Well I've come to accept the fact that with four kids all holidays now come loaded with more work and responsibility than probably seems fair. When it was just Arlo, way back in the day I use to really cherish the time we sat around the table cutting out his little preschool Valentines for a class of 12. It was simple, leisurely and fun. This year with three in school and each with greatly varying tastes, it just about wiped me out. Our Valentine prep took an entire afternoon, creating three set of custom cards that everyone was happy with. As usual, I gave them options based on what I already had on hand to keep it as easy as possible. Construction paper, watercolor, oil paints, glue and masking tape. I thought it would be fun for Arlo to make a college from all his old skateboarding magazines and I was right. He really enjoyed picking and cutting out the images plus it was super quick and the end result reflected him completely, which I think he was pretty proud of. Our only hiccup being the sleepy kitty nestling, what Arlo believed to be a stout Christmas tree. A bit I overlooked entirely but was thankfully caught by dad who looked it over just as I was about to photo copy, immediately wondering why I "let him" include the cat. Lesson being: Thrasher magazine as art source for third graders calls for close attention and more vigilant censorship than I guess I realized. Otherwise, you end up the topic of conversation in the teachers conference room at lunch as the parent who sent their kid to school with a kitty & a blunt Valentine. We also had a couple cute stick figure sketches tossed  out of the mix who appeared to be drinking tall cans. Next time, National Geographic. . .

Leon decided easily on a self portrait, painted with watercolor which I have to say couldn't have turned out any cuter. And secretly my favorite. Rex, per usual, aimed to copy Arlo's choice but wound up in tears claiming, while comparing their end results, that Arlo's was "way cooler" and that I always help Arlo to be "cooler" and really, the pathetic state of his "not cool" cards was all my fault. Rolls of smarties tapped to the back helped ease his pain. A little. Though when I picked him up from Preschool and asked "did everyone like your Valentines!" He answered bluntly, and not suprisingly "NO."

The natural highlight of the day by far, was Leon's utter devotion to the day of love in general. After his older, wiser brother informed him over breakfast at some point last week that you do in fact have to ask a girl to be your Valentine before you can readily assume them as such, Leon started stressing about the fact that he hadn't yet asked Journey to be HIS. So the next day, directly after school he asked her in front of me and her mother to which she thankfully, happily obliged. So went the five day fretting that followed, worrying about what to get her. What color she likes, what candy she prefers, ect. When he finally made a decision he tucked a googley eyed pink stuffed giraffe and a Hello Kitty box of chocolate in his bag and sat in the jeep 45 minutes early Friday morning while the rest of us went about our normal rushed before school preparations. Mike noticed him out the window, waiting anxiously by himself there in the backseat. Backpack on, brown bag filled with gifts by his side. Possibly, one of the sweetest thing I've ever seen. And something I hope I might never forget. 

Hope everyone else has a lovely weekend ahead. We are off to the beach, no concrete plans in sight but with three of the four boys heading to their grandmothers for the night we figured getting out is a must. Also, word is, I have a special, handmade gift waiting for me in the garage I've yet to see. Though a few accidental "hints" from Leon (who felt terrible about spilling every single one of them) leads me to think it's something I'll love.

Enjoy the day,