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There is no bad guy

04/11/2017 - Author: Natasha Phillips

Apparently in the world of social media there are all kinds of days set aside to acknowledge or celebrate little things in our life and the world that we really have no control over…like siblings. Yes, yesterday was national sibling day…who knew? Much of my childhood memories have been reduced or enlarged…however you chose to look at it…by only the good memories, the treasures and stories that make up the vibrant pattern of the quilt being made that is the tapestry of my life. I often wonder, agonize and stress over what my kids will remember, if they will have good memories of their adolescent years or if they will be filled with me telling them to “just be quiet or I am going to go crazy”, or “really, you really think that is a smart answer”, or…my favorite…”go use your imagination and stop fighting!” I also wonder how much of the past few years will define them, if they will notice or remember the turmoil they lived in, or if what they are going through now…being in two different houses…adjusting to “dad’s” house and me not being there. I am so thankful for the relationship and memories I have with my best friends in the world..,my siblings.

Not having T.V. or rather syndicated television, (we could watch movies), growing up…our imaginations worked in overtime. Our playtime was filled with variou story lines but consistent throughout most was the theme of a “bad guy or group” and a “good guy or group”. If we were pretending to live in the great country of Australia…the bad guys were dingos, prairie fires and a rich land owner. Nationality made no difference in our minds as we often re-enacted the trail of tears or the Underground Railroad…with the proverbial “white man” as the bad guy. However then wandering westward you might never know what Indian might be waiting to scalp you. Cops and robbers…more of the likes of Jesse James and Wyatt Earp kept the law and broke it. We knew no gender or race…there was no prejudices shown EXCEPT to the idea of GOOD and BAD. Those were the days…when a “wind storm” (and a fake one at that), was the “BAD” that encompassed my days. Now…I worry that my kids definition of bad will include more than their imagination and memories of fun they had or will have.

In this situation…this new era of the journey of life…it’s easy for people to blame Matt…to think he is the “bad” guy. I’m not excusing certain behaviors…but he isn’t the “bad” guy. There is NO bad guy. There were bad choices made, bad reaponses, bad circumstances…but there is NO bad guy. For the sake of my kids, for the sake of Matt…I DO NOT want this to be misunderstood. Our kids will be fine. Kids are resilient little beings…we will be fine for our kids…but we are not fine for each other. I’m thankful for Matt. I am thankful for the life we shared…not all of it…I am thankful for the growth I experienced with him and that I will continue to experience through this, I am thankful that he loves his kids, I am thankful for his family. I am thankful that even through this divorce…the kids will be fine…that we both have our kids backs…and THAT THERE IS NO BAD GUY HERE!

2 Comments - Categories: The Journey

Dear Son….

10/16/2013 - Author: Natasha Phillips

My Darling Elliott-

Today is your 3rd birthday. I have no idea where the last three years have gone. I want to rewind them so I can go back085 and do the bad days over and relive the good days with you. You are such a light in my day, a bundle of energy that never stops. When you came into my life those three years ago I had no idea what to expect. You have exceeded every expectation I ever had of being a mother twice over. 091You have been a handful from the start, but one that I cherish and love. Oh sure, there were really hard days. The days that your dad would come home and all you had done that day and previous night was cry from the colic that plagued your little body. You were so sick that first 6 month with thrush, colic, ear infections, RSV, and the common cold. Those days seemed to pass so slowly, however now looking back they happened in the blink of an eye. Once summer came you were a different child. You loved to be outside and often that is where we were the entire day.IMG_1605 It was such a joy watching you learn new things, how to roll over, sit, crawl and eventually walk at 17 months!! When I was pregnant with your younger brother you often just wanted to cuddle, which was great but you also had so much energy there were times you just wanted to jump and climb on me.IMG_2879 You couldn’t understand why that couldn’t happen. When your brother was born it was the first night I ever spent away from you in your 17.5 months you had been on this earth. The change of having baby Ivan compete for my attention was very hard for you and the sibling rivalry you share with him to this day started then. You slowly transitioned from your constant jabber to brokenIMG_3803 words with the constant mom, mom, mom, mom….being your standby when you couldn’t figure what else to say. Boyd quickly became your favorite person, outweighing both dad and I because he could give you all the undivided attention you wanted. As you have grown the stubbornness that is going to takeIMG_4253 you far in life really has come through. As hard and frustrating as it is at time I am proud that you stand for what you want, even if it results in you also standing in the corner from time to time. Right now you are going through a phase where everything is scary, I pray you overcome your fears soon. Son, I pray that your life is guided by our Savior and that you will choose Him over anything else in this world. He alone holds theIMG_0345 future and I pray earnestly for your salvation and surrender to Him. I pray that you grow to be a strong man that is faithful to your wife. I pray for her life right now, that the Lord is preserving her heart from a very young age. I pray that your are a man of honesty, integrity, respect and have a desire to work hard in this life. I pray that you are a man that others can look to.  I love you so much Elliott. I love your spunk, imagination, smiles, funny looks, how everything you like is “perfect” and I love your ability to make people around you feel special. I am so proud to be your mom and can’t wait to get to know you better as you grow into a young boy. Three years old you are today….Happy birthday Elliott Donald Phillips!!!IMG_0363 IMG_0488 IMG_3463 IMG_7388

Love with all my heart-

Your Mom

No Comments - Categories: Family Stories and Reflection, My Kids

Why get Dressed?

12/04/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

So I always thought I would be the mom whose kids were dressed cute, and picture perfect everyday. Well it turns out only one of those things happened. They are picture perfect everyday!!! There are just days out there where it is easier not to dress them, (at least not dress them until noon or so). It seems that Elliott has more fun on those days anyway. There will be more days in the future for me to have my kids looking ‘perfect’, right now I just want to enjoy them. (And for those of you wondering, I did not put the glasses or hat on my child, that is all him. He is a special one alright.) 🙂

No Comments - Categories: My Kids, Uncategorized

Our Feelings

12/03/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

When I started this blog I had every intention of writing almost every day. I made a ‘goal’ list and was going to be ‘one of those organized bloggers’. Obviously I have failed. The reasons I have failed are numerous but they all pretty much boil down to one reason. That reason has been hard for me to write about but I think is necessary for me to address so that I can move on in my blogging career.

My family means everything to me. My boys light my world and my husband is my best friend, my confidant. However there are days when I can’t breathe. These feelings started about four months ago. Feelings of complete hopelessness, failure, and overwhelming minutes of not knowing how to cope. There were moments of wanting to shut myself in my bedroom and not come out. To hide, if you will, from the ‘social’ scene. I had feelings of wondering why I couldn’t handle being in the same room as my husband. I was really struggling with these feelings. I was  in prayer about them, reading my bible and trying to get past them. I put myself in social settings with other moms and although I would be sitting there, trying to participate in the conversation or playtime, I didn’t feel as though I was connecting. I never talked about it though. I thought something was wrong with me. Here I am so blessed, I love my boys so much and yet I was struggling to be happy. My mother is and was such an awesome mom. She would do the coolest stuff with us. My sister is the bomb. It’s like she has everything together.  About a month ago I had an epic melt down. Two days later I made an appointment to talk to someone. I was so embarrassed. I didn’t tell anyone about it. I even made a doctor’s appointment for Ivan to cover for my appointment. She was so great, the lady I talked to. She herself was a mother of three and understood where I was coming from. It felt so good to talk, to get my frustrations out in the open. To realize that there isn’t anything wrong with my…well at least not of catastrophic proportions. She suggested I make a list of things my husband could do that would help me cope. Things that could happen on a daily basis. At first I thought that was ridiculous. Why should I have to give my husband a list to understand me. It isn’t like I have a list that I follow. Then I started thinking, it isn’t like he knows what I need. He needs me to communicate with him before I get so stressed out that I have a meltdown. So two weeks later I did just that, I made a list. Here we are about a month later and I am starting to feel normal again. I have realized that feeling overwhelmed, feeling like I am not doing what is best for my kids, feeling like I can’t breathe….a lot of mothers have those feelings. It doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad mom. I have really struggled with this transition of being a working mom to a stay-at-home mom. I realize that there are women out there that don’t struggle with it, but I am not one of them. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard, but for me the hardest part is feeling fulfilled. It sounds so bad because I have been given the greatest gift, my children. I am not saying it isn’t fulfilling being a stay-at-home mom, I am saying it is an adjustment.

I started this blog to record the happy, fun, adventurous, thrifty and mundane happenings in our life. Apparently I will also be recording the difficult moments as well. I want other moms to be encouraged by what I write. I want them to know that if they feel overwhelmed or have feeling of doubt in their mothering skills, I am right them with you. I am going to close with the list that I gave my husband. Maybe, just maybe, there will be a dad out there that will find it helpful. Thanks for reading.

1. Receiving a hug or a kiss when you get home from work. (not two hours later after you have adjusted to being home and have had a drink or two.)

2. Help with the dishes after dinner.

3. Making sure that every 3-4 days I have a chance to take a shower.

 

3 Comments - Categories: 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

Our Stories

09/27/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

I have found it is hard to write our stories. Stories of our emotions, how we grew up, what maybe changed in our lives and so on. It is hard to admit to mistakes, challenges and distractions we encounter in a path of life. I personally have a hard time facing the failures I have had in my own life. I am not talking about failed dreams or projections on what I thought my life might be when I was younger, I am talking about the failures in everyday life. My emotions get away from me far to often. Of course I try not to yell nor to discourage the adventures of a young boy with their noisy voices, yet I do get very irritated and at times it does happen. Take last night for example.

Matt wanted all of us to play ‘Brain Quest’ with Boyd, which was great, but….I couldn’t get the baby to sleep and he was fussing more than usual. I recently started giving him cereal and I don’t think he is digesting it very well so he was squirmy and wouldn’t settle down. Elliott was just noisy. Everything he did he had to say ‘mom’ first. Everything. Boyd was just unfocused and telling us these long, drawn out stories that don’t really make sense and are hard to follow. At this point my brain is going a hundred different directions and I feel myself getting agitated. So when Matt said he wanted to play a game I came unglued and said, “not until I get the baby to sleep!”. I know it is small but the way I said it was not very nice. Nor was about 30 minutes later when the baby was sleeping, we were playing the game, and Elliott was standing next to me saying, “mom, mom, mom, mom, mom,” (you get the point), and I said: “Elliott, lay down next to your father or go stand in the corner!”. REALLY I mean REALLY. All he wanted to do was to tell me something, yet I let my emotions and lack of patience get in the way.

I think this is pretty normal for mother’s across the board. If it is not, I don’t want to hear about it. 🙂 Really though, I understand that we all have times when our patience runs thin. What I am saying is, that those times are hard to admit. Tonight I watched a film called ‘Sarah’s Key’. I highly recommend it. It is mostly in subtitles as the movie is French I believe, but it was very good. It was about the French/Jewish in 1942 and one family in particular. It tells a little about their story and how it was discovered 60 years later. One of the scenes in the movie though is simply heart wrenching as the mother’s are being torn, literally, away from their younger children and carted off to a concentration camp. It made me want to go hug my children and just hang on to them for dear life. How blessed I am to hear ‘mom’ 165 times during the day. (actually it wouldn’t surprise me if that number was waaaay higher). I can’t imagine the pain and anguish those mother’s were feeling.

I want to be better about telling my story. The stories of my life so my kids know me. I don’t want them to just know my frustrations but I want them to know the pride I feel for them also. I want them to know that even though I have a short fuse at times, it doesn’t mean I love them any less or am not proud of them. I also want them to know my stories. The stories of everyday life that makes us, us. I love my kids and am so proud of them.

I pray I never let go of them, who they are, their wishes and dreams, their emotions and failures, and I pray that I encourage them to pursue the paths they want to take and that I always have time to hear their stories that seem senseless but are oh-so-important to them. I pray that I am a mother that shows love everyday and not frustration.

 

1 Comment - Categories: My Kids

Brotherly Love

09/26/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

Before Matt came into the picture one of the things that I really struggled with was the thought that Boyd wasn’t going to have a sibling close to his age. One of the treasures I have taken into my adult life is the relationships I have with my siblings. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t talk to at least two of my brother’s or sister’s and what a blessing it is. So when the thought of Boyd not having those types of relationships would come into my head, well I would get pretty sad. He does have a wonderful relationship with my brother Clark, in fact their relationship is probably more like a sibling relationship than Clark and I. Then I got pregnant with Elliott and my worries changed from Boyd not having a sibling, to not being able to connect with someone 8 years younger than him.

As a parent I think that we worry about our kids a lot. It is almost like it is a given ‘right of passage’ that you will worry. One will worry about the shoes they wear to what kind of adult they are going to be. In my life my worry can consume me. I really struggle with letting Boyd grow and make more decisions on his own. Especially when I see what he wears to school! 🙂 With Boyd I also worry that when he is older he is going to blame me for having more kids. That sounds weird I am sure, but I worry that he is going to think I wanted a ‘new’ family, a ‘younger’ family. Well since I have had Elliott I have seen Boyd grown in ways I didn’t know were possible for a young boy to grow. He just adores his younger brother and is constantly engaging him in activities and Elliott adores him. ‘Boyd’ is the only name Elliott has said consistently since he was about 11 months and from a very young age anything Boyd does, Elliott has to do. He takes care of Elliott with such tenderness and patience, it is a blessing to see. Oh, sure they still argue and Boyd is a normal kid, he likes to tease Elliott. But I believe that is normal sibling behavior.

We have been really struggling with Elliott lately when it comes to bedtime. (If you want to read about those struggles check out my post, “Bedmare“.) Elliott and Boyd shared a room for about a year when we decided to move Boyd upstairs so he could have his privacy. Anyway, in Elliott’s room still has a set of bunk beds in the room along with his crib. From time to time Boyd sleeps in Elliott’s room, but since we started having troubles with Elliott and bed that has stopped. Boyd just keeps begging us to let him sleep with Elliott and that he thinks he can get Elliott to go to sleep. Of course we didn’t think that would make a difference. Last night however we decided to give it a chance. Neither Matt or I thought it would work. We were sitting on the couch listening to Boyd work with Elliott. He was singing to him, telling him it would be okay, reminding him that he was in the room, and twice telling him to get back into bed. All this time Elliott was just crying and screaming. Pretty soon it was quiet. We thought surely the crying would start-up again but it didn’t. Elliott didn’t even get up once during the night, instead he slept until 7:30 this morning. Boyd slept on the top bunk and Elliott on the bottom. We couldn’t believe it. It is the first full night of sleep I have gotten in I don’t know how long.

I guess I am just saying this because it has been a blessing to watch the relationship develop between Elliott and Boyd.  Boyd’s presence with Elliott last night was enough to calm him and make him feel secure. No matter how stressed I get, or want to pull my hair out at the screaming or disorganization, watching my kids grow in these friendships has been amazing. I am such a blessed mom!

1 Comment - Categories: My Kids

‘Bedmare’

09/24/2012 - Author: Natasha Phillips

What is a ‘Bedmare’ you ask? Well, it is word my husband I use for the nightmare we are in when it comes to bedtime for Elliott. There was a period that bedtime was no big deal for us…it was about two years ago. 🙂 No really, there was a while a few months ago that Elliott would go to bed fine. We would turn on his music, lay him down and boom, he was asleep for 10-11 hours. It was great, we finally felt that we were getting this ‘parenting thing’ in ONE` area figured out. We don’t know what changed with him, but slowly over the course of the last couple months bedtime has been hard again. Now it is just plain agony. We have tried everything. I have read books and listened to what other parents have done with their kids but it isn’t working. It always seems like the books were written by people who didn’t have kids and the advice from other parents comes from people who had the PERFECT kids. I feel like I am failing my child. I know that the ‘crying it out’ method is supposed to be the most effective, but it isn’t working. I am afraid that our neighbors are going to call DFS because of all the crying they are hearing! So what do we do? We have tried moving him to a ‘big’ bed but that doesn’t work either. Right now the only thing working is putting him on the couch where he eventually falls asleep and then one of us sleeps in the living room incase he wakes up and needs something.

The thought of failing my kids doesn’t set well with me. It doesn’t set well with any parent I know actually. So I am asking for your tips and advice. Matt and I aren’t getting much sleep, one of the bonuses of parenting we realize, but it is getting to the point now that we need sleep. Ivan is tired often as well because any time Elliott cries he wakes Ivan up and then that is another battle we have to fight. I am not complaining, but I want other parents out there to know that if your kid isn’t sleeping, you are not alone. I have no tips or answers to give you but I sure could use some from you guys!!

No Comments - Categories: My Kids

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

“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