Natural Beauty: Stony Brook State Park

Natural Beauty: Stony Brook State Park

My Aunt sparked my love of Stony Brook State Park when she brought me when I was a child, and I have cherished the memories with me for years. When I became a mother I knew I wanted my children to see the beauty and create their own memories of this hidden gem. We visit almost every year and each time discover another reason why it is one of our favorites!

Stony Brook is also where my boyfriend and I went on our first date. He collected rocks while on our walk and used them to make a purdy amazing surprise for me (pictured below).


Crystal (post inspired by the word of the day…”Natural”)

Rebuild: Divorcing a Pedophile


Rebuild:  Divorcing a Pedophile

Rebuild…What a perfect word for today!  I received the signed stipulation agreement on Friday, and today I went to the County Clerk’s Office to file for my divorce.  This is one of the many steps I’ve taken to rebuild my life.  Rebuilding entailed crawling around in the rubble, searching for pieces, constructing some sort of foundation, and now, six years later, a solid structure stands.  Now that the divorce papers are filed the next step is having him served (being sent in the mail tomorrow).  *fingers crossed* there are no more delays, and that this is final soon.  One would think when your husband rapes your child a divorce is automatic and simple, but that is far from the truth.

“Fighter” by Christina Aguilera


(post inspired by the daily prompt “rebuild”)

Blood, sweat, and tears…


I’ve been an emotional mess lately, and decided to just sit down and let it all out this way…well maybe not all, but whatever comes (just as I often advise my students to do)…with the hope that maybe I’ll feel better or maybe connect with someone who just might understand even a tiny bit of what I’m going through.  Ohhhh…where do I start…

In 2010 my husband raped my daughter.  I think I’m still in shock this could happen to me, to my daughter, to my children, and not only am I still in shock, I’m still in pain, and still trying to heal.  Nobody comes to your home to help you, guide you, and there is no book on what to do to keep your life from falling apart…you are alone.  Alone to pick up the pieces, alone in keeping the rest from crumbling, alone to sit and wonder how this could happen.  People are around in the shadows, but do they really understand why you act a certain way? Why you keep your distance?  Why you have had to shift your lifestyle to be the sole parent to your children?  Are they judging?  Shouldn’t I be over it already?  It has been six years!  Do I care they judge?  I must right?  Uggg…is this making sense?!?!

We shall call the individual who raped my daughter, yes, RAPED, not “sexually assaulted”, not “touched”, I will call it for what it is..RAPE..we shall call him…hmmm…hmmm….still can’t come with anything….I guess we will call him, “Jon”.

Well in 2015 “Jon” verbally agreed to a non-contested divorce which would stipulate that I would keep the house to do what I choose to do with it.  I had the papers drawn up and sent the stipulation agreement in March.  He sent a letter on my birthday in April stating that he would send it as soon as possible.  I have been looking every day since, and nothing has come.  I called the prison several times, and was told that he is playing games, and that he has access to a notary twice a week and has never signed up.  I sent a letter two weeks ago stating I want the papers by June 6th or I will be going another route for the divorce (this way I’m told could take much longer), and will be going for everything if I have to do that.  Still no papers.

In the process of all of this I’ve still been living in the house he raped my daughter in, paying all the bills, keeping it up-to-date, replaced the roof (those aren’t cheap), hot water heater (those aren’t cheap either), and have wanted nothing more than to move out, and move on.  I’ve had to work hard to keep this house, a house I’ve tried to make a home for my children despite what happened in it.  I’m proud of what I’ve made it into, but need a fresh start.

I’ve been looking at houses online here and there (as I’m waiting to receive the signed agreement), and one caught my eye.  It is BEAUTIFUL!  I looked at the listing every now and then, and then the price was reduced.  This past Sunday I decided to go look at it just to see….I was actually hoping that it would be a hole in the wall and I would stop dreaming about it.  I get all kinds of excited, and my children are talking about hide-n-seek, nerf wars, the porch, beautiful flowers planted all over, which bedroom they want, and how cool the basketball hoop in the garage is.  This will be our fresh start.  I call my realtor, and reality smacks me in the face…I can’t sell MY home until he signs the papers.  He is forcing us to live in this house…a house he committed one of the most disgusting crimes in.  How can a convicted criminal do this?!?!?!  Reality hits me again…I’m typing this as I sit in the room he raped my daughter in…I need out of here! Again, I find myself in a place alone, where nobody understands.

“I’m gonna bathe myself in a wishing well” -Beth Hart

Leave the light on by Beth Hart



Teacher Appreciation Day


Teacher Appreciation Day

Our purrrrdddy awesome school principal treated us to a surprise visit from the Stingray Fusion Food Truck and free lunch today!  I have tried sushi in the past, and was never much of a fan…after today I have found a new favorite food to add to my list!!  My taste buds were having a grand ol’ time!

After work it was Cole’s lacrosse game, shopping for a new rug, and then a stop to Chipotle to take advantage of the B1G1 free deal for teachers.  I just so happened to be watching the Great Food Truck Race while chowing down…go team Hodge Podge!!  Planet Fitness is a must after all this eating!


Most of us have had a teacher who has influenced us in ways they will never realize.  Take a moment to think about who those teachers are…


  • send a card/letter with a personal message thanking her/him
  • send an email of appreciation
  • have your daughter/son write a note of appreciation to their teacher
  • some of us may even need to send a teacher or fifteen a note of apology for being hard-headed, stubborn, defiant, teenagers…haha!
  • Send in school supplies, tissues, cleaning wipes, snacks…to a random teacher (now this one is my favorite suggestion if you add a card with it)

Did you have a teacher who influenced you?  Share your story!



Autumn returns

Autumn and me April 2016
My heart, soul, and reason for being (photo taken by her, pictured right, this Friday at Cole’s Lacrosse game)

Autumn Lynn

In October of 2015 my eighteen year old daughter was eager to prove she is an independent woman, and made a hasty decision to move out. To make a long story short, she was manipulated by others, taken advantage of, and found herself in some dangerous situations. Heartbreaking for a mother to step aside and accept, but she needed the experience to gain an appreciation for what she had. This weekend she moved back in, and will be rebuilding her foundation.

A few things I rediscovered about her this weekend:

  • She has a caring nature of others in need (particularly of those who have had a difficult past)
  • She is hardworking…she came home from one job, changed, and on to the second job
  • She steals my clothes (even though she can clothe the entire state of New York with her wardrobe)
  • Fluff and spiral mac-n-cheese are still her favs
  • She loves home cooked meals…more than fluff and spiral mac-n-cheese
  • That I’m one proud mother to have her as a daughter!

I love you a little Autumn Lynn…a little more each day!


Enjoying my nephew


Easton James

What does Aunt Lulu do when she babysits her nephew for the first time? Well, after singing nursery rhymes Aunt Lulu style, we went to the park to take some pictures.

Fun facts from today

  • he only fell once
  • the rocking chair is mine from when I was a child
  • he had no poopy diapers
  • he put that flower in his mouth after I took the pic
  • he loves nanny blankets (like me)

Crystal (Aunt Lulu)