Just, all of it- in no particular order (though I wish it was)

This is the best that I have right now.  I expect it to be few words, but I may get on a kick and start talking and getting sentimental about how long ago these pictures were taken, who knows.  But for the most part I think this will be photo full and word small.  
(And I still have yet to post those ol' wedding and baby photos that are the best things in the world from this summer.  Those are coming....)
Eh hum, here we go.
We went to the Cayman Islands like we do every year with my family and it did not disappoint.  It was pretty amazing.
The kids hated having a beautiful baby cousin around them all the time.  She clearly is the most fought over baby I think I have ever seen.  ALL of my kids want to hold her the entire time she is in front of them every time they see her and Avery usually wins.
But Shea is a close second.
Ben loved his life every minute (except that he broke his arm earlier this summer.  He fell off the monkey bars at the park and had to have it reset.  It was so terrible and I was just the one watching.  It is a waterproof cast, which is awesome, but not a sand proof one.  So he did have to avoid sand).
Like always, he had a great attitude about it and fishing was probably the highlight of his life.
We cant wait to go back.
We went to Ke Ohana on labor day, like we always do.  And again, it did not disappoint.  Its a very similar story- ben and jeff fished, the girls held Kai, we made shirts, had a blast, etc, etc.
IMG_7999 copy
Our old friend Garth came in to town and we went to see him... twice.
Brooke and her friends came with our family the first time and it was, you know its coming, but truly, amazing.  He was just so good.  He played every song we knew and played his heart out.
I dont know why I can only find this photo and not the one of me and brooke...
Then we went with this crazy crew and, again, he was amazing
And just a quick side by side comparison of the last time we went to Garth all together.
No one was arrested this time and we were not in Vegas, but we did have matching home made shirts and a whole lot of fun.  And I had super high waisted mom jeans this year, so I would say it was a win/win.
We drove to Tyler for a couple of hours so we could meet Julie's newborn baby boy and he is of course, like everything she makes, perfection.
We helped Rachel set up her print shop online and Shea did a little modeling.
She is also at the most fun age ever, I think.  She is talking in tiny sentences and saying "ya" to everything.  She communicates so well and she is just so much fun to be around.  We walk her babies every day and she lets me know when they are crying or need a new diaper.  She is very attentive (when she is not whacking their heads on the floor or leaving them for days without any concern.  She may not be quite ready for motherhood yet.)
Sawyer got the award for student of the month the first month of the year, so that was pretty great.  I almost didnt make it to see her receive her award because I had to pay a fine for not having the sticker for my registration on my car up to date.  I had gotten a ticket and I was a little bit late to pay it, and I thought I may have to go to jail.  But, thankfully I made it out alive and unchained- and just in time for them to call her name. And Ben is doing so much extra work and tutoring and pushing himself and I am so proud of him.  And Avery, you know, is getting everyone up for school.
So, now that I have turned this into an annoying christmas card from the people you dont want to hear from, I will end on that note.
Or be even more annoying and tell y'all we had our first show with Celebrate Always this past weekend and it was only the best weekend of our lives and we will be back later for more deets.  How is that for over annoying blog post?! I think its time to call it.


One Child Left Behind 2015

SOOOOOOOOO many things to post about this summer that were incredible and amazing and I want to remember every moment of that include weddings and new nieces and nephews and trips and fishing and lake days and way too many selfies of my children where they used weird apps and their faces look like aliens.  But, we dont have time for that right now.  Ill be back for that.  Today, we document school for my fourth and second graders (WHAT?!)
Shea couldn't resist being in the photo.
And one with Gracie and the isolated toddler.
The only reason we were able to make it to school after an entire summer of sleeping in, was that Avery woke everyone up, made them breakfast, got their lunches out of the fridge and into their backpack and was ready to go by the time I got out of bed at 7:10.
She is amazing.  What would I do without her?! (dont answer that).
Shea was fine the first day because she got to help them walk in and drop them off.  The second and all the days since, she has had the panic cry every time they walk out of the car.  She is devastated.  She misses them so much.
We have tried to stay busy.
We have taken her babies on lots of walks, changed their diapers thousands of times, and tried to acclimate to life without the big kids.  It has been sad, but I am just so thankful for our school and their teachers and our life.
I read a post that a blogger wrote about attending public school and I shared it on Facebook.  It is similar to our experience, but not completely, but it does reinforce some of the views I have about why we go to public school.  I obviously am pro any type of schooling and think everyone has to do what is right for their own family.  I didnt say that on Facebook and I wish I would have.  I hope no one thinks that I think public school is the only way to go.  But it has been what works for us and something I am so thankful for.
The girls and I got our second grown up pedicure at a real place before school with some of our church crew and it was the perfect start to this year.  I am so thankful for people in mckinney that we have grown to love so much.  Making friends who are as weird as us is so hard.  I feel like it takes me forever to get close to people and feel safe with them, but I feel like we  are there.  We have met some incredible people and I am so so thankful.
(Ok, I didnt do it.  My social anxiety trumps any idea of a pedicure, even if it includes a massage of any kind.  I just cant do it.  Luckily the girls loved it and my friends are pros.  No way I could have done that shiz on my own.  The whole thing scares me.)
Let's do this school year 2015-16!!
This post was brought to you in part by the word 'thankful'.



This year for the twins bday we did Twincraft.
(They are obsessed with Minecraft and I have to admit that it makes me insane.  I hate having to monitor their screen time and I never really had to until Minecraft.  But for all intensive purposes, it is the perfect gender neutral theme for a bday and they are obsessed with it, so that does help.)
I tried to make a portal (but they didnt have pink streamers) and made it look pixelated with plates.
I was not on the ball and barely sent out an invites (ok, not any.  I sent them to school with the kids and few texts with a pic of the invite, but no actual invites went out.  Even to my brothers.  So, thankfully their class showed up and everyone who had gotten a picture text :)
Christopher and Tiffany spent their entire week making this cake that was as incredible to the taste as it is perfection in looks.  My kids could not get over it. They showed everyone who walked in the door the incredible cake their cousins had made.  Truly made the whole party.  (If you have been around awhile, you remember the incredible Noah's Ark cake they made for their second bday)

Thanks so much to everyone who came and celebrated and sang and stayed late and cleaned up!
Happy birthday to my twins.
I cant believe you guys are 7.  To say that I am proud of you is an understatement.  I could not be more thankful to have you both as middle children.  You handle the job of big, little and twin sibling with such class and patience.  Thank you for your forgiveness as I am trying to juggle all of this.  Thank you for your hard work Sass and your constant determination.  You never need any push or encouragement to do anything.   You are always ready and on the ball and I am so so thankful for that sweet side of you.  Ben, thank you for the kindness that just overflows out of you.  I have never met someone so sweet and kind and just a joy to be around.  You always put other people first and it is such an incredible joy to watch you.  You guys are total opposites and it makes my heart melt to see you compliment and help each other with your differences.  I hope you are always close and always encourage and love each other.


Barstad's Last Week of School

In pictures.
Field day.
Someone must have donated these bounce houses because they were so big and so much fun- I think every kid thought they were the luckiest kids in the world.  Seeing them crab walk, run, slide and pour water for their team- it really is a little bit of sweaty (and whiny) heaven.
water slide
sass water slide
Shea even got into it and took all her clothes off.  Its not field day until someone gets naked, really.
Then they had presentation day where they showed us all the projects they had been working on all year.  They gathered information and presented it in whatever way they wanted- there was no teacher involvement at all.  Sass and Jenna did a board game and Ben did a sculpture.  There were "movies" and puppet shows and posters- it was so neat to see their imagination run wild.
sass and nathan
sass and jenna
They also had their awards day.
jenna and madison and twins
their class
the twins class
Avery was Helen Keller in her live museum that all the 3rd grade put on.  They all had to recite information about their character when you pushed the "on" button. Avery did a great job, but by the time Papa and Minnie made it over to her she said she was too tired to retell her speech :)
avery as helen keller
We took our crew to the pool for the first time this summer and I can not wait for many more pool trips.
Lots of bike rides, park times and lots and lots of swinging.
sass and shea swingin
And sink baths make the summer heat a little more bare able. (see what I did there?  Im here all week.)
shea sink baths
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