Friday, February 20, 2015

Julianne's birthday garden

Julianne turned 17-years old last week. Last year I kind of outdid myself with the birthday remembrances, celebrations and decor. Which meant that this year, though it wasn't the iconic 16th birthday, I still knew that the bar was now set a little bit higher. Julianne did not want a birthday party. What could I do to make sure she felt good and celebrated beyond presents and cake?

(Oh my goodness...I'm just now realizing that we never sang the Happy Birthday song to her! Mom fail.)

Last year ended up being about balloons. In fact, every birthday last year for all four kids incorporated balloons in some sort of way. So I quickly dismissed any kind of balloon ideas...been there, done that. Maybe I was inspired by this crazy winter that is behaving much more like spring, but I grasped hold of a flower theme and ran with it. I bought a bunch of mason jars and painted them red, pink and white (Valentines Day colors seeing as the holiday is only four days after her birthday and therefore her favorite), tied bows of ribbon or twine around each one and then filled them with flowers. I got more than a few strange looks when I walked out of the grocery store, my arms laden with multiple bouquets of carnations, tulips, roses, daffodils, daisies, etc.

And then after the mason jars were filled I placed them all around her bedroom, every shelf on the book case, the bedside table, her dresser. Effectively her room became a flower garden, and oh the smell was heavenly. I took the last bunch of roses and clothes-pinned them to some twine hanging across her doorway. And then spread my Valentine silk rose petals across the floor everywhere. I added a couple of pink and white heart pillows to her bed and also a string of little Valentine chinese lantern-type lights above her window. Interestingly enough, Julianne had been asked to the Sweethearts Dance earlier with bunches of red and white balloons and those were still hanging out on the floor of her room as well and added to the overall I guess there were balloons after all.

Originally Julianne had been rather delighted about the idea that since her birthday fell on a Tuesday and therefore the "late start" schedule at school, she could sleep in...decadence! But the more she thought about it, the more she decided that rather than sleep in, she wanted to wake up extra early and go to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead. Her grandpa had given her some family names that needed baptism work done and so she convinced her dad to come with her and the two of them left the house at 5:30AM to start off her birthday at the temple.

Afterwards she had just enough time to come home and get ready for the day before heading off to school. She only attended her first two classes, however, and then played hooky for the rest of the day to celebrate with me. (Is it hooky if I've actually given her permission and clear the absence with the school attendance office? I'm getting so soft in my old age. I never used to allow this kind of thing...)

After delightedly checking out her birthday flower garden in her bedroom, the two of us headed off for a girly birthday afternoon of shopping, lunch and pedicures.

It was a school day after all, so there was homework involved come evening. And a quick appearance at her young woman mutual activity. (She's class president. Plus, they were decorating Valentine cupcakes and Julianne is all about anything to do with Valentines Day.) There were texts and emails and visitors all day long wishing Julianne a Happy 17th. And we had Indian take-out from Taste of India for dinner and then the opening of the birthday gifts.

It was a fun day. I think we done celebrated her 17th in style.

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