Christine recently joined Julie as an East Lansing Area Mom. We thought we would reintroduce.  We will share more as we go but here is a start.

Please introduce yourself, where are you from, where do you live now and what brought you here?
My name is Christine. Some people call me Christine. Some Chris. A few Chrissy. 2 people call me mom. My dad called me Chrisser – I can surely tell when met me by what I am called.

I am from a small town not far from here. I went to LCC and then Western Michigan. My husband (Lee) and I lived in Lansing for a few years when we were first married before moving to Bath. We now reside in Bath with our kids and dog, Hazel.

I would not say any one thing brought me to the East Lansing area but the East Lansing area itself has made it easy to stay.

How many kids do you have and what are their ages? What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
2 kids, 11 and 5.

I enjoy seeing this miraculous evolution from the very first day to thousands of days later – there has been something magical about each stage and age and to see this big crazy world through the eyes, or through the explanation of your own children – I just think that is the absolute best part of being a mom.  It is refreshing, restoring and leaves me hopeful.

What do you love about living in the East Lansing area? What’s your place to shop in the East Lansing area?
I really like living in the area because of the close proximity to everything necessary. Michigan State, 10 minutes. Downtown Lansing, 12 minutes. Okemos Target, 12 minutes. There are so many more examples and most things are to and from easily within an hour, depending on the stay.

I enjoy little gift shops. The small feel of a local show where you know someone just put their heart and soul into – I remember going to Jones gifts in Frandor when I was a kid.  I think it all began then.  Now I prefer to wander in a small store and a couple favorites are Phillips Orchard and Framers Edge for finding local items. The Impression 5 and Library of Michigan / Michigan History Museum gift shops enjoyable as well especially for Michigan made or Michigan featured items.

What did you do before you got involved with East Lansing Area Moms? What brought you to The Local Moms Network?
I will answer this out of order. I worked at both Sparrow, Mid Michigan Physicians (MMP) and McLaren as a CT tech for a number of years and then while at MMP managed a well-known after-hours practice. I was very busy.

Early in 2018, Lee and I decided it was best for our family I leave my administrative role and continued part time as a CT tech. I did this because my children were very young and my grandfather was very old (his words) and I did not want to miss out on either. Late 2020, I left McLaren and while I was merely employed per diem, working outside the home was no longer an option with the kids learning from home.

I have heard others say this and I agree, being a stay at home mom redefines the word difficult. But it also redefines other words and while it is at times hard it is also pretty great.

I was not prepared for what leaving the traditional work force would feel like. And after lots of thinking, journaling, wine and difficult conversations – I decided that something different, completely new and unfamiliar was what I needed. Thankfully, this revelation came around the same time Julie announced she was bringing The Local Mom’s Network to the East Lansing area. Cue in East Lansing Area Moms. And an ongoing thank you, Julie!

What are your favorite emojis to use when texting?
Hmmm. I like the old fashioned : and ) to make a smile – my brother Eric shared this simple old-school smile on most correspondence even after iPhones offered more. And the emoji smile, the shrug, wine glass, a heart of some sort, and a directional arrow. My son keeps me up on new ones but these are my go-tos.

Do you have any side hustles? Hobbies?
A couple. I help with social media communication for Keene Training. Keene is an area business that delivers access to training and its goal is to assure clients gain the skills to be successful during critical incidents.  I had zero background industry but have learned much.  It is not all about self defense and gun safety although this is a large part of what they offer and it is important to have this training easily available.

I sit on the board of directors of the Eric Royston Foundation. An educational non-profit organization incorporated after my brother Eric died from pancreatic cancer in 2019. This has been an eye opening and engaging experience.  While I am still saddened by his death, I am proud of his continued influence.

I own a photography business. It keeps me busy enough to enjoy, yet not so busy it is overwhelming. I started with a Kodak 110 camera and now use Canon almost exclusively. I have taken classes at LCC, lots of seminars, some mentoring and tons of experimentation. It is something you will never perfect. And it is exciting ever changing technology yet I will always miss the darkroom and hand dipping film.

Currently I am doing Virtual School, School Portraits and finishing up The Front Steps Project – I will share more about both sometime.

One thing I am always working on photographically speaking, is getting in front of the camera. All moms need to remember this – remember when you are taking photos of everyone else with your kids – your kids will want to look at photos of you too.

How do you juggle work with being a mom?
I do not think of it as juggling. More like a list. Some days the list yields a colossal s*** show and some days the list acts as a well oiled machine. But never are any 2 lists the same. If I sit around thinking about how I am going to juggle something I just wasted time trying to figure it out. I think Nike coined it best by saying, Just Do It.

What’s your advice to moms in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis to make life a little easier?
A couple years ago my husband gave me a sign that hangs in our kitchen, GOOD MOMS HAVE STICKY FLOORS, DIRTY OVENS AND HAPPY KIDS.  This sentiment sums it up for us. Not everything has to be finished. Prioritize, and what you do, do it well. You can drive yourself mad (crazy and angry – trust me) just trying to keep up with all of everything day in and day out. And I am terrible at allocating me-time.  But really, who says we have to do it all?

Do what works for your pack. Social media is almost a staple for many but it is not the guide to life. I try to take the positive from it and leave the rest. It is tough. What works for you may not work for me.  And that is okay, for everyone still looks up and sees the same blue sky.

What is something you wish was in the East Lansing area?
I like Trader Joe’s yes, but I am a Meijer and Monticello Market and Butcher Block kind of girl. I am drawing a blank at what I would like to see more of and perhaps I will come back and edit this blog post later.

Can’t live without skincare or makeup products?
I try all sort of things but have my standbys, Arbonne RE9 cleanser, a BeautyCounter Countertime moisturizer, Carmex and OPI Nail Envy. Other than that… it is 5 minute and I am ready.

What are you currently reading?
I usually have a couple at once going. My Own Words Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Mary Hartnett, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Wendy W. Williams. I am also reading a pre-print version of a book I cannot share anything about yet but as soon as I can, I will be.  It is so good!  I just finished The Other Eistein, by Marie Benedict.

I try to read with our kids although it was much easier when we had one. I am reading Magic Treehouse books with my daughter and really like reading with my son and the last book we read back and forth was Legends: The Best Players, Games and Teams in Baseball by Howard Bryant. I learned a lot reading this book.

Strangest thing in your purse right now?
Thinking Putty that smells like 1950s perfume I found at my grandmas, a plastic army guy and a single glove I desperately hope I discover its match.

Outings look a little different these days, what fun places have your wheels taken you?
Over the holiday we traveled all over looking for lights. Since March we like to go downtown Lansing, MSU campus and well, sometimes we just go and see where we end up.

My kids have scooters. And we ALWAYS take my daughter’s scooter when we go so she can keep up. It has saved a whole lot of arguing and whining about, “you guys are walking too fast…” since she has started scootering as we walk.

If you have a 3 to 6 year old with short little legs, take a look at the Micro Kickboard  This is based on our experience. Although – if they want to share the next sized upgrade I know a little girl who would love to demo. 🙂

What is something you might have liked to know but didn’t, with your first child and now is a reflex in your mom toolbox/bag of tricks?
This is a laundry list response and some may seem cliché…
I would have slept more when my kids did. I would have trusted my gut without hesitation. I would have learned the count-to-5-slowly-in-your-head-before-responding-trick long before I did. And I would have cut myself more slack. I mean, newborns are not born knowledgeable to be anything but a newborn. They know how to breathe and a few other life sustaining reflexes but other than that, there are no newborns born reading. The same goes for every step along the way.

My 11 year old is learning more and more lifelong skills I hope will help yield a good human. I am learning how to parent an 11 year old. We all need to give each other a little more grace when it comes to the learning curve.

Hindsite really is 20-20 and if I would have learned something sooner, I would have missed out on all of the experience the lesson yielded. So, I am reminded of this idea a dear friend once shared… I did the best I could do at the time I was doing it!

And, It is okay to mix the Play-doh.

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Until next time,
Christine

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