Friday, April 25, 2014

Two things that have taken my place.

And they're both in this picture. 

1)  Our lovely dog, Pepper.  Peprika.  Hot Chili Pepper.  Pepperoni.  Pepsi.  Pep Smear.  Just some of my nicknames for her.  Look at how cute she is with Ben.  She looooooooves him.  She's quite fond of me, but she LIVES for the moment Ben walks in that door.  And Ben feels the same about her.  They are in love.  The  honeymoon stage hasn't yet ended.  There are times that I'm like, "I'm sorry, am I getting in between you two?  Let me leave you alone for some quality time together."  Sheesh.

2)  Breaking Bad.  I won't watch it with Ben, so he has been binge watching by himself.  With headphones on.  Which means that I don't exist.  It's like I'm a single mom.  Dealing with the ninos, cleaning, cooking...  while he blissfully watches Walter White be all violent.  Last night, I finally said to him, "If you don't spend time with me tonight, I just might punch you in your gut.  It's Me or Walter White, Ben.  Make your choice."

Why would anyone choose a meth-dealing anti-hero over someone as amaaaaaaaaaaazing as me???  Haha!

Oh, and BTDubs, Ben did spend time with me last night. Take that, Walter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I can see your halo.

That song came on the other day in the car, and of course, I started singing really loudly and over-dramatically, because I loooove singing those low notes.  I think I'm hilarious.  My daughter thinks I'm mortifying. 

I was feeling....angsty....tonight and went for a jog-a-roonie.  In the 30 mph wind and freezing rain.  It's hard to explain why I would do such a thing, but...  Kay.  It's like, when I'm feeling the angst, I need my outside to feel like my inside.  My inside is boiling and windy and explosive.  And if I go and jog in horrible weather, I feel cured for awhile.

And it's not like I was really, really having an especially hard night. I just...need that release.  I don't know.  It's hard to explain. 

I think it's because my house is a pit and I can't make it stop being a pit.  I make my kids do chores, I always have them pick up their crap, but at the end of the day, there it all is again.  Nothing ever feels complete.  Nothing ever feels clean.  I haven't had a clean house since I had just two kids.  Then Micah hit us and the world hasn't ever been the same. :) 

And if you get on here and tell me all the stuff I should do to improve my situation, I might just have to go take another jog.  I'm just sayin'.  I know what I need to do, and I'm doing my best.  Eventually my kids will maybe get it.  Or they'll move out.  Until then, I, and everyone around me, will have to accept my housie-pooh the way it is. 

I saw this the other day on facebook and had to share it:

Anywho, so I came home, and Ben laughed and laughed because of mine haar:
My maiden name starts with an H.  Let's say it's... Hendrickson.  A lot of us girls in my family have/had this thing where, if we're in damp and windy situations, we get this halo of curls.  We call it the...Hendrickson (wink, wink) Halo.  We grew up on a boat, so obviously, the halo was a big part of our look.  Waterskiing in a ponytail, letting it dry in the wind as the boat goes 25 mph over the water...that's the formula for the halo.

It's very Jane Austeney of me, eh?  No makeup, all those curls around the I just need one of those bodice things that push my boobs up unnaturally and make them look like a cup that almost runneth over.

You've seen period movies.  You know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Type Two. Two, two, two.

So I've been reading this book my sister read and just raved about, The Child Whisperer.  Think of it as The Color Code (one of my all-time favorite books), with numbers instead of colors.  It's fascinating.  I found some pictures to quickly tell you what the types of kids are:

As I've been reading, there have been a lot of Aha Moments and a lot of Huh? Moments and a lot of Wait, What? Moments and a lot of Then What On Earth Is He? Moments.

And obviously, there are a lot of overlaps.  The lady who wrote it, Carol Tuttle, says that there will be a dominant type in a child, with a secondary type attached. 

So I've been trying to figure out what my kids are.  I'm not completely positive, and I'm not totally done with the book yet, but I thiiiiink that Sadie is a Type One and that all of my boys are Type Threes. 

Type Ones and Type Threes are the high-energy types.

And I'm a Type Two.

Do you see why my kids stress me out?  Hahaha! 

As usual, I've been enjoying this book because mainly, it's been fun exploring me.  Me, me, me.  Oh, and my kids.  But mainly me.  Je suis une narcissiste, no?  A narcissistic Type Two.  (A bit of an oxymoron.  Emphasis on the moron.)

Yeah, there is a tonnnnnn of type one in me.  So as I was reading, I was all, "Yeah.  A type one.  That's me.  All the way."  But then I read type two, and it was like a lightbulb turning on above my head.  Like the clouds parting and angels singing, "Laaaaaaaaaaa....."

And it's been fun.  Kind of realizing things about myself and learning to honor myself for who I am instead of beating myself up for who I am.  Oh, and honoring my kids for who they are.  But we're talking about me here.  Wink.

But seriously, the reason I read this is because I'm just trying to grasp onto anything that will help me to be a better mom and understand the ninos better.  And as I'm reading, I'm taking mental notes and thinking about my kids and learning how to honor the way they came into this world - because there ain't no changing them - while still providing them with the boundaries they need to be safe and to treat others the way they should. 

But let's get back to me.  Me, me, me.  Some observations about Type 2:

Type 2 - The Sensitive Child.  Uh, yeah.  Biiiig time.

Primary Connection to the World:  Emotional.  Mmm-hmmmm.
Primary Movement: Subtle and flowing.  One would almost say balletic.  (I was a ballerina for 20 years.)
Primary Need:  To have feelings honored and everyone in the family feel loved and connected.  Ding-ding-ding!

A few other tidbits.  Type 2's:

*  Love making plans.  I have an entire plan drawn up for this area of my garden:
Like, literally, a drawing.  A diagram.  It will be amazing.

*Sensitive to others' feelings and comfort.

*When confrontations occur, Type 2's retreat.  Cannot handle it.

*Often blame themselves for things that go wrong with others.


*They make birthdays and other big days a big deal for the ones they love.  Then expect others to do the same type of thing for them on their birthday.  And then they feel dumb for expecting so much of others.  It's just like that one episode of New Girl.  When Nick hadn't planned anything for Jess's birthday, and Jess was trying sooo hard not to expect anything of him, but kept secretly hoping that he had planned something huge.  You know that episode? 

Did I ever tell you that two of my Sunday School girls called me, "Like, the Mormon New Girl"?

I have never gotten a nicer compliment.

For reals.  I was like, "Reeeeeeeeeeeallyyyyyyyyyyy????  Eeeeeeeeee!!!"  Because I love Jess.

And I am SO MAD that she and Nick just broke up.  Grrrrr.

*A lot of yelling and fighting in the home will damage a Type 2's emotional state.  Which is unfortunate for me, since I live with a whole lot of yellers and fighters.

*Diplomatic.  Almost to a fault.  Don't want to communicate things that might make others uncomfortable.

*Good listeners.

*Because they're peacemakers, Type 2's sometimes get put in between two people who are having drama.  Always unintentionally becoming the middleman.  Which they really, really hate. I know from experience, dude. (What movie??)
*Comfort, comfort, comfort!  They need cozy, comfy spaces.  And comfy, cozy clothes.  I freakin' hate wearing my ski parka because the fabric is so harsh.  I only wear it when I go skiiing.  Which I can't afford to do anymore.  I hate long socks, because they itch my legs.  I hate having my hair in my face.  Which is why I wear it back every single day.  I put in earrings and pull them out like five minutes later. 

*They need quiet, alone time.

*They need their feelings validated.

Now what I'm struggling with in this book is the concept that Carol Tuttle puts out there that you can actually tell what type a child is from his face.  More so than from the list of personality traits.  That's where I'm having the Wait, What? Moments.  You can go on her website and see her profiling kids just by looking at their faces.  But the terms "chiseled features," "hooded eyelids," "s-curve cheek" (what in the H is that??), etc. are hard for me to figure out.  My sister, being the logical Type 4 that she is, is like, "Yeah, I don't buy into that."  And truthfully, I don't know how I feel about that, either.  I mean, I think it's thought-provoking.  And, obviously, if you're smiling a lot (A Type 1), you'll have more smile lines, right?  So that would show on one's face.  I don't know.  But I think that, just because you are "wide-eyed" doesn't necessarily mean you're a Type 1.  But maybe I'm wrong.  Whatevs.

All I know is that it's an interesting book and I'm having fun with it.  What do you think you are??

Oh, P.S., I think Ben is a total Type 1.  He is a party animal.  Always teasing, joking, singing, chasing, etc.  Which is why we're so good together.  He lifts me up into the clouds.  And I bring him down to earth. :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I'm the mother duck.

Ummmmm, kay.  So it's been a pretty hard week for me; hence the lack of posting.  As all of my followers know - all three of you - when Kar's not posting, Kar's not doing so well.

Dylan.....ugh, this is so humiliating.  But I'm just going to put it out there.  Dylan got into a couple of fights at school before spring break.  And there were no other witnesses, so it's Dylan's word against this boy and girl's word (Ben has seen this girl, and I guess she's really stocky and buff and big?  I don't know).  On the Wednesday before Spring Break, for whatever reason, this boy told this girl to go beat Dylan up.  She says they were play fighting.  The boy says it was because Dylan was throwing stuff at them.  Dylan says they were all playing because he and the boy had been friends up to this point.  So they were play fighting, or just plain old fighting - who knows? - and Dylan was blocking this girl's punches and kicks, because he's a purple belt in taekwondo.  It's instinct.  And then either she threw her shoe at Dylan or her shoe came flying off her foot and hit him, depending on who you talk to, so Dylan threw her shoe over the fence into a neighbor's yard.

Nobody told any adults about it.  Dylan didn't tell us.  Boy and Henchwoman didn't tell principal.  Nobody told the ONE DUTY THEY HAVE FOR THE ENTIRE PLAYGROUND.

That night, Dylan had the 5th grade patriotic program. 

While I was wandering around like an idiot trying to find Dylan afterward, Dylan and Ben had found each other and were hanging out.  I totally missed the nonverbal cues from Ben on what our plan was for retrieving our son.

Anyways, Henchwoman passed Ben and Dylan on her way out the door and gave Dylan a big old crusty look.  Ben goes, "Dyl, who's that?"

Dylan's response?  "I don't know."

Two days later.  Recess again.  There is a new kid in Dylan's class.  He sees New Kid by the zipline and wants to play with him.  The other two people at the zipline?  Guy Who Can't Do His Own Dirty Work and Henchwoman.  So Dylan, like a pabo (Korean word for idiot - my dad went to Korea on  his mission. I learned that word whenever we were driving and Dad got cut off), goes to the zipline and says, "Hey, New Kid!  Wanna play?"  And GWCDHODW (Guy Who Can't Do His Own Dirty Work) is like, "No!  You can't play with New Kid!  Attack, Henchwoman!!"

So Henchwoman starts attacking Dyl, and Dylan just...loses it.  Starts screaming at them.  For some reason has a pencil in his pocket.  Stabs Henchwoman in the back with the pencil.  The pencil breaks the skin.

Still, nobody tells anyone.

Except then Dylan had to go take his ADHD pills in the office, and he was crying.  The principal asked what happened, and it all came spilling out.

This was like 2 hours before the end of school.  So the principal gets Dylan's version, then he gets GWCDHODW's version, then he gets Henchwoman's version.  He is concerned and calls Ben and I in. We rush to the school.

He relates the whole story to us, plus two more really awesome details.  Detail #1:  "He called these kids a really bad word," the principal says.  He leans forward to whisper, and starts to spell it.  "B-U-T-T-H-O-L-E-S."  Ben and I are leaning forward to listen, then kind of glance at each other and sit back.  I mean, I don't like that word, and I don't allow Dylan to say it in our home, but, seriously, when the principal said that it was a really bad word and started to spell it, I thought it was going to be something, like, really, really awful.  I almost started laughing, in spite of myself.

The second really awesome detail - Dylan told GWCDHODW and Henchwoman that he was going to bring a gun to school, shoot them, and then shoot himself.  "Because he didn't want to live in a world with bullies."  This part wasn't funny at all.  Our jaws fell open.  What?????

First of all, we don't have TV.  Dylan hasn't been aware of the shootings at schools that have been happening.  I suppose we should have brought it up with the kids, but...I don't know.  I suppose in the back of my mind, I made the decision not to really talk about that with my kids.  I didn't want to scare them or make them paranoid.  They whine every day about going to school as it is.  I didn't need another reason for them to use in their case against going to school.

Secondly, Ben does have a few hunting rifles.  Since we don't have a gun locker, Ben doesn't keep the ammo in the house.  We have rifles, but no bullets for them.  We just can't afford a gun locker.  The kids know that the guns are absolutely off-limits and we have had no problems with them.  It does bother me that there are guns in my house, but my husband likes to hunt.  So I think it's an acceptable compromise that, if I allow him to hunt and bring his disgusting kill home, he keeps the ammo out of the house.

Anyways, obviously all of this stuff was a red flag for the principal, and rightfully so.  The bell was about to ring, so he was like, "I'll think over Dylan's consequences during spring break and get to you when we all get back."

I was really good in the car home.  Ben didn't want to drive Dylan home in his truck, because he was fuming and didn't want to say anything in anger that he might regret.  So we kind of went over the events of the week, and I said, "Dyl, how did these choices turn out for you?"

"Not good."

"Yeah.  Not good at all.  What would have been a better idea for you to do in both situations?"

So I let him come up with different alternatives, and it was a good talk. 

When we got home, we told Dyl that he was not to play video games for at least a week, and that he was going to do extra chores during spring break.  We followed through with his punishment.  We also talked a lot with him about what it means when you kill a person, or when you kill yourself.  I don't think Dylan had a concrete idea of what this entailed in his mind.  Maybe it was like a video game or something.  You pull the trigger, and the problem is gone.  He didn't think of it as, "Oh, you are taking a person, or yourself, off the face of this earth forever."

And lest you think violent video games are the culprit, nope.  He plays, like, Super Mario Brothers and Wii Sports and Minecraft - basically a building block game.  I may not be Mother of the Year, but at least I won't let those kinds of games into my home.

We also visited Dylan's ADHD doctor.  He had been struggling in Math, the subject right after lunch, and we kind of deduced that 1) His pills are wearing off wayyy before lunchtime and 2) He isn't taking enough at lunchtime to last him the afternoon until he gets home.  So we fixed his dosage a little.  He takes a little more, a little earlier.  Just...the lack of impulse control and his inability to pay attention in the afternoons were signs to me that we needed to tweak his dosage.  He's been growing a lot lately, and an adjustment was bound to happen sooner or later.  He can't use the same amount he did when he was in 1st grade.

So school started back up on Monday, and the principal called me and said, "Okay, I decided that Dylan needs three days of In School Suspension."

ISS.  I remember hearing about kids who went to ISS.  These were the baaaaaaad kids.  The kids who did horrible things.  The kids I did not want to go near.

My kid is an ISS kid.

I cannot figure out where my kids came from.  Because I was totally obedient, a total pacifist...  never rocked the boat...

But anyways, we totally supported the principal's decision.  Also, on Wednesday of this week, the school counselor and another counselor from another school had to do a Risk Assessment of Dylan.  I had to be there to just be moral support.  They asked him a bunch of questions like, "Do you often think about suicide?"  "What were you feeling when you stabbed the girl with the pencil?"  "Do you play with guns?"

It was awful.

And Dylan was humiliated and scared and sad and confused.  I think he wanted to say the "right answers" but didn't know what to say and was freaking out.  Or maybe he has a hard time expressing feelings?  I've never really thought about whether or not he can express his feelings, but when they said, "What were you feeling when you stabbed the girl with the pencil?" he didn't say, like, "fear," or "anger," or "frustration."  He just frowned and said, "I don't know."  He just kept saying he didn't know.

I'm such a proponent of the expression of feelings, but it hasn't occurred to me whether Dylan has this ability.  I know Micah does.  He uses "feeling words" often -  "I'm so mad at you right now!!"  But now I'm realizing that Dylan impulsively lashes out instead of saying how he feels or giving the person any warning sign.  Instead of going, "Stop stealing my legos!"  Or "I don't like you stealing my legos!" he grabs the legos and pushes the offending kid bodily out of his room.  Which we don't like and which we're always trying to teach him not to do.

Here's the thing.  The older I get, and the more I see, the more I'm starting to think that nurture is just a teeny bit of the percentage of how a kid turns out.  We can do our best and teach them, but I truly feel that kids  kind of come into this world with a built-in temperment.  Micah came out pissed at the world, and continues to be pissed at the world, despite our best efforts.  

Anyways, now, this may be totally off-base, but...I'm a little upset that the other two kids didn't get any consequences for these altercations.  I'm not expecting ISS for them or anything, but maybe a talking-to?  Apologizing for their part in it?  Something.  And the principal kept saying, "Dylan keeps calling these situations 'bullying,' but they're not bullying unless the occurrences happen over a long period of time.  I think Dylan is trying to victimize himself here."  And I get that, but at the same time, I'm like, How long is someone supposed to pick on someone else before it's officially "bullying" and someone intervenes???  A week?  A year?  To me, if someone picks on someone else even one time, that's bullying.  And it's not okay.  I'm probably being a mama bear, and I really don't want to be one of those really irrational parents I dealt with when I was a teacher, so I kept my mouth shut, but in my head, I'm like, "Look.  Yeah, Dylan should NOT have done what he did.  ABSOLUTELY.  But he was mad and frightened and this was the second time these kids tried beating him up.  And he said stuff he didn't mean, which, frankly, a lot of us do."

And I KNOW Dylan.  More than he knows himself, I think.  He doesn't go around looking to fight people.  He wants to play.  He loves making friends.  He's made several at the school.  But if he feels cornered or attacked, he will lash back.  And that's what I think happened here.

Dylan had been really penitent and on his best behavior during spring break.  Ben left for Korea for a week and a half, and after Dylan's ISS was done, I made an executive decision.  I thought, "Okay, I'll let him play on the iPad for a couple of hours today."  That night, we had a  birthday party for my dad.  Afterward, Mom watched my kids at my house while I went to do my janitorial job.  And Dylan was really awful to her.  He was mad that she wouldn't let him take away the iPad from Sadie. He was just freaking out.  And she was trying to get him to clean his room, and he wasn't being cooperative.  He was Without Pills Dylan.  The Dylan I don't like very much, quite honestly. 

So I came home, and she told me about his behavior, and that was just IT.  I was livid.  I don't tolerate disrespect.  I gathered up the iPad, our old laptop, and our Wii.  And I hid them somewhere that no one, and I mean no one, will EVER find them.  And I said, "Dyl, that's it.  Your total addiction to video games has got to stop.  I will not allow them in our home ever again.  And I mean it.  You're done.  For good.  All you guys do is fight over who gets to play on what, and I don't need this contention in our home."

So Dylan, of course, just totally overreacts.  While I was securing a new home for our devices, he's, like, slamming himself into his bed really hard and screaming and yelling.  By this time I was whipped up into quite a frenzy.  And when I finished hiding our stuff, I went into his room and I said and did some mean things.  And my mom was still there and saw and heard it all.

It was probably my worst mom moment.  I've had quite a few bad mom moments, but this is one of the worst ones.  I'm not proud of it.  I spent all night crying.  I have apologized over and over again to Dylan.  I've begged for forgiveness from the Lord.  I told Ben all about it, and he was completely understanding.  My sis, Nat, had texted me during our altercation, so I texted her the next morning and apologized for the delay, and then I told her about what happened.  And I told her that I don't deserve to be a mom.  These kids deserve better than me.  I really, really feel that way.  I'm truly trying my hardest.  I give every ounce of my strength and emotion and love and help to my kids.  I would die for them in a heartbeat.  I pray for them and worry for them and love them and delight in them.  They're hard, but they're kids, and they deserve love, understanding, and guidance.  And I'm failing.  Hard core.

And Nat, to her total credit, was so kind to me about it.  She said, "We all have our moments we're not proud of, where we have a knee-jerk reaction."  This is coming from someone who I think is such an amazing mom.  Someone I'm always comparing myself to (I know we're not supposed to do it, but it happens, aight?).  Someone whose kids, frankly, are saints compared to mine.  I was so blown away by her non-judgmental response to me and to what I'd done.  And then she sent me an Ensign article - Grace for Mother Duck and Me.

I finally had time tonight to read it.  And it made me cry.  For probably the thousandth time in the past two days. :)  But it was just...a really good parable.  And it reminded me that Christ can make up for my mistakes.  I'm trying my best, and dang it, it's not good enough.  But, as the author of the article so beautifully put it, Christ "reaches my reaching."  I've never understood that phrase from "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" until now.  I'm reaching to be a good mom, and I'm failing.  But He can repair any emotional wounds that I fear I may have given my kids.  I'm more patient now than I've ever been, but I still have a pretty short fuse and a really long way to go until I become more of an ideal mom.  I do say things in anger that I shouldn't say.  Sometimes I wish I could cut out my tongue.  But that's what the atonement is for.  So I can repent and sincerely try harder.  Which I really do.  I try so, so, so hard.

So that's my story.   Sorry it's so long. You deserve a freakin' medal for getting to this point.

The thing is, on this blog, I want to be real.  Sometimes life is really funny and really beautiful.  And sometimes it's horrible and I really, really wish the second coming was here right now so we could get out of this craphole.  You might think I'm a pessimist, but I'm a realist.  I don't ever want to be one of those bloggers, or one of those people, who are like, "Look at what an amazing, perfect mom I am.  Look at how I do everything perfectly.  Look at how clean my house is and how well-behaved my kids always are and all these neat things I do with them and how cute my perfectly-manicured toes are."  This is me.  I am a hot mess.  I'm not proud of it, but it's real.  My toenails have constant dirt under them from digging in my garden, and I haven't painted them in six months.  I haven't done my hair in probably a month.  I'm 40 pounds overweight.  I have a little bit of a "swearing problem."  My house looks like a pit.  Sometimes I'd rather read People Magazine than the scriptures.  I have a horrible addiction to Coke.

But dang it, I'm constantly working on improving myself and my mothering.  I've got to say, I was a freaking genius when I was trying to show Sadie that those two squares on her worksheet that were cut into fourths in different ways had fourths that really were the same size, even though they didn't look like it.  I got out post-it notes and cut them up to show her.  And she finally got it.  I've helped Dylan pass off a ton of cub scout requirements in the past couple of weeks. 

I got over my constant fear of sewing to do a pillowcase-sewing activity that our Activity Day girls desperately wanted to do.  I jumped on the trampoline with Gage for half an hour tonight, showing him how to do a flip and a handstand and all kinds of stuff.  The kids did two big chores each today.  Yeah, I had to supervise them, but they did it!  I threw the ball with the dog every day this week to get her exercise in, and the park was so beautiful, and she was so happy and dorky and would fall all over herself to get the tennis ball, and be panting so hard to bring it back to me, but smiling her crazy dog smile and wiggling her tail so hard that I thought it would fall off.  And it felt so good to throw a ball.  I felt like I was launching rockets.

Life is hard.  And life is beautiful.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I have a new niece!!!

My beautiful sister, Beads, had her baby today!!  We are sooooo excited for them.  They've been trying to have a baby for several years, so this little one is extra exciting for our family.
Her name is Morgan, and I can't get over those cute little cheeks.  I can't wait to snuggle her.  There is a slim chance I may get to meet her in May.  I'm so glad she's here safely.  She is a teeny one - 6 pounds, 6 ounces.  And she was born on 4/1/14.  And she's 17 inches long and was born, military time, at 17:17.  If you know Beads, you'll know that she is ECSTATIC about these number combinations.  Whenever it's 11:11 a.m. on November 11th, I text her and say, "It's 11:11 on 11/11!!"  She was so excited when Gage was born on 8/9/10.  Haha!  So silly.

Kay, um, my 3-year-old just broke out of his room.  So I get to go get the screwdriver, turn the doorknob around, and lock him in.  You gotta do what you gotta do.  It's 10 at night.  Way past your bedtime, buddy.  And now Sadie is crying because she temporarily shares with Gage and doesn't want to be locked in, but then doesn't want to sleep with me (Ben's out of the country on business) or on the couch.  Sighhhhh.  I'm seriously considering throwing a sheet up and making her a "bedroom" in the downstairs great room.  For reals.

Good times.  Good times.  See what Beads has to look forward to? ;)  No, for reals, there are just as many really joyful moments as there are frustrating moments. It's definitely an extreme experience.  Extreme highs and extreme lows.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.  And I'm thrilled for her and Spence to start this new phase of their lives.   And to snuggle that baby and smell her hair and listen to her cute little noises.  And to watch her laugh in her sleep and sleep with her eyes half open and rolling around.  Babies are fun.
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