PDA is annoying, but...

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I'm not a fan of PDA. But displays of affection are allowed on anniversaries and on this day of love we Westerners fondly (or not so much) refer to as VALENTINES DAY.

Valentine, I think this is our 11th or 12th Valentines day together. Isn't it ridiculous that I've lost count. We getting OLD. Over the years we've learned how to drive each other absolutely insane with annoying quirks and poorly honed habits - yours being that you prefer to carry on a conversation with me whilst brushing your teeth. Mine being, well, nothing, because we both know I'm perfect and can do no wrong. ;)

Valentine, when we're ancient and gray I'm still going to want to hold your hand and occasionally make out with you. And I'm still going to opt for staying in to watch Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightly version, duh) in our jammies instead of going out on the town in uncomfortable (though albeit, showstopper) high heels. And yes, I'm still going to want that Thai takeout because, no dishes.

Valentine, even though we are tired all the freaking time these days, I still want to spend all my free time with you. Sometimes I wish we could take off with just our backpacks and the voracious appetite to explore the world like we did back in the day before we had little people relying on us for, you know, food and shelter and undivided attention.

But when I look at you, Valentine, I see the guy who led me all around Europe on trains, planes, automobiles and Spanish-speaking sexiness.

I see the friend who drove with me across the entire United States in my old Honda while we chugged bottled Starbucks frappaccinos from the gas station and dreamed of our future together. We thought we were going to be musicians, remember that?? We wrote a lot of music back then, music that no one ever heard.

When I look at you, I see the man I followed to Boston to pursue his unlikely dream. That same man who, in turn, took me to New York to pursue my even more unlikely dream.

I see the partner who dove headfirst into parenthood with me, the one who moved once again with me back to where it all began in our shared hometown. Because when I became a mom I really needed my mom, and you got that.

You are the love I bought a house with, planted a garden with, killed a garden with, and built a life with. There is no one better in my life, than you.

Thank you for being my Valentine for the 11th or 12th year in a row.

PDA ALL DAY. HAPPY VALENTINES DAY.

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A Freshly Picked Valentine Story.

A Freshly Picked Valentine Story.

Guys, my baby boy has a Valentine.

I want to say, "I don't know how this happened!" - but I really can't do that. Because I know exactly how it happened. I dressed up my son, took him over to my friends' house, and we proceeded to play babydolls with our real-life babies.

Sometimes moms need to have a little fun, too. Because there aren't adult jumperoos for us to lounge in all day long. SOMEONE INVENT THAT.

// He's probably just hiding his feelings, Finley. Boys are good at acting aloof. //

// These two. I can't even handle it. //

// HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A PRETTIER VALENTINE. The answer is no. //

// Some couples wear their matchy-matchy Chuck Taylors. Some couples simultaneously rock the Nikes. I once wore matching Vans with my skater boyfriend (yes I was in 7th grade, and yes, I still regret not keeping those rad sneaks.) But these two? Well, they're little moccasin wearers. And by little I mean that they are 6 weeks a part in age and my son is wearing shoes two sizes bigger than her. No big deal. Mom loves him. //

// Here, let me help you open the present I brought you. Here, let me help myself to a snack of the present I brought you. //

// He's all, "This snack is a different flavor than last time. " And she's all, "A book?!" (Feigned surprise, really thinking, "Where's the chocolate and flowers, man??" )

// Mom, he bought me a book. How am I supposed to read into this?? //

// Some boys get nervous to hold a girl's hand. Everett just wanted the chance to hold her foot. //

// Nailed it. //

Everett's Advice for Other Bros:

1. Never Show Up Empty-Handed.

Needless to say, his gift was well-received. This little lady, sweet Finley, politely accepted his on-trend choice and even pretended to look away when Everett lost his cool and was overwhelmed with the urge to NAP. What a classy broad.

2. Look Fresh.

In his case, Everett was looking extremely fresh - hence the footwear. Bathing really helps a brother out, too.

3. Give Her a Compliment.

A nice, "Hey Finley, cool head bow," would do just fine. But in his case he patted her soft rose moccasin and everything that needed to be said in that moment, was said.

4. Suck Up to Her Parents.

This isn't hard one when you're 6 months old and so cute that it physically hurts. Things get more challenging when you can actually open your mouth and say something awkward.

5. It's Okay to Cry.

He's a sensitive, communicative soul. We are lucky that she is so laid-back and optimistic about his opinions.

Match made it Heaven? Only time will tell.

Remember, sweet son, Mommy will always be your first love. And probably your first reason for needing some therapy.

Happy Valentines Day to you all!

Disclosure: this post is completely UNSPONSORED by Freshly Picked. Seriously. It's just that my friend Lena and I have a serious Freshly Picked moccasin addiction. And our kids are just cuuuuuuute in their little Valentine-y mocc selves.

Watercolor Your Own Valentines Cards.

Watercolor Your Own Valentines Cards.

I've been doing this thing where I am actually trying to follow through with my New Years resolutions. It's actually kind of hard. Why is it such a struggle to do the things that are in my heart?! It shouldn't be. Especially because my resolutions were hilariously self-centered and with the purpose of intentionally having more fun. My whole philosophy this year was "set the bar low", so that I could be uber proud of myself. Ha. Now that I think of it, I have got to get to the gym this month...

Watercolor painting was one of my resolutions because it seems like a relatively easy (and beautiful!) way to ignite my creative brain. It's been a looooong time since I've gotten crafty, but I am, at my core, a creative individual. I know that if I take the time to be intentional and invest in myself creatively, it will be good for my soul. And probably my skin.

This is the moment where I should mention that I am not an excellent watercolor-er, but that is hardly the point of the exercise. This was fun. Who needs to be having more fun? Don't act like you didn't just raise your hand in your heart. On top of the whole, "Let's have fun by watercolor painting today!"-thing, I also really love giving people presents, so I decided to make my own watercolor Valentines this year. I was inspired to do this by my bff Natalie, because she used to make her own cards and it was SO evident that she put special effort and thought into each one. So I put my best effort forward and you should try it, too!

// Don't laugh at my picture. It was the exercise round and I was just blowing off steam. WHY AM I DEFENDING MY ART TO YOU. //

Watercoloring Your Valentines:

1. Set up your spot.

I laid down newspaper, set out my paint set & brushes, fetched a bit of water, and snagged some flowers for inspiration. When I say "snagged", I mean it. They weren't my flowers. They were my mom's from my dad. Side note, no matter how old you are, it just warms your heart from the inside out to know that daddy bought flowers for your mommy. Sigh.

2. Find a friend.

In my case, I convinced my sister to join me in this endeavor. And she is endlessly more creative and talented than I. No seriously - she actually painted those roses, I just copied stuff I found on Pinterest. But getting shown up by your sister is the best feeling. Because, you know, she's your sister and she's so cute it hurts. If she only knew.

3. Set the stage.

I'll admit it. We know how to party. We made my new favorite granny beverage, turned on some French Cafe Pandora and went to town on our feelings. And I've got the heartfelt cards to prove it. Okay, you could have basically done exactly what I did with a set of Sharpie markers from Walgreens, but just so you know, they are all hand-painted with watercolors. So there.

// I came up with this one all on my own. I'm actually quite proud. //

Fetch the Paints!

Do it! Paint your feelings! Make up cheesy sayings and put brush to paper! I guarantee that you will feel so fun and fancy free after doing so. And also, tell your dad to buy your mom flowers. Because somehow it will weirdly make you feel great, too.

Happy Valentining to you :)

Treating Yourself. To A Self-Date.

Treating Yourself. To A Self-Date.

It's Valentines week, in case you're behind the curve on your candy purchases. Valentines Day seems to evoke a wide variety of emotions, depending on where you're at in life. Perhaps you're a hopeless romantic and you adore the notion of dreamy flowers and treats. Or you might be rocking independence this season and the idea of V-Day brings up mixture of annoyance and pity for those who dote on it's sentiment. Perhaps you're somewhere in the middle, one of those "it's not a real holiday, so why celebrate?" types. I have found myself have oscillating between these range of emotions. But I feel like there is one element people tend to neglect when it comes to this day: celebrating themselves. You don't have to wait for someone else to make you feel special or important. Take some time for you!

I love myself. I'm a fun girl. And I know that I'm worth a little pampering every now and then. When the winter is making me sad and I'm missing my family and friends (and growing larger by the day), I know it's time to enact a Self-Date. What is the Self-Date? You're gonna want to know. You're gonna want to do this, too.

Ways to celebrate YOU.

1. You like flowers.

So treat yourself. Those tulips would look nice on you.

2. You like pretty nails.

So get a manicure. And pick a FUN color. I'm sporting a shade of purple that a 5th grader would wear. Because I can.

3. You like hot beverages (especially in this weather.)

Splurge on that ridiculously overpriced herbal tea with the jasmine. YOU DESERVE IT. Even better, for all you non-pregnants, order a nice glass of vino. Mmm I miss my old friend, red wine.

4. You like to read.

Pick a totally indulgent read and immerse yourself in the story. Snuggle up on your couch (with the above-mentioned bevvy nearby). Maybe light a yummy candle. Perhaps throw on some John Legend, crooning in the background (didn't he just kill it at the Grammys?) Perfection.

Other add-ons? Take yourself to see a movie (and don't forget the Sour Patch!), treat yourself to some fun art supplies, invest in a cooking class or those personal training sessions you've wanted. The point of all this? To remind yourself that you are worth it. It's not just about loving yourself. It's about treating yourself better than you even think you deserve. Because if you don't, how can you expect others to?

Would you add something else to this list? Who's joining with me on the Self-Date? 'Tis the season!

Be Mine: My Funny Valentine

Photo Credit: Ale Palma

February 14.

You are my sweetheart. After 5 1/2 years of marriage, you are still the kindest man I know. The most outrageous dreamer I've ever met. More optimistic than a cartoon. And my favorite brain to pick. I admire you. And I miss you every day when you ride away on your bicycle, headed off to school. Helmet, book bag, headlamp and all. Thanks for making me laugh. Thanks for being my dear-hearted best friend.

I look forward to dozens of decades more of late-night cookies, non-stop episodes of Burn Notice and international flights. Let's keep laughing, dreaming and making plans.