We Moved!….kinda.

No no no… hold your horses.  We haven’t moved into the new house just yet.  We have, however, moved in this crazy world wide web… to a new blog!

It’s been my intention, and goal (cuz I don’t have enough of those floating around), to change the name of my blog for a while now.  After the divorce a year ago, and changing my name back to my maiden name (I’m a Valyou again!), I felt it only fitting to switch the blog to reflect my fresh new start.  Now, the problem with switching to a new blog means lots of work.  When you have a blog setup, it’s really easy to post – just click a button, type, and publish it.  Starting a whole new one took a little more time…

First, I had to think of a name for the blog.  This only took me, oh… say… a year!  I brainstormed and thought of a bunch of good ones, then a couple days later, I would look at them and re-think it again, not happy with the final ‘name.’  It’s really hard to come up with a blog name that encompasses everything I write about.  I don’t like claiming a stereotype either, like ‘BloggingMomRunner’, because I write about more than that, and those three words don’t define me.  I wear so many hats, as a Mom, a SINGLE Mom, a Divorced Mom, a daughter and friend and sister, a career woman, a runner, a country girl turned city girl turned country girl again, a soon-to-be homeowner, etc…

So, after much deliberation, and a light bulb (thanks to my dear friend, Kate), I chose a new blog name – a new identity that would encompass all I write about.  Now, that was just the start of this new adventure (aka challenge, aka another thing to cram into my already full day of working 8 hours and spending time with my son and family, but why not? because it’ll be worth it in the long run).  I had an idea and plan – I just had to make it happen.  This was the even harder part.  I enlisted the help of my go-to computer and website guru (Thanks, Phil), and with much help from him, and a few days of skipping workouts to find the time to (whoops, sorry Jarrod – I’ll get my 100 squats in today, I promise!), my new website was born!  I transferred everything from the old blog over, and still have lots of formatting glitches to fix and personalize it a bit more, but it’s live, and before I push the off button on this site, I’ll give everyone a bit of time to get used to going to the new site… maybe a couple weeks?



Let me know what you think…. and HAPPY FRIDAY!



2013 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


I realized last night that I hadn’t posted since last Friday – a week ago, today.  A whole week!!! It’s not like me to go a week without posting, so I feel I need to explain myself:

  1. Instead of working on the blog at lunch, I go to the gym!  This is great, so I get my whole night with Avery and house to-do stuff, but by the time I sit down at night, it’s too late to work on the blog or I have noooo energy left!
  2. My computer is busted.  Seriously.  I picked it up the other day and the screen is cracked so I can only see half of it… ugh.  Very difficult to work on it when I only have 4 inches of screen.. .it’s like I’m back in the 80s or something – how did they do it?!
  3. Work has been soooo busy!  I haven’t been able to take a quick break and pop on the blog to work on a post.  Well, I have once this week but only got a few lines down before I got pulled back to work.  Plus, I am totally loving my job, so if I have tasks to work on, I push to get them done, instead of taking a break.

So, there’s my little ramblings for the week.  No pictures.  No updates on Avery (one coming next week because he turns 21 months this weekend!).  But I have lots to share….  just where can I find the time to blog?  Maybe I need to get up earlier in the AM and blog before I leave for work, or do it on the weekend?  Between work, the gym, Avery, the house  – where do I fit it in?  So much to do, and so little time!

But, it’s Friday and the parents are visiting this weekend to knock off more items off the Honey-Do List!!!  Happy Friday!!!

When do you squeeze in time (and energy!) to blog???

Liebster Blog Award – Thrice as nice!

I just had time to catch my breath after writing up my last Liebster Blog award when Kaela Moore at The Girl Who Blogs swooped in and nominated me for the award again – for the third time!

How exciting!  And what’s even more exciting is that I’m finding time to respond to the award nomination in less than a month!  Well, I have lots of award business to attend to, so without further a-do…



Liebster Award Rules

  1. The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who have 200-300 followers (FYI we’re quickly approaching 200, eek!, so let’s enjoy this award while we can!)
  2. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
  3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award on to and link them in your post.
  5. Create 11 new questions for the chosen bloggers.
  6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
  7. No tag backs.

Who came up with ’11’ for every category?  Crazyness.  I’m going to stick to my ‘5’ like last time.  11 is overkill IMO… I barely have time to post a couple times a week – give a working Momma a break!

#1: Check, we have 166 amazing followers!

#2: 11 5 Random Facts about Moi:

  • I speak french – enough to get by a basic conversation and thanks to my HS French teacher I can tell you to ‘shut up’ too 😉
  • I get sick if I eat ice cream – a recent development and man does it stink cuz I love ice cream!
  • I think have a habit of naming my children after TV show characters – I spent a good deal of this weekend trying to remember the name of the character who loves the character ‘Avery’ on Grey’s Anatomy… you know just in case it sounds good with Avery.  BTW, it was ‘April’…not sure I like that name.
  • I can’t stand having dirty feet.  I have to wear socks in the house because if dirt sticks to the bottom of my feet I get soooo irritated!
  • I have a super-sore throat.  I don’t think it’s allergies because I spent the weekend outside building a new walkway (pictures to come!)… maybe the dry air?

(I tried not to repeat ones I shared on the past award and other blog awards)

#3:  11 Questions from Kaela:

1. What is your favorite book? The Notebook

2. What is your dream job? A SAHM & PT Interior Designer

3. Who inspires you? My Mom, Marathon Runners, people doing random acts of kindness

4. If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be? well-rounded

5. Cabin or beach house? Why? Beach house… Avery loves the beach and we love going as a family.

6. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Control Time… wouldn’t that be nice?!  But something actually possible… I’d love to learn sign language, fluently.

7. What does your name mean? I had to look this up.  I know Meghan orignated from the name ‘Margaret’.. but it also means ‘pearl’… and I love pearls!

8. What is your best memory? There are too many to choose from!  I can’t pick one over the others.

9. What is one chore you absolutely hate doing? I hated dishes growing up, but with a dishwasher now it’s bearable.  I hate cleaning the bathroom now…

10. If you were immortal for a day, what would you do? Get rid of my fear of heights by skydiving, bungy jumping, or maybe just jumping off a really tall building!

11. Why do you write? To keep in touch with family and friends… and it’ll be awesome to look back at everything – like a virtual family diary.

#4.  11 5 Blogs I Nominate: 

#5.  11 5 New Questions for the nominees 

  • When is your favorite time of day to blog?
  • If your life was made into a book, what would the title be?
  • What is your favorite sound?
  • What blog is most inspiring to you?
  • Where were you born?

#6.  Go back to their page and tell them about the award. (check!)

Happy Blogging! xo

Liebster Blog Award #2

It’s award season again!  This time last year, I was awarded the Liebster Blog Award…and thanks to our friend at Ye Olde Humdrum, we have a second go at it!


The award logo has changed and apparently the rules have evolved since the award last year when I just had to nominate a couple other blogs.  Now there are fun questions and facts to share….

Liebster Award Rules

  1. The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who have less than 200 followers. 
  2. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
  3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award on to and link them in your post.
  5. Create 11 new questions for the chosen bloggers.
  6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
  7. No tag backs.

Ok sounds like a lot of work, but so worth it.  Wait til you see the great questions I get to answer!

#1: Check, we have 163 amazing followers!

#2: 11 Random Facts about the Momma at RatnamResidence:

  • I was a girl scout
  • My hands and feet and always cold.
  • I love the color teal.
  • I drink 2-3 cups of green tea a day.
  • My favorite part about my job is the amazing people I work with!
  • I can never decide if I want my hair long or short
  • I love animals and if we had the time and space, we’d have a dog right now!
  • I am a licensed apprentice plumber in the state of Mass.
  • I weigh 20lbs less than I did on my wedding day (almost 2 years ago)
  • My favorite restaurant is Olive Garden
  • I know the words to every elmo youtube song

(I tried not to repeat ones I shared on other blog awards)

#3:  11 Questions Asked of Me from Ye Olde Humdrum:

  • What caused you to start blogging? 
    • I stumbled upon YHL and was inspired.
  • What career did you think you’d pursue while you were growing up?
    • In elementary school, I wanted to be a teacher.  In middle school, I wanted to be a choreographer (my zumba instructor would laugh at that one), and in high school, I wanted to be an architect.
  • Who do you think has had the biggest influence on your life?
    • Avery.  He has taught me patience, love, forgiveness (you’d be surprised at how little I get mad about, especially after getting head butted and wooden blocks thrown at my head), to smile and laugh at the simple things, to enjoy every moment, and how to function off of VERY little sleep.
  • What kind of games do you like to play?
    • I love card games and board games – fun family past-times.
  •  What is your favorite movie?
    • Never Been Kissed.  Seen it about 50 times!
  • How did you meet your husband/wife/significant other?
    • Trivia night at a bar with friends/coworkers
  • Have you ever had any “unusual” pets?
    • Not really.  Growing up we did have lots of pets though – birds, fish, hampsters, cats, dogs, bunnies, ginea pigs.  I’ve always wanted to get a hedgehog though!
  • How do you unwind at the end of the day?
    • Read.  I bounce around from different books, and I’m re-reading a Nicholas Sparks one now.
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?
    • When someone is inconsiderate – like someone not holding a door for you when you’re two steps behind them.  Little things like that irk me.
  • What item is to your left?
    • My notepad
  • How do you think of material to blog about?
    • Actually I have too much to blog about and have to condense my posts!  I always want to share what Avery’s up to, share my adventures in running and working out, and I keep myself on track by having to blog about things like finances and reaching goals I set.

#4.  Blogs I nominate (11 is overkill, here are 5 blogs I adore)

  • Wife Mom Runs – Mommy Rachel is my go-to girl for running advice.  She ran while pregnant with (now toddler) Lili and is running again with baby #2 on the way!
  • Two Ts in VT – My cousins (the ‘Two Ts’) just had their first baby and moved into their first house – love reading their updates online since they are so far away.
  • Chasing Fullfillment – Adrianne’s little girl Annabel is Avery’s age –  Love reading her posts and she takes amazing photos!
  • Den State – If you need a break and a good laugh, read Deni’s blog – everything you’re thinking as a Mom and don’t dare say – she does!
  • Being Mummy – Hop over the pond to read what Mummy Elske is up to.

#5.  New Questions for the nominees (again 11 is too many, so here are 5)

  • If you had to re-name your child, what would you change it to?
  • What was the last thing broken/spilled/crashed in your home?
  • Did anything make you laugh today?  Share.
  • How long did it take you to re-post this award after being nominated? (it took me almost a month!)
  • Where is your dream family vacation destination?

#6.  Go back to their page and tell them about the award. (check!)

Happy Blogging! xo

Sleep has returned, and it’s here to stay! (hopefully)

It’s a new year and time to get back into guest blogging! In 2012 we learned about cloth diapering & fun ways to celebrate your anniversary. Today I’m over at Elske Newman’s blog, ‘Being Mummy,’ sharing our 15 month journey on sleep (or lack thereof) with Avery.  In return, Elske is sharing her sleep struggles with us….

Hi, my name is Elske, software developer by day and freelance writer by night, but in reality I spend most of my time being mummy to Elisabeth, 22 months. Just like my good blogging friend Meghan, we have had our share of sleeping problems. In short we spent the first 18 months of her life seriously sleep deprived, but after more sleepless nights than we care to remember, Elisabeth seems to have gotten the hang of it now. This is how we got to where we are now:

Elisabeth has never been a good sleeper, within weeks of her being born I realized that all the book and websites that told me that babies sleep most of the time were lying! She didn’t sleep at night and she didn’t nap. I’m not even sure which is more exhausting, being up all night or not having a minute to have a quiet cup of tea on the sofa during the day. Well, obviously being up all night is worse, but not having a break during the day can be harder than you think!

There was a period, when she was 3 months old that wasn’t too bad because she only woke once or twice every night to feed and would go back to sleep quite easily. I even enjoyed the nighttime feeds because everything was quiet, Elisabeth was happily drinking and I could just sit there and enjoy the cuddle knowing that I would be back in bed in half an hour. They were precious times which I will remember forever. But it didn’t last.

The problems started when she was about 5 months old and no longer fell asleep whilst nursing. I had obviously read all the advice about putting babies to bed awake but my sleep deprived bra thought that surely it was wrong to wake a sleeping baby just to put them in bed and trying to get them to sleep again. Yes, tiredness does really mess with your brain.

As with any baby related problem, lots of people gave me advice. I very much appreciated all the advice we were given by friends: start solid food, give her a bottle instead of nursing, get her really tired during the day, these were all things that would guarantee a good night sleep, only they didn’t. She didn’t sleep. Against all advice, because it was the only thing that worked, I let her fall asleep on my shoulder, wait 10 minutes and carefully put her in bed. This worked for a few months, it was exhausting, but it worked. For a while.

I was lucky enough to have 10 months maternity leave (although on a hugely reduced salary), so at least I didn’t have to go to work after only 2 or 3 hours sleep. I think if I did have to go back to work earlier, things would probably have been even harder.

After 8 and a half months I stopped nursing Elisabeth and she moved to formula. We were very hopeful that this would help with her sleeping. It didn’t. A month or so before I had to go back to work we knew we had to do something. Plenty of people, including health visitors, recommended that we would train Elisabeth to fall asleep on her own, but this included us walking out on her whilst she was crying. This was something that neither me or my husband agreed with, not because we didn’t think it would work, but it just didn’t feel right to abandon our little one when she needed us. So we had a look on the internet and found a method where you put your baby to bed awake, put a chair next to their cot and sit there until they fall asleep.

Sounds easy enough? It’s not. It wasn’t too bad when we put Elisabeth to bed as she was sleepy from her bottle, but when she woke during the night I had to sit next to her cot whilst she cried/screamed for over an hour without picking her up, only soothing her with my voice and patting her hand. That was really hard. I picked her up a couple of times as she was getting so worked up I thought she would vomit, but I stuck with it and after two and a half hours she was asleep. It was horrible, but I felt better for being in the room with her so I could make sure she was ok. After a few weeks she started sleeping through. She was also napping more consistently, only not as long as she really needed, but better than nothing.

We had a few weeks of lovely sleep and then the problems started all over again. Because she was going to nursery she was getting one cold after another, and also an ear infection which meant she would only sleep on my shoulder again. We camped out in the living room for about a week with me taking the first half of the night shift and him taking the second half. We really struggled to decide when she was well enough to start her sleep training all over again and this meant that we left it for probably longer than we should have.

It is hard to explain the feeling of desperation that comes with sleep deprivation, and the lengths you go to to get them to sleep. We have taken her for walks in the middle of the night, we’ve stayed up and let her play until she was so tired she would collapse, I have driven her around for hours on end at 3 in the morning just to get her to sleep. To say it was hard would be the understatement of the century. There were short periods where we would get some sleep, but they never lasted long. We were constantly told that we should use control crying because it worked for everyone else and it doesn’t do the child any harm. However, I am still not convinced about that. I know people do what they need to, but no matter how tired I got, I still didn’t want to let her cry it out, it just seemed wrong.

Our real low point was when Elisabeth was 17 months old and we went on holiday with my mum, sister, my sister’s boyfriend and their little boy Valentijn. The first night Elisabeth slept through, but the rest of the holiday we were up most nights for hours and hours trying to get her to sleep. The more tired she got, the harder she found it to go to sleep. This holiday resulted in us cancelling plans to go see my dad and attend other family occasions as we just couldn’t cope with it anymore.

But then, three months later, just as we got to our breaking point, Elisabeth stepped up to the plate and she slept! And slept! And slept! And slept! To this day we don’t know what made her sleep, but I am convinced that the way we supported her through her sleeping problems is the main reason that she now sleeps so well during the night and also naps for up to two hours every day. I think it also helped that we bought her a duvet, before that she was sleeping under a baby blanket which wasn’t very cosy, she seems to really enjoy snuggling up under her duvet.

Sleep deprivation is really hard to deal with, and the best advice I can give any parent is to do what feels right for you. Listen to your gut! You are the parent, you know best!

Now all there is left to say is a big thank you to Meghan for letting me tell you lovely readers our sleep story. I hope it will bring a little bit of hope to the desperate mummies and daddies out there who are worried that they will never sleep again, don’t despair, you will sleep again. I wish you all days full of fun and nights of blissful sleep.

Thank you and good night!