Friday, December 17, 2010


I will never forget the first time you spit up.

I was alone in the house. You were just a few days old. You were sitting in your chair when a tiny bit of BRIGHT ORANGE goop spewed from your mouth.

I promptly freaked out.

No, really. I panicked and called your dad, then he eventually called the doctor, as I was too shaken to speak. Then a few of your great aunts and uncles came to visit, and I collapsed into tears. You were definitely dying. My child was sick with some horrible pestilence that made you puke neon-orange.

I saved the bile-in-question on your onesie and brought it to your doctor's appointment that week.

Since that day? Dude, you have thrown up, oh, 865 million times. Today, I think you have spit up about 268 times alone. I don't think you will ever stop spitting up. I think we will dance together on your wedding day, and you will spontaneously puke on me. Hopefully you don't continue to grin at me sheepishly and then play with your vomit. That would be embarrassing when you are 30, son.

Here are a few things that are awesome about you:

1. When you wake up in the morning, you play in your crib. When I finally drag myself out of bed to come and get you, you are sitting up. You grin at me. And I laugh because your face is swollen with sleep, and you've got Flock of Seagulls hair. (You're welcome, dude.)

2. You will not stop licking the floor. You will not be fooled by substitutes, either.

* OK, so I've been trying for 5 hours to upload an ADORABLE video here. But the dang thing won't budge. Just trust me: HILARIOUS.

3. It's like you know Big Brother is watching you.

You are so wonderful, Hendrik. Sometimes when we put you to sleep for the night? We miss you. Despite that you spit up constantly, and you don't sleep, and you are not really that great in restaurants.

I think we'll keep you anyway.

You have brought more joy to our lives than we can ever adequately express. We lose our minds when you use your hands to crawl, when we see your brain working, piecing together new bits of information. We yell and cheer for you. You're doing it, Snooze!

Just know that we'll always be here, cheering for you. Supporting you. Loving you.

Bullz 4 Life,

Mommy and Daddy

Friday, December 10, 2010

HomeValley Runs on Dunkin'

For those of you keeping score at home, since my Starbucks boycott?

I have lost TWO pounds. In slightly over a week.

J will tell you I did not lose TWO pounds; that I can gain and lose two pounds in an hour depending on the size of the burrito I just housed... BUT: I have weighed myself twice, in the morning, and the scale has read two pounds lower than it has been for about three weeks.


I am wearing a pair of pre-prego jeans that I have not squeezed into in a year. To be sure, I am stuffed into them like an adorable sausage; but they zip and that is what matters in this life.

(Also? I have sworn off Dunkin' Donuts, as I am incapable of passing through their uber-convenient drive-through without ordering a vanilla creme donut.)

Hendrik and I are off to the mall. The last time I went shopping with this child, I called J and barked that if I ever DEIGNED to MENTION shopping with this child again, to slap me across my face and tell me to Wake up! Your kid is a terrible shopper! It is a suicide mission!

But I have bought approximately three gifts, and I'm getting a little nervous.

Merry Christmas, holy shit.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Book Club, Nerds!

Have you all finished Freedom yet?

I do need to discuss this with you. I found the beginning of the novel thrilling; the second half less so, as it collapsed somewhat under the weight of unspeakable melancholy. (Sounds like a page-turner, eh?) It is well worth reading, however, for the commentary on our society alone.

I was very intrigued to see author Jonathan Franzen on Oprah yesterday, as I was much more interested in what he had to say than the piece that preceded him. (Michael Jackson spent time hiding out with a New Jersey family? Snoozefest.)

I can't wait to dig into the after-show, book club Q&A here, but Franzen did say something on the actual program that struck me. When O asked about his creative process, he said he went to a quiet, dark, cold office. In this hole he has no phone or Internet access, and he just allows himself to be. He tuned out the noise, and allowed himself time with his thoughts, and eventually - over a nine-year span - the great American novel was born.

Watching the clip, I exhaled.

Would be very nice to tune out the noise, indeed.

Nursing Hendrik these past six months, I find myself isolated quite a bit. I've always got my phone by my side, and I am obsessively checking Facebook and The Huffington Post, for lack of anything better to do. I notice - quite alarmingly - that I've almost no attention span of late. I can't even get through a twenty-two minute sitcom on our DVR without attempting to do three things at once (browse status updates, play Uno, etc.).

I know I'm not alone. We are a culture obsessed with snippets of information (*shakes fist angrily at Twitter*) that we devour like candy. Music, movies, popular media, entertainment news shows: they've all got an incredibly short shelf-life. And yet, I am paralyzed with fear that I might be left behind. That I might learn about something too late; how very different my life would have been, had I not learned of the Tony Parker/Eva Longoria "sexting" scandal the moment it broke!

Do I need to tell you where I'm going with this? This New Year's? I'm checking out, to check back in, ya dig? I'm going to strive to be more present in my own life, and not worry about what's going on in yours. Did you know that I dream in status updates? True story: a few weeks ago, I had a dream that I was on a non-stop flight to Paris when the plane had to take a detour to Mozambique. I got to swim in a crystal blue ocean with giant sea turtles (why sea turtles?) and all I could think about - in my DREAM - was how I would word the status update. And think of the comments that would roll in!

Er, I think we can all agree: it's time for me to unplug a bit.

That said, O chose her next book club selection yesterday, and how appropriate:


Like Oprah, I've never read Dickens. I am such a shitty intellectual, y'all. So this holiday season, I'll be curling up with some hot tea and some old school Chuck. (And continuing to blog my adventures, kids. This is a Facebook, other Internet-y things-specific boycott.)

Homevalley: out.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Far Better to Give Me Presents So I Will Shut Up Already.

J: And as I understand it, we're not exchanging gifts this year?


J: We're not getting anything for each other. This year.

HV, spinning: J! I returned the Coach bag, remember? I mean, you can get me something little, man! Something thoughtful?!? We don't have to spend any money... but like a freakin' 13.1 magnet for my car, or something like that? Jesus.

J: Of course! I mean, I am absolutely getting you something small and thoughtful. This year.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Beer Him.

It took H and I FORTY-FIVE minutes in line to return a tote to the Coach Factory store today... It really serves me right for buying it - albeit $100 cheaper than listed at Amazon - along with another Coach bag last week at another Coach Factory store. Mommy got greedy breathing in all that intoxicating leather.

(It must be noted that there was a Starbucks directly across from the shop today. It took all of my will power, dudes.)

So let's all forget our troubles and our screaming, mucus-y babes for a moment to have a drink with a decidedly-less snotty, happier child, mmmkay?

Cheers, y'all!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Cold Turkey

Remember when I ran that half-marathon, and I was running a shit-ton of miles each week training?

Well, apparently, training does not exactly melt the pounds away.

My weight is actually creeping back up... Five pounds up from my lowest point, to be specific. Unacceptable, guys. I have these really soft, supple, tailored designer jeans that I saw myself squeezing into again before 2011.

And now, ain't no way that's gonna happen. (I'll stop you right there: I don't think this is muscle-gain. Nothing is fitting better, and mah face! With the puffiness!)

I have made no secret of my ridiculous sweet-tooth... which only seems to intensify as the days grow shorter and the temperature cooler. Lately, however, I have been having a love affair with Starbucks.

Oh, Starbucks. I love everything about you. The aroma of fresh-brewed, overpriced espresso drinks. Your seasonal fare (the peppermint mocha! The peppermint white chocolate mocha! The caramel brulee!); your morning buns. Your decadent cranberry bliss bar, that is, in fact, blissful.

I love the atmosphere in our local Starbucks: the indie music playing softly above the din, the hipsters and business people alike typing furiously on their laptops, or perhaps just perusing a novel. It's so inviting - so relaxing - that I can't help but drift there when Hendrik and I are out for a morning walk, thereby negating our exercise, upping my caloric and sugar intake significantly, and denting our bank account.

Relaxing, indeed.

Even a tall, nonfat, decaf caramel brulee with no whip contains 240 calories, plus a whopping 38 grams of sugar. Combine that with a morning bun (350 calories and 19 grams of sugar) or a cranberry bliss bar (about 280 calories), and I've added nearly 600 calories and 60 grams of sugar to my diet before the day has even begun.

And if I spring for the nonfat peppermint white chocolate mocha with light whip and the iced lemon pound cake? 990 CALORIES and 124 GRAMS OF SUGAR.

If I visit an average of three times per week, I'm looking at an additional 1800 - 2970 calories per week - nearly one to two day's worth of calories!

I think we can all agree that Starbucks is making me chubby.

Monetarily, I probably spend an average of $7 per visit. That's $21 per week, $84 dollars per month, and $1008 per year.

Screw you, Starbucks, you diet-busting dark overlord of mocha-espresso goodness.

So here's the deal: I'm going to avoid Starbucks completely for the next two weeks, and see what it does to my waistline. I'm betting I'll lose a few L-Bs without doing anything else, and then I'll have to agree to get the unsweetened green tea on my infrequent visits. Sounds delicious, eh?

But imagine all of the mani-pedis a girl can get with an extra grand annually...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Birthday Boy

Last week, J and I had the opportunity to get away together, just for a day.

On the road, I challenged him to name all of the states. I did the same. We each forgot two (he counted D.C.); we both missed Wisconsin. Obviously, we're a match made in heaven.

Then, I challenged J to name the state capitals. We played that lightning round together. We got 38, and made up a whole bunch.

We're stoopid.

But here is this man, y'all. This guy who humors my love for a good brain exercise now and again.

This man who drives his car at five miles per hour beside me as I run through the rough neighborhoods.

This man who surprises me with trips to Southeast Asia.

This man who squeezes my hand during turbulence.

This man who does the dishes.

This man who tries to use acronyms in Scrabble. (He also put down "Nam" during a recent match, claiming it was an important war, babe.)

This man who is one half this tiny boy we both adore, with the blonde hair and the blue eyes and the pitch-perfect J expressions.

This man who is the most self-possessed person I have ever met. I don't think he knows a thing about insecurities. (But I do think, this evening, he will ask me what "self-possessed" means. He has no qualms about asking for help with the unfamiliar.)

This man who told me recently: figure out what you want to be; then go be it.

I don't know what I did to deserve this profound happiness. I do know that we work at it, every day, and that at the end of every day, we will both here.

Working at it.

Happy birthday to my husband, the best decision I ever made.