Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Shirt's Demise

Brighton HAD a favorite shirt. Cheapest one I have ever bought. Came straight from the quiet little town of Soperton where my Daddy owns a pharmacy/store that I would love to tell you about another time. When I bought it, I ordered 5 more for B’s best buddies. It’s one of, like, three he wants to wear every morning. You know how that goes. You also know when your kids are playing outside and it’s been…………. well, a WHILE since you have heard from them, you begin to wonder if they are still out there, alive. Just when I put down the kitchen towel to walk out and take inventory, Julia appears at the back door, eyes cast low and toe twirling on the floor. (Again, who teaches this posture?? Not me. I know I haven’t done this in at least 25+ years!-though Jeff may argue that) She says, “Mommy, you know that orange shirt Brighton has on? His favorite one with the number 13 on the back of it?” I am completely interested. “Yes.” “Well, it has, like, 2………… no, 3 holes in it.” Eyes still down and toe still dancing. As my curiosity mounts, she goes on. “He’s doesn’t know it, Mom.” Impatient to hear, I ask, “And how did the holes get there?” recalling the shirt was perfectly intact before they headed out to play. She finally unlocks the stare from the floor, looks up with a face of exasperation, remembering the moment, I guess, and says with hands flailing, “Well, I wanted Brighton to walk somewhere and he wouldn’t, so I ‘drug’ him!”
(In case you are concerned, I corrected her grammar later.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Kick-Off

It’s Sunday night after Thanksgiving. The kids are down and Jeff is at a meeting. For the first time in several days, it’s quiet here. Today, the last plate of leftover Thanksgiving was eaten for lunch and the last empty box of Christmas decorations made it to the attic not to be seen again until January. I think we made the most of Thanksgiving. I teased Jeff that I think he gets more excited about Thanksgiving than he does about Christmas. It’s sort of like a kick-off for the season, I guess. Lots of anticipation of what is to come.

Wednesday night we invited our cul de sac to the backyard for s’mores. Since the cold blew in that day, everyone came wrapped and covered with coats, hats, scarves and mittens. We warmed them up with wassail, coffee and a big fire. To my amusement, I found out some people are serious about their s’mores—2 marshmallows, 1 marshmallow, gold marshmallow, black marshmallow, chocolate stuck inside marshmallow etc…. When they left, Jeff and I and the kids toasted ourselves until the fire was gone (and the rest of the wassail).

Thursday morning brought the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to our living room as well as strange sounds from the kitchen as the kids watched and commented on Jeff’s preparing the turkey.

Brighton kept asking if the bird was dead-- such insight. The house began to smell like most every house does on Thanksgiving Day as the turkey began to cook. When our friends arrived with armfuls of their traditional contributions, we got to eat this once-a-year meal. We ended the night with our “thankful cards”. Each of us writes something he is thankful for about each member of the family and leaves the card under their pillow. It’s really sweet if we can get Julia and Brighton to slow down and think. This year, Brighton said he was thankful that Daddy took him to restaurants. That is so much his love language—anything but my cooking! Last year, Julia was thankful that Daddy stained our patio (??) and this year she was thankful that I was her teacher. I make 4x6 cards and put them in a little book for each of us.

Friday morning, I woke up with Christmas garland and ribbon in my eyes. Jeff handed me a big cup of coffee and cheered me on. Julia got most of the Thanksgiving stuff down while I started pulling out lots of memories in the form of Christmas decorations. She was a big help for quite a while whereas Brighton just wanted to know what was for lunch. (I told him I would eat whatever he wanted to fix for me.)

That night we read a new Christmas book to them that a friend of mine and I found during storytime at Barnes and Nobles one Friday. It’s called Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. Precious. It’s about a little mouse looking for a new home and truly gets “exceedingly abundantly more than [he] could ever ask or imagine”. We told the kids that the book was a clue to their surprise for Saturday morning. So the next morning, we made Mortimer’s new house—a gingerbread house and that’s what they call it, “Mortimer’s new house”. Poor Mortimer has also been blamed for missing house ornamentations made of sugar!

So to top off the weekend, there was the traditional Thanksgiving Day Georgia/Georgia Tech game at 2:30 on Saturday. Since NO ONE in Texas cares about this game, we had to PAY a whopping $21.95 just to watch it! However, it turned out to be the best money spent all weekend. Georgia won for the 7th time in a row!! Back in September I had some friends pick me up 2 Bulldog shirts while in Athens just for this occasion. I secretly put them on the kids before rest time thinking how fun it would be to see Jeff’s face as they came down the stairs. Since the little bees where getting smushed, it was way more fun than I had ever thought. (By the way, if you haven’t watched game on ESPN in a while, the ESPN commercials are worth seeing. Very FUNNY.)

That’s my recap—for me, for my family. I can’t help but wonder how this will all change over the years. Will I have to urge my children to stay home on Wednesday night to have “S’more night” with the neighbors? Will they chime in with their excited Dad as he pumps them up about Thanksgiving weekend? Will they take their “thankful cards” seriously? Will Julia enjoy helping me decorate the house for Jesus’s birthday or look for something else to do? Will they have taken any truth from Mortimer’s Christmas Manger—believing with their whole heart that their God delights in giving good gifts to His children? Will they grow up to be Georgia Bulldog fans? I am SO kidding. I can think of one thing, no, two, that I know won’t change. I will still be trying to carry on these family times and traditions for us and Brighton will still be asking me what's for lunch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Different Planet

I got a call from a friend of mine, Debbie, who moved to San Antonio to help her husband plant a church (Crossbridge Community Church) and asked me if I would speak at their Ladies Christmas Luncheon. This gave me quite a shock (and a rush of nausea) because, see, she has heard me speak before. I am not a speaker. I am one of those who would rather cook the meal for the couple of hundred at the luncheon, set up and clean up, print invites, make name tags, set the schedule, decorate, come up with games (even though, for me, that’s right up there with putt putt) than have to stand up in front of more than 3 people and actually say something—anything but SPEAK. I even reminded her of this. She acted like she didn’t hear me. Yes, I could have said no, but as Jeff and I prayed about it, it was clear that I was to do it.

The other time Debbie heard me speak, it was for the same kind of event in Salado, Texas. The original speaker had to cancel at the last minute (2 days before) and who do they call?? The one who takes 2 months to prepare for pretty much anything and has “Moses Mouth” when it comes to speaking to an, I cringe to type it, audience! However, it was nice to go on the pretenses of-- they called in second string on short notice so don’t expect much. (No one actually said that, but they knew I wasn’t their first choice. I was NOT the lady on the flyer!) I talked about this home made book I printed up about getting ready for the holidays. It includes checklists for November and December, stocking stuffer ideas and pages of Christmas traditions and decorating ideas/tips. The last 2/3 of the book is filled with tried and true easy recipes from my family and friends. When I asked Debbie what she wanted me to do for her, she said, “a little practical, a little spiritual”. Vague is not my friend. She was kindly giving me some creative room which I don't like to have. I need specifics WITH boundaries. The “spiritual” part, as she tagged it, is what I have been spending all my writing time on—getting the picture and coloring it in.

So, what made me want to write today is the little time I have spent on the “practical” part. This little book I put together was PRE-children. I started it in 1994 (first child came 8 years later)) and added to it over the years and now it’s almost 250 pages. I spend most of my time in the last 2/3 of the book where the recipes are so I haven’t looked at the first part of the book in a few years. Now, there’s a laugh. Someone with NO kids writing tips and ideas on how to make your Christmas easier. I can only imagine the laughs some moms got from my little check lists and the eyes rolling at some of my Christmas traditions and hazardous decorations. I am sure they soon figured out what planet I was on—the planet with no kids. Granted, there are women in ALL stages of life, but the majority in our church at the time had kids. No one said a word about my Currier and Ives images of Christmas where all is calm and beautiful (and unbreakable). The ladies were gracious to me, patted me on the back and told me what a great job I did. So, here are a couple of things that made me laugh.

“Taking the down the tree tradition—fill the inner branches with little gifts and candy to make this job more fun for the kids.”
One- by the time I am taking down the tree, I am done with traditions. I am into minimalist mode. Two- MORE little treats for the kids?? I had no idea how “done” kids could be too. Just get the tree down—an accomplishment in itself.

“Rise early enough to enjoy a quiet moment with your husband on Christmas morning before all the festivities begin.”
Is there an “early enough” on Christmas morning?? (Only if you lock your kids in their rooms like we do………..KIDDING.)

Julia and Brighton have certainly added a new dimension to Christmas, the best dimension in my opinion. The excitement and wonder they bring is unparalleled by anything I have ever known. Right now it’s 2 days before Thanksgiving and they are counting down the days until Friday because they know that’s the day all that’s “merry and bright” will emerge from the attic, the Ipod will be playing different music and our Christmas season will officially begin. We love the new “Sanders Planet” we have been on for the last 5 years. Wouldn’t go back for anything. Calm and beautiful may return one day but it won’t be near as fun. So, in the meantime, I will delight in AND cherish all that my precious kids have to offer to our family of four’s Christmas celebration.

Picture above: Year 2 on the new planet

Friday, November 16, 2007


There is something so wholesome about calico prints, long dresses and white bonnets. Wait until you see our daughters from today. It makes you want to move out to the woods or something. There are several little girls that get to have school at home so we try to get them together each week or so. This month we planned a Pilgrim party, complete with turkey and dressing. You really just can’t do Kindergarten or First grade without one. Most of them started out at the Log Cabin Village for “Timber Tales”. There, the delightful book “Hog Dance” was read to them and from what Julia tells me, the lady was a “very good reader”. If she kept Brighton’s attention, she must have had a song and dance. They made little paper wagons resembling what people would have used for travel. Then the little pilgrim girls (and their brothers) disembarked in my backyard and they were a sight to behold in their sweet outfits. It was perfect chilly weather for our small celebration. After we sampled (and devoured) everyone’s contribution to the meal, we made butter by pouring heavy cream into a Mason Jar and let the girls pass it around to shake it will all their might. We also found out that the Mayflower ship would not have fit in my backyard. It was 90 feet long, so we moved out into our cul de sac and measured off 90 feet so the girls (and the moms!) could see how big it was. (It’s actually very small, considering the number of people who made that journey.) Once that feat was accomplished and the moms were much more impressed than the girls, we headed to a sunny spot in the backyard to read “Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl”. Think white-washed reality TV in a book--sweet story with great information. As I did a mediocre job of reading words like "perchance", "coif" and "poppet" upside down, the girls listened intently while their brothers threw every immoveable object into our unfinished “pond”. (When Brighton realized he was the only boy sitting down to listen to the story, he hopped up so quickly you would have thought he’d sat in an ant bed or something.) We finished off the party with hat making. What is a Pilgrim Party without hat making? (Great job, Shannon!) With girls all donning new hats, I looked around my backyard and I felt as if I was seeing someone else’s backyard in Lancaster, Pennsylvania maybe. Other than a few injuries from the swing set, lost head coverings in the “pond” and a couple of meltdowns near the end, I think it went great. So...............anyone for rich pottage for dinner and a quick game of knickers??

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


We were at Joe T’s the other night with a dear friend and, as she said, with the rest of Fort Worth. It had been one of those completely wonderful Saturdays when the sky was almost turquoise, a cool breeze was blowing and the sun was warm and bright. With visions of enjoying fine Mexican fare while sitting out on the lush never-ending patio, we drove up and our hopes were immediately dashed. The line was at least 2 blocks long and 5 people wide. Sadly and I do mean sadly, we resigned ourselves to a table inside which is altogether a different experience than outside. We ordered from the two things on the menu—enchiladas or fajitas served family-style. When the mariachis found out it was Brighton’s birthday, they serenaded our table with a traditional Mexican birthday song. B had no idea he was the man of the minute. Our friend had made one of those heavenly Texas Sheet cakes in honor of his birthday so after dinner we happily pounced on the fudge-like cake. Needless to say, the kids were beside themselves getting to eat chips, drink something besides water and now CAKE! Julia began swinging her arm around over her head where her brown curls have all but disappeared. With an impressive sizeable grin FULL of chocolate she announced, “This cake is so good it makes me want to rope a cow!” So there you have it--straight from my little Cajun Cowgirl. Giddy-up!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Crooked Pictures

If you stopped by my house for a visit, you might get the impression that I like pictures of my kids. I often say, I can’t afford real art, so I hang my kids on my walls. Since I have quite a few frames adorning my walls here at home, I am a big fan of that sticky putty stuff that helps the frames stay put. Do cockeyed pictures bug you the way they do me? Just a little to the left…………. I have even caught myself adjusting other people’s pictures and wishing I had some of my putty stuff to share with them.

Because of this past weekend, my sometimes crooked pictures took on a whole new meaning. Julia and I experienced our first Mother-Daughter Retreat—and I use that word “retreat” VERY loosely. My friend, Jessica, and I managed to make a 3 hour road trip into a 4 ½ hour one. The conversation was good and we liked I-45 just fine. We eventually made it to the camp in the “wilderness” as the girls called it. I think my saying that the first session started at 8:30 –PM- speaks for itself. Bingo was scheduled for 10 p.m. followed by a marshmallow roast and so the schedule went on from there for the next 48 hours. In ONE afternoon we played in the sand, rode paddle boats, went horseback riding and rock climbing, attended a tea party with cookie decorating, and gave our girls manicures and pedicures. Oh—dodge ball right before lunch too! The bookend for the night was a hayride and a fire for s’more-making.

I have to say, besides just having all sorts of fun with Julia, another highlight for me was the “Just for Moms” early morning devotional with our speaker, Sally Clarkson. It was a casual time of this devoted wife and mother sharing her heart about family, motherhood and raising “wholehearted” kids. I don’t know that one sleep deprived momma missed this “optional” pre-breakfast time. This lady has wisdom from the Lord oozing out of her. I don’t need to rehash her words because she is just a click away in the internet/blog world. Read and be encouraged, affirmed, and challenged. (Her blog link is in the right hand column somewhere over there. Check out the Dallas conference in February.)

During the Saturday morning devotional she said one of those things that you can’t just let go—a word picture so loud that you can’t turn it down.

“So many times as Moms, we spend so much of our time straightening a picture on a wall when the whole house is burning down.”

By His grace, I feel my house is far from burning down but I knew all too well what she was communicating. How many days go by that I have corrected Julia and Brighton for this and that or reminded them to do this or that, but haven’t spent even 10 minutes nurturing their hearts, investing a little of myself in them? What irritation and frustration they must feel on those days. What kind of person do I seem to them on those days? Thankfully, as I sense the Lord directing my parenting even more closely, I feel like I am getting the bigger picture—His picture. It’s truly all encompassing- our calling as Mothers. It’s a giving up of our selves and our own agenda every day in order to invest pieces of eternity into their hearts.

I cannot forget my role of helping shape their view of our Good and Mighty God, of leading them to treasure God’s Word in their hearts, of teaching them how to choose between a good choice and a bad choice, and of modeling how to respond to God and others in difficult circumstances. This has to be my focus instead of the do’s and don’t's and the this and thats.

So if you ever stop by, see my pictures (which are hard to miss), and find one ‘just a little to the left’, it might be one I missed with my handy sticky putty stuff, or it might just be crooked on purpose.

Grandparent info:

She did great on the rock climbing wall. She made it to the top and spun the owl's head!

Her first horseback ride on a old horse named "Ace", which she thought was funny name for a horse, was perfect. We had to tug and pull his reigns and kick him a little because he kept wanting to snack on the way.

She loved the cabin with all the girls along with many daddy long legs. After seeing her first one and finding out that they were harmless, she threw her share OUT of our cabin.

The cafeteria experince was one of her favorite things too. Fun drinks and dessert every night was almost more than she could handle.

When I ask her what her favorite thing was she says, "When you painted my finger nails AND my toe nails!" (You might can tell from her smile (?) in the picture.)
Probably my favorite discovery was when I called home and spoke with Brighton. When I was about to say goodbye he said, "Where's 'Juuuya'? I want to talk to her." And talk he did. Julia just listened and smiled. I realized it was there first time apart-- for this length of time. They gave each other big hugs on Sunday afternoon.
When we dropped the Cheek girls off, I got back into the car and found her crying. She had held it together long enough. She was worn out. I asked her why she was crying and between her sniffles and sobs she said, "I am sad it's over."

Momma was too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"Brighton School"

I got Brighton to myself today. Miss Barbara had the day off so that meant, I was ‘on’. Once B got wind of this, to my surprise, he announced the schedule like this, (I will leave out the start and stops and the do-overs.) “Mom, when we take Julia to Miss Winsor’s, we can go to ‘Starbooks’ and have apple coffee (juice) with a lid and I can do my ‘spellin' wurk.’ Right, Momma?” Spelling work, I thought. What was that? So I asked him. He didn’t know either. With a few more questions I found out that he wanted to do school with me at “Starbooks”. Not a problem. I happily do coffee. I have preschool worksheets. I answered his favorite question with his favorite answer, “Right, Brighton!”

From the time I got him up this morning to the time we dropped off Julia, I bet he asked me 4 times where we were going next. I think he just liked the way it sounded coming out of my mouth so agreeably. He even had an opinion to which one we went to. I loved every minute of this little guy with me this morning. His grin he gives away so freely is contagious to those who see it. He was visibly enjoying himself. As we were hovering over the worksheets I took to honor his wishes of "doing school”, every now and then he would say, “Just a minute, Momma. I need a ‘dwink’.”

We visited the potty, oh, 3 times maybe? Our first visit, as I was waiting on him to wash his hands, I was checking my messages while digging in my purse. I heard the well known sound of complete 4 year old frustration (not much different from 3 year old frustration). When I looked up, he was flailing his little hands madly in front of the paper towel dispenser, the kind you just reach up and pull out the paper towel. I figured it out and decided to watch. He’d wave one hand, then the other. No towel. He’d look at me. I’d raise my eyebrows and shrug my shoulders. More determined this time, he planted his legs firm and tried both hands at the same time, reminiscent of something the Karate Kid might do. (Aging myself, aren't I?) Still no towel. After a pretty impressive effort, he finally surrendered and said, “This won’t ‘wurk’. It needs new 'battries'!” I walked over, simply pulled the paper towel and handed it to him. With brow furrowed and mouth frowning, he looked at the dispenser then the towel in my hand then his own hands and said, “I don’t need it. My hands are dry.” And no wonder....

Picture above: "Grandparent-ish" information" This is one of his weekly crafts from Zoo school. Get this. These are the horns of the "Lesser Kudu". Next week, the "coati". Hello, Wikipedia.

Monday, November 5, 2007


(Get comfortable and hang in there---it’s a long one. Or maybe I should say, longer than usual one.)

Verses. I love verses. Scripture, the Word, promises, precepts, statutes, laws, decrees, commandments- there are many names for His Words, each communicating a unique facet of it’s intention and possessing the ability to shoot an arrow straight to my heart’s deepest need. One priority for me in raising Julia and Brighton is for them to ‘hide’ God’s Word in their hearts as the psalmist says in chapter 119 verse 11. As much as I love Emily Dickinson’s poetic expressions like, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul,” or even contemporary author Phillip Yancey’s profound statements like, “Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know Him,” they are like a dandelion blowing in the wind compared to the unchanging, inerrant Word of God.

Before Julia could speak I used to casually say Psalm 23 while I was buckling her in or fixing her breakfast, and one day, when I paused to answer the telephone, she filled in the blank and we were on our way! I was amazed at her capacity to memorize even though I had heard God’s word roll off the tongues of toddlers her age. But you know how it is. When it is YOUR kid, you want to think they are the only one who has EVER done it throughout the history of mankind. So, she continued her “shock and awe” campaign for Daddy and Mommy memorizing anything we repeated a few times………… until at the ripe age of 21 months her brother came along and all we were memorizing was where we dropped the last passy. Then, after a few months, I was thankful Julia could still sing her ABC’s, Jesus Loves Me and name her colors. When days became slightly more predictable (a.k.a. synchronized napping) with two in diapers, I slowly began reviewing what we had learned pre-Brighton. A few years have passed and now little brother is chiming in and sometimes prompting Julia of what comes next—which, by the way, completely unravels her. For a while there though, EVERY scripture Brighton learned ended in a resounding, “He restores my SOUL!”

As I review with them what they have memorized (in hopes of it being etched on their hearts), I keep reminding myself how much His Word meant to me while growing up. I didn’t memorize my first passage until I was 11 or 12 probably but, oh my, what an impact it and all the others made and are STILL making. This is such my motivation in helping the children memorize it.

The first verse I ever memorized was given to me by our church pianist, Mrs. Janie. It was hand written on a small square sheet of yellow paper. I don’t think anything precipitated her giving it to me. I think she was just encouraging me and challenging me in her sweet quiet way. It was Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” I still have that piece of paper tucked away in my Bible.

I think of verses so new to me in high school that I read over and over again. I Timothy 4:12, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, love, faith, conduct and purity, show yourself as an example of those who believe.” I wanted to please Him in all of those ways. And I Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the whole earth strongly supporting those whose hearts are completely His.” I wanted my heart to stop His eyes. I remember a time when I had acted completely out of line with my Mom (one of way too many times, mind you) and I left a verse on her mirror that God strategically had me read that very night. Philippians 2:3-5, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but with humility of mind consider one another as more important than yourself. Do not merely look out for your own interests but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which is also in Christ Jesus.” Those verses forced me to be faced with the disappointing reality that the world DID spin around someone else and that I had responded horribly. I wanted my Mom to know I knew that and I was sorry.

As I was trying to figure out my place and purpose at the University of Georgia, verses like II Timothy 2:22, “Now flee from youthful lusts, but pursue righteousness, faith and purity,” and Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” came into to full focus. After finding out rather quickly that my place was at the library and my main purpose was to keep my nose was in a book verses like James 1:4 that said, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything,” helped me read that last hour on the 2nd floor of the Science Library. I can remember a couple of life altering nights in college that I wanted His Word near to me when I slept because of the comfort it brought.

When I married, that relationship opened up a whole new category of verses for me. Many I knew but never had put into practice like the traditional verses from Ephesians 5, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord………….in everything…………the wife must respect her husband,” and the amazing I Corinthians 13 that I saw in a new context. However, I cannot count the times I read (and STILL read) Galatians chapter 5 realizing after the zillionth reading that THIS was the key to Ephesians 5. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Experiencing infertility had to be the time in my life that I clung most tightly to this life giving Word. How could I not with verses like Psalm 31:19, “How great is your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in You,” and Psalm 113:9, “He will settle the barren woman in her home and make her the happy mother of children,”? When adoption was reality for us and our baby, Julia, was born, we were waiting (in the hospital) the period of time that Julia’s birthmother could change her mind and He gave me Psalm 112:7 in a very special way. “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord.” Before our second child was born, He confirmed the name, Brighton, we chose for our son by giving me the verse from Proverbs 4:18, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” I can’t help but interject here that our God and what He has to say is good.

I love His Word. There is just nothing like it. What letters on a page can do what His do? His are living and active. His are profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness. His are sharper than a double edged sword. His are a lamp and light to my feet. His penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. His are sweet to my soul and healing to my bones. His judge the thoughts and intentions of my heart. His were here in the beginning. His became flesh. His stand forever.

“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping Your decrees to the very end.” Psalm 119:111-112
May His grace make it happen.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fair Phrases

What kind of blogging mother would I be if I didn’t post something about our trip to the State Fair of Texas? It is the only trip Julia remembers and it was Brighton’s first visit of many more to come.

Most repeated phrases/words:
“What’s THAT, Mommy?”
“I want to see Big Tex again.”
“Can I ride that?”

"Stay close!"
“Can I ride that again?”

“I want a race car.”

"We don't have time."
"Can we go in there?"
"Why is Big Tex so tall?"
"Too many tickets."
“I want one of those.”
“Why not?”

And my favorite...
“Can we come back tomorrow?”

Noteworthy for me from J and B:
B-“When the sun goes down and it is dark outside and all these people go home, where will Big Tex sleep?”
B-“I don’t want to ride the girl ‘fang’! I want to ride the boy ‘fang’!” (How does one learn such gender specificity, not to mention Southern slang, at such a young age?)
B- referring to the Fair as the ‘big building’.
J-“Why aren’t you talking to all the people talking to you?” (on the Midway)

Things they won’t forget:
The Ferris Wheel
Dancing dogs
Julia helping the Italian Juggler
First funnel cake
Julia riding the big swing ride
The Bird Show

Sticky cotton candy
First roller coaster ride

Things I won’t forget:
Brighton’s expression when he was shown how to milk a cow
Being 48 tickets lighter after our first ride
The perfect weather we had

Losing B for 5 seconds
Realizing Jeff had “Fair skills” (Thanks for coining the term, T!)
Leaving the hand sanitizer in the car
Our trip to THE picnic table
The looks on their faces all day long

I feel like now I should write ‘and for everything else there is MasterCard', but I won’t.

(Click to enlarge. If you are Papaw, Nana, Doodle or Meema, her face is worth it!)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Tabouli and Aesop

I found myself eating lunch at a place today I had never been. As I sat there enjoying every forkful (and handful) with some of my favorite friends, I kept thinking of a familiar sign that hung on a store on one of our well- worn paths, “Driven by 1000 times? STOP!” This particular place we “lunched” boasts no reason to make you really want to stop except maybe to check and see if the patio furniture is drive-by treasure with which to fill the back of your car. My thoughts when I have read their sign that says, “Let us cater your next event,” have been, yeah, because no one wants to eat IN there. The stones are dingy. The landscape is far from manicured or even tended to and like the honored birthday girl today said, “You don’t even know where the door is!” The one door I did find didn’t even have a doorknob. I was glad to find it ajar. Once inside the seemingly small Jazz Café on Montgomery (or is it Birchman?), I found a big room with very stark décor but a lively place whose tables were surrounded by ladies just out of Bible study, businessmen on a lunch break, students enjoying, well, another break and my sweet friends celebrating a birthday. We ordered the sampler of hummus, tabouli and tzatziki (za-ZEE-kee- thanks, KS) which impressively disappeared just moments after it arrived. (Moms in the absence of kids can really pack it in.) I learned today that “tzatziki” is that traditional yummy white yogurt sauce served with gyros and other Greek dishes. When we were in New York in August, Jeff and I were fascinated by the incredibly LONG line that would form behind this one food cart outside our hotel. I mean EVERY night people would wait in line for whatever they were plating up. I saw other carts along Broadway and Avenue of the Americas serving the same food but not with lines like this one commanded. One night as we were headed back to our hotel I gave in to my curiosity and asked someone in line what the big deal was. The young man’s answer was simple. “They have the best white sauce!” Okay. So, it was the tzatziki that caused this long line every night. I regret not standing in that line to formulate my own opinion. I couldn’t help but wonder how the Jazz Café’s white sauce would fare on the streets of New York City.
Anyway, today was a nice surprise as it was for the other girls who had never darkened the mystery door. In our attempt to celebrate a 31st birthday, I think we were all quite distracted by the Black Bean soup and the gyros (with ample “white sauce” on the side). Briefly, we tossed around comments about the place’s appearance and came to the conclusion that if they didn’t need more business, why would they spend the money and effort to fix up the place? It made me think of a fable we had read the other day that the moral was, “Fine feathers do not make a fine bird.” And so in the case of the Jazz Café on Montgomery and Birchman, it’s “feathers” are no reflection of its deliciously yummy food!