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 :)

PicMonkey Collage

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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

3D Deliciousness

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Perfect for little baby bee feet :)

I’ve been out of school for nearly two weeks and I still feel as though there is more to be done between now and October 24th than I could ever actually accomplish! I am hoping this sense of being overwhelmed goes away soon.  (I have a feeling it will not!)  But, while moving an entire house and setting up a nursery/preparing for baby can be the very definition of crazy at times, I am so thrilled and blessed to be given such a wonderfully “crazy” task. Dustin and I are getting so excited and a little nervous, of course.  But we know that at the end of the day, the Lord never gives you more than you can handle and so we are resting on Him and His reassurance that we will make it!

Baby G
Baby G

This morning we had our 3D ultrasound.  It is our final “scheduled” ultrasound and so we asked Dustin’s step-mom to join us.  All of Baby Gurley’s grandmas have now met her in utero. Admittedly, we used these ultrasound visits as opportunities to get each of them even MORE excited for her arrival, and I think it worked!  I know our little girl is already so deeply loved by each of her grandparents, even before she takes her first breath of air.  Today’s ultrasound visit was especially amazing, however.  Truthfully, I had never been a fan of the 3D U/S images I had seen people put up on facebook and other social media outlets.  I thought they were a bit creepy.  BUT, it is a whole different story when the creepy 3D U/S pictures are of your OWN little baby! :)  We couldn’t have been happier with our images and the whole visit was just so sweet.  We even got to take home some video of her yawning and rubbing her little hand to her face.  Seeing her move while feeling her move also makes a lot more sense to me now. She has been getting SO active, and watching my tummy bounce and contort into various positions has been funny and interesting, to say the least! It was nice to watch her move in real time to understand specifically what her kicks/rolls/punches feel like.  I joke with Dustin every night that we have an Olympic athlete in training.  Sometimes she really “goes for the gold” with her kicks and punches and it takes my breath away! But, she has been doing that to me since day one. :)

Riley getting some Bump love
Riley getting some Bump love

Mom and I finally finished registering for baby girl and I am glad that task is behind us.  I didn’t think it would be quite so difficult, seeing as how three years ago I was registering for a wedding.  But  let it be known, this is completely different from registering for a wedding.  First, you don’t have a clue what you should register for in the first place. Second, who knows that what you do register for will even work for your baby?  Every time I scanned one of the Johnson & Johnson Bedtime bath lotions/moisture wash/shampoos (I simply LOVE that smell), I would think about the babies who suffer from eczema who can’t even use anything but fragrance/dye/chemical free.  Or when I register for breastpump accessories. What if I can’t breastfeed for some reason? Or bottles. Oh good Heavens, the number of bottles to choose from and the multitudes of opinions that accompany each of them. At the end of the day, I can rest easy in a few registry picks I am fairly certain we will need without question: blankets, onesies, and diapers.

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 We found our peds office!  Dustin and I went to the meet-and-greet after hearing wonderful things about their PA, and while we were there we found out one of their physicians in the practice was a favorite lecturer of mine last semester. We were sold at that point!  Yep, we are driving our kid to a peds office over 30 minutes away.  Yep, we might be crazy.  And yep, I know it will be worth it for her to receive excellent healthcare.

 Slowly but surely we are making our way to the finish line. And I can hardly wait to get my arms around her cute little self!  Eeeek I am so excited! :)

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29 Weeks Stats

Baby is the size of: Small cabbage (And weighing in at 3lbs, 2 oz officially)

Favorite food this week: Dippin dots icecream in Banana Split. Dirt cake from Sheets gas station (who knew they even had this? but omg, so good).

Good news: Passed Glucola test! Woot!  Bring on the dessert.

Babymoon #3: Charleston, SC coming up in two days! YAY!

Favorite new thing: Since we are now counting fetal kicks, I am hyper-aware of her movements but more specifically, her lack of movements. If we go more than an hour without feeling a kick (or even small movement) we have learned exactly what to do to get a little kick from her — a gentle push on the right side of my belly with my palm.  She does NOT like her space to be invaded! We get an immediate response from her (generally).  We tried rubbing, talking, lights, etc. – but this seems to work best. I am still super nervous at having to count kicks at all…

Favorite daddy-to-be moment: When I asked Dustin what his favorite part of my pregnancy has been so far he replied with “Two words: ICE. CREAM.” hah!

15 Weeks, 5 Days

I cannot believe we are already only a few days away from being 16 weeks along with our sweet little Baby Bee.  Ever since we found out we were expecting, we’ve been calling Baby Gurley our little Baby Bee.  We buy lots of bee things around here because it reminds us of a special time in our life – when the Tar Heel was a SCAD Bee down in Savannah!  Now we can hardly wait to add one more very special Bee to our family this fall :)

We started a garden, the perfect spot for our baby Bee spinning flag!

And as of almost two weeks ago, we now know what our little Baby Bee will “bee”!  We are so excited.  When we went for my 12 week visit and ultrasound, we were presented with the option of doing some testing for chromosomal changes that may indicate serious disorders or syndromes.  I had really wrestled with this, and after speaking to a few friends, had pretty much decided we wouldn’t do any testing.  We figured no matter the outcome of the tests, we wouldn’t change anything.  One of the major perks of being pregnant in PA school is having access to some incredible medical resources.  One of my mentors at school happens to have practiced women’s health for 20+ years. When I mentioned to her we decided against testing, she kindly asked if I cared to know what she often told patients with regard to testing. Of course I was interested to find out. She told me that for many years she carried the same belief that I had – regardless of testing, it wouldn’t change the outcome (with regards to aborting). And that was ok for a while, until she began to see the many couples who opted not to test who ended up having a child with needs who could have benefited greatly from being born in a hospital with every resource available, a decision the parents could have made with the knowledge gained from prenatal testing.  And for those children, every prolonged second of care in transport can significantly impact their quality of life down the road.  I share all of this for anyone who may come across the blog who is trying to make the same decision we were.  Of course, this is not a blanket statement for everyone and each mother-to-be should have a very candid discussion with their partner and physician before making this decision.  But for us, the option to test made a lot of sense, so we went for it.

The test we chose to go with is called Panorama and is a simple blood test (not invasive). The test separates my DNA, the baby’s DNA, and Dustin’s DNA (by a cheek swab) in order to analyze for chromosomal abnormalities.  This test is over 99% accurate for detecting changes of chromosomes 13, 18, and 21.   As an added bonus, it also looks for the X and Y chromosomes which determine the baby’s sex. So, two weeks ago this Friday we got a great test report AND found out what our sweet Baby Bee will “bee”!!  Isn’t medicine amazing?

For now, what our little Baby Bee will “bee” is our little secret. We are keeping it a secret for another little secret we have :) Gosh, secrets are fun when you’re the one who knows them!!!!!!

Here’s some pregnancy stats so far:

Weeks of morning sickness:11.5 (thank goodness we got through that!)

Baby is the size of: Avocado!

Favorite food this week: Watermelon and Chocolate Milk

Babymoon: Ocracoke Island in April!

Maternity Clothes: Still sporting my dresses, tops, and some work pants. Just purchased first pair of maternity jeans!

Thing I miss the most from pre-pregnancy: My beloved Diet Pepsi

Thing I love most about pregnancy: Of course I look forward to seeing our little Bee on U/S, but there’s nothing like waking up each day remembering that our bundle of love is growing stronger each day inside my belly. I am still in awe at the whole process. More superficially, the thicker locks are nice. :)