Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

South Carolina Snow!

The girls have been asking all winter when it was going to snow. And so far, we've had nothing. But today, finally, we had just enough to satisfy them! It was just an inch or so, and only stayed for an hour, but we had fun!

Here are some pictures of our morning!

After some playtime, we came in for hot chocolate. Which I made with regular old dairy milk...and Caroline was fine! Hallelujah for outgrown allergies!!!!

Caroline Funnies

Caroline definitely keeps us laughing. Sometimes she's trying to be funny, sometimes she's not, but either way, she's hilarious. Here are a couple from the last few weeks.

She has recently become a board and card game lover like her big sister. One of their favorites to play together is Go Fish. I overheard them tallying up their books at the end of a game. 

AK: I have eight books.
Caroline: I have five books, so...tied.

Every morning, Caroline is supposed to bring a pair of underpants downstairs with her so that she can change out of her nighttime diaper. She occasionally forgets and has to go back up the stairs to get some...which she hates doing. Because she's not quite awake for the first thirty minutes of her day. The other morning she came down and we had the following conversation:

Me: Caroline, where are your underpants?
Caroline: I forgot some. Are there some in the dryer?
Me: No, the laundry is all put away.
Caroline: SEE-WEE-ously?!? (Seriously?)   

She has become quite the pray-er lately. Her new favorite word to use in her prayers is "Holy." This morning she prayed the following prayer quite fervently and dramatically.

"God, we just thank you for your Holy Spirit that you gave to us, and this Holy house that you made for us."

Not quite sure about her theology just yet, but it's pretty cute.

And one we were leaving church the other night, Luke helped me get the girls in the van before going to get in his car. Caroline always buckles her top buckle, but needs help with the bottom one. Luke forgot to do it and left to get in his car. I started up the car and Caroline called from the back seat with an absolutely incredulous voice, "Mommy! I'm not buckled! Daddy just shut the door and LEFT me!" 

Hair, Nails, and Cupcakes!

We had such a fun time planning a little birthday celebration for Anna Kate. She decided this year that she would just have a few of her closest little girl friends over to do hair and nails and then go out on the town to get cupcakes! Here was our invitation (the rule this time was to use only materials I already had from previous projects). She was thrilled!


The party room

Waiting for her friends to arrive

The first thing we did was do all the little girls' hair. I had a pinterest board full of ideas for them to choose from.

Manicure time!

Eleanor just goes with the flow during all the action!

Once we were all ready, we went to an adorable little cupcake shop not too far from our house. They were so accomodating of our big group, and even made special Caroline-safe cupcakes at no extra charge! The girls had a great time.

We were glad Luke's parents and brother were able to join us.

Family pictures.


The next day, Sunday, was her official birthday. We opened a few presents after church. Highlights were astronomy books from Mimi and Papa, rainboots from Grandma and Grandpa, and art supplies from Mommy and Daddy.

More cake! She requested blueberries on top.

Happy 5th birthday, Anna Kate!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday, Anna Kate!

Dear Anna Kate,

You are FIVE years old today! Half a decade. Your daddy told me earlier today as we were cleaning up from your birthday lunch, "You know, I like having a five-year-old." And he's right. We always feel a bit nostalgic as we watch our daughters grow up, but you are growing into such a special young lady and you bring us so much joy. Being your mommy and daddy has always been fun, but as you grow, it becomes more fun every day. There are so many things that I want to say about our special five-year-old, so I'll just jump right in.

- Anyone who knows you knows that you have an absolutely insatiable love for learning. Whether it's the science and travel sections at the library (those are your favorites!), our Childcraft Encyclopedias, or your children's pictorial dictionary, you are constantly wanting to learn new things. Your current fascination is all things outer space. You have even corrected Mommy on some interesting facts that I didn't know (e.g. Venus, as a result of it's insulating atmosphere, is actually hotter than Mercury even though it's farther from the sun)! 
- You have really taken off with the violin this year. After you turned four, we really started to become more disciplined with lessons and practicing and you're doing great! You know all your Twinkle Rhythms on open strings, you can play "I'm a Little Monkey," and you can play "Twinkle" with the "Goody Goody Stop Stop" rhythm.
- You are a great helper to your Mommy. You can keep an eye on your baby sister, sort laundry, fold towels, tidy up around the house, and you even help me cook!
- You love to create. Any time you have a spare moment, you can be found drawing and crafting at the dining room table. Your favorite subjects to draw are animals, so we gave you a How-To-Draw animals book and an artist's sketchbook for your birthday. We love watching your skills develop!
- When you're not reading or drawing, you love to do puzzles and play games. You love jigsaw puzzles, word search puzzles, brain teaser puzzles, all types of puzzles! You also love playing board and card games with Mommy and Daddy. I think that games are your love language. If we offer to play a game with you, your whole face lights up and you are just thrilled!
- You have such a special relationship with Caroline. Over the past few months, all on your own, you've started calling her "Carrie." You always use it as a term of endearment. You love playing babies and house, and any other form of pretend with Caroline. You are such an encourager to her as she grows and learns to do things that you can do. You are also very protective of her with her allergies. You know how to read all food labels to make sure something is safe for her and you make sure that people at church, for example, know what she can have.
- Your relationship with Eleanor is also extremely sweet. You love getting right down on the floor and playing with her. She pulls up on you and gives you big hugs and kisses that make you giggle. You are constantly sharing with anyone who will listen all the new things that she can do (wave, blow kisses, say words, etc.).

- You have a huge heart for your extended family as well. Not a day goes by that you don't talk about your grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Even though none of them live right here in Camden, you love to facetime and get so excited about each and every visit with each and every one.
- Just like your actual family, your church family is extremely important to you. You love going to church on Sundays and Wednesdays to learn about Jesus and to see everyone. You love your same-age friends, but you also have very special friendships with many adults and senior adults in our church family. I just started to name some, but the list got too long and I wasn't even close to finishing, so I'll just leave it at that!
- You are very consistent and dedicated with your own personal time in God's Word each morning. Every morning you come straight downstairs, get your Bible out of the "Good Morning Box" on the coffee table. You also grab a few prayer requests out of the jar and get right to reading and praying. Sometimes if I'm tempted to do something else before I read God's word, I just look at you and you remind me that God's word comes first.
- We have started some more formal homeschooling this year. It's still just preschool, but we have had a great time starting Five In a Row (a literature-based curriculum) and Math-U-See Alpha. You are doing great with your addition and will be starting some subtraction soon!
- You played your first organized sports this year - T-ball and soccer - and had such a great time! You really improved so much at both sports over the course of each season. You love to go out to the fields with Daddy and practice your swinging, or your throwing, or your kicking. It has been such a fun thing for you to do together.
- Finally, Anna Kate, you have such a tender heart. You have a huge capacity to feel joy, as well as sorrow, for those that you love, and even those that you have never met. Your heart will just break when you hear or read about something sad, and you just absolutely light up at the simple joys in life. I know that God is going to use that empathetic spirit to bring his love to others.

Anna Kate, you are one of the greatest gifts that God has ever given to us. Life with you is always fun and exciting and joyful! You have taught us so much about life in the five years since you were born on that cold February day in Raleigh, North Carolina. We love you, sweet girl.

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, February 6, 2015

Eleanor's Winter "ONE"derland!

We had a fantastic time celebrating Ellie's first birthday. We decided that we would go ahead and do a little party for her a couple of weeks early. My parents were in town, it was a weekend that worked for Luke's parents, and it would give us a little time before Anna Kate's birthday! Since she was born in a big snow and ice storm, we thought it would be fun to do a winter "ONE"derland party. It also helped that my sister-in-law, Rachael gave us a bunch of decorations from Rebekah's party last January :)

We just invited grandparents this year, as well as one other family who is very special to Eleanor. Courtney is a student in our youth group and keeps Eleanor each Monday morning for me while I teach Spanish at the preschool. She and her family love Ellie, so we were glad they were able to come celebrate her first year of life with us. Courtney also offered to take pictures, so I can't take any credit for these photos!

You're invited...


Opening gifts!

ONE dollar from Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Burgin

Picture books from Grandma and Grandpa

Musical farm toy from Mimi and Papa

Board book from Aunt Allison

Cake time!

"I just do it like this?"

Mommy helped her break off her first bite

 "Oh, now I've got it!"

The aftermath...

Everyone loves Eleanor!

And of course, she had to do her phone trick. Hello?!?

And last, but not least, our friends Nora and Ava brought Ellie a birthday balloon on her actual birthday last week. I tried to get pictures of her playing with it, but she was having too much fun to be still. I got one cute one!