August 31: Away from my children

I am on the east coast on a work trip, so this daily journal will be brief. At a high level, I think some separation is good when it comes to my work trips – it almost is win/win for me and hubby since I get a break, he gets to be in the driver seat, and the kids get to experience him as a full fledged provider and I get the sweet reunions with my little ones. I think the travel poses a problem if it becomes unpredictable, too long of a duration, too frequent, or if the trip carries along with it slot of stress. I can happily say that this trip is a good one. I am also fortunate to catch up with some friends while I’m here.

My morning consisted of room service and a long hot shower. I got ready quickly and my walk to the office was across the street. Not too bad.

I spent all day working with a colleague to transition her responsibilities. I do not think the job will be difficult. I could make more of it if I want to. I could probably also twist it into more of a sales role, and also work from home. But deep down inside I know that these are just “tweaks” to my situation – not the major change that I envisioned or was driving towards. It is unclear if I could do these new duties on a reduced workload basis -say at 50% or 60%. So I don’t know what to do. I will need to probe on this topic with my colleague tomorrow. I want/need more time with my children.

I met friends at their house and I fell in love with the work they did with their yard. Their house is wonderful. Their neighborhood is awesome – they are right down the street in walking distance to the town square with tons of restaurants and bars. We walked to dinner. I loved the feel of the air. The sound of the crickets. The tree lined streets with old homes. The sense of community. I feel homesick on so many levels now that it’s hard for me to describe. Missing my children, and longing for a life that feels so out of reach. I feel at home out here but my house and my family are so far away – on the wrong coast.

We had a great dinner and it was great to catch up with them. However I’m feeling so confused now and just want to lay down to sleep. I feel so misplaced and am trying so hard to find my way back. I’m still not there yet but the hard part is not knowing how far or near I am or if I’ll ever get there….. Work, family, relationships, community. What I do know though is that I do have some control now over the job so I need to focus on that and see if there is something that could work while still allowing me to achieve a better semblance of living day to day with a much better quality of life for me and my children.

That will be my goal for tomorrow – to see what may be possible.

Til tomorrow,

– Mama K

August 30: Taking a short trip away for work

Today is the 2nd day of the new Kindergarten and pre-school; and it is also a day when I will be leaving for a business trip. So again, this is a bit of an unusual day for us – we are out of our normal routine and I think it will take a week or so to adjust to the timing, new drop off routine (three drop-offs!!!!) and have the kids settled into their new worlds.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red winds up in our room at 6:30 AM crying about something but we can’t figure out what the issue was. I ask her if she wants to come in bed with us for 10 minutes or so but she refuses. She then holds my hand, hugs my arm, and eventually lays down on the floor next to our bed with my finger in her hand.
  • Hubby jumps in shower at 6:40 AM. I get up about 10 minutes later. I did not have a good night sleep so I feel a bit wobbly.
  • The twins are up (actually they were up since 6:30 AM, busy “talking” with each other). I decide to go and get them. They are so amazingly wonderful right now – I mean the intensity of who they are is at maximum right now. We are at full fledged “toddlerdom” with both of them. They are like little people now with their wants and desires, but they just can’t communicate it just yet. So EVERYTHING we say they understand – the choices we give them, the discipline, the teachings, EVERYTHING. It is such a wonderful yet strange stage. I remember thinking when I was pregnant with twin that THIS was the stage that frightened me most. I could not imagine going through the toddler years and associated tantrums with TWO individuals. Well, we are in it now. And it is wonderful yet nerve-wracking at the same time.
  • The twins come hopping into our room along with Red, and I diaper both of them. I love this time with them. Hugging them in the morning, telling them that I missed them and that I love them, tickling their bellies, etc.
  • Big Bro walks in next so the whole family is in our (big) bathroom. The kids start to play the game of blowing “fart” sounds into the Twins bellies. Everyone is laughing. And the toddlers are also trying to do those same sounds but without the bellies against their lips. It is so cute and entertaining.
  • Hubby starts to show Twin Crazy, Twin Husky, and Red pictures of them that he recently put up in our room. One is a picture of them in the bathtub. Then both Twins decide they want to take a bath NOW!!! They run over to the bathtub and demanded “in”. Then they start to cry, in unison. I hear Hubby telling them that it isn’t time for a bath yet. (refer to Toddler comment, above).
  • We head downstairs and it is chocolate Tuesday. So Red and Big Bro are at the counter loving life. Twins are walking around eating bananas and cereal. Twin Crazy is even saying “nana” over and over again. They are both getting so good with their words. We all encourage them with this.
  • Big Bro is so excited about his Kindergarten that he is completely dressed, finished eating, has his shoes on, and is trying to get in the van at 7:30 (about 30 minutes too early). What a difference a day makes. I am so happy that he is so excited and anxious about getting to his new school.
  • Red is excited about the extra clothes we need to pack for her. She picks out shirts and pants that she likes, and also A LOT of underwear since she had a minor accident yesterday. We also have to bring a blanket (the first one we picked up smelled like urine thanks to Twin Crazy so we had to put that one in the hamper) for her naptime and some sunscreen that is NOT spray. So Red and I gather all of these things along with her lunch and pack them in a bag. She is excited.
  • I make some instant coffee. I am still unshowered.
  • OK! Time to go! All kids are in the car; I bring a bag with diapers and twin shoes. And also gather all the lunchboxes and extra bags for everyone.
  • 1st drop off: Twins. They are dropped off quickly but I linger a bit since I will be flying today and away from them for several days. I give them lots of hugs and kisses. The daycare provider is used to these kinds of trips from me and used to my reactions to the kids when I am about to leave. She is patient with us as a family.
  • 2nd drop off: Big bro at Kindergarten. The only problem here is that we cannot drop him off before 8:10 AM. So I think we will need to adjust our routine once Hubby and I are BOTH commuting to the city. We park the mini-van and the four of us drop Big Bro off. In the mornings the kids play in the playground until 8:10 and then the classroom lines form. Big Bro gets in his line and seems a little anxious but he holds it together (I think). The teacher also says that he was wonderful yesterday. He was just upset the first part of the morning but once she gave him the clipboard as her “helper” he was fine. Whew!
  • I track down the after-care people and wrote an authorization for an alternative pick up person for Big-Bro. They close at 6 PM and it will be impossible for Hubby to make that time. We arranged for the mother of one of Big Bro’s friends (also in the same after care) to also take Big Bro with her at pick up. Hubby will pick up Big Bro at their house at the end of the working day.
  • Red and I drop off Hubby at the Ferry station. Hubby gives me a huge hug goodbye. I need that from him. I later tell him that from the plane before I take off.   Red wants to wait in the parking lot until she sees Hubby get on the ferry.
  • 3rd kid drop off: Red. We go in together and set her stuff up in her room. She talks about her clothes. We forgot her jacket from yesterday so now she has two there. We laugh about that together. I help her put her lunch on the lunch shelf. We see that they have set up “potatoe heads” and also these strange peg pieces. She gravitates to the peg pieces. She starts collecting all of the orange ones and starts to connect them. The teacher says that yesterday she was very organized about her colors and she was the only kid that started to separate the pieces into their different colors – the teacher thought that was interesting. I think it’s very aligned with her need to be “particular” about things. Her blankets need to be laid out perfectly for her to sleep, her animals/dolls need to be in the right position at the foot of her bed, her jackets need to be stacked the right way on her bedpost. She is our little perfectionist but yet so simple, so spunky, so playful, and so “off the cuff” in so many other ways. She is a very interesting child.
  • I head home, park the minivan in the parking lot for Hubby. I walk home from there. Feeling happy that the kids are happy but yet wishing that we were experiencing these “new things” in a different place. I different city. I less expensive city. I am so disappointed about this. I know in my heart that we can give more to ourselves and our family elsewhere. It is so hard to feel like you are stuck. At least the kids are happy I think to myself.
  • At home I call for a cab pickup. I drink coffee and eat breakfast. I check email. I run upstairs to shower. I pack. I do all of this in 30 minutes. I hope I didn’t forget anything.
  • I leave my house for the taxi which will take me to the airport, to a city on the east coast so I can work with colleagues there. I will be gone until Thursday night. I miss my children already.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I check email before leaving the house
  • I talk to our east coast office in-transit to the airport. There is something waiting for me that I need to address before I get on the flight
  • I go to the gate and check email. I send off materials that were requested of me.
  • I am now on the plane after having some food and a glass of wine. I’m looking forward to some time away, but also need to feel and smell my kids. I feel so different without them. I don’t know if I am a better or worse person without them. I feel more like a “normal” person, but yet I also feel so empty. I feel like I’m missing something. It’s a constant feeling like I’m missing one of my shoes, or that I forgot to pack something important. But I know that’s not the case. I want to smell Twin Husky’s hair and listen to his growl tonight. I want to see Twin Crazy’s smile and hear her cackle and reprimand her for spitting her milk down her face. I want to hear of Red’s day at school, and hear about her choices and how she explains her thought process now and says “maybe” a lot as she is thinking out loud. I want to give a high-five to Big Bro for another successful day at Kindergarten. I want to tell him how brave he is and how proud I am of him. And how I’m so happy to be his mom.
  • So this is what I’m thinking of at the moment. I’m getting farther and farther away from them with each passing minute on this airplane. And it is so wonderful to know that they are happy. That they have their own little lives and are so different from each other. I am so amazed at how we created this family. And I am so happy that I received that huge hug from Hubby before he left for his ferry.    Although I will miss the kids a break will be good.  I can sit and eat a dinner and focus on myself.  I can sleep.  I can shower and throw the towels all over the place.  I’m looking forward to that.

That’s all for today. I’ll post this once I get settled at the hotel. And then either go out to dinner or hit a hot-tub (or both).

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: Excercising with your kids

I recently came across the below article that I thought was extremely interesting and relevant for our group – it provides tricks and hints to keep your kids active, versus letting them get sucked into TV, video games and other butt numbing activities.   Big Bro is five and he is already pressuring us a lot more than I thought he would about using computers and watching TV.   We are probably more strict in our household when it comes to these things.   We do not have games on our phones and we limit “movie nights” to Friday nights only.   Our kids are allowed to pick either computer OR a movie on Saturday and Sunday mornings when Hubby and I are still slumbering (the kids know that mommy and daddy do NOT get out of our beds until 8 AM on weekends).

I’m sure that this is a struggle that all families have — things have changed a lot since we were kids.  There are a lot more “sitting” activities to compete with now – the below may give you some ideas on how to limit this and get your kids MOVING….   and of course I want to poll the group at the end of the article….

Fit as a Family

Did you know that kids are more physically active when a parent encourages and supports that interest?

Parental support boosts children’s positive attitude toward exercise as well as their interest in organized sports. And when you participate in free-time physical activity with your child, you increase his or her enjoyment of unstructured fitness fun. Try these ideas for playing and being active together:

  • Take a family bike ride or walk. Find nearby trails, tracks or safe routes for all ages in your group. On weekends, when you have more time, plan rides or walks at sites farther from home to keep up interest.
  • Reduce the time your kids spend inactive—watching TV and DVDs, playing computer games, even at the movies. Substitute active entertainments such as swimming, bowling, going to the roller or ice rink, visiting the zoo.
  • Play games outside with your kids—everything from hopscotch and jump rope to hide-and-seek, basketball or badminton. Don’t worry about what the neighbors will think.
  • Play physically active games indoors with your kids. Treasure hunts, dancing, hacky sack, ping pong, even yoga can keep the family moving when the weather makes staying inside necessary.
  • Consider getting a family membership at the local community center. These facilities give you opportunities for several kinds of play and often have special parent-child activity sessions.
  • If you belong to a health club or gym, find out if your adolescent or teenager is eligible to join. Then you can exercise side-by-side on various types of equipment. Be sure to have a trainer show your child how to use the machines and set up an appropriate workout program for him or her.

Source:  Healthy Woman E-Newsletter, August 2011

So I’d like to hear from the group about:

Thank you so much for your participation!

– Mama K

August 29: The first days of school

The weekend with my father was wonderful – it was filled with playground visits and preparation for back-to-school.  We got all the “necessary” gear to make Big Bro’s first day of Kindergarten and Red’s first day of pre-school successful – new lunch boxes, backpacks, sneakers….   We also went to a birthday party yesterday and all four kids had a blast.    The parents still don’t know how we’re doing it, and to be honest, I don’t know how we’re doing it either…

Highlights of our Morning and Commute:

Again, because of the first days of Kindergarten and pre-school, this morning was very unusual:

  • Wake up at 6:30 so I can enroll Big Bro in an “after care” program since Kindergarten ends at 11:30.   Leave it to us to wait until the last-minute.   I also have to look for Red’s immunization records so we could hand in her completed application form for pre-school (again, last-minute).
  • I want to get to “after care” at 7 AM since we were concerned spots would fill up.   As I start to leave, Red is already walking downstairs, after gotten dressed by herself in her first day of pre-school clothes that she picked out by herself the night before.   She said she wants to come with me.
  • We get to the “after care” and they tell us that there are spaces, but they needed more families to sign up before hiring a teacher.   So we are on the waiting list and nothing is confirmed for us for today.  SHIT!!!!  Now what are we going to do?  Good thing I’m working from home today.  I might have to cancel my business trip this week.
  • At home, Big Bro is eating a special “chocolate bagel” since he is nervous for his first day.  I guess Hubby feels bad and is trying to help him through this.
  • Red gets ready for oatmeal.
  • Twins are walking around talking and playing with books and eating.
  • I pack Red’s lunch; Hubby packs for Big Bro
  • Red and I pack her bag with some extra clothes and sunscreen, and some small toys.  She is ready and organizing all of her stuff.  So cute.   She asks for a pony-tail so we go into the bathroom to wet and comb her hair back.  She is gorgeous.
Red packing for her first day of pre-school

Red packing for her first day of pre-school

  • OK!!! Time to go!!!!!
  • First drop off:   Twins are dropped off very quickly.  No problems.
  • 2nd Drop off:  Big Bro is acting very nervous about school.  There are people everywhere.  It really is over-whelming even for us.   Me, Hubby, and Red are there during Big Bro’s drop off.   We find his name by his hook and hung his jacket and backpack there.  His lunch goes on the above shelf.  Inside, his spot is near a friend from pre-school (thank goodness).  We play with play dough that is provided at his seat.   He is very clingy.  This is going to be rough.  As we start to leave he runs after us – we go up to the teacher and mention that Tyler is VERY shy.   She asks him if he could be her helper.   He agrees.  My heart aches.  We take a few (but not many) pictures but honestly it breaks my heart to think back on the morning.  He is so painfully shy.
Big Bro being very nervous on his first day of Kindergarten

Big Bro is very nervous on his 1st day of Kindergarten -- look at how he's sucking in his lips

  • We drop Hubby off at the Ferry
  • 3rd Kid drop off:   The front desk is very welcoming since they know Red through Big Bro.  I drop off all the paperwork and sign the (BIG) check.   We go to her new room and she is a bit cautious.  I help her find her name on her cubby and put her things away.  We try to do “pegs” which was the activity set up but she is not that interested.   We go for a walk around the room so she can soak it in.  Most of the kids there already know each other from the earlier classroom and she is the “new kid” but the people there are so nice and she is so spunky that I’m not worried about her.   We wind up at the pegs, she becomes occupied, and I hug and kiss her goodbye.  She looks down engrossed in the pegs and ignores me as I leave.  This is always how she was at the older daycare center – she had her routine.  Sit down at the activity for the morning and don’t say goodbye to us…. She is so sassy.  I think she’ll be OK.  From what I know, she did not shed a tear.
Red is READY for pre-school

Red is READY for pre-school - no tears at drop off

  • I then go back to after-care to sign up Big Bro.  There was a misunderstanding and they called us back.  They will take him starting today.  The problem is that they close at 6 PM which is impossible ffor us to do if we are taking the ferry.  If I work from home it will be OK, but days I work in the city I will just have to take the earliest ferry home so I can pick him up in time.
  • I am home now, trying to work.  It has been an emotional day today but I held it together.  Hopefully big Bro is doing OK.  I worry about him.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I set myself up in the living room; answer emails since I was off on Friday and there were a bunch in there.
  • I start to organize meetings for the Best Practices discussions as a result of our last project.  Hopefully we can turn these into business development meetings and identify other opportunities for consulting work at these other organizations.
  • I organize sales outreach for some of our firm forums
  • I go out for lunch – sushi, head to Trader Joe’s for food for the week – Hubby will be on his own with the kids and I want to do my part so that he has what he needs.   While at Trader Joe’s I buy little mini ice-cream cones so we can celebrate the first days of school together.
  • I do more sales outreach for a separate forum our firm is leading.
  • I put a chicken in the oven.
  • I pick up Hubby early at the Ferry station.  We are going together to pick up all of our kids
  • I will need to pack up for my trip but I’ll do that tonight after the kids are in bed.

Dinner and Commute:

  • I pick Hubby up from the Ferry at 5  PM.  We go to pick up Red first.  We arrive and she, as expected, is a sassy little diva.  She stands there and tries to hold back a smile.  We try to talk to her about her day but she is silent.  She wants to hold each of our hands.   We see her seat with her name tag and she looks so cute.  She had a pee-pee accident today (small one) and had to change underwear.  She tells us about this and said we have to bring in lots of underwear for her at school.  We also need to bring in a blanket for her naps.  She had a great day.   After leaving the classroom and walking through the lobby, she holds each of our hands and her smile is literally ear to ear.  She can’t hold it back.  She is so happy.  I make a BIG fuss about the first day of school and how proud of her I am. She skips and laughs and giggles and says “stop it  mommy!!!”.   I just want to squeeze her.  She is leaping with happiness.
  • 2nd Stop:   Big bro.  The three of us pick him up at the after-care center.  He is playing in the back with some cars and some boys.  He stands up and gives me a HUGE hug.  He is proud when he says to me “Mommy… I only cried for a little bit and that was only in the morning.”.  I tell him how proud of him I am, how I can’t wait to hear about his first day, and how it was probably scary for him  but hopefully he had fun.
  • Outside, they are both playing like monkeys on the bars leading up to the building.  The reunion of the two is so sweet.  They are both laughing and giggling.   I am on top of the world.
  • 3rd stop was the Twins.  On the way over there Red says that we didn’t pack any spoons for her applesauce.  I say that I was sorry that I forgot but did they have some at school?   She says no and started to smile.  Big Bro says, “Yes there are.  There are spoons at school.”.   The twin pick up was easy shmeasy.   It seemed like the daycare provider missed Red?  She goes over to the car and mades a big deal about Red’s first day of school.
  • At home, the chicken is cooking.  The twins are running around.  The big kids are well behaved.   Big Bro is unpacking his backpack and somehow he goes outside and takes off his jeans.   I’m not sure why he did that.   He grabs his new pencils and starts to sharpen them.  He plans to vacuum up the wood shavings with the dustbuster.
  • We look at their lunchboxes.   Both ate only ½ their sandwiches but ate all the fruit and applesauce.  Seemed OK.
  • OK!!!  Time to eat!   The chicken was cooking while we were doing pick ups; I sliced bread and heated up some veggies.  It was very easy.
  • I am shocked and amazed at how much food Big Bro and Red eat.  Red eats so much we ran out of chicken and she shoves all the plates aside and starts picking at the carcass.   I’ve never seen that before of a 3 year old.  Both kids eat their vegetables.  I am astounded.
  • We receive a call from our mother’s helper – she can’t make it because her car broke down but I pleaded with her to find an alternate car for tomorrow and Wednesday night since I will be out of town and Hubby will be on his own.
  • Twin Crazy is in a strange mood – I think full fledge toddler moods are with us now.  She knows what she wants, and she wants to do everything her big brother and sister does.  Tonight she is obsessed with using a kid knife to put butter on bread.   She is so upset she eventually pukes all over Hubby.  At this point it is a signal to me to put her down for a “cat nap”.
  • She goes down, but angrily.  I grab Twin Husky, who is in an excellent mood, and ask him to take a catnap too (otherwise Twin Crazy would never go down).  They stay there for about 20 minutes; Twin Crazy crying, Twin Husky talking.
  • I bring out Trader Joe’s ice-cream cones as a celebration.  The older kids get quiet so fast.
  • I bring down the Twins for their ice-cream.  And tell them that we have this treat because Red and Big Bro did so good on their first days of school.
  • After ice-cream we have chocolate all over the kitchen so we make a  game out of finding the chocolate and me picking it up
  • OK!!! TIME FOR MILK!!! TIME TO GO UPSTAIRS!!!!   All kids start their shuffle upstairs.  It is amazing to watch.
  • I change the Twins in their room and Big Bro and Red are there.  I love having all four around me at the same time.   Kids are playing in the closet and I am changing each kid.  We read books, made fart sounds in each others bellies.   Twin Crazy is spitting milk all over the place.  Twin Husky is just a barrel full of laughs.  Twin Husky looks like he is doing exercises – reaching up to the sky and then touching his toes, over and over again.  Big Bro and I are laughing.  They are all in such a great mood.
  • I grab Twin Husky and kiss him and tell him that I feel like I didn’t spend a lot of time with him today.  Then Big Bro says that I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with him either.  My heart breaks.  But I say “sure I did’ — we spent a lot of time together at your school and talking about your day.”  “Yes but I didn’t get ‘mommy time‘”.  Oh how I sunk.  It’s not even the amount of quality time I can give them… but it’s also about ALONE time.  I need to get better at this if I possibly can.  This is important to him.
  • Twins go down without a hitch – Twin Crazy acts anxious from her crib and I think of the toothbrush – I bring her one and she smiles at me and she quickly uses it, I then give it to Twin Husky, and they are fine.
  • Teeth, pee-pee, and books are so easy with the older kids tonight.  I read a few pages of each book for them.  Red changes  her mind about pajamas, and about how much the window should be open.
  • I look into each of their eyes and tell them how much I love them and how happy I am today about them… about listening to their bodies and eating so well and also for going through a scary but fun day.   I ask them if it is OK if I kiss them in the middle of the night while they are sleeping and Big Bro agrees  but Red says “No” in a sassy little way with a laugh.  I make a face at her as I close the door to their giggles.

I feel like today was so amazing – I just couldn’t get enough of the kids.   I was so proud of them and so happy — for the people that they are becoming.  For the way all of them get along and laugh the way they do.   For the way they respond to me and run into my arms and laugh and squeal and show their emotions.   For the way they try to make me laugh.   I just can’t get enough.   I am addicted to these children.  At least these ages.  I know this will change.  They will grow older and not need me in this way as much.   I hopefully will be ready for that when that day comes — but for now, I want to soak this in.  Every kiss, every hug, every laugh, even the emotional outbursts.  So much feeling – so much passion with everything they do.   I love it.  Days like this are too good to put into words.

Tomorrow I will be leaving them for a business trip so this was a great way to ease into the trip.   I will be with them again tomorrow AM but will leave for the airport after all the drop offs.  Hubby will be on his own tomorrow night, all day Wednesday, and also Thursday AM.  Wish him luck.

Til tomorrow –

–          Mama K

Staying Sane: Being a great mom and worker – don’t expect perfection

Part of being a person is fulfilling on the different roles that you play – whether friend, daughter, sister, wife, worker, mother. When we are little and life is simpler, there really is no juggling act. When we enter the workforce the juggling act is between friends, family and work is still manageable – especially if you become friends with your peers at work.   It becomes harder when we become girlfriends – at that point we do juggle between our friends, family and partners.  Time starts to feel stretched.   You get married, and there are tradeoffs.  Then a child comes along.   Even though this evolution of roles occurs over time, nothing can prepare you for the juggling act when a child arrives (I know, all of you know this!).  When you have to go back to work, it can feel like your world is caving in.

Simply stated, it is almost impossible to fulfill expectations of being a good friend, family member, partner, worker, and mother, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  You may try, but you will exhaust and deplete yourself in the process.   The best advice I could give ANYONE is simply to expect less than perfection and be OK with whatever it is you can manage to do.  I’m going to be writing a series of posts related to “staying sane” but this one is focused on the simple mental acceptance that you cannot do it all – the notion of a PERFECT working mother who seemingly can do it all and continue to excel at work and have a spotless home with charming children just does not exist.   Your expectations need to change.  You need to think about what is important and focus on that. Your way of living will forever be changed when kids come along and you need to re-adjust your expectations of how you work, how you live in your house, the relationships with your friends, and even the relationship with your partner.

I did NOT want to return to work after each pregnancy. I LOVED each of my maternity leaves and loved being home with my babies. I went on walks, went on outings, and really had fun with them — I loved teaching them things and singing, dancing — pointing at trees and talking about flowers and looking at the sky at airplanes.  In my experience (remember I did this three times) being pregnant, having maternity leave with your child, and then returning back to work felt like I had two left feet. IT WAS NOT EASY.  IT STILL IS NOT EASY.  What should have felt normal for me at work felt very, very different.

After Big Bro:

After Big bro was 4 months was counting down the weeks to the end of maternity leave. I did not want it to end. the day finally came. I bravely put on a smile and said to myself that I could get through it. It’s just another challenge that I will have to overcome. It was the hardest day of my life. It felt so unnatural. I think the hardest thing a woman can be expected to do is return to work after the birth of a child, especially her first.   I had been with my son for 9 months when he was in utero and then another 4 months for maternity leave and now somehow I wound up in a situation without him. It felt un-natural. Pumping at work felt unnatural. Counting the hours and feeling impatient on conference calls felt un-natural. Things that would normally get me riled up at work seemed all of a sudden insignificant. What a metamorphosis occurred.

First day after maternity leave with Big Bro as a baby

First day after maternity leave with Big Bro as a baby

For that first year, I tried to do it all.  And I tried my best. I wanted it ALL. I remember all too clearly taking Big Bro in as a baby in a stroller on my way to work to drop him off at daycare. I remember some mornings doing this EXTREMELY early — taking him out of his crib and leaving before Hubby even woke up, so I could be there for an 8:00 AM conference call. I remember the exhaustion of working all day on client commitments then running out the door to pick up Big Bro from daycare and walking home – to then figure out dinner and maybe play with him for 30 minutes before he went to sleep. Then working on my computer some more. I also remember when client commitments were heating up, I would wake up in the middle of the night and work on PowerPoint presentations. I remember Big Bro not sleeping through the night until he was 8 months old. I remember trying to keep up with my peers at work and feeling like a duck above water that was calm cool and collected but under that water my feet were scurrying like you wouldn’t believe. I remember the days went into each other and there was no relief. I remember wanting to do more at work the way I used to but it was just soooooo damn hard to do the basic requirements of the job. I suddenly went from an A player to a C player overnight. I had VERY a hard time dealing with this.

I also remember trying to merge the worlds of “work” and “family” and failing miserably.  I tried. But it just didn’t work for me. I remember days picking up Big Bro from daycare and taking him up to my office since I still had some work to do.  This poor kid was cranky and hungry – but I would get irritated and actually get annoyed at him for wanting to touch my computer keyboard especially if I was trying to send an email to a client.  Thinking back on those days disturbs and disgusts me.

This went on for one year – and after that time, I tried to assess where I was and where I wanted to be. I made a BIG decision – I changed my attitude, big time.   I no longer thought of my work as a “career”, but as “job” instead.   I just stopped expecting so much of myself.   I went in, did my work, and got out.  I stopped trying to over-achieve.  I did the bare minimum and just tried to get myself through the damned day/week/month.  Since I did not want to become less of a mother, this was really the only acceptable solution at the time.  I still worked 5 days a week, and still did the travel when required, but I learned to say “NO” to extra projects, I learned to turn away work / proposals if I thought I was too busy (even if I knew that others were busier than myself). I knew that this strategy would have consequences but I made that decision for myself.  But, as soon as I made that decision to step back and look at this as a “job”, I suddenly became happier. This may not have been the right approach, but I thought it worked for me at the time (thinking back, I should have been brave enough to make a much bigger change — to a less demanding job – but that is in hindsight).
After Red:
After Red was born, I again loved being with her. My little girl. I enjoyed learning of her little squeaks and sounds that were so different as a girl compared to a boy. She was my little baby red-head and she got lots of attention even as a bald baby. I again went through the routine of the end of maternity leave and return to work. The pressure was big at that time. Now we had two kids in daycare and a HUGE expense. At that time I was making considerably more money than Hubby so there was no option for me but to return to work full-time. I ached inside.   And the second time was NOT any easier.   I had a double stroller and would get both kids out and walk to work, do the drop off and head to work.

My first day back from maternity leave with Red as a baby

My first day back from maternity leave with Red as a baby

My morning commute with Big Bro and Red

My morning commute with Big Bro and Red

After the Twins:
The twins swere born after 2.5 months of bed rest. I also took 5 months off for maternity leave with them. Mothering baby twins was quite different than “singletons” and I again enjoyed and felt lucky to have the time with them. I remember when I returned to work after the twins, I just felt drained. The feeling of going back did not get easier.  And the pressure was mounting with FOUR kids in daycare.  It felt so illogical to me. Why am I doing this? I have these four beautiful children and why can’t I spend time at home with them? Doesn’t having FOUR justify the ability for me to spend more time at home with them????   WHY AM I DOING THIS????  THIS IS SO UNFAIR!!!!

My first day back from maternity leave with the Twins

My first day back from maternity leave with the Twins

But life is not always fair.  And sometimes families do not have all the choices they may wish over whether one can stay home with the children – even if you do have four of them!

Trade-offs.  Be careful what you choose to sacrifice. For example, walk away from dirty laundry but still keep that commitment for date nights. Let dirty dishes sit so you can have a conversation with your child. Walk over the dirty clothes and piles of crap in your house to make room to do a puzzle with your child.   You can’t do everything well all the time.  Don’t expect this of yourself.  Your house will be messy.  Be OK with that.  You won’t be able to make home-made meals all the time.  Don’t worry – your kids won’t hold it against you.  It’s OK if you drop your kids off at daycare with no make up — other mothers have been there too.   Don’t judge yourself.   My house usually looks like a disaster and ask my hubby – I don’t clean ANYTHING and it is a chore just to keep the up with the clothes (that someone else washes and folds for us).  I came across a great description of a one mother’s feelings and emotions on this topic – and the conclusion she came to was that she be appreciating the fact that she was doing the best she could:  How to be a working parent

This is easier said than done.  Even now at times I have those nights when I am extremely stressed at work when I quickly lose patience with the kids because I know the amount of work that I still need to do.  I hate that feeling of my kids getting in the way of my work. As such a devoted mother, I still cannot believe that I still am able to let those feelings creep into my psyche.   The juggling act between work and being a mother is still haunting me.  I still have not figured out the right answer for me and my family and am still working through this process. I think this tension between work and motherhood will always exist for me and be a source of stress.  But at least now I recognize that I can’t do it all and it is OK.  That is the biggest learning for me and the first step to becoming happier with who I am as a mother and who I am as a colleague.

So I’m going to sign off now and go upstairs and kiss all four of my kids – we have a big day tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be the first day of Kindergarten for Big Bro, and the first day of a new Pre-school for Red.   I decided to work from home tomorrow because of these big milestones.   And I’ll try to make a good dinner while at home to help celebrate with the family.

Thanks for reading –

– Mama K

August 26: Taking the day off with Pop-Pop and my son

I’m doing things a bit differently today. I’m taking a vacation day. For several reasons. Big Bro’s daycare is closed today, and my dad is in town. My dad booked a flight out here when I was having troubles a week or so ago. I obviously appreciate that and also the time we get to spend together with Big Bro. It is a special weekend because Monday is Big Bro’s first day of Kindergarten, and it is Red’s first day of pre-school.

Red's last day at home daycare

Red's last day at home daycare

So I’ll keep my note brief since I am on vacation after all. We spent this morning waiting for Pop-Pop to arrive – he showed up while Big Bro and I were outside waiting. After lots of hugs, kisses, tickling, and giggling, we:

  • went to lunch at a diner and sat at the counter
  • got haircuts (for mommy and Big Bro).
Big Bro reconnecting with PopPop
Big Bro reconnecting with Pop-Pop
Handsome boy

Handsome boy, almost a "kindergartener"

  • got some ice-cream

Big Bro with chocolate goodness

  • went to Big Bro’s new school to look at the classrooms. We found his room with his chair and his folder, crayons, and name tag. It was so exciting. It was great having Pop-Pop there.
Checking out Big Bro's new school

Checking out Big Bro's new school

Now we are resting, getting ready for a ferry ride to see Hubby – all of us are going to go on the ferry – four kids, me, and Pop-Pop.  His relationship with our kids is so natural and playful. He talks to them like they’re people. He actually has conversations with them. Yes, he teases them too. But there are always laughs, and hugs, and tickles when he is around.  Our kids light up when they hear that Pop-Pop is coming. Months can pass by since we live across coasts, but it doesn’t matter. As soon as he’s here the kids light up and it’s like the relationships have not skipped a beat. It’s really cute to watch – not at all forced or contrived.  It’s all very, very natural with him.

So I’m going to sign off now since I’m on vacation. Have a great weekend everyone. Wish me luck on Monday morning with my eldest in Kindergarten and Red in pre-school.  I think they are both ready but I may not be!!!!   🙂  Monday will be a big day of changes for us as a family. I’m looking forward to all the new beginnings.

Til Monday –
– Mama K

August 25: Special day working at home with my son

Big Bro’s pre-school is closed today and tomorrow – so I am working from home today and will take tomorrow off. Big Bro and I are right now sitting together on the couch to talk about the highlights of the morning.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • All kids woke up at the same time. Red wanted her hair wet but with no pony-tail. Twins were a bit cranky. I think it’s because they maybe didn’t eat enough last night? Maybe they are both very hungry. Big Bro went into a tantrum because he wanted me to find the toy scoop of “chocolate ice cream”…. NOW. I said I first needed to take a shower, but Big Bro didn’t like that answer. He decided to go back to bed.
  • During my shower Red was putting her hand against the shower glass door and I played the game with her where I meet her had with my own on the other side.   When I got out and got ready, Red wanted to help me with my face lotions.
  • Red and I check on Big Bro. He’s still in bed sulking.
  • While Red and I walk downstairs, we see Twin Crazy moving her body and swaying to the music in the kitchen. She loves music. And she loves to dance. Ever since she was a little baby. When she sees us, she gets embarrassed and runs over to the stairs to greet us with a HUGE hug and kisses.
  • Twin Husky is walking around with a red balloon.
  • I gather clothes, eventually Big Bro comes downstairs. Red requests pink shirt, pink pants, pink underwear, and orange (Halloween) socks.
  • Twin Husky proceeds to throw all the little tiny cereals from the small kid table all over the kitchen floor. We pick them up.
  • TIME TO GO – we drop off Red and Twins. No problems.  Big Bro and I drop off Hubby at the ferry station.
  • Big Bro and I decide to go to the “new school” to look around and see what it’s all about. We peek into the kindergarten classes but they are all locked up. We might go back later today or tomorrow in the afternoon to see if we can walk inside the rooms and get him more comfortable.
  • Now we’re sitting on the couch while I’m typing away on my iPad, and Big Bro is anxious to play puzzles and games. “When is it going to be my turn???”. I’m thinking about what to do today for work, and also what to make for dinner tonight, and also where we can go to lunch together.
Big Bro "working"

Big Bro "working"

I’m looking forward to working at home today with my eldest child, Big Bro.

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • I set up my working space in the living room alongside of Big Bro. I got Big Bro set up with my iPad to play games. I started to work on go-to-market efforts for the partnering opportunity. This did not last long because…
  • He played games for about 45 minutes and then got extremely bored and frustrated and cranky. I decided it was time to put the games away and suggested a movie instead. He whined, I reminded him about him trying harder not to whine, then he whined a little more, then I pulled his toes to make him laugh. I offered a snack. That worked.
  • Big Bro then started to watch “Chicken Little” which is a cute movie with actually some reasonably good music. I was busy with go-to-market stuff so I was having a great time.
  • We went to lunch at 12:30 — right on a golf course. He polished off a huge adult plate of french toast. He can put it away. During lunch we made a list of things he needed to get for kindergarten (lunch bag, haircut) and also a list for Red (lunchbox, hair clips) for her first day at pre-school.
  • On the way home we stopped at the food store to pick up dinner for tonight – a roast, since I have the time.
  • Back at home I asked him to “rest quietly” for 30 minutes. He was doing great, following directions, being quiet, AND THEN HE FELL ASLEEP FOR THREE HOURS.  🙂
  • During this time I got more work done and also started dinner.
  • He’s up now, finishing the movie, while our dinner finishes cooking. We’re going to pick up Red and Twins and then go to the ferry station to pick up Hubby.

It was a great working day. I loved spending time with Big Bro.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I threw the cauliflower on top of the potatoes, on top of the roast and then Big Bro and I jumped in the mini-van to get the rest of the kids.
  • Pick up with Red and Twins went well. Twin Husky was still scrambling into the front seat to drive but I caught him this time. He grabbed my keys, started playing with the buttons, and then the alarm went off. 🙂
  • Off to ferry station to watch the boat come in and get hubby. We looked at flags, saw dogs, and talked about the boat coming in and the people coming off the boat. There’s daddy!!!
  • At home we quickly have dinner thrown on the table. Twins are very hungry. All actually ate tonight, even Red. “Listen to your body. If you are still hungry, then keep eating.” Hubby and I split one beer.
  • Red gets changed by herself into PJs because she is hot.
  • Twin Husky and Twin Crazy both want to spoon the meat juice on our plates. So cute.
  • After dinner Big Bro continued his Chicken Little movie.
  • Twins and Red were playing kitchen with me and Hubby.
  • Then we all move to living room to watch movie. All of us were on the couch together which was really cute.
  • Red requested peaches and all kids went nuts. They ate peaches like there was no tomorrow.
  • Twin Crazy and Red then started acting silly. Downward dog positions, downward dog with leg in air, then Twin Husky started it too.
My silly "downward dogs"

My silly "downward dogs"

  • Then lots of running around – this is what sugar does to my kids.
  • Diaper changes – Twin Crazy was fun, kissed her toes and feet and got her in PJs. Twin Husky was atrocious. It was a very, very, bad diaper. So bad I had to get him naked and throw the diaper OUTSIDE in the garbage bin. I got him in the laundry room and washed him down. He didn’t even cry – he had to know that it was terrible.
  • All kids are up – Twin Husky and Twin Crazy “brush” their teeth on stools. We read, sing songs, kiss. Good night!!
Our big little kids brushing by themselves

Our big little kids brushing by themselves

  • Big Bro and Red decide they want their nails trimmed. “Oh my goodness they are so long they’re almost singing!!! Look at THIS guy!!!” I always make a big deal about their nails. I have to make a game out of it. Then I start a new game by saying how they have “stinky toes”. Both were giggling uncontrollably with that.

Everyone is in bed and I had an amazing day. TRULY AMAZING. Working from home really makes a difference – and the injection of kid time today was unusual but I needed it. I think Big Bro did too – he’s anxious about Kindergarten. My dad is coming in for the weekend and he’ll be here tomorrow in the late AM. Big Bro is excited and Red is thrilled. I’m looking forward to his short visit.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Recipe: Marinated Flank Steak

This recipe was submitted by Mama N from Austin TX.    Sounds yummy, quick and easy.  Thank you!!!    It looks like there is some marinade time so you may want to start this in the morning or maybe the night before – or save for a weekend night when you have the luxury of time….  

“A wonderful flank steak on the grill that friends just love! It doesn’t take long to grill. This also works great when sliced and used for fajitas.” 

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak


1.  In a medium bowl, combine the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic and ground black pepper. Mix together well. Place meat in a glass dish and pour marinade over meat, turning meat to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours.

2.  Preheat an outdoor grill for medium high heat and lightly oil grate.

3.  Grill meat over medium high heat for 10 minutes per side or to desired doneness.


Prep time:  10 min

Cook time:  20 min

Printed from Allrecipes, Submitted by Connie DiPianta

August 24: Happy kids, unsure Mommy

I had a great day with the kids; work is still in flux which is causing my head to spin a bit…

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Kids were waking up and in good moods; I did not hear any tantrums.
  • While getting ready, I hear a little voice “Mommy, can you help me with this?” It was Red, and she wanted to wear her new halter dress again. She needed help with the halter part and the button. “Of course sweetie. This part is hard. There’s a button all the way in the back and that would be really hard for you to do.”
  • She requested a pony-tail so I tried the best I could with what I had to work with. Hubby calls it her “Steven Segal” look.
  • She helped me fetch my lotions and creams – I used to do make up at home but now I wait for that at work. She likes to help me get the items out of the drawer and give to me.
  • I’m picking out my clothes and looking for leggings. Red asks me to wear a dress that way both of us could “match”. I honor her request and then have to “dry-shave” my legs since I was not preparing to wear a dress today.
  • I check in Big Bro’s room and it does not look like he’s in bed, but he is. He’s all curled up in a ball. I ask him if he wants to get dressed upstairs, or downstairs. Downstairs it is. OK bud, time to wake up. Let’s go downstairs now. I bring his pile of clothes down, along with Red.
  • Twins are running around having fun eating berries and cereal, and playing. Big kids get set up at the counter for breakfast.
  • I keep helping Twin Crazy with her banana during the morning. She needs help with the peel.
  • Diaper change with Twin Husky was so cute. He’s really talking now and loving the feet and toe games I play with him. And the tickling the belly and all the kisses.
  • Twin Crazy did not want me for her diaper change – she kept requesting Hubby so he honored that request. I still went over there to kiss her face and her nose and do a quick tickle. Now she’s laughing at me again. I’m not sure why she was mad at me earlier.
  • Vitamins and kisses. I like this routine.
  • OK! Time to go!!! Big kids get their shoes on. I pack up shoes for the Twins. All are in car and ready to go. I’m still scurrying around getting instant coffee, taking my vitamins, finding my shoes, finding my keys.
  • First drop off with Red and Twins was great. Red loves her dress. We told her daycare that this will be her last week. She will start pre-school on Monday.
  • 2nd drop off: Big Bro’s last day of pre-school. There are older kids in there with “DS” games. I ask them if they have kick-ball games on the DS. Or hide and seek. Or kick the can. Or climb a dirt pile. No. They have Sponge Bob goo or doom or something and lots with Star Wars. I ask Big Bro if his friends have DS toys and he says some. I say, “Hmmmmm. If we get you a DS you’ll have 15 minutes on the DS and then you have to go outside and run for 45 min. OK?” He laughed.

Now we’re on the ferry, and I’m still thinking about the new job opportunity; Hubby is giving advice on staging of my communications with the Firm, first telling them I’m interested but saying I need to think through how I want it to be structured. Over the weekend thinking about it and then next week talking about my needs to work from home more often, etc. I think this is a good plan and makes sense. Improves my negotiating power.

It is sunny but a bit chilly. I did not bring a jacket and now I’m wearing a skirt because of Red. I hope I don’t freeze my ass of today. I’m going to be working today a bit differently since I will have a “new lens” on. I will probably need to think about a trip to our office on the East Coast to work with the person who is leaving. I’ll need to get a serious brain dump from her… she’s been doing this for 11 years and has a lot of institutional knowledge that will be difficult to transfer to me.

I’m hopeful again today. Hubby and I are working together on thinking through this new opportunity and he’s also reading books I’ve bought on financial planning for the family. I feel like we starting to head on the right track together.

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • Had a conference call to discuss go to market sales tool for the partnering initiative
  • Went immediately into another conference call to discuss our sales pipeline for consulting services for our offices in the U.S. I suggested adding three “unqualified” opportunities for big relationships in our city; I would like to own the sales go-to-market efforts and coordinate with our team to drive sales within these companies.
  • Talked off-the-cuff with one of the Directors about my potential change in role and the different path this would take me at the firm. He believes that this path would be an easier way to promotion to Director compared to the alternative…. long hours, unpredictable travel, multiple projects, individual project sales, etc. that is typically required to make Director. I trust his opinion and feel better about my prospects at the company; I can actually get excited about this new role since I would be given leeway to do things differently – this would be the part that would excite me. But I am confusing myself – just last week I was about to demand reduced work week by hour and also a day off; so this is really a whip-lash decision for me.
  • Went to a great lunch; I’m trying to splurge every now and then – it was outrageous. The sit-down fancy cloth napkin kind of lunch.
  • Worked on the Best Practices document as a wrap up for our last project
  • Organized a trip to our East Coast office for next week — will need to be there physically to best transfer knowledge and learn for preparation of my new role.

Now I’m on the ferry – I will be solo tonight with the Mother’s Helper; I’m thinking about a VERY kid-friendly dinner tonight since I am still stuffed. Pasta! I’m looking forward to picking up the kids. It is Big Bro’s last day of pre-school so we’re entering a monumental milestone for him. I hope he transitions smoothly. I think he’ll do great (maybe me not so much so).

Dinner and Bedtime:


  • Picked up Big Bro and took pictures of him near his favorite sections of his classroom. They had face-painting today; he had a spider on his face
Big Bro's last day at pre-school

Big Bro's last day at pre-school

  • Picked up Red and Twins; Twin Husky climbed up by himself into the van and then crawled into the front of the van, behind the wheel, pretending to drive and pushing all the buttons. It was hard to get him out of the front seat.
  • At home we played with balloons. Each kid had one and some extra; all started popping. Big Bro was upset that he didn’t get the color he wanted; Red caved in and gave him her balloon and asked for a different color. He later admitted that he’s trying harder not to have these breakdowns. And he knows that Red gives in to his tantrums because she doesn’t want to hear him cry.
  • Big Bro was in the bathroom doing his business; then Red had to go so she went on her little potty; Twins were extremely interested in all of this so everyone was in the bathroom looking at poop and pee. There was a lot of saying and waving “bye bye” and Twin Crazy was insistent on flushing the toilet multiple times. I think she’s ready to start potty training.
  • Made mac-n-cheese; Big Bro and Red helped stir the powder cheese and milk; all kids ate well
  • I started PJs and milk early so there was time to play; the four of them played with kitchen food and they were serving each other food and me too; it was really cute. We all cleaned up and then headed upstairs.
  • Big Bro took the Spider off of his face as the other kids explored my make up drawers.
  • All kids then wanted to brush teeth together. Twin Crazy really goes nuts over brushing teeth. She shared a stool with Red. Then Twin Husky shared a stool with Red.
  • Books, sing songs with Twins. Kisses goodnight.
  • Big Bro and Red played with the story cards – went to bed very quickly.
  • Big Bro admits that he’s scared about Kindergarten. I may try to take him to the school either tomorrow or Friday so that he can look around and feel more comfortable before his first day.

I had a reasonably good day; the kids were great; work was still unclear and I’m not sure if this will be adding to my stress or containing it… I guess there’s only one way to find out….

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

August 23: Big steps. For Twin Husky and a new job opportunity for me

The sun is out and it is Chocolate Tuesday!

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I head downstairs to find some clothes and I heard the twins running around and talking – for some reason I thought Red and Big Bro were still in bed, but when I entered the kitchen I saw the both of them on their stools at the counter looking and acting like perfect, angelic children, waiting patiently for their Nutella chocolate breakfasts. It was too funny. They were so cute and quiet just sitting there on their best behavior.
  • While I was getting ready upstairs, I was visited by Twin Husky. He was pointing a lot, helped me close the closet door, pointed to his diaper and then pointed to the toilet. So I asked him if he wanted to try the potty. I got him naked and we sat there for a while but nothing happened. It was a good try though and I am so proud of their interest in this topic especially at 18 months old. It will be a HUGE milestone for our family when we are rid of diapers for good.
  • I gathered clothes for Big Bro and Red. By this time Twin Crazy was upstairs too investigating what we were doing.
  • As we head downstairs Twin Husky is very adamant about going downstairs by himself. He holds onto the banister and his latest thing is lifting his right leg up REAL high and saying “down” with each step. It is so cute. I took a video.
  • Twin Crazy still is too scared to go down by herself, so I carried her.
  • Diaper change with Twin Crazy included me kissing her feet and pretending to eat her toes. She loves that.
  • Red wanted to do gymnastics flips on me. This is her new thing lately. I hold her hands, she scrambles up my legs, and then I flip her over upside down “like a monkey”. She’ll do it over and over if I let her. Then Twin Crazy wanted to do it. She grabbed my hands, did not walk up, but did put her head backwards so I knew she wanted to flip. I picked her up and manually flipped her a few times too. My two little gymnastics girls. So cute.
  • Big Bro gathered his toys for school today. Tomorrow will be his last day at pre-school and he is excited about spending time with his friend Ryan. He’s bringing in toys that Ryan has not seen before.
  • Vitamins — both Red and Big Bro followed the new “rule” of giving mommy kisses for each vitamin. I love it. And they giggle.
  • Red was having an issue with her hair. She wanted it wet but couldn’t decide if she wanted a pony-tail or not. I suggested putting her hair band in her jacket pocket if she wants a pony-tail later.
  • OK time to go!!!! Toddlers in car seats. I packed the bag with shoes. Big Bro grabbed his shoes as did Red. We are off.
  • Drop off #1 went well. Kisses to all.
  • Drop off #2 also went well. I helped Big Bro put his hair down – again mentioning how his hair has “personality” and we just need the back down and it looks cool to have the front scruffy. His old teacher was back after the summer and she mentioned how tall Big Bro looks even after only 3 months. He looks so mature for his age and I think he will be very tall.

So now we’re on the ferry. It is sunny and beautiful. People are on the ferry with their blackberries. I’m a bit down today – last night we saw the movie called “Inside Job” about the recklessness resulting in the financial crisis and the complete lack of oversight and compensation structures that lead the country (and the ripple effect to the world) to where we are now. It also depicted the strong ties of the financial leaders to government – and claims how leaders under Obama’s administration are actually the same folks who played a part in the demise of the markets. It really was very disturbing – There obviously is another side to the story but it really makes you feel helpless; people’s lives are affected by all of this mess and you don’t know who to trust.

It is sunny. And I am hopeful that we will be able to make change for the benefit of our family.

Today at work I will work on sales effort for the partnering opportunity; and likely sales efforts for our meeting in October. I don’t think it will be a busy day for me.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • Found out of a key loss within our company (a great colleague took a job elsewhere) which presents an opportunity for me professionally. I need to think through things a bit since this would not be the “step back” strategy I originally was hoping for. But it might allow me more flexibility to work from home most of the time. I need to mull it over and talk to Hubby. I’m emotionally exhausted from thinking about this and the implications to my job, my work/life balance, time with the kids, etc. It will need travel in the Fall and Spring, but this travel would only be 1 week at a time and extremely predictable. I spoke to Hubby… he thinks it will be an amazing role for me especially if I can negotiate working from home most of the time (which I think I can). Plus it will get me to the next level (Director) quicker since I’ll be able to meet my sales targets more consistently, if all goes well. If I am able to strike a deal where I can work from home, theoretically this job can be done anywhere in the country… which is very appealing to me since I strongly believe our family needs a change to a more affordable city.
  • I read a lot about the earthquake on the East Coast – what a surprise! Earthquakes are something I fear daily out here on the West Coast; I guess the issue with today’s earthquake is that it was shallow so it was widely felt along the coast. I think it scared a lot of people.
  • Organized a go-to-market meeting with our partner for a big firm initiative. I think this project is going to be fun.
  • We celebrated summer birthdays and I ate three cupcakes.

The ferry ride home is wonderful today; it is hot and sunny. We are thinking about pizza for dinner tonight.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Pick up with Big Bro went great; tomorrow is his last day of pre-school. 😦
  • We order a pizza on the way to Pick up #2
  • Pick up with Red was a surprise… daycare provider bought her a cute halter dress and had her hair in a pony-tail. She looks so grown up
  • Not much to do except play today until the pizza comes!
  • Twin Crazy pulls out books off of shelf and then we put them back together
  • Red wants to do flips non-stop where she walks up your legs and flips backwards
  • Big Bro and I play horse, following Twin Crazy and saying how we’re going to tickle her
  • Big Bro and I play peek-a-boo scare with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. The twins are outside in the yard playing with strollers and toy shopping carts and Big Bro and I are “roaring” at them like lions to scare them. They are giggling.
  • Twin Husky and Twin Crazy keep falling down everywhere. I’m wondering if they’re pants are fitting OK or if they are just very rambunctious now running back and forth
  • Pizza was great; all ate well
  • Afterwards I was playing physical with all kids; acting like a lion, pretending to eat their legs, tickling them, and Big Bro and Red balancing on my body and flipping over. They were so tired, winded, and wound up when they went upstairs.
  • Twins were easy to put to bed; Big Bro and Red told “stories” with their new story cards. Red wanted to change her PJs and that’s when I lost my patience and left the room. “We already did PJs…. I’m done with that…. if you want to change them, please get changed by yourself. I’m done… goodnight sweeties….”

Today was a draining day – more decisions to make – life is still in motion I just never expected this opportunity to present itself today.

Until tomorrow –

– Mama K

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