Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I've been thinking a lot about this space of mine. About my absence from it. About posting once a week, if that. About the dreams I had for this space. 





It hasn't been anything of those things much lately. I'm consumed with work, then dinner, then bedtime, then dishes and at least one chore, then I'm done. It's netflix time. It's scrolling through facebook time. 

But I miss you blog. I'm thinking about changing you a bit. A new name. A new look. New goals and devotion. I look at my friend Lauren who has steadily grown her blog in just a year. Sheesh, through hard work, girl you are an inspiration to me! And I'll think, I can do that. 

But it takes discipline, and time. Something I've been selfish and lazy with. new season of "hell on wheels" i'm talking to you. And I want to be devoted and thoughtful with my time. I want to hone skills and writing abilities. I want to proudly share my blog with people. Instead of jokingly, "hey, I have 9 followers, it's a big deal". 

I saw the girls from A Beautiful Mess at the WEst Elm in Nashville and I thought, "Oh My Gosh, it's them! I'm finally seeing famous people in Nashville!!!"

Anyway, I have no intention of being "famous people". I have no intention of getting free stuff or advertisements. I want a space I can be proud of. So, I'm going to clean the unfolded laundry off of my desk and install that wacom tablet. download some photoshop elements with my amazon giftcard (from christmas mind you) and go to work. 

Thanks for being faithful readers, and sticking through the lull.

Friday, August 15, 2014


As a full-time and working mom, I find it really hard to take advantage of treating myself.  I think it's the mom m.o. We, for some unknown reason, somehow as a whole silently agree that it's okay to put your family first and be some sort of martyr of fashion and glamour. But there are really little things that we can do as moms to treat ourselves.

For example, I haven't had a haircut for probably a year. While this is normal for me, I grew up this way, it really isn't the best thing for my hair health nor for my self confidence. I mean, a girl can only top knot so many days a week before 1.) her head hurts and 2.) her hair starts to feel pretty boooorrrrinnngg.

So I'm getting my haircut. Huzzah! I don't know how, I've been pinning lots of ideas for, well, the last year.  So, I'll come up with something - but let's face it, I need it.  As seen below.

And not only that - I feel super hip to be getting my hair-did at the famous Parlour & Juke ! 

I'm thinking something low-maintenance - because I didn't style my hair even before baby, stylish, breezy, bouncy, fun!

I'd love to hear your ideas!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

On Pride

Gavin officially turned 14 months two days ago. And he's still not walking. Sure he can climb up the stairs himself. He'll push along his walker and cruise down the sofa. He will even humor me by walking holding my hands for a few steps. Then he lifts his feet and whines until he's placed back onto his bottom. 

And I am so frustrated by this.

We've talked about comparison.

And how I'm going to seek joy instead.

But when all the 10 month olds around you are up and walking. It's hard. I go to a place of comparison. Of doubt. Of fear. "Is my baby okay?" "Is he normal?" And while deep down I know he is, I let Satan put me into this dark place. And even place blame onto my son! "Why is he doing this to meeeee???"

And I wonder why he's so dramatic...

But really, what is there to be afraid of. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Wait...Be thankful. Right. 

He will walk, and one day soon. And while I might secretly roll my eyes at all the parents who try to tell me I'll wish he was still just crawling, I can find joy in the moment.  That he loves crawling a few steps and twisting around with a giggle to see if we're chasing him yet. That he makes yummy "mmm" sounds when he's eating something he really loves (read: hot dog). That he climbs up onto me and gives the largest wettest kiss (read: blows raspberry) on my face or neck.  These are the moments.

Monday, July 14, 2014

July the 4th

I was off work for Independence day, but Gavin didn't get the memo. We woke up around the usual 7 and fiddled around until about 9 when I had the genius idea to google "nashville fourth of july things to do". And up popped the hot chicken festival.

So if you've ever visited Nashville or if you live in Nashville then you know that hot chicken is totally a thing here. It's our (can I say our?) thing! I think it's more or less chicken smothered in hot sauce, then deep fried with a spicy breading. And we don't serve it here with ranch or blue cheese dressing. We eat it with a side of jalapeno mac'n'cheese!

Needless to say, Gavin and I went for something a little less spicy, but hot nonetheless. Because it was a fire truck parade!

Selfie attemps!

Reflection selfies are a thing!

Sharing a snow cone with mama!

Then we got sleepy and needed some real lunch, so we packed up and picked up dada! Then we found ourselves a park.

And then sometimes they just melt into you, and you along with them, and you just think, gosh, how could i love this kid anymore and then you do.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


I almost cannot believe it, but one month and 4 days ago Gavin turned 1. A whole one year old. The biggest milestone he's made so far.  Doctors would say that we're in the clear for SIDS - which was my #1 fear the first few days of his life. And he can drink whole milk! Which he does - with much gusto. In fact, anything and everything goes as far as food is concerned, but we're sticking the classics.  

A few days before the official big day, we headed to east TN for a Resolute show and invited a few close friends and family over for an afternoon party. It was nothing fancy. Just a little bbq, silly string and giant party hats. And cake - let's talk about the cake.

I splurged on the cake and went to Cootie brown's for a dreamsicle cake that was amazing. And honestly, just really nice to look at. Also - isn't the cake a little bit mostly for the parents? Right? Especially if you're not also having margaritas? Right...?

My nieces were there and we "buck bucked" at the chickens and "buzz buzzed" at the bees. We played ping pong and took turns passing around the birthday boy. 

And in the back of my mind I thought about that last year. About the trials and the joys. About how much of an adjustment it was for me.  Physically I had to take so much time to heal and then mentally too. My mind went into a dark place and it affected my work and my relationships. About how much joy and pride I took in my son. I've taught him things. He clings to me and I truly can't ever get enough of it. Slowly over this first year of his, I became more and more perfectly his mama. 

Because I love the ideas of writing down your child's favorites every year, here are his:

Gavin: Age 1

favorite song: the theme to Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Apples and Bananas

favorite toy: Balls! All the balls!

favorite person: mama ;)

favorite foods: Cheerios, bananas, squeeze pouches, and Hot Dogs!

words he knows: Buff (for Dillan), Ball, Duck, Boing, DaDa, Vroom, Boom (when he gives high fives), Bye-bye, Shoes

favorite book: Brown Bear Brown Bear, What do you See?

Bed Time: 7:30 ish til 7:30ish am (Hallelujah!)

Learning how to walk but still needs both hands held

Wearing 18mo clothes and size 3 shoes - apparently he has bitty feet. 

maybe my favorite photo ever.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

DIY First Dance Word Art

About two months ago, I got really inspired about owning a home. Apartment living for the last 5.5 years had taken it's toll on my creativity, even if I am a designer for a living. I've always felt like not only could I not get super creative about my living space, but I also couldn't because of limited finances - hello mid-twenties - and let's just say it fear. 

In an era where we display our doing, our works, our faces to everyone who will look over the internet, it's easy to get insecure. What if so-and-so doesn't "like" it? What if she thinks I'm copying her? It can go on and on.

But on a quiet night this past week - and by quiet i mean not-quiet because Gavin woke up a few times - I plopped down in the living room floor, turned on some Doctor Who and started.

The result is pretty good. It's mine. I slowly got the hang of how to move a brush to make the letters appear more calligraphy style. Yes, it is still in the floor ... all in good time my friends.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What Gavin Eats

Hi Everyone!

I've been wanting to share this wonderfully simple recipe that Gavin LOVES! Especially for all you "baby lead weaning" mamas. This is one you'll be making so often, you'll have it memorized  - but also because there are only 4 ingredients.

Gavin's Whole Oat & Banana Pancakes

  • one banana
  • one cup water
  • one teaspoon baking powder
  • one cup ground whole oats
1. Get a good sized bowl out and stick your peeled banana in it!
2. Add water and mash!
3. Grind your old fashioned rolled oats in a coffee grinder / food processor if your fancy / or just buy oat powder :)
4. Plop it and the baking powder in with the banana mash.
5. Mix. (I just use an easy breezy spatula)
6. Fry in a hot pan ( I add a little coconut oil to the pan first)

That's it! 

Ever since Gavin started eating his own food (4-ish months ago) he started batting away the spoon and only wanting to feed himself. Gavin has a pancake every day for breakfast! I feel pretty good knowing he's starting the day with a good whole grain and a banana.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bottle It

The other night we were sitting around the dining table, eating super. Gavin vigorously shoveling handfuls of food into his mouth wide open, but half of it ending up down in his bucket bib.  Then Dillan came along, as he always does and started sniffing around the high chair, hoping to find a lost piece of cheerio.  Gavin took notice an proceeded to drop food into the floor. This is something we've been working against for a while, but is a phase through which all babies go.
So, I told him a stern "no Gavin. do not drop your food into the floor. you eat it." And went along my business.
Baby kept eye contact as he picked up another bite of food and hung his arm over the tray and let go of a tine piece of food.  I, again said no.
On the third time, I pat him on his hand right after he dropped the food and said No.
I then got the most perfect upside down U-shaped frown I've ever seen. And the biggest puppy dog "i'm sorry mama" eyes I have ever ever seen. And if I wasn't already a pile of mush in the floor, Gavin picked up a bite and held it out to me to share solidifying my fate.  That boy has me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Our Sleeping Story

Gavin has never been a great sleeper.

If you've been reading here for a while, or if you've ever talked to me in person - you know this. I've been tired for almost a year. I've learned to live on few hour increments of sleep. But even that wasn't the worst part. I think that comes with the parenting territory, ya know? Babies don't sleep long and what not...

But that wasn't Gavin's only "problem". He was colicky. So for, yeesh, how long? Maybe 2-3 months he would scream for several hours every night. It's funny that I really can't remember how horrific it was actually - only that at one point I remember thinking, "this is horrific". 

After that, Gavin's sleep crutch was nursing. Tugging away until he'd pass out and then I'd make the highly skilled magical transfer to the crib. And this worked out really great, until he grew too big for a swaddler. 

We'd have a mostly rough nights with a few good ones so I partly felt like it would eventually work itself out. That somehow, Gavin would learn and become a "magic" baby that everyone on Facebook seems to have and I could get on with my life and stop running into walls and what-not. 

But that didn't happen, and after encouragement from friends and extensive online research, we decided to cry it out. This was probably around 6 months. And yes, it was the only way we could get him to sleep. He wouldn't rock, he wouldn't nurse anymore, he would cry in the swing, he'd cry regardless, so he may as well cry in his crib.

And it was hard. I shut down. Like a lot of anti-CIO postings I found online, it goes against that "maternal instinct" that is commanding you to go pick up that baby of yours. So I scrolled through pinterest for hours at a time, the "mood" timer on my BabyConnect app reminding me every 15 minutes to go and comfort him. At which he would get even angrier because mama would not pick him up like he wanted. And eventually he'd fall asleep - and he'd actually sleep. There were nights we got up to 10 straight hours. And then I became superwoman. But there were nights we got 5 too... 

Gavin went from crying for 45 minutes to only whining for 5 before sleep and now he doesn't make a peep when I lay him down at night.  He's currently teething 4 top teeth, so his sleep isn't great, but he's not usually screaming when he lays back down. 

There are nights when we back track. He has mental leaps, and he has sore gums, and he has new tummy feelings from trying new foods, but he knows his routine, and he knows that mama means business when she lays him down, so these episodes aren't near what they were when we started.

I'm not advocating that CIO is absolutely the solution for everyone. But was the best for Gavin. I think that's what being a parent is all about. We absolutely know what is best for our own individual children and ourselves. I tried cosleeping with Gavin but side-nursing made my back hurt something terrible and I didn't get any rest because Gavin wanted to snack every hour or so.  

So, here are my 5 tips for Crying It Out:

1.  Start a routine. For probably 5 months we've done the exact same thing every night at the same time. Gavin eats, takes a bath, gets a lotion massage before jammies, we pick up the toys taken out throughout the day, read a couple books, pray with Daddy, and nurse. Of course we've strayed from this a few times to go out etc., but overall this is our routine.

2. Find a happy place.  Y'all a six month old has a super developed set of vocal cords. Gavin's screams are somehow the loudest thing I've ever experienced.  My happy place was pinterest and tumblr sitting on our bed with the door closed. Our rooms are right across from each other so I had no issue hearing him. I could mindlessly scroll and be able to listen to Gavin. 

3. Know your baby.  Well duh, I know that you all know your babies, but listen for his cries. I know when Gavin is screaming because he's angry, and I know when something is wrong.  One night Gavin woke at about 5 am with a cry that sounded terrified - not at all like his upset I just woke up whine. Usually I kind of take my time going to him to give him an opportunity to quiet back to sleep but I didn't waste any time going to him that morning and sure enough, he had thrown up from a little stomach bug that we didn't know he had.

4. Stick to your guns.  My friend encouraged us to start CIO when Gavin was around 5 months. And we did - but it was hard. And often times Nathan or I would give in and go pick up the little guy. Had we really stuck to it he might have been better at putting himself to sleep sooner. And if it only took mom or dad 15 minutes to go pick the baby up - baby knows to cry for at least that long and longer next time...

5. You're doing a great job.  That's all. Parenting is hard and you're doing great.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


In about 10 minutes, Nathan and I will be out - without the baby! I have to admit I feel a little like a pro parent with my baby already down for the night, my hair up in a tip-top-to-knot, and even lipstick!
This feels a little different than our typical date night because we are going out where there will be other friends, which now thinking about it, I don't think has happened since Gavin arrived!
We are going to see one of our favorite bands - Snarky Puppy - who just won a Grammy! They are super fun jazzy funk, and really very talented.  We saw them in Roanoke a few years ago and are so excited to see them again live!

Take a listen!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Church Plug

Well I skipped a couple of days out of my 4 week challenge, but I'm back in the saddle tonight long enough to share with you a current project with our church here in Nashville.

The Axis church is fundraising, which, yes I know, may invoke a few digital eye rolls, so I want to share this video with you!  We want to continue to share Jesus with the people of the Germantown/Salemtown community and buying our building is the best way to do that. Please pray for our partners and our church leaders and the hearts of those we contact during fundraising. Thanks!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Quick one

I'm here tonight with only 50 minutes to spare for my daily post.  And if it weren't for my deep need to meet this goal, I wouldn't be here at all. 

Sundays are always a busy day, and I guess they shouldn't be but I rev myself up at about 8 pm with trying to get organized for the week. Groceries, lunch packing, meal planning...there's always a lot to do. 

Gavin starts a new day care tomorrow so I'm off to try and figure out what his schedule is...I hope you all have a great Monday :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Gavi's first snow!

This morning Gavin slept until a blissful 8:30 am. When he awoke, I went in, nursed, and set him down on the changing table to, well, you know, and I pulled open his shade so that he could see up at the sky.  When the shade lifted up I literally gasped.

Thick, chunky flakes of snow were falling and the ground had an even coating over it. The road had splotches of white and wet and I knew I had to get outside in it. It has seemed that there's been an excessive amount of snow across the country, everywhere but middle tennessee. Just a couple hours north, east, west and even south (I'm looking at you Atlanta) have had huge snowfalls by comparison.  And I've been a teensy bit jealous.

I zipped Gavin up in his bear suit, pj's and all, and set up my tripod outside. 

It was a total trial and error with the camera auto-focus and timer, hello focused fence posts, but it's documented. The chunk's unamused faces and all!

Then I tried to get a few of him tossed up in the air - because usually, he loves that. And I thought of man if I could capture the joy in those little squishy features I will have succeeded in life. But look at that face...

So unamused! Even out of focused he's just like, "Mom...Mom, calm yourself..."

So I stuck him in the snow and thought, now the magic will really happen. And it did.

Oh chunkums, you're such a great sport!

Friday, February 7, 2014

One day at a time

Yesterday, I challenged myself to write a blog post every day.  Yesterday, I claimed to miss this blog of mine and the opportunity it gives me to share thoughts and ideas.  But tonight, I realized it is 10 pm and all I want to do is curl up in bed with a whole bag of ginger snaps and watch some "Chuck" on netflix. This challenge may prove to be harder than anticipated. I already feel myself coming up with excuses somehow.  Things like, "I don't have photoshop so how can I edit pictures now?" or "my house is still an explosion of boxes, how can I share anything about that" and even "my life's not good enough to share"...

Sheesh. When it comes down to the honesty of that last statement, I realize the lies that Satan has been feeding me have really piled up.

I've started to believe that somehow, the home we've made isn't good enough to share... somehow my place and current phase of life are somehow worth less than others. That since my home is not a show house, and I don't have any time (or let's face it funds) to make it exactly how I want or "photo-worthy".

But, Jesus has already made me worthy.  He's already taken all of the "not good enoughs" and replaced them with perfection. My life is worth sharing because Jesus has redeemed it. Because He is what is worth anything.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


The past few weeks have been crazy for the Merricks.  We've bought a house, moved, unpacked (well, sort of), renovated, tore it out, re-renovated, battled illness, eaten out waaaaay too much.

We've felt crazy, we've felt out of control, we've felt a little lost.  Jobs have changed, hearts have changed, fears have changed.

It's been a time of reflection.

It's been a time of serious prayer.

And it got me thinking about this little space of mine.  How I've missed it. Not many come here to read, and even fewer "follow", but it's been my sounding board.  I know I've said it before but I have missed writing. I've missed writing about the mundane. About the weird position that Dillan has fallen asleep in, or about the weekly task of documenting Gavin's picture. 

A couple nights ago, Nathan set up my computer.  I have my own little space in our bedroom. A space where I can light a candle and shut myself out for a few minutes. So here I am.

I'm not great at making goals, and I'm even worse at meeting them. But, for the next 4 weeks, I'm challenging myself to write something. Anything. Just be here. Unplug and share something with you. 


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