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Friday, January 10, 2014

Individual Updates

Behind the scenes in the McLean house, January 2014:

Jackson/Lincoln have been saying "help" and "ducks", respectively. Jackson still loves to color and will say "more" in sign language, Lincoln still loves to build and play with dirt, and gets mad at me when I ask him to sign "more".  We've attended 3 short speech therapy sessions thus far. They are not fans, and I'm not sold it's making much of any difference right now. If any extra money presents itself we would consider putting them in a 2 year old class twice a week, just to see if a new environment would get them talking more. Facebook allows me a glimpse into other two year old development, as friends post videos of their 2 year olds and even one year olds speaking and communicating more than my boys do. Facebook also shows me pics of beautiful homes being purchased and built, splendid vacations and cocktails, updates on everyone's exercise successes, and lots of puppies I want to adopt but really shouldn't.  Facebook is my frenemy.  I am still learning the lesson of contentedness.
Back to the twins...they are the cutest thing this side of the railroad tracks, and I am still amazed every time I see them together that they both grew inside me at the same time, and came out so beautifully healthy and strong. It's hard to believe they've already been in our family for over 2 years.  Lincoln has shown consistent resistance to the morning nap as of late, so we shifted both boys to a lunchtime nap instead, finally saying goodbye to our afternoon nap. I'm sad they are moving out of that schedule because an afternoon quiet time gave me a perfectly calm opportunity to start dinner and straighten up the house before Mr. McLean came home.

Juliette still goes to dance class once a week and loves it. She is showing quick progress with reading recently. We took her to see the Nutcracker last month and she whispered in my ear during the first act, "How old do you have to be to be in this?" We'd love to find a theater production for her to participate in soon. She talks to my belly and comes up with new name possibilities each day for number 5.  I never knew how much I'd appreciate her girly tendencies, until now when I'm faced with a bright future of dirt and worms in raising 4 boys. Her unique private school experience will probably end after this year. She is in a prek class with only 4 other preschoolers, but the school combines grade levels at times, so the Kindergarten class joins hers for a few hours each day, adding another 4 kids who are 6 years old going on 7.  Three year olds are also welcome in her class, if they're potty trained, and Juliette told me that a new boy started in her class this week who is 2. I know Juliette is thriving anyway, but it irks me that she's not getting a traditional prek experience because there are so many different levels needing specific attention.  I guess I'm still holding on to the dreamy experience that Luke had in PreK while at the Key West Preschool Co-op. We've given Juliette and Luke a small chore list to be completed before dinner each day, and although the jobs are small, it's helping me a lot. Luke cleans and straightens the bathroom, puts all of his school items away, and makes his bed. Juliette cleans up the living room rug and makes her bed. (She also helps me throughout the day with small assignments, but she enjoys them.) Lately I've been explaining more about my sorority experience to her, and am happy to see visions of kites dancing above her head. She likes the idea of a having few thousand sisters, and me becoming one of them.

Luke is signed up for baseball and attended his first cub scout meeting in vero last week. He's excited about both. Proud of him for taking high level AR tests last week on classic Wizard of Oz books we read together as a family, and he passed with high scores! We just started Tik-Tok of Oz, which is the 8th novel in the series by L. Frank Baum, written in 1915. I am so happy that he and Juliette can enjoy these books as much as I do.
Luke is so sweet and sensitive, and I miss him for the 7 hours he's gone each day for 2nd grade.  At home, he would play his DS or LittleBigPlanet on the playstation all day if we let him, so we are careful to limit his time with those things. He would also read all day if he had all the books he wanted at his disposal. We are having to bribe him to try and practice riding his bike, he is not a fan of falling or failing. He wants to take martial arts classes, which I've expertly avoided thus far. I'd rather us spend that money on swimming lessons, which seems much more practical to me. But if he presses, we will reconsider. I cannot consider everything Juliette is interested in doing, because she has mentioned cheerleading teams, gymnastics classes, tball, soccer, theater, and swimming. She wants piano lessons, singing lessons, and a flute.

I am watching my belly grow, and grow. I am 25 weeks and am as round as a beach ball already. I believe I will have to work harder than ever to build up some of these ab muscles that have been stretched to the max in my baby baking experience. This baby boy is moving around all the time kicking and squirming. April will be here before we know it. We have not thought about names yet, we have no baby equipment left after I so wisely gave it all away last year, and I am quickly growing out of my wardrobe, but I'm not worried. Provisions always come when needed.  I look around at our larger than normal family with crayons and animal crackers crushed on the floor, rice flying across the dinner table, dishes piled high after having just done a load, laundry baskets overflowing,  and have mixed feelings that range from "I am so beyond blessed" to "I am so beyond crazy".
 I keep the option of homeschooling in my mind because this community has a great support system in place for it.  I'm asking questions about it here and there, wondering if it's something I'm called to do for my kids, finding homeschool pros and quizzing them on how this actually works in a big family.  I don't enjoy the idea of it right now, but I don't know what the future holds, so I'm telling myself to be willing to be open to the possibility.
I started and finished Francine Rivers' "A Scarlet Thread" in two days this week, I was so thirsty for a good book! It was a fun read because anyone who grew up on the Oregon Trail computer game could appreciate the journal entries strewn throughout the novel,  kept by a women going through the trial of the trail, death by rattlesnake, broken ribs, bears, dysentery, no more candles, no more water, Indian attacks, etc. Good times, good times.
I just started my first Beth Moore book and hope to finish it this week as well. I'm participating in a bible study for mothers and have been to one meeting, where I met about 17 other moms who I know I will be blessed by in the months ahead as we share with each other the joys and pains and hopefully wisdom of motherhood. I know attending this study will be a highlight in my week.  I'm also looking forward to church choir starting up again after having had a couple weeks off, and also starting a Sunday School class with Ryan now that the twins are able to stay awake in the morning without needing their nap right at 11am.
  I'm happy to have had my mom in town for the last 2 weeks, even though she has been reserved as Brandi's personal assistant since Brandi can't drive for a couple weeks after having Nathan. I've only seen her a few times, but my turn of having her to myself will come in April! Thankful for her and her willingness to be so helpful.

Ryan is quite the company man these days, going in early and leaving later than he ever did on key West time. He's learning a lot and enjoying tackling new challenges. Sometimes I hear him getting out of bed extra early to get a quick jog in before another crazy day overtakes him. I love him for always coming home smiling, happy to see me, happy to see the kids, jumping right into the mix, wrestling with kids on the carpet, leading them outdoors to kick a soccer ball or shoot some nerf guns while I finish dinner. He will help Juliette waltz in her reenactment of Beauty and the Beast, or toss a toddler in the air to keep him happy.  He'll ask how everyone's day was, while spooning food into the twins' mouths.  He'll bath the twins and do the dishes before I know what happened. This big happy family just doesn't work without participation and love like that. 
He's working on the ford fairlane in his "free time" and is close to getting her on the road for a test run.  One vehicle for our family can be tough, but if he got the Fairlane running it would give us more flexibility with our schedules.

Health and happiness have followed us into 2014, and giving thanks comes easily right now.   In the next installment of the Mediocre Mom Blog, I hope to announce a language explosion from the twins, a son who can ride his bike, a daughter debuting in her first show, a continuing healthy pregnancy, and a fixed Fairlane.


  1. Love this Danielle! Can I just say, you are my personal hero! What an amazing mom & wife you are! My 7 yo can't ride his bike without training wheels yet, either, and you just made me feel ok with that, since before I was feeling like a total failure for not being able to teach him how yet. :) Glad to see all is well in your world and congrats on #5!

  2. Exactly why I'm excited about this bible study, the more I talk to other moms the more I realize I'm not the only one! Good luck with bicycle practice...I'm thinking an incentive is in order, like for every 1/2 hour in bike practice, he can have some sort of gift, treat, or time on his favorite gaming system. If that doesn't work, we'll break out the whip. :)
    Thanks for sharing Gayle! TLAM.

  3. I understand what you mean about Facebook. As the parent of a talkative two-year-old, I'll share with you what I (or other mothers) don't put on Facebook: (1) He hasn't slept through the night in over a week, and generally winds up in our bed even though we are aware that this is a giant mistake. And we have no idea why. (2) The proprietor of our local coffee shop says that several parents say the only vegetables their kids will eat are in his house quiche and his broccoli onion corn muffin. Leo loves the quiche; we have it every week. (3) The video of Leo and his 2nd birthday cupcake opens with him crying like I just took his teddy bear away, because I wouldn't let him burn himself with a candle.

  4. Thanks Karen. Keep those kind of updates coming.