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!