Thursday, July 30, 2009

He's got worms

A catastrophe was narrowly averted the other day when I went outside to check on the boys and discovered Caleb in the process of putting a worm in his pocket.

Laundry day has its interesting discoveries. Kleenex, plastic bugs, keychains, rocks, bead necklaces, pennies, more kleenex, rubber bands, paper clips, eraser bits, fruit snacks, gum wrappers.

But from now on I'll remember:

It could always be worse.

Although, I am just a wee bit curious as to what a worm, freshly washed, spun, and dried, would look like.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

French lessons

Overheard conversation at Bakers Square tonight:

Mom to son approx. 9 years old: "That is inappropriate."

Son: "Why?"

Mom: "Because you need to be taught when swearing is okay and when it's not okay first. Then you can use those words. When you're talking to me or when you're in public, it's not okay."

A conversation followed to which I tuned out, discussing other appropriate and inappropriate behaviors.

In my defense, these people were seated directly behind my booth and they were talking quite loudly. I really don't try to overhear everyone's dinner conversation.

Maybe someone could give me some ideas for my own dinner conversation and then I wouldn't be so apt to listen to others?

Anyway, what kind of a mother actually advises, "trains", her child about swearing? Other than, "don't do it"? Isn't it always inappropriate to swear? What happened to character? The word I've heard defined as, "Who you are when no one's looking"? It made me wish I'd brought my travel-size hot sauce key chain and given that mom a sample of how I handle inappropriate.

Or would that be inappropriate?

I scream, you scream

I was contemplating last night what's so wonderful about great food like ice cream (the main food group). Yes, the flavor is yummy. But it just wouldn't give me the same satisfaction if I tasted it and then spit it out. What's so satisfying about swallowing it? Do I like the feeling of it sliding down my throat? Do I like the thought of it residing happily in my stomach? Maybe I just like the idea of the handful of pounds it adds to me as I indulge. That's gotta be it.

My all-time favorite ice cream is Haagen Daaz coffee. What's yours? Please share brand and flavor. I want to try them all!

Ah yes, the beauty of nursing 2 babies! Diet shmyet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Why are there so many pictures of Noah eating, you may ask?
These are moments of pure enjoyment.
Lets just say he takes after his mother.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Compromised communion

I've been immersed in the story of Adam and Eve for the past few weeks. We're reading it in all the kid's Bibles that we're working through, and we're doing it on our flannelgraph storyboard as well.

You know when Adam and Eve sin and they hide from God? And then God comes and calls, "Where are you?"

That always puzzled me a little. He's God, after all. Wouldn't he know where they were without having to ask, even if they were really good hiders?

But how tragic to view it as the cry of pain from a God Who loves us desperately.

"Where are you?"

Their perfect relationship with God, their wonderful, pure and holy communion with their Creator was shattered, ruined, horribly marred by Adam and Eve's choice to disobey.

"Where are you?"

They were used to meeting with God in the cool of the evening. They walked with Him as He shared wonderful Truths of the Spirit and revealed the mysteries of His creation. They shared the doings of the day, discussed some new wonder Eve had found in a unique animal, listened to Adam rave about the taste sensation of the fruit salad Eve had made for him for breakfast (no forbidden fruit included). It must have been so amazing.

And suddenly SIN, this ugly choice they made to wrench their hands out of his grasp and, much like my 2-year-old, determine they could do it themselves much better, left a chasm between them.

And God cries, "Where are you?"

His heart-wrenching response to a relationship totally changed.

And even then He saw the cross. He saw the perfect sacrifice. He saw the remedy, the blood that would be used to heal and restore the relationship. Because He loves us and desires to walk closely with us and share every aspect of our lives with our joyful cooperation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A day in the lives...

Josiah - "I'm ready to go out and play!"

Isaac - "yeah, I'm tired."

Bumbo bum

"What'd you say your name was?"
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Nature and nurture

"Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

Our two older children are on the brink of the age when a plethora of activities are offered and encouraged. And like children in an ice cream shop, they'd happily keep piling on "scoop after scoop" of fun activities if we'd let them. Already, we're talking swimming lessons, piano lessons (granted, at home with mom), kid's club at church, and children's choir.

Children's choir gave us pause as Sam hasn't expressed as much interest in it as we thought. Another night of activity during the week that we need to get him to and retrieve him from? (Yes, I realize this is only the beginning)

We are firmly against loading up our kids' schedules with a bunch of stuff that will seem unimportant in a few years compared to family time.

But Sam has musical talent. He also continues to tell us that he wants to be involved in music when he grows up. Do not we as his parents then have a responsibility to guide him in this area? His talent is God-given, like all our talents, and thus, he has a responsibility before God to use this talent for His glory. Since he is only 6, we also have a responsibility before God to direct Sam in this area.

As a piano teacher, I have seen first-hand many parents who allow their child to direct their own practice time or quit if they want to. Let me tell you, it is a rare thing to find a young child who is motivated enough to practice every day without some parental "encouragement".

Thinking over all of this, I wondered if this is part of what is meant by Proverbs 22:6. We, as parents, need to be on the look-out for the areas God has gifted our children in which they can honor Him. Who better knows our children than we do, after all? Yes, sometimes this takes trial and error to discover, but when you see talent in a certain area, talent that comes with deep enjoyment (most of the time), you may be on to something. Zero in on that - gently - and nurture and guide your children in that particular area rather than placing a buffet of choices before them each school year. We, as followers of Christ, tend to thrive when we are working in the area He has gifted us in and designed us for. We're more joyful, fulfilled people. Even as a 6-year-old.

Caleb's Courage

Monday, July 20, 2009

Follow the leader

Last fall, it was Sam who was off to Kindergarten.

This fall, Caleb will be joining him as they head off together to Kindergarten and first grade, respectively.

After much thought, prayer, and jumping through numerous hoops (official testing, meeting with the principal), it was decided that Caleb could enter kindergarten as a 4-year-old.

Scary, exciting, and scary some more!

He will be in morning kindergarten, which means that he'll be riding the bus to school with his brother (yeah, I'll keep you posted) and coming home in time for lunch (and nap!)

So that will leave me with 3 small children in the house for the largest chunk of "Mom only" time in the day. So feel free to call. I'll try to drag myself away from my novel and dark chocolate bonbons as I recline on the couch waiting for my pedicure to dry.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Would the real teacher please stand up?

We have a cube that "unfolds" the Gospel story and has really neat pictures to go with it. Sam was looking at it today, and I was walking him through each flip of the block. The first picture depicts creation and shows God's perfect world - some animals, including a dinosaur are shown. I was explaining that the point of including the dinosaur was to remind us that dinosaurs lived at the same time as people.

"You know, some people think that the dinosaurs lived before people did." I told Sam.

"Well they did." he said.

"Really?" I thought of all the outside influences my child now has who have the power to shape his thoughts and beliefs.

"Yeah, Mama. Remember? God made the animals before he made the people."

My clarification about how some people believe it was millions of years before people fell a little flat after this revelation handed to me by my 6-year-old.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Five Free Phillips

Somebody please love us! It's easy - just pick up the phone and dial the number on your screen.

Haha! Just kidding!!

Welcome home, Daddy! We MISSED you while you were at work!

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Can I get some ice cream with that?

At our house today, you may have found:

One very wet pull-up on a 2-year-old who was mistakenly trusted at key points in the day with taking it off in favor of dry underwear.

Two frozen pizzas that, when cooked, were pronounced "Mmmm!" and "Yum!" by a husband who deserves better home-cooked meals more often.

One very obnoxious child outside the patio door doing his ape dance: jumping up and down on bowed legs with arms curved at his side, yelling "Whoo-yah, whoo-yah, whoo-yah!!" and banging on the sliding glass door with a stick.

Two babies grabbing each other's hands and sucking on each other's fingers.

One 4-year-old hopping on one foot.

One windblown mama whose 2-year-old proclaimed "I LOVE your hair!" while running his fingers through it at t-ball practice.

One package of brand new wooden spoons. (Can't wait to use them!)

One freezer stuffed with vanilla ice cream, coffee ice cream, rainbow sherbet, and peanut butter swirl ice cream.............................................

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bumbo buddies

Whee - everyone lean this way!!

I don't get it.

Now what? Is she just gonna leave us here?

Oh come on! Put the camera down already!
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Want Some?

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Friday, July 10, 2009


I have cleaned up several horrendous messes during Noah's "naptimes" - occasions where he decides to fingerpaint his room with the contents of his diaper. There's nothing worse. Or so I thought.

Today, after engaging in the above activity (which he hadn't done in months because we make him sit on the potty before nap until he "produces") - he topped it off - literally - with vaseline. An entire jar. I'll leave you to your imagination because words can't do justice to the scene.

Please tell me this is as bad as it gets.

They call him Daddy

Done by Sam for Father's Day:

What I know about my dad...

My dad's names is: Brian

He is -30- years old

My dad's favorite food is: brokly (broccoli)

My dad's favorite color is: blak

My dad's favorite t.v. show is: the Lord of the rings

My dad likes to read: oz

My dad's favorite thing to do when he has time off is: resul (wrestle)

I think my dad is handsome when: he sings in church

I like it best when he says: we get to go in the basement

I think my dad looks like: me

My dad loves me because: he says it every night

If I could do anything with my dad, I would: go outside

If I could give anything to my dad, I would give him: a present

For a job my dad: works and makes money

My dad and I are alike because: we have the same hair

My dad and I are different because: he is taller
Here are the same questions from Caleb's point of view:

My dad's name is: Brian

He is -32- years old

My dad's favorite food is: soup

My dad's favorite color is: red

My dad's favorite t.v. show is: grown up movies

My dad likes to read: oz

My dad's favorite thing to do when he has time off is: wrestle!

I think my dad is handsome when: he gets his hair cut

I like it best when he says: ROARRRR

My dad loves me because: we wrestle

If I could do anything with my dad, I would: go to see Peter and the Wolf

If I could give anything to my dad, I would give him: a tree

For a job my dad: makes money

My dad and I are alike because: we both like broccoli

My dad and I are different because: he's tall

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Who's who?






3 months old - do you see the family resemblance?

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Straight up - and gimme another.

I was thinking the other day as I sat down with my Bible - it's very inconsistent these days, unfortunately - how amazing it is that we have such a thing.

The Bible is God's Word.

Isn't that amazing? That means that we have within our reach, Words that = Truth! Pure, undiluted Truth. We can read it, put it into our minds and spirits, and it's better than any other book the world has to offer. By far. There is no other book out there that can claim to BE pure Truth. No wonder it's so powerful.

This just struck me in a very real way, differently than it ever has before. I've always accepted that the Bible is the Word of God and is completely true, without error, but the lightbulb came on and I realized how lightly I take that.

So go do some reading. Be infiltrated by the power of pure, undiluted Truth. Buy organic, avoid the pesticides and herbicides, clean with all-natural products, pack your system with fruits and veggies heavy in antioxidants, suck up those vitamin-rich drinks - by all means! But oh yeah, by the way, your body isn't going to be around for very long no matter what you do (or don't do) to it. Your spirit is for this life and the next.

John 17:17
"Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Watch out for the leather alligator

Another Tuesday, another kickball and t-ball practice. And I do mean PRACTICE. They have yet to play a game of any sort, even the kickballers. Apparently more training is needed to hone their kickball skills before the coaches will deem them ready for a game.

Update on Caleb: he actually fought kids over the ball tonight as the coach worked on throwing it out to a group of about 5. At a different station where he needed to wait his turn to bat, he had his glove in his mouth and was roaring at another little boy and snapping his glove closed with both hands - what I'd imagine would be a pitcher's nightmare. Yes, I can smell the stadium hotdogs now. Major league, here we come. He is doing a much better job of paying attention now though after we threatened to take his end-of-t-ball snack away.

This morning as I sat with Noah and Caleb and the babies watching Sam doing kickball drills, Noah started dancing in front of me and rolling up his shirt so his tummy was sticking out.
"Who made me? Who made me?" he sang.
Then he came over and looked earnestly into my face. "Who made me, Mama?"
"Who do you think made you?" I asked.
He leaned over to whisper. "God made me," was his confident reply.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

There was a little girl...

We went out to eat tonight - yummy fettuccine alfredo! - and observed an interesting family. Older parents with a girl of about 8 who was, incidentally, wearing a Jonas Brother's shirt. Now, I'm not saying the clothing choice related to her behavior, but...

Here are some of the remarks we overheard from her:
(All said in the brattiest princess voice you can conjure)

"Yuck! Everything on here is disgusting!" as she throws the dessert menu across the table at her mother.

"I hate Dr. Pepper!!"

"Well, what do you THINK??!!" said sarcastically to Dad, along with a dynamite eye-roll.
This one actually produced a response from the mother, "Hey, that's enough."
To which the girl "replied", "NO, THAT'S ENOUGH FROM YOU!"

At this point we were on our best parenting behavior.

"Make sure you enunciate." I whispered to Brian. "They're watching us."

So it made for a very pleasant meal on our part.

"Boys, could you please talk just a bit quieter? Thank you."

"Caleb, I already told you that I didn't want you putting your silverware into your silly putty. Please hand it over to me. Thank you."

"Sam, please sit down in your seat. Thank you, sweetie."

"Noah, what a good job you're doing eating your spaghetti! Where did you learn to twirl your fork like that?"

"Sure you can have another breadstick. Here you go. Sam, please pass this to Caleb. Thank you, Sam."

"Yes, the mints will be your treat tonight."
Sam's response: "Yeah!"

Noted here:
As the other family was leaving, we heard the little girl begging to stop somewhere for a treat. The dad shook his head no, and his facial expression was "No way!" The mother placated her by intervening with, "There's one right on the way."

I hope this family was just having one of those moments where no one really shines behavior-wise, because, as I told Brian, if one of our kids dared to talk to us like that, we'd be in the car headed back home. Maybe to an entire JAR of hot sauce.

I'm kidding. Just so you know. Please don't report me.

But I'd like to acknowledge that we have more than our fair share of less than shining moments as parents. And yes, I believe that one or two may have been observed by the general public. Maybe someone wrote about it on their blog. If you find it, let me know.

Friday, July 3, 2009


If any of you have not seen the movie "Seven Pounds" with Will Smith and would like to, you should stop reading now. Unless you want to know all about it before you watch it.

The premise is this guy who's carrying around a load of guilt for killing 7 people in a car wreck that was his fault. He then proceeds to live out the rest of his life doing penance in the form of donating parts of his body to others who need them.

The main character is driven by this guilt for the entire movie. It is his motivation for donating bone marrow to a child who suffers from cancer, a kidney to an older gentleman, part of his lungs to another, and even his beach house to a single mother needing to escape a bad situation.

There is absolutely no redeeming value in this movie. And I mean that as literally as it can be taken. The man drowns in his guilt, eventually committing suicide when he finally has found a woman deserving of his heart (also meant literally). He also donates through his death, his eyes to a blind man.

So on the one hand we have the possible reaction of, "Wow, what an awesome act of unselfishness and love to those people! He loved them more than his own life!" And on the other, "Wow, this man needed major help to find the grace of the Lord and thus overcome the guilt eating him alive." I tended to go with the latter.

How sad that his guilt completely consumes him! To the death.

And beyond that, he showed no grace in how he chose these individuals to receive the blessing of what he had to give. They needed to fit his criteria of a decent human being. Not a man easily angered. Someone who treats others with respect and decency. If he discovered that they were not that kind - off the list they went!

I'm glad Jesus isn't like that! Jesus would look for the man most undeserving of a second chance at life. He would seek that person out. He would offer him that second chance. That person could refuse him. Or that person could accept God's Spirit within him and change radically into the person God intended him to be. Jesus does do that. All the time.

What a different feeling this movie would have given if the main character could have reached out to those undeserving characters with a gift of a second chance and through that show of love, those lives could have been redeemed. It'd be like watching the visual Bible. I'm glad He chose me, placing His Spirit within me, even though I didn't deserve it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crime and Punishment

We're in the process of totally re-vamping our discipline program. To preserve/restore sanity for all. Let us know if you have any suggestions.
The crime will be listed on the left with the punishment on the right. I'm looking forward to referring to the list in the coming days and just reading the punishment rather than trying to come up with something in the heat of the moment (with anger running rampant - it's amazing how angry you can get at a young child for playing with the milk cap/refusing to wear clean underwear/banging on the stair rail) and feeling like a bad mother. Besides, the "go to your room!" approach just isn't working...
By the way, this was a family affair. The boys helped with ideas for punishments. And of course there was a lot of, "What about when Caleb does..." and "Oh yeah, don't forget about when Sam..."

Lying...........................Hot Sauce (referred to as "spanking the tongue" by Lisa
Whelchel in Creative Correction)

Violence (hitting, biting, pushing, etc.)...................Write an apology card

Yelling..........................Memorize a Bible verse (Prov. 25:28, James 1:19-20)
Huh...I may have the entire Bible memorized by the end of
next week!

Disrespectful talk........................suggestions please

Interrupting.......................Reading time (5 minutes per year of age)

Whining............................Physical exercise (Running around the house, jumping jax)

Arguing............................Extra pages of schoolwork

Willful disobedience.........suggestions please

Selfishness........................Stand on a low stool in a designated corner for x minutes

Slow obedience.................Additional chores (choose from the chore jar)

Coming out of the room at rest...........Positive Reinforcement: Extra "up time" for
coming out given in 5-minute increments
per occasion of rest

Obnoxious table behavior.....................Must eat 2 lima beans for each incidence.
Must also sweep under the table after meal

Taking things without asking (stealing)........Mom or Dad chooses a special toy to
take away for a week

Destruction of property.............................Designated mess cleaner-upper for the rest
of the day

Aggravating car behavior..........................x minutes of silence with nose on knees

Complaining...............................................Pick a chore from the chore jar

Obnoxious laughter (at the moment, this is a very annoying behavior) in place
for 2 minutes

Clothes on the floor of the room.................1 drawer gets completely emptied out to
be refolded by offender

We're trying to make the punishment fairly related to the crime and for the time being to leave out spanking as a designated punishment. We've used it plenty in the past, with varying degrees of effectiveness, and with Noah being only 2 yet, he will still be getting his share of spankings as the punishments are a bit "old" for him yet. But for the other two, it's time to shake things up a bit. I would, however, be interested in your take on spanking - it's still in the running as a punishment for disrespectful talk and for willful disobedience. More on this in a later post.

Ideally, we also want to come up with a resolution for after the punishment is over, where they come and tell us why they were punished/corrected, and why it was wrong to do what they did. We will be attaching a few verses to each infraction for the kids to become familiar with because it's important for them to have Scriptural back-up for why they need to behave in a certain way. They can learn to respect the authority of God as well as the authority of their parents. Any great verses come to mind?

This was so refreshing for me to get down on paper. On the one hand, it's kind of fun after a long day of sending kids to their room, spanking, yelling, etc., to make a list of possible crimes along with how it will be punished in the future. On the other hand, it also makes me a bit more laid back with the kids because I feel like everything's "settled" - of course, it has only been about 4 hours since we started.

Anybody Wanna Hang Out?

Contact: The Phillips Family
Looking for fun with friends this weekend.
Does this sound desperate?
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First hit single?

This morning Sam and Caleb were going around singing:

"I want a little booty!"

Do I have future recording artists or just common thieves on my hands?