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!

Monday, November 25, 2013


  I know how blessed I am to have my husband in my life, but every once in a while a moment will come along that makes my heart smile and I think to myself "that's the man I married!"
  Yesterday the Hubby had the lesson at Church and he spoke about thankfulness.  One of the points he brought out made me think about my blog post a few posts back.
  The Hubby was talking about the children of Israel complaining, even though God always provided for them.  The began to lose perspective until they actually wished they were slaves again just so they could eat different food!
  How ridiculous does that sound?  
  Then I thought about my post and how I talked about how simple life seemed 10 years ago.
  Talk about putting things into perspective!

  As I mentioned, I have been doing a lot over the past 5 years to improve my emotional health.  Something that 10 years ago was very unstable.
  I've been able to recognize my growth over the years.  There are times I  lose perspective and question what I'm really doing.  But I've been able to bounce back to reality more and more quickly over the years.
  Now I'm even able to see positive change in my journal entries.  Instead of seeming to be hopeless, a bit lost, and pessimistic, they now have hope, direction, and show an underlying optimist!
  The funny thing about me looking back on my past and being tempted to think "man, life was easier when I was [enter age here]" is that my life has never been easy.  This isn't a pity party, and I'm not saying my life was miserable.  I am saying that every age I can think of was met with some challenge at some point.
  Now that I'm adult, the focus of those challenges has shifted from being about me to being about my kids and my family.

  So the positive take away?  This time it's very simple:  I'm becoming an even more well-adjusted adult than I could ever have imagined.  Yay!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tough Call

  I've been babysitting for a while now.  I've been blessed so far and have had some kids who really fit well with my family and our routine and whose parents I enjoy working with.  All the kids I've worked with are great kids.  Some are easy going, some are challenging, some fall in between.  Even the challenging ones I've been able to connect with, if even just a little bit.
  I'm currently keeping one who I am having to say good-bye to.  There are hundreds of times in a day where I think "this is So hard! I can't keep him anymore."  And other times through out the day when I think "Man, I could really help this kid."
  The truth is that I really could help him.  All the strategies I've employed with A over the years are perfect for this little boy (whom I will call IV).  This morning I had IV and Bug.  I was about ready to pull my hair out.  But I took Bug to school and for the past hour and a half it's just been me and IV.  We've done really well.
  I haven't had to physically restrain him (which I have done at least once every day this week). He's had a few behaviors, but I've been able to work with him and help him through them.  We've been able to connect and he's calmed down lots.
  This totally could work.
  The problem? The Hubby and I have made the decision to home school A.  If IV was the only kiddo I had during the day (no other babysitting kids and none of my own), I'd be able to help him immensely.  
  But he's not.  Home schooling is the best thing for my family right now.  Not keeping IV is also in my family's best interest.
  So, as much as a part of me hates to, there's a bigger part of me that is able to see the bigger picture.  
  This instance has shed some insight to my own childhood.  I've often wondered over the years how in the world my mom was able to keep me.   Why didn't someone along the way see how she took care of me and call child services?  Why didn't some teacher step in and try to help?  Of all the adults who passed through my life, why did no one do anything?
  Then I have to deal with this situation.  It's made me realize that perhaps there were several people in my life as I was growing up who desperately wanted to help me and/or Mom, but for whatever reason, they were unable to.
  As much as I don't want to, I understand my family has to come first.  Being an adult is hard.
  So, I will do what I can while I have this precious soul in my care, and then I will pray that he will be able to make the best of the life he's been given.

  Again, I like to end my entries on a positive note.  While this one kind of has "sad" written all over it, I have been able to see that (at least for now) I would Love to (and be pretty good at it, to boot!) work with kiddos like this.  Perhaps at Karyn Purvis's camp for kids.  Perhaps just through babysitting.  Perhaps as a consultant of sorts.  Who knows what will be available for me in 15 years?


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Parenting--takin' it to the next level

  I have been changing and maturing over the years.  I have done lots of self work, have sought therapists and professionals to help me overcome my emotional struggles, I have ended toxic friendships and nurtured positive relationships.  I have grown as a Christian, a wife, a mother, and a daughter.
  Over the past few days I have discovered that I am entering another level of parenting I never knew existed.
  As I have discussed on this blog, I am constantly looking for ways to help my kids. I take A to counseling appointments, psychiatrist appointments, I  read books about childhood anxiety, I have set a strict (for me) routine for our days so she doesn't feel overwhelmed.  I have become an expert on SPD, building my relationship with A, and loving her in the way She needs to be loved (instead of the way I think she should be shown love).
  I make sure Bug is allowed to be a boy.  I try hard not to cringe when he makes a disgusting mess.  I let him have the opportunity to run, jump, and rough house.  The Hubby and I have done what it takes to make sure Bug gets to go to preschool.  I push him out of his comfort zone within reason.  I do my best to make sure he knows it's OK for boys to cry.
  I have endured some uncomfortable counseling appointments in order to be a better mother, wife, and person.

  So what else could there possibly be to parenting?
  I've been getting bogged down lately with all the negative things going on in my life.  I keep thinking back to when I was in high school and how simple life seemed then (in hindsight, of course.  In reality, I was stressed out then and handling things much worse than I do now!).
  The more I thought, the more I realized that it's this parenting gig that's hard.  I see friends on facebook who are single parents and are trying their hardest just to survive life.  Their lives are not what they would have envisioned for themselves, and yet here they are.  Struggling.  Plodding along.  Doing their best for their kids, so those children may have a better chance of living the life they want.
  Everyone says a parent's life changes when her child is born.
  Of course my life changed when we had A.  I had a precious child who was dependent on me for everything.

  Now, however, I'm discovering that I'm no longer living my life for me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not blurring the line between where A stops and I begin.  I'm not pushing my fears and dreams on to her (or Bug for that matter).
  My life is no longer necessarily about what Alexis wants to do.  It's about weighing what is best for my entire family.  I don't feel that I've necessarily been selfish up to this point in my life, but I do feel that my perspective needed some tweaking.
  The choices I make now impact me and my children (and my husband, too).
  I can make bad choices and I can reap the negative consequences.  I also leave my kids with that bad example to reference as they grow up.
  Or, I can make good choices, and A and Bug can have that positive influence guiding their thoughts as they go throughout life.
  Of course no one is perfect and over the span of my life I will make some poor choices.  However, I pray that my soul will be humble and willing to do what it takes to make things right in the sight of those around me, as well as in the sight of God.

  Looking at parenting and life from that perspective makes me smile.  Sure it's hard, but my kids, my life, and our souls are worth it!
  So instead of focusing on how hard life is right now, I think I'm gonna look at what an amazing person I have become because I'm a parent!


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Childhood Anxiety

 It's been a bit since I've written.  I seem to go in spurts.
  As usual, life hasn't slowed down at all.
  Lately my time has been consumed with A and trying to figure out the best route to take in getting her what she needs.
  She was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder 3 weeks ago by a child psychiatrist.  The naive peace that I had in finally having answers lasted about 5 days (I was preoccupied with a few other things, or else the realization would probably have hit me sooner).
  Then I started researching our new diagnosis and suggested treatment plan (medication only, no counseling).  I decided I wasn't completely on board with the psychiatrist.
  We have a follow up appointment tomorrow (one of many, I'm sure), and this time I have lots of questions. And so does A.  She and I have been talking about the "ornery brain" that tries to trick her into being scared/anxious when she really doesn't have to be.
  She wants to know how the yucky feelings get into her tummy, so we talked a bit about serotonin and where it lives (our brains and our tummies) and how when it doesn't work with our bodies the way it should that can cause our tummies and even our heads to hurt.

  Today, however, was a bit harder.  Her behaviors have been worse in some respects.  When she struggles, I begin to struggle--it's hard enough for me to give myself the emotional support I need and now I get to provide for myself and my daughter?  It's quite draining.
  But today, not only was I dealing with that, but I was also dealing with the new realization that things won't ever be easier.  They'll be different, and they may plateau occasionally...but we're never going to reach that place where we can all sit back and relax and say "ah, we finally have All the answers and can quit digging and searching."
  That was insanely exhausting.
  I am fully confident that A can overcome this anxiety, but it takes work.  Not only work on her end, but we have to be able to support her, too. It's never ending.  Situations change.  Strategies change.
  Of course I'm in it for the long haul, but just about every day for the past 2 weeks I've found myself thinking that I just need to go on vacation, or freeze time so I can have a time out.  I just need a break.  The problem is, even if I were to get a break soon, I would be in desperate need in a month or so.
  Bug has also hit a challenging phase in his 3 1/2 year old life and has been demanding a lot of my time and emotional energy too.

  So, we all know that I like to find the silver lining in things, Especially tough situations.  Today's silver lining?  Everything I've been reading about helping A reduce her anxiety is also helping me learn how to re-train My thinking!  One less thing for me to research =)


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Empowering A

 We have added dairy/casein back into A's diet to see how it affects her now.  I geared up for the worst and even saw my doctor about an anxiety med for me.
  The first few days she mentioned several physical ailments returning (tummy aches and being tired were the two big ones).  I was still preparing myself for a nightmarish couple of weeks.
  Much to my surprise the first week went by and she handled herself very well!  There were a few times when I could tell she was over stimulated and she got upset, but she never had a big meltdown.
  I have been so very proud of her!  We've been off schedule and she and Bug spent a weekend with their Nonny and she has been amazing!

  Today I was able to give myself a pat on the back.

  Yesterday morning while we brushing her hair she started to meltdown, but she was able to stop herself.  She looked at me and calmly said "Mommy, can I push you over?"
  Let me insert this: that's a game we play where I crouch down and we put our palms together and she pushes against me...eventually I let her push me over and we give each other a big bear hug.  This helps give her a decent amount of proprioceptive input and helps her system to sort of reset so she's not so overloaded.
  Wow!  She asked?  Calmly?  At 5:45 in the morning?
  So she pushed me over and was fantastic after that!  As we walked to the bus stop I asked her how her morning was.  She gave it 2 thumbs up.  She said she decided she needed to push me over so she could calm down.
  Seriously, who is this kid?

  This evening after dinner she ran in and jumped on the trampoline and as she was jumping she told me her tummy hurt so she thought she'd try the trampoline.  She also said that if the trampoline didn't work that she'd try pushing me over.
  This problem solving and coming up with Her Own solution (not to mention thinking through several ideas vs. just one!) is amazing for me to see.
  When I see her doing something thoughtful for someone else (which is becoming a common occurrence instead of something she is coached through from time to time ), finding her own solutions to problems, and coaching herself through a moment of sensory overload makes my heart swell with pride for her!
  I also realize that I am doing a stinkin' good job at this parenting gig!  I may not be perfect, but I am trying.  I am doing what I think is best for my kiddos.  I am succeeding.  And my kids are thriving!
  That makes this momma happy!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Relationship With Me

  I decided to delve a bit deeper into a homework handout I received at my group therapy meeting a few months ago.
  I made a lot of comments in the margins, but have been avoiding fleshing them out more.  I have been thinking about it a lot lately and decided there's no time like the present to dig in a bit.
  So here we go.
  The handout is called "Skills in Relationships: Staying Safe and Being True to Yourself."
  As I was reading about trauma survivors who are re victimized by relationships with others because that's all they know, I was reminded how incredibly blessed I am.  As I read on, I found myself understanding the logic behind revictimization.  Thankfully I didn't feel any of it applied to me.  I might be at risk for revistimization statistically because I've suffered trauma in the past, but I am in the minority and have not fallen prey to this.
  So when I read the following excerpt and found myself relating 100%, I was intrigued.
       "In an effort to stay safe from emotional or physical harm, we may stop calling our friends, stop doing things we used to enjoy....Despite our best intentions many of these behaviors prevent us from fully engaging    in our lives."
  I find that I am not avoiding the physical harm, but the emotional pain.  I withdraw, I feel that I have missed out on life because I was distracted.  I lose interest in hobbies, become depressed and withdrawn and in the process of trying to protect myself, I am actually robbing myself of doing things I enjoy and even the chance to learn by making mistakes.
  More and more of what I read made sense and felt more personal.
  But I'm not in an abusive relationship emotionally or physically.  I have a wonderful husband.  I have an great best friend.  I have set boundaries with Mom in order to make that a healthier relationship.
  Then I had a thought.  Who do I say "yes" to all the time?  There's a person who can talk negatively to me and I take it without question.  Who do I allow to push my boundaries over and over (more emotional than physical)?
  My relationship with myself is unhealthy.
  Huh.  I'm not really a person I can cut out of my own life, so it looks like I get to learn how to treat myself.  How to give myself (and allow myself to accept) the respect I deserve.
  Well, that sounds like a tall order.  Doable, but challenging.

  So here's to better days with Me in the future!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013


  I've been struggling a LOT lately.
  I've been dealing with more anxiety/panic.
  I even had to cancel having company last weekend because I couldn't get my act together and clean the house.
  I'm hosting an event this weekend.  At my house. Re-scheduling is not an option.  Monday I was doing ok, but then yesterday I started slowing down and today was basically at a standstill.
  So this morning as I sat on the couch trying to decide whether I wanted to sleep or force myself to be *productive* (which would have resulted in me wandering aimlessly through the house until I convinced myself to just give in and sleep), I decided to spend some time in prayer.  When I was done, a brilliant realization hit me:  I haven't been exercising like I need to.  A little goes a long way for me, so I jumped on the trampoline for 5 minutes and already felt better.
   I was more clear-headed and my mood was brighter.
   I was able to come up with a game plan for the first part of my day and got going!
   I also found my thoughts became more positive and clearer.  I began to remind myself that while cleaning is a struggle for me, I am a good mother and wife.  I have maintained a casein-free diet for A for almost 3 months and have also made her gluten free for 2 weeks.  Gluten was VERY intimidating for me, so for me to stick with it is Awesome--and it doesn't help that A's favorite foods are Full of gluten.  Again, for me to be firm and make the commitment is Amazing!
  I should be proud of that!
  I have also been focusing on my marriage.  Don't get me wrong, the Hubby and I have a really good relationship, but it's still easy for him to get put on hold because I have two rather demanding kiddos!  However, making sure I do things for him, no matter how small, helps keep that relationship strong and I have been making the effort to do just that.

  So, while this is probably painfully obvious to you, I have a hard time seeing that being a good wife and mother goes deeper than the amount of time I spend cleaning.
  This is certainly a blog post I can refer to later! It's a good reminder to me, as well as anyone else who struggles with the same negative thoughts about self worth.