Valentine's Day can be a mixed bag for people. Do you have a sweetie or not as this holiday rolls around? Did he give you a gift certificate for a mani/pedi and usher you out the door with a Starbucks to go redeem it while he takes care of the kiddos? Or did he run by the gas station and grab a desperation-late-minute-overpriced rose on the way home?

I have known many Valentine's days as a single girl and I often would celebrate with my roomies or friends. Here is a copy of Helga's Dowry given to me by my girlfriend, Paige, twelve years ago along with a very funny poem that she wrote. I think we made each other dinner that night too. There were years I went to tea with my friends, or babysat some of my favorite kids so that their parents could go out to eat. Sometimes I bought myself a new book.

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Since our anniversary is so close to Valentine's day, we have often done gifts on a five dollar budget so we can do our big gifts later. My favorite was a jar of Nutella I got one year. Five dollars of pure love. Now that the kids are older, we are making it all about them, having a special dinner and talking about what we love about each other before devouring our favorite treats. This year will be a big hoopla with cousin Quinny, my sister and her husband, and our family. I plan to have the boys decorate cookies during the day, we'll eat strawberry scones with lemon curd and the kids will hand out the gluey valentines they have made. We'll give them new water bottles we found on sale at Old Navy. It will be happy, especially when all the kids are tucked into bed and the adults hunker down for seconds of dessert, espressos and a round of Mexican Train. So long as it's not boys vs. girls it will be good. Things get competitive when Kelly and I are together.

Last night I found my favorite Valentine EVER tucked underneath my pillow. I laughed for five minutes when I saw it. Who's your secret valentine? Read this clue: She has chaped (chapped) lips.

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Ruby made it at school. I thought it was a riot that the clue was about chapped lips because I have been constantly on her about chapstick the past few weeks.

Here's my girl right before the Mother Daughter Valentine Party that we had this year...one of our favorite things to do together. I love that girl.

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There are lots of people to who need a reminder that they are loved. A teacher. A friend. A child. Find someone and buy them a coffee, make a phone call, send an email.

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This boy told me this morning that he will wear a tie and marry Ruby when he grows up.

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Just whatever you do this Valentine's Day, don't sneak into your mom's secret chocolate, especially Godiva chocolate bars that she received as a gift and was VERY much looking forward to consuming herself. That would be sad. Very sad.

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Happy Valentine's Day!!

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