Valerie's blog about stuff

Baby’s first cold

The past two weeks have been rough. Figgy got her first cold and, being the uber parents we are, we freaked out.

Humidifiers were going, essential oils were diffused. I brushed up on chest therapy procedures and listened to her lungs to make sure they were clear. Early had me up my vitamin intake and we debated putting Figgy on vitamins (we didn’t.) We also didn’t sleep, but rather just watched her breathing in and out and in and out… Because nothing is worse than being woken up by a baby who is screaming in terror, because her nose is stuffed up. A close second is not being able to tell the baby to just breathe through her mouth.

I became an expert at nasal suction. And I feel both proud and saddened by the fact that my three month old knows how to blow her nose (unfortunately, not on command.)

But I am so glad everyone is feeling better. And hopefully Figgy will never get sick ever again!

Other things that happened these past two weeks?

-Figgy decided to be a thumb sucker.


- I successfully made Naan bread- omnomnom!


Best Brussels Sprouts

Best Brussels Sprouts

As a child I didn’t eat Brussels sprouts, but not for the reason you think. I didn’t eat them because I was never offered them. Not once did they appear on my dinner plate.

That changed when I was 27 and my boss cooked everyone a special Christmas lunch. The vegetable? Brussels sprouts in a creamy sauce. I put a few on my plate to be polite and tentatively took my first nibble.

It was eye opening. Brussels sprouts: so perfectly falling on the line between greeny bitter and sweet. And the texture! Soft but dense and just a bit of crunch near the stem.  I quickly went back for seconds. Where had Brussels sprouts been all my life?

On my next trip to the grocery store I bought three bags from the frozen section. And that began the next chapter in my relationship with the sprouts: disappointment.

Brussels sprouts, I quickly learned, are hard to cook. Overcooked and they stink, undercooked and they are seriously bitter.

But Brussels sprouts are sooo good for you and I knew how awesome they could taste, so I kept buying them and experimenting.

After years of trying I have mastered the art of Brussels sprout cooking. Here is how I get it done:


  • 1 to 2 bags frozen Brussels Sprouts
  • ¬†Olive oil
  • Spices to taste (I use salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Cut frozen sprouts in half. Spread sprouts out on baking sheet, flat side up.

Brussels sprouts prep 1

Drizzle olive oil over top.
Brussels sprouts prep 2
Then spice to taste. (I use onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper)
Brussels sprouts prep 3
Bake for 30-45 minutes until edges of sprouts just start to turn golden brown (I let these go a bit long- baby distracted me- but they still tasted awesome!)
Baked Brussels Sprouts
Serve with whatever you’d like. For extra spice drizzle some Worcestershire sauce on top.
Brussels sprouts dinner
Tastes great and packed full of vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, omega 3, B vitamins, choline and folic acid (as folate).

Protected: Figgy’s first laugh!

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I’m a hero

It’s official: I’m a hero.

The waitress at Denny’s on Christmas morning told me so.

Setting: Denny’s, 11 o’clock Christmas morning. Valerie and Early are waiting for their food to arrive. Baby Figgy is on Valerie’s lap and drawing a fair deal of attention the way babies do.

Latina Waitress: Is he your first?

Figgy looks disgruntled at being called a boy, again…

Valerie: Yup

Latina Waitress: How old is he?

Valerie: Two months.

Latina Waitress: Are you going to have any more?

Valerie: Ummm…

Early (hesitantly): We’re thinking about it.

Latina Waitress (turns to Early): You know you are a hero.

Early: Yup. I’m a dad.

Latina Waitress: Oh yeah, not many white people have babies these days.

Valerie snickers

Early: Really?

Latina Waitress (nodds enthusiastically): I read all about it on

Protected: The Evolution of a Breakdown

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