Posted by Crystal
In the beginning stages of pregnancy, it�s hard to fully convert to the idea that a little human being is developing inside you.  All signs point towards pregnancy, but without the basketball tummy and feeling the little one move inside you, doubt may cloud whats real.
So today I thought I�d point out the ten signs of pregnancy.

#1. If 8 hours of sleep is no longer sufficient, but 16 seems to do the trick…

You might be a redneck…

Oops, I mean PREGNANT.

#2. Your new residence resides in “la la land.”

#3. You begin craving weird things like Spaghetti O�s or get sudden burst of hunger at 2 in the morning.

#4.  You find yourself wearing things like this…
and have no clue why people keep looking at you funny. This really happened to me.
#5.  You�ve lost all motivation. Suddenly your life of productive multitasking turns into the desire to do� NOTHING� absolutely NOTHING.
#6.  You can smell a poopy diaper from a mile away, and the thought of changing it makes you insanely nauseous. 
#7.  You begin gaining weight everywhere possible including your toes.
#8.  Your hormones fluctuate as rapidly as the stock market.
#9.  You discover little black hairs in weird random places like your chin and even your elbow.
#10.  You forget important things like changing the oil in your car, where you live, or even the names of your children.
So there ya have it!
This describes exactly what I’ve been going through the past two weeks. I feel like a completely different person and only hope things will get better in the second trimester.
Oh the things we go through to bring these little people into the world.
P.S. I’m sorry I have not posted week #3 of the work out program. I promise I will still put it together, just need a little more time.

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Posted by Crystal

Well everyone, the day has finally come…


I know the first test looks a little questionable, so that’s why I took a second one this morning.  Actually I woke up at 5am this morning to take it :)  

I’m a little compulsive that way. 
I’ve already got my first doctor’s appointment scheduled, a name picked out (because it’s going to be a girl), and plans to get Oliver potty trained within the next 6 months. 
I’m very very excited for this baby and feel incredibly blessed. 
Couldn’t be happier!!!!!

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Posted by Crystal

With age comes beauty…

Oh wait

That’s not right is it…
With age comes WISDOM.

Or so they say.

Doesn’t seem to be that way in my case. More like, with age comes memory loss, saggy skin, fine lines and little black hairs on my chin.

I know there are many positive ways of looking at the aging process and I’m TRYING to see them :)

I do feel grateful for what I’ve accomplished up until now, but I guess I just want to be young and vibrant forever. I want to be able to have the energy and stamina to do many more things in my life. I’ve been actively working on my bucket list and actually feel like this last year I’ve grown tremendously. Turning 30 is a huge milestone in ones life.  At this point we all hope to have collected a certain amount of triumphs. Nobody wants to live with the “coulda  woulda  shoulda” thoughts.

Most of you know of my monthly “Life list” goals. Each month I choose one thing from my bucket list to focus on, like public speaking, photography, writing a song, ect.

This month is my month to learn how to write better. I really suck at this whole writing thing, but I’m determined to enhance my skills and get better. Turning 30 has really made me focus more on what I want to accomplish in my NEXT 30 years.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a bigger more lofty goal.

To write a book by the time I’m 35.

There I said it.

It’s out there, I’m committed, I’m gonna make it happen.

I find it kind of scary sharing such a goal. Perhaps it’s fear. Fear that I’m not good enough, smart enough, talented enough. Fear of what people will think?

Will they laugh? Will they believe in me? Will they support me?

Fear of FAILURE.

By sharing your goals with others, it holds you more accountable. It pushes you to work harder because failing in front of others is much worse than failing at something only you knew about.

It’s an absolute fact, that by SHARING your goals with others, you are more likely to achieve them.
Although I may not be the most talented writer in the world, I do believe I have a special story to tell. As most of us do. It’s all a matter of putting forth the effort to get the story told.

This month I’m reading a book called One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer’s Art and Craft.

For those of you who may have the same goal, or simply want to improve your creative writing skills, then this would be a great book for you. Here are a couple tips to start out.

Journaling is the best way to start because it establishes a habit of writing. Make it part of your routine. Record the significant events in your life. Describe how you’re feeling, what you’re feeling and why. Write about your dreams and aspirations. Write about love. Love for God, love for your spouse, love for your children. Write about your disappointments, trials, and most importantly lessons learned.

Incorporate regular timed writing. Start with just 10 minutes a day. Write what ever comes to mind and don’t stop writing for 10 minutes straight. Notice your surroundings and write about them in detail.

I’m really excited to dive into this new goal of mine and I hope you will all stick with me over the next 5 years to see it come to fruition.

So with all the fuss I’ve been putting up about turning 30, I guess it’s really not that bad. I’ll sure miss my twenties, but I’m excited about the story these next few decades will write.

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Posted by Crystal

Oliver is a little maniac and has already figured out how to open these safety locks.  I’m gonna have to watch him extra careful.

After reading about the Staker family last year, I’ve been extremely paranoid with bath tubs. 

I’ve had a hard time with this one. I just love to actually BURN candles, something so soothing about the little flame flickering. Sean hates it when I burn them, so I TRY to use the warmers.

Recently Oliver has figured out how to climb out of his crib. He actually only did it once because he fell so hard while attempting it. So thankfully he learned his lesson (for now).  A few days after this happened I had a dream that he climbed over the banister and fell. I woke up in tears and my heart beating so fast I felt like it really happened.

We recently had an alarmed installed, and boy do I feel much safer at night. I sleep way better knowing my family is safe inside our home.

Sean gets after me about this because I always forget to do it when I open the blinds. I’ve been better about it though.

This is such a high drawer and it’s PERFECT for all sharp items. I’m proud to say that none of my kids have given themselves a hair cut thanks to this drawer.

I just think it’s a good idea to always keep your doors locked even when you’re home. Things have changed dramatically since we were younger. I grew up NEVER locking doors, roaming the neighborhood with my friends, and even walking to the store on my own. It’s just not safe anymore, sad to say, but it is what it is and we need to protect our kids.

Ever since the Elizabeth Smart incident I’ve been a lot more cautious about keeping windows locked at night. You never know.

Now what are some things YOU do to keep your home and kids safe?

For more safety tips go to

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Posted by Crystal

Who needs it anyway?

Apparently we all love it. We read about it in the gossip magazines, which we all know is never true. 
We thrive on those reality shows like The Bachelor, okay maybe not ALL of us, but definitely the majority of us, myself included:) 

But then of course when it’s happening in our own lives we despise it!

… or do we? Have you ever thought that maybe we create the drama in our lives?
Yes, we absolutely do. We can’t control others, but we can ALWAYS control how we react to others.
Nobody’s exempt from dealing with life’s difficulties. We all have drama at some point in our lives.  With family members, friends, spouses, children. It’s inevitable and it SUCKS, excuse my word choice, but it just does. As frustrating as it can be, we have to remember that it’s all part of Gods plan. We’re here to be tested. Which means, God wants us to learn how to deal with these things in a positive manner. I love the Carrie Underwoods song, “So Small”.

I know it’s hard on a rainy day, you wanna shut the world out and just be left alone
But don’t run out on your faith
Sometimes that mountain you’ve been climbing is just a grain of sand
And what you’ve been out there searching for forever, is in your hands
And when you figure out, love is all that matters after all
sure makes everything else seem so small

It’s so easy to get lost inside
a problem that seems so big at the time
It’s like a river thats so wide
It swallows you whole
While you’re sitting around thinking bout what you can’t change
and worrying about all the wrong things
Time’s flyin by
movin so fast
better make it count cause you can’t get it back

It’s such an inspirational song and reminds me that sometimes the things that I’m worried most about are so insignificant. It’s easy to fall into a pity me party, but the best way to deal with those kinds of situations is to focus on solutions. Solutions meaning what YOU can do to fix it. Easier said than done, but it’s something I’m working on.

Cheers to less drama and more meaningful time spent with the people that matter most.

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Posted by Crystal

The other night as I was lying in bed I had an epiphany. Funny how all my great ideas or deep thoughts come while I’m desperately trying to fall asleep. I wish there was a switch somewhere so I could just turn my mind off.
Well anyway, as you all know I’ve been embarking upon a new ambition, one I’ve NEVER done before and am finding out I don’t really have the talent for either. Trying to write a song has been so incredibly frustrating.

The other day I was feeling a little depressed about it,  I was thinking, gosh, why can’t I do this? I know we all have different talents, and maybe I just need to accept that this is NOT one of mine…  but then again, I almost think that saying this is just a cop out.  We hear these lines all the time, I’m no good at that, it’s not my specialty, not one of my gifts, ect.  Why do we also hear, ” practice makes perfect”…” dream big”…” you can do anything you set your mind to”… “if you believe, you can achieve”…

So my thought is, WHY do I even WANT to do something like this? Why is the desire so strong? Just because I may not be gifted in this area, does it mean I shouldn’t even TRY? Am I just wasting my time?  I guess my epiphany isn’t so much an epiphany, but more like an unanswered question. Why are we told we all have different talents and gifts, but also told we can do anything we want to do.

A talent is a natural aptitude or skill,  meaning some things come easier for others.

So are we supposed to focus all our time and energy on the things that are easy? 
I don’t think so…  Doing things that are hard are what build strength and character, right?

What do you think?  Is it better to just stick to what we’re good at?

Posted by Crystal

Do you ever wonder WHY we are so critical of one another? Why are we so quick to judge without really taking the time to get to know the person. I’ve been guilty of this more often than I’d like to admit. I get so mad when it happens to me, but don’t even realize how OFTEN I do this myself. If we all just took a little more time to get to know each other, I bet we’d learn some pretty amazing things.

Last weekend I had yet another opportunity to get together with a group of fellow bloggers. It was the same group of girls I got together with last month, plus a few more! We ended up getting to know one another way more than we anticipated. We started playing a little game where one  person asked a question, then we went around the room allowing each one of us the opportunity to answer. Some of the questions included, “What is your greatest accomplishment”? and “What is your biggest regret”? It was so much fun getting to know each one of these ladies, and realized I hadn’t been doing enough of this kind of stuff… taking the time to REALLY get to know someone.  I think sometimes we all get so caught up in ourselves and forget to look outward, truly noticing others and expressing genuine interest and concern in someone other than ourselves. We’re all so technologically advanced these days, which means our eyes are constantly glued to our phones checking emails, texting, and updating our own “status updates”, instead of taking a look around, seeing people for who they really are and not what we THINK they are.

We all desire true friendships, connecting with others, feeling liked, appreciated, admired, important.  It’s nice when you have the opportunity to meet people who genuinely and sincerely want to be your friend. I’ve mentioned before that growing up we moved so much that I barely had the chance to build long lasting friendships with anyone. I remember wanting friends more than anything, and would cry to my dad about it. I’ll never forget his wise words, “If you want a friend, you’ve got to be a friend”. This was such great advice for me. It really pushed me to stop whining and DO something about it. It forced me to be more outgoing, and try harder to be the friend I so desperately wanted.
I really love the book How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Here are a few great quotes directly from his book.

  • Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
  • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  • The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition.
  • You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
  • If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people – things that require time, energy, unselfishness and thoughtfulness.

Posted by Crystal
I’m feeling like a high school girl again, competing for attention from the boy I love.  Trying every possible thing to make him like me and want to be with me. I try to be fun, exciting, nurturing, but nothing seems to work. Oliver still chooses his dad over me :(
To be honest I never thought I’d be jealous of Oliver wanting Sean over me. At first I thought it was adorable that he’s a daddy’s boy, but now it’s just getting ridiculous. Honestly, does he not remember the fact that I carried him in my belly for 9 months!!! Does he not remember all the night time feedings, the diaper changes, the bathes, the constant holding and tending to his every need? Where’s the appreciation?
Lily was always a mommy’s girl and I loved it to some extent.  Sometimes it would bother me because she wouldn’t let Sean do anything, like carry her, buckle her seat belt, push the stroller, brush her teeth, wipe her bum. I had to do it all. Now I’m thinking that it’s better than the alternative. Oliver shakes his head at me and pushes me away when Sean’s holding him, and he cries at me if I come too close or talk to him when Sean’s around, makes me sad. But ya know what? I’m trying to be a good sport about it,  I guess Sean deserves his turn to be the favorite:) Gotta overcome my jealousy… on second thought, scratch that idea.  I have a new plan. I’m just going to try harder to be the fun one :)
Any tips on how to win him over?  I’ve gotta come up with some new tactics. I was thinking I could wake up at 6am every morning to plan out my day full of activities ALL for Olly. First we’ll start out by having cookies and milk for breakfast, fresh baked, followed by a 2 hour ride on the 4 wheeler,  then we’ll go to the pet store and buy a puppy.  We’ll pop over to the candy shop, then swimming, then the zoo, and of course stop for ice cream on the way home. Who cares about the dishes, laundry and list of things that need to be done, making dinner for Sean and Lily, or spending time with them. It’s all about Oliver now, I’ve got to focus on the goal here, can’t have any distractions.

Posted by Crystal

Read Sean’s version HERE.
 As some of you already know, Sean and I both graduated from high school in 99, and we both went to Butler Middle school. The crazy thing is that I went there for 7th and 8th grade, and he went there for 9th grade. We barely missed each other! I met my best friend Brenda in 8th grade, and her and I stayed in touch after I moved. She would always tell me about the new guy in school, “Sean Escobar”. He was pretty popular among the ladies :)  So, that name was very familiar to me. Yes, Sean and I met briefly a couple of times but never really hung out back then. I thought he was so good looking though, and WISHED I could get to know him a little better if you know what I mean :)

So, I guess I don’t really count those times back then as being the first time we met. It wasn’t until that night at his house that we REALLY met for the first time. I had been home from my mission for 5 months. I was dating a lot, it was fun at first, but then I got tired of it really fast. I just wanted to meet my husband. I was sick of it all. 
Just two nights before I met Sean, I remember praying my heart out to God, and pleading with him that he’d lead me to my husband. I was so ready to find him, get married and start a family. I even wrote about it in my journal, so it’s so cool to look back and see how my prayers were answered. 
Like Sean said, our mutual friend Brenda was in town. I was hanging out with her and these other girls in the picture below.  We went out to eat at Bonzi, which has now become mine and Sean’s favorite place to eat.  Every time we go there I’m reminded of the night we met. 
Here is a picture we took of that night.

So anyway, after we ate there, we went and stopped by Sean’s house. I knew who he was, but I didn’t know if he would remember who I was. I instantly had an attraction to him, but didn’t think much of it since he was on a date :) I thought this girl was his girl friend. So we were all hanging out for a bit, his date left, he was going to meet back up with her later. Sean and I talked about our mutual interest in Network Marketing, he was trying to get me in his business, I was trying to get him in my business, haha. We always joke about that now, but anyway, we exchanged numbers for “business purposes” :)  
I still have the piece of paper he wrote his number on.
The next day Sean called me and asked me out on a date.  I was excited, but not too excited.  I thought he was just a player since I knew he was already dating this other girl.  A few days later I was all ready for our date. Sean picked me up, we walked to his truck, and he opened my car door for me!  Those kinds of things are such a big deal to me. I had dated so many guys who never thought to do that, and I was always so disappointed.  Sean was definitely earning some brownie points there :) As we were driving, Sean’s dad called and needed him to stop by for something. So since we were right there, we stopped by his parents house. I got to “meet the parents” on our first date! They were really nice, we visited with them for a while, then left. By that time it was getting kind of late, too late to go to any restaurants or movies. So we went to the Wendy’s drive through then back to his place to watch a movie. We had a great time!  I hate to admit this… but we KISSED on the first date!
When Sean dropped me off that night I wasn’t planning on seeing him again. I still thought he was just a typical guy, not ever taking relationships very seriously. 
The next day I get a knock at my door, and there he was holding a huge bouquet of flowers. 
It was all over from there. At that point there was no turning back,  I was head over heels for him. I know!  Sounds crazy, but it was literally 2 dates later and we were talking marriage. Wow! I still can’t believe it.  I will always remember our conversation that night, I have it all written down in my journal, practically word for word.  I’ll spare you the details on that, it’s probably WAY to mushy for you, but for me, it was absolutely PERFECT!!!
We thought it would be wise if we waited a while before breaking the news to everyone. We knew what people were going to think, so we kept it to ourselves for as long as possible…  A WEEK! Yes, everyone thought we were nuts, but Sean and I had no doubt that we were perfect for each other. We instantly started making wedding plans. 
We met April 23rd, and 3 months later, July 31st got married. Everything about Sean is just perfect for me. Now that we’re coming up on 6 years together, I’m reminded of these precious memories and how meant to be it all is.
I’ve shared these videos before, but for those of you who are new here, you might like to take a peak.
This is one I made for Sean for our 5 year anniversary.
And this is a short clip I put together about when I sang for Sean on our wedding day.

To read the full blog post I did on what I called, My American Idol Moment, click HERE.

Posted by Crystal
This weekend Sean and I are celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share our story, hope it doesn’t get too mushy for you :)  I asked Sean to kick it off for me by telling you all about the first time we met. It was so fun for me to read what he wrote and go back in time a little and reminisce about the beginning stages of our relationship.
Here’s what he wrote:
I remember the first time I met Crystal was actually my Sophomore year of High school.  I was hanging out with Brenda and a few of our mutual friends and we stopped by Brenda�s house for something.    This beautiful girl was headed out the door with a guy.  I remember thinking, �oh man, that girl is so hot!   Too bad she’s headed out with some lucky guy.�  I know that sounds pretty shallow, but keep in mind I was 16 at the time.    Brenda briefly introduced us to her best friend from another school named Crystal, but Crystal seemed to be in a hurry so I didn�t get to know her then.   I never forgot her face though, its like it was permanently imprinted in my mind.   I hoped that at some point in the near future I would bump into her again.  That opportunity never really came.   I know I probably could have asked Brenda to set me up or something, but I actually remember her heading out that night with an older guy and thinking, �probably out of my league.�
Fast forward 7 years. I had been home from my Mission to Virginia for about 2.5 years.  I was dating up a storm, keeping my options open,  trying to be picky and making sure I knew exactly what I want in a spouse.   I was burned out truthfully.  The dating scene seemed brutal, not many girls really fit what I was looking for.  I wanted a girl that was drop dead gorgeous,  but was also down to earth and spiritual.  I know I was asking a lot.  That combination seemed to be scarce as I was playing the dating game.  I went on soooooo many first dates.  I figured why would I go out with them again and waste their time and mine if the spark isn�t there,  or if I sense something is off.   I�m not so conceded that I think I was the perfect match for anybody either.  I know that many of those girls probably never wanted to go out with me again either, that�s the dating game.    
So I believe it was April 23rd,  2004. I was on a date with a girl that one of my best friends set me up with.  I had been out with this girl once before and didn�t see it going anywhere, but my friend convinced me to just hang out because I wasn�t doing anything else.    So we were at my house when my phone rings.  I answer it and it’s my old friend way back from 9th grade,  Brenda Drollinger.   She said that she was in town from San Diego and wanted to drop by and say hello with her girlfriends.  I asked, �who is with you?�  She said Erica, Jana, and Crystal.  Well, when she said Crystal,  for some reason I had it in my head that it was our mutual friend Chantelle, so I figured I knew all 3 of her friends coming over and was excited to reconnect since I hadn�t seen them since High School.    I can�t imagine what my date at the time was thinking! Lol  She�s probably thinking, �what a jerk, I can�t believe he just told them to come over.�    Like I said, I never saw that going anywhere,  just being honest.   After about 15 minutes the doorbell rings and I welcome my 4 friends.  There is just one thing off, Chantelle is not the 4th girl to enter my house, it’s that girl that I remember being all ga ga for way back in Sophomore year of high school.  I was like �Oh Yea!!!!!�     So we visited at my house for a while and I discover that Crystal is single,  that Crystal is working in my industry of Network Marketing,  that Crystal is a Return Missionary.   In fact I do remember Brenda saying that Crystal just got home from a Mission to Germany and my response was, �You were a Missionary!!!!�  All of the girls erupted in laughter because I was so shocked and of course they could tell how much I admired that.   So were are all visiting for about 30 minutes and my best friend and his date and my date decide they have seen enough! Lol  They said to me, �hey we�re gonna go over to Niki�s place and you can just pop over there when you are done here ok. �  I was like, �you bet, by all means!�     We all visited for a while longer and then Brenda and the girls said they had to take off.   As they were walking out of my driveway to take off,  I wanted to make sure that this wasn�t going to be the last time I was going see my dream girl for another 7 years!  So I asked Crystal for her # and she gave it to me.    When they drove off,  I felt like I had just won the lottery!  I was so glad that I had taken Brenda�s call, what if I hadn�t!  I also had a very amazing feeling, like I knew that God had just sent Crystal to my doorstep.  See, finding my eternal companion was my #1 priority.  I made it the highlight of every one of my prayers.  I was trying to live a very honorable life so that when I met my soul mate she would also be attracted to me and I would be worthy of such a blessing.   I remember feeling this sense of �well that is how it was supposed to work out.�  I know it sounds far fetched, but I knew I was going to Marry that girl.  In fact, that night I called my friend Garrett,  the one that had set me up on that date and I said something like, �Dude, could you believe Crystal?�  and his response was �I know!  You are going to marry that girl.�  and then I countered, �I know, I knew it right away too!�   
Sure enough, it was meant to be.   Within a matter of 3 dates or so Crystal and I were talking about our future plans to get married, it felt so right, more right that anything I had ever done in my life, felt so natural.    I often think about how funny it must be for our mutual friend Brenda to think, �How did that happen, I really didn�t mean to set those two up. �  lol   Well I think she is really lucky, I can�t think of anything better than to set two people up and have them fall in love and be as perfect for each other and make each other so happy as Crystal and I do.  I really hope to do that someday, to play a role in a relationship like that.   
What Can I say other than I am so grateful that God is in charge and listens to prayers.   I am so happy and can�t imagine my life without Crystal in it.  Now we have these unbelievable children together and it just really sends things over the top for me.  It�s like every day I am reminded in some way that God did me this huge huge favor.  I look in the eyes of Lily and Oliver and I know today, just like I did the day that we met, that it was meant to be.

Aw, he makes me melt like a popsicle on the 4th or July :) Stay tuned for my version of the story, and some pictures.