Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Noah!



My middle brother,  Noah, is eleven years old today! 
A few facts about Noah?
He is sweet and loves quality time. (I'm  afraid I don't give him enough of it).
He has the most beautiful, mesmerizing deep brown eyes.
He loves to draw and color.
Since he was born just three days after Christmas, I have memories of my sister and me going to the hospital to await his arrival in our bright red Christmas dresses. Papa and Grandma came to stay with us. We have footage of Natalie, Tim, and me jumping up and down to try and get enough height to see him through the hospital window.
I remember helping to feed him when he was around a year old; unable to contain my excitement over going on a vacation to see our friends, I poured it all into his patient ears.
I also remember that he's always been a noisemaker; Mom tells us she remembers hearing it get really loud all of a sudden, so she would tell the three older kids to be quiet, only to realize it was the baby in the highchair making all the noise.
I remember his first Christmas; we went to Idaho to see Papa and Grandma. We have the sweetest pictures of him and Papa from that time. (Although, he's always been partial to Grandma, because she prepared him a special treat and carefully fed it to him when we went to see them after he got his tonsils removed and couldn't eat solid food for a while).
Today, we surprised him and had his friend, Tim, over for the day. It was so funny to see his reaction! He got that huge grin that is unique only to him. :)
Happy birthday, Noah! I love you!
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Monday, December 14, 2015

Life and A Tale of Two Cities + Blooper Reel

Hello all! How are you? I've enjoyed reading your posts, although the fact that I don't get on my laptop much (I tend to do most things from my tablet these days) has made it hard for me to comment, since blogger often glitches on said tablet.
It's, as you know,, there's been some partying going on. :) Besides the regular school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and AWANA on Wednesday nights, this week we went to our choir Christmas party which went from 4:30 to 9:30. I had to get there earlier, though, because I needed geometry help from my friend. :P But the party was so fun! We had an indoor snowball fight (with fake snowballs), sang and sang and sang, ate delicious food, and played Apples to Apples.
The next day, I went to my friend Elizabeth's birthday party. (Thanks for having me!) We watched Christmas classics, ate pizza, and played games...including Mafia, during which my friend Chloe totally betrayed me. She completely had me fooled into thinking she was a townsperson, right up until my death by her hand.
And tonight is my sister and two youngest brother's piano recital. (The first time for the boys, so should be awesome!)
My Great Books class's most recent project was to divide the class into two halves and have each one make a musical video on A Tale of Two Cities. It was super fun to make, and although I don't care much for my acting, and Sophie was cruel and put in a montage of me laughing (I think she just wanted to get something on me), I'm pleased with how it turned out so I thought I'd share it here. :)
Well, I'd best be off to study for my chemistry test and drink coffee. I'm so glad that this is the  last week of school! And on Thursday, all our classes our shorter so we can have a Christmas party. 
 I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas season!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Brandi!

Today is my second oldest sister, Brandi's, birthday! She is my goofy, caring, Sound of Music loving, sister!
She is so amazing! When my littlest brother, Levi, was in the hospital, she took the other four of us on top of her own baby, which was not an easy feat. (At that point, we ranged in age from 7 down to 2 years old).
She does the best "Indian" accent and makes us crack up all the time! Nothing like getting together for a Christmas gift wrapping party with her!
November 2014
She is also the most amazing mother to her 6 children!
Brandi and her two littlest boys, Cooper and Tucker.
And, of course, she manages to be properly intimidating goofy when she's getting ready to beat us at a game.
Thanksgiving 2014
I could go on about my amazing big sister forever,but I will not.I just want to say I love you, Brandi, always!
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Blessings (11/25/2015)

Things to be thankful for....
My family
My two youngest brothers, Noah and Levi.
(My hair was braided for the Hansel and Gretel play; we were watching dress rehearsal in the time we had before we had to go get ready).
My nieces and nephews, including my sweet newest nephew, Tucker Zane, born October 29.
 The beautiful state in which I live. (Picture taken by my lovely mother).
When God knows who should be in your life and causes an opportunity to get to know each other better...
 When God allows an old(er) friendship to blossom, in spite of the miles separating us.  
For moments like these...
I have so much to be thankful for, but truthfully, there is only blessing I have that I know will always be there no matter what happens to me, what people I lose, where I live...and that is the blessing of Jesus in my heart.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Slow Fade

This ring on my hand. I don't want I to represent a lie in any way. Because purity is not just about saving my heart in one way. It's about not allowing anything to creep into my heart that doesn't belong; it's about letting my heart belong to God and God alone.
It's about not allowing myself to take even the first steps towards sinking into a lifestyle that is not in any way pleasing towards God. As my mom says about using wrong language-"Don't do it. Not even once. Because once you start, it's almost impossible to stop."
It's about not allowing my eyes to see things they should not be seeing-in movies, online....
It's about not allowing my ears to listen to music with rebellious lyrics or to people who are trying to sway me in the wrong direction....
It's about not allowing my feet to take me to places that will only hurt me....
It's not about allowing hurtful words or swearing to come from my lips...
I want God to have reign over the throne of my heart, so that if there is a man He has waiting for me, God can allow him to share my heart, at the right time-and if that is not what He has planned for me, then he can protect me from unnecessary heart ache, or allow me to grow through that pain.
I want to be a good example to the "little feet following"-my little brothers, nieces and nephews, the kids I babysit, the kids I work with in AWANA.
I don't want to give myself away in any way.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy 9th Birthday, Levi!

Just gotta say, I love the scheduled post feature on blogger. :)
I'm going to try to be better about posting on each of my sibling's birthdays-I think it's a great way to introduce them to you and for me to think more deeply about the things I love about each one and not just the things that annoy me.
So tomorrow (today by the time this post surfaces for you all) my baby brother turns 9 years old. When did that happen?? It's so crazy! I remember when he was a year old and terrified of the vacuum. I loved it because it meant he clung to me when he wouldn't usually let me hold him at all.
But, first....let me backtrack a bit.
On November 2, 2006, my brother Levi entered the world. I remember being so crazy excited to see him and sitting in the hospital waiting room with my siblings. I was so excited that we got to go in and take turns looking at him. (With Noah and Tim, my dad had just wheeled the baby past so we got a quick glimpse and then the rest of the time until they came home we just looked in through a window).
I have always been a big baby lover so of course nothing thrilled me more than this new sibling and I couldn't wait to get my hands on him!
We all doted on baby  Levi and all was well until he was about 5 months old. My mom had always had a hard time with getting him to gain weight, and his head seemed just a bit too big for his little body, but we didn't suspect anything to be seriously wrong with him. One night, Natalie, Tim, and I (7, 6, and 5 years old at the time) were playing outside, laughing and having a great time. We came inside to eat a snack our mom had prepared for us. Mom was also feeding Levi, and I remember all of  a sudden her saying Dad's name in a panicked voice. My brother had suddenly stopped breathing and turned blue; he was having  a seizure. My dad rushed him outside and I remember running out the door to see him performing CPR on Levi in our front lawn. One of my parents called 911 and I remember the ambulance showing up and my parents leaving. The rest of us went to stay with our neighbors until our big sister, Brandi, came and got us.
I didn't really understand what had happened, but it turned out that Levi had rickets, a disease caused by a vitamin D deficiency. I almost lost my brother, but apparently God still had a purpose for him to fulfill, and his life was saved.
Little Guy grew much more healthy after he left the hospital, and soon was a chubby, blonde cutie.
Papa and Levi.

Levi and his nephew, Kyran. (So funny how that worked out). Best friends and partners in crime.
 Stair surfing with Uncle Darrin in 2012 or 2013.
 Love these pics of Levi and me from December 2011.

And this is now. I love you, Levy J! I hope you never think otherwise, no matter what I might do or say.
 Happy birthday, you crazy boy!
Your sister,
Chrissie ("Crispy", if you wish, since it is your birthday).

Friday, October 23, 2015

Don't Just Be Yourself

I am beginning to feel bothered by the amounts of "be yourself" messages I'm seeing. Not because I don't think you should be yourself, but because these messages are missing something. You see, just being yourself isn't enough, because let's face it-yes, we all have love to give, talents to bless the world with, a smile that others love to bring out of us, but we also have a side of us that is selfish, or perhaps jealous, competitive, easily angered.
So, you know what? Just being yourself isn't going to be enough.
both pictures via Google images
I am beginning to realize that the phrase needs to go more like this: Be the you that God created you to be.
The you that would have been without the fall. The you that can truly bless the world and not hurt it. It's beautiful! And not something we can do alone-we need God's help, we need him to show us who that is.
And this will then transfer into your relationship with your friends and family; this is how your true, inner beauty can really come out. When you are truly happy for your friend's good fortune, and don't feel the need to try to pass her up. (Trust me, this is one I used to really struggle with, and it helped tear down a friendship). When you are willing to help your friend out although you are tired and would rather go to bed early. When you manage to bite your tongue and not yell at your annoying younger sibling. When you can not complain over the amount of schoolwork you have to do. When you can try to understand where your parent is coming from instead of instantly getting upset.
So, yes--you are ALL beautiful, with the unique personalities, talents, and smiles that God has given you-let these things shine! Ask God to help you use them to bless others-and lean on him as you learn to overcome the tendencies that are not right.
Praise God that He will help us as we learn to do this!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dear C

Dear C,
I know life is tough for you right now, and I know you must be feeling conflicting emotions of anger, confusion, and just sadness.
I know I don't see much of you anymore, but I want you to know I think about you all the time. You are still a part of our family.
How could you not be, after...
the nights sitting in your kitchen laughing as we sipped hot cocoa from giant dollar store Christmas mugs
the mornings spent playing Uno for hours and hours, laughing as we saved up our color changers only to whip them all out at once, along with all the reverses and skips.
the times we rode our bikes around the pavement until we were breathless and dropped to rest on the bench
all the times we spent the night at each other's houses
Do you remember...
When we first met you, and you were terrified of our little dog, Chloe, and we teased you about it? Remember how you used to run in and jump onto Natalie's bed to avoid Chloe? (It's a good thing you got over it, since we added the big dogs).
Remember when our family went to your house and played on the slip-n-slide?
Remember when we watched Narnia?
Remember how we used to climb up on the stump and take turns jumping off, thinking it was super cool if we both landed on our feet and jumped off the highest part?
Remember when we went out back on the day your little sister was born and played zombies?
Remember your girl's party when we were so young? We were all so dressed up and the babies looked so cute.
Do you remember when our families did Christmas Eves together and it was all controlled craziness?
 There are so many memories, too many to write here, but if you did somehow read this, I hope you would understand what I'm trying to say--
Even if the more "official" bands tying us together as family have dissolved, I can now view you as the family member you are in my heart-a sister.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hansel and Gretal Choir

So, I haven't been very good at posting these past couple of months. Mostly, it's because I could either post about mundane things no one wants to hear about, or I could waste hours where I could be focusing on my studies writing deep, heartfelt posts. But, I just realized that I haven't written anything about a performance four of my siblings and I are going to be in in a couple of weeks, so I decided to do a post about it. :)

Becky, who also teaches the choir my brothers attends, was asked if she would like to train a group to sing in a big Hansel and Gretel performance in November. Of course, in typical mom fashion, my mom went and signed us all up to do it without ever getting our approval. But I'm glad she did! It's beautiful music, and so much fun to do. And I'm really excited-I never thought I would get to be up on the stage where I'm going to be. When I was younger, I attended Annie and Camelot plays there and in December, my  mom and I went to the Nutcracker there.

This isn't a super good picture, beings that it was taken on my old iPhone and the stage was decorated for The Nutcracker, but you can get a good idea of the size of the place and the amount of people there.

This isn't a Hansel and Gretel play in the traditional sense, beings that it is an opera. I was nervous that it was going to be a super childish thing, but it's not, and there are several other teens doing it. Our group is referred to as the "gingerbread children", although I have no reason why. It made me nervous for a while, visualizing our costumes as these literal gingerbread suits which left only our faces visible. But we got our costumes last week, and they are actually more 1800s style; some of the younger kids even have bonnets.  Turns out the story is more set in the pioneering time in the Mt. Baker wilderness.
I'm getting super excited; we have a big three hour dress rehearsal coming up, and then on November 6, we have the first of four performances. I'm going to have to start looking up good 1800s hair styles and figuring out my shoes. :)
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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Untitled (9/26/2015)

Shadows hung heavily throughout the quiet room, but curled up close to the fireplace with an endearingly familiar book, they didn’t affect me. I glanced up from the pink, hardcover book to stare into the bright orange flames for a moment and check the time on my phone. Another half an hour until they should return, I thought, returning my attention to skimming through the book I had read several times before throughout my childhood. I had spent the evening at this house, watching two outgoing and fun kids, listening to their reading and piano practicing before settling down to watch a cute movie. Now, the brother and sister were in bed for the night and I was simply passing the time until their parents returned. I turned a couple of pages, before stopping at a scene that had always been one of my favorites and beginning to read again.
“"God knows you hate Borse," Millie said. "He knows what's in your heart and He knows everything you have ever done. He still-” *
A low rumbling suddenly caught my attention and I lowered the book, glancing around while listening closely for the source of the sound. When it did not come again, I shrugged and returned my attention to the book. But only a few minutes later, it came again, and this time I realized what the sound was; a man’s voice, slightly muffled. I guessed it was coming from a radio someone had left on in one of the bedrooms, but I figured I should check all the same. Getting to my feet, wincing slightly as I put weight on the ankle I had somehow twisted, I made my way to the short hallway a few feet away. I hesitated, staring down it at the doors, all shut, wondering if I was just being stupid. I took a step forward, and the voice came again. Only, this time, I felt real alarm. Wherever and whoever this voice was coming from, it wasn’t a radio. I carefully slid my phone out of my pocket, checking that the ringer was off, and pulled up the keypad. I began to dial the number that had been left for me to call in case of an emergency, the one that the father had been most adamant I use instead of 911.


This story is real all the way up to the point where the character is standing in the hall--it happened when I was babysitting last week, only the noise really was a radio. :) The rest is just the writer in me kicking in. I literally stood facing the hallway in that dark house thinking I should write a little story about it.
*Here is the link to the book I quoted--it was one of my favorite childhood stories, and I still love it, since it brings back fond memories.
How are you all enjoying the first days of autumn? Played in the leaves with a little sibling? Had a pumpkin spice latte yet? We're heading to the pumpkin patch next week. I can't wait!
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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life (9/20/2015)


We started attending classes twice a week on September 8th, and things have been a bit of a whirlwind of classes, homework, puppies, choir, and Awana since then.
Some things never change, and although I may have switched from Algebra to Geometry this year, one of those things is that I am horrible at math. Another thing that will never change is that I love to read, and am enjoying my Great Books class immensely. (In spite of the fact that my sister and I got the homework mixed up and ended up thinking we had to do two weeks worth of honor reading in one week on top of our other homework and did just that.)
The puppies are growing like crazy and getting cuter by the minute! I wish they could just stay like this forever. They're great stress relievers. :) But they're already leaving in just 2-3 weeks! However, we get to keep one this time, so that's my consolation.
Awana also started up again, and there's something so much more beautiful about going into my second year doing it then my first. I get to see so many kids I already know, and there's nothing like hearing them say "Christine!" and run, grinning, up for a hug. (The other LIT in my group said I must know everyone there after watching me wave to about five kids in a row.)

Saturday was our school garage sale and car wash. My sister is sick, and my brother had a lot of schoolwork to do, so I was the sole representative of the Taft family. Our friends were gracious enough to give me a ride with them, and their awesome mom bought me a Pumpkin Spice Latte. After examining the various items of the large garage sale, Becca, Elizabeth, and I settled down on the curb with our hot drinks until it was time for the car wash to open. One guy brought in an RV and paid us 40 bucks to wash as high as we could reach with our brushes! It was a lot of fun...until I got home and again faced a large pile of homework.
Another highlight of the week was getting to talk to my friend, Elisabeth, on the phone. It was so nice to talk again! You made my day, just so you know, Lissie. :)
And now, so long farewell...for it's off to homework I must go.
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I have been reading everyone's posts! I just haven't been able to comment much lately. I will try to get back into that. You are all so sweet about leaving comments for me!