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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Our First Fall in Vero Beach

I must apologize to my faithful two followers of this blog, I haven't kept up with my monthly posts, and I am sorry. But lucky for the masses that are just dying to hear from me, I had it on my mind to ignore the laundry and dishes tonight (not so different from every other night) and instead light some Marshmallow Fireside candles from Bath & Body, hit up Michael Buble's Holiday station on Pandora, and post.

Rolling into the fall has been lovely. I have already experienced some beautiful weather here in Vero, been able to cut the ac off and let the breezes blow through the house, simply dreamy. We are in a good routine now, Luke and Juliette just finished up their soccer season, Juliette takes a dance class once a week around the corner, and Luke is ready to plug into a scouting group now that soccer is done. They also get to go to a cool church class on Wednesday nights which they seem to really look forward to, and I have started going to church choir practice, and for those who know me well can verify, participating in making music is a highlight in my life. Ryan was helping to coach Luke's soccer team, but will most likely now move into the scouting dad again, and probably start baseball with Luke soon.

Jackson and Lincoln are still in the family, in fact I post more pictures of them than anything else these days, which my followers already know. They are just as lovable as ever, showing more personality differences and more strange similarities than probably most fraternal twins, but their delay in speech has finally got this laidback mom concerned. We recently took them to be evaluated by a speech therapist. They are now 26 months, and they've been evaluated to be about a year delayed in speech. They recommended hourly therapy, twice a week, to get them up to speed, since presently they don't use 3 words between them to communicate. It's a lot of grunting, pulling on my clothes, etc, to get what they want. In our defense, we try to sit with them, read with them, point to pictures and repeat sounds and words, but they are just uninterested, and Lincoln even seems to get angry when we sit and practice anything. They do probably watch too many Baby Einstein dvds, so we've cut some tv time out to give them more time for play and communication with us. Part of me wants to just say they're boys, they're twins, of COURSE they're going to be delayed. But the other part of me says get them help, make them practice, and don't ignore their delays. We'll start slowly with one 1/2 hour therapy each week, (that's all our insurance will cover at the moment) but I am hoping to replicate the therapy sessions at home each day and help jumpstart what I anticipate will soon be a language explosion. I've read a few articles about how to reinforce speech growth at home and I gotta say, it ain't rocket science. In fact it's exactly what all good parents do naturally, just perhaps in more concentrated doses, and with more determination.

Family of Oz, All Hallow's Eve
At first I felt lucky that they didn't talk. For heaven's sake, how could I handle listening to anyone besides Juliette all day? But it's time to stop calling them babies, and start expecting more from these munchkins. We know not to worry about such things, but we can still be proactive from this point forward.


This season has also brought along the exciting news of a fifth baby for our family! I do smile thinking about how 7 years ago Ryan and I could never have guessed how quickly and wonderfully our family would expand, and even giggle a little thinking of what Ryan's face would have looked like if God whispered to him that we would have five children before he turned 31.  I imagine the color would drain from his face and he would be silent, (his typical MO) but to be fair, who would know what to do with that sort of prophetic knowledge?  But thankfully God knows what we can handle, and when we can handle it. I'm constantly amazed at Ryan's composure for each new curveball thrown at him, and I know I'm a better mother and person because of his contagious serenity.  I am so proud of this guy I landed, (perhaps with some divine intervention, but nevertheless I was involved at some level) I will never stop bragging about him and thanking God for giving him to me to be my partner and lover and forever friend. He makes me smile when I want to and when I don't want to. He makes me laugh when I want to cry. And when it is easy for me to find negatives, he's right there to point out the positives.  No pregnancy puns intended.


I know five kids is a lot, for many it's just out of the question.  And we know money won't be piling up around us, sacrifices will be made for things we need instead of things we want, and yet we both know the relationships and experiences we'll give our children will be unique in ways that make up for any material thing they may lack.  I know this is right, five is right.  Being #2 of 6 myself, I can see it working beautifully. Both of our fathers are #2 of 5, so we know what it looks like.
I feel so excited and blessed and at peace with this pregnancy, it may surpass all the others in joy and fulfillment. 

So we look forward to the holidays coming up soon, where we're able to see family and friends we have missed for many months, decorate our little palace with cozy holiday cheer, and watch this new baby bring my belly back to that familiar shape I've come to really embrace. As always, we appreciate your prayers for our family, individually and collectively, to help us focus on what really matters, and to be bright lights for others who may not know what that even means.

Somewhat yours, faithfully His, and still in mediocrity,
Danielle

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Career

It comes to my attention that I don't really have the drive to write on the blog as much these days. It may be a seasonal slump, or perhaps I was using the blog as a sort of hobby for myself--journaling my emotions and thoughts as they came, writing when bored. But I'm so distracted with establishing our new lives here in Vero that I have forgotten to document some of those very exciting and conflicting emotions. I am, of course, missing the familiarity of things in Key West. Building new relationships takes time and effort, and it was just an easy part of our lives before...

But overall, it's just peace, excitement, even unbelief that we're actually on our own, in our own space. I am so blessed, I am careful to give God credit for His blessings, and yet, like most humans, I can find myself feeling insecure about who I am, and exactly what I'm giving back. The following post is a little glimpse into my mind and heart concerning my role and my "career", which is defined by the Oxford Dictionary of American English as: "a job or profession for which you are trained and which you do for a long time, often with the chance to move to a higher position." I don't know about the last part, there aren't too many chances of advancement in this position, unless adding children to your family would be the advancement, the more children you have the more responsibility. Or is advancing as a mother called becoming a grandmother? :)



End of summer is an exciting time of year for most people. Lots of teachers and admins are going back to work after a brief break for summer, people are preplanning their tailgating parties, students, moms and dads, are prepping to start new schedules, meet new teachers, join new classes, and so on. 
In Greek life, this is the time of year when thousands of potential new members go through what was previously known as "rush", but now formally called "recruitment". Young women in college, for a variety of reasons, are checking out their sorority options, looking for the right fit.  It is emotionally draining on all ends. This time of year, specifically this week, brings back many memories of my own collegiate sorority experience.  The excitement and stress all culminate on Bid Day, where each new sorority girl opens her envelope to see which chapter has offered her a bid to join. Then those same stressed out girls literally RUN down Greek row, to embrace their new sisters. It is amusing that they really do jump on and hug each other as though they'd been separated at birth. As a new sister, you're just ecstatic for it to be over, and for the most part, the girls get in to a chapter they really liked. As a vet sister, you are also thrilled that the stressful recruitment week is over, but you are also aware that these new sisters will be the future of your chapter, and you are ready to welcome the newbies on to the team, always hoping for new leaders, new intellects, and new friendships.

So when I see on Facebook that recruitment has started across the country, I am sincerely excited for all of them. These young women will become leaders in their colleges, in their communities, in their cities, in our government, and in the world. But I also remind myself that those leaders will look very different, depending on their decisions in the future. Some will be leaders at the podium, in the courtroom, in the classroom, in the hospitals, in the boardroom. But others, like myself, will become leaders in their home and family without a paid job on the side. This type of leader doesn't have the same air of significance and success attached as that of an employed leader, but still some choose it.

At a sisterhood event while in college, my sorority went to see a movie together. It was called Mona Lisa Smile, and I smile at the foreshadowing of that event. We, college women, were watching a movie about college women, struggling to break the molds of what womanhood meant, all of us unsure of what the future would hold, but determined to be trailblazers and mold-breakers. The movie was set in the 1950's, a time when women were expected to fill certain roles, with little room to advance in an occupation without criticism on all sides. But there was a brilliant scene in which the perspective was changed, and another alternative image of what true, unprejudiced choice looked like.  The scene is below, as Katherine Watson (Julia Roberts), the progressive teacher at the all-girls college, tries desperately near the end of the movie to convince the promising student Joan(Julia Stiles) to attend law school after graduation, instead of only getting married and starting a family.

 
Katherine Watson:  "There are seven law schools within 45 minutes of Philadelphia. You can study and get dinner on the table by 5:00.
Joan Brandwyn: It's too late.
Katherine Watson: No, some of them accept late admissions! Now, I was upset at first, I can tell you that. When Tommy came to me at the dance and told me he was accepted to Penn, I thought, 'Oh God, her fate is sealed! She's worked so hard, how can she throw it all away?' But then I realized you won't have to! You can bake your cake and eat it too! It's just wonderful!
Joan Brandwyn: We're married. We eloped over the weekend. Turned out he was petrified of a big ceremony, so we did a sort of spur-of-the-moment thing. Very romantic.
[Katherine is stunned]
Joan Brandwyn: It was my choice, not to go. He would have supported it.
Katherine Watson: But you don't have to choose!
Joan Brandwyn: No, I have to. I want a home, I want a family! That's not something I'll sacrifice.
Katherine Watson: No one's asking you to sacrifice that, Joan. I just want you to understand that you can do both.
Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I'll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I'm afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I'd regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I'm doing and it doesn't make me any less smart. This must seem terrible to you.
Katherine Watson: I didn't say that.
Joan Brandwyn: Sure you did. You always do. You stand in class and tell us to look beyond the image, but you don't. To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You're the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want."

Katherine was right. It IS a great sacrifice to be a stay-at-home mom, to be a wife and claim "mother" as a career. For some it is too great. Others simply can't stay home, such as single moms or those with financial burdens too great to carry on one income. I count myself blessed to have the choice.  And I can admit to feelings of squandering my potential in the workforce by staying at home--an ugly feeling of shame sometimes rears its head when I am surrounded by others my age who have already accomplished many things in their fields.  But I love to think of Joan in Mona Lisa's Smile at times like that. The alternative, to go to work, drop our children off at daycare, pick them up at 5:30, rush home to prepare a dinner and then put them to bed,  would be a bigger dose of regret for me.

Joan Brandwyn played by Julia Stiles
Today there aren't as many stay-at-home moms. It is more popular for women to try and do it all-- build a career, and build a home. But simple math says you can't give 100% of yourself everywhere. And when I feel a pang of pity for myself (that my colleagues are all under 7 years old or imaginary, that my intellectual conversations reach their peak at "Mommy where do squirrels go when they die?", that Mr.Clean is my immediate supervisor)  I remind myself of Joan. I know exactly what I'm doing, and it doesn't make me any less smart. I have depth, I am still an intellect, and I have interests beyond myself. And then I finish strong, and say to the mirror, "You is smart, you is kind, you is important."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

McLeans Out

It's happening.
After five years of living in Abuela's house, up to 10 people, after adding three children to our family, God's giving us our next adventure. I am moved to tears as I retell how it came to be.

We've been on and off again looking for a new job opportunity for Ryan all these five years. There were more than a few times when we found a job opening that I thought, "This is it, the timing is right, this is where God wants us."-- but it never worked, and quickly we'd get distracted by our everyday lives to keep the search going.

As the tension of so many adults and children under one roof mounted this past year, we knew we needed to be aggressive about the job hunt this summer, and we were more desperate than ever to have our own space.  Ryan applied to about 7 engineering firms, and we were thrilled to hear back from two of them within a week. Interviews were set up. In one day he interviewed in Orlando and West Palm Beach, and both interviews went wonderfully.

I was already giddy at the thought of moving to either of these cities. But after a week we had yet to get an offer. And so I asked Ryan to do something with me that we rarely do. I asked him to pray with me.

If you know me, you know me to be a Christian, the God-fearing, Christ-loving, church-going, bornagain kind. So you may be surprised to find that we didn't pray together about moving out WAY earlier. I know I prayed about it maybe everyday, but we'd never prayed about it together.  We pray with the kids before bed, but when we're going to bed we typically just pass out before our heads hit the pillow, all the while trying desperately not to wake the twins as we tiptoe into the room and get into bed.  Praying together about this, to be honest, just slipped my mind as I slipped off to sleep.

But in the midst of this interview stuff, I knew it was one area we weren't being faithful in. So one night, before we both fell asleep, I asked Ryan to pray with me.

A couple days later I got a call from my brother-in-law, a band director in Vero Beach, who randomly was talking to a parent of one of his students who happened to be an engineer, and he casually asked at the end of their conversation, "Are you guys by any chance hiring?"
This sweet man says, "Funny you ask, I've been meaning to post an opening in our firm but haven't gotten around to it yet. Why? Do you know an engineer?"
Within a week, Ryan had an interview with this man, and was offered a job in Vero Beach.

So now we're three weeks away from the big exodus, and I'm still humbled by the orchestration of it all.  When we moved into this house we had one child. But God knew #2, #3, and #4 were coming. Maybe He had us stay here for so long because He knew I would've gone crazy with twins in a city without family to lean on. Maybe He had us stay so that the man I met in college could have the rare opportunity to form relationships with so many members of my family--to intimately know my parents and grandparents. Maybe He had us stay because He needed us to learn humility and contentedness, and it took five years. Maybe He had us stay to become more involved at church, to form friendships, and encourage each other and those around us.  I can't see the big picture, but I know there is one. And now that we're on the verge of leaving, I can be totally at peace and grateful for the time we spent here.

I always told God that if He would just make a way for us to have our own place, I would be careful to give Him alllll the glory in making it happen for us.  And He did, and so I am.
I believe we each have a road to travel, each road has its own scenery, its own stumbling blocks, detours, and traffic jams.  My road over the last five years has been bumpy, not the most comfortable, but I can thank God for the scenery along the road, the people He allowed us to share the road with while here in Key West.  And I know the road ahead in Vero Beach will bring new friends, new adventures, new pitfalls, and new speed bumps.  But Ryan and I have driven through some hurricanes down here, and I know we'll be able to handle anything this new path brings. 

Thank you everyone in Key West, for the good times. We'll miss the ease of the island and the interesting lifestyle of living with so many, but God knows we're ready to go. And a word from the wise--you should really bring your desires to God in prayer. If it's in His will for you to have something, He'll make it happen, and His timing is better than ours.

Please be sure to check in for my next blogpost: The Joys and Pains of Living Next to My Older Sister.  :)





Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Someone Bought a House!

My heart yearns for a place of our own. I see homeowner announcements and get so excited with the idea, that could be us someday! But for now, I live with my 4 children, husband, mother, father, sister, abuela, a cat, and a dog. I have my BS in Shared Space, with a masters in Lost Privacy and Sanity.

 I find peace in the car though. I am also not bombarded with everyone else's success in the car. But yesterday I found it quite funny on God's part that He would have me arrive late to drop off Juliette at school, to find her teacher wandering the hall looking for an adult to witness her purchase of a new house--across the country. Her and her husband. Just the two of them.

She was so happy I walked in right then, to come in and witness for her.  I was in the right place at the right time, or the wrong place at the wrong time. Either way, I signed my name, smiled sweetly and said congratulations!
The irony was wonderful. I had to lol and then sniffle back a tear as I got back in the car, to drive back to my home sweet home.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Typical Morning, Not-So-Typical Husband


Lincoln and Jackson are sleeping through the night, for the most part.  They are 19 months and in a size 4 diaper, weighing in at 28lbs. They were at one point recently waking up because they'd pee through their diaper, and that was no fun, changing clothes in the dark trying not to wake up the other guy. Lately we've been doing double diapers, which works like a charm. Also bonus in the morning, I just have to slip the wet one off and the other is already in place.

So they wake up at 6:30ish, usually happy, but thirsty. I change diapers, get them some milk, put them on the carpet, push play on a baby Einstein dvd, and crawl back into bed with the hopes that the world will dissolve and I can go back to sleep for 2 more hours.
This usually works for about 15 minutes.
Ryan is usually gone by 5:30am four days a week, delivering newspapers to local hotels for an extra $50 a day.  In our minds that is our way of demonstrating gazelle intensity, a phrase Dave Ramsey uses to describe the tenacity one needs to elevate oneself out of financial straits.  Actually I guess taking a newspaper job is just Ryan's way of showing gazelle intensity. I haven't found my niche yet.  My blog money hasn't started rolling in.

I text Ryan while he's still out that we need more milk, as usual, since we go through about a gallon per day in this house, and can't seem to get organized enough to buy the right amount to get us through the morning shift.
So after half an hour I muster the strength to respond to the babies pulling on my feet and shouting. Their chorus of yelling/crying follows me as I walk out of the bedroom and into the kitchen, fill an oversized bowl of rice krispies and milk, and enter back into the room. They immediately stop crying and start grunting (Lincoln mostly) when they see the cereal bowl and wait for me to sit Indian style in front of them to share a delicious breakfast of milk and puffed rice, followed by a banana or some scrambled eggs if I get to it. Cereal to start is quite efficient and sufficient, although usually I have to go for a second bowl because I end up eating most of the first bowl myself.

Ryan is home by this point and starts his routine of readying himself and Lukas for the day. Luke and Jbelle are both awake around the same time as the babies, but they can be pacified with some tv and chocolate milk in the living room until we can get to them. Ryan lets Luke finish watching Ben Ten save the universe again so he can take a speedy shower, dash into the room while we're on the floor chowing down and get semi-dressed. If I've done any laundry in the last few days it is a lot easier for him. Sometimes he rummages for a few minutes, hums to himself, asks me if I've seen any of his boxers, I say no, or I say oops, they're in the washing machine, I forgot to put them in the dryer. He does a great job of not making me feel guilty in moments like these.
So after the shower Ryan picks out Luke's clothes, gets him dressed, serves him breakfast, cooks and packs his lunch, oversees the toothbrushing adventure, finds his shoes, readies his backpack, smiling and joking all the while, and without fail, he reminds Luke to give me a kiss before they're out the door.  He takes my multipurpose vehicle (I refrain from calling her a minivan) to drop Luke off at school but then brings it back to the house (so that I have a vehicle throughout the day), and he hops on a bike and rides to work. He sold our little 98' Ford Escort a few months ago (gazelle intensity) and his truck needs some TLC from Ryan before she can run, which takes time that right now just simply does not exist.

In sum, the morning for us all is quite a whirlwind of activity considering there are usually 2-3 other adults trying to get dressed and eat breakfast and be out of the house at the same time, but I do believe Ryan takes the cake for stressful variables.


There are many mornings when I venture out into the kitchen for my cereal bowl to find Ryan just out of the shower, no shoes no shirt no problems, washing a load of dishes to help me get my day off on the right foot, before he eats any breakfast, drinks coffee, reads the paper, or whatever else calm people try to do in the mornings before work. Lots of times I walk into the kitchen after they've left and see Ryan's breakfast only half eaten, his coffee barely touched and getting cold on the table.  I feel a tinge of guilt as I help myself to a third bowl of cereal.


                                   

 
My shift kicks into high gear after 8am, when I start to get myself and Juliette ready for her school drop off in the 3's class. But that's not much to report on.  I just wanted to dedicate this post to catalog what Ryan does for his big little family each morning, to show how helpful he is without me asking, to give a glimpse to others who ask that annoying question when they see I have 4 kids, twins to boot, "How do you do it?!"
I usually just shrug and smile at that question, but the truth is we function as a family in peace and unity because God gave me Ryan as a partner. So three cheers for Ryan, not because I deserve him in my life, but because I desperately need him in my life.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

One Mistake Is All It Takes

I had a scary reminder today as to why I chose Mediocre Mom as my blog name.

Most days, if we don't have time for a walk, I put Juliette and the toddlers into the car to pick up Luke from school at 3pm. We drive the 2 minutes it takes to get there, and I park very illegally in the loading dock area for the cafeteria, because it's right next to Luke's classroom and I can leave the car running and walk up to his classroom door without ever having to take my eyes off of my car or travel more than 10 yards from them.  It's a huge blessing that his classroom is situated in this way--last year I had to unload the stroller and all 3 younger ones because his classroom was deeper inside the school.

I'm getting to the scary reminder...

When we get home I pull the car up right in front of the house, unload baby #1 and older two kids get out on their own. I open the front gate and plop Jackson down in the grass, closing the gate behind me. Older two let themselves into the house.  I don't try to bring baby#1 all the way into the house at this point because A.they prefer to be outside, they cry if I take them straight from the car to the living room without giving them a chance to play in the front yard. and B. bringing baby #1 inside means I am leaving baby#2 in the car by himself longer than I feel good about. It happens, but it freaks me out. So anyway, I put baby #1 into the yard, close the gate behind me, and unbuckle baby #2 from his carseat.

I gave Lincoln a few cheek kisses while I'm unbuckling him because he was so patient, and he's smiling, grabbing the sunglasses off of my face as I walk back toward the gate, and my heart stops.
The gate is wide open.
In the same moment that I notice the gate I do a scan of the yard but he's not there. When I look down the sidewalk I see him, past the neighbor's house and standing on the edge of the sidewalk, about to step onto Virginia St, an unnecessarily busy street about 15 yards from my house.
I scream his name, but he doesn't acknowledge me. My heart is racing, I toss Lincoln into the gate and slam it shut as I take off toward the baby, who has now stepped into the street. in the next 3 seconds I see him walking into the center of the street, I see a woman on the other side of Virginia, trying to get off her bike to get him, and I see a stopped car, that had the driver not been paying attention, would have hit him. Myheart is in my throat as I scoop him into my arms, barely able to slow myself before I make contact with him. I wave a quick thank you to the strangers who may have saved his life, and I walk back to the house, holding him close. He is whining and squirming because I ruined his adventure and am holding him too tightly.  I notice I am barefoot and discover my sandals on the sidewalk that I don't remember kicking off during my sprint. I walk back in to the yard and find Lincoln contenting himself with the wheel of a bicycle, which is where I would have found Jackson if the gate had shut all the way when I put him down in the yard. 
And then the tears come.
I am conscious of my breathing so I don't become hysterical but the tears come anyway, and I stand there, staring at the boys, with my hands covering my mouth and nose to stifle the crying. Even as I am typing I can't stop the tears from welling up again, I can't erase the image of seeing Jackson's little body, standing with his back to me, 15 yards from me, walking into the road, ignoring my voice, too far away to save him if a car came right then. I would have had a front row seat to the worst image I would ever encounter, but it wouldn't have been close enough to do anything about it. I can't stop my mind from imagining what he would have looked like getting hit and killed in front of me.
I could have lost Jackson. I could have witnessed it. I could have ruined my family. I was careless. I didn't deserve to have a chance to pick up and carry him home. 

It's all so real because three nights ago a 2 yr old boy in Key Largo wandered from his house and before his family noticed, he was gone. Hit by a car on US1, in the middle of the night. His mother found his lifeless little body on the side of the road. A hit and run right before midnight. He had managed to unlock the door and he left the house, unbeknownst to his parents.

When I heard about it two days ago, I mindfully squelched the judgemental thoughts about the parental neglect, and I instead let my heart break thinking of losing a child that way, and for that mother.  But I pushed it from my mind right after, because it was too painful to even try to imagine.

And now, as if my mind is broken, I just keep seeing my 1.5 year old walking into that road, about to repeat that horrible tragedy that befell that little baby boy from Key Largo.

I don't care how many times I smile at you and say it isn't so bad, that twins are not as demanding as everyone suspects.  It IS harder. Twins change the rules of parenting and exceptions are made: what was unnacceptable for my singletons suddenly becomes par for the course with the twins.  If I didn't have to go back to get Lincoln out of the car, I never would have left Jackson's side in that moment. I would have noticed that the gate wasn't closed all the way.  I would have seen him pulling it open the moment he did so. I would have at the very least, caught him taking his first 2 steps out of the gate, instead of letting 60 seconds go by before I noticed he was out.
I don't care how capable you think you are, or how careful.  Being the steward of one of God's children is hard, and being the steward of 2 is harder. The challenges and risks increase. Most of the time I feel very in control; competent in my abilities to keep them all safe. But after today I am shaken to the core, I am no different than that mom from Key Largo, except that I was allowed to keep my baby and bring him home alive, and she wasn't.

One mistake and he's gone.

Dear God, forgive me for neglecting to pull the gate closed. Thank you for protecting Jackson. Help me to get this image out of my mind.  And please Father, help that mother in Key Largo to do the impossible--to someday be able to forgive herself. 
Amen.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Twin Skin

Every mom is different, our bodies are different, and we have different experiences with pregnancies, deliveries, and recoveries. But let me just be real and pretend like I'm not blasting this all over the world wide web. After 3 pregnancies, the last with twins, my belly will never be bikini worthy again. At least not without plastic surgery.
Some moms just have to work hard, work out, and it all snaps back into place. But for many of us, the stretch marks and saggy skin are here to stay. After the first two kids, my skin was relatively unchanged, and after some dieting I returned to prepregnancy weight and appearance. But after the twins last year, my skin elasticity gave up on me.

I carried those boys to full term, and they weighed 6lb 9oz and 6lb 5oz. They are beautiful and healthy. I was so proud of all that my body had accomplished, and sort of hoped for the best as I started eating healthy and nursing them. But I've been back to my prepreg weight for almost year, and the skin thing still bothers me.

I've seen worse, and if you want to see what I mean just google '"twinskin"--but fair warning, you might be alarmed by what you see. The term "twinskin" was coined to describe the aftereffects of carrying 2, and I think it's fair to say it's the only complaint I have about having twins. I'll take the double feedings, double tantrums, double cost, double time, double mess, but the doubly damaged skin is hard to handle. And I know other moms out there have had way worse outcomes than damaged skin, so I know this is all relative to what tragedies are in our lives, but in my life, I feel young and beautiful and joyful to be a mom, I just wish my body reflected that.

Cosmetic surgery is the only way Kate Gosselin could return to a normal stomach (granted she carried a lot more baby), and I would be lying if I said I'd never consider it. What an easy quick fix!! Thousands of dollars, yes, but for a lifetime of confidence, and a healthier self-image, and just a short recovery period? Sounds like a good trade-off.
Except I'm a big fan and follower of Christ. And in Philippians 2:3, Paul (another big fan of Christ) says: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."  And how could I justify spending Ryan's money, my children's money, on something that is totally out of vanity? And how could I rationalize a surgery as anything other that what it is? A cosmetic fix. It's an on-the-surface, all-about-me, prideful and vain and narcissistic thing. And I don't condemn others who've had it done. Judging others is not my thing.  For me, I am drawn to the idea, but am ashamed that I feel I need it.

I know other moms can relate, and I hope in sharing my feelings about it, it brings you a sense of community and comfort, in knowing you're not the only mom who carries this "badge of honor" everywhere you go.
And for the well-intentioned, please don't respond with lotion recommendations or exercise suggestions, because it's not like that. And if you're suggesting those things, then clearly you have no idea what twinskin is.

I would post a picture of my belly as other brave twin moms have done on their blogs, but as you may have guessed, I'm not that brave.  And I wouldn't be so audacious to steal an image of twinskin from the web because that's super rude.

With clothes on, no complaints. But when clothes come off, I'm just not a big fan of what I see anymore. And some days are better than others (mentally), but I'd be lying if I said I don't have mini-depressing thoughts occasionally.

So I sign off. My 4 yr old daughter is talking my ear off about Dorothy and munchkin costumes and lullaby leagues and I just can't ignore her adorableness any longer.





Thursday, January 10, 2013

I Want Out (Please)

So many people in this world have less living and personal space than I do. Granted,  I don't personally know any of them, but I've seen pictures of tents in Africa and I know I've got it made in the shade compared to them.
So I am ashamed when I have burning desires to own my own home, to have a McLean kitchen that I can organize, a closet with McLean items only, a living room with pictures on every wall of our lives together. What is wrong with me? Who cares?? So I live with my husband and FOUR children in my GRANDMOTHER's home. So there are 4 other adults who live here besides us, for a grand total of TEN human beings in one house...no big deal! Why can't I get over it????

I'll tell you what I think. I think it's because what I have isn't normal.  Most people when they start families of their own, they have a small space of their own.  Wherever they live, wherever they're growing their family, they have their own space. Even if they rent their own space, it's still a personalized area, a territory they can pee all over and feel proud about. And more and more lately it seems my peers are in the beautiful place in life where they can actually purchase their own space. What a beautiful dream!! And I have genuine joy for them when they do! But I want it so badly for us I could cry. Oh wait. I do cry.

Everyone close to this big family of mine(depending on who's reading this, may be your family too) knows we are blessed, in many ways, by living here at the nuthouse--there's always someone available to watch a baby when I want to run to Winn Dixie or have an impromptu ice cream date with my man. I am not ungrateful for those moments. But I have yet to find a friend who can truly relate to our situation. We live with my Abuela, my mother, my father, and my sister.  I have lived with my husband, JUST my husband, and our kids, for 1 year out of the 6 years we've been married. Dear Lord. I know there are unforseen circumstances where you end up down the road having to house your degenerate sibling for his temporary financial crisis, but don't most people get a little personal time first? As a family unit? Just you and him and your tiny people you made together? Don't most people get that experience?

You know that freecreditreport commercial where the guy sings about having to live in his in-law's basement? Ryan used to lovingly sing that to me when we first moved in here...5 years ago. Now he doesn't sing it. It's just not that funny to us anymore.

I Married My Dreamgirl

When you say your prayers tonight, would you do me a solid and add us to your list? We don't need much. We know how to live in a small space. I just want to someday (soon please God! I know you read my blog) have a space that I can call my own. I am going to buy a McLean doormat tomorrow, because I have faith that we will be able to use it on our own doorstep soon. Thank you. Goodnight.