Tag Archives: children

What I’m Into: December 2015

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This was the first Christmas that I was teaching college instead of working at the high school, so it was nice to have the longest break I have had since I graduated from college. As I told Brian, this was the best Christmas I have had since we got married. The first Christmas, I had a cold and then threw my back out by coughing too hard. The second Christmas, I had a cold that turned into a sinus infection and sent me to urgent care two days before Christmas (my mom also got the flu that year, so she and dad both missed out on our family celebration). This year, none of us were sick so everyone made it and seemed to enjoy our time together.

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Lows & Highs: A Family Visit

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

No Lows for Me!

I cannot think of a low from the past week, so I am diving straight into my highs.

Family Highs

Brian and I took a road trip to visit my side of the family over the weekend.

Brian and I took a road trip to visit my side of the family over the weekend.

Grandpa is out of the hospital & the pneumonia is gone!

Grandpa is out of the hospital & the pneumonia is gone!

We celebrated my grandma's 93rd birthday on her actual birthday.

We celebrated my grandma’s 93rd birthday on her actual birthday.

My aunt & uncle brought their adorable grandson, Nathan, to the birthday party. He is my first cousin once removed, but that makes it sound so very complicated.

My aunt & uncle brought their adorable grandson, Nathan, to the birthday party. (He is technically my first cousin once removed, but that makes it sound so very complicated.)

I tried to get Nathan to pose for a photo with me, but it was too windy & sunny for this tired guy to smile at the camera!

I tried to get Nathan to pose for a photo with me, but it was too windy & sunny for this tired guy to smile at the camera!

We spent the rest of the weekend having a sort of “make-up visit” with my parents, postponed from Christmas break due to illness. It was fun and relaxing and just what I needed. I had really been missing them!

How has your week been?

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Lows & Highs: The Best Day Possible

Grandpa

Grandpa enjoyed dinner, even though Grandma couldn’t come.

Low: Unmet Expectations

This week, my low was not getting the celebration I had hoped and planned. My family had been planning for at least a month to have our traditional “Early Thanksgiving & Fall Birthdays” gathering last Saturday. While we did get to celebrate over dinner, my grandma was admitted to the hospital the day before and could not come to my aunt & uncle’s house with us. Most, if not all of us visited Grandma at the hospital and the day was good but not what I had hoped.

On the way home, I had a Twitter conversation with a new friend and was reminded of what my mom says about her patients (she’s a nurse): I can’t fix them but I can make today the best day possible. In the same way, as much as I would like to just fix everything to be perfect for everyone I love, it is never going to happen. I can make today the best day possible, though.

Highs: Sweet Memories

My highs are small snippets of memories from Saturday. Brian and I found out it is possible to adjust the driver’s seat of “his” car so it is comfortable for me to drive on road trips, too.

Brian & I

My sister and dad worked together to make the oyster casserole that Grandpa has always made at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I have never developed a taste for the casserole, but it is an important holiday food for several family members.

Sister&Family

Sara, Josh, & Eli (& his new Olaf, of course!)

Eli knows my name! …or at least to call my phone “Abby phone” but I’ll take what I can get. I let him play with the camera and take photos of his forehead, the ceiling, the fan, and his fingers. (Side note: Guided Access on iPhone is a marvelous tool to lock a user into a single app and they can’t get out without a passcode.)

After lunch, I offered to let him play with my phone again. He looked at me, “Game.”

“Do you want to play with the camera?”

He looked at it and back at me expectantly, “Game.”

“Um, try this one. Touch here to shoot the tower and then it falls down.”

“Fall down?”

Away he went, playing the game and figuring out how to switch levels. Occasionally, he would say to himself or others, “Abby phone. Fall down.”

Eli&AbbyPhone
Aunt&Uncle

We gathered at my aunt and uncle’s house.

GrampsGram&Eli

Eli “crashed” Gramps & Gram’s (a.k.a. my parents’) photo, but I don’t think they cared.

Brother&Sister-in-law

Luke & Christine

Ben&Abby

My youngest brother, Ben

What are your lows and highs this week?

 

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InstaFriday: Lots & Lots of Bacon

I haven’t done InstaFriday in quite a while, but wanted to link up this week because Lows & Highs is on a hiatus for right now.
Our pepper mill broke all over Brian’s Saturday morning breakfast. We stared in surprise for a moment and then laughed and took a picture. Fortunately, he was able to brush the peppercorns off and still ate his food. He missed the peppercorn that landed in his juice glass, though!
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We went to a princess-themed birthday party for two young sisters, a five-year-old and a one-year-old. Thanks to Pinterest, I made a travel-sized drawing kit for the older sister. Thanks to Sara & Eli’s recommendation, we gave the younger sister a bubble bucket (not pictured).
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We had a brunch at church and I didn’t know what to take, so I half-jokingly suggested to Brian, “We could just take lots & lots of bacon.” He agreed as gleefully as a kid accepting birthday presents. I also took fruit salad.
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Cola is now four months old and finally old enough to go to the dog park! She often turns to the comfort of her pillow when she gets in trouble or when we are not available to constantly play with her. She has her own hashtag on Twitter and Instagram: #ColaPup.
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life rearranged

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Lows & Highs: Busyness & Secret Agents

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

 

 

Low: I had a sudden case of “overcommittment-itis” over the weekend. Its symptoms can include planning fatigue, a rash of urgent tasks, decision-making aversion, and thoughts of “why did I agree to do all these things?” A spontaneous date night – courtesy of my sweet husband – and Sunday lunch with new friends helped me recover and regain perspective in time to have fun with VBS kickoff Sunday evening.

 

 

High: BriaD3 Badgen and I have been enjoying the fifth and sixth graders at our Vacation Bible School this week. The theme is “Agency D3: Discover, Decide, Defend” from Lifeway. It is an exciting (and silly, the way we do it) secret agent theme that encourages kids to collect and consider evidence about who Jesus is.

 

 

Agent Brian

 

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Lows & Highs: Exercise & Dirt

Low: This week, my low was the exercising-so-hard-I feel-like-I’ll-die feeling when Brian decided to rev up the pace on our Saturday morning walk. There are no pictures, but I was definitely hot pink, sweaty, and out of breath when we finished shaving a whole minute off our usual minutes-per-mile pace!

High: We celebrated Fathers’ Day with my family and I taught Eli how to use his new sand toys. He may have also learned a “fun game” from Aunt Abby that involves using the scoop to catapult dirt and sticks across the grass… he was going to put them in his mouth, though!

UncleBrian&Eli

Look how big Eli has gotten!

Eli&Toys

One happy toddler!

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Lows & Highs: Mission Trip

Low: There were numerous, random delays on our road trip from Memphis to Kansas but we made the best of it. With the help of Waze on my phone, we avoided one stretch of road construction but there was not a good detour around a second one. While we crept along in the two-lane construction zone, Brian noticed there was no traffic in the oncoming lane on the other side of the concrete dividers and guessed there was a wreck. He was right and we eventually came upon the scene of a semi versus car accident on a bridge with no room to get around in the narrow lane. We drove past about ten miles of cars stopped in the other lane, grateful that we were not headed that direction. 2014-03-21 18.32.38
High: My high this week was seeing what God did at Bible club on Whittier! It is so very easy to get attached to the kids in the few days we get to enjoy them. Also, I love seeing our college student team grow spiritually and emotionally during the week.

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Craft time is always hands-on, even for the leaders!

2-5 year-olds in a train!

Leading the youngest kids’ group (2-5 years) is like I imagine herding cats is. Sometimes we could get their attention by hollering, “Let’s make a train!”

Yoshi, Abby, Courtney

Yoshi (left) and Courtney are two-year-old who got attached to several of us and like to be carried around. It’s hard to see in this photo, but Courtney and I have matching purple eyeshadow.

 

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Bible Club Update

We began the week with 18 kids and reached 34 when we moved to a later start time on Tuesday. On Wednesday, 61 kids showed up to play and do crafts and hear Bible stories! It was almost (read “totally”) more than our team could handle but it was marvelous chaos. 

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On Thursday, our last afternoon of club, our team of ten – plus Sarah, our StreetReach staff member – prepared extra craft supplies and made plans for around the same number of kids. Things seemed to be running smoothly with 58 kids listening to a story about following Jesus and making salvation bracelets. Suddenly an ice cream truck appeared (no kidding!) and had them all distracted and running to it, even though most had little or no money. Andrew talked to the men in the truck and they moved on. We eventually were able to corral most of the kids back to their activities and the bracelets sparked some good conversations about following Jesus. 
 
There are more stories to come, but it is late and I am tired. Here are a few of my favorite Bible club moments:

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Lows & Highs: Exploring with Eli

Low: I had a terrible headache on Monday… ALL DAY. My normal over-the-counter pain reliever did not help and neither did any of my usual “home remedies.” Eventually, I went to bed at a decent hour and had a refreshing night’s sleep that did dissipate the headache.

High: We met up with my parents and my siblings’ families at the rehabilitation center where my grandparents are currently living and we celebrated winter birthdays. We had lots of silly, laid-back fun over pizza and chocolate cupcakes and cheesecake. Of course, Eli was highly entertaining, mostly because he is an animated, curious toddler who likes attention. I am still working on being the fun aunt, so I happily let Eli play with my keychain flashlight and smart phone. Apparently he likes take selfies and examine things with the light.

FamilyBirthdaysMar14 EliExplores

What were your lows and highs this week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Wedding Rehearsal Adventures

The day before our wedding was hot but cooled off a little in the late afternoon when thunderstorms rolled in. As we gathered for the rehearsal, my dad warned everyone we may have to take shelter because the storms were likely to produce tornados. My response was something like, “Okay, let us know if we have to move.”

We ended up having to take shelter twice in two of the church bathrooms (there were two consecutive storms or one big one with two parts). The second storm was the biggest and Dad had us take cover in the shelters right before the city tornado sirens sounded. (A storm-wary dad with a smart phone is better than a weather radio and faster than tornado sirens!)

While we were in the shelters/bathrooms the second time, the power went out. Eventually, the worst of the storm passed and we emerged to a dark church and flooded parking lot (as far as I know, no vehicles were damaged).

Taking shelter with friends & family

Taking shelter with friends & family

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Tornado buddies Gram & Eli (a.k.a. my mom & nephew)

Conveniently, we had planned to have the rehearsal dinner in the fellowship hall and the lasagna stayed warm in the ovens. There was still no power, though, so the hall was very dark. I saw someone start lighting tea lights on the tables and realized I had better candles. I recruited my brother-in-law, an usher, and a friend to help me get most of the pillar candles decorating the sanctuary and put them around the dinner tables.

One of the guests seemed surprised, “These are your wedding candles! Are you sure you want to use them?”

“Oh, sure! They won’t burn down much. At my sister’s wedding, we burned the pillar candles all day and barely made a dent.”

Before dinner was over, the power came back on. As people finished eating, Brian stood up to thank everyone. His speech began something like, “Abby and I would like to thank everyone for being a part and – oh, we have a fire!” By the time his sentence registered in my brain, he was already at a nearby table, snatching a burning paper napkin and dropping it on the floor to put it out. Everyone was fine and I found out later that one of the kids had been playing with a tea light. Poking a candle with a paper napkin is not advisable!

Brian finished his thank-you speech and we wrapped up the rest of the evening without further incidents. As Brian drove me to my apartment, I told him, “After what happened today, I think there’s something we need to discuss that most couples don’t think about.”

“What’s that?”

“If we have to take shelter during our wedding tomorrow, I’m not waiting anymore, I’d want Jon to marry us in the shelter.”

“I don’t think there are any storms forecasted for tomorrow.”

“I don’t care. If there’s another tornado, will you marry me in the shelter?”

He laughed, “Yes. Maybe we could stand with Jon between the two bathrooms and finish the ceremony there so people could see from both sides!”

What’s your funniest or most memorable rehearsal story? Ours is a tornado, a flood, a power outage, and a fire!

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