Tonight - a day late - Cody and I are celebrating our Valentine's Day with dinner and a movie. The boys are anxious for their sleepover at Papa Bob and Nana Nancy's. This isn't a holiday I get real excited for, but in honor of the day of love, here's a small tribute to my loves.
To Jaden, my first-born...
...I love that you still want me around so much. Every year you get older, I fear this will diminish, but just the other night you cried when I had to leave for the evening - telling me you'd miss me and that you didn't want me to go.
...I love how cute you are, I love your eyes, and I love how much you love to laugh.
...I love those moments when we pause to give each other a long hug, you rest your head on my shoulders and let out the most contented sigh - like my arms are your favorite place to be.
...I love watching you and Brandon play together in the peaceful moments. How you try to protect him, teach him and include him. I love how you want him to look up to you and be impressed by you.
...I love your love for music.
...I love hearing you tell me you love me... multiple times a day.
...I love how much of a little social bug you are turning into, and I've loved watching you grow so much this last year.
...I love that you are finding other passions. Basketball, swimming. I just love watching you come into your own.
...I love that you love your family. You can't get enough of your Nana's and Papa's and have already welcomed James into the family with wide open arms.
...I love that you love going to Panther games. :)
...I love how animated you get when you're telling us something that -- in your mind -- is so incredibly important to share with us.
...I love how excited you get over the little things. A quality you possess that I hope you always cling to.
To Brandon, my baby...
...I love your cheeks, and I love that you let me kiss them as much as I want... often times dozens of times a day.
...I love that you are sure to tell me 'Sweet Dreams' every night as I walk out of your room and shut the door.
...I love that you are a mommy's boy. You really, really are.
...I love how goofy you are. Whether it's walking around with a towel on your head, wearing Jaden's snow boots through the house or deciding to wear your Panther beads for two days straight... you keep us on our toes and give us reasons to laugh every day.
...I love how focused you get on your coloring.
...I love when you brush my hair behind my shoulders and lean in for a big long kiss.
...I love that everything to you is, "One more minute!"
...I love that you love your big cousin Ella.
...I love how genuinely sweet you are, and I love watching you play with your toys.
To Cody, my best friend...
...I love that you have stuck by my side through the extreme highs and lows of our first six years together.
...I love that you share the exact same dreams I do - nothing more - nothing less.
...I love that you try to be Mr. Tough Guy around so many and save your softer side only for me.
...I love that others don't know that you sometimes look at old pictures of you with the boys as babies and get tears in your eyes. (Okay -- so now everyone reading this knows).
...I love that there are days and moments when all I need is for you to say, "It'll be okay."
...I love your love for football. Does it drive me crazy sometimes? Yes. But it's the sport that brought us closer together, and I wouldn't trade my memories of watching you coach on the Aplington Parkersburg football field for anything else.
...I love watching you play with the boys and how excited you get at thoughts of taking them fishing and hunting one day.
...I love how hard working you are. I wish everyone could see just how hard and how many hours you put in. Because you know it's the right thing to do.
...I love that you balance me out. In so many ways you are my opposite, but in this crazy life of ours -- your calmness and laid back attitude is just what I need.
...I love that you cook, and I love that you like to cook. :)
...I love how you helped pull your sister through one of the toughest times in her life, and I love thinking about how our story started.
It's true I'm not much of a fan of Valentine's Day, but I am a fan of my loves.