Thursday, January 23, 2014

snowing patience

I spent at least 20 minutes dressing these girls and convincing Tula she really needed all these layers only for her stand screaming at the door in 3 minutes because she really just wanted to wear tights INSIDE rather than play outside.
A huge perk to my husband spending my 30th birthday in 2 ERs (another story for another day- he is fine and well now) was that he stayed home the next day to enjoy the first snowday of the week with us.  Ivy loved to have him home to play outside with her!
 Well, snowflakes have been falling and temperatures have been dropping for the past 4 days with no relief giving me a week off of school for my birthday week.  Snow days.  I love them!  Huge perk of being a teacher.  A wonderful surprise to wake up to.  Memories are made at home with my little ladies.  But for the sake of keeping it real in this space, I wish it were snowing patience rather than snowing snowflakes this week.  This week I have had to count to 10 (or maybe 1,000) more times than I care to share, spoken in a whisper to say "I feel like screaming", and busted out in random song to tell my girls for the seven trillionth time to please stop arguing! SO maybe it is snowing patience in the form of "let me give you some practice" rather than dishing out this character trait by the truckloads. 

Nothing like a snow day, or a week of them, to practice having patience and to really challenge me in my quest to not yell for 365 days.  This week has been good for the most part but sometimes when I sit down to write I just have to reflect on the struggles first to get them out and that's where I am today.  Have I yelled? Nope.  Have I felt like yelling? Yes, approximately 32 times each waking hour of the last 4 days.  Being cooped in the house is challenging especially when my girls like to get out and go, and that isn't so easy with ice covered pavement, a tiny baby, and a mama that is afraid to drive or even walk out in the elements. So I have tried to overcome these feelings and accept the practice for patience time that God is giving me.

What's working?
* We are eating breakfast together.  Tula likes to eat RIGHT when she wakes up, Ivy likes to wait until nearly lunch to take a bite of breakfast. So I end up making breakfasts and cleaning up breakfasts for 3 hours- testing my patience- yep.  So we've met in the middle and are eating one time!  
* No TV time until I need to take a shower in peace. By this time the girls are usually a little tired of toys and each other, and if it's been kept on lock down all morning they are ready for a little veg time and Joss is taking a peaceful morning nap.

* Quiet time in unison. I think I mastered the "everyone's going to be silent for at least 30 minutes.... simultaneously" skill that is a must of mom's with more than one child. Ivy has quiet time (Thank you, Rainbow Loom!), Tula takes a nap, Joss takes a nap, and Mommy has Bible study time to remember that even in Esther's time it was tough being a woman.

* No more multitasking.... writing an email takes 35 minutes if it is in between taking care of baby dolls, singing to Joss, and breaking up fights over baby cradles..... writing an email takes 2 minutes when all children are playing nicely or better yet, sleeping nicely.

So this afternoon, keeping it real, that days at home can be trying, but I have survived and am practicing patience knowing that these days are fleeting.  Little kids, little problems.... at least I don't have to worry about them trying to get out an drive on these roads or go out and do donuts with their friends in an abandon parking lot.  Not that I have ever done that.... never.  Little kids, little problems, and thank you, Lord, for snowing patience on me.

On Tuesday morning Ivy left these on the computer.... love notes from my girl are always a pick me up.
My saving grace.... "Let's take a bath!".... never mind that it is only 4pm and we never got out of our pajamas.

Monday, January 13, 2014


 Today Joss is 5 months old and Tula had a to "help" with taking her picture. 

In my own experience with 3 babies I have had 3 very different nursing experiences.  With Ivy's I was constantly trying to jump the next hurdle, with Tula I was on a mission to prove something to myself, and with Joss I was very anxious about how nursing might look with two big kids to run around.  But I only have good things to say about my time nursing Joss (other than that time with mastitis and, oh yes, the dreaded pumping at work) but other than that this time has been balanced, peaceful, and so go with the flow.

 Daddy always loves feeding Joss, but I am quite the baby hog in this house. Sorry Daddy!

 If you read that last sentence and know me at all you just might have laughed and then you might have read it again because those characteristics don't usually describe me or my life.  But seriously, I was so nervous, panicky, and worried my entire pregnancy with this sweet baby so I spent lots of time in prayer just begging for God to cover me with the fruits of the spirit especially once I became a mommy to three.  And that prayer has been answered in so many ways since Joss has entered our family, but today I want to reflect on how I felt His spirit in nursing.

Joss was my first baby to latch on and eat without a nipple shield.....ever. -- I was patient with learning to nurse again.

Joss ate good and slept good from the night we came home from the hospital if I am being honest. -- We were all joyful about good sleep.

Mommy got mastitis, I was able to nurse through it.-- I was calm during this trial.

Mommy's milk seemed to take a hit after mastitis and I had to supplement one evening bottle of  breast milk and/or formula before I had a stash starting at 3 weeks. --I was peaceful with this addition to Joss' diet.

My milk came back and I was able to strictly nurse by 6 weeks. -- I was thankful.

I went back to work and was pumping 2ish times a day and still have quite the stash to show for it. -- I had self control to manage my time at work to fit this in.

Around the 4 month mark I started feeling ready to start weaning. -- I started off anxious for a "right now" fix but instead was patient in waiting to know when was the best time and I let Joss take the lead. There was never any crying or upset tummies over the bottle.  There was never any rejection felt by mommy or baby.  There were smiles, full bellies, and lots of helpers.

 Ivy was excited to feed Joss for the first time.

So shortly after the 4 month mark I decided that my time at home over Christmas with Joss would be the best option to start weaning my littlest babe.  I knew I wanted to be there.  I wanted to feed the bottles.  I wanted to be able to look at her and comfort her and bond with her even if I wasn't nursing her.  And I was filled with such a peace that I was making the right choice for my family.  I felt absolutely covered in His love during this time that I feared would be over emotional or have major regrets once it started. I weaned one feeding a week for the past 4 weeks and this evening I nursed Jossie May for the last time.

Smiley girl!

I could have sat and rocked her and cried, not knowing if I would ever have this experience again or I could sing His praises for making this so smooth for us.  So I chose the latter.  Did I have tears? Absolutely.  But boy, did I feel blessed to be able to nurse and wean without a bump in the road- I keep saying third time's a charm.  I was able to listen to her hunger cues to know when I needed to add a bottle.  I was able to be there to feed a lot of those first bottles.  I was able to allow my body time to drop feedings to keep from becoming completely engorged.  It was good.  God was good.

Today I feel so blessed that I was able to nurse without issue for 5 months.
Today I feel so blessed that my girl is healthy and happy and growing.
Today I feel so blessed that I am at peace and embracing this decision- I wore a real bra today and got to exercise in the morning!! (I'm totally embracing!!)

So today we are weaned and we are blessed in the Smorstad house.

Monday, January 6, 2014

new year's "revolutions" and hot cocoa chats

today was our first snow day or rather cold day of the year.  even though it wasn't the day i would choose (the first day we were scheduled to go back after a long break)- it was wonderful.  wonderful to have a reason to be frozen in and not leave the house all day. wonderful to soak up some more time with my girls. wonderful not to have to get out of pajamas.

it's a new year- 2014- yep, 30 years after the year i was born (eeek!!)- and a new year, the start of a new decade in my life, is a good time to commit to some new things.  over the last few years i have learned to create attainable goals that truly push me but are not impossible. so this year's revolutions:

1* stop yelling (365 days without yelling)- i was loving the orange rhino challenge and this is just being more intentional to put things in place to stop yelling completely.  i already slipped and raised my voice on january 3rd but i hopped right back on the horsei have "no yelling" reminders on my phone set to ring at high stress times, i am trying to stop and have energy breaks when i'm feeling tense, and there will always be 2 very loud, very persistent little girls to help me succeed.

2* read the bible daily- NO more crazy goals but just to simply open my bible daily.  when His words fill me and i am drawing near to Him in so many ways i am a better wife, mom, teacher, etc.  this will help me to reach number 1 and number 3.

3* spend one on one time with my girls.  this is a daily thing- the reason that i am free from facebook- to be intentional about making time to connect to the people closest to my heart. but it's also a special thing, so we set up a monthly date calendar for them to ensure we are both investing time in our children.  ivy is excited because her and daddy are scheduled for january! this year ivy and tula will each get 3 dates with me and 3 with daddy. i know the return for this time well spent will be huge as they grow older!

so today, ivy and i had a hot cocoa date during the little girl's nap time and we talked about "revolutions." ivy is really into what everyone's revolutions are and no matter how many times i corrected.... resolutions.... she is continuing to talk about her revolutions, my revolutions, everyone's revolutions.  she hopes to pet the dog more - a revolution that she has already deemed super difficult. she also wants to work on being a good friend- naming specific things that she wants to do at school.... asking people to play who are shy, listening more when her friends are talking, and not just having one best friend.

it isn't always easy to stop and spend time with just ivy and me.  sometimes i am talked out, i am listened out, and i need a little peace, a little quiet while both tula and joss nap.  so i had her have 30 minutes of quiet time and during that time i was able to prepare myself for some one on one time with my biggest girl.  i know it sounds silly to say "prepare" but friends, it's true, it is sometimes hard for me to give up me time (nap time) to anyone else but when i do stop, disconnect from everything and everyone else, i am always thankful. 

i am thankful to learn more about my girl's heart.  that she is growing older and wanting to be a better friend.  that she has compassion toward our sweet pup and for the shy girl in her class. that she is asking questions- why do you want to not yell anymore? why do you need to read the bible every day?- good questions that push me, and that hold me accountable to my actions. i was thankful to hear her heart and share mine with her.  i see her pretending and playing and being a little girl but then in our one on one time i see that she is maturing into a little lady (not too fast though).  i want to be sure i am doing all i can to shape her into the lady God calls her to be..... and my actions are the first thing she will want to imitate. the pressure is on- but i am ready to rise to the challenge.

cheers to new revolutions!