Birthday Love from Beyond

This one may make you a little sentimental. After all, it’s about a thoughtful Dad who arranged to have flowers sent to his daughter on her birthday — after his death.

Upon finding out his cancer was fatal, the Dad went to a local florist and prepaid for an annual birthday bouquet. He died when she was 16, but each year until she reached 21 she received flowers and a card.

birthday wish

Image: @sellersbailey Twitter

This year, her 21st birthday, she received the last of her birthday flowers. The Tennessean posted on social media a picture of herself with her Dad and an image of the flowers along with the message: “Miss you so much daddy.”

Birthday wishes continue

The Dad’s final card read: 

“Bailey, this is my last love letter to you until we meet again. I do not want you to shed other tear for me baby girl, for I am in a better place. You are and will always be the most precious jewel I was given.

It is your 21st birthday and I want you to always respect your momma and stay true to yourself.

Be happy and live life to the fullest.

I will still be with you through every milestone, just look around and there I will be.

I love you boo boo and happy birthday!!!!!

Daddy”

And that right there is why I love birthdays. They are an opportunity to take a moment and say the things to each other that we don’t stop and say every day. This Father had another impetus, yes, but we could all benefit from embracing the birthday as that day to openly say what is in our hearts.

birthday flowers

Image: @sellersbailey Twitter

Happy Birthday — Have a Meat Cake

Many food and fashion trends have originated in Japan, but I’ll be interested to see if this one takes off in North America. Apparently people are beginning to celebrate their birthdays there with meat cakes.

Yep. Those are cakes made out of meat.

I’ve mentioned before that we used to make ground beef cakes for our dogs on their birthday when I was growing up. But this is full on carnivore cake for adults.

 

Yummy Bday at Yakiniku

These cake-shaped servings of layered meats are a trend being enjoyed in yakiniku restaurants where diners can grill their own meats.

The cakes help celebrate a birthday and can be shaped to look like a gift with sparkler, flower, or bow decorations.

In an approach that might remind North Americans of fondue restaurants, the diners are encouraged to select pieces of the raw meat and and grill them at the table. Of course, you then have to take a picture and post it on Instagram to really be part of the trend.

The Daily Meal predicts this phenomenon will take off shortly here in yakinuku restaurants or Korean barbecues. Yakinuku restaurants, by the way, serve diners bite-sized meats and offal to grill at their own table.

Amy Sedaris has also popularized meat cakes. The promotion for her new series, At Home with Amy Sedaris, features a four-tiered deli meat cake with meat-molded mushrooms. But she’s apparently been into this kind of cake for years (judging by a photo in a 2008 blog I found when searching “Amy Sedaris” + “meat cake” — not something I ever anticipated googling).

My Cake Hierarchy

Having worked with someone who didn’t eat sugar and ordered a paleo cake for the office, I will admit I was uninformed enough to worry she was going to be sharing a meat cake. This was a person who made beef jerky in the office oven after all. Happily, though, paleo just meant no wheat…but the cake could still be frosted and was just as tasty as my choice of cake.

So, I’m going to go first with traditional cakes as I’ve featured in #yummybday. Then, some of the alternatives I’ve blogged about, or I could settle for a paleo cake. But the meat cake is going to be number 4 on my list. Now, if there were a pasta cake…that would be something I would be willing to try.

Tiny “Birthday Twins”

birthday twins

Image source: People

Birthdays can bring people together. Here’s a sweet example highlighting this truth:

People magazine recently featured two four-year-old friends who see themselves as twin sisters because they “share a birthday.” Well, they don’t actually — they were born two days apart — but they’re four, so we’ll forgive them that (although People could have been more accurate).

Anyhow….

Zuri Copeland and Jia Sarnicola were born June 5 and June 3 respectively and have been best friends for two years since meeting in a Miami school. Apparently the two girls who hang out almost daily have started telling people they are sisters — twins to be exact.

But, when they did so in a face painting line at a birthday party, two other girls said they couldn’t be twins because they weren’t the same color.

Zuri’s older sister recalls Jia beginning to cry while Zuri stood her ground and said:

“You don’t know anything! We are twins because we have the same birthday and share the same soul!”

What a lovely idea!

Birthday Buddies

The older sister posted this anecdote to social media with a picture and the story went viral (hence People). Those liking and retweeting loved hearing about the girls’ friendship and their bond that transcends race.

Social media saw friends of all races comparing themselves to the girls and true biological twins of different skin colors sharing their experiences.

Zuri’s older sister told People she hopes the story helps people “begin to have faith in humanity” during a period of racial tension in the country. “If 4-year-olds are able to maintain healthy doting relationships despite their skin colors, then so can adults.”

Of course, adding my two cents, I believe that what brought these girls together to bond in the first place was clearly the close proximities of their birthdays. Birthdays are a bond that can’t be beat!

Budgeting for Kid Birthday Gifts

Kids birthday gifts

Photo credit: JD Hancock via Foter.com / CC BY

I was recently in a big box store with a nine-year-old trying to find a gift. We were having a difficult time. On the plus side, the boy is big-hearted and wants to get his friend a super-duper-cool gift. But I’m not really expecting to spend $50+ on a birthday present for a friend of his.

I told him my price range, and he promptly reminded me of how much another friend spent on a birthday present for him: “$70.” I assured him that it was probably on super-sale. I sure hope so. I cannot believe that his buddy’s parents spent that much, although the scooter was much appreciated. (And I did try hard not to take it as a sign that they didn’t want my son borrowing their son’s scooter any longer…).

Then, this week, I saw a headline: “Kids Party Gifts: How Much Do We Really Need to Spend?” I was thrilled to see I am not the only one experiencing angst over this.

Buying Kid Gifts

The article’s author said she tries to stick to a limit of $20 for each kid, which reaffirmed my own budget cap. But, then she pointed out related costs.

Apparently she hires a sitter to entertain her kids while she shops to avoid having to buy them anything. Then, there’s the wrapping and the card and she figures she’s “probably inching toward $40 per birthday gift.”

She doesn’t even calculate the value of her time in this equation!

The article, though, ends with a plea to include gift receipts. She cites the example of a Mom who traded in all of her daughter’s gifts and kept the cash. The author says it seems “kind of wrong.”

I’m not going to waffle here: The idea of me buying a gift only to have the parent return it and keep the cash gets under my skin. I’m OK with the kid making that choice and purchasing something they’d rather have, but this Mom’s recouping the cash rankles.

What do you think? What’s a good price range for a birthday present for a kid? And where do you stand on the idea of parents trading in their kids’ gifts for cash? I’d love to hear your point of view.

 

Life Saving Birthday Generosity

 

Everyone likes to spend his or her birthday in a special way — even if that is (inexplicably to me) ignoring it entirely.

Obadiah Jenkins of Homer, Alaska decided to celebrate his 33rd birthday this year by attending the Six-Mile Creek Whitewater and Bluegrass Festival in Hope. He hadn’t brought a kayak or even a paddle; he just planned to watch the events.

His friends, though, thought he needed to get out on the water and rounded up the gear he’d need.

It’s fortunate for Daniel Hartung that they did. Jenkins ended up helping to rescuing the more inexperienced kayaker after he flipped into the creek’s frigid waters.

Drop over Waterfall

Hartung, 64, was taking a practice run in Class IV rapids (the most extreme rating for rivers) before the kayakers were in place to help anyone in distress were on the course. He floated downriver and was swept toward a canyon wall and over a drop named Waterfall.

Jenkins, noticing Hartung was pinned under a tree, dropped a rope down to him. But Hartung was unable to get free. “The more I struggled, the more my head went lower. At first, I could keep my head up and breathe, but then it became difficult to catch a breath,” Hartung told the Alaska Dispatch News later.

Jenkins jumped into the water to rescue Hartung after the older man had been stuck in the current for more than five minutes. Even, at one point, with his face forced into the water for 45 seconds.

In jumping in Jenkins knew he was violating “the first principle of rescuing: Don’t endanger yourself to save someone else.” But he moved on autopilot.

“It was my birthday and I just wanted that guy to have another birthday,” he said. “My brain went into automatic mode, and I knew that if I didn’t act immediately, we would be recovering a body.”

Birthday Injuries

Hartung was unconscious when pulled to shore and needed CPR. Jenkins said of the man he rescued: “He was a fighter…To hang on that long in that cold water was pretty impressive. After two rounds of doing chest compressions to him on the riverbank, his wife came down and talked to him. You could tell that hearing her voice helped bring him around. His pulse came back and he began breathing on his own.”

Hartung was taken to hospital and released. Jenkins, too, suffered a sore body from diving into the current, but was still happy the situation ended well.

The New York Post has a video of the rescue you can see too.

Weighing Kid’s Birthday Priorities

Any reader who knows me personally likely knows how much I HATE morning talk radio. So much talking. So early in the morning. Blah blah blah. Please be quiet!

Still, I did listen to Allan & Ashley of Warm 106.9 asking listeners if it was OK to miss their kids’ graduation and birthdays. Or at least that’s what the blurb said they were talking about. See:

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 2.42.47 PM.png

But I endured five minutes of their blathering and didn’t hear a peep about missing a kid’s birthday. GRRR.

Yet reading about my annoyances is not the reason you read this blog (or at least not the main reason). So, let’s get back on topic. Even if Allan & Ashley ignored it.

Is Missing A Kid’s Birthday OK?

I found a “happy place for smart women” site with an article addressing this very question. And the author really did talk about it…not just say they would.

The article’s author Mia Freedman admits that she did miss her two-year-old’s birthday for an important, long desired interview with a Prime Minister. But they celebrated the birthday the next day, when she returned, and her toddler didn’t much notice the difference.

It helps that the child was so young. Plus, I’m not going to say that someone should lose out on an amazing personal or professional opportunity because of a child’s birthday. Although they should think hard about it first…

But, turns out Freedman was writing in response to a comment by a UK social commentator named Katie Hopkins who said:

“I would rather earn money than be with my kids on their birthday…Why is this is so hard to understand? Work today. Enjoy tomorrow more.”

Gulp. There are too many ways I want to respond to Hopkins, and few of them are “happy.”

Hopkins’ comment caused a response that merited her time on a follow-up program in which she said:

“My children recognize that I’m on the road a lot, I have to work a lot….They understand we’re a team, we all have to work together and it only takes a few steps from special child to spoilt child and I like to think mine are simply special. If I miss the day – I haven’t forgotten the day – but if I miss the day we’ll make it up some other time.”

Make an effort is what I say

Yes, this sounds more reasonable. Still, suggesting I am spoiling my child by trying to accommodate his or her birthday gets under my skin. Obviously I would not put my kids’ birthday ahead of keeping my job and the livelihood that sustains said kid and my family.

Still, I prefer to think of prioritizing your kid’s birthday before a work engagement as telling your child they are special to you rather than spoiling them. After all, the birthday is pretty much the one day a year a child can hope to be spoiled and put first on the family priority list. Where do you stand on this issue?

 

Pooch Parties — Woof Woof Good.

Animals & birthdays….who can pass up the cuteness? Not me. I am back with another birthday animal blog, because I love them!

This one is inspired by a fun canine birthday party an Illinois TV station covered. Comfort dogs Payton and Eli were turning four earlier this year, so Pawprint Ministries celebrated with a birthday party for several of the pooches it has out in action in six cities offering love and support.

dog birthday

The India Times picked up a story about police officers in Beijing, China, celebrating their service dog’s birthdays with dog-friendly cake.

dog birthday

Dog Birthdays Online

Social media is a great source of animal birthday party fun, too.

How about this hilarious video with Morrisville, Pennsylvania pet owners singing “Happy Birthday” to their contented pooch who pants contentedly and then eats a cookie without getting up from his chair all while his buddy dog has a real issue with his hat.

I also found about Le Doggy Café, in Montreal Quebec, which invites pet owners to celebrate their pup’s birthday with four-legged pals. Check out the tongue-licking, tail-wagging fun in this one

If you think these folks are in the minority, you’d be wrong. The Daily Mail reported on a dog food company’s survey findings that 75% of pet owners celebrate their furry friends’ birthdays. Some 58% also sing the “Happy Birthday” song.

dog birthday

The only drawback is that many people make their dog’s cakes out of dog food — that means the humans can’t share a piece!