Expat Life

The Big 13th Birthday (A Year Ago Today)

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

Due to the unintentionally long blogging break I took last year, something very important slipped under the radar and was never published. So today, in honor of a very special person’s (now) 14th birthday, I’m sharing the post I meant to share this time last year. I’ll be back to regularly scheduled (aka much more current) programming next week.

There is a teenager living in our house now. I know everyone says it, but I just can’t believe how quickly we got here. I can still remember shortly after Lexie was born, counting up the years to see what age I’d be when Lexie hit important milestones. It delighted me more than it probably should have to discover that when she turned 13, I’d be 31. (Reverse ages!) And now, here we are. I am just as eager for her to experience this stage of life as I am hesitant. Eager, because these will be some of the most fun, free years of her life and I’m excited to see what she’ll do with them, where she’ll go, who she’ll become. But hesitant, too, because I’m just not ready for this to be over. Motherhood seems so long in the beginning and so short at the end. (Insert tearful emoji.) But before I lose myself in nostalgia, let’s take it back just one year so I can show you how we celebrated this momentous occasion.

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!) The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!) The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

First off, I should let you know I’m not a great party planner. I don’t even bother checking out Pinterest for party ideas because I know I’ll never do any of them. I accept this about myself, and thankfully Lexie does, too, so when we were throwing around ideas for her 13th birthday, she knew to keep her expectations low. We ultimately settled on a movie-themed party with a side of shopping, perfect for the teenager who no longer wants her mom hanging around at her parties AND the mom who wouldn’t know what to do even if she were expected to be there. :)

Even though party planning isn’t my forte, I do know how to go to a party store and buy pre-made decorations, fill bags with candy, blow up balloons, order pizzas, and build a cake out of donuts (did I mention I don’t bake either?), so when everyone showed up at our house before catching the bus to Westfield, it at least looked like we knew how to throw a pretty decent 13th birthday party. She had invited five of her closest friends from school. Looking at these pictures a year later, Lexie is the only one of the group who still lives here, and in just over a week, she’ll be gone, too! We knew getting into this expat thing that our friendships would come and go, but man, that’s some kind of turnover! I’m just grateful that even though her gang has changed every year we’ve been here, she’s always had a strong group of friends (from literally all over the world) to keep her company.

Her 13th birthday party went off beautifully – a little shopping, an early evening showing of Pitch Perfect 2, and then pizza and donuts at our place afterwards. I felt pretty proud (despite my lack of skills) at how well we welcomed Lexie into her teenage years. Today, we are one year into this whole teenage thing and while it’s definitely come with a whole new set of challenges, so far we’re all surviving. :) This year, much to my relief (and excitement!!), Lexie chose a visit to the Harry Potter Studios in Watford in lieu of a party. We went a few weeks ago since today is actually moving day! (Moving out of our flat day, anyway…official leaving London day is next week!) This is the third time we’ve moved on or just a few days shy of Lexie’s birthday. Poor kid, always getting overshadowed by our transient lifestyle. She’s always so easy-going about it, though, which makes me so proud. We’ll celebrate tonight with cake and Vietnamese food (her fav) because even though we’re about to move to Asia, you can never have too many spring rolls and noodles.

The Big 13th Birthday Party (Movie Themed With A Donut Cake!)

While we’re doing the whole proud mom thing – on Friday, Lexie will perform as the lead in her school play. This is her third and last performance at this school. Her first year she played Violet Beauregarde in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and last year she was the narrator (among other parts) in a student-written play of dark fairy tales. This time she’s playing the role of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. (Seriously, how awesome is that?) Since we’re taking Lexie out of school a week before the end of term so we can go back to the States before moving on to Singapore, this will be her last full week at school. Closing out three years of middle school with a theater performance sounds like a pretty good way to end things, I think!

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  • Happy Birthday to Lexie! Harry Potter Studio definitely sound like a fantastic way to spend a birthday, and it looks like you did a great job with her party last year.

    • Thanks!! Harry Potter Studios was so much fun! I’m so happy we did that while we were here!

  • Audrey?! Best role ever!! Also, how awesome the school is putting on Little Shop of horrors, my school mainly had super boring plays. Happy Birthday to Lexie! At least she will get a warm birthday next year :)

    • I know! I’m so excited for her! They have a really small budget so it’s not going to be a huge production, but I can’t wait to see her perform! You’re so right about that warm birthday next year, too. We’re all thrilled about that! :)

  • rorybore

    This gives me such hope as I will have a 12 year old this year… and thus have one year remaining to prepare fully!! LOL Although, my first teen is a boy, so I don’t know how that affects it. His 9 year old sister seems to be practicing for her teens lately. *eyeroll* Sounds like a great bday celebration – a movie theme. Our son would probably like that too, which is good because I do not even have a Pinterest!
    Good luck with the move… hope it all goes smoothly and can’t wait to see some photos of noodles and spring rolls!!! And maybe a nice fancy Singapore Sling too?? Do you think they actually serve them? Or is it like when we went to Mexico and ordered a Corona… and they laughed at us. :(

    • In my experience (with friends) boys may pretend they don’t want a party, but for something big like 13, I think they’ll like later on that they had something memorable to mark the occasion! Def start planning now!

      They def serve Singapore Slings in Singapore – ha! They were created at a famous spot called the Raffles Hotel, but they’re served all over the island. Hilarious that you got laughed at for ordering a Corona in Mexico! :)

  • Happy 13th and 14th birthday Lexie!! Hope you’ve all had a super time in London and good luck for the next chapter. Until next time in Singapore!

  • Happy B’Day Lexie! Break a leg ;) x

  • Liz

    Happy Birthday, Lexie! Sierra will be 14 in a couple short months, and I’m not ready! I need a pause button. Congratulations and best wishes on this next chapter of your lives!