September 15, 2014

Mousetail Landing and Old Stone Fort

Labor Day weekend and the following week seemed like the perfect time to continue our Tennessee State Park adventure. Now that it is not blazing hot, we are ready to check a few more off the list! Seriously, Tennessee is gorgeous. I am so glad we are taking the time to explore so many parts of the state.

Mousetail Landing
Linden, Tennessee
We had the pleasure of having the Moody family join us at this state park, located about 2 hours west of Nashville. It was a beautiful drive once we got off the interstate. We didn't go on the long hike that this park offers but the 3 mile hike to the river was perfect for us. And the water was wonderful for swimming!

Old Stone Fort
Manchester, Tennessee
Michael and I were headed to a wedding shower in Chattanooga and decided to stop off at a state park on our way down. This park is perfect for a quick visit. It is only 10 minutes off I-24 in Manchester and the park has a beautiful 1.5-mile loop. It is an old archeological site and even has a museum where you can learn all about the Native Americans that lived here. Waterfalls, rivers, woods, and meadows - in such a small space, this park has everything!
A successful week of park visits. Looking forward to our next stop!

September 8, 2014

10 Month Update

Wow. Here we are at 10 months old. 
What a joy it is being this little girl's mom. 
I find myself getting so sappy when I talk to moms-to-be about mothering. 
It is so hard and so beautiful and refining and rich and life-altering. It really has changed everything. And for the better. 
This month brought some major changes to our family. 
I left my position at Visiting Orphans after 3 wonderful years. It was very bittersweet. But I am so excited to be pursuing my passion for assisting women in childbirth. I am now an official certified doula! (Check out my website: www.merrillchildbirthservices.com) It's been an adjustment for our family as I am rushing off to prenatal appointments, births, and postpartum visits. My calendar is full of coffee visits with fellow doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, and pregnant mommas. But seriously, I have never been so happy and fulfilled. It is a joy to do what I love. 

In other news, we also decided to expand our family farm by getting 2 ducks and 3 chicks. Our current hens are nearing the end of their laying years so we are getting our next round of chickens ready. And we thought, why not get some ducks as well ;) So we now have Pancake and Waffles (a pekin and rouen duck) and our little chicks are Fabian Johnson, Jozy Altidore, and Omar Gonzales (US Men's Soccer players). I love that Genevieve knows what chickens are. She likes to cluck at them. 
This month we went to the Tomato Festival, Live on the Green, enjoyed long walks, and the splash pad. We hiked at two State Parks (Mousetail Landing and Old Stone Fort). We attended a Birth Rally. Enjoyed swimming in the pool and bathtub and hung out with cousins and best friends. It was a great month. But we are so looking forward to cooler weather and the beginning of fall!

Genevieve's monthly milestones:
-This girl is determined NOT to crawl. But she has an excellent reach and can scoot on her butt all around. 
-She loves to reach and pull herself up. 
-She would take baths 4 times a day if we let her. That's her favorite activity, besides eating. She eats so much!
-Sitting in the kitchen sink while we cook dinner has become a regular event. We are 'teaching' her everything she needs to know about cooking. 
-Sleeping is still hit or miss. Some weeks there is only one wakeup in the middle of the night, the next week it is like 5 feedings. 
-Sorting blocks and bean bags is her new hobby. She likes to dump things out of baskets and put them back in. 
-She loves to copy us whether it is clapping or shaking her head really fast.
-Swinging on her new swing and long walks with daddy are her evening activities. 
-Her expressions are priceless and she's getting so much more personality!

Every night for the last 3 months we read Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman. It's our favorite. We have it memorized.
My sweet Genevieve,
"I wanted you more than you ever will know,
So I sent love to find you wherever you go.
It's high as you wish it. It's quick as an elf.
You'll never outgrow it, it stretches itself!

So climb any mountain, climb up to the sky.
My love will find you, my love can fly.
Make a big splash, go out on a limb.
My love will find you, my love can swim.

It never gets lost, never fades, never ends.
If you're working or playing or sitting with friends.
You can dance 'til your dizzy, paint 'til your blue,
There's no place, not one, that my love can't find you.

And if some day you're lonely, or someday you're sad.
Or you strike out at baseball, or you think you've been bad.
Just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair,
That's me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.

In the green of the grass, in the smell of the sea,
In the clouds floating by at the top of the trees
In the sound crickets make at the end of the day,
"You are loved, you are loved, you are loved", they all say.

My love is so high, and so wide and so deep,
It's always right there, even when you're asleep.
So hold your head high and don't be afraid 
To march to the front of you're own parade. 

If you're still my small babe or you're all the way grown,
My promise to you is you're never alone.
You are my angel, my darling, my star
And my love will find you wherever you are."