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A Peek Into My Life This Past Week (The Daddy is Traveling Edition)

Well, this past week was anything but boring! 🙂 It was so eventful, in fact, that I didn’t have time or energy to get this post written on Sunday, like I usually do! 🙂

On Tuesday, we said goodbye to Jesse for 13 days.

It was a bittersweet goodbye. We’re so glad he gets this opportunity to travel to Israel with our pastors and a group from our church! I’m happy I get to “hold down the fort” (as he has done so many times!) so that he can go!

But since he’s so involved in our every day life — especially now that he’s home full-time — he’s left a HUGE hole in his absence.

Just juggling the essentials of what Jesse does (almost all the kids’ activities, half the cooking, most of the errands, and at least half of the home responsibilities) + what I do + being as available for the kids as I can possibly be has kept me plenty busy.

But there were some other things that kept me busy, too…

(I look super tired here… because I was! :))

I LOST MY PHONE the day after he left!!!

I had it in the car when I picked the kids up from school. I had it a few blocks away from our house.

When I got home, we were taking backpacks and things in the house and I noticed there were maggots crawling on the floor of the back seat of my car.

Queue the complete GROSS OUT emoticon and me going into full-on, crazy car-cleaning mode.

When I was convinced all maggots had been 150% evicted from the car, I ran inside to bring a few things in and got distracted for a few minutes with kid stuff.

A few minutes later I went out to get my phone the rest of the stuff from the car.

And POOF, the phone was gone.

We tore the car apart. We went through every article of everything that had been in the car. I retraced my steps multiple times. I went through every room in the house. I went through the car again. And again.

I went through all the trash cans and the outside dumpster. I went though the fridge and freezers. (I was desperate!!)

No phone. Nada. Nothing.

I began to panic as I rarely ever lose anything… and the last thing I wanted to lose while Jesse was gone was my connection to him and all the numbers saved on my phone.

It was scary and unnerving and stressful — especially because there’s an issue with my iMessage password so it doesn’t work for texting from my computer AND because Find My iPhone said that my phone was offline (it had been fully charged and on).

But here’s what I learned: I am way too dependent upon my phone and upon my husband. God allowed me to not have either to rely upon because He wanted to remind me to trust fully in Him, put on my big girl pants, and deal with this situation. It was good for me and I realized that I am more capable than I believe myself to be.

In addition I learned that: you should not rely upon your husband to know some of your passwords, you should backup your iPhone more often than once every 64 weeks (!!!), and that paying for phone insurance was a really, really good deal!

(I have to say HUGE props to Asurion — the company my phone was insured with. They were incredible to work with and, once I had filled out all the paperwork and Jesse faxed in what he needed to from Israel, I was able to get a new phone overnighted to my doorstep in less than 24 hours. And it was a fraction of what it would have cost for me to go buy a brand-new phone!

This weekend, I chaperoned an overnight retreat for my 5th & 6th grade class at church. There were 50+ kids at the retreat and it was quite the adventure!

Our day and a half was filled with: Outdoor games (in the morning cold!!), 9-square in the air, Gaga ball, string art, worship, preaching, small group sharing times, getting to pray with so many girls as they shared and poured their hearts out, s’mores, and rock-climbing.

(All three kids attempted the rock climbing wall and both girls made it to the top and Silas made it halfway! Swipe through the pictures here to see all three of them!)

Can I just say how proud I am of my kids? Silas got to go to the retreat since Jesse was gone. He was such a trooper… Playing the games right along with the older kids, staying by my side for a long, long time while I was praying with someone or talking with someone or helping lead small group… and he never complained about the long day or the fact that he was ready to go play or be done!

Both girls made me so proud today, too. As I’ve alluded to online, the last few months have been especially stretching for me as a mom as my girls walk into puberty. They are growing and changing and asking hard questions and challenging me and struggling with hormones and trying to navigate a lot of new and unknown in their lives.

I’ve felt inadequate. I’ve messed up. I’ve wondered how on earth to respond when faced with new situations, new questions, and new attitudes. And there are days when I’ve wondered if all the work and time and effort that goes into parenting is really worth it.

But then there are days like this weekend when I see my daughters — separately and completely on their own — sitting next to a girl who is crying, with their arm around her, just loving on her and being with her. I see their incredibly tender hearts for the lonely, the hurting, the left out, the wounded… and I’m just humbled and grateful.

I’ve taken your advice on my Instagram to lower the standards and give myself grace while Jesse’s been gone, so in addition to calling cereal a legit meal, I’ve also given myself permission to not do all the house cleaning I usually do (it will still be there waiting when Jesse gets back!), to wear a baseball cap instead of fixing my hair, to buy more convenience foods, to hand off more projects to my team, to only exercise for 15-20 minutes per day, and to watch more shows with my kids (we watched and entire season of The Amazing Race this week!)

We miss Daddy something fierce, but we’re making fun memories, we’re working together to get things done, I’m focusing on one day at a time, and trying not to think about how many days are left or what all I need to tackle without Jesse here in the coming week.

Oh and one of the best parts of Jesse being gone? We’re having a Slumber Party in my room every night! Everyone — including me! — is sleeping better that way!!

Jesse comes back in 6 days and we can hardly wait. In the mean time, if you want to follow along with our adventure in his absence, you can follow me on Instagram.

P.S. This experience has taught me so much and reminded me to be so grateful that I have a wonderful husband who usually shoulders so much of the load. I think of all of the single moms and dads. The military spouses. The women whose husbands travel like this really regularly. And those of you who have spouses who work incredibly long hours or who are (for some reason or another) not a support. And I can’t imagine how you do this all the time. Truly. Wow!

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  • Jennifer says:

    Oh no, not the P word. My son is 14 and in the throes of puberty. Meanwhile, I am going through menopause. Let’s just say we’re having some of our most spirited discussions ever.

    But, I know we will both come through the other side with more grace and patience than we had when we started these life stages…

    • Silas calls it “Pooberty” and when one or the other girl is having a rough day, he’ll be like, “I think it’s just pooberty.”

      It cracks me up every single time! 😉

    • Lea says:

      I remember telling a friend a few weeks ago “I’m going through menopause and our daughter is going through puberty. My poor husband and son!” My husband heard and laughed and said, “Well we can always move out! ”

      He was totally joking but I think some days really do end up being that hard! Glad to know I’m not the only one in this situation!


      • Jennifer says:


        I’ve heard that girl puberty is worse to go through than boy puberty–I don’t know because I only have my son. But either way, good luck to you!


  • Patty says:

    With Jesse away, this is also an opportunity for a tiny glimpse into the daily life of single parents. They are the unsung heroes of the parenting world.

    • YES! And thank you so much for mentioning that because I wanted to write more in the post about that but I ran out of time during my blogging time today.

      Honestly, I’ve thought about not even sharing any of this and my perspective of him being gone because it feels like it pales so much in comparison to all the single moms and dads out there. But I am hoping it might help and encourage someone in some way.

      Also, I wrote a little about how this has made me think about all the single parents so much:

      I can’t really compare myself to a single parent in this situation, though, because I still have the support of a spouse — just from a distance right now. I’ve thought many times over the past few days about single parents and how I can’t imagine doing this all the time — working full-time, raising kids, PLUS doing it all alone! I honestly don’t know how you all do it.

  • Heather says:

    It sure can be tough when your other half is out of town. Because of a job change this year, we’ve faced that situation more than ever before. My girls miss Dad BIG time when he’s gone. I try to make these times something really special so they look forward to “Girl Time!” (You have to say it in a loud and awesome voice so it sounds cool!!) We go some where special or have a fun treat. We might even do a big play date with their friends or watch a new movie cuddled up on the couch with popcorn. Those days are particularly challenging, but in the end we can look back and see some special memories too. Hope your solo-parenting goes well!

  • K says:

    When you lose/misplace a phone, have a neighbor call you (as long as the battery is still charged). Hopefully you’ll hear it ring & find it.

    • Unfortunately, I never have my ringer on unless I’m expecting a call. We changed that on my new phone so that it vibrates when I get a phone call because #lessonlearned. We usually use Find My iPhone, but it said that the phone was offline — which is super odd because it was on and fully charged. 🙁

      • Amanda says:

        A phone will show up as offline in findmyiphone if it overheats. That happened to me awhile back and we found it on the concrete later sunbathing and incredibly hot. That’s my only guess as to what could of happened? Glad you got a new one!

  • Cheryl says:

    Yikes about that phone. But glad to hear you got a free replacement quickly. Its just that same kind of panic when you can’t find your wallet.

  • Surviving. says:

    Loved reading this. Because of life I became an unexpected single mom at the beginning of this year. I also became the sole owner of our family business. Rotisserie chicken and pre cut salad mix have became my two best friends. There are times to save money and there are times to just fed everyone. I now know I can do both. Thank goodness it’s flip flop weather in the south. I don’t have to worry about finding or washing socks for my kids for 6 months. Sometimes it’s the small victories!!!

  • Nicole says:

    This makes me feel a little better because the kids and I have been watching a lot of cartoons…at least they have..and I ..sort of have. Just because my husbands schedule is now like 2 days he will have the 730 to 330 shift and then 3 days he will have the 330 to 1130 shift, and like wednesdays and thursdays off, plus I am pregnant (17 weeks) and my kids are 6, 5, 3, 1. The toddler is into everything, we have baby chicks, we were just sick and I have no car or license (which is really embarrassing, but I am a young mother and its a long story but it involves getting married young, being on the verge of moving many times and my parents were not able to help me get it before I got married). guilty as I feel I play the cartoons..often..when things get stressful or I feel sick or the toddler dumps something and I cant pick it up without two little ones arguing. Im just wanting to know if you ever felt guilty about this too. Its hard to read those..why tv is bad for your kids blogs….and not feel bad.
    Also…do you know any great places to get bulk kids socks in black and white. I am done with socks!!! We are starting over.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the shout out to single moms! I don’t want to be a complainer, but it is hard. I’m a single mom to an 8yo daughter. Thank God, I work mostly from home, so I am able to homeschool her as well. But, please remember, if you’re married, any time today that you accomplished even one tiny tiny task while your spouse did something else- well, I had to do both tasks and not simultaneously! And if you’re putting off some tasks, waiting for him to get home, well…nobody is coming home to me.
    I feel like “help a singe mom” is thrown around a lot whenever acts of kindness are mentioned…but I’m not sure I can think of many times where I’ve specifically received any of that help. (Disclaimer: my church is mainly made up of women and elderly, so we do help each other out as often as we can. I find that the number one source helping single moms are fellow single moms, bending over backward for each other as often as we can.) But please, married ladies, a little kindness goes a long way. If you’re following this blog and scoring great deals and freebies, pass something along to a single mom who will never find the time to hunt down that bargain. Or offer to have her kid over for a afternoon so she can run errands alone. (I have taken my daughter with me to church board meeting, to my dr appt with Pap smear, to buy her birthday gifts while instructing her to not look, etc etc.) Or anything!
    The biggest blessing you could do is bring your husband over and let the mom set him some household tasks for one afternoon. I have literally said to my daughter before “I’ll try to accomplish (some household task that involves strength or two people) but if I can’t do it, well, Grandaddy (my father) will be here to visit in a few months and we’ll do it then.” For example, when she moved from a toddler to a single bed, I ordered the bed and the delivery man brought it upstairs to our apartment. But it waited another month to be assembled when my parents were in town, because I had to have another adult to hold the pieces to assemble the rails.
    So, long and whiny post. I know others have hard times too. And being married doesn’t make life a piece of cake. But I just needed to mention these things today! Thank you Crystal for your honesty and encouragement in all areas of life!

    • Sarah D. says:

      Thank you for the specific ideas on helping single moms! I was a “weekday single mom” with four and five kids for a couple of years while my husband worked of town and was only home on the weekends. I went through a pregnancy and the fear of going through labor by myself if he couldn’t get back in time (we scheduled an induction so he could be there). It was a rough two years or so and I am SO glad to be done with that. I said over and over again how I didn’t know how truly single moms did it! Your comment motivated me to make sure I keep my eye out for ways to be a blessing to a single mom.

    • Angela says:

      My mom raised me and my sister by herself and many of the situations you described were the norm with us too. She was only too excited when we were old enough to date…she put those boys to work! To the point that they didn’t want to come over anymore, they would ask me to meet them somewhere, haha!!

  • Emma k says:

    Military spouse here :). You are doing an incredible job. Whether a spouse is gone for the weekend, a few weeks, or a year it throws off the whole schedule. 😉

    My husband is traveling overseas for a few weeks and we had no communication for 5 days. He had a new work phone and for some reason it wasn’t sending his texts nor receiving mine. That was a great time for me to turn my worries over to God instead of going to worse case scenario 😉

    Praying for blessings on his trip and you and the kids while he is gone.

  • Aimee Hadden says:

    My husband is a firefighter and the regular 48 hour shifts away make life verrrrry challenging with multiple littles. It does make you very grateful for the times they are home, though. 🙂 Hang in there!! I’m sure you are doing a fabulous job.

  • AM says:

    I loved that you mentioned the big slumber party in your bed! My husband travels very frequently for work and we do that, too. I sleep so much better and my kids do as well. It also gives them something to look forward to when he leaves–and fun memories! 🙂

  • Hang in there.. 5 more days 🙂

  • Marian says:

    My husband’s schedule does not allow him to be at home for lengths of time. As a work-outside-the-home mom, it is definitely tiring to attend to your kids’ needs, plus a 9-hour day job, and a 4-hour commute. But it makes me realize that I can handle things that I never thought I could when we were just starting this family. I have always thought I would need to rely on a full-time househelp, but it’s not easy to find a reliable and trustworthy one; I really had to step up and learn to be more flexible. Thank God school is on vacation now (we live in Philippines).

    I love our slumber parties too. 🙂 Like everyone else, it all makes us sleep more soundly. 🙂

  • Heather K. says:

    Thank you for bringing your authentic self. It takes courage in a world that can tell you that you are less than when not perfect. You open the door for others to shed their fake wrapping to be who they are too.

    Puberty certainly is a trying time. Being a parent and watching your children go thru such a confusing time. Right now, have a 13 and a 16 year old going thru it. Crying and moodiness, but also heart to heart talks, more adult conversations and forming a more adult relationship with your daughters. Being a female raising females, I feel their pain and I know they appreciate empathy even on days were I need to walk on eggshells.

  • My husband is a wildland firefighter and often travels for 3 weeks at a time to other states and areas. We have formed our own routine for when he’s gone, but we still miss him a lot and it’s tough. Also, it seems like the craziest stuff happens when he’s gone (thinking of your maggot icident here)! We’ve had the worst stomach virus ever, cows in our yard, and back in August I even broke my leg while he was 1 week into a 3 week fire trip to Idaho (we live in ky)

    • Rebekah says:

      My husband is active duty military and is gone a lot. We call them deployment or TDY gnomes……they sneak into the house at night whIle we are sleeping and breath germs on the kids and break things…haha

  • Jenny says:

    Have you ever looked into Apple Care? My friends told me about it, $99 for 2 years & you get a new phone, not a refurbished. I had Ausurion & that’s your only option. Plus you save money going with Apple Care verses $7-$12 a month ($84-$144 a year!).

    I’m a military spouse & it’s hard any time our spouses are away. Stay strong & being busy is the best thing.

  • Kristy says:

    Crystal, check out the TILE device and app. It has saved my sanity many times! Even if your phone is offline, dead, or the ringer is off, this app still works!

    I put one on my keys and “paired” it with my phone, so one device finds BOTH items.

    • Thanks so much for reminding me about this — Jesse has this because he often loses his phone and keys and wallet, but I rarely have that issue. I think I need to invest in this!

      • Kristy says:

        I’m glad I could jog your memory, especially after all the ways you have helped me! If anyone wants to learn more about Tile, here’s a link: If you use this link and buy a tile, I get points towards my next tile! 🙂 It only takes two sign-ups for me to earn one. 🙂

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