Dearest friend, Erika

Finding a church

We’ve been going to church every week for about a month and a half now. If you’ll remember from my 2017 Goals post (link HERE), finding a church was on my list. Well, we’ve tried out two different churches since January and have found one that seems like a good fit for us.

The initial search began shortly after we moved here, (3 years ago) actually. I started doing exhaustive research online and had narrowed it down to two churches that I was interested in. But then life got in the way and finding a church fell to the bottom of the “to-do” list.

When I decided to resume the search recently, my husband and I sat down and discussed what we hoped to find in a church.

Here were our specifications:

Continue reading “Finding a church”

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Dearest friend, Erika

Life lately

The past few weeks have been a bit of a fuzzy blur around here. I thought I’d use today’s post to catch you up on all of our happenings.

The Lion King:

A couple of weeks ago, Anna participated in a production of The Lion King. They began rehearsals in September, so it was a big commitment for the whole family, shuttling her to and from rehearsals for 4 months.

She had a small role, but she was happy not to have to a speaking role and she was really happy to get to be a BLUE bird (blue is her favorite color). I also got to hone my stage-makeup skills, which was pretty fun, once I got the hang of working with stage makeup.

After it was all said and done, she had a ball. She really enjoyed the performances, even though she was exhausted after doing 3 performances in 2 days time (we all were).

Then, after a weekend of Lion King madness, we were really looking forward to a quiet weekend with no obligations this past weekend. We got exactly that.

Return to the Library:

On Saturday, we made a family trip to the public library to renew my library card, get everyone else their own card and get our Kindles connected to the library’s online lending software.

About every 2 years or so, I re-discovered the library. I get super excited at the prospect of reading all of the books I could possibly ever want to read–not to mention movies, magazines and even a calendar of events to attend! Then, after a few months of active library use, I get disenchanted with something (likely a random late fee or stressing about a lost book) and then I go off of the library again. But, with our newfound “Budget Bootcamp” mode and with one child who’s a voracious reader–who’s single-handedly busting our Amazon Prime budget up with her constant need for a new book to read because she’s read everything over the course of a weekend–we found ourselves back at the library.

Luckily, we all walked out with books that we were excited about. I checked out several, but immediately got sucked into A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand.

I thought I’d read all of Hilderbrand’s books, so I was excited to find one that I hadn’t read. As with all of her books, I picked it up and have been looking forward to my bedtime reading every night since. (The links above are affiliate links)

Another exciting library happening: (if you follow me on Instagram you saw this already)

This roadrunner was outside of the library, pecking at himself in the windows. Being the certified “bird nerd” that I am, I got way more excited than I probably should’ve and giggled and squealed and snapped pics. Ugh. Bless my heart.

Then Sunday.

We went to church (more on this in an upcoming post) then came home to begin preparing Superbowl snacks. We made a rule for Superbowl this year that we’d eat what we already had in the freezer, fridge and pantry. We had cream cheese, sausage and crescent rolls, lunch meat and cheese so I made the following goodies:

Cubano sandwiches: image courtesy of Pillsbury

Recipe HERE

These were yummy and used up 2 cans of crescent rolls and a lot of the turkey and ham that I’d purchased for Anna’s post-Lion King party that we hosted. Everyone in the house enjoyed these (which is a rarity).

We also made this:

Image courtesy of: www.plainchicken.com

Recipe HERE

I went to lunch with friends last week and had deviled eggs with bacon jam on top. Oh. My. Word. So, I had a hankerin’ for more of those and figured that we could replicate them at home. So, we attempted this recipe for Bacon Jam.

Image courtesy of www.allrecipes.com

It’s with a broken heart that I have to report to you that this was a colossal fail. I’m not going to blame the cook (who was Kevin) but something went terribly, terribly wrong and we ended up with a charred blob of black goop. There were some tears shed, but my deviled eggs went on, albeit without bacon jam.

After spending lunchtime in the kitchen cooking our snacks, we settled in to watch the Kitten Bowl and then the big game.

Captain Thunderpants settling in to watch The Kitten Bowl

 

So, that’s what my life has looked like lately. What’s going on in your world?

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Dearest friend, Erika

Surviving Holiday parties sober

Full disclosure: I’ve been sober for 6 years and Holiday parties are still difficult for me.

We went to a Holiday party last night and, one would think that after 6 years of doing this sobriety-thing, I’d have it down to a science. But, I still struggle. Today, I’m holed up at home, rehashing the awkward social exchanges and wondering how people are feeling this morning. I had a great time…don’t get me wrong. We have a wonderful group of neighbors and I got to visit with many of them last night. I also was tested by a few of my least-favorite neighbors being in attendance last night. These are all things that, in my past life, would’ve sent me directly for the nearest bottle of wine. Holiday parties are a unique struggle for me. I love the idea of them, but there’s no other time during the year that I miss drinking more.

Part of it is due to me being an introvert and part of it is everyone around me drinking with wild abandon–just like I used to. But, over the years, I’ve come up with a few tried and true tricks that help me to navigate a Holiday party sober. Today, I’m sharing these tips with you.

Continue reading “Surviving Holiday parties sober”

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Dearest friend, Erika

A sober weekend away

Kevin and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary on November 25. We also just recently realized that December 7 will be the 20th anniversary of our first date. We figured that all of this was as good a reason as ever to go away for the weekend alone, which we just don’t ever get to do. Like, ever. 

We didn’t go far–less than an hour away from home, to the scenic San Antonio Riverwalk. We stayed in a swanky boutique hotel, which is a departure from our usual kid-friendly, free-buffet breakfast, roll away bed-type of hotel choice and eschewed our day to day kid, work and pet responsibilities for 48 hours. Turns out, it was much-needed and so nice. 

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A really not good selfie with Riverwalk Christmas lights, that aren’t being done the justice they deserve by this piss-poor photographer

 

The view outside of our room
The view outside of our room

 

The weather wasn’t good. It was cold and rainy the whole weekend but this worked in our favor. The usually super crowded Riverwalk area was a ghost town.

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We ate our way through town, crossing a few of my “bucket list” restaurants off of my list and ate so much steak that, if someone were to do bloodwork on me right now, my results would read: BOVINE. 

I’d be lying if I said that on a weekend getaway like this I don’t miss drinking but I’ve learned to fill that hole with other things–like sleeping, dessert and people watching.

Speaking of…I saw lots of drunk people this weekend. There was one poor girl in particular, on Friday night, who was dressed to the nines, wearing giant platform heels that she surely wasn’t used to wearing, hobbling around the Irish Piano Bar, like a newborn giraffe–all hooves and knobby knees. That, coupled with the slurring of her words and smeared makeup just wasn’t a good look for her, bless her heart. I see girls like that and I worry. I used to be her.

Then, on Saturday night, the people in the hotel room next to us had a drunken, knock-down, drag out fight. There was so much banging and smashing coming from next door; drunken yelling, crying and threats. It was horrendous. Kevin and I were huddled on the other side of the wall from all of this, with phones in hand, not sure if we should call the police or not. I was thinking to myself, “there, but for the grace of God, go I” because, given my trajectory just 6 years ago, that could’ve been me next door.

It all finally ended about midnight, with the girl (apparently) storming out, then the man continuing to bang furniture around (and God knows what else) in a fit of rage. Then, I awoke at 6:30am to the sound of them laughing and talking–apparently going about their normal, morning business together. It was really bizarre. Never have I been more thankful to be sober than I was on Saturday night. 

hope

 

In the above photo, you might be able to make out the word, “HOPE” in Christmas lights, on the iconic Riverwalk hotel, Palacio del Rio

I can’t help but hope that the couple in the hotel room next door finds their way out of that darkness. I hope that he realizes that there’s a better way to handle stress than by getting hammered and trashing a hotel room. I hope that she realizes that she deserves better than to be treated like that. But mostly, I hope that I continue to see the value in my own sobriety and never go back down that same dark path again.

"Hope" written in lights, viewed from our Saturday night restaurant destination

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cheers-jenny

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