good life with catherine furlin
Cultivating a good life means finding reasons to celebrate.
In our home, we celebrate half birthdays. Now I know I may have just garnered some eye rolls, but let me explain how and why we celebrate.
We have 3 kiddos — my daughter is 12 and my boys are 3 and 4 years old. When my son was born I noticed that we were celebrating him constantly, as there are so many milestones in the first year. Each month is something we recognized — we celebrated rolling over, then crawling, later walking. There is something so extraordinary about a year where everything is a first.
I wanted to celebrate my daughter in fun ways as well. One way I decided to do this was to recognize her half birthday. I made it easy on myself; I just grabbed a pre-made piece of cake from the deli section of our local grocery store and stuck a candle in the top. We surprised her with it, told her to make a half-birthday wish, and sang “Happy (half) Birthday” to her.
That started a tradition for us, and we’ve done it with all of the kids ever since. I don’t let this be something that stresses me out. We don’t do gifts, just a simple treat with a candle. I’ve done a donut tower and even a pyramid of Girl Scout cookies. I also like to go around the table after the candle is blown out and have everyone say what they love about the “birthday” girl or boy. I love seeing my kids light up during this little ritual and it’s amazing how taking a moment out of your day and recognizing someone unexpectedly can really make them feel loved. It’s unexpected because even my 12 year old still doesn’t keep track of when her half-birthday is, so she’s consistently surprised by her special treat!
Other things that we do to celebrate each child with intention is that every Valentine’s Day, they each get a card with a list of 10 things we love about them right at that moment. Every St. Patrick’s Day, the leprechaun sneaks in and dyes our milk green. Every birthday morning, the kids get their own mini cake and they get to eat cake for breakfast. They absolutely love the fact that if they want to, they can eat a huge piece of cake before school. When else can they eat this much sugar at 7:00am? (Answer: never.) And at every birthday party, we put out 3×4 Project Life cards and ask everybody to write something that they love about the birthday kid or write a favorite memory that they’ve had with them in the past year. These go right into their albums.
Ever heard of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel? Every year during that week, we watch the shark shows, we read the shark books, and we bust out the shark masks and sometimes even costumes. My four-year-old son just asked me a few months ago when Shark Week was coming back.
Kids come with such a sense of magic within. I love to build upon that by adding a little (or a lot) of novelty to our days. These days when my kids are at home with me are fleeting, and I feel that every day can become a little better with some confetti sprinkled in!
Catherine is part of our creative team using the Physical Product. She currently resides in Iowa and her family consists of her husband Tony, dog Belle (named after the princess of course), and three kids. Their daughter Alexandria (Alex) is 12, son Blake is 4, and son Cole is 2.