Sunday, February 19, 2012

Full of Love

Valentines Day has come and gone and I'm left with a bowl of candy on the kitchen counter. I'm figuring that by the time the valentines candy is gone the Easter candy will roll out. And by the time the Easter candy is gone we'll be celebrating Grady Lee's birthday and have a kitchen with stashes of cake and ice cream. I've got maybe three months during July, August, and September where there are no candy or cake-deserving occasions, but come October there is Halloween, and then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, and then New Years, and then I'm back at Valentines again. It's a vicious cycle.

This past Tuesday the kids woke up to pink, heart-shaped pancakes and strawberry flavored milk. Being that I've usually got my Go-Go-Gadget camera that magically appears at all the right moments, it's hard to imagine that I did not get any valentine breakfast pictures. But, if I'm being honest, the heart-shaped pancakes were taking more time than I wanted so after four of them I began the typical spoonful-plop-of-batter on the griddle. Micah was a huge fan of his milk until he heard Grady Lee say, "My milk tastes like medicine. Do I have to finish it?" Suddenly Micah didn't like his milk anymore either and pushed it away. Annalyse like her milk just fine, but wanted nothing to do with her pink pancake. You know, you win some and you lose some.

The boys had their weekly Bible class on Tuesday and had a small Valentines Day party. I was serenaded the whole drive home with a lovely (this is debatable) song about love while they excitedly ripped open the handful of cards and treats they got.

For lunch, the extent of my valentines creativity was heart-shaped PB&J, heart-shaped cheese, and strawberry parfaits. Micah asked if next time I could make his sandwich "in the shape of all the letters in my name. If you spell my name with my food then I will really know that you love me, Mom." Sure thing - I'll get right on that.
Our Valentines Day dinner was put on hold until Thursday night when our friend, Sean, came over. Sean is here for dinner every Thursday evening and he and Grady then work through a Bible study together. He's usually not even out of his car and walking up the driveway before my boys are tackling him, hanging on his back, and asking him if he wants to play a game. He upped his rock star status this week when he came bearing valentine gifts! No way was I going to get a picture of them standing still and smiling. Everyone was way to excited to open their candy and eat it before I changed my mind in allowing them to have a treat before dinner. (Notice Annalyse's scowl? That girl was bent out of shape that she could not get her lollipop open!)
I tried to come up with a semi-valentinsey meal that I knew my boys would still eat. How about heart-shaped cucumbers and tomatoes with some pink Ranch dressing? I admit, it was nauseating to look at pink dressing all over my salad but it didn't taste any different so I managed to get it down. 
Our main course was spaghetti and meatballs, per Grady Lee's request. (Um, maybe it tasted better than it looked?! those meatballs look seriously dried out.)
During dinner we each took turns opening an envelope with a question inside about love. Who do you love most and why? What food do you love most and why? What is one thing you love to do and why? What do you love most about God and why? What do you think love means and why?

Unfortunately, doting grandparents have accustomed my boys to thinking that whenever they open an envelope it guarantees a personal card with either money or candy that tumbles out. Once they realized there were no hidden treats inside they still got excited about playing the game. And, surprisingly, they came up with some pretty good answers, too.
Side note, but it's just too funny not to share. Look to the far end of the dining table and you'll see the family pet, Sharky, swimming laps in his bowl. Yes, he is on the table and yes, that is because the boys think he's a part of the family and needs to see what we're doing.  Before dinner, we all reached out to hold hands and pray. Sean, of course, reached over Sharky to get Grady Lee's hand but Grady Lee insisted that he and Sean hold Sharky's bowl. Seriously. So, with every head bowed and every eye closed, there sat Sean with one hand on the fish bowl and Grady Lee with one hand on the fish bowl. It took everything I had to keep from rolling on the floor laughing. The best part? Once an amen was said, Sean continued with dinner as though nothing had happened and that holding a fish bowl was the most normal thing to do during prayer. Reason one hundred thousand why my boys love this guy!
After dinner I cleared dishes and prepared for dessert. Everyone else headed upstairs for a scavenger hunt for hearts hidden in the bedrooms and playroom. Annalyse was content to sit in her highchair and slurp on her valentines lollipop from Sean.
When the upstairs had been fully disheveled and all the hearts found, we returned to the dining room for some melted chocolate with lots of dippable treats. What's a Valentines Day dinner without chocolate, right?
Later that night as I was getting the boys ready for bed, Micah asked (once again) "if Mr. Sean can sleep in my room in a sleeping bag?" During bedtime prayers, Grady Lee thanked Jesus "for my special friend Mr. Sean who comes to our house to eat dinner and play with us every week." Like I said, Sean holds celebrity status with my boys.
I've got another year until I need to think about red and pink and hearts and how that fits into meal planning. In the meantime, I'm grateful for my precious valentines that tell me everyday they love me, even when I say, "No, Mr. Sean is not going to sleep in your bedroom tonight" and even when I laugh out loud after the fact that Grady Lee insists on including Sharky in our family prayers.


  1. Great ideas, Sarah! Love the fish!

  2. are so creative!!!! Wow! Guess just making V-day cards and eating chocolate just doesn't suffice these days! Gonna have to go out and get a heart shape cookie cutter and eat all hearts next year! :-)
    Sean is HILARIOUS! Not only does he include the fish in prayers, engage in full-on rough and tumble play with your boys...he's an amazing man of God! Thanks for opening up your home to these guys and teaching them what a godly marriage and family look like!