Celebrating Half Birthdays

Yes, 1/2 birthdays are a thing!

A couple days ago I got to enjoy the most wonderful surprise – out of nowhere my fiance showed up in the living room with presents for me for my half birthday! I got a nice, fluffy new body pillow that I totally needed, a Sephora gift card, and a couple of my favourite bath products. (I haven’t gotten into the habit of photo documenting my life yet so, sorry, I don’t have pictures!)

Although we’ve celebrated half birthdays in the past, we only did it once and I completely forgot about them this year so it was a great little surprise!

I’m sharing because I think everyone should consider surprising a loved one (or even just someone you know who could use some cheering up) with this fun mini celebration, and I’ll tell you why.

Particularly the very first time that you celebrate someone’s half birthday, you can expect to get a pretty awesome reaction. I was brought to tears at how sweet and thoughtful it was since there was no reason at all for him to give me a gift other than remembering one particular day which I wouldn’t have even noticed had passed.

Most people don’t have a clue when their half birthday is, so this is a big part of what makes it great. Surprise gifts are always better given than gifts that come with expectation or from obligation. To be sure, I absolutely love giving presents for regular birthdays and for Christmas, but a half birthday is just a bit sweeter somehow, and there are all kinds of reasons to celebrate it.

Anyone who is in a relationship could benefit from doing this, even (and especially) if it’s not every year. It can be a one time thing you do to show some affection just because, and there’s no commitment to celebrate every single year as there is with Christmas and birthdays. If you do celebrate it every year that is totally fun too, but at some point people will start to remember the date and it could come to be an expectation. I suggest skipping some years and keeping the surprise factor!

If you’re single with a love interest, a carefully chosen gift at an unexpected time could be just the break you’re waiting for.

If your birthday falls on a major holiday like Christmas or even if it falls on the same day as someone else’s birthday who you don’t care to share it with, you could decide to celebrate your half birthday instead! (Does anybody actually like having a Christmas birthday?)

You can even use it as an excuse to just throw a party, and decorate with the ‘half’ theme, like making half cookies or serving a half birthday cake, for example.

If you want to have some fun and give this a try, you’ll need to first determine the date, which is actually slightly trickier than it sounds. There are a few different ways you can approach it:

  1. The simplest way is to add 6 months to their actual birthday. This way, as my birthday is March 5th, my half birthday became September 5th.
  2. To accurately calculate the exact date, you need to add 182.5 days to the birth date. (counting days on the calendar seems pretty tedious, so I’ve never done it this way)
  3. Check out this half birthday calculator for the exact date with leap years factored in. This site tells me September 3rd.

But the date is not what is important, really, and it’s not the gifts either. The point is that you are taking the time to show someone that you love them, in whatever way you choose, for no reason other than that you want to make them smile.

You could bake them a cake, give them a nice card that you have personally written to them in, or take them out for dinner or a favourite activity. You could finally finish a task that they’ve been nagging you about. Just think of whatever would be special to that person and do that.

 

Taking the time to think of them is an expression of love, and I fully believe in making sure that you take the time in life to show people that you love them, and putting in the effort to make fond memories with those people. When you show your love and appreciation for others, it strengthens the bonds you hold with them.

You are letting them know that to you, they are someone really special who is worth thinking of, and that is always a worthwhile effort.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

– Maya Angelou

 

 

Has anyone else here celebrated some half birthdays? If you have, share how it went and what you did! If not, are you considering it now?

Appreciating Motherhood

Let’s just be happy that we’re all on this journey, k?

So I read a post recently written by a woman who declared that mothers are tired because they often manage all or most of the details involved in running a household. She described how all these little things she keeps track of add up to a lot more than some may think. She was a stay at home mom who noted that her husband helps with some things, and her message was that she is very tired due to her mental load.

After reading I thought to myself, “That’s nice, she seems to be working really hard to ensure her husband and kids have a good life full of lots of positive experiences. Good for her for taking some time to reflect that she is taking on a lot. She’s allowing herself to be proud of what she does and recognize all of those many little things, while also acknowledging that she has this in common with many other women. She’s letting other people know she’s not alone. It’s awesome that she has this awareness because now she can do something about it if she wants. I like how she articulated it in a way that described facts about her own life, without generalizing or judging, and although she clearly says she’s tired, she still manages to come off like she doesn’t hate her life for it. Good for her.”

I was shocked to read the comments on this post! People judged her very harshly, making wry comments that she shouldn’t complain as it’s her own fault, that if she hates her life she should do something about it, and comments from dads who were offended by her position on the subject (despite that she clearly stated she was not generalizing and that she knows that there are other men who do more of the share of this unpaid work).

I just do not understand the need to judge other people’s lives so harshly, as if any one of us has all the right answers?! Why not just see the good in people and recognize that she is expressing her feelings about her life, which is perfectly fine? It’s great, in fact, that she has found this way to get her thoughts, feelings, and opinions out into the world. If that’s what makes her feel good, then why not? Why should anyone care anyway?

All of this got me thinking though, and I wondered where I stood on the matter of roles and responsibilities in a family, as a woman in her early 30s preparing for marriage and motherhood.

Well, it seems to me that a lot of women actually like to ‘wear the pants’ and manage the house! Although I definitely think there are some men somewhere who can do it really well, it is more commonly seen that women take on the bulk of this work in a household, often without their partners even fathoming the intricacies of all that they do.

This is where the conversation typically turns to a discussion about gender roles, and many will argue that the old-fashioned views of women needing to manage the household is unfair and that we should change the way we think about these responsibilities.

But doesn’t it also seem like many women also just prefer to do it? Isn’t it maybe that many (not all) of us women can’t wait to be moms and get to do all those things?

Don’t many women enjoy doing the organizing, the keeping the kids fed and ready to meet the world, getting to shop and decide what products everyone uses, taking pride in a clean home, getting to plan for success and enjoy the love that they cultivate within their family?

I understand that for some it’s not that they want to take on so many tasks, rather it’s that if they don’t plan it or manage it then it might not get done, or it will be done in such a way that ruins other plans or takes more time to fix than it would have to have just done it themselves. That makes it hard to delegate, which could understandably lead to frustrated exhaustion.

I’m sure that a lot of the time it’s that mothers do like doing a lot of these things, they just wish they had more help with it or that their partner enjoyed it as much as they do, and so they are again frustrated and exhausted.

But it is okay to admit that you are tired! Recognize it and do something about it!

Even with all these frustrations, I still believe in the importance of appreciating what you have and enjoying that time while it lasts, because you only get to do it for a fraction of a lifetime. Although you will be a parent forever, your children will grow and you will enter a new phase of your life. I am determined to make the most of raising a family and being a wife, because I can’t see how life would be tolerable if I didn’t look to the good as much as possible and as often as I can.

So I’ll be tired. I’ll be tired from making memories for the whole family. Still, time will pass and life will change but the memories will last forever.

I know that mine sounds like a pretty rosy picture and that eventually I will have to work to keep this perspective. I know that it won’t feel great all the time and sometimes it might feel awful. I might need to really push myself sometimes to remember what a gift I have. And when I need to, I will.

I’m not even a mother yet but I am so aware that we can never know how much time is left with a person or how your life will change, so we need to cherish the time that we do have and make the most of it, no matter the circumstance. Learning to feel happy with what you do have even when things are shitty? Who wouldn’t want that?

I also know there will of course be many women who read this and think, “But I don’t love all those things!” That is more than fine. Do your best to make your life the one you want to live.

As for me, I can’t wait to try raising good little humans and getting to do it all with my very best friend.

I’m saying I know it is going to be hard, but I also know that I am choosing to do it because at the end of the day, this is the life I’ve signed up for, and I’m creating the life I choose.

“Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had.”

–  unknown

5 Great Ways to Celebrate National Dog Day

National Dog Day exists to celebrate all the dogs who are always there for us with big smiles, exposed bellies, and quirky little attitudes.

Happy National Dog Day!

Before we begin, please meet my handsome boy, Tucker!

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Tucker is a five year old Boston Terrier/Pug cross, also known as a ‘Bugg’

National Dog Day exists to celebrate all the dogs who are always there for us with big smiles, exposed bellies, and quirky little attitudes.  Today we appreciate everything that dogs do in our world to keep us safe, happy, and feeling loved. We extol those who rescue humans from burning buildings, those who lead the blind, those who comfort the downhearted, and every one of the furry and not-so-furry little canines who warm our hearts and bewitch our souls. Colleen Paige, who founded National Dog Day in 2004, would also remind us on this day to think about all those loveable dogs who are just waiting for a good family to adopt them and give them a fresh start in life.

Dogs are our most beloved companions and life just wouldn’t be worth living without them, so in recognition of this worthy day, here’s a list of 5 awesome things you can do to celebrate (hu)man’s best friend:

  1. Mix some extra treats into his breakfast

    A few treats crumbled up and blended into his food will make for an extra scrumptious breakfast. If you’re trying to help your furry pal to lose some weight and don’t want to give any extra treats, sub the food reward with a relaxed morning belly rub. Better yet, do both! Fun fact: when a human and their dog are having a pet session, their cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone) levels are reduced, and they both get a boost of the ‘love’ hormone, oxytocin, which helps develop the strong bond we know occurs between pets and their humans.

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    Tucker LOVES to find a few little nuggets of doggie treats in his dish in the morning!

     

     

     

  2. Spend some time grooming him

    Now I know that not all dogs love baths, and some downright hate them. In my case, Tucker knows he can’t get his chubby butt out of the tub once he’s in there, so he will usually just sit there like a good boy until it’s over (though it wasn’t always that easy). If that’s not your dog’s idea of a good time, that’s okay, because it’s what comes next that gets really good. Although we’re not always happy to find our pets rolling in the dirt, we have all seen the pure joy of a clean dog getting outside and wiggling around in the grass. This, provided that a good sunny patch of grass can be found, should be worth the bath (and honestly, as long as he’s not rolling in a mud pit, this is not going to undo the whole bath you just gave him). At the end of the day, his coat will be so soft you’ll want to cuddle him all night long.

     

     

     

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    If you or your dog aren’t up for a bath-time adventure, you could opt to have his nails done. Whether you (carefully) clip your dog’s nails at home, or you take him on a car ride to your local groomer, your pet appreciates having neatly trimmed nails (this is true even if they hate the process of getting them done) – especially if you have hardwood or laminate flooring in your home!

  3. Do some obedience training or teach him a new trick

    Dogs love the attention, praise, and positive reinforcement (read: treats and snuggles) that come with training, and training is a great way to engage their minds and bodies while also strengthening your bond with them. You will also both benefit from either making progress towards building better manners (a well-trained dog is a happy dog), or having a cute new trick to show off the next time company comes over.

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    Sitting like a good boy!

     

  4. Go for a long walk

An obvious must, this day and every day! Getting to go on a nice, long walk with their favourite human where they can sniff the breeze to their heart’s content is ultimate bliss for dogs, as well as being absolutely vital to their happiness and well-being.

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5. Give him a new bone or toy

Pick him up a new bone, one that you know he will love. He’ll be happier than a kid in a candy store to settle in with a new bone after the excitement of a busy day. And again, if you want to limit the amount of food treats you give to your dog, there are always alternatives! I like to bring Tucker to the pet store and let him pick out his own new toys.

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Many of us could stand to learn a thing or two from our dogs, and to me the biggest take away is to enjoy the little things in life. A dog takes pleasure in some of the simplest things in life – sunshine, food, sleep. They experience such potent happiness when faced with the simple pleasures of a dog’s life. How great would it be if we could do the same for our own lives?

Can you adopt a dog who is in need of a loving home? If you can, there’s no better time than the present to welcome a new loyal friend into the family! If you’re not in a position to provide a great new life for a pup, please consider making a donation to your local animal rescue society.