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Saturday, September 27, 2008

1 Dress, 2 Stories

This past weekend I wore a cute bubble-hem orange/red dress twice in 24 hours. Luckily, you are the only one who knows about this fashion no-no, because lil C and I were the only guests to attend both events.

Let me tell you about the first event.

2 Stars
You know how adolescent girl magazines usually feature an embarrassing moments section?
"My dad totally caught my boyfriend and me making out under my covers... and to make matters worse (that is the most important line)... my dog, Rover walked into the room with a used tampon in his mouth!"
-5 Stars!!!
Well, Seventeen may only give me a star or two for this one, but for me, it was a slight hormonal breakdown.
We were at our friends, Jay and Diana's wedding. The ceremony was beautiful. They are two very amazing, fun, genuine people that love God. I mean, the dresses, the flowers, the church, the music, everything about the wedding was beautiful. I am so glad we got to be there. When we arrived at the Jacksonville Garden Club for the reception, I was really reminded of where our reception was, which makes sense because ours was also at a garden club.
We got a soda for me, a water for E and made our way to find seating. Sometimes its good when there are place cards and sometimes it isn't. I guess this depends on how many people you know at the wedding and how cool they are. Well, there weren't place cards and I can tell you one thing. I, for one, am not cool enough to just pick a seat. We walked around trying to make up our minds for too long and got stuck standing at a cocktail table. Now I don't want to be a complainer, but if you're a female, your feet probably hurt at most weddings you go to. Now if you're a pregnant female, your feet hurt fo sho. However, I was having a great time and there are worse things in the world, so I didn't really think about it too much and we settled in to our cocktail table and talked to our friends Cameron and Celia.

Appetizers...Introduction of the bridal party...First dance...
Then it was time to for the buffet table. Mmm. After filling up my plate (Ethan can't eat regular food, I'll explain later), we thought we would take another gander around the room to scout out a couple empty seats. Nope.
Then it hit. All of a sudden, I got really upset and bothered that I couldn't sit down. I was shocked that not one gentleman noticed my delicate condition and offered me his seat. Ok, I'm exaggerating, but only kind of. We got a dirty look from a woman when Ethan asked if we could sit at her table in two seats where people had obviously been sitting, but had gotten up and left their empty plates. Then I started crying. I felt awkward, rejected, embarrassed, unwanted and mostly upset at the absurdity and intensity of all these feelings! We sank back to our niche at the cocktail table where Ethan distracted me and told me he couldn't even tell I had been crying.
Warning: Sensitive when pregnant.

Let me tell you about the second event. This one was much less dramatic and much more photogenic.

Big Hats
Mary had a lingerie shower. It was lovely.

Sweet Baby Carver

How am I supposed to wait 3+ months to hold him, look at him, sing to him, rock him, feed him and take him on walks? I love this boy so much. If you think you know how much you'll love your kids, you don't (unless you already have them, of course... then you are much wiser than I). I know I still don't know the half of it.

I feel like I already know someone I haven't even met. I know he loves hanging out before bed time, I know he loves the Olympics, I know he loves being around people and making me laugh. I know he leaps at the sound of his dad's voice and the feel of his touch. I know he makes me sing and he draws a crowd. I know that Mexican food is not his favorite. I know he inspires a lot of intrigue and stirs a lot of compliments. I know he is tiny and precious. I know God uses him to teach people how much He loves them. Especially me.

We turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows. I am about to fall asleep with my family to the sweet sound of crickets. All 3 of us.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Its not too much more disappeared than last time, but I feel a growth spurt coming on, so I thought I would take a picture for the records.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Laundry Day

Wednesdays are by far my best weekday. In Alachua County, elementary schools have half days every Wednesday and it is my day off for EDEP, so I was home before noon today. I got to take a nap, plant some flowers,

go to the bank, pick my husband up from work, talk to Melissa about the dream she had about delivering my baby and go to the track with this guy.

He ran and I walked/climbed stairs. Don't worry, Mom, they had rails. To top it all off, the weather was gloriously breezy and cool. Ethan has been riding his bike to work most days and running about 3 times a week! What a stud. Oh, and we got to have dinner with Lauren and Nick! Perfect! I mean, laundry isn't my favorite but I do love the thought of that empty laundry basket in my closet right now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Feeling better

Let's see here, since last Thursday I: got sick, took off work Friday, went to leadership weekend, went to Devon and Sarah's "family" wedding reception, got better, decorated the house for fall, attended Seer Sucker and Sweets with new YL leaders, went to work twice and here I am!

Sick sucked. My throat really hurt and I could not sleep at all Thursday night. I just tossed and peed and turned thinking about taking work off the next day. And I missed Pirate Day! I did have a great day doing nothing on Friday though. It was so nice out and following Ethan's advice, I got some fresh air and read my new issue of Real Simple outside for most of the afternoon.

Leadership weekend was pretty good. It was nice being at Southwind, as always. I was hoping to get to spend some quality time with the other girl leaders and potential leaders because I don't know all of them well. I got there late, left early and for the time that I was there, being sick gave me the distracted feeling that I was wearing my glasses even though I wasn't. Whenever I'm wearing my glasses I get this weird feeling that people can't see me and I'm pretty sure I make strange faces and stare. Brooke says this weekend was just part of the transition Carver will bring with me taking a "back seat" in Gainesville Young Life. I know that Gville YL will go on perfectly without me, but I guess I felt like I could have used my time there more wisely (and been a little less grumpy). I did have a great time Saturday afternoon playing with all my friends' kids. Eily, Hazel, Ava, McKenzie, Lily and Jack were all there. And worship was great Saturday morning. Oh yeah, and we got an adorable Young Life onezie for C man!

We left Southwind in Ocala for Devon and Sarah's party in Orlando. I'm so so glad we went!! We were thinking about not going because I was sick and it was a lot of driving, but it was such a good time to catch up with friends that don't live here anymo. We hung out at Anne and Sarah's parents' where the party was and then spent the night at Drew's parents'. Devon and Adam played guitar and sang and it was just like old times. I'm really glad we had a place to spend the night, cause we all got to hang out the next morning. Plus, it was really Drew's mom's decor that inspired my trip to Pier1/Michael's on Sunday.

I have to interrupt this ever-important blog to say that Ethan has been cooking dinner for the past hour while I goof around on the Internet and he is now sticking his arms and torso out from behind the wall to make it look as if he's flying into the wind. Now he's standing on something to make it look like he's flying higher. Oh geez, now he's doing funny walks (Melissa and Nat, you'll appreciate this). Good thing we are gaining a new family member for him to entertain.

Anyway, when we got home on Sunday, fall fever hit and I tied orange plaid ribbon on enough household items to please Martha Stewart.

I also made a bunch of these:

And this:

And filled these:

Sunday night for new leader training we had a social, Seer Sucker & Sweets. The goal was to dress as preppy as possible, complete a scavenger hunt and meet for ice cream at the end.

We met at the James' before starting:

Keep in mind we are going for over-the-top cheese:

Alright, I am going to go eat dessert while watching The Biggest Loser like the rest of America.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't bother reading unless you care about baby gear

After using Angie and Jason's stroller yesterday and hearing that they can already put their 1 month old in it, I did some online research. Mom's have a lot to say in online reviews, I can tell you that much. Anyway, I'm excited to announce that I've registered for this stroller!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Field Mice

I realized I get side tracked very easily when I am writing, so I hope its not too hard to follow me on this thing. If it is, just skip to the pictures, I guess. The reason I say that is because a second ago, 3 words into my first sentence, I thought of this thing Ethan always does. He always writes "passed" instead of "past." I think its really cute, so I've never corrected him in the 5 years he's been writing me love letters. Now that I think about it, I could be the one that's wrong. Oh well, I'll risk it.

This past weekend my sister and her husband, the Dourtes (that is so weird) and the Stonerooks went to the beach. We were going to go to Busch Gardens, but my favorite theme park let me down for the first time and tricked the Dourtes out of using their tickets a second time. It turned out to be a great weekend anyway. We got to see Mom, go to Hoa Wah, see Melissa and spend the day at her beach house and then have dinner with Dad and Portia on our way out of town. Melissa even got to feel Carver kick! He must know how excited she is about him.

Action shot

Not-so-action shot


Melissa and me at what used to be the Tacky Turtle. They now have new owners and its called the Kooky Koconut. At least they have Old Meeting House ice cream.

This cute one preceeded Ethan's comment, "Natalie has the caloric intake of a field mouse." Its funny cause its true.

Melissa and I were talking about how our girlfriends need to plan an annual trip. Every year, we send a mass email back and forth discussing the idea, but we just need to pick a weekend and do it. Does anyone have any good ideas for a long weekendish trip somewhere on this half of the country? Our trips will hopefully become more exotic as the years go on, but for now, we'll stay relatively close to home.

Funny 1st grade story of this issue:
Friday is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Now, I don't know if this is a real thing or if our school made it up, but we are sure going to celebrate. So much so, that the whole school started to prepare Monday. A sweet little student raised her hand and asked what "national" means. When the meaning was explained and the class was asked "Who can tell me what nation we live in?" A boy's hand shot up in the air and he proudly said "The Gator Nation!" Its true: the gator nation is everywhere.

I'm glad to tell you all that I had a check up on Monday and that Carver is doing just great. I got to hear his heart beat again and other than that, no pregnancy news here. I have Wednesday afternoons off (besides it being laundry day), so I went to the Lokkesmoes today to watch Olen for a little. We took a walk and said hi to lots of construction equipment, school buses and garbage trucks. When Angie and Levi (who is just a little over a month old) got home I got to hold Levi for a while. He is so cool and makes me so excited for our little boy to get here! She gave me some maternity clothes (thanks for the dresses, Aly) and some baby clothes. As I was putting them and the newborn diapers away, I started crying out how little and precious the diapers are! Wow, crying over diapers. That might be up there with when I cried while watching Hook. Have I already mentioned that time?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wonderful Normal Day

Since this blog was inspired by my urge to share about pregnancy, I'll start off with a comment/question. I have been getting cramps in my calves for a couple months now. Has that happened to anyone else? Its always in the middle of the night and has started to become more frequent. For some reason I can hear Kari saying I need to eat more potassium. Did I make that up? Between the getting up to pee, the drool and the 3AM screeching/trying to reach my toes (which is hard enough) so that I can pull them back, I am a delight to sleep with.

In other news, today was just a wonderful normal day. I am substitute teaching for a 1st grade reading teacher and it is the best sub job. My schedule is great. I don't have a homeroom class, I just float among the first grade classes and work with 4-6 kids who are struggling the most on very specific, very repetitive skills (short A says "a" as in apple). I can see how this teacher saw fit to take a month off to go to China after repeating the same exercises day after day, year after year... but I am loving it for now.

Being pregnant is making my time with elementary school kids so sweet. They are pretty much eye level with the belly and I think it looks like a teddy bear to them because I get more hugs the bigger I grow. The same kids come up to me every day and ask to feel my belly or say hi to the baby or guess where my belly button is. I've also gotten the interesting/akward questions. One third grade boy even shouted "Are you having SEX???" I've learned some good responses to tough questions, though. Like "How did you get pregnant?" I just tell them its because I'm married. And when one asked me where the baby comes out, I said, "at the hospital." Special thanks to the Kee family for that one!

I have really loved working in the afterschool program more than I thought I would. Its nice to be these kids' friend, to console their playground injuries (even if they can't even remember where it hurts), to celebrate with them in their school victories, to laugh at them when they ask absurd favors (no, I will not buy you chips, if I had fifty cents I would be eating some Nacho Cheesier Doritos instead of talking to you) and most of all, just to give them the attention I know some of them don't get at home. Of course I don't have favorites, but if I did, let's just say she would be a 2nd grader that lives in my apartment complex. And her brother may or may not play the trumpet. Hypothetically, I cried when I saw her walk up to me today with two tear streams on her beautiful round cheeks because someone called her fat. I mean, there are some complex things that are wrong in this world, but this most basic unjust act makes me sick. I feel torn between wanting to yell at the girl who made fun of her and wanting to wrap my little friend in my arms and tell her how God made her perfectly lovely and she brightens my life everyday. At least Little Sweet Dreams got picked up in the Sweet Dreams fire truck today. How cool is that?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Carver McCarverton

I tried to post the video of his 20 week ultrasound, but its on a DVD and I couldn't figure out how to do that. So if anyone knows how, let me know. But don't you worry, here are some pictures...

The Room


Papa E taping up our oh-so-nicely-painted-wouldn't-want-to-mess-up trim

Working hard or hardly working?

Just kidding, Natalie and Ethan did most of the work. Thanks sis!

Tug tried to inch his way in the whole time

Almost finished!

Ta Da!

A cute little guy Amy gave us (see if you can find it in the picture above)

Too bad its the only painted room in the apartment.

Before we continue with the slideshow, I just have 2 things I want to get off my chest, maternity pants and drooling.

First, I LOVE MATERNITY PANTS/SHORTS/ANYTHING WITH AN ELASTIC WAIST. I mean, not only do they expand to the growing needs of my uterus, but they make potty time a breeze. And this is important because I literally pee at least 15 times every 24 hours! I counted.

Sometimes Ethan likes to play a joke on me that goes like this: we leave the restaurant and even though I peed right before we payed, I kind of have to go again already because I try to drink a lot of water and restaurants have free lemon slices. Then we get home, park and get out of the car and I definetly have to go. Then we walk up the sidewalk and I make a point to be the first one up the stairs, because I'm really feeling it. Then, when we get inside, what else would my loving husband do besides try as hard as he can to block me from getting inside the bathroom? Point is: peeing a lot+funny husband=Liz Lange is my friend.

Lastly, drooling. If I hadn't read about it in some pregnancy book, I would think my new excessive amount of drool at night was some sort of reverting back to elementary school when I would wake up to find white drool spots on the pillowcases. For some reason, the stains always showed up the worst on the pillowcases at Dad and Portia's. But, no, apparently other women experience this too. Hmm.

My egg-looking belly (both items I'm wearing are Liz Lange, thank you Targ)

And this is what I mean by disappearing belly button:

Love, Val

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sweet Treats and Booboos

I guess our friend PJ calls Sweet Dreams (the best homemade ice cream place in Gville) "sweet treats." I didn't know this. So after having fajitas with the Allens and the McCreadys, it took me a second to realize what Jon was talking about when he started chanting "sweet treats." My inner love for ice cream must have been calling out to me though, because I quickly caught on and joined in. I love that place. I had a double dipper with two flavors: toasted coconut rum and Bailey's Irish cream (about the only alcohol I've had in the past 6 months). Mmmm, just thinking about it tastes good. I also love Sweet Dreams because of the family that owns it. I remember when we lived in the Yellow House on 36th Drive and the boys lived 3 houses down and we would walk there. That's when we first met Mr. Sweet Dreams. Turns out he's a Tshirt collector and really liked one of the guys' shirts. We earned big points with him the next time we went and brought him one of the same shirts. Ever since, we've had friends that have worked there, seen the Sweet Dreams family out and about, but most of all, are frequent customers. Little Sweet Dreams actually goes to the school I work at. He is a giggly, adventurous ball of energy. He always grins and waves to me because I always ask him stupid questions like what his favorite kind of ice cream is. Like he doesn't hear that all the time-jeez, I guess I need new material. Anyway, it is so cool to see how Mr. and Mrs. Sweet Dreams are involved in the school. Its not the "best" school in town, but Little Sweet Dreams is thriving there, and the whole family is doing all they can to make it the best school for them. They are the new presidents of PTA this year and I'm looking forward to many an ice cream fundraiser. When Mrs. Sweet Dreams comes to the school everyday at 3:00 I feel like I am seeing a friend just because that family is so dang nice. She told me that all the noise and chaos that happens at EDEP is probably helping prepare Carver to calm himself in any situation. EDEP is the Extended Day Enrichment Program, the after-school program that I work for. If EDEP couldn't prepare him, I don't know what could, cause that place is crazy.

My funniest stories of the day come from those 4 hours I spend with K-5th graders after school. Like the girl who told me the doctor "diagnosed her as deaf...either for the next 25 days, the next 25 years, or just until November." Or like today when a boy asked me if he could go to the bathroom. I've learned, very quickly, that the automatic answer to this question is "yes." But he didn't like that answer. "I have to go booboo and there spiders in there." In case you didn't know, in some cultures booboo=poop. I have found that this is especially predominant in African-American kindergartners. They just say it and expect you to know what they mean. Which I do. So I told him, "Ok, why don't you use the other bathroom." "Well, I have to booboo and there spiders in there too." My most popular two responses on the playground usually occur like this:
Kid: "Joey won't play with me, he's too busy digging worms and putting them in Jaden's socks."
Me: "I'm sorry, I guess you should go find someone else to play with."
Kid: "There's fill in the blank in my eye."
Me: "Blink!"
I was really at a loss of words for the booboo situation. I figured he would either hold it or have to go so bad he would face his fears. Not to leave you on the edge of your seat, but I don't really know if he ever encountered the spiders or not, because 3 hours later I found him face down in the sand on the playground looking pretty distraught. I said "Kid, what's wrong?" "I have to booboo and there spiders in the bathroom."

PS-"fajita" is totally usable in Scrabble, just in case you ever want to use it and your husband tells you it doesn't count

One thing pregnant ladies need more of

Pedicures. Not necessarily because we deserve the special treatment (which we do), but it is actually hard to clip my own toenails now. Just an observation. No matter what angle I take, sitting down/leaning over or pulling my feet up to my face, nothing seems to work quite right. I feel like the chubby little girl in gymnastics who can't do the butterfly stretch. And this is only at 5 and a half months. I can't imagine 4 months from now.

On a totally different note, Ethan and I sold a bunch of junk on Craigslist to clear out the baby's room (which is looking awesome- I'll have to post pictures soon). I also reorganized the pantry, emptied out one cabinet and one drawer in the kitchen. I guess that's what 3 weeks of being unemployed will do for you. Or me. Anyway, added bonus of selling stuff on Craigslist: free money! Anytime I come upon cash I feel like it should be set aside for some special purpose. Since a pedicure fund seemed a little selfish, we made Ethan's Gator jar the Ikea fund. Then we bought this sweet chair (in Eslov black/white) for our bedroom. I imagine waking up to feed Carver and bouncing him to sleep in it. Its more of a bouncing chair than a rocking chair. Because I have a homemade pizza bagel waiting for me in the toaster oven, I'll have to talk about how much I love Ikea at some other point, but I'm sure it will come up somehow. For now, I was just thinking about how it would be cool to bounce a little every night before bed so that Carver associates the motion with sleepy time. Little does he know that before he's even born, I've got tricks up my sleeve. It has been really neat to spend that time "with" him every night before bed this week. I just can't wait to see his cute little face fall asleep!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ohh, one of those...

I guess its a lie to say I'm not really one of "those" people who blog, because applarently I am now. Usually, though, I like to leave the strong opinionated discussions to Ethan. Not that I don't have opinions, but he's the poet, the comedian and the writer. But that's ok because this blog isn't about opinions, its about leg cramps in the middle of the night, peeing a million times a day and seeing less and less of my belly button every day. I'm sure that after Carver is born, it will be all about him and less about the weird changes my body is going through, but you get the point.

For the past couple months I've just missed my girlfriends from home (hi Teen Girl Squad!) and wished that they could be a part of my life through pregnancy. I know that they would crack up at the sight of my swollen feet/ankles. Plus, I can see Laura becoming a loyal reader. Also, I love and admire all my mom friends in Gainesville. I love feeling like a part of Brooke's family, taking notes on Meredith's laid-back parenting and reading Aly's hilarious blog, so I figure maybe this will get me one step closer to Gainesville Momdom.