Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Because I'm a sucker for the holidays, I like to go all out.  And because Beau is married to me, he usually plays along.  Valentine's Days in the past have meant long nights at Indulgence, a local wine shoppe in Cedar Falls, scouring the racks of wine for the perfect bottle to, well, indulge in.  Nights out on the town, sipping on martinis, or cuddling up with a bowl of buttery popcorn in a cozy movie theater.  One year, we made a four-course meal and set up a candlelit card table in our living room.  Another year, we had a fondue carpet picnic, complete with champagne, candles, strawberries, and pound cake.  

This weekend, my parents came to babysit Cruz so Beau and I could have a date night.  I thought about it all day, tried on four different outfits in order to find 'the one,' spent extra time on my hair, and envisioned a night 'like the old times,' complete with martinis, great food, and googly eyes.  Although we thoroughly enjoyed our night out together, we were home two hours later, fighting over Cruz and changing into our sweat pants.  Yes, I admit it.  A Saturday night opportunity to go all out and we were home after two hours.  And did I mention that that two hours included a stop at Walgreens on the way home?  Pathetic, I know.  (Beau will be utterly embarrassed I'm admitting to this).

Have we turned into lame people desperately lacking a social life?  Have we forgotten how to be romantic, celebrate our relationship, and enjoy a night out alone?  Maybe a little, but I think it's more than that.

We are learning how to balance.  Learning how to be the best parents we can be, while also maintaining the spark that made us fall in love more than six years ago.  The spark is still there, but the fuel that's igniting is what's different.  That's the pretty amazing thing about love.  It changes.  It begins as something thrilling and passionate, and evolves to something rock steady and firm.  The forever kind.

This Valentine's Day, we share our hearts and our lives with another little person.  A person who has taught us more about life and love than we ever dreamed possible.  And although I hope we can always find room for the romance...nights out on the town, spontaneous adventures for the two of us, and maybe a weekend getaway here and there, it's more about the little things now.      

So today, we celebrate Valentine's Day after a hectic day at work and the trauma of Cruz's four-month doctor's appointment.  We nurse battle wounds from baby shots, open little presents wrapped with heart paper, and clink our wine glasses to love.

Tonight, we celebrate Valentine's Day with a pork roast, peas, and pasta, the kind of meal that makes me want to say, "Cruz, you are not leaving this table 'til you finish those peas," because it screams 'family,' instead of 'couple.'  We celebrate Valentine's day with a bottle of wine, and a night of entertainment, watching our little one have the time of his life with his newest Valentine's gift.

It's been awhile (Christmas) since I've splurged on something fun for the Cruz dude.  And since there was a square foot of living room floor space unoccupied by a baby toy, I thought it was time to fill it up.  I'm working to create Baby Adventureland in our living room.  

This thing is legit.  It's a Johnny Jumper minus the scary-hang-from-door-frame assembly.  It lights up and plays music every time Cruz bounces.  It's stimulation overload.  Every where he looks, there's a rainforest creature staring back at him.  It satisfies his need to sit like a big boy, and occupies him while we cook supper.  Most of all, he looks so cute in it and every time I ask him if he likes his new toy, I get this.

What else am I lovin' this Valentine's Day?

...Dancing with Cruz in the living room to Etta James', At Last.  Maybe if I start him early, he won't be embarrassed to dance with me when he's sixteen.  

...Applebee's Perfect Strawberry Margarita.  Beau hates Applebees, but I talked him into it the other night.  I know it's weird, but I feel strangely at home eating at Applebees.  And after being introduced to the $1.99 Long Islands on Friday nights, Beau might not be so opposed to eating there in the future.  Good food, lots for Cruz to look at, and a family friendly environment.  Cruz sat on the table, reached for my shrimp, and tried to score us a deal by smiling at every waitress that walked by.  A show-stopper, that one.
...The feeling of wearing my favorite pointy-toed heels without tights on our date Saturday night.  A sure sign of Spring.  

...Basil crusted pork medallions with an apple and pear chutney, sweet potato puree, and a maraschino bundt cake with hot fudge and homemade whipped cream.  Enough said?  Oh, and the Cu's famous lobster bisque.  When Beau and I score a date night, we eat.  

...Holding hands with the man I love while walking back to the car after dinner.  The little things...

...the first glimpses of Iowa spring.  40 degree days equals grilled burgers, spring coats, and driving with the windows down.  It's time to go, snow!

...Sunday pajama days.  My dad came to help Beau put in a sump pump in our basement, hoping to someday expand Baby Adventureland to a family room in the basement instead of our living room.  Mom tagged along and brought egg bake and cinnamon rolls, and we spent the majority of Sunday tickling baby feet and nuzzling baby necks.  

...Valentine's gifts from Grandma.  And Great-Grandma.  A pretty sweet hat and some much needed reading material.  And of course, some adorable Baby Gap clothes.  

Someone's trying to sit by himself...

...getting home from work to a vase of peach roses on the table, and better yet, picturing my two loves in Hy-Vee, searching for the perfect bouquet.  Beau said a lady smiled at him when he asked Cruz which ones "Mommy would like best." 

...opening a Valentine's Day card from my son. husband.  The love of my life.  The man who will move appointments in order to come be a 'guest speaker' to my class of unruly sixteen year olds.  The man who teaches me how to love and how to be a better person.  The man who stole my heart six years ago, pulling a frisbee out of the bushes across from my college house, wearing nothing but a pair of cargo shorts, a backwards cap, and a pair of flip flops.  The man whose dimples still make me melt over and over again.  

...and the man who gave me this little man.  The little man who talked all weekend long, perfected his fish face, and learned how 'motor boat' his lips.  The little man who is already trying to kick his feet and move his arms into a sudo-army crawl, and sit on his own (resting on his formula belly, of course!).  The little man who loves to smile, loves to cuddle, and loves to be talked to.  

What are you soaking up this Valentine's Day? 

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