Smoochie Smoochie

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A magical time of starry skies and sweet romance … if you plan it right.

In honor of this weekend’s lovey-dovey holiday, here are four ways to make your Valentine’s Day dreams come true.  

Pay attention.

Lauren Sweetman of Cary loves animals, and books. So when they were dating, her then-boyfriend, Dave, woke her at 3 a.m., snuggled her into a nest of pillows in the passenger seat of his car, and drove her to the zoo for an early-morning, guided safari.

The trip came complete with a duffel bag of her clothes, her toothbrush and makeup.

Following a pie and coffee stop later, Dave took Lauren to a dollar bookstore and told her to buy as many books as she could carry.

“Dave proved that he knew me, appreciated my interests and loved me,” Lauren said. “A year later we were married.”

Think outside the box.

Most people celebrate annual wedding anniversaries, but few mark the occasion of their 33 and a third.

John Pienta of Cary surprised his wife, Cathy, with a long weekend at their favorite B&B in the mountains of Asheville. But the guessing came first: 

Flowers. But why?

An old LP record. Huh?

A third of a pie. The Three Stooges, with one circled. And finally, a homemade T-shirt reading “I’ve been married a third of a century and all I got was a lousy T-shirt.”

His shirt said “33 and 1/3 – Long Playing.”

“She finally got it,” said John, “and we had a marvelous few days in the mountains.”

Revisit your firsts.

On their first anniversary, Keith and Lisa Hickman of Fuquay-Varina returned to the pub where they had their first date, and to the dock where they shared their first kiss. The evening also included visits to the sites of their first movie, study date, and volunteering gig.

The grand finale? A stop at the stadium where he had proposed.

“He again got down on one knee," Lisa said, " and told me how grateful he was that I had said yes that night and how he would marry me again and again."

Share a secret.

Wendy Beachy of Cary found out she was expecting on Valentine’s Day 2014. She kept the secret all day, and found a creative way to reveal it in a cozy booth at dinner with her husband, Jonathan.   

“We had decided not to get each other gifts. However, I handed over a small box and a card. At the bottom of the card I wrote, ‘You’re going to be a great Daddy.’

In the box? A Valentine’s footie that’s just the right size to fit their daughter this Valentine’s Day.

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