Friday, November 08, 2013

To Mabel on Her Third Birthday

I feel a little bit guilty that the only time I seem to find time to post on this blog is on my kids' birthdays. I used to be so good at blogging. I want to do an adequate job of documenting these special days so that I won't forget them. My days are filled, almost to the brim. My infrequent posts will have to do.

And now for a birthday letter.....

To my Mabel girl on her third birthday-

Mabel girl,
What a precious and sweet gift you are to your dad and me! It is hard for me to believe that you are already three years old!

It has been hard for me to figure out exactly what kind of a little girl you are, what type of person you might be. Much of this is because you trail around behind Milla, following and copying her every move. She bosses you around. Sometimes it is hard to figure out where her personality ends and yours begins. I can see traces of spirit in you, of you claiming your independence from Milla, putting your foot down. I hope to see more of this from you, to see your personality changing from a follower to a leader over time. I plan to make sure you have plenty of time apart from her so that you can learn to make your own decisions and how to be your own person.

You have the sweetest, highest little voice. One of my friends described your voice as sweet and "like a cupcake." You have a sheepish look that makes you look so guiltless and innocent. I can see the sneakiness in you, though. You definitely have a sweet look that causes people to say "Aww.." and allows you to get away with some things, especially with your Dad. You can't quite pronounce all of your words right now. You have trouble with your L's and R's, saying things like "Melly Alice" and "bwotha."

You love to be read to and love to sing. You have the most beautiful voice. This year, you've loved singing 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord O My Soul), Create In Me A Clean Heart, O God, The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases, among others. Your voice makes me smile. You can carry a pretty good tune. One of my favorite things is to hear you sing. You surprise me with the things you already know, especially since I don't work with you on many of them. Milla has taught you about your ABC's and numbers. You have been especially adept at learning your memory verses this year. You love to say your memory verses! Each morning at breakfast, you run over and pull them out of the drawer and remind me to say them to you. This year, you've learned around forty verses and the books of the Bible. You especially enjoy reciting anything that has to do with music.

You love to be held. You love to snuggle, especially with your dad in the mornings! You look so much like your Nonnie. They call you her "mini me." The faces you make remind me a lot of your Dad. You look so much like him too. :)

Right now, you love to be left alone with the felt board, "with the light on and the door shut." You go in there and play for hours, telling Bible stories and making up pretend stories with the flannelgraph pieces. You love to play with your dolls. You and Milla have made up the oddest names for your dolls. You have "Johnnen, Lighty, Miss Davonia, Emily, George, Sue, and Tiny Baby" just to name a few. :)  I find these dolls lined up all over the house. Several of them look well loved and have pieces of Scotch tape on their bodies (band-aids). I am so glad that you and Milla have each other. When you are feeling like you need some attention, you pick on her. Really, though, you girls are the best of friends.

You love to color. You love Cinderella. You love the new Cinderella costume that your Gran made you for your birthday. Your Daddy is your Prince Charming. You are very content. It doesn't take much to amaze or entertain you. Recently, on a trip to the grocery store, I bought you a cheap little Cinderella coloring book. When I brought it home and presented it to you, you would have thought it was Christmas morning. You were so thankful and excited. Your little eyes lit up. You were so proud that something special had been bought just for you. You love to have your hair curled. You love to have your nails painted. You are my special girly girl. You love to play dress up and are especially enamored with some cheap Cinderella slippers that I bought you at Target. You wear them all of the time. They are usually on backwards. :) You love to help in the kitchen. You love to sit beside the mixer and add in ingredients, to help put away the dishes and take out the trash. You are a buddy. You love to sit beside Milla and listen to her read to you. You love books. You love to sit in my lap in the rocking chair and turn the pages.

You are a little bit on the dramatic side. You cry whenever you are tired. You are tired a lot. I'm not sure what's going on with that. When you skip your nap (which happens more and more frequently these days), we are in for lots of crying at the drop of a hat.

You are a little bit timid and shy and hesitant when it comes to new situations or new things. You don't like surprises or loud people or noises. When something is loud or startling (like a vacuum cleaner), you plug your fingers in your ears.

This year, we moved you to a big girl bed in a room with Milla. You two often get into trouble for talking and staying up instead of going to sleep. Rascals. Sometimes you stamp your foot adamantly and say "NO!" when you don't want to do something. You have a little independent streak in you, which I love. We're working on when and where it is appropriate to be independent...

You love your "Jackie boy" and call him your little "Manners." You try to be motherly with him, but you often succeed in aggravating him or knocking him down with your hugs.

I'm so glad we have you in our family! You are so special and sweet. I cannot imagine our family without our Mabel Emmalee in it! I am so thankful that you are ours. We pray for you often, that God will grow you up to have a heart for Him, that even now He is preparing a godly man for you to marry. It is my prayer that you will be strong and wise, that you will do great things for God's glory. We love you, sweet Mabel and are so proud of you! Happy third birthday!

Friday, August 30, 2013

To My Mary Alice girl on her twelfth birthday-

Yikes! Twelve? Really? Could it be that your time in our house is two thirds over? It boggles my mind that there are only six more years before you will be considered a legal adult? Crazy!  So now, two weeks later, I will undertake writing a birthday letter to my special, fabulous, super mature twelve year old...

Mary Alice, you are so special to your Dad and me. We love you immensely. I love seeing the young woman you are starting to become, watching you grow and change and mature. I will attempt to capture a little of who you are at age twelve and some of what the past year has held.

This is the first year that I’ve seen big, huge leaps in your spiritual maturity level.  You have changed a lot since you were eleven!! You possess a kindness, a care for the feelings of others, a self-control, and a sweetness that surpasses that of many mature Christians that I know. You have always been a bit of an old soul, but I’ve really noticed a marked difference in your spiritual maturity during this past year. I am proud of the way I’ve seen you treat some people this year who were being treated poorly by others. I am proud of the way you’ve been a friend to the friendless and done hard things. You know what I am talking about. I notice and God notices too.  I think He smiles at your sweet spirit.

I am proud of the servant that you are to others. You step up where you are needed and do what needs to be done. What a hard worker! You are my right hand girl. :) Just last week, at Abel’s birthday party, we looked up to find that you had totally cleaned up all of the birthday decorations. You had picked up everything, gotten out the vacuum cleaner and cleaned the floors and entire room. You did this all quietly and without being asked. I was so proud! This was just one occasion, but you are always a willing helper at home. Thank you for being such a good help to me.

You are a nurturer. You have expressed interest in becoming a nurse one day. I TOTALLY see your gifts being in line with that. You love people. People love you. You are good communicator. You see needs before they are pointed out and get to work, filling the needs. You have a servant heart. You love visiting with elderly people. Whatever career path you choose, I see you excelling and being a world changer, one relationship at a time.

I see your gifts and talents being developed further this year. You are a FABULOUS cook. I can count on you to cook meals for our family on a regular basis and not be worried that we are all going to have to choke them down. I was SO proud of you when, a few weeks ago, you taught a lady who is much older than you to bake a layered cake. You figured out a way to work through the recipe, improvising and making do. Even though she had only self rising flour and no buttermilk, you figured out how to make a cake that was not only beautiful, but tasty. I was so proud to see your impromptu use of lemon juice and milk as a substitute for buttermilk and your makeshift subtraction of the baking powder because you knew that self rising flour would produce a mess of a cake! I promise you that I wasn’t that capable and confident in the kitchen at your age! You amazed me with your capability and quick thinking! So proud of you!
This year, you started your own blog, which I LOVE to read! You write about some of the things you've been making, recipes you've tried, things you've crafted. Love seeing the humor in your writing this year!
            You are SO funny and creative! You make me laugh hysterically with your crazy accents and impressions of people. You are mostly spot on. It is uncanny how you can imitate people, the way they walk, talk, everything. I especially enjoy your old Southern lady impersonation. God has blessed you with a wonderful sense of humor. I credit your drama classes with pulling some of that out of you. I am smiling just thinking about it!

Your dad and I can see God continuing to pour out the wisdom that we’ve prayed for you to have. I have been so proud of your discipline in Bible study over the past school year. This year, I loved hearing how your teacher saw your post it notes and decided to start implementing that same Bible study plan herself. That’s just how you are, Mary Alice girl. Your influence reaches farther than just within your peers. Your faithfulness in reading and service to others has the power to encourage others in their spiritual walks.  Now that your Dad bought you a new Bible, you will have to start over on wearing out the pages. :)

You recently expressed to me your desire to mentor girls who were younger than you. I think that is a wonderful idea! I love watching you think Biblically and love seeing you make a difference in your world, being an example to the believers and non-believers in speech, in conduct, in love, and in purity.  

On a less serious note, I was proud to run a 5K with you this year—Color Me Rad!! Before we ran, we were in SAD shape, embarrassing shape. Afterwards, we were buff hard-bodies, sortof. We ran faithfully from January until May training for this run. Even if you hate running and never want to do it again...I sure am proud of you for persevering and finishing! I didn’t always love the running part so early in the morning either, but I dearly loved praying with you on our driveway after our morning runs. I loved holding hands with you during our cool down walk each day. I have good memories of watching the neighborhood kids getting onto the school bus as we rounded the corner towards our house each morning , and how I always felt so thankful that we had that time together, just the two of us. It was hard. It was worth it to cross the finish line with you!! We did it!

Life is full of hard things that are totally worth it, Mary Alice. I see you doing hard things, loving others when it is hard, serving when it would be easier to sit and do nothing, being a friend to those who need it, trying hard to do what is right. I am so proud of you!

I can already see how God is using you, but wonder what the future holds for my Mary Alice girl. I can’t help but think that you will go far, that you will do many wonderful things to bring glory to God in your lifetime. It is our wish that you would love the Lord and His ways all the days of your life, however long that may be, that you would seek wisdom from His Word and strive to please Him in all that you do. It is our prayer that you would walk in truth and that you would bring others along with you in that way. We pray daily that if it is His will, God would eventually send you just the right person as a life partner. We pray for him too, knowing that your choice of a spouse will influence so much of what the rest of your life will be like.  

 I see you growing in wisdom and understanding and in love for God and others. I am so proud of the example you are to your dad and me. You are a joy and a blessing to us! I couldn’t have imagined what a sweet and essential part of our family you would be when you were born twelve years ago! I thank God for blessing us with you for twelve years. You’re a sweet one. I love you so very very much! Happy birthday, Mary Alice!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

To my littlest man Jack on your first birthday-

What a special gift you are to your dad and me! This year with you has flown by so quickly! It is hard to believe that our little man is already turning one!

A few things about you at one year old... You are sweet and cuddly, but VERY active. You want to explore everything! You get into everything- drawers, cabinet doors, your sisters’ play kitchen.  You delight in making big messes and lots of noise! I love it! Most of what you do you do with gusto, followed by a big smile that says, “Look at me! Aren’t I funny?” Of course, everything you do is followed with squeals of laughter from your siblings or maybe sometimes a playful scolding and a “No, sir!” if you did something you weren’t supposed to do.

You are a little man of few words. What you do say, you communicate with your big blue eyes and your chubby little fingers. You point at EVERYTHING. I can tell that you are trying so hard to say something. It’s like the words are stuck in the back of your throat and won’t come out. I know you are listening, though. I know what you mean, even though you haven’t found your words yet.  Right now, you can clearly say Mama, Dada, Bye bye, buh buh, and uh oh. Uh oh is something you say often. :)

You have been toddling around for about a month now and are getting better at walking every day.  On occasion you still do this funny little one legged crawl. You crawl normally on the carpet, but when you get on a hard floor surface, you change to this scooting crawl where you drag one leg behind you. So cute! You are quite a climber. You can make it up the stairs in only a few seconds. We cannot take our eyes off of you for even a moment!

You love to play with balls. You have a rough boy throw, which I like. You love wheels.  I know I can keep you occupied for at least half an hour if I turn the wagon or one of the kids’ bicycles upside down. You will stare at and spin those wheels for a long time. You love to carry around Major’s baseball bat. You love to push around the girls’ shopping cart and strollers. One of your favorite toys right now is my broom. It is so weird. If I leave the laundry room door open, you will quickly make your way back there, pull the broom down off of the wall and hold onto it for a LONG time. It is really strange.  You are my first kid who has been obsessed with getting in the toilet. I never knew what those toilet safety locks were for until you came along. You crazy guy! If someone leaves the bathroom door open, you are known to make a b-line in there and start splashing away. Gross. The kids and I try to keep the door closed until you can learn how to behave better. :)

Your dad says that I spoil you. I try so hard not to, but just can’t get enough of you. It doesn’t seem to bother me that much that you still get up at least once in the middle of the night. I want to cuddle you longer and hold you more. Maybe it is because I know how quickly babies turn into big kids. Maybe it is because you are my last baby. Maybe it is because you are just too cute and special and I can see changes in you every day. Whatever the reason, I sure have been enjoying the time that you are my baby.  I am determined not to follow the pattern that people sometimes get into of treating their youngest children like babies for too long, unintentionally shaping them into self centered and irresponsible people. However, I do not think that extra love and snuggles given to a one year old can be doing too much damage.  
You love your siblings...except when you don’t. You have been known to pull hair and pinch when they are in your face. Rascal. You especially love Mary Alice. She is a second mother to you. She loves you so much! Major helps out too. You think he’s pretty neat.  Milla’s antics always make you laugh. That girl loves to put on a show for you. You reward her efforts with a huge grin and laughter. You don’t feel the love for Mabel  just yet. Maybe one day.

You love to eat almost everything! You have gulped down almost anything we have ever given you to eat and asked for more. Some of your favorites right now are peaches, broccoli, green beans, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, french fries :/, and birthday cake with ice cream. :) 

People are constantly remarking on what a handsome and happy baby you are. They are right. Aside from the getting up in the middle of the night to nurse and the getting into everything, you are such a sweet and easy guy. I am so blessed to be your mama.  I am so proud of my Jack boy. We are so glad that God gave you to our family. I look forward to watching you grow up. I wonder what kind of a man you will become. It is my daily prayer that you will grow up to love the Lord with all that you have and that you will teach others about Him and His ways. Your dad and I pray constantly for the man you’ll be, for the friends you’ll have, and for the type of wife you will choose, should you choose to marry.   We pray for wisdom in raising you and pray for God to grab your heart. We love you so much and thank God for the blessing of you.  Happy first birthday, buddy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Narnian Restaurant Surprise

        My kids are the best kids ever. No really. They are downright amazing and fantabulous. I love them to bits. I had to write a post about what they did tonight.

        It started with last night. Mary Alice and Major came up to me and told me that they would be making dinner the following night and that I was to ask no questions about the matter. I was, however, supposed to take them to the grocery store for a few "supplies." That's all they would tell me, just a vague hint..."supplies." Supplies, huh? This could be really great or really expensive and messy. Their track record is pretty good on surprises, so I decided to go along with their request not to ask questions and wait to be surprised.

        This afternoon, they informed me that they would be working in the kitchen and that I wasn't to come around for any reason. I used this opportunity to take a nap and take a hot relaxing bath. I could smell pleasant smells coming from the kitchen and could hear talking that hinted that they were getting along well, so I thoroughly enjoyed myself while waiting for the moment when the surprise would finally make it's appearance.

        I was greeted at the door to my room by Mary Alice. She was holding a pillow with a crown on it. She told me to come to the kitchen and be seated. She and Major placed crowns on our heads and took our orders. Those rascals had not only created an amazing meal (I'll describe that later.), but had based it off of an awesome theme from one of my favorite magical fictional worlds, Narnia. They had created a little restaurant called "Cair Paravel Cuisine."  The table was set with my china and red fancy goblets. We were dubbed High King Peter and Queen Susan by the Maitre D and promptly served a Narnian feast fit for a king and queen, which we were. See our crowns?

 Um, This King looks super cute and kingly enough.  Nevermind the wench posing as a queen who is hanging on the King's shoulder. That girl looks like something that the royal cat had just dragged in! She had just stepped out of her bath and was suffering from wet hair and no make-up. Yikes.

 The Menu-  This food was SERIOUSLY good. I knew that the food was going to very possibly be yummy when I overheard Mary Alice saying something to Major this afternoon about a roux that she was going to be making for the dinner. We were served garlic and herb chicken, mushrooms with cream sauce, mashed potatoes, asparagus, strawberries with cream, and Mary Alice's own creation--Turkish Delight. We both chose the "spiced wine" to drink with our meal. It was amazing!!! I was most impressed with Mary Alice's rendition of Turkish Delight. I wish I had gotten a picture of it. Mary Alice has actually tasted Turkish Delight once, so she made up her own recipe based on what she thought it tasted like. She made us "Turkish Delight" out of three ingredients: gummy bears, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. It sounds nasty, but was surprisingly yummy.  If you look closely on the menu, you will also see something about "Plumptree's Vitaminized Nerve Food."  Hilarious! Major explained it to me. It was some Narnian reference that I didn't remember from the books.

 The sign on the outside of the restaurant reads "Welcome to Cair Paravel Cuisine. Proudly serving the finest foods since the Lord Digory's time. P.S. All followers of Tash will not be admitted."  HA! Love those creative kids.

Jack was waiting for his meal. This guy LOVES food. He tried to eat his napkin while waiting on the meal to be served. Narnian food wasn't his favorite.

 Here we go.... This was the first course. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the beautiful strawberries and cream and Turkish Delight. I was too distracted with feeding Hungry Jack.

 My precious girl. This girl is an amazing cook for her age. I'm so proud of her!

Major loves the Chronicles of Narnia. A restaurant based on Narnia was his idea.

 Milla and Mabel wanted to wear our crowns for a little while. :)

 My Jack boy after dinner. He is growing up so fast! Ten months old!!
 After dinner, Josh and the older kids played a game of Knockout in the driveway.
Mabel gets comfy while Josh reads to them from their Bible story book before bed. She loves her daddy.
See? I told you I had the best kids ever. :)

The Compound

         Our family was blessed to be able to make a quick trip last weekend. We got a chance to visit a little place called "The Compound." The Compound is a little piece of Heaven right in the middle of Texico, New Mexico. Josh's Grandparents, Aunt and Uncle, two cousins, and their families all have houses built on the same plot of land. Their houses are all in a semicircle connected by a wooden walkway. They jokingly refer to it as "The Compound." It is a fun place to be. Josh's family has built a little Oasis right out in the middle of the dirt. It is always so much fun to go for a visit, not just because of the fun things there are to do, but because of the people we get to see.  We always leave "The Compound" with our hearts full. 
This blog is heavy on pictures and lighter on words. Believe it or not, I actually cut out lots of pictures. There were so many sweet ones, that it was hard for me to decide. 

Josh's family (His grandparents, Uncle Craig and Aunt Deon) with the kids  Love these people!
We met Craig and Deon at Fuddruckers in Lubbock on our way to The Compound. Craig and Deon took Mary Alice, Major, and their grandson, AJ to an Acapella concert that night. It was the kids' first real concert. They loved it! Jack thought Craig was really funny.
The Compound is highly entertaining to my kids. They always wear themselves out playing outside on the trampolines, go-carts and running around with their cousins. They are making some great memories. 
Milla girl loved the trampoline. So cute! 
Mary Alice and Major drove this Go-Cart all around the place. Mary Alice seemed like a speed demon. Watch out drivers! This girl will be on the roads in a few more years! 
Maje had fun playing baseball with AJ, Brice, and his dad.
The folks at The Compound are always working on some sort of interesting home improvement project. Right now, they are building this beautiful pond. I think it is going to be a duck pond, but is deep enough that people can swim in it. What fun! 
Mabel loves Mindy. Both of my girls love to hang out with Mindy and her girls.  
The girls got to feed Granddad's chickens. Then, Granddad let them get the freshly laid eggs out of the henhouse. My city girls were amazed. :) Craig and Deon let us take a few dozen eggs home.
Nima and Papa (Josh's other grandparents) and Uncle Troy and Aunt Ronda came down from Portales to visit The Compound. Everyone loves to visit The Compound. 

 Nima and Jack

Nima and Papa, Troy and Ronda with a few of the kids. I think the others were off on Go-carts, trampolines, etc. These were the only two kids we could find.


This girls loves her Nima!

Papa was so cute in his little hat! He was eating a powdered cookie that got all over his clothes. 

Grandmother and Milla girl
Grandmother with sweet Mabel
One last picture of our family with the sweet Grandparents before we headed back home.

Monday, April 01, 2013

To Major on His Ninth Birthday

And now it’s time for a birthday letter...
Dear Major,

Another year can it be? It is so hard for me to believe that the sweet little fuzzy headed boy changed from this


to this in the blink of an eye.  Time is going too quickly. I want to slow it down just a little bit and keep you just the way you are for a little bit longer. A few things about my Maje at age nine...


                 You are ALL boy. You are so loud and boisterous. Almost every day we hear the sound of a  STOMP, STOMP, you pound your way through our house. A constant “Shhh!!!” can be heard wherever you go, usually because I’m afraid that you will wake someone up from their nap. :) If you were to try your very hardest, I don’t think you could hope to sneak up on someone and surprise them.  There isn’t an ounce of stealth in your body. You are a force.  When you enter a room, you do it with noise. You have a presence.

                I love your laugh! It is booming and full of joy. You are so silly. You love to tell us funny stories and jokes. You love it even more when we laugh at you. You are the one I can go to if I want to hear a story with ALL of the details. You are a good storyteller. It is so much fun to talk with you!  And you can talk!!! You talk all the time! It is such a treat when I get to go out on a date with just you. I look across the table at you and get to listen to all of your stories and ideas without the distraction of any other kids around. During our dates, I always find myself looking over at how cute you are and thinking about what a blessed mom I am! There isn’t another boy like my Maje on this whole earth. I can’t believe God gave such a sweet and special boy to your dad and me.

You are our resident expert on all things baseball. You love Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, and the Texas Rangers. You tried hard to convince us to name our new baby "George" for George Herman Ruth or "Jackie" after Jackie Robinson.  This year has been a disappointing one for you with several baseball losses that were dear to your heart, specifically Josh Hamilton. I wanted to claw that guy’s eyes out when I heard that he was leaving the Texas Rangers. I know we joke about how much I dislike sports, but I really do love baseball. I love it because you do. I used to not care diddly squat about Josh Hamillton or any other player. Now I care immensely, because they are do important to you.  I can't wait to take just you to a baseball game this season. This year, we got to have some mom and boy nights, complete with popcorn and junk food and baseball watching. You told me all about everything that was going on and you seemed to enjoy it. It is so much fun to watch baseball with you! 

You are extremely confident. You aren’t intimidated to speak to adults, speak in front of a crowd, or stand up for what you believe in. I’ve actually had to remind you to turn it down a notch a few times. Your sense of justice is very developed. You don’t like to see people being mean to others or doing things that are wrong and you're not afraid to tell them so! Recently, an older boy was doing some things that you thought were wrong and you flat out confronted him about it. You told Him that God doesn’t like people to behave that way and that he should stop.   I am so proud of you for being a leader instead of a follower. I hope you will always love truth and be passionate about communicating God’s ways to others. Sinful behavior makes you angry, really angry. You want to fix it.

You protect your big sister fiercely. You guys are best friends. I love this about the two of you. I love that you treat her kindly, most of the time.  I love the days that you and Mary Alice hang out and play together for most of the day. You two have a special relationship. If anyone dares to mess with her, you would certainly jump to her defense. You guys have your moments, but for the most part, you get along.

Perhaps my most favorite thing about you, Maje, is your love for God’s Word and your desire to know more and more and more. You read your Bible each morning and look up at me periodically with an excited look on your face, just to say, “Mom! Did you know that______???”  You are so eager to learn about God’s Word.  It inspires me. You are a Bible scholar at such a young age. Not only that, but you possess a genuine excitement about what you are reading! With this love of God’s Word and your passionate sense of justice, I can’t wait to see what God will do with your life!
You love our preacher, Karl Jones. It cracks me up how you follow his sermons so closely each week. You have been known to write him letters asking genuinely intelligent questions about his sermons.  I love to hear your observations and insights about Karl's lessons. You are a smart kid, a thinker. Love the way your little mind works!
             This year, you mentioned that you wanted to be a missionary when you grow up “because that is what life is really all about.”  You have brought this up to me several times this year. I don’t know if mission work is in God’s plans for you, but it excites me to know that God is planting seeds of genuine concern for the souls of others in your young heart and that you know the direction your life is meant to take, bringing others to Christ. This IS what life is really all about, Major. I'm so excited that you get that.  I tell you all the time that God has works that He planned for you to do. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for your future. You are strong and passionate. I can see that you are growing into a boy who wants to please God. I am so proud of you!

You are a gifted writer. You especially love poetry, specifically the works of Shel Silverstein, but lots of classic poets as well. You love for me to read poetry aloud to you. You love to write silly poems and you’re really good at it! You’ve been working on a book that you plan to have published using a book publishing kit you received as a gift. I think at the time of this letter your book has around fifteen  to twenty poems or so.  I can’t wait to see the finished product! Your poems are all so clever and funny.  You are such a creative guy. You have an affinity for words. Words are one of your many crafts. I love it!  Cracks me up.  I love the way you interject funny phrases into your schoolwork just to entertain yourself and help keep things from getting too boring. One day, you found a way of making every single answer on one of your English assignments something to do with chocolate pie. A couple of weeks ago you said, "That is COMPLETELY loco, plumb loco, off your rocker, extremely bonkers, blowed and dodderblasted!" to describe something that others would describe as simply  "crazy."  Oh, you make me laugh! Words are like a toy to you. You love to play games with them.
You are an encourager. You write me sweet little notes all the time. It isn’t uncommon for me to look down at some of your schoolwork I’m checking and see a little note scrawled at the bottom of the page. Your voice is often heard to say, “You’re the best, mom.” at random times during the week.  Sometimes I’ll walk by you and say, “You’re my guy.”  You respond with a smile and a quick “You’re my mom.” :) 

You are so thoughtful. You brought flowers in to me earlier tonight.  Sometimes you are a little bit too thoughtful.  Money seems to burn a hole in your pocket. You want to buy gifts for people all of the time, sometimes really big gifts that cost too much.  I hope that the concept of saving will start to be one with which you are familiar.  You need to find the right balance of generosity and wisdom with money. Too much spending can get you into a lot of trouble. God will bless you if you practice restraint  and self control with your money. Keep this in mind.

I love the way your legs are always full of bruises and scrapes, but that you never seem to know exactly how you got them. I love how you love to read and how thrilled you are to find a new sports book that you hadn’t seen before. I love your thick hair. You have finally learned to gel it this year without using half of the bottle each time you fix your hair. I love the way you like to prove how tough you are, but that you still have a heart that is soft.  I love how you stand up for what is right. I love how competitive you are and hearing you say, “BOOM!” with a great big smile on your face when you beat your dad at a game.  I loved watching you play basketball this year, how your nickname was Major “Boomstick” Smith.  I love that you are aggressive and that you want to win, but that you will still give me two chances for every one when you and I play horse.  I love how you love Toby Mac.  I love watching you play with Jack.  I love watching you stop what you are doing to take the time to show him something he might be interested in. 

You are a good big brother. You are a good boy. Your dad and I are so proud of you, Maje. You honor us in trying to be obedient and in helping out around the house. You are a hard worker and a good and kind boy. God is working on you to make you into something extra special.  Keep trying to please Him, most of all, and you will always be on the right track.

We love you, Major, and are so proud of you! Have an extra special ninth birthday today! Chocolate pie plans are in the works... :)

 Love,  Mom