Our Gracie girl is 21.
I can hardly believe it.
It seems like just yesterday I was celebrating my 21st birthday with baby Gracie by my side.
What a joy she has been and what joy she has brought into our family. She is the child that made us parents, and allowed us to learn to parent on her, graciously forgiving our missteps and ineptness.
We named her Grace Elizabeth in honor of two of her great grandmothers, giving her the initials G.E.M, and that is exactly what she is…a gem.
What a day we had celebrating our sweet gem turning 21. Here is a look at Miss Grace’s special day…
Grace lucked out this year with her birthday falling on a Saturday. Saturday birthdays always feel extra special, since the celebrating can begin from first wake-up and continue on throughout the day, without anyone having to break from the celebration for mundane tasks like school and work. Because Gracie’s birthday fell on a Saturday, she was able to pack it full with celebrations on many fronts with all the people she loves most.
The celebration began hours before Gracie’s morning wake-up when we snuck into the dining room to decorate for her birthday. Months earlier she made her birthday wish known when she asked for a record player. This gift became the kick-off for a really fun 21st birthday theme…
You all know how I love a good theme!
This catchphrase became the theme of the party as her siblings wrote the 21 reasons they love Gracie on paper records that we hung around the dining room.
Each statement of loving affirmation was endearing and so reflective of the child who decorated the paper record. Among the reasons Grace is so loved were these statements written by her siblings…
I love your selflessness.
I love your creativity.
I love your huge heart.
I love your confidence and courage.
I love your willingness to listen to whatever I talk about.
I love that we share a love for Disney.
I love that you are always willing to serve and give a helping hand.
I love that you put 100% into your hobbies.
I love you because you are there to talk to me.
I love that you love me no matter what.
I love that you are always by my side.
I love that you make me laugh.
I love how you are always happy.
I love your laugh.
I love your smile.
I love how you are so forgiving.
I love when you laugh.
I love your personality.
I love that you always play with me.
I love that you are nice.
The rest of the room was decorated to match our theme and the result was a charming birthday surprise for Grace who, after being awoken to our off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday,” came downstairs to open her gifts in the dining room.
She loved the theme and took the time to walk around the room, reading the messages of love penned by her younger siblings.
Then we sat down, per Gracie’s request, so that she could open her gifts before the next adventure planned for her birthday.
Our gift to Grace was the record player that sat as the centerpiece in the middle of the table.
The kids went along with the theme, and had purchased in Disney World, two vinyl records from the parks. Rusty and Molly bought her the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean.
Ozzie and Tyler bought her the vinyl soundtrack to The Lion King.
Braden was the only one who went in his own direction. He bought her an aloe drink, knowing how much Gracie likes them.
After a yummy breakfast of monkey bread, Grace and Molly began getting ready for the next adventure of the day. Grace invited Molly and Olivia to join her at the Sign-a-Thon held at The Mall at Robinson.
The Sign-a-Thon is a huge deaf event held every spring to increase awareness for and about the deaf community. As part of Gracie’s ASL class requirements she is asked to attend multiple deaf events each semester.
She was excited that this particular event landed on her birthday.
She decided to bring her celebration to the Sign-a-Thon where she celebrated with Molly, Olivia, Zach, friends from church, and her closest friends from her signing classes.
They spent a few hours at the Sign-a-Thon, where Grace was able to share her love of American Sign Language interpreting with her favorite people, and then they enjoyed a birthday lunch at Plaza Azteca.
After a fun day celebrating her 21st birthday with her boyfriend and best friends, she and Molly returned home for our family celebration with Mimi Joy. For Gracie’s birthday celebration she asked if we could eat at Blaze pizza, our favorite new discovery.
We invited Mimi Joy to join us for dinner.
We arrived, each walked through the line,
Creating our own amazing pizza,
And feasted until we could feast no longer.
We enjoyed an evening of good food, great company, and MUCH silliness, as we celebrated our first born baby’s 21st trip around the sun.
Just for the record…
We think this girl is pretty grand!
Happy birthday, Miss Grace!