Letter to Emmy


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.



Golden Birthday

Though it is only (barely) September, the Tar Heel and I are already working on plans for my Golden Birthday.  I had never heard of a “Golden birthday” until my little, Ave, told me about this fabulous phenomenon. 27 on the 27th!  That’s a fantastic number of sevens. 27 is also my favorite number and one that shows up in my life a lot for some reason (Dustin’s birthday is on the 27th as well:) ). Not to mention that my birthday falls on the weekend this year (the last time that happened was my 21st birthday, also a noteworthy and fun night!)


This all leads me to believe that my 27th year on earth may be the best one so far!

Naturally, for the best year yet, a sufficiently amazing “kick-off” to the year is in order. We are tossing around the idea of an overnight stay at the Carolina Inn for the NCSU@UNC football game.  The NCSU vs. UNC match-up has been near and dear to our hearts as a house divided since the beginning. However, the last five meetings have been especially dear to MY heart because we have WON all of them. :)

With Averi at the NCSU@UNC game in 2008. Second consecutive win if you were keeping track.
Engagement party invite photo session.

But you know, since I have witnessed this particular win so frequently (haha) it may not be as special as something like….A trip to DC? How fun would that be!  I LOVEEEEEEEEE our nation’s capital because I am a huge political nerd and history buff and just absolutely love everything about the city.  The monuments.  The White House.  All the business suits.  The Prepsters. Matchbox Pizza. The youth and the vibrancy of the city… if I could pick one place to live anywhere in the US for at least a few years,  it would be DC.  Love love love. Added (MAJOR) plus: My favorite, Amster, lives just outside of DC and I have been missing her something FIERCE!

In DC for the Pi Phi new chapter installation at GWU circa January 2007 with 40 (yes, 40) of my sorority sisters. THAT was a fun weekend!
Addition points for DC trip: AMSTER!! Here we are the night of her bridal dinner in Wilson, May 2010.

We are also tossing around an idea to visit Asheville/the NC mountains.  We spent my birthday in Black mountain two years ago and it was one of the best trips ever!  We went to Biltmore, stayed at a lovely B&B and had a fantastic time.  The fall is my favorite and it’s beauty is magnified in the mountains where we can see all the beautiful leaves changing to their new, gorgeous hues…

Birthday trip 2010 to Black Mountain. Love my sweet Tar Heel soooo much :)
Shopping at Biltmore!

We have a lot of fun planning to do and I can’t WAIT for my Golden Birthday and Golden Year to be here!



Dustin Day

Yesterday my sweet Tar Heel turned 25 years old.   We started the celebration a little early this weekend on Saturday.

Saturday morning the Tar Heel woke up to this.  The rules of “Dustin Day” included that the gifts had to be opened in order, at specifically designated times throughout the day.  The Tar Heel was so excited and kind of nervous about what the day would hold.   The first gift was a fun gift for him that he has asked about previously and I (luckily) remembered from a few months ago.

The second gift was a bag for his GoPro camera.  I asked him to bring along his GoPro and we took the camera and Gift 3 on a little bike ride.

I packed the Tar Heel’s favorite Orange Cinnamon rolls and we had a little picnic in “our” spot of Daffin park.

Gift 3 was a bike mount for the GoPro, so we were able to mount it to my bike and film our beautiful ride home from the park!  I remember thinking on our ride home that I would truly miss the natural beauty of Savannah.

The fourth gift was a present the Tar Heel asked for specifically — two new Yeti long sleeve tees in white and blue.  I couldn’t believe his excitement when he opened his new tshirts.  This boy LOVES tees and his ENTIRE wardrobe is made up of various shades of white, blue and gray with an emphasis on “Carolina” blues.  It is hilarious/sad. :)

After our breakfast picnic in the park, we started our afternoon at a beautiful winery called September Oaks Vineyard in Ridgeland, SC. This was the entrance to the winery and needless to say it was pretty amazing!

We enjoyed delicious wines and wonderful company at the picturesque vineyard.  The live oaks were so impressive, we couldn’t help but take several (hundred) pictures of the vineyard grounds.  As soon as we drove up to the tasting room, we commented on what a beautiful wedding venue this vineyard would make and as soon as we walked in I saw a couple meeting with their wedding planner and discussing all-things-wedding.  You can spot a couple planning a wedding from a mile away, but these two were especially stereotypical in that the girl was emphatically speaking with the planner and the guy had his head down on the table with a look like “I DON’T CARE ABOUT NAPKIN OPTIONS.” It was amusing, but made me grateful my sweet Tar Heel was such a wonderful fiance and indulged in all my guilty wedding planning pleasures entirely complaint free!

Here I am standing under one of the Live Oaks.  They were h-u-g-e!

My love and his second love (photography) and sporting his fresh new white tee. Hah!

We headed back to Savannah and stopped in at this b-e-a-utiful bakery called “Back In The Day” Bakery.  This was our first visit to the bakery and they are releasing a new cookbook next week!  Scoop up a copy because the Drunk Blondie I had was aaaamazing!

Finally, we wrapped up Dustin Day at Vic’s on the River for dinner.

I even had a surprise present number 5 waiting for the Tar Heel to open when we arrived.

His present came in the box above from PhotoJoJo with the cute little dinosaur in the package.  I LOVE artsy design companies!  The Tar Heel’s final present was another photog gadget-y thing; a Diana lens and adapter for his D90.  The Tar Heel was so excited and couldn’t wait to open it until he got home so it was completely removed from the packaging and in his pocket by the time we left the restaurant. So cute.

Happy Birthday to my Quarter of a Century “old” man – I love you more than you can ever know! -xoxo

ps. So glad you are back down to only one year younger than me.  Those four months are always so long to me. ;)

Birthday Boy

My favorite day of the year is almost here… The day this fantastic man was born!

Photo by Julie Mixon Photography

Two years ago the Tar Heel’s mom,  Mama Kay, and I planned a fantastic Surprise birthday party for our favorite Birthday Boy.  It was a LOT of fun. See below.

A Dustin pile: Dustin, Will, and Me!

Last Year the Tar Heel celebrated his birthday with his groomsmen on his Bachelor Weekend in Charlotte!  The boys made my sweet Tar Heel wear these silly shorts with the words “Soon-to-be-Regina’s”on the buttocks… hah!

This year I have a few fun plans up my sleeve… and I can’t wait to share!  Stay tuned… :)