Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Sweet Love

Happy Valentine's Day!  

Yes, it's here again; the holiday that millions of people love to celebrate...or try their level best to ignore.  My feelings about Valentine's Day have always been a bit ambivalent.  Millions of roses are delivered every year on February 14th yet, in my entire life, I've only received flowers for Valentine's Day once.  Once!  To make matters worse, they were from an ex-boyfriend and, while very sweet and certainly appreciated by me, let's just say they didn't go unnoticed by the current-at-the-time boyfriend. ;-)

When I finally married, I chose a man who didn't believe in "commercial holidays."  Lest you think I suffered through 25 years of being unappreciated, let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.  My late husband showered me with affection and lovely surprise gifts throughout our marriage.  They just didn't arrive on the prescribed holidays.

Over the years, Valentine's Day has evolved into a different sort of holiday for me.  Instead of one where I celebrate romantic love, it's become a day when I celebrate all of the people (and other critters) who bring meaning to my life.  It's a day when I phone my best girlfriend just to say, "I'm so happy you're in my life"; when I send cute cards to the children who make me smile and melt my heart.  (Is there anything sweeter than a child spontaneously throwing their arms around your neck and saying "I love you?")  It's a day when my two dogs get special treats, an extra long walk and sigh-inducing tummy rubs.  How could I do any less for them when, every day, they treat me like I'm the most important person in their world?  It's also a day when I give total strangers homemade chocolate hearts and a smile because, who knows, maybe they don't have anyone in their lives to tell them how special they are and we - every single one of us - deserves to be loved.

All of this doesn't mean that I don't celebrate the concept of romantic love.  Twenty-five happy years of marriage and hundreds of romance novels tucked throughout my house attest to the fact that I do.  I've just chosen to expand my circle.

Let's celebrate Valentine's Day here at The Romance Dish by sharing our stories of love.  Tell me about the special people in your lives who make you smile, make you laugh and melt your hearts.  Maybe it's your husband, or a boyfriend, a pet, a best friend or a child in your life.  Maybe it's an author who's written a book that gave you hope or made your heart sing.  Let's dish about love in all its many forms and faces!

My goodie room (yes, it's moved from a closet to a room) is overflowing with books and swag so I'm giving away goodies to three randomly chosen people who leave comments on today's blog.  It's my Valentine's Day gift to you! 

~PJ

82 comments:

  1. Awww ... sweet posting, PJ! I love your puppies, the one on the right looks like my Marco. You're right about it being a day to celebrate all the special people and 4-legged babies in our lives. It's also a day to appreciate yourself for taking such good care of others. Valentine's Day is about celebrating love, not just romantic love although it doesn't hurt. I heard today that there should be a record number of proposals today. I like that. Love lives on no matter what!
    Happy Valentine's Day!

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    1. It's also a day to appreciate yourself for taking such good care of others.

      I love that,Amy! Unfortunately, I'll be spending my day at work, most likely taking care of husbands frantically looking for gifts because they've forgotten it's Valentine's Day. lol!

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  2. Love the post, PJ! Nothing beats hugs from my niece and nephew and cuddling with my dogs. :)

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    1. I just started my day with kisses and cuddles from my dogs, Trisha. Great way to start the day! :)

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  3. we got a new puppy about 2 weeks ago we lost my Julie after 15 1/2 years so it took me awhile to decide to get another she was irreplacable to me but we love our Rocky Buddy..with animals it is unconditionable love...


    Donna

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    1. Donna, I'm so sorry you lost your Julie. Animals claim such a huge part of our hearts. I know she will always be with you. While Rocky Buddy won't replace her, I'm sure he'll carve out his own special place in your hearts too. You're right about the unconditional love. They give it so freely and joyfully. What kind of dog is Rocky?

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  4. Happy Valentine's Day. It's always nice to a hug or kiss from family and friends, especially my little niece. I adore and she does claim I'm her favorite aunt.

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    1. Favorite aunt status is a pretty cool thing, Jane!

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  5. Kisses and hugs from my 14mos baby boy, every time when i ask him to kiss his big brother :) he'll definitely kiss his big brother several times..and he comes to me and give me his kisses and hugs too :D

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    1. Awww. Your little guy sounds like a sweetie, Mariska!

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  6. for me, my friend is always make me laugh and we had a group name we called "gendhenk" (crazy group, lol) and today we just done the exchanged valentine gift so happy i got mug :)

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    1. Eli, isn't it wonderful to have friends like that? My best friend lives two states away now but a phone call is all I need to make me feel better and no matter what's going on in our lives, we always make each other laugh.

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    2. yes PJ, it's a wonderful to have friends like them ;)

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  7. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!! Everyone loves a lover.

    My son gave me a Valentine's hug which was most unexpected & very sweet. I think I smiled all day on that one hug.

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    1. Happy Valentine's Marybelle! It's those unexpected hugs that are the most special, I think.

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  8. This is so incredibly sweet! Thank you for a lovely post! My hubby has been a florist for years, so every Valentine's I was helping him the shop and by the end of this very long day we were incredibly knackered :))) Now we just go somewhere nice together and talk instead of giving each other gifts. The flowers come to our house without the need for the occassion, so as small presents. We are incredibly blessed together, and now I need to go and make him eclairs which I promised as a treat today :) Happy Valentine's to you and your loved ones!

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  9. Kara-karina, I'd take homemade eclairs over flowers any day! It sounds like you have a wonderful husband and a marriage to treasure. Wishing you a lovely day!

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  10. My neighbors Marge and Dick recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. They epitomize romance and true love to me. Even though they are both 90 they still take walks while holding hands, they smile all the time, they laugh and tell jokes, they're hugging each other, he still swims. She's a wonderful artist. I'm in awe of their relationship. I'm hoping my now 35 year old relationship will be as blessed as theirs most obviously is.

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    1. Oh Laurie, thank you for starting my day with a smile! Marge and Dick sound like a wonderful couple. I love seeing older couples who still hold hands and enjoy one another as they obviously do. Congratulations also on your 35 years! I have no doubt that, with them as an example, you will work to make your own as long-lasting and happy as theirs.

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    2. 65 years of being in love, what wonderful sight to see. That is definitely a blessing and 35 years is something wonderful as well.

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  11. Owww that's so sweet PJ:). Love your story about chocolate. I have one experience that I won't forget forever. 4 years ago I want to buy a book through online. When I asked the person how much should I pay she told I'll give it to you, give me your address. I was So stunned n surprised because that book I wanted to buy for my own birthday present . She sent it to me right in time for my birthdayz. That is the best surprise ever I got fron stranger since that sometimes I gave books to strangers too, kinda of Pay it forward:)

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    1. Sorry forgot to put my email. I am the pay it forward books:). Aretha zhen, aretha_zhen@yahoo.com

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    2. What a lovely story, Aretha! I'm a firm believer in what goes around, comes around. Your kindness to others found its way back to you. :)

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  12. Hi, PJ! The true Valentine in my heart and my life is my husband of 45 years. As my grandmother used to say, "I wouldn't trade him for an old mule!" We have raised two fine sons; bravely took jobs in Paris for several years; worked together at NASA for most of our careers; travel to places we love; walk together every morning; hike in the forests in the summer; share our love of reading; laugh together and last but not least, share our love of each other. I am so blessed to have him and for me, it's Valentine's Day every day.

    I love the picture of your puppies. So cute! Happy Valentine's Day to you. I wish you CHOCOLATE!!

    Connie Fischer
    conniecape@aol.com

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    1. Congratulations on 45 years, Connie! Sounds like you and your husband have made the most of them. What wonderful adventures you've had together!

      I love the picture of your puppies.

      Thanks! They're my sweethearts. ♥

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  13. Work calls but I'll be back later to respond to comments. Have a happy day! ♥

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  14. Happy Valentines Day! The people who make me smile are my nieces and nephews - they are good kids and like to have fun. They are well behaved and it's easy to take them out and do things with them. I can't spend today with them but did send them some Valentine's candy and some cards.

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    1. My nieces and nephews (and grand-niece and nephew) bring many smiles to my life too. Wish they lived closer!

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  15. Sounds like your husband was a good one.
    Thank you for the great Val. contest.

    Happy V day to all.
    patoct@yahoo.com

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    1. Sounds like your husband was a good one.

      He was!

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  16. All of my family are people who make me smile. On days like this is when you really miss not having them right next door and in many different states.

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    1. I know what you mean, Rebekah. My family is spread out over four states and, in my niece's case, another continent. I'm so grateful for the internet and other technology that lets us talk and see one another when we're so far away.

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  17. Happy Valentine's Day! It is a good idea to appreciate everyone who makes you happy and that would be my entire family and our cats, of course.

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    1. I agree, Maureen! As to the cats, in my view, pets are family! :)

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  18. My husbands' aunt and uncle were the people that I found 'most romantic' (both now deceased). For many years (as long as I knew her) she was hospitalized on respirators and dialysis (very sad), yet every day he went to the hospital bringing her flowers to brighten her day and he never missed a day.

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    1. Dtchycat, I'm sure the circumstances were difficult for both your husband's aunt and his uncle. The kind of love that he showed his wife is deep, abiding and all too rare in today's society.

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  19. Your post made me smile, thank you. Today DH and I will venture forth to the state fair and eat anything and everything fried, hold hands and act like we are sixteen again.

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    1. Kat said, Your post made me smile, thank you.

      You're welcome! I love making people smile. :)

      State Fairs are such fun. I think everyone who goes should hold hands, eat fair food and act sixteen! Hope you and your dh have a wonderful time!

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  20. My daughter made me happy... She was born near Valentine's day and we left hospital on the 14th... She was the happiest valentine gift for me....

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    1. What a wonderful Valentine's gift, May. I bet nobody's ever topped that one! :)

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  21. The people who make me smile are my kids :) They are only 1 and 4 but super sweet my 4 year old pops in my room sometimes just to say I love you and last year he pulled up all my flowers (which took me hours to plant) and gave them to me as an I love you mommy present, I couldn't even be upset about my flowers :) and my 1 year old just figured out what kisses were he don't pucker up but he puts his mouth there and then pulls away and smiles!!! They are both little sweethearts!
    Happy V-day!
    brandon_savannah@yahoo.com

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    1. Awww, what great kids. Savannah, give them a hug from me and tell them they made me smile today! :)

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  22. My two adorable dogs with their sweet looks gives me happiness and love. My husband and his handyman help is always there for me from day one. A beautiful and heartfelt post today. Happy Valentine's day. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Traveler, isn't it amazing how dogs always seem to know exactly when we need a snuggle or a kiss? We should all follow their example when it comes to showing our love.

      Happy Valentine's to you too!

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  23. I still consider my ex-husband to be my best friend. We email each other weekly just to check in. I have 18 years of lovely memories with him and I could never cut him out of my life completely. I'm grateful we didn't come out of the divorce hating each other. It would be a shame to destroy all of our happy memories that way. This is my first Valentine's Day as a single gal and I'm looking forward to it.

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    1. StacieD, what a wonderful outlook on life! Kudos to you for being able to remember the good times and keep the friendship intact even if the marriage didn't work out.

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  24. My boyfriend and my kiddos are the lights of my life.
    My son though I think would have to be the biggest blessing in my life. I had him when I was 38, he is autistic and the first 4 years were difficult because he didn't speak, he didn't want to be touched or even looked at.
    Now however is a whole different story, he will be 22 in March, I will be watching TV or reading in my room and he will put his head through the door or sometimes just yell from another room. "I love you mom." Or he will bend over from his 6' 3" height and envelope me in a long armed hug as I sit in front of the puter. Every day is Valentine's here. He doesn't know what day it is, but it isn't really necessary to know when he gives me his hard earned love every single day.

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    1. Dianna, your story really touched my heart. My sweet grand-nephew has autism and is still mostly non-verbal at age seven though he's made enormous strides in the past year. When I last saw him (about a year ago), he initiated a hug and brought me to tears. Those things that seem so ordinary to most of us are rare and precious gifts.

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    2. My son started school at 3 years old in a special ed program. Half the children were peer students the other half were "target" children. I have only good things to say about it and his teachers and speech therapists. In later years I did have some issues but the bottom line is he had a wonderful start in the school system. He did get his diploma by the way, he graduated at 19. When we went to pick it up I asked them if there was one for me there too.
      I just came upstairs from the laundry room and he came out of his room and said Mom! What son? I love you........ yeah, made my day, again.

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  25. My husband and son make me happy! They are my family and my rock. Also have two sisters that are my rock also, thank God for family.

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    1. So happy they are there for you, Quilt Lady! I'm fortunate to have a very close family as well.

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  26. Oh my gosh - your goodies and books have moved into a room now? I can totally relate. I buy birthday, anniversary, shower and wedding gifts ahead of time (on sale so I can get something more expensive). They started on "a" shelf, progressed to a couple of shelves, a few shelves, and now they are on those shelves as well as behind a door in my office. (I bought a "bed in a bag" off of a wedding registry list and then the wedding was cancelled, and funny thing, it doesn't fit on the shelf!)
    As for your question, I am fortunate/blessed to have MANY special people in my life. There's my husband of 30 years who puts up with me ... there's my mid-twenties children who keep comparing me to my MIL with Alzheimer's re my memory and how they WILL put me/us in "the home" when necessary (nice kids, but I still love them to bits) ... there's my MIL who just barely knows me now, but I'll always remember the kindnesses she has done for me and others through the years ... there's my "boyfriends at badminton" who allow me to play badminton with "the big guns" rather than only playing with the ladies (as my daughter and I are the top two female players and can only improve by playing better players) ... can't forget my neighbours who are always there for us, as we are for them ... and finally, even though he passed away in 2011, I still have great memories of a certain dog named Austin, who had a heart of gold.
    I wish you and your family (both biological and "Dishy") a Happy Valentine's Day, PJ.

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    1. Laney, I'm laughing at the image of you trying to stuff the "bed in a bag" onto your gift shelf! lol!

      May you continue to be blessed by the special people in your life.

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  27. My valentine of 36 years and I had our first date on Valentine's Day. :-)

    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Take time today to tell someone(spouse, friend, sibling, children, neighbor, etc.) that you love them.

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    1. Happy Valentine's Day, Cheryl! What a lovely memory to have had your first date on Valentine's!

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  28. Happy Valentine's Day. I ran to the grocery store yesterday and everyone was purchasing flowers, candy and heart shaped cakes. They didn't even wait for the actual day. :)
    penfield716(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

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    1. We were really busy over the weekend at the department store where I work but slow today. However, I stopped at Walmart on the way home and holy cow! They were swamped! Lots of men mostly with heart shaped boxes of candy. ;-)

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  29. I think it's great to celebrate by being with folks you appreciate. Tonight I'll be with a church group I definitely appreciate...and I'm bringing them some chocolate-peppermint cookies to enjoy at the meeting. Hubby and I exchanged small gifts; every day love is more important to us! Happy Valentine's Day to all.

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    1. I'm sure the folks at church will enjoy those cookies. I took a bowl of white chocolate Chex mix into work today and I can say with complete confidence that it was enthusiastically appreciated! :)

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  30. Valentine's Day for me has always been being with my love ones. I would like to think I show love every day and love them I do My family are the reason I smile and want to be a better person. They love me unconditionally and are always there for me. Wishing everyone a wonderful love-filled day.

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  31. How sweet, PJ! Dennis and I don't exchange anything for Valentine's Day except for a card. To us, it's all about the kids. We agree that it's too commercialized. Instead, we celebrate our wedding anniversary. :)

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    1. Hope you all had a wonderful day, Andrea!

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  32. Each day we should show our appreciation for our family. Life is short and it is important to love them dearly.

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    1. You're absolutely right. I learned that lesson early when my mom took a nap one afternoon and never woke up. I don't ever want to leave things unsaid because you never know...

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  33. My husband and children are the best things in my life. They are great!!

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    1. I bet they'd say the same about you!

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  34. My husband and my two daughters make me smile the most but my Bridgette love her to pieces. I met my DH for lunch today called the girls and my pooch got special treats this evening.

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    1. Sounds like a wonderful day, Gigi!

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  35. Happy Valentine's Day everyone! :) I agree with those who say we should take the time to show our friends and loved ones how much we cherish them and how much they mean to us.

    Today, I have indulged in a Valentine's Day tradition for me-PJs, ice cream, and a great movie! :)

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    1. I like your tradition! What kind of ice cream and which movie?

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  36. That's so nice that you've determined how Valentine's day works for you. I didn't do anything this year - didn't even eat a bit of chocolate. I used to enjoy the trading of cards when I was in grammer school - they probably don't do that much anymore because of the religious conotations & those are banned in a lot of schools. I think that was a sweet & fun thing for us & I'm sorry kids today will probably miss out on that fun.

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    1. That's one of my fondest memories too, Di. We decorated shoe boxes and our classmates would "deliver" valentines by putting one through the cut-out slot in the top of everybody's box.

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  37. Thanks for all the great comments today! You've filled my Valentine's Day with smiles. ☺

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  38. My husband and our 3 dogs make me smile a lot. My husband has a great sense of humor that makes me laugh a lot and our 3 girls have wonderful personalities and love to be held or played with.

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    1. I think the ability to make people laugh is one of the best qualities a person can have. What kind of dogs do you have, Cathy?

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  39. My husband and family make me smile. My husband is a very tolerant man. He puts up with my books and time on the computer. We enjoy many of the same things and after almost 40 years of marriage, it seems we can know what the other is thinking. Our children have matured to talented young women and young man. We have two great almost 14 year old grand sons and a darling new granddaughter who will be 8 months old on the 15th. We are going to have to be very careful about spoiling her. Times are not easy for anyone theses days, but when you have a loving and supportive family, it makes it easier to deal with it.

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    1. Sounds like you are blessed with a wonderful family, Pat. I know what you mean about spoiling precious little granddaughters. So hard not to get carried away! :)

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  40. I am so blessed with my husband, 3 year old little girl.

    Natalie's Mama

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Natalie's Mama!

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  41. Hope I'm not too late~ The hubs, hands down. My hero, my rock. He is so patient while I bounce plots off him and wears his teacher hat when I need grammar guidance. Going on three decades and love him still. *sniff*

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    1. Hi Karyn! Sounds like you found a keeper! ♥

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