My 11 things I love about Lucy are back HERE, but here’s what we did to celebrate:

One evening last week we went from me telling Lucy I thought we should hold off on birthday parties until she turned 12 me helping her make an invitation to invite 23 girls over that Saturday (we were going to be out of town on her birthday). 

We thought those emojis were pretty appropriate considering the texts she writes filled to the brim with them to everyone under the sun.

I’m a sucker.  But honestly, what do you do when your daughter has a whole rough draft written out: 

…and has been working her tail off on things like this all week:

…oh, and sending everyone texts about it.

That girl likes her birthday I tell you!

So we invited those girls over and all but two of them showed up and sure made that girl of mine feel pretty special.

We separated into groups and did a calligraphy station:

Our favorite kind of drawing station:

(One person does the head, one does the body and one does the legs/feet without looking at what everyone else drew…a good FHE activity I talked about back HERE.)

And Claire and a couple friends led the “dance station” that was seriously the cutest.  Those girls are good and the dance ended up so great when we had all the groups do it all together at the end.

 We opened presents:

 Did some swimming:

And of course, had “cake”…Lucy opted for hot cookies and ice cream this year…

We are so lucky to have so many awesome kids and families in our “corner” who take Lucy under their wings and are so kinds.  She got invited to another birthday party that night and I didn’t realize until after we left out to dinner with some friends that it was a night scavenger hunt.  I froze.  Lucy can’t do things at night.  She would hold the whole group back.  I told my friend (the one throwing the party) I’d come back to get her right away.  But she texted right back and told me not to worry at all, and that she’d stick with Lucy.  I was so conflicted…lots of conflicts these days with what that girl can and can’t do.  I don’t ever want to cause others to slow down, especially at a birthday party, but my friend was pretty adamant that they’d be just fine.  And she was.  When I got there to pick her up later on in the evening she was in the middle of a circle of the cutest girls busting out some pretty crazy dance moves with the biggest smile on her face….matching all of theirs.  And something about that just made me so happy.  How did she get so lucky?  How did WE get so lucky?

For her actual birthday, which was conference weekend, we were in California.  My friends had a little retreat there earlier in the week and we still had the place for the weekend so we decided to meet up there (the girls came separately and Dave met us there directly from China).  It was a little bit of a logistical puzzle but we made it!

We didn’t have a lot of the things we regularly do on Conference weekend so we improvised.

We made our own “conference bingo” cards:

Our birthday banner was a little different:
Our present-wrapping was “interesting:”

 Let’s get a better look at Claire’s paper towel wrapping paper and lined-paper-made-into-a-bow.

Pretty creative I have to say.

We used Grace’s blanket as our tablecloth:

And had to substitute these suckers for our traditional “Conference Cinnamon Rolls” (back HERE).


But you know what?  We loved it. 

Lucy was pleased as punch about those make-shift gifts:

She listened to conference better than ever.

The girls made a “tent” for Lucy’s birthday camping tradition:

It was a conference weekend we’ll always remember.

After it was over, we went on a little family walk.

(Lu was bugged by some itchiness in that last picture 😉

And then went to have Lucy’s favorite…pulled pork sandwiches for dinner.

Elle sent her a little video and Max sent her a sweet letter and all in all, I think that girl of ours felt pretty celebrated. 

We love you Lucy!


  1. Hi Shawni!

    I absolutely love your blog. I'm hoping I can write this comment in a way that doesn't come off as accusatory or judgmental, just as an observation of a long time reader.

    "She would hold the whole group back. I told my friend (the one throwing the party) I'd come back to get her right away."

    You've written quite a bit lately about some of the hardships or issues that Lucy can experience, mostly due to her eyesight, or at least related to BBS. I'm not a parent, but I can imagine how frustrating and heartbreaking it can be to see your children struggle, at all. But especially with someone like Lucy- who it's clear how exuberant she is, how much she loves life and wants to participate with her peers. You really lucked out with her, she seems like an amazing girl.

    It seems though, when you've posted about Lucy's struggles, they come to you as a "light bulb" moment. That you thought she couldn't do something, but that she was able to accomplish with your amazing network of teachers and friends. I wonder if, all these light bulb moments, should in itself be a light bulb moment. That Lucy can do pretty much anything with the resources you've provided her. And that maybe instant reactions, like (thinking about) pulling her out of a party because you think she'll hold others back, is quite unfair. It's underestimating Lucy, and the ability of your community to rally around her and allow her to live a totally fulfilling and accomplished life.

    Like I said, I really hope this comment isn't interpreted (by my own wording), as judgmental. If anything is for sure, its that you and Dave are amazing parents, and that Lucy is so dearly loved by everyone. I just encourage you to see that if you have some many light bulb posts about Lucy succeeding at something you thought she couldn't do, that maybe your approach to certain situations could be changed.

    1. Hi RHrad, great points. There are a lot of things we just need to trust that will work out and not worry so much with Lucy. And things turn out so beautifully most of the time when we do. She is spunky and independent in many ways. But for certain activities just letting others take care of her feels irresponsible, especially when it's a large group effort like playing in a handbell choir or a carefully planned birthday party. It's tough to find the balance between the two! I have felt so much joy in living in a community where so many others are willing to help, but I never want to take advantage of that.

    2. As the mom of a special needs child, I so can relate to this – the gratitude when other children fill in or when he figures out himself how to make it work, and the worry about a creating a situation where people will see him as a burden or when I've unwittingly set him up for failure. It's an endless dance and guessing game. I don't know if many parents of typical kids can truly understand.

  2. I absolutely adore how much you celebrate your daughter and her interests and loves!!! The hot cookies and icecream is such a fantastic idea and I loved the calligraphy!! I admire your family so much and all the things you guys do!! Thanks for inspiring others <3 Keep up the great work momma!!

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