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!