Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One of the happiest days and one of the saddest days..

It is past midnight and sleep will not come. My poor husband is asleep on the loveseat as he tried to keep me company while I flipped channels in attempt to avoid thinking. Fortunately the Tyra show was on O.

There have been two days in my life so far filled with unspeakable joy: the first being the day Tobe said he wanted to marry me and the second being the day I got a positive on a pregnancy test. That second day of joy happened a year ago today. I know most people say that the happiest days were their wedding day and the birth of their children. For me, it was the day that laid the foundation for such events that holds the most joy. I will never forget sitting across from Tobe at Razoo's (don't you think of Razoo's when you think of romantic) and us understanding that what was once a deep friendship had become a lifelong commitment. And I will never forget coming home from work a year ago today and taking a pregnancy test to prove to myself I wasn't pregnant, only to discover that I was. It was an answered prayer after months of trying and praying. The story of taking the pregnancy test and telling Tobe is quite funny and will be shared on another day. But that joy my heart felt when I realized God had blessed us with a child is indescribable. It is hard to believe that we have known Isaac for a whole year now.

A year ago as Tobe and I rejoiced in the news of our growing family, we did not know that a year later we would be grieving a loss in our family. My maternal grandfather had a heart attack on Sunday and appeared to simply have the stomach bug. My mom called tonight and said that my dad ( who happens to be my grandfather's doctor) thought we needed to come because things had taken a sudden turn. She then called back twenty minutes later to simply say that my grandfather was gone. I sit here and stare at the blinking cursor, trying to think of what to tell you readers next. As a Christian, I KNOW that my grandfather is in a much better place. I know that the Lord has welcomed him into Heaven and has said, "Well done, My good and faithful servant." I also know that I just saw my grandfather on Saturday and he was healthy and vibrant, wanting to show off Isaac to all his fellow retirement community members. He kept saying, "This is my great-grandson who can read." Just four days ago I was sitting with him in the floor of their apartment, watching Isaac roll over again and again. My mind cannot comprehend the finality of passing, although my faith understands it clearly.

For me, November 29th will always carry great significance from now on. It is a day of beginnings and endings. How thankful I am that God blessed me with a child and gave me the responsibility of raising a Christian man. How thankful I am that my grandfather was close with my husband and was able to know our firstborn. How grateful I am there was no suffering or pain. How blessed I am to have known such a man as my grandfather and to have been influenced by his character.

In a few short hours, Isaac and I will be boarding an airplane to Little Rock to be with the rest of our family. Tobe will be joining us there shortly. Together, with our precious little boy, we will say good-bye to PawPaw.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I am not a superstitious person nor have I fung-shuied my house, however I believe that things happen in threes. You always here E! News talking about how celebrities tend to die in threes. Last year around this time, Tobe and I experienced a lot of great things. All of these happened in sets of three (more on that in tomorrow's blog). Well, yesterday left me with a set of threes that made me want to hide under my comforter and not come out until December 24th.

The morning started off like any other: wake-up, talk to Tobe, shower/dress, coffee, play with baby. Then it hit me.........cramps. Enough said on that topic. So Isaac and I continue on with the day, preparing for an early grocery store run since all that was left in the house was a can of Ranch-style beans and frozen hashbrowns--not a suitable supper. Upon arriving home from SuperTarget (my favorite place, besides Central Market) my mom calls to tell me that my grandfather had been taken by ambulance to the ER due to a bad stomach bug. I felt some concern, but knew that he had a great doctor taking care of him :) and should pull through. Again we continued on with our day, this time pulling out all books Christmas for our storytime. My mom called again. Well, it turns out that my grandfather had a heart attack in the midst of having the stomach bug. This is his second heart attack, the first being when I was in elementary school. When he had his first one, he drove to my dad's office and said "I think I have had a heart attack." (Proof that you should always drive defensively because you never know who is on the road with you and in what condition) This news lead to a series of phone conversations to Searcy to keep updated on tests and my grandfather's condition. And once again Isaac and I continued on with our day, carefully placing my Santa collection around the house. Last night was bathtime and bottle time as usual for Isaac. He didn't take his whole bottle, but had been a little fussy due to missing his late afternoon nap (his choice, not mine!) so I was not concerned (he can't eat when stressed). As I stood up to carry my sleeping angel from the living room into his room, I heard "the noise" and we were both instantly covered in throw-up. This continued for about two and 1/2 hours last night. After the first time, we changed Isaac's jammies and cleaned him all up, only for him to throw -up all over himself and me again (I however had not changed because the sweatshirt I was wearing already had Starbucks coffee, potroast, and hot glue on it). So the evening found the three of us huddled in our little guest bathroom, with Isaac lying on a pallet of towels with only a diaper and socks on. We eventually all moved into the living room, with Isaac in his co-sleeper and us on the couches. I woke every hour to feed him an ounce of Pedilyte and listen for that terrible noise.

So today finds me tired from an eventful day of "threes." My grandfather is still undergoing tests to determine the extent of the heart attack. It appears that he does not have the stomach bug, but his tummy troubles are due to the heart attack. Isaac is fine today, just tired. The doctor seems to think he caught the stomach bug again (it hasn't been two weeks since our last episode), but said if we have another episode soon that we will need to come in for lab work. As for me, I am glad that today brought no "threes" and hopefully will end on an uneventful note.

(Oh, for those of you gathered in our cul-de-sac for the 5th Annual Phillips Family Lighting Ceremony, it has been postponed until tomorrow night. Sorry for any inconvenience.)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving Hoopla

(here we are on Thanksgiving day at my parents house)

We are back safe and sound in lovely Grapevine, USA tonight. The Thanksgiving holiday found us in Searcy, AR visiting with my family. We left early (3:30am) Wednesday morning and had an uneventful trip to Searcy (this word "uneventful" is very important in describing trips to Searcy. Last year at Christmastime it took us 15 1/2 hours to get to Searcy from Grapevine--a trip that normally takes six hours. We got stuck on the interstate in an ice storm and sat on in our car for hours, only to move five feet before having to sit again. This was not a fun experience nor a bonding one. I was pregnant at the time and had a full bladder. There were no bathrooms, just trees and truckers leering out their windows. Needless to say, I stayed in the car fearful any movement would cause an embarrassing accident. It took months before we could laugh about this trip.) Thanksgiving was filled with all our favorite foods (cherry pie, ice cream dessert, turkey and dressing), family, and Isaac screaming due to over-stimulation. I sometimes have these Hallmark images of family holidays and baby's first experiences. Someone forgot to tell little Isaac that these Hallmark images do not include a sweet baby crying uncontrollably until he falls asleep. But we forged on with our holiday celebrations and all ended well.

The most exciting thing about our Thanksgiving was that Isaac rolled over! I know that Isaac will eventually crawl, walk, talk, etc..., but every little milestone holds such excitement. On Monday he began doing "baby push-ups" and by Wednesday he was rolling over from front to back. At first he would become stuck on his side, with his arm and leg kicking in the air and a look of panic on his face. Now he just rolls over, like he has been doing it forever. He rolls over and everyone claps and cheers. This does not amuse Isaac and he simply stares at us like we are idiots. It is good times. We are going to post a link to video so all of you can see this amazing accomplishment--I am sure you will want to cancel your subscription to Netflix and simply watch Isaac roll over again and again.

We left Searcy early this morning and had another uneventful trip home. After unpacking, we hauled in all things Christmas. The tree is up and decorated. I was so excited for Isaac to see it after his nap this afternoon. He just looked at it and then began chewing on his arm. I took that to mean he thought it to be the most beautiful tree ever. We also put up the majority of our outside decorations, which I will finish tomorrow. Tomorrow night will be the 5th Annual Phillips Family Lighting Ceremony where we flip the switch on all the Christmas decorations. Check your local paper for times.

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know that part of the holiday season was ruined when Nick and Jessica formally announced their split. We had a moment of silence for them and for the fact that there is now no chance of another season of Newlyweds. Somehow we will move on.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 21, 2005

My Favorite Things

For those of you Oprah fans, today was her annual Favorite Things show. I found myself wondering as I was cleaning the bathrooms (oh the glamorous life I lead), why do we care what Oprah's favorite things are? This show creates hysteria among audience members. Are they really that excited to hear what Oprah loves this year or they ecstatic that they get a bunch of free stuff (free until they pay the taxes on all the goodies--bet that "free" $1200 purse doesn't look so good then)? Besides, Oprah has admitted that she doesn't have good taste. All of her "favorite" things are likely picked out by a team of stylist and publicity people. Despite my cynical attitude towards this show, I did write on my list of things to do today "Watch Oprah." Yep, it was right there in capital letters below "Change Oil" and "Mop Kitchen". So those readers who think I am hating on Ms. Winfrey, have no worries. I was right there with you, glued to the TV this afternoon at 4pm wondering what she would reveal next. I am just wondering why her favorite things create such a widespread panic. Why do we not care what Steve Martin's favorite things are or even what Crystal Valeta on Channel 11 news has on her Christmas list this year (I just picked her because one time Tobe and I saw her at the Palace Theater here in Grapevine and also because she looks like my roommate from Graduate school). I have decided to disclose my own list of Favorite things, just in case you were wondering and to help you out this Friday as you swarm the malls in search of the perfect gift. However, as you read this list, please don't be disappointed when no one dressed in a elf costume arrives at your computer with all of these items.

Lynley's Favorite Things
(feel free to jump up and down, crying from the excitement you are now experiencing as you anticipate reading this list)
1. Pro-Active Solution: This is the BEST face wash out there. My skin was fine until I went to college in Abilene. I believe that the West Texas water left such harsh deposits on my face that it might never recover. However, once I started using Pro-Active Solution, my skin is clear again and I rarely have any irritation. The best part about Pro-Active is that P.Diddy is now promoting it. I feel like I have a connection with him and am hoping for an invite to his next party in the Hamptons.
2.Flavors of Florence Gelato: Those of you familiar with the Grapevine area, know that Flavors of Florence closed over a year ago. This wonderful shop was within walking distance of our house and we would often go on an evening walk and just "happen" to stop there. Well Flavors of Florence now resides inside Napoli's Italian Cafe on Main Street. They do not have as many flavors as the original store, but it is still quite as tasty.
3. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: I had this huge scuff mark on my kitchen floor that a cute pair of sandals put there LAST summer. I scrubbed at this mark with every cleaner on the shelf at Target and nothing worked. Then I tried the Magic Eraser--the mark came off with ease. This is truly a magic eraser. I plan on cleaning my entire kitchen floor with it.
4. Quick Trip Soda Center: This is the best place to make a large drink to go. You get to choose between crushed, cubed, or "sonic" ice. Then you can make any kind of drink imaginable. Tobe and I went to the QT a lot this summer (we used the pregnancy as our excuse). Our favorite was the Orange Creamsicle, which had orange soda, slurpee, and frothed milk in it. Sounds gross, but it was delicious. You can pick up a recipe book at the Quick Trip which will tell you all sorts of drinks to make or you can go on-line and find QT concoctions.
5. The Amazing Miracle Blanket--If you have a child under five months, you need this blanket. It works wonders for sleep. About ten minutes ago, Isaac started to get cranky and fussy because he was tired. As I wrapped him up, he began to laugh. Then he instantly fell asleep. I cannot say enough how this blanket is truly a MIRACLE!
6. Bare Minerals ID foundation--Again, this is another infomercial product that you can now buy at ULTA. It is the best foundation ever! It is a powder and is great for the skin. About month three into my pregnancy, those hormones kicked in and the skin went crazy. I rushed to ULTA (armed with my $3.50 coupon) and searched for something to clear up my skin. I found Bare Minerals and have never gone back. Yes, it is a little pricey, but I decided that clear skin is worth it. This stuff is so great that you can sleep in it and your skin looks wonderful in the morning. It stayed with me through 26 1/2 hours of labor (see picture--please note that I somehow messed up the dimensions of this picture while moving it. ) Now, if you happen to promote skin care products that are anti-minerals, please do not email me and tell me all the horrible things that will happen to my face in the next 20 years if I put minerals on it. I have seen the baby oil and saltine cracker test and simply don't really care. If it makes me look good today and has sunscreen, then sign me up!
7. Rhodes Roll Dough: I always have a package of this in the freezer. You can make almost anything with this dough: pizza, calzones, pot pie, strombolli, cinnamon rolls, etc. I use it a lot, especially for making our own version of "hot pockets" to get rid of leftovers. Supposedly there is a wheat version of the Rhodes Roll Dough, but I have yet to find it. The key to this baking wonder is to get the roll dough, not the bread dough. The roll dough allows you to pull out exactly the amount that you need, thus avoiding waste.
8. Rachel Ray: This is my favorite chef on the foodnetwork. I know that you cannot go out and buy Rachel Ray for Christmas, but you can purchase her cookbooks, DVDs, and knives. I find her recipe's to be simple, fast, and fun. Plus she is so perky that it makes me want to have my own cooking show.
9.Fleurville Mothership Diaper Bag: This is a wonderful diaper bag. It is sturdy, so you can throw it into the backseat of your car and not worry that it is going to lose its shape. It is vinyl, so your child can throw-up all over it and it looks good as new after a minor scrubbing. Besides, it is called the Mothership. It doesn't get any cooler than that!
There you have it---A list of a few of my favorite things. I hope this helps in your Christmas shopping and cuts down on holiday stress. And for those of you wondering, I did cross "Watch Oprah" off my list at 5pm sharp.

Friday, November 18, 2005

It's Time!!!

Yes, it is finally time to go down the Christmas aisles at Target. I have been holding off because I feel like we are being attacked by the Christmas spirit earlier and earlier each year. Before too long we will be shooting fireworks off to recognize our country's independence and have to be careful not to set the courthouse Christmas tree on fire. However, as this is the weekend before Thanksgiving I am now ready to take in all things Christmas. Today I can drive merrily down Main Street, not having to keeps my eyes averted from the festive decorations which have been displayed for over two weeks now. I can tune my car radio to 103.7 and listen to Delilah spin all the Christmas tunes (when we aren't listening to the famous vacuum cleaner CD). The holiday season is upon us and I am now opening my arms and welcoming all of its commercial charm. I plan on taking Isaac to every available shopping mall with a half-way decent Santa Claus to have his picture taken. Hopefully this won't be a traumatic event and scar him for life (although my younger brother did have a traumatic Santa experience as a small child. My parents thought it would be a great idea to have the town Santa, who happened to be a good friend of theirs, come wake up my brother from his afternoon nap. Turns out that Santa standing over your bed can be quite scary for a child. The good news is that my brother does not flinch when he says a mall Santa and is full of holiday cheer).

Isaac did go to physical therapy this week. We are now going to Our Children's House at Baylor Grapevine. The social worker at Cook Childrens worked wonders with our insurance company. We went from having to pay out-of-pocket to now having to pay nothing. Somehow we aren't even having to pay the $40 co-pay. Yippee!!! We really liked our new physical therapist and will be seeing her on a weekly basis. Some of the stretches that she has us doing with Isaac at home involve a stability ball---the adult size. So not only will Isaac have a stronger neck soon, he might possibly have six-pack abs as well! The physical therapist did have a very fascinating toy by Playskool to help entertain Isaac during tummy time. Unfortunately Playskool does not make this toy anymore. Next week I am taking the digital camera to PT to snap a picture of this plastic wonder and post it for all of you to help in my quest to find it.

Tonight we are having pumpkin pancakes with praline syrup and watching "It's Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown." Tomorrow I am off to Christmas shop while Nana C and Papa babysit and Tobe joins his fellow Frat brothers in a Thanksgiving football game. Hope you get to experience some of this holiday cheer!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sick Baby

Here is Mr. Isaac during the Puke Fest 2005 yesterday. Isn't it sad when you rush for the camera even when they are sick? By the way, he is fine today. Just a bit cranky, but who wouldn't be after an afternoon like yesterdays?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Throw-up Central

Yes, this is what I have officially renamed Casa de Phillips. Today started off like any other Wednesday: morning bottle, sing-a-long time (we have recently added a rendition of O Holy Night that is a bit unfortunate and nothing like Josh Grobins), tummy time, Leap Frog Seat, nap, mid-morning bottle, and then walk. The walk part is where the trouble began. Due to the wonderful cold snap that fell on us last night, Isaac and I headed to our local mall to partake in some mall-walking (there will be a post about the do's and don't's of mall-walking soon). We were strolling right along with Isaac happily chewing on his dinosaur and me attempting to avoid the survey people that lurk near Ann Taylor. Things went downhill quickly when the lady from Kiddie Kandids stopped me to ask if they could take pictures of my child for their store. For our time, we would be give a free 8x10. If I was an unsuspecting parent, proud of her little bundle of joy, I might have jumped at this opportunity. My child, a model for your store?? How marvelous. What this lady did not know was that on our previous lap by Kiddie Kandids I saw her approach another mom and baby and offer the same thing. If I hadn't already been geared up to tell her "no" when she approached, I would have been more than ready to decline when she called Isaac a girl. Yes, he was wearing a sage green outfit today. Sage and yellow are unisex baby colors. However, she should have noticed that he was chewing on his DINOSAUR toy and had a BLUE burp cloth laying in his lap. I sweetly declined and Isaac went from happy baby to fussy baby instantly. I thought at the time is was likely due to sleepiness and the fact someone had called him a girl.

We continued trekking through the mall, attempting to work off those baby pounds. I was only going to let myself make a quick pitstop at The Children's Place to pick-up a red shirt to go with Isaac's Christmas overalls (yes, I finally found some and Isaac will not be wearing a suit this year). While in The Children's Place, I heard a very horrid sound come from the stroller. I lifted up the sunshade to reveal my little boy covered in vomit. There was no mistaking this for some spit-up. Sweet Isaac had thrown up all over himself, his carrier, his blanket, and his burp cloth. Fortunately, the dinosaur was spared. I quickly cleaned him up best I could in the middle of the mall and hurried towards the car. (Fortunately throw-up doesn't effect me at all, after the time that a street child from Kenya threw-up in my face. Of course he was riding backwards in a car, which happened to be his very first time to ride in an automobile. My former students will tell you that I am not afraid of any tummy rumblings. They knew if they wanted to see the nurse because they had been sick in the bathroom, they had to show it to me and it had to be of substantial amount. Usually if a student said he/she needed to throw-up, I handed them the trash can and told them to continue working. If you know what I used to teach, this doesn't sound so cruel. However the trash can thing did backfire on me once when a student threw-up all over a nicely decorated bulletin board.) As I rushed past lazy window shoppers (and once again wondered, "Do these people not work?") I heard what I now refer to as "The Noise" again. I looked down and Isaac had thrown up once more. We made it to the car, drove home, and as soon as I got him out of his carseat he threw-up all over me. I put a call into the doctor and put Isaac into the bath. As I waited for the nurse to call me back, Isaac continued to throw-up and have the dry heaves. I called the doctor's office back and this time was directly connected to the nurse (it is amazing what the words "repeated vomiting and listlessness" can do). I was expecting her to tell us to come right in to see our wonderful pediatrician. Nope. She said we had to go to Urgent Care because Isaac would likely need an IV!

If you happened to be driving down Highway 26 today, you probably saw me. I was the one weaving in and out of lanes, cursing at fellow drivers, and running red lights. Isaac continued to throw-up all the way there and just had this glassy expression on his face. As I rushed him into the Urgent Care, I had visions of ER episodes where swarms of professionals hovered over my child. The lady at the desk who took my insurance card did not seem too concerned about the listlessness and no one rushed through the double-doors to wisk Isaac away. This lack of panic on their part made me calm down somewhat. Tobe showed up from work and we finally got to go to an exam room. Isaac managed to throw-up while the doctor was examining him, so she decided that he needed a sonogram of his abdomen and an x-ray. She then went on to explain how these kind of symptoms could be indicative of an obstructed bowel or of his appendix being on the wrong side, and if either of those were the case we would have to go to Cook Childrens immediately. What??? On my frantic drive to Urgent Care I had not once imagined a misplaced appendix. I had envisioned severe dehydration and IV trees, not things that were obstructed.

Fortunately, the sonograms showed that there were no obstructions and that all internal organs were in their correct place. We gave Isaac some Pedilyte and made sure he could keep it down. Then we were sent on our way with instructions to count wet diapers and that tomorrow could bring with it diarrhea. Apparently Isaac caught a bug--we aren't sure from whom or from where. Currently he is sound asleep, after having a very watered down version of his nighttime bottle. His tummy has been settled since late this afternoon. The washer and dryer have been running nonstop due to the wake of throw-up soiled items that I had left throughout the house as I darted off to Urgent Care. When Tobe and I crawl in bed tonight, we will be thankful for simple puke and correctly stationed appendixes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I know that sometime in the fall Hallmark has created another holiday known as "Grandparents Day." Although unsure of what date Mr. Hallmark chose for such occasion, I choose to acknowledge it today. Those of you who attended the Baker/Phillips wedding many moons ago likely noticed that between Tobe and me we have nine grandparents. Both sets of our maternal and paternal grandparents are alive, as well as my great-grandmother. We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have all of our grandparents with us and serving major roles in our lives. Between them all there is over 250 years of marriage, more than 10 children, and countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Each of these grandparents carries with him/her many great stories of life, from running a cafe at the young ages of 14 and 15 while continuing on with high school, fighting in World War II, running a maternity home, building masterpieces from wood, maintaining a successful cotton farm over the years, and entering into a pre-existing family and stepping up as "mom" to a household of children. The stories of our grandparents could fill blog after blog. However this blog is dedicated to my maternal grandmother, who is on my mind tonight after a very minor health scare.

In my short teaching career, one of the questions I was often asked was, "Where did you learn how to teach like that?" The simple answer was from my mother and my grandmother. Both were teachers and both were excellent at their job. It was in their nature to teach. Instead of being handed the church bulletin to draw on when I became antsy during church, my mom had me practice my cursive handwriting (which paid off when I was awarded with the best handwriting award in second grade--unfortunately there were no college scholarships for handwriting. I still have the award if you would ever like to see it--it sits right next to my Most Improved Swimmer award and my signed letter from Walter Peton recognizing me as the winner of a writing contest). My grandmother is a legend in the small town where I grew-up. She taught second grade forever and it seemed like everyone had her as a teacher. One of her morning rituals (this is no joke--she really did this) was to play "Elvira" by the Oakridge Boys on her record player and dance around the room. She just loved her students, but wasn't that sugary-sweet, let-me-hug-all-your-troubles-away type teacher. Rather she would be very blunt and frank with those wide-eyed eight year olds. The kids just ate this up, likely because no one is usually this honest with children so young. After recess, the kids would huddle around her old brown recliner that sat in the corner while she read them tales of the Boxcar Children or of Ramona and Beazus (where did Beverly Cleary come up with that name???). During this time, it was a treat if you were picked to rub my grandmother's feet while she read. That is how much her students adored her--that wanted to rub her feet during storytime! My grandmother was still teaching when I was in elementary school and during recess I would get to bring a friend into her room and have a treat. Usually this treat was Like cola (remember that 80's drink, post-New Coke and pre-Cheerwine???), which she kept stored at the back of an old fridge.

My grandmother's favorite saying is, "Bless your heart." especially if she is talking about my baby brother (by "baby" I mean my 23 year old, over six feet tall brother). She loves taking us to pizza buffets because my grandfather won't eat pizza with her. Although she lives in a wonderful retirement community, she does not participate in any of the activities because the other people are old. I used to love spending the night at her house as a child because we would sleep with the window open (something I never did at home) and then have toast with peanut butter on it in the mornings (guess that seemed gourmet to me at the time). Outside of their house, my grandmother had these bushes that would blossom with the most beautiful blue flowers. She never said a word when I would pick those off those flowers to my hearts content and use the petals to play flower girl (By the way, I never got to be a flower girl as a child. However, I did practice in case I was ever called into duty for someone's wedding. So if you know someone who needs a flowergirl, I am still available.). My grandmother always kept a supply of Big Red gum, Reeses Peanut Butter cups, and Coke for us whenever we stopped by. In her closet she kept a huge box of Christmas gifts from former students and would let my brothers and me play with this loot for hours. At the time, I though these were priceless treasures that she was entrusting to us. Now I realize that they were simply the unexplainable gifts that her mantle had no home for (there were a lot of snowglobes and wooden calendars), but which carried a sentimental value. Every year my grandmother and I would get together and watch The Miss America pageant (I also practiced for that one as well, but had no talent, so I eventually gave up that dream). We still call each other when it is on TV and root for Miss Arkansas.

There you have it--my thoughts and memories tonight about my grandmother. If you ever visit my hometown, be sure to stop by her cozy apartment. She will let you have your own pack of Big Red gum and will likely tell you what the "old" people are doing that day at the complex. If you are lucky, she will tell you one of her numerous school day stories and maybe even let you play in her box of treasures...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Our new hobby...


For the first four years of our marriage, Tobe and I have attended church stress-free. We are both morning people and had no trouble getting out of bed on the weekends to attend worship services. We had our little Sunday morning routine of waking up, reading the paper, going grocery shopping, and then heading off to church. Then came the baby, whom someone forgot to tell the Sunday morning routine to. Didn't they have like an orientation/Welcome Week (for you ACU readers) in the hospital nursery to let my child know how things run? Perhaps they did and Isaac slept through it (this is the child who slept through his "little boy procedure").

Now the Sunday morning routine consists of trying to get ourselves ready, scheduling feeding times so Isaac can have his second meal as soon as service starts, doing PT time and tummy time, putting Isaac down for his morning nap before church, and then loading everything up in the car and heading off to Trophy Club. Isaac has done remarkably well during church service these first few months of life. I do sit during service now with a little fear that he might possibly decide to yell out during the communion prayer or start crying when the preacher really gets into his sermon. So far we have gone to church without major incident, with one exception. For some reason, Isaac always tends to poop while we are at church. This same little boy has constipation issues every other day of the week, but for some reason all that praising God really gets to him and his bowels. Yesterday was no exception. Within 15 minutes of being at church, we were off to the nursery to borrow the changing table. Perhaps it is my psychology background or just my quirkiness, but I worry about Isaac associating two random things and always pairing such things together. For instance, I remarked in a previous post how he falls asleep after eating his lunch bottle and his last bottle of the day. In those cases he has paired eating with sleeping. Now I am fearful that he has paired church with pooping, which could be a major problem one day when he is asked to lead the closing prayer.

Sidenote: Isaac has just learned this weekend how to vocalize to get my attention. He has been talking and cooing for quite awhile now. He has also been participating in conversations with others (or with himself in the mirror). However, Saturday I had been talking and playing with him, then stopped to talk to Tobe. Isaac began "talking" until I looked at him, then he smiled really big. He has been doing this all morning. I really think that I better start filling out his paperwork for Penn State (chosen for its excellent psych program) now because I think we have a child genius on our hands....... :) We are off tomorrow morning for our second physical therapist visit, this time with Our Childrens' House at Baylor Grapevine (our insurance did not want to cover that as well, despite the fact that this insurance is through Baylor. A wonderful social worker at Cook Childrens did manage to get the insurance to pay. A BIG thanks to her, as all of our relatives were going to get a gift certificate for one session of Isaac's PT for Christmas if we had to pay out of pocket.). We will let you know how that goes and if Isaac wears his sweatsuit and sweatbands.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Day in the Life of....

....Isaac Michael Phillips!

Some of you readers come to this blog to check up on Isaac and could really care less about my ramblings. I thought I should let you know what Isaac has been up to this week and what a typical day is like for him.

We took it pretty easy all this week after last week's numerous doctors' visits, ultrasounds, Halloween, Nana J visiting, fence building, and hearing Mama rant on the phone for hours to the insurance company or about the insurance company to any poor soul that happened to call. This week was all about chillin' at home. Despite the record breaking temperatures, we did go on our walks to downtown Grapevine and the botanical gardens (Why doesn't everyone live in Grapevine? It is just heaven on earth!). The picture I posted is Isaac enjoying the goldfish pond at the botanical gardens. While Isaac napped this week, I cleaned the house. I scrubbed floors with bleach, washed baseboards, dusted ceiling fans, etc. I never really got that nesting instinct those final weeks of pregnancy that I read about. I more had the instinct to lay on the couch and watch Days of Our Lives (you know, because the baby had to rest :) ). I think now that Isaac is here, that whole nesting thing has kicked into high gear. I worry that he is living in a germ pit. Then I worry if the house is TOO clean when he goes out into the world his body won't be able to fight off disease. No one mentioned that the worry hormone kicks in as soon as the baby comes out! So I cleaned the house from top to bottom. Then yesterday I ventured outside of the house during naptime to tackle my duties in the yard (if you don't know, Tobe and I divided up the chores of running a household before we got married. It is a very effective system and I recommend it to everyone. We have never had a fight or even discussion over who does what. Can you tell we were psych majors?). I choose to be responsible for the flowerbeds and the hedges. I took care of these all summer while pregnant, with the exception of one very large bush that Tobe trimmed for me (For some reason he did not want me to climb up on the ladder to trim this bush while 8 months pregnant--could have something to do with the fact that the previous summer while trimming this tree I fell off the ladder, into the bush, and then onto the ground). Since August 3rd, I have neglected the flower beds a bit. Yesterday I hacked away at some unsightly weeds and raked a mammoth amount of leaves into a tidy pile for Tobe. Isaac continued to work on neck and muscle strength more this week. He also has the whole Leap Frog bouncy seat down and enjoys hearing "The bird flies high and low..." Over and over again. He will just talk to those animals and try so hard to get them in his mouth. (The Leap Frog bouncy seat is another recommendation to expectant parents. As far as bouncy seats go, it is pretty tacky looking. However, it is quite entertaining to baby and educational as well. Plus every parent needs to be able to sing "The lion roars hello, the bird flies high and low, the fish swims in the sea..." )

Here is a day in the life of Isaac Michael Phillips:
7:15am Wake-up ...He usually wakes up talking and smiling.

7:30am Eat

8:00am Sing-a-long time with mom (this is only done in private as Tobe is the actual singer in the family), stretches/tummy time, Leap Frog seat time (so I can finish getting ready for the day), story book time (This week, his favorite books have been Duck for President, Click Clack Moo Cows that Type, and Baby Animals)

9:00am Morning Nap

9;40am More stretches/tummy time

10:00am Eat/Watch The View (he loves starring at the TV during the opening of The View. I don't know if it is because it shows people's faces up-close or because he wonders how Star Jones lost all that weight and why she insists on wearing sleeveless shirts despite the fact she has not had any excess skin removed)

10:30-1:00: This is errand time, if we have some that need to be run. After having Isaac I quickly figured out that it is better to do my grocery shopping on the weekends when I can leave him home with daddy. After I put the carrier in the shopping cart, there is no place for the food. Besides, I don't think it is healthy to put my frozen chicken in his lap to hold while we shop. Taking Isaac on errands was a huge accomplishment for me in the beginning weeks of Motherhood. My mom (Nana J) made me take him to Tom Thumb with her when he was a week and a half old. After this trip, I got in the car in tears saying that I was never going to be able to go anywhere until he was seven. Now that the post-pregnancy hormones have settled down and my right arm is much stronger after lugging the baby carrier for three months, I feel confident to take him anywhere! On days we don't have errands, we go on walks or hang out at home and play.

12:45ish: Isaac eats lunch and then falls dead asleep. I know that you are not supposed to pair eating with sleeping with babies, as it could create a sleep aid. Isaac used to always fall asleep after eating. Now he just falls asleep after eating lunch and his last bottle of the day. So maybe he will go to kindergarten one day, eat in the cafeteria, and fall dead asleep at the table. Honestly, he won't be the first kid to do so..... He sleeps for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours at this time. This is when I run around the house like a mad person, cleaning, organizing, starting supper prep, etc..
4:00: Isaac wakes up and eats. We usually turn on Oprah at this time, only to be disappointed by what she is talking about.

4:30-5:30 Play with daddy

5:30: Isaac takes his last nap of the day, so that he can make it through supper and bath time.

6:00pm: Eat supper, play, work on physical therapy stuff

7:30pm: Bath time, bottle time, bedtime (otherwise known as "The 3 B's" at the Phillips' house)

8:15pm: I hit the gym

4:00am: Sometimes Isaac wakes up at this time, sometimes he doesn't. However, I currently have a bone to pick with Nick at Night TV. They USED to show Cosby Show during this time, but now it is The Jeff Foxworthy Show. What???? Since when does anyone want to watch that in reruns? If I remember correctly, no one watched that while in syndication.

So there you have it--a day in the life of Isaac.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Random TV Thoughts

Okay, I have some random TV thoughts to share with you readers. If you know me, you know that at any time of the day I have some random thought or story that I am tossing around in my head. Usually it is my patient husband who gets to hear such banter, but today it is YOU!! Yeah You!

1. Did anyone see Oprah's hair yesterday? It wasn't the normal ringlets she has been sporting for about a year now, but rather a shoulder-length bob with a perm. I had that same hair style all through middle school! Did anyone know the bob with perm was making a comeback? That is a pretty easy hairdo--just wash, scrunch with gel, and pick out once the gel has dried. Oprah is a fashionista and if she can sport the permed bob, perhaps I can. I have to say it is tempting....... On another Oprah note, I have been quite disappointed with her show this season. She has modified the show a bit, and although I cannot quite put my finger on it, it doesn't seem right to me. Perhaps it is the new studio or maybe I can't get passed the permed bob. Maybe when she does her "Favorite Things" episode in a few weeks, I will get a little more excited about this season. Oprah, if you are reading, I would be REALLY excited about this season if you would let me be in the audience for the Favorite Things show.

2. Do you every wonder what The Fonz is doing? Sure ol' Henry Winkler shows up on the occasional television drama and he was in Scream 1. Did you know that he has a full-time television gig? Apparently The Fonz is on Clifford the Big Red Dog. Isaac is not watching television yet, but I do sometimes turn it onto PBS kids when he is having tummy time. As most humans, he is fascinated by the television and it encourages him to lift up that sweet head. PBS kids seems wholesome enough and The Cosby Show wasn't on during that time (By the way, I finally saw the final episode of The Cosby Show and watched Cliff and Claire dance off the set--sigh). When we were having tummy time yesterday, Clifford the Big Red Dog was in its last five minutes. At first I was a little disappointed because I was hoping it would be the Bernstein Bears (which I LOVE!). So we watched a bit of Clifford, working on those neck muscles, and had some laughs at that goofy red dog. Then the credits came on and guess who plays Clifford's sidekick (yellow dog named Norville???).....Henry Winkler! Yep, the Fonz is doing voiceovers for PBS kids. Do you think in actorworld that means you are almost washed-up or now have the easy-cheesy job?


Apparently Claire needed the Amazing Miracle Blanket and the Infant Sounds CD for little baby Aaron. Tobe and I got so excited when John Locke swaddled the baby. We knew a trick that John Locke knows--we must be so smart!! Also, who knew it was so easy to make a stretcher out of vines so quickly? And, does anyone else hope that Michelle Rodriguez is eaten by the monster? She is just so manly that I find it disturbing! Why does Walt suddenly talk backwards now? I have to say when I got up at 4:30am this morning with Isaac I was a little fearful that I would turn around and see Walt standing in my kitchen.

These are my random television thoughts that have been floating in my head. Hope you enjoyed! (The picture is Isaac watching football with his dad)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ten Good Things...

Those of you readers who attended ACU might have taken a class by Willard Tate called "Life Learning Skills" sometime in your college career. I took this class spring semester of my sophomore year. Every Tuesday/Thursday at 9:30am I would enter class, sit by my soon-to-be roomie Leigh Ann, and have to write down ten good things that had happened to me already that morning. Not ten good things that had happened to me recently or in the past 24 hours, but ten good things that had happened to me THAT MORNING. I hated that assignment. I hated it because at 8am on Tuesday/Thursdays I had Social Psychology with Dr. __________ (name withheld to protect the innocent and avoid potential lawsuits). Dr. ____ was a really nice man, but watching the Anson lights during the day was more exciting than this class. Strangely enough he spoke with an accent that was thick and appeared foreign, but I heard he was from east Texas. Social Psychology consisted of reading large amounts of research and thinking things like, "So when one person gets mad in a large group, it can cause others to get mad as well?" Not very exciting, especially for someone like me who was more interested in Abnormal Psychology and what made people crazy. This class had another drawback. There was a loud boy--although quite cute---who sat at the front table. Along with his friend, he would yell, "Welcome to Chambers Hall" whenever someone entered the room for Social Psych class. They thought this was quite funny. Every Tuesday/Thursday I would find myself sitting in Willard Tate's class, staring at a blank piece of paper, trying to find ten good things that had happened to me that day after I had already trekked through 50mph winds (this was Abilene), been greeted by a loud boy (who I would one day meet and marry and have a beautiful child with---but that whole story is for another post), and sit through the world's most boring class.

Here is an example of what my list might have looked like on one of those days: (Most of these will make no sense to those readers who did not attend ACU)
1. I woke-up
2. The wind did not completely knock me down the stairs as I left my third story University Park apartment
3. There were still bagels at the stand in the Ad building when I stopped for breakfast
4. I had Bean Bucks on my card to be able to buy the bagel
5. I noticed I will likely have enough Bean Bucks to be able to purchase Chick-fil-a for lunch (again)
6. I talked to my dear friend Leigh Ann
7. Dr. ___ only kept us five minutes late, rather than 10, so I only had to walk quickly across campus rather than sprint to make it to this class on time
8. I did not have Sing Song practice this morning (I had this class Spring semester) and no one has asked me to make a Kojie face all morning
9. I am breathing
10. That loud boy in social psychology was absent this morning.

And here is my list for today, November 9th, 2005
1. I woke up and was able to talk to my husband before he left for work
2.I just heard my baby sneeze over the monitor and it sounded like he literally said, "Ah Choo" which made me giggle
3. I have Dulche de Leche creamer for my coffee this morning....YUM!
4. I have already taken a shower and put on my make-up before Isaac has woken up
5. The sun is shining and a cold front is on its way (Although mild, it is still a cold front)
6. I listened to my favorite radio program while I made the bed
7. All the bottles were washed when I came into the kitchen this morning
8. My house does not smell like the food I cooked for dinner last night (I hate that!)
9. I know "Where in the World" Matt Laurer is today!
10. That loud boy didn't yell anything at me in an attempt at comedy this morning. He just kissed me and left quietly.

Hope this inspires you to make a list of ten good things that have happened to you today and thank God for them! (At the very least I hope it inspires you to try Dulche de Leche creamer!)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Tom Sawyer and his Papa...

As you can tell by the pictures, my little Tom Sawyer helped his Papa and his dad build a fence this weekend. Did Tom Sawyer build a fence and then have to paint it or just have to paint it? I am not quite sure, so the Tom Sawyer reference might not really fit here. Anyway, Tobe, Isaac, and Tobe's dad put up a new fence this weekend. I know that our neighbors are rejoicing in their living rooms now that the Phillips' eyesore (AKA our old fence) is gone. In its place stands a beautiful, sparkling cedar fence whose gate will actually close and whose boards will not fall off randomly when the wind blows a mere three miles an hour.

Isaac's papa did a marvelous job on our fence. In fact, he has done a marvelous job on many things in our house. When we purchased our little casa in Grapevine, it was a "house with potential". Although built in the 1990's, the interior was decorated in blue and pink. The kitchen had a bright pepto pink wall. The carpet throughout the house was blue. The guest bathroom was done in pink bunnies. The best part of the house was that there were two rooms spared of the blue and pink--one was done in teal and navy blue plaid (yes, apparently that does exist) and the other was painted yellow with purple trim. (Neither room looks like this anymore and the blue carpet is history) Fortunately we have Tobe's dad who can do anything. Here is a list of things he has done in our house:
1.Helped paint
2.Fixed the fence numerous times
3.Installed an antenna because you can't get TV signals in Grapevine due to the airport
4.Laid tile in both bathrooms while we were in London on vacation
5.Laid tile in our entryway
6.Put up wainscoting in our kitchen
7.Wired our kitchen so I could have a TV in there to watch Food Network while cooking
8.Completely renovated Isaac's closet
9. Installed a new garage door opener
10. Replaced the bathroom faucets
11.Installed new light fixtures in the kitchen
12. Fixed the base of the hotwater heater
13.Laid the floor of our utility room
14.Steamcleaned the carpets before we moved in
15.Replaced both showerheads
16. Installed a ceiling fan in Isaac's room

A handy, generous father-in-law is a wonderful thing to have. We often call Tobe's dad and say, "Can you fix ______?" He always reassures us that he can resolve any house problem in a matter of minutes and offers to come over in the next few days to get it done. Whenever we sell this house we should probably give some of the profits to Tobe's dad. We hope that Isaac will take after his Papa and be handy around the house. If he does inherit such traits, you might come over in a few years and find Isaac under the kitchen sink fixing the garbage disposal while Tobe and I look on from the living room couch.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Fall in a cup...

Those of you who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have likely heard the forecast for this weekend and upcoming week--mid 80's and sunny. Perfect weather for the beginning of September, but it just doesn't work for November. November is a time for long sleeves, sweatshirts (speaking of sweatshirts, I wore one the other night to the gym from a Christmas social that said "featuring The Point". Those readers who attended such Christmas social, whatever happened to The Point and why did we name check them on a club t-shirt?), and warm drinks. This is quite hard to accomplish when Troy Dungan is telling me it is going to be 85 degrees today. I suppose I could turn the air way down in my house to make it seem chilly, but that seems a little pricey.

So last night Tobe and I went out without the baby (Nana J is in town) to enjoy some time together. After a tasty meal at Mi Cocina, we headed off to our local Barnes and Noble (yes, we are very exciting people). As we opened the door, our senses were flooded with the sights and sounds of Christmas. That is right--Barnes and Noble has welcomed Christmas, despite the fact that yesterday was November 4th. They were playing Christmas music, had displays of Christmas books, and wrapping paper was already on sale. Now I love Christmas, but I like for things to go in order. All the stores acknowledged Halloween and we all celebrated that. However, it appears that we have skipped over fall and Thanksgiving and jumped right into Christmas. We found this same thing to be true at Target (like I said, we are exciting people). All the fall decor was on clearance and Christmas was everywhere you looked.

I am saying all of this to let you know that I am boycotting Christmas things until the Friday after Thanksgiving. I will not look at any Christmas aisles in Target. I will not sing any Christmas carols to my lovely son. I will not make my special Christmas candy. However, I will continue to enjoy my fall decorations in my living room. I might rake some leaves in the front yard (assuming it gets cold enough for them to actually change colors and fall). I will wear my cozy ten year old sweatshirts, despite what Rebecca Miller tells me the weather is for that day.

If you need to help yourself stay in the fall mindset, I suggest you drive down to your local Starbucks and get a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Now, it is a little hard to find the ad for such marvelous drink among all the promos for the Gingerbread Latte and the Peppermint Latte, but it is still there. The pumpkins spice latte is like fall in a cup. It is the most delicious drink (even more delicious than Alexa Conomos' traffic, Don) in the world. Yes, it does cost about $27 and half of a kidney (SIDE NOTE: Why are we not protesting the cost of designer coffee drinks? I worked as a barista one summer and it does not cost a coffee joint that much to make a specialty drink. Basically all they consist of are milk and coffee, which are some of the cheapest things you can buy at the grocery store) to purchase a tall pumpkin spice latte, but it is worth the price. As I sipped my tasty treat last night, I blocked out "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" that was blaring from the speaker overhead and turned a blind eye towards The Polar Bear Express . Instead I concentrated on turkeys, pilgrims, and pumpkins. Hopefully you can do the same. Happy November!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Isaac's First Workout

Today was our first visit with the physical therapist to see about Isaac's sweet little neck and hips. Despite the hours the pediatrician and I have spent on the phone with the insurance company, they are still only going to pay for physical therapy if we go to our local sports medicine clinic by Albertsons (which I refer to as Albertsons PT). Tobe and I decided to go ahead and go to Cook Childrens, as we thought someone who deals with babies on a full-time basis would give us a better diagnosis and treatment plan than someone who deals with football injuries.

So we were off to Fort Worth this morning with Nana C (in case you don't know, both of Isaac's grandmothers are called "nana" by previous grandchildren. To prevent confusion for Isaac, we refer to them as "Nana C" and "Nana J." If you ever read any Tommie dePaola books, I wanted to call the grandmothers "Nana Upstairs" and "Nana Downstairs." My mom did not think that was appropriate). The physical therapist we saw was great and had some helpful information to pass along. She does not feel like Isaac has developmental dysplasia of the hips (loose hip joints for all those non-M.D. readers) and she feels like he only has a very mild case of torticollis (tilted neck). What she did note was that Isaac has low muscle tone all over his body, especially in his neck. We have stretches and exercises to do at home and will continue with physical therapy. If we don't see any improvement in muscle tone in a month, she suggests that we consult with a neurologist to see if anything else is going on. The physical therapist was quite happy to see that Isaac can kick both legs together and separately, clasp his hands, and bring his hands to his mouth. These are all important milestones of a three month old.

Yesterday we went for an ultrasound of Isaac's hips. The radiologist there said that he did not see any dysplasia of the hips. Isaac was a trooper for his first ultrasound. Apparently someone forgot to tell the ultrasound tech that she had an appointment and we had to wait for an hour for her to get out of some training. If only I knew someone that worked for Baylor, perhaps in the clinical transformation office, who could fix such communication problems...... Anyway, the best part of the ultrasound was when the radiologist repositioned Isaac on the table, causing him to poop everywhere.

Isaac and I are about to work on some of our new stretches and exercises because he is not napping this afternoon for some reason. I am thinking about getting him little sweatbands for his head and wrists to match his little sweatsuit someone gave us. It would be the perfect outfit for PT!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Isaac's First Halloween

I Hate Insurance Companies!!!!

As I type I am on minute 37 of a phone call to our insurance company. I have spoken to a computer who keeps telling me my son was not born on August 30th---I keep yelling at it that I am saying AUGUST 3rd!!!! Then spoke to someone who sounded half-dead and did not know what I was talking about. I was transferred to someone else--wrong department. Then transferred again--this time the system was down and they asked me to call back in an hour. I told them to connect me to someone with a working computer. This time I was connected to India, I believe. That lady told me she couldn't help me and to call the 1-800 number on my card. I told her that is what I ORIGINALLY called. I refused to hang-up and asked to speak to her supervisor. She kept saying this was not a supervisor concern. Finally she said she would connect me to someone else. She connected me to the computer system again where I am now having an argument about August 3rd!!!!

Okay the computer connected me to dental----I am calling about medical!!!

Minute 52. My son is awake from his nap and will be hungry soon. Can you get in trouble for sending hate mail to insurance companies?

The dental guy has now connected me to...........Nothing. The line just went dead.

I have called back and guess who I get to talk to again---THE COMPUTER.

Talking to someone new now. I think she has a mouthful of Halloween candy in her mouth as she talks. Oh wait, wrong department. She is connecting me to someone else.

Okay it has been almost two hours since I called the insurance company. I finally talked to someone who sounded like she knew she worked for an insurance company and had some knowledge on the subject. Turns out the insurance company wants me to fill out a form. I tell them I need my question answered before this Thursday when I have a physical therapy eval for Isaac. Their final answer, "I am sorry, Ma'am, you have to fill out a form." Then I was disconnected. So after all that time spent on the phone, I am now supposed to be standing by my mailbox eagerly awaiting a form. Yippee.

(Pleas know that I was going to post something positive today about Isaac's first Halloween, a first in long line of firsts to come. Then blogger wouldn't work this morning and then I had to talk to the insurance company. I do not hate all people who work for insurance companies, as my uncle does work for one. However, I currently am not going to enroll in the fan club of any of the customer service representatives I talked to today.)