I can’t stop laughing at this picture. It was taken today at a bridal shower for my tiny, adorable, red-headed friend Kira*. Our friend Deanna set up a photo booth of sorts. This is me and my pal Lauren trying to show how excited we are for Kira’s impending nuptials**. I think we did a really, really good job.

*Yes, Stephanie, I’m sorry, a do have another tiny, adorable, red-headed friend who is getting married. I hope you’re not too mad at me.
**JR will be serving as ring bearer in the wedding. HALP.

I’m alive!!!

So it turns out that having shingles suuuuucks. I will say that I was fortunate in that my agony only really lasted about four days (many people deal with it for weeks) but GOOD GRAVY. It was some of the worst and most constant pain I’ve ever experience. Seriously, it felt like I had been in a car accident.

The whole thing was made even more terrible by the fact that when I got home from my appointment, my brother (who had been watching JR, God love him) informed me that he, too, had shingles once and started feeling better immediately after taking the medication.

A couple days later I texted him and called him a lying liar full of lies because I felt horrible.

But I forgave him because he texted back an apology with a frowny face.

Anyway! Things are looking up, healthwise, and I feel grateful that we caught it early — and that my shingles stay confined to parts of my body that remain clothed. I heard lots of stories from friends who had them on their torsos, arms, AND FACES AND EYES. I dodged a bullet, you could say.

I’ll back soon with actual updates on what’s going on with us. It’s just, well, since I was sick with THE SHINGLES, I didn’t really do anything but groan a lot and leap into my bed to pass out the moment JR went down for his naps. Not exactly a page-turner.

Until next time, kiddos!

Well, hello!

I don’t get drunk often, but when I do, I like to think it’s not unlike this. Not so much the cooking, but the general attitude (the cussing, too, I’m afraid).

(Yes, I realize that most of you have probably seen all of these, but I don’t care. They bring me so much joy, I cannot articulate it.)

A glimpse into my young mind

JR and I have been spending a lot of time at our local library for three reasons…

1. It’s two blocks from our house.
2. They host a most excellent toddler storytime.
3. Their movie selection makes me gasp “THEY HAVE THIS?!?!?!” at fairly regular intervals.

Recent perusing has revealed such “Valerie’s Childhood Highlights” as A Child’s Christmas in Wales (a film that, perhaps, only myself and my siblings have seen), Pollyanna, and…

The Trouble with Angels.

For those of you not familiar with this film, here’s the synopsis, courtesy of wikipedia (includes SPOILERS!!!!!!!)

The movie is set at St. Francis Academy, a fictional all-girls Catholic boarding school in Pennslyvania, operated by an order of nuns. Russell plays the Mother Superior, who spends the movie at odds with Mary Clancy (Hayley Mills), a rebellious teenager, and her misery-loves-company friend Rachel Devery (June Harding). The episodic storyline follows the young women through their sophomore, junior and senior high-school years. After spending much of the film resenting the authority of the Mother Superior, Mary receives the “call” senior year and, after graduation, remains at the school as a novitiate of the order.

I had a…thing…with this movie when I was a tween/pre-teen/the most awkward version of myself. It had me convinced that not only did I want to *be* Hayley Mills, but that I also wanted to live in the 1960s, attend a Catholic boarding school, and possibly become a nun. All I had to do was somehow convert to Catholicism…and go back in time, I guess?

I don’t claim to have a grasp of the psychological conditions that created my obsession, but, lo! they were there for a good, long while. I’m better now. If “better” could be described as “ushering my child off to a early naptime so I could start watching the movie as soon as possible.”

(Side note: This movie has a character named Valerie. I couldn’t stand her — she was such a little snot. She made me hate my name for a good, long while. See? I had a PROBLEM.)

Jillian and me

I started Jillian Micheals: 30 Day Shred this week. Because I hate myself, I guess?

No, really, it’s high time that I get myself back into shape. I was lucky enough to lose the majority of my baby weight (oh how I HATE that term for some reason) pretty quickly — save the 10 extra pounds that I always carry around when I’m on the pill. But if I were to go off the pill, it’s highly likely that I’d put that baby weight right back on (in the form of a baby), so you know.

Anyway, despite my blessed lack of post-baby weight problems, things have just been…soft for quite some time. So when I happened upon Ms. Jillian in Target last week, I decided to use the last 10 bucks on my gift card on something other than a T-shirt that will fall apart next month or a package of diapers. (My life! It is GLAMOROUS!)

The shredding (whatever the hell that means) started on Tuesday morning. Yes, MORNING. I got up at 6:30 to get shredded. For those of you not familiar with Ms. Jillian’s technique, it’s basically three circuits: three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio, and one minute of abs. And you do those sets over and over again for about 20 minutes on either Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3. Easy peasy.


I was proud of myself for getting through it without stopping once.My prime motivator when doing anything strenuous is to chant, “22 hours of labor, 22 hours of labor.” That typically makes any physical task seem pretty attainable.

However, that’s not to suggest that there wasn’t a lot of yelling. Here are some of the gems that I gasped and sputtered ferociously roared and Jillian during our first meeting:

No, YOU do two more JILLIAN*.

I hate you.

This is why no one wants to be on your team, JILLIAN. This, THIS RIGHT HERE, is why people like Bob more.


Yes, I KNOW those abs don’t come for free.


Jillian, I’m sorry. It was the pain talking. I really do appreciate your enthusiasm for my efforts to get “shredded”. Even though I still don’t know what that means. And even though it’s two days later and I still can’t raise my arms over my head.

*I say “JILLIAN” just like Phil said “LILLIAN” on Rugrats. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, I just don’t know what to do with you.

Current loves

Jersey Shore
Don’t judge me. By the end of the day my brain is finished, and that show is the perfect thing to (sort of) occupy my attention.

Iron-on hem tape
I don’t sew, but I love fabric. Iron-on hem tape allows me to make things without bringing a pesky needle and thread into the situation. Granted, everything I make is either a square or a rectangle, but that’s just fine with me.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians
These books remind me of Harry Potter, but without all the depressing back story and a million things details to remember. Plus, I got about a gagillion iTunes gift cards for Christmas, and I’ve been able to download all of the books from the series on to my iPad.

Tweets of Old
These guys tweet sentences from old newspapers, noting the state and year in which they were printed. HILARITY ALL THE TIME! A recent favorite: “Declaring that he was going to the Mexican War, Wayne Dutters, 3 years old, was discovered boarding the southbound train. NC1914″

Do tell: what are you loving these days?

Still kinda blows my mind

This song has been on the radio a lot lately. Not sure why. Maybe the fact that it’s almost FOURTEEN YEARS OLD qualifies it for Q94′s Flashback Friday (WUT.)

Whenever it comes on, I instantly remember watching this live performance at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. I still gets me choked up. I dunno, I guess I’m just sucker for a big production. And Sting. And Gospel choirs. It could also be that I instantly revert to emotional, 16-year-old Valerie when I watch it.

(It could also be that any reference to “I’ll Fly Away” destroys me.)

Case of the weepies

For some reason, I’m especially emotional these days. I’m not sad at all (or at least I’m not most of the time) — I just feel like my emotions are always *right there*.

Having access to the Internet doesn’t help matters, and I keep stumbling across things (on my own or through links posted by others) that get me choked up. So I thought I’d share them all with you! After all, who doesn’t love a good happy cry?

April and Jeremy get married

Sergeant Santa: A tribute (ok, I edited this one, but it gets me every time I read it)

In which my entire concept of God changed when they were born

It makes me so happy to see my friends with their babies. I…I can’t talk about it.

Meeting Elizabeth Edwards

There. Now you can all be complete messes like me.

No, I am not pregnant. Just a sap.

Quirks and things

I always leave about half and inch of soda in the bottom of the can. This drives Ross insane.

Eating lunch in restaurant by myself is my most favorite thing.

When Ross is gone for the evening and I’m home with JR, I clean the entire house, eat pizza, and watch Gilmore Girl reruns. It’s pretty close to my idea of a perfect evening.

I cannot stand it when random people in commercials are given names. For example, in this 15-second spot for, I dunno, maybe laundry detergent or something, a husband calls his wife “Molly.” Why do we need to know her name? Does her being a “Molly” add anything to the situation? No. All it does is distract me and make me not remember what the commercial was even about.

I always cough in the same pattern: 2 coughs, a breath, and then 3 coughs. This is not intentional, it’s just how it goes.

I am overly concerned with the state of my child’s fingernails. If they get too long or have dirt underneath them, I’m certain everyone is judging me. But I pay no attention to other people’s children’s fingernails, FYI.

I love the way coffee smells, but I think it tastes disgusting.

Whenever I play Tetris (which is not enough) I always hold out for the long, skinny block, letting things pile up to ridiculous levels.

I am challenged when it comes to using keys. You would think someone with a college degree could remember which way to turn a key to lock or unlock a door, but alas, it’s hard for me and typically takes me about three tries to get it right.

Now you go…


Rosebud Perfume Co. minted rose lip balm
I don’t normally spend $7 on lip balm, but I had to a gift card to Anthropologie and they had this stuff in a lovely little bowl by the cash register. I’m not one to impulse buy, but the pot is so damn cute I couldn’t resist.

Old Navy classic flip-flop for baby
JR has really, really chubby feet, so find sandals (hell, shoes) that fit is challenging. Finally, about a month ago, we got him a pair of these, and they are the light of his life. His are orange, and a friend described the image of these shoes on his chubster feet as “the picture of happiness.”

Method multi-surface cleanser, pink grapefruit
It smells delicious and it works.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
Our friend Susan (“Susu” to JR) sent this to us about a month ago — not for any particular reason, other than she’s awesome, she loves our kid, and she loves this book. We love it, too. It is SO much fun to read aloud and is one of the few books our wiggly man will sit still for.

What about you? What are you loving to bits these days?