{Today's Letters}

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dear Timothy James, yesterday you sent me YouTube videos about how to read water in trout streams. Thank you for always encouraging me to grow in my passions. Dear Bravey Train, since having you I've learned how to function off of 30 minute naps, nurse you in the Baby Bjorn while grocery shopping, and move you like a fancy ice sculpture when you're asleep. I love being your mom. Dear Change, I don't know if you'll ever be easy for me but I do know with you comes growth. And for that I am thankful. Dear Mr. Loerke, so much estrogen in your life. God knew only a special man could handle so many uterus' in 1900 square feet.

Happy Friday, brave ones! What are you looking forward to this weekend? We'll be taking another road trip to fly fish on the South Holston River. Here's to another family adventure!

{Nashville} Anniversary Trip

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tim and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary in Nashville over the weekend.
Some highlights included:
Surviving our first road trip with a 4 week old.
Listening to Ben Howard while learning how to pump in the car.
Drinking coffee at Barisa Parlor and Crema.
Trying to breastfeed while eating lunch on the patio at Mas Tacos.
Visiting Jones Fly Co. fly shop.
Watching Tim catch a rainbow trout on the Caney Fork River.
Fly fishing with Brave while she slept on my chest.
Stuffing our bocas with bison burgers and truffle fries at Burger Up.
Teaching Brave how to use a bottle.
Staying up past 2am talking with our sweet friends Mark & Julie.
Sharing crepes at The Red Bicycle.
Seeing my first cochin chicken.
Eating three scoops of Jeni's ice cream at midnight.
Happy Wednesday, brave ones!
How was your holiday weekend?

{Afternoon Thoughts}

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pickin, walkin, and eatin.
Three things that should go together in the summer.

{Brave Richmond Loerke} Birth & Meaning

Friday, May 23, 2014

Many of you have asked about Brave's delivery as well as the meaning behind her name.
Here's the skinny for any of you who are interested in reading more!

Two weeks before my due date I thought my water broke in the middle of the night.
Thankfully, I had an apt later that morning to see my OBGYN who confirmed we'd soon be having a baby!
After my appointment, I went home and continued laboring in our bathtub for several hours.
When it was time to head to the hospital Tim, Molls, Bek, and Whit were by my side.

They were truly amazing and I couldn't have asked for a better group of friends to support me!

Bek rubbed lavender oil on my swollen feet.

Molls held my paws and made me laugh.

Tim encouraged me and played Ben Howard on repeat.

Never before had I felt so supported or believed in.

After 16 hours of labor I eventually waved my white flag and surrendered to an epidural.
I was exhausted, but not without a new found respect for mamas.

 Soon after, I was able to rest while everyone else stayed awake on pints of Graeter's & Netflix documentaries.

The nurses changed my position every 30 minutes or so and sweet Bek kept me company.
We ate Popsicles and talked about how excited I was to kiss Brave's nose for the first time.

By 8am the following day I was finally 10cm dilated.
I don't think anyone in the room was more excited for me to start pushing than Tim.

This song played quietly in the background as I began to push.

I had the best nurse Sadie who was 39 weeks pregnant.
She made me feel so at peace and strong.

This was the moment I reached my hand down to touch Brave's head for the first time.
I remember thinking she had so much hair!

Soon after that Tim and my OBGYN were gowned and gloved.

Kelli was gracious and let Tim help her deliver sweet Bravey Train while Molls & Bek looked on.

Tim was so excited to announce the gender he yelled, "It's a boy!"
Kelli quickly asked him to look again.
Even when Tim mistook Brave's swollen labia for testicles I knew Brave was a girl.
{because mama's always know}

Seeing Brave's face for the first time was magical.
Her nose was as cute as a button and her eyes were wide open.

After 38 weeks of carrying her and 29 hours of labor, this was the moment I realized it was all worth it.

Have I mentioned how much I love my OBGYN, Kelli? She's amazing.
If I can turn out to be half the mama she is sweet Brave will be a life changer.

Brave was born at 9:14am, weighing 7lbs 5oz, and was 19" long.

Molls never left her side. Because that's what best friends do.

Today Brave is 1 month old. She likes to be swaddled 24/7, sit on the front porch with her Papa, go on walks, doesn't care if I drop food in her hair, and sleeps in my armpit each night.
She's truly one of the greatest gifts Tim and I have ever been entrusted with.
As far as her name goes, we've known for a long time that we wanted to call our firstborn Brave.
Tim has told me how brave I am almost every day that he's known me.
It's changed my life.
Our hope is to raise a daughter who does courageous and brave things each day.
Hopefully her name will serve as a reminder to allow her faith to be larger than her fears.

Happy Weekend, dear ones.
You are brave.

{Photos by Whitney Neal Photography}

{Gratitude} Lately

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lately I've been thankful for days that celebrate mama's and the babes that make them stronger.

For community eggs and homemade stratta.

For joyful moments tucked in windowsills.

For new and old gifts that make me feel known. 

For mornings when I'm dressed and downstairs before noon. 

For simple goals of mending shirts.

And for walks in the rain with this pound of sugar.
Here's to gratitude and how it turns everything into enough.
Happy Wednesday, brave ones.
What have you been thankful for lately?

{Morning Thoughts}

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Reason #678 why I love being a mom : #crumbcatcher

{Today's Letters}

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dear Timothy James, when I'm nursing Brave in the middle of the night you've started kissing my elbow to let me know you're awake and ready to change her diaper. I like your new form of Morse code. Dear Rowan, yesterday you threw 27 rocks at Brave's head. I think this means you'll be the best of friends. Dear Maternal Instincts, you make me do things like lick the milk moustaches off of Bravey Train's face. I love having a cub. Dear Mr. Loerke, last week you went to Target two different times to buy me more boobie baskets, breast pads, and nipple cream. Next time I'll throw in a meat thermometer and a six pack of beer just so you won't feel like you've lost your man card. 

Happy Sunday, brave ones! Hope it's been good to you! For all of you mama's out there, what do you like best about having a cub? 

{Hive Split}

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Mother's Day we watched our bees swarm the Maple tree above our hive.
It was a heartbreaking yet beautiful thing to watch!
{A hive splits when the queen decides to start a new colony due to an overcrowded hive}
Fortunately, our hive was strong enough to do a second split so we could
have bees both at the Harvest House and at the Bungalow.
This means Moll's and I could be harvesting up to 120 lbs of honey this summer!
Today I'm thankful for our bees,
for the honey they work so hard to make,
and for a best friend who continues to learn new things with me.
Happy Thursday, brave ones!
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