Number Eleven


Eleven years ago we became the parents of four children.   Her birth was swift and frightening, and at the end of the experience we were grateful beyond words for good doctors and a baby who made it.  A beautiful baby girl – the biggest of all eight – weighing in at 9 lbs 4 oz.  On the way home from the hospital we stopped to buy a birthday cake at the insistence of our toddlers at home awaiting her.  I vividly remember walking into Dairy Queen with a two day old baby to buy a little ice cream cake and have her name put on it in frosting.  My mom laughed when we arrived, but her older brothers and sister had been talking for weeks about how a baby couldn’t be born without having a birthday cake!

Now she is eleven, and I must say that the same word I used to describe her as a baby and toddler still fits today, and has fit every day of her life.  She is a delight.


She requested the lunch that has become a birthday tradition in our family.  I purchased her favorite snacks, foods and treats and wrapped each one individually, putting it in a gift bag for her lunch.  For dinner, her first request is a dish that has, in my mind, become connected with thoughts of her.  She wanted black bean tart , and as it is one of my best but most time consuming recipes, she has been my #1 helper with this recipe for at least a year now, often making it herself.  I made four of them today for dinner, and must confess to accomplishing little else this afternoon.  Was it worth it?  For her smile of surprise and joy, yes it was.


And while she never tasted that first ice cream cake eleven years ago, it continues to be her request EVERY year.



A kind and gracious sister, it was sweet to watch her open gifts.  I realized tonight how pleasant it is to give gifts to one who is naturally inclined to be appreciative.


She is so many things:  helpful, hard working, thoughtful, sharing, intelligent, responsible.  I am so blessed to know this dear, dear girl.  And so happy for all the delightful years we still have with her.


Happy birthday to my beautiful, precious daughter.

I love you, Mom



Today my littlest one is four years old.  I find myself tipping back and forth between how natural it feels and how final it is.  She’s ready to be four years old; it’s what is right, and really, I’m ok.  She still loves to be near me, still loves to snuggle and feels safest with me.  I love that about her.  But her birthday marks things that no one else’s does in our family.  It marks the end of things.  No more three year olds, ever.  And that seems so final and so sad to me while at the same time life keeps me moving so quickly that there’s no time for the sadness of it to really penetrate my heart.  I feel it in passing, and then we’re off and it’s soon forgotten.  I remind myself that I’ve enjoyed three year olds EIGHT times!  I am so blessed.  But even with the knowledge that this world has been mine for much longer than is common, there’s an ache that is real.


We started the day with early morning cinnamon rolls and four pink candles.  She got a new dress from one of her grandmas and we made time to curl her hair the way she likes it.



Her sister painted her fingernails, and she got to wear the birthday hat in Primary while everyone sang to her.  The look on her face for that song was classic; I can’t tell you how much I wish I had a picture of it!


Smiles like this – the pure joy on her face – swallow up any feelings of bittersweet for me.  She was so happy and it made all of us happy.


And we ended the day as we began it, with four more candles and more birthday songs.  {I wish I knew what was reflecting the candle light onto her face like this, but at my house it’s snap the picture or miss it.}


There were two ice cream cakes, actually.  I made one for her big sister who spent her birthday at soccer games and at a campground and never got a cake.

And there it is.  My youngest is four and loving it.  I’m sure I will, too.
Happy Birthday, Puddles!

Half Birthdays


Today we are having a half-birthday party for my 5 year old.  Her birthday is just a few days before Christmas and last December we had conflict after conflict arise which prevented us from having her party near the actual day.  We settled on a half birthday party, but on that day we were at a family reunion so it was bumped back another month.

I’m both excited and relieved that we’re getting this done.  Never has a party been talked about, dreamed about and planned for by a child in our family for SO many months.

Yesterday morning she was kind of hovering nearby as I got ready for the day so I asked her what I could do for her.  Her reply:  “Um, I just have a question I needed to ask you.  Are you going to work your hardest today?”  I burst out laughing and assured her that indeed, I was.  Then she asked, “And are you going to stay up really late to make sure everything is ready?”

Oh my.  She has definitely been thinking about this for too long.

It will be a good first learning experience for me with celebrating this way.  I was a little worried at the response I would get from the parents of her friends, but some of them have birthdays during the holiday season as well and their memories are of never having a party.  It looks like everything is going to work out just fine, and we’ll see if her half-birthday turns out to become a new tradition.

Have you ever celebrated a half-birthday with a party?  Have any suggestions/insights to offer?


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