Help! The best four letter word for my family

Hi friends! Today I’m addressing some of the questions I receive most about having help as a mom. I know this isn’t for everyone but I wanted to share my top 3 things that “help” me stay happy, sane, and in a good mood. Maybe they will help you too!

1.) 24 hours. This is the magic number folks. I’ve shared this before with some serious backlash (welcome to internet troll world–insert eye roll) and I am happy to share this again. My husband and I decided before my son was born that I would have 24 hours a month to myself. Yep, one full day of time alone. I can use this time to do whatever I choose, I can use 10 hours, 12, 15, or the full 24 hours. Most months, I’ll admit, I never use the whole time, I miss my tribe and come back home early. Self care is so important and this 24 hours every 30 days allows me to take care of myself mentally and enjoy some time away from responsibilities as a mom, a wife, and my work as a personal trainer.

So how does this work? My husband and I look at the calendar each month and see what’s best for his work/travel schedule, my schedule, and my sons school schedule. My husband takes the lead on this one, he stays with our son the full 24 hours and if that’s not possible my son will stay with the babysitter for a few hours. This usually is on the weekend, we’ve learned over the past few months that Friday afternoon-Saturday afternoon works really well for us.

What do I do? Anything I want! (C’mon people I’m married, a mom and I’m 30, let’s not get nuts here). Here’s a list of some of my favorite things to do!

-girls night! Head to a friends for a slumber party, dinner, wine night, and lots of laughs!

-spa time. Spend the afternoon/evening at the spa for a massage and facial, room service and a hotel stay.

-stay at home. I love this because you can’t use finances as an excuse, y’all. My husband can take my son to play, eat pizza or watch a movie. I can stay home alone and do the same! When they get back my husband can bathe and put my son to bed and I can still relax. In the morning I can head to breakfast or brunch alone and hubby can have morning kid duties!

I encourage everyone to do this! Even if you can’t do it each month, do it often. Your sanity is so worth it!

If your husbands schedule is too crazy, get a fellow mom friend and trade. She can go for her time and you can keep her child/ren and then you can switch and go.

Find a family member, babysitter, or girlfriend and make this happen.

2.) Allow myself grace. I forgot his sweater, I forgot to wash my husbands practice uniform, the sink is full. These are several (of the many) things I forget, fail at, mess up, and miss each and every day. But I have learned to give myself grace and to get help. Sometimes I tell my husband that he’s got to wash the dishes because I just need a 30 minute nap. Sometimes I need my husband to pick up my son even though the OCD in me just cringes because I know that he’ll forget the lunchbox, the hat, and my son’s scarf at school. Sometimes I’ve got to get the babysitter to come for no other reason than for me to go in my room and sleep! (Yep, I said it, judge your mother).

Get help and give yourself some grace. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t supposed to be.

3.) Hire help. Now I know this isn’t for everyone but it’s been an incredible help for my family as each year we seem to get busier and busier. We have help for our son and have help to clean our home. Is it an extra expense? Yes. Can I spend less somewhere else in order to cover this extra? Absolutely. Having a nanny/babysitter has been the best thing we have done for our family and our marriage. When my son was first born we had A LOT of help. My mom was with us for one month while we were in Germany and then we hired literally the sweetest human on the planet to nanny our son. Since our marriage comes first (more eye rolls, I know), we needed time away, I needed to support my husband on the basketball court–his job, and I wanted time for self care and to get back working with clients and personal training. I never thought I would find another sweet gal to help us when we left Germany (we even tried to bring her home-hehe) but we DID find help and as our son has gotten older, we don’t need full time help and our current babysitter just comes several times a month. Not only do I need help, but our marriage does too. We need and want date nights, time away, and self care time too.

I also want extra time with my son. So if having a housekeeper gives me 2-3 extra hours a week to spend with my son instead of cleaning, I’ll take it!

I know these 3 don’t work for everyone, I know we all lead different lives, but I also know this works for us. I know that I am a little more relaxed, a little less stressed, a better mom and wife (my husband tells me so), when I have these 3 things consistently.

Thanks for reading friends & have a wonderful week!

-Morgan

((my favorite photo of us, circa 2011))

Raising a bi-racial child

((Art by Grieta Butjankova))

Hello friends & happy Wednesday to you all! This week I wanted to talk about a topic close to my heart & important to my family as we raise our son….”raising a bi-racial child”

Bi-racial: 

1. Of, for, or consisting of members of two races.

2. Having parents of two different races.

Multi-racial: composed of, involving, or representing various races

According to Census data, the population of multiracial children in the United States has grown from approximately 500,000 in 1970 to more than 6.8 million in 2000. The number of people of all ages who identified themselves as both white and black has soared by 134 percent since 2000 to 1.8 million people.

Among opposite-sex married couples, one in 10 (5.4 million couples) are interracial, a 28% jump since 2000. In 2010, 18% of heterosexual unmarried couples were of different races (1.2 million couples).

I could go on for days with statistics & data but I would rather just tell you my thoughts.

Growing up in the 80’s & 90’s & attending a private school in Texas meant that I was one of the only “brown kids” in the school. Me & Jemeh Kalawa (R.I.P). He was one of my best friends in elementary & high school.

Back then, I knew I looked different, but I was never made to feel that way. Race didn’t come up in our school, I wasn’t singled out, made fun of, or taught to feel different because of my skin color. We were taught about Jesus, the Bible, being kind, & enjoying recess!

The first time I actually felt different or out of place because of my skin color was when someone made a comment to my mother (Caucasian) about adopting me. Someone had assumed that because of my color difference, I was adopted. It didn’t just happen once. If you took away our skin color difference & made us the same skin tone, my mother & I share a very strong resemblance. But for many, skin is the first thing that they see.

In high school, I had no problems fitting in & being around multi-racial, bi-racial & students of many colors & cultures. I was grateful for this. I never felt out of place or different….but by this age, I knew I was. I was referred to as “light skinned”, “mixed chick”, “white girl”, “curly sue” & many others.

I was fortunate enough throughout my life to not suffer any hate, anger, or resentment for my skin color. No one threatened my life, said evil things to me, or tried to hurt me. Ignorance? Yes! But not hate. Unfortunately, as we have seen in recent days many others have experienced hate. Many other kids have been targeted for their race, gender, sexuality, & it’s getting worse.

This is the world my son will grow up in.

It scares the hell out of me!

Even though my son is only 3 years old I worry all the time that his skin color will make him a target. That he will be judged, made fun of, or singled out for being mixed. That we might send him to a school where he won’t be “white enough” to fit in, or he will be told that he “talks white” like I was told.

In a world that has come so far & is so diverse, it is still a long way from accepting, loving, & embracing differences. Because of this, my husband & I have vowed to make our home a safe, fun, loving, uplifting & comfortable place for our son to grow up in. We will do our best to raise him with a sense of acceptance & pride for who he will be inside & out.

There are 5 specific things we have vowed to do in our home….

1. Tell him about his roots: It will be so important as my son gets older to show him pictures of his family on all sides & let him spend time with them as well. We want him to love & be proud that his grandma, his aunt, his uncle & cousins are still his family even though they are not the same color as he is. My son has Caucasian grandmothers, African American grandfathers, blonde haired, blue eyed aunts & uncles, & bi-racial aunts too!

Logan will probably not even be the same color as us, his parents. Right now he is a color blend of both my husband & I but a different color from the both of us. It’s important that he know WHY we are all different colors & to be taught how awesome that is!

2. Tell him not everyone will be nice & accepting…and that’s ok. There will come a time where someone will ask my son “what are you?” They will not realize that this is an ignorant statement & that their question sounds like he is a pet. Someone might call him a name because he is brown or has different hair & skin than they do. I want to teach my son that some people just don’t know & that it’s okay. In life we cannot avoid certain situations or encounters. Just like when someone asked my mom if she adopted me, someone might look at Logan as weird or different & that’s okay. We forgive them for not knowing & remain happy with who we are.

3. Give him diversity when we can (pick schools, neighborhoods, play centers, etc) that are diverse & accepting of all. We have a choice in where we live, work, play & socialize. We want to make the best choices we can to ensure our son is not in a hostile or stressful environment for his development.

4. Love him when he’s down-if one day Logan feels he doesn’t fit in, feels different, feels hurt, or weird; it’s our job as his parents to love him, listen to him, comfort him, & encourage him. May we never stop doing this for our baby boy.

5. Don’t make him choose–it’s important that we allow our son to create his own identity to where he feels most comfortable in. We do not need to make him choose what race he will identify with. Whether he wants to be called mixed or black. To us, he will always just be Logan & whenever he makes the decision to identify himself, we will accept his choice.

On a side note, I am already reading books about being mixed & bi-racial to my son. Although he cannot fully understand what I am saying, he will one day. Although he cannot tell who is who in the books, he can see the diversity & will one day ask questions. I will continue to read these type of books (along with all our other simple favorites) to him. Below are a few of my favorites.

1. Mixed Blessing by Marsha Cosman  ((my favorite))

2. I am mixed by Garcelle Beauvais

3. Mixed like me by Gina Golliday-Cabell

4. Black is brown is tan by Arbold Adoff

Though my little prince is so young, innocent, & oblivious to the world around him; my husband & I are not. We discuss his skin color & talk about what we think he will look like when he is older or who he will look like (which is ridiculous because he is my husbands twin). It might sound silly to read him these books at such a young age, or it might sound silly that we discuss how we will talk to him about race, but it isn’t. The world isn’t a nice place these days, kids are cruel, families are jealous, people are hateful. It’s our job as parents to love ourselves, our skin & to embrace our sons as well. It’s important to be proud that we are husband, wife, & son…even though we are all 3 different colors.

I have so many bi racial friends that have embraced their differences as a family & it makes my heart happy. It’s not just about black & white. There are differences in race through adoption as well. Maybe a Caucasian family has adopted an African or Asian child. Maybe a Hispanic family has adopted a Caucasian child. Maybe, a family is made up of parents from different countries or continents, maybe a family has some children with darker skin tones than the other children.

No matter the race or the diversity it is important that in our society we embrace our children for who they are, that we teach them when they are young that it’s okay to be different & that we always let them know how proud of them we are & how much we love them.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!!! (I would love to hear your thoughts as always, my email doors are open!)

Love,

-Morgan

January fast

Good morning friends and happy last day of 2017!!! Gosh, I cannot believe the whole year has flown by. The best thing in 2017 was for sure our family trip to Italy. We were in need of a vacation and Rome was just amazing. You can read my Rome blog here: Rome round up . My most popular post of 2017 was 5 truths about being friends with expats and I’m pretty sure the past year also could be explained through this post. I grew, I changed, I struggled, I triumphed, but through it all I am always incredibly humbled and blessed.

In 2018 I hope to expand my personal training business, build this little blog some more, and spend more “me” time which probably will involve solo coffee dates, wine with friends, a few massages and nail visits, and more house projects.

I am a firm believer in fasting and if you have followed my blog for a while you will recall my 77 day fast not too long ago. Fasting blog post

After completing that initial 77 day fast I vowed to continue fasting annually and let God show up and show out!

I hope you all will join me in this adventure because fasting truly can allow you to connect to God, learn things about yourself, and change the way you look at things. I will begin fasting Monday, January 8 and will be posting a bible verse each day on my Facebook page (Facebook page) . Through this fasting period I will be following food and beverage guidelines and will spend extra time in the Bible. Below is the general guideline for the fast which follows along side the Daniel fast.

**the one thing I do incorporate besides water is hand brewed coffee and natural tea. I grind my coffee beans and do not use dairy or creamer.**

Send me a message or add my Facebook page to journey along through January for faith and fasting.

Happy 2018 my friends!

-Morgan

Christmas & Mary

As I sit making breakfast and listening to Christmas music I think about all the wonderful things the Christmas season brings to people. No matter your religion, it seems that the joy of Christmas can come to all people. Christmas lights, festivals, markets, food, gifts, Santa, family time, and travel are all words that explain Christmas for many but I have found a word, a name rather, that means Christmas for me…Mary. Jesus of course is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Christmas and as a Christian I celebrate this wonderful gift and time, but Mary, oh sweet Mary.

She was so unsure. She was having a baby, she didn’t know her next steps, she wasn’t sure she was going to be the best mom for little Jesus or raise him the right way. Oh Mary I feel you.

Mary was tired, she traveled a long way with Joseph and she just wanted a Starbucks break and some rest. Oh Mary I feel you.

Their reservations weren’t confirmed at the inn, she was so exhausted, the rooms were sold out, and Joseph was trying to figure out what to do and they ended up with the animals in a room that wasn’t so desirable. I’ve had a hotel and a flight reservation that sounded a lot like this! Oh Mary I feel you.

They were traveling to Bethlehem to visit Joseph’s parents who would be her future in-laws and her new home town. Oh those nerves, remember those visits? Mary was gossiped about in the city. People talked about her behind her back and she carried a social stigma, oh Mary I feel you. Mary was just a young girl with many dreams for her future. Jesus wasn’t in her dreams at the time but she embraced the gift she was given that ultimately would save us all.

Like Mary, I often find God’s calling or sweet whispers to be difficult. I deny that inner voice sometimes when God is clearly saying GO, TRUST, DO. Like Mary, I know I carry a big weight as a mother and although my son won’t save the world–he will live in it and can make it a better place if I teach him to. Like Mary, I follow my husbands lead and travel with him where he goes. I make sure our house is a home and that God is the head of it.

If you are feeling like God is leading you to a higher and better purpose, a bigger and better adventure, a change and something new…follow. Allow God’s promises to hold true, be a Mary and say “yes, Lord. Your will be done.” Mary took the words of the shepherds and the Lord and held that sweet boy in her arms knowing he would one day save the entire earth, she said yes to a calling God had for her life that was bigger than she could have ever imagined. Praise Him. Thanks, Mary.

-Morgan

Grace in the now

Gosh, do you ever just thank God for His grace? I have thanked Him more in the past week than ever in my life I am sure of it!

This past week we loaded up our suitcases, packed up our rooms and headed back overseas to Europe. My resilient and amazing 2 year old packed his 10 favorite trucks, his 5 favorite toys, and his 5 favorite books and put them in his favorite suitcase. “We go on the airplane—up high and see dada.”

Yep, we did. Like we always do. Daddy leaves and then we follow shortly after. This is all my baby boy knows and he’s okay with it. He loves it actually. But mama? Mama needs grace.

My flight started off terrible—scratch that, horrible! I wasn’t sure we would even be on the plane, have a seat, or be able to check our bags {I’ll save that story for a novel}. Logan was a gem. Mama? Mama needed grace.

I was exhausted by the time that plane number 1 landed, I had a terrible headache, and the flight attended was extremely rude. Logan didn’t cry, whine, or make a shout. Mama? Mama needed grace.

I could go on forever about the goodness in my little boy and how this was probably the best flight he’s ever taken {and he’s been on over 30}. I could also go on about everything that went wrong that was completely out of my control and how I almost lost it—yep, lost it!

“Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!”

Oh I needed grace, I needed my little one to cooperate, to be patient, to be kind, to be gentle, and he was.

What a gentle reminder for my little mama heart about grace in the now.

How often do I extend grace?

How often do I show others the grace that Christ so often shows me?

How often do I have a heart and attitude of a child? Resilient to the unknown, the scary, the stressful, the annoying, the painful, the frustrating, the cruel.

God’s grace extends freely and often to all those who believe. He shows mercy and kindness when it is needed the most. He blesses us with small signs and symbols to let us know He is there. HE GIVES US GRACE IN THE NOW.

When I need it most, He is there.

My sin and my shame, my anger and doubt, all washed away by His grace.

We are back as a family of 3. That’s the greatest gift and blessing I could ask for.

–Morgan