About Valerie

I love Richmond. I was born here. I live here. I will die here.

Oh hey

Ha! I’m just getting this in under the wire. As you can see, I’m three days shy of not posting here for an entire year.

I supposed I should explain my absence. Up until this week, I wrote a weekly column about parenting. The process of coming up with ideas and then actually writing about those ideas was wonderful but also time consuming and draining; it didn’t leave me with much time or energy to share things here as well.

But! After thinking it over for a while, I decided to pass the column on to someone else. I mean, I’ve been writing about my child for that audience for four years. The idea well was beginning to run dry, and now that JR is five (!!!), I feel like our expiration date for over-sharing on the Internet was getting dangerously close.

So here we are. I’m hoping to pop over here more often now that I’m no longer feeling crushed by a weekly deadline. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m feeling good about it.

Parenting paradox

(I guess this is when I’m supposed to apologize for not posting for two months. So…sorry? I guess? Really, I doubt you’ve missed me all that much. So let’s just leave it at, “Hey, long time no see!” and be on with it. Good? Good.)

So I recently decided that I hate bedtime.

Not *my* bedtime; my bedtime is a glorious, wonderful, magical thing that never gets here soon enough.

It’s JR’s bedtime that currently reigns as the object of my uttermost loathing these days.

You see, when Ross puts JR to bed, it takes all of 5 minutes. Brush teeth, put on pajamas, read a book, goodnight. When I’m in charge (despite the fact that I’m MUCH more of a hard-ass than my husband), much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments gets thrown into the process.

Ross claims it’s because JR actually cares when I leave the room, so he does everything he can to draw out the process; he’d rather me be in his room yelling at him than *not* in his room *not* yelling at him.

I’m convinced he’s trying to send me to the looney bin so he can spend his days watching Phineas and Ferb and eating his weight in Clementines with nary a mention of such atrocities as “bathing” and “eating a vegetable” and “getting fresh air.”

But the REALLY crazy thing is, even though I hate bedtime with all that I am–the drudgery! the fighting! the whining! the flopping about on the floor!–the only thing I hate more is when I don’t get to do it. No matter what, I want to be the last person my son talks to before he goes to sleep at night.

Perhaps his looney bin plans are working after all…

You go to hell, Hurricane Sandy. You go to hell and you die.

Things that Hurricane Sandy could potentially ruin:

1. Our church’s Harvest Party, AKA The Funnest Night Of The Year.
2. The arrival of my birthday boots–scheduled to be delivered to my house on Wednesday, AKA The Day The Storm Of Death Is Supposed To Destroy Everything Which Probably Includes My Front Porch Onto Which My Birthday Boots Would Be Placed By The UPS Man.
3. Trick-or-Treating, AKA The Only Thing I Can Currently Hang Over My Son’s Head To Make Him Behave.

I hate you, Sandy. You are dumb. Take your drama somewhere else.


I wasn’t too jazzed about the idea of turning 31. Well, not *not* jazzed–just basically neutral about it. I mean, it’s not exactly a milestone. As my brother put it, “Now, finally you can…um…have only 4 years to wait before you can run for president?”

But better to have a birthday than to not. And my only expectations were to have a nice day. No work, no chores–just eating and napping with my little man. All of those things did happen, but I also happened to wake up on my birthday to a lovely surprise.

You see, Ross only wore his wedding ring for about a year after we got married. He chose a band that just wasn’t very comfortable, so he stopped wearing it.

It never bothered me that he didn’t wear a ring, but, if given the choice, I would’ve liked him to. So when Ross asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I asked if he would consider wearing his wedding ring again–or at least *a* ring. He made some sort of non-committal noise and we didn’t really talk about it much after that.

But on Monday morning he gave me these:

Yeah, those are an Empire Strikes Back reference. And they are perfect and I love them and he promises to wear it always.

Best gift I’ve ever gotten. Best birthday ever.


Lately he seems so big. He leans on things casually. He makes jokes. He rolls his eye at the appropriate times, for Pete’s sake.

But every now and then, he gives me a glimpse of his babyself, making me pause so I can soak it up while it’s still there.

So long sweet summer…

Today is Labor Day which basically means Summer is over (even though next week’s forecast indicates that Richmond is going to drag her feet about cooling off). Today is also my “Last Monday” with JR.

His school offered us the chance to increase his number of days from 2 to 3, and since he’s getting older, and elementary school is no long very far down the road (WUT.), we decided to make it work. Thankfully, my job working for our church seems to grow at the exact rate I need it to, and this was a good time for me to take on more hours.

We’ll still spend Tuesdays and Wednesdays together, and I think my extra time in the office will allow me to really make those days about our time together, instead of still having to squeeze work in every now and then.

It’s a good thing for us. JR is stoked to have more time with his friends, and even though we’ve got the added expense of an extra day at school, my new hours should be enough to give us a little extra breathing room, financially.

But I’m sad. Saaaaaaaad.

Because here’s the thing: he’ll be gone 3 days a week. Next fall we’re hoping to get him into the pre-K program at our neighborhood public school. Pre-K is all week long and lasts all day (or at least regular school hours). So basically this next phase marks our final days of “being home together” before he’s at school 5 days a week…until he graduates from high school and leaves me forever.

As you can see, I’m feeling a bit dramatic about it. But I don’t care because, dudes, my baby is a boy and he won’t quit growing and it’s really REALLY pissing me off.

Also, here’s a video that has nothing to do with anything; it’s just cute:

These dreams…

When I first went on Zoloft, I started experiencing some CRAY-ZEE intense dreams. They were extraordinarily weird, usually involved some sort of disaster (natural, personal, professional, you name it) and seemed to go on forever. I would wake up exhausted because of what my brain was putting me through as I slept.

However, now that things have balanced out a bit, I’ve swung to the other extreme. On the nights I do dream (which aren’t as often), my dreams are about such everyday things that I have a really hard time distinguishing between them and real life. Not that the events of these dreams would be worth bringing up in conversation, but still.

Some examples are:

1. Making iced coffee over and over again.
2. Drying my hair.
3. Fixing the thermostat.
4. Folding JR’s laundry.
5. Working–not even especially stressful or exciting work. Just regular work where I go about my business, drinking Diet Coke, and making lists.

Part of me is grateful to have such a mellow dream-life. I get myself worked up enough while I’m awake, so the break overnight is probably needed. But it still makes me feel stunningly boring.