Why I Love Birthdays

It seems to be the accepted norm to dread or dislike birthdays once you reach a certain age. I have always loved birthdays. I will admit that I had a hard time turning 19 – something about stepping into the real world and making independent decisions – but aside from that particular year I loved all birthdays before and since. I’m a firm believer in birthday weeks and have always enjoyed finding various activities to occupy the days leading up to and following my birthday. Maybe someday I’ll be dragging my heels, but today I am fully embracing turning 29 (for the first time!).

So here we have it, a list of why I love my birthday…

1. Facebook wishes. Need I say more? Logging in to see a wealth of notifications from friends and family wishing me well on my big day? An easy way to plaster a smile on my face.

2. My class makes me feel loved. Almost everyone of them could tell you that today was my birthday and the majority could even tell you my age. They walked in this morning saying Happy Birthday and walked out this afternoon wishing me well a second time.

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3. Presents. I will openly admit that I love receiving gifts on special occasions, big or small.

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4. Family. Age nor location has kept my extended family from gathering together to celebrate my birthday, whether it be the day of, or a few days after. This is a great benefit of having the majority of my aunts and uncles, and grandparents all live within a 20 mile radius of each other.

5. Text Messages. Technology has made birthdays just that much more fun.

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6. Snacks. If my birthday falls on a school day you can guarantee there will be some kind of snack to share. These owl cupcakes were made by the Kindergarten class.

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7. Birthday Supper. Location keeps me from eating out too often, so I love a special occasion to get together with friends and/or family and have someone else make (well, and pay for) my supper.

8. I can eat as much cake as I want to. Because this Kindergartner said I was allowed.

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lwf2014This post is part of a list-making project called Lists With Friends 2014, an effort to document the year in lists of all types.

 

A List of Events From My 28th Year

Next week on Tuesday I will enter into the last year of my 20’s. I always get nostalgic as my birthday approaches. Here is a list of events that happened over the last year.

carolsweddingIn February my former roommate got married in a beautiful winter wedding! Carol and I first met when I first stared teaching in Goodsoil. Originally I was only allowed to stay with her for a month until I found my own permanent housing. That one month turned into three years and a really great friendship. I was asked to be the emcee! The highlight was getting the whole teaching gang back together!

moosejawAt Carol’s wedding, Carol, Janice and I got talking about how much fun a girl’s trip to Moose Jaw would be for a weekend. I booked the trip a few weeks after Carol’s wedding and we had our first girl’s getaway to the spa in Moose Jaw. It was an incredibly relaxing and fun weekend away.

icefishingI went ice fishing up north, with some friends, for the first time in probably ten years. Although the day was lots of fun, this story is really more so about this picture than it is about the fishing trip. This picture was taken at the end of March and towards the end of April I posted it on Facebook. My best friend Karyn saw it and was immediately interested in the guy – fast forward to the present and they have been dating for 8 months now! Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t been too afraid to hold that fish myself!

northdakotaIn April for our school break I took a trip to North Dakota to see Jill. My grandpa was in the hospital during this visit, and when I had left for Jill’s he was doing alright. I hesitated to go, but we had a great visit the afternoon that I left and I decided to venture out. His health deteriorated while I was away, but I so enjoyed that visit with Jill and the kids and it helped to keep my mind off of what was happening at home. I will admit that sometimes I deal with stress best by trying to run away from it. The day I left Jill’s Dad had called and said the doctor didn’t think Grandpa would survive the day, but by some miracle when I arrived at supper time that day he was still hanging on. He would go on to recover temporarily and spent another nearly two months with us.

reunion2013 marked the ten year anniversary of my classes graduation. At the beginning of May just over half of the class was able to gather together at Mom and Dad’s for supper, just like we had done two years after we had graduated. Amazing that this time there were spouses and children present indicating that things had changed, and yet so much still remained the same. I am forever thankful for the experiencing of attending a small school.

familyMy grandpa passed away at the end of May, and I still think about all these things that have happened in my life since his passing. He was always so proud of all of us. Sometimes I think the hardest part, for me, about him being gone is what’s happened in my life since then. Buying a house, having a boyfriend – he would have boasted to anyone who asked about the work that went into my house and he would have been here to help in anyway that he could have; he would have cared for my boyfriend, simply because my boyfriend cares for me. He was just such an amazing man. Of course the silver lining of death is the way that it brought our family together during a time of need, and the ever widening ripple of effect that I still see today. I miss him every single day.

eskerThis trip up the esker in the beginning of July marked the first of many for me this summer. On this particular trip my best friend, Karyn and her boyfriend and I decided to drive up for an afternoon adventure. The esker is this scenic drive in the provincial park where we have our cabin, with views that were carved out by the glaciers. It’s a favorite spot at the lake but one I don’t usually visit every year, let alone several times. Later in July I would “meet” my boyfriend online, and when our conversation moved to texting, this particular view point is the only place at the lake that has cell service. I revisited this spot over the course of the summer, several times, just to be able to have a few minutes of conversation.

hotairkaryn and I purchased Groupons for a hot air balloon ride in Saskatoon in the summer of 2012, but with both of us being gone for parts of the summer it just didn’t work out for us to go for a ride. We scheduled this balloon trip, and as luck would have it, we had a perfect flying day. This was an experience of a lifetime, and one I could finally cross off the bucket list!

houseThis house sort of fell into my lap. In the time I’ve been back home I’ve had my ear open for a reasonably priced house, preferably an acreage, somewhere in my parent’s area. It was really only by luck that Mom even saw the for sale sign when she drove past this place – earlier in the spring my brother and his wife bought a farm and mom was coming home from his place when she happened to spot the for sale sign at the end of the driveway. That was on a Friday afternoon, and by Sunday morning I had made an offer on the house, and less than two months later the keys were in my hand.

heritageI took a trip to Calgary to see my brother and his wife, and was able to fit in a rainy morning at Heritage Park visiting with my university friend, Sarah. The older I get the more I appreciate places like Heritage Park and the old timey feel. Karyn was with me as well and agreed to ride the ferris wheel with me since I had never been on one. Probably the first and last time I’ll ride a ferris wheel as it was the fastest ferris wheel ever and I felt like we were going to get launched out of our seats. In hindsight it’s funny to think that with Shane and Michelle moving home this coming spring, this was likely my last summer trip to Calgary.

drumhellerOn our way home from Calgary, Karyn and I decided to stop in Drumheller and play tourists for awhile. We’ve both been to the dinosaur museum, but had never really hiked around the area, so we parked the car in the sweltering heat and went for a short walk around the park. We hit up a few other touristy attractions that neither of us had either seen, or been to in awhile, like the swinging bridge, the miniature church and the hoodoos. It has been decided that Drumheller needs to someday be a holiday all of it’s own, not just a pit stop on the way somewhere else.

disneyIn August I made my first ever trip to Florida, to attend…a Tupperware conference. The conference was my excuse for going to Florida, but I did certainly enjoy my holiday. The highlight was visiting Disney World for the first time. I was so excited when we drove through the gates into the park that I cried. I am so thankful that my friend Melissa was able to join me. I was only there for a day, and let me tell you, I cannot wait to go back.

mejanIn September I photographed my first wedding, thanks to the support and encouragement of my friend Janice. Janice has always been the driving force behind me doing photography, and after doing the odd couples session here and there, she suggested me to her best friend after their scheduled photographer ditched them. It was a great experience. By the end of 2013 I had shot three weddings!

menateIt seems fitting that he make it into this recap of the last year as well, and even more fitting that this picture of the two of us was taken up on the esker at the lake. We went for a drive so I could show him the view (and also the lengths I went to just to send out a couple texts!). I am thankful for this addition to year 28.

christmascardI would be remiss if I did not include Frank as an eventful part of my 28th year. I attempted to include him in my Christmas card photo and was reminded that humans do not make decisions for dogs (or cats). At times this puppy has made me feel a bit like a new mother, has made me laugh, and has occasionally also made me cry, but I love that he’s always excited about me coming home.

In the beginning of July I was thinking I wasn’t anywhere near where I had imagined myself to be at this stage in life. I will admit that I spent much of my teenage years assuming that by now I’d be married with three kids. Life has a funny way of changing plans, and yet somehow now in the last week of being 28 I’m feeling pretty content with where I am in life right now. There were plenty of tears, and a lot of laughs too, that went into cultivating my 28th year, but I’m left feeling excited for what’s on the horizon.

If you read this through to the end then thanks to you for being a part of my 28th year too.

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lwf2014This post is part of a list-making project called Lists With Friends 2014, an effort to document the year in lists of all types.

Favorite Recipes

A list of Pinterest recipe finds that have made their way into my kitchen permanently:

1. Delicious & Easy French Toast – I was really surprised that the recipe contained flour, but now that I’ve used this recipe I can’t imagine having french toast another way. It really is delicious. I made this for breakfast this morning to make strawberry stuffed french toast. When I’m cooking for 1 or 2 the full batch means I’ll have french toast for days, so I half the recipe.

2. Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars – I was made aware of this recipe thanks to Emily before Christmas. I tried several new recipes this Christmas and this was by far my favorite. I’ve made it more than once since then.

3. Baked Sweet & Sour Chicken – This recipe felt really time consuming to prepare, but was well worth it in the end. Tasted like something I’d get at a Chinese restaurant. My mom and dad were here for supper the first time I made it and even my picky father was impressed!

4. Dirty Diet Coke – When I first discovered this I assumed that it was probably an alcoholic beverage, but I was wrong. I can’t imagine having a Diet Coke any other way!

5. Chocolate Eclair Cake – I made this for a staff potluck at work one day, and it’s been requested several times since!

6. Starbucks Copycat Frappuccino – I’m not really a coffee drinker, but do have a weakness for iced or blended (and sweetened) coffee beverages, like those bottled Starbucks Frappuccinos you can by. This is extremely close to the original!

7. Peanut Butter No Bakes – No Bakes were one of the first cookies I learned to make myself, but this recipe has replaced my childhood recipe.

8. Beer Mac & Cheese – This is my go to mac and cheese recipe.

9. Homestyle Chicken & Noodles – I have a weakness for anything chicken noodle. This was like a chicken noodle soup stew.

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lwf2014This post is part of a list-making project called Lists With Friends 2014, an effort to document the year in lists of all types.