I am of the opinion that every birthday for every person should be special. For most of us, that is easy to do, but for the person, like my granddaughter, Shai Royce, who was a Leap Day baby, three out of four birthdays are virtually missing. Oh, they do exist…sort of, but they pass so quickly that unless you are up at the precise moment, or in reality, nono-second between 11:59pm and 12:00am, you missed it. I have been up at that time, and somehow, that nano-second slipped by without my actual notice of it, so I know that it is easy for Shai’s birthday to pass by without any real, concrete knowledge of it’s passing. So I call those three years where February 29th doesn’t happen…Nano-Birthdays. If all you look at is the year Shai was born, you will know that she is 23 years old this year, but she has only had 5 actual birthdays, and since she will have her 6th actual birthday next year, she is officially 5¾ years old and will turn 6 next year. During these past 23 years, Shai has celebrated her birthdays, however, because she has now had 18 Nano-Birthdays. It’s quite confusing when you have to do the math to figure out you granddaughter’s real age.

Shai is a sweet, loving girl, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She doesn’t like it when someone she loves is treated unfairly, she will defend them if necessary. Her family is of paramount importance to her, and when they are healthy and happy, so is she. Shai is a hard worker, and holds down two jobs. She works for Mako Reels, making…you guessed it, fishing reels. This has probably been the biggest shock to her grandma, because I would never have guessed that my granddaughter might make fishing reels for a living. She also works for Red Robin, for extra money. Shai is a very social person, so she is a true asset to Red Robin. Shai is one of the most loving people I know, and she is always doing nice things for people. She is very real about her feelings. When she likes someone, she lets them know it, and she likes most people, provided that they are good, honest, and kind people too. I think that makes her an asset to anyone who knows her.

Recently, Shai and her family took up bowling, and they are having a great time as a team. Last year they took first in the county where they live. That’s quite an honor, considering that Shai and her brother, Caalab hadn’t been bowling that long. They had a great time, and since they like spending time together as a family, it was the perfect team. And speaking of time together as a family, this year for her birthday, the whole family flew to Vegas for Shai’s birthday, and because Shai gave the trip to her family as a Christmas gift. She wanted a wonderful little vacation with her family on her birthday…and they had a great time, even going zip lining for thrills. Sounds like a great trip. Today is Shai’s 5¾, 18th, 23 birthday of some type. Happy 18th Nano-Birthday Shai!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Grrrrrr!!!!As a kid, and young mother, I felt like little boys were almost alien beings, and since the arrival of my three grandsons, I find myself thinking maybe I was right. No, not really, but I think they are so funny sometimes. If someone is taking a picture, leave it to a little boy to make a funny face or turn into a tiger or monster. And, while little boys are often the ones who act goofy in those pictures, that doesn’t mean that the big boys and the men can’t do the same. It seems to be in their nature.

My cousin Jimmy…Jim now, of course, was just one such kid. When his mom and sister were posing nicely with Grandpa, Jimmy just couldn’t resist the urge to turn into a tiger for the picture. Or maybe he was the Incredible Hulk, or a monster. I’m sure we will probably never know, because I doubt that he even remembers this picture, but unlike Vegas, what happens in a picture is there for all to see. That may not be ok in just everything, but Jimmy being a tiger…that is ok in my book. I do have to wonder though, if he doesn’t turn into the tiger now and then when he is playing with his niece and nephews. Yes, I can see that in him Silly Joshfor sure, and I’ll bet his family can too.

My grandsons, like in this picture of Josh, all took turns becoming a tiger or something just a fierce, and looked just as cute doing it as Jimmy did all those years ago. They can’t help themselves. Someone raises a camera for the picture and all that goofiness just come tumbling out. Most girls can sit still, and pose nicely, but boys…and even a lot of men, are just too full of wiggles and goofy ideas. Sitting still and not making a funny face is almost impossible, and if you ask me, that is ok too. I mean, we would wonder if something was wrong if they didn’t make a face or goof off in some other way. All that goofiness is just the way they are.

We have all heard the saying, “what happens in  Vegas, stays in Vegas” and we all know what they are talking about, but I have a story that is just a little different.  So, what happens when you take two average teenage and pre-teenage boys to Vegas? I found out recently when my daughter, Corrie and her husband, Kevin took their sons Chris and Josh to Vegas over Easter break. When Chris and Josh left here, they were two normal kids, but from the pictures I had a chance to see…well, I guess that something most definitely happened in Vegas, and I want to warn everyone about the possibilities of Vegas. Parents need to keep a close watch on who their kids associate with in Vegas, because this could happen to your kids too.

It would seem that when people go to Vegas, they spend time with people that they wouldn’t normally hang out with. People who dress funny and paint themselves up to try to be something they are not. Some of these people have definite identity issues. Some of these people don’t even remember who they really are anymore. My big concern here is that when we take our kids to Vegas, and we allow ourselves to become uninhibited, we are exposing our kids to these kinds of people. And when we do that, we open up so many possibilities…dangerous possibilities.

We all know how impressionable kids can be. We as parents must always be watching who they are allowed to associate with very carefully, because once they have begun hanging out with the wrong kind of people, they begin to change. While sometimes the changes are just slight, and not too much damage is done, sometimes they turn into people you don’t even recognize as our own kids anymore.

As parents, it is our responsibility to protect them from the kinds of people out there that we would never allow them to associate with if we were anywhere but Vegas. We must stand our ground so that they are able to have a safe trip, and come home the same great kid we let go to Vegas in the first place, and not someone who is so different…that if we are not careful, we might even mistake them for Elvis. What happens in Vegas…I don’t know, I would be very…very careful.

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