Cutting Down our Tree

This was the first year we, or even myself personally, went to a tree farm and picked our own tree and cut it down. It was a lot more work than going to Lowe's next door, but worth it. I liked that the kids saw where our tree came from and it was just a great family outing and tradition that we hope to continue.

Our Christmas Letter and photos 2010

Merry Christmas Family and Friends!
A Barnett Family Update, 2010

Warmest greetings from the Barnetts. We, like many, love this time of year and we hope that this season is blessing you with lots of fun and family-time, and, of course, anticipating the memory of Jesus’ incarnation - God’s most generous and merciful gift to us.

Desperate for something interesting to share in this year’s Christmas letter – we decided to have another baby and are pleased to announce that we are expecting yet another who should arrive just around the end of the school year. What a fortuitous piece of timing that is – no? Not exactly a coincidence. Of course, with Facebook, this is old news for most of you. Nevertheless, we are very excited to welcome another little Barnett to our happy family.

Meanwhile, the basic format of Barnett life is very similar to what it has been like. We continue to be blessed and are truly grateful that Melissa is able to stay home with our kids. We’re not exactly sure how it works – it just somehow does and God is good. She also continues to tutor Kai, now a senior in high school (she’ll be a free agent next year if you know anyone who needs a good tutor…) I know Melissa is really proud of how Kai has grown over the course of her time working with him. Motherhood continues to be the highlight of her day. The trio of mommy, Caleb and Gracie can be found all over Ventura county on any given day – and home for naptime no less! Melissa remains keenly aware of how blessed she is to have a supportive and fun community of mommy-friends she has made over the years. Although she denied it until yesterday, Eminent Baby #3 has slowed Melissa down a little bit – tiredness and unending hunger are constant themes. While excited to return to School Counseling someday when the time in right – right now, there could be no higher calling or more fulfilling way to spend each day than being a mom to our kids.

Caleb and Gracie are crazy and fun. Most of the time they play very well together. Check out Melissa’s videos on Facebook for some of their adventures and exploits. Highlights are sword duels, wearing six pairs of eye-wear at once, stomp-rocket fun, blocks, owl hunts, bed bouncing, dancing, playing Dr. John Caleb Barnett MD, painting, cardboard box creations, cooking, reading, and, of course, eating. Caleb and Gracie still love Kindermusik class, First 5, and a little “play-school” mini-co-op with a few friends. Our kids teach us so much and keep us so humble. They themselves are a lesson in gentleness, trust, forgiveness, and joy. Of course, they can be selfish and disobedient too, but we don’t talk about that in Christmas letters now, do we…☺

Teaching continues to be a fulfilling vocation for me. This has been a good year at the Visual Arts & Design Academy, with great students, fellow teachers and parents, and the Academy feels grounded after some transitions. Of course, it is education, so things are always changing, but we just keep going, knowing we are doing something important by creating an engaging and relevant high school education for artists and creatives in the program. It’s great to have a job – and even better to have one you enjoy, but the real highlight of my day is coming home, as you can imagine. The fun and joy and lightness of one’s children bring deliver immediate and much needed perspective to the day’s busyness and troubles. Thank God for them. Speaking of God, we continue to seek Him at our church, the Ventura Vineyard. I’m excited to be starting a new group, with some familiar guys, but this time, with more of a focus on discipleship and the pursuit of a Jesus-like life in all spheres of our daily lives.

Well, we certainly hope that you and your families are doing well and will do well in the year ahead. As always, we wish for you, a year of abiding peace and joy – no matter the circumstances.

May God bless and keep you,

the barnetts


Gracie wearing my 1st Christmas Dress

This is one of the only, if not the only, dresses of mine that I have for Grace. I wish I had more. I loved seeing Grace in it. To think that I was in this 30 years ago.... And if you look carefully, you can see her 2 little teeth that just poked through last week!


Portrait Shots of Caleb and Grace

I decided to take Caleb and Grace in for the first time to a studio - JC Pennys. We take so many of our own and Caleb never smiles for people he doesn't know, so it never seemed worth it to me. Well, Gracie is so smiley and I really wanted some photos of her in one of her first Christmas dresses. And it is hard to take shots at home with Caleb and Grace together since Caleb isn't quite into sitting for a shot. Anyway, I was happy with the photographer a friend had recommended and he has honestly been the first person that Caleb didn't know that he smiled for. The guy was funny, but not overly goofy - perfect for Caleb. Anyways, I was happy to get some great Christmas portraits of the kids.


Some Christmas Shots

Gracie's 1st Christmas!

Caleb, like always, is such a great helper! He did a great job checking out the trees to find the right one and help drag it home!

Dan and I hosted our annual Christmas party, and had a great time! I felt even more thankful this year for an evening with friends since Dan and I rarely get time with friends together without Caleb and Grace. We are thankful for the community of friends God has given us!

We had our "Christmas" celebration a couple of weeks early in IV with Jason, Holly, Samuel, Hope and Jeremiah since we aren't going to be together at Christmas. Here was our attempt to get a photo of the cousins! Like always, it is always a blessing to be with them!

I loved putting Gracie in the reindeer outfit Caleb wore during his 1st Christmas too!

We dressed Caleb in his tux for the VADA Christmas party! He was one of the ring bearers in Aunt Michelle's wedding in May. We had to put him in it one last time before he outgrows it! He was the best dressed at the party I must say!

Abby and Caleb :)