Tales from a Converted Valentine’s Day Hater

I am a converted Valentine’s Day Hater.

Most of my post-elementary school life I have despised this made up holiday. In middle school and high school, you could pay to send candy kisses to people. While I get how this is fun for those who get them, we all know that it ends up being a popularity contest. Even now, as a middle school teacher, I wish I could send a dang carnation to every one of my students because I know those who don’t get them probably feel like dirt. Especially if they sent them to people and received none in return. I also know that some know they won’t get any, but secretly hope for a surprise. And are secretly disappointed when that surprise doesn’t happen.

It’s a horrible holiday when you are all adolescencey with all the feelings and greasy hair and bad fashion choices and just want to fit in.

High school didn’t get much better. I had a boyfriend then, but we were dumb high school kids. Maybe he bought me flowers or something. I do remember my junior year Valentine’s Day quite vividly. My boyfriend was a freshman in college in another state and I was back home. Since it was a Thursday or something, I decided to pick up a waitress shift at my job–it’s not like I had a date. On my way to work, I hit a patch of ice. As I was correcting the fish-tail, I hit a dry spot of pavement while my tires were turned sideways. I rolled one and a half times and ended up hanging from my seat belt in my upside-down Nissan in a {thankfully} snow-filled ditch.

When I got home, I was shaken up, feeling like garbage, and afraid of whether or not my dad would go through the roof when he found out I smashed up my car. As my parents were assuring me they were just glad I was unhurt, the delivery van from the local flower shop drove up. My mom gave a little squee, looking at my dad who shook his head. So I answered the door. They were from my boyfriend. He called later and I burst into tears. He thought they were happy tears because of the flowers. Not so much.

That was the start of some pretty rotten Valentine’s Days that included, but were not limited to, a first date ON Valentine’s Day who didn’t make reservations and then fell asleep on my dorm floor, a party that got busted up by the cops that left me standing a little intoxicated in the street without my driver because she was sober and had met a guy, and a boyfriend who bought me a balloon flower because he was going to break up with me a few weeks later.

When Cortney and I started dating, I made him promise me that Valentine’s Day would not be anything. I didn’t need a romantic holiday. I just needed it to not suck. To just be a day.

He has always complied with this. Valentine’s Day is not romantic in our house. We can do that every day.

Then we had kids.

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I do not go over the top with Halloween or Easter or Christmas or Fourth of July or any of those things. I do not do crafty things. I do not decorate for anything except Christmas and that is only because I sort of feel like I have to.

But having kids changed Valentine’s Day.

converted valentine's day hater

I am still not a crafty-crafterson by any stretch, but I inexplicably love to set up a little Valentine’s Day surprise for the kids. I love to talk about what we love about each other and ways to show our love. I do not get this jazzed for any other holiday. And I have always really, really hated Valentine’s Day, but it’s so different when it becomes Love Day.

converted valentine's day hater

I mean. How can you not fall in love with a day that gives your kids one more reason to tell you all the things they love about you and each other? You can’t NOT fall in love with it, that’s what.

Cortney and I still do not do anything special on Valentine’s Day, but there is more hugging and smooching because love is contagious.

I used to rage against Valentine’s Day.

It’s a made up holiday to make MONEY!

It leaves out all the single people!

It’s goofy and ridiculous!

Getting a reservation is impossible and there is too much pressure for romantic perfection!

But now my heart has softened a bit as I have gained three new Valentines.

converted valentine's day hater

And they do things like make me Valentine cards while Cortney lets me sleep in. And they make Valentine cupcakes with me. And they tell me what they love best about all of us.

For us, Valentine’s Day is about being romantic, it’s about celebrating love.

converted valentine's day hater

And we don’t need no stinking romantic dinner or jewelry to help us do that. Cortney and I don’t need to be alone to celebrate the love we all  have for each other.

Cupcakes with pink frosting will do just fine, thank you.

converted valentine's day hater

Or the first taste of apple juice diluted in a pile of water in a pink cup if you can’t have a cupcake. That works too.

Happy LOVE day, friends!

Old School Valentine

This month’s Old School Blogging (with the lovely Elaine and her co-host Tamara) is all about Valentine’s Day. My heart doesn’t really get all aflutter with the prospect of that Hallmark Holiday coming up, but there are fun parts, so I thought I would play along.

 

How do you typically celebrate Valentine’s Day?

I wouldn’t say what we do qualifies as “celebrating.” Sometimes Cortney and I will get each other a card or something, but it’s only if the spirit moves us. Neither of us really expect anything different from Valentine’s Day than any other day of the year.

Since having kids, though, I do like to get cutesy about love. We will probably make some heart-shaped cookies to share with our friends (because we love them) and Eddie and Charlie will each get a heart-shaped box of candy and I will make red jello for dessert on Friday.

Do you like to get A) chocolates  B) flowers  C) a sweet card or  D) ALL OF THE ABOVE?

I like all of these things any day of the year…maybe not all at the same time. Oh who am I kidding, it’s not like I would turn any of them away!

Would you consider yourself a “cuddler”?  If not, would you at least cuddle on Valentine’s Day?

No. I am not a cuddler. In fact, my personal bubble is rather large. I do like to cuddle with my kids and I’ve been known to stretch out with my feet in Cortney’s lap, but I don’t like to be touched when I am falling asleep or hugged on when I am doing something else.  No exceptions for Valentine’s Day either!

What is your favorite movie about love or with a love story?

It is hands down When A Man Loves A Woman. I am not much for chick flicks, but this one…oh it gets me feeling all the feels.

Do you believe in “love at first sight”?  Did it happen to you?

Yes. It happened with both of my boys. The first time I saw both of them I was theirs forever.

Do you believe love can conquer all things

Yes and No. Love alone will not, as the Captain and Tennille claimed, “keep us together”. More had to go into relationships than just love.

I side more with Sonny and Cher when they said, “they say our love won’t pay the rent.”

That all being said, I do believe love erases hate. Living your life for love rather than hate heals more than what you will ever know in your life time.

What is ONE of the main things you love about your S.O.(significant other)

There are lots of things, but one thing I love most about him is that he truly sees our partnership–our family–as a team effort. No one keeps track of what they are “owed”. You support the team. No matter what. Because of his attitude, I never feel alone or like I am in this by myself.

If you could have the perfect Valentine date what would you and your loved one do?

I’ve never had a “perfect” Valentine Date. I guess it wouldn’t be that much different than just a perfect date…a good movie, a box of popcorn, and a nice dinner after.  Then home to our sleeping kids.

Tell me about your first crush!

Oh my.  I think my very first crush was on a boy  named Chris when we were in the fourth grade. It was the typical story of boy and girl are meanish to each other because they like each other.  Like when he threw a magnet at me and I told him his Bart Simpson sweatshirt was stupid. Oh young love.

Do you have any embarrassing or horror dating stories?

I’ve dated some winners, that’s for sure. Probably one of the lamest thing that ever happened to me was on Valentines Day. A guy I had a crush on in college, and who worked with me in the dorm cafeteria, asked me out for Valentines Day. He picked me up at my dorm ten minutes late, didn’t have a reservation anywhere, so we ended up waiting over an hour at Applebees of all places. Then he stopped at the liquor store on the way back to my dorm for a six-pack (he was 21. I was just shy of 19). He proceeded to drink two of the beers while we watched MTV and then he fell asleep on my floor.

Yeah, we didn’t go out again.

Favorite flower?

yellow tulips.

What’s the first type of chocolate you hope for when you reach into a box of chocolates?

something with caramel in it.

Favorite love song?

“Future Days” by Pearl Jam

What is the best breakup song?

“Song for the Dumped” by Bens Fold Five

Favorite celebrity couple?

tom-hanks-and-rita-wilson

I love me some Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.

Overall, are you pro- or anti- Valentine’s Day

I’m pro-love. I don’t need Valentine’s Day for that, but it’s fun for the kiddos.

If someone did that “Say Anything” boombox thing outside your window, would you be into it, or call the police?

Totally all in. Because John Cusack.

First thing you notice about the objects of your affection.

“Objects of Affection” is cheesy, but if we are talking about Cortney, the first thing I notice each day is how he never fails to make me my two fried eggs. He wants to make sure I start my day with some protein in my tummy.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever gotten for Valentine’s Day?

IMG_4152I don’t know about gifts, but the year my best friend, Tonya, was in town and my dinner dates that night were Tonya and her husband Jeremy, Cortney, Tonya’s sister (my friend, Tammi), and my little Eddie.  That was a great Valentine’s Day.

And not just because Cortney bought us a Snicker’s ice cream pie to split.

us

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring for me, but I do know all three of my boys will get surprises from me…because I love them sort of a lot.

What are your feelings about Valentines Day?

not the worst ever, but not the best

At 16 I got into a car accident, flipping my car upside down into a ditch.

At 18 a guy I really liked, an upperclassman at my college, asked me out for Valentine’s day. He did not make reservations anywhere, so we ended up at Applebee’s. Then he bought a 6-pack and fell asleep watching MTV on my dorm floor.  We never spoke again.

At 19 I went to a Valentine’s Day house party at friend’s house.  It was the epic ending to a 3-night party (all hosted at different houses) extravaganza they held.  Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday, so there had been a theme party on Thursday, then one on Friday, and now a Valentine’s Day party.  These guys were so smart they sold a TICKET to get into all three parties.  It was so fun.  Until the cops broke up the Valentine’s party, and my ride (who was 21) was inside preoccupied by a guy while I sat on a curb crying because not only did I not have a boyfriend, but my DD had just deserted me.

At 20 my steady boyfriend lived an hour-drive from my college and there was a horrible snow storm Valentine’s weekend preventing me from leaving college to spend the weekend with him.

At 21, 22, & 23,  my steady boyfriend found new and interesting ways to let me down on Valentine’s Day.

At 24, my steady boyfriend let a girl at work make me a lame gift of a balloon shaped like a flower.  I found it on the kitchen table of his apartment after he told me he needed to sleep off a hangover.

It’s been 10 years since I had a shitty Valentine’s Day.

Apparently that meant I was overdue.

Eddie has been sick. We are pretty sure he has a case of the plague flu that is going around. He has a fever that bounces from almost non-existent to almost 102 degrees.  He ranges from acting totally normal to being sluggish and tired.  He is sleeping like absolute crap which means so are we.

We almost sent him to daycare today (Thursday). It seemed as if he was totally back to normal and I had taken a day off unnecessarily.

And then he gagged on a bite of hotdog and the mucus that is making a mass exodus from his face culminating in vomit all over his lunch plate.

Charlie cried through lunch because I couldn’t get right to him.

I slept maybe an hour the night before.

We were all strung out.

I started to cry and cry and cry.  I apologized to Eddie for making him take a bite of hotdog after he told me he just couldn’t eat.  I apologized to Charlie for getting upset with him.   I may have tweeted and facebooked about it being the WORST. VALENTINE’S DAY. EVER.

I just don’t understand why my buddy is still sick

After only an hourish nap for Eddie, and his eyes still looking glassy and his fever still above 100, I decided to call the nurse.  The office was closed.

Of course it was.

So I decided my baby boy needed to go to Urgent Care. Cort was on board, so as soon as he walked through the door, we packed a jammy-clad Eddie up, and off they went.

Ninety minutes, a step test, and chest x-rays later, they were back with a diagnosis.  A virus.  We were doing everything right.  Just keep it up.  They had no idea when it would leave him alone.

Both Cort and I have taken two days off from work this week.  We can’t financially afford for Cort to take another day off, and I can’t take another day off this week and be able to feel ok about the academic success of my students this week.  Plus I would have had to drive all the way in tonight since I don’t have sub plans for tomorrow.

This day just kept heaping on the crap.

But I was wrong about it being the worst Valentine’s Day ever.

I got tons of cuddles from Eddie today.

I got giggles and hugs from Charlie.

Cort brought me a starbucks latte home at lunch and cookies in a tube to make Eddie a Valentine’s Day treat, even if they did turn out hideously ugly.

Eddie colored me a Valentine.

Cort hugged me tightly even though I was stinky and strung out.

My mom called and offered for Eddie to go to their house tomorrow so Cort and I can both go to work.

Eddie told me I make great Fruit Loops with milk.

I got paid.

Eddie was super excited to get a few candy Kisses and new Superhero undies for Valentine’s day. He was even more excited when I told him he could also have Charlie’s candy Kisses.

Cort agreed to be my Valentine for the 9th year in a row.

vday13

Today was most definitely not the worst Valentine’s Day ever…but it will probably won’t go down as the best either.

As Cort said, we are making memories….even ones that aren’t always awesome, but they will be retold a million times over the years.

And that is a gift in and of itself.

*************

I have a couple giveaways going on right now…A skincare sample set from Bona Clara and an Affresh Cleaning Product Prize Pack.  Enter them both!

We Think You’re DINO-MITE!

About 2 weeks ago I went on a pinning spree on pinterest for Valentine ideas for Eddie to “make” for his friends at daycare.

I showed them all to Cort and asked him which one he liked best for Eddie and I to make.

Me:  Hey, babe.  Which of these do you like better?  I sort of like the Owl one, but getting a pencil is sort of boring.  But it’s cute.  What do you think?

Cort:  They’re all cute.  whatever.

Me:  Should I do this monster one?  That is cute.

Cort:  Do the bear one.  That looks easiest.  Plus we know the kids like Bear Grahams (what Eddie calls Teddy Grahams).

Me:  Ok.  Yeah.  The bear one.  Eddie can help me with that one.

Fast forward to this past Saturday morning.

Cort is going over the grocery list I made before he goes to the store to make sure he knows what I mean by everything.

Cort: Gummy Bears?

Me: Yeah, you know, for the Bear Valentine’s Eddie and I are going to make tomorrow?

Cort:  Oh. Right.  Ok.

And the boys leave me alone for a good hour to do the grocery shopping.

They get home and Eddie is all excited and sticky.

Wait…sticky?

I get a wipe and Eddie starts telling me something about candy and dinosaurs.  Cort smiles and says, “oh yes.  There was a theme to our shopping today.”

Oh fun!  I was glad Eddie was a good boy for grocery shopping and they could have some daddy/son fun.

I start to empty the groceries: cereal, poptarts, gummy dinosaurs, broccoli…

wait. gummy DINOSAURS?

Me: Um, babe?  Were they out of gummy bears? (perhaps said with more than needed attitude)

Cort: No.  We had a discussion and decided the dinosaurs were cooler.  Why?  Did it need to be bears?

Me:  Um. sort of.  It’s a BEAR HUG Valentine.  Dinosaurs don’t make sense (again said with WAY too much attitude).

Cort:  Do you want me to go back to the store?  (said trying to hold back the frustration of the wife who is maybe making too big a deal out of all of this).

Me: No.  We will just use the teddy grahams.  No biggie.  Wait…you bought dinosaur graham crackers too??

Cort: Yeah.  I told you.  It was a theme.

Me: THE WRONG THEME.

And this, my friends, is where I lost all sight that my husband took my son out of the house for over an hour so his pregnant, uncomfortable wife could shower in peace and then read her book alone.

Where I snapped off his head for forgetting something I probably would have forgotten too if I was trying to make fun and happy out of a grocery trip with a 2-year old.

Cort: It’s not the end of the world.  I will just go back.

Me (suddenly realizing I have lost my mind over something dumb): No. It’s ok.  I’ll make it work.  I’m sorry.

And I did.  Because there was no way I was making Cort go back out to the store over seven Valentines for kids under the age of five who will just scarf down the treat and toss the Valentine anyway.

So instead of “Bear Hugs to _____ from Eddie,”

We have “I think you’re DINO-MITE!  RAWR! From Eddie” (attached to a baggie with Meijer brand Dinosaur graham crackers and gummy dinosaurs).

It’s really more his style anyway.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Sluiter Nation!  We think YOU’RE Dino-mite!

RAWR!

Dating 101

With Valentine’s Day only 14 days away, a lot of people are thinking about romance and date nights and mooshy stuff.

Or not.

I was interviewed by Care.com about how Cort and I keep the zing in our relationship.

Hint:  it has nothing to do with jewelry or roses.

You should also read the rest of the interviews by some of my very favorite bloggers like Meredith, Jenni, Beth Ann, and Kelly.  I am pretty honored to be among these talented women for this round up of interviews.

Plus they all have great stories and tips for keeping the dating flame alive.

See you over there.

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