Tylenol/Acetaminophen use in Pregnancy- Too Soon to Call

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©iStock.com/Maksud_kr

Acetaminophen, commercially known as Tylenol, is being called out as a possible causation of ADHD/Hyperactivity disorder.

Being nearly 37 weeks pregnant, this caught my attention- especially since I’ve taken approximately half a bottle during this pregnancy. As pregnant, potentially pregnant or post partum women, what are we to do with this information? A little research was in order so I took to the internet.

I found plenty of popular articles reporting that a new study reports links between Acetaminophen use and ADHD/Hyperactivity disorder, but oddly, none linked to the actual research.  I found the abstract to the original research report here: Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy, Bevioral Problems and Hyper Kinetic Disorders, in JAMA Pediatrics, where the research was published.  I also found on the website an editorial authored by three Phd’s and an MRCPsych, MSc: Antenatal Acetaminophen Use and Attention Deficit/hyperactivity Disorder, that further discusses methods and states that further research is needed before any recommendations for the cessation of Acetaminophen use in pregnant women.

Essentially, this is a preliminary finding that, through the beauty of the scientific process, requires further research.  In science, you are trying to disprove a hypothesis, not necessarily prove it.  When the research no longer refutes the hypothesis, only then can a determination begin to be assessed.   One finding does not a theory make.

At this point, general consensus from health care professionals deems that the drug offers more preventative measures than proven harmful ones.  High fevers and illness have definitive adverse affects on fetus’ that the use of Acetaminophen can control and abate.

Pharmacist Jason Sutton DPh, a National Director of Clinical Pharmacy out of Dallas, says:

“Though the study was large in size, with over 64,000 children, there are still a number of variables that have to be considered, such as the fact that ADHD is a heritable condition.  Tylenol/Acetaminophen is still one of the safest over-the-counter pain medications available.  I don’t think there is any reason to panic at this point.  As a pharmacist, I would recommend, just like any other OTC medication, one should take it under the direction of a physician and/or consultation of a pharmacist.  One should always try non-pharmacological ways to treat the symptoms first, but if medication is necessary, make sure to always take the recommended dose and only take it as directed and needed.”

Acetaminophen use leading to ADHD/hyperactivity disorder is a great  headline for capturing interest in a media outlet, but it is irresponsible, in my unprofessional opinion, that we scare women further.  It seems en vogue to scare pregnant women and to guilt trip women who look back at their pregnancies with the foresight of their children’s current behavior.  There’s enough mommy guilt coursing through a mother’s brain from moment to moment with which to contend, thank you very much.

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©iStock.com/FinStock

Already we are to only eat certain items, drink certain fluids, take minimal drugs, and now the one OTC medication that has been deemed safe for use during pregnancy is being professed unsafe; when the parting thought in the research abstract states: “Because the exposure and outcomes are frequent, these results are of public health relevance, but further investigations are needed.”

I had more headaches associated with this pregnancy than I did my first. I take OTC drugs sparingly as is, but there is no reason to be pregnant and have crazy headaches. In fact, when I went to the ER for uncontrollable nausea and debilitating headaches, the ER doctor almost scoffed when I told him I had only taken 500mg of Tylenol in 8 hrs.  Seriously, he actually laughed at me. I just wanted to take enough to be effective.

So where does that leave us?  As far as I am concerned, in exactly the same place it found us: using acetaminophen sparingly, only when needed for acute symptoms of pain and fever.  I don’t know why it’s popular to alarm pregnant women and moms.  Apparently it draws viewers, website hits and traffic to various media outlets.  Clearly I’m writing about it so it I must deem the story worthy of attention as well.  I hope though that this post will provide some resources upon which women can conduct some of their own research, and inform themselves, rather than leaving it to half-told stories created to sensationalize what is as yet a finding to be used to alter preexisting prescriptions of use.

*I am in no way a healthcare professional, so take my words as opinions.  I have cited the professionals where appropriate, all other content is based merely off of my unprofessional, mommy opinion.

An Open Letter to Older Women who resent Younger Wives

Ends up not everyone appreciates younger women marrying older men. Sure, my husband and I have gotten odd looks as he holds hands with a pregnant woman who looks like she could be his daughter- like we’re a little too chummy to be father and daughter, but it’s hard to reconcile the age difference to place us as husband and wife. Apparently some older women don’t appreciate that you love who you love. To each his or her own, but here is my response to An Open Letter to Men Who “trade in” for Younger Wives.

Family beach pic

Our bi-generational family

I know this letter was open to men, older men, but it asked a few questions of me that I chanced were not rhetorical and perhaps you wanted answered.
As a woman married to a man who is 28 years older, I found, An Open Letter to Men Who “trade in” for Younger Wives, raised more questions for women, than the men to whom you were addressing. I would like to answer the three you asked here.

Your first question of me (I will assume the personal for the collective) was: How does a younger woman feel when she hears a joke like, the answers to life’s problems lay in a younger woman?
My husband and I had a good chuckle at this. He certainly got the fuzzy end of the lollipop on that account. I’m certain I create more problems than I solve. When I responded to him that I was more high maintenance than an older woman, he agreed. We were in a jovial mood so I chose not to be offended- but also, because it’s true.

If a man has told you he believes a younger woman holds the answer to life’s problems, he’s truly joking or he has only fantasized about the relationship and not actually been in one.

Can you remember yourself in your twenties and thirties? Seriously, how much have you grown up and changed? What would be a fight or a battle then would roll off your back now. Incidentally, that’s what I love about being married to an older man, that ability to avoid getting worked up over nothing, or if it’s something, calculate a response. Let’s address the second part of your first question.

Is her main value her youth and age?
Was yours? Maybe to some extent, perhaps to a larger extent now, or so it seems. I fairly resent the presumption that if a younger woman marries an older man, it is because they must be an insecure mess to need a man so much older, that youth and age are the only things going for them.

Avenger! pose

Preoccupied with my youth and age

You know what I value and valued then? I valued being valued. Isn’t that an outrageous concept for a young woman? I wanted a partner that was mature enough to let me be the confident, outspoken, strong-willed woman that I was. The young men my age certainly did not, they were too busy being self-absorbed with their own testosterone to consider I wasn’t a threat to their masculinity.

In fact, at the time my husband and I started to date, I had reconnected with an old flame that was 4 years older than me. He was so completely self-absorbed that I mattered very little. A few years had dulled the sharpness of the lesson I thought I had learned the first time, and so we were talking again. I was forthright with my future husband as to this conflict. His response was always, you’ll make the right decision. The other guy’s response was, what do you want with an old guy?

Thankfully, I did indeed make the right decision. I chose the old guy who valued me for me.

Young men in their twenties turn into pudgy, hair thinning men in their thirties very quickly.

What’s left is what’s behind the eyes.
There are plenty of older men I wouldn’t give the time of day. I wasn’t shopping around for an old, bald guy whose chest had fallen into his drawers. I found a nice, mature guy who validated my self-worth. No, my main value was not and is not in my youth and age, nor will my self-worth be wrapped around a number that indicates I should diminish my worth because I am physically older.

Super Doug

Greatest older guy on the planet

As to your third question: How is a younger woman going to feel about getting older, knowing that her man values youth in a woman so mightily?

My husband didn’t value youth so mightily, he valued me so mightily. Maybe I got the greatest “older guy” on the planet- I like to think so. He often tells me I got cheated, getting stuck with an old guy. No, I didn’t get cheated out of a youthful husband with whom I get to grow old, he got cheated out of getting to be old. We’ve had plenty of rough financial times, so let’s assuage that perceived perk of marrying older.

What kept us together is our mutual respect and admiration of the other.

You are somewhat right though, my husband values youth mightily. We have a 2, almost 3 year old, with another due in 3 weeks.

I cannot imagine starting over being a parent in my 60’s, can you?

Starting all over again

Starting all over again

But my children get an amazing father who is calm and laid back, not surprised by what parenthood throws at him. Instead of getting two spaztastic young parents, they get at least one who doesn’t freak out over spilled milk. He always tells people that his two youngest kids got a grandfather and a father at the same time.

It is not a competition between you and me, young and old.
“We” are not stealing “your” men.

I don’t know what motivates a man to marry a younger woman.

I suspect it has more to do with them than their ex-wives. My husband tells me his ex-wife of 28 years just married the wrong man. She left him, by the way.

I’m a single response, and every “younger wife” has a different motivation and story

I simply wanted to make you aware of some stereotypes you were assuming with women, that you were so careful to avoid when you were addressing the men.

I am not a Porsche Carrera. I consider myself more a Jeep Wrangler, something you can take off-road. And don’t worry; I don’t think you came off as a feminazis. You said little to bolster any females of any age group. Your entire post boils down to a “slug-in-a-tuxedo”, for all parties involved: young wives, older men and especially older women.

How Capri Suns Ruin Your Life

Capri Suns were not really a thing when I was a kid…Ok, they weren’t a thing at all…I predate Capri Suns, Ok? Hell, I predate juice boxes.

I was born in the late seventies, before the technology of juice pouches. If you were outside playing and wanted a drink, you got a drink from the water hose. Your options inside were milk, tap water and maybe juice (if you were allowed to drink it outside of breakfast). I had 4 sisters, so we would have killed a jug of OJ in about 5 minutes if mom let us have it at will. But now there is the Capris Sun, the bane of my parental existence. Convenient for the kid? Yes. Convenient for me? Sure, I can concede that. The reason I hate Capris Suns is seven-fold. Just kidding there’s like three. I just wanted to say, seven-fold.

Stabbing them

Capri Sun Meme 1

I hate stabbing Capri Suns. It seriously takes practice on par with the 10,000 repetitions concept of mastering a skill. When my son came to the age where Capri Suns were appropriate, I couldn’t stab one properly to save my life. It went all the way through, it squirted out the top, it squirted out the hole, the hole wouldn’t puncture-which feels an awful like what I suspect stabbing someone feels like. I’m a pro now, but damn, it took a lot of practice. Maybe if you’re younger than I and retain an acumen for Capri Sun stabbing, you’ll fair better.

Containing them

Capri Sun Meme 4

You cannot contain a Capri Sun. It has a mind of its own. You may dictate: this Capri Sun shall not pass from this kitchen. Your child probably wants to comply, but they can’t. The Capri Sun alters their brain chemistry so that they disobey and wander into their rooms or the living room, on your couch, or worse, on your mother’s new couch. You know, the woman that already raised her kids and had her things destroyed, so now she actually has nice stuff. Oh well, that’s what she gets for putting the mother’s curse on me. Karma is a Capri Sun on your new white sofa.

Disposal of them

Capri Sun Meme 3

Why is it that Capri Suns are incapable of making it into the trash? Why? I ask you! Because they have made it into my son’s room (and I have given up the fight), they lie about like silver shining beacons of my failed ability to keep them from leaving the kitchen. And I know he did not finish the damn thing so its remnants have been freshly squeezed into my carpet, sofa, his clothes. I don’t care if your child is 2 or 13, they are incapable of finishing a Capri Sun. They have to leave an ounce or two that will squirt all over when stepped on, sat upon or casually glanced at.

My vehicle bears the brunt of this Capri Sun napalm. It’s a wasteland of Capri Sun mortar shells and damp spots all around my vehicle. My mom got in my dirty car over the weekend and chastised me for how messy it was. She asked if I recalled ever having a dirty car, even with all five of us kids. She didn’t have to raise kids with Capri Suns! She doesn’t know what I’ve been through. Times have changed. The weapons of mass destruction come in silver pouches and yellow straws, ready to destroy the homes, vehicles and the sanity of otherwise capable parents.

Capri Sun Meme 2

I buy boxes of Capri Suns like I used to buy cases of beer. My kid can seriously pound them out. I think they have become like baby wine.
They just can’t relax after school until they’ve had a “sun”, as my toddler calls them. Like, seriously, don’t talk to me until I’ve had my Capri Sun.

I don’t even know how I’m going to go on. I guess I’ll have to wait until my kids have grown up and moved out before I buy that white couch. Then my grandkids can come visit and I’ll pretend like it’s not a big deal, when they squirt it all over. I just hope their parents have the decency to feign mortification when they do it, like I do. It’s the best I can offer my mom when we’re at her house. I’m just trying to survive the Capri Sun apocalypse.

Missouri Kidnapping- I Don’t Want to Write About it.

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I don’t want to write this post
but as a mom with a blog about being a mom, I have to. I don’t want to think about it. I definitely do not want to consider more than the outside chance that plagues my mommy brain on a daily basis, the category of horrible things that could happen to my children. But when it happens (and it happens every day, and with a little research I could probably found out how many times per hour) we are forced to consider the reality, not just the fear of something happening to our children.

My brain can’t process it.
This story is personal on a parental level, hell, on a human level. There is a population of parents that feels and thinks and fears this story. Certainly no more poignant than other abductions and murders of innocents, but one that for some reason, caught our collective attention and snapped us from our state of denial. Something was taken from us, as occurs from time to time.

Every so often we lose the privilege of hiding our heads in the sand, that this can’t happen to us- even after near misses. Perhaps nothing actually threatening, but where we have to consider how badly things could have ended up if a nice person hadn’t been the one to find or assist our child. I’ve begun to dismiss the Amber alerts that startle my phone with information on a child abduction. It usually ends up the baby daddy took him or her on their non court-appointed day, rather than an actual abduction that requires I take off the blinders that keep me from being paralyzed by what is capable of occurring out there.

It raises difficult questions.
Questions we don’t know how to answer. How do you teach your child to trust adults, but not all adults and only in certain situations and only if they behave a certain way? How do you to tell them to be polite and say hello when a kind stranger smiles at them as you push them down the isle in the store? We’re mortified if they offer a raspberry in response to the compliments at how cute they are. How do you teach them to not be afraid of the world, but to know the dangers of it? How do you protect their innocence without shattering it? These questions are rhetorical. I don’t think anyone has the answer, because the answers don’t exist. They simply do not.

We tell our kids there is no monster under the bed or in the closet, but there are real monsters. They walk among us, unidentifiable by claws and fangs, but disguised as ordinary citizens. We must somehow balance between preparing them for the possibility of monsters, and not letting the monsters rule our lives with fear and terror.

This is something for which you cannot plan.
As someone who trains in martial arts and self-defense, I am constantly thinking about self-protection, not just how to perform it in case of attack, but how to avoid attacks in the first place. I have a plan for my kids as far as raising them to be aware and alert, not merely of stranger danger, but the much more sinister culprit- that person you know. At some point we have to consider that all of our planning, educating and prevention may not be enough and there’s nothing we can do. That’s what scares the shit out of us. Yes, I have to use that phrase because that it is how it feels as a parent. There is simply no more real way to put it.

We can prescribe dialogue and awareness, but ultimately we have to believe that the world will harm our children only a little at a time, in manageable doses. In the event of a great catastrophe, a great trauma, how do we cope? Isn’t that what we’re asking ourselves? Isn’t that why we’re sharing the story on Facebook and why I’m writing this post? Isn’t that why we’re turning on our porch lights?

Turning on the porch light might seem naïve.
Leaving our porch light on is how we can banish the darkness and illuminate, for the world to see, we are not afraid of the dark- we are brighter than the dark. It shows the other monsters out there, hiding in plain site, that there are more of us than there are of them. We will shine for that little girl’s parents while their light flickers. We will keep the dark at bay for them.

9 Months Pregnant and Miserable

I haven’t complained about being pregnant lately.
I’ve been trying to be a good girl and appreciate the blessing of being pregnant. Yes, lots of people can get pregnant without even trying or wanting to, but there are many who cannot, or do and suffer miscarriage after miscarriage. I had typed up a beautiful rant about how much being pregnant sucked, and then I made myself read other blog posts on pregnancy. The heartbreaking stories of women who could not get pregnant, stay pregnant or carry a baby to term- feeling lucky if they made it to viability at 24 weeks.

My niece was born at 25 weeks.
I watched how hard my sister worked to get that amazing little girl here. That amazing little girl is now 4, but I still see the tiny baby they wheeled quickly by on the way to her 3 month stay in the NICU.

What have I got to complain about?

I have the gall to whine in front of my sister, who has since had another child, full term with no complications. I’m sure her husband would love to punch me in the face when I do, as he changed her bed pans for 2 weeks since she wasn’t even allowed to get out of her hospital bed. Her water broke more than a week before viability.

Despite that, I’m still a brat.
Well, I think I’ve definitely been a brat up to this point. Aren’t you granted a free pass in the last month though? The last month of pregnancy is excruciatingly uncomfortable, both mentally and physically.

You’re just so ready to be done with the fatigue and the Braxton-Hix contractions, the use of your bladder as a trampoline, your ribs as monkey bars and your prepubescent acne.

The glow is definitely gone by the 9th month. The bloom has rubbed off and it is eviction time.

37 is the magic number.
37 weeks is considered full term. I can make it to 37 weeks and then hope the baby decides to come soon. I’m having a C-section so my magic number is 39 weeks, but if my body (of “advanced maternal age”), decided to go into labor at 37 weeks, I could be ok with that. Look, I want what every mother wants, a healthy baby. I just think that mothers looking 9 months pregnant square in the eye want a healthy baby as soon as possible.

It’s time to get off the ride.

We’ve ridden the roller coaster, thrown up all over, laughed cried, been exhilarated by the drops and inclines, but it’s time to get off.

Yes, we’ll just be boarding the newborn tea cups that gently spin us into a slumber we cannot afford to take while we convince ourselves, this isn’t so bad. But it really isn’t so bad. You get to see your little one’s face. You get as many kisses as you want, and to inhale the sweetness of new baby- like puppy breath, new shoes or that new car smell. You take it in until the smell is gone or you become so accustomed to it, you can’t detect it anymore. Exhaustion sets in, sure, but now you’re exhausted without the added bonus of nausea and the inability to get comfortable if you are afforded the privilege of sleep. You can take a deep breath without your lungs protesting that they don’t have room for such an involuntary function. Ah, I lament a more comfortable time which makes my 4 weeks seems like its own trimester.

I refuse to buy maternity shirts with only a month left to go- hence the, "fat guy in a little coat", look.

I refuse to buy maternity shirts with only a month left to go- hence the, “fat guy in a little coat”, look.


Being 9 months pregnant is a privilege.
Not every woman gets to endure the tyranny of the 9th month. Even through all the whining, I am well aware of how wonderful it is I get to endure these last few weeks. I just wish that all women could have the privilege of whining about how awful it is to be 9 months pregnant.

Don’t Workout, Play! 2 Tips to Stay Motivated and Get Fit.

How is that New Year’s resolution going?  Is the fervor with which you made it starting to wane a little?  Has it waned a lot?  How do you keep motivated when chasing your kids all over hell and half of Georgia and don’t have time to make a healthy snack, let alone meal? Truth is, you have to make the time to be healthy  a priority.  It’s an appointment you must keep with yourself and make others respect.

Is time not your enemy, but staying motivated is? A terrific way to stay on a fitness routine is to join a team or train for a specific event.  It lends some purpose, intent and accountability to your fitness routine.  Here are a couple of ways to get out of a fitness rut and infuse that workout with a different purpose- one of fun and play!

Join a Team

-Check out a slow pitch softball league in your area.  You could even organize a team of your coworkers.

-Join a running club.  Members meet up once or twice a week to run and split into pace groups depending on where you are in your training.  There will definitely be a beginners group, so don’t be intimidated or think you have to first get in shape to participate.

-Try out a martial arts class- yes they have them for adults.  A lot of dojos offer a cardio kickboxing class.  Start there, get to know the place and ease into other classes.  Most dojos offer several disciplines these days and you usually get a week free to see if you like it.  Tae Kwon Do is a great discipline for adults.  Also, try out jiu jitsu.  You can train in a gi (uniform), or no-gi.  Most women are more comfortable starting out in gi.

-Do crossfit.  It’s a great way to learn how to lift weights in a supportive environment while keeping track of your progress.  The only competition is with yourself.  You will find yourself trying to get stronger and more fit to match and beat your previous times.  Crossfit gyms are full of moms getting in shape.  Go check one out.

Sign up for an Event

-Register for a road race.  5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon- whatever size goal you want to go after.  Download a training schedule for free online, let people know you’re doing it (for accountability), and start training.  My mom never ran a recreational step in her life.  She decided to train for a 5K, did a couple of those, and decided she wanted an epic challenge for her 50th birthday, so started training for a marathon.  Her first runs were more walks with a block of jogging thrown in, but eventually she was jogging with a block of walking thrown in.  Within four months she was going on 15 mile training runs and finished her first marathon.

My mom running in her 50th birthday marathon.

My mom running in her 50th birthday marathon.

-Try out an obstacle race.  They are all the rage right now, and for good reason.  They make exercise fun!  Do an internet search for obstacle races coming up in your area and choose the one that looks fun.  Get a group of girlfriends together and train.  You will have a blast!

Once you get a larger goal, losing weight and getting in shape become less of the focus and more of a nice side effect of just being active.  When you train for something else, you naturally become conscientious of your diet and strength, because improving these will improve your performance.  Or, you’ll see that if you can do this without changing other habits how much better you could perform if you just cut out the extra sugar in your diet, or if you ran one extra day a week.  You will think more about fitness than losing weight, which is a much healthier outlook.  The goal is to have fun.  The goal is to go out and play!

For more advice, tips and just general help getting started, give me a shout over at thetomboymommy@gmail.com.  Free advice, people! Seriously, I’d be happy to help you out.  You can always just drop a comment below too.

Valentine’s Day Sucks (even if you’re in a relationship)

Let’s keep this intro short and sweet.  You’re here reading this because you must think Valentine’s Day is the suckiest of holidays on the calendar.  What are we celebrating? If couples want to wallow in their love for each other, they should stick to their anniversary- that’s what it’s there for.  But let’s not begin there.  Let’s start with a brief history of V-Day (I like making it sound more like a venereal disease than an actual holiday).

While employing a random search engine, typing in, the history of Valentine’s Day, I came across several upon which to click.  You can certainly bypass the blog post and search for yourself, but why, I’ve already done it for you.  I chose this one from History.com , which has several thumbnails upon which to click with interesting facts about the holiday.  My attention span settled on this one: 6 Surprising Facts About St. Valentine.  Numero Uno: the Valentine to whom we attribute the holiday was martyred by beheading on February 14th.  Congratulations, your Valentine’s Day is not as bad as his.  And, before we continue to berate Hallmark for fabricating a holiday for consumerism, according to the 6 surprising facts referred to above, Geoffrey Chaucer may be to blame.  In a 1375 poem titled, “Parliement of foules”, he refers to feast day on the 14th day of February to celebrate mating of both birds and humans, but not with each other as I understand it.  No documentation or history of such a feast exists before this day, but became a popular celebration after publication.  So there you go, someone at whom you may direct your ire at feeling more single or less loved by your unromantic spouse.  Which bring me to my point of why Valentine’s Day sucks for those in relationships as well.

All of the sudden, on February 14th, our preconceived notions of attention and romance are skewed by expectations we see in movies and commercials and are projected onto our spouses, partners, significant others (hell, even insignificant others).  They are allotted one day to condense all of their love, devotion and romance(or endure all of ours) into a box of chocolates, jewelry, flowers, or whatever gift which you deem valuable and appropriately symbolic of their love, affection or just plain like, for you.  Forget that they are wonderful like a soft comfy Laz-E-Boy for you to rest your weary mate seeking bones upon every other day of the year, or week depending upon how long you have been together.  There is this performance pressure that if not properly managed can fall flat and cost you an otherwise perfectly reasonable and overall sane relationship.  Just like that, whammo! Beheaded like poor St. Valentine.

Social media has only exacerbated the suckiness of this  upon-further-research-not-entirely-fabricated-holiday.  Now you get to view pictures and saccharine posts about how wonderful some people’s mates are at expressing their love for them while it throws into sharp relief that one Valentine’s day in 8th grade when you were the only one in the class who didn’t get a candy gram…from anyone…not even your mom.  Many of these posts are from people whose mate is a complete ass the other 364 1/2 days out of the year, while yours (if you have one) is an absolute steal in the someone loves me even though I’m a complete wackadoo sweepstakes- and yet you find yourself slightly peeved they didn’t love you enough to love you especially hard on February the freakin’ 14th and now you have to see your “friend’s” post about how her sociopathic boyfriend bought her flowers that he probably stole from a grave site on his way home from community service.

Take a deep breath.  Do not stop and smell the roses you didn’t get, but find a place that is not thick with the stench of psudo amorous intentions.  Just remember, the dude for whom this day was named after died violently by hopefully a blunt broad axe that required several attempts at the severing, rather than a swift stroke of a well sharpened guillotine blade.  In case no one has told you yet today, Happy Valentine’s Day.

*In full disclosure I have been married 8 years and got several handmade heart cutout cards hung around the house. I was deeply moved and then went out and spent $250 on myself.