My wife and I celebrated this past Valentine's Day over three days. We didn't really mean to, but it just sort of happened. We spent Wednesday night together, then Thursday we spent with the kids, then yesterday we spent with the kids and then went on a date late at night.
What we discovered was the following:
-- Flowers are insanely expensive to buy on Valentine's Day (I figured my $40 would be better spent elsewhere, and my wife agreed).
-- Flowers are dirt cheap the day after Valentine's Day, but they are the leftovers and look pretty haggard. Since I'd given my wife flowers the week before, we opted not to buy any at all.
-- A date can be just as fun with no plans as it can with plans.
-- Getting a table at a restaurant is much easier when there's only two of you instead of the 5 we normally are when we go out as a family.
-- The average age of the people at the mall on Friday night can be brought up dramatically by two people in their 30s walking in.
We like to spend Valentine's Day with the kids. It's as much a holiday for them as it is for us, and we want them to know that we love them, too (something that's tough to do if you leave them home with a babysitter). We had a fine dinner that evening with red-tinted, heart-shaped pancakes topped with whipped cream; pink scrambled eggs topped with melted cheese, and pink milk. The kids loved it. During the day, they consumed far more sugar than they should have, and my wife gave us all gifts (what a sweetheart!).
Last night for our little date, we didn't really do anything. We left the kids with the babysitter at 5, went and got gas in the car, bought some butternut squash soup from Trader Joe's, then headed over to the Elephant Bar & Grill for dinner. We split a grilled pork dish that had mashed potatoes, spiced apples, and sautéed vegetables, and we also split a side-salad. Normally a restaurant has either too much food or too little (the grossest of restaurant sins), but we've found this combination works best for the two of us.
Afterwards, we just drove towards the mall, no destination really in mind. We saw a Pottery Barn we didn't know was there, so we parked and went in. Of course, it's far too pricey there to buy anything on a whim (in our opinion), but we enjoyed just walking around. Then we went across the street to the mall, and literally just walked it's length one way on the upper floor, then came down and walked the it's length on the way back to the car on the ground floor. It had been a really long time since we'd just been together with nothing to do and went window shopping, and I really did enjoy it!
When we left, we headed over to a friend's house to pick up a book my wife wants to read, then came home. My wife took the babysitter home while I set up the TV to watch "Lost", which we had recorded the night before. While watching that, we had some coconut cream pie, which I had purchased from Marie Callender's two days before. It was great. When the show was done, we were so tired, we just went to bed -- reading for a while before turning the lights out at about 10 pm.
It really was nice just to be together. We enjoyed each other's company, and it was great to have some quiet time alone without the kids taking our attention. It's funny, Valentine's Day is a day to recognize the ones that we love. Society has changed this into a very commercial day where you're supposed to recognized your loved ones with gifts of various kinds. Well, we eschewed all that, and I believe we had a very meaningful time. I'm grateful for my little family, and I do love them with all my heart.
Happy Valentine's Day everybody!