Happy Valentines Day (a little belated)! I know there are some of you out there who either think Valentines Day is over-rated, or just don't like it. If you've read why this blog is called "A Pinch of Parsley", then you very well know that I do indeed love celebrating Valentine's Day. It isn't my favorite holiday by any stretch, but it is still a day worth celebrating. But this post isn't actually about Valentines Day, but about taking pictures.

I am a huge advocate of taking pictures. My husband, dear sweet Nick, bless his heart, is not the biggest fan of taking pictures. After 9 years now of knowing me, he has adjusted to the fact that we will be taking pictures at every holiday, birthday, vacation, anniversary, wedding, or any other special or abnormal life occasion

(for example, just this past Thursday my brother Andy

spent the night at our house.

He slept in Jackson's "big boy bed" which was sporting new blue and white striped sheets. I had put them on the bed straight out of the packaging without washing them, and when Andy woke up in the morning, his face was dyed blue. This is a primary example of a random but ideal picture opportunity).

And why all this picture taking? To look at myself? No. To remember!!! I have a horrible memory and will literally forget I ever did something UNLESS I have a picture of it! It's not that I'll just remember the picture, but the picture will trigger the whole experience in my mind-where I went, how I felt, who was there. And reminiscing old memories with the people you love and who are a part of those memories too is priceless! One of my favorite things to do.

To further prove my case, I want to show you how pictures have been invaluable memory makers for me over the past 9 Valentines Days. This is how many Valentines Day's I've spent with Nick. So lets start with the latest, and see how far back I can remember...

Valentines Day 2012:

Lovely day together with our little family of 3! Soon to be family of 4 as I hobble around with a giant baby belly. The day began with a big hit for Jackson-pancakes with sprinkles in them! Pancakes alone are a big hit, so anything added to it is remarkable! Nick had a whole day planned for us of going down to a train museum in San Diego-which is very cute because Jackson loves trains and I love going anywhere new. However, my lack of long-term mobility and short-term need for a restroom at this point made us decide to pocket that idea, and instead use the rest of our lingering Christmas giftcards. So we spent the day shopping! We ended up with a blender, a dust buster, and a new shirt, all items we are specifically excited about. And in between was lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, which is where I thought we should try to remember all of our Valentines Days together. I do this a lot. I think on most holidays I feel the need to remember back to the last however many we can remember. You'd think I'd be pretty sharp with the memories by now, but no.I guess that's why the pictures come in so handy for me. The night ended with a relaxed dinner at home, a monster truck documentary that Jackson got to stay up late and watch (another big hit) and then some ice cream and a girly movie of my choice! Thanks Nick! I realize neither of these pictures display any of the events I've just shared with you, but we also took a walk to the mailbox and pulled the trash cans off the curb and into the garage, and these pictures will successfully recall in my mind the events of the WHOLE day.

Valentines Day 2011:

Our first Valentines Day with a kiddo! I remember we took a fun family trip to the park that day. After Jackson went to bed that night we "dined" at home. I pulled out my grandma's china and made a meal for us and we ate by candlelight, and then ate this awesome cake I'd made from scratch with cream cheese frosting and chopped almonds.

Valentines Day 2010:

This year Valentines Day was on a Sunday and I was, for the first time, super giant pregnant belly at the time. So we kept it chilled out and took a towel and a thermos of hot chocolate down to the beach and sat there and drank it and, of course, reminisced about Valentines Days past. But I remember it wasn't actually cold that day so the hot chocolate experience wasn't as sweet and cozy as I had hoped for. I think I might have cried. About the hot chocolate, or maybe something else. I can't remember, but I was very pregnant and uncomfortable, which I think seems pretty clear in the picture, so it could have been anything that brought the tears. Just to keep things clear though, it certainly wasn't Nick. He was a perfect gentleman and did not make his pregnant wife cry on Valentines Day!

Valentines Day 2009:

This Valentines Day was on a Saturday and the whole Smith family was down in San Clemente for some reason or another, so we spent the day playing games and hanging out. We made a giant Valentines table and had dinner together. We were still living in our cute little beach cottage, so fun. My gift to Nick that year was wearing matching t-shirts, which he loves to do cuz he thinks it's hilarious and awesome.

Valentines Day 2008: No picture, no idea what we did. We might have gone out to a fancy restaurant with our friends.

Valentines Day 2007: No picture, I've tried to think about it. Maybe this is when we went to the fancy restaurant with friends.

Valentines Day 2006: No picture. Our first married Valentines Day. I'm sure we did something special, but I have no idea what.

Valentines Day 2005:

This was my senior year of college. Nick and I had gotten engaged that past July and would be married the following June. So we were halfway through our engagement. We went walking around Chicago and it was FREEZING, but fun. We had dinner at this cute little Chicago restaurant that felt like a movie set and every girl that entered got a red rose. Totally cute. I do remember that I thought then, and still now, that my outfit that day was quite a disaster. I had it in my head that I must wear red or pink, of course, but nothing was working out, and I ended up in this kinda blah red sweater, and for some reason wore that black shirt underneath and makes the whole thing look weirder. And my hair was weird too, not what I was going for. Whatever, I also remember once Nick picked me up for our date I didn't care and had a fabulous time!

AND FINALLY Valentines Day 2005:

This was our first Valentines Day together. We went to different colleges, 4 hours apart. Nick collaborated with my roomate and the week before Valentines Day I received a flower and a note from a "secret admirer" every day of the week. At first I thought it was Nick, but after a couple of days I thought maybe not because the flowers were coming from such random people that I didn't know at all and therefore Nick didn't know...good job to my roomate. That weekend we met at my grandparents house, halfway between our 2 schools. I woke up on Valentines Day with these rose petals all over the floor and more flowers and chocolate from my secret admirer sitting on the dresser. We also celebrated by going to a basketball game with my grandparents. They provided us with these matching sweatshirts, no joke, which I didn't want to wear, but Nick of course did. So this was our very first matching shirt experience.

You made it! I think my point has been made. So keep celebrating everyone, and please take pictures! I will be!