Wednesday, December 21, 2005

All I Want for Christmas is Isaac's Teeth!

It was bound to happen. I suppose Isaac could not have gone around the rest of his life simply gumming his food. At some point, he is going to have to get some teeth. For weeks he has been attacking things with an almost disturbing ferociousness attempting to get such desired item into his mouth. Friday night while eating-out, he so desperately wanted to gnaw on my salad fork. Yesterday was what I consider to be our first official teething day. It was filled with much moaning, gnawing, and crying. We had the baby oragel out in full force, along with the infant tylenol. At his four month check-up, the pediatrician suggested giving him a frozen pancake to chew on during stressful teething times. This idea is simply hilarious to me and I could barely tell Tobe about it due to fits of laughter. Our freezer holds no frozen pancakes, but does have a lonely Ego Special K waffle left over from my pregnancy days (one of the few things tolerated for breakfast). I might be tempted to pull that out and hand it over to Isaac. Despite his pain and discomfort, Isaac was able to throw in a few grins and giggles throughout the day. If you happen to see a baby riding around in a stroller, sucking on a waffle, that is likely Isaac.

Christmas Craft 2005 update: The craft is finished and all wrapped under the tree! Yippee! Now the hard part is transporting such presents to and fro without anything breaking or the dried macaroni falling off.

Despite his tooth agony, Isaac wanted to send out a Christmas greeting to all of his blog readers. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Two stories for the price of one

A few posts ago I promised to rehash the story of the day I discovered I was pregnant. Perhaps you were hoping I had forgotten this promise, but unfortunately for you (and sometimes Tobe) I have the memory of an elephant. It was a year ago November 29th that I came home from work and took a home pregnancy test. Tobe and I had been hoping for a positive pregnancy test for months and months. Because we are very proactive people and not getting any younger, we had been to different doctors and had some tests to make sure we could have a child on our own. My doctor, being proactive herself, had written me a prescription for Clomid to fill if I did not get pregnant in November (by the way, my OBGYN is WONDERFUL. If you live in my area and need a doctor, please let me know and I will pass along her name). So this cold November day I drove home, thinking of babies, and decided to just take the stupid pregnancy test, see another negative, and go fill the prescription for Clomid. I decided to do all of this because I was attending a baby shower that night and did not want to sit there saying, "What if....." I would have my Clomid and we would be good to go the next month.

I came home and went through the "delicate" process of taking a home pregnancy test. Before I could even put the test down and wait the suggested three minutes, it turned positive. Thankfully I had already emptied my bladder, because I might have had an accident right there. I remember running through the house just saying "oh my" over and over again. Then the phone rang and the caller ID said it was my mom. Of course I could not answer it because she would know something was different about my voice. I realized that Tobe would be home soon and I needed a cleaver way to share this wonderful news with him. That morning we discovered our schedules would not really meet up until after I got home from the baby shower later that evening. Fearful he would run off to the gym while I was out thinking of a creative "Your a daddy now" gift, I left a note telling him I had something important to talk to him about that happened at school that day and to hold off on the gym until I got home. I jumped in the car and rushed to Main Street. Since we live in a wine-producing city, I figured I would get him a bottle of wine that read "Don't Open Until August 2005". I went to the first winery on Main Street and inquired if they did personalized labels for wine bottles. The owner said they did and asked me what I wanted the label to read. He then informed me that you must buy a "batch" of wine with this label. A batch was 200 bottles. Knowing we didn't need 200 bottles of wine, I left the store dejected. I walked up and down Main Street, attempting to come up with something creative. As I was becoming desperate and had started looking for a "Baby on Board" sign from the 80's, I stumbled upon Devine Wine Winery. I went inside, inquired about the personalized label, and about buying individual bottles. The wonderful shop owner told me they could do a personalized label on an individual bottle. She then helped me select a tasty wine and a cute label. As I was about to pay for my purchase, she told me I could stop by the next day to pick up my wine. Apparently they were about to have their grand opening in twenty minutes and were closing early that day. She must have sensed something was wrong by the expression on my face and decided that they would make the label for me right then. I left the store skipping, grasping my prized purchase in my hand.

Tobe was in his study when I got home. He looked at me with a confused expression when I entered the room, since I was in my work clothes and my note told him I was at the gym. I handed him the gift bag and said, "Look what I got at school today." He opened it, read the bottle, and a huge smile lit up his face. Much laughter and celebration followed. I then realized that I could not attend the baby shower that night because it would be so hard to keep this marvelous secret. I called my friend Kelli, making up some excuse as to why I would not be in attendance (in case you are keeping track, that is three little lies I told that day: 1. the gym 2. someone had given me a present at school 3. excuse for not being at baby shower---OOPS!).

Now for the second story. Tobe and I decided not to tell any friends about the pregnancy until we had told our parents. He was graduating with his PhD in a few weeks and my parents were coming down for the ceremony and celebration. We decided that would be the perfect time to tell them the exciting news. My parents were set to arrive in from Arkansas around 4pm on that Thursday afternoon. The plan was for them to come to our house, then we would all drive up together to the restaurant where Tobe's dad worked and eat dinner together. My parents were a little early, so the four of us sat around the living room chatting until time to leave for dinner. My mom kept asking me what was wrong, because I was talking very excessively and rapidly due to this exciting news we were about to share. Tobe told her I just loved the holidays (we were a week away from Christmas by this point) and that was why I was so hyper. Tobe's parents called and said they would have to take a raincheck on dinner due to some scheduling conflicts. Fortunately Tobe figured something out and reworked our dinner plans so the six of us could still eat together. Finally we arrived at the restaurant and ordered our meal. Tobe left to "go to the bathroom" and came back to the table with a present for each of our parents. He told them he wanted to give them something out of appreciation for supporting him during all of his years of education. They opened their presents and just starred at the contents. Inside my mother's box was a stuffed yellow lion and inside Tobe's mom's box was a stuffed purple elephant. My dad was shocked to find the book "The Bernstein Bears Visit the Doctor" as his present, while my father-in-law discovered the book, "My First Hammer" in his box. The four of them sat quietly at the table for a minute, wondering why Tobe had given them such bizarre gifts as a token of appreciation. Then Tobe's dad figured out the connection as did my mom. When Tobe's mom understood what all the gifts meant and who they really were for--the future grandchild--she burst into tears. It was a wonderful moment of celebration.

And now a year later we have sweet little Isaac to kiss and hold. Sweet little Isaac who only cried once during church yesterday---except that "once" happened to be during his blessing/dedication in front of the congregation. Sweet little Isaac who smiles at some strangers who stick their face into his stroller and cries at others like he did a few hours ago at Barnes and Noble. Sweet little Isaac who kicks his legs like a madman in the bathtub when I sing "Splish Splash I was taking a bath..." Sweet little Isaac who now cries when we start our naptime routine because he hates going to sleep. Sweet little Isaac who jumps out of terror at the Dragon on the Baby Einstein videos every time he watches it.

These are my precious stories to share in this season of joy and happiness. Feel free to print them off your computer and read them around the fireplace on Christmas Eve instead of "The Night Before Christmas." Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Craft Conundrum

I am alive!!! I know that it has been four long days since my last post and my five readers were questioning my existence, but I have been in craft horrorland (wanted to keep this with a G-rating because some former students read this blog) for the past few days. I love all things crafty, especially during the holiday season. Typically I make some sort of present for our relatives. One year it was serving trays and another it was nightlights. Perhaps my relatives dread opening the gift marked, "From Tobe and Lynley" because they know I have made the present and they fear it is their last name etched in dried macaroni. No one has ever spoken of this fear, so I continue to handmake the majority of our Christmas presents. There has only been one time in the past when I embarked on a craft journey during the holiday time that lead me to tears of frustration. This was the year of the ornament, when I handmade intricate designs on a Styrofoam ball out of straight pins and sequins. Sounds terribly horrible, but has a beautiful result. This process takes hours because each sequin must be put on individually, until you can no longer feel the pads of your fingertip from pushing pins into foam. This year's craft is causing an equal amount of distress. It does not involve sequins or pushpins, but does have some cursing and tears. Some of you readers know the pain of this craft (please don't mention it in the comments so my relatives can be dutifully shocked on Christmas morning) and have heard my complaining this week either in person or via email. Christmas is a week away and this craft is still sitting on my fireplace, eagerly awaiting completion. However, today I have managed to take 54 pictures of Isaac in front of the Christmas tree (no exaggeration), take a nap, talk to Tobe, make hot chocolate (Best Kind: Swiss Miss marshmallow lovers made with milk rather than the suggested water), and now blog hoping to avoid this craft. Will my relatives rip into their beautifully wrapped Christmas presents only to find a half-finished project? I will let you know on December 26th.

(Isaac wondering if this present was handmade or is a real gift)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Our New Business

Despite the fact that we both have masters' degrees in psychology and Tobe has PhD, I have decided that the Phillips' clan is starting a new business. Care to know what that is? Well, my friends, we are going into the Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Great Pumpkin business. Yesterday I bundled up my precious boy (Isaac, not Tobe) and we headed off to the mall. I was determined to get his picture made at a reasonable price with jolly ole Saint Nick. Did this Santa picture cost $10? Nope. It cost $12.99. The 17 year old photographer tried to convince me that this was a reasonable price, considering Santa has a real beard and I would get a coupon for a free 5 x 7 with the Easter Bunny in the Spring (after paying the $12.99 again). When did we go from kids climbing up onto Santa's lap and telling him their wish list to this being a professional portrait session? Do the people organizing such events not know that I can take my child to the Target photo studio and get a package of portraits for $4.99 and not pay a sitting fee?

This is why I have decided that Tobe could dress up as Santa and we could set up our own photo studio on our peninsula (you know what I am referring to if you have visited our house--we live on a lot shaped like Florida. Sounds charming, but it is quite odd). We could charge a simple $3.99 and make a killing. Then come April, Tobe can be the Easter Bunny and then the Great Pumpkin in March. We will have Isaac's college fund in no time.

So yesterday Isaac once again witnessed the cheap nature of his parents. We still have no picture with Santa and I am tempted to take him to Pet's Mart where you can pay one dollar for your pet to have his picture with Santa.

Because we don't have a picture from yesterday, I am posting Isaac being attacked by his vicious purple dinosaur Shred and then attacking his great white Rino. Don't worry, no animals were harmed in this making of this photo.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Santa part 3

Last Saturday we took Isaac for his first Santa visit, which was at a discount drug store. Yes, Santa was young and inexperienced and did appear to have a black eye. That Santa experience part 1 was not the greatest, considering Santa came close to dropping my child (do you have to pay for the picture if that happens?) Well, Saturday Tobe and I attempted Santa part 2. We took Isaac down to Main Street, searching for the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Claus we see every year. They were not at their usual post, so Tobe darted across the street to ask the friendly elf (who was swinging a large candy cane quite haphazardly) where Santa was hiding. Apparently our quaint little town has sold-out to "The Man." Santa no longer resides in the Lancaster Theater where you can pay $1 for a Polaroid and take as many pictures as you want with the family camera. Nope. Santa now lives down by the train station in The Polar Express bonanza where he is charging $10.00 to sit on his lap and you cannot take your own pictures. This was a life lesson for Isaac as he came to understand that his parents are much too cheap to pay $10.00 for a picture that might not look good. Fortunately, Isaac is only four months old and does not know disappointment yet. He just continued to chew on Eleanor the Elephant (his favorite toy right now. Something you should know about Tobe and me--we name all of Isaac's toys that are animals. Poor kid won't get to name them himself one day because we have done it for him) and smile at the Santa on stilts. So today we are going to attempt getting our picture made with Santa again, this time at the local mall. However, if they charge more than three dollars, I am tempted to just have someone snap a quick picture with my camera as I dart in front of Santa holding Isaac up. If you see me on the local news tonight being escorted from the mall, you will know that I had to take matters into my own hands.

Here is Isaac, ready to go see Santa on Saturday

For those wondering, Tobe did great yesterday at the White Rock half-marathon. Isaac and I were quite proud of his time and this life accomplishment. We can't wait to cheer him on when he runs the full marathon in late winter/early spring.

Friday, December 09, 2005


We can officially begin the holiday season because I have finally seen THE quintessential Christmas commercial. Here's the scene: It is early on a snowy Christmas morning. A car pulls up to the classic East Coast home. The front door opens and in pops the rugged college student who is greeted by his younger sister with glee. College student and sister hug, then they are off to the kitchen to put on a fresh pot of coffee. The luscious aroma of the hot liquid brings Mom and Dad downstairs, where Mom says in a shocked voice, "Peter." Yes, this is the Folgers Coffee commercial circa 1982. I get so excited every year when it runs and I always exclaim, "Peter!" After marrying me, Tobe has come to know many of my oddities and this one just causes him to look at me in wonder (not good wonder, but more like "I thought you were more intelligent than this" wonder) and shake his head. Despite the fact that this commercial is at the very least twenty years old and that the young girl is most likely my age (22) and that Peter is likely a 40+ bald actor doing community theater in Northern Kansas, it still brings Christmas cheer into my heart. (I also saw the Campbell's soup commercial where the snowman comes in from outside and melts into a little boy as he enjoys a tasty bowl of Chicken Noodle. This is my second favorite holiday commercial, in case you were wondering)

However, the highlight of today was not seeing the "Peter" commercial. Today was Isaac's four month check-up. For those of you keeping precise details of his growth (I hope someone is because I keep forgetting to write things in his baby book), he now weighs 15 lbs exactly and is 26 3/4 inches long. He is in the 50th percentile for weight and the 95th percentile for height (swim team here we come!). We were glad to get to see his regular pediatrician, as she has been out on maternity leave. (side note: I noticed today that the pediatrician was wearing the red Kabbalah bracelet. I really wanted to ask her if she followed this religion and if she went to church with Madonna. I figured this was not appropriate and kept my mouth shut.) This appointment was also Isaac's second round of vaccinations. I know there is a lot of controversy on vaccinating children and I have done extensive research on this topic. I taught children with autism for four years and am aware of the hype between the supposed link of vaccinations and autism. I don't see this as much more than hype, but I do see the connection between the preservative thermesol (found in some vaccines) and rates of autism. But this connection gets very technical because you start looking at amounts of mercury in the child pre- and post- vaccination. I don't want to bore you with the details. I spent four years as a special ed teacher telling my students' parents that I did not believe in a direct connection between vaccinations and autism. I still don't believe that, but put me in the exam room with my own child and a nurse holding a vaccination and I suddenly have a million questions. I had already talked to our pediatrician and the nurse on separate occasions verifying that they do not use vaccines with thermosol. I had been reassured that they do not (most places do not anymore, with the exception of rural areas), but I still questioned the nurse today. How easy it is to take a stand on something, until that stand impacts the well being of your child.

Isaac did have his three shots today and took them like a champ. We believe that he has my pain threshold (He too can one day slice his knee open to the bone and calmly tell his spouse that a band-aid won't do and a trip to the ER is necessary). He did scream at the initial poke, then just cried out of anger and a sense of injustice after that. I always feel embarrassed when Isaac cries in public and have this overwhelming need to apologize to anyone within twenty feet of us. The exception to this is at the doctor's office, because I usually hear at least three other babies crying as well. Isaac was fine after a few swigs on his bottle, some infant Tylenol, and a nap.

Tomorrow is visiting Santa on Main Street, which can only be better than last weeks Santa (who does appear to have a black eye as Alison pointed out on a previous post) and then spend the night at Nana and Poppa's house so Tobe and I can have a conversation that does not involve discussing poop or formula intake. Tobe is running in the White Rock Half-Marathon on Sunday, in preparation for running a full marathon in the spring. I pointed out to him this afternoon that Channel 8 is doing coverage of the last hour of the marathon beginning at 9:30 am. The marathon starts at 8am, which means the competitive people are finishing with times in the two hour mark. I find that quite unbelievable considering my younger brother who is in excellent physical condition just ran a marathon last weekend and was happy with finishing in under five hours. (The interesting thing about a marathon is that along with water stations they also have food stations along the path. He was telling the family that some of those food stations were Krispy Kreme Donuts and pizza. I cannot imagine running 26 miles at all, but I especially can't imagine running 26 miles while eating a Krispy Kreme). So if you don't happen to be at church yet on Sunday morning and live in our area, flip the TV to Channel 8. Perhaps you will see Tobe jogging by the camera, possibly eating a donut.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Snow Day!

The temperature has continued to fall throughout the day and sleet has been pelting the homestead on and off for hours. It is officially a snow day (minus the snow)! One thing you should know about me is that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE snow! I was the child huddled by the radio (TV did not broadcast our school closings) eagerly awaiting to hear "Searcy Public Schools closed." As a teacher I was just as bad as the students when it came to snow and being out of school. My first year of teaching we had a snow storm hit in early December. As I drove home from work that day, I just knew there would be no school the following day. Tobe and I stayed up late decorating our little house (which had a variety of unique features, such as a bed in a closet, for those of you who never visited the first Phillips' casa) because I KNEW that LISD would cancel school the next day. As I sat in front of my TV waiting for Tammy Dombeck to announce closings, I was struck with disappointment when my district was not mentioned. I was about as grouchy as all the kids that day, who also stayed up late in hopes of a day off.

Although I have no official work to report to now, I still love a good snow day. However, I have grown weary of the 24 hour coverage of the storm that Channel 5 ran all day. Do they really expect me to get up at 1:05am to watch today's episode of Days of Our Lives that they chose not to show at regular time? I know winter weather is a big news story here in Texas, especially considering temps almost hit 90 degrees at Thanksgiving, but I could only watch Crystal Valletta standing on the side of I-35 talking about potential ice and accidents for so long. Tobe worked from home due to an appointment later in the day so Isaac and I got to hang with him in between his important Baylor duties. We all supported my home state and wore Arkansas shirts (this was not Tobe's choice as he was the first one dressed and just happened to wear his Razorback tee. I just made sure that Isaac and I followed suit. ) and took a family portrait by the tree.

Tomorrow it is cinnamon rolls and coffee for breakfast (our winter weather treat as opposed to the everyday Shredded Wheat) and round 2 of Channel 5's around-the-clock coverage of the storm. Happy Snow (minus the Snow) Day!

(editing note: this post was written yesterday, December 7th, but I was just able to post it this morning)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Christmas Miracle


Once I heard this delicious news this morning, I called Tobe at work to tell him. I proclaimed it the Christmas Miracle of 2005.

Blessings and Santa Claus

A week has passed since my last blog, yet it feels like a month. Tobe, Isaac, and I arrived back in Texas on Sunday morning. Although it was a very long and sad four days in Searcy, I felt blessed by the support and love that was showered upon my family. Hundreds of people came to pay their respects to my grandfather and to encourage our family. Living in the metroplex often makes me forget what small town life is like. Entering those Searcy city limits often brings back that culture in an instance. Everywhere I went last week, someone hugged me in sorrow or offered a kind thought about my grandfather. The cleaners did not charge to have the burial suit drycleaned. I went to the local jewelry store and put something on our family account and was given a discount because of the circumstances. Countless people stopped by with food and flowers. I love being able to hop in my car and be at Target or Bed, Bath, and Beyond in five minutes, but that doesn't compare to the blessings a small town holds.

On Saturday we decided to do something "normal" and take Isaac to see Santa. Mom, Dad, Tobe, Isaac, and I loaded up in the van, attempting to find the holiday spirit and a quality Santa Clause. When we pulled into the local USA drug parking lot and started to unload, Tobe innocently questioned as to why we were all getting out of the car. I replied, "To see Santa", with that "DUH" look on my face. Apparently, my big-city husband (by big city I mean Lubbock) thought that we would visit Santa at the mall or maybe even a department store. The stress of the past few days must have gotten to him, causing him to forget that there is no mall in Searcy and that Santa being at USA drug is perfectly normal, as it is the newest store in town (with the exception of Walgreen, who was having a grand opening the next day--very big event). The five of us rushed inside, eager to see Santa and see what Christmas goodies awaited us on aisle seven. I had images of a jolly Santa with rosy cheeks and a hearty laugh, ready to make a timeless portrait with Isaac. What we found instead was a 20 year old Santa who didn't smile or talk and who looked panicked when we placed Isaac in his lap. The "elf" photographer had to tell Santa to hold onto Isaac better. Santa did not sit on an elegant chair surrounded by glittery gifts. Rather he sat in a folding chair with white lattice behind him. It looked like Santa had come in and sat down during the middle of a bridal shower and started posing for Christmas pictures. It was not the Hallmark moment I had pictured.

Regardless of the Santa incident, our time in Searcy was meaningful and blessed. Our family did not once feel alone in our grief, but was able to share it with many. Thanks to all of you readers for your kind comments, emails, and phone calls.

(The Santa picture was supposed to be in the middle of the post, near the Santa paragraph. However, blogger hates me tonight and is causing great trouble. )