the story


Let Go, Part II

Force edit.

The "publish" button was pushed.  The Soundtrack Series has been officially brought to life.  There are still a few kinks that need to be worked out format-wise (I blame my father for the perfectionism gene), but the first chapter has been posted, and I fully intend to post a new chapter every weekend until the first book in the series is done (or I die--whichever comes first).  Then, Lord willing, I'll begin posting the next one.Oh, Lord, what have I done...?May I not live to regret this.

Let Go

I'm throwing down the gauntlet. I'm throwing down the gauntlet...for myself. Yes, you read that correctly. I'm challenging myself. We perfectionists have been known to do this.

Months ago, I wrote about the fact that I've been writing a novel. I excitedly reported to the blogging world that I intended to post my novel, chapter-by-chapter, on a website that Nate was in the midst of creating. Nate finished the website, and it's gorgeous (he's a genius, in case you were wondering). Actually, he finished it months ago, and has been hounding me ever since about the fact that I haven't posted anything. Call it procrastination, call is fear, call it whatever you want - I've been putting this off. The only people I've shared my writing with are my mother (who is obviously biased - I'm her daughter), and my husband (who is also biased - I'm sleeping with him). At any rate, I'm now challenging myself to go for it and follow through. This weekend, when Nate's home and can show me exactly how to post my chapters, The Soundtrack Series will come to life.


There are many things that change in your life when children arrive. Take photo shoots, for example. I love pictures. I love taking them; I love having them taken. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the sentimental.

Well, a few weeks ago, we had our first official Phillips family photo shoot. We've taken pictures since Cate's been born, of course (boat loads of them, actually); but this was our first professional shoot as a family. So, as you can imagine, we all made sure our outfits matched and our hair was done and our teeth were brushed (this was easy for Cate—she only has two). The one thing we didn't prepare for was having a little one who wasn't really in a picture-taking mood. That's right—I said mood. Apparently, one needs to be in a picture-taking frame-of-mind, and Cate...was not. I did not realize that the right mood was imperative; but then again, I don't remember what it was like to be a toddler who was being told where to sit, stand, and smile. It made for an interesting morning, but we still managed to get some good shots. Once we have them, we'll post them!

Now to the point of this post: our little girl is growing up, and she's a stubborn little girl. We've always known this, but as she's getting older, it's showing up more and more. As we were taking pictures, Cate showed us that she wanted to do things HER way. She wanted to run around (not in the new, adorable shoes we bought her), put rocks in her mouth (yes, we stopped her), pull leaves off the trees, run her fingers through the dirt, and do what SHE wanted to do. Of course, the entire time, she was still adorable, which worked well for the pictures! She's our little fireplug, and I believe that is one of my very favorite things about her. She's just like her mom and dad—spirited, opinionated, determined, and often frustrating. She is every bit the daughter I wished I'd have someday. God, You are so good.



Sally: “I've been looking for you big brother. Will you write a letter to Santa Claus for me?”

Charlie: “Well, I'm on my way to rehearsal for the Christmas play, but I guess so.”

Sally: “You write it, and I'll tell you what I want to say.”

Charlie: “Okay, shoot.”

Sally: “Dear Santa Claus...”

I could go on, but I imagine whoever owns the rights to _A Charlie Brown Christmas _ would fine me for copyright infringement of some kind. I believe I could recite the whole thing—start to finish—from memory.

Every year since I can remember, I've watched A Charlie Brown Christmas with my family. We try and figure out which member of our family is which of the dancing kids when Schroeder plays the piano, we quote Lucy's lines as she “analyzes” Charlie, and Mom always turns the volume up when Linus steps into the spotlight to tell everyone about the real meaning of Christmas. We haven't done it yet this year, and I can't wait!

As for how the Phillips family is doing, I'd say we're all doing well. Cate's first birthday came and went in October, and we were left with two very conflicting feelings: we can't believe it's already been a year since we brought her home from the hospital; and we can't believe it's only been a year, because we have a tough time remembering what life was like before her. She is so many things that we can no longer live without.

She's cuddly.

She's determined.

She's smart.

She's loving.

She's fast.

She's imaginative.

She's independent.

She's ours.

Nate and I have been very busy trying to keep track of her. This year is the first year she's been able to appreciate our Christmas tree, and she loves it. She stares at the lights and pokes the branches. Then, she'll attempt to remove one of the low-hanging ornaments. It's a predictable scenario.

“Cate, no.”

She freezes, not looking at me. After a few frozen moments, she continues trying to take the ornament off.

“Caaaate, no.”

She looks at me, gives me a I-want-to-do-what-I-want-to-do look, and takes it off.

I give her my best Mommy you-can-either-obey-me-or-we're-going-to-have-an-issue look.

She hesitates, as if debating in her own mind the pros and cons of giving in. Then, she walks over to the tree and attempts to put the ornament back herself. Not understanding the whole concept of the small hooks and loops that help the ornament hang, it falls to the ground in front of her.

I offer to help her put it back on the tree, we do so, and she goes back to smiling at the pretty lights.

Nate is thoroughly convinced that, while going through this whole process, Cate is making a mental note in her mind that we have, yet again, thwarted her efforts to do something fun. He's confident that, once she is bigger, stronger, and can communicate more clearly with us, we'll somehow pay for not letting her take ornaments off the tree. Given how strong-willed she can be at times, I'm thinking he may be right. Lord, help us...  

So Much to Say

Well, it's been quite some time, hasn't it? Seven months, to be exact. And these seven months have been the fullest of my life thus far. As far as the world is concerned, a lot has been happening since I last posted—Obama spent his first hundred days in the White House, Bernie Madoff was caught being a not-so-nice guy, lots of celebrities died, the swine flu caused quite a stir, and ABC's the Bachelor and Bachelorette both had seasons that ended without bloodshed (though one came shockingly close). While all of these occurrences may seem interesting and certainly made headlines, here are the top ten things that have made headlines in the Phillips household these past seven months:

  1. I turned 29, while Nate reached the big 3-0 (I did my best to not rub it in...much).

  2. Nate graduated from ASU West. Wa-hoo!

  3. I finished another year of teaching. All of my students survived.

  4. We had the opportunity to be in the wedding of some of our dearest friends.

  5. I helped organize four weddings in the course of five weeks. Poor Nate helped, too.

  6. We took our first baby-free vacation, which was glorious!

  7. Nate began a number of projects, including building a new garage workbench.

  8. We tasted goat for the first time.

  9. We discovered 30 Rock—one of the best shows on television.

  10. We watched Cate grow into the most beautiful, strong-willed, energetic firecracker in our home. After a few months of rolling over, she started crawling like crazy, and she's now a wobbly walker. She's everywhere! She's getting really sick of baby food, and is branching out to a few big-people foods. Pickles and frozen yogurt are her favorite so far (though, I imagine, not together). She's also talking constantly—well, at least she thinks she's talking.

All in all, I'd say it's been a wonderful seven months. And, as you can plainly see, much of the wonder comes from the fact that our Cate is growing up. She's everything we could have ever dreamed—a perfect combination of Nate and me. Of course, in the midst of our Cate-centered universe, Nate and I still enjoy our time together. Life is just so good.

So there you have it—a quick look at what's been going on in our corner of the universe. I'll do my best to try and keep up a little better with my updates, though having a ten-month-old, I make no promises.