Monday, December 31, 2007

Another Year Over

In the words of John Lennon, "...another year over and a new one just begun."

We are on the brink of a new year here at casa de phillips. Tobe and I aren't ones to go all out on New Years Eve, so once the children are bathed and tucked warmly into bed, most likely we will put on a movie that does not contain animation or educational themes and finish off the Christmas candy. Hello, 2008!

As the world reflects back on another year behind us, I hope that 2007 brought you a least a tiny bit of joy and peace. Tomorrow signifies a new beginning, a time to rid oneself of the clutter...whether that clutter be in the form of excess weight, excess junk, or excess emotional baggage. Today I overhead a woman having a phone conversation (rather loudly) in Pottery Barn, telling her friend, "We will make their rooms much so they will completely hate going to their Daddy's." Yikes. If you have such clutter going on in your life, ditch it as soon as the clocks hit midnight, my friend. Begin 2008 on a positive note.

2007 brought us sweet Baby Evelyn, so we are counting it as a huge success despite life's normal highs and lows. As I do each new year, tomorrow I will find a quiet moment and write out my resolutions I hope to accomplish in the next 365 days. Unlike my husband who could confidently write his resolutions in dark Sharpie marker because he will accomplish all of them before year's end, I will likely need to write mine in faint pencil that can be erased and modified as the months tick by. This year's goals range from trivial items such as having our family eat mainly organic food to the more complex of writing a personal faith mission statement (gulp). Perhaps some I will share, likely most I will keep only to myself in case I fail miserably.

As the year comes to a close, I want to take the opportunity to thank each of you for stopping by, sharing comments, and spending time reading these rambling words about our little family. Please come back by in 2008.

Happy New Year, Dear Reader!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Surviving Christmas

This picture of Evelyn sums up our past few days....although joyous; Christmas ran us over, backed-up, and plowed us once again. And we still have two more "Christmas-es" to go. I hope we survive.

Sunday morning the Phillips family headed West before the sun rose over the city. Although we were initially apprehensive about driving six+ hours in the car with two small children, the trip was wonderful. Isaac entertained himself with the smallest things (stickers and a bag of dry Cheerios were the favorites of the trip) and Evelyn napped and chatted at amazing loud decibels. Tobe and I love a good road trip and it was quite comforting to know that our children were good little riders (this time).

Families were visited, presents were given and received, and much food was consumed. However Tobe and I quickly realized that traveling with children and attempting to relax and enjoy the holiday season is a combination that does not blend together well. Isaac and Evelyn were great little troopers, but Tobe and I did decide to not travel this upcoming weekend as originally planned (Our extended families live 12 hours apart and we usually go to both locations during Christmas. Because they are awesome, my parents have agreed to come to casa de phillips to celebrate Christmas rather than us going to their home.). We are almost giddy over the fact that come Sunday we do not have to navigate any security check-points or pack any suitcases.

The biggest tragedy of our Christmas travels was the loss of an important family member. Before you become saddened and start writing sympathy cards, please know that this family member is about nine inches high, is covered in fur, and answers to the name "Lil Ink-Ink". Somehow Lil InkInk jumped out of the diaper bag in the four days we were traveling and did not return to casa de phillips. Fortunately I had spied a display of Lil Ink Inks (known to many of you as the miniature Gund teddy bear) at our Tuesday Morning a few weeks back. Upon arriving in town yesterday, I raced to Tuesday Morning to see if I could find a replacement InkInk before Isaac woke from his nap (He had gone to bed quite sad about the disappearance of his friend, whom we said most likely still needed to be unloaded from the car...along with the mountain of items we had taken with us.). The display had been replaced by drastically reduced Christmas merchandise, which caused me to panic and envision myself paying $95 on Ebay for a replacement Lil Ink Ink. I was saved by two kind employees willing to scour the shelves and back storage spaces for our beloved bear. Fortunately they found two leftover from the previous display...both of which I purchased. Lil Ink Ink II seems to have found his place in casa de phillips because Isaac has not realized there has been a switch. Please do not mention this substitution to him until he is at least 27.

Both kids seem to relish the fact that we have once again returned home. Isaac pulled out every possession he owned upon walking through the door, bouncing from one room to the other gleefully. However I think all the excitement is catching up with him because last night at supper he asked if he could go take a nap rather than finishing his meal.

Evelyn is perfecting her art of scooting in hopes of getting to Isaac's new toys. The girl is quick and I have spied her aggressively lunging in the direction of anything associated with Isaac. Once this girl really starts crawling (which we believe to be quite soon), the sibling battle is about to be on. Perhaps I should seek out a prescription for my nerves before then...

Tonight we are tucked safely in the warm walls of casa de phillips, baskets of presents to be unloaded and laundry to be washed. We are thankful for a safe journey and ever so grateful to be home. Hopefully your season was equally as blessed.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

The time is upon us....the Phillips family is about to go traipsing around the globe in search of holiday joy and festivities. Before I take a holiday blogging break, I wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Although intended to be joyful, the holidays can be a hard time for many. If that happens to be you, I pray that you are blessed this season and find something that makes you smile even in sorrow or pain.

Although we will be in and out of casa de phillips, we do plan to travel extensively by car and plane this season. Oh yes, there should be many a tale about our journeys considering we haven't even pulled out of the driveway yet and there is so much I would like to share already(For instance, how the husband and I spent a great deal of time masterfully backing in the in-laws van into our garage only to discover we had forgotten to remove the suitcases from the attic first. This whole event went down with Isaac on the other side of the back door crying because we would not let him come into the garage due to the extremely cold temperatures. He sat crying, with his little hands reaching out through the cat door...don't ask...begging to come outside. ). Check back soon, dear reader, because I am sure there will be some drama to recount.

Until then, Merry Christmas and God bless.

...and because it is the season of giving, here are some random Christmas photos. Your welcome.

Pass the Biscuits!

I need a shirt which reads, "I *heart* breakfast" because I really might love the morning meal almost more than my family some days (Don't panic...I said almost).

That being said I usually eat wheat toast and fruit most mornings to maintain a boring ol' healthy lifestyle.

However, on those special days when I welcome such things as butter, sugar, and more sugar into my breakfast genre, I like to whip up fun breakfast creations. Lately such breakfast creations have involved some type of biscuit making as I am attempting to teach myself the art of baking tasty breads.

This is a great biscuit recipe because you can make it at night and then toss it in the oven in the morning while you are still bleary-eyed and waiting on the coffee to perk.

*4 Cups SELF-RISING FLOUR (must use self-rising and not all-purpose)

*2 Tbsp. sugar

*2/3 cup Shortening
*2 cups butter milk

*Sift together flour and sugar into large bowl (don't skip this or you will have lumpy biscuits)

*Cut in shortening until mixture resembles a big bowl of crumbs (don't you love my explanations....I should really write a cookbook one day )

*Stir in buttermilk with a fork until soft dough forms

*Place the dough out on a floured surface and knead 20 times....20, no more, no less. I count out loud which makes me look a bit crazy but perhaps my children are learning something in the process.

*Feed large amounts of raw dough to your two year old to feed his dough addiction

*Here is where you are faced with a decision: You can either cover the dough in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge until the morning or you can go ahead, roll it out (one inch thickness), and cut out your biscuits. Then you simply cover the cut-out biscuits with a towel and head off to bed for a solid eight hours sleep.

*In the morning stick those bundles of yumminess into a preheated 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

***Yes, the picture does not match the post....but it sure is cute!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Share Your Story

Since birthing two babies of my own, I have come to seriously contemplate the birth of Jesus. I know the whole no-room-at-the-inn-had-to-use-a-manger birth of our Savior story....but now my questions and contemplations revolve around the actual process of his birth.

Mary was young, pregnant with her first child, she and Joseph were in a barn far from home. Then there is the little detail of the immaculate conception. None of these things equal a positive birth story in my book. Was there pain, fear, or angry words uttered? I wonder if the Lord provided these two young people with peace and wisdom to make it through such a tiring....yet miraculous....event.

Recently someone encouraged me to share my stories with my children....stories of childhood, stories of meeting my husband, and the stories of giving birth. Obviously I could ramble on about such things for hours with Evelyn and she would be content to hear Mommy talk and tug at my hair. It has become a recent experience with Isaac to share such family tales. I retell these stories on a two year old level and Isaac is enthralled. He does not fully understand such concepts of marriage, of Mommy and Daddy being young, of what it actually means when a baby is born....yet the stories are more magical and powerful to him than any tale Disney can create.

I wonder if Mary told little Jesus of the glorious night that He was born. I wonder if he sat at her feet as a small child, loving to hear details of how He fit into their extraordinary family. What a story Mary had to share.

It is this time of year that we are reminded of Mary's incredible story....of the adventure of two young people and the birth of one baby who would bring Grace to the world. I encourage you to share this story and as you do, share the other stories of your life with your children. They will be blessed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Isaac learned a hard lesson not so much better to give than to receive.

Today was the big Christmas party at his preschool, which included a book exchange. I have been hoping that all fever would reside so Isaac could be in attendance. He went off to school this morning...the picture of good health....back-pack, wrapped book, and party supplies in hand.

He left school, red-faced and teary-eyed. Seems that despite my countless efforts to explain that the book we wrapped was for someone else, Isaac thought the Curious George book he had carefully helped me decorate was his. His little two year old heart was broken for most of the afternoon.
Teaching a child to give with a happy heart is a struggle, especially in a society that is frighteningly becoming completely "me" focused. Yesterday I saw a shirt for a baby that read, "I *heart* Me!" Seriously? People want their sweet faced baby toddling around proclaiming an intense love for themselves?

Oprah the other day was about a group of women who stepped out and put themselves first, rather than others. I am all about have personal time, but this mentality of "Me first, all you other people a distant second" scares me.....especially when it comes to raising children. I fear that we are rapidly running away from that very basic Sunday School principle of "JOY" (Jesus first, Others Second, Yourself Last). It seems like quite the elementary concept, yet holds such value.

Tonight Isaac went to bed with a big smile on his sweet little face, despite the fact that his massive home library was still without "Curious George and the Snowy Day." The wonder of being two is that although minor events in life can cause major drama in 0.6 seconds, one quickly recovers and continues on with their day.

...that is until the next world-stopping catastrophe hits and the tears start all over again.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Drumroll Please.....

For those of you whose address I do not possess and for those of you who I might not actually know, here is our 2007 Christmas card. Kinda at did a fantastic job. (By the way, this is copyrighted material....just FYI in case you were contemplating copying it and sending it out as your own holiday greeting....which not only is illegal but quite odd as well.)

The little girl in the picture felt the need to cry for hours on end late, late Sunday evening (or perhaps early, early Monday morning???). Good thing she is so cute. Nothing was wrong, she just wanted to make sure I was still around. Perhaps I should be flattered, but there are not many neural connections going on in my brain at 2:45am.

The little boy in the picture is battling a fever and informed us at the dinner table last night that his "sup-ter was boring." It was leftovers, so yes indeed it was boring, but we are not sure where these phrases are coming from.

Last week at preschool he actually used the ba*hroom on the pot*y (another girl is pot*y-trained....peer pressure can be a wonderful thing in some situations). I had put off all discussion of such training until after we are done traveling for the holidays, but he has taken a vested interest nonetheless. Yesterday morning after breakfast, he requested a visit to the facilities. Armed with a mini-library of books, he set up camp in the ba*hroom. Every few minutes I would poke my head in and ask if he was finished, to which he would reply, "Not quite yet."
His phrases slay me some days.

After a good twenty minutes of reading, he finally accomplished his task and went on with the day....until he realized that requesting a second trip to the restroom was a great way to delay naptime. This morning he again experienced multiple successes in the ba*hroom, so it appears that this holiday season we will be toting around two pack-n-plays, sippie cups galore, festively wrapped packages, and a portable pot*y. Good times indeed.

As he was finishing up a leisurely lunch this afternoon (all meals are leisurely with our boy), he started questioning as to what happened to the bug. Not really understanding what he was talking about, I kept dismissing the question with a casual "Um, don't know...let's eat (so Mommy can enjoy quiet time while everyone naps)." Isaac was relentless, looking for his "lit-le bug." I was unaware to the fact that he had been dining with a friendly insect, whose apparent sudden disappearance was becoming quite troublesome to him. I looked around the table and (thankfully) found no "lit-le" bug, so I did what any mother who was attempting to get her kids down for a nap would do....I told Isaac his "lit-le" bug must have returned to his "lit-le" bug home for a "lit-le" nap his own self. Whatever works, my friend.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Tour of Casa de Phillips

I am playing along with BooMama (whose blog you MUST read because it is nothing short of hilarious) and hosting a Christmas tour of my home.

So pour yourself a steaming cup of hot chocolate, overflowing with marshmallows and sprinkles because that is the only way to drink it, and welcome to casa de phililps at Christmastime.

First, the tree....We purchased this little tree during after-Christmas sales the year we were engaged. Sadly, this is the final year this Christmas tree will be with us. It has been faithful for seven Christmas seasons, but is getting old (and is currently being held up with a few back issues of Sports Illustrated) and is going into retirement.

I must point out that I only decorate and wrap presents in red and gold....mismatched paper and decor make me a tad anxious.
Saturday night, husband and I attended a Christmas concert by our local symphony orchestra. Apparently we also enrolled in the "Sweater of the Month" club as well....
The Christmas we were engaged, I made ornaments with each of our names on them. For those Days of Our Lives fans...does this remind you of anything? For some reason I decided to make Tobe's silver and blue (and have an unintentional Dallas Cowboys feel), which does not match the whole red and gold theme. I have offered every year to make him a new one, but he wants to stick with the original.

Isaac and Evelyn's ornaments

The Rocking R....the farm brand from Tobe's Grandparents farm. I made these one year for his entire extended family.Our tribute to our respective home states....these always hang side by side on the tree Our Piano

The fireplace....eagerly awaiting two more stocking holders so Tobe and I can hang our socks next to the children's.

Because we live in an area that doesn't see much cold weather, there really is no reason for us to have a fire roaring in the fireplace. I chose to place greenery, large ornaments, and Christmas lights in there instead. My Santa collection....each year I purchase a new Santa. I always write the date on the bottom of his foot so I can remember which Santa was purchased during what year. I began a snowman collection for Evelyn this year, which means she has better come to love snowmen or she is going to dread her holiday decorations each year.
The Kitchen Table...which I keep "set" during the month of December. The tree on this table is decorated with cookie cutters and is often redecorated many times during the day by an unnamed toddler.
Something new we started this year is eating dinner by candlelight every night in December. Although this can be a bit tricky with a curious two year old, it does set a relaxing and mellow mood for the evening.
This is just a sampling of our Christmas decor....we have decorations throughout the house, including trees in each of the children's rooms, our room, and the guest bathroom.

Because you were so kind to stop by and tour casa de phillips, I want to share the (in)famous Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Cookie Recipe.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (Use the real stuff....your cookies will thank you)

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

48 red M&M's (approx.)

96 mini chocolate chips (approx)

Pretzels, broken into 96 1-inch pieces

* Preheat oven to 375 degrees

*Beat together butter, peanut butter, and sugars on med. speed for about two minutes

*Add egg and vanilla..beat until combined

*Sift together dry ingredients, then slowly add to wet ingredients

*Roll dough into one inch balls and place one inch apart on baking stone

*Press down light with hand, then get ready to decorate

*Broken pretzels are the antlers, chocolate chips the eyes, and the M&M's are the nose. I had better results decorating before baking, although you can do it immediately after cookies come from the oven if you prefer.

*Bake for about 8-10 minutes

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bring God Your Broken Cookie Pieces

Yesterday I spent a great amount of time in the kitchen baking in preparation for a holiday cookie exchange at my monthly MOPS meeting. Isaac was my sous chef in the dough making process (I am a bit hung up on the whole "sous chef" thing, as you might have guessed). Baking with kids is a great way to teach various math skills and enjoy quality time together and I attempt to have Isaac help me in the kitchen whenever he can. In the morning we poured, mixed, stirred, and chilled large amounts of dough.
As soon as nap time began, I set about baking and decorating my cookies. This, too, would have been an enjoyable activity for my two year old, but I wanted my cookies to look cute. Two year olds don't know how to do cute.....just messy and destructively messy. I baked and decorated 3 dozen reindeer cookies, painstakingly placing mini chocolate chips as eyes and red M&M's to serve as the nose. Pretzels were cut with a serrated knife to serve as little antlers atop the peanut butter cookie head.

Two hours later I surveyed my masterpieces, deciding which were the cream of the crop to be placed on my cookie exchange platter and which were the rejects to serve my family. I wrapped my platter in decorative cellophane, tying it with a coordinating ribbon, snowflake ornament, and tag.

This morning I gathered both children, two diaper bags and a purse, and my beautiful cookies and off we went to MOPS. Isaac and Evelyn were both deposited into their respective classes, then I rushed back out to the car to get my festive platter, brimming with cute Reindeer cookies.

I bet you can imagine what happened next....

I dropped them.

Upside down.

On the gym floor.

Antlers were broken off in sad little pieces, noses were without a face, and that beautiful ribbon/tag/ornament combination was askew.

A perfectly good nap time wasted.

Because I am feeling introspective this afternoon (must be the weather), here is the little lesson I learned from my experience (aside from not hurrying while wearing boots and a skirt in wet weather): I missed out on a perfect opportunity to spend quiet time with one of my children because I was seeking perfect cookies simply to impress others. I missed out on some family time last night because I was still packing away my cookies and cleaning up the major mess I had made in the kitchen during the creative process. I missed out on a nap because I devoted my free time to making sure eyes were even and antlers were straight.

Sometimes I put too much focus and energy into making my plate of cookies look beautiful and flawless which causes me to neglect the important areas in my life. God does not ask that our life cookies resemble a Martha Stewart creation. Rather He asks us to bring him the broken pieces, because He is the only one to make us whole and perfect.

As the holiday season is beginning to hit crunch time, take a minute to check your priorities. Make sure that your focus is set on God, your family, and creating a sense of peace in your home and not on attempting to make everything cookie-cutter perfect.

And to the Mommy who received my broken cookies at the exchange this morning....just pull out a spoon and dig into those crumbs. I am sure Rudolph is just as tasty in little pieces.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Surviving Dinner

There was a time...not too long ago...when dinner preparation involved complex recipes, the news on in the background, and my ability to chop up an onion without having to search for the missing Pirate from our Little People collection. Those days are gone, my friend....and in its place is sometimes 45 minutes of pure chaos.

I am a lucky wife...for many of those being that my husband usually arrives home from work before 5pm (We won't discuss the unheard of hour he leaves for work each morning to make this possible). He is barely inside our house before he begins pitching in with the children and helping me in the kitchen (despite a deep hatred of cooking, he is always willing to serve as sous chef). This helps ease the 5 o'clock crazies that tends to be programed into children's little brains

"Oh, its 5pm....I must now demand everything, then cry dramatically when I receive it. I must somehow manage to fall, bump my head, or bang my elbow every 2.7 seconds. I must cry that I am hungry and then refuse to eat when dinner is served."

Two year olds can go from sweet, angelic little things into a whirlwind of crazy in 0.3 seconds once that clock chimes 5pm.

Some days dinner preparation is a breeze. And then there are days like Tuesday. Tuesday Tobe phoned me to say he was just leaving the office at 5pm. He has about a 30 minute commute on good traffic days. Tuesday was rainy, foggy, and cold which makes even the best city driver reverts to his early defensive driving class days. I did not expect to see Tobe before 6:30pm, which meant I was tackling supper....and the 5 o'clock crazies....alone.

Because I get quite anxious when things are not planned (this does not surprise some of you in the least), I plan out each week's meals in advance. Tuesday night's dinner was chicken pot pie (using leftover chicken from Monday night's Inside-out Chicken, huh?), which is simple enough. I set up some toys for Isaac before he had a chance to request Mommy as a playmate and plopped Evelyn in the exacauser. Then I went about mixing and rolling out the pie crust. Isaac's sixth sense kicked in when he realized there was raw dough available in the kitchen. After ingesting an unhealthy amount, he returned to the "giving room" (you likely call it a living room) to play, after attempting to "help" by unloading the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. I made the pot pie and stuck it in the oven, only to realize five minutes later that I forgot to add the broth and cream. Out comes the pot pie. I try to channel my best surgical skills as I remove the top pastry, pour in some liquid, and return it to the oven. I then return to the "giving room" to play with the children while our supper cooks.

It was then that I noticed the tell-tale smell of a dirty diaper. I pinpointed the culprit as Evelyn and took her off to the changing table, promising Isaac a quick return. As I was removing E.'s pants, I noticed that this was not a normal dirty was an explosion. So much of an explosion that I was forced to call my 2.5 year old in as an assistant. By the time the offending diaper and soiled clothes were removed, Evelyn was pretty much covered in the mess. Somehow Isaac managed to knock over the wipes warmer, which sent our new free wipes spiraling to the floor in a jumbled mess. In his quest to help, his hand became soiled. Off he went to wash them while I started a load of laundry (it was that bad, dear reader). I checked on dinner, redressed Evelyn, and went in search of Isaac. Apparently "washing hands" had morphed into "cleaning the entire bathroom with copious amounts of water." I dried him off, went to wash my hands in my bathroom, and returned to Evelyn's room. She must have looked quite bored because Isaac had removed half of the bathtub toys from their designated colander and placed them around Evelyn....complete with leftover bath water and soap scum.

This is a sampling of our struggle some nights to make it to the dinner table sane, in one piece, and with enough of an appetite left to choke down a meal. I believe in the importance of the family sitting down at the table each evening to share a meal together.....I also believe some evenings after I have said, "Eat your supper", "Don't stick applesauce in your ear", "Only one sock per foot" a minimum of 63 times each, I want fake a sudden onset of the stomach bug simply to hide out in the bathroom for the rest of the evening.

Of course all of the bathtub toys have been relocated to Evelyn's room, so what's the point?

How do you survive cooking and eating supper on those crazy days?

If You Thought Lead in Thomas was Bad.... **Updated

Being the medically involved person that I am, I receive email updates from WebMD (okay, I am really not that medicine-oriented. The truth is I do not know how or why I recieve emails from WebMD). Apparently the latest recall is 1 million doses of the Hib vaccine distrubed by the fine people at Merck. Most likely if your child is on a set vaccine schedule, then they have been given this series starting at 2 months. The recall was prompted by the notion that the vacinine may have been contaminated with bacteria while in production.

Check out this link for more details.

Because we currently are vaccinating Evelyn on the recommended schedule, she was just given this vaccine a few weeks ago at her six month check-up. I am not worried, but I did call the pediatrician's office a few minutes ago to inquire if their stock is part of the recall (if so, do I mail Evelyn in for a replacement baby?). I win the "Paranoid Parent of the Day" award because the receptionist had not heard of such a recall and acted like I had a touch of the crazy Mommy syndrome.

UPDATE: I have since talked to our Pediatrician's office and they did not have a contaminated batch of vaccine. Looks like we get to keep Evelyn for Christmas rather than shipping her off to China to be fixed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Boy after My Own Heart

The other day I walked into the kitchen to find Isaac standing in front of the pantry, the doors wide open.

I asked what he was doing (and cursed the fact that he finally figured out how to open our handle-less cabinet doors), to which he casually replied, "I am lookin' for some cookies."

Because we are mean parents over here at casa de phillips, he had to settle for some organic cheddar bunnies (We love our cookies....however our waistlines do not, so we keep no junk food in our house).

Yesterday afternoon after naptime I asked Isaac what he wanted for snack.

He sweetly replied, "Um....just some dough."

It was then that I was 100% sure had been no mix-up in the hospital nursery 27 months ago and this little boy is completely mine.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Soup's On!

This little girl turns seven months old today:
(This picture was taken last Thursday morning, when I found Evelyn sitting up in her bed all by herself. She has been sitting unassisted for about a month now, but I had no idea she could pull herself into a sitting position.)

Seriously, the time is sprinting by at unforeseeable speeds. I handed her some toy rattle today and she just looked at me as if to say, "Seriously? You want me to play with this old thing? Where are the Little People? Let's break out some crayons. Anything, but the baby toys." Sigh.

Because I can tell I am about to spiral into a post discussing all things Evelyn (how she is working on perfecting the "little girl squeal", how anything Isaac holds she must have now., how she can wear any bow and look baby fabulous, and how her little legs are not quite so little anymore and nine month clothing is on the short side these days), I will demonstrate a bit of restraint and instead share something else.

Since I am going to show such discipline and not speak about my children, I must then speak about food.

It is currently quite chilly where casa de phillips is located, which means the perfect opportunity for me to pull out all my "Cold Weather Recipes." Below is a favorite dish to warm up a chilly night.... which we happened to dine on last night. Enjoy!

Inside-Out Chicken Enchiladas
Courtesy of Alison
4 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 lb of Mexican Velveeta (try the Pepper Jack Velveeta instead to add some kick)
1 can Rotel
Shredded cooked chicken (save time by purchasing a Rotisserie Chicken at your grocer's deli)
1 Carton Half and Half
Enough Milk to fill Half and Half Carton
Salt and Chili Powder, to desired taste
Combine all ingredients. Cook over medium low to low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve over crushed corn Doritos. Yum!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

All Things Christmas

Saturday morning began bright and early with Isaac asking me repeatedly for batteries for his airplane while I made Christmas tree shaped biscuits and me repeatedly attempting to explain his 4 inch long airplane did not require batteries. This conversation went on for about thirty minutes, until my morning cup of coffee cleared the sleep-induced cobwebs from my brain and I remembered that such talk with a two year old is futile. I then gave him a set of batteries and he entertained himself for quite the while as he attempted to place them in the airplane. Being the mature Mommy that I am, I refrained from saying, "Told you so." when I found the batteries abandoned on the counter later in the day.

This weekend was all about Christmas at casa de phillips. We love the holiday season at our house and try to fit in as many festive activities as possible. The struggle is making sure our quest for ultimate holiday fun does not backfire and we wind up with a family of Grinches, overstimulated on Christmas lights and hot chocolate. Poor Isaac has been asking since November 24th, "Christmas on Saturday? Christmas on Wednesday?". He hasn't quite figured out the whole holiday season leading up to Christmas day, although now he does say, "It Christmas time, not Christmas day." Who knows if it will all come together in his little head on the 25th or if in March he will still be reciting his "It's Christmas time" mantra.

This weekend, we saw Santa and the crew (which involved lots of crying and shying no pictures were taken), ponies and horse drawn carriages were ridden, Christmas lights were viewed, goodies were consumed, holiday trains were watched, and we even managed to squeeze in a trip to a local holiday hotel hotspot.

Saturday afternoon found us shopping at my all-time favorite grocery store, Central Market, for a hostess present needed later that night(Tip: Gourmet pancake mix and specialty syrup make a great hostess gift for your next holiday party). While Tobe and Isaac paid for our stash, Evelyn and I set out for the boutique next door to find suitable wrapping for the hostess present. As we were checking out, the girls behind the counter were all talking to Evelyn (who was in the Bjorn). One inquired as to what her name was. When I said, "Evelyn" the check-out girl gasped in delight and said, "OH, After Pearl Harbor!!!!"

It took me a minute to comprehend exactly what she meant because I was thinking of the actual Pearl Harbor and did not see any connection between this terrible event in our nation's history and my six month old daughter. Then I realized, this sweet girl was a teenager and she was referencing the Ben Affleck movie. The girl went on for a solid five minutes about the love triangle in Pearl Harbor, in only a way a teenage girl can without taking a breath or really ending a sentence before moving on to the next one. She finally stopped long enough to ask if I had indeed named my child after a character in the movie. When I told her we had chosen the name simply because we liked it and I had never actually seen the movie Pearl Harbor, she looked at me as if I were suddenly the oldest, uncoolest woman she had ever encountered.

Our Christmas spirit spilled over into today as we completed some holiday crafts and then bundled up to put our Christmas cards in the mail. Each year I select a verse from a Christmas carol to adorn our card. As we hopped in the car this morning to set off for the post office, the carol from this year's card was on the radio. Convinced it was a sign of all things happy and Christmasy, we drove to the post office....only to find complete and total chaos. Apparently our local postal service felt like December was the perfect month to tear up large portions of their parking lot, leaving few parking spaces and narrow driveways for cars to navigate. Intending to simply drive up to a free-standing mailbox and send our letters on their way, I was stunned to find out that the mailboxes were now positioned on cars' passenger side doors due to the designated flow of traffic. Neither child had on a coat, Isaac's hair was not combed, and I was sporting shoes that did not match my outfit. There was no way we were going to all get out and go inside the post office.

I circled our car round and round the tiny lot until a space eventually became open. I then grabbed my letters, turned the car off and locked it, and ran as fast as I could to the outside mailboxes before someone notified authorities that two small children were left alone in a car. As I was running back, in shoes that were not meant for such athletic endeavors, I somehow managed to fall in the busiest parking lot in town. Lovely. Fortunately nothing was bruised but my ego.

Despite our post office mishap, Christmas cheer is running crazy here at casa de phillips. We still have quite the list of holiday activities to complete in the upcoming weeks before the tinsel and lights are tucked safely away in the attic.

I am pretty sure "falling in front of 50 angry postal customers" is not on your Christmas activity list......however, what are some things your family tries to do during this holiday season?