Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Eleanor is 9 months old!


Eleanor Grace, you are NINE months old today! Three quarters of a year! Life with you just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter (and sometimes a bit more tiring). But definitely sweeter! You are such a fun and happy baby and we just can't get enough of you. Here is your news this month:

-Your first two teeth came in this month! I really thought that, like Anna Kate, your top teeth were going to come in first since they have been pretty red and swollen. But no, just last week, your front bottom teeth came in a couple days apart. They aren't very tall yet, but they are definitely there. You're still not sure about them and constantly feeling them with your tongue!
- And of course, as can be expected with all this teething, you haven't been sleeping extremely well here lately. The last week or so, you've either wanted the swing or the big bed. You'll sleep pretty decently if we give you one of those! However, I finally got to the store yesterday and bought you some teething tablets and they've been miraculous. You've taken naps in your crib, and slept all night in your crib! Well, I went and fed you twice, but you went right back to sleep in your own bed!
- Some of my favorite times of the day are nursing and rocking you to sleep. It truly is a joy. You've developed the sweetest little habit over the last month. Whenever I nurse and rock you, you feel around with your hand until you find my left hand. Then you proceed to play with my wedding ring as you nurse to sleep.
- You are still the snuggliest baby ever. You just love to sit and be held by Mommy and Daddy. Especially if there is something entertaining to watch, like your big sisters!


- Speaking of your sisters, you really want to be big like them. They've been playing outside a lot now that the weather is cool and the mosquitos are gone. And I do take you outside quite a bit, but if I'm working in the kitchen, you have to stay inside too. And you just press your little face against the back door and watch them longingly. It's pathetic really :)

- You are getting very strong and it won't be long before you're pulling up on things. Right now you get almost all the way there - up to one foot and one knee. You can definitely reach things at couch or coffee table height.
- You have the best excited face and mannerisms. You get your really big double-dimpled smile and wave and clap your hands. It's pretty cute.

- You still love to suck your thumb. It's pretty much your favorite thing to do. You do it when you're tired, or happy, or bored, or sad...just about anytime is a good time to suck your thumb!
- You are eating all kinds of table food now. You eat whatever meats, fruits, and veggies that the rest of us are. And really, you've liked them all. You tried plain yogurt yesterday for the first time and you weren't too sure about the sour taste, but you were at least willing to give it a chance!
- You still love to be carried around in the sling or the Ergo. We like to call you our little Joey! Even Daddy has gotten a lot of use out of the Ergo when he takes all three of you to the soccer fields while I teach lessons.

Eleanor, we all love you so much! Stay little, ok?

Here are your pictures:

EGT - one month

EGT - two months

EGT - three months

EGT - four months
EGT - five months

EGT - six months

EGT - seven months

EGT - eight months

EGT - nine months

And, who do you look like?

Anna Kate - nine months

Caroline - nine months

And just for fun...I apparently tired you out taking pictures of you this morning! Big yawn!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A visit from Uncle Andrew and Anneka!

A few weeks ago, my little brother Andrew called and asked if we had any plans on Monday the 27th. He said that he and his girlfriend Anneka would be driving back to Gainesville from Norfolk that day and wanted to stop through here to see us! We were thrilled to have them. They ended up being able to stay the night here and we had a great time. This was actually the first time Andrew had met Eleanor and, as you can see, she really liked him.

Andrew and Anneka did LOTS of playing games and reading stories with the girls.

After dinner, we went out and got slushies at Sonic. Anna Kate and Caroline argued over who would sit next to whom, but they compromised on Caroline sitting next to Anneka, and Anna Kate sitting next to Andrew!

When I reminded the girls at bedtime that they would be leaving first thing in the morning, Caroline said, "But I really LOVE them!"

And last but not least, I realized as they were about to head out the door at 5:45am that I hadn't taken a picture of me with Andrew. So, we took a was early...

Thanks so much for coming, Andrew and Anneka! We love you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October continued...

October has continued to be filled with lots of fun and busyness around here! We celebrated Caroline's birthday again on her actual birthday with a breakfast of biscuits and bacon (her request) and then opening some presents. Luke's parents and brother joined us and we had a great time.

Can you spot the baby in the next picture?

Her present from Mommy and Daddy was a personalized panda bear backpack (since we call her "Bear")! We are trying to teach her to take responsibility for carrying around her emergency medications (always supervised of course), and this gives her a fun way to do it. She loves it and feels like such a big girl!



Mimi and Papa and Uncle Jonathan stayed and went to church with us the next morning. We tried to take a few pictures, but certain people under the age of 5 didn't really want to be still. Another certain 3-year-old refused to take a picture unless the scarecrow was in it. So there you go.

A couple days later, we had some well checks at the pediatrician. 3-year check-up for Caroline and 8-month (almost 9...) for Eleanor. Both were between the 75th and 90th percentiles for height and weight and growing and developing great! Our doctor gave us some good ideas for keeping Caroline's allergy cough/wheezing at bay and we're hoping it will help.

Sweet Three-Year-Old

 Chunky baby! 19 lbs. 6 oz!

Because they were all so good at the doctor (including big sister Anna Kate!), I took them out to Chick-fil-A for lunch! This was the first time Eleanor had played on the playplace and she LOVED it! She really felt like a big girl.

And last but not least, Saturday evening after the girls took a bath, I was brushing Anna Kate's hair and it made me think of when my sister and I were younger and we would put each other's hair in sponge rollers. I told Anna Kate about them and told her that we should do it sometime. She thought that was such a good idea that we should do it RIGHT THEN. I had to look through some things that were packed away, but I found my old sponge rollers and we tried it out!

I told her that I wasn't sure how well it would work since her hair is so straight...but this is what it looked like in the morning!

So fun!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday, Caroline!

Happy birthday, Caroline Hope! The leaves have begun to change, the air has become crisp and cool, and October has arrived. Sweet 3-year-old Caroline, where do I begin? How do I attempt to put into words what a special little girl you are? I know I won't be able to do it justice, but I will try!

- Your personality has blossomed this year. You are a whirlwind of activity, drama, joy, and silliness. There is never a dull moment with Caroline around!
- This year was a big one for you, as you became a big sister. You have assumed your role as "Little Middle" without missing a beat. You absolutely adore baby Eleanor. In fact, you are always calling her your baby ("Where's my baby?" "Can I hold my baby?"). You are constantly asking to hold her and would often rather sit and hold her than participate in other activities. You love to watch the world with her, getting down to her level, and explaining life to her.
- You also have a wonderful relationship with your big sister. You and Anna Kate play pretend together for hours. You love to play Mommy and Baby, school time, doctor, airplane trips, and violin lessons. Any time Anna Kate is not around, you just feel absolutely lost. You have, of course, learned how to push her buttons and annoy her when you want to, but in general, she's your constant playmate and best friend, and I hope you always stay that way.
- You have the biggest brown eyes and the prettiest soft brown curls which apparently are here to stay for a while! You have the craziest bedhead when you wake up in the morning, but it's pretty easy to tame with a little spray of water. Normally you have your hair done with one ponytail and bow on the top of your head, but you also like to have two curly "bear ear" pigtails. The other day you asked for "Anna" hair (from Frozen), and I was able to finagle two pretty decent french braids!
- You have started to do a bit more in the way of preschool at home with Mommy. It has to be hands-on and active, and I have to make you think it's your idea, but you are learning and participating really well! You love to play letter/sound games, and make patterns with your math cubes. You've started Alpha-Phonics just a little bit, but we are taking it slow. You also really love our Five in a Row stories and activities!
- Caroline, I thought I would never say this, but you are now sleeping through the night! Most parents brag about their children doing that by 6 weeks, or 6 months, or at least by a year old, but not you! It took a good 2-3 years for you. But you are finally sleeping all night long almost every night (once you finally fall asleep, that is)!
- You are a definite night owl, or should I say, night monkey, or night gymnast? You take quite a while to fall asleep at night, usually keeping yourself awake by doing handstands and headstands in your bed. You're generally pretty quiet about it, and it doesn't bother Anna Kate, so I guess it's not the worst way for you to burn off superfluous energy!
- On the flip side, you are NOT a morning person. You come down the stairs in the morning and come straight to the couch for snuggles, but you do not want to speak or be spoken too for a solid 5 minutes. You just take a little while to wake up!
- You have quite a good little memory. I bought a couple of educational placemats a while back, including a map of the United States and one of the Presidents. I found songs to teach both the states and the presidents to Anna Kate, but you wanted to learn them too. Actually, I didn't even know that you knew them until you would start to pipe in if Anna Kate missed one. Then one day you just sang the songs all by yourself!
- Your Daddy and I have been so proud of you lately as we've seen you come to understand your food allergies and respond with such resiliency and grace. Up until recently, you really hadn't noticed that you sometimes have to eat different foods than other people. But you definitely know and understand now and trust that Mommy and Daddy know best. You are (almost) always very careful to check with us before you eat anything. Whenever you hear that we are going to an event at church, or a birthday party, for example, you always look up at me with your big brown eyes and say, "Mommy, will you bring a CuckCape (cupcake) for me?" And I always do! There was an occasion just recently where you did feel a little left out and you told me (with a very grown-up voice), "Mommy, everyone else was eating _______, and I couldn't have it, and that really made me sad." But not once have you ever gotten angry or pitched a fit about it. You really do demonstrate a great deal of maturity for such a little girl.
- You LOVE pretty clothes! In fact, a couple of friends asked you what you might like for your birthday and your only response was "a dress or a set." I wasn't quite sure at first what a "set" was, but you explained that it's when the top and the pants go together - a coordinating outfit, if you will :)
- Speaking of clothes, your favorite Bible story is the one about putting off the old self and clothing yourself with the things of God. One of our story Bibles shows a man throwing down an old tattered cloak and putting on a beautifully colored brand-new coat. You always ask to read "Old coat, new coat!"
- You love to pray. You always want to pray before meals, and you've even started to remind me to pray for things throughout the day. I mentioned that one of my violin students would not be able to have her lesson one afternoon because she was sick and immediately you said, "Well, we should pray for her!" The other morning, during our Bible time, I told you to pick a couple of prayer requests out of our jar and you said that you wanted to pray for all of them (there are about 25). So one by one, you pulled each one out (they are written on popsicle sticks), handed it to me, listened to me read it to you, and then you prayed for it. All twenty-five.
- Now, just to keep it real, you do love to pray and read your Bible, but you certainly know how to get into mischief. I won't air all of your sins for the whole world to see, but lets just say that if things go too quiet for too long, we know we better start looking. Someday years from now when you're reading this, make sure to ask me about a certain incident involving the cupcakes for your birthday party last week!
- You are pretty sure you are big enough to do everything Anna Kate does. She is playing soccer this fall, and Daddy finally gave in and went out and got you your own soccer ball too! You have some pretty good dribbling and shooting skills! Your pitching and batting was pretty decent too back in the spring when AK was doing t-ball. And I'm just going to have to start getting more serious about violin with you too because every time Anna Kate and I have a lesson, you're right there wanting a turn.
- Although you do love to participate, you are also a great cheerleader. You love to go watch Anna Kate's soccer games and cheer (extremely loudly) for her and her team. You get really excited when we go to see our youth play volleyball or football too!
-You are a little bit timid when it comes to thunderstorms or fireworks or other loud noises, but you are quite the daredevil otherwise. You love to run and climb and jump all over the place!

Caroline, you are our joyous song of hope, our Bear, our Caresy Hope, our Line Line, our Liney Bear, and we are so thankful that God placed you in our family three years ago. You are constantly making us laugh with your little sense of humor, and you are the best snuggler ever! We just love you with all of our hearts. Happy 3rd birthday!

And how about a trip down birthday memory lane?!?

Caroline's BIRTHday!


1st Birthday


2nd Birthday

3rd Birthday!

  (Yes, she came up with that sassy little pose all by herself!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Caroline's Pumpkin Patch Party!

Caroline has been planning her pumpkin patch party for quite some time now! She's starting to understand the concept of the changing seasons, so I've been telling her that when the leaves start to change colors and it starts to get a bit cooler, it will be time for her birthday! She's been waiting with eager anticipation for October to arrive! We started out her birthday celebration with a trip to the pumpkin patch at McLeod Farms to pick the pumpkins we would need for her party.

First we rode the wagon out to the pumpkin patch.

Then we carefully selected pumpkins!

To have enough for all of the children who would be coming, plus enough for our own family to have out on the front porch, we had to buy 19 pumpkins. People thought we were crazy!

Then finally, on Saturday afternoon, it was time for the pumpkin patch painting palooza! I decided to try my hand at applique on a regular sewing machine. It wasn't as hard as I thought! Not sure how the zigzag stitch will hold up when I wash it, but at least it was cute for her party that day.

The birthday girl!

Are you really almost THREE???

Pumpkin painting was the main activity of the day!

Then it was time to eat some snacks - orange frosted pretzels, pumpkin cuties (clementines with a string bean stuck in the middle), apples with caramel (made with coconut milk!), and pumpkin spice cupcakes.

Happy Birthday, dear Caroline!

Everyone enjoying their goodies.

Sweet friends

And, I'm so glad I remembered at the last minute to get a whole family picture.

What a fun time we had celebrating three years of life with our precious Caroline!