Family · Holidays

The New Year: 2017

2016 was an astounding year full of new adventures stretching from Alaska to New York, bonding with friends old and new, unpleasant surprises, but also plenty of memories that I will treasure forever. I can’t wait to discover what more amazing adventures God has in store for my family this coming year.

Every New Year’s Eve my siblings and I pull an all-nighter (the ultimate goal being to stay awake until the time you awoke on New Year’s Eve). As long as we don’t make a ruckus, Mom and Dad are content with our wishes, so our habits haven’t been a problem. However, this year Mom requested that we skip our tradition since New Year’s Eve was on a Saturday so staying up all night meant that we would be exhausted during the church service Sunday morning. Despite Mom’s appeals, I held firm to the belief that we can’t forsake unwritten law. Any after effects would be silently suffered. Besides, the consequences will only help create memories we will laugh about later. So the tradition continued.

  • 3:58 AM – Ansa, recognizing the increase of weight in her eyelids, took it upon herself to eat an Extreme Warhead (a candy so sour simply thinking about it will make your mouth tingle). She didn’t fall asleep.
  • 4:00 AM – Not having a phone of my own, I borrowed my mom’s (to take pictures), so it was my siblings and me who were alerted when Mom’s pill alarm went off. Ansa made the journey across the house to repeat the message.
  • 4:13 AM – My siblings and I were playing Minecraft and other electronic games on our devices.
  • 6:06 AM – Growling stomaches prompted a venture downstairs to the kitchen fridge where we fetched leftover cheese pizza.
  • 7:40 AM – My siblings and I went into craft time when we made characters out of toilet paper tubes (a product I hope to one day make a living on).
  • 8:00 AM – Another of Mom’s pill alarms went off and, again, Ansa got up to deliver the message only to find Mom already awake.
  • 8:48 AM – Haydn bid Alexa a good morning, and we discovered that her New Year resolutions include keeping up vocal exercises. Her first work out was different.

Maybe it was all the sparkling grape juice I consumed, but I was never sleepy. I felt the need to snooze under my eyes, but not in my head (thank goodness). Haydn got a bit cozy at times, and Ansa had to dip into our supply of instant waker-uppers, but we pulled through and, at 9:30 AM, we were ready to leave for church. Unsurprisingly, Mom was right: it was during worship when exhaustion punched me in the face. 😅 😅 However, I did not fall asleep. Happy New Year!!! 🎉 🎉 🎉

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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!!!

Holidays

Merry Christmas Tree Farm 2016

On November 26 my family and I went to the Merry Christmas Tree Farm in Central, South Carolina. For the past 15 years, it has been tradition to go there to find the perfect Christmas tree. After walking through the grounds many times (and doing several Manaquin Challenges), we finally found a sufficient seven-foot tree. The rest of the afternoon was spent with our friend Mrs. Deborah.

We had lunch with her at Mac’s, a local burger joint. After our meal, Mrs. Deborah looked down the table and observed me coloring. “Are you always doing something?” She asked me, wanting to know if I was bored. I explained that I simply prefer to be productive.

As I pondered over her observation, I realized how true it is. Even when I’m listening to music (to help me fall asleep) I am mentally planning a possible music video. I am sure my projects could tally up to a million, I have so many. As Dad once said, “You are a busy beaver.” 😂

Holidays

Thanksgiving 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! I thought I would take this post to write about what I am thankful for. Just so I can spare you the agony of me repeating myself: I do not deserve anything I can call my own.

First, and most important: my salvation. I am inexpressibly thankful for His love for me. Words can not accurately describe how grateful I am that I am His.

Although at times I wish the good Lord had not given them life, I can not accurately describe how immensely grateful I am for my family. I would be utterly devastated if they were taken from me. I am so thankful for each of them: my dad, my mom, my little buddy, and my little sis.

I am SO grateful for my friends. Big and small, young and old, near and far, I am thankful for them all, especially Abi. The fact that she can even cope with me is enough to be grateful for. 😂

Of course, I am thankful for so much more: oxygen, this beautiful earth, laughter, tears, comfy beds, and a home to return to each and every day. The Lord has been much too good to me. I have done nothing to deserve my life and the fact that He has blessed me with it blows me away. Thank You, Jesus, for everything.

Holidays

Halloween 2016

Finally, the day our candy craving selves had been looking forward to had arrived: Halloween. As always, I had a hard time deciding what to dress up as. Staying true to myself, I made a list which helped me eliminate ideas until I was left with one: a nerd. “Great!” My best friend exclaimed when I informed her of my final decision. “You won’t even have to dress up!” I laughed at this because I am beginning to realize that it’s true 😂. Haydn dressed up as a Hobbit and Ansa as a ballerina.

Continuing our tradition, after trick-or-treating my siblings and I dumped, sorted, and counted our Halloween candy. This year Haydn collected 465+ pieces, Ansa collected 556+, and I collected 413+ pieces of candy. The “+” includes candy we ate, gave away, or donated to the pile reserved for New Year’s (which only includes Extreme Sour War Heads)). Once we had traded what candy we did not want, my siblings and I put each piece away and headed to bed. We are going to ration these goodies in order to prevent stomach aches and sore throats. Happy Halloween!

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.

IMG_1531 And then there's Haydn. LOL.

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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Holidays

Pre-Christmas Trip

We did a couple small things the week before leaving for our Christmas trip. Friday we were at Panera, as usual, to pick up bread. Ansa and I created our own little dance (which I can not share here for some reason). Saturday we burned last year’s Christmas tree since we will not be here on July 4th to burn it then. Sunday Ansa sang a few Christmas carols for the church along with her classmates. Afterward, we went to our Grandparent’s house for lunch where we made our gingerbread house. Monday and Tuesday were stressful for me as I struggled to complete a Christmas present for my friends. Once home from school, I rushed to finish homework and then spent every spare second after that crafting, barely pausing for dinner, and staying up late. Thankfully I was able to finish by Wednesday when my mom and I dropped off the now wrapped present: my own re-creation of Marvel’s Avengers. Johnson home, here we come!

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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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Family · Friends · Greer Middle College · Holidays · Neighbors

Halloween 2015

I had a hard time deciding what to wear for Halloween. After a lot of dressing up and much consideration, I decided to be Queen Sunflower (my role in a game I invented/ book I wrote) for Trailer Park Treating (an event at school), but I promised Ansa that I would go Trick-or-Treating dressed as Anna from Disney’s Frozen. Below are pictures of this year’s costumes:

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Upon returning to the house, my siblings and I counted our candy. It took a while but we were able to see who had the most. Haydn came in first with 229 pieces, I came in second with 205, and Ansa in third with 186. I had a great time and can not wait for next year.