October 12: Too busy, getting ready for vacation


I’m sick and had little sleep last night – very, very tired and worn out. Running at work, packing/doing laundry, and getting ready for the vacation is tiring me out!

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I have alone time with Red this morning. She sits in my lap and we talk about me going to her school all day and her picking me up. She thinks this is funny; we keep going back and forth with this. She seems in a really good mood. I hold her, rock her, talk to her, hug & kiss her.
  • I scurry around after my shower trying to grab more of the kids clothes from their rooms to pack — bathing suits, dress shirts, socks, etc.
  • Downstairs the kids are eating; Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are both eating cereral with milk and yes they are spilling all over the place. I spend some time cleaning up milk and refilling their bowls.
  • I gather clothes for Red and Big Bro while they are eating.
  • Diaper changes with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky — he is moving around and wants to play with choo-choo trains so we need to do a “stand up” diaper change. He also says he “hurts” so I scurry looking around for diaper cream. I come back and Twin Crazy is busy cleaning Twin Husky with wipes. Her change is great; she reads a DVD cover and is still.
  • I help to change Red and Big Bro. We are running late. I still do not have any coffee or any breakfast – and am very groggy from the cold medicine I had last night.
  • OK time to go! We’re behind schedule! We gather their shoes, jackets, lunches, our bags. I change the last load of laundry. From this we have what we need to finish our packing tonight. Drop offs are going to be very hectic.
  • 1st drop off: Twins. They wave goodbye to us.
  • 2nd drop off: Big Bro. A huge problem. This switch in drop off messes him up; there are no teachers out there and just parents – but I don’t have time to wait for the teacher… there are some moms there that I know but he didn’t feel comfortable with them – he chased after me, crying. Finally another mom arrived with his REALLY close friend – we’ve been over to their house for playmates and dinner so he feels really comfortable with her – she saves me and grabs Big Bro’s hand. My heart hurts as I run back to the van.
  • 3rd drop off: Red. It goes fine. We find the kids in her class looking at books from the book fair. She has her own book with her that we bought yesterday and she is happy.

Today is the last day of work before vacation. I need a vacation desperately. Today will be busy. I really need to focus on getting materials out from the meetings last week, and starting preparations for the meeting we will have after I return from vacation — Getting the Agenda nailed down and distributed. I also have some business development items that I need to follow up with and also admin items like time sheets and expenses. Plus some various meetings in my calendar today so hopefully I can focus around these meetings.

I was running like an idiot all morning, with no coffee, no breakfast, 3 drop offs, and work — all after traveling last week and not having our mother’s helper around. I feel like I’ve regressed a bit. Once this last meeting is finished I need to scale back to a 3 or 4 day work week. This must happen. Please encourage me with this – it is scary for me to take a step back!

Highlights of My Working Day:

 

It was crazy busy today.

  • Two debrief meetings post-event from the meetings from last week; we discussed how things went and things to do differently, and also specific follow up things we can do as a result of the meeting
  • I had a business development call with a potential member of a new forum we are launching. It went well but we need to think through how to position/frame this particular forum
  • Sent off materials for the conference I will be missing next week while I’m on vacation.
  • Spoke with a guest speaker for an upcoming meeting to help her frame her presentation

I am also walking away with a TON more work to do tonight – I have to send out meeting materials from last week, complete and submit my timesheet, organize sales meetings for a new forum we are trying to sell, and make introductions to specific forum members on behalf of another Director. I will need to do all of this tonight when I get home, and before finishing packing.

I am on a train now headed to a meeting. So Hubby is home with the kids (and hopefully the mother’s helper). I will miss them tonight. I might be able to see Big Bro and Red before they go to sleep. But tonight is honestly going to be crazy with the work I have to finish and the packing I have left to do….

Dinner and Bedtime:
 

  • I drank a Guiness.  Did some work at the bar.
  • Got home and read some books to Big Bro and Red.
  • Did some more work.  Finsihed up work at 9:30 PM.
  • I will post this by 10 PM.
  • I will then need to pack — the rest of the kids stuff and also my own.

My dinner consisted of a Guiness.  I might eat some Cheerios before I go to bed tonight.  I am exhausted.  Physically, mentally, emotionally.

I plan to send infrequent posts during vacation, but I can’t make any promises!!!!

 

Until later,

– Mama K

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Recipe: Chicken over Brown Rice with Steamed Vegetables


This recipe was submitted by Justine Orona from Los Angeles — sounds yummy – and good for you too. I’m also thinking that this recipe might work with a stacking pan set — for example starting the rice in bottom pot and then steaming the vegetables in a steamer pan that fits on top…. I think I have something like this. This would save on some pan space. I’m also wondering if there’s a way to cook the rice with the vegetables thrown in there? Would this work?

Thank you Jusine!!!


Ingredients:

  • Any vegetables you like, I use broccoli, carrots cabbage and squash — cut into bite size pieces
  • chicken, preferably breast
  • seasoning: i use Lawreys
  • brown rice

Directions:

  • Follow brown rice directions
  • As that is starting cut all the vegetables in bite size pieces
  • Steam vegetables
  • Prepare chicken by cleaning off all the fat, polk holes and apply seasoning. Then cut chicken into slices not so thick and put them in the pan or toaster oven. If it is on a pan than add a little bit of oil or butter and put the heat on med to low. If you put it in a toaster oven wrap in tinfoil for 15-20 min.
  • Once everything is finished put rice on the bottom vegetables on the side and chicken on top of the rice so it will have some flavor.

Preparation Time: 10min
Cooking Time: 20min

October 11: Running, running, running….


Today was a hectic and bit stressful morning. As I write this now I am on the ferry drinking my first cup of coffee, no breakfast, feeling tired tired TIRED, hair wet, no make up, and headed into a day of work that I know will be more stress than I would like – nonetheless, here are some highlights:

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Wake up very groggy, Big Bro’s owie feels a lot better so we high-five. He claims that he does not even need any medicine on it or a new band-aid.
  • Red on the other hand starts throwing a tantrum as I am about to get in the shower. She was waiting for me to help her get dressed, NOW. So I stop the shower and go with her to her room to get her dressed.
  • All kids at this point are downstairs for chocolate Tuesday.
  • Big Bro has already eaten and we pick out some clothes from the mountains of clean folded clothes in the guest bedroom (thanks to our Mother’s Helper).
  • Diapering Twin Crazy is fine; she is pointing to her leg saying that it hurts and that she needs medicine (copying Big Bro – so sweet). Big Bro comes out with an open umbrella during Twin Husky’s diaper change is not so fine. He’d rather look and investigate the umbrella since he’s never seen one inside the house before. That was a bit of a struggle for me.
  • OK get your shoes on and time to go!
  • Twin Crazy jumps off of the one stair into the garage while holding all of her animals and blankets and then falls into the wall and bangs her head. I need to console her.
  • I gather up the bags and try to get the kids in the car.
  • Twin Husky finds the cookie container and is sitting there eating a fist full of cookies. At least he’s not exploring in the street. I let him go at it and ask Hubby to get him in his seat.
  • I throw in another load of laundry – we NEED to pack TONIGHT for our trip
  • I find a rain jacket for Red but I really can’t find any sort of proper jacket for Big Bro. I really need to get one for him. This can be a mommy-time activity if I can find the time – most likely after our vacation.
  • We head off – 3 drop offs. First is Red, then the Twins (I realize I forgot Twin Husky’s medicine), then Big Bro. He wants to bring the umbrella (big, adult) and I instinctually say No. Then he gets upset and starts with an agonizing cry. I look around and all the other kids have cute little tiny kid umbrellas so I give in to him. I’ll need to add this to the shopping list. Big Bro needs a jacket, and an umbrella.

It’s a rainy day today. I’m not looking forward to work. Maybe this coffee and some breakfast will help. I think it will be rough today. My head is still asleep and I look like ass — completely not together. I buy some coffee and a book of ferry tickets – the attendant is apparently as tired as me because she gave me an extra book of 20 tickets by accident ($100 value). I correct her mistake and she thanked me over and over again. I think of my grandfather. His good deed that I remember as early as 5 or 6 years old still stays with me when I am faced with similar situations. I will need to write separately about that.

Highlights of my Working Day:

I couldn’t stop all day today. It started with me grabbing a breakfast sandwich and eating it on my walk from the ferry to work.   The day was so crazed that I couldn’t leave for lunch. A colleague was kind enough to bring me back something/anything (it turned out to be a great salad – thank you!). Let me see. I spent the day confirming speakers, finalizing an agenda, communicating with speakers, conducting a business development meeting for a separate initiative, reviewing a presentation that we will give and provided feedback and guidance to the person who will present in my absence, gathering our distribution lists for the prior meetings so I can distribute the appropriate materials, and coordinating with all team members to make sure that the next big meeting is a success (from Director to administrative assistants). We are all pulling together and hopefully it will be a great meeting. I’m also looking towards the NEXT meeting in November. So am doing the legwork to get the agenda drafted and presenters organized.   Oh.  And also trying to get other things finished/taken care of before I leave for vacation.

Now I’m on the ferry back home. I am sweating and exhausted from the day. Our mother’s helper texted me today and will not be here tonight. Hubby is also going to be late. So I will have all kids by myself until probably after 7. So I’ll be running, again. Non-stop!!!! I decided to order a pizza for tonight. I just can’t deal with cooking. And then after the kids are in bed I will need to pack for our 10 day trip!!!!! Today will be the longest day EVER….

Dinner and Bedtime:

 

I knew going into tonight that I was going to be on my own.  Our mother’s helper cancelled due to school and Hubby said he needed to take a later ferry.   But he didn’t get back until 8 pm so I had the entire night on my own.  We had our ups and downs – but again there was activity/laughing/crying non-stop:

  • I pick up Big Bro first.   I always ask the kids to learn something new, laugh, and excercise your body each and every day.   So I asked him what happened today that was funny.  What made him laugh today?    He thought for a bit, and said that the class was asked to think about things that started with the letter “T” and the teacher would then draw a picture of it so that everyone understood the word.   Big Bro raised his hand and said “toilet”.   So the teacher indeed drew a toilet for the class.  He said that made him laugh pretty hard.
  • 2nd pick up was Red.  It was also book-fair this week so I had Big Bro and Red pick out a book.  Together we picked out books for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.
  • 3rd pick up:  Twins.  They were so good.  All laughs and smiles.
  • I got everyone home and helped to get their shoes off and started to unload the bags.   While I was getting Twin Husky, Twin Crazy wound up climbing back into the van and got to the front seat and honked the horn, scaring all of us silly.
  • Once inside, I ordered pizza ASAP.  In the middle of this call I think 2 of the kids were crying.  I’m not sure who.  But there was screaming.  I just went into another room to finish the order.
  • I changed my clothes fast.  Started the dishwasher.  Unpacked their lunches.   Started another load of laundry.   The kids were playing and also eating some Cheerios.   They were also dumping Cheerios on the floor.
  • Then they got quiet.  I think it was when I was changing the laundry.   Too quiet.  I enter the kitchen to find Twin Husky holding the sugar bowl, with a pile of sugar on the counter.   He had sugar all over his hands and in the corners of his mouth.   Twin Crazy just had sugar on her hands.  Red had sugar on her hands but she “wasn’t playing with it”, she was “just touching it”.   I take Big Bro’s hands and they are sugar-free.  “I didn’t do anything.”
Twin Husky gets snagged sugar-handed

Twin Husky gets snagged sugar-handed

  • I sit and read the new books to Big Bro and to Red.   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky get into some fights over toys.  Twin Crazy is starting most of them.
  • Pizza comes.  The guy looks sorry for me.   They all eat a ton.
  • Then playtime while I clean up a bit.   Twin Crazy is busy stealing Twin Husky’s toys and running away from him and making him cry.  She did this literally all night.
  • I then propose some milk.  All kids agree.  They all down the milk and we head upstairs for bed.    Twins are tired.  Twin Husky is even asking for his crib.
  • Teeth and storytime is great with Big Bro and Red again with their new books.   Big Bro has memorized two poems that he has to recite to the class at the end of the month.  He recites them for me and he has them both nailed.
I head downstairs to start packing — I am called up there 2x and now I’m sitting here typing and Red is still screaming her head off for some reason.  I don’t know why she’s so clingy.  Maybe she didn’t get enough of me tonight since I was busy with house-hold stuff.  I need to spend more time with her.  Even if its having her sit on my lap and rocking her a bit.  I’ll try to do that for her tomorrow.
OK, gotta go now to finish the laundry and start to pack.   I’ve been running since 7 AM and its now 9:30 PM.   And my day is still not over….
Til tomorrow,
– Mama K

October 10: Funny disfunction — owies and flies


Last night we went over to a friend’s house and NO ONE napped. So all kids were catching flies during the ride home as early at 6:30 PM. We carried them from the car to bed – this was the earliest bedtime ever for the kids and they all slept well. That meant that they all woke up well and full of energy – even Big Bro.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I wake up to Red and Big Bro in our bed, laughing and playing. They woke up so early and were so playful. They play with my alarm clock and wing up turning it on at full blast, which they think is hysterical.
  • All of the sleep with all the kids leads to a VERY relaxed morning where there are NO tantrums and everyone is agreeable. Twins and Red eat cereal and Big Bro has a bagel. We are REALLY running out of food because we are going to leave for a 10 day vacation soon — but we have no bread (it is moldy), no jelly, no fruit, ….. let’s see how long we can stretch this out with a family of six.
  • Kids get dressed without a problem; Twin Husky has fun playing with choo-choo trains, putting the tracks together and linking up the trains. Twin Crazy has having fun drawing with a magnetic board.
  • I put in some laundry, pack up the bags, and get the car ready. I make some instant coffee. I am hungry this morning.
  • Everyone seems to be sneezing/sick which puts us back a bit, but we are still very early. since we are so early we all get into the van together and make all drop offs together.
  • 1st drop off: Red. She is there early and drop off is so smooth. She is such an outgoing kid. 2nd drop off: Twins. We have a lot of clothes and diapers and wipes and medicine with us today – just in case they need it. 3rd drop off: Big Bro. I take him to his lineup, he is excited for the day. He has goose-pimples and is cold (I know) but he doesn’t want to put on his sweatshirt. I guess he doesn’t think it’s cool. I need to take a better look around at what the other kids are wearing so I can get him a proper jacket. Hubby and I then make our way to the Ferry. The parking lot is not full – Columbus Day.

I’m now on the ferry and it is so gray; looks like it will rain. I have a lot of work to do in the next 3 days before vacation. I have preparation and still some speakers to secure for the next two big meetings – and I also have to close out some major things from the last two forums. I think these 3 days are going to be packed. I need to take a deep breath and plow through it — my four left feet are going away and I feel like I can attack this stuff without too much stress (hopefully).

I’m really looking forward to vacation. We’re heading to Florida where my father lives – I will get to spend more time with my family which I really need. And Red and Twin Crazy will be flower girls in a wedding which we are looking forward to. I hope they can do it OK without being too scared. I think they both have the personalities to do just fine. After the wedding we head to the beach for a week – and even though we have the kids I’m hoping to grab some thinking time, some reflective time. I need time to stand still and catch my breath.

Highlights of My Working Day:


Today was the kind of day where looking back, I wish I would have gotten more accomplished. I needed to settle back in the office from last week’s travels but not lose any momentum… I still have two meetings to organize (and fill dropped speaker spots) but also think through the last week of meetings and organize the next steps coming out of those meetings. There were some administrative distractions today as well which cut into my thinking-time. I think that if I hit the ground running tomorrow, I will be able to accomplish more – and I think that if I knock things out in the morning I will feel more productive and hopefully continue the traction throughout the day.

I’m on the ferry now headed home. I am tired. Very tired. I still don’t think I’ve caught up my sleep from last week. I am gearing up for vacation and still feel like I have so much to do at work and at home to prepare. I’ll try to start to pack tonight — I need to organize dressy clothes (wedding) as well as beach clothes for afterwards – and do this for 4 kids as well as myself. I’m going to start to do that tonight if I have the energy.

I’m looking forward to kid pick-up. I didn’t get a chance to do this at all last week so I’m looking forward to being in that role again.

Dinner and Bedtime:

Things were pretty crazy/funny at first. I was on my own and honestly, it was like a comedy routine in the house:

  • I pick up Big Bro and we both go over to pick up Red.  She has a little zip lock bag of snacks that they assembled at pre-school.   She asked to have something and I said it was OK for a little, but it would be good to share with Big Bro.  I thought she would share some pretzel sticks but she wound up picking the only cookie in the bag and then split it in half for her and her brother.  I thought that was so sweet.  Big Bro said “thank you” to her with conviction….   how sweet.
  • Big Bro shoots down my idea of home-made macaroni and cheese because he likes the job of mixing the powder cheese with milk.  As soon as I park the van and try to organize bags and our things, he swiftly gets two packages of boxed mac-n-cheese out and proceeds to open the boxes, dump the powdered cheese in a cup, and ask for milk so he can start stirring.   That kid is too independent for his own good.  I can’t believe he tricked me like that.
  • Twin Husky plays with train tracks and trains and gets frustrated.
  • For some reason, Big Bro decided to take off his jeans and walk around the house in his underwear.   This led to an accident in the house.   Big Bro and I were running around and horsing around, him saying that he wanted my keys, and me saying that I wanted some “peace”.   I started tickling him saying that I wanted “peace, peace, peace” while he wanted “keys, keys, keys” and his bare leg scraped against my rings — his poor leg was all scraped up and bleeding a bit.   All kids started to come over and look at his “owie”.  Twin Crazy even kissed him to make him feel better.  Big Bro, being very dramatic, was acting like he just broke his leg.  We put a band-aid on it and he wound up crawling over to the dinner table in his spot.
  • Twin Crazy saw a fly and continuously started to make scared, anxious sounds while running over to me and holding my legs for protection.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky start fighting over a rocket ship scooter, and then a Barbie doll.  Twin Husky has trouble putting all of his “things” in the trunk of the rocket scooter and starts to get frustrated.
  • Twin Husky and Twin Crazy keep asking for more chicken but everything is gone.  I didn’t even eat anything yet.
  • Hubby comes home and starts chasing the fly with a dish towel – he came close two times
  • Twin Crazy starts serving herself more mac n cheese
  • Hubby takes out nectarines for dessert and starts to slice one.  Twin Husky is on his lap and steals the other nectarine and starts chowing down on it before Hubby has a chance.
  • Big Bro turns and asks me “why does my penis itch so much?”.   ??!?!?!??!?!?!?  I guess its time to take baths/showers tonight!
  • Twins run upstairs to take a bath when they hear this
  • Baths were uneventful
  • Bedtime routine was quick – these kids are tired.   Red wants her book read to her like she is the “teacher”.  I guess pre-school is really making a mark on her.
Red acting like her "teacher" during bedtime stories

Red acting like her "teacher" during bedtime stories

This Monday was relatively good.   The kids were great in the morning, work was not too hectic (compared to last week), and dinner/bedtime was extremely amusing, at least for me.  I really enjoyed myself with them tonight — even the dinner-time rush on my own and the craziness that all of it brings.   It feels good to be back.
Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

Staying Sane: Pay for help!!!!


It seems that life these days is so much more complicated than it has to be.  When I was growing up, it seemed that life was less complex and we had a steady stream of visitors, neighbors, and relatives in and out of our house almost daily.  It seemed like we had that “live in a village” type of set up where folks helped each other out, and our family was all close-by.

Fast-forward 35 years.   People are more remote than ever – which has its pros and cons.   We are far away from both of our families and we live in a bigger city where we do not have that “village” community.  People tend to stick to themselves during the week.  Me and Hubby cannot rely on close family or friends to care for our kids (or care for us).  We also both work full-time — so everything falls on us.  And everything DID fall on us, until about a year ago when we came to terms with our situation and said THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE – we need to start delegating our load and paying for help.   I also wrote about how you shouldn’t expect to be able to do everything   and that you need to rely and team with your partner.    Well after these two important points, another way to “stay sane” is to think through EVERYTHING that can POSSIBLY be outsourced within your means and then cross those responsibilities off your list. Daycare is a tricky one since you likely have to work (I’ll talk about that in a separate post).  But think through what you do on a daily basis, weekly basis, monthly basis….. the task could be a candidate for outsourcing IF:

  • the task does not necessarily need to be done by you or your partner
  • having the task done by someone else will not impede your relationship building with any of your children or your partner
  • the task can be done quicker, faster, easier by someone else
  • the cost of outsourcing the task is worth the time it frees up — either for yourself, for you and your partner, or for you and your children
  • the cost of outsourcing the task is worth the convenience and/or improved quality of life it enables
  • you or your partner do not gain personal satisfaction with the task
  • your budget can allow for it; the cost of outsourcing is worth it compared to other things you could spend your money on

From our own household and talking with other working mothers, here are some ideas and approaches on delegating work loads and paying for help (obviously the reality will depend on your budget and tolerance for spending):

  • Housecleaning.
      • Find a housekeeper that is flexible — find one where you can call on them to clean your house when you want, and at whatever frequency you need. If you hire one less often, you will still need to the tidying between visits but the housekeeper can do the deep cleaning, dusting, special projects that you know you will never want to do.
      • Hire a younger college student to do the basic cleaning tasks you can’t keep up with (sweeping, mopping floors, cleaning the bathrooms). Post on “gigs” section of Craig’s List for this kind of help.
      • In our house, we hire a housekeeper about 1x a quarter (we need to go every other week I think. We have a Mother’s Helper who comes during week nights to help with dinner clean up, laundry, and general straightening up.)
Pay for help!

Pay for help!

  • Laundry.   Consider a Mother’s Helper (see above) or dry cleaner where you can pay by the pound. Someone mentioned blueskycleaners.com, a service where they pick up and drop off and use environmentally friendly methods (it is more expensive but saves time since they do the pickup and drop off of clothes).  Some nannies will also do laundry, make breakfast in the morning, lunch, and keep the house clean (however they are very expensive).
  • Shopping.  I like to outsource grocery shopping to Safeway.com (Hubby hates when I do this because he thinks we spend more money this way) and I am also a HUGE fan of Amazon.com for just about any other shopping I need to do — they sell everything imaginable.
  • Mother’s helper to help with homework (our eldest is in Kindergarten so this does not apply to us yet — but I would want to take this on personally)
  • Washing the car (Hubby loves doing this – he always has. And now he loves doing this with Big Bro and Red by his side as they “help”).
  • Cooking (maybe some nannies can do? We don’t have a nanny and we would never be able to afford a personal chef).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our dual-working families could afford to have teams of people at our fingertips so we could enjoy our time with our kids??!?!?!?!??! Of course our budgets are NOT endless, which is why we are probably working in the first place. I think the key is to figure out what are the things need to be done but you and your partner choose NOT to do to free up your time to spend with your kids, get some alone time together, or get some alone time alone! It’s another balancing act but one that I believe pays off. The extra money spent can be well worth the stress relief and freeing up of time to do the things you and your partner WANT to do. In the end I think it’s well worth it, within reason.

What other things can be outsourced in your home? What works with your family? What hasn’t worked? What other information can others share????? 

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

October 5: Self Realization and Coming Home


I am on a plane right now headed home from my business trip. I’ve been gone since Monday early morning, and my kids will certainly be asleep when I return tonight. So, Friday morning will be our reunion – ending our entire 4 day separation from each other. I’m looking forward to seeing their sweet faces.

Let me quickly recap today’s work activities. It was a really big day. We had 5 hours today to wrap up our event — and today was much harder because it involved MUCH more facilitation and work on our (my) end — a good part of the day went beyond managing speakers but instead managing brainstorming sessions with the ENTIRE group to 1) progress further in mapping out plans for a potential service offering for the group and 2) to identify key areas of concern/interest to be addressed the next time we meet, 6 months later. On my end, this was also my last real opportunity for face-to-face “selling” of the forum to our many guests, and building those relationships to position our company well for consulting services even if they chose NOT to join our forum. So the pressure was on. I think it went VERY well today and I took total control over the meeting, leading the entire group through the day:

  • the presentations went well. For one presentation I needed to help facilitate and support the presenter to make him and the session successful.
  • the brainstorming session and planning session were extremely interactive and the group came together to identify great areas of focus for our next meeting. It was great to see the participants interacting and feeding off of each other. And I had fun helping them spur their thinking by making references and comparisons to the presentations as well as their brainstorming work. I think we’re in great shape to start planning our next meeting 6 months from now.
  • Our team received great feedback and handshakes from the participants — the members as well as the guests. I even got a few hugs! It was great to see the energy and enthusiasm from them, and to FEEL appreciated and successful.

So overall, today and the previous days went very well. I leveraged skillsets developed over my career such as detailed planning, problem solving and thinking through implications of the many presentations to the two different groups, facilitating discussion and drawing out different perspectives, listening to what the groups were saying, selling and proving the concept to our guests — while also letting my personality shine… showing warmth, hospitality, empathy, energy, and FUN. But I obviously did not do it alone. I had help from a great team of people to make it all come together.

And I think everyone from both sessions knew about my four small kids waiting for me at home. I find that my story is so unique that it is a VERY effective “ice breaker” for me to connect with people. I play it up. I talk about the craziness of my life and actually thank them (jokingly) for giving me the chance and a break from my day-to-day chaos. I have a great picture of the kids on my computer “wallpaper” that came up when I was starting and ending the day, and sometimes even during the day. It was great to share that part of my life with them and helped me connect with them on a more personal level.

Kids - Christmas 2010

Kids - Christmas 2010

This picture is also funny because the boys were dressed similar as were the girls, and also because it is obvious that Red was in a hiatus of a crying fit when it was taken. In fact, this one quick click is one of hundreds that we took in the span of 5 minutes — between Twins taking every opportunity to crawl away, all kids crying at some point during the photo session, and us “bribing” them with props and cookies. Even though Red is obviously upset, Twin Husky has his thumb in his mouth, Twin Crazy looks startled, and Big Bro is smiling yet his eyes are looking away and his image is fuzzy, it is a PERFECT picture because each of their faces are facing the camera, they are all together, and you can see the diversity of personality between and across them. And this one quick click captures this point in our lives so perfectly.

So this is what my clients and prospective clients from both forums saw during the past 4 days. But they also witnessed how I was 100% “on” with all of them during this time away from my children. This was proof of what a working mother can do. Maybe they even recognized some of my traits that make me a good mother but also cross-over into my working world — how I hustled, how I multi-tasked, how the details were thought through in advance, how I tried to make them feel at home and appreciated, how I managed differing opinions, how I looked into their eyes when I had conversations with them, and how I dedicated myself to them to make their experiences good ones. I wonder if some of them (particularly the women) actually imagined me in the mothering role with my children. And it occurs to me that it isn’t until now that I can fully realize how I’ve grown professionally because of these children. I sort of felt it (or at least I’ve said it to feel better about the working mom struggle), but actually thinking about it now and writing the specific ways I’ve grown in black and white proves it. Wow. This is sort of a breakthrough to me.

These last few days have also proven to me that this role could possibly be perfect for me at my company. It allows me more stability and consistency, but still keeps me in front of clients and also lets me stretch into sales for our firm. My skillsets are completely aligned with the needs for this position. And I believe that I can take this existing baseline and structure and twist it a bit — bringing fresh ideas to the table. Although I will need to travel, it will be contained and COMPLETELY predictable. And I do believe contained travel in small spurts is win/win/win/win for everybody involved – me, my work, Hubby, and the kids. This was the right decision for me at my work – and I have proven over the past 4 days that I am doing a great job – I’ve already received this feedback directly from the clients as well as from firm leadership.

I have two more forums to finish planning for and one more to personally attend. After that I will go on a reduced work-week schedule. I’m feeling really good about the past four days and am looking forward to getting home. I won’t feel completely grounded until tomorrow when I reunite with the kids.

And it won’t be long now until I can see them sleeping, feel their warmth, and give them lingering kisses as I smell their hair. Honestly, too good to be true.

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

Recipe: Schmidt Chicken


This recipe was submitted by a friend, Mama J from Seattle, WA. “OK, here is my recipe. I think it was published in a magazine WAY long time ago, but I don’t know which one or how to credit. We call it “Schmidt chicken” and it’s been a family favorite for 3 generations. We do this probably once a week. If you grill breasts and have leftovers, slicing them makes for a great addition to salad the next day. One recipe can make quite a bit of chicken, but if you have a crowd, you can just double it! Easy peasy.” Sounds amazing! Thank you Mama J!!!
Schmidt Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • Chicken (can use any kind of chicken, bone-in, skin on, or bone-less skinless, light or dark meat)
Preparation:
Whisk together marinade. Turn on grill. Put chicken in marinade. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, at the most. Too much time in the marinade makes rubbery chicken. Grill chicken, dunking it in the marinade periodically as it cooks.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Enjoy!

October 5: Moshing


As you may know, I am out of town on a work trip.  This is the second set of meetings that I am facilitating and I had the first half of the day working with one group/forum, and the second half of the day working with a new set of people/group/forum.   You should have seen the 1 hour in-between – the rush to pack up the old, and get ready for the new.  What a swift shift in mindset —  completely new set of products, completely new group of people.

I am already doing things differently with these meetings.   I am asking for frank feedback and am getting good responses (at least face-to-face).  I guess we’ll see the REAL feedback after folks leave and they complete their conference evaluations.

I ate my third filet mignon tonight after 3 nights here and it was by far the best.

I corralled the group to go out to a dive bar afterwards and moshed to Nirvana.  I miss being in my 20’s without a care in the world.  I felt free when I was dancing / jumping tonight.  I want that feeling back.  I need that feeling back.   I am in my forties and cannot believe how time is passing.  I want to feel free with my children.  I don’t want to worry about adult issues like finances or affordabilty or the state of the economy.  I just want to live and be connected with my kids and FEEL like a person and FEEL like I am LIVING.

This work trip is good in that the reunion with my children will be sweet.  I hope it is making all of us recognize the distance and the feeling of being back together again.  I plan to take off most of Friday.  I plan to keep my kids home with me on that day.  I plan to be a Mom on that day, after being away from them for so long. 

The meeting today was a success.   I think we/ I might have sold more members to the forum.  Tonight I had most of the guests with me.  I hope to see them again as members of our forum.  And I want to feel responsible for the sale of the membership, the value, and being responsible for the cultivation of the relationships and  business development.

OK, I’m going to go to bed tonight after 4 wines and 2 beers and 1 mosh song – Nirvana is still in my head.

And a sorrowful goodbye to Steve Jobs, who was suffering and fighting the past few years.   We have just lost one of the greatest innovators of our time.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

October 4: First day is a success


I’m traveling for work and we had our first true day of meetings.   I was in charge of facilitating the discussion, welcoming the guest speakers, and also presenting facts/data and the implications to the group – and also facilitating discussion versus only reporting numbers (how boring).   It was a great day.   Folks gave me great feedback and I’ve already tried to do things a bit differently to engage with the group and hopefully drive consulting sales.

 

It has been a very long day.  I woke up at 6:15 Eastern (3:15 Pacific) and the work was non-stop.   All day meetings, post-meeting debrief, cocktail hour/schmoozing, and dinner/schmoozing.   I found several others who went to Columbia University (very, very strange since most tend to stay in NYC).   I also had a great dinner conversation about 80’s metal bands and I even had fun singing Cinderella’s “Nobody’s Fool” and “Shake Me”.   I had a second filet mignon.  And too much wine.  This will be a fun bunch.  They are smart and also fun.    I’m going to like this.

 

But the day is long.  And I have tomorrow and Thursday left.   I am exhausted already and have more to go…. and of course I miss home.

 

The report from home today was that there was kissing of the monkeys on the cereal box “Gorilla Munch”.   I bet you anything it was Twin Crazy.

 

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Random Thought: How did you hear of Mama In Motion?


I’m trying to build an audience and am using various ways to market what I’m doing.  I’m curious as to what is working versus not working so much….

Thank you for the feedback!   I will likely re-use this poll at a later time and after I do some additional promotions…. It really helps to understand the best way to reach people so I can best manage my [limited] time.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION!!!

– Mama K

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