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.


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!