Happy Valentine’s

I was never a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.

I guess it stems from not being the most popular in high school where Valentine’s Day seemingly starts to be a big deal. You know, with those candy grams? Some people got tons, from secret admirers or boy friends. I always got a couple from my close friends, but nothing over the top.

On to later years, and Valentine’s was never a huge deal. The occasional flowers, out for dinner, simple card or gift. It really was not a big occasion.

Nor did I think I really wanted it to be. I mean, I’m not even that crazy about flowers (they die). And I don’t want to just be treated “special” on a day when everyone is reminded and told to treat you special. Hmmm, maybe it speaks to my past life….

Along came the divorced single years and Valentine’s Day was the absolute worst. You felt like a loser, everyone around you was all seemingly in love. I think I just spent it with my girlfriends commiserating on how dumb it was.

It was during this stage that I started to make Valentine’s Day about my boys. They were the loves of my life – so I would celebrate with them. I started a little tradition of giving them a special Valentine stuffie, and some little chocolates, with a special dinner.

Then I met Rob. Now came the “Valentine Pressure”.

“What are you lovebirds going to do for Valentine’s”?

I don’t know. I don’t really like Valentine’s. I still think flowers die and I don’t want someone to feel forced to do something special for merely 1 day. And then what do I get him? It’s got to be spectacular – no? I finally have someone I love (romantically – I was in the groove of celebrating with my boys) to share this day with – but how can I meet the expectations of being a new couple in love?

I had nothing to fear. Rob and a bit of tradition solved the problem.

On my first Valentine’s with him, he bought me some art supplies. He knew I shyed away from creativity, but knew I had it in me. I loved it.

That year, I decided to make a scrapbook for him. I started a book and decided to add 2 pages a year (so that would take care of Valentine’s Day for the rest of our lives!) summarizing “our” year. Just the special moments that we shared – no kids. So, every year, over the year I record little moments and inside jokes, take pictures, collect stubs and then create two pages to summarize the heart of us and our year. It’s fun to do, and special for both of us to be reminded of the little moments we share.

Then the next year Rob started another tradition to add to my scrapbook tradition. Packing my bags, he whisked me away for an overnight….to a hotel about 15 minutes from our house in the downtown core. Anyone who thinks staying at a hotel 15 minutes away from your empty house is silly and wasteful has clearly never done it before.

He filled the room with my favourite little luxuries. We had an amazing night, went for dinner, watched a movie, read, slept and enjoyed every moment with each other.

And that has now become our tradition.

Every year, we pick a new hotel, and on the Friday night closest to Valentine’s, we spend the night at the hotel.

And can I say, that I now LOVE Valentine’s. LOVE IT.

This year, it was the Fairmont Royal York. Dinner at Ki (love their sushi), two movies (The Descendents and Midnight in Paris) and a whole lot of relaxing and us time. Of course this amazing man also drove 45 minutes (each way) during the day to buy me my favourite truffles from Circus – so I sat in bed eating those too:) Absolute Heaven!

The traditions keep going for the kids too. We decided that we always want Valentine’s to be super special for our kids. So, every year, we do a few things to make them feel special.

First, we give our kitchen a heart attack. It’s an idea that I got from this blog here, but then tailored it to us. Rob and I each write 5 things that we love about each child on post it hearts (so there’s 10 each) and put them all over our kitchen. When the kids wake up on Valentine’s (or the closest day to it if they are not with us), they get to go around and read what we love about them.

(These picture make me realize how old and crooked our house actually is!!)

At night, we serve them up filet mignon, poutine, and some type of cupcake that I create from The Martha Stewart cupcake book. The table is covered with chocolates for them, and on their seat is some type of Valentine’s stuffie (I realize they may grow out of this soon – but they still insist on a stuffie!).

The final touch – which is everyone’s favourite – is our special gift to them:

Their yearly photo book.

Every year I take tons of pictures of them and then for Valentine’s I prepare them a photo book of all “their pictures” from the previous year. At the end of the book, I write them a little summary of their life that year (who your teacher was, your friends, what sports you did, what vacations we went on, what you were for Halloween, favourite movies, routines etc. etc.) and then Rob and I each write them a letter. A little bit mushy, but letting them know what we admire most about them, how proud we are of them and how much we love them.

The book is a ton of work (my January project) – but can I just say – it is the best moment to see them leaf through the book, laughing and smiling at the pictures, reminising about their favourite events, and even occasionally getting a little teary (maybe??) when then they read the letters. (They’d never admit to that I’m sure). During the year, they are always asking me to “take a picture for my book”. It’s fun to go through all the books from previous years too. When they leave home, they have their own set of personalized books.

This is such a hit every year that the kids told me that their Mom did a version of the “yearly photo album” this year! I guess imitation is the greatest form of flattery!

And that’s our Valentine’s! It is the highlight smack in the middle of winter and something I think we all look forward to every year! And, it continues throughout the year as we are always mindful of all the special moments throughout the year – to capture for our scrapbook and for the photo books! It lets the love flow throughout the year:)

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