Perfect 'tween Girl's Birthday Party!

Girls, Girls, Girls

I have three daughter's. Each year, I try to come up with a special plan for their birthdays. They only get one birthday per year so I always want to make it memorable for them and their friends. I don't, however, enjoy hosting the birthday party in my home. So much.

I have a lot of things that are made of glass. Furniture, table tops, the entertainment center, statues - you know stuff. The main floor is designed, smartly, with a restroom in the center except all the kids love to run around the house in circles. I imagine one skidding on the hard wood right through the entertainment center doors. I'd just be crushed if someone broke my perfume bottle from Egypt. I bet their moms would be more upset about the gashed up kid but unless it is my child - I don't want it breaking my stuff!

So, now you understand, I am not the "have 30 kids in my house," type of mom? Right!

My kids each have a few best friends that are regulars at my house. They are well behaved and I adore these girls. Ava, Hannah and Chloe have been friends with Madison since Kindergarten. They are girls that have it all - cute, funny and just a little bit mischievous.

This year, I planned our party on the road so that everyone could have fun and I could let someone else clean the mess up this year! I had no problem planning the perfect birthday party for my 'tween girls.

St. Louis Union Station

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Happy Birthday Girl!

Face of an 11 Year Old!
Face of an 11 Year Old! | Source

Spend the night at the mall!

All 'tween aged girls love shopping! Justin Bieber and shopping are a given. Rather than have the party at my own house I decided to just book hotel rooms at The Marriott at St. Louis Union Station. What little girl doesn't dream about spending the whole night in a mall after every one else is gone?

Union Station is an awesome place to visit in St. Louis. It is rich with history, contains a mall with shops and cafe's. The Marriott is also part of the old train station. If you are a guest in the hotel it gives you access to the inside of the mall after hours! The shops are closed but it is awesome to walk around late at night. With the hotel inside there is constant traffic so no matter what time of day or night there is some activity going on.

The view from the hotel room is awesome. You can open the curtains and window shop! Literally! We shopped until we dropped.

Union Station - The Mall

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show route and directions
A markerSt. Louis Riverfront -
Gateway Arch, 200 Washington Ave, St Louis, MO 63102, USA
[get directions]

B markerMarriott st. louis union station -
St Louis Union Station, 1820 Market St, St Louis, Missouri 63103, USA
[get directions]

Memories Museum - St. Louis Union Station

Original Harvey Girl Uniform
Original Harvey Girl Uniform | Source

Memories Museum - St. Louis Union Station

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Union Station

Union Station began operations in St. Louis in 1894. Jean Pierre Chouteau and his brother, Auguste, both acclaimed river barons and fur traders became two of St. Louis' most promising citizens in it's earliest days. They owned a huge lake that people began to settle around. Cholera broke out and the water was highly suspected as the cause so it was drained and is now the location where Union Station sits today.

Trains were becoming a more popular method of travel. Dining and sleeping cars were added as the passenger numbers increased. Waitresses were hired who were called "The Harvey Girls," to serve food and provide guest services on the trains. They were paid an enormous salary for those days and were expected to be graceful, respectful and they had to sign a contract agreeing NOT to get married for at least one year because the manager had such a hard time keeping the gorgeous ladies from hitching up with the cowboys and riding off into the sunset.

Union Station now has a "Memories Museum" that is free to the general public. Original clothes, newspaper articles, china and memorabilia from history are on display.

The Harvey Girls - Behind the Scenes

Need a job?

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The Arch - St. Louis

The Gateway to St. Louis!
The Gateway to St. Louis! | Source

Riverboat

Care for a tour?
Care for a tour? | Source

The St. Louis Arch Monument

The St. Louis Riverfront area is not to be missed if you visit St. Louis. The streets are paved with old cobblestones, riverboats are docked for dinners, cruises and tours. There are usually horse drawn carriage rides offered and we were planning to take the girls again but it was too hot for the horses.

The Arch is always fun to visit. It was designed by Eero Saarinen who won a contest to build a monument to represent westward expansion. The arch is 630 feet wide at it's base and 630 feet high. Each leg is constructed of an equilateral triangle that is 54 feet on each side. You can enter through the base where you will find a museum that contains many early Indian Artifacts and displays. There is a snack counter and gift shop as well. You can ride a crate that looks like an egg to the very tip top. Small windows are at the center in the top of the arch for a spectacular panoramic view.

St. Louis Riverfront

Those girls were HOTTT!
Those girls were HOTTT! | Source

Cooling off....

In too deep?
In too deep? | Source

Marriott Pool - Union Station

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Paddle Boats!

Leave the mess...

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Marriott St. Louis Union Station

After we toured the riverfront we headed back to the Marriott. The girls changed into their suits and cooled off in the pool. The pool closed at 9pm so they only had an hour before closing time. They enjoyed the paddle boats that can be rented for just $4.00 per person. They tooled around the pond, feeding the gigantic gold fish. The pond is huge and this took quite a bit of time for them to tire of and the entire time my husband and I sat on a bench in the shade talking about how worn out they were going to be.

We talked about how many good memories we had of bringing our girls here. The time the small child fell in and the waiter was going to save the child and to his credit, he dove into the water without much thought! He would have been such a hero if the water wasn't only 2 feet deep!

Another time, my husband and I ordered drinks at Houlihan's. The waitress quickly delivered our drinks to the table and something in my brain recognized that Dave, who ordered Jack and Coke had a RED straw and little five year old Maddy had a coke with no straw. I glanced over a bit later and a silent alarm went off in my head when I saw Maddy sucking the coke down that RED straw! "NOOOOO!" I yelled scaring her half to death! "You are swigging daddy's drink! Doesn't that taste horrible?" I asked. "No," she giggled. Uh oh.

Good times!

I brought Madison's presents and one of them was a manicure set. I knew the girls could all paint and decorate each other's nails. We filled their adjoining room with snacks and junk food and Dave and I watched a movie and listened to their pillow fight.

No one got much sleep. The girls were knocking on our door every ten minutes all jacked up on soda and sugar! I didn't care - it was a blast and the only birthday party Maddy would have as an eleven year old girl. I am sure none of the girls will ever forget it.

One of the great perks at the Marriott is that check out time is 12:00. We slept late, shopped and had breakfast before we left. When we got home, we had a nice frozen ice cream cake from Baskin and Robbins. My house was still clean and intact when the mom's picked up the girls. The next best thing about the Marriott is that they have housekeeping.

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Baskin and Robbins Ice Cream Cake!

Happy Birthday Maddy!
Happy Birthday Maddy! | Source

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Comments 50 comments

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Makes me wish I was 11 again and you were adopting me :) What Fun!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

What a great idea for a birthday! You are a fun mom for sure. How come my mom never thought of stuff like this? Sheez!

Great job Kelly!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

It was fun Susan! I pretended like I was 11 again:) LOL

Thank you so much - I wish you could have come with us!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Bill - thank you! It was kind of self serving too don't you think? I enjoyed the food, shopping and five star treatment too! Wish I had another kid with a birthday this month!haha!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Kelly....Is that adorable little blue-eyed, freckle-face, your daughter? She is an absolute doll. Aww geee...."girls" how nice....must be so much fun to be a Mom of girls!

And what a FAB-MOM you are!! Wow, this is some party-planning....lots of love and caring went into your tween party! The girls must have had the best time...and what's important is, it will be a special memory to them all....especially your daughters. You ROCK, MOM!!!!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

That is a fabulous high tech mall. It is really nice how there is water in the city. Are you near the Mall of America? I have always wanted to see that. Very good ideas. I will stay tuned for your next installment, sending three girls to a prom, and three daughter's weddings. Awesome hub!


josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

This looks like an awesome idea! Kelly, you are so creative! Can you create a guy party for me and my friends? Just kidding :) Great job!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

What a wonderful hub filled with so much beauty from the heartland of America. Happy Happy bday Maddie! I almost sound like an uncle or so! You are becoming an Ambassador to your city Kelly. So much fun with those pics the not worrying about the cleaning LOL!

I love history..and I thought you were going to invite Barbergirl28 and her kids. That would've made headlines! I like the story of that Arch and the Hotel is the Bomb! I was at the Westin Hotel in Dowtown LA.... for free. My company send me to a branch that needed support. I felt a quake on my 34th floor though...talking about political showdown...Lol! Thanks for being this great Kelly! Sniff..sniff!

LORD


sholland10 profile image

sholland10 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

I love Union Station! It looks like you picked the perfect spot for the girls (and mom and dad) to have fun. The paddle boats are so much fun. I like sitting on the bench just watching the kids.

I love the history of Union Station. I totally missed the museum when we have been there. I would love to see that. My mom remembers getting lost looking for my dad there during WWII - all the soldiers looked the same in their uniforms.

Man, I do not blame you for not wanting the mess at the house for the bday party. I think this is a much more memorable birthday!!

So glad it was fun!! Votes and shared! :-)


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Great idea, RealHousewife, Looks an interesting place you chose in St Louis.I am sure the girls had a fab time doing something a little different too! Nicely written, lovely photos with the personal touch.Voting up, more and sharing :)


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Looks like fun! My daughter's 10th is coming up in a few months and it's getting tough to come up with new ideas! Thanks.


bridalletter profile image

bridalletter 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

Looks and sounds like so much fun. I hope to see a few of those places in September. I have heard St. Louis is great for families because they have many free things to do. Great idea for the party, they look very happy.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Paula! Awww I do love my girls...gosh now Maddy (yeah she's the freckles) is my youngest and she's 11! Whoa! How's that happen??? See the oldest is 23 and now I hardly ever see her! I don't want them to grow up and go away:)) I have so much fun with those kids since I SO am one! Hahaha

Thanks so much for coming to the party!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh wow Tammy No! no! Lol. My oldest is 23 - oh she had a gorgeous prom dress and she's almost done with college! Crazy!! But hey - she's on the right track - just bought herself a Jaguar! Niiiiccccceee! I don't have to worry bout her too much. It's funny because she works close to my house so she comes over to nap sometimes! LOL


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

HAHA HAHA Josh - I think I'd love to plan a party for you and your friends! But you have to do everything just like I say ok? So what size dress do ya wear?? Huh?


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

OMG!~~~Josh!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh you can be uncle Lord...I'll go tell the girls! Ha! But now ya have to send birthday cards and presents like a good uncle:) hahaha

I so wish Stacy could have driven down - I'd have paid her gas money:) lol. That woulda been like 2 maybe 3 hubs?

Hey I was in LA a few summers ago...loved it! I really must take my girls there to shop in the flower and jewelry districts. Isn't that such a neat place? The driver told me they have so many rough roads due to all the earthquakes! Yikes! I kept staring at the roads seeing all those holes and hoped they wouldn't have another until I checked out! Lol. I'm so glad you got outta the 34th floor before serious damage too buddy! Scary!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Susan - I do LOVE Union Station...my mom used to take the train to visit her dad in Nebraska from there. My grams talked about going there during the WWII years also - she met my grandfather at a dance during the War and that's how they got married. He brought his Army laundry bag on the honeymoon! she was pissed already:) hahaha

I don't think the Museum has been there that long I'd have noticed it. I stayed there 2 years ago and don't think it was there then. I alternate between the Sheraton because it's directly across the street from Scott Trade where they do lots of concerts. The beds at the Sheraton are oh so much more comfortable but there's nothing near it to see. Except the Metro station and that's not pretty!

Yeah I have had quite a few large parties here and it's such a mess....it's a ton of work to prepare and a ton more to clean up. I want to enjoy that party too! Lol


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Suzy HQ - thanks! We did have a great time. All the girls kept thanking my husband and I. I didn't hear one disagreement, no one cried:) LOL. And the best part was a I got to just leave a 10 on that messy desk in the room and leave it! Haha!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Glimmer Twin - oh have fun and good luck with your 10 year old's party! It is harder and harder to come up with ideas...my oldest is 23 so I have had quite a few parties in my day:) lol. What's funny to me is - during the elementary years - do you notice how all the moms try to outdo each other? We noticed each party getting bigger, grander and more elaborate:) one mom had her child's party at "The Butterfly House" and rented a carousel! Haha! Oh my...we are silly huh?


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi bridaletter - oh are you coming to St. Louis? I will do a hub about all the best free places! We do have a ton of great stuff to do but be safe. Have a map so you always know where you're going if you don't know the city well ok? It's easy to get lost, we have lots of one way streets.

I've lived her most of my life so I know where the greatest stuff is...check in with me in a couple weeks and I'll have it done:). I've been collecting photos from different places to do one anyhow! Good luck my friend!


josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

I wear as size 10 Kelly! :) I can't wait for this parteeeee! LOL


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh I KNOW! Poor poor Josh - don't worry I'll be gentle with the young. Ladd:) hahahaha


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Me either! Move over Rover Josh is coming OVA! Hahahaha.

Thanks for the chuckle!!


josh3418 profile image

josh3418 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

HAHA ROFL! :) You are welcome!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

I want you to throw my next birthday party! ;) Sounds like everybody had a blast, and I want to check out that hotel too. How cool would that be to stay right at the mall. Now, I am not much of a shopper but I am all about experiences! And when it comes to birthdays, we need to make them special. I remember a couple years ago we did that for all of our kids. So for Bella's birthday we took them to Disney on Ice (instead of the traditional party!) and for Abby's birthday we went to the Mall of America. Both of these were great family adventures and not your typical birthday celebration. But, the memories will last forever! :) Great hub - you definitely are the cool mom... and I bet all the mom's were jealous at how clean your house stayed!


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

What a brilliant idea for a birthday party, Kelly. You are a mom who rocks, m'dear. Union Station ... the Marriott ... the mall - what a lovely bunch of memories you concocted.

Years and years ago I saw that film, 'The Harvey Girls,' with Judy Garland and she was adorable in it. Thanks for rekindling the memory.


CassyLu1981 profile image

CassyLu1981 4 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

Wow! You are awesome! My girls will be tweens before I know it and now I know exactly how to throw those incredible parties!!! Great read. Voted up and shared :)


Ardie profile image

Ardie 4 years ago from Neverland

RHW - I like to make all birthdays special for my daughters too but I despise hosting parties at my house!!! I don't have the circle for the kids to run but I do have glass tables and a collection of little figurines and well...I just don't like cleaning before AND after a party. I love the idea you came up with. I will have to check and see what we have close by that would be just as cool for my tween :) Great Hub and happy birthday to Maddy!!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Party perfect, RealHousewife! I enjoyed your stories on the origins of Union Station, the STL Arch and especially, The Harvey Girls. You have it all nailed, Real...entertaining, informative writing talent, abundant photography skills, great beauty and a wonderful family life. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

OMG! I wanna do that for MY birthday! :) Great ideas!!! VUM!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Drbj - I am fascinated with those days...not that I would have wanted to live through such hardships but it is sure interesting to look back at those times, huh? lol

Judy Garland was a looker and wonderful in that movie!! I am SO glad you enjoyed our party! Thanks for coming!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey CassyLu - I love celebrations and parties! I just don't wanna be the mom! I wanna play too:) LOL and Shop!

Good luck and yeah - just have them somewhere other than your own house! haha


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Aw Ardie - you feel my pain don't you? Yeah I work hard to keep this place looking nice and it can be destroyed before my eyes in a matter of minutes! Disturbing! lol

We had such a great time...I love Union Station it just never gets boring!

I bet you will come up with a great party idea you are so creative and smart and you like having fun with your girls too so just let me know what I missed out on:)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Oh aren't the Harvey Girls something? So cool...I love going down in that area. I always plan to spend a whole day too because there is so much going on!

I was at Union Station sitting at Houlihans outside- maybe like last summer - and the birds were a nuisance so the manager tried to scare them off with a pop gun - you should have seen all the people that just heard the pop and started hitting the deck! Dave and I were laughing - everyone thought it was a drive by or something! I said "only in St. Louis"...haha!

I was going to take the girls to eat at Houlihan's but it's gone Amy!! It is empty in that spot - we went to The Hard Rock Cafe instead but I am so sad Houlihan's departed. They have the best Calamari ever!

Thanks so much for reading and commening - one of these days you will have to join us!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Terrye! Thank you so much! We had so much fun...yeah I am just a big kid too and I have to sometimes shake my own self and remind me that this is the kids party - not mine!! haha!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I am laughing out loud at "hit the deck". It's funny because it is a daily occurrence in STL these days. Did you hear about the South St. Louis man who was angry at a few pre-teens lighting fireworks today, so he shot one of the youngsters in his leg? The police went into his home and left with an arsenal of firearms and ammo. The young boy is going to be fine, but all the kids are scared witless. And, I was alarmed to hear about the empty house in Fenton that exploded early this morning, since my daughter lives in that area. They still haven't determined the cause. My first thoughts were "another meth lab". It is amazing that there weren't many injuries. Neighbors said they were knocked back 3' in their own homes from the powerful explosion. The house is utterly destroyed.

I went with my supervisor to Houlihan's for a couple of my annual reviews when I worked for Kaemmerlen Electric. The Hard Rock Cafe was a mistake for a work review, as it was impossible to carry on a conversation above the roar in that restaurant. I am surprised Houlihan's closed it's doors at Union Station. It was a popular place, always drawing a crowd and the Union Station location was perfect. The Donnybrook crowd on our local PBS had a discussion last week about plans to renovate Union Station in an effort to bring tourists and STL crowds to the location. We'll see. Many business investors believe it's a dinosaur past it's time and don't feel it will be profitable enough. In this economy, I think that's a good bet.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Aww...such a beautiful b'day for your perfect girl.

This sure was a perfect b'day treat for your little girl. Shopping till you drop and then no cleaning up is awesome!

I am also not a at home b'day party organizer although I don't have perfume bottles from egypt but, just that I am lazy to clean up after that...lol

voted up as beautiful andsharing it across


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Real housewife, great idea for a birthday venue, wonderful pictures of the girls enjoying, love the imposing and magnificent Arch and its history, the Union railway station mall looks awesome, no wonder you all had so much fun with the paddle boating, feeding the fish and just being able to roam free and leisure in that awesome place.

Maddy sure is a lovely child and those freckles add to her cute charm. You are one innovative mom for sure.

I thoroughly enjoyed this account.

Voted up all the way.


lovedoctor926 4 years ago

Hi RealHousewife,

This was an awesome birthday theme. Sounds like your daughters had a lot of fun. You seem like a cool mom too. Lovely pictures of your daughters and the birthday cake looks too yummy! I really enjoyed this story as usual. Voted up!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Amy...my best friend lives right next door to that house that burned to the ground. I can't say much but it was NOT a meth lab. It was a terrible accident.

The guy that shot that kid - OMG! I did see that! The poor little boy he was just a tiny thing! And he did not understand why that man shot him. I tell you that stuff is so insane. I found it interesting the media felt it important to slip in that the shooter was a former postal worker? Like...now why did they feel they had to say that??

Union Station is not what it once was. So far, all their efforts to restore it to it's former glory days has been a loss. I just LOVE that area and walking around downtown. We have so much history here!

Houlihans has a great burger and the kids love the Calamari - it is the best I have found in St. Louis so far. Olive Garden has a nice appetizer that is my 2nd fav.

Yeah I don't think Union Station will ever be what it once was. I don't understand why exactly except St. Louis isn't a huge tourist place you know?


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Ruchira!

Thank yo - it was SO much fun. Dave and I had a really good time too. Neither of us is a huge fan of big crowds in the house:) lol Oh my perfume bottle was a gift! It was from Dr. Gihan Kader! A fabulous and very well known sleep doctor here. Oh I so loved her...she was from Egypt and brought it back for me. So - I can't replace that!

Thank you so much for also voting and sharing!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey Hi Rajan Jolly! Thank you!

We had a great time...I am so lucky to have so many neat places to choose from around here. St. Louis is interesting because there is so much history here. Rivertowns were near here because we have so many huge rivers.

Madison is such a sweet girl...her and Chloe stayed up late dusting and cleaning in the kitchen and living room last night! They wanted to help me out...see why I adore them so? lol

Thank you again!!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hey lovedoctor - thank you!

I don't know if they think I am a cool mom...probably NOT! lol But hey I had extra security at this mall...they patrol it all night! haha! Mother's little helpers:)

I LOVE ice cream cake - it was so awesome!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 4 years ago from the Ether

wow...what an awesome birthday idea! you really went all out for your daughter...I am the same way with mine!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Thank you kitty - there is something that is so great about living vicarious through my kids that I love! lol The birthday parties are one of them! haha


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Awww, this was great Kel! So much fun for the girls. You are such a fun mom. And thanks for the history lesson too :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

That was so much fun...sometimes I just forget that I'm the mom around here! Lol. Thanks so much too bad you didn't drive up!


Tonipet profile image

Tonipet 4 years ago from The City of Generals

What a beautiful Mom you are, a realhousewife. Just looking at the photos made me feel happy. I'm sure Maddy is very happy. Thanks for this hub and for the very creative birthday idea. May Maddy grow up like her awesome Mom! Thank you again.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO Author

Hi Tonipet - thank you so much! Of course, my children might disagree with you one or two days a week:) LOL

Maddy is just about the sweetest, most sensitive little girl! I have to say I am VERY lucky:) I adore her for the compassion she shows at her young age - she is a good friend to everyone. I am real proud of my kids for being really fun and nice little girls. I just hope I don't spoil them too much!

Thank you so kindly!

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