Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine Report

We had a special Valentine's Day even while keeping a modest budget! The Saturday before Valentine's Day, we went to a fundraiser dinner for the Young Men/Young Women's camp fund, and enjoyed sitting at a table filled with friends. Great entertainment from our server for the evening, though I'm sure most of the time it was unintentional entertainment on his part. lol. The church provided a nursery, and I was happy to see that Lo settled right down to play. He seemed to recognize the nursery room since he has been going there for a few weeks now with me. Jerry and I had talked earlier about how we would need to leave the dinner by 7pm so we could get that Lo home for bed, but then the dinner was served a bit late, and we ended up staying until 7:40 at which time the nursery leader had to come get us because that Lo started to have a meltdown from being overtired. Rats. I hate to compromise his sleep. Holidays and travel are the two tempting times to push our baby beyond his usual schedule...but he was happy enough on the car ride home when we shared our cheesecake with him.
For his Valentine shirt, I tried to make a cute craft one using vinyl, bleach, and a red t-shirt. It was going to be awesome. But then it wasn't that awesome afterall. So here is the shirt he wore for Valentine's Day: "We steal heart not money." Chinglish; gotta love it. (we bought this shirt in HK).
On actual Valentine's Day, Jerry ended up feeling sick in the morningtime, so he came home to work from home for the day--but as soon as he got home, he felt just fine! Seriously, he wasn't faking it. But it worked out well for us, and it was nice spending extra time with him. We didn't spend much on gifts--chocolates, a balloon, and homemade cards and decorations.

In my home growing up, I remember feeling really excited to drag out the decorations each time a holiday rolled around. We did not have exorbitant amounts of decor for any one holiday, but for most of the major holidays we had some memorable favorites--the same decorations that appeared year after year. For instance, at Halloween there were stuffed pumpkins, plush and adorable with black button eyes, and equally squeezable stuffed rabbits at Easter. These stuffed bunnies were made out of white ribbed stockings, I believe, and sat in a basket lined with yucky fake moss material. I don't recall any Valentine decorations that made a regular appearance, but my mom was always good about putting our Elementary school artwork projects up on the kitchen bulletin board. And I was the kind of kid who spent hours upon hours getting my Valentines ready to pass out at school, even choosing thoughtfully the particular conversation hearts each individual friend would receive. So when Jerry and I got married, he started to see this worrisome trend of me wanting to go all out on holiday decorations. Since we were still students with limited budget, and limited space, he asked me to try to hold off on acquiring holiday "junk" until we have a home of our own. I admire his minimalist attitude, and I readily agreed to these terms--for the most part. But I still found ways to compromise, since we need to enjoy a little holiday festivities even while still in our apartment-dwelling newlywed days. So, to explain a bit about our smallish Valentine decor, I'll start with the photo shown above. It is a dollar store plastic box. Jerry got it for me last year as part of a group date scavenger hunt. Jerry knows I like containers. But I mulled over throwing it away (gasp!) because it sat around our house for a whole year and I realized I still wasn't sure what to use it for. But then I decided to institute a new Valentine tradition for us Tams. The love box now has pink notebook paper inside it, as well as a few heart-shaped stickers and a pen. We can have ready access to this box for writing love notes in the weeks preceding Valentine's Day! I set the box on our kitchen counter and sure enough, it encouraged me to write a few love notes to my sweetheart during the lead-up to Valentine's Day. Jerry didn't catch on to this tradition yet, but I'm sure over the years he and our kids will all share my vision. ;)

Next in our space-efficient decoration lineup: the True Love banner. It folds down into a flat little bundle when storage time comes, so Jerry has allowed it. :) My friend Nicole made this for me. Adorable; it makes me think of a box of chocolates. I also redid our mantle to contain photos from our wedding, the temple we were sealed in, and a picture of us in Hong Kong during a sort of wedding celebratory meal to fit more with the Valentine theme.

Heart Wreath; the only reason this decoration is space efficient is because I am using it for multiple holidays. My grandparents had sent money for Christmas (thanks again!) and we used some of it to purchase a collection of Christmas tree ornament bulbs at the after-Christmas sales. I strung a few dozen of these ornaments--the more Valentinesy colors of course--on a wire hanger that I had shaped into a heart. My instructions are never that easy to follow, so just google a tutorial for this project if you like the looks of it. I didn't glue my bulbs, so I might just un-string them to reuse someday on a Christmas tree.

And that Lo really likes playing with the remainder. They are the shatterproof kind of ornament, and we've really put them to the test as Lo Lo throws them down the stairs, steps on them, bites them, etc. He truly believes they are his toys, his wonderful bunch of colorful balls. So these Christmas decorations may never get put away.
p.s. one more Valentine tradition I have started doing is reading a book on strengthening marriage. This year's book is called Your Man is Wonderful, by Noelle C. Nelson. I remember learning about some type of therapy in my therapy theories class that teaches "the miracle you want to have happen is already in the process of happening," and this book reminds me of that principle. It is really positive and a good read, and though I haven't finished it yet, I'd recommend it.


Valerie said...

Excellent ideas for celebrating love!

Anna said...

I love love love that Love Note Box idea!
I also love love love that ornament wreath!