Monday, February 18, 2013

I {heart} Valentines

Valentines Day didn't go exactly as expected. Not that I ever really expect much. I mean, to be honest, the day of "love" has always been that day I secretly anticipate, yet equally loath all at the same time.
In my younger years, I never really cared too much for the day as my coupledom status hardly ever seemed to fall on this commercially enhanced holiday. And when it did, the guy never remembered.

Looking back, my most fond memories of Valentines Day are not about some guy I had a crush on and skipped 5th period math just to watch as my singing valentine was delivered to his lunch table. No, I fondly recall my father sneaking into my bedroom before heading out to work at the ungodly hour of 5am. I'd lay there in bed, eyes closed, pretending to be asleep as we would leave me a gift on my night table. Usually I'd wait until I heard his car engine start and then fade, as he drove down the street, before turning on my light and searching for what he left.

It was usually a bag of candy hearts or a box of chocolates, something Valentine related, and an envelope with my name on it. You know guys are not usually the mushy, talk about your feelings type. My Dad is different. I could always go to him with anything that was on my mind. It is a unique trait that I have always cherished in my relationship with him. Still, sometimes you just can't get out what you want to say, so a perfectly picked card would do the trick. And my dad always was the best at picking out cards that touched the heart. I suppose this is where I got my habit for giving cards and little gifts to those I love.

But I digress.

Valentines 2013 was a morning when I hit the snooze button longer than I should, foiling my plans to get up before the kids and have some spectacular Valentine breakfast waiting for them to devour before school. Instead, it was the same old routine of struggling to get Sophie dressed and down the stairs. Breakfast wasn't anything more than cream cheese on a bagel, orange juice, and gummy vitamins.  Then I hurriedly threw together the day's snack while my much needed cup of joe was brewing.
The day before, I spent all afternoon in the kitchen baking (and all evening decorating) heart shaped cookies for a bunch of Kindergartners. You see, I felt I was neglecting Mason's school year by not having signed up to be a room parent in his classroom as well. So I wanted to do my part and felt cookies were innocent enough. I made a cream cheese sugar cookie recipe I found online. Next time I think I will stick to the timeless sugar cookie recipe, as I had to improvise on this one just to get it to be dough like, and the cream cheese added a little too much tartness for my taste. But in a taste test with the kids, they got a thumbs up.
Don't they look yummy? After all my hard work, I was anxious to get them to the party but at the moment, my only thought was to devour my hot, delicious cup of coffee, so I could stay awake long enough to make it till the afternoon. 

It was just before the first alarm, letting me know that Sophie had 5 minutes to scarf down whatever food was left and get ready for carpool, that Mason mentioned he didn't feel so well. He said he was dizzy and I could tell he was a bit pale as I approached him. His skin was on fire and I told him to sit on the couch as I went to the medicine cabinet for the thermometer. 101. I checked two more times for good measure, but as much as I wished it to, the number on the LCD didn't change.

Woo. Hoo. Taking care of a sick child wasn't exactly how I wanted to spend my Valentines Day, yet oddly, it was enough. Fred had a meeting in Winchester, so the kids and I spent the afternoon watching Disney Junior, decorating our Valentine mailboxes, and attempting to rest. The process of getting my children to sit still and rest when they have a fever is a bit like telling a dog not to bark. Still, I managed to get them both down for a nap and had a few quiet moments to handcraft some Valentine cards.

Soon Fred arrived home with a gift from the kids.
Truly the most unique roses I have ever received. Mason has always been the best at picking flowers, in fact he gets super upset if Fred buys me flowers without him. Clearly the phone call they shared earlier was regarding which roses to get me, and Mason made the perfect choice again.

Fred also bought me another beautiful Orchid.
Purple of course. Isn't it beautiful? Having flowers in my house, and longer than the average two days or so that roses tend to last (a green thumb I am not), really brightens up the place. I smile every time I walk into the kitchen.

For dinner, I had planned to make a lovely roasted chicken with homemade rolls but with Mason under the weather we enjoyed tacos and red wine instead. After an early bedtime, Fred and I settled down for another viewing of the West Wing series. Every few months or so, we watch the entire series of West Wing because really it is that good.

It might not have been the traditional, overly romantic evening that hollywood has us dreaming about, but as each year passes, I find it doesn't matter what we do: spending a quiet evening at home curled up on the couch with popcorn, Twizzlers, and maybe a beer or a glass of wine, watching Big Bang Theory, or having a nice dinner out at Ruth's Chris--together is always enough.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Celebrating 90 years

Fred's Grandfather, Grandad Briggs as we call him, turned 90 years old this month.
We celebrated with a small get together of family and friends. What an amazing thing to have lived for 90 years. The things he has experienced, lived through, and accomplished are truly fascinating. I love hearing all the stories and feel so honored that me and my family get to be a part of his current and future stories.
After a delicious lunch of Grandma Vedas famous chicken chalupas, we enjoyed some cake made by Lisa, their neighbor. They are a lovely family whose two boys are allergic to peanuts as well. (An interesting tidbit, out of the five kids at the party, four have a peanut allergy.) It's been nice to able to get together, where there is a delicious home cooked meal, and not have to worry about the food causing a reaction. Equally, it has been nice to chat with a fellow allergy Mom, whose kids are older, sharing stories, giving support, and exchanging tips we've learned along the way. 

After catching up with everyone and playing a few rounds of table tennis, (the boys always have to battle, and as of this trip, Uncle Keith had yet to be beaten in a game. That was until Chris, the neighbor, dethroned the champion to a chorus of applause), it was present and picture time. 

Recently the microwave in Grandad's workshop, where he heats up his coffee, broke. Needless to say his favorite gift was a brand new microwave. 
We joked that our future relatives will look at this picture and wonder why in the world Grandad was posing with a microwave?
Here is the man of the hour with his wife, Grandma Veda. Aren't they just so cute? I look at them and think, this is where I want to be at their age. So incredibly happy and content with life. They are the model of marriage, love, and friendship.
Here they are with their kids and their spouses. 
Unfortunately this one is blurry, but here is the Briggs clan. Four Generations. 
And the entire gang. Here we are, all of us: me and my family, including my mom, dad, and sister; Uncle Keith and his wife, Janie; Aunt Janet, Uncle Eric, and Amanda; My father-in-law, his wife, Heather, and their son, Aiden; Heather's parents, Grandma and Grandad; and the neighbors, Chris and Lisa, and their two sons. 

I feel so blessed to have so much family living this close that we can have moments like this, celebrating milestones in each others lives, and being in the company of those we love. 

Happy 90th Grandad!!
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