Ella's birthday recap

My girl is eight. Eight! Mark always takes the kids' birthdays off (because he's the greatest) so we had a whole day of celebration.

This morning her birthday banner was up, her birthday gifts wrapped and waiting, and eight balloons had been blown up and were waiting on the floor of the living room. [All the kids know to look for these things on their birthday morning.] She came into our room at 8 o'clock, having counted her balloons to be sure there were eight. :) And when everyone else woke up and joined us, we told her she could open one gift. She chose the biggest box, which contained her petticoat, which she was excited about. We had Swedish Pancakes together for breakfast~ made by daddy.

Then we let her open her other gifts.

The next gift she chose to open was her gift from Miss M, Ella's penpal. She got this box some time ago and has been anxiously waiting to open it!

[And sweet Miss M~ Ella was so, so excited about all of your gifts for her, and the lovely letter you wrote. I'm sure she'll write you all about it~ but she especially loves her "Jack". I don't think he left her side for the rest of the day, as you'll see in the pictures below!]

To let the rest of you in on what I'm talking about: Quinne is a longtime blogging friend of mine, and her daughter Miss M and my Ella are the same age and have been penpals for several months. Miss M chose this little bulldog for Ella, knowing that she loves Little House so much, and thinking that she can now have a Jack when she plays Little House! Wasn't that so thoughtful? (She will certainly be using him for her Little House scenes, of that I am sure. And I'm thinking Isaias will be mighty happy that this means he's about to get promoted to a new Little House character!)

Then she opened her final gift from us, the only thing she requested for her birthday:

(and I think she liked it!)

When Audra woke up from her morning nap we all headed to the bookstore, because another one of our birthday traditions is that our children get to choose a book on their birthday! We went to our favorite used bookstore and Ella chose her book~ which I can't remember the name of (I ended up in the van with the little girls) but the illustrator is Garth Williams, so she's definitely a girl after my own heart.

Then we came home for lunch, and then naps and quiet times while I got busy in the kitchen (after playing a quick game of Settlers with Mark!)

For dinner, Ella requested:
-meatloaf (every year!)
-mashed potatoes
-sweet potatoes
(I added some green beans~ canned from our garden, and some apples. Oh~ and sparkling apple cider, which, upon tasting- Ella pronounced as her second favorite drink, next to pink lemonade.)

After we finished dinner our family began arriving: grandpas and grandmas and uncles and aunties and cousins and whoever can attend from our extended family. Then she opened more gifts, and I'm pretty sure my mom wins the award for the best gift:

She made her a dress and an apron! (That's actually Mark's mom in the photo, because she happened to be sitting next to Ella. I don't have a photo of my mom with Ella, but I know my dad snapped a picture of the two of them.)

How cute is she?! :) I'm sure we will never see her in another outfit again~ or at least until she outgrows this one!

We served cake and ice cream (banana cake with cream cheese frosting. And Ella wanted rainbow sherbet ice cream, but we also provided a vanilla and chocolate option for the adults! :))

And then: all partied out and ready for bed:

Other highlights of Ella's birthday:
*no chores for the day! (the boys did a little extra so that she didn't have to do any of her regular work)
*a birthday call (complete with song!) first thing this morning from Auntie Stef (my sister) and family
*a birthday balloon delivered this morning from grandma
*a birthday card that came in the mail from great-grandma and great-grandpa: with eight dollars enclosed
*daddy, coming back from the store hiding a bouquet of flowers behind his back for his girl. (she had the perfect response, too: she just burrowed her head in the petals and smelled her flowers and smiled and looked like the happiest girl in the world.)
*one of Ella's dear friends, Madelyn, stopped by with her mom to bring her the gift of an American Girl book
*extra time to play with her cousin Sadie after her party tonight
*a birthday email from our dear friends who couldn't make it to her party tonight

She is well-loved, our girl. And oh, we are blessed, so blessed, to have her!


  1. Ohhhh, so sweet! I love the gifts. Ella is a girl after my heart too, what a blessing she is.

  2. Ella is such a doll - I can't believe she is 8! Looks like a fun day and I love her menu picks!

    Mark is such a great guy!!!!!!!

  3. What a beautiful day! She looks so joyful.

  4. What a dear sweet girl Ella is. And what a beautiful family centered celebration Stacy. You are doing a fine job of parenting your children...down to the little details like letting the siblings carry her chores for the day.

    and happy belated birthday Ella.

    mama to 7
    one homemade and 6 adopted

    *expecting again...from Ethiopia!

  5. I love all the great pictures of Ella! And what a fun day for her!

  6. Stacy all of this makes me so happy, which I needed today. Ella's smile made it even brighter for me. I love her excitement about the gifts, the wonderful blessings you pour on your birthday person (girl in this instance) and that you have a BIG extended family to share it all with.

  7. Stacy, what a smile she has! I love the things that make her happy. Other things I loved: reading about your b-day traditions (especially the kids picking a book out), lots of pictures, and the joy in your home that is so evident!

  8. Carolynn~
    I know. Such fun gifts. I must admit that I was a teeny bit jealous. When I was SO into Little House I never had an outfit!! :)

    I can't believe she's 8, either. Crazy! And yes, Mark is wonderful!

    It was such a great day!

    Thank you, Kimmie, for your sweet and encouraging words! (((hugs to you!)))

    Thanks, Ame...

    Oh, good. I'm glad it made you happy. (Me, too!) And yes: we are so incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful extended family so close.

    We think she has an awfully cute smile, too! :) Thank you, sweet friend!

    Thanks for commenting, all!

  9. Thank you, my dear Stacy, for all the hard work you put into making our Ella's birthday so special. Thank you for sewing her bonnet and petticoat. Thank you for making her dinner and dessert. Thank you for making her birthday sign and decorating her gifts with the other kids. Thank you for suggesting that others cover her chores. Thanks for being a wonderful party hostess.

    You made her day, just as you bless each of us not only on our birthdays, but every day. Thank you.

    Loving you, Mark

  10. Hi Stacy :) What a wonderful post! I also love the way that you celebrate one another - the careful attention to details that puts the sparkle on the day. What a delight to read.

    Thanks a million times for the pictures of Ella - Meredith is delighted to see her here on your journal. She often says that she misses Ella though they have never met. We are so glad that she likes her gifts :)

    Love to you! Q

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