Happy 1st Birthday Emma Grace!

It was a year ago today that I met my you for the first time.  The last nine months we had been through so much together with my HG  that I couldn’t wait to see those pretty blue eyes (I always knew you would have my eyes because I gave them to your big brother too!), those little fingers and tiny toes.  I had been dreaming of meeting you and I know that is the only way I made it that far.

EG Yawning

When Mommy was 36 weeks I started feeling a little light-headed sometimes and felt my heart go pitter patter too often.  After talking to our doctor he sent me to another doctor to check out my heart.  It seems as if you were running out of room and pushing up on my heart and twisting it backwards.  It was okay though because they gave me some medicine and made me better.  The next week my heart spells were coming back so they gave us some more medication!  By 38 weeks they had gotten much worse and Mommy, Daddy and our doctors decided it would be best if you came out to meet us.  So on Saturday night Jake went to Ahma and Papa’s for a sleepover and Daddy and I settled into our room at the hospital.

Emma Grace Birth Day with Mommy2

Once we were at the hospital they gave Mommy some medicine to get us ready for the next morning.  Daddy and I tried to sleep but I was too excited and anxious.  They woke us up at 6:30 so I could take a shower and brush my teeth (it was the first time in weeks Mommy didn’t get sick while I brushed my teeth…I knew it was a good sign!)  By 7:30 they gave me some medicine called Pitocin to wake you up and tell you it is time to come out.  The entire morning Daddy and I sat around in our room talking, watching tv and taking little cat naps to get ready.

Emma Grace Birth Day Toes3

By lunch time they decided that it was time to break my water so that we could get things moving along.  I asked if I could have some medicine called an epidural to help with the pain of the contractions.  I knew that right after they broke my water with Jake he was ready to come out and I wanted to be ready for those crazy contractions.  So after they broke my water a nice man came up to see me who struggled to get Mommy’s medicine right.  After 5 times of poking me he thought he had finally got it right and told me it should start working soon.  Since everyone figured it would be awhile Daddy decided to go get something to eat in the cafeteria and Ahma stayed with us in the room.

Emma Grace Birth Day First Look4Within a couple of minutes I felt my body starting to push…but the nurses said that couldn’t be right because they had just checked me and I was only at 8cm and I needed to get to 10 before you could come.  After telling them all very loudly I wasn’t trying to push but my body was doing it anyways they checked me and believe it or not we were already to 10cm!  It was time to push!  All of the nurses and our doctor came running in and they started breaking down the bed to get ready for you.  When Dr. Rush asked who was going to cut the cord I told him Daddy was.  Then she says “Where is Jeremy?”  Well after I became a little panicked Ahma said “It’s okay he just went to the bathroom let me go get him.”  Ahma was gone for a little bit longer than it takes to go to the potty so I knew Daddy was on his way to get a snack but no worries they both came running in right in time to start pushing.  I was so ready to meet you that it only took Mommy three big pushes until you came into the world!  It wasn’t until after our doctor went to give Mommy a couple of stitches that we realized that the medicine never started working and I had you without any pain medication!  Whew that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would have been!

Emma Grace Birth Day Weigh In5

The second I heard your little voice cry out I was so overwhelmed!  Of course I first asked to make sure you were still a girl because I had had several dreams that you were a boy after you didn’t want to cooperate at your ultrasound.  After they assured me you were a sweet, beautiful little girl they wiped you off checked you out real quick and then placed you on my chest.  It all felt like a dream.  I dream that I never wanted to wake up from. You were here.  My baby girl you were here and you had those beautiful blue eyes, ten little fingers and ten tiny toes.  After being so sick for so long I was worried that something was going to be wrong, but you were perfect.  You were perfect in every way.  They even gave you a healthy score of 9 out of 10 right after you were born.

Emma Grace Birth Day Check Up6

You were a little cold so they let you snuggle up on Mommy’s chest so I could warm you up.  It was the most amazing feeling in the entire world.  We even got to nurse a little bit too.  Soon the rest of your family came in to see you.  As soon as your Papa, Auntie and Uncle Kevin came in to see you Daddy left to get Mommy some lunch.  I proudly told him that I was STARVING and I wanted some lunch.  Because he is the best Daddy in the entire world he came back to my room with a Supreme Dinner from Bojangles and I ate EVERY LAST BITE…without getting sick!

Emma Grace Birth Day with Mommy and Jake7

Once your brother was able to come in to see you, well I can’t even put into words how it felt to see you two together.  It was so amazing to have both of my babies next to me at the same time.  He was so excited to meet you.  Jakie loves you so much and is always going to protect you and love you no matter what.  He couldn’t stop smiling when he held you for the first time, although he did think that the smell of the hospital laundry detergent was stinky.  It was at that moment that I finally felt like our family was complete.  You, Jake, Daddy and I are the perfect little family and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Emma Grace Birth Day with Mommy and Daddy8

This last year has been interesting to say the least.  You are a little sassy replica of your Momma although none of us doubted for a minute that you would probably have my personality.  You have brought so many smiles and so many tears of joy over the past year that I can hardly wait to watch you grow up.  Emma Grace, Mommy loves you and I always will.  So remember even when you are a teenager and can’t stand me…remember that I loved you first.  Remember that Daddy, Jake and I will always be here for you.  You have the most amazing family and I can’t wait to see the woman you will become.  Remember that nothing is ever as life ending as you think it is, whether it is being out of Cheerios or some looser guy who isn’t good enough for you anyways.  Remember that you are always beautiful no matter what you wear or how you fix your hair.  Remember that the only boys you will ever need are your Daddy, Jakie, Papa, Kevin and Kyson.  I can’t wait to see you walk, to see you go to Kindergarden, learn how to drive a car (manual of course that is how all the Foster girls do it), go on your first date (Daddy has his shotgun ready), go to prom and then graduate from high school and college.  I’m going to stop there because you are too young for me to be thinking past that and I’ve already got enough tears right now. I love you baby girl!

Happy 1st Birthday Emma Grace!

Love you,

Momma

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Shrimp and Grits – A Little Twist on a Southern Classic

I love shrimp and grits!  Being from the South it is hard to believe I had never had the dish until I was in college but it might be because when I was younger I never liked shrimp and the texture of grits weirded me out!  Now I love trying different variations of this southern classic.  One of my favorites is from Bobby Flay’s Throwdown! cookbook,  I’ll have to share it with you sometime.  Until then enjoy one of my new favorites which includes tomatoes, an array of peppers and even andouille sausage!  YUMMYY!!

Shrimp and Grits

FOR THE PARMESAN SAUCE:

2 large onions, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups white wine

4 cups heavy cream

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

zest of one orange ( I would recommend a small orange, the one large orange is a little over powering)

SWEAT onions and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat until soft and translucent but not browned.

ADD wine, turn up heat to high and cook until reduced by half.  Add cream and parmesan and continue to cook until reduced to 4 cups of sauce.

PUREE sauce in a blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary.  Caution: Do not fill blender or food processor more than halfway and be sure lid is firmly in place to prevent hot liquid from erupting.  Pass sauce through a sieve, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and stir in orange zest.  Keep warm until ready to serve or chill.

FOR THE GRITS: 

1 cup vegetable stock

2 cups whole milk

1/2 large onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup grits

salt, to taste

HEAT stock and milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.  Keep warm.

SWEAT onion and garlic together in a large heavy-bottomed pan (a Dutch oven works well) over medium heat until soft but not browned.  Add two-thirds of the hot milk mixture, then whisk in the grits.

LOWER heat slightly and cook until grits are tender (time can vary widely, from 5 minutes for “quick” grits to 40 minutes for stone ground).  If grits begin to get too thick while cooking, add remaining milk mixture as necessary.  Adjust seasoning and keep warm.

FOR THE SHRIMP:

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

1 cup diced mixed bell peppers (red, yellow and green)

8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

1 cup andouille sausage cook and diced (medium dice)

1/2 cup heavy cream

24 large shrimp peeled and deveined, tails removed

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

SWEAT onion and peppers on medium heat until soft.  Add the chopped bacon, andouille, cream and 3 cups of the parmesan sauce.

ADD shrimp, reduce heat and cook just until the shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes.  Stir in chopped parsley.

FOR THE GARNISH:

1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes

8 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

DIVIDE grits among four serving bowls.  Spoon parmesan sauce with shrimp over grits, making sure each bowl gets 6 shrimp.  Top with remaining 1 cup parmesan sauce

GARNISH with diced tomato, green onion and grated parmesan.  Serve immediately.

This shrimp and grits recipe is from the Fearrington Granary in Pittsboro, NC’s Fearrinton Village and was originally published by The News & Observer on July 22, 2012

Supporting Team USA :: Inspiration Wednesday

Growing up I remember watching the Summer Olympics in Sydney.  I’ve always thought that it was just so awesome that once every two years the world comes together to celebrate who we are not only as individuals but what we can accomplish as a team.  For two weeks we put politics aside and cheer on our neighbors near and far.  So today I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite ways to bring a little red, white and blue into your day to help us cheer on TEAM USA!

Tiny White Daisies via Gracie S. on Pintrest

Add flags to your home both inside and out.

Hanging American Flag by Rachel Halvorson Designs

Rachel Halvorson Designs on The Hunted Interior via Remodelaholic on Pintrest

Ruby Red Dahlia on Navy Blue and White Zigzag Pillow - Chevron Pillow by bedbuggs on Etsy

bedbuggs on Etsy

Eighteen 25 via Rebecca on Pintrest

Dress up your little one in some stars and stripes!

Stars_And_Stripes_Tiny_Toms

Stars and Stripes Tiny Toms

Even Pampers has released a limited edition Team USA diaper!

Pampers_Team_USA_Diapers

And yes even though Ralph Lauren is taking a lot of heat for manufacturing the U.S. Team’s outfits in China (don’t get me started!) you can’t deny that they did a great job putting a twist on their classic style for their official Olympic gear.

Team_USA_Tank_Dress_by_Ralph_Lauren

Ralph Lauren

Emma Grace 50 Weeks

Emma Grace is 50 Weeks Old!

50_Weeks

Follow Emma Grace’s Weekly Photo Project Here!

Okay it did kill me putting the five on the onesie just like I thought.  I think it will be harder when the word “weeks” turns to months very soon.  I have loved every second of this project and I know that once she turns a year old I just can’t stop.  So, instead of doing weekly pictures I am going to go to monthly and I highly doubt any of them will be with her laying down because that barely works anymore!  I usually bribe her with snacks to keep still and most of the time it works.  This week she had dried strawberries which is one of her favorites.    After many weeks of knowing that those top teeth were coming soon they have finally made an appearance, all FOUR on the top are coming in at the same time.  So far two have made it through and the other two should be any day now!

Emma Grace 50 Weeks Teeth

I’ve distracted myself this week with party planning.  I’ve ordered some fun decorations and even picked out some fun gifts (yes I’ve already been reminded that they are really for me because she doesn’t know the difference!)  We picked out a party dress which I’m in love with!  Yes its pink and yellow chevron.  Perfect?  I think so!

What can I say?  The girl looks good in neon!

Emma Grace July 16th

Emma Grace 50 Weeks Crawling1

We even picked up a new lime green headband this week.  Yes I’m guilty of playing dress up but for $1.50 I couldn’t resist.  It is a bit big but she will grow into it.  Oh and her crawling is like speed crawling.  There is NO taking my eyes off of her!

Emma Grace Crawling 2