Sunday, December 30, 2007

24 hours of Umstead bliss!

My wonderful husband treated me to 24 hours of rest, relaxation, and the royal treatment at the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary for my 30th birthday on 12/29. It all began with an afternoon at the spa followed by chocolate covered strawberries and a warm bubble bath in our amazing room with the lake view. Clint had a beautiful flower arrangement designed and sent to our room and he spoiled me with dinner that night in the hotel's awesome restaurant. I have never seen food look so pretty! Every staff member at the hotel knew who we were and wished me a happy birthday. I have never felt so special...everyone treated me like royalty. In the morning, we ordered breakfast in bed and it was rolled in on a beautiful table set for a princess. I certainly felt like a princess that day. My 30th birthday was perfect and has now become known as the 24 hours of Umstead bliss! Thank you honey...I feel so blessed to have you as my husband!

Sweet, bouncing baby

On Friday, December 28th, we had an ultrasound and we were able to see our sweet baby for the first time. He or she looks very much like a tiny human already. We saw the quickly flickering heartbeat and the head and body were very well defined. We even saw tiny fingers! I am always amazed by the miracle of a baby's development in the womb. Our baby is only about the size of a grape, yet has all of the major organs, muscles, and body parts in place already! I measured a little further along than we originally calculated so we are expecting the baby in late July (although we know that the baby will come whenever he or she is ready!) During the ultrasound, the baby bounced off the side of my amniotic sac and was having a good, old time. It was so funny! I guess his or her little legs are working. I wish I could post the picture, but I can't find the cord I need to scan it into my computer yet. Maybe I can post it soon.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Gift of Christmas

One of my greatest joys as a mom this time of year is watching my daughter open up her Christmas gifts. She is usually quite focused and serious as she carefully unwraps the packages, but once she sees what is inside, she lights up with excitement and amazement and nothing tops that expression on her face. I'm usually too busy watching her to catch any great photos, but here are a few from the last three years...

Sophie's first Christmas

Sophie's second Christmas

"Oh my goodness...this is so exciting!!"

Sophie's third Christmas

I'm sure this year will be filled with many shrieks of excitement as well as Sophie discovers what is in all of her gifts under the tree. I look forward to the gift giving and receiving every year, however, the greatest gift that we have already received is the gift of Jesus Christ. He is the reason we celebrate this time of year because He was born on Christmas day and He lived on this earth to die on a cross for our sins so that we can be saved from death. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not die, but have eternal life!"

The real Christmas story can be found in the Bible in the book of Luke. In Chapter 1, we read that God sent an angel to a virgin named Mary. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High." Mary answered, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. Later in Chapter 2, we learn that an angel of the Lord appeared to some shepherds who were in a field keeping watch over their flock by night. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord!" This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

If you are reading this blog, you are someone that I love and care about and if you don't already know Jesus, I want you to know Him, experience His grace and goodness on this earth, and be rescued from death through the gift of salvation. This is the most important gift that we can choose whether or not to "open" and accept. We have been given the gift of eternal life through our Savior Jesus Christ and all we have to do is believe in Him, accept this free gift, and choose to walk with Him trusting that His ways and His plan for our lives is far better than what we could ever imagine. If you long for a peaceful, silent night and hope for an eternity filled with unconditional love and joy...Jesus is the only One who can give it to you! Our Father longs for us to accept this gift and have a personal relationship with Him (much like any parent would want a realtionship with their precious children). I long for the day when Sophie discovers this gift and understands this truth and accepts Jesus as her Savior. I deeply desire to be with her in heaven in the presence of our Lord so I can watch her face light up with joy for all of eternity. I hope to see you there too!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

"I'm dreaming...of a White Christmas"

Last year, Christmas just wasn't the same for me without the snow. Freshly fallen, pure white snow brings back warm, comforting memories even though the snow itself is actually quite cold! I grew up in Michigan and a white Christmas was something we could count on every year. So this year, we are heading up north to have ourselves a white Christmas! We will not be going to Michigan, however, my grandpa, aunts and uncles, and my cousins all live in Ohio which is close enough to have the same weather! Sophie can not wait to make a snow angel and a snowman...neither can I! I will be sure to post photos of our wintery weather fun when we return after the holiday.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
How's your day? I hope you have a great time giving people presents. I hope the people like what you got them. I hope little girls give you hugs and take pictures with you. Do you have a pet? We could get you a doggie. Would you like to come to our birthday party for baby Jesus? My mommy's making a cake, but babies can't have too much sweet stuff...just a little, teeny bite. Do you have a wife? [Sophie giggles and says, "I think he has a wife"] How's your wife? How's your marriage? [Sophie giggles some more and says, "I think they just got married...that's so exciting!"] How's your baby? I'm going to color a picture and send it to you.
Love, Sophie
Age 3

Sophie wanted to write a letter to Santa this morning so we sat down and she told me what to write. These were her precious words and I had to save them.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

O Christmas Tree...

O Christmas lovely are your branches. Here are some photos of our first Halsted family Christmas tree.

Sophie loved putting all of the ornaments on the tree.

Even the cat got an ornament! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thanksgiving fun!

Sophie has 9 cousins on the Halsted side that she loves hanging out with! We wanted to do something fun with the kids on Thanksgiving so we brought a gingerbread house to build and decorate. Here are some pictures of the fun...

Dillon decided that it was time to eat the he dove in for a big bite!

Sophie was not happy with the boys at first for destroying their masterpiece, but she eventually joined in the fun...and the mess!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Our Thanksgiving blessing

This year, God gave us a special reason to be grateful on Thanksgiving Day. We found out that we are expecting a baby!! We are all very excited! Sophie kisses my belly every day now and tells her baby sister or brother, "I love you!" What a sweet time! We drove to Arkansas to spend the holiday with Clint's family. I was very sick (and suspicious) the day before Thanksgiving so on Thanksgiving morning, I took a pregnancy test. We saw two little lines (a positive result) and Lord willing we will have a baby late July or early August 2008!! Clint was able to tell his family in person the good news...what a treat for him! I will have Thanksgiving photos to share soon!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Our Wedding Day

The honour of your presence
is requested at the marriage of
Miss Kristen Elizabeth Martell
Mr. Clint Wade Halsted
Saturday, the twenty-fifth of August
In the year of our Lord
Two thousand seven
at eleven o'clock

The Raleigh Rose Garden
301 Pogue Street
Raleigh, North Carolina

The Halsted family blog would be incomplete without this very important entry
recounting the day that we became a family! I recently got our wedding photos back to help share the day with you. Welcome to our wedding day!

We were blessed with a beautiful day and a beautiful setting at the Rose Garden

My dad and Sophie and I waiting to walk down the aisle

Our singles pastor at church, Brian Frost, gave the message.

He opened with this passage of scripture for us:

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one could recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare." - Psalm 40:1-5

Clint and I both went through terrible heartache before the Lord led us to one another. God rescued us from those low places in our lives and gave us renewed hope and strength to walk forward. And what a blessing that God planned for Clint and I to walk forward together as husband and wife! We have such a faithful and loving God!

The vows

We're married!!

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love,
I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

The Reception

Clint and I on our way to our garden reception...more photos and details to come!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fall Retreat

"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." -Psalm 121: 1-2

This past weekend (Oct. 19th-21st) Clint and I went on a church retreat in the mountains near Asheville, NC. This was actually the same retreat we went on last year as singles. It was such a blessing to be invited back and return as a married couple to lead the worship music. God certainly moved mountains in our lives over this past year and we were able to reflect on His faithfulness to us and His provision for us while we were surrounded by His breathtaking creation!

We enjoyed the beautiful fall colors and views during a hike up the mountains with some friends

Me and Clint at the top...what a view!

Our eternal view...

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." -John 3:16

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Pumpkin Patch

Clint and me with our little pumpkin...

We had lots of fun at the Pumpkin Patch with Aunt Allie (my sister), and Nana & Papa (my Mom & Dad)! We went to Gross Farms in Sanford, NC where my parents live. They had a super cute play area for kids, a hay ride, plenty of pumpkins that you could pick yourself from the patch, homemade ice cream, and a corn maze. I think Sophie's favorite part was picking her baby pumpkins from the patch. My favorite part was spending time with my family!

Sophie swingin' in the sun...

Playin' on the train...
Hangin' with the boys...Makin' new friends...Slidin' down the slide...

Ridin' on the hay ride with Allie, Nana, and Papa...

Pickin' pumpkins with Papa and Clint...

My big pumpkin...Thank you family for a great day!