Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 2010 Christmas Photo Experience

Have you ever had an idea that seemed really great at the time and then later you realized it was a really bad idea, but it was too late to change your mind? So, I thought that I would save time and money by taking my own photo of the girls in front of the Christmas tree to send out to friends and family. How hard can this be, right? I realized as I was getting the girls all dressed up that this may have been a bad idea. Ella was having a meltdown because she wanted to wear a pink tu-tu skirt over her pretty Christmas dress and I asked her not to. Kate was not liking her tights and she was trying to rip them off (I can't really blame her...I feel the same way about them). Sophie was grumbling about the whole idea. After some coaching and cheerleading from mommy, I managed to get them all to agree to sit by the tree, but I couldn't get them all to be still and smile and look at the camera at the same time! How do photographers do that? I had to jump around and make silly faces and noises like a clown while Clint tried to snap a few photos. We took around 40 photos, several breaks, and finally ended up with 1 photo that was pretty good 45 minutes later. We laughed afterwards. It was quite the experience. Next year, I am going to let a professional handle the job! Oh, and I only managed to get Christmas cards and photos out to family this year. I apologize to all of my friends for not sending out Christmas greetings and the fruit of our hard photography labor, but please look forward to a fabulous, professional photo card next year! Merry Christmas to all!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Pickin' with my Pumpkins

We found a great farm out here to spend the day and have some fall fun! I love this time of year - the cooler weather, the changing leaves, apple season, the pumpkin pickin', the hay rides, a hot bowl of chili, the smell of wood burning fires in the air! Nana and Papa came over for a weekend to enjoy some of the season's best moments with us! Here are some pics at Carrigan Farm in Mooresville: (more to come when I can get them uploaded)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Up, Up, and Away!

The girls are growing up so fast and if I don't hurry up and write some things down, these priceless moments may get away from me! I am amazed at how things seem to get lost in my brain, especially since I have become a mom.

Baby Kate - 9 months old

9 months old today - 10/19/10

Kate is still the happiest baby I know! I have noticed that she seems a little shy sometimes, but she is always friendly. She has beautiful, bright blue eyes and a smile that seriously melts my heart everytime. She also has the cutest giggle. I love my baby girl!!!

Kate spent her first few months quietly observing her new surroundings and her two big sisters in action. She made her movement debut at 4 months when she rolled over, but it took her a long time to figure out how to master sitting on her own. She was nearly 8 months before she gained the balance and strength to stay upright. Almost immediately after sitting, she learned to lean forward into the crawling position. She managed to pull her body with her arms and "scoot" across the floor for a while and then on 10/18, she finally figured out how to make her knees work for her and she began to crawl. She is cruisin' everywhere now! She is so proud of her new crawling skills and is quickly moving on to pulling herself up to the standing position.

Kate's first tooth finally made an appearance on 10/16 - the bottom right one. I had been waiting to start finger foods since she had no teeth to chew with, but we are trying mashed fruit pieces now. She is already expressing likes and dislikes with food. She seems to prefer fruits, yogurt and cereals while veggies get a grimace most of the time. I am making her baby food, but I have not been too creative yet. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, applesauce, and pears are the majority of her solid food diet. She is still nursing 5-6 times a day and once during the night a few times a week. Most nights she sleeps 10-11 hours and takes a 1 1/2 - 2 hour morning nap and a 1 1/2 - 2 hour afternoon nap.
Kate is already signing milk and more and seems to have a high aptitude for expressive communication. She also claps and moves her upper body to dance to music too. I have even heard her trying to sing - music to my ears!

8 months old - ready for take off!

8 months old - out riding in the stroller

8 months old - the shirt speaks for itself

7 months old - still holding on for dear life, but sitting on her own...pretty much

7 months old - not sure about that hair band (me either)

7 months old - hey mommy!

6 months old - yes, that is sweet potato on my chin :)

6 months old - my big sisters really like to feed me

5 months old - found her new perspective and she loves being on her belly!

4 months old - thinking about gaining a new perspective

3 months old - happy girl

... and daydreaming

3 months old - just laying around with Sophie

Two months old - nap before church on Easter Sunday

One month old - getting sweet snuggles from Ella one morning

10 days old and already loved so much!

What an amazing 9 months we have had together!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sophie Goes To School

This year, Sophie is attending a traditional public school. This is a huge shift for us and we are taking it one day at a time, but Sophie enjoys it most days so far. We loved our homeschool experience last year and we may go back to it in the future, but we are really trying to give traditional school a try. Why the change? Initially, it was because I was getting a lot of pressure from Sophie's dad and others to send Sophie to school and it is difficult to stand up to that on a regular basis. I grew weary of defending the benefits of homeschooling. I still believe that homeschooling is a better educational choice for Sophie with numerous benefits that go above and beyond school work, but we have decided to take a break from it for now. Sophie misses homeschooling too, but she also loves recess and lunch time and riding the school bus with her new friends. Tax dollars well spent :). In all fairness, Sophie has a wonderful teacher who loves the Lord and loves to teach. As the school year progresses, the school work should become more challenging and Sophie will be more interested in learning.

Clint also encouraged me to look at the advantages of traditional school and there have been some really great ones. I am able to spend more time focusing my attention on Ella and Kate. Ella is really blossoming. She was speech delayed and now she is saying new words every day and putting together 5 word sentences. I have seen Ella emerge into her own person instead of always following Sophie's lead. Kate is so happy and fun to play with and I am really enjoying our moments together. I also have a lot to accomplish around the house right now since we just moved. I have boxes to unpack and organization to do so I can make our home liveable in addition to the normal housework. Sophie is meeting new friends while she is at school during the day and that is helping her to make the adjustment to a new town. This is good timing for our whole family to try something different.

Sophie has also had the opportunity to share about Jesus with some kids on the school bus and a little girl who had never heard His name before! God has a plan for Sophie's life and He is already using her to share His great love with other kids. That's the only reason I really need to send her to public school. Sophie just may have the gift of evangelism and she may be right where God wants her to be so He can use her to tell others about Jesus and the great hope we have in Christ!

Home Sweet Home!

We are officially residents of Statesville and so far we love it here! I can honestly say that we are already feeling right at home even though there are still boxes to unpack. We love the character and charm of our historic home, the tree-lined streets with sidewalks that lead to the heart of downtown, the short walk to Clint's new job at the college, the family friendly community events, and the small town atmosphere full of friendly people. I love that the mailman, Bud, an elderly gentleman, comes right to the house to deliver the mail and he stops to chat a couple of times a week. I love that I am able to take walks with the girls everyday around town, to the park, or even a grocery store. I love being able to drive somewhere without traffic. Both Clint and I love that this town is so rich with history. We love being much closer to the mountains too. This town is a great fit for Clint and I and a great place to raise the girls. I am so glad that we trusted in the Lord and followed His lead here!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

We love Aunt Allie!

My sister came to visit us recently and we had such a great time with her! The girls missed their Aunt Allie and I really needed some sissy time. Allie brought me wine and chocolates and she even cut my hair for me. She is so thoughtful and giving and she always knows how to make me feel better. I have the best sister in the world!!! While Allie was here, we finally got a couple of photos of our whole family of 5 too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Fresh Start

I am so excited to begin blogging again! I have missed recording family moments, sharing thoughts and pictures, and creating a journal of memories. After Kate's birth, I had my hands full with newborn care, a very needy toddler, homeschooling our oldest, my sister's wedding (for which I was the matron of honor), my husband's job and career change, selling our home, selling or donating half of our belongings and packing the rest, moving across the state with a few stops along the way, and finally settling into our new home! In the midst of it all, my computer's hard drive crashed and my ability to blog or communicate via the internet was limited to a few cell phone uploads. It has been a long 7 months, but with a new season just around the corner comes a new beginning for our family and a fresh start in many ways!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kate Lilian has arrived!

Our sweet baby girl has finally joined the Halsted family and we love her bunches already!! Kate Lilian was born on 1/19/10 at 5:23 am.  She weighed 7 lbs. 13 oz. and measured 19 1/2 " long.  I started having contractions 2 weeks prior to her birth.  It was rather frustrating because it seemed as though labor was beginning and every time it fizzled out after a couple of hours. By 1/13/10, I was dilated to a 3, 70% effaced, and the baby's head was very far down in my pelvis. We (me, Clint, my midwife, one of the OBs, everyone I talked to...) all thought that the baby would be born within a couple of days, but she wasn't coming out!  I knew that she would eventually get here, but it was so hard to wait and anticipate her birth.  What added even more pressure for me was knowing that the OB scheduled an induction for 1/21/10.  I was not interested in having labor artificially induced, but I would have been about 41 weeks and the OB thought it would be best considering my high-risk pregnancy and the fact that this was my third baby.   On Monday night, 1/18/10, I had decided that I didn't want to be induced and I was planning to ask for a few more days, but there was no need!  

Kate's birth story-

I had my usual pattern of contractions ranging from 3-6 minutes apart from 10pm-12am on Monday night (1/18/10).  The contractions stopped so I went to sleep.  I was woken up at 3am with some intense cramping.  I decided to get up and go to the bathroom and realized that I was actually having some heavy contractions and they were coming fast.  I timed them for about 10 minutes and they were 2 minutes apart.  I called my midwife first and by this time I was shaking so I could barely speak.  Lucie was the midwife on call and she asked me how fast could I get to the hospital...she knew the baby was coming fast and she was debating whether or not to have me call the paramedics to the house.  I told her we could be there in 20 minutes so she said to go.  I had to call my parents and tell them it was time and to come on over, but they were an hour away and they had to get dressed so I knew they wouldn't make it in time.  Then, I called my neighbor, Linda, and asked her to please come over to stay with the girls until my parents could get there.  She was a lifesaver and came right over!  Clint and I finally headed for the hospital and arrived shortly after 4am.  The nurses and Lucie were ready for me and this was definitely my fastest labor and delivery!  Lucie was amazing!!  She stood on one side of me and Clint was on the other and I felt completely supported and encouraged throughout that very difficult last hour of labor.  With one long push, Kate was born at 5:23am!