You Only Live Once, This Is How I’m Doing It!

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Boys from Jersey for our Birthdays!

Today was my sister Bekah’s birthday. She turned 17 today which kind of blows my mind since I saw her be born. Anyway, my birthday is on the 17th so we decided to take each other to a musical for our birthdays.

We took the train downtown so we got there about two hours early. That left us plenty of time to grab some Starbucks and Rebekah tried her first white chocolate mocha.

She approved.

After we warmed up and got our little caffeine buzz we grabbed some lunch. Bekah wanted a burger but the only places my iPhone could find within several blocks of us that served burgers were McDonalds, *gag*. There were three within a block of us. Three! Who needs that many McDonalds? Anyway, we settled for Corner Bakery which was another first for Bekah. After we ordered and sat down we noticed the sign on the table and were horrified that neither of our choices were on the list…

because it was a list of choices that were under 600 calories. Dude! Our meals weren’t under 600 calories?! It did say on the bottom that there were more choices under 600 calories online. I haven’t checked… I’m a little afraid to be honest.

After our delicious but possibly incredibly fattening meal it was finally time to see the show.

Yay, Jersey Boys!

The show was fabulous. It was lighthearted and fun. The audience amused me because most of them were in their late 70’s or older. They bobbed right along to the music and some even sang along. It was cute. The whole cast was incredibly  talented. My favorite by far was the actor who played Frankie Valli, John Micheal Dias. That dude has an amazing voice. I would recommend you go see it but the Chicago run ends on the 10th so you’d have to really hurry.

Happy birthday, Bekah. Thanks for being so awesome and going to the show with me. Let’s make this a tradition. *smile*

Happy Birthday, Joel!


Dear Joel,

This last year was a good one. We’ve grown so much together and I have fallen more in love with you than ever. We had many adventures including a last minute weekend trip to The Netherlands. It was the first time we’d been there together in almost four years. It was so fun revisiting the country with you and watching my Dutch family love you just as much as ever. I love how spontaneous we are together.

Speaking of spontaneous, our biggest adventure by far was our trip down to Australia to see the premiere of Star Trek. That was one of the best trips of my life, I’m so glad we took it together. Thank you for being such a big nerd that you traveled to the opposite side of the world just to see a movie.

We tried going to Africa together but couldn’t get the funds. Don’t worry, it will all come together when it’s time. In a way, I’m kind of glad it didn’t work out since we  have decided to try to go to India next year instead. This has been my dream since I was young and there is no one I’d rather go with.

Our newest adventure has been our puppy dog. I love watching you love on her and play with her. I know it’s been a challenge and she’s tried both of our patience but she’s turning into a wonderful dog. Thank you for sticking it out with me and not selling her on ebay.

You are my very best friend and I love you so much. I even looked forward to standing outside on a freezing cold November night waiting for the midnight release of the Star Trek movie on Blu-ray. See, I love you enough that I’m turning into a nerd with you and I even like it. How appropriate it is that Star Trek is released on your birthday. I’m pretty sure Star Trek doesn’t have a bigger fan.

I wish you the happiest of birthdays. I look forward to celebrating many, many more with you.

Live long and prosper my love.


Meeting My Hero aka Robin Williams

Ever since I was young my favorite actor has been Robin Williams. He can do anything, funny, serious, improvisation… he’s beyond amazing. One of my life’s dreams has been to meet him in person. Joel, being the amazing husband that he is, knew that and somehow managed to get meet and greet tickets to his show in Chicago. Originally the show was supposed to be in March but was postponed due to heart issues. I like to joke that he got so excited to meet me that it gave him a heart attack. *grin* Luckily the show was rescheduled for October 2nd.

The day of the show I was beside myself with excitement. We got there about an hour early and were interviewed for his video, so we’ll have to see later if it makes it on. We had fabulous seats as you can kind of see from this crummy picture taken with my iPhone.

My view of the stage

This was taken before the show since there was absolutely NO personal photography allowed at any other time. The show was of course hysterical.

The best part was after the show. We were ushered backstage and into a little room with cupcakes and cookies. Those were the last things on my mind though. We lined up and got our picture taken with him.

Robin Williams and Us

Ah! This is a picture of one of the best moments of my life! Look at how happy we look.

After the photos we lined back up and had the greet part of the meet and greet. He signed an 8×10 head shot of himself for us and we got to talk to him for a minute. I would like to mention that while he signed Joel’s “Best wishes”, he signed mine “Love”. Does it mean something? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

I can’t really tell you what we talked about. I’m pretty sure whatever I said came out “Urg, ble, blah blah, eee, eh.. you’re amazing.” Not an exact quote but that’s pretty close. It was just beyond incredible.

I can now cross that off my list of things to do before I die. Seriously, meeting him was on there. Now I just need to do a movie with him… and considering my witty banter with him (see above) I’d say I have a pretty good shot.

My Birthday

It was wonderful! It started at breakfast where I received my presents. Even my chair was decorated!

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Twenty one candles are hard to light and keep lit, but Robbert pulled it off.

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I blew out all the candles but then discovered there was a trick one *shakes head* Ineke makes the best apple pie, by the way!


Most of the rest of the day I spent relaxing and reading a book. I also got birthday phone calls from Joel and then my mom which was very nice. Then in the evening I got ready to go out to dinner.


Here we all are ready to go out.

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They took me to an amazing restaurant called Rosso. (on the site you can click on the circle that says Rosso and then the square in the middle that says Fotos to see pictures of the place, just keeping clicking to see them all.)

Everything was sooo delicious and beautiful, I just loved it. And yes, being my 21st birthday and all I did have a glass of champagne. It also had a cherry at the bottom which made it quite good. *grin*

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The staff at Rosso was very nice and knowing it was my birthday they made me a little firework.

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The whole day was so special. Robbert and Ineke, I can’t thank you enough for everything. It all was just perfect!

I’m 21!

Happy Birthday to me! I’m 21 today. It’s been a great day so far, I’ll post more about the day with pictures tomorrow. For now though I took this quiz (by the way, they never ask anything about your birthday it’s all about personality) and was a bit surprised by the results. I guess there’s something to these internet quizes after all, haha. *big smile*

Your True Birth Month Is January
Easily jealous
Loves children
Rather reserved
Highly attentive
Likes to criticize
Needs close friends
Ambitious and serious
Smart, neat and organized
Hardworking and productive
Loves to teach and be taught
Quiet unless excited or tensed
Sensitive and has deep thoughts
Knows how to make others happy
Searches for the greatest romance
Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds
Romantic but has difficulties expressing love
Always looking at people’s flaws and weaknesses

Second Girls Day

Here is the second installment in the wonderful world of Abigail and Caroline. *warning* tons of pictures!

It was a much prettier day out so we decided to take the train to Den Haag. Robbert dressed Caroline this morning and had her put on a shirt that used to belong to Timo. Now, and I know you just can’t believe this but, Caroline is very particular about what she wears and she really didn’t want to wear that shirt. Robbert told her she had to wear it anyway and aside from a few tears she complied. As we were leaving though, I told her to get her shoes on and came back to find her with her pink sandles on. Her reasoning was that since she was wearing a boy’s shirt she had to wear these pretty, pink shoes, otherwise people wouldn’t know that she was a girl, lol! Obviously, she had to put real shoes on but we put her hair in pony tails so that there would be no question as to whether she was a girl or not. *wink*

I could hardly believe it but Ineke was right, Centraal Station is waaay messier than when I was here last! Notice however the beautiful blue sky. It was really nice, just a little chilly but not too bad.

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We caught a train easily and were off.

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She wanted me to take a picture showing how big she is, she can reach both arm rests! lol.

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A half hour later we were in Den Haag. I love Den Haag, it’s one of my favorite cities in The Netherlands.

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Since it was still rather chilly we decided to stop at the library. I love the bright colors they use inside.

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Here she is just looking out the window…what a sweetie…

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Caroline got very excited about the Miffy stuffed animal (here they call her Nijntje).


She also liked the train she could play in there.

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After the library we walked around the city some more. I had nothing in mind really, we just stopped in stores that we thought were nice and ended up getting her some really cute sunglasses. They’re pink too so she felt much more girly, hehe.

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After that we were both really hungry so we had lunch and then got some ice cream (highlight of her day, haha)

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When we finished the ice cream we were both pretty worn out so we headed back home. We got home and not too much later it was time to pick the boys up from school. It was still nice out so I let them play at the school park until Caroline totally wiped out in a big puddle. She was soaking wet, pretty much from head to toe although thankfully not hurt but it was windy so we couldn’t stay any longer. I took her home to change and teased her that she fell in the puddle just so she didn’t have to wear the boy’s shirt anymore…I don’t know but she was much happier afterwards. Bit of a 60’s chick isn’t she?

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And so ends our two full days together. It was so great, and luckily I have two whole more weeks with all of them. Caroline is counting down the days until my birthday (it’s down to five) but I have a suspision it’s mostly because after that we’re going to Disneyland, haha. That’s ok, I can’t wait either!

First Girls Day

Today was Caroline and my first whole day together with just the two of us. We had so much fun, I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

It was yucky outside and so in hopes of it getting better we stayed in the first part of the day, but that didn’t mean we didn’t have fun *wink* I played with her hair,

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We danced to K3,

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and were just silly in general.



The weather wasn’t getting any better so we decided to eat lunch and then go out anyways.


On the way there there were people moving into a house. This is how they get things into these high, narrow houses:

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Notice, that’s a Mercedes moving truck! That’s what they use over here I guess, lol.

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It was sooo windy I literally had to carry Caroline half the way. It was honestly practically blowing me over, much less little Caroline. It was halarious, the first couple times a really hard gust of wind pushed her she turned sharply and yelled “Hey! Wind, don’t push! That’s not nice!” LOL! Then she would turn to me and “tattle” on the wind “Abigail, the wind pushed me!” I could’ve died laughing if I wasn’t concetrating so hard on staying on my own feet. We did finally make it to get her all important cookie from Subway. They make the best chocolate cookies there.

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Notice the now messy hair from the wind, rain and her hood.

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I decided that we certainly couldn’t walk home with the weather being like it was so we took the bus. Again, notice the wet hair and pink noses, it was really windy!

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We picked the boys up from school and just played around the house for awhile, the boys played Candyland. Caroline doesn’t like to play it with her brothers anymore because she hates to lose! lol.

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Then they decided to play hide and go seek: 


Caroine counting,

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Morten “hiding” (good hard spot, huh?).

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She found him!

After that Ineke came home and they got in the tub and we ate dinner and did our normal evening stuff. What we do tomorrow depends on the weather but you can expect many fun pictures from that too *smile*

It’s a boy!

Here he is, little Anthony Tyler Staub!!!
Little Anthony and me, his Aunt Abigail (I told Naomi we had a deal that he’d come today, Friday the 10th, haha. Guess I was right!)

He’s totally perfect and healthy, 6 lbs, 10 oz. 19″ long…just beautiful!

Sucking on his fingers already, he’s such a cutie.
So, everything went really well. He was born at 9:22am and Naomi did absolutely amazing! More pictures to come later *smile*

Hello, my name is Mrs. Abigail Gratcyk!

Sorry for the long absence..again. I won’t give excuses, I’ll just get right to the update *smile* The big news, for those of you who don’t know already is Joel and I got married! And don’t worry, we’re still planning on having a formal wedding. This was just a little, very informal event so we could more fully express our love for each other and get an apartment and sort of jump start the rest of our lives as a couple. Here are some pictures from the event:

Can you see the sparkle in my eyes? He puts it there every single day *big smile*

The exchanging of rings.

Look how happy we are!

A very special prayer and the lighting of the symbolic unity candle.

“You may kiss your bride”

Introducing, Mr. and Mrs. Joel Gratcyk!

Joel and me with our parents.

Joel and me with his grandparents and my Grandma Carolyn.

Joel and me with our siblings. He didn’t marry into a small family, that’s for sure! lol.

After the ceremony we all went over to my parents house for a little cookout. It was such a perfect day. The weather was a little cool, but it was bright and sunny and everyone was pleasant and wonderful to us. It was so nice to have them all there for us on such an important day in our lives.

I love being married and I couldn’t be happier. Joel is so good to me and I fall in love with him more and more every day. He is the best friend I’ve ever had and every day we learn a little bit more about each other and become closer.

We are living in a cute little apartment on the north side of Valpo. It’s great! I’ll try and post some pictures soon. Our jobs are going well, Joel is now full time at Wal*Mart and that means he doesn’t have to work at Menard’s anymore, yay! I’m ever advancing at Fazoli’s. There’s a lot more to being a manager than just wanting to, you have to know the answer to everything! lol. But I’m learning quickly and should be getting the title of Associate Trainer (which comes with a raise! hehe) in the next couple of weeks. After that it’s just a matter of how fast I can learn enough to become certified as an actual manager.

And that’s it. I’m so happy and excited about life and now that we’re moved in and actually have internet you all should be hearing from me much more regularly. *big smile*

Happy Anniversary

to us! *smile* We’ve been a couple for one whole year today, yea!

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