the amateur's guide to editing iPhone photos

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31 March 2014

There she goes again. Writing tutorialesque like posts about things she has no business writing tutorialesque like posts about. No business.

It's true! I'm still learning the treacherous ropes of editing photos on my phone and I'm not an expert. And I know there are hundreds of better tutorials out there but ... what the wild? I'll throw mine in the haystack.

I use photos from my phone to use in blog posts FAR too often. I wish I had a third arm solely for the purpose of lugging my camera around along with some knowledge about how to properly use said camera but ... some dreams are better left untouched, I suppose. So, for now ... camera phone + paltry editing skillage it is. Hear me whisper-roar and making Perry proud.
 
Come along, this will be fun.
Promise.



BASIC TIPS:
+ clean your screen.
All the time. It's really crazy how a little smudge can ruin picture after picture and I'll be honest and admit I just use my finger to wipe the phone clean but I'm sure a dust free cloth meant for cleaning glasses would be ideal. As much as I LOVE the LifeProof case because I can rest easy knowing that if Sebastian or Theo decide take my phone for a toilet dip (again) ... it will be fine for about an hour (crazy) but the front (aka selfie) camera lens is total crap because I don't know why but it's tough to keep it stuck to the phone and so dust builds up in .04 seconds flat and so ... limited selfies from Grace. It's awful. But I do take the case off every week or so and clean it really well so as not to deprive the masses of the vapid.

+ tap tap tap. An easy way to avoid getting super dark (and grainy) photos is to tap around on the screen and the phone will adjust the lighting accordingly. Tap faces to focus on faces. Obviously trying to get a great snap in a dark room is not going to work unless you use the flash (and I hate using the flash so I just don't) but our living room is pretty poorly lit and tapping around can shed some serious light on a photo. Editing can brighten photos up significantly ...


... but to avoid the grainy ... tap, tap, tap until the light is right.

+ take a million photos. I won't pretend to know anything about anything when it comes to composition but it helps to take several photos of the same situation ... especially when it comes to little kids and their reluctant smiles etc. I probably overdo this ...

this is actually two different photos and the only slightly noticeable difference is Sebastian's face tilt so I could've cooled my snappy jets here but ... it's easy to delete photos in batches so .... no foul here.

THAT'S ALL VERY NICE, GRACE. I THOUGHT THIS POST WAS ABOUT EDITING.


Right-o.

Afterlight.
I use Afterlight to edit my photos and I know there are some diehard vscocam and Snapseed fans but Afterlight comes the easiest to me and so ... I stick with it through good times and in bad.


My favorite actions are these:
      +clarify - I usually stick with 50% or less ... any more and it looks ... what's the technical term? weird. it looks weird.
      +brighten  - Again with the 50% but you can always do more ... brighter is usually better in my novice opinion.
      +contrast - not always necessary but a tiny bit of contrast can go a long way.
+ Russ - under guest filters is my favorite filter and I usually bring it down to about 40% but ... there are tons of filters. I might be stuck in a bit of a rut.
+ fade - sometimes I'll throw a little fade on a photo to soften it a bit but I think it can look a little bit like a dusty windshield so ... fade cautiously.
+ black & white - if you took a photo that you love but the lighting is pretty bleh ... you can always go the sneaky sneak black and white route ... I generally use the Ash filter (under original filters) and then clarify that puppy. It's magical ... just watch.
+ light leak - (this is the film strip icon) and leak #3 is my favorite ... but leak carefully lest you look like a big fake (and maybe I do) ...


And a few more just for fun ...



A QUICK NOTE ON INSTAGRAM:
+ it's all about the gram - not really but I read a post the other day and the author claimed to spend five (cinco!!) minutes editing every one of her photos that she posts to Instagram. That crazy. You can upload photos straight from Afterlight to Instagram which cuts down on time and you can use Afterlight's camera directly (but I don't because, like I confessed, I like to take millions!!).
+ fitting a photo (that you don't want to crop into a square) into a gram - Afterlight can do that but I tend to use the Squareready App because old dogs and new tricks. Using one of these apps will make the photo white and snazzy on the sides instead of black and not snazzy. Example here.
+ Squareready - can also make photo collages. I guess you didn't need to know that. But it can!

Question? Concern? Conundrum? Tell me and I'll address it. I promise.


And if you have any tips for me ... I'm all ears!


favorite {non-maternity} maternity duds

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28 March 2014

When I first found out I was pregnant with Julia I remember telling Simon that I wasn't going to wear tents for maternity clothes. Nope. Only cute and belly hugging duds for me. I was so sure. And stupid.

And then I grew as you do when you're pregnant ... and I grew and grew and realized I mostly hated how tight fighting things looked (on me! A lot of people can pull them off really well!) and aside from twoish shirts ... I started to embrace the tent look as the weeks dragged on until Julia was born. With Sebastian's pregnancy I ventured more into the non-maternity as maternity clothing territory but still really loved a lot of my maternity clothes. Anyway ... over the trimesters I've found myself going back to these staples over and over again and finding them to be equally awesome in the postpartum period of joy.

Everyone has different body types and preferences and the weather definitely dictates a lot of what you can and can't wear so these might be of help to no one but .... we all know I love a good collage of clothing and I couldn't resist ...


1. Old Navy Button-ups - {worn here} I really wished I'd thought of these sooner. In the first and second trimester before you're really needing to lean heavily on maternity tops - Old Navy has an awesome selection of button up shirts in TALL (I've only ever found them online - not in the store) ... genius. I'm 5'7 and they are pretty long on me and work well with leggings and skinny jeans. I ordered the same size I normally do because Old Navy tends to run a little large a (except those rock star skinny jeans -- those seem to run about 6 sizes small -- or maybe that's just me) and I know these will work great for nursing. Done convincing you. I hope you're convinced though. They are great.

2. American Apparel Winter Leggings - I love the Albion Fit leggings for working out and um not working out but these are a great alternative because they are a little longer and just a little thicker so I feel pretty safe wearing them with tunics. All of the maternity leggings I've tried are just too thin and stretch so easily but these maintain their shape really well and the waist is low enough that they don't suffocate the bumpage at all.

3. Elastic Belt - I didn't try the belted bump until Sebastian's pregnancy and then I took it a little far belting everything - even my swimsuit. Just kidding. The key is to find one that's elastic. I found this pretty one on Amazon but I've had great luck on eBay and at Target (only clearance! Target is Target but sometimes Target's prices are a little ridic) and Goodwill.

4. Dankso Pro-XP Clogs - Not an essential, obviously. And I really lucked out finding a barely worn pair for a steal on eBay in a color that I love but if I knew how comfortable they were I might've been convinced to pay full price. Maybe. I'm sure people will disagree but I don't think they look terrible with skinny jeans and in these last weeks when my back is not feeling great (it hurts - I always forget how much it hurts! the beauty of pregnancy amnesia) these are lifesavers.

5. Mossimo Foldover Maxi Skirt - I was so so happy to see Target brought this back this year. Last year they went a funky route with the hi-low trend and slits galore but this is a sensible skirt that I've worn pregnant and not pregnant for the past three years. I hope Maxi skirts never go out of style because I heart them to a fault.

6. Merona Ultimate Crewneck Cardigan - {worn here} I love to wear these with tunics. They stretch a little and pull an outfit together (or so I tell myself) and maternity cardigans are just the funniest because when was the last time you buttoned a cardigan ALL the way up? Almost never, I'd imagine. No need to go get a button up maternity cardigan when these go on sale all the time at Target and they are constantly getting fun new patterns and colors. I get one size down from my usual ... but that's my preference and it might not be yours. Oh and I only like crewneck .... not v-neck .... not sure why.

7. White Plum Tunics - I've posted about these before but really -- I love them. I just saw they are on clearance and will be so sad if they take them away forever because they are really great. They are thick but breathable, long and flowy without being crazy, and work really well with a belt or no belt. {not sponsored at all ... I have just gotten a lot of wear out of these and really think you will too!}

I still REALLY love maternity clothes and will never be one of those greats that can flit through their entire gestational period wearing non-maternity clothing - ever. I'm wearing maternity on maternity on maternity right now, actually.

Anyway - I'm sure I'm missing a million things that you've found and love. Share it with me and my future postpartum self .... if you're feeling generous. I totally understand if you're not.

confessions

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27 March 2014


This is my new daily uniform. Thrifted track (? sports are not my specialty) pants from college in a subtle hue of electric blue, a maternity t-shirt that I have no business wearing because too short, and my hooves meant for medical professionals. It just feels right. And looks great.

Every night I swear I'm going to bleach that disgusting bathroom floor and every night .... I retract my swear. Tonight!!

I took the kids to Target two days ago to buy a humidifier because Sebastian has a cough and while I was busy Googling whether hot air or cold air is better for coughs (doesn't matter, according to my thorough research) the kids pulled the ENTIRE inventory of Metamucil into the basket and under Theo's blanket. I didn't notice until we went to check out and they unloaded said inventory onto the conveyor belt. The cashier didn't even try to hide her annoyance and I didn't even try to blame her.

The kids are on spring break from their two little mornings at preschool this week and I just think that with all the snow days and holidays and snow days ... it could've been canceled? But that could be my selfish talking. As a retired teacher ... I support spring break. As a current parent ... I do not.

While this winter doesn't even feel close to over I have to admit that I've already dumped my summer glass of milk to half full and am terrified of what next winter might bring because PTSD is no laughing matter.

Theo is sick.

 
"does he have a favor?" asked Julia
"yes, he has a fever" answered Grace
"oh boy, those favors are the worst!" replied Julia

Sebastian is sick. Julia is getting sick and Simon just got back from a six day interview-then-a-call-weekend-then-right-back-on-an-airplane-for-a-conference-in-Arizona odyssey. So the kids and I really needed a little change of scenery (sometimes being at home all day truly feels like the kiss of death and by sometimes I mean every single day) so we switched up our non-Costco grocery store this morn. Same chain - different location. After circling the store 98 times looking for dried cranberries (and being directed to the bulk bins but I really just wanted some Craisins ... preferably the generics, thanks), then 108 more times looking for Julia's beloved cans of tuna, and 54 additional times in desperate search of tortillas ... I think our wanderlust was satiated for the next year or three.

On the morning's safari. I should've fought the outfit harder but then what would our fellow store patrons have stared at? Nothing fun.

I (obviously) did not purchase that car for Sebastian and in response to the monstrous injustice that was his life in that moment he threw his angriest tantrum to date. On the floor! Flailing limbs! All of it. I had to blink back embarrassed tears and the employee watching the entire thing from the safety of her register told us to, "have a good night!" at 11:19 in the morning after he finally came down from crazytown and we were able to make a super graceful exit so I think her feathers were a little bit ruffled by his performance too.

Theo is starting to get the hang of eating/drinking/sucking down pouches of applesauce all by himself. Aside from that blessed and joyous trip to the store when the child can graduate from the carseat or carrier and is finally big enough to sit in the front of the grocery cart ... this might be my very favorite baby milestone.

After months of trying really hard to nose-to-grindstone it with this book that everyone seemed to LOVE ... I quit. It felt good.

Getting Julia to nap in our room for three out of the past four days in a row (day numero three was a bust but ... earlier bedtime! rose colored glasses for Grace) feels like some sort of HUGE parenting triumph and I know it shouldn't because she's three years old. Not three months young. But wasn't it just yesterday that she was nine months old and scruh-eaming it out in her crib for every blessed nap and bedtime?

Yes it was.

And I hope I'm not alone here but I really hate the Happy song. I've given it a few whirls but .... no thanks. Grinch me forever.

:)
:)
:)
:)

and one more for good measure.

:0)

Anything you want to get off your chest?
This is a safe space.
Spill it, sister.
Or (brave) brother.

34 weeks

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26 March 2014

blouse - c/o Bohemian Traders
denim - BDG via Caroline's closet sale
wedges - old school Target (super similar)
maternity tank - c/o Blanqi
ring - c/o Wrenn Jewelry

I promise this pregnancy will eventually come to a dramatic end and you won't be subjected to bump (or "boomp" as Julia says) photos any longer. But please know that it could be worse. I was pretty committed to the weekly shoot with Sebastian's pregnancy so venture outside tonight and count your lucky stars that I didn't run down that precious little path this time around. 

I owe you all a big energized (one armed! let's not get ahead of ourselves) hug for all of your great energy boosting tips on my pathetic novella of a post last week because thanks to you I'm no longer feeling like the non-human eating walking dead. I've put a lot of your advice into practice and am feeling a million - nay - a zillion! times better. Jenny suggested I take my thyroid meds earlier so I've started doing so at 3 in the am when I am always (always) awake for some reason. And I've started eating smaller but more frequent meals (including one right before bed which has eliminated my middle of the night wake up and debate whether or not to make a quesadilla ... like I've been doing for the past several months) and I'm really trying to curb the sugar situation which seems to make a huge difference (shocky shock). All along with being mostly religious about my little pregnancy DVD workouts with Theo gnawing on my knee caps in the mornings while the big kids sleep in until 7. I read a lot lot LOT of Amazon reviews and settled on adding this one into the mix and holy sore. I think I'll ease back into postpartum exercise with it as well because Suzanne does not mess around. It's tough but doable.

So. It seems I will survive the remainder of the pregnancy and won't have to couch camp for 23 hours of the day anymore. And I owe it all to you. And my own exemplary self discipline, of course. Self discipline that drove myself and the kids to the McDonald's drive-thru last night to purchase and split our inaugural Shamrock Shake (I couldn't not celebrate the feast day ... ) and eh. It was good but not great and please know I am a lover of the milkshake with very low standards. Maybe I'll try it again just to make sure I'm firm on my feelings there. 

I love love love this blouse that Bohemian Traders sent and truly thought I could casually pull off the old, "maternity? nah, I'm good" look but then I saw these ....



and no. 

I'll tuck myself right back into my tents and tunics until multiple weeks postpartum and then run back to this gorgeous blouse in the summer. 

To note ... for future Grace and Bash to read ... I took Sebastian to my OB appointment this week while a fellow residency wife (thank you Tory!!) watched the other two and up until now he has had no interest in chatting about the baby. None. It's almost comical to watch him change the subject when I try to broach the impending arrival of his new sibling. But! After the appointment where he heard the heartbeat he now regularly asks if the baby is okay and recreates the heartbeat sounds while not-so-gently drum beating on the bump. Progress in the Patton household. 

And! I emailed Simon a name idea two days ago fully expecting him to hate it and he didn't (or he lied) so ... progress squared in the Patton household.  Look out.

That's all for now.

Thanks for sticking by me ... I know it's not always easy.

:)

oh, 34 weeks along with Bash.
(I was in a rosy mood that day, wow.)

Interview with the frenemies

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24 March 2014

You know what I don't blog about enough? MY KIDS. Not enough. Never enough. Nothing is more interesting to anyone than someone else's offspring. Nothing.

{maybe people would stop asking if they're twins if their mom stopped dressing them like the Bobbseys}

Theo is going through some sort of 14.8 month old crisis in which he just can't decide if he enjoys life or not. He's leaning towards not and as a result I've decided to tough love him through it and boycott him from the blog today. That should learn him.

Let's focus on the teenagers in the house ... Julia and Sebastian. Never were there such devoted frenemies as these two. Holy love/hate/love/hate/waitlove/nowait!hate. Maybe it's just wishful thinking or my wild imagination but it does seem like ever since they've start preschool they are fighting a teeny tiny bit less. Just a little bit less. But they still fight and Sebastian still bites Julia on occasion and sends her into a fit of giggles. And by giggles I mean tears and hysterics and dramatic declarations that "everysing is the WORST!!!"


Now that Sebastian has broadened his lexicon horizons a bit he takes great pride in commanding that Julia say Grace before meals (she is generally opposed ... confirming lots of suspicions that I'm well on my way to parenting guruhood), getting in Theo's face and asking him if he is okay while Theo throws one of his heinous tantrums, and telling me I look like Santa Claus every afternoon after he wakes up from his nap. Charmer.

Julia has taken to narrating life via song 24/7, claims she prefers to wear her underwear backwards ("oh, it's just comfortable like this" .... I'm going to beg and beg to differ but .... enjoy!!), and fake/nervous laughing at random.


About six months ago I interviewed the kids because ... I don't know. We've never had professional photos taken of the family or kids but we are good at interviewing our offspring twice a year. Different strokes, I suppose.

I asked them a very similar set of pressure cooking questions this morning and if you are desperate to entertain your toddlers for a few minutes .... you should try it. The kids actually got a kick out of it and forgot that they had requested to watch a show about dragons (?? again, parenting goddess) by the end.

Hit it ...

What's your name?
Julia: Julia Grace Patton
Bash: (thinks) oh, Bashy!

How old are you?
Julia: free
Bash: cake

What's your favorite thing to do?
Julia: play!
Bash: play trucks

What is your favorite book?
Julia: princess books
Bash: cakes, big cakes

What is your favorite show?
Julia: the white rabbit show
Bash: trucks

What is your favorite song?
Julia: Katy Perry
Bash: Hey Brother

What does daddy do at work?
Julia: well, he just works.
Bash: he eats treats.

What do you want for your birthday?
Julia: a beautiful junior princess cake
Bash: truck cake, Theo wants a superman cake, daddy wants a choo choo train cake

What's your favorite color?
Julia: purple
Bash: because

Where is your favorite place to go?
Julia: the biggest park in the world
Bash: no.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Julia: I guess just maybe a princess, maybe.
Bash: silence

Who is your favorite person? 
Julia: My friend Emily (does not exist - to my knowledge)
Bash: When Emily cries

What is your favorite toy?
Julia: my tricycle
Bash: potty training

What makes you happy?
Julia: food
Bash: hair

What scares you? 
Julia: monsters
Bash: curious trucks

When you get sick what makes you feel better?
Julia: medicine
Bash: water

What do you think we should name the baby?
Julia: Madelina
Bash: sprinkle donut`

And yesterday we faced the musical bedrooms and did what we've needed to do for months ... threw Sebastian in with Julia and moved Theo down from the basement into Sebastian's old room (the technical guest room but there is no bed so .... the portacrib room, I guess). Theo screamed for an eternity (five minutes) before he settled in for a nice nap and the older kids did not nap. 99 threats from both parents and two hours later .... we let them get up and were happy to put them down for bed at 7pm sharp. Last night was mostly uneventful and I'm hoping for an eventless night tonight. This morning I walked into Julia reading a book on her bed and Sebastian crying in his crib and Julia not looking up from her reading offering half-hearted consolations such as, "its fine, Bash" and "your mom will come find you soon."

Julia just napped in our room today and .... that will have to be the nap plan for now. You parents that get your kids to nap together in the same room (and they have black out shades and sound machines and everyTHING) ... I salute you. I salute you forever.

Anyway I asked them ... what was it like sharing a room for the first time last night?
Julia: it felt like a dream
Bash: I cried


okay.

win $150 worth of kids clothing from Kidizen

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23 March 2014

If you've read this blog for more than a minute you may have picked up that I enjoy a good secondhand purchase. Especially for the short Pattons. I very very very VERY rarely buy anything new for the kids to wear because $$$ and I've learned the hard way that quality is important when it comes to the durability and longevity of kids clothing. The majority of Julia and Sebastian's clothing gets worn double time because they share clothes and is now getting a third lease on life as Theo grows into their old duds.

Before Sebastian was born and I was still adjusting to the shock that was Simon's hours I would take Julia to thrift stores around town (usually mostly almost always Goodwill) to kill time ... and kill some more time. And kill some more time until there was no more time to kill. Sadly, this happy hobby came to a screeching halt once I had multiple (just two) children because I tried it once and never again.

Enter online thrifting. There are the obvious big guns like eBay and thredUp that I most definitely browse (almost daily -- or nightly -- I've been known to throw down with the best of the insomniacs) and have scored a lot of really amazing deals because the crazy determined bird generally gets the worm. And I can't help but peek at the occasional Instagram closet sale ... I love those too. And I have to admit that I do the vast (vast!!) majority of shopping for used clothing ... on my phone ... like the Judy Jetson that I'll always strive to be. The convenience can't be beat and the ease of apps these days is pretty phenomenal.

So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about Kidizen - a brilliant new company that speaks Grace's love language and allows parents (or anyone ... don't think I'm not going to show my grandma how to utilize Kidizen on her iPad mini when we visit her next) to buy and sell pre-loved kids clothing with their nifty and super user-friendly app.


They handpicked and sent a few things (including the Matilda Jane jumper she is rocking above) for Julia a few weeks ago and we were both blown away by the adorable packaging ..

note folded in a way that would've made middle school Grace seethe with envy? check
mix tape? check
recycled box? check

... and the stellar condition the clothing was in. My thrifty heart soared.

Right now Kidizen clothing can be purchased by downloading and accessing their free app or by browsing their Pinterest boards (that are linked to their site where you can purchase the clothes with a credit card or PayPal) and they are working on an app for Android phones and a website where you can also buy the clothes directly.

I don't want to admit how much fun I had (after a day/night of transitioning the big kids into sharing a room and Theo out of the attic ... so I didn't think fun was in the cards for March 23, 2014 ... more on that later ... of course) picking some pieces from their Pinterest boards.

Here are some fun examples of things that are currently for sale in their shops ...

White Eyelit Bubble Romper

Their inventory truly runs the gamut of legitimate vintage and brands I would never dream of buying firsthand and one of my favorite things about Kidizen is that the prices INCLUDE SHIPPING. Genius. So genius. 

It's super easy to snap photos on your phone, upload them on the app, and list them to sell as well. I have a really hard time getting rid of the kids clothing but the nesting bug is getting antsy and I'll be all over this one of these pre due date weeks. 

Kidizen is generously giving away $150 worth of clothing to one super lucky winner. If you're name is drawn - you'll just give them the size and styles you prefer and they'll pull together a killer new wardrobe for your son or daughter or grandson or you get the photograph here. 

Thanks in advance for following the Rafflecopter directions and imagine my finger cutting across my throat with a glare if you don't.

:)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I ♥ the Internet

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20 March 2014


I know I already put this on Instagram but it needs its time to shine ... twice. Jenna's a crafty genius. A generous crafty genius (and one of my favorite bloggers and e-friends) and she stitched one of Julia's quotes (the rules at preschool ... according to ... Julia) and sent it our way last week ... making my life complete.

She j-j-j-j-ust opened an Etsy shop and takes custom orders in case you have some toddler quotes that need saving and stitching.{this is not sponsored ... just a crazy coincidence and I wanted to spread the good word}

To see more of Jenna's quality stitchery ... Kelly's got a little something to show you that will make even the grinchiest grinch crack a smile. Check it.


And if you need a little Thursday pick me up ... might I strongly suggest that you watch this homemade but amazing music video? I do sort of know Celeste in real life (sort of) ... we share an alma mater so it's only a teeny bit creepy that I'm linking to it.

And that my children have enjoyed multiple viewings.
In various states of clothed and not.

Here's another one. And Celeste had a baby like .4 minutes ago so ... I have no excuse not to start pursuing my newfound dreams to co-star in a similar production. Do you think they'd let me guest dance in their next? I hope YES.


Okay let's switch gears to laundry. Only Rachel could manage to inspire me in this department with her super helpful post. Pin it. Learn it. Live by it. Die by it, if you want.


I hate to admit that I've all but given up on sewing aside from the (VERY) occasional alteration but Madeline's incredible DIY cross stitch shirt just might pull me out of retirement. Impressive doesn't even begin ... I'm missing a huge creative chunk of my brain because something like that would never even occur to me. As Julia would say, "brah-bo!!" Madeline. Brah-bo.


Kate's blog is one of my favorites and she pulled together a great list of toddler books that won't drive you insane. I'm assuming your children obsess over certain books for months at a time and only want to read that one really obnoxious book? Well ... try these.


I'm back to my all important mascara testing and have been combing through the comments of my last mascara post for suggestions but I have to tell you that I've already thrown two tubes away after a few test runs because they were that terrible. And I still have some foundation from college ... I'm not big on throwing makeup away. If you have any suggestions .... let a curious blogger know, please?


Theo (finalllllly) took a few steps last night so I texted Simon who was just showing up to an interview dinner down in Florida (thou shalt not covet thy husband's life) and his immediate response was, "is it dumb to get a beer?" .......

...... I think our texts just crossed but I had to laugh .... third borns have it rough. Maybe if Theo learns a little tap dance by the time Simon gets home tonight ... he'll earn a dollop of his father's attention. Just maybe.


And now I'm off to placate all of my underage housemates and their ever so sweet demands for everything while I devour more brown rice and sweet potato Triscuits (don't buy them ... so addicting) and say a silent prayer that Simon's remaining interviews are miraculously rescheduled to be Skyped.

Wish me luck.


oh no she didn't.

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19 March 2014


Oh, yes she did. Hair + outfit + pose replication y todo.

I showed Simon this comparison and he said, "I guess I don't know what am I supposed to say - you look the exact same?" ..... treading carefully like the experienced husband of a crazy preg that he is. I guess the only difference is that Theo is a little lower? And that my stupid hair is shorter which is really what I care about, of course.

Anyway. I wasn't going to post about this until next week but what the crazy? Let's do it today because I know the internet has a huge gaping hole in the shape of, "fascinating!!" that needs to be filled. Today.

It's just a little something I like to call ...

Saving Myself From The Third Trimester. 
Or ...
My Quest For Energy - Any Energy At All.

And it's important. This isn't a complaint but an actual fact that this has been my most difficult pregnancy to date by far. Very far. Farther than the eye can see. The morning sickness was the most severe and clung the longest and the shining beacon of promised energy and sunshiney smiles that the second semester is supposed to drop on your doorstep lasted for a few seconds before it slipped right back into the dark pocket from whenst it came.

Cry me a river, Grace Spears. I know. I know. It's a rough life. But I really do blame a lot of this on the weather - like I blame the weather for everything. Always. I haven't been able to walk/run at all until very recently and what was I going to do with all that idle time? Eat. And not just eat but give into every single one of my cravings for Pop-Tarts. And milkshakes. And Pop-Tarts. So I also blame myself.

So! After pawing and clawing my way through yet another week of waking up every morning and dreaming about the next time I would get to not be in a standing position (preferably camping on the couch but the kids! they require my skill set ... allthetime!) and realizing that swimming in a fat vat of self pity minute after minute, hour after hour was getting me nowhere but straight back in my vat .... fast .... I got my thyroid meds adjusted (which helped!!) and mapped out a plan. A plan that wasn't too ambitious because I tend to fail and fail hard at those but a plan that would get me looking a little less dead and a little more alive on the daily. Are you ready?

less coffee/more tea: because for me coffee is just a vehicle for creamer and kicking off the day with a blood sugar spike probably wasn't helping my cause. So swapping the coffee for creamerless tea for several days before I ease back into an acceptable cup of coffee and not a steaming mug of delicious refined sugar is my compromise. And by several days I mean five. I'm on day three. I'm not dead and I don't hate the tea. Look at me conquer my demons.

protein protein protein: I know that eating more protein will help in the energy department but mostly any food with protein sounds not very good. But - I have a cause here. I have to admit that I have never in my life hard boiled an egg but I came across this neat way to bake the eggs and since I'm a sucker for a Pinterest kitchen trick I tried it and it worked really well. And I don't hate hard boiled (hard baked, whatever) as much as I thought and Julia loves them which is nice because her affinity for canned tuna was getting to be a little ... gross. I will never ever eat a deviled egg though - once was plenty. They are aptly named and nope. Anyway - the kids will happily drink smoothies and (unlike Simon) don't notice if I throw in a handful of kale and chia seeds so I've been making more of those. And more avocados which isn't the best idea because the kids LOVE avocados ...


Sebastian + Avocados ... A Love Story
...  ♥ ♥ ♥ ...

and I have to keep them hidden and I don't think they are a great source of protein but they have to be better than Pop-Tarts. I think.

move: I finally buckled down and dusted off the Summer Sanders' Prenatal Workout DVD. I forgot how pathetic it is - it would send the majority of nursing home inhabitants into a fit of laughter with its difficulty level (easy, way too easy) but I know that I would roll my eyes and quit after 4 seconds of Jillian at this point and as easy as the moves are ... it still feels good to move. And there's a lot of swaying that I'm convinced has gotten the baby to drop down and out of my ribcage. It's such a nice feeling to be able to take a full breathe of air without wondering if I might break my back in the process (tell me you know what I'm talking about? Please.) And when the weather cooperates I walk with the kids around the neighborhood. If I had a Fitbit it would probably a. fire me for being too sedentary or b. call 9-1-1 and report that its owner is dead because she not moving - ever.

wake up: I've been getting up about 30 minutes before the kids do (which is early because Theo rises and shines long before the sun does) to either do my laughable work out or shower. And I've been setting breakfast out for the kids so that my first few minutes of awake aren't laden with different demands (Sebastian is on a huge french toast kick and Julia .... tuna, always tuna) and we don't all start the day on a very frustrated foot. We leave that for the "what we wear" vs. "what we want to wear and mom won't let us because it's not swimsuit weather quite yet" wars - which are always a buh-last.

vitamins: I haven't been as religious about taking my vitamins as I should be but I'm back on the wagon and really would just like a pat on the back for my toil in that department.

And how is this going for you, only pregnant person on the planet??

Wellllll 3.5 days in and I'm not chomping at the bit to run a marathon or even a 1k but I woke up feeling better than I have in months this morning. I cleaned out some closets and donated lots of bags of clothing (driven to the drop off bin and ALL ... ) which is probably similar to setting the world on fire at this point. Sebastian kept asking why I was cleaning because the sight is a little bit foreign to his deprived little eyes, I suppose.

I'll keep trucking along with my little plan (aka common sense for the common person) that seems to be almost working but any energy boosting tips for the pathetic are more than welcome. With open arms.

Julia Styles

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17 March 2014


jumper - Matilda Jane c/o Kidizen (app | pinterest)
blazer - Harajuku Mini for Target via thredUP
cat flats - Mini Melissa (gift from generous {and blogless} Carolina)
purse - c/o J.Crew

Discussing the new baby ...
Grace: do you think it's a girl or a boy?
Julia: well, it's a girl named Madeline.
Grace: But what if it's a boy? What should we name him then?
Julia: I think we should have another Theodora
Grace: Any other names tickle your fancy?
Julia: hmmm
Grace:
Julia: How about the name, "War"? That's a sweet one, huh Mom??

While getting her dressed for church ...
Grace: okay let's put these shoes on ...
Julia: (as she plucks her tennis shoes out of the closet) well, I just really think Jesus would like these nice ones better.

Walking home from preschool one afternoon when we all saw a squirrel sprint by ...
Julia: oh, boy.
Grace: what?
Julia: It looks like that squirrel REALLY needs to find a bathroom.


At Costco when a jovial elderly gentleman stopped us in the cereal aisle ...
Elderly gentleman: hi kids!
Julia: oh, hi good lookin'!!

At the park when a spry five year old boy came bounding onto the slide next to Sebastian ...  
Julia: watch out for that old man, Bash!!! (again - 5 feet away, 5 years of age)

In the car when Avicii's, "Hey Brother" came on the radio in the van...
Julia: hey! Bash! it's your jam!!
Bash: mm hmm
Julia: (sings) heyyyyyy mudder. donnnnn't studder.

After she offered me a bite of her cookie but I declined because ... lent ...
Julia: what's lent?
Grace: wellll ...... terrible explanation ensues
Julia: (leans in and whispers) whispers, "well, I won't tell Jesus if you have just one bite."


While I was tearing around the house looking for a measuring tape ...
Julia: oh! the measuring tape?
Grace: yes, have you seen it?
Julia: (sprints to the kitchen, pulls something out of a drawer, hides it behind her back before dramatically presenting me with ... a measuring cup ) I assume THIS is what you're looking for?!
Grace: 

And Sebastian insisted I take some photos of him after he saw Julia in action ...


shirt - gift from sweet Mary
shorts - Janie and Jack via thredUP
boots -Hunter via eBay

And the sole conversational contribution from Sebastian which (unfortunately) happens multiple times a day whenever there's a smell-tale sign that maybe he needs to be changed ...
Grace: Bash, do you need me to change your diaper?
Sebastian: (matter-of-factly with a shrug) no, just gas.
Grace: okay.


Pinch Us

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We're not Irish.

I woke up feeling nostalgic. Or in the mood to dig through Facebook albums.

Have 54 seconds to murder? Great.

Let's go ...

Here we have St. Patrick's day a couple months after we started dating ...


Or I think it was more of a week. Simon came down for his spring break and we had a busy agenda of listening to live music, participating in a case race (my very first and very last), and taking metro photos with our posse.

And here we have St. Patrick's day 4.5 years after we got married ...

(this is a joke ... Simon just always says he is aging poorly and always looks haggard. I disagree.)

So, really? Nothing has changed.

But (of course!) we wouldn't have it any other way.
 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! I'll pour one out for you if you drink a few for me.

flip, baby, flip

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16 March 2014

come on now.

Are c-sections the end of the world? Absolutely not! I've heard enough code white/emergency stories from Simon to know that c-sections play a vital role in plenty of deliveries and have saved lots of lives. Lots. But! Are some doctors too quick to call c-sections? And are inductions occasionally scheduled prematurely? Absolutely. Fortunately, that's not my area of expertise and not up for debate ... I'll let you chat with Ina or Ricki all about that. I'll be honest and admit that the thought of staying in the hospital for 4 days to recover from a c-section only scares me because I have no idea what we would do with the three older kids while Simon is working. I don't even know what we're going to do with them when I go into labor (we'll figure it out .... we always do). My point is that logistics plays a big factor in my fear of having a c-section because my priorities are nothing but screwed on straight.

So! Two weeks ago I had an ultrasound and the baby was decidedly breech. And big. I went ahead and did what I do best and stressed about it and chewed on my cuticles and stressed some more. One of my old college friends (hi Amber!!!) emailed that after having two breech babies and emergency c-sections (c-sections not related to the breech situation ... if I understand it correctly?) she took matters into her own hands with pregnancy numero tres and rubbed Young Living Essential Peppermint Oil all over her belly like a crazy woman (direct quote). The baby flipped and she had a successful vbac after two c-sections which is pretty amazing. Sold! Grace was sold and ordered the exact peppermint oil from Amazon about .04 seconds after she read her email while Simon was supportive and admitted that anything was worth a try.


It came, I diluted with coconut oil (thanks for the warning, Cate!), I rubbed, and I watched as the baby went dance crazy. Simon says he/she was just scrambling to get away from the awful smell (it wasn't awful ... ). I did the same thing two days later and then I put the oil down somewhere that I just ... can't .... quite ... remember. So! A total of two peppermint coats.

Fast forward to this past Friday where I had another ultrasound because the baby's stomach seemed weirdly small (it's fine now and the baby is still very large but I'm now cuticleless ... thank you, large child) and bad-a-what?! Head decidely downtown. I'm blaming the oil. And Amber. 110%. Laugh all you want but ... this baby isn't a mover and a shaker like his/her siblings were and the oil put him/her into move it move it mode.

I know I'm only 33 weeks along so this isn't a SUPER crazy story but let me think it is. I know some of you have some really stubborn baby flipping stories. (Cari - has at least two floating around her archives). People on Instagram mentioned eating candy (that was my next course of action, sorry lent), laying upside down on an ironing board (Simon said, "I can see you getting into that kind of crazy"), swimming, hitting up the chiro (a super sweet reader sent me a local rec and I was definitely going to try that at 35 weeks), and my mom thought I should try Pulsatilla. Truth be told I didn't spend more than a hot minute on the Spinning Babies website but I know it has lots and lots of good ideas too.

I'm curious to hear any and all baby flipping stories or I'm happy to just sit here alone with my own while I pin a rose on my nose and get that dirt of my shoulder. 

And again!! ... C-sections are not the devil. Ask Ana .... or a lot of other people, I'm sure.

un triumphant return

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15 March 2014


No one noticed you were gone you self absorbed mom blogger you.

I know. I know.

oh, I know.

I noticed though. I've mentioned before that I hate not blogging and this week was no exception.

I'll give a little rundown of where I've been:

sick. like the rest of humankind this winter/spring/winter/winter/winter/winter so that's not very exciting but it came attached to the kind of fatigue that rivals night float months.

cleaning the dryer. and cleaning it some mo. someone poured detergent in the (thankfully - empty) dryer and turned it on. Try to imagine that aftermath .... because it was beautiful. The laundry room door is always locked and the kids cannot reach those buttons so I blamed Simon which went over realllllllllly well (hey! he sleep walks ... it wouldn't be that out of the realm of weird). But the only other option is an intruder and I just can't let my mind wander down those kinds of horror corridors. 

Listening to Julia sing, "because we thirst" ..... over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. I'm assuming it's a song she learned at school but it has really made an impression on her. And that's the only line she knows. Over and over and over and over and over.

Coddling Theo. Simon had an interview in Indiana on Wednesday so he was gone Tuesday night and Theo cried. Until 5 in the am. It was thee most frustrating night of parenthood to date which is pretty impressive and I'm hoping it holds that title forEVER. I later discovered that two molars had popped through but one would assume he severed a limb with the manner in which he was carrying on.  

sorting through my feelings of disgust regarding the season finale of the Bachelor. Directly after the After the Final Rose special Sebastian looked at me kind of funny, projectile vommed all over my lap, and then confessed he thought he had the hiccups, "BIG hiccups!!" Right-o. It was an isolated incident but I think it tangibly sums up his mother's sentiment toward the entire season. No pressure, Andi. No pressure at all.  

Looking around for Instagram cessation classes. Because I have a problem. Life will go on if you don't narrate it via cellular phone photo, Grace. I mean ... I tell myself that but do I really believe it? Nope.

mourning the loss of a sub par slideshow. You know I love a good slideshow with photos and text. I spent little snatches of time putting one together all week and then yesterday *poof* ... it was gone. I had that gross sinking feeling that I'd just lost all trillion pages of my senior thesis (equally poorly put together) and then I realized that maybe I need to back the blogging train up and getareallife. Really.

trying to type this post outside in the beautiful blistering sunshine because the molar master is learning to self soothe and rediscover the beauty of the afternoon nap whether he hates it or not. And its ont oing ervy wlel. (the typing .... the self soothing seems to have worked well .... like it always eventually does).

Taking some photos ...


Julia picked out this outfit all by her lonesome the other day. She also requests to be let out of the stroller at the sidewalk after we take a walk so she can walk to the front door by herself. Yet she BEGS to take her blankie everywhere we go. Three is a fun(ny) age.


Making Ansel Adams proud right here. But Theo pretty much always has his feet crossed and Julia pretty much always has her shoes on the wrong feet (and every single stranger tells her so ... like she's going to drop it like it's hot and switch them up on the spot. nope.).


After Simon got back from his interview in Alabama (did I tell you that story? ..... I would but it involves more child throw up so .... I'll leave you wondering. ) and Julia was being her notself.


After Grace got back from nothing and Julia still acting very odd and affectionate. I think I'm listening to Sebastian talk about his one true love ..... "chrucks!!!!!!!!!"


Bash in a frame.


Fun for all.


Julia loves a good game of "frow-dee".

Simon: Julia, it's actually pronounced, "friz-bee" ....
Julia: OHHHH, "FROW-dee" ...

yep.

And I'll think we'll end on that fascinating bit of Patton trivia. I've got places to go (pantry for food, food, and more food) and people to see (dragon children up from their slumbers).

You know how life is in the fastest lane.

 

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