Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy 11 months, Eleanor!

Happy 11 months, Eleanor! I just can't believe that your first year of life is rapidly drawing to a close and we will soon be celebrating your first birthday. This has been a very fun month of life with you as you have grown and changed in so many ways.  You are so curious and interested in the world around you which certainly keeps us on our toes!

~ You are now "cruising" everywhere. You can pull up on just about anything and will walk around couches, coffee tables, pretty easily. You haven't let go yet, but I'm sure it won't be long!
~ You figured out how to climb stairs this month. You had been able to climb one step, but now you could go up an entire staircase if we let you. Out come the baby gates!
~ You have a lot of new tricks this month! One of our favorites is pat-a-cake. As soon as we say "pat-a-cake" or "clap your hands," you start clapping and smiling and bouncing. You especially like the part where we "throw it in the oven!" You spread your arms wide and get a big smile on your face!

~ Another new trick of yours is playing phone. We have a couple of play cellphones that you love to put up to your ear and cock your head to the side just like you are talking on the phone. This also works with any tv remote.
~ Playing with your big sisters is definitely still one of your favorite activities. You really like to just be put down in the play room with them and get right in the middle of their games. They normally don't mind including you in the fun (except when you knock over their block towers)!
~ You have become even more loving and snuggly this month. You just love to be held by Mommy or Daddy and lay your little head down on our chest or shoulder. You have even started to pat us on the back when you give hugs!
~ We celebrated your first Christmas this year and it was so much fun. You absolutely loved all the lights, music, trees, and ornaments all season long. You also really enjoyed the wrapping paper and boxes on Christmas morning! 
~ Your big Christmas present this year from Mommy and Daddy was your very first baby doll and you are quite taken with her. As I already mentioned, you are such an affectionate baby and love to "give loves" to your own baby!
~ You are "talking" all the time now. Your official words are mama, dada, nana (banana), nah nah (night night), and ooh ooh ooh (the doggie sound). You have started experimenting with other consonant sounds too, though, and your daddy is pretty convinced that you said "cat" the other day when Tig (the neighbor's cat) was on our front porch.
~ Your hair is finally starting to grow a bit more this month. It is quite blonde and reminds me exactly of Anna Kate's hair at this age. I even gave you your first ponytail the other day!
~ You had your first pretty decent sickness this month. You woke up one night with a 102+ temperature. Flu has been traveling like wildfire around here, so I thought I had better take you in the next morning. You tested negative, but the doctor treated you for flu anyway. However, you really didn't get much better, and in fact, you were starting to feel a bit worse a few days later. So, I took you back and your O2 levels were pretty low (92). They almost admitted you to the hospital on the spot, but we were able to get your oxygen up with an in-office breathing treatment. The doctor that day said that she was pretty sure it was bronchitis and gave you an antibiotic and made a recheck appointment for the next day. We came back and the third doctor examined you and said it was probably bronchiolitis associated with RSV. Great. 3 different diagnoses at 3 different visits. In any case, you are all well now and handled it like a champ!
~ As for your sleeping these's been a rough month! With all the traveling we've done, along with your little illness, you've really only been sleeping in your swing, or with Mommy and Daddy. However, since we came back from our Christmas travels a few days ago, you're back to sleeping in your own bed and only waking up once to nurse! Hallelujah! You are pretty cute when you sleep in your swing suck your right thumb and play with your ear with your other hand (just like your mommy used to do).

~ It seems like you have grown exponentially this month. You were 20 lbs. 8 oz. at your last doctor visit a couple weeks ago! I'm sure the fact that you still like to nurse every couple hours all day long has something to do with that.
~ You certainly like to eat and we haven't found any foods you will refuse. You eat a lot of the same foods we're eating as long as I make sure that they're cut up small and cooked pretty soft. You have also started to use your own spoon. It's a bit messy, but you have fun with it!
~ We still have all of our nicknames for you - Ellie, Ellie Gracious, Elle Belle, The Nor, Norsky (or Norksy if you're Caroline) - but we've also added Ellie Pie this month. Not sure where it came from, but it seems like it's here to stay!

Eleanor, you are the greatest. God certainly was smiling when he created you and gave you to us eleven months ago. We are so grateful for the gift that you are and love watching you grow.

And now for your pictures!
One month

Two months

Three months

Four months

Five months

Six months

Seven months

Eight months

Nine months

Ten months

Eleven months

CHT - Eleven months

AKT - Eleven months

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Tolbert/Burgin/Hanks Thanksgiving

I know, this is over a month late, but here's my Thanksgiving post!!

Thanksgiving celebrations started off in early November when we made our traditional "Thankful Tree". The girls love making new leaves and thanking God for all of our many blessings.

Anna Kate had a great time at the Thanskgiving feast at Bethesda. Her class dressed up as the native Americans. She enjoys spending each Monday morning with these sweet friends!

This year it was Burgin family Thanksgiving, and as many of us as were able met up at Stephen and Rachael's home in Norfolk. We sure missed Mom and Dad and Andy, but we had a fantastic time getting all NINE cousins together! The last time we were together was Christmas and we only had seven then (Eleanor and Micah were on the way, but not born yet). We spent a couple days with just Stephen and Rachael and Leah, Bekah, and Micah before the Hanks family arrived on Thanksgiving morning.

Wednesday's highlight was going to the Winter Wonderland at the mall (complete with pretty convincing fake snow)!

Once the Hanks arrived, we jumped right into Thanksgiving festivities! We read the story "Cranberry Thanskgiving" and then made the delicious Cranberry Bread from the recipe in the book.

All 9 kids at the lunch table together.

I captured a sweet moment between Caroline and baby Micah!

Rachael was the chef extraordinaire for our Thanksgiving feast and Sarah and I were glad to assist as needed =)

After dinner, we got all the cousins together to sing a song that they'd all been practicing. So special!

As soon as we finished eating our turkey, we thought we would kick off the Christmas season by going out to a drive through lights display. I tried to get a picture of all the kids before we left. And this was the best I got...

We then packed all 15 of us into 2 minivans to see the lights and had a great time!


As we were putting the kids to bed, we realized we hadn't seen Bekah in a while. Wesley found her with her finger in the whipped cream!

For the kids' Christmas gifts this year, we decided that we would do something a little out of the ordinary. We really liked the idea of giving them an experience together, rather than separate toys. So on Friday morning, we bundled them all up and headed out on an adventure!

First stop was IHOP for breakfast! And as you can imagine, it was a little crazy with nine kids six and under, but the kids all LOVED their special breakfast!

After that, we went to a huge bounce place called Kangaroo Jac's. The kids bounced and slid and bounced and slid to their hearts content! Even Eleanor got in on the action and loved it. The most special part of our time there was how much fun Leah had with all of her cousins and how much they were able to include her in their special time. Anna Kate and Leah went down the big slide many times together and AK was INSISTENT that we get a good video of it!

After the special kids time in the morning, we let the daddies go out for a few hours by themselves. I heard they had some pretty great burgers!

Friday night, it was the mommies' turn (well, we took Micah too!). We went to a paint-your-own pottery place and each created "You are Special Today" plates for our families. We had a classic red and white one growing up that we always got to use on our birthdays and other special occasions and we wanted to recreate those memories with our own families.

After painting our masterpieces, we went out to a lovely dinner at a French restaurant. So fun to have sweet sister time!

We had a fabulous time with you all and can't wait for next time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fall in Hendersonville

In early November, we took a weekend trip up to Hendersonville to see Luke's family and to enjoy the beautiful fall colors. We had a great time building fires (thanks Uncle Jonathan!), making s'mores, going to the apple orchard (even though it was REALLY cold!), making crafts, baking an apple pie, going gem "mining" with the family, and just spending time together. Thanks to some great babysitters, Luke and I even were able to go out on our first alone date since June, and only second since Eleanor was born. We had a great time and here are some pictures of our trip!

At the Apple Orchard

 (it was too cold for Caroline!)

Snuggling by the fire and watching football

Making an Apple Pie with my girl (one of our Five in a Row activities that went along with the book "How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World")

Playing with pipeworks (Daddy's toys from when he was little!)

Making crafts with Mimi and Uncle Jonathan

Reading stories with Papa


Out on a DATE!


See you all soon!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy 10 months, baby Eleanor!

Eleanor Grace, you are TEN months old today! Your first birthday is just around the corner and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. You just keep growing and changing more and more every day. I think I can honestly say that between your daddy and me as well as your big sisters, you are just about the most adored baby in the world. Here is what you've been up to this month
-You took your first long road trip this month. We drove to Norfolk for Thanksgiving and you did fantastic in the car! It definitely didn't hurt that we left at 3am, but you slept almost the entire way there and back and didn't fuss at all. 
-Speaking of trips, you also took your first trip to the hospital this month. Everything turned out to be just fine, but you got your left index finger caught in the hinge side of your sisters' bedroom door as one of them was closing it (I still don't know who did it - they are showing serious solidarity on this one!). In any case, our pediatrician really wanted x-rays to be sure all your little bones were ok, and thank goodness, they were! I was super worried, especially because it's your violin hand!
- You are now officially pulling up to standing! You actually pulled up at the coffee table for the first time last night. You had been pulling up on lower objects (stairs, playroom chairs and table, etc.) for a while, but now you can pull up anywhere.

- Your sleeping skills definitely leave something to be desired, but such is life. Once I nurse and rock you to sleep around 7:30 or 8, you usually sleep a good 4-5 hours. But then you get up a few times between midnight and 8am and either need to be nursed and rocked again, or sometimes Daddy can put you back to sleep by rubbing your back. And then other times you just need the big bed. Oh well, at least you're really cute and snuggly.
- You have become very vocal this month. You still only have one official word (mama), but you've started to say dada too on occasion. You also like to make lots of babbling sounds.
- You know the answer to the question, "What does the doggie say?" now! You make the cutest little "ooo ooo ooo" sound!
- You went through a little mommy-only phase, but you are doing much better going to other people to be held now. You do great going to the nursery and everyone loves to pass you around at church!
- You had a well visit at the doctor this month and you are growing perfectly! You are a big girl, hitting 20 lbs. this month!
- You still just have the two teeth on the bottom, but you have some top teeth about to pop through soon.
- You really love playing pat-a-cake and clapping hands. Anna Kate even taught you how to give high fives this month and you think that is really fun!
- You get really giggly over lots of different things (tickles, daddy's no-shave-November beard, bouncing up and down, peek-a-boo, etc.) and do the best happy squeal. Your whole face lights  up when you do it.

- You really love music. Whenever you hear music, you start to dance and bob up and down and smile.
- You have the cutest new mannerism this month. It's usually when you're being shy, or a little bit coy and flirtatious. You tilt your head down to one side and give a sweet little smile.
- You definitely know the word "kiss" and you love to give big open mouth ones to your mommy and daddy whenever we ask for them!
- I am definitely not counting my chickens here, but I do have to say that you've gone potty on the potty a number of times this month. Call me crazy, but if I go to change your diaper and you've been dry for a while, I'll put you on the potty and you go right away! Obviously you're not telling me you need to go, but maybe it's a good sign for early potty-training!
- Your favorite song for Mommy to sing when I rock you to sleep is Amazing Grace. Maybe it's just in my head, but your favorite verse seems to be the one that starts, "The Lord has promised good to me." Whenever I sing it, I pray that you would one day come to realize that God is good, that He is more than enough, and that he will become your portion forever.

Ellie-belle, we just love you so much. You light up our lives and we're so glad that God gave you to us ten months ago!

And here are your pictures...
One month

Two months

Three months

Four months

Five months

Six months

Seven months

Eight months

Nine months

Ten months!

And for a little comparison...

Caroline - ten months

Anna Kate - ten months