Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy 2 months, Eleanor!

Our sweet Eleanor Grace, you are TWO months old today! You are growing and changing and bringing so much joy to our little family. I know it's a little cliche, but how we would love to just freeze time (or at least slow it down a little!) so that you could stay our newborn baby just a little while longer. In fact, we drove past Lexington Medical Center last night and your daddy and I almost teared up as we remembered that beautiful snowy night as we awaited your arrival. And then, just as the sun came up, you finally were in our arms.

~ You are an extremely easygoing baby. We take you everywhere with us and you rarely fuss about anything. Both of your older sisters were using a paci by this point, but not you! As long as I feed you pretty regularly (about every 2 hours during the day), you are just as content as can be!
~ You are starting to develop a bit of a daytime routine which has been nice. You are usually up around 8am and then you like to take a nap around 10. This nap is sometimes in your bed all swaddled, but often it is in my sling as we are on the go to church, or the park, or the library. You take a really great afternoon nap around the time your sisters do in the afternoon. Then you doze off and on through the evening until we put you down for good when we go to bed around 10pm.
~ And as for your nighttime sleeping, it's fantastic! You always do a 5-6 hour stretch starting at 10pm when we swaddle you and put you in your bassinet, and then you just nurse for a little while around 4am. Then you're back to sleep (often snuggled with Mommy!). I feel like a new person with all the sleep I'm getting after not sleeping very well the last few months of pregnancy. This is WAY easier!
~ When you are awake, you are starting to become very alert and interested in the world around you. You started making eye contact and smiling at us in the last week or two and it just warms our hearts. You have also make the sweetest little cooing sounds as you try to talk to us!
~ You have begun to enjoy laying on your playmat during the day. You watch the little toys swing and you also try to bat at them a little bit!
~ You are very strong and can hold your head up very well. You are trying hard to roll over and actually did it a couple times yesterday from your tummy to your back!

~ As every baby in this family, you have already acquired a few nicknames. Ellie, of course, and then Ellie Gracious (or just Gracious!), Eleanor the Bellanor (we call Caroline "Caroline the Bearoline"), Leelee (short for Ellie?) and Daddy's favorite, "The Nor".
~ You took your first road trip this weekend up to the mountain house and you did fantastic! It's a 2 hour and 45 minute drive and you didn't make a peep the whole way there. We didn't even have to stop once!
~ We have your 2 month checkup scheduled for Thursday, so I don't know your exact weight yet, but I think you're close to 12 pounds! You nurse like a champ and are growing every day.

We love you, baby Ellie, and are so glad that God chose us to be your Mommy and Daddy. You are the greatest!

Mommy and Daddy.

And of course, some comparison pics!
Anna Kate - two months old
 Caroline - two months old

Eleanor - two months old

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tolbert Family Preschool

Tolbert Family Preschool
A boarding school for girls, age 4 and under =)

But seriously, that's kind of what we have going on here...

Art class

Combined Music/Drama class
(because why wouldn't you wear a princess dress while you practice violin?)


Differentiated learning centers

Anna Kate working on shades of color variations and fine motor skills

Caroline working on shapes and colors and fine motor skills

Eleanor working on gross motor skills (rolling over) and fine motor skills (grabbing toys)

And Caroline thought she needed some review of previously mastered material.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sleeping Beauties

What could be sweeter than a sleeping baby? 

THREE sleeping babies!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Who's Who?

The last time I did a post like this, there were only two babies to compare. Now there are three! So...who's who?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Catechism - Caroline style!

I've mentioned on the blog before that we have been teaching our girls the Westminster catechism for children since Anna Kate was very little. Anna Kate is continuing to learn more and more and is now working on learning the questions/answers about the Ten Commandments. Caroline has just recently exploded with her ability to learn the catechism as well, so I thought I would share a little video.

Now, lest you think she always does that well, I also thought I would share some of Caroline's catechism bloopers over the past few weeks. Honestly, we're not sure how many of these are genuine honest mistakes, and how many of them are her little sense of humor shining through - she truly is quite the comedian. She kind of reminds us of my sister Sarah during family devotions in that regard. In any case, here are some good examples:

Question: Why did God create you and all things?
Answer: For His glory.
Caroline's answer: "For His GLORIA!" (her favorite Christmas carol this year was "Angels We Have Heard on High")

Question: In how many persons does this one true God exist?
Correct answer: Three persons.
Caroline's answer: "Only like five or six persons."

Question: Who are they?
Correct answer: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Caroline's answer: "God the Father, God the mother...?" 

Question: Can you see God?
Correct answer: No, I cannot see God, but He can see me.
Caroline's answer #1: "No, I cannot see God, but Mommy can see God!" 
Caroline's answer #2: "No, I cannot see God, but He can see Mommy!"

Now, for those of you who are concerned, we have since corrected all of her heretical answers as listed above and she now answers them correctly!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Newborn pictures and updated family portraits!

The day after we arrived home from the hospital with Eleanor, we received a card in the mail from our friend Renee from church. In the card, she explained that as a baby gift to us, she wanted to do newborn pictures! We were thrilled! Renee took our pictures for us about a year and a half ago, and we absolutely treasure those photos, so we were so excited for her to capture this special time as well. Honestly, I am just going to let the pictures speak for themselves. Most of my blog-readers are probably family/friends who have already seen these on facebook, but I just had to post them here as well!

Thank you, Renee, for such a wonderful and special gift!

And one more note: I am truly amazed at the sweet pictures that she captured of all three girls. Neither one of them was being extremely cooperative and I almost wanted to just give up and send them out of the room and just take pictures of the easy one (Eleanor), but Renee kept going and I have no idea how on earth she got those precious pictures, but she did it!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Eleanor Grace is one month old!

Happy one-month birthday, Little Eleanor! Actually, this is the only month where you don't technically have a one-month birthday (since February doesn't have 30 days), so March 1st will have to count! In any case, you have been a part of our family for a whole month and we could not be more grateful for the joy that you have brought. You might think that since you are our third child (and our third girl at that), that we already know what we need to know about this parenting thing, but in reality, you have taught us so much. Here's what we have learned by being your mommy and daddy in just one short month:

~ Babies don't really need as much as we think they do. I'm afraid you don't yet have a perfectly decorated nursery (although you will have a pretty room once our renovations are completed). Right now, you have a pack and play bassinet right next to our bed, a couple little under-the-bed bins of clothes, and your sisters' hand-me-down cloth diapers. And that's it. And you are perfectly content!
~ Babies are meant to be held. We use your swing occasionally, when we really need it (like when I'm teaching violin), and we've used your stroller exactly twice, but by and large, you are always being held. Either in Daddy's arms, or Mommy's sling, or on the couch with your sisters arguing over who gets to hold you! 
~ Tummy time is best done on Mommy or Daddy's chest (see above). We haven't been very good about using your playmat yet, but you would rather be held anyway. And you're doing just fine developing very strong upper body and head control that way!
~  The newborn days go faster and faster with each baby. With your older sisters, I certainly enjoyed the newborn days, but I was also excited to get to the next new stage. With you, I know that they will come soon enough and I should just slow down and enjoy life with you. So that's what I'm doing.
~ Adding just one more baby exponentially increases the love in a family. We truly are all just smitten with you. Daddy is currently enjoying a Saturday afternoon nap with you snuggled in his arms. Anna Kate loves to be your second little mommy, helping with all of your many needs. Caroline is constantly asking to hold "Baby Ellie Grace" and "kiss her". And me? My favorite time with you is honestly the middle of the night. I know I may want you to "sleep through the night" one of these days, but right now I love waking up to your little sounds asking to be fed. Lately you've been giving us a nice 4 hour stretch in your own bassinet when we go to bed, but then I feed you and sometimes forget to put you back for a while. You're just so snuggly!
~ Having a third baby girl also exponentially increases the cuteness when you all wear matching outfits. It's almost too much for me to handle. I've never had so much fun in my life!

~ Babies are truly miraculous gifts from God. This is true of all babies, but we may have taken it for granted until we had you.

Precious Eleanor Grace, you are God's gracious blessing to us and we love you. We know that God has great plans for your life and we pray that as you grow in stature, you will also grow to know and serve him with your whole heart...but please stop growing so quickly!

Mommy and Daddy

And how about some one-month comparison pictures. Who do you look like?

Anna Kate - one month old

 Caroline - one month old

Eleanor - one month old