Last night, as I tidied the kitchen following our decidedly unromantic dinner of delivered pizza, I gazed out the window above our sink towards the home of the young, married, childless couple who lives next door and contemplatively asked Darren, "I wonder what our neighbors are doing this evening?"
"Ummm," he stammered.
"I mean really," I broke in. "What did we do on Valentine's Day before we had kids? Do you remember? Because honestly, I don't."
He assured me that we were, at one time, quite romantic on Valentine's Day. This year, I'm sad to say, I failed to get him even a simple card. But I know, because he shows me every day, that he loves me just the same. In fact yesterday, as he spontaneously embraced me as we passed in the hallway, he said the most beautiful thing to this very pregnant, very round, very cherished wife: "You're getting kind of hard to hug lately...but you're still very easy to love." (Awww...isn't he sweet?!)
At any rate, my kids and I most certainly enjoyed our day, even though Daddy wasn't home to celebrate with us. For breakfast I made heart shaped biscuits, served them on Valentine dishes, and each of the children had a little gift bag full of Valentine goodies from Darren and me. (And, yes. Both of the girls are wearing their brother's old pajamas. Because, you know, their mommy is just so in command of the laundry these days. But it's all good, really. Caitlyn declared herself "SU-per Girrrrl!" and was actually quite pleased with her "new" sleepwear.)
And I just had to showcase these two darling decorations created entirely by Dylan. While we were outside playing a couple of days ago, he found this lonely old squash hiding in the sad remains of our garden. With a few scraps of kindling from our firewood bucket, a sharpie, some scissors, and cardstock, he made this "Valentine Jack-O-Lantern". See the kiss on it's cheek? :)
Also: he decided quite on his own a few days ago that wood carving is a fun new technique of creative expression. How he discovered this still remains unknown to me, but with a letter opener from our kitchen "junk drawer" and again, more wood from the firewood bucket, he's been carving to his little heart's delight. First was a clever set of hieroglyphics. Next was this sign, which is a bit easier to read in person: "happy Valentine's Day!" Too sweet!
After breakfast we read Saint Valentine, a lovely book by Robert Sabuda. (We especially loved the beautiful mosaic illustrations.) Later we made some Triple Chocolate Fudge cupcakes, topped with pink and white frosting and a variety of Valentine sprinkles. (And I have to confess that here I cheated just a little--Betty Crocker really does "make life a little sweeter"!)
I invited a friend and her daughter over for treats after lunch, and we had a great time visiting, eating, and playing together! I meant to get a picture of all the kids together at the table, but was too busy partaking of the luscious strawberries and above mentioned cupcakes myself. Oops! I did, however, snap this sweet shot of little Meghan lingering at the table long after the others had left, savoring every last bite of her big, juicy strawberry. That's my girl!
Dinner was, as I mentioned, a no frills affair which was actually, for me, a really nice treat. And, as a special touch, I remembered to light the special heart shaped candle that my kids have been begging me for weeks now to burn. How blessed I felt to sit in it's soft glow at our dining room table, with my happy children chatting animatedly about their day, eating hot pizza ordered by my thoughtful husband because he knew I'd had a long and busy day, feeling within me the stretches and rolls of the daughter I can't wait to meet, side by side with the man I love. In fact, you know what? I think last night may have actually been more romantic than any of our pre-baby Valentine's Days. I'm living the life now that I could only dream about then, and it's more beautiful than any of the best visions I ever had for my future. I never knew I could be this blessed.