Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Monday, February 20, 2017

Road Trip to Arkansas!

The day before Caroline's birthday in October, we left Camden around 7pm (after Caroline's last soccer game) and started driving west. We made it to Birmingham around midnight and stopped for the night. The next day (Caroline's birthday) we drove ALL day and finally made it to Fayetteville, Arkansas! We were greeted by Grandma, Grandpa, Stephen, Rachael, and the kids for a big princess birthday celebration (which I already posted about!). We were so excited to be able to spend an extended nine-day trip with my family in their new hometown.

Our visit included lots of reading and snuggling with Grandma and Grandpa.

We also went on lots of walks and bike rides in the beautiful fall weather!

Stephen and Rachael have a great neighborhood playground for picnics!

Aunt Rachael did a great job planning the menu and cooking meals for all 12 of us each night! She even taught Anna Kate a few things!

Stephen built a couple fires in the backyard for s'mores/

We got a few post-bath snuggle-in-jammies pictures of the cousins!

One morning we loaded everyone up and headed to a nearby pumpkin patch and enjoyed all the different activities.

And, of course, after a wonderful nine days, it was time to say goodbye. I had to get one last sweet picture of Anna Kate and Leah. These two really love each other.

And we love each other too!

Luke had to fly back earlier in the week because he couldn't take too much time off work, so Mom made the 14 hour car trip home with us. That was an adventure! Thanks, Mom, for all your help. I couldn't have done it without you!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Happy 7th Birthday, Anna Kate!

Dear Anna Kate,

Seven years old feels so grown up. We've been teasing you for a few weeks that we were going to let you have a birthday - eat the cake, open the presents, etc. - but that it was just going to have to be another sixth birthday! But here it is and you are officially seven. Well, at 5:08 this afternoon you will be, anyway. And while it's true that I would love to keep you little forever, we also have so much fun with every new stage of life that you enter. You are growing up into such a lovely young lady and we are so thankful for you.

~ The very first thing that comes to mind when we think about you is your love of reading. You have always loved reading from the time we read board books, to picture books, to beginning reading on your own, to full-fledged novels now. You read dozens of books each month and check out your limit of 15 at the library each week. And you often have to have me check some out on my card because that's simply not enough. You have enjoyed several really great books lately like The BFG, Swiss Family Robinson, The Lion in the Box, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and the later books in the Little House series. You just enter into your own little world when you are reading a good book and you will tune out everything around you.
~ You also love to watch the movies of the books that you read - but only AFTER you read the book! Some favorites this year have been Swiss Family Robinson, Mary Poppins, and Heidi.
~ You also are becoming quite a little writer. You would much rather come up with your own fanciful stories than journal about real life. You also had the idea this year to start writing your own monthly newspaper and sending it out to subscribers - like far-away family!
~ You love jokes and riddles and puns. You have a joke section in your newspaper and love finding and choosing the best ones. You have even come up with a few of your own!

~ You also love to read poetry. Your favorite poets are Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, and A.A. Milne (especially his collection Now We are Six). You love serious and beautiful poetry, but your favorite poem lately is "Sneezles" by A.A. Milne. It absolutely cracks you up! You've also started writing some pretty neat poetry lately. Like this one:

Baby Eagle
by Anna Kate Tolbert

The baby eagle jumps from the nest,
Beginning his first flight in the snow.
He flies and then sinks down, down
in the deep snow.

His mother sees him from the nest

And takes him back with her to rest.

~ You love to ride your bike. You and your sisters will ride around the backyard and the driveway for a little while almost every afternoon, but you have also started doing some long rides. The past few weeks, we've been doing a 5K route with you bicycling, Mommy running, and Daddy running while pushing the double jogging stroller with Caroline and Eleanor. And this 5K route is not has several BIG hills and you are doing so well!
~ You love to play outside with your sisters. You make stations around the backyard for various activities and then usually want to put on shows for Mommy and Daddy.
~ If you are not reading or playing outside, you can usually be found crafting. You absolutely love sewing, painting, sketching, dress designing, and doing duct tape crafts. You have made some pretty impressive wallets, purses, hair bows, and pencil pouches!
~ You are a wonderful help to Mommy around the house. Sometimes I probably place a lot on you as the oldest, but you really do help so well. You can now unload the dishwasher, sort/fold/put away laundry, tidy up the school table, pick up toys, and the list goes on. You really are a blessing to me.

~ You love to bake. You made brownies for my Grace Group ladies a couple weeks ago almost all by yourself. And they were wonderful! In fact, when I asked you what special dessert you wanted tonight for your birthday, you said you wanted brownies and you wanted to make them yourself. So that is what we're doing!
~ You love all things American Girl. You and your sister have two dolls that you share - Kirsten and Samantha - and you love dressing them in their historical outfits, or dressing in your matching outfits. You also love ALL of the books and have watched several of the movies. I love the history that you learn by reading each one.
~ Speaking of dolls, you love Kirsten and Samantha, but you still have a special place in your heart for your baby doll Heidi which you still sleep with every night. And it's precious.
~ I just keep thinking of things to say about you! Playing board games is also one of your favorite things in the world! Your favorites lately are Yahtzee, Take Off, and Checkers. You would gladly drop anything you're doing to play a board game if anyone offers!
~ You have lost teeth left and right this year. Your smile is absolutely precious and missing several teeth. You actually had to get a couple pulled right before Christmas because the permanent ones were already coming in. I am so glad we have so many good pictures of your seven-year-old smile because I have a feeling I am going to miss it one day!

~ You have developed some wonderful friendships this year. You are closest with Paisley, Aubrey, Livia, Peyton, Landon and AC, and Ava. At church, your favorite thing to do together is play Spy Club where you leave silly notes on peoples' desks or white boards and hope they don't figure out who did it! In fact, you love spy club so much that you chose to have a Nancy Drew mystery party this year for your birthday with all your spy club friends (blogpost to come soon!).
~ You are really improving with your violin playing this year! You are now working on Allegretto in Suzuki Book 1 and are playing with very clear tone quality and nice intonation. It's so fun to see you play the same songs I used to play!
~ You are definitely growing up, but you are definitely not outgrowing your love of snuggling with Mommy and Daddy. You are the first one out of your sisters to get up every morning and you always come straight to Mommy and Daddy's bed (on the weekends) or the couch (since we're up before you on the weekdays) and ask for snuggles. And we will never get tired of it!
~ The most significant way that you have grown and changed this year is that you have begun to really understand your need for a savior. You have asked Jesus to forgive your sins and save you and you are starting to ask more questions about following him. It is so special for us to be able to watch you learn and be able to lead you to the Lord.

Anna Kate, our prayer for you is that your tender heart is always inclined to Christ and that you seek Him all the days of your life. You are an absolute blessing to our family.

Love always,
Mommy, Daddy, Caroline and Eleanor

And here are your birthday pictures!

February 8, 2010
BIRTH day!

1st Birthday

2nd Birthday

3rd Birthday

4th Birthday

5th Birthday

6th Birthday

7th Birthday!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Soccer 2016

The Tolbert Girls had a wonderful Fall soccer season this past September and October. This was Anna Kate's third season and Caroline's first! She just missed the age cut-off last year, so she felt like she had been waiting her whole life for this moment. 

Luke took them out a few times for "conditioning" before the season began.

I love how the big girls are looking at Eleanor in this picture. We told them all to put their foot up on their balls and the big girls were a little exasperated when Ellie said she couldn't do it!

Caroline was thrilled when practices began!

First soccer game!

One of the best parts of this season for Caroline is that her team name (suggested by another player and voted on by the team) was the "Bears." So people were cheering "Go Bears!" all season long! She always thought they were cheering for her!


She loved playing goalie the best!

She even played one game in the pouring down rain. But she never complained!


Her fans got soaking wet, though!

She loved the goalie position, but did really well running after the ball. She even scored a couple times!

She was really excited one afternoon when Ms. Rachel from church came to watch her play!

And of course some end-of-the-season team pictures!
Go Blue Cross Bears!

And her first trophy!

Anna Kate was thrilled to be playing again this season with one of her best friends, Paisley! Here they are with all of their siblings who always came to cheer them on!

With Coach Daddy!

Playing hard

Having fun with Payten and Paisley

Nothing's getting past these two! Well...not much, anyway :)

Throwing it in picture time! Go Green Cheetahs!

Daddy gave out trophies!

Sweet girls!