Be Mine. Or Not. Whatever.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am going Huffington Post style and collecting my favorite love stories from around the interwebs to share with you. This is mainly because it is easier than writing my own material. Don’t worry – these are not the predictable, romantic love stories with contrived gestures and rose petals. Those always make me a little ill. For example, I have seen this one all over the place in the past couple of days and am 100% sure it is a lie.

Dead Valentine

Who knows, maybe it’s totally true. But I can think of at least one reason why it is not romantic at all: what if this lady had moved on and found a new guy to be her Valentine? Imagine she was getting dressed up for a fancy night out, feeling all excited and lovey-dovey for the first time in ages, and then BAM, a note from her dead husband reminds her that his love is ETERNAL. “I am stalking you from beyond the grave. Enjoy your date.” Eww. Which is why I prefer my romantic gestures a little more like this:

Valentine Bear

In your face, to the point, and in my case, totally true.

The romantical stuff on Valentine’s feels fake and weird to me, but these little stories about all kinds of love make me happy.

First, meet Banana Joe, the winner of the Westminster Dog Show’s coveted Best in Show award. His furry little head makes me happy, but look at how happy Banana Joe’s handler is:

Banana Joe

That is love. Of course, the cynical side of me is imagining the handler thinking, “This hairball just got me PAID!” But no, on this Valentine’s Day, I am deciding to believe that they love each other and are the best of friends, and that the handler will love his sweet Banana Joe even after he is no longer the ideal representation of the Affenpinscher breed.

Second, prepare to cry, because those bastards at NPR’s StoryCorps have done it again. This is a sweet story about the love between a mother and daughter despite lots of challenges (or maybe because of those challenges?). You can find the story here. Also, I’d like to point out that this girl is 15, right in the middle of those years when most daughters spend half of their waking hours screaming about hating their awful moms because they won’t buy them a slutty shirt at the mall. So she is really amazing.

Third, Piney Porky McHedgypants has apparently found love, right under his big pointy nose. I discovered him and Blue Bolero Bunny (that name is self-explanatory) holding paws in my son’s room last night. To be clear, “holding paws” is not a euphemism for anything. They are very happy. And as long as they don’t gang up on me and try to kill me in my sleep (which everyone knows is what giant stuffed animals do eventually), I will support their stuffed animal love affair.

Piney + Bunny

And finally, here is my current favorite love song. It took on a new, beautiful meaning when I saw the video – instead of a guy pining away over a girl, it’s a bunch of dudes showing their manly love for their buds by smashing bottles on each other’s heads. If that isn’t true love between besties, I don’t know what is.

Happy, happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. xoxo

Rip-off Artist

Now that we have recovered from Land Beaver Day and Beyonce Bowl, it is time to turn my house into a child labor factory and crank out some lovingly homemade valentines. My kids are really looking forward to it because they have no idea what is in store for them.

My mom is a retired art teacher (and by “retired” I mean “not teaching anymore but got her Ed.D. for fun, whee”). When she was visiting over the holidays we went shopping at Paper Source, the store where I could almost justify destroying my children’s financial future for some beautiful paper products. Somehow, as I was hypnotized by the sturdy cardstock and loopy fonts, my crafty mom convinced me that I could make the valentines that were on display in the store. And not just make them, but that I could make them better than Paper Source, and get my kids to help. Please note that I had not been drinking. Much.

So we stole a Paper Source catalog (OK, they were free, but I felt so Thelma and Louise, ripping off someone’s idea!) and went to Michael’s with a long list of supplies. Approximately six days later we emerged, tired and dehydrated, with piles of red paper and glue sticks and stickers. Which all cost more than the pre-made kits at Paper Source. Um.

After talking up the projects for weeks to the kids, I finally made some examples this weekend. They really are adorable, and look like only slightly crappier versions of the Paper Source valentines:
Valentines

But they are kind of hard to make, and I predict my kids will make two before they are bored and things devolve into bribery and threats. Each one took me a good 15 minutes, and I am a really good cutter and gluer. Seriously, that’s on my resume, right next to my law school honors (which are totes going to be put to good use over the next week as I spend 20 hours cutting out hedgehogs and heart-shaped guitars).

My daughter is going to give out the hedgehogs in honor of her beloved Piney Porky McHedgypants. To complete our Paper Source rip-off, we’re writing “Hedgehugs and Kisses” on the back. All of her pre-school friends who cannot read will love it: “Oh, L is so clever with her thoughtful play on words – ‘hedgehugs’! Now can someone help me get this crayon out of my nose.” My son is giving out the guitars, and I’m going to force ask him to write “You rock!” on all of them. He will be pissed off about it probably after the sixth valentine, and will try to convince me that he just has to sign his name because, in fact, some of the kids in his class do not rock at all. Happy Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air.

And even though my mom got me in to all of this, there is something kind of magical about having a grandma who was an art teacher. She can talk me in to trying any art project, and in between the moments of negotiating and complaining, I’m sure the kids and I will have fun. As great as our grandma is, though, this is the kind of bad ass grandma I would want on a road trip. Except for all of the stopping for tickets, it would be amazing. But why didn’t the cops stop her sooner? And how did she not make it to her granddaughter’s dance after all that trouble? Well, at least they all have a good story to tell.

I hope I can say that after we make our valentines this week.