My Valentines

I am the kind of mom who savors every moment of my kids’ childhood, knowing as sure as I look at my seven-year-old son that these moments are fleeting.  That’s why I love Valentine’s Day and the opportunity to stop and tell my children (and yes, my husband, too!) all the marvelous things about them that I adore, and celebrate our love as loudly and as joyfully as I can.  Because these four people are my heart, and I’m not afraid to show it.

Like when JDubbs and Em go to the Father-Daughter Valentine’s Day dance.  The look on his face as he hugs her tells me that he’s not letting these moments go by unappreciated, either.  He knows this love is gift.
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And the next day, when I got to take these two goofballs to apres ski, just us three (which hardly ever happens anymore), I just had to stop to appreciate the moment…and take a silly selfie.

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And of course like that night, after the kids had gone to bed, when JDubbs and I pulled out our bag o’ hearts from Valentine’s past, love notes from us to the kids telling them individually and collectively how very loved they are, how proud they make us, and what makes them special.  I know it looks like a serious undertaking, but saving them every year just means we add a few more and by the time these kids are teenagers, our Curtains of Love are going to be more like a forest!

Curtain of Love @ Rub Some Dirt On It
Valentine’s morning is outdone only by Christmas as the day I cannot wait for them to wake up and see their happiness.  Little H, who doesn’t remember seeing them before, gasped at the sight of all that love.  The big kids squealed with delight and I could hear them exclaiming, “I forgot about this!” and “Look at this one!” as they read them to each other and pointed out especially favorite memories.  This will always be worth it, every time.

A curtain of love to show your kids how much you love them. Put love notes outside their bedrooms every Valentine's Day that tell them why they're special. Keep them and repeat every year! #valentinesday

Valentine’s Day may be a super-commercialized holiday with cards at $5 a pop, but the spirit behind it, to let the people you know hear how much you love them, is very much who I am and want to be as a parent, friend, wife, family.  My heart is happier with days like this in it.

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(thanks to Little H’s dear Miss Kelly for this lovely little Valentine for her as well)

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Everyone Loves To Be Loved

 Every year we make the kids a Curtain of Love full of small notes about things we love about them (how helpful you are at bedtime, our morning snuggles, reading chapter books together) and every year I am blown away by how much I love doing it.  We save the hearts so the night before Valentine’s Day I pull out dozens of love notes from JDubbs and me to them from over the years, and all we have to do is add a few more and string them on colorful ribbon we also have stashed away.  Very low stress, very high reward.

Curtains of love notes to let your kids know how much you love them on Valentine's Day!

On Valentine’s Day morning, I heard Jax’s door open, then heard him gasp in surprise.  I snuck out of bed with my phone to capture pics and watch him as he grabbed his stool and took the time to read every heart with all the reasons we love him.  Then he helped his sisters do the same.

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When he saw me, he said, “Mom! I forgot about these! I love this!” And my mommy heart was full.

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Then the kids headed downstairs for homemade waffles and a few sweet surprises (books, one small toy, Paw Patrol pups, cards, and silly headbands).  It doesn’t take a lot to make them feel special–just thoughtful gifts that let them know we listen to them and know what they like, and want them to feel loved today and every day.

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Throughout the day we had lots of family fun–JDubbs took them to build an igloo outside, Nana brought treats and Auntie Jenny came by with Valentines for them.  What is better than a day that celebrates how much you love each other?

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Maybe some flowers from my hubby.  Everyone loves to be loved.

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Happy Valentine’s Day one and all!

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A Snowy Valentine’s Day

This morning was our third year creating a curtain of love for our kids to wake up to Valentine’s morning; Jax remembered waking up to it last year and was (almost) as excited going to sleep as he was on Christmas Eve.  So JDubbs and I pulled out the hearts from years past and added some new ones sharing reasons why we love our kids, adding some specific ones about the past year and about our littlest Valentine, little H.

Curtain of Love @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I was awake with the baby when Em woke up and I could hear her excited whispers to try to get Jax out of bed.  I scooped her out before she fully woke him up, but throughout the day they took the time to read and listen to the love Mommy and Daddy rained down on them.

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Little H doesn’t understand it, but that doesn’t mean she won’t try to eat it.

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We got nearly two feet of snow overnight, and so we had a lot of indoor fun today, including dress up and board games (Jax rocked his new Iron Patriot costume–a huge Valentine hit).

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And maybe the kids watched more TV than usual, but hey, that’s a treat, too!

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It was a strange day schedule-wise, with the busy school week catching up with Jax so he was tired and Em spending time outside with Daddy while he shoveled, being snowed in until early afternoon and a birthday party for a friend today (and another for Jax tomorrow!).  The baby napped for less than an hour total and Mommy has been awake for longer than she’d care to count.  But at the end of this Valentine’s Day (which is momentous not just because it is Baby H’s first but because my sister got engaged!), no matter how I yearn for warmer weather or how tired I feel by the evening’s end, I can smile looking back thinking that today especially, our kids felt loved and that they heard the many ways we think they are amazing, special, and divine.  Anything else after that is just icing on the cake.  With hearts.

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Loving Out Loud

I was so grateful to be able to share Valentine’s Day with my kids this year and not in a hospital room, hoping the day was as special for them as I would have made it.  They woke up to a curtain of love, a tradition which we started last year, and they were so adorably excited to see their names on the hearts, proclaiming how special they are.  Jax read all the ones he could reach to Em and was just as excited as she was for the ones that were hers specifically.  Starting off the day with an exclamation that We Love You! and letting it go from there.

JDubbs and I make the curtain together every year, and it’s so great to take a moment to consider all the reasons why our kids are so wonderful and why we love them so much.

And the kids really loving hearing us say it.  My thought is that you never really mess up your kids by telling them you love them too much.  Make them a  little self-centered, maybe, but I definitely point out their shortcomings, too.  I just try to spend more time focusing on their sweetness rather than their devilishness.  If it makes them a bit spoiled, I guess that’s a good problem to have later.

Teaching them to love out loud.

The kids went off to school to hand out sweet out-of-the-box Valentines to their friends and handmade Valentines for their teachers.  They were so happy to share the love with those that mean a lot to them–from grandparents and cousins to classmates; it feels so good to teach them to love.  Especially each other.

If that’s all we teach them, I will still feel as though we did our jobs as parents.  Teaching them to love without fear, without embarrassment, without hesitation.  I couldn’t really ask for more for my kids than that, and we’ll figure out the rest as we go along.

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Love Monsters!

So, this is pretty much my favorite thing that the kids and I have done for the entire month of February: created love monsters!

This is a really fun, creative, festive way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Jax, Em, and I each got to make one and we each could put our own stamp on our monster to personalize it and make it our own.

I purposely did not make them exactly the same size–I thought monsters wouldn’t mind a bit of asymmetry.  I cut out enough for each of us and let the kids choose which body, eyes, shoes, and mouth they liked best.  Then we assembled our monsters and personalized them as we liked, as far as placement of body parts and number of teeth, etc.

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Em wanted her monster to have purple striped socks, a heart tattoo, and rhinestones.  He had one pink and one red antennae, white heart antennae toppers with purple and pink spots.

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My monster has four teeth, rhinestones on his sneakers, glasses, and yellow antennae with white heart tops with pink spots.

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Jax’s monster has a pirate eye patch, lots of teeth, one pink and one red antennae with circle tops with blue and red spots.

Our love monsters have cheered up our kitchen and are getting us in the mood for Valentine’s Day!

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Handprint Heart Valentines

When we headed down to Massachusetts for my last time visiting family before baby came (little did I know how soon that might be!), the kids and I brought Valentines to Grammy and Grampy since we didn’t think we would be seeing them beforehand (wrong again).  We loved making these simple gestures that say I love you, and believe me, my parents loved receiving them!

I’ve got to hand it to you, Valentine!  You’re the best!

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Our Valentine’s Day

I’ve decided that Valentine’s Day is rivaling Christmas as my new favorite holiday.  I went a little craft crazy this February and I’m not sorry about it.  In fact, I really enjoyed it!  I decided that I would become that cool mom and go the extra mile for my kids to show them that I love them.

Is there anything better than a day designed to tell people that you love them?  Especially your kids?  Nope, not to me!

So the day started with a curtain of hearts that we hung across the hallway by the kids’ rooms.  I plan to do this every year, and when they’re older JDubbs and I will make one for each of them across their bedroom doors.  For now, they are pretty much of the same mind and mischief, so we did one for them combined.  It was as fabulous to make as it was to watch them open their doors and see for the first time.

I took a package of foam hearts and taped them to a string of ribbon.  On each heart I wrote things that we love about them individually and in general.

Sitting the evening before with JDubbs, brainstorming things to write was something I will look forward to year after year.  Maybe Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday after all.

Yup, it is.  I did get in engaged on Valentine’s Day, after all.  And this heart curtain thing made me just as happy as then! I plan on keeping them all every year and giving them to the kids when they’re older.  I think it’d be great to get a decade’s worth of love notes from my parents, don’t you?

So after the heart curtain we opened Valentine’s cards and exchanged gifts.  The kids and I made JDubbs something that looked like this–

–and I’d show you the photo except he ate all the gummi worms too quickly for me to catch one.  So imagine for yourself.  I got some beautiful flowers earlier in the week when Miss Em caused a very dramatic stir in a store that just plain exhausted me.

I needed them more then than on Valentine’s Day three days later, and I’m so lucky my husband knows me well enough to realize that.

The kids went downstairs and received their formal Valentine’s from us.  Chocolate, an adorable puppet from The Land of Nod, and a small toy.  Just enough.

Just enough to show that we love them.  My favorite day of the year!

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