Sunday, February 17, 2013

#89 He is Worthy of China

I'm going to be very blunt about this.  Some of you will hate me for it and some of you will love me.  More than likely, no one will totally understand me completely.

I am not a lover of Valentine's Day.

I said it, I meant it, the end.

It isn't anything Valentine's Day ever did to me.  I was never jilted on Valentine's Day, I don't hold a grudge against holidays named for Saints, and I certainly don't have any problem with free chocolates.

It always seemed to me a pointless day.  Children get gifts for it, husbands get stressed for it, and women are left plumper from it.

And all this because we are supposed to be communicating something that we should be expressing to our loved ones with every possible passing moment of every single day of our lives.

This year, around the first week of February, when Christmas had finally ended in my home, I saw the displays of pinks and red interspersed with delicious varieties of chocolates and the words 'I Love You'.  Some sort of not human emotion overcame me and I was burdened with the desire to have a real Valentine's Day.

Translation: I was going to get excited to celebrate it.

I let hubby in on this little decision of mine and naturally he delivered with class.

Like I said, I've never been jilted on Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day Eve I spent home sick.  That said, it was a nice pick me up to receive this early surprise of flowers.

Not to be misquoted from one of my beginning posts, I will remind you that flowers usually aren't the best way to my heart.  I am sadly prone to kill the beauties by mere neglect, yet, I do still fancy being sent flowers.

These were simply gorgeous.

I had an inkling that Valentine's Day would bring about more treats, and I was right.  Sherrie's Berries delivered a dozen gourmet chocolate covered strawberries to my door.

I think this summer I'm going to get creative with strawberries and chocolate.

Thank you Sherrie's Berries.

Thank you hubby.

Sorry thighs.

At this point, hubby had done so much to make my Valentine's as traditional yet also spectacular as possible.  He also was bringing home dinner.  I decided the best way I could contribute, and also get the whole excitement about Valentine's Day out of my system, was to make our dinner table look beautiful.

I pulled our unity candle out and as I was setting it up I had a wild idea.

I would use my china.

The china I've never used.

The china that sat stored away for five and half years of marriage, never seeing the light of day.

It was time.  I had waited long enough for notables of royalty, political value, or mere fame to drop by for a formal dinner.  It was time to use these settings on the one person who I want to share every meal with, ever.


Our very first Valentine's Day together, hubby made reservations at an Italian restaurant we both had been to before and enjoyed.  Despite our reservations, we arrived and stood waiting to be seated for at least two hours.

We've never  gone out on Valentine's Day since then.

Some years we went out to 'celebrate' on a day near Valentine's, others one cooked for the other, and this year hubby did what he did the first year we were married: 'To Go' ordering from LongHorn Steakhouse.

This is really the best option for those who don't want to cook and don't want to deal with the craziness of going to a restaurant on Valentine's Day.

Firecracker chicken wraps started our meal off.  My favorite part is dipping them in the avocado lime sauce that I clearly didn't picture.  It provides the perfect balance to the kick of spice in the wraps.

Since we're absolutely adorable as a couple, we split our meals so that we both could get the best of both worlds.  Flo's filet is my usual go to, and chicken tenders are hubby's.

The chicken tenders really are the best around.

But I could never order chicken tenders over a delicious filet.

For dessert, I forgot to mention another little treat that had been delivered with my chocolate covered strawberries: mini cheesecakes!

They were the perfect end to a perfect Valentine's Day.

And I promise, hubby and I  didn't eat all three that night.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

#88 He Wants to Grow Old Together

"If you live to be 100, I hope to live to be 100 minus a day so I never have to live without you,"
~Winnie the Pooh

Most of us aren't too fond of the idea that each year we grow a little older.  Bones begin to crack, skin begins to crinkle, and the thought of going to bed at 7:00 suddenly seems a perfectly normal and natural thing to do.  In fact, we wonder what was wrong with us all those years that we fought bedtime.

After I turned 26 I decided that from that point on I would only celebrate anniversaries of my 25th birthday.  This year, for example, I celebrated my 25th birthday for the third time.

I know that I'm only kidding myself.  I know in my bones that I'm 27.  And when my dreaded 30th birthday comes, despite the fact I'll tell everyone I'm 25 (for the sixth time), I'll know.  

My Gram turned 80 yesterday.  To celebrate such a monumental occasion my mom planned a surprise party at Villa Mannino in Bordentown.  

I'm sorry, but I have to say it.  There isn't any better looking 80-year-old woman out there.

It's hard to truly convey who my Gram is and all the life, love, and energy that is a part of knowing her.  But here's a small start:

She wears heels.  Often.
She walks in the city in heels.  And doesn't complain.
She maintains her pool.  Without any help.  In wedges.
She lets you borrow her car.  Without question, without concern; other than for your safety.
She cooks.  For everyone and anyone.
She is hospitable.  If she has known you forever or she just met you she will care for you like you are her own.
She is selfless.  Ask for the shirt off her back and she will find a way to give it to you.
She is caring.  Sincerely caring.  She is one of the people that make this world a better place.

So we celebrated the wonder that is Gram with champagne and white wine, her favorite.

Pretty packaged presents.

A bounty of balloons.

And entertainment from all her grandchildren.

I don't think she stopped smiling.

My little brother, Joel, a much more eloquent and entertaining speaker than I, got everyone to share a little love for Gram.  We laughed, and cried happy tears, thinking of all the goodness and blessings Gram has bestowed on all who know her.

We had cake which on the outside looked like any typical birthday cake...

but on the inside was mind blowing.  Spongy vanilla cake with smooth whipped cream and strawberries--yum, yum, yum!  It made me desperately want summer so that I could make my strawberry shortcake trifle.

Joel's friend Tyler enjoyed the cake too.  He got a little jealous of all the pictures I was taking of it, so I snapped a quick one of him.

And one of hubby too.  Doesn't he look positively dreamy in his vest and tie?

The overall wish of all the guests was that they might all look as good as Gram when they reach 80.

This is my wish too.

It was in the midst of all this, when I recognized that growing old is what you make it.  If you focus on the fact that you're sagging in places that you didn't even know could sag, that you have lost count of your gray hairs, or that you suddenly shake your finger at little rascals and threaten to call the cops on them; you simply have become old.  But if you look at life's problems and take Gram's philosophy that Joel quoted of, "Screw it!" you'll always be young at heart.

I know I'll never love the number I am in age, but I know that I want to grow old and I want to be like Gram as I do it.  I want to exemplify youth in old age and live life to its absolute fullest.  And as I do it, I also want to remember the seventeen-year old-lovers of my youth who promised each other that they could never live one moment apart.  Remembering this, I'll treasure my husband more and more with each passing day we share together as one.