16 and 49

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Birthdays are some of my favorite holidays. There's nothing quite like decorating the house, making special plans, picking up the perfect gift, and celebrating the ones you love. We celebrated 16 for the last time in THIS generation of our family back in January and the whole day was bittersweet (as soooo many monumental days are for my youngest brother).

My Mom, sister, and I woke up EARLY to start the decorating process so that a certain someone would be surprised when he woke up. Streamers, balloons, banners, and a balloon avalanche that fell on him when he opened his bedroom door. I whipped up a batch of cinnamon biscuits for breakfast after that and then the day was full of all the usual things. School, housework, a trip to the grocery store for the cake that he finally told us the flavors of (chocolate and chocolate).

We had been expecting to have to go to rehearsals that night, so the SPECIAL plans were very up in the air. At the last minute, we found out that we would be able to stay home and do whatever we wanted. He chose burgers and chocolate chocolate cake. The night was YOUNG and we were excited to celebrate 16 one more time!!!

We went to this reallly popular burger joint where they serve napkins.

Ignore my Mom and look at that cute kid who is super excited to sink his teeth in a cheeseburger. :)  After our dinner out, we headed back home to put the finishing touches on the birthday cake. My Mom has done allll kinds of cakes in her day. Completely from scratch or from a box. Heart shaped, Lego, Pony Shaped, or frost your own cupcakes. They're always fantastic. Always. For whatever reason the boxed cakes are still a special treat.

I didn't get a good shot of him blowing out his candles, but this one is one of my favorites from the entire day!

These two have been mistaken for twins for most of their lives. The bond they share is one that I have been soooo blessed by. Just the other night, they were up late working on memorizing some Scripture and studying for their Two Ways To Live class. I was soooo tired and I really wanted to go to bed, but I couldn't bring myself to break up their study session. They sat in on my sister's bed and alternated between studying and laughing so hard that I think the neighbors could hear them. THESE are the moments I live for.

He finally got a baby bottle pop! LOL!!! My sister threw that in with her gift because she knew it would make his day. It did.

That's how we do 16 for this kid. It's a day I won't soon forget. These teenage years have been sooo full and being a part of them has meant more to me than he'll ever know. My brother is sweet and caring and TOUGH and strong. He is funny and tells his own jokes that are soda hilarious. He loves all things Lego and has been a natural performer ever since he was a little boy. When he sings, people stop to listen.

The other night, I passed by him when he was taking his stage makeup off. I caught a glimpse of us in the mirror and stopped. He is almost taller than me. It won't be long now and he'll pass me up. When he does, I'll celebrate with him then too, but he'll still be and always be my youngest brother.

Celebrating 49 looked a bit different. The Sunday before my Mom's birthday, we went out for a spontaneous lunch at The Outback after church. We went all out with a bloomin' onion, steak and potato, and a salad people are still raving about that had pecans, bluecheese crumbles, and a dressing that was the right balance of sweet and tangy.

On her actual birthday, we had a full house. Zachary and Monica came to visit and brought flowers and chocolates with them. My Mom and I started the morning by running to have the oil changed. We were first in line and had it done before we knew it. While we were waiting my Mom said, "I bet there's a geocache here. I just know it." After handing the keys to our car over, we trooped around the parking lot and logged a cache within a few minutes of looking!!! From there we headed to the library to pick up a hold that had come in for my Mom only to find out (for the second day in a row) that it wasn't open.

After that, I made everyone a big breakfast of waffles, bacon (thanks for taking over the frying, Monica), and potatoes. We had stayed up LATE the night before, so everyone was really looking forward to some time to just veg. My brother and sister and Zachary started watching Brave and Monica and I played cards. Eventually I went with my Mom and Monica to the thrift store to look for a vase for the flowers.

We came home to find the study area turned into a dance studio. My brother and sister spent much of the day teaching Zachary their dance routine to "Tellie" and trying to convince him to let them film it. Costumes were designed and everything, but no official music video was made. THIS TIME. 

I think part of the reason that I love birthdays is the amount of excitement that is in the air. We didn't do anything out of the ordinary. In fact, the whole oil change business and driving all the way to the library only to find that it was closed are the types of things that can lead to a lot of frustration. BUT. Here we were trooping around town and thrifting and having an excellent time. Birthdays make everything seem memorable.

When we returned home, I turned a bunch of leftovers into a lunch that left us all so stuffed we didn't even have dinner. I sliced up some meatloaf which we turned into sandwiches, I made my favorite stovetop mac and cheese, and served some green salad for good measure. Later that afternoon Zachary and Monica left and we got things ready for the big celebration.

Here's a pic of my Mom doing what she loves with all four of her children around her. This puzzle is a TOUGH one.

Before we knew it, it was nearly 9:30 at night. We were all so stuffed from lunch and she never would tell me what kind of cake she wanted, so I talked her into banana splits.

And then it was time for the gifts...She wanted three things: Aladdin on DVD with the extra scenes, the new Downton Abbey board game, and a blacklight flashlight. Two out of three isn't bad. :)

One. And the looks on their faces are my favorite. :)

Two. (A note saying it was coming in the mail. Apparently things take a bit longer to ship across the ocean. Who would have thunk?)


You get one realllly good shot with my Mom and I ALWAYS mess it up. I LOVE her face in this and wish that I hadn't reached up to fix my bangs. She's beautiful.

You can't know how blessed I feel to be able to spend the entirety of another birthday with my Mom. She's my Mom, my Blessed, and she's also my FRIEND. I thank God for giving me the Mom He did. We've seen A LOT and together we've learned life's most important lesson, namely, blessed be the name of the LORD.

That's 49 and 16 before it. 2016 is shaping up to be a great year.

If you've made it through alllll those pictures and my long descriptions, you're amazing. I really need to work on writing narrative and showing rather than telling. Until then, thanks for reading my rambles!!!

How do YOU celebrate birthdays?


  1. I enjoyed every word and picture, Victoria. Such a special post about two special people in your life. Happy birthday to them! I love the photos of your family. I didn't realize how tiny your mom was until I saw you standing beside her! I don't know how tall you are, but I'm 5'11". I have a feeling I would tower over both of you. Better to hug!

  2. I love this! Your family is so sweet. I love that you all got to spend these special days together.

    Just so you know...I was cracking up over this: "We went to this reallly popular burger joint where they serve napkins."

  3. What a fun way to celebrate birthdays! I have some younger teenage siblings, too, and it's so fun connecting with them as "adults". Happy birthday to your family :)


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