Staying Sane: My Sewing Machine and my patches


This seems like a strange topic for me to write about. First of all, I don’t sew. At all. So really I’m not going to write about the sewing machine itself. But from the limited research I did (on amazon, I love that website), I think it is a good one. It has features that many do not. Features that I know I do not need. But you never know, maybe one day I’ll consider myself a bonafide expert sewer. Or, maybe not.

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What this post is really about is the need that I had to accomplish specific, distinct tasks that I perceived as ones that “traditional” mothers should be able to do. For example, in the past when each of my kids were babies, I became a fanatic about making home-made baby food. Even though I was working crazy hours. On weekends I would go into a frenzy finding receipes, going shopping, and making vats of baby food – labeling them, freezing them, storing them for later. This to me was “catching up” on those motherly duties that I thought I was dropping the ball on. I think because I felt guilty. I think because I secretly wanted the time to do the same thing less rushed during the week. To be a mom to my babies. To cook for my babies. As a full-time worker, my weekend time was time I needed to catch up on these sorts of activities to make me feel good about myself and make me feel like I wasn’t being only 1/2 a mother.

Fast forward 5 years. My son is an active BOY and his jeans always take a serious beating. Without fail, he always wears down his jeans at the knee on his right leg. ALL of his jeans wind up this way. So the options are 1) cut them into shorts, 2) ignore the holes; 3) throw them out and buy new ones; 4) iron on a patch; 5) sew a patch that matches the denim of the jeans that he destroyed.

I know the range of options require a range of effort. But even though I was working full time, I decided to take the hardest route. Buy a sewing machine, and I don’t even know HOW many yards of denim (probably enough for 100s or 1,000s of patches), and just start sewing.

  • My first attempt was horrendous. I sewed the pant leg together through the middle. Front and back side. Completely fused together. I just ripped out the stitches and started again.
  • My second attempt was much better. Except you can tell that a Novice sewed the patch. It all looks even and aligned except when you get to one corner, the last corner. I had too much material. So the patch is all bunched up at that one corner. I decided that this error was acceptable and moved on to the second pair of pants.
  • The third attempt was much, much better. It was a lighter pair of pants and I got fancy and turned the denim material over to better match the colors. I sewed the edges of the patch first, and then sewed it to the pants. Scrunching and twisting and turning it around, and in the end the corner seemed OK and honestly it looked pretty good!!!!

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After that, I got wiped out. So after at least 3 hours of setting up the machine, learning the parts, experimenting with practice garments, and then actually trying to sew the patches, I only have two pairs of pants to show for it. I still have a stack of about 5 more pairs. Poor Big Bro is wearing these two pairs of pants non-stop and rotating them and washing them non-stop. My goal over the next few weeks will be to bang out at least two more pairs.

Why do I do this? To feel like a Mom. To feel like I’m fulfilling a need for my son. Sure it would be easier to iron on a patch. I know that. Of course that is the rational thing to do. But I am not rational at these sorts of things. I over-do it. I create projects for myself. I document my children endlessly (that’s probably why I’m still doing this blog). I feel the need to make up for the shortcomings and time that I’ve missed because of having to work full time. I know this sounds silly. I know that it is ridiculous that I have a sewing machine that has 40 stitches pre-programed, and has different “feet” for quilting projects. I know this. It is so ridiculous.

But it makes me feel good that Big Bro has those two pairs of jeans fixed by his mom. And it feels good to have that sewing machine sitting in my house just in case there is another article of clothing to mend, or even if its just the perfect space to start stacking the things that need to be mended.

I’m sure I’m not the only working mom with examples like this. What other “mom” related activities/tasks do you do to make you feel more like a mom???? Please comment! I’m interested to hear and may also replicate your ideas!!!!

Thanks for listening!
– Mama K

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November 18: Friday with Four!


Today was a bonus since I had the Twins and also Big Bro and Red for a good portion of the day!

  • Big Bro had a “Thanksgiving Feast” at his school and he was AOK with me and Twins visiting his classroom during that time. The kids each took a turn telling the class what they were thankful for and Big Bro participated without a problem. They then recited their Thanksgiving poem and he did great – no tears, no anxiety!!! Then it was time for the feast – he sat with his class and I put the Twins by the “play kitchen” area — it was perfect. The Twins did great and were so well behaved. They sat around circle time with everyone and listened to the teacher and the kids; they ate and played quietly and did not cause any problems. I received so many comments about how well they did. I’m so proud of them – and so proud of Big Bro for not getting upset and for following through with the activities with the rest of his classmates.
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  • Afterwards, we went to Red’s pre-school with her lunch, that I forgot. All the kids were sitting down just about to eat so it was good timing. I decided to ask her if she wanted to come home with us to eat lunch and take a nap. It seemed silly to leave her there just to go and pick her up after nap. She agreed. I asked her teacher if I could “steal” her. Her teacher said “absolutely – take advantage of these days because they go by fast.” I couldn’t agree more. She smiled at me and put her hand in mind and we happily joined the Twins and headed home for lunch. Red was so great, she got everyone water and she was even helping to feed Twin Crazy, even though her little sister can do it fine on her own…. Big sister wanted to help and I guess little sister loved the attention. It was sweet. The mothering didn’t stop after lunch. I caught them together with Red “helping” Twin Crazy with her hair.
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  • Once the kids got up, I packed up four little containers of goldfish crackers and we headed out to get Big Bro. It was starting to rain. By the time I got to his school it was pouring. I saved his scooter from the rain and packed it in the van; I grabbed him and he immediately asked about the scooter – no worries! I tried to take them to the library but it was closed – (closed on Fridays???). So I had to think of another plan. Hmmmm. Raining. Friday afternoon. Hey – now it’s the weekend, right? So we headed out for ice-cream, our new tradition. The kids were so cute; Big Bro and Red were helping their little brother and sister. Red was sharing her ice cream. Twin Crazy was completely focused on her treat – she was intense. Twin Husky was getting everything everywhere – he was the first to finish and had ice-cream all over himself. A good time was had by all. We were quite a scene walking down the street, me with four little kids all holding hands.
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    Dinner was fine; playing afterwards was fine; the Twins were partners in crime, as usual:

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    Now its the end of the day. It was a good day. I feel fortunate that I had the extra time with Red and Big Bro. Especially when they still welcome the time from their Mom. I know time will go by faster than I would like so I want to soak in these days while I have them.

    Til next week –
    – Mama K

    Recipe: Greek Tortellini Salad


    This recipe was submitted by Mama N from Austin TX (by far, the Mama with the MOST recipe submissions — thank you Mama N!!!). This sounds like a perfect thing to prepare the night before since there’s some “sit time” involved for best taste; sounds easy to do the night before and then you have everything ready for when you come home from work the next day!!!! YEAH!!!

    Serves 12 – 14

    Ingredients:

  • 2 9oz pkgs cheese tortellini – cooked, drained and cooled
  • 2 red bell peppers – chopped
  • 1 small red onion – chopped
  • ½ c. pitted, sliced kalamata or black olives
  • ¾ c. crumbled feta cheese
  • Dessing:

  • ¼ c. red wine vinegar
  • ½ c. olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 T finely chopped parsley
  • Directions:

  • Combine pasta and vegetables in a large bowl.
  • Combine all dressing ingredients in order and whisk together thoroughly. Pour immediately over pasta, and mix until all pasta is coated.
  • Cover and chill for 4-24 hours.
  • Sprinkle with feta cheese just before serving.
  • Prep time: 20 min
    Cook time: 10 minutes
    Wait time: 4 – 24 hours

    November 17: Too good to be true???


    Today was a day home for me, off from work, but working as a Mom for my kids. I had a wonderful, fullfilling day, and am ending it with several glasses of wine with/after dinner. So I’m a bit loopy while writing this.

    There was a lot happening today – tickles, clothes changes, stroller rides, water spills, throwing food/toys, playing with puzzles, spilled coffee, running around the house, reading books, and more books, and pointing at the things in the books, and talking about the books, napping, …… below are some of the special moments of the day:

  • I walked with the Twins along with Big Bro on his scooter to school. He was so excited. The weather was crisp but he still wanted to wear a short sleeve shirt and no jacket. It was beautiful. The trees are turning colors here and there are so many leaves on the ground. The Twins were talking about everything they saw…. dogs, leaves, cars, balls… they are so observant and they really enjoy the stroller rides in the morning. Big Bro was a whiz on his scooter. I kept looking at him scooting ahead of us and just kept thinking about how fast time goes by. I look at his face and I still see aspects of his features from when he was a baby. But here he is. On a scooter. Whizzing by. And swerving. And headed to school. I just can’t believe it. 5 years. So much has happened over these 5 years and now we’ve gone past this one serious baby with a ton of hair to a kid – a kid going to school – with 3 siblings. Twins no less. I just can’t believe it. How fast will the next five years go? Big Bro will be 10!!!! Red will be 8!!!! The Twins almost 7!!!! I honestly cannot even imagine what my life will be like then – it seems so far away and we are not rooted now so who knows where we will be….. so much to look forward to. But I knowt the time will go by quickly.
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    The biggest look of accomplishment was probably Big Bro rigging up his scooter to the fence with his bike lock and setting the lock so that his scooter would be safe. He was so happy. What a prize that must have been for him after that long ride and bout of exercise!

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  • The Twins and I then strolled home in the crisp air. I loved the walk on the leaves. I loved the stroll with both kids so alert and pointing and talking about things. They are so sweet and I feel like this really is a different experience for them compared to the daycare they receive during the other days of the week.
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  • When at home, we had snacks and played…. but then I saw something that really surprised me. I thought that the little ones were getting into places they shouldn’t…. but now I know the reason why. Twin Crazy has learned how to open doors!!!! She can swiftly open a door while Twin Husky waits, and then they both get themselves into trouble. Partners in crime…./li>

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  • We then went to the beach. We had so much fun there. The kids just explored and played and poured sand and walked around and found treasure and fed seagulls and ate bananas and felt the sun and looked at the water and laughed. There were definitely some special moments during our time there. Twin Crazy sharing her banana with Twin Husky. Both of them feeding the seagulls and almost engulfed in all of the flying wings (with NO poop accidents!!), and also finding a hole that was previously dug and sliding into it and laughing and giggling and then the other sliding into it. I’m not sure who found it first, but the pure joy and laughter and interaction between the two of them was just too amazing to put into words. Both were seriously laughing to the point of their throats getting sore, I’m sure. And there I was, probably 30 feet away and just observing, laughing as loud as they were. It was fantastic. I felt relaxed and breathed in deeply and felt the warm sun on my body and watched my beautiful twins interact in a way that I really don’t understand. I couldn’t have planned a better trip./li>

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  • We then went to lunch at Chipotle. They were both dancing to the music. I overheard people saying that I have “two of them”. They have no clue. We had a great time and the kids were perfectly behaved. Except that Twin Crazy kept trying to steal her brother’s food. I felt very in control at that moment. I was enjoying the kids and did not feel any stress at all. Couples with young kids and especially a child 21 months old can get very stressed especially in restaurant settings. I feel so at ease with these children. I treat them like people and not like babies. They respond so well to that. We had fun together. All of us bouncing our heads to the music. Twin Husky trying my burritto. Twin Crazy drinking her milk to the point of her cheeks getting so filled up like a hampster’s set of cheeks. Too cute. I had a great time with them. They were more than readyt for anap by the time we got home.
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  • After naps we headed back in our stroller to pick up Big Bro. We strolled/scootered back home and then got immediately in the mini-van to pick up Red. Red was in the playground and when she saw me she bounded across the playground and threw herself at me with such force that I almost was swept backwards. She hugged me and laughed with such conviction that I wanted to freeze the time and hold her longer, longer, longer. Her teacher said to her – “see Jessica, you’re mommy DID pick you up early today!!!”. I love being able to do this with both Red and Big Bro. It makes these days special for each of them. We played around in another playground at her school for awhile afterwards – just the four of them – our own private playground. They really enjoyed being reunited and I enjoyed watching them.
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  • I then made a fabulous dinner when all of them were playing in the house. I took breaks to play with them; I also had to take breaks to console them – nighttime can be rough for tired kids. Once Hubby arrived we ate and ate and ate and I drank too much red wine. I will need to drink a gallon of water to save myself tomorrow. I had to do many jumping jacks to get Big Bro and Red to try their pork/meat. Once they tried it they loved it and kept eating it, but I still did like 75 jumping jacks anyway – probably a feeling of needing to get in shape, but also the wine had something to do with it I suppose. Bedtime was great.
  • So now I’m sitting here on the couch, listening to U2 and feeling the buzz from the great wine I drank too much of. I really had a wonderful day. I need to figure out a way to spend more time with Big Bro and Red. I want to devote Wednesday’s for them, while the Twins are at daycare and after my 1/2 day of work. Maybe I can switch off between the two and do something special, one-on-one for each. It is becoming clear to me that the older ones need more of my time, and that the younger ones need more time with BOOKS. They can’t get enough of them.

    And I can’t get enough of days like this.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    November 16: Managing Expectations…


    Wednesday! My last work day of the week! Yeah! I hope its productive!

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • The Twins woke up earlier than expected; so we brought them in our room and I asked them to rest since it wasn’t time to wake up. So I lay there with the two of them, resting their bodies and listening to me, while Hubby showered. It was so cute watching them. Each had smiles on their faces but were quiet, at first. Then Twin Husky grabbed the tail of this favorite Tiger stuffed animal that he sleeps with and pointed the tail to Twin Crazy’s nose. Then the giggling started. Each were laying down, looking at each other, smiling, and giggling. Every now and then Twin Husky would lift up his head and look at me and say “Hoooowooooooh” (aka “Hello”).
  • I showered quickly and headed downstairs. I helped with getting Red more cereral (she eats a ton), getting Twin Crazy more oatmeal (she eats a ton as well, but a lot winds up on her PJs), getting Twin Crazy bread and dry cereal, getting drinks, telling the Twins to stop playing with their drinks (e.g., spooning their oatmeal into their water cup), getting clothes for everyone except for Big Bro (who dressed himself this morning, YEAH!).
  • I had diaper changes and clothes changes for both Twins. I love that time with them. They totally get into the games that I play with them. Counting 1-2-3 as I take off a diaper, looking inside and making a big deal out of poop or pee, kissing their bellies, and now I’m also starting the “love game” with each of them. Me: “Did I tell you yet today how much I love you?” “I love you so much that I’m going to kiss your nose [I kiss nose]. I love you so much that I’m going to clap your hands [I grab their hands and have them clap]. I love you so much that I’m going to eat your toe [I grab a foot and pretend to eat a toe]”. Etc. Etc. They’re getting really fun and totally getting into the game.
  • Twin Crazy was having a hard time with her pink balloon that everyone kept stealing from her. She held strong and communicated “My balloon”. Great job for her with her words!!!! Bad job Big Bro and Twin Husky for teasing your sister!!
  • I ran upstairs to get dressed for work; downstairs I hear crying and Hubby yelling. What is going on down there? When I came upstairs everything was going fine…
  • We separated the drop offs this morning since I have an appointment tonight and wanted the extra car at the ferry station. It’s getting cold here. I dropped of Red. She had a hard drop off.
  • Now I’m on the ferry and thinking about today. I have to start the client deliverable – it just needs to get started. I also have some clean up from the meetings that honestly needs to get done. I also have a lunch meeting with the CEO of an other consulting firm and we are evaluating how our firms can work together to sell and deliver work. I worked on a project with this woman in the past and we provided her great value for what we did – she is interested in pursuing other opportunities and maybe formalizing what we can do together. It will be an interesting lunch. She wanted to meet with me and two Directors at the firm with whom she used to work. I’m glad to be part of it and I actually initiated the meeting. So I’m feeling good about where I am from a work perspective.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    I feel like I was busy but did not accomplish what I wanted today….

  • I had a meeting with one of the presenters from our last forum and gave him feedback on how to push his “concept” to a more practical solution for the members of the forum.
  • I started working on the client deliverable that has been on my mind, but did not get nearly far enough to send to the Director – I was hoping to send him something by end of day today – I will likely want to work on it a bit more when the kids are taking naps on Thursday and Friday – this is really being imposed by me – not by anybody at the company… I’m hoping over time I will get better used to the 50% and actually honor it…. 🙂
  • I had a business development lunch with a potential partner. It was good to connect with her and we may be able to leverage her team for staffing on several proposals we have outstanding.
  • I also had a business development conversation with a potential client relating to a Request for Proposal that we will need to prepare – she indicated that the timeline has shifted to January so that gives us some breathing room to get the proposal prepared.
  • I had an appointment tonight so I am not at home now to care for the kids. I miss them on these nights. It is 7 PM now so they are probably running around and playing after dinner. And talking. And whining. And possibly fighting. I wish I were there to help them in their PJs and talk to them about tomorrow (my day off!!!) but instead I’ll have to suffer through some bread, cheese, chutney, and good wine. Poor me. 🙂

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    OK I just got home and had enough time to sneak into Big Bro and Red’s room as they were talking (instead of going to sleep). They were thrilled to see me. We talked about Thursday and Friday. Big Bro wants to go on a Scooter ride to school tomorrow with me (but didn’t want the Twins there….. hmmmm…. i think he gets embarrassed at school when they are there). Red wants to go to the zoo. And a museum. And trace stickers. Big Bro wants me to read a Dinosaur book. And paint. I need to better plan activities with the older kids for these two days… I’m overbooked already!!!

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    November 15: A hard night for some


    Today was a day of extremes – either the kids were belly laughing or they were screaming in rage. I either felt in control at work or I felt under the gun. And our routine was out of whack because of an early morning conference call. So, I’m glad that the day is almost finished.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • The kids were all up at the same time, and at one point everyone was in Big Bro and Red’s room. The Twins were excited. Red was in a great mood. Big Bro was sluggish. But it was Chocolate Tuesday!
  • I showered quickly and ran downstairs. I was going to take a conference call from home after the kids were already dropped off, and then drive to work — so I didn’t need to do anything with myself in the AM.
  • I helped to get the bags ready, clean up the Twins from oatmeal, dress Red, etc. It all happened very quickly and they were all out of there before I knew it.
  • I took a conference call at 8 AM from home. After the call, I quickly got myself ready and drove into the city.
  • I loved my commute to the city this morning. I remember blasting AC/DC — Dirty Deeds, and Highway to Hell. I got pumped up for the day. It felt good to be mobile. It felt good to me listening to this music and at high volume.
  • Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I had several other conference calls related to the same topic as the call from the morning. Essentially, I am connecting one-on-one with each of the meeting participants to understand from their perspective what worked well, what could have been done differently, and what they want to see out of the next meeting to make that meeting the most valuable to the collective group and to their own organization. Our firm has not done these one-on-one discussions before and they are working out well. It’s also a great way to further and deepen our relationship with these individuals which is always a good thing.
  • I also spent time refining the go-to-market materials for another initiative. I’ll need to reach out to my contacts to describe the change in approach we are taking.
  • I also spent time organizing market interviews for the client project I am working on. We are in deliverable development mode now and I’ve been putting it off. It won’t be hard to do, it’s just hard to start. Once I sit down un-interupted, I should be able to get going on it. I just need the jump-start. This part of my job is always difficult for me – just getting started. Looking at the blank page and knowing that it has to be filled with something intelligent.
  • I spent the rest of the day doing admin items like my timesheet and expenses; and also looking at my workload and hoping that I can become more efficient.
  • Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Since I drove in this morning, I had to drive back from the city. This is what my commute was like (below). Needless to say, I was late getting back to pick up the kids and thank goodness Hubby made the ferry to start the pick-ups. I picked up Red but he got the rest.
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  • We had an “all-orange” dinner tonight. Mac-n-cheese, carrots, and goldfish crackers. The kids thought it was fun. I thought it was easy. I was amazed at the amount of carrots that were consumed.
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  • Twin Husky was climbing everywhere after dinner. Moving his little chair around and standing to grab at counters, turn on/off lights. He was also climbing on the dinner table and on the coffee table. We’ve reached that phase where discipline is necessary and stern “No. That’s not OK”.
  • Red wanted to do a puzzle and finish her mac-n-cheese at the kitchen counter. I helped her with the top of the puzzle as I was multi-tasking with other kids. We did the puzzle 3 or 4 times tonight.
  • I changed Twin Crazy and Twin Husky in PJs and we had a blast. Kissing bellies and playing games with the clothes and tickling them silly. We were laughing so hard that Big Bro asked us to quiet down.
  • Getting them to bed was so easy. They love brushing their teeth and they ABSOLUTELY LOVE their books. They pick out what they want to read and I love the time with them. They are both so interactive. Twin Husky repeats everything I say.
  • Big Bro was watching a movie and threw a tantrum when we said it was bedtime. It was so bad that I had to sit him down and tell him to stop, and look into my eyes and tell him to stop it and to listen and to walk up the stairs for bed. It was rough.
  • So now I sit here, with my throat hurting from laughter, but my nerves also on edge. Maybe I’ll grab a Guinness.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    November 14: All of us getting into a new groove


    Today is a workday in the city after coming off of a 4-day chunk of time with my kids. I feel OK coming into work. One reason is I guess that I actually have a lot to do today. The other reason is that I know it is short – today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. I can do that…. easy shmeasy.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • We woke up to Red again singing softly to herself after climbing into our bed. Her sweet voice is the perfect way for me to wake up. She then started to play a game with me about now its “wake up time”. She gently pulls up my eyelid from my eyelashes and peeks into my face, laughing uncontrollably. She keeps doing this, alternating eyes, and then starts doing both at the same time. I was laughing too and it was so sweet of her to help me wake up.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky wake up and I give them their morning hugs and kisses. Twin Husky leans in and out over and over again to softly put his forehead on mine and give me a soft kiss. Too cute.
  • Red proceeds to do a puzzle over and over again until I’m out of the shower and dressed. The rest are downstairs eating. She was waiting for me. She asked me if we could do the puzzle together upstairs later that night. Do it over and over again and spend alot of time doing it. I’ll have to remember that because I said I would. I really take these promises seriously. I don’t like saying something to any of the kids and then not following through. Sometimes I forget, but then they remind me, and then I apologize for forgetting. But I really want them to trust me when I say I’m going to do something.
  • Downstairs was the normal routine. Diaper time – both Twins listened to me without a problem. I love that. I thank them for listening so well to me. Big Bro already dressed himself by himself upstairs before he came down. I made a HUGE deal about this. I gathered Red’s clothes and she seemed OK with what I picked out. It was a very easy morning.
  • Twin Crazy kept sneezing. Each time she would sneeze the snot would be everywhere on her face and she would just stop and look up at me 1/2 smiling but with her mouth shut. I would run for a tissue while Twin Husky would make “ich” sounds which got us all laughing.
  • We were running late so Hubby took Red while I took the Twins and Big Bro. Twin drop off was great; Drop off with Big Bro was great. We actually got there a bit early since there weren’t that many kids in the playground. He was a bit shy as we walked along the playground, and quiet as he went into line. But he looked ready for the day of school.
  • I’m on the ferry now, thinking about my day to come. I have several phone calls related to the client project that we are working – interviews with the market to get a sense of the issues we need to address for our client. These meetings are always so informative. You learn so much more in such a short amount of time versus surfing the web trying to figure it out on your own. I also have to lead a lunch meeting with our team, which was my boss’s suggestion to keep me front and center in firm leadership even though I’m taking a reduced work-week. I think this is a great idea to keep me in people’s minds and also play an active voice with the team. I am thankful for my boss’s foresight into thinking of these potential issues and also coming up with a solution to help me make this new arrangement successful.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    I was VERY busy today – client work, business development, other initiatives….

  • I had two interviews with market participants related to the one client project that I am currently working. In those two interviews, and with the existing materials we have, and with our own common sense, we have probably 80% of the content that we need for this project. I will need to shift my focus from data gathering to documentation and preparing the client deliverable over the next several days.
  • I finalized a proposal for my client lead; it will be a big project if we win it. I hope we win it!
  • I lead a “lunch meeting” with our team to get our folks together and talk about the work we are doing, any related issues, and things we need to address going forward. One thing is that we have A LOT of proposals in the pipeline. If we win even a few of these projects, we will have a problem with staffing. So we also talked about recruiting efforts underway and also discussed a need to start thinking about ways to fill the staffing gap with contractors that we’ve worked with previously if need be. We talked about ways/tactics to expand our relationships with existing clients. Some things we can put into practice immediately. I also talked about my new working arrangement and how people should be assured that I am flexible if need be and also reachable on my “off days” if anyone needs to talk to me for any reason. Management asked me to lead these meetings so that I am still viewed as an integral part of leadership in the office.
  • There is still alot more that I wanted to accomplish today but did not. I’m finding that these working days are flying by. I want to accomplish so much but have 1/2 the days to do it – I need to recalibrate expectations of myself but also be more efficient with how I schedule my meetings. For example, tomorrow I have 4 1/2 hour meetings scattered throughout the day. It would have been MUCH more efficient to have the meetings back to back for 2 hours and then spend 1 hour to determine the learnings from the meetings. Instead, I’m going to be starting and stopping throughout the day which is much more inefficient and a waste of time. I’ll work on getting better at that in the future.

    So tonight for dinner… hmmmm…. I’m not that prepared. Maybe quesadillas. I need to remember to work with Red on her puzzle tonight since I promised her this morning. I need to help Big Bro find his new “Lightening McQueen” car since he was looking for it this AM. I need to ask Twin Crazy how her nose was today and if she sneezed a lot. I’ll have to come up with something special for Twin Husky too. I don’t want him to be left out of “mommy time.”

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Big Bro first – he was tracing super-hero figures with his friends from books. We then picked up Red. The kids were all playing with pretend food and I went over there saying how yummy it all looked at then sticking all of the pieces of food on my belly. I had quite a pile of food there – tacos, pasta, cheese, ears of corn, etc. etc. and the kids were really getting into it. Red was CRACKING UP. We then picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. I made a big deal out of their big boy/girl sneakers. The sneakers are a bit big for Twin Husky but he seemed to manage well. Both toddlers seemed excited about the sneakers – and Big Bro and Red also chimed in about how cool those sneakers are.
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  • I prepared dinner (pasta) while Big Bro and Red were playing with playdough. Both Twins are getting into a habit of standing on the little chairs or the little table itself to reach up to the counter – a big NO NO. Twin Husky also moves the chair around to get to where he needs to go, like underneath the light switch to turn on and off the lights.
  • I had dinner cooking and wanted to get changed. Twin Crazy seemed needy so I took her up with me. Within 2 minutes I heard a huge crash and Twin Husky crying. Apparently he was standing on the chairs but when I found him he was on the floor tangled in the chairs, wailing. Once i got him unstuck though he seemed fine. Just a little hug and his head on my shoulder briefly did the trick.
  • Dinner was great; all kids were perfectly behaved and ate well.
  • After dinner I got Big Bro to do some homework; got the Twins ready for bed in PJs, got all of their milk together, and started on a puzzle with Red. When Hubby arrived he played with the Twins and then we all got them up to bed rather easily.
  • So it feels like there are some transitions going on with all of us – me and work and trying to figure out how to recalibrate my own expectations as well as getting more efficient; the Twins getting used to new shoes; Big Bro getting used to my “home days” and when I can walk / ride with him to school, Red becoming more and more independent each day.

    We’re settling in but it feels good –

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: Developing Traditions


    I’ve been writing about Chocolate Tuesdays in my daily journals and I also recently wrote about a rainy weekend when I took the kids out for ice-cream. I received a request from a fellow Mama to spend some time writing on this subject and also getting feedback from our Mama In Motion community on traditions that they do with their families, no matter how big or how small. This really does help keep sanity. It helps to promote stability and respect and positions the family as a unit, versus individuals “at odds” with one another. And this is perfect timing….

    Some of our day-to-day traditions:

  • I do “hugs and kisses in the morning” each and every morning with each of the kids. When Big Bro and Red were little babies, I used to make a song of it; but now at least its a round of hugs and kisses for each child and a big “good morning” for each of them.
  • I also play a “love” game with the kids – I try to do daily with Big Bro and REd, and would like to start it with the Twins now too since their old enough to get it. It goes like this: Me: “Did I tell you yet today how much I love you?!?!?”. Kid: “No” (or sometimes they say yes mommy…”. Me: “I love you so much that I am going to [kiss your ear], [pull your toe], [squeeze your nose], [mess up your hair], [tickle your belly] etc. etc. etc. And then as I do these things I say “THAT’s how much I love you, I love you, I love you so much…..”. It really is fun, because they know the game but don’t know how I’m going to express my love, whether its picking them up and spinning around, or chasing them, etc. They also do it back to me from time to time.
  • Each day and in relation to school/pre-school, I ask each kid to make sure that they 1) learn something new today; 2) exercise their bodies; and 3) laugh really hard about something. Then at the end of the day I ask them questions about what they did today to learn something new, exercise, and tell me a funny thing that made them laugh.
  • Chocolate Tuesdays – I found Nutella as another breakfast option that is really easy to put on bagels, toast, tortillas, etc. A good source of protein since it is made of hazelnut – and the kids love it because it really does taste like chocolately goodness. The problem was that they wanted it all the time. So we asked them to pick only ONE morning to have it – that day was a Tuesday so of course Big Bro suggested Tuesdays. So the tradition was borne.
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  • Movie Fridays – as a family we are a bit restrictive on the kids watching TV. Big Bro is the kind of kid that if he watches something in the day he will waste the day away (like me). So we have one night devoted to movies and popcorn: Friday nights. We love it as a family. Even the Twins now are getting into the popcorn even if they don’t have the attention span for the whole movie. I have lots of pictures of the four of them lined up on the couch eating popcorn and mesmerized by the movie – although this is fleeting and Red and the Twins tend to get bored and move on to other activities.
  • Saturday AM pancakes
  • Sunday AM waffles
  • Bathtime/ showertime is big in our house. We may not be able to do it as frequently as we would like, but all of the kids together is too much fun. The four kids used to bathe together in the one big HUGE tub in our room; now Big Bro takes a shower while the other 3 take a bath together. They LOVE it.
  • If the kids eat “two colors” at dinner, they get chocolate milk afterwards. I tell them that they have to listen to their body to know if they are full or not. I don’t force them to eat. But they must at least try two colors of food to get the milk at the other end.
  • Bigger traditions:

  • Christmas Eve: We make home-made pasta together. This is something my grandmother used to do whenever we would visit her, but I wanted to make it a tradition on Christmas eve. The thought is that we can make homemade linquinine or other shapes, and then diversify year by year with different sauces. It is hard work and takes time (even with a Kitchenaide mixer), but my thought is that as the kids get older, they will take over and with four of them they will be able to work together to get the job done faster, or at least switch off when they get tired.
  • Christmas eve: we also bake Chocolate Chip cookies during the day for Santa. We leave these out at night along with a cup of milk and carrots for the reindeer. We take baths and get into our chistmas pajamas, take pictures by the tree, and I have each of the kids draw a picture for Santa. It is the cutest thing to see each of them in their PJs busy at work, creating a special picture for Santa. In years past we’ve had pictures of airplanes, choo-choo trains, circles, and scribbles. I think it will be wonderful for them to have when they get older… so they get to see what meant so much to them when they were little and how they gifted their creativity to Santa each and every year while they believed.
  • Each year right before 9/11, we go to the store and buy gifts for the firefighters. We wrap them up and then on the day of 9/11 we visit the firestation and give them their gifts. Last year we got a crazy tour of the truck, they got to go inside the truck, and we all got a tour of the fire-house.
  • For Easter, the easter bunny not only gives them candy, but also TOOTHBRUSHES. The kids absolutely love getting them in their baskets.
  • We also do TOOTHBRUSHES in stocking stuffers at christmas time.
  • Things I’m thinking of:

  • With four kids, I’m thinking of having a poliana at Christmastime that the kids can do with each other.
  • Also with so many kids, I’m thinking of toning down Christmas (to one gift each) and spending the real celebration on their birthdays – which are more meaningful to me. The thought of celebrating a person’s life…. the fact that they are who they are…. and celebrating their uniqueness and what they mean to you, seems so much more worthy in my mind than the pile of presents at Christmastime for EACH child….
  • What are some of YOUR traditions? Big or small — share them all!!!!

    November 11: Off, but at work?!?!?!?


    Veteran’s Day today. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the meaning of these holidays in mind – I woke up this morning with just the idea that I had all four kids today since Big Bro and Red’s schools were closed. It wasn’t until later at lunch that the meaning came to me since Applebee’s was giving free lunches to Veterans (yes, I’m in the burbs and went to Applebee’s for lunch….).

    Anyway, I was looking forward to the day. I woke up first and was showered and ready to go before kids got up. I made homemade oatmeal which was rejected but all kids even the Twins. All kids were excited about the day. Big Bro and Red were busy packing up their roller-bags for the things they wanted to bring for the day. Big Bro even made sure to pack the “sleeping loveys” for Elena because he knew that she would need them. My grand plan was to go into the city to a HUGE museum that is amazing for kids – I figured I would stop by my office and bring the kids for a quick visit.

    The quick visit to the office turned into 2+ hours. Kids were shy at first but as soon as we did apple juice and fruit the smiles were coming out and the kids were having a blast with everyone; there was lots of chasing, eating, throwing balls, playing with rubber ducks, kisses, squeals, etc. (even my co-workers). One of my colleagues also brought in her 6 year old son so Big Bro made a new friend and they played Legos together. So cute.

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    Twin Husky was hanging on by a thread so I decided to skip the museum and instead take them to lunch closer to home. On the way out, we stopped by Big Bro and Red’s old daycare; the workers there could not believe how big they have grown and could not believe how big Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are – on the way out the kids got side-tracked by the playground.

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    Applebees. The kids love the corn-dogs there. There was a wait because of all of the Veterans. They put us in a great round booth and all the kids ate great. Big Bro and Red both had TWO corndogs each and lots of broccoli. The office visit apparently made them hungry. I received lots of looks from people. “You’ve got your hands full”. I get that all the time – even with just the Twins – but when you add Big Bro and Red into the mix it looks very crazy very quickly. All of the Veterans were saying this to me which I thought was pretty amazing. ME having my hands full? Honestly…. it felt awkward receiving those comments from them. Big Bro and Red had fun maneuvering the stroller through the restaurant and getting lots of smiles.

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    We then took a short shopping trip to Trader Joe’s. I had to pick up more instant oatmeal there since my homemade version was rejected by all. Red was busy pushing the stroller. There was a guy there dressed as a Turkey. The cashier was amazed at the kids and he even said that they were so well behaved for being four of them. I said I kindof rule with strong conviction and he said that he could tell, and that it was good parenting.

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    We got home and all napped from 3 – 5 PM. The Twins were talking and laughing to each other, as usual. It felt good to rest on the couch with Big Bro.

    We had fun at night – playing, jumping, pretending the rug was hot lava, and carrying on. It was a great way to end the day – with lots of belly laughs and my own belly hurting from laughing so much.

    What a great way to end the week – kids all went to bed without any problems; Hubby said I must have worn them out today.

    Great weekend to all –
    Til Monday –
    – Mama K

    Recipe: Cous-cous


    This is a side-dish that really is too good to be true. I use it as a side dish with a meat and veggie, but you could also improvise and probably through some meat or other veggies in the dish itself to make as a main meal. The ONLY problem with this is that you are dealing with kids here, so at the end of the meal there is likely little pieces of cous-cous EVERYWHERE. A bit messy but hopefully older kids are better with keeping clean and making their mouths compared to littler kids.

    I use the cous-cous from Trader Joes and I do something like this:

    Ingredients:

  • 1 measure of cous-cous (e.g., 1 cup, 1 1/2 cups, etc.)
  • 1 measure of liquid – either water, vegetable broth, chicken broth, or beef broth. I like using beef broth since it is the most flavorful
  • a hunk of butter and/or a splash of olive oil
  • Directions:

  • heat liquid to a boil
  • add butter/oil
  • take off heat
  • add dry cous-cous and mix well
  • cover with a lid for 5 minutes
  • fluff with a fork and YOU’RE DONE
  • Prep time: 2 minutes
    Cook and stand time: 10 minutes

    Enjoy!
    And if you have ideas on what to serve within the cous-cous as a main dish, PLEASE COMMENT and share your ideas! Thanks Mamas!!!!

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