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 older...how 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, STOMP...as 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