JJ ~ I hope you feel better soon. I saw on the news yesterday that there saying there is a flu epidemic in Massachusetts.
EM ~ I had a similar thing happened with my dh and my oldest (who is not my dh's child). DS was yelling at me and dh thought he called me a bitch. DH grabbed ds by the shirt, pinned him against, got right in his face and told him in a very nasty, angry, threatening voice to never talk to me like that again. I stepped in and don't regret it one bit. The really sad part about all of that was that my dh didn't even say what dh thought he did. I would step in any time that I was afraid my dh might hurt my child. If I'm afraid, I can't imagine how scared my child must be and it's my job to protect him from anyone and everyone. If I don't, I am undermining myself with my child. He will not trust my love and protection as much anymore.
You are not undermining your dh by stepping in when he's out of control like that. Yes, I consider that type of behavior from a parent as out of control. Anytime an adult puts their hands on a child in anger or in a threatening way, the adult is out of control. Your dh is undermining himself by losing control like that. That's his responsibility, not yours. The only thing he is teaching your son is that might makes right, that it's ok to use physical force to intimidate others and make them do what you want.
I, personally, think the same principle applies to an adult (Dad or Mom) who attaches strings to behaviors that they should do just because they love their children, like playing with them. I agree, Carrie, that it is wrong for Chris to say things like that to Nora. I don't blame her for frowning when he says things like that. It is better to talk about things like that when the children aren't around. Explain why you think what he is doing is a problem and give him ideas of what he could say/do instead. Of course, you have to make sure he's open to listening to you. If he immediately gets defensive, there's no point in trying to talk to him. In that case, you can tell him that you'd like to talk about that and ask him when he'll have time. Then he won't feel like he's being ambushed. Or, you could write it down.
You could suggest to your dh that, if your ds does anything like that again, your dh could gently but firmly remove your ds from the situation. Take him in another room or for a car ride and stay with him or very close. Wait until everyone has cooled down and talk about the situation. Let your ds express all of his anger and other emotions without judgment or recrimination as long as he can stay calm about it. If he starts to get upset and agitated again, you or your dh can ask him to calm down, slow down, take a few deep breaths or take a break until he feels calm again. After your ds has told you or your dh everything, you guys can help him learn other ways to express his anger or frustration or whatever it is.
WRT my dh saying he finally got how I'm feeling from our counseling session, yes, it is frustrating that he didn't get it until then considering I've always told him how I feel. However, the idea of him finally getting it one way or the other is good. But, he still didn't understand me. He took me saying that being a mother is a big part of my life and who I am right now as meaning that I see myself only as a mother. That is extremely frustrating, especially since he wasn't even going to check with me on that. He wouldn't have said anything if I hadn't asked.
We're going to be cleaning and getting ready for Ethan's party. It's a Lego theme so I ordered a cake that is going to look like two stacked Lego pieces. So Cool! We couldn't get the cake Ethan wanted because it would have cost close to $100!
Still moving along with the refi. The decision about which company to go with was made for us. The first one was going to require us to bring about $1700 in cash to closing, which we do not have, so they are out. I'm so glad I called the 2nd one at the last minute. They are giving us a better deal with no cash at closing. Our total mortgage will go up, which sucks, but our monthly payment will go down by about $400. That will make it a lot more easy for us to either rent the house so we can all go to VA or to maintain two households if Sean has to go by himself.
I don't get why the first company needs all these fees and closing costs. They are the ones who hold our original mortgage. Why do they need to collect fees for title transfer when they already hold the title? Or for flood determination when they did that when I applied to the original mortgage? Seems like just a scam to collect money, which is one reason why I hate them and am glad we were able to find a different company to refi with.