This is the third year now that I've had a valentines lunch party for my little guys. This was the most fun year yet because Drew is getting so much more into crafts and helping and even likes to help decorate for special things. I want to raise my boys to know how to be romantic, to enjoy setting aside time to make someone else feel special, and to have great memories of Valentines Day. But most of all I want them to know how much I love them, and how much Jesus loves them.
Now I'd like to say a little something just for honesty's sake here... Lots of times I see posts or pictures of other moms and their fun crafty day with their kids and I wonder if the pictures are showing how it really went. Because, although we have some wonderful memories from our lunch party and the preparation for it, I'd be lying to say that we were all just floating around on red and pink clouds and acting totally lovey to each other all morning. There was one point where I wondered if this was even worth it. Jaden was really fussy that morning and if I set him down to help the boys he would cry. If I picked him up and couldn't help them Drew would start bossing Isaiah and Isaiah would cry. At one point I thought I might cry. I mean, this was supposed to be special, why were there tears???
But here's what I learned. While we were making cupcakes Isaiah was trying to sprinkle the red sugar on his and his sprinkle was a little aggressive and came out more like an avalanche. Drew was quick to tell him that wasn't how he was supposed to do it, and Isaiah started crying like his world was falling apart. I tried to set Jaden down to comfort Isaiah, and Jaden started crying. Shaun had been outside shoveling and came to the front door wanting car keys right at that moment and I thought I might have a meltdown. But a few minutes later when Shaun came back in from getting the truck completely dug out, Isaiah ran to the door, tears still in his eyes, but a big smile on his face, and said "Daddy! tum ook at tuptakes I make!!!" It was like he had completely forgotten about his meltdown mere minutes earlier and all he remembered was the fun. And then Drew. It didn't matter if chaos of all chaos was ensuing around him, he was so focused on decorating his cupcakes it was like he didn't mind it at all. He seriously had a blast. If you ask them about their Valentines morning neither one will tell you that they fought or cried or spilled sugar all over the place. Neither will talk about Jaden crying or mommy feeling like she just didn't have what it takes to be taking care of everyone at once. They will tell you they made cupcakes, cut out paper hearts, helped make their own sandwiches and took pictures with mustaches. And they will tell you it was so much fun.
So maybe perfectly managed emotions aren't the goal during a "fun" time with your kids? Maybe just being together, persevering through the difficulties, giving as many hugs as needed, not caring how long it takes or how messy it gets is the goal. Because they seem to only remember the good stuff. And that's what counts. So my answer to my own question: It was totally worth it.
Mixing cupcake batter above.
Drew's perfectly sprinkled cupcake. Isaiah's avalanched cupcake.
Kind of their personalities in dessert form.
Cause after all, if Drew's going to dump sugar on his cupcake he's going to do it as neatly and perfectly as he can. And if Isaiah is going to dump sugar on his cupcake, he's going to dump sugar on his cupcake.
Every year we try to be creative and have mostly all red and pink foods. So our menu this year was:
Heart shaped sweet bologna sandwiches
Strawberry & Raspberry yogurt parfaits
Pretzel Sticks with strawberry cream cheese
Chai Latte cupcakes with red sprinkles
And Pink lemonade
After we made the cupcakes in the morning Drew helped me make the sandwiches, cut out the heart shapes, fill the glasses with yogurt, arrange everything on the tray and decorate their bedroom for our party. It was his idea to hang paper hearts on the wall. I'd cut them out and stick tape to them and him and Isaiah took turns hanging them all over the wall. They had so much fun and still don't want to take them down.
Before we ate we prayed and sang Jesus loves me, we talked about how Jesus died for us because he loves us so much and I told them how much I love them.
It was hard for them to help make all that goodness and then wait to eat it, so once it was time they couldn't wait to dig in!!
Jaden was happy by lunch time and laid on their bed giving us smiles while we ate.
A few days before our party Drew and I made paper mustaches glued to striped paper straws and we put them in a vase on the table as decoration. They had so much fun pulling them out and playing with them at different times. I was pretty amazed how big of a hit that craft was, especially with Drew.
By the time all the preparation was done and we were all sitting down for our party you would have never known that there were tears or roller coaster emotions that morning. I think this was about the time that I had decided it was totally worth it. We had such a good time together and they didn't want Valentines Day to end. Shaun got to be with us since it was a snow day this year too, which made it extra special :)
The tiny paper hearts at each place were Drew's idea too... After hanging some on the wall he said he wanted "a tiny heart to hold" too...
That night Shaun and I got to go out just the two of us since Jaden was born. We didn't go far but it really didn't matter where we went, it was just so good to get to have long, deep conversation without any interruptions and be together just us for two hours. (Thanks again mom and dad for babysitting!!)
So that was our Valentines Day... I love this tradition of making it extra special and having a party just for my boys... It was definitely worth it. :)