three quick and easy snacks I'm loving

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29 February 2016

 ... and she just toler(h)ates.

I don't know about you but after I've gotten the kids down for naps ... I sort of feel like I've made it 3/4 of the way through the game and breathe a litttle sigh of relief and feel like I should reward myself accordingly.

And so ... naturally I reach for a handful of chocolate chips. And generally the handful turns into another handful which turns into five more handfuls and then 43 minutes later I feel the beginnings of a crash and burn just in time to get dinner started. So smart, that Grace.

So, I'm not saying I don't still indulge (I went all in on Saturday and made wacky cake with the non-nappers) but it helps to have some solid back-ups for when I'm feeling grabby with the semi-sweets.

option #1: plain Greek yogurt + almond butter + chia seeds ... as simple as it sounds. I've talked about chia seeds before (many, many times) and they have yet to go out of style here in the Patton household. I really am not the biggest fan of plain Greek yogurt but with the help of a tablespoon of almond butter ... I'm coming around. And one of my friends recently told me she can't stand almond butter but I wonder if she might like cashew butter? It's on my list to try after my vat of almond butter runs out. The kids love this concoction too despite hating plain Greek yogurt like their maternal guardian.

option #2: La Croix + frozen berries ... no, no, no, NO please don't be one of those people that tries to pass off calorie-less/tasteless liquid as a "snack", Grace. I know, I was in your boat too. I've tried La Croix and didn't understand what all the fuss was about but then it was on crazy clearance (wonder WHY) at the store so I picked up a couple cases and threw in some lemon juice and frozen berries and ... game changer? no. But, now I've come to crave it like Pavlov's dog as soon as the three little kids are safely down for the naptime count and it's a nice alternative to my creeeeeeeeamer and a spoonful of iced coffee that I really love.

I made the mistake of making a glass to photograph one morning while Phoebe was awake ...

And now she's hooked like me.

On a similar note ... I recently found this water bottle on Amazon and it's helping my (formerly VERY sad) water intake quite a bit. It's also helping the boys spill water all over the house but ... worth it. 

option #3: softish boiled egg + fancy salt - I was turned onto the concept of fancy salt by Bliggety Blythe and her post on good food and now I can't stop seeing that salt everywhere I look. I haven't bitten the bullet because we're working our way through a container of Pink Himalayan salt (only the fanciest for the Pattons) from Trader Joes but when it's out ... capital F Fancy Salt Game on like capital D Donkey Kong. The kids LOVE these eggs so I always make a few more than I plan on eating. I just follow these steps but boil the eggs about one minute longer so the yolk isn't totally runny but NO MORE because then you'd just have ye old hard boiled egg. Boring.

Not boring.

Always groundbreaking concepts ... culinary and not around here. If you've got some other (quick! and easy!) options that won't send any blood sugars soaring .... I'd be much obliged.

I feel like I need to extend a hearty congratulations to Leo for last night's win. I still remember feeling like he was cheated way, way back in the day for not getting a nod for his Titanic performance (I was in high school and my opinion mattered, thankyouverymuch).

And try as I might I can't not type a little line about our brand new niece that was born last night! First time aunt and I'm feeling p-r-e-t-t-y proud. You should hear the show-and-tell-with-photo monologue that Julia has lined up to talk about her very first cousin later this week at school. I feel like her fellow classmates should be warned and offered an out in advance.

Happy, happy Monday.
And Happy Leap Year 2K16 too.  

the {really} great screen time compromise

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25 February 2016

Like lots of couples (I would imagine!), before Simon and I were even engaged we had lots of things planned out and set in laughable stone regarding how we would raise our children. Many of them we've stuck to but two of the most specific rules we had laid out we have failed our former idyllic selves.

One: the kids wouldn't lay eyes on any screens (ever lol)

and Two: that we would never buy them fun and junky treats (we always used fruit snacks as the example/culprit).

I can assure you that not only have we purchased fruit snacks but there was a time where I kept several packs stashed in my purse for emergency situations. The horror.

I can also assure you that we are not the screen time police that we set out to be all those years ago.

... if we could turn back time and see the ghosts of Simace past take a gander at this snap.

I have dear friends that adhere to the no-screen rule and I respect and admire their dedication to their decision very much. And, I'm okay with us not sticking to our original plan because there's a time and place for a little appropriate screen time here and there under our roof. We've always streamed the typical favorite kids' shows on our laptop and on our Nook so you can imagine our excitement when we found out about CuriosityStream. CuriosityStream IS sponsoring this post but I told Simon all about it before he knew they were a potential sponsor and he said, "let's get it!" with a little kitchen tap dance for added enthusiasm and flare. 

CuriosityStream is truly awesome and is the world's first non-fiction, family-friendly and ad-free concept that streams loads of educational and engaging shows involving science, technology, civilization, and the human spirit.

The kids (obvious) favorite is the 26 episode animated series, Mind-Blowing Breakthroughs that explores famous inventors ranging from Einstein to Marie Curie.

It's understandable considering her age but Phoebe is usually extremely averse to joining the kids for a little show time but she's stays oddly calm and engaged when I put an episode on for the boys during the day while I get their lunch ready (or um ... eat my own in relative peace).

When Julia gets home from school and the other kids go down for their naps, she's always quick to want to grab the Nook and watch a little something while I start getting dinner ready or tackle our current Vesuvius laundry situation.

Some days I let her but I feel quite a bit better about letting her go to town with the LumiƩre Brothers (first filmmakers in history - but you know that, I'm sure!) instead of something with absolutely no educational spin.

There's also a series geared toward kids that are slightly older called Quarx that features three kids testing the boundaries of Physics with wacky adventures. There is a 100% chance that I would learn so much watching Quarx because Physics and I did not get along back in the school day. 

The kids series are just the tip of the CuriosityStream iceberg, though. There are over 1300 different programs to watch and learn from and new titles are being added every week.

At night, after getting the kids down and the house to a relatively good place in the "mostly clean" department we often like to veg out and watch something together but it can be hard to find something that we both like. I love watching documentaries (and my favorite franchise, obviously) but not necessarily any that Simon is thrilled about watching so finding a special on Frank Sinatra Or America's Golden Age was nice because it was something we could both appreciate and enjoy.

just super excited not to be watching The Bachelor.

CuriosityStream generously gave us a free trial to try but Simon said he's worried he won't get to everything he wants to watch so you can count us in the paying customer club before too long.

If you'd like to join us in the club the first 100 sign-ups will get to try a 30 day free trial and 15% off your first three months by using coupon code: patton and clicking here! Go, go, go!

CuriosityStream can be watched on a variety of devices including: Roku, Android, iOS, Chromecast, Amazon Fire, Amazon Kindle, Apple TV and of course web app. 

Happy Watching! And many thanks to CuriosityStream!

February in Florida

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23 February 2016

Praise the sun gods. I'm well aware that Florida weather isn't necessarily super special this year but it SO starkly contrasts our last few winters in the weather + cabin cancer departments that I couldn't help but quickly document. You know me.

This isn't a post to gloat (if I wanted to do that I would post a series of framers from our Christmas day starting with this one ...



because I know it's been a mild winter for many which makes my cold-weather-fear-and-loathing heart so happy for everyone involved.

It almost makes me feel like I should really up my (always pathetic! sometimes successful!) lenten sacrifice ante because I'm not battling the shock of SAD and there's always some generous rays of vitamin D to cure what may be ailing us right outside our door.

Most days I load the three little kids in the jogger while Sebastian rides in front of/alongside us and we take a little walk around the neighborhood. We've gotten to the glorious point where he doesn't need to be pushed up "mountains" (his words, see above) and only have to beg him to stay on the right side of the walking path lest he take an innocent dog and his guardian down.

Where's Waldo?


But can you spot Sebastian?


I think I expected Florida to be hot and humid all year round and I know some parts most definitely are but we've had our fair share of chilly mornings that led me to semi-frantically rifle through yet-to-be unpacked moving boxes looking for jackets (or 'wraps' as Simon calls them ... still a head scratcher to this jacket wearer) and even winter hats for the especially melodramatic Pattons.

78 degrees but Phoebe badger wears what she wants.

Sometimes one of thee only things that got me through the interminable winter days and call weekends last year was the thoughts of this winter that held so much promise for our family. These days, it's (really! really!) rare that Simon works a weekend, I've yet to be home bound with kids scaling the proverbial prison walls due to a snow storm, and I haven't broken a tooth while Simon was out of town. YET.

I know the hot and humid summer is coming full steam (I went there) ahead but for now? We're just basking in the winter weather that all my hopes and dreams are made of.

Sunday Bulletin

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21 February 2016

... because there's a whole lotta nada going on around here so I thought you might like to be enlightened. Like always, like ALWAYS.

I'm tempted to tell you all about:

+ the multiple (semi-embarrassed but only semi) Bachelor podcasts I listened to this week (fine! this one and a couple episodes of this one!)
+ wax wordy about my (not dramatic/different at all) haircut that I got and for once: don't hate
+ and give you a step-by-step of my new favorite twice baked sweet potato recipe

but ... I'll save those for another day. I think.

Some super fast photos and fragments and then you can be on your merry little way ...

My assistant helping make pancakes this morning (using this mix ... so good) with his super useful apron.

And the super sweet assistant to the assistant that not only wanted to be in the picture but wanted to be the sole subject of said picture ...

story of his life.

I would've bet a whole lot of lettuce that Simon was going to hate these shoes I bought with a Christmas gift card burning a hole in my diaper bag but, he claims to really like them and my friend super stylish friend Kelsey likes them too SO ... I was wrong. And out a head of lettuce, I guess.

Sometimes I fall for some p-r-e-t-t-y dumb links I see on Facebook but this basketball clip was actually pretty impressive. 

A much less expensive and super similar version of the Jeffrey Campbell mules. Heart eyes abound.

Julie! She gets it right every single time! And! Her new Instagram account to love.

I know I've seen this blog before but Rachael reminded me and now it's in my blogroll for good. And for good reason. 

And now I'm going to read my book that FINALLY came off the hold list and into my forever cold and actually quite large hands.

Party on, sole subject, party on.

Happy Sunday

kid-friendly and affordable things to do in St. Louis

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17 February 2016

I don't even think I need to start by saying: I am NOT an authority on all things St. Louis. At all! I did a terrible job of getting out and about during our four year tenure but there's so much to do in St. Louis that it can be overwhelming if you're there for a short stay. I'll narrow down some of our favorites that were stroller-friendly and totally doable with little kids in tow. Plus, my sweet friend Heidi asked me for some tips and I can never resist turning a seemingly simple response into a full blown blog post.

These are in a particular order: favorite to least favorite, just so we're clear.

1. Grant's Farm

I'm not going to say this is a MUST-SEE but it's a lot of fun and FREE (aside from parking but you can just park down the road and walk a little ways) and they give out free beer. To parents. Grant's Farm is the 281 acre ancestral home of the Busch family (hence the beer) and is named for Ulyssis S. Grant who worked a portion of the land back in the day. When you get there, you hop aboard a train (of sorts) and get a little tour of the property, wild life and all. And then are dropped at the farm portion where there are goats a plenty. You can pay to feed them but do so at your own risk because they are aggressive. Think pigs in the Bahamas. There's also elephants, a merry-go-round, and other animals (you like that air of mystery/vagueness? I thought so).

And if that hasn't sold you ... the Budweiser Clydesdales are kept on the property as well and it's fun to get up close and personal (from a safe distance) and see them in their fancy quarters. It would be worth it just to stop and see those bad boys. Really.

So, that's that. Highly recommend. They are really accommodating about folding up strollers to put on the train and the paths are nice and wide and even though we've gone during popular times (Saturday morning) we've never felt like it was overcrowded at all.

2. Zoo

Here me out! It's a really great zoo and you guessed it! It's FREE. Which is awesome. They do charge for parking ($12.50, I believe?) but we always found parking along the side of the road OR we went in the evening for the last hour that it was open when parking was abundant and free and just hit up our favorite exhibit instead of tackling the whole thing.

Sebastian always begged and BEGGED to do the train but we were mean parents and never did but when I was in the hospital with Bosco ... Simon put on his nice parent hat and took them not only to the zoo but let them ride the train too. 

Theo hated it. Oops.

It can get pretty crowded and obviously really hot in the summer so I (in my infinite wisdom!) would recommend going in the evening and scout out your favorite couple of animals to see.

3. Turtle Park - Maybe you won't think this is as fun and cool as we did but directly across I-64 from the zoo is this really fun park full of massive turtle sculptures for the kids to climb on.

We lived a few minutes from the turtle park and loved going in the evening to let the kids burn off some energy before bed. There's a fun little park with swings too if your kids are little swing addicts like ours are.

4. Eckert's Farm (no picture, I'm sorry!)

Your classic apple orchard/corn maze/pig race/delicious carnival-esque food good time. I believe Groupon runs a promo most years to get buy one get one free tickets and we've only ever gone in the fall but the kids always love it.

5. Parks!

There are SO many great parks in St. Louis. It's like they compete with each other for the prize of BEST PLAYGROUND. There are too many to list but a few of our favorites were: Des Peres park (and there is a Chick-Fil-A dangerously close that lent itself to many a picnics on evenings that Simon worked later than expected) ...

... Theo was always thrilled.

Conway Park is kind of a hidden gem and there were rarely other people there AND there's a nice little walk around a pretty little pond if you're feeling adventurous. Tilles Park has a splash pad and can get kind of crowded but it's very little kid friendly. There are two playgrounds so if the big one is too crowded you can drive around the park and you'll find the smaller one. And there are lots more over on this site

6. City Museum - I actually blogged all about this here AND specified just exactly how kid-friendly it isn't. But, if you have older kids or maybe just a baby in a carrier - it's definitely worth checking out. It's not free but it's so fun and unlike anything you've ever seen. I would imagine ....

7. The Arch -

How have you yet to mention the arch, Crazy? Well, I didn't find it to be terribly kid friendly. If you just want to go hang out underneath it and take it in in all it's massive glory (it is crazy!) then ... go. But if you're wanting to go inside and up to the top ... maybe split up and leave the little kids at the bottom if you brought another adult along. But, I'm not fun. It might be a total breeze for you!

I'm missing a whole lot of things and I'm scared I've forgotten some big ones but if we were to go back to visit these are some areas we would definitely go back and stalk. If you have better recommendations .... I'm ALL eyes, and Heidi is too.

recently read

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11 February 2016

I was recently offered a part time gig helping bloggers come up with catchy blog post titles ... as evidenced by today's unique post title. But, the post speaks the truth. I did (sort of) recently read these books and if I've already recommended them ... oops. I'm sorry. These five star ratings aren't official ... just Grace official which should probably be taken with a grain of salt but I love reading what other people read and loved so I'm just paying it forward, I guess. I love reading Meredith's ratings and recommendations, Fran has yet to steer me in a bad literary direction, Janssen is the book review queen, and Anne has thee best summer reading guides around.

1. Dumplin' -  A Fran recommendation. It was one of the only books that wasn't on a million year hold list at our library so my hopes weren't super high but I was pleasantly surprised. I'm guilty of diving into easy to digest and predictable chick lit and not that this isn't easy to digest but it's unpredictable and made me appreciate that I'll never have to go back to high skool. I hope.

2. Three Wishes - I don't use the word, "adore" often/ever but I truly adore everything Liane Moriarty writes. This was her first novel and is just has quick and captivating as all of her others. (Rumor has it that Jennifer Anison has agreed to star in What Alice Forgot and that Reese Witherspoon is currently filming Big Little Lies for an HBO show adaptation. Yee Haw)

3. Attachments - I've tried reading other Rainbow Rowell books but none have hit me quite like this one. Maybe because I communicate with so many of my friends via email? I don't know but when I read the premise I was a little skeptical but it was really hard to put down and I went through a little period of mourning (head-to-toe black and all) when it was over.

4. The Royal We - When I saw that Christy wrote about this on her blog (one of my favourites - that's how she spells it, copycat forever) I followed suit and started reading it almost immediately. It exceeded all of my expectations and now I might just turn my library card over to Christy and tell her to go wild. Lucky her.

5. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - a throwback and I'm not sure what I was doing when everyone else was reading this but I'm glad I got with the program over a decade later. Like most of the books listed here it was really hard to tear myself away from even when 5/5 kids were crying. Hard. And then the cream cheese frosting on the cake was that I could watch the movie right away when I was finished reading. (Same for the second book AND the second movie ... the series that keeps on giving)

6. Why Not Me - how do I say this without sounding like every other obsessive Mindy fangirl out there? I can't. Although our day-to-day lives are almost polar opposite I find her so relatable and really think we would hit it off in the friendship department - once she sorts through her million other bff applications. Her second book was as hilarious as her first but gave me a greater appreciation for how hard she works on top of how talented and brilliant she is. I told you! Obsessive.

Currently Reading: last person on earth to read Big Magic ... it's slow going but everyone raves about it so I'm sticking with it! And I'm loving Shay's brand new cookbooks. We all know I need all the help I can get in the meal planning department and Julia plans on making a cake for every single one of her classmates for her Valentine's party tomorrow. Hopefully she's rocking her ambitious apron this afternoon.

Next up: Kate Morton's The Lake House

What are you reading? What should I read? Tell me! Please!!!

Thanks. And now I'm going to make a lot of cakes.

things remembered

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09 February 2016

In the highly unlikely event that one of the kids ever accuses me of not doing a stellar (or any) job of recording their interesting little lives and milestones via baby books or photos taken with anything other than a cellular device ... I'll always have painfully detailed posts like these to toss back in my defense. I'm still a novice but I know that as far as parenthood goes ... today's annoyances are tomorrow's funny and eventually forgotten memories. Wait! I'm not saying that the kids are annoying but maybe that quirky and consistent little 4:30 am wake up might not be met with the same starry-eyed laughter that the memory might evoke down the line. Way down, Theodore Rooster Patton.

Not that he really has much of a choice but our resident butter ball is the most laid back Patton baby ... ever. He puts up with Phoebe's loooong strangle-hugs, people often thinking his name is Buster (or recently, "Gospel"), and is happy to eat virtually anything (although his petite figure might have you guessing; sarcasm -- small joke).

Sometimes he gets so overcome with happiness that he throws his head back and then flings it forward full force to hit usually nothing but air but the other day it happened to be my lip -- that is now extra fat.

Forgiven this time, B.


I asked Phoebe to say, "cheese" and she responded with ... 

 ... "poop". Every time.

Last night I walked out of the room to put Julia to bed and was gone for no more than one minute and walked back in to find all three boys crying and Phoebe not crying but looking rather pleased with herself and the trucks she had won by way of obvious hair-pulling/arm-pinching/whatever-measure-was-necessary force. She can hold her own at home with the boys during the day while Julia is at school but has yet to grow out of her stranger-danger fears and is a real delight to take out in public.

Moving on to victim #1

Whenever he wants to ask for something that he knows will probably be a big fat, "um, no" such as pouring all my creamer into his sippy cup or skipping his nap he loudly whispers the request as if that will make it sound less ... crazy. He is our earliest riser and when I try to reason with him that it's, "still night time" he rushes to the window to show me that the sun is almost up. Methinks Theo might find one of these tucked in with him one of these early morning/late nights.

Victim #2

Sebastian has gone through such a wild growth spurt recently that he has exactly one pair of pants that wouldn't fit neatly under the capri category of clothing. He talks daily about going to school next year and times his elaborate train track building sessions to coincide right with bedtime. Every night. He's recently discovered the convenience that the great outdoors offers when nature calls which is fine except when we happen to be walking through a highly populated parking lot.

And Julia ...

... the queen of the rat pack recently lost two teeth and wrote a rather compelling note to the tooth fairy. It read: "Come Tooth Fairy". She gave her fifty cent winnings to the collection basket at church the next morning but we're not entirely sure she understands that she won't be getting her extensive coin collection back. She was sick last week and cried fat and ugly tears when she had to miss a day of her beloved school so explaining the concept of summer vacation should be oodles of fun when the time comes.

And lest the kids only remember Mom as groomed and dressed to the Costco-going nines ...

... she'll forever be trying to make sweats+sweaters+serious selfies happen. Even in Florida.

And that'll do until next week when the kids have ALL new quirks to report all over again. Thanks for humoring me.

Happy Fat Tuesday. I trust you're indulging appropriately.

required reading

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05 February 2016

It started to really feel like it should be Friday on Wednesday morning so ... happy fake Sunday (may the best team win!) or real Friday.

For career day at school a few weeks ago Julia was dead set on being a doctor and a mom but pulled a fast one on us when it came time for game day and decided she was better suited for the life of a ballerina (twin prop and all ) ...

... get it, twirlfriend.

And now for my next and only trick ... I'll throw a bunch of fun (that you've maybe already seen on Facebook) your way.

In a time where blogging seems to have been swallowed (not quite! but almost!) whole by social media ... it's so fun to find a new blog to devour. Julie's fit's that bill juuuuust fine.

I keep seeing this new makeup concept pop up and am super tempted to try them out. I just might. I'll let you know.

Forever knocking it out of the park, B. 

This was fun - what to give up during Lent based on your personality type (oh so shamelessly stolen from Jenna!)

Fran suggested this book to me and since she never steers me wrong I loved it and now there's a movie ... hoping they'll change the ending but I'm going to guess that's a big fat no. I'm going to have to read the sequel while twiddling my thumbs waiting for June.

Do you listen to podcasts? I generally don't BUT someone suggested this one yesterday and now .. I'm hooked. Let me know if you have a favorite. Pretty please?!

Phoebe's current staple (and sensible: leopard) shoes are on clearance right meow.
Okay, Sebastian just told me he needs a knife or "half a scissors" because he found a snake outside SO that's my cue to G-O.

Have a good one. 

bachelor, bachelor, bachelor!

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03 February 2016

If you don't watch the Bachelor, I'm really sorry. There's a long and wonderful list of better blogs down and to the right in the sidebar that you might want to dip into instead of clawing your eyes out while suffering through this post. Go! Enjoy!

Now, if you DO watch the Bachelor ... let's get down to business. If you've been a reader for more than seven minutes you'll know that I'm a terrible and pathetic Bachelor Nation Fanatic. I've watched all the seasons and read all the memoirs. Sean's was great but he kept things pretty G-rated while Courtney's was a true blue tell-all that left nothing to the imagination AND I may or may not have preordered Emily's. I should probably find a new hobby at some point in my life but now is not that time and I'm fairly to very certain my Bach watching friends are about to mute my incessant texts sending yet another link to another meme/recap/interview so ... I'm just going to let it all out right here. 

 You can't deny that Ten Ben is one of the most likeable bachelors yet, if not THEE most likeable ever. He's polished but genuine and seems truly grateful that all the ladies are there for him. I am a tiny bit worried because he keeps saying he's not going to say anything about the outcome soooo did it not work out? Did he pick no one? What's the deal, Higgins?

I've always enjoyed reading recaps but I play frequent favorites to a couple ...

Favorite Recaps:

Ashley Jones: her recaps are comedic platinum and even if you don't watch the Monday night journey to find love you'll still laugh out loud. I promise. She's also recently taken to snapping through the episodes which is equally hilarious (her snap name is: ashleyjonesy51)

I want to cut and paste her entire blog over here but then I'd wake the kids up with my cackling. So, I won't.  

Sharleen Joynt: contestant on Juan Pablo's season that writes with an insider's knowledge of what's probably going on behind the scenes. She's wise and thoughtful and I'm so happy she writes both over at Flare with her weekly favorites and over on her personal blog, All The Pretty Pandas. Read and love them both, you won't be sorry.


My favorite people to follow on Twitter for their live-tweets of the show are ... 

@nickpetersonTV (he also does post-episode Periscopes that are worth watching)

@AshleyJones (has she filed an e-restraining order yet?)

and there have to be more .. Twitter is not my strong suit.


I almost hate that I watched Unreal (a show on Lifetime that gives a behind the scenes look of the show "Everlasting" that is eerily um, identical to the Bachelor and written by a former producer) because while I knew that the producers had to get creative with editing, this show takes it to a whole new level. It made me question almost everything about the franchise (I know! I know! of course it's edited ... but I just didn't think it was edited beyond original recognition) but I read this interview over on the Possessionista (who often highlights the fashion on the show ... so good) and it made me a little less skeptical of everything. Just a little.

My picks:

1. Lauren B (he looks at her and turns into an actual heart eye emoji)
2. Jojo (they seem the most natural together)
3. Caila (she was my original favorite but I'm scared he's going to friendzone her ... maybe not)
4. Becca (love her but the chemistry just doesn't seem like it's there? right? no?)

Oh, Olivia

Before watching Unreal I would say that she's said some pretty awful things and been pretty ick in general but they can get VERY!!! clever with the editing. She's definitely getting the villain edit and  Sharleen actually had a clip of what Olivia had to say about the cankles convo and while she obviously said it ... I still think it was heavily edited and cut to look well, like it did which was real bad. Sharleen was later asked by the show's producers to take the conversation down.  Anyway, with all of that SAID ... I hope she leaves soon and very soon. 

Let's wrap this up, Crazy G .... do you watch? do you judge me for watching?

And without spoiling anything (pretty please!) let me hear your thoughts/favorite recaps/anything! I don't discriminate and will probably love it ALL. For the right reasons, of course. 

Okay, I promise not to mention it again. Maybe. 

I'll try.


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01 February 2016

I almost want to apologize for throwing a weekend recap at you right out of the gate but I could've posted about my opinions on all things Bachelor or even (shudder) a round-up of my favorite leggings. Count your blessings, tolerant reader.


Before we even moved here we heard all about Gasparilla Pirate Fest. The tradition is named after pirate Jose Gaspar who is known for terrorizing the West Florida coast way back in the 18th & 19th centuries - your fun history fact for the day and maybe ever here at the Camp. There's a real live pirate ship decked with 750+ pirates that "invades" Tampa Bay and then once ashore, there's a massive parade which is where things get crazy, from what I understand. We were warned that it is not a place to take a small children because apparently it's about as rowdy as a real live New Orleans Mardi Gras. There's an annual a kids' parade that took place the previous weekend but we were busy painting a bathroom (fun-parents-r-us) so we took part in some of the Gasparilla fun without dipping down into the actual eye of the debauchery storm.

We kicked the day off by joining friends at a local park where the pirates board the ship. The kids got an up close and personal look at the swashbucklers and oh, wait ... Julia, is that you?

Your scary stamped hands threw me.

The boys were mostly wide-eyed in amazement/wtf-is-this-ness and the only reason Theo would abandon his death grip on my hand was if he knew there was a chance he'd score some beads ...

Phoebe was her usual happy-go-lucky self ...

No surprise there.

Next year we will be bringing ear plugs because the noise (cannons? guns? the apocalypse?) was really loud and scared the kids once we got up close and personal with the ship although ... it lulled little B right to sleep thanks to my trusty kangaroo pouch.

I thought 750+ pirates sounded like a liiiiiitle bit of an exaggeration but ...

... they made use of every square inch ...

Next year, I'm totally dressing up and sneaking on.

The Party Pattons continued onward and upward over to a little island (still away from the chaos) to meet up with some other friends (we are very popular and that is very much a joke) who had a beer tent (complete with tented port-o-potty that they brought themselves - Gasparilla veterans) set up to watch the flotilla because we thought they'd love nothing more than a little buzz-kill-o-kids. No, they were great and I kept expecting the kids to get crazy and we'd have to make a beeline for the Odyssey but it turns out watching boats float by with handfuls of beads is sort of the Patton kids' jam ...

... except for Phoebe ...

"have fun, suckers. I'll just be here with the snacks and beer."

We lured her out temporarily with the promise that she'd get to don the biggest beads ...

but once she tossed ALL the beads back in the water much to the chagrin of the other bead hoarders .... back in the wagon she went.

Even our little Joey had a decent time ...

... decent at best.

I know deep down that I'm a pessimist at heart but I like to pretend I'm just a sensible realist and I had visions of the day going down a lot differently because things can take a turn for the worse when we're out and about for an extended period of time {diaper failure, fatigue induced meltdowns, bead shortages, etc ... you never KNOW) but much like our tailgating adventure, I was pleasantly surprised.

Fancy that.

*tiny housekeeping note: I'm trying to restore my bloglovin' feed and I'll put the link over on FB as soon as it's up. Here it is! Thanks so much for your patience and once again, thanks for your insanely generous welcome back! Heart emojis galore.


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