Every year, I write a love letter to Nicholas on his birthday, or at least the week of his birthday. I'm just continuing on a theme where I'm a month+ late with any time-specific posts. And that's okay. Belated love letters have no less significance.

His birthday was at the end of January, on a Tuesday. We celebrated with his family the weekend before, they came over for gifts, and I baked two cakes (a grain free almond cake and a kladdkaka). We lit a candle on his slice and sang, and Cooper was fascinated by the candlelight.

On his actual birthday, we had a rather ordinary day. I made steak and roasted asparagus for us for dinner. And I think we had tea and cake after dinner.

It wasn't a fancy celebration this year, but most days, he'd prefer to have a nice meal at home and a cozy evening, tucked in.

Each year, around this time, I write him a love letter. If you're feeling reminiscent (as I always am), here are the links to previous birthday posts:

25 years | 26 years | 27 years | 28 years | 29 years | 30 years

To my husband,

What a full and heavy year we've had. Heavy with hard things, yes, but also heavy with blessings. We bought our first home, moved, and went through loss. We watched Cooper learn and grow and walk and talk and blossom into the wonderful little person he is.

You worked from home for nearly a whole year. We saw so much more of you. More hugs, more meals together, more bedtime snuggles, more family playtime.

We did so many projects in and for the house. You learned electrical wiring basics and replaced all the outlets in the house. You built your custom dream desk. You bought new tools and learned woodworking skills. We raked a lot of leaves, and shoveled a lot of snow (speaking of which, there's several inches on the driveway as I type this). We got to know our neighbors. We made plans for more things we want to do in the spring.

We ate a lot of meat and veggies and eggs. We had fika countless times at home. Drank a lot of coffee and tea, usually just beverages, but sometimes alongside homemade baked goods. Sometimes, we picked up coffee at our favorite local coffee shop.

We didn't do a lot of date nights in the past year. But we talked about our dreams for the future, our love for our little boy and the twins, the hope and anticipation of what's to come. And we did go to Menard's several times a week.

I love how hard you work to finish projects and do them well. I love that you care about good workmanship, and even if something is a new skill to you, you work hard to complete it, and complete it well.

I love how we can work together to make decisions about making our space more homey, and how we (usually) have the same decor and design taste.

I love seeing you raise Cooper. The way you love each other, how he says "dada," with pure joy, and how he always chooses you to snuggle with after his bath.

I love the way you have held and comforted, checked in with, and listened to me in our grief. How you have taken care of me and loved me well, even in sadness yourself.

I love that we can still have hope, together. What a privilege it is to be your wife.

I love you.

Happy (very belated) thirty-first birthday and Valentine's Day, sweetheart.




PS -- It's not Valentine's Day yet, but I did send a few valentine's in the mail, and then just this week, Cooper and I made some pretty marbled paper with washable paint and shaving cream. Today, we cut that into hearts, and Cooper drew on them. I found it oddly mesmerizing to cut out heart after little heart. And he loved his first foray into marker art.

I hung a garland of little felt hearts that my mom gave me in the kitchen window and it brings me so much joy.

It's snowed nearly every day for the past week, and it's snowing as I type this. The edge of our deck is disappearing, and I can't walk in the snow without it spilling into my tall boots. But it's magical and cozy and it makes me all the more glad that we have a warm and cozy space to call our home, and the freshness of snow right outside our door.