Larkspur’s Snowy Ninth

We celebrated Larkspur’s ninth birthday last week during our biggest snowstorm of the year.  As birthdays do in our house, the day revolved around food and of course, gifts.  Lark always wants a fruit salad, which isn’t that easy to pull off in early March.  I suggested a citrus salad, but she really wanted melons and begged me to buy them even though they aren’t in season and wouldn’t be the best.  The salad turned out just fine as did the rest of her requested foods, including her new tradition of banana pudding rather than a birthday cake.

I have sewn birthday dresses for several of the girls’ birthdays, and that has created an expectation there.  This year in the weeks leading up to Lark’s birthday I started going through my fabric stash and trying to decide what pattern to make but it was really causing me some anxiety.  I just don’t sew very often anymore, partly for lack of space and time, and the thought of sewing a dress from beginning to end was a little bit overwhelming to me.  Larkspur was also hoping that I would make her the Topsy Turvy doll from this book, but the thought of that was stressing me out as well.  The bottom line for me is that crafting is only good when I am enjoying it and it is helping to relieve stress rather than create it.  Where I am at right now, the only craft that I find good for me on a regular basis is knitting.  Everything else seems to require too much mental power and prep work.  In an effort to simplify I came up with an alternate plan that I thought would still make Larkspur happy.  She’s been bugging me to make her Dandelion Doe softie ever since I bought the kit, many months ago.  I am a huge fan of kits (particularly Alicia’s, so pretty), more so now than ever.  They take much of the decision making and prep work out of a project and that can be very appealing at times.  Of course my brain is clearly not functioning at a high level right now because I managed to omit certain portions of the directions for this particular kit.  I knew something must be wrong when I ran out of floss for sewing the body when I was only halfway through it.  You’d think I would have remembered to only use two of the six strands of floss considering the fact that I have made two of these kits in the past.  Boy did my fingers hurt (for days) after sewing the whole thing with six strands (I used multiple shades of tan and it really worked out fine despite the pain.)  My plan was to downgrade the birthday dress to a skirt and have the colors match Dandelion’s dress.  I ran the skirt versus dress idea by Larkspur and she expressed concern that a skirt would really be too easy for me, and not quite worthy of a birthday!  Thank goodness that she was super excited with Dandelion (and surprised too!), because not only did she not get a birthday dress, there was no skirt either!  I just ran out of time.  I have promised to make her a First Holy Communion dress (what??) and I think that is why she let me off the hook.

Larkspur is very sweet, and really, she’s easy to please.  She likes lots of fun and artsy things, making the shopping part great fun.  My older boys are sooo specific and buying their gifts usually means Jonny hunting something down on Craigslist and going to pick it up.  No surprises.

So, I kind of went overboard with gifts for Lark this year.  I started stashing things months in advance and by the time her birthday rolled around, I had a little more than I meant to.

Outside of some basic art supplies like pretty paper and some bird stickers, I also bought Larkspur a set of nice watercolors, at her request.  She specifically wanted this set from Nova Natural.  She has been painting with them every day since her birthday.  I think these paints were her most expensive gift outside of the Dandelion Doe kit, but well worth the money.  She is taking her paintings so seriously now, and I know she is having a lot of fun.  She is especially interested in birds, so I pulled this book on keeping a naturalist’s notebook off the shelf and she’s been using that to help guide her bird paintings.  I also bought her this beginner’s guide to eastern birds, and we are really liking this little field guide!

I surprised Lark with a Saint Kateri necklace from this shop.  She has really fallen in love with this North American saint over the past year.  I also bought her, at her request, my favorite little garden hoe.  (I don’t even know how many of those I have purchased for both myself and for gifts over the years.)  She is so excited about her garden this year.  I think maybe even more excited than I am about mine!

Other gifts included refill loops for her pot holder loom, and a copy of Heidi, that I am actually planning to return despite it’s pretty cover. As I started reading the first chapter, I became concerned that it was an abridged version because I didn’t recognize it. A little research, and I realized it was just not the translation that I am used to. I really dislike this one, the language is just not beautiful. Can someone recommend a better one? I don’t remember what I had as a child.

I’m just so glad that she had a happy birthday and that she didn’t let the snow put a damper on all her garden plans. Well, I’m also grateful that Jonny waited until the next day to go break his collarbone.  He’s already feeling so much better, by the way.  We’re sorting things out and it’s really going to be okay.  Thanks for all your kind words.

Little Larkspur, nine years old already!  I still remember the day that we learned that we would have our first little girl….


  1. What beautiful birthday gifts! Larkspur is a talented watercolor artist. Her scenery and bird are beautiful, and the blue sky is very well done. Thank you for sharing, your family is so special.

  2. My daughter is only 3, but I love everything on this list! I’m totally going to get some now and put others on a wish list! God bless your little lady!

  3. Happy belated birthday Larkspur! My own girl will be 9 this May. Ginny, what knitting needle size do you recomend for a child who is beginning to knit?

  4. happy birthday, Larkspur! Looks like an amazing day with the family. And fun presents, too.

  5. Happy Birthday, Larkspur! I love your bird painting.

    This is the version of Heidi I had as a girl (and still have), and I just finished reading it to my 8 year old son, who loved the goats especially:

    • First, happy belated birthday for Larkspur! Letting you know this version of Heidi is also my absolutely favorite it is treasured in our house !

  6. happy birthday to your daughter! I cannot believe she is nine years old, sounds like she had a memorable birthday.

  7. Happy birthday to Larkspur! Your Miss Dandelion Doe is adorable! I bet your hands were really hurting after making her with all that floss

  8. Melissa McIntyre says:

    YES! I would LOVE to know about your children’s names too! That’s so funny that someone mentioned this because I was going to tell you that after seeing Larkspur’s name today I think we have chosen a name for our 7th little one due April 8th! We’ve been contemplating between 2 “M” boys names, both from the Bible as our other 2 boys have Biblical names as well. I think we’re going to go with the more unusual one! I think hubby likes it better too, I’ll let you know for sure in about a month 😉

  9. We use abe books a lot simply to be able to purchase children’s books with the language we prefer. Luckily our two don’t mind ‘old’ books at all.

  10. Happy belated birthday, Larkspur. It looks like you had a fabulous party.

  11. I got Heidi for my daughter for Christmas and we got the Usborne version. It’s wonderful with beautiful illustrations. Happy Birthday Larkspur!

  12. Happy birthday, Larkspur.

    I have the very same edition of Heidi that your mom has just ordered. It was given to me when I was a young girl, and I shared with my children who are now 18 and 21. It is a wonderful story.

    If you enjoy it, I am sure you will also love “Treasures of the Snow” by Patricia St John. Make sure your mom finds an old edition (1950’s) as the the new 2002 edition is edited so much that it spoils the book.

    What lovely gifts your parents chose for your 9th birthday – don’t forget to give them a special thank you hug!

  13. Happy birthday, Larkspur!

    Maybe you’ve done this in the past, Ginny, but I would love a post on how you came up with each of your kids’ names. Beatrix, I assume, is after Beatrix Potter, and I remember Job’s birth announcement, but the rest it would be fun to hear! They are all so unique.

  14. Love your birthday posts! My youngest is turning 8 in less than a month. My girls like for me to make them a birthday dress, too. This year, Maddy is having friends over to watch Pippi Longstocking, so I had to make her a Pippi outfit, too.

  15. Ginny, you are one fabulous mom…so thoughtful and generous. Larkspur will always remember this birthday. How wonderful to have a mom who sews gifts for you!

  16. She sounds like such a wonderful girl :). Happy belated 9th birthday!

    I love the doll you made for her, and the naturalist’s handbook…awesome!

  17. Happy birthday to all of you! Even though I’ve read your blog for so long, I didn’t quite realize Larkspur (how I love her name!) and my oldest are the same age. So there are similar interests…one being we just started reading Heidi last week. It is my own copy from my childhood in the late 1970s and the pictures are definitely so very old-ish…it is an Illustrated Junior Library Edition with pictures by William Sharp. I just looked and it was published in 1945.
    And Ginny, I totally understand about your lack of creative inspiration aside from knitting. I am feeling that way, too…it took me six months to make a tooth fairy pouch for my 6 year old! But knitting (and spinning wool) are my go-to relaxing activities. I hope to be more inspired soon, in time for some crafting for two July birthdays. Again, happy birth(ing) day to your lovely girl, and you. Nine is so wonderful!
    xo Jules

  18. Belated happy birthday wishes. Sounds like it was a great day with lots of good food and presents.

  19. Jean G. Woodhouse says:

    Happy 9th Birthday “Larkspur”. You are a special one.

  20. Happy Birthday to Larkspur! I really love her painting of the Scarlett Tanager. God grant Larkspur with many, many years!

  21. Happy Birthday Larkspur.We have the same hot pad loom set. I like the colours. I also like the colourful copy of Heidi you have. Love Charlotte (soon to be 10).

  22. Happy Birthday Larkspur! It looks like you received some amazing gifts. I really like the photo of your bird painting – what talent! Enjoy your wonderful year ahead!

  23. Happy birthday Larkspur. It looks like it was a beautiful day. I am going to show my daughter Eva (9 yrs old) your bird journal picture. She loves to paint as well and that is an excellent idea to have a journal of your pictures. So pretty!

  24. Ginny – the following is the Heidi book that I have.

    I loved this book as a child and I still do. So much so that it is in the bookcase in our living room.

    Happy Birthday to your Larkspur.

  25. Bonnie Schulzetenberg says:

    thank you for the update of life and celebrating of birthdays. Happy Birthday Larkspur!
    Ginny what are the names and ages of all your children, still am not familiar!
    Love Bonnie

  26. Happy Birthday! It looks as though you had a very happy day!

  27. Laura in NC says:

    My son turned 10 this past weekend and he was thrilled to receive gardening tools, fun bird feeders, etc. . I love the idea for the bird journal. Thanks for posting these links. I have been trying to locate a website that allows you to follow bird migration. Anyone have any suggestions?

  28. Happy Birthday to Larkspur!! She has grown up so much. Your gifts are always so lovely!

  29. Andrea G in Morgan Hill, CA says:

    Happy Birthday to Larkspur!

    My ninth birthday was fun and I remember it well even though it was over 58 years ago. I made a paper crown/headband that I wrote “Today is my 9th Birthday” and wore it to dinner at a restaurant.

    An artist Larkspur might like is Geninne who loves birds and blue doors! She is also on Facebook as Geninne’s Art. I enjoyed Larkspur’s bird journal art. I made a journal of our local birds, but didn’t think of drawing them – I used photographs.

  30. What a lovely celebration! Happy 9th Larkspur!

  31. Happy birthday Larkspur! I love that you have banana pudding on your special day, it’s a dessert that is well loved here.

  32. Happy Birthday larkspur. Sounds like a great day.

  33. Not sure about Heidi – but my husband told me I think on this book that there is a Catholic and Protestant version! a lovely story… 🙂

    what nice gifts! 9 is a special age!!!

    may she enjoy every day of it!

    With all that is going on (goats, barns, Johnny’s broken collar bone, winter, Lent etc) I can imagine that you don’t have the mental space for big projects.

    God be with you and may you know His mercy and love!

  34. A lovely day for a lovely birthday girl – many happy wishes!

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