Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Monday, February 20, 2012

Goldilocks

I just had to post these few pictures to show how long Anna Kate's hair is getting! It's still very fine, like mine, but it's getting long enough to do some different hairdos!

French braid




Sweet side piggies!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

A day at the farm

One of the things we love about Camden is the wonderful farmers' market every Saturday morning from April through November. We love buying farm fresh produce, and Anna Kate loves going to visit with all the puppies and bunnies that many of the farmers bring. She honestly has missed it this winter, so we decided to take her out to Old McCaskill's Farm, just a few miles outside of town. We had heard that you can go visit the animals and that they have a little store right there by the farmhouse where you can buy meat, cheese, milk, eggs, etc. So since yesterday was such a beautiful day, we loaded up the girls (after putting on our jeans and overalls, of course!) and headed out to the farm. Here are some pictures of our morning.

Anna Kate got to collect eggs from the henhouse!


She took her job quite seriously


She loved meeting the 2-week-old baby goat


She had to take a break from all the excitement to pick some flowers



We thought we would try to get a couple pictures of Caroline too, so we sat her up against the fence and the puppies came to check her out! Can you see them through the fence?!


Anna Kate wanted a picture with her sister too...I think she's trying to help Caroline smell the flowers in this one.


Anna Kate thought the big white sheepdog was pretty cool too!


And last, but not least, we had to play on the horse-shaped tire swing!


Let's come back to the farm soon!


Saturday, February 18, 2012

4 months old!

Sweet Caroline,

You are FOUR months old today! Honestly this monthly update really snuck up on me as it seems like time is just flying by. As much as I try to savor every moment of your babyhood, you just keep growing and growing. I really feel like you are much more of a baby and less of a newborn these days. Here is how you are changing this month!

~ You have really figured out how to laugh! Sometimes it's just a sweet little giggle and other times it's a deep belly chuckle when you really get going! You really laugh when we say your name silly or when we tickle you up under your chin.
~ You have found your fingers and toes this month and have made it your ambition to see how much of an entire hand or foot you can put into your mouth at one time. They really are your favorite toys.
~ Speaking of toys, you have also started to reach and grab and pull on the toys on your playmat. You will really grab onto them so hard that sometimes when I pick you up, you pick up the entire mat with you!
~ You seem to be a very tall baby (we will go to the doctor next week, so we'll find out then), but you are also starting to fill out that length with some baby pudginess! You have the sweetest little chubby cheeks that are so rosy and kissable!
~ You are getting so big, in fact, that you are wearing 6-9 month clothes! We may have to move you up pretty soon to the size medium cloth diapers, too.
~ You are getting very close to rolling over, both ways in fact, but you haven't done it on a consistent basis yet.
~ You are very alert now when you are awake, truly taking in everything going on around you. You love to just watch your mommy or daddy or crazy big sister as we work and play. You also have started to pay attention at library storytime each week. You seem to even enjoy the songs and rhymes!
~ Because you are so alert, I now have to try my best to nurse you in a quiet and dark place so that you will focus on the task at hand instead of watch the world go by. I really can't even look at you or you will stop nursing to give me your big smiles!
~ Your daily schedule now goes something like this: Wake up at 7:30 or 8 and nurse, nap from 9:30-10:30, nurse, nurse again before nap from 1-3:30, nurse, short catnap around 5-6, nurse, then nurse and in bed by 8. And then nurse again multiple times during the night...
~ Yes, you are going through what I have heard called the "Four Month Sleep Regression". In fact, I think you could be the poster child for said regression. You do one 4 hour stretch of sleep from 8-midnight, but then you are up every two hours to either nurse or just hang out with Mommy. It's lovely. Ha! But everything I read said that this will only last a couple weeks...I'm not holding my breath, but we'll see!
~ You have definitely started the mommy attachment thing earlier than I had expected. You are a very sweet baby, but sometimes only Mommy will suffice. Daddy is definitely a close second, and everybody else ranks way behind. Let's just say that we always take a pager with us when we leave you in the nursery...
~ I think you might become a very dramatic child. You will be happily giggling one moment and then the next moment one might think your world was ending. But Mommy and Daddy can calm you down pretty quickly (see above).
~ You really like your baths! Even if you're fussing as we get you undressed, you immediately calm down when you get in the bath. In fact, we set you in the sling your little baby tub without any water tonight while we bathed Anna Kate and you were just as happy as could be!
~ You love to be swaddled and can't sleep without it even for naps. If you are ever upset, swaddling will always calm you down, especially if you combine it with swinging, swaying, shushing, and sucking (pretty sure those are the 5 S's from one of those baby books...you could be that textbook baby, too!)
~ You love to be looked at and talked to. While you aren't really fond of people you don't know picking you up, you LOVE to have them come up and smile and chat with you. You will give just about anyone who pays you any attention a BIG smile!

Caroline Hope, you bring so much joy to our family. Your giggles and smiles just melt your mommy and daddy's hearts, and even your sister thinks you are just the best thing ever. We love you with all our hearts!

And I couldn't decide on just one picture this month, so here are all your monthly pictures, plus a few extra!

One month


Two months


Three months


Four months





And, for comparison...Anna Kate at four months. What do you all think?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day 2012

We had a wonderful Valentine's Day here at the Tolbert house! Since Anna Kate is now at an age where she can appreciate holidays and doing special things, I had fun coming up with a few special treats and activities for the day! First though, I can't thank Anna Kate and Caroline enough for their Valentine's present for me: sleeping until 8:30 and 9am, respectively! Well, I mean, Caroline woke up ever hour or two all night long, but then slept from 6:30-9. So that's sort of sleeping in. But that's beside the point. In any case, we started our day a little later with a fun heart-shaped breakfast of apples and banana bread!


Anna Kate approved.


Then we had Bible time where we talked about how God showed his love for us by sending his son Jesus to die for our sins. We really enjoy the "100 ways to know God loves me" devotional for children! We also worked on our BIG valentine card for Daddy!


Here is a close-up of the letter Anna Kate "wrote". We did it mad lib style where I would start the sentence and she would finish it. The pink words are all her own!

(Note: boo boons are balloons...oh, and Luke wants everyone to know that he has never worn a dress...)

After that we did some coloring of a cute little Valentine Bear...until AK started eating the crayons. Not sure why we are back at the put everything in our mouth stage...


Since it was now after 10am, we decided getting dressed might be in order. So we all wore pink and hearts!

Sister love


I have been trying to do different things for Anna Kate's lunch lately so that it's not just a 2-day rotation of peanut butter and grilled cheese. I saw this great idea for doing mini servings of various foods in a 6-cup muffin pan. She LOVES it! So today, I pulled out my heart-shaped muffin tin for her little lunch buffet!


We spent the afternoon napping and running out to the store for Mommy to get a card for Daddy and the ingredients to make a special dessert. I know, I know, nothing like last minute shopping. Anyway, when we got home it was time to make dinner: heart-shaped taco pockets! Here they are before the tops went on.


And this is all that was left after dinner!


After dinner we had some more playtime before getting in our jammies and going to bed. We chose jammies with hearts on them, of course!


Now, I would like to say that both girls went to bed perfectly and we didn't hear from them the rest of the evening. That is actually true for Anna Kate. Caroline on the other hand is going through the "Four-month Sleep Regression." It kinda makes me feel better that there is an actual term for it. Basically she wakes up every 45 minutes. Nice. Anyway, in between wake-ups, Luke and I made and enjoyed this:


A Red Velvet cheese ball. And yes, it is every bit as good as it looks.

And we had to take a picture of ourselves on Valentine's Day.


So there you have it. No going out this year, no candles or steaks, or super fancy dinner, but it was wonderful. Our little family and LOTS of love to go around!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My latest project

So I mentioned in my playroom post a few weeks ago that I had been using my sewing machine a little bit. I found some super cute fabric on clearance at Hobby Lobby when we were in Greenwood after Christmas and I really wanted to try my hand at making clothes for the girls. All I had done before was pillowcase dresses, which are cute, but I wanted to try something a little different. Well, one of the ladies in our church offered to come over a couple days last week and show me a few tricks of the trade. With her assistance, I made my first little A-line outfit with ruffled pants for Anna Kate! I had some scraps leftover, as well as some scraps of a white with pink polka dot fabric that I just could not let go to waste, so I put together a little coordinating dress for Caroline too! Unfortunately, my little models refused to take good pictures after church yesterday, so these might possibly be the blurriest pictures I have ever put up on my blog, but oh well.

I tried to get a couple of shots of them together...



Then we tried one at a time...


And then I figured I'd just wait until they went to bed and take pictures of the outfits themselves...at least they don't wiggle and run away...


So, it may just be beginner's enthusiasm, but I had so much fun making these outfits that I just might have a new hobby! Luke's not sure if I'm going to save money by making them clothes, or if I'm going to spend more money buying fabric all the time, haha! Now if I could only get my children to sleep more, I could have more time to sew...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday, Anna Kate!


Happy birthday, Anna Kate! How on earth can you be TWO years old? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was 9 months pregnant with you and thinking you would NEVER come? And here you are two whole years later! To say that we love life with you would be an understatement. You are such a special little girl and you always keep us on our toes! You are so much fun right now that sometimes we wish we could just make time stand still and keep you at this age forever (and then you throw a tantrum and we change our minds...haha!). But since we can't freeze time, I am going to attempt to take a snapshot (using words!) of what you look like right now. We never ever want to forget these sweet days of your little life.


~ You are such a sweet and loving little girl. You love to give hugs and big fat slobbery kisses to your Mommy, Daddy, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. We have to remind you to be careful when you hug your sister and your friends though or you will just plow right through them!
~ You talk constantly! Whether you are singing, telling stories, or just narrating life, you are very rarely quiet! You have quite the vocabulary for a two-year-old, and are very good at putting long sentences together. Now, if we're honest, sometimes Mommy and Daddy have to translate for you to other people, but most often you make yourself pretty well understood.
~ You have just started to develop a little sense of humor. You love to tell "jokes"! The other day you heard your daddy mention in passing that the brand name of our coffeemaker was "Mr. Coffee" and you thought it was hilarious. Now you have a little game you like to play multiple times a day where you say, "Mr. ________" and then crack up! Usually it's food, but it can be anything! Another "joke" that you think is funny is rhyming words. Your daddy and I go back and forth rhyming words like "cat", "sat", "hat", etc. and you just laugh and laugh. Sometimes you even come up with a rhyming word yourself!


~ You are almost completely potty trained except for naps and nighttime. And even naps sometimes you wake up dry. You never wear diapers during the day anymore even when we go out (and you only occasionally have accidents!).
~ You can count to 12! I actually didn't know this until yesterday. You had been getting pretty good at counting to 10 and then yesterday you just decided to keep going to 12...I don't even think I taught you that!
~ You can recognize 16 out of 26 uppercase letters consistently and the other 10 are hit or miss. You love working on singing your ABC's, but can't quite do it by yourself yet.
~ A few songs that you do know all the words to by yourself are: "Jesus Loves Me", "Twinkle Twinkle", and "You are my Sunshine"
~ You are now sleeping in a big girl bed! It's a twin bed with a railing and you are doing pretty well in it (at least no worse than you were doing sleeping in the crib...haha!).
~ You LOVE to read books. You would sit and let us read to you for hours I think. You love regular books, but you also love to read books on your favorite electronic devices (Grandma and Grandpa's HP Touchpads and Daddy's Kindle Fire)! Your favorite book of the week is "Wacky Wednesday" by Dr. Seuss.


~ You know your first 6 catechism questions and answers as well as your first official memory verse, Genesis 1:1.
~ You love going to Sunday School, library storytime, and anywhere else that you know you are going to see your friends!
~ Speaking of Sunday School, your teachers (Ms. Tammy, Ms. Mandy, and Ms. Tonya) are always so complimentary of your behavior and your attentiveness in class. You listen so well to the Bible story time and can always tell us all about your story at lunch on Sundays. Sometimes you get a little confused about what the main point was (focusing instead on little details!), but you still are doing really well!
~ You are still a very good eater! You usually eat two helpings of whatever we are having at supper. Your favorite breakfast/lunch foods are yogurt, cheese, grapes, blueberries, and smoothies!
~ You are wearing all 2T-3T clothes. I can't believe you are getting so big! Every time I look at you, you just seem to be more and more grown up.
~ Your hair is finally starting to grow a little bit longer, but still not all the same length. Oh well...it's still really cute with two little pigtails and a hairbow on top!
~ We are still working on your jumping skills. About two weeks ago you jumped up into the air and it shocked you. We know you know how to do it, you just won't do it again.


~ You have quite a full bed when you go to sleep. You have to have your pink pillow, sock monkey (Molly the Monkey), lovey, lamb, blanket, paci, and unga (your extra paci)
~ Yes, you still have your pacis, but only when you sleep. We keep talking about you giving them away and let's just say you are less than enthusiastic.
~ Personal pronouns are pretty confusing to you. You think that the word "you" is another word for Anna Kate. In other words, when you want Mommy to hold you, you say, "Hold you, Mommy!" Or, if you want to do something yourself, you say, "You do it self, you do it self!"
~ Your favorite thing to play is baby dolls. You love to snuggle your baby, rock your baby, nurse your baby, sing to your baby, bathe your baby, put your baby night night in her cradle, and the list goes on. You also love the new baby sling that Mommy made for you to carry your baby.
~ Other playtime activities of choice are serving tea from your kitchen, drawing on your Magnadoodle etch-a-sketch, playing dress-up, playing with all your furniture and people in your dollhouse, playing in the sandbox, and driving your John Deere Gator "tractor".
~ You are so funny and finicky about certain things. For example, you are adamant that whoever is driving keeps both hands on the wheel. You say, "Daddy, TWO HANDS!" from the backseat.
~ Your best friends right now are (in no particular order): Nora, Friend Alice (not to be confused with Aunt Alice aka Allison), Aubrey, Stormy, Izzy, Gemma, Peyton, and baby Annie
~ You have a couple of favorite Bible stories that you always turn to in your Big Picture Story Bible. The first is the "marching" one (Jericho and the walls coming tumbling down), and the second is the one where "God came down in a cloud" and filled the temple. Not sure why those are your favorites, but they definitely are.
~ You amaze us every day by the things you say. For example, just a couple days ago we were outside and you looked at us and said, "It's a beautiful day!"



Anna Kate, we love watching you grow and learn and develop your sweet little personality. You keep us going and going and going and we collapse when we fall into bed at night, but you are so much fun and so worth it! We are so thankful for these two precious years since you joined our family and look forward by God's grace to many many more. You are loved.

Love,
Mommy, Daddy, (and baby Caroline!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Two under Two


Well, tomorrow is the big day. I will no longer have two children under the age of two. So, in honor of this occasion, I thought I would share a little about what life has been like these past 4 months of having two under two (not that anything is going to magically change tomorrow, haha!). While in some ways it has been very difficult to have two very young babies, it has also brought more joy than I ever thought possible! So...I'll start with the hard parts =)

1. Sleeping. Should I even go here? Now ideally our almost two-year-old would sleep through the night every night. Unfortunately she does not. Whether it's a bad dream, or some noise she hears, she does wake up on average once a night. And never does this coincide with the two or more times that Caroline wakes up to eat! if they could at least coordinate these, it would make our lives a lot easier!
2. Diapers. Lots and lots of diaper changing. Until the past two weeks in which AK has been nearly potty-trained, she went through 4-5 diapers a day and Caroline still uses 8-10. That's a LOT of diaper changing! At least they are cute little cloth-covered bottoms =)
3. Leaving the house. It takes FOREVER to get both of these children ready to go anywhere. There's just so much that you have to pack along for two babies. And once you finally get it all ready to go and both kids dressed, one spits up. And by the time you get that cleaned up, the other one needs a diaper change. And once you change that, by that time the other one needs to nurse again. And once you finish that, the other one needs a snack. I could go on, but you get the point. I am finally starting to figure out what time we need to get up and moving in order to be where we need to be on time (which thankfully for us is only a couple days a week)!

Ok, now the wonderful parts!

1. Sisterly love. I love seeing my first baby love on my second baby. There is nothing sweeter than hearing her say, "I love you, baby Tarry-yine," or listening to her sing "Rockabye Baby" or "You are My Sunshine" to her baby sister. I love that Anna Kate is so little that she won't really remember being an only child and therefore I never really felt like she had any jealousy issues.
2. Matching outfits. I absolutely LOVE dressing these two baby girls alike. And I love that right now one of them absolutely loves it too and the other one is too little to notice!
3. Naptime. They are both so little that a couple hour naptime in the middle of the day happens at the same time. And hopefully we won't have to get rid of that for quite some time!
4. Snuggles. I think I get more snuggles in a day than I ever thought possible. I love rocking and loving on these two sweet little babies.

I'm sure there is a lot more that I can say, but I'll just finish by saying that even though it's a lot of work to have two baby girls under the age of two, the joys that they bring make it all worth it!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Caroline's Baby Dedication

While yesterday was a special day for Anna Kate, today was Caroline's day! It was baby dedication at Malvern Hill and we dedicated our sweet Caroline Hope to the Lord and pledged to raise her in a family that knows and loves God, with the hope that one day she too will respond in faith to Christ's gift of salvation.

Listening to our pastor as he spoke about the blessing and responsibility of parenting these precious children.

Each child received a certificate and a special book from the children's ministry.

Our little family


And we couldn't be more grateful that both sets of grandparents were able to be here for this special day.


And just for fun, here we are a year and a half ago with Anna Kate in the very same little dress!