1st Christmas

We had a great first Christmas with Emerson this year - we have laughed as people ask us if she had a 'big Christmas' referring to lots of gifts - the answer is yes...but not because of presents we unwrapped for her. She had a big Christmas because she is HERE and healthy and precious and loved and has parents and a home. And we had a big Christmas because she is here and healthy and precious and loved and we have her with us in our home - our new home! - and there is no better way to celebrate Christmas with her. It put such perspective for me all season long on the fact that Christ came here as a baby just like our little bundle and how much Mary & Joseph must have loved him and been in awe of him as their child on earth and their savior all at the same time. How amazing!
We stretched out our holiday celebrations this year, celebrating with the Bruces a few weeks before Christmas as Bob & Gloria were headed to California for a west coast Christmas with David, Scott & their families. We had a great time getting together with Chris, Robert & their families ate a big lunch and enjoyed being together with them! Christmas Eve, we traveled to Greensboro to have lunch with my dad where we have been celebrating for the past few years at the Green Valley Grille - we all look forward to a delicious lunch here - even if Laura and I do always get the chicken salad sandwich, whatever it's delicious! Em slept through most of lunch, but woke up in time for some snuggles with my dad (and Caleb, who seriously LOVES her - it could not be cuter) before it was time for her to eat.
Then we headed home to my mom's house where we hunkered down for the next few days. I got whooped in a game of Scrabble that night and Laura and I went through all of our family ornaments and divided them up between ourselves. There was a coveted 'barter' pile of about 10 ornaments that we had to battle it out for, which was hilarious, but we mostly came to a truce on them. And for any sadness I might have been feeling, I was consoled with my longest night's sleep yet! Emerson went 6 hours between feedings that night and I sang her praises in the morning! After the most longed after meal of the year, Christmas brunch - complete with hashbrown casserole (a personal favorite), fruit, bacon, sausage, cheesy eggs (and I mean CHEESY), coffee cake and more deliciousness, the kids opened presents and then cozied up for nap time, book reading, and play time with the little ones. I love having Caleb & Em around for holidays, they make life so much more fun! When we found out we were pregnant, we told Adam and Ashley by getting pajamas for Caleb and matching ones in a newborn size telling them it was so he could take a picture Christmas morning in matching pajamas with his cousin...too bad he has already outgrown his and Emerson's are still like 6 inches too long for her!
The next afternoon we headed back to Greensboro for a housewarming party for the Brackens. This was their second party at their house, and slightly more successful than last year's. We were not at last year's party, but the 'housewarming' theme was a little too literal and a fire broke out in the house and their house burned pretty much to the ground. Thankfully with so many people there, they were able to save most of their valuables from their house, and after a long year of rebuilding, they have been blessed with a beautiful new home! And there wasn't a candle lit or fire in the fire place this year - and they filled the Christmas tree stand to the brim with water before plugging in their lights this year! [Lynn: send me your picture of you with Em from the party and you will make the blog, insert HERE!] On our way back to Charlotte the next day we stopped back through Winston so Terry could watch a little football and Emerson could meet her first friend, Kessler Hill! For the first time in awhile, Em actually seemed big to me next to someone younger and smaller than herself! (We just got back from the doctor and she's doing great - has been gaining an ounce a day just as she should! She's a 'chubby' 8.8!)
Overall, it was a great Christmas and we are blown away at the blessings on our family this past year. We are happy to be back home and unpacked now, but dread having to put away the Christmas ornaments and take down the tree. Hopefully we can keep the warmth and spirit of love and thankfulness full in our house all year long!

Oh, and for New Year's resolutions, mine will be to get my butt as proportionally small as my daughter's! :)


Winter Wonderland

I would have blogged last week, but we were trapped - actually, stranded - in Asheville! As we drove smack into the heart of the enormous winter storm last Friday, I thought to myself, 'self, are you already an irresponsible parent and your child is only 6 weeks old?' Then I looked over at my husband who has hours worth of driving in the snow from living in Boone and felt a little more confident - all of that 'testing the limits of his car in the snow' finally paid off! And I figured if we had gotten stranded on the side of the road, Emerson had food (me!) and heat (Terry!) so we'd make it okay!

We had planned to go to Biltmore Friday night for the candlelight tour because Terry has never been and he loves those kinds of things (Biltmore) and especially since it involved serious Christmas decorations. We got into Asheville just in time to eat lunch at our all time favorite, Tupelo Honey Cafe and then headed to our hotel. On our way we saw multiple wrecks and even some cars flipped over! Once we made it into the hotel, we were there for the long haul. Terry ventured across the street to get the essentials from the grocery - frozen pizzas, chips, drinks, cookies and peanuts - what a way to be snowed in! Thank goodness for the microwave and fridge in our room. Our hotel parking lot was a ZOO - people got stuck left and right trying to pull in, and when we looked out the window in the morning, we saw that people had parked all in the road leading up to the hotel where they had gotten stuck and just left their cars there. We were glad we had gotten settled before the 17" of snow settled in! But, I figured it didn't matter if we got snowed in, Emerson and I would be doing what we do all day at home anyway: eat, sleep and watch tv! (This isn't entirely true, I'm much more productive at home these days and she will now sleep places other than on my chest or in my arms.) Seriously though who would want to put this bundle down?!After some good family snuggle time in the hotel, we were able to make it to Biltmore Saturday night for the tour - it was great! I carried Emerson in her sling and she slept the entire time and we loved seeing all of the decorations and it was just what we needed to get us especially into the Christmas mood! More on Christmas later in the week- can't spoil you with it all in one overdue post. We ate breakfast Sunday morning at another favorite restaurant in Asheville - Early Girl Eatery - and then headed back down the mountain once the roads were clear to a dry, snow free Charlotte. It was an adventure and I'm so glad we went - it was a great first snow for her and a fun family get away!


5 weeks

Terry has been sick and hasn't held Emerson for a week now, sorry for the lack of blogging! He is going through baby withdrawal and I am shaping the world's most amazing biceps and triceps along with an incredible respect for single parents! (This picture was pre-sickness)

On Monday, Emerson weighed in at 7.35 pounds at the doctor - still a total peanut but gaining weight and doing well. I certainly didn't ever think we'd have a Bruce baby in the 10th percentile, but here she is! She's been a trooper with dad being sick and has seemed to chill out a little over the past week, enjoying more time hanging out on her play mat and in her bouncer on her own. We have been camping out in the guest room upstairs while Terry's germs have taken over the bedroom - and she seems to do okay up here, hopefully it will help with the transition into her crib one of these days.

We are headed to a work Christmas party tonight and then to Winston tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with Terry's parents and family because his parents will be in California over Christmas. It will be our first 'road trip' with her and day out of our own town. Sunday night is our church's Christmas celebration where Em will be making a star guest appearance in a video - we'll let you know how she fares as a child star! People keep asking what she will be wearing to these events and I am sorry to say that not much fits this little one other than onesies, gowns, and footed fleece pj's - all of which are my favorite things on a baby. Do I really already feel pressured about what other people think about what my daughter (WHO IS 5 WEEKS OLD) is wearing? I think I'll have to put her in something simple just to keep myself sane and prove a point. 5 week olds don't need to be wearing dresses and tights and frilly things right...? Right. After all my favorite thing in her closet is a hoodie, and her dad bought her lime green Air Jordans. Way to be cool Em!


1 month

Happy 1 month old birthday little Emerson - your mom and dad will never be able to tell you how much we love you.

THANK YOU dear, sweet Amy for these fabulous moments on film!


Miss Popular

We can't believe that Emerson turns one month old tomorrow! What a busy and fun month it has already been. We are so thankful for how loved we have felt and how much love she has gotten in her first few weeks - Terry, who knows more fun facts involving numbers than most, also loves that on her first day of life, she had 27 friends & family hold her and love on her. (Yeah, we didn't really realize how exhausting that would be until that first sleepless night in the hospital!)

So here is a pictoral shout-out of thanks to everyone who has gotten to come love on her and be captured on camera with her...
Her namesake
Aunt Laura
Uncle Adam
Grandpa Rocky
Grandma & Grandpa Bruce
(some) Bible Study Girls
Aunt Becca
Uncle Jack
the newly engaged Aunt & Uncle Philary (Philip & Hillary)
Aunt Molly
Aunt Ashley & Cousin Caleb
Doesn't this last one kill you? I just love it! We had a great Thanksgiving here with my family and letting these little cousins meet and play. Can't wait for her to meet the rest of her 15 cousins!


Happier Bathtime

Well, we tried and tried to post another video of bathtime - real bath (soaking in her little tub) but it just isn't working so I'm throwing in the towel and will just put up some pictures. Emerson LOVED soaking in the tub, she was wide eyed the whole time. Since this bath, she has also gotten in the real sized tub with me, and she is in HOG HEAVEN to be in so much water. If her daddy is lucky, maybe it means she will love the water as much as he does. (I on the other hand...well, it took me 28 years to learn how to dive through waves in the ocean...)

She is doing great and sleeping pretty well most of the time and is a total eating machine. She has had a little bit of reflux type stuff going on this week that seems to be fading, so you can all be praying that will make its way right out of here, we do NOT welcome reflux in this house! She still makes the greatest little faces and my current favorite today is those she makes when she's waking up - she stretches her arms up over her head and scrunches up her face. I feel pretty sure I make the same faces when I'm waking up from a deep sleep...but it's been awhile since we've slept like that, so I'm not sure :)

We are getting ready for Thanksgiving on Thursday - having it at our house this year! We are so excited to celebrate her first holiday and our first holiday in our new home with our family. Here's hoping that it all goes well! Terry is probably mostly excited about Thanksgiving because it means as soon as we are finished eating, we can go get our Christmas tree and start watching Christmas movies. He has been begging to be allowed to start watching them early and I did cave on a rainy day last week - we snuggled in, turned off all the lights and watched The Family Stone, and I admit - it was great. I just don't like to throw Thanksgiving under the bus. But Terry has an affinity for Christmas movies and he says we crammed them all in last year. We have a whole separate section of Christmas movies in our DVD collection. If you are wanting to watch one, come on over - you can be sure there will be at least 3 playing a week at our house after Thursday!


Love, little e

Dear Dad.

Today you had to go back to work. Bummer. Big, big bummer. This past week has been the best week of my life. Okay, I know, it's been the only week of my life out of the womb, but it has still been the very best. Being home with you and mom has been the greatest - I have loved our snuggle time early in the morning after mom feeds me breakfast - you are so warm and cozy! Mom tells me she thinks I sleep the very best when you are holding me - I think she is right! She also tells me it is her favorite time of day to walk by and see us snuggling together - I think she really likes us. I love daddy/daughter time late at night when you stay up and watch movies with me while we let mom sleep a little bit. I hope that just because I am becoming a better sleeper you won't make me skip out on late night movies too often. Mom just goes to bed so early, boring! People keep telling me that I have your very same nose. I think this is great because I know you are hot stuff (mom tells me all the time about you being so cute) so I must be really cute also!

I thought it was really cool that you guys took me to church on Sunday and that Pastor Al introduced me to the church and you talked about me and everyone prayed for me. It wasn't my 'official' dedication, but it was great. I was 10 days old. And guess what? You were 10 days old when you were dedicated at church also - it says so in your baby album. I guess that makes us pretty close huh? And cool - I hope I will be as cool as you one day. Mom says if I am just like you it couldn't get any better. She even hopes I sing like you and jump like you and we already know I make funny faces like you - we make her laugh lots.

I hope you come home soon dad, I miss you and your snuggles and your kisses. Thanks for snuggling me this morning before you left for work and thanks for being such a great dad and bringing home the dough while mom and I snooze the day away. You are already my bestest friend and the greatest dad. Thanks for loving me.

I like you. I like you a lot. Like, I really like you a whole lot. The same a lot that you like mom, and the same a lot that you like me.

little e


Splish Splash!

Here is a post-bath clip from earlier in the week; can't get the actual bath one to upload but you aren't missing much since she didn't...shall we say...well, she didn't love it. :)

Can't believe she is one week old today - she opted for extra milk instead of a cupcake to celebrate! We head back to the pediatrician tomorrow for a weight check - wondering how 'big' this little peanut will be!


Welcome home Emerson! Here we are in her room trying to also show the fall leaves out her window. Aunt Steph took this photo on her phone when she came to meet Em
We can't believe it's already been five days - then again the days do all run together when you sleep in 20 minute intervals! In her first few days, Emerson has:
  • met lots of people that love her
  • tried out 8 different places to sleep (mom's arms, dad's arms, pack-n-play, swing, carseat in the car, carseat on the floor, moses basket on the rocking stand, moses basket on bed)
  • found one last night that works - swing but not swaddled, just in her cozy cocoon - thank you Aunt Amy, the 4-5 hours of sleep mom got were great!!!
  • gone on her first family walk swaddled up in my sling
  • gone to the doctor and gotten an excellent report
  • spent 40% of her life eating and the other 60% sleeping
  • pooped on mom twice
  • peed on dad once
  • hung out on the front porch with mom while dad did yard work
  • is about to get her first bath (I almost don't want to wash her because I just always want her to smell like THIS - her own sweet little smell)
We have so many favorite things about her and seem to find new ones every minute. Some current favorites are the little creases under her eyes that give her such sweet sleepy eyes; her nose that came straight from her daddy; and this face she makes when she is really cozy and we think she looks like a little turtle poking her head out of her little shell. Here they are:Sweet little Em is one very loved girl by her parents - it is wonderful and overwhelming all at once to love someone this much. We are settling in today for a snug, rainy day at home and trying to treasure every little minute that Terry has home with us this week for family time!


Emerson's Big Day

Hello World!!!

Emerson Jayne Bruce is here!!!

Yesterday was a huge answer to prayer as everything went so smoothly and everyone is happy and healthy. 2 hours after Ellen was given the low dose pitocin her water broke so they moved us to our birthing suite. Ellen progressed very quickly & dilated from 3 - 10 centimeters in just 3 and half hours! She pushed for one hour and there she was - little Emerson! Overall the whole thing went very smooth with no complications. Emerson was healthy and Ellen was in great shape and is on her way to quick recovery. Above are a few pictures from our special day. I'm sure there will be many more to come but for now enjoy our little girl!

6 pounds 5 ounces
20 inches long
the softest skin I have ever felt

Terry, Ellen and Emerson (who is quickly working on being and becoming a Bruce!)


Ready or Not...

Here she comes!

Short version of the long story is that I've had some protein in my urine since my appointment last Friday and mildly elevated blood pressure; so they ran some lab work and took me out of work Monday to start bed rest. While on bed rest, I had to do some other fun lab work and a 24 hour urine collection (because it's really easy to pee in a cup every time whilst pregnant!) and then went back in to the OB today. My BP had 'spiked' (140/90 - super high for me, normally 90/60) so here we are. The plan has/had been to give me something to help finish getting my cervix ready; but from the minute they hooked me up to the monitor (LITERALLY) I started having really regular contractions. Soooooo, no medicine to help the cervix get ready because that could make me have too many contractions and freak little Emerson out; and instead they will give me some low dose pitocin overnight and my midwife just said she thinks we'll have her here by tomorrow afternoon!

More tomorrow once she comes!


Welcome Mikayla Clare!

Have been waiting for pictures to be able to share the exciting news of Bruce grandbaby #15, bringing the score to 7 boys and 8 girls (stole the pictures from Dave's facebook!). SOON, we will take over the family to really outnumber the boys with girl #9 and grandchild #16 - what proud grandparents Bob & Gloria are! We were so excited to be pregnant at the same time as Dave & Natalie even if it was a cross country pregnancy!
EAT.YOUR.HEART.OUT. over this most adorable face. I LOVE this kid.

Natalie had a c-section last week and delivered this beautiful sweet girl at a whopping 8 pounds 15 ounces, 21 healthy inches long! Welcome sweet Mikayla Clare Bruce!

Congrats Dave, Natalie & Kaden -we are so excited for you all and cannot wait to let these cousins meet - so fun for them to be so close in age!