postpartum in the kitchen

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20 July 2017

I knew that title would have everyone for my blog. In droves!

No, but really. I wish I were more prepared in the meal department when babies come on the scene but I'm not and I'll never pretend to be.


Our kitchen decor speaks for itself ...


Ahem.

The truth is that we rely on quick and easy and not-so-healthy options in the first days and weeks but with Abe and Bosco we've also leaned heavily on Blue Apron to get us over that first month hump which makes for happier humans all around.

The older kids are getting old enough that their not only interested about when meals are going to be served but also how they're made so after we put the little kids down for naps after church this past Sunday we let them help like the kind parents that we are.


Julia took great care and pride in checking off the steps as we made Pork Chops and Peach Sauce with Corn and Summer Squash Succotash together. Simon said he'd never had a pork chop that tasted good so (as usual) he was skeptic but I was hopeful and optimistic as Blue Apron has yet to let us down.

I've heard of people grilling peaches but I'd never thought to sauté them but I'm going to have to add it to my teeny tiny recipe repertoire because the sauce was GOOD.


In true oldest fashion, Julia has to help Sebastian do the one task he really wanted to do.

Someone woke up from her non-nap to observe ...


... but no offers to help, shockingly.


Checking everything off very diligently.


... keeping the pencil handy.

Simon would like everyone to know that he staged and took the following photo ...


... look at the butter placement/focus.

Okay! So, in the sad event that you're not familiar with Blue Apron and all that it entails let me enlighten you:

Blue Apron is a genius service that delivers farm fresh ingredients right to your doorstep, perfectly portioned, along with beautiful chef-designed recipes to create the most delicious meals
+ there are two plans: the 2-person plan and the family plan and everything arrives in a refrigerated box (it stays impressively cool on our porch even in the middle of a Florida summer!)
+ They are currently working toward developing a sustainable food system and use very high quality ingredients - you can check out their vision page here!
Blue Apron has a huge selection of recipes and is always adding to their rotation every week
+ There's absolutely no commitment and you can skip or cancel at any time
+ All of their meals are between 500-800 calories per serving and take up to 40 minutes to prepare (usually less - in our experience!)
Blue Apron offers a recycling program that you can learn more about here!

Blue Apron also just added a kids' Cooking Camp add-on for kids where kids can learn to do things like plant seeds, make salad dressing, and get them excited about being in the kitchen ...


They loved coloring the included coloring page and I won't tell you how many of veggies they had to ask, "sooo what color is that one?"

Our finished product ...


... changed Simon's mind about pork chops and changed the kids' minds about squash (I'm more excited about the latter)!

Want to try for yourself? The first 50 readers to try Blue Apron will get three free meals tacked onto their order just click here!!

If you want to browse some of their recipes first click right on over here!

Thanks for reading and thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post and making our lives a lot easier post-Abraham :)

the birth of Abraham James (part ii)

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18 July 2017

... back to the delivery room we roll.

(part one here!)

So, my epidural was acting up and I was starting to worry that it was just going to give up on me entirely. It didn't, thankfully. I rolled around enough (with lots of help from my angel nurse and Simon) that it seemed to sort itself out and to be honest I was still so fixated on making sure the baby came out face down that the contractions were a semi-welcome distraction.

The OB that had come on that morning was super nice and came in once the nurse confirmed that I was complete and ready to push. The nurse said she thought the baby wasn't OP but she couldn't be sure ... which didn't sound promising at all. Commence cuticle chewing.

The good doctor gave me the okay to start pushing with the usual, "this baby is just going to slide RIGHT out ... " chuckle, chuckle. I knew better but started pushing anyway and it seemed like the baby was coming down like a well-behaved newborn ... nice and normal. Praise the good and generous Lord.

Oh, hmm - wait. Maybe not. Suddenly I heard reports from down yonder that the baby formerly known as behaved was what was that? Oh, "direct OP" -- Great. Great. Just great. And not surprising.

I should pause to mention that the doctor on call was a male which was fine but I preferred females (which lots of people tell me is hypocritical since Simon has delivered lots of babies to which I SAY: I'm not offended if you would prefer a lady doctor to Simon .... not offended in the slightest ... ) however, he was really great and I would totally voluntarily deliver with him again. He tried his best to turn the baby (the baby was not having it) and let me try almost every pushing position out there (humility - thy name is pushing positions). I kept saying I was fine if they wanted to bust out the kiwi (the mini vacuum - like they did with Phoebe) and that I was sorry this was taking so long and tried to get Simon to tell me the truth if my pushing was making any progress (he kept saying the proverbial, "great job!!" but I didn't believe him, at all).

And THEN the baby's heart rate started to dip so they strapped an oxygen mask on me and THEN I started throwing up which was a first for me in the delivery room. It was quite a sight. Or, so I would imagine. I had to shove the mask out of the way to throw up into the receptacle Simon was holding, put the mask back in place, push (in some unbearably awkward position), rinse, repeat. More drama than a Lifetime movie. If I had been on the fence about having a baby and walked into my room during these moments-o-delight ... I think I would've been scared childless forever. And ever. Amen.

They announced (more nurses had joined the party - at that point -- the Pope could've waltzed in and I would not have cared and probably asked if he'd mind baptizing the baby in a minute or ninety) that the baby had, "some wisps of hair" which was encouragement enough for me to finally get the job done after a full hour and push the baby out. Woo hoo.

I would've pushed for several more hours and I'd do it all again and again but I was SO happy to have "only" pushed for an hour, to be honest.

Simon yellnounced that it was a boy and they laid the baby on my chest with his back to me (think spooning, I guess) and I kept wanting to ask/demand that they turn him around so I could see his face but I was too busy crying tears of relief and joy to spit the words out. Finally, they did and even if we had 100 more kids that moment of getting to see your baby's (albeit bruised) face will never ever get old. Everyone predicted he'd weigh eight pounds even but let me hold and nurse him for well over an hour before he made it over to the scale (where they announced he was eight pounds and nine ounces making him our biggest baby to date by almost a pound). He had a pretty dark line-shaped bruise on one of his calves from the cord being tightly wrapped around it which explained the variables.

I'll always laugh, like the mom that I am, thinking back to when our angel nurse brought in some food and Abe fully opened both eyes for the first time, stopped nursing completely and turned his massive head to the side to see what he was missing. Coincidence? Probably. But, the timing was hilarious, promise.


Abe and his wisps of hair.

Everyone was asking about names and we told our three choices to one of the nurses who just happened to know a Dominic, Damien, and an Abraham and said she liked all three of them so she'd be no help. She also offered her own suggestions as well. We settled on Abraham (I think Simon was being nice after that little odyssey of a delivery but we've since agreed he's definitely an Abe so his niceness paid off, I guess) and Simon stuck around for a little bit until he ran home to relieve the sitter and grab the kids for a quick visit.


(they were just rubbing sanitizer on the hands - as much as I'd like to pretend like they always enter rooms in prayer formation .... )

And that was that!

I'm tempted to expound on my postpartum room and all of it's closet-sized glory but some things are left rosier in the old memory bank.

I can't believe Abe is almost six weeks old because it feels like he's been around forever and like he was born just yesterday, you know? I know you do.

I'm convinced Bosco doesn't remember a life without him, Phoebe is VERY daring with her attempts to try to pick him up and carry him around (years off my life, every time), Theo and Sebastian still introduce him as, "the newborn baby" to anyone that will listen when we're out and about (which is not often) and Julia doesn't know it yet but she's about to get a little lesson on diaper changing to help this mother out.


:)

the birth of Abraham James

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16 July 2017

A formal title for an informal tale.


You know those birth stories where the mom isn't totally sure if she's in labor but she goes to the hospital anyway and it turns out she's actually fully dilated, locked, and loaded and gives birth in triage while the unprepared nurse yells out into the hallway abyss for help, STAT?

Me too.

This is not one of those stories.

Friday, June 9th.
38w6d pregnant.

cue Law & Order scene change, "dun dun" sound effect. 
YOU KNOW THE ONE

I went to my scheduled OB appointment that morning where, despite the ultrasound the week before saying the baby was measuring almost 8 pounds, the doctor said she was positive the baby would be six maybe seven pounds. She also said I was dilated to a 4 and offered to strip my membranes.

I happily accepted.

I also got REALLY excited about being so dilated despite knowing people walk around for weeks at 4/5 cm but still. I promised myself at the beginning of the pregnancy I wouldn't be an eager beaver at the end about having the baby and would be totally zen about going past my due date but then - I broke that promise. Sort of. I'll hide behind the pain of my right leg veins (said veins completely vanished almost immediately, btw - thank the varicose gods) along with the fact that Simon started a more time consuming rotation in July and I had one seasoned postpartum eye on the calendar/clock in that regard. But, I was also just feeling huge and ready to meet the baby.

So, Simon was able to watch the kids after my appointment and I went on a long walk around the hospital (outside - blocks away - not literally in the hospital). Contractions were coming regularly and the contraction timing app I downloaded told me to go to the hospital or call an ambulance several times but I knew better.

Nope.

I'm no stranger to prodromal labor and suspected this might not be the real deal, sadly. However, the OB had told me not to wait around at home if I wanted an epidural and those words were blaring on full blast in my head over and over because - yes to the epidural.


I stopped on my walk and bought a sandwich (and used the bathroom and took this real nice selfie) because it might be my last supper, you know? LOLOLOL (no)

I went home and gave Simon and the boys haircuts, packed my hospital bag, went on another walk, and kept on having contractions. They were painful but not stop me in my tracks painful so we made dinner, supervised a road race, and put the kids to bed I showered and the contractions continued and were getting more painful. I texted a few sitters but no one was free to come so our angel of a friend, Libby came right over around 10:30 and we were on our merry way. I was still kind of, "is this it? shouldn't I be in more pain?" but proceeded anyway like the novice that I am.

We were checked right in, the triage nurse put the fetal heart rate monitor on and immediately said she was pretty positive I was having a boy. She also said Labor and Delivery was crazy busy (I've literally never heard of a Labor and Delivery not being crazy busy ... come to think of it ... ) and told us which OB was on call which made me happy because 1) I had met her (there are lots in the practice I hadn't met) and 2) I really, really liked her. She came in and checked my non-progress and announced that I was 3cm dilated.

L to the O to the L.

I wanted to just slink out, gown and all. Not only had I not progressed but I had somehow regressed from the supposed 4cm earlier that day. Wonderful. She said she would come back in 2 hours to see if I had, "made change" so I decided to walk the halls but as soon as I stood up I decided I'd rather nap instead. So, I was motivated to have the baby but not that motivated. I napped (through no contractions - of course, of COURSE) and Simon read his book club book until the kind doctor came back and declared that no, no change to be had so -- I was going to be discharged.

I would be lying if I said I didn't fight serious tears when she left. I don't know why, in retrospect. I think I was just tired (it was around 2am at this point) and embarrassed and didn't want to come back and get sent home for a second time and worried about who would watch the kids because surely we couldn't ask Libby AGAIN - you know, the usual hormonal run-on sentence drivel. God bless Simon. He assured me that I would eventually have the baby and that, "this happens all the time" (mmm hmmm) and I tried to pretend like I was cool - cucumber style - when the triage nurse came in to give me my discharge papers.

Literally (used correctly, promise) as she was handing me the papers, the baby's heart rate dipped (technically called a variable deceleration) which could be a sign of the umbilical cord being compressed and so (long story short) they decided to keep me overnight for observation.

We got moved to a much bigger room with a couch rather than a chair for Simon and I was upgraded to an actual bed vs. a glorified ironing board. Simon and I both slept but he said he woke up and noticed a big decel at one point. The OB came in around 5am (???) and said that the variables weren't stopping and she wasn't comfortable sending me home and that she thought an induction was probably the best option since I was technically 39 weeks as of midnight.

Before she even finished saying, "we'll start by breaking your wate --- " I interrupted and asked if I could get an epidural first.

Priorities Patton, at your service. Be an advocate for yourself, I say.

She said sure and anesthesia actually met me outside my room as I got moved from triage to real deal Labor and Delivery. Simon had warned me several times that epidurals can take a long time to come once they are ordered so I was overjoyed that he was proven wrong.

The epidural placement wasn't seamless and it had to be done a couple times but overall it was fine. Sort of fine. After they broke my water I was a whopping 5cm. My contractions were still pretty pathetic so Simon went home to nap and relieve Libby (neither one of us was worried that I would deliver precipitously). I met the nurse that was coming on for the day shift and I don't do her justice when I say that she was an angel sent from the heavens above. She was pregnant herself and SO kind and sweet and everything you'd hope a Labor and Delivery nurse would be.

I enjoyed a popsicle and some broth (truly, it really hit the spot for some reason), a movie, and found a sitter free to watch the kids. Simon came back around 11 and they started pitocin since I still wasn't having any productive contractions. We watched another movie. I started to grill Simon about names since we weren't totally decided on a boy name. We narrowed it down to Dominic Pierre, Damien Francisco, or Abraham James and Simon said we should decide if the baby was actually a boy when the time came.

My epidural was pretty heavy on my legs but as I hit transition (I suspect) I started to feel the contractions in my stomach and back and started to ever so slightly freak out. I had been diligent about changing positions because I was borderline petrified of having a fourth consecutive baby try to come out while sunny side up ...

DUN DUN DUN

part two coming SOON. Promise. 

dia de prime

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10 July 2017


One month old and that handwriting ... it could use some work, Abe. B+ for effort though.

Unless you've been living under a proverbial rock or steering clear of the online community you're probably well aware that it's Prime Day. Yay.

I know the deals were pretty underwhelming last year but they've stepped it UP this year and a lot of people are saying that a lot of deals are even better than that of Black Friday. Is it so? Well, let's find out.

Would it be nice to get my birthday (not MY birthday but you know - Simon and the kids' birthdays) and Christmas shopping done in July? It would. It's unrealistic but I would love to make a dent. I can't tell you how nice it was having Bosco's birthday done and Father's Day ready to rock and roll several weeks in advance (and not just because Abe was born a few days prior) because I was able to be more thoughtful and less rash and harried in my gift buying frenzy.

Alright. Let's see what we've GOT.

Well, first things first. You all know I love our dog, Diego. But I did look at this for several minutes wondering if this was Amazon's idea of a joke or a real thing??? It tosses treats? I feel like it's something the Jetson's dog, Astro, would've had at his disposal.

I get the vast majority of our area rugs from Amazon and there are loads of deals to be had on some goodies ... take a peek!!

I'm embarrassed to admit that the two older kids had to tell me what an Echo was but it's 50% off. I'm almost tempted, kids. ALMOST.

You all know how I feel about my Fitbit and the Blaze is an extra $60 off at checkout ... yee haw.

Kindles! 38% off and in two colors.

There are a few cute (and sensible but still cute!) swimsuits on sale ...

The Instant Pot (hot, hot, hot this year, it seems) is 30% off!

The Roomba is 33% off ... I'm kind of dying for one ....

If you're in the market for a new car seat there are lots of great deals on lots of popular brands!

The Clarisonic Mia1 is 35% off

30% off Saltwater Sandals (these never go on sale ... or so it seems!!)

30% off L'ovedbaby organic clothing (the footed overall is such a classic - Abe is wearing it here)

... and I've got my eye on a lightning deal for my favorite stain remover that goes live at 3:50am.

Wild Night is calling. (edited to add - got it!! worth it.)

I'll update the post if/as I find things worth sharing, of course. Of course!

(And if you're not a member of the My Sale Rack page ... you should join!)

jumping the weekend gun

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30 June 2017

1. Original post title: jumping the Friday gun because I started this post on Thursday but we all know how those best laid plans tend to go ... SO. Weekend gun jumping it is.

2. I managed to leave the house twice with kids in tow this week and my big takeaway is/was that I will forever miss the minivan's sliding doors. We upgraded (or downgraded - depending on who you talk to) to a suburban and even the kids are having a tough time with the transition as they all call it, "the new van" (despite it being 12 years old just like "the old van"). Anyway, I've found myself getting a little bit frustrated at how little I've been able to get done or the state of the house (hurricane meets tsunami) by 8:03 in the am but then I remind myself that Abe isn't even three weeks old and force a figurative chill pill down the hatch. I've never looked back at the newborn days and thought, "I wish I'd cleaned/stressed/done MORE" so -- chill pills for all. Or all for me.

I think Abe is good on the chill front.

3. I have managed to do some reading this week and finished The Identicals which I've decided wasn't my favorite Elin book? Which means I still liked it but it just wasn't up to par with her others - in my esteemed opinion. I started The Shark Club (the author is the daughter of Sue Monk Kidd who wrote The Secret Life of Bees) and so far - so great. I'll let you know how I like it when I finish it though. Also, I was SO excited to get a copy of the Blessed Is She planner in the mail yesterday. It's gorgeous and super intuitive and makes me really excited to get my life together. In August.

4. I can't believe we are already down to just six guys left on Rachel's season (but um - I've heard pretty much zero words from Matt and Adam .... may as well be four?) and I'm still on Team Peter. And Dean. And Eric. I'm just not a fan of Bryan. At all. I kind of like Peter for Bachelor and Sharleen pointed out that he could potentially be less into her as she is into him? Things that'll keep you UP AT NIGHT.

5. L-l-l-l-ast call for this sidewalk sale full of clearance goodness. I wish they carried newborn sizes but I know Abe will fit into the 0-3 month stuff just as soon as a blink so I think we'll allllll survive.

Here he is in a 0-3 month tee. Funny story - I took this photo before I ran to the store with the girls and while I was gone Simon texted me the exact same photo that he'd taken of our little cherub. Great minds, great minds.

6. I know it's WAY overhyped by almost everyone but I'm still hoping this gorgeous top and these cute (and seemingly comfy) shoes go on sale during the upcoming (and overhyped) anniversary sale. I saw someone wearing the sandals on Instagram (I've become that person) and fell in love. With the shoes. Not the shoe wearer. Also, 1/2 off everything (even clearance stuff!) at LOFT right now with code: SPARKLER. If you need cute but inexpensive sunglasses - theirs are the best bang for your buck, says I. ALSO ALSO 1/2 off everything over here as well! Yes, even clearance (again) with code: FOURTHFUN.

7. As Simon handed Julia a container of Costco-bought cinnamon rolls for her last-day-of-camp party this morning she was quick to tell us that so and so was bringing, "HOMEMADE blue and red rice crispy treats" (with no hint of jealousy/malice - or if so she hid it well) so I've got big plans to make HOMEMADE watermelon star cutouts for the 4th. Look out.

Happy Fourth of July - if I don't talk to you before then :)

Linking up with Kelly!

seven things

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23 June 2017

1. I've got about a million (or five) blog posts I would love to sit down and pound out (birth story included) but I'm enjoying taking it as easy as possible while not letting the laundry pile up to our lashes and making sure everyone adjusts to life with a new baby accordingly. I'll be back in regular blogging action in no time, like it or not.


Abe is anxious for my return.

2. Overall, everything is going well thanks to Abe being a champ of a night time sleeper, Simon having some time off, and my standards bar staying nice and low (lower ... lower ... lower ... THERE! that low).


Mom's glasses, Abe's paci, and 1/10 of his truck book collection - a simple man with simple needs.

3. A wonderful article on how Joy is doing these days (and a big Happy Birthday to her mom today!!)

4. I haven't made a ton of headway on my current book (although I am enjoying it) but Simon and I watched Age of Adaline and Captain Fantastic this past week and were pleasantly surprised by both (I'd especially recommend Captain Fantastic :)).

5. Did you see my play kitchen makeover on IG? I'm going to blog about how I did it and alllll the things I'd do different but the original kitchen is on crazy sale right now just in case your life has a big fat play kitchen hole that needs to be filled ...

6. Extra 50% off clearance at J.Crew Factory right now with code: CLEAROUT

7. and!! Primary (quality baby/toddler/kid basics - we are big fans) is having a sidewalk sale and new customers can get an additional 25% off with code: welcome 25

and that's all she typed. over the course of three hours. Mavis Beacon would be so proud.

Linking up with Kelly :)

two!!

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15 June 2017


Someone's got a birthday today and it's not me, Simon, Julia, Sebastian, Theo, Phoebe, or Abe so that must mean it's Bosco's big day. I think he sort of gets it because he keeps flashing me a pointer finger. Toddler Einstein? You thought it first.

Bosco's had his little world rocked this past week and has definitely thrown his allegiance over into Simon's court but he's been very sweet with the, "baby! baby! baby! BABY!!" and asks to "hold! hold! hold! HOLD!" him alllll throughout the day.

I've mentioned a few dozen times that he is truck obsessed but even if I mentioned it a few hundred times I don't think I would be able to properly convey just how deep his affection and obsession runs. He's started seeing trains and cars and boats and planes on the side but his one true love remains. Trucks + Bosco FOREVER.

Obviously he's my child and I think he's super cute but I think because he says hi to anyone within a 100 yard radius he gets lots of smiles from passersby. Said enthusiasm for greetings galore also makes him the slowest walker ever - which makes up for all the times he sprints away from me while proudly yelling back, "hi Ma!!" in my direction so I'm sure to notice his antics.

He loves all of his siblings and loves nothing more than to be included when they play but he has a special bond with Julia and often pushes siblings off the couch to get a better look of photos of her hanging on the wall. They share a love of sleep and (fingers crossed I don't jinx it) has to be woken up every morning and is more than happy to go down for naps and bed at night.

His version of a tantrum these days involves him putting his forehead on the ground for a split second before he forgets what he's mad about and moves on with his day. Let's hope it stays that way.

He's got the sweetest temperament but is showing signs of his two-year-old spice SO let the games begin, "Offy" (as Phoebe logically calls him) ...


... Happy, Happy Birthday sweet Bosco! We're so happy you're ours.

Bosco's birth story here!

and the next little Patton is a ...

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11 June 2017




BOY ...


What did I tell you? My intuition was on the lettuce for ONCE.

We are SO happy he's here! We feel very fortunate to have another precious little baby in the Camp fold. He's healthy, seems happy, and has no neck. I feel like I can't not blog the birth story after pounding out five other novellas but it'll take me a minute to find a glimmer of retroactive humor in the odyssey that it was. How's that for a dramatic cliff hanger? Bad, I know. And it wasn't that crazy.

He's almost a full pound bigger than my biggest baby and I'm not exaggerating when I say the hospital hat keeps popping off his huge head because it's well, huge. I know eight pounds isn't HUGE but he looks big to me. Felt big too. L to the O to the L.

Anyway, I've got some pain meds to pound, a baby to stare at, and some hospital food to inhale. I have way too much footage of the kids' meet and greet to share soon and VERY soon.

xoxo,

Grace & Abe (the babe --- first and last time I do that, promise

TGIT

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08 June 2017


1. Throwing it back to Mother's Day 2k17 because while deleting photos off my phone I just really felt like this one needed to live in blog infamy. Theo's winning smile, my chipmunk cheeks, Bash's photo ready pose, Bosco's dgaf attitude, etc ... I do have to sing the praises of my maternity dress (that is ALSO nursing friendly) that Mayarya sent and I love. The sleeves really seal the deal for me.

2. If you aren't following the Camp over on Facebook or Instagram you might've missed that Lily Jade is giving away a diaper bag of your choice (!!!) over on this post from the fall. Scroll to the bottom of said post and enter away!

3. Bachelor, bachelor! Simon watched with me this week and shared my confusion over the whole Eric situation, "it just seems to be edited poorly - what are they trying to get at?" but we both agreed Lee needs to GO (especially in light of the tweets that were recently uncovered) and good riddance to Lucas and Blake + Blake's diet. As always, I loved Sharleen's insights and was SO happy to hear Ben on Juliet Litman's podcast this week. I do have to say that I heart Rachel - best bachelorette of all time? PERHAPS! Perhaps.

4. books! I'm still reading China Rich Girlfriend -- it's dragging a teeny tiny bit and I'm joining Simon's book club he is in with his college friends (they Skype once a monthish) with this book because Simon said it involves "romance" and he thinks I might like it. But then he admitted last nght that he's halfway through and it's kind of boring - great sell. Can't wait to dive in!!

5. I've hunted and gathered all of the ingredients to make this fluffy slime with the older kids but haven't gone through with it yet. I will! I will. Maybe tomorrow. Or the next day when Simon is around ...

6. On the steal/sale front I noticed that this bell sleeve poplin top was just marked 40% off (love the slightly longer length - so many croppy shirts lately) -- it's SO pretty. Also - super limited sizes and colors but these cat flats that both of the girls loved/love are 47% off over here. And finally! If you're in the market for a Father's Day Fitbit - there's some great deals to be had over on Amazon at the moment. You know how I feel about them ...

7. I somehow finagled Simon into watching Me Before You tonight so off we trot. Or sit, I guess.

Happy (almost) Friday!!

Linking up with Kelly!

38w2d

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05 June 2017

This is going to be all over the place. But we'll start with a guest bathroom selfie. Woo to the HOO.


I've been staunchly anti-ruched shirt but can't seem to stop wearing this one along with my last fitting pair of jeggings. Day after day after day after day.

+ Isn't it funny how you can fixate on a due date for nine months but then forget it semi-shortly afterward? I tried really hard to remember all the kids' due dates and and if I was successful this is when everyone came on the earth side scene:

Julia: 38w2d
Sebastian: 39w5d
Theo: 37w
Phoebe: 38w3d
Bosco: 38w2d

SO! I fully expect this baby to break the mold and go the post due date distance.

+ I'm still thinking boy but only because this pregnancy has felt so similar to Bosco's (which felt similar to Julia's which is why I thought he was a girl so .... ) but maybe that's because the timeline/time of year is almost identical. I don't KNOW. We'll see, won't we? I took the girls to get our nails done (their little lives were MADE) over the weekend and ALL the nail gals said I was definitely having a boy so, will they be right? I don't know.

+ Maybe it's because of my age (34 this summer - not ancient but not a gestating spring chicken) or because it kind of felt like I went through two first trimesters due to the miscarriage but it's definitely been the hardest pregnancy by far (but, do I always think that? I might) and have been reliant on naps and lots of walks and popsicles to keep me afloat. But, on the flip side - not that we've never been super excited for a new baby but with the kids being a little older and seeming to "get it" this time around - I feel like the family as a whole is the most excited we've ever been for a new baby. So - it all evens out, right? Right.

+ I think I'm making up for a lack of any realistic nesting with Bosco since we were in that wonderful transitional high rise apartment when he was born but I've been on a nesting/deep cleaning spree for a few months now. Julia has caught on and diligently folds all of her and Phoebe's blankets every morning and it got to the point that Phoebe was even scared to sleep under her covers (we set her straight, worry not) because she knew Hurricane Julia would be blowing through bright and early. Simon sent me a picture of Sebastian Swiffering the top of the piano a few weeks ago and it was the teeniest wakeup call that maybe (just maybe!) mama G needs to chill.

+ We're still not settled on names but I think we've got some solid short lists to fish from on the way to the hospital. Does that stop me from scouring Kate's site at 3am every other night? NO.

+ I spent the majority of Friday in the hospital for a suspected DVT (and no, no DVT - thankfully) because my right leg swelled so bad that my ankle was spilling over my shoe (I know! gross imagery, I'm sorry) and it was tingling and for the first time ever I'm dealing with pretty ugly varicose veins (just in my right leg ... so far) and then I realized that I hadn't felt the baby move all morning and it was a bit of a cluster but all was well and the nurses and doctors were SO nice and it made me a lot less apprehensive about delivering in a new hospital with an unknown on-call attending (just how the practice works - not complaining)

+ You know what? I could go on f-o-r-e-v-e-r but I won't. I will say this has just been the pregnancy of the everything. The pregnancy of the nap, the misery, the joy, the veins (lol but it's true), the worst nausea, the craziest dreams, and the greatest anticipation. I had an ultrasound while I was getting checked out on Friday and the baby was already measuring seven pounds, fourteen ounces. My biggest baby was Sebastian who was seven pounds and thirteen (twelve? no, I think thirteen) ounces so - that was fun to hear. Ultrasounds can be way off but Simon says studies have shown the way the mom feels is really the best "gauge" and this mom says this baby IS the biggest. With two plus weeks to go. :)

That's all. For now. You know I'll keep you all in the loop like I always do. Thanks for sticking around (if you have!)

Love,

GP

oh! these are fun comments to read and here are all the birth stories THUS FAR :)

quick takery

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03 June 2017

1. You know I was tempted to dedicate an entire post to our inaugural summer beach trip ...


... but I didn't. I was kind of dreading taking Bosco since I thought he'd just sprint into the water with me waddling behind but he was only interested in ruining strangers' sand castles which felt like the lesser of two evils at the time. Also, the irony is not lost on me that the youngest is the only one not wearing a floatation device - but again, only one not touching the water.

2. Onward. Let's dive right into the important stuff a la Bachelor. Praise the good Lord Jones is back on the recap scene. I also thoroughly enjoyed Ashley I + Ben Higgins' podcast this week ALONG with Kaitlyn's. I'll actually be starting one next week myself. JK.

But, boy was I wrong on DeMario. Oops! I'm still all about Peter and she seemed to be really into Dean but he is seven years her junior (maybe not an issue) and I'm hoping Kenny gets more air time next week. I know I'm not alone in hoping that Lucas goes all the way. JK x 2.

As always, I love Sharleen's insights and I'm so glad she's posting on Flare and her personal blog. Franchise fanatic forever.

3. I'm guessing you saw this floating around Facebook this week but it gave me a good chuckle (language warning). And much more importantly - hopefully you saw this too - grab your tissues.

4. I'm still reading China Rich Girlfriend but I couldn't help myself and preordered the new Elin Hildebrand book -- SO excited to read it.

5. Hopefully I'm not the only one that's been impatiently waiting for over a year for these to come back in stock? Bonus! They're an extra 20% off with code: SWEET.

6. This sale is still going strong for 1.5 more days - I was REALLY hoping this pretty number would magically get added to the sale but - nope. Maybe later in the summer. Also, I'm totally that mom already scouring sales for school shoes already since I waited until the last minute last year and regretted it big time. Lots to choose from (dress code depending, though!).

7. I was really happy and very pleasantly surprised to see that Everlane added a bunch of kids' styles to their "choose what you pay" section because well, duh. I just had to bid a temporary farewell to my favorite tee of theirs but can't wait to make its acquaintance again in a few (several? most likely) weeks time.

Alright, I'm off to finish up my last (I promise this time, Simon) pre-baby painting project. Gird your excitement.

Happy Weekend.

(linking up with Kelly!)

labor + delivery hospital bag essentials

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01 June 2017

Let's just rename the blog, "Camp Hospital Bag Checklist" because how many of these am I going to pen? Well, I don't know. I'm a lover of lists (but not more than Simon - he REALLY loves lists) and checking things off lists and Simon suggested that maybe I pack a hospital bag the other night and so - here I am. Bringing you along for the ride. Again.

Giddy Up.

Alright, I like to break this down into two different bags. One bag that you bring in when you initially check in that contains the immediate essentials (so think like a big purse or tote or maybe even your diaper bag that looks like a purse) you'll need during your delivery. Leave the rolly suitcases in the car and bust those out in your recovery/postpartum room. Not that I'd know anything about this but I don't imagine checking in with a suitcase fit for European travel only to be sent home because you're not technically in labor? Not fun.


So, first bags first.

1. bag (duh) and birth plan - (I like to laminate mine but - personal preference!)

2. electronics:
portable charger/battery - this one in particular kept my laptop and both of our phones charged for a five day trip recently and is well worth the money so that you don't have to wrestle with short cords/finding outlets etc etc etc.
+ camera
+ computer/iPad/something - Simon and I have always had time to watch some shows (thank you epidural) but maybe you'd enjoy some light reading? I don't know - but I'm always happy to have my laptop along for the ride.

3. the obvious wallet/insurance card etc -- I'm sure you're on the ball and pre-registered but in the event that you didn't ... make sure to have this stuff at the ready or you'll be kicked out. No, you won't. But, it will speed up the process. I think.

4. nursing bra - I never have to foresight to put one of these on and am awkwardly wrestling with a non-nursing variety but I'm thinking one of those sleeping nursing bras will make all the convenient difference this time around. Right?

5. Chapstick/lip balm - my lips always get dry. I don't know why.

Bag numero dos (rolly suitcases 1/2 off today if you're in the market!):

6. stretchy swaddle (2) my super talented friend Nell recently started making the best, biggest, stretchiest swaddles in all of the baby gear land. I used to be a big muslin swaddle fan but once you go stretchy - you don't go back. At least I don't. One of the reasons I can't wait to find out if this baby is a boy or girl is so that I can order from her newest inventory of patterns. She has the best eye. edited to add! Score 15% off any swaddles with code: grace15! go go go ! ! !

7. nursing tank/bra - I'm not an expert here and have always just worn the basic Target tanks but I'm going the slightly nicer route this time around so we'll see if there's a big difference.

8. toiletries (especially chapstick/lip balm - another favorite) - just bring them all. I like to collect samples (one of my many varied and cultured hobbies) and throw those in my bag so I'm not juggling full size bottles galore. I like to take advantage of the shower with only one child to worry about but I always assume the quarters are going to be more spartan dorm room rather than luxury hotel and I generally assume right. BYOBottles of shampoo/conditioner/soap etc etc etc.

9. leggings - I'm trying these for the first time ever and I'm a LOT more excited than I should be about dedicated postpartum leggings.

10. going home outfit - Or two. For the baby. Maybe it's just my luck but it feels like sometimes it takes an eternity to get all of your paperwork in order to leave the hospital and odds aren't bad that your new little bundle of joy will soil the first outfit by way of a blowout or projectile spit up - or maybe that's just Patton babies? I'm bringing a couple of these sleepers but hope they aren't too hot for Florida in June.

11. cardigan/robe - I'm always freezing and I've found a sweater or robe over a nursing tank is the best immediate postpartum uniform around. Although, if you want to stay gowned up - go right ahead. I've always had great luck finding super soft open/longish cardigans at Forever 21 of all places.

12. pacifiers galore - the baby-friendly hospitals don't offer these (unless you ask, I think) and lots of people say to wait two weeks but sometimes the baby just needs to suck and you need to take that well-deserved shower and the baby-friendly hospital doesn't have a nursery and so - hello pacifiers. I like to bring a variety. I'm one for five on pacifier lovers SO I don't think there's any rhyme or reason to it (not a pacifier expert).

13. nipple shield - these has saved me every single time. Hospitals have them but it's not a bad idea to bring your own in case your nurse is super busy or you get charged $60 for a $4 piece of plastic.


Actual photo of me laying things out to pack. Not pictured: birds chirping and harmonizing outside the open windows with whatever ditty I'm whistling to myself.

Optional:
+ your own pillow(s). I saw a new mom loading up not one but two pregnancy pillows after being discharged from the hospital the other day while I was there for an appointment. No shame - do it up if you need to.

+ your own snacks - I've always lucked out with great cafeteria food but I know that's not always the case so ... it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

+ a Boppy or similar nursing pillow - for you and any siblings that might need a little extra help when holding the baby

Alright. I think that's it. I think. I know there are rare cases where people do live hours from the hospital but if you forget something essential - I'm sure someone will be happy to trot on home to retrieve it for you.

Happy packing/birthing!!!

we're off to see the weekend ...

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26 May 2017

1. Monkey see, monkey do ...


... Too bad Bosco isn't as into hand holding as Theo is. Sorry Phoebe/monkey numero dos.

2. We are a week into summer break and I'm realizing that the ubiquitous summer "bucket list" I've been seeing on mom blogs for the past few years is just a euphemism for, "a list to help mom hold it together all summer" because we are going through a little bit of an adjustment period. We just need to settle into a routine and we will. Soon! I know it.

3. Fran (one of my most trusted literary connoisseurs - official title) gave Small Great Things two thumbs up so I'm on the library hold list (155th! So, any minute now) but I loved Crazy Rich Asians this week. I doubled up on reading and listening to the audio book when I couldn't be reading because I was enjoying it so much. Simon started it and so far has only said, "so many footnotes!" and, "it's never good when there's a family tree at the beginning" but I think he'll survive - and like it too.

4. These are both old internet news but I found myself nodding along with both as this is something I struggle with on the daily/hourly -- Just Do the Dishes and The Dishes Can Wait, and Other Lies.

5. Alright I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by The Bachelorette premier only because Nick's season was such a letdown so I didn't have my hopes set high. Rachel's got a lot of clowns on her hands (and whywhywhy on that first impression rose pick?!) but my favorites so far are Peter and DeMario plus she's such a class act and will be fun to watch.

6. Odds are GOOD you've heard allll about this big sale so I won't beat a dead Clydesdale but I always used to ignore the sale until I realized it's worth um, not ignoring. I live in workout clothes (minus the workout) postpartum so I was happy to see so many pieces marked down 40-50%. I'm also almost always wearing sneakers around the house and their selection of Nikes on sale is pretty extensive at the moment.

7. Others worth noting:

One of my favorite places to shop small (baby Bosco is wearing their sweats in the little Birth Novellas photo in my sidebar) is offering 25% off everything with the code: MEMORIAL25 (and they just came out with dresses - red dress dancing emoji).

I've mentioned these sandals on Facebook twice already but they are still 40% off so what's the harm in a third time? If in between sizes I highly recommend sizing down. Also, I never thought I'd feel compelled to blog about unmentionables but these underwear are both super comfortable and seamless and a great price for the quality.

And finally there's a 50% off ALL tees, tanks, shorts, and swimwear for the whole family sale over at Old Navy in case you're kids grew several inches since last summer ... it's worth checking out.

Okay, the girls just asked how to "pierce our own ears" so I better go supervise slash put a stop to the insanity.

Have a wonderful weekend!

budget friendly gallery wall tips and tricks

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24 May 2017

First things first (I'm the realist)  - this post is pretty much the equivalent of a blind man with a butcher knife teaching a hair cutting class because an expert I am not but has that ever stopped me before? Nope.


My main point is that you don't have to spend a lot of lettuce to put together a gallery wall and wanted to pass along a few no-brainers that have probably already occurred to you. I've also read on numerous decor blogs and sites that gallery walls are on their way out which would make sense because I'm forever behind the trend curve.

Alright. Just get to it, GP.

1. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Or, so I say. Pinterest is a great source to glean inspiration from but I also love the (semi-new) feature on IG where you can just tap the little ribbon icon on a photo you like and it will be saved (if you're organized into collections) and easily accessible at any time on the app.


Screenshots are great but get lost in my camera roll after about 4 seconds. I tend to make my "arrangements" into boring rectangles so I try to look at walls that have branched outside "the box" literally and figuratively.

Wrapping these two "galleries" around a corner?



A big step for this creature of habit.

2. Second(hand) is the best. I've found the best frames at secondhand stores dedicated to furniture and home goods. It might take a little creativity to get the original art/photo out but the store wouldn't be selling it if it wasn't good quality and it's been my experience that these types of stores have frequent sales (sometimes weekly) and it's smart to get on their email list so that you don't miss one.

3. "DIY" mats - Simon worked at a frame shop in high school and is always telling me how key a good mat is when it comes to framing as I slip a scrap of old white poster board behind virtually all of my "art" that is too small for the intended frame. I know he's right and the things we have had professionally framed do look awesome but the poster board trick is a good and (super cheap) one.

4. the sky's the limit - I've framed super cheap wrapping paper, color copies from our favorite kids' books, old calendar pages, dried flowers, Instagrams (way too guilty there), kids' artwork, etc. I'm sure you have friends that sell their art or photos or prints on Etsy (or their own sites - you know what I mean) and I love supporting them before I buy something less personal or even print out our own photos.

5. If it ain't broke - I know people love command strips and maybe one day I will too but for now I just go the old fashioned nail and hammer route and reenforce with my putty. It works well and Simon loves filling in and painting the old holes in his spare time.

6. Texture! I started noticing that I was drawn to walls that had a little something more than just frames hanging up so I've hung hats, I love this shelf and I think it's seen almost every wall in the house at this point, and these planters too. Simon calls them prayer shawls and I know they are trendy mctrenderson at the moment (or were? I never know) but I love woven wall hangings. Also, I've hung my tiny collection of hats which is a pretty and practical storage solution - so says Pinterest.

7. Take a note from Nike - and just do it. I know some people like to use this method but I'm always working under time constraints and am just an impatient human in general so I just lay things out on the ground how I think they'd look best (this is sometimes the most time consuming part) and start from the middle and go from there. Usually there's an older kid around to hold up the lighter things so I can make sure it won't look terrible and if it does? Rehang - no problemo. For the record, I have done the paper cut out thing but didn't find that it made a big difference when it came to the end result.

8. It's not an ironclad permanent commitment so don't stress if you don't love the look right away. I remember seeing on a Kardashian episode (sue me) when someone (Rob?) moved into a new place and wasn't sure about his new furniture arrangement and Kourtney told him to give it time to breathe. LOL - but it's true.


An example of a wall I let breathe and then killed it because -- I didn't like it. It happens.

Just give it a few days before making any rash redo decisions (although I do that all the time).

9. Spacing! There might be official rules on this but trusting your eye on this seems to be the best route. Uniform spacing between frames might be tempting and sometimes might look the the best but isn't necessary, I don't think.


10. A note on printing prints and photos! It's worth taking the time to research different options and quickly Google discount codes for sites you might want to use. I wish there was one site that was consistently the best price for the quality but I've found some sizes are cheaper to print on some sites than others. There are lots of apps that will print your first 25 (or more or fewer) Instagrams for free if you cover shipping (the most recent one being here using code: RUCFEQ). I've also been pleasantly surprised by Costco's quality and have been really happy with Framebridge too.

Alright, I think I've drained my vast well of wall knowledge for now. Happy to field any advice you might have for me!

(a huge thank you to Becca for the vast majority of these pictures!)

bullies, books, and the Bachelor

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19 May 2017

1. Bosco is becoming a little bit of a no-remorse bully. Simon declared that if he had to awkwardly steer him away from harassing yet another toddler at the playground - no more playground for Bully B. One of Simon's mom's friends swears that even the youngest of kids can sense when a new baby is about to come on the scene so maybe he's acting out but - homeboy has gone from mostly innocent baby boy to terrifying toddler almost overnight.


A phase, always a phase. I hope and pray.

2. I've come to know and accept the fact that photography is not and will never be one of my God-given talents - ever. SOooOoOoOo ... I was so excited when Becca started a photography for beginners series over on her blog. We've had the same camera since right before Sebastian was born but I don't feel like we deserve or need a new one until I step up my game -- Becca to the rescue, I hope -- because I'm pretty hopeless.

3. Alright, has anyone read Crazy Rich Asians? I finished Belonging (which the first Nancy Thayer book I've read that dragged on for about five too many chapters) and dove into CRA - so far, so good!

4. Did you see that the Bachelor is getting (yet another) spinoff show? I'll never be too good for a spinoff but I would appreciate if it would air during the drought of the fall when nothing is airing. Year round franchise, Fleiss. Thanks.

5. Simon and I (and some friends) got to go see The Head and the Heart on Tuesday night thanks to Queen B. It was SO fun. And hot. I had cups of ice to keep my company (not anemic just hot). If you ever get a chance to see them live - do it do it do it.

6. Today was Julia and Sebastian's last day of school and Julia Planner Patton has already asked me the itinerary for the entire summer (day specific, please). I better get cracking on that but I'm thinking some beach trips with an interior baby might be a little more fun than with a fresh new baby so - look at me and my planning go.

7. You'll never believe it but J.Crew Factory is running one of their 40% off clearance styles sales. Just use code: EXTRA40. Aaaand the sale section at Loft is 40% off (no code needed) - both sales have tons of summer styles in case you're in the thick of the upper 90s too!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Samily: Official Wedding Photos

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18 May 2017

You already got the cellular photo version but it's time to feast your eyes on the real deal taken by Becca who completely outdid herself. Have I spent more time scrolling through these than I have my own wedding photos? I'll never tell.

If you want a little backstory - their How We Met story is right over HERE!

Here we go ... heavy on the Pattons because it's my blog. I'm sorry. Sort of.

All the ladies gazing adoringly at the groom, naturally. I was sort of on the fence about my velcro ankle strap shoes with the block heels but you know what? They didn't sink in the sand so - WIN.


The whole family (well, the bride's immediate family along with our maternal grandma and my brother Paul's lovely fiancée, Annie). Complete with Julia's infectious smile.


Theodore and his distaste for the limelight.


Simon and his brigade of bizarrely relatively behaved offspring (had I walked down with them? pandemonium - guaranteed)

I spent way too much time trying to decide which ones to post because there were SO many good ones of the happy couple but here we go ...






My Aunt Rebecca set up a balloon animal/hat/crown making table and the Patton kids were her biggest patrons ...


And Bettina (my mom) getting DOWN.


maybe you caught this in action on my IG story - how very millennial of me ...


the CFRs doing some of the best break dancing/popping I've ever seen and putting the entire dance floor to shame.


the shamed.

I could keep sharing and sharing and sharing but considering the fact that it's not even my wedding - I'll stop here. I guess.

But, my brother Paul is getting married in October so the glut of wedding goodness will be back up and running in NO time.


You're NEXT.

Happy Thursday!

 

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