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My sweet little Elli turned 8

Holy rapid-fire December.  That’s what I’m going to call it because I still can’t believe it’s about over.  And lest you think we’ve been vacationing thousands of miles away and that’s why things have been quiet around here……well, we haven’t (though, that sounds really nice!).  We’ve just been celebrating birthdays, prepping for the holidays, enjoying family visitors, taken a few business trips, etc.  And wow, someone stole December right from beneath us.  Anyone feel the same way??  Crazy.


I’m also still trying to swallow the fact that my oldest turned 8 about a week ago (December 20th).  I remember when she was a lot younger, I posted something here on this blog about making her birthday special, since it was so close to Christmas (I couldn’t find the post though…I looked).  Many of you offered great advice, including not using Christmas wrapping on her gifts, never giving her something that was a half birthday/half Christmas gift, and always add birthday balloons or some other birthday type decorations to the house, even though Christmas is everywhere.  And let me tell you, we haven’t broken a single one of those rules!  ((high fives))


Watching this child grow has been some serious fun.  She is our little dancer, an avid reader, a very willing mommy’s helper (whether the other kids like it or not), a huge help with baby Oliver, and a kind and thoughtful little friend.  And we have been loving on Elli for 8 whole years now!





Her birthday fell on a Saturday but Steve happened to be working that day.  So the real fun couldn’t start until

about 2 in the afternoon, after daddy got home.  So, she busied herself all morning getting ready for our little family birthday party (we don’t host a friend party for every child every year.  It simplifies life.  A lot.)  She helped me bake her cake, blew up more balloons, added more streamers to the walls, and decorating her “birthday chair” (the one she’s sitting in), with streamers and balloons and LOTS of scotch tape.


When the kiddos were little, Steve told me his favorite birthday cakes as a child were the ones with some sort of toy or figurine on the top.  We adopted that years ago and have done it with every child since.  We keep it a secret until their party and they LOVE guessing what they might find on top.  (This sure makes the cake decorating a cinch.  Slap some frosting on, add a toy, some sprinkles, a few candles, and DONE.)




This year, we added one of those DigiBirds to the top…….and it was a hit.  If you whistle at it or blow onto the little sensor under its beak, it will sing a song or just chirp at you.  It’s pretty cute and moves it’s head side to side and sounds like an actual bird chirping.  Cool toy. :)



Her grandma Johnston made her a huge purple quilt (hanging on the couch in the background) and a mini matching one for her dolls.  She loved it — especially since it’s her favorite color!


She also got this Keepsake Box that she’s been asking for since seeing a neighbor friend get one months and months ago.  It keeps all her treasures locked up inside and only unlocks when Elli’s voice activates the unlocking mechanism.  She thinks it’s pretty darn cool that her little brother and sister can’t get to her chapstick and fingernail polish without her permission anymore.


But her very favorite gift of all started out like this — curious and unsure.


Until she got a little peek…


And then couldn’t believe her eyes…


…which resulted in the biggest THANK YOU I have ever seen/heard.  Before lifting out any of the contents from the box, she ran over and wrapped her 8 year old arms tightly around my neck.  It was absolutely priceless.



Because, you know, this child has become OBSESSED with Beanie Boos.  Yep, weirdest looking stuffed animal eyes ever……but she LOVES them.  And tells us that one of her sweet friends already has 32 of them.  32!!!!  Elli and this friend of hers have a lot of fun playing and creating voices and scenarios for their little stuffed animals.  It’s really adorable!



Then it was cake time.  Chloe’s favorite part!



Connor’s too!



And in case you thought we didn’t invite Oliver to the party, he was there too…….using his little baby brain to plot how we was going to get that darn Beanie Boo into his chubby fist.  His coordination is still really hilarious……but he tries so hard!




8 years of life.  So much left to learn……but already soaking in so much about her surroundings.  I can’t imagine our life without this girl.



Happy Birthday Elli girl!  We sure love every little thing about you! :)


 I’ll be back to a regular schedule soon.  Promise. :)


Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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