Beautiful flowers, purchased and arranged by Ryan, look so lovely they should be a permanent fixture on our entry-way table. I'll have to let him know that!

Valentines Day has a lot of cynics. But despite frequent criticism, I cannot relinquish this holiday as one of my favorites. My mom always makes celebrations special, and this annual salutation to red & pink is no exception. Growing up this was not just a celebration for lovers, but for all who were loved.

Unexpected treats, goodies, and heart-felt letters of appreciation always awaited us in varying forms. Perhaps a treat bag waiting beside our breakfast plates, or a valentine’s basket hanging on our doorknobs after school, or a celebratory box resting atop our pillows when we went to bed at night. One year there was a raspberry frosted cake adorned with cinnamon hearts aplenty to follow a carefully prepared dinner of love. This was perhaps my favorite year.

So Valentines Day remains a special holiday which will always be observed with fond remembrance. It ranks so highly that in years past Ryan and I have had to delegate two days to celebration. The first day gave him the opportunity to plan something fun, and the second was my turn to treat him to surprises. We decided this extravagance was perhaps a bit much, and this year we commemorated it all in a single day.

Naturally, the day was still split as I took the morning to make him a special breakfast, and he made the arrangements for a romantic evening of dinner and dancing.

Raspberry German pancakes with homemade almond syrup and freshly whipped cream is one of our all-time favorite breakfasts.

I adapted this recipe to suite my raspberry & almond affinity, & this time we made them in large muffin tins which add even more puff. Translation: much more delicious!

Orange juice, Turkey bacon, and postum espresso's topped with cream complete the meal perfection. Usually the raspberries are baked in the batter, but since I forgot we served them on top. Delicious both ways!

Our romantic evening was spent at the Skyroom Jazz night, where we enjoyed a delicious dinner (Ryan - pepper crusted sirloin, Leah - pistachio chicken) Live Jazz, and tons of dancing. So much fun we even spent another hour dancing in our room to Jazzy music on our ipod, and are contemplating dance lessons. (Ryan's idea) Despite his face below indicating otherwise, we both had a grand time! I know it's Valentines, but don't we look like Christmas?

Not only were we dancing in our room, but we actually brought along our travel scrabble game, and enjoyed a rousing and competitive game.

Is bringing scrabble to our romantic getaway a sign of graduating from the newlywed stage? If it is, I'm happy to graduate, we had a blast! Here's the final game board. One blatantly obvious non-word slipped past me on Ryan's turn, can you spot it?