Thursday, November 10, 2011

A letter to my baby. I mean, my toddler.

I'm not going to apologize for not posting. It's the same old shiz really, busy with work, busy with baby, busy with life plus a dash of buying a new house and well, you get it. Add to that the fact that we just celebrated the bambina's first b-day and I hope you will pardon my negligence. I'd tell you I'd get better but well, I don't want to lie to you my pets. So what's on the docket today? Well, a letter to the baby (ok little girl) who has rocked my world in the best possible way for the last 365 (ok 370) days.

To my darling Sadie:

It's hard to try to encapsulate what's transpired over the last year. Not because your growth & personality & accomplishments have been so vast (though the have, my little superstar), but because it's hard for me to remember what life was like before you were here. It's hard for me to remember what life was like before your bright brown eyes followed me everywhere I went. It's hard to remember a time before your giggle sprinkled joy throughout this great family of ours. It's hard to remember a time where your cry didn't send aches through my heart that I didn't know could cut so deep.

It's hard to remember ever being as scared as I was the day you were born. It's hard to remember how guilty & distraught I was when you fell off the bed (insert obligatory mom of the year nominations right here). It's hard to remember when bone crushing exhaustion could be swept away in an instant by your crooked little smile. It's hard to remember a moment that I was away from you that I wished I wasn't. And it's impossible for me to remember what in the world we were thinking years ago when your daddy and I thought we might not want babies. Speaking of your daddy, it's hard to imagine that I could ever love him more than in the moments where I caught him rocking you, kissing you, stroking you or just gazing at you while you slept. He did and still does do all of those things, though you fight him a little more than at the beginning.

It's hard to imagine a time when trips to the store were for tequila & beer, not milk & applesauce. It's hard to remember a day that started after 6:00 AM. It's hard to remember a day where I didn't think of my own mom & dad and give a silent unheard thank you to them for all they did for me, since I never fully understood it until you arrived. It's hard to recall a time where you were not the center of my whole universe. Without you in it I'd just spin right off my axis.

But there in lies the innate conundrum of parenting. While you are no doubt the center of our world, we can't let you know. Why? Because then you might wind up a mindless, entitled brat, otherwise known as the species "Homo-Kardashian-Tus". So while daddy and I secretly giggle when you yell at us for taking away your balloon/bottle of hairspray/insert any other random not baby safe object here, it's for your own good. When we tell you "No" when you hit, it's not because we're mean, it's our job. When we make you walk when you want to run, it's because we want to keep you safe for the fleeting period of time that we get to watch over you every day.

We also want you to know what you can't possible yet comprehend, which is that you are an insanely lucky little girl. In a time when so many people suffer, you flourish. In a time when so many families struggle, we prosper. And in a time when so many little ones go hungry or cold, you have never known a day without enough milk or blankets. And one day we will expect you to go out into the world with that knowledge and to pay it forward. Through your own heart. Through your own actions & works and family. And I know you will, because I've seen your sweet spirit emerge this year and I'm truly blown away.

You've already started to pull away from me and that's ok. You want to climb stairs and pet doggies and pull yourself up and out of my arms, which is normal. But every now and then you still come to me, reach for me and nuzzle your sweet little head into my neck as if to say, "Thank you mama".

And my darling Sadie, you are so very welcome. Being your mama the most important thing I will ever do. Keep rockin' this world baby.


Your mama, aka

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Who the hell needs teeth anyway?

F*ck teeth.

Or more specifically, f*ck baby teeth.

We were just cruisin' along, feelin' badass because Sadie is awesome and sweet and happy and sleeps through the night (big ups to YOU Dr. Ferber)and then BAM!


And not just one or two or even three...SIX.


And now my sweet girl is like a mix of Damien from the Omen, Linda Blair from the Exorcist, Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka on a speedball bender.

Ok, she's not that bad. She still is pretty much the cutest kid ever and sweet as pie but her sleep has gone to shit. I'm up everyday between 4-5 AM pumping her full of Motrin and reverting to the old days where I tried to induce coma with my magical breasts. Dr. Ferber's about to come in her and kick my lazy ass but he can suck it. I've gotten used to sleeping through the night. I can't go back to that place.

In a moment of sleep deprived delirium I started thinking about how stupid it is for a baby to even get teeth. It's not like I've been all, "Hey Sadie, I'd sure love to feed you baby back ribs and beef jerkey. If only you had some chompers." The kid eats fricken mashed up apples, cheerios and cheese cubes for God's sake. That lady from Hoarders who lost her dentures in her trash pile could survive on Sadie's diet. Then I started thinking, shit, most of the BEST foods don't require teeth.

1. Ice cream
2. Soft cheeses
3. Creme brulee
4. Mashed potatoes
5. Chocolate souffle (or any souflee really)

So there you have it. I'm banging the gavel and saying no more teeth.

Oh, and I have to give a shout out to Mr. Val for getting a new job and kickass raise. Lord knows we need it, someone's gonna have to pay for all this Brie & Creme Brulee.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

And the award for worst blogger ever goes to...

MRS. VALENTINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Woot. I'm a winner. At losing. Or something.

So I haven't written in like 3000 years and then just the other day my little sister in law tells me that she loves my blog and I'm all, "Blog? What blog?" and then I was like oh, right that blog whose existence I've been ignoring. (You can tell it's been a while by that killer run-on sentence. WINNING!)

Anyballs, I am totally blaming this on the bambina since she learned to crawl. Basically I wake up, feed the kid, try to keep her from mortally wounding herself, go to work, get her, feed her again and try to keep her from eating tile grout (that is not a joke) and put her to bed.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

After that there is precious little time to blog since I try to squeeze in feeding the hubs, working out and bathing whenever possible. But I promise I'll be better. I love you. It's not you, it's me. I hit you 'cause I love you.

(Sorry, I just watched that Ike & Tina Turner movie again. It's really good.)

I'm also thinking of taking the blog in a new direction, perhaps more about my attempt to remain relatively stylish and cool even with baby barf on my pants. We shall see. I just hired a kid who was born in 19-f*cking-91 so at this moment I'm feeling anything but hip. I actually feel more like a Golden Girl (but not the slutty one, the sassy one, Sofia I think?)This new blog idea though is predicated on the notion that anyone still reads this if you are out there, big smooches to you all.

Gotta run, I've got a 4th cup of coffee calling my name.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Flashback - Wedding Edition

While I am no Anglophile, I did have a passing curiosity with today's royal nuptials. Like any girl, it's hard not to be awed by the concept of being plucked from relative obscurity to become a living, breathing princess. And it's impossible to not like beautiful Kate Middleton. She just oozes class & sophistication which is sorely lacking from a pop culture universe populated with such fixtures as Snooki, Lindsay Lohan & Charlie Sheen. I sort of doubt we will ever hear about Kate going to rehab, videotaping non-sensical rants with her "Gods" or giving a crotch shot getting out of a limo, and for that I love her.

She looked incredible, no surprise there, but like my darling T at Curly in the City, I couldn't help think about my own wedding. While it was no royal wedding at Westminster Abbey, it was and will always remain the most perfect wedding I ever attended. It was beautiful and heartfelt and filled up with love, the way any good wedding should be. I've noticed that since I got married, any other wedding reminds my of my own: how that day felt, the love that surrounded me, the vows I took and helps renew them in my heart and mind. To that end, here's a flashback to that wonderful day, almost 3 years ago when I made the best decision of my life.

And for the record, I did manage to pull off wearing a couture bridal Kate and I do have that in common. ;)


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An open letter to my d-bag neighbor.

Dear Owner of the muffler-less, black, souped up coupe that once again, woke my baby up from a rare episode of peaceful slumber:

I'm going to murder you in your sleep.


Sort of.

Look dude, I get it, you live in a townhouse subdivision of the burbs, you're winding your way through community college while playing bass in a way below average Death Cab for Cutie cover band & meeting your townie friends for Presidente Margaritas at the local Chilis. Long story short, life isn't quite as kick ass as you thought it would be when you were 16. I also totally understand the transformative powers of seeing "The Fast & The Furious" about 900 times. But seriously? If you insist on gunning your shitty little engine every time you hop in the car and tearing down the street with your not-quite-street-legal absentee muffler waking the dead, you will leave me with no choice but to slather you in Carne Asada and let this little fella have his way with you:

In case you don't know, that is what I affectionately refer to as a "Shartweilerbull". Translation? That is a Shar Pei/Rottweiler/Pit Bull mix named Jakers. Up until this point I've tried to quell Jake's urge to eat human flesh but you might just make me change my mind.

So unless you are actually Paul Walker, and are using this suburban douchebag persona as a cover for your infiltration of an elaborate drug smuggling/gun running/human trafficking ring I ask you one final time to shut the f*** up. Otherwise, you have a date with destiny, and destiny's name is Jake.

OK OK, so I may not actually let Jake eat your face off, but I probably will let him pee on your car.

Oh, and by the way? That car makes me think you have a tiny penis. Just some constructive criticism.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The gas crisis.

I used to think that a gas crisis was when I had to pay over $2 per gallon for fuel. Now I know better. The true gas crisis?

Baby flatulence.

Baby gas is no joke. At its best, baby gas gets you a disgusting, barfed on shirt and a stinky bedroom. At its worst it gets you an all nighter of banshee style wailing. The Sadester has been suffering from really bad gas lately and it's KILLING me. I've resigned myself to the fact that we are a long way from sleeping through the night, but the gas turns a typical 2 wake night into a 6 wake night.

I feel terrible for her, b/c I know she's in pain but I just want to help the damn kid fart so I can catch some shut eye. And since I'm breastfeeding, I always wind up wracked with guilt; was it the Brie I just housed? God I hope not. The only thing worse than a gassy baby is a life without cheese.

Who knew procuring farts from my child was going to become such an important part of my life? Aaaah, parenthood. Now pull my finger, or better yet, Sadie's.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Luck o' the Valentines.

I consider myself pretty lucky. Like, stupidly, ridiculously, blissfully lucky. My husband is fun, hardworking and easy on the eyes. My baby is insanely adorable and my family & friends are healthy, happy and always there when you need them. I have a good job, a great marraige and a kickass metabolism (Yay carbs!).

It's easy to forget our blessings from day to day, but in the midst of a week that is being heavy handed with loss, it's important to step back, squeeze my baby tight and remind myself that if my worst problem in life is needing an extra latte to make it through the day, then I am a pretty lucky gal.

As St. Patty's day approaches, I'm thinking less about green beer, pinches and leprachauns and more about appreciating the incredible luck that has graced my 30 years so far. Hope y'all do the same.

But do drink some green beer. It is St. Patty's after all.


Friday, February 18, 2011

A day in the life.

6:00 AM: Wake up. Barf/Fart/Burp/Poop or all three. Yell at mom for some boob. Get said boob. Barf/Fart/Burp/Poop again. Have mom change diaper & put me in the first outfit of the day.

6:00-7:00 AM: Yell & flail about happily while daddy makes funny faces. Contemplate pooping again. Look in that reflective thingy and wonder who that cool baby is and why there are 2 mommas. This world is blowin' my mind.

7:00 AM: Kiss mommy & daddy goodbye. Try to barf on them so they remember me all day. Flail about happily in grandma's arms. Look generally adorable.

8:00: AM: Get in swing. Stare at the lambs that keep moving in a circle above me. Wonder where they are trying to go and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

10:00 AM: What the hell happened? Why am I still swinging and WHY ISN'T THERE A NIPPLE IN MY MOUTH.

11:15 AM: Phew. Portable nipple put in my mouth. Crisis averted.

11:30 AM: Barf/Fart/Burp/Poop, preferably all over myself. Enter outfit #2.

12:00 PM: Lay down on floor with grandma and try to roll over. Almost got it...success! Wait, how did I get on my back? I think I'll fart and barf again until it all makes sense. Cue outfit number 3.

12:30 PM: Emergency: Grandma has pinned my arms down and put me in a straight jacket. I'm in a weird cage like contraption and a giant sheep is making whale sounds above my head and I totally don't get it and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

2:00 PM: How do they keep tricking me into sleeping? Time to yell. NEED MORE BOOB. Mom's not here so how does grandma keep giving me her milk? I'll ask the lambs.

4:00 PM: At grandma's house. She keeps bringing me over here and putting me in another cage like thing with a giraffe that makes chirping sounds and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

5:00 PM: NARDS! They tricked me again. I'll show them...blowout+spitup=Sadie's revenge. I was getting sick of that outfit anyway.

6:00 PM: Doorbell. I'll get it. Wait, I can't walk. In walks....MOMMY & DADDY! YAY! I'm so excited I can't decide whether to laugh or cry! How about a little of both? Wait, what the...they're strapping me down again? This time in a chair? Now we are in the giant bouncy seat that moves and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

6:30 PM: They're sneaky, I'll give them that.

7:00 PM: Why I am I naked? I'm naked and being put in this warm, soapy bowl that feels AWESOME. So awesome I think I'll pee in it. There is a whale that spits water at me and we talk a little bit. I tell him about my day and how weird it was. He totally gets me. Good listener.

7:20 PM: Wait...this feels good, why are they taking me out? I think I'll voice my displeasure. No, I don't want to put a diaper on! LET ME BE FREE WOMAN. Hear comes the jammies. I scream a bit for good measure but truthfully, I kind of like jammies. They keep my feet so warm.

7:30 PM: No no, not the baby straight jacket! I'll be good, I swear! I'm so mad, can't you tell by all the YELLING AND SCREAMING??? Why won't you help me dude? You just keep walking and shushing and rocking me and it's getting darker and maybe this isn't so bad and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Tricky bastards. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.



Monday, February 7, 2011

The big 3-Oh!

Pop Quiz:

We know Val is old because:

a.)She spent last Friday night purchasing life insurance and setting up her kid's college fund.
b.)She had Mr. Val make her a cocktail on Saturday at 9:00, drank 3 sips and fell asleep by 9:15.
c.)It took her 3 sittings to watch "Inception" because she kept falling asleep.
d.)She routinely wakes her sleeping baby with her loudly cracking joints.
e.)She turns 30 this week

And the correct answer is....ALL OF THE ABOVE. Allow me to elaborate.

a.) As I mentioned last week, we bought a new ride, which requires the obligatory new ride insurance. When we called our Allstate guy (Mark) to update our policy, he casually mentioned that Allstate also does financial planning. Who knew. This led to a date with Todd, our NEW Allstate guy. Rather, our second Allstate guy. Mark is our car/renters insurance guy while Todd is now our life insurance/financial planning guy. It's a "Menage-a-Trois" of insurance and the Valentine family.

Anyway, Todd came over on Friday to talk about the dizzying array of ways Allstate can take your money. We laughed, we drank (soda) and by the end of the night Allstate now has an extra $100/month of my moolah and my kid should be totally set to go to the community college of her dreams. (I kid I kid.) Mr. Val and I are just one physical away from having a cool $2M worth of life insurance on each other. So ironically, just as Sadie is starting to sleep longer I'm sleeping with one eye open and Mr. Val now worries that my love of true crime shows has turned from entertainment to research. But anyone who's watched a Law & Order marathon knows that you don't get the money if you are involved in a homicide. Duh. That's why you can't get caught.


b.) Conversation between me and Mr. Val.

Me: "Babe I want to have some drinks tonight!"
Mr. Val (elated that I'm trying to be fun): "Really? Ok I'll go to the store!"
Goes to the store and comes back with cocktail fixins'.
Mr.Val (at approximately 9:00 PM):Here's your cocktail honey!
Me: "Thanks!"
An undisclosed amount of time elapses
Mr.Val: Honey wake up, let's go to bed.
Me: What time is it?
Mr.Val: It's midnight. You fell asleep.
I look at the coffee table and see my barely touched cocktail and rub my eyes.
Me: I'll be fun again one day honey, OK?
Mr. Val: Sure you will honey. Don't forget your bra. (I apparently take it off while sleeping. Interesting.)

c.)"Inception" is a super cool movie. I think. It is SUUUUUUUUUUUUPER long though. I'm not sure I would have made it in one sitting even if I wasn't horribly sleep deprived. I'm going to try to watch it again one day once Sadie sleeps. Maybe then I'll figure out what the hell the movie was about.

d.)After a marathon session of rocking, nursing, walking and singing I finally had my little angle baby sound asleep. I placed her gently in her cradle, stroked her sweet face and turned to leave the room at which point my knee and toes cracked so loud that she woke right up. There is really nothing more to this story except to say that getting old sucks.

e.)So we get to the crux of my ramblings. I'm turning 30 this week. If you are clever you now understand why my nickname is Valentine. Now promise me you won't google me, come to my house and try to wear me like a woman suit, mkay?

I used to think this birthday would scare me, but after the birth of my daughter I realize that my life just keeps getting better, so I'll take all the additional years I can get. Since I got to scratch "Have the world's cutest kid" off my bucket list, here is the Valentine Amended Bucket List of 2011:

1. Play Monopoly with real money
2. See a title fight at Caesar's Palace in Atlantic City
3. Go to the Grand Canyon
4. Go to the Superbowl
5. Go on a Safari
6. Have a picnic under the Eiffel Tower
7. Learn to garden
8. Go to Tokyo and stay in the "Lost in Translation" hotel
9. Buy my husband season tickets to the White Sox
10. Own a true piece of art
11. Do all I can to make my daughter's dreams come true

If the next 30 years are half as good as the first, I think I'm one lucky gal.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Life in the fast lane.

To quote my favorite show, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, "WASSUP BITCHES???"

I'm back at work which, surprisingly, means I'll be able to Blog again! Unlike my tyrannical little imp Sadie, my employer is legally obligated to give me breaks and stuff. More often than not I have to use them to milk myself but every now and then I get to steal a moment to play on the interwebz. So let's start off with a checklist of what's going on in the Valentine household as of late:

1. Mama is back at work: This is going surprisingly well. Before I was back at work I was racked with guilt about leaving Sadie Bug. Would she remember me? Miss me? Wind up on a bell tower in 16 years because of some working mother abandonment complex? I'm pleased to report that yes, she does in fact remember me; my mother in law lies to me and tells me that Sadie misses me desperately all day long; She has yet to pick up an automatic weapon or write a manifesto, so we appear to be good on all fronts.

I miss her like crazy all day long, but seeing her little face at the end of the day is amazing, especially now that she smiles and giggles at me all the time. Our mornings are fun too, we nurse and get up and play for a little bit before I get ready for work. Let me tell you, my "Pat-a-cake" rendition KILLS with the infant set. KILLS.

2. Sadie smiles! And laughs!: The smiling happens on the regular, the laughing happens when you've done something TRULY AMAZING like kiss her neck, nibble her toes or make up some awesomely weird baby-centric lyrics set to the tune of "Whoomp, There It Is!". We call her Dubya because at this point her laugh is a weird chuckle reminiscent of our last fearless leader, which is super awkward since the mister and I are both die hard liberals. I just hope she doesn't invade any Middle Eastern countries unprovoked. ZING!

3. New Wheels: There comes a time, once you've had a baby, put your hubs in grad school, work full time and move to the burbs where you have to come to terms with a second vehicle. We've been a one vehicle house for years, but the logistics were becoming insane. Like trying to solve a rubix cube on an Absinthe bender. (Which I totally recommend trying at least once in your life.) We hemmed, we hawed, we pondered incredibly insensible cars (I totally need a Mercedes, right?) but in the end wound up with a cute little Ford Focus. We got a kick ass deal on a year old model that is loaded (as loaded as a Ford gets that is). It's super fun to drive and very safe and I feel super patriotic for buying my first American vehicle. Take THAT right wingers. You may have guns and Sarah Palin but I have a piece of Detroit engineering in my garage bitches. It almost offsets the Huyandai aka "Axles of Evil" Tucson that we also own.

4. I'm skinnier than before I was pregnant: This is a total attention whore moment. I am totally one of those chicks that other chicks hate. I was at my pre-pregnancy weight at my 6 week post partum appointment and now weigh about 5 pounds less. Before you start sending me hate mail, please remember that a.) I had a 10 pound baby b.)I have to breastfeed said 10 lb. baby and c.) I have to lug around that 10 (now 15 lb.) baby all the time. Call up US Weekly, that should be the new Hollywood fab diet, the "TEN POUND BABY DIET". I bet the Kardashian skanks will fully be onboard, until they realize that they have to parent the baby too. Babies totally interfere with the "let's wear way too much eye makeup while living off our late father's estate and trolling for professional athletes to sponge off" lifestyle. But I digress.

Anyhow, life in Valentine land is pretty awesome. My baby rocks, my husband is super cute and I fit into my skinny jeans again. Now if I could just fit into all my shoes...


Sunday, January 9, 2011

The wonder of 4 AM.

I'm a working mom. I'm a working mom for many reasons: financial, emotional, professional and personal. I've never had an interest in being a stay at home mom; I enjoy my work and the satisfaction of helping provide for my family. That said, as the date of my return to work fast approaches, I'm incredibly sad. I am beside myself that I'll be missing out on the mid-morning snuggles of our first nap of the day. I'm sad that instead of staring into my sweet girl's eyes while we nurse, I'll be pumping in the empty office down the hall. I'm sad that it will (until Spring) be dark when I leave and come home. But this is our reality, our life and while I know it will be fine, I'm allowing myself to wallow a little bit right now.

I'm actually somewhat excited too. Part of me is looking forward to the mental stimulation, the chance to get out of the house and the reality of 8 spit-up free hours a day! And therein lies the weird dilemma of working motherhood: the somewhat schizophrenic reality of wanting to be the sole caretaker of your child but also wanting to have a life outside of the domestic realm.

In the interest of full disclosure, my darling husband has said (and would) support me if I wanted to stop working. But the reality is that our quality of life and our desire to create the world that I want for Sadie requires me to work for now. Mr. Val accelerated his graduate school plans so that he can afford us the opportunity to choose a different situation but that is still 2 years away. In the meantime, our priorities dictate that we both need to work outside the home to give our daughter all that she deserves in this world.

I feel guilty complaining because our situation is so much better than so many people right now. Mr. Val and I both have great jobs within understanding and flexible environments. On top of that, my daughter will be in the best hands possible as her wonderful Grandma will be watching her. I will never have the words to thank my wonderful Mother in law for that. If I can't watch my daughter all day, there is no better choice than family and we are so incredibly blessed to have family that want to provide that for our darling girl.

I also have to remind myself that it is temporary. My husband works his adorable butt off all day every day to bring us closer to the next phase of our life where I can have the option to work, work part time or not work at all. Every day that I wake up next to this amazing man I pinch myself. Since the day I met Mr. Val my life has gotten better and better; I know that the years to come will be no exception.

Today we started Sadie's college fund. Mr. Val and I take a lot of pride in our ability to provide not just the basics for our daughter but the extras as well. It is these things that wake us up early in the morning to ride our respective trains to work and keep us up studying into the wee hours of the morning. And it is her smiling face that has made 4:00 AM a wonderful hour to be awake. 4 AM is the hour of the day that is just hers and mine. It's the hour where we stare at each other while I nurse her and say that we love each other with our eyes. It's the hour where we pad quietly around the house until she drifts back to sleep. It's the hour where Mr. Val sleepily rolls over and tells us he loves us. It's the hour that would have never seen me awake a year ago...but now I love 4 AM because it is the hour that each new day begins for my family, full of love.

And that's what working motherhood will be for me. Stealing the moments that matter, since love isn't dictated by the quantity of time you spend together but the quality. It will be sad to leave her each day but so wonderful to see her smiling face at the end of each one. I will miss snuggling her at noon but will look forward to 4 AM...because that is our moment each day to make it count and no one can take it from us.