Lincoln’s Birth and First Week

A week ago, our son, Lincoln Joseph was born!

My due date was January 14th and I was ready long before he was due to give birth.  The end of my pregnancy brought terrible prodromal labor, a sore, swollen body, heartburn that ended in throwing up, groin pain, shortness of breath,  rolling over in bed was almost impossible, and every time he moved it hurt—I was ready to give birth and tried everything to spark labor naturally.  I drank the red raspberry tea, walked, squatted, washed all my hardwood floors and baseboards on my hands and knees, stair walked, vacuumed the entire house…several times, had sex, walked some more, took baths, and nothing seemed to work.  I even packed my classroom up because we are moving to another school in a week thinking that might push me into labor, but that didn’t work either.

3 days before he was born

The night of my due date I cracked and just cried because I was so uncomfortable and told Craig that I was trying to deal as best as I could, but I wasn’t sure how much longer I could do it.  The prodromal labor is what was really driving me over the edge because I was having contractions for three weeks!  He was supportive as possible with trying to make me comfortable, but I was at my breaking point.

About an hour later I sat on the couch and began to feel strong pains.  I dismissed it thinking it was the way I was sitting.  The pains became stronger, but I dismissed it as prodromal labor.  What made me realize I was in actual labor was when I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding…I knew my son would come soon!

I was not rushing to the hospital after being sent home twice already, so we decided to wait a little before calling the doctor.  Craig dried some laundry he was in the middle of doing and I made sure all the last minute items were added to my hospital bag.  We laid down in bed and decided to watch some TV, but the contractions were stronger—stronger than I had felt in my previous pregnancies.  I decided to call the doctor and I was told to go to the hospital.


I was 5cm when we arrived at 1am…I swear I would be farther along, but nope.  We were admitted and the contractions were more painful.  My doctor was not on call, but I did know the doctor who was.  I wanted to try the water bath to manage the pain, but he wouldn’t allow it because he was afraid I would then be giving birth in the water.  With few natural options to manage my pain I discussed an epidural with him—he said that it would not mean that I would end up delivering in a c-section and that the baby was not at risk.  He said I needed to decide asap because if I waited it would be too late.  I decided to have the epidural and be more comfortable.


While waiting for the epidural I decided it was time to give Craig his surprise I packed in my hospital bag—a dad shirt!


Being administered the epidural is a painful process itself, but I’m glad I decided to have it!  I did slow down my dilating, so needed Pitocin to speed things up again.  At one point I felt out of it and light headed because my blood pressure went down, but laying down helped that and all was good after that.  I dilated pretty quickly after that and we decided to break my water to further the progress.

We sent a few texts to let certain family and friends know that our little one would be here soon!  At this point my father and his girlfriend were in the waiting room, my oldest daughter, Autumn was in the room, and Craig’s cousin, Kayla was in the room.

Then we received some great news!  A shift change was about to happen which the doctor on call would be leaving, and because the doctor coming in had an operation scheduled my doctor would be coming in.  This is the same doctor who delivered Autumn and Cole, so it was nice!

The doctor walked in, I was fully dilated and ready to push.  He changed his clothes and I knew it wasn’t going to be long now.  He put some soapy water down below and I made the comment that cold water would feel good right about now.  He thought I meant a cup of water to drink, but I explained how some cold water poured down below would feel amazing…he said whatever I want and poured some cold water down there, but it didn’t feel as cold as I hoped.  I knew the ring of fire was coming…


I pushed for a little while and then I knew one more push and he would be here…the ring of fire was next and I knew if I could get through that then the majority of the pain would be over.  Listening to everyone encouraging me while Craig held my right leg and my doctor with my left I gave another push and he was here.  I only cursed once through it all…haha!  Craig cut the cord and he was put on my chest.  He immediately began to breastfeed—amazing that he knew what to do so quickly!  We all knew he was a large baby by looking at him—-I felt my entire pregnancy that he was going to be a big baby.

While he was on my chest and we were all checking him out the doctor pushed on my stomach to deliver the placenta and stitched me up.  I sure did grab his hand when he pushed on my stomach…a reflex I just can’t help!

I had about an hour of skin to skin contact with him until they took him to take his weight and do all of the tests they do.

Everything was perfect!

Candid Shot by Kayla

Lincoln Joseph

January 15th @8:45am

9lb. 13 1/4oz. 21″long

Lincoln’s 1st Week

Day 1:  He cluster fed all night, so we did not sleep at all…was a rough night!  The hospital shower is not hot enough and has minimal pressure.  I just want a nice, long, hot, shower!

Day 2:  I wanted to be home asap and my doctor approved, but we needed to stay the minimum of 36 hours—when that 36 hour mark hit we were out of there and home we were!  I wanted my own bed and my own shower!  If the pediatrician saw how we slept we would have been given a scolding…much better night of sleep than the night before.  I have a new found appreciation for the comfort of my own bed!

Day 3:  His first doctor’s visit—all is healthy!  Doc said his eyes are blue with a slight chance to change to hazel (looks like my blue eye gene is pretty dominant…haha).  More cluster feeding…in particular at night.  His siblings are loving him up!

Day 4:  First trip out of the house (other than for the doctor’s appointment).  I made sure to feed him right before we left to be prepared!  We were in the store for about 10 minutes when I heard him begin to fill his diaper…then he began to fuss which turned into us leaving to the car to change him and feed again.  We eventually went back in, but did rush through looking around because he was restless and we didn’t want to be those parents with a screaming child in the store.  As soon as we were walking out the door he passed right out though…haha!  We didn’t even need anything, but just wanted some fresh air and to walk around a bit.

Day 5:  I have been having some pains in my hip which were at their worst, but I’m going to see how it goes over the next week or so until I call the doctor.  Other than that I feel great and have been up and active–maybe I need to slow down a little and give my body time to relax!  Breastfeeding is coming along…he has an insatiable appetite, but he is a big baby.

Today was his big brother’s debut in the musical School of Rock, so Aunt Shannon watched him for a couple hours while we attended (I sure did cry when we dropped him off).  The play was amazing (I also cried watching Cole perform)!  By the end I was feeling the skipped feeding and was quite sore—my sister fed him baby formula because I didn’t have time to pump any milk for her to feed him (insert guilty feeling here).  All was good though and as soon as we were home I latched him on to relieve the pain.

Day 6:  Easiest day so far even if he had his most wardrobe changes today than any other day—he loves peeing and/or pooping all over when his diaper is changed. He does it EVERY diaper change!

Day 7:  Loves to snuggle, eat, and surprise you when you change his diaper.  We are ready with a wash cloth to cover him, so he doesn’t pee all over the blinds again.

We are incredibly happy and in love with him…ready for this next adventure…

❤ Crystal

post slightly inspired by The Daily Post, one word prompt “dominant”

Seven Habits for a More Productive Commute

How many of us commute to work and don’t use that time productively?  It is so easy to begin the day by complaining about the weather, the traffic, the line at the coffee shop, or countless other trivial distractions.

It’s time to change!  To begin to train your mind to start the day off strong, be mindful when that negative thought creeps in when you realize way too many people missed the lesson on how to merge in traffic, use a signal, or that the left lane is for the speedier drivers…no need to honk every time someone upsets you on the road!  When you begin to have those thoughts tell yourself “nope, not today” and refocus on a positive thought.

There are more productive ways to spend your time on that commute which will benefit you and those around you.

I challenge you to try at least one of these for a week and see how your day improves!

positiveSeven Habits for a More Productive Commute

What are you listening to?: Is it adding anything beneficial to your life?  Gossip radio?  What type of music?  Be mindful of what you put on—in what way is it helping you be a better person?  Try motivational speeches, sermons, TED Talks, educational podcasts, or music that is going to place you in the right mindset for the day.

Conversations with God: On my way to work is when I have some of the best conversations with God.  If I need to vent, ask for advice, pray, or just say thank you I use this time to do that.  Give it a try!  I was struggling with a choice I made that was not popular among others, so I asked God to take it and show me if I needed to approach the situation a different way—he was loud and clear that the choice I made was the right one.  It’s amazing when God speaks to you!

Think up blog topics: For us bloggers there are times when we go through a bit of bloggers block…this time spent in our car driving while our mind wanders is a great way to think up possible topic ideas to write about.  I came up with this topic while on my drive to work.

Pray: On your way to work pray for God to use you that day.  Pray for your family, friends, co-workers, students, patients…

Eat a healthy snack: Pack some grapes, carrots, celery, almonds, or healthy snack of your choice to munch on while driving…an easy way to start making sure you are eating right!

Think of something kind to do for someone that day:  Do you know who has a birthday coming up?  Who might need some encouragement?  Everyone can use kindness, so take that commuting time to think of someone and what is something special you can do for that person.  Maybe it’s sending them a card, bringing them in a plant to work to say welcome to the company, paying for the person behind you at coffee shop, or just simply think of a compliment you can give someone that day!

Affirmations:  What do you tell yourself before you even arrive to work?  It can have a huge impact on your day?  Are you already complaining that today is Monday and thinking about that annoying co-worker?  Stop that immediately and change what you say to yourself!  Try saying to yourself that you are excited for this Monday, excited for what the day will bring!  Never say negative things about yourself!  Tell yourself, “I am talented”, “I am creative”, “I am successful”, “I am positive”…

Share in a comment:  Like I mentioned above, I challenge you to try at least one of these for a week while on your commute to work.  I guarantee that you will notice a difference.  What one will you try?  What other habits are we able to do while on our commute to work? 


Post inspired by The Daily Post, Daily Prompt: Honk

Motivational Monday: Inky Johnson “It’s Not Only About You”

Do your students need motivation?  Do you?  We can all use a bit more of a push once in a while!

Since I teach students who are considered a bit more challenging than most I’m always trying to improve relationships, motivate, inspire, and provide strategies they can use to keep motivated to continue to pursue their goals.

A few weeks ago we started to begin our week off with a motivational mini-lesson to bring more positivity to our week.  This isn’t some lesson to fluff off, but it will improve the environment in your classroom…and ripple outward.

Here is a free handout you can use with your own class to try this out.  I would love feedback from anyone who gives it a try.  My students are highly engaged, ask for more, and when I shared that I watch these types of videos when I’m in a bit of an off mood one student said she was going to start doing the same thing.

Inky Johnson Its not just about you

Watch Inky Johnson Video Here

Follow me to receive more motivational mini-lessons you can use in your classroom…and your own life.  More to come…




29 Weeks Pregnant: Update


29 Weeks Pregnant

How far along:  29 Weeks
Baby is size of a: Hawaiian Pineapple

Maternity clothes:  Of course I’m still wearing them…couldn’t even squeeze into my winter coat when the weather took a plunge.  I have to support my Bills, so wear a non-maternity zip-up—love my comfy football Sunday clothes!

Sleep: Sleep has improved actually and my dreams are quite vivid
Best moment this week:  Starting to put the nursery together.  Craig put the crib together, put the rug in, and we started to organize everything—still a long way to go though.  A nursery blog post is in the works.
Symptoms:  Charlie Horses…in my legs and I had one in my arm for the first time ever!
I also had another laughing fit which was so random…I couldn’t stop laughing, I was crying tears, and it was at something that wasn’t even that funny.  I asked my doctor about it, but he said he’s never heard of it before (he ended up blaming it on the hormones).
Food cravings:  Chico-Sticks, milkshakes, Belgium waffles

Belgium Waffle topped with with Aunt Vicki’s Fruit Dip

Food aversions:  Are these even a real thing?
Gender:  He’s still a boy
Name:  We still haven’t decided on a name
Labor signs:  None…not ready for labor signs yet
What I miss:  Being able to clip my own toenails
Milestones:  Officially a week into my third trimester!  My one hour glucose test came back slightly high, so I had to go in for the three hour test.  I also had my Rhogam shot and TDAP shot this week.
Bump:  Measuring right on track



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The Daily Post Word Prompt: Gratitude
The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Rounded

What My Baby Shower Taught Me

This past weekend we had our baby shower to celebrate our little MVP, and I’m still astonished at all the love and support from everyone!

I was not a fan of the idea of having a shower at all, but my friend, Erica was particularly excited and immediately offered to be a part of planning it. Considering I have not had a baby shower in twenty years and that I gave every last baby item away I thought it would help us quite a bit and it would be nice for Craig being this is his first child (yes, twenty years…whoa…that sounds crazy).

As Erica and I were talking about it I told her that I wanted to be a part of planning the shower, but was unsure what people would think because I read many comments on the online baby boards that it was considered tacky.  Erica’s response was, “Since when do you care what people think?  Do what you want!” Lightbulb moment here!

Doing what we wanted was exactly what we did and I’m glad we did!  It was perfect!


What My Baby Shower Taught Me

  1. Do what you want (couples, kids, food, favors, theme, games, music, food, invite who you want, honor family members who have past away…)  


  2. You will forget what you registered for…possibly because he liked using the scanning machine a little too much


  3. Someone will give you a gift that might make you cry


  4. If you try and give a speech you should practice before the shower day…and pregnancy hormones may cause water works41
  5. Something will not go as planned and that’s ok  We had a plan to take photos of every guest, but that did not happen.  I’m still a little bummed out about it, but I am thankful my son and Craig’s cousin were able to capture the moments that they did.
  6. Cupcakes are the easiest dessert ever 
  7. Homemade gifts are the best 


  8. Plan to take A LOT home 
  9. Having your man with you to open gifts is the best  68
  10. RSVP…I have a new found respect for it  I will admit I am terrible at RSVPing, but I have a new found respect and have promised myself not to be that person anymore.


Our shower was amazing…we loved seeing everyone excited for us and enjoyed spending the time with them! We are blessed!


The Daily Post Daily Prompt: Enlighten 


26 Weeks Pregnant


How far along: 26 Weeks


Baby is size of a: according to my Ovia App he is the size of a butternut squash or a bowling pin…he feels more like he’s the size of a bowling ball though!

Total weight gain: I don’t want to talk about this, but doctor is happy (and baby is healthy)!

Maternity clothes:  Of course I’m still wearing them—not the most stylish clothes to wear, but they aren’t what they used to be.  I bought another dress to wear that I do love…I might wear it for the baby shower, but I haven’t decided yet.  Some clothes I feel fabulous in and others just make me feel not so great (like the oversize shorts and shirts I wear to bed)—superficial I know!me
Sleep:  I have quite a bit of difficulty sleeping…after laying on the right for so long I’m sore, so flip to the left, then after so long I’m sore again and flip…then I have to flop out of bed to use the bathroom…then he thinks its time to play and is kicking…then the alarm to wake up sounds.

Best moment this week:  Hmmm…Craig’s surprise date night to see School of Rock…the baby was rockin out to all the music!


Symptoms:  Well no more heartburn now that doc prescribed me something.  Shortness of breath, back pain, and of course feeling baby kicking quite a bit—we can even see him moving!

Food cravings: I wanted a Thanksgiving meal, so that is what we had…soooooo good!!!  Apple Cider, Belgium waffles, and apple pie or apple crisp too!

Food aversions:  None

Gender: Boy

Name: Still no name…nothing we are both totally in love with yet, but we will agree on one eventually.

Labor signs: Too early for that, but I swear I felt a couple contractions while walking around the public market yesterday.

What I miss:  Laying on my stomach in bed or being comfortable just laying on the couch.  Bending over with ease is another thing I miss—if you come to my classroom and see highlighters on the floor it’s because I have stopped bending over to pick them up!

What I look forward to:  I was not a fan of the idea of having a baby shower at all, but I am looking forward to seeing people I haven’t seen in a while, celebrating our little MVP, and having a good time.

Milestones: Does the Bills leading the division count?  Maybe baby is good luck for them? (although as I’m typing this they are not doing so well…come on Bills…Super Bowl this year!)


Bump: It’s more like a hump now…


pregnant funny

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Dear Absent Father,

I’m not sure if it is because I’m pregnant which has made me think about people in my past, but I’ve been thinking about an individual some would label as my “biological father”.  This is an individual who was in prison for some time while I was a child, did not raise me, stepped into my life for a minute later on, and after unveiling his character I decided it was safer to keep my children away from him.

I decided to write an unsent letter to him: 

Dear Absent Father,

As a young child I made up fairytales of where you were, who you would be, and how you would return.  Wishing on every dandelion I picked…

Years went by…

I created more fairytales of where you were, who you would be, and how you would return.

I knew I resembled you from what I had been told, so every male I saw with blonde hair and blue eyes I would think to myself, “could this be you”.  For years I did this…even as a teenager as a cashier at the local grocery store…imagine a young teenager wondering if each and every one of the blonde hair, blue eyed, males who walked through her line could be her father.

I continued to create more fairytales.  Send more dandelion wishes…

You decided to make that step and introduce yourself…it was nothing close to that fairytale I created, what I wanted, or what I expected, but I opened my heart.  I opened it because I had yearned for so long.  I just wanted to be wanted.

I’m an observant woman, and hearing about your upbringing and where you came from I understood you didn’t know how to be a father.  You didn’t know how to raise a child.  I gave you the benefit of the doubt.  I accepted you for you, left the past behind us, and began to build a relationship.  It wasn’t perfect.  I couldn’t call you “dad”.  I had a dad who raised me, one who earned that title, one who also didn’t know how to raise a child, but he did it without batting an eyelash and Lord knows that man shed some tears dealing with me as an ungrateful, hateful, teenager.  It also hurt him when we began to build a relationship, but he knew I needed to find me.

I needed to find me…

Did I find me?  I thought I did.  For years I had to build me.  Encourage me.  Support me.  Protect me.  Provide for me.  I had to because you were not there like you should have been.  Maybe in a way you are a part of my success because I don’t need a man to do those things for me.  Now I just don’t know how to allow one to when he wants to.

Every now and then I wonder…how can you sleep at night?  How many children have you denied (or have you lost count)?  How many raised in poverty?  How many have seen those bars like you?  Taken the path like you?  Do you feel any sort of guilt?  Remorse?  Regret?  Shame?  Do you feel sorry for yourself?  Angry?  Does it even weigh on your soul?

I try not to judge…I really do…even as I type this I try to understand, but I just can’t…

For years I asked myself, “why don’t you want me?”

Sadly, I’ll also admit that every time I hear your favorite song, “Simple Man” by Lynard Skynard you come to mind.  A person’s favorite song usually says a lot about who they are, so I have thought many times why you feel such a strong connection to it.  After listing to it a few more times I ask this…

Do you think your mom would be proud? God?

Are you proud?


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