Casa de Phillips contains one Dr. of Industrial Organizational Psychology, one former special ed teacher now stay-at-home mom, one adorable preschool boy with such a zest for life he can barely sleep past 5am, and one spunky two year old girl whose birth we blogged live (that little fact will likely come back to haunt her in junior high). We all need a little bit of saving sometimes.
Let's be honest...who doesn't love a good confession post? I personally love to pull up another person (read: another mom's) blog and read their confessions. It makes them seem a bit more real and makes me feel a bit better about my own misgivings.
Confession 1: When Isaac was three, he became obsessed with chewing gum. I told him he had to be four. Now that he is four, I have pushed the age up to five basically because he forgot all about the whole "age four" rule.
Confession 2: There are still Christmas plates hanging on a rack in the wall in my kitchen and a Christmas doormat at the front door. Decorating for the holidays is terribly fun. Undecorating for the holidays is just terrible.
Confession 3: In a burst of new year organization, I purchased several new plastic containers. Said plastic containers are living in a corner of my kitchen, waiting for the day I will fill them with something grand. I am hoping this day arrives sometime before Spring.
Confession 4: (Almost) every Monday morning, the two little ones in our house have a "picnic" breakfast...meaning they eat their breakfast at the picnic table in front of Playhouse Disney. I know eating and watching TV simultaneously is one of the contributing factors to America's obesity problem, but picnic breakfast days just make them terribly happy. And make one meal time a week a lot less "chatty".
Confession 5: The other day I asked Miss E. what she was going to do when she was a mommy like me. She first informed me she would be a doctor (like PopPop) and also be a mommy who would 1. Check her emails and 2. Go to the grocery store. I asked why she chose those two things to which she replied, "Cause that's what Mommy's do."
Confession 6: There are a few veggies out there that I DO. NOT. LIKE. Since I am the cook, I "conveniently" forget to add these veggies to my plate (a little fact I attempt to hide) yet make my children eat them.
Confession 7: My children are looking forward to a big activity later today: playing in the mud. Our backyard is a bit of a mud pile right now, which makes for some excellent digging. Yesterday afternoon the two had quite the time creating a garden. They plan to finish these plans after nap time today (I established the rule of "No mud before nap".)
Confession 8: Isaac brings how little reading books each week from preschool. He reads them and we send them back. Last Thursday...on the way to preschool... I realized we had never pulled out that week's books to read. Nice. Fortunately we have about an eight minute drive to school, in which time I made Isaac read his books aloud to us several times. Then I prayed he would not reveal to his teacher that we had waited to read his books until on the way to school that morning.
Confession 9: I secretly pray every morning that the vitamin we give E. makes up for her poor eating habits. The girl would live on carbohydrates if we let her (which we don't).
Confession 10: Isaac and I have been working on how to tell time on a "real" clock. He has the basics down and is starting to understand the more complex ideas behind time. Last week when we were working on it at the table, I got myself confused with my attempt at explaining increments of time. Sometimes I question how I got to be a mother.
Confession 11: This week is going to be an exciting week on the ol blog here. Be sure to check back often for details (and a possible give-away!)
Taking a quick break from some heavy-duty writing to pound out a blog post about nothing. My eyes are beginning to cross and I do not know if I can bear to read one more statistic or evaluate one more parental concern about their child's education. In the past month I have become the preschool expert.
I can chat up anyone about Reggio Emilia approach to preschool (group project, anyone?), can pinpoint the best Waldorf school on the East coast (there are not any here) and can list (alphabetically) the ins and outs of starting up your very own co-op preschool out of your basement.
Someday this article will be finished. Did I mention it is (*hopefully*) going to be a series?
Most likely I will finish all of this just as my two are ready to move on to Elementary school.
(By the way...the above picture is actually where I went to preschool ions ago. Love me some Ms. Curtis)
We have a little secret here at casa de phillips...
Evelyn is not potty trained.
Correction...Evelyn was not potty trained until New Year's Day.
In four months, Miss E. will be three years old (it pains me to type that). Before she turned two, she was wearing underwear on a regular basis. Just like when Isaac was a toddler, I noticed that E. diaper was always dry while she was awake. Thinking she was ready for potty training, I picked up some princess undergarments at the local retail store and plopped her down on the potty.
This scenario (or lack of) repeated itself for the next eight months.
E. would wear underwear all the time (except when sleeping). E. would hardly ever have accidents (I can think of four total in the eight month span). E. would sit on the potty when asked. E. understood the mechanics of using the bathroom (one of the blessings of having children close in age). E. understood what it felt like to need to use the bathroom. Yet E. would never "produce" anything on her potty.
The child has a bladder of steel...and a stubborn streak the size of Texas.
Knowing my child and her tendency to do the complete opposite of what is asked of her, we did not force the issue. She continued to wear underwear, she continued to not have accidents and she continued to wait until she had a diaper on at naptime or bedtime to accomplish her business.
Until New Year's Day.
The family had just gone and had our first family movie theater experience. We were on our way home from this lovely experience when a little voice piped up from the backseat, "Mommy, do I have on a pull-up?" (When out for long periods of time, we put her in a pull-up just in case...but it is always dry). I quickly asked her if she had to use the bathroom. Knowing we were mere minutes from home, I pulled one of the best tricks a parent can pull out of their hat.
"E., wait to use the bathroom at home and I will buy you a princess toy."
Amazingly, the child did what her mother asked and waited (princess toys are a big currency to her). The husband wheeled the car into the driveway, I pulled E. out of her car seat and rushed her into the house all the while my parents are wondering why we had suddenly become a tad insane (they were behind us in their car). I plopped Miss E down on the potty....and it happened.
The child used the potty.
Much cheering, clapping, and dancing followed.
Everyone had to examine the "results". Everyone had to make a comment about it. Everyone had to give E. a hug.
Then this mama had to make a mad dash to Target in search of a princess toy (Thank you, clearance section, for meeting my needs).
Since then, Miss E. is a potty trained pro. She goes when she needs to. We all still stand around and cheer. Then we continue on with our day.
Isaac has gotten in on the action as well, encouraging his sister in her new-found skills in ways that only a brother can...by having races to see whose "results" can happen the fastest and in the most quantity. I have overheard the two discussing said contest (it has a name, which I refuse to type in fear of the google hits it may generate) in detail on more than one occasion.
Parenting is such fun some days, isn't it?
What is your family's "dirty" little secret? You know you wanna share...
Between the two us, the husband and I have grandparents who (collectively) have been married for over 240 years.
The two of us do not take our marriage vows lightly, nor do we consider this union to be one of convenience that can be tossed aside when someone gets an itch, a hurt feeling or a sense of boredom.
We have many examples laid out before us through family members who have tread the martial waters and we strive to meet these examples (and expectations) laid out before us. From the very beginning of our marriage (and even before), we have looked at our relationship in very realistic terms. What do we want to accomplish? How are we going to reach our goals? What if the other person commits such crimes as leaving dishes in the sink or letting the bathroom drawer be a mess 99.3% of the time? How are we going to walk side-by-side through life together, navigating the waters of romance, disappointment, parenting, financial issues and life in general?
Not only are we very realistic about our relationship, we are also very realistic about the relationship examples we aspire to. Sure all our grandparents are still married to the same person, still trudging through life with their original spouse (only one is a widow, losing her husband after 59.7 years of marriage). Yet, within those collective 240 years of marital bliss (which there was plenty of) lie a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of arguments, a bit of heartache and a enormous dash of reality. The key is that they kept (keep) on fighting, kept on working towards the goal, despite their issues.
Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame, released her second memoir titled Committed in which she sheds a realistic light on marriage. I am eagerly anticipating getting my hands on this book (after the 8 people before me on the hold list at the library finish it) and seeing what insights Ms. Gilbert has to share.
In the meantime, Tobe recently drew my attention to this link. It is an interview CNN had with Elizabeth Gilbert in which she discusses her views on marriage. I found it to be very interesting and quite true in places.
On cold winter days, when inclement weather is predicted, children across the area can be found huddled in front of the television silently willing the local newscaster to say those magical words: "Schools are CLOSED today."
When such a phrase is issued, cheers abound.
Then parents scramble to think of some way to possibly entertain those excited, soon-to-be bored, children while stuck at home in cold temperatures. When frigid temperatures and cold winter weather strike, be prepared with indoor actives that will keep children occupied and parents sane...(to read more, please go here)
Despite celebrating Christmas for two weeks straight, this past Sunday afternoon Tobe and I woke the kids up from their state of naptime slumber and headed out the door to catch Disney Live! Rockin' Road Show (courtesy of Moms Out Loud).
Then head back over here and watch a few videos of our two dancing machines. Both children danced like crazy the entire time Mickey and the gang were on stage...which was the most entertaining part of the show in my opinion.
That sentence alone should sum up life in our household right now.
She is witty and charming. She gives amazing hugs and sweet little kisses. Her dolls are always covered with a blanket and she is quick to share with her brother (with the exception of french fries, which she shares with no one). She understands the power of a sweep of her long eyelashes when making a request of her father and the effect of saying "I love ewe" to her mother.
On this particular cold January morning, the two year old and I set forth on a quick shopping excursion to Target after dropping her brother off at preschool. After a stop by the bakery to scoop up the free cookie ("I don't like chocolate chip. I like sprinkles.") we rushed around the store gathering the items on our list.
The two year old, even with all her opinions, happens to be a fun shopping companion. Happily she helped me load and then unload the cart at the check-out lane. The lady ahead of us in line even commented on what spectacular manners the two year old possessed.
It was there that we spied it.
The public water fountain.
The fountain filled with millions of strange germs. The fountain whose cold water is sure to run down the sleeves of the two year old's shirt. The fountain which I banned the two year old to drink from, asking her to instead drink from the clean, PINK cup brought from home.
Well, such a parental decree did not sit so well with the two year old.
She looked up at me from behind the seat of the cart, narrowed her hazel eyes and then issued a decree her own self.
"I will just lick the cart then."
And she did.
There are 4.5 months left in her two year old year before the magical age of three graces us with its presence.
This is the question heard around the kitchen as the sun begins to set and stomachs begin to rumble.
Many mothers find themselves in a troublesome predicament day after day. 5:15pm hits, children begin to whine, the husband arrives home from work and a plan for supper has yet to be made. Once again, mom has to decide between instant mac and cheese or hitting the drive-through for the third time that week..(to read more, please go here)
Last week in Target I was inspired to purchase the children calendars for the new year. I saw two "create-your-own" calenders sitting in the clearance bin, calling my name. I am not one to pass up a bargain, especially when that bargain has a nice little red sticker attached to it informing me of exactly how much I will save if I make the purchase.
The "create-your-own" calendars found their way into my basket and have settled into life here at casa de phillips.
It is safe to say that Isaac now has a new interest, which is one of informing me exactly what day it is, how many days in the month we have experienced, how many days we have left and what events he has carefully written in on his "create-your-own" calendar.
Just in case you were worried that I am unaware that today is January 4th and that I am actually four days behind in posting my year-end review....I am fully cognizant of the date and time.
I am also slightly cursing the Target clearance bin and their cute "create-your-own" calendars.
Regardless of the date and regardless of the fact that my oldest child will most likely share the intricate details of every day's date for the next 361 days, it is time for the savethephillipsfamily year-end pictorial review.
Barak Obama became a household name at casa de phillips, causing the children to toss it around casually to friends and relatives. We make strides to support our nation's leaders and want the children to be able to recognize and name the President of the United States and the Governor of our state.
I also felt the need to make my 18 month old watch the Inauguration, despite her inquires as to why Playhouse Disney was not on.
The husband and I snuck away for Valentines Day. We had the opportunity to listen to and later rub elbows with a favorite performer of ours. Good times.
My favorite picture of Miss E. of all times (to date) also happened to be snapped in February of this past year.
The children were fortunate enough to experience their first live production when we all went to Sesame Street Live.
Isaac cultivated his love for boy stores and discovered that although his head is rather large, it still fits inside the mouth of a shark.
Miss E. discovered that she finally had enough hair for a sad little top-of-the-crown ponytail.
The family also took a day out of our normal schedule and headed to the local zoo to feed wild birds and hear me retell the tales of my African safaris.
Easter was enjoyed by the family. The husband and I were faced with that particular parenting dilemma of attempting to keep the religious aspects of this holiday first priority while also enjoying photo ops with an odd bunny and having the children search the yard for eggs filled with candy. I believe it is safe to say that although fun, the secular celebration of Easter is a bit confusing.
The arrival of April also means the arrival of bluebonnets in our fair state. The children posed in these beautiful flowers on four separate occasions.
I am a bit obsessed with obtaining the perfect bluebonnet picture.
This is my favorite from last year's many bluebonnet sessions because it fully captures the daily adventures of our twosome.
April ended with Isaac performing in his first school production. He managed to slow things down by raising his hand and sharing a personal tidbit about one of the songs sung. Bless his sweet, over-involved heart.
May welcomed the two's into casa de phillips. Evelyn turned two in the middle of the month. Fortunately she had already been exerting her Independence since the age of 15 months, so this transition was not too terrible.
We did host a 50's classic dinner for her birthday party to celebrate her deep love for french fries...and my deep love for cute party costumes.
Somehow in May we managed to snap a decent family picture before church.
The husband and I escaped to Jamaica for a few days in May.
It was amazing.
This vacation is often the topic of discussion between the two of us, especially on those yucky days when the children are fussing and the weather is miserable.
The local pool opened its doors to us at the beginning of June and we made good use of it all during the summer. We heart a good swim day at our favorite pool and barely let a weekend pass without gracing its cool waters.
June also welcomed Miss E's first attempts at pigtails.
The children and I set off on many adventures this past summer, attempting to accomplish a field trip each Friday. Some were fun, some were busts but all will be remembered.
I also began writing more in July. Time management became my new friend.
Our boy turned four at the beginning of August, which seems unbelievable to me. We celebrated with an art party. The husband and I were brave to let small children and paint be let loose in the living room of casa de phillips. The couch managed to come out paint-free in the end and everyone had a good time.
We ended the month (and the summer) with a day at the lake with my parents on their boat. Both children attempted intertubing and loved it. My anxious helicopter-parenting ways survived riding on a boat with our two preschoolers.
School doors opened again in the fall. This year both Isaac and Evelyn attended school. Isaac is a pro at the preschool routine now. Miss E. is still getting used to the idea of being away from home for four hours each week. She likes to pretend she is not a fan of school, but we know it is simply a ploy for pity.
(I have no idea where Isaac's first day of school pic went. Check it out here)
Swine flu hit casa de phillips, taking down three of our four members. Fortunately no one had it at the same time. However, it felt like everyone was sick for an eternity.
The children and I also attended the state fair, where we encountered many things.
After much debate, we settled on "Robin Hood" as the theme for Halloween costumes this past year.
After a rainy October, we welcomed in a cool November. The four of us spent a week at my parent's house, where I was able to convince the children to pose for sweet pictures that they will one day hate me for.
I consider it my right as a parent...
December was a whirl-wind as we hopped from one activity to another, celebrating the holiday season. We had our first white Christmas, which was such a thrill to everyone in the family.
2009 has been a good year for casa de phillips. We did not win the lottery, we were not the recipients of some grand prize and we have not experienced overnight fame or success. There have been times of tears, flashes of anger and feelings of hurt.
However, we have been healthy. Our life is relatively drama-free. There is a roof over our heads and food on our table. We continue to be showered by the love of friends and family. And we do know the blessing of grace granted to us by our Lord.
Thanks for following along with us this year and we hope you tag along in 2010.