The Love We Believe We Deserve

It’s the day after Valentine’s Day. Bring on the discount chocolates! 😉

The hubs and I didn’t do anything special this year, what with a baby on the way and our anniversary right around the corner. As we munched on fast food and searched for a semi-romantic movie on Netflix, I found myself thinking about my Valentine’s Days growing up.

My very first Valentine was my father. In fact, every Valentine’s Day, my sister and I would wake up to chocolates, flowers, and a sweet card from our daddy. And he wasn’t just great at Valentine’s Day. My dad was a rockstar all year long.

Every birthday, we each got a dozen roses in our favorite color. When he went away on business trips, he would always come back with a small treat or toy. Hugs, kisses, and I love you‘s were given daily. The poor man endured endless Disney movie marathons, and even let us paint his nails!

Most importantly, he was actively engaged and interested in our lives:  a shoulder to cry on, a debate partner to test our ideas, a friend to laugh and joke with, and a man we respected.

He was by no means wrapped around our fingers; the rules didn’t bend if we just asked daddy sweetly. And though he rarely spoiled us, he always made sure we knew we were loved — especially on Valentine’s Day, when so many women feel inadequate if they are not in a relationship.

What is it about this holiday that reduces accomplished and successful individuals to a single facet? Disregard all their unique talents and achievements. On Valentine’s Day, they are defined by one thing: their dating status. It’s such an easy trap to fall into, especially when we let our value as a person be determined from outside ourselves, instead of within.

All those sweet little things my daddy did were part of my parents’ larger plan to make sure we grew up with an unshakable sense of self-worth. What they both did so very well was teach us that we are always worthy of love and respect, no matter what.

“We accept the love we believe we deserve.”

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

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Owl I Need

I don’t share a whole lot about my personal life, but I have to brag … I mean, share this story. 😉

Let me begin by explaining that I am about as patient as a kid at Christmas. Pining, peeking, fidgeting, whining, heavy sighs … you get the picture. Once I see something I love, I want it NAO!

Well, at the end of summer, Kroger debuted these adorable clay owl lanterns . So adorable that I didn’t even care they were already promoting Fall merchandise in August! My life would not be complete without an owl lantern!

Clay Owl Lantern

Clay Owl Lantern

My sweet, sweet husband, however, cannot stand that kind of pushy commercialism.

“Just wait a few weeks. It’s still summer!”

“We’ll get them next trip. We don’t have room,” he said a few weeks later.

Two weeks go by. We need groceries again. My excitement level is off the charts! We park the car and walk to the front of the store where the owls had been cutely displayed amidst wood crates and corn husks.

Bum, bum, buuuuum! They are ALL GONE except for two sad owls missing their feet. 😦 I don’t know who felt worse, me for this great disappointment, or my husband for the miserable shopping trip that followed. Even though the manager said they would try to order more, there was not a single owl on the next trip.

The autumn solstice passes. It’s Fall now. Kroger has a brand new batch of pumpkin lanterns. No owls. I’ve pouted my fill by now, and I decide it’s time to get over it.

Fast forward to this weekend. We walk up to Kroger, and a dozen beautiful owl lanterns are waiting for me!!! I pick out the very best one, no scratches or cracks or missing feet. Oh, the joy! I cannot wait to get home and place my owl at the bottom of our front steps.

We pull up into the driveway, and my door is open before the car is even in park! I lift out my owl, squealing with glee, only to realize one of his feet is missing. Somewhere between loading him into the grocery cart and unloading him from the car, his foot has been amputated. 😦

Well, the look on my face must be pretty pitiful because my husband spends the next 15 minutes searching the car for that tiny, clay owl foot. When he comes inside, he looks sadder than I do. I ask him what’s wrong.

“It made you so happy to finally get one. Now it’s broken. And now you’re sad.” My heart melts into a sappy puddle at his feet.

“I’ll take it back on my way to tennis practice and exchange it for a new one that has feet.” And he really did go get a new one! He even wrapped up the owl and put it in the passenger’s side of the car to protect it!

At the end of it all, I’m glad I had to wait to get the owl. And I’m glad that the owl broke. It was all worth it for that little reminder that I have the most amazing husband in the world.

And that is owl I need. 😉

Deck of Love

I have been saving this project from my Pinterest Challenge for a very special occasion: our 1-year anniversary!  Since the traditional gift for your first anniversary is paper, it seemed like the perfect present for my other half.

Deck of Love

ShinyHappyPeebles’ Deck of Love

I love handmade presents! Plus, this is such an unconventional use of an every day item. 🙂 While the time investment is substantial, the cost is minimal.

Here is what you need: deck of cards, hole punch, binder rings, card stock, adhesive spray.

Supplies: less than $20

Supplies: less than $20

Take one of the joker cards from the deck to create a stencil for punching the holes in the other cards. Using a printer or a ruler, create a table of 1.25 by 2.25 inch rectangles on the card stock. I would recommend making more than 53 because you will make mistakes!

You could print the words on the card stock, but again, I prefer the personal touch of something handmade. I like that each card has my words for Bryan in my handwriting.

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52 Reasons I Love You

To attach the card stock recantgles to the playing cards, I used an adhesive spray. Some people find it hard to work with, but I like the even, light coating it provides much more than other pastes which can be too thick and warp the paper. Just get some cardboard from the recycling and go outside.

After I finished gluing, I split the deck into four and put weights on for a few hours to secure the bond. Double check that your cards are in the right order (and none have stuck together) and then put on your binder rings. Voila!

Deck of Love

Deck of Love

I also used some name tag stickers on the inside and back covers to write a personal message.

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All in all, I am thrilled with how this project turned out! It is a wonderful affirmation of our relationship, and I hope it will be something my husband can turn to on rough days for a boost of self-esteem or a reminder of how much I love him.

I would call this a Pinterest WIN — and a marriage WIN! 🙂

Little Reminders

It is Thursday, and I have seen my husband maybe four hours this week. For the next five weeks or so, our work schedules will run opposite, Monday through Thursday. It’s tough.

And it is a reminder that relationships take work.

I am technically still a newly wed. Our one-year wedding anniversary is in two weeks! Still, I like to think I have gained some wisdom from our four years together, and that I have learned lessons from the long and successful relationships around me.

People change every day, with every experience and interaction. In a year, you will be a different person. Your core values may be the same, but the color and flavor of your world will be different. Your perspective will be different.

We can’t just expect our relationships (friendships included) to tag along, bending and reshaping on their own to fit us as we change. Even the most solid couple can veer off course and grow apart without mutual commitment, without work.

A sweet text or e-mail during the day. A handwritten note pinned to the refrigerator. Picking up the slack with household chores. Making your partner’s favorite meal. Hugging just a little bit longer when you get home. These are small acts, but they are so important.

The big things are important, too. Respect. Commitment. Compromise. Fighting fair. Being honest about needs and fears, expectations and disappointments. Navigating life’s challenges as a team. These are the headings for your journey – your true north.

However, as this week has reminded me, the little things are the small course corrections that can keep you going in the right direction. Especially when things are tough.