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The Story of Abby: Her First Twelve Years

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S: The Story of Abby: Her First 12 Years

FC: The Story of Abby Her First 12 Years

1: You timed your arrival into the world for a few days before Thanksgiving, for which your Mom was really grateful because she had more room for the turkey. You were an easy baby. I came down from Pennsylvania to help, but there was very little to do except love you. Your dad wanted to introduce you to all of his family so at the end of January he and your mom and Grandma and Grandpa Pedersen (and you, of course) flew to Utah for your blessing. You wore the gown that your cousin Janelle had also worn. You snoozed and smiled and charmed us all. | Your journey on earth begins. . .

2: As you can see, you were a pretty cute baby, as well as a curious one. Clothes were no deterrent as you explored the phenomenon of sand and water during your first summer at Deep Creek Lake.

3: Birthday Party! Cake? H-m-m-m-- pretty good stuff. Mommy really outdid herself with this one. | Cousin Janelle came to the party too and made herself comfortable on a soft fur throw. | Here you are on one of your outings with Grandma just before your birthday.

4: For Christmas this year you got to visit both Grandma and Grandpa Pedersen in Pennsylvania and Grandma and Grandpa Kellems in Utah. It was fun hanging out with everyone except when Mom made you dress up as a reindeer. | Grandpa's Girls

5: Visiting us in Pennsylvania and helping me cook was always fun. It didn't take long for you to discover the cereal drawer, which you liked just about as much as the toy drawer. You especially liked it when Nellie showed up. We didn't call you"kissing cousins" for nothing.

6: Almost twins. . . | Almost from the beginning, you and Nellie discovered the fun of having a playmate your own size and as your grandma, I re-discovered the fun of again having little girls to dress in matching outfits.

7: Whether tackling the "big kids'" rope ladder , trying out a new slide at Cabin John, or helping Grandpa drive the boat at the lake, you went at life full tilt. Fear never seemed to be a part of your vocabulary.

8: With the arrival of Jack three months shy of your second birthday, you took on a new role in your family but you still had plenty of attention, especially from Grandma Shirley, whose home you would share until your move to West Virginia.. | Welcoming Jack

9: The year you were two we celebrated Christmas in Mercersburg . You were old enough to enjoy clowning around with your uncles and playing the kazoo with Nellie. This was also the year you got to help play Christmas carols on our pipe chimes.

10: Easter | Grandpa and I always looked forward to having you come to our house for Easter. This year you were old enough to really get into the concept of hunting for eggs, which you also had great fun coloring.

11: S U M M E R F U N

12: Halloween | You and Jack and your mom came to Pennsylvania for our ward Halloween party. You and Nellie dressed up as black cats and Jack went as a pumpkin. Nick, who refused to put on a costume, went as himself.

13: Thanksgiving | The year you were three we celebrated Thanksgiving at the Cones. One of our traditions when we gather in Maryland is going for a walk on the C&O Canal after dinner. I love these pictures of you and your mom. . .

14: A few days before Christmas we took you and Jack and Nellie and Nick to see the sights in downtown Washington, including a giant decorated tree at Union Station. Though you were impressed by the Christmas tree, you enjoyed the tree in the park across the street even more. | Christmas!

15: Family Pictures | You went to Utah for Christmas this year but before you left we gathered the family for some pictures.. You and your mom dressed in black velvet for one of them. Beautiful as the dresses were, your smiles were even more beautiful. Cover girl material for sure!

16: Cuttin' Up in Grandma's Kitchen | Whether licking a beater or an ice cream cone, everything's more fun with buddies.

17: Here you are climbing trees again-- this time a cherry tree in Kenwood, which becomes a fairyland in spring. | Taking an apple break with Jack, who appears to have found a few Easter eggs somewhere along the way.

18: Summertime | With that winning smile, how could you not have fun? The summer you were three you and Nellie found plenty to do in our backyard. | Big sisters pushing little brothers | Still got that lovin' feeling. . .

19: Welcoming Paige | From the beginning you were enthralled with your new baby sister., and you really enjoyed having both sets of grandparents on hand for her blessing. (Guess who got the most attention?)

20: Christmas at the lake- a new tradition begins. . . | Having Christmas at our new Deep Creek Lake house meant that for the very first time we had a fireplace mantel (made from a tree from our farm) from which to hang our stockings,--14 of them this year since Grandma Shirley was with us too.

21: Our first Christmas here was a white one with plenty of snow for sledding on our steep driveway with Uncle Mike and thick ice for treks across the lake.. You thought it was pretty amazing to be able to walk on water, frozen though it was.

22: Preschool Graduation | Your mom made this dress for you to wear to your graduation from the preschool program at Walt Whitman High School.. It was a fun day with face painting , games, songs, and entertainment by a clown. Your mom also made a quilt from each child's handprint to give to your teacher.

23: Movin' to West Virginia | The summer of 2003 brought a huge change to your life when you moved from Grandma Shirley's home to West Virginia. While your mom and dad packed, you and Jack and Paige came to Pennsylvania for some fun with Grandma and Grandpa and your counsins.

24: Grandma's Girls | I loved you in this navy blue wool coat, which I had bought for you for Christmas. With your ringlets and tights you looked like an old-fashioned American Girl. You and Paige and Nellie were also awfully cute in these purple velvet dresses.. You especially loved the sparkly skirts.

25: Egg Hunt! | We celebrated Easter at Grandma Shirley's and the Cones this year. It was a cold day-- not great for an egg hunt, especially without a coat, but you were having too much fun to care.

26: Now You Are Five. . . | You enjoyed two parties this year-- one with friends in Morgantown and one with Grandpa and me at the lake. Yes-- you did like dolls then and you did wear pink and you were thrilled to get a Cinderella doll with horse and carriage.

27: What a fun Christmas! This was the year you & Jack & Nellie & Nick surprised me with a special rendition of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer." Of course, we had our traditional nativity (you got to be Mary) and played carols on the pipes and ate lots of Aunt Kristin's cookies.. Best of all, there was plenty of snow for sledding!

28: Lake House Summer | In the summer of 2004 the whole family gathered for a vacation at our new lake house. You loved playing on the dock and in the hot tub and you especially loved going for rides in the boat that Grandpa rented for the week.

30: Christmas Eve at the Kellems | Grandpa and Grandma Shirley and Uncle Cam and I came to your new house on Simpson Street to celebrate Christmas Eve. this year. You were in charge of our traditional Christmas Eve nativity play and since we didn't have the cousins , who were in Virginia, you enlisted the help of the grown ups, including Uncle Cam, who threw a white blanket over his head and played a sheep, complete with sound effects.

31: Reading "Twas The Night Before Christmas" | Clowning Around with Uncle Came | Enjoying your dad's traditional Dutch oven dinner | Christmas Memories

32: Grandma Camp | One of the things you looked forward to for several summers was coming to Pennsylvania for a week-long "Grandma Ca,mp." During that week we'd go on field trips to places like Cowan's Gap, where you loved playing in the sand and water, and City Park, where you had fun playing on the playground and watching all the ducks swimming there.. We also did crafts and plays and dress ups. The picture on the right shows you in a dress your mother wore to one of her piano recitals when she was about twelve.

34: You celebrated your seventh birthday at the Bead Monster, where everyone got to create a piece of jewelry. By now you were busy with swimming and piano and art camp.

35: "Call it a clan, call it a tribe, call it a network, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." | I love both of these pictures of your family, taken the month your dad, after years of hard work, finally earned his doctoral degree. Despite the ups and downs of living with different personalities, our family is our greatest strength and resource, and you were blessed to be born into a great one.

36: Christmas Eve Glazed Ham Balls Shrimp Ravioli in Marinara Sauce Acini de Pepe Salad Dip with Veggies & Crackers Kristin's Cookies Christmas Morning Strawberry Waffles Fresh Pineapple Orange Juice Christmas Dinner Baked Spiral Ham Mashed Potatoes Cranberry Jello Salad Green Beans with Almonds Grandpa's Apple Pie | This was our third Christmas at our beloved lake house so we had a photo taken since everyone was able to be there. It was a year with lots of snow and you and your siblings and cousins had a great time not only sledding on the steep driveway, but also trying out tubing for the first time at Wisp.

38: No matter where you lived, Easter in Pennsylvania evolved into a tradition, as did my tradition of buying matching Easter dresses for you and Nellie and the little girls and matching shirts and pants for the boys. | Easter 2006

39: What a summer! The older you got, the more you seemed to do. This summer you went to the Lions Club Fair in Mercersburg, participated in your first triathlon in Morgantown, and learned to kayak by yourself at the lake, where you also enjoyed the hot tub and playing on the rocks at Swallow Falls. | Summertime

40: When Grandpa turned 65, we celebrated with a birthday dinner at the Mercersburg Inn, then gathered the next day for family pictures to mark the occasion. (Your dad isn't in the picture because he had to go back to work.) Grandpa and I both loved this picture of our cute grandkids! | Celebrating Grandpa's Birthday

41: Now You Are Eight | Thanksgiving Birthday! | When did you begin your love affair with dogs? Was it when Moab came into your life at age seven? For this birthday you wanted a dog cake and Aunt Kristin was happy to oblige.

42: Baptism Day | Other than your birth day and your blessing day, no other day in your life has been as important as December 2, 2006, the day you were baptized. You had two special dresses to wear-- one I had made for your mother's baptism and one that Aunt Kristin had made for Nellie's baptism. Your beautiful spirit was radiant that day.

43: Christmas 2006 | Christmas hams aren't just in the kitchen!

44: Grandma and Grandpa's Christmas present to everyone this year was an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World. We left on January 1 and flew to Orlando for a week of exploring the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. Fun as these places were, your favorite thing of all was the hotel swimming pool, where you spent endless hours playing Marco Polo until it was time to go to bed. | Disney World

45: Okay. So you wore pink and posed with princesses. On this trip, dogs still ruled, and getting your face painted to look like one was way more fun in your book than meeting a princess. No surprise that the souvenir you chose to take home was a giant dog, who dominated the bed you shared with Nellie.

46: After coming home from Florida we traded bathing suits for snow suits. Do you remember sledding at the farm this day? A thin layer of ice covered the snow, making the ride down the hill lightning fast but the trip up nearly impossible. Lots of slipping and sliding as the horses looked on wondering what on earth we humans were doing, anyway.

47: Easter 2007 | Bunny ears for everyone! (Except for Moab, who looks a little down in the mouth.)

48: The summer of 2007 at Deep Creek was much like every other summer: boating on the lake, playing off the dock, and enjoying the company of extended family, including Grandma Shirley and Uncle Mike,, shown here with his cupcake creations. You were busy with your own creation-- a pretty daisy wreath picked from the wildflowers growing along the driveway.

49: This was the Christmas we had a special visitor on Christmas Eve. We watched him from upstairs as he delivered his gifts and then disappeared as quickly as he had come. This was also the year we decided to take a sleigh ride in downtown Oakland. The boys thought the horses smelled stinky but who cared? It was the closest we came to "dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh." Your dad and Uncle Jerry and I also took all the kids tubing while the pregnant moms stayed home., You and Nellie linked tubes and off you went at what felt (to me at least) like a hundred miles an hour. Fun!

50: Welcoming Fischer | You were prepared for another sister when Fischer made his appearance as a definite boy. You didn't seem to mind-- after all, you already had one of each in the sibling department. I came to help for awhile since your mom was still in nursing school You and Paige accompanied me to the grocery store one day and you decided to ride in the cart-- all the better to read your book, maybe? It seems as if you've always had your nose buried in a book, making your services as a babysitter a bit suspect. Clearly, you were more interested in the story than your surroundings!

51: Easter 2008 | This was a particularly special Easter. Lilly was born a month after Fischer on Good Friday so you and Nellie both had babies to love and care for during our celebration.

52: Spring at the Farm | When did the farm become one of your favorite places ever? As long as I can remember, you have loved hanging out with Nellie and the horses.

53: Summer at the Lake | After several years of renting boats during our vacations at the lake, this summer Grandpa came home with a surprise-- a "new" used boat of our very own. Not that you needed a boat to have a good time on the water!

54: The summer you were nine was extra fun because we went to the lake AND the beach! Grandpa and I rented a house big enough to accommodate everyone who wanted to come. In addition to time on the beach and the boardwalk, I remember you and Nellie kept busy playing Monopoly and making pot holders on a metal loom. | Bethany Beach

55: Hiking at Cooper's Rock. . . . and at Swallow Falls | Hiding in the leaves. | Watching the Great Pumpkin Race at the Adventure Sports Center at Deep Creek Lake.

56: Hanging with Santa and his furry friend at Bear Creek Traders.

57: What would Christmas be like without gingerbread houses? Clearly you were having fun making this one. | 2008

58: Easter | Okay. So I got a little carried away this year with the matching Easter dresses for all the girls (not to mention the bunny ears). But you have to admit it was kind of fun. This year we also hosted the daughters of the Japanese exchange student who lived with us when your mom was a teenager. It was their first Easter and they didn't quite know what to make of it.

59: Graduation! | It was a proud day when your Mom finally earned her nursing degree and all if us came to celebrate with her. (Except for your dad, who was away on a trip. He made it up to her by taking her to Costa Rica!)

60: Triathlon '09 | The cousins came to Morgantown once again for the Kids' Swim, Spin, and Run Triathlon so you joined in, too, even though your interest in the event was beginning to fade.

61: The Play's the Thing. . . | Most kids like to play dress up and you and Nellie had fun with costumes and face paint. But as you got older you developed an interest in live theater and it was fun to see you in community productions in Morgantown. On stage your innate comic sense comes to life! Whether "on the boards" or behind the scenes, you have discovered the fun of stepping into another world, if only for a little while. Long live your theatrical career!

62: Wedding! | When our family gathered to celebrate the Uncle Cameron' and Aunt Audrey's wedding, we managed to squeeze in a family photo too. I love this picture of you, as well as the one taken at Uncle Cameron's "bachelor" dinner the night before.

63: Christmas 2009

64: Braving the Cold for Fun in the Snow | Walking on water-- the frozen kind!

65: The good part about having a grandfather for a dentist is free check ups. The bad part about having a grandfather for a dentist is free braces. Like it or not, it was decided that a mouthful of metal was just what you needed, although in this photo you don't look particularly upset about it.-- proof that in time you can get used to anything. | 2010: The Year of the Braces

66: Summertime and the Living is Easy. . . | What great memories we've made at our beloved lake house, no matter what the season. During the summer of 2010 you enjoyed all the activities you'd come to love such as kayaking, swimming off the dock, hot tubbing, roasting marshmallows for s'mores, and listening to Grandpa tell stories around the campfire. But this summer you also overcame your fear of water skiing and succeeded in getting up and staying up (though unfortunately not where I could get a picture!). You also had fun on the new Mountain Coaster at Wisp. Our stay this year coincided with the Fourth of July. Your mom made cute patriotic skirts for all the girls and Uncle Mike took everyone who would fit in the boat to see the fireworks over Marsh Mountain.. (Okay, so it was a little scary coming home in the dark with a gazillion boats going in all directions. Who said all memories have to be good ones?)

68: Christmas 2010

69: Your family came to the lake before Christmas this year to take advantage of pre-holiday rates at Wisp. For someone who had a fear of water-skiing, you surprised us all by becoming a crack snowboarder. During our Nativity play this year, you opted to be a donkey-- signaling the end of your angel and Mary days?

70: The Sound of Music | One of the things that gives me the most joy is hearing you play the piano. You have a gift-- one that can bless you and those around you throughout your life. You may not be playing the tuba when you are 80, (though you never know) but I hope you will still be playing the piano.. It is part of your heritage. Your great-great Grandma and Grandpa Taylor loved music and sold pianos in their home in Utah. It was not uncommon for their customers to go away not only with a piano, but with a slice of Grandma's warm homemade bread dripping with butter and honey. She would come out of her kitchen, wipe the flour off her hands, and sit down to play. The piano in my living room comes from her, as does my love of music. It thrills me to see this love pass to yet another generation.

71: Best Friends | By now it's evident that most of the pictures I have of you include Nellie. From the time you were babies you have been linked by family ties but somewhere along the way you also chose each other as best friends. Part of the fun of watching you grow up has been watching the two of you deepen your friendship despite differences in personalities and interests. What you have in common (besides a passion for horses) is that you are both amazing young women. How proud I am to call you my granddaughters!

72: Because they met there, Moab has been a special place for your parents and the scene of fun family vacations when you are in Utah. From these photos it appears as if you inherited their adventurous spirit. | Utah!

74: Transitions. . . | By your thirteenth birthday, you had moved five times, including a three-year stint in Boreman Hall on the WVU campus. In Boreman you had your own room but little family privacy. So in the summer of 2011 your family moved back to Simpson Street. It meant sharing a room again, which was a disappointment, but you seem to be able to "roll with the punches," -- an admirable quality in anyone!

75: Dearest Abby, With your 13th birthday you officially left childhood behind and moved into young womanhood-- another transition that leaves your grandma with mixed feelings. How I loved the little girl Abby! She was bright and precocious and made me laugh. But the Abby you have become is no less cherished. She's still bright and precocious and she still makes me laugh. And she is fulfilling the promise of who she is to be as a daughter of Heavenly Father. What talents He has blessed you with! Who knew when I looked into the precious face of the infant Abby that she would become a writer, a musician, an actress, a woodworker, and a lover of books? Who knew that she would develop a passion for anything with a tail and four legs, and would commit herself to their care and protection? Who knew that she would have such a wacky sense of humor? You are beautiful in every way and I hope as you move into your teenage years, years that can be challenging, that you will remember that. Stay close to Heavenly Father. There is peace and safety in following His counsel. Listen, too, to your mom and dad as you look for answers to problems. You have carved out an identity as someone who does not need to follow the crowd to find your happiness. I admire that about you. Stay true to who you are as you grow into adulthood. Grandpa and I can't wait to see where the journey leads you, and look forward to sharing whatever parts of it we can. We love you more than you can ever know (at least until you become a grandma). Hugs! G&G

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  • Title: The Story of Abby: Her First Twelve Years
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