Extended Family · Family · Friends · Holidays

Christmas 2016

Christmas Adam

I found the week before Christmas Day exhausting as I worked around the clock to finish making gifts for my best friend and her family. Only when the Rawlings ran out of their home to greet us (and Mrs. Rawlings and Noah verbally expressed their amazement) did I realize the multitude of gifts I bore. I suppose one, handmade present for each member of their family is a lot. 😅 😅

After placing the gifts under one of the Rawlings’ two Christmas trees, Noah fetched the rest of his family while I gave into Abi’s insistence that I open her present for me: a black frame containing a burlap background which depicted our friendship. The gratitude and praise I expressed to her did not accurately communicate my profuse love for her sweet, creative, and thoughtful gift (which also included a bar of dark chocolate and multiple bookmarks). Once home, I placed the present on the headboard of my bed and noticed that, since doing so, an overwhelming emotion fills me when I see the frame upon entering my room: joy. Today was the first time I fully realized how happy Abi and my friendship with her makes me. I am forever grateful for both and don’t deserve either.

Once the rest of the Rawlings had been rounded up, the youngest children opened my gift to their family: a cross-stitch of an eagle. With one glance Mrs. Rawlings, Abi, and Sarah knew the thought and effort that went into this gift and so their praise, comments, and questions were the first to reach my ears. The more time that passed after the cross-stitch had been revealed, the more Mr. Rawlings and Noah squinted. The closer their faces came to the gift, the more they realized the long and complicated process required to produce such a piece. Each family member was amazed. Despite her few words, it was Mrs. Rawlings who expressed full knowledge of the loyalty, love, appreciation, and kindness I sewed in every stitch, the effort that made my gift so much more than string and cloth.

Christmas Eve

Breaking from tradition, it was the day before Christmas that my mom’s side of the family gathered at my grandparent’s house for dinner and a gift exchange. One humorous gift included a bucket of golf balls for Uncle John (each of which was individually wrapped), but the highlight of my evening occurred shortly after Haydn unwrapped a VR (Virtual Reality) Headset.

Appropriately, my brother was the first to experience a virtual reality: a roller coaster ride. In the real world, he held onto a doorway like he was tied to the mast of a ship and only left this position when explaining to me what he was seeing and where it was. “And the seats,” Haydn continued. “Their red and black.” He lowered himself to the floor and patted the space around him. “And they’re right here.” Following my voice, my brother did a bit of exploring (which landed him on the armrest of the couch) before returning to the staircase where he contentedly plopped down for the rest of his ride.

Haydn was quick to share his gift with the rest of the family, so the VR headset made its way around the room thrilling whoever dared to put it on. When the device reached my Aunt Chris, she turned around in her seat and stood in her chair on her knees. “Ooh.” She said.

“Christina,” my dad gave voice. “This looks quite awkward.” Aunt Chris did not seem to hear.

“Whoah!” She exclaimed, stretching her arms into the air and swaying back and forth. 😂 😂 I love my family.

Christmas Day

Santa outdid himself this year. The lengthy list of presents he left had me (at least) sincerely believing that I am spoiled. My family and I are truly blessed.

One of the items my dad put on his wish list (besides 3 John 1:4) was an Amazon Echo Dot speaker (the smaller version of Alexa which is basically another rendition of Siri), so Grandpa and Grandma bought him one (which my Dad received on Christmas Eve). On Christmas morning, Dad opened a present to find that Mom, too, had bought him an Echo Dot. Minutes later Dad opened two more gifts (both, also, from Mom) each of which included another Echo Dot, bringing his total up to four. Apparently, they were on sale and Mom didn’t know Grandpa and Grandma had purchased one. 😂 😂 Sharing the love, Dad gave one each to Mom, Haydn, and me.

Once darkness blanketed our town once more, my family and I left our cozy home to experience the Roper Mountain Holiday Lights (a family tradition). Upon our return, having requested and received permission, my siblings and I grabbed our ENOs and some additional bedding in preparation for another adventure: camping out under our back porch. Only in the south can you get away with sleeping outside on Christmas night. 😂 😂 Happy holidays, everyone!!!

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Extended Family

Double Trouble at the Rink

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The afternoon following a sleepover, my family and I went roller skating with my two, six-year-old cousins, John and Joel. Not long after I began helping one of the twins around the rink, Mom took over, and I skated on in a slippery fashion; however, I never fell. Haydn soon came along my side, and I took his hand. After leaving me at every other turn (so he could go fast), Haydn spent the majority of the rest of our skate time with me (which I much appreciated since I can skate much quicker, and with more confidence, when holding someone’s hand). John and Joel spent the more significant portion of their time on the floor but, as our skate time ran out, they could be found inching their way across the rink feet at a time before they toppled over again. In the end, everyone left the rink a better skater than they were when they entered the building. 😂 😂

Extended Family · Friends

Pool Time

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

At the Heritage Lakes Recreation Center pool with the Rawlings family, we played several games including but not limited to Marco Polo, Blob Tag, and Statues.  There was one specific round of Marco Polo when Abi was dead set on getting me tagged. She followed me around the pool like a shark before locking me in her arms. Haydn, Ansa, and I have always played by a “no sacrificing” rule, so several times during my struggle to free myself from Abi I exclaimed, “Surely there is a rule somewhere against this!” Abi and Noah, both very entertained by my struggle, were each faithful to give me a “no” in reply. 🙄 😂 😂

As the gap between Joshua (who was “Marco”) and I rapidly shrunk, I realized talking Abi out of sacrificing was getting me nowhere, so I turned things up a few notches. I began to squirm, kick, and wiggle which, for the first couple of times, allowed me to successfully free myself and swim away before Abi was able to catch me again. However, the third or fourth time she ensnared me, Haydn joined in.

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With Abi immobilizing my arms, and Haydn a hold of my legs, I gave up. I was already breathless and the energy it would have taken to shake off Haydn (who is much stronger than me) in addition to Abi would have taken much more vigor than I was already using. Still, when captors approached Joshua I gave one last kick so that Haydn ended up being the closest to Joshua and more likely to get tagged. Although it would have been cool if my brother had been the next swimmer to be identified as “Marco”, Joshua had already tagged another swimmer. So the game continued.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

At my neighborhood pool, Hunter broke our “how long a human tower can stay standing” record. This is not something we time, we just knew.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Toward the end of the week, the Heffernan family (the youngest Uncle, Aunt, and cousins on my mom’s side) were in town so we spent the day with them. I had a lot of fun with John and Joel. They are six now so the usual simple answers and exaggerated facial expressions one puts on when talking to little kids no longer convinces them. I’m sure their IQ has shot up since we last saw them.

We spent the afternoon with them at the pool. John spent most of his time atop a human tower before plunging back into the water. Joel was usually found in the corner testing the limits of his breath-holding abilities. I was very impressed by how brave John-John was and by how long Joel could stay under the surface. These boys are going places! 😂 😂

To view more photos from this event, click here. Once in Flickr, click the arrow on your right to view the next picture. Thanks!

Extended Family

Tea with Grandma

IMG_4984Friday, April 22, 2016

The ladies at my grandma’s church put together a mother-daughter tea party. The women in my immediate family had been to a similar event in the past and so accepted Grandma’s invitation, looking forward to making more tea-time memories.

After a savory dinner, tea was served and we were released to eat the treats that had been staring us down from their spot in the middle of the table since we arrived. Everything was delicious and the music and speeches were wonderful. I had a great time and am even more inspired then I was before to host my own tea party some day.

To see more photos from this event, click here. Once in Flickr, click the arrow on your right to view the next picture. Thanks!

Extended Family · Family · Holidays · Redeeming Grace

Easter 2016

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After the church service, my family and I went to my Grandparent’s house for Easter dinner. Once stuffed full of Grandma’s delicious cooking, we opened up an egg decorating package. It was fun to mix up the colors and experiment with different ways to apply them to the eggs as we worked together in trying to decipher which way worked best. In the end, we had a patriotic egg, an egg sprinkled with gold, and many other eggs of various colors. Happy Easter!IMG_5087

Extended Family · Friends · Holidays

Christmas Break 2015

The Johnson Home

I usually get out of school at 1:30 PM on Fridays, but Friday the 18 was an exam day so, since there was only one exam that day, my classmates and I were released at 10:30 AM. The weather was nice outside. A bit chilly but, overall, pleasant. Needless to say, my family picked me up, we drove two hours to Greenville, Tenessee, pulled into the Johnson family’s driveway, got out, and it was snowing. Talk about a change of weather! My first reaction was, It’s not supposed to be snowing! It’s December! We’re not supposed to get snow until March! Ansa said she wanted to go home but I’m sure she was joking, right? 😂 😂

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Ellie and I spent the afternoon running around taking pictures. That evening we went to their old church to enjoy a local Christmas recital that Simon participated in. I had fun hanging out with them while we tried not to freeze to death. 😂 😂

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Saturday Ellie and I filmed half of a soon to be music video. The boys joined us as we made our way back to the house which is when they discovered large pieces of ice behind the barn. Simon broke a big chunk over his head which looked really painful but seemed not to scratch him. Once back inside we played several games with the rest of the family including dodgeball and Buzz Word. Later the girls decided to open my Christmas presents to their family and they posed for pictures before we retreated to the basement to play more games.

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Sunday came, as it always will, and we had to go our own ways. I had a lot of fun with you guys! Hope we can get back together really soon!

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QOTD: “It seems we have always been, and will always be, friends. Time can change much, but not this.” -Winnie the Pooh

The Heffernan Home

On December 21, we arrived at my Uncle John and Aunt Christina’s house. After unpacking, we spent the evening hanging before us kids and Uncle John went caroling at a nursing home.

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On the 22 we played Ticket to Ride before Aunt Chris, Mom, Haydn, Ansa, John, Joel, and I went to Martin Nature Park for the afternoon.

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Christmas Eve was filled with cake decorating and a lovely dinner and Christmas day, of course, was filled with present opening and the enjoyment of our gifts. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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The Blackert Home

On December 26 we arrived at the Blackert’s home in Dearing, Kansas. Mrs. Blackert, or Aunt Barbi as we call her, has been my mom’s best friend since high school so visits with her and her family are real treats since they now live so far away.

Over the summer the Thomas and Blackert kids performed The Phantom of the Opera. We had a lot of fun producing it so, over Christmas break, we attempted Les Miserables. Sadly, this project never reached completion but we had a lot of fun and made many memories while filming what little we did.

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It’s insane how much Heide looks like the actress who plays Cosette in the movie.

It snowed while we were in Kansas so our days were filled with a mix of filming and breaks spent in the frozen water.

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On New Year’s Eve, we did our best to stay up all night but weren’t able to keep our tradition as well as we have in the past. Heide fell asleep around 4:00 AM, Ansa around 4:30 AM, I around 6:00, and Haydn around 8:00. I had A LOT of fun with you guys and hope we can visit soon.

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Extended Family · Holidays

Thanksgiving 2015

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my kith and kin (friends and family). They are a true blessing from God and I do not know what I would do without them. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Extended Family

Grandpa’s Birthday 2015

IMG_9831On September 20th we celebrated my grandfather’s 92nd birthday. It seems like just yesterday the entire family was here celebrating his 90th birthday. We are all extremely thankful to the Lord for him. Happy birthday, Grandpa! And may you have many more.

Extended Family

John and Joel’s 4th Birthday

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Extended Family

A Day with John and Joel

For about a week in June of 2014, my cousins John and Joel came east from Oklahoma. One of the days that they were in town was spent with us. My cousins came over to our house where we played for about an hour, and then we went to the pool along with our other cousin Brendan and two of our neighbors, Josh and Ethan.

During the time that we were playing at my house, John and Joel had each taken a Nerf sword from Haydn and Ansa’s room and found great joy in slicing away at people’s legs. It started out when John hit Ansa’s legs and she fell to the floor, playing dead. He started laughing and Joel said, “No, John! Let me do it!” 😂 😂 They kept “killing” Ansa and then did so to everyone else as they came in. I quickly discovered that the only way to get them to stop hitting you was to fall down and play dead. Although though their whacks would sometimes hurt, there was lots of laughter.

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When the twins proved to be unstoppable, the boys fled to the front yard and flew up the tree. John and Joel ran around it trying to get them but were unsuccessful.

I was in the driveway taking pictures when I noticed John standing by our front bushes rubbing his cheek and whimpering. I went over to him and picked him up. I tried to calm him down and asked what was wrong, but wouldn’t talk. Then a thought came to me: “Did you get stung by a bumblebee?” I asked. He nodded. I took him inside.

As I carried him upstairs he said, “I got stung by a bunglebee.” I giggled at his mispronunciation of the word. I carried the wounded soldier to Dad and informed him of the situation, asking what we could do to help it. Dad said to put mustard over the sting, so I set John on Dad’s bed and dashed off to my room. I returned with a packet of Mustard and spread it over John’s sting before I carrying him downstairs. Once hearing about John’s “bunglebee” sting, everyone stopped fighting. With all the attention on him, John squirmed to be put down, and I complied. A few minutes later he said he felt fine.

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