Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Happy 6th Birthday, Ivy Girl

Dear Ivy,
It is hard for me to say your age out loud..... 6..... 6..... it just sounds big, so much more grown up than 5 to me.  I feel like I was still able to clump 5 in with toddler/preschooler but 6 has to move on up.  You are officially school aged, 1st grade school age.  6 must even sound big to you because you have had a few "I am 6 now so...." proclamations today that have made me laugh.

"I am 6 now so I really should never ever take a nap again!" (It has been really so lovely that you have napped every weekend of kindergarten and pretty much every day of this summer.  What a treat for Mama!)

Needless to say, I obliged to your no more naps request, unless it is a special occasion like post sleep over, the day after a really really late night, or when you have been sick. 

"I am 6 now so I can bring this cup (big girl cup) in here (on the couch)." Your reasoning- you see grown ups to it at parties.

My dear, 6 is hardly a grown up, and you will leave your big girl cup in the kitchen for now.  Thank you!

I have also hear lots of remarks that make me fear that you are acting 6- teen rather than simply 6.

"Whatever....."  **   "You don't even know...."  **   "Who really cares?" 

All sayings that I don't like one bit, but sadly you might just repeating what you hear because sometimes sarcasm escapes my mouth in the worst of ways! So I'll have to keep correcting you for now and you are allowed to use sarcasm later in life and I'll be able to laugh with you.

This year has been big for you!  You have grown up a lot, learned to be a bit more flexible, and wow bravery is probably the theme of this year and it makes us so proud to be the parents of the courageous little girl you have become.  You learned a large dose of independence in kindergarten with things like riding the bus, unpacking your belongings at home, and taking care of jackets and many accessories (bows, headbands, jewelry) at school.  You also have become accustomed to being flexible to your toddler sister that has invaded your space and now shares your big girl room.  You loose your cool with her messiness from time to time, but that is even normal when you are 29- speaking from experience!  We have changed our plans last minute- even today on your birthday- and sister, you just went with it.  No whining or complaining but rather embracing the new plan, jumping in feet first, and not looking back.  And bravery- you have spent the night at a friend's house, you have learned to ride your bike without training wheels, you jumped off the diving board without a float, you swim all over the pool with ease, you slid down the big slide at the orchard, you rode big kid fair rides, and you really were brave with big waves in the ocean.  That's quite a list of huge accomplishments for one 6 year old girl!

I am proud of the Jesus follower you have become too.  I have a secret, your Daddy and I started praying for you to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in your heart and we have been committed to doing so.  We want you to feel that uncomfortable stir when you make a mistake just the same way that we want you to feel comfort, peace, and His grace at other times.  Our prayers are being heard and answered, little one.  You have had many changes over the last few months in the way you respond to conflict and we know that can only be the power of our God.  You have also remembered people to pray for and have shown us that your child like faith in the midst of anything can be an example to us.  You have expressed an interest in being baptized, asking Jesus into your heart, but have said you aren't ready to do that in front of everyone.  Right now we are hoping that your heart is continuing to be molded and shaped and getting ready for that big commitment to allow Jesus in and follow Him forever but we want you to really get the decision that you are making.  I know that will be a joyous day for us as parents and it will happen before long!

I am thankful to be your mama.  Like I told you this morning, the day you were born my dreams really did come true, and you will always be the daughter that made that dream of being a mother happen.  You teach me just as much about myself and my weaknesses, as I teach you about life.  You will always be my guinea pig child where I try and fail and try and fail and hopefully, eventually figure out this motherhood journey.  I love you and am proud to be your mama.  I can't wait to see what your 6th year holds!

Happy birthday, Ivy Girl!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Orchard in July {mommy nag in tow}

The orchard in the summer.... a first for my family.  But a rare July day with temperatures barely in the 70's,  it seemed like a perfect option- and it was. The crowds were nonexistent, the price was right, and there were little girls having a blast with the playgrounds and farm animals to themselves.  

But while I was there I felt the overwhelming presence of someone I didn't want to be there.... the Mommy Nag {and I am not talking about the joy-filled, cheerful, seize-the-moment Nana}.  Do you know her, the Mommy Nag?  Do you ever see her reigning her ugly head at your house?  The sound of a harsh voice saying no, stop, 1.... 2.... 3.... quit..... and sometimes she can even get sarcastic asking really?, seriously? to your toddler's antics. The Mommy Nag is everything I don't want to be and I wish she wasn't hovering on this perfect summer day.
The Nana can always speak truth to me.... and she did that evening, not even knowing that I too had been stewing over my own actions.  She was probably rather pleased that this was nothing for me to be defensive about but instead I was telling her how I knew and didn't want to be that way.  Again, feeling like it was the type of experience where I was standing alongside the nag saying, "Sarah, stop being this way! They are children.... your children.... love them." So I am trying to banish the Mommy Nag from my existence and I am sure it is something I will have to be intentional about for the rest of my life if I am being honest.
I have enough excuses for this stage in my life....
end of pregnancy,
lack of sleep,
the back to school itch,
sisters that are a little tired of one another.

But many of those excuses will be here for the next 18 years of child raising and I can't let them rob me of the joys of this journey called motherhood. 
So I want to flee from the Mommy Nag and not let her rob my motherhood memories and this precious time with my girls.  I want to be able to celebrate the little daily victories like climbing to the top of the hay bales and feeding the farm animals all by yourself.  I want to let them stop and climb to the top of the orchard throne even if I am starving.  I want to let them laugh.... a little too loud.... and sing silly make believe songs.... even if somewhere on the inside I am craving quiet. 

They are children, my children, God's gift to Greg and I, and I am about to have 3.  I am sure adding to the brood will be not the way to cure the Mommy Nag, but rather I will have to be that much more intentional about not letting her creep in.  I want to be able to take my time, let the small stuff pass without comment, and really sit back and enjoy these moments of childhood that will be so fleeting.  I am thankful for perfect summer days at the Orchard.... and I know there will be plenty more of the memory making days in our lives.... and I hope to be the only Mommy {joy filled, nag free} there!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

camping memories

Every time that Greg takes our family camping I get so excited about the memories that are being created. These camping memories must be special- they are the ones that Greg talks about between him and his dad as a little boy. Camping memories are the ones that my mom talks about creating as a child with her family. Camping is so simple- away from everything worldly and really focused on nature and God's creation and time with family and friends.  This past weekend only half of our family went on this camping trip (for big kids only).... Greg and Ivy.... but they got to bring along our friend, Brayden, who experienced camping for the first time.

When my girls talk about camping the same things always come up and it must have been the same things that stood out on this camping trip.  These picture capture it perfectly.

the BIG, orange tent

the water

a trip in the RED canoe

throwing rocks for a SPLASH and adding shells to our collection

eating by the fire.... even if it's just poptarts

Tula has already declared that she will NOT be left behind next time because she is BIG.  So I hope that they get to camp in the backyard this weekend together- Daddy, Ivy and Tula.  I am already looking forward to our next Smorstad family camping trip with Mommy and Joss along to create memories too.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

making the most of it....Vacation 2013

 Every year since I can remember my family has made it to the beach.  I cherish family memories that were made at the beach with my family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even beach friends.  This year I was looking forward to it again.  We arrived to the ocean and every year I find a new appreciation for God's mighty creation.  It's so big.  The colors are gorgeous.  It stretches far and wide and I can't even wrap my mind around the BIG God that created this scene.

 The beach scene is one of my favorites of all of nature.  It has a natural calming effect.  I love the feeling of sand on my feet.  I can sleep to the sound of the waves.   It is home to my childhood memories.... especially many of my Aunt Vicki who always was with us at the beach.... building sand castles, playing beach baseball, and her laugh it was definitely contagious at the beach!

 So to say I have expectations of my beach vacation might be an understatement.... I have BIG expectations for the first week of July to be wonderful! Well, it was vacation and we made the most of it but the weather was less than perfect.  We enjoyed two and a half beautiful days of the beach.  We played in the sand, we took walks, we found shells, the girls and their daddy ventured into the waves, we played at the beach house pool, we celebrated overcoming fears, and we made memories.

 I relaxed.... they played and played hard. I loved hearing Tula's laugh as she walked out into the waves.  I saw Ivy's excitement with a smile across her face as she rode the boogie board for the first time and caught the waves back into shore.  We collected clams and sea shells by the bucket.  We even saw a starfish.  I cherish the time I sat from the water's edge and fell more in love my husband and the daddy he is.  I am thankful for the way he is with his girls- playing, involved, protecting, and showing them his adventurous side.... he was already talking about taking Joss into the ocean with him next year!
I loved watching my girls with my parents.... Nana and Pops.... and feeling so blessed by the memories that are made.  Vacations with grandparents are special and that is something that I never really experienced as a child.  This year we went into vacation with a little cloud overhead because my brother and Chelsea were not able to go this year but we were making the most the family who was there and looking forward to next year when Graham will be a little bigger and I just know God was saving the sunshine for them. 
Our last day at the beach {TUESDAY} the waves seemed to be growing and we couldn't help but to hear about the forecast for the next several days 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms, flood warnings, and more.  But for the time being we were just trying to enjoy the moment. 

We knew a storm was coming but we were sure it would pass.  We were being positive, even said we weren't looking at the weather any more! 
On Tuesday night we enjoyed being able to walk to dinner, our favorite part of being in Seaside.  We enjoyed the most delicious meal and were warding off the rain.  We got ice cream afterwards but it was hard to pretend we didn't feel the wind whipping up. But we were family, we were away from the distractions of home, and we were making the most of it. 

July 4th came.... parade cancelled, fireworks cancelled.... water dumping from the sky in buckets, maybe even barrels.  But we put on our 4th of July outfits and went to the movies. We used rain umbrellas instead of beach umbrellas and were wishing we had packed some warmer clothes.  Tula splashed in puddles instead of in waves but we were still making memories.

We saw Monsters University.... it was the first time at the theater with Tula.... and we enjoyed popcorn and treats!  The rain continued and continued some more and on Friday morning we decided to head home.  The forecast wasn't changing, there was not a glimpse of blue sky or sunshine on the radar.  So we had to make a decision- one more day of sitting in the house or a day of sitting in the car. So we took the plunge and away we went to our old KY home where it to had been raining and raining and raining too.
We made the most of vacation 2013.  We were with family.  We had fun. We celebrated our little time of sunshine and sand on our toes.  And we are already looking forward to next year. 
We are thankful for grandparents who want to create these memories with us, year after year.  We are so excited for the beach vacation 2014 and I am going to start praying for good weather today!