A bittersweet goodbye…

As we prepare to leave this city, I can’t help but feel a wave of crazy emotions. On one end I am thrilled to be going home and on the other, I feel a bit sad. We have called this city home for 2 years but this year it really was like “home”. We chose to make this season {and all moving forward} bigger than basketball. Of course, this is Zo’s job and always will be priority, but we found the joy in making this really like “home” and enjoying every little road trip, plane ride, adventure, and social interaction.

So what was so special this year? Well…we did a bit of traveling.

1. I think I traveled to every major Lithuanian city at least once, you can see a recap of some here on the blog:

Siauliai

Klaipeda

We took a fun trip to Germany to visit friends. The weather was incredible and it was non-stop laughs. It was so nice to be with one of my favorite gal pals and also for Logan to experience some fun with some American kids, which he hadn’t done in a long time! Read all about our trip here if you haven’t:

Germany

The absolute highlight of our season was traveling to Rome, Italy in the fall. If you have never been i highly suggest it and I recapped a ton of information on the blog for Rome do’s and don’ts. The weather was amazing and our family of 3 had a blast. It’s not often that Zo gets a break in the middle of season and this was just perfect! Here’s the Rome post {there are 4 parts}:

Rome

So this season our travel was light, but often and that made the season fly by!

We also had the chance to have Logan in Kindergarten here, the “children’s garden” they call it and it was amazing. He was in a private school that also teaches English and that was amazing for Logan and for us. We could always communicate with teachers and staff and Logan could too. We were able to watch Logan blossom into such a strong, resilient, happy, and bi-lingual little one. Everyone brags that Logan’s Lithuanian is better than theirs, he has soaked up the language and can hold little conversations, it’s amazing to watch. I can’t forget to mention that he was also a little show-off in English class {he-he}. Logan made so many little friends, had his first girl crush, first best friend, and the teachers were just absolutely incredible!

We all know the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” and I absolutely believe it to be true, especially as an expat family. Since Logan was born we have had an incredible village of help while we navigate different countries (Logan has lived in 3 his first 3 years of life). There are those special people you pray over and you ask God to bring you, God surely has shown up and shown out in the “help” department and we are so thankful.

When Logan was born we had an incredible midwife in Germany for 6 weeks that looked after Logan’s health and growth, she was a godsend for this new mom that had 1,000 questions daily! (Pictured left)

We also had an amazing nanny, Ms. Nina that was a junior midwife and made us feel so comfortable leaving Logan in her care. Nina gave us our date nights back, gave me relief during the day to grocery shop or run errands, go see Zo’s basketball games alone, and also head to the gym to get my body back in shape after birth (which was and is important to me). (Pictured right)

Our next season in Germany we started Logan at school. His teacher was Ms. Bettina and she was the sweetest. She really helped Logan with the adjustment away from me and we also had our sweet Nina back to help, too!

Gosh, time flies!

And here we are just days away from another school, another nanny, and another “goodbye” and this mama heart can barely stand it!

We had THE best gal for Logan this season. When we said goodbye to our sweet Nina I was nervous we would never find anyone quite like her…I was wrong! This season our lovely Neda has been incredible! Not only does she play the best hide and seek with Logan, she loves him, brings him gifts, teaches him, cares for him, and always makes him happy! We are so blessed to have had her this season and will miss her terribly next year!! We hope she will make her way to the USA for a visit so we can repay her for taking care of our sweet boy and take care of her for a trip!

Besides travel and school, this mama was extra busy too! I decided to volunteer at the American English School and what an incredible experience! I taught 11th and 12th grade students once a week and they absolutely were the highlight of my week! Each student was unique and incredible. I learned so much about their lifestyle, Lithuanian culture, their dreams for their future, and of course a little pop culture and music too! Teach high school…it’ll make you feel incredibly old!! I’m so grateful for AMES for allowing me the opportunity and so thankful for all of my students that showed up every week, I will miss them terribly.

{I received this gift from one of my students, Lukas on our last day}, yep, I cried on the way home}.

We also fell in love with the local children’s home {orphanage} here in our city. What a beautiful place with so many incredible kids and I wish I could bring them all home with us to America!! They taught us how to sing and dance, they drew us pictures {that will proudly hang in the game room}, and they loved on us more than we could love on them. I absolutely will miss these kids and their directors very much. Humble yourselves enough in your lives to give to others, it’s a beautiful and life changing experience.

{at the children’s home with 2 of the directors and some of the children}

And last but absolutely not least, we had our second family! The Zabileviciene family became like our family, they were the kindest people ever and we wouldn’t have made it without them! They hosted Zo for Christmas when I was back home in Texas, they had us over for bbq (guys this is almost like TX bbq–no joke!) , and they also were proud supporters of the basketball team.

Their son was in America studying in Florida and graduated just this month, their daughter Ieva and her husband were so kind and it was a joy to hang out with them throughout the season and I also was able to enjoy coffee once a week with Geidre and our other friend, Dalia. Every Monday we met, spoke English for an hour, laughed, and really just enjoyed some peace and quiet time each week. A great highlight of most of my weeks for sure! I will miss this terribly.

It’s always hard to say goodbye, we are used to it now, it’s our life. But since having Logan it just gets harder and harder. Our son is resilient, he is strong, friendly, kind, loving, and giving. He will miss his friends, I 100% know that. But this year I am proud of him for all he has accomplished and all the growth that has happened and I know that whatever path God has for us expats next, HE will provide a special place for our sweet boy.

Zo & I also experienced a season like no other when it comes to faith. God asked us to be here again. We fought it, I wanted a change, last year was hard, I didn’t want what God was asking. But we did it. It was worth it. We experienced basketball in a whole other light this year 11, we made this place our life and not just our job and the results were a happy season, lots of new friends, good travel, lots of date nights and play dates, and a new outlook on season 12.

Life is good, God is better and we can’t wait to see you all for season 12, wherever that is!

Until next time

-Morgan

Our trip to Šiauliai

Good morning friends! I wanted to share our day trip to one of my favorite places in Lithuania, the city of Šiauliai. Back in 2012 we visited this place and again in 2014. Each time we go I fall more in love with this hill…”The hill of crosses.”

The hill of crosses dates back to the 1800’s when grieving relatives would come to mourn and pray and leave a symbol, a cross of remembrance. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of crosses and this place stands as a unified symbol, no matter your race, religion, cultural background, or citizenship, you are welcome. There are no doors or walls, just open space to browse, read, and pray.

We now have 3 crosses here at this place. 1 to bless our marriage, 1 we placed as we prayed over having a child, and now 1 for our family and blessings to come.

I am not sure I will make it back here again, but I am grateful to see and experience such incredible and breathtaking places around the globe. It is worth the trip if you are ever in these neck of the woods!

Play offs are here and Šiauliai has a basketball team as well, we are playing them for the first round of play offs, games 2 & 4. Game 4 tonight! Wish us luck!

I’ll never take for granted the opportunity to see a true country sunset. The drive back from Šiauliai is only an hour, but it’s an hour of peaceful open road that excites my little country girl soul.

Until next time.

-Morgan

#momcrushmondays —Dionne from Bold in Beautiful

Good morning, friends, and happy Monday! Today, I am featuring Dionne Boldin, fashion blogger of “Bold in Beautiful.” This gal has an impeccable sense of style, she’s gorgeous, and she’s on a mission! I can’t wait for you to read more about her as we sat down for a little girl chat.

Morgan: Dionne, where did your love for fashion come from?

Dionne: My love for fashion started as a young girl, loving to play dress up. As I got older, I started to appreciate fashion and the artistry of it all – the colors, the fabrics, and the small details. I live by the motto “If you look good, you feel good.”  Dressing up does not solve all problems, but it is certainly a confidence builder, and fashion is the fuel to take on the highs and lows of life.

Morgan: “Bold in Beautiful” is a catchy name. What was your reason behind it?

Dionne: The name was a play on my last name, Boldin, and “Beautiful” came from my goal for this blog. One of my goals for “Boldin Beautiful” is to help women realize they are all beautiful and that carving time out for yourself, no matter how busy life may be, is important.

Morgan: I absolutely love your feature “Bold on a Budget.” What other fun things can readers find on your social media pages and blog?

Dionne: Thank you! Recently, I added a segment to my Instagram story called “Fabulous Find Friday” where I feature a select item and provide my followers with the item’s respective link, if they’d like to shop for it. I also have some really fun lifestyle blog entries coming out, which I think people will really love, too.

Morgan: Where do you see “Bold in Beautiful” in the next year?

Dionne:In the the next year, I would like to expand the reach of “Boldin Beautiful”, and I’m looking forward to adding E-commerce and expanding to a full lifestyle brand.

Morgan: Is there anything else you want readers to know about you or your brand?

Dionne: Blogging has been such an amazing experience, not just because I’m writing about one of my passions but because I really find joy in connecting people through this art form. It’s incredible how people from all over the world, and different walks of life, share enthusiasm and love for fashion. I love having that commonality with my readers and followers.

Morgan: How can readers find and contact you?

Readers can find the blog at www.boldinbeautiful.com

Thank you so much for your time today & readers, check this gal out!!!

-Morgan