Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Story of My Stretch Pants

Tula: "Oh no you didn't!!! Seriously? These jeans look TERRIBLE!"
Mama: "Awwww.... but you are so cute with your chubby bum!"
Tula: "No really.... I don't think I can move in these... not roll from side to side, not sit up, and honestly, I can barely breathe."
Mama: "Oh honey, I know the feeling... thanks to you, my love! I promise to take them off this instant, pack them in a box, never to be seen again!"

Due to this convo (and completely understanding my girl's pain) you will not be seeing Tula in jeans for the rest of her diapered life!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Songs and Squeals

Come on into the Smorstad house.... these are the noises you will hear!

Ivy is always singing a new song. She is currently busy singing the months of the year. She now is not only planning for the here and now but she is asking about what she will be doing February through December. She is quite the planner- wonder where she got that from?? :)

Not only will you hear the songs of a toddler but you will also hear all sorts of snorts, giggles, and squeals coming from Miss Tula. We are loving the verbal stage that she is in and enjoy her happy talking! If this baby babble turns into the conversations, stories, and songs that we hear from Big Sister- Mommy and Daddy are never going to get in a word!

Just click on the links to watch the videos via you-tube....
I am not sure why I am having such a hard time embedding them lately! Any suggestions from you pro-bloggers? When I copy and paste the code to embed it a black box with a play button appears but it doesn't have the video???

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cloth Dipaers are a Doo!

Such a cheesy title but I couldn't help but to make a poo reference when talking about diapering!! (Wow- that is why the humor of second grade boys makes me laugh!)

I thought it was time to give you a cloth diapering update. We have now been using Gro-via cloth diapers for about 4 months. We are loving our choice to go with cloth. Here are some diapering truths to share with you:

1. Right at 4 months Tula went from pooping MULTIPLE (4-5 times) a day to just going once. So our diaper spraying is becoming a little less frequent and it is nice on the eyes to have less "stained" diapers!

2. Speaking of stains.... I don't like them.... I savored every sunny day through November to be able to hang the diapers to bleach dry. The sun makes them PERFECTLY white!! No trace of poo- it's awesome. However, if you hang your diapers out in December when they are wet and it is below 20 degrees they will FREEZE (but they will still bleach a little)!!

3. Gro-via has proven to be an amazing company.... we were having some trouble with the elasticity around the legs of a few diapers. After contacting the company to ask about this problem they sent a prepaid package for us to send the damaged shells to be repaired they also gave me some suggestions about tweaking our washing routine. Oops- we were the reason they were getting damaged!! Cheers to a great company :)

4. So our old wash routine:
First, wash on cold with no detergent on the largest water setting. (Acting as a huge rinse!)
Second, wash on hot with a scoop and a half of Tiny Bubble detergent on the largest water setting with an extra rinse.
Last, dry the liners and hang the shells.
In talking to Gro-via we learned that their particular shells are only supposed to be washed on warm not hot.... it can damage the elasticity.... oops! We then saw "wash on warm, line dry" printed on all 14 of our shells....again thankful for a forgiving company!

5. The cute big bum gets cuter by the day! It is starting to be a little more proportional to her cubby legs :) However, some outfits look a little less than flattering.... so when Tula gives me the "My butt looks huge!" look I respect her wishes a quickly change her from the button between the legs onesie and high pocket pants to the more in style leggings and long tunic style tops!! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Letters to my sister

Dear Ivy,
I can't wait to be big like you! I watch every move you make and I can't wait to do it all with you. You are so good at showing me the ways of the world. I love when you "teach" me all the cool things my toys do the whole time saying "You see this, Tula Belle? You see? You see?" in the most excited voice ever. I just know you are probably always going to take the lead but what a good teacher you will be. We will play tea party, baby dolls, and princesses and you will be sure to show me how! We will swing on the swings, splash in the pool, and play at Chuckee Cheese's... I can't wait. For now, I am taking it all in... every day.... and never forgetting how much you love me. I am so glad you are my sister.
Tula Belle

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekend.... Are you here yet?

Usually when you are 3 you could care less when the weekend arrives. You live by the moment playing from the time you wake up until you crash for bed. But Ivy has been waiting for this weekend with much anticipation. Everyday she would ask "Is it Friday?" and I would respond... "Not yet, sweet girl." Then she would immediately ask "Then is it Saturday?".... making me feel the need to use this teachable moment singing our days of the week to know that Friday has to come first. (The teacher in me can't resist!) It was painful for her to wait because this was a BIG weekend for Ivy! So you ask... what was in store on this very weekend??

Ivy and Mommy went on our first date to the movies. Ivy has been asking to see Tangled since the previews began airing. She has never shown any interest in going to the movies before this so I was excited! I wasn't sure if she would be able to sit and watch but as she asked more and more until I was convinced she was ready. I loved hearing her tell me what she thought the movies would be like and by the look on her face that wasn't what she expected at all!!! She was swallowed by the big movie chair and kept letting her eyes scan the room and the biggest TV ever. She squealed when Curious George was on the preview whispering.... "So Punzel knows George?" :) She loved the movie and her little snack pack. Not once did she get antsy! As much fun as Mama had, it made me a little sad to see how big she is. But growing up means more fun times together :) I can't wait until the next movie comes out! It was a great date night for Mommy and Ivy. And Daddy is already looking forward to his date with Ivy in February!

The movies wasn't the only BIG thing happening this weekend... can you guess what was planned for this morning?? Dance was starting back up! Ivy was up and ready to put on her new dance outfit before sunrise. She got a new leotard from Nana and Pops and some legwarmers perfect for wintertime from Meemaw and Papaw. She was ready to go and of course she needed a picture snapped of this occasion! She couldn't wait to see Ms. Mindy and all her friends and we are already looking forward to another recital this spring.

All in all, it is obvious that even 3 year olds know how to appreciate GOOD weekends!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Different Mommy, Different Kid (PART 2)

START with PART 1 to see how my parenting journey has changed.

Tula and Mommy! Ivy's first ever picture taking experience... and she says Tula is saying "I'm not so sure about this!?!?"

So I should have known from the start things would be different with Tula. I planned for her to come on September 8th for many many many months. I wrote it in ink on the calendar, people!! You would think that would be no problem for a mama who had no signs of labor with baby number 1. Well, when Tula had a different agenda she was born a week early the teeniest little thing ever!

As soon as she arrived a calm spread throughout my body and I said without a doubt.... I can do this and I can let it be! And I really have this time around. I have made it a priority to keep the promises I made to myself and Tula and it has been a glorious road. I have not had any moments of stress involving when she should eat, sleep, and be awake. I have not had to worry about "ruining" her if I hold her too much or let her fall asleep in my arms. I have not had to cover my ears while we let her cry so we can "train" her. And really... Tula has trained herself.

She sleeps anywhere...well, except in a bed, if I am being totally honest! But it has worked for us and been wonderful- we can go eat, shop, run errands, go to church and do it all without considering Tula's sleep schedule because it really doesn't matter. She is awake when she wants to be and goes to sleep when it is time. Now I know your thinking.... she isn't trained AT ALL... but really she is on the eat, wake, sleep pattern just like I "worked" so hard to get Ivy on. She eats and is awake for anywhere from 1 to 2 hours and then she sleeps for anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. She goes to bed around 8:15 and wakes up around 6 or 7 depending on the day of the week. It has been so nice to let go of typing schedules, predicting her day to the science and instead I've just let Tula be!

The biggest change has taken place in my working mommy heart. I think I felt so guilty working with Ivy because I wasn't getting enough time to love on her. I spent so much of my time worrying about controlling everything. I was so sad to turn around and leave her in the morning. Please know that even though I was a different mommy last time I don't think ANYTHING I did for Ivy was bad. I wasn't hurting her in the least. I did things that many moms and dads do but for me, it was stressful and I was always questioning my decisions.

This time I leave and go to work at peace with the mommy that I am. I love my job, my students, and the great teachers I work with. But I come home and I am a mommy. Ivy and I play and Tula and I cuddle. I feed her any time she is hungry and I hold her a lot! I rock her and let her fall asleep in my arms. And I really love all the time I am spending with her.

She has had some issues with choking (snotty nose and acid reflux) when she is laid flat so she is sleeping propped on the boppy pillow in our bed. Does this mean she will be there forever? Heavens, NO! But I am not stressed about it. It is convenient when I feed her during the night. It is safer than putting her on the boppy in HER bed. And it gives me a good night sleep so I can be rested to be a mommy to Ivy and a teacher to 22 SMARTIES the next day.

I never imagined I would love being a mommy more this time, but I am just doing what works for us. I look at Tula's needs and our family's needs and I make a decision. I make parenting choices with confidence and without worrying about others judging me. I am relaxed and thankful for this stage. I am not bent out of shape about sleeping through the night, rolling over, or an exact formula to introducing rice cereal in the next couple of months. I know that Tula will only be a baby once and I am loving every moment of it! I am reliving Ivy's baby-hood as I experience Tula's each day... and at times I am laughing at how crazy I was! My husband thanks Jesus that I have revolutionized the mommy that I am.... and he is only hoping this attitude spreads to all areas of my life. :)

Different Mommy, Different Kid ( PART 1)

Getting ready to be a mommy again... I knew I loved being a mom more than anything but I was open to loving it even more!!

So as promised, I wanted to blog about being a mommy for the second time. I want to remember these feelings for myself. I want to record these feelings for any first time moms to read (if they are wired like me) and for any soon to be second time moms who might share this new road with me. I am also curious to know if you already second time moms are experiencing this same phenomenon.... I remember myself as Baby Ivy's mommy but I am not the same at all?!?! Tula has a different mommy!
With every experience we grow and change. The me before children liked order, structure, and predictability. So as I prepared for Ivy's arrival I read books, polled other moms, and got ready for this adventure. BEFORE she arrived I typed up a schedule for my unborn child (I kid you not). I was ready. Then Ivy came. My emotions were out of control but I was IN CONTROL because I could train my baby. I would have her on my schedule and we would be able to go and do. Ivy was a good baby and hopped right onto the routine but not without a little training. The training process involved some crying (for both parties). The training process was hard work because we all know right when we "figure out" what their day should look like... things change. (That schedule I typed out... well it was trashed and re-typed about 100 times!) I remember my mom telling me, "Sarah, parenting is trial and error? You are always going to be changing things to make them work for your baby." And I thought, no this baby is going to work for me. And this IS how it will be done.

I have to say Baby Ivy was very much on a schedule.... my schedule. But that meant sleeping only in the crib and a war would break out if she wasn't in the bed the moment nap or bed time started. It was so unfortunate when I didn't plan my days just right because a melt down was a coming. And trips-- nope, those weren't pleasant either. The carseat is a far cry from the crib. So Baby Ivy wasn't too thrilled with sleeping in the car. Going to late dinners with friends or celebrating on holidays really through Baby Ivy (and mommy) for a loop. A schedule was hard and it proved to be very stressful.

Working my first year was TERRIBLE. When I say terrible, I mean it made me physically sick. I cried every day and night. I didn't work a 5 day week from January to April (I couldn't do it). I wasn't in control if I was at work. How could I ensure that Ivy would be the way I wanted if I wasn't her caretaker? The evenings were spent putting her back on a schedule instead of just spending time with her and then.... it was back to work, with tears of course, because I had missed precious moments with my baby.... again. I thought I had to stay home and be with her and working was the problem. But over the course of working part time and Ivy growing from baby into toddler I learned that being with her all the time wasn't the answer.

In fact, I enjoyed going to work because that was a place that I could have more structure and it worked! I was also more organized at home when I wasn't here all day. I also decided to give up some of my power and let other people help with Ivy. And as Ivy grew and I parented with more flexibility, I looked back and thought of all the time I had missed.

Last January, I learned I was expecting Baby #2! I didn't read pregnancy updates and I didn't look at my parenting books... not once. I was busy with a toddler and just in awe of my belly growing. I prayed for the new baby and I prayed for Ivy. I gave my plans to God and asked Him to help me be the mother of 2 while working full time and going to grad school. I knew I would need him to help me let go and let Him. Tula was born and my love doubled instantly without any work on my part and I made a couple promises to myself and Tula:
* I would remember she is only a baby once.
* I would let her be flexible.
* I would love her and keep her safe and the rest would fall into place.

So now Tula is 4 months and what does this different Mommy look like? Come back to find out... there is a hungry baby waiting for me!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes....

There is nothing that warms my heart more than hearing Ivy learn God's word. I am hoping to pour it into her every being to act as armor during the teenage years. So here is Ivy's verse this week!!! I posted her first verse of 2010 as well.... she has grown up so much! Excuse the part where she "wanted to see"- she thought Unc and Esie were on the other side of the camera since ichat is totally confusing for her :)

* I couldn't get the video to embed so just click on the link to watch it!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tula Belle @ 4 months

* Tula loving being naked and enjoying her paci while we wait at the dr.!

It is hard to believe that we already celebrated Tula's 4 month birthday! Today we went to her doctor's appointment to get her check up and sure enough she is still growing :)

Tula's Stats:
Height: 23 inches (20%)
Weight: 12 lbs 1 oz (16%)

She is still a little bitty thing but is moving on up... she was born at the 5%, at 2 months she checked in at 14%, and now 16%! Dr. Menkus was pleased with her growth and how smiley she was. Overall, it was a good visit and we have spent the remainder of my day off taking a little nap together :)

What Tula Loves:
* Tula is still loving her carseat.... she likes to sit in it and be toted around. She likes to go for rides in the car (unless it is dark). And she takes most all of her naps in the carseat- making her a super flexible baby!

* Tula is still nursing great. I still have to pinch myself to realize that I have been successfully breastfeeding for 4 months- with no issues!! My breastfeeding journey with Ivy was not so easy.

* Tula loves to hold things and put anything straight to her mouth. She has started teething and their are two tiny white spots on her bottom gums. So needless to say, Sophie the giraffe is her favorite toy!

* Tula loves TV! She is already a better movie watcher than her big sister. She likes to sit in your lap or lay on the boppy and watch the big screen :) She has been known to try and around to watch movies in the car and she is happy with the little bit she can see! Her current favorite movie is Happy Feet!

* Tula is a bit spoiled.... and she loves to be held! To sleep, to walk around, to sit, etc. No matter what is going on she loves to be held. I am enjoying this time because I know they don't let you hold them forever. I have to hang on to this baby stage!

* Tula loves her big sister and the feeling is mutual. They lay on the floor and play. Ivy sings her songs, tells her stories, and brings her just about anything she could ever want. I can't wait to watch them grow up together.

* Tula's favorite person is mommy- probably because she loves to eat like it's going out of style when she is having "one of those days!" It annoys Daddy that Tula is so easily comforted by Mommy but he has to work hard to calm her down. I know the "Daddy's Girl" phase will come in due time!

* Tula is not sleeping through the night, but she typically goes 6 hours the first stretch and then I have to wake her in the morning. This doesn't stress me out at all! I know it is a phase and it will pass. I am thankful that she eats and goes back to sleep with no fussing. She is still in our room and for the time being I love her right next to me!

* We are enjoying time with this sweet 4 month old. She is cooing, smiling, and blowing TONS of bubbles! That is her new trick :) She is dawning some pretty little gems in her ears just like her big sister, so I am sure she will be quite the princess (trained by Ivy)! For the most part, she is a happy baby girl!

I am going to be blogging soon about being a mommy the second time around.... it is so different for me! Talk about calmness! It is such a blessing.