Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Main Street Mile

Liv had her first race last night. The Main Street Mile aims to educate on regular prostrate screenings for men, so it's a good cause.  The children's race involves them chasing, for half a mile, an ice cream truck.  This, too, is a very good cause.  Liv has been looking forward to this race for a long time.  Last year, right before the race, we needed to cancel this much anticipated race to attend a family event. So it's safe to say that the build-up to this year's venue has been paramount.  I have never seen that girl so giddy and excited. And that's saying a lot. I think her favorite things about the race were the ice cream, the tattoo, and her loyal spectators. When asked if she won, she said, "Yes. But I wasn't the first person to finish." The Blue ribbon is a nice touch for all the kids, isn't it? :o) My dad was a gem and ran with her. She was so happy to have him by her side. A lost hat, a side stitch, and running back to get her lost hat was all made better by signs and friends along the way and ice cream at the end.

Here we are pre-race. Liv is doing calisthenics to get ready.

And here she is showcasing her very cool tattoo, found in her race packet.

When the tattoo is on your bicep, it just screams to be flexed.

Liv takes time out of her busy race schedule to pose with mom.  Thanks, Liv!

My dad (AKA Papa Snail) and Liv pose for a "thumbs up" before the race.   

This is Liv's buddy, Drew.  She adores him.  His mom and I met when we were 12.  In honor's band.  Playing the cornet.  We have been friends ever since.  It makes it extra fun to see Drew and Liv have so much fun together.   

Hey, where's your number?  Oh...there it is.

Like I said above, Liv really loved her spectators.  She proceeded to pose with each one. Forgive the focus.  Liv was very blurry this day.

Here she is with Mauricio, the sweet husband of my former college roomate, Anna.

And here's Anna and her new daughter Isabel.  I had to include this picture, even though it didn't show the racer herself, because I just can't get enough of Isabel's hair.  She's 6 months, people.  And look at that hair.  I think Holland was 2 before she got that much.  

Liv was so happy to have her Aunt Stumpy come cheer her on.  She happily stood still for a picture.  She's not blurry here.

Liv greets the other Lasater family members.  Here is Steph's husband Damie and her handsome boys Victor and Kedrick.  Liv is blurry again.

And her sweet buddy Mary showed up to cheer her on.  Those who know Mary, know she likes to cheer.  Must get it from her mom. :o)

Like I is Mary's mom, holding signs.  Chelsea and I have attended many a race together to watch our husband's finish.  She, though, has many more years of being a loyal spectator under her belt.  She's been the racer, too, but it was from her that I learned that you're supposed to make signs to cheer people on.  I still don't, but it's nice that Chelsea does. And she was the captain of the cheerleader squad. I think that makes her an expert. Yes, I'm sure that makes her an expert. 

Yes, Liv was excited about the signs.  

Liv poses with her "Uncle" Troy.  She was so happy to see him.  Notice the tucked-up legs.  That is a sure sign of happiness with kids.  

Papa Snail and Liv run mid-race.  Notice the hand nursing the side stitch.  I don't know if this is pre-lost hat, or post-lost hat.  Either way, it doesn't look very snug.  What a sweet picture of Liv and her papa.  Thanks Steph, for taking this picture!

And Liv and Papa Snail go through the finish line to claim what was rightfully theirs.

A blue ribbon and an ice cream bar.

Way to go Liv!  

Saturday, June 27, 2009

She's Got the Moves

This is Holland.

Most every emotion she has can be seen in her body.

See? This is what I call...good-natured exasperation.

She's a mover. She even shakes. She EVEN does a Kung Fu Panda stance.

Check it out.

And this is what she calls her "Move it, move it" dance, inspired by the animals of Madagascar. I'm not well versed in action photos. Nor did I have my flip video with me, so you'll have to just use your imagination to put the action shots together to formulate her dance moves. We don't let her listen to the whole song. But she gets to sing the chorus:

I Like To Move It Move It

I Like To Move It Move It

I Like To Move It Move It

Ya Like To


Mascot Fun

I think kids either hold high regard for big furry mascots, or harbor deep fear and resentment for them.

I tend to get a little creeped out, myself, but Holland has always liked them.

And Mary seems to tolerate them alright as well.

Even when they don't smell so great.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More of Liv's Creations

Like I've said before, Liv is very industrious.   But did you know she has had an "office" of her own since she was 4-years-old?  That's right.  When my mom calls and talks to her on the phone, Liv will sometimes tell her, "I was in my office...".  It sounds so funny to hear her say that.  In that office of hers, she crafts gifts to give to her loved ones.  Here are some samples of her creations:

Here Liv is wearing her "crown of thorns (nails)."  She actually made it to represent the crown of thorns Jesus was subject to on the cross.  Yes, it is made with nails.  Yes, they are bent.  Liv dashed to pick them up after Brian tore out our kitchen ceiling.  She's learning the joys of re-using and recycling at a very young age!  

And in her hands she is showing me my present that she made me while we were gardening.  It's a headband lined with English Daisys.  I love her expression in this picture.  That twinkle is seen whenever she is gifting one of her creations to someone.  She loves to surprise people.

A while ago, Brian gave Liv one of his trophies to use or take apart in her office.  She has crafted numerous gifts using the different parts of the trophy.  Here, Liv snapped a picture of us,  showing off our "bling", or our necklaces made from the stem of the trophy.   I also love Holland's expression in this photo.  

Holland's Book

When I was in third grade, I wrote a book called The Secret World. A hole in a fence led me into a room with a hidden door, which then opened up into a secret world where money actually did grown on trees, gum drops were plentiful from (what else?) gum-drop trees, and bubble gum rained on myself all day long. The secret world, however unfortunate, had a sinister side and small green munchkins were involved in the climax of the story. I, being the main character, did make it out of the secret world in one piece, but ever since I have had a love for writing that just won't quit! After being invited to the Young Author's Conference that year with my book in hand, I decided I wanted to write books for kids. I listened to David Greenberg's every word that day...hoping that one day I could be the featured author at The Young Author's conference. I got his book, Slugs, signed by him that day and, for a long time, I took it with me everywhere I went. That dream was a big one of mine that has never really gone away. Pushed aside, maybe. Forgotten, too. But still there.

I have written 3 books now, all for the girls. Each book idea has come divinely, through prayer as I sought to learn more and more about the girls and what story topics they could best benefit from. And each story was written before the girls' first birthday. Reese's book, though, was written even before we knew about her! It has been so fun for me, to write for these incredible little children that I have been gifted.

Though I finished Holland's book before she turned 1. I still had one or two more illustrations to complete. By the time I found the time to do that, I found a huge error in all her pictures. You see, Holland didn't have any hair until she was over 1 years old. Ok. I lied. She had wispy hair all over the surface of her hair. But that doesn't count. When she did finally have hair that amounted to any kind of handful, I found out that Holland was not fond of pigtails--AT ALL. So, everytime I looked at all the illustrations I had finished, I would sigh. I had created pigtails in every one of her pictures. When she saw the pictures, she would tell me that she liked them, only she didn't like her pigtails. So, I finally got around to fixing those pictures and also, finally, finished her book. So here it is, in all it's un-pigtailed glory.


Holland Elise

By Holland's Mom

It can be said that a gift, no matter how big or how small, comes straight down from Heaven, from God himself.

Holland Elise, a small girl from Wieber Town, was such a gift. No other girl had a quiet sweetness that rang so loud, a giggle so joyous, or hug so heartfelt. She didn’t mind that other kids played with her toys, and she didn’t mind helping her friends with their chores. Holland Elise was the type of girl you really wouldn’t mind sharing a popsicle with.

Holland’s home was nestled deep in the woods of Wieber Town. In these woods Holland loved to play and would gather and talk and sing with all the animals in the forest.

Wieber Town was an upside down sort of place—quite different from other towns. Turkey and barley for breakfast, Waffles for dinner, and for dessert—all the vegetables you could want! Summers were cold, winters were warm, nights were hot, and days were cool. It was an interesting place alright and Holland felt quite at home.

One day as Holland was skipping along, enjoying the crisp morning air, she almost squashed a blind little frog along the way.

The frog was indignant, and said so. “Watch where you step!” She was not an ordinary frog and was annoyed that Holland did not realize this.

“I’m very sorry, little frog,” Holland gasped. “Please forgive my carelessness. I did not realize that you can’t see! Oh! My manners have been forgotten. My name is Miss Holland. Please, do tell me your name.”

“Fancy is my name”, the frog proclaimed proudly, her chin in line with the clouds. With my pink pearly shoes, and my bright white smile, I’m surely headed for fame! I’m on my way to Hollywood, so I don’t have any time to waste talking with you!

Holland, though a bit taken back, stepped closer to Fancy and said, “Well, if you please, funny green frog, I’m really fine company. It would be my pleasure to tag along and help you carry your load! I can tell that the road is a bit hazy for you and I‘d love to show you the way. I won’t bore you with chatter and I’ll keep up by running. I’ll even bring some stew.

Fancy squinted to get a good look at Holland. Not able to see Holland very clearly, Fancy shook her head, sighed and asked, “I hope you don’t mind my question, but I want to know if you are beautiful. You see, this may be my only shot at fame. If you are not beautiful, you could put me completely to shame!

Holland thought a minute. “Well, I don’t know—I have been told that I’m beautiful, but what does it actually mean?”

Fancy sighed impatiently. “You know…shiny shoes, dresses with ruffly lace, sparkly earrings, sun-kissed hair and rosy cheeks.” Fancy sighed again. “Time is important, my dear”, she said, taking Holland by the arm. I can’t stand around all day. We are sure to bump into other travelers along the way. They can help answer our questions.

The two waltzed down the path towards Hollywood, in search of fame. Though they didn’t know it yet, the pair would soon learn a valuable lesson about beauty.

After a time, they spotted a little door in a large oak tree and ran up to it. On the door was a name plate. It read: STINK E. SKUNK. Before they could knock, the door swung open. Even though Fancy couldn’t see, she could definitely smell, and she didn’t like what she smelled. But Holland, seeing the skunk’s kind eyes, held out her hand and offered her name. Holland,” she said. The skunk embraced her hand warmly and answered, “Stink”. He offered his home to the weary travelers and a sweet cup of chocolate milk. Holland took a sip. Mmmmmm. As they sipped the milk, Holland asked Stink if he knew what beautiful meant. “Beautiful? Hmmmm. I imagine a nice scent would make someone beautiful.” He thought about it some more. “Yes, a nice smell and a spiky new haircut.” At that, he admired himself in the mirror. Holland pondered Stink’s words all night, but just wasn’t satisfied. The next morning, after a big bowl of barley and words of gratitude to Stink for a fine place to stay, Fancy and Holland began their trek to Hollywood once again.

Not long after they had set out, they came across a donut tree. Underneath they spotted an ostrich reading a book.

“My name is Olive, she said, after Fancy and Holland introduced themselves.

As Holland munched on donuts, freshly fallen from the tree, she watched the ostrich gently lead Fancy to a comfortable place in the grass. Holland noticed Olive’s red tennis shoes sparkling in the sunlight.

“Your shoes are just lovely!”

“Thank you”, said Olive with a smile. “Don’t they make me beautiful?”

“I don’t know, Holland replied. “Do shoes make a person beautiful?

“Of course they do!” Olive exclaimed.

As they all drifted off to a delightful sleep, Holland thought about Olive’s words, still not convinced that anyone she had met yet truly knew what beautiful meant.

After several hours, Holland and Fancy awoke and bid Olive Ostrich farewell. As they continued on their journey, Fancy turned towards Holland and said, “You don’t smell unpleasant. After another pause, she asked, “What about your haircut? Is it spiky? Do you have red, sparkly tennis shoes?”

Holland had to say no to all of her questions. “I find it hard to believe that I need a nice odor, a spiky haircut, and sparkly tennis shoes to be beautiful! There has got to be someone around here who knows the real meaning of beautiful!” Holland sighed. Just then, the sound of a voice stopped them in their tracks. It was Mr. Wise Owl! He was the Mayor of Wieber Town and was out making sure the residents were taking care of their land. “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. I can answer your question!

With that, he pulled from his pocket a book that said, God’s Word. Opening to the book of Peter, he read out loud, “1 Peter 3:3-6: Don't depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold jewelry or expensive clothes to make you look beautiful. Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet. This kind of beauty will last, and God considers it very special.”(CEV)

“It is not what is on your outside that matters. It is your inner being—your heart—that determines your true beauty.” Mr. Wise said. “If you have Jesus in your heart, the beauty He brings just can’t be contained. It will seep out like a fragrance, and because of it, others will want to know Jesus, too.”

Holland was suddenly filled with gratitude towards Mr. Wise and her heart felt at peace with the words that came from the big book. “Now that sounds right!” Holland exclaimed.

For the first time since they set out on their journey, Fancy was quiet. Kicking at a pinecone that rested at her feet, Fancy pondered the owl’s words. What he said changed her idea of beauty as well, and she suddenly didn’t desire for Hollywood fame anymore. She now knew that there was much more to beauty than one could see with the eye.

As the pair turned around to head home, Holland raised her eyes to the sky and thanked God for loving and creating her--Holland Elise. A girl whose beauty shines even brighter than red shiny shoes.

The End

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:4

Holland and Fancy share a Summer evening together. The pair have been friends nearly 4 years.


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