What I Wish I'd Known ...

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24 June 2015

... AND we're back! With more pearls of parenting wisdom answering the "What I'd wish I'd known before I had kids ... " prompt (hello, obvious post title) from some of the e-greats.


Amelia at The Homebook:

I wish I'd known how tender and wonderful and difficult the first few weeks of motherhood would be. I wish I had known that it's okay to love your baby, to be in complete and total awe of your new beautiful baby, and to also be slightly terrified of it. It's okay to ask the (lovely, well-meaning) visitors to leave so that you can hold your own newborn without feeling like you have to hand the child over to a guest, and so you can openly complain to your husband about how bad your bottom hurts without being impolite. It's okay to fall asleep and hold your baby at the same time. (Why was I so terrified of that?) You will be fine. You will find your groove. It's okay, it's okay, it's okay.

Ana at Time Flies When You're Having Babies:

Before having kids, I wish I had known how very unhelpful parental comparison is and that my successes as a mother should never be defined through trying to measure up to other moms. Way too often my big successes were another mom's failure. I would be rejoicing in only showing my girls one full length feature film for the day and another mom at a play date would be bemoaning the 15 minute video she caved and put on for her little ones, then I would go home from that play date feeling like an utter failure. So silly! So unnecessary! I am learning slowly not to look too hard at the way other moms do things, and to just be confident in the way we parent our children.

Kate Wicker: {and on insta!}

All my children want is me. They don't need anything fancy or highly orchestrated moments together. They don't need me to pretend to be like So-and-So's cool mom. Their biggest desire is focused attention from plain, old, nothing-I-ever-make-will-be-
worthy-of-Pinterest-me. Finally after wasting so much time suffering from chronic twinges of inadequacy, I have this little entourage who thinks I am enough.

Kate at The Rhodes Log:

My first baby cried a lot. Like a lot a lot. From two to eight weeks he was nursing, sleeping, or crying. I generally tried to paint a rosy postpartum picture for the world - even though I was an overwhelmed, overtired, oversized-T-shirt-with-milk-stains-on-it mess. I wish I'd known that it was important to open up to people about how hard a time I was having. I thought: Good mothers can make their babies stop crying. I wish someone could've corrected me and said: No, good mothers hold and walk and rock and soothe their babies, even though the babies won't stop crying.

Audrey at Putting Me Together:

I wish I'd known that not all nursing covers are the same!  The first cover I had was small and the "structured" neckline was flimsy so I couldn't see anything.  I had the hardest time nursing in public with it and thought I was just bad at nursing.  Finally I tried this nursing cover and could nurse anywhere with ease!  It's much bigger and the structured neckline is way better.  Two other new moms had the same problem, and when I told them about the bigger nursing cover it solved their problems too!

Shana at The Mom Edit:

What I wish I had known before I had kids:

That all of my super-helpful, loudly vocalized, pre-kid opinions on child rearing just made me sound like an idiot.  

That you get who you get who you get.  So if you end up with a non-sleeping baby who can't nurse and who then grows up into a toddler who won't eat...IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  You get who you get who you get.  Get it?

And also?  That non-sleeping, non-eating baby/toddler will grow up into a really amazing, delightful kid who both eats and sleeps normally.

That "good sleep hygiene" is a made-up phrase, not a medical one.  

That most of the really difficult phases passed before I even finished all of those books I bought to cope.

That 99.9% of the power struggles with my kids could've been avoided if I had just changed my own behavior. 

That the second baby grows up so fast - they go right from newborn to toddler.  

That I learned more about unconditional love in the first few weeks with a new baby than I did in 15+ years of marriage.  And because of this understanding, all of my relationships - with my husband, my own parents, his parents, my friends - strengthened.

If you can only choose one thing, choose connection.  Everything else will work itself out.

(And that the best maternity jeans have a SIDE PANEL.  Like this.)

Kayla from Freckles in April:

Before I had kids I thought parenting was a more solid thing and there would be a script or something I could follow. I had no idea how much would involve me just making crap up as I went along.

Telling my kid he needs to eat 5 more bites of dinner before he will be excused? Totally arbitrary. Making them hug for 2 minutes because they were fighting? I came up with that .2 seconds before the words left my mouth. Trying to come up with an age-appropriate explanation for how their baby sister ended up in my tummy? I'm winging it.

When you're a kid it feels your parents are working with something universal and immutable but that's not the case. There is no script. There are no rules. We're all making this up as we go!

Rachel from Testosterhome:

The best way to mother is to be comfortable in your own skin. Know who you are and what makes you tick, operate out of your strengths instead of what you think a "Good Mother" should be.

I think you have to figure this out (took me a while) exactly what brings you peace as a mother. There will be a million articles on the importance of one way of operating or another and I've found, after 18 years in this motherhood gig, that if I operate out of love for my child, everything will fall into place. Want to be an attachment parent? Go for it! Want to sleep train your baby three months in? Sounds great. There is no "one way" to any of this, except to love. That's the only right answer.

I noticed myself feeling really stressed a few years ago because I was trying to operate in a way that didn't come naturally to me. I wanted a certain kind of behavior from my children (or so I thought) but my natural parenting style, and the makeup of our family (five boys who don't sit still) didn't lend itself to what I wanted my kids to do. So I had to take a step back, assess the situation and realize that what I was doing was admiring something I saw in other people that didn't necessarily bring good fruit in our home. I had to embrace who I was as a mom and who our family was as the Family Balducci.

There is so much freedom in loving who you are and in how you roll. Whether you homeschool or send your children out the door at three; whether you wear a baby on your back from dawn to dusk or train them to walk and wander. if you serve homemade organic applesauce or a to-go chicken nugget six-pack -- figure out what brings you peace and joy and just love them. Love those babies and everything else really will fall into place. 

(Grace again!)
and believe it or not ... I've got even more diamonds to come! Along with a tiny update on the never EVER ending Patton Floridian relocation. Stay TUNED. 

Saturday Night Live-ish.

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20 June 2015

My old college roomie is in town visiting her family and let us impose on their pool time today resulting in the happiest Patton kidlets, skipped naps, and gloriously (gloriously!!!) early bedtimes for said happies. So! I thought I'd polish off this post I started during one of my insomnia-plagued nights in case you're in the mood for some mindless weekend clicking. Because heaven forbid I let yet another 1/4 finished novelita float off to a watery grave over in the "drafts" graveyard (RIP those 100+ that never saw the light of the net). Bosco is currently indulging in his longest stretch of sleep EVER and I'm sure gearing up for an inevitably rowdy night so while I should probably sleep while the baby does ... this old dog isn't up for trying new tricks. Stupidity it IS.

First though, thank you for all of your nursing bra recs. It sounds like this brand is the resounding winner but I'll keep you posted on my findings. Probably. Maybe.

Nothing makes my heart skip a beat quite like a new Bachelor/ette post from my favorite funny lady. I'm glad we're in agreement that Shawn is the best of all the rest.

Speaking of beats {best segue award goes TO: notgrace} I discovered this one playing during a car commercial and can't stop listening. Repeat. Listen again. And again.

In the past week, not one, not two, but THREE of my ladyfriends mentioned this new activewear (or in my case: lay around the house/couch wear) line. So, I bit. It's a fraction of Lululemon's price tag for the same (better?) quality .. or SO I HEAR. We'll see. We shall see. (We'll also see if I won the competition for most parenthetical statements in a short paragraph competition I entered earlier today. My guess is Sí, senorita.)

Finally! A summer bucket list I can get excited about. Thank goodness.

The reviews were mixed after I mentioned these diapers on the Facebook page but so far, I've been pleased. Although, Bosco's life is still young so there's still plenty of time to be sorely disappointed.

I'm hearting Amelia's series on cleaning because I can't get enough of her immaculate (but not obnoxiously so! a tough feat!) house on the gram. Let's see how well I execute my newly acquired knowledge in our new house .... let's just go ahead and SEE.

Okay, Bosco's awake and I need to sneak in a shower so I don't scare my fellow church goers in the morning. Busy, busy!! Joke, joke.

F-f-f-f-f-ine. One photo.

But, that's it.

For now.

what I wish I'd known

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19 June 2015

While we wrestle with the last few days of apartment living, get acquainted with Bosco, make our way down to Florida next week, and I hopefully get the birth story pounded out I have some super sweet e-treats for all of you. I asked some of my favorite internet females to answer this super original prompt: What I wish I'd known before I had kids ... and their answers were all so great, so funny, and so touching. If you don't already follow them on all trillion mediums of social media ... hop to it. 

I'm seriously considering being a bit of a creep and having them all printed and bound into a book to call my very own at the end. SO much practical wisdom to glean from every mom. Here's the first installation of answers! And Happy Freakin' Friday, bb.

Jenna from Wilber Huset {grammage too!}:

"I was always one to roll my eyes at the motivational poster “It Takes a Village” plastered at every childcare facility and school I walked through over the years. As someone who has always aimed to be an independent woman (~throw your hands up at me~), I fought this surrender for so long thinking and honestly believing I’m supposed to be able to handle the overwhelmingness of having kids alone. Once I accepted that if I traded in a bit of my pride for some sanity by finally asking for help, everyone in my family would be happier, especially this dependent mama."

Jessica from Everly and Rosie:

My twin girls are now a year old, and despite what people keep telling you - it does not get easier. For many months I kept telling myself, "If I can just past this colicky stage," or "If I can just get them on an ideal schedule," or "if they would just sleep through the night..." but each new milestone comes with a litany of equally as difficult hurdles. Every time I think I have them figured out, baby girls throw me for a loop and give me the ultimate lesson in humility. Funny enough, once I resigned to the fact that motherhood is super hard - that there are no shortcuts or magic numbers or fancy tricks that will make it any less challenging - things seemed to get, well, easier. I also learned that an intricate stroller is for the birds - an inexpensive double umbrella stroller has taken us all over the fine city of Albuquerque.  

Christy from Fountains of Home:

I wish I knew that after becoming a mother I would wake up every day knowing I had a purpose - for my life, for my day, for my hour, and sometimes for each and every minute. And that I could depend on laughing every day as my children see the world with new eyes full of wonder who find the joy in every little thing and have turned out to be hilarious and interesting little people.

Amber from 3 Ladies + Their Gent (and on Insta!)

There are so many ideas/topics/words of advice I could write about in relation to new moms like "..if someone offers help, TAKE IT..and don't feel bad about it.." or .."you'll never use the bathroom alone again, so get used to that now.." but something that has remained on my mind throughout my entire (second) pregnancy is directly related to what I didn't remember to do during my first pregnancy with the twins.  I failed to take time to soak in the idea of being a mom.  The number one question I get from friends and strangers alike goes something like "I bet carrying one is soooo different from your twin pregnancy.." 

Well, all things considered, yes.  I am less whale-ish, but really it was the emotional aspect of the entire thing that has caught me off guard.

It was simply the unknown surrounding my entire pregnancy the first go round that caused me to actually take a few weeks (a month?) before I  was able to realize that I was a mother.  A mother to two precious little beings that I carried, nourished, and now was flung into caring for (and keeping alive).  Motherhood is such a beautiful thing to step into, and I let myself get caught up into the 'what-ifs' of the days, weeks, and months prior to and following the birth of my girls.  For lack of a better word to describe the situation .. it was actually a JOB.  It was hard work.  From weeks 24-37 I found myself on what felt like permanent bed rest to keep them incubated until they were ready to be born.  Then it was birth.  C-section or natural - singletons or multiples, that's hard work.  We are amazing creatures to be able to endure any of that.  I realized looking back that there was a lot of recovery that took place postpartum, and not just from birth, but the hype of the last 9 months had all come to a head and here I was at the end of it now with two babies.  Of course, I wouldn't change a single thing about any of it - and if I knew how amazing this motherhood thing was going to be like, I would have figured out how to have done it sooner.

With all that behind me, and sort of knowing what is expected of me on delivery day and sort of having an idea of what I am doing as a new mother for the second time around, I daydream.  I daydream not about the 'what-ifs' and unknowns of pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood, but of her sweet little nose.  What the shape of her eyes will be.  Rubbing her teeny baby ears.  And ultimately getting to hold her tight after 40 weeks of waiting. 

Moral of my sappy story: Don't get caught up in the crazy of life.  Take a moment to think about the beauty of it all. The beauty of motherhood and pregnancy.  You wont regret it. 

There are SO many things! I wish I'd known that some of my dearest friends are my fellow mom friends. I wouldn't have felt overwhelmed by the whole thing if I knew that I'd have a group of girls around me going through similar, if not the exact same, things. Support is crucial, whether it's a girlfriend you can text and share your baby's new milestones with, or someone to give you advice on sleep training or which car seat they really like. The friendships are so valuable! 

(Grace again!)
Thank you, thank you, thank you ladies! More where that came from very SOON ....

Bosco Ignatius: one day old

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16 June 2015


First things first. THANK YOU for all of your sweet comments and emails yesterday and today. We've been so floored by everyone's kindness. Give yourselves a nice bear hug ..... you deserve it.

Bosco and I are still here in our little babymoon cocoon and loving life in the most luxurious lane. We'll head home in the morning to the land of Super Dad Simone (seriously, he took the kids to the zoo AND Costco today ... the superest), my favorite little wolves, and my not-so-favorite tortoise internet. So! Before I leave you I had had HAD to post a few photos that an incredibly talented fellow residency wife took of Bosco today. Apparently fifth time's a charm when it comes to professional newborn photos because he's the first lucky duck to get 'em. Bosco better recognize his privilege.

Okay, behold her talent that rose above the overcast day that lent to terrible, terrible lighting in the postpartum batcave (a batcave that I love, I must say) ...

Mini Sebastian, you have to admit!!

She looked at some of my newborn photo pins and emulated a similar style ..... so thoughtful and SO appreciated.

Making myself stop at six but don't think I won't find a million other ways to sneak the others into post after post.

Thank you Janel!

Happy (what day is it? oh, doesn't matter) day.

rhymes with Costco

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15 June 2015

it's a BOY. A boy named Bosco (named after this saint!). We are overjoyed that he's here. Sebastian keeps asking to hold, "her" and "it", Phoebe tolerates him at very best, Theo keeps talking in high pitched squeaks that are indicative of Bosco's size (I think?), Julia keeps calling him Costco, and Grace is feeling really dumb for packing all those adorable hair bows in her bag ... mother's intuition nothing.

He's healthy and happy (as far as we can tell, he hasn't verbalized otherwise) and his delivery was a lot less arduous than Theo and Phoebe's but I'm sure I'll manage to make it out to sound as melodramatic as EVER.

I think he's the spitting image of newborn Sebastian but Simon says he is all Seaton (my side of the family) so we'll just have to agree to disagree for now while his face unscrunches these next few days.

He's got dirty blonde hair, eats hard, sleeps harder, and shares a birthday with North West, apparently.

I'm scared I misspelled every other word and this makes little to no sense because sleep deprivation but I had to blare the e-trumpets to my favorite internet kin real quick. Prepare yourselves for a fat glut of photos upon photos upon photos. I insincerely apologize in advance.

lots of love from my very happy perch in my crazy quiet postpartum room.

hospital bag picks

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14 June 2015

Yes, yes, yes. I wrote one of these shortly before Phoebe was born so why, Grace, WHY must you assert your almost identical and profound thoughts about hospital baggery ALL over again? I don't know. Why do a mediocre job at something once when you can do it twice?! That's my mantra these days.

No, I'll admit I'm feeling a little bit something {anxious? manic? crazier than usual?} not being able to properly nest in a furnished apartment {ah!! fine! For the first time in my domestic life I've stayed weirdly on top of the laundry for all of the ex-utero Pattons and that has to count for something, I hope} and so I'm pouring all of my insomnia and energy into packing the perfect hospital bag because ... that's like SO important. The truth is, the hospital is quite a bit further from our apartment than our house and I really don't want to have to ask Simon to come grab such-and-such {something essential like lip balm, of course} with all the kids in tow and I don't know ... we'll just go with crazier than usual.

Skim/skip as you must. I don't blame you. It's mostly repeat with warmer weather versions of my favorites and I did steal and share a lot of your insightful and helpful comments and suggestions from the last post because your wealth of knowledge will forever and ever trump mine.

buckle up for the inevitably wild ride.

1. bag - duh. Petunia Pickle Bottom generously sent this bad boy several months ago and we took it down to Florida in February and I love it. It's big but not TOO big and the perfect size for a few days away at the spaspital. When deciding what would go into storage for the month and what would come on the flight with me, Julia, and the baby down to Tampa - this was the first thing I set aside. But! do not be afraid to bring your rolly suitcase. Simon says people do it all the time - especially if you're staying post c-section and need the extra room. You do what you want.

2. going home outfit for the baby - forgot this once! Felt reallllly dumb. I like long sleeve footiesbut I tucked a couple of my favorite onesies in my bag (and ordered these too because our apartment has no a/c and I'm sure he/she will be SO appreciative of the missing two inches of sleeve)

3. Boppy - I'm a longtime Boppy devotee (and a huge fan of these non-cutesy covers) but some of you mentioned My Brest Friend has being a better alternative? I'm verrrrrrry curious. Once we move I might have to give it a spin.

4. nursing tanks - I prefer them to nursing bras and live in them for several weeks post-delivery ... but I'm thinking I just haven't found the right bra? but I did see these at Target and they look perfect {but am so very open to suggestions as this is very much outside of my realm of expertise}

5. sweater/robe - Couldn't live without it. Well, I could but I wouldn't like it. People are coming in and out of your room as they (sort of) please and it makes for a quick nursing cover (not! that you need to cover up, of course but ... I like to) and helps me feel somewhat pulled together. SOMEwhat. I like the ones that tie but ... personal preference, of course! And now that I'm thinking about ... maybe a kimono might be better suited for the summer months? The possibilities are endless.

6. super comfortable pants - for a long, long time I was all about these yogas (and I still love them, in addition to these leggings if tapered leg is more your speed - I go back and forth) but I've grown to love these Palazzo pants that would probably be a lot softer on a c-section incision and more comfortable without looking 100% pajama-y (although - nothing wrong with pajama wear! nuh-thing) these sleep jogger pants (technical name) look real nice and oh! best of both worlds! yoga sleep pants (again, technical name, bb). I really should just punish you with a whole post about hospital friendly pants, that would be a blast. I won't. I don't think.

7. slip-on footwear - I sang the praises of these slippers last year and I still love them but I'm sweating just sitting and typing at the moment so I'm wondering if I should just bring my VERY favorite flip flops? Maybe that's gross. I don't know. Game time decision ... bait that breath for the final pick.

8. toiletries - {super bummed that bag is sold out - the price was right and my current bag is double digits old - and it shows} you do what you want but I like having everything (within reason) with me. Makeup, hair stuffs, shampoo + conditioner (unless your hospital is extra ritzy and provides this?) and lotion. That first shower is the very best and it's nice to have all your beauty bff+e's. Or at least it's nice for this high maintenance princess. Probably the most important one for me to remember is some sort of lip moisturizer because my lips always get really dry during labor ... not sure why. I love this stuff especially.

9. camera - of course! We have a Canon Rebel T1i that we bought used a few years ago but I'm not a photographer at all and I know there are MUCH nicer cameras out there. After reading and reading and saving and saving I bought this lens but this is a great beginner lens. We've been super lucky to have nurses that are happy to manhandle our camera and snap photos but I wouldn't be terribly disappointed with "just" cell phone snaps for immediately post-delivery. There's plenty of time later in postpartum to take the fancies.

10. Going home outfit for YOU - {not pictured} I've always just worn sweats but I've never had a baby in the super warm weather so I thought it might be fun to have a lightweight flowy shirt to wear over my tank and comfy pants? Or not. I don't know. Maybe I'm overthinking it and should just go do some more laundry but I bought this shirt one size up and it's perfect and looks pretty uterine swell friendly.

absolutely don't forget:
chargers (if you're responsible and HAVE one like I don't -- an extra camera battery?)
insurance info

your own pillowcase (not my style BUT ... gotta save room for my unnecessary going home shirt!)
New Mama Bottom Spray (have it, heart it)
Earth Mama Angel Nipple Butter (have it too, heart it too)
extra bag for freebies (welllll not sure how "free" all the diapers and wipes are BUT, you should still take them)
socks (if you want, I don't but! some people feel strongly about this)
playlist (never have I ever but ... 5th time might be a charm?)
laptop - we always have plenty of time to enjoy a little Hulu ... no lightning fast labors for Grace
snacks for baby daddy
these blankets because they are the (I'm going to say it) bomb dot com

more! there has to be more! But I really do want to know about nursing bras .... many thanks in advance.

and ...

... happy birthing!!

(this is Phoebe!)

if you're happy and you know it ...

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12 June 2015

Not that I'm ever not around here but I'm going to be honest and admit that I'm a terrible (terrible!!) last minuter when it comes to birthdays and holidays - including Father's Day. Terrible. I can hide behind the, "oh, the kids!"

excuse but pre-kids I was only slightly better and came across a myriad of tangible proof while we were packing up: an album to celebrate our engagement anniversary! another album for Valentine's Day! And yet another to mark our time together in Kansas City before we got married. You'd think photo albums were my sole love language but I can count on one finger the number of photo albums I've made since we've been married on one finger: our honeymoon.

{not our honeymoon but ... I did wear my hair similar to Phoebe's on the daily back then ;)}

SO when Walgreens {post sponsor!} asked if I'd like to make a little something something {spoiler alert: photo album!} for Simon for Father's Day I freaked a bit and checked to make sure I wasn't cutting it crazy close yet again (nope! June 21st! you're good!) and then saw all the fun gift options the Walgreens Photo Center offers since I've last printed photos (yearS ago) and was in.

Phoebe was thrilled, like usual.

I rarely take the time to print out our nicer digital photos so it was fun to sit down with Julia to sift through the thousands (!!!) of photos on the computer from the past 4 1/2 years of parenthoood and pick out some our favorites of Simon and the kids for a nicely bound 8 in. x 8 in. {think book!} album.

I think throughout residency it's been easy (especially for me) to dwell on the interminable call weekends and rougher rotations but we've had a lot of really great times and made some great memories that may have slipped through the old aging memory banks had I not been such a snap happy fiend which only fuels my near and distant future photography fire in an effort to preserve and share life's happy ...

We are in such a state of flux at the current moment being in between houses, Simon finishing up his last rotation of residency, and on the (semi!) brink of meeting baby #5 so it was fun to sit down and go through all the happy times of the past few years. I get a little too wrapped up in the omnipresent mindset that we should always be on some frantic pursuit of happiness but the album illustrated that we've had some pretty happy times in our marriage and throughout our brief tenure as parents and maybe the pursuit hasn't been in vain at all ...

Happy Father's Day Simon! And to all the amazing fathers out there ... I hope your day is enjoyable and that your family got their act together in the tangible (and more importantly!) intangible gift department.

And as a fun way to celebrate Walgreens' Pursuit of Happiness campaign and a fraction of the incredible fathers out there (I'm sure the blog has a high volume of dad readers - ahem) Walgreens is giving away a $25 promo code (perfect for ordering the exact album I did! hint, hint!) to FIVE separate readers today.

All you have to do is share a happy life moment in a comment below or share something on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) with the hashtag: #sharelifeshappy and leave a link to your post in a comment below. Winners will be announced 6/19/15. 


37 weeks

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11 June 2015

pants - c/o émoi émoi
blazer - c/o Isabella Oliver
watch - Amazon
shades - ASOS
shoes - Amazon
bag - c/o Lily Jade

37 weeks + 5 days. Because those 5 days ... they count right now. Call me Baby, I care not. 

Term, baby, term. Not to be confused with full term (39 weeks) just like I'm not 9 months pregnant quite yet. Vices - we've all got them. And apparently term is when I start thinking certain outfits look presentable enough to wear out in public, photograph, and post when in reality said outfit might be suitable for a business casual board meeting with a bizarre shoe choice requirement. Those aren't platform Birkenstocks and I promise they look better with a dress. C'est la craziest life.  Or something.

I feathered my nest to perfection the other day by 1. washing a few newborn onesies and 2. ordering some diapers and after seeing both up close and personal I firmly believe the baby will be too big to wear them once he or she arrives. I just feel it in my ribs. And everywhere else. We'll see! One of these days.

Theo was born at 37 weeks exactly, Sebastian at 39 weeks + 5 days, Julia at 38 weeks + 2 days, and Phoebe at 38 weeks + 3 days ... and aren't you glad your brain is now littered with that pertinent Patton information? I thought you might. But I always swear I won't go into miserable/antsy/end of pregnancy mode and then, hello. Here I am, checking in once again. Predictable as ever. Okay, not miserable ... just mildly irritable. There's a difference, I'm sure. 

A group of the nicest girls ever (ever!) got together and got me a pedicure AND prenatal massage AND a sitter. Truly, nicest ever. I went for the pedicure yesterday and it was one of the more memorable hours of my life ... so unbelievably good. And the massage is this weekend ... and it feels a little bit like Christmas Eve as I wait in overly eager beaver mode for my appointment.

Okay, I'll go before I start giving you the rundown of my grocery list, the number of shifts Simon has left as a resident, and my plans to give the boys haircuts tomorrow. You can only handle so much chronicles-o-Grace and I imagine you hit that limit three paragraphs ago.

Off we both trot. 

capital X and O for the road. 

now when I say freeze you just blog one time

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10 June 2015


In the vast majority of life situations I'm a big fat skeptic. A realist! Or maybe, admittedly - a bit of a pessimist. Simon is pretty much the exact opposite which might seem like it would cause some friction but we balance each other out well. Or I think we do ... he might totally disagree. But when we started getting into the nit and grit of selling the house while Simon was on night float and then realizing we'd have a little apartment layover all while he needed to be studying for his (very important) boards along with a dash of new baby! I was uncharacteristically positive about everything and Simon assumed my usual pessimistic role about how everything might go down. Maybe because he's the one studying and was the one working nights during a somewhat chaotic month or maybe after almost 6 years of marriage my negativity has finally rubbed off on him.

Who knows.

But! I have to admit that after he had to pull an all-nighter loading the moving truck by the lone light of his cell phone only to have lots and lots of things - including two drawers full of screws {Julia might come by her hoarding honestly} Simon keeps around, "just in case" ... fall OUT of said truck {the St. Louis Craigslist free listings got a LOT of Patton goodies around 1am two weeks ago .... } .... yes, I had to admit that my optimism may have been a little too um, optimistic? And the apartment is totally fine but dah-ham will it feel good to spread out in our house in a couple of weeks.

I have a point. I think.

Oh, I think being in a somewhat confined space with the kids for long periods of time along with knowing that the baby will be here soonish has magnified their blossoming little personalities quite a bit in my mind. It's been a bit like observing my own little beloved lab rats in a cage, if you will. I know the blog is already a running narrative of our mundane little life but I wanted to dedicate a (not so) quick post to this sliver of a snapshot of the here and now as far as the kids go. Or! Pen thee post that made you yawn the most. Maybe like a less exotic quirks post.

Julia (4) - She's growing up and says things like, "now, don't get carried away!" to Theo when he starts splashing like a lunatic in the bath.

She also tucks yellow mustard packets from the hospital cafeteria into my purse because she likes yellow mustard on everything and heaven forbid we are ever out and about and she doesn't have her condiment of choice at the ready. She can't live with our without Sebastian as evidenced by their hourly fights and eventual but inevitable makeups. Whenever Simon or I leave the house or drop her off at school we have to give her two kisses, two hugs, and say, "goodbye Julia" (not just "goodbye" and do not lump her in with the other kids) two times while looking her in the eye. It'll pass .... I reckon.

She declares most fun situations (like swimming in the apartment pool) to be, "the best day of my LIFE!!!" and is a total night owl and would happily sleep in till noon on the daily if I let her.

Sebastian (3) - after witnessing the baby visibly kick my stomach really, really hard I think he realized that the baby is real and might pose a threat to his worldly goods and has suddenly developed a fear that he/she is going come out and steal all of his belongings (namely this beloved truck that we recently replaced) and has taken to hiding it in various spots around the apartment when he sleeps.

Whenever he doesn't like the itinerary for the day says, "okay, no - how about this is the plan ... ???!!!" and it usually involves lots of popsicles and playground/pool going. He measures time by, "after how many naps?" (naps = nap or night of sleep) and loves being outside which makes apartment life probably the toughest on him. Call me crazy but hanging out on the balcony 20 floors up or even so much as thinking about opening the low-to-the-ground screenless windows ... is not an option - ever and I know it's killing him softly.

He's been so insistent about wanting to go to some elusive, "castle" lately. Asking me and Simon if he can PLEASE just go to the castle which totally confused us because what?! castle?! And then we realized he was talking about the fine dining establishment ... White Castle ... here in downtown St. Louis. We'll see.

Theo (2) - lives and breathes by the, "early bird gets the worm and ALL the attention" mantra because if he's not up by 6am ... I'm tempted to go check his pulse.

He's weaseled his way into a nice little morning routine involving climbing in bed in between me and Simon, making himself a throne of pillows and settling in to hold my hand and begin the inevitable ask-demand for gallon after gallon of water as if he's just returned from a seven year Saharan sojourn. If he deigns to pop off his pillow throne to peruse the fridge for his first breakfast - he makes sure I'm holding Woody's hand in his absence. It's all very endearing for about the first three minutes of the routine.

Phoebe (1) - apartment bully.

She is. She makes all three older kids cry on a daily basis as she's perfected the art of, "grab the hair right at the scalp and PULL!!!!" and does it quite often. She knows exactly what all of their specific and treasured favorite trinkets are and is quite skilled at swiftly swiping them from the hands of her elders, waving her kill around dramatically and speed-walking away with a cackle while the owner has a total cow. She does this all of her waking hours. I suspect it gives her quite the high.

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, and I don't give a diaper bomb.

No, despite that - everyone is always weirdly happy to see her in the morning when she wakes up and greets them with an enthusiastic wave and a, "hi! hi! hi! hi!". She loves to climb and if left alone for 53 seconds at the playground ... she can be found at the highest point of the play structure and has almost succeeded in giving me many a coronary.

Next week - they'll all be a little bit different than they were before and that one kid's crazy habit that drove the parental units insane will probably fade out of our memory banks forever just as another happy habit surfaces. It's hard but fun to imagine what baby #5 will bring to the Camp table but like Simon always says, "as soon as they're here .... we won't be able to imagine life without them."

Amen and amen.

just for clicks and giggles

08 June 2015

minus the giggles.

Oh come on, Julia. Don't be a quitter.

Would you believe I made those dresses? Good, You shouldn't. Cordelia clothing surprised us and sent them (and others!) and now I hope the girls stop growing for a few years so that they can wear them and wear them and wear them almost forever.

Well, after two weeks of a napless existence for Sebastian I waved my white flag and finally laid the law down and bit the bullet and took the bull by the horns and many other metaphors and had the boys nap in the same room after many threats and ultimatums and ... sweet success. Complete with dancing flamenco emoji. SO! I'm going to celebrate with a nap of my own because my pesky bestie Insomnia actually just had an est end (she wears be fri) 1/2 of a heart necklace made for me because we are tight these nights.

Here's what I found in the middle of the night for you and you and you ... and maybe mostly me, I guess.

We all know I'm a birth story junkie and I'd be mortified to know the exact number I've read in my lifetime but this one!! ... this one is still the craziest.

I've been dreaming of a realistic postpartum wardrobe since I've outgrown pretty much all of my maternity garb and wore the yogurt splattered (thanks Phoebe!) pants to the OB this morning to prove it and this post was total gold. (And this shirt ... it's been open on my computer for days upon days)

Sweet Hallie told me about this author and now I can't put this book down and I can't wait to devour more of her work. It's been a long time since I've been totally lost in a book and I'm grateful for the distraction at this point of my gestation because SEPTEMBER IS TOO FAR AWAY, Mindy.

I can't tell you how happy I am that Blythe is blogging again. Or she better not be teasing us and leave us hanging again ....  impending birth or not.

It's taking all of my will power not to stock up on little gifts (one or some for myself? potentially!) from here because I'm a predictable sucker when it comes to pretty packaging and something tells me the products aren't too shabby either. I'll wait until we aren't all sharing a closet though. I guess.
Okay, that's it.
For today.
Hope your Monday hasn't been terrible.

Crafternoons at the Camp

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05 June 2015

While the kids have been total troopers throughout our little apartment detour {although I'm not entirely sure Sebastian doesn't think our glorified hotel room isn't all of "Florida" but ... we're working on it} there just aren't enough rooms to accommodate naps for all four kids and so the afternoons with Julia and Sebastian can get a bit .... long? We can only rely on screens {a big flat one in the living room with LOADS of channels .... so dangerous} for so long because we all start to feel like drugged zombies with nothing to show for the last ?? of hours. No good.

All he needs is love and something to DO.

In our packing haste, we kept out a big box of books and absolutely zero toys like the novice parents that we are so when Kiwi Crate {post sponsor!} offered to send the kids both a Kiwi Crate {geared towards ages 4-8} and a Koala Crate {geared towards ages 2-4} again I had to be careful not to seem scarily enthusiastic with my super duper duper fast reply because the crates sounded precisely like manna from above in our time of relative need.

Julia's got the "Let's Bake" crate and like all crates included several age appropriate activities to keep her occupied for several afternoons. Her first activity of choice ....

... "dickering" her chef apron and hat. Drawing a bird fireman ... as you do.

And Sebastian's Koala Crate was a safari theme with lots of animal activities to keep him happy for his new and exciting napless afternoons ...

Sebastian warming up with a little matching game that was absolutely perfect for his skill level {which somehow found it's way under Theo's pillow shortly after Theo's nap ... third born's gotta survive somehow} ...

a fraction of the animal puppets (that he "made" with zero assistance from me) were a huge hit. He kept calling them oven mitts which ... can't argue with logic.

I also forgot to pack any sort of writing utensil so after Julia {and Sebastian, admittedly took some creative liberty with his oven mitts} was finished with these I stole them for my very own and hope people don't mind rainbow metallic written checks until July 1st.

and more "dickering" her literal sponge cake which she took very seriously. Not pictured: Sebastian ready to pounce with his oven mitts.

finished product!

and she said she was, "all out of Julia smiles" but that she had a "giraffe smile" to share.

Lucky us.

Let me give you the quick rundown on Kiwi Crate ...
+ Kiwi Crate is an award winning monthly subscription service {they sell single crates too!} created to inspire educational creativity with 2-3 hands on projects in each crate
+ all subscriptions come with free shipping
+ there are several options to choose from: the Koala Crate (ages 3-4) , Kiwi Crate (ages 4-8), Thinker Crate (ages 9-14), and the Doodle Crate (ages 9-16)
+ each month features a new and enriching theme such as space, dinosaurs, gardening, etc
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+ see past popular crates here to get a better idea of their brilliant service
+ and get an exclusive sneak peek of upcoming crates right here!

But that's not all! You can use the discount code CP30 to get 30% off your first month's subscription of any crate! Just click here! It's summer ... you know you want to.

Happy crafting to my fellow craft-impaired parents!!


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