December 30: Siblings Playing House while at Home


Friday. My last day alone with all four of the kids during this winter break. We adventured yesterday, but today we woke up to rain and fog. No one felt much like going out. The kids wanted to stay at home and play. And I didn’t feel like arguing. Again it was a day watching the siblings interact with one another. Most of the day revolved around their playing with each other. Playing make believe. Caring for each other. There were some (many) tears, and a bloody lip, but all in all it was a great day filled with warmth and laughter.

  • The kids enjoyed decorating the back sliding glass door. I asked that the pieces be put up high so Twin Husky could not reach them and eat them. They worked together. Big Bro cut out the pieces on the plastic (unnecessary but he enjoyed doing it), Red peeled them off, and Big Bro and Red put them on the door. Twin Crazy also helped a bit.
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  • Big Bro and Red were teaching both Twin Crazy and Twin Husky about their new LeapPads. Both seemed interested, I think.
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  • Twins were jumping up and down like jumping beans, testing out their mattresses in their cribs before naptime. They were cracking me up and I took a video of it, but here’s a photo for now.
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  • After naps it was sooooooooooooo cute but all four of them were playing “house”. They had pillows and blankets on the floor, and Big Bro was Daddy and Red was Mommy – the Twins were the kids. And the twins were loving it!!! The parents kept checking on the kids, telling them it was night night, asking them if they wanted water, and Red was patting each of them on the back. It was too cute. When I asked Twin Crazy about the game later that night and asked who the mommy was, she indicated [Red]. Same thing with Daddy [Big Bro].
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  • I cleaned a lot today. We have not had a mothers helper in two days now. I was busy in the kitchen and also doing laundry all day. Picking things up and organizing around the house during the kids naps.
  • We took it easy with pizza for dinner. The kids watched some tv afterwards. Big Bro threw several tantrums about ice-cream. We didn’t give in.
  • I had a busy, physical day – lots of lifting of kids and consoling. It seemed like Twin Husky was crying most of the time when the kids were all playing. Twin Crazy is very aggressive and I think the poor guy (Husky) might be a bit mistreated by them. I think that’s why he’s resorting to biting (which also happened, or almost happened, today).

    I’m tired. Physically and emotionally. I’m looking forward to the end of 2011 but I fear that 2012 will be much harder on me and my family. I need to make sure the kids are cared for and know that they are loved. Not just say the words to them, but do what takes to make each of them FEEL it. KNOW it. BELIEVE it. Unquestionably.

    Til next week – and 2012!
    – Mama K

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    December 29: A Day for the Siblings


    Today was a day at home with the children. No work. I had all four of them since Big Bro’s public school is still closed, and since Red became VERY upset at the thought of everyone home except for her. So I gladly kept her home from pre-school today as well. You would think – 4 kids – all day – man that woman must be wiped out. Truth is, I’m not. I’m surprisingly very, very relaxed. No tension in my neck. No sadness. No aching. No worrying. I’m just, well, “being”. And it feels wonderful.

    We spent the day eating, playing, building legos, playing doll-house, setting up LeapPads, having the kids teach me about their LeapPads, napping, going to the library, cooking….. some fighting, some biting/hitting/yelling. But it was mostly laughing. It was mostly excitement. The kids really enjoyed being together. And playing together. Big kids interacting with the little kids – in a good way and also not-so-good way. But they were together. And they were being kids, being siblings with each other. I loved it.

    Some of the highlights that really grabbed me today:

  • Waking up to Red smiling next to my bed. She was in a great mood. Then suddenly, and out of nowhere, she turned crabby. I think it’s because she realized that she was not staying home ALONE with me – that the rest of the kids were going to be there too. So I sat with her. I rocked with her in silence. She needed to calm herself down and I needed to hold her.
  • Big Bro holding Twin Crazy – he asked her and she said “yes”. They were both really having fun – Twin Crazy with a HUGE grin on her face that she was being taken care of by her big brother. He did the same with Twin Husky but it did not grab me in the same way…
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  • It took an amazingly LONG time to get out the door today. I really don’t know why. Red was really a problem this morning. She was taking her time and changing her mind about pants. Pants. I must have touched and retouched 50 pairs of pants. I eventually told her that I was losing my patience and we were close to not going anywhere so she better decide and SOON. I think she needs more of my time but I don’t like giving it to her in this way — its too draining; no fun at all.
  • Walking into the library with my four munchkins in a line; the librarians all know our family. They are patient with us and our noise. Each of the Twins introduced the librarian with their comfort toys (a tiger for Twin Husky, a lovely blanket for Twin Crazy). Twin Crazy and Twin Husky wanted to spend most of their time drinking from the water fountain. They started fighting and I knew it was time to gather the kids quickly when I heard Twin Crazy screaming at the fountain and Twin Husky bending over to bite her. As we were checking out our books, I asked the librarian if she could make our check-out into several “transactions”. She “got it” immediately and was so good with the kids. The kids wanted to check out their own books with the one library card so she rung them each up separately (except for Twin Husky, who was wandering around with his thumb in his mouth, not interested in checking out books).
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  • Grabbing ice cream with the kids at 11 AM. We were the only ones there. Big Bro wanted to go there in daylight so we could eat in the outside courtyard. I usually get little cups for the Twins but they amazed me – they sat there and held their little cones and ate their cones without any major spills or losses of food. They sat on a bench that circled a HUGE tree and were so cute. Afterwards, the sugar started to kick in and they started to play follow-the-leader on top of the bench that encircled the tree. I sat there quietly and watched them. I was taking it all in. I took some movies. I captured how Big Bro was interacting with the little ones and how the little ones were having so much fun doing the same thing the older kids were doing. They are a pack of four now. It is now that REALLY feel like I have four, distinct, separate, individual, and lively children. I am very lucky that they are all happy, healthy, and honestly look out for each other.
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  • While Red was napping, her LeapPad arrived. I thing Big Bro was more excited about it than she was today. Anyway, Big Bro wanted to surprise her so he set it out by her bed so she could see it and be surprised when she woke up from her nap. I love how he can be so sweet. I love how he thinks of his siblings. I love how he just “gets” them. Knows what makes them happy. Knows what they need. He is really amazing.
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  • I wanted Big Bro to rest/nap – but he wanted to put his Lego space shuttle together first. Together we worked to get it finished, quickly. I looked at each instruction page and gathered the pieces needed, and handed them to Big Bro to stick them on. I know he enjoyed me helping him with his Lego set, just the two of us. But I think I enjoyed it more than him.
  • I made a roast today. I am having fun “nesting” with my babes. I sat on the floor and showed Twin Crazy and Twin Husky the peeler and taught them about the skin on the carrots and potato. I showed them how I peel the skin off and they felt the strips and laughed at the ones that went flying over the trash bucket I was using. Both were running to grab the strips and threw them in the trash bucket for me. I had them smell the peeled carrots and the peeled potato and explained that we could really smell the food now that the skins were off. I love spending time like this with them. I know that our daycare provider does not interact with them in this way. I love teaching them new things. And talking about the world around them. After dinner, Red was sitting on my lap and then leaning over, laughing and saying “ouch – mommy – my head is going into the hot lava”, pretending that the floor was a river of lava. She cracks me up.
  • We closed out the night watching a Sponge Bob show about Christmas and Santa. I had Twin Crazy on my lap. I then had Red laying next to me with a blanket. Then Red was on my knee, with a blanket, covering Twin Crazy and putting her arm around her, still on my lap. Then Twin Husky came over and sat on my other knee. So I had three kids in my lap, with my arms around them and talking with them about the show. Too cute.

    I had four kids today, got impatient with them yes, but had a different kind of fun with them. They were all together. I mostly sat back and watched the interaction. I was essentially a person shuffling them between different activities but really stood on the sidelines and just watched them. Watched them talk. Watched them laugh. Watched them care for each other. Watched them share.

    Where I could, I stole one-on-one time. But it was mostly a day for the siblings. And tomorrow will be another such day. I’m looking forward to it.

    It’s amazing how my life has changed — thinking back to my 20s, my 30s — one decade totally selfish while the next totally self-less. And now. How I revel in moments with my children whereas before it was a good dinner out, or dancing with friends, or doing shots in Hoboken, or… … … … I know that these days when my kids are very young will fly by. I’ve heard it soooo many times before. That’s why I’m choosing to be with them now and soak them in now while I have this time. While I can make them laugh. While three can sit in my lap. I’m soaking it in and smiling – knowing that I’m lucky.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Recipe: Pasta the “Mama K” Way


    OK I know we all have those days/nights when we just want to throw in the towel and say, “fine. pasta it is.” And I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ok with that. The issue I have is that I don’t want to train my kids into being “plain pasta” people. I just think that is so boring and could lead to bad habits for us and the kiddos. So I like to at least put something in it — and this basically works and makes me feel a bit better – they may not be getting tremendous nutrition but at least I’m trying….

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    Ingredients:

    • dry pasta
    • olive oil
    • frozen, chopped spinach
    • ground sage, to taste
    • salt, pepper to taste
    • butter (optional)

    Directions:

    • Boil pasta
    • When about 1-2 minutes left to boil, throw in some frozen chopped spinach — for a pound of pasta I would throw in a handful, so not that much. Just enough so that it looks like “spices”; not too overwhelming for the kiddos
    • strain out water in a colander with smaller holes, that way less spinach escapes
    • pour mixture back in pot — add seasonings, more olive oil, and some butter (optional)

    Prep time: 1 minute

    Cook time: 10 min to boil; 10-12 min to cook

    I sometimes use this as the main dish for lunch, or as a side dish at dinner. This is also great left-over — just “freshen up” in hot water for 1-2 minutes and add some more olive oil. Easy schmeasy.

    Enjoy!!!

    – Mama K

    December 28: Working with Big Bro


    Wednesday – a work from home day. Big Bro’s school is closed so I decided to keep him home with me instead of pay for “camp” – especially since I am home, and only working 4 hours today. He was looking forward to the day. Red – well, not so much. I think she was jealous.

    Highlights of the Morning and “Commute”:

  • I got up extra early, showered, started a big pot of coffee. I did not get much sleep last night. So I needed the extra caffeine and would be home to drink it. I got Twin Crazy and Twin Husky up – they are always already up, but just hanging out in their cribs at 7 AM. So I went to their room, they jumped up and were excited about starting their day. I did quick changes for them while they were in the room so they were contained and that task would be done with.
  • Red was up, Big Bro was still slumbering. I let him sleep. There was no need to get him up; as long as he was up by 8 AM for us to drop folks off.
  • Twin Crazy, Twin Husky, and Red were busy eating cereal and oatmeal. Twins are talking and repeating words non-stop. I love it. Absolutely love it.
  • The morning went smoothly. Except for when Red heard that Big Bro was staying home and she was not. That threw her into a fit, I rocked her, and then asked her if she wanted to help me with my coffee. That worked. She put sugar and cream in my cup – and all kids looked at it. Then I poured the coffee and talked about how the coffee was first dark, but when you put cream in it, it turns light. Of course the Twins were repeating all of this in their own way.
  • We headed out; I dropped off Hubby at the ferry and we talked about the boat. I dropped off Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, and then we dropped off Red. She was pretending to be mad at me, but just couldn’t play the part consistently. She kept laughing at me – couldn’t hold it back.
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    Highlights of the Working Day:
    Remember… I’m working from home, for 4 hours, and I have my son with me. And its a slow week. During the holidays…

  • While back at home, Big Bro and I ate pancakes and the cutest thing was said: “Mommy, can you eat these pancakes with me because I have a TON of whipped cream on this plate.” How cute. He is a guy that feels loved by doing things together – and this comes out so strongly now that I am aware of it.
  • I filled out administrative forms and benefits while Big Bro played with his new LeapPad and watched some Dora. He got anxious and played a bit outside.
  • In the middle of work I decided to use the leftover ham from Christmas and made split pea soup. In typical fashion for me, I overdid it. I just wanted to use all of the dried split peas we had. So I wound up making I think 2 gallons of split pea soup. It’s actually a bit ridiculous. I don’t think I have enough containers to hold it all to freeze. I may have to give some away to neighbors. Too funny. Some people give cookies, I may give soup. Note: My holiday cards are STILL not sent out.
  • I finished up the forms and needed to fax them in. So me and Big Bro head out to Office Max to fax and FedEx. It took a lot longer than expected. Poor Big Bro. While going to the store he said he was too tired to put his shoes on (jokingly). He was doing and saying a lot today to make me laugh. He is becoming a simple and funny guy – with a smart sense of humor – one that makes me laugh at a drop of a hat (OK, I’m biased. Maybe he’s not that funny after all).
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    The Rest of the Day:

  • We went to lunch together. We talked. I blogged a bit while he LeapPaded. He made a comment that we were both doing computers together. Again, his mention of togetherness. It means so much to him.
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  • We got some food from Trader Joe’s. Again, he was my buddy. We talked during the shopping trip about the stuff we needed or would like to get. He was great company and sooooo well behaved.
  • We made it home and I packaged up the soup – ridiculous, I know.
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  • I cleaned up and got ready for the arrival of the rest of the kids. In doing so, I sat with Big Bro and together we completed his Lego space shuttle together. I had fun doing that with him. I’m amazed at how quickly he has mastered this thing. He follows all of the pages and puts this thing together effortlessly. I think his request for “help” again was a ploy for together, Mommy time. I happily caved.
  • Pick up for Red was fine; on the way to pick up the twins, Red asked if she could stay home tomorrow with me, all by herself. I reminded her that NEXT Wednesday would be her day. I reminded her that I have Twin Crazy, Twin Husky, and Big Bro tomorrow at home, and asked her if she would want to stay home too. She immediately said “YES!!!” and then they both started talking about how everyone wants to stay home with mommy tomorrow. It melted my heart. I asked if they liked it better with extra time with me and less time for me at work and they agreed – they like it better. I know, this was a “leading” question, but hey, I needed an emotional boost. 🙂
  • Getting everyone home was fine. We saw an amazing sunset and I pulled over with them to talk about it and the colors. The kids still saw lots of lights on the houses so we drove around talking about lights. By the way, I don’t know if I mentioned Twin Crazy’s new skill – buckles. She MUST buckle her top buckle on her car seat. I love her intensity and the fact that we can communicate with each other.
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  • While at home, I cooked Tandoori Chicken with yogurt sauce (Amazing!!! Thanks again Mama S!) while the kids went a little bit nuts I must confess. They were VERY loud and VERY physical and teasing each other and being bratty kids. Poor Twin Husky was being battered on. He spent most of this time crying, or being held by me while resting his head on my shoulder and sucking his thumb.
  • Dinner was amazing; half the kids ate well. Red was tired and pouty. The rest were running around the house at least not thrashing each other. I’m OK with running around the big circle of our house as long as they are keeping their hands to themselves and not screaming. Tonight after dinner they were cracking up and I loved to see Big Bro interact with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky (a four year difference). Big Bro asked me to see how fast he could run and of course I applauded him and then Twin Crazy the rest of the night asked me to see how fast she could run. How cute. Each time they ran around they stopped where I was and laughed, rested, or I tickled them. It was fun and they had me laughing.
  • Then suddenly one of the kids mentioned chocolate ice-cream and then ALL of them started whining for chocolate ice-cream. I couldn’t take it. It was early but I sent everyone upstairs to bed. The older ones were really putting up a fuss about the ice-cream thing which just ticked me off. Big Bro and Red were both hysterical about it; Red was being carried up by Hubby and she was kicking and screaming. I rarely see anything like this from her. We talked about how they felt, and how sad/mad/unhappy/disappointed they must feel. And I said how I used to feel the same way when I was a kid and my parents didn’t give me dessert when I thought I was going to get some… how I would be thinking about it and expecting it and then my mom or dad wouldn’t let me have it, how it made me mad/sad/disappointed. And how it is OK to have those feelings. THEY SETTLED DOWN SO QUICKLY I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. I then commended them on how they pulled themselves together and how they moved on. How they calmed their bodies down and started to accept it – they still feel mad, but at least they are calm about it. I love connecting with them this way – I find though that you really need to be patient with them; it is easier for me to do this when I have days like today – versus days when I am stressed and/or tired from long or complex day at work. Or, even after a long day with all of the kids. I really only had Big Bro today and he was a breeze, solo.
  • Big Bro and Red and I wrote down a list of things we are DEFINITELY going to do tomorrow (e.g., eat breakfast, vitamins, etc.) and some fun things we COULD do (beach, museum, library, etc.). I’m looking forward with my time with all of them tomorrow but hope I get more sleep tonight!!!
  • I had a bizarre work day, and do not feel so good about my productivity, but I toss it up to the week between the holidays…. right??!?! Am I the only one out there?

    I’m feeling happy and much more comfortable in my own skin today – thanks for those who reached out to me yesterday and today to send me cyber-strength. It means so much, seriously.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    December 27: Grief and Goodbyes


    Tuesday. Chocolate Tuesday. Tuesday after Christmas. After anticipating Santa and then saying goodbye. After my father and his wife arrived and left. There is a sense of emptiness in the house. The presents are opened. My family has left. We’re now saying goodbye to out-of-ordinary holiday festivities, to Santa for another year, and trying to get back to a normal routine.
    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:
    • I showered while all kids were sleeping. After dressing and towel-drying my hair, I flipped my head over and there was Red, just standing there smiling. I was surprised that she surprised me. Without a word, I rushed to hang up the towel, sat on the floor, and motioned to her to come over to me. We have a thing together in the mornings. She sits on my lap, and I rock her while hugging her. Sometimes when she is needy during the day, this is the same approach I use with her if she responds to it. Sometimes I softly talk to her, but most of the time I do not. I just hold her gently on the floor, her in my lap, and we rock. That is how I started my day.
    • Big Bro pounced into the room, fully dressed from head to toe, all by himself. I love that and I love that he gets a charge out of doing it.
    • I carried a ton of stuff downstairs – piles of clothes, computer, iPad, chargers, phone, etc. Red wanted me to hold her hand going downstairs. Big Bro waited at the top of the stairs for me to come back up for my second round of piles – and also to hold his hand coming down the stairs.
    • Downstairs, it was Chocolate Tuesday. And now ALL the kids are converts. All kids asking for more. Twin husky loves it. Twin crazy just licks the chocolate off of the bread.
    • Twin Crazy drove me a bit crazy with her hair accessories this morning. Her hair was falling in her face and we pull her hair back. The problem this morning was that she kept pulling them out. Two clips, and then I got a band. She started to pull out the band (one that she wore all weekend, so I know she likes it), and then I told her that “No, I don’t have time to play this game with you all morning – you need to keep that band in your hair”. Because of this, she got extremely mad with me. Her eyebrows furrowed, her face turning red. Thankfully she did not burst into tears. But we did talk about how she was mad at me. And that it was OK to be mad. She got off her stool and ran to Daddy. Later, after being soaked in oatmeal, Hubby was going to change her and then she had a change of heart with me. She started squealing in a happy voice, “MOMMMMMMY!!!!” and running to me with open arms. She bounded into my lap and hugged me real hard. I asked her if she was mad at me anymore and she said “No.”. But then I was a little mad at her since she got oatmeal literally all over my shirt and sweater for the day. That looked just great along with the matching chocolate on my pants.
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    • I spent time with Big Bro helping him to dis-assemble his new Lego space shuttle and sorting the pieces of his Lego sets into different ziplock bags. He is very particular, and very organized. He was excited to be going to “camp” and bringing his new loot with him.
    • For some reason, Red starts to have tantrums over clothes, then socks, then shoes, then her jacket. At this point we are becoming very late. Twin Husky barely gets a diaper change before we’re out the door. Twin Crazy is wearing one shoe and we have the other 3 on the floor. Between all of us we have two computer bags, one clothes back, one backpack, two lunchboxes, and one bag of clothes I need tailored. It really is a bit much. Red is in the backseat sulking with her polka dot jacket. The boys are happy.
    • We do two quick drop offs together. Red is clingy. We race back to the ferry parking lot and screech into a parking lot. We barely make the boat and have to run before it shut its doors. I bought a coffee inside the boat. I am starving.
    On the way to work and during the commute it was foggy, I was tired, and feeling very defeated. Suddenly an overwhelming feeling of grief struck me that is hard to describe. It just hit me all at once. I even cried for a bit. I thought back over the past year and just felt battered. This was not a good way to start my day.
    I decided to treat myself to some breakfast on the way to work. The office was essentially empty. I looked and felt like crap. No amount of make up was going to make me feel right today or mask the way I was feeling.
    Highlights of My Working Day:
    • Needless to say I was not that busy, although I could have been. I returned some phone calls, went through email, and started to look at benefits information (forms are due tomorrow).
    • I realized that I have tons of pictures of my kids but few at work so here is a picture of my cluttered office. I know it looks like shit everywhere but honestly I know where EVERYTHING is. Notice the piles. Notice the heater in the background. Notice the baby clothes on the back file cabinet (clothes I could not bear to give away – keepsakes for memory boxes)
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    • I decided to make it an early day and left for the earliest ferry home.
    Dinner and Bedtime:
    • We picked up kids and while Hubby was getting Big Bro and Red, I talked with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky about how proud I am of them using their words. And how now we can start to have conversations and how they can also talk to Big Bro and Red. This seemed to ignite their need to talk more…. Twin Husky started talking about buses and airplanes, and Twin Crazy started to repeat the conversation that I started with her, about how she will be able to talk to everyone. She paused a lot between her words but I was patient with her and let her answer and go through all of the people….mommy, daddy, [Twin Husky], [Big Bro], [Red]…. even her day-care provider was mentioned. I love this stage and what is to come. I have a feeling we’ll be having a lot of funny conversations in the future.
    • We got home and I slammed together a dinner of salmon, carrots/peas, and also leftover pasta/spinach and a leftover yam. Kids ate well (after I did two sets of jumping jacks as a bribe) and we celebrated with dessert and chocolate milk.
    • Kids were relatively good after dinner. I spent time with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky doing “horsie back rides” which they now wait and take turns for. Big Bro was watching Dora; Red was doing puzzles. I got the Twins ready for bed and then helped with Big Bro and Red. Big Bro was beginning to master his new yo-yo. We were all exhausted.
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    So, a rough morning, a slow day, a better evening. I’m not sure how I feel right now. I guess I’m looking forward to the end of 2011 but also to new beginnings for the new year. Bring me strength through cyber space please, I need it!
    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

    December 23: Getting ready for Santa


    Friday – and again, I kept all four kids at home with me.  I loved it.  You should have seen the looks that people gave to me as I was shuffling around with four little kids.  I even got some claps.   I love it.  My kids.  We had fun today and everyone was so well behaved.

    • Woke up, ate breakfast, Hubby went to work, I got them dressed and ready
    • We made a list of things were were going to do today.   Big Bro in particular responds extremely well to lists – in fact, he often is the one to suggest that we write out a list.   If he wants something immediately but he cannot have it, putting things down on a list actually stops a temper tantrum from starting.  I think he gains comfort in knowing that his wish is documented and he knows that we will accomplish what we have on our list at some point during the day.
    • We go to Kohl’s to buy some gifts, including some for daycare and preschool teachers.  The kids pick out a candle scent.  I pick out   gift cards.   The four of them are having a great time with Big Bro pushing Twin Husky and Red pushing Twin Crazy.  I am getting stopped and people are staring at the scene.
    • We head to lunch.  On the way, Twin Husky is a bit tired and distracted.  He is breaking the rule of “all kids must grab a hand” and is wandering getting rocks.  A kind stranger comes up and asks if I need help; I thank her but send her on her way, stating that I really need to get skilled at doing these kind of things on my own, these kids need to learn to stick together and hold a hand, and I also don’t like the idea of it being OK for them to just go to strangers.   As I cross the street Twin Husky does a face plant and is face down in the street in the parking lot.  Twin Crazy starts to lose it.  I pick both of them up (25 pounds each), one on each hip, while holding out two fingers of my left hand for Big Bro and Red each to hold onto.   People were staring at me calling me “supermom”.     I guess they don’t see that too often… they only see families on TV with their teams of nannies.  Lunch is uneventful, thankfully.
    • We act like Santa and give out our gifts.  Our daycare provider and pre-school teacheers seem very appreciative.
    • Big Bro keeps crossing things off of our list
    • After naps we pick up Pop-Pop and Emmy from the airport.  They all laugh and giggle – they love their visits.   Lots of hugs, tickles, and giggles.   We laugh and play and then head out to dinner and ice-cream.
    • Once we return I tell stories about Santa, about when I was a kid and the Christmas morninngs I had with his presents.  This turned into requests for me to tell other kinds of stories about Santa and I instantly got hit with all kinds of questions:
    How does Santa steer his sleigh if he doesn’t have a steering wheel?  How does he stop the sleigh?  How does he know there are kids in the houses?   Does he come into our rooms?  [I don’t WANT him to come into our room because I will be scared].   How do reindeers fly?   Is it magic?  Is it the food they eat? [We will need to go to the store and buy some carrots with the green stuff on top – not those little baby carrots.]”
    So now I’m sitting here recounting the day and really hoping I don’t forget the sweetness of it.  The innocence.  The wonder.  The conversation.   I am thankful for this channel to help me capture this special moment in time…
    Merry Christmas everyone!
    Til next week –
    – Mama K

    December 22: All Four at Home


    Thursday, a day off with my flex-work arrangment.  I usually have only the Twins but I decided to keep Big Bro and Red home with me too.  Big Bro confessed that he was looking forward to going bowling with his “camp” class – but he didn’t tell me until the end of the day as I was putting him to sleep.  He seemed happy the entire day so hopefully he was not thinking about bowling too much.

    • I made a pancake, fruit, and yogurt breakfast
    • Got the kids dressed; headed out to the Discovery Museum.  Kids played with magnets, foam blocks, a pretend ship, and choo-choo trains.  It’s amazing how there are tons of kids, but they tend to stick together.  One or two times Twin Husky got “misplaced” (wonderer) and the three others were so cute going to look for him.   As we were leaving, the wonderer, Twin Husky, was busy exploring and I told him we were leaving and started to walk on.  Big Bro got anxious and ran back to grab his hand.  So sweet.
    • We headed out to lunch.   I received so many compliments on how well-behaved the kids are and how cute they all are together

    I cooked while the kids played.  I made a chicken.  Big Bro was also pretending to cook with all of the pots and pans out.  We arranged the choo-choo train around the tree, as it should be set up.  The kids were cutting magazines with scissors.  Twin Crazy went upstairs and grabbed a pair of my flashy high-high-heels are brought them downstairs and walked around in them.   Red painted her nails with kid nail-polish and then did Twin Crazy’s and even Twin Husky’s.

     

    It was a great day.   I feel really good.  A bit melencholy and dissapointed though.  Wishing that I pushed this arrangement sooner.   But I’ll be thankful for what I have now, knowing that I am lucky to be able to do have the best of both worlds.

    Til Tomorrow –

    – Mama K

    Recipe: Herb-lemon Zest Butter


    I found this idea when reading through a recent Bon Appétit magazine (October 2011 issue).

    You can put compound butters on top of steak, fish, chicken, rice, pasta, and veggies to enhance flavor and provide some variety to your dishes.   Compound butter can be made on-thhe-fly with leftover herbs and frozen for later use.   I thought that this helpful trick could be a way for busy working mothers to add some last-minute diversity and creative fun to our meals.   Tell me what you think.   

    A basic recipe goes like this.   

    Herb-lemon Zest Butter

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs (flat leaf parsley, tarragon, chives, etc.)
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    • Salt (for seasoning to taste)

    Directions:

    • Put chopped herbs on a work surface
    • Add butter and lemon zest
    • Using a large knife, finely chop together until well combined
    • Season with salt
    • Place butter on the front edge of a sheet of parchment paper (waxed paper or plastic wrap also works).   Bring the edge of the paper up over the butter and roll mixture tightly into a cylinder.
    • Twist the ends to compress the log
    • Wrap airtight in foil
    • Chill until solid
    • Cut into slices and apply on food at end of cooking


    Butter will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks or frozen for up up to three months


    Other flavor ideas:

    Bacon-Bourbon

    Nori-Sesame

    Porcini-Red Wine

    Turmeric-Mustard Seed

    Chipotle-Lime

    Photo by Diane fields

    December 21: Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Amazon)


    Whew! It’s been a fast, long day. My writing today will be VERY brief since it is 11:59 PM and I am still getting a Christmas gift organized. Hopefully it gets here in time!

    Anyway, today was a 1/2 day work-from-home day.

  • Kids were happy going to pre-school/camp:
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  • I worked at home with lots of coffee; did A LOT of laundry. Cleaned up a bit. Had some conference calls. Our client is extremely happy (whew). Was visited by SANTA!!! Yes!!! Santa Claus came to town a bit early (and as hoped) and delivered many, many packages! Thank you UPS Santa!!!
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  • Picked up kids and had them set up for a sticker project when we got home. I was solo tonight since Hubby was out so I wanted to make sure the kids had activities set up for them. All were very engaged and happy. No troubles.
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  • Ate pizza. Twin Crazy played with water from her drinking cup. The kids ate a ton.
  • Played a bit after dinner. Tickles. Big Bro stole a marshmallow from Red’s menorah. How did he ever think that I wouldn’t notice?? I asked him if he had something to tell me. He was coy at first. Then he gave in and told me his secret. I hugged him and said it was important that he feel like he can always tell me the truth. Being able for us to trust each other is important. After that we asked Red if it was OK to devour the rest of the menorah. I broke pieces of marshmallow for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. They went nuts.
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    So now it is 12:10 AM and I am still having some troubles getting this gift to “submit” online. I tried twice and if it doesn’t go through this time I will have to try again – I’m home with all the kids tomorrow and I want to take them to a play museum – I think I’ll take them to the “art” area where they can get creative and throw some paint around. 🙂

    Wish me luck on getting to sleep at a decent hour.
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    December 20: You are Loved


    Chocolate Tuesday! I woke up and showered and went out of the room to find all kids in Big Bro and Red’s room. It was nice to have them all together so early in the morning and me to give each child a good morning kiss on their head – I missed them last night.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Big Bro and Red wanted me to help picking out their clothes but they were eager to put them on themselves, downstairs and after breakfast.
  • I walked downstairs with Red. I turned off a light before our trip down and it was too dark so I kidded with her… “What was I doing? That was way too dark.”…. and then she continued joking with me in her sing song, sarcastic humor that I think I taught her too well….. “Yeah mommy…. what were you doing? Turning off the light….. forgeting my lunch yesterday…..” and she was shaking her head back and forth and raising her hand upwards to the sky – so sarcastic, so dramatic. So sweet. My little girl with the drama and the humor and I almost cringe when I think of the influence that we have as parents over these little people. This little “sarcasm routine” I started a couple of years ago to basically laugh off my mistakes and joke with the kids like if I make a spill or put something in the wrong place. Red has grasped this humor and has taken it to a whole different level. With her inflection, her drama, her face and look in her eyes….. it is wonderful to see my little girl use my humor on me.
  • All kids were ready for breakfast. I was joking with each of them. Chocolate Tuesdays are great days. And look who asked for some chocolate and has been converted into the group — I know he will be addicted to this routine so now we have 3 kids that will go wild for Chocolate Tuesday going forward.
  • I was joking and talking with the kids. I asked, “raise your hand if you are a twin.” Almost immediately Twin Husky raised his one hand, and then his other hand. He had both hands raised. Then evenutally Twin Crazy raised her hand too. I tried so hard to get a picture of both of them together raising their hands but it was difficult to do. It would have been a great picture.
  • Twin Crazy went crazy over cereal and after she was done she still wanted to be with the group – so she tried to fit in by grabbing a small chair and standing on it. So cute. All together.
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  • Twin Husky was actually quite funny this morning. Making faces with his chocolate face; nodding his head up and down “yes” in a goofy way. Getting my attention by doing something funny and me praising him for making me laugh. He really is becoming much more “fun” and goofy.
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    We had only two drop offs today since Big Bro's public school is off for two weeks. Twin drop off was great – except that we couldn't find Twin Husky's tiger. So he may be difficult at nap time today. Big Bro and Red drop off was a bit stressful. Red was clingy and needed help with her teacher as we were leaving. Big Bro is in "camp" with some others and some old friends, but there is one child who has a VERY difficult time during drop off. I asked Big Bro if he wanted to introduce himself and ask the boy if he wanted to play. He quietly said "No." Inside, I couldn't believe what I saw. A poor child in a severe tantrum begging not to stay, saying that he didn't want to go, and his mother essentially tossed him on a couch while putting his jacket away. I know she must have been frustrated. I was stressed just hearing it. But I felt sad for the kid. A kid in an already tense situation feeling tossed aside by Mommy. I'm having trouble with this so I'll just stop here. I try not to judge but sometimes its hard.

    I'm on the ferry now. I will be late for a 9 AM conference call. I then have two other meetings after that. And I REALLY need to do real work today. I MUST get the client deliverable in good shape and REALLY need to make sure these meeting minutes are complete by year end. Or else we'll look really foolish.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    Wow. What a busy day.

  • I ran off the ferry and made it to the office just after 9 AM. I was a bit late to a conference call but they knew I would be late. It was an internal call. We talked about potential membership into an organization that would provide to us an opportunity to present, network, and potentially generate sales leads. I was also thinking of the objective of partnering with them to create another forum similar to the ones we already provide. It makes a ton of sense for us as a company to join forces with this organization. It could potentially open up an entire part of the market that has traditionally been hard to sell into with limited follow-on opportunities. If we are able to partner then we could potentially create another sales channel to create more leads with shorter sales cycles. I’m excited and glad to be involved. It will likely be a global effort.
  • I then had 20 minutes to review a proposal than an analyst drafted for our feedback. We then met with her to make the suggested changes. The proposal is going to need more work but we have time for that. I’m not worried about it (for now).
  • I then took a break, got some coffee, some water, fig newtons, and put on my make up in the bathroom. I looked like SHIT the whole morning.
  • I then had to prepare for a standing call with one of our partners for a forum we are creating. Our traction has stalled, seriously. We talked about go-to-market efforts and what we can do in the new year. We will need to evaluate in the new year whether we should continue with this effort or not. It is taking a lot of time so may not be worth it to continue. I sent out updated materials and templates and also sent out some emails after the call to prospective clients.
  • I grabbed a quick lunch at a shitty grilled cheese place right across from our office. I feel greasy now and it was a fancy grilled cheese – not like the ones I am used to in the Northeast (think orange american cheese on wonderbread where the cheese sticks to the fries in a New Jersey diner – no, this was NOT one of those an it cost me $10!!).
  • I then actually put my head down and started to WORK on the client deliverable that I know my client is waiting for. It is tedious. I’m not having a lot of fun finishing it up. But it’s important to him. So I do it. There is more to do, and he wants to talk tomorrow AM, so I will most likely work tonight after the kids get to bed to make sure he has it in his hands first thing in the AM. Like I don’t have anything else to do??!?!?!?!???!!? Uggggh. I HATE those nights where I have to work after the kids go to bed. I will try to be patient. Hopefully they will be cooperative. I’m looking forward to playing with them since I have not had good “play time” for several days now.
  • I am now on a ferry back. A later ferry since Big Bro is not in after-care so we are not crunched on time. The problem is that I’m used to picking them up 1 hour earlier and starting dinner. So, they may be VERY tired and hungry and cranky tonight for pickup. Maybe it will be a pasta night.

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    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • We picked Big Bro and Red up at pre-school/day camp and their entire conversation on the way home was centered around the menorah that she made out of frosting, marshmallows, and pretzels. Big Bro was curious about the pretzel entering the marshmallow, and if she used any frosting on the pretzel to keep it secure in the marshmallow. It was so cute. Them talking back and forth about the frosting, marshmallow, and pretzel (and no, the pretzel held tightly without any need for frosting “glue”).
  • Pick up for twins went fine; it was dark. All looked at the lights on houses.
  • Made a dinner of pasta, spinach, meat/parsley, and broccoli. Kids ate well. Both Big Bro and Red wanted to sit near me, so I sat at the head of the table with both at my side. Then Twin Crazy and Twin Husky came to me. They wanted to sit on my lap. So the three of us sat together eating off of one plate, with Big Bro to our left, and Red to our right. I finally felt like we were together.
  • We opened up a gift from my aunt (my Dad’s twin) – all the kids went nuts. There were for books with the theme “You are Loved”. They were excited about reading them tonight.
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  • We ate marshmallow menorah and gingerbread house after dinner. The kids shared which was great to see. The Twins loved marshmallows. We played. Princess dominos and trains.
  • We headed off to bed without a problem. Big Bro and Red helped clean the toys up. They brushed without a problem and got ready for bed. I said I would read all four books to them. Red sat on my lap. Big Bro grabbed his blanket off the bed and we all snuggled under it as I read. “You are loved.”
  • It’s been a good day. A busy day. A full day. We started with giggles, I ran ragged at work, relaxed with kids at the end, and now after this I need to open up my laptop and finish some client work. And after that I have to work on a Christmas present. I have not started to think about a calendar or holiday card this year. One thing at a time.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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