Year in Review… What Led Me to La Hacienda… Upcoming Year

This year has been one of big changes.

It started out with me homeschooling just Karis.  We both LOVED this.  Karis grew so much.

Then I brought the boys home in March.

I had major anxiety issues when I brought them home.  Struggling through Hyperventilation Syndrome again.  This basically means that I was hyperventilating 24/7 (well, not when I was sleeping).  It was so difficult.

My doctor ended up putting me back on Lexapro and with-in a week, it was gone!!  I haven’t struggled with it since.

Even though I planned to continue homeschooling through the summer, I ended up stopping for a month because Ethan was struggling so much.  I thought that a break was just what he needed!

I went back on a diet (it’s what I do during the summer apparently).  I did that diet for 3 months this time!!  Whew.  It was very rough.

We went to Glorieta, NM for Family Camp.  It was fantastic, but I struggled with anxiety while we were there.  We ended up leaving a day early because I just needed to be home because of that anxiety.

We picked back up on homeschooling immediately when we got back.  I thought it was going pretty well!  But what I didn’t know is that I was drinking to cope with being with my kids all day every day, homeschooling, and anxiety surrounding it all.

I drank a lot no matter what.  I had a compulsion to drink.  Once I started, I couldn’t stop.  I got sick from it multiple times a week.  I had times when I was shaky without the alcohol.  I didn’t realize that those times were withdrawal.  Many, many times I drank or got drunk before having community get togethers.  Robert was incredibly worried because of this.

Finally on October 12th, after being sick yet again from being drunk, I decided I didn’t want to live that way anymore.

I emailed the leader of the Celebrate Recovery that I had just started going to, asking for names of treatment centers in the area.

This led me to La Hacienda.

This was the hardest and best decision I’ve ever made.  Leaving my family for a whole month made me struggle desperately with the decision.  Luckily they got me in the next day or I might have changed my mind.

La Hacienda was amazing.  I actually miss it in lots of ways.  I connected with people who were like me.  I learned to accept people in ways that I never had before. I made new amazing friends that will be friends for life.  I learned all about alcoholism and addiction and the fact that it’s a disease.  It’s something that 15% of the population struggle with.  It kills so many people.  It’s a deadly disease.  Lots of people there have been to jail, prison, and been through so much.  Many had been in the hospital multiple times because of it.  Most people had very high liver enzymes (mine were kind of high, but not terrible).  This is what leads to death for many.

While I was at La Ha, I made the really hard decision to stop doing something that I loved for the benefit of my kids and for self care.  I decided to put the kids in school.  And Robert and I decided that this will be a forever decision.

My sobriety has to come first.  From now on I will be going to town 2-3 times a week for AA.  I will continue my step work until I’m through the 12 steps, then I will begin sponsoring women.  My life is completely new and exciting.  I will be bringing my experience, strength, and hope to other alcoholics!  I will serve in AA.

I will also continue focusing on self care.  It’s what will help with my mental health as well as sobriety.

This self care means that I love myself just the way I am.  I eat healthy for self care, and I eat unhealthy for self care.  I will start yoga soon and maybe pick up hiking again, all for self care.  I will continue picking up healthy habits including working on my sleep habits, drinking more water, and picking up fun hobbies.  Getting up early and spending time in the Word, praying, and meditating are all part of self care.

I will begin serving my community.  I know that we are here for a reason and a purpose, and I want to live that out.

I will continue working on purging our home to make it a less stressful place to live.  I will continue being organized because that’s self care for me.

We will continue working hard on budgeting and sticking to the budget so that we can pay off debt and have money in savings.  Now that I’m not spending a fortune on alcohol, it’s possible!

Life is so good.  I never imagined that I would be in a place that I was mentally healthy, sober, and living the life I only dreamed I could have.

God is so good!  He is the reason for it all.  I wouldn’t be where I am without Him.

Here are some pictures of this past year!

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As you can see, even through the hard times, it has been a great year.  The hard times just made me a new person!  I cannot complain about those times.  I’m so grateful today!

Grocery Geek, December 30… Plus Our Variable Expense Budget for 2 Weeks

We are on our second month of really budgeting and keeping up with it.  We’ve had to make some adjustments, but we’re getting there.  I’m still working on spending less for groceries.  I definitely bought some things this time that we didn’t need, but I wanted to treat my kids :-).  I think in the scheme of things, you have to weigh what’s necessary and what is just enjoyable.  It made me happy to hear how excited my kids were about the snacks that I bought them.  I’m getting to a point in which I buy processed foods (for convenience and my sanity) along with whole foods (for health).  I think I’ve found a good balance.

Groceries

This is for most of 2 weeks (I’ll need to pick up a few things next week).

I also had to buy food, paper plates, plastic cups, and plastic silverware to make a meal for our summer staff (Home for the Holidays!), so a lot of this will be used on Tuesday.

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  • Dean’s Ranch dip
  • Dean’s French onion dip (got these dips for 2 for $2)
  • 1 gallon HEB whole milk
  • 2, 11 slices of Tillamook medium cheddar
  • 8oz HEB shredded sharp cheddar
  • 8oz Hormel natural cracked pepper turkey deli meat
  • 1lb Owens natural sausage
  • 2 containers of Julio’s salsa
  • 2 packages yogurt covered pretzels (treat)
  • 1 gallon vinegar (for cleaning)
  • 1 bunch bananas

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  • 2 packages of 12 count HEB Kettle Cooked chips
  • 2 packages boneless pork shoulder (Carnitas)
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 3 zucchinis
  • 2 heads of cauliflower
  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 bag red grapes
  • 2lb strawberries (they’re under the grapes)
  • 1 bag yellow onions

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  • 3 bags of hamburger buns
  • 1 bag of whole wheat hot dog buns
  • 1 bag golden potatoes
  • 1 package flour tortillas
  • 100 count paper plates
  • Aluminum foil
  • Large package of Austin cookies and crackers (treat)

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  • Box of 6 HEB organic animal cookie bags
  • Box of 9 HEB organic cheddar “froggeez” bags
  • 3 cans of Rotel
  • 1 container Creole mustard (this stuff is amazing!)
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • 1 package of 2 pizza crusts
  • 24 count plastic cups

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  • 2 boxes HEB family size macaroni and cheese
  • 2 small boxes of HEB plastic forks and spoons
  • 3 bags of seasoned Texas original tortilla chips (amazing!)

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  • 20 pack Coke Zero
  • 12 pack Berry La Croix

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  • 2 prescriptions
  • 2 bottles of generic flonase (thanks to lovely allergies)
  • 4 boxes of Kleenex (I happened to see these as I was walking to the pharmacy at Walmart and grabbed them!)

Variable Expense Budget (this page is in my household notebook)

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Normally we have $250 for groceries and $50 for clothing, but I moved the money from our clothing budget to account for the extra that I spent on food for our dinner with summer staffers.

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My health and wellness budget is high this pay period because I have a new doctor and it’s $180 out of pocket for that… plus meds and counseling… that makes for a high health and wellness budget.  Next pay check it will be less.

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My in-laws are letting us use their old Nissan Xterra, and I have been driving it to town (for AA/counseling) instead of our Expedition.  This $11.89 that I spent today would have been $18-20 in the Expedition!  Such a blessing!!  This is going to save us so much money.  The $150 is our old budgeted amount.  We will see how much we spend this pay period and adjust as needed for next time.

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For an example of misc, we bought a nut milk bag to strain my Greek yogurt, a whisk (our old one broke), and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi for the kids :-).

 

Stay tuned for my Meal Planning Sundays post coming up!  It will reflect 2 weeks of meals.

Perfectionism and Pride

I am working on my AA Step 6 right now and my sponsor has me making a chart:

  1. Character defect
  2. How it has helped me
  3. How it has hurt me
  4. What life would look like without
  5. Counter behaviors

One of the character defects that I am working through is perfectionism.  It’s all very rooted in pride.  I make things appear perfect where I know people will see.

I share pictures of my clean house (but not the piles of stuff that I have in places).  I keep the living areas clean so if people come over, they will think I have a spotless house.

I share my household notebook (and not the unused pages).

I share the whole foods that I eat (but not the processed food that I eat).  I feel the need to justify anything that isn’t “perfect.”  For example, I LOVE Coke Zero, and I always justify it saying that I drink it because I can’t quit right now since I am trying to stay sober and focus on that.  Instead of just saying I like it, so I drink it.

Here are some things that I do that aren’t perfect:

  • I sometimes yell at my kids
  • I don’t mop often (it’s hard to tell the difference either way)
  • There are piles and piles in my bedroom and the kids’ bedrooms (well, mostly Karis’)… I need to purge.
  • I don’t wash sheets very often (I plan to do it weekly, yet I rarely do it)
  • I like pop tarts, chips, sugar in my coffee, Little Debbie snacks, cookie dough, pizza, doughnuts
  • Even though I plan to do certain things every day (read my Bible, prayer journal, meditate, etc), I don’t always get around to it (I do about half the time).
  • I try to control situations and people that are out of my control
  • I can be very self-centered

Here are some pictures of what I would normally share (the clean parts of my house):

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Here are some pictures of things that I never share (the messy parts of my house):

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All of this proves that I really don’t have a perfectionism problem as much as I have a pride problem.  I only share the things that appear perfect…

This post is for those of you out there that think I have it “all together.”  I don’t.

Our Favorite Friday Night Dinner!

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(Ignore the mess around the coffee table… cause… life.)

Finger Foods!

  • 3 carrots, cut into strips
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into strips
  • 2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets
  • Grape tomatoes
  • 2 bananas, cut
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 2 apples, cut
  • 1 summer sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 pound cheddar cheese, sliced or cut however you want 🙂
  • Ranch or hummus (we use both)

Put on plates in the living room.  Eat while watching Friday night movies (or playing games)!

Easy Chili

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Ingredients:

  • 2lbs ground beef (or venison!)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can pinto beans (or I often use pre-made dried pinto beans… usually about 2 cups worth)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 squirt Sriracha
  • 2 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1-2 tbsp minced garlic (or you can use garlic powder)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute onion in olive oil until onion is translucent.
  2. Add ground beef.  Brown.
  3. Drain fat off of the meat.
  4. Add all other ingredients.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

I will add instant pot directions soon!

Body Positivity

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I’ve joined several new groups lately that focus on body positivity, loving your body at any size, not dieting, etc.

I’m learning so much!!

Did you know?

95% of people who diet gain it back with-in 5 years.

Most people gain back more than they lost.

You can’t really control your body over a long period of time.  It will always get back to the size that it wants to be at.

Once you stop dieting, over time, your body size will level off to the size that it wants to be at… For some, that will be lower.  For some, that will be higher.  My fear was having to constantly buy new clothes and that I would keep gaining.  That’s not true.  Learning to eat intuitively/for self care and exercise for mental/emotional health will be enough to keep your weight from climbing too much.  And if it does, oh well!

Dieting is disordered behavior.  This includes all of the fad diets and restricting by counting calories.  Whole 30, Paleo, Vegan (unless for religious or ethical reasons), THM, 21 Day Fix, low fat, low calorie/My Fitness Pal, etc.

Things that I’m working on…

I choose to eat nourishing foods because it makes me feel good physically.  I eat foods that wouldn’t be considered healthy sometimes because I want to (Along the same lines, food isn’t “good” or bad.”  Food is food.).  I use raw sugar and pyure in my coffee with some half and half because it makes me happy and I like the taste.  I drink Coke Zero because I just quit drinking alcohol and I can only handle one thing at a time.  It’s not as bad for you as people have been saying.  I am learning to read about the science of things versus what people say (and anecdotal blogs, etc).  This is what I am choosing to do.  The main problem with it is that I need to drink more water.  I am trying to drink more water each day because my body needs it.

Exercise is hard for me because I’ve always exercised a lot when I was dieting and not exercised at all when I wasn’t dieting.  Finding a happy medium and moderation is something that I’m working on.  Movement for mental/emotional health and self care.  I also have high cholesterol, so exercise for lowering that is a good thing.

I am unfollowing people on Facebook and Instagram who talk a lot about dieting, Plexus, 21 Day Fix/Beachbody, Whole 30, etc because it’s triggering for me at this point.  I may be able to re-follow these people eventually.  We’ll see.

I threw my scale away!  When I get weighed at the doctor, I will turn the other way.  I don’t want to know how much I weigh!

I’m going to start wearing clothing that is more comfortable even if I gain a little more weight.  Leggings, stretchy jeans, skirts and dresses.  Continue wearing comfy t-shirts and over-sized shirts, etc.

 

And a funny… when I told Robert that I was writing about “Body Positivity,” he told me, “I’m positive I like your body!”

New Year, New and Continued Goals

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I’ve changed so much as I’ve gotten out of La Hacienda and learned what’s really important.

New me now means: sober me.  Content with myself.  Continuing with the things I started when I left rehab.

Here are my top 10 new and continued goals:

  1. Continue staying sober!  Which means: Continuing AA several times a week from now on (women’s AA is on M/W, and another AA on Thursdays for a while still), meeting with my sponsor once a week, step work, daily gratefuls, daily prayer and meditation, daily Bible study
  2. Continue learning to be happy with who I am… content… no more dieting!  Knowing that I will probably never lose weight, and that’s okay.  I have so much more to offer than just what I look like.  And, I know that I am beautiful the way I am!
  3. Continue working on self care.  New healthy habits, one at a time.  Not for weight loss, but for self care.  Staying sober and doing all the things to stay sober are also self care.
  4. Become a sponsor!  Probably a temporary sponsor to start, but that’s fine!  I’m excited about sharing my experience, strength, and hope with another alcoholic!  I’m learning about being a sponsor by having an amazing sponsor.
  5. Work more on my blog.  Make it more useable for those who want to print recipes, search, etc.
  6. Start new hobbies, starting with crocheting :-).
  7. Continue with having a daily routine, and getting back to doing a load of laundry a day, keeping up with the dishes, etc.  It’s honestly part of self care for me.
  8. Continue with trying really hard to be frugal, saving, and paying off debt
  9. Continue reaching out to old and new friends who have mental illnesses like me.
  10. Continue working through my anxiety with cognitive behavioral therapy.

The new me started when I left La Ha.  I want to continue growing and learning about who I am.  Life is so good, and I want it to continue!

Christmas 2016

Coming out of rehab in November, I was kind of nervous about spending the holiday season sober.

This Christmas has been amazing, and it’s the first Christmas season in years that I have had alcohol free.

We spent Saturday, December 17th at my parents.  Meemaw and Carter joined us!  The food was delicious and the company was great!  Then the kids stayed there till Wednesday.  They had a blast!  Here are a few pics from that day.

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Robert and I had several days off together and we celebrated our anniversary (as I’ve previously written about).

We left Friday to come to Glorieta, NM (where my in-laws live)!

The kids have had a blast since we’ve been here!

Saturday they spent the day making snowmen and sledding down the small hill next to the lodge that we are staying in.

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Then we made a gingerbread house and decorated “ugly Christmas sweater” cookies.

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We enjoyed a quiet evening eating yummy food, playing games, sitting by the fire place, and chatting.

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We left Santa some cookies, an apple, and water (my kids don’t believe anymore, but my nephew does!).

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Sunday morning, we woke up to fresh snow!!  It snowed most of the morning.  It was beautiful and perfect.

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The kids really enjoyed their Christmas presents and didn’t complain about not receiving much (it was just shoes, books, socks, and underwear along with some small stocking stuffers).

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The kids enjoyed opening presents from Grandma and Grandaddy and playing with their new toys!

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Then they went sledding on the big hill!

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Merry Christmas from the Croslands!

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Things that Make Me Happy

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I LOVE my HHHM group.  Every single day they convince me to love myself as is.

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#sobriety #70daysyesterday

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Bringing these to do in New Mexico with our kids and niece and nephew!

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I received my order from Amazon!  I plan to bake lots of breakfast items with this to have more protein with my breakfasts.

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It’s supposed to snow where we’re going for Christmas!

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Ethan loves music!  Playing “drums” on things around him, singing into karaoke machine, and “playing” guitar!  Sweet boy!

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We let the kids open their big Christmas gift early.  They were so shocked and excited!

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They played together for hours that night!

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Granny and Pawpaw bought the kids a Karaoke machine.  They love it!

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I got to play original Mario Bros with Robert.  This brought me back to when Joey and I were little.  It made me want to tell him, then I realized I couldn’t.  It was a sad, sweet memory.

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The kids now have great chairs to play the WII!  They love it!

Instant Pot Whole Chicken and Roasted Veggies

I made instant pot whole chicken for the first time so I thought I would share how I made it and share how I would do it a little differently next time.  My favorite whole chicken is roasted in the oven, but this is good when we don’t have enough time to roast it (as it takes MUCH longer to roast).

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Ingredients:

  • Cooking oil (I use coconut)
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth (I would use 1/2 cup next time)
  • Dried rosemary
  • Dried thyme
  • Garlic powder
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Dried basil
  • Minced garlic
  • Whole chicken (mine was almost 6lbs)
  • Quartered onion (about 1/2)

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Quarter the onion and place in a small bowl.

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Place 1 tbsp minced garlic in bowl.

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Sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, basil, and coarse sea salt.  Stuff it into the chicken.

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Press “saute” and “fry” the chicken, breast on top, in about 2 tbsp oil (I just squirted it) for 5-7 minutes.

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Turn the chicken over and sprinkle with lots of coarse sea salt, rosemary, thyme, basil, and garlic powder.  Pour chicken broth into pot (like I said, I would only use about 1/2 a cup next time).

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Set the time manually.  I did it for 25 minutes, but I would do it for 35 minutes next time (I ended up having to bake it for another 10 minutes or so to bring the chicken up to temp).  Make sure that you do natural pressure release when finished (NPR).

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The chicken doesn’t look pretty, but it tastes pretty good :-).  It’s also super tender and falls right off the bone.

Before you start the chicken, get the veggies ready.

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  • 1 yellow onion, cubed
  • 2 russet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 yellow squash, cubed
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 bag of brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled and cubed

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Heat oven to 350*.

Sprinkle with olive oil, coarse sea salt, and garlic powder.

Toss.

Place on cookie sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes before starting chicken in the instant pot.

Once they are in for 20 minutes, start the chicken on 35 manual.

Once chicken is done, broil the veggies for a few minutes to brown.

Dinner is done!

Serve with a salad!

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Super yummy and healthy dinner!