happy labor day

Happy Labor Day friends!

 

It’s been a good summer.  One filled with plenty of sun, time outdoors, playing, resting, and enjoying all of the easiness that summer brings.  Today marks the end of summer.  The end of our last summer weekend.  It’s on to fall and the great things that come with it!  School has started, football is underway, and hopefully cooler temperatures are coming.

 

I hope you have a great, fun Labor Day!  Enjoy it and I will see you back here tomorrow.

 

happy Labor Day!

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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.

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!

happy mother’s day.

Happy Mother’s Day, dear moms.  I hope you feel loved and celebrated today.  I hope you are appreciated and are able to appreciate your blessings as a mom.

 

Yesterday I shared some words of wisdom from a dear friend.  Today I have a post I want to share written by one of the most precious women in my life.  God has used Kelly in my life in so many ways.  We met Kelly and her husband during a very formative time for us — our college years.  As a dating and then engaged couple we really learned a lot about marriage from Kelly and Adam.  I loved babysitting their awesome kids and seeing how they parented.  Many years ago Tommy and I heard Adam talk about how we are stewards of everything and how even his kids didn’t belong to him, he was just stewarding them.  That has always stuck in mine and Tommy’s minds.  That was before they lost 2 of their sons.  And before we lost Gabriel.  Tommy and I also believe that the example of how these two walked through that paved the way for how we would walk through losing our child.  God has used them in big ways in our lives, and we are so thankful to know them.

Kelly is a wonderful mama, and I look up to her so much.  I want to do pretty much everything like her — I want her to come help me decorate my house, teach me new recipes, and more importantly pay attention to my kid’s heart.

 

I hope you will read these words that she has written.  I was incredibly moved by them.  As I read her post I realized that I have been off track.  I have been more focused on my performance as a mom and Jack’s performance as a kid.  I’ve been focused on perfection and not on his heart or mine.  His heart is the most important thing to me, and I am so thankful for the reminder of that and the awesome privilege it is to be his mama.

 

from Kelly…

 

Over the past 12 years of stewarding little stories I have realized the importance of parenting with a pupil’s heart. Moment by moment as they change, I am offered the priceless invitation to grow right alongside them. So, before I launch into what being a mommy means to me… I feel led to begin with what I know it is not. Being a mommy is NOT about being an expert or getting it perfect. Instead, it’s ignoring the reoccurring voice of fear… choosing to be a constant learner and daily embracing the greatest gift of all… grace.  

In our crazy, wild home, being a mommy means knowing my 4 Smalls have just as much if not more to teach me… than I have to teach them. It means… apologizing often … laughing at myself, dancing crazily as people watch, nursing ailments and personal “chefing” for little bellies with special dietary needs. It means advocating health on ALL levels (spiritual, emotional, physical and mental). It means super- raggedy homeschooling. It means equipping and celebrating successes in the midst of giant failures. It means modeling out respect and honor beginning with my relationship with their daddy. It means publicly grieving over pain filled losses as well as publicly belly laughing as I play. And, in my less than glamorous world, it means… being transparent enough to admit… most days I don’t really know what I am doing. I too, am just a little person in need of MUCH GUIDANCE as I walk out this God-given assignment. And, not only do I deeply desire the grace-gift they carry, I desperately need it.  

To be completely honest, I have received more education in these past 12 years of being a mom than I could’ve ever obtained at any prestigious university. And yet somehow I feel like I know less than ever before. So, at the end of everyday… I always come back to this one thing… GRACE. Being a mommy means an abundance of grace-exchanges. At some point on my journey I hope to receive a “Masters” in this subject. But, today, I am just thankful to have the opportunity to sit under some of the most powerful, little teachers my heart has ever known. So thankful.  

 

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your words and wisdom!

 

_______________________________

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom!  She has been a rock for me my whole life.  She works hard and is so respected and loved by all of us.  Mom, you take such good care of all of us — still — and I’m so very thankful to have you as my mother.  I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mother-in-law also — to the woman who raised the love of my life.  You raised a wonderful man, and I’m so thankful for that.  We love you!

 

If you know anyone who has lost a child or could use a pick me up today, share my letter for mama’s with them.

you are amazing.adventures

 

On this day, I’m acutely aware of how hard it can be.  Last year was awful.  It was 1 week after Gabriel was born and died, and I can’t believe I even got out of bed that day.  But I did, and I don’t remember a lot of it.  But it was a very hard day.  I know there are many reasons for people to be sad today.  The cemetery is pack on Mother’s Day — mostly with people visiting the graves of their mom’s, but for some like me, it is to visit the graves of our children.  Whether today is hard because of death of a mother or a child, infertility, dreams that haven’t happened, just know that you aren’t alone.

 

happy mother’s day!

a mother’s perspective.

It’s the eve of Mother’s Day.  For some of us that means we are spending the day with our moms.  For others it might mean doing a little last minute shopping or card buying or Pinterest searching and trying.  This weekend I am thinking a lot about motherhood.  Reflecting much on my mom and all she has done for me.  Reflecting on motherhood with my boys.  Doing a lot of heart reflection.

 

Today I wanted to share some wisdom from a woman I admire so much.  Sweet Maureen watched Jack for us while we lived in Maryland, and she has been impacting my life for over 4 years now.  She is an awesome mama.  I asked her about what it’s like to be a mom and this is the wisdom she shared with me:

 

Raising a family is like conducting an orchestra. To make all the instruments work together in harmony, you have to understand and appreciate each instrument individually. There’s no sense in trying to make a drum sound like a flute. Each instrument must be guided in its own technique in its own time, while also learning the character skills needed to perform with others. Being a mother means learning each instrument, respecting its unique design and style, and developing its repertoire so its music can soar to the heavens.  

 

 

Thank you for the wisdom, Maureen.  Happy Mother’s Day eve mamas!

for the mom who’s lost her child.

you are amazing.adventures

 

 

Dear mom who has more children than anyone can see with you,

 

[Deep breath]

Hi, sweet mama.  How are you feeling this Mother’s Day?  It’s nice to be celebrated as a mom, but it can be so painful when it just brings reminders that part of us is no longer here.  That we are forever changed because a chunk of our heart has passed away.  That our very life as we know it, will never be as we had imagined or thought.

 

I know this day is hard and that it can bring so many emotions with it.  I know we all remember and celebrate in different ways.  I also know that ignoring this day, ignoring the memories and the celebrations of our children — of our motherhood, is so much worse than embracing it in all its forms.  While remembering and talking about the hard parts of our motherhood can be painful, pretending it didn’t happen is just excruciating.  Our children are precious and each of them should be celebrated.  You are a mother — whether you were pregnant for 8 weeks or have children who have children of their own.

 

Be strong today.  Stand tall and remember that you have strength and support from those around you and those who walk this road with you.  Be proud today.  Be proud of your amazing children both here on earth and those who are already in Heaven.  Share their stories and take the opportunity of this day celebrating moms to do what moms do best — brag on their kids.  Be real.  Tell people how you are doing today.  It’s okay if today seems impossibly hard.  It’s okay if today isn’t really that hard.  Share with people who don’t understand what all comes with losing a child.  Tell them how you wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything in the world.  Be brave.  Even though this day isn’t the same for us mamas who know the loss of a child, it doesn’t mean we need to hide out around this time.  Be kind to yourself.  So much of motherhood is demanding.  Do what you need to do today.  Want some quiet time?  Ask for it.  Need some help?  Ask for it.  Want to do something adventurous?  Go for it.  Want to spend the day in your PJs?  Call me, cause I’m in!

This is my prayer for you today — that you will be all of these things.  That you will feel loved.  That you will celebrate the special blessings in your life, even if they were here for way too short a time.  

 

And know that you are not alone.  Ever.  At all.  You may not be surrounded by children, or you may but are still missing the one who isn’t here.  But that doesn’t mean you are alone.  Because even if you have no one beside you, you have all of us mamas who know the ache you know.  Who hurt deeply on this day where we celebrate moms.  Who don’t get to hug and kiss those precious faces that we see each time we close our eyes.  Who take a deep breath before walking into a room of moms and kids, knowing we are “that mom” — the one who lost a child.  Who feel torn between living in a world that is our reality and wondering so often what could have been.  You are not alone.  And you are loved.  So very loved.

 

Mama, you are amazing.  Happy Mother’s Day.