October 17, 2014

3 Parks: Burgess Falls, Dunbar Cave, & Port Royal

We are so close to finishing our list! We only have 5 more parks to visit. 
It has been so refreshing and renewing to get outside for a few hours on the weekend. Genevieve thrives when she is in nature. And she craves that closeness that she gets when we wear her. I am not looking forward to the super cold weather because that will limit our ability to go hiking, but this year has been so great with our State Park Adventures. Michael wants to tackle national parks next!

1. Burgess Falls - Cookeville, TN
After a long wedding weekend in Chattanooga, we decided to take the long way home to stop by this park in order to break up our day. We weren't really dressed for the hike nor did we have time to take the steep trail to the bottom of the falls, but it was still a beautiful 30 minute stroll with breathtaking views of the falls.

2. Dunbar Cave - Clarksville, TN
This is a little park up north in Clarksville. The hike starts at the entrance of the cave. Unfortunately, because of white nose disease found in bats, you can't go into the cave, but it was still interesting seeing the cave and reading the history behind it. The trail was gorgeous! I felt like I was in enchanted woods. It was a mix of evergreen and deciduous. 

3. Port Royal - Clarksville, TN
Because we were already in Clarksville and Dunbar and Port Royal are two small parks, we decided to visit both on the same day. Port Royal is split in half with a river in the middle, so we had to park twice to visit the whole park. There is virtually no hiking but it was still a great visit. On one side of the river was a stretch of trail that is protected as part of the Trail of Tears. It was sobering reading the history of the trail and walking where thousands of Native Americans walked. On the other side of the river are the remains of an old trading post from the early 1800's, including a bridge built in 1887. All the history made this park really fascinating, plus we picnicked by the river which was beautiful. 

Burgess Falls

Dunbar Cave

Port Royal 
Tennessee is gorgeous. 

October 8, 2014

Month 11!

Month 11
Well, we are on the cusp of toddlerhood. And what a month it has been.
-Michael and I celebrated our birthdays. 
-One of my best friends got married.
-We gave our grandma hens to the Moodys and created a new enclosure. 
-We also lost 2 baby chicks to some animal, so we got 2 more. 
-We now have Pancake and Waffles (the ducks), and Jozy, Janet, and Phyllis (the hens).
(Pictures of the new pets below)
-I hosted a childbirth event, had many new consultations, and got certified in Neonatal Resuscitation. 
-I was sick for a week and Genevieve was teething at the same time.
-And we explored 3 more state parks: Burgess Falls, Dunbar Cave, and Port Royal. 
Genevieve's milestones:
-Four new teeth, well really 2 with 2 on the way. She looks like a baby hippo. It's hilarious.
-At the beginning of the month she started rocking on all fours. This is the first time she has shown any interest in crawling.
-At the end of the month she decided to become mobile on her own accord. She scoots around everywhere and is getting quite fast!
-She can stand more confidently than ever. And is starting to move from one piece of furniture to another. 
-She eats more than I thought was possible. I don't think she would ever turn down more food or more nursing. She loves to eat!
-Sleep has been really rough this month. Our neighbors are still doing major construction on their house next door and the noise has made naps near impossible. 

This month has been one of the hardest yet. 
Genevieve is breaking 4 teeth right now and our little teething monster has emerged. October 4th was the worst night we have ever had. Our poor little girl screamed the whole night through and we have never been so sleep deprived. I anticipated little sleep with a newborn but this age takes the cake for exhaustion. But somehow I still have the strength to fill my days. 

The biggest milestone this month is Genevieve becoming mobile. 
It is so exciting! I actually love that I have to find her in the house and bookshelves are disheveled. Is that weird? I don't really stress out about safety hazards because we've fixed most of the problem areas. I just love that she can explore the house and entertain herself. She can contently open and close a door for over 30 minutes. It's really fun to watch her discover all the new things. And she is less frustrated now that she can scoot around. 
I am not going to lie, becoming mobile was a long time coming, or at least that's what it felt like. 
Parenting is tough. It's a constant battle of encouraging your child to grow and develop, while also not worrying about the rate at which they achieve new milestones. You naturally compare your child to other children because you are gauging where your baby is at, but at the same time you shouldn't measure your child against another because they all do things at different times. So you have to act like it's all fine, while seeming like you care, but also not caring about it. And not letting your child's accomplishments (or lack of accomplishments) define your ability to parent or your value as a mother. It's weird. And hard. But I know this is just the beginning of parenting. I am glad that I'm processing and wrestling with all of this while Genevieve is 11-months-old and not when she is 10-years-old. I am al*so so grateful for amazing friends that let me process all my thoughts, concerns, and questions without making me feel like a bad parent. I have such a wonderful community of moms around me and I am so thankful!

My Sweet Genevieve,
Being a mother has taught me so much about sacrifice, selflessness, and inner strength. 
But with all of that, it has also taught me that my heart can grow bigger and bigger. I had no idea I could love someone as much as I love you. Every smile, giggle, and babble makes the sleepless nights worth it. We are so enamored by you and the big girl you are becoming. I will squeeze you extra tight during our last month with a baby. You will be a toddler before we know it. We love you dearly.