Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I love music. It is unfortunate to me that God blessed me with no musical talent, because I love music soooo much. This song is one of my new favorites, I tried to download music to the blog, but couldn't, so here is the next best thing, the lyrics. I have a few others that I love the words of so much I plan on getting them on here also.

You're Here - Francesca Battistelli

Hold on now, I gotta take a deep breath I don’t know what to say when I look in your eyes
You made the world before I was born
Here I am holding You in my arms tonight
Noel, Noel, Jesus our Emmanuel
You’re here, I’m holding You so near
I’m staring into the face of my Savior, King and Creator
You could’ve left us on our own, but You’re here
Don’t know how long I’m gonna have You for
But I’ll be watching when You change the world
Look at Your hands, they’re still so small
Someday You’re gonna stretch them out and save us all
Noel, Noel, God with us Emmanuel
You’re here, I’m holding You so near
I’m staring into the face of my Savior, King and Creator
You could’ve left us on our own, but you’re here… you’re here
Someday I’m gonna look back on this
The night that God became a baby boy
Someday You're gonna go home again,
But You leave your spirit and flood the world with joy
You’ll be here, I’m holding You so near
I’m staring into the face of my Savior, King and Creator
You could’ve left me on my own, but you’re here…
You’re here Hallelujah… You’re here… Hallelujah... You’re here

It snowed again today. 3 times this winter so far. Amazing!! Driving around tonight I almost forgot we were in Dallas. The snow fall was beautiful!

Barstad Family Christmas

Christmas Day celebration with the Barstad side of the family! We spent the day at Nana and Papa's house with Grandma Barstad, Jeff, Kristen, Avery, Ben and Sawyer. The kids played, we exchanged gifts and ate our traditional Christmas Tacos - Chicken tacos this year, a new wonderful recipe from John Winslow! Halie and Avery each got a new entourage of barbies and had a blast playing with them all day in the back room. Kristen made me some beautiful place mats with the letter "M" screen printed on the front of them. I can't wait to use them! 2 days after Christmas we took our family photo for our Christmas cards which have now turned into New Years cards! It was great to see Jeff's family and let the cousins all play together, they had a great time and I wish they were closer!

The three munchkins, Ben, Sawyer and Austin playing kitchen. It amazes me how much babies love kitchen stuff!

Fairy Princesses Halie and Avery playing with their new Barbie collections!

Grandma Barstad teaching the talented Kristen some new knitting moves!

Jeff hanging out with Molly.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, Halie said she thought we
would have a white Christmas a few days ago. I laughed at her, obviously thinking there was NO WAY that would happen. 2 nights ago we sat outside on a patio for dinner. But, what did we get??? A white Christmas!! It was an amazing Christmas gift. The first Paul and I could think of since living in Dallas for 24 years. We were able to have a snowball fight on Christmas morning. Santa brought Halie just what she asked for this year. A baby doll that walks, cries, sits down, etc..... She was very pleased. As
for Austin, he will not get another toy from us for a long time. He got a few new toys, ones I thought for sure he would play with and what did the child play with all morning??? The cooking whisk Santa put in his stocking and the new coffee mug that Dad got. He couldn't have cared less about those toys. Grandma Barstad came over and
had breakfast with us, that was a nice treat. I made a blueberry french toast cassarole type thing. It was OK, but not spectuacular. It will not be a new Christmas tradition. Austin loved it, had about 3 pieces. At lunch time we headed over to Richard and Davelyn's house and stayed there all day. The kids had fun opening presents and playing. The grown ups had fun eating and talking. Halie and Samantha dressed up, played barbies, put on a dance, played games with their daddies, all things that little girls love to do. Richard Nash played and played with his new train set, until he decided to steal a piece of Aunt Sarah's choclate cake! I was eating my cake and he was sitting next to me watching me eat my cake. All of a sudden his little hand reached in, grabbed my cake and in 2 seconds, the entire thing was shoved into his mouth! We all got a pretty good laugh out of it. It is so great that the kids have so much fun together! Now, the festivities are over and it is time for bed. 10:00 and Paul is already asleep. Santa stayed up too late last night getting Christmas ready I think! We have a wonderful day of nothing planned for tomorrow. Goodnight-Merry Christmas!!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a Hot (i mean white) Christmas

71 degrees 2 days before Christmas.....Halie actually told me she was hot today when we got in the car after running errands, so the AC in the car got turned on for the first time in a few weeks. That's Texas for you. Good thing the weather isn't the only thing getting me in the Christmas spirit! It really is a beautiful day though. "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice in it and be glad"! It really would be nice though if a cold front could move in for Christmas day. The kids are sleeping, have been for a little over 2 hrs now, I guess they were pretty tired, oh never mind, I just heard Austin squeak from his crib. I'll keep this short. I am so proud of Halie. She got a 100 piece puzzle last night from Jaxson, so I helped her start it this morning. I helped her get the outside put together and she pretty much did the rest of it herself with little help from me. Go Halie!! She was pretty proud of herself. We get to spend another night together as a family. Going to Grimaldi's for pizza and then to look at Christmas lights. Should be fun!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Matt's Letter

Earlier this summer, a friend in our class at church, Matt Kendall, died unexpectedly of a pulmonary embolism. His wife, Sharon, has been living with her sister in Colorado for a few months while working through the grief of loosing her husband of 10 years. Her sister is putting together a book for her full of letters from their friends about Matt. What not many people know is that God used Matt's death as a huge wake up call for me in my life. This is the letter I wrote to Sharon. (Again, I am using this blog more as a journal for my self than anything else.)

Sharon, As I am sitting here to write this letter to you, I pray for you this Christmas. I can't begin to imagine how difficult this time must be for you, but I pray that in some small way you are beginning to heal. I pray this book that Joy put together for you continues to help you on your new journey in life. There are a few things I have wanted to share with you, but wasn't really sure how or when to do it, but this seemed like the perfect time. I want you to know that Matt's death was not in vain. My life was drastically changed in a way that I really did not even know was possible. I have grown up in the church, been a believer from a very young age, and really thought I was living about as well as any "good" Christian could. But really, deep down inside me, in a place I never really shared, I felt empty, wandering, wondering why it was I couldn't get past a lukewarm temperature in my spiritual life. Ironically, even though I felt all of those things, I knew God was there, I knew that He loved me and died for me, had a plan in my life and had blessed me immensely, but there was still something missing. I just didn't know what it was. A little over a year ago I began to pray that God would show me my place here, what it was I needed to be doing. He slowly began tugging at my heart through various things, I could feel I was starting to grow in new ways. Then, this summer when Matt went to be with the Lord, my world was rocked. Here was a healthy young man, living his life one day, with the Lord the next. At that moment, I realized in a place deep down inside me that I am not promised tomorrow, and honestly, I was living as though I was. It is something I had heard over and over, but it was at the funeral, during the song "Dancing with the Angles", that God changed my heart and way of thinking. Matt is up there, he is HOME. He is HOME, we are not. My eyes were opened to the brevity of this life and the fact that heaven is our destination. I have seen that God has an incredible plan and story for this whole world and I get to be a part of it. Now, looking at this short life through an eternal perspective, everything has changed. I still struggle with the normal selfish daily struggles, but when I make myself sit back and look at it as a whole, my attitude changes. God has lit a new fire in me that has never been there before. A fire that keeps telling me there is so much more to life than me and the things that I want. I am excited to live this life without the fear I lived with before. I know that no matter what happens, I can honestly say that I know God will take care of me and my family. I know that I am not the only person who was affected in some way by Matt. Thank you for sharing him with us. Your sister, Sarah Mason

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Visit with Santa!!

We have had the pleasure of having a fun filled family weekend! Finally, our whole family getting to hang out! Glad to have you back daddy! On Friday we took an unforgettable trip to the Heard Museum in McKinney to view what was advertised as an amazing light/dinosaur combo show. The show was slightly less than amazing, lots of standing in line, a few strands of light lighting up a path, I think there were 3 dinosaurs, but they weren't really lit up, so I'm not really sure, a 1 minute hay ride to the top of the hill and a half filled cup of hot chocolate! Oh yea, here is our 15 dollars, thank you very much! We will never forget it and it will be brought up every Christmas for the rest of our lives. Saturday morning Dad went to share the gospel with homeless people (good for him). The kids and I went to the our friends house, the Lunns to decorate Christmas cookies. We used Royal Icing which was new for me. Very cool! You can make some pretty neat looking cookies with that stuff. Thanks Renae!!!! Later that evening, we had some friends over to eat nachos and watch the Cowboys game. 8 children running around this little house was a little noisy, but they had a great time. Austin thinks he is a big boy now, the last 2 days he has begun to follow the older kids around and play wherever they are. Very cute! The toothbrush pic was this morning, couldn't not take it! Today, Sunday, we went to church and went to have lunch with some of our other friends, Eric, Emily, Madi and Mason Gentles. Went to Christina's and had some Mexican food and great fellowship. I looked over and Austin was just starting at Eric with a blank look on his face, when I say staring, I mean staring, would not take his eyes off of him. Eric had just moved the sugar holder that Austin was probably getting ready to dump all over the floor and it appeared that Austin did not appreciate the gesture. Then the bottom lip began to stick out and quiver and Austin began to heave and sob, we have NEVER seen him cry like this. He actually looked like he was hyperventilating and couldn't get a breath and we had to get him out of his high chair! He only wanted Mommy and buried his head into my shoulder and just cuddled for a good five minutes. I couldn't stop laughing. Then finally, we go to visit Santa! Halie had to be gently reminded what she wanted to ask Santa for, a baby doll. Hopefully Santa will be able to hold up his end of the bargain this year. He failed last year, she wanted a baby doll, but got a bike instead. Come on Santa!!! I love that they both smiled in the pic, but there are a few things to be noted. #1 Halies bright pink Crocks. We were not planning a trip to Santa when we left for church and it was not a battle I felt like fighting this morning. #2 Halie is holding a black horse named "Blackie". Not something you want to say to loudly in a public place. This horse is from preschool, named by the class, it gets to come home with one kid over a weekend. Halie got to take her home for the whole Christmas break. She was VERY excited about Blackie. #3 Austin is not wearing knickers! His pants just got all squished up when I put him on Santa's lap. Halie is now with Grandma and Grandpa for a couple days for a little one on one time! Have fun Hales!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Matthew 16:24-26

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will loose it, but whoever looses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?"

December Adventures

I grew up with an advent calendar that my mom made. It was one of my many neat family Christmas memories from growing up. I remember that there were always 2 little red and white candy canes in each pocket counting down to the big day. Well, this year, with a little encouragement and help from my sister in law, Kristen, I made one for the kids. A project that I thought would take an hour or two, turned into more like 5-6, but Halie loves it and hopefully it will hold up for a few years! I made the mistake of sticking full size candy canes, oops. Mom, now I see why you put small ones in ours, a 4 yr old does not need to eat a full size candy cane almost every day of December! Austin got a sucker in his, and he did not need that every day either, but it sure makes them happy (and quiet!). By the way, I moved the calendar to the fireplace to get a pic of it, that is not where it lives. I couldn't get a good pic in the hallway where it hangs. We had an activity to do each day, some small, others more of a project, but they have all been fun and I am excited to have a new tradition with the kids. We have had some movie nights, read some Christmas books, made Kringla, a specialty of my Grandma. We went over to her house for an afternoon and she showed us how to make her cookies. We ate way too much that day! All 3 of us! We made a gingerbread house. We got a surprise snow fall one morning. Note Halie's naturally beautiful hair on this snow day, she honestly had just gotten out of bed. I am jealous, God has a sense of humor I think. I am just thankful she got Paul's nice locks - makes life easier on me! Last year Halie and I spent the day making cinnamon rolls for our neighbors and ourselves.... So, I thought that could be another new tradition we could start. Austin got to go spend the day with Nana, and Halie and I baked, hung out and played games. She was a little jealous that Austin got to go spend the day with Nana and she didn't, but by the time 3:00 rolled around and Austin returned home to take his nap, she had decided, "maybe getting to spend a whole day with mom all by myself isn't that bad after all!" We had a good day. Paul should be calling any minute, he was suppose to be done taking his last final about 15 minutes ago. It will be so nice to have "finals paul" gone and "daddy paul" back. Law school really does a number on you.... Going to go finish up a little last minute on-line shopping now.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Halie & Austin

Halie and Austin!!! What a joy you are! You make me tired, but you are a true joy and blessing in my life. Halie is now 4 1/2 going on 18. Seriously, an emotional roller coaster at 4. She has such a lively spirit about her. I would not change it for the world. The girl loves pink, purple, Barbie, princesses, bows and shoes with heels. If I had not personally carried her in my belly for 9 months, I would not believe she was mine! We are almost done with the first semester of preschool and she loves it. I was never really too concerned. She is quite the social butterfly. She has never met a stranger! She is becoming quite the big sister to Austin as well. She is quick to tell people that he cannot have milk or cheese and that he is allergic to peanut butter, if she ever has any concern about someone giving him something he should not have. Halie has been involved in gymnastics for about a year and a half now and enjoys doing that. Her new thing will be dance, she is starting a tap/ballet class in January. She is SOOOO excited. I am excited for her. She had her first program at school. All the classes sang some Christmas songs they had learned. I thought she would just eat it up, being up there performing in front of everyone. Well, she really surprised me, she looked scared for most of the time!! She said she was scared because that was her first time, we'll see how the second time goes. Austin is now 15 months old and finally walking!!! He started mostly walking a few days after Thanksgiving. He is a trip! Not too interested in toys, he only wants things that are not toys. He is making Christmas a little more difficult this year! This week, his favorite toys are a pink brush and a spray bottle, occasionally accessorized with a little brown purse! Daddy is very proud! He has a few words, Daddy and Doggy are his favorite. Mama has started to come out a little more over the last week. Nana is a new one also. He makes us smile a lot. He and Halie are starting to play a little together, so that is neat to see them acting like brother and sister.

My First Blog-Christmas Thoughts

Here I go....Mid-December 2009, I can't believe that this year is already come and gone. Praise God for His faithfulness! I have said those words my whole life, but I don't know that I have ever meant it from my heart like I do now. God has used multiple circumstances in my life, mostly over the last year to bring me into a new love realationship with Himself. Praise God!!!!!! I have never felt the peace and joy before that I can honestly say with all my heart that I feel right now. "Feel" is the wrong word, it is so much more than a feeling. It is a complete freedom to do what ever He asks, because for the first time in my life I know that He loves me more than anything, He has an incredible plan for this world and is letting me be a part of it. Christmas this year has taken on an incredible new meaning for me and I know it can only be a God thing to have opened my eyes like He has. After studying the book of Ephesians with the girls in my sunday school class, i began to see that God has a wealth, eternity really, of knowledge and wisdom that He wants to give to me and I began to ferverntly pray for that widsom, because I felt that I was lacking it. My word does He answer. "Knock and the door will be opened, ask and you will be given." He wasn't kidding. I pray that he continues to bestow on me a deeper knowledge and love for Him. My new thoughts on Christmas.......Lets take a heavenly look at it. Start with creation. God created the heavens and the earth, with Him, the angels and heavenly hosts watched it all. Then He creates man, Adam and for a very short period of time, God has this intimate relationship with His creation. All of heaven watches, all the while continuing to praise and worship God. Enter Satan and sin. God's heart breaks as he watches His creation turn their back on him. He continues to extend grace after grace after grace to them. The angels are intimately involved in our lives in ways that would probably freak us out if we could really see what is beyond our limited eyes. God watches his people Isreal continue to turn away from Him. I can only imagine the heart break of watching the ones you love and created turn away time after time, His patience is beyond amazing, isn't it??? Again, the heavenly hosts are watching it all. Then, God himself decides to enter this fallen world. Imagine Mary, a young girl who God chose to be his mother, what an incredible honor. I don't believe in praying to her, but my goodness, you have to give a great amount of respect to the woman. Another angel enters to give Mary the news and for 9 month she walks around with Jesus (JESUS!!!) growing inside of her, can you imagine??? Again, the angel and Joseph... God used a secular ruler, Cesar Agustus, to get Mary to Bethlehem to fulfill part of Christ's prophesy. The time has come....Can you even begin to imagine what is going on in heaven (and in hell) at the moment of Jesus's birth??? They have been watching God and us for how many rebellious years? And the moment is finally here, HE CAME TO US!!! God came down here because He loved us so much, to save us, to redeem us, He came with a mission. I think having Austin has helped put in small perspective what he did coming and choosing to be born a baby boy. helpless......When the bible describes the shepards in the field when the angel appeared to them to tell the of Christ's birth, it talks about the multitude of heavenly hosts praising God. He did it! He made it here! It all makes so much sense now! Praise God for Christmas!!! That's all I'll spill about for now, but there is so much more that I am just so stinking excited about!