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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gurleygirls

 

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!

gurleygirls

Leave it to Me

Leave it to me to accept a new traveling position based out of Savannah, GA….

….and have my first traveling assignment in Raleigh, NC!

Yes!  It’s true.  I just spent two lovely weeks in my old stomping grounds.  And my hotel was beside one of my favorite Raleigh establishments, Crabtree Valley Mall–no less!  The strangest part of all was actually staying in a hotel in Raleigh.  It was just so weird. I mean, imagine yourself staying in a hotel in your hometown.  Doesn’t make sense, right?  But I managed.  Also, since I was in North Raleigh for training for two weeks straight,  I had some time to catch up with old friends like my Lil Ave, her husband Grant, my Salty girl Erin, and of course my family and Dustin’s family.  It was so nice to spend time at my other “home,”  especially this close to the beginning of Wolfpack Football season.  I drove by Carter-Finley Stadium, down Dan Allen Drive, and enjoyed a little Village Deli visit for the best Chicken Salad sandwich in the world.  It was almost like being back in school, but better, since I am now able to enjoy the occasional small luxury like my wonderful massage at Jolie Day Spa in Cameron Village.

I can’t explain my connection with that city, but it always stirs my emotions to drive those roads and see those places where I spent some of the best days of my life.  After all, I even named my blog after my love for NC State.  The only thing that kept my trip from being absolutely perfect was that my sweet Tar Heel wasn’t there to enjoy it with me.  It was tough to spend two weeks away, but we were so giddy with excitement to see each other on Friday that it was like our first days together all over again.  I made sure I had just the right outfit on and my hair and makeup done.  We counted down the seconds until I could leave my training class and meet up in Raleigh.  It was soo much fun and I love that two weeks away still makes us feel like that.  :)

Also while I was in Raleigh, the Tar Heel’s first pair of glasses came in to the office and I was sooo upset I didn’t get to see him in them.  Somehow I managed to coerce him into taking a classic “bathroom mirror” shot while at work and he sent it to me via text one day at training and it was sooooo worth the begging!  He actually only agreed after making me promise this picture wouldn’t make it to Facebook/the Blog/anywhere….. but really.  He knows me better than that. O:) Goodness gracious I am thankful this man is all mine! :)

 

Going to the Chapel

March 19, 2011 — Wedding Day

In the months preceding the wedding, I spent a lot of time perusing  The Bride’s Cafe, Southern Weddings Blog, Snippet & Ink,  Millie Holloman Photography Blog and a handful of other top wedding planning sites.   I loved looking at the Real Wedding features and got excited reading the stories of the couples and watching their wedding unfold before my eyes in a glorious display of fantastic photography.

My thoughts often drifted to myself on my own wedding day.  What would it feel like?  What would I do when I first woke up on that morning and remember that today is finally the day?

On my special day, I woke up with the same euphoric feeling I have carried in my heart since the day Dustin and I became boyfriend/girlfriend.  Maybe that’s silly to some people, but we waited so long before we decided to enter any kind of relationship that by the time we “made it official” (read: put it on Facebook), we both knew we would never leave each other’s side.  The first person I saw on the morning of my wedding was my mom.  She came to my room to give me a special gift she had made.  She gave me a beautiful pearl bracelet made from my MaMa’s pearl necklace.  The original pearl necklace was long enough to have a bracelet and necklace made, so my mother wore the necklace on the day of my wedding and I had the bracelet.  It was so special and made us feel so connected to my MaMa the entire day.  I also chose to carry  MaMa‘s handkerchief and tied my bridal bouquet with my favorite brooch that she gave my mother.  The pearl necklace I wore on my wedding day was a gift from my dad the year I graduated from high school.  As you’ve heard me mention before, I am a tried and true “Pearl Girl” so there was absolutely no question what jewelry I would don for my wedding day.  That was one decision I didn’t have to make :)

Just before our makeup artist and hair stylist arrived to my hotel room, I finally completed my vows.  I am such a Type A person, so waiting until the morning of my wedding to complete my vows was incredibly stressful for me.  I couldn’t believe it took me so long to write my vows, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.  I have saved on my computer nearly 40 drafts of wedding vows that I have started and stopped throughout the planning process.  I finally discussed the issue with Dustin the week of the wedding to find out his thoughts and progress regarding our vows.  Since we were writing personal vows and reciting traditional vows, I thought he might be relieved to hear my struggle and decide to only recite traditional vows.  When I explained to him that nothing ever seemed close to good enough to recite to him, he put me at ease when he said “Of course they won’t be perfect. How can they be?  What will ever be good enough to say?  And knowing this, why not relax and just write the best you can.”   My immediate reaction was “GOSH I LOVE YOU! ”  Why didn’t I think of that?  I mean really…. So since he insisted on reciting the personal vows, I decided to relax and wait until the morning of the wedding to write what was on my heart.  That morning the Lord provided me with everything I ever wanted to say, and I am so thankful we decided to write them.  (I plan to share our vows in a post later on in the week.)

Around 11:30am, everyone had arrived at my room and we were all just laughing, reminiscing and enjoying the time together while the finishing touches for hair and makeup were getting finalized.  We had a Chik-Fil-A nugget tray and fruit tray and it was delicious!  It was so special to have my mom, my three best friends, my soon-to-be sister, my soon-to-be second mother, and my sweet, sweet soon-to-be niece in the room getting ready together.  Throw in our photographer, second shooter and videographer and we had one FULL hotel room!  But we made it work and it was beautiful.

Finally, it was time to leave for the chapel.  My bridesmaid and Lil Sis in Pi Phi, Averi, had her sweet husband drive me, Averi, Erin and Amy over to the Chapel.  It was so much fun.  On the way there, Erin reminded me of “Cheese fry Friday” in high school.  “Cheese fry Friday” was when one of us would leave for a “bathroom break” every Friday during our art class (Mrs. Smith’s class) and we would go to the Eagle’s Nest Diner, get cheesefries, and bring them back to class in our backpacks to share!  Hah!  I laughed and laughed because I can honestly say I haven’t thought about Cheesefry Friday since probably the last Friday before I graduated high school 7 years ago.

Once we arrived to the chapel, my maids and I quickly and stealthily snuck into the Bridal Room of the Chapel while the boys were out taking pictures in the church sanctuary.  Before I knew it, my dress was on, bouquet in hand, and it was time to walk down the aisle…

Tomorrow’s post will be all about walking down the aisle to this handsome groom!

53 days

The Tar Heel sent me these beautiful flowers last Wednesday on our “Two months until our wedding day” day!  He is always so thoughftul and sweet.  I can hardly believe we have only 53 days to go until our wedding!  The to-do list is winding down, and I am trying to remain calm but it is hard to stay composed with all these emotions floating around.  I am so excited/anxious/overjoyed and I am just so ready for the day to be here.  BUT, there are some wonderful events that are scheduled to occur between now and our Wedding Day that I am extremely excited about as well! 

– Two job interviews in Savannah!!!!!!! YAY! Praise the Lord and PLEASE pray for the Lord’s Will with me!! 
– Two wedding showers in February hosted by our sweet families.
– The Tar Heel’s first speaking engagement at a local conference.
– My Bachelorette weekend!  I am soooo excited to have my best girls with me for a weekend of fun in Charlotte!  I received this gorgeous invitation to my girls weekend last week, and got SO excited!

I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends in my life.  These girls are going above and beyond anything I expected, and to say I am excited is such an understatment!  And in case you are wondering, the Tar Heel is having a Bachelor weekend the weekend after mine in Charlotte as well.  It’s also his birthday weekend, so that makes me sad I won’t see him on his birthday — but I am sure he won’t mind considering  the fun they are going to have :)  We are both very blessed to have such great friends, and we couldn’t imagine getting married without these awesome people in our lives!

Whew!  Is it March 19th yet?  :)