What I’ve Learned…8 Weeks Postpartum

Tomorrow I will be returning to work after being on maternity leave and thought I should spend some time reflecting.  The past eight weeks with our son have been an amazing adventure on many levels and trying to put it into words is impossible.  It’s incredible what a newborn can teach you about yourself.

What I learned (or reminded of again)…

  1. Children grow in the blink of an eye, so cherishing the time is important! 
    I realized the most important role in my life right now is to be the best mother to the kids, and girlfriend to Craig. We are a solid unit and need to focus our energy on being the best for them. Cole is almost 16 and thinking about him moving out and on blows my mind…(and insert tears here).  It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that he was a baby and I realize I have been wrapped up in other issues and concerns at times and may have not cherished the moments as much as I could have.  The same for Autumn and McKinley.
  2. It’s ok to cry.  
    I’ve had quite the emotional awakening since Lincoln has been born.  My heart has been softened and sometimes I cry just looking at him…and it’s ok!
  3. Don’t worry about the small things because children don’t care about them. 
    Children don’t care if you have spit up on your shirt, don’t have make-up on, and your hair is a mess.  They will remember how you made them feel…so hold them a little longer, kiss them more, play that board game, watch the show they pick, listen when they are telling you their stories…
  4. Don’t worry about what you can’t control.  
    This can mean not becoming wrapped up in the family or friends who don’t act how you think they should.  People will disappoint you all through life and instead of wasting the time on what a terrible person they are just focus on bettering yourself.
  5. One of the most powerful emotions is evoked when a baby smiles at you…or stares into your soul while holding him.
  6. Just how much happiness a baby can bring to a family!
    We were already happy, but he has added so much more joy to our lives.  Autumn was able to see his birth and was immediately bonded to him (even when he’s spitting up on her).  Cole enjoys playing music for him when he’s fussy and needs calming.  McKinley is never hesitant to pick him up and try to soothe him, and she loves giving him a bath, picking out his clothes, and dressing him (as long as I will put his diaper on).  I’m one blessed momma!
  7. Breastfeeding is not as easy as many assume or how the media portrays, but it is extremely rewarding.  
    With breastfeeding comes moments of painful latching, cluster feeding, engorgement, doubts if your baby is receiving enough, painful clogged milk ducts, the discomfort of the let down, the need for larger shirts, and handling people who have a negative reaction when your child needs to eat.  The look your child gives you while breastfeeding or when he falls asleep at the breast is rewarding…knowing that you overcame all the difficult obstacles to give him the best.  It is a beautiful gift from God not only to create a baby, but to nourish one too—-a woman’s body is beyond amazing!
  8. Giving Lincoln formula is ok.  I have been so focused on exclusively breastfeeding because that is what I have done in the past, but I had to come to realize that feeding him some formula is ok.
  9. Not all babies are the same. 
    Lincoln is different than Autumn, Cole, and McKinley…and I shouldn’t have expected him to be the same as I’m not even the same.  He loves sleeping in his crib, loves laying on his changing table, pees and/or poops after you take his diaper off (be warned), his favorite place to be is eating in mommy and daddy’s bed, and loves taking baths!
  10. How blessed I am!
    I have an amazing man who has supported and encouraged not only me, but my children as well.  Watching him become a father has been a wonderful experience.

Tomorrow will be a bitter-sweet day for sure, but one thing is for sure…the past eight weeks have been pure happiness!


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❤ Crystal

Post slightly inspired by The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: “Story”

My Thankful 30

This Friday we completed the second full week back to school which went fabulous, but it ended in a meeting that left me out of sorts.  I allowed myself to become bitter and I brought the negativity home with me, which is never fun for my family.


I decided I needed to put a stop to it and take a moment to reflect on the more popular moments of the week that I’m thankful for.  A strategy I recommend for anyone looking to turn their mood around!

  1. Celebrating McKinley’s Birthday…she is officially a teenager!
  2. Hearing Mick’s team (and the opposing team) sing Happy Birthday to her
  3. Soccer, soccer, and more soccer
  4. Cole’s Cross Country Meets
  5. Messages from former students
  6. Continuing to keep up with my blog
  7. Hearing all is healthy at my doctor’s appointment and listening to his heartbeat
  8. Some amazing students…nobody will ever see or understand those little moments that go on inside my classroom
  9. Surprise breakfast sandwich from my amazing co-worker
  10. Surprising one of our co-workers with a thoughtful gift who is a first time grandfather
  11. Everyone being able to SEE the baby kick…lil guy is active and strong
  12. Hearing my Grandfather on the phone…after his stroke I was unsure if he would recover and he is slowly, but surely making improvements!  He is the most strong, stubborn, fighter I know!
  13. Going through baby names with Craig…always fun…he thinks it’s hilarious when I start yelling the name out like he’s in trouble or he’s about to score a goal…we have to know how it will sound, right?
  14. Apple Crisp with vanilla ice cream in bed…compliments of Craig
  15. Our first daycare tour…a gofundme page is coming soon…haha!
  16. Buying some more maternity clothes…having more options in the morning makes it more likely to have a positive start to the day
  17. Cole playing bass for homecoming
  18. Grandpa licking the container out of the Apple Crisp we brought him…haha
  19. Our first visit to Brighton Farmer’s Market–who doesn’t love live music, fresh food, beautiful weather, food trucks, plants, and holding hands with your man
  20. Snuggling with McKinley while she felt her lil brother kick
  21. Eating some amazing Italian food…Veal Parm is one of my favs!
  22. Cole going to his school dance
  23. Payday $$$$$
  24. A quick chat with a friend I haven’t talked to in a long time
  25. Healthy meals
  26. A man who wakes up early to make my lunch for work in the morning…all because he wants to…he even woke up extra early one morning this week to make egg salad for me
  27. Gramps feeling the baby kick again (to be honest I don’t think he was kicking at the time, but we will just let him believe he felt him)
  28. Receiving my Fabfitfun box…always fun when it comes
  29. The smell of the house as the turkey dinner is cooking
  30. Selling a couple items on Teachers Pay Teachers (who cares if I only made a dollar—still makes me happy)

Just a short list to remember all the wonderful moments from this past week.  Next week will bring even more to be thankful for!

thank you

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Share in a comment:  What are you thankful for from this past week?





Update: 22 Weeks Pregnant

My goal was to keep up to date with the pregnancy updates, but again I find myself slacking.  My grandfather experienced a stroke and gave us quite the scare, so we have been spending as much time at the hospital as possible—maybe I will dedicate a blog post all about him because he is one amazing man!  He was moved to hospice, but has been making positive improvements and will be moved soon to begin therapy.


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“I felt him kick” (Grandpa in hospice)


I am also back to work now that school has started.  I have so many new ideas for my students that I have been spending a lot of time planning creative lessons for them!  Being pregnant while teaching is a first for me, so this semester will be interesting.  Hmmm…I went into labor in school with my eldest daughter…will I go into labor with this little one?  I guess we shall see!

How far along: 22 weeks, 1 day today

Baby is size of a: according to my Ovia App he is the size of corn on the cob, but he sure feels like he’s the size of a watermelon already!

Total weight gain: my last appointment I gained 9lbs which was a huge change from losing weight…Doc was happy!

Maternity clothes:  I am wearing them every day…winter will be here soon though and I do need to decide if I’m buying a maternity coat or not…hmmm….thoughts anyone?

Sleep:  I toss and turn quite a bit because he is quite active mixed with the fact that I can’t sleep on my stomach!  Pillow between the legs is a must too!

Best moment this week:  Grandpa feeling the baby kick…he was so excited!  My boyfriend was also finally able to feel and witness our lil guy practicing his jump shot…he has been incredibly active!

Symptoms:  Heartburn like crazy…I’ve never been one to experience heartburn, but now I can drink water and all of a sudden the burn is on!

Food cravings:  Tim Horton’s blueberry muffins (warmed up, cut in half, with butter)….yummmmmmmmmm!!!!

Food aversions: none

Gender: Boy

Name: None set in stone yet…it is difficult to name a child when you’re a teacher.  We are waiting until after he is born to share the name though.

Labor signs: None, but I swear with all the movement he might break my water soon!

What I miss:  Being able to clip and paint my toenails without contorting myself

What I look forward to:  maternity photos…yes, more of them

Milestones:  today marks my first day starting a full week back to work…I can no longer squeeze between the clusters of desks in class and have to take the long way to reach certain students

Bump:  growing and noticeable, healthy


Happened this week



Any advice you would like to share?  






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”)


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!


Counting down the days until I take off…alone

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Solo travel not only pushes you out of your comfort zone, it also pushes you out of the zone of others’ expectations. ~Suzy Strutner

One of my goals has always been to travel solo abroad, and this June I will be embarking on that adventure! I booked a trip to Amsterdam, purchased a new camera bag, and now I’m counting down the days until I take off…alone.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have some anxieties bouncing around, but I know the experience is what I need. My oldest daughter has graduated high-school and moved out (I should have received an award for making it through that), my son is 13, and my youngest daughter is 11, and they are able to handle me leaving for a week. They have actually encouraged me to take this trip.  Before anyone frets they will not be home alone while I’m gone. As their only parent I have sacrificed, without complaint to ensure they have all they need, and now this is a journey I must take for a variety of reasons.

My top reasons I want to travel solo:

  1. I’ve never traveled alone
  2. I’ll be pushed outside of my comfort zone, and grow from the experience
  3. to set an example to my children…not only to my daughters, but my son as well
  4. to improve my sense of direction…I become lost driving to the corner store, so this should be an interesting trip (insert a tad bit of sarcasm here)
  5. to learn, learn, learn, and share what I have learned
  6. to do what I want…I won’t have to think about what my children would want for dinner, what types of entertainment they would like…this is a trip all for ME…a little selfish maybe, but I deserve it!

When is the last time you have pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone?  Starting something that made you nervous, enrolling in a course/class/club, joining a team or gym, visiting a new local (or not so local) café, initiating a conversation with a stranger…



A little about me…


My heart, soul, and reason for being


I’m a mother of three beautiful children who have given me the strength in life to be determined in reaching my goals. I am a teacher certified in English and Special Education, and truly enjoy going to work every day.  I recently completed the requirements for my School District Leadership certification to make more of an impact.  I have had my fair share of blood, sweat, and tears, but the entire journey has made me grateful and appreciative of all that I have.  One strategy I found helpful was to find something every day to be thankful for—focus on the positives in life!

My goal with this blog is to do just that—focus on those “little” moments with the hope to inspire others.