Tobe and me on July 30, 2005. In true pregnant woman fashion, I had managed to spill water all down the front of my t-shirt about 0.8 seconds before the picture was taken. Nice.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
He started swimming lessons this week and appears to be having a great time. He can blow bubbles out of the water, but still isn't too sure about blowing them in the water.
After almost 12 long months of earnestly checking our mailbox, we were finally greeted with a highly anticipated package last week. ACU finally sent us our "Born to be a Wildcat" onesie. Our Alma Mater sends out a "free" onesie to all alumni with the birth/adoption of each child. I say "free" because I am sure somewhere on an itemized bill of my schooling I will discover that I paid $39.95 for this article of baby clothing. Upon receiving this prized onesie, the alumni parent is supposed to take their bouncing baby's picture sporting these collegiate threads and send it into the ACU Today. Well, we attempted to take said picture last week and here is what we got......... Obviously, we will be attempting the ACU photoshoot again this week since you cannot read the front and before Isaac outgrows the onesie (which is a 12 months). As you can see from the top picture (where Isaac looks like he is about five years old), Isaac burns calories faster than his body can absorb them.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Fast-forward fifty years. I cook dinner almost every night, partly because I love to cook and partly as a way to be careful with our money. Up until about five months ago, Tobe and I ate every meal at our coffee table in front of the television, making sure we had seen all episodes of Friends at least three times each. Once Isaac was eating baby food in the high chair, we moved dinner into the kitchen and sat at the actual table. I saw enough of those "Family Table" commercials while viewing Nick at Nite during Isaac's nighttime feedings to understand the importance of the family eating together and sharing about their day. I also taught a large number of children who never sat down with their family and ate a meal together. Throughout the course of each school year I would have several times where the class would dine together, whether feasting on a breakfast I brought in or everyone eating their lunch at the reading table (I taught a small class, which made this possible. They were all also under the special education umbrella which made it permissible for me to give them food, something that the state of Texas no longer allows in the regular classroom). While I ate with my students, I was always amazed at how most of them relayed that their family never sat down as a whole and enjoyed a meal together on a somewhat continuous basis.
As a mom and a wife I am determined that we are going to eat a meal together, even if it kills us. I believe it to be an intrical part to having a connected family. Look at cultures and societies that enjoy food and the eating process---their families are quite close. However, the image of the perfect dinner is not quite matching up with chow time at the Phillips. My husband is fortunate enough to be home by 5pm most nights (you don't want to know what time he leaves in the morning to make this possible) and we usually sit down by 5:30pm for supper. By about 5:15pm Isaac sometimes is struggling with being cranky, wanting to crawl in the fridge everytime it opens (though that could be because our kitchen is the hottest room in the house and he just needs to cool off), get into the trash can, or sit outside the kitchen door and say "mamamama" if he has been banished to the living room. We sit down to feast with me sweating from the hot oven, Tobe tired from the commute, and Isaac looking at us ever so slyly before methodically dropping the undesirable food over the side of the highchair. The Cleavers we are not. So I ask you, dear readers, how do you make dinner time an enjoyable experience? Ours is not unenjoyable per say right now, but I am always interested in hearing tips and techniques that others have found helpful to one day (or perhaps tonight!) put in place myself. I know one day the toddler attempting to toss food over the side will turn into the mute teenage who can only manage to grunt in response to our questions. What works (or doesn't work and now you avoid it like a plague) for your family at meal times?
Finally for those who reside in the lovely D/FW area, I do hope you caught a piece of the police chase yesterday (man carjacked an 18 wheeler with the woman driver still at the wheel--the chase went on for hours, all over the area). I enjoy a good police chase and get very excited when we catch one on television (as long as no one is hurt). There are some things I would like to point out about yesterday's particular chase. First of all, did you notice that there were quite a few women on the SWAT team holding onto the back of the Dallas SWAT vehicle? Glad to see that the Dallas PD is doing their part for gender equality (at least they have that going for them--we won't mention the fake drug busts). Also, for those people who left their houses and parked along I-20 and later I-35 to catch a glimpse of this event, I have to ask "Why?" This was no OJ situation. This was an 18 wheeler who they believed could explode from the sparks being sent up from driving on the rims (the front tires were shot out early on in the chase). Why would you leave your air-conditioned house to go stand on a hot overviews simply to wave and yell at a potential bomb as it traveled underneath you? Finally, I am glad that this chase ended peacefully and no one was hurt (including Alison, who lives incredibly close to where part of the chase took place!). I was very impressed with the driver who was taken hostage (also a woman) and her ability to keep the truck going with no tires, the entire Dallas and Fort Worth police departments following her, and a gun to her head. I imagine she has never been so thankful to crawl into her own bed as she was last night.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Although I cannot remember my exact retort, I can remember ruminating on this comment for days afterwards. One hears of females entering college—especially private, religious universities-- to get their “MRS” degree, but I really attributed that to the time when our mothers were in school, not when I was attending college. I thought that stereotype had died, along with one’s need to burn her bra and the notion that the female freshman either checked off “Nurse” or “Teacher” on their admission paperwork. It never crossed my mind not to go to college to gain an education. I never imagined a glass ceiling that could one day hold me back simply because of my gender. My entire life I have had goals, dreams, and ambitions that I have known I could one day fulfill (Although I did realize in about seventh grade that being a contestant on Star Search was a little too ambitious for me). In spite of these things, I can remember being slightly embarrassed about my career-driven nature when this fellow student called my ambition into question, the same way one would question a person’s tendency to be cruel to small kittens or yell at old ladies as they cross the street.
A good seven years later, here I sit at 2pm in the afternoon, in a tank top and shorts, with a baby monitor turned up loud, and a diamond ring on my left finger. Seems I did get that MRS degree. If you ask Linda Hirshman, I am the prime example of someone wasting an expensive undergraduate and graduate degree on the trivial task of raising my son. Last night I finished reading The Mommy Wars. I promised to give my review of the book and I will. First I want to answer the question that every mother must answer—regardless of employment status—“Why did you make the choice that you have?”
So why did I make the choice that I have to stay at home with Isaac during this stage of his life? It wasn’t because Tobe makes such large sums of money that we didn’t need a second income (if that were true, Isaac and I would be perusing the aisles of Nordstrom’s right now). It also wasn’t because I had found myself in a dead-end career that I hated and could not wait to leave behind. It also wasn’t because I married a man who strongly believes in the traditional roles of husband goes to the office and wife watches the babies and does the dusting during the commercials of General Hospital. I didn’t choose to stay at home simply because my mother did and my grandmother did. I don’t stay at home to wear a badge of honor that reads “Look at how I sacrifice myself for the sake of the children.” And I don’t stay at home because I feel that Isaac needs me, and only me, to care for him.
I chose to stay at home because that is what works best for our family. I chose to stay at home because I don’t think I would be a good mother or a good employee if I had to divide my time between a baby and an emotionally-taxing career. I stay at home because five years ago when Tobe and I were married we decided that this is what we wanted for our future family and planned and saved in order to make this a reality one day. Early on we decided that we wanted children and began seriously thinking about how we wanted our family to work and exist. I chose to stay-at-home because I chose to bring this child into the world to nurture and raise and I felt like the only way that I could do that successfully was to take on Motherhood full-time.
Let my choices and decisions not be mistaken for criticisms and judgments against those who don’t share my preferences. I have working mom friends, stay-at-home mom friends, part-time mom friends, and friends with no children at all. I respect each of their decisions, knowing that they too have thought about what works for their respective family and are chugging on with life just like I am, raising a child just as well (probably better—I have some pretty talented friends) as I am. The choice of whether to work or not as a mother is not indicative of the quality of mother one is. As I have stated before, not every woman is cut-out to be a good mother. It involves much more than those early desires to rock baby dolls at the age of five. Motherhood isn’t for everyone, regardless of if they are employed or if they are around their child 24/7.
I encourage all mothers and fathers to read Mommy Wars. I found it quite enlightening to read the choices made by others and the reasoning behind such decisions. Some essays really spoke to me (Iris Krasnow’s—the lady credited with starting the Mommy Wars-- and Inda Schaenen’s) while others were quite irrelevant to the everyday mom as the writer worried about hiring a nanny or firing a housekeeper. In the end, each mother spoke her opinion and was brutally honest about the choices she made. I did not agree with all of them nor understand every writer’s argument for the choice she made. However, I think a common theme emerged from these essays: Women cannot have it all at one time. They cannot have the 60 hour work week, the sole task of raising a child, and the happy family who constantly enjoys time together.. The main spark that fuels this fire called the Mommy wars is the idea that women and men should be completely equal, right down to domestic abilities and responsibilities. This equation does not work and will never work, not because one gender is superior over the other, but because there simply is not enough time in the day for today’s lofty American goals to all be accomplished. Something has to give somewhere. Men aren’t agonizing over trying to be a full-time dad and maintain a successful career, all while perfecting the perfect double chocolate brownie and scrap booking every important family moment. Yet women are putting on the power suits, fastening the nursing bra, and tying on the apron all at one time and then mud-slinging when everything does not come together perfectly.
I stay-at-home because it is the choice that works for me and my family. Although I do not feel like I have abandoned my education or my career, I can sometimes be sensitive about my side in the supposed Mommy Wars. Months and months ago, someone made a comment to me about staying-at-home that I perceived as negative. It has been eating at me and I just have felt very defensive and upset by this statement that was made. The other night I finally told Tobe about it and he laughed. He was able to blow-off the comment that has been driving me bananas in 0.7 seconds and had me see the foolishness in worrying about the statements of others.
I doubt one day Isaac and any future children we may have will bow down and praise me for the choices I made in my parenting. (I will settle for a nice Mother’s Day card and an expensive Christmas present). There will most likely be times when he wishes that I wasn’t around so much (like today when he really wanted to stick his chubby fingers in the VCR). However, I am happy with my choice, one that most likely will morph and change over the years. And perhaps one day I will make a degree to proudly hang next to our other certificates of higher learning. This one will be on construction paper and written in crayon it will read “Lynley Phillips. Doctorate in MRS.”
Sunday, July 16, 2006
The week was spent with lots of Janna and PopPop time. Isaac remembered my mom but was unfamiliar with my dad at first because he hadn't seen him since March. They quickly became friends, especially since my dad was the only one who would rapidly push Isaac in the walker (AKA Death Trap) through the house at high speeds. Around Tuesday Isaac came down with a cold, complete with runny nose and cough. Despite the constant need to have his nose wiped, he remained a happy baby. One morning my mom and I stopped by some friends' house and Isaac was able to have his first up-close encounter with a dog. This was a lap dog of some sort who is quite used to being around the family's grandchildren. Isaac would chase the dog and then the dog would chase him, each time resulting in the dog licking Isaac's face to death and Isaac squealing in total glee.
Isaac was able to hang-out with all my grandparents. He totally loved having a variety of people "oh and ah" over him each day. I am sure tomorrow he is going to wonder where his fan club disappeared to. I enjoyed being able to take a break and share the daily duties of child-rearing with my mom. One morning I did the unthinkable and soaked in the tub for over an hour while my parents fed Isaac and put him down for his morning nap. One thing that Isaac has started doing is telling everyone "hi". He does not say a simple little baby "hi." Rather he has decided that most individuals are hearing-impaired and he must yell "HIIIIIIIIIIIIII" at them. Most people don't realize that Isaac is speaking to them, so they simply ignore his friendly cry. This does not deter Isaac from expressing his greeting. He will continue to tell the person "HIIIIIIIIIII" until he is acknowledge or until his mother covers his mouth and attempts to distract him.
I always enjoy spending time in my hometown. Some of the small town feel is starting to disappear as more aspects of the "big city" seep into its borders (Chilis is set to break ground soon---which is crazy to me because I can remember when we first got McDonalds). I like the convince of city life and how Target, MiCocina, and AMC theaters are all within five miles of my house. However, I do miss small town America where I can go to Colony Shop and put a new pair of jeans on my parents account without ever having to show any ID or being able to see an array of old friends just by shopping at the local Wal-Mart. The best part of my whole trip was discovering the local news--not out of Little Rock but broadcast from my hometown! It was a train wreck and I haven't stopped talking about it to Tobe. Seriously, it was equivalent--if not worse--than a high school news program.
Saturday morning we ended our mini-vacation and returned home. The flight home was not great by any standards. Isaac had enough of being in a car seat by about minute 7 of the 5o minute flight. I could feel the passengers sitting near me glaring holes of hatred into the back of my head. Once the plane landed and it was time to deboard, two men stopped at my seat and asked what they needed to do to help Isaac and me get off the plane. I would like to think it was out of kindness, but I know in my heart they were just wanting to get rid of us as quickly as possible.
Isaac and I were both terribly glad to meet up with Tobe at baggage claim. We arrived home to a spotless house, vacuumed floors, lunch and dinner plans already made, and time allotted for me to take a nap. What a great husband!
Today we are unpacked and settled back into our routine. Isaac still has the cough and runny nose, which hopefully will clear up now that we are out of the Arkansas humidity. Isaac has resumed his mission of roaming the house, looking for any open doors or unlocked cabinets that he can quickly get into before Tobe or I catch him. We are starting to reconsider the notion that teaching him to crawl was a good thing.
Here are a few snapshots from the previous week. Enjoy!
Playing outside with Janna on his new swingset
When in Rome.........this is Isaac sporting his Mark Martin NASCAR romper. My dad and a friend went to a NASCAR race up north in the spring. If you know my dad, you know how amusing it is that he is now into NASCAR. He doesn't fit the profile at all. Anyway, he purchased this outfit for Isaac and I figured there is no better time to wear baby NASCAR apparel than in Arkansas.
Back of the NASCAR romper
Hanging out with PopPop at his office
Sunday, July 09, 2006
In the morning, Isaac and I are off to Arkansas for a few days to visit the family. We are flying because the idea of driving by myself in the car six hours with an 11 month old makes me want to find the nearest bottle of Prozac and something of the adult variety to wash it down with. Besides, with gas prices they way they are we can fly cheaper than we can drive anymore. In very un-Lynley like nature, I have waited until the last minute to pack and complete my travel planning. I think I only have about one "To-Do" list going right now, whereas I typically have about five or six lists I am working off of at one time. I just got off the phone with my friendly Southwest Airlines customer service representative after basically begging if they would have someone transport Isaac's carseat to the plane so I don't have to lug him, a diaper bag, and a carseat through the airport. The representative wasn't too promising that this would happen (although she was quite friendly). She encouraged me to bring the stroller as well and use that to tote the baby, carrier, and diaper bag. I hesitate to bring the stroller because when Isaac and I flew to Arkansas in November by ourselves, the security person made me fold up the stroller and put it through the x-ray machine, while I was holding the baby. (Sounds simple, but try it sometime.) Now I know most terrorists are pale, red-hair young moms toting babies so thus the reason they felt compelled to carefully check out my Graco stroller for hidden bombs.
Isaac and I are excited about the family, friends, and fun that await us in Arkansas. Now I must finish my packing so that I can eat some cinnamon ice cream before bed.
Friday, July 07, 2006
So do I go to Bank of America today and take out the loan or wait until Isaac is 15 and has actually eaten us out of house and home....................
Thursday, July 06, 2006
1. How to take his socks off during the middle of the night and throw them over the side of the crib. I believe he does this just to give me gray hair as I worry about cold feet leading to pneumonia.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Today we finally cut Isaac's crazy hair in honor of him turning eleven months old.
The first hair cut was a relatively painless experience. I am not the type of person who cries when her child reaches a major milestone, so I was cool. Isaac was happy as a clam until Tobe had to hold his head still. We took Isaac to Sweet and Sassy, a local hair salon that specializes in children. After my current bang fiasco I don't feel comfortable putting Isaac in the hands of my stylist and I don't think he is quite ready for the manly world of Mack's barbershop. Sweet and Sassy seemed like our best bet and I had confidence they could successfully maneuver scissors around a moving baby's face without causing major damage. We are thrilled with the new haircut and glad that the mullet is gone.
Check out the new do:
Because Isaac had to sit in my lap, I was fortunate enough to get to sport a nifty cape as well. Mine read "Sassy Diva." Think I am going to make that my new nickname....
Hair consultation and actual first cut of his hair
As you can see, Isaac's new hairstyle has boosted his self confidence.Glad that the baby mullet is gone forever
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Thursday we joyfully welcomed precious baby Noah into the world. What a blessing this little boy is! We have been praying that he wouldn't arrive early and he was quite obedient and came at exactly the perfect time of 37 1/2 weeks gestation. This little boy has already brought such joy and happiness to his parents, grandparents, family, and friends in these first few days of life. Last summer we stood with these same parents as they walked through the valley of grief and it was something I hope no more of our friends ever have to experience. However, these friends have remained faithful children of God and haven't allowed such tragedy to make them bitter or resentful. Now they are holding precious baby Noah and basking in the glow of being a new parent. Congratulations B & C!
Isaac is thrilled about his new friend and future little brother in club!
Friday night I headed out with the girls for a time of fabulous food, conversation, and entertainment. We started the evening at La Madeline then headed over to catch "The Devil Wears Prada" at Grapevine Tinseltown (By the way, they have lowered prices to compete with new theaters in the area. You can catch a matinee for a mere $4 or a night show for only $6. Much better than the standard $8.50!). I loved this movie. Meryl Streep was excellent and the movie was not plagued by what I consider to be the "20 minute curse" (the 20 extra minutes thrown into the middle as an attempt to save a flimsy story line work). I would highly recommend this film. I even feel like you could take your teenage daughter to see it as well. There is very little cursing, a few indications of sex without any graphic details, and some lifestyle choices you would likely want to discuss after the movie. However, I think it is quite appropriate for viewing with your teen, especially considering the trailer we saw for the new upcoming teen flick appeared to only be about sex. I came home relaxed and rested from Girls Night, only to find a guest blogger had posted on this website. The amusing part of that whole post---the next day Tobe opened the Big Red he had used in the photo shoot with Isaac and it spewed everywhere because Isaac had shaken it so much while getting his picture taken.
Saturday we passed off the baby to the grandparents, packed the bags, and went on a mini-vacation. Our first stop was the local Tinseltown to see Superman at the early matinee. It was excellent as well! I really appreciated how they used the original opening sequence, the original music, and found an actor who greatly resembled Christopher Reeve (Sidenote: every morning Isaac and I cross over a bridge on our walk. For some reason, someone has spray painted "RIP Chris Reeve" I think Mr. Reeve was a nice man and did a great share of educating others about spinal cord injuries and promoting research, but I did not feel compelled to spray paint a tribute to him after his death. Obviously his death struck a cord with someone.). The only aspect of this movie that was less than stellar was the choice of Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane. Her acting is quite flat to me and incredibly boring. Also she weighs about 95 pounds now and in this movie does some pretty amazing feats of great strength for such a bony person.
After the movie, we headed down to Granbury, Texas to enjoy a local bed and breakfast. We stayed at the Iron Horse Inn and were greeted by friendly inn keepers and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. We had booked the wine cellar room partly because it was secluded from the other rooms (we tend to be anti-social) and partly because it looked pretty cool on the website. The house was built in 1905, but the wine cellar was constructed in 1885. The original 20 room mansion burned and the current house was constructed shortly afterwards. However, the wine cellar survived the fire and has all the original stone walls, floor, and doorways. All of the furniture in the dining room, some of the living room furniture, and a chest of drawers in one of the other bedrooms were all original pieces from the 1885 house that servants were able to rescue before they were destroyed by fire. It was very interesting to sit at a table and eat a meal knowing that someone had sat there over 120 years ago doing the same thing. Obviously one has to go down a flight of stairs to get into the wine cellar suite. People were much shorter and had smaller feet in the 1800's because we had to duck down as we descended the staircase. The bathroom resides at the top of the staircase, which immediatly ruled out any nighttime potty breaks in fear of breaking my neck as I attempted to naviagate these steep and narrow stairs in the middle of the night. Despite the location of the bathroom, we highly recommend this bed and breakfast and especially the wine cellar suite.
The Iron Horse Inn
The entrance to the Wine Cellar Suite (looking from middle of world's most dangerous stairs)
Wine Cellar SuitePrivate sitting room of our suite
Yesterday we spent some time shopping around Granbury's historic town square and finished the day off with a late supper at a local pasta restaurant. The local cemetery is supposedly where Jesse James is buried but we never made it to that point to take a look for ourselves. We did have some drama when I was getting ready for bed and realized that the zipper to the skirt I was wearing had split open and I was unable to unzip it or remove the skirt. I tend to have a smidge of claustrophobia so the idea of being stuck in a skirt about sent me up the wall. Tobe tried patiently to get the zipper unstuck until I instructed him to just tear it apart, even if it ruined my frock. Sounds romantic, but it really wasn't because by that point I was almost hyperventalating. He ripped the zipper apart and it looks like our tailor will be able to mend the minor damage.
This morning we took our coffee on the massive front porch while we read our respective books and then made our way into the dining area for a gourmet breakfast. The innkeepers did a great job of starting the table conversation (the breakfast is served family style) and we were able to talk with some interesting people. Everyone had to go around the table and say the standards of name, residence, and profession. Another lady and I were both stay-at-home moms and no one addressed another question to us again after our introductions. Everyone else was quizzed about the intricate details of their jobs. This is incredibly frustrating to me. Part of me feels the need to say, "But I USED to do this..." to gain some respect back that appeared to be lost the minute "stay-at-home mom" came out of my mouth and then the defensive part of me wants to say, "I am raising a human being, which is much more worthy than your career of selling car parts to auto dealerships." I am finishing up the book "Mommy Wars" (I am not a slow reader---I have just been scattering my reading of this book among all my other reading) and will have a post soon about this whole stay-at-home delimina.
After breakfast, Tobe and I hit a few more stores that were closed the night before and then slowly made our way back to the metroplex. We stopped at my favorite place in the whole world--Central Market--to pick up some unnecessary food items (crayfish and andouille raviolli and foccacia bread, to name a few). We then went and retrieved our child, only to find that he decided to pull up to a standing position without us around. (He has only been able to get up on his knees so far). Isaac has showed very little interest in standing or bearing weight on his legs until recently so we are thrilled with this new development. However, I did tell him that he would be grounded if he accomplished another developmental milestone while Tobe and I are not present.
Tonight the three of us are back home and unpacked, ready to face a new week. Tobe has the next few days off of work so we get to have lots of family time. We knew Isaac was happy to be home again when he kept going to the closed bathroom door, attempting to get inside to take his bath. We finally put him in the tub early because he seemed like he really wanted in there.
Hope everyone had a great weekend as well!
Happy July 4th!