Poor Valentine's Day. It kind of got the shaft as far as holidays go, being relegated to chalky conversation hearts and lame packages of Disney-themed cards awkwardly passed out in elementary school classrooms around the country.
Its only saving grace is its association with the second-best Simpsons episode--the one where Ralph Wiggum declares his love for Lisa with a card that says 'I choo-choo choose you'. This episode is a very close second, behind the one where Homer is prescribed medical marijuana (I don't know how to attach sound clips, but you can find some great ones from this episode here if you are looking to procrastinate working on your taxes).
Eight years ago today, I had a dinner date at Sam's apartment (the one with the living room that featured the two non-matching lawn chairs and trusty cardboard box as furniture, where we spent our evenings playing Scrabble). One of his many talents is making homemade pizza--none of that store-bought crust stuff, but real, thrown-in-the-air crust perfected from his days working at Pizza My Heart in Santa Cruz. He made two really delicious gourmet pizzas, set everything on the table, and then ran next door to borrow a corkscrew (I know, it's surprising he wouldn't have a corkscrew considering his furniture...). He came back in to join me at the table and knelt down on the floor. I thought he dropped his napkin, but instead he asked me to marry him.
Fast forward eight years, and we've got that much love plus three as we sit at the table. Time is what we don't have, and after a snowy morning spent at the after-hours clinic and pharmacy to treat Kenyon's ear infection, a romantic meal for two (plus an earlier dinner for three) wasn't going to happen. Late this afternoon, Sam took the boys sledding--I hate to have missed the fun, especially after hearing how Alex laid down on the sled with Kenyon (ear infection and all) riding on top of him, and Sam and Jackson holding hands and standing up while riding down the slope. We didn't give the kids candy or presents this morning, but I rallied and wanted to mark what this holiday means in our little family unit.
I made a mess in the kitchen and in the hour that my family was gone, I whipped up beef tenderloin medallions with potato risotto and salad, lit candles, set the table with placemats and cloth napkins, and opened a special bottle of wine. I also made bittersweet molten lava chocolate cakes and homemade cinnamon-coffee ice cream. Epicurious, I owe you big-time for your fool-proof recipes.
It wasn't a romantic dinner for two, but I am so incredibly thankful that I have these boys in my life to love every day, and told them so (after sending Alex away from the table twice before dinner even started, and threatened that if there was a next time he'd be eating dinner alone upstairs). After dinner, Jackson told me that he had wanted to do something special for me, so he had folded down our comforter and turned on our heated mattress pad for us. How cute is that? Kenyon kept saying Happy Birthday because of the candles, but once in a while threw in a Happy Valentine's Day for good measure.