Here’s how the living room looked before.

Before it rained 8.14 inches on Friday and Saturday.

Before the sweet sixteen outdoor movie party that almost wasn’t.

Before we scrapped the outdoor part of the party and came up with plan B and my brother saved the day.

Before we pushed all the furniture to the sides of the room and cleared the floor and set up a GIANT movie screen with a projector in this room.

Before we had over 50 guests with popcorn and candy and chips and fruit and vegetables and sweet tea.

The calm before the storm.

And now?

It looks like this.

To be fair, when I took this picture we had already vacuumed up the popcorn and peeled off crunched up water bottles from the inside of the couch and wiped up smeared strawberry tops from the wood floor and mopped up spilled sweet tea.

I would have taken that picture.

I should have taken that picture.

But I forgot.

I was too busy singing Happy Birthday.

It was a party for the ages.

One I hope they never forget.

One I hope they will tell their children and their children’s children.

The story about the deluge and the rain that wouldn’t stop and the outdoor movie party that wasn’t meant to be and the friends that came to move the decorations and put up the lights and tape up the streamers and tie on the balloons…

…and the uncle that saved the day.

It’s an amazing thing watching your children turn 16.

If I squint.

If I close my eyes for a minute.

If I forget to blink.

In my mind they still look like this.

They are growing up so fast, these beautiful, wonderful daughters of mine.

With their sixteen-year-old selves and their makeup and their hair care and their cheering and their dancing and their general teenagery ways.

But just when I think they are all grown up.

Just when I think they are getting so old.

Just when I think they are all about acting cool and less about acting fun.

They surprise me.

Yesterday, I heard whispering from the office when we were all cleaning up the afternoon after the party.  I rounded the corner to find the twins taping up the leftover wrapping paper background from the party photo booth over the office door.

“What?” I said.  “What in the world are you doing?”

“Why are you taping wrapping paper to the door?”

They turned to me with wide-eyes and startled giggling glances that made me laugh out loud.

“Umm….see mom.  You know on Christmas morning when the uncles tape up the wrapping paper over the door so all the kids can run through to get to the presents?  We never get to go to the front because we are older.  All the littles get to run through and we miss out.”

They looked at each other one more time and finished with…

“We wanted our chance to run through the paper.”

“Just once.”


Run, my giggly, blue-eyed, blonde-haired girls.

There’s an exciting and amazing and incredible world waiting for you.

There’s a race you were meant to run.

There are places you were meant to go and mountains you were meant to climb and challenges you were meant to overcome and obstacles you were meant to conquer.

Just remember—when life hands you wrapping paper.

It’s time to run.

PS  It’s good to have a sister to run next to.

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  1. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    So happy they had an amazing party and that they got to charge through the wrapping paper!! Love those happy pics 💜.

  2. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Aw, that is just so sweet, so incredible! I love they wanted to run through the paper and I love you think it's awesome and let them! Yep, sisters are the best (ok, brothers can be cool too 😉) but twin sisters? A deeper, more special bond than any. PS The party sounds like it was a huge success!

  3. Image for Carrie Carrie

    My sister just came in from Minneapolis to spend the weekend with me and look at a house project I am thinking of tackling....there is no replacement for a sister, I agree!!! How fun. AND, what a great idea~ wrapping paper over the entrance to run through. LOVE IT. Happy Belated to the beautiful twins. They are certainly Sweet 16...all that sweetness passed down from a super sweet, MOMMA.

  4. Image for Linda Linda

    Oh my goodness, so precious !!! What a fun mom you are, there is no greater joy in life than to be a parent, no greater accomplishment than to watch your children grow up to be the wonderful,kind,loving,gentle munchkins that you knew they would be! Happy day to you, thanks for making me smile this morning.

  5. Image for Donnie Donnie

    Oh, someone so needs to put up wrapping paper for you to run through! What a delightful idea. Is this the same uncle who makes all the interesting things from wood? He is one in a million! Thanks for the charming post.

  6. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    That is so cool! Glad the party was saved....had my turn at that too! Looks like the party was a success!!!!! Congratulations on having two 16 year old's that are as lovely inside and out as you are!

  7. Image for Yvonne Shafer Yvonne Shafer

    Could your wonderful girls be any cuter? Of course they’ll remember this party but more importantly they’ll remember all the joyful opportunities you gave them! Love the wrapping paper idea. I think I’ll do this for my granddaughters! As always, you brought more fun to the day!

  8. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Glad their "Sweet Sixteen" party was wonderful, and memorable in spite of (or because of) the rain! Happy birthday, girls!!!

  9. Image for RW RW

    So cool! Happy 16! I am going to wrap a door opening for my son on his next b'day! Just gotta! I might even wrap several of them! :) And one of them will be a Tardis. He's not that much of a Dr. Who fan anymore, but *I* am!

  10. Image for kathy kathy

    Your daughters are beautiful, just like you. I am glad the party was a success in spite of the rain. You are a fun mom. If only all children were so loved.

  11. Image for Becky Becky

    Happy sweet your daughters! my birthday wish for them would be that forever find joy in family traditions (wrapping paper and all!)

  12. Image for Karen/Arkansas neighbor =) Karen/Arkansas neighbor =)

    OH my word ! So sweet and such a beautiful time. I mostly think teenagers are wonderful =) Mine are all grown up.... but I still see glimpses of the little people they used to be. I think it's part of what Moms "treasure up in their heart." Blessed and thankful. This made me tear up... in a good way !

  13. Image for Judy Clark Judy Clark

    Thank you for a wonderful post. The joyous running-through-the-wrapping-paper photos brought me to tears. I couldn't help thinking of the old chewing gum ad: "Double the pleasure, double the fun." How blessed are you!

  14. Image for Sharon Smith Sharon Smith

    What a perfect a perfectly wonderful family you have. Your girls are you all over! Thanks for sharing. Thank you also for the wonderful devotional book to help me through my grief. It's amazing to think I have a friend I have never met. You are a blessing!

  15. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    Karianne, Can you and your family ever just have regular events, whatever the occasion? You make the rest of us moms mediocre, not really, wish I had thought of that for a sweet sixteen party, along with the Plan B thrown in!

  16. Image for Rita Rita

    Happy Sweet 16 to your two precious daughters! They will never forget this birthday, it will be in their memories for many, many years to come. They will look back on it with joy! Their mom is a precious mother to provide it for them. I so enjoy your blog and one day, in the future, my sister and I just may stop by and say hi when we are there! As I've told you before, it's our hometown!

  17. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    Sweet sixteen--aw to go back--no, enough heartache best leave well enough alone, as everything has turned out just fine, but the road to get here has been hilly!!!

  18. Image for Pat Pat

    Happy birthday to those adorable girls, I can’t stand how cute they were way back when, and now how beautifully grown up they are. Looks like the party was loads of fun. xo Pat

  19. Image for Rita Barker Rita Barker

    I adore this post!!! One of my favorites♥️♥️! Family celebrations are the best, especially if there is wrapping paper involved!!!🤗

  20. Image for Carol Carol

    Made me cry...the ugly cry...the runny nose, tears down the face, I remember my girls (almost twins, just 50 weeks apart) at 16 (one of them just turning, the other just 2 weeks away from 17) and What I wouldn’t do to have candles to wish upon today! They ran, sometimes alone and sometimes together to All Grown Up at 37 and 38! It was quite the run and worth every tear of the ugly cry!


    Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughters! May they be blessed with a wonderful year! KariAnne, you and your dear husband are so blessed to have such wonderful daughters -- and they are so blessed to have such wonderful parents! Such a fun party! Bless you all!

  22. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Oh how I envy your children! So much love and happiness in your family and what amazing stories they will have to tell their own children's, hopefully THEIR children will get to experience you themselves! Thanks for sharing, and happy birthday again to the girls.

  23. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    ...and that, my friend, is what they will remember...the wrapping paper run!!! Sweet memories! So glad you captured them! And running the race. Because the race is truly on! This makes my ❤️ So very happy!!! Taking time to enjoy the little things. Run on, sweet girls! And slow down just enough to enjoy the race and blow your sweet Mom kisses along the way.

  24. Image for Stephanie Stephanie

    Oh my love these photos and can almost hear the giggles and wrapping paper rip. Love that tradition for Christmas especially. New one to me. Happiest of birthday year to these terrific twins from the crazy lady for Webster County in KY who writes on coke tops. Wow! That is a lot of rain my friend. Keep taking care of each other.almost forgot.. what about those UK wildcats? Woohoo!

  25. Image for KATHY B KATHY B

    Oh MY Goodness!!!..Happy Tears in my eyes on this rainy, humid Massachusetts Day!!..What sweet smart girls you have!!..They are so lucky to have you for a mama!!!..P.S.I might use the wrapping paper idea at Christmas myself!!..Good Day to you Karianne!!

  26. Image for Jeanna Jeanna

    In a blink, ours are 27 and 20. What a super fun day, even with life’s detours. We have a tradition like yours but it’s on birthdays. The kids(adults) have to burst out of their bedrooms into the new year! Traditions like this are what make life fun and full of memories. Happy birthday to you too momma.

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