February 29: Airplane rides


Whew! Made the ferry! It was close. I’m headed into the city today to work 1/2 day and run an errand — my iPhone broke!!! I never realized how much I rely on it until it got “taken away” from me!

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red woke up, got herself changed, and was a complete chatterbox this morning. I couldn’t believe it. She was talking, talking, talking, talking non-stop. About everything. About Twin Husky’s toy snake, about her outfit, about how she slept in her bed by herself all night, etc. etc.
  • All kids were eating out of new BPA-free bowls I purchased for them. They were excited since they are a bit bigger. I am excited since they are dishwasher-safe.
  • We investigated Big Bro’s owie this morning. The kids were looking closely at it. It looks big (and deep in some areas) but it looks clean. Big Bro was milking it a bit this AM but was finally able to walk around and said he would be OK to ride his bike today. He was back on track, and I gave him a spare big band-aid in case he needed it during the day. I REALLY need to sew patches on his jeans. It is downright embarrassing.
  • We gathered our things to go, twins got their shoes on by themselves and were easy. Red was also easy, once she learned that I was also going to drop her off today. Big Bro had some issues when he was told “no bike” by daddy since it looked like rain. Big Bro threw a fit. Daddy said the Motley Crew wouldn’t be riding today. Big Bro refuted with “but you don’t KNOW that…. you don’t KNOW what they’re doing…..”. I was at a loss without my iPhone but I got the iPad out (thank you iCloud!!!) where I was able to text one of the mothers. They were not driving, not biking, but walking instead. We gave Big Bro the option to walk with them and he decided just to drive in with us.
  • Due to back up in traffic we were running behind. Twin drop off was fast, Big Bro drop off was fast, but we were stuck in school drop off traffic. Red drop off was fast. We made it to the ferry parking lot in enough time.
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    I’m on the ferry now feeling pretty relaxed and thinking about personal things and also what I need to do for work today. I NEED to get to the Apple store to get my phone fixed. For work, we have our first primary interview for our project, and I have to complete my review of the questionnaire for one of our forums. I need to spend time with outreach to the one forum, which I’ve been neglecting….

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    Man was I jammed!

  • I had a sales call for a potential participant for our meeting in April. He believes in the concept and is forwarding our invitation to Marketing STrategy who is more senior and a decision-maker. It was great news for us.
  • I then led our first primary interview for our client project. These kinds of meetings are always good since you really get a sense of the market — it’s not just reading an article or doing web research…. you’re actually talking with someone live who knows about the business and you LEARN so much in such a short amount of time. It was a great first call.
  • I then worked on the survey for one of our forums. There’s a lot more that needs to be done. I will be delegating this to someone who is coming back from maternity leave on Monday – so am thankful that I am getting this off my plate.
  • I also organized my thoughts around topics and agenda layout for each of the forums I will be leading in April. I’ve narrowed the focus and now have a sense on who to reach out to for speakers.
  • I debriefed my Partner on all of the above…. made great progress with him; he vetted the analytical approach we are using for our client project, and also gave feedback on direction for speakers and specific people. He is wonderful to work with.
  • I also stepped out at lunch to go to the Apple store to fix my phone. It was like turning on the “on” button. It needed a “hard reboot” which means hold down the circle button and the on/off button together, at the same time, for 10 seconds…. a FULL 10 seconds. That was it. Easy schmeasy. Saved me money today!
  • I’m on the ferry now, feeling a bit overwhelmed but happy to be headed home. I have some chicken defrosting in the refrigerator and am excited about seeing the kids. I heard from my mom today and she booked a flight out here for March 14 for several days and I’m REALLY looking forward to her visit.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Red first. She was busy with her teacher counting legos. She stopped counting when she saw me because she got shy. We then went to pick up Big Bro together. I wanted to know about his owie and how he did today. Then we picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. We talked in the car about owies, dinner, and balls.
  • I went right to work as soon as we got in, defrosting chicken and thinking about what I was going to do with it. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky had socks on their hands (I couldn’t believe it but Big Bro used to do this all the time and so did Red…. what about you guys??? Did your kids do this too???). Kids were busy sharing a couple pieces of bread. Then it hit me. Homemade breadcrumbs! Chicken cutlets! OMG it was so good – very easy. I’ll use the recipe for tomorrow to share.
  • After dinner, I played airplane ride with the kids and Big Bro was laying down beside me with my camera taking videos and pictures of the kids while they were in mid-air. I love the fact that he did that for me – I wanted to capture the look on their faces as they look down at me as they’re flying. And Big Bro felt special, my little Director. He’s actually very good at capturing the moment and video-taping. We then went through the photos together and talked about which ones to delete and why (fuzzy, can’t see the face, etc.). It feels great to have my iPhone back in working order!
  • It was my turn with the Twins tonight. Big Bro is tired of taking turns and he keeps saying it. I suggested that maybe we keep a log of whose turn it is and he be the keeper of the log-book, and tell us who is on who. He didn’t like that idea. He said that he would just say that he was with Mommy each night. This broke my heart.
  • Twins were very easy going to bed. Quick teeth brushing, each got a book, then hugs & kisses goodnight. I whisper “I……. love……. YOU” over and over and they return it. It is our little game. So after the “I….. love….. YOU” we also say “sweet dreams” and “night night” until I close the door – and then I open it quickly for a few more and then close it for good. That’s it!!
  • I cleaned up from dinner, put away clean dishes, and started to get loads of laundry together.
  • Red had a hard time tonight. Daddy left her on the top of the stairs screaming for Mommy. I couldn’t take it since he just walked away from her so I went upstairs, sat with her and hugged her for a few minutes, and then held her hand as she quickly drifted off to sleep.
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    I’m in my bed now, tired from the day and exhausted thinking about the next steps of the divorce. I just want this over. I want my own space. I want the kids to be happy. I want to feel like my life is on the right track.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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    February 28: The first of many skinned knees


    Nutella “Chocolate Tuesday”!!!! There were no breakdowns this morning. All kids were cooperative and EASY!!!! I missed out on most of them last night since I had an appointment. I walked into the house into an eruption of “Mommy’s home Mommy’s home!!!”. I kissed and hugged each of the twins goodnight. Sweet dreams. I…. love…. you!!!! Big Bro was already asleep. Red was up and hugging me hard and smiling that I was home. I helped her with her teeth, read a book to her, tucked her in. She was smiling from ear to ear. I felt bad that Big Bro was waiting for me but fell asleep before I got there.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red and Big Bro were already dressed and ready. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were ready for chocolate! All kids were singing Chocolate Tuesday Chocolate Tuesday Chocolate Tuesday…. even the twins. They’ve really taken to this weekly tradition. Twin Husky was acting goofy again and smiling with the chocolate and was acting so cute.
  • I talked with Big Bro about him being the “leader” during the Motley Crew ride into school. He told me the assignments of the kids and the days of the week. He will be leader each and every Monday. I asked him how it went and he said “fine”. I asked him if he liked being the leader and he nodded yes but didn’t talk much since his face was full of Nutella tortilla.
  • We also talked about his new book for school – their homework is to read one book a night and they are easy readers. There is a set of them that are so cute because they are small and square and the pictures just crack me up. So this morning we were looking at the book and all the kids wanted to see the book and the picture.
  • I packed up Big Bro’s lunch and had to hide what I pack. Otherwise he throws a fit over something if he doesn’t agree with it and I just don’t need that kind of argument in the morning.
  • We were all ahead of schedule. Big Bro was waiting for us to tell him it was OK to go over to the Motley Crew street. Red was putting on her shoes and jacket. The twins put on their shoes (and Red helped Twin Husky). I gathered jackets and blankets and Tigers. We were ready. He was calling for me and told me good bye Mommy! We drove the van around the other part of our street circle so we could follow Big Bro over to the Motley Crew. I wish I would have taken a picture of his face. He was riding so fast and keeping up with the van and laughing and smiling and having fun being on his own.
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    Now I’m on the ferry and thinking about work and thinking about lawyer bills and how the hell are we going to get through this divorce without going broke. We honestly cannot agree on anything. Something that should be so rational becomes a power-play. I’m glad that there is a mediator involved since we will soon reach the point where she has authority to make the decisions on our behalf. We need to do the same on the financial front. We need to get that process started ASAP.

    I will be busy at work. I need to refine the materials that we will review with our client today. I need to work on the questionnaire for the surveys we will be doing and presenting on in April [top priority for today]. I have a status call for another forum but I am not excited about it since we are not getting ANY traction. Lastly, I need to start reaching out to speakers for both forums since that takes lead time and I am concerned that I am running against the clock – we have two months to go and I need to get the draft agendas together ASAP.

    I’m looking forward to being in our new office. What’s for lunch today???!!?!?!?!?

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    OMG so busy!

  • The walk to the NEW office was great. Lots of people, walking by stores, restaurants, activity. And bars! Irish Bars!!! Yeah! I took a picture and later emailed it to the entire 15-person office.
  • I led a meeting with our partners on go-to-market activities for a potential new forum. I suggested just picking a date and a place for a “formation meeting” that way we can go forward more forcefully for participation. We could also go-to-market with the meeting date and place more prominent and talk about who has already committed to further prompt interest. I asked one of the newer people on the team to look at our existing materials to see if the message could be made more compelling.
  • I then switched gears and focused on deliverables for our client meeting today at 2 PM. I reviewed, edited the discussion document with our preliminary findings and also refined the interview guide (our first interview is tomorrow). They loved the work so far. We have to keep them liking our work….
  • I spent time doing outreach for another forum we are trying to launch.
  • I also spent time refining the survey instrument for one of our meetings in April. We need to get that done and fielded so we can have 2 presentations underway.
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    It was very busy, I felt very productive. And I am happy to be headed home. I have fish defrosting in the refrigerator and a lemon on hand so I am expecting a great dinner. Can’t wait to hug my kids and make up for lost time!

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Big Bro first. I stayed by the van as he ran down to the other side of the school to pick up his bike and ride it back. I watched him run away from me, but he stopped two or three times to look back in my direction. There was a period of one or two minutes where he was out of my sight. Getting his helmet on, getting on his bike, and riding through the playground (probably in loops) and through corridors on the outsides of buildings and weaving in and out…. and then he came into my sight. He is AOK and having fun. He was having so much fun that he wouldn’t stop riding. He just kept going and going despite my calls to him. So when he approached at full speed I jumped in his path (big mistake). We crashed and he wound up with a scraped knee.
  • It was a loud ride over to pick up the Twins. And still a loud ride when going over to get Red. We were quick so we could get him taken care of back at home.
  • At home, all kids got shoes and jackets off; I quickly threw on some rice and put the almost defrosted salmon in the microwave to thaw. Then I tended to Big Bro – cleaning his scraped knee, putting on ointment, and then helping him with a huge bandaid and tape around the edges. This is his war wound. We both apologized to each other.
  • Dinner was great. Red ate most of the salmon. Big Bro was able to eat. Twin Crazy was showing us her belly. Twin Husky is in his “throwing” stage and he just kept throwing food, to our dismay.
  • After dinner I cleaned up and then got Twin Crazy changed into PJs.
  • Then it was time to get upstairs…. I got Twin Husky changed while kissing his belly and having him jump into the air and giggle.
  • I then took care of Big Bro and Red, per their request. It was a good night. They were both cooperative. We talked a lot.
  • I’m in bed now, feeling tired – feeling like I have a lot to do on a personal front but feeling like I just don’t have the energy in me to attend to it. But I should. So I will. I’ll call it a night for now.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    February 27: Going places!!!


    Monday! I am so tired right now. Big Bro had a nightmare last night and he called for me into the “kid monitor”. I went up to him to console him, and each time he fell asleep and I would get up, he would stubbornly sit up in bed. For the life of me I couldn’t get out of the room. So I went downstairs to get my phone/”alarm clock” and took out his trundle bed and slept on the floor next to him. At least we were in HIS room and I resorted to this after a good 30 minutes of trying to get him to go to sleep. Mind you, this was at 4:00 AM. So, I’m tired….

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I was a bit slow this morning, as was Big Bro. I got him up in enough time and helped him to dress and had his breakfast ready and his stuff ready so essentially all he did was get up and get fed and get out. He rode to school with the Motley Crew today.
  • I helped to change a Twin, I forget who. I think it was Twin Crazy.
  • Red was already dressed and very cooperative.
  • I finished my photo project that I started back in early January when I moved into the guest room. It took awhile for me to get the frames, find the pictures (and the time) to print them out, buy hooks/ hanging tape, at a hardware store, and then finally start the process of hanging them up. The tape dried overnight so I hung the frames this AM with Red and Twin Crazy. I love it and feel like the room is now complete.
  • When I was upstairs helping Big Bro, Twin Husky made his way up the stairs looking for me. I loved hearing him calling for “Mommy” at the bottom of the stairs and asking “Where are you?” in his 2-year old kind of way. It was so cute to see his face popping up over the stairs and both Big Bro and I were laughing at his cuteness.
  • I took Red into school today. Despite our smooth morning, this is where the problem started. Her regular teacher was late this morning. So she was in a different classroom. We dropped off her baby and nap-sheets in her cubby and I positioned the baby so that she was sitting and comfortable and able to see the classroom around her. So we went to the other classroom to meet up with her class – there were some of her normal friends there, but I did not know the morning teachers – so it was REALLY strange for her to be dropped of in this way. And on a Monday no less. Monday drop offs are always a bit hard so this made it harder. I tried hard to get her to interact with her friends since they are obviously familiar to her. Talking about their shirts, talking about giving hugs, and then the tickle-monster came out and that seemed to work, temporarily. At this point I was late for the ferry so I had to get a strange teacher to help me pry her off of me.
  • I hauled ass to the ferry. I can’t be late as this is the last one in the AM.
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    So now I’m on the ferry, a bit over-tired and still calming down from the morning. I have serious work to do today. I need to get the status of the workstreams of our project first thing this AM, and push the market sizing analysis further – this will involve some creativity and I want to see if the team came up with a logical approach. I also need to finalize the draft primary interview guide as we need to give this to the client for review. Our first interview is Wednesday, I think. I will also need to focus on the forums in April – I need to look at the survey questionnaire and make some revisions so we can finalize it this week and start to get it fielded. This sounds easier than it will really be – I will need quiet alone time for this. Today is the first day in our new office and I do not even know the address. I will need to get that when I’m off the ferry and google-map it so I can arrive and get to work. So there will unfortunately be some distractions today.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • NEW OFFICE LOCATION!!!! It was awesome to head towards a new office. I got off the ferry, bought a to-go breakfast, and headed West. I didn’t know exactly where I was going so I had to call the office to get the address. It is great! A new start! A change in pace! I was invigorated and so were my colleagues. Despite the furniture in disarray, boxes everywhere, and general confusion, all of the internet was working, access to the servers were AOK and phones were working. Miraculous! I had a very productive day.
  • I spent the early AM going through some outreach for speakers for one of the forums.
  • I met with my team for the client project to get an understanding of where we are in terms of work and what we need to do to prepare for our client touchpoint tomorrow. I assigned tasks and unfortunately I had to assign myself things that I don’t think I should be doing (e.g., interview guides, target lists, etc.). I sent out outreach emails to see if we can secure some primary interviews for the project; that way we can say with conviction that we are making progress on that part of the project. I also laid out analysis approaches to refine our market sizing work for discussion with the client tomorrow. I will need to do some work tonight, since the materials are not yet done and I want them reviewed by my Director before I send to the client in the AM.
  • I spent some time doing admin things like addressing random emails.
  • I received a text-message from a parent of the Motley Crew gang that said that Big Bro was the “leader” today. There are five of them and each kid will take a day. His day will be Mondays for now on.
  • We went out for a FABULOUS lunch. Our old office location was very, very desolate with not many lunch options. We are now in the heart of downtown and therefore have soooooo many options at our fingertips. I know I will gain weight here.
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    So, I was busy but I still have so much to do. I did not even LOOK at the survey questionnaire and I MUST make that a priority for tomorrow.

    Right now I am on a train to an appointment tonight. I’m not sure what I’m going to talk about. So much has been happening yet so much still stalled. I feel like I am stuck and just spending money on lawyers.

    Hopefully tonight when I get home Big Bro and/or Red will still be up. It is my night to read to them. They will be upset if I am not there for that.

    Anyway, I must go now.
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: Rest


    There are certain things that the body and soul need to refuel and recharge. Food. Water. Sugar. Chocolate. Laughter. Sunshine. Sex. Rest. I want to focus on the last since I did receive a lot of rest this weekend with and around the kids. There was also a lot of laughter and chocolate (but alas no sex) but I digress. 🙂

    Having a job is hard work. They call it “work” for a reason. Having children is also hard work. When you have one child, every spare moment is spent obsessing about the one child – very little goes to yourself. Then number two rolls around, and by the time numbers three and four come into the world, the notion of rest seems elusive but honestly does become possible.

    Saturday:

  • I spent the morning with Big Bro and Red. The sun was out but the air was cold. We decided to go to a playground in our neighborhood. I was still feeling down from the night before, and I also had to spend some time with Red in the middle of the night — so I was in a bit of a slow and melancholy mood. But I had the chance to interact with the kids to support them when they were doing something brave (e.g., going down the fireman pole on the play structure for the first time), pushing them on the swings, and organizing their snacks for them. But most of the time I just sat on the park bench, with my feet in the warm sand, and watched them. I let myself stray from their experience and became an outsider looking in. I let my defenses down and sat, and watched, and laughed, and stayed silent – not wanting to interupt their interaction. I sat on that bench for awhile thinking of things yet not thinking of anything in particular. I sat on the bench with my feet in the sand listening to the kids laughter and being thankful that at least in this moment they get along and are happy with their worlds. I sat, wriggled my toes, closed my eyes towards the sun, listened to their laughter, and of course had my camera phone ready.
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  • During lunchtime we were reunited with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. We opened surprise gifts from my mom (Nana) that included books and matching stuffed animals. The kids were thrilled for the animals and we read their books before nap. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky even wanted to sleep with their books in their cribs.
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  • I napped while everyone else napped and did not feel guilty at all.
  • Sunday:

  • I felt more like myself today. I was woken up to the kids downstairs in my room at 7:30 AM. They know that we don’t get out of bed until 8 AM so it was OK for me to stay put. They tend to entertain themselves. But for some reason, all four of these kids were in my room and wanting to come up in bed with me and hang out, rather than play outside. Big Bro was the one that lifted Twin Crazy and Twin Husky out of their cribs. These kids are a pack and they were so cute this morning. It was a great way for me to wake up.
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  • I had Twin Crazy and Twin Husky for the AM and took them to an interactive creative museum where they painted on glass, played with a funky kind of playdough called Blubber, and also jumped on waterbeds and laughed and got tickeled by me. I love the waterbed/lilli-pad area. There are lots of comfortable places for the parents to hang out and watch the kids and I even go onto the waterbeds and lay and play with the kids. It is calming despite the activity from the young ones. It is easy. You know they can run around and climb and not get lost, not get hurt. So again, I lost myself a few times in peace. Peace is not the right word…. I was not as satisfied as “peace” but not quite “sad”… maybe somewhere in between. Disappointed, run down, maybe just trying to recharge and not dwell on details of my life. Taking a pause to again just sit and watch the kids in action. Taking an outsider point of view and letting them go where they needed to go and then come back when they wanted to come back. Knowing they were OK. And knowing they would come back to me. So it was OK for me to rest and just “be”. But then I got my charge back and participated (maybe even caused) commotion and tickling and my voice was getting raw and I even had stranger kids coming over to me to get tickeled. I had to keep looking up to find the parents and ask if it was OK for the “tickling fingers” to get their kids too. At around 12:00 though the room became much quieter as other families were heading home. And my kids were jumping and rolling and staying down saying night-night. Then the stranger kids were resting and saying night-night. That was my cue that it was time to wrap it up.
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  • They got up from their naps a bit too soon – for some reason Twin Husky was crying; so I took the opportunity to take them both down and we rested in silence on the couch – we were like this for a good 20 minutes until everyone else came home
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    So, there was activity and laughter and reflection over the weekend, and also a lot of REST. To recharge. To take a break. To pause and witness the kids smiles and laughter. And to see them be kids, and be kids with each other.

    And in looking back at other photos in my photo-stream, here are some other highlights of recent restful moments with my babies —

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    How do you re-charge? What does “rest” mean to you? How are you able to grab times of rest during your busy week????

    Thanks for listening –
    – Mama K

    February 24: My heart is elated and then breaking


    Yeah! Friday! Time with the kids! Yet at the same time, ugggh… Friday… .that means another weekend is almost here….

    I had a great day with the kids:

  • This morning went VERY smoothly; Big Bro, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky were excited about the ride to Big Bro’s school. Red was very cooperative and got dressed all by herself first thing in the AM. Twin Crazy was excited about wearing a shirt with a hood and pockets. They all ate well and were super-excited about vitamins, as usual.
  • The ride to Big Bro’s school was nice – it was a beautiful day and the birds were singing. I asked the Twins what the birds were singing about and they said “worms” — this is a story that I made up with the kids several weeks ago… I was pretending that I was a bird and translating the chirps into “oooooh, good morning good morning good morning…. ohhh it’s a nice day outside…. ohhhhh I’m hungry for breakfast…. ohhh where are the worms, where are the worms, where are the worms…. ohhhh I’m looking for worms…..”. So it’s our own little joke now when we hear birds singing we say they must be singing about worms.
  • Twin Husky was playing with his rubber snake and I asked if it was a nice snake or a mean one… he said a mean one and then I pretended that the snake bit my finger and cried “Ouch”! Then each of them were pretending to be bitten by the snake and they each said “Ouch” too.
  • On the way back home I saw a team of gardeners with a lawnmower so took the opportunity to teach them about the lawnmower and how it is loud and how it cuts the grass and how the grass looks nice now…. it was cute. They were completely into it.
  • While at home, I had a chance in the early AM to brown a roast and make a quick sauce of broth, diced tomatoes, and spices and threw everything into a crock-pot. There. Dinner is essentially taken care of.
  • During the rest of the morning they had a good time coloring, eating, playing hide-and-seek with a blanket, doing puzzles, helping me unload the dishwasher, jumping, showing me their bellies, and being tickled by me.
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    Then it was lunch and nap-time for them. I straightened the house and got some personal items done. The afternoon would be spent in Child Custody mediation so I had a woman who previously helped us care for the kids come over a bit early so Twin Crazy and Twin Husky could wake up and see us with her — and talk about how we love her and how she used to take care of them when they were babies (and how they’re not babies anymore) and had her give them a snack of ice-cream before we left. They immediately took to her and had no problem saying goodbye to us and they went outside with her to play with scooters and bikes. Thank you Kendall!!! We do love you!!!!

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    It was a good dinner, a good pop-corn movie night. A good sister-bonding night. Red: “Do you want to sit here? I will sit right next to you, OK? It’s OK, I’m here, you’re not alone…”

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    But bedtime was rough. I had Twin Crazy and Twin Husky tonight but Big Bro revolted, hard. It was a very difficult time for him, and me. After hearing him and seeing him and hearing him say that he doesn’t want to take turns anymore and him consistently coming downstairs to me….. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I cleaned up as much as I could but then had to seclude myself in my room and cry, and cry, and cry. This is so hard. The forced separation while I am still here in the house is torturous; it’s hardest for Big Bro and he is at an age where he will remember. I am very concerned and it is just going to get harder for them. I need to be strong for them. And fight for what I believe is right for them.

    So today was a day of whiplash for me. It was so great and then so heartbreaking in a matter of hours. I feel like I’m alone in trying to find what is best for them in the long-run – but am putting my trust into a child psychiatrist / custody mediator whose job it is to work out a solution that is best for the children.

    I’m calling it a night –
    thanks for listening –
    – Mama K

    Recipe: F-ing good Baked Fish


    We had an amazing dinner tonight. All kids except for one (Twin Husky was too busy throwing a toy snake in the air) had such a good dinner that their bellies were sticking out all over the place. I don’t know if it was REALLY that good, or if it was the wine I was drinking. In any event, here it goes:

    Ingredients:

    • fresh fish (I used salmon)
    • 1 lemon
    • olive oil
    • dried dill
    • sea salt

    Directions:

    • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
    • Put fish in baking dish (I used a clear glass one)
    • Drizzle with olive oil
    • Sprinkle with dill and sea salt
    • Squeeze the lemon juice on top — I actually had quite a bit of lemon juice in the pan
    • Cover with foil and bake about 15-20 minutes depending upon thickness of fish

    Prep time: 5 min
    Cook time: 15 – 20 minutes

    F!!! It was so f-ing good!!!

    February 23: Getting things done


    Today is a lovely, sunny Thursday and Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are napping. This gives me time now to recap the day so far –

    Highlights of the Morning:

    • All kids got up at about the same time this AM. I changed Twin Crazy and Twin Husky requested Daddy. Red was having problems picking out her clothes so I went in to help her. I gave all the kids their good morning kisses, with the exception of Twin Husky who didn’t want a kiss from me just yet, and also Big Bro, who would only let me kiss him through his blanket.
    • Big Bro was reading a book to Twin Crazy. He knows that she loves dogs and this one was about a puppy. He was so cute with her, “reading” the pages and talking about the pictures and asking her questions.
    • Kids ate well; mixture of cereal, bagels, oatmeal.
    • I brought down four piles of clothes today, including the Twins since they were staying home with me today.
    • Big Bro was reminded that he had bad behavior the night before and had his bike riding privledges revoked. He was pissed. He refused to get dressed. So I had to manipulate him a bit to get him going…. playing games, tickling him, etc. He ran upstairs and got upset when the other siblings came in to watch him. He even hid under a bed. He needed some alone time since he was upset about the bikes so I shoooooed everyone out, said that he needed some privacy, and together (alone) me and Big Bro got him dressed. That was the extent on my alone time with him today.
    • I gathered diapers and snacks for the Twins, took out Big Bro’s car seat from the van, and we dropped off Red. No real problems, except for clinginess. Twin Husky mentioned that Red was crying on the way out. The little ones noticed all of the stars hanging from the ceiling and were mesmerized for a bit.
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    The Day:

    • Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and I were headed to the city. My office is moving and there were extra filing cabinets and a swivel chair that they didn’t need so I headed in to pick them up. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky helped me pick out a swivel chair, and then had fun riding in it together. I had a colleague help me load the filing cabinets and the twins were busy being rolled around in the purple chair the whole time, on both trips. They had fun. Twin Crazy even made the connection between the city and the ferry rides – when we ride the ferry from home the boat goes into the city so people can work…. I couldn’t believe she made the connection and she was busy talking about it and how people were working and how Daddy takes the ferry. So cute. So smart.
    • Afterwards were were at home and put our shoes and jackets away on our hooks. Twin Crazy was super, super proud of herself for doing it by herself and she helped Twin Husky out with his shoes.
    • I cleaned up a bit and we played. They were too quiet so I went to investigate and there they were in my room playing with my decorative beads. I knew they were up to something. Then they came outside and were tumbling and counting. Twin Husky got all the way to “7” by himself without skipping any numbers.
    • Lunchtime – ground meat, pasta, papaya, black beans. There was food thrown all over the place.
    • I couldn’t help but look at work emails and respond to a few that were client-related.
    • Post-lunch puzzles. Twin Husky gets really into it. He spreads his body out and puts his face right down where the pieces are to put them together. He gets really intense about it. There was some fighting here and there so I decided they were ready for bed.
    • I’m now going to unload the filing cabinets and get to some other projects I need to start….also need to start thinking about dinner…
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    The Rest of the Day:

  • I finished printing out baby pictures of the kids for a framed wall collage I have been meaning to finish. Now all I need to do is put some hooks on the frames and get them up. I’m excited.
  • The kids woke up, and we went to Costco. They were so cute. Twin Crazy kept saying “costco, costco” in her own way. We kept talking about what we needed there (bread, fish, bagels, cream cheese) and it is so cute how both of them knew the list, and would add to it if I forgot to say something. While at Costco, Twin Crazy tried EVERYTHING offered to her in terms of sample food…. new england clam chowder, crackers, roasted chicken, noodle soup…. so cute. so adventurous. so hungry…..
  • We then picked up Red, and then picked up Big Bro.
  • I cooked an amazing diner of baked salmon, edamame, cucumber, and rice. We had sliced pears for dessert. The kids ate so much.
  • Twin Husky was busy throwing around a toy snake. I should have repremanded him but he was having so much fun and it was hysterical. I took so many pictures but many missed the snake in mid-air. I caught a few though that crack me up.
  • After dinner we did puzzles and started to work on the picture project and frame the photographs of the kids.
  • I had Big Bro and Red for bedtime tonight. We read a lot. They were fine – easy. It makes a difference when their bellies are full. I’m listening to them now, hearing some activity but at least no crying…
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    I had a great day today. It was fun with the kids, I got things accomplished around the house, scored two file cabinets and a chair, started and almost completed a photo project. I’m looking forward to calling it a night and doing it again tomorrow –

    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

    February 22: Taking care of each other


    Happy Humpday – I enjoy Wednesdays since I work 1/2 day and from home. This saves me commuting time and also gives me the option to get things done around the house and/or spend time with some of the kids – I had a good day. I feel like I got things done that have been on my to-do list for awhile –

    Highlights of the Morning:

  • Kids were basically cooperative and ate well, cooperated getting dressed. Red wanted to get dressed by herself and she requested that I not look in her direction. Big Bro thought this was funny. So he gave me a play-by-play: “She’s taking off her shirt now. Now she’s putting on her clean shirt”… etc. It was comical and Red, Big Bro, and I were laughing. The twins didn’t know what to make of it and I don’t think they picked up on the humor.
  • The kids saw that I had an owie on my arm – a burn that I got when making roast chicken last week. My watch started to pull off the scab so it actually is very red and hurts. I talked about it, and then I put a big bandaid on it. The kids were looking up at me with concern but I assured them that I was OK.
  • I strolled with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky as Big Bro joined the Motley Crew. We were running late but caught up with them. I loved to hear the echoing of his name from the kids as we approached. He’s part of the crowd. He requested that I not take any pictures. Peer pressure. So cute. He wants to fit in. I love it.
  • While at Big Bro’s school, a parent came up to me to tell me a funny story about Big Bro. Apparently her daughter’s friend was not in school yesterday, so she had the opportunity to spend some time with Big Bro. Well, apparently she got to know him a bit better and decided that she likes him. So she kissed him on the cheek. I guess this is what he was talking about when he said that some of the girls kiss him. Popular boy!!! I have to teach him to respect the ladies and treat them as people! I think with two little sisters, he should be OK in the long-run (hopefully).
  • I then strolled Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to their daycare. They were talking about the burn that I have on my arm and they wanted to see the band-aid again. They talked about “hot” and “owie” and “hurt” but again I told them I was OK.
  • I walked home from there – it was a nice morning but I had a lot on my mind; I got back to the house without noticing anything in particular.
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    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I got home and topped off my coffee and began eating everyone’s leftover breakfast. I cleaned up and straightened up the house. I got my computer and phones out and started my day.
  • I had a conference call with a client and invitee to the special meeting we are having just to explain to her the purpose of what we are doing. She gets it now, and will forward the invitation on to the right people within her company. She is wonderful to work with.
  • I sent out special survey results to the members of one of our forums. These special surveys are a benefit that they receive from being part of these forums.
  • I reached out to the market through work contacts, clients, and also LinkedIn to secure primary interviews for a project that I am assisting with. It takes more time to get people to talk to you than actually conducting the conversations and thinking through the insights. So much time is spent going through the rolodex and finding the right people and getting them to agree to a meeting….
  • I spent some time reviewing a discussion guide for the new project that just started. It needs work. I feel like I can’t get to it properly today so will wait until Monday when I can sit at a desk and devote some real time to it.
  • Highlights of My Afternoon:

  • I decided that I did enough work for the day and switched gears. There was a project that I wanted to start and finish. Our Child Custody Mediator suggested a trick to get the kids to put their shoes and jackets in the right spot all the time – it’s brilliant in its simplicity. Hooks. So I spent some time printing out a photograph of the kids, cutting it up into four individual photos, and printing out their names in big pink/blue letters. I found some small bins for the shoes and organized them by person. Twin Crazy has the most shoes by far — not surprising, given the amount of hand-me-downs. No wonder poor Twin Husky has been wearing her shoes – he barely has any!!!
  • I then ran some errands. Post office, hardware store (hooks), drugstore (kid hand soap). I was debating whether or not to bring a child with me, but decided against it. I wanted time by myself this afternoon.
  • I got back and put the finishing touches on my project. Hooks were up. Photos were up. Names were up. Bins were out. All set.
  • I then decided to walk to get Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, to allow Big Bro to ride his bike back home from school. When I got to the Twins they were busy taking care of their Tigers and bears. They were wrapped up in blankets going “night night”. They were very particular about how to get into the stroller so as not to crush the Tigers/bears and to keep the blankets from unraveling. They were very, very protective of them./li>
  • Big Bro was pumped to ride his bike back from after-care. We enjoyed the walk back in the sunshine.
  • I then revealed the hooks and pictures and they were a hit. Whew!!
  • We picked up Red. No major issues.
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    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I cooked dinner while the kids played. Red pretended to be a mommy feeding her baby on a rocker.
  • I cooked stove-top grilled chicken, brussell sprouts, and rice for dinner. We had sliced oranges for dessert. It was an easy clean up and quick dinner.
  • I drove the van from the driveway into the garage (about 15 feet) with all four kids in the van not in their car seats. They were squealing with excitement.
  • I changed the Twins in their PJs and talked to them and tickled them. I then sat with Big Bro to watch a Spongebob. Twin Crazy was bonding with Red — laying together, then going to wash their hands together with the new soap, and then Twin Crazy sitting on Red’s lap…. when it was time for me to take the twins up, Red actually walked with her up the stairs holding hands. So sweet. I love the fact that they have a sister relationship. I don’t have a sister so these kinds of relationships always intrigue me.
  • Bedtime with the Twins was great; easy. They each picked out a book. Twin Crazy wanted The Little Engine again and we talked about the story together. Twin Husky picked out an Elmo book. We then sang songs and called it a night. They both wanted to sleep with pillows tonight so I put them in their beds. So cute. We say “sweet dreams” and also “I love you” back and forth, back and forth, as I turn off the light and close the door. They are so easy it is almost frightening.
  • I gave kisses to Red and Big Bro. Leaving them was easier tonight.
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    But now….. I hear Red crying upstairs. Crying for me….. “Mommy……”. I can’t take this. It’s too hard. Hopefully he can get her to settle down. I ache for her. She’s still crying. Mommy mommy mommy. I’m going to her.

    Til tomorrow
    – Mama K

    February 21: The Little Blue Engine that could?!?!?!?


    Tuesday – after a long weekend – so this will be a super-short week for me. I don’t know if that is good or bad, since I am busy at work these days. It was a great morning until “the blow-out”….

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I walked into the Twins room and they were just waking up; Twin Husky was sitting up sucking his thumb with his Tigers, and Twin Crazy was hidden in her crib underneath a pile of blankets (the house was freezing this AM). They were quietly talking and mumbling and being sweet. I went to Twin Husky first since he seemed more awake. He was talking about the pile of books and the choo-choo train. Then Twin Crazy started talking about the train that was “broken” and how the other trains needed to “help”. I’ve been reading “The Little Engine that Could” to them in an abbreviated format, talking about how the one train is broken, and how THIS train doesn’t help, and THAT train doesn’t help, and THAT train doesn’t help (he’s too tired), but the happy little blue train helps. Well, Twin Crazy while in her crib suddenly becomes so fixated on retelling that story to me and she was so concerned about the train that was broken and I re-assured her that eventually the little blue happy train helped. We spent the next 15 minutes talking about this, all through their diaper changes, and getting ready to go downstairs. It was so cute. So cute how they feed off of each other and so cute how focused she can be so early in the morning.
  • Chocolate Tuesday! Twin Crazy and Twin Husky ran into Big Bro and Red’s room, talking about Chocolate Tuesday and about the train that was broken.
  • Big Bro and Red both wanted me to carry down their piles of clothes for them. They were excited about chocolate.
  • All kids downstairs were thrilled for chocolate tuesday. Fingers in the chocolate, chocolate all over faces. (I’m talking about Nutella for those that do not know – don’t worry, I don’t feed Hershey’s to the kids in the morning).
  • All bags were already packed and ready – jackets ready to go. We just had to get kids fed and Big Bro/ Red dressed. It all seemed easy.
  • I instant messaged our neighbor to confirm that Big Bro could ride his bike with them this AM. He got mad at me because he wanted the message to read “today and everyday”. So I had to resend a message since he went on strike and would not eat his breakfast otherwise. He was mad at me but then got over it. He got dressed very easily.
  • Red was next. She was doing great until we got to her shirt. She picked out a short sleeved shirt the night before, but the house was freezing this AM so when she put the shirt on she rejected it. I picked out 3 different long-sleeved shirts but she wanted a shirt that was in the laundry. So she rejected the 3 long sleeved shirts. At this point, we only had TWO drop offs (since Big Bro was outsourced to the neighbors) but believe it or not we were running late. So we decided to divide the drop-offs. Red still refused to put on a shirt. I threatened for her to just wear her jacket. Then her shoes were not in the designated place so I had to run around and try to find her shoes. That is something that just shouldn’t happen. All of the shoes should be in their place. With eight feet to get ready, we can’t afford the time in the morning to look for ONE pair of shoes. She knew I was mad so cooperated the rest of the time. She got on a shirt, got on her jacket, got into the car without a problem. Her drop off was fine, but she was clingy.
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    I am so frustrated today. Frustrated that I had a partner that just accepted this kind of routine. Frustrated that I did not have the support from him. Frustrated that we couldn’t turn to each other when things with the kids were hard. Frustrated that as a couple we could not get to a better place because of inertia and fear. I can’t wait to get through the next few months in this house.

    I’m on the ferry right now and am still typing fast and hard at all of this. It is foggy. I don’t like that I have to rush for this ferry. I don’t like that I have to commute to the city away from the kids. I don’t like this situation right now. I need to get out of this “temporary” abyss that I am in. I need to re-start my life.

    Work will be busy today. We have a client touchpoint today on the project we just started so I’ll need to connect with the team and figure out what we can share with them. I also need to get out a planning survey for one of our forums so I can start to plan out the Agenda and secure speakers. I also need to reach out to secure primary interviews for another project I am assisting on. I also need to see survey results from the other forum I am planning to see what topics I should focus on. Finally, I need to pack up my office – our office is moving over the weekend and today will be the only day I can physically pack up my stuff. Looks like I need to re-calibrate my “to-do” list above. It will be difficult to execute against all of it today.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    OMG I was so busy today. I almost did not stop for lunch, but this was the last day in the office for me so my “last lunch” was a bit of a momentus occasion – I got a huge turkey sandwich with REAL roasted turkey. YUM.

  • I was able to work with the research house we used before to get the old survey tools used for previous survey work we did in 2009 and 2010; we want to do the same customer surveys this year and feature the results during our meeting in April. So, I will need to work with these materials and modify to get the survey ready for this year.
  • I met with a team member to talk about the progress and initial results of his work related to our client project. I separately met with another team mate to understand available secondary research to help with the consumer preferences part of our work. I packed both sets of materials and sent to the client; we met with them in the afternoon to discuss progress and they seem really happy to-date. After the call, I talked with each of the team members about my expectations for the next Tuesday’s client call – what I wanted us to provide to them and if it was doable. They both have their marching orders so hopefully we will stay on track. I’ll check up on them on Friday and again on Monday to get the materials ready for the Tuesday client meeting.
  • I had a quick update meeting for the other initiative we are meeting for in April; I sent out some more invitations and also set up some conference calls to go over the purpose of the meeting and gauge interest.
  • I sent out the Zoomerang survey to help plan for one of the forums in April. This will help to identify which topics are of interest and how I can structure the Agenda into “tracks” so that we are presenting on topics that are of interest to the group(s).
  • I then spent several hours going through 8 years of files and packing. It was difficult for me. A part was extremely cathartic – getting rid and purging old work that I know I will no longer need. But there were many memories that flooded me — pictures that the kids drew over time, pictures of the kids as babies, spare diapers, old clothes, personal paperwork that brought me back in time. Maternity leave paperwork, health reimbursement paperwork, research of cities and their affordability and strength of public schools, copies of my marriage certificate, pictures of colleagues who passed away entirely too young. 8 years were compressed into 4 moving boxes. And these included “junk” of mine too…. rubber chickens, a favorite lamp for soft lighting, and lots and lots of photographs. I’m looking forward to a new office building. New faces. A new neighborhood. New lunch spots, new watering holes. A new breath. A new start.
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    So now I’m on the ferry with my normal shoulder bag but also with a roller bag of other personal paperwork. The sun is out. It’s beams are reflecting off of the waves and are flickering on my table. It is pretty, and relaxing. Maybe this is a sign that things will be better for me going forward. I’m hoping so.

    I have a pot-roast and chicken defrosting in the refrigerator. I think we’ll do the potroast tonight since it will be faster – with some pasta and veggies. I want to talk to Red tonight about this morning and how I felt mad but that we still love each other. Family members sometimes get mad at each other but it is OK to feel mad. It’s what we say, what we do, and how we communicate that is important – and that we all understand that we still love each other.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Big Bro and he was encircled by several girls, each writing the names of different boys on their notepads and putting “stars” next to each of the boys’ names. They said Big Bro has the most starts because he is such a good boy. A quiet boy. A nice boy. One of them even went over to him and hugged him. she was cute with long hair. He blushed.
  • He walked the long walk to get his bike and he rode it back to the van. I watched him as he walked and then ran away from me. He stopped once to look back to see if I was still there. I couldn’t help but feel a bit lonely then, but also proud of the person he is becoming.
  • We picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky next. They were both going on a walk and were very concerned that I was going to pick them up without their second sets of lovely blanket and Tiger. I assured them we would go back and pick everything up.
  • We all went to pick up Red next. Red had some issues on the way out. She refused to walk. So all of us were standing there and she wanted me to pick her up but I just wouldn’t do it. I can’t do it. I’m too old for this. We eventually made it out with her walking on her knees and crying the whole way out.
  • I made dinner – a Trader Joe’s pot-roast, shredded cheddar cheese, warmed tortillas, broccoli/string beans, and a can of black beans — while the kids played. They played with plastic balls and Legos and pots and pans.
  • Dinner was really good and really easy. The kids ate well. Afterwards there was an issue with Big Bro and Red – he pushed her so I sent him up to his room. He kept coming down so I told him firmly that he needed to stay in his room and play quietly with something – Legos, books, anything. He kept it up and eventually I sat with him upstairs and he read to me – his homework for the night. He was fine from then on out. He read me his book, and then we were greeted by Twin Husky. He played with some magnets and then also with Big Bro’s Legos. Then they both played Legos and were really cute together.
  • I called down to Red to have her come up. I was on for their bedtime tonight. She came up without a problem and bedtime routine with both of them was really very easy. We picked out the clothes they want to wear for tomorrow. However… Big Bro has refused to sleep in his bed and is now on my bedroom floor. And now, as I type, I hear Red crying through the monitor for “mommy”. I can’t take this. It’s too hard to see this right in front of me. Let me go and check in on her.
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    *****
    I sat with her and rocked her for 15 minutes. I tried to put her in bed. She rejected it. Demanded her pillow and her doll. We came downstairs and I attempted to set her up next to Big Bro on my bedroom floor. She rejected that. She is pissed. And rightfully so. She wants her own bed but she wants Big Bro there too. She doesn’t understand. I don’t know what to do for her, for our kids in this situation.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    February 20: Ending the 3-day weekend


    The end of a 3-day weekend – bittersweet in many ways. Weekends are hard for me these days so 3 days makes it tough to get excited about. Today was a good day though –

    • I woke up early and continued laundry; the kids were up so I grabbed all the sheets for the last load of the week. I love the smell of fabric softener. I find it comforting.
    • All kids were up and sitting across on the couch getting ready for some T.V. Thankfully, Big Bro did not buy any movies. I still can’t believe he knows how to do this now. Then 3 of the kids broke out the funny animal hats and started playing with each other and pretending they were birds, dogs, ducks…. so cute.
    • I made a huge pancake breakfast; got the kids dressed; played a bit.
    • I took Big Bro and Red out for the morning. We just did some shopping – Big Bro needed some shoes and I needed a laundry bag. Both kids were GREAT with these activities. Big Bro originally wanted shoes with pictures on them or ones that lit up, but he’s in a size now for bigger kids and the shoes don’t really have those styles. He picked out a decent pair of black and bright yellow sneakers. He likes them. They both helped me at Bed Bath and Beyond for a laundry bag, and even saved me money since they both picked the cheapest one. I’m watching what I’m spending like a hawk now since I have to. I never thought I would go backwards in my standard of living but now it is inevitable so I’m changing behaviors definitely now.
    • At home, all kids were re-united and Big Bro initiated an activity for them all. He brought out markers and stickers and paper and had everyone on the floor creating art. I loved watching them and thought it was great that Big Bro took the initiative like that and that they were all sharing stickers and helping each other with caps, pulling the stickers off the sheets, etc.
    • Made lunch at home; kids napped in clean sheets.
    • They woke up and I gave them baths and showers. I love the smell and feel of clean kids. I love how they cuddle up to you. I cut 80 fingernails and toenails, my weekly ritual.
    • I made home-made pizza for them for dinner – Trader Joe’s has pre-made doughs that I keep in the freezer. Afterwards we had ice-cream. And watched TV. Big Bro played a Spongebob 2x since I didn’t watch it with him appropriately the first time. He really notices if I am watching it with him. He likes to do things with me and if I am distracted even sitting next to him is not good enough. So I paid attention the second time around, and made sure to comment throughout the show so we were talking about what happened.
    • Bedtime for the Twins tonight. I get Big Bro and Red tomorrow night. This didn’t work out well for Big Bro and Red. They were both crying and clinging to me. Big Bro more so than Red. He is very attached and this forced separation while I am still in the house will be difficult for us. I need to talk to our Child Custody mediator about this. Maybe/hopefully it will get easier for him during the week. Even Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were consoling him tonight after he barged into their room while I was sitting with them reading a book.
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    So, the 3-day weekend is over, I survived. We divided and I had good fun with both groups of kids; attended a birthday party, went to the zoo, and did normal day-to-day routine things with the kids.

    Red is asking when she will be able to share a room with Twin Crazy – a “girl” room – I reply “someday soon” and cannot wait to be painting a room pink for my little girls. I have to be patient and know that soon that day will come. It will just be tough getting there.

    Til tomorrow –

    – Mama K

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