Long ago in a land far away our daughter turned 16.  
And I’m just now getting to record all the hoopla surrounding that big day.  It was a good one.
Her sisters chalked the whole driveway:
Her friends came the night before to deck out her room while she was sleeping. 

It’s lucky she’s an early-to-bed kind of a girl.

Cute girls.

All her friends had been helping me spread the word about a surprise get-together for her at our house on the evening of the big day.  We started off the 16-year-old thing with a surprise party for Max (back HERE) so I figured we better somehow keep up the tradition.  (Max wasn’t so hip on the idea of surprises, but I think all the girls sure are!)

We practiced at the little road course for her driving test:

And the other kids and I stayed up and decorated.

We tried to put up as much as we could so it would be all decorated for the surprise party without getting her too suspicious.

I love Elle because she expects nothing.

She would have been pleased as punch just to pass that looming-ahead-of-her-driving-test because she wanted that license so much.

She was happy to get up early and eat scones while unwrapping gifts.

She kind of lucks out having a birthday at the beginning of the school year because she gets some school clothes she doesn’t have to pay for.  
And art from her little sister.


 I let her stay home from the school so we could be first in line to go try for her driving license.

Unfortunately 124 other people (or something like that) had the same idea so we had to wait a while, but we were so excited, and both so nervous!

Just like when I went to do this with Max (back here), my heart was pumping!  We walked out to the driving course and there was a super grumpy lady out there.  She got all set in the car and I went in to wait for her, heart racing, worried that lady in that mood of hers would make Elle nervous.

But of course, Elle was calm and composed as usual and came in with a big smile on her face.

Made my heart so happy.

(I think Marilyn was happy about it too…they have the exact same expression.)

We had to celebrate for a minute before she drove me back to school and hopped out, ready to go celebrate with her friends.

That night we went out to dinner.  So sad Dave couldn’t be there!

We were all trying to act nonchalant while friends were at the house setting things up for the big surprise.
All these kids were silent when we walked in.  Elle had no clue this was coming.  She figured we were going to go find a place to float her cake (her birthday tradition) and that was that.
As she was walking over to sit on the couch a huge boom of “SURPRISE” and music blasting from some speakers her friend brought came from the game room.  
I’m so mad I was trying so hard to act “normal” that I didn’t have my camera out to catch how high she jumped.  I didn’t actually see it but the little girls were laughing about it all night.
Here she is being rushed by her friends:


After all the hugs and dancing and yelling we made her come in and blow out candles.

Which she did NOT want to do, but forgave me for it in the end:

Love all these great kids.


 I love that she’s good friends with Max’s friends too.

They are kinda like brothers to her.

And this is such a great group of boys too.

 Stragglers at the end.

We did the same deal we did for the 50th wedding anniversary with pictures…may as well take advantage of these blank walls while they last!

The next day we went and floated a little piece of cake I saved in our neighbor’s pool.

 Because it’s a tradition.  Had to do it!

Which reminds me…we never did a pinata on Grace’s birthday this year…

The best gift she gave to herself was that she got her Young Women’s Personal Progress award (HERE).

That is a huge accomplishment and I’m so proud of her!  Lots of work went into that thing.  Plus, with all her reading of the Book of Mormon (one of the many things she did to earn the award) inspired me to read too, and I love when I get a little kick to read the Book of Mormon more diligently.

Her favorite gift was that she got to go on an adventure with her good friend to an amusement park (it was her friend’s birthday the week after her birthday).

I’m pretty sure they had the time of their lives.

We are so incredibly grateful for this girl of ours.

More of Dave’s thoughts about her back HERE on her real birthday.
Love you Elle Belle.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *