Browsing Category: Family Life

Spring into Fashion 2010

Last Saturday evening the husband and I went out on a date. As we exited the movie theater that night, we were greeted by an unusual sight…especially for the first day of Spring.

It was snowing.

Large, wet flakes fell furiously from the sky. They continued to fall the rest of the evening.

That next Sunday was spent indoors, huddled under a variety of blankets, wondering when our Southern state decided to mimic the climate of the Northern regions of our fair country.

Eventually, the sun decided to make an appearance again. Most afternoons have found us outside, where the children and I can be spotted playing a homemade game of baseball/tennis/please-don’t-hit-that-car-parked-in-front-of-our-house. Temperatures have been in the 70’s and Spring is evident (especially when I turned a blind eye to the tiny patch of snow still holding on in a dark, cool corner of our flower beds).

To me, Spring means a variety of things: warm weather, picnics at the park, walks in the sunshine…and a final farewell to the burdensome clothing of winter.

If you happen to be as excited as me about hauling out the Spring wardrobe and tucking away the winter sweaters, check out this Spring’s fashion necessities for the stay-at-home mom (no, black yoga pants are not numbers 1-5. Just sayin’.)

  •  A trench coat with a pop of color. Back in the dreary days of February, I stumbled across a purple trench coat slashed to 50% off. I snatched that pretty little thing up and hurried to the check-out counter before someone else stumbled across my great find. Bid farewell to the heavy wool coats of winter and toss a trench coat on (preferrably in a kicky color) before heading out the door this Spring. You’ll be the envy of the other mothers at the playground.

 

  • Light scarf. Scarves have been around for awhile now and are not making a sudden exit anytime soon. I love to pair a light, gauzy scarf with a simple tee, jeans, and sandals.

  • Embrace your feminine side. Spring 2010 is all about being a girl. Layers of ruffles are popping up on standard cardigans, fabric flowers are being attached to everything and long, sparkly earrings are making a comeback . A ruffled light cardigan sweater, tossed over a white tee, and paired with a simple skirt is a great outfit for doing preschool pick-up or hitting the grocery store aisles.

 

  • Tunic Tops. Can I be honest and say that I love the tunic top? I would almost venture out and say it is a timeless spring/summer staple. Tunic tops can do double duty as a swim cover-up while at the pool as well as look great when paired with a pair of sleek pants on Date night. The cut is flattering to most body types and leaves one feeling whimsical and carefree.

 

  • Big bag. As a mom, I have come to embrace the big bag. I bid farewell to diaper bags years ago, but I still feel the need to carry around a large amount of junk at any given moment. In fact, yesterday I reached in my bag in search of some lipstick when I found half of a waffle. Seriously. Metallic colors are huge this spring for the purse/big ol mom bag. The great thing about metallic shades is that they look great with anything. I scoop my bags up at Charming Charlie. There I can find inexpensive (READ: it does not matter when an entire sippy cup of juice spills its contents all over the innards of my bag) and trendy bags that perk up any spring outfit.

  • Ballet flats vs. the wedge heel. Two weeks ago as the sun was attempting to peek out one day, I rushed to my closet and pulled out a pair of sandals. It was a joyous reunion at first. I walked around remembering how comfy said sandals were…until temperatures dropped later that day and my little toes simply froze rather than looked cute. I then promised I would leave all sandals tucked away in the corners of my closet until April 1st. There are two types of shoes that are emerging as popular styles for spring: the ballet flat and the wedge heel. I prefer the wedge heel because it gives me some height (not like I really need it) yet is quite stable. However a ballet flat is simply darling when paired with a pair of skinny jeans. Tuck this winter’s boots back into their boxes and toss on a pair of cute shoes.

With spring making its presence known and temperatures on the rise, I encourage you to find some ways to perk up your wardrobe. Save those old stretchy pants and t-shirts from past collegiate days for the gym and toss on something cute and kicky this season.

June Cleaver was onto something with those pearls….

Today has felt like one Parenting:FAIL after another.

Despite the Spring time temperatures outside, I was hesitant to open our windows this morning in case a passerby overheard all the crying and tantruming. Seriously, it was one fit after another. Someone was crying because we were playing Memory as opposed to Candy Land. Another was crying because we were playing Diego Memory as opposed to Strawberry Shortcake Memory. And a third (Can you guess who that might have been) was contemplating crying because we were playing a board game at all.

This was all before 8:30am.

The theme of the day has pretty much been that no one wants to do anything I have suggested.

No one wanted to get dressed.

No one wanted to stay in their pjs.

No one wanted to do an art project together.

No one wanted to do an art project alone.

No one wanted to participate in chore time.

No one wanted to sit out during chore time.

No one wanted to ride bikes outside.

No one wanted to sit inside and be bored.

You get the picture, right?

As moms, we all experience days like this…days in which the entire house seems plagued by grumpiness, where the best of intentions go awray and where nap time/bedtime cannot arrive fast enough.

On days such as these, I attempt to find the little things to make my world a bit calmer and a bit more serene. I channel my 1950’s housewife tucked deep inside and pull a few tricks out of my SAHM hat on days when I would much rather run out the door screaming than parent.

1. Toss on some jewels. Sure, June Cleaver had her pearls. I have a deep love for chunky jewelry as well. I find on rough days if I look a bit spunky, my attitude can find some spunk as well. Most likely, June wore those pearls to merely survive in a house with two boys.

2. I liven up my food. Casa de phillips is home to many a paper and plastic plate. However, I find that using our real (read: very breakable) dishes on a regular basis adds a bit of refinement to my day. Sure I may only be sipping water while unloading the dishwasher for the second time that morning, but at least I am doing it with a bit of style.

3. I take a look at the little faces around me.

Sure those faces might not have the most angelic of expressions on them…

And they might be tinged with a bit of mischievousness…

But they make me smile anyway.

What little things serve as your “pick-me-ups” on those less than stellar parenting days?

All in a day’s work…

I am a curious person.

I love to know the little details about a person, from how they organize their day to their favorite type of book. For whatever reason, life’s details are terribly interesting to me.

Below are the details of my day, from beginning to end.

***

4:45am: Alarm goes off for the first time. I hit snooze button for the first time.

4:52am: Alarm goes off for second time. I contemplate getting out of bed, then decide against such foolishness. I convince myself I can still sleep a few more minutes before rushing out the door to the gym. I hit the snooze button for the second time.

5:01am: Alarm sounds for the third time. Before I can hit the snooze button for the third time, the husband gives me a nudge. Apparently he does not appreciate the repetitive sounds of my alarm clock. I switch off the alarm, fall out of bed and stumble into the bathroom. Fortunately my eyes adjust quickly to pitch black. I manage to only walk into the wall and desk chair on my trek to retrieve my gym clothes. Perhaps my eyes do not adjust as quickly as I thought….

5:20am: I jump in the family station wagon. Gym clothes are on, mini peanut butter sandwich in hand, water bottle and weights sitting next to me in the passanger seat.

5:30am: Join the other crazy people in my suburb who believe getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise is a great idea. Participate in boot camp. Dream about the warmth and comforts of my bed as I run sprints while carting a 15 pound weighted ball. Question my sanity.

6:20 am: With post-exercise endorphins coursing through my body, I return home. Start the coffee maker, greet  the husband, and jump into the shower.

6:30 am: The door to the bathroom opens. A voice begins asking a million questions at an alarming rate of speed. “Mommy, what are we going to do today? Mommy, can I have some chocolate milk? Mommy, I was thinking about that new park in our neighborhood. Mommy…mommy…mommy…..” I remind the 4 year old that people need some privacy while in the shower and encourage him to find his father who can surely answer such questions (sorry, babe!).

7:00 am: Apply make-up, fix breakfast, answer question number 92 from Isaac and start getting into my “mommy groove.”

7:30 am: Retrieve Evelyn from her bed. Question how much longer she is willingly going to stay in a baby bed. She informs me of her chosen character name of the day. After a quick diaper change and choosing of the desired princess underwear, she flutters away to the breakfast table.

8:00 am: Breakfast is winding down. Dishes go into the dishwasher, children attempt to scamper off before I have the chance to tell them it is time to get dressed.

8:40 am: Everyone is dressed. Inevitably someone loses a shoe, a jacket, a prized animal, a small scrap of paper that is important to the earth’s ability to rotate on its axis, etc. I wrangle everyone out the door and into the car, instructing them to get buckled up while I search for lost item.

8:42 am: I peek out the door to see a light show going on inside the car (which is turned off with no keys in the ignition) as a certain four year old boy performs a light show for his sister using only the car’s interior lights.

8:45am: I jump in the car with lost item in hand. No one seems phased when I reveal the location where I discovered said item (master bedroom closet, bathroom trashcan, kitchen pantry are all good options).

9:00 am to 1:00pm: Someone goes to school while someone stays with Mommy. Errands are run, play dates occur and quality one-on-one time happens during these hours each week.

1:00 pm: I pull into the preschool pick-up line, silently wondering what time little Susie’s mom has to get there in order to be first in line. I vow to arrive thirty minutes early the next day just so I can beat her.

1:25 pm: We pull back into the driveway of casa de phillips. Backpacks, lunchboxes, coats, shoes and other random items are unloaded from the car. I send children inside to put up said items and to start getting ready for nap time. I contemplate taking a nap in the car, wondering how long it would be before they noticed that I had not followed them inside.

1:45 pm: Everyone is tucked into their beds for naptime. I sit down to enjoy a moment of silence before I get started on my afternoon duties.

1:47 pm: A certain little boy wonders from his room, letting me know he is done resting for the day. He is not too thrilled when I inform him that I am not done with him resting for the day and send him back to his room.

1:53 pm: Loud singing is coming from a certain little girl’s bedroom. When I go in and ask her sweetly to lay down and be quiet, Miss E. informs me that she is asleep. Hmmm…

2:00 pm: Silence fills the house. It is glorious.

3:30 pm: I start putting the finishing touches on my writing for the afternoon. Snack is laid out on the table (on days that I remember) and I check and see what is planned for dinner that evening. I realize I never thawed the chicken so immediately check the pantry to ensure I have the necessary ingredients for pancakes. Ingredients secured. Children began waking from their naps/quiet time.

4:00pm: I struggle to remember that glorious sound of silence that filled the house less than two hours ago as I listen to children talk/fight/sing/complain/just be children. Such sounds are glorious too, just in their own unique way.

5:oopm: The husband arrives home from work. The children greet him as if he had been gone for months. I smile as I watch the three of them catch up on their respective days.

5:30 pm: Chow time. One child asks skeptically if he has eaten such a meal before (By the way, the answer is always “yes”. I figure if he technically has never eaten the meal himself, he most likely has eaten it or some version of it while in utero.) while another child lets us know that she does not eat _______ (Yes, this is a fill-in-the-blank. Unless I have served yogurt, chicken nuggets, french fries or ice cream, Miss E. lets us know that she does not eat said dinner items. We then let her know “Oh well.”).

7:00 pm: Dinner is over, kitchen cleaned (thanks to the husband) and the family has spent some time playing together. Both kids pile into the bath. I again am impressed with those natural mommy skills the Lord bestows on us women that allow us to successfully (and quickly) bathe two wet and squirming children.

8:00 pm: Both children have been bathed, put in clean PJ’s, taken part in family devotional time and read their respective bedtime stories. Both children have also informed me and the husband (in no particular order) that: 1. They just cannot possibly sleep 2.They need more ice/water/blankets/kisses/hugs/etc 3. They wonder what we will do in the morning 4.They love us.

8:15 pm: Husband heads off for the gym. I finish tasks around the house.

9:15 pm: Husband and I catch up on the events of the day, read, listen to music, talk about how funny our children are, contemplate waking up said children to give them one more kiss good-nite, come to our senses about what a ridiculous idea that would be, watch the weather, etc.

10:00 pm: Crawl into bed, set the alarm clock and mentally prepare to do it all over again the next day.

*****

That is a day for me. What is a day like in your world?

The price of community

The husband and I attended a private Christian university for 11 years, collectively.

That is roughly 264 hours of college credit, give or take a Bible elective or two.

If memory serves me correctly, tuition rates back then were about $111 an hour.

If one does the math, our collective education cost us approximately $29,304.

Crazy, huh?

Want to know the crazy part? I would pay triple that amount for the same education at the same university without batting an eye.

That $29,304 did not merely give us undergraduate and graduate degrees on which to build the foundations of our careers. It did not merely provide us with a handful of fond memories and an Alma mater to claim allegiance to.

That $29,304 gave us a community. A community of believers who join together in time of crisis. A community of believers who understand in the power of prayer. A community of believers who united to celebrate a life cut much too short, but did so with joy because they understood that life does not end at death.

This afternoon, I joined my fellow alumni and celebrated the life of Jenny. I hugged the necks of people I have not see in ten years, our deep connections returning as if they had never been gone. I wept, I laughed, I sang, I questioned, and I felt eternally grateful to be part of such a community.

…a community worth far more than $29,305.

Meet Jenny

Meet my friend, Jenny Bizaillion.

Yep, her last name (by marriage) is Bizaillion.

She is not a fan when people say “Bizaillion?? Like a “bizaillion” dollars?”

She is, however, a huge fan of her husband who bestowed such a unique last name upon her.

As I have mentioned, Jenny became sick with the flu and was admitted to the hospital on Febuary 4th. For the past eleven days, Jenny has been fighting for her life.

Thousands…THOUSANDS…of people have joined together to pray for her. Seriously, the people at Google are likely starting to question why her name is generating such large amounts of hits, wondering if she is the latest phishing scan.

I can assure you she is not a phishing scam.

She is a wife, mother, daughter, friend, child of God who is loved by so many. Her courageous battle has been played out on Facebook, Twitter, Carepages and blogs for all to read and join alongside her as she rallies for good health. There have been extremely dark times when it seemed as if the battle had come to an end, only for Jenny (and GOD!) to fight back stronger than before. Today surgeons scheduled for both of her legs to be amputated below the knee due to gangrene.

Remember…she was admitted to the hospital for the FLU.

At noon today, word went out that this surgery was scheduled. Thousands of people stopped and prayed for healing.

A few hours later, doctors decided to hold off on surgery.

Jenny is fighting, friends. This soft-spoken, petite lady who likely weighs 100 pounds on a good day is fighting with more strength and determination than any grown man.

Please keep praying for my friend, Jenny Bizaillion.

Say “good-bye” to McDonalds and “hello” to the Village Tea Company

Many moms quickly realize if they want to socialize with other mothers in a kid-friendly atmosphere that offers both food and fun, they are resigned to hitting up local fast food chains for play-dates. Moms know they have to deal with the sticky tables, the processed food and the loud environment in order to find a place where children can play and parents can chat…(to read more, please go here)

Our REAL family photo

Because it was the Sunday before Christmas and because everyone in the family just happened to be wearing red (which was completely and 100% planned, by the way), we took some time before worship to snap a few family pictures.

Below is the picture I would normally show:
However, I am playing along with The Happy Housewife today and going to also show your our REAL family photo…
the one that has a four year old attempting to figure out how to pose naturally with a present
the one that has a two year old mad over the fact we are taking pictures
the one that shows the strain on The Husband’s face as he attempts to look relaxed despite the fact he just jumped from behind the camera to his spot on the floor before the timer snapped the picture
the one where I am smiling just a bit too eagerly.

Creating family traditions for the holidays

Establishing traditions within the family unit is a excellent way for parents to instill particular values and ideals in their children while also binding the family together through ritual. Traditions give families something to rely on and look forward to, especially during the hectic holiday season. This year consider implementing a few new traditions into the family. Several moms from the Dallas/Fort Worth area were kind enough to share traditions that their families take part in each holiday season in hopes of inspiring others to do the same….(to read all of YOUR great ideas, go here!)

How to ruin the holiday season in five simple steps

The Christmas season is often described as being two things: merry and stressful. It seems odd that the season that is considered by many to be the happiest time of the year is also known as being the most stressful time of the year. Too often, the focus is placed on doing everything, buying everything and seeing everything, all within a frantic 25 days. This year, if the goal is to have a miserable, stressful holiday season follow the simple steps below…(to read more, please go here)

Summer Schedule 2009 (UPDATED!)

This morning the children and I met some friends for Library Story Time and lunch at Chick-fil-A.
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?
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