Tom Sawyer and his Papa…

As you can tell by the pictures, my little Tom Sawyer helped his Papa and his dad build a fence this weekend. Did Tom Sawyer build a fence and then have to paint it or just have to paint it? I am not quite sure, so the Tom Sawyer reference might not really fit here. Anyway, Tobe, Isaac, and Tobe’s dad put up a new fence this weekend. I know that our neighbors are rejoicing in their living rooms now that the Phillips’ eyesore (AKA our old fence) is gone. In its place stands a beautiful, sparkling cedar fence whose gate will actually close and whose boards will not fall off randomly when the wind blows a mere three miles an hour.

Isaac’s papa did a marvelous job on our fence. In fact, he has done a marvelous job on many things in our house. When we purchased our little casa in Grapevine, it was a “house with potential”. Although built in the 1990’s, the interior was decorated in blue and pink. The kitchen had a bright pepto pink wall. The carpet throughout the house was blue. The guest bathroom was done in pink bunnies. The best part of the house was that there were two rooms spared of the blue and pink–one was done in teal and navy blue plaid (yes, apparently that does exist) and the other was painted yellow with purple trim. (Neither room looks like this anymore and the blue carpet is history) Fortunately we have Tobe’s dad who can do anything. Here is a list of things he has done in our house:
1.Helped paint
2.Fixed the fence numerous times
3.Installed an antenna because you can’t get TV signals in Grapevine due to the airport
4.Laid tile in both bathrooms while we were in London on vacation
5.Laid tile in our entryway
6.Put up wainscoting in our kitchen
7.Wired our kitchen so I could have a TV in there to watch Food Network while cooking
8.Completely renovated Isaac’s closet
9. Installed a new garage door opener
10. Replaced the bathroom faucets
11.Installed new light fixtures in the kitchen
12. Fixed the base of the hotwater heater
13.Laid the floor of our utility room
14.Steamcleaned the carpets before we moved in
15.Replaced both showerheads
16. Installed a ceiling fan in Isaac’s room

A handy, generous father-in-law is a wonderful thing to have. We often call Tobe’s dad and say, “Can you fix ______?” He always reassures us that he can resolve any house problem in a matter of minutes and offers to come over in the next few days to get it done. Whenever we sell this house we should probably give some of the profits to Tobe’s dad. We hope that Isaac will take after his Papa and be handy around the house. If he does inherit such traits, you might come over in a few years and find Isaac under the kitchen sink fixing the garbage disposal while Tobe and I look on from the living room couch.

Fall in a cup…

Those of you who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have likely heard the forecast for this weekend and upcoming week–mid 80’s and sunny. Perfect weather for the beginning of September, but it just doesn’t work for November. November is a time for long sleeves, sweatshirts (speaking of sweatshirts, I wore one the other night to the gym from a Christmas social that said “featuring The Point”. Those readers who attended such Christmas social, whatever happened to The Point and why did we name check them on a club t-shirt?), and warm drinks. This is quite hard to accomplish when Troy Dungan is telling me it is going to be 85 degrees today. I suppose I could turn the air way down in my house to make it seem chilly, but that seems a little pricey.

So last night Tobe and I went out without the baby (Nana J is in town) to enjoy some time together. After a tasty meal at Mi Cocina, we headed off to our local Barnes and Noble (yes, we are very exciting people). As we opened the door, our senses were flooded with the sights and sounds of Christmas. That is right–Barnes and Noble has welcomed Christmas, despite the fact that yesterday was November 4th. They were playing Christmas music, had displays of Christmas books, and wrapping paper was already on sale. Now I love Christmas, but I like for things to go in order. All the stores acknowledged Halloween and we all celebrated that. However, it appears that we have skipped over fall and Thanksgiving and jumped right into Christmas. We found this same thing to be true at Target (like I said, we are exciting people). All the fall decor was on clearance and Christmas was everywhere you looked.

I am saying all of this to let you know that I am boycotting Christmas things until the Friday after Thanksgiving. I will not look at any Christmas aisles in Target. I will not sing any Christmas carols to my lovely son. I will not make my special Christmas candy. However, I will continue to enjoy my fall decorations in my living room. I might rake some leaves in the front yard (assuming it gets cold enough for them to actually change colors and fall). I will wear my cozy ten year old sweatshirts, despite what Rebecca Miller tells me the weather is for that day.

If you need to help yourself stay in the fall mindset, I suggest you drive down to your local Starbucks and get a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Now, it is a little hard to find the ad for such marvelous drink among all the promos for the Gingerbread Latte and the Peppermint Latte, but it is still there. The pumpkins spice latte is like fall in a cup. It is the most delicious drink (even more delicious than Alexa Conomos’ traffic, Don) in the world. Yes, it does cost about $27 and half of a kidney (SIDE NOTE: Why are we not protesting the cost of designer coffee drinks? I worked as a barista one summer and it does not cost a coffee joint that much to make a specialty drink. Basically all they consist of are milk and coffee, which are some of the cheapest things you can buy at the grocery store) to purchase a tall pumpkin spice latte, but it is worth the price. As I sipped my tasty treat last night, I blocked out “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that was blaring from the speaker overhead and turned a blind eye towards The Polar Bear Express . Instead I concentrated on turkeys, pilgrims, and pumpkins. Hopefully you can do the same. Happy November!

Isaac’s First Workout

Today was our first visit with the physical therapist to see about Isaac’s sweet little neck and hips. Despite the hours the pediatrician and I have spent on the phone with the insurance company, they are still only going to pay for physical therapy if we go to our local sports medicine clinic by Albertsons (which I refer to as Albertsons PT). Tobe and I decided to go ahead and go to Cook Childrens, as we thought someone who deals with babies on a full-time basis would give us a better diagnosis and treatment plan than someone who deals with football injuries.

So we were off to Fort Worth this morning with Nana C (in case you don’t know, both of Isaac’s grandmothers are called “nana” by previous grandchildren. To prevent confusion for Isaac, we refer to them as “Nana C” and “Nana J.” If you ever read any Tommie dePaola books, I wanted to call the grandmothers “Nana Upstairs” and “Nana Downstairs.” My mom did not think that was appropriate). The physical therapist we saw was great and had some helpful information to pass along. She does not feel like Isaac has developmental dysplasia of the hips (loose hip joints for all those non-M.D. readers) and she feels like he only has a very mild case of torticollis (tilted neck). What she did note was that Isaac has low muscle tone all over his body, especially in his neck. We have stretches and exercises to do at home and will continue with physical therapy. If we don’t see any improvement in muscle tone in a month, she suggests that we consult with a neurologist to see if anything else is going on. The physical therapist was quite happy to see that Isaac can kick both legs together and separately, clasp his hands, and bring his hands to his mouth. These are all important milestones of a three month old.

Yesterday we went for an ultrasound of Isaac’s hips. The radiologist there said that he did not see any dysplasia of the hips. Isaac was a trooper for his first ultrasound. Apparently someone forgot to tell the ultrasound tech that she had an appointment and we had to wait for an hour for her to get out of some training. If only I knew someone that worked for Baylor, perhaps in the clinical transformation office, who could fix such communication problems…… Anyway, the best part of the ultrasound was when the radiologist repositioned Isaac on the table, causing him to poop everywhere.

Isaac and I are about to work on some of our new stretches and exercises because he is not napping this afternoon for some reason. I am thinking about getting him little sweatbands for his head and wrists to match his little sweatsuit someone gave us. It would be the perfect outfit for PT!

I Hate Insurance Companies!!!!

As I type I am on minute 37 of a phone call to our insurance company. I have spoken to a computer who keeps telling me my son was not born on August 30th—I keep yelling at it that I am saying AUGUST 3rd!!!! Then spoke to someone who sounded half-dead and did not know what I was talking about. I was transferred to someone else–wrong department. Then transferred again–this time the system was down and they asked me to call back in an hour. I told them to connect me to someone with a working computer. This time I was connected to India, I believe. That lady told me she couldn’t help me and to call the 1-800 number on my card. I told her that is what I ORIGINALLY called. I refused to hang-up and asked to speak to her supervisor. She kept saying this was not a supervisor concern. Finally she said she would connect me to someone else. She connected me to the computer system again where I am now having an argument about August 3rd!!!!

Okay the computer connected me to dental—-I am calling about medical!!!

Minute 52. My son is awake from his nap and will be hungry soon. Can you get in trouble for sending hate mail to insurance companies?

The dental guy has now connected me to………..Nothing. The line just went dead.

I have called back and guess who I get to talk to again—THE COMPUTER.

Talking to someone new now. I think she has a mouthful of Halloween candy in her mouth as she talks. Oh wait, wrong department. She is connecting me to someone else.

Okay it has been almost two hours since I called the insurance company. I finally talked to someone who sounded like she knew she worked for an insurance company and had some knowledge on the subject. Turns out the insurance company wants me to fill out a form. I tell them I need my question answered before this Thursday when I have a physical therapy eval for Isaac. Their final answer, “I am sorry, Ma’am, you have to fill out a form.” Then I was disconnected. So after all that time spent on the phone, I am now supposed to be standing by my mailbox eagerly awaiting a form. Yippee.

(Pleas know that I was going to post something positive today about Isaac’s first Halloween, a first in long line of firsts to come. Then blogger wouldn’t work this morning and then I had to talk to the insurance company. I do not hate all people who work for insurance companies, as my uncle does work for one. However, I currently am not going to enroll in the fan club of any of the customer service representatives I talked to today.)

Doctor’s Visit

If you are counting this is my second post today and, yes, I have cleaned part of the house already. Thank goodness for those long naps babies can take….

We are home from the doctor’s appointment. I took Isaac in because we were concerned about lack of control of his head and neck and that he always tilts his head to one side. The doctor confirmed what we were thinking. Isaac has been diagnosed as having congenital torticollis and developmental dysplasia of the hip. Sounds a little scary, huh? What this means is that Isaac most likely tore a muscle either in utero or in delivery—not too surprising considering he was transverse until about week 34 and labor was 26 1/2 hours long, with two hours of pushing and he didn’t come down the birthing canal until the very end. Also he had a hard time getting around the pubic bone and most people thought it would be an emergency section (hey, I didn’t do squats and lunges all nine months of pregnancy to have a c-section!). Anyway, such torn muscles are usually not detected until baby develops a little more movement and stability in the head and neck. The torn muscle repairs itself, but is shorter than it should be causing the child’s head to tilt to one side. There can also be a knot in the muscle on the neck, which we discovered on Isaac late last week. Head and neck control is also delayed. The developmental dysplasia of the hip goes hand-in-hand with the the torticollis. This means that little Isaac’s hip joints are a little loose, especially the left one.

So what does this all mean? Baby Isaac Michael is off to physical therapy at Cook Childrens. In fact I keep calling the rehabilitation clinic over and over to schedule an appointment. Apparently they are off eating Halloween candy and too busy to take my call (yes, I am lashing out at them). After a little PT, Isaac should be right on track developmentally and be able to hold that sweet head up with no problem.

The best part of the appointment was watching Isaac as he laid on the examination table. He was happy and kicking his legs and smiling. He then realized every time he kicked his legs, the paper on the table made a noise. So he would kick real fast and hard, then stop and laugh. He did this for about five minutes. It was the funniest thing to him and to me. So if you have already done your Christmas shopping for Isaac, you better hit the return lines. Apparently all he wants is a roll of white tissue paper.

I have included this picture because I love how Isaac is holding on to his precious elephant, attempting to swallow it. It makes me smile, in the midst of being concerned about his sweet little neck and hips.

Happy Halloween!!!

Isaac wanted to show off his Halloween costume and wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween!

This weekend was quite busy for us. Friday night we sat down and watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with Isaac. We bought the Peanuts holiday DVD collection years ago in anticipation of watching them with our future children. Isaac watched some of it, but didn’t quite get the humor when Charlie Brown put on his ghost outfit and it is filled with holes. Next year he will though! Saturday night Tobe and I dropped Isaac off at his Nana C. and Papa’s house and we were off to the U2 concert. It was hard to leave Isaac for the first time to spend the night somewhere, but we knew he was in good hands. Tobe and I went to eat down in West End, then met up with the Fletchers (and sort-of the Pirtles) for U2. The show was amazing!!! Hearing Bono sing live is almost indescribable. Also, I think that Bono is promoting such a simple idea of world peace (coexistence) that impacts a lot of thinking. Side note: if you haven’t signed your name to the ONE document, please do so. It is helping raise money and awareness for AIDS in Africa. Having witnessed first-hand the vast devastation of AIDS in Africa, (100,000+ AIDS orphans in Nairobi alone, living on the streets) I know what this disease is doing to a continent. I believe it is irresponsible for us to turn a blind eye to the poverty and sickness of these beautiful people. I think the website for ONE is

Enough political talk. Sunday we met Tobe’s parents for brunch (where I had a delicious crab and avocado omelet) and picked up Isaac. I felt like I hadn’t seen him in years. He smiled really big when he saw both of us. That afternoon was football, sloppy Joes, and Tobe’s friend hanging out with us. Last night we went to the church Halloween carnival. We didn’t know how Isaac would do considering the time change, lack of a good nap schedule yesterday, and the overall excitement of the carnival. He just hung out in his stroller, taking it all in. He was the cutest giraffe by far, surrounded by equally adorable elephants, bumblebees, race car drivers, divas, Charlie Browns, princesses, etc.. Tonight is Halloween on Main Street, which should be a lot of fun as well.

This morning I am taking Isaac to the doctor. Many of you don’t know about this yet, because there is not much TO know yet. We have some concerns about the development of the neck muscles and want to get it checked out. I will post more once we are sure what is going on there. So say a little prayer for Baby Isaac today and for his pediatrician.

Have a great Halloween!

Three piece suits for babies….

Wanting to dress your beautiful baby boy for the Christmas holidays so he can shine brighter than the star on top of your tree? Well, my friend, apparently you are going to have to put him in a three piece suit. I began my quest to find Isaac a dressy Christmas outfit (he already has his Christmas PJ’s and his Christmas casual clothes–all bought on clearance last year) a few weeks ago. I want something that is sweet and looks like a baby and has Christmas joy written all over it (not literally). All I can find are these one piece outfits that look like three piece suits. Yes, they even have neckties! Neckties for babies??? Has anyone told the SIDS organization about this? That can’t be safe.

Isaac will be four months at Christmas, which I feel is a little too young for a suit and tie. I have seen a few cute sweater, shirt, and pants outfits, but even that seems a little much for a four month old. Besides we live in Texas and it might possibly be 90 degrees on Christmas. He would die in a sweater. All the stores have racks and racks of velveteen dresses and outfits for little girls and then one sad rack of holiday three piece suits for boys. Is this gender discrimination? Boys like to look cute too! Here is what I am looking for: a cute pair of either velvet or corduroy overalls, perhaps with a Christmas thing on the bib or with pants legs that roll up to reveal Christmas plaid. Hannah Anderson has a pair in their catalog, but they are $60. We are cheap people here at the Phillips’ household and if we spent that much money on an outfit, poor Isaac would have to wear it everyday until he outgrew it just to feel like we got our money’s worth 🙂

So if you know of somewhere to get cute dressy holiday outfits for boys at a reasonable price, please let me know. Otherwise, we might have to wear a three piece suit.

For those of you keeping a record, once again Isaac slept through the night!

Picture People

Yesterday I took Isaac to the Picture People in the Northeast Mall to get his three month portraits done. We choose such location because we had a coupon (who doesn’t love a good coupon?) for a free sitting and a free 8×10. I would recommend such mall photography studios–the photographer was really nice and good with Isaac, there are huge glass windows in the studio so mall walkers can watch your photo session and “ooh” over your child, and you get your pictures THAT day! The quality isn’t as good as a “regular” studio, but they still came out really well.

If you happen to be shopping at the Northeast Mall, take a minute to stop by the Picture People. Isaac’s picture is now displayed in the studio! The lady liked one of the shots so much she asked if they could put it on display. I had to sign a release and everything! She also asked if I wanted to sign a release for them to give the pictures over to a modeling agency. I just couldn’t do that to my child, so I declined that offer (which I think they extend to everyone). So now the Phillips’ Family is officially on display in two locations. A wedding picture of Tobe and me is on display at a bridal shop in Searcy, AR (actually you can’t really see Tobe in the picture–it is a shot of us running out from the reception under a wave of rose petals) and Isaac is on display at the Picture People. Before we know it Tyra Banks will be calling asking us to be on America’s Next Top Model….HA!

If YOU would like to order your own picture of Isaac at three months, please let me know. The Picture People does blow up shots to wall mural size and I think Isaac would look lovely as an accent wall in anyone’s living room!

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