Category Archives: Anything and Everything

And…it has officially been a hot minute

How I could ever forget that I had this blog is just astonishing.  I’ve missed you soo very much!  I really need to work on my ‘sporadic posting’ issues.  I feel like I’ve had a lot go on, but as any parent can say, it’s truly just the same crap happening over and over again and you just don’t know how to make it stop.

Since last we met, I became employed, I became a mom to a 2 year old, I’ve been working on losing some weight and I’m preparing myself for my first trip without my family.  Now, the employment bit.  I took on a position with my church, Fairwood Community United Methodist Church,  and I’m now the Communications Director.  My position there is new but I do a lot of familiar things like mass email communications, being a web admin, content creator for social networks and typically just advising on different marketing strategies.  It’s a part time job which I can do most of it from home, but it does keep me busy.

Yes, you also read that right: Mom to a 2 year old!  The child turned 2 on April 26th and I don’t know how that happened.  Last I new babyremembered, I was getting pampered after trying to crank out a 7 pounder of a child and then BAM!

birthday boyI have a toddler trying to burn down my house!  Other than all the typical stuff you understand a toddler will do, he’s just always making sure I’m completely and totally out of my skull.  But I wouldn’t change him or any of this.  He’s awesome, he’s perfect for us and he makes my heart want to explode with so much love.

I really don’t know where all this time came and went to.  I’m trying to keep my head together and keep moving forward, but I do get nostalgic sometimes for the moments I may have wished away too soon.  If you are a mom to be or new mom: Though the current time may seem hard, it doesn’t get easier so don’t wish it away.  You will want this quiet time more than you ever thought you would.

I’m still in love with the greatest man that ever happened to me.  Our 2 year wedding anniversary comes up next month and I can report we’ve been a hot item for going on 7 years.  Seriously, life happening in the blink of an eye.  I hope all of you reading this are doing well and keep a handle on your scandals!  Let’s do this again sooner rather than later!

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I came to my senses about my ‘me’ status

I had many hopes and dreams for what motherhood, parenthood and having a child would be like.  I’m certain I’ve made many a’ people chuckle at them all.  No one laughed harder than I did today.  I came to the realization that I wasn’t myself, I wasn’t going to be myself for a while and I was going to be ok with it.  I’ve come to figure out my identity will lie solely in my connection with my child and his future.

As any other parent can agree, we get our best thinking done either in the shower or right as we are about to fall asleep.  I specify the shower as going to the bathroom is no longer a sacred moment; in fact, that’s the time when Lucas needs me the most!  And just as our eyes finally give in to the great sensation that is ‘closed’, that fantastic stuff you forgot all day decides to rush in like the Niagara Falls.  But anyway, back to the greatest times for self-realization and parental research.

I’m standing in the shower today trying to put together the makings of this fine day (at 3pm!).  The child only had 1 mini meltdown; all other tantrums were defused.  He was cuddly, enjoyed everything I gave him to eat, smiled and laughed while playing with his toys and actually had a few breather breaks to catch a glimpse of whatever Sprout TV was offering.  There were two things I learned about what made this day successful: The ‘counting to 10’ technique works great for adults AND children and that I need to just sit and ‘smell the roses’ a bit more around the house.  The child is teaching me the one thing I’ve had trouble with for a long time: patience.

I’m a multi-tasker on all levels and at all times.  In fact, as I write this blog, I’m listening for the washer to finish so I can throw Lucas’ clothes in the dryer, I’m contemplating what leftovers I’ll reheat for dinner AND I’m curious what Christmas shows are on tonight.  Even while I sleep, I think I usually have a couple different dreams going on.  I was this way lloonngg before becoming a parent and it has truly gotten worse since having Lucas.  As I always say, all things in life in moderation.  This even applies to multi-tasking.  I came to see that a lot of Lucas’ tantrums were due to me being distracted by some things that could wait.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when Lucas is being greedy and I distract him with a book or toy to try to get him to understand that this particular phone call or task just can’t wait.  But I’m learning to prioritize a bit better when it comes to those ‘particulars’.  That’s what made today the great success; the only ‘me’ things I did today was set up our kitchen counter with emergency items we might need if the power went out and I occasionally fed myself and got coffee.  Lucas reminds me of a cat: he only gets needy when I’m actually doing something.  So I stop doing stuff and he played nice all day.  While I know it’s not the end of a great, lifelong battle, but it was a tremendous eye opener and leap forward to understand how to negotiate the toddler years at Marner Manor.

The life of a parent is measured almost the same as the career of an Olympian: You train hard all your life, you win here and there, you cry, smile, laugh, sweat and are exhausted, but by the time you retire, you look back and enjoy the trials.  You understand that even in those tough moments when there was never enough wine or Xanax to make the world right, you stuck through it all and you survived; might have a few battle wounds, but hey, you made it and you get to retire, hopefully, comfortably.

I’m becoming ok with my name no longer being ‘Chrystal’ but being ‘Lucas’ Mom’.  I still have lofty goals and dreams for myself, but those are some of those ‘particulars’ that can wait for Lucas to get his bearings in life

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When you take the lifelong monkey off your back

I had the pleasure of taking on my first 5k this past Saturday.  It was for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and I decided to take on this challenge not only for my weight loss goal, but also to keep my voice heard regarding this matter.  We are all familiar with the loss of my father and I don’t want to keep hearing in the news about it happening again and again.  I got something out of it that I never expected…

I knew I would probably exchange polite conversation with people there since I was an individual walking on my own and not part of a team.  Boy was I right!  I was one of maybe a handful that were walking without a team.  I didn’t get to speak with too many people, but the ones that I did, it was life changing.  Not only was I speaking with people who had lost friends or family, but I was also meeting people who survived the accident themselves.  One woman had been hit while riding her bike; she has to use two canes for lengthy walks and has not completely retained her full brain capacity.  But the one story that felt like a huge weight had been lifted and a veil had been lifted from my eyes was the story that was pretty much play by play just like my father’s story.  She was riding with a friend that she trusted (who had too much to drink) and they decided they were invincible and decided to speed.  They flew off the road, ejecting the girl from the car and the driver escaped with little injury.  The following trial was tumultuous and left a bitter taste.  It was like a mirror of my own experience.

I cried on and off throughout the walk as 300 other people carried their own crosses.  But mine felt shared, finally, as it was empowering to see this particular group not brought down by sadness.  They celebrated her life and made sure to have the same mission as me, keep our voices heard.  I will never forget how awesome of a dad I had, but I will also never forget how it put that bitter veil over my eyes.  I never want to see that veil again and I never want to see it cast over another face.  But please do not think this is just about drunk driving; we all want to stop impaired driving.  These are all preventable accidents and with Washington having 42% of all traffic related deaths being attributed to alcohol, we need to do everything in our power to help those we know are in trouble.

If you are someone who has been affected by such an incident, please know you are not alone.  There is someone else out there that can set you free from your loneliness and help you gain control of the madness you feel.

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Yeah, so I lived life outside of the blog

I did this thing called ‘living’ over the last month.  While I was ‘living’, we enjoyed visits from my in laws and some good friends.  We experienced new sights, new venues and created fun memories.

I also took on a challenge; a weight loss challenge.  And to be honest, you can’t really lose weight writing in a blog.  Hence why you haven’t heard much from me!  I started working out, running and changing what I eat and drink.  What’s hilarious is that I thought I had sleep problems; nope, just needed to be more active during waking hours.  You know, if we would all just listen to some pretty handy medical advice every so often, we might get somewhere.  In my case, my doc kept telling me I should work out more as the endorphin’s would really help my mood.  Or try changing up and making my diet more healthy; it’s good for you!  Did I ever mention that I’m really stubborn?

All this happened because I paid attention to the interaction between me, my son and my husband.  Our son wants to run wild and explore because, well, he’s a toddler!  My husband and I were just beat and spent all the time.  I just couldn’t go on living like that.  I didn’t want to hold Lucas back from all the adventure he wanted and truly needs.  So I decided to change pace and make the most of our very brief summer.  I’ve been taking Lucas on my runs, we play in our community park, we have a weekly walk group, I am involved in yoga therapy and most importantly, we all sleep through the night and invest in better foods for more pure energy.  I sometimes want to smack myself for always being so damn stubborn!

Needless to say, I LOVE LIVING!  If you are reading this, it better be in audio format while you are enjoying the great outdoors!

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The end of an era. But why are we ignoring that it’s ending?

Yes, I’m quite aware that it’s been a hot minute since I shared some Chrystal wisdom, but don’t you worry, I’ve been building up some good words!  So this is the one that’s been itching at me the most.  The end of being a real lady.  Yep, I said it; we’ve lost the era of grace and ‘lady like’ behavior.  Suddenly being scandalous, over the top and pushing the envelope is all this generation knows and is advertising.  And to be completely honest, men are not doing so hot either.  But are we really supporting either gender to be more graceful or chivalrous?  Nope…

If anything, we are supporting it by shoving it in each other’s face.  We advertise it on billboards, in books, in magazines and of course, through television.  We advertise that showing more (both outside and in) is going to get us ahead, get us more respect and get us noticed more quickly.  I’m not speaking as though I’m not included in this behavior; there was a good chunk of my early 20’s that was spent making my late 20’s self look like a fool.  But what I can tell you is that I had to learn the hard way that being ‘showing off’ thin and mouthy didn’t quite cater to the folks who I really needed to be gaining attention from.  And like I said before, men are not doing so hot either.  They publicize treating their spouses and/or partners badly and betraying their friends to get ahead as though they receive flashy awards for such actions.  Their choice of clothing to express their individualism is less than becoming and has made me grateful  that I’m married to a man who knows to dress appropriately for all occasions.

And if I hear one more time that ‘sex sells’, I’m going to hurl into a fit.  This comes back to pushing the envelope.  Do we honestly believe that past activists fighting for our rights really wanted us exposing ourselves?  I completely understand that our fore fathers fought for the First Amendment, but do we believe free speech is really about exposing ourselves in ridiculously inappropriate ways?  We’ve stained our minds so much we accept it and don’t push back.  I’ve even watched parents allow their children to dress sexy because they think ‘it’s cute’.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  The reason we have to candy coat every discussion to every person on this planet is because we are being forced to have completely unnecessary conversations with our children way too soon.

Lastly, etiquette and manners.  Did we miss the memo about being courteous to others so they will be courteous to us?  I had a man come up to me yesterday and thank me out of shock because I helped him parallel park while I was holding Lucas.  REALLY?!  People helping people is unheard of?  This generation needs to get a grip and begin a 180 transition.  Start teaching your children early how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  How to help another person out when it looks like they are struggling.  Know to never speak an ill word about someone close to them and to never do harm to anyone.  Never take advantage of someone’s misfortune and always be smiling as there is always someone who needs a smiling face.  We also need to know when to put our foot down to our children when they are pushing boundaries that should even be noticed at their age and to also limit that exposure from those around them.  If you make it clear to those around you that such influence is not acceptable, it will trickle through the pipelines and maybe even correct some bad behavior.  You might think I’m silly or crazy for thinking this should happen, but why don’t you stop and think about why it’s acceptable for any of these behaviors to go on?  Change always starts with one person.  Spread the word.

 

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I want to see the world, all of it, and not from my couch

Every June and July, my husband’s company starts a program called Boeing on the Move, where they wear a pedometer and are challenged to take at least 5,000 steps every day.  They will receive rewards at the end for doing so, but really, it’s to build healthier habits and get you ‘on the move’.  They are nice enough to send a new pedometer every year so this year, I used my husband’s old pedometer and decided to challenged myself!  And it led to this: Help Chrystal Reach Her Goal Weight!

I am now challenging myself to drop 65lbs by my 29th birthday (02/10/2013).  I want to do this to create more energy for myself, feel better about myself and to always have energy to keep up with my son.  I never want to hold him back from doing any activity he wants just because ‘I’m too tired’.  So not only have I been managing at least 5,000 steps every day, I have been doing different workouts each day and going on walks/hikes when the weather allows.  One day, I reached over 21,000 steps!

I created the Facebook event to have people cheer me on, give me tips and just see how I’m coming along.  I really need the support and accountability so knowing that others are watching and wondering if I’m going to complete the goal really makes me strive for that goal.  I can’t tell you how good it feels to get going on this.  I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, but I always come up with some excuse that detours me.  But this time, I told myself, “I’m not getting any younger; it’s only going to get harder to lose the weight; you deserve better than looking like you don’t care about yourself.”

I’m challenging you to join my Facebook event and cheer me on!  It might even motivate you to take up the very same challenge!

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Huh, it’s been a whole year?

Now I have had some idea that an anniversary was on the horizon, but wow, come Saturday, I will have been Mrs. Noah Marner for a whole year.  Strange, right?  The two things I’ve learned are: I have indeed met my match AND I can’t believe I thought I had a clue about anything a year ago!

So this time last year, I was in a blur of new mommyhood, settling into our new home and FINALLY getting my act together with this guy named Noah that had been in my life for oh, just a couple of years 😉 .  I still look back and wonder how I was even waking up and functioning each day.  I had the brain of a deranged lunatic!  Now while I’m glad I received the knowledge I did over the course of the past year, I wish someone would have smacked me for being such a naive, idealistic so and so.

As I watch the next batch of new moms and newlyweds come through, I see so much of myself in each and every one of them.  I see all the researching and thinking that they are making better choices than their predecessors and I can’t help but remember thinking all the same things.  Then once I had Lucas and I got married, I realized ‘Why am I reinventing the wheel? It was never broken’.  I sleep a lot better at night just letting my heart and my gut do all my thinking.

I fell in love with this amazing guy years ago and my heart has been the happiest it has ever been.  Everything I have experienced this past year with him, good and bad, I would do it all the same, over and over again.  He makes my days brighter, my smile bigger, my being stronger and my ability to love him and our son greater and greater.  And what blows me away, he feels the same way about me.  He makes me know we never settled; we struggled and fought for one another and now, we see the fruit of our work every day for the rest of our lives.

I’m the luckiest woman to have been chosen by Noah and Lucas and I look forward to many more birthdays and anniversaries to come!

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You really have to remember to put yourself first

That title is quite the slap in the face to me.  I mean, I know how to take care of my basic ‘me’ needs like eating, sleeping, showering and going to the bathroom, but to take care of this intellectual, emotional and physical being is just so foreign sometimes.  And having Lucas didn’t make it any better.  Well, this week, that all changed.  I did something for me and it was such a DUH!

I got my top wisdom teeth pulled that had cracked/destroyed the two molars in front of them.  I have been in pain for a little over 6 years and due to horrible or no insurance, I put it off and found ways to cope.  Even dental care is a basic necessity and I couldn’t even figure that out.  But I’ve made other changes that are making me feel more secure and more like I’m my own me.  I started drinking more water rather than surviving on crutches, I started working out, I started taking pride in my appearance again, I evaluated how I was portraying and communicating with others and figured out how I could better represent me and I’ve been seeing a doctor to talk about my past, present and future.

The last change noted has been most helpful for my psyche as I needed to understand my ‘different’ points and not feel so alone.  The rest has done such a number on all the other departments as well as making sleep so much more rewarding.  I’ve also started returning to some work.  I’m in the process of joining our HOA’s Board of Directors and I’ve become quite involved with my church on different projects.  I feel like I’m contributing outside my home again and that when the time is right for me to enter the workforce again, I will be prepared for it.

As a mother, I found myself getting lost is so many other parenting styles that I forgot what I was doing as a mom.  I finally shrugged the Empire State Building sized amount of senseless information and got back to my gut instinct.  I also worked on understanding my life as a wife and what my husband needs of me.  All of these people need me to be me and that’s why we all love and need each other in the first place.  It’s again so profound that the statement ‘Getting Back to the Basics’ really means just that and can be used in all facets of life.  I encourage each and every one of you to sit down at least once a week and figure out how you can get back to what makes you the happy you.  You’ll be surprised by who all this will affect; most importantly, YOU!

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His Eyes Would Sparkle And Shine

***GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS OF A CAR ACCIDENT AND VICTIMS.  PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO SUCH MATERIAL***

It was 16 years ago and it was a beautiful Friday afternoon.  I was in 6th grade and had just completed my first week back to school after being at home for a bit with the chicken pox.  Getting those at 12 was just brutal.  I will never forget how relieved I was to come home that afternoon, but that relief was short lived when I saw my mother come home from work.  She had clearly been crying for quite some time and the gentleman she was with at the time had to help her walk into our house.  That afternoon my father had made a choice that would affect all of us for the rest of our lives….

My father had met at a local watering hole with his best buddy.  Who knows what they were actually there for; alcoholics don’t need reasons to be at these places, they are always there.  They, too, decided to make the best of the weather and go cruising down a back road.  Both had been drinking but only one had a license.  My dad had just been released from jail a few months earlier due to the ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ rule for drunk drivers.  He spent a couple months in jail and the only thing it changed was kept him from driving; he lost his license for a LONG time.  I guess we all felt relieved that he couldn’t drive anymore.

As they drove along this winding road, they attempted to maintain a high rate of speed through an upcoming s-curve.  They made it through the first half of the curve, but the second part, they were not so lucky.  The car they were riding in went hurling off the road before flipping several times and ejecting my father from the car.  The driver was trapped in the car with only a bruise on his neck from the seat belt.  My father went flying 30 feet from the car and was killed during the ejection as his head went through the portion of the car where the door closes with the car.  As the once white car comes to a rest in a crumpled metal ball, my father, too, was laying in the field in a crumpled pile.

My mother, after taking a while to compose herself, came from her bedroom and sat my sister and I down to talk with us.  She had informed us that our father was in another accident.  My parents had been divorced for a bit when this all happened and his accidents were a partial factor in that life changing decision.  I asked if we could go see him, assuming he was in a hospital or crashed out on someone’s couch again.  My mother shook her head and began to cry again.  She said he didn’t make it this time.  I was frozen, shocked still in my own skin.  How does a 12 year old and a 7 year old understand the death of a parent?  How do these children understand death at all?  I began to cry as I saw everyone around me crying.  I didn’t know what else to do.

When it came time to see my father one last time, I still felt frozen.  I was physically alive, but in all other senses, I was dead.  I truly don’t think I’ve ever recovered, but I’ve learned to accept those dead parts of me.  I walked up to his casket, not really sure of what I would see.  I wanted to see my dad the way I always had, the pale factory worker with dirty hands, scrubby hair and always a 5 o’clock shadow.  There was only one thing that was him, his attire.  They put him in his Harley-Davidson t-shirt and jeans with the worn out Converse athletic high tops he had had for almost 10 years.  But he had so much make up on his face to cover up all the swelling and bruising that he didn’t look like my dad.  They had an open casket, but he was faced so you couldn’t see one side of his face as his jaw was busted out and they put a turtle neck over his twisted neck.  The funeral home played a lot of my father’s favorite songs in the background as our family is not really into that organ music.  But it was when they decided to have him carried out to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ that all of a sudden all that was left of me was sucked out and I cried like I had never cried before.  Watching my family around me cry as they watched me cry just was too much.

The next year I would see society, the justice system and my family at their worst.  Court, money and moral battles took over our lives as everyone fought about everything.  My sister and I had to sit back and watch our lives continue to unravel all because my father decided to take a drunk joy ride one beautiful Friday afternoon.  Please, think about this story the next time you are about to get behind the wheel of a car.  Do you want to put a family through this?  Do you want to put yourself through the legal troubles that will follow?  If you or someone you know battles with this sort of problem, please share this story and let them know they can get help.  Friends and family don’t let the ones they love drive drunk.  Don’t change someone’s life this way.  Don’t let someone else have this kind of story to relive every day for the rest of their lives.

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Before you start hatin’, know your foe

In the wake of President Obama stating his Christian beliefs (and his daughters) helped him decide to support gay marriage, I’ve read quite a few sites that have stated they don’t understand how that’s possible.  I’m also well aware of the Biblical verses that are quoted as stating gay marriage is a sin.  I think  some folks need some educational material regarding how a good portion of us Christians support gay marriage.  (The following statements are my own through study and discussion with other Christians; I have attended mostly Methodists churches and had a short time spent with a Non-Denominational church.  My opinions reflect my study with these backgrounds.)

First off, we understand that God is love.  God wants his children happy and to respect, appreciate and love one another.  In case everyone forgot, marriage started off as a business arrangement.  It was meant to merge powerful families.  While it does still exist, a good portion of the human race believes marriage is about love.  So if we revert to my earlier statement that God is love and wants his children to be happy, why should we involve our political beliefs to stop it?

Now, the verses that state gay union is a sin is misread.  Most of the verses which state being against any sort of gay union were throughout the Old Testament.  In the New Testament, Jesus did not speak of gay union.  When Jesus came and worked throughout the people, He helped EVERYONE.  He never turned someone away because of their beliefs or whatever condition they may be in.  It is also understood that Jesus came and died for us to be cleaned and cleared of all of our sin, thus making The Old Testament laws obsolete.  Yes, The Bible is open to interpretation and everyone reads it and understands it differently (just as I read and understand it this way), it’s also being researched to check if all the original Hebrew words were translated correctly.

Lastly, a good portion of society likes to make their idea of Christians based on congregations with radical motives.  These beliefs do not reflect the entire Christian faith.  Just as one group of Atheists, Buddhists, Catholics, Lutherans, Jewish, Hindus and many other religious groups may have radical groups that does not mean the entire faith feels that way.  I choose not to generalize society as a whole, but the opinions I receive on a regular basis from friends seem to believe we, Christians, are all bad apples setting judgement on all.  It’s not our place to pass judgement and no one should feel that way.  True Christians show love to all and embrace each other.

I will send you off on the Statement of Inclusion from the church I’m attending (Fairwood Community UMC) and I feel it is fantastic representation of the path all Christians should be walking towards: “We believe in the ever present love of God as witnessed through Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We believe that each person is loved by God and is of sacred worth.

Therefore, by God’s grace:

We welcome all persons to our Church without regard to race, ethnic or cultural background, social status, gender, sexual orientation, age, theological perspective, political affiliation, or other means people use to categorize and discriminate against others. We express God’s hospitality by creating a safe, healing and transforming place for all to enter. We celebrate the gifts of all who come seeking God, Christian community and justice in our world, and we welcome all into the life and ministry of our Church. We recognize the inter-relatedness of all creation and we declare that we grow in grace and in the knowledge of God when we embrace diversity. We uphold the motto of our denomination – Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.”

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