Valentine’s Day in the Suburbs

When Dave and I were dating we used to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 13th. On our first Valentine’s together he had a convention on the 14th (convenient, right?) so we went out the night before instead. We liked the quietness of the restaurant – no crowds or “special” (overpriced) menus – and carried on the tradition of February 13th for years after.

We gloated a bit in our cleverness. We had Valentine’s down!

One  year early in our marriage Dave was heading out of town Valentine’s morning, most likely to that same convention, and casually asked me if I still made the bed when he went out of town.

“Of course,” I told him.

“Have fun  making the bed,” he said as he kissed me and headed out the door.

I found a white-ribboned blue box that made me squeal with delight hidden in the tangled sheets. Inside was a silver necklace. Or maybe it was a bracelet earrings. To be honest I can’t remember. I used to get a lot of jewelry in blue boxes back in those days.

On Saturday night I posted this photo on Instagram and Facebook:

Valentines Dessert
Valentine’s In the suburbs

Our Valentine’s dessert after a dinner of sweet hot mustard chicken thighs (a recipe I’d been wanting to try that I knew Dave and I would like, but the kids wouldn’t), asparagus and roasted potatoes.

Please don’t assume that because I made something the kids wouldn’t like that we dined alone. I made their chicken plain and the four of us enjoyed a lovely dinner together.

After dinner we told the kids they had to watch a romantic comedy with us. We chose Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. As a lover of 80’s music (and former 80’s sort-of-groupie), it’s one of my favorites. Marley lasted three quarters of the way through before tapping out (that girl has no taste), but Chandler liked the movie and watched the all way through. He says he still can’t get the song Pop Goes My Heart out of his head.

It is pretty catchy in all of its fake-80’s fabulousness.

(By the way, if you’ve never seen Music and Lyrics you must first watch this spectacular video and then do whatever you have to do -cable, Netflix, your local library- to watch it. You will totally thank me because it’s awesome. So I will preemptively say, “You’re welcome!”)


I made a homemade Valentine with a printed someecards & taped it to a dark chocolate bar and stuck it under Dave’s pillow.

someecards Valentines Day
This was not his card, but it’s pretty appropriate for this post.


Yeah, I go all out. Dave said he thought we agreed that we weren’t doing Valentines this year. Uh… no. But perhaps after (almost) 21 years of marriage that agreement is implied. If I told you that his neglect of a forced Hallmark holiday hurt my feelings I’d be lying. In fact I’d have been shocked if he had done something. And now I get to eat the chocolate I gave him (conveniently the kind I like) without guilt.

Hmmm… a recipe I’ve been wanting to try, a good bottle of wine, one of  my favorite cheesy romantic comedies and  my husband’s dark chocolate all for me? Turns out I’m still pretty clever when it  comes to Valentine’s Day.

How (Not) to Wrap a Present

gift giving

Chandler went to a Sweet Sixteen birthday party at a swanky hotel in the city on Saturday night. We decided to give a gift card to a trendy local shop that all the teenage girls seem to love because I believe it’s important to shop local. Also, because Chandler has no idea what to buy a girl. And I don’t know the girl so I have no idea what to buy her either.

I asked Chandler if he needed help wrapping it. I have little boxes and adorable girl wrapping paper. Nope. He had it covered. He had a tin from a gift card he received at Christmastime. Of course it was green and red and not what I would choose, but I’m walking that fine line between having my kids do things independently and teaching them the proper way to do them.

“What about a card?” Dave asked as Chandler was heading out the door to buy the gift card. (Yes, Chandler has his driver’s license now. But that is a blog for another time. I’m going to have to take a few swigs of freezer vodka before I can work up the courage to write how I feel about that!)

“I have something,” I said. I have a stash of gift tags and generic cards. Because while I’ll give Chandler twenty bucks to buy a gift card for some girl I don’t know so he can enjoy his childhood and maintain a semi-cool social status by going to cool birthday parties, I draw the line at spending $3.49 for a birthday card every time he heads to a party. (Sorry Hallmark, your wit and sentiment is for my friends only!)

Although, now that I think of it, it would be rather entertaining to see what kind of card Chandler would pick. (Oh to be a fly on the wall while that’s happening!)

Before Chandler headed out the door to the party I asked him if he needed a card or a gift tag. He told me no. And then he showed me this:

Name blurred to protect the innocent!

Yes, dear reader, that would be masking tape on the bottom of a Christmas gift tin. All I can say to Chandler’s future wife is I’m sorry. I really have tried. But this boy is hopeless.

Top photo by asenat29 courtesy of  Creative Commons