rae-bday-1So today marks another first for us. Today is Raelynne’s 20th birthday and it is the first time we won’t be there to celebrate it. How terrible! (For those who don’t know, she is currently on the other side of the planet attending Hillsong College in the TV & Media Program.)

I have NEVER missed a birthday before! Obviously, I was at the first one, but I mean after that. I have NEVER missed a birthday for any of our kids, and I remember them ALL.

  • Her First Year Party was a disaster. We were the first in our circle to have kids, so we invited all of our friends over for a BBQ (about 35 people). Raelynne was so traumatized; I don’t think she started enjoying herself or playing with wrapping paper (like most babies do) until almost everyone had gone home. Poor baby.

After that, we adopted the guideline: when you turn 2, you can invite 2 friends. When you turn 3, you can invite 3 friends. And so on. It worked like the BOMB!


Over the years, we’ve developed our own unique set of Family Birthday Traditions, such as ‘breakfast in bed’ for the birthday person and ‘lunch of their choice’ after school. If we happen to be visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Canada at birthday time, the tradition still is Saturday Morning Waffles with huge bowls of fruit, ice cream, syrup, chocolate sauce, etc. Sinfully delicious!

We also purposefully let our kids choose their own party themes to reflect their personality, style, and current interests. No, I didn’t come up with all of these ideas for them. They did! I just helped them do it cheaply and safely.

Here are some of the birthday parties I remember the most…


  • rachel-bdayThe Princess Party―where we set up little tables in the living room with doilies, fancy dishes, and fancy food. Every little girl needs a princess party at least once in their life. (The pic is of  baby sister, Rachel, at her Princess Party.)
  • The Barbie party―which basically meant that we stuck miniature Barbies on top of the cake. What can I say? She loved Barbies.
  • The Swimming Pool party at the local recreation centre. (Yes, lifeguards present.)
  • The Scrapbooking Party―which I still am receiving therapy for. (Warning: do NOT do this with 8-year-olds!)
  • The Pajama Party―where they had to come dressed up like crazy housewives. I’m still not sure if I should be offended by their interpretation of a housewife.
  • The Beadazzling Party―where they each got to make their own beaded bracelets.rae-bday-4
  • The Funky Diva Party where they had to come dressed up as ‘funky and radical’ as possible. They even had a catwalk for the fashion show.
  • The Baby Party―where they had to come dressed up as big babies. The games were babyish, they ate baby food, and even drank their cool drink out of a bottle. Weird.
  • The Blessing Party for her 13th. This was an extra event where we invited “women of influence” in her life to come and bless her with encouragement, prophetic words, and then pray of her. It’s something we’ve done for all of them when they turn 13. Very special!
  • The “P” Party―where they all dressed up as something that starts with the letter “p” (police officer, pop star, Peter Pan) and we only ate food that started with “p” (pizza, popcorn, and ‘pocolate pake’ which means chocolate cake in “p” language.) It was fun.rae-bday-5
  • The Archery Party―where they all received an archery lesson and then had a competition in the bush. This was obviously in South Africa and during a season when the girls wanted to prove themselves just as tough as the boys… slightly stressful, but fun.
  • The Sweet 16 Cowgirl Party! This one was super fun! Hamburgers, musical chairs, and the first time she invited boys. Eish!
  • The Sweets and Snapshots Party. The name is self-explanatory. The table was full of sweets and cakes, and the agenda involved countless selfies and group pics with her new Polaroid camera. (She helped me with all the baking and made all of those signs by herself.)

So, what am I supposed to do now with no party to plan or cake to bake? Must I just cry all day? Not a chance… I can’t. I won’t. I refuse to.

There’s too much LIFE to live. Click To Tweet

But we do need some NEW BIRTHDAY TRADITIONS!

Traditions that will make sense in this new reality.

And I’m asking you, my readers, to help me. Please use the comment section below to give me some fresh ideas. I need you!

How can I celebrate my child’s birthday when she’s on the other side of the planet?


In the meantime, may I just take this moment to say to our beautiful Raelynne…

You are altogether lovely!

Smart, kind, funny, caring

And everything about you infuses our reality with creativity and grace!

We are so glad to be your parents

And we honour you on this, your 20th birthday!

Happy birthday, Sweetheart!



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