A Thankful Thanksgiving

Hi friends and happy Thanksgiving. I hope this finds you all full of food and family. This thanksgiving is a first for our trio since we were not all together. It has been an extremely difficult 2 months as Zo has been in Russia and Logan and I have been home in Texas.

I am thankful we have a long history and marriage and that we can navigate through it all, but it still is hard. Zo is missing out on a lot here and we are missing being together. I am also trying to navigate parenting alone and with Logan not in school.

This week we received the best news that Zo will be finishing up the season (through May) in Perm, Russia. Zo originally went to Russia for a 1-month period (October) to replace an injured player at the time. We expected him to return home after that time, but anyone who knows how Zo plays could tell you that the team wouldn’t want to lose him…and they didn’t.

Zo has had some really great games in the Russian league and has proven to be a great asset to the team, it is a blessing for him to be staying and now we can finally plan the next six months! Zo will be coming home on a short break for Christmas and then we will join him in Russia after the new year.

We look forward to 2020 and all the wonderful blessings it will bring our family! We are thankful for all of you reading this as you always support and love on us near and far.

 

Xo

Zo, Mo, and Lo

 

Feature Friday with author and illustrator Chynna Denny

Good morning! Happy Friday!

I am so excited to have interviewed Chynna, author of “I can’t, I can’t, I can! This new and exciting children’s book takes you on a wonderful adventure teaching your little ones about bravery and strength! Take a look at our interview.

First off, what was your inspiration behind “I can’t, I can’t, I can!” ?

The idea originally came from joking with my editor, Laci Swann. She told me that anyone could write a book and I assured her that I would never be her book client because I had nothing to talk about lol. Weeks later, the idea to write a book about shyness popped into my mind. Initially I ignored the idea altogether, but after a while I could not shake the thought. Eventually I reached back out to Laci and sat down and was able to come up with a storyline and ended up writing my entire manuscript in one hour. I believe writing the manuscript came so easily for me because I relate 100% to this story and the main character. The character and story is loosely based on my life growing up. I wanted to put everything I needed growing up into a story for young children.

Have you always been an artist? I mean, it’s pretty incredible to write AND illustrate your own book!

I guess you can say that! I grew a love for drawing very early on in life but in elementary school, I stopped nurturing that gift after being picked on by another girl who didn’t like my work. She told me often that her drawings were better and that mine were simple and stupid. So I really let that discourage me and drawing soon became a hidden talent that really only came in handy during school projects. Eventually in college I started to get back into it and took a few figure drawing classes. I decided to illustrate my own book to overcome that fear of my drawings being judged and to prove to myself that I can complete any project I put my mind to.

Can you tell me about your main character Emery?

Emery is the main character in this story. She is loosely based around myself as a young girl. Big glasses, big hair and a whole lot of fears! In the story, she is faced with the difficult decision of whether or not she will break out of her shell and do what she loves or continue to be paralyzed by fear. I relate to this character because I let a lot of my fears hold me back and I missed out on so much as a child.

I absolutely LOVE the diversity in the book, was this intentional?

Yes! This was very intentional. Growing up I cannot remember reading too many books, if any, with characters that looked like me. While I wanted to highlight that aspect with my main character, I also wanted to try my best to make every reader feel as if they could identify with a character in the book.

If there was one thing you want parents to take away from this book what would it be?

My ultimate goal is that parents will be patient and understanding with their children. It’s very easy to write-off or mislabel shyness as something else more serious or negative. I have included a few activities at the end of the book to help parents and children to first, identify any fears or concerns that are present. From there, there are exercises to help children practice being courageous daily and tips for parents to show daily support.

Will there be more books from you soon?

Yes!! I do plan on creating a series of books, each about an obstacle I faced as a child. I will probably start the next project very soon!

Thanks for chatting with me today, Chynna and I can’t wait to share this with all my friends!

Make sure you all go check out this book for your kiddos! You can find all the links below.

Email: contact@shychybooks.com

Website: ShyChyBooks

Purchase “I can’t, I can’t, I can!” HERE

Summer Recap

Hello friends and family! I hope this finds you all well and back in the swing of things for the school year. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a new blog post and truly I’ve missed the writing. As we head into fall I wanted to recap our summer and talk about what all we’ve been up to!

First thing is this family photo at the top of this post. Friends, if you are local to Houston you have got to check out Jessica and her work over at Vaughn Boys Mom Photography . Not only was she so professional and patient with Logan, she captured all of our personalities so perfectly. Here’s a few more pictures I loved!

You can find her work on Jessica’s instagram and also contact her there as well, you won’t be sorry! We are so happy we got to take these this summer.

Besides taking some great family photos we have also taken a few great trips this summer, with and without Logan. Our highlight of the summer was our couples trip to Austin Texas with some of our favorite people. It was for sure a refresh button that Zo and I needed and we had such a great time.

…As for Logan?

We have also made it a weekly ritual to head to Chuck E Cheese with Logan and enjoy pizza afterwords. He’s also had a great time swimming at our neighborhood pool, hanging out with his grandparents, playing on a basketball team, gymnastics and going to camps all summer long!

I’m currently homeschooling him until we head to our next destination, although he has tested ready for kindergarten he does not meet the age requirements in the state of Texas to start. I’m doing my best to incorporate learning at home that will challenge him and keep his brain busy!

We also have a little guy that has lost 3 teeth and has 2 more loose! He’s growing up way to fast and my mama heart can barely handle it! We are so proud of the kiddo he is and look forward to seeing what milestones he crosses this year!

…As for Zo & I?

We have both been training all summer long. Zo has been running basketball camps and individual training and I have been doing fitness bootcamps and one on one training in town. It’s been an adventure for us both!

As basketball winds down it was important for us this summer to iron out life after ball, look into some investment opportunities, job opportunities and more. We have felt so at peace since being able to do all this and know what direction we are wanting to go!

…As for basketball?

We 100% plan to head overseas for season 13 for Zo. We’ve come to a point in Zo’s career where if it’s not checking off all our list of desires, we aren’t willing to just “settle”.

We have trusted God ALWAYS and every year He has placed us where we need to be, we know this year will be no different. So until then, my husband lives at the gym and he’s ready when the phone rings.

Of course we will keep you all posted as we make our next moves.

We are thankful for our friends, family and fans and we are always so appreciative of your love and support.

Year 12

The time has come to wind down our time here in Klaipeda, Lithuania for the season. My husband is finishing up his 12th season as a professional and I’m just so incredibly proud of him. We are pulling to bring home a medal in a week or so and then enjoy a summer home in Texas.

This year has probably been the best out of all my years traveling with Zo. I have loved every place we have called home, but this year all 3 of us made a “life” here and it’s really made for some incredible memories.

Logan has excelled in school here and man, we are so sad to leave that. He loves all his friends and teachers, has enjoyed birthday parties and plays dates, and I’ve loved getting to know some of the great mamas in his class as well.

I was able to finally put my degree to use after ten years, ha! I had the opportunity to volunteer at Logan’s school to teach English in the primary school building. It’s been amazing!! I feel so blessed to have spent this time with the kiddos and I’m going to miss my 3 classes terribly.

I also have gotten to hang out with some of my Lithuanian friends I’ve missed so much, hang out with some incredible American wives, and also make some new friends here which has been so fun. I was able to organize several events for the American wives group and the memories from this season for sure will be in my mind always!

I don’t think I spent much time at the apartment this season and was always on the go! It’s been an extremely busy season but seriously the best one.

I also was asked a few months ago to model in a bridal editorial coming up in a few days and I can’t wait! After having prep, hair, nail, makeup, and fitting meetings all week, I’m so excited to watch the teams incredible vision come to life! I’m honored. It’s been almost a decade since I’ve seen my prints on paper so to see these will be fun!

We had THE best nanny, as Logan calls her, Paddington (Patricia) who has loved on our baby boy more than we could imagine or ask! She graduated from University AND got married all this year! She’s a rockstar and we are really going to miss her!

Ohhhh….and basketball! Ha! The real reason we are here!

Zo has had a wonderful season. We are in Lithuania for the third year, he knows the league and they know him! It’s been a fun year, pretty injury free, and a successful season for the club being in 2nd place!

January brought us the hardest month of our lives when we lost my mother in law. Zo had lots of unexpected trips home, lots of long, sad flights, and traveling and playing was extremely difficult.

Grief is tough, it looks different for everyone. But there is one thing I’ll always remember my mother in law saying.

“This is God’s plan for me, I won’t fight it or question it, I know this is my path”

I so want to be like her. I want to have the faith, 100% that God’s purpose for us is good, even through the trial.

We miss her everyday, but I know she’s never been prouder of her son and she finally gets to see all his overseas games!

So here we are, summer 2019, end of pro season 12.

Where to next? I’m not sure, but if it tops this year…we are NEVER retiring!!

-Morgan

Germany trip

Hi friends! I wanted to share our Germany trip here on the blog and I hope you enjoy. Germany is a place we have called home and every time we go back it’s better than before. This year we planned out a route from southern Germany to northern and made 7 stops along the way.

We saw friends in every spot and even were hosted by a few of our favorite people!

Logan and I always have a blast when we travel together but it’s extra special for him to see all his little American (and Australian) friends and get a big dose of English speaking!

Our first stop was in Nuremberg Germany where we took a train to Bamberg, Germany and stayed with Augustine & Bre (they are basically family and we love them!!) They’ve got the cutest little guy Landon and although Logan was pretty jealous of me cuddling him, he warmed up…a little.

We’ve gotten to watch Augustine play many times before but this was fun seeing his game with Logan and in his home arena. They played against a team that another dear friend plays on so to watch them both was really a treat!

From Bamberg we headed to Crailsheim Germany where we got to hang with our Australian friends and old teammates Ben and Bria. It’s always a good time when me and Bria get together (ask our husbands) and I’ve missed having her on a team with me. Ben and Zo played together in Lithuania and we’ve missed them! They’ve got two little boys and Logan had a blast to say the least!

I also got to see my friend Maria, who I adore!! Talk about having a good time! 🙂 You ever met someone who radiates love and positivity ALL the time? Welp, that’s her!! Spending time together always sets my soul on fire and I’m so glad we got to hang out on this trip! She brought her 2 sweet boys with her and Logan had a blast with them.

We headed way up to Vechta, Germany next where I got to hang out with my friend Andrea who I have known for 4 years and weekly video chat on bible study with. This was our first time meeting in person (even though it didn’t feel like it) and oh my goodness her little one Collins and Logan had a full night of belly laughs! Such a sweet family and we had so much fun!!

Next up, Bonn, Germany. Back to basketball. It was Mother’s Day and what better way to celebrate than with some incredible women and some ball! Getting to spend time with the Mayo family was a treat. We have spent time together in the summers as we are both in Texas BUT heading to their overseas element was quite a treat! Our little ones played and we had some great laughs as well.

I also got to have dinner with my girlfriend Masha who I haven’t seen in several years. She’s a gem and radiates beauty and happiness. I was so glad we could hang for the day because we had so much to catch up on. I declared our crew the M’s (Meisha, Mahsa, and Morgan) . We had fun to say the least.

Onward bound to our final stop, Oldenburg! Usually our Germany trip consists of just Oldenburg and visiting the Paulding’s! Rickey plays basketball there and his wife Kara is one of my favorite people on the planet! They’ve got 3 kids, 2 boys and a girl and Logan literally has a blast when they get together. They are all 3 so sweet with him and it’s like his special siblings for the week! Me & Kara always have the best time together and she just gets me. She’s been doing this basketball thing overseas for 15 years so I look to her in so many ways for advice and support when it comes to hoops, motherhood, and much more!

Back to Klaipeda , Lithuania for 3 more weeks and then home to Texas!

I cherish every trip we take, all the friendships we make and continue to grow, and for all the incredible people this lifestyle has brought to our family!!

Tschüss!!

Until next Time,

Morgan

***ive got lots of pictures up on my Facebook page!

Let’s chat money-our Dave Ramsey financial peace university update!

Hi friends!!!

Some of you may remember me talking about Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University that our church participated in the fall of 2017. Welp, it’s been about 18 months and we have come so far in our finances and in our spending.

If you are clueless to Dave Ramsey and financial peace university, check out my original video, 3 months into starting : My Dave Ramsey FPU review

Since beginning this journey we have paid off 6 debts (yes, that’s a lot lol) . But in 18 months we are pretty proud of that! Some debts were really small and a few that were larger. We paid off a student loan of mine, which was a big one and our credit cards. We are still on a journey since we have a home and a mortgage but we hope to get that gone soon! The list gets smaller every month and we are happy about that.

I wanted to share the basic info here if you are interested in Dave Ramsey’s programs, it’s a game changer, promise!

Step 1–emergency fund

one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Quick access to a couple hundred or thousand dollars for unexpected expenses could be huge. Having this cash account will help you stay out of debt and still take care of things when they arise. Best place to store the money? A savings account that earns interest!

Step 2- pay off debt in snowball order

Basically taking small amounts of money and applying them to big debts, in an ascending order. Take the small amounts and spend them on debt instead of frivolous things. (More on this in my video above)

Step 3–3-6 months of expenses saved

Emergency fund is great for unexpected expenses—roof leaks, family member passes and you need to travel, a/c goes out, car breaks down, etc. But what happens if you lose your job? Having 3-6 months worth of expenses allows you to breathe a bit instead of panic!

Step 4–invest 15% of income into Roth IRA’s & retirement

Pretty self explanatory, take a look at all options & possibly speak with a financial planner if you need to.

Step 5–college fund for kids

This one speaks for itself. By the time you get here, your bank accounts are looking good. All your debt (accept House) is payed off, you have an emergency fund & quite a bit of savings for expenses & you are investing. Now, save for your kiddos! You aren’t sure where your little 5 year old will be in 10 years or if they even want to go to college but as a family you can decide where to allot the money when the time comes.

Step 6–pay off your home early

So you’ve payed off all debt and are saving money for your kids future by this point. Why not pay off your mortgage early? For some people this could mean a wife or husband quitting their job and staying home with the kids, summer vacations, add ons or renovations on a house, and much more. If you’ve reached this point–work on pulling the plug on your mortgage debt!

Step 7–build wealth & give

You should already be tithing (10% of your income) if you are a believer, but there are many other ways to give charitably when you’ve hit this point!

Beyond giving, you should invest in things like real estate, index funds, and mutual funds; the idea is an alternative stream of income.

Speak with a financial planner if you’ve made it to step 7 and see what your options are.

Remember:

These are called baby steps. They aren’t going to happen overnight, even if you have 1 credit card and no mortgage!

Here we are in month 18 with still a bit to go. But making the progress feels good & it’s so worth it!!

-Morgan

March is national nutrition month!

Hey friends! March is national nutrition month and I wanted to share with you all my biggest passion and business. It’s incredibly important to create healthy eating habits for our children and ourselves. Being aware, informed, and willing to change behaviors are the first steps in succeeding in a healthier lifestyle. Below are some resources, ideas, and tips to a healthy and nutritious lifestyle change!

1. Be informed —One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting a healthy lifestyle is assuming that all “low fat” or “whole -wheat” foods are healthy. Check your labels, check the nutrition facts, ingredients, and serving size. Don’t believe that a restaurant salad is healthy because it included spinach! Make sure you are checking before ingesting.

2. Add in physical activity–When changing your eating habits you can also create better physical activity habits. Find some activities that you enjoy alone, with a partner, with a friend or with your kids and do them! Everyday, at least 30 minutes a day, move that body! Eat right gives some great tips on physical activity!

3. Incorporate what you’ve learned

Not sure where to start?

—-Take a look at this link which provides 20 ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables . Got that down?

—-Another way to make sure you are eating healthy is to only store healthy foods in the home, if it is not available, you can’t eat it!

—-Ask for help! If you are struggling with portion control, what to feed your family of picky eaters, or finding healthy foods that just taste good; ask for help from your doctor, dietitian or other health professional. Don’t be afraid to not know, don’t let that be an excuse!

4. Make it fun — find healthy foods and activities that you enjoy and look forward to. Commit to excellence in health this year and start today!

For more information or questions, feel free to email me here: lifeofabballwife@yahoo.com & check out eatright.org for more information as well!

-Morgan

The 4 letter word that has haunted me for a year.

ADHD….

This little word with such big impact has haunted my mind for about a year now & I think I’ve finally found answers. I struggled writing this out of judgement & fear but I hope maybe our story can help some other moms & dads looking for answers.

I have heard it all when it comes to my strong-spirited child, Logan who turned four in November.

“He has ADHD”

“Is he always this hyper?”

“I think you shouldn’t give him sugar”

“Gosh he’s wild”

And many, many more.

The truth is, I know this. My son has always been extremely active, loud spoken, talkative, creative, free spirited, and to put it shortly…a wild child.

But my son also takes 2 hour naps, listens to his teachers, sleeps 9-10 hours a night, knows right from wrong, apologizes when he makes mistakes, and can sit still for a book or school work for longer than 30 minutes-1 hour at a time.

So what’s going on? Is he just a boy? Should I be concerned? I just want him to relax a bit in public!

My son exhibits many signs that in 2019 a Dr. would diagnose as ADHD, and our pediatrician has mentioned before…she’s no longer our pediatrician.

But I don’t think that’s the case.

I remember coming home from Europe & my son eating American food for the first time in 6 months, for 3 long days my son’s behavior was out of control. He was the most wild and hyper I have ever seen him in my life, it brought me to tears & I was exhausted, felt defeated, & simply put; overwhelmed . I began to realize that the adjustment to food & what I was feeding him had a direct impact on his behavior.

For about 6 months I limited his sugar intake and tried to cut back on processed foods, this helped but still something just wasn’t all the way right.

So we had him blood tested, only to find out that he was extremely deficient in the main categories that trigger ADHD behaviors.

-Omega 3’s

-Magnesium

-Iron

-Zinc

All of these are key to cognitive development & mental clarity, all of which he was lacking.

My son has always been thin, it’s genetic, but has also been a picky eater, I knew that would no longer be able to fly & that we had to buckle down on natural supplements & good food.

So what did we do?

-cut back on gluten by 90%

-limited sugar to 1 small portion a day (yogurt, granola bar, etc)

-had 3 servings of fresh fruits & vegetables

-incorporated nuts & eggs

-NO screen time after 6pm

-Bedtime at 9pm sharp

-incorporated essential oils in the morning & at bedtime (lavender, cedar wood, wild orange, and Vetiver)

-gave iron, omega 3 & zinc supplements

-gave magnesium supplement before bed

What I saw was a complete change. I know that Logan doesn’t have ADHD and was simply just exhibiting this behavior because of his poor diet & lack of nutrients. These are controllable. We will continue to incorporate these additions to his diet and keep our routine.

Navigating behavior in children is incredibly difficult. I know for a fact that my child’s nutrition options are better in Europe and the traditional American diet is something that triggers hyperactive behavior in my son.

I’m grateful we could figure it all out and get him on the right tract. I highly suggest blood testing, change in diet, essential oils, and monitored screen time for your littles if you suspect ADHD or hyperactive behaviors.

I also just want to say that I KNOW there are many children with ADHD who have no other option than medication and that their diagnosis is extreme, at the moment this is not Logan and I completely understand and feel for all the moms and dads that are struggling with behavioral disorders in their little ones.

We are all just doing our best.

**these are not medical opinions & I am not a doctor, just sharing what’s worked as a mama bear**

-Morgan

Logan’s bedroom makeover

We went home for the holiday season and I thought this was the perfect time for a little makeover on Logan’s room. He turned 4 in November and we decided to gift him a new bed and decor for his birthday/Christmas.

We purchased Logan’s bed and mattress from Overstock and were very happy with the fast shipping and packaging. Logan and his G-pa put his bed together and it came out perfect! Logan’s bedding came from Target.

The baskets and the shelf came from Target and I love them for storing books and his stuffed animals.

Logan has a little space with his desk and handmade artwork where he colors, paints, and reads. The dinosaur prints were a DIY project and the frames were from Michaels.

These fun pieces came from Hobby Lobby and they matched perfectly with the dinosaur decor.

Our last but a favorite decor was the wall stickers. These came from Polka Dot Wall Stickers on Etsy and the customer service was so good. We were extremely happy with these and make changing up decor very easy to do.

Next up is finishing the master, but for now, we’ve got a finished room in the house! That’s big progress!

-Morgan