Thursday, April 10, 2014

a {big} update

A handful of things you might care to know...

I talked about our decision to move here. We sold our house sometime in January after just four showings. But then it fell through. And then it was back on again. But we still didn't have anywhere to move. So I didn't really talk about it much. We've also been walking through a very hard season of marriage, so frankly, the house stuff was the least of my worries. Selling a house and moving is usually a HUGE thing for people but its funny how it's barely been a blip on my stress radar. But lo and behold, our moving date is next week. Sooooo...probably time to start talking about it. It's also probably time to start packing. But I'm so close to the title of World's Best Procrastinator. I'm somewhere around third or fourth place overall. But I think by waiting to pack a single box until a week before our moving date, that will seal my title once and for all. I dare any of you to challenge me. I will dominate you.
And where are we moving, you might ask? For now we're moving into a three bedroom townhouse that's almost directly across the street from where we live now. (I'll probably just start chucking things across the street, rather than packing it all up.) Ideally we'd be moving into our perfect home in the woods, just a few minutes from my in-laws, but God's holding us up. The lady hasn't sold it to anyone else (it's been quite a long, drawn-out, process trying to acquire that property) so we're crossing our fingers that one day it'll be ours. Until then, we continue to look at pieces of land further out in the country. I just really, really (REALLY) don't want to live half an hour or more away from my in-laws since we're such a close-knit family and are at their house all the time. Trusting God fully that He'll lead us right where He wants us at just the right time. In the mean time, I'm pretty excited to down-size. For the past four years we've lived in a very comfortable home. Not too big, not too little. But this past year, as I've taken on more and more of the household responsibilities due to Jon's schedule (and our little caboose has taken on more and more responsibility of making messes), I've become increasingly overwhelmed to the point of sheer misery. It's always a mess, all the time. And I hate it. So I think this is a small way of receiving grace from God in this area. He's giving me a more manageable place for this difficult season. Also, I was itching to repaint the entire first floor of our home to something lighter and brighter, but was having a hard time wrapping my mind around accomplishing that with three little kids, so this gets me out of that too! ;) Now I can have a fresh start with decorating. 
(Random pictures for a random post. Seeing these compared to these, makes me want to get out my big camera again!)

A little Bennett story for you. He cut a chunk from the front of his hair several months ago because he wanted to "look like Dad". But when the time came to actually chop off all of his beloved curls, he chickened out (Phew!!). So we waited and waited for his patch of hair to grow back out in the front. It finally did. A couple days ago he got into some Silly Putty that I had hidden away. He knew he wasn't supposed to have it. He got a chunk of it stuck in the front of his hair. But instead of confessing, he decided to just CUT IT OUT. Because I certainly wouldn't notice a giant chunk of his hair missing right in the middle of his forehead. Y'all, this is no surprise coming from him. He's 6 3/4 and still a very destructive kid. He means well but his little hands never stop. He has a lot of love but he also has a lot of energy that isn't always focused correctly. (Hence, a huge reason that boy needs woods to play in. He can go to town on some logs, rather than on his hair and clothes and bedding and all the other things.) His punishment was no screen-time for a week. That's his kryptonite. His weak spot. I'd been wanting to cut way back once the weather turned anyway, so this was the perfect lead-in to that. Yesterday was five days in (five days that have been much more peaceful, mind you. Turns out that not turning the TV on at all is actually easier on him than watching for three hours and then having to turn it off.) and guess what he said to me? "Mom, I'm actually kind of enjoying this. I might just do it for two extra days." I about fell off of my chair. Glory to the highest, peace on earth, good will to men. I might have cried tears of joy. And if I didn't, my heart surely did. Lesson learned. Thank you, Jesus.
On the subject of Bennett, another major life decision I made recently was to homeschool him next year. He did well in Kindergarten but this year, in first grade, things sort of all fell apart. He begs and begs me to stay home and has shed a lot of tears before school in the mornings. I think it's a combination of things, physical, mental and emotional. Mostly, he's young (a June birthday, one of the youngest in his class) and he's so high-energy so having to focus for such long periods of time isn't easy for him. He's also bored. (I know....this can be a cop-out. But so many of the papers he brings home are things he knew when he was three or four. I know this is playing into it because he really enjoys the days when he's pulled out for advanced curriculum.) I think there are other emotional issues with other kids and teachers, etc. It's been breaking my heart hearing my joyful, smart boy saying he hates school.I'm also not keen on some of the language skills and attitude he's picked up from his peers. Dawson will be in four day preschool next year, so my goal is to just homeschool Bennett for a year, make it as fun as possible, reignite a love for learning (Lord, help me!) and then transition him to the Christian school for third grade. But if we love it, we'll just keep going. No pressure either way. If it ends up being horrible, we'll just switch to the Christian school half-way through the year. I decided a long time ago I was going to homeschool Dawson for Kindergarten and 1st grade (to avoid what happened to Bennett) based on the advice from Bringing Up Boys and Raising Cain. I really challenge you, if you still have a preschool aged son, to read Raising Cain before making up your mind about school. At the very least, look into Montessori options or half-day Kindergarten. But first grade is such a transitional year, that's going to be the toughest one. 

Dawson's still my hilarious, passionate boy. Full of surprises every day. He's still very tough to deal with at times, and get's into the "Red Zone" (a term from Raising Your Spirited Child, that he understands and we talk about a lot.) when he's using a baby voice and usually flailing around and completely unfocused. But if he's not too far gone, I can usually use a few calm words to help him identify it and he'll get himself back to the "Green Zone". (Only after a year of work, is this possible.) Sometimes though, we still have major tantrums and meltdowns that we deal with as best we can. He and Channing clash a lot these days and he's most at peace when he can play by himself, completely uninterrupted for long stretches. 
He's always had heightened senses and being too hot turns him into monster child. He'll start flailing and kicking and screaming and crying and is nearly inconsolable. This winter I learned that he would have to wear his coat to the car but once inside the car, we'd have to take it off. I can't tell you how many times I had to pull over to remove his coat halfway home because he'd get overheated and would absolutely lose his mind (while the rest of us sat comfortably). And since the weather has warmed up, he's already been complaining that the car is too hot and it's only 60 degrees outside. I think I'm actually going to have to buy a clip-on battery powered fan for the car. I don't think either of us will survive the summer without it.
Channing is at such a fun and equally horrible age. His vocabulary is really picking up and he's starting to communicate better. His fit throwing is altogether hilarious to watch sometimes. I've never had a child throw themselves face-down onto the floor so much. Sometimes he does it with just an unhappy little grunt and lays there in silence. (But sometimes there is A LOT of screaming happening. That's not hilarious.) The last week or so, he's had considerably fewer tantrums and I'm praying it sticks. He's taken up wandering out of the yard, though. I actually had to call 911 last week when I was helping Dawson take off his coat and boots inside and by the time I went back out to grab Channing, he was nowhere to be found. And it was cold and windy. He was gone for about twenty minutes total and was found by a bus driver, who knows where. He passed him off to the police before I got to them.  It was horrible and scary and left me feeling like the worst parent ever. Let's move on, shall we?
He's been a tough nut to crack. I see glimpses of such incredible tenderness, it makes me melt. I took Dawson and Channing for a long walk in the woods yesterday. At the end, on the way back to the car, Dawson kept running ahead. He had a bright blue shirt on, so I kept my eye on him (honestly....I do watch my kids most of the time. ;) but I kept having to shout at him to stay within my line of sight. He was way ahead of us for quite some time. And when we finally caught back up to him, Channing squealed with delight and went and hugged him. He always starts whimpering in empathy when either Bennett or Dawson is really upset about something. It's so sweet to see. But boy, is he touchy around people he's not completely comfortable with. He's incredibly shy and slow to adapt to new situations. He has a hell of a temper and is by far my pickiest eater. But it's interesting noticing the subtle differences after having raised a spirited child like Dawson. Its so hard but yet, it's different. Not as intense. His tantrums don't last as long. And if he's being outright naughty, he'll actually respond (some of the time) to a very stern voice or firm squeeze of the hand (or a very, very occasional spank.). All the things I could never say about Dawson at that age. So I have hope that as his vocabulary increases, his screaming will decrease. 


  1. As an outsider, it's heartbreaking to read/hear about Bennett and your struggles with his schooling. As a teacher, I feel just in general bad for him, and for you. All of the public education system just isn't what it used to be when we were kids. So much as changed. So much is out of the teachers hands, as we are basically handed down from district who gets their orders from the state exactly how to teach something, how many weeks you can spend on it, then test on it, then poof! Move on from it. Often hard for non teachers to comprehend, but I think it's great you'll be home schooling him and see how that goes. I hope you find your new home in due time, and that those bumps in your 11 yr marriage are just in that, small bumps and nothing more! Stay strong Haverlee! Lord knows you have to be with all those boys around you! :)

  2. I am sorry to hear that Bennett had a rough year! If you need any help or would like some project ideas for next year, I would love to share with you since second grade is my specialty :) I will be praying that everything works out with your house situation!

    1. I just realized you probably don't know who wrote this last comment! It's Jeni Foster :)

  3. I just came over from Instagram for the first time because I was curious about your across the street move. I love your detailed descriptions of your boys! I have got to read those books you mentioned. My boy, age 4, sounds a lot like your Dawson. I started reading Bringing Up Boys, but got bored/bogged down by all the technical stuff. I should skip ahead.

    I wish you the best of luck in your move, and hope you get the house/land you've been wanting. I would love to move to an acreage, but the ones close enough for my husband to commute are way out of our price range. One day.


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