Sunday, December 29, 2013

a cozy christmas

 This Christmas we decided to change up tradition from year's past.  I have went to Louisville every Christmas since I can remember to visit both my mom's and dad's sides of the family.  It is always so much fun to see everyone but the crowd is definitely dwindling as the cousins grow older and start families of their own.  So last year as we got in the car to come home close to 10pm, got to bed very late, and had early risers to greet the goods from Santa- I made an executive decision- we would no longer travel on Christmas Eve.  We missed seeing Great Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins but it was a good time to be had with our little family of 5. 

 *Christmas Eve Traditions est. 2013*

Christmas day, Jesus' Birthday was spent mostly at home.  Our girls were excited to wake up well rested and ready to play.  Santa knew we had 3 girls as the Christmas tree area was littered with all things pink, purple, and baby dolls,.  Our girls were excited to play with their new baby dolls and accessories all morning long.  They did take a moment to make a duct tape purse and play dentist with a play dough set but other wise it was all about the babies.  One of our favorite Christmas traditions is to make Jesus' birthday cake, light candles, sing, and have a party for the greatest gift of all.  His birth is the greatest gift of all, not just on Christmas day but every day of our lives.  He is not just the reason for the season but rather the reason for everything and His love, grace, and mercy blesses us each day. I love seeing my little ones so excited about celebrating Him!
*Family Memories*

This Christmas was different but different was good.  
It was cozy.  It was full of love. It was perfectly perfect.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

connected but disconnected

 I would say I am someone who struggles with self control.  I have an internal dialogue about it multiple times a day, it's a prayer from my mouth and heart each morning and many times throughout the day, and I still fall short.... often.  I vow to only eat sweets once a week, I tell myself "I will not open my mouth!" about certain subjects, and I make attempts to limit my exposure to things like Facebook.  I lack self control with things that I find to be slightly addictive.... Facebook, chocolate, and sometimes gossip.  (Ewww, yuck, just speaking those words sounds so lame and so ugly.) But I am on a quest for self control in 2014 to be a model for my girls, to strengthen my personal relationships, and to disconnect from things that don't evoke good feelings and rather connect to the people in life where God has called me.  To have a personal relationship with Christ, to be a wife, to be a mom, to be a friend.

I told the world first- 1 week in advance, but before I could change my mind- through my Instagram feed and linked it to Facebook. I know you will hold me accountable in this quest for self control.  I  talked to my mama about this and spoke of limiting my Facebook encounters but I know me, and I know I will do really well for a bit, then I will slowly slip back into my old patterns.  I then talked to my husband about it, my husband who was graced with incredible self control, who jumped the Facebook ship long ago.  His encouragement- cut the chord- you'll be happier, you won't feel so stretched.  And he knows me too well and I know he is right. So I will delete my account altogether before the clock strikes 12 and I start 2014.

 
I am busy.  I work full time.  I have 3 young children.  I have a thriving marriage that I am committed to making time for.  I am involved in my church.  I like to exercise. I like to read. I like to blog. The list goes on and on- and Facebook just doesn't fit anymore.  It is a distraction to my life and my family and my time.  While I love being able to stay connected to my old friends it has slipped away from that being the primary purpose but rather is a breeding ground for things that bother me and eat away at me. 



Every time I read something on Facebook that stirs up an ugly emotion I think of Philippians 4:8-  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.  I want to fill my mind with those Godly things and I am not finding those things on Facebook...usually. I can find them through personal conversations, I can find them through Bible study, I can find them on blogs and in articles that I choose to find and read not just stumble upon. Facebook has become a political breeding ground and I find myself judging others based on the things that they so willingly put out there.  I don't want to be the judge and I don't want to contaminate my friendships due to some haphazard status update that they typed to answer Facebook's daily question.... what are you thinking? 

I will still be on Instagram- I love seeing pictures.  There is hardly anything offensive found in the pictures on my feed.  I will still be updating on my family blog- probably more often.  I love this outlet- to write, to reflect, to capture memories.  I'd love for you to chose to follow along in our journey.  Feel free to send me your email address (mamasmors@gmail.com) if you would like my blog posts to automatically be delivered to you in cyberspace- the way I usually directly link them to my Facebook account! :)  I appreciate the encouragement that I already have been given in this choice and I hope that I will be more intentional about making personal connections with each of you.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Joss Maven @ 4 Months

Joss Maven

4 months on December 13th
Height: 24 inches (42%)
Weight: 11 lb 4 oz (8%)

It is hard to believe Jossie is already 4 months old! Yes, our little one has a few nick names.  Sometimes she's just Baby Joss but other times she is Jossie and Jossie Mae.  We do love our little peanut and cannot believe she is already 4 months old.  Time is flying with her (I didn't expect anything different) but this time I really really want to be able to enjoy each and everyday.  And so that is exactly what we are doing! 

 What's new?

Eating
Joss eats six times a day getting two bottles (one formula) during the day at Mrs. Gina's and nursing the rest of the time.  She is flexible to go back and forth between bottle and breast and I have even tried putting her to bed with the bottle and it was a success.  The doctor didn't like her dropping from the 16% to the 8% in weight and wants us to add a feeding, increase number of ounces, and/or start oatmeal.  I am not super eager to start oatmeal so we will just be doing to the others to increase her calories.  It is hard to find a place to sneak in an extra feeding because she truly seems content after and between eating times.  She has little rolls on her legs and has chubby little cheeks.  Joss is growing just fine to me!! 

I do plan to start weaning her over Christmas break just to eliminate pumping at work in January.  You know I totally hate the pump!  Then I will try feeding her before and after work for as long as my supply allows.  I do love nursing but there is a lot that comes along with nursing and working that makes it less desirable. 

Sleeping
Baby Joss is a great sleeper!  She takes two big naps during the day in the pack n play or crib at home.  Then she always has one little snoozer in the evening before going down for her 10-12 hour slumber at night.  (Other mamas don't be too jealous I paid my dues with Tula.... I promise!  But in turn I still have a very cuddly 3 year old.)  
  
Jossie is pretty easy to please and will sleep in the arms of a loved on or in the swing but she rarely sleeps in the car.  She likes to look around.... don't put up the sun shade or you will have a screamer!!

Playing
Jossie loves to be talked to and sang to...... do NOT walk away though because we are in that "please entertain me every second since I can't entertain myself yet" phase.  She seriously is heart broken when your little conversations are over.  She loves looking at the lights and hearing the music of her play mat.  She just started "talking" to the little birds and grabbing onto the toy rings that are hanging down around her.  She acts like to is really into the TV when the girls are watching Sofia the First or Mickey Mouse which is funny!! 
Her most adored item is her bunny blankie, given to her by a sweet former student, Catie Grace.  She seriously loves having her bunny at all times!  I would love to say she also adores her paci but right now she has figured out how to weasel her thumb into her mouth and suck away.... NOOOOOO!  Right now we are still calling this a phase and are hoping she starts to prefer the paci soon.  Surely she can't be copying Tula just yet.... riiight?!?!

****

I am so thankful for the blessing of Joss. I really am.  I know I say that every time I write about her but I am thankful to have another little one to love.  I was so full of anxiety during her pregnancy there was part of me that was afraid it would all rise to a boil when she was born.  Satan made me believe that I was not fit to be a mom of three because of the way I felt when she was in the womb. The exact opposite happened.  She has brought with her such a sense of peace upon my heart and I know more than ever that she was the perfect addition to our family. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ivy & Tula Recital Weekend 2013

 This year was Tula's first year in dance.  She has wavered back and forth on whether she likes dance class or not but on Monday afternoons she is ready to go hours before dance begins.  However, her first performance just for the parents at the studio she sobbed and said it was "silly to dance in front of all those people."  We were shocked by this considering her very extrovert personality so I really wasn't sure about how she would do on the big stage!

 Daddy, Ivy, Joss, Nana, Pops, and even Mrs. Gina and Baby Giuliana came to watch Tula "be a ballerina" and she went out there and did her best!  I was thankful that the thumb came out of her mouth, there were no tears on stage, and she even did some toe taps and turns on point!  When suggesting she try another activity in the spring she got her head moving, her fingers pointing, and told me she was going to be a tap dancer..... so tap dancing it is and we will have another go at recital time in May.

 She was excited to be greeted with a flower from Nana and Pops and even was willing to pose for some pictures.  She came home and took a big long nap to gear up for the Nutcracker performance set for the evening.  We were very proud of our Tula "Belle-rina" and her first recital!

The evening rolled around and we got our next ballerina ready to perform.  Even though Ivy is a bit of an introvert she loves performing on stage.  Her favorite part of the dance season is getting make up on, hair fixed, costume set, and getting on the big stage.   

We were so thankful that Nana and Pops played the role of proud grandparents all day long and were willing to help hold Baby Joss, bring us dinner over, and applauded dancers from noon to night! I just might add that Joss was awesome sitting through two recitals without so much as a whimper.  We are thankful for our very flexible girl who can go with the flow of our busy family. 

Ivy really impressed us in how much she had grown from last year to this year as far as performance goes.  I can tell that she is gaining confidence and remembering the routine better as a 6 year old.  She loves dance and hasn't shown any interest in trying another activity.  So for this little princess.... dance it is!  

*******
Click to watch the videos on YouTube

Ivy's Dance Recital 2013

Tula's First Dance Recital 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

just some words..... thankful

I am thankful to report that things are going well.  I have returned to work, already enjoyed my first long break over Thanksgiving, and we are adjusting, surviving, and truly thriving in our new routine. Maybe it's third time's a charm but this time the transition back to work was easier than ever before.  I think some of that is knowing what I to expect and the rest has to do with having a child at work with me each day.  That's what us teacher moms wait for.... the moment when you are a hop, skip, and a jump away from enjoying a reader's theater performance, congratulating your child on a test right when it happens, and sneaking a quick hug in the hallway! It's worth the wait, my friends! 

Tula and Joss are with a new in home sitter, Mrs. Gina, and I could not be happier with how well they are adjusting.  Joss hopped right into the 2 nap routine (and an evening cat nap at home) and took wonderfully to the bottle.  Tula is finding her way playing with the boys and helping with the babies.  She is thriving on Mrs. Gina's reward system and the calm atmosphere has been a good change during the day and at home.  They are making friends and Mrs. Gina is sending me pictures and updates often, putting my working mommy heart at ease.  

At home.... things can get crazy.... but really we are into a rhythm of what needs to be done at night to prepare for the morning.  We have figured out how to get Ivy's homework done when my teacher mode really is ready to turn off after hours.  And everyone is sleeping, eating, bathing.... and most important- they are feeling loved! :) 

I may be calmer than I have ever been as a working mommy and friends, I've got 3 kiddos to look after at home! I have started a challenge- the orange rhino challenge- have you heard of it?  It's a challenge to not yell at your children.  I don't want to be a screamer but I found myself landing in that territory too often after adding a third to the mix.  I started on November 10th and have slipped once where I ranked my voice as a yell (well technically twice but once was yelling at the hubby on the day I started the challenge!!).  This might be a record for me- but I am still going. These hilarious tips have been my saving grace and my girls are quite humored by them too!

Here's a little secret....remember how I had to go on some calm down meds while pregnant.... well I am even off of those.  God is good- all the time- all the time- God is good!

I am thankful.  Thankful for God's grace and love every day.  Thankful for my supportive and encouraging friends at work.  Thankful for a home filled with 3 little BIG blessings and a husband I adore.  Thankful for a job that I love to go to each day! Absolutely thankful.

Our first ever, movie and pizza night watching Elf after putting up the Christmas tree!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

the leaving letter

dear joss,
the time has come... 12 weeks and 5 days have flown by.... and tomorrow i am leaving you for the first time for more than a quick trip to the grocery or to jazzercise.  over the last 91 days i have studied your every feature. i know the way you move your eyebrows to show expression.  i know the way your eyes well with tears if i try to burp you before you are ready or i haven't burped you and it is time. i know the way your lip sticks out if someone is too loud. i know the way you stretch your long fingers out just before you grasp my thumb and hold on so tight.  over the last 91 days i have come to know exactly how you like to be swaddled with your hands by your face.  you like to swing in the swing when you're a little sleepy. and you love to lay on the ground without anyone restricting your movement. over the last 91 days i have found contentment of exactly where i am. i am a mommy of 3 girls, what a blessing.  i am teaching one girl about being a good friend, another about minding her manners, and you little missy, i am teaching to SLOW down because you are growing too fast. you are teaching me to enjoy the moment and stop dreaming about years ahead or what's next for the smorstad family. i am at peace, content and joyful for where i am, where we are.

i am at peace with being a working mom and i hope that is okay with you. i have had 3 times to get that feeling down pat, but i think i have got it.  i am a teacher.  god gave me the gift of teaching and i find so much joy knowing that i am using this gift not just at home with you and your sisters but at school with a classroom full of children, year after year. i don't want you to grow up thinking you have missed out. you haven't, i promise.  you are loved by adults other than me (and daddy) and mrs. gina will certainly be loving on you day in and day out when i can't be there. you get to meet new friends, guiliana is already excited about you coming to play. you will get to tag along to fun school things where teachers will know your name, my students will give you hugs like you are best friends, and you will look forward to being at school with mommy someday. you will learn about finding your passion in life and i pray that you, tula, and ivy can find something that can be your "job" but where you will make a difference in others' lives.  and while i will be sad many mornings to leave you (and you might be a little sad at times to) the joy will come when i get home in the afternoon, when we have cozy breaks for the holidays, when we are surprised by a blanket of snow on the ground, and when our long fun summer at the pool comes!

even though i am finally at peace and can find the joy in the life of being a working mom, i never want you to think it was an easy choice, but rather a choice that we had to make for our family.  i work to help our family financially, to provide excellent health coverage, to allow us to make memories on vacations or even at the movies, to have the experience of ballet or tap or whatever hobby you choose to pursue.  i work to make our house a home and i work to have a daddy works but is here with us at dinner each night. being a working mom allowed us to have the family that we imagined having someday. growing up in a family with two working parents does not allow us to live a life of luxury but i hope that you will be able to find contentment with the simple life we have built on love.

i am leaving at 7:15 tomorrow morning, but i will be thinking about you. i will see your face on each of my 2nd graders and imagine what you will be like when you are at school. i will show them patience, kindness, and gentleness the way i would to you. i will believe in my students, i will encourage them, teach them, and mold them into little people just like i will do for you. being a mom makes me a better teacher and for you, tula, and ivy i am thankful for that. on the flipside, being a teacher might just make me a better mom and for my career i hope you will be thankful one day.

tomorrow i will set off to be a working mom, a teacher and i will do my job and do it good! but at 3:15 i will be bounding out the doors to come home and to my 2nd shift- as mommy.  we will snuggle, sing songs, and have dance parties. we will read books, smile, and blow bubbles at bath time. it will be a good day, we will have to leave but we will be joyful.

love,
mama

ps- this is the last "first day back," the last leaving letter, the last time i have to go through the emotions of a mommy leaving her baby.... and i am at peace with knowing that.  




Monday, November 4, 2013

trick or treat 2013

 We've come a long way from our first year of trick or treating with the Amburgey's with two toddlers contained in a wagon, now to five trick or treaters and one little baby! These kiddos had a blast and the more the merrier :)  We had lots of laughs watching our little ones run from house to house and trying to convince us to let them eat lots of candy along the way.  It's hard to believe that next year Joss will join the rest of the crew for our annual picture!

 Tula and Oaklee were excited to pick out candy from Mr. Josh.  These little girls were always a few steps behind with their shorter legs and the many candy breaks they took between houses!

 A little church reunion on the sidewalk- they were excited to check out the candy that Kennedy and Grant had already gotten.  

 Our little purple princess was cozy in the carrier and fell asleep pretty quickly.  She was toasty snuggled up with mama <3 p="">

Joss was full of energy playing on her play mat when we got home! She can't wait to get some candy next year.... Mommy can wait- stay little, please!

 The whole crew ready to get candy at he last house we went to- by this time Tula was very comfortable requesting Starburst or Skittles!! Silly girl- but hey, I was happy if she said please and thank you!

Our little candy monster was happy to get home and eat one more piece of candy! 
***
And here's a Tula memory I don't want to forget:

We have been practicing trick or treating manners.  
Mommy: What do you say when you go trick or treating?
Tula: Trick or treat
Mommy: Then they are going to give you candy.... and you say?
Tula: Thank you!
Mommy: Yes, you need to use your manners when they give you a treat!

Lots of practicing and here is what happened at the third house.... she was comfortable pretty fast!
Tula: Trick or treat!
The lady gives her candy...
Mommy: What do you say, Tula?
Tula: Smell my feet!!!! 
Mommy: Oh my.... no, Tula, we say thank you!
Tula: Thank you! (as she is running down the drive way and rattles off the end of the poem...) Smell my feet, or I'll show you my panties!

That girl is a mess and I have no idea who would teach her such a song knowing that she forgets NOTHING!  Thankful for my prim and proper Princess Ivy and her good manners- maybe eventually they will rub off on the wild little sister!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

truths

It's time to be honest so here are some truths that I am wrestling with today in this season of my life.

 It is true that when I go in public with 3 children that I feel like I might have a mini heart attack.  Even when they are absolutely well behaved, the baby is sleeping, everyone holds hands to cross the parking lot- I still have a tightness in my chest that won't go.  I want to be totally calm because really even if they are all being crazy people get the math of 1 adult, 3 children and would understand if everyone isn't perfectly obedient.  I want to be calm but no matter what I haven't figured out how to go out in public with 3 children and feel calm. 
Instead here is the truth:
I sweat.
My heart races.
I might not be able to breath.
I grit my teeth.
I give mean looks to my children communicating "DO WHAT I SAY OR ELSE!"
But deep down, I want to be totally calm.
It is true that I am a lifetime weight watchers member meaning I have met and maintained my weight before and get to go for free to meetings/weigh in if I am at my goal weight.  It is also true that they have a program for nursing mothers.  It is also true that I have been going for nearly 8 weeks and guess what..... I have gained and lost, gained and lost staying within 1 1/2 lbs of my start weight.  Seriously!  While nursing I can't lose weight.... and it is totally true that this makes me really really mad!
 So here is the truth:
I haven't lost a single pound since 2 weeks post partum.
I am really envious of people who have babies and look totally awesome.
I really want to not care and know it's just a season.... but I care... and want to lose this weight!

It is true that I absolutely love nursing.... I really do.... when I have no other children, a quiet peaceful nursing space, and have no where to go and be.  But guess what friends, that isn't my life!  It is true that while nursing my rambunctious Tula likes to be wild OR in my business.  It is true that she has had many successful attempts of flinging up the nursing cover only to expose it all to innocent passing strangers.  Poor people!  It is also true that I can't stand pumping and just the thought of going back to work with this black suitcase makes me want to crumble.  Ick! It is also true that even though I 100% believe and know that formula fed babies are healthy and very much loved by their mommy's I feel guilty when I am devising a plan to wean in the back of my mind.  And I feel guilty when I nurse and my family is late getting somewhere because of my poor planning or when I can't really parent Tula while nursing baby Joss.  Why does mommy guilt like to attack everyone!?!? 
So here is the truth:
I want to be done nursing.
I don't want to be done nursing.
I feel guilty about both.
So I really can't make up my mind.


These faces make the anxiety, chubbiness, and breastfeeding-multitasking all worth it but shoooo, no one said it was easy and it definitely isn't.

There you have it.... my mommy truths for the day.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Day

This Sunday we dedicated our day to pumpkins!  We had a most relaxing pumpkin day in our pajamas until the afternoon.  We did not leave the house- even to go to church.  We had "home church." Complete with this sweet pumpkin devotion found on Pinterest, singing each family member's favorite praise and worship song, and enjoying fall together! It was a great day!

We started by painting these mini pumpkins that Ivy hand picked just for painting! She must have had her idea up in that little artistic brain of hers because in no time she had a very peculiar face complete with cat eye glasses, green lips, a spider on her face, and multicolored snakes for hair. 


Tula's favorite part was gluing eye balls all over her pumpkin face!  Their pumpkins turned out so cute and they are currently the only fall decor in my home.  I sure do love fall but I am not a fan of seasonal decorations... unless my kiddos make them or it's Christmas time!!
By night, it was time for pumpkin carving!  The girls had fun playing the goop and sorting out the seeds from the goo.  We made some delicious pumpkin seeds after they did the "dirty work." 
Don't be fooled.... Tula really didn't like getting her hands messy!  She had to stop to wash them several times whereas our girly girl, Ivy loved squeezing the pumpkin guts and making quite the mess on the floor. 
We saved the actual carving until post bedtime!  We were being pretty simple this year.  I told Greg I really wanted to use the drill (Thank you again, Pinterest!) so he decided a moon and stars pumpkin is what we would do.  It really is pretty!  Pumpkin Day might just need to be a new Smorstad Family tradition to add to all the wonderful things my family loves about fall!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Joss Maven @ 2 months


Joss Maven
2 months on 10/13/13

23 1/4 inches (71%)
9 lbs 11 oz (16%)


At 2 months, this smiley, happy, sleep loving, sweet talking baby is a joy to be around.  Time seems to be flying and it is hard to believe she is already 10 weeks old.  I feel like she was born yesterday but also completes our  family giving me a sense that she has always been here.  
What's going on @ 2 months?
 
Sleep.  As far as sleep goes it seems we have hit the jackpot.... maybe "third one's a charm" phrase is ringing true with Joss.  I am afraid to type out how long she is sleeping for fear of jinxing it because at 2 months Tula was only waking up once and Lord knows that she went down hill from there waking all. night. long. to eat and sleeping in my arms until 8 months old.  But now that we are 8 weeks into sleeping through the night it's safe to say.... Joss sleeps through the night.  She sleeps from 10:30 to 7:30 most nights- sometimes a little longer, sometimes a little shorter.  She is currently cozy in a swaddler, with her hands pushed out by her face and laying on her side (her choice to roll that way... not mine) in the co-sleeper bassinet attached to our bed. I feel rested like I can conquer the world.  Soon she will probably move to her room but I secretly love having her so close by so I can take a peek at her at least 50 times before I actually fall asleep. She also naps A LOT- I am not sure if she is just "resting her eyes" to block out the busy-ness when the big girls are home or if she truly enjoys sleep this much.  She naps in the swing, bouncy seat, and car seat.... I don't believe she has ever napped in her bed/bassinet.... I think I am a little too on-the-go for that! :/

Eat. Joss eats good and often during the day to make up for the long stretch at night.  She never goes longer than 3 hours but usually hovers around 2 1/2 hours between each feeding.  After having mastitis I noticed a huge drop in my supply from my left breast and had to supplement with formula for one of the evening feedings when she was eating every 2 hours.  She takes the bottle wonderfully and has no trouble digesting the formula.  I was able to pump at that time and now seem to have enough milk to sustain her on most evenings but it has been nice to get a full storage of breast milk and let daddy have a chance to feed her.  I am thankful that she has been very flexible with breast, bottle, formula, etc. because I am not sure how long I will keep up with pumping when I go back to work.  Pumping really stinks! I may change my mind when I start to enjoy a moment to sit down and relax in the dark dusty storage closet complete with cobwebs and dust bunnies during the hustle and craziness of back to work. Maybe I'll enjoy the down time... we will see!

Play.  Joss loves to look around and specifically notices big shapes.... the frames on our family room wall, ceiling fan, our headboard, etc.  She also loves the lights on her play mat and the butterfly hanging on her bouncy seat.  She is also more than happy to be swinging in her swing which usually puts her right to sleep after a little bit.  Joss loves to be talked to and will give smiles freely but gets sad with a puckered out lip if you walk away.  Baby girl loves to be held.... by women.... sorry Daddy and Pops but sometimes Joss just knows you are not the same and she lets you know!  I know this is just a phase as my big girls LOVE the men in their lives dearly and before long I'll have to wait in line behind them- but for now I enjoy being Joss' favorite playmate! 

It is hard to believe how quickly our Baby Jossi has grown.  I am soaking up the next 2 and half weeks of maternity leave with her- especially our alone time when Tula goes to school a few days a week.  I know that time will be hard to come by when I go back to work.  I am thankful for Joss' sweet smile, good health, and the perfect ending to our family! With the addition of her, Daddy and I truly have a life wrapped in pink!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall Family Field Trip....The Orchards

 I love fall and I love the festive adventures it brings.  Going to the orchard is definitely one of my favorite things to do with family and friends so this year nothing was stopping us.... not a newborn, not HOT temperatures, not a very temperamental 3 year old! I was determined and it was a fun day.  I am glad we got to take this family field trip to Evan's Orchard!

 Tula loving her spot on the hayride... on Daddy's lap!

 Loving the big pumpkins and wanting lots of them for our house.

 Crafty Ivy set her eyes on the little perfectly round ones for painting. 

 Climbing adventures

 Hamster wheel adventures

 Loving these sister smiles :)

 Ivy loves to "pose" no matter where she is!

 All the girls needed a picture of Joss' first orchard trip.... even when I look at this picture it takes a minute to realize I have 3 little girls! 
***
 
One trip wasn't enough..... so we had a girls day at Boyd's Orchard with Kayla and Caroline and Ivy's sweet friend, Sienna.  And oh my goodness, did I realize I had 3 kiddos on this day!! I was so thankful for Kayla being there and being willing to help me.  It was so much fun and to be honest the girls were really great- until everyone melted at the same time too close to nap time.  It was exhausting mentally trying to keep up with everyone and meet Joss' little baby needs.  I probably bit off more than I could chew but am glad I went for it and now I can say- I can do it!! Sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet....and yesterday I did! 
 
And today we are having a day of rest! :)