September 22: A gift with my Twins while working from home

So another day without a daycare provider for the Twins…. another day working from home while multi-tasking with two toddlers.   At least I don’t have any client conference calls scheduled…

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red needs mommy time this AM.  She sees what I’m wearing (blue leggings, white shirt) and she wants to match me.  She heads downstairs for breakfast.
  • I grab clothes for Big Bro and Red.  I try to match her outfit as best I can but it doesn’t match perfectly.  Big Bro is still in bed so I climb in there with him since I know he needs mommy time too.   We talk about the cut on his finger and if it feels better.  It does.  He wants a band-aid for it now.   We spend time together putting a band-aid on his finger.  He seems happy.   I gather his clothes but he is not happy with the shorts selection (they are too long).  We’ll see if there are shorts somewhere downstairs.  I ask for his hand and say that I am doing a “special delivery” of Big Bro to downstairs.  This makes him laugh.  We walk slowly down the stairs together, holding hands, so I can stretch out this time with him.
  • Twins are covered in milk and cereal.   There is milk all over the place.  They are soaked.   They then move on to applesauce.  What a mess.  These kids need to take some serious baths. 
  • Red and Big Bro eat a little.   We have some problems getting changed this AM.  Big Bro REALLY does not like his shorts, and Red completely rejects her outfit I picked out.   So I try another.   She rejects that one too.   She cries for Daddy.
  • Big Bro is on the hunt for a different pair of shorts.  I find one in the living room on top of a stack of clean (I think) clothes.    He rejects those.  Big Bro miraculously finds shorts.   I ask them where he found them and he smiled.   So on the floor of the laundry room, dirty????   “Yeah Mom”.   I just let this one go.   There are some battles that are just not worth fighting for.  He has a smile on his face so that’s good with me.
  • As Hubby is packing lunches he is using applesauce.   Twins see this and start squealing for applesauce.  Twin Crazy eats about 4 bowls of it and Twin Husky doesn’t do too bad either.    Everyone is covered in applesauce.
  • I change Twins’ diapers.   I put on different PJ bottoms for Twin Husky since he is soaked.  I change Twin Crazy’s shirt since she is soaked. 
  • Hubby helps Red.   She is pissed off at me.  
  • 1st drop off:   Big Bro.
  • 2nd drop off:   Hubby at Ferry.
  • 3rd drop off:  Red, with Twins in tow.   Of course they get lots of attention.  The teachers showed me a picture that Red drew of a smiley face.  It was pretty impressive.   The other kids made a lot of scribbles but hers actually looked like a smiley face with a colorful border.  The teachers were proud of her.  I made a big stink about it too.   I asked her if it was OK for me to put in on our refrigerator – and if it was OK for me to leave soon so I could do that for her.   She was grinning from ear to ear.   Melts my heart.

    Red's "Smiley Face"  -- 3 years old

    Red's "Smiley Face" -- 3 years old (notice the orange hair)

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • Pot of coffee, I eat everyone’s leftover breakfast.
  • I play a bit with the Twins.   I then give them a snack as I boot up my computer.   I send some quick emails and organize some meetings.
  • Twins look very tired, especially Twin Husky.   I ask them if its time for an “early nap” and they both run to the stairs.  I thought it was going to be a short one, but they slept for 2 hours!
  • During this time I attended a Webinar, organized some more meetings, and sent out some follow-up emails related to the forums that are coming up.  There are some empty guest speaker spots and I’m hoping to fill them with internal folks which shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Twins wake up at lunchtime.  I make them ground beef, peas, and cheese.   Beef, peas, and cheese.   It rhymes!    So I walk around saying Beef, Peas, and Cheese over and over again until its ready.  They eat well (so do I).   Twin Husky has some problems with forks/spoons but eventually shoves the food in his face.
  • We then play for quite a bit.   It is amazing but I feel like I’m getting to know them better.  How weird.  I am their mother.   For example, all Twin Husky needs to calm down is to be picked up and held softly for 1 minute.  Then he’s fine.   Twin Crazy is definitely the aggressor of the two.  She is spiteful.  She is a trouble-maker.  She will run up to Twin Husky and steal his toys and run away leaving him in the dust, crying.    When I ask her to come back and give him his toy, she listens, but she is definitely the more dominant one of the two, at least for now.   She also likes to invade his space, just for spite.   Just to see him cry.   But then there’s a soft side to her too.   They like to laugh together.  She likes to bring him crackers, his milk.   She is also a caretaker as well.   She is able to drink from a cup (no sippy!).  I didn’t know that about her.  How interesting that I’m seeing these personalities so much clearer now, just because I have more focused time with them.   I’m happy about this yet sad at the same time.

    Twin Crazy can drink from a cup

    Twin Crazy can drink from a cup - this is something I learned today

  • I have a conversation with a Director about immediate issues with the forums, and also hold Twin Husky as I send out more emails.   He says “ball” when looking at my Google Chrome icon on my computer.  So cute.
  • Now they are on a second nap, hopefully a short one.   I threw in some laundry.   I have to start thinking about dinner.   I get Red’s picture up on our refrigerator.
  • Twins wake up; I get them ready to go…

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • 1st pick up:  Big Bro.  2nd Pickup:  Red, with all kids in tow.   Red is in a different playground and it took us awhile to find her class.  3rd pick up:  Hubby at the ferry station.  We saw the boat come in.  Twin Husky:  “Boat.”   Red was hot with her long sleeve shirt so she decided to go topless.
  • We head home, I cook a quick dinner.  We are finished eating by 6:30.  Hubby and I drink beers.
  • Big Bro wants to do a project and I set up a race car painting project for him.   Then Red sees the project so I find a “paint by number” project for her.
  • Twins are having fun running back and forth and jumping on Hubby.
  • I’m having fun playing with all the kids; kissing all the kids; laughing with them.
  • They start to look tired early, so we bring them upstairs.   Twins look at books and point to pictures after we ask them where things are….. all are drinking milk.  All four are winding down.  Kisses to Twins and they are OUT.
  • Big Bro and Red are sweet.  Red keeps jumping on me; Big Bro is tired and already in bed, talking about numbers and letters and his painted racecar.

Now we’re downstairs – another wonderful day; although not very efficient on the work front.   I feel somewhat guilty that another person’s anguish (our daycare provider’s ill husband) has allowed me a special gift and glimpse into the lives of my youngest children.  After spending so much time with Big Bro and Red while on vacation, I feel so lucky to have this time now with the Twins.   I feel like I know them so much better now; I feel guilty that I’m not in tune with them as much as I was with the first two; but they still seem SO HAPPY and so well adjusted – they are loved and I know that they feel loved.  

I also know that I want more of this.  More time with all of them.  More time in the mornings to do the drop offs and in the afternoon with pickups from pre-school/school.   I don’t like feeling rushed with them.  It is not fair to them.   I want more time with my Twins.   I am fine working, but after tasting this kind of life I know I need more.   I need to make this happen on my terms at work; after the forums are complete in mid-October, and after I have proven myself to be an indispensible asset, I will lay out a plan with my superiors that discusses how I want to work.   On a reduced work week where most of my work time is spent from home.   I think this will bring much more balance and happiness to my life – despite costing our family in terms of income.

Till tomorrow –

– Mama K

September 21: Can this REALLY be called working???

OK, so day #2 with no daycare provider for the Twins.   So I am working from home, with two 18 month old Twins…. who are starting…. to fight…. about EVERYTHING….. most often its the toys…. but there is also alot of shoving, pushing, hitting, and BITING.   How much work can I really get done on a day like today????!??!

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I wake up to Big Bro and Red, coming to my bed and hugging me.  Big Bro is no longer feverish!  YEAH!  Red is so sweet!   They are in my bed now, holding on to me, telling me that I CANNOT get up and take a shower.   They want to keep me there with them.  They start to negotiate.  “You don’t need to take a shower today mommy.”     Ehhhh emmm.. Um, yes I do.  I skipped yesterday.  I stink.  “You do not stink mommy.  You will stink if you go into that shower.”   How cute.  I think they are going through withdrawal of mommy time from our vacation.Twin
  • I get the Twins.  They are cranky.   Twin Husky is hot.   He demands to be held by Daddy.
  • While I am in the shower, Big Bro decides to give Red a “makeover” with the Barbie make up she received from her Nana last week.  So, Big Bro is asking Red which color she wants on her left foot nails, right foot nails, and different colors for her hands.  There is also “eyeshadow” that he is applying for her and lip gloss.  This is too funny.   They are both so interested in the makeup.   THankfully Big Bro is not applying anything on himself, but I would be OK with that if so, I think.
Pre-school "makeover"

Pre-school "makeover"

  • Kids eat breakfast, lunches get packed.  Kids get dressed.  We remember vitamins this morning.   I spend a lot of time holding Twin Husky.   I love the way he feels in my arms.  He holds on tight.  His head rests on my shoulder.  He is big and heavy and sick, but feels wonderful and I don’t want to let him go.
  • OK time to go!!!
  • 1st drop off:  Big Bro.  Hubby takes him in while the rest stay in the car.
  • 2nd drop off:   Hubby at ferry
  • 3rd drop off:  Red.  We go in together with the Twins.  Twins are wearing PJs still, and Twin Crazy is carrying all of her blankets and loveys.  It is so cute.   The place goes nuts over them.
  • Pit stop:  CVS to pick up some stuff.  I bring in the Twins.  I buy baby Advil for Twin Husky.
  • We head home and I think about what the heck am I going to do for a client conference call at 10 AM????

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • Make a pot of coffee.   Eat leftover kid breakfast.  Nuke a Trader Joe’s breakfast for me.   Get my computer set up.   Twins are playing.
  • Sent out quite a few emails related to all the upcoming forums; I’m trying to get up to speed desperately since these meetings are happening in two weeks time.
  • Kids get a cracker snack.
  • I decide to throw them upstairs in their cribs for a “short nap” at 9:45 so I can be “ON” for the conference call.   The kids head upstairs and seem OK with this idea.
  • I review the materials I need to walk through for the conference call and think about what I need to talk about – it’s a sales meeting so I have this one shot with them.   Upstairs, I hear the Twins laughing and playing.   At least they’re not crying.
  • I get stood up for the call.  Now I need to reschedule.  I hate that.  Now it’s extra work for me.  I hate having to redo things.   It takes time to reschedule and I feel like offloading it to someone but cannot.  Ugggh.
  • I do some work while I have a chance and then get the kids.  They seem happy.
  • I get them changed into “real clothes” since they’ve been in the same PJs for days.   They are adorable.   I play with them a bit.  Laughing, kissing their bellies.   I love this.
  • Snack time is blueberries.  Twins are now able to get to the short table by themselves and sit in the stools.  They look so cute.  All dressed, and eating their blueberries in their little bowls together.
  • I work while they eat.   I also try to secure back up day care for Thursday and Friday — I’m searching through people who applied for the MOther’s Helper position and mentioned they would be available for babysitting or other help.  Hopefully someone comes through.
  • We play a bit; run around outside in the backyard.  Talk about things.   Twin Husky is singing “Happy Birthday” non-stop.
  • I make lunch while they play with pots and pans.  They eat like champs.  They head upstairs for bed immediately afterwards.
Future chefs?

Future chefs?

  • I work while they sleep – coordinate menus, follow-up with guest speakers, follow-up with the analytic team, etc.
  • Twins sleep late – they get up and I give them crackers and we pick up Big Bro and then Red.   All kids are in a great mood.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I am on my own tonight since Hubby has an appointment and our Mother’s Helper took the night off.
  • Kids are well behaved.  Some playing outside, some inside, Big Bro and Red putting on make up again.   Twins are outside with tricycles and scooters.
  • I’m making dinner.  Chicken I defrosted is rancid.  Plan B:  chicken nuggets, broccoli, and side pasta.   ALL KIDS EAT LIKE CHAMPS.  Even the broccoli!!!!!!!
  • Kids play well while I clean up; I didn’t have much time with them tonight – I feel bad for Big Bro and Red since they are craving mommy time and I didn’t have enough of it to give to them today.
  • Everyone heads upstairs for bed.   All kids in one room for PJ changes and songs.  Twins go down SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO easily.  Big Bro a bit harder – he is exhausted despite it being earlier for his bedtime.  Red is relatively good until it is time for me to leave the room.  She would not let go of my arm and she screamed until Hubby came home to soothe her.
  • After the kids were in bed, I worked for another 2 hours to catch up for today.

Now I feel a bit better about the work I managed to do, but I’m still hoping I can find someone to help out tomorrow.   I had a wonderful day and feel like I’ve somehow captured the kind of life I want — OK, having someone watch the Twins would have been better, but still.   And also having the mothers’ helper would have been good so I could spend some more time with Big Bro and Red.    But I’m getting closer!!!!   Maybe tomorrow will be Nirvana with day help and night help.  And me working from home, dropping off my kids and picking them up, and taking breaks here and there to hug and squeeze my babies.    Bliss.

Till tomorrow –

– Mama K

September 20: Working from home with TWO energetic toddlers???!?!?!? What???????

Today was odd.   Very odd.   I decided to work from home again today since the boys were still both on the sick side – thankfully I made this choice, since the Twins’ daycare provider called me as I was headed home since her husband had a heart attack.  I quickly had to pick up the kids and give her a hug as she gathered her things for the hospital, where her husband was already taken.  So, I had to work from home but with two toddlers in tow.   So as you can imagine, today was just odd.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • The girls are generally cooperative and in good moods however the boys are struggling.  I give them medicine at 7:30,  hoping they snap out of it.  They do, thank goodness.
  • The morning routine is really quite ordinary – kids eat, bags are packed, kids get buckeled in, and are excited for school.   One funny thing that happened was that the Twins must have eaten at least 5 mini-muffins each and while in the van Twin Husky accidently stepped on Twin Crazy’s muffin that dropped on the floor.  He says “Uhhhh ohhhhhh”.  Twin Crazy still eats the decrepid muffin after I smash it back together.
  • 1st drop off:   Twins.   Twin Husky goes inside without a problem even though he is subdued.  He is still excited to go inside and play.
  • 2nd drop off:  Big Bro.  Hubby walks him in while me and Red wait in the van.
  • 3rd drop off:  Hubby at the Ferry station
  • 4th drop off:  Red.  So cute.  I play with her a bit and then leave.  Today there are no tears from her.
  • 1st pick up:   Twins.   I can’t believe it.  I feel so bad for our daycare provider.    And I also feel bad for me.  How am I going to work today?   Thank goodness I decided to work from home!

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • By the time we returned, the Twins were cranky and it was getting to be time for a snack.   Peaches!   What a treat.
  • I started with emails, going through and addressing what needed to be answered, and also trying to set up conference calls for guest speakers at some of the conferences.   I also had to look through some menu choices that our administrative assistant was working – which was fun but also rushed since I had two toddlers running around and getting themselves in trouble.
  • In between work emails, I had to work with the Twins.   This consisted of:   looking at a cat crawling through our yard and chasing it and pulling Twin Husky out of some rose bushes while doing so, seeing the kids covered in blue marker and also seeing that Twin Husky had a BITEMARK from Twin Crazy over said blue marker, making train tracks, playing with felt and saying the colors and putting them on our heads as hats, and doing just normal trouble shooting that is required with two 18 month old twins (which is A LOT).
Blue marker wins, Twin Husky loses

Blue marker wins, Twin Husky loses

  • 11:30!   Time for lunch!   They ate a tremendous amount of food.  I pulled back Twin Crazy’s hair in a hairclip and then Twin Husky started playing with HIS hair so I put a hairclip in for him as well.
Toddlers in bows over lunch

Toddlers in bows over lunch

  • I mentioned that after lunch we were going to have milk and then get ready for nap.  I gave them milk and then I lost them!!!    They had actually pushed back the gate on the stairs and were already headed upstairs for their naps.   I thought this was unbelievable.  I thought they would at least play first for a bit.
  • I sat down to get prepared for a conference call I had to lead at 1 PM.  While doing this I heard the window blinds upstairs banging and laughing children – Twin Crazy was standing up in her crib playing with the blinds and both her and Twin Husky were laughing hysterically.   I proceed to push back the chest of drawers and push her crib in a spot where she can’t reach the blinds.  I make sure she can’t reach out to anything on top of the chest of drawers in its new location.   She gives me a sly look as I leave the room.  She is trying to hold back a giggle.
  • I send out materials for my 1 PM call and we are finished it by 1:20.   I make some updates and send out to the team so we are all aware of next steps.   The call went very well.
  • I again attacked emails for as long as I could.  Setting up meetings, going over menus, trying to solicit guest speakers, etc.
  • Then the Twins woke up from their 2 hour naps.   I got them ready, had a cracker snack, and then we picked up Big Bro and then Red.  Everyone at Red’s pre-school (Big Bro’s old pre-school) went nuts over the Twins.   It was so cute seeing them all walk together holding hands.  I love seeing them do this.  Twin Husky always reaches out for Big Bro.  Male bonding is so sweet with your kids.
  • Twin Crazy said “I did it” a lot today.   She is wonderful.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • We head home and kids are either on the  couch resting or outside, or playing with trains, or fighting, or chasing each other.
  • I think about dinner; we will do home-made pizza tonight.
  • The kids eat all the sliced olives even before I’m able to put them on a pizza.  I have about 5 slices of mangled olives for myself.  Big Bro and Red roll out their own doughs for their own pizzas.
  • Everyone eats well.  Hubby and I each have a beer.
  • After dinner, Twin Crazy is acting crazy.  She continuously holds her sippy cup over her head and her hair and clothes are soaked.  I chase her around.
  • Hubby plays with Big Bro with sticks.
  • Big Bro says he didn’t have a lot of “mommy time” today… not even in the morning.  My heart sinks.
  • We give the boys medicine and prepare everyone for bed.  Again, both Twins start their way up the stairs, unprompted.
  • Big Bro gets ready quickly since he feels tired and just wants to go to bed.  Red is being her sassy self.   We read a book and both of them are almost out by the time I leave their room.  So easy tonight.

So now I may have to do something about back-up childcare — I wish I had a list of names already organized, but I don’t.   Why am I not prepared for this situation?   Or I’ll have to work again like this tomorrow (which was tremendously enjoyable for me, but still….).  Or I’ll need to take the day off.

I had such a great day today.   I lead a good call to orchestrate sales efforts and I also had so much time with the Twins.   I am usually terrible at combining my worlds of work and home, but for some reason it just worked out fine today and I was not stressed about it.  I think it’s because my calls were few and my day was generally open.   Plus, the Twins had each other.  I could do emails while they entertained themselves (or fought).   This makes a huge difference – but still the day was not as productive on the work front as it should have been.   I also feel bad that Big Bro felt neglected today — I think he got spoiled from all of the one on one time during vacation and also yesterday.   But still…. 😦

Tomorrow I have a client call that I’ll need to think about; maybe I can put them down for an early, short nap during that time??!??!?!     Uggh!

I’m thinking of my daycare provider’s husband and their whole family and really feel for them; I also don’t know what implication this will have on her ability to care for the kids – especially if she is caring for a sick husband….

Til tomorrow,

– Mama K

Random Thought: Vacationing with Children

I just returned from vacation with Hubby and a subset of my kids. This got me to thinking about vacations in general and the extent to which families choose to vacation alone and/or with their kids. Before Hubby and I got married and before the children arrived, we were avid travelers. We both share a drive to recapture and foster the same sense of adventure with ALL of our children in tow. We’ve already done camping trips as a family of six, day trips to the beach, slumber parties, and next month we will all be going to Florida. When we had only two kids, I made multiple trips to the East Coast solo with the kids and we also traveled to Mexico, Seattle, more trips to Florida. I honestly cannot wait for the day when Hubby and I are trailblazing with our backpacks and we have our gaggle of little explorers right behind us carrying their “gear” in their backpacks and writing in their travel journals. I feel like we have so much to look forward to, together.

Which leads me to thinking about how your family approaches vacations –

I think me and Hubby are more on the adventurous side but the Twins have slowed us down a bit, at least for the time being… I’m looking forward to reviewing your responses….

September 19: Sweet reunions

Today was amazing because our family was re-united after our vacation with only a sub-set of our kids.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Both Hubby and I shower and get ready very quickly this AM because we both want to see Twin Husky and Twin Crazy together.   We were not able to see them last night when we returned from vacation – it was too late and it was past their bedtime.  So this morning is our reunion.
  • We are a bit disappointed when we find out that Big Bro and Red stole our thunder…. they are already in the Twins’ room playing and carrying on – the Twins are squealing with delight at them.  It seems like they have forgotten about me and Hubby altogether but then Twin Crazy clues in and gets very excited to see us – all smiles.  Twin Husky is a bit subdued – it turns out he is feverish (poor guy).
  • The morning was fun – I am having a great time with the kids, taking it slow since I will work from home today.   This means a more leisurely pace in the AM.   More time to connect with each of the kids.   They are all eating together at the kitchen table and honestly seem so happy to be all together again.
  • I organize clothes for Big Bro and Red; I help Big Bro with finding directions for his new Transformer toy; I kiss the Twins’ bellies during their diaper changes.   It is a wonderful morning – kids are cooperating.
  • Big Bro is a bit feverish so I give him some medicine; I plan to pick him up after Kindergarten and before after-care so he can get more rest.
  • OK time to go!   All kids run to garage; big kids are in their seats and buckled in; Twins are cooperating with shoes and getting into their seats easily.
  • 1st drop off:  Twins.   Twin Husky bursts into tears and he does not want to be separated from us.   😦
  • 2nd drop off:   Big Bro.  Hubby runs him in while I wait in the car with Red.
  • 3rd drop off:  Hubby at Ferry terminal.
  • 4th drop off:  Red.   I stay with her for a bit but she has a hard time saying goodbye.  She is in tears and I have to pry my arm away from her.   😦
  • I head home to start my working day.   First I make a huge pot of coffee and then start some laundry.  I call my mom to check in.  I eat the kids leftover breakfasts.  I organize my work and computer – I’m ready to begin my workday.
Highlights of my Working Day:
  • Anytime I return from a vacation I have to plow through a lot of emails; however this time was unforgiving since my predecessor has left the company and I am now taking over her role.  I did not realize all the communications she has managed.  We have two forums coming up VERY soon and there is a lot of communication going on in all directions over that (now all sent to me).  We have another two forums next month which I’m also getting emails on.  Finally, there are several forums in development so I’m involved in all of that too.   There are a slew of emails as well from my predecessor so that I have everything I need.   The problem is that I feel a bit overwhelmed.    I know that it is just a matter of organizing everything and figuring out what needs to be done with each forum, but coming back to all of this on the first day back is a bit frightening…. so I dive in.
  • I spent several hours going through the email box and figuring out which items are “FYI” versus those that I needed to act upon.   I then slowly tried to address the items one by one.   I was going slowly…. kind of like learning how to ride a bike.   It is easy once you have the system down but getting used to it takes some time and you fumble a bit… that was me today, fumbling around a bit unorganized.
  • I put in more laundry when I need a break.
  • I pick up Big Bro from Kindergarten at 1:30; he watches movies and plays with games on my iPad while I continue to work/sludge through emails.
  • I update go to market activities for two newer forums – and prepare for a conference call that I will need to lead for tomorrow.
  • I review contracts from the consultancy we partnered with last month – it seems like we are formalizing our working relationship with one another.
  • I think about dinner and start the prep before picking up any kids; I defrost some meat, organize a pot with water for a side pasta, and get other items ready and cleaned up before the rest of the kids get here.
  • OK – time to get the rest of them!   Big Bro is excited to get them too.
Dinner and Bedtime:
  • Red is leaping with joy and all smiles when we pick her up.  She loves her pre-school.  I am so happy for her.  Everyone was asking about our vacation and they mentioned that she was talking about swimming A LOT during the day.
  • Twins are happy to see us but poor Twin Husky looks miserable.  He is sick.  He is also asking for Daddy and walks right past me!!!
  • During dinner prep the kids are all playing with each other – Twin Husky tends to wander off by himself since he’s a bit out of it.   They generally though are laughing and playing and reconnecting.   Twin Crazy is squealing and laughing with her older siblings.
  • There are some tears from the Twins when they hear words like “Daddy” and also “bath”.   They repeat these words very clearly and cry — expressing their desires.   They are such little people and I am so proud of them!!
  • All eat well.   All food is consumed and there is nothing left.   Twins are very talkative.  Twin Crazy:  “I did it” as she uses her fork.   Twin Husky:  “Spoon” when he gives up on his fork.   How much they’ve changed in the 6 days we’ve been away!!!
  • Hubby comes home and now we are all together
  • We play and laugh and hug a bit; but the kids seem tired (especially Big Bro and Twin Husky)
  • I give them medicine; Big Bro runs right upstairs to bed and is the first to pass out.  Twins are next; they are eager for sleep.  Red is last, very spunky and sassy.   We whisper in her room so as not to wake up Big Bro.
So all kids were down by 7:45 PM tonight; I feel bad that both my boys are sick.  I will probably work from home again tomorrow if either of them needs medicine in the middle of the night or are feverish in the AM.   It is on days like this when I love the flexibility of my job.
I had a wonderful day today.   I had a leisurely morning, was able to spend extra time with Big Bro, started my new responsibilities at work, and orchestrated all kids by myself at the end of the day including dinner prep.  The kids seemed VERY happy despite being sick and it just feels so good to be back together again.    I can definitely feel a difference in my stress and happiness levels on days when I am able to work from home; I need to build this into my new job description more formally over the next several weeks.
Gotta go and relax now with Hubby.
Till tomorrow –
– Mama K

Staying Sane: Getting Away

As some of you may know, I was away on vacation for most of last week – and just returned tonight.    What a way to recharge and feel fresh – pulling yourself out of your day-to-day routine. Different place, different bed, different food, different activities – unfamiliar language, customs, and completely different ways of living. Whether alone, with your partner, or with your kids, the experience can vary but is still refreshing nonetheless.

The gems of my most recent trip included:

  • Swimming in the Caribbean and loving the feeling of warm smooth water while looking down and clearly seeing my feet
  • Many island rum drinks; even starting before lunch
  • Meeting new special people and welcoming them into my life
  • Hearing my kids laugh and seeing them play with a new friend – even though they didn’t speak the same language
  • Late afternoon thunderstorms
  • All you can eat and drink food buffets
  • Beautiful people and gracious hospitality particularly with children
  • My kids laughing and finding EVERYTHING enjoyable
My beauty and the beach

My beauty and the beach

  • Taking afternoon naps with my kid(s)
  • The crabs and turtle that my kids always tried to spot
  • Building sandcastles


  • Feeling the warm sand on my feet
  • Seeing my daughter jump into the pool and look of surprise and pride on her face
  • Hubby encouraging my kids to have dessert and ice cream EVERY night
  • Giving gifts for BIG milestones
  • Just hanging and laughing with my family – my mom, dad, step-mom and brother — and seeing how they play with my kids
  • Seeing Hubby enjoy himself with my family madness and always smiling
  • Seeing my dad wasted before lunch and forcing him to eat pasta and rice to soak it up
  • Chasing the kids along the beach
  • Holding Hubby’s hand and laughing at the silly things that the kids said or did
  • Listening to the kids laugh and giggle as the were going to sleep, sharing a bed for the first time
  • Not looking at the clock except to make sure we weren’t missing a meal
  • Holding the kids on both sides of me as they slept on the plane
  • Playing fooseball
  • Warm air – even at night
  • Walking along the beach with Big Bro at night
  • Big Bro falling out of the bed and him laughing about it – and then all of us laughing about it
  • The little gecko that would appear on our back porch each morning

I’m finding that these vacations are lifesavers for me these days. And it helps to know when the next trip, the next adventure, will occur. Next month in Florida we will have a family wedding and then extra time on the beach. I can’t wait. That trip will be extra special since it will be our first big excursion with the Twins and as a family of six.

So remove yourself from YOUR day-to-day reality. Whether a short weekend in Vegas or a trek in the Himalayas or a cruise to nowhere or long weekend in the snow – make it happen and revel in those moments.

September 12: The shortest work-week EVER

I took a few days off from writing and it feels good to be behind this keyboard. We had a great weekend with the children. On Saturday Hubby discovered a problem with his passport (expired!) so he needed to research a way to get that updated before Tuesday, when we go on vacation. So that gave me and the kids time to be together. Not doing much of anything, just talking, playing, eating. I brought out colored “sticks” (like the tongue sticks from doctors offices) and that kept all four occupied. After naps we went to a music festival on one of the town streets and I busted out to a Who cover band. Even the toddlers were running around crazy, dancing, having fun (they probably ate too much kettle corn). I had lots of beers. It was great.

On Sunday we took a walk over to our local fire station and the kids dropped of “thank you” bags to them — puzzles, dominos, cards, etc. It is cute in the eyes of a child what they think the firefighters would like. Red’s favorite present was the Cinderella puzzle and Big Bro really liked the 3-D Darth Vader puzzle. The firefighters would kind enough to give us an entire tour of their station (I think they were starving for attention – our neighborhood is very quiet).

FDNY in Memory

FDNY in Memory -- Red in a fire truck

Big Bro had a playdate and I sewed some jeans (pretty funny, the topic of another post to come).

Highlights of our Morning and Commute:

  • Red wakes up early and eats up the attention I give her with her pony-tail. She wants me to wear the same color so we can match.
  • All of the sudden Big Bro AND Twin Crazy come in too. THey are all circling me now singing Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! All grabbing me and I am LOVING IT. It is so easy to give them morning kisses when they are right down in front of you.
  • Then Twin Husky comes running in to join the fun. they are all laughing and having a great time. We realized that the Twins are now saying Twin Crazy’s name (a bit botched up) and Red is now also able to enunciate it perfectly. So all kids are chanting her name and laughing up a storm.
  • Big Bro says he needs my help and if I can “work on him first”. I say yes. He needs to find the firefighter eraser tops for the pencils that the fireman gave to him. We go through several loads of wash in varying stages of cleaning until we find them. He is happy. WHile I’m in the laundry room I throw in some loads since I’ll need to pack for the trip tonight
  • All kids are fed except Big Bro. Sliced peaches and toast. Done.
  • Red is dressed, Twins are diapered. Big Bro has his clothes waiting for him in a pile on the floor. Done.
  • More chants with Twin Crazy’s name. Too funny.
  • I pack the bag for daycare (why do I always wait until the morning of?). She needed pants for both kids, diapers. Shoes.
  • Twin Crazy is having a hard time this morning. She apparently put yogurt all over her head to her hair is now soaked. Too bad, she had a bath last night.
  • Red gets ready to leave with Hubby. She almost leaves without her shoes. The Twins and I scurry to find her shoes. She’s off!
  • I pack up the rest of the kids. Twin Crazy still crying until I bring her a stuffed animal.
  • 1st drop off: Twins. Fast. Easy. I let her know that they are having a hard time.
  • 2nd drop off: Big Bro. We play on the swings. Then its time to line up. I tell him I need to leave. I ask him if its OK to hug and kiss him now or if I should wait until later today. He smiles at me, bashful, and gives me a hug. I’ll gladly take that from him.

So now on the ferry, looking forward to vacation but still lots to do (everything). I hope packing won’t be too tough. I don’t think it will be. I hope Hubby is able to get his passport today. Otherwise it will be me and the 2 kids alone (which is OK, I ‘ve done that before) but its a 13 hour flight with a 6 hour layover. I have NOT done that before. I am wearing new drawstring pants that keep uniting themselves. How annoying. The last thing I need is to be running around at work with my pants falling off my ass.

I’ll be doing “forum” work today. Also talking with my brother to get ready for the trip. I am sooooo looking forward to this for so many reasons.

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • Got to the office, got myself settled with make-up, tea, water, graham crackers.
  • Spent 2 hours reviewing a presentation deck for a forum meeting in October. I suggested some ways to bring out the drivers of the data and ways to facilitate discussion with the group; so not only did I learn about the reporting, but I feel like I added a fresh perspective to the way the meeting could be facilitated and ways to create more value for our firm.
  • I spent some time putting to paper some criteria/thinking about how to “qualify” sales leads and then also whether or not as a team we should pursue certain opportunities – the way we make money in our business is through our time – so we need to make sure our time is optimized so we can be as profitable as we can be. Sometimes we chase business opportunities when we have little chance of winning. I think this is mentality left over from the recession; business has picked up since then but I think we still have a gut reaction to spend time with proposals where we are not well positioned to win.
  • I spent the rest of the day doing administrative items – time sheets, expense reports, etc.
  • I’M OUT OF HERE!   By the way, when I go on vacation or take a day off, I AM COMPLETELY OFF.   No email, no voicemail, no quick conference calls.   They all know this about me.

I am on the ferry right now and I am OFFICIALLY ON VACATION!!! We are headed to the Dominican Republic (Hubby, Big Bro, Red, and I). I still need to pack! So, I of course am drinking a beer. I can’t wait to see the kids. I need to see my toddlers. I will miss them while away. They are so much fun right now. It doesn’t feel right taking a trip with only a subset of our family.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up all kids, 3 pick ups. Red LOVES her new school. She was running and smiling and bursting with energy when I got there. Big Bro was playing with his friends. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were in shorts enjoying the warm weather and running up to the van when I pulled up.
  • I was busy cooking dinner while on a 4-way conference call with my brother, mom, and dad to talk about last-minute logistics. We’re excited!
  • After dinner I did not spend much time with the kids – I had to pack!
  • I kissed the Twins goodnight and was there for the singing (my favorite part).
  • Big Bro and Red were SOOOOOOOOOO excited for the trip. They know it will be a long travel day and that we will wake them up in the middle of the night before the sun comes up. Red helped to pick out her clothes, as did Big Bro. He, in turn, decided against some of my selections and wound up hiding them somewhere (I still don’t know where).
  • So, I’m finishing up this post so I can get my act together and go to sleep!!!

I may not post for a while – it depends on what I feel like doing on my days off with my kids!  🙂

Till later,

– Mama K

Staying Sane: *REPOST* Keeping Perspective and Staying Connected

I usually post a “Staying Sane” piece on Sunday nights, but this previous post (link below) seemed very fitting for me to re-submit this weekend, and tonight on the eve of 9/11.

I know my outlook on life has forever been changed because of this day.   However the impact on me seems so insignificant compared to the impact to the lives that were lost and their families.   My children are still young, but I am trying my best to teach them of the significance of this day and how to be good people – at least the showing of gratitude to fire-fighters who help to protect us and the worthiness of helping others in need.   I shudder to think of the day when they will be old enough to understand the true meaning behind this day.   My heart goes out to the families of those who were lost.

I also want to recognize a special remembrance of Chris Dincuff, who was a fellow student with me years past.  I will always remember him for his smile and positive outlook on life.  We miss you Chris.

Staying Sane: Keeping Perspective and Staying Connected.

Love to all — and thinking of my friends in NYC –

– Mama K

September 9: Getting ready for the weekend…

I decided to work from home today since I worked in the office the rest of the week.  So this morning was less hectic, until we realized we were running really late for Big Bro’s school:

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red winds up in our bed at 6:30 and asks me to fix her pony-tail.   We don’t get up until after 7 for some reason.   So we start a bit late.
  • Big Bro hides under his blanket and goes into the Twins’ room to make them laugh.  They laugh hysterically, over and over again.  In fact they are jumping in their cribs laughing.
  • I diaper the Twins but both REALLY want Hubby this AM.  He takes everyone downstairs for breakfast.  I head down too – no shower, no make up.  An easy work day for me physically.
  • Everyone eats well except for Big Bro.
  • I’m not sure what I’m doing but I guess I’m talking with the kids and holding them and cutting apples and drinking coffee.  For some reason, and I don’t know why, we are suddenly extremely late.   I guess I was too relaxed thinking we had all of this time but I looked at the clock and it was 8:10!!!   That’s usually when we are dropping off Big Bro in the school yard!    OH SHIT WE ARE MAJORLY LATE BIG TIME!!!!!!!   LET’S GO!!!!!
  • I do all drop offs, Hubby takes the car for another meeting.
  • 1st drop off:   Twins.   Fast.  Easy shmeasy.
  • 2nd drop off:   Big Bro.  All of the kids are on their way from the yard (in a line up) into the classroom.  We quickly make the last of the last line in.   I dance around with Big Bro and Red that “we’re in the back of the parade, we’re in the back of the parade.”  Seriously, we’re (I’m) singing and swinging their arms and dancing around saying this over and over again.  The kids are laughing.  I think they think I’m a bit silly sometimes.   But I have so much fun with them.
  • 3rd drop off:  Red.  I like taking her into pre-school slowly.  Not rushing.  She gets set up with an activity and she is so sweet.   She makes a comment to me that “after we drop off [Twin Crazy], there are TWO girls in the car.   And then when we drop me off, there will be ONE girl in the car – but when we go in together, there will be NO girls in the car”.    How cute.   I didn’t realize she could grasp those concepts.   I feel like I’m not in tune with them as much as I should be.    How cute of her.   My little mathematician.
  • I stop by the fire-station and talk to a fireman.  I want to bring the kids over here on 9/11 and bring the firefighters “gifts” that the kids get/make for them to show our appreciation.   The kids are excited about this.   I just wanted to confirm with him that it is OK and also what kinds of things they would like to have.   I’m going with the kids today to do some shopping and will steer them towards:  playing cards, dominoes, other games, fruit, etc.   I also mentioned that the kids might pick out toys or stickers for them (cute) and he said that’s great, they could give to Toys for Tots or even take them home for their own kids.   Great!!!
  • I head home and get my space set up for work.   Coffee is on.  Phones are charged.   I turn my computer on.
Highlights of my Working Day:
  • I spent about two hours on the phone working with my colleague who is transferring over responsibilities.  There is a lot of coordination that needs to be done across 4 big events that are coming up that I will be responsible for.   I get the latest status from her and feel good about my understanding of what needs to be done.    I know this is probably a  false sense of security since one day she will be gone and I’ll suddenly have 100 questions.   🙂
  • I finished up my sales efforts for one new initiative; and coordinated with the team to get them going and organized.
  • I finished up other sales efforts for another initiative – nothing more for me to do here.
  • I prepared an invoice for a project and sent; I’m setting up a meeting with the client and our leadership to see how are firms can continue to work together
  • I did some admin-related items and then called it a day.
  • I showered and then ran to my children.  I picked up Big Bro first, and then Red.  Both were excited about the shopping we were going to do this afternoon.  We went shopping to buy “thank you” gifts for the fire-fighters in our neighborhood.  The kids picked out puzzles (princess, bears, cars) and I helped them pick out playing cards, UNO, Yahtzee, and dominos.   They had a great time shopping for what the firefighters would like.  We passed by a lot of candy and snacks and I said that kind of food is not healthy for the body so the kids did NOT want to get that for the firefighters.  How cute.
  • I am alone tonight.  Hubby is at a sporting event for work.
Dinner and Bedtime:
  • I ordered a pizza on the way to pick up the Twins.  They were squealing as usual.  She mentioned that they were both singing “Happy Birthday” today.   They were excited to see their big brother and sister.
  • We were home literally for 5 minutes when the pizza man came!   Perfect timing.  He asked me if I’m a daycare provider.  Seriously.  I guess our place looks over-run with toys?  I guess we have too many children?  I guess I look like I’m 20-something and too fit to have had 4 kids?  🙂  Seriously.   I couldn’t believe it.  I never thought my life would look like this.
  • Twins were cranky so I took them up for a “cat nap”.   This really just turned into them laughing with each other in their room — squealing, singing, screaming, laughing…..  so I brought them back down after we were done eating pizza.
  • I set the Twins up with their pizza at the little table while Big Bro, Red and I were in the living room.  Friday is “movie night” and Big Bro was excited.   So we watched movies until Twins finished eating.   Then I made popcorn and everybody went nuts.
  • I really don’t know where the time went…. because by 5:30 we were fed and I started the bedtime routine at 7:30.   So I had TWO HOURS with them and I can’t remember what we did!!!   I remember lots of tickling and hugging Twin Husky.  LOTS of it.   He had so much fun.   I remember Red having an ENORMOUS poop and everyone running in the bathroom to look at it.   I remember dressing the Twins in their PJs and talking about the “balls” on Twin Husky’s pants.    I remember reading the Twins books downstairs.   And how Twin Husky is sooooooooooooooo curious about everything and asking what everything is.   I remember Twin Husky climbing on a big box (new sewing machine, I’ll explain another time) and me looking at him in the corner of my eye to make sure he was OK.  I remember Twin Husky and Twin Crazy running around and stealing toys from each other and crying/trying to bite.  I remember Big Bro asking me if I could spend some time with him watching his movie.    I was in bliss.   The time just flew by.   And I enjoyed so much of it with them.
Red "reading" to Twin Husky

Red "reading" to Twin Husky

  • 7:30 – time to go up!    I went up with the Twins and I asked Red and Big Bro to come up in a few minutes.  I also asked Red to straighten up the toys and seriously – when I came down EVERYTHING was put away and organized.   It’s like she had OCD.   Everything was perfectly lined up and there was not a toy out of place.  She was very proud of herself and I hugged her and wouldn’t let go.
  • I told a story for Big Bro and Red with all 3 of us laying in his bed.   It was a story about my travels in the past.  A time when I was in Morocco and I had to take a long bus-ride to the outskirts of the Sahara desert and we rode camels for hours and had a picnic in the Sahara.  I told them that my butt hurt after the camel ride.
I’m feeling REALLY good about today; I had a later morning with the kids, got a lot of work done, and had an amazing evening with all of them.  So relaxed, the kids were so good.   It just feels so right.   All I need now is maybe a glass of wine and maybe some adults to share a drink with.  In the meantime, I’m gearing up for a big weekend, a likely emotional weekend.   It’s days like this when I want to hold my children closer, hug them a bit longer, and caress them a bit gentler.   I don’t know what I’d ever do without them.   I can’t bear to think about it.
Great weekend to all –  particularly this Sunday.    So much has changed since then.
Til next week –
– Mama K

September 8: Mommy!!!! I ate all my lunch today!!!!

This was a pretty good morning. Good mix of fun and tears.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red winds up in our bed at 6:30 AM as usual. She is completely dressed for pre-school.
  • Hubby takes shower while I grab the Twins. Each are up, laughing, while Big Bro is in their room hiding under his blanket. He loves entertaining them. I diaper the twins and they are busy talking to me while I do this. So cute.
  • Big Bro hangs out with me while I shower; the rest are downstairs eating breakfast with Hubby.
  • When I get downstairs, Big Bro has already headed to the train set and set up some tracks. BIG NO NO. NO TOYS BEFORE BREAKFAST AND GETTING DRESSED!!!! He should know better than this. I am not happy. We need these kids “on” for food and clothes in the AM or else we really run the risk of being late.
  • Twins want up out of their seats. Twin Crazy is clingy. Wants to be held so she can see what’s going on. I have Red help me make my instant coffee and we talk about each step with Twin Crazy. She loves that.
  • I get bag ready. Wow. We are early. All kids are getting their shoes on and getting ready for the van but it is only 7:30.
  • We decide to do all 3 drop offs together since we have time on our side. While I’m upstairs getting my jacket, I hear MASSIVE screaming from multiple kids downstairs… even Big Bro is calling up for me to come downstairs QUICK. Apparently Red and Twin Crazy were both in the double stroller (probably standing up) and the thing tipped over. They were both fine but very scared. Poor things. I sat there hugging them for awhile and saying it was OK but it was probably really scary for them. I gathered all kids out of the garage until we were REALLY ready to leave.
  • OK! 7:45!!! Time to go!
  • 1st drop off: REd. Big Bro wants to go too so we tell them it has to be QUICK. Twins are talking on the way over there. “Boat.” I am starting to put on my make up (9 AM meeting that I will be late for.. .so need to be ready in advance). Drop off is fast, but we are there so early that the routine is a little different – all kids are dropped off in the middle of the center until 8 AM when their “real” teachers arrive. REd is hesitant at first but doesn’t skip a beat. She does fine playing with pegs as Big Bro and I leave.
  • 2nd drop off: Twins. No problem. We tell her that Twin Crazy has had a hard morning.
  • 3rd drop off: Big Bro. We all get out of the car and play in the playground until 8:10 when the kids line up with their teachers. In the meantime I push Big Bro on a swing REAL high and he (and I) have a blast.
  • Hubby drops me off at Ferry station – plenty of time. Our entire drop off routine lasted 35 minutes this morning. He has another meeting so will not be taking the ferry today.

Now I’m on the ferry, with make up on and a coffee. The sky looks hazy and it looks colder today. Today at work we have a 3 hour strategy session for our team; I will be presenting on two topics. I’ve been there for 7 years now and am viewed as a valued contributor, which makes me feel good. We tend to hear the same things over and over through the years at these meetings, but our team now looks so different than we had in the past. We are poised for change and may actually have an appetite to do things differently than we have before. I’m excited to hear if that will be the attitude and direction that we take….

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • Had a 4 hour strategy meeting with our team; gave two presentations on areas to grow our revenues
  • did follow up sales efforts for a meeting in October
  • did other miscellaneous admin work, including setting up final meetings with the colleague who is transferring her responsibilities to me

I’m on the ferry home now. I remembered to bring the fruit I bought yesterday. I will likely work from home tomorrow so I also have my work computer. I have a heavy load today.

I’m also carrying a heavy load in my heart. I’ve been trying to advocate change for my family for over a year and it feels like we’re still in status quo. This is so unacceptable and frustrating for me. I feel helpless and trapped and I’m so tired of having the same one-way conversations over and over and over and over again. My throat hurts I’ve been talking so much. My head hurts. Sometimes I just want to go to sleep to keep from thinking. So, I guess I’m not in a good mood. I’m not sure if seeing my kids will swing me out of it either.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I am surprised to get picked up by our mini-van while I’m walking home from the ferry.
  • Red: “Mommy I ate all my lunch today!!!” She is so proud.
  • We put together an EASY quick dinner – mac-n-cheese and hot dogs. Hubby makes dinner while I play with kids. Today Big Bro and Red are interested in cars so Red takes out the “car mat” with all of the roads where they can pretend to drive.
  • The Twins are interested in the trains and also the cars, going back and forth, and Twin Crazy is even sitting on the car mat with her choo-choo train tracks and trains.
  • We eat quickly. Fruit for dessert (I almost broke an arm carrying it all back). I wind up with 3 kids on my lap and then at one point all of the kids are laughing and babbling at full throttle, on purpose. It was really funny. I wish I grabbed a movie of it.
  • Red: “Mommy I ate all my lunch today!!!” She is so proud.
  • I talk to Big Bro and REd about doing something nice for the fire-fighters this Sunday (9/11). We think about what would be nice to get them ask presents — card games, cross word puzzles, snacks. Big Bro goes to our cabinet and picks out a pudding box. He wants to wrap it NOW to be part of the basket. He is excited about this project. I mention that I will pick Big Bro and Red up early tomorrow and we can go shopping together for other things for the basket – and on Sunday we can walk over to the fire station and deliver it to them, and say thank-you to them. This is something that I would like to do each year, and Hubby agrees that it would be nice to do. Once Big Bro gets a bit older and he loses his innocence the tone of the tradition will obviously change – I can wait for that.
  • OK! Time to go up! We are moving bedtime up a bit these days since Big Bro is always so tired. I change the Twins into PJs – I love doing this with them. That’s when I get to focus on them.
  • Red: “Mommy I ate all my lunch today!!!” She is so proud.
  • Upstairs singing and reading to the Twins is just so sweet. Twin Husky is focused on colors in a book. Twin Crazy loves singing and using her hands for Twinkle, Twinkle, etc. They are so sweet. Their worlds are opening up in front of my eyes.
  • Big Bro and Red are already brushed, peed, and changed by the time we get to them. They are making it easier and easier for us each night. We pick out their clothes for tomorrow. Books went great.
  • Red: “Mommy I ate all my lunch today!!!” She is so proud.

I wonder what we will pack for lunch tomorrow…. the pressure is on.

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

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