Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Forever Young: Confessions of a Leap Day Baby

Today is kind of a big deal for me - it is my 6th birthday!!! That's right, I'm a bona fide leap day baby! :) In celebration of my real birthday, I've compiled tidbits and experiences from my life as a leap day girl. If you have ever been curious about what it is like to be a leapling, read on!

As a little girl I didn't understand why I was so jipped in the birthday department. Seriously! Quadrennial birthdays - are weird. But I do remember the day I started to stop resenting my unique birthday and started to embrace it instead. I think I was about 6 or 7, and I was complaining about my birthday to my older cousin Sherece. "I only get one birthday every four years! It's so weird! I don't even know when I'm really one year older." Sherece responded,"Well, I think your birthday is cool.  My birthday is November 30th. If you want, we could trade?" I wasn't sure if trading birthdays was even possible, but the fact that she was so quick to want to give hers up for mine let me know that there might be something worth keeping. So I didn't agree to the trade.

Growing up, when someone would mention a year as being 365 days in length I always felt compelled to represent my fellow Leaplings and mention that "a year does not always have 365 days - sometimes it has 366!" "Yeah yeah," were the common responses. Haha.

The issue of when to celebrate my birthday on the off years has always been a point of debate and some mild contention in my home growing up. I have always felt that my 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 birthdays should be celebrated on February 28th, NOT March 1st. It always felt right to keep everything in the realm of my birth month. Though, my dad who has always been the biggest contender on this issue always makes a point to wish me a Happy Birthday on March 1st when it is an off year. I just roll my eyes and smile when he does. I've come to expect it. He argues that I'm not really a year older until March 1st. Either way, there is no true birthday there. I'll tell you something though - many a year I have stayed up until midnight to soak in that fleeting second between the 28th of February and March 1st, just to feel that nonexistent day, if only for a moment. Yes, I know I'm a dork.

You know that game, two truths and a lie? I always include that I am a left-handed Leap day baby as one of the truths, but everyone always guesses that that is the lie. Oooops! Spilled my secret. ;) But seriously how cool is that? About 10 years ago when my abysmal math skills were even better than they are now I used to contemplate statistically how many left-handed leap day babies there were. Though being left-handed and being born on leap year are both traditionally seen as unlucky circumstances, I have always felt that they gave me an edge somehow. I love feeling so unique in a world of sameness.

On my un-birthdays, celebrating my birthday has always been a sort of lukewarm week-long, "Yay! You're about a year older now!" sort of thing. Though I am a Februarian (a Leap year baby who celebrates on Febrauary 28th), I always receive birthday well wishes on both days. And honestly, since I don't really have a birthday most years, we just kind of celebrate it whenever it is convenient for everyone. My attachment to a birthday celebration is weak at best on the off years. To tell you the truth, I always feel a bit uncomfortable accepting "Happy Birthday" wishes from friends on those off years. I feel like I have to add the caveat that "it's only sorta-kinda my birthday today."


With my conservative Mormon upbringing, it was a strict rule in our home that we wouldn't date until we were 16 years old. My mom used to tease me, that if I wasn't a good girl, she would make me wait until I was "really" 16 (64 years old). Besides my occasional worry that my mom might actually enforce that, I have always looked forward to aging with a positive attitude. It will be entertaining to tell people, "I'm 20!," not be lying and be a wrinkly old woman to boot! Hehe.

I have always felt like the whole Leap Year always being a presidential election year has contributed to me being more politically involved somehow. Like the specialness of having a birthday and having the opportunity to vote just go together. Weird, I know.

I was featured in a little article in the Provo Daily Herald on my last birthday. They wanted to know how I was celebrating, and sent a reporter to catch the story. Haha. For my birthday, I just had a small get together with my old roommates and friends to have a 5 year old birthday party. We dressed up in 5 year old "tea" party garb and drank apple cider and hot chocolate in teacups while we nibbled on treats and chatted. The reporter being there made things a bit awkward, but it was nice otherwise. Plus, it was fun to see it in the paper the next day. :)

My being born on leap day set a birthday celebration tradition for all of my siblings. 3/4 years, birthdays would be celebrated with just a quiet family dinner at a nice restaurant. 1/4 years - PARTAY TIME! I remember all my major birthday parties in vivid detail.

Sort of how you become your name, and your name becomes your own, I feel like being born on leap day has influenced who I have become in some respects. Like the concept expressed in this funny song (embedded below) my brother shared on my Facebook wall, leap days are an odd invention to make the Gregorian calendar work in time with the Earth's rotations around the sun - I feel like an oddball in life, who is just trying her best to make an ever more off-kilter world make sense! ;)

Despite the quirks of it all thou, being born on leap day - pretty much rocks. Especially
when it is your real birthday. Yeah. Today really rocks! :) Happy real birthday to all my fellow leaplings out there! :) Enjoy your special day!

And if it's not your birthday? Well, here are some cute ideas for how you might like to celebrate this extra day!
Happy Leap Day, Everybody!

Monday, February 27, 2012

On Losing: Lincoln's Birthday Weekend

This weekend, my mom, dad, and little sister Riley came in to town to celebrate a very special occasion - Lincoln's 1st Birthday!! :)

On Saturday, we all went to the awesome Tucson Rodeo together. I'm thinking this might have to become a new tradition of ours - it was a very worthwhile event!
The only picture of all of us together.
 Lincoln's hair looks so red in this picture. It's not really that color though. Is it bad that I wish it was sometimes? Haha. It's ok, he's got enough of Daddy's handsome cowboy charm to carry him through life. ;)
Baby Lincoln and Daddy Squire
The smell of a rodeo includes earthy dirt, horse poop, and faintly sweet cigarette smoke. Everyone wears denim, plaid or tight fitting t-shirts, and their boots and cowboy hats if they have them. It is entertaining to guess who is playing dress-up, and who is really country. You know what I'm saying?
A buckin' bronco!
*Side note: My Grandpa Shanks used to ride "buckin' horses an' bulls" as he always used to say. But, my Granny Shanks "let him know" that if he wanted to continue his rodeo antics that she wouldn't stick around. So, he gave it all up to be with her. I liked to think of my grandpa during the rodeo. With all the gasping I did just during the 2 1/2 hour show though, I can see why getting grandpa to quit the rodeo was important to my gran.

 The girls at the rodeo! Riley felt silly wearing a cowboy hat.
 Lincoln staying close to mom and dad at the rodeo:
 My fam:
 The name of the game when riding buckin' broncos or bulls? Stay on for at least 8 seconds. Some were successful:
Almost there! - 7.5 seconds.
Ridin' with style at 6.2 seconds.
 Some, not so much. Though, I cant say I blame them. As the lady behind us kept yelling, "That's alotta bull!" Haha. She was most definitely right about this one. He was mean.
Being thrown off at 2.3 seconds.
 After a couple hours up in bleachers out in the sun, Lincoln was tuckered out.

The next day, was the big day - LINCOLN'S 1ST BIRTHDAY!!! Here are some photo highlights:
A banner for the birthday boy. I really need to get a Cricut. Haha. ;)
 All decked out - balloons and streamers. When Lincoln woke up he kept pointing at all the decorations in the house. He loved the balloons on his chair and scattered around the floor of our living room.
The couple of days leading up to Lincoln's birthday, he had a bit of a clear runny nose, but it broke out into full force sickness on his birthday. :( He had a cough, a runny/stuffy nose, and a mild fever. So he skipped out on church on Sunday and stayed home to rest with Mimi and Riley while the rest of us went to Sacrament meeting. The rest of the day? We nursed him back to health - with love, cuddles, presents and some birthday cake! Hey! If Julie Andrews can pass off songs about sugar helping medicine go down, then surely there must be some wiggle room in there for feeding my sick son copious amount of confetti cake on his birthday! . . .
Playing with the birthday boy - ready to open presents!
Riley had been preparing - and performed - a little dance for Lincoln to the tune, "Stuck Like Glue." It brought out Lincoln's first big smile of the day:
Lincoln's first birthday cake turned out pretty decent - considering the fact that I lost all my cake decorating tips in our move to Tucson. I just decorated it with quart-sized ziplocs that I taped over at an angle, and cut at the tips to pipe and write.
Ziploc bags without cake tips for decorating - not perfect, but they work.
Lincoln's first birthday cake:
Lincoln was funny about not really wanting to touch his cake. He mostly just took bites off without touching the cake with his hands. 

 Here's a short clip of his experience:

What you aren't seeing in this video clip is our blowing honking birthday blowers and Lincoln's subsequent crying. Whoops! Exnay on the birthdayblowersnay for next year I guess. After the scary experience with the birthday blowers, Lincoln decided it was time for a nice long nap.

Since he hadn't gotten into his cake too much, we decided to save it for him for after dinner to give it another go. Round two with the cake? Lincoln came. He conquered. And he even gave a little victory speech when he was done:
 Lincoln - 2 Birthday Cake - 0
Here is Lincoln all freshly bathed and ready for bed - but not before a quick snapshot with grandpa Elsmore first!
Ready for bed after a long eventful day. :)
 After Lincoln went to bed, Riley and I had a "sistas" fashion shoot:

 And then we all had a big balloon fight with all of Lincoln's birthday balloons. Mostly the battle was everyone else against Squire. Not so much because he is the in-law but because he was the instigator. Only about half of the balloons made it out of the spontaneous battle. 


Monday, Lincoln felt up enough to go shopping with Mimi, Grandpa and Aunt Riley for an hour while I finished up my last pottery class. Lincoln really liked riding in the taxi at the mall:
 Jogging stroller kid is in the fast lane!
And then, this last picture? This is the moment when the whole weekend just went sour. Absolutely sour!
See Lincoln grinding his teeth? He feels the same way I do . . .
You see after lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, my family hugged us in the parking lot and said something horrible to us . . . "Goodbye!" I offered my own bed, to make anything they wanted for dinner, to pay them all the money in my checking account - and they still said "NO!' when I asked begged them to stay one more night!! Dad used some silly excuse about having to get back to work or something like that. Isn't that just terrible?! I'm still crying about it. I miss them. Lincoln misses them. Squire misses them. *Sigh.* Our guest bedroom is back to the way it was - empty. And this magical birthday weekend is over! They didn't even stay for my birthday (Leap Day)!! Or Squire's (March 12th)!!! What more could we have offered to change their minds? Sometimes, I guess you just lose.

Funny thing about losing though . . . it hurts the most when what you are losing, is what's most great. No, not like choosing to lose rodeo riding in exchange for a beautiful wife and large family. Or losing some cake decorating tips in a move to start medical school. Or losing in the race against some kid in a jogging stroller when you weren't really even racing anyways. But, losing your family members to distance (or death) - that hurts. That's just one of those losses, where - you simply, lose. . . At least, we had a bit of that greatness this weekend even if we're hurting now that they're gone.

We miss you family! COME BACK SOON!!


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