Valentine's Day 2015...a day that will live in infamy in this house...
The day started out great. We got to use our heart shaped pancake cutter to make a festive breakfast because we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (and even more important in the case of children who only eat breakfast, like Juliette!). The pancakes were a big hit and have become a tradition (because when else can you really use this heart shaped cutter!).
The kids came down in the morning to find a bit of candy and cards at their place at the table. And most importantly, they got their new coupon books. Every year, I hand make coupon books for each of the kids and the kids love them. They include things like extra dessert, extra chapter or story at bed time, 30 minutes of playing on my phone (this one gets used quickly), special mom and me date, mom cleans my room, etc.
I am the type of person who runs on routine and while that serves well for keeping things in order (or at least, less chaotic), I find that it causes me to say "no" a lot. In fact, "no" has become my default answer. These coupons give me an easy way to say "yes", even when I don't want to. They force me to say "yes". Just like any coupon, some restrictions do apply (homework and chores must be done). Not only are these fun, but I like to think that they are helping the kids learn to budget (there are usually about 5 passes to each coupon...do you really want to use one of your mom cleans my room coupons when it really isn't that messy? This is your last extra dessert coupon, do you really want to use it when we have limited dessert options in the house right now and we are going to the store tomorrow?). Who knows if it is actually helping anything, but they did at least learn to save their mom cleaning coupons for when their rooms are really huge disasters (why did I teach them this again?). Anyway, the coupons are always the favorite part of Valentine's Day for the kids.
Sometimes holidays are all about traditions. My Dad has given me flowers on Valentine's Day for as long as I can remember. He used to give my mom a dozen roses and me one rose. Eventually the arrangements varied but even when I went to college and left home, he has always sent me flowers and I love that tradition. And ever since the girls have been born, he has sent them a small bouquet of flowers too, often with a teddy bear attached. It has become a tradition that they have grown to appreciate as well. Thank you Daddy!
Once you have kids, things like Valentine's Day change from being a couple's holiday to a family holiday. At least it does for us as we like to celebrate things as a family. But this year, Paul decided to try to make it more special and cook an amazing dinner for the family. So, off he went to the store and he came home with two of these babies!
Of course he had to have a little fun with it by chasing the kids around with it, which freaked them out.
But the real surprise came when Ben had a total melt down about the prospect of killing the lobsters. He was sobbing and begging Paul not to kill the lobsters, saying things like, "What did they ever do to you?!?" and eventually yelling at Paul that he was a murderer! It was so unexpected and while we were trying to be sympathetic to his emotions, we were also trying hard not to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. We honestly did not know what to do. We explained that we could not take them back to the store. He wanted us to go set them free in Lake Arlington, but we had to explain that wouldn't work either. Basically, we told him that as soon as lobsters are brought into the store, their fate is sealed. If we brought them back, they would die. If we put them in a lake, they would die. If we left them alone, they would die. No matter what at this point, they were going to die. So, he asked that we please not kill them by boiling them. We decided to say some prayers over the lobsters and lay them out in the snow. Once they had died in the snow, Ben said we could cook them. Friends, I can not make this stuff up...we literally had a funeral for these lobsters where we quoted the Bible saying we could eat creatures of the land and sea and then laid them to rest (with many tears) out in the snow and prayed for a peaceful passing. Finally, Paul was able to continue with his planned course..
Of course, none of the kids would try the lobster after the whole debacle! It was delicious, but probably not worth all the drama. Paul titled it the 2015 Valentine's Day Massacre and it is something we will never forget, I am sure. If that wasn't enough, in the middle of the night I woke up to a crunching sound. That's right, Belle had fished the lobster shells out of the trash and was crunching on them in our bedroom. The next morning, the kids found lobster shell pieces all over the house, which is really what we needed, a reminder of the drama from the night before. People ask me all the time what it is like to have four kids...this is a perfect example! Life is unexpected and crazy and chaotic and funny and loving. Happy Valentine's Day!