist (I don't much care if there's a god or not, but I do not believe in any sort of "afterlife") and I don't want kids, and to be honest I'm not crazy about large biological families...
    but that's my business, and your having very different beliefs is your business.
    I read your blog because I think you're hilarious, and because I can relate some of your stories to my six nieces and nephews and most of my friends have kids and I don't dislike kids, we just don't want any of our own. And I definitely like dry and self-aware humor.
    Basically what I'm saying is that I don't understand why people would leave negative comments on your space. I think the internet makes the world smaller in both good and bad ways. We are able to maintain close friendships with people who know who no longer live near us, and we are able to develop close friendships with people we've never met face-to-face, but it also makes people feel far too comfortable intruding on someone else's life and choices, even when that person isn't harming anyone, isn't being rude, and didn't force the reader to spend time on his/her site/blog/FB/etc. If you don't like someone's blog, don't read it. It's not that hard! Negative comments just make the commenter look like an ass, really.

    And sure, there are times I read your posts and think "man, she's crazy!" But I just really hate running. ;)

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  39. First of all, I'm SO sorry for your dashed hopes of a new little one. That is hard when you mentally start to prepare for a new child, only to have your heart broken when you find out that these plans will never (or at least this month) come to fruition due to numerous circumstances. I think anyone that has ever dealt with infertility/miscarriage/chemical pregnancy can sympathize.

    Secondly, God bless you both for being such great witnesses to life! God will undoubtedly reward you, especially for putting up with such nasty comments (both in person and online.) I love the fact that you LOVE your kids with all of your heart, and see them as the biggest blessings ever, BUT acknowledge that motherhood is hard, hard, hard. If we didn't know that other mom's were dealing with the same things that we are, wouldn't we feel like failures and so alone?

    Thirdly, have I ever mentioned that the Pacific Northwest (namely Walla Walla, WA) is a lovely place to live?? You should totally check it out after residency! There are plenty of NFP minded families out yonder that would frequent Simon's practice I'm sure. A Catholic hospital, hot summers, fair winters, and a wine mecca = marvelous!

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  40. I absolutely love this post ! Please do not quit. Camp Patton is a part of my day. I love reading your daily blog posts and most importantly your sweet Instagram pics!! Makes me sad there are hateful people out there sticking their nose and unwanted opinions into your business! Those people need more faith in their life!

    Hoping #4 comes your way soon!! You are a great mom!!

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  41. I think it's obvious through all of your silly posts and stories of your kids that you love them dearly. And if we could have more control over those sorts of things, I would gladly opt to have all of mine close together. Will I be saying that when one actually arrives? Who knows. But, I think you are awesome, and your kids are adorable. And here's to hoping for more and more!

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  42. I love how real and honest your blog is. I hate the comments people love to give and I am all too familiar with them because we have 3 as well and my oldest will be four next month. Keep blogging about real life because when I finally get the kids down for nap time and get to read your daily post it is nice to know I am not the only one holding on by a very tiny fragile hair.

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  43. I love you for being so real and down to earth!!! We are NFP-ers too... with our brood of two boys that are 15 months apart! HA! You know what irritates me!?! I'm gonna tell ya... it always seems like the people who are all like, "MY BODY MY CHOICE!" "PRO-CONTRACEPTION!" are the SAME people who question US about our decision to be OPEN TO LIFE! They want us, the world, the church to stay out of their bedroom and vagina... but then they turn and haggle us with all the crazy comments and sneers. Double standard. I'm calling it. Ok this is long. Just wanted to throw out my support and say that I think you guys are awesome for helping keep the world populated with good people!!!! We're on your team, Pattons. We're on your team. :-)

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  44. I had no idea you had such negativity coming from other people! I never take any of your posts seriously. I feel like your posts are true, and as frustrating as having small children are, venting about it in a humorous way is...funny! Laughter is one of life's best medicines in my opinion. If you can't laugh about it you'll probably just cry. right? Any way, don't let the Nay Sayers drag you down.

    As far as having children so close in age: I can relate. I often get asked, "Are they twins?" "No, they are 10 months apart in age." People usually follow up with inappropriate comments. I just roll my eyes in my mind, slap on a fake laugh and move on. I feel like God is teaching me a lesson though. I used to question why people had so many children when I would see them in public, and now that I have three, I totally understand why they have them. Kids are fun, and the good Lord has taught me not to question other people anymore. It wasn't nice of me to question others! lol.

    I would have loved to have a fourth but the hubs put his foot down on me. Sigh...oh well.

    I'm also sorry to hear about the false positive. It has happened to me before, so I understand the disappointment. :) Keep your chin up!

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  45. I'm sorry you have to hear horrible things like that, when being a parent is already hard even on the best of days! And I'm also sorry for the loss you had with the false pregnancy. But do know that you do give encouragement to us people trying to have big families too. You and your husband are living a truly pro-life lifestyle and should be supported and congratulated! Your love and admiration for your adorable, hilarious kids is evident and shines through, especially in posts like this. May God bless you all!

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  46. You are wonderful, your blog is WONDERFUL, and I find encouragement, much comedic relief, and solidarity in your posts. Yours was one of the first blogs I'd come across in my research of NFP - and I'm so glad it was! As a sister in Christ, I love you, and I'm glad Camp Patton is around :)xoxoxo

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    1. And, I teared up about your quick positive test. I'm so sorry for the disappointment, and I'm pray we'll be reading about all sorts of fun pregnancy and Mis/ter NextPatton's adventures soon :)

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  47. So bummed that you got faked out about #4. That's a tough one to get all excited and then let down. Here's hoping #4 isn't too far down the road :)

    Honestly, I must say that while I too find some solidarity in your funny stories, I really read because I love seeing life with littles and the joys. Behind every funny challenge is joy. Those little faces are adorable. I love seeing a happy, young family living out their calling to raise saints (no pressure). God bless every one of your children whether you ultimately have three or thirty (ha! Now THAT would be blog fodder, fo sho!).

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  48. I love this post. If at all possible, maybe my favorite. I have never taken your recants of your day of being negative, I have always seen it as a way for you to bring humor to motherhood. I don't understand why anyone thinks it's their business as to how many children other people have. And I hate mean comments, i do a monthly infertility prayer project I started for women to share their journeys and success stories and someone told me that after such a long time that maybe "God was sending me a message I wasn't supposed to be a mother and to listen to what He was trying to show me by not allowing me to get pregnant"...Yeah. I would have liked to Van Gogh both middle fingers and maybe toes;) keep it up. Love every second.

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  49. So sorry people are mean! Love your kids, love your blog! I never for a minute doubted why you write the "non-boring" things you or your kids think/saydo....but, humor is often the best form of communication. And, like I said, love your blog.

    One of my husband's favorite things is when I get to tell him, hear what Julia said now! He knows just who Julia is, though he's never read your blog.

    I often reflect how life has changed for SAHMs and working Mom's: together, we make our own village, and dearie me, do we ever need it! You, dear Grace, have one fine, large sized village!!

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  50. I'm so sorry about the false positive. I've had one, too and it's quite a range of emotion to experience. I love your blog and how honest you are, but you already know that!

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  51. Sorry to hear about your positive to negative test, but I know you will have many more positives in the future.

    And, maybe this is too much, but I might as well just lay it all out there: When I think of having more kids and wondering when the next will come and if I am ready, I always think about you, seriously. I often wonder if I can do it, but I just admire how well you have done with your three and counting, and I know I can do it too. You're kind of my blogging NFP hero and I wish we lived closer ;) Ending the mushy.

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  52. Oh goodness, Grace, I know what it's like to "start your cycle" when excited about a potential pregnancy. We've used NFP to avoid for a while now because of my husband's (no) job situation and it sucks. Every months I hoped that God would make us one of the .3% or whatever that got pregnant while using NFP correctly and every month we weren't. Boo. I would much rather have celebrated our third anniversary with an announcement of baby #3 but instead we only have one. One that we love and are so grateful for, of course, but I see your (beautiful) family and think I would love it for us, the messes, and poop incidences and frustrations at all. Sorry you get nasty comments. I'm hoping someday I'll get them too and wear them as a badge of honor (but I'll probably really be sad too).

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  53. Oh, and I wanted to ask you this: How do you feel about actually being pregnant? I am not a huge fan of the nine months, but I just love the end result ;) If you are like me, how do you keep it copasetic?

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  54. I need to apologize to you. As you know, I have told you that your blog makes me fear AND want kids. Call me stupid, but I had NO idea that would make you feel terrible. If I had realized, I would've NEVER wrote it. I feel awful knowing that what I've said makes you feel bad. I would never say anything (on purpose) to make you feel terrible. I'm sorry.

    I need to remember that despite feeling like we know each other through the Internet, you don't know me personally so my written words can be easily misunderstood. Oddly enough, when I tell you that your writing makes me fear kids, I mean it as a compliment! Let me explain.

    I have been so indifferent and scared to have children - only in a bad way - forever. But the way you write so humorously and honestly it makes me excited to (Lord willing) have kids! I don’t like to read the sugar-coated mom blogs. I prefer glass half-empty, real, notsuperhuman mom stuff. You make it obvious that through all of the difficulties of raising children, it’s worth it. That makes me - someone who must have had a baby fever immunization - excited to have children someday. The good and the bad.

    Again, I’m sorry. Sorry for what I said and I'm sorry for your positive to negative test. Thank you for being so open about the ups and down of children – it gives me hope! And may your family be blessed with many more beautiful Patton babies. :)

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  55. I just want you to know that your blog encourages my excitement to be a mom (hopefully soon) someday. I adore reading about those babies, and i laugh, sometimes to tears, at their imagination. Thank you for a TRULY inspirational blog.

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  56. I follow you on instagram, and it is my daily laugh. I am a mum of four, 7,5,3,1.. I get all sorts of comments that make me want to cover my childrens ears. I have mostly settled on, sometimes I hate being a mom. there I said it. but thats not why I became a mom. to make myself happy every lasting minute. For all the tears and exhaustion and, how the heck do I navigate this, thoughts...I wouldn't trade it for all the peace on God's green earth. or maybe thats exactly what I have ;) It is so refreshing to hear someone with wit and sarcasm, not put up a front. Real is refreshing. Its wonderful to know someone else isn't as perfect as those friggin moms who craft and cook and smile and never hate it. thank you!!

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  57. I'm pregnant with my first and your blog makes me EXCITED to have this baby and even more! I agree with Kate- haters gonna hate.

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  58. Thanks for sharing! I love reading Catholic Mom blogs because I think it helps keep me in the right frame of mind about being open to life and not being "done." Your kids are beautiful. Sorry to hear about your false positive.

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  59. Ha! I love this post. So fun. My son's name is Sebastian too! It took us a year and a half to get pregnant with him and we've been trying for 2 yrs for another. Nothing yet. I still have hope!

    I don't think it is anybody's business how many kids you have, why or how you have them. Go for it girl! Multiply and replenish the earth!

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  60. Also I think you hit the nail on the head about the struggle of "giving up" control (as if we had it in the first place), of NFP. I think that, and the constant lessons in self-control (when trying to avoid) are difficult but hopefully sanctifying! :)
    Thanks again for blogging!

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  61. You love your babies so hard, and I'm glad your 3 call you & Simon "mom&dad"...and hope a few more do in the future. Since when do people think it's acceptable to judge parents & their kids, whether it's 1,2,15,or 38?? . Your wonderful, down to earth, parents who are letting their kids enjoy who they re right how - which is crazy, fun, trying, sweet, embarrassing, dirty, whatever toddlers & babies are at their age. :).

    On the flip side, I get an awful lot of unsolicited comments from strangers about my LACK of a brood except for my one...and it hurts the same bc people may not realize that fertility isn't as easy as the snap of a finger even for those who've already had a child. Anyway, just wanted to give you a virtual fist bump p, and I hope you know how many loyal fan girls you have out there. :)

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    1. *You're /Ok, maybe I would raise the eyebrows *a 1/4 cm* if you had 38. :p

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  62. I've had to train my blog readers to understand that I blog about things that are blog worthy - in other words - things that don't happen every day, things that are unusual or that I want to remember (or forget) or that weigh heavily on my heart and mind. So if I don't mention eating dinner, it's because we eat dinner every day. If I mention going out for dinner or a particularly unhealthy dinner it's because it's out of the ordinary. I assume that the toddler trials that are blogworthy are because they're unusual. That's point one. Point two is that I read your blog because you're transparent and self-deprecating and honest. I don't want to read a Martha Stewart mommy blog where a woman has a perfect house and perfect kids and a perfect attitude. I don't need anybody to make me feel guilty for not measuring up. I know what it's like to raise kids and if it's perfect than either you're lying or you have paid help or OCD. I don't have a clue about NFP although if I had waited to start reproducing until after I had graduated high school then I might have made more informed decisions about the spacing of my children. Don't let the trolls beat you up. You're a rock star in my book, Gracie. *hugs* Heather

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  63. :) Isn't there something in the bible that says, "If the world hates you, it is because it has hated me also.." (John 15:18) Take it as a good sign you are doing something right, although painful.

    Awesome, awesome post!

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  64. I wish I knew more RL people like you. I feel like a closet NFPer. Ours are 13 mos apart and the comments were no fun. Keep up the honesty and openness. :)

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  65. You are awesome. Whatever number of kiddos you have - they'll be lucky to call you their mama. Love your honesty and perspective.

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  66. Love this post! People are ridiculous, and you shouldn't listen to them. I see absolutely nothing wrong with when you've decided to have children---I sometimes wonder how you do it and think you're superwoman, but that's coming from a woman who is 19 weeks along with her first child and is already overwhelmed with taking care of a fetus. You're babies are so adorable, and I love your take on life and raising a family. Please don't change or filter your posts, I will cry. Seriously.

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  67. Grace,
    I love reading your blog and while I only have one 4month old nugget, I can't wait to have more and I so appreciate your honest, hilarious, and humble posts because "keeping it real" is SO VERY refreshing!

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  68. Your kids are cute, and your life is real. ANY parent who doesn't identify with your life is a big fat liar. I've never ever read a post {and I'm a creepy stalker and I read them all} and not found myself cracking up and shaking my head in agreement. I have two littles and a third due soon, and knowing that there are other moms who think going to Costco is a grand outing is what keeps me going during the times when I think I might die. You're real and we love you for it.

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  69. *CLAP CLAP CLAP* Great post!

    As you know, I am one of those readers who emailed asking about the spacing of your kids. Yep, not really my business! But I hope you know it was not from a place of judgment, but rather one of being genuinely curious about how NFP works.

    Oh, and sorry for your disappointment/loss. xoxo

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  70. I love reading your posts! Hearing about your kids and how close they are in age makes me want just that, a growing family with kids close in age (who I am sure will be so incredibly close as they get older).You are so very blessed, and I love reading about the good, the bad, the cute, and the ugly :)

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  71. You know what I say when people make comments about how many kids I have (and I only have three and they're pretty spaced) "how many kids I have is between me, my husband and God". Recently I have told my husband that I'll just say I'm pregnant (even though I'm not) just to see their reaction. I love everything about everything you write and I know you absolutely adore your three little ones, don't let these stupid comments get you down please :D <3

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  72. Grace, this may be one of my favorite posts that you've ever written! We aren't doing NFP, but there are times that I am seriously tempted to switch to it because of what you share. You don't have three kids, you have three blessings. Unfortunately, not everyone can see that and they have to be meanies. Seriously though, who is saying those mean things? I'm pretty sure that me and the rest of the blogworld can go beat them up for you. Just let me know and I'll make some calls.

    Also, that first picture...Theo's face! Oh My Gosh! When will he be here to meet his girlfriend?

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  73. Grace,
    I'm sorry for the disappointment (I know that word doesn't suffice) and potential heartbreak of your recent pregnancy. I don't know you well, but if it were me, I'd be feeling very down about it--to say the least, having lost a baby last year.

    I wish we could rename NFP to something else that many of us really feel it is: knowing we aren't in control of our fertility when it really comes down to it, and trusting the Lord to do His work in His time. That would be a really looooooong acronym.

    I read your post yesterday, about Costco, and I kept thinking how much you would probably love Amaz.on Mom, but then it doesn't offer free samples and the fresh air of the cold room for the kiddos.

    Anywho, it baffles me when people can't keep their tongues in check before they say things that are so rude. I hope you don't take them too much to heart, because we CampPatton lovers out here are on your team. We relate, we commiserate, and we rejoice in your kids and their follies. There are three beautiful little lives you're working in, Grace. And we recognize it, whether the rest of the world does or not.

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  74. Thanks for such a wonderful post. And if it makes you feel any better...there are people who are just as insensitive to parents like me, who have a one and only child. I just love how people have no qualms asking "So..you didn't want anymore children" or how they qualify stories about misbehaving kids with "well...he's an only child". I never realized how much it hurt until I had a wonderful friend who happened to be an only child tell me all of the positive things from her childhood- completely unprompted. Let's just say that was the one and only time that happened. So, I think I just need to craft a calm response for those "you didn't want more kids?" questions to let them know it's not about what we wanted but about what God wanted. Okay...venting done! Thanks!

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  75. It seems sometimes like some of your readers and I must be reading completely different blogs. I think your blog is a phenomenal witness to the beauty of God's love as manifested in a family. I'd probably go cry in a corner if I received some of the feedback you've gotten, but I'm soooooooo glad you continue to rise above it and share your stories/thoughts with us.

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  76. I have a 4, 3, 2 and 5 1/2 month old. They are close together, and to the horror of other Catholics, we do not use NFP. I too hate negative obtrusive comments such as, "You should get fixed" and so forth, particularly right after I have suffered a miscarriage. It's okay to have babies! Society has become selfish, and I hate being judged because we are not! Your children are sooo blasted cute! :)

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  77. Your children are beautiful and I LOVE the honesty and vulnerability in your writing. Your posts make my day, everyday!

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  78. Great post, Grace! It is sad that we as practicing Catholics are divided about NFP. No one should look at a family with five in five years or a family with two in 15 years and pass judgment. If people are of good will and love the Lord we should assume the best. And of course, charity tells us that no one has the right to pass judgment on another person. God love you for lovingly accepting each child God gives you and Simon. I love the awesome testimony you express through your openness to life. Also, I'm sorry for your loss. My prayers go out to you and Simon at this time.
    P.S. We went to Franciscan too! I think we may have taken the same classes a few times. I'm from the class of 2006, maiden name Forsman :)

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  79. Amazingly said...all of it! I could not agree more because I go through the same thing. I wouldn't trade my craziest day with my 3 little babes for an "easier life". I hate that when i take all 3 kids out I get questions like "wow 3 kids so close in age, you do know how that happens right?" Yes people I do know how it happens I was quite coherent during the process thank you. I appreciate that you write about the honest part of pregnancy, parenting, stay at home mom insanity. It does make other moms, like myself feel like I am not alone. It is refreshing that you take on so much while your husband works long hours. My husband is in the military and I get told too many times that I knew what I was getting myself into and that 3 kids is a lot. But I disagree these are the miracles that I am able to spend my days with, and everyone has their number, what they think they can handle. Your babies are healthy and happy what more could anyone ask for...

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  80. Gosh. Those comments are hurtful. I don't see them on my blog, but in person. People can say such hurtful things about the size of our family. We have never used NFP. We're not trying to avoid it, but I would like to start charting just for the benefits it provides, like knowing when something may not be right with my body. Sometimes the thought of another baby is a little scary, not because of the baby, but because of the comments I hear about the timing of the pregnancy and all. I'll be praying for your sweet family and the blessing of a new little one!

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  81. (Im being lazy and didnt read through the above comments so forgive me if this is a repeat)

    !!!!!!!!!!! This post was just what I needed to read today. !!!!

    Your 3 under 3 gives me faith that when 3 makes its apperence in our family, we will be just fine. It makes me so happy to see large families, because there is so much love among them. I guess I sort of understand, but not really, why anyone would judge a family who is blessed with children. We mama's are lucky to have our happy, healthy charges and I believe every family is given children that they can handle, though sometimes it is a challenge.
    Also, personally, I think your "complaints" about your kids are justified solely based on the fact that there is no mother out there who doesn't complain. And it's pretty obvious that you love them deeply and completely.

    But mostly, I want more children because of families like yours: big, beautiful, loving families. Thanks again, Grace for wearing your heart on your blog!

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  82. This is a great post, and not to be redundant (but to be totally redundant), I love your blog-- it makes me excited to have a whole bunch of kids. It hasn't been in the cards yet, but maybe soon. Plus, I love to complain about basically everything (this is probably bad, but it just feels so good) so it's nice to read things that aren't all sunshine and roses all the time, because real life sure isn't.

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  83. Never commented before (but I do "like" an inordinate amount of your pictures on Instagram because I am THAT creepy person) but I just wanted to say I agree! My husband and I have had multiple conversations about the fact that society views children as a nuisance, and Christians are some of the worst offenders (shame on them!) even though the Bible teaches that children are a blessing. A snotty, messy, whiny blessing, but a blessing nonetheless. We don't have kids yet, but we do FAM (which I've been told is the same thing as NFP except we use a barrier method instead of abstain during fertile days (TMI?) because we are scandalous) to avoid pregnancy because we're hoping to foster-to-adopt (there are a ton of kids stuck in the system waiting for homes in our town. Just wanted to say your blog cracks me up and I regularly read parts of it out loud to my husband. Don't let the haters get to you. Yay for kids and big families!!

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  84. I'm so glad to see you being so honest. I was the same way - it's FUNNY the things that the kids can do, and yes, it's exhausting and frustrating, but way WAAAAAY more than exhausting and frustrating is ful-filling and fun and the best thing we ever did. We "only" have 4 and I'd have more if I were younger. I'm sorry you had to explain. I always love your blog and think that you do sooooooo much better than I did at explaining with humor the things that really do happen with young children. I know that love is behind it all. Great post, Grace!

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  85. I'm totally jealous of you "Fertile Myrtle" types, but I can absolutely see why God trusts you with your 3 precious little lives (and hopefully many more). You handle it with grace (ha!) and hilarity that makes the rest of us look like complete amateurs.

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  86. "of course my initial reaction was to pull a modern Van Gogh and email her my middle finger but" THANKYOU for the laugh... I guess some of the cranky commenters have never learned the meaning of the words "humor" or "satire". I cannot tell you how much I enjoy looking at the photos of your little rascals, reading your Simon says posts, oh heck all of your posts. It does make me very sad to read about the negative comments from strangers. So keep blogging, our beloved Pope Francis just told the youth to go and make and mess, and the Patton's are just following his orders ;-)

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  87. I know this is going to be redundant... but I also LOVE your blog. I am expecting my first baby and reading your hilarious stories doesn't scare me at all! I can tell you love motherhood even with(maybe even because of?) its daily battles. You really know how to keep it real without being negative, a skill many bloggers, myself included, don't have. And for all those people that make thoughtless, judgmental, rude comments, they can just shove it. There's always someone that is going to disapprove, isn't there?

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  88. Listen, Grace, NFP is not my thing, but I try to keep as my life motto that there are 400 zillion right ways to live that are not necessarily the way I choose to live. One thing I love about reading a lot of blogs is learning other people's "right ways" and broadening my own horizons. I have learned so much from you about openness and joy in having a large family. And I have never doubted that you love your children with everything you've got.

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  89. Thanks for sharing, Grace! Love this post. Thank you for your refreshing realness. Keep it comin'. And remember mean girls (guys) never win. :)

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  90. When I'm out with my four kids under 7 (all 20 months apart) I get a ton of weird looks and snide comments and it use to make me mad but now I just feel sorry for them. They don't have what I have. They don't know what I know. I have a house, and very messy minivan, full of love. My kids drive me bonkers, but they also complete me and show my God's love everyday. So bring on the pathetic looks and comments...I can handle it!

    You're doing an awesome job, and your posts are awesome.

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  91. love your blog. love this post. sorry for your loss.

    you make me feel not so crazy for having four kids and the crazy things that happen here (even though my oldest is 7 and it's definitely a little quieter here). just keep doing it please. ignore the haters b/c haters gonna hate.

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  92. People always make misinformed comments about whatever makes you noticable (I'm 6'1'). Parenting is Hard no matter how many you have...
    I just had a late-by-a-week pregnancy mystery. I felt such a peace about it, then boom. I guess I want #3 more than I thought :)
    Also I have really been enjoying your latest posts more, not sure if you consciously changed something, but they seem different :)

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  93. Hi Grace,

    I loved this post! I'm a fellow FUS and NFP mama! We only have 2 little girls right now and luckily people still expect us to have at least one more...because now we need a little boy, right?! I love your humor and blog! Keep up the hard work, minus the ruudde comments that may come your way ;)

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  94. I don't know if this will make you feel better, but there is the flip side of the coin. We get asked ALL the time why we don't have children, why we're so selfish as to not have children, when are we going to stop being selfish, when will we start our "real" lives with children, etc., etc. From family to strangers. We are also SUPER good at NFP (we're both fertile, so for sure it's the NFP). I mean, we could be the poster children ... er, adults for NFP and why it works. I've learned to put a window up. The comments of others simply do not touch me. My life is between me, my husband, and God. Everyone else and their opinions can take a hike.

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  95. Grace, I had 8 pregnancies in 9 years and 4 went to heaven. Our 4 daughters are 5 1/2 years from oldest to youngest. I now, at 57, care for 4 grandchildren...4,3,2,1 and a newborn come Sept.

    We ( all Catholics embracing the Church's teachings) are doing God's will and the example we set every time we go out the door graces our Lord.

    Keep writing, keep mothering, keep loving those little ones!

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  96. So very sorry, Grace and Simon, for your loss. You definitely are in my prayers.

    I like that you keep it real. It's really nice to hear you gushing happily about your kids, but you have a daily battle too and it is a breath of fresh air to get your perspective. You haven't scared me from having kids at all! I really am shocked that people have the cojones to make such negative comments (or facial expressions) about families. [1] Who do they think they are?!!?!? [2] Where do they get the idea that that is at all okay or acceptable??!! [3] They are so ignorant (and in dire need of a boot in the @ss).

    I think you are incredibly cool, Grace. On more than one occasion, I have declared that I want to be your best friend!

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  97. I was so sad on Monday when I started my cycle, because I was 80% sure I was pregnant, and I had became very attached to little baby. We need to wait a little longer, because I had 2 c-sections in 16 months and our youngest is only 9 months, so there is potential health hazards. But, still. I had to mourn the idea of the baby who I thought was joining us.

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  98. Your posts always put a smile on my face. Sorry you're getting harassed by haters!

    And I loved this post in particular :) I've been half-cringing at all the "getting it over now" comments that I've been getting when people discover that I'm pregnant and #1 isn't even 1 yet and based on how I'm feeling these last few days they may not even be a full 12 months apart, but... (not to mention how it's OK because presumably as long as we get a girl this time it makes sense to have our matching set *shudder*). Not looking forward to the post-birth consultations with the doctors and midwives about the birth control method I've chosen and the snide looks that accompany my apparent naivete over using NFP...I didn't realise it was such a crime to have babies!

    Anyway, you make parenting seem humorous and give me some hope for having two of the little ankle-biters crawling around and causing chaos :)

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  99. I think that what may be a little confusing for us non-Catholic readers is that we think that NFP is something that you mindfully do to either attempt to get pregnant or attempt not to get pregnant. It sounds more to me like what you're doing is having sex regularly and being ok with whatever happens. Ain't nuthin' wrong with that... but is it NFP? Is that what you're doing? 'Cause that's what I'm doing because we'd like to have numero 4 one of these days, but I'm Protestant, and we don't call it NFP. We call it "letting it ride".... :)

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  100. Nothing but love for the Campponites over here!

    So sorry about the negative pg!

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  101. I love this post! I've been reading every once in a while for a couple months but only now do I feel like I get you. And no it's none of my business whether your kids were spaced intentionally but after reading this I just feel like I get where you're coming from and I suddenly like you a whole lot more.

    PS - used NFP to avoid for 2 years and to get pregnant in the first month of trying, I don't like that stale joke either

    PPS - I did like the little glimpse of the sweet things your kids do that you included in this post

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  102. Hi Grace, I'm a new reader but have quickly fallen in love with your blog. :) It's funny how people just assume that they know about us. My two are 25 months apart, and I receive compliments for how well I spaced them, like I did it on purpose (and even if I did, why the heck is it their business?) I only had two cycles before getting pregnant again and we weren't TTA or TTC - it was just how it happened. (And in one of my moms groups - the one that isn't Catholic, ha - I regularly hear people talking about getting the babyness "over with", and even though there are aspects of it that drive me nuts I love it, love it, love it. I like that I may very well get to enjoy a baby when I also have a teenager... or two..and other "big kids" who are competent enough to help out with things around the house.)

    I really appreciate your posting about the up and down times. Most times I find them hilarious and resonate with them even when I know they're tough. It's how I feel when #1 tries to get on the potty all by himself but starts peeing before he's positioned in the right spot and sprays all over the bathroom. What can you do but laugh?! And you're recording great stories for when they're older...

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  103. Love love love this post. I just had my second and have been feeling a little (lot) frazzled but reading your posts every day make me laugh so hard and make me love my frazzled life even more. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

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  104. Hi Grace! From the other side of the NFP fence, I just want to let you know how much avoiding is killing me right now. I have a 2yr old and a 10mo old. I dislike being pregnant and giving birth (frankly) hurts. But my ovaries & womb leapt with joy at the thought of your fourth! I am so grateful you and Simon don't have to avoid. As a missionary, I used to get so frustrated we didn't have collars. I mean, a priest makes his vocation so obvious for the world to see. Now I realize our families are our collars. Wear it proudly and accept the persecution that comes with it. For in it is our salvation. Carry on, drama mama. -Kate @ thefamilygal

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  105. My Dear Sweet Grace,
    Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for the "brutiful" look at your daily life with three small ones. Please, whatever you do, don't take to heart those haters who are suspicious and mean and really have no clue as to what NFP is or the beauty of the churches teaching on family. You and Simon have lovingly decided to go forth with brave hearts and weak stomachs to bravely face the culture of death squarely in the face and slam it back celebrating the three beautiful gifts that He has blessed you with in all their raw awesomeness.

    I am sorry for today, when your hope was dashed for the time being. God is in control and His plan is the most wonderfully awesome plan that neither you nor Simon can even imagine. How do I know this? Well Jerry and I took a very different path.One filled with mistrust and in the end the destruction of our fertility. We didn't trust God and His plan. We were young, scared and completely clueless. Then Miss Courtney arrived in our lives and we learned through a lot of pain and hardships that He has never left us alone, NEVER. He was waiting the whole time for us to recognize HIs love for each of us and our family. When we finally did, there was no going back.
    I wrote about it here: http://www.passionateperseverance.blogspot.com/2013/07/dont-do-what-we-didour-nfp-story.html

    Now we teach NFP and do whatever we can to support the pro-life message which includes supporting our friends and family with large families. We babysit, make dinners, give baby showers for baby #7, whatever we can to let them know they are not alone. EVER! Yes the harsh words hurt. Yes, the stares can make you crazy. But just remember what it feels like when you hold Theo or when Bash and Julia are happily playing together. For those 30 seconds it's pure heaven.

    God has given you three miracles and hopefully there will be many more. I can't wait to meet them. Because you are the BEST Mama made specially for those three beauties.

    SO my friend. Feel the love from all of us out here who support you 100% and take it in and put it in your heart storage for the rough days when nothing goes your way. Keep on, keeping on my friend. You are a ROCKSTAR!!

    Know it! Live it! Love God...and eat cake!
    Hugs from VA!

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  106. Oh, I would be really sad if I couldn't read tales of your kids playing in flour, or Julia says. Your blog is loved, as are you!

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  107. This post wasn't what I was expecting. I'm sorry you went through that disappointment, but I'm glad you were brave enough to share your experience. We've been going back and forth about when to have a fourth child (hopefully we will have one). It's a good reminder that we can't "plan" children. They are given and sometimes taken away. I get selfish and want to wait and I'll admit, what people think/say about my family choices effects my decisions.

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  108. Wow Grace.

    Sorry for the disappointment and loss of number #4. What a witness you are with your enthusiasm at the sight of the positive test though! This post obviously struck a chord, I'm the 117th comment and it just went up! Keep doing what you're doing.

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  109. I love that you love kids! My husband and I struggled with infertility for 3 years before we got pregnant with little Maggie. Now she is 9 months old and I want her to have a little sibling so bad. We're hoping that very soon she will be a big sister! We live in an area (right outside DC) where more than 1 kid is considered crazy since they can't go to the all exclusive everything, and I love reading your blog and seeing that I'm not crazy for wanting a huge brood of wonderful little ones. But, our cross may come in a small family and having to come to terms with and be ok with that. Keep up the good work. (Also, I had a chemical pregnancy before Maggie and it was so very hard, I'll pray for you)! NFP isn't meant solely to avoid pregnancy, it's to help you understand God's mission for you and your marriage! It drives me nuts when people treat it as birth control!

    Anyway, prayers coming your way, and keep up the awesome witness!

    Mary

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  110. I love all your stories and can so relate even though I only have one child! And we too are NFPers (what)....also not trying to avoid pregnancy......so we will see when the next comes along.

    Love this.

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  111. So sad that #4 was a false alarm/early miscarriage. I always start getting excited about a new baby from the moment I find out too! Even if life isn't always neat & perfect with kids I love each of them, and AM SO HAPPY that we have had that same mentality of accepting them as they come (never needing to "avoid" yet). I am kind of a control freak so it takes a little more trust but my life is so much more full this way. Anyway, so happy for this honest, uplifting post. My blog is more just the happy stuff (like a scrapbook for myself/my family) but I appreciate the honesty and transparency on your blog, because it is super encouraging with the day to day questions, of "does every other mom really have it that together?" P.S. You do still make it look pretty doable even with your funny stories because you always look awesome and all your kids are healthy & happy.

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  112. So sorry for your loss Grace.

    I don't chart, but am grateful to know NFP so I understand what's going on in my body.

    I'm expecting number seven now and all I can say is, when I hit menopause I'd sure rather have had too many than too few. You're blogging through the toughest part of motherhood. Keep up the good work on both counts. But I totally disagree with you that some stories about the good times would drive away readers. If you can make sponsored posts funny and entertaining I'm pretty sure you could write something worth reading about the good times too.

    Ya know, like you did today!

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  113. I love the rawness of this post. I read the whole thing with tears in my eyes! So beautifully and perfectly said. Getting pregnant 6 months into marriage, we had "abandoned" (so they call it) the method of abstaining pretty quickly and switched over to being open. After achieving, we always told people who asked "why so quickly?" that "we weren't trying, but were weren't NOT trying". I know - makes no sense. Now, with our almost 3 week old, we have talked about how we are going to reuse the method to postpone and intentionally space, but practically use the method to avoid. As much as I have loved Creighton, I struggle so much with NFP because I feel guilty for using it to avoid. It doesn't feel like openness to God and it doesn't feel like openness to my husband. More than anything, that's what I love most about the Church's teaching - the freely, fully, fruitfulness of marriage. I don't know anyone out of my friends who use NFP that use it completely and totally freely as you and Simon do. Reading your story has completely opened my eyes to the fullness of what marital love is supposed to be. It shows me that it's going to be okay if we end up pregnant sooner than expected. Of course I always knew that, I can just see my future self freaking out over that possible scenario. Even though I have known and will always know that it isn't up to us, reading and re-reading your words brings more peace to my heart and reassures me that we. are. not. in. control. (deep breath) :)

    Sorry for going all "here's my life story" and practically making you my counselor ;) praying for you and Simon, and the expansion of your family. xoxo

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  114. I am SO GLAD you wrote this post. Your blog is my absolute FAVE and I talk about it way too much. Right now, my husband and I are overwhelmed with our 3 little ones (ages 5, 2, and 1), but when my littlest was about 7 months old I started thinking -- "I'm ready for another whenever God is." Currently we are using NFP to avoid a pregnancy, but I'm glad that it is ultimately in God's hands and I'm so thankful for blogs like yours that celebrate children and life in all its ups and downs.

    And I was SOOOO excited when I thought you were going to have #4 and SOOOOO disappointed when it was a false positive. *sigh*

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  115. I will personally beat up all mean comment(er)s.

    Grace, I hope you know (if not, now you do!) what an inspiration to me you are. I share your posts on my Facebook daily with little notes like, "Take a deep breath, Christie, Grace can do it, so can you!" and "Thank God there is Someone Else out there!" And I've only got one about Julia's age.

    I think I shared this with you before (http://www.everything-to-someone.com/2013/06/potential-dangers-of-nfp-mentality.html), but this post is like a custom-made compliment to it, mirroring and building on my thoughts perfectly.

    Today, I found out there was going to be a fire inspection while I was at work, and I had to call my mother in for an emergency to clean my home just so the fireman wouldn't write me up for fire hazards and declare me an unfit parent! (These past three weeks have been worse than usual!) And when I have the (un)available time to read a horror story from your day or belly laugh 'til it hurts at Little J's insightful comments, the solidarity is so strengthening and relieving. The lack of judgement makes this such a safe place for me.

    We're only human. Just 'cause we don't feel sometimes like our children are the Best Ever doesn't mean they're not. 'Cause they are. And we're so blessed to have them.

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  116. This is the story of my life. I have 3 under 4 and am SO tired of the looks and comments. YES - I did plan it that way. NO - I'm not done. NO - I'm not trying for the boy (I have 3 girls). I would just like another BABY! We aren't NFPers but I like having my kids close in age. They are best buds ( when they aren't killing each other).

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  117. Grace, I'm so sorry for your loss :(

    Thank you for writing this post. Anyone with half a brain cell can tell in a second that you and Simon love your kids and your family life. But it was so wonderful for you to write about the joy you had at the prospect of having more. That is such a powerful witness in this day and age and it definitely was something I needed to read right now. I will say and prayer for you tonight; will you say a prayer for me?

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  118. So sorry about your loss. Hugs.

    I find your blog to be very inspiring.. and I love your tales of life with 3 young kids.

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  119. I'm sorry about the false positive/early loss. *hugs*

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  120. I also tell someone about your blog on a daily basis and I curse that our kids naptimes seem to be at the same time because then I don't get to read your post until after mine are finally in bed.

    I love your sense of humour and your faith and love for your family is inspiring. One of the reasons I love reading your blog is that you aren't just whining, you are coping, and learning and I feel like you help me do the same.

    What you have is right for your family. It isn't right for my family but that doesn't mean that I still don't feel the solidarity you speak of in being a parent. I'm sorry for your false positive because I know how much it sucks. I have two who are 20 months apart due to lack of planning and despite our initial shock and 'this isn't part of the plan' we wouldn't change it for the world now.

    It is very obvious that you love your kids and that you are a great mom and part of that comes from the confidence in knowing what is right for you and your family.



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  121. I'm so sorry :( I have six, all about 2ish years apart. Days like to day make me scream DONEDONEDONEDONEDONE!!!!!! but at the same time, I look at my almost two year old and ask her if she'd like to be a big sister. I can't imagine not having more. Good thing God is in charge, I'd muck this whole thing up even more than I have!

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  122. I am one of six kids and, while life was probably (definitely) tough for mi madre, we all loved it. I predict all of yours will too. Big families are the best.

    So sorry for your loss.

    Xo Bethany Nissley

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  124. Man. One of my best friends is an NFP practionier-in-training and has turned us all into her guinea pigs and I'm falling in love with it...as a single girl in her early 20s. Hoooowww beautifully and wonderfully and intentionally we were made.

    Rock your real-life babies and your creepy baby chart stickers with pride lady.

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  125. Man. One of my best friends is an NFP practionier-in-training and has turned us all into her guinea pigs and I'm falling in love with it...as a single girl in her early 20s. Hoooowww beautifully and wonderfully and intentionally we were made.

    Rock your real-life babies and your creepy baby chart stickers with pride lady.

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  126. Grace, so sorry about the false positive. Your blog is awesome. Thanks for having the courage to write so honestly. And to make you feel a bit better about potty training, we've been training our 2 year old for 3 months now, and he is officially worse then when we started. 3 day potty boot camp, hahahaha......

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  127. I wise person once told me, "Haters gonna hate. Potatoes gonna potate."

    The internet be crazy yo. May the haters potate in an opposite direction than the Camp.

    I shall now go drink a beer in your honor. (That may benefit me in a thinly-veiled way, as well.)

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  128. I meant "A wise person," ...so you know it wasn't me.

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  129. Love how real your blog is. Life with kids is hard! It is nice to know other people are surviving in the trenches, and haven't lost all of their ability to be humorous. Beautiful witness to NFP. All kids are blessings. Period. Not just the planned for and wanted variety. People need to hear this.

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  130. I totally teared up reading this. It may be the least cheesy, most real, both bitter and sweet love song to NFP I've ever read. Thank you for this - it was pure gift in my day. Peace.

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  131. Love this, Grace. I never know how to respond when people see my growing family and say something dreadful even if it's well-intentioned like "Lord love ya!" or "Bless your heart" as if I've been given some sort of rotten deal in life because I have three beautiful kids under the age of 5. Also, I just starting reading Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat and he has a great section about seeing the humor in parenting and the criticism it receives. Also, it's hysterically funny. Anyhow, keep on, sweet mama. And I'm so sorry about the negative test. Prayers for your lovely mama heart.

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  132. First, let me say I'm sorry about your false positive, I really think nothing is harder than wanting/hoping to be pregnant and then not being pregnant. Second, just so you know your fans come in all stripes: I'm not Catholic and 'unnaturally family plan' (code for I'm never getting pregnant again thanks to medical science and really, another toddler this far into my 40s??). No matter, I love your blog, always laugh, always feel solidarity.

    Ignore the judgey mcjudgertons who eye up your family; the public commentators on family size are not happy ever. Either you have too many or you're depriving your child of siblings by only having one or (my gripe) you're shockingly old to be a baby mama. None of their business!

    So add my van gogh finger to yours!

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  133. So sorry that the happy positive turned into a not-so-happy "not pregnant". But I'm so glad you wrote this post and shared that. And I'm so grateful that you, and many other Catholic writers, are sharing the joy of the gift of fertility and what NFP means to all of us. Changing hearts one story at a time, my friend! Love to you from Atlanta.

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  134. Your blog is one of the reasons I'm no longer afraid of having children 'too close together'. (Ours are 2 years apart, but you never know what the future holds!) You have a beautiful family.

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  135. Aw Grace this was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes! And look at all the wonderful comments, how great! And you do a great job, I'm sorry about the test situation.

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  136. Feeling the love on your blog :).

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  137. Single gal here... but reading about your adorable kiddos and the craziness of your life but still being able to see all the love that is there... just makes me want to not have to wait any longer for all of that. I want the crazy, but all the love that comes with it! But I suppose, just like NFP, God is the one in control of all this timing, right?

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  138. Dear Grace,

    Solidarity, Sister.

    Much love,

    - A Mom of Four

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  139. I love this post and I love your blog. I've never commented before, and I hope this isn't too creepy since we kind of know each other in real life -- I'm too shy to put my full name up online but I think you'll figure it out (I went to school with Simon, we all hung out at a wedding in Pittsburgh three years ago when you were pregnant with Julia, and you went to Franciscan with my cousin...). I just wanted to add another positive comment to show how small a minority the negativity is. I'm not a mom (yet), but I find your posts to be some of the most refreshing, honest, and hilarious takes on motherhood I've read anywhere online, and anyone reading it could tell how much you two love all of your kids. Keep it up!

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  140. I've already emailed you basically this same thing a few months ago, but I'll say it again: I love your blog and really really REALLY admire you and your family. I should keep count of the number of times I whip the laptop around to my husband a squeal "LOOOOKKATTHESEKIDSS!!" because it happens...it happens a lot. And for every person who says you "scare them", there are plenty more who are finding a lot of hope and understanding here. Looking forward to lots more Pattons! :) Love to you all!

    And for the record, I took the hormonal contraceptive route for a while....and it messed by body up HORRIBLY for a very long time. I remember sobbing and thinking how stupid it was that I suffered so much just to avoid getting pregnant before we were "ready". UGH. A child is such a gift, no matter when it is given. Okay, getting off the soap box now - thanks for another great post Grace!

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  141. Such a beautiful post! You are so amazing. My best friend happened to send me a blog post by a woman who was, I think, jokingly telling people to never have a third kid. It was very much the opposite of your post, so I had to send her yours... the timing couldn't have been more perfect. :)

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  142. I'm sure this is nothing new after the volumes of comments above mine... but here's a comment to balance out the meanies you get on occasion. I love everything about this post. Thank you for being so honest! NFP is not for the faint of heart! I should have said I love almost everything about this post - I'm really sorry about the false positive. The world could use a few more cute little Pattons with badass names.

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  143. Grace - I've said it before & I'll say it again: your blog is my favorite! I love how honest you are. You make me laugh more than any comedian! I hope one day you'll come meet Laura & her little Mary Margaret and we can meet your three. You inspire me! Keep doing what you're doing. God is good and in control. Such an illusion that we'd ever be in control. I am sorry for your loss.I can't wait to e-meet your future babies, too.

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  144. Love this post, Grace! So sorry for your loss, but wishing your sweet family nothing but the best and I know another little blessing will be on its way one day soon! (I've secretly been waiting for you to announce another pregnancy! My first and only (right now) is a few weeks older than Theo and I'm dying for another!). Ignore the hater comments and know that you have so many fans and supporters out there!

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  145. I love you and your kids and I am so glad that you don't try to paint a fake fairytale like so many other "mom bloggers" out there. I love that you keep it real. My kids are almost as close in age as yours and I get the "wow you have your hands full" comment at least once every time we go in public. I'm starting to put my face out there more with my blog so I am sure I will start getting worse comments and I hope that I will have sympathy for those people rather than anger. You are a GREAT mom and I hope you never forget it!! But I know from experience how hard it can be to hear that and believe it of yourself...something I am am working on :) But you really are and don't let anyone criticize your decision to use NFP...deciding when and how many kids is solely between God and the couple, it's nobody else's business!!! And don't ever stop blogging, I might die without your funny posts to read :)

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  146. I've been waiting like a stalker for news of pregnancy/baby #4 from the camp. I'm sure I'm not the only one! Not everyone is blessed to have an open heart and strong heart like u and Simon. :) you guys are blessed.
    Your guys' openness to life is a reflection of God's love. keep inspiring us other mothers/parents. Keep it real -- I appreciate your honesty....

    Sending prayers your way! Sorry about the false positive result.

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  147. Your blog is just the very best. I have dozens of awesome blogs on my reading list but it's yours (and maaaybe Oh Jones bachelor recaps) that I hope to see new posts from every day! Your family is completely fantastic, your kids are ridiculously adorable and I often find myself wishing we could be real friends after reading your hilarious, self-deprecating, heartfelt, WONDERFUL posts. I have absolutely thought on more than one occasion (most recently after viewing the photos of J pretend sleeping in your Costco cart a.) while gripping her smiley faced receipt and b.) while Bash not so gently tried to 'wake' her) that if my hypothetical children could be even 1/10th as fun as yours, I need to get quick to the baby making!! You are an exceptional mom and it's allllways harder to be honest. You really do it all well.

    I really hope that all this praise is not creepy. I just think your blog and your cuties rock it pretty hard.

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  148. A-to-the-Men! I read your blog every day and have 3 little munchkins of my own (another on the way) and it's great to hear about real life through a funny mom-lens.

    Plus the part about Simon going to say a prayer for the baby is awesome! Prayers for you and the camp!

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  149. I'm so sorry for your loss, Patton family. :( And for the rude people out there. As I have commented before here, your blog makes me wish to have those days of all littles back again!

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  150. i never comment b/c my phone (which i use over the comp during the day) has issues with allowing me to do so but tonight, ah yes, tonight i'm in bed with my computer instead of my hubs who is again on a trip of teenage proportions AND i just want to say, i think you're awesome. i love your stories and i love every single word you pound out. and as luck would have it, my eldest is screaming in bed...but, love it grace. love it.

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  151. I stumbled upon your blog a while back, I don't remember how but I did. I started reading, and got hooked! I am not currently a mom, but pray that God allows me to be one some day....I just want to say thank you for being such an encouragement, and I mean that in all honesty! You are so real, so honest and it is refreshing! God bless you, and your adorable family!

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  152. So sorry for the positive/negative roller coaster.
    Please know how much I and so many others 'in the trenches' appreciate you keeping real.

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  153. Don't let the b!tches get you down! I have 6 kids, and am technically light years ahead of you with this parenting thing (AND my husband finished residency years ago!) but I love your blog, and find it inspiring. Keep fighting the good fight. And we will out breed all the mean people! ;)

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  154. God bless you guys. So sorry!

    I love the way you've been open to life and the three precious kiddos that have resulted. Many prayers for number four and those to follow :)

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  155. So sorry about the negative test. :(
    But thanks for sharing about NFP. The little chicklet I currently am carrying was planned... but I even hesitate in saying that! As you said, how much can one ever be in control of his/her own fertility? I understand the hesitation in sharing exactly why you choose what you do in regards to family planning, or lack thereof, but I also appreciate when people do. I like understanding different thoughts/beliefs.
    I haven't been following your blog for too long, but never once have I questioned the love you have for your kids or your life. You make me smile big and laugh out loud every time I read. Your kids are beautiful and funny and I love that you show what life is really like with kids. And I'm hoping all of these positive comments are outweighing some of the nasty ones. Blog trolls suck. Write on!

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  156. I'm not reading the other comments right now, but I'm leaving one just to chalk another up to the nice side, in case someone ignored your no mean request.
    I liked reading this, and liked seeing this side of you, thank you for sharing.
    We too are nfpers who have never really used nfp. Our babies come as God sees fit, although He must know you can handle it better than I can because ours are more like 2 years apart.
    I'm 32 years old with 7 kids and the world looks at me like I'm a freak show and I've learned to ignore. They just don't get it, and you're right, it's sad and frustrating. But I am not sad or frustrated with my life any more than you are. No matter how hard each day (each minute!) can be, I know that these are enormous blessings.

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  157. The most beautiful thing about you and Simon is your openness to life! What a virtue that is most needed in the world today. You are truly being a witness to the vocation of marriage. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful and hilarious stories. You have me keep coming back because I can relate and you make me laugh! Keep up the good work!!

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  158. This post is really beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss. Praying for you. And I love the pictures of the kids with the worm.

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  159. So sorry! We've been there and it is tough! Praying for y'all.

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  160. Your blog is my absolute favorite!! You and Simon are inspirational and have been blessed richly through your complete openness to life, and the joy and love that accompanies that openness! Not only that, but you are true witnesses in this world that is starved of life, and you are the most excellent witnesses and life teachers to your kids! As they grow up, nothing will be of greater value to them than the knowledge that they were wanted and loved from the very beginning.

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  161. Stumbled across your blog after reading the article in catholic magazine featuring your beautiful family. I've really enjoyed reading your posts and this one in particular made my heart happy. NFP is what brought me to the Church and it is so comforting to know there are other young couples practing in the Lou. I also struggle to find the words to express how amazing NFP has been for our family because its hard to talk about it sometimes so thank you for keeping the dialog open! Also- very sorry about your loss-prayers that your heart heals through this difficult time. Many blessing to your sweet family!

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  162. I really enjoy reading your blog because it makes me feel normal at this thing called motherhood :) I have 5 and they are 5y to 10m. I get LOTS of comments and lots of looks and lots of rude comments! We adopted 3 and have 2 bio it's not our plan its Gods and that's the only person I'm going to answer to at the end of this life so bring on the kids! As long as we can afford them and everyone is happy that's all that matters. Someone once told me my comeback for people should be 'we decided we would keep having babies until we get an ugly one!' So let it roll and know you have lots of mommas out here to support you. I'd love to blog but I couldn't take the constant criticism people think they need to pass out! So keep writing!!

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  163. You have such a lovely family, don't let any members of the internet jerk brigade get you down.
    I'm not even married, but from what I know about Church teaching, I think it's silly when people think that just because you have a lot of kids or close spacings you can't know anything about NFP. After all, it's natural family planning, not natural pregnancy avoidance ;) .

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  164. I am appalled and embarrassed that people had the nerve to comment on you and your young children so negatively. When I see families with children who are close in age I admire the mother and father for not being afraid in our world that attacks the weakest among us. I say God bless you and your family!!!!!

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  165. Brining all the mamas together! As a Creighton practitioner, I love this post. Well shared! Thanks for opening up your heart.

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  166. Aw Grace I love you, and I love your insane offspring. Someday we'll get the whole ratpack together in person. And i'm totally reposting this at Heroic News, so sorry if it spikes your already impressive traffic higher. You deserve it.

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  167. Grace, i think you are beautifully blessed to have three young healthy children. I also think they are wonderfully blessed to be growing up so close to each other in age - i have two brothers very close in age to me and I wouldn't change it for the world (even if the older one used to knock me over on his bike as I was learning to walk) x

    www.savedbycake.blogspot.com

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  168. When we were pregnant with our 5th (and then 6th) we also received lots and lots of negative comments, many from our own families. Every nay-sayer changed his tune once the babies came. They all adore the little boys and can't imagine life without them. Of course, I make sure to point out to the "two and done" crowd, as they are loving on my kids, "And you didn't want us to have them..."

    You capture life with lots of little kids perfectly. It is a life of madness and chaos and more love than I know what to do with.

    I'm so sorry to hear about the false positive. I adore being pregnant, but at 41 I'm OK not having more. Even still, the start of the "cycle" makes me a bit sad.

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  169. Grace, you are wonderful. We only have one baby (so far) and want more pretty close together. Thanks for carrying this banner.

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  170. Yes. Yes. Yes. Agree with every single word you've written. We have 3 kids 3 and under and completely relate. To the living through the craziness and ranting about it and loving them completely. And the late night talks about how lovely they really are. And the comments that people make in public that we will never understand. So thanks for being real with us about your daily trials. You're great. Keep it up.

    Now the baby's crying so that's all the encouragement I can muster. :-)

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  171. Maybe I've been living under a rock for the last 33 years, but I find it so strange that other people (on an Internet forum, no less) are discussing the state of your vagina. Anyways, your blog is in my top faves of all time!!

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  172. Great great post, Grace. I'm sorry for your disappointment...and for the callous comments others choose to fling regarding your fertility. Your sadness reflects so much about you and your maternal heart. God love you! You make so many good points, worthy of further reflection and discussion. I'm on the other side of the coin, having to repeatedly (monthly) relinquish any real control of my (in)fertility over to God but the lesson is the same: real openness to life means humbly allowing God to decide how many children we should have whether it's many, one or none. The point is that we each must stretch ourselves to trust Him because only He can use both ends of the same spectrum to teach all of us the same hard lessons of faith, patience, humility, perseverance, trust, etc. So thank you because it's honest and real stories like yours that - though totally different than my own - remind and reaffirm that it's not. about. us.

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  173. So sorry to hear of your loss. You're an amazing woman.

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  174. Grace,

    DON'T let the silly haters get you down. You and Simon are AMAZING and you are great parents.

    You said one thing with which I disagree. You said that you could write "nice" posts but then added, "And those posts would be sweet and nice but they would be boring and the readership would dwindle right back down to its original reader of: me." -- This is NOT true. I would actually love to read more sweet, happy tales from the Camp. Even if they are less "funny". All some readers (me) need is a cute picture of a child and we are set. You are one of my favorite bloggers, but not just because you are funny.

    Some context here: I'm a 23-y/o getting married in 9 days and looking forward to an "all natural" marriage, if you will. I'm thinking at least 10 kids (given my and my 24-y/o husband's youth).

    To put it bluntly, you are a role model to me and to other young women. I am not sure if you realize that. I too will soon be fielding the obnoxious comments and the screaming little ones, and I feel that reading your blog helps me prepare for that. It helps me know what to expect in the next stage of my life.

    I wrote an article recently which explains what "mom blogs" mean to me, as a young and soon-to-be-married woman: http://americasfuture.org/doublethink/2013/04/why-the-fuss-about-reading-mommy-blogs/

    So anyways, THANK YOU and please feel free to write "nice, cute, boring" posts... readers want to hear about that side of things too!

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    1. Thank you! I mostly just meant I don't want this to become a baby bragbook. :)

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    2. Lillian - that article is amazing! It articulates exactly what I think but in a more intelligent way than my fatigue addled brain can produce right now. Thank you! Mind if I link it in a blog post?

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  175. Grace, I love your blog. As a first time parent (8 years of marriage with NFP until we had our first), I love reading your exploits so that I don't feel so bad about my own parenting fails. I do think we could use more open discussion about NFP, what it is and what it isn't...but thanks for talking about it on your blog!

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  176. Hi Grace! Hopping on the comment train to echo all of the nice things above. I think you are a fantastic, fabulous mom, your kids are hilarious and adorable and your sense of humor and honesty is so refreshing. I don't yet have children, but look to your blog as an example of how I might like to write when I do, with candor and humor.

    You've also been a huge inspiration to me in other ways. I was raised Catholic but have since grown away from the church, having had some negative experiences in the past. While I understand that my experiences were unique to my own life, not to the faith as a whole, I sometimes have a difficult time, personally, remembering that. Reading about your family, seeing your humor, seeing a young Catholic family that is enthusiastic about their faith...but also about Dora, Costco, nail polish, chia seeds and a million other things under the sun has been a refreshing and necessary reminder to keep my mind open, to not judge, to understand that people can be SO MUCH MORE than you expect them to be based on whatever prejudice you have in your head. You've shown me that NFP and big families, while maybe not for me, personally (though who knows! the future is big and malleable) are actually really cool and exciting and that the enthusiasm for life is a GOOD thing.

    Ha, that was super dramatic but really I just wanted to say that you're great, I adore your blog and you inspire and teach me each and every day.

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  177. Hi Grace,

    I've never commented before but this post inspired me to say hi =) First of all, I'm so sorry about your loss - whether it was a "chemical" pregnancy or whatever, it still hurts =(

    Second...hope this comes out right...I'm a Catholic woman struggling to conceive our first baby (2 years plus TTC) and it can be painful to read "mommy blogs"...I want to be a mom so badly! But there's something different about yours, and I think I finally put my finger on it. I love, love, LOVE your attitude toward children: they come when God sends them, they are a blessing, they're not something to take for granted, etc.

    I guess what I'm saying is that yours is one mom blog I can read and enjoy (even if it does make me a teensy bit jealous!) because you accept your kids as undeserved, super-abundant gifts - you're just living your life and taking what God gives you! I'm trying to do the same, but so far God has only given us a family of 2 (me and my husband) and if there's anything infertility teaches us, it's that our fertility is not in our hands!

    So I guess this is just a belated "thank you" for being you. =) Many blessings to you and your family and may God give you His peace after a disappointing and sad experience. And may there be many more Pattons!!

    In Christ,
    (I'd rather stay anonymous - but God knows my name =)) eccefiat11@gmail.com

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  178. i am almost thirty and not married yet (good men are so elusive!). i'm not catholic either, but i do believe in big families. your blog cracks me up and to be honest, i've thought more than once that it'll be ok if i still don't get married for a while yet because i can follow your awesome lead and still have several babes in a short amount of time and make it work! in short, you're inspiring to me.

    your kids are adorbs and i really can't wait to have my own (even with all the dumb comments that come from people who just don't understand). carry on sista friend!

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  179. I was interested in NFP before converting, along with the Catholic view of not preventing life. But I can tell when I'm gonna ovulate or when I'm done and never need to chart. I have two little kids and I'm kind of hoping for a wrong read since my younger kid is 11 months. That sucks about the false positive. But no real harm done, right?

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    1. P. S. Your blog is my favorite. Those mean b***ches just jealous. Ain't nobody got time for that foolishness. Ok. All done being ghetto.

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  180. Grace you are the very best and your blog has done nothing but make me want kids desperately with every inch of my heart!!!
    I'm sorry some people on the internet are such completely douchesticks but don't let the seeds stop you from enjoying the watermelon.

    I'm sorry for the false pregnancy/chemical pregnancy. I don't what to say about this because it's not a situation I have been in but I imagine it stirs way more feelings than you expect. If I knew you in real life I would give you a good introverted hug & a cup of tea, because that has never made a situation worse in my experience. Your kids look like the most loved and secure of all the children in all the world, and I wish you and Simon many many more babies. Spaced however you blooming well like.

    Flora
    xxxxxx
    www.twowithseven.blogspot.co.uk

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  181. We had that same experience in February-the joy of a new little one that was too short-lived. I didn't want to make a big deal about it because was it a new little soul or two faulty pregnancy tests? I think it was really a baby, and I'm looking forward to meeting that little saint someday. But it was a difficult time, especially after hoping for a new baby for so long. Your family and blog are very beautiful and funny, and I'll definitely be praying for you. :)

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