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August 5, 2013

Birthday Girl

My baby turned seventeen last week.  Where does the time go?  It seems like only yesterday she made her way into this world weighing a whopping 9lb 1oz. She was, and still is, such a bundle of joy.
Here on Front Forty Farm we try to make everyone's birthday very special, yet we keep the festivities simple. We learned early in our parenting that avoiding big birthday parties was the best route for us. There always seemed to be lots of drama at big parties, and the one actually celebrating the birthday got lost in all the chaos.  Instead we have built simple birthday traditions that the kids have grown to love and's amazing how the kids look forward to the smallest details, no matter how old they are.  We aim to make the birthday child feel like a king or queen for the day.  We start by letting them choose all the meals for their special day; they can have whatever they want for breakfast, lunch and supper.  We also have the tradition of making a large birthday sign and decorating the night before the big day...the older kids get very involved with this and love going to the Dollar Store to pick out the streamers, balloons and silly party favors.  It is usually done after the person turning a year older has gone to bed so that he or she wakes to the "surprise".  The birthday child also gets to pick the activities for the day, and after supper we have cake [or whatever special dessert they choose...we don't always have cake.  We have had dirt cake (pudding), lemon dessert, and apple pie in the past].  The day ends with a special "Happy Birthday" song and dance and gifts in the special "birthday" chair, which is really only my comfy reading chair.
When asked what our oldest daughter wanted to do for her special day, she chose "spending the day with mom".  At first we thought she was having a friend that lives out of state come to stay for the week, arriving the night before the big day. The two girls and I were going to spend the day shopping at antique stores, junk shops and Goodwills.  At the last minute, plans changed, and my daughter's friend didn't come.  Our daughter was very disappointed, but she still wanted to spend the day with "mommy". 
We set out to go shopping as planned, but first we had to fill up with gas, and I gave the Birthday Girl (and coffee lover) the free cup of coffee that comes with a purchase of gas.  Nothing beats a cup of coffee to kick off the day.
It was raining when we left, but it didn't matter...we were going to have fun despite the drizzle. The birthday girl, an aspiring photo journalist, entertained herself in the car by snapping lots of crazy photos with the camera on my new phone.
We shopped and shopped and shopped, found lots of goodies and enjoyed a tasty lunch.  The sun even decided to show its lovely face.
The Birthday Girl purchased a few nice pieces of clothing, a pair of shoes, four pairs of earrings and a couple of other small items she had been wanting. She also found some neat old photographs of Ireland that she is going to frame and hang in her new room.  
Although the sun was shining brightly when we jumped in our car to head home, ominous storm clouds started rolling in, and the Birthday Girl quickly snapped some pictures from the car.
It wasn't long before the rain came...I could barely tell the difference between the puddles of water on the sides of the road and the road itself.
After a nail-biting drive home, the storm ended, and the sun came back out. We arrived to festive decorations that her sisters worked on all afternoon..they even included the front door.
The Birthday Girl promptly shared her purchases of the day with her sisters and hung her favorite find, this elephant tapestry, on her bedroom wall.
Wearing her Birthday Girl party hat, she blew out the candles on her Dirt Cake, and we all sang "Happy Birthday". 
Opening presents in the "special" chair was loads of fun with lots of laughs.
Lots of hugs and smiles,
and special gifts.
This gift from Grandma, a framed picture of Anne of Green Gables, touched a tender spot in our Birthday Girl.  After opening this gift, she looked at me and said, "Mama, this makes me so happy!" This simple gift of a childhood memory put such a smile on her face, and that, in turn, made me happy. Anne of Green Gables was the first novel she read.  I had read it to her when she was quite young, but she re-read it herself when she was a bit older, and as a family, we all know and love the movies based on L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series.  I feel blessed that something so simple can put a smile on my seventeen year old's face.

Her birthday was simple...simple foods, simple events and simple gifts, but she had a great day and went to bed happy.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me share a little bit of our precious daughter with you.


  1. So lovely!!! She looks like such a happy, sweet girl! And a goof! Very nice combination. I love Anne, my eight year old daughter just read the condensed version and loved it. My mom and I are now planning a day with her to watch the movie with tea party food. We also do the same for birthdays, it's so much nicer than big parties!

  2. I just found your blog, and I have been sitting here reading it for over half an hour. The post about your eldest daughter's birthday has made my heart smile. I am a retired high school English teacher who has a new career-I am the "Granny Nanny" to my three grand children, and I savor every moment with them. I know that I shall not be here forever, and my sweet dil wanted for my grands to make the kinds of special memories my son made with my precious mother.
    It is apparent that your daughter finds joy in special times spent with her "mommy" and meaningful gifts given from the heart. Your children and your blog have added to the joy of this day; thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for this heart-felt comment. I hope you enjoy every moment with your precious grandchildren.


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