Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Caroline's Sick Day

Poor Caroline started running a pretty high fever yesterday afternoon.  She was just fine all morning long, as evidenced by the following pictures.

Caroline LOVES her rain jacket.  Actually any jacket.  She seriously wants to wear a jacket all day, every day, inside or outside, regardless of the weather.  Here she is just playing around in her rain jacket yesterday morning!

So, like I said, she was fine all morning yesterday, but the fever came on suddenly during her afternoon nap.  She spent the rest of the afternoon right here:

Yes, that's a 16-month old in the newborn position in the sling.  It was her favorite place to be from 0-8 months, so why not try it again!  She actually fell asleep there yesterday afternoon while I did some housework.

Her temperature was much lower today, but she still has a low-grade fever, so we stayed home all day.  She was a much happier baby today though!  Daddy took Anna Kate to church this evening, so Caroline and I had some quality time just the two of us.  I took a video of her dancing to her favorite song:

Love that little girl!

Side note:  The song she is dancing to is "The Word of the Lord" by Seeds Family Worship.  If you have kids (or even if you don't!), you seriously need to buy their music.  Each song is straight scripture, but with high-quality musicianship and memorable melodies.  Not your run-of-the-mill kiddie Bible songs (although those are fun too!).  But seriously, we have all memorized 12 new scriptures since Anna Kate's friend Cody and his mom Erin gave us the CD three weeks ago.  That's the other neat thing...when you order a Seeds CD, you get two - one for you, and one to give away!  How cool is that!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Mommy Daughter Date

Anna Kate has just recently discovered chapter books.  By the recommendation of some friends, and my own memories from childhood, we checked out a couple of the Frog and Toad books from the library.  She has been captivated by the stories, giggling uncontrollably one minute, and looking at me with her big sad eyes the next, wondering if everything will turn out alright (it always does!).

Well, Thursday we heard that the children's musical A Year with Frog and Toad was coming to our local fine arts center!  It was scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 2pm (right in the middle of naptime), but I knew that we couldn't pass up the opportunity!  So I told Anna Kate and she has been so excited for the last two days that she has hardly talked about anything else.  But then, this morning, I received a call from the library that we had won their drawing this week for two free tickets!  Perfect!  Anna Kate didn't care of course, because she knew she as going anyway, but I was excited!

Anyway, I woke her up early from her nap, we kissed Daddy goodbye (who was staying home with Caroline), and we headed out on our date.

Here's a little self-portait we took while waiting for the show to begin!


I had never seen A Year with Frog and Toad, but let me tell you, it did not disappoint either one of us!  I thought it was super cute and Anna Kate just could not believe that she was seeing the stories from the books in real life up on the stage! 

Afterward, Anna Kate got to meet all of the characters in the lobby and have them autograph her program.  She was a little star-struck at first, but was very polite as she went down the line asking each one to sign their names.  But then, after she was finished, she saw the table of princess crowns and tiaras on sale from the Columbia Children's Theater.  She just had to have one.  And I figured that since we won free tickets, we could spend the $5 on a tiara.  And then she saw the Frog and Toad coloring book.  And she looked up at me with those big blue eyes...and it was only $2!  Ok, the coloring book too.  But then, she saw some other children back over where the cast was signing autographs, and the characters were signing their coloring books!  So then we had to go back through the line again and have all of the characters sign her coloring book!  She was just too excited, so how could I say no?  The cast all thought it was pretty funny that she came through twice, but they indulged her =)  Frog and Toad even teased her and called her "Anna Cake" which she thought was pretty funny.  And they were kind enough to pose for a picture!

 Frog (L) and Toad (R) with Anna Kate (wearing her tiara and holding her autographed coloring book!)
We had such a fun afternoon and I know that she will remember it for a long time to come.

A South Carolina Blizzard!

Ok, it wasn't really a blizzard, but it was the most snow that we've seen in 2 years, so it was pretty exciting!  Last Saturday morning the snow started to come down pretty hard.  It was beautiful.  Lots of big fluffy snowflakes, but the ground was too warm and it didn't stick. 

But then Saturday night it started up again and this time it stayed!  The girls had already gone to bed, but I took a couple of pictures of the backyard. 

We woke up Sunday morning to a winter wonderland!  We immediately got the girls bundled up and headed outside.  They didn't last too long, but they thought it was pretty neat! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

"We love because He first loved us"
~I John 4:19

We had a wonderful day celebrating all the love that we have for one another, for our family and friends, and most of all, the love that Jesus has for us!

We started off the morning with heart-shaped chocolate chip pancakes.

After that, we headed to the library where we took little Bible verse valentines with heart candies to all of our storytime friends.  We can just forget about the part where we were packing the little baggies and Anna Kate pitched a little fit about giving away all of the candy and not keeping it for herself...we had a little lesson about showing God's love to others and she felt better.  Well, that and I told her that she could have a couple candies too...

After naptime, we got to work on Daddy's valentine.  The girls worked very hard!  Caroline picked out all the stickers for the front page and put them on herself.  


Anna Kate tore up little pieces of construction paper and glued them to the heart on the inside.

I packaged up my "Year of Dates" for Luke (mostly things we can do at home, but sometimes we just need ideas and inspiration to be more intentional with our time together)!  Then we set everything out for Daddy to arrive.

Daddy came home from work with gifts for everyone!  Beautiful red roses for me (along with sweet-smelling soaps, and the next book in the Call the Midwife series), Valentines balloons for the girls (which were, and still are, a HUGE hit!), and little Clementine "Cuties" for his two little cuties.  Perfect because with Anna Kate's birthday last weekend, we have had enough candy and sweets!


Daddy with his girls (who were trying to grab their balloons...)

After the girls went to bed, Luke prepared a fantastic dinner for me!  Pan-seared steaks, roasted asparagus, tossed salad, and wheat rolls.  And then coconut milk ice cream with strawberries for dessert!  

 We are truly blessed.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Anna Kate's 3rd Birthday Tea Party!

Preparations for Anna Kate's 3rd birthday party began months ago.  She has known for quite some time that she wanted to have a tea party.  When it came time to make invitations, I searched for "tea party invitations" on pinterest and let her look through page after page.  She settled on some that were being sold on Etsy for $40 for a set of 12.  No worries, we made our own that looked very much the same (and we only spent $7 on materials at Michaels)!

The tea bag reads: 
Wear your prettiest dress 
and your Mommy's pearls
We're having a tea party
Just for the girls!

Before all of her guests arrived, we had a little photo shoot in the front yard.  I just can't get over how grown up my sweet baby girl looks all dressed up! 

Once her guests arrived, each little girl was given a hat to wear (and to take home)!  Our first activities were to make crafts.  We made necklaces and bracelets, as well as pretty paper fans.  Here are some of the girls at work.

And here are few of the finished products!


After that, the girls all played in the playroom while I finished preparing the tea.


And then it was tea time!  Here is the table all set and ready for Anna Kate and her friends. 

She requested "Chocolate Cherry" cupcakes.  I had never made those before, but who was I to disappoint the birthday girl.  So I gave it a try and they turned out great!  Basically just chocolate cupcakes, and then a powdered sugar icing with cherry preserves mixed in (for color and flavor).  Special thanks to Daddy who went to two different grocery stores on Saturday morning in search of fresh cherries to garnish the tops! 

Her other menu requests included: Chocolate Dipped Strawberries, Heart-shaped cookies, and Peach and Raspberry Tea.

The two littlest girls had a special table all to themselves!

Our little family (Caroline was more interested in eating than taking pictures)

Mommy and Daddy and the birthday girl!


Daddy dressed up in his tux so that he could serve all of the little girls their tea!

All of the guests singing "Happy Birthday" to Anna Kate!

Caroline and Heidi at their little table

 And here are all the little girls (and a couple of big girls!) on the front porch.  Anna Kate invited mostly all her little friends who are close to her age, but she just had to invite Anna Catherine and Landon too.  These two sweet girls LOVE Anna Kate and they were so fun to have at the party.  They helped with all the little ones and we so enjoyed having them!

From left to right: Caroline, Aubrey, Anna Catherine, Alice (who came from 2 hours away!), Anna Kate, Landon, and Nora!
Not pictured: Baby Heidi and Baby Ava, as well as Annie who had to leave a little bit early to go to the circus (it's a rough life...a tea party and a circus in one day!)

Thank you all so much for helping us celebrate our sweet girl!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday, Anna Kate!

Sweet Anna Kate,

Happy 3rd birthday! It is hard to believe that our first baby is three years old today (although you would say that you are NOT a baby, but are actually a big girl). It is hard to find the words that would express all the joy that you bring to our family, but I will at least try!  We never want to forget all of your sweet and silly personality traits that make you who you are.

~ You are such a happy little girl.  You have the greatest facial expressions when you are excited about something, or when you come up with a good idea, or when you are surprised.  It's as if your whole face lights up!
~ You LOVE to read.  Seriously, we read dozens of books every day.  You absolutely love to be read to, but you are also reading now yourself.  Last fall we realized that you had learned all of your letter sounds and were starting to put them together on your own.  So, I went ahead and had Grandma send me Alpha-Phonics, the book that she used to teach me to read.  We jumped right in and you are reading fluently through lesson 70 (which includes one and two-syllable words, all short vowel sounds, and all consonant blends).  You are also reading Bob books from the library up through level 3.  You also read most of your birthday cards this afternoon (those that didn't write in cursive!).
~ One benefit of you learning to read is that you now will sit and read stories to Caroline.  You really love reading Dr. Seuss books to her.  The Cat in the Hat, Wacky Wednesday, and Hop on Pop are definite favorites.  Caroline absolutely adores you and loves having you read to her.
~ Speaking of your relationship with your sister, you are (almost always) very kind and loving and protective of her.  You always refer to her as "Cares" or "Caresy Bears" (unless she takes something of yours and then you call her CAR-O-LINE!).  You always watch out for her, whether she is climbing something, or touching something she shouldn't, or grabbing food that she can't eat.  In fact, even when you're playing pretend in your kitchen, you always make her food dairy- and egg-free so that she can eat it!  (However, you have been known to purposely "put eggs" in something so that you have an excuse not to share with her...)
~ You can almost always be seen carrying a purse.  Your favorite items to carry around in your purse are your wallet, cellphone, chapstick.  Actually, just the other week you pitched quite a fit in your class at church.  It was because you had left your purse somewhere and you wanted your teachers to go and find it, but they didn't know where it was.  Anyway, it was really the first tantrum you've ever thrown at church and your teachers were so surprised that they really thought it was rather amusing.  You did stop immediately when they threatened to go get Daddy.
~ Now, that incident aside, you absolutely love your classes at church.  You are still in Ms. Tammy's Sunday School class and you have now been joined by Caroline.  You are the oldest one in the class now (you will go to the 3-4's in September) and I think you enjoy that a little too much.  I have a feeling that you boss the toddlers around a little bit!  And you always tattle on them when you get home.  But you also are a very good listener and you tell us exactly what your lesson was about each week.  On Wednesday nights you go to choir, which you love, and then you go to Mrs. Wanda and Mrs. Janis' class.  You really have fun in there!  They always have some kind of very messy craft and a very yummy treat, so what's not to like?  You also just moved up to Children's Worship during the service hour on Sunday mornings.  You have a different teacher each week in there.  This past Sunday morning as we were praying in the car on the way to church, this is what you prayed: "God, I pray that we would have happy hearts to worship you and I pray that I would get the teachers that I like in my worship class!"  Ha!
~  Speaking of praying, you truly are quite the little prayer warrior.  The very first thing you think of whenever you hear about someone being sick, or sad, or in need, is to pray for them.  You love praying for your church family, for your new baby cousins, and for all the missionaries that you know, "that they would tell lots of people about Jesus."
~ You love family worship time.  We still normally read a story out of the Big Picture Story Bible, but you have also started to really enjoy the Jesus Storybook Bible, which contains longer stories.  After Bible story time we work on our catechism (you know the first 30 questions) and Bible verses (you know 10 different Scriptures by memory).
~ You are a great sleeper these days!  You are usually in bed by 7:45 and then you come to our bed for snuggles in the morning promptly at 7am.  You know that you are not supposed to get out of bed until you see a 7 on the clock and you are pretty good at abiding by that!  You also take a good 2 hour nap every afternoon.
~ You are so funny about what you have to have in bed to sleep with you.  You will not go to sleep if you don't have Molly Monkey, Heidi Ann, Sweet Dreams, Penny the Pig, Curious George, Lamby, Lovey, and Ruby the bunny. Some nights it is a little bit of a hassle (if something goes missing), but it's pretty cute and we know these days won't last forever!
~ You also have to have Daddy pray for you and tell you a story each night before you fall asleep.  And they have to start the same way each night or you tell him that he's doing it wrong.  The prayer has to start with "Father God, I pray for Anna Kate and for Caroline".  The story has to begin with, "Once upon a time there lived a princess by the name of Anna Kate.  She lived with her Mommy and her Daddy and her little sister, the baby Caresy Bears."  If any of those words is changed, you make him start over.
~ You have quite the imagination.  You are constantly playing pretend something.  Lately you have been making rows of chairs into a car and you drive places - Walmart, Edventure, the zoo, etc.  And you never let anyone ride in your car without buckling up!
~ You still are very good friends with your imaginary rhinos and talk about them on a daily basis.  You give them different names that usually rhyme, but the names change.
~ You can count up through 14 and then you mix up the rest of the teen numbers, but we're working on it!  You can also add all single digit numbers using your fingers as a guide.
~ You have really started to enjoy board games and puzzles lately.  Your favorite games are "Cootie" and the "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" board game.  Your favorite puzzle is your big Disney princess puzzle.
~ Speaking of princesses, you love to dress up like a princess, wear jewelry, paint your nails, have tea parties, and generally do anything girly.  But you also love to run around and play outside in the sandbox and get really dirty!
~ You are an extremely inquisitive child.  You always want to know why things are the way they are.  And whenever something is out of the ordinary, or breaks what you thought was a universal rule, you are quite concerned.  You are always trying to make sense of your little world!

Anna Kate, you light up our life.  Thank you for teaching us what it means to live joyfully, to love with abandon, and to have a childlike faith.  Happy happy 3rd birthday, sweet girl.


Mommy, Daddy, and Caroline too!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Then out of the box...

came Thing One and Thing Two!

One of our favorite books around here is "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss.  So, these t-shirts, given to them by Uncle Jonathan and Aunt Allison for Christmas are quite the hit!  The love to wear anything matching, but especially outfits as fun as these!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Birthday Musings

I love birthdays.  My own of course (which happens to be today!), but I also love celebrating anyone's birthday!  I mean, really, who  doesn't?  Sweet treats, time with friends and family, fun surprises, reflections on another year of life given by a God who himself creates and sustains all things.  So today, I thought I would just write down a few of my memories of birthdays past. 

Birthdays growing up were always very fun.  We usually had two parties.  First a family party, often at our own house, often at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and filled with lots of cake and ice cream, aunts, uncles and cousins, and of course, the "You are Special Today" plate.  And then we always had a friends party, too!  Sometimes pretty simple, sometimes more elaborate, but always fun!

One of the very earliest birthday gifts I remember receiving was from my Grandma and Grandpa Burgin.  I was probably 4 or 5.  You see, they had taught me to play Cribbage (a card game, for those of you who have never heard of it) when I was very little.  In fact, so little that my fine motor skills had not progressed enough to be able to shuffle the cards.  So for my birthday, Grandma and Grandpa gave me a little motorized card shuffler.  I LOVED that thing.  I used it constantly.

My ninth birthday was one I will never forget!  My mom and I planned a very elaborate "kidnap party" for all of my friends.  Basically, the party was a surprise not to me, but to all of my friends.  We of course informed all of the mothers that we would be coming very early on a Saturday morning to "kidnap" all of my little friends in their jammies.  We went to their houses one by one and woke them up and brought them all back to our house for doughnuts and a pajama fashion show!  Such fun!  My mom even went to all of the trouble to bring the video camera along to video us waking up each little girl...but unfortunately she was pressing the wrong button!  Dad saved the day, though, and videotaped the rest of the party once we arrived back at the house!

My most memorable gift from my Mom and Dad was given to me on my tenth birthday.  Some of my favorite books growing up were the American Girl series.  I loved all historical fiction, but I especially loved the Kirsten stories - about a Swedish immigrant girl growing up during the pioneer era.  On my tenth birthday, Mom and Dad gave me Kirsten, the American Girl doll.  I spent hours (even through middle school and high school!) playing with that doll, dressing her up, doing her hair, and daydreaming about the simple life she lived.  If I'm truly honest, I can't wait for the day that Anna Kate and Caroline are old enough to play with her so that I can have an excuse to get her out again!  Right now we're still in the drag-baby-dolls-around-a-little-too-rough stage!

I received a very creative gift from my Aunt Patty on my twelfth birthday.  Aunt Patty has always been known for her thoughtful and personal birthday gifts.  At this time we lived in Miami and Aunt Patty lived in Seattle.  She sent me a birthday card that said my gift would involve "trains, boats, and planes" but that I would have to wait until summer.  That July, she helped fly me out to Portland (to Grandma and Grandpa's), bought me a train ticket to Seattle, and arranged a week long sailboat trip with friends up the Puget Sound.  It was incredible!  We ate and slept on the boat as we journeyed through the beautiful scenery of the Olympic Mountains.  She even let me drive the little dinghy myself!  She also made me keep a hat on at all times so that my face wouldn't get sunburned, but because of the wind, we had to wear little straps that attached it to our jackets - I thought they were a little dorky!  We stopped at various points to hike or visit little towns, but most of our time was spent out on the water.  Such a neat time!

My birthday always falls on or around Superbowl weekend.  My freshman year at Furman, my roommate Whitney, along with a number of our other hallmates and our brother hall, arranged a big surprise party for me!  Mom and Dad secretly had the cake sent, and my friends invited me to what I thought was just a Superbowl party.  Truly, I didn't even know if these friends of mine (who I had only known for 5 months) even realized that my birthday was the same day.  I was extremely surprised to find out when I arrived that the party was for me!  The only downside to the day was that they all threw me into the Furman lake when we arrived back on campus.  It was nasty!  And it was a good 1/4 mile back to my dorm.  And it was cold.  But I suffered though it.  All in the name of tradition!

My next three birthdays during college were spent with Luke at our favorite restaurant in downtown Greenville - Trio's.  It was there that we decided dipping foccacio bread in olive oil with herbs would have to be a part of our meals more often! We loved going there on special occasions and he always made me feel extremely special.  I remember one of those birthdays he bought me roses and around each one he had wrapped a little note telling me that he loved me in a dozen different languages!  And that was before Pinterest!

I will never forget my twenty-fifth birthday.  February 1st, 2010.  I was thirty-eight weeks pregnant with Anna Kate and we had quite a snowstorm in Wake Forest.  I was so excited to wake up that Monday morning to find out that school had been cancelled.  I wouldn't have to go be on my feet all day and deal with 90+ middle schoolers!  What joy!  We spent the day watching the snow fall and playing Settlers of Catan with our good friends Heather and Jonathan, and hoping that Anna Kate might make her appearance that day to share a birthday with me.  Here is the blogpost I wrote that day: 25th Birthday and 38 weeks

And here's the post I wrote a couple days earlier about our big snow and another big snow that same weekend in 1985:  Snow Day

And that brings us to today.  I have spent the morning relaxing while Luke has done all of the diapers and dishes!  I have also listened to sweet sounds from the kitchen as he and Anna Kate (with a little help from Caroline) baked me a chocolate chip cake to enjoy tonight. 

I am truly blessed and thankful to God to have another year of my life with my sweet little family.