Category Archives: Valentine’s Day

School Valentines: A Journey Through Time


“Let’s use glitter paint to put your precious handprint on 25 mason jars. We’ll fill them with homemade, organic dried fruit and nut-free granola and wrap them in cellophane and raffia.”

Budget: A mortgage payment

Time frame: A weekend


“If you write your name on each of these 25 personalized “You Rule!” Valentines I ordered online (with corresponding rulers wrapped in grosgrain ribbon), I’ll give you a cookie and thirty minutes of Paw Patrol on my iPad.”

Budget: $100

Time frame: 2 weeks

1st -4th Grade

“If you’re not going to write your name on these 25 flipping SpongeBob temporary tattoo Valentines ALL BY YOURSELF, then you will have no Valentines. NONE. ZERO. ZILCH!

Budget: $6 (plus tax)

Time frame: Anywhere between four weeks and an eternity

5th Grade

“Let’s make 25 Valentines together! I downloaded these cute ‘Wishing you a Pug-Tastic Valentine’s Day’ cards from Etsy. I—I mean, we—can glue them on heart-themed craft paper, and I—I mean, we—can attach these adorable pencils with emoji eraser toppers I bought on the back. And it’s totally okay if you want to play video games while I assemble everything…”

...because my little boy is growing up and he’s going to middle school next year and FOR THE LOVE this is my last shot at doing a Valentine’s Day craft for—I mean, with—my firstborn baby.

Budget: Unlimited

Time frame: However long it takes to hold on to this fleeting ritual of childhood



Filed under boys, Valentine's Day

Letting The Light In

I’ve always thought there’s nothing sweeter than watching my boys wake up.  Their warm bodies, sleepy eyes, crazy hair, and sheet wrinkles imprinted on their cheeks are a gift (before the grind).   As it turns out, I was wrong.   Letting a five-pound puppy loose in their beds to sniff their feet and lick their knees and noses is way sweeter.

Gertie has turned our house upside down in the most delightful way.  The floors are a mess with dog toys and treat crumbs, the kitchen counters are cluttered with food bowls, leashes, and cleaning supplies, and we’re in the house training weeds, but our hearts are full.

Earlier in the week, my therapist asked me how things were going.  “What is it like having Gertie?” she asked.

She meant, What’s it like having Gertie but not Harry.  I thought about it for a minute and replied, “It’s like Light.”  Light because a weight has been lifted.  Light because she’s made our home bright again.

“Does Riley still talk a lot about Harry?” she asked.

And suddenly it occurred to me that he doesn’t talk about Harry anymore.  In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time he asked me about dog heaven or the last time he drew a picture of him.  I don’t know when it stopped, but I supposed it was the day we brought Gertie home.

For me, Harry exists inside Gertie.  It’s like she carries a piece his soul inside of her own, and every now and then his Light seeps out in a look, a trot, or a snore. I wondered if in Riley’s fleeting four-year-old mind Gertie had replaced Harry, and that made me all kinds of sad.

Two hours later, in the car on the way home from an appointment after school, Riley said, “I miss Harry.”

I was all kinds of relieved to hear those three words.

“I miss him, too,” I said.

Then Dylan said, “It’s too bad dogs don’t live more than 15 years.  I wish Harry could still be here.  I hope Gertie lives forever.”

Normally, I dreaded the death talk, but that afternoon in the car, while Gertie sat in her crate at home waiting for us to return, I relished in it.

“I hope Gertie lives a long time, too.  And I wish more than anything that Harry were still here.” I said.  “The thing about pets is that even when they live long, healthy lives, we usually outlive them, which is why we have to enjoy every moment we have with them.”

“I wish you had four kids,” Dylan said.

Uh-oh.  The “Why won’t you have another baby?” talk.

“Me, Riley, Gertie, and Harry,” he clarified.

Phew.  “Me, too,” I said.  “That would make me happy.”

“You know,” I said. “Harry’s birthday is coming up on March 6th.  He would’ve been nine.”

“When I’m 14, Gertie will be seven,” said Dylan, the mathematician.

“Do they have birthday parties in dog heaven?” Riley asked.

“I think so, sweetie.  I’m pretty sure birthday parties in dog heaven are awesome.”

Then the conversation evolved into coming up with a nickname for Gertie.

“How about Sweetie Underpants,” suggested Riley.

“That’s interesting,” I said.

Dylan wanted to come with something just right.  “Like how we called Harry Bo-Berry,” he said.

I told him that a “just right” nickname would come to him when he least expected it and that the breeder’s nickname for Gertie before we named her was Sneakers.  Then, I laughed because Gertie absolutely loves to chew on the boys’ sneakers.

“I like Sneakers,” Dylan said.

“Me, too,” I said.

When we finally arrived home, the three of us rushed into the kitchen to find Gertie accident free in her crate.  (Good girl, Gertie!)  We threw our bags and backpacks down on the kitchen table because doing homework, signing school forms, and unpacking lunch boxes could wait a little while.  Riley opened Gertie’s crate, Dylan opened the sliding doors, and we all emptied into the backyard to play with our Light.  Our Gertie.  Our Sneakers.  (Maybe.)  Our Sweetie Underpants.  (Nope.  Never.)

Here’s to letting the light in!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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Filed under conversations to remember, death, Harry, pets, Valentine's Day

Love List

This morning, I asked Dylan what he loves.  His answer was: “everyone.”  Riley’s response to the same question was: “waffles and diapers.”  (This, I believe, is a warning sign that potty training this weekend might be a colossally bad idea.)

In the world of astrology – if you like that stuff – my boys are like water (Dylan) and fire (Riley).  Just look in their eyes and you can see it.

In honor of this Valentine’s Day, here are some things I love (besides my husband, kids, dog and all that other obvious stuff):

1. Dancing in my kitchen with Dylan and Riley to Jack Johnson’s “Upside Down.”  Riley calls it the Curious George song.  (FYI: There’s more evidence of water and fire on the dance floor: Where Dylan is a breaker, Riley is a krumper.)

2. Pinterest. I was invited to join last night (thanks Carrie!), and it was love at first sight.    I have little to no idea how it works, but I can already tell it’s going to occupy a lot of my time.  (Sociology Mama moment: Social media has completely revolutionized motherhood, especially stay-at-home motherhood!  Another post for another time…)

3. My new alarm clock/iPhone dock.

The iPhone sits on top, but I needed it to take the picture. 🙂
This was Mike’s Valentine’s Day gift to me this morning.  Before you judge the (lack of) romance factor, you should know that I’m the kind of girl who thinks practical gifts can be extremely romantic (remember the electric toothbrush?).  That, and I asked him to buy it for me.
4. Owls.  Yup, still lovin’ the owl.  Here’s my newest, most favorite owl item:
Part owl homage, part vision board.  I’m going to frame this card and hang it above my desk.  Imagine a world where I had such cool office furniture and could keep so many plants alive!

5. Kale. Random, but I love it.  Sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Yum.

6. Today’s weather.  I’m a New England girl in my soul (Jenny from the Peabody block!), but after almost eight years in South Florida, I have grown to appreciate Florida winters.  I’ll sing a different tune in a few months when it’s 92° with 100% humidity every day until Thanksgiving, but today’s weather – sunny, dry, and 75° – is a gift.

What’s on your love list?

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Filed under owls, Sociology Mama, Valentine's Day