dressing growing kids on a budget (and giveaway!)

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30 January 2017

I distinctly remember getting clothing as baby gifts when Julia was first born and thinking, "wow this 6-9 month outfit will NEVER fit her!" as I watched my scrunched up little newborn practically swim in even her tiniest outfits. And we all know how that ends - of course the outfit eventually fit her and of course she eventually outgrew it and needed new clothes that fit. In fact, I mentioned to Simon just yesterday that Bosco was toddling around in a size 2T sweatshirt that we bought for Julia on a first anniversary getaway when I was still pregnant. It really does feel like just yesterday that we carefully selected the sweatshirt and now our 5th child wears it on the regular. It's one of the oldest clichés in the book but they do grow so fast!

Sometimes I'm caught off guard by their growth spurts and realize in a panic that Sebastian has absolutely no school pants that don't qualify as capris after a particularly aggressive growth spurt or the only shoes that fit Theo are of the most dressy variety and I'm so grateful budget-friendly thredUP exists. I'm a long (long!!) time fan of thredUP and they continue to exceed my expectations with their quality and the variety of their inventory.

Theo: in a (brand new with tags!) Gymboree tee and Oshkosh pants
Phoebe: wearing a Bonpoint dress and (brand new!) Old Navy booties
Julia: in a dress from Gap
Sebastian: in a J.Crew button up and Tucker and Tate pants

In the sad event that you're unfamiliar with thredUP, allow me to introduce you to the huge online store that buys and sells high quality women's and children's clothing. They make it super easy to shop for higher end fashion for up to 90% off the retail price. thredUP always triple inspects their clothing and makes notes of any minor defects in the listing (although many are still brand new with tags or like new) so there are no surprises and you know what your getting when that polkadot box arrives on your doorstep ...

... fine! polkadot box or three. As mentioned, thredUP also buys your gently used clothing by sending a Clean Out Kit complete with prepaid mailing label that you fill up, send back, and wait to hear back how much thredUP credit or cash they'll give you in return.

I was SO excited to find a Bonpoint dress for Phoebe because she's going through a, "dresses only please and thank you" phase so it's nice to find brands that can withstand wash after wash after wash and this particular dress retails for $136 and came in perfect condition for $40. The boys are particularly rough on their pants so I'm always so happy to find quality brands for a fraction of the price. Sebastian's pants retails for $51 and I paid $15 for them in still like new condition.

I'm slowly learning to, "buy ahead" and keep an eye out for shoes a size or two bigger than what the older kids are wearing so I'm ready for the growth spurts that seem to come out of the blue and don't have to run out and pay more than I'd like for a particular pair they need for school etc. thredUP makes that so easy with their user-friendly app that displays new arrivals on a daily basis so I always have a relatively good handle on their inventory.

Bosco is pretty much set with hand-me-downs but is lacking a bit in the warm weather department since the older boys spent much of their toddlerhoods in St. Louis and a lot of their clothing is cold-weather-friendly department. It's been fun to fill in the gaps with thredUP ...

Bosco is in Oshkosh overalls and a Baby Gap shirt
I'm wearing an ASOS top + maternity denim

For my past few pregnancies I've found the bulk of my maternity clothing on thredUP and have discovered the little trick to look for dresses in their petite section to wear as tunics (see above) and a lot of their tunics are fairly maternity friendly. There was a particular maternity shirt that Target sold a couple years back that I loved but couldn't find in my size before they sold out and were discontinued forever but was able to find three a couple months later on thredUP. My excitement was borderline embarrassing over that discovery.

While thredUP has a wonderful website, I do 100% of my shopping through their app because it's so easy to navigate, perform specific searches, check out, and request a clean out bag.

don't think for a second that Phoebe didn't break through that barricade in .00002 seconds flat. I know you never underestimate her though.

After buying all of the outfits pictured (and more!) I noticed on my invoice that I'd saved a total of $454.17 (and spent about 1/4 of that) which is why I'm a thredUP fan for life.

If you've never had the pleasure of shopping at thredUP the first 100 people to use the discount code: PATTON40 will get 40% off their first order!

And! thredUP is generously giving one lucky Camp reader a $250 thredUP credit to spend how they please! To enter please go visit thredUP, and leave a comment back here with the link to an item that caught your eye! Make sure your email is in the comment so we can contact you if you're the lucky winner.

Thank you for playing and reading! And a big thank you to thredUP for sponsoring this post!

week at a glance

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28 January 2017

1. sometimes I can't resist the super cheesy graphic tee ...

sue me. Or him - he's the one happily wearing it.

2. It was a slow week over here at the e-camp but at the tangible camp things were hopping. Kind of. I resorted to frozen pizza for dinner no times (a first since 2010?) and am tackling my biggest and stupidest painting project to date. And I still have another set to go. I'm hoping to be done by June but that might even be too optimistic, honestly. You know I'll keep you posted every step of the bleeping way :)

3. I also finished both The Secret Keeper and The Couple Next Door. The Secret Keeper did pick up at the end but had a very (very) slow beginning and middle. But, it was quite the surprise ending that almost made me want to go back and reread a whole slew of chapter (spoiler - I didn't). The Couple Next Door was quick and easy but disturbing and also boasted a surprise ending I didn't see coming. Simon kept saying it must be a good book because he kept catching me sneak away to read in the evenings but I just wanted to know what happened! Which I guess makes for a good book - I don't know. I'm onto Small Admissions because I wanted something a little lighter this week. Although, I might also listen to The Lakehouse while I sand and paint and paint AND paint.

4. I think Jones outdid herself with this week's recap - it's a gem you don't want to miss. Sharleen's thoughts are always a treat too! I saw a preview (so, not a spoiler) that Corinne and Taylor go on a two-on-one this week (shocker, ABC!) and my money is on Taylor? But, we'll see! We shall see.

5. If you've got a case of the January blues - head on over to Julie's YouTube because she's got you covered. And will make you laugh - I promise. LOVE her.

6. Every now and again Old Navy really hits the nail on the fashion head and such is the case with this dress. I tried it on on a whim while I was in the store and was pleasantly surprised. It's not maternity but will work well for several more weeks but would look great as non-maternity as well (since well, it isn't) and would look cute with tights/leggings and boots or wedges or whatever you fancy. Good going, ON.

7. You'll be as shocked as I am to know that LOFT is offering 40% off all regular styles and 60% off all sale styles at the moment. You'll also be shocked to know that I love this peplum tank and this peplum sweater. Shocks all around (but seriously, I've been eying that sweater for a LONG time).

8. Bonus birth story take! Abby's is a goody that you don't want to miss!

Linking up with Kelly!

Happy Saturday!

around here ...

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24 January 2017

... because I would hate to be transparent and title this, "cellular phone photo dump" even though that's exactly what it is. Sometimes I have 77 nearly identical photos and before I delete the series and ship them off into e-blivion I've gotta let one breathe on in blog post infamy. Have a heart, dear readers that have faithfully stuck around for sentence numero trés.

We took the kids to the kids Gasparilla parade this past weekend which was fine, not super fun mostly because we were unprepared.

We definitely had a lot more fun with everyone at the real deal last year but I think we scoped out a bad spot and walked a little more than we anticipated and and AND maybe we're just a bunch of bumps on a log. I don't know.

I really, really thought this bridge had a nice wide sidewalk that we could safely use and cross away from traffic but .. nope. It worked out fine but it's not a mistake I'll ever make again.

Nothing super special about this photo (or any of them) but aside from the overalls I feel like Julia looks six going on twelve ... or older?

Serious march and all. She's very committed to growing her hair very long ... we'll see when she waves the white flag.

This dog - he gets no attention.

... this is after Sebastian brought him iced water while he slumbered in our bed ...

... (I do have museum putty to keep those frames in place - now to put it to use!)

This photo would be sweet but all I can see is that mullet.


Most mornings I'm greeted by Theo at my bedside having dug out the good stuff from Julia and Sebastian's packed lunch boxes. It's an issue that he knows we can only address so sternly at 5:32am. Tomorrow though, T$, tomorrow these shenanigans are coming to an end. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully.

Theo is as committed to his socks as Julia is to her hair growth.

Sometimes I wish I had a crystal parenting ball to see which things the kids are going to obsess over. This fox purse is Julia's but both of the girls love it like a daughter and fight over it like felines and Fidos.

It's fun. And might disappear overnight very, very soon.

And I know I already posted a similar photo on ig but had to cackle at the unfortunately timed burst of wind -- baby got back.

Not funny, G. And neither is that full on belly clutch.

Alright, that's all. I told myself I wasn't going to blog this week and tackle all of our closets instead but this was so much more fun for everyone, wasn't it?

Don't answer that.

But do have a happy rest of your Tuesday :)


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20 January 2017

1. One of these days I'll stop rapid fire posting photos of the kids + Diego but today is not that day, sadly. We did learn the unfortunate lesson to not take Diego on walks while there is track practice going on at the park near our house. Diego tried to outrun all of the runners and I'm convinced that we could've attached him to a covered wagon filled to the brim with the Pattons and he would've had us home in eight seconds flat. Homedog does not like crowds of strangers especially those that are sprinting towards him. I can't blame him but never again - or, not for a long, long time.

2. If you're as much of a birth story fiend as I am -- you will thoroughly enjoy Nell's most recent. And then you'll want to send her a life size trophy and a lifetime's supply of her favorite confection.

3. I took your appreciated Kate Morton advice and started The Secret Keeper and am liking it a whole lot more than The House at Riverton. The Couple Next Door also just came off the looooong library wait list so I might have to try to tackle that on the side this week too. We'll SEE.

4. I felt like (aside from the obligatory Corinne drama) this week redeemed itself after last week in Bachelor land. Or, at the very least - Vanessa's date did. I don't doubt that editing plays a big fat role in that show but (make fun of me if you must!) I was almost touched when Nick cried on their date. However, I can see her not sticking around if he keeps up the Corinne-like shenanigans. As always, I LOLed my way through Ashley's recap and loved both of Sharleen's posts on the episode (blog recap and Flare recap). I'm still hoping we see more from Rachel, Sarah, and Whitney. Time will tell, won't it?

5. I keep kicking myself because one of the reasons I even wrote this post was because I wanted to pass along how much I'm loving my phone charger. Yes, it's a wild life. Maybe you don't struggle with shredded and/or short cords like I do but this bad boy has solved all of the above problems. Again, wild!

6. I'm not in the market for new tennis shoes but if I were these pale pink (beige? they look pale pink to these aged ages) Nikes would be at the tippy top of my list. Hopefully the pink sneaker trend sticks around for just a little bit longer.

7. On the worthwhile sale front: J.Crew is offering 40-60% off their clearance section and I think my favorite top would have to be this one despite not really being a pink person. Their swimsuit sale selection is decent and worth scouring before the full price suits hit the racks in a few months (weeks?!) time.

I think Simon is finally hooked on the Crown so off we predictably trot!
Have a great weekend!

(linking up with Kelly!)

thank you!

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19 January 2017

Simon and I were truly blown away by how kind and generous everyone was with their excitement over the new baby - THANK YOU!! We feel so fortunate.

Have you ever seen a more crystal clear ultrasound ever? Neither have I. This was at eight weeks and if you look really close you can totally see him/her waving/winking/other crazy trick. Joke, joke.

I guess I just feel like people have been losing sleep over wanting to know intricate details about the baby and the pregnancy thus far? So, I'm here to deliver. And quit it with the puns.

I could simple say I'm 18 weeks along but I'll say that I'll be 19 weeks on Saturday because that makes me feel better about how pregnant I feel (not a complaint, at all). It was a rough first trimester BUT I was so grateful to feel so sick because I had bleeding identical (if not more worrisome) to my miscarriage this summer and assumed I was having another one since I never even so much as spotted with the other fives kids but the bleeding eventually stopped and everything has checked out great since then. Unlike Bosco, this baby moves nonstop (I'm pretty sure I had an anterior placenta with him) which brings me great peace of mind.

Back in October Simon and I gone out for dinner and ice cream sans kids and I forgot my purse at the ice cream place so Simon ran back to get it after we came home and paid the sitter. While he was gone I realized that despite feeling like a raging + crying pms-y b I was technically "late" which definitely didn't mean anything but I took a test on a whim anyway and it was immediately positive. Simon walked in the door and I burst into tears and he was SO confused about what I was so upset about. I wasn't upset but really happy and in disbelief because I feel like I generally have a decent gauge on early pregnancy symptoms (apparently not). We waited to tell the kids until recently at which point Julia told the whole world (maybe she even told you) and Sebastian keeps forgetting and acting surprised all over again, "wait - you're having a baby?!" -- yep.

I'm due June 17th and Bosco's birthday is June 15th (he was due the 27th - I'm pretty sure) so we'll see if they share a birthday. I don't imagine it would be super fun to share a birthday with a sibling but maybe it would! I'm not sure. Sebastian is the closest I ever got to my due date at two days prior so it's definitely a possibility!

I'm so excited that Kate has offered to do a name consultation because Simon and I find ourselves looping back to the kids middle names wondering if we could double dip - we got nothin'. Well, we have a few ideas but nothing concrete at all and we don't have super similar name taste which always make the discussions interesting.

Yikes this is long. My anatomy scan is next week but we'll find out if the baby is a he or she when they are born - although I have to admit I'm kind of tempted this time around. Of course it would be fun to have another girl but I also love the idea of having a little buddy for Bosco (of course he could have a girl buddy, I'm just saying!) so we are honestly very indifferent on that front.

I'm always surprised how many people ask if Simon is my doctor or if he delivers our kids and the answer is no and no. I know some women like their husbands to deliver the babies but I am not one of them :)

I'm pretty much over the super sick hump aside from the occasional morning which is really nice and I don't take that for granted at all. It helps to exercise (holler at my steps) and not eat crap which is forever easier said than done.

Alright, this is reading like a robot wrote it but I'm trying to beat the nap time/school pick up crunch without being the last parent to pick up their kids (so guilty, so often) so - that's all.

No it's not.


I'll begin providing daily bump documentation very soon. Right now I've got a face full of the most stubborn acne (prime sign of a girl for me BUT I think I had some with Bosco too, I think) to show for my gestation and about three hours of searching for my boxes of maternity clothes under my belt (still no luck - WHYWHYWHY) so I'd say it's all been very smooth sailing indeed.

Thank you again!!!!

day date

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18 January 2017

Simon was out of town quite a bit last week for business and pleasure so in between trips we were able to steal a little time for an in-home lunch date.

We fed the kids early (so that they could go right down for naps while we ate) and got to work on my favorite Blue Apron meal of all time (and I've tried many many many of their meals!) ... the Sweet Potato and Green Chile Quesadillas with Arugula & Avocado Salad.

Over Thanksgiving when Simon's family was visiting my sister-in-law (married to Simon's younger brother) said that one thing Patton men excel at is their quesadillas so I went ahead and handed Simon the reins ...

the master and his craft.

Of course while we/he were getting everything ready we had plenty of "help" afoot ...

One of the things I love most about Blue Apron is that it gives me ideas for future meals to make and add to our embarrassingly predictable rotation. We are big fans of green chile in this house but would I have ever thought to throw them in a quesadilla with sweet potatoes? No. Never.

Simon told me to "act natural" while chopping ... couldn't do it. I wasn't cut out for the stage. And that's okay.

In the sad event that you've never heard of Blue Apron let me give you a quick rundown on what it is exactly!

+ Blue Apron is a wonderful service that delivers farm fresh ingredients right to your doorstep, in the correct portions, 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 stayed impressively cool last summer on our porch in the Florida heat!)
+ They are currently working toward developing a sustainable food system and uses very high quality ingredients
+ 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!

Look out! Simon's getting artsy on us.

And the final product ...

I was most looking forward to those quesadillas but the salad proved to be a very dark horse with its warm shallot dressing that I want to eat with every meal for ever and ever. And ever.

Simon admitted that he was skeptical going into the meal because he's a self professed, "meat and sauce guy" (his words) of which there was none but said he was proven wrong because he agreed it was our best Blue Apron meal to date. He even went to store on his own accord yesterday and bought everything we needed to recreate the entire meal. And Diego who is partial to dog food, high chair droppings, and all meat - is looking at my plate longingly (stage right).

Want to try it out? You should! The first 50 readers to click and order through this link will get three meals for FREE.

And if you'd like to get inspired you can look through Blue Apron's amazing recipes (no charge, of course) right on over here.

Thank you for reading a big thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post!

big man on camp{us}

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17 January 2017

Please excuse that terrible title. Or don't - you should be used to them by now, anyway.

Simon is going to tell me to take this down but I had to throw up a little post (complete with Christmas Cardesque photos) to commemorate the exciting fact that he passed his oral boards last week!!!

We just found out today but he flew out to Dallas last week, sat in front of some people (I'm going to assume doctors but what do I know? nothing) who asked him questions about OB/GYN for three (!!!!!!!!!!) straight hours and Simon prevailed. I never doubted that he'd pass on his first try but he reminded me nightly as he went upstairs to hole himself away to study for hours on end that, "three out of twenty DO people fail!!" -- noted. I still had total faith.

He passed his written boards a few days after we moved here and I neglected to get it up on the blog because of brand new baby Bosco and unpacked house of horrors but that was no small feat either.

I tried helping Simon study once by asking him questions like the panel might and could only pronounce a good 54% (that's generous) of the words - I don't know how you medical folks do it. But you do! And I'm forever grateful.

So, a big fat congratulations, Simon! We're so proud of you! And I know we make you proud too ;)

Let's celebrate by eating the run-of-the-mill dinner I had planned. I'll even do the dishes!



photos by Becca!

the lineup ...

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15 January 2017

... is about to go through a little change up ...

... and Bosco couldn't be more thrilled.

All the other Pattons are really excited though! Phoebe is dead set on the wildly original names, "Pink" for a girl and, "Blue" for a boy and her parents think she just might be onto something.

Also, my mom thinks we were lied to about Diego's age and I think she might be onto something too.

Happy Sunday (night)!

Friday the 13th

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13 January 2017

1. I keep thinking his shoe his untied but then I remember - velcro 4ever. Also, I gave the three boys haircuts last night (this was precut) and Bosco didn't even seem to notice that I was cutting his hair while Sebastian and Theo kept up the traditional, "are you amputating our ears?" shrieks and protests charade. Fiesta forever.

2. I used Framebridge (not sponsored - although I know they've worked with bloggers in the past!) to send a few Christmas gifts this year and just had to say how pleased I was with their products and delivery (handwritten notes!). The price felt fair considering how convenient it was compared to the alternative. I know there are other online framing services out there so let me know if you've had a good experience with others!!

3. Alright, I bit the Kate Morton bullet and I went with one of her earlier books and um, it's dragging. I normally love getting in bed at night to read but find myself looking for other distractions (face mask! make a dent in the laundry folding! etc!) instead. Maybe I'll pick up one of her more recent books and go from there? Or maybe I can just grow up and power through. Also, Erin's book came in the mail this week (I pre-ordered it in May - I've waited long enough!) and I have to admit that she's been my guilty nap time pleasure and that isn't helping matters either.

4. Needless to say this week's episode of the Bachelor was a huge disappointment for a whole slew of reasons (the least of which was - it's TOO early for "to be continued" episodes - ABC - too early!) Luckily, Ashley and Sharleen saved the recap day but I've got high hopes for this coming week to make up for last week's train wreck. It was interesting hearing Jade's take on Liz on one of my favorite podcasts. I really hope that don't drag that storyline out this week but they probably will, won't they?

5. In the same vein, Brissa did her first Bach Bash on YouTube and I can only hope and pray she'll continue. She did say it was weekly so I think the odds are in my favor. Also! Julie is doing an impressive and phenomenal 30 day New Year: Best You! series. It is well worth your time and she's so kind to put it on for FREE!

6. On the sale front ... Loft's 60% off clearance (and 40% off everything else) is still going strong and they added a bunch of new styles. Almost makes me wish it stayed cold here for an extended period of time -- almost!! The sizes are super limited but I love this funnel neck coat and on the other end of the spectrum - they have one of the cutest and most inexpensive collections of sunglasses around.

7. Alright, now that Simon is finished with his oral boards (party emojis GALORE) I'm going to see if I can talk him into a little Poldark or The Crown action. Wish me luck.

Happy Freakin' Weekend. 

things I'm loving these days: tangible and not

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12 January 2017

I'm really resisting linking to La Bouche's "Be My Lover" as a fitting but inappropriate accompaniment to this post. I'm sorry and you're welcome for even mentioning it.

Onward and most definitely upward.

I'm always catching myself wanting to text all of my friends about this or that but sometimes catch myself and think - let's just blog that, Patton. Save yourself the thumb energy. So, here we are - for better or worse.

+ we'll start with the big guns or singular gun. I hemmed and hawed about getting a Nespresso but Amazon's deal put me over the edge and I used some Christmas money to get one shortly after Christmas. It's amazing. I'm resisting throwing that in all caps but it really is that great. Keep in mind - I'm not a coffee snob (I'm more of a sugary creamer glutton) and I don't even need coffee every day but I love the Nespresso we got. I especially love that I've been able to put canned coconut milk (just make sure it's not a SOLID block) in the milk frother and it still froths beautifully. The only problem is that my kids love it too so I have to drink it fast or fasten my mug to the top of my head if I don't want to share.

+ this isn't something I'm loving but I know eventually I will. It's embarrassing how much of a life disrupting shift it's been too. I decided to move the little kids' naps to before school pickup vs. after. I KNOW. MY LIFE!! How do you keep up? The pros are that the little kids go to bed much earlier (Bosco is completely falling apart at 6:30) but the cons are that sometimes Phoebe and Theo don't nap (they just aren't tired at noon and I don't blame them) so my little sliver of quiet/cleaning/blogging time gets eaten into (yesterday Theo completely dismantled his and Sebastian's beds and Phoebe emptied the girls' dresser - drawers on the floor and all and I couldn't really be mad because they were both happy and quiet but putting their rooms back together? not fun) but ultimately - earlier bedtimes make for happier and more productive parents at night. Previously, the kids would nap till 5:30 (or 6 or later if I let them) and it was okay but bedtime got blurred and dicey and late for the nappers. How am I still typing about this? I could dedicate a whole series of posts to the subject so count your blessings, dear reader.

+ I got this hair oil in one of these boxes and was expecting the usual meh results that I get from all other hair oils (yes, all of them) but this stuff is different for some reason. I have really oily hair but get frizzy fly aways in the cooler weather and this takes care of them without weighing my hair down and it smells so good. If they bottled it up and solid it as a perfume - I would be first in line to purchase.

+ Like the rest of everyone, I'm trying to eat better in the new year and while I've browsed her site before I'm just now realizing how incredible virtually ALL of Against All Grain's recipes are. I might even have to spring for one of her books. I don't want to admit how many days in a row I've made her Asparagus Benedict. I've even got Simon and Phoebe and (believe it or not!!) Bosco hooked.

+ this article about sweet Joy. Have your tissues ready!!

+ all of your comments on Tuesday's post - some of them were so genius (making a loaf of pb+js ahead of time and freeze to thaw one or more at a time as needed) and I want to cross stitch them all and hang them on my wall. Thank you all very kindly.

+ Diego! This is a given but he's been such a fun and great addition to our family and I might be having anxiety about how he is going to do when we go to my sister's wedding (he'll be fine! I'm just crazy!) and I'll have to write a little updated post on his adjustment period but the kids are all still completely smitten and he seems happy to be a permanent Camper.

+ uno mas! And the most glamorous one of all. Diego has been pretty good about his housebroken status but there have been a few accidents and when they happen on our rugs (but look! alllll this wood and laminate flooring, D!) I've been super impressed with this stuff. Also very effective with toddler accidents - not that we know anything about those over here. Nada.

And I'll leave you on that most pleasant note. I always love hearing what you're loving too!



staying sane in the trenches + three things that have helped!

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10 January 2017

Alright, alright, alright.

Big fat disclaimer that I don't have it together. At all. I hate to ever come off as doling out parenting advice or any advice at all because I don't have it figured out and am not one of those moms that people look at with admiration, wonder, and sparkling eyes and ask, "how do you do it?!" because well, I don't!

But! I've been mulling over little things that have remained constants throughout my tenure as a mother of small children (I would say that I'm mostly out of the trenches! I drop two kids off at school in the morning! The majority of my kids aren't in diapers! etc etc etc) that have helped me in a big way. I've narrowed it down to three but there are many more. Maybe I'll spill and expound on those at a later date if you rub your lucky rabbit foot just so during an especially full moon. Or something.

1. walks - I'll never forget staring down a call weekend when Julia and Sebastian were little and I was pregnant with Theo and just feeling a greater sense of dread and doom than I normally felt. So I did something about it. I found a double jogger on Craigslist, drove to the seller's house, and bought it. Yes, I was bold back then. Joke font. But, it did completely change my life. Along with headphones. It's not always super fun to take multiple kids to the park (or is it ever fun? am I the worst? yes) but it we made a daily habit of taking long walks and sometimes runs around the neighborhood. When Theo came along we lucked out and found a discontinued triple jogger and the tradition continued. I had my weather standards but we'd bundle up when it was tolerable and everyone came back home feeling a little less crazy (or maybe that was just me). Now, the kids and I parade around the neighborhood with Diego in tow and sometimes it feels futile telling the boys not to wrestle in someone's front yard and Phoebe to please stop asking me to blast Sia but I never regret getting outside and letting everyone get some energy out. So, Walk Advocate - throw it on my impressive resume.

2. grocery delivery - I was so so adamantly opposed to this for so long. A few people suggested it to me but I actually liked getting out of the house to go grocery shopping (I still do! Just not with everyone) because it was a nice break in the day and the kids were USUALLY well behaved with the free cookie bribe at the end of the trip. And then Bosco came along and the logistics of keeping track of everyone in the store and in the parking lot was just too overwhelming for bb Grace. Someone had recommended Shipt (not sponsored in any way) so I gave it a go and my life! It changed! They've made a few errors but are always very apologetic and credit my account more than is necessary. I know there are lots of delivery services these days (I've tried Amazon Prime Now and was less than impressed but - I've only done it twice) and of course we still do the big Costco trip but for the things Costco doesn't carry - I'm allll about getting things delivered. I actually feel like it saves me money because I can see what is on sale that week and there is NO temptation for impulse buys (hello peanut butter Oreos).

  3. keychain thing - technical name. My mom came to visit and generously watch the kids way back when Simon, Phoebe, and I made a trip down here to Florida to scope the area and when I came back she had put one of these on my keychain. Bettina and her infinite wisdom! I thought it was ugly but QUICKLY saw the genius that it was and haven't looked back since. I used to lose my keys between the ignition and the parking lot ALL THE TIME. Between unbuckling and buckling car seats, making great compromises about who was going to sit where in the cart etc etc etc - I'd lose them. I'd always eventually find them but in the summer months when I never wore anything with pockets - it got ugly and I bet I lost hours of my life listening to crying kids while I looked for the cursed keys. Now? I just put the keys on my arm during that transitional time of getting everyone out and settled, locking the doors, and THEN putting the keys in my designated purse pocket. My life - it's complicated, I know.

So - trivial? Yes. Helpful? Hopefully.

If there's something you would add (there are hundreds - I know!) let a lady know!

Happy Tuesday!!

Joy, miracles, and more

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06 January 2017

1. First and foremost thank you for all of your prayers and love for Joy! I put the latest update on the blog post but she's awake! She seems to be doing well and is breathing on her own! Your prayers are greatly appreciated as she continues to heal over the following weeks and months.

2. Speaking of (much lesser) miracles ...

If you watched the video of Diego's arrival you'll know that Phoebe was formerly very afraid of any and all dogs. Funnily enough, Diego isn't a fan of other dogs (the smaller the scarier) at the moment so these two make the perfect pair. It will be interesting to see if Phoebe is still deathly afraid of my mom's (not scary) Corgi in February when we go to New Mexico. Is this the most exciting paragraph you've read all year? I'm going to assume YES. But, I'm so grateful he's a fan of walks now because as much as fun as pushing him in the stroller WAS ... he needs his exercise (I think, I'm not a dog expert).

3. Do you have any great 2017 goals/resolutions you want to share with a goal killer? I resolved not to be late for commitments/school/etc but have already failed miserably less than one week into my noble quest. I'm not giving up though. The year is young and my standards aren't lowering. Yet.

4. It's been a couple weeks since I've shared my literary feats which is probably for the best because nothing has really stood out. At all. I read It Ends with Us which was quick and easy and intense but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. I really want to read some Kate Morton since so many people seem to love her books. Simon is reading All the King's Men for his book club and he keeps saying how well written it is so maybe I'll give it a stab as well.

5. I mentioned that I ordered some of this makeup in December and have to report back that I'm a big fan. The boy brow, balm dotcom, and eyeliner especially. They claim their one nail polish shade is universally flattering and being the polish slooze that I am - I might have to test that claim. I just might.

6. I'm not sure how I made it all the way down to numero cinco without mentioning the Bachelor but it's 2017 and anything is possible, I guess. Simon bought me an antenna for Christmas so I get the watch in real time this season (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) without camping out on the treadmill at the gym for two hours. My life is forever changed. I have to agree with Sharleen's top picks but add in Sarah (runner up girl - I thought it was a cute entrance). This deserves it's own take because my girl, A. Jones recapped night one which MADE MY LIFE. Even if you don't watch the show - her recaps are comedic platinum. I hope and pray she recaps the entire season.

7. It seems like the New Year sales (are those a thing? I guess so) are still going strong but the best I've seen is 60% off clearance right on over here. Everything seems to be pretty well stocked (this blouse I mentioned a few weeks ago is marked down from $60 to $15 and all sizes are available) and while stores seem to be eager to roll out spring styles I know much of the country is still very entrenched in warm weather clothing so it works out well. Also, if you're still in the market for the perfect pair of ankle boots - these are 30% off and so, so cute.

Alright, I could go on for five more takes but I'll stop HERE. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and happy Epiphany!


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02 January 2017

(birth story to accompany that rough looking newborn face right here!)

Between sweet Joy's accident and having guests in town - Theo's birthday sort of got overlooked on his actual birthday (12/30) on the blog. We did celebrate and he had a wonderful day though, I assure you. I know it's not a popular parenting opinion but I'm always a little bit sad to say goodbye to three because I love three year olds (it's two year olds that we seem to struggle with around here) and Theo was no exception. We'll still love him now that he's four though, I GUESS.

While he can throw down an impressive temper tantrum he also maintains a pretty agreeable and adorable (he's my offspring - of course I think that) demeanor. Theo always has a lot to say and is always up for a good debate/compromise session with his parents over, "one more cookie?!" or, "just ONE show" and has been known to show up at my bedside circa 3:50 in the morning with a cup in hand thinking maybe he can trick me into sleepwalking into the kitchen to make him some chocolate milk (false, Theodore, false!). He's always dramatic about smells and sticks a finger inside each nostril and makes a big scene if the aroma du jour is not to his liking.

Theo recently started collecting rocks (pieces of broken asphalt from our street) and the other kids know to hide the prized collection when they really want to get under his skin.

When he's scared or hears something he thinks could be scary he says, "oh dear!" and it cracks me up like the mom that I am.

He likes to "fly" everywhere he goes ...

... complete with sound effects but he's always happy to take any empty spots in the stroller when we are out and about on walks.

If I wasn't ready for a kid to go to preschool it would have to be Theo because he's such a homebody like his mom but I know he'll love it (in seven months, let's not get ahead of ourselves, G-unit). While Julia and Sebastian are always quick to tell me how much they hate rest time at school I have every faith that Theo will be its BIGGEST fan. Homeboy loves his sleep.

And Diego, and food, and quality time with Mom and Dad, and food, and his siblings. Most of the time.

Happy happy (belated) birthday Theo! Thank you for being the easygoing middle child that you are!


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