This morning I woke up and went to my messier-than-normal kitchen. At first look, I sulked. How could I leave such a mess overnight? And thoughts of what I would need to do when I got home immediately started swimming through my mind. (It’s so much easier just to take care of the kitchen before bed!)

But then I glanced at the kitchen table and I had to kind of smile. There were a few things left to remind me that last night wasn’t an ordinary night. It wasn’t an ordinary dinner, and it was okay that I spent the evening curled up with Zach and not cleaning up dishes.

Then I thought I should take a picture. I didn’t take a picture last night because I didn’t think I needed to blog about it or document it in any way. It really wasn’t that big of a deal. But I took a picture anyway, thinking that someday my fifty-something self might like to remember those early years and all the little things sandwiched in between the big things.

Every so often, I find little reasons to celebrate. I set the table, put out fancy glasses, serve sparkling cider with dinner, and on very rare occasions I light candles, get dressed up, and place a gift in place of a plate where Zach sits.

(Honestly, I didn’t know if we were “candle people.” I still don’t. I know that until Valentine’s day of this year, sadly, I’d never even tried it and neither had Zach (he’s romantic but not that kind of romantic). I used to think I’d be all about the candles. In high school and college I took baths to sad music and candles (True story: I had a playlist on my iPod titled “Sad Bath Music.”) In my older years, I started to see candles as too much of a hassle. You have to store them, light them, put them away after, and I started settling for the glow of my Scentsy plug-in warmer in the bathroom for my mood lighting instead. But for our special Valentine’s Day celebration this year I made a fancy dinner and lit the table with candles, and I quite liked it. It set a different tone. So, though I’ll never really think of us as “that” couple, every once in a while it’s fun to add that dynamic.)

On the menu last night:



Homemade General’s Chicken

Brown Rice

Sparkling Lemonade (a first but definitely a favorite)

Fortune Cookies

Sugar-Free Deep Dish Cookie Pie for dessert

The Gift:

A one-hour helicopter flying lesson for Zach. 1/2 an hour on ground and 1/2 an hour in the air. He was pretty pleased and that made me happy. I know he wants to get his license (he always has) and that’s costly and scary, but I thought this little step would show my support and make him happy. I think I met my goal.

The Occasion:

I like to make celebrations out of little-er things (as seen here or here). They are a big deal in some ways, but not really something you’d consider special occasion worthy.My mom teases me that it’s all about the environment for me, and it’s true. I love setting a scene and making a party out of the little things. It’s one of my great passions.

Zach just finished his second-to-the-last quarter of school. He has two weeks off and then he has one FINAL quarter left before walking across the stage and receiving his hard-earned diploma. If I’ve ever seen anyone deserve a diploma, it’s him. He works full-time, goes to school full-time, and makes time for me, lots of it. What he ends up sacrificing is time for himself and I fully recognize this. I recognize even more that although he’s pursing an interest of his, he does all of it for us and our future together. It means the world to me.

When we were dating, I used to buy him dinner at the end of every quarter, because my mom has always made every little milestone a celebration and I guess I just followed suit. So at the end of every quarter, I’d take him out to a dinner of his choice. We don’t do that so much anymore, which is my fault. I just realized that this is the last time for that kind of celebration.The next time he finishes a quarter, he’ll be graduating. We’ll have family in town, we’ll most likely all grab something to eat to celebrate, but it won’t be just the two of us. I’m fine with that, I think I realized I needed to take advantage of this time because this period of our lives is coming to a close. While that’s incredibly exciting and neither one of us can wait, it’s a little (just a little) bittersweet. So I cooked up this little special evening.

I am so proud of Zach and grateful for all of his hard work. I am even more excited to have two weeks with him. Tonight’s plan? Burn Notice and BBQ…Zach gets to cook tonight!  It’s probably going to be a mini-celebration every night around here and that’s just fine by me.