Hellloooooo.

I went through this time where life was so busy and so crazy that I didn’t even have one second to think about blogging.  I forgot I even had a blog.  But then I remembered that I used to love to blog, and I remembered this little space and I missed it.  Now life is so busy and so crazy, but I do have time to think about my blog.  Not think about it as in devote time and make it awesome — but think about it as in maybe I could actually write a little again.

So it’s Saturday night, and I’m laying on the couch watching the Olympics while Tommy finishes getting the big kids to bed.  I put the baby to bed, and I have the easy job for sure.  I haven’t felt well today and laid around a lot.  I was relieved to find out I had a fever because otherwise I would have just been plain lazy.  So now I’m giving myself permission to lay around and “rest” instead of the rest of the day when I was all like “lazy, lazy, lazy”.

I have so much to share and catch everyone up on.  So let’s see, where do I start?  Well I used to blog and then 2 years ago we became a foster family, and I stopped blogging because I lost any spare time I had.  In that time we have had 11 children in our home — some just for a night or 2 and some longer.  We have adopted our 2 precious daughters!!!  Jack has grown TONS.  Tommy has changed jobs, and we have moved to a new home.  The bulk of those things happened in just the last few months.  There are obviously many details and much I want to share, and I hope to break it down as I’m able.  I can’t wait to share more about the girls and their adoption stories.  They are the best additions to our family, and we couldn’t have 2 girls who fit perfectly with us more.

 

As for what is going on right now —  school starts in 11 days, and we’re all very excited.  VERY.  The kids are ready to go back, and I’m very ready for them to.  This summer started with some structure, but it just flew out the window pretty quickly with the move.  I learned that moving with 3 kids means just holding on and hoping everyone gets to the new house in one piece.  We still have lots of unpacking and settling in to do, but my expectations to unpack were low going in to this — just trying to be realistic.  I think I’ll accomplish more once school starts back.

We spend a lot of our week in therapies.  Sometimes when I mention that we do therapy, people think we sit on a couch and talk for hours a week.  I kind of wish – haha!  Our goal is to help our girls catch up and develop as best as they can in order to be the best they can possibly be.  Right now we are working on that by doing a whole lot of therapy.  We do occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, feeding therapy, play therapy, behavioral therapy, and have a developmental therapist.  It’s a lot.  And it gets overwhelming often.  We typically have 16 different therapy sessions a week.  It’s pretty crazy.  But I remind myself that it’s worth it and this season of intense therapy won’t last for too long.  Before I know it all of my babies will be in school, and we’ll be so thankful they had everything they could early in life to help them.

When we aren’t in therapy, we try to unpack.  Before we moved when we weren’t in therapy we were working on selling our house.  It’s been a crazy year.  But a good year.  We’re looking forward to some stability ahead and less chaos.  Although, I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying that for the last 4 or maybe 5 years, so….    Here are some recent pictures of our precious kiddos!  I hope you are all well!  xoxo!

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Jack at 5 years old.  So handsome!  This summer he got a buzz cut for the first time!

 

Izzy 3
Izzy after her 3 year old check up last week.  She turns 3.5 next week, so we’re a little behind on that.  She was so proud of her finger prick that she had to show it off.

 

Cooper
Cooper June and her sweet self.  This was a big moment because she used to be terrified of swinging.  She doesn’t like to swing for very long, but she’s made huge progress!

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that’s a wrap.

I am so excited for this day, you guys.  So excited!  You might, understandably, be wondering what is so special about this day.  Well, today is the LAST DAY OF 2013!!  I am pretty excited to see this day arrive.  If you know us or have been reading this blog for awhile, it’s no secret that this has been a hard year.  In fact, the worst year of my life. 

 

Don’t get me wrong — there have been some precious and dear moments and things about this year.  Parts of this year I treasure deep in my heart and will always cling to.  This year will always be monumental for me.  Holding a huge place in our family as the year of Gabriel.  And I treasure that so.very.much.  But I can’t cling to what has happened and what is reality.  We are at peace with Gabriel in Heaven and clinging to this year won’t do anything to change our lives.  So it is with a crazy waving hand and arm that I wave goodbye to 2013! 

 

I have great hope for what is to come in 2014.  My expectations are high and my dreams are growing again.  After such a bad year in 2013, we are ready and very expectant about the year that is to come.  So, out with the old and in with the new! 

 

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28. waves of light celebration, love, + support.

Y’all are awesome!  Awesome awesome awesome.  I cannot even say enough how blown away I was on October 15thfor pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.  I said we would be lighting a candle in memory of our Gabriel and for others who have lost babies and asked you to do the same if you felt so inclined.  I couldn’t believe how awesome it was to see all of the pictures!  Man, I lit up knowing so many people were thinking about Gabriel and us.

 

I don’t have pictures to share of my baby beyond ultrasound pictures and the precious ones we took on his day of life.  I don’t get to Instagram or Facebook or tweet pictures of what he’s doing and how he’s growing.  I don’t get to share pictures of how Jack is with a baby brother and how the boys play together.  I don’t get to rock him as he is awake at night, or has an upset tummy, or just can’t quite figure out the routine of this life yet.  And I’ve come to terms with that.  This is our lot, and for this we are grateful.  But there will always be things I miss.

 

So to be able to use social media to bring encouragement to me and mamas like me is a powerful thing.  It was pretty special to have a few hours one night where feeds were blowing up with candles and loving words that helped us remember our babies who we don’t get to lay eyes on daily.

 

It was such a reminder to me of the role we play in each other’s lives of bringing encouragement.  Words are so powerful – and actions, too – and we can bring life to dark and hopeless situations.  So thank you for doing that for me.  Thank you for reading this blog, thinking about our little family, lighting a candle, and taking a picture to send to us.  Your effort, and mostly your heart, are beyond appreciated.  I have thanked God for each and every one of you.

 

So my intention was to publish this post on the next morning, the 16th, but Tuesday was a rough post-op day for me after having my gall bladder removed 5 days earlier.  By Tuesday evening I was in some serious pain and had to take some medicine, so I didn’t get to see many of the pictures until the next morning.  It’s taken me awhile to respond and get the pictures together.  But I wanted to share them all here.

 

 

Thanks for the love dear friends!  For you I am so grateful!

 

Tiffany Gleason Alice Erickson Amy Ross Becca Edwards Cretia Goodin Deb Macklin Elizabeth Neutens Emily Larson Gordy and Sue Holly Young Honoring Rebecca and Gabriel 10 1013 Katelyn Liles Laryessa Worthington Lindsay Maureen Prentiss and Family Molly Morgan Mom, Dad, and Grandfather Nate Lawless our family Rosalie Hadley Sheri Super Sophia Davidson Stephanie Joyce

Casey Aldredge

 

 

I couldn’t figure out how to save the pictures from Instagram.  So if you put a picture only on Ig and it’s not too much of a hassle, could you send it to me?  I really want to get them all together.

 

There were many people who lit candles but didn’t get pictures or who wanted to light candles but weren’t somewhere where they could do that.  So for those people, thank you for thinking of us and letting me know!

 

We had people lighting candles all over this country!  Tennessee and Maryland, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Texas, and Maine just to name some of the states.

 

[I tried to gather all of the pictures but if I missed yours please forgive me and let me know!]

 

So much love to you all!

18. still here.

I don’t have a lot of words in my head tonight.  For the third night in a row I’m writing this post and publishing it on the last hour of the day.  We have been so busy, so I’ve had no time to think about this 31 Days of Hope.  My organized list of posts has gone by the way side, and I can’t remember the things I wanted to say. 

 

But as I look back over the last week in my family I see a thread of hope in the days.  I see things that can only be attributed to God’s hand here and I know He is here and I know there is hope.  And if I wasn’t doing this 31 Days of Hope journey, this paying attention to hope, I don’t think I’d be noticing those things.  I don’t think I’d see the hope we have.  I don’t think I would even notice how much our God has done for us.  His goodness in a bad time.  His goodness in a bad year.  And I am reminded that my only hope is in Jesus. 

 

 hope light  

Hope in the life of our active two year old.  Hope in the blessing of our precious Gabriel. 

 

 

 

hope family  

Hope in the extra time with family as we get through a hard time. 

 

 

 

hope fun  

Hope in the joy a little one brings to a somber home. 

 

 

Do you notice hope in your life?  Have you noticed or thought about hope in new ways?  I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

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Joining the Nester for 31 Days of Hope. 

it came it came.

It came!  It came!  Gabriel’s marker arrived!  We have been waiting since May for his marker.  We ordered it the week after the burial, approved the layout and design in July, and have been waiting for it to arrive ever since.  It was supposed to take 6-8 weeks, but in typical fashion for us, it did not go smoothly.  However, Monday I got the call from the woman at the cemetery who we’ve been working with that it was in.  I love that it came in on the first day of fall!  We will always get to remember that, and it was really special to celebrate the new season by getting his marker set. 

 

I was so excited that I declared the rest of the day would be a very special day.  So I changed our plans, and instead made it an afternoon and evening of fun!  Jack and I went to pick out a couple of pumpkins to get excited for fall.  He got to pick it out and carry it around the store, too.  And it even made it home in one piece.  Then I fixed a frozen pizza and we ate it outside, having an impromptu picnic to celebrate.  Then we headed over to the cemetery to see his stone. 

 

I had thought that it might be hard to see, that it might somehow make it feel more final.  But it didn’t.  It already feels pretty final, so that didn’t make it more so.  In fact, I actually felt better seeing it.  It felt really good to see his name there marking his spot.  It looked beautiful to see his name written out – our declaration that this is our child who was here, was valued, was loved, and now he is in Heaven.  Very important to us.  So we were happy to get to celebrate that. 

 

The bad news is that the marker is crooked.  It’s like looking at a picture hanging on the wall crooked.  I noticed it right away.  I’m a person who notices things like that.  They are going to fix it for us.  And actually the granite was cut poorly as well, so he is going to get a new slab of granite as well.  It was frustrating, but the woman there seems to be on it to get it fixed and really there’s no point getting all worked up over it – it doesn’t change anything.  Here are the pictures of it.  And once he gets his new marker I will share the “perfect” pictures. 

 

We had a great evening remembering our sweet Gabriel.  Jack helped us in celebrating his baby brother by placing new flowers in Gabriel’s new marker vase.  I picked out these calla lilies because they are the same flowers that were in our wedding.  I picked out 4 to represent each one of us in our family, and Jack picked up on that as he handed a flower out to Tommy and me before he put them in the vase.  Special, sweet memories from Monday. 

 

 

 

 

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jack at 2.

I said back here that I was going to share some fun things about Jack.  I like having a record of what he’s doing here on the blog so that I can look back on it.  It’s also a great way to get to share about what he’s up to with the people who love him.  Especially those who haven’t seen him in a long time — I’m looking at you, Maryland friends.  So here’s a big ol’ Jack update. 

 

   jackis2park

 

 

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He started talking a lot around the time he turned 2.  A LOT.  He hardly said any words at all up until he turned two.  I was worried that he may not talk, and every check up until his two year one, he wasn’t saying as many words as our pediatrician would ask if he was saying.  But by his two year check up, which was a few weeks after he turned 2, he was saying hundreds of words.  It changed just like that.  So with those words, and now sentences, even long sentences, he’s saying some pretty funny and pretty adorable things.

 

 

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Jack’s words:

–  bess you when we sneeze

–  dundo for thunder

–  pup igh for up high

–  mickey = music

–  binds for blinds

–  sim-tooey for cemetery

–  peas for please

–  moostache for mustache

–  po milk for chocolate milk

 

 

My very favorites:

–  bess you mama

–  ok mommy

–  hold you, rock you, read you.

 

 

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Everything he wants someone to do for him or with him now he asks  the same way we would ask him.  When he wants us to read to him he will come up with a book and say “Mommy read this book to you” or “Daddy way with you for 5 minutes” or “Mommy rock you” 

 

jackis2laundry

 

 

Jack’s first sentence was “Daddy you are funny”.  There are some things he does that are just like we used to do as kids, so we’ve been told.  Jack walks and runs around on his tippy toes, which is something I did when I was his age.  He loves to watch the same song or scene in a show or movie over and over and over and over again.  I have always been that way.  Still to this day.  He takes everything apart and wants to see how it goes back together and how it works.  So much like Tommy.  It’s fun to watch him grow and become even more his own person.  Two has come with it challenges, but it’s also really fun. 

Thank you.

Thank you to all of you who have kept up with the Morgan family’s story. Thank you to all of you who have been praying and sending thoughts of love. Thank you to all of you who have reached out with support and have been so eager to help in any way. This is Lindsay writing for Lauren once again. Lauren wanted me to share the beautiful details with you:

 

Gabriel Patrick Morgan was born on Sunday, May 5th at 6:28pm.
He was 4 lbs 3 oz. and 17″ long.
Lauren and Tommy got to hear him cry a few times and watched him take some deep breaths. He passed away nearly two hours later at 8:25pm.

 

They are working on lining up arrangements for where they would like memorial gifts in Gabriel’s honor to go. We will let you know more details soon.

 

So many of you have generously offered to help in any way that you can. Everyone is very thankful for that. Some dear friends from Lauren and Tommy’s small group have set up a meal schedule if you would like to help out. The website is takethemameal.com and there is password information that we are happy to give you.  If you’re interested in helping out with a meal and need that information please email me @ lindsaykgranger@gmail.com.  I will give you the password for that.

 

 

Thank you again. Lauren and Tommy feel very loved during this time.

Tommy’s sister took these pictures of Gabriel on Sunday. Wanted to share a few with you…

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Wholly Healed

I am so thankful to be able to write this post to update you once again. I have had the privilege of watching my sister and Tommy walk down the path that God has led them.  I have watched as they have opened their hands to His plan.  And today, I was able to watch as they met and loved on their new baby boy, Gabriel Patrick Morgan.  He was born earlier this evening, and Lauren and Tommy were so thankful to be able to hold their angel in their arms.  True to character, he was much bigger than we were expecting.  And stronger.  And even more beautiful.  Gabriel was with his family here on earth for several minutes.  Several sweet minutes.  I do not actually know how long because we were all so caught up in the moment.  But Lauren and Tommy got to see and hear and feel the life in their boy.  And for that we are beyond thankful!  His heart slowed, and his breaths stopped, but please do not be discouraged.  Do not think that your prayers were not heard.  Not answered.  Because they were in the best way.  Sweet Gabriel is now wholly healed.  I am so encouraged by friends and family who have shown such love to my sister and her family.  I am continuing to pray for Lauren and Tommy and Jack… for comfort, for peace, for joy, for hope.  And praying with a grateful heart that we got to meet Gabriel and that he is now wholly healed!