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What happened to Summer?

08/01/2013 - Author: Natasha Phillips

I can not believe that in two weeks Boyd will be back at school. It seems to me that summer just began. This was a particular blessed summer for me as I was able to enjoy being home with all three of my boys. Last year was the first summer I have ever not worked since I was a teenager. Let’s just say that was a while back! 🙂 Last year Ivan was just a couple of months old and Boyd was working for his grandfather. Well this year I had all three of my boys home and loved every minute 2013 07 06_natasha's pics_0430 of it! Oh sure, there were the…I am going to pull my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs at you, or, ahhh lets just lock the bathroom door and turn the vent on and just sit here because it is the only ‘safe’ room of the house, but none-the-less I actually did enjoy being home this summer with my boys. Boyd was on a traveling baseball team this year and that added quite the dimension to our weekends. There were 2013 07 13_natasha's pics_0344some deep breaths and tense moments between the other adult of the house and I over the constant travel, but I am so thankful for the opportunity Boyd had to further his talent and grow his love for baseball. Elliott has expanded his vocabulary immensely this year to the point of one really having to take note of what one is saying in front of him. His incessant mom, mom, mom, mom, mom is music to my ears!! 🙂 He isn’t a very nice brother to Ivan but there are times Ivan is asking for it!2013 07 03_mom's photos_1811 We have already experienced Elliott closing Ivan between doors, handing out bloody noses and sitting on him constantly! Yes, my house is a house of true boys! Ivan is such a doll. He FINALLY started walking about 3 weeks ago and is now non stop. He looks a little like a bowlegged drunk when he walks, but its pretty entertaining to watch so I am not to worried. 🙂 He is such a little cuddle man and loves to hand out hugs a kisses. Boyd is by far the favorite person in both the boys lives although Noma (my mom), is a very close second.2013 07 06_natasha's pics_0412 2013 07 06_natasha's pics_0503

The Lord has been good and gracious to us. If someone would have told me two years ago that I would have had a summer like the one I just had, I think I may have laughed. Not working has brought this family closer together, made us more frugal, and taught us some important lessons. It is interesting to me that when one actually slows down, stops and takes time to see what they have in their life, how absolutely blessed they should feel, no matter what the social ladder rung is that they are on. I want the time to slow down but in the same breath I am so excited to see what is in store for our little family that what I really want to do is focus on the Lord, His faithfulness to us and be ready for whatever He sends our way! I hope that you all had as blessed a summer as mine. Watch for the post to start coming through of the fun projects we did to keep us busy this year!!2013 07 18_mom's photos_1678

2 Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection, Just Because, My Kids, Uncategorized

Political ramblings

10/12/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

This post is a bit out of character for this blog, and although it could be blamed on the hour of night or the glass of wine I had, I do want to write down what is on my mind. Tonight my family, that is my husband along with our eldest son and myself watched the vice-presidential debate. I want to record what I am feeling so that in the future my children can look back and see what I believe.

The question was posed to me this evening on how might I feel if my children should choose a different political path than I have chosen for myself. Although I do believe every parent hopes that their child might follow in their footsteps politically, I realize that this isn’t really reality…and although it might not be the easiest thing to do I do believe that I would embrace their differences as long as they have made an educated decision. One of my biggest issues with our society is the need to be ‘proper’ when it come to topics such as politics or religion. I don’t understand why we avoid dialogue along these lines when in my mind those are the very reasons we became an independent country. We should be able to speak to one another about our different opinions and respect that people are not always going to agree with us. We should understand that one of the great things about America is that it is a country that was founded on principles so that we could disagree. Maybe that sounds odd but if you really think about it, my opinion is, it isn’t odd. Think about it, people escaped their ‘old’ way of life so they could build a country where they might have freedom of thought, speech and religion. So why is it now we are so afraid to discuss what we believe with another person? Why are we afraid that they might not like us anymore or they might not agree with us? Why do we feel the need to try to pressure someone in to thinking the same thing that we do? Why are we afraid to speak up? It is very odd to me.

That being said I am going to take a moment and summarize what I believe: I believe in the freedom of the individual. I believe that more freedoms should be given to individual states to decide what is best for them while governing under the constitution and guidelines put into place by the overall government. (I don’t know if I said that well. 🙂 ) I believe that Protestant Christians should have just as many freedoms as other religions. I am 100% pro-life, no question about it. I believe that people should rely on themselves more and get a job at McDonald’s if that is what it takes rather than on the government. I have the utmost respect for our military staff and their families but I do believe that we impose our-self onto other countries because we have a ‘supreme’ complex if you will and we don’t realize that just because something works for us it doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. I believe in the freedoms of the American to bear arms.

I believe many more things that the aforementioned subjects, but that is the jist of it. I realize that there are people this will offend and I welcome your comments and questions. I will not try to change the way you might feel, but I will embrace it just as I will embrace my children’s view should they alter from mine. This is America and we should be proud to live here and voice how we feel. Many men and women have fought for that right and it is silly to keep quite because we want to be ‘socially’ correct.


(That will be all for now. I have already written an entire post and was ready to hit publish when I hit key and it all disappeared. I am afraid I missed some good points I had written in that post but hopefully one can understand where I am coming from with this one. )

6 Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection

Shower Time

09/21/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

I have come to terms with the fact that I could not have lived without running water in my house…and yes it used to be a dream of mine not to have running water but to have a pump outside…well that was my dream when I was 10 anyway. 🙂 Yes, it is true, my siblings and I would play dress up for hours and pretend that we were living on the prairie, discovering the west on a wagon trail, or dressing up to go to some turn of the century ball. I blame Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder for those dreams. What were we thinking? The ladies of that era had to wear a lot of perfume or maybe everyone just stunk so it didn’t matter!

In my life I feel lucky if I get a shower every three days. I can’t imagine not having running water, it would be about every three weeks I would be taking a shower if I had to get my own water from a well! Growing up we had 10 minutes from the time we closed the bathroom door until the time we opened it to take our showers and get dressed. For someone with long hair this was quite the feat to complete. I now realize it was just another training exercise preparing me for this time of my life.

I have come to realize that as a mom one of the most refreshing, invigorating, and stressful things we do is take a shower. At least for me it seems this way. Without fail if I decide to take a shower during nap-time one of the boys wakes up and decides to cry, which in turn wakes the other one up…nothing calming about that. I could take a shower late at night instead of going to bed, but lets face it…bed is always going to win for me! Getting up early isn’t an option for me, unless I want to fall asleep standing up in the shower and potentially cause myself great harm by doing that. 🙂

So, what do I do? I get my wonderful husband to watch the boys in the evening so I can take my shower. I hurry though because I don’t want to miss my family time and besides that, who needs a long shower anyway? I have come to realize that even though my showers may at times be infrequent and potentially stressful, it is another way to remind me of the little blessings I have in my house. Because instead of wanting a long hot shower, I want to be playing ‘Brain Quest’ with Boyd, hold Ivan on my lap and watch Elliott play with cars. This time in my life is going so fast, so I am going to enjoy it and just wear more perfume. 🙂

1 Comment - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection

Reflections on Psalms 139

09/19/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

A couple days ago I wrote a tidbit about my canning experience with two little ones underfoot. It is funny how one day can stick in your head and start the wheels of reflection turning. I started thinking about my life, the course it has taken over the years and psalms 139. Verse 16 says, “All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”

When I was growing up, in particular my teenage years, I was very resentful of certain things in my life. I had a hard time with having to be in-charge of so many kids, hated the fact I was home-schooled, didn’t think the cooking/canning I had to do was fair and I certainly didn’t want the cleaning jobs my sister and I had for work. Basically I was your average, think-they-know-everything teenage. I promised myself all those years ago that I would never be the type to  can, budget my meals, make my own cream soup from scratch or stay home with my kids. I thank the Lord every day that I was wrong!!!

I realize now that the Lord was training me to be the woman and mom that I am today. I believe that if you are a child of God that no matter how far you try to run or escape the plan He has for your life…that He will find you and direct your path in the way he designed. There may be many trails along the way that you cleared yourself , and similar to trails being cleared in the woods, the ones we clear ourselves..without the Lord…those paths will have many obstacles and the traveling will be tough. Now anyone who does any amount of hiking in the woods will know that even the cleared path isn’t always smooth going. There will be bumps and tree roots in your way, but that is nothing compared to the thorns, downed trees, vines, and creeks with out bridges that we have to clear on our own when we walk off the main path. My life is filled with many paths jutting off the main one, but the Lord knows my paths before I even make them. This doesn’t nor should it, give me the excuse to walk away from the main path. I should never walk away from the plan the Lord has for me or the teachings of His word, but I am a sinner and fail, I am thankful though that I have Him in my life to redeem me from my wistful wandering.


I will close with Psalms 139. I pray that it brings encouragement

Oh Lord, you have searched me and You know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, Oh Lord.

You hem me in-behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is to wonderful for me, to lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from Your spirit, where can I flee from Your presence?

If I go up to the heavens You are there; If I make my bed in the depths, You are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

Even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’

Even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like day, for darkness is as light to You.

For you created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in a secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.

Psalms 139:1-18

2 Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection

“Don’t Eat That!”

09/15/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

It was perfect. The kitchen was spotless, the canning jars sparkling with cleanliness in the sun. The knives were sharp and had worked their magic on the tomatoes. Everything was going according to plan. My hair was done just right with make-up applied in case that ‘surprise’ guest might show. The kids were behaving perfectly dressed in their crisp polo shirts with their colorful plaid shorts. This ‘Martha Stewart’ canning was just perfect. Ahh what sweet bliss. Then….I woke up to reality…and this.

Yeah, that is a square of baking chocolate that Elliott is eating. My response to seeing that, “Don’t eat that.” His response…a smile while repeating, “no,no,no,no.” He knew he wasn’t supposed to eat it. Well, it was a good way to get the cupboards clean. Elliott knew just the push to get me going!

I know, I am a mess. If anyone would have told me this is how my kitchen would look while I was canning a few years ago, I would have laughed and said never!! I like things organized, clean and methodic. This, however was the only way I was going to get anything done today. The boys wanted to be where I was and I had to get the tomatoes done. I am so glad I was able to spend my day like this. Not only did I get to spend time with the boys, I was able to can and clean my cupboards!!! Life is good. 

2 Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection

Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? !

09/13/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

This post is for my sister Micah. I just got off the phone with her and told her that I was having a hard time deciding if I should can the 2 five gallon buckets of tomatoes I have or if I should wait. She said why not wait, isn’t the saying: “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?”. 🙂 Now we both know that the saying doesn’t actually go like that, but sometimes for our emotional stability, it is necessary to put things off.

Take last night as an example. I have a tooth that has been bothering me for a while so I finally went to the dentist yesterday. Supper was already to made in the crock pot since I was unsure how I would feel after my appointment. Well needless to say I didn’t feel great. In fact I felt plain awful. The pain was almost unbearable, but my family needed me. They needed me to feed them, clean the kitchen, go over homework, can 5 quarts of tomatoes, and put them to bed. This by no means makes me a hero or wonder woman, it makes me a mom. I am also ashamed to say I didn’t do any of those things with joy. There was zero joy in my heart, instead there was a great deal of frustration that I couldn’t just go lay in bed, pull the covers over my head and go to sleep. (Which is what my husband and probably 90% of the male population would do.) I am not saying that I resented my family in those moments, or the situation I was in, I just wasn’t happy. To make matters worse for today, my boys decided not to sleep last night. Literally maybe 4 hours of sleep was achieved. Matt, however, did get more sleep. Now I understand he has to leave the house and go to work and that my ‘job’ is here. There are times though that I want to scream and say, “you know, I also need sleep so that I can take care of the boys”. Actually in all fairness to my husband I have said that, and not nicely either. So here we are today,  and I have tomatoes to can. But for my kids, husband and my emotional stability, I believe that I will not be doing them today. I need some time to just play with the boys, enjoy them and get over my bad attitude. I need to spend some time in the bible and rejuvinate….re-fuel if you will.

Now I do not want to give the impression that my husband isn’t a help or that my children are a burden, because they are not. Matt is very helpful around the house and my kids are the light of my life. Some days though I want to go on a long walk….a very long walk. 🙂 And to you husbands or boyfriends out there, bring your significant other a flower, a card, a candy bar, heck..even a rock would work and tell her you appreciate her and the work she does whether she is a stay at home mom, a mom who works out of the house or a wife/girlfriend who makes sure you feel loved.

To my sister: Thank you for listening and encouraging me. Thank you for the positive influence you are and for the words of wisdom you share with me. Thank you for the laughs and the tears. Thank you for being you and my friend. I am so glad we have each other and can celebrate this time of our lives together. Love you!!!

1 Comment - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection

Game Night

09/11/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

Last night Matt and I were watching last years season of ‘Parenthood’. It is one of our favorites and we can watch previous seasons through Netflix. Anyway, there were many story lines going on in the episode we were watching, but the one that hit closest to home was about a game night. Kristina (one of the characters), was trying to get her family together for a game night because she was feeling so disconnected after just having a baby. Of course the family didn’t really want to play along which ended up in the husband and kids being forced out of the car by an angry mother while she then proceeded to drive down the street saying she was going to have fun playing mini-golf all by herself. Of course I was laughing pretty hard at this entire scene because I can relate on so many levels. Mostly on the level of growing up and not wanting to play games and mom getting frustrated with us. Now, however I am on the end of trying to get game night going in our house….it isn’t working out so well. So we compromise and play ‘Brain Quest’ instead.

For those of you who are not familiar with ‘Brain Quest’, it is an educational supplement that you can use as flash cards, work books, or quiz cards. We like the quiz card sets the best. Each card has 10 questions on them with an answer card directly behind the question card. I get to be the moderator and Matt and Boyd race each other to see who can answer first and get the point. Elliott tries to answer as well but we can’t understand him yet… so he doesn’t get a point. Boyd does get a 5 second head start just to make it fair. Right now we are working on the 5th grade questions which can be a little surprising. For instance: “Who is the Italian explorer that America is named after?”, “What’s the female equivalent of a hero?”, “Which amendment game African-American men the right to vote?”, “What four coins add up to 95c?”, and so on. Some of the questions seem rather easy while other prove to be a bit difficult, even for Matt.

It is a fun way for us to all spend time together while learning trivial facts and exercising our Cerebrum. If one is in need of a stocking stuffer, a small gift for a birthday party or wanting to add to their game collection, I recommend ‘Brain Quest quiz cards’. I may not be able to get my family to go mini-golf regularly, or bowling but I will take the time we can spend together playing a simple game and treasure it just the same.

P.S. What does this picture have to do with this post? Nothing! 🙂 I just wanted to add a picture and didn’t have one that was very relevant.

2 Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection

Dinner Flop

09/06/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

I have read in the past about the funny stories couples have about a load of laundry that ends up stained or a dinner that was a disaster. Usually when I read these stories they take place shortly after a couple gets married or moves in together.  Although I find humor in reading them, I haven’t really been concerned about that happening to me. Yes, there was that time doing laundry when Matt and I were dating that I washed a pair of his jeans. I don’t remember what was in the wash but the jeans came out pink. Oh my goodness I was so scared he was going to be mad at me. I scrubbed the jeans with every stain remover I could think of with a tooth-brush probably four times washing them in the washer trying to get the pink out. I lightened the pink but there was still a hue about them…Matt didn’t get mad when I told him, he just didn’t wear the pants again. But with cooking I may not have a recipe turn out great but it usually isn’t bad….not today though.
The adjustment for me to go from working and being a mom to being a full stay-at-home mom hasn’t been the easiest. I feel, and I am sure that other mom feel the same way, that I should have things always in order when my husband gets home from work. We know that he is out working and bringing home the paychecks and we are here. Not that here is a bad thing but if at one time I used to be able to juggle work and keep up on the house I should definitely be able to make sure that the kids are clean, the house is picked up and have supper cooking or at least planned when he gets home. The other thing about me not working is tightening our financial spending belt. So I put a freeze on our grocery purchases for four weeks which limits the dinners one might be able to cook. My mom was a really good teacher when it came to cooking so I feel pretty confident in my way around the kitchen. One of Matt’s favorite dishes are ‘pasties’. I only know this because he talks about having them in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and how good they are. I have never made them nor had them so today I decided to make them for dinner. It was going to be a surprise and he would be so happy….atleast in my mind.
If you don’t know what pasties are, they are a pastry stuffed with potatoes, carrots, beef, onion, cabbage and then it is baked. The pastry is similar to pie crust but isn’t exactly the same. So Matt got home and I had the pastry mixed up, veggies cut and was ready to roll the crust out and put them together. Things started falling apart at that point. I can’t put my finger on one thing but the kids started fussing and I was getting irritated at nothing. I finally got a chance to put dinner together and the dough wouldn’t roll out. I tried everything and it just kept falling apart. I was bawling my eyes out and Matt walked into the kitchen asking what was wrong. All I could say between sobs was, “I just wanted to make you a nice dinner, one that would surprise you and just be nice”. He just rubbed my back and said it wasn’t a big deal anything I made would be fine. (Little did he know.) It was a big deal to me though, I just figure that if I am not working everything should be perfect here. I want him to have a Proverbs 31 wife, one he is proud of, and I know it was just dinner but it is hard sometimes.
I wish I could say that I was able to salvage dinner, but I can’t. I ended up baking it all in a pie dish thinking that it would still come out okay…instead it ended up barely edible. My wonderful husband just put a lot of sour cream on it though, ate it and then said he would take it in his lunch as long as I sent the sour cream. (I love him so much!) I don’t even think that there is a moral to the story or anything that I can say is encouraging. It was just one of those nights and that is okay. I am going to have them as a mom and I am thankful that the Lord has given me this opportunity.

5 Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection

Moldy Bread and Stress

08/15/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

Today I fed my middle child moldy bread. Actually he didn’t eat it, but I gave it to him none the less. Now before you go and report me to the bad parenting authorities, just hear me out. I like to think of myself as a pretty organized, cool headed and fun mom. 🙂 At least until the last few days. Lately though one could use the polar opposite of those words to describe me, and it is all my husband’s fault. You see Matt, (my husband) and my oldest son left last week on Thursday to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They went with Dad/Grandpa and Brother/Uncle to fish for a week and a half. While I am so glad that they could go and spend this time with each other it hasn’t been a walk in the park being home without them. I hear of other wives who look forward to a ‘break’ from their husbands. I am not one of those. My husband is my best friend and my social life. I would say that is one of the hardest things to get used to now that I stay at home with the kids. Before I was always meeting people and having adult conversation during the day, now I have to wait until Matt gets home from work to have any conversation at all, (well unless I call my sister and talk for an hour!). But Matt and Boyd also bring a sense of stability into the home, Elliott lights up when they are around and is just so much easier to handle. Well Elliott started falling apart about 48 hours ago. Lots and lots of crying, from both my boys actually since the youngest is now teething. I was doing okay for a little while, trying to play and keep them entertained but while doing that the house was slowly falling apart. Dishes were stacking up, the floor wasn’t getting swept and forget about picking up the toys. My only reprieve was the computer at nap time and when they went to bed. I would get on here, play a couple games and then head to bed myself. Well about 36 hours ago my computer completely crashed. It was a miracle I was able to get it started again to get the photo’s I had accumulated over the last 4 years. (Let this be a note: back up your computers!!) The only way I was possibly going to salvage having a computer was totally rebooting the hard drive which meant I would lose everything. Frustrated doesn’t even begin to explain how I was feeling. Anyway I started the reboot early afternoon since it took literally all morning to get my photo’s off the computer. During all of this I was really trying to keep my kids happy and it just wasn’t working. Elliott ended up going down for a nap early and when he woke up he was hungry. So I put him on the couch next to me and got a piece of bread. Elliott loves plain bread so it makes a great snack when I am in a pinch. He was so excited about that piece of bread, I just watched him admire it setting on his lap before he took a bite. I could just see the anticipation in his face, it was so cute and it was all over a piece of bread. That is when I noticed the mold. Yeah, I know, I am horrible. There is a point to all of this. I know it sounds like I am complaining and I am not. I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything in this world . But sometimes staying home and listening to the crying gets hard. It is hard not knowing what to do to make your kids happy. That is okay though, it is okay to feel overwhelmed, and not in control. It is okay to have a melt down and eat an entire French Silk Pie. (Not that I would recommend that one do this, but the sugar and butter does help to smooth out the wounds of the day.) 🙂 I just want other moms to know that the next time they give their child a crayon instead of a lollipop, a hairbrush instead of a toothbrush or moldy bread instead of a yummy cookie, that you are not alone…I am out there and have already done something on that list. 🙂

1 Comment - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection

Scrabble Extreme

08/11/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

When my husband and I met I didn’t have syndicated television, we still don’t, so often our date nights were spent playing board games. Now keep in mind that the extent of games I had on hand at that time were, Candy Land, Connect Four, Chutes and Ladders and various card games suitable for a 4 year old. My husband on the other hand was very intellectual and didn’t really care for the games I had on hand, so he taught me the art of scrabble. When I began playing it I was just awful. I was lucky if I broke 135 for my score while Matt would sit back and easily kill with 300+ points. I have a fairly competitive attitude and just couldn’t handle being beat. So we just kept playing. Our dates consisted of a nice bottle of red wine and a scrabble board. We usually played once every week or two. I was slowly getting better. Shortly after we got married, about three years ago,  I scored my highest game at that time, over 400 points. Since then I think we have played maybe 5 games, he doesn’t like to lose. 🙂 We are now trying to teach Boyd the fine are of the game and he is picking it up nicely. I know that this makes me seem like a little bit of a nerd, but that is okay. I have been thinking today about the time we spend with our family, how it is so different these days than it must have been just 50 years ago. Our lives are so inundated with technology that we don’t often take the time for a game that takes an hour or two to play. I am just thankful for the time that we have right now with our boys to play these ‘small’ games and watch them grow. How blessed I am.

No Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection

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