Isabelle = 11

Isabelle (not-too-long-ago) turned 11. This is a girl that thinks about her birthday for approximately 360 days a year, give or take. During the 6 months that follow her birthday I refuse her attempts to engage me in birthday-themed conversations. You know, all the things she'd like to get for her birthday, what kind of cake she'd like, what sort of party she's thinking of having. Because her birthday is two seasons away. But sometime after Christmas, I begin to indulge her. I bite off on the as-I-tuck-her-into-bed remarks she makes about her next … [Read more...]

sixteen is pretty sweet.

Be forewarned. This is the first of several similarly themed posts. Between June and July, we celebrate four birthdays around here. But they're all important. The older I get, the more I see time rushing past. I can't stop it. But I can do all I can to squeeze every bit of joy out of each and every moment. Anyway, you might have guessed by the title, he's 16 now. And, around here, the birthday boy gets to do whatever he wants to do. Okay, not anything. I'm pretty sure his anything would not have included coloring the kids menu while being critiqued by … [Read more...]

it’s official.

He's a teenager. To be completely honest, he's been a teenager since December. But we got home with Clementine 8 days before he turned 13. I'm just glad he actually had a cake. And presents. Because mama was jet-lagging. Bad. So bad, I'm not 100% sure I remember everything that was actually going on at his party. Other than cake and ice cream (so grateful I took pictures), cards, presents and the usual birthday chaos. As you can see, my travel-partner was feeling the jet lag pain, too. But Miss Clementine? Not so much. Regardless of my and … [Read more...]

guess who is two.

We got to celebrate Clementine turning two the other day. Her first birthday with us. And I'm not sure who had more fun, Clementine or the rest of her crazy-for-Clementine family. As she always does, Victoria wowed with a beautiful cake for the occasion: a four-layered, pink, polka-dotted cake, just for our girl. We tried to make a mini-smashcake, just like the big version, but that didn't go so well (although we did manage to eat it with a spoon off the cookie sheet). So we bought a fancy cupcake instead. Clementine didn't seem to … [Read more...]

the year of the sheep

We wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year on Thursday - the official first day of the Lunar New Year. Didn't happen. Then we hoped to celebrate on Saturday. Nope. On Sunday Chris took the boys to church and I kept the girls home since we had three still recovering from fever/nausea/rash. And we were finally able to get the party started. The girls and I began by pulling down box after box of keepsakes gathered during eight trips to China. We looked through it all. Pearls and jade bought for the girls. Chopsticks and tobacco boxes purchased for … [Read more...]

Happy 11th.

Sophie Lu is 11. And, among many other things, she's a girl who knows her mind. So when it came time to pick a menu and shop for party accessories, I just got out of the way. She chose a local burger joint with the best sweet potato fries, ever. Chocolate Trifle, covered with chocolate chips. Pink party accessories. And mustaches... for everyone. I like this girl's style. Happy 11th, Sophie Lulu. I love you and the strong, beautiful young lady you have become. … [Read more...]

christmas 2014

It was noisy. It was chaotic. It was wonderful. And the best part? Having this little one home. Be still my heart. To have her here, with us this year, was the greatest gift we could have ever imagined. But the kids wanted toys, too For some crazy reason. Tallula got a Frozen snuggle-thing. Whose one-size-fits-all sizing is evidently for much larger kids. But with Elsa's face on the front, does it really matter? Vivienne got the Bright Eyes Kitty. There were 3 Bright Eyes designs and 4 of my girls wanted one. Lula lost. Thankfully Lula is easy-going and … [Read more...]

since then

Wow - a week since we got home. Feels like no time. And it feels like forever. In an effort to chronicle Clementine's journey accurately, I wanted to share the few pictures I took between then and now. On our last night in China we walked out for dinner with some sweet friends we made on this trip. Sweet enough to agree to numerous efforts at a family photo of us on a busy street in Guangzhou, when we all should have been packing. We started the trip together when we met flying out of Birmingham, toured together in Beijing, and ended the trip together in Guangzhou. … [Read more...]

how do I love thee…

Seriously, I love this dog. Okay, confession time. I love all my dogs like a crazy-dog-hoarder-person. Thankfully (I suppose?) I married someone who had only a mild affinity for dogs... comparatively speaking. Because it's kept my wild love for dogs in check. But then came Noah. I know, I know. I wax poetic all the time about this dog. But he really is something else. Even my husband thinks so (hence the other beloved boston terrier in these photos). And today is his birthday. So today we will spoil him. Let him sleep in our bed. Carry … [Read more...]

Poppy = 5

One week ago Poppy turned five. (Is it just me or does it seem like I was posting about her last birthday just a month or two ago?) And it was, whether or not I was happy about her turning a whole year older, a lot of fun. Additionally - trying to look on the bright side of this kids-getting-older thing - it is easier for me to remember my littlest's ages now. Jude is 8, Shep is 7, Vivienne is 6, Pop is 5 and Lula is 4. Until November, at least. Unlike last year, the birthday girl did not request another handmade crown. Or a photo shoot atop a … [Read more...]