Browsing Category: mother’s sanity

Back to School Fashion for Moms

Today I ventured out into a few stores. It is the eve of back to school in my current location and the retail cash registers were hard at work as parents and children attempted to buy those last minute school necessities.

Moms were snatching jeans off shelves.

Kids were eyeballing expensive tennis shoes.

One child was screaming “Silly Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaandz!” repeatedly, much to every shopper’s (with the exception of his oblivious mother) chagrin.

I must confess and say that I love the hustle and bustle of a frantic shopping crowd. I look forward to such big retail days like Black Friday, Tax Free weekends and post-holiday sales. Today as I navigated the crowded aisles I smiled and enjoyed the activity around me.

As I witnessed these moms struggling to find quality back to school clothes for their children at a reasonable price, I wondered how many of them paused to pick up something new for their own selves. Sure, moms do not experience quite the growth pattern of children and therefore do not need new clothes on a regular basis. This does not mean that moms should simply stick with the old college t-shirt and faded yoga pants while their children are dressed head to toe in the latest styles.

If I could do one thing for the SAHM of today it would be to have her burn those yoga pants and attempt to wear a little something fabulous everyday.

What is something “fabulous” one might ask?

Well, here are some ways moms can add a touch of fabulousness to their everyday wardrobe this back to school season.

  • Ditch the boring cotten standards for a  fun t-shirt. We all know that t-shirts are super easy and incredibly comfortable. However, one doesn’t have to wear a college social shirt from twelve years ago to experience some comfort in their daily wardrobe. Find something fun with ruffles or flowers that is feminine yet practical. If you are crafty, make your own shirt for just a few dollars like my friend Jordan did.


  • Wear dresses.I think a lot of SAHM’s shy away from the dress because it does not seem very practical when chasing kids around the park. Yes, some dresses(although fabulous) are not really practical for sitting down and finger painting with the kiddos. There are some simple, cute dresses that can go from carpool to grocery store then out to dinner with friends with ease and simplicity. Personally I love the maxi dress right now (and am currently wearing one as I write this). There is no fear of a stray hemline exposing anything when sporting a maxi dress, a plus when dealing with young children with straying hands. I also love the shirt dress. One can go super casual with this type dress or spice things up with something traditional and classy.


  • Find a quality jacket. Supposedly temperatures are going to cool down this fall and we will struggle to remember these endless days of 100+ degree heat. A good jacket can carry some of your summer staples into fall.


  • Toss on jewelry. I am a huge fan of chunky costume jewelry because it can add a splash of color and whimsy to a standard outfit. The great thing about this type of accessory is that one can find it cheap and in a vast array of colors and styles.


  • Get a planner and use it. I am a pen and paper kind-of gal. Lots of what I write is pieced out in a notebook before my laptop is even switched on. I know I can keep calenders and to-do lists on-line, but I function better with something tangible. The MomAgenda is a great planner for moms who have lots of schedules to maintain. (Yes…a planner is not an article of clothing. But it is practical and there are so many cute designs out there!)


What are you buying for yourself this back to school season?

The Parenting Phrase of 2010

There are many phrases I never imagined would fall from my lips until I became a parent.

Today’s phrase, in my opinion, tops them all.

This afternoon, as I was attempting to get both kids corralled into their rooms for rest time, admist the chaos of changing from swimsuits into regular clothes,  I looked up to discover both children attempting to use the restroom at the same time.

Apparently this was not the first time this “arrangement” had occurred.

It was then that I uttered the quintessential parenting phrase, one that I never imagined would come from my mouth:

“Only one person can use the potty at a time. Ever.”

What crazy parenting phrases have tumbled from your mouth lately?

*The children did attempt to reassure me that whenever their “arrangement” had not worked out so well, they were sure to grab out a towel and clean up the mess. They even put the towel back in the linen closet for me afterwards. They are nothing if not thoughtful.

You might need to question your parenting skills if….

You know that saying of  “I was a really good parent before I had children.”

That was totally me.

I was an excellent mom before I became a mother. Get this….long before I ever birthed a child, attempted to raise a child on a daily basis or encountered a temper tantrum from someone of my own flesh and blood I used to hand out parenting advice on a regular basis. When I look back on some of that advice I handed to out my students’ parents in my pre-parenting days, I shudder at the ease of which I would toss around simple solutions to beyond simple problems.

Hopefully none of those parents were at the Carters store in my suburb a few weeks ago when I had to take my three year old daughter out once twice over an issue at the Lego table. Let’s just say there was lots of screaming, kicking and all-around horrible behavior displayed that day and it will be a good six months before we will be shopping at that store again.

Despite my past foray into parenting advice “expert”, I attempt to keep such ideas and comments to myself these days. However, I still  encounter the occasional parent/child interaction that makes me want to question the parents as to why? WHY? are they allowing their child to behave in such a manner. This goes beyond the normal crying child in the Target check-out line (if you have a child, know a child, or traveled anywhere beyond your front door with a child, you have been that same person with that same upset child). These situations I am referring to are situations in which parents really need to question exactly what they are doing or not doing when it comes to interfacing with their child in a particular moment.

Yesterday when we took the Tiger to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate his fifth year of life, we encountered some of these parenting delimias firsthand. Such displays lead me to pen the below list.

You might need to question your parenting skills if….

*Your child goes throughout the restaurant begging everyone to give him “just one more token.” This was not a simple request made of kind pizza-eating folk, but a full out begging of complete strangers. (Being the kind, compassionate person that I am I: 1. Questioned where his mother was and 2. Told him I would have him thrown out of the restaurant if he kept bothering people.)

*Your child approaches someone as they are mid-game and says rudely “Let me play now.”

*Your group of children start a game of tag in the designated eating area of the restaurant. You merely watch from the booth with a bored expression on your face.

*Your child decides that merely riding on one of the electric rides is boring and decides to spice things up by standing on top of the plastic tractor while it is in operation. You cheer him on.

*Your child swipes tickets from other people’s skee ball machines while they are busy attempting to teach a three year old how to throw the red wooden ball forward rather than tossing it backwards into the crowd. Sure, three tickets can only get one a cheap plastic ring but those were my three tickets, missy.

Anyone have one to add to the list? Perhaps a personal parenting FAIL that likely made those around you question your parenting abilities in the moment?

Anyone else unable to shop at a local store due to the scene their child created there in the past? (Please tell me I am not alone in this…)

A letter to my supposedly photogenic children

Dear Children,

One day, in the far off future, the two of you will be grown. You will both be adults, attempting to navigate the world on your own.

Although you will still have much to learn, you will have figured out many of the mysteries of life. You will come to understand that the crumbs under the table do not magically disappear on their own and that clothes do not clean themselves. You will realize that relationships require a bit more work than being willing to share a favorite toy and that man cannot survive on Happy Meals alone. You will come to accept that new episodes of Max and Ruby are not the holy grail of television programming (and you might finally agree how odd it is that these siblings…although they are rabbits….seem to have a grandmother but no parents offering supervision) and will appreciate the morning news.

Yes, children, when you are are adults you will know many, many things.

One of which (I hope) is how to smile normally when your mother attempts to snap a picture of you in your Sunday best.


Your Mother

The little washer that could…

There once was a little washer…

…that lived peacefully inside the supply line connected to a  refrigerator.

This little washer helped water flow gently into the ice maker component of said refrigerator.

One day that little washer started to feel a bit antsy. Life inside the supply line leading into a refrigerator was not terribly exciting. In fact, it was a bit damp, cold and boring.

The washer noticed that the house his little supply line resided in was quiet, dark and empty. It seemed like the perfect time to make his escape.

That little washer pushed his way out of the supply line, in search of a new life…one not constricted by small spaces or burdened by such duties as regulating the flow of water.

The little washer quickly discovered that life on the outside of the supply line was a bit more frantic. People rushed around, attempting to control the large amounts of water that gushed out of the line once the washer made his exit. Large machines suddenly appeared, generating tornado-force winds and a constant loud roar. The beautiful wood floors and plush carpets of the outside floor were quickly removed, leaving only the dusty sub-floor behind.

(not a real picture of kitchen/outside world)

Life outside of the suppy line was nothing like the little washer imagined. He deeply regretted his decision to leave the comfort of his old home in search of a new world.

As did the owners of the home.

The End.

(Yes…this is my tongue-in-cheek version of our water damage nightmare. Late Friday night…before we moved on Saturday morning…the husband discovered water rushing out of the supply line in the kitchen of our new home. The majority of the downstairs is off-limits right now. We have lived for four days with incredibly loud fans running 24/7. By tonight we should have the last of the fans removed and have an estimate of damages from our insurance company. It is not going to be pretty. More details…and video…to come.)

Navigating the tightrope of sanity


It is moving week here at casa de phillips.

Moving with preschoolers generates a vast amount of questions.

We have the traditional questions:

“When are we moving?”

“Where are we moving?”

“Is Evelyn moving with us?”


And a few more “non-traditional” questions:

“How will we move the refridgerator?”

“Can I be in charge of packing the marshmallows?”

“Who is going to lift the log cabin play house?”

“Is …..(Insert name of our lovely suburb) going to move to?”

“Can we take our car when we move?”

“Who is going to pack the bath toys?”

“Do we have to eat all the food in the fridge before we move?”

“Who is going to drive the moving truck?”

“Who is going to pack the fruit snacks?”

“Who is going to pack Evelyn?”

And the questions go on and on. It could be a long week…

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?

An open letter to the month of February

Dear February,

First, allow me to acknowledge that you bid us farewell three (wonderful, almost sunny) days ago. Yes, I should have written earlier but you and your funk brought me down, zapping any and all creative energy.

I am sure your 28 (and every fourth year, 29) days are lovely to some. In fact, several people that I cherish most in this world celebrate the day of their birth during your time spent on the calendar. However, I feel the need to be honest and say that you, February,were not really kind to us this year.

Sure, there was the record-breaking 12.5 inches of snow you delivered mid-month.

But you also brought with you sickness, sadness, and troubling times.

Monday morning when March dawned, I giddily ripped your page from my calendar (and might have torn it into tiny little pieces before delicately placing it in the nearest waste receptacle). March means spring and happiness and sunshine…three adjectives that your deary old month, February, seemed void of this year.

So I bid you farewell and enthusiastically embrace March, my new BFF (*best friend forever to the uninitiated)…at least for now  until it brings a random Spring snow.



The Longest Week Ever

A little over a week ago, these were my children:

Running crazily through the yard, laughing at each other, full of energy…
Then “the virus” hit on Saturday, and this is how Miss E. looked the majority of last week:

Can you find her little brown head amidst all the pink blankets and pillows?
Did you ever know of a little girl who owned quite so many shades of pink (or should I say “blush” and “bash”)?
Have you ever considered paying hundreds of dollars in the middle of the night to somehow make a replacement pink ballerina pillowcase magically appear because you had to toss the original in the wash due to a 2am tummy issue and a particular two year old little girl was less than thrilled about such events transpiring?
As mentioned, “the virus” began last Saturday and was with us a week. By Wednesday when there was no change in Miss E.’s condition, I found myself with both children at the pediatrician’s office. Due to the fact E. had been running fevers, we were sequestered to a smaller waiting room and handed a mask for E. to wear.
Raise your hand if you have a two year old who will happily wear a surgical mask when she is running a high fever and is mad because she has been forced to sit in the only section of the doctor’s office that does NOT have a view of the fish tank.
Bless you if your child fits such a mold (email me your tips!), because my child does not. There is no way E. was going to wear that mask and I didn’t have the heart to force the matter. I held her instead and kept us far away from all the other children (which was not an issue since the other two mommies in the waiting room were glaring at me and shielding their children from our corner as if I had brought in a case of leprosy).

Much to the surprise of our doctor, the flu test came back negative and we were sent home with instructions to treat the fever and allow E. to rest. 1:30am on Saturday was her last fever and we are hoping this bug has departed for good. Isaac has been a little under-the-weather this afternoon, which we hope is more allergy-related as opposed to eternal-fever-that-brings-down-the-whole-family related.

What originally was supposed to be a very busy week here at casa de phillips turned into a homebound week. MOPS, playdates and school for Evelyn were all scratched from our to-do list. Instead we watched large amounts of Strawberry Shortcake, drank gallons of apple juice and attempted to rest indoors. Evelyn did not sleep well at night due to fevers so by Thursday afternoon she and I were pretty sleep-deprived. Due to her fevers, any plans I had set aside for Friday were cancelled. Thursday night as I went to bed I found myself dreading the next day.

I am not sure how Ma Ingalls survived in the dead of winter on the prairie with young children itching to burn off energy. If I were in her prairie boots, I would have run off screaming to the barn by about 10am every morning. On Friday, I was not looking forward to another day inside (it was raining which prevented all outside activities) with one sick child and one terribly bored child. I needed an activity. I needed something simple, engaging, and located to one general area of the house so I could attempt to restore casa de phillips to its pre-fever state.

Enter the kitchen sink.

I filled the two sides of the sink with soapy water, constructed a make-shift bench with kitchen chairs (which I covered in bath mats to prevent little feet from slipping), rummaged the Tupperware drawer for odds-and-ends and set the children loose.

They played in the sink for almost two hours. By the time all the fun came to an end, both children were soaked (tip: leave kids in PJs to do this), soap covered a large portion of the kitchen, E’s fever was beginning to return and I would eventually have to move the microwave to clean out the small pond that had accumulated underneath it. Despite the mess and the extra load of laundry such a “project” generated, the children had fun and there were minimal tears and tantrums that morning.

Wonder if Ma Ingalls knew about the kitchen sink technique?

How do you survive those long days when a child is sick?

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