Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Happiest Day of My Life


I can't believe it's been three years! On New Year's Eve of 2005, I had the honor and priviledge of becoming the wife of Nate Tolle. All of my single days I anxiously anticipated meeting "the one" for me. I prayed every night that God would bring him to me soon. And then I met this cool new guy at church named Nate. I knew from the moment we had our first coversation that this was the guy that I wanted for me. And I prayed he was the one that God wanted for me too. We pretty much met and married in nine months, which seemed fast to many, but we were convinced that "when you know, you know, so why wait?"


I always dreamed that marriage would be great, but friends, I never knew it could be THIS great. Yes, marriage takes work and can be hard, but the rewards of having a life mate who loves you in spite of all your sinfulness and ugliness, the beauty of two people becoming one unit, the safety of knowing we can count on each other for anything, and the joy of living life together with a common purpose and mission is truly a beautiful and miraculous thing.


Nate and I have gone through a lot in three years of marriage. Sick family members, a teenage foster child, numerous deployments, a miscarriage, and a move just barely scratch the surface of trials we've faced. But every single one has brought us closer together. We've shared numerous joys together as well. Three children in three and a half years to name the biggest ones.


I could write and write and write on this topic as it is one close to my heart and I feel very passionately about, but here is my main point. Life together with Nate really is a wonderful life. He's my best friend, my rock, my confidante, and true soul mate.


Happy third anniversary Nate! I love you!!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Sonogram

On the ceiling of the ultrasound room there were:
52 heavily textured, large tiles on the ceiling,
8 florecent lights (not turned on)
3 dim round lights (turned on)
2 fire sprinkliers,
1 smoke detector, and
1 heating vent

And why would I know this in great detail??? Because apparently in Altus, your spouse can not come in the sonogram room and you are not allowed to see the sonogram screen until the exam is over (about 45 minutes later). So.... I waited and waited and waited as the sono tech did the exam with a stoic face...neither confirming or denying my fears that my baby has three arms, two heads, etc. I obviously had nothing better to do than count the ceiling tiles.

Finally, after 45 minutes, they went and got Nate, and took five minutes to show us the baby's head, arms, and penis.

Yep, you read that correctly. We are having a (third!) BOY!!!! I was RIGHT!!! The good thing is we don't need to buy a thing. We have everything (and then some) for a little boy. I am tired at the thought of three little boys running around here but excited that they will all be close in age and the best of friends (Lord willing!)

We praise God for this little life. He seems to have all the appropriate number of body parts and is becoming very active, just like his brothers.

Thanks for your vote! I know several of you were rooting for a girl. Maybe someday. :)

And a tip to the many Altus mommies going in for their sonogram soon: Bring a book!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Morning Part 2

Nate helping Corban fly the kite he got in his stocking.

Caleb Asher


The sweetest boys ever.



Corban's train table. He still is playing with it 24/7.





Fun with the stocking stuffers.


Um, sorry Caleb, those M & M's are for daddy.






Babies first Christmas.







Corban drinking his hot cranberry drink.






Christmas Morning Part 1

Well, hooray for me, I finally jumped into the 21st century and figured out how to post videos on here. Now you get to see even more of what really goes on in the Tolle house. And you'll probably get sick of our videos from here on out. Here are a couple of videos from Christmas morning.

This first one is after we opened the stockings and Corban got a train in his. The boys were entertained for an hour with their stocking stuffers and so we decided to eat breakfast before diving into the presents.
video


This second video is of Corban after he discovered what was supposed to be the "Grand Finale Gift". Unfortunatley, he found it right after breakfast. Getting him to open any other presents was a huge, all morning chore.
video


We had a great Christmas. Every second of the day was memorable and enjoyable. Why can't I put on that great of an attitude year round?

Hope you all had a great day as well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Christmas Letter


Dear Family and Friends,

C is for Caleb Asher, who joined the Tolle family on February 4th of this year. He is such a happy baby and brings much joy to our family.

H is for Home for the Holidays- It’s been so nice to have Nate home for the holidays this year, as he missed them all last year while deployed. We are looking forward to starting some family traditions with the boys that will hopefully be carried on for years to come. We also celebrate our third anniversary this month. It seems like yesterday and forever ago all at once…

R is for Relocation- We were so excited to find out where Uncle Sam was going to assign us after Wichita. Would it be Japan?…Alaska?…Florida?…maybe even England? What’s that Uncle Sam???… Altus, Oklahoma??? We were very surprised to move just four and a half hours southwest of Wichita, KS to a small, secluded town in Oklahoma. We are an hour and a half away from the nearest Target and an hour away from a Home Depot, Lowes, Hobby Lobby, and pretty much any other store besides Wal-Mart, which is by my definition, the “boondocks.” It was definitely not on the “Wish List” but, like all things, was ordained for us for this season of life. We are adjusting and even learning to enjoy life here.

I is for Incredibly Blessed- We have been overwhelmed with our multitude of blessings this past year. We have everything we need and most of our wants. God continues to bless us with a great marriage, healthy boys, loving family, fun friends, and a host of other blessings.

S is for Storm- Two days after closing on our house here in Altus, our town was hit by a tornado and our house had some major damage. Major as in $25,000 worth of damage. Not exactly the Oklahoma welcome we had been hoping for. On the bright side, our house now has all new carpet, paint, a new roof, a new air conditioner, a new wooden fence, and some other repairs that put some equity into the house. Although we literally have a bomb shelter/storm shelter in our back yard, we are hoping for a much calmer storm season come spring.

T is for Two! Corban turned two years old in September. He is definitely all boy and has fully entered the “Transportation Obsession Stage”. Planes, trains, and automobiles fill up his hours in some way or another. He is such a sweet spirited boy who is very curious about everything and is scared of absolutely nothing.

M is for Making Altus Home- We have settled in pretty well into our new digs. We found a church about an hour away that we are members at. We are involved in a weekly playgroup on base that I help coordinate. Corban goes to Mother’s Day Out at a local church a couple days a week where he has a blast and I get our house clean. We are making some great friends and are just enjoying being together as a family. Life is much simpler here which in most cases, is a good thing.

A is for Adventures in Traveling. We spent six weeks in Alabama in April and May while Nate went through training. While he worked his tail off, the rest of us got to have a blast exploring Montgomery and all it had to offer, make new friends, and play, play, play. We also got to go home to Wichita several times since being here and even got to make our annual trek out to Ft. Lauderdale last month to see Nate’s family. I have to say that our children are great travelers and I love our little mini-van, which makes travel with little ones a breeze.

S is for SURPISE! Not too long ago, we found out we were expecting Baby Tolle Numero Tres. S/he will join our family around the first part of May ’09. After this baby, we don’t know what the Lord has for us, but we have a passion to adopt. We’ll see in time what the Lord does!

May the Lord richly bless you and keep you this Christmas season. He is so faithful.

Much love and Merry Christmas,
Nate, Audrey, Corban, and Caleb

Monday, December 22, 2008

Baby's Gender Poll

I've added a poll to the sidebar where you can guess the baby's gender. So take a guess!!

Halfway There

Well, I hit the 20 week milestone this week signifying that I'm halfway through this pregnancy. Actually, since I will have a scheduled C-Section this time a couple of weeks early, that puts me well past the halfway point.

I'm starting to feel the baby move a little. Caleb and Corban were both very active by 20 weeks, so of course I think something is wrong when I barely feel anything by this point in this pregnancy. Nothing appears to be wrong, I just don't have the peaceful, easy feeling I had with the other two.

We still don't know what we are having. I could write several blog posts on the OB/GYN care in a small town, but I will try to keep my bitterness to myself and highlight a few minor points. First thing about it is that there is one, yes one, place that sees pregnant women in this town. There are three women doctors who alternate seeing patients and whichever one of them is on call is the one who delivers your baby, or sees you at your appointment, or whatever. So there is no consistent care.

Second, they disagree among themselves. I went to the ER yesterday because I was so sore I could hardly walk. The doctor on call at the time said it was an infection and sent me home with an antibiotic. At my follow up appointment this morning with a different doctor, she told me "they send everyone home with an antibiotic. Stop taking it." So I ask, "Is there another reason that I am so sore then?" and she answers very sarcastically, "Well, you have been pregnant three times in a very short period of time, what do you expect?"

Does anyone else see how this can be frustrating? I mean I go to the doctor for care, not lectures, and I expect some sign that whatever doctor that is assigned to me for that particular moment has some sort of experience and expertise in the area. Not conflicting opinions by colleagues. None of the three doctors are known for a good, or even moderate bedside manner. In fact, from my experiences, they've been quite rude.

But, there is no one else to go to, so what's a girl to do? Nate and I are seriously praying about switching over to the care in Lawton. The only downside is that it's an hour away for appointments and when it comes time to deliver, it just makes it that much harder to be an hour away from home and the boys.

On the upside, next Tuesday, the 30th, we finally find out what we are having. I'm still leaning towards a boy, but I've been wrong before. In fact, I was wrong both times. I thought both of these active boys were girls. Third times the charm. Either to be right, or to have a girl. Either way, I win.

I'm starting to freak out at the fact that in four months I will have three under three! There is so much that needs to happen before then. Nate and I have all sorts of plans and resolutions starting at the New Year to get this household ready for a baby in an orderly and peaceful fashion. I'll keep you posted as to how this actually turns out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Chain Letter

Here is this years edition of the Christmas Chain Letter.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Any other time of the year it is gift bags, but for Christmas, only wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or Artificial? I grew up with an artificial tree but have been brain-washed by my husband that a Real tree is the only way to go.

3. When do you put up the tree? The day after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Typically, New Years Day, unless I'm just ready to "be done".

5. Do you like eggnog? On rare occasions. I'd never buy it, but if it's served at a party or something, I'll usually try it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A plastic microphone. (Out of all the expensive gifts my parents sacrificed to get me, my favorite was the cheap dollar store plastic microphone. Hot pink as I recall...)

7. Hardest person to buy for? Nate- he never thinks he needs anything. And really he doesn't.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Corban-anything will make him happy.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, a Willow Tree one that I am still collecting peices for.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Ideally, snail mail. But at this rate, this year might have to be email cards.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Acne Face Wash (if you don't know who gave this to me, than I'll spare him the embarrassment. ;))

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Black Friday at 4:00 a.m.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Um...yeah.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Fudge, Toffee, Peanut butter balls.

16. Lights on the tree? Of course, this year they are white twinkly ones.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Little Drummer Boy, Do you Hear What I Hear, O Come O Come Emmanuel.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home as a family.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yeah.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? This year a really gaudy glittery star. However, I was born on Christmas Day and was sent home from the hospital with a red knit santa hat as a baby and my family has been known to stick that on top of the tree in years we were in a bind.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open one present Christmas Eve and the rest early early early Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Greedy people, Commercialism, Lawsuits over Nativity Scenes (Come on people...seriously???)

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? No theme per say, just a delicate balance of making our tree "personal' without being total white trashy, and elegant enough without being cold. Most of our decorations are leftover from our wedding though (we were married New year's Eve.)

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Pizza or Mexican. I've never had either of these for Christmas dinner, but they are my favorite. I have on many occasions had Chinese food on Christmas because there is a place in my hometown that gives free birthday dinners on your birthday, and they were actually open on Christmas.
25. What do you put in stockings? Toiletries, candy, items from the Dollar Tree, and a few fun items.

26. What do you want for Christmas this year? My boys to have a blast and to make some fun family memories. And for Nate to get me a little something that I didn't buy for myself and then say "it's from you."
Now it's your turn to answer these questions on your blog!!


And just for fun, here is a picture of our Christmas Tree this year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Arctic Blast

As I mentioned in the previous post, we have "An Arctic Blast" headed our way. Last week when we had an "Arctic Blast" headed our way, it turned out to be just cold and rainy, but I'm hoping for a little more action this week. On the news, the meteorologist said to go ahead and get some milk and bread in advance, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

However, one thing about our house here, is that we loose power A LOT. One week, we lost power six times. And probably at least once a week, we loose power for just a couple seconds or so. It's just so annoying to half to reset all the clocks every single week.
And we definitley loose power everytime the wind gets above 25 miles an hour here, which again is like every week. They didn't write the song "OOOOOOOOOOOOOk-lahoma where the wind comes sweeping through the plains" for nothing!

All that to say, that I'm sure if you add ice, sleet, or snow to the wind and the cold, it would be a miracle to not loose power. So, Nate and I decided we definitely need to have a backup heat source for the babies should this happen.
First we had to buy a new wood holder because someone stole ours right out of our yard (Come on people, it wasn't by the dumpster or the curb, so it's not FREE). Corban loved helping his daddy put it together.
Then Nate and I had to move the wood from the back of his truck to the wood holder. (It really weighed his truck down!) This pregnant mama was sore after moving this wood!
This should hopefully get us through the winter.

Next we initiated our house with a nice toasty fire.



And all of my boys had to be near it to get it started.



Have a toasty winter!!

Christmas in Oklahoma

We've been keeping pretty busy lately with all that Altus has to offer. Any other time, I would use the phrase "all that Altus has to offer" pretty tongue in cheek, but apparently, Altus likes Christmas time, because we've been busy having lots of family fun.

First it was Nate's work Christmas Party. My dad and Coletta came to town to watch the boys so Nate and I could go. We reserved them back in late September for the weekend because apparently, the three baby-sitters in town book way in advance.

Five minutes before Nate and I are heading out the door, Nate tells me I need to pack an overnight bag because he booked a room for us at the "resort" where the party was being held. (I use quotes, because I question a place that has Cowboy/Southwestern themed decor as being a resort. But that's just me.) As sweet as this thought was, a mama needs more than five minutes notice that she is going to be away from her precious baby for the first time for a WHOLE NIGHT (at least this mama does!). Luckily, Nate got me out the door with bag in hand, and Dad and Coletta seemed more than capable of taking care of our little buddies.



This was the view from our room. Not exactly Colorado Springs, but not the flatlands of Kansas either. We had a good time. Santa even visited the Christmas party and had a special present for Nate. Santa told Nate that he is having to cut back on making toys due to the economical situation of the world and at this rate Nate and I are "making babies faster than he and his elves can make toys" and so Santa gave Nate a pack of Neon condoms for Christmas. Thanks, Santa.

Then we had the Altus Christmas Parade which the boys thought was a blast.



Next, Altus has this event called "Christmas In the Park" where the city park is literally all lit up with Christmas lights. Imagine the Griswald's house in "Christmas Vacation" and then apply that to the entire park and you'll get the picture. The park has a free train ride, which has occupied our evenings many times this past month.









Then there was the children's Christmas party at Nate's work. Corban got to talk to Santa and tell him "I love trains." Corban tells us all the time..."I love you, mommy. I love you daddy. I love trains." Overall, Corban is pretty much unimpressed with the Santa concept, which is more than ok with us.

Corban got to decorate his own cookie and get his face painted. Does life get better?


And finally, Altus does this event called "Candy Cane Cash" where you earn tickets by shopping at local merchants over a months time and then there is a drawing for $10,000 cash plus $2,500 in other prizes in the city square. Today was the drawing. When we got out of the van, it was 79 degrees. Within a half hour, the cold front ("Arctic Blast" as the news calls it...) came through and it literally dropped 35 degrees in a half hours time. We got too cold to wait in the city square and so we waited in the van and listened by radio.


Unfortunately, I was not a winner.

So, that's what's been keeping us busy lately. It's been a fun month for some family memories.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Baggage

It wasn't until this weekend that I realized... Nate and I sure come with a lot of baggage!!



Christmas Special

In case you missed out on all the Black Friday deals and even the Cyber Monday deals...have I got a deal for you.....




Two for one, with free shipping!


And some free kisses to go with 'em.


Our Thanksgiving Weekend

Our family was really bummed not to be able to go home to Kansas for Thanksgiving, but many reasons prevented us from doing so. But being a "Black Friday" shopaholic, I couldn't bear spending Black Friday in a town where my only shopping option was Wal-Mart.

So Nate and I decided to order our Thanksgiving Meal from the Club on base. Though it wasn't our most elaborate Thanksgiving ever, it was special to spend it together as a family. We had an impromptu Thanksgiving feast the night before with our dear friends, the Thomas family, which was so special to us, and counted that as our "real" Thanksgiving meal. But our club meal was our back up meal which served it's purpose.
Then, we loaded up the van, and headed south about 75 minutes to Wichita Falls, TX. We stayed in a great hotel at a reasonable price (gotta love military discounts!!) and had a great weekend. Our hotel had a pool which kept the boys happy. We went to Chuck E. Cheese to use up some tokens that have been sitting in our van for over six months now.
And no trip is complete without a random tent in a parking lot with free viewing of caged animals. The poor animals acted starved and practically attacked me as I tried to feed them the goat food. And though I'm not a PETA spokesperson, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the tiger in the 6' by 4' cage.
And of course, I got to go shopping!! Like hardcore, in the store by 4:30 a.m. kind of shopping. I can honostly say that every year Black Friday is crazy, but this was THE CRAZIEST Black Friday I've EVER experienced. I don't know if the deals were that great, or if it was the economy that got people out trying to catch a deal, but it was nuts! Luckily no one got shot or trampled like in other parts of the country, but I heard many people say that they "will never do this again" and I hope they are right, for my shopping sake.

Luckily, Wal-Mart matches local competitors prices, so that was my first stop (Don't cry Dad!). Then I hit a great Christian bookstore/Homeschool store with lots of good deals. Toys R Us, Target, Hobby Lobby, you name it, I was there. I got some great deals and am over 90% done with our Christmas shopping. I'd take a picture of our loot, but I have a feeling, some of the recipients of these gifts may be reading this. ;)

And if you think my husband was just being generous watching the boys in the hotel room while I shopped our savings away, let me clear that up. The deal was, I got to shop, and he'd watch the boys. And in the evenings, he'd go see a movie in an actual movie theatre and I'd watch the boys. And the afternoons we spent together as a family.

On Saturday, we headed back to the Boonies and went to a Christmas Tree Farm to pick out our Christmas Tree. We even got to chop it down ourselves! (by "we" of course I mean "Nate".)

So that was our weekend in a nutshell. Never a dull moment in the Tolle house.