the reason for the season

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24 September 2014

yeah, yeah. What an original post idea, GRACE.

Bridget already asked here.

Kate already asked there.

Fran talked about it here.

And now I'm making it into a post.

Everyone is talking about fall. And how it's their favorite season (lest we forget! it leads directly into WINTER ... the season of futility and death but ... minor d'tails, folks) and how easy it is to dress during (let's get fancy!) autumn.

It's fine. I like fall. It's one of my top three seasons and I'm not going to turn down a salted caramel anything because I'm always 4.5 years behind a trend on average but I have to admit I get pretty giddy about the return of the television programming (RIP Bachelor in Paradise, forever - hopefully).

Here's a few of the greats (according to Grace with potentially terrible taste).

Initially I was eh on this show but I've grown to love it. And by love I mean obsess over getting the kids to bed with plenty of time to adjust and position our antenna accordingly so that we don't miss one hysterical second. I'm eternally impressed that Mindy writes, directs, AND stars in the show and is so naturally hilarious.

... don't argue with me.

I fought my addiction to this wildly unpopular show for awhile but then came to grips with how upset I was to hear that this is the last season. I almost cry or cry during every episode and I am petrified someone is going to die in the final season. Please no. My television heart cannot handle it. And on my hunt for the above photo I read that the show didn't get cut because of ratings (they were actually quite good because the show is actually quite popular, but because it's too expensive to produce because of the large ensemble cast - for curious minds)

This isn't normally my type of show (I have to close my eyes a lot ... violence is not my thing) but I'm totally hooked. I love Kerry Washington and covet all of (which I just spelled, "ove" ... someone come revoke my typing/blogging license, now) Olivia's clothing because how appropriate would all ove (notfunny) her killer outfits look on my weekly trips the Costco? The most killer. You like that pun? I'm sorry.

Okay, I'm going to be brief (for once) and lame (like always) and stop at three.

But ...

Super Honorable Mentions:
Modern Family
Parks and Rec

On the Chopping Block:
Nashville (maybe, I'm still on the fence)
New Girl (what happened?!)

And this is only TELEVISION shows. I would have to dedicate an entire post or two to Netflix etc. shows (I'm coming for you, Gilmore Girls .... 99 years later).

Shows I HEAR are Awesome:
Pretty Little Liars

Can't Wait For:
I'm not sure.
How to Get Away with Murder looks promising? Maybe.

What say you??? I'm missing a million I know it. Tell me while I watch in humorous horror as all the kids melt into "life is over/just woke up from our naps" puddles at the exact same moment. Lucky day lottery, right here, right now.

home is the first school, and parents are the first teachers

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23 September 2014

... right?

Such a sweet thought.

Somehow Julia knows the alphabet, how to draw all of the letters, and how to make the sounds, etc. THIS IS NOT ANY SORT OF BRAG because: 1. I'm sure children many months (and probably years) younger than she is know all of this and more! and 2. I am 100% positive she learned her letter skillset a la PBS KIDS or maybe Simon is pulling a Tiger Dad and sneak-waking her in the middle of the night to drill her on letters + sounds but it has absolutely nothing to do with me.  At all.

BUT ... she can only sort of write her name (kind of!) and has yet to write any other sort of legible word. Until yesterday! When I made this delightful discovery (a truly wonderful birthday present came with a dry-erase marker and we were stupid enough to trust her with it unattended for 19 seconds) above Sebastian's bed/mattress on the floor (he is vehemently opposed to a traditional bed ... fear of heights/fear of normal? Not sure) ....

... and she claimed that was how to spell, "Sebastian" ... I had to wonder if maybe I need to up my unteacher/unschooling game a notch or thirty five?

And because I do love a good alternate post title here are a few that were up for consideration:
get your mind out of the toilet
poop prodigy
bathroom classroom
crappy graffiti

... I won't ever stray from my day job folks, worry not.  


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22 September 2014

Where's my denture glue and my orthotic walking shoes and my little black book of clich├ęs? How do we have a four-year-old? Well, we do. And I'll spare you the old, "time flies ... I can't believe it" essay but it does and I can't. Four years of letting her play guinea pig as we fumble around the parenting sphere and try to figure everything all out while making zero mistakes. ;)

She had a great day (I think ... she didn't say otherwise and she asked if it could please be her birthday the next day too) and I know you're wanting a better look at that beauty of a cake.

Well, fine.

Just don't all pin it at once.

The sad thing is that I did genuinely try very hard and even got a head start the night before baking the four layers so I wouldn't be in a frenzy the next morning.

And no she didn't change her mind to, "triceratops cake"... at the last minute ... it's still a sparkly pink princess castle cake.

I love this photo because Sebastian was SO excited for Julia to see her presents (he cut his nap super short and "helped" set stuff up) and to see what she got. He might tackle complete (female) strangers to the ground on the playground but his heart is in the right place on occasion. I think!

Julia picked out cotton candy ice cream (highly unrecommended) to go along with the fortress of fail and because she got to put her little trinkets (Princess Sophia? I believe that's correct) and some small dogs with long tails on top ... she thought it was just dandy. Although I accidentally walked a little too close to the cake section at Costco today and her eyes got very big and she started making big plans for her 5th birthday cake. And she can't be blamed.

The day sort of planned itself because she has ballet on Saturdays and then there was a little carnival up the road (we went last year too) with free rides and a big slide and food and fun in the evening. Julia, Simon, Theo, and Sebastian got on a kiddy ride with trucks that go around in a circle and go up and down. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about from that fantastic and detailed description.

Okay, here's a quality photo ...

They were JAZZED. Theo was so excited because this was the first ride he could go on because he finally "weighed enough" according to Julia (or was tall enough, according to the actual rules).

Four seconds into the ride both of the boys were in full on freak mode with tears flowing while Julia was having the TIME of her life.

I know it's terrible but I can't look at this (terrible) photo without laughing. It was so awful.

The lady folk watching with loads of sympathy.

Anyway, as soon as she got off and we made sure the boys weren't going to have coronaries, Julia hopped right back in line and rode the torture device all by herself with a fat grin on her face the entire time.

I know you didn't ask for a play-by-play but ... you never know when you'll get a little bonus treat like that around here. De nada.

Happy Birthday not-so-little J!!

We hope you had a great day!

(With no silly rhymes, from me or Sime)

latest and greatest: beauty faves

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19 September 2014

It's been a minute since I've subjected you to my not expertise in the hair/skin/nail realm of the beauty world ... let's remedy that, stat.

This fine and new-to-me company sent a few new products over for me to try and are generously sponsoring this post. Fortunately, you can count on my honest opinion and hey! count your lucky stars that I'm not talking about diapers. :)

Okay. Down to business.

1. Maybelline Full' N Soft Mascara - I've talked about it before. I've tried several (much!) more expensive and highly recommended brands and I still keep coming back to this one. It doesn't crunch or take off half the lash when I absent mindedly rub it off at the end of the day and it doesn't need to be applied multiple times to look awesome.

2. Dr. Brandt Laser Fx Perfect Serum - I've only had it for a week but I'm really curious to see what it does after four weeks because it's supposed to help smooth imperfections (hello acne scars) and lines but for now the (deep) little lines between my eyes are a little less noticeable. And my left cheek is a lot smoother despite the little colony of (fading) scars that reside there (for now! don't get comfortable!).

3. Dr. Brandt Laser Fx Bright Serum - I'm a total sucker for a serum and this one claims to fade and diminish dark spots and help brighten the complexion. Again, I've only had it in my possession for a week but it really has gotten the last bits of my melasma (thanks Phoebe) down to a very light and dull roar. I know everyone complains about postpartum hair (I do too) but I always feel like my skin takes the worst hit. Maybe from lack of sleep? But I just feel like the pregnancy glow disappears VERY quickly after the baby is born and this seems to have helped bring back my glow groove quite back quite a bit (my not-pregnant glow ... to be clear :)).

3.5 Dr. Brandt Laser Fx Lift Serum - I didn't want to overload things so I haven't tried this one yet (although I was tempted to try it on my sagging stomach skin - sorry for that visual!) but have great expectations for it. All three serums smell really good, very clean (if that makes sense) and a very tiny bit goes a very long way. And you can get $10 off any one of them right over here!

4. Tangle Teezer - All the ladies in the Patton place love this one.
Even her.

But really. Julia doesn't freak anymore when I brush her hair after I wash it and I spend a lot less time getting the knots out of my hair post-shower with this fine piece of plastic. I don't understand how it works but it does and it's great.

5. Paula's Choice Soft Cream Concealer - I use it to cover any blemishes and if I'm feeling fancy I'll tackle the under eye situation (rarely) but it doesn't cake, stays put, and blends quickly with my fingertip (I know! I should use a brush .... one day!).

6. Zoya polish (Rue) - This shade is actually part of the spring collection (late to every party) but I keep using it because even after Sebastian spills my entire bottle of top coat ... and I'm forced to wear it que solo (my life! it's tough!) it goes for many days without chipping. It's has a little hint of lavender (that photo makes it look very pink) but I like it a lot. And I've tried a zillion neutral polishes. Yes, one zillion.

And that's all the she typed.

I am on the hunt for new shampoo + conditioner for lifeless locks (not vinegar) AND a new scent because the last perfume I bought was long before I met Simon. Any suggestions are always very greatly appreciated.

Happy hour, day, night, AND weekend to you and yours.

And a big italicized thanks to Dr. Brandt!

raising the birthday bar {ever so slightly}

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17 September 2014

I was at the playground with the kids this morning and I couldn't help but overhear the mom pushing her baby two swings down agonizing over what to put in the goody bags for her soon to be one year old's birthday party. Bless her. Birthday parties are not my charism and I have mad admiration for moms/dads/anyones that can throw down in the kid birthday department because ... I am lacking. Maybe because last year Julia's birthday fell on the last day of Simon's month of nights and I was in the throes of first trimester nausea with Phoebe (never ever lacking excuses around here) but I felt like I could've done a little better. We took Julia to Chick-fil-A for lunch with another family and her "cake" was a couple of Dora cookies we picked up at the grocery store on the way to said lunch and I'm feeling a little more motivated this year to purchase at least one present (yes, I have three days left but the power of Prime is on my side) and improve on the cake situation.

Speaking of the cake situation. Julia has discovered the Pinterest app on my phone and makes lots of varied requests, "let's look at maybe some princess cutcakes!" ... "or how about some purple sparkle shoes for princesses?!" and so on. The other morning Theo was sleeping in beyond his normal 6:40 wake up so naturally Julia filled in for him so I (shamelessly) let her loose on a requested "castle cake" search when she VERY unfortunately happened upon this one ...

... and now she has sadly high hopes that Mama Martha will be able to replicate. Hold that breath, folks.

Anyway, NO! Of course birthdays aren't all about the presents and the parties and the stuff but I think we are ready to graduate from the pack of Dora Band-Aids go-to gift that we've relied on for all the birthdays/Christmases prior to this one. Simon and I were trying to think of toys she might like the other night and were pretty much stumped. Simon's ideas: blocks or a set of beakers because she loves building castle/tower things and also pouring water into a million different bowls/cups/anything but we have sets of blocks and I think the bowls/cups/anything method works just fine for now. Of course my mind wanders to clothing she can share with the boys and eventually pass down to Phoebe ...

(so really, this is Grace's wish list for Julia ... no shame)
(also, she's not getting ALL of this. At all! These are just ideas that I've been tossing around in my busy little brain)

1.  Carpe Diem t-shirt - Love it. They also have a super cute Girls Just Wanna Have Fun shirt but it's nice to have shirts that Sebastian can wear too.

2. Jones Market Necklace - I have an adult version (different colors) of this and really love it. Phoebe can gnaw on it and not contract gum or tongue cancer and it's cute. I have to admit my ulterior motive to get her this would be to replace her pink plastic Minnie collar that she can be found wearing ... everywhere.

3. Joules Rain Boots - Julia and Sebastian just went through crazy growth spurts. Sebastian is up four shoe sizes from last year at this time while Julia is right behind him having jumped three sizes.  I'm having none of my usual eBay luck finding rain boots but have had these open in my browser for several days. I'm a huge rain boot advocate for kids because they can put them on themselves - even if they do repeatedly put them on the wrong feet (and of course the whole public sphere will be sure to tell them so ... :)).

4. Sparkle Leotard - J started ballet this past weekend and loved it. We have quite a few hand-me-down leotards but a lot of them are almost inappropriately small and I thought this one was cute because she is very much into all things sparkles these days.

5. Boogie Board LCD Writing Tablet - this is a bit of a cheat because she has this already but she LOVES (how many times can I cram the word, "love" into this post? 99 million, watch me) it. My mom bought it for her and is a genius grandma for doing so. I love it too because she can take it places and is easily entertained trying her hand at a backwards version of every letter of the alphabet and then seeking my praise and approval. It's great (really).

6. Holy Heroes Coloring Book - another cheat! Holy Heroes sent us a stack of beautifully illustrated coloring books and I'm holding off on giving them to her until Saturday (her birthday) and these are a very welcome departure from her usual Dora coloring books. If she doesn't nap (unlike today .... hallelujah) she likes to color (her crayon privileges are sort of back on the table - if the boys are asleep) or talk to me about everything under the sun.

7. Thank You, Amelia Bedelia - Maybe she's a little to young for these books but they used to crack me UP back in first and second grade. I'm willing to bet she would find Amelia's antics hysterical because she thinks any and all of her own made up knock-knock jokes are hilarious.

Anyway, this is a not-so-sneaky and blatantly transparent way to go about asking you for your toy help? I know a lot of people do the something to wear, something to read, and something to play with rule when it comes to kids birthdays and Christmas and I've got no problems with the two former categories but would love your help with the latter. I hate to be picky and say, "nothing with a million pieces like a puzzle .... " but Theo and Sebastian are master destroyers and are very skilled at flushing/tossing/scattering her precious things all over the house so ... maybe not a puzzle?

Your help is appreciated.
And any elaborate cake baking luck you might be hoarding pretty PLEASE send it my way.

Tuesdays + Thursdays with Theodore

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16 September 2014

Julia cracks me up on the daily (yesterday at Costco: "why does everyone say you have your hands full?! You're just pushing the cart!") and I'm constantly surprised by the softer side of Sebastian when I find him entertaining Phoebe or "reading" a book to Theo. They cause me to stress eat a lot of semi-sweets but they're good little eggs to have around most of the time. However! I have to admit that after I drop them off at preschool I may just dance-walk away to the tune of a little William Wallace's, "FREEEEEEEDOM" even with Phoebe and Theo still sitting in the stroller.

God bless glorified daycare.

Theo might act like he wants to be one of the big kids and wear a backpack as tall as he is but Theo loves coming home from our after drop off walk/run around the hood to a whole house full or possibilities. All of Sebastian's trucks! ALL of Julia's purses loaded with trinkets/crap to peruse! Mom's lap ALL to myself while my illegal girlfriend takes her morning nap!

the goodest life.

or as Theo would say, "dee" or maybe, "bah" or if he's feeling generous, "ma"

syllables rule, words drool.

And if we're up for an adventure we might go say hi to Simon at work.

Short story time.

We went to say hello last week and as we were enjoying the silence of a Julia + Sebastianless visit Simon started trying to convince me how residency, "isn't all bad!!" and even suggested, "you'll miss it!" and right then his stat pager went off and he had to sprint off to a code white (crash c-section). YEP, I'll miss it good. 

Story time over. 


Where were we?

Ah yes, footloose and fancy free at the hospital ....

Here Theo is saying one of his favorite monosyllabics, "cheeeeeee"

Every time I wear those boots (that I love) Simon asks, "are those your 'spite' boots?" or, "so are they like REALLY comfortable?!" and then eventually, 'WHY DO YOU WEAR THEM?!"

haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate, right Taylor?

And because there was an overwhelming onslaught of request (singular, just one) for a video of Theo getting down ... I had to oblige. Here to please you and yours. All and every day, day, day. Get out of my head, Swift.

{and if you're reading this on bloglovin' click here to see clip}

I showed Phoebe and she was all ....

... that's nice. This is the face of not care. 

We'll see how I feel about sending Theo off to the races in January (he has to be two to attend) but for now I'm enjoying our mornings of relative silence, splitting our "milkshake" (smoothie - it's allllll about the marketing, folks) into two gluttonous servings instead of four skimpies, and quality time with my non-verbals (aka non-fighters).

For now!

calling in

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15 September 2014

The kids and I all have fairly miserable but completely innocuous colds. Simon called it, "snot on tap" as he wiped poor Phoebe's nose for the 55th time over the course of an hour last night. As soon as we get struck by the head cold bug I just start saying prayers of thanks that it isn't the stomach flu because toddlers + projectile throw up is just the worst. I'll take faucet noses over the vom plague any day, in case the illness gods are reading. Thanks.

Anyway, so I'm figuratively blogging in sick so that I can let Julia nap in my lap while she tells me in 76 different and creative ways how much she hates being sick:

My nose is so annoying!

I just can't handle this any wonger!

My wife is so frustrating, Grace!

Maybe a milkshake will help?

Can you find some better medicine?

Where's my tissue?

Where's my tissue?

Where's my tissue?

etc - fun - etera

... and yet she still managed to pull together a half-bottomed Halloween costume for our emergency diaper run this morn.

the melodramatic doesn't fall far from the tree.

(and many thanks to sweet Megan for sending the headband our way!!)

Phoebe seems to have been hit the hardest but is proving to be the toughest cookie ... I took a tiny video of her stoic disposition and in case clips of other people's kids are your thing .... here it is.

I promise I won't mention Miss America again but did you see that my cousin Sierra won America's Choice last night? She wont by three votes and I have every confidence in the world that the Camp put her over the edge. Furious and exaggerated wink.

I tried to make dinner every night last week (oh, you think your standards are bad? come on over to disgraceville) and for ONCE ... I succeeded with the help of a couple of meals that stretched for two nights. Tonight's excitement comes in the form of shrimp and avocado quesadillas and maybe I'll even start paying attention to my What's For Dinner Pinterest board. My life is young. You never know.

I made a little witching hour playlist that will most definitely get your young folk up and dancing for anyone in a boat by the name of Desperado at the magical time of day like I am. Phoebe is just as much of a sucker as her mother for beats that are probably popular with the 14-year-old female crowd. You were warned.

I hope to get a video of Theo shaking his tail feather in the very near future. You were warned about that as well because I'm sure I think it's about 999 times more hilarious that anyone ever will.

And now Julia is trying to make Phoebe cuddle with a notsmall wooden statue of an owl so I better go referee that one-sided squabble.

Less blah blah blah in the very near future.
SAHM's honor.

Stay well, dearhearts.

if the ballet flat fits ...

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14 September 2014

flats - c/o the root collective
jacket - Target (inspired by Jolie)
bag - c/o Lily Jade
glasses c/o Firmoo
denim - American Eage via thredUP
sweater - JCrew via thredUP
necklace - c/o Beso by Johanna

I'm not even going to admit to all of you how many years the whole, "if the shoe fits ... " idiom confused the bleep out of me. It finally clicked at some point and I know it makes no sense as the post title but my other option was, "shoe model" and I went with the lesser of the two evils. I think. 

Simon has been begging and begging for me to ask him to take some outfit pictures so I sighed a long and audible sigh and finally obliged. Not funny, I know. But there's a little something in it for you in a second, hold your bored horses. 

So the shoes I'm wearing and loving because they are super comfortable (I had planned to wear totally different shoes last weekend but Simon insisted I wear these - high praise from he who cares little about fashion) were sent over from The Root Collective which is an awesome new organization with a great mission to produce and sell ethically produced inventory for a stellar cause. 

Bethany, from The Root Collective, explains the history and concept behind the gorgeous flats ... 

"All the shoes from The Root Collective are handmade, including the fabric. The fabric for the main part of the shoe takes 2 hours to weave, and is created by women in the highlands of Guatemala in the tradition of the backstrap loom. Many of these women are war widows from the civil war that ravaged the country for 36 years. The detail on the back of the Diamond Collection takes 100 hours per meter to weave (crazy, right?!). Each pair of shoes is crafted by hand in the slum of La Limonada in Guatemala City by a man named Otto. Otto’s story is like so many in the slum: he was a member of a gang. The gang culture is very pervasive and very hard to escape. He managed to leave his former life behind and now views his business, not as one to just make shoes, but to bring hope. He wants to hire former gang members who want to leave their past life and make a difference for their families. It’s not just shoes, but it’s hope and life. And even better? The Root Collective donates 10% of its profits back to nonprofits who are working in the same communities that artisans like Otto live."

(Grace again)

Pretty incredible, don't you think? There are several stunning colors and different color combinations to choose from. The Root Collective is offering 15% off any order now through 9/21/14 with the code: CAMPPATTON AND they is giving a pair away to one of you! Fancy that. You know the way the Rafflecopter works by now (I hope) and I wish you loads of luck. Thanks for playing. And a huge thanks to The Root Collective for being so generous!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

some not terrible things

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11 September 2014

I always go back and forth and back again about how honest (or I believe the buzz word these days might be, "authentic") I want to be on thuh blog (or "this space" as some might say). I should probably rein it in but I'd hate to give you a watered down version of the fun around here. I also really appreciate reading fortuitously timed posts like this because I do love some e-kinship and solidarity on the difficult days. 

So. I'll keep the hose off and tell you that yesterday I was in a funk. 

Like this. 

A bad one. For no good reason! I think I was just fighting off the bizarre feeling of isolation and loneliness that can come with staying at home (for me!) but with kids-a-plenty grabbing at my "big mommy bottom" (thanks for that kind description, Bash!) and lone plastic pearl earring in my left ear and my hair (Phoebe + hair pulling = true love) it feels like such an oxymoron, you know? The kids were their usual level of handful but nothing out of the ordinary so I took them to a new-to-us grocery store for our staples (bananas, tortillas, generic Excedrin ... ) but even the 48 minute change of scenery did approximately nothing to rain on my pity fiesta parade. I practically sprinted up the stairs to our room to bury myself in a book for 45 minutes when Simon came home because I like to face my feelings and problems head on like a big girl. 

Anyway, we all have those days. I know it. And despite the devastating drop in temperature, today has been a million years better. It's just tough to be even the slightest bit circumspect when you're a little bit down and overwhelmed with your usual plate, I think. 

Okay! I'm done. Thanks for being a silent sounding board. I could've skipped the road trip to the desert where all forms of happy go, fail to thrive, and die but you don't get off easy around here. Aka ... LONG and windy way of saying that we've got a lot of good going on right now. And always. But here are just a few of the currents ...

The big kids went back to school.

Seriously. Freezing this morning. 

The kids love going to "school" (preschool, playschool, whatever) and were so happy to go back on Tuesday. Julia did have those weird freak outs last semester and I know they could return with a vengeance but for the time being, she's good. 

a pleasant surprise for Sebastian - I forgot that we signed Bash up for both days this year as opposed to just one like last year and so after explaining that he would have to come home with mom ("I promise you can have a sip of my coffee if you don't throw a fit when we drop Julia off!" discipline philosophy extraordinaire!) he was thrilled to find out that he'd get to stay for the morning with J. I love Sebastian but ... I was too. 

The school is just a block down from our house - so while the weather allows (two more seconds, is my prediction) it's nice to walk the kids to and from school. There IS a huge huge grassy hill to climb to get to the parking lot and wearing Phoebe and pushing the kids while huffing up the hill leaves me with fiery lungs and hot red cheeks when we reach the entrance. But today, Sebastian offered to get out and help me push. 

Such a sweetheart.

(more about that skin imperfection in a minute, don't deny you don't see it)

but then I realized he just wanted a longer stare at the big concrete and digger (technical term) trucks working on the road behind us. 


Okay. That's all for that. I could've thrown a back-to-school post at you but ... I snuck it in. De nada. 

blemish/zit/breakout - I know I've told you on many occasions before that my skin was really bad back in high school and college. I worked at Eddie Bauer my senior year of high school and we had to go around and clean all the mirrors at the end of the night and ah! It was awful because at that point my spackled on concealer had melted off and I my peripheral vision couldn't help but notice my face dotted with what looked like a bad case of chicken pox. After dining on a diet rich in junk this past weekend my skin rebelled big time and rolled out a nice little cluster of imperfections for your viewing pleasure (see above for my favorite one). I know it's cheesy as bleep but little skin skirmishes like this make me so happy and grateful that I'm out of the mirror-fearing woods of yesteryear because they were many and much. I should've skipped this one, huh? I know. I do.

killing the catnap - When Simon was on nights in July Phoebe got into a terrible habit of taking a little catnap around 7, waking up at 8 ready to PARTY until 10 ... or later. I surrendered to survival mode and let it ride because I was at that point in the eternal shift where I was super tired slash lazy. She continued the life ruining trend for the million weeks to follow and Simon and I would take turns swaying her back and forth and back and forth in spoiledville while watching a show of our choosing (FNL for me, PBS for Simon) until she eventually caved. But this week I rolled up my parenting sleeves and fought to keep her awake (a bath, having Julia snort-laugh at her .... nothing makes Phoebe laugh so hard, dancing, anythinging) and she's finally going to bed shortly after Theo around 7:30 for the night. Life ... I'm coming back for you. Get excited.

you! - You (and you! aaaaaand you!) all send me some of the nicest emails and leave the best comments ever ... all the time. Simon keeps telling me to put them in a special mail folder (but I'm like 9 year of age when it comes to email know-how) to read when someone exercises their e-right to be nasty and I start making plans to kill the blog forever (never, I wouldn't. I'm just an extra rational human in the face of ugly). Someday I'll figure out a way to thank you all adequately, I hope. But for now, take this paltry paragraph as the teeniest token of my appreciation. 

Okay. Let's stop there. Yep, that's it. I hope your hopes were high coming into today because .... nothing screams interesting and quality reading like preschool, pimples, baby sleep prattle, and a little Hallmarkage.  

Nothing at all.

(and if you have some not terrible things to share .... I'm all eyes ... let's celebrate the tiny and mighty together. Ahem. Speaking of Hallmark ... why have they not hired me to write for them?! Come on now.)

fanaticism in South Bend

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10 September 2014

Every fall Simon talks about how fun it would be to go up to a Notre Dame football game and every fall we have a million excuses by the name of residency (not to point fingers or furrowed brows but ... I see you fall month of night float + call weekends) but since Simon was assigned to his night float month in July this half of the year ... we were finally able to make it happen this past weekend for the Michigan game.

Just call us lucky charms because como se dice, "slaughter" in sportmanship speak?

Also, I see you handbomb + Julia's jovial temperament.

I'll just give you the weekend highlights although I do love a good detailed timeline ... as you know all TOO well by now.

The drive up!

Murphy and his law would have Simon stuck at work every single Friday we want to leave town (fact) and by the time we hit the road the sky looked threatening and ominous and very end-of-the-worldy. And then we drove through what felt like the longest ice bucket challenge of them all by way of torrential rains ...

Also, Simon and I had this nice conversation:
Grace: it looks like tornado weather
Simon: have you ever been in a tornado?
Grace: no, but I've seen Twister
Simon: heartiest laugh of our entire marriage
Grace: not laughing, still serious

So I took a gander at the weather on the old phone and would you look at that ... 

... our entire route dotted with red and red means: tornado warning + vindication.

Totally over it!

Moving on.

So Katrina had generously offered to host us for the weekend but at the last minute one of Simon's college buddies offered us his parents empty condo near campus and before he could retract the offer we snatched it up and camped out there ... much to the excitement and delight of the condo dwellers below us.

We got in around 12:30 on Friday night/Saturday morning and Sebastian marched right up to the door directly underneath ours and rang the doorbell.

A gentleman formerly known as asleep answered in a stupor and looked a little something like this ...

... and I don't blame him one bit.

Game day!

With the time change the kids were up right before the crickety crack of dawn. So we dined on grapes and waited and waited and waited until the local Super Target opened so that we could grab food and drink.

Sebastian knows he's on familiar territory. And we don't have any ND gear for the older three kids so I had to improvise ... and they looked exactly like leprachauns dressed for an event where the dress code was: business casual. Sue me.

We had the great pleasure of meeting up with Katrina, Ana, and Alexandra for a playground date complete with coffee and many donuts c/o Ana and Mike. It was definitely a huge highlight of the weekend ...

The husbands were SO excited when we asked them to grab an easy snap of us moms and our cooperative broods.

Since the older kids are at the age where they can get away without naps (and we can cash in on super early bedtimes that way!) but Theo still very much needs a lengthy afternoon not-on-the-go nap we went back to the condo and let him and Phoebe sleep. This is suddenly feeling very timeliney. I'm terrible. And predictable.

Shock of all shocks - Sebastian also crashed. And shock of not shocks Simon did too while Julia kept me wide awake company slyly trying to wake Sebastian, "I just wanted to tell him I loved him!" and asking exactly how many toys she could buy with the penny she found in the parking lot.

Phoebe sounded the alarm and woke Simon so we enjoyed a private tailgate on the balcony while Julia serenaded us with her made up song, "Notre Dame" (those are the only lyrics) and Phoebe eyed Simon's adult beverage ...

... very suspiciously.

A couple of Simon's college friends were in town so after the boys woke up we loaded up the triple, cooler y todo and were on our merry way to catch the tail end of the tailgating on campus ...

In front of his old dorm trying to figure out where his friends were. Times haven't changed one bit.

I was totally caught using those doors as a mirror to fix my windwrecked hair by a kind lady who came out and asked if we wanted in and .... happened to be a blog reader! Small world. And from now on I shall start carrying a compact a la 7th grade back pocket for hair fixing emergencies lest I'm caught like that again.

In front of the library where Simon and I met aaaaalmost seven years ago. 

After garnering exactly no stares while navigating through the crowds on campus with the triple wide we finally found the compadres and set up camp ...

with mimosas minus the fun for the kids (aka orange juice, in case you didn't pick up what I was throwing down)

We had low hopes for the kids on campus and fully expected to have to pack up after 20 or 30 minutes but they made themselves right at home ...

... the old "run around an empty beer can" game.

Fun times seeing Katie and meeting her husband, Brian (Simon is worried he may have thought his name was Mike ... his apologies, Brian!!!)

Phoebe calmly communicating that we needed to leave.

So we did.

We were fortunate enough to get the name of a great (and available on game night!) sitter during the game but I am a total nut and didn't want to be too far away from Phoebe because she is a really great baby until the hour of 8-9pm when she puts the fear of God into me nightly with her screams. But! Of course she was perfect for the sitter (we watched the VICTORY across the street at a restaurant/bar situation) but you know that if we'd gone into the game she would've pulled the terror card and Sebastian would've done something wild that required multiple stitches. Live and learn, I suppose.

When Julia was a baby and we would go out of town I would have insanely high expectations for the trips thinking that Julia would happily go with the flow and that the change of pace would be a breath of fresh air from my new day to day grind. And I would always be devastated when she seemed to ruin any and all fun and wish we'd never left our abode at all.

But now! Simon and I have learned to have SUPER low expectations when we travel and we are usually always pleasantly surprised with how nice it is to step away from the grind at home. And this weekend was no exception.

That is definitely NOT to say the drive home wasn't a bowl full of purgatory ...

Pretty. But painful.

There was a LONG detour and wailing and gnashing of tantrums by children and parents alike. You know the drill, I'm sure.

We pulled in the driveway at 7:11pm and the kids were all tucked in by 7:20 which almost made up for the odyssey across Illinois in its entirety and the fact that three days later, our suitcases are still sitting fat and happy and untouched in Theo's room.

Anyway. That's that.

No more trip recaps for several weeks. At the very least. I hope you can see my wink and I know I can feel your palpable excitement.


I blame the internet.

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08 September 2014

AH! It's Monday. And I've had a potty training post hanging around at the tippy top for two too many days now.


I should have a little something something to post here but .... no. I was busy figuring out how to put the cover back on Phoebe's car seat after washing it (straps! buckles! why did I not take a picture before I tore it apart?!), hitting up Costco for the usual weekly staples + black bean spaghetti noodles (Simon is going to be TICKLED), and um ... Googling the Taylor Swift/Selena Gomez feud which somehow landed me on Justin Bieber's Instagram and the internet is the worst.

... and the best. Because I do have these fun things to share with you and yours this afternoon:

My mom, my youngest sister, Sarah, my aunts, AND my grandma (I'm sure my invitation got lost in the mail, sure of it!) all flew out to Atlantic City today to watch my cousin (Sierra! Go Miss Idaho!!) compete in the Miss America pageant. I think there's still time to vote for her in the People's Choice competition so ... if you're feeling extra generous ... I think it takes two clicks. Thanks if you do, and thanks if you don't!

I'm still on my Friday Night Lights kick and am thoroughly enjoying round two with the Panthers especially after I watched Season 1, Episode 5 this time around. I spotted my blog friend turned real life friend, Indiana, giving Smash the eyes. I knew she was an extra on the show but it was cool to see and recognize her this time around. She wrote a ridiculous post about how Coach Taylor trumps Tim Riggins and even has a little vote going .... so help a brother out.

I'm guessing you already saw this exciting bit of news but I'm SO excited for Jen. I had the pleasure of meeting her in real life and she's just as engaging and witty in person as she is on her blog so the air waves are in for a real treat.

Did you notice my new header? The talented Jolie over at Brim Papery whipped that up for me. Love her. {I was a paying customer ... worth every penny!}

Is it just me or have you noticed that a lot of people seem to be blogging less? I'm the guiltiest. I'm the world's slowest post writer in the (ancient!) history of blogging and blah blah excuses. I need to get it together, I know. Anyway, I was just curious if you've discovered any new blog blood lately? (One of my recentlyish discovered favorites is Kate over at The Small Things Blog ... ) Or maybe you've started a blog? Let me know in the comments if so! I need to update my blog roll like whoa.

Okay, I think that's it. I had "beach chair" jotted down in my (organized!) notes to blog about but present Grace has NO idea what former Grace was talking about.

OH FINE. One photo of the children that are scarcely blogged about ...

... neglected fourth child. the love to watch her "flip" aka roll over aka all the excitement around here.

And now I'm off to greet sweet Theo who is up from his nap and yelling, "NO!" on machine gun repeat and of course start that black bean spaghetti for dinner.

Simon says, "yay." 


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