You could write here
to tell a mod to move it to blog area.
I appreciate the advise I've gotten here for adjusting communication. Change the approach to circumvent the triggers. And it really helped steady me for giving it one more try. It feels good to have handled it and he took note of it too that "doing it my way" instead worked out better than his plan. It might have been the belly full of yummy cake talking. We'll see.
I'm so glad to hear that you implemented some different communication techniques and it paid off!
(Sorry about the typos -- I couldn't go back to edit to fix since time lapsed.)
You also handled some disappointments (like the gift you wanted to get him for xmas) in a good way without letting it get the best of you. Now you have learned that you could call her up to coordinate on gift giving in future. (I do this with my sister on the kids and our parents, so why not the meta?)
Better still -- you learned that you can go to her direct, speak your truth in a clearly communicated way, and get useful feedback from her. You do not need to fear being nosy or whatever.
Your DH has agreed doing it your way yielded better results -- and now you have an example to hold up the next time this appears in another form. "Look, DH, remember the cake thing? This is just like the cake thing.
Even you said it went better doing it like _____. So why not just roll with it again THIS time and see how this one turns out if we try it again like the cake thing?"
That's probably the biggest win here -- knowing you CAN change your approach to circumvent triggers. Now you can start to move so many other things forward as you keep experimenting with your communication style.
Way to go!