Tag Archives: party

What I’m Into: May 2015

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Celebrations & Travel 

We had lots of celebrations with friends and family this month. We traveled to Tulsa for a surprise birthday party for Brian’s cousin, Mark.
Surprise Party | StairStories.com

We celebrated the graduation of some of our favorite Barton students (let’s be real, we have a lot of favorites). It was also my first Barton commencement ceremony to attend as faculty, so that was fun!
Barton Graduation 2015 | StairStories.com

We celebrated Mother’s Day in Ottawa with my extended family.
Mother's Day 2015 | StairStories.com

Products

I tried the OPI Gel Color I Eat Mainely Lobster. It is a summery, vivid coral color that looks fun and summery on my toenails. I tried it on my fingernails but it seemed to clash with some of my pink, red, or purple clothing.
OPI I Eat Mainly Lobster | StairStories.com

In my May Birchbox, I tried jane iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain in Forever Pink. In the tube, it looks like a pale pink balm. The stain goes on lightly pink but brightens a bit over several minutes.
Jane Iredale Lip & Cheek Stain, Forever Pink | StairStories.com
Jane Iredale Lip & Cheek Stain, Forever Pink | StairStories.com

Around the House

I am propagating Christmas cactus from the one I inherited from my grandma when she and Grandpa moved out of their farmhouse. As best I know, the original is at least a decade old. Grandma could not remember when she got it.
Christmas Cactus | StairStories.com

Mint is currently taking over my vegetable garden because Cola knocked over the flowerpot where I planted it last year. Does anyone have good recipes that use lots of fresh mint???
Mint Garden | StairStories.com

Favorite Reads from around the Web

Exercise

Brian and I have been taking Cola on longer and longer walks this month. This week we are up to two miles at a time.

During Jazzercise’s May promotion, my friend Jessica invited me to try a free class. I did Jazzercise about ten years ago, but the instructor in my hometown moved away and it was no longer offered. I enjoy the exercise even though I lack coordination at footwork and rhythm.

What are you into this month?

I am linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

Disclosure: Some affiliate links included in this post. If you click through, any purchase you make supports this site.

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What I’m Into: April 2015

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Techie

The best tech tip I have learned in months: What to do when you accidentally close a tab.

I actually started playing Criminal Case before April, but have really gotten into it this month. It is mainly a hidden object game that is not so challenging that I get frustrated. Because the player is a police detective solving murders, I would not recommend it for children.

This month, I had fun using Hyperlapse to film and speed up some of the incredible storm clouds moving past us.

Travel

One Saturday, we traveled to visit my grandparents and to celebrate our family’s spring birthdays with all the family members who could come. After I assisted Grandma to the lunch table, I sat next to her and assumed that Brian would sit next to me. However, I was surprised and flattered when my aunt wheeled Grandpa in and asked where he wanted to sit, “Oh, I’ll just sit there next to Abby.” Of course I am not going to complain when my 93- and 98-year-old grandparents both want to sit with me!
 My birthday with my grandparents
Spring Birthday Collage 2015

Products

In April, I added the OPI Gel Color My Dogsled is a Hybrid to my collection. It’s a pretty aqua color that reminds me of summer and tropical water.
 OPI Axxium My Dogsled is a Hybrid | StairStories.com

For my birthday this month, Brian gave me this lovely double-infinity necklace and I love it!
 Double-Infinity Necklace |StairStories.com

Around the House

Cola is almost a year old and we started leash training her as soon as we brought her home last July. Despite all our training, she still strained at the end of the leash (or a much as we let her), pulling and jerking so hard that she causes her normal collar caused her to cough and gag. I decided she was old enough for a training collar and – for the sake of my shoulders and her neck – she needed one. The store we shop at for dog supplies did not have any training collars in her size but they did carry a Sporn Non-Pulling Mesh Harness. I was skeptical but desperate, so I bought it. Brian and I had mixed results when we took Cola on our evening walk. Cola was willing but excitedly wiggling when I put the harness on her, but it took some getting used to. There were several periods during the walk when she wriggled, flipped, and twisted trying to bite the leash or get out of the harness. Failing that, she flopped down on a cushy lawn in protest. When she was not fighting or protesting the harness, she walked sedately beside me and even voluntarily sat when I stopped at street corners. Brian and I were impressed with the improvement in her behavior. In the weeks since, she grew accustomed to the harness stopped struggling against it. She does sometimes pull toward something thrilling, like trees or other dogs, but it is much easier to walk her without her constant jerking on my shoulders and her neck.
 Cola's Sporn Stop-Pulling Mesh Harness | StairStories.com

Favorite Reads from around the Web

Blog

I have not posted much this month because teaching has grown more hectic as the semester progressed. Since I started this teaching job three weeks after the semester began, I have been planning lessons as I go and feel as though I am still catching up. The end-of-semester scramble for me has included writing, teaching, and grading all the big writing projects, double-checking that competencies have been met, tallying lab hours, and writing tests. I enjoy the work and the students but, after working all day, I have not been motivated to blog much in the evenings. Honestly, my favorite part of having a hobby blog is that I can take time away when life gets crazy!Weekends when you're a teacher #morecoffee | StairStories.com

What are you into this month?

I am linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

Disclosure: Some affiliate links included in this post. If you click through, any purchase you make supports this site.

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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: Video Game Edition

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.

 

Lows

My low this week was the way my lower back has been cramping and aching from hours of sitting on the floor and cutting tulle as well as bending over various projects to make my costume. (It is getting better now.) A second low was that Brian’s costume, ordered online, arrived and was uncomfortably short. With my rudimentary sewing skills, I was able to alter the costume so he could wear it but that was a whole unplanned costume project to squeeze in before Friday.

Luigi & Princess Peach Couple Costumes |StairStories.com

Highs

Our Halloween evening was fun! We hurried home after work and got dressed because one of us was sure trick-or-treaters would start coming at four-thirty or five. (The waves of costumed kids actually began later.) We tried to make our house look welcoming with the living room curtains open and the porch light on. As families came to the door, we greeted them in our costumes (Luigi and Princess Peach). Sometimes the little girls would shyly tell me they liked my costume when I complimented theirs. The boys were funnier, gaping at Brian and telling him things like, “I like your game, Luigi!” and “Luigi, you’re my favorite.” Occasionally, we heard voices of kids who could see in the window before they reached the door, “Hey, look! Luigi’s in there!” He was extremely popular with the over forty kids who stopped by.

Around 9:30, we left to set up our popcorn table at the college’s dance party and to surprise students with our costumes. My favorite reaction was Lindsey’s. She saw us standing behind the table and said something like, “Oh, wow, you guys! I mean you, oh, and you, and… oh my gosh, you guys are just so adorable!”

How was your week? Did you dress up for Halloween?

Luigi & Princess Peach Couple Costumes |StairStories.com

 

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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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October Highlights

Where Does the Time Go?
Somehow October flew by and I have not been very inspired or prolific when it comes to writing of all sorts.

CCF Cookout
At the beginning of October, we had a CCF cookout complete with hot dog roasting and s’mores!
CCF Fall 2013 Cookout
Eli’s Birthday
Our nephew, Eli, turned one and we were able to visit the weekend before. He is curious and strong-willed, and very expressive. He went through a phase (and maybe is still in it) where he stared blankly at anyone trying to take his picture with a camera or phone. On this visit, though, I flipped the camera view on my phone so he could see our image while I took the photos and he had fun making these faces!
Eli Makes Faces

After five minutes, Eli figured out exactly where the camera lens was. Smart kid!

After five minutes, Eli figured out where the camera lens is. Smart kid!

Taking selfies with a cute nephew – Embarrassing or excusable? Vote in the comments!

Fall Break, Parents’ Visit, Snow
My parents came out to visit while Brian and I were on fall break. We wanted it to be a relaxing weekend for all of us but Dad and Brian finished their one project (replacing the furnace filters) and also tackled replacing bathroom outlets, removing and adjusting door hinges, and repairing a kitchen drawer support. Mom and I cooked, tidied, and did manicures.Mom & Abby Manis

We did squeeze in a fun dinner-and-games night with our friends Pennie and Clay, a movie night, and a yummy Chinese buffet lunch, too.
October snow!I had hoped to take our guests on some walking adventures through our local zoo and the nature preserve, but the first snow of the season arrived on October 18 and canceled our outdoor plans.

Pumpkin Patch
For one of our weekly dates, Brian took me to a pumpkin patch and corn maze. We wound our way through the maze and found all the markers, then took photos with some of the biggest pumpkins I have ever seen! Brian’s thumbs-up in the collage is because he ordered sweet tea at lunch and the waitress left him a glass and a pitcher full of tea. He was a happy guy!
Pumpkin Patch
Halloween
The CCF group helped serve snow cones at the college’s Halloween party. Brian was Mayhem from the Allstate commercials and I was Flo from Progressive. Rounding out our group of leaders, Clay was Jake from State Farm, Pennie was the Orbitz “clean it up!” girl.
Halloween 2013
Mayhem & FloFunny story: I sketched the lettering for my Flo apron on paper and then transferred the outline onto the apron and painted it in acrylic. When I was about halfway through painting (starting at the E and working backwards), Brian came over for a look and frowned.
“What’s wrong?”
“Um… you forgot the I.”
“What?!” I had a tiny bit of space between the S and V so I squeezed in the missing letter and moved on.

It so happened that my sister was on speaker phone when he told me and she thought it was hilarious because I am usually good at conventional spelling and she was a more phonetic speller as a kid.

Share your funny (mis)spelling story or tell about your Halloween costume.

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Lows & Highs: Late Nights & College Students

Low:
This week, my low was the challenge of working cheerfully on less than six hours of sleep on Friday. I came home and took a nap before continuing with the rest of my Friday evening activity!

Highs:
2013-08-27 20.57.471. One of my highs was the reason for my lack of sleep: 9 pm Bible study followed by half-price appetizers out with students. We had 24 students at the study and I have enjoyed getting to know them!


2. I also enjoyed spending a couple evenings with my friend, Pennie, preparing for her sister’s baby shower. We chatted and painted wooden letters in her nephew’s initials and made an adorable diaper cake. I had painted letters before and Pennie had made diaper cakes, so we made a good team.

2013-08-27 21.07.52 2013-08-27 21.12.49

What were your lows and highs from the past 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 Collages

We do not have our official wedding photos back yet but here are some of our favorite informal ones!

Wedding Party Collage
Clockwise from the top left:
1. Groomsmen looking sharp: Mark, Chris, Clay (the best man), and Ben.
2. Cool, secret-agent-like ushers: Luke, Brian, Conner, and Cliff.
3. Lovely bridesmaid (and new sister-in-law!) Shanna.
4. Beautiful bridesmaid Laura.
5. Officiant Jon, looking relaxed.
6. Us with our attendants and ushers, looking a bit formal.
7. Personal attendant Rene, a rock star at organizing and assisting (note the way she easily holds three phones, a water cup, and a bouquet!)
8. Glowing matron of honor Sara (my favorite biological sister)

Wedding FunLeft to right from top left:
1 & 2. Getting dressed: Mom safety-pinned my dress straps because she did not trust the snaps. She told me to have someone check them if I felt anything tear or give way. Sara added that I should get help if I felt stabbing or bleeding and we cracked up.

3. Mom kisses Ben, my brother, after helping with his boutonniere.

4. Clay is a good sport about getting drafted to hold a bouquet.

5. My side of the family.
6. Brian’s side of the family. Interestingly, both grandmas pictured are on our dad’s sides, are named Ruth, and were born January 17 (one year apart)! Crazy, huh?

7. One of Brian’s favorite wedding day photos of me. I was laughing at the groom and groomsmen antics while they were posing for photos.

8. Josh, my brother-in-law, with Eli, my nephew. Eli’s ensemble is a white onesie with attached gray vest and purple tie because my sister is creative and handy with sewing! She added a purple band to his favorite hat (because he doesn’t like sun in his eyes or sunglasses).

9. Wedding party picture. I think our instructions were something like, “Okay, now act silly… or really excited… or something.”

10. Brian with his grandma Ruth.

11. The five of us girls grew close during our years in senior high girls’ Bible study with Andrea, our youth pastor’s wife. When the first one of us got married in 2007, we decided this photo would have to be our special tradition. Five years later, this was the fifth wedding.

12. Jon prays with the bridesmaids and me right before the ceremony begins. He told me, “This has been the most relaxed, special, fun wedding.”

13. A kiss from Dad as we wait around the corner from the sanctuary.

14. A high five from my brother, Luke, right before he and Conner open the doors for our entrance.

15. “You may kiss your bride.” At the reception, a dear, long-time family friend quizzed me, “I have to ask, was that a first kiss? Like, the first kiss?”

I smiled, “Um, no. It wasn’t.”

“Dang, I lost a dollar!”

16. My parents kissing after we drove away in a shower of bubbles.

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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

WeddingRehearsal2

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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Lows & Highs: 4/17-4/23/13

Low: By the end of the day on Saturday, I felt as stuffed as if I had spent the whole day gorging on delicious food (which is true!). That is not much of a low but it is what I have!

Highs:
1) With the help of our mom, my sister planned and hosted the best wedding shower I have ever attended. (And I am not just saying that because it was mine!) She took all my “It would be fun if…” suggestions and blended them with her creativity to make a fun, laid-back shower. We invited ladies of all ages and let the youngest girls volunteer to be models for the toilet paper wedding dress game. I am not sure whether they had more fun letting us older ladies dress them up or tearing off the toilet paper at the end! We had delicious brunch food and a coffee/tea bar with my favorite homemade gingerbread syrup, too.
Shower1Collage
2) On Saturday afternoon, our group of five girls met up for coffee since the three out-of-towners were here for the shower. (We have been close since we were in senior high girls Bible study together). We caught up on new details and enthusiastically chatted about weddings, babies, pregnancy, husbands, and whether it is easier to parent boys or girls. (So far there are three sons in our group with another expected in May, so none of us really know.)

5 Girls April 2013

What were your lows and highs from the past 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under celebrations, milestones, stories, weddings