fantasy of trees.

I LOVE the Fantasy of Trees.  If you aren’t from Knoxville, the Fantasy of Trees is an annual fundraising event where all the proceeds go to benefit Children’s Hospital of East Tennessee.  They do amazing things at the hospital.  The hospital staff, volunteers, and Fantasy volunteers do an amazing job putting everything together.  This is a huge event!  It happens on Thanksgiving weekend every year.  There are trees decorated everywhere.  Gingerbread houses that will blow you away.  A merry go round.  Santa.  Live entertainment.  And tons of cute little booths where kids can do fun things like get this face painted or pick out a Christmas present for mom and dad with the help of an elf.  Jack made a thumbprint ornament for our Christmas tree.  Things like that.


I’ve not been able to go the last few years, so this year I was pumped!  My mom, sister, Jack and me went Saturday morning.  Here are the highlights…



Waiting in line for Santa.  Getting there early on Saturday morning paid off!  We didn’t have to wait in much of a line at all.




Someone was a little afraid of Santa.  It’s ok, maybe next year, buddy!




Aunt Lindsay volunteered to take Jack on his first Carousel ride.  Who looks more excited in this picture?




I LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture.




And after the first ride, he demanded to go again.  So they road it again.




Little man did not feel good.  I don’t think I have a single picture where he’s laying on me like this– except for before he had neck muscles to hold his head up.  I treasure this picture.  Sad for him that he didn’t feel good, but happy for me that he wanted to lean on me.




And some pictures before we left the fantasy.







Another great trip!  And Jack may have made a Christmas present or 2 while we were there!  And not the dirty diaper kind.




all hands on deck.

Tomorrow will mark the end of 5 straight weeks of sickness for our Jack Jack.  No breaks.  Wednesday we enter our 5th straight week with infected ears.  Typing that makes me cry.  For all of the people who have said to me that you’re not supposed to sleep when you have young children, I want to punch them.  We’ve done sleep deprivation.  We’ll do it again.  It’s part of life with kids- I get it.  Unless you’ve had a child with bad ears, you don’t know this lack-of-sleep.  And it’s not just that– it’s so much more.  It’s like having a newborn.  A newborn who weighs almost 30 pounds, doesn’t sleep all day, and is mobile.  He needs to be held or in the car for sleeping.  When he’s awake, he doesn’t feel good so he wants to be held a lot, and he’s not slept in his crib in 3 weeks.  Bye bye free time.  Remember that, Tommy?  Give it a good Jack-wave on it’s way out the door.


We are in a difficult season.  A season of all-hands-on-deck taking care of little man so nothing else matters.  Which really, I had a realization today as I was wanting life to get “back to normal”, that that is exactly what my job is.  I am here and tasked right now with the taking care of the little man.  It is my privilege and my “get-to” do not my have-to do.  But in all the chaos I forgot that it’s a “get-to”.  Truthfully, it’s really easy to take care of him when he’s smiling, happy, sleeping like an angel, eating well, and all of those perfect child things.  Reality is, well… that’s not reality.  Reality is harder.  I’m not the only parent who lives reality– all do.  And we all have a different reality.  A lot of people’s realities are harder than mine.  And I like my reality.  I love our sweet life.  We have so many blessings– so much richness abounds in this family, this home.  The blessings are all around.


What I’ve realized tonight, as today has been a game changing day, is that my mindset must change.  I can continue to mope around, sad about Jack’s on-going issues, the state of my messy house, and the lack of progress on anything I might want to do… OR I can choose joy.  I have to accept that I can’t control this.  I can’t be in control of it, I can’t plan it, I can’t fix it.  These are my circumstances.  My circumstances do not define me.  So while I may still shed tears over my sweet, hurting boy, that does not keep me from living a life of JOY.  So tonight, I resolve to accept what I cannot change…  and in the mean time, to be ok with the fact that dinner and the whole mess is still in the kitchen, the highchair’s not been wiped down, the living room is messy, and the pile of laundry is growing high again even though I just.caught.up.  As Tommy reminded me, “it’s just a house. and he’s our boy.  we won’t remember the house.  we’ll remember sweet baby boy.”  Wise words from my man.


So hard as it may be for me to walk past every mess without cringing, I will try.  My first priority each and every day will be Jack and meeting his needs.  If I have a few moments, I will work on what I can, and not be frustrated when I don’t get to finish it.  This is life.  And maybe my typing it here will help me remember it all.





post-thanksgiving goodness.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of love ones, food, and counting of blessings.

Our Thanksgiving was so sweet.  We had 1 pm dinner with my family at my parents’ house, and then drove to Tommy’s parents’ for a 6 pm dinner.  We were stuffed full of food, but what a blessing to have too much food and 2 families to celebrate the holiday with.
We spent some time playing outside.  It was a beautiful day!  Perfectly warm and sunny and perfect for family fun outdoors.  The only time I had my camera out was while we were playing outside for a few minutes, so  I didn’t get many pictures of the day.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday weekend!

catching up.

Lesson learned.  Don’t write this post talking about how when it rains it pours.  Just don’t.  Because then, more will happen and life will get harder right after you write that post.


You’ll have 2 cars with problems and one very sick kid.  Jack’s had an ear infection sandwich served up on 2 slices of bronchiolitis bread.  This is the worst analogy ever [Tommy and I came up with it sitting at the pediatrician’s office.  Clearly we need sleep.]  All that to say, Jack-a-baby has bronchiolitis again– which makes for twice in four weeks with a never-ending ear infection sandwiched in between and still going on.  Fun.


That’s all I have to say about that.  What I am going to do is catch up on the past few days/weeks in pictures.  Because that’s my favorite way of telling stories.


I wanted to kiss these cheeks so hard and not come up for air.  But I left him alone because it was the only sleep he’d had in about 18 hours.




Sleep’s been happening in unusual places lately…








He never sleeps in his carseat.  Ever.  It’s happened 3 days in a row.  We’ll take sleep any way we can get it at this point.




Jack has slept in his crib in his room every night since  he was 10 months old.  Before that, we had issues, but since then he loves to sleep and spread out in his bed.  A few times I’ve missed cuddling with him and tried to get him to sleep with me.  Nope.  But this sickness has changed his ways.  We put him in our bed and this was the set up.  He slept horizontally.  Feet in my face all.night.long.  But by all night I mean like 2-6.  At least I had the feet.  Tommy had the head and jimmy arms.  Poor guy.




But if I’m gonna have feet in my face all night, at least they’re these precious feet.




There’s been lots of ear pulling and painful screams.  Lots.




The last few weeks have forced me to slow down.  We’ve had many more cuddle sessions than our busy boy usually allows.  I won’t complain about that.  But we still have to keep up with our busy social lives — both of us apparently.





More cuddles.  PS — see that chair in the background?  It’s out in the garage getting a makeover along with it’s 5 brothers and sisters.  Woohoo!





My drink, Jack’s drink.  There have been several peppermint mochas needed to get through the long days.




This one turned out so fuzzy but I love it!  We took Jack back to the doc today and he had fallen asleep in the car on the way there.  So Tommy got him out and he kept sleeping.  This has literally never happened.




I came home from work yesterday to find these 2 like this.  At 530.  Bless ’em.


Based on all of these pictures it looks like we’ve been getting a lot of sleep.  Don’t be deceived.  It’s just been such a rare gift to come by, that I seem to whip my phone out and take a picture each time.


*Also, please forgive my typos and lack of sense.  Brain is not working well.


what we hear.

He loves airplanes, helicopters, cars and trucks, too.  He always is the first to hear them flying above or driving by.  Maybe we’re too used to it, and he just appreciates and notices the noises, the sights.  He loves the birds.  He hears them chirps and looks around to find where they are.


On Wednesday I walked into his preschool classroom to pick him up, and he didn’t come running like he usually does.  His teacher said his name to tell him I was there, but he didn’t look up.  I walked over stopping several feet before him and said his name, but he didn’t look up.  He was happy- playing with a bus and ball.  He was sharing and sitting with a friend.  It was a sweet sight to see.  But he didn’t even look up to our multiple attempts to get his attention.


He can’t hear. 


Last weekend we left him at my parents’ house for a few hours.  When we walked in he didn’t turn around.  He didn’t notice us.  Even when we said hi.  Usually he hears the door open and jumps up right away.  This was different.


We found out at the ENT’s office on Tuesday that his left ear drum isn’t moving at all.  Meaning he can’t hear out of his left ear at all.  But we’ve been down this road before.  This isn’t new.  The first time was very scary.  We found out Jack couldn’t hear and then were left with all kinds of questions wondering if it was permanent, why it happened, how or if it could be fixed.


The great thing about a great doctor is that they explain it all to you.  Jack’s hearing improved some on its own in the spring when the fluid cleared.  Then it was fully restored when he had tubes placed in May.  We know this time that it’s only temporary.  It will be fixed soon enough, and Jack will hear again.


And I tell him that things will get better soon.  I tell him that the doctors are going to fix it soon so that he’ll be able to hear again.  I wonder if it scares him.  Does it bother him that he can’t hear like usual?  Is he frightened?  I try to explain it, but I don’t know if that does any good.  He is 18 months after all.  But all too often, I think he’s too little, to young to understand, when he isn’t.  So now we do our best– we repeat words more than usual, we look him in the eyes when we ask him something to be sure he hears [which is probably something I should be doing anyway], and we point out the things he misses.  Gotta make sure we still see all those airplanes.





yum yum yum.

It’s been awhile since I posted a recipe and this is one I had to share.


First of all, nothing Pioneer Woman does is wrong.  Every recipe I have ever tried of hers is out of this world.  So when I saw this one the other day I was looking forward to it.



This turned out so good.  Try it.  Try it now.


It was even worth the having to start over when my clumsiness ruined the first try.  I dropped the plate of chicken on the floor.  Raw chicken everywhere.  My nightmare.  It was already 6:45– we usually eat dinner super early– Jack had dinner one already.  But Tommy came in and cleaned up the kitchen while I regrouped on the couch, and then I went back in, got the chicken for tomorrow night’s dinner out of the fridge and started over.  And it was so worth it.


I’m not even a huge mustard person but loved this.






Find the recipe here.



family photos.

A few weeks back on a perfectly cool fall Saturday we had family pictures taken.  We were so excited to have the sweet Erin Rodgers take our pictures.  Having been in youth ministry with her several years ago and seeing her take such great pictures of all the students at different events, trips, and just whenever, I was so excited when I saw she had started up her own photography business.

I love having this moment in time captured.  Thank you, Erin, for the beautiful pictures.  Here website can be found here.

mercies in disguise.

Today is a great day.


A beautiful, clarity-full, great day.


I’ve been struggling with Jack’s returning ear infections and his tubes falling out.  I’ve written about it and about some understanding I’ve had through it.



Here’s the brief summary of what’s happened this go around:

– found out tubes had fallen out when we went in for sick appt 3 weeks ago Monday [turned out he had bronchiolitis at that time]

– follow up appt on Fri of that week found he had a double ear infection

– started antibiotic #1

– no improvement

– went back to pediatrician on Thurs of last week

– left ear looked really bad

– started antibiotic #2

– got worse on Sat night

– went back to our pediatrician yesterday

– ear looks nasty

– got antibiotic shot [super painful]

– start round 3 of oral antibiotics today— our 4th antibiotic for this infection.



This all stinks but really it’s par for the course for us.  Before Jack had tubes our Doc and his nurses always knew why we were there.  And in the past 2 weeks it’s been the same song.  Jack’s ear infections #3-7 took multiple antibiotics each infection to get his ears to clear up.  Our child is a walking antibiotic between all of those and the strong antibiotics he was on in the NICU.  We hate how many we’ve had to give him.  So we super loved the tubes– no ear issues for 5 months.  It was beyond glorious.



I’ve been praying for his little ears to heal.  I’ve been asking God that Jack would feel better.  I’ve been frustrated that he’s only gotten worse.


But here is the glorious part of it all— God knew what He was doing all along.  He always does.  It’s no surprise, but I forget that.  Too often.


So it’s been a long few weeks but we’re full of hope!  Jack is getting tubes again!  And that is an answer to prayers.


Here’s the beauty– if God had healed Jack right off the bat with this infection, we wouldn’t be at this point of getting tubes.  We would have to go through infections again.  Since Jack has been struggling so and in pain and the antibiotics haven’t worked– we get bumped right on up in the tube world.  It is a blessing.  So while I never would have said, make Jack worse so he can be better, God knew exactly what would happen and did it for our best.

Oh it’s so exciting!  I’m singing songs of praise and thanksgiving today.


And a few pictures from our visit with our awesome ENT doc.


Doing a little open and closing to kill time once we got back into an exam room.  The waiting room included several attempted escapes.



I spent a lot of time staring down thinking while Jack played doctor.



Pretty excited about the culture vials.  My future doctor or microbiologist perhaps?



He took this handful, smiled and then deposited them in the trash can.  I’ll probably be paying for those on my bill.



The scale said he weighed 30 pounds.  He was a little concerned about his weight… and that belly.



Big boy likes to sit in the chair by himself.  But by sit, I mean get up and down.  Over.and.over.and.over.and.over.and.over.



And over and over.



A little loungin and readin.  Gotta pass the time somehow.



And then we had a snack.  Good thing Tommy cut some apples up for Jack last night.  And good thing I remembered to grab them.  We’d have been in trouble without those.



We had a great appointment, with good news a comin’.  If all goes well, Jack will have surgery to put tubes back in his ears and to remove his adenoids in about a month.  While we’re certainly not eager for our son to have surgery and to put him under anesthesia, we have weighed the pros and cons here and feel that it is in Jack’s best interest to have this surgery and to have it soon.


ps- that antibiotic shot Jack got yesterday was amazing!  He slept some last night and was mostly back to himself today.  It was so so good to have Jack back!


be thankful:

48.  Antibiotic shots.  While it was more painful for him than any shot he’s ever received, it has paid off big time.  This shot was heaven-sent.


49.  Wise doctors who listen and provide good care.


50.  When Jack makes people smile and laugh everywhere we go.  It brightens my heart and I’m pretty sure brings joy to them, too.


51.  The large number of kisses Jack gives to us each day.  He is so sweet and full of love, and sometimes I want to cry and laugh at the same time when I think about his sweet kissing face and the noise he makes.


52.  The way Jack says mama…  “muummma” makes me melt.  every.time.


53.  Extended family time from late nights together.  A blessing that comes from sleepless nights.



when it rains it pours.

Things always seem to hit at once, don’t they?  A little shower turns into a downpour.

I’m a planner.  I make my plans- which means they’re set in stone- and I don’t do well when things change.  Our whole long 4-day [Veteran’s Day, plus Tommy took Friday off] family weekend was full of change of plans.

I didn’t get out of work in time on Friday for family fun night, so we had to cancel that one.  Saturday night Jack got much worse from his ear infection so there was little sleep.  Sunday morning Tommy got called in to work and had to go back yesterday, too.  Jack didn’t go to bed until 4:30 am Sunday night, or Monday morning.  All of these things are fine.  Really, not a big deal [except Jack feeling worse] but I let them add up.  The change of plans, plus a few other things we’re dealing with, become magnified by sleep deprivation.  It’s funny because something that’s not too big of a deal becomes huge in the presence of tiredness.  Plus– I get grumpy.

Busy weeks look daunting when you realize you probably won’t get much sleep.  Challenging tasks, that were welcomed, become overwhelming.  A dirty house becomes unmanageable.

To-do lists change.

And it all adds up to feeling like a downpour.

But the good thing about getting stuck in a rainshower, is that it allows us to see God’s grace in a big way.  It gives way to surrendering on our part and glad acceptance of the grace that washes over us.

45.  Thankful for this reminder.

46.  For downright rainy days, even when they’re hard.

47.  For the reminder of God’s grace that comes in the midst of the hard rainfall.

tree of thanks.

I’m taking this season to be intentional about being thankful.

You’ve probably picked up on that by now with posts like this and this.  I want a thankful heart to be at the center of my family.  I want Jack to grow up being thankful.  To look at the day, look at the situation, and see not the troubles of this world, but see what he is truly thankful for– to see the blessings and gifts showered upon us.  To be thankful, no matter how we are feeling, because this thankfulness- it’s not about us.

I saw this post over at Jones Design Company [one of my favorite blogs] about her thankful tree, and I knew it’d be the perfect addition to the Morgan home.  A place where we could see– every day– just what we’re thankful for.  A place to make us stop and think.  A place for others to see our hearts of thanksgiving.  An offering of thanks in our living room.

My little assistant and I headed out to collect the branches we would need for this project.  Good thing I have such a good assistant.

And now, we give thanks.

I found this sweet little one on the tree…

Jack loves getting eskimo kisses– especially from his Daddy.

So that each day we may think of all we are thankful for…

[These great tags are available for download for free from Jones Design Company.]