happy hour

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28 August 2014

at least Phoebe can say she comes by her resting bitchy face honestly because ... Apple, meet your mother, Tree.

No shame in my grainy selfie shame today. No shame ever, come to think of it.

Diatribe time.

+ Sebastian just confessed, "my pee fell in my shoe!!" then grabbed the plunger to clean it up because mops are extinct around here and day one of potty training is going swimmingly for him. Forgive it! The pun slipped out. Day two will commence sometime in November or December.

+ I let Theo sit in the sink after he enthusiastically nodded in agreement when I said, "but you have to promise not to turn on the water, okay?!" Mothersucker, thy name is Grace.

+ Julia has worriedly confirmed that, "Simon isn't sleeping at work, right?!" multiple times this afternoon because her mom has been a lot of fun today. Don't worry, he's not! Look out for the rapidly approaching "holiday" weekend though .... it's ALL merriment and mom all the time, Little J, because Simon's got a hospital call room with his name all over it. TGIF-bomb. Can't wait.

+ Every four weeks Simon switches rotations and this week he started on a rotation where he gets home an hour later than the previous four weeks and while it's no night float and I should count my lucky minutes for that ... do you know what happens during that extra hour? Time stands very still. And then .... Meltdowns-R-Us. All five of us.

+ And on the fourth evening of the first week I decided to blog about it, whine about it, and talk about it too. Solidarity, I know you're out there and I find comfort in you. And my poetry skillz.

Happy almost Labor Day weekend.
It's coming for you, folks.
It's coming real soon.

Sebastian Says

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27 August 2014

t-shirt - c/o Gretta's Organic Tees
terrible haircut - c/o his mother
shoes - c/o Minnetonka
pants - H&M via Kidizen

Walking outside yesterday ...
Bash: ah!!! it's so bright!!! so sunny!!
Bash: (runs inside and grabs an old pair of my glasses)
Bash: okay! all better.

Walking by a mirror in Target and seeing his reflection ...
Bash: (face lights up) Hey! Look!
Grace: what is it?
Bash: it's a picture of Bashy!!!!

After a little explanation about the difference between his nipples and his belly button ...
Bash: oh, okay.
Grace: okay.
Bash: So ... (points to his chest) one, two, (points to his belly button) THREE nipples.

After passing a sample tray full of raspberry, grape, and peach juice at Costco ...
Bash: ooooh!! STOP!!! Me LOVE wine. Can Bash have some wine, please?
sample lady:

Waking up to a dressed up Grace on Sunday morning and realizing what that meant ...
Bash: (face falling) oh, NO!!! I don't want to go see Jesus today. 

Wanting to be let out from his locked room after he assumed he was finished with his yet-to-be-seen nap ....
Bash: (bangs on door) DO
Bash: (bangs on door) YOU
Bash: (bangs on door) LOVE
Bash: (bangs on door) Me?!

While playing Julia's favorite game of what rhymes with ________ (this time the word was, "stuck")
Julia: truck! luck! suck! plu-
Bash: (interjects) FOCK!!!!!!

Holstein Brownies

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26 August 2014

oh, Grace.

You are reaching new and ghastly lows with your food photography and font choice/placement.

What else is new? Nothing. I think you'll live.

I know the internet is FILLED with gorgeous food and recipe blogs so it's borderline ridiculous that I post anything in the culinary sphere but I promise these are really, really tasty and I would never post anything that I don't think you'll love. These are well worth your time.

So! let's move on. I could've said moo-ve but ... you were spared.

If you've ever had the pleasure of enjoying anything baked by Simon's mom, Ann, you know I don't exaggerate when I say that she is a bakerella/wizard when it comes to baked goods. It's all amazing. All of it. She makes these Holstein brownies a lot when we visit because Simon is a big chocolate person. Let's rephrase that for the grammar fanatics lest they think Simon resembles a human sized chocolate bunny or something ... he enjoys chocolate a lot. If there's a flourless chocolate anything on any menu ever he always chooses that over any other type of sugar. He likes rich chocolate. And these deliver! They are super rich although the holstein splotches do break it up a bit but if you're big on just chocolate you could most certainly make these sans spots. I try to make them for Simon's birthday and our anniversary. Try!

Here we go (I usually cut it in half but really regretted doing so this time because the three older kids LOVED these and they were gobbled up really quickly) ... verbatim from the master herself!


4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
½ stick butter
2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
*5 large eggs
¼ tsp. Salt
¾ cup flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 cup chocolate chips (or heck, a little more)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • Microwave bittersweet chocolate, butter and coffee until melted
  • In a separate bowl mix brown and white sugars, salt and *4 eggs with electric mixer until well blended, add flour, cocoa, and salt
  • Add chocolate mixture
  • Add chocolate chips
  • Pour batter into well-greased 9 x 13 pan (or you can make cupcakes! also delicious!)
  • In another bowl beat together cream cheese and remaining *egg and drop by spoonfuls onto batter, “yep to resemble that holstein.” I also swirl the cream cheese a bit (goodbye holstein!)
  • Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes


the anatomy of expediency: child style

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25 August 2014

Almost every morning I wake up to one or more child(ren) crying and immediately and groggily start making plans to do something with said roosters for the sole purpose of getting us out of the house. It's crazy! There's something about being inside with toys and food and each other that seems to encourage and foster a hostile environment littered with fighting and whining and tends to drive a certain child shepherdess insane. My/her plans are usually something simple along the lines of walking to a playground, going to the grocery store for one food item (tortillas and bananas, we always need more of those, it seems) and three free cookie "samples", or going to say hi to Simon if he's free for a few minutes at the hospital. God bless summer, even if it is hotter than a broiler some days. It still trumps the paralyzing cold. Always.

On Wednesday of last week the trip du jour was going to be the playground. The far away playground by the hospital because I was feeling generous and adventurous and there is ample shade and dirt for digging and nary a swing to fight over.

I started getting ready as soon as everyone was awake at 6:58am and made a firm resolve that we would be happily trotting out the door NO later than 9am.


... but everyone is full from first breakfast, second breakfast, and a snack. So, there.

I wrestle the boys into outfits and spend too many minutes looking for matching shoes for Sebastian that don't send him into an emotional tailspin because they, "hurt me feeeeeet!!!!" ...

Julia is obsessed with drawing things or letters on this and then asking us, "is this ..... the letter e?!" or "is this Christmas balls?" (ornaments? yes) or "is this how you spell S for Bash?" etc.

She recently spent a LONG time coloring the ENTIRE screen in and was completely disgusted and exasperated that I couldn't figure out what it was (a baby wipe, duh).

After 99 rounds of toddler Pictionary I try to slip in a selfish little hygiene session by way of some teeth brushing, face washing, and (the vanity!) mascara swiping.

Theo joins and starts signing*, "please" because he is a lover of the forbidden lotions and potions in the bathroom.

*I made this sign up, I think it's actually the sign for "more" but I was tired of his grunting for everything all the time so for some reason I feel better that he does his begging via faux sign. I also made up a motion for, "sorry" but Simon says I can't teach him a fake language so we only do that one in secret. Don't tell.

fine. come join me.

Then we finish that up and I lock the bathroom door from the outside (see here) but Theo sweet-signs Sebastian into sneakily pulling a chair over and unlocking the door ....

wearing Julia's jegging shorts, MUCH to Simon's delight.

I drag him out, relock the door and start the process of deciding if I should go full-exercise-garb-minus-the-exercise mode or try a little bit. I go with a mix.


Giddy with GLEE. Sebastian has wisely retreated to the basement.

Make a note to talk to Simon about how he feels about a chairless existence until the kids turn the age of logical (ever?), feed them a second snack and 89 sips of ice water, and eventually go to check on Grumpy ... who is oh so patiently waiting to get the show on the road ...

wearing her playground bow.

break up five consecutive fights between Julia and Sebastian, talk Julia off a ledge when she can't find the whisk she's taken to sleeping with under her pillow, and change Theo's bomb.

And she's still waiting ...

search high and low for the baby wipes, ANY pair of sunglasses (broken or not), my phone that is in my hand, and seriously, where are the wipes?!

In the mean time she's become mobile ...

And finally reaches the end of her long and virtuous rope.

Find the big kids using the rubber strip meant to go under the front door as a race track of some sort ...

And remember I was going to put those diapers away. So I do. And then feed them a third snack/small lunch to get us through our imminent sojourn and consider scrapping the whole trip because we have been working toward departure for well over five hours and I really like to get the kids all tucked in for naps right around one but I persevere ...

for a 20 minute drive, an 18 minute prize, and a 20 minute drive home where Theo enjoyed a four minute power nap that he assumed counted for his three hour soul-saving siesta (no, never).

I don't remember how I ever got Julia and Sebastian to preschool before noon but we still have two (WHAT) more weeks to practice because apparently their school enjoys eternal summers of parental torture (JK! if her wonderful teachers happen to be reading this - doubtful as that may be).

The end. 
Until tomorrow when it begins again.


a sequence + a question {for you}

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24 August 2014

Phoebe is four months old! Or was, as of yesterday. To celebrate we lived dangerously with a little bit of toddler led weaning and let Theo attempt to get some avocado in her mouth. Here's how it went down over the course of a million photos ...

(and for the Bumbo Po ... I was standing rightright there the whole time and moved her to the floor after 43 seconds ... silence those sirens)

Okay. Here we go for real ...

Phoebe loves a good fist chew and was seriously frustrating Theo so he spent a lot of his time pulling her hands out of her mouth and disciplining her via glare ...

... which worked really well 
right back to it.

She played along for a minute ...

but when it was all said and spilled she may have gotten this much down the hatch ... maybe

nope, again.

and nope, for real.

and right before WWIII after I peeled him away from his prey.

the end.

of THAT.

And now a question for you (in case post title reading isn't your thing). I can't exactly hide behind the, "just had a baby!!" blogging excuse anymore and am hoping that you'll lend your reading wants and needs to my eyes and ears. In the very blessed event that Phoebe starts regularly napping when the other three nap and I can resume typing with both hands a few days a week ... what are your favorite types of posts? I'm well aware that everyone loves sponsored content (WINK, MANY WINKS) but maybe you'd prefer I just hand the reins over to Simon completely after Friday's post? Or maybe there's a whole new world of post ideas I haven't visited before? Or ...  I don't know. You tell me, pretty please!!

If you have trouble commenting (why my blog hates comments from phones will forever drive me crazy, I'm sorry!) feel free to ship an email my inbox. I'd love your input! And if you don't care, that's fair too. Completely.

And now I'm off to make Phoebe a birthday cake for the rest of us to enjoy while she chows down on a hand sandwich.

Happy Sunday.

e-thrifting at its very finest

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23 August 2014

Sebastian's pants: H&M via Kidizen
Sebastian's shirt: Target via Kidizen
Julia's jegs: Gap via Kidizen
Julia's shoes: c/o Minnetonka

I've typed before about my undying love for Kidizen because me + secondhand clothing has been a match made in thrifty heaven for many years now. I've found that I have less of a cow over Sebastian ruining a shirt or pants or (jackpot!) both via permanent marker if we bought said shirt secondhand. And while I wish I had the courage to hit up thrift stores in the flesh with all the kids in tow I turn into a cowardly lion when it's comes to those types of outings + 4 so online thrift shopping is kind of my jelly. We still have four years to go on the salary of a trainee and then we have the pleasure of tackling med school loans so it's important that we not spend even an arm on clothing, especially for stain-happy children. 

So! Kidizen is great. It's a parent-to-parent marketplace for pre-loved kids clothing and is growing every day (25,000 users worldwide right now!!) and is super user friendly (they've made some updates to the app) and there's a really impressive selection of quality and cute clothing for all ages and sizes of girls and boys. You can easily buy and sell kids clothing all through the app (via iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch) and they've recently made some great improvements to help make the experience as simple as possible (for example: notifications when the price of an item you've favorited has been reduced, and searchable by keyword for specific items). 

Kidizen's shops are full of great brands that I would never dream of buying directly from the retailer at full price. Brands like Crew Cuts, Mini Boden, Tea Collection, Janie and Jack, Matilda Jane, and more! 

Kidizen is generously giving away a $200 package to one lucky reader.

Shall I repeat that?

I shall.

I would imagine that would easily take care of entire fall/winter wardrobe for a child you know and love. 

GOOD LUCK. May the Rafflecopter be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Year Reunion

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22 August 2014

**As a disclaimer--Grace is not writing this post I (Simon) am.  This might be one to just skim the pictures...**

I wish Throw Back Friday had caught on because it would have made writing this post (or at least coming up with the title) much easier.  Instead I'm having to go with the "5 year reunion" because 5 years ago today this happened:


Five years isn't a short amount of time.  Pre-Facebook, 5 years was long enough to warrant a class reunion to check in on how much everyone had changed and what they were up to.  I'm guessing that those reunions would bring an odd mixture of feelings--how much things are different and yet how strangely similar.

Before deciding to hack my way onto the blog I was struck with similar thoughts about our first five years as Man+Wife.  The last five years with Julia, a move, residency, Sebastian, residency, trips, dates, Theo, no more dates (jk), holidays, interviews, and Phoebe have certainly shaped us and changed us as a couple. 

 recycled from 7/4

Yet, despite all these changes and experiences, in many ways we are still those same people and that same couple from 8/22/2009.  Grace still manages to wow me with her quick wit and quiet thoughtfulness.  She is still loyal to a fault and an awesome conversationalist.

also-still beautiful

My last thought about reunions was that they could sometimes be occasions for sadness or disappointment by serving as a reminder of dashed hopes or unrealized dreams.  In this little scenario, however, the opposite is true.  Thinking back over our years together makes me realize that things are exactly as I would have wanted them.  Not because they have always been perfect, but because they have been shared with the perfect person.

 Happy Anniversary Gracer!


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21 August 2014

shirt - old Forever XXI
denim - old Target
boots - c/o Minnetonka
bag - c/o Lily Jade
shades - Amazon

It's totally fine if you didn't notice that I cut six inches off my hair on a whim during a quick and miraculously quiet minute after I showered the other day. Simon didn't either. And I gave him two separate chances: a visit at the hospital and later when he came home from work. Nope, nothing. After I pointed it out he looked at me incredulously, "really?! it looks the same!"

I meant to just give it a trim but here we are. And then I read earlier today that long bobs are (ahem, were - that was from April, whatever) in so I'll be giving the back another hack and attempt some layers (per professional hair goddess Kate's gentle and kind advice). You can leave your, "it looks like a broom" thoughts to yourself because ... I know.

Moving right along ...

I know it's ridiculous for a 31 year old mom o four to do outfit posts but ... no buts. It's ridiculous. And cranking up the ridiculous a notch or three is the fact that I'm wearing a sweatshirt and boots in August. To that I say that people have been pinning Thanksgiving recipes for weeks and the return of the Pumpkin Spice errrything is mere days away. And it was an unseasonably cold summer. And I love hearing Simon's endless commentary on my "Peter Pan" boots ... that I happen to love to death.

Okay, now really moving along to the venials ....

I don't love Taylor Swift's new song Put down your weapons! I don't hate it like I loathed Pharrell's Happy but I don't crank it in the Odyssey when it comes on which seems to be every other song this week.

Please know that my taste in music is actually quite hip and refined as I have been listening to Enrique's, Bailando on repeat on every single run I've gone in for the past three weeks which would be a grand total of two. Two whole runs.

Julia and Sebastian's new favorite game is "date" and they generally always go to the wine store and the chocolate store while holding hands. Those are the only two destinations.

I took Julia and Sebastian to the grocery store last weekend while Simon watched Phoebe and Theo at home. A mom with three kids behind me in line warned, "wait till you have a third!" with a sigh and it was excruciatingly difficult to bite my tongue and smile but I did. My tact and charity know no bounds.

I usually only go to Costco once a week or every other week but last week I went twice only because the thought of unloading all of the groceries we needed in just one trip was too daunting. I should probably crack down on our  almond milk addiction. And maybe work on Julia's liberal use of toilet paper.

This might be a terrible analogy to make but you know the feeling of finally eating after not eating for a long, long time? Your blood sugar rising and your whole body buzzing with happiness? Some days that's exactly how I feel when I get the kids down for naps. All that quiet! I know, terrible.

Ironically, I've been trying to type this post for two days but Phoebe has had other plans carved out for the time in which her three older (and wiser!) siblings nap. I was tempted to get frustrated but then I remembered she's 3.9 months old and priorities so I'll stop here. But if you're wanting to commend my sporadic one-handed typery (faux word) .... I won't complain.

At all.

Simon Says

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18 August 2014

"Now I know how the poor kids feel."

After stepping on a toy that the kids had left on the ground ...
Simon: curses curses curses
Grace: what did you step on?
Simon: it doesn't matter but it felt like a shark tooth.

After getting home from work and seeing that Julia was wearing a form fitting grey ribbed tank top Simon said, "did your mom make you wear your brother beater today, Julia?"

After seeing me anoint myself and Phoebe with lavender oil to help us sleep Simon stared, rolled his eyes, and offered, "or you could just turn off the baby monitor."

When talking about his future in female pelvic medicine and vaginal surgery Simon instructed, "in mixed company let's just say I fix leaky bladders."

After reading the synopsis of the book I'm reading Simon said, "another one of those 'troubled marriage lit' books you love so much, I see."

While looking at his 4th of July Instagram of the kids and its three lonely likes a few minutes after posting Simon confessed, "I guess I just assumed a snap like that would go viral immediately."

And recycling a cleaner version from Twitter ... Simon took the kids to the park, dealt with a diaper situation, and reported via text, "there's a tiger dad running soccer drills with his son and I'm like well my son crapped himself."

... and that's what it's all about.

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17 August 2014

As Simon was filling me in on all the details of last weekend with the kids he mentioned a little something that my inner stage mom had to share. I'm sorry in advance. Well, I'm a little bit sorry.

He reported that Julia and Sebastian got in a fight (surprise!) and that after the brawl had calmed to a quiet roar and that they had made up he told the opponents to seal the forgiveness deal by shaking hands.

He said they responded by looking at him in confusion then looking at each other and then both shaking both their hands in the air .... hokey pokey style.

uninformed about life's important lessons or smartassery at it's finest?

I'll go with the former.
For now.

Camp Andersson

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15 August 2014

Aside from the kids' shoes, 
Julia's skirt, Phoebe's headband, 
 my earrings,
glasses c/o Firmoo
and Lily Jade Bag
everything is from 
(guess!!) Hanna Andersson

Don't mind us Pattons! Just frolicking in a school parking lot! I forgot the camera's memory card so Simon had to run back home and then we had a little bit of a mostly friendly quarrel over what exactly, "back light" means. We're just going to go ahead and hyphenate our last name to Pattons-Have-It-Together-Forever.

I'll never forget my mom ordering little Hanna Pilot Caps for my siblings right before they were born. The arrival of the cap meant that the baby was just around the bend. She loved the quality and the fact that the company was Swedish so that she could pay homage to her mother's heritage and it didn't hurt that the caps stayed put thanks to the sweet little under-the-chin ties. The tradition came full circle when she gave some to me right before Julia was born and despite her sending an array of pink and pink striped caps ... people still called her, "he!" all the time.

Sadly, I only ever thought of Hanna Andersson as a pilot cap and pajama source for the kids so when they contacted me to tell me about the new women's line, "Love Hanna" I was pleasantly shocked by the cute and on trend selection. I know I should be more concerned with quality rather than what's trendy at this stage of my 31-year-old stay at home mom life but I just can't resist keeping half on eye on what the kids are wearing these days. The Love Hanna line hits the happy compromise nail on the head with quality + trendy (but not middle school appropriate trendy) duds.

They also have the sweetest Bright Baby Basics full of super soft and organic cotton onesies and pants and shirts and of course, pilot caps. Phoebe picked out the navy and white stripe although I tried to convince to walk on the wild side and mix and match with some yellow pants but no. Not for her.

The boys are wearing their Washed Chinos that have adjustable waists and a slightly tapered leg which I fully appreciate because we have so many wider legged dress pants that still fit in the waist but are too short and it's super obvious but with a tapered leg I feel like a bit of high-water looks totally fine.

Don't tell Julia but I purposely picked out her sweatshirt in neutral colors so that she could share it with the boys and then hand it down to Phoebe in a few years. The little hoarder and sharer-of-no-things will be THRILLED.

When the Hanna box arrived I tried everything on the kids for fun and then threw it all in the wash and nothing shrinked. At all. The best when it comes to kids clothing.

Simon had many, many things to say about my pants but I played deaf because I'm normally such a boring dresser and I loved the green + you all know how I feel about elastic waists that are publicpropriate.

You want in on all of this? I knew it!!!

Well look what I happened to find in my photo folder .....

Yep! $200 to spend any way you'd like over at Hanna Andersson.

Best of luck to you and yours!!

And please be sure the email address you registered for Rafflecopter with is an address you check regularly because I keep having to pass over MANY a winner for failing to respond. The worst!

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