Football, Cheese, and Hurt Feelings

This weekend we were in Boone for peak leaf weekend, Appalachain football, a fun weekend in a gorgeous cabin with friends, and the Wooly Worm Festival.  Oh right, just half of the other extra people in Boone causing all of the traffic that made us not get to campus until 5:00 for a 6:00 game were there for the Wooly Worm Festival!  Despite all of the traffic and getting everywhere late, we had such a fun time at the game while a sweet girl from Charlotte, who is a sophmore at ASU kept our sweet Emerson back at the house!

Emerson was a total ham this weekend (and beyond) and is really loving getting attention from people and being told non-stop how cute she is!  She's been venturing out on her own, taking as many as 12 steps at a time, so we know that a walking one year old is not far away in our house!  When you tell her that she is cute, or she meets someone new and is feeling 'shy' (don't be fooled, this is just for show!) she shrugs her shoulders up, tips her head to the side and grins.  It is hilarious.  She is pointing to her ears when you ask her where they are, occasionally can show you where her nose is, loves singing if you're happy and you know it (she's great at clapping hands and recently added a verse for 'pat your head'), can tell you what an elephant says, and started making the sound of a bear/lion/tiger this weekend - this is very helpful that I can say she can name 4 animal sounds since 3 of the 4 make the same sound!  Emerson LOVES her daddy these days especially and points to him all day long saying his name.  I sometimes try to coerce her into pointing to me and saying 'mama,' but instead she just looks at Terry, points, says 'dada,' and then does her little head tilt like she knows she's being funny.  Since I like Terry so much and love to see her love him so much too, it isn't hurting my feelings...yet.  We are getting ready for her birthday weekend extravaganza and daily think that she is cuter than the day before.  Here are some examples:
 (yes, this is what I meant by 'cheese' in the title of this blog - I mean SERIOUSLY, she is such a ham!)

(LOVED being up on Uncle Wes' shoulders!)

Her most recent 'development' is that she got her feelings hurt for the first time.  It was undoubtedlty at the same time the saddest and funniest thing she has done to date.  Other than brief crying when I leave her room at nap times, Emerson really hasn't cried in response to anything we've done (or not done) until now.  We were sitting at the island eating dinner with her last night, and because she's so into her dad right now, she kept reaching over to grab onto his arm, finger, hand, arm hair, or anything else she could get her hands on.  She reached with a little too much...zeal...and got a firm grip/pinch on his arm one of the times and Terry responded with a pretty enthusiastic 'ouch!'  I made him tell her 'no,' (calmly and sweetly, we promise!) and then she looked at me and I said, 'no Em,' and she looked down and got really quiet and her little eyes welled up with tears and she looked back up at me and slowly started crying.  She would not let Terry console her, but once I picked her up and let her lick some hummus off of my finger, she was all better :)  I wish I could convince myself that it will always be this easy to make her feel better when her feelings get hurt as she grows up.
Maybe she is growling like a bear here...or just showing her teeth...or just being her normal hilarious self!


10.5 months

Every day I find it harder to believe that in less than 2 months I will have a one year old living in my house!  As I hunt for birthday invitations for Emerson's birthday, it all feels very surreal.  Our lives have changed so much since (almost) one year ago; but it seems even moreso, she has changed so much in (almost) one year! 

Here we are at a 10 and 1/2 months and she gets cuter every single passing day to me!  There isn't a morning that I'm kissing her goodbye in her carseat as Terry takes her to Beth's that we don't look at each other and say that she's the cutest girl ever!  She is such a big kid these days, walking with her walking push toys, saying 'mama,' 'dada,' 'duck,' 'dog,' and 'bye bye!' (at least when there isn't a crowd around); and her best trick of all, throwing her arms straight up in the air when we say 'touchdown!'  She is most proud of herself for this last trick, and immediately goes from touchdown to clapping for herself.  Emerson loves playing with other kids, especially little boys - and so she was thrilled to get to play with Caleb this past weekend for her Grammy's birthday in Emory!

(This hilarious tutu outfit is from her Grammy - she looked like such the little girl!)

This past month has been seemingly extra fun as her personality comes out even more!  She has the greatest grin full of 8 shiny teeth (which she loves to brush!) with two more teeth on the way!  She is always on the move, and loves to climb under the table, up the stairs, to any object that she can pull things out of, and thankfully has also recently learned how to put things back in!  Em loves to count her toes and play 'this little piggy,' her favorite song is Old MacDonald (aside from the ones we've made up about her which she also loves), and her best best friend in the world is "Cali," the pig she started sleeping with in her crib after our California trip, that her Aunt Laura gave her.  Aside from Cali, we like to think that we are her best friends.  At least she is ours - we couldn't love her more!  I miss her more with each passing day of going to work and keep praying for some miraculous way to get to work part time instead of 3/4 time!  (Better go buy some lotto tickets!)


Broken, broken, broken...

The internet is broken.
The computer is broken.
The point-and-shoot digital camera that takes video is now also broken. 
I haven't been able to find the cords to the cameras to bring them to work to upload pictures (despite a clean house thanks to my mom who helped us out with babysitting and all things house related all summer)!

But I found the cords, so I have at least a few pictures to share so you can see how big our girl is growing and get a glimpse of what we've been doing during all of this chaos.  We have been having such a fun time, and our 9 months with her have FLOWN.  Life has changed in huge ways as parents, almost all wonderful.  I still might dream of sleeping in until 9 or 10am on a Saturday :)

We went to California and played with the cousins.
We went to the beach for a wedding and let Emerson play in the ocean for the first time.
She has been standing and cruising and letting go and getting a few bumps along the way.
We spend a lot of time playing with the tags on her stuffed animals.

We made our house look really redneck and kept an inflatable pool on the porch during the summer which she LOVED.
We traveled to Wisconsin for an intern reunion and flew there with Molly & Bella (somehow, the only picture on my camera was from in the airport...) - And yes, those are 7 teeth in her mouth.
And (surprise) she looks more and more like her daddy every day! (except who knows where these killer baby blues came from!)

It has been a busy and wonderful TWO MONTHS (I know, horrors that it has been that long since I have posted!)  Somehow, we love Emerson more every day and I keep trying hard to cement memories into my mind of her just how she is each day.  She has the sweetest most joyful spirit and we pray every day it sticks around for life.  She loves to eat (as evidenced by the chub!), loves to play rough and be tossed up in the air by Terry, but also loves to snuggle at bed time and early in the morning.  She is on the go and we feel pretty sure will be walking soon. 

I started working a different schedule this summer which gives me more time with her each day that has made life as a working mom feel much more manageable even though I still miss her like crazy and can't wait to get home to her.  Beth is still keeping Em, and she had a blast having all of Beth's daughters home this summer for extra loving.  Terry and I got to have several date nights this summer while my mom was in town, which were such a welcome gift of time together.  Terry also became a master Scrabble player - we played each week when my mom was in town - and won almost every game.  I didn't win any.  Alas.

Hopefully technology will be repaired around our house soon and you'll be hearing from us regularly again!  I miss my blogging world!


Food 101

Go back with me in time 1 month ago and pretend Emerson was just eating food for the first time and you wanted to hear all about how it went.  It's taken us about a month to learn how to eat, so it's really more appropriate than not that it took me this long to blog and post about it!  Emerson LOVED chewing on the spoon, but the fist time she ate rice cereal, she wasn't totally sure what she thought of it.  She didn't seem to not like the flavor, she just wasn't really associating that opening her mouth equated in getting food.  So lots of it ended up lots of places other than her mouth.

[Oh hello big picture - haven't tried this yet since the new formatting lets you upload pictures in XL fashion!]

So after about 2 weeks of eating twice a day...the sweet girl still hadn't gotten it.  Poor Emerson that her mother is a pediatric therapist that specializes in feeding...poor, poor Emerson.  Wait, what am I talking about - POOR, POOR ME!  This was super stressing me out.  I was stressed every time I fed her, and for like 20 minutes before and afterwards.  Just ask Terry.  And in the meantime, be thankful that Beth fed her a lot during the week and her report was always that she 'did great.'  Again, praise the Lord for Beth.  So not to worry, of course I asked a speech therapist I work with about it, who of course told me she was fine but to just keep working on it and she would get it.  And one weekend, she did.  She just got it.  The mantra in my head when I was stressed is exactly what I tell families all the time, as I have been taught: "Variety=quantity, variety=quantity, variety=quantity."  And it worked.  Imagine that!
So the rice cereal was fine, whatever, I spiced it up with cinnamon, switched over to oatmeal, kept spicing it up, tried it bland, but the real fun started when the real food started.  We were having roasted sweet potatoes for dinner, so Emerson did too.  We were having green beans for dinner, so Emerson did too.  The sweet potatoes (with nutmeg and cinnamon) were a breeze, but the green beans...well not so much.  I thought I had done my due diligence in reading about how to 'best' make them, but I had no idea how hard it would really be to puree the shells.  It might have something to do with how old my blender is.  But don't worry, I tried the food processer, blender, and immersion blender - just to be thorough.
All this turned into these tiny little pods (which were a total rip of and waste of money - have switched to ice cube trays) - way to think you needed something fancy at first just to be proved wrong Ellen, K.I.S.S! [remember this acronym??]

If I had remembered it, maybe my kitchen sink wouldn't have looked like THIS the first cooking process:

I know, I can't believe I'm showing you this either.  But really, I'm just showing you so that I can tell you it's gotten much easier, cleaner, and efficient. 

And since, we have made & eaten: sweet potatoes, green beans, avocado, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, strawberries, blueberries, pear, apple, apricots, prune juice, watermelon and 3 bites of icecream :)  Now she opens her mouth and chows down like a champ - hooray Em!
More on the ice cream and visit with Molly & Bella later.  But before that you'll get to hear all about our trip to California!
[I'm kind of loving these new huge pictures.  Please tell me if they are obnoxious!]



For the record, I am so glad Terry didn't do something like this when he proposed to me...but this is hilarious and awesome!  Found it here.  It makes me so happy to be loved and in love.  xo


Still kickin'

If any of you are left out there, you've either:
a. been checking daily for blog posts and have been very disappointed
b. stopped checking all the time and are shocked to find something new on here today
c. know that our computer hasn't been working and take pity on us, because you know no one wants to read a blog post without pictures!

But thankfully, Aunt Becca was here this weekend, and I was able to steal a picture from her on facebook so I could post and not lose all of our family members, blog stalkers, and other miscellaneous friends! We have been crazy busy the past few weeks checking lots of boxes off of Emerson's list of firsts! 

- First plane ride, check.  All the way across the country to California - and she did AWESOME.  No crying, took 2 hour long naps, no ear problems from the pressure change, entertained nearby passengers with wide mouth smiles and lots of giggling.
- Met 5 cousins that live in California, check.  LOVED them, I mean she loved them - Taylor, Riley & Jordan could make her smile and laugh like no one else!  She and Mikayla loved grabbing at each other's faces and smiling, and meanwhile Kaden was a pro at making a baby laugh from the backseat! [I have SO MANY cute pictures from this trip, I cannot wait to share them with you all once the computer isn't sick anymore!]
     - Went on her first yacht ride
     - Stuck her toes in the sand and in the freezing cold ocean - she might not have liked the ocean so much.  But it sure did make for hilarious photos.
     - Went to In-N-Out.  Yum.  Well, she didn't eat it, but we did, yum.  Also on this list should be: Pinkberry, Yogurt Town, Yogurt Land, Yogurt Mania, and 800 other yogurt places we saw and wanted to go to because they are all delicious.  [Sidenote, HOORAY found out this weekend there is a new yogurt place here in Charlotte - Yoforia.  I wonder how many other names they can come up with.]
- Eaten a ton of new foods including but not limited to: rice, oatmeal, avocado, sweet potatoes, green beans, butternut squash, carrots, apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, prune juice (as you can imagine the ones that are crossed out aren't really preferred...at all)
- Gotten 2 teeth ?!?!?!?!
- Started babbling with all kinds of new sounds mamamamammababababababbabadadadadadada

Hoping to get the computer and all of its accessories working this weekend - while visiting Molly & Bella and celebrating Molly's 30th birthday! - (I'm blogging from work, shhhhh) so that I can show you some of these fabulous photos from the last month's happenings.  Don't give up on us, we'll be making a big comeback! 


Mid-week Musings

Little known facts and other miscellaneous things floating around in my head today...

We are the Bruces. I know you know this, but do you really know that we are the Bruces and not the Bruce's? When you come to our house, you are going to the Bruce's house, but when you are talking to us, you can say, "hey Bruces!" We are plural, not possessive. Updated. I have since researched my correction. We are still the Bruces, (which was the point of this debacle) but sources (online grammar sites, teachers and peers included) have varying opinions on if you are going to the Bruce's house or the Bruces' house. Hmm...

I think Emerson knows that today is her 6 month birthday. And she decided she should not sleep through the night without her middle of the night feeding until she was 6 months old. So she did. Last night. Praise the Lord. Please do it again tonight Emmy. And please let the doctor tell us next week that it's okay to keep doing this even though you are so wee.

These are some of the cutest little hair clips. I cannot wait for Em to have hair to wear these.

Could this dress be any cuter, and at any point in my life can I validate spending that much money on a dress for a child? But I really love it...maybe it will go on sale, you know before Emerson is 4 or 5 and would be cute in it. Or maybe by then I can become a seamstress. Or at least be able to hem pants - baby steps.

Oh yeah, I'm really thankful for the randomness of the gene pool that resulted in the blue eyes pictured above. GOR.GEOUS. [thanks katie b for the precious outfit to bring out the blue!]

And have I mentioned recently how much I love my husband? He is a great man, and makes me understand why a synonym for patience is long suffering. He is very long suffering with me...aka, I think I make him suffer for long periods of time with my craziness :) Thanks, hubs!



Dear Emerson.

Seriously. Could you look any more like your father? Bruce genes are the strongest genes I have ever known. You, my child, are not anything like I ever imagined you looking. You are SO MUCH cuter. You will turn 6 months old next week. I have no idea how we suddenly have a 6 month old child and not a baby anymore (I know...you are still a baby). But you are almost sitting up for more than 30-45 seconds at a time, though you still face plant if there is a toy you really want in sight; you are starting to commando crawl around on your belly if there's something to push off behind your feet and something worth crawling to in front of you. Next week, you will get to try some real food, which I know you are excited about because you keep trying to get your hands in everything your dad and I are eating if you're around it! You are growing up TOO FAST and you are precious to me little girl.
Your mama loves you, xoxo.


Getting by

Recently I've been feeling like I haven't really been doing anything other than just getting by - in most areas of life: sleep, sticking to my exercise routine, sticking to my budget, work, keeping my house clean, etc. I know that that is okay and that some days/weeks/months/phases of life are just about surviving and letting everything else go to the wind while you __(fill in the blank)__. For me (us, really) that blank has been spending time as a family and with Emerson for the few short awake minutes we get with her before her bedtime at night and before she goes to Beth's in the morning. Sometimes that not really doing anything trickles down into even the smallest areas of life. Insert: recycling, giving back, supporting, living outside of myself - these things are all wrapped into one in my mind.

Gone are the days of roommates leaving me notes inside the peanut butter jar that they threw in the trash can to just leave it there instead of digging it out and cleaning it like they knew I would. Recently, if the recycling bin in the kitchen was full instead of emptying it into the larger one outside, I would just throw something away. In fact TODAY was trash/recycling day, and I noticed that Terry didn't get a chance to take them down to the curb like he normally does, but I didn't take them down either. Today! Earth day! I didn't even recycle the right day on EARTH DAY. Get it together Ellen, be a good steward!

Then as I perused my daily blogs, I read this. Let's not be surprise that I was inspired by this, I feel like I am inspired by Tara Whitney EVERY time I read her blog. Which is daily. If I ever come home saying I have a great idea, Terry's first guess is most likely that my great idea was probably inspired by someone else, and if he hears it was from a blog, he's going to guess it was her. (And the best part is...I am a total blog stalker of hers. I have never, not once, in my ... years(?) of reading her blog left a comment. Silly me! Blog writers love comments, it inspires us - at least me - to keep doing this instead of going weeks without blogging, oops. Yes Katie Tison, I know you are out there!!! Perhaps if enough of you blog stalkers comment, I'll make myself comment on TW's blog also. And I might blog more often. Perhaps.) And here is a shout out to some other inspiring people that I blog stalk: here, here, and here. Anyway. Back to the point. I was inspired, and I want to be doing more than just getting by. I mean, how do things like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch exist without me even knowing? And these bags, yes please! And did you see how she used little silicone cupcake holders to hold snacks? Please let me be a cool and thoughtful mom...heck, person!

[picture: unrelated, but precious :)]

I do my part in small ways for sure, but I would like to commit to those small ways and make those ways habit rather than just luck or happenstance. I recycle my plastic grocery bags when I forget to bring my re-usable ones, and on good days, I recycle all things recyclable. But I still use plastic tupperware, and I still use Ziploc bags like they are going out of style - though I do reuse the ones that I send Emerson's bottles or extra clothes in in her diaper bag, that's one step! I don't want to over-commit or I know I'll end up doing nothing. So here's to the Bruces figuring out what it is that we are passionate enough about that we can stick to and do. If it's being more than the average recycler, or helping provide clean water, or sponsoring a child, or __(fill in the blank)___, great - as long as we are inspired, and as long as we are doing more than just getting by most days. Because we are called to live life, and to live life abundantly.


Easter Dress

Per many requests - the obligatory Easter dress picture - which, by the way, I worked hard for (on ebay) - and then we (gasp!) didn't go to church in Emory, so she literally put the dress on for this picture and took it off - you can tell by her sleepy eyes that it was early in the morning. So. If you see this dress again next year...do. not. judge. me.
Also, she got a pretty stinkin' cute Easter basket this year filled with fun toys from Haba, which I scored from The Mini Social, which I love, and a cute dress from her daddy.

Barnes & Noble Inspiration

Today is our three year anniversary. Three years! Didn't we just meet in high school yesterday? Wasn't I just giving 'my little Terry Bruce' rides to his exams because he moved from California and didn't have his license yet? Nope, that was a long time ago - and time has been flying ever since - but these have been fabulous three years! I could go on and on...but I won't...happy anniversary T, don't want to make you cry at work today :)

[yes, i know you have seen this picture on the blog already, but it's the only one i have from our wedding on the computer. beggars can't be choosers. feeling the need to reminisce with us, you can check out Kevin Milz - we are all over it!]

In honor of three years, we took the day off work yesterday to stay at home and relax (yes, our lives are that exciting that that is ALL we both wanted to do to celebrate!) but our amazing and fearless sister-in-law, Jenn (mother of 4 boys!) asked if she could keep Emerson overnight for us Monday night to let us really enjoy the day Tuesday by sleeping in! Despite a little sadness at Emmy being on her first sleepover, we said YES and enjoyed a full, uninterupted night's sleep for the first time in 5 months, and hung around with no agenda. FABULOUS. Emerson also slept for 12 hours, only waking up 1 time to eat - it must be something about Jenn's magical mother-of-4-children touch - that and the cave of a closet that Em got to sleep in. [Black out curtains are next on the list of things to buy for her nursery!] In our lounging around, I requested that we go to Barnes & Noble to peruse, something I've been wanting to do for awhile now but haven't felt peaceful enough to do! Boring, I know. But I loved it. And I read excerpts from some fabulous books that I wanted but decided not to get, and read excerpts from others that I thought would be fabulous and planned on buying but didn't because they weren't. Good to know. But I saw a book with this quote, and thought it was fabulous and 100% described motherhood for me:

[It was when I had my first child that I understood how much my mother loved me.]

My mom used to always say to me "you'll understand when you have kids." I always thought I already got it. I loved kids and was super involved in lots of kids lives and had lots of kids super involved in my life. But she was right (surprise)! To be a mother, to have a child, is to know a whole new kind of love - protective and endearing, long-lasting, full of fear and adoration.

And I imagine she would tell me the same about being a grandmother - that I'll understand when I have them. That seems forever away, but I'm sure by the time it gets here, time, again - will seem to have flown. Thanks Ma, for loving me and for loving Em in a way I could have never known until I got here.

[picture: Emerson, Mom & Caleb swinging in Emory over Easter - SUCH a fun time]


Writers block

Two weeks between posts means that I must have writers' block. It could be because I've been working too many hours and somehow am deciding to work more [note to self: next time around, don't build a house, furnish it, have a baby, 'furnish' it, and take 3 months off work all in 12 months time]. (Picture: Emerson early one morning before work/going to Beth's wondering why I always have the camera in her face) Speaking of Beth, let me introduce you to her - here she is with Emmy and Regan. We L-O-V-E Beth. I cannot say this enough - biggest biggest blessing.

It could also be because I've been having potluck dinners inspired by PW herself. We (read: Becky) wrote her an email about said dinner. She has not heard back from her, Becky is getting testy. Rhododen-drum (right girls?) better watch out when she comes to Charlotte - control yourself Becky. This potluck dinner, by the way was amazing, and you can read more about it here and here - why reinvent the wheel, right?

The delay of posts could also be because I've been having too much fun dressing up the world's cutest baby in cute clothes - like a dress of mine that my grandmother smocked for me; or her bathing suit that she only wore indoors because it was too cold at the beach.
Speaking of, the delay could also be because I've been at the beach! The annual trip to Litchfield with the girls was the coldest yet this year (bummer!) which stuck Em and I inside most of the day Saturday; but it didn't keep me from lots of fun Saturday night with a delicious dinner, hilarious annual pre-dinner conversations, and a riveting game of poker (we're sorry that we don't have better poker faces Kat!) And for the record, Helen might or might not have stolen all of Becky's chips after she bowed out of the game and none of you noticed because you were too busy making fun of Helen :) We did, thankfully make it out on the beach for two quick seconds when we got there Friday night where Tara snapped this picture of Emerson - her only picture on the beach - which is okay, because it's cute enough to make up for it! And one on the porch with the beach at least in the background to prove we were there! We are LOVING this warmer weather, and it might just inspire me to actually get out in the mornings with Emerson before work. Seeing as how the 'mommy-and-me' yoga DVD I got because I thought it would be fun and peaceful has my arm muscles burning this morning, I'd say I need a little more exertion in my days! We are headed to Emory for Easter this weekend and are looking forward to a warm weekend of relaxation, time with family, and hopefully lots of photo-ops with cousin Caleb! Maybe even a rejuvination of my brain to help me write blog posts more exciting than our daily life!
**Because some of you have already asked, that is Becky's bling in the photo here with Em - gorgeous, right? Way to go Mike!



I have been lamenting recently about how little I remember. Just a few weeks ago, I told Terry I already can barely remember Emerson being so tiny as a newborn and that makes me so sad because I want to remember that always and it's only been 4 months and I'm already forgetting. I have glimpses of memory, but what I've always wanted more of is a memory of whole events - the big picture and all the details. Instead, what I've always had has been snippits and snapshots.

Last week, Blake posted this video on his blog...[pause to go watch the video]

Moments from Everynone on Vimeo.

...and as I watched it, I realized I needed to change my view on my memory - I remember these moments, these flashes of the brilliance of life. I remember just enough to know what has changed me and touched my heart, and if we could all see into eachother's minds' eyes to see everyone's personal video of their moments like this, it would be so inspiring, and so telling.

If I could capture the moments from the past few months since Emerson, I think these are some of the things you would see...

  • me sitting in the parking deck of the doctors office on the phone with my mom, pregnant and sobbing, so. flipping. afraid. because i'd just been told i was having my baby that day
  • terry and me standing in Target choosing between pairs of slippers
  • terry holding my hand
  • the look on my mom's face when she saw emerson
  • emerson's face the first time she nursed (sorry, x-rated, you could watch the censored version if you needed to) :)
  • a hospital room full of people loving on a new family
  • me breaking down crying in the bathroom at home because i was afraid i had no idea how to be a parent
  • terry and emerson sitting on the couch late at night
  • the three of us sleeping in the bed
  • molly helping me put the carseat in the shopping cart on our first outing
  • a mimosa for my birthday lunch
  • emerson and adam sleeping on the couch at christmas
  • her precious smile when she sees terry come home for the day
  • us frantically getting the camera to catch her laughing on film
  • emerson sleeping in the sling on a family walk
  • a road trip with aunt becca in the snow
  • terry in bed with emerson and bella
  • emerson's toothless, juicy mouthed, drooling grin (which might be blocked by two fists sticking in said mouth)
  • the view from our front porch
  • a patient hugging me on my first day back to work
  • terry cooking dinner
  • my living room on a tuesday night during bible study
  • laura and em in their matching bunny slippers (because it wouldn't be a post without a picture of emerson!)
Those are the first things that pop into my head, and I'm sure if I thought longer, I would remember more - which is just a reminder to me that it's okay if I don't remember everything about everything. I remember the moments, big and small, that are telling the story of my life, and her life, and our life as a family; and that is what matters most. Moments that are leaving imprints all over my heart.

Thanks for sharing the inspiration Blake!


Catch up, catch up!

I am super behind on blog posts, and part of the problem is that I have tried the past 3 nights to upload the last 2 weeks worth of pictures but they won't upload to the computer. Who knows if that is the fault of the camera or the computer, but I will work on that this weekend for sure! There are great things to share of Emerson and Beth, a surprise wedding, our weekly trip to Owens, etc! But luckily, on this weekly trip to Owens a few weekends ago, Aunt Laura and Jordan were with us because they came to spend the weekend!

I have been haggling Laura to come to see us for awhile now since I'm a lousy sister who hasn't been to see her in her new place in Raleigh. But I have great bait now (her favorite niece!) so she signed up quickly. Growing up, I begged and begged for a little sister. I have in my mind what seems like a 'clear memory' [if you know me you know this is a joke because my memory doesn't go past 2 hours ago] of finding out I was going to be a big sister. My 'clear memory' goes like this: Mom had just picked Adam and I up from school and we were on Silas Creek Pkwy, just one intersection away from Sherwood Forest Elementary where I spent my days K-5 (with a slight bump in the road along the way with a teacher who made us smell her armpits as part of 'health education' - EW). Mom had brought me a surprise in the car and it was the new pink Swatch watch I had been wanting and wanting. I remember looking at the watch while mom told me about Laura. Now. I am SURE this is probably not the way it went down...right mom? Surely you didn't tell us about her just casually one day in the car? I don't know why I remember this if it didn't happen, but I'm sure Terry will also testify that I 'remember' lots of things that didn't happen, and don't remember KEY things that do happen! Either way, true story or not - I was so stinkin' excited about a little sister.

Jordan, sorry you didn't get the message that everyone was sad in this photo...

And the best part is, I'm still just as excited about her today as when I found out she was coming into this world! Eight years older, I loved playing with her when she was a baby, and my days of rocking her as a baby and singing Amy Grant's rendition of "Thy Word," [which I thought the words to were 'died bird' - yes, seriously] probably prepared me for my hours of rocking and singing to Emerson. Laura called me her 'real mom' when she was little, which was no offense to the lack of time my mom spent with her just a testament to how obsessed I was with a baby sister! We now (even though 8 years apart) get mistaken for each other all the time, but you can tell us apart because she was blessed with the gorgeous blue eyes, while I got the grey hair...hmm, fair? I think not. But she also got the cool, relaxed, super fun genes that I'm just digging out of my genetic code, and I have loved to watch the freedom of her spirit grow and excel and HAVE FUN. I would SO want to be her friend if she weren't my sister...I mean, she is my friend, but you know, even if she wasn't, she's the kind of girl that when you meet you know you want her to be your friend. Except you (I) might be jealous of her. Because she's gorgeous, and keeps getting more and more beautiful every time I see her somehow!

We had a blast when she and Jordan were here, making homemade pizzas, doing a little shopping for Emerson's first bathing suit, lunch at Owen's, dinner at Cantina, splitting a milkshake from Cookout, playing Settlers of Catan, and snuggling the world's cutest baby.

Sorry, this is all you get to see of my beach ready self (the sun hat) the suit will be revealed at the beach!
Jordan was such a trooper and took to Emerson as if she was his own niece - feeding her a bottle and hanging out with her in the backseat in the car! We loved loved loved having you guys in Charlotte, and if you come back again I feel sure Terry can convince you to move here. Live-in nanny, what?!?!


Rubber Ducky

A big post coming later about Aunt Laura and Jordan's trip to Charlotte this past weekend (which was SO fun). But first, did you see this clip on the Today show this morning? Fantastic. Maybe I can put super glue in the holes of these little squirters that Laura and Em played with for the first time in the bath last weekend! But then again, we all turned out okay, didn't we?



Unlike some other star Olympians, somehow this little girl didn't make the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated this past month (guess she was covering up too much!). But, not one to hold a grudge, Emerson is nonetheless a HUGE fan of the Winter games!


25 Baird Street

Warning: I got a little nostalgic. This post went on a liiiiitttllleee longer than planned!

What seems like forever ago, but was really 'only' 7 years ago, I was graduating college and getting ready to head to graduate school. Headed to a school that was turned out to be a great experience for me but was in a city that had lost its charm and I was going it alone - out into the great unknown I went and I wasn't super thrilled about it. Before I headed that way though, I spent my last summer at a camp where I had spent all my summers from childhood on and where I had experienced all the highs and lows of life. My home away from home. As a kid, I would get home from my two weeks of camp and close the door to my room and CRY and CRY and CRY. I was writing letters to my friends about how much I missed them before we were even down the mountain on the way home, I longed for the smell of the dirty cabins, the damp feeling of my pillow under my head from the humidity of an afternoon rain; and all I wanted was to be back there. As I think about sending Emerson to camp once she is old enough, I feel sad for myself that I will be so excited to be picking her up to bring her home at the end of those two weeks, knowing that all she will want (if she's anything like her mama) is to STAY PUT.

But I digress. All that to say, I was spending another summer there, in a comfortable place, before I moved on to that something new. Things for school were a little up in the air and I didn't even know where I would be living. Not really wanting to live in Johnson City, but not knowing I had another choice, I half-heartedly started the hunt for an apartment. The longer the summer went on, the more (as always) I wished I could just stay in Asheville - just an hour's drive down the mountain from Johnson City. But I didn't have any more reason to stay in Asheville than I did to go to Johnson City alone. UNTIL. Until I asked Kristi (BFF, almost-family-member-stuck-with-me-through-it-and-still-loved-me, one time co-counselor) who had an equal magnetic pull to Asheville and was at camp that summer as well having just finished up at University of Florida with no concrete plans of what was next...didn't she want to live in Asheville too? Well once our old counselor from when we were ten (see how helpful all these camp connections are proving to be) - who lived in Asheville, told us she and her roommates were moving out of their house and we went by to have lunch and see the house, we were SOLD. And that was that; and for the next two fabulous, wonderful, marvelous, freeing, find-yourself-and-love-yourself years, we were the residents of "the Baird house." I drove up and down the mountain 3 days a week for class with Erin, another classmate who lived in Asheville also. This was a saving grace in more ways than one - so great to have someone to talk to and ride with; but even better, it was a built-in 2 hour study session every day! It might have helped me make it through school!

Well, we were the residents of the Baird house along with Fred, the ghost. Seriously. The people who lived there before us once called the police because they were so scared and convinced; Kristi and I definitely huddled on the sofa together crying after one window shutting, glass in the bathroom shattering, freaky night! After we had lived in the house for a few months, I got a phone call from some girl I had never met who wanted to be our roommate. She worked at one of the other camps in Asheville and a mutual friend from Crestridge told her that we were living there and had an extra bedroom. Enter Emily Ogletree (now Dimitris). She was a shoe-in right from the very start and she was a great addition to the frick-and-frack of Kristi and I living in that house. Emily is the most put together on the outside person you will ever meet. Until you see her bedroom. Or her handwriting. The first time we sat beside eachother in church and I looked over at her notes, I think I audibly gawked. I don't know why this chicken scratch surprised me to be coming out of this girl's pen, but I guess she just seemed so put together that I couldn't imagine anything other than typewriter like handwriting to go along with her personality. I love Em for her messy handwriting and piles of clothes in her room, as well as how quickly she could get it together and put on a party and be a hostess, a little mini-Beth Moore - wait and see! I even love her for writing a note in the peanut butter container she put in the trash can telling me to just leave it and not try to wash it out to recycle it after she had already thrown it away. Who....me??

Well, in one week's time, I have had impromptu visits from BOTH of these girls, making my heart so happy! Kristi, Daniel, and new baby Carver who is only 7 weeks younger than Emerson were on their way through town to see Daniel's parents who live in Winston. We were on our way out of town to meet Bella, but got to get together for a super brief 'meet & greet' at Brueggers (a favorite old stomping ground of Kristi & I's - nothing glamorous, but a treat coming from Demorest) :) I was so glad to get my hands on Kristi's cute little guy and to get to hug her and see her even if it was super brief! I loved getting to be pregnant with Kristi and other friends who were pregnant at the same time (Nellie, Debbie!) - it is such a fun thing to share. Then, Thursday I had a voicemail from Emily after work saying that she was in Charlotte for a girls' weekend with her mom and sister. Except actually, when she called her mom from the airport to tell her she was there to pick her up, her mom reminded her that the girls' weekend is actually next weekend. Doh. Oh well, we got to enjoy her mistake by having her over for dinner and a glass or two of wine - we were trying our best to get her to spend the night! My little Em was so happy to meet my other Em and aunt Kristi this week! I love these girls and am so thankful for BOTH of you and our time together in Asheville - it will always be in a top spot in my heart of times that changed and made my life!