Totally Wrong, But Completely Perfect: The Birth of My Daughter

Published April 21, 2014 by krystal

It’s been nearly 8 weeks since the most beautiful little girl joined our lives.  I figured it was past time to record her story, before I forget anything else!

February 17 I was 3 days shy of my 30th birthday, and had my 37th week check up in the afternoon.  My blood pressure had been a little high in the previous weeks, so my doctor had told me to take it easy.  I kept my feet up as much as I could, and tried to rest as much as I could.  When I got to the doctor’s office, my blood pressure was better, and I had lost some weight due to decreased swelling.  I was so excited!  The excitement was soon extinguished when the doctor told me that this was my last appointment.  I would be induced the following Monday.  I had made no progress toward labor, and the doctor warned me that a c section was likely due to failed induction. I cried.  I absolutely loved being pregnant, and I wanted her to be born on her timeline, not the doctors!  Strangers rarely said mean things (family, on the other hand…), I loved when she pushed her fingers against my belly, I loved the excitement, I even loved the doctor’s appointments!  There was never a point that I wanted her out, well, not until that afternoon in the doctor’s office.  I must have prayed 10 times a day that she’d be born before my induction date.  But… she wasn’t.

February 24– My husband’s school threw us a baby shower.  Joey’s parents made it in from West Virginia just in time for the shower.  I didn’t sleep very well the night before (due to nerves), so I headed home as soon as the shower was over to try to rest (ha!).  Once Joey got home, my mom came over briefly to take a few maternity pics.  I really wanted them done, but didn’t get around to it until the very last-minute.  We got to lay down for about an hour after the pictures, but we were both too excited to think about napping!

7:15 pm– We left the house and went to Popeye’s.  They said I should have a “light dinner,” but we honestly didn’t have much time prepare anything light, plus I knew that this would be the last food I got to eat for a long time!

8:00 pm– We got to the hospital, and they were all ready for us!  I was the only L&D patient at the time, so I was treated extra special.  The night nurse that evening was one of my favorites, despite her obsession with the fetal heart monitor.  I had two belts strapped around my belly:  one to measure the baby’s heartbeat, and one to measure my contractions.  I also got to wear a blood pressure cuff constantly.  Every 30 minutes my blood pressure was automatically taken.  I was also poked for an IV, but nothing was started.  Having that on my hand was so uncomfortable!  I could barely move my hand!  The nurse gave me my first dose of Cytotec around 9:15, she looked at me and said, “Well, you’re in labor!”  She also told me to try to rest, that she would be back around 2:00 for my next dose.  oey and I stayed up talking for a couple of hours, and checking out the room.  The nurse said I could eat until midnight, so Joey went and got us some dessert from the cafeteria, because I knew it would be a long time before I could eat again!

11:15 pm- We turned off the lights and tried to relax.  Joey went to sleep almost immediately, since he had a full day at work.  He was also starting to fight a cold/sinus infection, so he was all ready for some sleep.  I was exhausted from only sleeping 2 hours the night before, but I was having trouble sleeping again.  Every time I moved, we lost the baby on the fetal heart monitor.  For some reason, she only wanted me to lay flat on my back.  I am not much of a back sleeper, so you can imagine how frustrating the situation was.  There was a point where I laid on my side and slept for 45 minutes.  The nurse came in and said she let me get a little sleep.  I think she just got too busy, because there were so many people coming in during the wee hours in labor.

2:00 am–  The nurse came back to give me more Cytotec.  She told me that there really was no progress, but that was pretty normal.  She said that at 6:00 I would either get a third dose of Cytotec, or it would be Pitocin time, depending on what the doctor said.  She left, and the remaining four hours were similar to the previous four:  no sleep.  At one point, I almost fell asleep, but then a woman in the room next door had her baby.  She screamed, then the baby cried.  and cried.  and cried.  So I stayed up.

6:00 am- The nurse came in and said the doctor was ready to put me on Pitocin.  I was so excited, but also really nervous.  I was hoping I could get a little rest sometime, but before I knew it, the sun was up, and there were people in and out of my room.

8:00 am- My parents showed up around 8:00.  They had been to McDonald’s, but respected the “No food in the delivery room” rule that I set in place.  The way I saw it was that if I couldn’t have food, no one could have food (in there).  Others could leave, but I was pretty much stuck in that room.  They brought Joey breakfast, so he went in the hall to eat.  I started having irregular contractions about this time too.

9:00 am- Joey’s parents showed up.

10:00 am-  The doctor had the Pitocin up as high as it could go, but my contractions had completely stopped.  My blood pressure was getting a little high.  The nurse was ready to “check” me, so everyone but Joey was asked to leave.  Unfortunately, she reported the same info as before:  no progress.  Then she told me that she would go call the doctor, but more than likely, the doctor would want me to have a C-section around noon.  I couldn’t believe it!  I had only been on Pitocin for 4 hours!  I was so not ready for a C-section at that point!

10:30 am- That must have been the longest phone call to the doctor ever, because my water broke while waiting to hear back.  I called the nurse, she checked the “water” with a piece of something and left the room.  When she returned, she told me that my water had broken and she wanted to check me again.  This time I was 2 cm dilated!  I was also having contractions about 5-6 minutes apart.  I was so excited!  I had went from nothing to lots of progress all in 30 minutes!  I asked the nurse if this meant my C-section would be postponed.  She said she didn’t know, but would definitely call the doctor and ask her. Most of the remainder of the time was kind of a blur.  My contractions increased to 2 minutes apart, and without any pain killers, it was a little rough.  My mom came in, and I told her what was going on.  The doctor came in and talked to me about having a C-section.  I told the doctor I could feel the baby pushing on my pelvis.  She said that the baby couldn’t get through, she was stuck.  I agreed to the C-section, and begged the doctor to turn off the Pitocin.  She said, “Oh, yeah, we’ll get that turned off, you’ll still have contractions, but they’ll be lighter.”  Then she left!  The Pitocin was still pumping until the next nurse came in.  Talk about terrible and unnecessary pain!  Why didn’t the doctor just turn off the Pitocin? My time-table is all out of whack, but I can imagine that they wheeled me across the hall around 1:00 pm.  The starvation (15 hours with no food is a very long time when you’re pregnant), exhaustion (less than 3 hours of sleep in two days), and all the pain left me a little delirious, to say the least.  Between contractions, I got up and sat in the wheelchair.  At this point, the contractions were still there.  They were still pretty strong, but further apart.  They wheeled me down the hall.  We turned into another small hallway where Joey was.  He was putting on his surgery outfit.  When I got in the cold surgery room, I had to climb on this tall, black, cold, vinyl-like table.  And the lights!  It was so bright in there!  On top of the brightness, they had this giant spot light on me.  And I thought the dentists light was bad… It seemed very skinny compared to my big comfy hospital bed.  They made me sit on the edge and lean over.  At 38+1 weeks along, my body, particularly my back, did not bend very far.  My new nurse (who wasn’t as awesome as the night nurse) was pushing down on my shoulders.  They had a cape over my back with a hole in it showing him where to inject the anesthesia.  The anesthesiologist made these random streaks across my back.  It tickled! Talk about awkward: pain of contraction, inability to bend over, shivering from cold, and now having the guy tickle my back.  It was actually very uncomfortable.  I guess I finally bent over enough, because he got the spinal block in. I still felt normal at first, but all of the nurses and doctors were rushing me to put my feet up and lay down.  My arms were spread out straight on each side.  They were putting iodine on me, placing a catheter, and putting up the curtain, when the numbness came suddenly.  Joey  came in and sat on the left side of my face.  He kept asking me how I was, and I told him I didn’t feel good.  That was all I could get out.  As quickly as the anesthesia hit, the nausea quickly followed.  Joey said I turned white.

1:30 pm– I honestly never felt a thing, but the nausea was quickly replaced by surprise when I heard the baby crying!  They didn’t hold her up to me or anything, they just put her in the clear bassinet 5 feet away.  They cleaned her up a little, put a hat and diaper on her, weighed her, and measured her.  I kept trying to see her, but it was too hard.  No body was saying a word, so finally I just asked, “Is it still a girl?”  Someone said yes.  Joey was crying.  He came over and between sobs told me she had 10 fingers and 10 toes, and that I did a good job.  I probably would have cried too if I didn’t physically feel so weird inside.  Before I knew it, they picked me up off the operating table and put me back in the bed.  That was a weird feeling.  All I could feel was my head.  My arms were numb, and the rest of me was nonexistent.  They wheeled me back to my original L&D room, with Joey and the baby following shortly behind.  As we were going down the hall, I felt a little sick again.  Those wheeling me joked that most people feel sick at that point.  When we got to the room, they put her on my chest for some bonding time.  Once we stopped moving I felt all right. We got to spend a little over an hour in the room together, before she was taken to the nursery for real cleaning and further testing.  Joey went out to tell our family that she was in there, and my mom came in to say hi.  I really don’t remember what she said, though.  My sister-in-law and nephew came in my room to say hi too.  I must have looked scary, because he’s usually pretty social, and this time he had very little to say.  He just looked at everything in the room. I knew that there were a lot of babies being born and that there wasn’t a whole lot of room on the recovery side.  I didn’t know how long I was going to have to stay in the L&D room, and was happy when one of the nurses said we’d be moving soon!  The baby returned from the nursery just in time to be moved with us.  Everyone grabbed something, and several things were piled on my bed for the trip down the hall.  They put me in the room next to the door, which was furthest from the nurses station.  At first, they didn’t have a bed for Joey, so He just stood around with our parents and my great-aunt and uncle.

4:30 pm– A nurse came in and put these cuffs on my legs.  She told me that I couldn’t feel them.  I told her I could.  They squeezed my legs periodically, it actually felt quite nice.  I don’t think she believed me, even though that’s what went on.  Around 5:00 or 5:30, they brought me some dinner.  It was pretty gross, so I only ate a little.  If I would have known I could have eaten, I would have asked somebody to bring me something better!  Everyone left shortly after I ate, because we were so exhausted!

7:00 pm– We both fell asleep.  I figured we would all sleep for days, but we were back up around 11:30.  We were up for a couple of hours before falling back asleep.  I was up off and on through the night feeling sick.  Plus, I was in shock that we actually, finally had a baby, and how awesome she was!

The C Section- I was deathly afraid of having a C Section.  I had read tons of info online about how terrible they were, and how my baby would be born with pneumonia or worse.  I was afraid I would be bedridden for weeks after and be unable to do anything.  I thought my entire incision would bust open and all my insides would fall out.  Seriously, why do they get such a bad rap?  Fortunately, I had talked to my BFF about her terrible attempt at a vaginal delivery and how the C Section was a very welcomed alternative.  She was up walking 3 hours after the surgery, so I knew it couldn’t be that bad.  Her story definitely helped me, especially when I realized that my baby was not going to come down my pelvis.  Now, I couldn’t imagine having a baby any other way!  Which is good, because I don’t think I know any VBAC doctors!  I don’t really want to either.  The C Section was fine, and actually probably less painful for me.  I didn’t take any painkillers for pain after I got home, and was okay when one of the nurses gave me my iv painkiller an hour late.  After a few days, though, the staples started itching.  I was very glad when they were removed!

The C Section was totally wrong according to many people, but we got the happiest ending ever.  It was perfect.

Pinterest, Ugh! or Why I Hate Pinterest!

Published December 1, 2013 by krystal

Yesterday evening, I posted this on my Facebook.  I even tagged my husband because of how furious I was at the concept of Pinterest!  I had an overwhelming ONE like.  That overwhelming one?  It was my husband, Joey, who was sitting right next to me in the car when I made the meme.  Joey said that our friends must all be those lazy copy cats.  That made me laugh a little, and I almost felt a little okay with the situation.

Allow me to walk you through the events.  On October 7, we found out that our baby would be a little girl.  The very next day, we threw together a fun little scavenger hunt where my parents and my brother’s family ran through and around the house searching for clues that would eventually lead them to the final hiding spot, which held a scratch off ticket revealing the gender.  The idea of the scratch off came from this joke between my dad and me.  The idea of having a scavenger hunt stemmed from the fact that bow hunting season had just started.  The clues for the game were also made up by me.  Everyone had an awesome time and loved the hunt!

The final clue, leading the hunters to the two cabinets above the stove.

The final clue for Joey’s family, leading the hunters to the two cabinets above the stove.

We decided to do the same thing for Joey’s family on Thanksgiving, but since I had longer to plan it, the clue cards were much cuter, new clues were added, and there were much more of them.  Several of the clues at our house were specific for us or our house, so we had to make them a little more general to fit in my in laws house.

These were considerably nicer than the plain black and white ones used for the party in Arkansas.  Needless to say, I saved them all for our little girl’s scrapbook.  One day, she’ll love to see them and hear the stories from her gender reveal parties!

It’s not like it took forever, but it did take the better part of an evening to think up the clues and then choose the style for the cards.  Of course, it was also important to make sure the cards had the correct flow, otherwise, the hunters might get stuck in the bathroom and not know where to go next!

The final clues, as they were hidden above the stove.

The scratch off cards, as they were hidden above the stove.


Joey’s mom took pictures of the clues and the final scratch off announcing that we’re having a girl.  She couldn’t contain her excitement and showed the pictures to half the county.  I guess she showed this snobby girl who graduated with Joey.  Her response to my MIL?  “Well, somebody’s been on Pinterest.”  Seriously?  Did I really just spend an entire evening using my own ideas and creativity just to have my originality reduced to a Pin?  I did not click “download” and “print” off Pinterest.  No, each and every clue was well thought out and typed up by ME.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m the first person ever to have a scavenger hunt, nor am I saying that I’m the first to reveal my baby’s gender with a scratch off card.  I might be one of the first to combine the two…  Whatever.  IDC.  Just give me a little credit for my time and hard work!  If I did snatch something off Pinterest, I’d totally admit it, but I certainly could not see myself creating an entire party from a Pin.

Ugh.  Until next time, Happy Pinning!

Social Media and My Kid

Published September 12, 2013 by krystal

     I have Facebook friends who post a new cluster of pictures of their child at least twice a week.  I also have Facebook friends who very rarely post photos of their child.  I recently read an article about a couple who decided to leave their child off of the internet, but make a Facebook, email account, Instagram, and Twitter using their name.  I’ve been thinking a little about what degree of presence my kid will have on social media. 

     Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s fun to look at pictures of my friend’s kids.  Some are hilarious!  Some are so precious. Truthfully though, if I saw them and their child in a store, I would probably recognize their child before I would recognize them. Simply because the child’s most recent photo is their profile and page cover photo.  They rarely post their own photos, but opt for one’s of their little ones to fill their timeline instead.  I think it’s great that they love their children and want to show them off, but I’m not sure if that’s a route I’d like to go. 

I’m not personally a fan of excessive posting

     Say I were to name my child Jane Doe.  Providing that Facebook is still around, when she is 13 I allow her to get a Facebook account.  How would she feel when she added me if she found over 100 albums of “Jane’s pics?”  Every moment, no matter how large or small, were documented for all of my Facebook friends to see.  The awkward moments were there, along with the embarrassing ones.   As a 13 year old, I would have died if I were introduced to an online collection of my life in photos.  The only thing that would make that situation worse would be to know that it was posted for so many to see.  I had several periods of my life that I feel I looked awkward.  As a mildly insecure 13 year old, there is no way I would have wanted any of those photos to be seen. Teens and parents have enough relationship issues, why complicate it by throwing a massive social media scrapbook into the mix? 

     There is the possibility that my child will be upset that their entire life was not published online for the world to see.  In that event, I plan to hand her a flash drive or CD (or perhaps and external hard drive?) full of those pics, and let her go to town posting it on her own Facebook, or mine I guess, if she wanted to. 

     Now, let’s pretend that a little while after Jane is born, I get pregnant again with Joey Junior (I would never name my kid Junior, btw).  My hands are so full with Jane that I don’t get around to uploading nearly as many photos of Junior as I did with Jane. Junior might not be very happy when he found out he only had 30 albums of “Junior’s Pics,” compared to Jane’s 100.  Perhaps as a boy he wouldn’t care.  Perhaps as a boy he would.  Perhaps he wouldn’t be a boy at all…

     Then there’s always the possibility that someone could hack into my account or a friends account, find out what school my child went to, then by facial recognition alone call them by their name.  They could pull the whole, “Jane, your mommy sent me to pick you up…”  Or I suppose if they saw us in a store and I turned around for a minute…  You get the point.  I don’t want my child to be recognizable to strangers online.  Is it just me, or is that a little creepy:  Many people know a ton about Jane, but Jane doesn’t know any of them. 

     I suppose the easiest fix would be to only have close friends and family on Facebook.  But honestly, I want more than that.  I like keeping up with others, and I like reading articles they post.  I like having a lot of Facebook friends (except during election time!).

I don’t like the avoidance of posting either

     I’ll just go ahead and start this section with the couple who opted to make their child her own online presence before birth.  They made all of the accounts private, but logged into them to keep them active.  All of the social media accounts were linked to the email account.  They made a binder with the account information and passwords so that she could log in when she reached the appropriate age.  I’m blindly assuming that the email address they chose was similar to , where the address was the first initial and last name.  It could have been whole name too, I suppose:  To me, that’s kind of silly.  As a 13 year old, she might possibly want something more fun (like )until she was older and actually needed a professional-sounding email account, idk, just a thought.  That couple seemed a bit over the top to me.  They actually Googled the baby’s name to make sure that it did not already belong to someone they wouldn’t want their child to be confused for.  Maybe I’m wrong, but usually people are over 20 by the time they get a record online (yes, some are younger, I know).  That means if they did locate a “bad guy” with their child’s name, the bad guy would be nearly 40 by the time the baby was seeking employment.  Kinda hard to confuse a 20 year old and a 40 year old, right?  Confession:  After reading this, I totally Googled both of my first choice kid’s names.  The male is a relative of Joey, so of course the relative popped up.  There was nothing for the girl though.  My names are pretty unique.  Our last name is pretty unique.  I’m not saying our kids will be the only ones alive in America with their names, but it could be a possibility.  It’s not the goal, though.

     Now, if I never posted a picture of Jane, people might wonder if I actually made the child up (lol).  After all, I still haven’t posted the first ultrasound.  Joey and I do want to occasionally post a pic, maybe a few a year, but not to the point that everyone’s feed is littered with Jane and nothing but Jane.  I do not plan to put just Jane as my profile pic  (My page is somehow linked thorugh Google, and everyone can see my profile pic.).  It’s not Jane’s Facebook, it’s mine.  J  We also want people to be able to see her pics occasionally, but not necessarily everything she’s ever done, if that makes sense.

What about relatives far away?

     We certainly want family members from far away to see her photos!  How did people share photos years ago?  By actually printing and mailing them!  Ok, we’re not really that old school.  We’ll probably send them via text.  We may even create an online photo album that is not connected to Facebook.  Either of those would be good options to keep family updated without having Jane plastered all over social media.  

What if others post pics of Jane?

     ImageI guess that would be fine.  I’d prefer not to be linked back to the pictures though.  I want her online presence to be a minimum.  I’ve also considered the possibility of posting pictures 3-6 months later, so there is never a current photo online.


                My reasoning is just so that she can keep her privacy before she has the opportunity to make decisions for herself.  I realize that parents are the ones who make decisions for minor children, but posting excessive photos on social media is not a decision I want to make for her.

Maybe I’m being a bit extreme but it seems like in a few years we’ll see lawsuits pop up between kids and parents.  We’ll see the kid suing for invasion of privacy, exploitation, any number of things.   Hey, it’s possible!

The First Trimester

Published September 8, 2013 by krystal

It all started on the “First Annual In-Law Family Gathering” in

Pirates vs. Dodgers!

Pirates vs. Dodgers!

June.  Ok, that’s what I’m going to call it because 1.) Joey can’t come up with a last name for my blog; 2.) We were chilling with MY in-laws; and 3.) We plan to do it every year (the gathering, not necessarily the pregnancy).  It might have been the excitement of the Pirate’s win over the Dodgers that sparked the baby to come to life, or perhaps it was the upside down and high speed roller coasters that shook my system into functional, either way, something worked!

A side note:  June was my 4th or 5th month using an Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK).  In the few months before, I always got a positive on the 13th day.  In June, I did not get a positive on day 13, 14, 15, or 16.  I stopped after 16 was negative, thinking that something was just wrong that month.

June 20– This was probably one of my worst days ever.  I had a migraine.  I’ve only ever had 2 in my life.  This was the worst.  Every little sound was magnified, and I was grouchy because of lights and the noise.  Interestingly enough, Joey also woke up with throwing up and with a migraine.  We both thought we had overdone working at our new house.  I don’t know what was wrong with Joey, but for me, it was the baby!

June 29– This was our first morning in our new house.  We spent many hours painting and getting it ready to move in.  I was two days late, so I decided that the first thing I would do when I woke up was to take a pregnancy test.  As I sat there waiting for the digital display, Mason came up.  He acted like he was watching it too.  At one point I said, “Don’t get excited, Mason, it always says no.”  A few seconds later the reading appeared.  It didn’t say no this time.  It said pregnant!  I rushed into the bedroom, woke Joey, and told him to look.  Since he had just woken up, he was not as excited, and he could not read, since he did not have his glasses on.  He told me that I needed to take another test to be sure (because false positives are sooooo common).  The second test was positive too!  He suggested I take a third, and I told him he was crazy.  I was so excited, but there was one little problem:  my insurance was up the next day.  Sure, we had purchased temporary insurance to cover us from July 1- September 1, but that insurance did not cover prenatal visits.  It also said that they would not insure pregnant women.  Oops!  We were so lost and did not know what to do!  The only thing we could think of was to call Joey’s oldest brother.  Him and his wife are older and more well versed in the ways of the world, so without telling our parents, they were the first option.  Big brother said I wouldn’t need to go to the doctor until I was 8 or 10 weeks any way.  He said we should go ahead and tell people when we wanted, but leave it off Facebook, just in case something happened and we had to use that temporary insurance (Then I could pretend not to know at that doctor’s office).  I had already had a first interview that was promising, with a very positive outlook on that position, so I had a feeling it would work out.

July 3 & 4– We told our parents about the baby via a video I made and posted on YouTube.

July 8– I got the job!  I found out shortly thereafter that my insurance would start August 1!  Perfect!

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 6.07.23 PM


August 6– I had my first doctor’s appointment.  The baby actually looked like a baby, not a bean or whatever.  It actually kinda made me think of the worm from The Labyrinth.  It didn’t have the curve in it like that, and it’s little arms and legs were crossed in front.  It was so sweet seeing the little kid!  It’s heartbeat was 179.


My September appointment was relatively routine.  I had to do an early glucose test, since diabetes runs in my family.  It came back negative, so that was great.  We heard the baby’s heartbeat.  It was 151.  I scheduled my October appointment, and we’ll get to find out what we’re having (if the baby cooperates).

The whole pregnancy hasn’t been too bad.  I woke up sick at 1:30 one night.  That lasted a terrible 15 minutes, but fortunately hasn’t happened again.  I usually have a stomach ache at least once a day, but it’s not too bad.  If I stand too long or walk too far, my back hurts.  I have the nose of a bloodhound, which is nice when things smell good, but is terrible when things smell bad.  Then there’s the acne, and bacne.  I had a better complexion all through my teen years.  Other than the fact that Mason doesn’t really want much to do with me, the whole first trimester has been okay.  I’m not sure if I’m one who loves being pregnant… yet, but it’s not bad either!

I Need to Grow Up Before I Have a Baby?

Published September 3, 2013 by krystal

I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of someone telling us something outrageous.  When we share the information with another, they say, “Oh yeah, I don’t put any stock into what they say.  Don’t worry about it.  Don’t let it get to you.”  As much as you tell yourself that, “It’s not me, it’s them,” you still constantly let those words cut into you.  Ouch.  Loss of sleep follows.  The Entire. Drive. To. Work. Is spent obsessing over the words. 

I’m pregnant.  I’ll go ahead and put that out there, since all of Facebook knows anyway.  My baby is due March 10.

Along with a “Congratulation!” recently, I was also told “You have a lot of maturing to do before the baby comes.”  I just smiled a confused smile, because in my book, being grown consists of not making a scene and avoiding conflicting situations.  (However, venting in a blog is fully acceptable!  Hey, I’m technically anonymous.)



Let’s explore the ways in which I believe I’m mature.

  • I moved nearly 4,000 miles from home.  I survived on my own for one year, and with my husband for 4.  In that time, I did not once set the house on fire.  Together, we kept the place clean (not tidy, really, but not filthy or dusty), managed to have food on the table, and made it to work a couple of minutes early each day, wearing clean clothes.  While up there, I moved a total of three times. Twice, I had Jarrod’s help, but moving was still a chore (2 people=double the help and double the stuff!)
  • Did I mention that during the last two years I was in grad school?  The move took place in the middle of my finals?  We had a lot of clutter around the house because with two full time teachers and two full time grad students, picking up was not really a priority. BUT, the bathrooms were cleaned, the place was dusted, the fridge didn’t stink, and dishes were done regularly.  (There wasn’t junk on the floor either, so it wasn’t THAT bad.)
  • I have managed to own a cat for a little over 5 years.  I have kept him feed, watered, and with a clean litter box.  If I were so irresponsible and immature, Mason would not be here today!
  • I have held down a career for 5 years.  Not a part-time job at a big box store or a restaurant, no an actual career.  Oh yeah, and I was at the same school district for 5 years.  I left VOLUNTARILY, and on good terms.  Meaning, I could go back if I wished (and there was an opening).
  • I have managed to pay all my bills on time for 5 years.  Granted, now living in the Lower 48 means there are many more bills, but those are all paid on time, with money in the bank budgeted for those costs.
  •  Along with bills, I managed to pay off the $7,000 in credit card debt I had from college.  (I did that BEFORE December of my first teaching year, thank you very much.)  Now, five years and four months out of college, my original $18,000 student loan debt is a whopping $1,000, and will be paid off this time next year.
  • I don’t “party.”  The last party I went to was for a 2 year old!  The last bar was a dairy bar, and the last club was the Lions Club!  I stopped smoking 11 months ago, so surely those behaviors were not what she was referring to.
  • My undergraduate degree is in Early Childhood Education (Birth-4th grade), meaning:  I learned about babies in college.  I feel very prepared.
  • For cryin’ out loud, I’ll be 30 when the kid gets here!  Not 15 or 20, no, 30!!!  Is it really customary to tell a 30 year old married woman of 3 years that she needs to grow up before she has a baby?!?!?

Ok.  I did sit back and consider some possibilities.  I certainly do not think that I’m Mrs. Responsible all the time.  The following situations are possible areas she could have been referring to:

  •  I don’t like bugs.  I’m allergic to bees, wasps, and apparently gnats now too.  Getting stung by a bee or wasp means that I need immediate Benadryl (can pregnant women have Benadryl?) and I’m out for the remainder of the day.  See?  I’m scared because I don’t want to spend half a day recovering from a sting.  I’m also a little terrified by every other bug on the planet.  In Alaska, there were flies, head lice, mosquitoes, and bed bugs.  Three out of the four were not bugs you wanted to encounter.  Needless to say, I have a lot more adjusting to do before I can get used to all the bugs!
  •  I am a happy, giggly person who likes to have fun.  I don’t think that being grown means I have to be stiff and boring.  I want my child to grow up with happy parents, who like to have fun.  Will we have rules?  Yes!  Chores?  Yes!  When my child is older will he/she say, “When I was a kid, I watched Dora!”?  Ok, maybe, but I want them to say, “When I was a kid, my mom played dolls with me/my mom played cops and robbers with me.”  I’ll probably be more excited about his/her first set of legos than he/she is!  And if that makes me an immature, bad parent, then so be it!  I can’t change who I am.  If I wanted, I could make a list of how I think she is a bad parent, but I’m too mature for that sort of behavior.

Perhaps I missed something.

Things I’ll miss about Alaska (in no particular order)/Things I won’t miss

Published April 2, 2013 by krystal

Living in Alaska seems to be such a novel idea.  Whenever we visit the lower 48 for the summer, EVERYONE has a story of when their third cousins neighbors sister’s brother in law’s aunt came to Alaska on vacation in 1986.  Or… they want to come.  I’m not kidding.  Few understand the vastness that is Alaska, so it is difficult for them to fathom that people don’t come to rural (bush) Alaska to visit, or tour on vacation.  There are no hotels or souvenir shops.  I have yet to meet the owner of the fishing charter (because it is non-existent) There is one store.  It is the size of a small Dollar General or large convenience store.

That being said, it’s funny when people ask what tourist things are around here.  Fortunately, Joey and I had the opportunity to do an interior tour in the summer of 2011 with his parents.  We got to see Mt. McKinley up close and personal in an air taxi.  We were close to bears, rafted the Chena River, panned for gold, and saw a glacier (there was more, but you get the point)!

Last summer (2012) we had the opportunity to spend 6 weeks in Fairbanks for my schooling.  That, plus the many trips we have taken to Anchorage for medical/personal reasons have shown us unique things we like about Anchorage/Alaska there are not in Arkansas.

Image1. Fred Meyer Oh how I will miss “Fast Freddies!”  Ok, so it’s basically a more expensive Wal-Mart with higher quality goods.  They sell OPI nail polish and Levi’s jeans.  They also sell men’s Hanes whitey tighties 6 for $32.  They have this beauty line called “essence.”  I’ve only tried the nail polish.  It’s $1.99 (sometimes $.99) and is worth every single cent!

When I was in Fast Freddies this weekend checking out the essence polish, this lady walked up and asked me what I though of the brand.  I told her I loved the polish, it usually lasts 5 days or so, but haven’t tried anything else.  She responded, “Well it’s just so cheap… you probably get what you pay.”  Didn’t I just say the stuff was top of the line, regardless of price?

2. Red Robin Yumm!  There is a reason their slogan is just Image “Yumm!”  They really don’t need any other words to describe the place!  I am sad that we will probably not get to see another Red Robin for years.  The Crispy Chicken sandwich is off the chain.  All burgers/sandwiches come with bottomless french fries, but with large and delicious sandwich portions, who needs endless french fries?  I think there is a Red Robin in Memphis, so perhaps Joey will take me one day!

3. OPI Nail Polish Yes, there is OPI in Arkansas, I’m just not sure where (Besides Cosmo Prof, which I don’t have a license to).  In Anchorage, it’s at Fast Freddies and several stores in the mall.  It seems like it’s everywhere I go, which is fabulous.  It will be difficult to go from having all the polish I can imagine at the tip of my fingers, to not knowing where to get them!  Perhaps I can just buy them on Amazon or something.

4. Views from the Plane  I will NOT miss having to fly to get to a decent-sized store, or to see a doctor.  I will miss the beautiful view from the air, though.

Several years ago, I was on a short flight with a coworker between two villages.  Looking out the window, we could see a Momma moose and her baby.  The pilot swooped down so we could get a better look!  It scared the moose and they took off!  😦  Of course, being in a plane, we got to follow them a little ways before getting back on the course to the village.  That was truly a once in a lifetime experience–chasing moose in a plane.


Things I’ll Be Happy to Have (Again) (In no particular order)

1. Bath & Body Works For some reason, this wonderfully smelling store and it’s contents have yet to make it to the Last Frontier.  Many summers/Christmas breaks have been spent stocking up on body cream, soap, and hand sanitizer so that we have plenty to last for the semester.  It will be very nice to not have to stock up!  Also, I will be able to buy and use the seasonal scents BEFORE the season (It’s March and we are using Candy Cane and have “Vanilla Bean Noel up next)!

2. Victoria’s Secret This store has yet to grace the Land of the Midnight Sun.  Joey and I have gotten pretty good at ordering from them online, but it’s still not the same as actually going to the store.  There’s just something about the pink stripes that get me!

3. Better Chinese Anchorage has an ok Chinese restaurant.  North Pole (Fairbanks) actually has an award-winning Chinese restaurant, but we probably won’t go back.  But… there is a wonderful Chinese restaurant not too far from our new house!  🙂  I think we will go there every week for many months after we return!

4. The ability to not wear outer clothes  Putting on gloves, a hat, scarf, big heavy coat, and sometimes goggles most of the year is not fun!  I’m so excited about getting to wear flip-flops, sandals, and skirts for most of the year again!  I want to go to the tanning bed and have a reason (so I’ll look good in those skirts!).  Bottom line:  I’m tired of being covered up completely from head to toe!

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 5.01.58 PM

12/20/07 My BFF and I used to run around taking pics of each other. This was one of the sites we ran into one day.

5. The Great Outdoors  Five years ago I practically lived outside!  I loved to go hiking, hunting, fishing, you name it!  If it was outside, I was there.  Granted, I have a gorgeous house now (a reason to hang out indoors), but I’m just ready to go outside and do something!  I could go outside here, but it’s kinda cold, and it’s not easy walking in snow.  So… I’ll just stay in.  🙂  Fortunately, we have a Florida vacation coming up in a beach front condo at the end of May.  I think that will jump-start my outdoorsyness.  I really miss being able to go out and explore.

Joey is determined that we will return to Alaska one day to see the inside pass and maybe tour the interior again when we retire.  I don’t know about all that.  In case you can’t tell, I’m very ready for a much-needed change!  Don’t get me wrong, it is a very beautiful place, but I’m ready for trees, green grass, and dirt!

If you come to Alaska, try the burger Crispy Chicken!

Wen by Chaz Dean (Pomegranate) Review

Published March 18, 2013 by krystal

You undoubtedly have seen the commercials on tv about Wen.  Those models who have terrible hair, so they stop shampooing and suddenly have the most gorgeous hair ever after using Wen.

I fell for the infomercial hook line and sinker, thinkingImage I was going to have hair like them.  I could not wait to get the product in the mail!  I was beyond thrilled when I received it Tuesday (almost a week ago).

On Wednesday morning, I stopped shampooing and started Wenning!  I made sure to follow the directions to a T, (except the repeat part).  Does anyone ever repeat?  My hair felt amazing Wednesday!  It looked pretty good too.  It was so light, smooth, and silky.  I could run my fingers through my hair any time of day and feel the silk gently pass through each finger.  There were no midday tangles (or evening tangles for that matter).  I was such a happy customer!

Thursday morning my hair was a little greasier than normal upon waking.  I normally shower and wash my hair each day, and I was not ready to stop this completely (like Wen recommends).  I followed the directions again as I did Wednesday, except I used warm water (cold water is just not comfortable, even if it is good for the hair).  After blow drying, the hair closest to my scalp was sick! It looked like I had not washed my hair in 2 or 3 days!  Eww.

On Friday (yes, I gave it another shot!) I decided to try again but use cold water.  Things turned out great on Wednesday with cold, so I thought I’d give it another go.  Boy was I wrong.  It was even worse than Thursday.  Fortunately for me, none of my students noticed, or if they did, they kept comments to themselves!

I used Wen one more time over the weekend before consulting Google (again).  There were many mixed reviews.  Some mentioned how great their hair was.  Others mentioned how it worked great for x amount of days, then things got bad.  Some customers mentioned having to wash hair every week to get rid of the build up.  There were even reviews reminding people how to use the product (like we can’t read?).

So I was left with the dilemma:  I could continue using it as directed (riiiight…), I could send it back to QVC (less $6.95 shipping and handling), or I could keep using it, but use it as a conditioner after regular shampoo (if that didn’t work, then I would send it back to QVC for a refund less $6.95 shipping and handling).  This morning I tried using Wen as a regular conditioner.  I made sure to keep it FAR FAR FAR away from my roots (that was the problem the whole time).  My hair was a little easier to brush than normal and a little less frizzy than normal–without any of the grease!

Will I keep it and continue to use it as a regular conditioner?  I still don’t know.

Will I ever buy it again?  NO WAY.

Would I recommend it to a friend?  NO.

Should you try it?  Maybe.  There are plenty of reviews of people saying it’s fabulous.  I am not one of the people who feel this way, but maybe you would be!

If you don’t like it, why would you keep it?  Why not get the refund minus $6.95 s/h?  Good question!  The post office is difficult to get to.  It’s about a mile away, and our 4 wheeler (only form of transportation) is buried under 4 ft. of snow.  Keeping Wen as a conditioner might be just as easy as finding a way to get the box back to the PO.  Plus, I never said I did not like it.  I said I did not like it for it’s intended purpose.  As a shampoo substitute it is horrible!  As a detangling conditioner, it’s not too bad.

Does it really smell like Robitussin? Specifically Robitussin, I’m not sure.  I’m more of a NyQuil kinda girl.  But… it does have
some eerie cough medicine smell to it, now that you mention it.

Apparently Chaz Dean uses it on his dogs.  Would you use it on Mason?  Mason can be a pretty greasy dude.  I don’t think he would be a good Wen pet.

Happy Shampooing!
(This girl is not converted!)
(I hope I’m not on Auto-Delivery!)


Published March 13, 2013 by krystal

Last week, before heading to the fertility doctor, I randomly decided to stop following the two or three blogs about difficulties conceiving.  I guess I just kinda got tired of seeing them pop up, plus I never really read them after the first couple of times any way!  I hoped that my fertility struggles would not be as extreme as those.

Friday I visited the doctor.  An ultrasound was done, and showed that everything was normal!   The pipes are working just fine!  It’s a miracle!  It was very exciting news, because let’s just face it–the idea of any fertility drugs is scare-ree!

I called my mom to tell her that I officially have a vacancy sign on my uterus, and maybe somebody will come and make it home for 9 months.  She was excited.  She responded by saying, “So are you going to start trying now, or wait a while?”

(That was the sound my heart made when it hit the floor.)

I responded with, “Yeah, we’ll just keep trying.”

We have been trying for a year.  I have indulged on Twin Lab Prenatal vitamins for 12 months now.  Even when the doctor said it wouldn’t happen (without medication) in November, we still tried.  Granted, we weren’t exactly hoping to get pregnant in the first 3 months, but were trying none-the-less.  As it turns out, it didn’t matter anyway, because the Depo shot was still very much in my system, preventing pregnancy.  

Everything should be fine now.  If I’m not pregnant by September, I will go to a doctor in Arkansas.  Until then… we wait.  we try, again.  

I’m not thinking we’re out of the water, free and clear just yet.  There still lies the fact that we’ve worked so hard for this.  Basically, I hope people don’t start in with the crazy comments couples who are TTC often hear.  Until then, we’ll just keep on keepin’ on, but this time, we have an OPK.

ImageLet’s just hope the “NO” part lights up soon!



The Cat’s Out of the Bag!

Published March 4, 2013 by krystal

This makes me miss the holiday season!

It all started with a Gingerbread Shake from Burger King.  Joey and I sat in the red Bug in the parking lot of Burger King drinking our holiday shakes on that cold, rainy last day of 2012.  We made the call that would change our lives forever, but no one answered.  I was so nervous!  What if she was done for the day?  Would she call us back?  Would she work tomorrow?  It was all too much.  So I literally inhaled the poor Gingerbread Shake.  We made it across town, and almost to my parents house, when the phone rang.  It was her!  It was the realtor, and we were about to put in an offer on the most beautiful house in the town where I grew up.  Ok, maybe it’s more like the most beautiful house in the town that I grew up that can be purchased on two teacher’s salaries.


My car dressed up for the holidays.

We gave her our offer over the phone and started the endless (day long) wait.  We were anxious.  We were told that the sellers had rejected two other offers.  Sure, they were pretty outrageously low offers, but rejected at not countered, never the less.  We thought our offer was decent, but were still very insecure given the offer history.  The next day, the call came.  The sellers did not accept, but they counter offered!  We weren’t incredibly impressed with the counter offer–it was just the asking price!  We chose to counter their counter offer by offering asking price + closing costs.  We were thrilled when we received the call that they accepted!

Before we returned to Alaska, we were able to be present for the inspection.  We even got to meet the seller!  It was nice to meet her and hear of her memories in the house.  She told us about how the first summer they lived there, she dug up and endless amount of cacti that ended up there during the civil war.  The soldiers (accidentally?) brought the cacti in their hay.  She said she’d dig up one and two more would grow.  Fortunately, the cacti is all gone (I believe), so that’s one less thing!

So what exactly does all this have to do with the cat being out of the bag?  Joey and I are leaving Alaska.  For good.  On May 21.  It’s been five years and it is just time for us to move on to greener pastures, literally.  There are so many reasons to go back home. Maybe one day I’ll get in to that.  Or maybe not.  For now, we are excited about the possibilities that lay before us and also ready to pack up and move on!

Identity Crisis: People are Homographs

Published February 25, 2013 by krystal

My parents both have fairly common first Imagenames.  I have not checked, but those names were definitely top ten for the 1950’s and 1960’s babies.  Think of the Ashley’s and Jessica’s of the 1980’s, Haley’s of the 1990’s, and Madison’s of the 2000’s.  Our surname (my maiden name) is in the top 50 on one list.  I think it should be higher, but whatever.  When you combine a top ten baby name with a top 50 surname, you are bound to get many repeats across the nation.  People move around throughout life, and thanks to the internet (Spokeo) we can see how many Ashely Smiths there are in America (there’s about 3,500 in California, Texas, and Florida, FYI).

My parents intentionally named me a not-so-common name, so I would not be known as Ashley S. during all of my school years.  I could proudly boast my name and be the only one. Sure, everyone could say they had heard my name before, or that they knew someone who knew someone with my first name, but it wasn’t like a top 10 name or anything.  EVER.


“Mary Smith” is a homograph for “Mary Smith,” as long as you’re talking about two different ladies, just like dove and dove are homographs.

I managed to make it through life until about 21 without ever knowing my name was shared by another.  How did I find out?  Well, I thought you’d never ask!  I got a collection notice from Dillards for a Dillard’s credit card with the same name as mine (it wasn’t actually mine).  Shortly thereafter, I started getting notices from many other store credit cards.  The notices from attorneys shortly followed.  My dad, the concerned parent, sat me down to ask me about all these credit cards I had.  I convinced him it wasn’t me (because it wasn’t), and called the phone numbers on the notices. Some 20/20 special or something told me that I could be responsible if I did not clear my name, even though the Social Security Numbers and all true identifying info did not match up.  Somehow, they had all her information except they had my address and home phone number.  I could easily prove it wasn’t me, but the calls and letters went on for years (I’m pretty sure no one believed me when I told them it wasn’t me.  One of the idiots operators read me all of her info–including SSN and address at one point.  I hope they’d never give out my info like that!).  It was so annoying.  I had to call the credit agencies to make sure my credit was stable.  I think it’s all settled now.  So, I guess I’m cleared now.  Either way I’m married now and my new surname is in the top 20,000.  My name is not found on Spokeo.  I think I found one teenager on Facebook who shares the name, so hopefully she’ll marry soon and I’ll be the only in America.  🙂

Back in the 90’s my dad worked for a rather large company that had offices in many different states.  There was a man at a different office with the same name.  That made company parties interesting.  Dad said he had met one other man with the same name in his life.


Not really our house. I just Googled “dream house.”

Now for my mom, bless her heart, she has had more name issues than any of us!  In 1994, my parents built their dream home in an area we had just moved to.  Our house was progressing along, when the builder got a call from a woman with the same name as my mom.  The lady said something like, “My name is Mary Smith.  That house at 13 Elm Street is mighty nice.  I was wondering if it was for sale.”  Instead of telling her she was the future owner, the builder told her it was a custom home built home and would not be on the market.  When he told my parents the story, they assured him that it was not my mom who called.

A few years later, my mom managed to have some mutual friends with the other Mary Smith.  She might have met her once, but I’m not sure.


You got one minute!

Last week, my parents phone started ringing off the hook at 5:55 AM.  Friends and acquaintances from all corners of the state were calling to let her know that one of the local news stations called her name and she was the proud winner of $1,500!  My mom was initially excited, but then she realized she doesn’t watch the morning news show and she did not enter to win $1,500.  As she was telling this, I was looking at the news station’s Facebook page where it was talking about Mary Smith from Anytown winning the money.  Someone even said she knew it was my mom by identifying her occupation!  For the rest of the day, my mom had to tell many people that she was sadly not the recipient of $1,500.

My brother’s name must have been much more unique than the rest of us, because he never had these kind of problems!

I’m glad there’s only one Me and Mason! 😉

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