Preparing for Valentine’s Day

Preparing for Valentines Day

We are just a few weeks away from Valentine’s Day so I thought I’d start the conversation.

Valentine’s Day will never be the same for us. February 14 is now Rose’s birthday too! Thankfully, Vitaliy and I never put a lot of weight on Valentine’s Day anyway. In fact, when we were dating, we boycotted the holiday and purposely celebrated a different day. We are such rebels! But now we’ve embraced the holiday and enjoy any excuse to celebrate love. This year we’ll get to celebrate the love we share as husband and wife and the new found love we both have for Rose. A day of love paired with Rose’s birthday – it’s going to be an epic Valentine’s Day weekend!

We’re going to be doing the Whole 30 this February so we’re going to have to get creative. No chocolates or baked goods. I decided to go back through the archives for some inspiration. Here are a few ways we’ve celebrated in the past.

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Valentine’s Day Dinner Party with Delighted Co.
Delivering Notes with a Kiss
A Count Down to Valentine’s Day

This year I’ve made a big effort to set realistic goals for myself. I had no idea what life would look like once Rose arrived and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. I figured motherhood would be overwhelming enough. I’m now feeling more and more comfortable in my new role, but I feel like I learned a valuable lesson – less is always more. This even applies to goals, expectations, and my daily to-do-list. In keeping with this, I hope to apply the same idea to Valentine’s Day this year.

We’re going to be celebrating Rose’s birthday on February 13th so she has her own day to herself (I’m a Christmas baby so I can relate). This way Vitaliy and I will also “hopefully” be able to have a little one on one time at some point on the 14th. But I like any reason to celebrate and I love countdowns, so I’m going to use the advent calendar idea but turn it digital and make a few changes. Join us on Instagram for a Valentine’s Day Countdown! Small and simple ways to intentionally love your spouse leading up to Valentine’s Day – #pictiliolovenotes.

Make Marriage Happen With Kathryn Duckett –
Part 3

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To end this series with Kathryn, I asked her to share one of her favorite date ideas with us.

We believe there is a strong case for date nights and that each one is like making an investment in your marriage. If you need some inspiration, you can check out our date night feed here. And as new parents who have to be much more creative about date night, we are always welcome to new ideas. Thank you, Kathryn! I love your ideas and tips!


One of our favorite dates is exploring fun and quirky restaurants. Thomas and I love trying new dishes, simply being together, and taking time away to talk.

Make a Foodie Bucket List

We would forever be going to the same place if it weren’t for our foodie bucket list. Every time we hear about a good place or drive by a restaurant that looks interesting, we add it to a list in the reminders app on the iPhone. Then, we check it off once we go. It’s nice to be able to look back at all the fun places we’ve gone over a few years too!

Take Time Out from Tech

The best nights we have are when I “accidently” leave my phone at home or I purposefully stash it in the glove box before we head in. Since I’m connected to email or social media or staring at a screen all day for work, sometimes I have a hard time unplugging and being present with my husband over dinner. This helps me remember the workday is over and it’s ok to leave it there.

Spread Joy and Say Thanks

Thomas is from Oklahoma (The friendliest state ever he tells me!) so he is always chatting with our waitstaff. I love that he’s shown me that something as simple as a genuine compliment given to the server, or making a point to stop and tell the manager how great our experience was can add so much joy to the night — not just for the folks working a long shift, but really for us too!


If you have enjoyed getting to hear from Kathryn this week, I highly suggest you go follow her on Instagram and Facebook. She has so much wisdom to share! I’m always inspired by her honesty and transparency. You can see her beautiful design and branding work on her website and catch up on her blog.

In case you missed them, Kathryn’s previous posts are here: Part 1; Part 2

Make Marriage Happen With Kathryn Duckett – Part 2

I am so thankful for this week with Kathryn Duckett because I knew she would be raw and honest and that is what people really need to hear.

In reality, none of us have arrived and we all have our own personal struggles. Though we like to appear like we have it all together, deep inside we want to be able to let it all out, be vulnerable and connect with someone else who might be feeling the same way or going through a similar difficulty. We want to be understood. And most of all, we want to be loved.

Yesterday, Kathryn shared about her very first encounter with the man she now gets to call her husband. But today, she’s diving into what married life has really been like so far. I’m sure many of us can relate. I hope this encourages you to make your own marriage happen! Thank you so much for sharing, Kathryn!


“These will be the best years of your life!” I remember people telling us this when we were engaged. I felt overwhelmed by the expectations everyone around me seemed to have for our first years of marriage. But, guess what? Newlywedom has been hard.

Not long after we were married, we found ourselves facing conflict, hurt, and trying to navigate issues that, at times, have been tremendously difficult. And, that is such an isolating place to be.

It’s easy to look around at other people’s lives, other people’s marriages, and to make assumptions about how “perfect” it all must be. Sometimes, I think we’re afraid to share it with other people because we don’t want to be judged. There’s this stigma of being “that” couple, the weird, uncouth ones that are having a really tough time. There’s a fear of being a burden, being “that” friend, the needy one who’s always dealing with something. We wonder what people will think. We feel like we don’t measure up — afterall, “wasn’t this supposed to be the best time of my life?”

My husband Thomas and I have gone through intensive marriage counseling twice in the last two years. No, we won’t sugarcoat that for you. It’s where we’re at, and we’re incredibly grateful to be there. See, the thing is, the stigma of counseling, what other people may think, none of that matters one bit. What matters is, in 10, 20, 30 years are we going to be together but miserable? We didn’t want to wait to address the cracks that we felt widening in our relationship until they widened into canyons one day.
And, the best years of our lives? Maybe they’re the newlywed years, or maybe they’ll be the golden years. Or, maybe they are simply every single year we have to live, love, and to learn.

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