I thought I had through most of the stages of Valentine's Day:

DIY Valentine Mailbox (elementary school)

Puppy Love (middle school)

No, Really Real Love (high school)

Stupid Hallmark Holiday (post-breakup)

Fluttery Love (college bf, now hot husband)

But I realize now, there's one I missed, the one where you have two tiny kiddos and the last thing you want to do is put them to bed and head out to wait for a table at a crowded, overpriced restaurant.

But it's not just that. My husband and I used to cook dinner together at home on Valentine's Day, because it was more fun. Now that we have kids, they want to be in on the action. They're no dummies-- they see the red, pink, passion overload covering everything at Target and even Publix, and they want in on it.

So this year we're celebrating Valentine's Day as a family, because if you can't have your dream guy (daddy!) be your Valentine at age two, when can you?

We're skipping the bright pink pancakes and enjoying a "We love us!" family brunch, featuring all our favorites:

For the Baby

Nothing like quick-cooking protein to combat a day sure to be loaded with sugar. Have you tried adding water instead of milk to your eggs? Game changer. Toddler gets to "poke" yolks with whisk, then stir by rubbing her hands back and forth, "Just like daddy" to really add some air.

For the Toddler

3-Ingredient Pancakes

There's no way around it: We will have pancakes. She just has no idea that we could dye them pink. In the interest of saving my furniture and her tummy, we'll stick with natural colors dotted with chocolate chips. Life is all about compromise. This recipe is perfect because there are bananas to mash with a fork, not too much flour to spill, and only three ingredients, total.

For the Dad

Cinnamon-Orange Rolls

Pretty much so I can say I made them for him, then devour them myself. Kiddos love drizzling the glaze.

For the Mama

Mint-Champagne Shrub

Cheers. Just because it's February doesn't mean I have to go with hot chocolate or tea. Champagne cocktails because the Bloody Mary stains way more, plus mint is pretty much a vegetable.

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day with your family?

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel