I had lunch the other day with my friend Kathy. We drove over to Franklin Park Conservatory, tucked into plates of good stuff from their cafe, and got caught up on each other's lives while surrounded by beautiful orchids and Chihuly glass art.

She e-mailed later and said, "I feel like I've been on vacation." And she was right. That little hour-long break from the cold and dreary Columbus winter did feel like a mini-vacation. And it reminded me that the best way to get through winter is to carve out time for all the little things that make life worth living.

Like a new pair of gloves. I'm the "wear it 'til it falls apart" type, so when I had to admit that my ratty old gloves just weren't doing the job any more, I popped into Macy's on the way home and found not one, but two pairs outrageously on sale. And every time I slip a pair on now, I think I can honestly say my hands feel like they're on vacation.

It's amazing how much of an impact the little things can have on your spirits. Like our cover photo. See that puff ball of orange frou-frou on our adorable model Megan's head? Her mom, Becky, had brought it along, just in case a little extra something was needed. We already had the idea to wrap Megan in a gorgeous oversized sweater and scarf created by local artist Sue Quellhorst (whose work is available at Studios on High in the Short North). That explosion of color and texture around Megan's beautiful face was good - but that little extra poof of color made it great.

The cover concept sprang from a little tradition we have in our family. Is it me or is this also the time of the year when your kids just need more hugs? We call it "getting wrapped up and topped off with mother love" when one of them comes looking for a hug. And I thoroughly recommend being generous with the mother - and father - love, no matter what season it is.

Several of our articles this month also call upon the potency of parent love. Be sure to check our Age Appropriate articles on the topic of adoption. When our writer Debbie Angelos told me about Maria Hunte, the single mom she profiled who has six children, five of them adopted out of the foster care system, Angelos dubbed her "Super Woman." No kidding. And that's a lot of love this woman is putting out there in the world.

We also unveil our first "Worth the Price of a Sitter?" article from Melissa and Geoff Dutton. I think the title pretty much says it all, and I think you'll also enjoy their insights. Finding ways to take good care of the people in our lives is always a worthwhile endeavor and we hope their adventures inspire you to do the same even if it's just a little something like a hug!