In honor of the closing of February, I am highlighting the month's claim to fame.
Throughout my life, it was just another day. Besides some chocolate from my parents or cardboard Aladdin & Jasmine valentines from my 2nd grade classmates, I never expected (or received) much else.
Until February of 2007.
The first "El dia de amor" of "Jordan & Jenny".
That February 14th, I had agreed to help the event coordinator at church with her Valentine's Day balloon deliveries. I mean, what else was I going to do on this "day of romance"?? I was currently talking to a guy who went to the University of Florida. Translation: Jordan was far, far away.
So, I go to her to start my first delivery.
To: Amanda Morris - Starbucks in Glenbrook
Okay. I've got this one. I pack the big balloon bouquet into the back seat of my Civic, (which I do not recommend for visibility's sake), and headed to Starbucks.
I walk in carrying the awkward bouquet of balloons that inevitably hit me in the face a few times and got caught in the door as I entered the coffee shop. After my battle with the floating mylar globes, I get to the counter and confidently ask, "Does Amanda Morris work here?" The twisted expression of confusion on the barista's face just made me think he assumed I was some weird circus act who happened to carry balloon bouquets around wherever I go just in case a performance opportunity arose.
Finally, a response. "No. I don't know any 'Amanda Morris.'"
Now I was confused.
Backing away from the counter, (slightly in fear he might call security on the balloon freak), I reread the card. I looked up to see if perhaps there was a girl who might look like an "Amanda Morris". Scanning the shop, I noticed someone walking toward me from the corner.
My jaw dropped simultaneously as I actually dropped the entire balloon bouquet in the middle of Starbucks.
"What are you doing here?!"
Maybe not the best response, but I was shocked! We had only been "talking" long-distance for a few months and he was supposed to be in Florida! I only realized it was "real" when he embraced me in a big hug. The initial surprise wore off a little, but I was still in disbelief...for pretty much the rest of the day.
He had flown up to Tennessee from Florida for a few days to spend our first Valentine's Day together! His decision to do this, (and that cheesy balloon bouquet), are kind of what started it all. Or at least made me realize this guy was serious!
Knowing my love of food, Jordan prepared a delicious dinner of homemade ricotta manicotti, salad, and tiramisu. I apologize for no photographic documentation but remember...I was still in shock...
VALENTINE'S DAY 2008
An adorable strawberry chocolate cake from Whole Foods Market.
Jordan had made the decision to transfer to MTSU in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I guess he didn't want to have to pay for another plane ticket to surprise me for Valentine's Day :)
Our second of the holiday together was another fun celebration. He cooked for me once again sticking to pasta - appeasing my Italian roots - and we enjoyed our sweet little cake.
We decided to celebrate the special day a little non-traditionally in 2009. We picked up smoothies from my FAVORITE smoothie bar, KEVA Juice. I had a "Wake Up Cup" - a comforting blend of peanut butter, banana, peaches, granola, blueberries, cinnamon, and milk. With our portable lunches, Jordan and I headed downtown to the Adventure Science Center. AKA - the children's science museum in Nashville. Young at heart, right?!
We had a blast walking through a human digestive system, learning about physics, and seeing what we might look like in 50 years. (Actually, that last part was more frightening than fun!)
After our adventurous day, we headed back to Hendersonville where we watched a gorgeous sunset from our favorite lookout. As our appetites became apparent, it was off to Jordan's house where we feasted by candlelight on a meal we had purchased from Whole Foods.
Grilled swordfish with roasted tomatoes
Broccoli rabe with whole garlic cloves
Cous Cous with pine nuts & raisins
Butternut squash risotto cakes
Pluots & blueberries
Our FIRST Valentine's Day as "The Johnston's"
On February 14, 2010, we decided to get all dressed up with no where to go! This was in part because we were Montanans now and the cold weather makes it all the more cozy to be indoors!
Fondue at our apartment was the menu of the evening. And it was delicious!
Gouda cheese, garlic, & beer fondue
Red pears, roasted potatoes, roma tomatoes, and hearth bread.
All delicious...but even more so when submerged in gooey cheese!!
J-squared is still living happily in Montana, but this year we celebrated at our own HOUSE!
2011 marks our FIFTH Valentine's celebration together! It is amazing to see how much has changed and how much WE have changed throughout this journey together!
Valentine's Day always seemed unremarkable to me until I found my "someone" to celebrate. I am still a believer that the card, candy, and stuffed animal industries are instigators of all the hype surrounding the day. However, I now see it in a slightly different light.
It is an opportunity to reflect on how much you are loved.
A chance to show you appreciate your beloved.
A day to show love to others.
And...an excuse to eat chocolate.
Le Corsaire port, Missoula Winery
Farfalle with artichoke, pesto, tomato sauce