Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snowy Day

 Tula and Clove shared a first this weekend.... 
Both these little girls enjoyed their very first time playing in the snow!  And they both followed the fun with a big nap :)
Ivy showed Tula the ropes of letting Daddy get more than a day's worth of exercise.  Daddy ran and ran pulling the girls all across the yard in the mini sled. 
Tula went along for the next ride and loved it!  She squealed the whole time and took every break as an opportunity to eat the snow and feed a little to Clove. 
I even got to join the family for the snowy day fun.  Usually I am the one waiting inside with warm towels, new clothes, and lunch- but this time everyone had so much fun that I had time to throw on my snow gear and join them outside. 
Our 2 hours outside was the perfect afternoon of winter fun. I am thankful for the seasons; a winter that gives us gorgeous white snow and the memories we were able to make together!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December Happenings

December has been such a busy month! We have had a lot going on in the Smorstad family.  Now, we are finally taking the time to breathe before Christmas arrives.... and it will be here so soon! 

The Christmas Cupcake Musical
Ivy was in her 1st Christmas program at church.  She was an angel and as a support to her great friend, Kennedy, she sang a solo in front of everyone!  Tula loved the performance and attempted to sing along with the big kids.  It won't be long until she gets to be part of the show too!

Santa Claus Party
A sweet family friend, and student in my class, hosts a "Santa Claus" party every Christmas.  The kids make crafts, enjoy treats, and then Santa stops in to read the real Christmas story from the Bible.  Then each little one gets a chance to sit with Santa and tell him what they want this year.  Ivy was excited that her friend Addy was their to celebrate!
Ivy even got an early, special present..... "real high heels"!  That is all she has asked for from her birthday to Christmas and after Santa told her he only brings play high heels I decided to earn mom of the year award when I caved to these $11 beauties at Walmart!  Her heart is content!

Gingerbread Houses
Daddy and I spent the day together, shopping and eating, and then it was a special treat to join Ivy to make gingerbread houses in her classroom.  I am thankful to get to be a part of those school moments with my big kindergartner!

Graham and Uncle G
Graham made an impromptu visit!!! YAY!  Greg, Ivy, Tula, and I got to hang out with Chelsea and Graham all afternoon.  We got lots of snuggles with this little man!  We named Greg, Uncle G, and he got to hold Graham for the 1st time ever.... clearly there have been a few baby hogs during the other visits! We can't wait to spend several days together at Christmas.

Cookie Decorating
We decorated Christmas cookies!  Kennedy came over to join Ivy.  The big girls helped with each part of the baking process, then Tula woke up just in time to decorated and taste test!  We definitely have some beautiful, yummy cookies to leave out for Santa!

Date Nights & Fun with Grandparents
This month we got to enjoy a night out for Greg's work Christmas party!  It was good to get dressed up and eat yummy food.... it was even better to be the granddaughters!  Pawpaw came over to hang out with Ivy and Tula and they got to end an evening of fun being put to bed side by side in Mommy and Daddy's bed- such a treat!  They were so sweet we had to take a picture!
Then we got a true date night- dinner and a movie- while Ivy and Tula stayed with Nana and Pops.  The girls made chocolate dipped marshmallows with Nana while Pops snapped pictures.  Clearly, Tula was really enjoying making and tasting!  I was a proud Mom because they even decided to sleep in for Nana.... I know this made everyone happy!

December has been a great month and with Christmas just around the corner it can only get better!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nutcracker Ballet 2012

 This past weekend Ivy participated in her first Nutcracker Ballet through Mindy's Jessamine School of Classical Dance.  They have been putting on the Nutcracker for the past 20 years and to these people it is a big deal..... pressure was on Mama, but the 5 year olds were calm, collected, and excited to be a part of the show!

 This was Ivy's 3rd dance recital but the first one where the older girls were a huge part of the show.  She stared in awe of the ballerinas surrounding her and has already decided she wants to be the Nutcracker princess (a.k.a. Clara) someday.  She was beyond thrilled to preform three shows and says the best part was wearing make up.  She looked so grown up to me! 
 She didn't only look like a grown up, she really did well on late nights and no naps all weekend long.  Mommy and Daddy were so proud of her after watching her and her friends preform as the water sprites! 
  I was impressed at how much more they learned this year than the last time she took dance and I knew she felt the challenge.  After the second class she said, "I can't be in this recital because our dance is too hard!"  I assured her that they would be practicing for many more months and by the time of the show she would be ready, and sure enough she was!  Nana and Pops were definitely proud of their little ballerina. 
 Ivy was so impressed that Pawpaw came to watch the show and he even brought her a second set of beautiful pink roses!  She was definitely proud to have family there watching and I am thankful that she has grandparents who live close enough to make it and love her enough to spend their weekend at the Nutcracker Ballet! 
The weekend was a long one for this little group- lots of waiting was involved, but they did a great job!  After all the hustle of Ivy's first Nutcracker performance, I thought she may want a little break from dance.  But I was wrong, she wants to do tap again come January and she is already talking about going back to dance camp!  I am thankful that she has found something that she enjoys and I am excited to remember my own dancing days through her experience!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two-la Belle

 Every child has a time when they really turn "2" in the meaning of two.... like BIG attitude, handful to parent, deliverer of so much joy, yet a tester of patience "2".  Ivy was "2" early and by the time she was really 2 in age, the newness had worn off and I knew how to handle the very "2" moments.  Tula is now "2".... at age 2 years and 3 months the time has come. I really thought it may never arrive- but slightly late, her "terrible 2's" are here! 

This age can be so trying as they are stuck in between wanting to be BIG and wanting to be BABY.  It isn't odd to hear Tula command us with...."Stop" "Don't touch MEEEE!" "I do it!" "Weave me awone!" She wants to put her clothes on alone, pick out crazy outfits, do her lotion after bath, climb into her high chair, and eat food that isn't "broken."  She is so grown up!

On the other side, they are still such babies.  {Enjoying Graham's bouncy seat!} Tula still loves to be held and cuddled.  She loves her paci and blankie.  She is comforted by the lap or shoulder of Mommy or Daddy when she is sleepy, hurt, or just being needy.  At these moments, they are just as demanding as a newborn only it is done with a foot stomp and a tantrum instead of a tiny fresh baby cry.  

So what are we doing with our little "Two-la Belle"? 

Poor Ivy was the guinea pig for my parenting, and bless her heart she always will be.  But man, I really have learned a lot from my parenting mistakes and have done things much differently this time around.  I would LOVE it if I could transfer my "go with the flow" "it's just small stuff" attitude with the way I parent Ivy now.... but I still struggle with that.  Maybe because she will always be the first?? (Another post, for another day).  

So "Two-la".....
We are being CALM.  CALM Mommies make for a CALM toddler.  Now this doesn't mean she is without tantrums, but I have found that they quickly blow over rather than the excessive tantrum marathons that used to be commonplace.  With CALM, I am trying to remember "little kids, little problems" that my Mama taught me when I was a fresh parent with my 1st "2" year old.  So if she sits down for dinner 10 minutes after us because she is engrossed with petting the sleeping cat.... who cares?? I can enjoy the 10 minutes of peace at the table and it will not set the tone that we aren't eating together as a family.  Nor do I believe that it sets the tone that Tula is in charge.  It just is a little problem- so I pass on the battle.

CALM also comes when I am delivering the consequence.  I am not raising my voice, I am not getting mad, but instead I have been calmly telling her that she isn't making a good choice by [insert crime] and that she will sit in time out until she is ready to say sorry and [insert appropriate action].  She sits, she comes out, and she makes a better choice.  I haven't been bent out of shape about the time limit.  Sometimes she sits for 5 minutes when she isn't ready to turn her behavior around.... sometimes she sits for 40 seconds when she is ready to put on a smile, say sorry, and move on! This helps the good moments seem to outnumber the bad ones instead of the battle of sit in time out that I used to play forEVER! This also gives her control of her behavior.... control seems to be something that Tula is craving and letting her choose when to get up takes the pressure off me.

I am making sure to wear her butt out.... not with spankings.... but with PLAYING!  Tula loves to run, play, swing, hop, dance, sing, squeal, and be silly.  We are doing plenty of this.  We really don't watch TV or movies unless we are in the car.  We play inside if it is raining but otherwise we are bundled up and running around outside.  Ivy like to do a lot of sitting activities at her "2."  We read a lot of books, watched movies, and colored but maybe she had pent up energy that came out as a strong willed tantrum.... instead of being able to run the energy off.  Some of Tula's favorite ways to get wild inside- dance parties, Hullabaloo, hide and seek, and Simon Says.  When she is worn out, she is a lot less likely to wear me out!

I am enjoying it.... so. much. more. I don't need to be so "IN CONTROL" like I used to be. (Thank you, Jesus, for changing my heart in a good way!) In stead of worrying that if I let the small things go that it may doom my child forever, I am just remembering that she is a child.  I don't remember much about what I got away with at 2.... so I figure Tula won't either.  This age is really fun and I am remembering that so much more the 2nd time around.  She loves everyone so hard! Tula will hug your neck until you are blue in the face, she lights up the faces of family members and friends, and oh how she loves the people who live with her Great Pawpaw.  Those oldies swoon over my little "Two-la!"  

I laugh at the things that aren't hurting her or anyone else.  
Shaking up dog food.... her favorite past time.... who does it hurt?? NO ONE.  She shakes, she spills, she cleans, REPEAT.  Not hurting anyone.  

Pulling toilet paper all over God's green earth.... not hurting anyone. We don't judge, we still use the crumpled piles.

Carrying yard art around.... not hurting anyone. She loves animals, real and fake.

Here is one naughty Tula story that we ignored the 1st time.... but have since been sitting in time out for.  She learned a bad word in the midst of a temper tantrum at school.... the "s" word. 

No, no, not that "s" word.... this one: SHUT UP! She was eating her fruit snacks at a lightening fast speed and Ivy was sure to boss her around.
Ivy: "When they're gone, they're gone, Tula."
Tula: "Shut up, Ivy!"
Ivy: "Well, they will be!"

No she didn't! No my 2 year old did not just tell my very bossy 5 year old to shut up!  Yes, she really did.  The first time we laughed.  The next 2 times we didn't.... she sat in time out.  And in our bed time conversation about being a "little light" Tula has professed that "little lights" do not say shut up!  No they don't.... so we are working on that.

We are always thankful for a sleeping 2 year old- never wake a sleeping toddler!

 So even though our Tula is now "Two-la" we are still so much loving parenting her.  It makes me so thankful that my heart has changed from it's rigid beginnings and I can enjoy this little age that passes so quickly.  

Is she wild? YES!
Is she tiresome? YES!
Is she wearing us out? YES!
Are we remembering "little kids, little problems"? ABSOLUTELY.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Clove Smorstad

 Introducing the newest little lady of the Smorstad family:
Clove Rosie Smorstad 

Clove is a now 14 week old Border Collie pup that was named by her nature loving Daddy and then given a middle name by the Queen of Fairness, Ivy.  "We all have 3 names, she needs 3 too!" She is a smart little pooch and we were excited to give her the perfect home.  Are we crazy????

 Maybe just a little crazy but it is worth it to watch my girls fall in love with her, to have a walking buddy for myself, and to see Daddy so excited to take her in the canoe for the first time!  We have always planned to have a dog someday, but really weren't planning to make it a reality until we were done with diapers.... FOREVER.... no need to be potty training the 4 legged friends while still potty training the human Smorstad's- right? Well, we are in luck because Clove was already potty trained! 

 Since adding her to family we have been perfecting our leash walking skills, working on not nipping at the little feet of Ivy and Tula, and teaching our Clove not to jump.  The introduction to the cat is still happening without much success.  Jack is not a fan of Clove taking over his home! 

 Daddy has been a little hesitant to my request for a pup (since sometime last spring) but he will be the first to tell you that Clove has him wrapped around her little paw.  He has been so impressed at how quick she is learning and today he was excited to take her out on the river with him.  He was so thankful not to have a little "foo-foo" dog- Ivy wanted one with bows in her hair!! Ha- Clove may be another little girl but she will be tough enough to hang with Daddy!

 The girls are doing a really good job with Clove!  It can be a little crazy in the after school hour when everyone is tired, hungry, and jumping on mommy.  But Ivy has taken to throwing a tennis ball with Clove and teaching her to bring it back each time.  Tula's favorite thing is to climb into the dog kennel or dog bed with Clove and roll around.  We all have loved getting to go out on lots of walks and playing the the yard with the new pup!

By nature, Border Collie's want to herd.... this includes children.... so we are working on breaking her of heel nipping but for the most part she is so sweet with the girls.  Ivy has overcome her fear of dogs and was excited to get a baby dog to watch grow into a bigger dog.  And Tula, she is just so excited!!! Tula has been a dog lover and she adores Clove.  She cries when we have to leave her at home but is always calling for her as soon as we pull into our neighborhood.  

We are excited to introduce Clove into our crazy, busy life!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween 2012

This year we changed our Halloween tradition.... which you know can be hard for me! But we did it and had fun. Here is a little about our memories from Halloween 2012.
Our church hosts a huge outreach Trunk or Treat project.  They serve around 500 neighborhood kids who come through our parking lot to visit the festive trunks, load up on candy, and then enjoy a warm chili dinner.  Cicely and I decorated the "candy store" and dressed up to greet the trick or treaters.  We had fun but did miss seeing our own little ones enjoy their first trunk and treat--- next year, Rob and Greg will be passing out the candy!  Can't wait to see what they dress up as :) 

Daddy and his little Minnie Mice- he was super dad being the solo parent with 2 little trick or treaters!

Mommy and the little candy lovers!

Our fancy little pumpkin- Ivy insisted that she didn't care about much else, but our Jack-O-Lantern needed eyelashes.  My super carving husband, gave his sweet girls a pumpkin with long lashes! We all enjoyed this smiley face.

 * * * * * *

Dress Up Day at School
Ivy's dress up day was a community helper theme!  All the community helpers participated in a parade to show off their costumes.  Ivy choose to be a nurse with the inspiration of her Nana.  Nana even brought her home a real stethoscope to wear.  Ivy loved checking her class mate's "heart beeps" all day long! 

Tula's class had a fall party to celebrate the holiday!  They all dressed up, got to paint, eat yummy treats, and play games.  Tula was a purple fairy (that we already had in our dress up tub)!  I know this girl is a mess so I knew I needed to put her in something that already had a little bit of wear and tear. And of course, she was absolutely smitten to be a fairy at school and Minnie at night!

Some Tula 1st's

I almost forget that at age 2, Tula is still having many firsts! Over the last month, she has gotten to experience several new things. One of my favorite things about having children is being able to see things through their eyes. Tula is so excited and animated about everything, so it is always a joy to see her try something new! 

Tula had her 1st trip to the dentist and was a trooper!  She actually let them do a full cleaning on her little pearly whites which was a shocker since she isn't the best tooth brusher at home.  Thankful all was looking good in the area of dental health.  

She got to go to dance "class" for the 1st time! Tula got to stretch with the little ballerinas at Ivy's dance class!  She is always so heartbroken when Ivy's dance teacher shuts the door to begin class.  It was such a treat to have her get to go in to class and stretch with them.  She kept saying "Tuwa's a ballerina! Watch!" Maybe someday soon she will actually get to be in a dance class. 
Tula has experienced holding babies for the 1st time this month!  She is in love with her baby cousin Graham (Baby Bam!) and was so proud to hold him in her arms and be gentle to him!

Tula got to play in the leaves for her 1st (and probably last) time.  Tula has horrible allergies and so this activity didn't go over to well.  She had a blast but has been a wreck with skin and nasal/eye allergies ever since.  At least it was fun while it lasted! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday- Boyd's Orchard 2013

One of my favorite things to do in the fall.... 
 a trip to the orchard! 

One little Smorstad hasn't quite learned about picture posing.... can you find her?