It was January 6th, I remember the date because I was just pulling into the drive, coming home from my birthday afternoon to myself, I was talking to my sister-in-law, Kira, on the phone and she says "I know it's only January 6th, I know this seems nuts, but my mind is all about Valentine's Day already."
"Oh my gosh! I am so happy to hear you say that!" I told her. "Because, mine is too! I just want to get these Christmas decorations put away so the Valentining can begin!"
I had already been scouring Pinterest and the Internet for Valentine ideas and I'm pretty sure it was that very same day that I first asked the boys what they wanted to make this year.
"Dinosaurs?" I asked them. "Look at this one!"
Keaton leaned over and looked at my phone. "Nope. We want to make deer."
"Ooohhh, look at this owl, it's cute."
Do you know how many deer Valentine's there are out there? Hint: not many. But with a little inspiration from other ideas we hit on something I thought might work. I threw together an example, which ended up looking more like a bear than a deer, but with Collin's help (let's face it, he's the artistic one in this family, plus, he has more general knowledge of deer) we figured it out.
Thankfully, the message was the easy part:
Valentine, you are "deer" to me.
I told both of the boys what our cards would say this year and they repeated it back to me several times, Valentine, you are deer to me. They liked it. (I mean, duh, of course they liked it, it said DEER. OMG, these boys and their love for all things deer.) Even if maybe they didn't quite understand it.
It was several days later when the boys were working on art at the kitchen table while I got dinner ready. They had their farm stencils out and Collin had taught them if they used the pig stencil and then drew horns on it, it looked like a moose. Page after page after page Keaton would trace and then add some horns and as he set each one aside I heard him saying something. I couldn't quite make it out but as I listened closer I heard him clear as a bell:
Valentine, you are "moose" to me.