Thursday, March 31, 2011

Disney Princesses Once Again

One of the highlights of Ivy's two year old life was Disney Princesses On Ice. So we did wouldn't have missed it this year! This year Daddy got to stay home with Tula while Nana joined Ivy and I for the show. It was a totally different show this year and much more entertaining when we upgraded the seats and were just a few feet from the princesses themselves. We had a blast at this Disney experience and now are counting down the months until our Disney World trip in October!

One of my favorite parts.... so glad to see Unc made his debut this year! My sister in law affectionately says my brother looks like the Candlestick :) So Ivy immediately yelled, "There's Unc!" when this scene started!

Clapping along with the music.... in amazement by it all!

Nana and her Princess Ariel!

Ariel with Daddy, Tula, and Pops before leaving them to go- Next year we hope Tula will join us!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Wonderful Spring

Dear Wonderful Spring,
We have been missing you dearly and excited for your return. We knew you would bring the sunshine with you and for that, we are thankful. My family is so happy to be spending time in one of our favorite places.... outside! Please continue to bless us with your presence, you have been greatly missed over this LONG winter :)
A Mama who Needs to have Playtime

We have been loving some time on our back porch!

Little girls are enjoying drawing pictures with chalk all over the drive way.
(You may be asking, what is that that Ivy has drawn?? An orange tree.... duh!!! haha)

Spring is letting new little ones experience the fun times in a swing!

We are taking Sunday morning and weekday evening walks.... I LOVE my new stroller!

Nonetheless, we are so excited that the WONDERFUL spring is here and are just praying that old man winter is gone for good- well, at least until November!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I love this picture of her chubby little cheeks and her sweet little hand on the tray!

Look who's taking her first bites and LOVING it! Tula has tried rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, and now apples... the addition of the apples has made her double the amount of food that she is actually eating twice a day. We will continue to add fruits and veggies! I am looking forward to all the "What is THIS??" looks that we will get with each new flavor :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Two girlies in the tub!!!

Ivy has been waiting for this moment since Tula was still growing in my belly!
The time has come the sisters can take a bath together and they both are loving it :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Loving like Christ

Dear Ivy,
I love you for the endless lessons you are teaching me. God is working on both of us. He is shaping us and molding us. We need to be more like Him. Together we will strive for that. I love you, little girl. I wish I could love you the way God loves us both. I wish I was capable of that perfect love. I am sorry I fall short and I am thankful that Christ is your perfect parent.
Love, Mommy

Parenting a toddler is fun! It makes you laugh. It is full of surprises. And it is a blessing. But that is all the good stuff.... and parenting (in general) is not always good stuff. There are hard days too. With that said.....
Parenting a toddler can be tiring. It can be tough. It can be sad. It can be disappointing. Sometimes Ivy seems to be in a slump. She's had a string of bad days where nothing is quite right. She is one temper tantrum after another. We are constantly redirecting and motivating her to make the right choice. I feel like I could record myself "scolding" her in a voice I get rather sick of hearing on repeat. I lose my patience and I go to bed sad about her bad day, our bad day. And I always am saying- if she would just do what she is supposed to do. If she would just follow directions. If she would just obey.

And then it hit me.... that is what Jesus says to me EVERYDAY. I am His toddler. I fall short and He is patient and loves me endlessly. I lack self-control and He provides the perfect verse for encouragement. I get angry and He gives me the pang of conviction and then wraps me in His grace. I gossip and I am reminded about His warnings about how dangerous the tongue can be. I mess up and He blesses me and my family, again and again and again. I say I am sorry, I ask for forgiveness and He takes it all away. He loves me that much. He died for me. He sacrificed all of Him because I am His toddler.

This was my ah-ha moment. I want to love Ivy like that and I want to remember my own issues when I parent. I need to pray for Him to grant me more patience and to be slow to anger the same way He parents me. I need to make sure Ivy knows how deep my love runs for her the same way I can look back on so many songs and scriptures as a reminder of how much Christ loves me. I need to be gentle with my words as I teach her. I truly strive to parent my toddler the same way my Father parents me.

I am so thankful that parenting Ivy I am able to learn these lessons. I have never thought of myself as a toddler and the similarities between my dialogue with Ivy and His with me. Today I have had the perfect wake up call to really love my sweet girl like Christ loves me.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happy 1/2 Birthday!

Tula Belle @ 6 months
Height: 24 3/4 inches (17%)
Weight: 14 lbs (14%)

Why is Tula's life flying by? I can't believe she is already 1/2 way to big first birthday! On the 1st of this month our baby girl turned 6 months old. All day long Ivy sang Happy Birthday, Dear Tula Belle and I was thinking... it will be the real thing before we know it.

So what's new with our little missy?

Some things haven't changed.... like the fact that she loves to eat! She is still nursing wonderfully. (Pinch.... yep... it's real.) Nursing could not be better this time around. She eats every 4 hours during the day and then moves back to a 2 hour stretch between the last two feedings. She eats once in the middle of the night and is right back to sleep. She still is a little less than thrilled about the bottle but takes it okay. We moved her from taking 3 3oz bottles to 2 4 1/2 oz-ers and she is thankful for that! We plan to introduce cereal TODAY after getting the go-ahead at her 6 month check up and I am excited to see how that goes. I bought her some new little bowls and spoons just for the fun of it!

Tula loves her big sister! She is always looking around the room for her and gets so excited to stare at her and try to figure out what she is doing. Sometimes Ivy talks a little to loud *imagine that* for Tula's liking but she lets her know by sticking out that bottom lip and giving a big wail! Ivy was most excited to teach her about riding in the laundry basket now that she is sitting up so much better. Ivy also likes to tell Tula about the fun they will have when she can play babies and dress up together. Tula just stares as her with those big round eyes and takes it all in!

Tula is sitting up pretty good! I still like to be close by in case she tumps over :) She likes to bend all the way over to give the toy a little kiss but the best is when she bends in half to try to retrieve her paci. Where does our flexibility go?
This picture is perfect to showcase Tula's wild hair.... and yes, it stands up ALL the time just like her big sister's did until the day she turned one. So, it looks like we will enjoy another half a year of the little duck fuzz!

She is sleeping in her bed.... ALL NIGHT LONG! (Except on the weekends when I can't help but bring her in our room for some snuggling where she will sleep until 8 AM- if only Ivy would get the "we are sleeping in at the Smorstad house" memo.) She falls asleep in minutes and we are so thankful for that. She loves to read... or she would say eat... a couple of books before bed and Ivy was excited to snap a picture of that! She wakes up smiling in the morning and we couldn't ask for anything more.

Happy 6 months, Miss Tula Belle! We love you :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


So for Christmas, Tula asked for one of these little wonders:

Tula Belle sleeping ever so peacefully in her very own polka- dotty bed!
For your viewing pleasure from the MobiCam.

Then she got it and we stuck it in the closet. Who really needs a video monitor when your baby sleeps in your arms? But now with the NEW, heavenly changes taking place at the Smorstad house we have LOVED our video monitor and I don't think I could sleep a wink without it.

So why are we able to use our Christmas gift now that it is March... because my friends, Tula has been "Ferberized"- if you will :) I enjoyed the first two weeks of Tula's precious life having her sleep in the co-sleeper attached to my bed, the next month or so she slept comfortably on the Boppy pillow in my bed, and by month two and a half.... she had weaseled herself right into my arms. No complaints here! It was special. I enjoyed having her so close, conveniently nursing her during the night, being able to sooth her so easily. I wouldn't trade it, don't regret, and hypothetical Baby #3 may travel that same road as a new baby!

But Tula had gotten bigger and a little more restless. She didn't seem comfortable and had a difficult time falling asleep. She was snacking throughout the night- it was available so why not?? I heard horror stories of BIG kids still in their parents' beds (which was definitely NOT my intention). And I knew by her 6th month of life something had to change.

About two weeks ago we started trying to move Tula into her own bed. We would rock and rock and rock and feed and rock until her little eyes were sealed but within minutes (sometimes seconds) of laying her down her eyes were wide and she was getting some mega practice using those vocal chords! The "getting her to sleep" lasted until we were both ready for bed and then by about 1 AM Tula found herself right back in the same old nook somewhere between Mommy, Daddy, and a sea of chocolate brown sheets. But Sunday I had a funny feeling.... I knew I was ready. I knew I wasn't turning back. So that night I went for it.

After laying Tula down for bed I came and Googled "sleep habits for babies." And clicked here since I had heard of the Ferber method from some other Mommies. I read, I liked, and the 5 minute intervals seemed bearable. Night one and two were very similar- laid her down and she fussed, sometimes louder than others, but I went in without talking or picking her up at 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and THEN 2 minutes into the next 15 minute period she was out. The best part was that she only woke once to eat and fell back to sleep on her own within 5 minutes. Night three was even better- laid her down and a new sort-of fussing, we call it "talking" started, but I visited her bed at 5 minutes and by the time the 10 minute interval came, Tula was sound asleep. She woke once to eat and fell back to sleep instantly.

It was obvious that in just three days Tula learned a new trick. A trick better than rolling over, blowing bubbles, or chewing on her toes.... Tula has learned to fall asleep on her own!

And tonight my friends.... NIGHT 4.... time to fall asleep: 1 minute (and that was 1 hour and 21 minutes ago)!

Babies grow so fast. I enjoyed the first 6 months with her right beside me... nose to nose! And now I am getting that nose to nose view with a few feet in between- me and the video monitor, of course. Cheers for sleep!