Guess What?

Well I have been gone for some time, but for exciting reasons…we are expecting a baby January 2018.  One of my goals was to keep up with blogging while experiencing various stages of pregnancy, but I slacked a bit on that.  Below is a letter I wrote the day I found out along with a few photos we took to create an announcement.

May 13th, 2017

Today I woke up early and went to work to teach Saturday school. I felt different, but couldn’t quite figure out why. I wrote a blog post and prayed and told God that I’m ready for what He has in store for me next. I listened to church hymns on youtube and stumbled on a video of Oprah explaining her disappointment when she was told she was not selected for The Color Purple…I was balling my eyes out listening to Oprah’s story and asking myself what was wrong with me—I don’t usually cry that easily. Then the hymn’s I listened to made me weepy and I thought my period must be arriving today!

I was starving when I arrived home, so Craig and I went to lunch and I ate and ate and ate! Ohhh and we left one restaurant because I wanted soup and they didn’t have any.  When we returned home I decided to try and see if my period was due today or where I was in my cycle. Usually my period is right on target, but I broke my phone a couple weeks ago and because I use it to track my period I was off on my dates. Today I re-downloaded an app to see where I was in my cycle and found out I was over a week late! I’m NEVER late!

Craig went to pick up some groceries at Wegmans, so I decided I would take a test. Immediately I saw two lines…PREGNANT!!! We are having a baby!!! Whoa!

I thought of ways to tell Craig, but I just can’t keep a secret from him. I just couldn’t wait to tell him!  He came back from Wegmans and we went out shopping. He stopped at Dunkin Donuts and I asked if he still had his mug from them (years ago, when we first started dating he accidentally bought a “This Dad Runs on Dunkin” mug and it has been a joke since). He said, “Yea why”. I replied, “Well maybe you should buy another one”. He stopped, looked at me, and said, “wait….are you pregnant”….hahaha!

Now all the moodiness, weepiness, sore boobs, and dreams make sense. We recently went on vacation and I had the worst motion sickness ever—makes sense now! Last week I had a fish fry and became incredibly sick after eating it—makes sense now!

We are ridiculously excited, already went shopping to look at maternity clothes, baby clothes, strollers, blankets, and have talked about how to tell people. We don’t have anything set in stone yet, but have a few ideas that we like. We are thrilled and hope others are as well.

A post about our gender reveal adventure is coming soon. 

Check out my Instagram for a sneak peek.

Crystal

Divorce is FINAL!!

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What a fitting word for today’s prompt–final!  Many of you have been along the journey with me as I obtain my uncontested divorce.  Who would have thought an UNCONTESTED divorce would take so long?!?!  There were many hold-ups all along the way, but I was able to learn quite a bit through it all.  At one point I even researched the credits I would need to become a lawyer.

One major hurdle was the process the Monroe County Supreme Court has in place for people submitting paperwork to obtain a divorce.  Ed Gangarosa was assigned the responsibility to review my paperwork prior to it being sent on to the judge and he caused frustration, confusion, and unnecessary obstacles.  I actually never received a letter stating my paperwork had been signed off and ready for me to be picked up, which is a complaint many have about him.  After being contacted by someone stating that they did not receive notification that their paperwork was ready I decided to give them a call and ask for a status update on mine.  I was told my paperwork had been sitting there for weeks waiting for me to pick it up.  They insisted Gangarosa sent a letter, but I’ve been stalking out my mailbox and nothing was sent!  I picked it up that day (Monday), and immediately filed it with the County Clerk’s Office–so the divorce is FINAL!  I can’t even put the feeling into words, but the sense of peace that overcomes you as you sing a favorite church hymn is the closest I can come to attempting to describe it.

I did take the time to write up a detailed letter of complaint to Gangarosa’s supervisor stating how difficult he made the process and how I was trying to remove myself from an abusive situation, but he made it even more difficult.  I’m confident that if they conduct an investigation into his communication with people they will find that he needs to go!  People of Monroe County deserve someone who will take that responsibility seriously!

maya

Happily divorced and ready for what God has planned next.

 

Some previous posts about my divorce:

Rebuild:  Divorcing a Pedophile

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

A Somber Week, Still I Shine

Endless Possibilities

Trusting HIS Timing

Another Step Forward

 

Crystal

via Daily Prompt: Final

 

101 Blog Post Topics

If you’re like me, from time to time you struggle with post ideas.  I decided to create a list I will refer to when I need some inspiration, and wanted to share it with others who may also need a little kindling to spark that fire waiting to be ignited!  Let your thoughts take control as you ponder these topic ideas…

  1. Facts about you (likes, dislikes, accomplishments…)
  2. Goals list (day, week, month, year, life…)
  3. All about a favorite item (what is it, who gave it to you…)
  4. All about an item you loathe (what makes you loathe the item, who gave it to you…)
  5. Top 10 Inspirational people you have met and why
  6. Childhood moments you miss
  7. Post in memory of a lost loved one (why are they special to you, how did they pass, favorite qualities/memories)
  8. The biggest trial in life you have faced (what was it, how did you overcome it…)
  9. Favorite place (bed, house, park, town, vacation spot, restaurant…)
  10. A letter to someone who wronged you
  11. A letter to someone who encouraged you
  12. A letter to your future self
  13. A letter to someone in your life who made a positive or negative impact
  14. A letter to someone special on her/his birthday (favorite qualities, moments, reasons you think they are special)
  15. A story behind a photo (dig a photo out of that drawer or in that dusty album, and share the story behind it)
  16. Top 10 reasons to live in your specific city
  17. Top 10 favorite/secret spots that people should visit in your area
  18. Highlight your favorite coffee shop, music store, local business…
  19. All about your favorite hobby (what you enjoy along with the struggles)
  20. Must cook dishes for a specific holiday
  21. Share your family traditions and a memory (ex. Every Christmas you are allowed to open one gift for Christmas and one year you opened…)
  22. It’s late at night, I don’t want to cook, but I’m starving…what do you recommend?
  23. How do you begin a blog post?  Topic? Where do you write?  Tips?
  24. I can’t live without list and why…
  25. You are looking out the window…what do you see?
  26. Type the ramblings of the thoughts racing through your mind
  27. What lesson did you learn this week? (ex. back up photos)
  28. Top 40 music list/Work-out song list
  29. Wish list items
  30. An open letter to a company you frequently visit
  31. Address a controversial topic
  32. Funniest moment of the week
  33. Book review
  34. Movie review
  35. Analyze lyrics of a song
  36. Best fashion trends vs. Worst fashion trends
  37. Best make-up trends vs. Worst make-up trends
  38. Favorite quote/bible verse and connect to your life
  39. A day in the life of you (transgender, Asian, black, white, male, female, addict, disability, immigrant…)
  40. Best ways to meet people
  41. Date night ideas
  42. Memorable date
  43. Compare two unlike experiences (watching a golf game vs. Facebook)
  44. Do’s and don’t list (Facebook posts, interviewing, dating, blogging, buying a home, planning a vacation, applying make-up…)
  45. Slang term list and definitions
  46. “Ann Landers” style post where you respond to a question from someone seeking advice
  47. What is in your junk drawer? purse? make-up bag? sports bag? trunk?  gym bag?
  48. Ways you stay positive when negativity is knocking down your door
  49. Memorable books you have read
  50. Memorable movies you have watched
  51. Do you recycle any items in ways that might surprise us?  (ex. dryer lint as campfire kindling…)
  52. Healthy ideas (snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts…)
  53. Highlights of your month
  54. Only a dog (cat, hamster, lizard, birds, fish) owner would understand list…
  55. Letter you want read at your funeral
  56. Ways you save money
  57. Best shows/movies on Netflix to watch with…(kids, partner, daughter, son…)
  58. Common sports terms for someone not familiar with the sport
  59. Sports tips (three pointer tips, stringing a lacrosse head…)
  60. Congratulations to me for ___________________(quitting a bad habit, graduation, engagement, pregnancy, passing a test…)
  61. Craziest quotes students (professors, parents, teachers, parents) have said…
  62. Almost everyone I talk to has a time in their life they felt like they didn’t belong…tell your story
  63. The story of your name…where did it come from?  what does it mean?
  64. Do you keep cards and letters?  Write a story behind one you find tucked away in that box in your closet.
  65. Mother’s Day is coming…write a post honoring your mother or someone who helped teach you how to be a good mother
  66. Same for Father’s Day…write a post honoring your father or someone who was a that father figure in your life
  67. If you have an absent parent write a letter to her/him
  68. Scroll through your phone pictures…look at the 20th photo and write a post about it
  69. What teacher made an impact (positive or negative) on your life and why
  70. What are some thoughtful birthday gift ideas that are affordable
  71. Dorm room must haves
  72. Most families have at least one special recipe everyone loves…share it with us!
  73. Interview someone who inspires you
  74. Does your town have a certain food that it is known for?  Highlight it.  (Ex.  Rochester, NY has the “Garbage Plate”)
  75. Are you great at finding deals and discounts?  Share them!!  What tips can you provide for others to find them?
  76. Weight loss tips…what works for you?
  77. Share your workout routine
  78. Start a challenge (workout, photo, letter, post…)
  79. List of what you are grateful for
  80. Sports predictions
  81. Highlight a player
  82. What is in your diaper bag?
  83. Baby names
  84. Wedding planning theme ideas
  85. Online resources for (blogging, shopping, travel, educational, law…)
  86. Top apps right now and why
  87. Best stocks to invest in
  88. How you started investing in stocks
  89. Announcement (family addition, anniversary, pregnancy, engagement…)
  90. Gardening tips…what to plant when, natural plant food, compost, protection from insects…)
  91. Study tips
  92. Conduct an experiment (ex. I recently tested Trader Joe’s Alkaline water with PH strips to find that it is not what they advertise it to be, but is the same as my tap water)
  93. Video game tips, cheat codes, secrets…
  94. Mother’s Day ideas (gifts, celebration, traditions…)
  95. Fundraising ideas
  96. “How to” post (publish a book, write a novel, organize an event, make a superb cup of coffee…)
  97. Prom fashion do’s and don’ts
  98. Graduation party activities, decorations, etiquette…
  99. Free template for…an invitation, handout, contract, grocery list, budget sheet, craft, stencil…)
  100. Random Acts of Kindness List
  101. Your own blog idea list

I will be referring to this to keep my creativity flowing, but I hope it helps those of you who also need an idea from time to time.  Do you have a list of blog ideas?  Share it in a comment to help others who are seeking inspiration.

Crystal

Wanderlust-Spring Break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

wanderlustI have not been one to follow the crowd down to Myrtle Beach for Spring Break until this year.  My son’s friend’s family invited him on vacation with them (also to Myrtle Beach), so it was my youngest daughter, boyfriend, and me.  This wasn’t one of those vacations that was all planned out months in advance, but all went smooth.  As I’m a teacher I receive breaks throughout the school year and need to start taking advantage of the opportunity to travel more.

We looked around at options and Myrtle Beach was close enough to drive, affordable, and the weather would provide us with plenty of vitamin d and sea that we have been quite deficient in.  We decided that we wanted to find a resort with a lake-front view, be close to the boardwalk (but far enough away from the noise), and we wanted a resort that included breakfast.  We found all of that and had a wonderful time!  We decided to drive an additional two hours for one of the days to spend time touring Charleston which was another pleasant adventure!

Myrtle Beach is a 13 hour drive from Rochester, New York…we stocked up on snacks and drinks and left when the school bell rang!

Top 10 Favs:

  1. Sunrise:  Every morning we set the alarm, so we could watch the sunrise…this was probably one of my most favorite moments on our trip!  Each morning the glow was different, yet still mesmerizing.

     

  2. Pleasant surprises…jellyfish, seashells, and shark teeth…Ohh…my!  Walking the shoreline we stumbled on a variety of washed up treasures.

     

  3. Food, food, and more food (more food pics coming…my phone broke and all the food pics are on it)

     

  4. Brookgreen Gardens (Former Rice Plantation)  I teach African American Literature, so touring a former plantation was something that was on my “must do” list.  We learned quite a bit about rice plantations as this was an area I didn’t know much about.  I’m still struggling with some emotions and thoughts from our tour.

     

  5. Charleston & Magnolia Plantation  Another former rice plantation we toured…there really are no words I can type to properly describe my experience…

     

  6. Animals/Wildlife  No matter where we are, when we see animals we are interested…isn’t everyone?  We saw a bird fight on one of the plantations, which ironically one was white and the other was black…just after they fought a peacock opened up to show its beauty off.  Whether it was an otter scratching its back, a fox in a tree, an alligator sneaking up on us, or a snake crossing our path we were in awe!

     

  7. Boogie Boarding  I prefer to lay on the beach and soak up the rays and dip in once in a while, but Craig and McKinley are like fish when it comes to swimming.  They were in the water for hours boogie boarding and I enjoyed capturing them riding the waves.

     

  8. Boardwalk  Such fun we had on the boardwalk!  Shopping, eating, shopping, snapping pictures, talking to people, the Sky Wheel, and the arcade!  Tip:  Even if the morning starts out chilly, don’t wear pants to the boardwalk…it will warm up.

     

  9. Arcade:  I’m not one to play arcade games, but Craig and McKinley had a ball…they hit the jackpot a few times and tickets were everywhere!

     

  10. Ocean Being mesmerized by the beauty of the ocean or just listening to it while in bed was one of the best parts of the trip!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I thought this vacation would satisfy my wanderlust cravings, but they have intensified!  Suggestions where I should travel next?

For more photos follow me on Instagram!

Crystal

Wanderlust

Trusting HIS Timing

My vision for this post was to announce that my divorce is final, but unfortunately that is not the case.  I was sent a letter from Edward Gangarosa who is assigned by the court to review the documents before being sent on to the judge.  He wrote in the letter that I needed to file two more papers and then resubmit them.  That sounds easy—although I was annoyed I figured it doesn’t take that much time and went to pick them up to file them.

When I picked them up there was a blank form, paper-clipped to the form I already completed.  I was confused and asked the employees in the Supreme Court office if they knew what he meant by doing this (as this is not mentioned in this letter), and they were also confused.  I decided to call Gangarosa for clarification to avoid any additional hold up.  Well he said I needed to redo the form because the one I submitted was an old form that has been revised—ok, so why didn’t he say anything months ago?  This paper has been completed since September and he is just now requiring this?  He also seemed incredibly bothered that I am not seeking maintenance in the divorce.  I told him that I’m sure he is used to women wanting every last dime from their ex, but I have everything already—everything I’ve worked for and care about.  I’m no ordinary woman!  I have zero desire for my ex’s retirement and want to just move on with my life.  I was crying out of frustration and told him that I will resubmit this form (which also requires me to send it to the prison to be signed by my ex and notarized), but after this if he continues to pull this I will be writing a formal complaint.  I really don’t like to pull that card, but I have had enough!

I’ve spoke to several people already who have shared similar stories and I will not allow him to abuse his position and prevent me from obtaining this divorce.  I was also informed that I should write a letter to the attorney general, which I am considering.  There is even a complaint online about him that is similar to my experience.

I wouldn’t mind if this was one time, but every time I submit the paperwork he writes me a letter of corrections that need to be made and when everything is fixed he finds something else.  He has even stated that I did not include documents that were clearly there.  Not to mention he is a lawyer, but has many grammatical and spelling errors in his letters.

lawyer

 

The paperwork is sitting here on my table ready to be sent to the prison…God willing this will be the last paper I’m asked to re-submit.

I have been living my life mindful not to be negative and part of me struggles to understand why God is prolonging this—I do know I am where He wants me, and He is working things out even if I can’t see it.

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Crystal

 

Favorite Face Moisturizers

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One of the most important products you can use on your face is moisturizer!  This is a must for me no matter what.  I always apply after my shower in the morning and after I wash my face before bed!  You have to find one that works for your skin and don’t be afraid to change it up once in a while.  If you’re looking for a new addition to your routine I encourage you to try one of my favs!

My top favorites:

  1. CeraVe: Love, love, love this moisturizing cream and CeraVe products!  I use this before bed and in the morning.  This is my top favorite at the moment and the one I use the most.  You will notice a change in your skin within a week using this cream.
  2. Olay:  I’m a huge fan of Olay products and have been using them for years.  This moisturizer I use at night when I need to change up my routine.  You will notice a change in your skin after using it for a week or two!
  3. Alba Botanica Even Advanced:  This light moisturizer is amazing and is great under make-up.  You can see and feel a difference immediately—especially if you have blotchy skin or under eye circles.  It does have a cologne scent that some may not like, but I do.
  4. No.7:  Another wonderful moisturizer that works well before applying make-up.  It does have a scent that I’m not a huge fan of, but I like how it make my skin look and feel.
  5. Skin Laundry:  This stuff is amazing!  I use it before bed when I know I want an extra boost of flawless skin in the morning.
  6. Vitamin E Oil:  I use this about once a week before bed only.  It does make my skin look/feel a little greasy, but it soaks in my skin overnight.  Vitamin E is an antioxidant and beneficial to protect and repair our skin–I like to think that while I sleep the vitamin e is busy at work repairing all those skin cells!

Share in a comment:  What is your favorite moisturizer or your favorite face product?

Crystal

 

Along The Road Taken…

Whoa!  Sixteen days since my last post…I am slacking!  I was doing well with my posts and then my computer just. stopped. working.  I thought it just needed a new battery, but nope it was dead.  RIP Asus!  Unfortunately I did not have an external hard drive to back up all of my work and pictures…lesson learned!  The positive is that I can still retrieve my data off of the laptop, but the past couple weeks have been difficult without my files, photos or the use of my laptop.

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Then…a surprise came my way.

My thoughtful boyfriend knows how much I use my laptop and ran around on his day off to find the perfect one for me…this was definitely a surprise!  He has not been able to surprise me at all, but this time he did!  Never imagined he would buy me a laptop!  To top it off he gave me a pair of wireless earbuds because I made a comment how they would be nice to use while working out.  I’m one lucky lady!!

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Divorce:  On another note…I received the paperwork back stating my ex was served, BUT they left out the one important detail…they never wrote on it that the “amended complaint” was served.  Incredibly frustrating because I called the prison ahead of time to make sure they wrote it on there and put a note in with the document when I sent it.  Not to mention this is the third time I sent the paperwork to be served!  Holy frustrating!  I called this morning to see if they can simply resend the document and write “amended complaint” on it, and they are going to call me back.  They have one more hour, and then I’m going to call them back. *insert hour time laps here*  I called and they said they were still looking for the file and will call me back.  *insert another time laps here*  They called me back and asked that I resend the paper…they do not have internet access to print another form out.  I’m remaining calm and friendly on the phone through all of this because I know it isn’t their fault, but they don’t know how all of these little mistakes have added up to prolong this divorce! *insert yet another time laps here*  Paperwork was filed and submitted to the court on Friday.  Now I’m hoping Gangarosa doesn’t find another list of things he wants done before moving forward…this should not be that difficult!  Now I’ll be stalking the mailbox as I wait!

I do believe this is the last time I will have to submit them…as I left the court building…a building I have spent way too much time in, I looked out and took in the view and began to tear up.  Along the road I’ve taken I noticed something for the first time…a bridge…why it brought me such peace I’m not sure.  It isn’t a newly built bridge, but I’ve never really noticed that you could see it from the court building until that day.  Earlier in the week I had been on a walk where I took photos of it.

Did I mention it’s the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge–ahhh…the symbolism!

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Since it has been sixteen days since my last post I’ll leave you with sixteen pictures…

 

*hugs*

Crystal