Friday, March 1, 2013

Valentine's Traditions

I have somehow been so busy recently that I couldn't even get this post written during the month of February. I will attribute it to the fact that Avery is now crawling, pulling up on everything, and cruising between the furniture. On top of that, her wake times are extending and the evening nap is officially a thing of the past. So all that activity means a lot less of getting things done during the day and a lot more time spent on the floor stacking toys, cuddling stuffed animals, making music, climbing, and giggling. Nap times are filled with things like eating and cleaning instead of knitting and sleeping as in previous months. But I wouldn't trade this time for anything. There is nothing more enjoyable than a happy baby growing and exploring her little world.

Back to Valentine's Day . . . When I was growing up, Mom and Dad always made Valentine's Day a special occasion for my sisters and me. We woke up to a gift bag outside our door in the morning from Mom, filled with candy, jewelry, or other little gifts. And at every Valentine's Day dinner, Dad always left the table early while we pretended not to know where he was going. A few minutes later he would come back with bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolates for each of us. He would walk around the table handing out the treats and ask each of his girls to be his Valentine. I think this is one of my favorite traditions from my childhood.

This year, my mom - always one to plan ahead - sent up a bag of Valentine's goodies for us with Jason and Olivia back in January. Ryan has been enjoying his huge container of almonds, and Avery was spoiled with new outfits, an adorable polar bear cub stuffed animal, and a beautiful wooden toy (and three gorgeous outfits from Aunt Rebekah who can never resist the opportunity to buy her niece new clothes). And I opened a bag with heart-shaped cookie cutters, red and pink sprinkles, and candles, and some candy. All of those things were put to good use when I made Ryan a special Valentine's dinner.

On Valentine's Day, Avery wore one of her new outfits from her sweet grandparents, and I decided to try painting her toe nails. I put her in the highchair for breakfast, and quickly painted them before she realized what I was doing. It was the perfect place to do it because she couldn't reach them, and they were dry by the time she was done eating. I just love the way they turned out!


This has nothing to do with Valentine's Day, but this was also the day that Avery started crawling. She had been close for a while, but here is a short video clip of her first time actually crawling.

video

When Ryan got home from work that evening, he surprised us with beautiful red roses, chocolates (for me), and a little teddy bear (for Avery). I love that he continued our family tradition! Avery is blessed with such a sweet and loving father.

Our dinner later in the week was so much fun to plan and prepare. While looking in the meat section of the grocery store, I noticed a package of two bacon-wrapped fillets that were on sale. I couldn't pass that up, so I bought some asparagus and a few other things to go with it and planned the menu from there. We ended up having the steak topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms, oven-roasted asparagus, twice-baked sweet potatoes with ricotta cheese and brown sugar, and tomato slices topped with fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar. We had heart-shaped cinnamon biscuits topped with strawberry butter as well. The candles and candy hearts from mom and our gorgeous flowers from Ryan were put to good use as table decorations.



Ryan and I ate dinner after Avery was in bed, and stayed at the table talking until after 11:00! I loved having a quiet evening to spend time together in the midst of our busy schedules. This was our fifth Valentine's Day together and I am so thankful to be married to this amazing man that I grow to love more and more with each passing year.

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