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We had a fairy tale kind of snow day on Thursday, the kind you dream about when you’re a kid. A big snow was forecast days before it hit, we hit the stores and stocked up on all the important stuff: cookie ingredients, and, well mostly cookie ingredients. We got more than a foot of snow overnight on Wednesday (which is pretty big doings around here) and we promptly suited the kids up in the morning to go out and enjoy it.

Watching Ada navigate her way through what must have seemed like towers of snow reminded me of a big snow we got back in February of 2010 when Xavier was almost exactly Ada’s age now and we were a little family of three.

Xavier on Snow Mound 2010 - 2014

When he triumphantly climbed up on a pile of snow, it reminded me immediately of the huge snow bank we shoveled when digging our car out of our spot in our tiny townhouse lot back in 2010 and how we gave Xavier a boost up onto the bank to his absolute delight.

Xavier in Snow Smiling 2010 - 2014

Of course, I had to dig up all of the old photos. It was a fun–and amazing–trip down memory lane. The photos where Xavier is making an expression he still makes now, the ones where he looks just like Quinn or Ada, the ones where he seems so very, very young are all so fascinating to look at now.

Xavier Smiling to Side 2010 - 2014

Of course when you’re looking at your little toddler, you have no idea what your child will look like when they grow up, how they will behave, what habits and expressions are the ones you’ll continue to see over and over in photographs taken throughout their lives. It’s only in retrospect that you marvel at those things. And oh how fun it is to marvel.

Xavier Snow Shovel 2010 _ 2014

The most amazing thing is that these photos are just four years old. Four. Years. I can’t imagine what kinds of changes the next four years will bring, and the next four after that, but you better believe I will be drinking it all in, trying to stop and gather as many moments as I can while these little ones’ childhoods whiz right on by.

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Quinn Valentine 2014_Cant Disguise

Just about everything has been postponed around here because of the big snowstorm that hit us Wednesday night, including Quinn’s preschool Valentine celebration (and, incidentally, my post about his Valentines).

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But we are ready with some really cute ones (if I do say so myself) when his class meets up again.

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As is his custom, Quinn made sure to not only obtain a big scratch on his face just before we took the Valentine’s Day photos, but he was also ridiculously uncooperative about getting his picture taken. We did manage a couple of good ones, and I opted for the silly shot of him with a mustached disguise and another couple of cheesy Valentine’s puns. Might as well get it all out of my system since I have to wait an entire year before I get to do this again.

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Quinn’s Valentines are pretty cute on their own, but I thought it would be fun to include something for the kids to play with. His class is so fun and all of the kids enjoy being goofy and hands on, so I thought they might enjoy some silly stick on mustaches. I found a twelve pack of packaged sets of three different mustaches for about $5, but the packaging was pretty plain and tacky, so I whipped up a fun message and folded and stapled it over the cardboard tab at the top of each pack and–voila!–a fun Valentine with a matching fun little favor.

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Despite his best efforts to make it difficult for us to get things together, the cards (and the puns) are so very Quinn and he is super excited about the final product. I’m sure the kids will enjoy with them when they have their belated celebration next week.

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Ada Valentine 2014

Since she was only about six months old last year, this year was Ada’s first experience exchanging Valentines with friends. While she is much more aware of all the festivities this year, she’s still only a year and a half old, so most of the fanfare is for our benefit rather than hers.

Still, we had a lot of fun making the celebration fun for her and Ada really seemed to enjoy it.

For her Valentines, we went with a similar technique as Xavier’s, but I personalized the cards with each friend’s name on the computer and used the same font to address red envelopes for Ada’s playschool Valentine exchange.

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Each child in the playschool class was tasked with bringing in a homemade mailbox or envelope to collect their Valentines and while I had big hopes of elaborate shoebox art, I wound up finding a great pink and white polka dot cardboard mini suitcase from a craft kit I bought a long time ago for Xavier and decided it was perfect. My mother sewed Ada a couple of toddler-sized messenger bags for Christmas and she loves stuffing them with little toys and carrying them around the house, so I figured this would be a nice addition to her collection.

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I saved the task of decorating the suitcase for the night before the exchange and of course by then Ada was too pooped to be of any help. My procrastination turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the boys had a great time picking out stickers and covering Ada’s Valentine suitcase with sparkly Valentine fabulousness after she went to bed. It was wonderful to see them take such care with where each sticker would go, carefully pressing each one down out of worry that Ada might try to peel them off, and deciding to cover not just the outside of the box, but the inside, too. Those guys really do love their little sister and absolutely spoil her with affection and attention.

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IMG_9848They were excited to send her off in the morning with her new accessory (which she happily posed with–notice the classic “Cheeeese!” pose in the top left photo in the collage below). The playschool kids had more fun than I would have imagined receiving their Valentines. The one containing a little mini flute and the message “You blow me away!” was a particularly big hit.

Ada Valentine Playschool Collage

All in all, it was a fun celebration for all of us and a great reminder (for me and the boys) of just how fulfilling acts of kindness for others can be.

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{this moment}

Xav Fun Run 2_edited-1
{A Friday ritual inspired by Soule Mama.}

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{this moment}

Ada Touching Water
{A Friday ritual inspired by Soule Mama.}

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{this moment}

Ada Walking Down Sidewalk
{A Friday ritual inspired by Soule Mama.}

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{this moment}

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{A Friday ritual inspired by Soule Mama.}

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