Sixteen years ago I checked into the hospital with a great deal of excited anticipation.
I was going to meet my baby girl.  
Little could I ever comprehend how much joy that little girl would bring.  
I am going to do something a little different this year (other years HERE and HERE, and the story of how she came so darn close after Max HERE).
I’m going to post 16 of my favorite pictures, and let Dave do the 16 favorite things at the end. 
Here you go:

(LOVE her heart.  More on the India trip HERE and HERE.)

And here is the note Dave wrote to her that made me tear up a little bit:


I wanted to be the first to wish my beautiful first born girl a Happy 16th birthday.  
I don’t know if there is a father more proud of a daughter and how incredibly impressed by the way you live your life and make your choices.  You have been such a great example to everyone around you particularly your family.  Your younger sisters look up to you so much and that makes me so grateful that you can show them a way to live their life that is in accordance with gospel principles. I am amazed how you seem to keep so much balance in your life Elle.  I have spent time thinking over the last couple days of the things that make you so great and here are my top 16 for your 16 years: 

1. You work hard in school and willing to do whats needed to be successful.

2. You are a great friend and example to so many living around you, People who know you personally love you as well as those that see you from afar.

3. You are competitive on the tennis court and want to become better, 

4. You are so beautiful but your not focused on it, 

5. You stay in tune with the spiritual side and help others see that example

6. You take after your mom of never saying anything rude or mean about someone else.

7. You are willing to try new things and see the challenge as a good thing

8. You naturally see the best in everyone

9. You love music and have the ability to play multiple instruments

10. You have fashion sense and style

11. You have a great eye for photography and see nature and moments of beauty

12. Your sense of humor is incredibly spot on.  I love your laugh and when you make me laugh

13. You are steady and non-drama, making these teenage years so enjoyable and fun

14. You are wise on how you can read people and see who is in need or needs help

15. You are modest, humble and put the attention on others which makes you the most confident teenager I know.

16. You make me so proud to be your dad.  

Elle, I am so lucky to have you as a daughter and I look forward to all the years we have together to laugh, cry dance and enjoy life.  It is going to be a fun journey and I want to help in any way to make it as enjoyable as possible.

I love you.


Love you Elle Belle!  My list is coming but I couldn’t agree more with all those nice things.  So grateful for you!


  1. Lovely pictures & tribute:)

    I especially like the picture comforting Claire. They look so alike in many of them.

    Happy 16th Birthday to Elle from the UK. Have a brill day & year:)

  2. Happy Birthday to Elle, you have an amazing family. Just so you know, I "stole" your rainbow pancake idea for my daughter's first day of school and she was the happiest girl ever!

  3. It was such a sweet treat to me to read this blog, enjoy the pictures and think about how very special Elle is,! Thank you. David for expressing it so beautifully!

  4. Elle is an incredible 16 year old! I What a great life she has had and what a fabulous future she is embarking on. Looking forward to watching!

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