Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Although a lot of people refer to it as a cliche` Hallmark holiday, I happen to love Valentine's Day. I've always loved it. I remember Mom setting the table nice for a special Valentine's Day dinner at home, a pretty red candle lit, and red-wrapped gifts for my brothers and I. I remember spending weeks on the perfect Valentine's Day box to bring to a party at school. Even better, I remember taking that box home at the end of the day, overflowing with Valentine's cards, heart-shaped suckers, and silver lined chocolate hearts. I remember designing cards for my friends, saving special colors for special friends, and the best candy for my sweetheart. I remember Dana Shultz, standing at my doorstop in 2nd grade, grinning from ear to ear with a single red rose clutched in his little hand. I remember getting older, secretly longing for a vase of flowers with my name on it in the school office. And...I remember my senior year, dozens of flowers delivered to me, yet still sad, lonely, and empty because my Valentine was taken away from me.

I think holidays like Valentine's Day are important because they give us a reason to remember. To sift through life, remember, and celebrate all of the feelings that mold us and shape us into the people we are today. Feelings of love and belonging, friendship and heartache. It's too easy to go through this life with blinders on and I'm thankful for holidays to help me stop and reflect on how much I've learned and how much I've been blessed with.

Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate all the love in the world, as well as an excuse for a fun date night. This is Beau and I's sixth Valentine's Day together. As we continue to add more chapters to our little love story, I am repeatedly reminded of how blessed I am.

"all, everything I understand, I understand only because I love." -Leo Tolstoy

1st Valentine's Day: I don't remember a whole lot from this one, just sitting on Beau's bed at his old apartment, being showered with gifts from Gina's store (that she helped him pick out), as well as a big teddy bear and box of chocolates.

2nd Valentine's Day: Beau and I got dressed up and went to eat at Ferrari's, a fancy restaurant at the Pipac Centre. It had just opened and they were advertising a special Valentine's Day Dinner for Two.

3rd Valentine's Day: This was a good one! Beau and I made dinner at home. We set his Grandma J's old card table and chairs up in the middle of the living room floor of the duplex, turned off the lights, and lit candles everywhere. We made a 'fancy' meal, some type of pasta, grilled baby shrimp on skewers, and a red velvet cake mix. Even though we sat at a card table, in our far from glorious duplex, eating dinner from hand-me-down plates and unmatched silverware, I remember feeling as if I was in another world.

4th Valentine's Day: This was a Valentine's Day to remember! For Christmas, Gabe & Gina had given me a pretty silver fondue set. I wanted to use it for Valentine's Day, so I planned a romantic night at home, complete with a roaring fire, bottles of wine, and lots of finger foods. I cut up fruit, made a homemade pound cake, and cut up lots of meat and cheese. It turns out we should have practiced the chocolate and cheese fondue first! The beer-cheese fondue was inedible and the chocolate burned to the bottom of the pot. It was a disaster!
I went to Hy-Vee for about the third time that day and bought microwaveable chocolate.

Favorite line of the night? (A line I still get grief for)...
Me: (back from Hy-Vee for the second time that night, throws a bag of chocolate chips on the counter)
Beau: The important thing is that we have each other.
Me: No it's not!
Needless to say, the chocolate turned out the second time around and the night ended in bliss :).

5th Valentine's Day: Brown Bottle. Red Velvet Cheesecake. Toads. Wine at Indulgence.

6th Valentine's Day: Beau and I went out to eat at Cu. It is a beautiful little restaurant in downtown Waterloo with even better food. We had their famous Shrimp & Lobster Bisque, pork medallions, hazelnut chicken, and my favorite, creme brulee`. After dinner, we saw the movie, 'Valentine's Day,' in the UltraScreen at the theater.

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