"experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." -randy pausch

Monday, November 10, 2014

letters to Beth {turbulence, liar liar pants on fire, MICE, & halloween}

{this picture. it makes me laugh.}

dear beth,
when i received your letter a couple of weeks ago, i was feeling sorry for myself. i know, awful! but, it's true. mostly because brennan had been on this lying phase, and i was just feeling like a loser mom that kept failing and failing with everything i was trying. so when i read your words, you truly lifted me up woman!!! i mean, i just can't express how amazing i think you are. UH-MAZE-INGGGGGG. president uchtdorf is one of my favorites. whenever life is overwhelming to me i remind myself of his talk about flying an airplane through turbulence. do you remember that talk? he said that to get through turbulence, one might think that you would get through it faster if you just sped up, BUT this is wrong! in order to get through turbulence most safely and effectively, one must SLOW DOWN. this was like a firecracker going off in my brain. i immediately thought of my life after having chase. brennan {who we didn't know had adhd at the time, but now looking back it is so clear} was only 4, little miss max was 2, and then there was newborn chase. i remember thinking that i was not going to let a newborn slow me down. we had swimming lessons to get to, and i had two other kids to entertain. i didn't have time for a slow nurser that couldn't latch! i didn't have time for no milk and a baby that took 5 minute car seat naps. i needed to go, go, go, go, go. how ironic it was that chase was BY FAR the one baby that FORCED me to slow down. his personality would not be rushed. it is just so him. oh how i wish i would have heard pres. uchtdorf's talk right in the midst of all of that, but then maybe i wouldn't have "heard" what he was saying. perspective in these situations is so clear when it's behind you. so every day, when my life is going through change and chaos, and i start to feel the need to "keep up" with the momentum i think i should be going at, i stop and remind myself that when times are turbulent, it's best to slow down. this is hard for a gal like me that sets high expectations for herself, but i'm getting better! one must put the breaks on to make the path less bumpy. i just can't tell you how many times a day i think of that talk. i keep thinking i need to type up the paragraph and pin it to my fridge, or my wall, or something like that, so i can see it always.
X-MEN: professor xavier, storm, wolverine, elsa, and batman.
please note: chase wore brennan's 5T batman costume, feet rolled up. 
free from last year. oh yeah:) i'm a genius!
this one spent the night riding from house to house in the wagon and eating candy after candy out of my old trick or treat candy bag my mom saved from elementary school. at every house he would run up yelling "TICK OR TEET!!! I batman! Tank Yoooooo!" and then it was back into his wagon again. 2 yr olds are my favorite halloween people. no frills. just happy.
brennan is already asking to go off with his friends alone. i told him you have to be 10 or 12 or something way older than 6 and a 1/2. i'm treasuring these years of walking behind my babies with their pumpkin buckets. i leave a giant canning pot of candy on my door unattended every year so we can all go around together. pure bliss!
so about brennan's lying. well, the first two were about video games. when brennan comes home from school i let him play on the computer, watch a show, or play video games for 30-45 minutes. this REALLY helps him come down off of his meds after school and just wind down. then, it's screens off, and outside for you or some other form of brain stimulating activity {art, reading, writing, etc.}. also, somewhere before bedtime we do dreadful homework which i loathe and find pointless, but this is because i once read some research that said there is absolutely no research to support homework helping learning any more than time that was already spent at school. we still do it, and i keep that opinion in my own head and not in my kid's ears because i don't need to encourage bad attitudes at age 6, but on the bad homework nights i am grumpy and sean usually hears about it right as we are going to bed. 20 minutes and that's it. that's my 1st grade limit. then he reads to me for a half an hour before bed, but i don't count that as homework. that's just fun enjoying reading time together. i love having another reader in the home. so, like i was saying, around 4:30pm every day i kick his buns outside to play with friends with the understanding that he is to remain outside and NOT go into anyone's house to play video games. his pack of about 6 boys roam from each other's houses together until dinner. this also happens on saturday mornings. well, one saturday and then one thursday last week he left our house promising he was going to play outside, and for hours i had visions of outdoor hockey street games and backyard nerf wars around the neighborhood, when in fact, he was in a friend's basement playing video games both times almost the entire time. how did i catch him in this lie you ask? i'm smart:) really smart:) see, there's one house that always has kids take their shoes off before they go into the house. they have new carpet. if i had new carpet, i would do the same thing. oh i wish i had new carpet. so when brennan came home with no shoes on in 42* it was a dead giveaway. when i asked him, he lied to my face, until i threatened to call the mom and ask if he was playing video games. then he fessed up. i had him pick the punishment, and he decided that two days with no screens was the answer, which was a punishment for me as well, but we did it. i held firm, and we all suffered through it, even with a day off of school on the end of it. after the first time he was so miserable i thought it was going to change his behavior, but only a few days later he did it again. shoes off and everything. i laughed at the poor chap when he walked in with just socks and lied to me again. also, i rolled my eyes and sighed because i felt like a failure, and knew we were going to have to go an entire weekend without screens again. then the third time he lied about an incident on the tramp, which i cannot disclose because i promised him absolute secrecy over the matter after we dealt with it, and since he's 6 AND A HALF now there are just certain things a mom isn't allowed to share on her blog about, and this third lie was one of them. he said telling anyone would just be too "embarrassing." so, after three lies in one week i was just basically feeling like an all around failure. was i being too controlling? was i meddling too much? i was surely doing this whole parenting thing wrong. maybe i should be more like the parents who don't set limits? their kids always seem to turn out better? these were the things i was thinking about. also, i was worrying that because of all of this, and my inability to teach him honesty, that he was for sure going to turn into a lying teenager just like me, addicted to drugs and alcohol at age 16. a woman's brain is sometimes a jump to conclusions kind of place. it's embarrassing to admit where my brain goes sometimes, but that is where it went. no, i decided no. every person parents differently, but sean and i agree that video games every day and all night after school and hours on end on the weekends are just not good for our family. the times that work best for us are for early risers on saturday and sunday mornings for sanity's sake, and a short time after school to wind down. i realize there are many other ways and opinions, and i respect them! this is just what works best for us right now. so after the third lying incident, sean took brennan around the house to empty all of the garbages {manual labor is the best policy i swear! sometimes i wish we lived on a farm}, having a man to man talk along the way. i heard them role playing what to do when your friends want you to do things you know you're not supposed to do. it was SO CUTE. i was bursting inside, and feeling very grateful to have someone else giving their hand a go in the matter. well, do you know what? two days later IT WORKED. he went off to play street hockey with his friends, and before he left we role played again what he was going to do if everyone wanted to play video games. we had agreed earlier that if he would just be honest and come home and ask, then he would always get 30 minutes of video games regardless of how much he had spent on screens at home just for being honest and checking in...AND so, after about 45 min he came home, knocking on our front door to ask if he could play video games at alex's house. i was so elated i jumped up and down screaming. HE CAME HOME to ask:) i gave him permission, he played for 30 minutes, and then he was off again outside, and we were all celebrating this little mini victory of positive reinforcement. i know this was very small, and in no way is a for sure that the problem is fixed, BUT it was something to celebrate after the week we had been having. these are what i call "first world problems." problems that aren't really real, but actually they kind of are when you don't have to worry about food and shelter, and stuff like that. that night sean and i talked about how hard peer pressure is, and how we don't really remember dealing with it at 6, but surely we were. i'm so glad we are starting to deal with it at 6, but i just hope that if we can have enough of these "little" lessons, that maybe they will make it count when the bigger decisions come. these are the EASY years, this is what i know, and if we can just SLOW DOWN, then maybe we'll have a fighting chance of getting through all of the turbulence.

{it was freakishly warm this year, so after 2 hours of trick or treating and hitting every house in the entire hood, we all ended up on the front porch eating and together passing out candy to all of the "teenagers," who my kids consider to be anyone over the age of 10. i let them eat and eat and eat and eat, then we showered them all off, and everyone planned their costumes for next year with visions of drumsticks in their brains. it was probably my favorite part of the entire day.}
in other more humorous news...we have mice. this is the story about how i found out we had mice. you know those cute corn stalks i put on my porch every year for halloween and thanksgiving?
well, THIS YEAR i had this FABULOUS idea to leave some corn on the stalks! i peeled them down and tied each little corn cob all cute. it was so very festive. i was living in corn stalk fall happiness! then a few days before halloween i decided to finally paint my front door blue. Morocco blue. i've been trying to talk myself into it for two years now, bought the paint on labor day, and took the plunge during our unseasonably hot october weather as i said, a few days before halloween. i LOVE my blue door {not pictured above}. anyway, so as i'm taping off my door handles to paint: note picture below.
i see something dark grey "roll" also known as scamper across my front door stoop, and right into the corn stalk. it was an unusually windy day in the salt lake valley, and when i told sean something ran across the door he said "no, it's just the wind blowing something."
well, i have been known to hallucinate, but when it happened a SECOND time, i called my husband over to check the cornstalks,
and scampered down the side of the stairs and under the gaping hole there to their homes.
here i was feeding the mice like some petting zoo off of my front porch for a month and a half,
and thing i was most mad about was that sean told me the cornstalks had to go
before halloween.
i was devstated.
so he called his pest control guy,
who explained to him that these varmints only need a dime sized hole to get into your house once the weather turns cold {which is has today}, where they will eat and poop all over your food.
so with tears in my eyes, we moved the cornstalks to the side of the house {also not smart in case you're wondering, but they've since been moved to the street}, and now the mice are gone.
they ate their poison, and are most likely laying dead under my front cement stoop. i try not to think about that part mostly.
oh, i almost forgot,
because i had just spent OVER an hour taping my front door and TWO YEARS building up the courage to PAINT this door, i HAD to paint the front door,
but we didn't want the mice to run into the house, which were still running up to the porch searching for their smorges borg of meal i had so conveniently placed there for them,
so sean put up a wooden panel over the front door and we spent the whole day running from the garage to the door painting scaring them away every 5-10 minutes.
also, we borrowed susie's cat from down the street, who is named Cosmo {GO GOUGS!},
and after he sniffed around a little bit we didn't see the mice come out for the rest of the day after that.
i also repainted my red berry wreath, so now it's all spruced up too.
i MAY have left a circular red blood stain on the ground of the garage that looks like someone died there. oops.
so that is the story of how i found out we had mice and painted my front door blue.