Reflecting Back on 2019 – Thank You for Another Great Year!

by Crystal Carder
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I can’t believe I’m already writing this post. 2019 is officially almost over and I’m not sure how I feel about that. This past year has been a whirlwind of emotions. We’ve dealt with sickness (lots of it), stress, and we’ve had some good times in between.


January feels so far away now and I really can’t think of anything big that happened in January.

Michael was still dealing with illness and we still didn’t have a clue what was a matter with him. We dealt with an insane amount of doctors appointments, a few hospital visits and we were just continuing our nightmare of what actually was a matter with him.


February. I miss February. February was the month of our much needed family vacation and our amazing trip to Florida!

Disney World Dream Meet and Greets with Mickey and Minnie Mouse

While in Florida, I fulfilled dreams of working with Disney World and Freddy’s USA! Though I passed on another major opportunity while in Florida, we had such an amazing time, visited some beautiful beaches and finally decided Florida was not for us – too busy!


Oh, March. Another uneventful month with nothing but doctor appointments and still dealing with Michael’s mystery illness.


April, the month of all three of my children’s birthdays. April is always such a busy month in the Carder household, but this year it got even more insane.

My son

Our oldest, Cayden, got sick and ended up being diagnosed with a heart murmur, so off to the cardiologist we went. We found out Cayden has a bicuspid aortic valve. Nothing to worry about, but still requires an additional follow up in 2020.

If April wasn’t already enough, our poor Teddy (our 1 year old Yorkie) got attacked in our yard by a neighbor’s dog!! While Teddy was very lucky and only needed some antibiotics, we ended up footing an almost $300 vet bill!

How to Make Your Daughter's 5th Birthday Special with WellieWishers Willa

Other than birthday celebrations and more doctors visits, Crystal Carder fulfilled another blogging goal – 20k page views and I crossed off another amazing company off my work with list – American Girl Doll! Zoey got her first American Girl Doll and I was officially able to fulfill a huge #momgoal from my bucket list.

April was also the month I started my 3 month Simply Earth partnership. I officially realized essential oils are for more than just smell.


May, we finally had answers. In May, Michael was finally diagnosed with a reason for his sickness – he had Gastroparesis. It’s a sickness that’s common in diabetics and since Michael has been a type 1 diabetic since he was 2, he diabetes was starting to cause damage. After finding out what was making Michael so sick, Michael started some medicine and things finally seemed to be looking up, at least we thought.

May was also my birthday month and I officially celebrated my last birthday in my 20’s! Eek!

Rabbits for kids, everything you should know

Oh, I almost forgot, we also got the kids rabbits in May. With all the Easter bunny hype, it seemed like the perfect thing to do. Unfortunately, it wasn’t and we learned the expensive way, rabbits weren’t for us! (Don’t worry the rabbits got rehomed to a nearby petting zoo).


Kiddieland at Kennywood

Summer break officially started and we were all more than ready for some fun! We started the summer off with an insanely amazing trip to Kennywood Amusement Park near Pittsburgh and then we hit up another family favorite amusement park in Hershey, Pennsylvania – Hershey Park

NEW! Reese Ride at Hershey Park


We finally got a little bit of a vacation in July. This time we headed somewhere we’ve never been, but always wanted to visited – Erie, Pennsylvania.

photo at Erie Pa lighthouse

We did so many family fun things in Erie like visiting Waldameer Amusement Park, Presque Isle State Park and we stayed in the gorgeous Sheraton Bayfront Hotel.

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Besides just having fun, we also did something crazy – and completely unregretable -we traded in the minivan for something a LOT better on gas mileage. We opted for a Volkswagen and it’s been the BEST decision – we LOVE it!


August meant back-to-school. This year the kids were entering kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 4th grade and this mom was having all sorts of feelings. I wasn’t ready for summer to be over, but the kids were so excited to see their friends again.


September was the month I was dreading. It was the month my middle son had to have his tonsillectomy and I was beyond scared for him. Thankfully, though, the surgery went without issues and Brantley was doing pretty well afterwards – he even asked to eat pizza on right after having his surgery, ha! 

Mom-Recommended Items for a Child's Tonsilectomy

September was also the month, Michael ended up finally getting his visit with a Retina Specialist. At his visit, he was told he had Diabetic Macular Edema and would need shots in his left eye, once a month for 2 years! Since the treatment option was so terrifying, we decided to get Michael a second opinion at the WVU Eye Institute in Morgantown, WV, and thankfully we did!

Turns out Michael didn’t just have bleeding in his left eye, his right eye was also having trouble and he needed immediate laser surgery. After leaving there, we felt confident that Michael was finally getting the care we needed.

Unfortunately, the day after Michael’s eye surgery, our sweet Brantley ended up getting admitted at the WVU Children’s hospital for pneumonia! Our poor boy was having issues breathing, so he got to take his first ride in an ambulance across the street from Mon General Hospital to WVU Medicine.

After spending the night in the hospital with Brantley, we got one of the most insane phone calls that proved we were exactly where we needed to be and God really does work in mysterious ways. That morning, Michael got a call from the eye institute. The doctor was looking over his photos from his eye exam and they missed a hole in his retina. Because we were already at the hospital, Michael was able to get immediate treatment to fix the hole in his eye.

I’m happy to report, after just one more eye treatment, Michael’s eyes are doing better and we’re praying they stay that way!

On a happier note, September was also the month 2-years of Bible studies finally paid off! My husband and I were able to lead Michael’s grandparents to baptism! It was a lot of learning (for all of us), but his grandparents made the decision to give their lives to God! It was such a surreal experience leading someone to God, that we can’t wait to see what our futures may hold in 2020!  


Is it bad that I already forgot October? Oops! October was another one of those months where a lot of things didn’t happen. It was cold. It was rainy and it was October! We finally made it to the local Autumn Glory Festival near my hometown and we had fun time. After living in Maryland almost my whole life and visiting countless of festivals all around the country, it only took me 20 couple years to finally visit one of Maryland’s biggest festivals.

There was one other thing I remembered while writing this , Michael and I started going to a new doctor’s office after our old one gave our daughter the WRONG shot! Michael still wasn’t feeling the best, so he requested a referral to a specialist for his Gastroparesis.

The doctor  sent the referral to Cleveland Clinic, but they would only see Michael after he had another test. The week before he went for the test, Michael was anointed (James 5:14) over at our church.

After having the test, Michael received news that he didn’t have gastroparesis and he hasn’t been sick since!! Our God is AMAZING! 


November was another insanely eventful month. It was Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) and it was the month my sister and her family’s house caught fire! While my sister and her kids are usually home during the day, that day, my sister and her family went somewhere. It was completely out of the normal, but God truly has His ways. My sister and her family weren’t home during the fire and, thankfully, a neighbor rescued their animals, so they were all truly safe.

While they still have a lot of rebuilding to do and have had to deal with displacement, things could have been much worse.

November was also the month Michael and I decided to try a new church. After only attending our previous church my whole life, we felt God was calling us somewhere else. We finally sucked up our fear and went to a new church and things couldn’t have gone better. While the church is a lot different than our old church, we feel we have found somewhere God truly needs ‘us’. Michael has been wanting to work for God for a few years now and we finally feel like we have found a church that truly needs us. In 2020, Michael will be doing some extra training and we will start a new journey and see where things end up.


December this year wasn’t at all eventful. We all ended up with strep throat and Michael and I spent some time really figuring out what we are wanting to do for the rest of our lives. For now, Michael will pursue a career working for God and I will pursue working on Crystal Carder and my new side-hustle, Poshmark.

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While I know I have been completely away here at Crystal Carder, life has seriously got to me this year and I needed some time away. There were days I couldn’t look at this blog and days I questioned even pursuing it, but in the end, I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I would seriously love to do more with this blog in 2020 and I’m hoping 2020 finally opens those doors that I’ve been too scared to open.

I cannot thank every company who has sponsored me, trusted me with their products, and asked for placement at Crystal Carder enough! I am truly blessed to be able to work with you. As for my readers, thank you for being so loyal and staying with me! 2020 will be a year, you won’t want to miss! 

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Until next year, 

Thank you!

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