11 Unforgettable Months

I’m officially done with PA school and trying to get caught up with Emmy’s “month-by-month” first year posts.  This is the final monthly post and the next will be her first birthday party post. These next two posts are long overdue, but Emmy is still cute as ever in the pictures! :)

Emmy turned 11 months old on September 17th. Here’s what happened during her last month as a “baby”!

Emmy had a fun month living it up as a sweet little baby. I know she will always be my “baby” but she sure did do some growing during her 11th month! I spent her 11th month on surgery rotation, which made the month go by even more quickly! We had a ton of fun planning her first birthday party and Emmy had a wonderful time celebrating!

Before her first birthday, Emmy and I attended a sweet baby shower for the fourth (yes, FOUR!) baby to be born in my PA school program! Yes, we have been a fertile group (some might even argue “crazy” would be a better descriptor)! There are 40 people in my class, and Emmy was the second baby born out of our group. If you include our two faculty members (one of which is my adviser who had her baby 6 short weeks before I gave birth to Emmy) who had babies during school, we have had SIX PA babies with one more due in MARCH!! And of all seven babies, only TWO have been girls! (And we ALL went to the same OB/GYN office, too!) So Emmy and I were very excited to attend Elise’s shower for Baby M who also happens to be a little girl :) Baby M is joining a very special group and we are so excited to meet her soon!

At the shower, Emmy loved playing with little Timothy, who is six months older than her. I have relied on his mommy so much for help/guidance when I found out I was pregnant with her during school, and she has been my first resource for basically everything “baby” ever since. It was so sweet to watch our now toddlers playing together. :) We have prayed fervently over these babies and I love seeing them thriving and seeing us near the END of PA school, finally!

Also of note, Emmy had her first little temper tantrum during this month. I remember being so startled when I saw her sitting on the floor playing nicely then all of a sudden, she threw her head down to the floor in front of her and sobbed uncontrollably when I said “no, no” as she put a piece of dirt in her mouth. I wasn’t sure what the heck to do and as I was still considering my options, she picked herself up and walked away as if nothing had happened. Yep. That was fun. We had further discipline issues when Emmy realized she could bang her blocks on our glass screen door and make a very loud noise. She did it a couple times, I told her no, and she stopped. For about 5 seconds. Then she watched for my reaction as she banged the blocks again. So I took the two blocks from her. Cue: 2nd temper tantrum. What happened next was a bit of a surprise – she stopped crying, stood up, and walked over to her toy box and proceeded to remove two more blocks and went right back to banging on the glass. I was torn between being proud of her problem-solving skills and dismayed because she clearly defied my directions. Something tells me I may be feeling that same paradox of emotion for the next 18 years….

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EM @ 11 Months

Weight: 24.5 lbs

Firsts: Temper tantrums, first trip to the Wayne County Regional Fair, FIRST STEPS! We had been watching this girl pulling up on the couch and taking baby steps all along the length of the couch for several weeks now. She decided to take her first steps at daycare, but we were so lucky to have such wonderful teachers with a cell phone video always nearby. They sent us a quick video of her first steps at daycare. I am so grateful for the attention and love she receives at WCS when I can’t be there myself. LOVE that daycare!

Sizes: Still in 12-18 months clothes. Diapers: Size 5

Likes: Emmy started eating lots of new things this month and basically eats whatever we eat. She does (somehow) already know what dessert is and looks like, though. She gets excited and kicks her little feet when she sees something with pretty icing or anything gooey. She also loves big white marshmallows. She loves marshmallows so much, that one day she found a bag of cotton balls and got so excited… She eagerly shoved the bag in my direction and made grunting noises (translated means: OPEN! OPEN!) and so I did. She quickly stuffed one inside her mouth and I will never forget the LOOK of disappointment she had when she realized this particular big white ball was NOT the edible kind and she spit it back out!! LOL :)

Dislikes: Being told “no” and cold baby wipes! She is a picky wee one. :)

 

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Christmas 2014 in Pictures

I have so many drafts of posts in process (including Emmy’s 11 months and 12 months posts) but I wanted to get this special post up. We have enjoyed Christmas 2014 so very much, and we are SO thankful for everything that has transpired this season and every day in 2014. It has been an incredibly challenging, but also very rewarding and wonderful year. So I wanted to do a quick “post in pictures” of all our happenings from December 9 through to the New Year!

December 9, 2014 – I completed and passed my final summative piece of PA school, confirming my ability to walk with my class during graduation and long white coat ceremonies, despite having one rotation left. THIS was a very big deal to me – I started with my class in August 2012, and I was determined to walk with them at graduation, even though I had to take some time off for maternity leave. And it worked out that way, Praise God! Before the official ceremonies, we celebrated as a class at Raleigh Brewing Co. complete with pizza and a slideshow!
1December 12-13, 2014 – Long White Coat Ceremony & PA Program Graduation
The long awaited day had finally arrived when I would receive my Long white coat.  I’ve come a long way since getting my Short white coat in August 2012!  I had no idea I would be graduating with a 14-month-old when I started this program but I am so thankful for HIS plans for me! :)

2December 14, 2014 – We played at Carter’s Playce for my nephew Dane’s 5th birthday party! Emmy insisted on sitting at the table with the big kids. She is so growny! The next day, we picked out a tree from the Country fruit stand and then had major toddler meltdowns with the strands of lights during the decorating process.  We also had some fun with them, too. :)

3December 18. 2014 – We had a family fun day! We started out the day in Bass Pro Shops to get our picture taken with Santa.  This was our third attempt at meeting/sitting with Santa, and it was the third time Emmy hated it!  Bless her heart. She loved the shopping though, and tried to pick up a little electric four wheeler all by herself. Tough Girl!

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After Bass Pro shops, we headed to Marbles Kids Museum!  It was Emmy’s first trip to Marbles, and she loved it!  She especially loved the little mini corvette, the bassinets with the babies and blankets (she kept taking wrapping them up) and the painting area!

5Since this was my first time to marbles, I had no idea that Keith Norval painted the stools in the creative arts area! I LOVE him and even own one of his pieces!

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The following days were filled with more shopping, taking home our sweet crafts from daycare, our first Christmas celebration at the Pearson Open House and mommy practicing some of her clinical skills on Emmy.

6December 21, 2014 – Emmy was an angel in the church Christmas play.  Last year she was Baby Jesus.  We were even more proud of this year’s performance!

IMG_0656December 24, 2014 – We celebrated Christmas Eve with Gigi, Aunt Lindsey, Scott, cousins Karis and Brannon, Aunt Joanna and Uncle Drake and then Christmas Eve night we celebrated with the Sullivan clan!  It was such a fun day/night and Emmy loved all the attention, food, and time with family.  I loved seeing Dustin’s face as he opened a new lens from his mom!  He got so excited and was completely surprised.  The best :)

7December 25, 2014 – Merry Christmas!  We celebrated with our little family by opening gifts and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, then we went to my parent’s for lunch and dinner.  Emmy had so much fun playing with her cousin Dane!

8December 26-28, 2014 – We went to the Valley Creek Lights show in Clayton and Emmy was mesmerized! We also spent the days after Christmas lounging, spending time with family, and celebrating cousin North’s baby dedication! We even got a chance to cook some of the ribeye steaks we won in Dirty Santa :)

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We have loved these last few days together before going back to my FINAL rotation and back to work for Dustin.  I’ve had two additional job interviews during my time off so I’m praying for that situation as well!  We spent New Years Eve riding around on our new golf cart (so fun) and went to dinner at Kobe where Emmy devoured her hibachi chicken and shrimp.  She is a good little eater!  I also cherish the time we spent with friends over the holidays, including my dear friends Matt and Amy who live in Baltimore but were in town for the holidays, and my sweet friend Averi and her almost one-year-old Georgia Mac!

1011In many ways I am sad to see this year go.  I loved watching Emmy grow up from a baby to a little toddler over the last few months and I am going to miss these milestones, for sure.  But we also look forward to what 2015 will bring and pray for health, happiness and a peace that can only come from Jesus!

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Letter to Emmy

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My darling Emerson Mae,

We celebrated your first birthday as a family this weekend and it was so much fun! I know your favorite part was having all your little cousins and friends to run and play with on your “new and improved” jungle gym set that your Granddaddy made for you. You laughed and walked as fast as your newly walking legs could take you.

I can’t believe you were born one year ago today. It was so vivid, and a little bit of a blur all at the same time. I will never forget the morning you were born. You were born by an elective cesarean section, as recommended by our obstetrician. We arrived at the hospital the morning of my surgery and I could tell your daddy was scared as we parked the car. I was ready to meet you, but he was so worried about what could happen if something went wrong. We cried as your daddy covered us all with prayer, right there in the parking lot of the hospital. But I wasn’t scared, little one. God gave me such a beautiful peace that morning. So I prayed that He would give that to your daddy, too.

As we went through registration and made our way to the pre-op holding area, I changed into my hospital gown and had IV fluids started. I think my prayers were answered, as your daddy started getting very goofy and giddy with excitement while we were in holding. He started taking pictures of EVERYTHING! He didn’t want to miss a thing. I just wanted it all to hurry up so I could meet you… :)

Eventually, I said goodbye to your daddy and he was taken to the room next to the OR where he waited for you to be delivered. As soon as your daddy had to leave me, I started to panic. I was terrified. I started shaking and crying on the table. I knew what to expect as our doctors and nurses had explained everything, multiple times. But the fear was overwhelming. We had an angel of a CRNA that helped to keep me as calm as possible and explained everything that was happening as it occurred. Soon your daddy came back into the OR and my tears would not stop, even with him by my side. When the surgeon asked me if I was ready to see you, I excitedly said “yes!!” and he lifted you out of my tummy. Every bit of my fear was washed away the moment I saw you.

You came into this world screaming!  Your cries were so loud, but so, so beautiful to us. I remember one of the nurses commented that you had a “powerful” set of lungs! You screamed the entire time the nurses washed you, weighed you, and checked your vitals. You screamed so much, until finally they placed you near my face while the surgeon closed my incision, and I finally got to say “hello.” When you heard me speaking to you for the first time, you stopped crying completely! It was the most amazing moment for me. I knew you knew exactly who I was. You knew I was your mommy, and I knew you were going to change my life completely.

You were born on the first day of the NC state fair last year, and so each night we were in the hospital, we excitedly watched the amazing fireworks show from our hospital room window. Your daddy and I have watched the NC state fair fireworks show together every year since 2009. It was like the Lord was giving us our own mini celebration each night! You had so many visitors in the hospital – so many family members that drove over an hour to meet you in all your precious, new baby glory.  You had us all wrapped around your sweet finger from day one!

Once we finally brought you home, I was kind of a mess the first few weeks you were in our life. I was terrified I couldn’t take care of you as well as you needed me too. I felt overwhelmed, nervous, anxious, emotional, and exhausted 24/7. Your daddy stayed home with us for the first week. When he went back to work, your GiGi came over our first day alone together and she helped me so much. I cried when your daddy left, cried when GiGi got there, cried when GiGi left, and cried with your daddy got home. There were lots of tears from you AND me in the beginning. Eventually, though, we got into a beautiful routine. You knew I would always be there for you no matter what you needed, and I learned to take care of you as best I could. You started wanting only me around, and I felt needed and loved by you. That made me happier and more confident that I could take care of you! We had a wonderful 11 weeks together on maternity leave before I went back to school and I will never forget that special time with you.

This past year has been an absolute whirlwind! It has been so wonderful to watch you grow and develop your own little personality. I felt like we both met milestone after milestone because you were growing with me through clinical rotations. Every one of my preceptors have been impressed by you being in my life during school, and they all grew to know and love you through all the hundreds of pictures I share of you each day. You were also a huge hit when you were still in my belly when I was on rotation, and you were given so many gifts from patients! The Lord knew just what He was doing by sending you to your daddy and me when He did. You have given me so much determination, focus, and drive to get through PA school. Not to mention that because of you, I could truly empathize with my OB patients, and in being a patient in general. You are my very best motivator and have pushed mommy to get through some very difficult times! I couldn’t have made it through school without you, your daddy, and the favor of the Lord, and I thank you for that sweet girl.

My little Emmy, I love you so much and look forward to all of the “next steps” with you. Yes, your first birthday has made me miss all of our time together when you were a tiny baby. But this life is so fleeting, that we should dare not spend more time in the past than the precious gift we have been given to live life in the present. You are such a light in our world and a joy in our home. You are the most amazing little girl, and a most precious child of GOD!  Your daddy and I are so blessed to have you in our lives. We cannot wait to watch you learn and grow, and pray you will grow through this life being friends with Jesus and teaching others about that friendship, too. We have so many things we want to teach you, yet you teach us something new every single day.  I pray you always keep your “powerful set of lungs” by speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves, and showing the love of Christ to all those around you. Above all, I hope you always feel how much you are LOVED. Happy FIRST birthday, beautiful girl. We can’t wait to celebrate every day with you!

I love you little Goosey.

Mommy

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Ten Months

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We are only a few weeks away from celebrating our baby girl’s first birthday, and I can honestly say this has been the fastest year ever. Celebrating her many firsts and milestones has been a highlight of my life, and the time “before Emmy” seems like a distant memory at this point. Dustin and I are so blessed by her each and every day. From her sweet smiles and cuddles in the morning to her stubborn, short tempered “meltdowns” – she is 100% “US” and we couldn’t love her more!

Over the last month, we have had lots of fun adventures. We started off her tenth month of life on a mini-venture to Raleigh, NC. We spent time with our sweet friends Elisabeth and husband Tyler, and friends Averi and husband Grant. Elisabeth and Averi are two of my Pi Phi sisters, and I love them dearly. Averi is actually my Lil Sis, and she gave birth to Georgia MacHenry (Georgia Mac) three months (almost to the day) after Emmy. We enjoyed our pregnancy together, and now we get to watch our little legacies grow up together! We planned this weekend a few weeks in advance. Elisabeth and Tyler traveled all the way from Charlotte to meet Miss Emmy Mae and Miss Georgia Mac for the first time! We started out our day together at a favorite spot of ours in college, Café Carolina. After we had our fill of lunch and cupcakes, we decided to do something a little spontaneous – to stop by our old sorority house and show our girls the house and reminisce a little. August 17th also happened to be “move-in” weekend at my alma mater, NC State, and so campus was busy and exciting and everything I remember it being and more. When we arrived to the sorority house, we had our husbands take pictures outside but they insisted on leaving to get beer instead of hanging out inside, so they headed back to Averi’s house. Being in our sorority house (my former home) and meeting several of the current NC Delta Pi Phis was such a surreal experience for a couple reasons. First, I couldn’t believe Averi and I had a seven month old and ten month old in tow as we stepped through our front door. Second, this fall marks the ten year anniversary since I started college at NC State. HANDS DOWN, my undergraduate college experience at NCSU was one of my favorite seasons of life. And it was absolutely due in part to my Pi Phi sisters and the amazing sense of home I immediately established in Raleigh with my Wolfpack Family. I was SO HAPPY to share this with my little Emmy! And I know she couldn’t understand all of that at ten months, but we will be going back to campus for family outings and sporting events as much as possible as she grows up. Eventually, I hope she starts to understand why I love my Wolfpack and all things STATELY so much, and that she may even share in that love one day as a student and alumni herself!

In addition to our Raleigh road trip, we took a slightly longer drive… all the way to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the Miss America competition!! Yes, you read that right. I am not much of a “pageant follower” though I have always enjoyed watching the competitions on TV and can remember several “girls night” sleepovers with friends gathered around watching either Miss NC or Miss America. We found our way at Miss America this year for one very good reason: my sweet cousin Beth was crowned Miss NC this summer and we went to support her on this incredible journey! We had the BEST time walking on the boardwalk and attending the pageant. My parents, brother and sister-in-law and nephew all went in addition to my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and some family friends to support our sweet Beth. Although she did not place in competition, she represented our state well at all of the preliminary events and we are SOOO proud of her! Emmy was such a doll on the trip. Everyone doted on her everywhere we went. She is just a little ham around people, and especially around other children. She LOVES kids and gets so excited and reaches towards them, kicking her feet excitedly trying to get down to crawl to them. We were so nervous about taking her on an 8-9 hour drive, but she did amazingly well. We stopped only once on the way to NJ, according to when Emmy was at the end of her patience with driving. It ended up being all the way outside of Baltimore, and coincidentally, 1.5 miles from where one of my favorite people in the world lives, my Amster. When I put it together that we were super close to her house, I texted her and luckily, she was able to meet us outside the Cracker Barrel where we were having lunch. It was such a LUCKY, spontaneous reunion and I LOVED getting to see her and Matthew!! We also got to see her sweet Mom and brother, who happened to be in town as well!! Love how the Lord works out happy little meetings like that :)

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EM @ 10 Months

Weight: 23.5 lbs

Firsts: Emmy went to NC State’s campus for the first time, and to the Pi Phi house there as well! She also met Elisabeth and Tyler for the first time. She also went on her first big roadtrip to NJ. She got two more teeth this month, this time up top! They broke through, finally, after several miserable days. Emmy also got Hand, foot, and mouth this month :( After three days of absolutely horrible pain and refusal to eat/drink, our darling girl started feeling like herself again. She never actually got any blisters anywhere externally, only had them on her mouth which made eating a miserable activity. Fortunately, she is better now! Emmy was also in her first official “public” photo shoot as a baby for a campaign ad of a good friend that’s running for office. She was perfect and adorable in all the shots, of course. ;) The shoot as also at Pullen Park, one of my favorite places in Raleigh and we took full advantage of our time there after the photo shoot. Emmy rode the train and the carousel for the first time and loved it! :)

Sizes: Still in 12-18 months clothes. Diapers: Size 5

Likes: Shrimp! This girl loves eating tiny bits of fried shrimp. She also loves crawling as fast as humanly possible and is walking VERY quickly with her walker. She maneuvers that thing like a race car! :) She has now conquered the “NO” headshake, and is the typical response when I ask her any question. She is beginning to toss her spoon around and mimic feeding herself. She also transitioned down from 6 bottles (~24-30 oz) of breast milk a day, down to only 2 sippy cups of breast milk (~8 oz day). This allowed mommy to STOP PUMPING this month, which mommy loves! :) We still have a great stock pile going so she still gets her breast milk and

Dislikes: Sharing, being told “No” and when she is diverted from doing anything potentially dangerous. Her fingers are like magnets to light sockets and/or anything small and round that can block her airway. She keeps us on our toes, 24/7!

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Nine Months

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Fotor0901225522I can’t believe it.  Emmy has officially been outside of my belly longer than she was inside!  And, much like my pregnancy did, these months have flown by.  Here’s what’s happened during Emmy’s ninth month!

Our precious girl is becoming more and more independent each day, and I am blessed to watch her grow.  She is crawling so well, and has started pulling up and standing up on her own or by balancing with someone (or something).  I can’t believe how much she changed from a “young baby” to an “older baby” over night. She lost those extremely chubby cheeks and now has only “somewhat” chubby cheeks. ;) She has learned how to wave and say ByeBye like a pro!

Emmy thoroughly enjoyed her nine month photo session with the amazing Amanda of Millie Holloman Photography.  Millie was there to help and make funny faces/silly noises, too.  It was AWESOME to finally meet them!  We traveled all the way to Wilmington for the shoot, which was the PERFECT excuse to enjoy one of our favorite cities!  We stayed with Dustin’s sweet brother and sister-in-law, which is always a treat.  After the shoot, we headed to Elijah’s on the water, where Dustin and I had our wedding reception three years ago.  It was wonderful to take our beautiful little girl to the place where we enjoyed our first few hours as husband and wife, now as a family of three. :)

The majority of Emmy’s ninth month, I was on rotation in the emergency department.  I was working crazy hours (2pm-12am, five days a week) and I missed my girl so much. We managed to get through it, though.  She had her first awful cold just a few days into my rotation, and two nights in a row she was still up with her daddy when I got home around 12:30am. So I stayed up with her those nights and walked the halls until she drifted to sleep, several hours later.  It reminded me of her days as a newborn, when I would stare at the clock and think “I HATE YOU, 4AM.”  It seems to me, no one should be awake at 4am. And I was awake every morning at 4am until Emmy was about 10 weeks old.  Then, like a light switch, she started sleeping through the night and I was able to sleep through the 4:00am hour once more. :)

I was off one full week this month and so Emmy and I got to spend a lot of time making up our moments apart during my ER rotation. We even went to Wilmington again, this time with Gigi and cousin Karis to have a girl’s trip with Aunt Joanna.  It was such a great time and I loved seeing my little girl interacting with her big cousin and Aunt and Gigi.  She loves them all so much!

Emmy also went with me to Campbell University on the last day of my week off for my very last Convocation, EVER!!!  ALL of my classmates and faculty members gushed over how precious little Emmy was and she lovvvveeed the attention.  She waved ByeBye to everyone, and it was so sweet! I was so proud of my darling little girl, and loved showing her off to everyone.  She is such a blessing to me, and I can’t imagine my life without this girl!  She is everything I could ever hope for and more.  I had no idea I could love someone so much… :)

 

EM @ 9 Months

Weight: 22.5 lbs

Firsts: Emmy saw Elijah’s for the first time, and she enjoyed their famous crab dip. She loved it!  She also got to see Uncle Drake and Aunt Joanna’s house for the first time.  She loved eating yogurt for the first time, and we discovered she is quite the fun little shopping buddy. Emmy MOVED UP to the N2 nursery room (6months-1year), which was a BIG deal in our house! It was definitely a harder transition on mommy than Emmy… She is the youngest in her class now, but she is doing very well and keeping up with the big kids according to her teachers! This month we also organized her closet, which is a huge first for us!  We have officially packed away all of her under 12months clothes!! :(  But, it was necessary to finally get her room organized. Now she loves opening and closing her closet door and pulling her shoes out of their cubby.  She is a SHOE GIRL for sure!

Sizes: Still in 12-18 months clothes. Diapers: Size 5

Likes: Shopping, trying new foods, and spending time in her bob strolling around outside. She could stroll and be content for HOURS.  Emmy also really liked visiting Campbell. She was friendly, content, and enjoyed seeing everyone while mommy was in convocation. She was the best behaved 9 month old around!

Dislikes: Again, she is learning what she can and cannot do/have.  She doesn’t like hearing NO!

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