After four amazing years in France, our family made the big move back to the United States this summer. It still amazes me that we pulled it off - the sheer number of tasks that needed to be accomplished was mind-boggling. In March, Kevin accepted a position with the Montessori School of Raleigh (North Carolina) as principal of the new high school that is being built. After that, it was full speed ahead.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! There are many different kinds of fathers, and I feel so lucky to be married to one of the best. Kevin has more patience than I will ever have, and there is no one I would rather have beside me on this parenting journey. When I fell in love with him, he was a single dad to Bea, and I couldn't help but admire what an amazing father he was. In the years since then, I am continuously in awe of everything that he juggles and the way that he is able to stay calm in any circumstance. In can't be easy living with three strong minded women, but he handles it beautifully. No matter what crazy things pop up in our lives, he is the rock that we all lean on. Now we have Ian, and through all the sleepless nights and the trials of the newborn phase, I have felt so fortunate that he is the one by my side. I'm really glad there is a day that we celebrate fathers, so I can tell the world what an incredible father my husband is to our children!
One of the great things about France is the school vacation schedule. The French believe in following the "rhythm" of the year, which mean that kids have a two week break every six weeks. This means that they have a fall break, a Christmas break, a "ski" break, and a spring break. They don't get out of school until the end of June, but a shorter summer means that less learning is lost from year to year. Unfortunately, the American school (where Kevin teaches and Serena is a student) only takes one of the weeks in the fall and one of the weeks in February, so they can finish the year mid-June. But, hey - it's still a break every 6-7 weeks, which is pretty great! So, for the week off this February, we decided to stay in Paris and pretend to be tourists (it IS the top tourist destination in the world). A visit to the Louvre is a "must-do" if you visit Paris. Bonus: the French give priority admission to people with disabilities, pregnant women and people with babies. Thank you, Ian, for letting us skip the line! It was actually funny, because I had him in the Boba wrap instead of the stroller. The sign showing who gets priority has a picture of a mom with a stroller, and I think that's what the guards are used to, so they were very confused. They didn't know if they should let us skip the line, since we didn't have a stroller. I was like "hello?...BABY." So, if you're visiting Paris while pregnant or with a baby, DON'T wait in long lines...go right to the front.
I love Easter time, with all the pastel colors, the themes of new life and fresh starts, and the promise of spring. I must admit, we haven't really created any new traditions for our kids - we've stuck with the tried and true. I set up the cookie decorating, egg dying, Easter baskets and egg hunt just the same as my mom did it when I was a kid, and I love seeing my kids carrying on the traditions. We always leave the baskets and eggs (both hard-boiled and plastic) out the night before, and in the morning the baskets are filled, and the eggs are all hidden. The girls are getting a little too old (and too cool) to be really excited for all of it, but they play along. And now we get to start all over again with Ian! Holidays really are so much more fun with kids.
I just realized that I haven't posted anything in over a month. What can I say? Life is busy around here. It's hard to believe it's spring already! There are flowers in our yard, and the days are getting longer. It's amazing how fast time passes...right around this time last year, we found out that I was pregnant. Now I can't imagine life without little Ian. We're very lucky that the girls are so independent and that Ian is such a sweet, happy baby...it makes things a lot easier! As we head into spring, I took a look back at the end of winter. February can be a tough month, when everyone is tired of the gloomy days and longing for spring. Still, there are always opportunities for fun. Below are some pictures of a few things that helped brighten up our winter days.
Moving from America to France with two preteen girls, two dogs and a cat was an incredible adventure. After four years living just outside of Paris, the Family McLean headed back to the U.S. (minus the cat, but with a new baby boy). Four years later, we're leaving Raleigh, NC, and heading to Egypt (with another little boy in tow...)