January 31: A very rough start of the day


Chocolate Tuesday! What a morning. Hated it. Absolutely hated it. I am so frustrated now as I type.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • 3 breakfast kids (Twin Crazy, Twin Husky, Red) are busy eating their breakfast and enjoying chocolate Tuesday (Nutella with bread, tortilla, bagels, etc.).
  • Big Bro on the other hand, has trouble waking up, is whining from the first 30 seconds up, whining for his clothes, whining that he’s tired, wining that there’s no stool for him (I’ll give him that, we only have 3 stools), on and on and on….
  • We all broke into laughs (even Big Bro) when Twin Husky was waving around a HUGE banana. We were all cracking up. I want to post a picture but it could be interpreted as adult-rated…. you get the idea. Awh, here it goes:
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  • Clothes changes went well, but we were running late.
  • I threw in a load of laundry.
  • Finding Big Bro’s jacket held us back a bit.
  • I dropped off Twins and Big Bro; I HAULED ASS to the ferry. The parking lot was full. I had 2 minutes. I circled the lot, over and over, in hopes that a spot would miraculously appear. The last time I did this I parked in handicapped parking at got a $335 ticket. So, the boat pulled away. Doesn’t the driver realize that we have four children to get ready, 3 drop offs, and we simply do not have time to get here an extra 10 minutes early to ensure we get on the boat???!??!?!?!??!?!
  • So now we are driving into the city. This ferry is the most unpredictable and unreliable source of transportation. Cancelations are frequent. And now this. Filling up. If you miss your boat, you wait 1 hour, unless its the 8:30 boat (which we take), and then you’re shit out of luck. That’s the last boat for the morning. SUCKS!!!

    Anyway, I’m at least glad that I ate some breakfast this morning. I asked Big Bro and Red to remind me to eat this morning. They asked me last night why I don’t eat breakfast and wait until I get to work. I said, you know you’re right. I shouldn’t ask YOU to eat breakfast in the morning when I’M not doing it too…. that’s not right. I need to eat breakfast TOO. Remind me tomorrow, OK?” So they did. So I ate. So is that what it comes to? When I take the time in the morning for myself we wind up missing the ferry???? Ugggh.

    Today at work should be good. I’m going to focus on planning for the 3 events I have going in April. I like this part. This is the looking forward, seeing what the day could be like, seeing what is possible, and beginning to pull the pieces together. And the office will be filled with people again. So I’m looking forward to that.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I had a reasonably good day. I hooked up my replacement computer, which gave me the opportunity to clean off my desk of all of the dust-bunnies all over my desk. It feels good to be clean and free of dust. I also found some old pictures of Big Bro (2 at the time) and Red when she was a baby. So cute.
  • I had a sell conversation for a client prospect for one of the forums we are trying to launch. It was only me on the call – and he is interested!!! He needs to socialize the concept internally and I will follow up with him in ~2 weeks to see if they would be interested in coming to a first meeting.
  • I also worked on marketing/communication materials to solicit interest to a forum we are thinking on launching. We’ve settled on target audience and now we just need to go to market and see what kind of response we get. I’m glad to have started that and sent off a first draft to our team/partners.
  • I also followed up with a set of stakeholders to see if they wanted to play a larger role in the initiative above – hopefully they agree.
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    Now I’m on the ferry, headed back to a car that is parked a long way away from the parking lot. I can’t wait to see the kids. I didn’t have enough time with them last night. I have chicken defrosting in the refrigerator so they will have a good dinner. I’m looking forward to tonight.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Pick ups for all kids went fine. We were home, shoes off, jackets off, etc. by 5:30. Even Twin Crazy can now take her jacket off by herself and put it in the closet. She was so proud of herself tonight. She is so independent and can do so much by herself already.
  • I made tandoori chicken with yogurt tonight – this time with boneless chicken breasts which I highly recommend. I had all kids by myself. NO MOTHER’S HELPER (we need to find a replacement). For some reason, all kids were crying at some point during the dinner preparation. Twin Husky over train tracks, Big Bro about not getting his Lego set in the mail, Red under the table crying for I don’t know what reason, and Twin Crazy because of a bite incident from Twin Husky over the train tracks. It was nuts.
  • Everyone started to settle down after dinner started hitting their bellies.
  • After dinner, I did a quick cleanup, ran the dishwasher, and got the kids to clean up all of their toys before sitting down to watch some Spongebob together.
  • Twin Husky preferred to play by himself and build with Legos.
  • I played with Twin Husky as he pushed his kid stroller with his Tigers towards me, and then I pushed it back to him. We kept doing this over and over and this little guy was having so much fun. We were both laughing.
  • Twin Crazy had fun “eating” my nose and also Red’s nose. So cute.
  • We had a grape snack and then off to bed.
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    It was a good day with the exception of the ferry and the dinner prep. I’m feeling good today. Work was good and productive which gave me some balance. I’m looking forward to tomorrow where I’ll get to spend time with Big Bro and Red. They’re already looking forward to it. I hear them now on the monitor and they’re not talking… they’re trying to go to sleep. So sweet.

    Till tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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    January 30: Am I going Up or Down??!?!?!?


    Monday. It was a usual. No major breakdowns which was great.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up early and headed up to the kids. Each got to bed early the night before so they all seemed well rested this AM.
  • I can’t really think of any particular highlights. Things just kindof flowed. The 3 ate, Big Bro was a bit tougher to get started. But the older kids got dressed and were cooperative. Clothes were prepared, bags were packed, jackets were out, shoes were gathered. It just sort of worked.
  • Red helped Twin Crazy get dressed into clothes since Twin Crazy said that her PJs were dirty. We taught her about “tags” and how they go into the back of the clothes. She was patient and she listened to what Red and I were teaching her. I loved that. Twin Crazy listening, Red instructing, and then Red having Twin Crazy do it by herself. It was wonderful. I love the interaction between these sisters (at least at this point in time….). I think they are at a point where they can share shirts. So I think my project over the weekend will be to cull down all shirts that are on the smaller side for Twin Crazy and consolidate all shirts between Twin Crazy and Red.
  • The split for drop offs was tough. Big Bro did not want to go with Daddy. I took Red and she arrived on the early side. Her teacher had painting set up for the kids since there were only a few of them. She had a hard time pulling away from me but I could tell from the look on her face and her eyes that she was looking forward to the painting activity.
  • Now I’m on the ferry. I brought with me my new eyeglasses that are a bit on the trendy side for me so I’ll see how I feel in them. It should be a reasonable day at work, I think. I need to type up the minutes to our planning meetings from last week for the two forums I am leading. I will need to start to reach out to guest speakers (and eventually guests for one of the meetings). I need to think through the realistic possibilities of our other forum we want to launch – I feel like we are tight on timing. Finally, I need to do admin things like performance reviews. They were due last week. I need to get something pulled together on that ASAP. OK. It actually looks like I am going to have a VERY busy day….

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I had fun today. All of the directors are in town for a firm-wide Directors meeting. So I’m seeing people I have not seen in over a year. Other people shake hands. I give hugs. Yes, I give hugs to these people. That’s the way I feel about the company and about the people who work here.
  • I spent the majority of my day on technical isuses – my laptop screen broke off. So they are replacing it. So I needed a loaner computer. So I was not very efficient today.
  • I spent time doing performance reviews. They are a bit late. But at least I did them. I feel good about that. One was a “self review”. I feel good about the breadth of skillset that my new role can offer me – in terms of project management, client relationships, presentations, cultivating new sales opportunities, and being recognized internally as a leader in this function. I feel good about my self review for perhaps the first time in a very long time.
  • I spent some time on some personal things too, unfortunately. I go up and down. Today I was down looking at the financial picture. I honestly cannot afford to live where I live. I knew this. But now I am FEELING it.
  • So now I’m on a train to my appointment. I think I need to put a change in place to save on cost – I just don’t know. People all day were coming up to me and saying “I just don’t know how you are able to manage with the work and the family…. how DO YOU DO IT??!??!”. Don’t they realize that I can’t? I haven’t been able to? I was crushed? My marriage fell apart? We are divorcing??? Yes let me say it for the first time here, we are DIVORCING. And it will soon get WORSE for me in terms of financial and personal struggle???!?!?!? Am I going up or down? How can I do this??

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    How did I get myself here? All I wanted was to feel “normal” and to tone down the stress. I needed to scale back. I needed affordability. I needed a husband who understood. I needed to be with my children. And my kids needed me (and still do). Taking more time to care for the kids is still hard work – I knew that – I didn’t care if I was tired, but I needed to spend my time on the RIGHT things. I needed to REBALANCE my life.

    But now I begin again… and yet so many decisions are left to be made and most of them will be thrust on me…. and how can I ever imagine being able to afford living in this part of the country as a single mom with four children???? And still be the mom I want to be???!?!??!?!??!??!?!?!?!?

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: LAUGH


    My “Staying Sane” series of posts have changed somewhat over time. At first I was trying to write about things or information that I thought would help the working mother in her very hectic life. Now, I find that I am writing about things that I am doing in my own personal life to help me get through the day – in in particular, the weekends. So yes, this is selfish of me. Yes, I know. But please bear with me. This is one of the only channels I have to express what I am feeling and going through right now. This weekend was divided, as it needs to be, but I felt like a child and crammed in some belly laughs along the way.

    This weekend was filled with laughter – I had Twin Crazy and Twin Husky on Saturday morning, Big Bro in the afternoon, Big Bro and Red on Saturday evening, and most of the day with Big Bro and Red on Sunday.

    Saturday:

    • Took Twin Crazy and Twin Husky on a “steam train” ride; they wanted to wear some goofy hats and had a good time; Twin Crazy was a bit scared but I had them with me and they clinged to me so I knew they were safe. They were busy looking around and I was busy hooting it up to get some excitement going.
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    • Big Bro came with me to get some eyeglasses and he told me that I look strange in them.
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    • He also came with me to go food shopping and he had fun picking out the fruits all by himself.
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    • Big Bro, Red and I had movie night and Red was hysterical when sharing her popcorn with me. She would ask me how many I wanted, I would say three, she would give me two, and then both of us would CRACK UP. I guess you had to be there. During the movie I was busy folding laundry with the kids in the same room but Big Bro wanted me to sit in between them and watch the movie with him. He needs to be doing something with me — I am the same way (refer to Languages of Love post)
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    Sunday:

    • After feeding the kids and getting them dressed I headed off with Big Bro and Red – we went to the zoo. But, we never went INTO the zoo. Instead, we rode on the little amusement park rides just outside of the zoo. I rode on a “roller coaster”. Twice. I screamed and laughed. It was the fastest ride I’ve been on in 10+ years, I think. It was a baby roller-coaster. But I had fun. AND NO ONE CRIED!!!
    • We took a train ride and actually saw some animals.
    • I watched the kids on a spin-around ride and had to laugh just looking at their faces.
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    • Afterwards we went to a birthday party at a gymnastics studio and I was one of the only parents jumping on the trampolines, jumping into the foam pit, etc. I LOVED IT.
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    So it was a weekend of laughter. My throat actually hurts (yes I have a cold, but I’d like to think the laughter had something to do with it).

    I feel like this is a calm before the storm. The children, particularly the older ones, are more clingy than I would like to see. I know they can pick up on the tension. There were several times this weekend that Red just needed to be held, and rocked. She woke up sooooooo early this morning crying for me. I sat with her in my room on the floor, on the big fuzzy rug, and rocked with her. She wrapped her arms around me and played with my hair along my back. We sat in silence. And then we rested on the rug and waited for the others to wake up.

    It kills me that the joy they have in their eyes will be tarnished somewhat in the near future. I want them to laugh uncontrollably and lose themselves in their laughter. To be kids. Not to suffer the feeling of loss or worse, think that they had ANYTHING to do with it. It kills me that these days of free laughter may be limited…. that somehow, they will forever be changed – being touched by loss and grief and that parts of their joy, innocence, and security will be damaged.

    I will try my hardest to shield them from what I can; and prove to them that I am a mother they can all count on.

    Til tomorrow,

    – Mama K

    January 27: Good luck for the new year


    Today was a rushed morning – I have to go to work today for a client meeting relating to an initiative that we are trying to launch. So it was rushed this morning.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up early and got the Twins so I could be there for Twin Crazy for her to go potty. Again, no progress but I did say great job and we’ll try again tomorrow.
  • Big Bro came downstairs completely dressed all by himself. He was so proud. I gave him a long, strong hug.
  • Red had problems this morning. She seemed a bit out of it. I sat with her on the floor and hugged her and rocked with her for quite awhile. I love how she wraps her arms around me and plays with my hair. We rock in silence and this gives both of us a boost afterwards. But she still had difficulty getting dressed this morning – she didn’t like her shirt. I found her favorite butterfly shirt clean in the laundry and that worked for her.
  • Twin Husky was walking around with his pajamas half unzipped.
  • Twin Husky went into my room and turned on my radio. He came into the kitchen with a cute look on his face, knowing he was caught doing something wrong and playing with buttons. We went back into my room to turn off the music and said that it was no problem, the music is now off.
  • Drop offs went well. I’m looking forward to Red’s school’s Chinese New Year parade – families are welcome to see it. Red wants all of us to be there. I was at a minimum going to bring Big Bro, but she also wants Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to be there too.
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    Now I’m in a car traveling into the city for a work meeting with potential partners for a new initiative. Once we have this meeting we’ll be in a position to craft the language and solicit potential participation for the proposed meeting in April. So, this should be a good meeting and will give us a sense to move forward more quickly.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

    I don’t usually work on Fridays but came in today for one face-to-face meeting which I needed to be there for…

  • I got into the office and put make up on, and also pulled my hair into a loose bun with decorative clips – much more professional than my usual pony-tail. I am dressed to impress.
  • We had a 3 hour meeting about our potential initiative. We have the support of an industry leader. However, our focus and ideas on audience keeps changing. I am now getting a bit concerned about the timing. Can we pull this together and get the right commitment from presenters and attendees in less than 3 months time??!?!??! This is something I need to talk about internally on Monday. I feel like we have more questions than answers but want this meeting to be successful – getting the right focus and the right people will be critical to make this successful….
  • After the meeting we headed back home to see Red in her Chinese New Year Parade. I even wore a red suit jacket to help support the festivities. We were running way late. We rushed to pick up Big Bro but did not have enough time to pick up Twin Crazy or Twin Husky. Pity. If I had drove myself into the city I would have made it back in time to have all of us there.

    The parade was so cute. I’ve been to these before. Each classroom comes out in their own set of decorations and theme – Red’s had music-maker tubes and paper plates that they were waving around. She looked a bit quiet but she did not cry. She held back her smiles when she saw me and Big Bro. So sweet. Afterwards they had a group of entertainers do a Dragon dance – they were good and I didn’t see many tears in the audience which was good. They threw to the audience tangerines and lettuce – for good luck. Big Bro was brave enough to be a scavenger and hunt for pieces of lettuce on the ground.

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    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I stayed with Red and Big Bro at their request while daddy went to pick up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. Red and Big Bro wanted me to stay back with them and play with play-dough. They asked me again what I wanted to eat and then worked away and making the stuff for me. Once the twins arrived, they got excited about the play dough too so all four of them were “cooking” with the stuff. At dinner, Twin Crazy brought a play-dough chicken leg with her and pretended to eat it. So cute. She cracks me up.
  • After dinner we played. I wrestled with Big Bro. I rough-housed with Red. I held Twin Crazy (who asked for “Mommy time” for the first time today!!!). I listened to their parade music and drums and danced to their music. I helped Twin Husky with his Tigers. I gave the kids chocolate milk for a Friday night treat.
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    I’m in my room now and am in mixed moods. I don’t know how I feel about the weekends anymore. We are dividing up birthday parties since Big Bro has two this weekend. I don’t know how to divide the rest of the time but it is best that I focus on the kids and not spend too much time around their father.

    Have a great weekend all –
    – Mama K

    Recipe: Flat Meat


    This is a repost — for some reason this entire post got lost off my blog – but I use this one ALL THE TIME so I wanted to repost it. I promise a new recipe for next week.

    Flat Meat

    OK guys – for those of you that know me, NO I am not talking about my boobs. But rather, an incredibly QUICK and easy way to get food on the table for the kiddos during the week.
    What you need is the thinnest cut of meat — any kind of steak or pork — or, you can even “pound” chicken breast into thin, thin pieces. Takes about 4-5 minutes cooking on each side and you’re done. You can marinate before-hand, or not. I usually do with microwave veggies and a side of pasta. Sooooooooooooooo easy. You can easily do this recipe once a week and just rotate the meats/marinades, etc. to bring variety to the kids.

    Ingredients:
    Flat meat (pork, steak, pounded chicken). Note: a flank steak might not work well here since I think that cut needs to cook over a longer period of time to make it tender; when I do the steak I buy higher grade steak but buy it thinly cut.

    Directions:

  • Heat an indoor griddle pan on your stovetop. We use a griddle pan with a ridged surface that sears foods with grill marks while allowing fat to drain away.
  • On high-ish heat, grill meat on each side, about 4-5 minutes each until cooked to your liking.
  • Prep Time: 5 min
    Cook Time: 10 min

    January 26: A child’s creativity


    Today was a home day for me. No work. I had the Twins. I picked up the older kids early. We had fun – but it was a rough morning for Big Bro.

    Highlights of the Morning:

  • I got ready early and again ran upstairs to see if Twin Crazy would go to the potty. Again, I got there too late, her diaper was full, and no pee came out. But she tried. And me, Red, and Twin Husky were together (with them sitting on my lap) with her to support her efforts.
  • Red said to me this morning: “Mommy, look at ME….” She was already dressed in her clothes for the day, that we got out the night before. She was so proud of herself and I could have kicked myself for not noticing sooner.
  • Red helped Twin Crazy pick out underwear to wear over her diaper. Too cute. They love being sisters already.
  • I got the twins dressed since we were going out today. I took them to the Discovery Museum.
  • Twin Husky was having fun saying “I see you” as he was looking through and hiding behind Big Bro’s sandwich container. Too cute. I find comfort in knowing that the quietest of the crew still will go out of his way to act silly and do things to make me laugh.
  • I think the rest of the morning was uneventful, I think. I don’t remember. It is now the end of the day….
  • Big Bro went with his dad for drop off and threw a fit. He wanted me to drop him off. And he was jealous that the twins were staying home with me all day. He was so pissed. He was screaming, and apparently unbuckled his seatbelt and almost opened up the door on the way to school as his dad was driving. I feel so bad. Why can’t I just be there for everybody??? I want to, really I do. It kills me that I cannot.
  • Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and I dropped off Red. She was a bit clingy, but overall did well.
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    Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • The twins and I left for the Discovery Museum immediately after Red’s drop off. They were ready for it. They love that place. It’s a long drive for us now, but on the way we talked about the birds on the electrical lines, various choo-choo trains, crackers, boats, stuffed animal tigers, and shoes. They refused to nap on the way.
  • Twin Crazy did something really funny today. She said to me “eat your nose” and I didn’t understand her but I did understand “nose” so I went in to kiss it, and that’s when she bit me on my nose ever so gently. Then started cracking up. So I “ate her nose” too and we continued to do that throughout the day. I’m not sure if she picked that up from her daycare provider or if that’s just something that she invented on her own, but it is really too cute./li>
  • While at the Discovery Museum, they painted, cut with scissors, built art with magnetic shapes, jumped on water-bed lilli-pads, played with stuffed animals, built with foam blocks, played with hula hoops, and banged on xylophones. They had a VERY full day – lots of creativity and I took too many pictures.
  • Home for naps, then snack. Then I picked up Big Bro and Red.
  • The five of us played with a play-dough kitchen set from my mom. This play lasted for at least 2 hours and was good entertainment regardless of kids’ ages. I love play-dough for that reason. They were so cute, all cooking and making food together. I loved it. I loved interactivng with them and pretending to eat their food.
  • We had a great dinner and played, read books afterwards. I taught Big Bro about Silly Puddy and also about wrestling, how you have to pin the other person’s shoulder down for the count of 3 to win. He’s good. He’s strong. He’s only 5 1/2. I’m envisioning a wrestling scholarship. Do they have those?
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    So now I’m in bed, thinking about the day, and thinking about how the kids need mommy time. I was just in a position to give them more of me and now a big part of me might be taken away from them. I feel bad for that. I can’t think about that now – so much is out of my hands. All I can do now is love them and hug them and laugh with them and console them and go to them when they need me.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    January 25: Creations


    It was an easy morning – everything just seemed to flow…

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up early and got myself ready. I made it upstairs by 7 AM to get the Twins up and also sit next to Twin Crazy on the potty, as promised. When I picked her up, her diaper was full so I knew it was too late. But we sat there anyway, and a teeny bit of pee came out – so we were all proud. Twin Husky was of course looking over with curiosity.
  • Red came in while we were in there and she was holding back a smile. She is proud too.
  • Downstairs, the clothes are already out in piles. Breakfast was cereal.
  • Twin Husky was strolling around his “tigers” again and also trying to maneuver with a baseball bat and ball. He is such a boy. So cute.
  • Twin Crazy was playing with stickers. She put some stickers on Big Bro’s backpack and he got very upset. He then suggested that she could put the stickers on his OLD backpack (Toy Story) so that worked fine for her. WAY TO GO BIG BRO!!! I love how these kids are empathetic and are actually becoming very good at problem solving and working through conflict. They continuously surprise me and make me proud (but of course there are times when their fights are too much to bear…. ).
  • I woke up Big Bro – who got to sleep WAY too late last night. This poor kid needs more sleep. I tried to coax him downstairs with the promise of apple juice and also the activity of packing up his backpack (which we received yesterday). That seemed to get him moving. He had a HUGE breakfast of banana yogurt with bananas. I went shopping yesterday (thankfully) so we have food in the house again.
  • Kids got dressed without a problem. Red was hoping like a bunny because of her bunny shirt.
  • Drop offs were so easy. I promised Big Bro that I would pick him up at 12:45 (after Kindergarten) since I have a 1/2 day today. I also promised Red that I would pick her up today after her nap. I want to spend some time with each of them today and take advantage of my short day. I miss them.
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    So, now I am on my couch, with a big pot of coffee after eating the kids’ leftover breakfast. I have chicken defrosted in the refrigerator already. I have to revise our proposal and I can maybe start to put out some planning calls for our conferences. I also have to start thinking about and preparing the communication language that will go out to invite potential clients to a “formation meeting” that we will have inbetween our conferences – for a potential forum that we are trying to build. Crafting this communication will be critical and I need to start thinking about the positioning, who to contact, and start those recruiting efforts….

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I had to address several emails this morning so got that taken care of.
  • I then had a 10 AM conference call to prepare for. It was an informative call.
  • I then focused on the proposal. I needed to price it down which meant cutting out scope. The trick is, you can’t cut too far – otherwise the client does not get a valuable piece of work, OR, your firm winds up investing extra time to MAKE it valuable but you don’t get paid for that time. Either scenario is not great. So I worked on price and reduced scope. I think we can do it.
  • I then got myself out of the house since it was my 1/2 day. I went to pick up Big Bro and felt the stress leave my body as soon as I saw him.
  • The Rest of the Day:

  • We talked about what we wanted to do for the day. We went to a garden at his school and sat on a bench. He couldn’t decide despite my various suggestions.
  • Then I got THE call. I needed to work on the proposal a bit more. So off we went, back at home. It only took me 15 minutes so that was good.
  • Big Bro was busy entertaining himself with Legos. He asked me to sit with him and build something. I gladly obliged. He is really good at Legos. He follows the directions, page by page, but he makes decisions as to what he wants to do and what he doesn’t. So he doesn’t follow the rule book to a T and in fact deviates based upon his own thinking. He also adds to it. Today, the space shuttle that he was working on actually turned into a space helicopter. And he wanted the man to sit on the helicopter and I suggested that maybe the man’s face was too close to the blade. So together we thought of a solution to extend the ship outwards in the back, and create a ledge where the man could safely sit. I loved that time with him, just us.
  • By that time, it was time to pick up Red (early). Her class was waking up from their naps. I packed some snacks and off we went to pick her up. She was happy to be “stolen” from her class early.
  • I took them to a place where you pick out pottery shapes and then paint them – the place then puts them in a kiln and you get them back all shiny. Big Bro picked out a tractor trailer and Red picked out an Angry Bird. They were so cute. I took too many pictures. I love looking at their faces as they are busy creating. They each picked out the colors they wanted from the palate of choices and picked out their different brushes. I had a blast watching them and I actually think the creations will come out really nice.
  • We then picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky early. I wanted them all home with me. We played for a bit and I did a lot of horsie-back rides. It is so cute to see all of the kids “in line” for their ride, and hearing “my turn” from the twins. So cute. They really did wait their turn and no-one tried to go out of order.
  • I then I started dinner and also did a ton of dishes. The kids were playing by themselves, which was working out OK but for some reason Big Bro was teasing EVERYBODY. It was so bad that I had to send him up to his room for some quiet time. He was much better afterwards.
  • Dinner was on the table shortly after 6 PM and I put Big Bro on chicken and string bean “duty” and Red on cous-cous “duty”. They loved having jobs. I think all kids really got into eating tonight because of it. They ate like champs. Twin Crazy went nuts with the cous-cous and was even stealing some off of Big Bro’s plate. Once a kid needed a refill, they asked the other child politely and then said “thank you”. I loved it. It was a really fun dinner.
  • After dinner I cleaned up a bit but then spent most of my time tickling the kids, wrestling with the girls, doing acrobatics with the girls. Big Bro was busy cleaning up all of the cous-cous. He was amazingly helpful and I think making up for his teasing episodes earlier in the day.
  • Bedtime was a breeze; Big Bro gave himself only a few magnets on his “responsibility board” since he knew he had some bad behavior today. His evaluation of his performance was right on track – I give him credit for that.
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    I have some personal reading to do and need to figure out a recipe for tomorrow.
    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

    January 24: Chocolate Tuesday and shopping for the kids


    lt was a fun monring. It was Chocolate Tuesday!

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Last night Twin Crazy had a hard time going to sleep becuase she wanted to keep going to the potty. She was REALLY angry. So I promised her that first thing in teh nomoring, I would pick her up out of the crib and bring her to the potty. First thing. IU promoise. So, I woke up early, got myself ready, and immediately went upstairs to the twins’ room. They were both starting to get up. Twin Crazy woke up saying “potty”. I grabbed her and we went in, talking about it the whole time, and then she went!!! The look on her face was priceless. SHe was trying to hold back a smile. We all made a big deal about it. Twin Husky looked down at her body, and then in the potty, and seemed curious. We put her in underwear (and Red picked out some pairs for her to choose) and I got her dressed. I made a big deal about how good it must feel to wear underwear and not a diaper. She was so excited. I packed up some extra pants and extra underwear and an extra potty for her daycare – but I know it will be a disaster over there. She is not really ready for full fledged underwear. I’ll bring over some pull-ups to daycare tomorrow.
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  • Chocolate Tuesday was fun. Twin Crazy was picking the chocolate off of the bread. The kids were talking about the shapes of the bread and how they were squares.
  • Red was excited about her clothes and her new socks. She picked out Christmas underwear for today. She was a sheer joy to watch get changed this morning. Absolutely no issues. WE LOVE STRIDE RITE SOCKS!!!!!!!!!!
  • Twin Husky was busy being a “parrot” again. Always repeating words and me encouraging his words. He wanted to get his diaper change in the toy room so I went with it.
  • All kids got their shoes on and jackets on without a problem. All loaded in the car without a problem. Drop offs were pulled off without a problem. And then we got to the ferry and the steering broke down. So now we’re in our car, headed to the city. The morning with the kids went without a hitch, and then the commute was botched. This ferry can be very unpredictable. Annoying.

    I will be busy at work today. I have two planning meetings for the two different forums I manage. I will also need to rework the proposal from last week, including a reduction in scope and price.

    Highlights of the Working Day:

    Busy day!

  • I led one planning meeting with 5 clients and the meeting went well; we have direction as to what they want to see at the next meeting so I can now structure a plan to develop a meaningful conference for the group.
  • I immediately went into another phone call for a different planning meeting for the other forum I manage. Again, I have a good idea on what I need to do to get the meeting organized.
  • I spent some time reworking our proposal based upon our meeting with the client last week; I found a way to come down in price but I need to refine my thinking a bit. I will work more on it tonight.
  • Dinner and Bedtime:

  • After arriving from the ferry, I walked to my house for the van, did some food shopping at Trader Joe’s, picked up all kids from all 3 locations, and then started dinner.
  • The kids were great as I prepared dinner. In fact, each “helped” me cook; pick up tomatoes, decide on the number of raviolis to make, pour sauce into a pan, put cut cucumber into a bowl, open up packets of mozzarella cheese, etc. They were so cute.
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  • I saw Twin Crazy “share” with Twin Husky tonight!!! Twin Crazy was playing with a toolset toy, and Twin Husky said that he wanted to “touch” it too. I confirmed that he wanted to touch the toy, he said yes, and I asked Twin Crazy if it was OK if she let him touch the toy — she immediately handed over some of the tools and I was so proud of her sharing. For 2 years old I thought it really big of her.
  • After eating, we played a bit and picked up our toys. It was late so there wasn’t a lot of time to play.
  • I helped Twin Crazy and Twin Husky get to bed. I sat with Twin Crazy for awhile as she sat on the potty (no luck). The twins were great. They each picked out a book and then we sang. I put Vaseline on Twin Crazy’s nose (part of our routine as she’s been sick) and I promised her that we would go on the potty the first thing in the morning. The kids went down without any troubles.
  • I couldn’t believe it but apparently Big Bro and Red each had about 3 tangerines right before coming up to bed??!?!?!??! How is this supposed to help them calm down and go to sleep????? Ugggh.
  • Red had me cracking up talking about her underwear, and how she makes the shapes bigger by pulling the material apart.
  • The older kids are going to sleep now; I have a monitor in their room so I can hear them from where I am downstairs – I was listening to them as I typed this up and was chuckling at their conversation; Red then point-blank started talking to me in the monitor which I thought was so cute. Now Big Bro is crying and can’t get to sleep because of the sugar. And now calling for me.
  • I had a busy day but am really, really, drained. Gotta go!

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    January 23: Multi-tasking….


    Today was a good morning. Things ran very smoothly and we were ahead of schedule. And there were some big developments along the way…

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up early and got myself ready ahead of the crowd.
  • I stacked their jackets, and also bed linens for Red by the front door.
  • I had their lunches made when the parade of kids were coming downstairs. They ran to me with open arms. “Mommy…. Mommy!!” I gave them their morning kisses and had both girls on my lap… I joked with them if they were going to give each other “sister kisses” and they both turned their heads away from each other in laughter.
  • Breakfast was easy; the three ate while Big Bro snoozed.
  • I laid the kids clothes out the night before, which also included some new socks from Stride Rite (this was a recommendation from a fellow Mama – thank you!!!!). Red put them on, got this HUGE smile on her face…. and said that she was NOT going to take them off. SUCCESS! After purchasing about 30 new socks, we finally found a set that works for her! She is comfortable! She is running! She is getting dressed without a problem!!! She is happy!!! YEAH!!!!
  • Twin Crazy pulled out the potty from the bathroom and put a big pink stuffed bear on it. We all laughed.
  • Suddenly, Twin Husky came running into the kitchen, grabbed a small kitchen chair, and ran with it back to the toy room. I’m not sure what he was doing, but the look of determination on his face, and his speed at getting that chair was priceless. Big Bro was sitting on my lap at the time and both of us were cracking up with each other.
  • Big Bro was tired this morning, but some apple juice fixed that. He ate his breakfast and got dressed in 15 minutes – we were doing great on time.
  • I dropped off the Twins and also Big Bro. It rained a lot during the night so there were rivers of water everywhere that we talked about. We also had the opportunity to see various worms enjoying the wetness. We talked about the worms and how they like the rain and how they like to squirm around on the sidewalk when it is wet. We looked at each one since we were not running late on time. I think we counted about 8 of them.
  • So, there were literally NO breakdowns. I was prepared in advance for the kids. They were CHARMING this morning and ate well, and listened. It was wonderful.

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    So now I’m on the ferry – it is raining with rough waters. I will have a lot to do today. I should have worked a bit over the weekend but my family was in town so I did not do anything in advance.

  • I have one “sell” meeting for a potential partner for an initiative we are trying to launch. I need to look at the discussion document to make sure it will work for this meeting. I am amazed sometimes at the lack of writing skills in terms of presentation – the story line needs to be there, be logical, and address the key points to get the potential partner on board. I will need to review what is in my inbox and make changes to the document in advance of our “sell” call this afternoon.
  • I also have to make revisions to a proposal as a result of our sales meeting with our potential client last week. We need to come down in price, which means removing some scope without cutting too deep that we are not able to address the objectives.
  • I have a planning meeting scheduled tomorrow that I will be leading. I need to meet with the Director today to go over the approach to the meeting so we will be prepared and use people’s time effectively. I have some work to do on that front too – and must have it done before meeting with the Director today at 10 AM.
  • So, that will be a ridiculously busy day. If I can stay on track and stay focused on the above, it should not be a problem. But things always come up during the day – the unexpected. Maybe I should close my door and turn off my email….

    Highlights of the Working Day:

    I got into my office knowing that it was going to be a crazy busy day. I ran to the restroom to put on my make-up, then grabbed some tea and water, and set myself up at my desk.

  • When I logged into my computer and calendar, I almost shit my pants. Not only did I have one Planning Meeting scheduled for tomorrow that I had to prepare for, but I had a SECOND meeting for the SECOND forum I manage which got scheduled for tomorrow as well, and at 10 AM!!! Oh shit. I have TWO of these to prepare for…..
  • I received some feedback from the proposal from our potential client and she indicated that Wed/Thurs would be fine for a revision – so that bought me some time today and I reshuffled some work around.
  • I jammed on the Agenda for the one meeting, met with the Director, made the changes, and sent it out.
  • I then switched gears and started working on a “Concept Document” to lead a potential partner through the concept of another initiative we want to launch. The presentation was essentially OK, but I had to add some pages and re-structure some stuff around. I had to lead an internal team meeting and did this while multi-tasking on the presentation. My meeting was at 1 PM and our internal meeting was at 12 noon. I hated to multi-task like that but honestly the deck needed work.
  • I led the call for the concept initiative and it went well. We need to gauge their interest in playing a larger role – I didn’t want to put them on the spot, so I suggested I touch base with them next week to see what they think.
  • Immediately afterwards, I started working on the Agenda and content for the SECOND planning meeting, the SURPRISE planning meeting. It is off now for some comments – I will need to sent it out tonight to the conference call participants before I go to bed.
  • So now I’m on the train headed to my appointment – I miss the kids, but I had a lot of time with them the past 5 days. So I’m OK. I was so busy today that I’m looking forward to talking to an adult. To decompressing. To leveraging this channel so I can speak my mind. I will see the older kids tonight I’m sure – and will give them big hugs and then get back to work.

    Tomorrow should not be as busy, but it will be stressful, since I will have to lead TWO planning meeting conference calls with lots of people – and then get my act in gear to make these meetings a success in April.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: A dose from family


    I just spent the past 5 days with my mother and my brother (and the kiddos) celebrating belated Christmas. They both live on the East Coast so it is always a treat when we see each other face-to-face. We are a close family, despite the distance. During the past year we’ve been on the phone more frequently, and over the past few weeks, we talk daily.

    Given recent circumstances, it is clear that I will be living in a high cost-of-living area for the long-haul and also far, far away from my family. This is not what I wanted for myself or for my kids. Phone, Skype, and Facetime will become standard modes of communication in my house. My kids love my family – my mom, dad, step-mom, step-dad, and brother — and talk of them frequently. The relationships are fun and effortless. The support given is unwavering and consistent.

    My family is my foundation right now – as well as my friends from my roots. They hear me, understand me, and believe in me. They know I can do this. They know this is happening for the right reasons. They cannot believe the story or what I have endured. But they are there — even though they are physically so far away. Me, four children, and no family closeby – if anyone can do this, I can. I know I can. So bring it on.

    So I will treasure these doses of family when I am lucky to get them. And they will help me stay sane and grounded when I feel out of place. And I will take pictures during their visits and use technology for communication to my advantage. And I’ll also sign the kids up for frequent flyer accounts and book my travel months in advance! 🙂

    Here’s to family and the help and support they give – thanks Mom, thanks Michael for taking the trip out here. I’m looking forward to the next visit…

    – Mama K

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