Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Merry Christmas!

What a whirlwind and wonderful Christmas it has been! While we have certainly been busy, I feel like we did a little bit better about taking the time to enjoy this Christmas season. We did most of our gift shopping early, we never got more than one day behind on our family advent devotionals, and just truly enjoyed this season through the eyes of our two- and three-year-old little girls. Our home has been absolutely filled with joy this month as we have listened to the two of them sing Christmas carols together (constantly!) about the birth of our Savior. There is so much I want to share about our Christmas season, so I will just jump right in with sharing LOTS of pictures!

On December 8th, Anna Kate had her Christmas program at church. The children did a fantastic job sharing some of their favorite Christmas carols.

After Luke had a very busy weekend with our youth group, he offered to take a morning off and take the girls to EdVenture so they could go "sledding" at Snowville. They had a FANTASTIC time!

Thanks to Luke's assistance, I got a little Pinterest-happy with my Christmas decorations this year.

Christmas tree made from a pallet found in our neighbor's trash pile. Luke cut the wood and I painted it =)

My little snowman family made from leftover wood from a project of Luke's and some scrap fabric
Our very tall Christmas tree (note how the star at the top doesn't exactly fit!)

Brown paper packages tied up with string

 This year was Burgin family Christmas and everyone began arriving on the 19th. My parents made it just in time to see Anna Kate's Christmas at the preschool the girls go to on Mondays while I teach Spanish.

Caroline patiently waiting for the program to begin

The children in the 3K class were the sheep =)

Everyone else arrived over the next couple of days and we had a wonderful (though at times hectic!) time celebrating Christmas ALL together! All sixteen of us were together for the first time - 9 adults and 7 children, 5 and under, along with two babies on the way.

We spent one afternoon at a state park near our house. 

Aren't these babies just precious? 
Rebekah (11 months) and Colton (9 months)

Anna Kate and Leah. Love these two.

One of the highlights for the kids was baking cutout Christmas cookies!

And decorating them, of course!

We all went to church together on Christmas Eve.
Lighting the advent wreath

So much love!

As many families do, we have a tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve...and it's always new jammies! This was the first (and maybe last...) year that we were able to get all the little ones matching jammies! I just can't say enough how special this picture is!

Grandpa reading one of our long-time family favorite Christmas books - Bialosky's Christmas

Christmas morning!

Highlights in the gift department were doctor's coats from Mommy and Daddy (which I made, and a friend embroidered for me)

 Cabbage patch dolls from Grandma and Grandpa...

And personalized duffle bag suitcases from Mimi and Papa!

After my family all headed on their way, we finished our celebrations of Christmas by meeting up with Luke's family on the 26th to enjoy the lights at the zoo. 

Merry Christmas, everyone! We can't wait to see what God has in store for 2014 - especially our upcoming and highly anticipated arrival of Eleanor Grace!

Note: I misplaced my camera somewhere near the middle of December and just found it most of the picture credits in this post go to my dad. Thanks, Dad!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What's in a name?

After much thought, Luke and I have chosen to name our third daughter Eleanor Grace. This name is very special to us for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is always important to us that our daughters have names with significant meanings.

Anna Kate comes from a Hebrew word meaning "grace" and a Greek word meaning "pure," so her name means "Pure Grace." This reminds us of the doctrine of salvation through grace alone, from Ephesians 2:8-9.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; 
it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." 
Caroline means "joyous song," so her full name means "Joyous Song of Hope." It is our prayer that her life would always be a joyous song unto the Lord.
"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!"
Psalm 98:4

Which brings us to Eleanor. Eleanor comes from a Greek word meaning "shining light" or "bright, shining one." Eleanor Grace means "the shining light of grace." II Corinthians 4:6 says,
"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
The grace of Jesus Christ is the light in the darkness, and we pray that baby Eleanor Grace will come to walk in his light at a very young age and in turn be a light to all those around her.
Eleanor is also a significant name to us because it contains within it my own middle name, Ellen. I am named after my dad's sister (also Patricia Ellen) who is a very special person in all of our lives. Our middle names are both after my great-grandmother Ellen Randall, so the name Ellen goes back multiple generations!
Finally, when I was in college, I became very close with a family who took me in as an adopted daughter as I taught their little girl violin and babysat both of their children. Their daughter's name is Grace Eleanor and she was the flower girl in our wedding. She carries the name beautifully and we hope our daughter will do the same!
And, although, we hope that she waits a little closer to her due date of January 26th, we are ready for baby Eleanor since her Christmas stocking arrived in the mail today! 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The things they say...

I just love these girls.

Lately they've been wanting to snuggle in the big bed together when we wake up in the mornings. Here they are cuddled up together in my big pregnancy body pillow reading a Clifford book. Side note...Caroline has decided that she likes to take off her jammies immediately when she wakes up.

Now...for their quotable quotes as of late:

Last week while we were out of town, Caroline decided she was going to sleep like a newborn again and only wanted to be in the "Big Bed" with Mommy and Daddy. She's doing much better now that we're home, but the other morning, the girls were playing house (AK was the Mommy and Caroline was the baby), and AK tucked her into bed. Caroline started pretend crying and saying, "Big bed, big bed, big bed!" To which Anna Kate immediately responded, "Yes, baby, of COURSE you can come to the big bed. Mommy LOVES you." So apparently Anna Kate makes a nicer mommy than I do...

Anna Kate is super into Christmas carols this year. She LOVES them and wants to learn new ones daily. A couple weeks ago she asked me if I would sing her one, so I suggested "The First Noel." She responded, "No, I've heard that one before. How about the second Noel?"

Just yesterday while listening to me sing/read our picture book of the "Twelve Days of Christmas," AK looked at me very confused when I got to day 12. She asked, "Mommy, why did you say 'TWELVE lords a-leaping?' if there's ONLY ONE LORD?!?" Glad she knows the true meaning of Christmas!

Caroline is really developing quite a little sense of humor these days. In fact, we have to be really careful that we don't laugh at her sometimes when she is being naughty. Let's just say that she has the eye-roll down pat...especially when I use a warning tone of voice. It's pretty hard not to laugh at, but we're trying to be consistent and she isn't doing it nearly as much any more! But, back to her sense of humor...she was listening to Anna Kate tell a couple of knock-knock jokes the other day, so she decided she would tell one of her own. This is how it went:

Caroline: Knock Knock
Mommy: Who's there?
Caroline: (hysterically laughing) REALLY FUNNY JOKE!

Well, naptime is about over, so I'll have to stop for now. But they certainly do keep us laughing!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Give Thanks

Well, the beautiful Thanksgiving season has already given way to the wonder of Christmastime, but I would be remiss if I didn't post about last week's celebrations! We truly enjoyed the month of November - wearing jackets for the first time this year, raking LOTS of leaves, reflecting on all the blessings God has given us, and spending time with family.

For the past few years, we've had a family tradition of making a "Thankful" tree. The girls collected sticks from the backyard, we put them in a vase and filled it with holly berries, and then we added leaves each night. Each night we would write down on the leaves things for which we were thankful. Here are a few of Anna Kate's...

And a few of Caroline's!

Last week we headed up to Flat Rock, NC, to spend Thanksgiving with Luke's family. It is always so fun to see them, but we were also surprised with quite a snowfall on the day before Thanksgiving!

We had between 1-2 inches on the ground, but it did melt pretty quickly. That didn't stop the girls from going out and throwing snowballs though!

Other highlights of our visit included making turkey crafts with Mimi and Aunt Allison...

eating a wonderful Thanksgiving feast...

and going to visit the goats at the Carl Sandburg house. The girls just LOVE them!

 Here are a couple pictures of my two little turkeys on Thanksgiving day. Love them!

And one of me and Luke with baby girl at 32 weeks!

We are truly thankful for all the blessings that God has given us, the most important of which is the blessing of salvation through his son Jesus Christ!