How to get a sleepy smile:
Step 1. Allow oldest child multiple opportunities to talk to her Daddy on the phone to get orders from headquarters on how to pull off the big surprise for the Mom's birthday.
Step 2. Allow and help the oldest child to set her alarm clock for, cough cough, 4:30 a.m. in order to pull off the big surprise so that planned event in Step 3 can occur. Remember to seem as though you haven't a clue about the whole thing.
Step 3. Plan a 6 a.m. hike to the pond that same day to observe God's beautiful creation: ducks, cranes, egrets, rabbits, quail, hummingbirds, a roadrunner, some other kind of bird, and ants. (Don't forget to stay up until 1 a.m. the night before!)
Step 4. Get up at 5:15 a.m. Walk downstairs and stand in honest amazement and cast your eyes on the first blessing of many for the day.
Step 5. Recall the shining faces as they observe your expressions of gladness at their hard and earnest work: a set table, a birthday balloon, cards, and thoughtful gifts, especially the pencil.
Oh yes, and don't forget to have them put out a cake, some fruit-flavored licorice and chocolate covered raisins. (It helps to share the raisins with the working children.)
Step 6. Eat a fresh garden tomato and the best zuccini bread ever brought by someone who understands what really matters.
Step 7: Take a short nap-the appetizer for the real one that is forthcoming. Eat again.
Step 8: I don't remember this one. I'm too tired.
Step 9: Read one chapter of The Little Princess to the children who have made every effort to make this a one-of-a-kind day.
Step 10: Watch the young man in the family fall asleep to the sound of your voice as you read.
Step 11: Hold hands with him while you walk upstairs to pack them both off to bed.
Step 12: Sing and Pray with them, thank them (and Him), reflect on steps 1 through 11, and wait.
Results are guaranteed: one sleepy smile for each participant!