We Skyped with Grandma and Grandpa on Saturday so they could see Gwen open her present.


It’s an adorable pink dress with a matching doll dress. Gwen was happy to try it on. Then she was upset that we wouldn’t let her use it as a school dress. She’s funny because she loves anything pink and girly. She has been complaining that she doesn’t have enough dresses for church. It’s true. She had a lot but then she grew out of a bunch all at the same time. She has a lot of skirts but she doesn’t like wearing them to church. I think she thinks they are for school and play only.

I love that Gwen gets a birthday dress every year. I was really looking forward to this year in particular because of the dress drought in Gwen’s closet. We also planned on buying her a dress so she could have some choices.

She needed new shoes too. Actually all the kids need new shoes. Gavin has a hiking activity coming up and we decided it would be best for him to have some real shoes to wear for the hike. Parker just showed me the holes inside his shoes. I hope Payless is having a sale because my kids go through shoes so fast.

Gwen picked out some cute silver sandals. They have a bit of a heel which made her feel so grown up. She kept saying she felt tall because she’s 7 now! Yesterday she was dressed and ready for church. Shoes were on her feet and everything. I don’t remember how I figured this out but her shoes didn’t match. One was a size 4 and the other was a size 3. Not this again! The rain boot debacle at Target made sense. The boots were just sitting on a shelf. There was no box. They were never attached to each other. I was the idiot for buying them without checking.

But what happened with the sandals? There was a box. The box said size 3. The shoe she tried on said size 3. Both shoes had paper wadded up in the toe and some cardboard origami attached to the back strap. There was a right and a left shoe. How did no one notice the major size discrepancy? They came from JC Penney! It’s not like we bought the cheap stuff Target sells. We went to a legitimate store with a shoe department and everything. I was baffled.

We did let her wear the shoes to church. What else were we supposed to do? I took the shoes back to JC Penney today. The lady walked me to the shoe department so the shoe people could help me. No one was there though. I found a box that said size 3 and we both double checked that both shoes also said size 3. She took me back to her counter to do the exchange. We double checked the shoes again to make sure I was getting what I needed. She was very nice and I thanked her for her help. Gwen is thrilled to have the same silver sandals she picked out. I was afraid we might not get so lucky.


Gwen’s dresses are so cute. She loves posing for pictures, can you tell? The dress we bought is fun because the black and white pattern matched the wrapping paper Grandma’s dress was wrapped in. Grandma also made a petticoat. Fancy!

Parker wanted to know what we were getting for Gwen at the mall. Especially since we said there was a surprise for everyone. He started getting a little crazy trying to figure it out. He kept saying he could keep the secret. We kept saying we knew he could not. It was a lot of fun withholding that information!

I thought we would do our secret plans last. Heath wisely chose to do it first. We walked past Build a Bear on our way to the food court. The kids pointed it out and Parker asked if we were going there. All we said was that we couldn’t tell. So he was left to freak out in his mind. Was it the Lego store or Build a Bear? He had no way of knowing.

We walked past Build a Bear after lunch. I think someone asked again if we were going in there. Heath took two more steps past the store. Then he spun around and dove into the store saying “Yes we are!” The kids were ecstatic. I was just as surprised as they were only because I thought we were saving that activity for last. I realize the brilliance of Heath’s plan. He figured the boys would be a lot easier to deal with looking for dresses if they had a cool friend in a box.

I was afraid Gwen might choose a My Little Pony. I don’t understand why that toy from the 80’s has been resurrected into a cult following. Gwen is obsessed with the show. The show makes me question my will to live. Luckily Gwen chose a white teddy bear instead.

She said she liked it because it looked like Elsa from Frozen. That’s another iconic obsession I don’t understand. Wasn’t Elsa the dark, messed up sister with the crazy ice powers? I get that she was the older sister and that she had the beautiful long blonde braid. I get that little girls like powers. Give them a wand and tell them it has magical powers and they will play for hours. But why does Ana get the shaft?

She was the sister that never gave up. She was the brave one. She was the one willing to move heaven and earth to find her angry sister. Ana was the one who broke the ice spell. Elsa was the one that was loved unconditionally by Ana despite being a royal pain in the butt, setting off an eternal winter of a temper tantrum. So tell me, why do all the girls worship Elsa? If you ask me Ana is the real hero of the story.


At any rate Gwen chose the Elsa bear. It really is an Elsa bear. On one foot it says Frozen and on the other foot it says Elsa. She has large, blue cat eyes and her fur is white with glittery sparkles in it. I have a hard time remembering her name is Elsa because Gwen’s first Build a Bear friend was a pink cat she named Sparkly.

Gavin chose a camouflage bear he named Junior. I think he enjoyed the experience more than he let show. He’s at that awkward in between stage. He’s still a kid but “he’s almost a man” according to Gwen. I thought it was interesting that he told the stuffing girl he was 12. Without even blinking. He won’t be 12 for another five months! I only get five months a year where they are all two years apart. Only five months to say my kids are 7, 9, and 11 years old. He can’t wait to grow up so he tells strangers he’s 12. Crazy kid. He had fun building another bear. He was disappointed we wouldn’t buy him a motorcycle for it but he got over that fast.


Parker almost couldn’t contain himself he was so excited to be at Build a Bear again! He chose a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle but put it back when he realized that was the character he already has as a stuffed toy. He grabbed a different turtle which I thought had ugly coloring compared to the other turtles. Parker put it back when he saw Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. He named it Bob.

The black dragon is really cool. I like it a lot. Parker loves it. Parker loves all stuffed toys. And blankets. And Lego mini figures. And anything that is warm and snuggly or is a toy that he can give a personality to. He’s our only kid who really loves toys. That’s kind of why we have been cutting back on toys as gifts lately. The kids don’t spend a lot of time playing with them. They have so many too.

Gwen was a little spoiled at Build a Bear since it was her birthday. We let her get a sound. If you press Elsa’s paw she sings Let it Go. The stuffing girl talked us into getting a scent. I think that was a waste of money because I can’t really smell anything when I sniff her tummy. We also let Gwen pick an outfit. She chose the Elsa dress and clear slippers that remind me of Cinderella’s glass slippers. Gwen loves that they are high heels. So chic.

We saved the other gifts we got for Gwen until Sunday. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was so exhausted after our big day of celebrations that by Saturday night I couldn’t care less about wrapping gifts. Heath was bummed we forgot to bake the cake. We had to relax first. I could get away with not wrapping presents but that cake wasn’t going to bake itself. So we stayed up really late baking cake.

On Sunday morning I asked Gwen if she wanted me to wrap her presents and let the boys color the butcher paper. We don’t have any wrapping paper and this is how I’ve been wrapping gifts for birthday parties. Or I gave her the choice of me just handing her the gifts unwrapped. She went for that idea. I told her we had to wait for Dad to come home from his meetings first.

That was the best part. I had Pandora playing my Mormon Tabernacle Choir station. There is a lot of church music but sometimes a piano only piece will come through. Cristofori’s Dream by David Lanz came on. The kids know that is my favorite piano piece ever. Parker came running up to let me know my favorite song was on. He was so sweet to tell me and I knew I needed a minute to clear my mind anyway. So I ran downstairs to sit in a chair with my eyes closed to just enjoy the music.

Parker kept shushing his brother and sister because he knows that is my drop everything and be still song. He even ran outside to shush Heath when we heard him pull into the garage. There were only a few seconds left of the song but Parker didn’t want anything spoiling my moment.

The song ended and Gwen got really excited. Daddy was finally home so that meant I needed to give her the unwrapped presents! I kept the jewelry hanger in the JoAnn’s bag. I put the alarm clock under my shirt. Everyone loved that. She pulled the jewelry hanger out of the bag and squealed. I’m not sure she even knew what it was at first. She was less enthused when we told her. Still excited but not as thrilled. She wondered if it would replace her jewelry box. We thought it would be a great place to hang her necklaces. The floor isn’t the best storage place for necklaces.

We birthed my alarm clock baby and her face completely fell. With tears in her eyes she said she thought it would be a doctor kit. Heath was surprised since the doctor kit request was new to him. For about a week or so she has been hoping for a doctor kit like what Doc McStuffins has. Then she will list all of Doc’s toys hoping to get those too. I was never going to get a doctor kit. She doesn’t need any more toys and I didn’t think this was a real want. More like a wish she had every time she watched the show. So I never told Heath.

The alarm clock was something she has been begging for since the Backpack Fairy didn’t give her one. We finally found a simple alarm clock that plays CD’s. Gwen’s stereo is great but it won’t play homemade CD’s which causes a lot of heartache at night. We thought the alarm clock would be a slam dunk. I felt terrible that she was so upset.

It has been growing on her. She loves seeing what time it is. She read to Elsa this afternoon in her bedroom so she would know if she read a full 20 minutes or not. She was concerned that it didn’t wake her up this morning. Sundays are busy days. We only had time to get the clock in her room with the correct time before bed. I did think it was cute that Gwen was concerned that it didn’t wake her up at 7:00. It was 6:58 when she said that.

Gwen still has birthday cards and other gifts to look forward to in the mail. Aunt Chris is even sending her some scrapbooking things. I love that Gwen had a Sunday birthday because it meant that her birthday was celebrated for much longer than just one day. We celebrate the whole month of July for the boys. Gwen enjoyed a similar treatment this year with her birthday. I can’t believe she is 7 years old!