October 31: I never knew there could be days like this for me


This is obviously a unique day because of Halloween – but it is also unique to me because I managed to steal time from a work-day to do activities with each of the kids and actually feel like a Mom.

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Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Big Bro woke up and was in our room first.  This is because I mentioned to him the night before that if he was able to get ready quickly this morning, we would RIDE HIS BIKE to school today.    Apparently there is a crowd of kids his age that get to school this way each day and I learned of this from my neighbor over the weekend.   I was going to work from home anyway today because of Halloween so I figured we would try out the bike ride thing.  Big Bro was soooooooooooo excited that he was up first.
  • The morning was typical – breakfast for four and getting everyone ready and out of the house.   I had Halloween shirts out for everyone.   I love Halloween.
  • Then the out-of-the-ordinary began.  I got the Twins dressed and ready and in the stroller.  Big Bro got his helmet on.    The three of us were ready to go!   Red went with Hubby today.
  • We met the gang of kids and literally there were 10 kids in total, including the Twins.    Everyone was on big bikes.  Big Bro was the only one in training wheels but these kids are 1-2 years older than him.  I could sense that he was a bit shy about going but still excited.  Off we went.   The kids were really well-trained.   They zoomed ahead but all knew the spots where to stop and wait for the adults (me and my neighbor).   I was so proud and yes a bit anxious for Big Bro.   He was new to this scene and he was trying real hard to keep up with them.   I was so proud of my little kindergartener.   And I couldn’t believe that I was strolling him (and the Twins) to school — with a coffee in hand.   There was a few times that he lagged behind the group – but there were also a few times when he had a good start off the blocks and swerved around a kid or two to get in a good position.    They all beat us to the school and parked their bikes.   Big Bro came running up to me through the playground and I could not believe the look of joy on his face.  I couldn’t snap a picture fast enough but I’ll remember that face for a lifetime (I hope).    We headed to the yard line up and I gave him a HUGE hug and we made plans for me to be there later that day and also for me to pick him up with his bike.
  • I then strolled the Twins to their daycare.   They enjoyed the drop off and were proud of their Halloween shirts.    I then walked home to work.   I enjoyed the walk.  The quiet.  The dew on the grass.  The look of the leaves on the trees.   Knowing that today was Halloween.   And feeling privileged to have had the opportunity to drop the kids off the way I did this morning.    I always saw all the kids on bikes/scooters, etc.   It’s like a parade around here each morning.   I just never dreamed that I would ever actually take part in any of it.  I just always assumed that I was doomed to the mini-van drop off and the ferry commute to work.    I consciously took a lot of deep breadths on the walk home this morning – taking it all in.   I saw many lone parents walking back to their homes too.   I felt like a mom.
Highlights of My Working Day:
  • I essentially worked a 1/2 day today and will take the other 1/2 off as personal time.
  • I got home at 9 AM and got another coffee and set up.   I immediately started working on a proposal that we need to submit by Thursday.   This is the proposal for the lead I cultivated so I feel a sense of ownership for this one.
  • After an hour I took a break since I wanted to participate in Big Bro’s Halloween festivities at school.   They spent an hour decorating cupcakes and doing other arts and crafts in the class.   Once again, I felt like a Mom.  There were other parents there too, volunteering.   I was on cupcake duty.   I had so much fun with the kids helping them ice and decorate their cupcakes.   Tyler was doing great too – he did not seem anxious at all.  They sent 4-5 kids at a time to the cupcake table and I saw him about halfway through.   He seemed to be doing great with the other activities and did not seem upset or anxious that I was there.   I loved having him at the table during cupcake time.   I loved having the kids laugh with me.   I loved hearing them call me “[Big Bro]’s mommy”.   It was interesting to see the very different personalities of all the kids.   One child came to the table in tears because she was scared we were going to run out of cupcakes…. I spent some extra time with her and towards the end she was laughing.   Towards the end of the hour she was even following me around and taking my hand – I connected with her.   And Big Bro was still busy with all the different crafts.    I loved being there.   The other moms couldn’t believe I was actually going back to work afterwards….
  • I then walked over to the Twins daycare since I left my car keys in the stroller!     I had the GREAT opportunity to see them in action during the day.   Playing with the daycare toys.   We went for a quick walk to the corner where I said goodbye to them.    I just can’t take it they are so cute.   As they were walking they were busy saying words and looking around.   And then I had my second walk home today.    Again the breathing.   Again taking it all in.   Again feeling good that I am a mom and so closeby to all of my kids today.   Knowing that I was able to have special time with each of them today.    Knowing that there is a life outside of the haggard 3-drop off race to the ferry race to the office race back home routine.    I never knew I could have a day like this.
  • Back at home, I finished what I had to do for proposal #1, and then started to re-work a separate proposal.    What happens if we win all of this work?    I cannot deliver against it….. I have fun selling it but I want to pass it off to others to deliver……   we’ll see what happens….
  • I also did admin-related items like set up some meetings and also get my timesheet together.
  • Then it was time for Red.   She is having a Halloween parade today.    I picked up Big Bro and he was so excited to show me his bag of arts and crafts – and his favorite prize was his Halloween pencil.   I was actually taken a bit back by how thrilled he was over a pencil.  Then together we gathered his bike into the van (his request was that he wanted to do that with me).   We head over to Red’s pre-school to see her parade and hand out candy.
  • Red was a little princess dressed as Snow White and proudly holding her teacher’s hand as she made her way around the parade and getting candy from the parent volunteers.   I had Big Bro hand out our candy.    The sun was shining and my kids were happy.

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Dinner and Bedtime:
  • I picked up some rotissarie chicken at the grocery store with my Batman and Snow White.   We picked up the Twins.   We ate quickly and dressed quickly.
  • We made it out without too much trouble.   Twin Crazy was a little princess/fairy and Twin Husky was a skeleton.   Kids were great trick or treating – Red kept holding Twin Crazy’s hand; Big Bro would run ahead but wait for the rest of us at each house; Twin Crazy would keep taking candy until the bowl was pulled back from her; Twin Husky wanted NO PART of candy, however he couldn’t stop touching the decorations, pulling at the lanterns, or picking up and throwing pumpkins.   He really was too much.   The kid was seriously running from house to house destroying the decorations and busting pumpkins.   I drank beer.  It was great.   At home the kids again had more fun giving candy to the trick-or-treaters.   All ate lots of candy tonight and the Twins had their first lollipops.
Everyone had so much fun today; I feel elated since I was able to steal away special time with each child during the day.   This was a day that I didn’t want to end – there were too many special moments.   I’m glad I’m able to capture this here but honestly this really only describes a small sense of how I’m feeling.   There is nothing like seeing your child’s face as he runs up to you to see if you are proud of him, nothing like consoling a child who is scared at the plastic monster with smoke coming out of its mouth, laughing at your toddler as he runs through the neighbors’ yards throwing pumpkins, or seeing your child smile as she sees that you made the trip to see her in her parade.   This was the Twins’ first REAL Halloween where they were able to experience the fun – and the four of them were amazing at staying together and looking out for each other.
Although I don’t want this day to end, my body is aching and I am exhausted; I’m looking forward to winding down and getting ready for tomorrow.
Til tomorrow –
Mama K
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October 28: Rockin’ out with my babes


Today is my rebound day! I was going to work from home because of my committment to volunteer for Big Bro’s lunch, but since that is not a good idea anymore (he gets too anxious), I decided to pull myself AWAY from the sterile house and get my butt back into the office where it belongs.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • All kids woke up happy. That is usually not the case. For some reason, they ALL walked into our room together this morning. That means that SOMEHOW Big Bro pulled each of the Twins out of their crib. Hmmmm. Not sure if this is such a good idea. I envision trips to the ER with broken bones at some point. Twin Husky has been mentioning that he wants a bed and always spends time in Big Bro’s and Red’s when given an opportunity…. maybe it’s time for toddler beds? Or maybe just enforce a rule that Big Bro and Red cannot go into their room in the morning? It is just a matter of time until Twin Husky scales his way out of the crib. He is so wiry. So feisty in terms of his physical body. And so STRONG!!!! I think toddler beds are the best bet.
  • Twin Crazy was eating so much oatmeal that Hubby took off her PJ’s since it was cascading down her body. When I saw her, she was only in a diaper but still covered in oatmeal. Poor thing. Can you imagine that feeling? I cleaned her off but for some reason she was more concerned about cleaning her hands than anything else. She is really fixated on clean hands lately. I remember the same thing with Red. Maybe its a girl thing.
  • Twin Husky just kept saying “Mommy” as he was eating his cereal. I quietly walked over to him and kissed his cheek as he was eating his cereal and he let out this deep, quiet, laugh.
  • Red and Big Bro were busy eating; I gathered their clothes. We really had to rush this morning.
  • Hubby dropped of Red and I dropped of Twins and Big Bro. Big Bro’s teacher told me how he recited a Halloween poem ALL BY HIMSELF IN THE FRONT OF THE ROOM yesterday. I am so proud of him. This is one step closer to self-confidence that will hopefully eliminate his anxiety in bigger crowds. I think. I hope. Anyway, I am so proud of him and I’ve let him know that. Applauding his effort in knowing the words so well and being so brave to recite it to the class.

Big Bro and Red will be leaving with Hubby on a Halloween trip to Yosemite this weekend. I will miss the older kids. But I will have the Twins to myself this weekend.

Today at work I have to do some thinking of my role, I will also work on a business development proposal, and get my expenses in.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I was busy at work so I am soooooo glad that I went in today. I helped some colleagues with ideas on powerpoint visuals (a strength of mine, I believe), I had a follow up call with a client to get feedback from our last meeting and ideas for the next, and also worked on a proposal for strategy work resulting from our last big meeting.
  • I had a lot of interaction with people, laughed a bit, felt productive, and energized.

So pointers to depressed mamas who are working at home: GET OUTSIDE AND INTERACT WITH PEOPLE!!!!!!! I’m glad I made the choice to get to the office.

I am on the ferry now and headed back to see the Twins. Big Bro and Red are off with Hubby for the weekend. What to do with Twins all weekend by myself??? I like that being my only question for myself this weekend!

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • It was a great evening.   I made a quick dinner for the Twins and they ate at their small kitchen table together.   We talked about what they were eating.
  • After dinner I danced around with them a bit.  They loved it.  Twin Crazy completely rocked out.   Twin Husky also was having a good time.
My little two rocking out to U2

My little two rocking out to U2

  • We took a dancing break and had some applesauce.   I caught both of them still knocking their heads around and rocking out to the music.   Sooooooooooo cute.    I guess they like U2.
  • Time just passed and then we did milk and books.   They were ready for bed and laughed and held hands and smiled at each other as I was holding Twin Husky above Twin Crazy’s crib.   It’s a “twin thing”.

I’m now alone on a Friday night solo and loving it.   I’m thinking about what to do.  I suddenly have energy.   I might work on this a bit or maybe read a magazine or maybe watch a movie…. or maybe sew some pants that I recently bought.     I never thought these kinds of things would EVER appeal to me on a Friday night but sadly they do.   But I’m in a great mood – so take it for what it is!

 

Have a great weekend everyone –

Til Monday,

– Mama K

October 27: SLEEEEEEEP


This was a bit of a strange day for me. I was moving in slow motion for most of the morning and honestly do not remember much of what happened. Here it goes:

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Big Bro was energetic about his backpack and getting all of his stuff ready for school. He is so cute acting all big and stuff and responsible and excited about his things for school. I love seeing him that way. I wonder how long it will last.
  • Twin Husky had oatmeal all over himself which then required me to give him a proper change of clothes (we usually just send them to daycare in their PJs)
  • Before I knew it, we were late. REALLY late. They all were great in the van and off we went. we were so late that Big Bro was late to his class – he scooted into circle time though without too much trouble.
  • I was working from home today so made it back home, brewed a pot of coffee, ate the kids’ leftover breakfast, and got organized for the day.

Highlights of My Working Day:

I had some conference calls and that essentially freed up alot of my day. I was not feeling well so I slept most of the day away. I decided not to volunteer for Big Bro’s lunch since my being there makes him anxious. I had a follow up conference call to get feedback from one of our last big meetings and also to get ideas for the next one. I arranged my flight for next week.

My job is in flux right now. I was asked today if it would be possible to still have a portion of my time devoted to project delivery. That, seriously, will be the end of me. I simply cannot deliver against project work with four children. I can manage the forum meetings (my new role) and also actively pursue sales of consulting work, but the actual delivery of the work is something I simply cannot do. I’m hoping we can figure out a way for me to be involved in an “advisory” capacity – and I’m hoping my company will be flexible with me. But this was very concerning to me when I had this discussion.

No wonder I essentially slept the day away. The wind has been knocked out of my sails on so many fronts. The only thing I know for certain is that I have four children and that I love them to pieces. Nothing else is certain in my life. This makes me tired just thinking about it….

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I threw a chicken in the oven tonight. Then I went to pick up the kids. I left early, and took my time to leisurely get each kid and soak in their environment. I love seeing them at the end of the day. The smiles, the “mommy!”, the running into my arms. I wish I could bottle this up. I know things will change as they get older. But for now I look forward to each wet kiss and hug around my leg/waist.

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  • Twin Crazy opened up the refrigerator and took out all of the milk cups for the kids at the table. I couldn’t believe it. She can be sooooo helpful.
  • While dinner was cooking I took the kids on a ride on a blanked across our floor. It is magical for me to hear them all laugh in unison – especially when it’s because of something that I am doing with them.
  • All kids ate well; Twin Husky was a crazy man over the string beans. Big Bro, Red, and Twin Crazy went nuts over chicken legs. No, the chicken did not have 3 legs – Twin Crazy picked up Red’s leftover leg and finished it off.
  • We watched a movie tonight. I got the kids grapes. They sat next to me and on my lap while we watched the movie together.

Believe it or not, even after so much sleep I am exhausted. I just don’t want to think about things. I just want to do things with my kids but after that I can’t wait to curl up and go to sleep. I am in a severe funk and feeling very much alone out here. This house does not feel good to come back to.

Hopefully tomorrow will be more energetic! Maybe I’ll take some vitamins! Or better yet, I might just go into the office and get myself out of this sterile house.

Til tomorrow

-Mama k

New iphpne


Too tired to write and too. Ew to iPho e to do anything effectively…

Gil tomorrow

Mama K

October 25: Too many emotions….


Hmmmm. What did we do today? I’m right now in bed, feeling completely wiped out and trying to think through to this morning, which feels like months ago.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I know there was an early morning waking from Twin Husky. The East Coast time difference has been the hardest on him. He eventually went back to sleep after some reassurance, but then Red crawled into our bed 10 minutes later. She rested while playing with her fingers.
  • The morning was our usual… except that we were still struggling with lack of food. We managed to do Chocolate Tuesday tortillas and raisin bread, and pasta for lunch. The Twins ate an enormous amount of oatmeal. I think Twin Crazy had 2 1/2 packages just on her own.
  • I got the kids dressed in their Halloween t-shirts and tried to get a picture of all of them together, but Red was not cooperating.

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  • The 3 drop offs with Hubby drop off went fine. I was working from home today.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • Pot of coffee. No shower. Fistfulls of Cheerios shoved in my mouth.
  • Conference call for 1.5 hours to review analysis that we will present at the forum next week. I provided my thoughts for improvements and how to pull out the “drivers” of what we were seeing in the numbers.
  • I took a break to get to Big Bro’s school since I was volunteering for his lunch hour. He held it together a little bit, but completely lost it. He gets so upset and anxious when his worlds collide. And it breaks my heart. Especially since now the kids are old enough to notice and ask why he is crying. I don’t know what to do in these instances. Come to his rescue, which only exacerbates the problem — or, throw him to the world and force him to deal with the situation? I am at a loss now since I’ve also signed up for other volunteer spots through this week and I just can’t bear to see him in the anguish and it takes such a toll on me too…
  • I go to lunch afterwards and force down some Pad Thai. My head is killing me. My body is aching and my head is spinning. I feel like crawling in a fetal position under the table at the restaurant.
  • As soon as I get back home, I learn that one of our speakers has dropped out of the Agenda for next week’s meeting. OMFG. Now what am I going to do? How will I even manage to secure a speaker in one week’s time?
  • I then start a conference call with a prospective client who attended the forums we recently conducted — he reached out to me personally and our company is going to propose on a business strategy related to our area of expertise – this could potentially be a VERY large project, and we are very well positioned to win it. And it was MY relationship and MY lead!!! I will likely develop the proposal and serve as an advisor to the project but am hesitant to take on too much of the heavy-lifting if we win it.
  • I then grabbed Big Bro early from after-care and took him jacket shopping. I like doing these kinds of things one on one with him; especially after the emotional day he had at school.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Mac-n-cheese and broccoli! Thank goodness Safeway arrived with our delivery! We now have food in the house! Yeah!!!

I can’t write much more tonight; I’ve had a pretty emotional evening and overall day – filled with ups and downs, mostly downs I think. I’m mentally drained and can’t believe I’m at the keyboard now.

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

October 24: Giggles at 5:30 AM


Today is the first day back from a 10 day vacation and a day at home yesterday with my kids, solo. We decided to go shopping for Halloween crafts and spent the day building haunted houses and decorating plastic pumpkins with stickers. So cute. They generally worked together, except for Twin Husky who was just wanting to get into things and throw things around. Big Bro was so excited about his costume (Batman) that he wore it all day yesterday and slept in it last night. Last year, he did this for the entire month of October in his Spiderman costume.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • We are still on East Coast time. Twin Husky was the first to get up at 5:30. Then Red came into our room at 6:15. They were quiet at first, but then they started interacting with each other and playing that I could hardly contain my laughter. Red was trying to get Twin Husky to say different words…. and he would try to repeat everything that she said. And she used inflection in her voice like a little teacher. After that, she began singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” while he held on to her feet — “Hold on to my feets, my two feets”…. and then she was singing Ring around the Rosie”. Twin Husky knew the tunes and I think some of the words and he tried to sing along too. They were both cracking up within minutes. I was smiling in the dark and trying my best not to giggle, or even chime in with their tunes. This was a great way to start my morning.
  • Our routine was standard; dressed for work while on the floor changing poopy diapers, negotiating with kids to get their clothes on, packing clothes bags for the week for the Twins, etc. etc. etc. Big Bro was excited about bringing in his haunted house to school so he was the first one dressed, fed, and ready to go. Then Red wanted to bring something to school too. So we packaged up a ziplock bag of pumpkin stickers. She was now excited too and ready to head to the van.
  • We had our normal 3 different drop offs for the kids; I feel like a shuttle bus. I also dropped Hubby off at the ferry. I am working from home now since I’m waiting for an important package to arrive; but I will later drive to the office and hopefully get there by 11 AM.
Highlights of my Working Day:
  • At home, a start a pot of coffee, dry my hair, and pop in a Trader Joe’s egg quiche (these things are awesome, in moderation. I like to have several of these in the freezer on days when I work from home. They cook in 2.5 minutes and then you are full and ready to get things done. Much better than having to cook for yourself in the morning.
  • I then go to Safeway.com and order food for the house. We literally have no food in here. I think we have two lemons, some jelly, and canned goods. I have no idea what Hubby was able to manage for their packed lunches today.
  • I check work email and start to respond to what I can, easily. I get rid of all the junk and flag the mails for follow up. This took some time since I was away for 10 days (I go OFF THE GRID when I am on vacation and on weekends…. folks at work know this about me).
  • Then the moment arrives. Just as expected, and right on time. THE UPS MAN ARRIVED WITH MY NEW IPHONE!!!!!! I was literally jumping up and down and up and down saying “it’s here! It’s here! Yeah!!! I stayed at home for this! It’s here!”. Think back to the movie “The Jerk” with Steve Martin when he got all crazy about the new phone book. Well, that was me when I signed for the iPhone from UPS.
  • After setting up the iPhone, I drove in to work. This is unusual for me but the iPhone kindof put a wrinkle in my normal routine. I LOVED blasting my music on the way in and probably driving a little too fast.
  • I spent the rest of the afternoon reaching out to conference participants, sending out materials and presentations, and getting ready for the next meeting to be held next week. I also followed up with 4 different business development opportunities, one of which was a potential client from one of the last big meetings — instead of joining the membership of the forum, he specifically reached out to me for consulting work related to our area of expertise. This was a goal of mine…. sign new members to the forums AS WELL AS generate proposals from the meetings. I AM PSYCHED. I need to schedule a call with him and after I post this I’ll need to get on to work email to get that set up.
  • I ran out of work at 4:15 to drive back and pick up Big Bro; I essentially worked a 1/2 day today. I need to figure out my reduced workweek schedule and get that put in place. I’m excited about the prospect of doing so – I’ve been at the company for over 8 years and they are willing to work with me to arrange something more manageable for a burnt-out consultant with four small kids.
  • I take the opportunity to go shopping for halloween shirts for the kids. This is something I completely forgot about this year. Last year I was so on top of things… shirts were ordered for all kids and they were excited about them. This year everything is just springing up by surprise. Old Navy did the trick. I stopped in “The Spirit Halloween” store and THANK GOODNESS I did not take the kids there over the weekend like I intended. The place was so spooky it even scared the crap out of me with the “Friday the 13th” music and all of the moving dead people. Creepy. I love it.
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  • I picked up Big Bro and grabbed the van. He made a quick change into his Batman costume and then we picked up Hubby at Ferry Station, then Red, then Twins. I guess we’ll be seeing Batman all this week and possibly even after Halloween.
Dinner and Bedtime:
  • We had NOTHING in our refrigerator to eat. Safeway food was not arriving until tomorrow. I broke out frozen bagels and leftover chicken and that’s what we had. The kids enjoyed themselves. Now we just have to get through breakfast (cereal, all OK) and lunch….
  • Our mother’s helper arrived and she almost fainted at the amount of clothes that needed to be folded and organized from our trip.
  • The rest of the night just disappeared. Twin Husky was doing alot of climbing. Climbing on the toy refrigerator set, climbing on the kiddie table, coffee table, etc. The kid is getting very squirmy and wirey and moves around non-stop.
  • Bedtime was uneventful, thank goodness. All kids are now enjoying brushing their teeth, now even the Twins. They both showed me how they brush their teeth and then let me help them finish up their work. I had them both giggling with pride.

So now I’m exhausted in bed, still on East Coast time myself, thinking about the day. It was 1/2 work 1/2 my time, but I am still very tired. But I’m not feeling stressed or tense. I’m thinking it still has to do with the time change adjustment. I do have to check on some work, but it won’t be much. And then I can have the rest of the evening to play with my new toy iPhone and figure out how to Tweet….

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

October ????? not sure what day. I’m on vacation.


I’m not sure what day it is. I’m not sure what time it is. It doesn’t matter. I’m on vacation. It is night-time though. I’m in bed and the kids are lined up on the floor each one sound asleep with their busy lungs and busy brains, hopefully dreaming about fun things and their time with Pop Pop and Emmy, my step-mom.

Today was a very normal day. A kind of stay at home while on vacation day. We did normal things. Nothing special. Went to a park. Fed the ducks and egrets. Searched for acorns. Had lunch. Napped. Played with my step-sister’s dog. Lounged by the pool although it was too cold to swim. Yes, I guess it does get cold in Florida. Had happy hour. Had BBQ. Big Bro went with Pop pop and Emmy to Walmart to get some things to entertain the kids on the plane. Twin Crazy took a bath. I did Red’s nails, in red. It was just a very normal day.

But it was a special normal day since the day to day activities were at my dad’s place – and we are getting the chance to experience each other on an extended basis. Something special happens on these kinds of trips. Once you hit a certain point, there is no need to entertain. No need to force conversation. People just are people with each other. So I am thankful that I have had this chance with my dad and his family and my children.

Tomorrow I will gather them up and take them to my dad’s office; where I’m sure we will cause quite a scene. They will draw pictures for him and he will put them up on his wall, until they are replaced by new pictures from their next visit…

I’ve attached a video that was actually not taken today – but several days ago when we were at my dad’s beach condo. At the time I thought I was taking pictures but the iPad was in video-mode so it’s a bit all over the place. This is how I feel this vacation is going. Going with the flow, things not happening as expected, but everyone taking things in stride and still having fun despite the situation.

I’ll be back at work on Monday and will plan to write something then. I want to enjoy my last day tomorrow and will likely be very busy when I get back home.

Till next week –
– Mama K

Recipe: Baked Pork Chops with Parmesan-Sage Crust


This recipe was submitted by Mama N from Austin TX, the most cited Mama so far in this recipe section!!!!! Thank you Mama N- as usual, this sounds amazing!

Note From Mama N: Regardless of the time, do not let the temperature go above 140 before you take it out of the oven; Goes very well with the red pepper and basil fettuccine

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 bone-in center-cut pork loin chops (each about 1 inch thick)2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges (optional)
Orange wedges (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, sage and lemon peel in pie dish. Whisk eggs in medium bowl to blend. Place flour on plate; season generously with salt and pepper. Coat pork chops on both sides with flour; shake off excess. Dip chops into eggs, then coat on both sides with breadcrumb mixture.

Melt butter with oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer skillet with pork to oven. Bake until pork chops are crisp on the outside and meat thermometer inserted into pork registers 150°F, about 20 minutes.

Transfer pork chops to plates. Garnish with lemon wedges and orange wedges, if desired, and serve.

Makes 4 servings. Bon Appétit

February 2001

October 18: Seashells


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We survived the wedding and the day after, we sat around by my dad’s pool while my aunt and uncle came to visit before they left for the airport. One funny thing to report: my aunt and my dad are twins. I should have known this could happen to us… but I digress….

My father has a condo on a small island about 1 hour away from Tampa. It is a quiet, surrene setting along the gulf of mexico with a private beach of white, white sand and clear blue-green water. This is only my second time here. I wish I had the luxury of being closer to my family so I can soak in more of these moments that are so important to me. So this vacation is somewhat bitter-sweet. It took us so long to get here and the kids were such troopers, but honestly we cannot do too many of these kinds of trips. Plus there’s so many other places to see. I wish I could just accept the distance but I no longer can. I used to think before that I could. So my face smiles looking at my kids with their Pop-pop on the beach so busy digging sand and investigating how the water works with the sand – but my heart and soul are a bit battered down. I feel too tired to think too deeply about anything anymore. I just feel sad, so misunderstood, and not listened to. But again I digress.

Today we took a long walk along the beach and all the kids were looking for shells. I love doing this and today was a treat with the four kids. We had two plastic bags and Twin Husky took to carrying one of them. Red also had a bag with her sandals and shells in it. We found so many. It was so wonderful to have the kids scattered and busy at work looking for shells, looking at the waves, talking about the birds – all on private beach so it was just us.

When we got back to the condo we rinsed them off (just me and them) and put them in a towel to dry. We then noticed that the ground cover near the parking lot was also shells. I thought they would all be broken but there were some really beautiful ones in there – so we went hunting for more. Big Bro’s job was the colander, Twin Husky’s job was the hose, and Red and Twin Crazy were busy laying out the first round of shells.

It is moments like these that I hope to never forget. How we all worked together. How everyone was busy and occupied. How everyone was grouped together yet each kind of doing their own thing. And how I just let them be kids. Jump in the hose water. Get wet. Search for treasure. And they let me be with them to experience it all.

How can it be possible that I get so much pleasure out of this moment but yet I can’t help to see myself in these shells – none perfect, some scarred, but all empty. That is how I feel sometimes. Just very empty. And too tired to fight any longer to fill myself up with feelings I once had. I’m just too tired.

I am typing this now as each is sleeping in the room on the floor. I hear their breathing, and imagine their tired bodies replenishing energy for another busy day tomorrow. And I bet anything that we will be searching to add to our existing bounty of seashells.

October 15: My flower girls are princesses


It’s been awhile since I posted anything so here are some updates from the past several days:

* Thursday. travel day. all kids did great. It feels great to be back at my dad’s house with everyone.
* Friday. took the kids to the park. beautiful. lots of egrets and ducks. stunning scenery. Rehearsal for wedding. Twin Crazy and Red are flower girls. They did great. Twin Husky made his way up to the stage and jumped and danced and laughed. He is such a ham. Rehearsal dinner: lots of meat. Ribs, chicken, steak. Twin Husky kept carrying around rib bones. He also kept wandering out of the private party room with bones in hand.
* Saturday. Wedding day. Me, dad, brother, Big Bro and Red ran errands. Came back and tried to nap. Got big bag packed. Raced to wedding to get the kids ready.
* I loved turning my little girls into princesses. I loved putting on their jewelry, fixing their hair, putting on their dresses, and encouraging them. I love them so much it hurts. I am so proud of them.
* They walked down the isle PERFECTLY. They did not shed one tear, they walked with determination and received a lot of cute replies from the crowd. They gleefully took my hands at the top of the isle and I gave them the candy I promised them.
* The bride looked stunning. During the ceremony there was a candle and Twin Crazy kept saying “HOT. HOT”. and blowing like she was going to blow out the candle.
* After the bride and groom, and wedding party walked down the isle after the ceremony, I held the hands of each of my little princesses and walked them out of the church. On the way out Twin Crazy kept saying “All done… All done….” and again received chuckles from the crowd.

I am so proud of my little sweeties. They both are stunningly beautiful, Red with her fiery red ringlets and Twin Crazy with her big dark eyes and flower clip in her hair. I am so proud of them – they did so great. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I am so happy to be their mom. I am so happy I had the chance to experience this with them. I love them so much that it hurts. They are just so cute and damn adorable.

I will post more pictures when I get myself organized, but for now, here’s a taste for what is to come. My littlest princess catching some sleep outside of the reception. Yes, I am in the parking lot with her and could not bear to wake her up. Missing out on some of the wedding reception is a sacrifice I am happily willing to make – so that she can catch up on her sleep and get some energy so she can party inside….. my sweetheart.

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