Monday, February 13, 2012

The History of Our Valentine's Days

Valentine's Day 2001 was the first holiday Christian and I shared as a dating couple. Although we had dated for several months, I was still living in Clemson until I moved to Atlanta that January for work. Let it be said that I was completely smitten. I am not sure that I believe in love at first sight but from the moment I met Christian, I was determined he was going to be mine (you'll have to ask him for his version of the story). Head over heels does not even begin to describe how I felt about this cute, smart, shy guy.

For our first Valentine's Day Christian made dinner reservations at the Horseradish Grill. Before we left on our date he presented me with a card that contained Matchbox Twenty concert tickets and a gerber daisy plant. To understand how I feel about gerber daisies, see the photo below. Christian rocked that first Valentine's Day. I was blown away. Not only is this the guy of my dreams but he gives awesome presents too. Score!

So you can understand my surprise when Valentine's Day 2002 rolled around and Christian mentioned about a week prior that he really didn't celebrate Valentine's Day. Since I have always been very mature and rational when my feelings are hurt, I sulked. That year Valentine's Day fell on a Friday. The day after Christian's anti-Valentine's Day proclamation, I informed him that since he didn't believe in Valentine's Day I would be spending the weekend in South Carolina. I don't think that is what he had in mind but I can be a bit stubborn and I indeed went home for the weekend.

Since our second Valentine's Day we have called a truce and now Christian always finds a special way to show his love.

I was especially impressed last year. I was three weeks postpartum, exhausted and overwhelmed. I had no card for Christian and I am not even sure I had showered or washed my hair in days. Christian and Jack ran an errand to Costco for diapers and pre-made dinners. When they returned Jack walked in with a dozen roses and Christian with chocolates. He had a sweet card for me and cooked my favorite nursing mama meal of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I am still so in love with my cute, smart, shy guy.

This year I will celebrate with these guys and I all three have me completely smitten.

Happy Valentine's Day! Remember to tell your special someones that you love them.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


At the beginning of the year I spent time thinking about how to live my life with more intention. After four years of pregnancy, newborn and nursing, pregnancy, newborn and nursing; I am finally sleeping and have time to focus energy on other things. I asked myself what characteristics I want to portray as I walk through each day. Strength, gratitude, generosity, kindness. Those were the words I decided upon. The friends and family I admire most, whether I watch them from a distance or know them intimately, exemplify these qualities regularly.

Motherhood has heightened my desire to live a better life. One thing I know for sure is that children see everything and I want to set a quality example. My priority for my children, above intelligence, success (whatever that means), and achievement; is for them to be kind and generous. Above all things kindness is the quality that demonstrates good character. However, as I look at my list and think about my positive examples; kindness is the one area that I need the most improvement. 

This year when I read Jen Hatmaker's book, "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" I learned that if you live in a household that earns $50,000 per year or more you are in the top one percent of the world. I do not want to raise entitled people; I want to raise people that know that a home, pantry full of food, warm beds at night and readily available education are blessings. If I am honest I have no idea how to do this other than living an example of kindness and generosity.

I am not an intentionally mean person. I don't kick kittens or even spank my children. I do have times when I could demonstrate more kindness in word and deed. I believe focusing on kindness will benefit my family and make me happier. 

Writing this down and sharing it with the world makes me scared. But I want to share it because I know other people struggle with kindness too. I am not sure how much of this journey I will share but I have specific areas in my life that I want to focus on: faith, health, random acts of kindness, organizing my home. I believe that a kind heart and a generous spirit will aid as I focus on living intentionally. Jack and Grace deserve a humble, kind, generous mother. 

A quick story. My neighbor Pam is super generous. Last week Christian had a business trip and I just mentioned this to Pam over the fence as we were toting our babies in from our various outings. Later that day Pam called to tell me she was bringing over a spaghetti pie from her freezer. What an unexpected act of kindness. And the best part is I know Pam doesn't expect anything in return. That is what I aspire to be - generous without an expectation of reciprocation. 

I gave the blog a facelift. I wanted to freshen it up. I want to share more positive stories. I want to talk about my family, cute kids, and fun adventures but I also hope that my focus on kindness will come through in topics of faith, food, friendship, motherhood and home. If you notice a change I hope you find it uplifting.