Speaking of which, the end of the day today wasn't especially relaxing. Terry and I carpooled to work, so I picked him up and we headed to Orange County for our tax appointment. I always feel so nervous about finances (mostly because I don't understand them). Words like "withholding" and "exempt" and "deduction" just swim around my head until I look at Terry and ask, "So are we good? Do we owe or are we getting money back?" Thank goodness for my husband, whose brain is far superior to mine in these kinds of situations. And a lot of other situations. But I almost always win at Cribbage, so it balances out.
Thankfully, our tax appointment was uneventful and exactly what we expected, so I'm grateful for no bad surprises! Our tax lady is hilarious, though. She was glad we're having a baby, but purely for the tax deductions. She also told us that her own son is expecting a baby with his fiancee, but she isn't excited about it. I wasn't totally sure how to respond to that, but at least she's honest.
In slightly more romantic news, in light of one of my favorite holidays (I know, how silly of me), I thought I'd share some unique ways to celebrate with your significant other--or just your favorite person!
Photo from our engagement session with Rhee Bevere
Plan a scavenger hunt. You can make it a surprise or swap hints and each complete your own hunt, but this silly tradition has become a family favorite over the years. Last year I sent Terry on a hunt around our apartment to find various gifts for our anniversary, and the experience of giving the gift was just as much fun as watching him open each part! Even if the gift(s) are small or sweet little notes, the scavenger hunt shows how much thought and time you put into the day, which is really the whole point, right?
Take it outside. Make it work for where you live: go ice skating, plan a picnic, or take a hike. If it's chilly, a simple walk outside with some hot chocolate is a perfect way to spend an afternoon!
Try a new restaurant. Go somewhere casual that won't be everyone else's choice for Valentine's Day, like a local burger joint you've been meaning to try. The last thing you want is to spend the entire night waiting. Ideally, go for breakfast before work or lunch in the middle of the day to avoid huge crowds. You can even wait a few days, especially since V-Day is a Friday this year, and extend the celebration!
Challenge each other to a game night. Our favorite two-person games are usually card games, like Cribbage, or something like Scrabble, but you can play games on Wii or Xbox, too. Make it interesting with a bet, and the winner makes dessert!
Try a new recipe. You can plan the meal together or each take a dish to prepare for the other person. I love it when Terry is in charge of the main dish (chili or something on the grill, for example), and I focus on delicious sides or dessert.
Get physical. Guys, not like that. This is a PG blog. [Editor's note: This blog is not yet rated.] What I mean is you should exercise! Who decided Valentine's day is ALL about chocolate? Start with something that gets your heart rate up, like a jog together or a partner workout, and then eat to your hearts' content.
Eat something unique. Terry and I have a Valentine's tradition of enjoying fondue--either cheese or chocolate--and we always look forward to the magic of dipping various items into the gooey pot. But Valentine's Day is a great occasion for trying something different, like octopus or bison or fennel. Go to town.
Watch the Olympics. Why not? Get some snacks, snuggle up under a blanket, and enjoy some competitive events. Nothing like some national pride to spice up a romantic holiday!
Host a Valentine's party. When I was young, my mom hosted a Valentine's party almost every year. Sometimes I helped pass appetizers or clean up, but I always thought it was such a fun night. Mom always had fun games, too. One was even a mystery dinner!
Opt for low-cost or homemade gifts. Remember when Monica and Chandler decided to "make the presents" for Valentine's Day? I mean, only good things can come of this idea. Sock bunnies, mix tapes, you know.
What's your plan for Valentine's Day?