Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Link Love

*After the Cinderella incident earlier this summer, anything potentially sticky, waxy, gummy, or melty (Is that a word?) is forbidden from the family station wagon in fears of the hot sun leaving a horrible melted mess. However, I next week I am going to encourage leaving crayons outside (Goodness knows I have plenty) in hopes of them melting and making cool crayon-shapes.

*Is there anything better than the chocolate and peanut butter combo, my friends?

*We *heart* a good homemade fort here at casa de phillips. Simple Mom has outlined exactly how to construct the perfect fort.

*We are counting down the hours until the big 4th birthday here at casa de phillips. Isaac happened to see me reading this blog post and has decided Candy Land will be the theme for next year's party. If we have taught our children nothing, at least they know how to plan ahead.

*Although a weather station at our house during the summer would simply read "hot" and "unbearably hot", I think creating one for children is a great idea.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back to School Supplies: Preschool Edition

Preschool is a great introduction into the world of education for little ones. It provides a chance for young children to socialize with a peer group, figure out the basics of taking instruction (and discipline) from a teacher, and learn in a fun setting. Just like grade school kids, preschoolers need school supplies as well. Although they are not quite ready for a graphing calculator or textbook covers, preschoolers have a variety of supplies available to help them have a successful ....(to read more, please go here)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crayon Obsession

If your area reports a crayon shortage, it might be because I keep purchasing every 25 cent pack of 24 count Crayolas that I stumble across at Wal-Mart. I just cannot help myself. I keep rationalizing that I need the crayons for some purpose such as arts and crafts time (we could host at least 30 kids with all the boxes I have accumulated), to get a jump-start on Back-to-School shopping for the year 2011, and because one can never know when a world disaster might occur and crayon production simply ends.

Also, I have been stockpiling the crayons for Isaac's big birthday party this weekend.

Please excuse the blog if it gets neglected over the next few days. Family starts arriving tomorrow, there are cakes to be made, decorations to be crafted, presents to be wrapped, and parting to be done.

And apparently some major coloring is going to take place.

Until I am back with some blog material that could not be classified as "fluff" please head over and read about lunch box ideas for toddlers and preschoolers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

School Supply Mania

Over the weekend, the husband and I were able to spend some alone time with each other minus the children. Want to know what two slightly-nerdy people do when given some child-free hours to spend? Set out for Target and admire the school supplies section.

Although we had popped through our favorite retail store for some other items, we could not pass up a trip down the school supply aisles. We admired the packs of crayons, shared memories of school supplies of our past (okay, I shared memories and Tobe patiently listened as I recounted the themes of my lunchboxes from 1st to 4th grade.), and realized we were old when we discussed how annoying the Velcro closure on TrapperKeepers must have been to the teachers of the 1980's.

I *heart* school supplies.

As August rapidly approaches and parents rush out with school supply checklist in hand, I ponder what supplies do teachers/parents/children find to be the most necessary. Although elementary schools now publish a specific list of what to purchase, are there any extra supplies that your family picks up before a new school year begins? What supplies do you get for your preschooler?

Leave a comment and let me know what you are purchasing this year before school begins. AND..if you live in my area and would (possibly) like your comment to be featured in an upcoming article, let me know in your comment. (Sorry to have to leave out my non-area people. I do heart you all though.).

I am off to sharpen some pencils and write an apology letter to my third grade teacher for all the times I opened and closed my Lisa Frank "Bubbles" trapper keeper just to make noise....

Monday, July 27, 2009

Encouraging reading habits among young children

Do you love to read and hope that your child develops the same sort of passion for books? Or do you do everything you can to avoid picking up a book, yet really would like for your child to develop a taste for reading? Go here to read about how to encourage reading among young children.

Chances are....

...if I tell my children we can go "bike" riding at the park, it will rain all day for the first time in months.

...if one kid is excited to run an errand, the other kid will act as if he/she has been handed down a prison sentence.

...if I snap a picture of a genuine smile from my child, there will be an iron and ironing board in the background.

...if my two year old refers to the appliance that keeps all food cold as the "Fridge-later", then I will encourage the use of said word until she turns 12.

...if one child is excited about what I cooked for dinner, the other will act as if it is laced with rat poison (it was not, by the way. And it was spaghetti. What kid doesn't like spaghetti?)

...if I pull out the playdoh, at least one child will sit in it and the other will step in it.

...if my husband gets to plan date night, then he will go beyond the average dinner and a movie routine (Can you say "Choose Your Own Adventure" date? Fun times. Post to come).

How would you finish the "Chances are..." phrase?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sun Safety Tips

As summer marches on, parents need to be mindful of the amount of sun exposure their children are getting on a daily basis. Due to thinner skin, children are at a greater risk (to read more, please go here)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chores for Toddlers

Stay-at-home moms often struggle with finding the balance between keeping a house running (laundry, vaccuming, dusting, mopping, more laundry) and interacting with their young children. Instead of tending to daily chores while small children play under foot or nap, have children...(to read more, please go here)

A Good Mama Day

As of 3pm, it has been a good mama day. Anyone else know those kind-of days? They are the days when staying at home seems like the best job ever, when the children are especially adorable, and when the chores do not seem like the mountain one can never completely summit.

Our day has been rather standard here at casa de phillips. Neither child changed out of their pajamas until well after 10:30am, instead enjoyed the wonders of our backyard clad in PJs and rain boots. I am currently wearing the mom-a-form of yoga pants, t-shirt, and ponytail (which, honestly, is a bit rare for me). We have baked cookies to take to friends tomorrow. The children have invented a new game called "Crash Up Dirty" which originated as ramming Matchbox cars into each other in the sandbox and has now morphed into removing all of E.'s toys from her closet and stuffing them into her playhouse. (By the way, the name also morphed. They knew ramming cars into each other was called "Crash Up Derby" but over time "derby" has become "dirty." I hope our neighbors enjoyed yells of "Crash up DIRTY!" coming from our backyard at 9am).

There has been a few tears, one or two sibling spats, a major potty accident in the kitchen (despite my best efforts of preventing said accident by having a child's potty in the kitchen...something I once swore I would never do), clean linens to sort, floors to mop, at least 15 mini-cookies consumed, disciplines handed down, and fun had. It has been just a normal, busy, relaxing, good mama day.

For that I am thankful.

My question is, what things encourage you when it is not a "good mama day"? How do you cope when the repetitive chores are maddening, when the children are sick yet again, when the squabbles continue on, when naps are not taken, when days seem filled with only frustration rather than fun? What keeps you going along in your role as Mommy?

(Besides the obvious of 15 mini chocolate chip cookies...)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Managing an infant and a toddler without going insane

Adding children to one's family is a blessing. Such a blessing can also be a test of a mother's time management skills, patience, and creativity as she attempts to care for a newborn and a toddler simultaneously...(to read more, go here)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer School

Someone tell me how this: Turned into this:


Or perhaps how this:

Became this with a blink of the eye:

This morning I packed-up two backpacks, filled up two water bottles, and distributed enough food to feed a small island nation between two lunch boxes (I used to hate parents that packed the entire contents of their pantry into their child's lunch box...until I became that parent.). Isaac was fed, dressed, and standing by the back door by 7:20am this morning, which I believe is a personal record for him (he has been experiencing some "motivation" issues when it comes time to get himself dressed this summer). He was a bit disappointed when I informed him we still had over an hour before we would be leaving for school.

Evelyn requested two ponytails in her hair, "cause that what ewe (you) wear at school." When drop-off time came, both kids practically jumped out of the car and ran into school. Obviously no one was terribly distraught over leaving dear old mom for a few hours. After a few tears (which is odd, because I am not a crier over such things), I managed to get myself together and set out for Starbucks. Apparently everyone loves a free pastry, because lines at two different Starbucks (less than a mile apart) were out the door.

Upon deciding that no one would care to hear a sob story of how I only have four hours of me time before scooping children back-up at preschool and thus needed to cut in said line at Starbucks, I set up shop at another coffee house that was quiet (mainly due to the fact that there were no free pastries being served) and cozy.

Before I knew it, my time was up and my car was once again filled with two happy and tired little preschoolers. I only have this no-child luxury for four more Tuesdays, then we switch into the regular school schedule of the children attending school on different days.

Perhaps someone else will host a free giveaway next week to brighten my child-free Tuesday morning...

Snacks for Toddlers On-The-Go

Life with toddlers tends to be a bit more calm if food is involved. Many mothers discover early on that snacks are an important part of a young child's day, especially when on-the-go. Sometimes it can be a problem to find snacks that are healthy, easily transported, and favorable to a child's palate. Below is a list of snacks little ones (and parents!) will enjoy .... (to continue reading, go here)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cinderella 101

Despite my initial reluctance, E. has embraced all things princess. It doesn't help that her brother eggs her on just a bit with this fascination. The other day in the car, Isaac was listing all the career choices he is contemplating at the moment. Such choices ranged from lifeguard, policeman, animal doctor, to farmer. Evelyn piped up that she wanted to be a policeman too.

Her brother then told her that she was a girl and girls can only be "farmers, princesses, or Little Einsteins." Hmmm... I don't think this is was what Gloria Steinem would have suggested.

Out of all things princess, Cinderella holds the key to E.'s heart. I attempt to steer her towards some that are a bit more unconventional or that at least one that has darker hair, but E. is all about the long blond hair and angelic looks of Cinderella.

On Friday, E. constructed her own "Cin-er-ella" attire from the contents of her dress-up box. I found it to be charming.

According to E., one must wear high heels, three watches from only the finest of kid's meals, purple gloves, pearls, and a cowgirl hat to transform from average two year old girl into Cinderella. Later she added a poodle skirt for flair.

I hope Disney is taking notes...

(By the way, anyone else a bit excited about the release of the newest princess movie?)

Organizing the Stay-at-Home Mom's workday

Iconic television stay-at-home moms (SAHM) have flooded our TV screens over the years with images of what a mother at home might possibly be doing during the day. June Cleaver was often seen sporting pearls at the dinner table while Carol Brady had a housekeeper ...(to keep reading, click here)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Link Love

*I have playroom envy of this home and this home. (As does Isaac..who is sitting here while I type this.)
*A great use for cookie dough
*Is it too late for cherry pie??? This one looks heavenly.
*My kids love popcorn and I have finally been able to start eating it again (I worked at a movie theater in high school and burned myself out on popcorn and Care Bear Gummy Bears during that stint). These popcorn activities...especially the drive-in movie...are adorable.
*E. is now the proud owner of this backpack. I think it is beyond tacky, but she loves it. Yesterday she packed it full of play food and had quite the time pretending she was going to school. Let's hope that enthusiasm sticks around. She also picked up this backpack for her big brother (shh..that one is a birthday surprise!).

Family Pizza Night

Weekends can stir up particular cravings in families, causing them to go in search of such popular foods as hamburgers, pasta, and pizza. Before picking up the phone to call the nearest pizza joint..(to read the rest, go here)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Birthday Party Carnival

With a flourish, I finally was able to drop Isaac's 4th birthday party invitations off at the post office this week. Now I am just keeping my fingers crossed that they arrive in one piece without melting (curious as to his theme this year? Check back in August!) I love a good birthday party...especially one with a theme. Kelly of KellysKorner is hosting a blog carnival centered around children's birthday parties, inviting other parents to share their birthday party ideas.

We have had a few kids parties here at casa de phillips so I thought I would share some links to past party posts. Enjoy!

Isaac's First Birthday: Animal Safari (parts one and two)

Evelyn's First Birthday: Garden Party

Isaac's Second Birthday: John Deere

Evelyn's Second Birthday: 1950's Diner

Isaac's Third Birthday: Little Einsteins

Friday, July 17, 2009

"I'm Boo-ooo-red!"

Are cries of boredom bouncing off the walls of your house (along with your children)? Find some tips here on how to beat middle-of-the-summer boredom.

Just Another Night at the Library

One of my favorite books as a young elementary school kid was "Help! I am a prisoner in the library!" which detailed the account of two young sisters who accidentally become locked in the town's library one night during a snowstorm. To my young seven year old mind, it was the creepiest library ever and I used to hurriedly turn the pages, hoping for the girls to escape from such a spooky, book-lined place.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a copy of this book at a local resale shop (great place to find books CHEAP) and scooped it up for my nine year old niece who was in town at the time. She too loved the tale of two little girls wondering through the mysterious floors of an abandoned (if only for one night) library.

Last night I found myself set up at a cozy table at our local library, laptop plugged in, various books scattered about, my trusty writing notebook and pen by my side. Once Tobe had arrived home from work, he and I traded off. I left him with leftovers and two little kids who had just returned home from a very exciting pool party (have I mentioned how great my husband is?) and I set off for the quiet stillness of our awesome public library to get some much-needed writing done.

Apparently the "quiet stillness" memo was not circulated among my fellow library patrons last night because here is a rundown on the completely odd, somewhat wildly inappropriate things I witnessed last night at the library.

Upon entering the library I noticed A. One man on stilts dressed as a ringleader to the circus and B. Another man juggling. Hmmm.

I approached the Reference desk to ask a question, where I noted (to myself) with intense curiosity that the lady working the Reference desk had somehow discovered a particularly purple shade of plum lipstick to match (exactly) her purple/plum dress. This peaked my curiosity in such a manner that I could not really focus on the answer this lady (who was very nice and most likely very helpful) was giving me due to the fact my mind was racing as to how she found such an interesting shade of lipstick. Did she discover it in the tween make-up section? Did she melt various tubes of lipstick to create her own signature color (my mom had a friend who used to do this)? Was it even lipstick or perhaps some sort of Sharpie/carmex combo? Despite the unusual color, this shade actually worked for this lady quite well.

After setting up my spot (and fighting the urge to make my own "fort", but didn't have a Trapper Keeper to properly construct one), I got to work. Time ticked by as I become lost in writing. It was then I noticed a man out of the corner of my eye sit down at the table next to me, starting up an abandoned laptop. He then proceeded to open a Snickers bar and LOUDLY and SLOWLY eat it. Apparently the "No Food and Drink" rule did not apply to this man.

While I attempted to ignore Snickers man, the man on stilts walked by the glass wall that separates the children's area and the rest of the library. The man juggling bowling pins was following closely behind.

With the mantra "Write. Write. Write." going through my head, I attempted to block out Snickers man and Stilts man. It was then that a man and his Chihuahua walked past. I am all about service dogs being allowed anywhere, however I do not think that a Chihuahua wearing a tank top (huh?) is a service dog and should not be allowed in public places. What if he got dog hair in the Snickers bar?

I now attempted to block out Snickers man (who is STILL eating), man on stilts, and the small dog all while not allowing myself to worry about what happened to the guy juggling bowling pins. I typed out a few more lines. Just as my groove was starting to come back, the lady who had been sitting at the table directly behind mine woke-up (did I mention she had been asleep this whole time?), packed up the contents of her table into a DSW bag, and left the library.

It was then that I contemplated screaming, "Help! I am a prisoner in the library!"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer Check-In

Have I mentioned that my children love to argue politely disagree with each other?

This morning's "disagreement" revolved around a discussion about when school starts, where school is located, and what color school is.

Both children's arguments where completely and totally wrong.

Neither child listened to me when I expressed the sentiment that school cannot begin soon enough (although that was the sentiment expressed at 8:01 am this morning, it is not really how I feel...just how I felt at 8:01am this morning).

Such school discussion prompted me into giving a status update of our summer so far.

Our summer schedule looks something like this.

Status of the highlights of the summer:

Fruit of the Spirit Lessons: This summer course is going well and provides for another source of material to use when correcting the children's behavior. The placemats made six weeks ago are beginning to show some wear-and-tear, but all the activities have been enjoyed by the children.

Park Hopping: Once temperatures began hitting above 90 degrees by 9am and reaching triple digits by noon, our park days came to an end. I feel a bit bad about this, but such heat is no friend of mine. I hope to resume our park-hopping once the weather is a bit more bearable.

Pool Time: Although we have been neglecting our local parks, we have been frequent visitors to our community pool. We make at least two treks there a week and the children's swimming skills have greatly improved over the course of the summer.

Friday Field Trips: Our Friday Field Trips have been a highlight of the summer. Although we have not managed to do a field trip each Friday, we have managed to get quite a few under our belt this summer. I plan to do a summary post (WITH LINKS!) about every destination we hit. I think this experience might carry over into the Fall.

Library Story Time: We have made it to story time on a few occasions. However, the children greatly prefer hitting up the library on off-hours so they have full reign of the computers, the reading bathtub, and the Vulture puppet (the library has a set of ABC puppets with a puppet to represent each letter of the alphabet. E. has a strange attachment to the Vulture. God bless the child who might get to said Vulture before Miss E.).

School: Tobe and I made the decision to put the children in the Mother's Day Out program at their preschool for the remainder of the summer. They will just attend one morning a week for five the same time. That last part is the most important part of the whole deal. Once school begins, the children won't attend preschool on the same day. However, for five weeks they will both be in school at the same time. I don't know what I will do with those quiet, productive 25 hours I will have all to myself.

That is a synopsis of our summer so far. Although if you happen to ask our children, they will likely argue that it is going differently....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Inexpensive places to beat the summer heat

Living in the Lonestar state, where summer temperature can hover near triple digits by 10 AM, inspires parents to become creative in entertaining their children. The Dallas/Fort Worth area has many local attractions that are budget-friendly and kid-approved. Best of all, almost all of them offer air-conditioning along with a great time for both parent and child...(to keep reading this article, go here)

One of those days, my friend...

When I woke up to Tobe's alarm this morning at 6:07 am, it was already "one of those days". On any other weekday morning I am typically finishing up my Boot Camp class at the gym by 6:07am. This morning I was still in my pajamas and glasses at that time, wondering how I missed my 4:59am wake-up call.

The clock has been my enemy today, as I race to get the dishwasher unloaded, portions of the house clean (FYI..I am currently dusting the computer desk as I blog. Multitask much?), children dressed and fed and educationally-stimulated (does count?), playdates attended (always fun!), writing accomplished, and phone calls made. In such a rush, I have yet to type up a report of how our summer is coming along. But never fear...that is coming.


And I won't postdate it to publish sometime next year.

In the meantime, check out a new place to read my writing. I am now a "Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner" and will be writing about various parenting topics and covering local points of interest. Hopefully you will pop over there and check my page out!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Check-In

As we near the half-way point of summer, I just wanted to check in with all of you dear readers and see how summer is going for each and every one of you. Anyone already resentful of the 109 degree weather? Anyone's hair turning green due to the large amount of time spent in pool water? Anyone's hips just a bit wider from consuming a tad too much of summertime ice cream?

Or is it just me answering "Yes" to all of the above questions?

I posted my summer schedule at the beginning of June and have stayed relatively true to it these past six weeks. I am anxious to share what is working this summer for us...and what isn't...but even more anxious to hear what kind of fun everyone else is having during this festive, hot season.

Please share something that has been really fun for your family to do this summer or some sort of terrible summer mishap that seemed like a good idea at first (perhaps taking an unairconditioned trolley ride in triple digit heat) but turned out to be the exact opposite. I want to hear from YOU!

Share freely and I will be back with a mini-recap of the first part of our summer later today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

I believe I have mentioned that before exiting the phillips family station wagon to enter a public place, our little family of four has a pow-wow. We discuss the plan for said outing, behavior expected at said outing, and rules of said outing. Although this might sound like some sort of parental nightmare requiring one to schedule in twenty extra minutes per trip outside of the home, this little exchange really only takes about 30 seconds. Usually, it is Isaac and Evelyn providing the expectations when given a few prompts from me (such as, "What kind of behaviors are we not going to show in Target?" or "How is someone going to be a helper at ____'s house today?" and the ever-popular "Are we going to have just a tiny bit of fun or a WHOLE LOT O FUN today?").

This exchange usually ends with the reminder to "Be a kind friend."

Couldn't we all use such a reminder before exiting our cars?

Be a kind friend to the person who almost runs you over in the parking lot due to the fact they are texting and driving.

Be a kind friend to that grumpy co-worker.

Be a kind friend to your spouse after a long work day.

Be a kind friend to the frazzled young mother with two precocious children in her shopping cart (oh, wait..that one was backwards).

Kindness is talked about a lot around casa de phillips, mainly because we have a closely knit brother/sister duo living under our roof who greatly vacillate between being best buds and being each other's arch nemesis on a regular basis.

The bible story we chose to illustrate the characteristic of kindness was the story of Ruth and Naomi. (*) We discussed how kindness was shown between these two women and discussed how we can show kindness in our friendships as well.

Craft: For a craft, we pulled out some Martha Stewart craft kits I found on clearance at Wal-Mart. Each child made a puppet to give to a special friend to show kindness. (I, in turn, contemplated how I am not really showing kindness to the mother of these two friends who will now have just a bit more clutter in her home than she did before. Sorry.)

As an extension activity, we made kindness sticker charts for each child. When Isaac sees Evelyn showing kindness, he gives her a sticker for her chart and vice-versa. Although this got a bit out of hand at first with the two simply lavishing each other with stickers, some more "thoughtful" attention was given to the detail of showing kindness to one's sibling as the day progressed

I am keeping my fingers crossed that these sticker charts work for through their adolescent years.

(*) Ever wonder where Oprah got her name? Well, apparently she was named after Ruth's other daughter-in-law, Orpah. However, the name was misspelled on the birth certificate resulting in one of the most well-known names of our time. You are welcome for the piece of senseless trivia.

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience


Seriously, I must have spent way too much time in the sun last week. I had written this post and published it...however, I never checked to see if it actually made it to my blog. Apparently the day I wrote it and set it to self-publish, I must have thought the date was July 6, 2010. This poor little post has been sitting in my post box, waiting for next July to role around so it can publish itself. Oops.


"You need to be patient and wait."

"Please show patience and stand in line quietly."

"Patience, please."

If someone were to trail behind me and keep tally of how many times I ask my children to display a little bit of patience (usually said request shows a tad of impatience on my own part), the poor person's tally sheet would be full by the end of the day.

I realized that although I often request patience from my children, I rarely take the opportunity to teach them how to display such a trait.

As usual, we begin our time studying the Fruit of the Spirit by reading the verse that is leading our path of study this summer. Then we read two different bible stories. First we read the story of Noah and Ark, discussing how patient Noah and his family had to be while waiting for the rain to stop and for dry land to appear. Next we read the story of Abraham and Sarah, waiting for the Lord to give them a child.

After discussing how hard it is to wait and how we must show patience in such a time of waiting, we played the always fun, slightly chaotic (especially when dealing with young kids) game of "Red Light, Green Light." I intended for us to play "Mother, May I?" as well, however I realized that there would be no getting back on track with these two little ones if we had another rousing game played in our living room.

We forged on with a craft, choosing to do a simple water coloring of Noah's Ark. Although not the most glamorous of craft activities, water coloring is a great way to show children how they must be patient. Patient in using careful brush strokes, patient in sharing the water colors, and patient in waiting for the finished product to dry.

I feel that my children now have a foundation of understanding when asked to be patient. They do no always demonstrate such a quality and said patience might only last about 23 seconds some days, but they understand the concept just a bit better than before.

Maybe I understand it just a bit more as well...

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Battle Wages On

Yesterday a particular cylinder package arrived in the mail.

Enclosed in it's tightly sealed container were the flags below: My mother, always the clever one, decided that Miss E. and Isaac needed their own state flag. In case you have forgotten, E. firmly...FIRMLY...believes she is from the state of Arkansas. However, her brother resides in the state of Texas (and if we drive farther than ten miles from our house, they BOTH question if we are in Oklahoma).

The battle of the states wages on in casa de phillips, now with flags fixed over each child's seat at the table. It drives Isaac nuts when E. insists she lives in Arkansas. Just this morning he attempted to explain to her that she cannot live in a different state than he because they reside in the same house. Her defense? She lives in "Ar-kan-sauce because I a girl. Isaac live in Texas 'cause he a boy."

Her brother simply threw his hands up in defeat.

I, in hopes of ending such a discussion, loaded the children up for a Friday Field Trip. We had originally planned on visiting another location today, but made a last minute change before darting out the door.

For some reason, I thought riding in vintage trolley cars in 104 degree heat sounded like a good idea (said trolley cars were supposed to be air-conditioned. Ours was not...unless one counts the breeze from the interstate as a form of air-conditioning. My children did not.). Despite the triple digit temperatures (which make me still contemplate that move to Vermont), the three of us had quite a lovely time.

E. found a dog to pet.

Isaac chilled out in the shade

We all enjoyed experiencing a bit of Americana (well, perhaps E. did not enjoy it all that much. Apparently the noise "skered" her. Nothing makes a 104 degree day better than a sweaty two year old clinging onto one's chest.)

Even if nothing was learned from our little venture today, we all have a greater appreciation for the air-conditioning in the ol family station wagon.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Amazing Miss E.

Does everyone think their children are simply hilarious?...because mine leave me in stitches most days (except for when they are fighting over a McDonalds Happy Meal toy or seeing who can toss their applesauce-laden spoon the farthest or sleeping and I dare not let my giggles wake them).
Miss E. has been on a roll lately. The most cleaver, absurd, and down-right funny things have been popping out of her mouth.
I walked into the kitchen yesterday morning while the two were eating breakfast. E's eyes brightened and she exclaimed, "Mommy! My tummy is working just right!"
Good to know, daughter. Good. to. know.
During lunch today, she felt the need to count her blueberries. The girl can count to ten, sometimes farther, but still gets numbers jumbled on occasion. The counting today went something like this, "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9, and 11-teen."
Yep. E. is so smart she coined a new number (11-teen) all by herself.
Finally, this afternoon as we were driving home from the pool (our "home-away-from-home" due to the EXCESSIVE heat here), a little voice yelled from the backseat, "Hey, look, I am a Mommy!"
Want to know what makes one a Mommy, according to Miss E.? Well, fixing a pair of sunglasses firmly atop ones head does.
Such a sweet girl.
Especially when she is sleeping.
What funny things has your kid said lately?
Hopefully, sometime next week I will have some exciting news about where you can read some more of my writing. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Surprise, Surprise, Tobe!

Today is a very special day, dear readers.

Today, my sweet husband, celebrates a birthday.

Because he does not blog, does not participate in Facebook (except through checking my account on a daily basis), does not twitter, nor partakes in any form of self-promotion...I am using this post to wish him a very happy birthday on this fine summer day.

I tend to do birthday events on a bit of a grand scale (remember Rocket? How about the fact I wore a costume to Evelyn's Second birthday party?) and Tobe's birthday is no exception. For his blog post shout-out (which you are currently case you missed that point due to my rambling), I decided to have the kids perform a little song and dance number.

I think I had visions of the Huxtables and their yearly performance for the grandparents' anniversary. Obviously I did not have the talent coach or the professional child actors when attempting to "teach" my children a few basic moves to go along with a great birthday song.

Check out a YouTube clip of the Huxtables' performance:

(Sorry, embedding of this clip has been disabled. You'll have to check out the clip via the link and then pop back over to my blog)

Check out Isaac and Evelyn's performance:

Want to know the sad thing? This was the fifth or sixth attempted taping of said performance. In one shot, Isaac falls off the fireplace. In another, Evelyn decides to start talking randomly to me about something. In a third, the two begin fighting over whose foot touched the other's toe.

Obviously, this is a video only a Father could love.

Thanks for sticking through it for those of you who don't happen to be Tobe.

Happy Birthday, Tobe! We love you!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

An Open Letter to Target

Dear Target,

In case your headquarters in Minneapolis have lost their corporate calendar, I felt the need to inform you that today happens to be July the 7th. Imagine my surprise when I entered your store this morning to discover the "Back-to-School" section is completely set up and ready for business.

Do not misunderstand me, I *heart* a fresh box of 24 crayons and a new bottle of glue more than the average consumer. In fact, I recently purchased five new boxes of crayons at another major retail store due to the fact they were on sale for 25 cents a box. However, I believe the beginning of July is a tad to early to start the whole "Back-to-School" shopping campaign. My children are just getting used to the idea of summer and lazy schedules. Temperatures are hitting triple digits on a regular basis. Please know that we are not ready to contemplate such concepts as "lunchboxes" or "fall jackets" at this date in time.

Although I am resistant to the idea of pushing "Back to School" shopping on your costumers in the middle of summer, please know that I am forced to partake in such shopping if I do not want to be left having to choose between the three lone (read: Tacky) backpacks that will be on the shelves when "Back to School" time actually arrives in our area (read: September). I know if I want a cute water bottle for my kids or a perky container of classroom Kleenex I will have to shop for such supplies this month. Then I will have to clean a space in my garage for said supplies to live for the next eight weeks until school actually begins.

At least I will have a space to store the Christmas junk that I will inadvertently purchase on September 17th when you place it on your shelves...

A Frustrated Target Shopper


Apparently, I need to take a look at my own calender as well. Due to an extended holiday celebration here at casa de phillips, I completely forgot yesterday was Monday. Fruit of the Spirit Lesson should be up later tonight!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Photographed on the 4th of July

When Evelyn was three months old, I ran into a college acquaintance in a local mall's food court.
I did not notice this friend at first, however she approached me and offered a generous greeting.

The reason I did not notice her was because I had just come from the picture studio attempting to get a decent shot of a three month old and an almost two-year old. My hair was matted to my face by sweat, my clothes were half untucked, and the remnants of the make-up that somehow survived the session were splattered across my face.

I offered a feeble "hello" while I greedily slurped on a coke, attempting to restore my blood sugar to its rightful levels, while shoving chicken nuggets at my crying toddler and shaking a bottle for my starving baby.

Although I love adorning the walls of casa de phillips with pictures of our little family...I detest the process of having pictures made. I told Tobe the other night there is likely a four month window in the entire span of a child's life when he/she cooperates fully with the professional picture process. When they are babies they are either hungry or tired. Toddlers are grumpy, scared, or resistant. Older children would rather be playing than smiling. Adolescents simply glare at the camera.

This is likely why such a website as this exists.

Despite my slight hatred of having pictures made, yesterday our family joined nine other family members (four of those children. If you do the math, that makes SIX children involved in our picture taking process) for a professional picture taking extravaganza. Amazingly, the whole process could almost be described as painless.

Children laughed adorably.

Everyone smiled.

Evelyn waited to have a potty-training accident until after the photos were done and we had changed her clothes.

It was good times (almost)


Here are a few of our family pictures from yesterday. Enjoy!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Friday Links: Fourth of July Edition

*Where, oh, where was this advice when I started blogging four years ago? (obviously not Fourth of July-related, but good stuff anyway)

*Celebrating the Fourth of July, CakeWrecks Style

*Earlier this week, the children and I made seasonal coloring books to pass by some of these hot summer days. I simply downloaded the material and secured the pages together using a hole punch and cute ribbon. The kids kept referring to the firecracker as a "candle". Sigh. I guess this is what growing up in the suburbs does to a child. By the time I was five, I was likely part of the neighborhood crew canvassing the neighborhood for abandoned bottles to serve as bottle rocket launchers (although I never actually launched a bottle rocket due to a severe fear of the noise).

*Want to put those Christmas cookie cutters to good use during July but fear the results actual cookies might have on your hips? Try a fun craft using star cookie cutters!

*The children's cousins are in town this holiday and I am thinking patriotic skewers just might serve as a good form of entertainment tomorrow when the thermometer hits 103 degrees.

*Who doesn't love a good corn dog? Could this corn dog actually be considered healthy?

*Tobe and I have been watching the John Adams mini-series lately. It is excellent and has really caused me to appreciate this 4th of July a little bit more than I have in years past. I would like to say to television networks that I greatly enjoy a good mini-series. Please, please, Major Television Network, contemplate doing more mini-series and less reality TV. Thanks.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Childhood wonder is such a blessing to life. I question when exactly it is that the human soul transforms from a being of boundless energy and immense joy to becoming something that is a bit scarred, a bit jaded, and a bit annoyed by the world around them.

The wonder of a child is quite the encouragement when one is deep in the Mommy trenches, allowing me to see past the tantrums (um..have I mentioned that a local police officer stopped to offer help in a parking lot the other day due to a particular two year old's tantrum. I. Could. Have. Died.), the million daily requests, and the constant desire for Goldfish crackers.

This morning as I was about to jump in the shower, Tobe peeked his head into the bathroom and informed me I needed to see Isaac first. As I glanced around the door frame, I got a glimpse of a little blond hair boy grinning from ear to ear, fully dressed (including shoes) in clothes rummaged from his dirty clothes hamper. Despite the fact that the time on the clock read 6:17am, this little boy was beyond proud of the fact that he took the initiative to dress himself on this fine Thursday morning.

After my shower, I quickly discovered that said initiative did not end with a desire to get dressed before the sun came up. No, Isaac had also decided to rearrange his room. His bookshelf was completely repositioned, books were laid out in series (Help us the day the boy understands how to alphabetize...nothing will be safe), and every possible toy was assigned their own little plot of space on his carpet.

Taking a deep breath, I began the tour that Isaac was beyond eager to give. I went through the "shortcut" between the bookshelf and the wall, I visited the new "Isaac library", and I came to understand that all stuffed animals were now requesting to live on the floor as opposed to the bed. I fought my initial urge to sigh over the ginormous mess and instead embraced what Isaac saw: a room filled with endless wonder, possibility, and fun.

What a blessing the spirit of a child is.

What a blessing that Tobe assisted in the cleaning up of such "wonder" later this evening...