December 23, 2015

Graduate school, kid stuff, and housing- oh my...

I've been told that graduate school is a bit like a black hole- you go in and disappear...except that you come back out. Eventually.

This semester was definitely a lot more work than the previous two, but at least I'm now going at a rate that will lead to completion in less than six years (six years...shudder). I figure that if I really push myself, I might be ready for my final semester by this time next year. And that sounds just heavenly.

I have to keep telling myself that all of this hard work will eventually pay off. Hopefully.

But, that's enough about school. It's Christmas! Let's talk about something that is way more fun.

Yesterday I went to a Christmas carol sing at Rachel's school, which is also where I went to elementary school. It was a lot of fun to attend the event as a parent. Everything was just too cute, and I kind of felt like I was in a Hallmark Christmas movie. The kids had their pajamas on, the school was decorated for Christmas, and the gym was filled with parents and grandparents and teachers that I haven't seen in years. It was fantastic!

Afterwards, we hugged Rachel good-bye and took Ryan in for another appointment. This time he was assessed for a sensory sensitivity. We haven't gotten the final results back yet, but it appears that he most likely has something called Sensory Processing Disorder (which isn't an official disorder according to the DSM-5, but, I believe, most experts expect that it will be included in the next update).

SPD means that Ryan's sensory processing doesn't work like other kids' systems. Sometimes his senses are overstimulated and he totally freaks out; other times his senses are dulled and he completely misses things. A lot of kids with CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech) are also diagnosed with SPD or similar disorders, so this wasn't a complete surprise to us. But, that doesn't make it any easier.

Now we've got an even longer road ahead of us, filled with regular occupational therapy appointments (in addition to all of his speech treatments), training for us and his other caregivers and teachers, and lots and Lots and LOTS of patience. I cannot imagine what it's like to be in Ryan's tiny little body, and it kills me that he can't tell us himself.

After waiting for over three years, Ryan finally said, "I love you" a few weeks ago (although, it sounded more like I uv oo, but we knew what he meant). He was copying Rachel when he said it, but it was beautiful. And it made all of our efforts worth it.

Last week we made the difficult decision to sell our land. We love the location and the lot is absolutely beautiful, but we realized that this particular spot is not right for us. We have a few other opportunities that we're chasing, but as of today we are not exactly certain where our new home will finally be built. That's disappointing because we had planned to start looking for a builder after the holidays, and having to put the process off for at least another year is really discouraging.

We have our entire house designed...right down to the color of the kitchen cabinet knobs. I'm ready to build. Now. I don't ever remember praying for patience (I believe my exact words were, "I pray for peace"), but it seems as though God is dishing out plenty of opportunities to develop my abilities in that specific area of my life.

So, that's us right now. We're just doing our thing and living our lives like everyone else is also doing.

But... I could use a tad less drama. And a new house.

August 25, 2015

Graduate school...

This week I finally started graduate school. Like, for realsies this time.

Last year I took classes as a non-degree seeking student, which essentially means that I decided late (like, almost 6 months late) to go back to school and missed the application deadline. Rather than wait a full year to start, I was allowed to take two classes before I was actually in the program. Yea me.

Anywho, last January I applied for and was accepted into a Higher Education and Student Affairs program in the College of Education. I'll be in the "higher education" portion of the program and will focus more on administration that student affairs.

My classes cover topics like finances, policies, student development, organizational theories, diversity initiatives, assessment...

I know... super exciting. Right?

And yes, I'm terrified. And already exhausted.

But, hopefully, in 2-3 years I'll look back at this decision and be like, yes, that was completely and totally genius of me to go to graduate school. Good job, Angie.

2015: The Real Deal
2014: The First(ish) Day

We walked the walk...

Last Saturday Team Ryan participated in the 2015 Mississippi Valley Walk for Apraxia. The money we raised will fund CASANA's (Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America) programs like iPads for children who need it to communicate, parent and speech therapist workshops, research, and a program to assist families in need with speech therapy costs.

We were completely humbled by the amount of support we received from our friends and family for this event, and cannot thank everyone enough for their generosity and words of encouragement. Some of Ryan's most favorite people (his daycare provider and her husband) walked with Team Ryan. As did my parents, Jake's aunt and cousin, and Izzy the dog.

I have to admit that, although I was a bit nervous about what to expect, I was more baffled by the very thought of showing up to the event in the first place.

How did we end up here?
Why are we here?
Aren't these walks supposed to be for kids with disorders?
Surely we don't belong here?

But we did belong there. And we needed to be there.

And that was hard to take in. And it still is.

Non-walking members of Team Ryan.
The 4-legged member of Team Ryan
Walking members of Team Ryan
Perfect day for a walk along the Mississippi River
We closed the walk. :)
The Fire Department was on hand to show their support,
and let kids take a tour of their truck.
The post-walk cookie break.
The post-walk play time

August 11, 2015

Summer vacation...

A few weeks ago I received an email reminding me that summer is about to end. But, have no fear, it claimed... we can still benefit from one final sizzling hot summer deal before the sunscreen is tucked away for good. Jake and I took the bait, and booked a weekend trip at a local resort that houses an indoor water park and shares parking space with a museum and aquarium.

We didn't tell the kids where we were going, and they were super excited when they woke up from their naps and realized where the car was parked. 

The Mississippi River-
right next to our hotel

Me and the kiddos.
Two kids both looking at the camera is overrated anyway.

On the other side of the tank was a
pretty amazing (camera shy) octopus

Rachel building her boat.

Ryan's boat.

LARGE American Alligator.
Big. Really big.

Looking at turtles and stuff.

Looking at...
The bottom of this water display with her nose? Not sure.

My little girl and a BIG fish.

The Water Park!

Rachel climbing up to the slide

Rachel coming down from the slide

Ryan and daddy.
I went on the slides too, but we don't really need to see pictures of that.

Ryan wearing daddy's hat.
Hanging out with his Jill.

The trip was fun and the kids were unusually good. Jake and I ditched our diets and pigged out on pizza. So all in all, it was a great summer weekend get-away.

July 31, 2015

It has a name...

Last week Ryan received the disappointing, yet not all that surprising, diagnosis of Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). CAS is a (neurological) motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. He knows what he wants to say, but his brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say his words. In most cases, the cause of CAS is unknown. In fact, research on CAS has been limited and, in the past, children with CAS were often misdiagnosed as having autism.

The word "childhood" is a bit misleading as this is not something Ryan will ever grow out of. However, with speech therapy he will eventually be able to communicate more effectively.

This diagnosis has left me relieved. And frustrated. And angry. And hopeful.

A name. It finally has a name.

I know you're not supposed to do this, but every morning I step on the scales to see if that annoying red needle is going to stop any lower than it did the day before. At all. Sometimes I even step on it several times. Because maybe this time will be better. I often catch myself in the same mindset with Ryan. Maybe this time I will ask him something and get an intelligible response. Nope? Okay, let's try again... maybe this time. Let's try one more...

I go through stages with this whole situation. Sometimes I feel depressed and angry. Other times I cry because I'm thankful that CAS is all that we're up against. It could be worse. Much worse. And then I feel stupid because CAS, although a neurological disorder, is nothing compared to some of its close (or not so close) relatives. And who am I to have a pity party? What right do I have to fret about CAS when there are children raging wars against cancer and other, much scarier, disorders and diseases?

Once in a while I tell myself that if I just forget about it, maybe this will all... go away. Poof. No more emotional roller coaster rides or appointments or awkward moments in the grocery store.

Aren't you adorable? What's your name? How old are you? Are you shy? Is that why you aren't responding? My son didn't say a single word until he was 3. You just wait...he will eventually have something worth saying and he'll say it. 

No lady. He can't talk. He's full of things to say but his brain won't let it out of his mouth. It's stuck. All of it. Just stuck in there, trying to fight its way past his lips. He has CAS and can't tell you that he will be three in August and loves to play with trains and puzzles like other little boys his age. He's a sweet, special little guy who can understand every single word you say, and if he could, he would make you laugh with a silly response to your old lady question. But he can't. Because he has CAS. And so most of his words, his precious little words that sound like gobbly gook to you, are the best he can do right now.

I keep asking if he knows that his words don't sound like other people's. Or, does he truly believe that the rest of us, for whatever reason, are all a bunch of idiots who cannot understand a well-spoken word when we hear it. And why, in the name of all things holy, can't we just respond to him. Argh! Adults. What are you so worthless to me?!

I've gotten mixed responses to that question.

In a few weeks Ryan will start preschool. I'm trying not to let myself get too excited (or terrified). I know this will be extremely beneficial for him. But what if it's not? What if we put all of our hopes and dreams into the next 12 months and get burned? Again.

Last night Ryan was hot and tired and couldn't settle down so I laid in front of the fan with him on the floor until he fell asleep. I could see his little eyes in the dark. And his smile. And my heart melted for our special little guy. The little boy, who has CAS.

July 21, 2015

CDD again...

In a few days Ryan will return to the Center for Disabilities and Development. Some of you might remember that when he was first evaluated there last December he passed (most of) their exams with flying colors. He literally tested off the charts in his cognitive abilities but struggled with speech.

CDD asked us to bring Ryan back this summer so I honored their request and scheduled a follow-up visit. Honestly, when I made the appointment I did so kind of halfheartedly. I was almost positive that by July the appointment would no longer be necessary. In fact, I didn't even schedule everyone who wanted to see him because I hated to hog time slots that I figured we would never use.

And now, here it is. July. The week of Ryan's appointment. And it is still scheduled.

Ryan has made some progress, but not so much that I can, in good conscience, throw caution to the wind and cancel the appointment with CDD.

I feel like I'm back to where we were last fall- confused and completely clueless.  At least this time we have a support group of people who know Ryan and want to help him. But still, I can't help but feel a bit helpless. And I'm not sure why. Perhaps its because I originally took the ostrich approach to this and wasn't prepared. Or, maybe I've done too much research and scared the crap out of myself. Either way, I feel like I need some answers. Why is that? Why must we insist on getting answers or naming everything that we don't understand?

Whenever Ryan forms a new word or communicates a new thought, I can't help but be excited for him. And then he moves on to the next word or phrase or story or whatever it is he wants to say in his Ryan-esk language, and I feel frustrated again. And he feels frustrated because I don't understand his super exciting story.

I have often wondered if Ryan thinks that all of the people he sees on a regular basis are just showing up, bringing cool toys for him to play with, giving him their undivided attention for an hour, and then leaving. But, lately he has proven to me that he gets it. He seems to know that these people are teaching him to speak. To talk. To communicate. I think he appreciates all of their help, and tries really hard to use what they have taught him. He's pretty smart like that.

Hopefully the next few weeks will provide us with more answers than questions. Hopefully we will continue to march down this path of progress (perhaps with a quickened pace even). Hopefully by this time next year we will be able to turn around and see how far we have come.

July 2, 2015

Life as a child is pretty good...

I would never willingly choose to suffer through junior high again. And although high school was fun, I do not miss trying to be cool or hip or whatever it is kids call it these days. I would, however, consider being 2 or 5 again. Back when summers were longer, ignorance was bliss, and the world was still my oyster.

My kids have it pretty good, and here are 10 reasons why some days, I would rather be them...

1. My 5-year-old daughter defines a bad day as one without dessert or the right blue crayon. Yeah, life is tough when you're five.

2. Birthdays are still fun to celebrate. And "feeling old" means they can now reach the kitchen sink.

3. Their daily schedule: get dressed, play, eat, play, nap, play, eat, play, bedtime. I mean...who wouldn't want to go back to that schedule? Can I get an Amen?

4. Too tired to walk somewhere when you're two? No problem. Slow down, fall way behind, and let mom or dad's legs do the walking for you.

5. Too tired to get dressed? Also not a problem. Just don't. All you really need to do is hold your arms in the air and sing while someone else does all the work.

6. Rachel knows that we pay bills to keep a roof over our heads and the TV on. But, in her mind happy unicorns deliver rainbow colored bags of magic coins that gleefully dance into the mailbox.

7. Gnats and humidity. What are those to a child? Nothing.

8. A nickel is just as exciting as a quarter since all money is equal. But a dime isn't very fun because it's so small. And bills don't make a neat clinking sound when they are smashed into a piggy bank.

9. When clothes no longer fit my kids it is because they grew taller. Not wider.

10. Rachel wants to be a people doctor and a science teacher and a pirate when she grows up. Ryan most likely wants to farm or race cars or be an engineer. May they never run out of time to pursue their dreams or discover their passions.


This post inspired by:
Prompt #5: Who has it better, kids or adults? 

June 30, 2015

So, whadda ya think...

I freshened the place up a bit.
What do you think of it?

Because this isn't an anarchy, my redesign process had rules.
I tried really hard to stick to these:
1. The color scheme can't change. Because I'm too tired to change everything.
2. It needs to look
3. The coffee cup must still be there. Somewhere. Anywhere.
4. At least some of it should look professional...without looking all professional.
5. Fun. It should be fun. But not too fun. A nice fun balance.
6. And last, but not least... free. The perfect price to pay is the one that is free.

There are a few areas that I can't seem to perfect, which is driving me crazy. But, at some point I have to put it down and walk away.

So this is me walking away.....

P.S. I apologize to those who are using mobile devices. I have no idea how to wrestle this template into a mobile-friendly version. Sorry.

June 25, 2015

Throwback Thursday...

On June 21, 2012 I wrote on my blog that I had taken the previous day off to do some pre-baby shopping and make a bazillion freezer meals. You can read all about it here.

I also posted a picture of myself at about 29 weeks pregnant...

Throwback Thursday Poem

Three years ago this month I was pregnant with our son;
Since then, so much we have seen, so much we have done.

We overcame numerous challenges and experienced great joy;
Accumulated many Happy Meal trinkets, for both girl and boy.

We launched our daughter’s educational journey, which has only begun;
Celebrated one college degree and, for whatever reason, started another one.

We made lots of trips to doctors, water parks, and zoos;
Watched our babies grow into children, and survived the terrible twos.

Three years from now we will be living in our new house;
We also hope to fulfill our promise to visit Mickey Mouse.

I don’t know what is yet to come, but let’s get one thing straight;
Only God can help me, to lose my baby weight!


This post inspired by:
Prompt #1: Throwback Thursday

June 23, 2015

Another Ryan update...

This fall Ryan will most likely start 3-year-old preschool with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) because of his "severe communication delay."  A few weeks ago he was tested again, and although he scored very well on cognitive and social skills, his communication score fell well below the normal range for a child his age.

He talks. A lot. Mostly with vowel sounds. Or, he leaves out entire portions of a word, usually either the beginning or the ending, but sometimes both. For example:

Milk: ilk
Book: uk
Shoes: ooz
Cup: uk
Popcorn: uk-or
Daddy: addy
Blue: ue
Cookie: uk-e
Car: r
Blanket: a-e (blankie)
Thank you: a-oo
Yea!: A!

But, he can say some words very clearly. Like:
mama, OK, no, uh-oh, mine, bye, cow

Some things that children his age should be able to say, or have a word for, he has yet to attempt. Such as:
Grandpa, grandma, Rachel (his sister), dog or puppy, (for any animal but cow, he just says the sound they make), outside, up, down, yes 

When Ryan gets really excited, he sounds like a chipmunk. On crack. Often when he tries to ask for something or tell us a story all we can do is shake our heads in confusion because we have no idea what he is trying to say. 

Even with almost nine months of therapy, we know that Ryan (still) struggles with communication. However, we are confident that with continued intervention, he will one day overcome this set-back. What we don't know, or are not yet willing/able to categorize or define, is why. It's all very technical and confusing and tedious.  This article summarizes what he could be up against. If you take the time to read it, you will see why this entire experience is a bit....exhausting. 

This is also still hard to explain. And I continue to hear from well-meaning friends and relatives who tell me all about how child Y or son Z didn't talk until they were X years old. And honestly, I would probably be preaching from that choir too if I wasn't on this side of the fence. I knew nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nadda about childhood development until about nine months ago. And after numerous tests and hours of research, the only thing I really know for sure is that I'm thankful for three things...

1. Ryan's primary care doctor, high risk specialist, developmental disorders specialist, speech therapist, and Area Education Agency (AEA) team all tell us the same things. They don't give us conflicting information or disagree about his ability level or care plan. Can you even grasp how amazing that is? All of these people, with various backgrounds, agendas, and training, agree on the direction this ship is headed. That is no small act of God.

2. We are so very lucky to live where we live. We have easy access to amazing medical professionals and live in a nationally recognized school district. I I cannot imagine facing this battle without the support we have from both of these resources. The educators and care givers that we get to work with are greatly appreciated.

3. As frustrating as this is at times, I have to remind myself that we are truly blessed. Ryan has had a tough few years but, thankfully, each obstacle has been one that we could overcome. He is a happy, healthy, silly little guy. His giggle lights up a room. He is curious and smart and wants to learn. His eyes sparkle and his run (belly first) makes us love him even more. He likes cars and trains and puzzles, and he loves to snuggle with his mommy and his giraffe. 

So, the saga continues. In late July we will know if Ryan is eligible for an IEP. If so, our special little guy will be off to the tender young age of 3. 

Do they even make backpacks that small?

June 18, 2015

I'm confused...

The world is a confusing place, especially if you're a parent with young children...

1. Every day I pick up toys, carry forty-thousand pieces of junk at once, and make at least 300 trips up and down the stairs. Why doesn't the universe count that as regular exercise and reward me accordingly? 

2. Toys that come with more than 5 pieces should be illegal... and if any of them are smaller than a pencil, the manufacturer should be required to wait outside my home, ready with a replacement at only a moment's notice. Stickers should be un-invented.

3. Standing while eating a meal should cancel all calories that have been consumed. 

4. Sleep ought to be twice as effective when you have small children. 

5. Parents of young children should get special discounts too. I could really use 10% off every car seat I buy before 5:00 PM, a free gallon of milk on Wednesday mornings, or a punch card that rewards the purchase of stain remover.

6.  Why do they make baby books that go through a child's fifth year? Who are they trying to fool? The jig is up, man. We are well aware that after 18 months, the recording of memories in said book will cease, and most of the remaining pages will be used for scratch paper.

7. Evening meals that occur before 7:00 on weeknights should automatically be considered nutritious. And bonus points given for every vegetable or homemade dish that is served.

8. Every time a new toy is received, one that hasn't been touched in months should magically disappear. 

9. In what crazy, mixed up world does the act of a mother climbing onto an elliptical machine induce chaos? Before I begin, all is right with God's creation, but when I start to exercise... milk cups suddenly empty, toys mysteriously break, and art projects must be started immediately. When I'm done, silence returns and daddy once again becomes a viable option for assistance.

10. Parents should be able to ask telemarketers for money or donations if they call during nap time and wake up a child. And, if the call is political in nature, the candidate should have to come do my laundry and clean my house while I lecture them from my soapbox.

May 22, 2015

Spring stuff...

So, you ask, what have you all been up to this spring?


We colored Easter eggs. Because.
That's what people do at Easter.
We didn't trust Ryan to not break eggs
so he only got to play with those little worthless
cardboard holder things that never get used.
Ever. By anyone.
The finished product.
I suppose I should have been banished
to the worthless cardboard things too.
I broke at least six eggs.

Rachel pushed Ryan in his car...
They both giggled the entire time...
Ryan had tons of fun...
Until Rachel pushed him into a tree...
And left him there.
The smile that came right before the tears.
He realized he couldn't make the pedals go.
They loved helping daddy plant his garden.
One of these people should be wearing long pants.
And a jacket. And shoes.
Actually, I think they loved playing in the dirt more than
anything else. And that's fine too.

The end of preschool...

I can hardly believe that yesterday was Rachel's last day of preschool.

I feel like I took this picture:


And then took these pictures:

This morning she got her diploma...

She didn't think it was funny when I told her that she'll be done with school in just 17 years.
She's right.
I wasn't joking.

Both of them will be magnificent Hawkeyes!

March 25, 2015


About nine years ago we brought home two cats, Norman and Vera. Norman grew into a large, black lump of fat and fur who basically sits around and waits for someone to give him fresh water. And I'm not kidding. He waits by the kitchen sink for hours in hopes that maybe someone will walk by, take pity on him, and fill his water bowl with cold water. Norman and Rachel are pretty good friends, which works out well for both of them. Norman tolerates Ryan.

Vera, on the other hand...

Vera wasn't a horrible cat, but she did have some health issues for almost five years that kind of made me hate her. We tried really hard to help her, but about two weeks ago it finally became obvious that there was nothing more we could do for her. Somehow mom (me) had to "take care of the situation" (I guess that's listed under "Other Duties as Assigned" in my job description). In his defense, Jake helped. He loaded her into a carrying case when the kids weren't looking.

It was hard to say good-bye to poor Vera, even though it was for the best. The people at the vet clinic were extremely nice, and gave me privacy so I could cry in peace while I filled out the paperwork. They even sent us a nice card a few days later.

But....we, um, haven't told Rachel yet.

Vera went out of her way to avoid the kids so it wasn't unusual for Rachel to see her only once every few days or so. But last Saturday, two whole weeks after Vera left, Rachel asked me where she was. I didn't lie. I told her that I didn't know where Vera was which, technically, was the truth. I didn't know where Vera was. I like to imagine that she's sitting on a comfy pillow in a happy little corner of heaven, basking in the sun and eating while someone is petting her (that seemed to be her idea of perfection).

Rachel hasn't asked about her since last Saturday and I've got my fingers crossed that she won't ask again until she's about 13 and wonders... what ever happened to Vera? I guess if she does ask I'll give her my best, most honest answer.

"Go ask dad."

March 3, 2015

My strengths...

A few weeks ago I joined the "cool kids" group at work and used an online assessment tool called StrengthsQuest (see to discover my talents. I wasn't overly shocked by the results, but I did find them to be extremely fascinating.

There are 34 themes and I only paid to see the top five but I think they are pretty much spot on.

People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

This would explain why I can't seem to ever finish school and have interest in learning about nearly everything. I bet Jake is a "learner" as well. One learner shouldn't marry another learner unless at least one of them has a job that can support their learner habit.

People who are especially talented in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.

So, um.... I'm, as my dad would say, "bull-headed" maybe? But, at least I'm learning how to use my "unchanging core values" (i.e. bull-headedness) for good not evil.

People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.

A polite way to say controlling?

People who are especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.

I don't work well with others.

People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.

I can never relax because I'm always thinking about that one last item on my to-do list that I really should be working on.

So I'm a professional student who is guided by my core values and my ridiculous need to control everything. I prefer to just do things myself rather than teach someone else, and I love to cross things off my to-do list.

And now you know.

You're welcome.

January 26, 2015

Philippians 4:13 was not written for moms...

In Philippians 4:13 I am reminded that, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

I feel like the apostle Paul did not write this with modern day mothers in mind. I suspect he would have provided additional clarification had he known that some of us (we know who we are) would some day use this verse to try to prove to ourselves that we can do it all, be it all, and still be home in time for dinner.

Like, maybe adding, and "all things" does not mean being a super-human, perfectly manicured soccer mom who still fits into her jeans from high-school, is successful at everything she does, and shows up to every single social event on time with a loaf of banana bread in hand.

Thanks Paul. Your omission has cost us our sanity.

We know what Paul is technically referring to in this verse but still, who among us has never whispered these words while trying to push ourselves to cross off one last item on our to-do list?

At what point does the craziness stop? At what point is it okay to be an overweight, tired mother who is just doing the best we can? At what point can we give ourselves credit for getting the kids out the door fully clothed, healthy, and clean (enough)? At what point can we acknowledge that being a mom is freakin hard work and its okay to trash your to-do list because sometimes you just come home exhausted and don't have it in you to pay another bill, put away dishes, fold anymore laundry, bake a casserole for the freezer, or pull on exercise pants for more than the pure joy and comfort of wearing stretchy fabric?

I know the world will still spin even if I'm not the church council secretary or a singer in our worship team. And I'm fairly positive that I would still have a job even if I had not decided to go back to school. And my children will still be happy and healthy if I have to reschedule a few of their appointments because I just don't have time to take another half-day off work to fight traffic and waiting room crowds.

But ...there are days that I look around me and tell myself that if X can do this, so can I. Obviously they have proven that it can be done, and I have no excuse for my imperfections. But the truth is... they aren't perfect either. And X has gone to a lot of trouble to try to prove otherwise; sometimes even more trouble than it's worth.

For the most part, I enjoy all of the activities that I choose to participate in. It's the "other" stuff that makes me feel overwhelmed. I wish I could cut that stuff out. But I'm a mom. So I can't. I guess that's what I signed up for.

But, I can try to find happiness in all that I do. And I can try to stop being so hard on myself and stop trying to justify what is, or is not, on my list of priorities each day. And I can stop trying to be perfect or successful at all that I do.

And I can enjoy life.
There's always that.