Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nerd Alert

Confession: In school, I loved being assigned a book report. Most likely I groaned along with the rest of the class and added a dramatic eye roll when the teacher gave out such an assignment to keep up appearances, but secretly inside I was already planning exactly what book I would read and how my report would look.
Bigger Confession: I still have the materials from several book reports done in grade school, including a semi-famous (in my mind) one I wrote...and performed (don't ask) for the entire fifth grade on "The Bridge to Terabithia."

Now that I have confessed my nerdiness to blogworld and all of you are wondering why and how I performed a book report....I want to share my own little blog book report about Jenny McCarthy's book "Louder than Words."

If you have ever read any of Jenny's books it is apparent she is quite intelligent and significantly different from the spastic blond she portrayed on MTV's Singled Out (back in the day when MTV played music). Her writing is blunt (often times to the point of being crude...but it fits in this case), emotion-driven, and speaks to the core of every Mommy's heart. She chronicles her journey through her son's diagnosis of autism at the age of 2 1/2, conveying how incredibly frustrating and heart-breaking such a battle can be for a parent and a child.

An early diagnosis of autism is crucial because there is a limited amount of time in which a child with autism may be significantly helped (notice that I said "may"....not everyone responds to treatment, regardless of age or intervention level.). Jenny speaks directly about trying to pull her child "out of the window" by finding early aggressive treatment. Through tremendous amounts of research, Jenny finally found a combination of ABA therapy, diet, , and supplementation that has significantly helped her son.

Enough synopsis. Get the book. Read it. You will learn something.

The message of this book has stuck with me in the days since finishing it, mainly because I am quite interested in autism spectrum disorders and because I think we have an epidemic on our hands that is largely ignored by the medical community. I completed graduate school a little over six years ago with a degree in Clinical Child Psych. Guess how much of that time was spent discussing autism....about half a class period total. This was not because I was in a shady program (which I wasn't), it was because six years ago ADHD was the main thing on the radar and autism rates were still about 1 in 3000. Today they are 1 in 150. A school psychologist I worked with while teaching said that during her PhD work in the 1980's, her class was told they would likely never work with a child with autism because it was such a rare disorder. Today she finds herself bombarded with students with autism.

The main reason Jenny McCarthy's book really spoke to me was because she talked about healing her son's autism. Healing...not curing...people with autism is a powerful idea. Autism may be reversible in some kids, when treated early and aggressively (why it works with some and not others remains a mystery). For four years, I worked closely with three kids in particular who were labeled as having "high-functioning autism." Those kids struggled almost constantly to navigate life, their families struggled (all three sets of parents are now divorced...some from a second marriage), and I struggled to teach them. There were improvements made...some more than others....but the road was long and difficult every day, sometimes every hour. A notebook currently resides in my attic of one little boy's (not so little now as he entered the seventh grade this year) journal to me about his daily fight with the demons of autism that resided in his head. It is powerful writing...sometimes spoken in jibberish or pictures...that demonstrates the neurological warfare that is autism

So what's the point of this post (other than to confirm my nerd status by writing a book report by choice). I am not proposing that you need to place a check in the mail to Cure Autism Now or begin researching a cure for autism in your basement. I am not speaking out against vaccines, preservatives, environmental toxins, or mercury levels (although I do have opinions on all of these....most of which were different just three years ago). I am encouraging you to educate yourself because autism is not the vision portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in "Rain Man" is an issue deeply affecting our society.

Oh yeah...and read the book. It was good. I liked it.

The End.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Before I Was A Mommy...

Before I was a Mommy.....

...I never imagined that I would become terribly involved in an episode of Blues Clues, finding it funny when Steve sings the "mail song", eagerly looking for the next clue, and anxiously awaiting the "thinking chair" so that I can figure out Blues Clues.

Before I was a Mommy....

...I never imagined that I would look forward to sticky kisses and sweaty hugs.

Before I was a Mommy...

...I never imagined that I would wear a white tank top to Mommy and Me class and the park and not notice the large poop stain on the front until I was at home three hours later.

Before I was a Mommy...

...I never imagined that despite the fact I am a pretty decent chef my child's favorite thing for me to cook him is instant macaroni and cheese ("mac-de-low-knee")

Before I was a Mommy...

...I never imagined I would be so in love with a double jogging stroller.

Before I was a Mommy...

...I never imagined that I would be able to hold two babies and push a stroller at the same time.

Before I was a Mommy...

...I never imagined that when my child requested to read the "Happy Nose" book, I would immediately know that he meant the "If You're Happy and You Know It" book.

Before I was a Mommy...

...I never imagined that other parents' victories and losses would effect me so deeply now that I know the intense ache a parent feels for a child.

Before I was a Mommy...

...I never imagined that I find my husband incredibly cute when he is crawling around on the floor playing with our children.

Before I was a Mommy...

...I never imagined that holding a sleeping baby would be the highlight of my day.

Before I was a Mommy...

...I never imagined how these two babies who both spent the majority of the morning fussing and crying and wanting to be held at the exact same time would bring me such unspeakable joy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How to be a Kid 101

During my post-partum stay at the hospital, I was given loads of information on how to care for a new baby and also instructed to watch various baby programs that played on the television 24/7 (neither of which I looked at while there with Isaac...which lead to a hormone-induced meltdown shortly before discharge over the fact I was going to be a horrible parent simply because I had not had time to read the literature). I am convinced babies are given their own set of literature on how to be a kid and watch countless videos in the nursery on topics such as "The Art of Crying All Night" or "How to Throw Purred Peas in Such a Way They Will Never Come off the China Hutch."

Yesterday, Isaac remember everything printed in the chapter most likely titled, "Make Sure Your Mother's Phone Conversation Cannot Take Place."

Breakfast had finished and I was cleaning the kitchen. Evelyn was sleeping peacefully in her bad (later in the day she would buff up on the subject of "Rolling Over Repeatedly During the Night and Wake Up Crying") and Isaac had been happily sent off to the living room to play. I quietly dialed a friend's phone number, knowing that the tell-tale beeps of the phone buttons would send a signal to Isaac's brain and he would desperately need to speak to me the instant my friend picked up her phone. Fortunately, Isaac was distracted and did not hear the beeps of my phone and I was able to start in with my phone conversation.

I was happily chatting along with my friend when I noticed that Isaac had pulled out the piano bench and was climbing up to play the piano. This might not seem that extreme, except for 1.He is not allowed to play the piano (He didn't even know it was a piano until a certain person showed him there were actual keys underneath the lid a while back) 2. Rather than sitting, Isaac had chosen to stand on the bench in his socks (The poor boy is not known for his coordination).

It was when I asked Isaac to get down and stop playing the piano that he remembered everything about destroying Mommy's phone call. He proceeded to lay down and cry loudly. I attempted to carry-on my conversation with my back to the loud wails coming from the living room. Isaac was able to get his heart-broken self off the floor, dry his fake tears, and then decided he Must. Watch. A. Movie. Now! We don't just watch a movie on a whim here at casa de phillips, so Mommy's answer to this request was a big ol No.

Huge fake tears again and loss of all muscle control (another thing taught in the hospital nursery: Go completely limp when acting upset.)

I was trying to carry on with my conversation in a perky voice, while covering the mouthpiece at times to issue grave warnings to my child who is in a heap of snot and tears on the floor. In my years of teaching, I did many consultations with parents on how to handle children in particular situations, whether at home or at school. One of my pieces of advice was to have a "Telephone Basket" on hand filled with little toys that your child could entertain himself with during important phone conversations. Parents loved this tip....I should probably follow it my own self.

I am sure they would have equally loved witnessing me move my crying child out of the way, closing the doors to the kitchen, and letting him cry in deep heartache over something (not even sure what is was at that point), while I finished my conversation.

Fortunately, Isaac took very detailed notes on the lesson titled, "How to Melt Your Mommy's Heart with One Sweet Hug and a Sticky Kiss" and all was forgotten.

How can you not take a picture of such cuteness?
We are still doing the breathing treatments here at casa de phillips and still sound as if we are housing the local tuberculosis ward.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

He's Prolly My Most Awesome Husband

I don't brag on here enough about how awesome my husband is....mainly because if you knew how awesome he really is, there would be a line out the door of people trying to snatch him from me (He does the laundry, people....and vacuums. Seriously, I have not done laundry in SIX years!).

So, I have been doing this Weight Watchers thing for almost three months and I am one pound shy of meeting my goal weight. The other day Tobe asked me how I was going to celebrate when I met my goal, to which I witty replied, "Be glad I am not fat." (It is a laugh a minute around here at casa de phillips). Tobe didn't think this was a suitable reward (or very funny), so yesterday afternoon just the two of us piled into the sedan and set off for the mall.

My most awesome husband had me purchase clothes....lots and lots of clothes... and waited patiently as I shopped for hours. It was like the scene from Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts goes shopping on Rodeo Drive...without the poor career choice and bad hair, of course. The best part is that we are not even done with our shopping extravaganza. I am still searching for the absolutely perfect pair of ruby red heeled Mary Janes.

I am nominating my husband for "Husband of the Century" because he is super awesome....and because I now have the perfect outfit to wear if such an award is ever presented to him.

Thanks, Husband! I heart you! (By the way, the title of this post is totally an inside joke between Tobe and me. Aren't inside jokes the worst when you aren't a part of them? Oh well.)

Update on the cold/allergy situation: We are still battling the colds both kids have. Apparently this is the worst allergy season our area has seen in ten years. Fortunately both kids do not mind doing their breathing treatments (which are sucking up about 2 hours of my day, however I have now caught up on my Blues Clues episodes) and are both excellent at taking medicine. Hopefully we will get over this thing and be ready to fight off any future infections!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The (Sometimes) Undying Love for a Friend

Meet Raffes.

Raffes and Isaac have been together since day one. Raffes has been rolled over, chewed on, stomped a few times, been exposed to a wide variety of toddler body fluids, heard late night talks and early conversations, and loved through and through.

Yet Raffes has a slight problem.

He smells.....bad.

Yesterday was sheet washing day at casa de phillips (It's one terribly exciting thing after another over here). I completely stripped Isaac's bed due to the fact that we have been struck with our second cold in two weeks and threw everything into the washer....including Raffes.

Raffes gets washed on occasion, however when we do wash him it is a secret operation that involves sneakiness, conspiracy, and occasional half-truths. Yesterday I thought I had been quite good in my efforts to get Raffes into the wash. Isaac didn't suspect a thing until Raffes was happily tossing about in the gentle cycle of the dryer. It was then that this blond hair toddler walked into his room to find a bare bed. He then began searching in earnest for Raffes.

When no tattered giraffe was found and Isaac realized that I was avoiding all questions involving the words, "Where Raffes at?", he rushed to the laundry room door. Upon hearing the rumble tumble of our dryer, Isaac proceeded to throw himself on the floor crying, "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAFFFFFFFFESSSSSSSSS!!!!"

One would have thought I put the little boy from next door in our dryer rather than a toy from the wailing that was coming from Isaac's mouth.

Knowing that Raffes still had 20 minutes of necessary drying time left, I attempted to stop the crying by offering up "substitute raffes" (Our emergency Raffes in case the original ever goes missing---a must-have when your child has a lovey). Isaac didn't want "uh-der Raffes" and continued to cry loudly at the laundry room door.

Not wanting all this drama to wake up Evelyn, I snatched a dripping Raffes from the dryer. Isaac proceeded to stick Raffes head into his mouth and march into his room....upon which he immediately spotted some other toy that seemed more exciting and proceeded to throw Raffes down and leave him alone, wet, and abandoned. Ah...the finicky love of a two year old.


We have since returned from visiting our lovely pediatrician. Apparently the colds are pretty yucky that both Evelyn and Isaac have and we get the joy of doing breathing treatments for the next few days. Seriously, the fun never ends here at casa de phillips....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Musings of a 25 Month Old

In my early days of being a stay at home mom, the silence of a house filled with merely me and a newborn was oppressive at times. I had come from a workplace filled with constant noise and was thrown into a new workplace that was silent….except for the occasional crying jags or baby giggles.

Fast forward 25 months and now I have a house bursting with the sound of little boy intent on discussing everything. Somedays I secretly look forward to when the clock tolls 12:30pm, because that means nap time and nap time means silence for a few hours (except for those days when Isaac talks in his sleep). This two year old speak is often funny, usually repetitive (our question of the week: "Where did ferdis wheel go?") a bit tiring (How many times can one Mommy explain that the nice carnie loaded his ferris wheel up on his truck and drove it off into the sunset?), and always charming.

Because I know that you, dear reader, are terribly interested in the thoughts and words of my two year old, I wanted to share my top five favorite things that currently come from Isaac’s sweet mouth.

1.“Mommy, I woke up!” (This happens on a daily basis when I enter his room in the morning. This statement is full of wonder and excitement as if waking up was the most amazing task ever.)

2.“I-ick’s nose is crying.” (Yep, Isaac has now coined the phrase of one’s nose crying rather than simply running. Very poetic, if you ask me.)

3.“I say, woo-hoo!” (I am not really sure what this means and why my child feels the need to say “woo-hoo” but he does and I find it hilarious. However, I am easily amused.)

4.“Giddie (No, Isaac is not describing a jubilant mood when using the word “giddie.” He uses it in such phrases as, “Mommy, giddie I-ick fresh apple juice, peas.” Yes, giddie means give and it melts my heart every time. Little does this boy know that if he simply said, “Mommy, giddie I-ick every single toy at Toys R Us.” I would drain the bank accounts to comply with his wish.)

5.“I say: gibberish, gibberish, gibberish” (My two year old is not actually saying the word “gibberish”. I have improvised on this one. Sometimes Isaac says long sentences that I simply do not understand. He is way past the point of me nodding or saying an absent “Oh” as I try to pretend to understand what he says. When I don’t catch what he is trying to say, I usually ask him to repeat it….thus creating the cycle of him saying, “I say….(fill in with incoherent two year old ramblings.). He gets a bit annoyed with me during such conversations (most likely wondering why his Mommy isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed) and even talks slower and louder….hoping that Mommy catches on. Sometimes I do and sometimes I just have to kiss him and say Mommy needs more coffee before she can decipher that toddler speak.

Okay...five isn't enough. Here are two more from this morning:

6. "I need noose, make hair nice." (Noose is what most hair stylists refer to as "mousse" and yes, occasionally Isaac uses a hair product on his blond locks to keep them in place.)

7. "Dat I-ick's school? Noooooooo. No playground. Dat I-ick's school? Noooooooo. No Ms. Cassie." (This is the conversation Isaac had with himself on the way to school this morning. He pointed at each building on our way and identified them as NOT being Isaac's school.)

I know sentences containing complete thoughts and well-formed words lurk in our near future. Such times will be nice when I can sit with my son and discuss things in length (although by then he might be too cool to sit with boring ol’ Mom), but for now I cherish the often random and always sweet things “I-ick” has to share.

Here are a few new pictures....and don't tell me you have never been tempted to wear a Bumbo as a hat.


Jenny McCarthy was on Oprah yesterday telling her story of parenting a child with autism. I thought she was well-spoken, knowledgeable, and Oprah only had to throw out inconsequential comments on a few occasions. Seriously, autism spectrum disorders are an epidemic....1 in 150 children are diagnosed on the spectrum (1 in 94 boys). Educate yourself about this disorder, dear reader. Jenny has written a book (She is actually a good author. I read her pregnancy book and baby book...both of which are easy and entertaining reads. However, she is a bit crass.) on her struggle and I have it on reserve at our local library. I will let you know what I think after I read it. Check out the Oprah episode if you happened to miss it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Good-bye, ferdis wheel!

Another street festival has come and gone. And no, Isaac did not ride the "ferdis wheel." Fortunately he forgot all about it once we arrived (how, I do not know considering it loomed in the skyline).

Nothing takes the fun out of a child's pony ride like this little sign:

I love to see the word "death" in conjunction with an activity my two year old is participating in at the time.

Here is our little cowboy, riding his beloved pony, Shaggy. Tobe got the fun job of walking in tight circles next to Isaac while I cheered and snapped pictures from the sideline. He looked a bit green once the ride came to an end.
Evelyn enjoyed the festival from the comfort of the stroller. Her first festival was a much better experience than Isaac's....who was a mere three weeks old when we took him and managed to spill sticky red soda all over him and his stroller before entering the festival's gates.

Just a few weeks ago, Isaac discovered the joy (and potential vomit pit) that is a bounce house. This particular bounce house had a polite young man who was helping the smaller kids actually bounce rather than simply being tossed about.

I love this shot because it shows the sheer excitement on Isaac's face, but more importantly displays how skinny our boy is. Those are size 12 month shorts he is wearing....and they are still too big. However, yesterday at lunch he ate the whole bowl of Mac and Cheese, 10 strawberries, 3 pieces of plain cheese, a graham cracker, half a banana, green peas, and a cup of applesauce.The petting zoo....the home of E.Coli. We had told Isaac he would see animals at the festival, which he immediately assumed would be lions, giraffes, and hippos. I don't think he was terribly disappointed with a few sleeping goats and an alpaca, but he did inquire as to where the lion was when he woke from his nap later that day.Last time we visited a petting zoo, I witnessed a small child being cornered by three hungry goats as he attempted to feed these "loving" animals. Since then, I opt not to buy the food for Isaac to feed the animals. He has already been terrorized by a duck this summer....I hate to add goats to the list. However, Isaac did find an abandoned ice cream cone (used to hold the food) and attempted to feed this poor duck (see, I don't despise all ducks....just the attack kind).The petting zoo was also surrounded by large signs, warning of the risks of E.coli. Yet there were children running around in flip flops or bare feet amongst the animals and their waste. Seriously? Fun was had by every member of casa de phillips, until the final five minutes when Evelyn decided that she must. eat. now. and then Isaac decided that if sister was going to cry, he might as well join in. I am sure all attendees were glad to see us rapidly heading towards the "Exit" at that point.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Are You so Fly?

Thanks to Erika, a friend from years past, for posting the following video on her blog.

I believe I have now watched it ten times in the last 12 hours. For those of you who are not from the small town of Searcy and those of you who have never heard of Searcy, this video will mean nothing to you.

The rest of you...enjoy! (enjoy?.... or sit fixated at your computer screen wondering if someone really did make a rap video about searcy, asking yourself what happened to the family shoe store in the background and questioning if anyone ever takes their children to riverside park?)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Around the Casa

This morning I walked into the kitchen to check on how our breakfast marathon was going (I call it a marathon simply because I believe I could possibly run 20+ miles in the time it takes Isaac to finish a meal). Isaac looked up at me with those big blue eyes and said, "Oh, Mommy! Your shirt nice." and proceeded to pat it with a sticky yogurt hand. It is sweet that he noticed the attempt I had made this morning to wear something other than a polo shirt and Bermuda shorts (my summer uniform) and the lovely pint-size strawberry flavored hand print really did wonders for my nicely pressed white blouse.


Speaking of the eating marathon, last night Isaac was continuing to munch away on his supper well past the time that Tobe and I had completed our meals. I insist we all dine together at the table each evening because I believe it is a very important family dynamic. However, we cannot sit there forever so Tobe and I usually move on from the table as Isaac finishes up eating. Tobe was feeding Evelyn in the living room and I was cleaning up the supper dishes. I left the kitchen for .43 seconds to use the restroom and returned to find an army of green peas had invaded my newly mopped floor. Apparently after experiencing utter joy when one pea accidentally went flying to the floor, Isaac decided that all twenty-seven peas from his tray needed to be sent soaring. Isaac immediately said, "I-ick keen peas off floor." (Isaac, clean peas off floor) the moment I entered the kitchen. At least he remembered that if he makes the mess, he cleans it up. However, he had forgotten the rule that if you throw your food, meal time comes to an abrupt end. I removed him from his highchair and had him began the daunting task of picking up peas from all corners of the kitchen. I only thought mealtime was an took Isaac a good 20 minutes to pick up each pea and carefully place it in the trashcan before moving on to the next one.


Our local festival has hit town and with it comes a near-by parking lot filled with carnival rides. Isaac has decided that, "I-ick ride ferdis wheel" (Ferris wheel). I am praying there is a height limit so there will be no discussion of Isaac jumping on the "ferdis wheel." However, if he does ride it will have to be with his father because this Mommy does not step foot on any moving amusement equipment that can be packed onto a truck in under thirty minutes.


Evelyn turned four months old this week and every day pieces of her personality shine through. She has a sixth sense regarding naptime approaching and goes from smiley, happy little girl to kicking, crying tantrum baby the moment one lays her down for her pre-nap diaper change. She also has a deep need for everything that she can get her hands on (toys, Mommy's hair, her own clothing) to go directly into her mouth. She often times becomes frustrated with said object simply because she cannot get the whole thing inside her little mouth. A while back we purchased a infant baby doll for her (creatively named, "Dollie") whom we have since decided is her arch nemesis. Evelyn will grab Dollie, attempt to stuff her into her mouth, and almost growl as she chews and gnaws at this toy. What a delicate flower we have on our hands.


This morning I was fortunate enough to hear Kathy Peel speak at my MOPS meeting. She was excellent and really sheds new light on the whole "stay-at-home mom" thing.


At casa de phillips we take the hassle out of bath and bedtime by splitting up the responsibilities of bathing two babies and putting them down for the evening. It is a team effort, which we manage to accomplish each evening in roughly 25 minutes. Currently we switch off bathing each child (one takes Isaac, the other Evelyn--we do this because Evelyn is still in the baby bathtub and might become lost among the growing collection of bath toys Isaac has accumulated). Last night Tobe asked which kid I wanted to bathe (he had worked late the evening before--which completely changes bathtime dynamics and makes Isaac the helper with Evelyn's bath...a post in itself). I graciously said "I'll do Evelyn. I am on hour 12 with Isaac." Tobe gave me a puzzled look, clearly not understanding my "hour 12" reference. After both kids were tucked safely in bed and our living room was no longer littered with brightly colored plastic toys, Tobe commented on how Isaac did not stop talking or moving the entire time he bathed, dressed, and read to him. I slyly smiled and said, "I know. I was entering hour 12 of hearing the non-stop chatter (sweet chatter, of course....but non-stop) and thought you needed to hear Isaac's thoughts for a while" A month ago when the pediatrician commented on Isaac's extensive vocabulary being equal to that of a three year old, we swelled with pride. These days, we are equally happy to see him sit silently and stare at the wall (which never happens, but it would be nice).


When Isaac was born, I placed a giraffe blanket (half stuffed animal, half blanket) in his crib every night so it would become his "lovey" that he could turn to in times of sadness or need while sleeping. "Raffes" as the giraffe is now known holds a deep place in Isaac's heart and shares his crib every night....along with InkInk, little InkInk, Ike the dog, green blankie, blue blankie, and now a Hammer book. Yeah, I think Isaac caught on to the whole "attachment to a lovey" thing. We are going to need an extra suitcase to haul all these loved items around with us when we travel for the holidays. Just today I was thinking of how smart I was when I purchased the trundle bed for Isaac's room before he was born....not because the trundle will be good for visiting friends one day, but because it will be a place for all these loved items to sleep at night once Isaac moves to his big boy bed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

School Days

"Bye, Mommy!"

This is what my barely two year old----who used to have horrible separation anxiety---said to me as we pulled into the parking lot of his preschool this morning. Yes, Isaac started school today. The whole preschool debate was quite the dilemma for me. Questions of do I send him yet, where do I send him, and am I going to be forced to buy a tacky backpack for him to cart to and fro swirled in my head.

We found the perfect preschool for his personality: small and ends at noon before lunch and nap. Then we were wait listed (I told someone this recently who got a big laugh over a wait list for preschool). Finally we got in, which meant I had to follow through with my preschool plan.

This morning we packed up the tacky backpack (The one I immediately purchased upon receiving the "acceptance call" and which happens to make Isaac incredibly happy) and set off for preschool. Last night I was haunted with thoughts of Isaac crying for three hours straight, feelings of guilt for making him go to school at the age of 2 when he has many years of required schooling left before him, and images of all the other kids being much older and wiser in the ways of the world than my barely two year old son (He made the cut off by 28 days).

All those feelings subsided when we pulled into the parking lot and Isaac said, "Bye, Mommy." He walked down the hall with a new friend (after introducing himself by saying, "I, I-ick") and went straight into the classroom. A quick greeting to his teacher ("Hi, Ms. Cassie") and he set off to investigate the stash of toys. No tears, no hugs good-bye....I am not even sure if he realized that I followed him into the building from the parking lot.

I drove home clutching my cell phone, knowing that at any minute the director would call to say Isaac was incredibly distraught and I needed to pick him up. Nope. At pick-up time, I expected him to come out of his class relieved to see my face. He calmly said, "Hi, Mommy."

Day one was a success. His teacher said Isaac did super and only shed some tears one time, simply because someone else was crying. On the way home, I attempted to get some information out of him as to how the morning went. Basically all I got about the day was that Ike the dog was a good boy (he got to take a favorite animal for his first day) and that cookies were served at snack time and "I-Ick's cookies were all gone." During lunch, he looked over at me and said, "Mommy find I-ick." I guess he thought I had lost him for a few hours while he was at school. Silly boy.

Being true to his two-year old nature, picture taking on this first day of school was not an acceptable option.

After school, still refusing to get his picture taken

This little girl was thrilled that Isaac attended preschool today...because it gave her full reign of the house. (FYI, she turned four months old yesterday!)

**By the way, it was a year ago today that we found out we were expecting this brown haired, blue eyed bundle of smiles. It was then that my irrational nacho and candy bar cravings made sense....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Midnight Worries

Lately I have been waking up in the middle of the night (partly due to a little girl who has yet to figure out the concept of "sleeping through the night") consumed with worry, anxiety, and despair. Sounds a bit deep, huh? Well, I wish I could say that these emotions were the result of contemplating serious life issues such as the AIDS crisis or the never-ending war in Iraq.

It would be nice to be that deep and introspective at 2:17am, however my worries are about Halloween. Yes, I am losing sleep over an inconsequential holiday that is a month and a half away. For those long-time readers you likely remember how Isaac had four Halloween costumes last year and it took me forever to decide which would make the perfect picture. This year I have two babies and I am determined to have them in costumes with a coordinating theme. This is likely my last year of choosing Isaac's costume before he demands to wear a superhero outfit with fake muscles or wants to be a zombie soccer player like his father was every year as a child. My dilemma is two-fold, however. I want a theme but 1. I do not all. and 2. I refuse to spend $70 on a Halloween costume....oh yeah...3. I am very picky.

Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Another factor to consider is that we live in a region where it might possibly be 97 degrees on Halloween night, which makes the large, stuffed costumes sold around here a bit ridiculous.

I kind of wish for the days of the old-school plastic costumes that one slips on over their clothes and hits the door in search for candy. Tacky, yes, but oh so simple (As a preschooler I had a hobo costume of this variety.....ah, the absence of political correctness in the 80's).

Side note: I typed this post early this morning, but just found the time to actually post it this afternoon. Guess what was in my email inbox today? An email from the lady who is going to design our Christmas cards letting me know that if I get my Christmas picture to her by October 1st, I will get a 10% discount. Christmas picture???? I can't even think about such a monster!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Gangsta's Paradise

I assume most of you readers with toddlers listen to the preschool classics: Baby Einstein, The Wiggles, Veggie Tales, perhaps a Backyardigans song every now and then. I thought we were right there with you listening to the preschool music genre until lunchtime today. Isaac dines along during lunchtime because I am feeding Evelyn at the same time (who prefers to eat on the comfy couch). Lately, Isaac has preferred listening to music during his noontime feasting experience. Today Evelyn was starting to become impatient as I sat Isaac up with his lunch. I was hurrying about dicing fruit, pouring juice, locating the beloved mouse cheese, and then flipped the stereo on as I rushed out of the room to feed a crying Evelyn; leaving Isaac to his food and his music.

When I returned to the kitchen 15 minutes later, the lyrics that were coming out of the stereo would have made Howard Stern blush. Isaac was not listening to the Baby Einstein CD I thought he was...rather he had been grooving along to gangster rap. Apparently when I had flipped on the stereo, I had mistakenly turned on the radio (which was set to some random station due to Isaac's constant need to push buttons in our house) rather than the CD player. I am not sure if the Mozart Effect applies to rap music or not, but I do know I am not up for any "Mother of the Year" awards this week.

Pray, Pray, Pray

Precious little Bennett needs your prayers. Go here or here to read more!

Sweet picture, huh? Shortly after Isaac randomly kissed Evelyn he attempted to "pat-pat" her head with closed fists. Ah, the love of a big brother.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Moving On Up!

We might not be ready for our de-lux apartment on the upper east side, but we have bid farewell to the world's largest stroller!

Here is how we used to roll at casa de phillips:
And this is how we roll now:
THE stroller finally arrived yesterday afternoon. I about hugged the UPS man who brought it to my door (one of the few delivery people who happened to read the "Please Knock, Baby Sleeping" sign above the doorbell) but decided that might be a bit inappropriate. I had been worrying for a week about this stroller, convinced I had read the Ebay auction wrong and had actually only purchased a box or an imitation stroller. My fears were eased yesterday as I tore into the very large box to see this beautiful red stroller, still in its original package.
We took it for a spin this morning and marveled at its ability to move, turn, and glide over bumps. Isaac choose the right side to be his side and designated Evelyn to be on the left. This stroller looks a bit big (what double stroller doesn't, except for Sit and Stands which are not an option for our toddler nor my patience), but it is only 29 inches wide so it fits through normal doorways. Nice.
Anyone want to buy a "lovely" Graco double stroller?
Yesterday afternoon I attempted to take a picture of Isaac and Evelyn holding up a sign for baby Bennett. Seriously, Isaac has developed a phobia of cameras in the past few days. He refused to sit for the picture and cried at the mere thought of being photographed. I am going to make a second attempt this afternoon by perhaps bribing him with the chance to watch a movie. Hopefully we won't have to send sweet Bennett a picture of just sad looking Evelyn in her bumbo.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Independence, Please.

The desire for is what the "terrible twos" are all about (and a slight emotional imbalance that provokes tears for no other reason than "my eyes are sad"....but that is another post.) Children most often desire to express their independence through clothing choices. I experienced the unique fashion statements of children during my teaching years on many occasions. A particular favorite was one mid-morning when a child began to wail from his desk (which happened often in my classroom), "Mrs. Phillips, my niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight-night shirt!" Seems little Johnny had worn his prized "night-night" shirt to school (which was a 1982 Billy Joel concert shirt, by the way) and had somehow cut a hole in it with his scissors. The rest of the day went downhill from there for that little boy.

Saturday Tobe and I were shopping at our local trendy grocery store (alone!) when we passed a mother dressed head to toe in designer wear. Her son, however, was sporting a pair of spiderman goulashes with Pajamas. Seems like pajamas is popular among the under three foot crowd because one of our neighbors practically lived in a pair of thread-bare Superman PJS this past Spring.

The desire to dress oneself has hit casa de phillips. Isaac likes to peruse his closet in search of the day's clothing options. Earlier this week we had to have a quite serious discussion...which involved tears...over why he was not going to wear his large red winter coat in 95 degree weather. It took many discussions this summer to explain why one does not wear socks with nice brown sandals. This morning we set out on our walk with Isaac sporting a pair of dinosaur pjs (pretty common since he always wears his PJs when we walk first thing), a fire hat (his "fi-red" hat), one sock, and carrying a garden hose attachment and a flashlight. However, let it be noted that if you walk with your child who happens to be wearing a fire hat (backwards...always backwards) and pass a firetruck, the kind firefighters will turn their lights on for you (fortunately they did not turn on the sirens or we might have had a repeat train incident).

Guess what else defines the "terrible twos"? An extreme dislike of your mother's digital camera. I attempted to capture the outfit on film (memory card???) in all its glory, but Isaac was having none of my picture taking efforts. Good thing he is so cute.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Pics

Isaac spent his Labor Day fighting fires in the backyard. Yes, the fire hat is on backwards. He rolls like that.

Does this look like the face of a little girl with a snotty nose and fever? She hides it well, huh?
Brother and sister playing stickers

Evelyn cannot smile while sitting in her Bumbo. It takes all her concentration to keep herself upright.

Happy Labor Day!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Decade's Gone By

The world reflected on the tenth anniversary of Princess Diana's death this past week. This anniversary is significant here at casa de phillips...not because we are Royal Family fanatics (I am sure they are lovely people)....but because the night of Princess Diana's tragic car accident, was the first time Tobe and I hung out together. How sweet, huh?

I had moved to 1017 Washington Blvd that summer with my four roomies to kick off our junior year of college. Tobe showed up on our doorstep one August afternoon, mainly because he used to hang out with the former residents of 1017 and change is hard for him. A group of us went to the famous Abilene Speedway and then settled in at our new casa to enjoy a bit of late night television. It was then that we heard about the tragic car crash (and being young and ignorant believed it first to be a poorly written Saturday Night Live skit).

Ten Years. A decade of hanging out with this brown hair, brown-eyed boy. I believe we have spoken everyday since then, with the exception of the months I spent in Africa. Last night I asked him if he would have ever believed ten years ago that he was sitting in the same room as his future wife/mother of his two children. I was hoping for some thoughtful, sweet answer and instead he replied, "That would have completely freaked me out." Thanks.

Pictures...yes, we have new ones of our children but they are still on the camera. I know many of you simply come to this site to see the pictures (and hear an occasional duck story). Soon, dear readers. Currently we are battling our first cold of the season. Tobe and I spent a good 30 minutes tonight discussing ways to keep Evelyn's head elevated so she could breathe and not suffocate. Currently she is sleeping swaddled, in her swing, which is in her crib. We keep checking on her every five minutes to make sure she hasn't been projected out of the swing or something equally dramatic. Hopefully this is just a mild 24 hour thing and not a seven day thing.
Happy Labor Day!