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

PA School Magic

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This is what having 20+ people watching your US looks like!

I don’t think it would come as a surprise to anyone to know that being pregnant while being in PA school is a constant struggle.  Of course, we didn’t plan for it to happen this way – but the Lord certainly did.  And while life as a PA student/ pregnant lady is hard 99% of the time, there is that 1% of the time where absolute magic happens.   Fortunately for me, I got to experience that just two short weeks ago and it will be something I will always remember.

The back story: A few weeks ago I was approached by Professor Johnson, one of our faculty members, with a proposal for an opportunity to be an “OB OSCE” patient.  This would entail having all 39 of my classmates watch me receive a full anatomy scan ultrasound.  Mrs. Johnson insisted that I not make a decision without going home to talk to Dustin and really think everything through.  I guess she could tell I was very eager to say yes, and I so reluctantly agreed to sleep on it.

After speaking with Dustin, we discovered we did have some questions about the process and so I met with Prof. Johnson to discuss.  After allaying a few fears, I knew this would be an amazing opportunity that I did not want to miss.  I mean who gets to say they had 39 classmates (practically family members at this point) present to meet your baby in utero?  I could hardly wait!

Finally the day was here and everyone (me and members of faculty) had managed to keep everything a complete secret.  So all my classmates knew is that they would be observing an ultrasound of a “real” OB patient before practicing in the simulation lab.

After listening to a presentation on OB ultrasound, we headed for a bathroom break and I snuck into the exam room to get ready.  Dustin was there with my mom, which was a request I made at the beginning of our planning.  I figured it would be a more realistic scenario if family were present so Mrs. Johnson happily agreed.  We were all prepped and ready for the students to arrive.

When everyone walked in, the feeling of excitement was overwhelming for me. There were lots of “ohhhs” and “awws!” going around the room. When the instructor put the transducer on my belly and sweet baby Gurley made its debut, it was AWESOME.  Everyone’s faces just lit up and there were even a few tears!! I told the sonographer to not hold back any details about Baby Gurley, and so when it came time to obtain the view to determine sex, we let the students guess and we confirmed/announced what Baby Gurley will be!  It was AMAZING!!!  Everyone got excited and giddy and it was just such an incredible experience.

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Still from the video of us checking in on Baby Gurley! Abby had just said “This is going to make me cry!” so sweet :)

We watched Baby Gurley yawn, flex fingers, and kick like crazy for almost 20 minutes!  Even the smallest movement would elicit the loudest “Aww” from the group.  I was so proud, so elated, so happy… really, there aren’t enough words to describe it.  It was truly beautiful.  Dustin recorded most of the ultrasound and took some great pictures, and I have loved watching the videos over and over.

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Another video still of one of my favorites, Kat, and her excitement at seeing Baby G moving around on screen! Love that girl!

I spoke with Prof. Johnson later the next day and we both were just in awe at how much better the experience was than we were expecting.  I looked over at her a few times during the ultrasound and saw her wiping away tears and just thought about how much bigger this event really is than what I ever thought it could be.

The pregnant body is such a blessing from God.  I am learning every day just how amazing our God is simply by each continued breath I take – a breath which I am in turn giving to my growing baby.  My hope for this experience was that each of my classmates would grow to see a pregnant woman as TWO bodies in one; and to never take for granted that each decision for mom is a decision simultaneously made for the fetus.  I was so naive about pregnancy and obstetrics before I became pregnant myself (and I certainly don’t claim to know it all now.)  But I have learned to be so much more respectful of the pregnant body and the unfathomable miracle that it truly is.  Of course, I know my passion for OB/GYN is fueling much of my intensity regarding pregnancy (my own and in general).  But it is such an important population that we will all inevitably come across in practice at some point in time.  I hope Baby Gurley will leave a lasting, deeply memorable impression. I know our little one has already given that to me.

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Ba-bee Gurley at 18 weeks 1 day!

regina3

17 Weeks

We had such a wonderful weekend for my “first” Mother’s day. We spent Friday and Saturday celebrating my brother’s graduation from NC State with his Master’s degree.  I always love attending NC State events – sports, graduation, all of it. Friday was the departmental graduation which was smaller in size (but still conferred around 450 degrees) and Saturday morning was the BIG graduation for all the undergrad/grad school graduates.  There are now 5,255 additional alumni in our NCSU family.  I am still so jealous that undergrads get to wear the RED caps and gowns (started just a year or two after  I graduated) for graduation!  I just can’t put into words how much I love that university.  It was above and beyond some of the best years of my life. I cannot WAIT to take our sweet little baby bee for a tour of my beautiful campus. One of my favorite parts of attending big graduation is when we always close the ceremony with everyone singing our Alma Mater. It just gives me chills to hear everyone shout NC STATE! and I always get a little choked up. I am so happy to have the opportunity to be completing my professional degree at Campbell, but my heart belongs to State.

In honor of my brother graduating, a picture of me at my NCSU graduation in 2008... hah! I was just a baby at 22, but I literally felt like I could do anything in the world that day.
In honor of my brother graduating, a picture of me at my NCSU graduation in 2008… hah! I was just a baby at 22, but I literally felt like I could do anything in the world that day.

One of my favorite moments this weekend was when my nephew, Dane, asked me and Uncle Dustin when we were going to the “baby store” to get our baby. Hah!  How sweet is that.  He definitely knows a baby is on the way, just a little confused about when he/she will get here. I think he is more than ready to finally have a little cousin to play with!

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Baby Dane proudly proclaiming that he wants to go to NC State too just like his dad (and mom and Aunt Gina)!
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With my gorgeous cousin Beth after Michael’s graduation. She is the reigning Miss Goldsboro and will compete for the Miss NC crown in just a few weeks. Can’t wait to cheer her on! Also, Baby Gurley bump is highly evident in this dress!!

Sunday was the big day – my first mother’s day. It was so exciting to be able to celebrate that event for the first time.  I felt a little like it wasn’t entirely for “me” since my baby is still growing in my belly – but I have had more than my fair share of sleepless nights and nauseated days to be able to carry the mommy title. At least everyone I saw that day still told me Happy Mother’s Day and confirmed that “it still counts”!  Mother’s Day morning we worshiped at Vintage Church in downtown Raleigh where we were lucky enough to watch Dustin’s newest baby cousin being dedicated to  the Lord.

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Jamie, Luke, and Baby Gage at the dedication. That is one gorgeous baby!

The service started out with the story of Abraham and Sarah being told they would conceive, and it was such a beautiful and fitting story for mother’s day. It is one of my most favorite stories of the bible and is a beautiful example of the Lord’s steadfast love for us AND his sense of humor!  If you haven’t read it, you should!! We also sang In Christ Alone, one of our wedding songs.  The Lord was certainly speaking to us that morning and I will always remember it as a very special way to start my first mother’s day.

Vintage did a super nifty thing for all the guests that morning – they set up a photobooth outside in the parking lot!  Here’s one of our shots.

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What a fun idea. :)

We then went back to Luke and Jamie’s for a cookout/hangout with the family for the afternoon.  It was so much fun! I loved catching up with Jamie and talking to her about all-things-baby. She has been a sweet source of encouragement ever since we told everyone we were expecting. She will randomly send me a text of some helpful pregnancy hint or a good book recommendation. She is awesome like that!  Luke and Jamie did a wonderful job hosting the whole bunch of us and I am so glad we got to spend time with them and the rest of our family on such a special day!

I had several sweet texts and calls from friends telling me Happy Mother’s day that morning. One of my favorites was from my bff Salty. She sent me this and I thought it was cute to share for all the mommies out there:

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Her text with this picture attached read “The future words of Baby Gurley” haha! LOVE that girl!

Hope your Mother’s Day was extra special as well!

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Pi Phi Wine & Design

Without a doubt, one of the best outcomes of moving back to the Triangle area is being able to once again be involved with the NC TriAngels — the Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club for the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill areas.  I was pretty involved in 2008 and 2009 right after I graduated from undergrad, but when I moved back east I couldn’t really attend any events and after moving to Savannah, I ended up joining the club down there.

Last night I went to my first Triangle alum event since 2009ish at the Raleigh Wine & Design.  There were a few familiar faces and lovely new faces as well.  I re-connected with two sisters from my own chapter and met several sweet new girls.  Everyone was so welcoming and it was like picking right back up where we left off.  I love those types of friendships.

Aside from getting to see everyone again, I was SO excited for this event specifically because I have been wanting to go to Wine & Design for soooo long!!  In what seems like a former life now, I actually once loved to paint, draw and had a special gift with chalk pastels.  In high school, I spent hours in art class and took every class imaginable.  Anyway, it was my escape and I loved it and I was fairly good at it.  But ever since starting college, I haven’t had the chance to hone my skill or even just let go and paint a little.  Aside from the random silly craft, I just sort of let that hobby go.  I was really looking forward to holding a brush for the first time in far too long.

In the end it was a fantastic night of catching up with old friends, good wine and some pretty decent painting if I do say so myself.

Happy to be back, Raleigh!