Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I want to enjoy the little moments.
I want to have balance to be able to really enjoy the little moments.
And being totally honest, totally raw.... lately I feel stretched.

Playing outside one pretty evening.... and soaking it ALL up!

Some days I have felt that "tight in my chest, really can't breathe" kind of stretched and it is hard. Being a working mommy is difficult and as much as I wake up, attempt to put on my rose colored glasses, and choose joy- it isn't every day that this routine is successful. There are days that I go to work dragging with a heart that feels like it must be breaking as I leave it with my family at home. There are days when I have to stay home a little longer to eat breakfast with my girls and cuddle an extra minute just so that I can make it for the next 8 hours. Then some mornings I think I have it figured out and I walk into work only to find defeat waiting at my classroom door. It has been one of those months.

A spontaneous birthday breakfast celebration.... on a Monday!

So I can mope around, and be sad- but friends, I tried that for the ENTIRE first year of Ivy's life and it proved to be a total FAIL! I was sad at home because I had to go to work the next day, I was sad at work because I had left Ivy at home, and every weekend I spent dreading Sunday night and every work week I spent longing for Friday afternoon. So it was a lot of time wasted away being anything but happy. And while I wish I could say I was enjoying the little moments, I wasn't doing that at all.

So now, my life situation has not changed. My work schedule cannot change. And on most days, I love my job. I take that back, everyday I love teaching and most days I do so without defeat. But there are a lot of other things about working that cause distraction and disruption in my time at home, my summer's off, and add that to the ever accessible internet and I am stretched too thin.

It is these little moments but BIG memories that I long for more of.

So I am going to do something different. I am going to guard my time like it is a prized possession- which it is. I am not engaging in time wasters since my time for family feels like it has been robbed from me when I put my babies to bed at the end of a "too quick, too busy" day. I am working to prioritize things at school so that I can get home and feel good about the condition of my plans and my classroom- but know that there is always going to be more that I can do, no matter how long I stay the list will keep growing. And last, I am putting on my armor and shouting it from the roof tops "I am MOMMY first." My children are little once and there will be time for extras, but for now, I am learning to say no. No, I won't be able to make it to that event that I am just feeling obligated to attend. No, I won't be able to take on the extra work responsibility. No, I won't be able to cook for this or join you for that. I want to be polite, I want to have tact, and I want to quit having to stretch my way through life.

This is what I am fighting for....

Goodbye January, you have been a tough one for me.
Hoping for more balance and a lot more time to enjoy the little moments with my family.

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's these moments....

"The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
~ Dr. Suess

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Little Mover

Tula Belle
19 lbs 14 oz
They have released us from the need for weight checks as recommended at her 15 month check up!
Height: 29 inches
As I thought, she shrunk 2 inches from her 15 month height! Mama was right about the inaccurate measurement!
I finally was able to catch this little mover for some new pictures! She is nearly impossible to photograph any more because they always turn out blurry as she is dancing, waving, clapping, or simply running away.

Tula's favorite go to spot is the bathroom. She loves to stand on this little stool, look in the mirror, and brush her teeth! Climbing on things helps our vertically challenged girl to see things a little differently :)

Look how big she is getting! She is starting to have knack for playing~ but her attention span is just about 5 minutes so in an hours time our play area looks like a bomb went off!
* Cooks in the kitchen- 5 minutes
* Color Wonder markers- 5 minutes
* Little farm animals- 5 minutes
* Lots of books off the shelf- 8 minutes
* Little play house- 5 minutes (YAY no mess!)
* Feeds baby doll- 5 minutes
* Runs with baby stroller- 1 minute..... icing the new goose egg from hitting a wall- 4 minutes!!
* Dancing diva- 5 minutes
* Tea party- 5 minutes
SHOOOOO.... Mommy is tired!

Tula does love books! (The only thing that she will do for more than 5 minutes!) I have been reading to her each evening and FINALLY she enjoys being read to instead of trying to eat the books. She loves peek a boo books the best! And she always finishes and goes back to her favorite page to read again once it is over.

Peek- a- boo!! Tula's blankie and paci are her very best friends!

Night-night! Our busy little girl will go get her blankie and paci and lay down anywhere when she is ready for a nap or bed time!

Tula still requires A LOT of sleep! Just a little down time for Mommy to rest a moment to have enough energy to move, move, move when she is up to play again!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The REAL Snow

On Saturday night a REAL snow came and fell on our little town of Nicholasville. And Sunday morning it brought us....

A little SNOW angel :)

Maybe it was that her plea to get outside and burn some energy with Daddy was answered.

Or perhaps it was that they made a very GREEN snowman complete with only natural decorations.... very DaddySmors of them!

None the less, MamaSmors was so HAPPY to take our little Snow Angel to see Beauty and the Beast!

(And we went out on a limb and watched it in 3D..... but Ivy prefers "1D" of course! Because if 2D is flat she would like it to be VERY VERY flat so 1D it is!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

a parenting storm

Tula was excited about the dusting and I was thankful to be able to cuddle this little one all day!

Today was a snow day- and no matter what, I will always treasure these days as a teacher! A little gift to be at home with my girls being lazy and enjoying each other. This year we haven't had any snow days yet and we have all been more than ready for a big snow storm. Today school was called off but there was hardly a major snow storm, but at home unfortunately, we had quite a storm.

It was one of those days, those afternoons, where nothing was giving and Ivy and I were not able to meet in the middle- at all. The morning was great. We had a yummy breakfast together and then played in the "play kitchen" having birthday parties for EVERYONE over and over again. Then Tula went down for a morning nap and Ivy and I had game time. We played Caribou Island and Zingo for a little while. Then it was nearing lunch time- Tula was up and we all ate together and played some more with the usual post lunch dance party! Then we played another game called Hullabaloo (great snow day game because you hop, skip, and dance all over the place) and Tula is even starting to copy what Ivy and I are doing. All was grand!

Then it was the dreaded afternoon- something hit my 4 year old like a ton of bricks. I am not sure what it was or where it came from. But she all of a sudden was being very unkind to Tula and after several reminders I told her it was time for her to lay down for a rest (before the usual time). During rest time she screamed and cried but eventually calmed down. I never raised my voice and she didn't get a spanking- just a consequence to fit the crime. You can't be nice, you go to your room for an early nap.

You see I am in one of those parenting lulls where something has to change. Ivy is far too mature for a time out or a spanking- it is time for a consequence to fit the crime. I am making an effort to be slow to react to Ivy and think through an appropriate punishment. One that she understands and sees the connection between her action and her consequence. I was proud of myself and was sure to thank God for patience even as Ivy kicked and screamed in her room. All the while, Tula was an excellent distraction and we were able to read books and stack toys and push trains all around the house.

Once I laid Tula down I had time to breathe and just pray for me to continue to parent Ivy in a godly way. I prayed that whatever came over her would pass and we could enjoy our evening together. In the meantime, we were invited to go see Beauty and the Beast with a friend. I called and talked to Greg about it and after talking decided that I would offer Ivy grace, just as Christ does for me over and over and over, so I was excited to tell her about the movie after nap.

At around 3:45 I went into her room and found a still wide awake Ivy. I quietly asked her if she would like to go and see Beauty and the Beast- and she was quick to say yes and then followed that with the middle school attitude that she too often uses said, "and I didn't even take a nap!" I took a deep breath and let it go. Then I was telling her to go ahead and get up to get ready for the movie and the ranting about her clothes began.

I closed my eyes- tried to make it go away- but the realization is that Ivy often acts like the worst kind of 7th grader when it comes to her independence in dressing herself. I was disappointed in her, questioning myself, and so annoyed that once again (right after Christmas) she is whining about clothes and shoes and what goes and what is old and what is new. Geeze louise- I gave her a firm answer about it being too cold for ballet flats and then the screaming began about how mad I make her and I knew what I needed to do.

I have never taken away anything BIG. I mean, I have most definitely used birthday parties, play dates, and super fun outings for bribery and threatening but never have I taken it away. But I knew that she was in no kind of mood to go anywhere in public. In fact, I really just wanted to put her in pajamas, tuck her in, and hope the morning came soon and the old Ivy was back. So I did it, I canceled with our friends and told Ivy that we would not be going to the movies. A consequence to fit the crime.

It was hard- like make mommy cry- kind of hard. I felt bad, I felt embarrassed, and I felt sad that we weren't able to create this memory together. After an hour of SCREAMING and acting totally belligerent, Ivy calmed down and we were able to talk. She apologized and I can only hope that she "got it." I think I heard about 100 "I love you's" in the next few hours, she begged to sit by me at dinner, and she was a perfect baking buddy this evening. Ivy redeemed herself and I hope that she could see my love is unconditional. Even though I don't love the way she acted, I still love her and am hopeful for better times.

I love being a mom. It is hands down the best job I have ever been given. But it is not easy and if my 4 year old is acting like a middle schooler, I can't even imagine what middle school will really be like! I just know I can never give up. I have to know myself, know my limits, and know my non-negotiables. I have to be consistent and have to learn from my mistakes. I have to be flexible and have to hang on to those awesome moments- like the Ivy on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday who earned a ton of quarters (her positive rewards) because she was a great big sister, daughter, helper, and friend. I have to be quick to forgive and offer grace just like my heavenly Father does for me. I have to bake cookies if she requests to do so, even if just hours before she was not the child that would ever get to bake with mommy.

So if I could do it over, would I still want a snow day- absolutely!
Only next time I am hoping for a true snow storm rather than one of the parenting kind!

Ivy was genuinely happy this evening, over it all, and moving on. (If that is not a lesson she has taught me then I don't know what is!) She was ready to bake some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for her Pops!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Little Girls Feeling Big

Ivy is growing up too fast and rather than trying to hang on so tight that she suffocates I am trying to embrace it when I can. No, I will not cave in a let her wear lipstick or high heels like she would love. And Ivy does not get to drink coffee like she requests every Saturday morning. Last, she goes to "little kid" church even though she really likes to sing in "big church". So not everything goes. I want her to be little, 4 and a half to be exact, for a little longer! But some of her new "Am I big enough for.....?" are starting to make me excited about her future and what is to come. Last month she had a big girl first!

Ivy and Elyse used to "nap" a Kristy's and make some big plans.... plans that included play dates, pool dates, church dates, and sleepovers. Us mommies barely knew one another so these were big plans for the then 3 year olds. A few months later, the girls turned 4, the mommies become pool buddies and then teaching buddies, and some of these big plans actually were carried out :) We had been holding off on the last one but Christmas break seemed like the time was right! Ivy and Elyse are both nearing 4 and a half and the sleepover requests were flying on our end. "Am I big enough to have a friend sleep at my house and have a sleepover party?"

Well, the mommies decided it was a go and these little girls had a blast! So our first sleepover was a total success with pizza, movie night (Beauty and the Beast was the feature), swimming in the tub, and staying up WAY too late! I would have loved to be a fly on the wall as they laughed and giggled and knowing them made some more big plans.

These little girls definitely felt big when they woke up in the morning knowing they had pulled off their first ever sleepover!

All was smooth until about 10am.... when both grouchy girls needed a nap! :)
I see many more sleepovers in our future!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

a gift

Over New Year's weekend.... and I mean Thursday until Sunday, we were treated to one last Christmas gift. Anthony and Chelsea were able to come and spend 4 straight days here- with us, with my parents. When all of us are in a room it just feels good, really feels like the most spectacular gift ever. It feels absolutely, positively complete.... minus a few more babies! We don't usually get to spend this many days with them (except at the beach)- they are busy, we are busy and the distance between here and Cincinnati makes it hard to spend more than a day together. So you can imagine the light on Ivy's face when I got to explain for 3 nights- "It's okay to go to bed. Tomorrow we will see Unc and Esie again." You could just see Ivy breathing a huge sigh of relief. She seriously thinks they hung the moon.... and who knows maybe they did?!?!

Day after day, night after night we spent time eating and laughing and playing and just enjoying the gift of family- it was especially fun for the big girls to go get an awesome pedicure together on Friday! So fun! Tula adored her Unc and Esie from across the room, smiling from time to time but not leaving the comfort of familiar faces. Before long she will be tagging along with Ivy as the coolest Unc and Esie teach our kids all the cool dance moves :)

Ivy had fun living out her "hair dresser" dream and playing with Esie's pretty hair. Esie was such a good sport. Ivy twisted and pulled, brushed and pulled, styled and pulled on the most "beautifulest" hair ever. She had so much fun!

Unc tried to ensure that Ivy could sport his team's colors on Saturday... by winning Ivy's heart with a "girly UK shirt" on Ivy's request. She was excited to match her Unc and give him a high five since his team (and her team too) won! Tula was warming up to Unc a bit- but not enough to get a real picture of them. Ivy will have to keep telling Tula stories about them to convince her to jump on the Unc and Esie train!

This New Years weekend was truly one last gift...
oh and the girls totally smoked the boys in Taboo...
Truly a gift that will leave us memories that last throughout the year!