Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap to It!

I just realized that today was leap day about thirty minutes ago.



Here I have an extra day to my year....24 free hours to accomplish something great and profound. Aren't we all just wanting a bit more time?



So far all I have accomplished with my February 29th is a lot of cleaning up of p**p. Glad I fixed my hair and did the make-up for that today. Seems that Evelyn is intent on having at least one exploding diaper a day while in her crib. Yesterday proved quite comical when I attempted to wash her bumper pad (that had an unfortunate meeting with an exploding diaper). Although Pottery Barn Kids claims the bumper pad can indeed be washed in one's home washing machine, one apparently must own an industrial sized machine to fit the thing in it. The bumper pad, and my laundry room floor, are still in the recovery stage.



Isaac has been sporting big boy und*rwear for two days now and is doing well...until this morning at breakfast when things happened before he could visit the facilities.



At least we have a theme going here.



Despite the p**p issues, I was able to successfully accomplish one thing...video of Isaac and Evelyn. Enjoy Isaac singing the ABC's (which he likes to act like he doesn't know, but I know he can identify the whole alphabet) and Evelyn playing a rousing game of Peek-a-Boo

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Voted!

Just a friendly reminder to all those readers living in Texas....early voting ends tomorrow! The children and I headed out this morning to cast our ballot. I say "our" because on the way to vote I attempted to explain the whole process to Isaac. I believe he got lost somewhere around the term "Super Delegates"...

Fortunately we vote at our local community center, which also serves as our gym/preschool class location/free play area. Gotta love the multi-purpose center. As I voted, one of the volunteers was quite concerned that Evelyn was going to fall out of the stroller and suffer some sort of traumatic injury. Thus he felt the need to hold onto her...despite my perky claims of how she was strapped in securely and there was safety bar....the entire time I voted. This was not the highlight of E.'s day.

Once my ballot was cast and hopefully the fate of my chosen candidate sealed, we set off for Thursday Preschool Time....also at the community center. The gym is opened each Thursday morning for preschoolers to run, jump, scream, bounce, and burn off kilowatts of energy to ensure a long nap in the afternoon. I would pay good money for such a service, but fortunately it only cost a dollar.

Remember to head out and vote to beat the rush on Tuesday!

**Although Tobe was quite generous and gave his "I voted early!" sticker to Isaac after his own voting on Monday, I selfishly told Isaac my sticker was indeed mine, slapping it on my shirt as he protested such injustice.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Works for Me....Sleep!


I am playing along with Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer today and participating in Works for Me! Wednesday. I know Wednesday is technically almost over as I type this post, but I can sum up my last-minute blogging with one sentence:


I took my children with me to the gyn*cologist today.


I think a root canal might possibly be more painful.


Wednesdays are busy around casa de phillips to begin with because it is preschool day. Before we were even loaded up in the car making our way to school this morning Isaac enthusiastically popped his sister on the head in time with each syllable of the phrase, "It is school time, Baby Evelyn." Gotta love starting a school day off with a visit to the time-out carpet and a almost 10 month old crying the entire round trip to school. Add to this the fact that Wednesday is my main housecleaning day, Evelyn and I went in search of a specific baby present in boy colors only to find most stores carried just the girl versions, preschool let out late, Isaac attempted to feed Evelyn a marshmallow while I cooked lunch, and then nap time had to be shortened due to that lovely appointment.


(Which has been scheduled for another day...six months in advance....but was cancelled last minute due to a situation with the doctor. Only by the sheer pity the nurse took on me was I able to get this appointment today and not have to wait until June 2011 for a reschedule. The husband had a late meeting and couldn't make it home in time. The kids were actually quite fantastic and I brought our close friend, Mr. Portable DVD Player, along to entertain during the appointment and prevent them from seeing something that might scar them for life. Besides our doctor and her staff love our children since they were present during both pregnancies and deliveries. )


I wish I could say the evening was a bit calmer, but I had to hang up abruptly on a phone conversation with my father (who now has the stomach bug) due to the fact that Evelyn had bit Isaac on the shoulder...somehow breaking the skin with her two little teeth....and a potential brawl was brewing over the Little People house.


So...hello, Works for Me Wednesday....sorry it is almost Thursday.


Sleep...It is the thing that every parent wants for their child, possibly more than naturally straight teeth or a large college scholarship. Sleep is a precious thing here at casa de phillips and is taken quite seriously. Tobe and I are dedicated to getting a full night's rest and expect the same from our children.


Isaac became a great sleeper at about 2.5 months of age because I trained him to do so. It was hard work, but worth the effort. About six months ago we made a slow transition from crib to big boy bed. He moved sleeping locations quite well and experienced no issues. The crib was eventually dismantled and placed in the attic alongside the bouncy seat and baby bath tub.


About a month ago, Isaac discovered that he could get out of his big boy bed all by himself (it is a cargo style bed with rails on all sides....Isaac has never been a climber due to his tendency to be on the cautious side). About three weeks ago Isaac began popping up in random locations all over the house when he was thought to be in bed sleeping. On Valentine's Day he woke us up a little before 4am proclaiming he was ready to get up for the day.


This getting up at odd hours and not staying in bed didn't jive so well with our deep love for sleep.


Here's what worked to keep Isaac in bed and keep sleep precious in our house:


1. I purchased a LARGE digital clock and we talked about how it will tell us when it is time to get out of bed. Each night we cover the minute numbers with a sheet of paper with a large "7" written on it. Isaac knows that the hour number must match the "7" on the piece of paper before he is allowed to come out of his room. Same thing goes for naptime, except it is a "3".


2. There is a nightlight in his room. About the same time Isaac started getting out of bed unannounced, he began wanting us to leave the light on. Not a healthy sleep trend. He has a nightlight now and all requests for a light to be left on have died down. (By the way, research shows that fear of the dark develops around the age of 2 and 1/2)


3. When Isaac does get out of bed and/or come out of his room after we have put him down for the night, I say "Time for bed" and march him back and put him back in the bed. The second time, I say, "Bedtime" and put him back. The third time I say nothing when I put him back in bed. Children mainly continue to get out of bed because it drives their parents crazy and that is pure entertainment in their little books. Since doing this method and not providing entertainment by getting angry or frustrated, Isaac has not come out of his room and wondered around at all.


....except to get sick on our big, overstuffed chair


4. We discuss how important rest, sleep, and quiet times are for every body's body. I think a lot of kids view going to bed as punishment rather than as something that keeps them healthy. Providing a basic understanding of actually why we sleep makes the whole process a bit less intimidating to the child and cuts down on the struggles for control between parent and child. (If you would like to understand the more complicated reasons of why we sleep, email Tobe and ask if you can read his thesis....he would love to share it with you.)


5. Consistency. We do the same routines at nap time and at bedtime everyday. Isaac (and now Evelyn) know exactly what to expect and what is expected of him.


6. Isaac usually wakes up around 6:30/6:45am every morning....but is still required to follow the 7:00 o'clock rule. Sometimes when he wakes up this early, I will hear a little voice calling me and will walk to his room to find one blue eye and a lock of golden hair peeking around a tiny crack in his bedroom door. If it is past 6:30am, I will turn Isaac's lights on low and place a basket of books in his bed. He is then allowed to read until his clock says 7....and I get to finish that second cup of coffee before our day officially begins.


It Works for Me!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wedding 411

Despite my best intentions at kicking the Stomach Bug out of casa de phillips, he seems to be a determined pesky guest at our residence.

Evelyn showed signs of Mr. Bug Friday evening (while we were in Florida) and is still struggling with the effects (our washing machine has seen a lot of action the past few days and I don't think I have ever changed her crib sheets quite so much). My mom was hit Saturday night, while I was struck Sunday night. Poor Tobe had his encounter with Mr. Bug last night. I know many of you have been visited...sometimes multiple times...by this uninvited house guest and know our pain.


I am quite seriously contemplating pouring bleach on everything we own to completely annihilate Mr. Stomach Bug and any of his friends who might still be lurking about.



On to wedding talk....


Tobe and I headed out early Friday morning for sunny Sarasota, Florida via Tampa to attend his boss's wedding (she was the beautiful bride). Because we were using Rapid Rewards tickets from Southwest we had to fly into Tampa and drive to Sarasota. We enjoyed reading, napping, talking, and not having to listen to Baby Einstein during our trip. Surprisingly (ha!) we had no issues at airport security and not one passenger gave us the evil eye as we boarded the plane.

The rehearsal dinner was held on the beach at the Ritz Carlton Beach Club. It felt a bit surreal to have been wearing coats on Thursday in Texas and then digging my toes in the sand while I munched on a hamburger Friday night. Fun times.

Saturday morning we headed out to the beach for some exercise and ended up walking up and down it for well over an hour. It was there that I boldly proclaimed us to be "beach people." I firmly believe you are either "beach people" or not "beach people". I could spend all day laying in the sand, reading and napping, and then getting up every so often to play in the surf. I have loved the water since my mom took me to Mommy and me swim lessons at 4 months old (where I slept in her arms peacefully as we floated in the water as the other babies cried) and feel myself gravitate towards it whenever given the chance.

We left the beach to hit the boardwalk area for some serious shopping that involved Tobe buying me a lovely frock at White House, Black Market, one of my favorite stores because everything there truly matches. We met some friends for lunch, then went back to the hotel for a long nap that did not involve the baby monitor buzzing in my ear.

The wedding was Saturday night and was slated to be held in the front yard of John Ringling's mansion (Ringling...as in the circus). However, the weather was not cooperating and somehow the lovely couple was able to get married inside the mansion. This was quite impressive because no one has ever been married inside the mansion and all 150 wedding guests were allowed to squeeze inside for the nuptials (in designated areas only...the mansion now serves as a museum with large sections marked off to preserve the belongings). Only one guest passed out due to standing during the ceremony, but the bride and groom never noticed the commotion while they stated their vows.
The reception was to be held out on the back patio (I am sure it has a more formal title), but due to the fact it was completely paved in marble and quite slick from the rain we were prohibited from going out there (the back of the mansion is what is pictured above). Again, the couple pulled some strings and the reception was relocated to the Ritz Carlton at the last minute. The food was yummy, the music fun, and my date was quite cute. All in all we had a great time.

The children barely seemed phased by our absence. Isaac and my father went to the Bass Pro Shop and I am still hearing about sitting in boats and looking at fish and bears with PopPop. Evelyn was carted around the house on someone's hip most of the time, and now is demanding the same princess-like treatment from her mother. There were no tears, no mentions of "Mommy or Daddy".....just lots of fun with the grandparents. Isaac and Evelyn did welcome us home warmly and both were quite clingy the rest of the day. I loved every minute of it.
This week it is back to the normal life of being a Mommy....no more sand between the toes and nights spent dining at the Ritz. It was good while it lasted....



(Oh glorious day...spell check is working again!!)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just a snipet...

We are home from sunny FLA! Sarasota was good to us and it was absolutely fabulous to wear sandals and shorts and be able to soak my toes in the ocean spray in February! (However, I quickly realized that salty, humid beach air is not my hair's friend)

I have many details and stories to share, however this girl is tired. Flordia bedtime was much, much later than normal Texas bedtime!

For now, enjoy our montage of self-portriats....

First Airplane Trip without Children in 3 Years....can you tell I am a bit giddy with excitement?
Cruising in our super-cool rental....the Taraus
The Beach!

The Wedding Reception...I had the cutest date there!
(There are currently no pictures of the rehearsal dinner because I forgot the camera. That might be a good thing because the dinner was on the beach and my hair was struggling by the end of the night!)



Thursday, February 21, 2008

We're Off...

If we were going to Cabo San Lucas, I suppose I would say "Adios, Amigos"

But we are going to Florida, where I think they say, "Bye."

Although not as exotic as Cabo, we are still quite excited to board our plane early tomorrow morning and set off for two days of relaxing, child-free fun. However, my heart is just a bit sad to be leaving these two little faces behind. Especially since I have never been in a different state than them. Mommyhood is a tricky beast....sometimes you crave a break, but then once you get a moment's peace all you crave are those little people again.

Because we are all about the relaxation this weekend, we are leaving the ol lap top at home and unplugging ourselves for a few days. Come Sunday night I am sure there will be many tales about our travels to share and lots of pictures of Tobe and myself, taken from my outstretched arm.

Nothing says "vacation" like the awkward hand-held camera pose.

I plan on taking lots of these pictures, mainly to see just how patient Tobe can be with me.

My bed is calling, mainly due to the fact that the alarm clock is set to an unfortuante hour.

See you Sunday.

An Uninvited Guest

(Is this not the cheesiest picture ever? love it!)

Hello, Stomach Bug. Welcome to casa de phillips.

Tuesday morning....early...I walked into the living room on my way to the kitchen to grab a quick bite to eat before setting off for the gym. I had already been up since 4:15 am due to a little girl who wanted to cry rather than sleep. Ah, the glamorous life of Mommyhood.

As I sauntered through the living room, proud of my ability to finally get Evelyn to sleep, I noticed Isaac sitting on the couch. I reminded him it was still "night-night" time and told him his clock did not say "7" yet. As I walked him back to his room, it was then that I noticed it.

"IT" being the fact that Isaac had gotten sick all over our big plush reading chair (simply known as the "rock-rock chair" here at casa de phillips). After some extensive questioning and an explanation of what "throwing-up" means (although Isaac used to throw up quite a bit as a baby, it has been over a year since he has had such an experience), I tucked Isaac back into bed. As I began the task of cleaning the chair, Evelyn started her best impression of wailing like a wet cat. While in her room comforting her, I heard Isaac get sick again.

Apparently his designated "get sick spot" was the rock-rock chair. I suppose the bathroom just seemed uninviting.

Fast-forward to 7:30am....both kids are up, Isaac seems to be back to normal, and the rock-rock chair is drying from a serious cleaning job. I decide that the sickness was the result of sinus drainage and heavy coughing so I give Isaac a small cup of apple juice and a few crackers.

Both of which reappeared 45 minutes later on my kitchen floor.

Hello, Stomach Bug. Don't remember inviting you over.

I have been spared having to deal with a baby and a toddler while one was sick in such a manner until this week. It was quite the Mommy lesson as I attempted to clean up messes, prevent the baby from crawling through the mess, and protect the rock-rock chair from any further mishaps.

After being unable to keep anything at all down for most of the day and a nurse instructing us to take Isaac to the ER for dehydration (which we didn't b/c we felt it was a bit extreme...as confirmed by our favorite doctor, PopPop), around 6pm we were finally able to keep Pedilyte in his tummy by giving him a tablespoon every 10-15 minutes. The poor boy was so thirsty that he was begging for apple juice and would just cry and plead with us. About broke my heart. Evelyn felt quite neglected and spent the majority of the day tugging on the leg of my yoga pants. Poor girl.

Yesterday Isaac appeared to be on the mend and was able to eat and keep everything in his tummy. He kept pulling up his shirt to inspect his stomach and telling me, "My tummy is all fixed now." The only lingering effects were a slight fever in the morning and he was pretty tired all day. We went for a long walk to air out the germs and Isaac kept nodding off in the stroller....something he hasn't done since he was three months old.

I am kicking Mr. Stomach Bug out today, in hopes that no one else comes down with this nasty virus. The grandparents hit town this morning to watch the children for the weekend and Tobe and I set off for Florida in the morning.

Off to pack a suitcase of sundresses, swimsuits, and books!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Procrastination Basics

In college when I needed to procrastinate, I would gather the roomies and we would make a run to Whataburger for taquitos.

In case you do not live in Texas, then you would not know that taquitos are only sold from 11pm to 11am. Therefore all taquito runs were made after the clock hit 11:00pm. It still amazes me that I used to be awake at 11pm and somehow had the metabolism to eat a large burrito stuffed with bacon, cheese, and eggs at such an unheard of hour.

My college years are long-gone, however I am currently taking an online course. An online course with homework....just the notion of saying "I have to do my homework" makes me giggle and almost think I am 22 again. Tonight as I sat down to finish my homework for this week, I felt those procrastination pangs stirring within. Because it is still hours away from official taquito selling time and Tobe is off at the gym, I have found myself blogging rather than working.

In hopes of being a good procrastinator this evening (as opposed to a good student), here are some random tidbits to share:

*Today as we pulled into our driveway, Isaac informed me, "I not like our house. Our house is too long. I like that house (pointing to the house across the street)." Realizing that he was just wanting to be oppositional for the sake of being oppositional (Hello, age two!), I politely told him he was more than welcome to live at the house he liked better but we would sure miss him at casa de phillips. I refrained from pointing out the fact that the house he considered better (AKA shorter???) was the same exact floorplan as our own.

*While purchasing my dearly loved Pro-Active solution today, the salesperson inquired if both Isaac and Evelyn were mine. She then went on to say they look nothing alike and did not look like me. How does one expect me to answer that? I guess it is a change from hearing the twins question (which Tobe was fortunate enough to be asked the other day), for which I am thankful.

*Evelyn seems to have two volumes....sweet, soft chatter to herself and amazingly loud preaching. The amazingly loud preaching is what we seem to hear more of these days. Perhaps this is God's way of preparing us for all those slumber parties that lurk in our future?

*Kelly over at 30...Really? posted a video about our alma mater's yearly event known as Sing Song (If you didn't attend a private Christian university, this is going to seem like the most bizarre thing ever). This posting prompted Tobe and me to spend thirty minutes on YouTube this evening (while the children ransacked our room) looking at random videos made by ACU students. It was then I realized the kids in those videos were in elementary school when I was at that stage in my college career. Elementary school!! Seriously, was college not just yesterday? This video watching encouraged a "Let's retell all the same college stories to each other, despite the fact that we were both there together and we have both heard the same stories 231 times." session. This game never gets old with Tobe and me. Our children will quickly learn to hate these times. The sad part is that we plan to hunt down more videos once he returns from the gym and I finish my homework.

Speaking of homework, I must get back to that.

While I get back to the grind (and watch the clock to see if 11pm is anywhere close to approaching), enjoy this latest video of Isaac sharing his new obsession....the story of Noah and the houseboat (our main bible story book calls it a houseboat....guess it sounded a bit more glamorous than "ark")

(Also, see if you can catch the part in the video where Evelyn falls out of the chair. Fortunately I was sitting right there and caught her...without having to stop video taping)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend was all about our little family o' four. Tobe and I are actually hopping on a plane early Friday morning, heading off to Florida (We live a Fab life here at casa de phillips, jet setting to such tropical locations...we are actually attending a wedding, but are calling it a mini-vacation simply because we don't get out very much these days), so we wanted to have some quality family time before flying off into the sunset.

What did this quality family time consist of, you ask? Organizing closets. I know that my family was ecstatic when I announced as we dined on chocolate chip pancakes Saturday morning that we were going to completely reorganize the children's closets that day. I am sure the neighbors heard the loud shouts of joy about this project. However, closets have now been sorted, outgrown clothing tucked away (which always slightly depresses me....shouldn't E. still be wearing size 3 month clothing as opposed to the 12-18 month things I am currently putting on her?), toys re-distributed, and order established. The only problem with organizing Isaac and Evelyn's closets is that they immediately want to take all the toys from their new home and play with them. The nerve of those children.

Other family activities included two successful dining out experiences (one in which I decided a local restaurant has the best chips and salsa EVER. A brave declaration, but one I am willing to stand by), a grocery shopping extravaganza, movies viewed after the children's bedtime, a girls-only excursion in search of party duds for my upcoming weekend away, repeatedly putting Isaac back into his big boy bed (problem now solved...for the time being... after I made the fierce proclamation that his basketball goal would be placed back into the garage should he chose to not stay in bed), and an excursion to the used book store to sell some old books and search for some new lovelies to read.

All in all, we had a great weekend.

What about you?

(One thing I meant to do this weekend and never did was research why I can post my blog in over 40 random languages but not run a simple spell check! Blogger, that makes very little sense to me!)

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Day After


Yesterday was a nice Valentine's Day which we had the "joy" of beginning at 4am when Isaac came into our room and exclaimed, "Good Morning!" Unfortunately he has learned how to crawl out of his big boy bed, open his door, and roam the house. Ugh. Sleep is starting to become a rare comidity around here. Despite weather predictions of extreme rain and cold temperatures, we are setting out today in search of a large clock and stickers to keep this fiesty two year old in bed until a decent hour. Otherwise I might relocate to the log cabin in the backyard.


The husband arrived home from work bearing flowers, beverages, and a movie (The Namesake....one I have been wanting to see for quite the while). And he will still do the laundry this Sunday....what an excellent husband I have. I cooked a nice dinner, which the four of us enjoyed together. We got quite the laugh over how long Isaac felt the need to chew each piece of steak for minutes on end,despite it being quite tender and juicy. When Tobe asked Isaac how his steak was, he replied: "It's not steak, Daddy. It is meat." Duh.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day (AKA "The Most Original Post Title Ever!")


Despite being in a slight drug stupor, Isaac exited preschool yesterday proudly clutching his very first sack of Valentines. Had I thought in advance, I might have thrown a camera in the car to capture such an event on film. I think the sweet image will be burned into my brain for years to come regardless.

My blonde hair boy climbed into the car, sharing all sorts of details about parties, cookies (by far, the highlight of his day), and who remembered to wear the color of the month. I stored the precious sack of valentines in the front seat on our trip home to prevent them from becoming scattered all over the back and to stop a potential brother/sister fight before it could actually begin. Once we pulled into casa de phillips, Isaac raced inside with his precious white sack, eager to see its contents.
And what contents they were, my friend.

The monthly newsletter his preschool sends home instructed parents to send Valentine's cards for the party, asking they simply be signed with the child's name. Easy enough. I fought the desire to become the over-achieving mom who "assists" her child in making elaborate Valentines and went for the $1.49 box of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse V-day cards. I figured two year olds would much rather look at a picture of Goofy than at some card I hand-stamped and embossed with gold foil. Earlier this week, Isaac and I wrote his name on each card, tucked in a silly heart sticker with crazy eyes, and bagged them up to be sent to school.

Apparently this is not what some of the other children's parents did.

Despite the fact that Isaac attends a very normal, laid back preschool....Inside his white sack there were Valentines with large treat bags, Valentines with FULL-SIZED candy attached, Valentines with a variety of temporary tattoos. I am sure our googly-eyed heart stickers felt a bit incompetent compared to the large bag of Skittles the Dora Valentine was sporting. I knew the competitive world of parenting can get a bit fierce, I just didn't know it would start in the two year old preschool class.

All that being said, let me wish all you readers a Happy Valentine's Day!

I am not big on this specific holiday. It seems a bit contrived, I just recovered from my Christmas shopping, and it can really leave some people feeling neglected and lonely. Tobe and I have never done an over-the-top Valentine's celebration. Usually we eat a nice meal at home and hang-out....mainly because I like to cook and he likes to eat.

On this national day (Has Hallmark made it international yet?) devoted to the one you love, I could list 101 things about Tobe that make him the greatest husband ever. But he would totally die of embarrassment and not speak to me for a week.

All I will say is that Tobe has sorted, washed, and folded the laundry every week for almost six years without complaining. That makes my heart a flutter every time.

Happy Valentine's Day, Tobe! I *heart* you!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you readers! If this holiday is your thing, I hope you get more than a googly eyed heart sticker!


(As I finished typing this, Isaac has been lounging in my bed re-reading all of his valentines. He was carefully studying the Dora card. I told him the monkey's name was "Swiper". He quickly corrected me and then told me every character's name on the card. How does he know this stuff? We have never watched Dora because, frankly, she yells and my nerves can't handle it. I just googled "Who are Dora's friends?" and discovered Isaac indeed knew what he was talking about!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Survival Kit 101


Despite the fact that it is Wednesday, a holiday is almost upon us, and most people are struggling with some form of cold or nasty virus....it is time for a little reader input, my friends.

Yesterday as I entered hour number TWO at my pediatrician's office (not the normal wait time there, but apparently the staff was dealing with a very sick newborn) I became painfully aware that not everyone knows the ins-and-outs of packing a suitable bag for an outing with their child.

For instance, the nice father whose eleven month old daughter was playing with my children as we waited...and waited...merely brought in his credit card and car keys. (He also brought in a very excited spirit of how he was "Mr. Mom" for the day, tending to a sick child. He listed off about twenty things he planned to accomplish that afternoon while serving as the mom, which ranged from grocery shopping to car washing to stopping by the clothing donation bin. I smiled politely, knowing that such hopes would all die a painful death as he weakly crawled into bed later that evening with only an 1/8 of his tasks accomplished.) He was rapidly approaching hour three of his wait time. Despite her seemingly sweet nature, his daughter was quickly reaching meltdown stage. He kept promising her a cheeseburger upon their departure in hopes of maintaining composure, but she was almost inconsolable. As I passed her some Cheerios and a play key chain, I questioned out loud if it was possibly about to be her naptime citing it was time for my own children's naps. The father genuinely asked, "Do you think she takes naps? I am not sure if she does that anymore." Oh dear.

Before I attempt to remove the Cheerio from one man's eye before removing the large teething biscuit from my own, let me say that I have been ill-equipped in many a situation. When Isaac was a newborn I was so busy toting around spare changes of clothes for a child who rarely soiled his diaper when awake and countless unused pacifiers, I often left behind toys to occupy him or something for him to snack on as he rode in the Target shopping cart. It only took a few unprepared moments for me to realize that if I planned on surviving this stage of Mommyhood, I needed supplies.

Here's what I have in my diaper bag 24/7:

*Two sippy cups that are correctly labeled for each child (it only takes one meltdown regarding, "Baby Evelyn has my cup" to realize that accurately distinguishable sippy cups are a must). I leave the house with these full, however I always know I can find a restroom and refill them with tap water.

*Extra bottle filled with warm water and 2 to 3 extra servings of powdered formula for Evelyn

*Snacks. I always carry dry cereal or Gerber Fruit Puffs in my bag. I usually have a sealed fruit cup thrown in as well in case we end up eating at an establishment that Isaac is not terribly crazy about.

*Two diapers per child. (although Evelyn could technically wear Isaac's.... because, have I mentioned how TALL she is?)

*Wet wipes

*Books (Typically board books due to their almost indestructible nature)

*Crayons

*Coloring book/small notebook (Sometimes the coloring book gets left behind due to space issues, however a beaten up notebook is always present)

*Sheet of cheap stickers

*Some random kid's meal toy that never sees the light of day except in situations such as these

*Travel size magna-doodle or viewmaster....again, random toys that never see daylight except in "crisis"

*Bib

*Old burp cloth (as opposed to the pretty ones reserved for church and MOPS)

*Wallet, car keys, a good lipstick (one that can brighten up the most haggard of faces), and compact mirror (never underestimate the power that is the compact mirror...one of mine completely entertained Isaac for a hour long flight when he was about seven months old)

Now, it's your turn to share with the rest of us in order for us all to be prepared in such times of need. What do you lug around in your bag for such times of crisis? What diaper bag do you just completely love right now?

(*By the way, I feel the need to share the fact that I do not have a diaper bag on wheels to haul all this junk around. I often have many "helping" hands willing to smush everything down into a small, orderly mess.)

(*I also feel the need to mention that both kids are not deathly ill. E. has a nasty cold and cough due to allergies and Isaac is simply struggling with his allergies as well. Never before have we had so much yuckiness. I will be incredibly glad when this "Worst Allergy Season in Ten Years" passes before we really do have to move to Vermont simply to stay well.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Inside-Outside Day....Part 2

Dear Evelyn,



Today is your very special day....it is YOUR inside-outside day. You have now been in our family for nine months, the same amount of time you were inside my tummy. Sounds a little funny, but these 18 months you have given us more than enough reasons to pause and celebrate. Besides, I am a sap for random holidays and am always looking for an excuse to eat something sweet.


Nine months....before long it is going to seem quite silly to call you "Baby Evelyn" anymore. Although your brother is the one who deemed your offical title to be "Baby Evelyn" I call you by that name more than any other. Despite my refering to you as "baby" countless times a day, you strive to be just as big a kid as your brother. Infant toys hold little fascination for you these days. You prefer playing with the Little People, the large dump truck, and my Februray issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray (which you ate a good portion of on Saturday). You are constantly pushing us away when we pick you up to carry you places. You would much rather crawl. Your almond-shaped eyes watch everything brother does and then those little arms eagerly attempt to mimic him.


Speaking of your brother, he is currently your favorite person by far (and you, his). Every morning he is the one who opens the door to your room and the two of you squeal and yell, giddy to be reunited once again after a long night's sleep. Big tears errupt from your eyes when he closes the bathroom door for privacy or on the rare occasions when he wants to play alone in his room. Despite these times, the two of you can be found playing together all over the house, joined together in the same mission to pull out every toy we own.


The part of your personality that is really beginning to shine through is a slight temper when things aren't the way you would prefer. When upset, you will crawl, then stop to burying your sad little face in the carpet, and then continue crawling again. It is a pathetic sight to behold...but one that always makes me giggle because of its level of drama.


You can often be found with one sock missing from a foot and hair that is askew. Your hair and I are going to have a mighty confrontation one day, and let's pray that I win that battle. The widow's peak could be the death of me. Music always gives you a reason to stop any activity and smile. The wind in your face causes a big giggle to explode from your mouth. Daddy says you are going to be our little nature girl with your love for the outdoors, music, and the desire to be barefoot. Time will tell on that one.



Eighteen months ago we were clueless as to what that positive sign on a pregnancy test would bring our little family.



It brought us the most perfect little girl we could have ever imagined.



Happy Nine Months, Baby Evelyn!




Welcome to the Homestead

The famous "Log Cavin"....


Love this girl...she is rocking a super cool pink floppy hat and playing with a dump truck at the same time. Not many can pull off such a feat.
Today we set out to visit Baby Madeline and family for the first time (sickness and conflicting schedules have kept us away until now). These dear friends live about 45 minutes away from us. At one point during the trip, Isaac pleasantly asked:
"Mommy, does Mor-nin(Morgan) live in Oklahoma?"

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weekend Highlights

*E. ate guacamole for the first time and LOVED it. I see many Mother-Daughter guac and chip/shopping sessions in our near future.

*One of those shopping sessions might happen very soon considering Miss E. is outgrowing 12 month clothing. Seriously, the child is tall.

*Tobe and I had the conversation about cutting E.'s hair more than once. Poor thing was blessed with a widow's peak and a small portion of her bangs are growing faster than that in the widow's peak. It is less than attractive.

*The casa de phillip's playground was finally installed (not a day too late considering our neighborhood park was dismantled...we are hoping they are simply upgrading to new equipment). The grandparents and great-grandparents all gave money at Christmas for Isaac and Evelyn's outdoor fund. After much deliberation and online shopping, I opted to purchase a few Little Tikes items from a lady who refurbishes outdoor equipment (If you live in the DFW area, you need this lady's number). Pictures to come soon.

*Tobe's mom and I drove behind Tobe's dad as he pulled a trailer loaded high with a Little Tikes log cabin behind his SUV....which had a jungle gym tied onto the roof. We giggled the entire time at the sight. Fortunately all pieces arrived at our house safe and sound.

*Isaac has informed us many times, "It is not a house, it is a log cavin."

*After eating a bit too much sugar-laden ice cream this evening, we were "blessed" with the rare hyper side of Isaac. There was much singing of "Jesus loves Me", much running, and much drama.

*I can now add Don Henley's name to my list of "Celebrity Sightings." Tobe and I saw him at a local family resort last night. He was with his children and totally glared at Tobe (when he realized we recognized him) in an attempt for us to not approach him. We kept walking (after a short pause to make sure it was really Don) but I kept wanting to walk past him again, making vague Eagle references. Celebrities love that, right?

What did you do?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fridays

I adore Friday afternoons and early evening. It is a time filled with such promise: the work week is coming to a close and the weekend looms ahead. People seem to be happier, with a slight bounce in their step as they anticipate the next two days and what lays in store for them.

I hope your Friday afternoon holds such joy, not necessary because of some big plans or exciting event. I pray that the Lord blesses you with joy, regardless of circimstance and situation. Lately there has been such sorrow and grief in lives of close friends....not just one or two, but many. Ugh. My heart is beyond heavy for these dear souls.

Below is a quote that has been one of my favorites for many years. It provides a sense of peace for me when everything seems a tad burdensome.

"Have courage for the great sorrow of life and patience for the small one. When you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."

Have a blessed weekend.

***
I know I mentioned the Kenya post would happen this week. I have been working on another article all week in my spare time and the Kenya thing just did not happen. Also, it might have to be a 2 or 3 parter because I actually have a partial manuscript I wrote upon my return from Africa that I am pulling my post from. The post will come, because I now feel inspired to share the message, it just might be a few weeks.
Also, I promise some more pictures of I. and E. in the near future because I know that is why the majority of readers check this blog.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ta Da!

I mentioned here that I have an article coming out in a local publication. If you live near the vicinity of casa de phillips, stop by your local library or grocery store and pick up the Feburary edition of Suburban Parent. You can find my article among its pages.

I was unaware it was coming out this month until a friend (who did not know I wrote the article) emailed yesterday to say she had read it. Of course I ran by the library last night to get a copy (or ten) for myself. When I opened it up to the article, I had that moment of "Is that me in the picture....oh wait, that's not me. " Isn't it odd how at times you do/do not recoginize your own self? Anway, that is NOT my picture above the article, but rather a standard stock photo. However, my picture is tucked safely in the bottom right corner next to my byline (Poor Tobe had to be cropped out of that picture because the magazine requested a headshot, something I do not currently own.)

Happy Reading!

PS. I am planning on overhauling the layout of the blog in the near future and will then have the article, along with some other, posted on the sidebar.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Things I Learned Today

I recently read somewhere that one should write down something he/she learned that day. Due to the frenzied state of my brain caused by raising two small children, I do not quite remember why one should be writing down something learned that day....just that one should.

Therefore, I share with you a few things I learned today:


**When your child finally gains the confidence to crawl over the rails of his bed (his big boy bed is a cargo style bed with four rails), he will sneak up behind you at 6:15am while you are enjoying your quiet time and say, "Good Morning, Mommy". This will scare you silly, causing you to almost spill your coffee on the computer keyboard.

**When the toddler asks repeatedly to "watch Monster Treat on 'puter" you will finally come to realize ten minutes later that he wants to play Sesame Street games on the computer. This realization only comes after a painful ten minutes spent with the toddler carefully repeating the above statement, being sure to enunciate each word. You will only stare blankely at his sweet little face and continue to say, "I am sorry, I don't understand what you want." until the lightbulb comes on in your head.
**If you hear your toddler offering your baby "bubble juice" while in the bathtub, you will look up in time to see the toddler pouring large amounts of bubbly bath water into the baby's mouth.

**The toddler and the baby will join forces and start a revolution at Sonic. They will each cry loudly the entire way home due to the fact neither one of them gets to take possession of the straw Mean Mommy took away. Unfortunately, this was the day you chose to walk to Sonic and the crying jags are shared with many, many others blessed to be driving by at that time.






**Upon answering the question, "How far apart are your children?" you will then be bombarded with such intrusive questions as, "You didn't plan that, did you?" and "Where you just horrified when you found out you were pregnant again?" Such questions come from a perfect stranger you just met by the swings at the park 32 seconds pior to this interrogation.

**People will still ask, "Are they twins?"

(Ugh, still no spell check!!)

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Ins and Outs of Discipline

Did I mention that I have a two and a half year old?

Two is a fun age. Isaac can talk, he can make stabs at humor, he can willingly express feelings of affection.

He can also chose to rebel against any and all rules here at casa de phillips at any given moment.

Fun times, that age of two.

From the time he first began exploring the world and ignoring the infamous word of "no", we have made our best attempts at being consistent and fair in our discipline. We keep things simple and straight-forward, trying not to back down in hopes of preventing a tantrum or a tiresome evening (One of which we are currently having as Isaac is up an hour after his bedtime struggling with consti*ation and in a pile of tears due to being exhausted).

Isaac is learning the ways of our discipline and catching on to how things run here at casa de phililps. Our basic discipline principal is that he gets one warning (sometimes two depending on the situation) and then gets the lovely joy of sitting on the time-out carpet for about a minute if he continues to disobey(By the way, the official "rule" for the time a child spends on a time-out is their age, minus one minute.....any longer and they will completely forget exactly why they are in time out in the first place). After his stint on the time-out carpet is completed, he has to apologize for his behavior and do whatever needs to be done to correct the situation (for example, cleaning up toys when earlier he refused). So far, this system works for us. It works likely because Isaac is quite the compliant child. We fear E. might be our "problem-area" with her feistiness.

Being the cleaver two year old his is, Isaac attempts to bypass this discipline system at times. Lately when he knows he is about to be in trouble, he says adamantly, "But I say Yes Ma'am." It is as if he believes this phrase will erase all wrongdoings. Sorry, buddy.

When instructed to apologize to his sister for say, stepping on her head in an attempt to get to a toy before she does, he often says, "Your sorry, Baby Evelyn." Although he means it quite innocently, I am pretty sure this is not going to be the last time he issues such statements to sweet Evelyn.

I usually talk about changing one's attitude after Isaac has completed his time on the time-out carpet. In the past few weeks he has beaten me to the punch by proclaiming previously undesired tasks as now being "fun" or claiming he now "loves (previously undesired item) so much." and then forces the fakest smile onto his face. His heart is genuine in attempting to change his bad attitude and I have to hide my laughter over this dramatic 180 shift in behavior. His remorseful little voice will often say, "I not obey anymore, Mommy." meaning that he will not disobey anymore.

The art of negotiation is also budding in his personality. He often attempts to barter for just two more minutes for any activity that is about to come to an end. When rewarded with two chocolate chips for a successful trip to the po*ty (the only time we reward with food), he always asks for five. Perhaps he will use this craft of negotiation one day in successful business ventures....until then, we continue to say "no."

Two is a fun age and a tiresome age, all combined in a whirlwind of a little blonde hair boy. Isaac has finally retreated to his bed tonight, an hour and a half after we originally put him in bed for the evening. He finally produced something in the bathroom that earned him some chocolate chips and was tucked under his quilt, sporting the faintest of chocolate mustache, at peace with his little body and finally able to go to sleep.....ready to see what adventures lie ahead in the morning.


***


My little cloud of gloom and doom dissipated overnight. It is hard to stay grouchy with these little faces as your co-workers.

***I am having some serious trouble with Blogger....it won't even let me pull up the window for adding images or to run a spell check. Anyone else struggling with this? Check back later for pictures

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Becoming Eeyore

Today I was a full-fledged Eeyore...grumpy, moody, walking around with my own personal rain cloud above my head.

Bless my family's heart.

Normally I am pretty perky, relatively stable in the emotions department, and can usually find a reason to smile. Today...not so much. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep last night due to my toddler's constant waking with bad dreams, requests for crackers, or pleas to get up and play at 1 am (all caused by his new white noise machine that has a nightlight feature....the nightlight feature has now been banned). Perhaps it was because the toddler and the baby both were up and talking by 6:23am despite the fact that Tobe provided several books for Isaac to read to stay occupied until 7am (normal "get-up" time) and I had turned down the baby monitor to avoid Evelyn's uncanny ability to sound like a drowning cat (Seriously, the girl does not ever really cry....she moans dramatically). Perhaps I was just due for a grumpy day.

Anyway, today I was no-fun Mommy/Wife with my big ol rain cloud and perpetual frown. The husband identified my funk early on and sweetly stayed out of my way, going about his normal tasks of laundry, yard work, helping with the children, and watching football. Isaac finally figured out Mommy needs space when he came to the sad realization that yes, indeed I will lock him out of the bathroom while I am in there, despite his pitiful wailing of "Mommy, I come innnnnnnnnnnnnnn." E. just needs a sippy cup of water and a pot to bang and she is all smiles.

Tomorrow is another day and I bet my rain cloud will have dissipated. Perhaps until then I will find my black umbrella with its sassy polka dots and continue to sit under my big ol cloud. At least I will look chic will moping around.

***
Lest I start your week off on a grumpy note, here are a few pictures from the weekend to make up for my rain cloud.


Here is how Miss E. looks most mornings....smile on her face, at least one sock missing, and that crazy widow's peak hair going a million directions.
By the way, she is totally getting into playing Little People, which makes me the happiest Mommy.

E. supporting the American Heart Association's "GO RED!" day. This one cracks me up for two reason: 1.It looks like a professional soccer picture (the red bow especially fits considering we live in Texas, a place where no sensible athelitic girl dons a sports uniform without first putting on large head decorations.) and 2. It was totally not posed.This boy turned 2 and 1/2 today. 2 and 1/2....I swear I just brought him home from the hospital last week. The stories I have to share about this mess of little boy are endless. Last week brought some major wind to our area and we lost a small portion to the back part of our fence. Fortunately Tobe's dad is quite the handyman and set about fixing it on Saturday along with Isaac's assistance (and Tobe's.). Isaac loves all things associated with tools and even has his own tool box. Here he is inspecting his level in order to help make sure the fence is even.This little girl does not care for the feel of grass at all (neither did Isaac at this stage). Despite her ability to crawl at a rapid pace and her desire to explore, she stayed parked right on this blanket the entire time we were outside this weekend in fear of having to make physical contact with the grass.

For those of you who have requested to hear more details about my time spent in Africa, never fear a post is in the works. Look for it by mid-week.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I *HEART* my Heart


Today is all about the red.


The American Heart Association deemed Feburary 1st as "Go Red for Women" day in order to bring awareness about the prevelance of heart disease in women and the need to make healthy decisions for one's heart. Although I personally forgot to turn on the alarm last night when crawling into bed, thus missing my 5am workout and not exercising the ol heart this morning, Evelyn and I are both sporting red today to promote women's heart health.


Stop by the website and see if you are doing all you can to maintain a healthy heart. Then throw on a red shirt and have a fabulous Friday!