Feeling Refreshed

This week was everything that I needed that I didn’t realize I needed. I made some closer connections to friends here at camp and that was the most important part for me.  My heart is full. Another important part was … Continue reading

Maintaining Consistency on Things that Matter to Me

Consistency is hard for me.  I am a planner and plan to do things often that I struggle with follow through on or just give up when things don’t go as planned.  This has been a struggle for me my … Continue reading

Doing All the Outdoorsy Things Again and Trying New Things

I love that the kids are bigger and they can 1) be alone at camp while I hike and work retail, and 2) do so much more than they used to be able to.  We can finally do “all the … Continue reading

Mental Health, Routine, and Adjusting Expectations

This past week has been full of reflection. With the high profile suicides that are happening, my friend asked me if I was okay.  She was concerned since I lost my brother to suicide and because of my own struggle … Continue reading

God is Teaching Me So Much

I almost always have so much on my mind that I want to write about.  A lot of times it’s jumbled because it doesn’t all fit together well.  So, I’m going to attempt to write out what’s on my mind … Continue reading

Update On All the Things

I’m thankful for Facebook memories.  They remind me of how hard things were the past several years in the spring/summer.  They remind me of how great I’m doing right now.  They remind me that making the decision to put the kids in school (or keep them in school) was the best decision we could have ever made.  It has been amazing for all of us.

Even so, life isn’t perfect and there will be hard days/weeks.

Sleep

I have been so so fatigued again lately despite falling asleep pretty easily most days, and I feel like it has been getting worse.  I just had lab work done to check my thyroid and it’s normal now. I probably really should focus on movement.  I need to get out and hike more (again).  I feel so good when I do, but it’s so hard to convince myself to just get outside.  I honestly don’t know if I have the energy to make it happen at this point.  But I will try.  I have to remind myself that any movement is a good thing.  So a 10 minute walk to start is okay!  That could be enough to jump start something!

Anxiety

I’ve had a little more anxiety this week as well (though nothing like this time last year and the year before).  I’m trying to remember that there is absolutely nothing that I have to do in my day (well, except for picking the kids up from the bus and leading the 12 step meeting in Rocksprings).  I always want a spotless house, the laundry caught up, etc because it truly helps me mentally.  But I can also let it go for the day if I can’t focus on it for whatever reason.  It’s perfectly okay.

Dealing with kid issues is often what causes my anxiety.  Ethan has always been my hard kid.  In the past, he threw tantrums all day every day.  From a baby till not that long ago.  When he was homeschooled it was really bad.  He struggles badly with relationships and being the “mean kid.”  Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with him.  He is in counseling, he takes medication for ADHD now (started about a week and a half ago, and hopefully it’ll eventually help his impulsiveness), and his teacher and I are working with him.  Unfortunately there are some who can’t see all the work he is doing and just focuses in on his flaws.  But I can’t do anything about that.  So we keep moving forward.  I do need to pray for him more.  That’s something big that will help.  My friend also shared a scripture with me that I can pray over him and share with him each day.

Psalm 19:14 (from the International Children’s Bible)

“I hope my words and thoughts please you.  Lord, you are my Rock, the one who saves me.”

I printed it and will be putting it on the boys’ wall.  It would be a good thing for Levi to focus on as well :-).

Younique

This is my favorite part of my days lately.  It is so so so fun.  The women in the community are amazingly supportive and encouraging (who want to see each person succeed), making videos has become fun and less nerve-wracking, there are ALWAYS fun incentives and perks, I’ve made a little bit of money (and have the potential to make a lot over time), I love the makeup, I love the skin care, it’s so nice feeling pretty, I’m taking better care of myself, it gives me some purpose and something to look forward to, I enjoy sharing the makeup with friends and seeing their excitement for our products (and how they make them feel), and I could probably go on and on! I worked several hours today, and it was fun the whole time!

12 Step Meeting

The 12 step meeting is going really well even though we only have a few people going.  We have a new guy that is getting what he needs from the group.  There are a LOT of alcoholics and addicts in our little town and very few of them are in recovery.  Everyone joins each other in their addiction and do it all together.  I’m hoping that by being consistent and continuing to show up even if we only have a few people coming that we will be a soft place to land when enough is enough.

Unfortunately, everyone has grown up in their environment so they don’t know any different.  Anyone trying to get out of active addiction have a hard time because it’s everywhere.

Yesterday I was 18 months sober!!  It’s such an exciting thing!

Robert and the boys are camping and Karis was at a friend’s house until a little while ago.  I did a lot of work because the next two weeks I have 4 Younique parties!  They will be small, but it’ll be a good chance to learn.  My first one will start Monday!  I have lots of videos, photos and graphics, etc along with doing at least one live video each day.  I hope to do games and activities.

I’ll let you know how they go!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Happy Weekend!

I have been trying to blog all week and it just hasn’t happened.  This past week was Spring Break and man was it busy.  Monday and Tuesday weren’t too bad, but Wednesday through tomorrow have been/will be busy.  I have carved out a chunk of time this late morning to blog because that’s the only way to make it happen.

I woke up a bit late today and I’m so, so tired from the crazy week.  Then I did some cleaning, took a shower, worked on this post some, more cleaning, makeup and hair, etc.

She was really spoiled this year and it was necessary.  She has spent years thinking she wasn’t important because I have had to focus on myself because of my mental health issues or on her brothers because they are younger and needed more attention.  I have been trying to spend more time with her and love on her more.

So like I said, this past week has been pretty crazy.

Monday was devoted to focusing on starting my Younique business with an “unboxing” live Facebook video.  I also practiced putting on my new makeup.  I had so much fun.  Here is the look that I created Monday.

Tuesday was mostly just work and chores.  It was a good day over all.  The kids played with their friends most of the day so it was pretty quiet.

Wednesday was a pretty crazy day.  Ethan stayed here with a friend all day.  Karis, Levi, and I went to town.  We left at 9:30 and got home at about 6:45.  We got donuts and pigs in a blanket,Levi had a doc appointment (and he was officially diagnosed with ADHD), we went to Goodwill and Chickfila, counseling (for 2 hours), then Walmart (for a few groceries and Levi’s prescription).  Whew.  Town days are so long because not only do we have to get a lot of stuff done in one day, the drive there is an hour and 15 minutes, then the same home.  It was a good day, though, with my kiddos.  They behaved really well.  One less makes a huge difference!

Thursday was Karis’ birthday which included opening presents, eating food of her choice, her baking all day, cleaning, Bible study at my house (always so great!), then AA.  Another semi-busy day.

Karis made this on her birthday.  It took her like 6 hours.

These were the meals of her choice.

Friday was another day in town.  We left here at about 11:00 (not early).  We met my mom to hand over the boys, then Karis and I spent the whole day “playing” and shopping.  We walked around Fredericksburg for a couple of hours, ate at Chilis (where she was given a treat for her birthday), went to an arcade and spent about an hour there, walked around the mall (which is tiny… we went to Bath and Body Works, Claires, and a random store that reminds me of the 90s), then HEB to get her cake and other groceries.  Karis spent all but $3 of her birthday money!  Haha.  She’s my daughter for sure.  I’m also pretty much out of money after this week between the doc appointment, medicine, groceries, birthday stuff (cake, lunch, etc), gas, etc.  I’m back to living frugally again!

Tomorrow Karis and I are driving to Kerrville to meet my parents for lunch and pick up the boys.

Anyway… all that to say: I cannot wait for routine again.  I have done fine mentally/emotionally this week despite the craziness because I know it will end and routine will happen again Monday.  We all thrive better with some routine which means this summer I’m going to have to make sure we have routine.  Not just for our sanity, but also because I will want to work (Younique doesn’t feel like work, though!) a couple hours a day so I will need to figure out how to make it happen.  Also Ethan doesn’t function well without routine either so we’ll make it happen.  He struggles with his emotions and socially more when he doesn’t have routine.  That’s why he does best at school!

I will still need to get up at the same time each day (though not at 5:30 like we do now!).  Do the same chores each day (the kids and me).  Work certain hours each day if possible.  And the kids will have to be outside certain hours and can only be on electronics certain hours.  They will also have to read every day (and I will have to set aside that time or it won’t happen).  So I will work on this over the next couple of months (summer is coming so soon!).  I’m not always great at implementing these things or being consistent so I will just do my best.

Anyway… her friends just left her party and I would say that it was a success!  It was fairly loud and crazy but they had fun.  I also got to visit with some friends so that was nice.

Alright… going to make Karis some chicken alfredo, pasta, and broccoli!

How has your week and weekend been?

On this Thanksgiving…

I have pulled out my computer and sat there staring at the screen (or getting distracted by Facebook) so many times in the past month or so.  We have so much going on and I have so much that I could share, but the words just aren’t coming when I sit down to write.  I’m not sure why.  I do know that I have spent MUCH less time on my computer lately and that’s a good thing.  I used to sit on my computer all day, every day.  Now I don’t have time for that, nor do I want to.  Part of the reason why I don’t write as much (or sit at my computer as much) is that I used to drink and drink and drink and all I could do while doing that is sit.  Also I have been so busy.  Mostly in a good way!

The moment that I decided to put Karis back into school, my anxiety went away and my depression lifted.  We didn’t even take much time to pray through it once I thought of it because 1) I knew that Robert wanted our kids to be in school, 2) I realized that my mental health went back down hill when I pulled Karis out, 3) Karis went backwards in many ways being home and I knew it would be best to teach her how to persevere even when things are hard (and she needed to be around kids her age).

Since we’ve made that decision, lots of things have hit us… broken arm, asthma attack that landed Ethan in the ER, lots of doctor appointments, bloodwork, lots of medicine, Ethan got strep (and ended up missing 4 days of school), counseling appointment for Karis… And I have been in either Rocksprings or Kerrville pretty much every single day (with a day off here or there).  I have also tried to go to AA twice a week but it hasn’t happened as much as I would like (I definitely go once at least).

But do you know what hasn’t changed through all of this craziness?  My joy.  I may be tired.  I may be somewhat stressed.  Karis has cried a lot (as we’ve been walking her through things).  Levi has been in trouble a lot at school this year (and we’re working with his teacher and doctor to figure out how to handle this).  But I haven’t regretted anything.  I haven’t felt guilty.  I haven’t tried to make something happen that wasn’t supposed to happen (which is how I ended up homeschooling off and on so much over the years).  I haven’t made things to be my fault when they weren’t (like putting Karis in school or Levi getting in trouble).  I’m just truly living each day.  One day at a time.  To its fullest.  I’m more comfortable in my skin.  I have spent a lot of one-on-one time with my kids.  Karis and Ethan are doing choir.  The house stays mostly clean (except this week because the kids are home, and that’s okay!).  Robert and I work together.  I focus a LOT on self care because that is what keeps me going. Life is just good.  But I don’t take it for granted.  With my history and my mental illnesses (and being an alcoholic), I truly have to take it one second, one minute, one hour, and one day at a time.  And I’m finally in a place in which I can do that.

So on this beautiful Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for.

It has been literally years since I felt this kind of peace and joy for more than a few days, and especially through stress and difficulty.

My family and friends are amazing, I’m learning to love myself as God has made me to be (and I’m realizing what my true calling is), Jesus loves me and I love Him, we love Camp Eagle and are so blessed to be a part of this family, we have all of our needs met (even when we don’t know how things will work out, they always do), I’m thankful for AA and what it has done in my life (and continues to), I’m so thankful for the Healthy Habits Happy Moms community (and Balance 365 program) that has helped me see myself in a completely different light, and I’m thankful for all the little things that bring me joy each day… music, flowers, coffee, Christmas lights, candles, a hike, spending time with my friends and family, playing games, cleaning, coloring, drawing… the list could go on and on.  I am who I am today because of who God is, my family and friends, and through the difficult of the past several years.

Finally Thriving, Not Just Surviving

The past 2 weeks have been long and stressful and amazing.  I was in town 10 times in those 2 weeks (either Kerrville or Rocksprings).  Karis broke her arm and we went to urgent care on Monday the 9th, Karis started school on the 10th, choir was on the 11th, we went to the orthopedic doctor on the 12th, the 14th we went to Wild Seed Farms and Robert and I had a date day (amazing day!!!!!), the 15th we went to the Alumni meeting at La Hacienda and I got my 1 year chip (and we picked up the kids), the 16th I went to AA (and Robert took Ethan to the ER that night for asthma), the 17th I went to town to get Ethan’s steroid med filled, the 18th was choir, the 19th Karis met with her partner for science fair at the library, and Friday Ethan and I went to the doc for a follow up and we got groceries.  The urgent care, ER, and doctors were not good (well, the docs and stuff were great but having to go wasn’t good), but the rest was!  And I’m really starting to feel better.  I’m having a few physical symptoms that I’m not sure about, but I’m still just taking it one day at a time.  I might go back to the doctor eventually.  It’s nothing extreme.  And tomorrow I will see my psychiatrist.  That’ll be good!  I don’t think I really need to make any changes.  I feel like things are going better and while I do have anxiety still, I don’t want to take more meds and I think it’s just something I have to live with.  I’ve learned a lot of coping skills and put those into place when I’m struggling.  Things are going well for the first time in a long time!

Tuesday we had “HAF (Home Away From) Homes.”  This is time with our gap year students (well, 3 of them).  We share with our neighbors who we love deeply.  It’s such a sweet time!

Friday was so fun.  I had an entire day with Ethan.  The appointment with the doctor went super well.  We got all of his asthma meds refilled and we’re going to focus on getting him completely stable in that area.  He got a flu shot.  Then we got donuts and got some blood work done to see what he’s allergic to.  We got groceries (I spent very little and am so proud of myself!) and we got Halloween costumes.  Then went to eat at a Chinese restaurant (Ethan’s choice).

This past weekend was so productive.

Saturday I cleaned the house nearly spotless.  It has been a long time coming!  I have just been having the kids clean it and obviously that means that things weren’t being cleaned super well. So I deep cleaned the bathrooms.  I cleaned the floors.  I cleaned and organized my bedroom (desperately needed to be done… I had piles everywhere).  I got caught up on laundry.  Washed some sheets (I need to finish that this week), and washed towels and bathroom mats.  The kids cleaned their rooms (not spotless, but good enough for now).  I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.

After the kids cleaned, they enjoyed time with their friends and Levi enjoyed time reading fall and Halloween books that I pulled out :-).  At the end of the day we watched a movie as a family (Spiderwick Chronicles… so good!).

Sunday I did a bunch of food prep!  Mini whole wheat pumpkin banana muffins.  Homemade whole wheat bread (though it didn’t rise real well).  I made lunches for 4 days.  I bagged snacks.  Cut cantaloupe.  Cut veggies for the veggie tray.  Froze pumpkin in candy molds for smoothies.

The kids were out playing with friends this whole time.  The boys went fishing in the river.  Karis played with her friends.  I love that they have each other!

Robert worked, then he had to go pick up the camp jeep because it broke down.

At the end of the day I did a quick pick up of the house, finished the dishes, set the coffee up for the next day, signed the kids folders, and did a little bit of spot sweeping.  I went to bed exhausted and fell asleep pretty quickly!  It was so great!

I really think having all three kids in school is the best for our family.  I feel so much better mentally/emotionally.  The kids are thriving.  Karis is actually doing so much better this time.  She feels somewhat stressed, but she’s handling it very well.  I encourage her constantly and she has amazing teachers.  She’s making A’s and B’s!  A 100 in science and even an 86 in math!  This is HUGE, especially since she came in late in the school year.  Also, she’s doing well writing with her left hand since her write arm has a cast on it!

Yesterday I went to AA (always amazing!), then I had a nice lunch on the patio of Chili’s afterwards.  Then Walmart, then home!  We had dinner with friends last night.  It was so amazing!

I always get my Sonic Coke Zero with lime before AA.  And there’s a dollar there because they take up donations to pay for the fee for using the building, material, etc.  That’s my AA Big Book.  We read “How It Works” last week and this week.  It’s my favorite chapter in the book.  It tells you how to work the 12 steps.

The burger was a Smokehouse Cheeseburger.  It had a special sauce, crumbled bacon, 2 amazing onion rings, and all the veggies.  It was so amazing, and of course I love their fries.

Today I’m hosting ladies’ Bible study here.  It’s always a sweet time of fellowship.

Life is good!!  Praise God for this!!

We Can Do Hard Things (with the power of Christ!)

Whew.  It’s only Wednesday and I feel like it should be Friday.  This week has been long and it has been a struggle for Karis and I.

I’m currently sitting in our wonderful library sipping coffee (they have a little coffee bar!) and listening to the amazing library director teaching kiddos about alliteration and assonance in poetry and other writing.  It’s pretty fun and kinda makes me miss teaching, but not really.  We have a fantastic community of teachers, library employees, administration, and more!  I also just signed up for Overdrive which is an app where I can check out ebooks and audiobooks on my phone and iPad!

Anyway.

Saturday the kids were riding their bikes at the basketball court.  They were playing some sort of game.  At some point Ethan threw an empty soda can on the ground and when Karis came up on it, she tried to avoid it, and she fell off her bike.  She scraped her knee and hurt her wrist.  The next morning she told me that she didn’t sleep at all because it hurt so bad.  I wanted to take her in, but Robert wanted to give it a little bit of time because there was no swelling or bruising.  She had some time off and on where it didn’t seem to hurt her as much (like when she played on the Wii!).

Robert and I made some pumpkin cookies and played lots of games (totally a side note).

She was in so much pain when I took this picture.

She fell asleep almost right away.  The next morning she was thrilled that she could make a fist again!  She seemed to be feeling somewhat better so we continued on with our plans.  The kids didn’t have school on Monday so we went to Kerrville and my mom was going to hang out with them while I met with my sponsor and went to AA.  Karis kept going back and forth about how she felt.  She was hurting, she wasn’t hurting too badly, and so on.  I had told my sponsor that I was going to take her in (then changed my mind again when she seemed okay).  I ended up leaving all of the kids with my mom at the park and I went to Starbucks.  After a little over an hour I called my mom to see how Karis was doing and she told me that she seemed to be hurting pretty badly and that it’s a little more swollen (they had gone for a walk in the park).  I decided at that point to just go ahead and take her in.

We went to the urgent care clinic because they have the ability to do the X-rays right there.  When we got there they said that only one doctor is doing the walk ins (they also have primary care doctors) and it would be about 1:30 before someone could see us.  So we filled out paperwork and they set our appt time.  We decided to go have lunch with my mom and the boys.  We ate at Denny’s and Karis wouldn’t move her wrist the whole time.

It took a while but we finally got back to the see the doc and he was fantastic.  He did an exam and pinpointed exactly where she was hurting the most.  After the X-rays he told us that it looks like a significant break in her radius at the wrist.  He said that he was going to put in a referral for an orthopedic doctor and that the nurses would do a splint until we could see the orthopedic.  He also said that I would hear from him in a day or so after they get the final results from the radiologist.  Karis and I were both surprised that it was broken (and her daddy!).  It just looked so “normal.”

The hardest part about this whole thing is that it’s her writing hand.  And she started school yesterday.

She woke up easily and was really excited in the morning.  Unfortunately the excitement turned to difficulty almost immediately.  (I love this picture!)

Yesterday was a really hard day for her.  She was hurting, her splint is heavy, her sling rubs her neck, she was cold because we couldn’t figure out the best way to put her jacket on her with the sling, she had to write with her left hand, she spilled her lunch trying to carry it, she struggled with math, etc.  She came home and cried and cried.  Then when her daddy came home she cried some more.  She told me last night that she already misses homeschooling (which is so hard for me).  Her daddy made her favorite food last night (3 cheese and sausage yellow grits) and she just got to watch some stuff on her Kindle (on Kidstube) so she could zone out for a little while.  She and I slept in the living room one more time because she has been sleeping so good there and she needed that sleep.

Oh, and the doctor called me and said that it is in fact broken (Karis was hoping that the doctor was wrong and this was a big part of her crying).

I asked her that if her arm wasn’t broken would her day have been as bad and she said no.  The arm being broken is what is making everything so difficult.

My friend reminded me last night that “we can do hard things” so I told Karis that when she feels like something is too hard, just tell herself “I can do hard things.”  She said that she doesn’t believe that.  But we will keep working with her.  She is going to learn perseverance through all of this.

This broken bone thing is new to all of us.  I never broke a bone.  My brother never broke a bone.  Robert never broke a bone.  None of my kids have broken bones (until now!).  So it feels like a big deal (and it’s costing a lot!).

Today I came to town and had lunch with each kiddo.  When I saw Karis, she seemed pretty happy!  She told me that it has still been hard, but better than yesterday.  It helps that it’s not raining and cold today!  And she’s slowly getting used to using her left hand for everything.  She was also really excited about choir this afternoon.  I’m happy to be back here, too 🙂 (choir is in the library).

After I had lunch with each kiddo, I had lunch at my favorite Tex Mex restaurant by myself :-).  Then I went to the post office and decided to drive around a bit.  I haven’t seen much than what’s on the main highway, and since I had time, I decided to check things out.  There are actually some pretty cute houses!  It’s a very low income town so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Pretty much all of the houses are small, but I love that they are all very different.  There are brick, rock, and wood houses and some trailers.  But they’re all mixed together.

She just got out of school and she’s sitting next to me reading.  She had a good rest of the day and I feel hopeful!  Tomorrow morning we will be meeting with the orthopedic doctor.  I’m hoping that she doesn’t need surgery (I don’t think so, but you never know).  I’m looking forward to her getting her regular cast and just moving forward.

We can do hard things (with the power of Christ!).