the sweetest day

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It’s no secret I love Valentine’s Day.

Darling Ben made it my favorite holiday twenty-two years ago and I’ve added to the decorations and celebrations every year since.

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We’ve filled the day with traditions: decorating sugar cookies, staircase sledding, doorbell ditching and my very favorite of all, making Valentines for each other.

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All the supplies are kept in a big pink box, and I add a few new things every year.
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No matter how many sparkly papers and cute stickers I buy, they tend to use the plain paper and their wild creativity.

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Most of the time I consider myself an artistic sort of person, but when it comes to Valentines, I realize I’m painting by numbers compared to boys’ brilliant creations.

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this pull-tab Valentine Xander made for Gabe might be my favorite: All the things I love about Gabe… his face, his kindness, his brains, his hair, his street cred, that he’s my brother. Love, Xander 

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We were lucky enough to entice a few friends to the party. Will, our adorable next door neighbor. As Mary describes him, “My sixth brother. The one I never fight with.”

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The lovely Jacque and Audrey White, from Massachusetts, at the end of the table.

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The Linkous’, complete with heart braids, arrived next.

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dear Mary, you’re my favorite sister! No doubt about it. Love, Xander

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Dad- thanks for filling my empty head with sense. Love, Ben

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dearest Benny boy, You’re great! I’m so glad you’re back from Italy. I’m so grateful that even though you’re much older than me we’re friends. Love, Hans

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The inside of the bicycle card reads: Dear Hans, You are such a good son and a good person. I wish I was a 17 year old again so I could hang out with you. Love, Dad

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dear Mommy, my love for you is endless like this loop. You are great; don’t ever change. Love, Hans

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Dear Xander, you’re so silly and funny and smart. I am glad you are my brother (most of the time). Love, Mary

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Ben stayed at the table even after everyone else had moved on to sugar cookies. He did have three years of Valentines to make up for.

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Our neighbor found this baby bunny in a snow bank three weeks ago. She’s worked her way into our hearts.

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 Next: doorbell ditching.

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After coming home from carousing the neighborhood, we found beautiful Melissa napping in her car in our driveway. For years, I’ve wanted the Linkous’ and Melissa to meet. They share the common bonds of living in France, singing like angels and suffering great loss. They immediately became close friends, just as I knew they would. Few things make me happier than my friends becoming friends with each other.

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Melissa speaking French with all the little Linkous’.

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Describing our summer vacation to lovely Jacque and Audrey.

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Ben warned Xander and Hans off from blowing out his candles, but he didn’t count on little Elle playing the same trick.

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One of my favorite group photos. Ever.

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more staircase silliness, and serenading Hope

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sending a little Valentine love your way. xoxo
February 13, 2014



  1. Cath

    February 17, 2014

    The expressions of love between your family are what makes this holiday so sweet. I’m always touched by it. And I have to say, one of your gifts is to connect people. I’m so grateful I have met some of your friends too. xoxo And Happy Birthday to Ben!

  2. Tracy

    February 18, 2014

    I look forward to this very post every single year. LOVE. xo

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