Birds

IMG_9999Okay, I’m always trying to make some kind of special moment with the kids. Before I became a parent, I was the best parent. Like, I was AWESOME. My kids never talked back. They went to sleep promptly at their bedtime. We played educational games. We never watched TV. And, we only ever ate the healthiest of food.

Imaginary kids are so easy.

Now that we all see where I’m headed with this post, I shall give you the latest and greatest of my “precious moments” parenting….

Apparently this is like bird birthing season because we have two nests at our house right now and I see another at the neighbors. Well, the one in the backyard was conveniently built on top of the fireplace exhaust (is that even what it’s called? BEATS ME. I’m from Florida). But, whatever it is, it gets hot when the fireplace is on. So, to avoid accidental scrambled eggs, we’ve been diligent to make sure that loose-hands-Charlotte isn’t allowed near the fireplace switch.
OKAY, TRUTH POLICE! Charlotte flipped the switch on once. But, John {believes} he caught it pretty quick.

Each time we’ve gone in the backyard, we check on the nest. It has been my “I’m rocking this parenting thing. I’m all, check out this nature. Check out life. Let’s observe and learn and cherish this together“.

Why do I think these things?

The girls have been super into it. {okay, okay, other than the very initial discovery and we tried to lift Ella up to look at the nest and she screamed as those we were lifting her up into her demise}.

IMG_0094Several days ago, the eggs hatched. We’ve loved checking on them every day and seeing their little balls of fluff hanging out in their nest. Then, it happened…

So, the girls asked to play in the backyard. Since Jed has been born, they’ve gone out to play in our fenced in backyard on their own. I open the window and they can come in and out the door {okay, okay, not a million times and I may say things like “IN. or. OUT.?!”}. But, it’s been a good little set up lately while I nurse Jed or get dinner ready. So, I’m nursing Jed and looking out the windows at them while they play. Ella whizzes by and swings the door open…
{panting heavily} “MOM!! The bird was flying and walking and hopping and…. The bird fell. We hit the bird

WHAT?!

I immediately stop feeding Jed (yeah, he was thrilled). I lay him on the ground (again, thrilled) and go running outside. At this point, Charlotte runs up. I ask them to take me to the bird. Way on the other end of the yard, I approach a bird on the ground with its wings flailed out and…

UNDERNEATH A TENNIS RACKET

Like a little bird prison. I immediately yell tell Charlotte to remove the tennis racket. I notice the bird is still breathing just fine and just staring around. I start frantically answering for the story.

IMG_0153I start to surmise that the bird was minding its own business, fell, and Charlotte put it in bird prison. I then begin to grasp that the bird prison was an effort to catch the bird and they began to say they wanted to hold it.
Well, I’m panicking now.

HAVE WE PARALYZED THIS BIRD?!

What is my logical next step? Call John. You know, because he’s totally sympathetic to the needs of me and this bird.
His responses were things like:

“Ohmygosh, first thing is to have the kids wash their hands so they don’t get bird germs.”

“It’s just a bird. If it dies, it dies”

Next thing I know, I’m screaming talking at the girls to go inside and wash their hands (because of bird germs?). And, don’t touch Jed. Then, I kept John on the phone while I knelt down by the bird to try and figure out how I can scoop it up to get it back in the nest.

I get down next to it and start to whisper sweet nothings while trying to gather my nerve. Turns out, the bird was a liar and wanted nothing to do with our family moments anymore. Guys, that bird done hopped up and flew away while squawking for backup. Next thing I know, birds are squawking from trees and everyone has been alerted to kill me. The second that bird jumped up I screamed the name of Jesus twice. Cue John bursting out laughing

“Are you screaming for Jesus to help you with the bird??”

Uhhhhh, YES, I am. It is telling its Mama bird to come peck my eyes out.

I realized that it was one of the baby birds and it was obviously just now learning to fly. Just the day before, the birds were in the nest and now all of them were out of the nest. I realized that the girls had nothing to do with the bird falling. They were trying to use the tennis racket to hold the bird and analyze it closer. They were somehow gentle with the racket and no injury to the bird. But, I mean, here’s the deal, if something insane (rather than precious) is gonna go down, it’s gonna go down with us.

Excuse me, I’ve gotta go see if it’s time to put the front porch birds into bird prison yet…

{Linking up with A Little R&R Wednesdays!}

Ella is ONE!!

On September 11, Ella turned one year old!! Does anyone else feel like that’s crazy?! Because, I sure do!
Her party invitation
Our new birthday tradition started with
Ella! Every time someone has a birthday
in our little family, the wreath will come out
for the week!
Dessert table! All pink desserts (including
the yummy strawberry filled Oreos in the back)
I made the table skirt with various ribbons,
streamers, and tulle. I loved the way it turned
out!
The pom-poms! I adored these and had a really hard time
taking them down! A few are in Ella’s room now :o)
Her birthday banner! I started out making
one idea I had and then changed it to this one!
I really love the way it turned out (even free-
handing each letter, ahhhh!!). The backdrop is
the same as the tableskirt, ribbons, streamer, and
tulle.
Pretty pink flowers and ribbons instead of a
table runner!
Garland made from Ella’s 1-11month pictures. In between
each picture was a tulle puff as I called them, haha
The favors…Good & Plenty! We liked the idea of the pink
and white candy, so we made up a little tagline to go with it!
Our family!
Showing off her birthday outfit! The hairbow
and tutu are the same she wore in her 1-11
month pictures.
I just love this picture! We let her go to town with the
ribbons and streamers after her party!
On her actual birthday the next day! We went
to church and then the zoo! Here she is with her
Nana (John’s mom)
At the zoo!!
Ella’s birthday was full of such precious moments that I hope we never forget! Including all hands on deck to get everything set up before her big party! I am so glad both John and I’s mother’s were in town. Plus, John is always such a huge help with stuff like this and I honestly couldn’t be more grateful.

In the days leading up to Ella’s party and birthday, I continually prayed that she would feel overwhelmed with love by everything that was put into it. And, through our love that she would get even just a small glimpse of God’s love for her. That’s why we stayed up late making pom-poms or garland or making my crazy table skirt because I had the idea at the last second. And, you know what? I think she did experience some of the depth of the love we have for her. Of course we pray she sees it everyday, but I think her birthday weekend was full of reminders for her!

Thanks everyone that came to the party and of course, our family that helped out SO MUCH!! Our little girl has been the biggest blessing of our lives and thanks for helping us to show her that in a new way :o)

Ella Update and Baby Update!!

Two rather fun milestones shared a day today!! First, is that sweet baby Ella is ELEVEN months old today! Bahhh! One more month until the big one year…so excited! And, the second fun thing of today is that we got to hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time…yay!

Ella Tidbits:

–We really think she gets sweeter every day! She still has her fiery/strong-willed streak in her, but she has calmed down a whooole lot the last few months. She giggles and smiles and gives kisses now. I just love that little laugh!

–She is loving her some finger foods! Anything soft, mushy, and dairy-free will be eaten up in a snap! We’ve actually had to resort back to breaking up her puffs and making even smaller pieces of food than before. Girlfriend likes her food and thinks it’s a challenge to shove as much food in her mouth at once as possible. Therefore, after she choked and changed color a couple of times, I decided I would much rather break everything into the smallest pieces for the rest of her life than be a freakazoid that she’s going to choke. She has since started to slow down a bit, so maybe we’ll try whole puffs and bigger pieces again…maybe :o)

–No crawling! But, for the first time in her life, she is actually seeming like she might be interested. She’s been putting herself on her tummy a lot lately (which has NEVER happened before). She’s pumping and sometimes seems like she’s about to crawl. But, then she either stops or rolls over, haha. But, regardless, she’s been getting around by scooting on her bottom which is hi-lar-i-ous. I’ve always thought she’d skip crawling altogether, but she may just give it a go!

–She’s still rather hairless. But, her hair is definitely still dark and her eyes are most definitely bright blue. She also has a little curl to her hair during bathtime. Of course, that makes me so happy!

–Little Miss talks and talks and talks. I really think she believes she is talking in full sentences and telling us stories. She will babble on and on and on. Her most frequent words are: dada, mama, and baba (maybe for the baby brother or sister she will have in February?! Can I get a what, what??)

–Still taking 2 naps a day (thank you, Jesus! Sickly mama needs her morning nap still, hehe). And, sleeps 11-12hours a night. She’s a great sleeper and still loves her crib. We don’t take it granted for a second!

–She is SO girly. Her noises, her squeals, her tone, the way she crosses her legs, the way she holds her hands, etc. She is just the girliest baby I have ever met! You take the pink away from her, and the hairbows and simply by her voice and mannerisms, you would KNOW she’s a girl. And, can I tell you something? I totally love it!!

Now for some Baby Phillips tidbits:

–This pregnancy has been completely different than my one with Ella. The biggest difference being my sickness level. This first trimester has been what I would assume most women mean to be “bad morning sickness”. I throw up, I’ve lost 2 pounds, smells make me cringe, and all around just feel nauseous 24/7. I have begun to realize that my sickness level with Ella was just flatout not normal. The doctor’s weren’t kidding, I really did have hyperemesis and it was terrible. With her, I had already lost 10 pounds at this point, not two! With her, I couldn’t get food, drink or stomach bile to stay down. Already I am feeling the sickness escape me (not 100%, but definitely getting there!) and with her, I was able to at least function again around 18 weeks. But, I was sick the entire. time. with her! I was very nervous about being sick for another 9 months, since I just went through that. But, it looks like the Lord may just spare me from that this time around!

–With Ella I was definitely a salt craver, but this time around, I don’t seem to be biased toward either, haha! Time will tell which taste I crave more (especially since I am slowly getting to the point where I can eat again!)

–Today we heard the heartbeat for the first time and it was more difficult on me than I anticipated. If you remember, that’s how we discovered we had lost our first baby. Since I didn’t know what to expect that first time around, it didn’t seem a big deal to me that the doctor kept looking and looking and couldn’t find it. Then, couldn’t on the portable ultrasound and ultimately nothing on the big ultrasound. I didn’t think anything bad was going on until that big ultrasound (because our first ultrasound was just fine). There have been a lot of similarities of this pregnancy with our first baby and that’s been hard on me. Then, today came and the doctor had to search for our precious baby’s heartbeat. The look on the doctor’s face wasn’t very reassuring. I felt my whole body go weak and my brain hit overdrive. With the first baby, I had begun feeling much better but just assumed it was because the first trimester was ending. I have also thought the same thing this time around. So, when it took a minute to find the heartbeat, I was immediately back on the table, in my old doctor’s office, in Orlando. But, this time, I wasn’t naive and thinking everything was fine. Rather, this time, my mind ran right to the worst place in a split second. But, thankfully, he did find the heartbeat and everything was perfect. Nice and strong at 158 bpm.

It’s been a strange day for me so far. Joyful for the life that God is growing within, but sorrowful over what happened almost two years ago now. It’s amazing how something similar can take you back so quickly. I’m also sorrowful because hearing Ella’s heartbeat for the first time and now this precious baby’s were more of relief in the moment rather than abundant joy. But, I was just telling a dear friend today that I think one of the reasons that the Lord allowed us to lose our first baby was to teach me to cherish every single moment of my future children. And, that is what I am choosing to do today.

I will cherish the fact that my daughter is 11 months old and I love her more than I ever thought imaginable. I will also cherish that the Lord is allowing me to experience pregnancy one more time and Lord-willing, have another precious baby to cause my cup to runneth over even more!

All Things Ella!

I figured it was time for another update on the princess of the Phillips household!

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning” Here is our “morning”!

–She will be 9 months in less than 2 weeks! So crazy to think we’re not too far off from a birthday party

–She’s eating pureed solid foods, but still figuring out finger foods. She hasn’t quite connected the fact that when she grabs a chunk of food she can put it in her mouth. It’s rather comical because everything else in the world she picks up goes in her mouth, but not actual food!

Giggly baby!

–We are still staying away from everything that is dairy. I plan to talk with the doctor more at her 9-month check-up to try and figure out how we determine in the future if she has a true dairy allergy or not. We tried her on a dairy formula when she was 7 months (we supplemented for just under a month) and she broke out like a mad woman. So, it was kind of a nice little test to see if the dairy would still cause her to get crazy eczema. But, now I’m wondering more about the future. I don’t want to expose her to anything that could cause her throat to close up or something terrifying like that! So, we’ll see what the doctor’s advice is on that one :o)

Why scoot around on your tummy if you can do it while on your back?
–She has no interest at all in crawling. Seriously, she could care less about it. She still HATES being on her tummy. I can amuse her for a minute or two on her tummy before the screaming starts, but then she screams and rolls over. Haha. But, every once in a while, during her brief tummy time, she’ll make some moves that lead us to believe she’s about to crawl! Personally, I’m just enjoying the immobile time while it lasts. Because, I know it’ll be a whole different ball game soon enough!

–She likes to sit up for a little while, but for whatever reason, likes laying on her back better. I’ve tried to keep her from laying back down before and she’ll throw a mini-tantrum and push back on my hand as hard as possible to get back laying down. Some days she’ll sit up and play a whole lot, while other days, she’s on her back a lot.

Whenever she’s doing something funny and we pull the camera out
she immediately stops and gives this face!
–If the sitting up versus laying down thing doesn’t prove she’s strong-willed, then spend a day with us and you can see all of the other little things she does that proves her strong personality :o) She keeps things interesting and I love it!
She loves to get into everything! So, she’s helping mommy go through coupons :o)

–She is babbling away these days. Mama was her first word and her new word is Dada. She is also so very loud in her babbling. And, I. Love. It. She loves to talk and it’s pretty much non-stop these days. It’s my favorite sound in the whole world!

–Her current favorite toy is a plush doll of Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) that she got for Christmas. Even today she was crying because John was holding her and she wanted me to hold her (I had to throw that in there, because she is such a daddy’s girl), then John grabbed her Aurora doll to show her and she instantly had a huge grin. But, she was still crying. So, John and I were cracking up at the smiles mixed with tears

She seriously melts my heart

–Speaking of princess stuff, any time she sees anything Disney princess she starts smiling! Her favorite book at the moment is Tangled, she smiles the whole time! I’m so excited to take her to Disney again, because I think she would be a smiling fool over meeting the princesses

She loves her daddy!

–She has gotten so ridiculously sweet. She has always been a sweet baby, but lately she just seems to be getting sweeter. So many smiles, giggles, flapping her arms in excitement, and enjoys a good hug!

–She still sleeps great and I couldn’t be happier about that! I don’t take it for granted at. all. And, tonight, for the first time she is sleeping with no sleep sack! She fell asleep just like normal, so I am hoping she snoozes just like normal. With the weather being so much hotter outside, it was time to ditch the added warmth.

I’m beginning to notice in a lot of the pictures I chose, she’s in her carseat

–She is getting more hair! I can clip a small hairbow in it while we’re at the house. I don’t trust going out into public with a bow clipped straight to her hair, because it falls out pretty easily, haha. But, her hair is still pretty dark and looks curly when wet!

Those are all of the highlights I can think of for now! We are loving her more and more every day. It’s hard to believe there was a time when she didn’t exist in our lives. But, it’s also hard to believe that she’s our child! So funny all of the random emotions and thoughts that parenthood bring. She is such a joy and most certainly the greatest blessing of my life!

Lent to the Lord

“For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.” 
-1 Samuel 1:27, 28b
 
 
The above verse is one that I prayed and prayed before becoming pregnant with Ella. I prayed that if the Lord would grant my petition asking for a child, that I would do as Hannah and give my child to the Lord. Then, after finding out I was pregnant and the anxiety of the entire pregnancy, I pleaded these verses.
 And, now she’s here. She’s strong-willed like her mother. Yet, loving like her daddy. And, y’all she is the most beautiful baby I have ever laid eyes on. Sometimes, I just stare at her and wonder how in the world a baby so pretty came to be mine. Her laugh is ridiculously contagious. As soon as she starts, I can’t stop, which in turn, makes her laugh harder. I couldn’t ask for a greater blessing than Ella.

But, then comes the pesky second part of that Scripture. The whole, giving her over completely to the Lord. That seemed much easier when I prayed it before she actually got here. I know all of the spiritual answers and agree with them, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult.

 If you want to know the truth, a little window into the last 8 months, my struggle with the Lord has not been an easy one in this area. I know what it’s like to hand your baby over to the Lord and then things end in the way you never expected. I also know that doesn’t hold a candle to the pain of parents that, for whatever reason, the Lord called their child home far sooner than they ever planned.

And, here I am, clinging to my baby scared that the Lord may not know what’s best. What if I miss a step when going up or down the stairs with Ella and something bad happens? What if I lay her down for her nap and she doesn’t wake up? What if she chokes while eating? What if I’m driving on the highway and something starts to happen in the backseat and I can’t get to her in time? What if…?

Unfortunately, I can give you lots of different stories from my life where I trusted the Lord and things didn’t turn out how I planned for them. And, some days I truly struggle in handing over my baby to the Lord. Does He really know best? Do I really, truly believe that God is good?

Tonight, I cried my eyes out to John and explained how sometimes I feel that I am just waiting for something to go bad with Ella. We discussed a lot of it and traced back the roots of the fears. Half of it being the loss of our sweet first baby. But, after we talked some, we decided to sneak into Ella’s room to watch her sleep (one of my favorite things!).

Well, she heard us (oops!) and awoke, crying. I picked her up and held her close. She instantly fell back asleep. Then, as I was swaying her, I looked up and noticed the above verse that is painted above her crib. I instantly got teary and felt the Lord whisper, “When are you really going to lend her to me?”

 Wow.

Don’t get me wrong, the Lord gave mother’s an instinct to protect their children. It’s amazing how He crafts that within a woman that has a baby. It’s okay to be careful and to protect my little one. But, there is also the point where if it’s done out of fear and worry, that is in no way trusting the Lord with my baby.

I am learning what it means to hand over my baby.

Every. Single. Stinkin’. Day.

I am ridiculously, unbelievably, immeasurably, beyond blessed to be given the gift of Ella. And, I will spend the rest of my life handing her over to the Lord and praising Him for letting me care for His creation in her!

Adventures at the Zoo

The zoo is one of those places that I hear about and immediately connect with children. I’ve only been to a zoo once before taking Ella this past weekend and it was when I was a nanny during the summertime. Therefore, I was really excited to take Little Miss to the Zoo Atlanta! She was excited, too and put on her party pants (aka, her ruffly shorts which I didn’t take a picture of, because I am a terrible mother, but I digress).

We are bit of Disney snobs, so we weren’t holding high expectations for the zoo after being to Animal Kingdom about 500 times. But, this zoo was so nice! It was really big and we didn’t even see everything in this visit! We are definitely planning to make this a regular hot spot for the Phillips crew. We got to see lots of things, like a baby panda, a baby gorilla, elephants, tigers, giraffes, etc, etc.

We also came home with lots of funny stories. So, the first one? I’ll start with this picture…

So, right before this picture was taken, I was telling John how we needed to get a picture of the three of us since my mom was with us to take it. Then, soon after I exclaimed how we need more pictures, I spot this lovely gorilla statue. The best part was that no one even cared about it. No line, no crowd, nada. Perfect.

Well, not so much. The second we get ourselves situated, which, included me trying to balance Ella on the gorilla’s leg, John trying to help, me exclaiming in an irritated tone that he “doesn’t understand what I’m trying to do” (aka, I thought it was the coolest idea ever to get her positioned on there and I was too tired and blazing hot/sweaty to think rationally about how I was reacting to his help when he didn’t know “my plan”), 10 million people form a line to get a picture with the gorilla statue.

Immediately, some child ran up to the gorilla to touch it (you think it’s the kid in the above picture? you’d be wrong). The parents quickly yelled at the child that we were “trying to take a picture”, which let’s face it, I’m still trying to dangle my child off of the gorilla leg and my husband is getting snapped at because he just doesn’t understand my artistic expression. But, yeah, we’re trying to take a picture, kid. The perfect picture (in my brain anyways).

So, that kid instantly obeys and returns to the line. Then, out of my peripheral, comes the kid you see in the above picture. Does this child get reprimanded like the previous child of literally two seconds before? Nope. His dad immediately drops down to one knee, with his khaki cargo shorts on, and starts snapping 80 pictures a second of precious little Jimmy playing with the gorilla statue. Nevermind the family of 3 in the background trying to get the perfect picture of their little girl’s first trip to the zoo.

Here’s my favorite picture of the day:

Don’t be fooled, precious little Jimmy is still playing with the gorilla, my mom just cropped him out of the shot. His dad has already made the complete half-circle around the gorilla snapping photos of his playdate with the statue. He also made sure to get 2,400 pictures in 30 seconds while getting down on one knee, back up on his feet, back down on both knees…every angle was going to be shot. Regardless of the family of three looking for the perfect picture.

As you can see, John is angry, Ella is staring at statue (thankfully, oblivious), and I am clearly mid-sentence. But, what am I saying, you ask? Promise not to think I am as terrible as I feel? I yelled, staring straight at the mother in this scenario, but I was really “talking to John”. You know how that move goes? Yeah, well, I yell, “C’mon! Let’s get out of here! If these people are that rude to not wait their turn, I don’t want the picture!”. As soon as we walked away, we started laughing. It was like a, “wait, did all of that just happen in 3 minutes or less?” moment.

So, there it is, the Phillips’ family in all of their glory. I think I am going to go pray for that family right now, to try and counteract my yells at them…

A Shelf and Some Clothespins

I never, ever expected in my whole life that a few items on a shelf and a package of clothespins would bring me to tears. I was always the girl that never cried at the sappy movies or at anything sentimental (still am, but babies can bring a woman to a few more tearful moments than usual). But, over the last week, the Lord has brought some tender moments that I hadn’t really prepared for myself.

Little Miss started solids last week and the first couple of days were horrendous. To put it lightly, Ella abhors anything new. When we first got her an infant swing, she cried and screamed and cried some more. But, within a few weeks, it was one of the only things that could get her to calm down. This process has been repeated several times with several different things. I don’t know why she hates change and new things so much. I mean, I don’t know anyone (named Jennifer, perhaps) that hates change. I guess it will always be a mystery. Anyways…

After day three of screams, I was ready to throw in the towel. But, guess who showed up on day four? Miss McSmiley Pants! She was giggling and eating solids like a champ! Couldn’t get enough of it! I was beyond thrilled. But, at the same time, there were intermittent moments where I had to hold back tears. To start solids, we’ve been sititng Ella in her Bumbo on top of the dining room table rather than in her highchair (it’s just easier for now). And, on the wall by our dining room table, we have two shelves. One shelf contains some trinkets and photos, while the other contains some memories of our first baby. Remember this post? We do still have the shelf up and I love it. I love that our first baby has a place in our home. I love that I can look up at on that shelf and remember that the Lord has blessed us with two children, not just one.

And, just last week, Ella discovered the shelf. We showed her once before and she stared at it for a while, but this was the first time she found it on her own. She would stare at the shelf, get one more bite of food, then stare at the shelf. This process continued until she was done eating. And, ever since that day, most times when I feed her, she looks over at the shelf. Just seeing her stare at the ultrasound picture of her older brother or sister, was one of the most amazing moments for me since we’ve had Ella.

Then, yesterday, I did our diaper laundry (have I mentioned we are doing cloth diapers full-time now? So far, we’ve loved it! Another post on that later). To save on some electricity and to help naturally bleach out the diapers, I hung up our clothesline. I have never used a clothesline before, but thought the diapers would be a good reason to start. I set up the line and knew that I had brand new clothespins somewhere. The only thing I could remember is that I bought some one time for some type of craft. I dug through all of my craft supplies and couldn’t find it.

Then, to the laundry room. Nope, not there.

Then, to our junk drawer. Nada.

To the cabinet with the tools? Nope.

The garage? Not there, either!

Then, it hits me. I remember what I used them for now….

to surprise John that I was pregnant with our first baby. I used them to hang up baby clothes as a decoration.

I stopped in my tracks. Then, I thought how cool it would be to use something of the first baby’s for his or her younger sister. I went upstairs to the guest room closet where the bag full of stuff from the first baby lives. I pulled it out and there it was. The ribbon I used for the decoration still had the clothespins attached and the package of unused clothespins were in the bag, too. I took the unused ones out and went to my clothesline.

As I hung up each diaper, I remembered our first child. It’s amazing how a little baby that never even entered the world alive, can have marks all over my home and in my heart. I was reminded, once again, that God does not create living things without a purpose. That baby had a purpose and I feel like month by month I get another glimpse of it.

My sweet Ella has a purpose in this life, too. My job as her mom is to help her unravel it and to prepare her to fulfill what God has for her life. And, may I keep letting the shelves and the clothespins in my life remind me of the continuing work that is to be done in my sweet, second baby.