Since we started dating, my husband Dan and I haven’t ever really been keen on Valentine’s Day.
It started the first year we were together – we tried to go to dinner at a nice restaurant, like good couples are supposed to. But we ended up driving around for what seemed like hours trying to find a restaurant that didn’t have an unreasonable wait time. Finally, exasperated and starving, we gave up and pulled in to the nearest restaurant’s parking lot: Buffalo Wild Wings.
Romantic, right? But it’s actually turned into our Valentine’s Day tradition. While other suckers are making reservations months in advance for fancy establishments with overpriced five-course Valentine’s Day menus, my husband and I eat our fill of the best chicken wings in town, clinking our beers in celebration of beating the system.
The cool thing about having a relatively chill Valentine’s Day tradition with my husband means I really get to go all out on the mushy stuff with my kids. My two sons are five and two, and they are, as you can imagine, an absolute joy to take out on dates, especially close to Valentine’s Day (or “Love Day,” if you’re a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood junkie like we are).
Here are some of my favorite ways to spend some quality time with my kids for Valentine’s Day.
1. The classic – fancy dinner and a movie. At the moment, this one is reserved for Dax, my oldest, as his brother Case is still too little to understand proper movie theater etiquette. The best part about this ritual? He always wants to pick sushi because he knows it’s my favorite. IS THAT NOT THE SWEETEST THING? (Also yes, my five-year-old loves sushi. Keep your brain in your skull, though, because he hates chicken nuggets and is meh about popsicles.)
2. Homemade Valentine’s cards for friends and family. Like most crafts, this one is an easy win with my kids. All you need is pink, red and white construction paper, some scissors, crayons, glue and glitter. Because I’m an includer through and through, I tend to insist that the boys and I make these homemade Valentines for literally everyone I know, so keep an eye on your mailboxes.
3. Go on an evening stroll through the park and bring a picnic dinner. Everything’s just a little bit more special at night, don’t you think? The sunset, the sounds of the crickets, the cooler air… it’s just magic.
4. Let the kids plan a surprise. I don’t know what your kids do when you tell them they’re in charge, but mine seize the opportunity! Give them a handful of options, then tell them to go away and plan the whole thing and surprise you. It’s so fun to see them be creative!
I’m pretty excited about Valentine’s Day this year. I’m definitely planning on making the handmade Valentines again, as they were a huge hit. I’ll probably let my boys come up with a surprise Valentine’s Day date, too — while secretly crossing my fingers that sushi and wings are somehow still involved.