day 29// a different view.

I pretty much always get stuck in my own viewpoint.  It’s not often that I stop to think about what something looks like from another angle.  Jack took this picture on my phone the other day, and it caught my attention.  This is the same view that I look at so many times every single day, but I never see it like this.  When I looked at this picture I felt like I was looking more level out at the dogs and the yard, as opposed to my usual view of looking down on things.  It was refreshing to see a different angle, and a good reminder to look at things differently some times.

 

a different angle

day 28// transparency tuesday.

Because transparency is important and honesty is beautiful, I bring you the first of many Transparency Tuesdays.  I’ve had multiple people say to me that it seems like I have it all together.  Like I’m really organized, plan things well, and have it all together.  My initial reaction to that is to laugh because it is so not true.  So Transparency Tuesday is to show that is not the case.  While I am an organized person, I hardly have it all together.  And for as much as I organize and clean our house, car, and life — with each passing day, it comes a little more unorganized.  Life just has a way of doing that.  I tend to show the best things on my blog, but I also want you to know that isn’t the every day or everything.  Take my laundry room, for instance.  The shelves weren’t as organized and cute as I would have liked, but I had to snap the picture and move on with it.  However, I still had to pick it up just to get the picture that clean.  Things are certainly not perfect, smooth, or all-together over here at all, and I don’t ever want to give the impression that they are.  Transparency Tuesday is to show all of the messiness in our every day life.

 

transparency tuesday hole in floor

A leak and crack in our toilet led to our powder room looking like this.  Not pretty.  But it is looking much better now.

 

 

 

transparent tuesday meatloaf

I made meatloaf last week, and it looked like this.  It tasted good, but it looked like a pile of something nasty.

 

 

transparency tuesday ripped jeans

And the most transparent of all transparency — I ripped my jeans putting them on recently.  Big ol’ fat ripped ‘em.  If that doesn’t make a person look at their exercise habits and what they’re eating, I don’t know what will.  Yikes!

 

 

Transparency Tuesday — because messiness is beautiful.

day 27// a beautiful home.

Tommy and I love working on our house.  I’m sure you know that if you read here often.  It started out of necessity with our first house.  Serious necessity.  We loved that house, but no one else seemed to love it like we did.  I miss that house a lot.  But more than the house I miss our neighbors and our friends in Maryland.  It was a great place.  When we moved back to Tennessee we were pretty tired — we had a 5 month old and had done countless hours of projects on our house.  So we decided to look for something newer.  Our house now is new.  We still call it new even though it is 10 years old now.  Our first house was built in the 1940s, so a house built in 2004 seemed entirely new to us.  It didn’t need a lot of work — or any work really.  It was basically as bland as the way it was built.  Seriously.  The kids bedrooms upstairs were painted, but other than that not one thing had been done to the house outside of the way the builders left it in 2004.  It took a little while but we got over our “we’re tired and just want a new house” attitude, and we have been working on turning this house from a completely builder grade house to something that more reflects us.

 

My very favorite thing that we have done so far is the laundry room.  I spend a lot of time there, and because of it’s location, it’s a room we see all the time.  It’s on our main level, so we walk past it many times a day.  I love that it’s a pretty room now!  I cannot get over it.  We negotiated the washer and dryer in the purchase of the house, so these were here when we moved in.  The previous owners had them stacked and had a tall metal shelving unit beside them.  They used it as storage, and while I can definitely understand the need for storage space, I also really need laundry space.  So as soon as we moved in, we moved that unit out to the garage.  To kick off this project, my brother and sister came over to help Tommy move the dryer down.  I wanted the machines side by side and not stacked.  Apparently I didn’t take a picture of what it looked like stacked, so here are some in progress pictures.

laundryroom

 

laundryroompainting

 

 

I showed Tommy a picture of what I wanted for shelving, and he made it happen.  This is a Restoration Hardware knockoff project.  And this project was cheap!  I decided I wanted to go dark for the paint color, and I’m so happy I did!  I absolutely love it, and now I want to paint all of our rooms dark!

laundryroomshelving

 

 

Here is my updated laundry room!

 

laundryroomreno laundryroomrenoinprogresss laundryroomrenoironingboard

 

Beautiful rooms in my home make me smile.

day 26 // celebrating, remembering, + the wave of light.

Wednesday, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, but you know that already because you read my blog.  And so many of you supported us by remembering our sweet baby G, along with many other babies who are no longer here.  I want to thank you for your support — for us always and for so many others who come here for this great community.  Thank you for loving on mamas and families like us.

 

Here was our Morgan family candle ::

WaveofLightMorgans

On this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I’m lighting a candle on remembrance of our son, Gabriel, and all the other precious babies who are not here. I hope tonight that all mamas who have lost a baby know they are loved and their baby is remembered.

Candles from you all ::

WaveofLightAmyRoss WaveofLightBeccaE WaveofLightCarolinaBeth WaveofLightCaseyA WaveofLightFrancesca WaveoflightJennyColvin WaveofLightLauraJ WaveofLightmomanddad  WaveofLightShellyM WaveofLightSheriMae WaveofLightSueS

 

 

Thanks for sharing love and hope!

 

xo!

day 25 // what day is it and the month is almost over.

Well, clearly in this 31 day challenge I have failed.  Where have the past 10 days gone? Wow.  So much stuff has been going on, that I’ve just not had time to sit and write a post.  But I think more than that, I haven’t had the energy to write.  Family life has been hard the past 10 days.  My Grandfather is going through a hard time and hasn’t talked to me in over a week.  If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I love him so much and spend a lot of time with him.  That’s been hard and has really knocked me off my game.  Please pray for him.  He’s had a hard time with the 1 year mark since my Granny died.  I’m hoping we can get back to our great relationship soon.

In better news…  Jack is amazing.  This is such a fun age!  He thinks things through so much.  He says things out of his own mind and doesn’t just repeat things, and it is amazing.  I love having conversations with him and just listening to him talk.  Such a fun age!  He is really looking forward to next week and getting to dress up for Halloween.  Last weekend we went to the pumpkin patch and had so much fun!

pumpkinpatch

pumpkinpatchmorgans

 

It’s going to be a great weekend!  Tommy worked very long days all week, so he and Jack are going to spend some time together.  Tonight Tennessee is playing Alabama — big game for us!  So we will be cheering hard for the Vols!  I hope you have a happy Saturday!  Tomorrow I will be sharing some pictures from Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on the 15th.

 

xo!

day 19 // Project Gabriel meetings :: what it is and what it isn’t.

For several months now we have been having Project Gabriel peer support group meetings once a month.  And for several months it has been such a sweet time of being together with other women who know loss like I do.

Because it’s hard to know what a meeting like this will be like and because the words “support group” and “meeting” sound stiff and intimidating, I want to share some more details about what a Project Gabriel peer support group meeting is and what it isn’t.  Here we go! 

What It Isn’t 

  • A big room of women 
  • Out in the open — we are behind closed doors. 
  • Judgmental — this space is so safe and the women are so kind; there is no judging!  Your feelings, your decisions, your story will not be judged.  Feel free to safely share. 
  • Forceful — you’re welcome to talk if you want, or just sit and listen if you want. 
  • For women with big losses — often women will tell me that they feel their loss isn’t big enough to come to the meeting.  I absolutely disagree with this!  The loss of a baby, at ANY point — 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 32 weeks, or at months of age — is hard.  There’s loss of a life, a child, dreams, and plans.  Grieving takes place with all losses.  Your loss is big and worth grieving and celebrating the life that was, no matter how big or little your baby was. 
  • A lecture — I don’t lecture.  No one does.  It’s just a safe place to share. 
  • A counseling session — I don’t have a background in counseling.  I am just one mom who has lost a baby, wanting to connect with other moms who have lost a baby. 
  • Shared with other people — This group stays private.  You are welcome to share with others that you are coming, but I never will without your permission. 

What It Is 

  • For women who have lost a baby — through miscarriage or infant loss [including miscarriage at ANY point!] 
  • A small group of women 
  • A sweet time together 
  • A chance to share your story 
  • A place to listen to others’ stories 
  • Somewhere to nod your head in agreement because you have had the same thought that someone else just shared 
  • A space where it’s ok to say “if I see one more baby announcement, I just may cry.” 
  • Somewhere where you can just be quiet 
  • Somewhere where you can talk the entire time if you want 
    A private room with closed doors 
  • Drinks and cookies for all  :) 

 

Do you have more questions about what it might be like?  Contact me at laurengmorgan@gmail.com   I would love to talk with you! 

day 15 // pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day 2014.

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  I seriously cannot believe it has been a year since we marked this day in 2013.  It’s crazy how a day I didn’t even know existed, is now marked pretty big on my calendar.  I’m a big supporter of this day.  I think it’s really important to take the opportunity to remember women and families who have lost a baby.  It’s easy to feel forgotten and alone when you’ve lost so big.  Especially when we are surrounded by people who have what we so desperately longed for.  Our family has been so incredibly blessed by so many people as we walked through losing our son in 2014.  The love and support we’ve been shown has blown us away.  I know many women who don’t have any support.  Not from a husband, family, or anyone.  Today is a day to share hope with all the women who have lost, and especially these women who really need to see some love.  It’s all around us.  One in four women will have a miscarriage.  That number doesn’t even include stillbirths or neonatal loss.  It’s all too prevalent.  Let’s spend today taking time to remember the babies who are no longer here with us.

 

8months_thumb.jpg

So today, just like last year, I am asking you to light a candle.  At 7 pm tonight [or another time if that doesn't work for you!] light a candle wherever you are in remembrance of a baby who is no longer here and to give hope to their parents.  Then send a picture of that candle — text, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or anything else you want to us to help spread awareness of infant loss and most importantly share hope.  Help mamas know they aren’t alone.  I cannot wait to put all of the pictures together to see the beauty that is people coming together, encouraging, and sharing the burden of loss.  Thank you for loving us, thank you for loving others, and thank you for remembering our sweet Gabriel.  We can’t wait to see your candles!!

Pictures870_thumb.jpg

 

Check here for some of last year’s candles!

 

ourfamily_thumb.jpg

And in case I haven’t adequately expressed how much last year’s candle lighting meant to me, here is something I wrote on October 16th last year ::

I want to thank you all so so very much for remembering Gabriel last night.  I was BLOWN AWAY by the love.  That is what hope is.  I wish I could have bottled last night up so I could take a big whiff of it whenever I needed encouragement.  We feel so loved and so blessed to have people who not only haven’t forgotten our baby but also took the time out of their lives to do a kind act for him and us.  So touched. 

 

Tonight I will be lighting a candle at 7:00 and remembering many babies.  I will remember a sweet little baby who just passed away a few days ago.  I will remember twin boys who passed away a handful of years ago.  I will remember a baby girl who passed away just over a year ago.  I will remember a baby girl who’s parents fought so hard to keep her here.  I will remember a sweet baby who passed away in the womb.  I will remember my friend who had an ectopic pregnancy almost a year ago.  I will remember the women who are pregnant with a baby who they know won’t live.  I will remember the women who have had a miscarriage.  Many friends of mine who have known that pain.  There are a lot of little and significant lives to remember today especially.

 

 

pregnancyandinfantlossbyShanaSmith.jpg
via

 

 

day 14 // inspiration is beautiful.

 

beautiful crayons

via

 

 

beautiful kid president
via

 

 

beautiful give me jesus
via

 

 

Tomorrow is October 15th — which means it’s pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.  If you were reading last year, you may remember that I asked everyone to light a candle in remembrance of the babies who have been lost.  You guys were amazing!!  I couldn’t believe all of the candles that people lit in memory of our Gabriel and many other babies.  It brought such hope and encouragement to my heart in a dark year.  Such an amazing symbol.  So I’m asking you to do it again this year!  Tomorrow, October 15th at 7 pm.  And we want to see them!  Send us a picture — Facebook, Instagram, email, Twitter.  However you want to spread awareness and show love to women who have lost a baby, go for it!  Let someone in your life know you are remembering their baby.  It will mean to the world to them.  I promise.  Thanks for loving us so well!

 

day 13 // four generations.

Tommy’s Grandma is in town visiting, so today Jack got to meet his Great-Grandma for the first time.  It’s so sweet to be able to know your great-grandparents, and Jack has had the privilege of knowing 2 great-grandmothers.  I love this picture of 4 generations!  Tommy, Jack, Grandma, and Tommy’s Uncle Will.

Grandma Schultz

 

 

Grandma Schultz

And the 3 of us with Grandma.

day 12 // weekends are made for this — ice cream cake.

Ice cream cake.  I could leave my post at that with the recipe, and I would hope you understand my lack of words to be a dynamic emphasis on just how good this is.  However, I’m feeling wordy tonight, so you will get the full details.  I found this recipe a couple of years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since.  I hardly ever get to eat ice cream cake because of my food allergies — most of the store bought ones aren’t safe for me.  And I really never thought about making one until I saw this recipe.  Once I saw this, I knew I had to try it.  You guys.  Try this.  It’s amazing.  It’s one of those desserts that you eat and then feel like you have had your dessert allotment for the year because it’s just so rich.  But then you eat another serving the next day — because you can.  Unless it’s all gone, and then you’re sad.

ice cream cake

I made this for dessert yesterday to take to my parents’ house.  We watched the UT game over there with my parents, siblings, and grandfather.  Everyone liked the dessert and was going back for seconds.  So here’s the recipe for the magic.

 

Cookies + Cream Ice Cream Cake

1 package Oreos
2 sticks butter
1 container cookies + cream ice cream, softened
1 5oz. can evaporated milk
4 Hershey’s bars
2/3 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
1 container fat free whipped topping

directions:
1.  Smash Oreos and then line a 9×13 baking dish with them
2.  Melt 1 stick of butter and pour evenly over crushed Oreos
3.  Spread softened ice cream on top of Oreo cookie crust, smoothing out as much as possible without messing up crust
4.  Place in freezer and let it set
5.  While ice cream and cookies are setting, make chocolate sauce
6.  Combine the second stick of butter, evaporated milk, Hershey’s bars, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan and melt together
7.  Bring to a boil and boil for 4 minutes.  Stir often the entire time to prevent burning of chocolate!  It will burn easily so keep stirring!
8.  After chocolate sauce has boiled, remove from heat and allow to cool.  I usually give this at least an hour but sometimes more   That gives the ice cream portion plenty of time to set and the sauce plenty of time to cool
9.  When sauce is cool, remove ice cream cake from freezer and pour chocolate sauce over cake
10.  Layer on whipped topping
11.  Top with cookie crumbles, chocolate shavings, chocolate bars, or Oreos
12.  Place back in freezer and keep frozen until serving.

 

{Sometimes I leave off the whipped topping on my portion because I don’t always love “fake whipped cream”.  Saturday, I ate mine without it and it still tasted amazing.  However, it also adds a lot of goodness.  So do what you want :) }

 

Enjoy!!

 

I found this recipe here and adapted it for our family!

 

I find dessert beautiful.

 

ice cream cake serving cookies and cream  beautiful.adventuresofjackandme

This post is part of a 31 day series on beautiful.  Find all posts here.