houseguests extraordinaire

09 December 2014

Not to be confused with "housepests extraordinaire" which is what we've got going on in our kitchen at the moment. I'm hoping it's just a housepest {singular} because if there is more than one mouse frolicking behind the oven at all hours of the night ... well, I'll do nothing but I won't like it. I've named the one I do see on the regular Keller (as in Helen) because s/he (gender not determined, fortunately) does NOT give a diaper bomb if there are humans large or small present when s/he runs out and about on the open (oven) range or kitchen floor or even sometimes Patton feet. Shiver. I hate mice but at this point, I'm almost not fazed, "would like you like a lick of peanut butter, Keller? Theo left 8/9ths of a sandwich on the floor over there if you're hungry." As soon as Simon has a second off of work ... he'll get on the nighttime inhumane trap situation, don't worry ... worriers.

A tangent before the post has even begun. They don't call me Wild Patton for nothing.

And now ... the main course.

Really.

If on the VERY off chance you've ever thought to yourself, "I bet those Pattons would make fun friends!" ... please know that you are so very wrong.


The wrongest. You couldn't be more wrong. We lame.

Over Thanksgiving we made the drive over to Wichita to see Simon's family where his sister, Mary and brother-in-law Andrew graciously (too graciously, they would soon find out!!) let us stay at their house. They have a wonderful dog named Chevy that Sebastian adores and has grand plans to petnap one of these trips. I'm 110% certain that if we gave him the choice, "you can either have Chevy or Mom in your life ... " he would absolutely choose the non-human over the human that carried him in her person for nine short months. Make that 120%.

A few days before we depart for family trips - the great laundry catch-up of the century has to go down and then the traditional "Grace voices her concern and slight trepidation and mild anxiety at the thought of packing the family up for a trip" to which Simon does his old half laugh slash half eye roll because ... how hard can it be?! Well, considering that we travel with four sound machines and an extra pair of pants per day per child in case of worst case scenario (which will happen!) I haven't quite mastered the art of "packing easy breezy light AND easy!!" and I probably never will ... it's semi-difficult. But we are always happy to do it and know that everything will be unpacked and back where it belongs by Easter. So, know that when we descended on their house it was more like six pack mules plus a minivan arriving than six humans with a few overnight bags.


three of Julia's nine bags ... of trinkets. Or tiny shit.

But let's get down to the fun stuff ...

fun number one: The day before we arrived on the scene, Mary and Andrew had new basement carpet installed. You already see where this is going, right? Simon probably said 88 times on the drive over how careful we'd have to be with the kids and their tendency to make mess murals on every surface they touch and I agreed. And so ... when we arrived and joined in on a little happy hour and aperitif fun ... sitting on the freshly carpeted basement floor while we all watched the kids play ... you'll imagine my shock and horror when it was my glass of wine that Sebastian accidentally knocked out of my hand and onto the brand new floor canvas. Luckily, the carpet is beige and I only drink sweet white wine because I'll forever be 17 at heart but still ... less than one hour and in and we were on a roll.

fun number two: I'll admit that aside from Phoebe, my kids are not the easy going "will eat anything!" types. At all. Luckily, they'll go for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (no jelly for Julia!) in a pinch which is exactly what sweet Mary made up for a hungry would-not-touch-the-delicious-spread-of-appetizers Julia on the first night. Of course, Julia inspected the foreign bread and declared that she did not like "seeds" because it was a slightly different variety of the bread we buy. If you need my eyes they'll be occupied and rolled up to the heavens for many weeks to come. The funnest.

fun number three: Of course the trip wouldn't be complete without a little bodily fluid spill. I won't name names here to protect the guilty but surprise, surprise - after going to bed hours after their usual retiring hour and gleefully skipping naps ... a certain Patton child crashed hard on the couch on Friday night. Patton children do not tend to just sleep anywhere so I let said child be until we all went to bed when I discovered that the child had wet the couch. Cue panic and humiliation. We did the whole baking soda/vacuum thing but the evidence a la smell remained so we went on a fruitless hunt to find a dry cleaner that would do same day couch cushion cleanings but, nope. We left money for their trouble along with promises that kids aren't all urine and hassles. Really.


they can be biceps and triceps too.

fun number four: And finally the finale ends at 2:30 in the am when the ONE child that can always always always be counted on to sleep through the night (Sebastian) woke up in a crying panic and woke Mary and Andrew before I came to my senses even though I'm the lightest sleeper on the planet. Uncle Andrew kindly gave Sebastian some water in a glass to try to calm him down and Sebastian thanked him by dropping and breaking the glass all over the kitchen floor. So by the time I woke up I found them out with the vacuum searching for any last shards of sharp with a still-crying Sebastian. Vigilant Parents Be Us.


Sending the kids off on a very cold walk with our selfless hosts while we enjoyed the warmth and quiet of the indoors. Yes, I only packed a blazer for Sebastian because the forecast SAID sixty degrees. It lied. Hard.

And honorable mentions go to feeding Chevy forty four times the recommended amount of human food that dogs should eat in a day ... every day we were there. Our clothes/shoes slowly but very surely taking over and clogging the hallway into a massive tripping hazard. And playing ten too many rounds of pull Chevy's nub of a tail before he runs and hides from Theo, forever and ever. Amen.

I selfishly wrote this post because I'm hoping someone can top it. "There, there Grace, my daughter burned my aunt's house down the ground!!" or maybe, "oh, my little rascal actually killed my brother's brand new puppy!!" ... you know, something along those lines would be a nice balm for my soul that will ne'er see the likes of travel with children again.

Thanks in advance.

55 comments:

  1. Our "open door" policy backfired one night and the ONLY thing that got rid of the smell was peroxide mixed with baking soda!! Spray peroxide onto the spot and rub in baking soda and let it dry. Vaccuum up. You may have to repeat depending on "pungentness" of said spot.

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  2. While visiting my mother in law (in Tampa!) my 16 month old spilled spaghetti on her grandmas white carpet. Said white carpet had just been cleaned because her house is for sale. Wasn't my idea to give her spaghetti. {points hard at husband}.

    www.shhmommysdrinking.com

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  3. Oh Patton family you are my fav! We had a mouse in the house a few weeks ago, we got it out once for it to come back so I went with the old wooden trap method, and mouse be gone fo-eva. That is quite the family visit you had there. We haven't stayed with family in a while but the last time we stayed at my moms Ace "accidentally" dropped/ threw her 10 year old toy poodle and he slipped a disc in his back. I cried the whole time at the vets office. Another time at Chris's grandmothers Ace pulled the table cloth off the table that was fully set for Christmas dinner. How do you say I'll replace all your fine china? I am scared to take them anywhere unless people think dog crates are adequate for children. :)

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  4. This was a funny post. Made me laugh :)

    I don't have any children of my own to give you any 'children awhile traveling' stories, but I am a nanny, and I have definitely seen my share of not so fun times! I was once driving when the little girl I was caring for threw up all over herself in the backseat. I had to stop the car and look through my car to see if I had anything to clean her up with. I found some kind of thing to wipe her off, then proceeded to take off all her clothes (since they were disgusting) and have her kind of be naked for the rest of the car ride. Luckily we weren't far from home.

    But I wonder if you brother-in-law and his wife have any children of their own?

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  5. "Nature's miracle" works really well to get rid of bodily fluid smells...it's made to clean up pet accidents, but I've been known to bust it out for my 3 year olds "pee on the floor on purpose" tantrums....yeah, we're fun house guests too...;)

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  6. Here ya go. All on one trip my daughter managed to destroy my aunt's cream colored carpet. First she pooped on it. Then she washed it...with an entire bottle of shampoo. And last she painted it with HOT PINK NAIL POLISH. I was mortified. But my aunt is the best and she has opened her home to us several times since.

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  7. I should let you guys crash our place, where the carpet is pre-soiled and many a surface has seen bodily fluids. But Mary and Andrew are the best and would never let you.

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  8. Well, there was that time while we were staying at our inlaws with our multiple young children and it was the whole "fish and visitors start to smell bad after three days" thing that was starting to go on and the current baby pooped a liquid diarrhea baby poop through their outfit all over their white carpet....oh the horror the horror....I tried and tried to get it all out but there was still a stain.

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  9. I hate traveling with kids. I rather stick a fork in my eye than stay at someone else's home, or small hotel room with my kids...alas, I still end up doing once or twice a year and every time I end up looking at the hubbster and thinking to myself "I probably should have become a nun."

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  10. 2 very important questions:
    1) Does Phoebe see the camera and instantly turn the cute on, or is she always camera-ready?
    2) What is the book on the table behind Theo in the first picture... the cover looks so fun!

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    1. (Yes, I judge books by their covers. #notashamed)

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  11. Thank G-d, it wasn't my kid, but while we were eating by some friends with birds, one the kids held the bird a little too hard...poor thing. I can't even think about it, it makes me upset!! Apparently the bird was suffering beforehand so the kid put it out of it's misery, but still...the kid took the bird out of the cage and squeezed a little too hard...!!

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  12. haha goodness, that's a tough one to beat! thank you thank you for the laughs!

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  13. I've never had anything TOO awful happen while staying with my children at family members' houses--some unfortunate but contained vomit and a semi-broken bed--but now that I'm expecting my third boy, I'm thinking we're not going to be popular houseguests.

    Not that I can blame anyone for fearing a trio of small boys. I myself am considering building them a bunkhouse of their own out back.

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  14. This post had me laughing out loud so many times. I'm sooo happy to know that my 3-year-old girls aren't the only ones who don't like "seed bread." :-)

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  15. I can't even handle Phoebe. CAN'T EVEN HANDLE HER.

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  16. OMG - the "seed" bread. Mine used to do that. My oldest would inspect every piece of food put in front of him by anyone (including me) to make sure there wasn't a vegetable snuck in there. He would hand me stuff that he wouldn't eat (which was everything) and tell me it was "dirty". I could tell you so many travel horror stories - let's just say that I'm so lucky that my MIL still loves me and my children. And you're always welcome here, because I've seen everything! And 4 boys, so my house is pretty disaster-proof!

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  17. On our trip to my parents' for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago:
    -2 year old peed on my mom's newish couch (just days before my parents were set to show their house)
    -2 year old pooped his underwear at my aunt's house, somehow got poop on her bathroom floor during the cleanup process; I stepped in the poop during the cleanup process, and in our distraction, we did not see my 1-year old nephew come in and start splashing in the toilet
    -10 month old kept throwing all of her food on the floor for my brother's dog (who is not supposed to eat human food) to eat
    Loved this post. Glad to know I'm not the only one whose children excel at ruining nice spaces.

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  18. I'm not a mom but when my husband and I were eating dinner at a friends' house for the first time, she asked me to hold her 11-month old, and after sitting on my lap contentedly for awhile she decided to LEAP out of my arms onto the kitchen floor!! My husband just about died, thinking that the child was dead. Of course she was completely fine, but it was quite embarrassing.

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  19. What's kinda crazy is that even after reading all of that I'd still totally invite y'all over and love hosting you for a weekend visit! Maybe it's the zillion nieces and nephew's I recently inherited, I dunno, but your story didn't scare me away! Haha sorry it had you so frazzled though, I mean if you can't destroy your own family's home, whose home can you destroy? ;)

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  20. No worse travel stories (yet!) but two things: 1. Phoebe might be the cutest Patton child thus far. I heart her smile. 2. Apparently we had mice (a mouse?) but my husband was smart and didn't tell me. I found out when I happened upon one in a trap a few days later... and promptly stayed away from the kitchen for the rest of the night while trying not to freak out the kids, because I don't want them to be a wuss like me.

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  21. I love your blog! I'm a bit of a mouse-catching expert myself since we live way out in the country...and the thing that always works for us is the big rat-sized sticky traps from Wal-Mart. Toss a nibble of peanut butter in the middle of that thing and set it wherever your little friend likes to hang out and overnight I bet you'll hear some squeaking (which is what they love to do when they're caught on the trap.) We've tried other kinds of traps and these just work awesome. Of course, you then have to pick up the trap with the mouse wiggling around which is AWESOME...but that's what husbands are for.

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  22. A little family snapshot from 1983:

    My mother took 18 month-old me to visit her spinster aunt on the occasion of said aunt's 900th birthday (or something; i don't remember). The setting was formal and the audience was elderly. I apparently entered a mental state not unlike Godzilla, and proceeded to basically destroy the woman's house, party, and everyone she loved. I threw up on a minister. I hid several plates of food under a table, and then when caught, sat on a plate of appetizers and cried. Due to the mess, my clothing was removed and I was dressed in an adult tee-shirt for the sake of modesty. I wouldn't leave the cat alone, and when it was finally locked into a bedroom for its own safety, I threw a tantrum in front of the door pleading for its release. Later, I ate the cat's food.

    Things slowed down for a bit, and my mother began to harbor thoughts of possibly redeeming herself as a mother and human being. At that point, I removed the tee-shirt and my (not at all clean) diaper and threw it as hard as I could in the foyer floor. The contents of the diaper escaped at high velocity and interrupted a moment of prayer.

    My mother finally admitted defeat and took me home.

    I have no memories of any of this, but the incident is legend in our family. Someday, "that time we tore it up at Mary's" will be a fond memory for you guys. In the meanwhile, try to count your lucky stars that none of the children used their diaper like an Olympic hammer. It's the small things.

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  23. Hi Grace,
    This was an absolutely awesome read! I could not stop cracking up. I've been looking forward to your posts ever since I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago; I absolutely love your frank sense of humor and perspective on life, Catholicism, and motherhood. I'm a high school senior and you still haven't scared me off from motherhood! You and your beautiful family inspire me, despite the hilarious mishaps you recount so pricelessly. Thanks for sharing some of your life with the world out here! I hope to emulate you and other Catholic mamas someday, especially your humorous approach to the everyday curveballs. Thanks again!

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  24. I only have one that can walk so our terrorism is limited to garden variety stuff still. But my friend's daughter was about 4 and they were at a party at a friend of her parents. The 4yo had eaten a bunch of candy and punch and stuff and was catapulted into some kind of epic synthetic dye and sugar related mania. The she vomited down a flight of stairs and destroyed a light-colored stair runner carpet thingy that was antique and had been in the family for a thousand years or something. There was not a single step without technicolor vomit. I'm always impressed by this because when my kids throw up, they just urp it down their clothes and wherever they're sitting. They just don't haverange necessary to ruin a flight of stairs.

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  25. I've been following along for a while, but have never posted, I LOVE your blog, your kids are so stinking cute (especially phoebe ;). I'm a mom of two older kids, and I have to tell you, that crazy visitor stage never really goes away, it just gets a little different, something for you to look forward to. Good luck with the mouse, you are one brave woman, I would never set foot on my house until the mouse was gone!

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  26. Oh my goodness I haven't laughed so hard at 8 am ...ever!!! We've definitely done our fair share of house crashing. Mostly my kids just steal things. We were recently at an open house and one of my children took the real estate agents phone off the table and took it home with us. That was awesome to explain. 😁

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  27. Once upon a time, I was 16 and on the most fun band trip ever (not an oxymoron) in London. My best friend and I were staying with a host family (we had hosted their daughter the year before). If you haven't heard, London is cold and drafty and very wet, especially in March. Anyways, they were so kind as to put an electric blanket on my BFFs bed since she had the bed by the window. Well, we did not turn it off during the night and I awoke to a room full of smoke and my BFF sleepy soundly in her bed that was now on fire. I got her up and we ran to the parent's room to alert them of said fiery inferno. The dad came running into the bedroom and threw the fiery mattress and blanket out the window onto the sidewalk below, thus breaking the awning over the door. Did I mention this was night one of FOUR we were staying with them. We spent the other three nights in sleeping bags in the one other bedroom with the three sisters that were already cooped up in there because we had taken their bedroom and then set it on fire. And now that I think about it, I didn't see the dad the rest of that trip. Weird.

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  28. Well....you know it was bad if they never invite you over again!!!! So it probably wasn't THAT bad!

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  29. At one of the cabins here at camp, our housekeeper reported to us that she'd found a mouse... dead in the toilet. There were candy wrappers shoved deep under comforters on all three of the beds... apparently the mouse had a little feast and then got thirsty. Ew. Just, ew.

    My sister consistently got the flu any time we went to Grandma's house. Consistently. She'd vomit everywhere and moan and moan...

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  30. Bahahaha!!! Love it.

    I am also a huge fan of Sebastian's Mary, Mother of Christ head shawl. So on-trend for the remaining weeks of the gestation!

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  31. My husband was on a conference call right beside me when I started reading this and I had to run out of the room doing the stifling, shaking, tears-running-down face laugh. Oh my goodness!! Well, let me assure you, you are not alone. My kids haven't done too many dastardly things (my sister's kids have though! ha ha) but one stands out in my memory. Towards the end of a long road trip, we stayed with some (not terribly close) friends that had moved to another state. They were so excited to see us and put us up in their guest room where they had just installed a brand new king size Tempurpedic bed. Our son was sleeping in a little bed near us but, of course, in the middle of the night climbed in beside us. You know where this is going. Yes, our son who had not wet the bed for a long time did that night. I remember waking up, seeing him in the middle, going to give him a cuddle and feeling the wetness. I jumped out of that bed so fast and whipped the sheet up whilst praying 'please, please, let there be a mattress protector on there'. There wasn't. I have never been so mortified in my life. Thankfully they have 4 kids themselves and laughed it off but, still, I am mortified.... (btw, the comment of the lady with the hammer throw diaper was what put me over the edge and needing to run out of the room)

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  32. So funny - I seriously can't stop laughing, especially at that last paragraph!!! But really, none of it was really that naughty....they were all accidents!!!

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  33. My middle child was about two when we visited my sister-in-law and her husband for Thanksgiving last year. He was very constipated and we had been doing everything we could to "get things going." Well, luckily/unluckily, things started moving but we ended up with poop on their beautiful new-ish bedroom carpet, in the master bathroom floor, in the shower (???) and poop all over the toilet. To top it all off, her husband (who is really OCD about things being clean) insisted on cleaning it all up. Ugh!

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  34. Got to love traveling with little kids! I think my family's shining travel moments to my parents house was 1- when all 3 kids (5 yrs and under) caught the worst flu bug and over a week all three had thrown up all us parents, their grandparents and almost their whole carpet. And 2- my daughter shattering a bottle of blue nail polish all over their carpet! I can still see hints of blue on their carpet, even though we spent the longest time scrubbing it.

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  35. um my mother DID burn down a caravan park when she was 2. her defense 'who left matches with a 2 year old?' thankfully no one was hurt.

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  36. Delightful post, Grace. I LOVE your writing style! I haven't had anything like this happen yet with my kids but if/when it does, I'll take comfort in knowing I'm not the only one.

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  37. I have many, many mice in my supply closet turned office (read: small) who are too tiny to trip the traps...non-humane, sorry mice protesters, but stay with me cause all is roses and rainbows....and they actually sit on top of the traps to eat the peanut butter off of them. Ninja Mice. So my office is the 24 hour buffet for all mice in a 20 mile radius.

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  38. You are welcome here any time. We clean, we sweep, we have extra warm coats in just the right size AND I have 25 years experience in the "picky eater" department. It's all good my friend. You were with family and that's makes everything forgivable. Think of the stories you have to tell for years to come. <3

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  39. Just make sure you catch/kill/any means possible remove that mouse before the sucker dies in the wall post odd and ends ingestion and graces you with his/her smell for three weeks before mummification sets in.

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  40. Awww....we absolutely LOVED having you! Wouldn't have wanted it to be any other way. Chevy still misses all the babies and you and Simon (and so do we!)

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  41. At just shy of 1 yaer old, my son threw up on our friend's lap and couch. Then after we cleaned him up and changed him, he threw up all over their son's room, then when we got him cleaned up he soiled their bathroom so completely they tried to comfort me by telling me they were about to remodel it anyhow. For the grand finale on that same night he threw up all over their heirloom quilt that was from her great grandmother. So we peeled on outta there with our tails tucked firmly in a vomit sack.

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  42. Oh my goodness, you are so much fun to read! And may I please, please, please hold that beautiful little butterball Phoebe??

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  43. I'm pregnant and due in April and have been searching for the perfect diaper bag - so this is perfect timing! I would love the Madeline in Brandy, though I'm not sure I can afford it - so hopefully I get lucky with this raffle!!

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  44. Went on a trip to Canada with my extended family for a wedding. Some of my sisters had to share beds with my daughters. My three year old woke up screaming in the middle of the night at my 21 year old sister demanding that she "GET OUT OF THE BED! I WANT AUNT ANNETTE (another of my sisters) TO SLEEP WITH ME NOT YOU!" I felt like the worst parent to have raised such a terror of a little girl. It was a ROUGH trip.

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  45. Umm.. my kids are always destroying things when we stay with family. I cannot think of any specific instances because I have blocked them from my memory out of self defense.
    Also, a random question to make you forget your children's shenanigans.. what amber teething necklace do you have? :) There are SOOO MANY options and my head is spinning.

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    1. http://www.merribabies.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=54

      This one!! :)

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  46. I have 4 boys and the oldest is 4 and reading this makes me sick. And that's why I won't stay anywhere but my mom's!!! Pretty sure no one else could handle us.

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  47. Ahh! Thank you for this lovely list of such fun events! It was hilarious and made my rainy morning a bit sunnier :) I'm pretty sure I can't top your list with just one baby, but it gives me something to look forward to down the road! Happy holidays! Thank you for sharing. I always love reading your blog :)

    Annie
    6-12 MONTHS BABY GIFT GUIDE on The MAMA Gazette

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  48. I don't have a one-upper...mostly because we live near family and therefore never have to stay with them. But I laughed until I cried reading your last paragraph there...which was a much needed laugh. So all of that turmoil was worth it...for me. ;)

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  49. I just found your blog today and this was my second post I read...I laughed out loud at your daughter's 3 (of 9) bags of stuff. Hahaha. I'm glad I found you!

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  50. I just died from cry-laugh choking. Unfortunately, cannot top that. Yet.

    Haleigh

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