Monday, February 9, 2009

Solving life's mysteries one at a time

There are all kinds of mysteries in life. Like "why do kids get the stomach bug while they're potty training" or "how the heck did something pink and sticky end up on the ceiling?". Unfortunately, I can't solve them all. Today, however, I did manage to solve two little mysteries that had previously been slightly bugging me.

First mystery: why the heck have my eyes been hurting so much???? They have been stinging almost constantly. They feel dry and itchy and look blood shot. I've tried all kinds of things. Eye drops, going a few days without my contacts, wearing my contacts for a shorter amount of time than usual, etc. Treatments seemed to work kind of sort of and only temporarily. I was getting ready to go see the eye doctor and see if I've developed a sensitivity to either my contact solution or to my contacts.

Second mystery: How in the world are we going through hand soap so quickly? I figured that it was Hunter. He's potty trained (hooray!!!!!) and thus, is washing his hands more frequently by himself. You know that brief stage when your toddler is all out to please? He's still in that. So I just figured he was washing his hands over and over and over. I also thought maybe the girls were "bathing" their barbies, ponies, poly pockets, (fill in the blank with every cheap plastic toy out there) in the sink thus using up the soap.

The first mystery I figured had to be solved by a professional, but the second I decided just needed a few conversations with my kids. Turns out, neither was needed (well, perhaps a conversation, but not the intended one). Today, I walked into the bathroom to find Ashley and Hunter making "soup" for his cars and dinosaurs and for her princesses. "Hey mom guess what" they so sweetly and excitedly asked. "What?" I so naively responded. "We found these bowls for our toys! They're just the perfect size." The bowls you ask? My contact case. The soup? Soap and water. Voila! Two mysteries solved in one shot.

On a totally unrelated I the only one who gets just a little bit sad when one of my kids potty trains? Diapers seem like the last little vestige of babyhood. I always feel a little sad when we get rid of diapers for one kid. I should be celebrating. This is the first week in 7 years that I haven't had to change a single diaper.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dad: Someone who stands in when mom is not there.

On Monday, Kris planned a wonderful family home evening lesson. He decided to teach a lesson on prayer and was using the FHE resource manual to tell a story. The story is about how a dad is working at home and throughout the day his various children come to him and ask him different things. One child comes with a broken doll which he says he'll fix. One child comes with a math problem, the dad kindly listens and then suggests different ways to try to work the problem but he doesn't give the solution. One child comes and asks for money and the dad says no. There were a handful of other situations. Our children have been getting progressively more rowdy during prayer time. Kris' thinking was that maybe if they could understand prayer a little bit better, they'd be more reverent. So the purpose of the story was that we really have a Father in Heaven who loves us and takes the time to listen to us about whatever we're willing to share with Him. Kris also told the story to try to stress that Heavenly Father doesn't always say "yes" to our prayers. Well, at the end of the story he asked a question from the manual in an attempt to emphasize these points. He asked "Why did these children go to their father for help?" He was hoping for an answer along the lines of "Because they know their daddy loves them and will help them". Ahhh, hope springs eternal. Kaylyn started bouncing in her seat in typical 7 year old fashion, hand raised high in the air saying "I know I know" so Kris called on her. And here is her wonderful nugget of an answer, "They went to their dad because their mommy wasn't home." Thank you Kaylyn for countering my opinions of my mothering skills.

I have discovered what I will do with my children's toys when they don't pick them up: Tada! No more stepping on little toys, now we'll just eat them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And the winner of the mother of the year award goes to......ugh, not you

Yeah, I won't be winning any mother of the year awards any time soon. But that's ok. I'm fine with being "adequate". It seems my children are fine with it as well. I figure as long as we can all laugh (though some things we won't be laughing at until we've had the time and distance needed for them to become funny) then we are doing fine. Fine fine fine fine.

So why don't we have a breakdown of the things that have disqualified me from the mother of the year award:

1. This can best be told by a picture or maybe two.

Why yes, that is my 2 year old with stitches. I can't entirely accept blame for this injury. I wasn't even in the room. Hunter is awfully fond of tackling things: sisters, mom, dad, barbies, trees. You think I'm kidding don't you? Ha! Well, one particularly fine evening he was tackling Ashley. The two were giggling and having a grand old time. I could hear Kris repeatedly telling them to be careful, someone was going to get hurt, knock it off.....etc. Then I heard the crash and the scream of doom. It seems Ashley had tired of being tackled and had ducked. Good for her, most unfortunate for Hunter as the TV stand was right behind Ashley. It was semi-late on a Friday night because, you know, when else do accidents happen? Kris and I hemmed and hawed over the cut was large enough to require stitches. We actually had to call a neighbor to get a third opinion (thanks Shannon). I guess we know it was a good call when the doctor said (in a somewhat sarcastic tone, looking at me like I'm crazy for asking), "um, yeah he needs stitches". You may wonder why this eliminates me from mother of the year when I wasn't even involved? Well, it dredges up a past incident in which I was involved (ok, fine! it was my fault!). When Kaylyn was just barely 1 we were having a grand old time jumping on the bed together until I bounced her off and right into the dresser. Look, when you have your babies and you are very very young, you don't always use the best judgment. Anyway, she split open her head and as I was slightly worried about a concussion, that ended up in a hospital visit. Next time you're looking for your parenting skills to come into question I dare you to go to the ER and say "I was jumping on the bed with my baby and I accidentally bounced her into the dresser." If you're lucky, they'll believe you and just give you strange looks. If you're not lucky, like me, they'll put you and your baby in separate rooms and make you repeat the story several times to different hospital personnel. I have since eschewed all jumping on the bed and am even nervous about trampolines. If nothing else, lesson learned. I will say one little thing in my defense. If you have ever heard Kaylyn giggle you know that it's the most delicious and magical sound in the world. Her preschool teachers used to try to make her giggle all day long. Bouncing her on the bed was one of the things she laughed hardest at as a baby, and therefore had been a favorite pastime until this incident.

2. My children have started having these "airing of the grievances" discussions. That's my term not theirs. At least once a week, they gather together and say things like:
I'm mad at mom because she makes me do chores.
Well I'm mad at mom because she won't let me play with friends today.
I'm mad because mom won't let us have candy for breakfast.
(or Hunter's personal favorite, because he has to chip in) I'm mad at mom for putting me in a diaper.
The kids have these top secret discussions in the girls' bedroom. They always tell me they have to have a private kids only meeting. What they forget is that we have a monitor in their room so I can hear every single word of it. After they're done they mope around and glare at me for a little while. Then they're back to normal until the next "meeting". I'm either doing something very right or very wrong.

3. I started making a conscious effort to look for teaching moments with my kids, more specifically, for spiritual teaching moments. An opportunity arose when I had the following conversation with Kaylyn in the car (if you don't know the boy the story is about, you probably shouldn't know and therefore, should promptly forget):
Kaylyn: mom, how old were you when you got married?
Me: 20
Kaylyn: How old was dad?
Me: 22.
Kaylyn: How old are boys when they get back from their missions?
Me (thinking: where is this going?): um, usually 21.
Kaylyn: Ok. That will be perfect.
Me: Uh, perfect for what kiddo?
Kaylyn: Well, I'll be 20 when Jonathan gets back from his mission. We'll be just right for getting married.
Me: Well, yes I suppose. *pause as I wonder how on earth I got into this conversation with a 6 year old* I thought you wanted to go on a mission?
Kaylyn: I do but.....*long pause*
Me: What honey?
Kaylyn: Well *voice cracking as she starts to tear up* if I go on a mission he'll marry someone else before I get back.

So this led to a conversation about personal revelation and prayer and letting the Holy Ghost be our guide. I silently congratulated myself on a job well done and promptly turned up the stereo (which is probably why I was oblivious to any revelation coming my way). Not too much later I hear a noise so I turn the music down. Kaylyn is in the back just sobbing. I asked her what was wrong but she refused to tell me. It took every single trick in the mother's handbook to get it out of her. She said something along the lines of:
"Well, I really love Jonathan and I know he likes me and I know he knows I like him but I don't think he knows how much I like him. I'm scared to tell him, but if I don't tell him, he'll marry someone else. I'm just really scared to tell him how much I love him."
We had another conversation that included a cute little story Jonathan's mom had told me about how much he likes Kaylyn and hopefully, I did better on the second conversation than I did on the first. I suppose I should chalk it up to good practice. I have a feeling there will be plenty of drama on the boy front in just a few years.

4. We told Ashley that at the new year, she would have different primary teachers instead of still having mom and dad teach her class. You would think she might be just a teensy bit sad. Nope. She cheered, she did a dance, she shouted "hooray". And then she asked, "Will I still have to live with you?" And when we told her "yes" she said, "oh" and looked very disappointed. It's a good thing that she has her moments on needing mommy, and just mommy, or I might feel like the worst mother on the planet.

5. ***WARNING: if poop stories gross you out you might want to skip this one*** After almost a month of Kaylyn complaining of stomach pain and me replying with, "well, you have no fever and you're not throwing up so you're going to school" I finally took her to the doctor. What makes it worse is that I only took her because she called home sick from school and I told her, "if I pick you up you have to go to the doctor". So I took her. The doctor did a physical exam and decided to do an xray of her stomach. I can't exactly explain the results as I have no medical knowledge. But I do remember hearing "impacted bowel" and "barely any oxygen pockets" and "kids can have normal bowel movements and still have their bowels backed up". The poor kid has her whole intestines full of pooh [go ahead and say that inappropriate joke that I will kick you for later]. So, hello laxatives, goodbye pooh.

I have more examples but I figure this is sufficient. You know what though? There's a misconception among many that this life is about striving for perfection. Let me let you in on a little secret: it's not. This life isn't about being perfect. It's about learning how to be perfect. Perfection will come at a much later date. For now, let's enjoy the learning process.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A little bit more Kris and the chaos of Hunter

Ha. Just in case last week wasn't enough Kris for you, here is a picture of him that I dug up. See? He really is a strong hero.
Ah Hunter. That kid. Yesterday he did two notable things. One is wonderful. The other he may be paying for until he's married and has children of his own. He peed in the potty. Hooray! And then, at some point during the day, he lost my wedding ring. I had put it on the counter that I always put it on, pushed back against the wall. The kids have never played with it. Yesterday it disappeared. Ashley says she saw Hunter playing with it. Let's hope I can still find it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The wonderful world of Kris

So Kris sat down to read my blog the other day and happened to see his name. Before even reading the post we had the following conversation:
Kris: Hey, what did you write about me?
Me: Why don't you read it and see?
Kris: I think you need to get my permission before you do anything on the blog.
Me: Excuse me (said with attitude)? What do you think I need your permission for?
Kris: Well the flowers for one thing.
Me: I see.
Kris: And anything you write about me.
Me: Just read it.
Kris (after he read the post): Oh, well that's just the truth. I am a strong hero. Are you going to mention it when I pass the CPA?
Me: No (I didn't mean it, I was still miffed about the whole permission thing)
Kris: Well, maybe I'll start my own blog. Without flowers.
Me: Go for it.

So after analyzing the conversation, I decided his feelings were hurt because I haven't mentioned him enough in my blog. So this entire post is dedicated to Kris. I would like to share some of my favorite things/memories of my dear hubby. These are in no particular order:

*He does the best job turning the kids into superman to fly them into their beds.

*Last night Ashley bonked her head and Kris offered to get her an ice pack. He handed her a frozen corn dog.

*After he got his master's degree, he spent the next whole week telling everyone to call him "Master Kris".

*If I could frame any picture of Kris' face it would be the one he was making while I gave birth to Kaylyn. And I would display it everywhere. I'd probably even carry it around with me. It makes me laugh to think of it now. He was mostly disgusted but there was some horror and amazement mixed in. It reminded me of the face Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) would make whenever Suzy tried to play with him. He has not been allowed to watch our babies be born after that. He has to sit by my head or leave the room.

*Once on a date early on in our relationship we went to a haunted house. Kris got scared and started running. Fine. But he was holding my hand and I tripped (because you know, we're talking about me here). Instead of letting me go he kept running and dragging me on the ground. I suppose it was chivalrous. He could have just left me there.

*On Halloween night well after we had put the kids in bed, Kaylyn snuck back up to me sobbing and said, "Mommy, please tell daddy he can have any of my candy if he just won't take the full size Snickers bar Grandma gave me. He can have it all. I just don't want him to eat that one." Earlier she had yelled at him for taking one piece of candy and he had told her he could take candy from her bag since he was the Dad.

*Every time I've gone out of town without the kids (ok, so that's only been for girls camp and youth conference but still) I return to a clean house, kids worn out from playing, and a dozen roses.

*He can do a mean toe touch. Seriously. Ask him to show it to you sometime.

*One time I sent him to the store for Karo Syrup. He came back (like an hour later) with Canola Oil and told me, "I didn't see any Karo Syrup. I thought you must have made a mistake and meant this".

*The blinds he put up in our house have only broken a few times.

In all seriousness, I love Kris. He is a great dad. He plays with the kids far better than I do. He is a great husband. I feel very lucky to be married to such a wonderful man (and one who puts up with me embarrassing him).

So Kris, here's to you baby. Now stop telling me what I need your permission for.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Punch Man, Pee and Prostitutes

So for months now Ashley has been going on and on about "punchman". She tells us how she loves him, how she wants punchman for Christmas. She tells us these fantastic stories about how strong punchman is. All these months Kris and I have been looking at each other whenever punchman is mentioned wondering what the heck she is talking about and slightly worrying that we have a delusional 4 year old. At one point, Kris wondered whether Ashley had made an alterego for him. (Ok, I'm lying about that. But Kris does consider himself to be some kind of strong hero.) Then the toysrus catolog came in the mail. Shall I introduce you to punchman?

She is telling me now that I had better never be mean to punch man or he will hit me. Now, let me say, I have not let my children watch the incredible hulk. I don't think the violence would be a good thing in our house. I can just see Hunter thinking he is punchman. He already thinks his hands are swords. She must have seen it on a commercial or something.
So you're probably wondering why I mentioned pee. The other day Hunter told me he had peed in his diaper. He brought me a new diaper. He kept saying, "I pee mommy". I thought he meant he had already peed seeing as how he had brought me a new diaper. So I undo his diaper and am leaning all the way over him only to hear him gleefully say "I pee now mommy" and then he peed all over my face, my hair, my shirt. I have had more bodily fluids lobbed in my direction from this boy than the girls put together.
And if you weren't wondering about the pee, you're definitely wondering why I mentioned prostitutes. That's because apparently, it was my word of the evening at enrichment night (LDS relief society activity) last week. Not that I was talking about actual prostitutes. I was actually telling a very funny story about my mom. Hmmm, not that she was a prostitute either. When we lived in Venezuela we came back to the states and my mom did some bulk shopping for things she either couldn't or wouldn't buy in South America. When she was going through the checkout she had her mom and either 4 or 5 of her children with her. She also had an extremely large supply of condoms. (How many would you buy if you need at least a one year supply or possibly a two year supply?) I was simply relating the story how she tells it. The checker looked at her, at her mom and at us kids and my mom was sure he thought she was a prostitute and was finally wising up to safe sex. Now, somehow through the evening, I mentioned prostitutes at one other point. You see, I have issues with silence. I tend to blurt out whatever is in my head if it's awkwardly silent. This is normally ok as most people I spend time with are not only used to it, but find it amusing. Except somehow, some people seemed to find me extremely strange sitting at enrichment night talking about prostitutes. And Shannon was sitting right next to me laughing her head off the whole time. I told her afterward she should have kicked me but she wisely said, "that probably would have made you say even worse things".
Does life get any better than punchman, pee and prostitutes?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Computers, conference, and callings

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I've slacked off on the blogging thing. That I only managed to post twice before giving up. Well, you're wrong. Our *&$#@ (that means stupid) computer quit working. Despite Kris' insistence that I must have done something to the computer we found out that hard drives don't really last all that long. So the hard drive, along with everything on it, was fried. And being the idiot I am, nothing was backed up. That means the last 3 years of pictures I took with my digital camera are gone. But alas, we have a new computer and I will back it up.

So what a wonderful conference. Is it that conference really truly gets better every year or do I somehow manage to be more receptive? After such a wonderful conference, we had the opportunity to basically get our own personal general conference. Elder Pino of the first quorum of the seventy is a good friend of my parents. He was my Bishop in Caracas, Venezuela when I was a wee little primary kiddo. My dad served as his counselor and my mom was the primary pres with Sister Pino as her first counselor. Elder Pino and his wife and their son and his wife came over to my parents house for dinner after the final session of conference. Very little English was spoken and I found myself repeatedly chastising myself for losing pretty much all my Spanish speaking ability. Fortunately I could still understand most of it. Elder Pino asked my sweet (but struggling) 19 year old brother to share his testimony. After that, Elder Pino shared his testimony. He also gave both me and my brother and my parents some counsel. I have yet to endure anything more powerful than sitting face to face with a general authority while he testifies that he is a witness for Christ. It was a wonderful experience. His kind words to my parents were much needed and appreciated. Reflecting on the whole experience makes me remember Elder Bednar's first talk after being sustained as a member of the quorum of twelve when he spoke of tender mercies. Interestingly enough, I can see that being applicable to conference. Conference seemed like a big hug of tender mercies.


So after over 5 years in young women's I've been released. I think I'm finally over the heartbreak. I knew it was coming but it still was hard. YW's is one of those callings that really consumes a chunk of your life but you love it. And you know, it's a trade off. Kris has been in the Elder's Quorum pres almost as long as I was in YW. He was definitely getting a little burned out. And I know our callings weren't as demanding as many many others, but those two things combined together and it seems like we were very busy the last five years. I'm grateful for the things we learned and the experiences we've had. I'm definitely happy he was released. As for me, well, I'm getting there. It does feel slightly like I must be moving backwards. For starters, I think I've gone to relief society as a married woman for a grand total of one year. Early in our marriage we were sunbeam teachers. Then we moved up here and I was put in YW. But now I'm back in Sunbeams. When Ashley heard we were going to be her teachers she told me, "Mom, I really like the Whitesides. So how about if they stay and dad can come, but you just go back to young womens." It's going to be an adjustment. The sappy grins of 3 year olds are pretty good payment but I still need to adjust. Can someone please advise me on how to teach "I can be kind to animals" after teaching "The Law of Consecration"?

So I think that's all for today. This was a fairly serious post. My apologies to the light hearted out there. I've heard whispers in the wind that the spirit bear might make a come back at some point in the near future....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Spirit Bear Suicide and the insightful quirkiness of preschoolers

So, Girls Camp. Can't say much. There's that rule (that I usually break just a little). It was was a lot of work....and this year, it was full of drama. But being my usual self, I find crazy ways to try and ease the drama. I'm not sure it worked this year but I did have fun. On one of the first nights of girls camp the stake introduced the spirit bear. Whichever ward cheered and sang the loudest would get the spirit bear. Our little beehives screamed until our ears bled. There were several headaches induced by the screaming (if you think I'm exaggerating ask anyone who was there, but particularly ask Hailey M.). We should have won the spirit bear. Really. It should have been ours. But I think the stake decided that since we were one of the biggest wards, being the loudest shouldn't be the only prerequisite. In other words, we were robbed. So in the spirit of girls camp, the next day a few of the girls (what? you think I had something to do with it????) decided to kidnap the spirit bear and leave a ransom note. Sister Kendell (camp director extraordinaire.....seriously, she had a sash that someone awesome made her and everything but I digress....) didn't want the bear to be kidnapped. She kept pointing out that our value was integrity and that kidnapping was certainly not an integrity-filled act. We (ahem, I mean "they") took a little walk. As a little side note, if you're trying to do a covert mission, do NOT include every single 1st year. It will not be covert. "They" discovered the spirit bear was well protected. Disheartened we (eek, I mean they) returned to camp. Later, during dinner, the stake brought the mail. Imagine our surprise when there was a note from the spirit bear himself. It was addressed to Sister Kendell. The spirit bear wrote that he had not been fed since Windsor Meadows had received him. He also wrote, in great detail and horror, that he had been tied to the top of a tent and left out overnight. Poor, poor spirit bear. In the note, the spirit bear pleaded for someone, anyone, especially someone who was a preschool teacher (*cough Bess cough*) to come rescue him. Unfortunately, this tale does not end well. The spirit bear was never rescued. In fact, I have it on good authority that the spirit bear hung itself in a tree in the Kendell's front yard along with all the honey. Poor poor spirit bear. I also have on good authority that the spirit bear left a note saying something along the lines of the following:

"I thought you would come for me but alas, I have come to you instead. I would like to be cremated and have my ashes spread over Cobble Creek. I hereby bequeath all my honey to the Young Women of the West Park ward. I'm sorry. I just didn't have the spirit to go on."

So the question that comes to mind is this....where is the honey?

Now, a totally unrelated question. If you tell a little tiny white lie at girls camp (or you know, anywhere) in order to perpetuate a really funny (ok, at least to some of us) prank can you still answer "yes" to that question in your temple recommend interview? Hypothetically speaking of course.

So I went with Shannon to the last summer movie thingy at the movie theater. (Wow, that was one eloquent sentence). Half an hour after the start time, we're still sitting in our chairs waiting. Shannon went to see what was wrong. She came back to tell me the projector was having problems. I asked her "mental problems"? (ha ha, I think I'm so funny) To which Jaden replied "no Kim, you have mental problems". What an insightful 3 year old.

And my insightful little preschooler gave me this nugget last week. She came home from church all upset. Some girl in her class (in order to protect her mother's pride, I will not name names) told Ashley that she wasn't pretty. I said to Ashley "that's weird, you're gorgeous," to which she replied, "I know!!! Her eyes must be broken or something." Oh that we could all have Ashley's confidence in ourselves.

Friday, August 8, 2008

And we're off....

Alright fine. I'll start a blog. I don't want to but I suppose I can acquiesce. So this is us. There will be pictures soon.

Today Kris and I were in the kitchen doing dishes and cooking dinner together. We thought all the kids were downstairs watching tv. In retrospect, it was awfully quiet but I was enjoying the quiet time with hubby. So we hear Hunter screaming his head off. We both look to the stairs assuming he's coming up to tell us that the girls had turned off Diego so they could watch Hannah Montana. Instead, he came from down the hallway. Somehow he had snuck back upstairs with neither of us noticing. He was covered in bubbles and he was screaming because there was soap in his eyes. So I picked him up and tossed him in the kitchen sink to hose him down. Meanwhile, Kris had gone to the bathroom to see what kind of damage had been done. In the back of my mind I'm wondering how much overflow is all over the bathroom until I hear Kris say, "it's not sink water that's the problem" leading me to believe that Hunter had done some sort of science experiment in the toilet. So I rush down the hall to find it's not a problem with the toilet at all. And while there is no water all over the bathroom, there are bubbles everywhere. And the hand soap that I had filled this morning is less than half full. I'm trying to tell myself that he was attempting to make amends for the basil explosion in the kitchen this morning (there is always an explosion of something while I am in the shower). Maybe somehow, in his little 2 year old head, he thought if he made clean bubbles, it would make up for the trail of dirt and disaster that is always behind him. I love that kid but he had better be a darn easy teenager or there is no justice in this world.

Kaylyn was named a star student today. Each month every teacher can pick one student to be named as star student. The principal calls their name over the intercom for the whole school to hear and then the star students all get to come pick a prize. This was the first group of star students of the year so Kaylyn was really happy. Her best friend (Brielle) was also picked as the star student of her class so the two of them have been in the clouds all day basking in the glory of star student hood. She has an amazing teacher this year. Last year I was constantly getting calls about how she talked to much in class (really??? a child of mine talks to much??? Shocking). This year, her teacher just tells me she loves her enthusiasm and the energy she brings to class. Hopefully she won't get croup every other week again this year and miss tons of school. She's already had it once since school started and it's summer!!!! At least we have the steroids and breathing treatments stocked and ready to go at home so we don't have to make bi-weekly ER runs anymore.

Ashley. What can I say about Ashley? Unlike Hunter, Ashley is proof that there is justice in the world. Behind that wonderfully sweet demeanor that everyone else sees is the Ashley we know (and love) at home. Primary teachers and pre-school teachers would be shocked at the teasing and sassing that comes out of that girl's mouth. Anytime I try to complain about what a handful she can be I get blank stares. When I say she's justice, I mean for me. I suppose as an adult, I should quit being such a tease but it's so much fun. She did indeed learn it from me. Perhaps that's why I find it more difficult to discipline her than the other two.

Well, that's all for now. Stay tuned for my next post which will include the suicide note from the spirit bear.