Valentine's Day. What a money-pit! I mean, I am drawn to the red hearts and the whole pink/red/white color combo just kills me, I love it so much. I love chocolate as much as the next girl, and flowers are lovely. Dinner out is a huge treat, and sexy lingerie is......well, let's skip that part! I don't need some lacy thing I can barely squeeze an ample thigh through. But the whole point is, Valentine's day, like any other holiday, comes with so many trappings and wrappings and things to spend money on. And while I LOVE the idea of a day to celebrate love, I like to think of Valentine's day as a day to share love and appreciation with everyone - family, friends, co-workers. Not just "lovers". I'm as guilty as the next person of spending money on candy and cards and little trinkets and tokens of affection for the ones I love, but mostly I just think it's a great opportunity to tell everyone you love them. And the reasons why. So, for the ones I love, this is for you:
Jeff - I love you for being the most amazing husband ever. For being my best friend, my biggest fan, and an all-around good guy!
Hayley - I love you for your tireless enthusiasm for all things fun, your adorable cupcakes you make for anyone and everyone, spreading love one frosting-covered cake at a time. For being such a high achiever and following your dreams no matter what anyone says.
Hannah - I love you for your devotion to your family, your hilarious personality, your incredible talents - singing, drawing, movie-making. For being such a great friend to everyone and for making me smile every day.
Arlie - I love you for your sense of adventure, and your love of life. For your devotion to both of your families and your support. For your sweetness and all the good inside of you, and your many talents.
Harrison - I love you for your ability to make me laugh, every day. For your incredible singing voice, your caring and love for your family and friends and your ability to make everyone feel important.
Mom - I love you for everything you did for me growing up. For just always being there and making our home a fun place to gather. For all the food and fun times and celebrations.
Dad - I love you for the way you always took care of us - a big family of six - not an easy task! For being a good listener and full of good advice. And for making me laugh all the time!
Marcia - I love you for being my big sister and knowing so much more than me (haha!). For helping me figure out how to be a good mom and being a listening ear all the time.
Monica - I love you for your own unique take on life, forging your own path and not needing to conform. For showing me that being a mom means putting your kids first and being there for them no matter what.
Doug - I love you for being my only brother and always having my back. For your hilarious personality and being kind to everyone. For being the one and only Unka Doug.
Sydney - I love you for being the first baby in my life. For being such an amazing mommy to your own babies and for salad night and taking pictures!
Justine - I love you for being my beautiful cousin, and an amazing mommy to Keegan. For being so brave to move to another country and for serving our own country.
Hayden - I love you for being such an amazing guy - a talented athlete, a ladies' man (haha), and a super supportive brother to your sister collection.
Maddison - I love you for being such a bad-ass motorcycle racing chick, but also for being my sweet little Maddi. For being so funny and always smiling.
Flower - I love you for being such a talented, beautiful girl. For having such a great personality and quick wit, and for eating all the retarded blue M & M's. And for coming to Camp Aunt Mo for so many years!
Aubrey - I love you for your adventurous spirit and your devotion to helping others. For your beautiful spirit.
Mitch - I love you for your sarcastic humor and for being such a dedicated brother to Aubrey. For your amazing mind.
Kaden - I love you for being just about the cutest little boy in the world! For being so smart and fun to be with. For your sweetness and loving way.
Jackson - I love you for your sweet face and your smile. For being such a darling baby and making your mommy and daddy so happy.
Keegan - I love you for your beautiful eyes, your infectious smile, and for making me happy every time I see your little face. I cannot wait to hold you!
Linda - I love you for bringing Jeff into the world and for accepting me into your family with such loving, open arms.
Tom - I love you for being so devoted to Grandma Linda and for being her partner in adventure!
Dennis - I love you for helping bring Jeff into the world and welcoming me into your family. I love the way you love Arlie!
Mary Anne - I love you for your ability to bring people together and create such great memories. For welcoming me and the kids to the beach house and all the memories we've created from there.
Heather - I love you for your amazing ability to stay organized and top of everything despite having a busy life. For always welcoming us into your home when we need a place to stay.
Greg - I love you for your laid-back personality and adventurous spirit. For being so dedicated to your family.
Makayla - I love you for your tireless devotion to pursuing your passion and for being so sweet and caring. For your quiet resolve and for being Arlie's cousin.
Maiya - I love you for your adorable personality and for making me laugh. Your huge smile and larger-than-life personality are amazing!
Tonya - I love you for being my best friend and always picking up right where we left off. The more we change, the more we stay the same. I love you for always being my biggest supporter!
Janet - I love you for being my friend - for being such a support to me and just "getting" me, through tough times and good times. And for your Stampede Brownies!
Shannon - I love your for valuing our friendship so much that you care and watch over my family like we're sisters. Your support and friendship are invaluable.
Amy - I love you for being a great listener, full of amazing advice and ideas and for being a neighbor that feels like family.
Carla - I love you for being such a dedicated friend, always picking up on the little things, checking up on the big and little things and knowing how to bring cheer to my life all the time.
My book club - I love you ladies for bringing me that much-needed girl time once a month and being a sounding board and support system on all things.
Tracie - I love you for bringing yoga into my life - who knew I could love it so much? I love the way you teach with such a passion for the wholeness that is yoga.
Priscilla - I love you for telling great stories and for being so talented at making jewelry and sharing it with me!
The BHS drama kids - I love you for being amazing human beings, dedicated to the art of entertainment, on and off the stage, and for filling my home with laughter and empty pizza pans!
My extended family - cousins, aunts, uncles - I love you for being my family. Each of you, for being part of who I am and for how much you love and care about your own families. Reading about your lives on Facebook makes me happy and feel closer to you.
I'm sure I've forgotten many. Did I forget you? Let me know and I'll tell you why I love you!