Sunday, May 31, 2009

Conversations from the Back Seat

The following conversation was heard from our backseat this afternoon, after leaving a post-church lunch:

(Excess chatter coming from the mouth of one cute little girl)

Isaac (in quite annoyed tone): "Evelyn, you just can't talk for a week."

Evelyn (angry): "But I want to talk! Mommy, Isaac said no talk!"

Isaac (quite matter-of-fact): "Sorry, Evelyn, you can't talk for a week."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Blogging Break Interruption

Yeah, yeah...I said I was taking a blog break this week.

But how can one not document the first day her daughter wears pigtails??? Seriously, does she not look about five years old now?
I have already informed her grandmothers that they might want to consider some sort of additional summer employment to pay for all the bows we are going to need to accomodate this new hairstyle.

And...just in case any of you thought that we are all smiles here at casa de phillips all the is Miss E. angry that Mommy will not open her snack until she smiles for the camera.
Okay...back on break until Monday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jamaica 2009..AKA The Trip Were I Sat by the Bathrooms on Every Plane

Last week while all you dear readers were touring casa de phillips room by room (anyone like that? Anyone going to do the same with your own casa?), Tobe and I were busy depositing the children at my parents house and then boarding a plane for Jamaica.

Shall I start at the beginning of the story?

A few months ago we decided we wanted to take a vacation this summer. We examined our options and opted to do NOTHING on vacation...which lead us to an all-inclusive resort on the beach. We researched and researched some more and settled on an adults-only (read: NO KIDS!) resort in the Riveria Maya.

Then our fair nation went a bit crazy with the whole swine flu epidemic.

After careful consideration, we opted to change our travel plans due to the swine flu (NOT because we thought we would actually catch it, but for over reasons associated with this pandemic) and settled on Jamaica two weeks before our departure date. Our resort just opened in January of 2009, was part of a chain of three sister resorts, and had the number one rating for resorts in Montego Bay.

I know some think the all-inclusive is a bit campy, but I wanted to go on a vacation where I had to think about nothing. I did not want to worry about locating food, navigating transportation, or even having to participate in a cash transaction my entire trip. This particular all-inclusive is far from campy and was simply relaxing.

On Sunday morning (May 17th) Tobe and I got up E.A.R.L.Y. (3:30am) and set out for the airport. We giddily boarded our plane...only to discover our seats were in the last row directly across from the bathroom. In fact, I could close the bathroom door from my seat without unbuckling my seatbelt. Before takeoff, I felt someone brush up against my arm. I looked to my right to discover the flight attendant sitting next to me in the jump seat which apparently was in the small space between my seat and the bathroom. It was quite the cozy flight and I now know the life story of that particular flight attendant.

We changed planes in North Carolina, happy to discover those seats were in First Class. As we gleefully munched on our free bag of SunChips, attempting to ignore the very loud passengers in front of us (who both wore sunglasses on the plane and consumed more free drinks on that flight than the average college freshman consumes their first semester), we dreamed of how our feet would soon be in the warm sand of Jamaica in a few short hours.

Customs was uneventful in the Montego Bay airport and we were soon on our way to the resort (whose name I will pass along to anyone interested...I just don't want the blog to be a Google hit for it). Greeted with a cool drink and a moist towel, we checked-in and headed to lunch on the beach. It was our first of many meals where I had to cut no chicken nuggets or ask someone to stop playing with their food. That right there was worth the cost of our vacation.

If you haven't taken a tour of our hotel room, check it out here.

For those who have, here are some pictures from our trip.

View from our spacious balcony

Dinner at the Italian restaurant where we feasted on Lobster Lasagna.
Lobster season was coming to a close during our stay, so we were happy to get some of this deliciousness the first few days of our trip.

Our home during the day.
We set up camp on our beach bed each morning and remained there for the day, leaving only for food, walks on the beach, swimming in the ocean, dips in the pool, and trips to the swim-up bar.

As many of you remember, I had a birthday recently. I decided it was time to be a bit more serious about my sun exposure and minimize any possible further wrinkling of my face...thus the large beach hat. The braids were a necessity due to the fact my long hair never looks good after getting wet.

Two of the four pools

Beds and Chairs on the Beach

Does anyone remember the episode of Friends where they all travel to Barbados for Ross' conference and it rains the entire time (and Monica's hair keeps growing bigger and bigger)? Well, it rained every afternoon in Jamaica. This worked in our favor because we would just retreat to the room and I would nap on the balcony. On Monday it rained incredibly hard.

More of Monday's thunderstorms

Monday night's dinner at the Surf and Turf restaurant

Hanging out on the Life Guard stand

On our balcony before leaving for Tuesday night's dinner at the Gourmet Restaurant

(pictures get a bit out of order here due to silly Blogger)
Walking on the beach with my cute husband

Another beach shot (we have about 15 of these...I spared you from having to look at all of them)

Dinner on Wednesday night at the Japanese restaurant

Dinner at the Gourmet Restaurant

Again, me on the balcony.
I offered to take Tobe's picture by himself but he wouldn't go for it. I told him if he did not want to remember what he looked like in his 30's on vacation in Jamaica that did not hurt my feelings one bit.

After a leisurely breakfast (two words: donut bar) and one last walk down the beach, we packed up our stuff and headed back to my parents' house. We traveled all day, not arriving back to their house until after midnight. We were not fortunate to fly first class on either leg of this trip, however we were fortunate enough to be stationed by the restroom BOTH TIMES. Seriously. If I never have to witness someone going to the bathroom on an airplane for the rest of my life, it will be such a blessing.
The children were happy to see us the following morning, but did not seem to miss us much at all. They seemed to have grown two feet each over the five days we were apart and had lots of tales of adventures to share.
It was a good trip, my friends.
I am going to be taking a Blog Break for the rest of the week as we end the preschool year here at casa de phillips and gear up for summer. However, I will be back next week with a give-away, details about my summer plans (a weekly series is coming up), and cute pictures of the kids. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 25, 2009

One Final Tour

Did I fail to mention I was in Jamaica last week? Oops. More details to come...right after I finish shaking all that white sand from my suitcase.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oops..the real video of Isaac's Room

Isaac's Room

*Yes, the kids' rooms generally tend to look like this each evening. I have created a place for each toy to "sleep" and everything goes back into its designated place each evening before baths. This might sound like a very daunting task, but it really only takes us about five minutes (everyone helps clean up...not just Mommy and Daddy do this chore). Also, we strive for one toy (or group of toys) to be cleaned up before another is pulled out. This cuts down on the tornado effect.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Finds

I am a terribly curious person when it comes to how other people live. This perhaps explains why I majored in psychology and why I have to be quite careful about my reality show viewing habits. Fellow man simply entertains me.

Much to my delight, Jen at The Amazing Trips (a blog I stumbled across years ago and have been following ever since) blogged a day in the life of being a stay-at-home mom to triplets and a toddler.

The clothing changes alone of her kids will entertain you.

If you are curious as to how other mothers spend their days, click on the links below.


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Quote of the Day

This afternoon Isaac approached me and said the following statement:

"Let's just keep Evelyn because she is hilarious."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother of the Year

Yesterday was not a stellar day here at casa de phillips.

Both kids (and their mother) were a bit on the grumpy side, we had to attempt to get 15 bright red iced cupcakes to preschool without mishap, there were lots of things to tend to on the home front, and a particular three year old little boy absolutely refused to take a nap.

Did I mention that everyone was grumpy?

Part of our morning involved a hurried case of shoe shopping for one Miss Evelyn P. Sunday at church she complained of her shoes being too tight, so much so that she left services in her socks. Yesterday morning as I attempted to put on her adorable little Keds tennis shoes (purchased brand new at a consignment sale for $5) she had a complete meltdown about "My shoe too tight!". Being the kind and compassionate mother that I am, I told her they were fine and to stop fussing.

We went through our morning, managing to deposit Isaac and his cupcakes at school, and eventually found our way to a store in hopes of finding cute white church shoes at a great price. Apparently no one purchases white dress shoes for little girls after Easter weekend because they are NO WHERE to be found. As we dashed into a few stores, Evelyn attempted to hurry along beside me, all the while fussing about her shoes.

Fast forward to yesterday evening (after many tears, many cries of injustice, and some frequent visits to Time Out...seriously, it was not our best day) when the children were being excused from the supper table. I happened to catch a glimpse of the back of Evelyn's foot and what did I spy....a nice, red, shiny blister.

And with that I would like to thank the Academy for my nomination as "Mother of the Year."

It seems as if her little feet have grown overnight and her shoe drawer filled with cute size 5's has been rendered useless. I made a quick run last night to Kohls and scooped her up some new shoes and some pretty band-aids to cover that icky ol blister.


Monday was E's birthday. Here is her look when her immediate family popped into her room that morning to wish her a "Happy Birthday."

It is hard being two, huh?

Fortunately the attitude changed when she was told of presents and a waffle waiting for her in the living room.

Before Christmas I found the Rose Petal Cottage on mega-clearance so we purchased it and saved it for Evelyn's birthday. It only took me two days and bucketloads of patience to put this thing together. I have now come to understand exactly why it was on clearance...

Having children close together is a really great thing sometimes and a challenge at other times. Isaac has done really well with this whole birthday thing but has been plotting a strategy as to when he will get a long, uninterrupted turn with the new toys Evelyn has received.

Despite a monsoon that hit our area on Monday morning, the children and I stuck with the plan of meeting friends at Chuck E. Cheese for some birthday fun. I have a secret about CEC....go early (they open at 9am), don't order any food (really, it is not that good), and just let the kids play games. A good time was had by all using this formula.
The one comment Evelyn gets a lot is about how tall she is. I believe this picture conveys just how long those legs actually are.

This morning I took Evelyn for her two year well visit. After a complete screaming fit over having to be weighed and measured, it was determined that E. is somewhere between 37 and 38 inches tall. Supposedly, if one doubles their height at the age of two that is how tall one will be as an adult.
People, double 37 inches and you have over 6 feet.
I have no words for that statement at this point in time.
The well visit did confirm that Evelyn indeed has horrible, horrible allergies and eczema. I was quite honest with our pediatrician and simply said, "Our daughter is grouchy a lot. We think she does not feel good the majority of the time." It is hard to admit one's child is a grump, but I am hoping if we can clear out all the snot in her sweet head she will be a bit perkier. Her feisty streak will still be there, but hopefully the grumpiness will be gone.
Evelyn is getting a blood test done tomorrow to determine the extent of her allergies and we are taking some new directions with medications to see if we can eliminate the crud she deals with on a daily basis.
I mentioned cupcakes at the beginning of this post. Because Isaac has a summer birthday, he does not get to celebrate his "regular" birthday at school. Therefore, he celebrated yesterday with these car themed goodies. It was nothing short of a miracle that these iced treats actually made it into school without leaving traces of red frosting in their wake.

Isaac is still grumpy today. He is having some sleep issues, which makes him a big mess of emotion. This morning was Cowboy Day at school. Below is the expression he gave me when I requested a smile for the camera.

At least his sister managed to smile....

Well, I am off to polish my trophy for "Mother of the Year". Talk to you later!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Memory Lane

Two years ago today Miss Evelyn entered our lives. For some strange reason, we live blogged her birth. If you have never read those posts, and are interested in reading the nonsense I typed under the effects of an epidural, check out the links below.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Anatomy of a Mother's Day

I have a vivid memory of copying some poem off a blackboard in elementary school very carefully in loopy second grade handwriting. The poem was for Mother's Day cards and I remember thinking how touched my mother would be when she read this copied poem I had created for her. I had a bit of a dramatic streak as a child and I am sure I envisioned my mother weeping tears of gratitude as she opened this pink card filled with eraser marks and crayon-drawn flowers.

I am sure she was touched and I am pretty sure that handwritten card is tucked away in my special drawer (my mom keeps drawers of all of my brothers' and my special things)...and I am also pretty sure my mom would have been really happy that year if I had presented her with an hour of peace and quiet to go along with my handwritten card.

I have had a fabulous Mother's Day this year. I think Woodrow Wilson did all mothers of our great country a honorable favor when he established this day of recognition so many years ago. He just left out one tiny little detail....the fact that Moms still have to be moms on Mother's Day.

In order to avoid the large crowds, we went out for our Mother's Day meal on Saturday evening. Despite arriving at the restaurant super-early we were faced with a thirty minute wait. The children had been at their grandparents all day and I had arrived with a small that contained no survival items needed for a thirty minute wait with young children.

A tank of lobsters and joyful grandparents helped us through these thirty minutes and we finally were seated at our table....only for Evelyn to COMPLETELY. MELT. DOWN. over a chocolate milk straw issue.

Fortunately we were seated at the very back table of this fine establishment so I only had to pass 50 or so odd diners on my loooooooooong trek to the door as I attempted to exit with a tantruming toddler in my hands.

Happy Mothers Day to me. Isn't Mommyhood glamorous?

Evelyn calmed down (mainly due to the fact temperatures in our area dropped yesterday and she was too cold to have a fit outside for an extended amount of time), we returned to our table, and proceeded to finish our meal. Service was not great at this particular restaurant, both kids were a bit testy, and I began wondering why we even attempted to eat at somewhere that does not incorporate "Playplace" into their general decor.

But we survived and I think I ate some shrimp.

This morning I woke up to find an email with this link

in my inbox. Isn't my husband terribly clever? After the usual marathon of getting children up, fed, dressed, disciplined, hair fixed, disciplined some more, hair fixed once again due to an impromptu gymnastics session on the couch, disappointment handed out when Mommy would not allow anyone to color in their church clothes, my ownself dressed and groomed; we finally arrived at church.

Children were deposited in their respective Sunday school classrooms and I settled in on the pew next to my husband. We were about four songs in when a teacher approached us during service and said that Evelyn was sick. I went to retrieve her, expecting to see some sort of tummy issue and wondering if our dry cleaners would be able to salvage her pretty dress, only to discover that she was not sick at all. The teacher felt that she did not need to stay in the classroom due to her runny nose. The teacher was new and I refrained from going into long detail with her about how Evelyn's nose has been running for two years and that she was not contagious, but decided to simply scoop up our little girl and remove her from the class.

Evelyn, Tobe, and I hung out in the church study during services rather than enduring a long struggle of getting a wiggly, loud little girl to sit still during the sermon. After church, we all headed home for some pictures (which I used marshmallows to bribe the children in order to get a few smiles out of them) and lunch.

Naps were taken, time was spent outside (in which one child had to be placed in time-out for attempting to sit on his sister and the other child had to be placed in time-out for attempting to feed her brother wood chips. Sheesh. Who are these children some days?), dinner was consumed, baths were administered, stories were read, backs were rubbed, lights were turned off....and this Mommy is tired.

Being a mom certainly is not glamorous at times, it is beyond exhausting some days, it causes the strangest phrases to tumble from my mouth ("Do not stick the bell pepper in the bubble container" Seriously. I said this not even six hours ago.), it creates laughter and frustration all in the same minute, and it is the most wonderful thing ever.

Happy Mother's Day, Blog World!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

My Early Mother's Day Present

This is my early Mother's Day present to myself: Dressing my children in coordinating outfits.

Do you think they will still go for this in ten years?

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Facts of Life

"You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have...The Facts of Life. ."

1980's television. I sure do miss it amidst all the reality stuff that liters the airways these days. Sure, a hit TV program about an alien keeping residence with a normal American family does not really make a lot of sense nor does a program depicting brothers (and eventually cousins) settling all disputes and injustices in their county resemble a normal existence....but they were entertaining and I never once had to pick up my phone to vote someone off.

(Alf, anyone? Perhaps "Dukes of Hazards"?)

One television series I dearly loved as a kid was the "Facts of Life" (Did you remember this guy was Jo's boyfriend???). It was fun story lines, the girls ran a college bookstore which appealed to my organizational sense, and I thought the fashion was divine.

As many of you know, Lisa Whelchel who played "Blair" on this program eventually found a niche speaking about her faith, parenting, and her role as a mom. I have read a few of her books and check her website on occasion. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to catch her two minute interview on our local morning news.

She was promoting the upcoming "Women of Faith" tour and her role as a speaker this summer, along with several other women. When asked how she manages to be a public speaker, an author, an avid scrapbooker, a teacher (she homeschools), and a full-time mom, Lisa replied with the answer I wish every woman/mom/wanna-do-it-all-right-now person could hear.

She laughed and said, "I don't do it all at once. That just isn't reality."


Lately Isaac has really been into asking me what I want to do when I grow up. I have attempted to explain to him that I am indeed "grown-up" (I think I am, however I did just make an Alf reference a few paragraphs ago), how I used to be a teacher before he was born, and some dreams I have for myself in upcoming years. This answer does not seem to satisfy him because the question keeps popping into our conversations.

Today I approached my answer in a new way, hoping to provide a better understanding for him. I asked him about the cotton seeds he, Tobe, and Evelyn just planted a few weeks ago.

I asked him if once they put the seeds in the ground the cotton plant immediately popped out of the soil.

He said the obligatory "No" and we discussed how we have to wait a few weeks to see those first tiny green leaves emerge and then wait even longer to see the actual plant form. We talked about how it takes several months for our cotton plants to go from tiny seed into a cotton producing thing.

His eyes may have glazed over just a bit and his sister's cries for raisins coming from the seat next to him may have drowned out my words, but I wanted him (and Evelyn...once she got over her raisin cries) to understand that life is not immediate. We cannot have all, be all, do all, and experience all at once. I wanted him to understand that although Mommy is technically "grown-up" her definite path is not set in stone. That she, like everyone else, has been granted time to grow and move through life, experiencing things in seasons and in stages.

Life takes a bit of time, a bit of cultivation, and a lot of care to be able to go from tiny seed into productive adult.

It's the facts of life.