Friday, December 14, 2012

12.14.12 Remembered

Today a 20-year-old gunman walked into a Connecticut Elementary school and shot and killed 27 people before killing himself.  20 of those were children between the ages of 5 and 10.  I have been in a state of near panic attack for most of the afternoon.  Two things set them off... feeling small and insignificant and extreme fear.  Today, it's the fear.  Having something so precious and having to face the thought of losing it has me teetering on the edge.  My mother tells me I internalize the loss and suffering of others WAY more than I should, more than is healthy and normal.  But it's who I am.
I am thankful for so many things.  My boys have given me new life and I can't imagine a world without them in it.  I am truly devastated for the mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and countless others who are now having the dark reality of that altered world slap them in the face.
Tonight I hugged the boys harder than usual and couldn't stop kissing them.  They giggled and hugged me back.  After they went to bed I saw this photo on Facebook posted by my good friend Chris.  

Seeing this picture finally drove me into the panic attack I'd been fighting all day and Paul had to pull me through it.  I will never be able to understand the evil that exists but I know it's there, and it scares the hell out of me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

New Milestones and Boo-Boos

The boys are independent little toots.  Annoyingly so.  It started out with "my do it!" and it's now "I do it myself!".  They want to do everything themselves, even if it means ending up with a boo-boo. 

We went to Didi's on Sunday before Church, just like we always do.  We went back to "their room" to watch "lions" or "Puth in Booths" or something.  Christopher is climbing on EVERYTHING and he fell and hit his right eye on the leg of his crib.  He hit it hard and got a knot under his eye.  Great.  We're going to church with one of the boys having a black eye.  AGAIN.

Neither of the boys took a nap after lunch.  They played and yelled at each other and then yelled for me or mom.  I went in to tell them to settle down and go to sleep for about the third time when Sean announced that he had pooped.  After I cleaned him up I told them I was NOT coming back in and to LAY DOWN AND GO TO SLEEP.  Not 5 minutes later Chris was calling for me or mom.  I told mom just to let him call us.  He needed to just go to sleep.  Well, he didn't stop so I finally got fed up and went into the room.  I was mad enough that I was seriously considering just putting them both in the car to come home.  I stormed into the room and said "Chris, what is it!?!"  He said "I pooped".  I said "Are you sure?" and he handed me his diaper.  Full of poop.  Gross.

I disinfected him, put him in a clean diaper, and put him back in his bed.  Thankfully it didn't get on the sheets.  10 minutes later he climbed out of his bed and landed on his head.  Now he has a knot below and above his right eye.  But that was the sign I was dreading.  It was time to move them to big boy beds.  I thought the 3 in 1 crib we bought had convertible crib rails as part of the set, but apparently you have to order them.  Grrr.  I don't like being deceived.  Now we have to wait on them if we order them... which I'm mad enough not to do.  I think we may just buy some new, cuter beds for them.  Maybe.  I like this one from Ikea,


but we'd also have to buy the mattress that fits it, so I don't know what I'm going to do yet.  So, for now, the beds look like this:

After Paul got the beds all set up Chris had 2 more mishaps.  Sean slammed Chris's fingers in the door and then Chris got a hold of Paul's fingernail trimmers and he pinched himself nice and hard.  It didn't break the skin though, thank God.

Then, the Pièce de résistance:  Chris fell chin-first onto the coffee table tonight.  I texted my sister about it and she said "I hope he makes it through childhood in one piece!".  He's a resilient little boy so I think he might, but I'm not sure I will.  I'm a nervous wreck.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


The boys got hair cuts today!  Their hair was so long that Sean's hair stuck straight out at the opposing dual crowns (think Alfalfa) and Christopher had a bouffant.  While a classic, boys shouldn't have them I think.

How did it go?  This was the first time there weren't tears involved so I'd say it was a success, BUT...

Why do they look happier in the before pictures?

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Hard Day

Sunday was rough.  We've got one sick kid with a stomach virus and one kid with a black eye.  All on the same day, of course.
Yesterday morning Chris woke us up very early crying.  Paul went to get him and put him in our bed so we might all get a little more sleep.  He laid down for just a minute or two before he started whimpering.  I rolled over to cuddle him and heard a little gurgle.  I sat up to get a better look at him and he threw up all over the spot where my head had been seconds before.  Paul and I had been thinking about buying a new mattress.
After we got him cleaned up and our bed stripped and sanitized, we went out to Mom's so she could stay home with Chris while Pop, Sean and I all went to "church skool".  
A little before it was time to eat lunch Sean took a tumble.  No one actually saw it, but he'd been dragging one of mom's brass teapots around and it has a sharp spout.  He started howling so I ran into the living room to see what happened.  When Sean looked up at me his right eye was covered in blood.  I think I went into a little bit of shock.  I picked him up and ran into the kitchen chanting "I'm not going to freak out.  I'm not going to freak out" over and over again.  Mom was there so she helped me clean off his face to see the damage.  He had a nasty scratch along the top part of his eyelid but his eye was fine.  Thank GOD.    

Chris was still sick today so Pop came to stay with him during the day.  Sean's eye is still swollen and red, and we're watching it carefully. 

I don't mean to brag, but...

Can I just brag for a second?  This is a proud "mommy" moment. :-)

I get weekly updates from on "my preschooler this week".  It's basically a small entry on what I should expect at whatever age the boys are currently.  Here is their latest update:

"By 30 months, your child can name a few body parts, some colors, and even a friend or two. Her memory and speaking ability work in tandem. Help out by expanding on what she says. If she says, "Dog sleep," you might say, "Yes, Spot is curled up and fast asleep in his doggie bed." She can't imitate your complex language patterns yet, but her brain is absorbing them. Every time you repeat her words or expand on them, you're giving her memory practice."

I'm all puffed up with pride.  Both boys can name nearly every body part, Sean has all of his colors down and Chris has most of them, they can name all the kids in their class and, although it wasn't mentioned in the small paragraph, they can say their ABCs (Chris can sing the entire alphabet song) and easily count to 10 (Sean can count higher).  They are talking so much better than "Dog sleep".  If they were going to tell me that the dog is asleep they would say "Doggy sleepin on the flur, nite nite.  Don't wake it"!

They're so smart :-)   Clearly, they take after their Daddy!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Garden Gnome

While writing about the boys personalities yesterday I took a walk down memory lane.  I looked at their baby pictures and spent hours at the computer just watching them grow up digitally before my eyes.  While I do not miss the sleepless nights and the constant fear of having two newborns to care for, I do miss them at that age.  I miss them falling asleep on me most of all.  They rarely let me cuddle with them as they go to sleep anymore.
I went back in time a little further to when I was pregnant.  We don't have many pictures of me, I realized.  And as I looked at the them, I remembered why. 
Recently, I have had several family members and friends who've been through a pregnancy.  They say that when a woman is pregnant, she glows with an other-worldly essence.  That she's beautiful.  It must be true since everyone I knew seemed to radiate it.  I loved being pregnant.  I felt wonderful and I had very little morning sickness.  My biggest fear of having complications with my diabetes was non-existent.  I loved feeling the boys flop around, kicking my ribs and head-butting my bladder. I loved watching my belly grow and the visits to the doctor that verified I had healthy, thriving babies. If I were younger, and not diabetic, and younger, I'd have had a dozen more.   Maybe.
But looking at my pictures, I realized why I shied away from the camera.  Instead of a glowing, beautiful, radiant me, all I saw was a Garden Gnome.  And one that could only were Crocs.  Yep. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My boys - Sean and Christopher

Photo of the "Meadows" family taken at the Dallas Zoo
 (Paul is missing since he's taking the picture)

I've been meaning to write a bit about the boys.  They are officially 2 1/2 years old and I don't want to forget the little things that are happening. 

They are still sleeping in their cribs, but they could climb out if they thought about it.  I'm dreading the toddler beds and the freedom (for them) that comes with it.  They are both talking really well.  They can count, say most of the ABCs, and they know their colors.  Sean can count to 21 with very little help.  They still use their pacis and I know I need to start weening them off of it, but I just haven't had the energy yet.  We have them in swimming class, but they don't really like it.  They would prefer just to play in the pool without someone telling them what to do.  When they are tired, they twirl their hair at the top of their foreheads.  They are both extremely independent.

Me and the boys before betime. They are twirling their hair but they are NOT *yawn* sleepy!!
Paul and the boys after their haircut.

Sean's favorite color is blue.  He's sensitive and a bit obsessive/compulsive.  He considers things before attempting them, mostly.  When he doesn't get his way he breaks down into crying, repeating over and over what it is that he wants.  He's usually laying on the floor at this point and throwing anything he can get his hands on.  He likes apples, strawberries, grapes, bananas, popcorn, juice, coffeemilk (chocolate milk), Eggos, Chipotle, meatballs, corndogs, chips and yogurt.  He loves to dance and give me hugs.  He likes to be chased by Daddy and he likes for ME to sing Old McDonald.  He's very affectionate most of the time.  He has the most beautiful smile, even with the chipped tooth.

Chris's favorite color is orange.  He has a strong sense of justice... and he knows when he's been wronged.  He's athletic and loves to run and jump. When he doesn't get his way he throws a HUGE tantrum complete with screaming and hitting.  This one has a bit of a temper.  He likes CANDY - thanks mom.  He also likes bananas, strawberries, grapes, pop tarts, popcorn, juice, coffeemilk, meatballs, corn dogs, chips, yogurt and anything he can find on the floor.  He sometimes eats rocks at school.  We know because it makes it's way through his digestive system and into his diaper.  He loves music and being chased by Daddy.  He loves to sing his ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle and Itsy Bitsy Spider.  He's affectionate mostly when he wants something or when he thinks I'm upset.  He's quite contrary - but he'll tell you he's not.  He smiles with his eyes which lights his face up.

Neither like bath time much because they don't like Daddy washing their hair.  He has a tendency to dump water on top of them...  They don't like naps either.  They NEVER HAVE.  They love The Wizard of Oz, Monster's Inc, A Bug's Life, all things Toy Story, Despicable Me, and Ice Age.

They LOVE going to see Pop and Didi, and lately they even like Church!  Yay for small miracles :-)

Monday, November 5, 2012

My First Painting

A couple of weeks ago I went to my first painting class at a place called Painting With A Twist.  You get to paint AND drink wine :-) 

I went with my girlfriends Megan Haessig and Claudia Benitez.  What I found amazing about this event was that there were at least 30 people there and everyone had such a good time.  The instructor showed us step by step what to do and, although we all had the same teacher, listened to the same instructions, and watched the very same demonstrations, every single piece came out so differently.  It was a lot of fun!

This was the instructor's painting - and remember she IS a professional. It has the watermark on it since I borrowed it from the website - which is


And here is mine.  Yes, hers is much better but this was my very first attempt!!  It looks a little washed out since I took the picture with my Ipad, but I think it looks awesome anyways :-)  I can't wait to go back again!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

This Halloween did not go as planned.   If you know me, then you know I was probably a witch about it.  I don't like it when things go wrong and I don't like "Plan B"s.

The PLAN was for me to get home around 4:30pm or 5:00pm, get the kids fed and in the car, head out to Rockwall to pick up Pop and Didi, and get to our Church for the Fall Festival.  There was going to be a Hay Ride, Bouncy House, Carnival Games and Trick or Treating.   The boys would have loved it.   I said WOULD HAVE because we didn't get to go. And I was frighteningly mad.
I was late getting off work and traffic, for SOME reason, turned psychotic.   It took me two hours to get home.  My commute might be 45 minutes on a bad day.   This was insane.   I got home right around 7:00pm and we were supposed to be in Rockwall at 6:00pm.   All my plans were squashed, slashed, choked, murdered, and then dismembered.   I was so angry and tired when I got home I'm sure I looked like a corpse.   I know I felt like a zombie.   Mom had offered to come out to our house to take the boys trick or treating around the neighborhood and I was grateful since I was dead tired. 
The boys didn't care that we stayed home, however.  They had their Didi, pumpkin baskets and dinosaur outfits.  They were happy as cats and in good spirits.  Mom actually decided to man the door and give out candy, so Paul and I took the boys around the neighborhood.  Our next door neighbors, who go all out every year for Halloween, were dressed as Teletubbies.  They drank martinis while handing out candy to all the kids.  We like them :-) 
The boys got lots of candy and wanted to devour it all at once, of course.  We gave them a couple of pieces and got them into bed.  I finally calmed down and went to face the mountain of candy to put away... THE HORROR!!!  We'll be eating candy forever. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Starbucks Daily: The Nerve!!

I go to Starbucks every morning.  While I'm feeding my addiction I see a lot of different people doing questionable things.  I wonder if this happens everywhere people gather of if it's simply caffeine deprived people waiting to get their fix.  I've seen people cut in line at the drive thru - so rude.  I've seen women (sadly, it's always women) get to the order counter and then have to ask 50 questions while the line behind them is out the door.  Once I saw a man go through the drive through so they could fill his water bottle... with water.  The other day I ran into a woman who was talking to her pre-teenage boy and after every comment, hug and kiss she gave to him she looked around to try and make eye contact - with ANYONE.  That was uncomfortable.
Today I saw a fight.  Well, a confrontation.  I hate confrontations.  Even ones I'm not a part of.  While I didn't see the original act that started this altercation, it was pretty clear what happened. 

As I was waiting by the pick-up counter for my Venti, half-caf, non-fat, no whip, 2-pump Mocha, something caught my eye and I looked out the window.  There was a man standing with his car door open, wildly gesticulating to a man in an SUV backing out of the adjacent spot.  It would appear that the man in the SUV had done something wrong and the man frantically waving his arms and shouting was trying to get his attention.  Seriously, the man was either about to take flight or maybe he was just Italian.  Anyway, I thought that the SUV was just going to leave, but I suppose the man making a scene got his attention because he circled the parking lot and came back.  They had words and the SUV parked across the way, right next to my car.  Great.  I was going to have to walk by that Cluster.

It seems that the wronged man calmed down and that they were just going to exchange insurance information so maybe this was just a very animated morning.  I got my coffee and turned to leave, checking their progress and noticed that the man who had been making all that fuss was WRITING ON MY CAR!  SERIOUSLY???? 

What had happened is that the man saw a ding on his car door and assumed the man in the SUV did it.  He was so irate that he flagged the man down and demanded his insurance information which he copied onto some paper using MY car as his desk.   The SUV driver politely redirected the man OFF my car and onto his own with a wink to me.  I smiled at him and then asked God to give the man a medal!

The nerve of some people... 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Love Notes

This was an email exchange with my hubby today.  He's sooooo romantic :-)

Me:  I'm listening to Pandora - my 80's radio.  It's playing "I Want To Know What Love Is" by Foreigner.

Paul:  That was the go-to song on Miami Vice.  The snarky response is "come home and I'll show you what love is."  *wink wink*

Subtle honey... very subtle...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I had my first photoshoot with a professional photographer for pictures of ME... Just me.  No kids.  Ok, it was for the company website, but still.  I'm SOMEBODY!! :-)  Here is the finished product on the website of My Favorite Thing


Patra Philips

My favorite thing is... My very “favorite thing” aren’t things; they are my twin 2 year old boys. However, if I must pick something besides them, it would be coffee. Specifically, a Venti, half-caf, nonfat, no whip, 2 pump mocha from Starbucks. I get it every morning. I’m sleep deprived (twins remember?) and I need it. When the boys were babies I could never get them to nap except in the car, so I would drive around Dallas, hit the drive-thru at Starbucks and drink it while the boys, thankfully, napped. I’m pretty sure it saved my life. I know it saved my sanity!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Officially Old

In an effort to keep the kids from eating or drinking things that have been out for a while, or sticking something in their mouth they found that has probably been under the couch for a week, we've tried to teach them what "old" means.  "Baby don't drink that milk...  It's OLD!"  This has worked very well.  Too well.  In fact, they tell us something is "old" when they don't want it.  I had to post this email that Paul sent to me Thursday morning....  I don't want to forget it because it makes me laugh every time I read it!  It was also right after the first presidential debate, sooooo...

From Paul.  Thu 10/4/2012 8:52 AM
Sean cried when he couldn’t find his juice, it was at home, and I had the diaper bag in the car. When we got to school, I put juice in a bottle and gave it to him. He was okay at this point. Then Chris wanted juice. His orange juice was now officially old. So I poured it out and refilled it with juice and he was happy. They were fine walking into school and everyone was glad to see Sean again. Then I listened to the radio and turned it off on the way to work. Apparently Romney got elected last night….:o)


Friday, October 5, 2012

Vampire Sean and Zombie Christopher

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd share some Halloween pictures I made from of our family.

Vampire Sean. 

Zombie Christopher


I was recently asked by a "ghoul" friend,
"Which side of the family do they get the cuteness from? Which side do they get the taste buds for eating brains?" 
I replied that they got their cuteness from me, of course, and they get their brains from Paul, to which he replied
"Ah… Patra’s the picky eater. Paul likes meat." 
This couldn't be more true.  I don't even like garlic. :-)

proud parents

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Fair!

My new company, idGROUP, gives its employees a paid half-day off and free 20oz sodas to take for discounted tickets for Opening Day.  This year Paul and I decided to take the boys.  I have to say they behaved very well with one exception. 
While looking for the petting zoo we mistakenly wandered into the "farm" area where you tackle an obstacle course in Farming.  You start out by putting on an apron and getting a basket.  Then you get to sit on a small, metal toy tractor. 

Next you snake through the "farm" while collecting plastic eggs, fruits and vegetables, feed plastic chickens, and milk plastic cows.  At the end, you have to give back your plastic goodies and return the baskets.  Chris did not like that.  It was HIS.  He howled like a banshee.  They must have had this problem before because the last area you walk through is the store where they give you a free snack.  Chris and Sean both picked Cheetos and were instantly mollified.

It was HUMID which also made it hot.  The boys poor cheeks (especially Chris's) were bright red 30 minutes into the Fair.  I stopped to buy some water and the boys got to watch a live band play GEE-tars.

We found the petting zoo and that was lots of fun.  There were sheep, goats, pigs, a Yak, a giraffe, and lots of other furry things I don't have names for.  OH and ostriches.  We stayed there a while.  Chris and Sean took off in separate directions so Paul and I separated to chase after them.

We then went to the Dog Show.  It was ok.  Paul remembers when there were border collies herding ducks (or was it chickens?) one year.  This year, the Harley Couple had Dobermans.  The beautiful dogs ran around in circles and jumped over stuff.  The Harley Couple both wore tight leather, had bleached blond hair  and both showed  a lot of skin, so perhaps the show was all about them?

We walked around a little bit more and decided to introduce the boys to Fletcher's Hot Dogs.  They just wanted to eat the catsup. 

We ended the day with some ice cream.  We found a nice soft green patch of Astroturf and sat down.  The boys suffered the ice cream to get to the cookie (ice cream cone).  Chris would really rather just eat the cookie.

It was a very nice day!

A Time of Change

I haven't updated this in a while.  Several things have been going on that I haven't much felt like talking about.  Some things have changed for the better.  Other changes I haven't decided about yet.

The biggest change came with a new job!  I am now a Project Manager for idGROUP in Dallas -  I won't go into detail how I got the job (boring stuff about interviews and portfolios) but I will say it was happenstance.  I had been considering a change but I wasn't sure what form of change I wanted.

After the boys were born I took a year off work and, when I was ready to go back, my previous employers greeted me with open arms.  I did not leave because I was unhappy with my work.  I was, however, feeling like I was missing something.  Money was tight and my post-recession pay-reduction was still in effect.  But so was everyone's, right?  Then why wasn't my heart into it? 

Not long after I went back to work I found out I was pregnant again.  This makes the second time since the twins were born.  My last one ended in a missed miscarriage.  Sadly, this one did too.  I became despondent.  Was I truly wanting another baby?  Paul and I sat down and had a business-like discussion about the pros and cons of having another baby and we decided that it would be financially irresponsible.  Not to mention having another child would really stress us out and the boys need SO much of our time and attention that it just wouldn't be fair to bring another child into our world right now.  The RIGHT NOW is the problem.  If we were younger, we could wait.  But we're not.  It's RIGHT NOW or NEVER.  And I'm broken-hearted about it.  So, I needed something.  A change.  But what?  I'm not very good at praying but I prayed over this.  The opportunity with idGROUP came at this time and I felt like this was my answer.  While I didn't have a peace about not having another baby, I did find peace over changing jobs.

So far the new job has been great.  The commute is longer and the work is not as exciting, but it's a different culture which is just what I needed.  Working for an interior's firm is different, to say the least.  At first I'd thought I'd made a horrible mistake, but now I think it was the exact right thing to do.  I had been with my previous employer for nearly 7 years and leaving that was hard.  Leaving people I trusted and respected was hard.  But the change was good.  Change can be good. 

I'll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes about change ~

Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine. ~Robert C. Gallagher

If you're in a bad situation, don't worry it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry it'll change. ~John A. Simone, Sr.

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nick and Claudia's Bird Themed Baby Shower

I recently co-hosted a bird themed baby shower for a good friend. 

These were the invitations that Claudia picked out and our jumping off point for the party decorations (I've removed all personal information for all you stalkers out there).  I thought these invitations were just the CUTEST.  We went with a grey, yellow and white combination. 

Megan (my co-host) and I came up with our first idea of having a potted tree as our main focal decoration.  We found a couple of GREAT ideas on Pinterest for this.  If you're interested, here is my board:

Here is the original inspiration for the tree:

photo from

Of course, mine is bigger and not quite as cute since we cut the branches too early and the leaves started to wilt.  Oh well, live and learn.  AND I decided to go for a more natural look and not paint the branches white.  I think if I had it to do again, I'd go with a smaller version and probably paint it.  As you can see the tree completely overpowered the cute CUTE birds we made and the personalized pacifiers that had little Hanna's name on them.  My living room is so dark so most of the pictures I took are crappy.

Here is the inspiration for the birds we made. 

photo from

I went to this blogger's page and pretty much followed her instructions verbatim.  The part where she talks about the hooks was a little vague so I did make that part up.  Ours aren't QUITE as cute as hers, but I think they turned out pretty darn cute.

Claudia's mom took care of all the food so I didn't have to worry about that.  We took out my 2 folding tables thinking that would be plenty of room for her food and we nearly didn't have enough space!    Megan and I hung a onesie banner with Hanna's name spelled out and added some yellow pompoms.  Again, my living room is so dark that the pictures don't quite do it justice.

Megan made cupcakes for dessert and I ordered these really cute cake toppers off 

photo from Etsy Death By Cupcake

Here are our cupcakes.  I asked the Death By Cupcake owner if she could make them yellow instead of tan.  She did!  Again, my photo skills are crappy.  One day I'll learn how to do this better.

For flower arrangements, Megan and I found these really cute birdhouses on sale at Target for about a dollar a piece.  Megan picked up some white flowers the day of the shower, since I didn't want them wilting like the ornament tree, and we threw this together.  I think they turned out so stinking cute!

Party favors were M&Ms with Hanna Cate spelled out on them - yellow and gray of course!  We found these really cute glass containers at Party City. 

Claudia gave birth to Hanna Lillian on April 16th at 5:13pm.  Hanna weighed 5 pounds 10 ounces.  Momma and baby are fine!  Isn't she beautiful?