A Valentine’s Day Tradition

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Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day, friends! Today I wanted to share a fun (and slightly myterious!) Valentine’s Day family tradition with you:

Every year of my life (and long before I was born), my sister, cousins, and I always received a sweet but mysterious Valentine in the mail, signed with a question mark. Who was this mystery Valentine from every year?! Over time, of course, we figured out that our amazing grandparents in Ohio were the ones behind our question mark mystery Valentines, and we looked forward to receiving it in the mail each year, even throughout our college years and our twenties! This simple but fun family tradition was at least three decades long, and it’s something that’s impacted me so much, especially since my grandma passed away… and the continuation of our mystery Valentines with her passing.

However, last year, I decided to take matters into my own hands and continue my grandparents’ tradition with our whole extended family. But I had to be extra careful so no one would know it was coming from us in Raleigh (we live literally all over the country!). I made Valentines for each member of my mom’s side of the family, had Rob write all of the question marks and the addresses (so no one would recognize my very recognizable handwriting), mailed a large packages of envelopes to my aunt (on the other side of our family) in Ohio (who lives right by where my grandparents used to live), and had my aunt pop those mysterious Valentines into the mail in Ohio.

Over the next week, it was SO fun to see my parents, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins receive their Valentines, simply annotated with a ?. Group texts were flying, and no one could quite figure out where they came from. I may have fibbed a time or two when asked if I sent them, but the keeping up the suspense and wonder was really special and fun — and a way to honor our incredible grandparents, the little and big family traditions they instilled in us, and the legacy they created in our family.

Several months later, at our big family reunion, I couldn’t keep a straight face any longer and divulged the Valentine’s Day card plan to everyone, including how we managed to keep the surprise intact. This year, though it’s no longer a mystery who is sending those question mark Valentines anymore, I had the honor of carrying on my grandparents’ Valentine’s Day tradition by again mailing out Valentines to our whole family, signed with a question mark.

I am forever grateful for such loving, wise grandparents who created such a legacy of love, celebration, and family values in all of us, and it is such a privilege to carry on so many of the traditions they passed down to us!

Anniversary Celebrations

IMG_8004August 1st was our four month anniversary of being married! While four months isn’t a decidely huge milestone or extraordinarily exciting milestone, necessarily, it was definitely cause for celebration. If you know me at all or have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m passionate about celebrating the big and little moments of life, turning anything into a worthy cause for celebration, and finding joy in the little things! Our four month wedding anniversary was no exception, and I know Rob and I both immensely enjoyed our low-key evening together and found much reason to celebrate. I believe it’s deeply important to create new traditions together, to remember the great times (and the hard times) while looking towards the future together, to find any reason to create new and joyful memories, and to simply celebrate all the good in life.

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For our four month anniversary celebration the other evening, we cleared our evening calendar so that we could soak up time together, just the two of us. I set the table using our china, fresh flowers, a bottle of champagne (of course!), and the place cards that I calligraphed for our wedding. Even these simple touches added more meaning to our dinner (tacos!). Rob and I always like any excuse to pop the champagne, and this evening was no exception! We toasted to our wedding day and marriage; to our love for one another; to our hopes and dreams.

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Rob and I plopped down on the couch an watched our wedding ceremony video, which we’d only watched the entirety of once before. Even though it’s 45 minutes long, it is the BEST to have documentation of every single moment of our ceremony. We absolutely love rewatching it together and having this film to look back upon! Remembering and re-living the massive beams on our faces throughout the ceremony, every word from our pastor, hearing us recite our vows again, the way we’re looking at each other, hearing the birds chirp, seeing all of our guests come up for communion, and when we’re pronounced husband and wife… it’s all so perfect! I love having this visual, real-time record of our wedding, and watching it together left me crying the happiest tears (again!). Rob and I then looked through our wedding photos, as we hadn’t looked through them all again (1400 of them!) since we received them back in May. It was also incredibly special to look at these precious, gorgeous images that captured the happiest day of our life! These photos brought back so many memories and are such a treasure. We then curled up in bed with stove-popped popcorn to watch Forrest Gump.

You see, even the most simple of evenings – with a few meaningful, special touches – can become one of those memorable nights that really does celebrate your love!