37 weeks and a pregnant bob!

I'm full of excuses as to why I haven't posted any recent belly shots so I'll spare you - and sadly, I don't have actually have a 37 week one to post. I'll try to work on that.

However, the following pictures (from 33 weeks) are too funny not to post.

Enter "Bob with child"...

 He was the only man in our childbirth class "man" enough to try on the belly.

Doing the belly bump.
37 weeks with Baby Girl Somerville  

After writing this, I really hope this doesn't sound like a laundry list of complaints. I'm going to leave it, because it's the truth, but I am constantly reminded how blessed I am for getting to be a mommy of this little girl and for having a relatively easy pregnancy, so I don't want it to sound ungrateful. 
News: We are up to weekly visits at the doctor now which are getting progressively more exciting. Claire is right where she is supposed to be and will, hopefully, make progress each week. I cannot believe we have less than 3 weeks til her due date!

Symptoms: Whooeee...I could write a book now. I have been very lucky so far this pregnancy, but I think all the ailments are trying to play catch up now. Starting since about week 36. My stomach is HEAVY. It's exhausting. Bending over is now out of the question. I could sleep all the time. Or potty. We are running out of room in there so I can't eat as much, especially for dinner, and am breathless most of the time - especially when I get to talking which we all know I like to do. I'm definitely nesting, as Bob lovingly pointed out a few nights ago when I told him all the things that had to get done. Now. Oh, and I lest I forget: Swollen ankles made their appearance last Friday, which I am afraid is being followed by a puffy face. There are many, many more symptoms that I don't think anyone wants to hear about, but trust me, they are there!
Weight Gain: I gained 3 lbs this week (probably time to throw away all the Christmas sweets I've been munching on) after holding steady for a few weeks, so I am up to about 24 lbs gained.

Cravings: Nothing in particular - just still love to eat!

Aversions: Christmas shopping! Seriously, I thought I was going to make it through the season without going to the mall (Thank you, Amazon!) but I had to make a trip there this week and thought I was either a) going to die or b) kill someone else. I'm just full of holiday cheer!
Sleep: When I'm asleep, it's good. I'm waking up about four times a night on average to use the bathroom and getting out of bed is hard. Thankfully, we've moved Tanner out of the bed and onto the floor, so I have more room to roll myself out. But I am thankful to be able to sleep.

I am loving: Knowing that we are so close to meeting our sweet little girl! I am also loving her nursery. It is almost done - just waiting on baby - and I will post pictures when it is.

I really miss: Most everything right now - being comfortable, being able to breathe (I hope she drops soon!), sushi, beer, feet that aren't swollen and sore. I'm pretty much tired of being pregnant. Everything is just harder to do now. I realized when Bob was out of town this weekend how difficult it is to reach things or get up off the ground (or couch). It's much easier when he's here to help, but I'm not big on being dependent on someone else.

Movement: Claire is still quite the active little one. It's still amazing to me but b/c of her positioning, sometimes it hurts! I just imagine her in there, standing on her head, kicking me with her feet and punching me with her hands and it makes me laugh though. I wonder what she'll be like when she's out here. We might have a little gymnast or soccer player on our hands. Feeling her move and squirm and kick is definitely the best part of pregnancy!


showered part two

My sweet sister and her friend, Jennifer, (whom I now get to call a friend after being bridesmaids together in Danielle's wedding) threw Claire and I a Christmas-themed shower in Memphis this month. Jennifer and I threw Danielle a bridal shower last year and just really hit it off as friends. It's so fun to me that my sister and I can share friends.

It was such a great idea to make the shower Christmas-themed and they really went all out with the decorations.

The tree looked so pretty, and Claire received lots of wonderful gifts.

We played a few games....I'm not really confident in my knowledge of babies after these - that's a look of concentration on my face!

I opened a lot of ADORABLE outfits from my Mom's friends - thank y'all so much! She is going to be the best-dressed little girl on the block.

And, I just love this diaper cake my sister made. In fact, I love it so much, I didn't want to take it apart so it's sitting all put together on Claire's dresser! I guess when I need a diaper, I'll finally take it apart :)

Thank you both for such a beautiful shower!



Every little girl needs an assortment of bows, right? And a place to keep them. 

I got crafty oh, a month ago, and used an idea I had seen on Pinterest to create this sweet bow holder:

It's pretty and pink and is just waiting on its sweet owner to see it!

Baby girl needs some bows, don't you think? Off to Etsy, I go...


one month!

Today is exactly one month until my due date! To celebrate, I thought I'd share some of the pictures my amazingly talented friend Nicole took for me last week. If you're in the Nashville area, check her out. She's awesome and so fun to work with.

(Sorry there are so many, I had a hard time narrowing it down!)

A little family portrait in front of the tree
This is more like our real life!

Almost 35 weeks

Sweet little shoes!

I love this one. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it's so fun.

That's my teddy bear in the crib, aptly named Brown Bear

Waiting on Claire Jane!


band room makeover

If you're on my Facebook, you may have already seen this, but a friend and former bandmate is the band director at Holt High School, very close to Tuscaloosa. This community was devastated by the April 27 tornadoes that ripped through Alabama and many of the children at that school lost everything.

The band program there, though full of talent, didn't have much in the way of equipment or practice space. Another teacher at the school recognized the need and entered the band program in the Crest + Oral-B Life Opens Up Project for The Rachael Ray Show.

And...they won! Check out this great video that aired on the show this morning - and take special note of Mr. Caddell - he's a great person and band director!

Here he is with Carter :)

(Sorry, I don't know to put the image of a non-YouTube video on Blogger!)

Warning: If you're pregnant or connected to the Tuscaloosa community, you will probably tear up! Double whammy for me!


excuses, excuses

...that's all I have these days.

I've obviously fallen off the blogging wagon again, but it wasn't for lack of trying. I have several saved drafts that were only awaiting pictures...that need to be uploaded from the camera...to the laptop...that was dropped on its head by a certain husband...and hasn't made it to be fixed yet. So, I am pictureless, which made it hard to blog. I'm sure you understand.

I have much to be thankful for, and I'll just leave it at that. Maybe one day I will post my drafts (sans pictures) just for laughs, but that day is not today. Picture what you will about our Mexican vacation and my ever-expanding belly.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this excuse, an apology and an assurance that I am alive and well. And baby girl is kicking, kicking, kicking! I am 34 weeks and R-E-A-D-Y to meet her. 


in thankfulness of heart: days 8 - 9

day 8: I am thankful for Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes. They're not even that good, but when I see them in the store, I can't control myself!


day 9: Today, I am thankful for this girl:

She's a sweet, sweet girl and although we struggle over who's the female head of house, I love her! And...today she is 10 years old. 10! I still remember meeting her for the first time at Bob's apartment in college (pre Bob + Val). She ran circles around the room and chased me off the couch. She let me know pretty quickly that she was the only woman in Bob's life, and I think she'd prefer it still be that way today! Happy Birthday, Grace-dog!


30 weeks

Before date night where we met another another couple who had just found out they were expecting, and we talked baby all night. ;)

30 weeks with Baby Girl Somerville (31 weeks now)

: I've started seeing the doctor every two weeks at this point. Not much to report other than I passed the gestational diabetes test - yah! Claire is measuring right on target and her heartbeat is strong every time. <3

Symptoms: Same as usual. I'm running out of breath VERY easily at this point and it sends my heartrate up, which is scary to me, but I've been assured it's normal. I've got to learn not to overdo it...which is hard for me.
Weight Gain: 20 lbs - we're headed on vacation this week, so I'm sure that number will skyrocket next update :P

Cravings: Nothing in particular - just food! I think I've entered the hungry all the time stage. I can't eat much in one sitting but I could eat just about any time of the day!

Aversions: None really.
Sleep: Not too bad. I wake up a few times a night to use the restroom, but I always go back to sleep. The worst part is just trying to find a comfortable position. Especially when Tanner sleeps in the bed with us. A queen size bed is not big enough for Bob, me and my pregnant belly, and Tanner. We will have a king-size bed before Baby #2 comes along!

I am loving: Setting up all her sweet stuff. We were so blessed with generous friends who threw me a wonderful baby shower. It's so fun to put together the stroller, swing, etc. and see her sweet little clothes hanging in the closet.

I really miss: Being comfortable and being able to breathe :)

Movement: Claire loves to move around - and I love it. I'll admit, there are times when I wish she would take a break, but mostly I'm enjoying watching my tummy roll around and knowing she's getting stronger.

Here I am again - I don't feel THAT big, but when I see pictures, I know I am!


in thankfulness of heart: days 5-7

day 5: I'm thankful for lazy mornings snuggling with the pups in bed. And thankful for a husband who had to get up at 5 a.m. to get to work but never makes me feel bad about sleeping in that one weekend a month.

day 6: I'm thankful that when you're pregnant, it's perfectly acceptable to eat chocolate chip cookies and ice cream for breakfast.


day 7: I'm thankful that in 3 days, I am going on VACATION! Nothing like a Monday to make you grateful for that.


in thankfulness of heart

For the month of November ,I thought I'd join the masses and think harder about what I'm thankful for in life each day. I'm shamelessly stealing this idea from Nicole - with her permission!

As you already know, I'm terrible at posting regularly. So it may be more of a random "thankfulness dump" than daily posting, but I'll try!

Day One:
I'm thankful for a husband who doesn't hesitate to get my pillow from upstairs, serve me dinner, clean up said dinner and pack my lunch for the next day. It is not under-appreciated, honey!

Day Two: I'm thankful for sudden warm days that come in the midst of rainy and cooler weather. Come on, spring!

Day Three: I'm thankful for (more than) half off Halloween candy. Get in my basket, Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins for 25 cents at Kroger!
Day Four: I'm thankful for Fridays that include a date night with my husband. Dinner and Wicked! 

Courtesy of TPAC
What are you thankful for?


more baby shower

Sweet Nicole gave me a CD of photos from the baby shower right after my last post :), so I thought I'd share a few more...

Here she is! Love her!

Awesome favors from Shannon - and delicious too!
Clearly excited :)

Sweet Alex.

My momma
Bob's amazing mom and sister

Incredible hostesses - seriously, you want them to throw YOU a shower
Such great coworkers

It's a small world that allowed us to meet, but I'm so thankful for our friendship, Shannon!


28 week update

Danielle and I at my baby shower - 29 weeks exactly!
28 weeks with Baby Girl Somerville (Once again, I'm a little behind - I'm almost 30 weeks now.)

: 28 week appointment was the gestational diabetes testing. The drink wasn't as bad as people told me it was. I  mean, I don't want to drink it again, but it just tasted like Hi-C - with a gross aftertaste. I am going with the no news is good news theory and assuming I passed b/c I haven't heard otherwise. ;) I've now started bi-monthly appointments - where is the time going???

Symptoms: A little more uncomfortable than I was a month ago. It's harder to find a comfy position to sleep in and I am ex.hausted all the time, but overall, I know I'm a lucky one.
Weight Gain: 19 pounds. And, if you'll remember, that's what I had gained at the 24 week mark, so I'm feeling pretty proud of that. I'm sure that will change before the next appointment though!

Cravings: Sweet things.

Aversions: Still just strong smells
Sleep: See symptoms. :) Not the best time in pregnancy to catch up on my sleep, but I'm trying!

I am loving: Decorating Claire's nursery!

I really miss: Sleeping on my belly. And a cold beer during a football game would be nice.

Movement: She is quite the little acrobat in there. Kicking, punching, rolling around - whatever she wants! And, I can already tell she's going to be a little Foodie like me b/c her favorite time is right after meal time when our bellies are full!


celebrating claire

This past weekend my sweet, sweet friends threw Claire and I a lovely baby shower. They really went above and beyond to make it a special day for me.

I'm stealing photos from Shannon and Nicole as I didn't take a single one!

There was lots of of yummy food - these girls can cook!


My wonderful Mom, sister, mother-in-law and sister-in-law came.

Hello, leg! Sorry about that!
 Claire (and I) received lots of wonderful presents!

And Shannon made these awesome favors for our friends to take home.

Strawberry cake with cream cheese icing
The cutest little pacifiers!
 Love, love, love these girls. Thank you so much Katie, Leigh, Amanda (and Alex!), Nicole, Shannon and Erin for making Claire and I feel so loved. I cannot wait to return the sentiment with each of you! :P



Well, after I posted about hypothetically selling my dogs, karma came back to bite me in the butt. Or rather Grace...just making me feel like about the worst fur-momma ever.

We had a little fall this weekend. Two days later, I think she'll live but I wish you all could see the dramatics that have come out since then - her and Bob, not me!


for sale to a good home...

One, 10-year-old, fawn color boxer answering to the name of Grace who apparently likes to steal pizza dough off the kitchen counter, making it possible for one, 1-year old, black and tan Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, (sometimes) answering to Tanner, to render Momma and Daddy's dinner inedible.

Don't be fooled by those sweet faces.

Any takers? Best offer...

I feel the need to note here that these precious mischievous monsters are not actually for sale...however, if anyone would like to dog-sit for, oh, a week, I wouldn't turn you down!


in the kitchen

Since someone I have to help this baby girl grow, I've been inspired to try a lot of new recipes lately! Or, well, inspired to ask Bob to try a lot of new recipes lately. Hey, a girl's tired at the end of the day!

In the interest of full disclosure, this is how the conversation in my house goes during dinner time these days:

Val: Did you like that recipe? Should we keep it?
Bob: Yum! Yes!
Val: Guess where I found it? You'll never guess...
Together: PINTEREST!

Because apparently the only things I bake, sew, cook or make these days are found on Pinterest. Am I getting predictable?

Ok, back to the point of the post. Here's a few good things that have come out of my kitchen lately...

I can't be bothered to blog take actual pictures of my food these days - sorry, Bob, I know that's why you bought me that expensive camera! - so I'll just have to borrow some off the good old Internet.

Chicken Broccoli Bake - made with a homemade version of canned cream of whatever soup. Yum.

Spicy Chicken and Pepper Jack Pizza - made on Publix pizza dough, of course.

Slow Cooker French Dip sandwiches
And...my personal favorite...

Cream Cheese Rippled Pumpkin Bread - amazing!