Friday, October 7, 2011


Holland, 6 years old

Holland turned 6 a few weeks ago and ever since, I've been pondering on what a blessing she is to our family.  I thought you might want to get a peek into the window of Holland.

Things you might not know about our new six-year-old:

She's rather shy

Mozart makes her swoon. In fact, she has shared her opinion that Chopin copied all of Mozart's life works.

Her most favorite color is turquoise. 

John Singer Sargent's painting entitled "Carnation Carnation Rose" has been noted as one of her faves.

Unfinished art projects cause her to break out in hives. Ok, so maybe not hives, but they do illicit a sort of panic.

She dislikes getting her hands dirty. Mom has to crack the eggs.

She can use both hands to draw, catch, and do other notable things.

She isn't afraid to pick up ants with her bare hands. Around these parts, we call her "The Ant Slayer".

She has a serious (and absurd) disdain for melted cheese.

She loves to sing her conversations.

Everyday, she declares that she wouldn't trade her little sister for ANY other baby, EVEN a boy baby.

She adores singing, practices her songs on the piano every day, and can't wait to learn to play the violin or mandolin.

Root beer popsicles are her favorite.

She welcomes the sight of blood.

Antique shops make her happy.

So do book stores.

She adores technology and if we didn't care about her brain, she'd play Angry Birds 24/7.

She has compared herself to Mater and her sister Liv to Lightning McQueen...both characters from the Movie, "Cars". This really cracks me up.  Really, Holland?  Mater?!  

She has an interesting fear that she will grow super small or super large.

She is an amazingly tender, creative, joyful little girl and I am super blessed to be her mom!


In other news, Holland decided 2 weeks before her birthday that she did not want any kind of birthday celebration.  She had worked herself up to a panic at the thought of it.  I was surprised, but then I wasn't.  She likes to steer away from being the center.  I assured her that she didn't have to have a party and she was visibly relieved.  But knowing how much Holland really does LOVE birthdays and friends and celebrations, I decided a small little party couldn't hurt, and would make her feel loved and important.  So we fashioned a small surprise party and made it just her style.

A fictional character lives within our walls....our mind walls, that is.  Suzie is a boy dragon (his mother wanted a girl...go figure) who was created to relax Holland's fears about dragons after a nightmare she had one night.  ("Really?" you say.  I know what you're thinking...a healthy does of dragon fear isn't so bad...but to that I say, "Dragons are not real.") Since then, Suzie shows up in bedtime stories nearly every night.  Holland really adores fact, the other day she wistfully told me that she wished Suzie was real.  Suzie spends most of his days saving the day and being a good friend.  Instead of telling you about Suzie, I'll share one of my stories of Suzie:

Suzie {the boy} Dragon

The day Suzie was born was a sad day.  You see, Suzie’s mom so convinced herself that she was having a girl dragon, that when out came a BOY dragon, she was in utter disbelief and refused to name him something other than Suzie.  So if you look at Suzie’s birth certificate you will see that Suzie is indeed a boy dragon, and Suzie is definitely his real name.  

Now that you know Suzie’s birth story, I am sure you, dear reader, will be able to accept Suzie as he is, dragon and all. 

Now, I know you must feel bad for Suzie, since his mother wanted him to be a girl, but Suzie looked like any other happy, healthy boy dragon.  Oh, his mother dressed him in a pink bonnet for a few weeks--at first.  But Suzie is now choosing his own clothes and is able to wear black rubber boots and his favorite blue suspenders.

Have you seen Suzie?  You can’t miss him.  His deep purple skin and his bright yellow dots seem to pop out and say, “Here I am!!!”.    And because he is the only dragon in town (except for his mother) he walks everywhere and claims his wings are only for looks.  (Because, you see, Suzie is NOT a show-off).  Suzie is slow and clumsy and every so often, he straightens his bow tie and gives a good click with his tongue (like this:  “cluck cluck”).  Everybody loves Suzie.  It isn’t because he is so large or because every time he sneezes, fire comes out his nose.  Nope.  Everybody loves Suzie because he is kind and helpful to anyone who needs someone, well…kind and helpful. 

One particular day, Suzie was out walking along the sidewalk, kicking at boulders along the way, when he heard a frantic train whistle.  He had heard train whistles before but this time it was different.  It was as if the train was shouting, “MOVE OUT!  MOVE OUT!”  Suzie did not waste any time at all.  Now, I know I said Suzie wasn’t a show-off,  but I also said that Suzie is kind and helpful to anyone in need.  He spread his wings and pushed off towards the train with all the speed and might he could muster.  Above the tree tops he soared.  Around the fire station he turned.  More blaring train whistles could be heard. Beyond the river and through the woods he gathered speed.  The train whistles were becoming more and more urgent. And when he rounded the bend near the grocery store he saw why the train was so frantic--A car was stopped on the tracks and the people couldn’t get out!  As he got closer, his heart raced fast:  His best friend Holland and all her friends were inside!  He glanced over and saw that the train was dangerously close now to the car. Hovering over the crowd of people who had gathered, Suzie swooped down and literally plucked the car from the tracks and carried it safely out of harms way.  Holland and her friends tumbled out of the car and tackled Suzie with hugs of gratitude.  The townspeople rushed at the loveable dragon and shook his hand vigorously, one by one, until Suzie thought his arm would fall off.  And the following day, The Mayor of the town had a meeting where he awarded Suzie a “key” to the city so that, though he was a dragon, he was now an honorary member of the city and could now be counted in the annual census.  Best of all, in Suzie’s opinion, was the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast waiting for him afterwards. With a click of his bow-tie and a skip to his step, he invited Holland and all her friends to join him and together they devoured those pancakes! 


Anyhow, all this was shared with you so you don't have to ask:  Why is this little girl so happy to have a dragon birthday cake?

My mom took Holland shopping as we set up for the party.  When Holland returned, she was so happy to see friends and balloons and food!  Then, as the kids were finishing their dinner, I gathered the kids together to play a game and then "noticed" that one of our guests was missing:  Suzie!  Well, of course, the kids wanted to know who Suzie was (though some already did know since Holland talks about Suzie all the time!), so I told the kids the story of Suzie as we waited for Suzie to show up.  

Holland was ecstatic that Suzie was the center of attention.  As I was finishing, Brian came up with a letter and exclaimed that a man with mask just dropped off a letter for Holland!  

Holland and friends,

Your dear friend Suzie will not be attending the party because he is a little tied up right now.  (muhaahaaa!!)  In fact, you can kiss your chances away of ever seeing your friend again! 


Bad guy

She looked nervous as she opened the letter.  We all suddenly knew that Suzie was NOT coming to the party, and that Suzie needed help badly!  He was captured and being held against his will.  Suddenly a clue was found on the ground, and the hunt for Suzie began.  

The clues led them to the sunflower garden, 

the sandbox, 

to the apple tree where the correct number of lemon drops needed to be guessed.  

Then to the canoe, 

a mad rush to the pastor, 

up the climbing wall, 

where straws were drawn to see who had to be brave enough to seek out advice from the sage, 

and to the old sage...

...atop the mountain with a clear warning: "do NOT drink from the paper cup."  

At this point, the pinata lowered and the kids desperately tried to free Suzie from the pink castle where he was being held.  

Then the castle broke open and the kids gathered army men (who, of course, were guarding the castle), candies, and other treats.  When all the goods were gathered, the kids were asked if they had seen Suzie.  None had, but then a look into all the bags found him in Holland's bag!  She was super happy to have found him.  

Afterwards, the kids dug into the Suzie cake and the kids played the rest of the night. 

Brian helped plan this party, and the whole time we were working on it, we both felt so grateful for our unique little girl.  She is an enormous blessing to our family and completes it only the way she can with her wild imagination, individual ideas, and her warm little heart.  

Happy Birthday, Hollywags!  We love you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Birch Bay

Birch bay was calling our names...oh ok, not Birch Bay, but our family who lives there were! We were calling their names, too. We live way too far away from each other. We drove up for a very quick (too quick!) trip and had such a wonderful time. Tami and Mark took us to Hovander Farm and Tennant Lake and I got my Pacific Northwest fix for the year! (though, it was uncharacteristically tropical for the first 2 days, it did get damp and rainy on our way out!). Even with such warm weather, I still felt the usual pangs of homesickness every time I do when I walk along barnacle encrusted shores, gaze up and up at towering hemlocks, and get misted by perpetual rain drizzle.

Hovander Farm immediately transported me back into time and our family enjoyed viewing and sitting on old farm equipment, funny farm animals, a real live secret garden, a marsh nature walk, waltzing among gorgeous flower gardens, and a sweet picnic under the trees.

Oh, and Reesie would like to tell you that she had a most amazing swing session:

The next day was spent digging and splashing and getting all kinds of dirty!

We had a wonderful time with our family and miss them already.
Until we meet again, Pacific Northwest!


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