Friday, September 24, 2010

Teenager in the House

Welp, it happened.  Kate turned 13.  (I always feel a little sentimental on Kate's birthday since it's also the day I became a mother - my own little private "birthday" of sorts - but I keep it to myself.  That day is all about Kate!)

So why am I starting out this post with yet another mountain picture?  

First of all, because it's gorgeous and I just can't get over it.  Secondly, because Kate's birthday celebrations started last Saturday morning up that canyon.  (I took this picture from a smaller set of mountains that jut out horizontally from the larger Wasatch mountains that run north/south.  It's a "wall" of sorts that separates the Salt Lake Valley from Utah Valley where we live.  The nice thing about that is that it creates a beautiful little "cove" area directly to the left of this picture.) 
Here's a shot of Kate's school with that cove area as the backdrop.  (It's aptly titled, "Alpine Cove".)  
But I digress.  Back to my first born's introduction to teenager-hood.

You see, since we have no immediate family nearby, and Kate hasn't made any bosom buddies yet, I knew there would be no big party.  So I decided to do "The 13 Surprises of Kate's 13th Birthday" over the weekend.  (Kind of like "The 12 Days of Christmas" but more cumbersome to say. . .)

Surprise #1: Brandon woke Kate up early on Saturday morning and took her to the Timpanogos Cave National Monument up that beautiful canyon.  

What you need to know about Kate is, a trip like that is the equivalent to taking most 13-year-old girls to a Taylor Swift concert.  She is an avid nature, animal, art, book and music lover.  (That just about sums up Kate in a nutshell.)  But nature is her first love.  I'll never forget going to visit our dear friends the McLeods (hi Betsy!) in Ohio one year when our first born girls were 2 or 3, and we went to a huge outdoor park together that had a manmade stream running through it for the little kids to play in.  Kate spent most of her time on the periphery of the park, playing in the bushes and un-manicured areas looking for who knows what!  When she was about 4 or 5, I remember being at a big BBQ for residents and their families near a lake, and by the end of the evening she had a group of older boys following her around asking her to show them how to catch frogs.  I've always loved that side of Kate.  

Not only that, but she is way more mature than I was at her age (I was the "froofy doofy" girl that wanted to be pretty and popular at any expense), super helpful at home, mega responsible about her homework . . . I don't normally like to brag about my kids, but birthdays are an exception.  Birthdays at our house are all about making the birthday girl/boy feel like a king or queen for a day, and part of that is always putting the birthday girl/boy in the "hot seat" where everyone in attendance tells what they love/admire/remember fondly about them.  Warm fuzzies all around.  

Back to Surprise #1 . . .

It's a mile and a half hike up to the mouth of the caves, and Kate took a lot of pictures on the way up and down, and in the caves as well.  Here are the highlights:
Once they got home from the caves, I was ready to whisk Kate off to Surprise #2: a real haircut at a real salon.  Two separate people referred me to this place and now I know why.  Adorable!  (I hope she enjoyed the royal treatment, because it's back to Super Cuts next time.)

Can you tell she likes her haircut?  The stylist said she looked like she was 15 or 16, not 13.  Yikes!  (As long as people say I look like her sister I guess that's alright . . . hardy har har)
I can't believe I didn't get any pictures of Suprise #3 except for more mountains: I took her to the BYU Museum of Art (see the Y?) where we got such a kick out of the temporary exhibit: Suburbia.
Surprise #4: We went as a family to this AWESOME ice cream place Brandon and I found accidentally the night before.  Let me tell you about it.
Like the sign says, choose your mix (custard rocks), flavor (can blend two), then mix-ins.  
They pour your "cream" in a bowl, add the flavor and mix-ins . . . 
 . . . and then blast it with liquid nitrogen so it freezes instantly!
A little more mixing and it's done.  It's so good!
The other fun thing about this place are all the arcade games, pool table, and TV room for kids upstairs.  
A great family ice cream joint all around.  (Probably why they've won a bunch of awards.)  
Surprise #5 on Sunday morning: breakfast in bed.  This was definitely a first for her.  I can't tell if she likes it or not - what do you think? It looks like she just wants to sleep some more!
Monday was Kate's actual birthday and a normal school day of course (bummer!), but she seemed pretty happy when I picked her up and she had this little guy keeping her company. 
Surprise #6: with the help of Elizabeth, Will, and two of their friends, we decorated her bedroom door and room after school.  (They get out a little earlier than she does.)
Her favorite color is blue . . .
Surprise #7-13:  the traditional birthday party with cake (she wanted strawberry cheesecake this year) and presents.  We didn't get her very much except for a new bike (finally! a bike she won't outgrow!), so we were glad to have some supplementary gifts sent from family and friends.  (I should say, Brandon got her an "owner's manual" for Newfoundlands.  We are digging ourselves deeper and deeper . . . I don't think we're getting out of this one and I'M SCARED!  Maybe if we just rent indefinitely . . .) 
You know, I thought I would be feel a little more bittersweet about this birthday, but the truth of the matter is, it's just fun having a teenager in the house when that teenager is KATE THE GREAT!



  1. I would like to spend more time with Kate! I would explore with her any day. Happy Birthday!

  2. I'm drooling over the mountain shots. Looks like you guys had a great birthday!

  3. She is SO pretty. I have hair envy!

  4. What a fun idea! I may have to copy it you know...

    I have to say that I am SOOOO jealous of her beautiful hair! What a beautiful girl. You are in SO MUCH TROUBLE!

  5. Kate is so pretty and quite a good photographer. I have a 13 year old, too, and I really love this age. And Kate's shirt with th birds on the powerlines?? I totally want that. :)


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