Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentines Day: Florist Style

I remember anticipating my first Valentines Day with Will in 2004. We were engaged. But to my absolute dismay, as February 14th neared, I sensed he had no plans for celebrating the holiday of lo-ooooove. I was going to have to speak up--straight up PRY to make sure I wasn't going to feel like a fool when my fiance didn't do anything for me on Valentines Day. (So selfish and superficial-sounding, I know. )

"So, Will, what do ya wanna do for Valentines Day?" I asked.
"I don't know. What do you want to do?"
(I'm mildly flustered because I can tell he's given it no thought.)
"I don't know, but we should do
"Valentines Day has always been a work day for me... I don't really consider it a holiday," he said.

I didn't get it. Not one bit.
That was no excuse. So he worked on Valentines Day growing up in his family-owned flower business...big deal! Everyone works on Valentines Day. Determined to let him know that it was important to me to do something special on Valentines Day to celebrate us, I told him we didn't have to get each other gifts, but we could do something fun together every year on Valentines Day--start some sort of tradition. After tossing around some so-so ideas we decided that we would go to a dance every year. We debuted our idea at an 80s dance on campus and had a bombdigity time. Our tradition lived one year and then died, forgotten.

Skip ahead a few years... it's February of 2007.

Despite swearing he'd never grow up and work in the family business, Will's now working for Flowers to Go! He's in training to take over the business and it's stressful in a way that I'd never before understood, but I was finally about to understand. I got called in to the design center to help out at around 9pm on the 13th and worked until 4 or 5am. That's all it took. I understood. Valentines Day really was a work day and quite frankly, after arranging bouquet after bouquet, the last thing I wanted was a dozen roses for Valentines Day!

Because I've got the kids to take care of at home, I haven't been pulled into the design center since 2007, but Will working long hours has been the story of Vday ever since for us. And I LOVE him for it. I love him for all that hard work. I love that it kind of feels like he's Santa Claus, working around the clock to make sure every girl gets her flowers. 

Although I don't go in and help, I do try and bring everyone dinner on at least one of the nights. The kids love seeing their daddy and giving their grandparents a big kiss! They also love seeing so many flowers in one place. It really is so pretty and fragrant.

Here's my very tired Will doing his thing.

More gorgeous flowers in the cooler...

Back at home, we made Valentines for Maggie's kindergarten class... this idea I found on Our Best Bites.

Strawberry-flavored candied popcorn. Num. Num.

Here is Maggie's class singing a Valentines song for all the parents. Super cute.

She had two boys give her presents, which she loved. One boy gave her a box of chocolates and another gave her a stuffed dog that wiggles its ears and sings "I love you. I love you. Everyday, I love you!" Yes, this mush starts in Kindergarten. I couldn't believe it!

Even I got flowers! Thanks, babe.

Here is Maggie and her teacher who we all adore. I couldn't be happier with her first year as a schoolgirl. To say she loves it would be an understatement.

And Will still had energy to snuggle up and read Magson his bedtime story when he got home on Valentines Day. Today February 14th, in its own way, is truly special to me because even though Will's not around, I spend the time missing him and feeling so grateful for all he does for our family. Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oh Happy Day

It was normally a chance she didn’t take. She’d done it a handful of times when she was practically a baby, but she was several months older now, and I bet onlookers assumed fear held her captive. But I knew better. I knew from her tiny grin and the sparkle in her deep blue, long-lashed eyes, that she simply wasn’t interested in leaving her high post with its spectacular view. Instead, she looked down with exhilaration on those she normally looked up to.

“You gonna go down?” I prodded from the foot of the wet slide, even though I knew the answer. This was all a game to her, and an impatient line was forming. I wished the neighborhood kids would scat. I told them she was too cold to come down as I picked her up and out of their way.

I was cold. I wanted to bury my hands into my coat pockets and watch her frolic on solid ground from the park bench. Instead, I found myself, like usual, shadowing her from below, worried that if I even took a moment to blink, a big kid would knock her off a platform that was only party railed, and she’d come crashing into the bark. I’m sure it would have been more effective to climb the stairs and really hover, but who loves to be the helicopter mom?

I was looking to head back inside in 15-minutes tops. And that I did, my emotions bouncing between feeling pretty awesome for bringing them outside in the cold at all, and feeling pretty lame for wrapping things up so quickly.

But out of nowhere, a few days later, February brought us a small dose of spring-like weather. I’m always amazed at how quickly a bright day can rejuvenate me. We happily made plans to have a picnic lunch at a park we hadn’t been to since the summer.

As I pulled in, the kids squealed when they saw the monstrous metal slide that gives this park its only bragging rights.

The swings and several other doodads had been uprooted since our last visit, but it was no matter. The big blue slide was still there. I wasn’t really thinking about the slide when I chose our destination. This park was just conveniently located. I hesitated to unbuckle them, thinking about how hard it was going to be to keep Magnolia off that thing with its near-vertical, 13-step ascent. And what’s worse than bark for a crash-pad landing? Rocks.

I opened the car doors and let them loose anyway. And sure enough, she zeroed in on the slide quicker than I could get our stuff to the picnic table.

I ran after her, helped her all the way up the steps and then quickly plopped her in my lap so we could go down together. That was the first of many rounds of fun. I gradually backed off a bit, only following her up the stairs and letting her slide on her own. Before long I’d only stand behind the ladder to make sure she didn’t fall on her upward trek. The next thing I knew, I was in my happy place taking pictures of our beautiful day.

The weather felt glorious. My skin devoured the Vitamin D as the sun did its number on us, and I could literally feel my spirit lift at its warmth.  My kids were all happy, in their carefree, this-is-the-best-day-ever, state. We had the park to ourselves. I’m pretty sure Magson got a tan. And the thrill in Magnolia's eyes as I watched her take a chance and go down that enormous slide again and again, each time getting more and more daring, was so satisfying.

In the lull of winter, you need days like that once in awhile--- days when you feel on top of the world.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Best. Purchase. Ever.

We went back and forth about whether or not to get the kids a tramp for Christmas. I was worried about broken bones... it's something I still worry about...

But oh my goodness, even in this dead of winter, my kids bounce on that thing any chance they get! They love it! We all love it! I finally got enough courage to do some front and back flips on it, which makes this near 30-year-old feel like pretty hot stuff. There have already been picnics on it, daddy-daughter/son adventures ("adventure" is code for date), and even our littlest loves to bounce on there with the big kids. She's always pointing out the window and saying, "Jump! Jump!"

So, yeah. I'd say it has been my favorite "toy" we've purchased for our kids yet, especially since we got it for a steal on Black Friday last year, and also especially since I wasn't the one braving the lines in the wee hours of the night to buy it. (A big thanks to Will for that!) And also a big thanks to Uncle Jake who set it up for us! I'm really irritated I can't find the photos I took of that. :/

Anyway, hip-hip! To many more memories made on the family trampoline!



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