February 15, 2006

A Good Valentine's Day

We actually began our Valentine's celebration on Monday evening, since Ted and I would be out for dinner on the 14th. I made spaghetti with heart-shaped pasta that I found at Cost Plus. The kids loved it! For dessert we had treats that the kids had helped me make during the day, heart-shaped chocolate chip "lollipop" cookies (basically cookies on a popsicle stick). We made a bunch of them for the kids to give to their friends.

On Valentine's Day, after our school time, we loaded up the van and went to a play group party. The kids made cute little crafts, and then we enjoyed a fun lunch, including heart-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids and a potluck lunch for the moms. After lunch the kids exchanged their Valentine's goodies, and it was a flurry of activity! Charis loved passing out the stamped lunch sacks with our cookie treats and her special stamped and colored Valentine's cards for each of the kids. She wrote "Love, Charis" on the insides and the name of each child on the envelope by herself--that was our handwriting practice for Monday. :-)

At home we read a couple of Valentine books I had checked out from the library last week--I'm amazed there were any left! Plus they kids watched the Peanuts Valentine special on DVD, also courtesy of our local library.

Nap time went well--no one slept, but the boys were definitely obedient, so I didn't mind them not sleeping. I peeked in on Arden a couple of times, and he was sitting up in his crib with his blanket completely covering his head. He was so quiet and still I wondered if he had fallen asleep while sitting up! Later I saw him lying down, still with the blanket over his head, and I decided that he must have fallen asleep like that. I determined to get a picture of him and then remove the blanket carefully, but by the time I got back to his room, he was sitting up again, still with the blanket on! As it turned out, he had pooped in his diaper, so no wonder he hadn't fallen asleep! I guess he has learned the lesson to be quiet and STAY in his crib during nap time, but I wish I had thought to go in and sniff! If I had caught the diaper earlier, he may well have napped.

Anyway, after "nap time," I packed the kids a sack dinner to take to church. It was a scheduled "Parent Partner Date Night," and Ted and I took advantage of it! Volunteers in the pre-school department are called Parent Partners. Each Sunday or Wednesday evening we help in a pre-school class, we get a punch on a card. Every four punches gets us a free date night, and date nights are scheduled once a month (sometimes twice a month). Since I volunteer during the 11:45 Sunday morning service every week, I get a free date night for us every month! We drop the kids off at church by 5:30 and pick them up no later than 9 p.m. The kids have a blast--sometimes they wear pajamas and slippers, and they love eating their dinner there for some reason. I guess partly because they get cool things like fruit snacks that we don't have too often!

After the kids were settled at church, Ted and I drove closer to downtown Vegas to pick up his snowboard, which he had dropped off to get tuned up and waxed in preparation for our upcoming trip to Colorado. Close to the ski shop is a Greek restaurant, Opa!, which we have wanted to try ever since we first passed it.

It was definitely a wonderful dining experience! We began by splitting an appetizer, tiropitakia, which is crispy filo dough wrapped around feta cheese, served hot. Oh, my! This was fabulous! We probably would have had hummus, since we both love that, but I had just made hummus and Arabic rice a few days ago, so we opted to try something different, and I'm glad we did. Then I had a village salad (fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, feta cheese, and Greek olives) and Ted had avgolemono, which is an egg and lemon chicken soup with rice. We split the combination entree, which included roast leg of lamb, mousaka (eggplant with potato and ground beef), dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice, ground meat, and herbs), meatballs, vegetables, and potatoes. I especially liked the mousaka, though everything was good.

We exchanged our Valentine gifts after the main course. I got Ted a mushy book by Gregory Lang titled Why I Love You: 100 Reasons. When I saw it in the store, I cried in the aisle as I read it. (Obviously I'm still dealing with hormones!) I could have written every one of those reasons to Ted, so I bought the book and wrote little notes in it throughout to personalize it a bit more.

Lest my gift be perceived as too mushy, I also got another book, Dave Barry's Money Secrets (Like: Why Is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar?). Since we are huge Dave Barry fans, I thought it would be fun for me to read out loud while we make the long drive to Colorado.

Ted got me what looks to be a fun, um, game (!) called "Canoodle." Good thing we're married! ;-)

Of course, a fabulous Greek dinner wouldn't be complete without some live music! We enjoyed some instrumental music while we savored the baklava, quite possibly a little bit of heaven here on earth. Then two Greek men came out to sing. They had wonderful voices that blended well, so it didn't matter much that we couldn't understand a word of what they said beyond "Opa!"

There was some unexpected entertainment throughout the evening...two little girls at a table near us kept leaving their table to go to the dance floor in front of the stage. One was about 2 or 3 years old, with dark curly hair and an adorable Valentine outfit. The other was probably 5, VERY chubby, but completely uninhibited! The girls danced and twirled to the music and gasped in delight when the spotlights came on, apparently thinking they were going to be stars! But this is when the singers came out, so the girls scooted to the edge of the dance floor.

Later, however, they got more involved...when the belly dancer came out! At this point Ted and I were more than ready to get our bill so we could pay and leave, but as we had to wait and ask our server for the bill, we were kind of stuck there. Our table was right at the corner of the dance floor, so we had probably a better view than we really needed! The gal was sweet to the little girls, though, and encouraged them to get up and dance, which was totally hilarious because they had no idea what they were doing! I told Ted that if he buys me an outfit like the belly dancer was wearing, I'll learn to belly dance for him. Ha!

We left the restaurant feeling very full and sleepy! It was fun to just relax and talk over a 2 1/2 hour dinner. I think the last time we did that was on the Alaskan cruise! All in all, it was a fun Valentine's Day.


Bob & Claire said...

Oooh, I am jealous of your church date program! I wish we had something like that here--it is hard to find sitters for 4 boys, even if they are pretty well-behaved! Your presents sound great--I'll have to look up the . . um . . game on Amazon! : ) We're big Dave Barry fans too. In fact, we have a couple of his books on tape to listen to on long car drives! Sounds like a wonderful evening.

Sarah said...

Okay, I was too curious about "candooling", too. So you'll have to tell us ladies how you like the game!

Glad you had a fun Valentine's Day!