Dear Holly: Minnie Mouse is Your Best Friend and Elmo is Your Boyfriend

1 year, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

I guess I am learning that every Valentine’s Day at our house is like a “mini” Christmas morning. And speaking of Minnie, she was part of your gifts from Mommy and me:

Pilot Minnie, which includes a pink purse and a pink suitcase.

It is my assumption that little girls your age are equally obsessed with Minnie Mouse and Elmo, with the same mania that teenage girls went crazy over Elvis in the 1950s or The Beatles in the 1960s.

Here is how I perceive things with you right now:

It’s as if Minnie Mouse is your best friend and you want to be just like her. So it’s no surprise to me that yesterday, you clutched her tightly in your hand for both your morning nap and for bed at night. It was like a sleepover.

You just think Minnie Mouse is the coolest girl ever!

And as for Elmo, well… I’m starting to think he’s more than just a friend.

Each time I read you the Little Golden Book, Elmo Loves You, and finish the last page, with a big smile on your face, you lean down and kiss Elmo right on the face: “Mmmmmwhah!”

It’s not like anyone gave you this idea. You just immediately did this the first time, and every time, I have read you the book.

Mommy and I have learned to be careful about even saying Elmo’s name in front you. Because often when we do, you get caught in a trance:

“Elmo? Elmo. Elmo? Elmo! Elmo. Elmo. Elmo. Elmo!…”

At that point, I have to either give in, and take you upstairs and let you watch one of your Elmo DVDs, or I have to find a clever way to distract your train of thought.

So yeah, I convinced: Minnie Mouse is your best friend and Elmo is your boyfriend.




Dear Jack: The Paradox of Receiving a Berenstain Bears Book and HALO Action Figure on Valentine’s Day 2018

7 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

I don’t know how normal it is to receive so many little gifts from your parents on Valentine’s Day, but apparently, you are one lucky kid. Because before you even left for school yesterday, you got all your Valentine’s Day gifts from Mommy and me.

It was funny to me; I remember on your 2nd Valentine’s Day, Mommy asked me to pick out a little toy for you. This was a new concept for me. I had never heard of parents getting their kids gifts for Valentine’s Day.

I picked out an 88 cent Hot Wheels red monster truck for you. And since that day back in 2012, I have seen your Valentine’s Day gift selections grow a little bigger each year.

This year, you received a mini Hatchling, a stuffed animal ball, a bag of Trolli gummies, and an inflatable Hulk.

But looking back, perhaps it was slightly ironic, and definitely easily hilarious, that two gifts in particular couldn’t be more opposite:

A Berenstain Bears book called Valentine Blessings, which includes Bible verses about the Biblical definition of love.


A Mega Construx HALO action figure, ready for war!

But in addition to it being both ironic and hilarious, I also see it as perfectly ideal for you right now, as a 7 year-old, 1st grader boy.

While you very much enjoy action of any kind, including your now growing collection of HALO figures, as well as your obvious and, by default, fascination with super heroes like the Hulk, you still are very excited to receive a fluffy stuffed animal or another book from that lovable family from Bear Country.

You are a sweet and sensitive boy, yet I see those undeniable glimpses of you as a pre-teen, as well.

And really, this is exactly how I remember being, 30 years ago, when I was this age.

I think your Valentine’s Day gifts from Mommy and me were a perfect representation of who you are to us at this age.



Wear Your Love Story: Taking My Wife to James Avery for a Special Valentine’s Day 2018


James Avery partnered with bloggers such as myself for this program. I received compensation for my time, creativity, and SEO platform. I was not told what to purchase nor what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. James Avery believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. James Avery’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines, and social media engagement recommendations.

When it comes to gifts for my wife, she’s always made it easy on me, telling me all she really wants is maybe a new pair of slippers or pajamas, along with a bag of red licorice.

But for this Valentine’s Day, as we are just months away from our 10th wedding anniversary in July, I decided to make this one extra special.

With her mother in town from Sacramento, and our 7 year-old son at school, my wife took the day off from work so we could make the drive in the 2017 Mazda 6 to the Cool Springs Galleria Mall, where there is a James Avery artisan jewelry store.

Honestly, the thought of trying to choose jewelry for my wife is slightly terrifying. For a gift this special, I wanted her not only to have the experience of choosing the gift herself, but also to be able to enjoy seeing all the options in the store; to make the final selection that much more satisfying.

So I figured it would be a lot more fun for my wife, and for me, if we simply went to there together with a James Avery gift card in hand. My wife was able to focus on shopping, as I tended to our 21 month-old daughter in the store.

At the front of the store was a timeless, crafted Valentine’s Day gift set collection. Immediately, my wife was drawn to the Petite Heart Gift Set. She tried on the heart-shaped earrings and necklace pretty much immediately. It’s funny because as long as we’ve been together, I can think of only a couple of times she has worn earrings, but that changed during our store visit.

My wife was sold on the Petite Heart Gift Set, but I encouraged her to take her time and not stop there. I reminded her, “There’s no rush. Enjoy this. Get what makes you happy.”

Meanwhile, I looked over to see how my mother-in-law was doing, and to my surprise, she was in the middle of purchasing a new silver ring for herself.

I smiled as I made my may over to see her selection. She laughed and she explained, “You should have known better than to bring me into a jewelry store and expect me not to come out empty-handed.”

The assistants in the store were extremely helpful and knowledgeable along the way. My wife ultimately depended on their direction, as well as my opinion, in making her final selections.

As I handed over the James Avery gift card to make the purchase official, I realized that the total was a little bit higher than the amount of the card.

Oh well. I didn’t hesitate and just quietly paid the difference.

After all, my wife deserves it. For someone who is content with a new pair of pajama pants and licorice for a typical gift, it was time for me to go way, way beyond her expectations. And I did!

So for this Valentine’s Day, I know my wife of nearly 10 years will feel even extra special. It truly brought me joy in knowing I made her day!

If you would like to see my wife’s final selections from James Avery, just check out our “haul video” below…

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

6 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Dear Jack,

For Valentine’s Day, on your own merit, you decided to make your sister a special Valentine out of construction paper: a pink kitty. That was very thoughtful of you! She loved it.

As for you, I’d say you had a pretty big Valentine’s Day. Apparently, for some reason your friend Zeke didn’t end up giving a candy Valentine to everyone in your class, so he decided it was just the same to give you three; which saved him the trouble of having to get all his Valentine’s to the right place. Lucky you!

And speaking of, your classmate Haley gave you a very special Valentine: a heart-shaped box of chocolates. I’d say it’s quite likely you were the only one in your class to receive such a Valentine from her. You must have made some impression on Haley this year in class…

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Also, I have to point out your cool picture you drew of yourself opening your Valentine’s. It is right on!

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

In your Valentine’s box from us, Mommy and I gave you exactly what you wanted: Some Pokemon cards and Yo-kai Watch coins. You are so into those things right now!

At night after we put you to bed, we let you stay up a little while longer, as you study your Pokemon character book, by the light of the desk lamp. And every morning on the drive to school, you study your Pokemon cards.

Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Apparently, the studying pays off, because you can accurately pronounce the names of just about all 152 Pokemon characters in your book!

It’s safe to say, we know what’s going to be in your Easter basket. Amazingly though, you haven’t asked us for the actual 20 dollar Yo-kai Watch that “reads” the coins.

I love seeing how interested you are into this typical 6 year-old stuff.

It was a very fun Valentine’s Day!



Dear Jack: Your 1st Valentine’s Day as a Big Brother in Kindergarten (Pokemon Cards and Yo-kai Watch Coins)

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

9 months.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Dear Holly,

It just so happened that I had a dentist appointment during my lunch break on Valentine’s Day. No cavities, by the way…

My dental hygienist pointed out they had just refilled the treasure box full of toys. So I got a little pink bear to add to your Valentine’s Day bundle.

Mommy also had me pick up a pink ball for you, to match the pink Strawberry yogurt puffs.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Though you weren’t quite sure what the gifts were all about, you still gladly went along with the festivities.

Plus, of course, Mommy dressed you up in cute Valentine’s outfits. Seriously, you are so cute!

Despite being only 9 months old, the little girl in you is very evident. I love what I see of that little girl so far. I love having you has my daughter.

Something that is definitely different about you compared to your brother is that he never cared about having a pacifier. But as for you, it’s a fun accessory.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

I love it when you’re just playing and then for no apparent reason, you pick up the pacifier and stick it in your mouth. My favorite is when you’re falling asleep in your bed, and your pacifier falls out of your mouth.

Every time, you just take matters into your own hands: You put the pacifier back in your mouth so that you can officially fall asleep.

So yeah, I wonder if you are going to be the kind of little girl who likes carrying it around, like Maggie Simpson.

Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Maybe that means that you won’t still be treating your baby blanket like it’s a member of the family, when you’re in Kindergarten, like your brother does.

And though Jack is quick to help you play with your toys, he never lets you play with his blanket.

As you can see, you really enjoyed your very first Valentine’s Day.



Dear Holly: Your Very 1st Valentine’s Day

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Dear Jack,

Last Friday, you celebrated Valentine’s Day with your new friends at Rainbow Child Care Center.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

You gave Transformers Valentines to your friends this year. I have to laugh at the thought of one alien robot expressing affection to another alien robot…

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Your teacher Ms. Aimee set up a very special Valentine’s photo booth for you and your friends. From what I can see in these pictures you took with Mommy, it looks like you had a lot of fun.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

Then on Saturday, which actually was Valentine’s Day, our family went back to Mellow Mushroom for a special family dinner.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

When we first arrived there in downtown Franklin, you wanted to check out the animals in the toy crane machines. Amazingly, we found a honey badger! (Just earlier I had introduced you to honey badgers, thanks to a PBS documentary on Netflix.)

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

While we waited for our food, you enjoyed figuring out how to use your new Spiderman binoculars which you received from a new friend at your new school.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

It also was a pretty big deal to you once you realized that you got to keep your Mellow Mushroom cup that your water came in with your kids’ meal.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

You’ve proudly been drinking out of it every night for dinner since then.

Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

We finished off the weekend with some fun pastas we found while buying our new sofa at World Market. By combining Valentine pasta and Space pasta, we accidentally ate a lunch that compliments one of our new signs for our house:

Love you to the moon and back!

It was a very fun, family Valentine’s Day weekend for us. Mommy and I even got you a new animal, Slush; as well as a little Lego train which you quickly built without any of my help.



Dear Jack: Our Valentine’s Day Weekend 2015

My 14 Month Old Son’s Bromantic Valentine’s Cards

February 14, 2012 at 3:15 am , by 

14 months.

For Valentine’s Day 1986, I received a card from my fellow preschooler friend, Alex Igou. It featured Darth Vader on the front, and on the back it said, “Be Mine… Or Else!”

It can be truly hilarious to read what kids’ store-bought Valentine’s cards actually say, even 26 years later; especially to members of the same gender.

Last week my son’s daycare center, KinderCare, gave me a list of the other 6 classmates in his toddler group. Turns out, they are all boys. No girls.

But being the crafty girl that she is, my wife made some Valentines out of some leftover felt and paired them with some animal crackers from Whole Foods.

So yeah, I couldn’t help but think, “My son is giving out bromantic Valentine’s Day cards.”

It’s funny to me, yet deep at the same time:

Since the 15th Century, Valentine’s Day has been associated with romantic love. Interestingly though, the holiday originally began as way to honor Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and was established in 496 AD by Pope Gelasius I.

Today, it’s basically ironic to think of Valentine’s Day as anything other than a romantic celebration. But for the majority of its existence, the holiday was intended to honor men who died for the sake of their faith in Christ.

So now I wonder: Can Valentine’s Day be used to celebrate love for all people, in brotherly and sisterly ways? I say it should. Because simply, loving God means loving others.

As a follower of Christ, I am fascinated with the way Jesus answered this question:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:36-40

I acknowledge the Bible is full of things I have a hard time understanding or accepting, yet I continue to believe despite my lack of competence. But seriously, the thought of truly loving my neighbors (everyone else beside me) as much as myself may be the most difficult part to grasp.
Is it even possible? And yet, Christ said that is the 2nd greatest commandment.
Man, that’s tough. It’s definitely easier said than done for a guy like me who has enough issues battling selfishness when it comes to my own flesh and blood: my beautiful son.
If I can’t get over myself enough to love my son like I should, how am I ever going to love those who annoy me as much as I love myself?
Being romantic for Valentine’s Day is the easy part. If only that’s all there was to it.