Saturday, August 31, 2013

Joss' Nursery

Welcome to Joss Maven's nursery.... the third baby girl nursery in the Smorstad house! 

 With Ivy and Tula we used the wooden wall letters but for Joss we had this name sign made by a local artist in Wilmore.  She had made name plates for a friend's kids and I always loved them so this time around I wanted to use her.  I love it and I hope that Joss will want it in her room even as she grows!

Purple and green are my favorite colors so knowing I was having another girl I decided I had to use them.  Ivy's nursery was green and the bedding had multicolored polka dots.  For Tula we used the same bedding but painted the room coral to make it a little different.  But after 5 years of the same  bedding I decided to splurge a little and get brand new.  I love love love the purple!  

Joss' stuff!  
I knew I needed more storage than I had for Ivy and Tula's nursery since we have little storage in closets with our growing family.  I use the tubs for towels, blankets, socks, extra wipes, etc.  Then I was excited to fill the open spaces with my favorite baby books and bright colored toys.

 I am able to use the same green and white polka dotted rocker that I did with Tula's nursery and I love it.  I also love the ruffle curtains that Pinterest told me I could make but Target suggested I buy them instead since I don't know how to sew.  :) Homemade or store bought I love the girly touch they add to her room.

Wall art made by Daddy
My husband is awesome at photo shop so I found a quote that we both loved and then he created prints that we could use to go along with the quote.  He did a great job tying in the colors of her room.  I am thankful that he could save us money on the art since I definitely didn't save any money on making curtains!

Tiny baby Joss sleeping in a big cozy bed....

"Let her sleep for when she wakes she will move mountains."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

tiny dancer

 Dressed and ready 1 hour before her first dance class!

 Tula has been the little tag-along to Ivy's dance classes since she was born and finally after years of trying to interrupt every ballet class, stealing too small dance shoes, and performing alongside Ivy in our family room recitals it is Tula's turn.  Last week Tula started her first kinderdance class and after a week of deciding what she thought about it- she loves it! 

 Ms. Mindy taking Tula into her first class.  Tula isn't sure what to think about going by herself but she is super comfortable in Ms. Mindy's arms! 

During the first class Tula was a little hesitant.  She came home and didn't say much about dance.  She did say she didn't know if she was going back and then she cried because she wanted to be in Ivy's class.  Tula is so used to being with Ivy that she tends to use her as a security blanket.  Ivy loves being able to comfort Tula through new situations, especially those that Ivy knows lots about.  She encouraged Tula by talking about wearing ballet and tap shoes.  She told her that you get to wear make up for the recital.  And her last thing was about how much she would learn about being a ballerina.  Tula picked the same bed time book about a little bunny that wanted to be a ballerina several times after going to dance.  By week 2, she was excited and walked right into class!  She came home and showed us her moves and is ready to go back next Monday.  I am excited for Tula to have "her thing" while adjusting to life as a big sister!

Ivy was excited to go to ballet!

Last semester Ivy took a break from ballet and tap and did hip hop instead.  She knew from week 2 of that class that she didn't like it as much but she finished it out.  She liked the dance and loved the recital costume but was ready for "prettier" dancing.  Ivy was more than ready for ballet to start and she is already looking forward to The Nutcracker. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

you know you're the mom of a newborn...

Being a mama of a newborn is totally worth it when you get to marvel at this sweet face!

I think the the list of "you know you're the mom a newborn" changes drastically with each additional child but all mamas can probably relate.  I know when Ivy was born I was a little too serious to ever come up with a list like this in my head.  Raising her was like an operation complete with typed schedules and timers.  Then with Tula I started to find some of the post baby things humorous but I chose to write "how to's" like some expert now that I had two children.... how to use cloth diapers, how to establish a night time routine, blah, blah, blah.  I apologize for those- I am no baby whisperer... and the number of children you have doesn't make you more of an expert rather it probably lengthens that list of things you have learned titled: "how to not ruin your child!" But now with Baby Joss, I have the right combo of enjoying the sweet smelling newborn and finding humor (appropriate or not) of the funny situations you are put in when you have a newborn in the house.

You know you're the mom of a newborn when....

1. You think of everything in terms of a 3 hour schedule.

2. You are wearing pajamas (and enjoying them) more than half of your day! I have about 6 hours maximum of real clothes wearing :) 

3. When you do have to "get dressed" the clothes are flying and creating heaps in your bedroom because NOTHING fits.... pregnancy clothes are much too big, non-pregnancy clothes are way too tight, your boobs are busting out of your nursing bra, and your husband dried the only 2 things that feel good.

4. You wake up EVERY morning drenched- whether it was the night sweat thanks to the lovely hormone changes or major milk leakage you are not sure.

5. Every time you sit down to eat a meal the mother/baby ESP occurs and they must eat RIGHT THEN!

6. Boobs and boob conversations are now part of your daily dinners so that you can eat as a family.... you can imagine that Tula is quite humored by the inappropriateness of this dinner set up while Ivy is quite embarrassed.  Don't worry we won't be having dinner guests any time soon.

7. Your brain fails you often... like when you make oatmeal for breakfast and then put the oats in the fridge door and the milk in the pantry. FAIL!

8. You get used to wearing MAMMOTH maxi pads.... hey, maybe they are helping me to sit up taller.  Definitely a perk with the post pregnancy body.

9. You start hearing the "sweet nothings" that your breast pump chants to you each time you turn it on.  Seriously.... breast pumps "talk"! Who knew?

10. You become overly excited for mundane things like the time on the clock in the middle of the night showing you your baby slept longer than expected, the number of breast milk droplets you are collecting each morning with your handy dandy pump, and the giddiness that overtakes you when your baby keeps that paci in and you don't have to permanently hang your arm into the bassinet through the night. 


And in the end.... it is all worth it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Joss Maven Smorstad

On August 13th, 2013 at 2:14pm these BIG SISTERS were so excited to announce the birth of their baby sister!

Joss Maven
7 lbs 12 oz
20 inches long

Daddy was melted by her immediately and went to show her off!

Tula was so proud at how big she was holding Baby Joss.

These love birds spent their 33rd wedding anniversary loving on their 4th grand baby!

Pawpaw came to snuggle Joss and spend time studying her little features.

Mommy and Joss spent lots of bonding time in the hospital.  My love multiplied right away and I am feeling blessed to have three little girls to love on and watch grow.

Joss Maven was quite excited to be headed home... we warned her that we hope she enjoyed the 3 quietest days of her life.

Unc and Esie were anxiously waiting to love on their newest niece.

We are excited to begin this adventure of raising 3 girls!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Big Sister, Back to School, and Prayers

Well, God timed this pregnancy wonderfully! I was able to enjoy all summer with my big girls, nest away at home, organize and prepare a classroom for new 2nd grade Smarties, and get my big girls ready for the school year! Then beginning today, I will enjoy 12 weeks of maternity leave bonding with our new baby girl who will be arriving in just a few hours.  So thankful for how sovereign our God is.  

Yesterday was Tula's first day back at school.  She moved up to the 3 year old room with lots of her friends and a new teacher, Ms. Kim.  She was excited in the morning to go to school but I did hear that throughout the day she was a touch clingy and missing her sister, Daddy, and Mommy.  I suppose that is to be expected... maybe even for the next few weeks.

In the afternoon, she wasn't really willing to talk about school but was more worried about everyone else in the family.... what's open house?  where are you going?  when is the baby coming? Tula's always asking questions. I am most anxious for the transition that today brings for Tula.  She is my little one, my snuggler, and I think she really reads into situations more than Ivy did at this age.  I hope I have done all that I can to prepare her for big sisterhood and I just have to let God walk us through the rest.  He is our comforter and peace and I know He is the ultimate Father to Tula.  He also planned her place perfectly in our family... the middle girl... I know He will walk us along this journey and help us to be the best parents we can be to each of our girls.
Last night, Ivy and I shared our Open House night.  How fun!  I was excited to see her walk down the hall, right past my classroom, with her Daddy to go and meet her new teacher, Ms. Paschal.  She is excited for first grade and to be at school with me, but a little anxious about the changes too.  I won't get to be at home to take pictures with her tomorrow, her first day of 1st grade, but I can't wait for her to come visit Joss and I and tell us all about her day.

I reminisced with Ivy about 3 years ago when Tula was born.  I was able to share honestly with her about how I worried about her, my little baby, adjusting to being a big sister.  I was able to tell her about how great she did with the transition- how she was never rough with Tula, how nurturing she was, how content she was to mommy her babydolls right alongside me, and how proud I was of the big sister she has become.  Then I was able to prepare her for how Tula might be feeling over the next few weeks.... lost somewhere between not big enough and not little enough.  I asked Ivy if she would really help to teach Tula (without bossing her) about being a big sister to Joss.  She seems excited to take on this teacher role!  

I love this picture of my three loves.... about to grow by one.  I feel like it is a picture of exactly where we are and even shows the exact emotions that I feel like each of my family members are feeling during this time.

I see a Husband and a Daddy, so proud of his 2 girls.  I see him smiling but wanting to provide in every way this week, this big back to school week, but wanting to be at the hospital with Joss and I.  I see him a little nervous, but excited about what is to come.  Could you pray for Greg this week?  Could you pray that he is able to juggle being a single parent as Ivy starts back to school, Tula transitions to big sister, and we welcome our little Joss Maven?  Could you pray that he has peace, comfort, and strength this week as he fills so many roles?

I see Ivy, big sister, excited for another sweet baby.  I see a genuine smile and I see how comforted she is with Greg right there.  But I also am replaying all of her first day of school questions and knowing I won't be there on Wednesday morning to reassure her.  Could you pray for Ivy on Wednesday morning? Pray that she is excited and not anxious to start 1st grade at Wilmore.  Silly as it is, pray that she is confident in her 1st day of school outfit and the way her daddy fixes her hair.  Pray that she knows that I will be just down the road praying for her too.  

I see Tula, little one, nervous and pouting about the changes.  I see her holding on tight to being her Daddy's baby and being Ivy's baby sister.  I see her brow lined wrinkled with worry about the unexpected.  What will Joss be like?  Why will Mommy sleep at the hospital?  Where will it hurt after the baby comes?  So many questions.  Could you pray for Tula as she adjusts to being a big sister?  Pray that she feels an overwhelming amount of love from everyone.  Pray that she bonds with Joss and is excited to help with gentle hands.  Pray that she thrives in the normalcy and routine of her new class.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for praying our family through this week of transitions and for praising God for our new little blessing that should arrive in just a few hours.

Friday, August 9, 2013

thumb lovin'

You might remember when we reached the big milestone of no more paci this spring!  It was a big day for Tula and a big day for mama.... one thing to check off the list to get Tula ready to be a big sister.  Well, that is all good and well except that Tula is queen of "outsmarting" the grown ups.... and about a week into no paci she did it again! 

 She found comfort elsewhere..... and started thumb lovin'.
I refused to blog about this or even take pictures of her sucking her thumb just certain that it was a phase that would pass quickly.  The first week or two of her sucking her thumb I said NOTHING about it.  I thought, I am going to pretend she isn't doing it and without attention she will stop.  I tried to play Tula's games just right, but in the end almost 4 months later we are still finding comfort in the thumb and I would call her an official thumb sucker.

In June, I finally decided to talk about it.  I put limits on the thumb and said it was for in the car or going to sleep.  She follows that most of the time along with some thumb sucking post waking up and when she is super sleepy.  It's had its perks- on car trips, finding comfort as lots is changing around her, and when she is just needing some quiet Tula time (she truly talks non-stop when the thumb isn't in her mouth). 
I know (hope) that she won't suck her thumb forever.  I just pray that for now it helps her to ease into big sisterhood with one less thing to be jealous over- the paci.  

I am worried about my little Tula and how her world might be rocked.  She is a child of highs and lows- she loves so hard and she gets so mad- she craves cuddle time with Mommy and Daddy and even Ivy at times- she still loves to be carried and babied but then at the next moment is telling you how big she is.  I am not sure what adding a baby will do but I know that I will have to be so intentional for special time with her since she will be my middle girl. I have to trust that my love will be multiplied to loving another little one just as it did when Tula was born.  I feel like giving the gift of siblings is such a special one but days before it feels scary to let go of how things already are.... the rhythm of our family of 4.  For now, we will hold onto the comfort of each other and Tula will hold onto loving her thumb as we jump into life as a family of 5. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

a never ending birthday

Ivy has been a lucky girl this week because we have celebrated and celebrated and celebrated some more!!  We only have a big party every other year but I promise on the off year no one is short changed for birthday fun.  She has been celebrating all month long with the "Happy Birthday" plate and having a family count down until the big day.  But the real celebration started this week.

On Sunday we met Nana and Pops for dinner at Red Robin (Ivy's pick!) and then went back to their house for a very pink, very yummy, chocolate chip ice cream cake.

Then she got to open a very special present from Nana and Pops.  Ivy adores jewelry but is always heart broken when her $5 plastic necklace or $10 multi colored charm bracelet can't stand the test of time.  So she got her first very big girl piece of jewelry.  They bought her a Pandora bracelet and got it started with her birthstone charm and a cupcake.  She is taking great care of it and loves it! 

Tuesday was the second celebration with Pawpaw.  He is such a great Pawpaw I might add! :) He had been talking to Greg about what to get Ivy and Greg was explaining to him that she was getting an American Girl doll and she circled EVERYTHING in the catalog that she wanted for her expected birthday present.  So he was going to get her a gift card/money- but he couldn't bear the thought of no presents.  So along came Pawpaw bearing Jimmy John's (another Ivy favorite), a card with AG money, a Lego friends set, and a Belle doll.  WOW!  Ivy was so appreciative and Greg and I always melt at his thoughtfulness for his granddaughters.

 He didn't come without a plan!  Pawpaw brought a fun backyard game called Bull's Eye Ring Toss and it was so much fun.  I think the rules were adjusted for Ivy and Tula to play and be successful but it was really fun.  I am already thinking about that as a possible Christmas present.... shhhh.... it's okay to plan ahead!

Wednesday, July 31st
Ivy's real birthday fell right in the middle of the week!  But that didn't stop the birthday celebration from starting by 7:45 am.  Greg stayed home from work for a little while in the morning so we could let her open presents.  She was thrilled to open her Look-Alike American Girl Doll, who she named Lillian.  Tula gave her the special doll hair brush and a pair of doll pajamas.  She was so excited!  Greg followed up with going to get her McDonald's breakfast before leaving for work! 

We then went to Nana's house where she was greeted with a balloon bouquet and asked what she would like to do for lunch on her special day.....

She picked Gattitown which was so much fun!  Tula and her played and played and then ate and ate.  Fun was had by all.  

Tonight is the last of the birthday fun!  Ivy planned for Kennedy to spend the night but not before a fun afternoon at Mad Potter making little jewelry boxes.... a heart for Ivy and a cupcake for Kennedy.  They both have the rainbow theme.... do you see it?  Then we ate and played at the Chic-fil-a play place and came home and finished out the evening in the back yard.  All three girls- Tula included- (plus two American Girl dolls in perfect pajamas) are sound asleep by 9:00pm in one room.  The big girls have been so sweet to include Tula in their fun tonight.  Tula thinks she's won big because their sleepover allowed her to sleep on the top bunk! 

Overall, I think Ivy had a great birthday week but I have to say I am sleepy!  When I have three daughters with three birthdays spanning from July 31st to September 1st there is no way I can keep up with these marathon celebrations.... but then again, I probably will because a birthday only comes once a year and those are the times when memories are made, children feel special, and lots of cake can be eaten!