February is the month of love.

Everywhere we turn we are faced with Red and white Teddy bears, big balloons that say “I love you”, heart-shaped boxes full of chocolate, roses sold on every corner, Valentine cards adorned with rhinestone and satin ribbon, itchy looking lacy lingerie that was made for some pixy stick that weighs 100 pounds, and an endless array of commercials advertising the perfect gift for that special someone in your life. For some people it’s just all too much!

I personally like Valentines day…

I like gifts

I like candy

I like flowers

I like romance

But….I married a farm boy from Oklahoma who had never celebrated the day and really didn’t understand what the hoopla was all about. So I had to teach him!

He did pretty good for a while…..dinners, cards, flowers etc… but when we started having kids there wasn’t much time or money for such things, so Valentines kinda got put on the back burner.

In the year 2000 Colton was ten, Kelsey was eight, Cassady was two and Caleb was not yet one. I remember feeling overwhelmed, tired, fat, stir crazy and in need of something…..anything exciting and fun. Valentines day was fastly approaching. I knew there was no money for flowers, or dinner out on the town, or for a babysitter…… so I got creative.

I decided to create a beautiful candlelight dinner. Not for just Devin and I but for all six of us! I cooked a lasagna dinner with all the fixins. I dug out our wedding china, our crystal stemware, the fancy flatware, bought some flowers at the grocery store and made a bouquet, lit two tapered candles and turned on some romantic music. The kids were so excited to surprise daddy…..they couldn’t wait for him to get home! They stood at the front door waiting for his truck to drive up. When they saw him coming down the road, I ran and turned off all the lights, lit the candles and turned on soft music. With Cassady in a booster seat, Caleb in a high chair and Colton and Kelsey sitting proudly, Devin walked in to find a romantic candlelit dinner for six! I don’t know who was more excited, him or us.

That was eleven years ago. Every year since then we have had a candlelight dinner. It has become a tradition in our family. This year was no exception. I made a lasagna dinner and a heart-shaped buttermilk pound cake filled with strawberries. We shared some cards, chocolates and memories of Valentines past. We even slow danced. Yes you heard me right, slow dancing! We have so much fun….I wouldn’t trade our family dinner for a night out on the town if you paid me!

I believe traditions are important. It creates a sense of belonging and security. I encourage you to start a tradition in your own family. Use this one or come up with one of your very own and celebrate your family!

Get creative and have fun!