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Friday, February 27, 2009

Fridays Are The Best

Carver slept from midnight to 6 again! Thank you, Froelichs and James' for the sleep-scheduling advice. Gwen, Amanda and any other preggers out there, I recommend helping them get into a pattern of feeding, wake time (for at least 30 minutes) and then sleep (after they are at least 1 week old). And don't let them go more than 3 hours without eating. We aren't doing the whole let him cry himself to sleep thing, (if its more than a couple minutes) because you can't spoil a Carver.

Also, Aunt Bobbi shared a few more websites:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Ok, ok, hold your horses. First, I want to share the money-saving tips you submitted for my contest:

*Megan shared an awesome blog that I will now follow. It has coupons, promotions and deals:
*Christina R. suggested we sign Carver up for a free college-saving program, UPromise. We are. Thanks girl!
*Beth Ann said "I have an idea...actually it is from my mom. She finds the beef that is on sale (i.e. rump roast and such) and has Publix grind it up for ground beef instead of paying a crazy amount for ground beef. The meat counter doesn't mind doing it, AND, in fact, tell her that a lot of people do the same thing. Who knew???"
*My mom has a website that sounds similar to the one Megan shared. I will give you the link when she sends it to me.
*Ethan didn't officially submit a tip, but on behalf of him and our family I will suggest that you sell your crap! One of his favorite things to do is get rid of stuff on By cleaning out our closets, we have made a lot of room and some money too. If the Internet is too intimidating, you can always have a garage sale.

So, drum role, please... BETH ANN is our winner! I loved all the suggestions, but I thought the beef idea was the most creative. Plus, we all know how I feel about Publix. BA, expect a cute key chain in the mail sometime soon. If I ever get around to posting them on Etsy, you might get a little preview.

On another note, if you are looking to spend money, I can help you with that, too. Young Life Gainesville is hosting our annual walk-a-thon. We are raising funds to send kids to camp, where we hope they will begin or deepen in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Young Life is the organization that Ethan and I met through and still volunteer with. We have both seen kids' lives change through this ministry. Our own lives have changed through this ministry. If you are interested in making a donation or finding out more about how you can pray for Young Life Gainesville, please email me (

Happy 6 Weeks, Mom

Carver slept from 12:00 PM to 6:30 AM!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


So many things I want to do and talk about! I want to tell you about:
how cloth diapers ("keepies" as Ethan calls them) are going well
how there are 10,000,000,000,000,000 parenting philosophies (and therefore decisions to make)
how Carver was liking his new schedule (but not so much anymore)
who won the money-saving-tip contest

But I can't cause I need to:
feed my belly
find a good sweet potato pancake recipe
assemble some diapers
get gas/vacuum our booger coated car
leave 20 minutes ago for the mom/baby luncheon

Ahhh! How do people have more than one kid?

Friday, February 20, 2009


Lately, we've felt a real calling to be "Uncle Ethan and Aunt Val" to the James' kids. They are so awesome. We got to hang out with all of them for a little while this evening and then take Mckenzie (who's in 1st grade) to see the Gator gymnastics meet. My favorite part of the night was our conversation on the car ride home:

Ethan: "Mckenzie, if you could be anything when you grow up, would you be a giraffe or a monkey?"

Mckenzie: "A scientist."

Me: "Did you know Ethan is a scientist?"

Mckenzie: "Oh yeah? What kind?"

Ethan: "A fish scientist."

Mckenzie: "pffffffffffffff" (laughs, as if to say 'what kind of joke science is that?')

4 Reasons To Smile

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Good Eats

The hospital I delivered Carver at holds a weekly luncheon for new moms. I really like it so far. I have only been twice, but its nice to be around other babies and moms whose lives look a lot like ours. Besides free lunch, there's a lot of crying and feeding and dirty diapers. There have also been several stories that make me realize how cake Carver has been so far. From cracked nipples to only getting an hour of sleep at a time, from babies who won't sleep to babies who won't eat or gain weight, its enough to scare a non-mom into never wanting to become one.

The great thing about these lunches is no one feels alone. Chances are, if you're going through it, somebody else is too. There is a lactation consultant who comes to the group to answer any questions. We all went around and introduced ourselves, our babies and our problems. I had been a little concerned because Carver was only eating for 8-10 minutes at a time. On one hand, he now weighs 11 pounds, 15 ounces (he's basically gained a pound a week since birth-some take a month just to gain their birth weight back!), on the other hand, all the books say they should eat for about 15-20 minutes and on both sides. The lactation consultant said there's nothing to be worried about, I probably just have a fast let-down (flow). Come to think of it, yesterday when Carver was nursing, he pulled back for a second and I turned to get a burp cloth. When I turned back I realized there was a steady stream of milk squirting all over his face and the glider!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hanging out with some blankets

Last Friday was the 400th anniversary of the telescope. When I heard that on NPR I started thinking about all the fun ways I would celebrate if I had older kids. We could take a field trip to the planetarium or make our own telescopes (which would probably turn into kaleidoscopes). Instead, I took pictures of the cutest kid in the world:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Finally-A Baby Story!

Labor started Tuesday morning (Jan 13th). On my way to drop Ethan off at work I felt cramping and contractions in my uterus. I told him I had a feeling something was going to happen that day. I can't claim to be all-knowing, however, because I said that same thing many mornings. I decided to pay attention to the contractions and their timing. I drove home, watched the Today show, ate, drank some water and laid down (on my left side of course) for a nap to see if they would go away. I did actually fall asleep, so I figured Harvey, the uterus was just teasing. I woke up at 11:30 and noticed the contractions return. I started counting at noon and they were six minutes apart. By this time I was doing my best to not get my hopes up, but the contractions did seem to hurt more than usual.

I remember Mom calling to see if she should go ahead and pick up an extra shift at work, or stay home just in case. Moms know best, I guess.

My memory of the next few hours is a blur, a blend of the following: calling my sister, Natalie, texting Ethan at work, craving Chick Fil A, pacing, last minute packing, more trying not to get my hopes up, painful contractions, telling Ethan he better get me Chick Fil A, wondering if I should be driving to pick Ethan up, or if I should be driving at all.

I went ahead and picked Ethan up from work. I stayed on campus most of the drive, which is good because the speed limit is 20 MPH and by this point contractions were slightly debilitating. Flocks of students who have just sunk into their semester gave me weird looks as they crossed the cross walk and I gripped the steering wheel in pain. I contracted on and off as he drove us through the Chick Fil A drive thru and then home. We spent a couple hours trying to distract ourselves, calling family members, attempting to watch 30 Rock and packing some more (I have no idea what I threw into that bag last minute). By 5:00 PM I decided enough is enough and we went to the hospital.

When we got there I thought I would go ahead and walk around outside in this pretty pond area they have. I figured, once admitted I would be walking the hospital halls, so why not walk around in the fresh air while I could? We did a couple laps, stopping for contractions until I had to go to the bathroom. We stepped inside the lobby and while I was using the bathroom -cover your eyes, boys- I lost my mucus plug, a mucusy barrier held in the cervix, protection between the amniotic sac and the outside world. Yay! That means some kind of dilating has to be going on, right? I can't tell you that, now can I? It would just spoil the next couple paragraphs.

Bye bye plug, hello labor & delivery! To prevent kidnappings, the door to the labor & delivery floor is locked. You have to pick up this phone and a nurse lets you in. Those nurses love to sit around casually at the nurses station and ask you all kinds of questions about your address and blood type as if this is any ole day of your life, like you're not screaming in pain and hanging on to your husband's neck just to stay standing. Then came triage. Triage is not my favorite. Its basically where they send you if they aren't 100% convinced you're in labor. "Is this her first child? What's that? You've been here once before on a false alarm? Oh, go ahead and take her to triage B." In triage, there's always (and by always, I mean the 2 times I've been in it) some sad story on the other side of the curtain and no nice hot tubs like there are in the real rooms.

Once Ethan and I made ourselves at home in triage B, a nurse came in, strapped Harvey up to a contraction monitor and a heart rate monitor for Carver and checked my cervix. Drum roll please...1 cm. I wish they would invent an at-home dilation test. Or maybe they could offer a leisure course to husbands for checking the cervix. I'd send Ethan in a heart beat, because that is the worst news ever! Ok, maybe not ever, but I was disappointed. The sweet nurse said we could use a labor and delivery room, hot tub and all for a couple hours to see if anything progressed. After a couple hours of walking the halls and using the tub, I was still at 1 cm (the goal is 10 cm.). Because we live so close, the doctor and nurse suggested I go home with some Ambien to help me sleep and come back when the contractions got worse.

Have you ever taken Ambien? When something is waking you up every 4 minutes? It made me pretty crazy. At one point I thought I was giving birth in a grocery cart at Publix. I thought there were 3 people in my bed. I asked Ethan why my body was doing this to me. Somehow 8 confusing hours went by and the Ambien started to wear off as my mom and Ethan's mom arrived with bagels. Mentally, I was exhausted, but I also had a jittery kind of energy that caused a lot of pacing. By 11:00 AM on Wednesday, I decided it was time to go back to the hospital.

This time they sent me directly to a real room! What a relief. Then the nurse checked my cervix and said I was 4 cm. dilated. That was even more of a relief. Finally, I was technically in labor. For the next 5 hours I split my time sitting on a pill-shaped excercise ball and in the hot tub. Ethan was such a great labor coach. He was by my side the entire time and when I thought I was too exhausted to breathe, he pulled me through it. Up until this point, I was planning on a natural labor. Around 5:00 in the hot tub it was hard to remember why I didn't want an epidural in the first place. I asked the nurse to check my cervix again, thinking if I was 7 or 8 cm dilated I would go without the medicine. I had only dilated another half a centimeter! Bring on that epidural. What a great decision that was. I got to take a little nap, invite family members back in and the doctor decided to go ahead and break my water.

After my water broke, my cervix quickly dilated to about 6 cm. However, the epidural and the fact that I wasn't on my feet (because of the epidural) slowed contractions down quite a bit. Oh yeah... now I remember why I was trying to go natural. Around 9:00, the doctor suggested I use Pitocin to speed things along. After about 30 hours of labor, I was on board. An hour later and I was at 10 cm! They took the next hour or so to turn down the epidural so I would have enough sensation to push. By 11:00 PM I was ready to deliver this baby! Ethan was on one side of the bed, the nurse on the other. They each held a leg and I pushed 3 times with each contraction. Wow. Pushing is about the hardest, most satisfying physical work I could imagine.

With only 10 minutes left in the day, I was positive Carver was seconds away from birth and the nurse tells me to wait. The doctor on call was 3 rooms down delivering another baby! I guess Carver was meant to be born the next day. And he was. At 12:14 AM, after the doctor ran into the room and my bed was converted (much like a transformer) to don stirrups, my sweet baby boy was born and placed right on my chest.

Surprisingly, the moments and hours that followed are perfectly clear in my memory. And probably my favorite ever.


Only 3 more days to submit your idea in the contest!

Monday, February 9, 2009

4 Weeks Already?

Carver is wearing cloth diapers now! That being said, there's a new Laundry Day: everyday. Actually, I haven't washed any diapers, just a lot of clothes (mine and his) with spit-up on them. I'll let you know how the poop-laundry goes. I'm kind of excited to say that's a part of my new job.

Its been almost 2 months now that I've been away from my old job. Although there's been an elementary kid-sized hole in my heart since then, life's been filling it with some great substitutes! First, McKenzie James performed an amazing ballet show for Ethan and I.I can't fully explain how it spoke to my heart about how perfect we are in God's eyes. I just pictured myself as sweet, honest little McKenzie and her dad as our Heavenly Father. He would pick her up and twirl her around and even though she isn't a perfect dancer at all, He made her perfect because of how much he believed in her and her dance.

Eily and Henry made for a couple other substitutes this Sunday at church. Henry was so sweet about meeting Carver. He walked over and without speaking or looking up at us, he just touched C's little fingers, examining them and appreciated them. Eily was very grown-up and gracious about meeting and even holding Carver. They are both in Kindergarten. These kids are all much more well-behaved than my kids at school. If they had just come up, picked their nose and complained about boo-boo and spiders in the bathroom, now then that would have struck a chord.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Haps

I love Carver's outfit today. Ethan described it as Clash Thursday of Spirit Week. Haha. He must have forgotten, its actually Moes Thursday.

Celebrating his first round of frisbee golf with obvious excitement!

Carver has accomplished alot in his 3 weeks of life. He had his 2nd check-up and has gained a total of 2 lbs! This now puts him at 10 lbs, 2 oz. As Ethan pointed out, that means he's gained 25% of his initial body weight. Crazy. Doctor says everything is looking great. She was surprised to see his umbilical cord was still hanging on and I was surprised at how bad it smelled. This morning I was delighted to find that stinky bacon scrap tucked into the top of his diaper. He has also mastered the paci and the bottle. I wrote a little poem about it. I hope you like it:

He takes a bottle
She sleeps

It was beautiful. The night before last, Ethan fed Carver a bottle (breast milk, of course) and I got 5 glorious hours of shut eye. In a row! With my new independence, I took myself to get a haircut. I love it, I just hope I can keep up with it.

Our wonderful friends, family and folks from church have been making and bringing us dinner every-other night. It has been such a blessing. Our tummies are full and we don't have to worry about planning meals. All I can say about Gainesville, our church community and our group of friends is that they are making it easy to have a newborn. Carver also makes it easy to have a newborn. He is so peaceful and content. Melissa is visiting this week. She's helping around the house, getting a lot of quality time with Carver and keeping me company. I feel so spoiled.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tax Season

I'm still working on the labor story. Maybe it will be here by Carver's 1st birthday.

If you are not on Facebook, but would like to view my newest photo albums, click here, here and here. The first 2 are of random events from this summer and fall. The third is of Baby Carver.

As a stay-at-home mom I'm going to try and not watch too much daytime television. With that said, watch this clip from the Ellen show.

Square Root

Facebook has a new application which allows you to write a list of 25 random things about yourself. I couldn't resist, but in the interest of saving time, I chose to write a shorter version in the shower last night:

1. If I could make a living being really good at something besides mothering, it would either be writing, gymnastics or art.
2. I hate the 2 minutes leading up to breastfeeding, but I love the 20 minutes that follows a successful latch.
3. Driving around NW 5th Ave lately has made me really scared at how far away my college memories seem.
4. I'm really bad at shaving my knees.
5. I love what having a husband has done for my relationship with my brother.