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?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pinteresty Fall Break

For a long time, I fought the urge to join Pinterest.... but then when planning Ivy's rainbow birthday party I caved and boy, am I thankful.  In fact, I can't imagine how many things I would have tackled in the summer had I been a part of this wonderful surplus of knowledge! Oh well, there is always next summer to look forward to. So this week we had a very Pinteresty week at the Smorstad household!

We made bird feeders!
Toilet Paper Roll
Peanut Butter
The girls even enjoyed a few fingerlicks of the peanut butter!
The birds definitely enjoyed the feeders as they have almost been licked clean! We will have to make more soon!

Then we did a science experiment post nap one day! This kept Tula and Ivy busy and entertained for over an hour!
Baking Soda
Food Coloring
Medicine Droppers

Tula loved to watch it bubble and Ivy was excited to see how many different colors she could make.  Separating the colors vinegar in muffin tins was a great way to keep things clean!

Every fancy girl loves glitter so Ivy was beyond excited to make these glitter pumpkins!

This will definitely be a fall tradition!

Then we made this yummy pumpkin fluff dip!
Oh my absolutely delicious and easy!  It is also healthy.... well, I don't know if you are supposed to eat it all in one day like the Smorstad family did! But nonetheless, it was so good! We enjoyed dipping fruit and graham crackers into this tasty treat.

The not so fun, but oh so necessary cleaning projects!
 I also was a little bit productive and did some cleaning with a little baking soda and vinegar!
I "de-funked" my bathroom towels using a tip found  here. I was so excited because I have bought so many new towels when mine have started to smell funny and seem like they are stuck in a wet state. So far this money saver worked, and my towels are good as new!

 We also used these household products to clean my dishwasher using this trick. I am hoping this works and will keep our dishwasher smelling good as new!

The Smorstad Family has definitely been reaping the benefits of Pinterest this week.  If you haven't been Pinteresting your life just yet, I think it is time!   

Friday, October 12, 2012

Back the farm again!

Maybe you remember our last visit to the farm... I know we definitely haven't forgotten about that day!  That is one of my fondest "first" memories for Ivy and I couldn't wait for Tula to experience the farm and all of it's glory.  You can imagine the excitement that I had once Cicely and I planned this little trip.  Fall break couldn't come soon enough! 

The farm did not disappoint! Tula was absolutely shocked at she stared at the enormity of these real animals through the fence.  She was not afraid at all and mimicked what she saw Farmer Rhett do- calling the animals and sticking her hands through the holes to pet their noses!
Not only did they have the biggest of horses and llamas, but they also had brand new kittens.  The were so lovey and I am sure enjoyed the hands of all these little ones loving on them.  Ivy and Rhett talked about how their own cats used the be that small and Sidney Shea was all business teaching Tula how to hold her own kitty.
Tula was tickled when she got a turn with Cinderella Kitten, but didn't know what to do once the little kitten decided she was moving! 
We didn't leave the farm without taking the llamas for a walk.  Everyone walked the llamas and the Rhett taught Ivy how to play "auction" as he sold one llama after another to the highest bidder.  Ivy was interested in the auction but seemed a little nervous to actually jump in and play.  Rhett definitely might take after his Uncle James Benton and get into the auction business someday! 
After some time with the animals we headed over to Two Sister's Pumpkin Patch which was awesome.... especially since it was free!! The kids played on the hay bales, visited the animals, ran through the corn maze, and sat on a tractor.  Cicely and I talked about opening our own pumpkin patch someday! We have dreams :) 

(Go ahead, laugh!  I am sure you are wondering what my job will be since I don't know much about farming or animals but Cicely has all the details figured out! Someday, friends!)
Sidney Shea and Tula are becoming sweet friends!  Before long Oaklee will be walking right along with these big girls. 
You can imagine what fun they had on this wagon ride!  Let's just say, we were not sneaking up on anyone as these kiddos all have some lungs on them.
We got a picture with everyone. We have almost doubled since our last trip to the farm.... who knows how many little kiddos we will have next time?!? We definitely had a perfect fall day with the farm animals, a pumpkin patch, and our friends!  I love looking back on days like that and the memories that were created!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

ivy's fieldtrip and a little therpy sesh....

Ivy's first kindergarten field trip- Evan's Orchard!
 Ivy had her first field trip.... I like to say first "kindergarten" because it makes me feel better that she actually took her first field trip ever with my class- meaning I was there.  (I am sure you have a hint about the therapy session that will begin shortly....) Ivy had an excellent time and I was so thankful that her Daddy got to share this special day with her.
The weather was ugly but those kindergartners were happy to be at the pumpkin patch.  God was watching over this little group because even though the rain surrounded the area, not a single drop fell on their little pumpkin picking heads!
Daddy got to meet lots of Ivy's kindergarten friends that we hear so much about but have never actually met.  Ivy had a great first KINDERGARTEN field trip and I was thankful that Daddy got to have a sneak peek into her school life!

I love these people..... like so much that it hurts my heart sometimes.

I haven't blogged much since school started.  I am not sure if I am just super busy or if I am trying to guard my heart a little.  I am pretty sure it is the latter since I have always made time to keep up with this family scrapbook.  But this is my outlet and these blog posts do serve as a record of my mommy heart to be shared with my girls someday.  So I will share and stop hiding- blogging is like therapy, but it's free and I can do it in the privacy of my own home.

A little background....
I started teaching.
I loved teaching.
I got pregnant.
But I was committed to teaching.
Then Ivy was born.
I was so sad.
I was so so so so sad to leave her every SINGLE day.
I was going to stay home.
I went ahead of God and began planning my life and decided I was staying at home as soon as Greg got out of school. Maybe you remember when I announced my plans to the world or maybe you remember when I learned a very hard lesson less than a month later. This was a difficult, sad time for me.  I had to realize that Greg and I were adults and we had to take care of our family.  I had to accept the fact that even as I sobbed at my parent's kitchen table they could not fix this for me.  I had to choose joy, for the students I would teach and for my family at home.

That is what I did.... proudly.  I did my very best at work and I shared amazing experiences with students and families and co-workers.  I enjoyed my time at home, thankful for afternoons, weekends, and cherishing every snow day off or long summer vacation.  And I achieved balance in my life.... I can only give God credit for that because I couldn't do it on my own.  I felt like being a working mom was about having a positive, "I can do it" mindset, day in and day out.  I continued this through my pregnancy with Tula and even survived going back to work with just a few tears*

Then this year came.
Ivy is in kindergarten so it is supposed to be a little bit easier.  I had convinced myself that being a working mom for these years, the little years would be hard but then it would ease up.  But I wasn't prepared for the way my heart hurts and aches this year.  (And maybe, hopefully this will all change when she is at my school next year.... but right now it stinks!)

I am feeling that same dread that I felt about possibly missing a first giggle or a first step.  But instead I am missing out on being a part of my girl's school day.  School- what I am so deeply passionate about- but I don't get to be there.  I am missing out on volunteering and reading aloud to her class.  I am missing out on spontaneous lunch room appearances or being the mom that can help Mrs. Hoffner with the little tasks like cutting and laminating.  I am missing out on field trips and seeing her friendships blossom.  I hate it. I want to be one of those moms that have meant so much in my own classroom.  And I can't.

I don't want this to hurt, I have tried to talk myself out of it, and am currently remembering that my sovereign Lord knows what I am supposed to be doing.  I am in constant conversation with Him. I thank Him for a renewed spirit each school year and for the gift of teaching.  I thank him for a job like teaching where the benefits for mamas are so, so good.  I thank him for my co-workers who are some of my very best friends. But my prayers to him haven't stopped over the last 4 years- I still ask that if our situation ever changes or if a better opportunity for our family comes up that it will smack us in the face.  I ask that if we could be better stewards of our finances or better health insurance becomes available that we will be able to put every penny in the perfect place so that I would have the opportunity to be Mama in these early years. But at this moment the only prayer that has been answered is one that says, "I have called you to teach, Sarah.  And you can Mama and teach at the same time.  That makes you the teacher that you are.  Use this gift and do it joyfully."

I am working through this and I know it will be okay but it isn't easy.  I am already looking forward to next year.  I plan use some of my planning time to be a part of Ivy's classroom weekly.  I hope our lunch schedules might overlap a little and I can see that in the future (like when she is in 2nd grade)! And I know I will really know her teacher and they will never ask for my driver's licence when I pick her up.  This has been one of those times that hurt because I wasn't expecting it.... kind of like when Ivy was born.  I hope that next time I have a kindergartner I will have these emotions all figured out!