Welcome to My Corner of the World

I hope you find humor, inspiration and something worthwhile on this blog. I plan to be as candid as possible. Life is hard. I know, I've overcome a lot (and still have a way to go).
It doesn't help others if the rough things are glossed over.

I will no doubt fill this blog with stories of my achievements as a mom as well as my personal struggles.

I have an incredible husband whom I call "my sanity." I have two great kids with strong personalities. I struggle with anxiety and depression and I have had a colorful childhood.

I also have an addiction to Gilmore Girls, A&W Cream Soda, and Starbucks peppermint mocha.
I have recently added biking to my list of hobbies and also love to read, knit, and play tennis.

Welcome to my little corner of the world!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Down to one again

  My oldest started preschool this week.  It's the first time she's been cared for by a total stranger, one would think I'd be more emotional about it.  I wasn't.  I'm not sure if it's because she's only going half a day three days a week and it doesn't feel like "real" school to me or it just hasn't hit yet.
  Today I was able to process things a bit better, and I really think I like the routine school will force us to have.  I have to get up early AND get dressed which will really help get the day started.  Sometimes it's hard to get going when I'm still in my PJs at 9am and we don't really have anywhere to go.
  Today I was able to really spend some good time with my son, which doesn't happen much.  It seems like it's either always the two of them or I have "me" time and have no kids.  My daughter and I had all kinds of one-on-one time before Bug came along.  A and I had 2 and a half years together!
  I was able to play with Bug and learned a few things about him.  For instance, even though he and A bicker and fight a lot (it seems like a lot to me when they're both screamers) he's staying busy!  Today I was on the phone and A was at school so Bug went into the bathroom and climbed up on the counter, sat in the sink, turned the water on and brushed his teeth with my toothbrush.
  When A's home I don't tend to have moments like that since Bug is either fighting with her, or A is running to tell me that Bug is on the bathroom counter and I can catch him before he gets very far.
  So, note to self: Bug needs more monitoring that A did/does.
  Also, Bug likes to be around people.  I've known he's more social than A, but I couldn't see how different it was until there wasn't someone for him to pal around with.  Today he just wanted me in the room with him.  Sometimes he'd engage me in play and some of the time he was content to do his own thing as long as I was in there with him.
  A has always been pretty solitary and I suppose I took her ability (preference, really) to play by herself for hours on end for granted!
  I'm also learning about Bug's temper.  I've known he has one, but a lot of the time I tend to think he's being provoked a bit by A.  Today, however, I could see that he has basically no patience!
  He was getting mad at the trains he has because they wouldn't stay connected to each other.  I was trying to think of another activity I could suggest, but each one I could see him getting frustrated with just like with the trains.
  So, instead of moving onto something different we played with the trains and when he got mad or frustrated I tried to help him identify that emotion and show him ways to handle it.  His reaction is mainly physical.  He likes to throw things and hit, but he also likes to scream.  Today we worked on not hitting Mommy (or anyone else who might be near by).  I was in the floor playing with him and said "Grrr!  You sound really angry!" and then I threw the toy down that I was playing with--the idea being that I'm setting an example for him ;)  We'll see if he takes that as a license to throw things from now on!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just remove emotion

  Last week I had my first appointment with my counselor about anxiety.  It's been about 5 months since I was discharged from treatment, so I've been doing really great!
  Unfortunately anxiety reared its annoying head and I thought it best to see what advice Deb had for me.
  Really, the main thing that has stuck with me from that appointment was what she said about relationships.  Her little pearl of wisdom: Two relationship deal breakers are emotions and assumptions.
  What a coincidence--those two things just so happened to be the very first things I dragged into the latest issue with a particular family member.
  So yesterday when my daughter was yelling for me and throwing a fit in her room, what did I do?  I ignored it.  And then when my resolve to ignore her began to wear down I started chanting "just take the emotion out of it" in my head.  Amazingly that helped tremendously!  I suppose I hadn't realized (again, things just need to be spelled out for me...occasionally several times, at that!) that I bring a HUGE amount of emotion into battles with my daughter.  We are both incredibly emotionally charged people and when the two of us are upset and are engaged in a battle of wills, well, nothing good comes of it!
  Sometimes I can ignore her for a while, but then I just get angry 30 minutes later when the issue is still unresolved and I'm still listening to her carry on!  So then I'm prone to yelling or being totally unreasonable (it's very tempting to take away something fun--dessert at dinner later that night, maybe--even if it has nothing to do with the issue at hand--perhaps the toys aren't picked up).
  However, in my infinite wisdom (that is greatly enhanced now that the kids are sleeping peacefully), I can see that reactions like that from me only make things worse.  Being unreasonable in my punishment is basically my adult way of acting like my 4 year old is.
  Really, if you look at the issue closely it's easy to see why my own highly emotional response just creates a bigger problem.  My adorable Miss A is overreacting (in my mind) to something (say, picking up the toys) and my response is to overreact just as unreasonably by bringing something else completely irrelevant to the issue into the equation (dessert, perhaps.  What does dessert have to do with toys?  Nothing!).
  Good grief, no wonder so many of our "early years issues" went unresolved and only grew until they exploded!
  Unfortunately another problem arises:  I have to train myself to keep my cool (I'm discovering I have a bit of a temper!) or else everything just goes down the pooper!
  So, I've at least discovered one way to keep myself calm: remember to keep emotion out of the equation.
  Now, I'm by no means saying emotion is a bad thing.  I love emotions!  I love being able to adore my kids, I love being able to love people.  Even being able to have our feelings hurt serves its purpose--it keeps us safe and encourages (if it's handled "correctly") better communication skills.
  However--and this is definitely something I'm learning through my kids--there are appropriate ways to handle emotions and there are inappropriate ways to handle them.
  Anger should never be targeted at anyone (hitting, yelling at, or even spreading rumors about).
  Fear is another biggie with kids--but to keep it from becoming an anxiety issue, it's best to talk about fears and why they are or are not likely to happen (monsters under the bed=there may be scary shadows or sounds, but there are no monsters.  Tornadoes=yes, tornadoes can happen and can be scary, but just because it's windy doesn't mean there will be a tornado.  It takes more than a small wind to create a tornado).
  So, here's to hoping tomorrow is a day filled with properly handled emotions--on my part!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Learning about anxiety

  I've tried and tried and tried to make a post for several days now, but I just get too caught up in other things.  I've learned that having this blog is like therapy for me, and I'm not getting my sessions in when I need to!
  So today I'm taking a few minutes to write some things down.
  This past Sat. I hit a new personal best on my bike ride and was so pleased with myself!  I was whooping and hollering all the way up the monster hill (when I had the breath to spare, that is) that I conquered and it felt good!  All I could say after was "that was awesome."  I've decided that my cozy little box that I spoke about a few posts ago has just been blown to pieces--who needs a box anyway?  ;)
  Today I had an appointment with my counselor about anxiety.  For the past few weeks I've been thinking "why am I having these chest pains?  I don't feel anxious about anything."  Well, today Deb gave me a handout (I love her handouts, they're always so helpful) and after I looked over part of it I had to smile because part of what makes a panic attack a panic attack is that most of the time the reason is unknown. 
  Really Deb thought that perhaps in my case it's just one anxious event piling on top of another.  Even if I dealt with the situations well, there have still been four major things go on in my life in the past 2 months (my mom had another episode, my FIL had a stroke, my daughter will be starting preschool in a week, and one other emotionally-charged event)--perhaps I just need to process them all differently than I had.
  Ok, so knowing that helps in the sense that I'm not "missing" something--I may never know the cause of the attacks.
  Really, I hate to call mine attacks, they just aren't that severe.  The chest pains are really just annoying--but I still want them gone.  And I suppose they're still a physical overreaction and I need to retrain my body on how to handle that.  And they do hurt, I've just had worse.
  Anyway, I have another appointment in about 3 weeks and I'm really looking forward to it.  I like my counselor and I always leave my appointments feeling better.
  I'm planning to have a productive day today.  I have lots of laundry to get done, I have a few other chores to finish up and I want to work on my coupons and my book! 
  Another goal that I want to work towards is cutting out my afternoon nap most days.  If I really need the rest, that's fine, but I am starting to get annoyed that I'm almost 30, both of my kids sleep great most nights, I'm relatively healthy, I've even started exercising and I still need a nap every day!  Good grief!
  I'll let you know how that works out!  =)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Learning to Lean

  So after a great conversation with a good friend I feel a lot better about today.
I am hoping to be incredibly productive. More than that, I need to be productive. I need to prove to myself that I can do my work. I can fight the fatigue. I can find balance between being a mom, wife homemaker.
  So, in order to be able to accomplish all of this, I need to lean a bit on others. Some seem to view that as a weakness, I was one of those people up until a year or so ago. There was a time when I thought "good grief, it takes an army just to keep me functioning on a basic level!" and that just depressed me further.
  Now, however, I can see that asking for help is actually a sign of maturity. I am able to see where my limits are and acknowledge that I need a helping hand. Instead of pushing myself emotionally and physically to the point of exhaustion, I can reach out to people who care, and ask for help.
Not only does it help me get done what I need to, but it also strengthens that bond between myself and my friends and husband.
  Do you have any idea how hard this was for me to understand? It has taken me four years to get to this point, and I still struggle with it. Why should I ask for help when I feel like I have a better handle on things than I ever have before? The answer is simple: I still need help from time to time, as does everyone.
  So what is left to do? Reach out and ask!
  This past week my best friend came over to help me get things done. Sometimes I just need someone here to chat with and help chores seem less mundane. Sometimes I need someone to help keep the kids occupied and hold mine if they're having one of those "don't let my feet touch the ground" days. Other times I need someone to take everyone away so I can have the house to myself to pick up clutter and clean in peace and quiet. Then there are other times when I need someone to vacuum for me while I put laundry away, or wash the dishes while I dry them and put them up.
  The great news is that I have a great friend and an incredible husband who are always more than willing to help out.
  An incredibly intelligent person once (or perhaps a few hundred times) told me that a friendship takes two people to make it work (just like any relationship). Translation: I may not feel like I'm giving the other person anything in return for all that I ask/need, but I am giving something or else the friendship wouldn't have lasted as long and become as strong as it has!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why not?

  Yesterday was a great day!  The main reason it was so great is that I have tapped into my well of creativity.  I have always loved to write, but I stuck to non-fiction.  I loved journalism and the idea of making a difference in some one's life through an article I had written.  Within the past year or two I began to entertain the idea of writing a young-adult fiction (YAF) book.  Talk about stepping way out of my box!  My book was going to be based on these insane stories my grandmother told me when I was a kid.  So, I began to write.
  I love to read YAF and have noticed that one thing that makes the good books good is that they're based on "truths" (mythology, folklore, etc.).  So I began to research my topic and realized that Grandma's stories were going to have to change in order for the book to be what I wanted it to be.  That's how it started, and then next thing I knew, the story became mine!  Grandma's stories served as a great inspiration, but the book now has little to do with what she told me.
  I feel so liberated!  Who knew I had the ability to create a YAF story?  I certainly didn't think I had it in me.  The reason I was going to base it on Grandma's stories was that I was sure I couldn't create my own.  I had a very small, comfy box that I liked.  Unfortunately fear and doubt weren't making much room for me in that box.  Now that I took the first step (rather unintentionally) in making my book mine I feel like I can really write and it feels great.
  I am currently reading a book about a woman who lost her identity through her roles as a wife and mother and she is now struggling to rediscover who she was and wants to be.
  I certainly don't feel like I have ever lost my identity--I love who I am.  I do, however, think that through the negative thinking that comes with depression and even anxiety, I severely limited myself in who I could become.
  Before, my life was full of "I'd sure love to...but I can't/I'm too scared/that's just not my kind of thing" thoughts. 
  Sure I tend to be timid, but lately I've been saying "why not?" instead of "I can't."  As a result, I now go mountain biking (albeit, on the easier kinds of trails--but I'm mountain biking!).  A year ago I walked the trails that my husband would bike and I'd look at the uneven paths, rocks, creeks, etc. and think "how is this fun?  I could never do that!" and then one day I thought "why not?" and I went for it!  So what if I'd had to walk my bike and people saw me?  So what if I fell?
  Just like with my book, sure I'd love for it to be a best seller, but if it's not that's ok.  I want to be able to say "I went for it!"  It's funny because I'll go back and read articles I wrote for journalism classes over the years, and even previous chapters in my book and I'll think "wow, that's good!  I wrote that?" and it's obvious that I've spent a good 10 years if not more selling myself short.
  So, today started out draggy and I felt extremely fatigued--but simply thinking about my book and being able to look forward to working on it later today gives me the drive I need to get things done.
  It's tempting to look at the massive pile of laundry that's been waiting days to be put away and think "I can't do this" and then go sit at the computer because I barely have the energy to keep my eyes open and stay awake.
  Today I'm determined to look at that ridiculous pile of laundry and say "I can do this!" and get it done!
  God wouldn't have created me to be a homemaker if I couldn't do it successfully.  That's something I'll have to remind myself of a LOT in the weeks to come--but eventually it'll be something that I won't have to make an effort to do.  It'll come naturally.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Keepin' me on my toes...

                I have an emotional daughter.  I know this, but not everyone around me gets to see her true colors.  She’s pretty good about being incredibly obedient in front of other people and only acting out with me—I feel so privileged!
                As a result of having a child who is so much like me it’s scary, my life is rife with ridiculous power struggles and completely illogical arguments.
                For instance: this morning A was trying to get ready for Church.  I know that she has some tactile sensitivities (scratchy tags in her clothes bother her as does any other foreign fabric) so I packed a nice, fancy dress for her to wear (one of her favorites) and in anticipation of the tactile issue, I also packed a tank top to wear under the dress.

                After she got the tank top on she insisted that it was wrong-side out.  So, in order to avoid a totally pointless argument (what difference did it make if the shirt wasn’t right-side out, it was going to be under her dress anyway…) I took the shirt off of her and turned it the way she wanted it and helped her put it back on.  Lo and behold, she was convinced it was still right-side out and she wanted it the other way!  I finally cut the tag off for her and told her we’d try to put the shirt on one more time, and if she couldn’t find a way to make it work then she’d have to wear the other outfit I packed for her.  She was finally ok with the shirt and got her dress on. 
                Mind you, all this time she’s been crying and upset and I had to take her firmly by the arms and get in her face and remind her that I can’t understand her when she’s talking into my shirt and crying.  My MIL was watching everything play out and even asked if A could wear the dress without the tank top.  I almost laughed, sure I’ll let her wear the dress without it, but A would have a meltdown over that.  

                After that exhausting battle we finally finished getting ready for Church and left.  A and I were in the bathroom before services started and she had a complete meltdown about the sleeves on the dress.  She wanted to change or wear a t-shirt under it!  Yes, sweetheart I’ll magically pull a t-shirt out of my tiny little diaper bag because I knew we would have this problem!  Good grief!  I also found it annoying that she had been wearing the silly dress for 20 minutes at least and this was the first she’d mentioned about it.
                I had to explain to her that she was going to have to wear the dress because that’s what she chose and all our extra clothes were at Nana’s house.  When we finally joined her brother and my husband on our pew she was keeping her hands under her sleeves—sure, whatever helps!

                After I sat down my husband leaned over and asked what the meltdown was about.  Everyone had heard her crying and acting hysterical in the bathroom!
                It’s seemingly ridiculous moments like these that I’m reminded that I can’t reason with her.  A has gotten so emotionally involved in the situation that reason flies out the window.  I could have told her a thousand times that the shirt was wrong-side out, the way she wanted it.  I could even have shown her (and I certainly tried explaining and showing it to her today) and it wouldn’t have mattered.  Emotion distorts her perception of reality.  So what do I do?

                There are times I just put my head in my hands an take a moment to compose myself because I’m so tempted to yell “You’re FOUR for cryin’ out loud—YOU figure it out!” and then stomp out of the room.  However, I am the adult and there are many reasons as to why that’s a bad idea.  The main thing that helps me get through an episode like that (and we have an average of one a day, if not more) while acting like a grown up is that I know that this is real to her and if she doesn’t learn how to handle those emotions now, it will only get harder for her to understand how to control them later.

                I’m creating a relationship with her by helping her through each of these episodes.  She’s learning that I’m not going to force her to do something that is uncomfortable for her (this morning I let her choose to change out of the dress and tank top before we left the house while it was still a reasonable time to change her mind).  She’s also learning that she and I are a team through my refusal to threaten her and punish her (it ends up being me and her against the tag, not me and her against each other).  She’s learning to own her decisions (she chose not to change when she had reasonable time to do so, so she had to be uncomfortable or find her own solution until she can change).  She’s learning that it’s ok to cry, but that there’s a time and a place for it.
                Sure there are times things get ugly and I yell back.  There are times that I don’t know what else to do, so I spank her.  There are times when she’s being petty and I’m petty right back. 

                Has it always been this way?  Oh my, no!  There were days before she was even talking that I’d just sit and hold her while she cried and cried and I’d cry along w/ her because I didn’t know what else to do.
                I thought my “problem” would be solved when she started talking because she could finally tell me what was wrong.  Nope!  When she first started talking I only got one chance to guess what she was saying (and any of you who have had young kids just learning how to talk, you know how hard it is to figure out what they’re saying)—on a good day it was two chances and then she’d just melt down.  Her needs weren’t being met and I had no idea how to go about helping her.

Naturally, after she started talking more clearly, her response became “I don’t wanna tell you!”  Or she’d just be hysterical, not even trying to communicate with words.  Oh. My.  Are you seriously telling me I waited three years for this moment and it’s only made things worse?!  She’s four and a half and I still have to remind her to use her words!  I feel like we should be past that—way past that!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

De-fogged and feeling great!

  It's been nice to return to the real world.  Yesterday was a laid-back day.  We went to a drive-through safari with friends and even though one of the kids just took a short nap on the way home, we had a good afternoon.
  While I wasn't completely back to normal yesterday, I did feel a whole lot better.  I still struggled with those silly chest pains for a large part of the morning and that intrigued me since I felt more composed than I had in days.  I still found that I had to make a conscious effort to focus on what needed to get done (me eating breakfast, getting everyone dressed and ready for the day before starting on household chores, etc), but I have days like those every once in a while and I feel even better today.
  On the drive home from the safari I was visiting with a woman I have a lot of respect for.  She happened to make a passing comment that really stuck with me.  She reminded me that while there may be other relationships in my life that need some work, my Christian duty is to God first, then my husband and then my kids.  All other relationships come after those, and if something starts to take away from my three primary relationships, then I need to step back and re-evaluate my priorities.
  Talk about a light bulb moment!
  I've found myself struggling more with the kids, especially with my emotional daughter who likes to try to engage me in power struggles...ugh!  I've also noticed a bit of distance with my husband.  Well, now I understand why.  Hindsight being 20/20 and all, it's because I've absolutely allowed myself to be consumed with a particular issue that has yet to be resolved, and it's not due to lack of effort on my part.  I have done everything in my power to correct the situation and act like an adult, and have gotten no where.  So, now I am quite content to wash my hands of it for a while and spend time getting my priorities back in line!
  Let me tell you, it feels great not having that problem hanging over my head. 
  For the months to come if I notice myself struggling with my family, I'll be repeating "God, husband, kids" over and over until things get straightened out and I have a great feeling that things will work the way they should.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Freak-out, over!

  All right so the next step since coming to the realization that I have anxiety was accepting it.  I successfully spent the weekend in some ridiculous stupor.  I wasn't able to focus, I slept poorly and I got agitated over things that are out of my control.
  Today is Sunday and I've decided that I'm done with that phase of anxiety.  I gave in completely for two or three days and it stunk.  My solution: regroup.  That's what I'm going to be doing over the next few days.
  Unfortunately this weekend was one of little sleep for my highly emotional kids and there were many power struggles to be had.  As we drove home I was exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically.  So, tonight I am allowing myself some much needed "me" time.  I am not stressing over chores (and let me tell you the house is a mess.  Laundry is starting to take over the laundry room, things need to be picked up and put back where they belong, the fridge is in desperate need of being cleaned out, I need to vacuum, dust, clean the bathrooms, sweep and mop).  Instead, when I get home I am going to chill.  I am going to enjoy some time w/ my husband and perhaps read a good book.
  Tomorrow I will create a plan of action.  This would be one of those instances where I have to make an effort to sit down and make sure I keep things balanced.
  Balance...what a tricky concept.
  How does one balance religion, family, house work, mental health and friendships?  I'll let you know when I have a good system going!
  As of now, I tend to take things one day at a time (hence the name of the blog) and I rely heavily on my best friend and husband to help me find the proper prospective on things.
  Right now I'm letting go.  Sounds so simple, right?  Of course it does, some of the most difficult things that have to be done in life sound simple.
  I'm letting go of things that I can't control.  There is a particular situation that I have tried and tried to fix and from my perspective the other person has not put forth any effort.  I'm done for now.  I'm done dwelling on it and making assumptions regarding motives.  I'm done trying to come up with different approaches.  I'm simply taking a break.  Eventually I will have to revisit the situation again.  It will be unavoidable because my feelings keep getting involved (and hurt), but hopefully the next time it needs to be addressed I will have a clearer head.
  Tomorrow the kids and I have a plan to spend some time with friends.  I will also focus on the chores that I have designated to Mondays and will not even acknowledge the other things that need to be done. 
  I'll let you know how that goes!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Anxiety, really?

  Throughout my counseling sessions I had mentioned a few times, in passing, that I've had chest pains over the years.  My second counselor said "no wonder, it was all the anxiety you were dealing with."  I didn't think much about it at the time.
  However, today I was chatting with my best friend and was telling her that I have been having the chest pains again and started describing the dull, aching pains that effect my moverment to her as well as the fact that I haven't been sleeping that well lately.
  Through the course of our conversation she suggested that perhaps it's something associated with anxiety.
  I got home and WebMD'd it and I think that's spot on.  I remember the first time I ever had the pains Mom rushed me to the ER.  I was probably 9 or 10.  They ran all kinds of tests and couldn't find the cause.  Their best diagnosis: growing pains.  The only problem with that was the pain was debilitating.  I honestly couldn't move.  I really can't fault the doctors, who would have guessed that a 9 year old would have anxiety/panic issues?  The only way they could have known was to know the environment I was growing up in--and how would they know to ask about that?
  Over the years I've been tested repeatedly for asthma and even though the tests come back normal, doctors still gave me inhalers and would go on my way.  That diagnosis never really felt like it fit, and the inhalers didn't really seem to help--but what else could it be?
  Now I know.
  It just seems funny to me that now, at a time in my life when I feel like I have the most control I've ever had, I still have the pains (and logically, still suffer from some kind of anxiety/panic).
  Perhaps it's back to counseling for me...I'm certainly ok with that, I had so much success with it over the past year.  I was just hoping to be done with it for a little more than 6 months.
  On a positive note, I was able to let our new neighbors borrow a few of our big tables for their upcoming yard sale.  It's always nice to feel helpful!
 We also get to host the preacher who is holding a gospel meeting at our congregation for dinner Sat. evening.  I am really looking forward to visiting with him. 
  Lots of fun headin' our way!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Discouraged and such

  I had such a productive morning and the kids did great!  So now I'm wondering why I all the negative aspects of the day are catching up to me and making me feel overwhelmed...
  I am reading a great new fiction book and one hand it is an inspiration, and on the other hand it's intimidating.  I started writing my own young-adult fiction book and am stuck.  I just don't feel all that creative.  Some of my book is based on these insane stories my grandma told me when I was a kid.  I can tell those and add to them a bit and base characters on people I actually knew.  The problem arises when I need to create my own stuff.  My dream is to publish it some day, but then I pick up a good, well-written young-adult fiction book and I feel like my story can never be that good....
  Also, while today was productive, I didn't get much done inside the house.  The kids and I were gone all morning/early afternoon and then it was time to get dinner and get everyone ready for Church tonight so my housework didn't get done.  We're planning to be gone tomorrow morning for a bit too, and right now I just feel like I need to stay home and get things done here.
  THEN tonight at Church I was briefly mistaken for a lady who is probably 100lbs. heavier than I am--certainly a blow to my ego.  I know I'm not small, but I'm not that big!
  Anyway, I'm hoping a good night's rest will help me feel refreshed. 
  I desperately want to be an optimist, but it just doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to some.  Tonight is a great example.  I am trying hard to remind myself that today was overall a good day, and that tomorrow I can start afresh.  It's just a lot easier said than done.
  So, here's to hoping tomorrow my head is clear and I can focus on being positive!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Yay for Today!

  Today had potential to be horrible.
  Thankfully it wasn't!
  I got to go to my coupon club, finally got rid of a nasty headache, had minimal power struggles with my kiddos, actually enjoyed time with my mom, got to play tennis during some kid-free time with a great friend and then even had a great chat over some coffee.
  One thing that made today so great was the time with my mom.  She and I certainly don't have a great relationship--sometimes it's hardly even a relationship at all.
  Today, however, she and the kids enjoyed some time together and I was able to finish up a few chores while they played.  Then we all had a good lunch and then she and I were able to spend some time catching up.
  It was a surprisingly balanced visit.
 I used to keep busy with chores when she'd visit.  Before she moved closer to us and would come to stay, I did a lot more cooking.  It was just easier to spend time with her if I didn't have to give her my undivided attention.
  Today, though, I even asked how her doctor appointment went last week.  A huge part of me didn't want to ask--not because I don't care, but because I don't know what I can believe.
  She recently spent some time in the hospital and told me the doctor advised her to apply for hospice because she only had 6 months to live.  I took that story with a grain of salt and later found out that, yes, her heart has been weakened by her lifestyle, but that she is in decent health all things considered.
  SO, back to her appointment last week.  He doctor told her things weren't as dire as she thought, and really that she's ok. 
  I was impressed she'd even tell me that.  That story doesn't attract the attention that the hospice story did--but she was honest and that was great. 

  I was even able to finish the day with a step towards my goal of exercising several times a week!  I'd say today was a success.  Now let's see what tomorrow brings...