Abby’s 10th birthday party (in which I blithely pretend that posting is something I do with great regularity, thanks for obliging me)

My niece Abigail had her tenth birthday on Monday. Abby is the oldest of my (currently) three nieces and just like the others, she fills a very special little pocket of my heart. She has a sincere concern for other people and their feelings that is far above her years. She is a notice-er and a remember-er, if I can be more like her when I grow up I will feel like that is a great success.

Ten is such a big deal with the beginning of the double digits, the beginning of the shaking off of “little kid-dom”. My sister (her mom) and I wanted to celebrate her special day in a way that would speak to who she is, and let her know that she is seen and important.
We decided to keep the party fairly small because it’s really important to Abby that everyone around gets her attention and time. There was also the factor that we were celebrating on a school night and needed to stay somewhat low-key, but that doesn’t need to be the focus here. Sis didn’t tell her much of what would be happening, but after school they drove the 40 minutes to their old town and picked up her two besties from the school she attended until last year. These kids were out of their minds to be together again. It’s hard to stay close when you’re that young and completely dependent on your parents for social interaction outside of your immediate community, but somehow they’ve done it.

The plan was to decorate aprons and then tie those on for cookie baking and decorating. Knowing there’d be so much sugar involved and that Sis has been working hard to instill healthy values regarding food choices in her kids, I opted to make a “cake” out of fruit instead of the traditional confectionary. Honestly, I was cracking myself up with how much it looked like a #nailedit meme in comparison with the perfect ones on the internet. I figured though that the girls would be cool with it, since they don’t view the world through the eyes of a professional-pinner. Sure enough, when Abby’s little sister Allie walked in the door she started exclaiming over the cake, how neat it was “and so beautiful”. There is a reason I adore my nieces.

abby and auntie


Even though this was a big-girl party, our little niece Ellie was given a special invitation. Our youngest sister spent several years living in Montana and both of her children were born there. They’ve been “home” again now for almost two years and Sis and I love any opportunity to watch the cousins playing. The older girls were really sweet to the little-bit and helped her to feel included and part of the festivities; it made me feel proud and hopeful for the future of the world. *fun fact 1, Abby and Ellie have birthday’s one week apart and share a middle name. *fun fact 2, if you noticed that I have nieces named Allie and Ellie and you wonder if that ever gets confusing – yes, yes it does.

little sweetie

One of the main reasons that I hosted the party, instead of it being at the birthday girls’ home, was that unlike her house, my dining room does not have carpet. Sis and I have had flashes of genius before, but that may have been one of our brighter moments. The girls got to roll out their sugar cookie dough, press the cutters in to make fun shapes and then, the moments of glory…sanding sugar, sprinkles and piping! Never have cookies been so decorated! It could have been the sugar buzz, but the giggles were as plenty as the colored-sugar granules on the floor.

cookie monsters

I spent most of the night watching the three little girls who are “ours” and knowing that in another decade the birthday parties we’ll be having will be so much different. It was hard to reconcile my heart to that fact, especially knowing how fast the time will go by. I’m grateful for the moments that we get to give them to be young. Drawing hearts and flowers all over their aprons and using every color imaginable on their cookies, not worrying about what anything is “supposed to look like” just being and having fun. Abigail got the presents, but our family was given such a gift when she joined us ten years ago.

apron building