Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Little Livvy Livenshire

I finally was able to scan in Liv's book, which I wrote and illustrated for her first birthday. It's so hard to believe that she'll be 6 years old in just a couple of months. From day 1, Liv was who she is....and when I wrote this book, it was easy to describe her...even before her first birthday. Still today, the Little Livvy Livenshire portrayed in this book, is the same little girl who resides in our home. I feel so blessed to be her mom!

Little Livvy Livenshire

Little Livvy Livenshire, was a delightful girl. Not delightful because of her golden hair, or her silly giggle. Livvy was delightful because she loved others more than she loved herself. Livvy always had a smile on her face and a blissful hop to her step.

In the land of Livenshire, there was plenty of room to run, lavender skies, and clouds the shape of little bunnies. Livvy often nestled underneath the town’s famous bubblegum tree, dreaming of the day she might have a dog to call her very own. Livvy promised herself that if she ever received a dog, she would love it with all the hugs she could muster and all the songs she could sing. After these promises, Livvy would continue to nap beneath the tree, smiling at the sweet sound of the ice-cream truck in the distance.

The King of Livenshire was kind and generous. He loved the people of Livenshire and always tried to put their needs above his own. He hoped the residents of Livenshire would also treat others with kindness.

Today was different than most, as the whole town had gathered on the palace courtyard to hear a special announcement from the King.

“Here ye! Here ye, residents of Livenshire! The King’s noble dog, Chester, needs a playmate!”

At these simple words, a roar went up in the crowd. To be Chester’s playmate would be the most honorable of duties. Livvy could hardly believe what she had heard. Oh, how she wanted this duty as her own! She clenched her hands together and listened to the rest of the King’s message. “Finding Chester’s playmate will not be easy! If you can prove your ability to love Chester, you will be given the duty.”

That night, Livvy could hardly sleep. She thought of the King’s words and the contest that was to be held the next morning. She smiled as she thought of Chester. He had an under bite that would dismay most show dogs, as it caused his shiny pink tongue to stick out the side of his mouth. However, Livvy thought Chester’s under bite was exactly what made him so adorable. He was always well mannered and looked hopefully for a head pat or a hug whenever a group of children walked by. When he was lucky enough to get such attention, Chester would lean into his admirers and long to be their friend. Chester loved to be loved and Livvy knew she could love him.

Though Livvy heard these remarks, she had been taught be kind, even when others were not kind. Taking a deep breath, Livvy smiled and tried to be friendly. When the two kids still were not kind, Livvy looked for a way to pass the time. She hurried over to a nearby field and gathered the biggest bouquet of wildflowers she had ever seen. Livvy planned to give the flowers to Chester when her turn came.

Just as she had hoped, time passed quickly. Livvy’s chance at becoming Chester’s playmate was almost here! Only Stacy Sourface and Rocky Roughneck were in front of her.

Stacy’s dad worked for the king, so she already lived within the kingdom walls. Stacy was in the process of dressing Chester up in frilly dress-up clothes. When they didn’t fit right, Stacy stomped on Chester’s foot and pulled on the dress with all her might. “Poor Chester,” Livvy thought with concern.

Next, Rocky Roughneck ran up to Chester to take his turn. He threw a saddle on Chester and jumped on with a loud, “Giddy-up!” Rocky dug his heels into Chester’s sides and hung on tight when Chester jumped into the air with a yelp.

The King jumped up to intervene, “Stop at once! Apparently, I was mistaken to have hoped for a playmate for Chester. I withdraw my request. The contest is over!” The King threw his staff to the ground and got up to leave. Chester was crestfallen. Livvy, the last one in line, felt ready to cry.

Instead though, she had compassion for the King. The King didn’t want Chester to be mistreated and he longed for Chester to have a friend. Gathering her courage, Livvy bowed her head, stepped forward, and spoke loudly, “Dearest King, I would be so happy for one chance to prove my love to the most noble Chester!”

The King was about to object but suddenly stopped when Livvy raised her head and smiled. He saw kindness in her eyes! The king relented, “Okay, okay! You may have your chance but you will have to prove your worth!”

Livvy ran up to Chester and wrapped her arms around him. She rubbed his ears and sang to him and gave him her big bouquet of flowers. She even complimented his under bite. Chester perked up and leaned into his new friend.

The King burst into applause and hoisted Livvy onto his shoulders. “Here ye, here ye! I introduce to you, Chester’s playmate, Little Livvy Livenshire!” The whole kingdom cheered. Livvy was welcomed into the palace with a huge celebration. She enjoyed the live music, the huge platter of marshmallow sandwiches, and most importantly, playing with Chester.

The King was impressed by Livvy’s genuine love for Chester. He was also grateful for her kindness to Stacy and Rocky. Despite their snide remarks and jealousy, Livvy gave them an open-ended invitation to come play at the palace anytime they wanted. She showed Chester, the King, and the other children that love is patient and kind and not boastful at all.

The end.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reese's Party

I'm getting antsy to meet our little girl! And though she is our third girl, the suspense and culmination of our first meeting, is just as exciting. Even so, I felt that a baby shower would be frivolous given our current economy, so I asked my friend Stephanie, who so kindly offered to give me one, for a time spent with friends instead. But, when you have friends like mine, the get-together morphed into what I like to call a baby shower. :o) I am so amazed by it all, but I do have friends who love my girls and wait expectantly, like we are, to meet our next one. The blessing of it all overwhelms and humbles me. This party was so special because I got to bring along my favorite little gals, Liv and Holland. Those of you who have girls know that they aren't always born acting like little ladies. On the contrary, such things such as party etiquette, table manners, social skills, really do have to be taught. Because of this, I look forward for occasions in which we can practice them.

Here I am with the girls. Getting them out of bed that morning was quite easy. As soon as they remembered that they were going to Reese's breakfast party, jammies went flying, dresses flew on, and shoes were squished on without so much as an unbuckle.

I can barely believe it that I get to have another girl to add to this picture soon!

A side-view is always a must.

I was so happy to have my mom there to help us celebrate. We had a great weekend together and she got to help cheer Liv on during her race the night before.

Here I am with some of my friends:

Stephanie, left, so graciously welcomed us all into her beautiful home. She also arranged the party, even though she's still in the throes of her first pregnancy trimester. She's an amazing party planner and thinks of all the details. Stephanie and I actually first met at Chili's Restaurant where we worked. Meanwhile, our future husbands were both at BSU on wrestling scholarships. The rest is pretty much history...Steph...she is my always accepting, always compassionate friend. Chelsea and I met 1 month shy of 9 years ago at our newly marrieds bible study. I don't always have to tell her everything...She knows what I mean, even when I don't say it right...which is quite often. I often wish I could put everything on paper before I say it, and she knows that about me. We were both teachers and runners and hit it off right away. We taught summer school together and have been so fortunate to live right around the corner from each other! This has come in handy for impromptu visits, a place to take my girls during hair appointments, and shared Costco trips. We also both attempted to become certified as Driver's Ed. instructors a few years back. One of us had to drop out because of a California-influenced lead foot. Apparently, Driver's Ed instructors can't have more than 3 speeding tickets in 6 months. Who knew? Anyhow, now that I've cleared the air, Chelsea brought the most yummy quiche and beautiful flowers and balloons, much to the delight of our girls.

Here's my friend Shannon.
You'd never guess that she is one of the busiest people I know. oh, okay...she's not busy in this picture, but trust me....the girl looks this calm even when she is so busy. She's incredibly talented and wise beyond her years. Shannon and I got to become moms together when our first borns were born within 2 days of each other.

And she makes an exceptionally beautiful bouquet of fresh fruit. From a distance, I really thought she was carrying in a pretty flower arrangement. Instead, I was in awe to find a head of lettuce, speared with skewers of fresh pineapple cut into flower shapes, strawberries, grapes, and canteloupe. Each skewer was laced with parsley. You can check it out in the photo below, to the right:

I really like this picture below because, in addition to the amazingly cute baby Esther, there are 4 pairs of feet in this picture. You can see Liv's bare and taut feet, pointed to allow her easier access to the breakfast goods. I must also compliment Keri's very fashionable wedges. I can always count on her to have beautiful shoes. Keri lives in my neighborhood and inspires me daily with her creativity as a mom. And you can tell all that by her shoes alone. My toe is peaking from the right. And would someone please claim the perfect-painted toes to the left?

Keri created this beautiful invite for the party. She is uber-talented with the computer, and blesses people with her generosity. This invite matched Reese's baby book perfectly, unbenownst to Keri until after it was made!

Here I get to pose with my mom-in-law, Jan. She wrote a few beautiful songs for Reese, one of which was sung at the party by Liv. Jan and I and the girls have sung the songs around the breakfast table and into the tape recorder. It's been fun having these jam sessions. She has made this pregnancy very sweet for me by relieving me of a great amount of house and yard work. It has given me time to rest, read more books to the girls, and go on more dates with Bri. I know I will look back on this time with fondness. Oh, and we have the same initials: JLW. Just a little piece of trivia for ya.

My friend Melinda, on the left, is due about 4 weeks after me. It's been fun to compare notes, since this is the third for both of us. Her laugh is contagious. I pray that her energy is, too.

This is a cute picture of my friends. Suz, left, is also pregnant and is due in December! She pretty much always has that cute smile on her face. She also has a really big heart. Miranda is the mom to adorable baby Esther, above. She also built a chicken coop. Not at the party. At her house. And my friend Katie, right, is one of the most laid back and friendly people I know. She also makes a mean strawberry shortcake.

See? And I am still dreaming about another piece!

My friend Anna (AKA former college roommate) is a gem of a friend and actually drove up to Boise from Twin Falls...even though she had to drive up the weekend before....and told me she wouldn't miss this event. Ah. I'm so glad that God allowed our paths to cross. She's encouraging and joyful and made my first year of college so fun. She's priceless when I need conversation. She also got to be a mom for the first time in 2009. I think it suits her quite well.

I like this picture, as it shows my friends mingling in the backdrop, while I steal a moment with my girls. Fifth from the left, is my sweet sister-in-law Amy. I'm so happy to have her in my life. Once upon a time she spent hours helping me get my first classroom together before the first day of school, we set up shop in our living room right before her college graduation to crank out a bunch of announcements and did the same a few years later with her wedding invites. We also endured teasing from our husbands as we seriously talked of establishing our own invitation business. Apparently, they thought it was funny that at the end of the card making session, we had forgotten all of our frustrations and trials. (We needed them to rescue us from printer troubles on more than one occasion.) The girls got to spend the night a month or so ago at Amy and Chris' house. Amy had organized many fun activities for them and they are still talking about the time they had.

Liv would like to thank whoever brought the croissants. She ate 3-1/2.

My friend Sarah is talking with my mom on the left. She and I met in the 7th grade in Journalism class. She is one of the smartest women I know. Seriously. She also made high school so fun for me. Brian always makes fun of me because when he had met me, the worst thing I had ever done (as in breaking-the-law type stuff) was spray paint graffiti in a tunnel and pick roses illegally in a state park. Sarah was my partner in crime in both instances. I didn't tell Brian, though, that the words we spray painted were "Jesus Loves You". ha ha!! Thankfully, we were let go with just a warning after being caught red handed with the roses, (bad pun intended) and not the suggested $250.00 fine.

Here I am enjoying some conversation with my friend Christi. Christi and I go way back. Back to the 6th grade that is, when we met in Honor's Band, thankfully seated right next to each other.We then started junior high and experimented with cooking in a class called Foods and Nutrition. We also attended the same youth group. Celebrated half birthdays. Played butt wars on the trampoline. Made music videos. Played hooky during PE runs. Got my car stuck in her yard. TP'd cars together. Sung in the same music group. Directed a Vacation Bible School for kids in Mexico completely in Spanish together. We both attended different colleges in Idaho, then became elementary teachers and located permanently in Idaho. We have some really embarrassing pictures taken together. We also share some really special memories. I adore her. Oh, and if you want some tips for raising lady-like girls, just let me know.

Liv was so incredibly sweet. She made a present for Reese, put it in a gift bag, and brought it to the party. Here I am with her, posing with the oh-so-practical umbrella for Reese....made from a Dixie paper plate, and two straws.

Again, if you would like some tips on teaching party etiquette to your little girl, I would be so happy to share what I've learned.

I wish I had gotten a picture of my friend Jonie, who made this beautiful bib and a matching blanket, but the bib will have to do in this case. :o) She is metilculous in all areas of life...her family, her child-raising, most importantly--her relationship with Jesus. I find it interesting that you can see the same level of order and care in the stitches she so carefully places upon fabric. She and her husband Cyrus are expecting their third baby in December! The girls have picked up these bibs on numerous occasions and in their squeakiest voices said, "OOOOOOOH! These are the CUUUUUTEST little BIIIIIIBS!"

My friend Katie made this beautiful nursing cover. The fun of it was that she and I got to make a visit to my favorite fabric store a couple of weeks prior to pick out this beautiful material. I. love. fabric. stores. Thanks Katie for keeping me in style...even while nursing. :o)

Miranda made this charming little bonnet for Reese, and convinced Esther to model it for us. She did so with such poise. Isn't it absolutely adorable? Yes...this is the same Miranda who built the chicken coop. She also sews. And is bilingual.

When my sister and I were young and went to birthday parties, my mom would let us pick a basket for our friend and we would load it up with fun girl stuff....like bonne bell chapstick, a pack of gum, and a carefully selected nail polish. It was so fun. My mom still does that for me. :o) She's so sweet in that each item placed in a "basket" or "bag" or "purse" is carefully selected, very random, and most often things that I would not dream of buying for myself...simply out of frugality. This beautiful bag, from my mom and sister, is without a doubt the nicest bag I have ever owned....and it gets to be my new diaper bag...without actually being one. :o) She loaded it with socks, a few rattles and teething toys for Reese, a preschool book from the 1970's, beautiful flowers from a soap factory in Yakima, wooden salad tongs, etc. I had to put the picture of me pulling salad tongs from the bag. That is SO my mom. And I am SO happy that's the case. :o)

Thank you God for my amazing friends and family. Thank you for the unique delight and enrichment each one of them brings to my life.

And now...all we need is Reese to come. 4 weeks and counting!


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