Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monkey Love, A Home for Dogs, and the Lord's Supper

Max received a monkey from his cousin Samantha back in November when he broke his collarbone. He instantly loved it and has been collecting monkeys ever since. Let's see,.... we have Momma Monkey, Baby Monkey, Yellow Monkey, and most recently Little Baby Monkey. He loves them all and has to sleep with them all every night. We wrap Momma Monkey's long arms around all the other monkeys and Velcro her hands (paws?) together so she is holding all of them. So sweet.

On Friday, Briggs stayed out of school because of some tummy trouble. Early in the morning, he told me that he needed to make a doghouse for his dogs. I remembered we had some cardboard boxes in the basement, so he grabbed them and went to cutting, pasting, taping, coloring, and decorating those boxes to make the perfect houses for his dogs, complete with mops, vacuum cleaners, and brooms made out of paper towel cutouts colored with markers. The houses had multiple rooms including backyards. I was amazed at how little it took to preoccupy him for hours. He even made a tall monkey house that Max's monkeys could hang out of.

Which reminds me that nearly every day when I pick Briggs up from school he has some little something that he has made out of bits of paper. A remote control for a robot containing commands such as "freeze, walk, shoot laser beam", a cell phone, and anything that appeals to that little engineering brain of his.

And lastly...........

A conversation overheard during the Lord's Supper:

As the juice passes by, Max says, "what about me?"

Briggs: "you can't have any, Max. You're not saved."

Max: "awwww." Hangs head and pouts lip.

Briggs feeling sorry for him: "maybe you should just pray about it, like this."

Both close eyes and pray.

............as I try not to spill my thimble-full of grape juice from laughing at those sweet boys.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Max's First Week at "School"

Max started Mother's Day Out last week. We have been hyping it up since before Christmas, so he was pretty excited on his first day. He had a great day and did not cry at all. Then came the second day and he realized this was for real and he cried off and on the whole day. When I picked him up he said, "Mom, I cried and cried for you, but they wouldn't get you." I assured him that I would only come when it was time to pick him up. You can imagine how the rest of the week went, although I am happy that he only cries off and on and not the whole time. He is also doing better at church. We are taking him into the service with us during the singing and then taking him to his class when the preaching begins. He cries when we drop him off, but is learning how to cope until church is over. I think it is a work in progress of undoing how we have (unwittingly) taught him to do over the last few months. Basically, the routine has been: Max cry for an hour, the director gets him from his class and spends one on one with him taking him wherever she needs to go, then taking him back to his class where he cries once again, and finally, page mom and dad. I got used to knowing that if he cried long enough, we would come and get him. We all agreed that this is really not helping him so we have stopped. The funny thing is, last week at school when he cried so much, the director of the school came and got him out of his class and took him with her, where she said he was happy and chatty, and then took him back to his class where he cried again. (Hence the statement: "I cried and cried for you but they wouldn't get you!") So hopefully now he knows that he has to stay at school until it is time to go home. Yeah, I'm going to be optimistic and stick with that.

One more note: last week, Briggs came home from school and informed me that the new little boy in his class did not have anything to eat for snack at school, so he shared his snack with him. I was so proud, I almost cried! I think what made me so proud was that this kid doesn't sit at Briggs' table and he noticed from across the room that someone else in his class didn't have something so it was up to him to share with him. Now if only he and Max can learn to get along so well :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Sweet Surprise

For Christmas, my mother gave me a wonderful surprise that immediately became my favorite present that I received: a cookbook. But not just any cookbook, a cookbook from one of my favorite places to have lunch in Dothan, the Garland House.

The Garland House closed four years ago, after having been in business for 30 years. They specialized in serving crepes and quiche. The restaurant was in an old house near downtown that had a large front porch with rocking chairs that wrapped around one side of the house. Inside, there were different dining rooms with fireplaces in each one. The tables were made from old sewing machine stands and you had to walk through the kitchen to get to the back dining room. My favorite lunch there was Chicken Divan Crepes, Spinach Salad with their secret dressing, mini yeast rolls, and Peanut Paradise Pie. As I poured over the cookbook over the holidays, I could not believe that I had the actual recipes from that wonderful restaurant. I couldn't wait to get home and try them out; and one night for dinner, I did! We had all of my favorites and it was wonderful! It took me 2 1/2 hours and almost every pot that I own, but I made all of it! Those wonderful flavors brought back so many memories. Then tonight, as I re-read the recipes and stories included in the cookbook (while eating a few left over yeast rolls with some soup), the real reason I loved having it hit me. While having those coveted recipes is amazing, that cookbook represents much more.

There are so many memories of eating there, I had almost forgotten them. But tonight, they came flooding back like a long lost friend. I don't remember when I began eating there, maybe in high school, maybe before. Since they were only open for lunch, it was a special treat to go there during the school year and more often in the summertime. I had my bridesmaid's luncheon there with my sister, who was my maid of honor, my aunt Sue, who was my matron of honor, my mother, and both of my grandmothers, among other friends who were in our wedding. We had a private room and we talked and laughed and it was perfect.

I cannot count the times I have met my mother there, or my sister there, or both of them there to eat lunch. It always felt a little special to go there, but I wonder if I took it for granted that I would always be able to do that: to spend an idle hour talking and eating as if we had no place else to go and never even considering not having dessert. Rod and I also loved to go there and he always got the same thing (that I never got): Old Tavern Crepes and the Brownie with Mocha Sauce and Ice Cream. Briggs even got to go there a little while and sit in their old fashioned wooden high chairs and eat ice cream.

At some point, some of our family ( Sue, Scott, Granny, Mom, Brooke, Hudson and Briggs; I can't remember if Dad ever went? Probably not his favorite!) started going there between Christmas and New Year's as sort of an after-Christmas celebration. We went the last year they were open and the next year felt lost as we tried to think of somewhere else to go. Our perfect little place had sadly closed, and we could not believe it. And although each year since has been fun, it has not been the same.

So now, all we have are the memories of good times spent there, together, enjoying good food and each other. Memories, that I had not thought of in many years and had almost forgotten. So I just want to thank my mom for bringing them back to me, for sharing them with me and to tell you that you gave me much more than a cookbook and a sink full of dirty dishes.