ladies who snack

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27 February 2015

When Julia first dropped her afternoon nap forever I may have been a little bit guilty of throwing a small and intimate pity party for myself because I cherished the peace and quiet so very much after the general chaos that greeted me every morning. But, my selfish frozen heart has since thawed and now I've grown to love the time I have with Julia in the afternoon while the other three sleep. She peppers me with deep questions such as, "how do you spell 'Sebastian is a poop face'?", we read stimulating literature that would go way over the little kids' heads ...


... and we ALWAYS indulge in a little afternoon snack. Always. NatureBox {post sponsor!} recently sent us one of their subscription boxes to try and so I saved it to open for our little 2:10pm ritual ...


... and things got real fancy real fast ...


Granny Smith apples, dark cocoa almonds, chocolate banana chips, strawberry carrot chews, and Greek yogurt pretzels.

+ NatureBox is a healthy snack subscription service that offers a wide range of membership options {monthly, bi-monthly, etc}
+ There are over 100 snacks to choose from and you can choose the exact snacks you'd like or let them surprise you .... depending on how spontaneous your feeling when you order.
+ They abide by strict quality standards: no high fructose corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated oils, no trans fats, no artificial sweeteners, and no artificial flavors or colors.
+ And after all that everything still tastes amazing, I promise.

Phoebe could sense Julia and I were getting our party on without her so she woke up in a terrible mood to join the fun ...


And then Theo woke up extra cheery as he tends to do ...


mean mom and her spread of delicious snacks strikes again.

And Sebastian ....


... who said nothing and just devoured what he could before Julia started sneak-squirreling it all away upstairs in her lair.

The pretzels were the first to go followed quickly by the strawberry carrot chews and bananas. This had nothing to do with the fact that baby #5 and I hid the chocolate almonds almost immediately after I snapped this photo. Nothing.

Anyway, we were such big fans that I already put a reminder in my phone to schedule a shipment {or six} for our drive/move down to Tampa in June to keep us from succumbing to the lure of the fast food convenience and to help keep my nursing hanger pains at bay. Proactive Patton at your service always.

{giveaway closed}

Okay, down to business! NatureBox is giving away a six month subscription to TWO lucky and hopefully hungry readers today. Just head on over and pick out your favorite snack, leave a comment back here with your snack of choice, and you're good! Make sure I have a way to contact you {if your email address isn't linked to your profile, you might want to leave it :)}

If you don't want to wait and would rather join today NatureBox will send you a FREE box of snacks to get you started. Just a click away

Thanks for reading and thanks for playing.
 

videopalooza {aka just for the grandparents}

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26 February 2015

I just can't compete with llamagate today so it seems like an appropriate time to slip in some grainy clips of kids that anyone other than their parents and maybe their grandparents should totally thoroughly enjoy.

Here's 18 seconds from a few weeks ago. Kitchen dancing is a tactic I use a few too many times a day to break up fights, nasty moods, and more fights. Parenting is my strong suit, folks.



Here's a clip of Theo acting less like a tyrant so that he might redeem himself.

And here we have our little lamb performing all 1.5 of her tricks yesterday ...



Excuse my man voice - I'm in a very, very serious war with my very first and very stubborn sinus infection that I won't make you read about (but if you've ever had one .... my deepest sympathies ... they're a real good time).

Ooookay. I'm going to go stare at the 10 day forecast for the 10th time today and see if it's looking any less doomsday-esque.

Wish me luck. 

not your mom's maternity jeans

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25 February 2015

Oooo, what a FUN post idea, Grace.

So fun.

I know. I do! I just can't help myself when it comes to heady topics like this. In the five years since I bought my first pair of maternity denim ... the selection has come a LONG way and who am I to deny you-who-might-care (all .08 of you) access to my detailed research and findings? No one. Access AWAY.

When I was pregnant with Julia I couldn't WAIT to dive right into maternity clothes like a new and predictable mom-to-be. Since the bulk of my second and third trimesters were in the late spring, heat of the summer, and then early fall I stuck to mostly wearing skirts and dresses but wanted a pair of jeans because I'm an American woman and I just did. After several order/try-on/hate/return misses I finally settled on these full panel flares and borrowed a pair of these  from a good friend and felt set. I loved them both but wore them a lot less than I thought I would but was happy to have them for when I wanted to feel pulled together in overly air conditioned settings {like my classroom}. Same story/weather situation minus the borrowed pair with Sebastian's pregnancy.

hurry
it
up,
Patton.

Okay!! 

I got a little to a lot leggings + tunic+ bootsed out with Theo and Phoebe's winter pregnancies but discovered the beauty of the side panels (HUGE thanks to Britt's generosity when she gave me the first pair of jeans listed here) which brings me to lucky number five and my all important quest to find a couple pairs of jeans that I could wear daily. It was important that they held their shape so that I didn't have to wash them after every wear and that they were thick enough to look like jeans and not leggings or jeggings. And it was important that they were comfortable enough that I didn't want to tear them off and jump into my beloved leggings after two hours of wear.

So here's what we're working with/what I kept/what I returned etc ....


{hey! if there can be a 'Not Your Daughter's Jeans' line then I can hit right back with a 'not your mom's' jab ... although the irony of maternity denim wanting to steer clear of looking mom-ish is NOT lost on me, I promise}


1. J Brand Mama J Maternity with side panels - as mentioned above, Britt gave these to me and they are nothing short of magical. They do thee best job of holding their shape, haven't faded, and stay UP. Obviously they are kind of a huge investment if you go the brand new route but I've seen quite a few pairs pop up on eBay. They fit a little on the small side but I would say they fit mostly true to size and to stick with your standard pre-pregnancy size. These were a little too snug to wear for the last weeks of Phoebe's pregnancy because I tend to carry girl babies in my thighs and face but they were perfect for the majority of my second trimester and most of the third.

2. ASOS Ankle Grazer Under the Bump Ridley - {worn here} I had read good things about ASOS maternity section and took advantage of a Christmas sale they were having and ordered these. And I love them. They don't have to side panels but the soft elastic 'under the bump' or 'demi' panel but they still don't feel like maternity jeans and I appreciate the ankle length (not capris - like the 5'11'' makes them look). They aren't quite as thick as the J Bran denim but they most definitely aren't thin enough to be considered traditional jeggings. The back pockets are nice and big which means they aren't going to make our rapidly growing seats look bigger than they actually are. ASOS makes returns SUPER easy and convenient {free! included return shipping label!} so I decided to try my luck with a few different pairs ... for the sake of thorough research. Or so I told Simon. Which brings me to .....

3. ASOS Maternity Distressed Jeans - Loved these. Loved the fit. Loved that they had the bigger back pockets. Wanted to keep them BUT ... the photo is totally deceiving and the destroyed spots do show some skin and the two top holes are just a little too daring and um, cold for me. I could lie and tell myself that I'd take the time to sew patches underneath but I wouldn't get around to it until the baby was born and maybe even walking so ... pass. But! They fit true to size and really would be so perfect minus the scando factor.

4. ASOS Maternity Whitby Skinny Jeans with destroyed knees - a consolation prize for the 3's not working out. Although the kids cannot get over how funny they find the holes. These fit a little more generously which gives me hope that they'll work all the way up until d-day.

5. Old Navy distressed denim - I ordered these with VERY low expectations because Old Navy maternity bottoms have never done much for me but after reading tons of great reviews {order a size down from your pre-pregnancy size! you gotta} ... I couldn't resist because they were on sale and then 40% off that price and you know how Old Navy lures you in LIKE THAT. Anyway - they exceeded all expectations (the photo above is a terrible representation - you can get a better idea here and here) and while they can't go several wears without stretching out a bit, they'll definitely be going the distance to the very end of the third trimester. They are pretty long {I'm 5' 7''} but I don't mind the rolled up look and I plan to wear them for 18 months postpartum ... maybe more.

6. J.Crew Maternity Toothpick denim - I found a black pair of these on eBay for a steal and almost expected them to be fakes or something but they are in mint condition. I'm mostly in the 'no denim to church' camp (I don't know why - I don't mind or notice if/when others do) but these look so nice that I've been wearing them with heels to Mass on occasion. They are the thickest denim of the bunch but definitely the lowest rise which might bug some people. They don't stretch out at all. If I had found these at the beginning of Julia's pregnancy I wouldn't have minded paying full price because the quality is outstanding and I know they would've widdled their price per wear down to very little even after three or four gestational periods. I sized down from my regular Jcrew pant size and the pair I found happened to be ankle length which I love.

I know some people might prefer the full panel so maybe I should've tried a few to report my findings {round two! here I come!} but I'm a big (lit and fig) fan of side panels or the under-the-bump panel because they fit earlier and can be worn longer during the postpartum period, in my experience. AND I know some people might be able to just get away with wearing their regular jeans doing the rubberband trick or using a BellaBand for a lot of their pregnancy but I am not those people and start wearing maternity pants earlier and earlier every pregnancy. No shame here. Maternity jeans are most definitely not a must-have or a necessity during pregnancy but if you wear a lot of denim and you're pregnant during the colder months .... they are definitely nice to have.

What else? I was tempted to try some of Loft's selection but didn't want to have to break this post into chapters and I've heard good things about H&M's maternity denim too!

I know I'm missing some - hit me with them if you don't mind. I don't want to steer other innocent readers in all the wrong directions here. 

this is two

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23 February 2015

two minutes in the life ...


Grace: can you say good morning?
Theo: no.

Grace: can you tell me what you want for breakfast?
Theo: no.

Grace: can you say hello to Phoebe?
Theo: no.

Grace: can you smile for the camera?
Theo: no.



Grace: can you tell me your favorite color?
Theo: no.

Grace: can you say mama?
Theo: no.

Grace: can you tell me your favorite book?
Theo: no.

Grace: can you tell me what a cow says?
Theo: no.


Grace: do you want to go see if we can find Penny (the neighbor's dog)?
Theo: no.

Grace: can you tell me what you want to do?
Theo: no.

Grace: can you say no?
Theo: {silence}



This is two.

And this is fun.

next up on the list of winter survival tactics ...

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20 February 2015

... READING. 

And how Oyster {kind post sponsor} is saving my carefully tended shreds of sanity as we muscle through the remaining monthS {silent dramatic scream} of winter. 

Way back when I was a mature 24 years of age and e-readers first hit the shelves I swore I'd never cheat on my tangible books and told Simon (my then boyfriend) I would never own one. He nodded in feigned agreement, solidarity, and support of his sensible girlfriend.


I'm sure you can surmise how that story ends. An older and slightly wiser Grace taking back her swear once she realized the convenience factor far outweighed her silly principles ... especially after kids came on the scene and trips to the library became more like odysseys to rival the original.

While I've happily chewed through Christmas bookstore gift cards and impatiently sat on the library waiting list for some coveted titles ... Oyster has gone and created a brilliant service that puts over one million titles at my fingertips. No lines, no limits for $9.95 a month (first month free! And they have a referral program!) ... like Netflix for books.

I anticipated that reading would fall to the VERY bottom of my priority list when I had kids but I've been surprised how much I rely on little snatches of time to momentarily and figuratively escape to different fictional worlds. Oyster enables my terrible habit of dipping into a few titles all at once but sometimes a little YA Fiction just hits the spot, you know?


Hopefully I'm not alone.

{Simon would like full credit for his artistic picture taking abilities and I would like full credit for getting all the kids to nap for multiple and coinciding hours over the weekend, this is 31 - I suppose}

Oyster works on iPhones, iPads, Androids, the Kindle Fire, Nook HD, and the plain old internet. I wasn't about to move a muscle on our flight back from Florida after Phoebe final-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-y fell asleep and was super grateful to have the Oyster app that worked just fine on the plane sans wi-fi to read my latest guilty pleasure.


In addition to spades of best seller's and new releases, Oyster carries loads of children's titles which spurred me to encourage Julia to occasionally graduate from our usual "picture with a paragraph" younger kids' books to some older titles. One of my very favorites when I was little ...


... I was so happy they carried it.

Simon was too ...


{Simon does voices and animal noises 100% better than I do which is to say that he does them and I don't. Revoke my parenting license! Now!!}

And a few of our favorite Oyster titles complete with the worst pun of them all ...

1. Simon's currently reading*
2. Grace's favorite "read anytime/anywhere!"
3. Julia's required listening {luckily, she likes it}
4. Next on Grace's list
5. A favorite of Simon's
6. Grace's currently reading*

*opposites attract? never.

Intrigued? A little bit? Give it a {truly} risk-free 30 day whirl.

Thanks for reading and scrolling and reading some more.
And I hope you have a happy weekend!!

because we're happy.

19 February 2015

Tell me you heard it too ... the collective sigh heard round a good chunk of the US before the seasonably appropriate cold front came blazing on the scene this week complete with a {pretty!} dumping of snow. Maybe you just got a dusting and maybe you wish it would snow where you lived or maybe you're so sick of snow that you could spit {I see you, Boston} but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that I'm in good company with my dangerously high spring fever. It's only mid-February and Lent has just begun so I can't get too antsy but I am am am.

Our furnace stopped working in the middle of night {but Simon wasn't working this time so, ain't NO thang} and the wind chill was -8 this morning so until our angel of our repairman could get here we all got to experience a little taste pioneer living. We all huddled in the one warm room of the house which was fun and cozy for all of 8 seconds before Phoebe went into, "tackle Theo until he cries REAL tears" mode {her favorite pastime of late} and then it was just a fat game of keep away complete with referee gear and whistle. Anyway ... I'm winter's biggest cheerleader, obviously.

Fake it till you make it, folks. Words to live by. {onesie from here!}

And if anyone needs someone to voluntarily clap in their presence 24/7 ... Phoebe WILL DELIVER. Simon calls her a one trick pony which I don't think is fair because she also pretends to violently blow out birthday candles on command too. Two trick pony for hire!!

So in lieu of passing out strong and tropical beverages complete with critter sized umbrellas I thought I'd throw you a distant second prize a la happy links. Lame, I know. But - they're all good.

If you haven't popped over to watch Jenna's Big Sur video - you should. And while you're three go ahead and glean some inspiration from her very functional capsule wardrobe that I'd like to steal right off her person. But I won't.

I had some Zulily credit that was going to expire so I bought these sandals (in tan or "luggage" as they call it) but I can't decide if they are a little too orthotic looking? They are super comfortable so that probably answers my question. Simon also didn't argue when I said I thought maybe they aged me 20-30 years so, I'm keeping the box for now.

The Bachelor!! I was kind of a skeptic at the start of the season but once they got the (planted?) crazies off the set ... I got all kinds of emotionally invested in the show. Surprise, surprise! Kaitlyn is my favorite but I'd prefer she get picked for the Bachelorette and I don't have super strong feelings either way on Becca or Whitney. Whitney is all class but Becca seems like a real sweetheart so ... win/win for Chris, I think? I'm not anxiously waiting for Ashley or Sharleen to recap this week's five (!!!!) hours of drama. Not at ALL.

This is old but no matter how many times I read it I still laugh out loud of some of the crazy stories.

And my sweet and talented friend Nell has been letting me and kids be her legging guinea pigs {worst job EVER ;)} and she's just released {today!} women's leggings ... both maternity and not. I have both versions and love them equally but might be favoring the yoga waist band for obvious reasons right now. I don't think a day goes by that one or two of the kids isn't wearing a pair of her leggings ... they wash so well and maintain their shape {aka don't shrink down 89 sizes once they've been dried} and she really has the best eye for her fabric selections.


these giraffes for example. Well, I did a terrible job of photographing them in all their glory but hopefully you get the gist.

Anyway ... we're huge fans around here. The hugest.

And in case you haven't gotten your daily fill/fix-o-Grace {never!!!} I'm over here on one of my very favorite blogs talking about postpartum living. Don't miss it. Or do! I'll never know.

Same time tomorrow?

Can't wait.

real professional-like

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18 February 2015

First of all ... other than putting my first "fix" together for me, Stitch Fix has no idea who I am and is not sponsoring this post at all. I was just curious and wanted to share my findings via crooked professional Grace selfies (Gracies?) whether you wanted me to or not. I'm guessing not but who's the boss around here? Me, unfortunately.

I was sure to heed the advice of some readers and be as specific as possible when putting together my style profile (link to a Pinterest board, specifying that I don't like to show off even a sliver of my stomach especially when I'm gestating etc) and they do a great job of presenting various outfit vignettes and letting you rate "love/hate/eh" etc so ... I had high hopes but I do not envy those stylists. At all.

Here's a little pictorial of what they sent with style tips (appreciated!) and an explanation of what they sent. 


They did take into account that I'm pregnant and sent casual/everyday wear just like I asked.

Enough, enough!

We'll start with the bad?


Stitch Fix infinity scarf
Stitch Fix maternity shirt

As soon as I put this number on, "No No No" by Destiny's Child suddenly started blaring in my brainspeakers maybe because I envision myself wearing a non-maternity version of this when I'm 52 and a loyal Coldwater Creek patron. I don't know. While I didn't hate the looser fit of the jeans Phoebe pulled up on my leg and pulled them right on off my person so they obviously just run big {maybe they'd fit better in the latter part of the third trimester!} because they were my size and/or the elastic just isn't as snug as my other jeans that might just be way too small. As far as the shirt goes - I hate ruching - maternity or not {it's just not flattering on my body type - at ALL} but how were they supposed to know that? I loved the dolman sleeves but wasn't wild about the navy/grey stripes. And the scarf! It was sheer and purely decorative and I don't love infinity scarves and I know myself well enough that I would never ever remember to put a scarf on for anything other than warmth and so .... all three of these were, sing it DC: "no, no and no." Boo.

BUT. The story doesn't end there.

Next chapter!


Stitch Fix jacket
leggings - c/o Whole Parenting Goods

I know these safari/military/anorak jackets had their 15 minutes of fame back in 2011 but I still love it. So I kept it and wore it until the temperatures plummeted into frozen hell territory but it'll be on heavy rotation as soon as it's seasonally appropriate once again.

Can you stomach one more mirror/mirror image? 

YOU CAN.


shoes via Amazon
denim - Old Navy

I normally steer clear of white but this was a little more cream/ivory as opposed to an exact match for the hue of Xerox paper and to be honest when I pulled it out of the box I was like, "vat is this?!" complete with brow furrow but then I put it on with a maternity tank and fell in love with the fit. It's not designated maternity but I can see it working for several more weeks especially as it (HOPEFULLY) gets warmer. So, I kept that too.

+ because I normally shop the clearance racks of Target or Old Navy or hit up eBay for more name brandy things ... the prices were um, not in my usual range. BUT - I kept in mind that I wasn't just paying for the clothing but the convenience and I do a terrible job of actually buying staples so ... I felt like these were some smart purchases that would work for maternity and beyond. The jacket is really lightweight which should work well for Florida and um, enough justification - no one cares, Grace.

+ I wish they gave more than three days to decide and send the clothing back because I can see myself letting that window slip RIGHT ON BY which would be a very expensive and annoying slip. But - I'm not in charge!

+ The convenience was nice and sending the rejects back was super easy (put them on the doorstep and schedule a pick up with the USPS) and now I'm antsy to schedule another Fix ... probably once I hit the third trimester and am starting to stare at my closet and complain to Simon that nothing fits while he just nods and waits for me to try on 89 options only to wear my original outfit.

+ That's all for now. Don't worry, you'll blink and it'll be time for another installation of the fun :)

Julia Styles

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16 February 2015


shirt - Kidizen
shoes - c/o Minnetonka
haircut - c/o Mom

Slyly opens Netflix Kids on my laptop and then makes a big production of looking surprised at what she sees the screen:
Julia: oh!
Grace:
Julia: hmm!
Grace: what?!
Julia: wow!
Grace:
Julia: wonder what this is?!
Grace:

Theo and Phoebe start crying during their naps while Julia and I are hanging out and I pretend not to hear for a minute or three ...
Julia: sigh
Grace:
Julia: sigh
Grace:
Julia: eye roll
Grace:
Julia: eye roll
Grace:
Julia: SIGH
Julia: now mom's quiet time is more like mom's CRYING TIME.

One night when Julia claimed she couldn't sleep I told her to think about her birthday wish list until she was able to drift off. I went to bed and woke up a full hour later to her standing thisclose to my face ...
Grace:
Julia: a pig
Grace: what?
Julia: I decided I want a pet pig for my birthday


After I got an unfortunate email about someone in a different class at her school having lice ...
Grace: Julia, please come here so I can look at your hair
Julia: oh! don't worry! my teachers already checked my hair and they didn't find ANY mice.

While the kids were enjoying the fruits of my bi-monthly baking labor ...
Julia: can I please have another cookie? I accidentally ate my first one.

Overheard while Julia and Sebastian were "banging out" in the basement ...
Julia: Well, Bash.
Bash: What?
Julia: You just need to know that girls grow babies in their tummies and boys grow poop in theirs.
Bash: oh.

Recently ...
Julia: can we go to the store today to buy some pears?
Grace: no, Bash is still sick, I'm sorry
Julia: well, I have a great idea
Grace:
Julia: he can just frow up in his hands
Grace:
Julia: ... and then put it in his pockets and no one will see

 
While visiting Simon at work one night ...
Julia: So, where's your friend Neil?
Simon: I think he's busy doing a delivery
Julia: oh, Dad! he's not a mailman!!!

After she caught me watching a little nap time Bachelor and surmised that there were some very sad girls because of the fact that they did not get roses ...
Julia: well ...
Grace: what is it?
Julia: do you think we should just tell them you can buy flowers like that at Costco?

(not so) little black dress

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13 February 2015





dress - c/o Brass Clothing
glasses - ASOS
bag - c/o Lily Jade

I never thought maternity tights were a necessity until I pulled on a pair of non-maternity tights and was greeted with the loud and jarring sound of ripping material and left with a big gaping hole in said tights (may they rest in peace). These held it together for my super professional photo shoot above but I won't trust them beyond that. Yes, I'm only 21 weeks along and no, it's definitely not twins.

Thankfully, this Brass Clothing shirt dress has a nice, generous drawstring situation that has been very kind to the growing (and growing and growing) bump and while I'll probably outgrow it in five minutes ... it will be the first thing I grab when I start the odyssey that is: postpartum + nursing friendly dressing. Can I get a somber, "amen"? Thank you. 

It's fitting that today is Galentine's Day (tell me you are aware of the holiday! it's thee best!) because Brass was founded by two gals (couldn't resist) by the names of Katie and Jay who were tired of the crazy price tags on designer clothing but weren't too fond of the cheaper and poorly made alternatives either. By working directly with the manufacturers, they are able to offer designer quality and beautifully cut clothing at a much more affordable price. Read their fascinating story here!

After perusing their website I had to play favorites with the Shirt Dress but it's a very close tie for second with the gorgeous yet casual Tank Maxi and the super fun Fit and Flare (all THREE have pockets, genius!). I love their first collection so much and am genuinely looking forward to see what Katie and Jay cook up for their upcoming collections because girls' got talent.

Brass is giving a dress away (winner's choice!!) to one of you fine readers today ... ladies celebrating ladies and all of that ballet. Yay. You know the way the Rafflecopter works by now, I hope and pray.

May the winning force be with you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

highs and lows

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12 February 2015

Maybe it's just me but I feel like 96% of staying at home with smallish kids falls under the 'ordinary time' category. Things aren't boring or stagnant but things aren't terribly exciting either which is fine! Bring on the ordinary in the face of a whole host of potentially terrible scenarios!

allow Phoebe to illustrate ...

 
... like so. 

The other 4% is split between the actual terribly exciting events {Christmas morning, the first three minutes of a road trip before the reality of a road trip with children sets in, the first few days of spring/summer, etc} and then innocuous but inconvenient child illness. I'm sure I could break down the %'s better but me + math = match made in hell. You get the gist, I know you DO.

So the past few days we've been swimming in the deep end of that inconvenient illness %. I hope it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway that minor stomach bugs are noiseless blips compared to the myriad of serious suffering and illness going down around us today and always ... I know. I'm merely reporting the late breaking from the Camp because I know you like your perch seated in the front row. Don't shoot the scribe.

Anyway ... I'm still riding medium-high from our Floridian getaway so instead of pounding you with the vom diaries I thought I'd balance things out with the few glimmers of light.

Still .. let's record the lows lest the blog suddenly becomes completely unrecognizable ...

THE LOWS.


made tangible by Theo "cuz I'm saucy" Patton.

1. Sebastian started "spitting up"(as he and Julia call it) hours after Phoebe, Simon, and I got home this weekend.

2. Followed by Theo (a dream come true, though) the next night.

3. And a mere hours later ... Julia fell victim and was sure the whole house knew of her plight to the tune of 3:40 in the am even though she was hit with the shortest and kindest of the plague fairies, thankfully.

But look!

THE HIGHS.



1. Phoebe has gone unscathed. So far!!

2. When Sebastian first got sick he and Theo had just gotten out of the bath and were wrapped in towels and Sebastian ran to the trash can (how he has no problem spraying a clean load of laundry with an entire can of Pledge or the contents of his very full bladder but is thoughtful enough to throw up directly in the trash can ... a conundrum for the masses) while Theo followed the leader directly to the scene of the sick crime in true Theo fashion. In between bouts of Bash heaving, Theo took his hooded towel edge and wiped Sebastian's face and mouth clean and I'm not one for trite parenting clichés but it was one of the more endearing things I've seen in my parenting time.

3. Even though Sebastian has been hit the hardest (day 5, he's a soldier) he's still managed to keep up his pleasant demeanor (singing and dancing to, "Everything Is Awesome!" 56 seconds after getting super sick .... AGAIN ... while I look at him and wonder how we share DNA because ... too much happy) and insisting that he carry his neon green plastic puke bowl everywhere with him just in case. And he uses it .... even at 4am while he's 90% asleep. Hopefully I can remember his thoughtfulness next time I find him squeezing our last living bottle of shampoo into the toilet or waking "cheeky Phoebe" up from her much-needed nap, "just to say hi!"

4. I might be in the parenting minority but I'm a big advocate of encouraging and fostering independence at an early age around here so I have to mention that Phoebe has mastered using a straw ...



... the better to gulp down my mostly gross and mostly healthy smoothies with, m'dear. Next up: dressing herself and her helpless siblings.

I'd like to say something like this high was maybe grasping for straws BUT ... we all know I'm above that.

WAY above.

I do hope your week has been full of lots of highs ....



... and few (no?!) lows ...



... and Theo does too. Of course.

playing favorites

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11 February 2015

88% of the time that I glance in the mirror I'm borderline horrified by what's staring back at me because my hair is super skilled at tangling itself into a real pretty nest + I'm very good at convincing myself I can go 'just one more day' without a shower which is always three days TOO MANY. So, yes! Please, Grace! Do enlighten us with some of your favorite beauty products today. And DO put together a visual with a terrible play on words.


Fine.

1. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Deep Pore Cleansing Clay - someone mentioned this stuff in an Instagram comment and someone else seconded their comment so I trusted them and bought it. It's kind of a process to use (mix with apple cider vinegar in a disposable cup - don't throw the leftovers down the sink - yadda) but it's 100% worth it because while your face doesn't pulsate like the label claims (IN CAPS)


(TWICE)

it does a number on your pores - better than pricey Bioré strips and better than all the other masks I've tried. A little goes a long way and it left my skin wanting to have a soft-off with Phoebe's. I think I might stand a chance. I do.

2. Younique 3d Fiber Lashes - I'm guessing you've seen it talked about all over Facebook, right? I was skeptical because I'm a total mascara junkie but my college buddy, Carrie, sent me some to try and now I'm pathetically hooked. The thing I like about it is that it doesn't look or feel crunchy like a lot of other "miracle" mascaras and it washes off a lot easier than other mascaras I've tried and tried again. I don't look like Ashley from the Bachelor or anything crazy but I do feel a lot more put together for my Monday morning date with Costco and the kids even if I am wearing some semblance of Sunday night's pajamas.

3. Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter ~ Juicy Papaya - I don't care what anyone (expert or not) says ... not EVERYONE can pull off red lipstick and I am living proof. Maybe if a professional did my makeup ... maybe but I genuinely do look like a clown (yes, I've tried lots of shades and I've tried applying it with some gloss and my finger and minimal eye makeup etc etc etc) so this is my compromise. It's totally not a winter color and would probably look better if my face wasn't the exact the color of a ghost but ... I like that it's enough color to brighten me up without looking like I'm trying too hard.

4. Egyptian Magic Skin Cream - It's been staring and wearing me down for the past two (three?) years at Costco so I went and read some Amazon reviews (mostly glowing) and bit the bullet. I think I assumed I was getting a nighttime face cream but it's more of a thick Vaseline and has been our workhorse for a myriad of other things. It works a lot better than Aquaphor for chapped baby/toddler skin and in just two weeks has helped fade my thyroid scar more than years upon years of straight up Vitamin E or Mederma has ... Simon 'notices almost nothing' Patton even commented how light it's looking. I've been slathering it over or under my face cream at night over the last bits of my college acne scarring and I'm so pleased with the results. I've also been using it for my crazy chapped lips. I give it five shining stars and two thumbs way up.

5. Sonia Kashuk Radiant Tinted Moisturizer - I've been happily using this stuff for a few years but Theo tossed into the toilet the one time Sebastian had successful potty training aim ... the perfect storm. So, I said good riddance and moved onto less expensive pastures. I like that it gives just enough coverage to even out my skin tone without looking foundation-y and it hasn't made me break out - always a huge plus.

6. Paula's Choice Intensive Repair Cream - I took advantage of one of the many specials Paula's Choice frequently runs because I have to try a PC product that I don't love and this is no exception. My skin has been really dry this winter and I don't imagine that pregnancy helps but putting this on at night has helped my scales immensely. When it runs out I might go full-face with the Egyptian Magic and see what transpires. Might YOLO be appropriate here? (referral link for $10 off your first purchase)

And just for kicks .... a product I'm curious about after reading about it on Essie's blog: The Body Shop Radiant Highlighter

An honorable mention: Miracle Body Transformer Tinted Beauty Balm - another Costco find that I'm almost embarrassed to admit to loving but I mix a pea-sized drop with my regular lotion and feel a lot less like I'm channeling Casper's wife on the daily.

Anything you're loving? I've found a lot of my favorites from you and your recommendations so pretty please don't be shy.

neighborhood scouting moon

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09 February 2015

Last week Simon, Phoebe, and I took a little 'area scouting trip' down to Tampa to get a good feel for neighborhoods and the housing market and a nice big gulp of some vitamin d. I have a deep and irrational love for staying in hotel rooms (so clean! the little toiletries! so many channels! I need a life!) and a few days alone with Simon and our more docile non-verbal was a very welcome break after his January hours and the January weather.

Don't tell the older three but I might still be mourning the trip's end.


Phoebe might be too. As soon as Theo crawled in my lap when we got back home ... she very adamantly shoved him right on out of her newly marked territory. He reacted as sweetly as you might imagine.

A tangible foreshadowing of our first interminable leg to Houston (half of which was spent inexplicably on the runway in St. Louis ... why do they do that?) ...


Phoebe like, "oh! you think you're going on a relaxing honeymoon #2 with 'just one child'?!"

ha.

Julia saw this photo Simon snapped and asked, "why are you so angry?!"


I don't know, J. Maybe my subconscious had access to a crystal ball and knew that that cup of caffeine was the last food or drink I would see for hours upon hours upon hours thanks to a crazy delay and a sprint through the Houston airport to make our connecting flight to Tampa. Simon is a crazy fast walker + he does not like to risk missing a flight and so .... sprint with nary a second to spare to stop for a caloric respite it was. I feel 100% fine almost 100% of the time pregnancy-wise right now unless I go hours and hours and hours without food and then baby Grace comes out to play. And she doesn't play nice. RIP courtesy in-flight peanuts and/or pretzels ... those do not seem to be on United's agenda anymore.

But it was worth it.


Phoebe's effortless frown agreed.


Seriously. Worst view ever according to our little happy clamlet.

Why did I snap a photo of this beauty?


Unsolved mysteries, folks.

Trip highlights and lowlights included:

+ our seat neighbor plugging his ears with his hands while Phoebe got her very angry and audible wiggles and notgiggles out before she finally (!!!!!) fell asleep en route to Houston. I didn't blame him one bit but I might advise that he invest in a pair of new fangled headphones for his next flight or ten.

+ waking up on Friday morning and looking at the clock to see that it was 8:15. My eyes are still making their way back to their shocked sockets three days later. Even if it was just 7:15 in St. Louis ... Theo has me on a strict 5am waking time and 8am felt downright sinful.

+ seeing my old college roommate, Marya, and her husband and a few of her five (!!) daughters. It's some bizarre twist of happy fate that we'll end up back in the same town ten years after college and ten kids between us later ... bizarre and wonderful fate indeed. Also! getting to see a fellow FUS alum, Kristin and meeting her husband and fun kids who happily and generously kept Phoebe entertained late at night while we talked and talked .... and talked. Two of the best highlights.

+ narrowing down our area search to a specific neighborhood closeish to the hospital and the parish/school we'd like to attend which will help as we e-stalk Craigslist and Zillow and our realtor for the best (rent? or buy? still deciding!) and realizing that the market in St. Louis is slightly more buyer friendly. The sticker shock is wearing off but I'm still saying my daily prayers that we find something relatively affordable with more than one bedroom by June. Maybe hourly.

+ meeting some of the kind folks Simon will be working with and getting a little tour of his new hospital. Did we hit up the cafeteria? Is the Pope Catholic?

+ the weather. It wasn't crazy warm but it was warm enough to thaw my winter-hating soul for several consecutive hours. It felt weird and too good to be true.

+ and last but NOT least ... Yogurtology.

Grace be like ...


... only our second visit in two days. One of the employees greeted us with, "long time, no see!" no shame in my froyo game.

none.

They have these wonderfully terrible things called "bottomings" (although ... I have all the confidence in the world that we can come up with a better name for them) to put in your cup before you start the yogurt + topping debauchery.


dangerously genius.

I set a record for most ounces ever purchased by a Patton (formerly held by - myself and in utero Phoebe) ...


... so let's fervently hope they go out of business LONG before we move or else. Or else nothing but post-baby body might live very happily ever after never to die ever. Really.

Our trip would not not not have been possible without the generosity of my mom and youngest sister flying up from New Mexico to watch the older three kids ...


... we know their "vacation" was just as relaxing as ours. 

Ahem.

"They" (who is "they" and why are they so annoying sometimes?) say that you fall out of shape four (or more?) times faster than it takes you to get in shape. Por ejemplo: 12 weeks of training for a long race can easily be undone with three weeks of lazy workouts ... or something, I'm not "they", I don't know. But I think they are right because I am feeling very out of parenting shape today. Endurance is not my strong suit, apparently.

And because I love you and care deeply about your happiness and overall quality of blog reading life ... I'll be sure to keep you abreast of every painful house hunting d'tail over these next few months. Every single one.

You've been warned.

Smiles for miles,

your resident open book

 

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