christmas 2013.

For Christmas this year we had a sick kid.  We thought he had RSV because he was exposed to it, but his test for it was negative.  So he had another bad virus.  It made me nervous because it did cause him to have a harder time breathing.  But steroids helped, and he healed up.  He wasn’t his usual happy self for Christmas – by any means – but we still had a good day.

 

We went to Christmas Eve service on Tuesday.  Mom was kind enough to keep Jack so that Tommy and I could go.  After the service we went back to mom and dads to eat our traditional Christmas Eve meal.

 

On Christmas morning we hit the ground running, starting at Tommy’s parents’.  After that we went to my parents’ house and had Christmas dinner there.  It was a sweet time.

 

From our time with T’s family…

Nikon D3200 147

Tommy’s sister, Molly, and her fiance, Drew, are getting married very soon!

Nikon D3200 152

It’s Christmas!

Nikon D3200 119   Nikon D3200 146     Nikon D3200 126

 

From our time with my family…

Nikon D3200 157 Nikon D3200 161 Nikon D3200 168 Nikon D3200 178 Nikon D3200 197

Nikon D3200 130

Nikon D3200 206

 

And a couple from home…

Nikon D3200 086

A sick kid snuggling up with his daddy.

 

Nikon D3200 124

And when he felt better, he was my awesome helper.

 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Advertisements

i wish Christmas was over.

So here’s this crazy thing:  I wish Christmas was over. 

 

There, I said it.  Call me crazy.  Write it off.  Label me emotional.  Or… maybe, just maybe you feel the same way? 

 

You see, never in my life have I felt this way before.  Ever.  I love Christmas.  Love it up and down.  Love celebrating Jesus’ birth.  Love the joy that comes with Christmas.  Love the hope.  Love all aspects of Christmas and the holiday season.  I love the trees, the lights, the shopping, the wrapping, the movies, the baking, the cooking, the sweets, the salty, the cards – oh the cards, probably my favorite part of “Christmas things”.  I love the picking out of the perfect card.  I love getting them in from others.  I love waiting for mine to arrive.  I love addressing them and praying for each family, each person I send them to.  To me, it’s worth the work.  I display the cards I get all over my living room.  I leave them up through January, at least. 

But I noticed something was wrong this week.  I have spent over a week working on my cards.  It’s been ok, but it really stressed me out this year.  And I found myself feeling differently than before towards it all.  So yesterday morning I texted this to my friend, Julie, who’s baby died in August: 

Moment of truth:  can Christmas be over yet? 

 

I thought I’d be ostracized from society for thinking such things.  Thought I’d be banned from the church.  That it might mean I don’t appreciate Jesus and His love for me.  But then I realized those things were crazy.  And let’s just be honest.  It’s just hard this year.  And it’s not just hard for me.  I know it’s hard for a lot of you, too.  I know it’s hard for Julie and her family.  I know it’s hard for my Grandfather who is spending his first Christmas without his wife after 63 years of Christmases with her.  I know it’s hard for the 3 different families I saw at the cemetery today burying loved ones.  I know it’s hard for my friend who has struggled with infertility for years.  I know it’s hard for the families who have nothing.  I know it’s hard for the families who have everything but feel empty.  I know it’s hard for the family estranged from loved ones.  I know it’s hard for people who lost a loved one a year ago or twenty years ago. 

 

This year I learned that Christmas isn’t always merry.  And in years past I judged and labeled people as grinches or as missing the true meaning of Christmas.  I get, and so appreciate and need, the true meaning of Christmas, but that doesn’t mean this one isn’t hard.  And the beautiful thing about that is that God knows that.  He knows how this time of year can be extra hard, and I believe He’s extra tender. 

 

So in all of this, I want to share that I get it now.  I get how it can be hard.  And I’m thankful my heart is more sensitive to it now.  I also wanted to share how I feel because after talking with several people who also told me they felt this way, I suspect that many of you might, too.  And I want you to know that you aren’t alone.  So know this Christmas, even if it’s hard for you, especially if it’s hard for you, that you aren’t alone.  And we’ll get through it. 

 

 

Nikon D3200 069

angels we have heard on high.

I went by the cemetery to see Gabriel’s grave and put Christmas flowers there last week.  After I put his flowers out, I went down to the other side of the cemetery to put Christmas flowers on my Granny’s grave.  They are buried in the same, large cemetery.  Gabriel’s grave is in the back of the cemetery, up on a hill in a small patch called Babyland.  My Granny’s grave is down near the front on a nice, large flat patch that is the Veteran’s section.

As I finished pushing those flowers in the ground at her freshly buried spot, I stepped back and looked around.  All I could think was what happened??  I stood there looking out over this very different patch in the very same cemetery where my son is buried.  And all I could think was what happened??

angels we have heard on high

This whole year we’ve been living it, and when you’re knee deep in it, you don’t really get to ask that.  But when you step back and realize, wait a minute, my child is in Heaven, the how did we get here?  and what happened? come to mind.  What happened to get us here?  What happened to us?  How is that this time last year life was totally normal and this year it’s crushing?  What happened?

 

Then I got in the car and the song that immediately came on was Angels We Have Heard On High.  I was hit hard.  It was a pretty cool moment.  And I immediately thought of my angel and felt comforted.  So no matter what happened, or how we got to this point, it doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is that we have an angel, and we have hope.  So no matter what happened, we have hope.

 

 

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn King

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

 

 

 

 

 

weekly recap.

I haven’t done a weekly Instagram update post in awhile, so I thought it was time I bring it back.  I’m still loving Instagram– it’s so fun to see daily tidbits of peoples’ lives in pictures.  If you’re on there, follow me @laurengmorgan.

 

 

 

insta12

These 2 are best friends.  Jack loves his “Ya Ya”, his name for Lady.  They were working together here to destroy my closet.  Mission accomplished.

 

 

insta11

A little quiet, independent playtime for my boy.  Love to see his mind at work!

 

 

insta10

We had a play date this week with this little ballerina.  She’s too cute!  And they look like pretty good buddies here.

 

 

insta9

I found the tunnel being used by both of them in one evening.  It has so many purposes!

 

 

insta8

Santa baby.

 

 

insta7Merry Christmas from your favorite dietitian 🙂

 

 

insta6

Christmas music entertainment courtesy of @lindsaykgranger and Jack the musician.  Merry Christmas Eve!

 

 

insta4

The true Jack in the box.

 

 

insta5

Sweet babe who was so tired from Christmas that he easily fell asleep in a bed that’s not his #Christmasmiracle.

 

 

insta3

I tried for awhile but at 9 pm on Christmas night this was the best I could get.  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

 

 

insta2We spent the whole day after Christmas riding around in the cozy coupe.  Best present ever!

 

 

insta1     Life is rough when you’ve had family around you for four straight days and then you have to go back to spending your days with just your mama.

 

 

Hope you all had a great, great week!

 

 

I’m linking up today with Life Rearranged.

the 26th.

Y’all, I’m so sad Christmas is over.  This year I truly tried to take in every ounce of the season, every moment, every preparation, every bit of togetherness.  And it was wonderful and all built up to this amazing Christmas day.  And the day, it happened so fast and was over just like that.  A day of fullness and love.  As Christmas day came to an end I found myself sad for it to be over.  Sad to wait another year to celebrate this again.  Good thing I have Ann Voskamp to remind me that Christmas is not over, but is every day now that Christ is come.

 

Today was a great, very relaxing day.  I got to spend the whole day at my parents, and it was so nice.  Tommy had to work, so we missed his company, but I was so thankful to get to spend so much time with my mom and dad and sister and brother.  Jack LOVED the company.  He loves his family so much, and I loved having the help of family all day.  I got to relax a lot.

 

Jack spent 3/4 of the day cruising around in his new Cozy Coupe.  It was raining outside all day yesterday and today.  And cold, too.  So Jack got a pretty good racetrack going around the living room, hallway, kitchen, and dining room.  He didn’t mind the rain.  We did get some snow flurries today!  I’ll take what I can get.  It’s always exciting to watch for snow.

 

day after Christmas crazy coupe

 

 

 

I spent the whole day in my Christmas pajama pants and Christmas socks.  It was glorious.

 

day after Christmas

 

 

 

And tonight, I lay snuggled up on my couch with the amazing new blanket I got from my parents.

 

day after Christmas blanket

 

 

Today has been cozy, slow paced, and perfect.  Nothing better than spending relaxed time with the family.  So because I can’t quite let it go, I tell you again, on the day after Christmas, Merry Christmas!

 

 

a true day of hope.

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

‘til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. 

 

 

I hope your Christmas was wonderful and truly blessed.  We had a heart-full and very action packed day of celebrating with our loved ones.  We got to see all of our parents and spend part of the day with my grandparents, too.  We couldn’t have been more surrounded with love.  What a blessing.

 

 

029

We started out the celebrating on Christmas Eve.  We went to the candlelight service at church and then back to mom and dad’s for dinner and fun.  By this point, Jack was pretty tired.  But he got a second wind later.

 

 

Christmas Eve collage

Pictures from left to right:  Jack got to open a present on Christmas Eve.  My grandparents are so cute!  Love my siblings.
The girls.  We had a great night watching Home Alone together.  Jack actually was interested in the movie– it was

crazy.  And he even spent a little time cuddled up on the floor with Aunt Lindsay.  Then he joined his Pops on the

couch for a nice, cold glass of milk.

 

 

 

Christmas Day collage1

Early on Christmas morning we headed to Grandma and Grandpa’s.  Jack gave me a big “cheese” and smile for an early morning picture.  Love him and his bed head.  He enjoyed opening presents, eating Dada’s delicious sweets rolls, and playing his first game of hockey.

 

 

Christmas Day collage2

At Granny and Grandfather’s it was music time!  A dancing santa and a snowman who plays the piano were highlights for Jack.  He pushed the buttons over and over and over.  And he and Pops danced out to the music.  We had a beautiful lunch!  Tommy took his annual lay on Granny’s couch and sleep for 10 minutes post eating nap.  Then it was back to Nan and Pop’s house for more fun.  Jack got a cozy coupe and he was ready to ride it before it was put together!  He LOVES that car.

 

 

Throughout the day, even though we were busy, I kept trying to remember the words– the Scripture, the song lyrics, the wise words read and heard, about this day.  And as I sit here now processing our wonderful, family-filled, love-filled day of togetherness, I can’t even quite take in all it means that the true Hope has come.  That we no longer have to long for anything.  That He is come.  He is risen.  We are redeemed.  I am so thankful.  On this day I keep remembering and thanking that the weary world rejoices at this thrill of hope!

 

Hoping your Christmas was full of Hope!  And plenty merry and bright, too.

Christmas yearbook.

I love looking at people’s family pictures from years past.  It’s so fun to laugh at how we all used to look and see how everyone’s grown and changed.  I want to be able to do that with our family and to remember what our family looked like each Christmas, so I started a tradition.  I put an ornament with a picture of our family that Christmas on the tree every year.  I love to look at it while the tree is up and it’s especially fun each year as I pull out the ornaments.  Since so much has changed for our family in the 4 Christmases that we’ve been married, it makes it more fun to see it all.

 

2009 –  Tommy, Lauren, & Lady

087

 

 

2010 – Tommy, Lauren, Lady, & Eli [and Jack on the way]

Christmas 2010

 

 

2011 – Tommy, Lauren, Jack and Lady & Eli [but they got cut out of the picture when the baby arrived on the scene]

Christmas Card 2011 Morgans

 

Christmas 2011 [on Christmas day last year]

 

 

2012 – Tommy, Lauren, Jack, and baby #2 on the way and Lady & Eli

MorganReveal-003

 

 

Do you have fun family pictures you keep track of each year?  I’d LOVE to see them!

reminders everywhere.

Our Christmas decorations are up, and I LOVE having reminders everywhere of the season.  I love that I look and see little things that don’t mean much that remind me to slow down.  To stop and think about everything.  To be slow in this season.  I love the beauty that this season brings.  Nothing feels more joyful and warm than a home decorated for Christmas.  I wanted to share some of our decorations.  Not because I’m good at decorating or because we do something awesome out on the yard that involves santa and a tractor.  We don’t.  But our neighbors do.  And it IS awesome.  We just have a totally random collection of things we’ve been gifted or have picked up, and it looks random, too.  But it serves its purpose and I love it.

 

c

 

This is our first year with a fake tree.  We have a real one, too, but since we have this huge window above the garage I thought it screamed for a Christmas tree.  So we put this one here, and it looks so good from the street.  This window is probably the most noticeable thing about house from the outside, so I’m glad to have this tree here.  And we had so much fun decorating it with Jack.  He was so helpful and really enjoyed it.  He helped put the star on top, too.

 

 

c2

 

And then Tommy finished putting the star up.

 

 

c3

 

I was shocked how helpful this kid was.  He LOVED putting ornaments on the tree.  He would come grab one from the bin and go to this very spot on the tree and lay the ornament there.  It’s hard to tell but that stash of stuff on the tree behind his back is where 95% of his ornaments were placed.

 

 

c4

 

Here he is branching out a little from his usual spot.

 

 

c5

 

I put most of these lights up at night.  I was the crazy pregnant lady out on the porch in the dark putting lights up.  I had to do it.  It was calling me.  This front porch has all kinds of Christmas decorating potential.  I’m happy with where we ended up this year but who knows what the future holds.  The next day I had to tweaking to do, so Jack was my awesome helper.

 

 

c6

 

He was entertained by being outside, Goldfish- or fisheeeeess as he says, and Henry the neighbor’s cat.

 

 

c7

 

This stuff makes me so happy.  There is something about this seriously-Christmas-smelling soap that makes washing my hands a pleasure.  One is the orange spice Christmas smell and the other smells like a pine tree.  Like I literally walked into a forest, rubbed my hands on a pine tree and called that washing them.  [Side note:  we used to live on Pine Street, so apparently I cannot type pine tree without great effort.  My hands automatically kept going to pine street.  Must re-train brain now.]

 

 

c8

 

I LOVE this tree.  Our little fatty.  Since we had the artificial tree upstairs, I didn’t feel like we needed 2 big trees.  So we decided to go small.  I was thinking understated.  We came home with fat.  This tree is short and fat and I love it.  Also, he’s staying naked– besides the lights.  I tried putting ornaments on him, but Jack just wants to pull them all off.  For some reason he’s totally cool with ornaments on the upstairs tree but not on the downstairs one??  I kind of love the look of just the tree and the lights though.

 

 

c9

 

Our garage jets out of our house like a giant nose on a face, so Tommy thought we should outline it in lights.  I love him for this.

 

 

c10

 

Just little reminders everywhere that Christ is coming.

 

 

c11

 

My favorite of all our inside decorations.  Fresh. Green. Beautiful.

 

 

c12

 

And it sits in our dining room which looks like this currently. Tommy’s working furiously on our dining room table right now.  I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

 

 

c14

 

 

 

c15

 

I love this sign my Granny gave me just after we got married.  It was our very first Christmas decoration, and I left it up year round hanging above my washing machine.  I should find somewhere for it to live all year in this house, too.

 

 

c16

 

Christmas candle– I burn one all the time that I’m home.  That nativity scene there— it lived through college with me and unfortunately one year one of the wise men was be-headed in an on-campus housing incident.  It was painful.  [I actually don’t know what happened but I just found his head laying by his body.]  So instead of hot gluing the head back on like a normal person, I put it out year after year with the head laying beside his body.  I should probably get that fixed before Jack is old enough to be terrified.

 

 

c17

 

 

Still working on the mantle.  But the biggest piece missing is a stocking for Jack!  Last year we weren’t living in our own house at Christmas, so this year I totally forgot little man didn’t have his space claimed on the mantle.

 

 

c18

 

Don’t you have a “Z” under your tree?  Jack thinks the alphabet letters are a nice addition to the tree.  I found  the “U” on the tree the other day, and the “B” and “L” were casualties in a decorating-gone-bad situation.  They should make a full recovery.

 

 

 

 

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.