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I didn't just celebrate a Valentine's DAY, it was more like a Valentine's WEEK and each day, my heart became more and MORE full...

It began with cards in the mail and phone calls and when Friday night rolled around, I was going out with Jon and Jen {my "other" family}
I spend MOST Sunday nights at their house for dinner and you will usually find us laughing about SOMEONE or SOMETHING- it's a riot over there. They have two daughters, that are more like little sisters to me, both whom I tease and scold {when necessary}. Jen watches Max so I can work, and she also accompanies me to run errands during the week {because having friends around makes ANYTHING more fun!}
So naturally, when they asked if they could take me out, I said YES! I LOVE spending time with them.
We had a great time discussing different things, teasing each other and laughing the night AWAY. I still have a smile thinking about part of our convo from that night- Good times... Good times!

LOVE you guys!

I know I have expressed myself before about how much my friends take care of the kids and I- no amount of THANKS will EVER be enough! But what has continued to impress me the most, are the several male friends of ours who have repeatedly taken the kids and spent quality time with them. It's one of those needs that I would EVER ask someone to fulfill and thankfully, these people have just stepped right up to help. These people are NOT trying to take your place, but they understand the way it helps the children to still have that male figure in their life. As I was expressing my thanks to one of these people, he said, "If this happened to me, I would want someone do this for my girls. "
I can only imagine the appreciation and love you have for these people as well. It means more than they will EVER fully understand and {I KNOW for a fact} it has meant SO much to the kids to have these people in their lives.

I will always be FOREVER GRATEFUL to Tom W, Brian B, Shane T and their AMAZING families!

~Thank YOU~

The next night, Hallie was going out to the Father/Daughter Valentine's Dance with Cora and Brian.

Hallie and Coralee
Growing up- :( but still SUPER stinkin' cute- :)

The girls with their Valentines date

Heading off to a night of dancing, food and fun...

Upon arrival they received their corsages
and spent the remainder of the night having F-U-N:
Thank you Brian and Cora for a memorable night!
MUCH love to the B family

Then Sunday night came and the kids got their Valentines all ready for school:

Hallie gave Max and I our Valentine's early
We each received a note:

accompanied by this as our gift:
WHAT a sweetheart... I just LOVE her to pieces!

When the kids were sound asleep, I heart attacked their doors:
set out their V-day surprises:

The kids woke up excited for Valentine's Day

Showing off some of their Valentine's gifts:

Who do WE in our family?!?

As Hallie got off to school, I heard some honking but didn't think much of it...
I laughed SO hard when I saw what these girls DID again!

They also embellished our mailbox
Such a simple and cute little flare to my mailbox. I liked the added touch so much, that it's STILL there:)
*Thanks Brooke and Mindy*
Love you BOTH!

Some of my good friends stopped by to show me more V-day love...
Chocolate, perfume {my new favorite one} and a cute lil' bear
some of my FAVE waxy chocolate, with some super cute earrings, nail polish and a soda ;)
Thank you Deij and Tara for thinking of me...
~Love you both~

The day was going WONDERFULLY and I had just sat down to start working. I have a picture of US that sits on my work desk and I see it every day. It's such an important picture/day- we were celebrating your 30th birthday. There was so much happiness and love that embodies that moment in time. Normally, the picture brings a smile to my face, but on V-day, it made me feel truly brokenhearted. I just sat there with tears streaming down my face, feeling sorry for myself and definitely MISSING YOU! I needed you, I wanted YOU. I then thought of JUST the thing that could help- my Build a Bear. I listened to your message and it gave me the comfort and reassurance I needed to continue on with the day...

About and hour had gone by and I was still working when I heard the doorbell ring. I had NO idea who would be coming over mid-day since I wasn't expecting anyone.

I crack open the door to find a little old man bending over and ask, "Are you Margie Hess?"

"Uh, Ya!" {kinda confused}

"Great! THESE are for you... watch out, it's VERY heavy."

and then he picks these up and hands them to me:
WOW {yes super heavy, but can we say GORGEOUS!!!}
So bright and SO very BEAUTIFUL
I was OVERjoyed

I couldn't WAIT to read the card...

It said:
Dear Margie,
I love you so much.
I am Thinking about You.
You know who

...and I just LOST it!

THANK YOU, thank you Brian and Mindy for making me feel so special and SO loved!
~Love you guys~

After receiving those GORGEOUS flowers, I didn't think my day could get any better...

I had just gotten back from being at the pool and was starting dinner. I decided to check my phone and realized I had a few missed calls. One of the calls was from a florist saying that some flowers were left with my neighbor across the street.
More flowers?!?

I think I had a smile from ear to ear at that point. When my neighbor brought me this arrangment, I couldn't STOP smiling.
The arrangement was very big and very pretty. I think I had a perma-smile stuck on my face for the rest of the night.
Some of your best buds sent them to me and I really appreciated their thoughtfulness.
~Thank you CBS boys~

And of course, we couldn't finish the day without some of this:

~Cheers to LOVE~

My night concluded with my super cute and good friend Sarah coming over to keep me company as we watched some prime time TV. We got to watch some desperado's "trying" to find love...

All in all, I had an Ah-mazing day.

Being loved TRULY is a wonderful feeling!

"You'll always be a part of me
and I'm part of you indefinitely
Boy don't you know you can't escape me
Ooh darling, 'cause you'll always be my baby

And we'll linger on
Time can't erase a feeling this strong...
Ooh darling, 'cause you'll always be my baby

You and I will ALWAYS be..."

Plain White T's- Rythm of Love
Mariah Carey- You'll always be my baby


*31st* Birthday Celebrations...

What a fun-filled day...

It began with the kids opening gifts
We were going to BUILD-a-BEAR!

{Before Ryan passed away, some very sweet friends gave Ryan 3 Build-a-Bear voice recorders so he could leave messages for us. Along with those recorders, they also gave us a gift card so we could get animals for those recorders to go inside. After returning from the funeral in Wyoming, I took the kids to B-a-B to get our animals. I couldn't WAIT to hear the messages Ryan had left for each of us! Needless to say, the kids sleep with their animals EVERY night and go to sleep hearing Ryan tell them how much he loves them}

The kids were SO excited to go to B-a-B. Hallie got two VERY pink clothing items for Rainbow {her unicorn that has eyes "JUST like Daddy,"as she says}. Max on the other hand wanted NOTHING to do with the clothes. He walked away with a pair of skis/poles, roller skates and a fishing pole with magnetic fish for Fluffy {the panda}.
*So fun*

Once we finished there, it was time to head off to the Ostrich Farm.
If you are from the Tucson or surrounding area, pay a visit to the Ostrich Farm. It's rather inexpensive and fun for ALL ages.

...and boy, they DO! Max found out the hard way :(

Here are some of the animals you can see/feed at the farm:
{UGLY} Ostriches

{Cute} deer and donkeys
{Crazy} goats and lorikeet
Food for the animals:

EVERY time I see Max's face in the following picture, I can't help but laugh...
{these birds may look cute and friendly, but they are kinda crazy lil' birds. They peck at one another if one comes too close to getting some food and if you try to shoo them away, they have no problems taking a peck at YOU- Watch OUT!}
Your mom enjoying the Lorikeet love
Once we fed all the animals, we headed off to the "Peanut Butter place":
I know this probably wasn't your FAVORITE place to eat, but this was a place you very much enjoyed- my country boy definitely loved his STEAK and potatoes :)
The peanuts that make Texas Roadhouse the "peanut butter place," the YUMMY rolls and your FAVORITE steak sauce:
We finished up at Texas Roadhouse and headed to the store for some balloons.
{At the burial in Wyoming, we had over 2 dozen balloons family wrote messages on so we could send them off to you} Since then, for major holidays/events we have continued the same tradition...
Heavenly messages...
~Love YOU~
We let the kids pick out a movie and had MOVIE NIGHT. A tradition that you started with the family that we have continued {and LOVE} every week.
Watching 'Around the World in 80 Days'
Although it was NOT my birthday, I received some very thoughtful gifts:
Several family members wrote me letters about YOU- what a wonderful {and cherished} present to receive. In those letters they talked about you, your example and the inspiration you have been and will continue to be. Then, we had a wonderful surprise at the door with an Edible Arrangements from your siblings. Such thoughtful and DELSIH gifts
Thank YOU guys for thinking of us on Ry's day!
Your birthday stuff on display:

It was now time for some CAKE :)
"Happy Birthday to YOU
Happy Birthday to YOU
Happy Birthday DEAR Ryan/Daddy
Happy BIRTHDAY to you"

After we ate some cake, we opened the smaller part of your birthday gift:

a new, shiny key ring for your truck keys.
The rest of your present wouldn't be coming for another 2 weeks....

Part of your Birthday morning was spent taking the truck in to get an estimate of how much all the internal repairs would cost- Oh, just a few THOUSAND dollars :( Sadly, that is only about 1/3 of what needs to be done to get it all hot-roded out. Fixing up this truck is going to be quite time consuming and quite expensive, but DEFINITELY worth it!
So, I decided that for every Birthday/Christmas you will get something for the truck. I was so lost on where to start, but thought I would begin with replacing THIS:
It was time for this very sad, little mirror to GO. It would NEVER stay up and when it was in the correct position, it was so blurry you couldn't even see out it. It was pretty much useless!

After much waiting, we heard a ring at the doorbell to find this waiting for us:

{I only took a picture of the "popcorn" because I spent the next week finding it ALL over the house- SUPER fun!}
So, I go to install your mirror and the two parts don't fit together- one of the parts was too big. Why in the world would they send you parts that DON'T fit together. {I was just a tad annoyed} What the hek was I gonna do?

I knew I could call our good friend who is quite the do-it yourself handyman kinda guy. But I call with questions all the time and didn't want to annoy him with a "can you fix this for me?!?"

Shoot. WHAT TO DO?

THEN, I remembered about this:
YOUR Dremel.
{I was pretty sure a Dremel could sand down different materials}

When you were in remission, you had gone to the store and picked up this:
A 75 pc set for your Dremel.
I remember when you told me that you were going to buy it, I said, "OK" but inside thought, "Do YOU really need this?!?!?!"

Well, let me TELL YOU... I am sure glad you bought it!

I looked in the little manual to see what bit I needed to sand down metal.

But THEN, I couldn't for the LIFE of me figure out how to remove the bit.
So whenever I don't know the answer/how to do something, I turn to Google.

I really do {heart} GOOGLE
Seriously, what would I do without it?!?

All ready to go:
and after about a good 30 minutes of sanding and re-fitting

It FINALLY fits:
Woot woot!

My little "helpers"

The first part of the installation

The second {and MAIN} part of the installation

YAY to a job WELL done

We LOVE it...
Hope you like it too!

***Happy Birthday My LOVE***
Thank you for blessing this world for 30 wonderful years

I hope everyday is a celebration for you, because YOU definitely deserve it.
{P.S.- I had to put some of your favorite songs to accompany this post :) }