Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Love is all you need.

And I LOVE this little face so much that it literally takes my breath away sometimes.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Your baby is an asshole.

Before you get mad at me, it's a line from Sex and the City. And no, I don't think my baby is an asshole.

Well, not all the time anyway.

But seriously? Having a baby is no joke y'all. They are like, SUPER needy, round the clock. I liken the new baby experience to a Wiley Coyote cartoon, where he gets an anvil dropped on his head by the roadrunner (which makes no logistical sense by the way, the roadrunner was way too skinny to carry an anvil, but that's a topic for another time). Anyway, he'd get the anvil to the head and be smooshed into the ground and then he'd peel himself off the pavement and little birds would be swirling around his head and there was an anvil shaped dent in his noggin.

That's pretty much how I feel everyday.

And I have an EASY baby. No, I don't have one of those babies that magically sleeps through the night or can already help me with laundry, but I do have a super sweet little girl who isn't colicky or fussy, who loves to snuggle all day and sleeps pretty well at night. Plus, I have a super awesome husband who helps do everything short of nurse her, which I wouldn't put past him if he thought he could.

However, the reality of child rearing is that even under such ideal circumstances, it's exhausting. I have no idea how single parents do it or parents of super fussy/colicky babies. Y'all are better women than I.

That said, it's the most amazing experience I've ever had and I love my little Sadie so much it actually takes my breath away. Since I've had her for 8 weeks now, I'm pretty much a baby expert, so here are some of my lessons learned to date:

1. Having a baby shines a whole new light on yourmom. I've been peed on, pooped on and barfed on daily since my little Sadie Bear came home. This kid is prolific in the bodily fluid category. And I did all this to my mom. Just know this: your baby will be a giant karmic kick in the ass for what you put your parents through.

2. You will make parenting choices you swore you never would. You know those proclamations you made pre-baby? "I won't be a short order cook" or "I'll never let my kid watch TV" or "I won't buy my kid anything with a Disney character on it".

Yeah you will. You'll do ALL of it and like it. You know that beautiful nursery I showed you a while back? It's essentially a very well appointed walk in closet for Sadie. Where does Sadie sleep you ask? Why right next to me in bed. Yep. We are thoseparents. Turns out that nursing a baby is kind of a round the clock job. And this mama didn't exactly love getting out of bed 4 times a night to lug my 10 pound bambina in and out of bed, so here we are, co-sleeping. I know, I know, you aren't supposed to sleep with your kid. But you know what? I LIKE IT. She likes it. And Mr. Val likes it too. So that's what we do.

3. Baby swings are little Christmas miracles, sent from Jesus. Our Fisher Price Papasan baby swing is the only reason my house doesn't look like a Hoarders episode. No joke, that shit is like baby crack. Or baby Valium, more precisely.

4. Being a mom makes you pensive. Since I've had Sadie, I've thought a lot about the many children who are not born into such loving families with parents that have the resources to care for them. I think it weighed heavy on my mind b/c of the holidays as I imagined all the little kids who don't wake up to food everyday, let alone presents. This has spurred Mr. Val and I to give back a little more, through charity and hopefully our own actions throughout the year.

5. LET PEOPLE HELP YOU. This is probably the best advice I got and the best advice I can give. If your wonderful Mother in Law asks if you want her to bring you breakfast/lunch/dinner, say YES. If your mom and stepdad buy you and your husband massages for Christmas and offer to babysit? Say YES. If your friends offer to come over and just hang out with your baby so you can bathe? Say YES. Your own psyche and your husband will thank you.

6. Get on birth control ASAP. I kid, but truly, this kid is adorable but we have ZERO interest in another for at LEAST 3 years. I told Mr. Val that I wouldn't even think about until then, but since he isn't sold on the idea of 3 sexless years of marraige, to the IUD I go.

Oh, and one last tip, try to have a kid as adorable as Sadie. It makes the 4 AM explosive poops much easier to laugh at.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

10 pounds of heaven

I apologize for the accidental blogging hiatus, but I was unavoidably detained giving birth to my 10 lb. daughter.

Yep. 10. Whole. Pounds.

I want you to drink that in for a moment before I recount her birth story and note that I am not a big woman. My license says I'm 5 foot 4 whilst reality says that I'm 5 foot 3 when the wind blows straight up from the ground. My normal weight is between 120-130 lbs., depending on what time of year it is here in Chicago and how many bratwursts I'm currently shoving down my gullet. In short, I'm a small fry. This makes my 10 lb. baby story all the more surprising/terrifying/cautionary.

We blitzed past my October 27th due date with zero progress. No dilation, no effacement and no "dropping" on the part of the baby. I grumbled my way through the 40 week appointment, mad at my own body and my apparently lazy baby. The doctor agreed we'd go one week past and go from there. I got to the 41 week appointment and same story, in fact, I think my cervix was actually getting more closed at this point and I could hear Sadie laughing at me from inside my uterus. The doc agreed that it was time to induce so we set up an induction date of November 4th.

We got to the hospital around 10:30 PM on November 4th after my "last meal", which consisted of an Italian Beef, Cheese Fries & Chocolate Cake from Portillos. (Don't you dare judge me...I was about a thousand weeks pregnant.) They set me up in our L&D suite and began the medieval torture that is modern day obstetrics.

I was started on a low drip of Pitocin, which from her on out will be referred to as "The Devil's juice". I also was given a Foley catheter, which is a fancy way of saying they shoved a water balloon up my cervix and blew it up and yes, that is every bit as unpleasant as it sounds.

Let me tell you a little something about Pitocin. It sucks. Once the contractions kicked in, it was like a freight train was driving through my ladybits over, and over, and over. The contractions were massive from the get go and came one on top of another for what seemed like forever. I labored until about 4 AM until I just couldn't take it anymore and opted for the sweet release of drugs. The world's greatest anesthesiologist came to my rescue and gave me an epidural with such precision and quickness that had my husband not been holding my hand I would have kissed him. With tongue. I forgot his name due to the MIND NUMBING PAIN I was in, so in my mind he shall always be Dr. Kissyface. Because I literally wanted to kiss his face.

With the Epi in place I was finally able to sleep which we did as much as you can when you have an ever expanding water balloon in your nether regions. Early that morning they came in to check me and I'd dilated to 4 cm and effaced to about 60%. All of this was encouraging, however to make a long story short, it was the furthest I would get. They let me labor until about 4:00 PM until they lost Sadie's heartbeat. Let me just say, this had to have been the scariest moment of my life. It's never a good sign when 6 people in scrubs come racing into your hospital room and start prodding you, probing you and saying things like "STAT". Luckily they found her HB again but they switched off my Pitocin and Mr. Val and I looked at each other knowing exactly what was coming.

The doctor came in and yammered on about whatever for what seemed like forever but the only words I heard were "C-section". I wish I could tell you that I handled myself with some dignity here but the truth is that I was terrified and completely broke down. Like ugly, hiccuping, sobbing breakdown. I shooed everyone out of my room and just cried like a baby on Mr. Val. Not because I had some burning desire to shove an apparently hostile child out of my loins, more due to the lack of control. I was scared for me, scared for her and just really didn't want my body sawed in half.

A new anesthesiologist arrived and I could tell he recognized right away that I was beyond hysterical. Bless his heart, he upped my epi with enough drugs to tranquilize a rhino and into surgery I went.

I cannot tell you how incredibly bizarre it is to be awake while your body is being cut into. All those little tugs and pressures were so strange. I was shaking like a leaf the entire time, I thought just out of fear but it turns out I also lost a lot of blood which didn't help matters. They had to cut through the placenta to get to her AND use a vacuum to get her out, which made the grossest popping sound when she finally did come out. But she came out safe and sound which is all that matters and after a few frantic moments of me begging to see her, I finally heard her cry, the most wonderful sound I'd ever heard.

I'm not going to lie, recovering from a c-section is rough and caring for a newborn is essentially like hitting a brick wall at 80MPH. But it is a truly awesome thing to look at your child and see yourself, your partner and all your dreams and love in that little face. So without further ado, I give you:

Sadie Joan, born November 5th, 2010 at 10 lbs. 1 oz. This was my favorite picture from the hospital, I love that we are just checking each other out like, "Hey! I know you!"

And now, almost three weeks later, here is my little Sadie Bug:

I can say without hesitation I've birthed the cutest kid on the planet. She looks just like her daddy and I think my heart may explode with happiness every time I see them together. I will be posting more regularly again now that I am starting to get the hang of typing one-handed while my little munchkin spits up on me.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

She's late, she's late for a very important date.

My baby is a squatter.

I am officially one week past my due date and I'll be honest, I'm not handling it well. I had a doctor's appointment on Monday where they confirmed that I've made ZERO progress at all. Luckily, my doctors office is very understanding of crazy pregnant women and said I could pick my induction date which is tomorrow! Tomorrow evening Mr. Val and I will check into the hospital to have a baby. That has to be one of the most surreal sentences I've ever typed.

I'm not going to lie, I'm a little freaked out. But I got my meltdown out of the way on Monday and now I'm just excited to meet my little princess. I'm hoping that all I need is the kick start and that I can deliver her but if not the most important thing is that I hold my healthy baby girl by week's end.

One cool thing about the induction date is that I will likely deliver her on Friday, which is my late Grandmother's birthday. When we were deciding on a name it was either going to be Sadie Elizabeth or Sadie Joan, after one of my grandmas. We decided on Joan who is my Mom's mom. Now it looks like my sweet Sadie will have one grandma's name and the other's birthday, which I think is pretty cool. A little nod from my Grandma Betty in heaven perhaps?

Anyway, we are just counting down the hours now and I'm in full on nesting crazy mode. Cooking, cleaning and getting ready to meet this wonderful little person that we are already so in love with.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Who says blue is only for boys?

Here is the long overdue post about Sadie's nursery. I knew right away I wanted to do a blue/red nursery, regardless of the baby's gender. I think my obsession with this color combo stems from my obsession with "The Wizard of Oz", since Dorothy is wearing kick ass ruby slippers with a cornflower blue gingham dress. The room took a decidedly girly turn though, with lots of vintage touches and feminine fabrics. I absolutely adore this's pretty and feminine without the usual pink/purple suspects which is nice. I've caught both Mr. Val and Jake just sitting in this room a few times, which is just about the cutest thing ever. So, without further ado, I give you "Casa de Sadie":

Although Mr. Val and I never really sat down with a "budget" for the nursery, we actually wound up doing it all for a pretty reasonable amount of money. Mr. Val pretty much lets me do/have whatever I want, so I wanted to try to be somewhat restrained. I must preface that we saved a significant amount of money on the crib set up, since my father & stepmother bought it & the mattress and my husband's mother & stepfather bought our linens. So here are the details:

Paint: Valspar "Simply Seafoam" & supplies - $50
Rug: - $165
Glider: used/gift - FREE
Crib: Graco Lauren (gift) - FREE
Crib/Glider Fabrics: Waverly "Seafarer Stripe" in Crimson & "Mini Muse" in Sorbet (gifts) - FREE
Throw pillows for crib/glider: Etsy $15/$20/$15
Vinyl Wall Decal: Etsy - $50
Curtain Rod: Ikea - $10
Red Ticking Stripe Curtains: Amazon - $40
French Market poster: already had - FREE
Strawberry Photograph: Etsy - $25
Frames for wall art: $8-10 at Hobby Lobby
Skeleton Keys: Pottery Barn - $30 for set
Ribbon: JoAnn's - $1
Dresser: Craigslist - $65
Paint/supplies to refinish dresser: $30 at Home Depot
Hardware for dresser: $20 at Hobby Lobby
Wall shelves: Ikea - $30
Bookshelves: Craigslist - $85 for 3
Lamps: Target - $15-30
Changing pad/tray: Land of Nod (we are still waiting for the tray) $129
Changing pad cover: Caden Lane - $16 (sale)

So, I don't have the patience to add that all up, but I know we did a pretty kick ass job for the money. Using some creativity, elbow grease, re-purposing objects we already owned and accepting hand-me-downs & gifts enabled us to create this beautiful room. Now the only thing missing is our beautiful baby girl!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Just call me Grace.

I should preface by saying that I wasn't the most coordinated gal to begin with, but pregnancy has really brought out the klutz in me. I walk into things regularly and spill at virtually every meal. I'm not really sure what that's about, perhaps some clever quirk of evolution to prepare me for the tornado of boo boos & spills that children bring?

I really outdid myself last night though. Our otherwise perfect dog Beans has a nasty habit of splashing water EVERYWHERE when she drinks. I walked through the kitchen to kiss Mr. Val and slipped in a puddle of said splashy water and went down HARD. I somehow managed to defy the laws of physics/gravity by simultaneously doing the splits and hitting the top of my knee on a cabinet. Being the uber tough broad that I am, I burst into hysterical tears right there on the floor. Poor Beans was scared shitless and ran upstairs to shake in the corner while Mr. Val scooped me up and did his best Florence Nightingale impression.

Then I started to panic because baby Sadie, who moves so much I swear there is a 2nd baby in there, stopped moving. This caused me to cry even more because I convinced myself I'd knocked my precious baby unconscious. Mr. Val made several very compelling arguments as to why it was highly unlikely that I'd given her an in utero concussion, but asked if I'd like to go to the hospital just in case. I gave it some thought but then realized that turning up to the hospital and saying, "Hi. I slipped on a patch of black ice in my own kitchen and now I think I've given my fetus a head wound" would probably have earned me a trip to the psych ward, I decided to just go to sleep instead.

I woke up this morning to Sadie's daily Judo chop session and a serious bruise on my knee and ego. Needless to say I think I can officially rule out a second career in ballet.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

The only love letter I've ever written to a girl.

Dear Sadie,

Hey Bruce Lee, it's your mom. I thought it was time we had a chat, since your relatively peaceful gestation is drawing to close. Since we'll be meeting each other soon, I wanted to give you a heads up about this wonderfully strange world you'll be stepping into shortly. So here it is, a Cliffs Notes if you will about us, you and life as I see it:

Your Mom & Dad:

The first thing you should know about us is that we love you more than anything in the world, except perhaps the Bears (your daddy), cheese (your mommy) and wine (both of us). We loved you from the second we knew you were coming, when all you were to me was a second pink line and nausea. We'd dreamt about you even longer, when you'd appear, what you'd look like & whose features would echo in your tiny face and personality.

We talked about what we wanted for you (college, faith, family) and what we didn't (video games, pressure, a stint on reality TV) and how to make it happen. We talked about who you'd laugh like, who you'd look like and what you'll think of us. We hope that you love us, at least until you're a teenager at which point we realize you'll probably think we're totally lame. Hopefully, by the time you are 22 and eating top ramen in a crappy apartment you'll realize that we were pretty kick ass and swing back to loving us. Just know we'll always be here, waiting for the moment you realize how cool we always were.

Your dad:

All you need to know about your dad is that he is the best man you will ever meet. When I told him you were coming, he set about doing all the things he'd always promised to do to take care of you. He went back to graduate school so he can give us the best life possible. He worked his ass off for a promotion at work. He kissed you through my belly everyday. When he found out you were a girl, I watched him fall in love with you before my eyes. He talked about all the things he wants to teach you, mostly things like the Chicago Bear song, how to kick a soccer ball & the entire Bruce Springsteen discography. I know you'll be a daddy's girl because he won't have it any other way.

The rest of your family:

Get ready kid, because you are getting a whole heap of crazy, loud, Italian/Mexican/Jewish/Catholic/Irish/British/American style family love. You know all those muted noises you've been hearing through the cozy safety of my uterus? That's your family. I will warn you, they are crazy. But as you'll find out, all the good ones are. You are being born into a world full of people who love and adore you already and who will never let you down. If there is one thing I want you to know baby, it's that in this life, family is everything and you are getting the best one ever.

This World:

I'm not going to lie to you, this world can be a scary place. It's loud and bright and full of danger. I want you to always keep your wits about you as you walk through it. That said, this world is a wondrous place. It's full of life and laughter and oceans and mountains and buildings and music. I hope you explore it with gusto and never stop trying to find the beauty that exists here. There is sadness here too, which makes the beautiful things stand out that much more. I hope you listen to Mozart. And the Rolling Stones. I hope you read Shakespeare & David Sedaris. I hope you go to Paris. And Wyoming. And the ocean. And anywhere else your heart desires. And I hope that no matter where you travel, a little piece of you always thinks of me & your daddy when you think of home.

So what else is there to say really? Not much, except that I can't wait to meet you and watch you find all this out for yourself. My only advice to you is to always say please and thank you, always try new foods before you decide you don't like them, try not to swear too much and always leave your heart open for the possibility of love. Oh, and try not to hurt mommy too much when you decide to come out, OK?


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Next stop? Cirque du Soleil!

Apparently I've reached the point in pregnancy where people just stop and stare at me like I'm a circus act. I'll admit, my pregnancy weight has for the most part remained right in my belly, so I'm rockin' a sweet Tweedle Dee/Tweedle Dum look right now. That said, it's a little weird to have people stare at your stomach while they talk to you. They could at least do me a solid and stare at my boobs once in a while.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven

I heard this song today (in the elevator no less) and it instantly made my morning. I love the Byrds and I love Fall even better, which we've quickly transitioned into here in Chicago. Not even 2 weeks ago it was in the 90's, 100% humidity (just ask my hair) and mosquitoes sent straight from Bon Temps, LA. Cut to this week, we are finally in what is my very favorite season here in the Midwest, Autumn.

I love these crisp mornings that turn to beautiful sunny but not hot days. I spent a quiet hour just walking around at lunch yesterday, because I know very soon I'll have either a baby and/or a blizzard to contend with! Here are some of the things that rock my world in the fall:

Pumpkin Spice Lattes:

I normally try to avoid Starbucks in favor of more local coffeehouses (I miss you Brothers K.) but there is a Starbucks in my building and let's face it, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is just about perfect:

Butternut Squash:

I can't wait to make a big batch of butternut squash soup. I put crisp pancetta & thyme on mine because really, when is bacon not awesome?

The answer is never.

My Kickass Frye Riding Boots:

I sometimes just open my closet and look at these boots. These aren't the exact pair I have, mine are a lovely Cognac brown with studs up the back. My husband still doesn't (and never will) know what I paid for them (hint: a LOT), but they are so worth it. This is one of those 3 things I'd grab in a fire.

(Ok, ok, I'd grab my husband, baby & dogs. Sheesh.)

And lastly...Halloween baby hats:

Sadie darling, you may want to start getting used to the fact that mommy is going to put you in all sorts of funny hats as soon as you make your grand entrance. 'Tis my god given right and payback for you pushing your way through my loins.

So there you have it. See? Elevator music isn't all bad covers of R&B and Jessica Simpson.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Remember when I said I wouldn't turn into an annoying pregnant blogger?

Yeah well, I lied. In the words of the immortal Bobby Brown, "It's my prerogative. I can do what I wanna do."

Just wanted to tease that I'll be putting up some nursery pics soon! As of now, it's still a little sparse in there, but we have painted & put the crib in so babyVal won't have to sleep in a dresser drawer. (Which I maintain is charmingly "retro hobo")

My ridiculously sweet in-laws snuck in while we were away and put the glider in with the newly upholstered cushions and let me just say, I have excellent taste in fabric. It looks so beautiful and now all I can think of is getting my hands on the rest of the custom linens so we can bang this nursery out!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Can you still jet set while pregnant? I think so.

I am off to Portland this Labor Day weekend to co-host a baby shower for my very best friend in the world who also happens to be pregnant! She and I are very co-dependent, we can't do ANYTHING without each other ;) I'm incredibly excited to see her, like Jessie Spano on caffeine pills excited.

Anyhoo, I'm off and running, I have a suitcase full of maternity clothes (won't miss those!) and baby shower favors and a doctor's note saying that I shouldn't (knock on wood) go into labor on an Airbus.

Wish me luck and I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

To bend or not to bend. That is the question.

When I used to think of having a baby, I'd always leap to the actual birthing process and shudder. I used to think that I'd never have the cajones to push a human being through my loins. That all started to change around the time that I couldn't see my toes anymore. Here is a list of things that I can no longer do without assistance:

-Put lotion on my legs below the knee
-Put on underwear (caveat: I actually can put on underwear, it's just not guaranteed to be on the right way unless Mr. Val helps. Just last week I realized about 3/4 through the day on Thursday that I'd been wearing my underpants inside out all day.)
-Buckle/Tie shoes
-Paint my toenails

I also am finding shaving incredibly difficult but my foolish pride is standing in the way of asking for assistance. I'd like for there to be SOME mystery left between my husband and I, even if it has led to some patchy shave jobs as of late.

The other big issue at this stage is bending over, which for a klutz like me, has led to a few existential crises as of late. Case in point:

The Vending Machine Incident:

One of the more recent food items I've gotten addicted to is Raisinets. I've always liked them, but I stone cold LOVE them now. It's great because the raisins counteract the chocolate and the vending machine at work stocks them and lets face it, Raisinets are like the last thing to sell out of a vending machine. I'm the only one who buys them willingly, the only other time they get picked is when the machine is all out of other candy.

But I digress.

Anyway, today I was waddling down the hall to get my Raisinet fix when the unthinkable happened. I dropped my damn quarter and it rolled partially under a cabinet. I stood in the hall for a minute weighing my options. I could:

a.)Bend down and get it and pray to the baby Jesus that I don't fall over/split my pants/pass out from sheer exhaustion
b.)Waddle back down to my desk and get the dollar that is hanging out in my purse for emergencies such as this
c.)Forget about it completely, you don't need Raisinets anyway
d.)Stand there until someone passes, at which point rub my belly and look sad and hope they offer to pick up my quarter

I actually thought long and hard about option d., but I'm not the world's most patient person. I was about to go for b., when the voices in my head started trying to convince me that bending over isn't really that bad and I should just get my lazy pregnant ass down there and pick up my quarter. So, I went with a., which involved me bending at the knees as low as possible and running my fingers under the cabinet until I felt the sweet, chocolate producing metal rim of my quarter. Right as I was about to grab it, the worst possible thing that could have happened, did.

A throng of co-workers round the corner just in time to see me writing around on the floor, my pregnant ass huffing and puffing for a stupid quarter. This being a particularly chivalrous group of young men, they approached and asked if they could help me up, did I fall, yada yada yada, to which I mumbled that I had just dropped my quarter and I was OK and thanks and have a nice day. It would be fine if this were the end of the story, but nooooooo. Apparently my karmic balance sucks b/c as I head to the vending machine I realize that they are headed that way too.

Did I mention it's 10:00 AM in the morning?

The first guy gets trail mix, quite possibly the only thing in the vending machine less popular that Raisinets. The second guy gets pop tarts, classic morning choice, and the third guy gets some cookies. I'm feeling better because lets be honest, Raisinets are way better than Pop Tarts or Cookies, so I put in my money and make my selection, arriving at that blissful moment when you get exactly what you want out of life. I started to waddle back to my desk when I hear, "Rasinets huh? My mom loves Raisinets."


There are only so many indignities a gal can take, before she is capable of things never before possible. Which is why I am no longer terrified of childbirth. The prospect of a life without seeing my toes or shaving my entire calf without incident is much more terrifying than labor.

Until then I'll keep weighing my options when I drop stuff...anything over $5 I will probably huff and puff my way down to the floor for, under that all bets are off.

Those were some damn good Raisinets though.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Are you there followers? It's me, Valentine.

I'm just going to skip the apologies for being a crappy blogger. We all know it, so let's just move on.

Mr. Val and I are finally settled into our new place, so now we can at long last put together the nursery for our sweet baby girl! I'm not a super traditional girl, so a pink nursery was never going to happen. Instead I'm going with a palette of aquas/reds/whites for a pretty vintage look without anything overtly girly. Below are the fabrics & paint that we are using:

The color in the middle is the paint that will be up on the walls. The other two squares are the fabrics we are using. Since I couldn't find any baby linens that appealed to me, I'm having them custom made with these. The aqua scroll will be used on the crib skirt and glider while the red stripe will be used on the crib bumper and accent piping. I'll likely round out the bedding with some solid white-ish sheets and a baby blanket knitted by my Grandma.

As usual, our amazing families have really come through for us and provided the following:

-Glider (is from my mother in law): it's a lovely white glider that just needed a new cushion and some paint touch ups. It will be a perfect place to rock my daughter to sleep.

-Crib & Mattress: my father & step-mother bought our crib & mattress. We decided to go with the Lauren Graco in white. Since there are going to be so many fabrics in this room, I really liked the clean lines of the Lauren. I actually looked at more expensive cribs from PBK & Land of Nod but always came back to this one.

We decided that we didn't want a changing table, since it's a temporary piece of furniture. We'll be doing a long dresser with a changing top instead. I really like this better because long after we are done changing diapers, we will still have use for the dresser. I'm very excited about the dresser actually. We found a beautiful 6-drawer dresser on Craigslist for a steal. Trouble is, it's yellow. It's actually no problem, as I've been wanting to try my hand at a furniture project for a while. Mr. Val and I are going to strip and sand it and paint it white. I'll do some mild distressing to vintage it up a bit and change out the hardware with some glass knobs I've been eyeing at Anthropologie. I'm pretty excited to do this and will definitely post pics & the outcome!

I'm left now with little details to figure out, curtains, rugs, etc. I have some ideas but will leave those a surprise for the big reveal! I will reveal one last detail, the baby blocks that were made for me by the AMAZING jCam. They tie in all the colors/themes I wanted in the room and they reveal our babies name, so without further ado:

So now you know. BabyValentine has a name, Sadie Joan and will henceforth be referred to as such. Well, that and Sadiebug. And Sadie Bear. And Evander Holyfield since she's doing her best impersonation of him in my womb at the moment.

Tell me your thoughts Internet friends, you like?

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Moveable Feast

I'm in cardboard box hell.

No, we're not homeless, but we are moving which at times seems like it might suck more than actually being a hobo.

At this point I'm an excellent mover, since I've been moving almost every year since I left home for college. I'm not really sure why...I just never found a place I wanted to spend more than 12-24 months and figured I didn't have that much stuff so why not? Up until this point we've lived in Chicago or just north of the city in the Northwestern University town of Evanston, enjoying our urban existence as childless newlyweds, fully capable of seeing the "charm" in the local crackhead or prostitute. However, once Mr. Val knocked me up we grudgingly decided it was time to plunge into suburbia (cue funeral dirge) so that we don't have to jump our sweet baby girl into one of our friendly neighborhood gangs.

Since we first started living in sin almost six years ago, Mr. Val and I have moved FOUR times. This move will be our fifth and FINAL time as we both agree that unless this particular rental burns to the ground or is picked up in a tornado and spirited away to the wonderful land of Oz, we are staying put until the Mister graduates from his Masters program and we finally buy a house. Since this is (knock on wood) the last lease we will ever sign, I'd like to take a moment to look back on some of the humble abodes we have called home:

1. The Studio - Mr. Val and I truly believe that we are capable of surviving anything and everything only because we lived together in a studio apartment for a year. At the time, Mr. Val was finishing his Bachelors degree and waiting tables and I was a bartender at 2 local bars. We were on a SUPREMELY tight budget which blinded us to the fact that we were living in a Frank McCourt novel. I mean this place was bad. Tiny, poorly laid out, old, you name it, it sucked. The only bright spot was that it was located on an awesome little street with cafes & coffee shops, which was good since we wanted to spend as little time as possible in the actual apartment. It was the kind of place where you met the slumlord landlord the day you signed your lease and then never again. If there wasn't a body stinking up the joint there was no point in calling because they simply didn't care. Knowing this, we decided to violate the pet policy and buy a puppy named Beans who lived/loved/peed there quite happily for 3 months. At the end of our lease we moved up and out to the...

2. One bedroom - at the time the one bedroom seemed downright luxurious. Walls separating my bed from my kitchen? I felt like Imelda Marcos. If I went back now I'd laugh...the "kitchen" was a stove & fridge apparently made by and for the wee people of Munchkinland, there was roughly 9 inches of total counter space and the elevator walls were covered in pink shag carpet. But it had nice windows and was in a killer neighborhood and we could walk to the train/bars/restaurants which made it perfect. It also allowed dogs so we didn't have to sneak Beans under cover of darkness to go to the bathroom. I have incredibly fond memories of this place, as it was the site of the following triumphs:

  • Boyfriend Valentine became Fiance Valentine
  • Mr. Val graduate college
  • Mr. Val and I both finally got jobs that didn't involve the phrase, "Would you like to try some boneless Buffalo Wings?"
  • I finally got couches that hadn't been handed down through four generations of frat houses

We were doing well, in fact we were SO super cool and bad ass that we decided we needed to move into what will always be known as...

3. Our Super Sweet City Loft - the super sweet city loft was just that: a killer loft in an old industrial building that had been converted into condos. We were lured there by the Craigslist add that billed it as the "West Loop". Technically, it wasn't a lie as I think we made the West Loop cut by a few centimeters. Realistically, it was also a few centimeters shy of Malcolm X College, blue light Cameras and a Salvation Army Rehab Center. At this point though, we understood the bargain of city living which is, to put it simply, nicer place in a sketchy hood vs. rat infested tenement in the nice part of town. We opted for the former, since we had garage parking, a scary doorman and at this point a second dog (Jake) that Mr. Val thought we should get for "protection".

A side note about Jake. We rescued Jake from the same shelter as Beans, who to this point had literally been the perfect dog, save for her penchant for licking the walls. We still aren't completely sure what Jake is, but from what we can tell he is part Rottweiler/Pit Bull/Shar Pei/Wildebeest. He actually does serve some protective purposes since he scares the shit out of most people with his little muscly legs and giant head, but in reality, his idea of protecting me is following me from room to room and sitting on my feet. Excellent.

We spent two awesome years here, living it up in the city, getting married and hanging out with our awesome neighbors on the balcony. Unfortunately, we quickly outgrew the place due to my overzealous use of the scanner thingy when registering for our wedding gifts so we moved to...

4. The Hood - no joke, we moved to the hood. Make no mistake, it's a nice place: 2 beds, 2 baths, newly remodeled, basement with laundry, the works. It seemed so lovely a place to put all my fabulous Pottery Barn dishes that I didn't even notice that the realtor would only show it to us in the middle of the day on a weekday or that he had the lease ready for us to sign in less time than it takes Usain Bolt to get to the mailbox. I still don't think the neighborhood is unsafe, it's just full of random happenings and people. Like the neighbor who I'm pretty sure is running a foster care scam out of her house. Or the old man who feeds the squirrels peanuts in his underwear. Or the guy who asked us one day if we had any interest in fighting Jake, you know, in a dogfight. Needless to say, it's probably not the best place to start a family, so this Saturday we move to...

5. The Burbs - It's finally happened. We sold out. We'll be moving to a 3 bedroom townhouse so that we can give our sweet baby a safe cozy place to call home for her first couple of years. It's totally boring, it's totally cookie cutter but it's totally the right choice. It may have some paint spots to clean up, and some ugly light fixtures to change, and one of those awful mailboxes that you have share with your neighbors, but it's the first place my baby girl will call home, which makes me love it already.

So I remain in carboard hell, packing up the last of our child free years and moving to Mom-land, which, to be perfectly honest, sounds a lot like heaven to me.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's a little chemical dependency issue among friends?

Disclaimer: Mrs. Valentine does not endorse alcohol/chemical dependency issues in any way nor does she find actual alcoholics/drug addicts funny. Unless they are saying funny things. Or dancing. While drunk. Or high. Or on the TV show "Intervention".

Now that that's out of the way, I've hit what I am calling a "plateau in my sanity" this week. Why you ask? It could be the fact that I can no longer sleep through the night since I wake up multiple times to:

a. pee
b. eat
c. shift around uncomfortably in bed
d. kick my husband for putting me into this particular state of discomfort
e. bolt upright in cold sweats thinking about raising a child

I suppose this is all good training for the sleep deprivation I'm about to endure at the hands of my tiny, tyrant fetus but at the moment it just sucks. And you know what I could really use?


It is the height of irony that the moment you find out you can't drink for 9 months is the moment you need one the worst. When I peed on that fateful stick in February (at work no less) I almost got down on my knees and bargained away my soul to Sweet Baby Lucifer in exchange for a Gin & Tonic that wouldn't grow babyVal an extra big toe. And even though I've heard the requisite calming anecdotes, "A little sip won't hurt" or "The Irish say that Guinness is good for babies" or "My drunk Aunt Sally drank martinis all through her pregnancy and cousin Ralph is fine! He's getting out of prison any day now!" I remain firmly on the sobriety train for now.

Everyone told me that being pregnant during the summer would suck. I assumed it was because of the heat but no, it's because everywhere you look the NON knocked up crowd is enjoying the pleasures of summer...margaritas, mojitos, summer beers, meat grilled to medium rare perfection...and I can't have ANY of it. And there is only so much lemonade I can handle people. I WANT A DAMN MARGARITA!

Side note: I think I yelled that very same thing about 90 minutes before babyVal was conceived. But I digress.

Back to the point. Worse than actually not being able to drink wine for 9 months are the smug, glowy, mother Earth types that tell you with a straight face that they "Didn't even miss it." I stare back into their glassy eyes and announce, "Bullshit". If you tell me you didn't miss it for 9 months I'm going to assume one of the following is true:

a. you are a pathological liar
b. you are Mormon/Duggar style Christian or have other religious reasons that preclude you from drinking
c. you are a pathological liar
d. you are a sadist who enjoys torturing a pregnant woman on the edge

Whatever the reason, should you stumble upon me in real life and find me staring longingly into an empty champagne flute, don't judge me. Don't tell me that O'Douls tasted just like real beer or that it was great for your skin or that you loved the energy that comes with sobriety. Just pat me on the back, tell me it'll be over soon and that one day I'll laugh when I spy some miserable sober pregnant lady across the bar.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

The 2 Year (non) Itch.

It may be Thursday, but for me that means it's the weekend since Mr. Val and I are taking some much needed time off to celebrate our 2 year anniversary! We decided to take a "staycation" and enjoy the many wonders of Chicago that we don't take advantage of enough. Here is the tentative agenda for our weekend:

-White Sox Game
-Visit the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing
-Four star dinner at Avec
-See Toy Story 3 and surely bawl my eyes out
-Architectural boat tour
-Scope out locations for maternity photos
-Catalan Tapas at Iron Chef Garces' restaurant
-Attend whatever street festival is taking place

I'm pretty excited, there is a lot of stuff on that list I've been dying to do for a while. One of the great ironies of living in or near a huge city like Chicago is that most residents rarely take advantage of all the amazing offerings, so we decided to do it up and live like tourists for a few days.

All of the plans are fun, but I'm most excited to be celebrating 2 years of what I have to admit has been pretty blissful married life. I try to always err on the side of humor and not sap, but I have spent the better part of the last 6 years (total time with Mr. Val) wondering how I got so lucky. You won't meet a more honest, loyal, funny, hard working, kind person than my husband. He is my very best friend in the world and every day I love him more than the last. This is why I put up with him leaving his socks everywhere. He's just that awesome.

We've come a long way in 2 years and an even longer way in the 6 we've been together. 2 years ago I thought I experienced the best day of my life:

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But it's gotten better every day since:

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I hope you all have an amazing weekend and feel the same love I do surrounding you everyday.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Free Association.

Because I am woefully low on inspiration these days, here's a roundup of things currently swirling around in my head:


If you care more about this relationship than your own, you need to back away from the scripted "reality" show and go get a life:

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If you just asked yourself, "Who are these people?" good for you. You get a gold star and the pride of knowing that your brain is not in imminent danger of being turned to Spam. Apparently these two idiots are the latest couple to (gasp) split up after meeting on that usually reliable matchmaking tool known as "The Bachelor" (or as I like to call it, "A Case for Forced Sterilization").

It is not news that these people are breaking up. News is the 2 wars we are still endlessly engaged in. News is the oil that continues to gush into our Gulf Coast thanks to BP and the delusional "Drill Baby Drill" crowd. News is the fact that I am having an amazing hair day. What is NOT news is that 2 people who apparently are so fatally flawed that no one in real life wanted to date them had to go on television and act out some bizarre new age mating ritual where 6 weeks and a Malibu beach house apparently lead you to your "soul mate". These people suck. TV sucks. And if you are scouring the interwebz for info on what led to the dissolution of their union, then I think you suck too.


If it's not True Blood, I just don't care. Case in point:

Hot Swedish Vampire whose name includes too many consonants to type? EXCELLENT:
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I would definitely let this man bite my neck. (And I'm not normally into that sort of thing.)

Pale, moody, teeny bop Vampire with codependency issues and bad hair? NOT EXCELLENT:
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This guy looks like he needs a bitch slap. And a sandwich. I do not appreciate a man with nicer cheekbones than me.


One of the more bizarre things about being pregnant is the total lack of boundaries that once polite people will exhibit upon finding you in "the family way." Here are some of the wildly inappropriate questions I've been asked by seemingly normal people, and the unique responses I've formulated for them:

"Was your pregnancy planned?"
No, but thank God we're married so she won't be a bastard!

"I didn't know you were trying!"
Oh shoot, you must not have been on the e-mail distribution list for the "Valentine Sex Schedule" that I sent out to everyone. We'll get you next time.

"Did Mr. Val want a boy?"
Yes, we're very concerned about who will assume his throne now.

"Did I tell you about my [insert horrible labor, delivery, breastfeeding, recuperation story here]?"
I do not want to know about your episiotomy. I do not want to know that your placenta had to be delivered out your anus. I do not want to know that your baby's poop looked like beans for the first month. Whatever lies ahead for me and my cervix, stomach, brain & sense of smell I will find out on my own, thankyouverymuch.

"Can I rub your belly?"
Only if I can rub yours first.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An ogre and a gentleman.

I have a theory. If you want to know exactly who a person is on the inside, ride public transportation. My interaction with the masses on the Metra every morning gives me more insight into their collective psyche than if I were to direct a Ken Burns documentary about them.

You really see the best or worst when you are among the crush of humanity that is downtown Chicago at rush hour. Take this morning for example. For some presently unexplained reason, the Metra has been running 15-20 minutes late this week. (The Chicago RTA doesn't seem to concerned, so apparently, neither should I.) This has created a bottle neck on all trains and therefore a lack of seats.

As I went to get on the train, a middle aged man literally tried to push me out of the way to get on the train first. I, being my politely passive agressive self swung my giant purse towards him (maybe it hit him, I'm not really sure) and created a fashionable moat of sorts to keep him at bay. I heard him huff and puff and say something under his breath to which I cheerfully chirped, "I'm sorry, what was that?" He just stared at me and shuffled to the next car. Problem solved.

I interupt my discourse to encourage you ladies to use this story to illustrate the importance of accessories the next time your husband questions your need for another purse. A well placed purse can be the difference b/t a happy fetus and cankles. Just sayin'.

I successfully navigated my way on the train only to find that there were no seats. You learn quickly in a big city that being with child/elderly/infirm does not apparently engender the type of chilvary one would hope. I resigned myself to my fate and moved towards the front of the car where I could at least hang on to a bar for dear life as the train hurtled toward the Loop. All of the sudden someone tapped my shoulder and a young man, about 20, told me to take his seat.

And just like that, my faith in humanity restored. It's good to know that there are still people in the world who don't suck. I hope the universe sends some kindness your way dude because you seriously made my morning.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Things that are awesome.

A melange of things that are making me smile today:

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic kicks in my belly, friends getting married, family in town, a husband who kisses me at least 10 times a day, sandals, paid maternity leave (woot!) and Friday!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"A Child is a Curly, Dimpled Lunatic." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

As you know, last Friday Mr.Val and I had our big 20 week ultrasound with full anatomy scan. I was so excited to find out the sex that I didn't fully comprehend what a detailed appointment it was. Once I realized that they were checking on all aspects of the baby's development I honestly got a little anxious. No matter how many times I hear babyVal's heartbeat or feel the little flutters in my belly, my heart still leaps into my throat until I've gotten another confirmation that everything is on track. I'm sure it won't fully go away until I'm holding babyVal and have counted all those little fingers and toes!

Unfounded panic aside, everything with the baby looks great. They had me measuring a few days behind my original due date but nothing out of the ordinary. If babyVal wants to push the birthday into November that is fine with me!

At the end of the appointment 2 funny things happened, the first when they tried to determine the gender. All through the appointment babyVal had crossed legs. Already my child is running the show, of course. The ultrasound tech tried everything. Jostling my belly gently, rolling me over all to no avail. Finally she brought in another tech and they attempted a shot from "under the hood" if you catch my drift. They whispered to each other for a moment and said that they were 98% sure it was a girl.

It's at this point that I must point out that I seriously do not know how they determine this. They are trained and I trust them but when they were showing me babyVal's lady bits, I nodded like I understood but truthfully? I felt like Rachael on "Friends" when she can't see anything on the ultrasound. I've honestly felt from the get go that babyVal was a girl, but lets just say I'm prepping for the appearance of a surprise penis, LOL.

After that, they did a brief internal exam. Since I'd been with these ladies for the better part of an hour I just dropped my undies (was wearing a dress) and hopped up on the table. The tech kind of blushed and said, "We could have stepped out!" and I'm thinking lady, you've just spent the last hour manhandling my belly and rubbing me down with goo and you're about to put a camera IN MY UTERUS. Let's drop the pretense, ok? Plus, if I'm going to be shooting a person out of my loins in 4 and half months, perhaps its best I learn not to be quite so modest, no?

Me being me, I demanded Mr.Val take me shopping immediately after the appointment so I could begin buying the love of my unborn daughter. He obliged, as he always does my whims, and through a dreamy eyed state we started spending obscene amounts of money on our little baby girl. Here are some of the outfits we just HAD to have:

Sweet little onesies:
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You know, because every baby needs a giraffe print caftan to cover up at the pool:
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And yes, I have already bought my baby girl a Laker shirt. Because you are never to young to root for the BEST TEAM EVER!
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