February 13, 2024

Valentine's Day

Ever since Noah moved out--well, over the last few years, if I'm being honest!--I've started to feel regret. I'm not just talking about big decisions, but regret in the little things. I wish I'd said "yes" more; held off longer on buying the kids' cell phones; taught them much more about living on their own; and, among several more, celebrated holidays with enthusiasm.

I bring this up because of Valentine's Day tomorrow. I've always been in the "it's just a Hallmark holiday" group, and I don't know if Jerry and I ever celebrated it. We probably did in the early years we were dating--Jerry loves holidays, especially if it involves super corny romance. And I really wish that I'd indulged him all these years. On my birthday a few weeks ago, he said he wishes that I'd want to celebrate my birthday. It made me feel bad!

That got me thinking about how celebrating it doesn't have to be for me; if he really wants to do something because it makes him feel good, then I can certainly go along with it. And since I felt bad, I told him that we could celebrate Valentine's Day however he wants--regardless of how cheesy it is, I said he could make plans and I'd get in the spirit.

And honestly, I've actually been kind of excited about it! I even put a lot of thought into a couple of gifts for him. Jerry won't see this post until after I give the gifts to him, so I'll share them here. The only clue I gave him was, "I promise you that not one other person in the world has either of these things... and not one other person in the world would want them." Hahahaha, it's true!

Each gift has a story behind it...

One day (probably 15-20 years ago) we were stopped at an intersection waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Ahead of us was a utility pole (does anyone else still call them telephone poles? or just me?) and it had a sign on it that said "FIREWORKS" with an arrow underneath, to show the direction of where you could buy fireworks.

The sign was upside down, and I wasn't sure if that was intentional or not. But I pointed at it and said, "What way do you think the fireworks are?" And then Jerry looked at it, opened his mouth to state what should have been obvious, then realized what I had--that someone may have intentionally put the sign upside down so that the arrow was pointing the opposite direction (rather than remake the sign).

We both stared, looked at each other, then burst out laughing. We couldn't stop laughing! I don't remember where we were going, but we laughed so hard for the rest of the drive that we were wheezing. The sign is long gone, but occasionally at that intersection, we'll ask each other "Which way do you think the fireworks are?" And we laugh about it.

Sooo, that is what prompted this gift. I took a picture of the intersection, and then I grabbed a piece of cardboard and a sharpie and recreated the "FIREWORKS" sign. I took a picture of the sign and then photoshopped the sign into the picture to look how it did that day we first saw it. I got it printed in a 5x7 (I was actually embarrassed to go pick it up at Walgreens!) and put it in a frame. So, that's gift number one.

Backstory for gift number two. This one isn't as specific, but it's something ongoing between us. When we were dating, we were cuddled up on the couch one time and Jerry said, "We fit together like Legos." And I said, "But there are millions of Legos that fit together. We fit like some Legos that got a little bit melted so that they don't fit any other Legos anymore--they only fit each other." (Okay, I guess maybe I was a little corny back then!)

Now, occasionally when we're cuddling, one of us will mention that we fit together like melted Legos. Which is how I came up with gift number two. I actually put a lot of thought into which Lego pieces to use--color and shape--because I wanted to put them on a necklace or bracelet or even keychain. I ultimately chose to make a hemp necklace (like the ones that were popular when we were dating) and add the Legos as a charm. I chose round ones--a black and a white--and then I put them together and used a lighter to melt the side. I wanted them to still be able to pull apart and push back together--but only with each other. It actually worked really well!

I can still pull them apart, but they don't fit with any other Legos.

I absolutely *love* giving gifts, but I am admittedly very bad at making them look pretty in the packaging. For Christmas, I wrapped things in Amazon boxes or leftover boxes from other things. It's actually kind of a joke between us! I even watched some YouTube videos over Christmastime to try to learn how to wrap better (I learned that I just don't have the patience for it). After I watched the videos, Jerry and I competed a couple of times to see who could wrap better. I still lost. Haha!

Anyway, I decided to go over-the-top corny with the necklace box. I actually bought this little box to use instead of reusing a box from something else! However, the necklace looked way too plain in the box by itself, so I looked around the craft room for something to lay under the necklace. I thought maybe a piece of fabric. And when I saw this white satin (I'd cut up a dress to use the fabric a while ago, and there was a white satin slip underneath), I got the idea to go full-on cheesy romance.

At first, I was just going to make a little pillow to put the necklace on. Then I just kept adding to it. I used red and pink thread around the edges. Then I put a "b" in the middle. I started calling Jerry "b" (in lowercase) because he always manages to accidentally press "b" just before sending a text: "I have a meeting after work b". And I knew it was from quickly double tapping the spacebar (which makes a period) and accidentally hitting the letter b in the process. So instead of a period, it appears as a space and then b. How do I know this? Because I've done it a million times, too.

So I started replying with something like, "Okay, b, see you later." Jerry has always called me Boo, so calling him "b" actually sounded kind of fitting! That's why I added the lowercase b on the satin. Then I figured I might as well add some hearts. (I did this freehand with the sewing machine, and I have to say, I'm kind of impressed that you can even tell what it's supposed to be. It wasn't easy, but I was too lazy to do it by hand!)

I continued by decorating the box itself with some markers and stencils. (If you are a Friends fan, do you remember the episode where Joey used a thesaurus on every word when he wrote a letter to the adoption agency for Chandler and Monica? Instead of "big hearts" he wrote, "full-sized aortic pumps".)

Then I put a picture of us on the inside.

I tried *really* hard to wrap it neatly, and I used a couple of the techniques I learned in the videos--I think it'll actually make Jerry laugh when he realizes I did that--and then I STILL messed it up when I used a spray adhesive for the tag I made. (That's why it looks spotty.)

Anyway, I'm actually really excited about these gifts! I think they'll make Jerry laugh. And he'll very much appreciate the effort I put in to this "Hallmark holiday" ;)


  1. This is probably my favorite post of yours ever! Focusing on making the holiday special for your family might just convert you into a Christmas/birthday fan one of these days :) I bet he's going to LOVE how much effort and thought you put into those gifts. LOVE it!!!

  2. I love your creative and thoughtful gifts. Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. This is seriously too cute!! I LOVE the thought and effort behind these gifts! I can't wait to hear what Jerry gives you as well! Happy Valentine's Day!

  4. Wow, you put so much thought into making everything so personal to the two of you. He's sure to be super touched! Katie + Jerry = couple goals 😉

  5. That is fabulous Katie! Let us know how the gift were received.

  6. This is incredible! I hope he loves them.

  7. You did a great job & I am sure Jerry appreciated it.


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