Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Case of the Stuck Arm

Being the lover of books that he is, Isaac has recently discovered a fascination with detective novels (they have chapters, therefore I am considering them to be novels). These days everything has become a clue left to be discovered, a problem to be remedied, and a mystery to be solved.

Yesterday's mystery involved wooden slats and some butter.

The children and I were poking around in Isaac's room Monday morning, doing a bit of playing and a bit of straightening. I noticed that E. was simply standing next to Isaac's bed (his is a single, not a bunk) being unusually still. I asked the initial questions all mothers ask when a toddler is standing perfectly still, "Do you need to go to the restroom?". Such an inquiry was followed with a quiet "No."

I turned my attention back to the task at hand, chatting with Isaac in the process. About three minutes later, I hear a little girl's voice say, "My arm is stuck."

It was then that I noticed E.'s left arm was wedged between two of the narrow slats on Isaac's bed rail, thus being the reason she was standing perfectly still for such a long time. I went to free her and realized that the arm was seriously stuck.

Have I mentioned that I have a touch of the claustrophobia and tight places (or stuck limbs) can really freak me out? My dear husband has repeatedly told me should we ever find ourselves locked in some sort of restricted, tight confined space that it could result in the dissolvement of our marriage vows. Fortunately one never really finds themselves in restricted, tight spaces in the suburbs so I think our union is safe.

I attempted to gently pull out E.'s little arm while only hyperventalating slightly keeping a calm face. When I realized that it was STUCK I sent Isaac for some butter.

I may have never been a Brownie nor have ever earned one single patch for a sassy little sash, but I know one uses butter when stuck in a precarious situation. Perhaps I learned that on Food Network?

Isaac returned a painful five minutes later (Who knows what the boy stopped and did in that short walk from his room to the kitchen), holding a stick of butter and licking it. Nice.

I smeared a little butter on E.'s arm, a bit on the slats, and managed to free her in a matter of seconds. She and I hugged as if we had just come out on the winning end of some treacherous battle. Isaac simply asked if he could have another lick of the butter.

The Case of the Stuck Arm is officially closed.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

Last week as we covered the Fruit of the Spirit of Peace, I wondered if our entire world needed a touch of this lesson.

Peace is a concept that seems to suffer from over-generalization. I know of someone who used to sign notes (yes, notes. Such a thing existed before emails, dear children.), "Peace, love, and hair grease." (Terribly clever, huh?). If one were to hold up their first two fingers, others would assume they were flashing them a peace sign. Peace signs are splashed across our chests, worn in our ears, and have even found their way under our clothing.

Peace...the concept is out there, but do we really grasp its meaning?

I opened our lesson on peace by discussing how Jesus wants us to people who love one another and get along. He desires for our attitudes to demonstrate a calm, peaceful nature. He wants our words to be kind, our actions to be considerate, and our deeds to be thoughtful.

(Dare I mention that I was dealing with two children who were attempting to scale our picnic table while I discussed such notions? Ah...life with preschoolers never really resembles a peaceful environment.)

After rereading our Fruit of the Spirit verse, we read The Peace Book by Todd Parr.

We then read the story of Jesus calming the storm from our favorite Bible Story Book.

Although we never got to our craft last week, I had intended for us to paint a picture of a strawberry using strawberry flavored kool-aid. I decided upon this craft because painting is a peaceful activity and because the strawberry is the fruit illustration for Peace on our Fruit of the Spirit tree. (Be warned: Kool-Aid painting will stain clothing).

We have revisited the concept of being a "peacemaker" in the heat of sibling battle, talking about how peace begins in our very own home. I have heard a few kinder words, seen a few more polite exchanges of toys, and heard a few demands for one another to "be peaceful to me."

Perhaps we are getting somewhere on this idea.

Maybe we need to mail our lesson plans to a few of our neighbors' leaders....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

This Post Brought to You by Crayola and Upholstery Cleaners of America

I have read many tales on other blogs of wayward children and the use of art supplies in undesignated areas. Sharpie markers used to illustrate walls, paints dropped on wood floors, pencil writings on nice linen clothes. For the sake of honesty, I might as well add that as a small child I once used to red permanent marker on a large biblical map at the church building while I taught a pretend Sunday school class as my mother worked on curriculum.

Casa de phillips has been spared such misplaced illustrations...until this morning.

It was a typical Sunday morning of everybody rushing to eat, get dressed, and then not mess up said dress clothes in the final moments before departing for church. I walked into the living room after finally deciding there was little hope for this mop of hair on this particular morning and was greeted by two excited children.

The oldest of said children informed me that "some craziness has been going on in here."

The youngest of said children informed me "I been coloring on my Cin-er-ella underwears" (She gets dressed in the final 2.7 seconds before rushing out the door on Sundays...for obvious reasons.)

"Cin-er-ella" was not the only thing little Miss. E. felt the need to color. Our perfectly good, totally unassuming ottoman is now covered in brown and orange stripes. Our little girl now understands that crayons are for PAPER only and that "Cin-er-ella underwears" and ottomans prefer to remain their natural color.

I have now googled "How do I get crayon off my couch?" and was relieved to see 40,000 hits for such a topic. "Why did my child feel the need to color the ottoman?" only generated about 12,00o Google hits, none of which really answered my question.

Oh well. It is just crayon and perhaps this will be a one-time stint in E. coloring outside the lines.

As I get ready to scrub and steam-clean the ottoman and couches (because, among the orange and brown streaks are quite a few apple juice and formula stains), tell me what your child has drawn on lately.

Here is our sweet little boy hiding out in his cotton crop this morning with Daddy while sister was listening to the lecture of "We only color on PAPER." The shorts/sweater vest/sandal combo on little boys....just as great as the white smocked dress. Surely they will still want to wear such outfits when they are 12, right?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Link-tastic Friday!

My local weatherman informed me it was going to be 103 today. Words cannot express how terribly uncool such a temperature is to me.

In case you happen to live in a similar climate (Bless Your Heart, if you do), here are a few links to keep you inside and occupied while the air-conditioning runs full blast this weekend.

*I am contemplating making these because I believe chocolate and peanut butter to be the all time best pairing ever. I am hesitant though because I fear how many sit-ups, lunges, and push-ups I will have to do at Boot Camp on Monday to make-up for the calorie count of these little beauties.

*Once again, SimpleMom has posted some great articles this week. Check this one out about clutter (ooh...the body clutter part is really making me second guess the chocolate peanut butter goodness listed above) and this one out about organizing one's life (Isaac's new favorite past time is to organize and sort things. I keep finding random stuff sorted by size, color, and type all over the house.)

*Nemo is a favorite around casa de phillips and I know my kids will flip for this project. I am thinking of doing a flag version next week for the 4th of July.

*Millions of people watched the public announcement of a couple's divorce this week. I posted about it here. Check out two more posts on the topic of marriage (neither discusses the whole "Family of Ten" debacle, for those of you bored to tears by this family). Beth Moore's daughter discusses marriage and Simple Mom hosts a guest writer to speak on the subject.

*Here is a great post regarding lessons learned from one's dad, penned by a close friend of casa de phillips.

*I *heart* doing crafts with my kids because it provides a great way for the three of us to sit down at the table and work on a project. The best conversations are a result of our gathering around the table, elbow-deep in glue and paper. When I was a teacher and I really needed to get through to a student (or students), I would pull out some sort of craft. Lines of communication just seem to open when crayons and cutting paper are involved. Check a post on this very topic here.

*Not only is the photography on this blog superb, the ideas are greatness. I believe we will be playing the "Family Lunch Game" very soon.

What links have you discovered this week?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cinderella vs. the Carseat

Apparently 102 degree heat and Cinderella fruit snacks are not meant to co-exist in the crevices of a certain little girl's carseat.

Such a discovery was made today around noon when I pulled E. from the car, only to discover the back of her capri pants and the cover of her car seat were covered in sticky, red, melted fruit snack.

Fortunately when I researched and purchased said carseat four years ago, I managed to buy one that requires the back to be unscrewed in order for one to remove the cover. (Yes, I have not washed the cover in four years and two children. I figure a little spot cleaning and some Febreeze have been sufficient until the Cinderella fruit snack encounter). What seemed like a good buy then is starting to look like a poor use of gift cards from Babies R Us. I am seriously considering throwing a party to celebrate when the day when the children graduate into booster seats as opposed to the traditional five-point harness carseat they both currently use.

The red goo has been scrubbed clean and the carseat now sits in the middle of my living room in various pieces as we wait for the cover to air dry. A bounty of old discarded raisins, french fries, goldfish crackers, a bent baby spoon, five stickers, and a forgotten toy were all discovered in the underbelly of carseat. Lovely.

Again, just another glamorous day in the life of a mommy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pool Rules Courtesy of Savethephillipsfamily

Yesterday afternoon the temperature gage in my car read 109 degrees.

Unless I have unknowingly moved to Arizona and am planning on xeriscaping my front yard, 109 degrees is not okay with me.

Due to our extreme heat (which will continue until November when we might be blessed with a cold snap of 72 degree weather), we are forced to retreat to the cool waters of our community pool if we dare venture outside.

My fair city is blessed with two excellent community pools. Growing up I lived in a town whose community pool was less than excellent. It typically had a long garden hose feeding water into it on a continuous basis due to a large leak and sported a baby pool consisting of a 6 inch deep rectangle surrounded by concrete. Although I swam in this pool on a daily basis as part of a swim team, I never graced it waters for any leisurely activity.

Imagine my surprise when Tobe and I moved here seven years ago and discovered that a community pool can be nice and free from ominous cracks in the depths of the deep end.

Our family visits the pool on a regular basis (The children and I have already gone three times this week...and it is just now Wednesday.). We all enjoying splashing around in the water and attempting to fool our bodies from thinking we are spending time outdoors in what some may consider desert-like temperatures.

Being a frequent patron of the community pool has made me realize not everyone understands the social mores which are involved in such a group activity. This has prompted me to share a few of the basic Pool Rules I believe everyone should follow while enjoying my local community pool. Rule #1: If you currently are growing a beard, wearing some sort of supportive undergarments, or partake in mandatory state-standardized tests during the month of April...then you are likely taller than the height limit for the kiddie pool. Please know if you do not heed the height requirement, I will pull out my mean mama attitude and get the lifeguard to toss you back to the regular pool.

Rule #2: If your child believes the pool toys I have lugged from the parking lot into the pool in 100+ degree temperatures are community toys, he/she is sadly mistaken. Although I believe in sharing, I also believe in fearing the cyrpto virus as your one year old gums our squirt alligator.

Rule #3: The community pool is meant for families to enjoy some quality time together in refreshing water. It is not meant to serve as a place for you to show off your extreme swimsuit. I would greatly appreciate it if the unnecessary bikinis, speedos, and exposed back hair would be saved for swimming in the privacy of your backyard.

Rule #4: If you are a mom who can pull off the bikini look by sporting toned abs and jiggle-free thighs, please understand that I will glare at you along with the other mommies desperately attempting to hide their baby bellies in tankinis. It is not that we don't like you, it is just that we do not understand how your belly stayed so flat after birthing children.
(Okay, maybe we don't like you.)
Rule #5: Middle-aged men, please understand that the 15 year old lifeguard has no interest in hearing your mundane story...unless that story has to do with your ability to get tickets to Taylor Swift's latest tour or if the 17 year old boy in her Spanish class is interested in her.

Rule #6: If you decide to bring your young child swimming, please decide to watch said young child. I already have my hands full attempting to watch a fearless little girl do her best impersonation of a fish and keep an eye on a determined four year old boy in gray goggles. My conscious will not let me ignore the fact that your 15 month old daughter is wading in water too deep for her while you scan US Weekly from the side of the pool.

Any rules you might care to add?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Marriage vs. Reality Television

What is worse than one's parents publicly announcing their divorce on prime time television?

...One's parents again publicly announcing their divorce on prime time television in an encore presentation the following night.

I penned this post last week about Mr. and Mrs. Family o' Ten. If you have been within a mile of the Internet or television within the last 24 hours, than you have heard of this family's demise, most likely through well-produced television "teases" which promoted their big announcement.

When I was in grad school, the infamous one-night game show (was it a gameshow???) "Who wants to Marry a Millionaire" aired. I remember watching it from my tiny apartment while on the phone with my mother. We both kept saying, "Surely this is not real. Surely they aren't actually going to marry." As we all know, they did marry. And it was not real (at least the "millionaire" part was not real).

And they dissolved their marriage a few weeks later.

That show really expressed the sentiment of "Who cares about the sacredness of marriage when there is money to be made?"

Cable television again threw out such a sentiment last night as millions watched a couple publicly announce their divorce on television. Their children's friends, classmates, potential spouses and college roommates likely watched or heard about it. The children themselves will one day be able to see their father look directly into the camera and say he is excited about this new chapter in his life and listen to their mother say "the show must go on.".

But, the kids got $3,000 playhouses and some more new clothes from Gymboree, so that should ease the sting of now being labeled as "children from a broken ($1.1 million) home."

Here are some interesting links regarding this debacle:

*Kate's brother and sister-in-law speak out again in attempt to protect the children

*Look! A whole month and 1/2 break on filming for everyone to "recover" from the break-up of a family. How thoughtful!

*Blog post from Aunt Jodi's sister put out before yesterday's announcement.

*A bit of Christian perspective amidst the hype.

*Recap of last night's show

*Just a reminder of why that little thing called "marriage" is so incredibly important to a family unit.

Big. Ol. Sigh.

To perk this post up just a bit, what is the best piece of marital advice you have ever been given?

I'll share mine later this week.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The JOY of the Lord is My Strength

JOY. One thing I hear often from people who know my children is the comment of what happy children they are. I usually beam a bit with pride, glade to hear the my children are facing the world with a smile on their face and some sort of random song on their heart (today it is a very disturbed version of "ABC's" that was invented at the breakfast table.). Other days I want to ask, "Really? Because that same child had a fall-down, melt-into-pieces, tantrum at the library last week and I could not locate one bit of happiness in her at all."

Despite the tantrums and the discipline issues, they certainly are happy little people.

Having them living under our roof certainly makes Tobe and me happy big people (even on the days when someone dumps large amounts of bathwater on the floor when my back is turned and another decides cereal milk is best served on the table as opposed to a bowl).

Letting your spirit be filled with joy is one of the secrets to living a content life, in my opinion. Some things that bring me joy include...

Little girls in white smocked dresses, big bows, and ruffled socks
(Can she still wear this when she is 13 because I will weep the day this look no longer works on her?)

Brother and Sister sharing Popsicles after running through the sprinkler for an hour

The impromptu games that happen on a daily basis in our living room, such as Train Ride

Evelyn's specific demands, such as, "Don't take picture of my choo-choo train"

I found teaching the Fruit of the Spirit Lesson on JOY to be quite easy, mainly because the children could relate to the concept. They understand joy when they bite into a big scoop of ice cream, when they discover a new park with friends, when they laugh together over a book, and when they have a few minutes to browse the toy aisle at Target (who doesn't experience joy at Target, i ask.)

Bible Verse: This week we used the bible verse of "The Joy of the Lord is my Strength"(Nehemiah 8:10) to remind us that the joy the Lord provides is what gives us the ability to tackle our day.
Bible Story: The story of David and Goliath. (1 Samuel 17). I opted to use this story to show joy, mainly because we had used the above verse. God gave David strength because of David's belief in the Lord. I attempt to select child-friendly bible stories (and ones my children are familiar with) that can easily make a connection between the Fruit of the Spirit and biblical learning.
Craft: JOY door hangers. I wrote the word "JOY" on large sheets of construction paper and the children water-colored them in. We then cut them out and attached the letters together with string. These make great window catchers or door-hangers. It is a good reminder of 1. to have JOY in one's heart and 2. how to spell the word "JOY."

Being the type of family that scoffs at Hallmark's version of holidays, we chose to celebrate Father's Day on Saturday this year. Yes, despite our schedules and set bedtimes here at casa de phillips, we can be a bit rebellious at times.

Isaac and Evelyn are beyond blessed to have Tobe as a daddy. The moment the garage door sounds at 5:15pm each evening, those two run to the back door to greet him after a long day's work. They are often shouting out requests for what they want him to play and he usually only pauses long enough to set down his laptop and loosen his tie before joining in on their fun.

Good times indeed.

To celebrate him this weekend, the children and I baked a cake. I took a deep breath (or twenty) and allowed my two little sous chefs to help in all areas of preparation. Although they likely consumed way more icing than they spread on our cake and perhaps some of the candy used in the decoration touched a mouth or two before being placed on the cake (sorry,Nana and Papa, who ate this cake as well), they were big helps.

Here are the future employees of Charm City Cakes with Tobe..and their masterpiece...on Saturday. In case you forgot to put on your glasses before reading this post, allow me to explain that this decoration on top of the cake is a necktie. I contemplated writing a silly pun such as "Daddy, you tie us all together" but fortunately I ran out of black icing.

Another shot of the cake...at a very unfortunate angle.

This year the children each painted their own picture frames for Tobe to put up in his office. In all of my rush over the weekend, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Oops. Isaac and Evelyn were thrilled to use Mommy's paints (meaning there was no label on the paint jar that read "Crayola") and really concentrated on making something Tobe would like. They also greatly enjoyed painting in their underwe*r (a necessity when painting with paints not labeled "Crayola" or "washable").

Saturday afternoon, before our Father's Day festivities began, Tobe and I took Isaac to see the movie Up! while Evelyn stayed home and napped under the careful supervision of her Nana. This was Isaac's first movie going experience and he was quite amazed by the extremely large screen, as shown in the picture below.

He enjoyed the movie, yelling out "YES! He's going to save his friend!" at one very climactic scene. It is hard to believe we have a child old enough to accompany us to the theater (for child-appropriate movies only, obviously).

Tobe and I enjoyed the movie (when we were not just loving watching Isaac watch the movie...parents are weird, huh?). I knew the first ten minutes were going to be emotional, but was not exactly prepared for the extreme emotion conveyed. Be warned, dear readers, that you might need a few Kleenex's tucked in your pocket for the beginning of this movie. (*). As always, Pixar created another great film with a solid storyline free of potty-humor or inappropriate sexual innuendos (Did you hear that Dreamworks?).

It was a great weekend, finished out by church on Sunday and a late afternoon swim and picnic at the pool.

Happy Father's Day, Tobe!


If you are interested in making the chocolate cake I made above, you can find the recipe here. The peanut butter frosting is located on this webpage and the cinnamon ice cream link can be found here (Unfortunately something went terribly wrong with my ice cream maker and our ice cream never froze. This was beyond a disappointment to Evelyn, who only wanted some ice cream. Fortunately organic yogurt saved the day.)


*Disclaimer about the movie Up: If you have lost a child or experienced a miscarriage, please know there is a pretty sad ten seconds in this movie that really will tug at your heartstrings and could be difficult to watch.

Fruit of the Spirit Lesson: JOY is coming up later today. Check back!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Just My Toes, Please

Have I mentioned that my daughter is two?

Well, she is. And she apparently has read from the manual titled, "How to Drive Your Mother Crazy by Insisting on Independence 24/7".

The child wants to do everything, "by myself" from getting dressed, to fixing her hair,to pushing the cart at Target, to reading books, and exiting and entering the car....despite the fact that she can actually do none of the above by herself.

This morning as I was dressing her in one of her many adorable summer outfits (thank goodness we live in a hot-weathered climate, because we might not get all the wear from these cute sundress that they each deserve), she informed me she would put on her "underwears by myself." After much struggle, the "Sleepin' Booty underwears" (read: Sleeping Beauty underwear) was tugged up over her legs and onto her body. I was able to assist with the rest of the outfit by distracting her with the task of selecting a hair bow for the day.

As I was pulling out some cute ruffled socks to put on her feet, Evelyn pointedly told me "I no wear socks today. I no wear shoes today. I just wear my toes."

At least the power struggles are cute, huh?

I am sure such clothing battles will not be as adorable when she is 14.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just Say No, My Friends.

A few years ago, some girlfriends and I attempted to develop a plan where we could split the cost of one subscription to a famous gossip magazine and pass around each week's issue on some sort of rotating schedule.

Apparently we felt like we needed to know exactly how many children Angelina is currently raising and look at pictures week after week of size 0 starlets who claim, "I eat all the time! I just can't gain weight!" And we wanted to get this celebrity fix at a fourth of the cover price.

Such a plan never actually happened. Perhaps we all decided to hold onto our precious pennies (have you ever priced such subscriptions? They are outrageous!) and get our fill of celebrity nonsense while standing in line at the local Krogers. Maybe we simply decided that filling one's head with such trivial nonsense on a regular basis is really a waste of time when there are much better things to be reading or participating in.

Although my scheme to gain a subscription to the weeklies failed, I still take notice of their covers on occasion.

For instance, have you seen this one?

This family of ten (whose full name I will not type in fear of google hits landing here) has gained increasing media and public scrutiny over the past few months. In the early winter a few blogs made some rumbles about this reality series being anything but reality (staging the family's Christmas Day three weeks early, hidden onset nannies, tons of free gifts lavished on the family in hopes of product placement). By Spring of 2009, tales of extramarital affairs and of general family disharmony floated to the surface and the bubble on this reality show popped.

Nine million people flipped their televisions to a used-to-be low-budget cable channel and tuned in to the premiere of the Fifth season of this show at the end of May....merely in hopes of hearing tales of family discord straight from the parents' mouths.

Wished-for tales were indeed spoken from Mr. and Mrs. Family o' Ten. Tears were shed. Blame was assigned. Victim-status was claimed by both parties. Even more money was hustled into the bank accounts (said Mr. and Mrs. earn between $50,000-$75,000 an episode. They just celebrated their 100th episode...yet somehow still feel the need to charge fans $25 a picture at event signings. Hmmm.).

However, the show went on...because how cute are multiples running around in the midst of a crumbling family unit? Especially when wearing coordinating Gymboree outfits?

Week after week, the gossip magazines have churned out stories regarding this family. They have pulled out all the skeletons in their family-sized closet for the world....and the eight children of this family...to see.

"Beyond tragic" are the only words I can think of that describe this situation.

Until I saw a news story regarding the cover of this upcoming gossip magazine.

As depicted through the high-tech lens of a paparazzi, Mrs. Family o' Ten felt the need to discipline one of her five year olds. The paparazzi felt the need to snap a picture of it. The magazine felt the need to run it as a cover story.

(Inject a BIG. OL. SIGH. right here.)

I thought this family and their reality show might retreat back into the shadows when people began to talk about them earlier this spring. Nope...Mr. and Mrs.Family o' Ten simply adorned their own respective cover of People magazine telling their own sob side of the story. I thought perhaps they might retreat when paparazzi began following them on a regular basis, even to the children's fifth birthday party (which was filmed to be a part of their show). Nope...they simply donned bigger sunglasses and painted a pained expression of celebrity annoyance when walking through the parking lot of Mr. Chow.

Now, Mrs. Family of Ten, can affix a large glossy picture of herself angrily spanking her daughter right next to the ink-stained newborn footprints in this particular child's baby book.

In an attempt to be honest, I think it is fair to say all parents have moments in raising children where they do not always discipline in the correct way or lead their child in an appropriate manner. We all have days where we go to bed, feeling weighed down just a bit by some bad parenting choices or words said that day. We all say a little prayer that tomorrow will be better, that God will give us some gentle words to speak even in the midst of tantrums and chaos, and that our children will one day remember the good aspects of their youth and all those little parenting mishaps along the way will be forgotten.

These eight children, who have unknowingly become celebrities merely because they are high-order multiples and because their parents know how to work a deal, will one day be able to dig through magazine and newspaper archives and read in detail of all the mishaps that happened in their youth. They now have a picture captured for all time of their mother's anger, they have stories of their father's unfaithfulness, and they can read thousands of personal opinions (such as those expressed here at www.savethephillipsfamily.blogspot.com) about the state of their own family.

But, hey, at least their outfit always coordinated with the other seven siblings, right?


Again...please remember my advice: If ever asked to do a reality show about your life, Just. Say. No.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fruit of the Spirit: All You Need is LOVE

Fruit of the Spirit: Love

Bible Story: The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:27-37). We used the version found in this series.

Craft: Make a card for someone to show them you love them (idea courtesy of my friend, Robin).

Additional books: All the Ways I Love You I Love You Through and Through I Love You, Stinky Face

Extended Activity: We do not simply discuss the Fruit of the Spirit on Monday and then abandon it for the rest of the week. We talk about it A LOT...fortunately I have children who love to talk, so they do the majority of the talking. I look for examples in the everyday (i.e. "How could you show love to your sister other than pushing her off the couch?") to make the character trait a bit more "real." Work the character trait into everyday talk, point out examples (i.e. "See how many showed love to that person who just cut her off in traffic?), and keep the communication lines open. I taught social skills for four years to a small group of children. The lessons that really stood out to them stemmed from those that popped up in everyday conversation.

Isaac and Evelyn mailing their cards
Below is an example of something that brings me a ton of joy (this week's Fruit of the Spirit here at casa de phillips).....what is more adorable than a pool-drenched little girl sporting goggles (pink goggles, to be exact)?

NOT a Fruit of the Spirit Lesson

Remember how I stated my Fruits of the Spirit Lessons would appear here each Monday?

Well, apparently I wanted everyone to practice a bit of patience and wait until Tuesday to read this week's lesson. Bear with me, my lesson on "Love" will pop up here later this afternoon.

In the meantime, allow me to fill this space with details of the past day or so. Saturday evening Isaac woke me from a deep state of slumber to inform me his throat hurt. Silent little alarms went off in the back of my head, but my need to snuggle back down under my cozy red sheets shushed said alarms. I simply walked Isaac back to his room, fixed his covers, and bid him good-night.

Thirty minutes later he woke me up by throwing up in my hands.

Being a Mommy is beyond glamorous some days, huh?

Seems his tummy issues were a one-round occurrence and he was his normal perky self the next morning.

Our Monday morning started with a rousing game of "Baby Doll", a new favorite (of the children...not of the parents) that involves pulling out almost every toy owned and creating a house. This game entertains for hours, however the clean-up is brutal. After a rousing round on Sunday, I discovered all the spoons from our silverware drawer had joined in on the fun while yesterday it was my library book and alarm clock that was needed to complete the "house."

After cleaning up "Baby Doll" and eating lunch at 10:40am (which completely confused everyone), we threw on the swimsuits and slathered on the SPS 95 and set out for our first day of swimming lessons. The two are taking private lessons in a backyard pool in a neighboring suburb (this the reason for the early lunch...we had to figure in some extra drive time). We have been prepping them for this experience because swimming lessons do not come cheap and I wanted to make sure every dime we spent was worth it.

Isaac and Evelyn got into the pool like pros, immediately talking at their normal speed of 76 MPH to their teacher they had just met. I sat on the sidelines and breathed a tiny sigh of relief over: A. There were no tears or protests and B. Someone else's ears could entertain the chatter for 30 minutes as opposed to mine.

(BTW...remember how terribly precious a child's first words are? Then remember how those first words quickly turn into the ability to have a heated discussion with their sibling about which state you live in, which is not quite so precious? )

(Isaac can correctly identify his home state, Evelyn argues that she lives in my parents' home state, and they both claim various friends either live in Oklahoma or Maine. Thus the heated debate.)

Swimming lessons went swimmingly (how could I not use such an adjective in this context??) and both kids practiced their stroke, jumped from the side, and went under water several times (Isaac is not a fan of going underwater. His parents are not a fan of him one day being in sixth grade and still scared of submerging his head into the pool.). At one point Evelyn fell off the pool steps and into the deeper water while waiting her turn. I simply scooped her up and plopped her back on the step. She started gleefully yelling, "Ms Karen! I fall! I fall!" I think this mishap was her favorite part of the lesson. She is a water-baby just like her mom.

Last night I abandoned the family for some time with two of my four college roomies. Our lil Laura is moving out-of-state (not to Maine or Oklahoma) and we had a mini-roomie Going Away Party for her (one roomie could not attend due to a sick child and the other could not attend due to the fact she is giving birth today). We had a great time feasting on Mexican food, shopping for dresses in various shades of navy, and rehashing all the college fun and antics yet again. This coming October is our ten year college reunion and we began making elaborate plans to attend (did you hear that Kara? Leigh Ann?).

There is rumor that we may get to go visit the old house we lived in at 1017 Washington Blvd. It is currently occupied by girls (boys lived there for years after we moved out...boys who most likely did not appreciate the kitchen we wallpapered nor the cabinet pulls we cleverly painted green). I am sure the Junior-aged girls would like nothing more than a bunch of thirty+ year old women to invade their house and talk about the times they had there, being sure to tell the Tish wig stories and 911 call reenactment no less than seven times before leaving.

In summary, the Fruit of the Spirit is lesson is coming. Eventually.

Just be patient, my friends.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Link Love

Allow me to set the scene for you as to the current state of casa de phillips:

I am sitting at the kitchen table, munching on popcorn and ice tea, while a bare-chested little boy wearing an art smock sits across from me. He is elbow-deep in construction paper, paint, glue, and crayons. More than once he has narrowly missed losing one of those beautiful blue eyes as he attempts to climb up and down out of his chair to constantly retrieve stray art supplies while holding scissors (not allowed...he tends to do said scaling while I am focused on the computer). The little boy has quite the intense look of concentration spread across his face as he attempts to meet his goal of making the perfect combination of paper and glue...a face covered in smears of chocolate after consuming a particularly tasty snack (chocolate chip muffin...yum).

Good times, my friend.

If you are wondering where E. happens to be in all this crafty chaos, well she is still sound asleep in her crib. Baby girl needs some long afternoon naps to make it through her evening.

Because it is Friday, I thought I would provide some interesting links for you to browse over the weekend. Enjoy!

* I won a $50 gift certificate, courtesy of the MomBlogs, from this retailer. I am ecstatic about deciding what to buy with such a gift! Now that I have won this awesome prize, I most likely will have to quit complaining about how I never won any door prizes during all festive give-aways in college.

*I made this cold treat the other night for Tobe and me to enjoy while we watched random wedding videos. Delicious!

*Mommies, take some time to read this post about marriage and mommyhood.

*Can it be true...can I really create the perfect salad at home?

Happy Friday...Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

Parenting these two little ones has been equivalent to walking on hot coals barefoot challenging this week.

There have been meltdowns, time-outs, and quite possibly emails sent to Tobe in which I expressed a desire to enlist our children in a foreign exchange program; all occurring before the breakfast plates were cleared a few mornings this week.

I would think the dynamic duo would at least have the decency to wait until I have loaded the dishwasher before falling completely apart, wouldn't you?

Fortunately the Lord makes one's children beyond adorable and parenting frustrations can be easily mended some days with just a few words and a hug.

Isaac's mending happened today while at Alison's house for a playdate (a playdate that was to involve an outdoor water park...on the stormiest day of the year.). During lunch, that sweet boy turned to Alison and proclaimed, "My mommy makes the best pizza in whole world."

Be still, my heart.

Evelyn's mending came at bedtime. This evening I was tucking Evelyn into her bed, following her standard delicate series of bedtime commands ("Sing my songs! Where's my cup? Cover me up! Turn on my machine! Turn the fan higher! Check on me later! Please! Mommy!"), when I said my usual "Your my best girl, Evelyn" (it is ever-so-handy having a child of each gender....because you can call them both your "best").

She quickly replied, "You best Mommy, Mommy."

And, dear readers, those words from my children are all I need to make it through one more day of laughter, one more day of discipline, one more day of doling out goldfish crackers, and one more day of being Mommy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June the 9th

Tobe and I celebrated eight years of marriage yesterday.

Broken down that is roughly 70,126.502 hours of wedded bliss, 1,621 meals cooked for him (with only about 5 real cooking disasters. Ask Tobe about the "four cheese macaroni" debacle someday), 391 dirty diapers, one 6 hour car trip stretched into 15 hours, 127 games of cards played, 273 late-night Sonic runs, 76 trips to the local pool, 34 hours spent in child-birth, 194 hours inside movie theaters, and two lovely children.

But, hey, who's counting?

I announced yesterday morning at breakfast that June 9th is quite the special day because it was the day in which we celebrated Mommy and Daddy getting married.

Such an announcement was not met with thunderous applause or "oh's" and "ah's". Rather someone demanded more fruit and another knocked off a full cereal bowl for the second time in ten minutes. Chalking such things up as minimal distractions, I attempted to broach the subject again later in the day-. I was outvoted on looking at our wedding album verses reading a Berenstein Bear book two to one.

Oh well. Perhaps they will appreciate someday.

At the very least I am sure Evelyn and Isaac will have a good laugh with their friends one day at how dorky their parents looked the day they were married.

June 9, 2009 was much different than June 9, 2001. For example, on June 9, 2001 I woke up and got ready for my bridesmaid brunch while chatting with my maid of honor. Yesterday I got ready while intermittently breaking up fusses over who gets to push the baby stroller and who gets to hold the Tupperware with the red lid (Seriously, why must they fuss over the most inconsequential toys?).

On June 9, 2001 I feasted on a spread of delicious brunch casseroles and seasonal fruit. On June 9, 2009 I ate a soggy sandwich that someone had accidentally spilled their apple juice on and failed to mention it to me.

June 9, 2001 found me wearing a beautiful platinum wedding gown. I experienced a wardrobe change twice on June 9, 2009 due to a grease stain from park play equipment and from the fact that apparently at 32 years of age I cannot successfully eat a strawberry without making a mess.

I remember being a tiny bit sad over the fact I never really tasted the food served at our wedding reception or had more than a three sentence conversation with any one guest at our wedding on June 9, 2001.

Yesterday I don't think I even finished a sentence in my own head, much less one spoken aloud to an adult. And I most likely would have jumped at the chance for a cheese square off a buffet table after eating the soggy sandwich.

Funny how things change over time?

Discrepancies between the two days put aside, our celebration of eight years of marriage was quite enjoyable. Thanks to free babysitting courtesy of the grandparents, Tobe and I were able to go out on the town Saturday night to celebrate. We feasted on chips and queso, caught a movie, managed to eat fondue successfully despite the near cave-like table we happened to be seated at, and (as always) enjoyed spending time together. Last night we celebrated with the children, feasting on a brisket that cooked away all day in our little oven.

After supper, we promised the children a movie. They were a bit disappointed when that movie happened to be the video of our wedding as opposed to something bearing a Disney logo. The two did have a fun time spying their grandparents in the "movie". I resisted the urge to point out my flat stomach of 2001, keeping all my "see what pregnancy did to my body" statements to myself. Isaac did inquire as to where some of his friends where after spying their parents in the video. Despite our best explanations, he just later assumed that they were all just chilling in their mommy's tummies (where he also thought he was during the wedding....that would have been quite the lengthy pregnancy, huh?).

June 9th...it's good times, my friends.

Good times indeed.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

8 Years and Counting...

I'll be back tomorrow with a longer post, likely detailing how June 9, 2001 was greatly different than June 9, 2009 (and did not involve an unusual amount of Boy Scouts nor large amounts of scrambled eggs scattered across my kitchen floor.)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Fruits of the Spirit: Intro Lesson

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control...." Galatians 5:22-23

Welcome to the first weekly lesson on The Fruits of the Spirit! Each Monday for the next ten weeks, I will be posting a lesson I have completed with my children on the Fruits of the Spirit. Today is the introductory lesson which sets the tone for the rest of this summer series.

I started the first lesson by discussing fruit with my children, talking about what fruits they like and what makes those particular fruits so incredibly delicious to their little tummies. We discussed what good things fruits do for our bodies (i.e. providing nourishment, helping sustain energy..BTW, I don't think I used the word "sustain" with my 2 and 4 year old, giving our bodies vitamins) and why it is important to eat them.

We then talked about how the Bible tells us about some behaviors Jesus wants to see us show in our lives everyday. He has labeled these behaviors as the "Fruits of the Spirit" because just like real fruits, these fruits/behaviors help our bodies. These desired behaviors help us be the best person that we can be and demonstrate our love for Jesus to those around us.

After that discussion, we read the book "Nine Fruits Alive" by Mindy MacDonald. This is a great introduction to the Fruits of the Spirit, provided in an interesting and easy to comprehend format. My kids love this book. Isaac can practically quote it from cover to cover and they both can tell you what behavior each fruit represents.

After reading the book, we pulled out our art supplies and set out to create a "Fruits of the Spirit" placemat from which to dine on all summer long. I found this handy coloring sheet, which I printed off from my computer. The kids colored it, then mounted it to a sheet of construction paper, which was then mounted to a sturdy piece of card stock.

Obviously one needs quite a bit of glue for all this mounting of paper.
After all the coloring and gluing were completed, I took these beauties to Kinkos and had them laminated in heavy plastic. Such lamination is a bit more expensive than the typical kind done at office supply stores for about 25 cents a foot, however it is very sturdy and will hold up (fingers crossed!) to a summer's worth of food eaten on it.

Here are the completed placemats:

Another great extension activity would be to create a family poster of the "Fruit of the Spirit" tree. I made one last year and it lives on our refrigerator. I drew the outlines and Isaac colored it (Evelyn was still in the crayon-eating phase at the time). Again we had it laminated and we all get to enjoy it everyday. It is often discussed at the dinner table, especially when we are dining on a fruit that happens to be illustrated on our

Here is a link to the post in which I discuss this poster.

We closed our time in a little prayer, asking God to help us learn how to have desirable behaviors such as the ones outlined in the Fruits of the Spirit.

Some other great books about the Fruit of the Spirit include:

The Fruit of the Spirit is Jesus in Me

Music Machine: Fruit of the Spirit (CD)

Kids Travel Guide to the Fruit of the Spirit (older children)

The Bear Series by Melody Carlson (I would love to have this series for the kids, but have yet to find it in a boxed set. I would likely have to sell some of my plasma in order to purchase them individually).

Anyone know of any other great resources that could be used for this series?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday Field Trip

While in graduate school, there was an employee of a gas station I frequented (oh, how I miss you, Circle K Big Gulp) who always, ALWAYS had to say how I looked like this particular actress(in her "Caroline in the City" days as opposed to her "Back to the Future" days.)

I have realized in life if you sport a slightly rare commodity...such as red hair...people automatically assume you look EXACTLY LIKE someone else sporting the same slightly rare commodity, regardless of age, size, ethnicity.

Today was our first Friday Field Trip of the summer and we set off for the big city Farmer's Market. We have a few smaller farmers markets close to casa de phillips, but I wanted the children to experience one on a large scale. Both kids were armed with their own shopping bags, wads of cash, and grand plans on purchasing something delicious.

We were just bopping our way along all the stands when a man jumped in front of me and practically shouted, "Oh My Goodness, you are Laura Ingalls!"

I smiled and said "Thank you, but I am not." assuming the man merely meant that I looked like Laura Ingalls (should Laura Ingalls wear shorts, a pheasant top, large silver earrings, wedge sandals, and have two children holding onto her hands).

"Are you Laura Ingalls?" the man inquired.

Again, I assured him I wasn't...especially since Laura Ingalls is a FICTIONAL. CHARACTER. and Melissa Gilbert is at least fifteen years older than me.

This did not seem to phase the man, who went on and on about how I look just like ol Laura and was I sure that I definitely was not her.

I contemplated telling him I was and offering an autograph (do I sign "Laura" or "Melissa"???) but managed to steer the children past his booth and become terribly interested in some slices of watermelon a few feet away.

Besides this mishap, the children and I had a marvelous time. Evelyn looked simply scrumptious in her pigtails and Isaac was all about speaking to the local farmers about their produce.
Of course, they managed to find some handy little "drums" to have a spontaneous street performance for all those watching.

After shopping, we decided to take a break and make lunch out of some of the items purchased and a few more bought from a local concession stand.

Isaac was beyond thrilled with his purchase of shelled peanuts, a new favorite thanks to a local restaurant in my parents' hometown which serves these and allows customers to toss the empty shells on the ground.
See that white shirt? Not a great idea considering we sampled a wide variety of fruits and veggies today. That white is now marked with various shades of purples, reds, and blues. Oh well. The boy had fun and I own a laundry stain stick, so I think we are okay.

It was a great morning and I had some quiet children on the drive back to the suburbs. They are both sleeping right now, with bellies full of fresh produce.

As for me, I am off to wash the laundry in the river and see if Pa needs any help tending to the horses.
Happy Friday!

And the Winner Is....

This morning, the children served as my trusty sidekicks and drew the name for the winner of the $25 Ecostore gift certificate. When I asked them to sit on the fireplace (because, seriously, I cannot take a picture except for by the fireplace) so they could draw the name of the winner for a blog contest, two things happened:

1. The covered up in a blanket, claiming it was their desk. Even as their mother, I do not understand this thought process. Soon who had more "desk" became very important and I found myself attempting to cover two wiggly sets of legs in June with a blanket.

2. Isaac said, "What is a blog?" I assured him one day he would receive his very own copy of hundreds upon hundreds of mindless thoughts written by his dear Mommy, which I would force him to read and perhaps complete a pop quiz about.

On to the contest....

Drawing the winner's name
And the winner is Chantelle of www.brianchanteread.blogspot.com. Congrats!

Thanks for all of you for participating in this giveaway. Even if you didn't win, head over to Ecostore and check out their great array of products. Stay tuned, because I should have some more giveaways coming up in the future!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Links to Get Your Summer Movin'

Did you happen to catch my summer schedule on yesterday's post?

Hopefully you did, hopefully you actually were able to read the version in which I actually remembered to post the link to the schedule (deepest apologies to those of you who had two posts from me in your reader inbox), and perhaps you were a bit inspired to get your own summer moving.

Here are a few links from other blogs containing summer schedules, summer ideas, and just plan creative information:

*Make and Take's Bucket of Summer Fun

*Dish up some Letter Pizza, courtesy of No Time for Flashcards.

*A compilation of various mother's summertime schedules, via Girl Talk

*Perhaps you want to get a bit more organized this summer...if so, head on over to ListPlanIt and check out there amazing assortment of lists. Is it sad that such an array of lists makes me a bit giddy?

*I am hoping to transform a little nook in my bedroom into a writer's corner (pictures will be posted when..and if...this happens). These kiddie writer's corners are fantastic and now I am dreaming of ways to make one for Isaac and Evelyn.

*I seemed to have derailed a bit and have moved from summer schedules to home organization...but Oh. My. Goodnes. Check out this home organization system. It almost made me weep. Then it made me hurriedly search Craig's List for "Old School-House Chalkboard." This really could become a reality in our laundry room sometime before school begins in August.

What is a good summertime link you would like to share?

Don't forget...my giveaway ends TONIGHT!

Give Away Ending Tonight!

Don't forget...the giveaway ends tonight! Hurry and leave a comment on this post in order to have a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Ecostore!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Summer Schedule 2009 (UPDATED!)

This morning the children and I met some friends for Library Story Time and lunch at


I think such a scenario is the standard "go-to plan" of all stay-at-home mommies with young children. Before birthing these two little precious children of mine, I had no idea my life would quickly become quite so stereotypical. I just had to giggle a bit this afternoon as I unloaded two sweaty children, one purse bulging with a variety of sippy cups and half-eaten boxes of raisins, one book bag of library books, and one chick-fil-a cup....all while wearing my "mom-a-form" of Capri pants and t-shirt.

Fun times, my friend.

Although we had a pretty typical morning today (and a relatively peaceful one at that...no meltdowns until the last five minutes when a certain boy became unglued over the fact the air-conditioner was not running in a manner he felt was desirable), I have big plans for our summer. Such plans go beyond the traditional treks to the library and Chick-fil-A (so yummy...but so expensive these days!). Check out the link below to see a copy of our summer schedule and then keep reading for an explanation as to exactly what we are doing for the next three months.

Fruits of the Spirit: This year we are once again learning the Fruits of the Spirit here at casa de phillips. We discussed these traits last year, but I think they are always worth discussing. Each Monday I plan to post my weekly curriculum for this study, so follow along if you want (just know...in reality, my kids are going to be a week ahead than the blog post. I do this in order to include pictures and to keep my sanity somewhat in tact.). My friend Robin is doing the same with her children and I will be sharing some of her ideas as well.

School Work: Evelyn and I will be focusing on letter recognition and letter sounds this summer while Isaac and I are going to work on his reading skills. He and I have been messing around with reading for quite awhile and he can read some things right now...but it is time to take a serious crack at learning to read. We are both quite excited about this little adventure.

Park Hopping Extravaganza: We are fortunate to live in an area that has a multitude of great parks. Honestly I do not feel like we take full advantage of such resources. This summer I have a list of parks in our area and surrounding suburbs that I would like for us to try on for size. Due to the heat factor, we must do such testing in the early morning hours. If you live nearby and have a park to recommend, please let me know!

House Cleaning, Part 1: I have decided to vary my cleaning schedule, mainly because cleaning schedules are so incredibly dull that they simply scream for variety on occasion. This summer I intend to sweep/mop, clean bathrooms, and dust on Wednesday mornings.

House Cleaning, Part 2: On Thursday mornings, I wash all bed linens, clean the kitchen, clean showers, and vacuum.

Morning Chores: Everyday we make all the beds, straighten the house (this actually happens before nap and before bedtime), wipe down counters (kitchen and bath), unload dishwasher (the NEVERENDING chore) and do a light sweep (who knew children generated so many crumbs?). Such chores are a family effort. The kids help with making of beds, straightening (cleaning up toys, putting clothes in laundry basket), and with cleaning of table (Evelyn's favorite chore...the child even moves the booster seats and wipes under them which is something her mother does not always do).

Playdate: We always love getting together with friends!

Friday Field Trip: This year, I finally feel like I have two kids who would both equally enjoy particular "field trip" type activities. I cannot express how greatly this excites me. I have generated a list of activities which I plan for us to do on Fridays this summer. If you would like to know what we are going to do (and possibly like to join us!), just send me an email. If you have any suggestions, pass those along as well!

Swimming: Being a former "water baby" my own self, the Lord has blessed me with two children who love the water just as much as their Mommy. We try to hit the pool most Saturday mornings as a family, but this year I believe the children and I can venture out one or two afternoons a week as well. I had planned on doing this last year, but wimped out because I had one kid who was crawling and one kid who was still a bit unsteady in the deeper parts of the kiddie pool.

So that is our summer in a not-so-short blog post. Although it appears to be relatively structured, please know that it is flexible. For example, one week the kids are in swimming lessons all week which will throw all other activities out the window. I am also contemplating a local science camp for Isaac and considering sending the children to our preschool's Mother's Day Out a few times at the end of the summer. This schedule is not etched in stone and mandatory, but rather serves as a guideline for our summer so we all are alive and sane by the end of August.

Anyone else care to share a summer schedule?

Don't forget the GIVE-AWAY I am hosting! Check out this post for details!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

School's Out for Summer!

This morning, as we watched the rain fall heavily onto our backyard from the breakfast table, Isaac sighed loudly and dramatically proclaimed, "I miss all my friends from school."

That seemed like a perfectly reasonable proclamation to make since he has been out of preschool for precisely six days now.

It could be long summer here at casa de phillips if such proclamations continue to be made at the breakfast table.

Here is our beaming 3.5 year old on his last day of preschool last week. It was the standard water day, which seems to be a requirement for schools in our area. Here is our freshly-turned three year old back in September on his first day of preschool for the 2008/2009 year.

According to his teacher's records, Isaac grew three inches this year and gained 4.5 pounds. WhooHoo! Before becoming a mother, I never realized how proud I would feel each time I had positive proof that my children are getting taller and gaining weight. I think there should be some sort of letter jackets (like the ones worn by high school students) for mothers, with patches available for such milestones. This proof of growth makes those occasional dinner time battles seem (slightly) worth it.

And...Just in case you were keeping track, Isaac has now declared baked beans to be his all-time favorite food. Wanting to keep my child happy and fed, I cooked a large pot of said beans to accompany our supper last night. I believe he ate six beans total.


His sister on the other hand ate about five servings of corn. This is slightly impressive, except for the fact she is in the throws of potty training. To put it delicately, corn is never one's friend when diapering or potty training a child.

Anyway, let us get back on track and look at Isaac's last day of preschool. Because I want to provide the healthiest breakfast I can for my children, we feasted on donuts before school that morning. It was always a tradition in my house growing up to get donuts on the last day of school. This is a tradition I think needs to be carried on through the ages, especially since it means an excuse for me to eat a donut as well.

Isaac's friend rode car pool with us that last day of school. I was greatly entertained by the excited conversation that took place in my backseat between these two three year olds. They share such a sweet friendship and had many stories to share since they had not talked in over a week.

We are quite blessed by Isaac's school situation and the education and love he receives there. This year he has learned how to write all of his letters, started to read, learned his basic addition facts, created more art projects than our refrigerator can keep up with, and has had a blast with his pals. It has truly been a successful school year for our boy.

Evelyn begins school in the fall. She is more than ready (the question still remains of is the school ready for her???). She and I enjoyed one last "girls lunch" before welcoming summer.

Here is Miss E. at Girls Lunch last week:

Here is Miss E at our very first Girls Lunch in September 2008:

I would say my master plan for her hair is coming together nicely, wouldn't you? In September she was barely walking...this past week she ordered her own cookie at the counter. Where does time go?


Do not forget that I am hosting a Give Away! For your chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Ecostore, hop on over to this post and leave a comment about your plans for the summer (remember...anyone can enter! Don't feel like this is just a contest for families!) ! The drawing will be held on Friday. Good Luck!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Summer GIVEAWAY!!!

Although summer does not technically start until June 21st, we eagerly welcomed it here at casa de phillips. This morning we headed out to one of our local parks to soak up some sun (after applying SPF 60) where Isaac repeatedly called a new friend "Oprah" despite the fact the child's nanny kept reminding him the child's name was "Owen." Evelyn was obsessed over inspecting every tiny particle on the equipment, before screeching, "It's a bug, Mommy! It's a bug!" (Likely due to the fact she spied a bug in our bathroom last week, which apparently has caused such a fascination/fear of all little creatures).

Our summer is off to a pretty glamorous start, huh?

Preschool is on break for three months, the local pool opened its doors on Saturday, and the bottles of SPF 60 are lining the counters by both doors. We are ready to enjoy some sun, some learning, a bit of downtime, and a lot of adventure here at casa de phillips.

I hope that each of you has something exciting planned for this summer, from perhaps a big trip to maybe just chilling in the backyard with your own family. I have been working on our summer schedule these past few days, getting everything ready so I do not lose my mind attempting to entertain two little ones. Our schedule this year (which I will post later this week) includes swim lessons, a weekly field trip, mini-lessons on reading for Isaac and letter recognition for Evelyn, and a concentration on learning the Fruits of the Spirits (which will be a weekly series on this blog, beginning NEXT Monday). I am sure countless numbers of Popsicles will be consumed in between all of that and many treks to our favorite pool will be made.

As a way to celebrate the beginning of this new season, I am giving away a $25 gift certificate to Ecostore USA. If you would like a chance to win this great gift certificate (which you can use to purchase a wide variety of great, earth friendly products), please leave a comment that tells about a plan/idea/event you and your family have for the upcoming summer. Comments will be closed on Thursday evening and a winner will be randomly selected on June 5th, 2009. Share with this little blogging community your ideas for summer and have a chance at winning a really great prize!