Friday, April 19, 2013

Vienne's 3rd Birthday

Vienne's 3rd Birthday celebration was my favorite.  I think it was my favorite because it was the one year that she was old enough to celebrate, she was not sick, and I did not have a newborn to tend to (factors that were involved in her other 3 birthdays).

On this birthday, we took Vienne and her best friend, Caleb, on a fun birthday date to an awesome place called "CHAP Art Factory".  CHAP stands for "Children's Healing Art Project".  The main purpose behind CHAP is to send artists to the children's hospital and provide art therapy to sick kids.  A few years ago, CHAP also had an art factory that was open to the public, for children to come in and have free reign with art and paint!  It was an awesome place!  It was only a few dollars admission and the kids could paint ANY surface (except the windows) and/or work at the craft table.  You will see the pictures below.  It was an incredible experience.  I wish they were still open to the public.

The next afternoon, we threw Vienne her first "over the top" party with family and close friends.  This was before Pinterest was around or at least popular, and I am quite proud to say that I somehow pulled off a party that would be "pin-worthy"!  ha.  At least, I think so!  I just do that kind of stuff because I absolutely love it...not to have the best party or to try to "look like the coolest mom".  (On a side note, I believe that Pinterest can skew our views and standards for is something to be aware of and careful with.  Off my sopabox now.)  If you know me, you know that I just love craftiness and projects.  It was so fun to be able to do this for her...and now I am at least thankful to have such great memories.

Here are the photos...

(one of our favorite videos - her birthday party announcement.  I remember she was going through a time of singing everything to us.  LOVE it.  "That's right!"
*Notice the bandaid on her tummy?  Bandaids were her accessories almost EVERY day for a while!)

(Vienne and Caleb in the car, on the way to CHAP.  Caleb was going through a phase of telling silly jokes.  Vienne thought he was HILARIOUS.)

(inside the CHAP Art Factory, they built structures out of cardboard - the kids can paint all surfaces, even the floor!)

(look at her little meticulous hands and face...always so careful and detailed!)

(a huge fort to run through and paint in!)

(how awesome is this place?!  Don't you wanna go?!)

(too cute)

(paint the car...ride the car.  Caleb's face is a crack up)

(at the craft table)

(making a mother's day card for me.  See the tulip?  It's one of my favorite flowers.)

(after we got cleaned up and changed, we walked around downtown, visited a park, and had lunch.
"Hold my hand...")

(is this not one of the BEST photos of all time??)

(playing in a park in the Pearl District)

(after lunch they played in the water fountains)

(we had dreams for these two...)

(this is on the morning of her actual birthday...going to church.  She picked out her dress and shoes!  The dress is from her 2nd birthday - hence the reason it looks a bit short.)

(then, she INSISTED on wearing Caleb's sweatshirt that he accidentally left in the car...but the headband was bugging her.  ;))

(In her pretty dress, sparkly tennies,  and boyfriend's sweatshirt...oh boy)

(the birthday party set up.  Made this bunting banner before I knew they were even popular.  The table was set with a beautiful antique white table cloth, gorgeous flowers in mason jars, and the cupcake stand I created!)

(made this cupcake stand from pretty antique plates and glasses found at Goodwill.)

(tied twine and beads around our mason jar drinking glasses)

(wrapped the silverware & cloth napkins with pretty paper and tied with twine.  I look at this now and think "whoa!  what was I thinking??"  haha)

(look at those beautiful green-tipped pink tulips that I found!  I remember being so excited about finding those)

(made "puff ball"  flower cupcake toppers)

(Vienne's special cupcake with a taller puff flower with leaves and 3 beeswax candles.  I made gluten free chocolate cupcakes with oreo cream cheese frosting and sprinkles.)

(made these large tissue paper puff balls and hung them in a bouquet)

(the kids' activity table - covered the coffee table with poster board to draw on)

(the birthday seat for opening gifts)

(and the beautiful vintage pale yellow dress I found on Etsy.  I was soooo excited for her to wear it.)

(but, when it came down to party time...she refused the pretty dress and opted for her handmade dino shirt instead!  UGH.  Of course.)

(sweetest most precious girlfriend hugs! - Vienne and Emily.)

(Emily and Vienne playing with Poppy)

(two sweet friends of ours - Emily and her Mama, Kristel)

(balloon attack on Mark!)

(get him!)

(we made a few yummy pizzas to enjoy)

(Caleb and Malachi)

(Birthday song and cupcake time!)

(Kristel captured the song on her phone for us.)


(we got her a wooden train became one of her most favorite things to play with)

(I love this - it captures her quiet sweetness in the midst of all the chaos.  A perfect picture of who Vienne was.)

(Radio Flyer trike from Grandpa and Grammy!...and she couldn't reach the pedals until the following year!)

(so, the next morning I finally got her to put the dress on!  I had to snap some photos...of course.
I love this.  I MISS her sweet room sooo much.)

(she received this pot with a mini garden planted in it from her Aunt Lacey, one of my dearest friends.  I've spoken of it several times on here)

(really inspecting her birthday garden.  She LOVED it)

(from what I can remember, it had snap peas and broccoli and leeks...)

(Lacey also hung this lovely little charm from a branch, to reflect light in the sun)

(AND, she made tiny little stepping stones with the ends of wine corks and included two TINY glass turtles, hiding in the garden.  These turtles were the MAJOR fave and were played with a LOT.  Eventually, Vienne lost one turtle and then hid the other one in the veggie drawer in the "fligilator" (her word).  It was found when we moved.  We now keep it in our new fridge, in the veg drawer...always.  And, I say fligilator a lot.  ;))

Oh.  This post and this birthday is full of some of my favorite memories.
Missing her in an extreme way this week.  Always.


  1. Hi Jenny,
    You have organised a beautiful birthday party for Vienne. I love the idea of the DIY cupcake holder!!! You are such an inspiration. I breaks my heart to see all these happy pictures knowing that your life is so different now...sad, dark, and lonely journey. I have never been through anything like this, but there was a period in my life when I was going through repeated panic attacks daily and didn't know why it was happening to me. I was trying to read all different religious and spiritual books and nothing seemed to help. Then one day as I was walking in a shopping center (while having a panic attack and feeling like I can collapse at any second) my eyes got caught on a card which said "If you're going through hell, keep walking". No fancy spiritual message, just that...and it did help me keep walking and keep breathing. and even though for a while my life seemed to be only about surviving... but I kept walking. And one day, I got out of that cold and dark tunnel and saw the sunlight again...then every now and again another tunnel comes but now I just know that I just have to keep walking... Dearest Jenny, I know your tunnel is the deepest and darkest and the coldest and the most scariest place a human can possibly be. It wasn't your choice to get there but it is your choice to keep walking. And you are walking Jenny...walking that scary walk, using your bright memories of Vienne to shine some light through that tunnel. You are a brave and inspirational women.
    Sending you my love and warm hugs,

    1. Thank you for sharing your heart and your experience. And, also thank you for the kind encouragement. I guess I am "walking"...I guess I have no other choice. And, you are right, Vienne is the bright light...and so is Ivy. That is what I cling to.

      Thank you for your love and warm words.

  2. What a great post! ^^^

    I agree!!

  3. Not sure how I stumbled across your blog but I am so, so sorry for the loss of your beautiful girl. She really, truly looked like an angel while she was here on earth so it's very easy to picture her now, in a white dress with her wings and halo!

    The story of her last day had me in tears. I had an experience with my son when he was the same age. I went to make beds while he was in the tub (few inches of water also), just feet away...I walked back in to find him face down. I screamed his name to get up and he didn't move so I grabbed him by the wrist. I was completely hysterical and screaming his name while shaking him up and down from his wrist. His head was hanging down, his body was limp and I honestly thought he was gone, all I could think was "It's over, he's dead" then, right at the moment, he picked his head up, looked at me and said "What?". He was fine after that and didn't remember putting his head under the was so strange but the relief that washed over me was overwhelming. When I read your story it just broke my heart because your ending was not a happy one:( Just remember you will see your sweet girl again someday and will be with her for eternity! HUGS!

    1. Wow, what a scary story.

      Thank you for reading and taking a moment to share and send your love. It means so much.

  4. Jenny,
    This is a beautiful post! These are wonderful photos and memories. I absolutely Love that Vienne had to wear her "boyfriend's" jacket with her Sunday dress :)


    1. Thank you Brynn. I love this post - such sweet memories!

  5. Missing V today. The boys and I were talking about her while we were driving. Talking about Caleb's last birthday party and our last memories with her. Never ceases to bring tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. Caleb reminisced about his love for Vienne and how he misses his very best friend. Oh.... it will ever and always be heart wrenching.. and with each tear that falls, I pray again for your heart and Mark's and your whole family. and for Malachi as he tries to understand how someone so lovely and vibrant can be here one day and gone the next, and for Caleb's young heart as he misses a sweet girl whom he waits to hug tightly on the other side...

    1. Every time you share how the boys reminisce about her, I am so moved and touched. It means so much to me that they hold her so close to their hearts. My hope is that they always always will.
      I love you my dear dear friend.

  6. Oh, Jenny. Vienne's 3rd birthday was so perfect!!! As I always say, you are truly the most amazing mother. Your girls are so, so blessed to have you. The gift of your love for your girls... that is reflected back at you.. in Ivy's openness and friendship to all... and the pure bliss and happiness of Vienne. That's you in all that. It brings tears to my eyes to think of the pain you must feel at the loss of Vienne, the loss of a part of you. My deepest love. Sincerely, Kristen

    1. Thank you, Kristen. These were such sweet meaningful words to read. You have no idea how much it meant.

  7. I remember seeing these pictures after her birthday. What a cool experience for her and her best friend to go play at such an amazing place. And a stunning, girly, birthday party. Beautiful.