(I don’t know why we call her Grace Jam…Dave just said it once when she was a baby and it stuck.)

Yes, she went ahead and turned nine yesterday.

I’d be mad at her for it (she’s not supposed to grow up so quick) except that she already seems like she’s been nine for a long time.

You see, Grace is a rare specimen. She is so very mature for her age in some ways…

…and so not in others. Hmmmm.

Her main wish for her birthday was that she could start wearing mascara.

She didn’t get it.

But I think she was pleased as punch with how her day unfolded despite the absence of mascara.
It was an “on” year for Grace to have a birthday party (we only do them every other year) but somehow for some reason Elle happened to mention that Grace was “off” on her birthday party years and that she should switch to having them on even years rather than odd ones. She explained that if she has parties on “odd” years she won’t be able to have a “sweet sixteen” party some day.

She had Grace, hook, line and sinker with that “sweet sixteen” bit, and Grace settled down for a nice, cozy family day on her big day.

(Believe me, I wasn’t about to jump in and mention that “sweet sixteen” was a LONG way off, and who knows what will change by then. So I zipped my lips…the thought of no party spelled pure relief as far as I was concerned…and that was that.)

We woke up and had our traditional “favorite breakfast” chosen by the birthday kid (she chose scones), and then unwrapped gifts.
Watching my kids give gifts to each other is one of my favorite things to do. Above see those peace necklaces and earrings Claire gave Grace? She was SO excited to give them to her, and Grace lived up to what Claire had envisioned as far as how happy she was to get them.

Max and Elle rode their bikes to the grocery store a couple days before and bought Grace presents with their own money, came home and wrapped them and couldn’t stop talking about how excited Grace was going to be to get them.

Elle gave grace a long ribbon she kept pulling out of the bag intermittently tied with candy bars. At the end was a Subway gift card (Grace’s favorite). Grace loved the gift, but my favorite part was Elle’s face as Grace opened it. She was so dying in anticipation to give it to her:

And Max? Well, he knows the key to Grace’s heart lies in root-beer, and a little candy on the side, so that’s what she got. Max wrapped them specially so she couldn’t see the shapes and guess the gift, and he put his “card” (a folded up piece of paper) in a balloon he blew up for a little extra touch:I love birthday breakfasts.

And I couldn’t decide which picture of everyone I loved the most so you get all three.
I love how my middle child is squished in the middle in this one:
And then those precious kids of mine are joined by their ultra sexy dad (oh man, that sappiness isn’t going away):

And I’m really glad Lucy’s alphabet puzzle from her “Grandma Great” that she will not put down made it front-and-center in this one:Let’s go ahead and look at that a little more closely:
There we go. Nice how half the letters are lost.

And I couldn’t resist snapping a pic. of Claire with her morning hair and sweet smile:

And Max too:
After breakfast I took Grace & Claire to a matinee of the Princess and the Pea.They were enthralled, especially since they got to meet the Prince and Princess after the show:

Grace’s birthday tradition is to have a pinata.

Last year we made it. And we liked doing it so much we did it again this year.

We did the prep work the night before:
And then painted it on the big day:Grace was very sneaky and somehow cajoled us into letting a few friends come over to “help.” Not a party, she said, just a couple friends to swim and help paint…

And we are pushovers.
And of course, if they help paint the pinata, they must stay to bash it to pieces:
…and then of course, by that time they are hungry, so they must stay for pizza. And who has dinner on a birthday without dessert? Of course, they must stay to eat the ice cream cake we all made together:
(Grace is SO into peace signs, in case you hadn’t noticed…and Oreos too.)
..But, of course, we were happy to have those cute friends…they sure made Grace’s day.

Nine things I love about this girl:

1) She exudes confidence.

2) She sparkles when she smiles.

3) She adds so much spunk to our family with her drama and her enthusiasm for life.

4) She is smart as a whip. Things do not go over this girl’s head.

5) She is a good friend, especially to her own sisters and brother.

6) She is generous (most of the time).

7) She can’t go to sleep until she kisses me goodnight.

8) She is a really hard worker and she’s on top of any tasks she sets her mind to.

9) She knows how to get what she wants (i.e. the “non-party” “party” we had today).

Oh, how we adore you, Grace Jam.


  1. Way to go Grace Happy Birthday Girl!
    You know what I love the most about this post? Your kiddos are all smiling in the morning. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that. My kiddos would not be happy, let alone smile in the morning. What can I say? My kids are not morning people. You can imagine how sweet they look during seminary. Hehe.
    I so want to try making a pinata after seeing you do this. It doesn't look too hard….is it?
    I love the "traditional" birthday kiss you and your husband do.

  2. what a sweet post- Happy Birthday!

    Your son MAX will be a great husband one day…especially with all those sisters he has lived with-

    I love the rootbeer and stands of candy-

    sandy toe

  3. Happy Birthday Sweet girl Grace!!
    My baby turns 9 in July!
    it's sad, but amazing watching them all grow up!
    I love her pictures you captured!
    she sounds AMAZING!

  4. First I have to say, you have such a BEAUTIFUL family… no doubt about it! I am amazed at how Max handles all of those sisters! 😉 My daughter (our middle child) just turned 11… and she is so very into peace signs right now, too! Not sure what that's about! I love your birthday traditions!!

  5. Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl! Mine just turned 8 on the 7th. They grow so fast. And my girl is totally into peace signs too! They are all over the clothes and accessories for their age range! God bless your beautiful family! Please, if you ever have a speaking engagement in Georgia, post it on your blog!

  6. How Fun! Almost made me feel as though we were there. Dang, I missed tasting that glorious cake! Give Grace one of the those big cheek smackers for us too!

  7. Happy Birthday Grace! Nine is such a great age, so you have a wonderful year ahead with your sweet girl:)! Love Grace's hair! I'm with a past poster in her request to have you do a hair styling post. For those of us not skilled in that area, it would be most welcome:)!!

  8. Happy Birthday Grace.

    I've just stumbled across your blog and it was just the tonic I needed. Lots of sunshine and family happenings. Your photos are so beautiful I couldn't help reading back through your archives. Love it! You've also given me a few ideas for my own girls' birthdays.

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