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It’s My Birthday!

Thirty-Eight turns around the sun! What a gift! 

We are in Tennessee! And it’s a gorgeous October already. I slept in and spent the morning with my favorite two humans. Kyle had planned a little scavenger hunt around the house (one of my favorite birthday things)! 

The scavenger hunt kicked off with an iced coffee from my favorite local coffee shop and clue #1 : “Im a dark place but easily accessed and full of favorite thing.”

A yummy oatmeal cream pie was waiting in the pantry with a gold sparkler candle!! Birthday musts 1 & 2 – a yummy treat and candles ✓✓! 

The scavenger hunt continued full of experiences planned throughout the month of October : A date to the Little Gym with Madelyn (something I’ve been wanting to try with her for months), a new bike seat and a trip to Cades Cove to bike the loop, Parade of Homes map, Fall Festival at the Knoxville botanical gardens, a pumpkin carving night, and last but not least A TRIP TO DOLLYWOOD! 

It’s been almost one year to the day that we moved back home to Tennessee. While the year hasn’t been without challenges (finding consistent work hours with sporadic childcare, primarily), I feel so much peace. I love the weather, I love our neighborhood, I love our home, I love our stuff, I love my work, and I love living near our family and friends.

This year hasn’t been grand and big, it’s been sweet and slow and full of small memories that mean everything. We didn’t take any grand adventures, instead we soaked up our time near our people and made special memories on random Friday evenings and Tuesday mornings. Bonfires, coffee dates, Valentines parties. 

Funny enough, now that I peek back at my post from last year’s birthday–I got exactly what I wished for! 

_

Looking Back : My 37th Year Highlight Reel

  1. The “firsts” with Madelyn: First Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, St. Pattys (I’m from an Irish family and went into labor on St. Pattys last year!), first easter egg hunt and 4th of July parade. Not to mention first teeth and first steps. And celebrating Madelyn’s first birthday “Spring Fling” style. In perfect Spring unpredictable weather fashion, it was freezing! Which made for an even more memorable day lol. 
  2. Making our house a home. So many sweet memories here watching MJ grow up and time spent with friends and family. It’s amazing now to look back at one year ago when we moved into our new home (October 25th). MJ was barely crawling. Now she’s walking, talking and practically a little teenager! 
  3. Dollywood in every season! 
  4. Community! I am so grateful for the everyday moments with our family (like high school graduation, Christmas Eve service, and chorus concerts) that we would have missed being far away, a new church community, and our sweet neighborhood. 
  5. Other special memories : celebrating Gigi’s 100th birthday, MJ’s first* snow and first swim, summer days at the pool, splash pad, and trips to the beach this summer. MJ’s first lake day and lots of cousin birthday parties, graduations, and grad parties! 
  6. Time with Kyle—always a treat in this season of parenthood! We spent Valentine’s day at Grove Park Inn, our first time away from Madelyn. And got to see the firefly synchronization in the Smoky Mountains. Such a special experience! Amos Lee concert and random weekday date nights (lots of Margaritas were had). 
  7. The everyday moments : Going to a UT game with my sister, park days with friends, going to the zoo and aquarium, watching MJ grow, lots of neighborhood walks, coffee in the morning and wheel of fortune nights. 

Looking Forward : 

I want to continue to settle into our home and rhythms of work/play in this next year of life. I hope to be present to the little moments and soak up time with my family. I hope for more game nights with friends, dinners around the table, and gratefulness for the small, seemingly mundane but actually quite magical moments! Daily adventures, weekends adventures, and yea.. maybe even a grand adventure or two! 

Cheers to 38 years! 

Shanna

 

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October 8, 2022

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