It’s hard to believe that a year ago we were in the hospital holding a 5 and a half pound little girl. The uncertainty, fear, and amazement were all overwhelming. The 7.5 months of pregnancy were filled with surprises and scares. We had spent so much time worrying of our little Emma Kate would make it into this world that I believe we didn’t really let ourselves think about what we would do with her once she arrived. 12 months later those thoughts and feelings are so foreign. Sure, there are scary times and uncertain moments, but what was just a small dot on the ultrasound, and what was a crying baby who slept very little, is now a beautiful one-year old with a perfect personality. She’s cute and funny and couldn’t make me any happier. I never dreamed of a more perfect daughter.

To celebrate her birthday we knew we wanted to be surrounded by family and friends. These are the people who helped us through the pregnancy, visited us in the hospital, and gave us love and support during these first months. Due to the size of the group, we knew we couldn’t have the party in our house. Finding a venue that was affordable and appropriate was not easy. We ended up renting out Mack Crawford’s farm, which gave us lots of room for the kids to run around and just be kids. Other than the humidity, it was wonderful day. Emma Kate was showered with gifts and with love. The cake turned out perfect. Alison, Kaye, and Ashley Brookshaw made everything look great. And our friends and family made the atmosphere fun. Thanks to all of you who shared this experience with us. We are grateful. Emma Kate will be able to look back at these photos and know that she has always been supported and loved by many people.

After the party, we quickly cleaned up and went to see the Braves game. You’ll see some of the photos near the end of this post.

The first few photos are actually on her birthday – August 15. We had left our camera in Knoxville, so we had to use our phones! I apologize for the quality.



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August 18, 2007

Emma Kate’s 1st Birthday


Tonight Alison, Emma Kate, and I were in the living room. I was on the laptop on the chaise, and Alison and EK were on the other couch. All of a sudden, she said “Da-da”. I looked up. Alison said, “Did you hear what she just said?” I said, “Yeah.” And she said, “Come over here and see if she’ll say it again.” So I walked up to her and said “Da-da” and she repeated back “Da-da”! Oh my gosh! I never thought I could be this excited!! She said it a couple more times, so it clearly wasn’t an accident. At the time I was thinking…I’m definitely her favorite. But Alison says that “Da-da” is a little easier to say than “Mama”. I don’t know if I believe her!

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February 25, 2007

OK, this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m her favorite…


Today was Emma Kate’s baptism. Raised in a Baptist church, we didn’t have infant baptism. Instead, Baptists have “believer’s baptism.” It is reserved for those old enough to make the decision for themselves, as a sign of their dedication to Chrsit. Methodists, at least in my understanding through my limited knowledge, view infant baptism as more of a sign of commitment from the parents, family, and church congregation. We gather together to celebrate Emma Kate’s birth, and we pledge to do our best to raise her in a Christian way, to shower her with love, and to help her understand the unending love that God has for her. It’s a very special way of recognizing the wonder of life.

Both sets of grandparents were able to attend, which we were very thankful for. Also, Alison’s sister, Kaye, and her family drove down from Knoxville. Good friends Lisa and Clara Lee also came, even though Lisa had the flu! And it wouldn’t have been the same without Ashley, Blaze, and Walker. Emma Kate was surrounded by people who love her and she was on perfect behavior the entire day! Thank you all for supporting her!

The Ceremony itself – Emma Kate, Alison, Bradley, Barbara & Quentin (Alison’s parents), James & Linda (my parents), Pastor Dan, and Pastor Gene:











It wouldn’t have been the same without Emma Kate’s friends to join her – Robert (accompanied by his big sister Leah and parents Justin & Kate) and Brittain (accompanied by her parents Dan & Valerie):


Brittain telling Emma Kate that she watched her baptism from the closed circuit tv in the nursery:

ek and brittain

Brittain reaching for Alison

Alison learning what it would be like to have twins (and Robert watching the girls from a distance):

the babies


EK and Valerie



Megan (Emma Kate’s cousin):



daddy, ek, mom

entire family





Emma Kate with her cousins Megan and Jake:



Clara and Lisa:







OK, this deserves some explanation….across from the music suite at church, there are water fountains. Someone had placed this big warning sign above them (and note the “There is a Fountain” sheet music tacked behind it”!):

water fountain sign

Emma Kate, Alison, Megan, Madline, Jake, and Addison:


Kaye and Grandpa Kirkland:



Are they twins?:




J. & Madline:


Dee, Emma Kate, and J.:





Note sure why this photo is down here and not with the rest of them!:

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January 21, 2007

Emma Kate’s Baptism – 1/21/07


Alison, her mom, and myself all have birthday within a week of each other in January. It has become tradition that the whole family gets together for good food one weekend in January. The last couple of year’s we’ve had it at Maggiano’s.  Since Emma Kate’s baptism was the next morning, she was the guest of honor.

Maggiano's birthday dinner

Maggiano's birthday dinner

Maggiano's birthday dinner

Maggiano's birthday dinner

Maggiano's birthday dinner

Maggiano's birthday dinner


January 21, 2007

Birthday dinner at Maggiano’s – 1/20/07