I really haven't been able to see just the spitting image of either Luke or myself in Anna Kate yet, but most people say she does favor Luke. I think that is definitely true, but my mom sent me this picture, and maybe I can see myself in her too. What do you think? Here's a picture of me and my sister when I was around two or three years old (I'm the little one!).
Totally unprompted and out of the blue, Anna Kate asked me last week if we could go to the zoo...here's how it went:
AK, shoulders shrugged, arms out, and palms up: "Maybe we could go to the zoo tomorrow, Mommy, would that be fun?"
Now how can you say no to that?!? So Friday (HOT as it was!), we headed out to the zoo. We actually took the girls to the Botanical Gardens first (the one that Luke and I visited last week) and they loved it! They especially loved the tram ride over the Saluda river to get there! The highlight of the gardens was the little children's area with this sweet little play house. Anna Kate would have stayed there all day if we'd let her!
Daddy and Anna Kate enjoying the gardens
We also found this cute little guy at the Botanical Gardens...brought back memories of my days growing up in Miami...as a 10-year-old I thought they were so cool and used them as earrings. As a high schooler I was disgusted and made my dad or brothers come and dispose of them for me if they got in my room!
After the gardens we headed back over to the zoo side and saw almost the entire park in just a couple hours! The gorillas were a hit with both girls!
Here's a video so you can see their enjoyment of the big gorilla!
We spent a lot of time in the aquarium...mostly because it's really neat, but also because it was a reprieve from the HOT sun! Anna Kate was especially intrigued by the sharks that kept swimming by.
Throughout the summer, our youth group has a number of poolside Bible studies - we go and invade the home of a family in the church who has a pool, enjoy the great food they prepare for us, study God's Word, and then hit the pool! Monday was our first one of the summer and Anna Kate and Caroline LOVED it! They spent an entire hour in the water and did NOT want to get out!
Happy eight-month birthday, Caroline Hope!
It is June 18th and another month has flown by! You are growing by leaps and bounds both physically and in what you are able to do and how you are interacting with us. I will just jump right in to all we want to remember about you this month.
~ I don't have your official stats since we haven't had your 8-month check-up yet, but I am pretty sure you've hit the 20 pound mark! You are wearing a number of 12 month outfits now too. Big girl!
~ We have truly seen your relationship with your Daddy grow exponentially this month. You have always been a mama's girl, but this month you are just as easily comforted by your daddy and have started to really love to be snuggled by him. You will very contentedly sit in the "bunny hole" between his legs and the couch and just play and giggle with him. You love to be held by him during the music time during church while Mommy plays violin (since you still refuse to stay in the nursery for the service)!
~ Speaking of the nursery, you have decided that it is acceptable to go and stay for the Sunday School hour. Your teachers are the same each week (Ms. Erin, Ms. Summer, and Ms. Skipper) and you have become very comfortable with them. Ms. Erin usually rocks you for your morning nap each week and you do great!
~ You now lift up your arms out to be picked up and held. Even if we just walk by you as you are playing, those little arms go right up and it's so hard to resist!
~ You are still the worst sleeper on the planet. You do take two pretty decent naps during the day, but you are up at least every 2 hours at night, rarely fussy or angry, just awake and wanting to snuggle and/or nurse. We're hoping that will improve someday!
~ We have started to experiment giving you some first foods. I will admit that I have been pretty nervous about it because of your allergies, but we have found a couple that you like. We tried bananas first and that didn't go so well, but avocados, sweet potatoes, and applesauce have all been a success! You mostly just roll it around in your mouth and smile, sometimes swallowing and sometimes not, but at least you think it's fun!
~ Your new favorite thing to do when you're sitting up is bounce. I really need to get a video of it because it's adorable, but you just bounce your whole body up and down any time you are happy, or you hear music, or you see something you like, or one of us makes you laugh!
~ Speaking of sitting up, you have now figured out how to get from a sitting position to a crawling position without falling over. You have also started to rock back and forth a little bit on your hands and knees, like you're wanting to crawl that way.
~ You are very much on the move now. It's still an army crawl (tummy on
the floor), and usually you move backwards, but you certainly can get
where you want to go!
~ You really love to be outside. On the porch swing, in the backyard, walks in the stroller or the Ergo, or at the park. Any time you start to be a little fussy, we just go outside and you are back to your happy little self!
~ You have become very opinionated about wanting exactly what you want when you want it. You will absolutely SHRIEK if we take something away that is not an appropriate toy (e.g. Daddy's glasses, keys, cell phone, etc.). We try to appease you by offering you a suitable replacement, but you can't be fooled.
~ You are really enjoying bathtime lately, especially now that you can sit up and take a bath in the big bath with Anna Kate. You love to splash your little hands and play with whatever toys your sister will share with you! You also enjoyed your first little trip to the swimming pool this month, although we just stayed on the steps and splashed. We'll get more adventurous in the water soon!
~ You went on multiple little road trips around South Carolina this month and you do so well! You are such an easy baby to take on car rides. As long as you have a toy and access to your toes, you are happy as a clam!
~ You are just starting to get a little more hair on your sweet head. It's now definitely more than peach fuzz and might be getting a little bit lighter brown.
~ You just laugh and laugh at your big sister when she is "learning" you things (I've tried to tell her that she is "teaching" you, but she insists that she is "learning" you). Lately she has been "learning" you to share and to say "Kate". You're not very good at either one yet!
Sweet Caroline, you are such a precious little baby and we are treasuring each and every day with you. You are on the receiving end of hundreds of hugs and squeezes and kisses every day from your Mommy, Daddy, and big sister because we just love you so much.
The third week in June will always be a big week of celebrations in the Tolbert household! We have Luke's birthday on June 12, our anniversary on June 15, and Father's Day always shortly thereafter. I forgot to take pictures on Luke's birthday this year, but we did celebrate with gifts in the morning and then a special pork loin dinner with friends in the evening. I even got out the good china!
Friday was our anniversary, and not just any anniversary, but our FIFTH! 5 whole years since we said our vows on that Friday night in Greenwood, SC. Luke's parents and brother were SO wonderful to offer to come and watch the girls for 5 whole hours so we could get away to celebrate our 5 years of marriage! This was the longest we have been away from them since Caroline was born. Here we are leaving on our excursion.
Luke planned a wonderful afternoon trip to the botanical gardens which were lovely! It was so nice to just walk around the gardens together and enjoy the SILENCE! Well, we did lots of talking, but silence all around us =)
Luke being silly =)
After the botanical gardens we went downtown to a Starbucks for some coffee and conversation and then to the Blue Marlin, a wonderful steak and seafood restaurant which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Upon our arrival home, we were told that the girls were absolutely wonderful and didn't fuss at all! Even our little mommy-attached Caroline! Here's Anna Kate enjoying the cake pop that we brought her back from a little cupcake shop we found.
Luke's family stayed through the weekend to celebrate Father's Day with us. Here we all are after church on Sunday.
Our little family
Daddy and his girls
And, here is the gift that we gave Luke for Father's Day. Let me tell you, it was NOT easy to get these shots! I had to do it over multiple days and remake the cardboard letters multiple times because the babies kept ripping and eating them! But I think it turned out cute!
We love Chick-fil-A in this family! I know it's just a fast food restaurant, but the staff is always SO friendly, the food is really good, and they do such fun family events throughout the year! I had heard of the Daddy-Daughter Date Night that they have done at various stores, so when I found out that it was coming to the CFA at Sandhills, we jumped at the opportunity! You have to have a reservation and since I only found out a week in advance, the only available time was 4:30pm on Thursday. Luke went into work early that day so he could get off in time to come and pick up Anna Kate to go on their date! They got all dressed up and had a great time! Here they are on their way out the door.
When they arrived at Chick-fil-A, they were taken to a table that had was all set up with their name on it. Anna Kate was very excited about the "Buboons" (balloons) on the table! They even had placemats with little conversation starters for the daddies and daughters to ask each other.
The event was free (except for the cost of your meal) and they even brought free ice cream sundaes out when you finished your dinner. Luke said that Anna Kate dug into her ice cream so quickly that he couldn't get a picture of her with it. So he told her he was just going to take a quick picture of her with his own untouched ice cream sundae. These next five shots were taken in rapid succession and they show what she did with Daddy's ice cream in front of her!
Daddy was not too pleased that she stole his cherry!
And a definite highlight of the evening was the Chick-fil-A cow dressed up like a princess. Since Thursday night, Anna Kate has not stopped talking about the Princess Cow who she named "Ruby".
Such a special time for Anna Kate and her daddy! And in case you're feeling bad for Caroline, don't worry, she got to go to Moe's and go shopping with Mommy!
We just completed an absolutely wonderful and completely exhausting week of Vacation Bible School at our church! From 6:00-8:30 our evenings have been filled with worship rallies, Bible studies, craft time, recreation, music, and chicken nuggets! Anna Kate had a fabulous time in the two-year-old class and came home each night telling me about all the things she did. Her favorite parts were music and craft time. She had the best teachers (Ms. Tammy and Ms. Mandy who are her regular Sunday School teachers, along with Courtney, one of our youth girls who LOVES little ones!).
Last night was family night where the children perform for all of their parents and Anna Kate did a great job singing and doing all the motions to "Oh Be Careful Little Eyes What You See"! Unfortunately, the camera's battery was dead, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Caroline was quite the little trouper all week long and spent 75% of the time in the Ergo carrier on Mommy as I led the 5th and 6th graders. Here she is helping me sing and dance with all the kids!
The rest of the time she could be found walking all over the place with Luke bringing smiles to the faces of everyone she met! There was, of course, a nursery for the babies of all the volunteers, and though they are all wonderful ladies, Caroline would have none of it! But that's ok, she just loves her Mommy and Daddy!
We are so thankful for all of the nearly 300 children who came and heard the gospel this week, many of whom responded in faith to the Amazing God who sent his Son to die for them.
Interspersed with some serious thunderstorms and rainy days, we have had some beautiful sunshiney spring days around here lately. So far this June has not been nearly as hot as usual, and I am loving it! Caroline LOVES to be outside, so I took a couple pictures of her smiley self the other day. My friend Christy made this little shirt for Anna Kate to wear and now it fits Caroline perfectly...and seriously, the flip-flops on those baby feet? Too cute for words!
During Caroline's morning nap each day, Anna Kate always wants to do "School Time". We haven't started any structured preschool curriculum or anything, but I want her to get used to the idea of having scheduled learning time that is actually fun! So we read together, work on one of her preschool activity bags, color, work in a workbook, or practice letters on her magnadoodle. The magnadoodle was the activity of choice this morning and we worked hard on learning to write the letter A. Here is Anna Kate, proud of her accomplishment!
She's been reciting, "Up, down, and cross it," all morning!