valentine's day party!

My mom has always been great at making people feel loved.  She has such a gift for it.  She has like ten million "good friends".  She makes them all feel important and cherished.  Her door is always open.  It is never a big deal for her to host a party or a shower.  Last minute get togethers are right up her alley.  Nothing stresses her out, she serves selflessly and entertains effortlessly.  It's truly a gift.  She makes people feel so incredibly welcome and then she makes them laugh harder than ever.  I've watched her open her home like this for years.  Planning big parties and hosting so many last minute get togethers.  And if that wasn't enough, I love the way she lets go.  She doesn't worry about the mess.  When you go to her house for a party she makes sure everyone has what they need and then she sits down to enjoy her guests.  She would rather us all sit around the table for an hour after the meal is over, enjoying the company and the funny stories and then stay up until midnight cleaning the kitchen by herself.  She doesn't want people to rush to clean up anything - it always ends the party far too quickly.  

It's been such a treat to grow up watching her do this.  She lives life fully and never hesitates to have a good time.  She has always done this with her kids too.  Things were always a big deal, small holidays were always celebrated, and summers off were full of adventure.  It has encouraged me to do the same.  I've realized that we, as mothers, set the tone for our family.  Our attitude dictates our home.  We are responsible for the memory making.  It's not always an easy task.  It takes energy and sometimes I don't have any energy left at the end of my days.  But, as someone who grew up with a mom willing to spend her energy on memory making, I can tell you it's worth it.  I want my kids to live life to the fullest.  To grow up appreciating and enjoying even the normal days as special.  I want trips to the beach and trips to the library and trips to the grocery store to all be fun and exciting.  I want to celebrate life and raise my children to do the same!  

So...coming from the gal who still gets a Valentine's Day treat from her mama every year, I had to throw a party for Crews and Tate and their friends this year!

It was a very low-key, 1990's party  Complete with cupcakes and crepe paper.  We had heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches and soup, strawberries and raspberries on skewers (kids always think that's the coolest!), and we iced and decorated cupcakes. Oh, and I got some strawberry syrup to make pink milk (I said 1990's style.  Yes high-fructose corn syrup and all).

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I printed out some Valentine's Day coloring sheets and a bingo game (complete with conversation hearts used as the placeholders - I know, I know...coolest mom ever.  At least Crews and Tate think so...and I'm okay with keeping them fooled.).  We painted, glued and laminated bookmarks for the kids to give to someone and then I cut out hearts that we hid all over the house and sent them on a heart hunt.  It was simple but the kids loved it!

After the party I talked with one of the moms and she said "that was so worth it.  on the way home my kids' eyes lit up when we talked about our morning".  It was a sweet reminder that baking a few cupcakes and taping some crepe paper up can create sweet times with our kids and their friends.  It doesn't have to be perfectly planned out, my floors don't have to be clean (praise the Lord!) and I don't have to offer only organic vegetables in order to make memories for (and with) my kids.  I want to celebrate life, the big things and the little.  And getting a taste of that through our Valentine's Day party has sparked the fire!  It has me wanting to celebrate Tuesdays and rainy days and all the days.

 Sad that Baby Joel was already gone when we snapped this!

Sad that Baby Joel was already gone when we snapped this!