The Most Romantic Valentine’s Day of All Time (Sarcasm Font Needed)

On Thursday night (Valentine’s Day, if you’ve forgotten already), we were sitting in the car at a Shell station parking lot, drinking smoothies from McDonald’s. Bart said to me, “This might be a Valentine’s Day low for us.”

It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Last week, Bart was in Dallas working on a client for several days, and on Wednesday afternoon, after Ella and Ani woke up from naps, the three of us drove up to meet him.

We dropped our bags (one with jammies and clothing, one with books, toys, and sound machines) at the hotel and then wandered through the gorgeous shopping area and picked up some sushi for dinner.

Bart was staying in a really lovely hotel and his room was a handicapped accessible one, so it was extra-large. Of course, what I prefer in a hotel room is DOORS, so the largeness didn’t really help once we put Ella down for bed and she could see us over the top of the dresser we’d put her crib behind.

For two hours, while she kept saying, “Maaaaaaammmmmmaaaaaaaa! I don’t want to go to sleep,” I kept thinking, “At least we aren’t PAYING for the privelege of dealing with this.”

And our usually delightful and good-natured Ani decided this was the evening to go on a thirty-minute crying/screaming spree that nothing seemed to cure.

She finally conked out around nine thirty (which is when Ella finally gave up the fight and fell asleep as well).

Blissful peace and quiet and a king-size bed until 5:20, when Ella decided the night-time portion of this “vacation” was over. I brought her back to bed with me and spent the next two hours alternating between drifting to sleep and thinking very unloving thoughts about my toddler.

Around 7:30 we all got up, and after Bart departed for work, the girls and I found a charming little cafe to have breakfast at. And Ella was so cute and sweet that I forgave her for the lousy night. (A chocolate croissant didn’t hurt either).

We came back to the hotel and I set up Ella’s crib in the bathroom so I could close the door and let her know that there WOULD be napping. She went right to sleep, and Ani and I snuggled in the big bed and also enjoyed a delightful nap. 

On our way to meet Bart for lunch, we discovered that the hotel was providing free cupcakes in honor of Valentine’s Day and Ella was beside herself with excitement when the staff offered her one.

Between a soda and the cupcake, Ella pretty much thought it was the best lunch of all time. (Soda? Definitely Ella’s love language. Tragically, she’s been born to a family that doesn’t really drink soda ever).

After lunch, we went to the local library which was such a darling little library and had almost no one there. We stayed two and a half hours and Ella still wasn’t all that thrilled about leaving. She was in puppet theater/train table/puzzle/board book/new book heaven. 

Back at the hotel, I packed up our stuff, got both girls into jammies, and checked out of the hotel (when you check out at 6:30 in the evening, you get some odd looks from the front desk), and drove to. . . IKEA, because I had twenty minutes to burn before Bart was done and also, I can never pass up a chance to check out the as-is section (because, you know, IKEA isn’t cheap enough for me already). Sadly, there was nothing to be found worth taking home, and after a fruitless swing through the food section to search for samples (Ella knows her IKEA routine well), we picked up Bart and headed for Austin.

We’d opted to stay late so that we’d miss traffic and it worked like a charm. What DIDN’T work like a charm was our plan for Ella to fall instantly asleep and snooze all the way to our front door. She was quiet, but not interested in sleeping for over an hour, until she finally got her smoothie at McDonald’s (and a bag of chips, because we love healthy eating in our family. Chocolate croissant for breakfast, cupcake and soda for lunch, smoothie and chips for dinner. Yes, clearly I am a superior mother. Probably going to be writing a best-selling parenting memoir later this year). 

Five minutes after we pulled back onto the freeway, Ella conked out and Ani went immediately back to sleep. Bart and I reveled in the chance to talk uninterrupted for the remainder of the drive. We arrived home, tossed both girls into their beds, unpacked, and went to bed ourselves.

And then I vowed never to leave the house again.

(We made up for our McDonald’s parking lot dinner with a lovely dinner out on Friday night, with not a child in sight, thanks to our neighbors who must promise to never ever move. We had dinner at Jack Allen’s (amazing food and a gorgeous location) and followed it up with dessert at BJ’s because although we support local, interesting restaurants, Bart and I both think that sometimes a chain restaurant just knows how to do dessert right).

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  • Reply Carly February 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    It's always comforting to hear about other peoples kids having a day of sugar and mor sugar :).

    We have truthfully we have never spent the night a at a hotel with our kids. And every time I even consider it I think, how on earth would that work?? Who would sleep, ever?? Perhaps if we just got a room with two beds and I slept with one child and my husband with the other (and the third, of course, in the bathroom or closet.

  • Reply Lisa February 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    That sounds like us when we travel, with the food.

    I need to know, how did Bart get to Dallas?

  • Reply Jillian February 18, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    I know you know this, but it really is ok for our kiddos to eat crappy for one day. It's highly unusual and I know Ella eats fruits and veggies so one day won't hurt her. But the mom guilt, oh the mom guilt. Don't you love it?

  • Reply French Lily February 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Oh man, feeling you on sharing a hotel room with a toddler. We had the same experience this weekend, only we were sharing one hotel room with our inlaws, so five people plus the baby. And no doors either. It was awful. Hotel rooms should ALWAYS come with closets big enough for a pack n'play. Honestly, hotels should list that as one of their amenities (free wifi, continental breakfast, spacious closets that will fit a crib…).

  • Reply Amber February 19, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Sounds like a good trip! I love ikea. And BJ's

  • Reply Becca February 19, 2013 at 3:14 am

    Mostly I love the image of you tossing both children into their beds.

  • Reply Lindsay February 19, 2013 at 4:30 am

    This made me laugh so hard! I'm glad to hear that you're a real parent and occasionally let your kids eat crap, since it makes me feel better with how horrible I've been eating lately. šŸ™‚ And I'm glad you finally got some alone time together, too!

  • Reply Jodi February 19, 2013 at 4:38 am

    We've lowered our Valentine's expectations considerably, and what a relief, we really aren't sad about it. And sometimes (especially when dad's out of town or when on a trip) you just have to have days where you eat delicious junk food! No biggie.

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