why i don’t care about the prince’s birthday.

I hope I’m not kicked out of America for this.  Because Americans love them some Royal family news.  But I don’t care that it’s Prince George’s first birthday.  In fact, I am going to proclaim to the inter webs that I’m not celebrating it.  I don’t wish against him or his family.  They’re lovely people, I’m sure, and I mean, who doesn’t look on admiringly at that family wondering just for a moment what life is like to be royalty.  However, we focus on them and this baby way too much.  We are obsessed and following his moves and pointing things out and so focused.

But I think our focus is on the wrong things.  Did you know that 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage.  Next time you’re in a room with women, look around know how many around you have lost a baby.  The last girls’ night I went to there were 5 women and 2 out of the 5 have had miscarriages and I lost my baby after birth.  This is a real thing, and women all around us are hurting, grieving, and not holding their babies.

So let’s celebrate life and celebrate a birthday — it’s a big deal, and life should always be appreciate and celebrated!  But let’s not spend all of our energy wishing a prince in another country a happy 1st birthday, when we could spend that time writing a quick note to a woman who needs a pick-me-up.  A woman who on this day is probably a little extra sad that she doesn’t have her baby, because all around her is talk of babies and a gorgeous, healthy one year old boy that isn’t hers.

 

Thanks for listening.  Let’s love on the women around us a little more.

blog tour, my friend LJ, + my process.

Hi friends!

I hope your summer is going well and has been so fun so far.  I’ve been loving this summer.  We have been having a blast!  My time away from the blog and the computer has been so good.  It’s been very life giving to step away from the regular and the driving things, and just enjoy the life in front of me.

 

This weekend we were gone to Kingsport to see my mom’s family for a family reunion.  We had a great trip!  Lots of fun and good times at parks, playgrounds, the farm, the golf course, the hotel, and “reunioning”.  Now it’s back at it.  Laundry, cleaning out the van after a long trip [and yes, I said van.  Last week we traded in my SUV for a van!!  Yikes!  And exciting!], back to work, back to chores, back to child training and potty training.

 

Today I’m taking part in a blog tour my friend Lindsey asked me to do.  Lindsey is one of my favorite dietitians ever!  We went through our nutrition classes together and then went to different universities for our dietetic internship to get our RDs.  She is super intelligent, super fun, and is an excellent dietitian because she thinks outside the box.  I learn new things from Lindsey, who I call LJ, all the time and love seeing how she makes nutrition and dietetics fun.  Check out Lindsey’s blog — she’s the DIY Dietitian.  You will enjoy reading posts from LJ!

 

blog tour

 

Now on to the questions about my writing process ::

1.  What am I working on?

A:  This summer I’m taking a break from all things blogging, so while I’m not working on anything blog related right now, I do have some ideas to work on starting in the fall to improve my blog.  My BIG focus this summer work-wise is Project Gabriel.  I’m focusing on ramping up what we can do, trying to make dreams come to reality.

 

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

A:  What I love about blogging is that everyone has a perspective.  I’m not a professional blogger by any means, so I’m not competing with fellow food bloggers or DIY bloggers or photography bloggers.  I just write about what inspires me and to try to share along the way.  I love talking about nutrition, sharing about a healthy lifestyle, as well as easy recipes.  I’m most happy with the transformation and growth of the depth of my blog through the last year and a half as our life was rocked and changed forever.  My hope is that women will find my writings and see that they aren’t alone as they go through something really hard.

 

3.  Why do I write what I do?

A:  I kind of answered this above.  My nutrition background and that I’m a Registered Dietitian inspire the nutrition, my love for good food inspires the recipes, my need and excitement for organization inspire the organized living, my excitement for DIY and wanting to DIY our whole house keeps my mind thinking about that, my love for my family keeps me journaling our lives in the form of this blog, and most importantly, the nudging I feel to share our baby G’s story through this little blog keeps me honest, open, and sharing about life, death, loss, grief, and so importantly hope.

 

4.  How does your writing process work?

A:  It depends.  Ideas come to me at weird times, so I keep a notebook where I write them down or make sure to make a note on my phone so I can get blog about it later.  When I’m blogging about something specific I will mostly write a post and then come back later to edit and add pictures and schedule it to post.  Sometimes I just write straight from my heart not knowing what is going to come out.  That usually happens at night after Jack and Tommy have gone to bed.  I sit on the couch and just write my heart onto this piece of the inter webs.  Then I will find pictures that work, edit them, add them, and post.  In theory I like scheduling my posts ahead of time, but in actuality, I really love the honesty that comes from a late night post, so I try to remain flexible for those posts.

 

 

Thanks so much LJ for inviting me to join this tour!  Friends, be sure to check out Lindsey the DIY Dietitian.  Her recent post on Popsugar 4 tips for your most confident bikini season is fantastic, motivating, + confidence inspiring!

 

summer break and just going with it.

It is summer, and we are having a lot of fun.  We’ve been crossing things off our list and just going with the flow that summer naturally brings with it.  It’s been kind of wonderful.  For some reason I have always fought the easy-going spirit of summer.  Perhaps it’s in my personality.  I never found it very good to just sit and read instead of doing something that could accomplish things.  I never understood the fun in neglecting daily responsibilities to go explore something.  I’m sure some of you must find this so tightly wound and ridiculous.  It’s just how I am.  I prefer the structure of days and the schedule of things.  Spontaneously exploring a new area or just taking an afternoon off to read is so foreign to me.  But being a mom is changing me.  In so many ways — including this.

Summer 2014 rocking chairs

 

For the first time I am appreciating the slowness of summer.  The permission for a break.  The allowance of taking it slow.  It’s fantastic!  It’s like we’re given this season where responsibilities can be delayed or set aside for a few hours or few days and why wouldn’t I want to take advantage of that.  So this summer I am spending a little bit more time being open to those things.  Being open to taking the long way home.  Being open to jumping out of the car to explore somewhere we haven’t before.  Being open to sitting on my front porch and reading instead of heading to my laptop to be in the inter webs world.

Summer 2014 reading

 

That explains my absence lately and will explain my scarcity for the rest of the summer.  I have many things I want to share — recipes, weight loss, nutrition information, Jack, Gabriel, home life, other blogs — so much that I want to jump on here and share with you.  But each time I do it takes time away from my boys and time away from our freedom to take it easy this summer.  So I’m not saying that I won’t be blogging this summer, and I’m not saying that I will be.  How amazingly ambiguous, right?  But after spending several weeks stressing out over whether I will continue blogging this summer or whether I will take a break, I realized the stress was unnecessary and I would just allow myself the permission to be here as little as I want to be.

Summer 2014 fun

 

I think the break will be refreshing for me, and I hope it will allow me to come back as a stronger writer and blogger in the fall.  It also frees up some time and brain space to think through other areas like Project Gabriel.  And most importantly to focus on Tommy and Jack and our home.

Summer 2014

I wanted to share my thoughts with you and wish you a relaxing and easy going summer as well!  Here’s to taking advantage of enjoying the long days of summer.

snacks for 100 calories or less.

I don’t know about you but in the summertime we are snacking a lot!  We snack at the pool, at the park, in the car, and even at home.  It seems too hot to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, so we do a lot of snacking throughout the day.  Sometimes we even have larger snacks for meals.

 

I don’t want to be absent-minded about the snacks we are eating.  I want to feed my son, my husband, and myself wholesome food — even in the lazy days of summer.  I compiled a list of 12 snacks under 100 calories.  Today I’m sharing it over on the Knoxville Moms Blog.  I hope you will head over there and read it!  Let me know what your favorite snacks are.  We aren’t the only snacking family are we??

 

You can find my post with healthy snack options over here.

 

12 snacks under 100 cals.jpg

weight loss update.

It’s time for another weight loss update.  If you missed before, here’s the run down.  I hit my breaking point, I started trying to lose weight, I got really serious about my exercising and my food intake, and here I am.

 

I am really happy to share that I have lost 3 pounds since my starting weight.  Since my last update, that is a healthy weight loss.  Not an awesome or impressive weight loss, but it equates to about a pound a week.  However, from the point I started I went up and have been coming back down.  So I’ve lost 6 pounds total — but gained 3 before losing any.  Yikes.  It feels good to be actually losing weight now.  I feel like I’m making steps in the right direction.  And that definitely helps fuel the fire and keeps me going on my weight loss adventure.

 

A few things that have been helping me:

1.  A food journal.  So super important!  I didn’t start doing this at first because I thought I knew what I was eating.  But once I wasn’t losing weight, I started keeping a journal of what I was eating — and WOW!  Since I started this is when I started losing weight.  I always told patients and clients how important it was, but I am definitely learning for myself now.

 

2.  Cutting out Coke.  I love Coke.  Confessions of a dietitian.  I just do.  I know it’s bad for me.  I know all the stuff.  But it’s sweet, sugary taste is my favorite.  I cut it out and am just drinking Diet Coke.  It’s not the same, but it’s 0 calories.  I cannot lose weight while drinking an empty calorie beverage on a regular basis.

 

3.  Making water taste better.  I plan to expand on this one in a post soon.  But drinking water is so important, and I like when it has good flavor.

 

4.  Not being too strict.  I don’t do well when on a super strict diet.  That’s why I am always an advocate or having a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to dieting.  Part of a healthy lifestyle for me means chocolate.  I love chocolate, so if I deny myself of it, I go crazy catching up.  I have to allow it in small amounts on a regular basis.

 

5.  Pedometer.  I’m wearing a pedometer as much as I can to track how much I’m moving.  I’m aiming for 10,000 steps a day.  Wearing a pedometer motivates me to keep moving and be less lazy.  It also makes me appreciate chores like vacuuming — which can me to take lots of steps!

pedometer

 

I will touch up on some of these things in more detail to come.  Just happy to see changes happening in my body.  I feel so much better, my muscles are getting stronger, and I am a much healthier person now than I was 2 1/2 months ago.  And that’s the whole idea!

 

Hope you’re having a good week and it’s going by quickly — can’t believe it’s Thursday already!

 

pedometer reading

 

making the most of summer.

It is summer.  School is out.  The air is heavy and warm.  Fireflies are starting to light our yard.  It stays light until late in the day and the sun is up early to greet us.  It is summer.

 

I am not a summer person.  In fact, out of the 4 seasons, it ranks in 4th place — and that’s only because there isn’t a 5th season.  Spring and fall are beautiful in East Tennessee.  It is hard to beat those seasons in this gorgeous part of the country.  I’ve always liked winter as well.  I love snow, I like bundling up and all things cold and associated with it make me happy and snuggly.  I hate being hot.  I hate sweating — which I do a lot of.  I don’t tend to tan, I usually burn.  Mosquitos eat me like I eat chocolate cake.  Summer is just not my season.

 

But it’s funny how having kids really does change everything.  Jack is changing how I feel about summer.  Over the past several years I have realized what a precious time this season is with my boy, and I’m kind of starting to love it.  I’m not a natural at this summer thing, and I’m not a naturally fun person so having a fun, intentional, and adventurous summer is out of my comfort zone and a stretch for me.  But I’m going to do it.  You see, I realized the other day that I only get 18 of these summers with my boy, Lord willing.  And I’m coming up on my 4th summer with him.  How is that even possible??  This realization made me catch my breath and hold back tears a little bit as I thought about how quickly time is passing.  I don’t want summer days with Jack to be wasted.  I want to teach him valuable skills, I want to show him amazing things, I want him to have a spirit for adventure, and I want him to look forward to an exciting time of year where our family shifts our focus into fun and adventure for a season.

summer park picnic

summer fun

 

In order for me to do that I have to set some goals + make some lists [because even if I am going to be adventurous, let's face it -- I'm still type A and need a good list to be adventurous :) ].  So we have made up a family summer adventure list with the goal of crossing each thing off the list.  The first week of summer for us was last week, and it went really well.  I watched my friend’s son while she took care of her other son who was sick.  So we got to have some fun adventures with Jack’s buddy, too.  They had Icees and a picnic at the park to start the week.  Then the next day a Chick-fil-A picnic in Nan and Pops incredible back yard.  Jack has run errands with me and spent time outside blowing bubbles.  The first week of summer was a success!

 

Here is our list:

 

Family Summer Adventure List 2014

1. Get Icees and go swing at Bluegrass

2. Picnic at the park

3. Play in the sprinklers

4. Picnics at Nan and Pops

5. Play out in the backyard at Nan and Pops house

6. 69 cent Icees over and over

7. Anni-Jack-a-birthday week to kick off summer!

8. Celebrate Jack’s 3rd birthday!

9. Celebrate our 5th anniversary!

10. My birthday on Memorial Day this year

11. Go to the mountains

12. Go to the library

13. Go for walks

14. Play bubbles

15. Water gun fight

16. Slip-n-slide

17. 4th of July

18. Catch fireflies

19. Go to the zoo

Go to Dollywood

20. Ride bikes

21. Go to the park

22. Go fishing

23. Go hiking

24. Order pizza

25. Camp in backyard

26. Lay on driveway and watch the stars

27. Find our Gabriel star

28. Visit the cemetery lots

29. Go to Smokies game

30. Go to the beach

31. Go swimming

32. Pick blueberries

33. Make strawberry jam

34. Make blueberry jam

35. Get strawberries from Tidwells

36. Visit Daddy at work

37. Find a special place to serve

38. Go to Kingsport

39. See cows + visit Mamaw’s barns

40. Paint on the driveway

41. Paint on the fence

42. Take the dogs for walks

43. Jack’s birthday party at the farm!

44. Remember and celebrate Gabriel

45. Plant flowers

46. Fix up backyard

47. Grill out lots

48. Eat popsicles

49. Play with chalk outside

50. Rent a canoe

51.  Make homemade popsicles

52.  Swim in blow up pools in our yard

 

 

 

memorial day 2014.

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day yesterday!  We are very thankful for everyone who has served our country and is serving our country, protecting us and our freedom.

memorial day2014

 

This year I’ve been thinking about it a little more as Tommy’s sister’s husband is now serving in the Air Force.  They are newlyweds and have been separated since February.  Thankful for him and her and what all families go through with spouses in the armed forces.  We also got to spend some time yesterday with my Grandfather, who served in the Air Force.  His generation has served our country so well, and I know I definitely take it for granted.  Thankful for a day yesterday to remember these things and not to take it for granted — freedom doesn’t come cheap.

 

I’m a day late on this post, but I was too busy celebrating my birthday yesterday to post :)

 

 

memorial day G's grave 2014

 

he’s 3!

I meant to post this on Sunday but got caught up in the celebrating!

 

Today is Jack’s birthday!  He is 3 years old!  We’ve been busy celebrating this boy and having so much fun!  It’s hard to believe how quickly 3 years can go by.  They’ve been the best 3 years of my life.

 

 

Morgan family jack kissesMorgan family softball

Morgan family maternitynaptime smiles

FamilyPicturesFall2013006_thumb.jpgg day 18 Jack and mommy.adventures.jpg first night without paci

 

Jack's birthday hayride

birthday hayride!   

 

 

 

Happy birthday to my sweet, sweet boy!  He has the most tender heart I’ve ever seen.  He is sensitive but not soft.  He’s a rough and tumble boy with a heart for others and a heart that God uses to bring healing to those around him.  He’s the most precious human I’ve ever known, and I still can’t get over how blessed I am to be his mama.

5 years of marriage.

Five years ago we were married.  It was a beautiful day in East Tennessee and we had such a sweet wedding day.  I know that neither of us imagined what our future would hold just 5 years down the road.  As we stood up together in front of our family and friends we made promises and committed to each other forever.  In sickness and health, in good and bad, in rich and poor, for better or worse.  Those words were dear to my heart, but I had no clue how deep they would become and run in our marriage.  We were happy and started our life of bliss together.

morgan wedding

 

 

morgans

 

A mere 2 weeks after we got married we moved to Maryland.  It was when we finally got there after a 12 hour drive that should have taken only 9 hours and pulled off into our new apartment, that I first realized life wasn’t always going to be what I had imagined.  The very nice apartment I thought we were moving into, wasn’t so very nice.  I had never lived outside of Tennessee before.  I had never seen so many of the things we saw in DC.  I had never been so far away from my family.  I had never lived in 600 square feet with anyone before.  I had never taken the Metro to get around.  Never ridden buses to get places.  We had never bought a house before or worked with a crooked realtor in the past.  These were all things that Tommy and I had to adjust to and work through together.  These were all things that helped to form the foundation for our marriage.  These were all really, really good things.  Some moments were tough, some were scary, some were fun, and some were just down right hilarious.  Most of these things are things we look back on so fondly of our first year of marriage.  Most of them are things we look back on and laugh about and appreciate so much.

 

I think being able to handle the little twists and turns that happened in the first year or two we were married, really helped pave the way for how we would handle the real stuff next.  While we wouldn’t have imagined having Jack the day after our 2nd anniversary, having him in our lives is far better than any plan we had.  We didn’t think we would end up back in Tennessee for a long time, if ever, but we got to come back home when Jack was just over 5 months old.  Just when we felt like we were back on the track of planning our life out again, we decided to have kids 2 years apart.  And as you all know, we learned how to let go of planning and control.  We certainly never would have imagined having a baby with a fatal chromosomal syndrome.  We never would have thought we would lose a child.  While being a parent is hard in general, losing a child is the worst thing parents could go through.  But the amazing thing is that I didn’t have to go through it alone.  I have always had my husband by my side.  The man God chose for me — knowing he would be my best match to go through all of these things in life.

 

When I reflect on our marriage and our 5 years married, I am blown away by how loving and wonderful Tommy is.  He has always stood by me, supported me, loved me well, and the same for our boys, too.  He is one of the kindest, most loving people I’ve ever known, and I’m so thankful I get him.

 

Now when I think about our future, I don’t plan or really imagine what things will be like.  I’ve learned in these 5 years that I just can’t even imagine.  And while we’ve been through some really, really bad, worse, sickness, and death stuff, we’ve also been through some really precious, sweet, lovely, hopeful, joyful, and life stuff too.  Five years feels big and while I’m celebrating that time together, I also look at it and just celebrate that we’ve survived all of this stuff that we have.

5 year anniversary

 

I am so very thankful for this man, my husband.  I love you, Tommy!  Happy anniversary!

Project Gabriel support group meeting #2.

Monday night was our second peer support group meeting for Project Gabriel.  It was another really special night  – just like the first one.  I am so thankful to the ladies who came to be open, to love, to support, and to share.  There were wonderful women sitting in that room, and I am so thankful to know them.  I am truly so honored to be a part of this!  It is amazing.

 

The next meeting will be on Monday, June 16th at 7 pm.  Please spread the word for anyone you know who could benefit from this meeting or enjoy the support and community.

 

 

On a Morgan family note, Anni-Jack-a-birthday week has kicked off and is in full swing!  We started off the weekend of festivities by taking Jack to his first baseball game last night.  It was so fun and Tommy caught a ball!  There’s a lot more fun to come, too.