Best Birthday Gifts

My birthday has always been a pretty exciting time for me each year. Being born on August 2nd has some major pros if you are looking for a birthday. It’s almost ALWAYS hot enough for  swimming. August is when ice cream cakes taste the best (if you can manage to get it to the party before it melts). School starts just around the corner, and the beginning of August comes like a wake up call reminding you of all the fun things you want to do before heading back to school.  That “wake up call” usually means that all of your friends and family are down for a good time. Usually this means that my birthDAY usually can turn into a birthWEEK. I call it Julie Birthday Palooza. This birthday was spent moving to Kansas City. It was a lot of hard work, but very exciting to be finally settling down after living out of a suitcase (or a few suitcases) all summer.

Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cakes are the BEST!
Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cakes are the BEST!

Before the move, my family invited my grandparents over for a little birthday/going away dinner. It was perfect to be able to spend one of my last nights in St. Louis celebrating with them over dinner and a show at the Muny.

This leads me to the point of this post…birthday presents.

Ever since I grew out of the Barbie phase, I can usually count on getting clothes or accessories (usually from Kohl’s) or maybe a few things I was wanting for the upcoming school year. Every once in a while, I specifically ask for something special…not always the most conventional birthday gifts.

Whitney birthday gifts can sometimes be a little out there.

I think it was my 15th birthday a begged for my very own external hard drive. Yes I am a nerd. It was probably around this time I starting thinking about a major in computer engineering.

hard drive

I think it was about 100 -300GB drive. I stalked the ads for a good deal hoping that mom would spend the $80-100 that much on me this year.  Today you can buy a terabyte that is half the size for cheaper.

My sister over at  Call me Shannon turned 16 about the time MTV was airing “My Super Sweet Sixteen”. Did Shannon get a car? A huge party with a guest star Beyoncé performance? Or a cute puppy? None of your guesses would be correct…because she got…drum roll….ACT prep software (and I think a bag of candy kisses). Rather depressing if you ask me. ( If this story moves your heart and you would like to give Shannon a make up present…she is still waiting for that Beyoncé performance help a sister out!).


Shannon also has a pretty good birthday story about the year her boyfriend got her cheese. Read about it here.

This year for my brother’s birthday, Shannon and I found the perfect gift. An inflatable bear head. Yes, it is just what it sounds like. Looks like a stuffed bear head on the wall, but its inflatable. We have also gifted him a car freshener that smells like bacon, a patriotic tuxedo t shirt, and a Lieutenant Dan Army T shit. Isn’t having a little brother fun?

Found at Kohls
Found at Kohls

Dad, sometimes gets a new book or CD, but he almost always gets socks, reading glasses, and underwear. Not just any under ware, but custom designed skivvies. Each of us decorates a plain pair with markers. Its kind of a tradition. Doesn’t every father of a cheerleader  need a pair of undies that says “Cheer dad” (Sorry Dad for spilling your secrets).

Mom is the trickiest… my last few presents have been chocolate (always safe), salad tongs, chia seeds, and another set of salad tongs. Yes she makes a lot of salad…no I do not get her salad tongs every year. It was a special circumstance.

This year I asked my grandma for a sewing kit. No I am not turning 70. I just feel like sewing is kind of a dying art in my generation, which I think is really uncool. My grandma can repair, hem, or sew just about anything from scratch. She used to make some of her kids clothes, she recently made a cover for my uncles boat,  she has made many beautiful quilts, and made alterations for everyone in the family. I think being able to sew is a great skill to have. Just like with a car, doing your own repairs can save a ton of money. You are also open the door to so (sew) much creativity when you are able to sew! I have learned a little over the years from my mom and grandma about basic repairs, and am ready to continue learning and practicing. My grandma bought me the cutest sewing box and a kit to get me started. I love it so much!

sewing box

Just a few days after my birthday/move I happened to look up sewing machines on Craig’s list and fond an ad for a barley used machine for $25. I couldn’t believe it, why would someone sell something so nice and new for so cheap? When I went to check it out I learned that the lady bought it new, sewed herself a dress, and wore it to work. At work the seams busted revealing her undies for the whole workplace. Out of shame, the sewing machine was moved to the basement until  it found its new home with me!

Similar to my machine
Similar to my machine

I have already completed my first project. It turned out so well! Details tomorrow!


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