Feb 14, 2016: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day…my favorite day, filled with hearts and flowers and love and sap. Errrr, not so much…. Try a week filled with taxes and plumbing issues! Though there were some fun parts, too.

But first, Valentine’s Day: Okay, I don’t hate the day, but it’s not my favorite. I remember many, many, many years of being alone on V-Day, and I felt like utter crap every year. (Remember, Chris is my first and only boyfriend, and I didn’t meet him until I was almost 31 years old! Before him, I hadn’t even had a single date in 14 years.) So I think remembering that feeling has made me feel rather bad about celebrating Valentine’s Day—I mean, I know very well how people on their own on this particular holiday feel. And aside from that, I feel like Chris shows me he loves me pretty much every day by cooking dinner—that is totally my “love language”! And in turn, I show him pretty much every day by taking out the garbage, which I know is a task he truly despises. So I don’t really need a holiday to remind me of this—I know he loves me and I love him. I realize that sounds simplistic, but really…it kinds of sums it up. We have a very simple relationship in terms of love—I simply love him, and I know he loves me.

But my distaste for the holiday does make me seem rather…well, curmudgeonly, I guess. Last week, when it dawned on me that V-Day was nearly upon us, I blurted out, “Oh crap, Valentine’s Day is next week! We don’t have to do anything for that, right?” And Chris started laughing and said, “I guess not, you jaded old battle axe!!” And then he texted me this card, which cracked me up!

Yep, this is pretty much all I need...
Yep, this is pretty much all I need…

On top of that, apparently this was the year to go all out for Valentine’s Day. In an effort to be Cheerful Holiday Mom, I bought boxes of Valentines for each boy at the drugstore. Sam was supposed to bring 30 to school, and Theo was supposed to bring 25. I figured having Theo fill out cards and me doing the same for Sam (who can’t yet write) was plenty festive.

Um, apparently not. Apparently this was the year when everyone decided to storm Pinterest and come up with all sorts of clever handmade Valentine ideas. Theo has 25 kids in his class, and do you know how many Slacker Mom storebought Valentines with no added embellishment he came home with? Three. Yes, three. Good grief. The ambitious moms are making us slackers look bad!! 😉

Ah well. I have many good points. Being a crafty mom is just not one of them.

Anyway, I did get Valentines for the boys. Being uber-practical, I got Theo a swimsuit, so I wouldn’t have to spend separate money on a swimsuit in two months. But hey, I got him a Star Wars one, so he was happy and didn’t realize I’d done double duty with his Valentine’s Day gift! And for Sam, I got a little car because he loves anything that goes!

Other than that, Valentine’s Day was as any other day. We went to the farmers’ market and stopped for lunch at our favorite “kids eat free” BBQ joint. And then my trusty assistant helped me pull some weeds in the backyard while Sam played and Chris cleaned out the cars. Exciting stuff.

By the way, when I mentioned paying Theo to pull weeds last weekend, I got a few comments about the fact that kids should do chores for free, simply because they are part of the family, and the family chips in. I actually agree with this in large part, so let me just set the record straight, lest anyone think I’m raising a spoiled, “affluenza” type of child who doesn’t learn to contribute to a greater good. Theo actually does a lot of chores just as part of the family and for no payment. His allowance isn’t even tied to chores, in fact. (It’s tied to behavior, more or less.) He doesn’t have a set list of things he does on a given day, but whenever I ask him to, he will help out. And I won’t say there’s never a complaint, but he’s largely willing to help and does so with a minimum of complaining. He particularly likes cleaning bathrooms, so he is in charge of keeping the vanity and toilet clean in his and Sam’s bathroom. He also voluntarily does the two other toilets in the house, and he’ll do the other vanities if asked. He also likes cleaning glass, so he does mirrors for us when we ask. He jumps at any chance to help with cooking. He clears his plates after meals. He loves to vacuum and will help with that when asked. He often helps out when we clean the cars. And the only reason he doesn’t do laundry is that I’m quite sure he’d want to do it daily (to ensure that his Darth Vader PJs are always ready to wear), and I don’t want to waste the water and electricity on daily laundry!

But for a big job like tackling the overgrown weeds, for which I would actually be willing to pay a local kid to come handle it, I figured it was reasonable to allow Theo the chance to earn a little spending money. He got a kick out of it, and he was more than willing to help me with some more weeding this weekend and earn a few more dollars.

Anyway, back to this week in review! Theo was a little under the weather a couple of days this week; seems to be just a mild cold and a tummy that is still not 100% back to feeling its best. So he was home with me Monday and Tuesday, which meant I mostly took those days off. But on Wednesday, he went back to school and I drove down to the South Bay to give a medical outreach presentation on Down syndrome to a group of social workers. I felt like it went really well; it was the first time I’ve delivered the presentation live, so it was good to get it kicked off on the right foot! I have to give the same presentation this week to some genetic counseling students at Stanford Hospital, so fingers crossed that it goes similarly well!

On Thursday, I headed up to Sacramento to get our taxes done, which was…fun. Not really. Sort of. I really like our tax person, and I got to spend some time with my mom and have lunch, so those parts were fun! The tax bill…not so much fun. Not as bad as it has been some years, but still not really pleasant. Such is life.

And on Friday, I was back home working and welcoming the plumber, who came out to see why we suddenly have low water pressure in all of our faucets and toilets (and why the refrigerator spits water all over the floor when we flush a toilet or turn off a shower upstairs!). The good news is that it might be a bad pressure regulator, which will be covered by home warranty. The bad news is that it might be a clog in the water lines, which will be expensive (to the tune of $2,000) and not covered by home warranty. Sigh…

But I got my mind off of all that on Saturday, when my beloved hung out with the boys all day so I could have a girls’ day in San Francisco with friends! Four of us met up for a delicious lunch at Burger Bar and then took a photography walk around the city. Due to a BART delay, we ended up only having about 2.5 hours to shoot, so we just walked up Nob Hill to Grace Cathedral, did some shooting in there (it’s gorgeous but low light with no flash photography allowed, so my pictures were almost universally lousy), and then walked to Chinatown, which was surprisingly quiet given that it’s Chinese New Year right now. Go figure.

It was loads of fun, though, and then my friend Kim came back and spent the night at our house, bringing with her a whole box of wonderful soaps and goodies for me! She makes homemade soaps, lotions, shampoos, cleaning products, deodorants, etc. as a hobby, and I am her willing guinea pig. I’m so hooked on her soap that when I’m traveling and have to use other soap, I feel all itchy and dry-skinned and very much miss my “No Crap” natural soaps from Kim!

For your viewing pleasure, I have for you a ridiculously cute video of Sam with a case of the giggles:

Plus a ton of pictures—some (too many) from my SF day and some from my phone. Enjoy!

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