Friday, January 31, 2014

Sharing the Love

For your listening pleasure, some mood music to serenade you while you read: 

Growing up, I thought my mom was so weird about holidays. (Actually, I'm sure I thought she was weird about a lot of things, but that's neither here nor there.) She was always talking about materialism and commercialism and the "true meaning" of different celebrations and customs. It seemed to me that everyone else in the world was doing the normal thing, buying stuff, and I kinda (okay, really really really) wished we could be normal, too.

Turns out my mom was really kind of a hipster, huh?

By now, we've all heard the criticism that Valentine's Day is a commercial ploy to guilt consumers into purchases, and after growing up with my mom, I get that. Greeting cards, chocolates, jewelry, fancy dinners, cutesy bears, ad nauseam. Totally not the point, true.

But I can't help but feel like any holiday, financially beneficial to Hallmark or not, that asks us to be more intentional about expressing our emotions toward those closest to us is one that deserves our full support.

I think the world would be a happier place if we all at least pretended that every day is Valentine's Day. It's like that Groundhog's Day movie, but more colorful and with more kisses. 

It's been Valentine's Day on repeat around here lately, which has made my heart super happy. Here are just a few ways we've been sharing the love. 

Loving Arabella: 

I finally convinced her to make crafts with me! She actually loves craft time, especially coloring and painting, and says she wants to be an artist (or a cheerleader, depending on the day) when she grows up. So when we were out of school again Tuesday, we turned on some James Taylor tunes, stayed in our pajamas a little later, and gave the mantle a festive makeover. 

We ended up using that polka dot finger painting as the centerpiece for our kitchen table, 
with a candle on top of it. The rest of our projects helped complete this transformation.

We didn't have a mantle in our old house, so I haven't quite gotten the hang of mantle decor just yet. I'm never 100% happy with it, making this a welcome change.

Bella drew a purple picture of "Mama walking on the earth with coffee in her hand" and I helped her write "I love you" in there somewhere. The red and black frame is an attempt at making hearts with our thumbprints. 

I had a little leftover tulle from making tutus for her birthday party last year, skewers just because, and the jar and stones from last Valentine's Day. When we added hearts to the skewers, Bella thought they looked like lollipops and flowers. I was hoping more for Cupid's arrows. It is what it is. 

I realize that's not a "real" wreath, but this was probably Bella's favorite part. She makes lots of paper plate crafts at preschool, so we followed suit and added a bow from our giftwrap stash instead of cutting out the center. She loved using the glue all by herself to layer the hearts around the plate. So fun!

Loving Adam: 

I think I've mentioned it elsewhere before, but I love date nights. I also love group date nights, and have had a bad habit of letting those overtake our calendar in the past. So I try to make sure that Adam and I have enough together time, just the two of us, even if we aren't going out every weekend. At the same time, it can get pretty boring eating pizza and watching Netflix when we do decide to stay home. 

Not anymore! Introducing the Dating Divas!

I can't even begin to express my admiration and appreciation for the women who put this site together. I literally spent hours this past week browsing the gazillions of ideas for dates, from the massively pre-planned and expertly executed to the simple, yet inspiring.  Seriously. You have to check it out. You can search for theme dates, double dates, dates at home, anniversary/birthday ideas, craft tutorials, TONS of free's like a love overload. (Is that already a line from a bad '80s song, or did I just make it up?)

So I decided to make a Date Night Binder. Not sure if the obsession with binders is teacher-related or just generally neurotic. I found about ten dates to start us off. Then, I labeled them, placed them in page protectors, and added two index cards to each one, so we can write each other a love note at the end of each date. I tried to choose a variety of types of dates. Some, like The Hobbit date and The Bucket List date, are movie themed. Some require us to go to a store or other public place and play a game, like the "This Reminds Me" date. Others are simple games to play at home, like Mad Libs. 

We've already cracked open the Date Night Binder, and we BOTH (seriously, he thought it was fun and creative, too) had so much fun! I loved reading his love note at the end of the evening. I think he really appreciated that I took so much time to put this little book together for us. It was even fun to just flip through it together and pick what we wanted to do. 

I can't wait to print the February Love Calendar tomorrow!

Loving Me In Return: 

I'm a firm believer in the little things. Tonight, I was having a particularly hard time getting going after dinner. I had a long, late night last night and spent quite a bit of time driving today. Even though I napped this afternoon, I'm still feeling kind of drained. So I did something I rarely every do. Rather than getting mad that Adam can't read my mind and see that I'm struggling, I asked for help. I wasn't very optimistic about the whole thing, to be honest. I asked Adam to help motivate me, like I try to help motivate him every day. 

I went out the garage to start cleaning out my car and found him on the couch reading when I came back in, so I was a little bummed. But when I came back in from my second trip (yes, my car almost always looks like I live in it), he was upstairs with Bella. I could hear the dryer running while he sang "My Girl" to Bella as they folded laundry. 

We've come a long way. 

How are you sharing the love leading up to Valentine's Day? And, more importantly, how can you intentionally create an atmosphere of love in your life?

Live on.


  1. This is so wonderful and you are such an inspiration. I love your date binder idea. I just might have to steal it. You could do a whole post on just it. One thing we have all year round is a picture frame with some cute paper in it that has the words I love you because written on it. I have a dry erase marker attached to it. It is in our bedroom and we write little notes to each other as reminders as to why we love the other person. Sometimes they get a little know just for fun.

  2. What a blessing it is to read such beautiful, heartfelt words. Especially knowing what a wonderful heart they are coming from. As I sit here with tears rolling down my face, all I can think of is the wonderful little girl that I have always thought of as my own, and how I miss you so dearly. You truly are one of a kind Maggie. An absolute angel that God has given to this world, and I am so blessed and honored to be able to love you and know that you are my family. Bella is such so precious and she is a very blessed little girl to have you as her Momma. I love you and miss you! Love and Hugs, Aunt Tammy