Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Really Sweet Day

Honestly . . . historically speaking . . . I really do not like Valentine's Day. I've never liked it.

It all started back in middle school. Every Valentine's school day ended the same. The school secretary would take the last 15 minutes of class to announce who needed to go to the cafeteria to get their balloons, flowers, stuffed animals . . . and then there was mass chaos trying to exit the building because you couldn't see past the mylar and jumbo stuffed bears. I can still see it now. Every year was the same. The same girls got the same stuff. On a side note, I wonder where all that stuff is now?!? Anyway, they could've saved a lot of time by announcing that every girl EXCEPT Julie Connell go to the cafeteria. I was never the recipient of a dozen roses or a box of chocolates. And I hated it.

So when I got married, I had perhaps a better outlook on February 14. I can still remember our first Valentine's Day as husband and wife. I had small expectations. I just wanted to go out for a nice dinner. I don't even remember now where we went . . . I just remember riding around Baton Rouge and stopping at several restaurants, only to find they were "booked" for the evening. We didn't have reservations anywhere (I didn't know we needed reservations!) so we were turned away time and again. We went back to our apartment and ordered a pizza. Then we had to wait an hour and a half for delivery! At that point, I decided that my initial impression of Valentine's Day was fairly accurate, and I never looked forward to it again.

I don't remember very much about the Valentine's Days since that one in 2001. I really don't expect anything . . . except a card. That's what I want. A card. And I really like it when you write something in it besides your signature.

Two and a half weeks ago, Seth came home from work one Friday afternoon with a dozen roses. I was . . . shocked. I LOVE fresh flowers. But I rarely ever get them. Seth's excuse is that he doesn't want someone he doesn't know delivering flowers to me . . . he'd rather do it himself. Whatever. Anyway. It wasn't a special occasion. The card was the sweetest ever. He wrote, "Just because I love u." I figured he was trying to butter me up for another week that he would be working in Texas. At that point, he'd been working in Texas four weeks, coming home only on the weekends. I was tired . . . tired of him being gone and physically tired from being a "single parent" for a month. But he actually got to stay in Louisiana that next week. Those roses sat on the counter for two weeks. They were nice and dead long before that, but I couldn't bring myself to get rid of them yet. I didn't mention it . . . but I figured they were going to also suffice as my Valentine's Day present, too. That happened several years ago . . .

We moved to Mississippi in 2007. We put our house in Louisiana on the market on January 5. In less than a month, we received a full-price offer in cash for our house. Of course we accepted. But there was a catch: we had to be out of the house in two weeks. At that point, Seth was already working in Mississippi and "living" in a hotel there. I was in Louisiana with Mason, who was 18 months old. We had not found a house in Mississippi that we liked. And I had no idea how in the world I was going to have our house packed and everything moved in two weeks, much less where in the world to move it to. So I was a little stressed. I was a lot stressed. I remember talking to Seth on the phone that night and just crying because I didn't know what to do, and he wasn't there to help me. The next day was much better. A plan came together, and a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers arrived from a local florist. Seth had sent me flowers!

Valentine's Day was a few days later . . . at which time Seth told me, "You remember those flowers you got last week . . . " Nice. So that's why I thought my roses from two weeks ago were my Valentine this year.

I was wrong. When Seth came home from work last Friday, he had this box in his hand.
This would be a box of Godiva . . . I absolutely LOVE chocolate . . . and I've gotten several small boxes of assorted chocolates during the past 10 years . . . but never truffles before! And, of course, my husband would get the largest box they have! These things are just pure divine. The best thing is that he doesn't care for sweets very much, especially chocolate, so they're all mine! Happy Valentine's Day to me!
Yesterday really was a sweet day. The weather is beautiful . . . mid 70s! So we played outside a lot when Mason got home from school. And then we came inside so Mason and Hannah Kate could open their Valentines.Pop and Mimi sent a lot of goodies . . . but nothing got a bigger smile than this baseball. They gave Mason a baseball for Christmas to go with his new bat and batting tee, but it got lost in all of the excitement of unwrapping gifts, and we never found it. So we all laughed when Mason pulled this "replacement" ball out of his bag.Hannah Kate received a lot of sweet treats, too. But she loves her new Dora nightgown. Dora has become her new BFF. And she has a huge crush on Diego. I really need to blog about that. As for me . . . I really struggled this year with what to get Seth. I love giving gifts, but I love giving the PERFECT gift, and that just never came to me this time around. They say that 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.' That can definitely be said for my husband. He loves to eat good food. And I love to cook. So that was my gift to him. I cook supper for our family five, if not six, nights a week every week. And I love it! So I decided to try something new . . . it was inspired by Paula Deen and the best EVER shrimp and grits I ever ate at Julep Restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi. I'd go back to Jackson just to eat at Julep!

I made shrimp and gouda cheese grits . . . my mama is turning up her nose right now . . . but OH. MY. So rich and creamy and heavenly good! I also had our favorite salad: mixed greens with strawberries, blue cheese (my mama is REALLY turning up her nose now!), sweet 'n' spicy pecans and homemade honey balsamic dressing. Oh, and we ate on our wedding china (not the "everyday" stuff), too! I love doing that on Valentine's Day and our wedding anniversary!
And for dessert . . . (okay, so I had a little help from the bakery at Whole Foods) . . .
Yesterday really was a sweet day. My mother-in-law had offered to keep Mason and Hannah Kate so Seth and I could go out to eat, but I told her we'd already planned to stay home instead. And I'm so glad we did. Valentine's Day has never been what I always imagined what it might be like. But I think that's because my husband makes so many other days besides February 14 feel like Valentine's Day! I do love that man!


Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your story. it made me smile.

Mama said...

Love the post...and, you're right. Stanky cheese!! No, no.

sallie brown said...

i agree w/Mama!

Anonymous said...

Your mama doesn't know what she is missing! That looks fantastic!

The Applings said...

Amazing post - what a sweet story! I definitely want your shrimp and gouda grits recipe - yummo-liscious!!