Sunday, May 31, 2009

Arkansas Photos

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went up to a cemetery in the mountains where many of Clint's relatives are buried.  His family has a tradition of clearing the grave sites of any debris and adding new flowers to decorate them each year.  Everyone gathers to remember and tell stories to be passed down through future generations.  It was a beautiful piece of history to be a part of.

Many people came to decorate their families' graves over Memorial Day weekend.  There were many more smiles and hugs than tears that day.

The boys and Sophie hard at work

Sophie really wanted to make sure she did her part to help make each tombstone pretty.  She even put a few extra flowers at some of the stones that no one had come to care for.  This is the first time that she can remember being at a cemetery.  We had many great discussions about death, but also about the beautiful life that awaits us in Heaven when we pass over from this earth.  I'm so glad she was able to be a part of this day.  Death is one of those things that we want to shelter or protect our kids from, but it is one of life's realities.  And even though Sophie was a little sad at times, I am so glad she experienced this so that she is a little better prepared when someone she loves passes on.  

Some of the family visiting with each other

The brothers - Chad, Kenneth, and Clint

Sophie, me, Elizabeth, and Clint with his parents, Helen and Arlin

Uncle Alphie told us that Walter and Clara's name was spelled wrong on this tombstone and they were not able to get it fixed so it stayed spelled that way and now there is a whole line of Holsteds spelled with an 'o' instead of an 'a'.

The complete decoration

This is the oldest Halsted/Holsted in this cemetery.  There are other theories or disputes over the spelling of the Halsted's last name, but they can all be traced back to the same family lines.

He fought in the civil war and probably died in the war which ended the same year as his death.  We would like to do some research and find out more about Clint's family.  
We both love history!

After the visit to the cemetery, we headed to Grandma's house to spend some time with family there...

The road to Grandma's house.  She lives on 200 acres in the Ozark mountains
...simply beautiful!

Grandma's house

Checking out the views

Best buds :)

The cows

Grandpa's old workshop and tractor

The chicken coop

Sophie striking a pose in front of Grandma's house 

Gathering on the front porch

Clint and Elizabeth with Grandma Lillie Marie

4 generations - Clint, Grandma, Mom (Helen), and baby Elizabeth

Grandma, Helen, Evelyn, and Elizabeth - a mom with two of her 8 children and one of her many, many grandchildren

another view

Clint took Sophie off-roading in the Jeep on Grandma's property.  I guess she picked that leaf off a tree branch that they passed...hope it's not poisonous :)

Daddy and "Ellie Rose" (her southern name given to her by Great Aunt Evelyn)

Sophie and Elizabeth playing with a few of their cousins - Chord, Noah, and Vivian

The big kids built a fort around Elizabeth, but she knocked it down!

Vivian and Elizabeth just relaxin'

The new trick...pulling up on things and standing!  Life just got a little more worrisome and busy for mama since I am now following miss Elizabeth around everywhere to make sure she does not bump her head on something!

Look how happy she is!  She likes her new view!

She's growing up so fast!

We had a great time in Arkansas.  We were so busy!  When all of the kids got together I was so focused on being a mom that I forgot to take pictures half the time, but we have lots of memories of the trip.  We already miss everyone!

Road Trip to Arkansas

We just returned last night from the longest road trip EVER to and from Arkansas...about 34 hours round trip!  Clint's family lives there and we made the journey for a much overdue visit with everyone.  We had a great time, but it sure feels good to be home!  We left May 19th and got home last night, May 30th, around 8:30pm.

I have lots of pictures to load and stories to tell...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy 9 months baby girl!

(technically she was 9 months old on April 28th, but I am a little behind on my blogging!)

Sweet baby Elizabeth Rose has officially been out of my belly as long as she was in my belly!  I love this milestone.  I feel much more confident these days as a mother of two.  It was a little tough for me to make the transition from one child to two children even though Sophie is a little older and such a great helper.  I often felt drained trying to balance my time between the girls and meet both of their needs, but I think I have finally learned how to manage and life seems just a little simpler and more organized these days.   

Ella has changed SO much this month!  She is signing "milk" and "more".  She got two new teeth (one on the top and one on the bottom for a total of 5 now).  She is eating "finger foods" - peas, cheerios, tiny bites of week beans!  She is drinking water out of her sippy cup. She started clapping, dancing and "singing", and now she is crawling!!  She is getting into everything!  We are quickly trying to baby-proof every nook and cranny because Ella is an explorer!  She is so much fun and we are having a blast with her!

Elizabeth had a minor set back with her growth this week.  She has not gained any weight in 4 weeks. She is still 14 lbs. 1 oz.  Her head has grown considerably and is actually in the 30% for her age, but her weight and height have plateaued again so we are being sent back up to UNC Chapel Hill for further testing.  I am not too concerned at this point...just a little frustrated that she is struggling so much to grow.  She may be little, but she will be smart!  She is so aware and interested in everything!  She loves to play and move around on the floor and her new favorite things are books (no surprise there).  

It's been a while since I have posted new photos of her...enjoy! 

I call this the "pooper-saucer" now because this is where the poops happen :)

"I'm feeding myself!"

All blonde now just like daddy and big sis