neighborhood scouting moon

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'?!"


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.


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. 


"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


  1. Ahh! I'm so excited for you. Those pictures on the beach look absolutely glorious!! All of Ben's interview locations are in cold, dismal places...just kidding. Well...kinda. Anyway, I can't believe that you guys are already house shopping - so crazy that residency is almost over!

    1. FYI: This is Kelly Jo. Totally forgot that I changed my username a bit back, lol

  2. I'm jealous of all that sand and sun!

  3. Not that you need any convincing that you'll love FL, but my cousins and their 5 kids (4 blood/ 1 exchange student) moved to the Tampa area almost 2 years ago and LOVE it there. Good luck with the house hunting!

  4. I saw the litany of comments on your Instagram about the ear-plugging man on the flight down. You were very diplomatic about it, and for that, I say a hearty "THANK YOU." Babies cry and it's a fact of life, but it is awesome that you were sensitive to the discomfort of both the (presumably quietly protesting) gentleman and your sweet baby.

  5. Yogurtology! There is one right down the road from my office, you can imagine the lunch-dessert issue. The struggle is real.

  6. Phoebe be like "this only child thing is workin for me!!!" Sounds like a nice time and that sunshine and beach, I am so jealous....take me there now!!! Happy house hunting and all the good house hunting vibes are being sent your way right about now!

  7. Those bottomings look amazing. Glad you got some sunshine, and I'm happy you get to live so close to your college roomie!

  8. HOLY FREAKING BAKLAVA. That's it. I'm moving. See you at Yogurtology.

  9. I love it! And I may have scrolled up and down and then up again....well then down to comment, but just to stare at your sunshine pics. Then I popped a few vitamin d supplements in my mouth to get the full skin soaking effect! But how fun, a new adventure! I am counting down the days until we are out of the cold and back in the Georgia humidity. Not that Georgia is my favorite place, but sunshine is!

  10. I always come back from weekends away from all the kiddos feeling like it is so hard to ease back into things. Going that many hours only having to answer questions from grownups really does make you lose the muscle memory of managing the troops. And going that many hours without food while pregnant - so sorry! But your weekend totally looks worth it, so happy for your guys.
    And that bottomings stuff looks amazing and should be called 'the base layer'. I will now have as much as possible with my ice cream before lent.

  11. Sometimes I am nervous that my love of details about other peoples' lives means there is something wrong with me. Whatever. It works for blogging.

    We were one a flight recently when Henry was particularly fiesty/vocal. The flight attendant asked the person sitting 2 people away from Henry/me (who was a stand-by by the way, we were going to have an extra seat if it weren't for her) if they wanted a free wine. She responded a little too eagerly. I wanted to say, "Where the hell is mine?! I'm the only wrestling over here! Oh sorry your ears hurt 21-year-old. You just wait!"

    But I did not.

    And I'm a terrible person. This should probably be posted anonymously.

  12. These pictures are great. Phoebe, I have the *same* face when I walk into a yogurt/ice cream shop! But baby girl needs to learn the wonderfulness of the beach!

    Good luck on the house hunt... rent or buy!

  13. You can get *whole* brownie + frozen yogurt + toppings at that place?! Pure bliss. And that beach looks heavenly!

  14. I just told Chris all about the bottomings, and we both agreed we are dropping out of med school to move to Tampa just for that reason. BOTTOM BAKLAVA? bye diet, it's been fun!

  15. "Bottomings" sound like the best. idea. ever.

    And I love Phoebe's expression at the beach! Such a frown for a girl escaping winter!

  16. Ahhhhhh..... Welcome to my corner of this little universe :)

    While I obviously don't know exactly which hospital he will be at, I could probably take an educated "1 of 5" guess. I know they aren't CLOSE, but maybe check out the Brandon or Plant City areas. They can be a lot cheaper living and between the Expressway and I-4, the commute isn't too awful. I am sure you have done your research, but thought I would throw that out there

  17. Bottomings? Come on yoghurt shop, there has to be somethint a bit less... bottomy. Although if theres baklava in there you dont have to call it anything to get me eating it.

  18. hotels are my favorite. my very very favorite.

  19. I thought of you this past weekend. We looked at a short sale listed at looked like it had a tree growing up through the middle of the house because of all the water damage. The joys of south tampa real estate :-(

  20. Holy smokes that whole "bottomings" thing looks AMAZING!! The baklava looks delicious!! But I would have to stay far far away!! 10,000 calories in a cup would not work with my mid-30's metabolism. Not at all.

  21. I just found your blog and love it! I have a similar setup- 4 year old boy/girl twins, 3 year old girl, 19 month old girl, and baby #5 (another girl) due mid March. I will have 5 under 5 soon, and it looks like you will too?! Although I totally cheated and had twins so I doubt mine are as close as yours.
    As for car seats, I have 3 Diono Radians in the third row of my van and it works great. In my wildest carseat dreams, the two other seats would be Radians too (can you even IMAGINE how sleek and cool?!) but alas they are bulky Evenflo seats we bought when the twins were born.... Before we could wrap our heads around 5 kids in car seats. Who all belong to us. In one car.

  22. I live in Tampa (just moved here a few months ago) and though I have driven by yogurtology a million times, never been! Figured it was the same as all the other froyo places... but I showed your photo of "bottomings" to my hubs, and he says "lets go tonight!" haha so thank you. Happy house hunting! After living in KS/Colorado my whole life, I can say the Florida winter is a glorious thing. I have already forgotten what winter is like in the rest of the country. You will like it here :)

  23. SOOOOO... My mom lives about 45 minutes from Tampa and I'm really hoping that you won't think me too stalker-ish if I invite myself to visit you sometime when I'm down that way. I'm totally not an axe murderer, I swear.

    I love Phoebe's little face in those beach pictures - and is she wearing mocs? Too adorable :-D

    Also, a baklava-froyo sundae sounds like one of the most amazing things ever. Wow.

  24. Now all I can think about is eating baklava.

  25. I'm a mostly lurker, rare commenter, who lives in central Florida and I am pretty excited that you and your beautiful family will be living in my state!!

  26. I thought for sure you would say you were moving to Fishhawk. The most family centered community I have seen. It's about 45 minutes from downtown Tampa.
    Wherever you end up I'm sure you will love it. I've been here my whole life and can't imagine living with cold
    and snow!



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