Five Years: A Luau Party

I am certain that the most joy I’ve ever experienced in one moment was felt at 7:45 p.m. on May 18th, 2007. Six pound, six ounce Lainey Love fit in my arms and stretched across my chest in a way that filled a void I didn’t even realize existed. In that moment, she gave me a gift–a title I had dreamed of for a very long time. “How does it feel to be a mom?” Brett asked me in the delivery room.

Five good years have filled the span of time between then and now, and in them–much happiness.


We celebrated that happiness today at our girl’s birthday luau, expressed best I think with little words and many photos.

As always, on these occassions I watch her a little more closely, sentimentally aware of all the ways in which she’s grown–how she expresses herself, how she speaks to her friends, how she merges both leader and follower traits in a way that makes me so very proud.


Today was a vibrant celebration in many ways. And for that, I am happy.
You know what else makes me happy? Our lawn, our home, our driveway just spilling with little friends whose names are said many times in our home these days because, at five years old, it is quite obvious that there is a deeper recognition and appreciation for friendship. Lainey knows their names, who their brothers are, how old their sisters are, who can’t eat peanut butter, and who’s turning five next.

I look forward to many more occassions when these friends will once again fill the spaces in our home.

A Birthday Luau in photos:

Easy Hawaiian Punch: A large can of pineapple juice and 2 liters of sparkling water

Can you believe I found these lined beach bags and sunglasses in the front dollar bins at Target?


Tiki Wiki Beach Cupcakes (with buttercream frosting, graham cracker “sand dusting” and fondant shells)


Party Craft: Paint a Hawaiian Parasol-a huge hit with crafty little friends



So maybe I watched Lani Maka teaching the hula on Youtube a few times this week. And maybe I know all the words to “Little Brown Gal” now. The kids were enthralled and picked up the moves after the first two hip sways.


Aloha! (because it means “goodbye” too, you know)
More from the weekend and Friday photo dump on Monday. I will add an addendum to this post with party details and vendors on Monday as well.



Leave a Comment
  1. Aw! Happy birthday to Lainey! What beautiful details on the party!

  2. Beautiful party…as always an inspiration! Happy Birthday Lainey!

  3. Love it all Kelle! Lainey is growing up so quick, I seriously freaked when I saw she was 5, I swear she was just 4 like 5 seconds ago! And Nella looks so precious in the pics, what a perfect day! Happy Birthday Lainey!

  4. Looks wonderful! What a great theme for a party – and I especially like the table decor. It works for a 5-year old, but it could also work for other ages. I love themes are are child appropriate, but don’t scream ‘babyish’. Happy Birthday!

  5. I knew it was going to be spectacular!!! Amazing. Love her smile so!

  6. Such a fun party! Happy 5th birthday!

  7. Happy birthday, Lainey! May 18th is my oldest daughter’s birthday too– she turned 4.

    The party looks awesome!

  8. Everyone looks so festive! I love vicariously attending your parties! My granddaughter was 4 last Saturday, and we did a ballet and baseball party…fun fun!

  9. I am seriously stealing the cupcake decorations…they looked awesome. This year my little girl turns 4 and is dead set on a Cinderella party…..gotta get my princess on in the next few weeks !

  10. Looks like so much fun was had by all! Great job! :) Looks like Lainey had fun and was celebrated well! :)

  11. So awesome!! Good job Mama!!

  12. Simply fantastic! Your child knows thatshe is loved to the core. :) Lainey’s party always falls within a few weeks before Alex’s party. I think of you as icing on the top of a pile of inspiration…which is exactly what I need to get myself through 2 more weeks of being craftastic.

    :) Jennifer

  13. I might have gotten online tonight just to see if party pics were up. As always such a special birthday celebration!

  14. what a wonderful party for Lainey!!

  15. Your parties always look so much fun! A very happy birthday to your little girl :)

  16. You do the most amazing parties ever! But however much I love reading your words, I love your photos in a situation like this. They tell the story. What a talent :)

  17. Beautiful! I can’t believe you got this post up so fast after the party!

  18. Happy Birthday Lainey! Throw up 5 fingers, hooray! Aloha and Mahalo (sp?). Love all the pics, but Heidi and her bitty is A-dorable. You all looked like you were having SO MUCH FUN. Actually Brett looked confused, haha. Love and Best Wishes!!

  19. You are such an inspiration. I love the party theme and I love your pictures! Happy Birthday Lainey!!!

  20. Looks like it was an awesome birthday party. You really scored with finding the straw beach bags at Target. And I LOVE those tiki-wiki beach cupcakes….so cute! :-)

  21. Mommaing at it’s finest! Looks like another fabulous party!! I totally love that you got those bags for $1 each, awesome!!

    I have to tell you that Heidi looks amazing with that new baby, momma glow. I can feel that newborn love radiating off of her! :)

  22. Looks like a great party! And, unlike some of your previous ones, looks like something I could actually manage to throw, so that makes me feel confident I will survive social events as my two littles get older too!

  23. Birthday Blessings! You throw such amazing parties. Looks like a good time was had by all. :)

  24. Eep! So cute. I LOVE Lainey’s hair curled in her invitation pictures – she looks so grown up! Happy Birthday to her!

  25. What an awesome party! Love those cupcakes! And Heidi’s baby is getting so big! A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your precious girl!

  26. Awesome party. Happy birthday Lainey! My daughter had a Luau for her 7th birthday!

  27. Happy Birthday Lainey! It looks like you had a fabulous party–thanks for sharing it with us.

  28. Your attention to detail is amazing! Happy Birthday to Lainey! My twins turned five in February so I totally understand! Love all the amazing pics!!!

  29. Happy Birthday sweet Lainey!

  30. Longtime reader, first comment- We live in Hawaii and most people don’t even throw that good of a luau! Much aloha and happy birthday to Lainey!

  31. Such a beautiful party! I love your decorations, every time. Happy 5th Birthday, Lainey!!

  32. That is totally the bomb diggity! How fun!!! That photo of Heidi and Ivy are so cute! My Zayn (who made me a mum) was always 6lb 6oz. Magical numbers! Aloha! xx

  33. Oh, duh… HAPPY 5TH BiRTHDAY LAiNEY! (that’s one whole hand!) xx

  34. Happy Birthday to your ‘big girl’. Looks like a spectacular day!

  35. Happy Birthday to Lainey! Awesome party.

  36. Another gorgeous party Kelle! Happy Birthday to Lainey! Love all the gorgeous details!

  37. Every party just gets better Kelle. You must love it, seeing all those happy Mama’s & babies and children. Lainey looks comfortable and happy and excited and best of all loved. You’re one heck of a Mama Kelle, thanks for showing us how to be a Mama.

  38. Beautiful party! Thank you so much for sharing this! I was just taking a break from planning my kid’s luau party and decided to check out your blog….what a surprise to see this post!!!! We are celebrating Landon’s 6th and Lilly’s 3rd birthday with a luau :o)

  39. You seriously throw the best parties :)

    Lainey is lucky to have you as a Mama, just as you are lucky to have her!

  40. OMG, Brett’s shirt is the BEST! Hau’oli la Hanau, Lainey!

  41. It kills me that my kiddos birthdays are in the winter!! (and the Utah snow isn’t really outdoor bday party weather)

  42. Great party Kelle! and happy birthday to Lainey love of course :) Nella looked so beautiful in all the pics, seriously she’s so pretty and has the most striking eyes. I too am so very excited! In a short 4 months my son will be turning 3! I can’ believe it! I feel like we just had his second birthday party. But I can’t wait, we are having a hundred acre wood party eeeeekkk! I have already started planning and buying things here and there. I remember when those bags were at target in the dollar bin. I love that corner, they have some great stuff in there. i always go through it even if im not buying anything just so i can be like “this would work for a party, i would totally make a whole theme out of this because it’s so great and cheap! this would work for a party too!” haha it’s fun to me. i think bday parties are very important and special. we are very very tight when it comes to money, but i keep my hopes high and some how every year so far i have been able to make it happen, this year will be no different. i want him to look back and see that he was so very loved and i want to have these memories with him. because they grow up so fast, and one day he won’t be “mine” anymore, so i gotta enjoy it while i can ::tear:: thanks for sharing :)

  43. I love that all of the comments sound like sweet friends soaking up the joys of life with you and your little family. I just finished reading your book and wanted you to know that I think you are amazing! I think little Lainey and Nella are amazing as well! We have 7 children, but lost many in the process of having this beautiful family. I held a little girl in my arms that had passed away in utero. My heart hurt, my eyes puffy as well, but somehow knowing that God is there made all the difference. Thank you for your bravery, your perspective, and most of all, for being a mother who loves her children no matter what and will do anything thing to make them happy and loved! Love, Laura

  44. Brett’s shirt is perfect, he’s such a cool dude, but I guess you know that. You look hawt in that dress, and Heidi looks just radiant. Good on you for teaching them the dance, a lot of people (including me) would be too shy!

  45. I can’t imagine my sweetness turning 5, but he will in 3 1/2 years!! Happy birthday Lainey and congrats Mama and daddy!! Looks like a beautiful day had by all. BTW, a friend of my mine turned my onto your blog when she found out she was having a baby girl with Ds. Thank you for helping her and an me see that Ds is still joyful and beautiful!

    PS- she would just die if you would reply a small message on her blog:

  46. You are amazing. What a perfect party! Happy birthday Lainey x

  47. Happy birthday! looks like you had a great time! I LOVED the Photo of you and your little girl, both with the yellow flower. She is so beautiful in that photo I almost couldnt take it :-)

  48. Happy 5th Birthday Lainey!
    Have a wonderful time being 5.

  49. Wow! It looks like you all had a fantastic day! xx

  50. It’s my first visit to your Blog, and what a nice feeling it gave me!!!
    Happy Birthday to the little princess!!

  51. Yet again a beautiful party Kelle. Looks like Lainey rocked out being 5 just perfectly! What a fun day!
    Good job Mumma Your girls will have a fountain of amazing memories to draw upon when they’re big!

  52. You’re so amazing. What a wonderful (and colourful!)celebration. I particularly love the photos of Lainey at the beginning of the post, and the shot of you and Nella. Gorgeous.

    Happy birthday Lainey!

  53. The whole thing looks awesome, but my number one question is for Heidi… I LOVE Ivy’s swimsuit, where did she get it?!?!

  54. Gorgeous party Kelle, like seriously were you can event planner in another life? I may steal some idea…I’m working on planning Ellie’s 1st birthday party now. WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!?!
    Side note: Headed to the zoo today with our new tiny camcorder! Not a Flip, evidently Best Buy discontinued them, but got a similar Kodak and it’s water-resistant, BooYa! I’ll let you know how it goes!
    XOXO, Kellie :)

  55. always beautiful******

  56. so beautiful – happy birthday lainey! everything looks gorgeous kelle, so much fun, perfect theme! x

  57. Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter!
    I love the Aloha themed party :-)

  58. Happy birthday, sweet Lainey! How I’ve enjoyed watching you grow.

  59. What a great party idea!! Looks fabulous!! Happy Birthday Lainey!!

  60. Lovely! To that vendor list, will you add the source for your mumu? It’s great! Thank you.

  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

  62. Lainey has her ears pierced!! She’s a big girl now!! You’ll have to share that story.

    When my youngest sister (who turned 8 on Saturday, she is MUCH younger than I am) got her ears pierced she wouldn’t let them do her second ear. In the end she had it done when she was distracted by mum telling her it would be ok.

    Happy birthday Lainey!

  63. Happy bday to your sweet girl. You are the coolest mom. I love the theme…Hawaii is my favorite place. How fun. Oh and those cupcakes looked so good!

  64. What a fantastic party!! Kelle, she is going to remember that for the rest of her life!!

  65. What an awesome party and one she’ll remember her whole life!

  66. You know how to throw a party Kelle!!! Happy Birthday Lainey!!!
    I think Nella looks more and more like Lainey every day!! Something about the pictures in the last couple of posts!! She is growing!!
    Sunnie in NC

  67. WOW!!! Oh my goodness, that photo of you holding Nella is just beautiful.

  68. Happy birthday Lainey! Love your new earrings! xoxoxo Great party, mama!

  69. Kelle you are so creative!

  70. Happy Birthday Beautiful Lainey. What a party. Wow. Love the pictures.

  71. What a beautiful, fun, not-out-of-control party for Lainie! Another great memory for her, for sure!

  72. Woops! Spelled her name wrong ): I still mean what I said, tho :)

  73. happy birthday lainey!! the outfits look adorable! i want a full on shot of peyton in that dress! so cute!! hugs!


  74. Happy 5th Birthday to Lainey! What a fun party! Gorgeous photos filled with such beautiful, vibrant colours! :)

  75. Happy birthay to your little girl! They are both like princesses!!!!

  76. from all of your pictures and stories about her, it is obvious how sweet Lainey is. such a pretty girl too! :) gorgeous details – you did another great job!

  77. These pictures are absolutely precious! It looked like they had a wonderful time too! :)

  78. What an INCREDIBLE looking party! I love your attention to detail. :) Happy birthday, Lainey! <3

  79. Love it. Very cute.

  80. You know how to throw an awesome party! :)

  81. so fantastic. love theme parties. it’s so much fun to find out what their little hearts desire, and then watch their faces when you bring it to life. i love, love, love the umbrella painting and am going to do that “jsut for fun” this summer with my little grand girls, and to think we otherwise would have taking plain, unpainted ‘brellas to the beach! such a beautiful day and i love the serious, intense and happy looks on Lainey’s face. both your girls, so expressive in their unique ways, growing by the minute. glad you had such a happy day.

  82. Happy 5th Birthday Lainey!!!!

  83. Happy happy day to you hula girl! and happy birth day to the most creative imaginative fun loving birthday celebrating Mama around!! You so ROCKED it! From the most adorable invitation (postcard-awesome idea!!!) to the hula lessons, the tiki bar, the Hawaiian Parasol-I wish I was a 5 year old friend of Lainey’s-so much fun!!

    Happy Sunday to you and your gorgeous family!


  84. Happy birthday Lainey! I love your parties. It’s a such inspiration. For the baptism of my daughter in end of June, i’m inspired of the Nella’s birthday, a tea party. Lainey has a lot of chance to having a bautiful party like this.Kisses from France.

  85. That looks like so much fun! I love your twist on birthday parties – so creative yet you manage to find some really great deals so it’s not too expensive. My daughter will be five this year too *sniff sniff* Where does the time go?

  86. Happy Birthday, Lainey! YOU ALWAYS throw a great party, Kelle! Looks like so much fun. I just cant BELIEVE that Lainey is already 5! Where does the time go, indeed?! My sister’s bd is this wed. the 23rd. And one of my grandbabies turns 2 on June 21st. Busy times. Lovin’ it! Love from your Blog Mama~

  87. Love all of it!! Happy 5th birthday to your sweet Lainey. :)


  88. Hi Kelle! This is my first visit to your blog. I just finished Bloom this morning, a book I heard about through the special needs community (I am not a mother yet, but I am an occupational therapist who works with young children with a variety of diagnoses, including Down syndrome). I absolutely loved every page of your beautiful book. Every word, every picture, your heartaches and your joy. I looked up your blog immediately upon finishing the book, so curious as to how you and Brett and Nella and Lainey and the boys were doing today, since your story in the book ended over a year ago. Lainey’s party is INCREDIBLE! It looks like everyone had a blast! What a beautiful celebration. Lainey and Nella have grown so much since the last chapter of Bloom, and I hope that you have grown as well, emotionally, and that your journey continues to be beautiful! I can’t wait to keep reading your beautiful blog!!!

  89. Just amazing! My kids love looking atall your pictures, I think I have tohodethis post from them ;o) I need a creative gene transplant.

  90. I was following Lainey’s special day on Instagram and couldn’t wait for this post to see all the other pictures! WOW! It looks like the party was a big hit! You did an amazing job!

    Happy 5th Birthday, Lainey! ((Birthday Hugs))

  91. Wow what a beautifully inspiring party! Our Luau Party began with a Hula scene created by my little girls and would make a perfect addition to your next party!

  92. you are amazing…a super mom :) your parties are always so full of love. everything perfectly crafted and well thought out. i commend you :)

    and i’ve been reading your blog for over a year now and just now realized that our daughter’s share the same birthday…May 18th. saturday we celebrated my daughters first birthday!

    happy birthday Lainey Love!!

  93. What a cute fun filled birthday party!! Cute pics ~ Happy Birthday Lainey!! xo

  94. As always, your parties and pictures are amazing!!! :) So glad Miss Lainey had such a great time! Five is such a fabulous age!!! Awesome work!

  95. Awesome birthday Party!!! Very creative and unique. Happy Birthday Lainey!!:)

  96. I love all of the beautiful colors and ideas! You do such a great job at all of these things! All three of my daughters have birthdays in the colder times of the year so at first I thought that this wouldn’t work for one of them but it may actually be perfect to do an indoor party like this when it is so cold outside! I may have to use it! Oh and the painting of the umbrellas is my favorite!

  97. LOVE it!! Makes me wanna have a luau now!

  98. LOVE it!! Makes me wanna have a luau now!

  99. Love love love this post. The simple words with extreme love behind them and the glorious photos as always! You know how to throw one heck of a theme party Kelle and it inspires me – I too am a lover of a good theme party, having all my own birthdays be themed for the last 12 years (and I am 32 this year!) And now get to use my theme love for my little girlie’s 1st birthday this July – Yaa! Happy Monday!

  100. Wow you totally outdid yourself! What an amazing party!!!!!!!!!! We did a luau party for our daughters 1st birthday!

  101. I’m sure everyone in your area highly anticipates these lovely parties you throw at your house! I can picture everyone doing a happy dance when they receive an invite in the mail to the Hampton’s humble abode and heading out buy the perfect party outfit for the occasion! I can only hope that, when I have kids, I am half as enthused as you are about celebratory events! So much love and joy!

  102. Oh happy birthday, Lainey!

  103. It looks like Lainey had a wonderful time at her birthday party. Everything looked amazing. Can you plan my daughter’s first birthday?! Haha.

    I loved Nella’s Aloha picture and the picture with you as well. She looks like she’s grown so much lately! She looks like a child model in a magazine in those pictures. Beautiful!

  104. What a fun party!!!! Happy Birthday!!!

  105. Happy Birthday, my love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Health, happiness and luck!

    With love,
    Evita and little Maria
    from Greece

  106. Happy Birthday to sweet Lainey. May 18th is a wonderful day for me also. My daughter was born on May 18th. We drove to the hospital in the ash from the Mt St Helens volcano. The earth moved to welcome her into the world. We celebrated her 32nd birthday on Friday. Hugs and wishes for a week filled with happy!

  107. Please consider reading “Lovely Hula Hands” Indigenous Hawaiian scholar Haunani Trask’s response to the history of colonialism, development and tourism that has negatively impacted Indigenous Hawaiian culture.

  108. please tell us where Heidi got that adorable bathing suit for Ivy. so precious

  109. What a fun party! It looks like everyone had a blast, most of all your sweet little girl :)

  110. This is fantastic in every kind of way!!! I love it all…beautiful and fun and so cute! Happy Birthday to your Lainey!

  111. Ok, I really want to come to a party at your house!! Loved the details and the colors.
    Happy birthday, Lainey!

  112. Looks like a great party!! Did Lainey get her ears pierced recently? Didnt look like they were peirced in the ballet post! Maybe Im wrong though!!!

  113. Hi Kelle –

    First, happy birthday to your Lainey!

    Second, I just finished your book. I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and finally got a chance to read your book.

    It was amazing and sweet and honest and funny and one of the best books I know I’ll ever read.

    Thank you for sharing sweet Nella. You touched me in ways I could never express.


  114. Ooh did Lainey get her ears pierced for the big 5?
    Looks like such fun!!!!!!!

  115. Happy Birthday to Lainey!!

    Your bdays never cease to amaze!

  116. I absolutely adore this luau party theme….SO beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing these gorgeous pics with us!

  117. Happy Birthday Lainey! I love your creativity Kelle! Looks like Lainey got her ears pierced, or maybe I have never noticed before.

  118. Sweet, joyful Lainey! Her earrings look precious! Happy Birthday!

    So, I know this post was about Lainey’s bday, but I have to note that Heidi’s daughter (the older one-that beautiful profile shot) has that same depth in her eyes that her mamas do. AND it needs to be made known where Ivy’s swimsuit came from.

    Looks like a super fun party, and only a mama who really loves her girl and gets into celebrating such a precious life would commit that much to learning the real hula. Just sayin’. I don’t have girls yet, so for me it’s learning super hero names and their secret identities and their powers. Baby love.

  119. Happy Birthday Lainey! Looks like someone got her ears pierced?! Did you happen to make her a birthday photo books (maybe I missed that post?)
    Looks like everyone had a blast…. thanks, as always, for sharing your stories with the rest of us :-)

  120. Whoa, freaky! May 18, 2007 at 7:45 eastern (6:45 central, where I live) was one of the happiest moments of my life, too! My husband and I were pronounced man and wife right around then:)

    Amazing party!!

  121. Awesome party idea!! Everything looked great! Lainey and Nella will always remember and cherish the unique birthday parties you give them.

    Where did Heidi get the gorgeous crocheted bathing suit that her daughter is wearing? I LOVE it!

  122. Everything looks wonderful and best of all so do-able!!
    My baby will be turning 10 this summer (Yikes!) and I am planning a surfer dude them party. I think I am going to use some of your ideas here like the pineapples on the tables and the leis :)
    I’m sure boys won’t mind the leis!!
    All photos of course are beautiful as always.

  123. Happy Belated birthday to your pecious girl!

    5 wow! Such an amazing time for her, learning to read and write and blossoming I bet!

    The years fly by Kelle…enjoy every second. My littlie is almost 10, somedays I wish I had a ‘stop’ button.

    Please give her 5 kisses from me.
    Diana x

  124. Am I missing the “addendum” to this party? Or has it just not been posted yet? I am curious about several things. My sister and I are having a luau for our 1-year-old’s birthdays. Thanks!

  125. You are so great with party themes and details!
    Wish you had a boy so I could steal some ideas from you!

  126. I’m in awe!

    That kind of thing doesn’t happen in my country and only here have I seen parties like yours. Having said that I must state: Lainey must feel so special and loved. The photos bring tears to my eyes and I feel the love you have for Lainey.
    There is soooooo much love in these preparations!

    That’s really all I can think right now.
    LOVE it – it looks…. perfect!

  127. Gorgeous!

    I saw lots of “Miss Cryderman” (is that what you were called? Or were you a Ms?) in this post too!!

    I would dearly love a party planning post…. how do you choose themes, how far in advance do you plan? How do you budget for parties etc?

    Your next book should totally be a party planning book!

  128. This looks like so much fun! Please tell your friend who just had the baby (I forget her name…oops!) that she looks wonderful, beautiful, and well-rested (which, I’m sure she isn’t well-rested at all, so it must just be a combo of good genes, natural beauty and mama glow).

    Happy birthday, Lainey!

  129. Oh my, Nella looks adorable!!

  130. I know you may not read this because you get so many comments in a day, it’s totally understandable. I am just curious I guess.. I am reading Bloom right now (so touching, I love it), and I wonder if you look back now and think all of those things you felt at Nella’s birth seem so silly to you now? This isn’t meant to offend at all by the way! She is just such a beautiful girl. Absolutely gorgeous, you definitely are a lucky mum Kelle :)

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