Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Friday, May 30, 2014

Eleanor is 4 months old!

Baby Eleanor is now FOUR months old! Stay little, sweet one! Each day you are just getting bigger and bigger. It seems like this month has brought so many changes and developments - each one bittersweet as we love watching you do new things, but we also want you to stay our baby forever!

~ You are now rolling over both ways easily and purposefully. You actually started out rolling from your back to your tummy (which is supposed to be more difficult). Now the moment we lay you down on the floor or the bed, you immediately roll over and try to go somewhere.
~ Speaking of going somewhere, you certainly do roll and scoot all over the place. We will frequently find you completely off your playmat after just glancing away for a minute.
~ You love grabbing onto things (including, but not limited to, toys, loveys, taggies, clothes - your own or others) and putting them straight in your mouth.You've got that hand/mouth coordination down pat.
~ You are still quite the thumbsucker. I think that habit is here to stay! And it's PRECIOUS. We have stopped swaddling your arms at night because you were breaking free anyway to try to get to your thumb.
~ You now sleep ALL night long! First baby I've ever had who's done that before a year (or two). I nurse you and put you down around 8pm and we don't hear from you until 6 or 6:30am. And trust me, I would hear you, since you're still sleeping in a pack-and-play within arm's reach of my side of the bed. You apparently find your thumb sometime during the night and you're perfectly happy! I then feed you around 6:30 and you sleep again until 8:30.
~ As for naps, you usually take a 45-60min morning nap in your bed around 10am (or in Mommy's sling if we're out and about), and then you take a nice long afternoon nap (2.5-3 hours) in your swing downstairs. Occasionally you still want a little 30 minute catnap around dinnertime, but those have been fewer and farther between lately.
~ You are getting pretty chunky these days in your legs and cheeks! You do sleep all night, but you nurse every 2 hours all day long, so that makes up for it!
~ You are such a happy baby and are always smiling, talking, and laughing. You really only cry if you're tired and we haven't put you to bed yet. We've been getting some really good giggles out of you lately when we tickle your chunky legs or give you big spit-kisses on your tummy!
~ You are getting prettier and prettier every day. Your eyes are getting darker, but still have a little hint of blue in them. You definitely have Daddy's forehead/hairline, and just the perfect little round face. And maybe two chins...

~ You've been going to the church nursery a little more the last few weeks and you do great! You like to rock with Mr. Michael, or go on walks with April or Angela. If you're sleepy, they can just lay you in the swing and you'll find that thumb and go right to sleep.
~ You're starting to actually enjoy (and not just sleep through) storytime at the library! Yesterday you paid attention the whole time. Caroline actually wanted to hold you for most of it (with Mommy's help, of course), and she helped you clap your hands or sway to the music, and you just loved it!
~ You really love having "conversations" with Anna Kate. She just gets so excited when you smile and "talk" back to her. She insistently claims that you've already said lots of first words - "hi" and "mama," for instance =)

Eleanor Grace, you are such a precious baby and an absolute blessing to our family. Thank you for bringing so much joy to our lives. It's truly amazing how a family's capacity to love just grows exponentially with each addition, and that has certainly been true of you. We all love you more than words can say!

Mommy, Daddy, Anna Kate, and Caroline

And now for your pictures!

Eleanor - one month old

Eleanor - two months old

Eleanor - three months old

Eleanor - four months old

And for the comparison pics...

Anna Kate - four months old

Caroline - four months old

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

We had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend! Luke and the girls went above and beyond to make sure I felt very special and loved.

On Friday, the little preschool where the girls and I go one day a week had a Mother's Day picnic. I took the big girls while Luke kept Eleanor. I had such a fun time sitting and visiting with my girls. We actually wore the outfits I made for Easter two years ago...just put jean shorts with the dresses and they're pretty tops now!

The girls loved showing me their artwork on display in the hallways.

On Friday, Luke did lots of work outside the house (trimming and raking the whole yard and cleaning the front porch). Saturday was work inside day...Luke even installed a new garbage disposal! I know none of those are super exciting things, but they were things that just make our home prettier and more functional and I'm so thankful that he did them. Luke also went up to the church for an hour or two so that he wouldn't have to go in early on Sunday morning. He normally goes in a couple hours before the rest of us. Saturday night, Luke kept Caroline and Eleanor so that Anna Kate and I could go to her friend Nora's ballet performance. They did Swan Lake and Nora was a precious baby swan. AK got really into the story line and gave me quite the glare when I applauded for the evil sorcerer during the curtain call. She applauded heartily for everyone else, but when he came out, she glared and him and crossed her arms :) In any case, we had a fun little Mommy-Daughter date! Side note: this was the first time that Luke has attempted giving Eleanor a bottle. Unsuccessful. She was not pleased. Luckily, we were only gone right at 3 hours, so she was fine to just wait for me!

On Sunday, Luke made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and had laid out a few little surprises that he and the girls had bought for me. Coffee, chocolate, a couple kitchen things...he knows me well :)

We had a great morning with our church family. Katie and Chelsey did a great job teaching our youth girls, God used the sermon to work on my heart, my children were all well-behaved, and they all were still wearing their matching dresses at the end of service (with occasional spit up and potty training issues, this isn't always the case)! Ha!

And these are the sweet gifts that the girls made me in their classes. Precious...

After church we came home and had sandwiches and great naps before heading into Sandhills for the afternoon/evening. I did a little shopping at Old Navy, we took the girls to PetSmart (don't judge...if we're not going to get them a pet, the least we can do is let them look at them...), and had a great dinner at the Olive Garden. This was the first time we had been out to dinner as a family of five to somewhere other than Chick-fil-A which has a playplace. Luke said it was like the SAT's of parenting - a super high-pressure exam! The girls actually did very well and we had a great time. They did so well in fact, that we took them to a frozen yogurt place afterward - one that had 15-20 different sorbet options for Caroline!

And...they had a photo this happened.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and I am so thankful for my wonderful husband and my three precious little blessings.

P.S. If you read the previous post by my husband, I have no idea who he was writing about. Ok, but in all seriousness, please know that when those things are true (which is certainly not 100% of the time), it is always and only the Lord loving my children through me. On my own, I am nothing...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

For Mother's Day 2014, I (Luke) am hijacking the blog. Patty does a wonderful job with this labor of love so that our family and friends know all that is going on with us. As a stay-at-home mom and pastor's wife, much of what she does is unseen and too often goes unnoticed. So in honor of Mother's Day, I want to spotlight Patty for the the hardworking, dedicated, and wonderful mother that she is and say some of the things I am grateful for this Mother's Day.
  • I am thankful for how intentional you are with our children. You work so hard to make sure that they are constantly growing and learning through experiences like park day every Tuesday or library day on Thursdays. I know that with three young children it is hard to make time to work on letters and numbers or to read Curious George Goes to the Hospital for the 1,342,109th time. Thank you for sacrificially taking time, energy, and effort to invest in the growth and development of our children.
  • I am thankful for how sacrificial you are with your time. With our closest family being two hours away, you don't get much down time or escape time. You don't have family that you can call up at a moments notice to watch the girls (though we do have a wonderful church family who often volunteers to help). Sometimes that means you are sitting in a doctor's office for an appointment as you hold Eleanor and Anna Kate is asking you to explain something she read in a book while Caroline dangles upside down from a chair. All the while, the receptionist is looking at you with that trademarked, Southern "bless your heart" look. And yet, you don't complain. You just do what needs to be done.
  • I am thankful for your hard work teaching violin. I am grateful that in addition to being a stay-at-home mom with cloth diapers to be done, reading lessons to be reviewed, and meals to be cooked, you work hard to teach violin lessons three days a week. I love to see how excited you get when you talk about how your students are growing and improving. And I love your passion for music and your desire to pass it on to the next generation.
  • I am thankful for your dedication to working with Caroline's allergies. I know this has not been an easy road and much of the burden falls upon your shoulder. Just the other day, Caroline was asking about a party we are going to in a couple of weeks. When the topic of desserts came up, Caroline asked if you could bring one of her cupcakes. She may not understand the work that goes in to baking and keeping a stash of cupcakes in the freezer or cooking a separate meal for almost any time we go out, but she knows you love her and take care of her. I do understand how hard it has been for you emotionally and physically and am forever grateful for you.  I am grateful that Caroline has you as her advocate as you gently explain to yet another person that she has a real allergy (with epi-pen and everything) and eating one of her allergens might send us to the hospital, not just make her tummy a little upset.
  • I am thankful that you are my partner in ministry. You don’t just support my calling as a pastor, but you are a partner in ministry and you find joy in it. I am thankful that you have been willing to invest in the girls of our student ministry, giving out your cell phone number, and talking about difficult situations with them. I am thankful that you are willing to open our home and bake brownies for our students and then stay up late cleaning up from our times of fellowship. I am thankful for Sunday mornings where you get the girls up, dressed, and fed while I am at the church getting things ready for worship and LifeGroups. I am thankful for you sharing the joyful (and not so joyful) days of ministry with me. You do more than many people in our church family can even guess and I am truly grateful.

  • I am most of all grateful for your love for God and how that love pours out into everything that you do. You desire for our girls to know God and love Him with their whole hearts. You are constantly reading Bible stories, singing hymns, and speaking love, grace, and mercy into their tiny hearts. Patty, thank you for pursuing the calling of Deuteronomy 6:6-7 - "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."

Thank you Patty and Happy Mother’s Day 2014.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Caroline is 2 1/2!

Caroline was officially two and a half a couple of weeks ago. I normally like to do big birthday posts for my girls documenting their little personalities at each age, but so much changes in twelve months that I thought I would do a "2 1/2" post for Caroline. Our sweet, feisty, dramatic, hilarious Caroline. You know that little poem/nursery rhyme about the little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead? When she was good she was very, very good, but when she was bad...ok, I'll stop there. But let's just say that it could have been written just for Caroline =)

~ Caroline is the comedian of the family. She really is developing quite a sense of humor. And she actually knows what she is saying when she makes a joke. For example, a few weeks back, I made the girls chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast (not something that happens very often)! After Caroline took her first bite, she started singing, "Pancakes from the REALMS of glory!" And another one...the other day we were reading "Go, Dog, Go!" Since the word "go" is repeated so many times, I thought I would point to the word and see if she could tell me what it was. So I asked her and she looked at the word, and then looked at me with a smirk and said, "GO...rilla!"
~ Caroline is a great big sister to Eleanor. She is constantly giving her hugs and kisses wanting to hold her. She even made up a game to play with Ellie yesterday. She built a few block towers right on the blanket where Eleanor was laying and placed them right by her feet. When Eleanor kicked her feet, she would kick over the towers and Caroline would just crack up hysterically and rebuild the towers to do it all over again!
~ Caroline also loves that she is big enough to actually play WITH Anna Kate. They love to play baby dolls together, or read together, or play any number of pretend games together. And we're working on the sharing and arguing over toys thing...
~ Caroline is a night owl. She often takes quite a while to fall asleep after we put her to bed. Sometimes she just sits in her crib and plays with her baby doll, and other times she keeps us quite entertained as we watch her on the video monitor. She can do some pretty impressive headstands...
~ Along with being a night owl, Caroline is definitely NOT a morning person. She sleeps much later than Anna Kate and even when she does wake up, she takes quite a while to fully accustom herself to the idea that it's daytime. She will sometimes sit up in bed and put her blanket over her head for awhile until she's ready to face the day.
~ Caroline is extremely expressive and makes the greatest faces. We recently read a book from the library about a little mouse that is "small and gray and bright-eyed." Caroline does the BEST "bright eyes!"
~ Caroline can be quite independent (when she wants to be). She wants to do almost everything herself (get dressed, use the potty, get in her carseat, etc.). The only thing she doesn't want to do herself is walk. She always wants to be carried. Lovely.
~ Caroline loves "practicing" t-ball with Anna Kate. She's too little to be on the team yet, but she has a pretty impressive throw and quite a powerful (left-handed) swing.
~ Talking with Caroline about anything in the past or in the future is pretty funny. She calls anything in the past "lasterday." Like a combination between last night and yesterday (even if it was two months ago). Anything in the future is "after tomorrow." Even if she means it will happen in 30 minutes.
~ Caroline knows most of her uppercase letters and can almost spell her name. She gets a little mixed up with the order of the "L-I-N-E" part.
~ Caroline has become extremely affectionate lately, toward all of us, but especially her daddy it seems. She just loves cuddling, rocking, hugging, and kissing. And we can't get enough of it! 
~ Caroline is doing really well understanding her allergies lately. She doesn't pitch fits anymore if she can't have something, and readily accepts an appropriate substitute. For example, today she saw an invitation to a party and asked if we could go. When I told her we were planning on it, she said, "And you bring my Cuk-cape?" She knows Mommy always has cupcakes ready to go for her!
~ Caroline has quite a few nicknames: I usually just call her Bears, but other notable variations include Care Bear, Line line, Liney Hope, and Carrie.

Caroline, you're just the greatest. We all love you so much more than you will ever know. You are such a special part of our family!