Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Friday, January 30, 2015

Happy First Birthday, Eleanor Grace Tolbert!

Sweet Eleanor Grace,
Today you are ONE year old! Our hearts are filled with joy today as we celebrate one year of life with you. You have enriched our lives in so many ways. Even before you were born, God used your little life to teach us to trust Him, and we are so thankful that in his kindness, he gave us you.

- You took your first step the day before yesterday! You were standing up at the dollhouse, then let go with both hands and stood there for a few seconds. I could tell you were thinking about what to do next and you very carefully picked up your left foot and took one step. You didn't fall, but made a calculated decision to sit down. Better safe than sorry, I guess! It won't be long now though!

 - You now have four teeth! You've had the bottom two for a few months now, but your first top tooth (your left eye tooth) came in last week. Just yesterday, the opposite eye tooth came in. We're still waiting on the two in the middle!
- You love to play telephone. You like real phones, but just about any toy (or even your hand!) will do. You put it right up to your ear and say, "Hiiiii!"

- You absolutely love dancing and singing. Any time you hear music, you start bobbing up and down, or swaying side to side, and singing "Aaaahhhhh!"
- You say lots of words now. You have been saying mama, dada, nana, night night, hi, bye bye, and dog, but you have two new ones this month. The first is "go," which you say first thing every morning as you point at your bedroom door. You also say it whenever you want to leave the house! Your other new word, or really phrase, this month is "I love you." Seriously, though, every time we say, "I love you," you respond with "Ah wah vah" with the exact same inflection. It's precious.
- You also wave hi and bye bye now. You stick your arm straight out in front of you and wave, bending only your wrist.

- Sometimes when you say bye-bye, we can get you to blow kisses. Your favorite way to give kisses, though, is to give big open-mouth slobbery ones!

- Your favorite food is definitely avocados but, you will eat just about anything. You even got to try cake at your birthday party, and you LOVED it! I had to coax you to take the first bite, but after that, you dug right in.
- We have to be extremely vigilant to keep our baby gates closed because you are quite a fast stair climber now. You can actually get your self up and down the first three steps up to the landing pretty well, but I still don't let you do it by yourself.
- You love to GO places! Your favorite modes of transportation are still the sling or the Ergo, but you've also really started enjoying wagon rides!

- I hesitate to say this, because I know it's super early, but you actually go potty on the potty! You've started to keep your diaper dry for longer periods of time, so if I go to change you and you're dry, I just put you on the potty. And you go! This usually happens once a day. I'm hoping this will make for easier potty training some day soon.
- You are finally sleeping a little bit better and getting back into a routine after lots of traveling and a bit of sickness. You go to bed pretty easily in your crib and usually wake up to nurse a few times, but go right back to your own bed. You still like your swing for some of your naps, though.
- Your hair is coming in really long and full and blonde. It's very pretty if I do say so myself =)
- One activity that you have begun to really enjoy is our library storytime. You participate in just about everything that Mrs. Lauren asks everyone to do (wave, clap hands, stomp feet, dance, sing, etc.)
-  You also enjoy being read to, both at the library and at home, but you always want to have one book in your hands while we read another one to you. Otherwise you refuse to let us turn the pages or hold the book ourselves!
- Your nicknames still include old classics like The Nor, Bellanor, Ellie Belle, and Ellie Gracious, but also include Ellie Pie and Pie Pie here lately. Not sure where those came from, but alas, here they are!
- You really like going to the park. You have always loved the baby swings, but you have started to climb and go down the little slide over the past couple of weeks. You also like to just sit and play in the sand. You're pretty good about not putting anything in your mouth. If I see you start to, I just say, "Eleanor, give it to Mommy," and you immediately comply!
- Your favorite toys these days are your baby doll and anything that has buttons and makes music. You've figured out how to turn them on and love to change the songs yourself.
- Aside from actual toys, your favorite things to play with are the drawers in the kitchen. You love to open the ones you can reach and empty everything onto the floor. Over and over and over again. While I'm making dinner.
- You really are quite a friendly baby. You don't mind going to the nursery, and you even enjoy being passed around to lots of friends at church. Unless of course you're tired, or hungry, in which case only Mommy will suffice. Or possibly Daddy if Mommy is unavailable.
- You are pretty good about playing and entertaining yourself (unless you're sleepy), but you absolutely love it when your sisters get down and play on the floor with you. You pull right up on them and give them big bear hugs!

Eleanor, in your first year of life, you have brought so much joy and light and laughter to our family. It is true that having another baby just exponentially grows the amount of love that a heart can hold. We are all just smitten with you and your bubbling personality. Our prayer is that as you grow, you will come to know Jesus as the source of true joy and that you will share that joy with all those around you.

We love you, precious one.

Mommy and Daddy (and your sisters too!)

Here are your pictures...What a difference a year makes!

One month

Two months

Three months

Four months

Five months

Six months

Seven months

Eight months

Nine months

Ten months

Eleven months

ONE year old!

Anna Kate - one year

Caroline - one year

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Christmas in the Mountains

After a very busy December, we were very excited to go and spend a few days with Luke's family in NC. Eleanor had a brief bout with RSV which delayed our trip by a day, but she bounced back and we were still able to go. She did, however, sleep with us at the mountain house all week...

Our good friends from church, Mr. Ricky and Mrs. Darlene, gave Eleanor this adorable outfit. I just had to do a photo shoot.

"Mom, I'm pretty sure I look ridiculous..."

"I'm outta here!"

"Ok, fine, I'll pose!"

It was so fun being together with Luke's whole family. Here we are all dressed up for the Christmas Eve service in Hendersonville.

Opening our Christmas Eve gift...

New jammies!

Just a sweet Christmas Eve picture of Mommy and Caroline!

The girls waiting patiently with Mimi and Aunt Allison to come down and open gifts!

The first thing we do on Christmas morning is open up the baby Jesus...the greatest gift of all! Eleanor did a great job unwrapping the paper :)

Just a few more of Ellie's favorite activity on her first Christmas...playing with tissue paper and boxes!

Eleanor's gift from Mommy and Daddy this year was her very first baby doll. She LOVES her!

Side note: I took this picture of Ellie and her baby doll a few days after Christmas. It reminded me of a picture of me taken on my first Christmas morning! Since our birthdays are only two days apart, we were exactly the same age on our first Christmases.

Anna Kate and Caroline opening up special necklaces from Mimi and Papa

One of AK's favorite gifts this year was a little weaving loom that we gave her. She's had lots of fun making potholders, dollhouse rugs, baby doll pillows, etc. She even has plans to make a purse next!

Our big gift for the girls this year was new bedding for their big girl room!

And just because I feel like we never take pictures of just the two of us...

We had a wonderful Christmas! Mimi, Papa, Jonathan, and Allison, we can't wait to see you all again soon!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

December in Pictures

The month of December was quite full around here. But full in a good way. Not too busy, but filled with celebration of the birth of our Savior. Anyway, I apparently was too busy celebrating to do much blogging, but I wanted to document this sweet time with a few (ok, more than a few) pictures. So here we go.

Right after Thanksgiving, we had our youth over for our annual "Tacky Christmas sweater and Decorate the Tolberts' massive Christmas tree" party.

The finished product

I also helped to plan a Christmas Craft exchange party for our women's ministry. So fun!

This was my contribution to the craft exchange. They are reversible and say "Always be THANKFUL!" on the other side.

Luke helped me make those by cutting and sanding all the blocks. We also made a number of these trees for friends this year.

Oh, and I had to get one of the girls in these matching dresses! Quick story...the baby size Luke's mom bought for AK four years ago. The two older girls' dresses I found last fall at a consignment sale. Amazing!

Luke really tried to plan ahead this Christmas season to have quiet time with our little family. We had Wii game nights by the Christmas tree...and Caroline beat us all at bowling...

Family movie nights...

(I highly recommend "Why do we call it Christmas?" for kids and adults of all ages!)
And Christmas lights drives around town. We got the girls in their jammies one night and then surprised them by putting them in the car instead of in bed!

Both girls were able to perform in some special Christmas programs this year. 

Anna Kate in our MHBC children's choir
Caroline with her Two's class at Bethesda singing Jingle Bells and Twinkle Twinkle. This was her first time ever on stage anywhere and she did great!

And Anna Kate with the Four's class. She was an angel, and a beautiful one at that!
(She's not the little blonde girl in the front, but the next one back!)

She is the angel in the front row (next to the little camels!) in the next two pictures

One Saturday morning (while Daddy had a youth event), I took the girls to the Camden Christmas parade. They loved it!

That night we did take all the girls with us on the youth progressive dinner. One of our youth took this one when we stopped at our house for salads.

Just one Sunday all dressed up for church.

Caroline with her amazing bed-head!

One of the highlights of the Christmas season for the girls this year was our big basket of Christmas books. Our own Christmas library has become quite extensive already! We also enjoyed checking out a number of Christmas books from our public library. 

Just a few days before Christmas, we enjoyed a special (although short!) visit from Uncle Stephen, Aunt Rachael, Leah, Bekah, and Micah. They stopped through on their way to visit Rachael's family and were able to go to our candlelight service with us. Both Leah and Anna Kate held candles for the first time this year!

No one was really interested in posing for pictures, but at least I documented that they were all together!

And then we put all four in a room to sleep! This may not have lasted all night, but they sure were cute.

Whew! We sure had a wonderful December! And I haven't even gotten to Christmas yet! Mountain house Christmas coming up next...