November 30: Stealing Red


Half of a work day! From home! YES!!!!

Highlights of My Morning and “Commute”:

  • Red woke me up proud that she was already dressed for the morning. However, she only changed her top. So she did great, 1/2 of the way.
  • The Twins came bounding into the room – lots of hugs and jumping. I love that part of the day when the kids are excited to see us. By the time they reach Big Bro’s age, I guess they lull in bed and you have to tear them out and ask if it’s OK to give them a morning hug and kiss. 🙂
  • Downstairs, all kids were at the kitchen counter on stools. It was so cute. They were all lined up and sharing space and eating. As Hubby made lunches, Twin Husky hurled himself on the counter to reach for sliced apples. So they really had a diverse breakfast this morning.

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  • The older kids knew that I was working from home today, and a 1/2 day. So Big Bro knew that I was going to walk the Twins to daycare and also have him scooter his way to school. He was thrilled, but Red was upset about this. But then Red also knew that I was going to “steal” her from pre-school today early, and spend some 1:1 time with her (since Big Bro had time with me 1:1 last week). She was thrilled, but Big Bro was upset about this. So there they were fighting about the time they were going to spend with me. Big Bro wants Wednesday afternoons to be “Big Bro and Red” time together with me, versus 1:1 time. I asked him if we could talk about it later since Red would also have to agree. For now, she is excited about potentially going on a choo-choo train ride, and at that point Big Bro threw himself on the floor in a tantrum.
  • The walk to school/daycare was great. We by chance met up with our neighbors who also walk/bike to the school. I call all the kids together the “Motley Crew” — I laugh about that, and of course the kids have no clue what I’m alluding to. So together we all walked/strolled/scootered/biked to school. Big Bro had a great time and felt grown up as he locked up his scooter to the chain-linked fence.
  • I then strolled the Twins to daycare and brought along a potty for Twin Crazy, just in case she feels brave enough to try the potty at daycare. The Twins love the stroller rides in the morning. I have a feeling they do not get the chance to be “really” outside during the day at daycare. We talked about the falling leaves, the leaves on the ground, the sound of barking dogs….
  • My walk back was great. It felt good to get out, walk the trail back home, see the leaves on the ground, know that the kids were all close-by. So that stroll back by myself was my “commute” home and to work for the day. I LOVE THIS NEW WORKING ARRANGEMENT….

Highlights of my 1/2 Working Day:

I had a great day at home working and I think that working 1/2 days at home are so much better than full days. On full days, I tended to get sluggish from the absence of people. But 4 hours at home is a breeze. It gives me just enough time to be productive and not waste time. It occurs to me that I have so many pictures posted of my kids but nothing related to my work. So here it goes — below is my working set up while at home. Comfy couch, wired computer, plenty of coffee and water. And my phones close by.

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  • I had to troubleshoot some reporting problems we have with one of the forums I am managing. There are data issues and report distribution issues that I was not aware of. I think the problem is being addressed, but it does not make our firm look good to our clients. I need to make sure this type of thing does not happen again in the future…
  • I am happy to report that I received the work in progress work for my client project from the consultant who is helping me, and it looked like a REALLY good first start. I therefore was happily and aggressively working on the deliverable – it is so much easier for me to pull something together when I have good, strong, smart people working with me and creating materials that I can simply review versus re-do. So I had a very productive morning and sent off a first draft of the deliverable to my Directors for their first review. I will need to focus on content early next week and we will meet with the client at the end of next week. I think we are in good shape so I feel great about that.
  • I then submitted my timesheet and signed off for the day. 🙂

The Rest of the Day:

  • I went to lunch at 1:15 and ate at a great sushi place while typing on my iPad. I called Red’s pre-school to see when they wake up from nap. 2:30. Great. That gave me time to go food shopping before I stole her for our 1:1 time….
  • Red was so excited to see me. She was smiling and jumping up and down. She was literally speechless.

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  • I asked her what she wanted to do and she wanted to go shopping for new underwear for Twin Crazy. So cute. I suggested feeding the ducks first. We had a great time. She sat on my lap. There were four different kinds of ducks there all with different looks and different quacks. Some were meek and some were aggressive. We talked about the different kinds of ducks and tried to throw the bread to the meeker ducks.

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  • We then went shopping. On our way we made a list. I never walk into a store until I make a verbal list with the kids. This prevents melt-downs when I say we cannot buy random stuff at the store that they happen to fall in love with. So on our list was 1) underwear for Twin Crazy, and 2) sneakers for Red. When we walked in there I was sidetracked by blankets and Red quickly remarked “No Mommy. That’s not on our list.” I couldn’t believe it. “Thank you [Red] for keeping me on track.” So cute. Then she got sidetracked with the Christmas ornaments but she did not break down in a tantrum when we moved on because they were not on the list. We shopped for sneakers. She needed a pair with lights. We went shopping for small underwear for Twin Crazy. She picked out a package that she thought Twin Crazy would like. We stopped at a drug store for pull-ups for Twin Crazy. I found the right size and gender, and Red picked out a package that she wanted us to buy. She is so sweet. Shopping for Twin Crazy was the first thing she wanted to do with her alone time with me. I am so lucky that these kids are so empathetic with each other.

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  • We then picked up Big Bro and the Twins; I cooked a quick dinner; we tried more potty time with Twin Crazy without luck – but she loved the pull-ups (so much so that she had on about 4 or 5 pairs all over her legs). I felt like I didn’t have enough time with Twin Husky but I’ll make it up to him tomorrow.

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I had a great day. I felt like I contributed to our family finances and then had the opportunity to steal my child for 1:1 time. Dinner and after dinner was a blur with kids and a flurry of activity but I enjoyed it; and am enjoying my couch now even more than earlier today! Wait a minute…. I hear some stifled laughing at the steps…. I better go now and be a tough-ass so these kids respect me and go to bed.

Till tomorrow –
– Mama K

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November 29: A DAY TO REMEMBER!!!!


Wow what a rough night, what a rough morning. Red woke up at 3 AM feeling clingy, needy, and refusing to let go of my hand. I broke my rule of “no kids in bed” and asked her to come with me. Big Bro heard this and he came too. So we all had a “comfy” night together in bed. I know, this is wrong. This is hard to break. But it was 3 AM and I needed sleep. And I missed my kids since I didn’t see them the night before. So it was selfish of me, too.

I had to wake up early so I could take an 8 AM conference call in the city. I needed to take an earlier ferry. So this AM was unusual again today… and it got worse…

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up to Red and Big Bro. Red was in a great mood. Asking me about my clothes, my stockings, my skirt. And how she has tights, and skirts, and how her skirts have shorts underneath. And if my skirts have shorts too? How cute. She really was in a great, playful mood.
  • Then I saw the Twins bouncing and bounding into the bedroom…. “Mommy!! Mommy!” Twin Crazy was so excited that she was jumping up and down and jumping like a rabbit over to me. Big hugs and kisses. Twin Husky was equally excited, but in his own subdued way.
  • Chocolate Tuesday! Big kids head downstairs. I get their clothes together.
  • I tried to help getting the kids breakfast and then had to pack up to catch the earlier ferry. I had coffee automatically brewed so it was easy to get my fuel for the morning.

My walk to the ferry was nice. I am going to have a busy day today. Back to back conference calls again. It is foggy. Very foggy. As I approach the dock I wonder if it is too foggy for the boat to leave. I can’t see the boat. Was it cancelled? I get there to find out that the ferry is there, but it is full. Shit. What do I do now? What do I do about the conference call, and what does my schedule look like for the rest of the day incase I take the call from home and then try to drive into the city?

I arrive at home, kids are surprised to see me. I look at my schedule and decide to have my admin cancel the 8 AM call and reschedule. I will try again for the normal ferry time to make it to the office for the rest of my meetings.

  • I walk in to see Red sprawled across the benches and screaming crying. Big Bro is not dressed. Twins are upstairs with Hubby.
  • I try to work hard to Red. She is very upset about something. It doesn’t look like she ate breakfast. She is clinging to me. I get her down to get her dressed. She refuses the shirt I picked out. I ask her about a different shirt. I try shirt #2. She is still bawling. I decide to take her to school and hubby take Big Bro and Twins. This puts Big Bro in a fit. He wanted me to drop them off. I promise to pick him up later today and to do scooter to school tomorrow. He didn’t get any help from me during dress time [he doesn’t need my help but he likes the attention] since I was spending so much time with Red. All of this was happening while my Admin was on speakerphone working with me to cancel/reschedule the 8 AM call. Too funny. What a collision between work and home. These collisions I always find interesting but a bit stressful.
  • I try to leave with Red and it is hard with her shoes, her lunchbox, and now she is bawling about the little red reindeer stuffed animal. You’ve got to be kidding me. Big Bro is in the doorway crying about how I’m not dropping him off. I can’t do much about this now but I will try to make their evening special in some way. Plus I need to give the Twins some time too….. hmmmmm.
  • Red drop off at pre-school was not easy. Clinging. Pouting. I made her laugh on several occasions but it wasn’t enough to turn her mood around. I left with her being held by her teacher, her bawling and reaching out to me, and me prying her little fingers off of my jacket. Uggggh.

So, now I’m on the ferry. It’s like groundhog day. I feel like I had two mornings. And it hasn’t gone particularly well so far. Plus I’m hungry. I had barely a dinner last night (beer and bread) so I guess I’m a bit sluggish too. Plus tired from being woken up in the middle of the night.

Work will go well today. I will have several meetings and hopefully the consultant who I enlisted to help me with my client deliverable will turn around something EXCELLENT for me. I’ve heard a lot of great things about him and how dependable he is so hopefully he gives me back something good. It will make my new work arrangement that much easier if we finally have people we can rely upon to do the heavy lifting of project work. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Highlights of My Working Day:
It was a sort-of productive day, and I felt good being in the office and interacting with people.

  • I had three different 1:1 debrief conference calls for the two forums I am managing. Again, great ideas and feedback from the participants.
  • I also started to think through the organization of the Spring meetings – I sent out “Save the Date” information to all of the participants from both forums…. i still need to close out loose ends from the last meeting though…. I will need to focus on that next week.
  • I spent some time thinking through the client deliverable and am looking forward to getting the work from the consultant who is helping me. I will work on that draft tomorrow at home during my half-day and **hopefully** I will feel good about that first draft.

I’m on the ferry now headed home to pick up the kids. They almost feel like strangers to me since I didn’t see them last night and this morning was very fragmented and rushed. I’m looking forward to getting “re-acquainted” with them.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Tonight went smoothly – I did the pickups and decided to pick up Red first to give her some extra alone time with me. Dinner prep was fine; the trick I find is to keep the kids occupied. Especially now that the younger ones are starting to fight with the older ones. I had Big Bro and Red put up stick-up decorations on our windows around the house. This worked well.

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  • I broke my rule about “one meal” at dinner tonight. Usually I have the kids eat whatever we are eating, but that meant left-over stew that I knew would not be a hit. So they had home-made mac-n-cheese. The funny part was when Twin Husky started to dive into the stew, “caveman” style.

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  • We then finished putting lights up along the banister which was fun but a bit daunting. It really is impossible to keep two 22 month olds away from little white lights, especially when the lights are within reach of their little hands.

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  • The biggest milestone of the evening was when TWIN CRAZY WENT PEE-PEE FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME IN A LITTLE POTTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG I cannot believe it. When I started to change her, I realized that her diaper was sort of dry so I figured there MUST be some pee-pee in there. I asked her if she wanted to try and she ran to the door. We all gathered in and sat with her. Red even held her hand. She switched from two different little potties and was “talking” the whole time and I didn’t even realize it but lo and behold…. I saw a bit of a discoloration… and upon further investigation I realized that YES, my little pumpkin girl, my little Twin who was born at 6 pounds 5 ounces nearly 22 months ago, ACTUALLY PUT A LITTLE TEENY TEENY bit of pee-pee in there. OMG it was great. She helped me dump it in the toilet, and she flushed herself, and we all sat there and said good-bye to it as it was flushed away. We were all cheering and clapping and excited and all of us got an ice-cream treat and also I gave her extra M&Ms for going to the potty. I told her that we are so proud of her and love her so much and if she continues to go, each time she will get a treat and an M&M. She was so proud of herself. The look on her face. She started laughing and jumping and she then DID NOT WANT ME to put a diaper on her for bedtime. OMG she is not a baby anymore. She is a girl. My little girl. Big Bro drew a picture for her because he was so proud of her.

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So today was a bit dicey at first, but ended up great, and is certainly a day that I hope to never forget.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: Cyber Monday!


So, Cyber Monday came and went. And from what I can tell, it was a big deal for retailers and actual shopping exceeded many’s expectations.

I did not participate in it since I’m trying to tone down my shopping sprees. I KNEW that if I started with holiday shopping for kids (rational purchases), I would go overboard with items for myself (irrational purchases, considering the amount of stuff I’ve purchased for myself over this last year — refer to my post “Staying Sane: 41 ideas for yourself”).

So I’m curious about our shopping activities of our audience. Some questions for you:

Way to go ladies! Kuddos for stimulating the economy, creating jobs, and helping to close the Federal deficit!! Job well done!!

Thank you for (playing) participating!!!

– Mama K

November 28: Getting back to the “normal” routine


Monday. After a 4-day holiday (home made play dough, visits to the beach, visit to a steam train, going out to lunch, putting up our tree…..). We were a bit rusty this morning.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up super early since I thought I had to take an earlier ferry into the city today for an early conference call. I showered, got dressed, and 5 minutes before I was about to leave I checked my email on iPhone. Good thing I checked because the meeting was cancelled! But I had to coordinate with my admin to push back a second meeting since I would be a bit late for that. So, this morning was already a juggling act for work.
  • Red woke up first, happy. I heard Twin Husky saying “Mommy… mommy….mommy!!!”. He was walking up the stairs trying to find me. I love this with him. We’ve recently gotten much closer and I love it.
  • Twin Crazy was busy with oatmeal all over her mouth and cheeks (so cute) and also busy bringing around the “new” Christmas stuffed animals from room to room. Twin Husky was transporting them too – using the toy shopping cart.
  • I was busy this AM finishing some laundry – getting bags packed for the kids and linens for sleep time.
  • The kids were in a great mood since the tree was up. Everyone wanted to get changed and ready in the toy room where the tree was. It’s amazing what some lights and little ornaments do for a small child. Wonderment. And the Twins this year are 22 months old so this is somewhat new to them… they didn’t really “get it” last year. This year, they were helping with the decorations, pulling the decorations off of the tree, eating the gel decorations off of the windows, etc. So cute.

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  • We divided drop offs this AM. I took Red. She was clingy. It was a rough drop off. We talked about the home-made play-dough we made over the weekend, the book that she brought to school, but she was still clinging on to me and reaching out to me as I left. I think many kids were having a rough time adjusting to “school” after a 4 day block of time at home with their families.

So now I’m on the “normal” ferry and headed through the fog to the city. Although my first meeting was canceled, I still have 3 other back-to-back meetings as soon as I get in. And one will be pushed back a bit because of me and my schedule. These are one-on-one feedback meetings, and I need to go “heads down” and focus on my client deliverable for the rest of the day.

There are many emotions going through me lately. I am really happy with my work arrangement, for the first time in years. I feel like I have the balance that I need and that my family needs. My older kids talk about my “home days” and I’m already thinking of the kinds of activities I want to do with the Twins. Things they can’t do at their current daycare. Puzzles, reading, excursions to museums, going to the library, or just rolling around and playing with Mommy. It’s all good. This was a move in the right direction for my life, my happiness, and the experiences for my kids.

Highlights of My Working Day:
It was a good, busy day.

  • I led 1:1 feedback calls with two members of the 2nd forum I am managing. This is with a separate Director and he found the calls to be extremely valuable, and he personally thanked me for initiating the process. This forum has been running for 20 years and I’m trying to take a different approach where it makes sense to do so and these 1:1s are important to me to make sure we’re providing the right value to the group and also for me to develop relationships with the leaders of the companies.
  • I [finally] started to devote real time to my client project and develop the thinking into the presentation we will provide to them. I enlisted help of more junior staff to help me fill in the pieces so I think this will go much quicker than I originally planned. Whew!!
  • I led a team “re-group” where we got together to talk about business proposals, client work, team availability, and learnings as they relate to sales or even the debrief learnings from my 1:1 sessions with our forum clients.
  • For the rest of the day, I spent more time on the client project, and also had to handle some administrative items, including getting ready for tomorrow – I have another day of back to back meetings; some debrief, some sales. I’m finding that with this new work routine I need to prepare the day before since my days are generally filled with meetings – squashed into 2.5 days.

I am now waiting for my appointment. I am feeling generally very good about things. I feel like my work is headed in the right direction. I’m thinking about the doctor appointments I need to schedule for the kids (and dentist). I feel like I’m getting my routine better coordinated and can go through these weeks with more confidence. I will miss my kids tonight though. I will probably have some time with Big Bro and Red, but not much time. So hugs and kisses and quick conversations about their day will have to suffice for now. My goal will be to connect with each of them and really listen to what they have to tell me – not just quickly say goodnight to them. Maybe I’ll ask each of them if it was good to see their friends today after the long weekend, and what did they specifically do with their friends that made them laugh. I like that.

Till tomorrow –
– Mama K

Staying Sane: Communication and getting to the root of the problem


On Sunday nights I usually try to post something in my “Staying Sane” series… and something happened over this past weekend that I wanted to write about. It was about a temper tantrum and a conversation that I had with my eldest son, Big Bro.

It was Friday night. I had the kids all day and all evening, solo. We had a full day – and at bedtime all kids were pretty much wiped out. Books are a very important thing in our family. We have been very consistent with each child (the Twins got a slow start though, I’m sad to say….) and they really, really, really, look forward to books at bedtime. So much so, that our eldest kids are enjoying reading to the Twins!!!!

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But I digress. The important thing to note is that our children love book-time at bed. And each child gets to pick out their own book for us to read.

So it is Friday night. And I read a book to Red (“Handa’s Surprise” by Eileen Browne. I even love it.). Big Bro was busy finishing up teeth brushing so he entered the story halfway. The kids normally get into a routine where they love a book for weeks at a time and then move on to another. Well, I was reading a book that I’ve must have read 100+ times — it was not a new story. It was a story that my kids know well. And even though Big Bro missed several of the first pages he knew the story like the back of his hand.

There was also a Spiderman book next to me. I mistakingly thought it was HIS choice of books. So I read it. Then I said it was bedtime.

And that is when the tantrum began.

We’ve experienced these plenty of times in the past with Big Bro. He is our first and our most spoiled. He throws himself on the ground in fits more often than our toddler Twins.

Our conversation went like this:

Me: What is wrong?
BB: I want you to read that Handa book again, from the beginning. [sob sob, whine whine, cry cry]
Me: But [Big Bro] sweetie, I said that it was book time and I asked you to sit next to me with the Spiderman book and you didn’t want to. You had your book. I read two books. I’m not going to read another book again.
BB: NO!!!! [scream, sob, cry, yell] [while I pull him into bed]. I want you to read the book!! I want you to read the book!!!! I want you to read the book!!! From the beginning!!!!
Me: No sweetie, I’m sorry. I said that I was ready to read you the Spiderman book but you weren’t paying attention. I read the two books for tonight. I will check on you after I take my shower [yes, I revert to this on weekends – no time for my own showers in the morning on weekends].

So I go and take a nice shower, thinking that by the time I get out all will be well, he would have settled himself out, and things would be wonderful in the world again.

I was wrong. He was sitting in the middle of his floor, eyes red, looking half asleep, and looking like his version of an “Occupy” standoff.

I asked him to get back in bed. That is when the REAL tantrum started. I decided there was something more going on here. I decided to get to the root of the problem. There is more here than just a damn book.

Me: BB, BB, BB, sweetie, please, look at me. [I kneel down and take his face so that I can look at him in his eyes]. Please calm down. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Please. I know that there is something else that’s bothering you. Please I don’t think I have the full story. Please try to calm down and tell me what is really upsetting you. It’s NOT that I didn’t read that Handa book a second time. What is it? Can you find the words to tell me what is making you so upset?
BB: You read to [Red] but I didn’t get a book to pick out.
Me: Oh…. you mean to say that you did NOT pick out the Spiderman book?
BB: No.
Me: So you didn’t GET a book to pick out for me to read to you tonight?
BB: No.

Oh my goodness my heart just melted into pieces. I took for granted that the Spiderman book was his book but he was the one that actually picked out the Handa book. He wanted me to read him that book and start from the beginning since it was his book that he chose and I started reading it without him. He just wanted his full turn and his full time with me.

So of course I sat him down immediately and we read the book. Red even came over. And his body stance and how she snuggled up to me and how were were interacting and talking about the book was like a 180 degree turnaround. It was like I had whiplash.

Misunderstandings happen. We know that. It happens all the time with our kids. And the tantrums at night can be easily over-looked as being over-tired. But seeing my child stand-off to me (in an almost peaceful sort of way) even 20 minutes later told me that I wasn’t getting it right.

I am so proud that he took the time and through his tears to pause and stop and find his words to express what was really upsetting him. Sometimes this is very hard for kids to do. Sometimes they even forget why they are so upset. But him in his tired and half-sleep state trusted me enough to work through it with me and explain in a different way what was bothering him.

Of course I made a big deal out of it. I told him how proud I was of him for calming his body and finding the true reason why he was so upset. It wasn’t that I didn’t read the book a second time, it was that he never had a FIRST time with a book that HE picked. I repeated this to him and I told him that this is what a mis-understanding is and that sometimes misunderstandings happen. But it is important to TALK about it and find your words that way the other person [me] can truly understand. It is important that I truly understand what is bothering him and each of my kids.

Of course Red was there listening to all of this too. So I reiterated this lesson to both of them, again. And I apologized to Big Bro and commended him on his strength and patience and ability to express himself so clearly to me. And the hug that I gave him was strong and REAL. And he knew it.

So I left the room with more emotions that I had originally envisioned. I felt guilty for putting him through this. But misunderstandings happen. But what he DID get to see out of this is how I took the time to work with him and talk to him and that he saw that it was very important for me to really understand what was causing his distress.

So now I know to listen a little more, do not take situations for granted, and push each of my children to find the words and communicate to me – to talk about their feelings, why they are upset, and even the good stuff too.

Thanks for listening –
– Mama K

November 23: One-on-one time with Big Bro


Today was a work-at-home day. And it was a 1/2 day. And it is the day before Thanksgiving. And we decided not bring Big Bro in for “day camp” today and save the extra money.

That meant that I had some extra time with Big Bro, just me and him.

  • We dropped of the Twins and Red. She wanted to wear her little turkey head band again today. She is too cute. Her teacher chuckled when she saw Red back at school with the hat on. Too cute.

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  • I did some work and reached out to a number of prospects for a new forum we are trying to launch. As I did this, Big Bro watched a movie.
  • I straightened up the house and unpacked some Yankee Candles that I ordered. Pumpkin Pie and French Vanilla scents. I love candles. The house just felt warmer with them on.
  • We went out to lunch. We talked. He felt tired and rested his head on my lap for a bit. We held hands. I loved this time with him. I feel like I love him so much that my heart hurts. I asked him if I told him how much I loved him yet today, he said yes, but I kissed his nose anyway.

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  • We went shopping at Trader Joe’s for our entire Thanksgiving dinner. I love that place. We were in and out in less than 20 minutes. They had everything and the place wasn’t too crowded. There were little turkey footprint stickers leading the way to the turkeys. We left with four strips of stickers.

 

 

Dinner and Bedtime were a bit routine; with the exception of the older kids wanting to read to the younger kids. And also Red asking me to spend some alone time with her, doing exactly what I was doing with Big Bro today. Her face looked so sweet and patient when she asked me this. It’s not like she is jealous of Big Bro – in fact, I hear them right now talking up a storm upstairs – they get along really well. I just always sense her neediness. And I feel bad for her that she went to school while he stayed at home, it’s just that I had work to do and I can accomplish things with him and not nearly as much when she is around – she is much more interactive so I can’t focus on work while she’s here.

This does frighten me. How on earth am I going to be able to give each of these children what they need? How much more can I possibly give? Am I shortchanging them individually because I have so many children collectively?

There’s a sense of sweetness that I’m feeling now, the night before Thanksgiving – with my children who touch me in ways I’ve never dreamed imaginable. How Big Bro took my hand at lunch and how we sat there in silence briefly just being there with each other. How Red looks at me and expresses her need to be with me – while she’s hugging me and laying in my lap. How I danced softly holding Twin Husky earlier in the evening because he seemed more tired than normal and how he wrapped his arms around me and held me tight. How Twin Crazy looked at me tonight and said “I did it” and then I looked down at her foot and she had a sandal on, apparently put on by her, all by herself.

But at the same time there is such a feeling of solitude. Loneliness. Despite the new work arrangement and the happiness that it has brought me. There is more. I need more. But I will spend time tomorrow feeling thankful for this family and what we have.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone –
– Mama K

Random Thoughts: Am I tech savvy yet??


I’m on Facebook!!!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mama-In-Motion/138502609564903

“Like” the page!!!!

 

I’m on Twitter!!!

Follow me @Mama_In_Motion 

 

I’m loving my new iPad and iPhone.    I feel like a new woman in the new millenium.

– Mama K

November 22: First love notes


Chocolate Tuesday! And the kids set out their clothes the night before! This made the morning relatively easy compared to others…

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up to see a magnetic board of more of Big Bro’s sentences. I couldn’t believe it. I guess he was working on it as he was going to sleep the night before. This was an AMAZING way for me to wake up.

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  • Twins were up and we all said our good mornings to each other in Big Bro and Red’s room. Red asked me to help her get dressed. She ran downstairs for Chocolate Tuesday.
  • After I showered suddenly Twin Husky appeared in my room saying “Mommy! Mommy!”. I’ve really noticed a difference in our connection since I’ve been staying home on Thursdays and Fridays with them. I feel like I’ve been able to strengthen this relationship just by being there. Then Twin Crazy made her way up. As I was getting changed, both were in my closet talking about belts, shirts, scarves. Twin Husky is talking up a storm. Twin Crazy understands everything but still talks in a slurry time of language and it seems like Twin Husky understands.
  • Downstairs, things were easy schmeasy. I got my coffee ready. Red rejected her pants so I got her a different pair. I helped Big Bro get dressed even though he doesn’t need help (but needs me). He was really excited about “day camp” at Red’s school – especially I think because one of his friends is also there. He is adamant for some reason against bringing a jacket. I don’t know if this is some sort of peer pressure or if he really is very hot blooded.
  • Twin drop of was great; Red and Big Bro drop off was great. They mentioned to me that Jackets are a rule so I went to the car to bring out a sweatshirt for Big Bro. He did not cause a fuss. He was busy playing with pine cones with his friend.

They all seemed really happy this morning. I wish I could say the same for me. For some reason I just feel empty. Maybe its because we’re going into Thanksgiving which is normally one of my favorite holidays – but there’s so much going on at home and also with my step dad (pancreatic cancer) that I feel like I’m not where I need to be right now. I feel the need to be back on the east coast with my family who is hurting now. And as a family here we are also doing hurting of our own. I love the 4 days with the kids but am not looking forward to this upcoming holiday. I feel empty and tired and not in the right place. I need to put my best foot forward to make it nice for the kids.

For work, I have a lot of meeting scheduled for feedback from our forums. I am started a second round related to the second forum I am managing. I am going to take the opportunity during these calls to try to sell the members extra reports that are available to them and also drive up our revenue. I would also like to work on my client deliverable and FINALLY break the curse of procrastination.

Highlights of My Working Day:

I was busy but not terribly busy. And of course I didn’t get to the deliverable that I’ve been procrastinating over.

  • I had two debrief sessions over two different forums and received some great perspective on moving forward.
  • I had an interview with a market player for my client project and learned some new things to help inform our work.
  • I lead a go-to-market meeting for another forum we are trying to develop and coordinated with folks internally to figure out who was going to “own” each potential contact.
  • I also looked at some of the services and associated prices for these services that we charge one of the forums. There are some questions I have that we will need to figure out.

And no work done on my deliverable!!!! Ugggh!!!

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Pick up with the kids was fine; Red was proud of her Thanksgiving hat and also her placemat where she made little turkeys out of her handprints. I missed her class’ Thanksgiving feast – I do feel badly about that but I needed to be at work today. I’ll make it up to her during the 4 day holiday weekend. But to look at her little face with that hat on just breaks my heart…

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  • I came home to a house smelling like cooked food; Hubby was home early and cooking. While dinner was cooking the Twins were being adventurous with their little chairs again. I repramended them and put their chairs in the closet. Kids ate well. I lit a Pumpkin Pie candle and had a beer.

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  • After dinner the kids had a great time having a parade and using my legs to go “under the bridge”. I was doing this with Red on my back, Big Bro pushing around a rocket ship scooter, Twin Husky pushing a toy stroller, and Twin Crazy pushing a toy shopping cart (with twin babies inside…). We had a great time.
  • At one point Big Bro was blocking a path and to get through the Twins had to give him a high-five. They caught on quickly. My password was a kiss. Twin Crazy gave me a kiss each time, but Twin Husky said “NO”.
  • Bedtime was fine; kids enjoyed their books; I enjoyed having them in my lap and snuggling in close to me… asking questions about the book and observing new things from the pages that we have not noticed before, even though we’ve read the books 100+ times.
  • I just returned from checking on the kids upstairs and I passed by a surprise that he left in front of our bedroom — oh my goodness this is just too cute. One day I will miss those nights of checking on them and finding these little love notes from a son that is learning how to read and write:

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It was a good day. I love my new candle. I feel like I learned new things at work. I feel like there’s still more to do, but I’d rather feel a bit under pressure than bored. I love that I have a day with Big Bro tomorrow. I love that he is learning to read and write. I love that I have more of his notes to look forward to in the very near future. I love that after that we will have four days together. I love that Thanksgiving is coming up – it has always been my favorite holiday. I am missing my family though. The best we can do is take pictures of the food and send them to each other; or Skype. Or FaceTime with the new iPhones!!!

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

Random Thought: What type of Mama In Motion are you?


I’ve recently made a HUGE transition in my working arrangement at my company.   I’ve realized (and have been tortured over the decision, to be blunt) over the past several years and months that although I like contributing to the financial security of our family and like the challenges of having a job/career, I wanted to make some changes to the time committment that I make to my work compared to the time committment I make to my family.  So, I’ve essentially went from a Full Time worker, to a Full time with some flex time (e.g., working from home), to a Part-time worker also leveraging flex-time.   Quite a change!!!

I’m curious to hear from you — what type of Mama In Motion are you?

Thanks for sharing – more on this topic over the next several weeks.

– Mama K

November 21: A day of pure silliness


I’m feeling very relaxed from the four days with the kids. We had an active and lazy weekend which was nice balance. This will be an out-of-the-ordinary week for work because of Thanksgiving – one where I feel a bit under-the-gun to complete certain things at work.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • We all woke up very early this morning. Big Bro and Red set up their clothes the night before – many of which were “new”. We get a lot of hand-me-downs from other families and I took the time to bring out some of the bigger stuff for both Big Bro and Red. I made a big deal out of their “new clothes” and we looked at everything together as it all came out of the wash. Both kids were pumped. Both kids put piles together of things that they liked and didn’t like (the didn’t likes went back into the bin for the next generation of kids, Twin Crazy and Twin Husky). So, they were completely excited about picking out their outfits for today, laying them out on the floor, and getting dressed by themselves before we even went downstairs. It was great. I made a REALLY big deal out of it.
  • While I was getting ready I heard Twin Husky calling for “Mommy. Mommy.” All of the sudden he was upstairs and said “Hiya” and then there was Twin Crazy right behind him. Then I think Red came in. It is too funny. I love how they seek me out – even though sometimes it is nice for the quiet and my time alone. But then there is always a child, a set of hands reaching out to me, a conversation that must be started, or some tears that need to be attended to. I really can’t complain.
  • The rest of the morning was pretty standard – Twins climbing up on chairs to reach the counter, all kids eating, some fighting over toys, some tears. The only thing that was reasonably funny was when I gagged on my coffee (full mouthful) and tried to keep it in, but found it impossible and wound up spitting all of it all over Big Bro’s drawing. I laughed, told the kids about it, apologized to Big Bro, and they laughed about it. Thank goodness.
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  • We had only TWO drop offs today. We dropped the Twins off without a problem. They had fun looking at a garbage truck and saying goodbye to the garbage truck.
  • Our only other drop off was for Big Bro and Red, together. This is because Big Bro’s public school is CLOSED all week. We had to sign him up for “camp” for two days at Red’s school, Big Bro’s old school. I think he was nervous about a different routine / day, but excited at the same time. THey did great at drop off. I could tell that Big Bro was a bit anxious because of the different teacher and he didn’t know the only other kid there, but he quickly sat down and started playing dominos with them. No tears, no apprehension, no prolonged hugs or grasps at the hands. He’s really doing better at new experiences such as this.
  • I’m on the ferry now into the city, wearing some new courdoroy pants that are too long at the leg. They were on the pile at my new sewing machine [link] but I have not gotten to them yet. It is a short week and it is cold outside and I felt like wearing cords. So I just cuffed them and they look ridiculous. I will try to work on that over the upcoming break. So besides me feeling a bit self consious about the look of my pants, I am thinking about what I have to do today. I have too many meetings scheduled for me to feel like I’m going to get much done for the client deliverable I need to get done this week. I am over-booked for one hour with two different meetings so I need to get that fixed. I’m a bit nervous about getting this first draft of the client deliverable done. I find though that when I feel like this I focus beyond belief and I somehow plow through it. I’m hoping that kicks in for me today that way tomorrow and Wednesday I can scale back a bit.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

  • I started the day with my Admin to help me work through two conference calls that were booked at the same time. She handled it well, thank goodness.
  • I had a conference call for my client project where we interviewed a key market player. The call was EXTREMELY short, but extremely informative. They also pointed us to other sources of information which was helpful.
  • I had a follow up one-on-one phone call with a participant from one of our forums from our last meeting; we received good feedback and ideas for our next meeting.
  • I lead another staff meeting where we talked about what we are working on, the proposals we are working, and if there were any issues we needed to discuss as a team. I think these meetings are going really well and bringing our people together more.
  • Immediately afterward, we had a client conference call and organized a face to face meeting for early December. I think I’ll have my shit together before then — HOPEFULLY.
  • The rest of the day was devoted to my deliverable but somehow I didn’t make any progress on anything. I organized myself for meetings for the next day and did some admin items. It would have been great to get some of the client deliveralbe finished, but again I’m procrastinating for some reason……
  • Now I’m on the ferry home – the sun is still out and I’m looking forward to only two pickups for the kids. I miss them on Mondays. I wonder about their days. I always ask them if 1) they learned anything new today; 2) how did they excercise their bodies today; and 3) what they laughed about during the day…. laughing so hard where their bellies hurt. I mostly just like to catch up with them on Monday nights after being away from them during the day.

    Dinner and Bedtime:
    The kids were acting EXTREMELY silly tonight. There were lots of laughs and interactions between all of them. It was an unusual Monday since Monday’s they are usually cranky. That was not the case tonight. They were lively, adventurous, playful, interactive, and full of giggles… completely egging the others on…

  • While I was cooking our “real” dinner, I quickly warmed up some leftovers from the weekend to get them started on something. I’m not sure exactly what they were doing in there, but there was lots of laughter, and at one point Twin Husky was on top of the table and all of the plates were all over the place. I think there was some food consumed, but it was minimal.
  • At the “real” dinner, all kids ate really well. Carrots are a big hit in our house lately. And everyone for some reason wanted to drink from MY waterglass instead of getting their own water.
  • After dinner Hubby gave the kids cookies and ice-cream; that may explain some of the silliness from tonight.
  • There was puzzle time with Red, tickles with the Twins and Big Bro. Big Bro knows that the secret to get me to STOP tickling him is to say “You’re GREAT mommy!!!. So I started to teach the Twins that to get me to stop tickling them they have to say “I love you Mommy”. They caught on really quickly but after I was winded with tickling laughter.
  • Red I and bumped heads while doing puzzles. We also bumped heads when I got her in her car seat earlier in the evening, and later at night when I was reading her a book. My head hurts now.
  • I repremanded Twin Husky for hitting Red and he did the silliest, cutest thing. He stood there, then blew air through his pursed lips real fast, clapped his hands real wide once or twice, and then threw himself on the floor and started to roll around. This got everyone in hysterics. I started to mimic him and he was cracking up.
  • For bedtime, Big Bro and Red wanted to read to the Twins. “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” is a favorite of theirs. Big Bro read the whole book through, but when it came for Red’s turn, the Twins were already bored so it was hard to keep them in the same spot. This again got everyone in hysterics and the kids were basically running all over the place and poor Red was trying real hard to get the kids back to her. The look on her face when the Twins were running away was too cute. It was kindof like, “What are they doing? I’m ready to give up here” kind of look. She is so sweet and she just started giggling with everyone too.
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  • Bedtime for Red and Big Bro was fine. Big Bro started talking about the words he knows how to spell — and then he started to string them into sentences. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted him to show me. The below is his attempt to write “I like my school.”. I am really looking forward to this next stage of his development. You can tell that he’s thinking and trying with his words and really gets into putting the words to paper. I love that about him. His energy at figuring it out.
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  • Another thing that impressed me tonight was when we were reading “No David.” There is a part of the story where David is in a time out and the kid does look sad with a tear going down his face. Big Bro went back to that page and said he gets sad too. I probed and wanted to know if he gets sad when he gets in a time out, or if he meant that he feels sad for David. He said the latter. I breathed a sigh of relief. He explained that looking at the picture, and looking at his face, and the tear on his face, makes David sad and Big Bro gets sad for David when he sees it. Big Bro is VERY tall for his age but he is very gentle. And I am soooooooo thankful and happy that I see so much empathy in him – how he looks out for his siblings and how he also expresses his feelings to books that are meaningful to him. It was a great way for me to end the day with the kids.
  • So, I’m a bit tired today, feeling a bit behind at work, but feeling very satisfied with the kids, their happiness, and personalities. And I truly believe its going to get better from here.

    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

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