Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I'm sitting outside on my top deck typing this, enjoying the glorious weather we're having before the temperatures drop again. The sun is about 65 degrees warm on my face, I can hear the birds singing all around me, the delicate music of my waterfall flowing, and I see the antics of my silly chickens who are loving the warm weather almost as much as I. Julia is up early this morning and has several of her "animals" outside to soak in the sun. I've now had stuffed doggy and kitty kisses galore.

We had a lovely Valentine's Day. The kids were so excited and planned our celebration all weekend. At 4-H and throughout the week, we made Valentines to take to a local Senior Center, and with the scraps, the girls made confetti for their family celebration. Julia worked all week making special Valentines for everyone in her family, givign them to us and mailing them out.

Sunday night, Emily decided that she wanted to give gifts to her siblings. She worked so hard to fill two boxes she pulled from the recycling pile with gifts she thought her siblings would enjoy. She gave her the new bridesmaid outfit for her American Girl Samantha that she'd asked for this Christmas to Julia, who really loved it. She also gave her one of her tutus, her crown, a dress for Belle and one of her Teen Titan figures. For Sam, she put together a box with a new Winx Club DVD, her Teen Titan vehicle for Robin that he loves and some other small things. When she was satisfied with her gifts, she wrapped them and brought them upstairs for Sam and Julia to open Valentine's morning.

During the week Julia had made herself a fort out of a big box that we had in our recycling pile--the only large one there at the moment and one that Sam desperately wanted. For Valentine's Day, she made a Valentine heart that said "Love Sam," pasted it on the box and gave it to him as a gift. She couldn't figure out what to do for Emily, and it really didn't occur to her to give things she already had. Finally, she decided to make some special Valentine's for Em and to give her a rainbow unicorn she had drawn. Sam gave Emily one of his Rescue Hero animals Sunday night, because he couldn't wait another day.

When Monday morning came, the girls waited until Sam woke up, and then they spread their confetti and opened their gifts, and they were all so pleased. After opening her gift from Emily, Julia wanted to give some of her treasures to Em and Sam as well, so she ran to put together two more gifts. She gave Sam her William doll from Williamsburg and her spy wallet that she'd bought at the Franklin Institute that Sam had been wanting so badly and which she truly loved. For Emily, she gathered some of her Barbie's together to give.

It was so incredibly beautiful to watch the joy and generosity flowing out from their hearts for each other, like the beautiful story The Gift of the Magi in my very own home. It truly was the best gift of love I could have received for Valentine's Day!

At lunchtime we took our Valentine's over to the Senior Center where the children really brightened their day. We don't make a big production out of it, just pass them around the dining hall, wishing them well and stopping to chat with those who feel like it. It takes maybe 20 minutes of our time to do and gives so much to our lives and to the Senior's as well.

When we came home, I made Sam's Valentine gift--a Jedi cloak, which he adores. We made some Valentine sugar cookies and ran out of time in the day. I made the beginning of the girls' Valentine gifts yesterday morning--skirts for their Oriental outfits. The jackets I'll tackle this week, but the girls are thrilled with the skirts and wore them to bed last night. It's a real lesson against perfectionism for me: I look at the skirts and see all the mistakes but the girls see only the luxurious brocade beauty of them. Learning to see with the wonder and joy of children's eyes is a lesson from which we all could benefit immeasurably! How lucky I am to receive this lesson with an open heart from my beautiful children--the greatest teachers I have ever had!

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