March 30: Pizza, Pasta, and Ice-cream


It’s Friday night past 10 PM and I finished up a fantastic night with the kids, solo. I enjoy these times so much better with co-parent not around. Things are easier. More relaxed. The evening just unfolds.

Highlights of the Day:

  • Red helped Twin Crazy pick out her underwear for the day.
  • Both girls were wearing princess pajama dresses and I made a fuss about them looking like twins. Red wore hers for bed last night, but then Twin Crazy saw the matching purple dress and wanted to wear it over her pajamas. I wound up picking her up today from daycare wearing the same princess dress so I guess she refused to get changed out of it. They looked adorable together.
  • Twin Husky wanted to get his diaper changed on our big reclining chair. He loves that chair. It was ridiculous for me to change him on it but he was loving the attention and the siblings were thinking it was too funny. Big Bro took a lot of pictures of the diaper change with Twin Husky all reclined and relaxed.
  • I took some time to cuddle with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky; I was going to take them to daycare today since I had personal work to do, so was going to miss my time with them. It was nice to sit there and feel them on my lap, and see their heads slowly drift towards each other. They were head to head, sitting on my lap, each sucking their thumbs. My twins.
  • Big Bro helped them get into their strollers this AM. I love how the bigger kids help the little guys. It actually goes all the way around. They all help each other – I love catching these moments.

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I spent the day working. I was exhausted afterwards. I picked up the kids a bit early.

  • Twins first, then Big Bro. Big Bro rode to Red’s pre-school and then rode back home to drop off the bike.
  • I took them all out to dinner. To a local pizza and pasta place that is VERY good with kids. We had to briefly wait for a table but the kids were all mesmerized by the man making pizza and the fire oven. They all colored and were very well behaved. Red drew a smiley face. Big Bro drew a helicopter. Both Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were busy drawing their “art”. I also call Twin Husky doing his “work” (he acts intense when he draws). Twin Crazy had a small accident so we all went to the bathroom to clean up. I brought an extra change of clothes just in case. By the time we all made it back the food was there and everyone ate like champs.
  • Afterwards we went for ice-cream. The kids were having a great time sitting next to a plastic dog and cat. They were blowing kisses and also pretending to give them drinks of their water. Twin Husky ate his cone in about 1 1/2 minutes. Red loves mint chocolate chip. Big Bro loves cookies and cream. I get the Twins “baby” cones of vanilla with raspberry swirl. I got a HUGE chocolate fantasy. YUM. I love going out with these four. I can’t begin to tell you the looks I get and people actually coming up to me asking me if they are all mine. YES. And YES there are a set of twins. YES I’m keeping myself busy and YES I AM LOVING IT. LOVING EVERY MINUTE WITH THESE CHILDREN. These people look at me and shake their heads in exhaustion but they don’t know half the story….
  • At home the kids were great; everyone went upstairs, and I got the Twins dressed. We did our kisses and they were asleep in no time.
  • I spent some time with Big Bro and Red downstairs – just the big kids. We wrote down the activities to do over the weekend and they drank lots of milk. I hope there are no accidents tonight since I could use the sleep.

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I had a wonderful day today and feel lucky to have had this alone time with them. I know I’m headed in the right direction, but just hope that these kids make it through to the other side OK too.

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

 

p.s.  THERE WAS NO CRYING TONIGHT FROM RED.  She just asked me to put her in her covers (through the kid monitor) and I did.  She rested her body and SHE WENT TO SLEEP WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS.    This is the way it should be.   Soooooo much better this way.

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March 29: Sitting in the Hallway


The end of a Thursday. I took some time off to take care of personal things but had a leisurely drop off with the kids and an early pick up with them too. So I feel like I had some good time with each of them. I’m looking forward to calling it a night. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the weekend.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • The SECOND morning that Twin Crazy woke up with a dry diaper!!!! We all were excited for her and we all looked into the potty after she was done.
  • I had some cuddling time with Twin Husky after the kids ate breakfast and before they got dressed. It was nice to sit with him and talk with him.
  • I asked Big Bro to take a picture of me and Twin Husky and he had fun taking pictures of himself. We all started cracking up at the picture of him, particularly when we were reviewing the pictures and got to the one of him looking goofy into the camera.
  • Red wanted to take a picture too – I have a bunch of photographers on my hands. I wonder where they get that from….
  • I got the Twins in their jackets and they wanted to each wear their rainboots. They were in their stroller in no time and together with Big Bro we went out to meet the Motley Crew.
  • We dropped of Big Bro, and then I dropped of the Twins. I walked home with an empty stroller thinking about the things I needed to get done today. I was ready to get started.

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Once I got home I cleaned up from breakfast, loaded the dishwasher, straightened up a bit, and took a shower. I took all of my paperwork out, booted up my computer, and made sure I had my phone plugged in to recharge. I got started and was efficient. I actually got done the two major things I needed to complete today (my own self-goal) and also caught up with some friends on Facebook chat. I actually laughed out loud several times today. It was sunny. I felt good.

Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • At 3 PM I called the quits. I wanted to see the kids.
  • I picked up the twins first. They were busy eating pretzels at daycare.
  • I then picked up Big Bro from the playground. He went to get his bike and he met me by the van. He rode his bike and I followed along with hazards on to Red’s school.
  • We got to Red’s school and Twin Crazy went potty, washed her hands.
  • We rode back to the house – this is great exercise for Big Bro. He winds up falling right to sleep at bedtime because of the physical activity. He did a dance when we got back to the garage. He’s acting sillier and sillier, which I love.
  • At home, we played outside in the backyard for a bit. We kicked balls and ate snacks. Unfortunately I offered red grapes but they had seeds in them. So all kids (including me) rejected them and I wound up picking up chewed up grapes all over the place.
  • I started to make some dinner – flat meat chicken fried up with homemade breadcrumbs. YUM.
  • Big Bro read one of his “easy reader” books to his siblings. As the dinner was cooking, I sat down with Big Bro and then he read to me. I loved it.
  • After dinner, I quickly cleaned up and loaded the dishwasher.
  • We played hide and seek for quite awhile. Red was my partner. Twin Crazy was with Big Bro. Twin Husky was with co-parent. It was a lot of fun. Twin Crazy is REALLY adventurous and independent. Not scared. She played really well with Big Bro.
  • We then rough-housed a bit. Tickled. Did horsie-rides. I also got some exercise in with a new move I do with the kids… they straddle and cling to the bottom part of my leg while I am lying down and I do leg-lifts with the child on my leg. I can even do this now with Big Bro and he is at least 55 pounds. I feel like I’m getting back into shape. I now have to come up with some ideas for upper body toning…. maybe push ups with a child on my butt or something…

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I had Big Bro and Red tonight for bed. They did great. The Twins each came in their room to get a kiss goodnight. Twin Husky pointed to the part on his head where I could kiss him. Twin Crazy just gave me a full fledged kiss right on my face. So cute.

I talked with Big Bro and Red about their owies and put A&D oinment on his elbow and on her scratched face. We talked about Big Bro’s owie and how it already looks so much better. They both said their owies would get even better overnight as the medicine works and as their bodies heal. I tell them that it is amazing what their bodies can do. How it can heal and how you need to take care of your body. Big Bro said he knows how the owies go away. He said the new skin comes in and the old skin with the owie falls off. I think he’s right. I taught him about scabs. So yes, I think that’s part of it. I also told him that in addition to that, broken skin knows to come back together and heal. So that’s probably something that is also happening as an owie heals.

I love having these kinds of conversations with the kids. They hang on every word. They remember everything. And I can tell that inside of their heads they are making connections with other experiences they’ve had in their past. I love being a teacher to these kids.

*****

I’m sitting outside of Big Bro/Red’s room now, in the hallway. I think me being at least close to her helps. There is no crying. No fussing. She just relaxes and goes to sleep. It’s as if I’m in my own room next to theirs…. the room I used to sleep in. Just knowing that there is a parent close-by who will come to them if needed I think really helps. I know it would make a difference to me if I was a 3-4 year old. So I will continue to do this, even if it is not on my nights. And I will gradually go downstairs back into the depths of my den until her crying at night is no longer an issue. At least it is not physical contact. She does not see me. But she knows I am there. And that makes me feel better as a worried mom, particularly for my child who I know has been described as “emotionally needy.”

So, I’m feeling good overall. I’m headed downstairs after I make sure the heat is turned on.
Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

Recipe: Breadcrumbs!!!


I know that this recipe entry seems like a cop-out. And those that know me know that I’m not Martha Stewart and ohhh, by the way, you can BUY breadcrumbs in a store. But honestly – it is really, really easy and the food just tastes so much better. Plus, you get a chance to work through all of those crusts that you cut off of your sandwiches for your kids (if you’re like me). I wind up saving a bunch of crusts, and also working through the end-pieces of a loaf of bread, or even using up baguette-type bread that it turning on the stale-side.

This is a great combination with Flat Meat, particularly if it is chicken. So, so easy. And I can really taste a difference from the boxed-stuff.

Ingredients:

  • several slices of bread
  • dried spices — garlic powder, oregano, basil, …. …..

Directions:

  • Break up a slice of bread at a time and put in a mixer or food processor.
  • Continue to add broken up pieces of bread
  • Add and mix dry spices at the end

Prep time: 5 minutes

I then flatten chicken and put in milk and roll around in the fresh bread-crumbs. I fry up in olive oil for about 5-10 minutes on each side (depending on how thin you flatten the meat). I put in a dish and let it sit, covered, until the rest of the dinner is ready.

So good. So easy.

I have not tried it, but I betcha you could probably keep some of the (unused) breadcrumbs in the refrigerator for several days.

Enjoy!
– Mama K

March 28: Lots of A&D


It is close to 10 PM now so I’m a bit rusty on what happened today. I worked a 1/2 day and from home; I feel like it was a good day, but am getting more and more itchy to get out of this house away from co-parent. It just is not healthy for any of us. Plus everyone is sick in the house with runny noses, snot, and crumpled tissues everywhere.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Twin Crazy woke up this AM and I brought her right into the bathroom to use the potty. HER DIAPER WAS DRY!!!! She was so excited and I was so proud.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were sitting together reading a book.
  • Red was AOK trying on different socks — for some reason I cannot find ANY of the 12 pairs of seamless socks that I recently bought. Somehow they mysteriously disappeared.
  • The Motley Crew were chancing it again today with the weather and were going to ride their bikes. Big Bro was excited as was I. He got ready, and I got Twin Crazy and Twin Husky ready in the stroller. I kissed Red goodbye and strolled along with the Motley Crew to Big Bro’s school. It has been awhile since I did this. It was good to be out again. Good to be strolling the twins in the AM. Good to see Big Bro on that bike with the kids. Then one of the kids came back to us and said that Big Bro fell. It was a small fall, but still, his bike and he was on the ground, a bit shaken up. All was OK. We got to school OK with no broken skin.
  • I then strolled Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to daycare. They seemed happy and started playing with balls right away. I told her how Twin Crazy’s diaper was dry this AM and both of us made a big deal out of it.
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    I walked home and was thinking about a lot of things. Thinking about how my life has changed so much over the past year, for the better. Thinking about how stuck I was last year, with a partner who proved over and over that I was not a priority and he chose not to listen. Unfortunately my children will suffer for this but I will come out stronger, happier. I know this.

    I passed my neighbor on the way back, swinging her daughter on a swing. Her daughter is the youngest of four kids – so very similar to our household. I know how important it is to grab those special times one-on-one and I made a big deal out of her “mommy time” and how lucky she is. And I also wanted to, but didn’t, say to my neighbor how lucky she was to have this time with her kids and to have a husband that supports and is aligned with the needs of the family. But I walk on, thinking about work…

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I get home, make another coffee, eat some breakfast, straighten up, load the dishwasher and run it, start some laundry, jump in the shower.
  • As I get out of the shower my phone is ringing. It is a potential prospect for one of our forums – a potential speaker and member. And here I am naked, trying to have a sales discussion with this person. Taking notes. Getting other contact names. Thinking on my (naked) feet on what I need to say to get this guy to want to come to this meeting. I should have told him I was naked.
  • I had a discussion with a Director about my goals for the future and the roles that I want to focus on going forward. I was frank and told him that project delivery with four children as a single mother will be difficult if not impossible. I want to focus on sales and conference planning/execution/data and delivery going forward. He agrees and we promise to think about the structure and metrics over the next several weeks as we get our collective thinking further defined.
  • I meet with my project team and go over quantitative analysis for 2 hours over the phone. It was rough. These kinds of working sessions remote are really tough.
  • I cleared out some email and addressed several things;
  • I reached out to other potential speakers for one of the forums
  • Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I packed up at 3 PM and called it a day. I put everything away that was not kid-friendly such as computer, breakable cups, etc.
  • I picked up the twins first. I took my time with them. The weather was beautiful and they were riding tricycles.
  • We then picked up Big Bro and his bike. He rode his bike with us trailing with hazards on over to Red’s school.
  • While at Red’s school, Twin Crazy went to the potty on one of the small potties.
  • We then followed Big Bro back home. He loved riding the bike in the sunshine.
  • While at home I folded laundry and Big Bro helped. Twin Husky had fun throwing the folded piles in the air.
  • Red drew some pictures and then wanted to send them to Nana (along with some princess tattoos). So I helped her put them in an envelop, address the envelop, put on stamps, and then we went to the mailbox together to mail the letter. She was super excited.
  • Dinner was great; salmon.
  • Afterwards I did some exercising with Red and hung out with the kids. Both girls went to the potty together… Twin Crazy on the little potty and Red on the toilet. It was weird but very cute nonetheless. I accidentally scraped Red on her face with my fingernail and apologized. Poor thing. Another crying fit for her. I cleaned up from dinner a bit. Twin Husky started fussing so I grabbed the twins and headed upstairs.
  • Twins were both very tired – and sick. Both have really bad noses and I put A&D ointment on their faces. Both were extremely cranky. I read a book to them and we were searching for the color “yellow” on each page. Then Big Bro and also Red joined in the fun. I had all four kids around me, no longer cranky, trying to quickly find the color yellow with each page. It was awesome. Both Twin Husky and Twin Crazy wanted to touch and play with a “Hess” car before going to sleep.
  • Big Bro asked me if I was going to pick him up early again tomorrow. I said of course I could. I put A&D on his scraped arm from his bike accident this AM and then kissed his forehead.
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    I went downstairs and Big Bro asked me why I don’t go in to him and Red after I’m done with the twins? Good question Big Bro. I can’t stand it either.

    I was cleaning up and Red was having a tough time, crying and calling for me. I tried not to listen. But she kept crying. I cleaned up the table. She was crying. I loaded up the dishwasher. She was crying. I tried not to listen but couldn’t take it. Co-parent was just reading a book to Big Bro and ignoring the cries from Red. I went up to her and he came out when he saw I was coming up. I gave him a chance to handle it and finished cleaning up downstairs.

    Red came out screaming again so I went up to her. I held her. I hugged her. I said it was OK. I helped her brush her teeth. I put more A&D on her scraped face. I put her into bed. I asked her to relax. I told her she was doing great since I saw that her fingers were curled and therefore her hand was relaxed. I said for her to keep it up. I told her I was going to sit outside for a few minutes and come back to her. I did. I left again and then sat in her room for a while away from her bed, doing work on my iPhone. I said I would be outside of her room. I went outside and sat there, working on my iPhone for several minutes. I heard her heavy breathing. I went in and she was asleep. I kissed her forehead, turned off her light, and headed downstairs after verifying that the heat was turned on.

    So now I’m here, downstairs, hearing my kids through a child monitor. I have a lot on my mind. Things to do for work and things to do for the divorce. I’m also thinking of what I need to do to jump-start my life post-divorce. I am looking forward to a fresh start.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    March 27: Lots of rain but no heat.


    Rain! Rain! Rain! I’m moving slowly this AM. A bit from the rainy gray day, and also lack of sleep. Red was up crying last night at 1 AM and co-Parent was barely getting out of bed. She went right back to sleep but the heat was not on!!! [How much money does it really save to keep the heat off during the night?] It was 62 degrees in the house! So we were moving kindof slow today, and now ALL FOUR KIDS are sick. Sneezes, runny noses.

    Highlights of the Morning:

  • Chocolate Tuesday!! Twins were happy eating, even though they were sneezing intermittently.
  • Red and Big Bro were still upstairs, slumbering. It was hard to get Red up. She was moody. I had trouble with her picking out her clothes [this should be done the night before]. She had issues with the shirt, the pants. I sat with her and talked with her. I told her I felt tired. And a little bit sick. And that sometimes its hard to get moving in the morning when you feel that way. But I said I was going to eat breakfast to give me some energy (I usually don’t eat at home – lack of time). I asked her if she could help me pick out my breakfast (cream of wheat packets) and that I would eat if she would too. That seemed to work. She embraced me and we went downstairs together with her pile of clothes.
  • Red picked out my breakfast and she got ready for Chocolate Tuesday.
  • I took Twin Crazy to the potty for positive reinforcement. I told her how proud of her I am. Her face squishes up in a big smile whenever I say that. She is doing soooooooo good with potty training. Hopefully she does well today.
  • I next went to work on Big Bro. He was upstairs still in bed. I mentioned Chocolate Tuesday. He still wasn’t moving quickly. I talked about last night and how he went to sleep late and that’s why he must feel a bit tired this morning (and I do too). Then we started talking about the funny things from last night… how Red was asking in the monitor “[Big Bro], where are you?”…. and “Mommy….. I’m scared.” And we talked about how I hear them at night when they are talking to each other as they go to sleep and how I laugh when I hear them laugh and say funny things. We both were laughing at that. I put a pile of clothes together for him (favorite pair of jeans) and gave him privacy to get changed upstairs by himself.
  • I ate breakfast!!!
  • Got Big Bro’s breakfast
  • Dished out the vitamins for all of the sick kids
  • Helped Big Bro with his sneakers (our little together time)
  • Helped Red get changed; she had her backpack ready.
  • Found out that the Motley Crew was still going to RIDE today so we got Big Bro’s helmet on and off he went. I text with the other mommy which makes things really easy in the morning.
  • I packed up the Twin bag and Co-parent dropped off Twins.
  • I dropped off Red and we made a quick pit-stop to the bathroom to wipe off the chocolate off of her face. I like this one-one time with her. I took my time wiping off her face and was gentle with her. We talked about how Twin Crazy likes to wipe our faces and laughed about that. We walked into her classroom and again she was proud of her HUGE backpack. Once we got there, I realized that she showed up to school with FOUR jackets…. two spring jackets, one fleece, and one raincoat. All but one shoved in her backpack. Too cute.
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    I arrived in the Ferry parking lot a bit early, was able to get a parking spot without a problem. Then the rain started. I sat there for a bit since I was early. I checked my email. I wondered how Big Bro’s ride was going and that hopefully they reached the school in time.

    Now I’m on the ferry and it is bumpy. It’s supposed to rain the rest of the week. I will be busy again today. I have seven meetings today and am overbooked for two of them — 3 related to forum planning, 2 related to client project, one performance review (mine), one firm-wide staff meeting/conference call. PLUS I need to still get work complete for a different client project. It will likely be quite impossible. I’ll have to lug that binder back home and focus on that tomorrow, I betcha.

    Highlights of the Working Day:
    Another busy day —

  • 2 planning meetings for forums;
  • 1 interview with a potential speaker – we are going to bring her in for the Fall, but not for the Spring since her data will be more relevant then
  • 1 primary interview for the client project
  • 1 status meeting with the client to preview initial insights from interviews and our refined thinking of the quantitative analysis
  • my annual review. It was OK. 2011 sucked and my review reflected that. But my new role with the forums is working and they will continue to focus me in that area, while allowing me the time to cultivate client relationships/project sales, but also reducing my direct involvement with project delivery. I have to keep myself focused on work and on the kids. I need for both of these aspects to stay on track – I will worry about myself later. Overall I’m pretty satisfied with the discussion.
  • So now I’m on the ferry and it is a completely rough ride. We are tossing and turning all over the place and its actually quite fun. We’re hitting big swells and I’m getting that negative g-force feeling in my stomach. Fun.

    I’m looking forward to an evening with the kids. Not sure about dinner – I have not planned that far in advance. Maybe fish since that cooks up quickly in the oven, even frozen.

    Dinner and Bedtime:
    Rain, rain, rain…

  • I picked up Red in a downpour. She wore her cute little cat raincoat.
  • We picked up Twins next. And then Big Bro. Big Bro and I ran through the rain to get his bike. We were both soaked by the time I loaded it into the trunk. Looks like we’ll be dropping him off tomorrow – we’re expecting rain the rest of the week.
  • I got everyone home and started dinner. Red was having multiple breakdowns. Crying and not talking. Not communicating the issue. She gets that way sometimes. I think the lack of sleep and feeling sick are impacting her today.
  • We found two different spiders and the kids went nuts looking at them each. I was brave and got some paper and collected the scared creatures and returned them outside. I probably drowned the poor things – they were probably escaping the rain; we rarely see spiders at all inside the house.
  • Kids ate reasonably well. Red had one or two tantrums.
  • Twin Husky has been crying on and off all night too.
  • Big Bro has been teasing a bit.
  • Co-parent is playing with the kids on the floor. He’s actually awake. No… wait… he just put his head down and is now snoozing with the kids around him. Typical. He’s just laying on the floor with his eyes closed with all of these kids surrounding him. It makes me ill.
  • Twin Crazy just came over to me for a visit. I’m going to play with her now.
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    I’m sitting down, feeling like crap. I can barely swallow. My head is pounding. My throat hurts and my nose is running. I’m achy. I want to curl up and make this go away. I can’t stand the sound of his voice.

  • I had bedtime with Big Bro and Red. It was really fast. Twin Crazy paid us a visit and sat on Big Bro’s lap for a bit during booktime. Big Bro was trying to get me to read a second book and I wouldn’t give in. Red was acting playful despite the lack of sleep. Big Bro looked exhausted. I tucked them both in, gave them their kisses, and headed out the door.
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    So I’m downstairs now, feeling like poop. I just ate a huge bowl of ice-cream with Rice Krispies mixed in (my favorite). This is not a very healthy living environment. I feel like this is my bear den and my cubs are upstairs too far away from me. I want to fast forward. Red is crying. Let me go to her.

    After talking, reassuring, laughing, more hugging, and I love yous, it is now 9 PM and this child has started to cry again. Wish me luck tonight.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    March 26: Stealing time


    Back to work after a rainy/overcast weekend. I had a great time with the kids. We spent the time together at the house and didn’t really do any destination excursions. Us playing play-dough, playing kickball in the neighborhood, watching the Discovery channel, potty-training Twin Crazy. Now headed into work and I feel good about the time I spent with each child. I really feel like I connected strongly with each, giving them undivided time and attention.

    I’m on the ferry now, feeling pretty good.

    Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up to Red in my room at 6:40 AM. I was snoozing and found it hard to get up. It was easier for me seeing her smiling face and telling me “time to get up!!!”.
  • I ask the kids now if it is OK for me to kiss them good-morning – mostly for Twin Husky’s sake. He is cuddly but not kissey. I love how he picks a specific spot on the side of his head above his ear for me to kiss him. “Here”. “Here?” I ask. “No. Here.” as he moves his finger a little bit over his head. I kiss him. And he smiles.
  • Twin Crazy went to the potty, I changed her in underwear and packed underwear (and lots of extra pants) for her at daycare today. I’m hoping the daycare provider keeps up the routine with her. She was doing great this weekend. She looks up at me with those huge eyes looking for expressions of approval and I tell her how happy I am and how proud I am of her. How well she is doing (there were of course some accidents but nothing monstumental).
  • I packed up the other bags of clothes and needed items. Red was excited about packing up her backpack for school. She says that there are other kids that are bringing in backpacks to school so she wanted to do that too. So she spent the night before getting everything ready (her baby doll, her Jessie doll, her blanket, her jacket, her raincoat) and setting it out by the back door with all of our other things.
  • Big Bro was excited about wearing sweatpants to school. We tried them out over the weekend and he loves them. I love them because they don’t have any holes in the knees. He wanted to wear the matching soccer ball sweatshirt top that goes with the pants so I made sure it would be cleaned by this AM so that he would be ready to go. He woke up later than normal (did not nap at all over the weekend) but got ready by himself and was so excited when he came downstairs wearing his outfit. Today is Monday and his day to be “leader”, the first in line with the Motley Crew in bikes. It makes Mondays easier for us.
  • Big Bro headed out on his bike, Twins went with co-parent, and I took Red in upon her request. She was very excited with her backpack. I could tell she wanted the attention of her classmates and teacher.
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    Now I’m on the ferry and will be very busy at work today. I have back to back meetings for much of the day, I remember. I don’t remember what they are though. I need to get back on track with where I am with work today. After looking at my calendar, I have 7 meetings scheduled, 2 are in conflict with one another. THere are meetings related to the client project, recruiting feedback, and planning for the forums in one months time. PLUS I have work to do. How is it possible? Every 15 minutes of uninterrupted time makes a difference. I’ve learned to use that time to my advantage. Attacking the time and the task and getting it OFF of my plate as soon as I can so I can move on to the next thing. I checked my emails this morning and there is nothing urgent that will distract me (yet).

    I have my meeting with my therapist tonight so will miss the kids this evening. Hopefully Big Bro and Red will still be awake (likely) so I can catch up with them and their days.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    Busy busy busy….

  • I walked from the ferry, grabbed a coffee and a chocolate croissant.
  • Made it to the office and went directly into a conference room to catch up with the project team for a meeting that I knew I would be late to (the ferry gets in just before 9 AM and it takes me 15 min to walk to the office). We talked about the analysis and refined our thinking – I think the work is in a better place.
  • Immediately after this meeting we had a conference call to debrief on the interview candidates from last week. I suggested we bring one back for one of the Directors to interview, versus tossing him out of the picture completely. There was something about him that folks liked.
  • We had a primary interview/conference call with a market player related to our one project. We learned some new perspectives we have not heard of before which is the beauty and value of having these kinds of discussions.
  • We had our Monday office lunch and I had to leave a bit early to prepare for another conference call.
  • I was surprised by a call from my dad in India through Ooovooo. It was 1 AM his time. I spent 1 month in India over 10 years ago and loved the experience although the first week was very difficult because there’s no way to prepare yourself for the poverty, how children are used, and how loud/dirty/smelly everything is. He is loving his time there so far (thank goodness). It was fun to talk to him and see him through my PC.
  • I had a planning conference call related to one of the forums I am leading.
  • I reached out to several CEOs for guest speakers and potential members.
  • We had a separate meeting relating to the Agenda and guests for a separate forum; also sat in on a call with a potential participant/speaker.
  • I followed up with some emails and outreach; addressed some random items in my Inbox.
  • It was a mind-blowing busy day with meetings – but I feel like I did not get much work done! There is still client work to prepare for tomorrow, and a whole binder of client-related materials for me to plow through. Plus finalizing speakers and Agenda and details details details.

    I’m glad work is busy. It is a diversion for me.

    I am on the ferry home now, and I am hoping that I get home in time to see the little ones. I have a feeling at least some will be up since it is only Co-parent at home with them, alone. So I’m fairly certain that the older ones will be up, and hopefully the littler ones too. I hope Twin Crazy was still encouraged to use the potty today. I worked really hard with her over the weekend and want for it to continue. I hope Big Bro had a good time on his bike – it will likely rain the rest of the week. I hope Red is happy. I hope Twin Husky has both of his Tigers with him.

    I’m hoping my children are going through this the best they can, and that I am doing all that I should be doing to protect them and get them through this. My focus is on them and being there for them and being happy for them.

    *****
    [8:30 PM]
    OMG I had a great time with the kids just now. Twin Crazy was finishing going to the potty (she only had ONE accident today!) and I told her how proud of her I was. Twin Crazy was running around laughing and then jumping on Big Bro’s bed. Red was excited to see me and clung to my leg like a monkey. Big Bro was busy with Legos.

    Then all kids were going nuts and running around and I was trying to separate the Twins for their bedtime routine but the big kids kept wanting the little kids in their room and then the big kids would come into the little kids room and they were all hugging and hiding in the closet and being kids. Being siblings. Laughing and hugging. And I was there to see it!

    The twins and I whispered “I…… love…. you” and also blew kisses. Red came downstairs to me to talk about a milkshake recipe ingredients. I wrote them down as a shopping list. Big Bro came down to talk about his sweatpants. How kids thought they were pajamas but his response was that “pajamas don’t have pockets”. He wants to wear them again tomorrow, but he also wants to wear them to sleep. He’s addicted. OK, I have to go deal with this now…

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    [9 PM]
    OMG now they are both down here, Red with her head burried in my blanket like an ostrich.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: Playdough on a Rainy Day


    Yesterday it was raining. Hard. All day. What to do with four young kids on a rainy day? Something that EACH kid will enjoy? Something that could occupy them for a LONG time? Something they could play together or in parallel? PLAY DOUGH!!!

    Let me tell you I took out our play dough gear (pretend oven, rolling pins, cut out shapes) but then saw that we had only one container of play dough left. And then it got worse. We opened it up and it was old, crusty, and a mixture of probably 20 different remenants of other colors. So it was a pasty, brown/grey glob of depressing playdough.

    So I decided to search the internet to figure out how to make it. There are several recipes out there. Many require tarter and cooking. That was not for me. So, I tried the SIMPLEST recipe I could find:

    Ingredients:
    – 1/4 cup salt
    – 1/4 cup water
    – 1 cup flour
    – food coloring

    Add ons:
    – glitter
    – hard pasta (for poking)
    – markers

    Directions:
    Combine salt and flour, then add water and food coloring and combine until the right consistency (add more water if needed).

    We made several batches and the kids were entertained off and on through the day for at least 4 hours. Not lying. Not exaggerating. There were balls, snakes, lines of playdough, cutting, poking hard pasta in it, making pizza, making animals.

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    I loved it since all four of the kids were playing – sometimes together, most of the time in parellel. They were sharing colors, exchanging supplies, sometimes working together on making lines of dough balls, etc. Big Bro made an “ocean” scene with a wave and everything. I was impressed at his creation (it is drying today – he wants to keep it).

    And I had fun making it with them and also playing make believe about how delicious the pizza was, teaching the twins how to roll balls, and combining colors.

    We put it in zip lock bags afterwards and it seems OK today; probably won’t last too much longer though.

    So next time you need something quick to do with young kids – take out the dough! It honestly was so easy and the kids got a charge out of making it and then playing with it. Might even work well with older kids who want to create something and then set it out to dry.

    HAVE FUN

    – Mama K

    March 23: bedtime


    I’m laying in bed, almost asleep. Realized that I never sent out a post, so here it goes on my iPhone.

    I sort of worked, and sortif parented today. I don’t feel like I did either particularly well. We had a meeting with the child custody mediator which always makes me feel defeated. I am so tired. I feel like issues which drowned the marriage are surfacing again here and I can’t stand it. I am ready to move on and start a new life damn it and temporary purgatory is going to make things harder for me. If it is better for the kids, fine…. I will do what should be done. But i feel like i am always the one that sacrifices. These feelings are still so raw and now there’s salt thrown at me. Just let me do what is right for these kids already.

    Ugh. What happened today?

  • red hid big bro,s Lego book with small coin inside. His favorite treasure. I had to get her to admit it and tell me where she hid it
  • twins were really cute playing with each other this am
  • drop offs for everyone went well
  • pick up for red was sweet. She was playing in the playground when we stole her away
  • big bro took the lagoon path again today after school
  • twin husky almost got lost in a bowl of applesauce
  • we went to see a magic show tonight
  • I had the twins for bedtime and they were both acting so happy and goofy
  • I also interviewed two candidates via phone
  • I reached out to potential guests and speakers for our forums
  • I’m feeling wiped out. Not a good worker. Not a good mother. Not moving forward. Staying still and immobilized due to other people’s fear. Haven’t we all gone through enough already? Just let us move on and get on with this new life already. Give me my energy back so I can focus on the kids where my focus should be. They need it.

    Zzzzzzzzzzz
    – mama k

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    Recipe: Sweet, Salty, and Sour Marinade


    As a follow up to my posting on Marinades, I thought I would share the below marinade recipe sourced from Bon Appetite.  It uses some rarer ingredients so this may not work for all families.  I also included the “formula to a good marinade” below.

    Enjoy!

    ****

    Sweet, Salty, and Sour Marinade

    Makes about 1 cup, enough to marinate 2 lb. of pork (tenderloin or chops) or fish (oily or white-fleshed; shrimp or scallops)

    Ingredients:

    • 3 oz. palm sugar, chopped, or 6.5 Tbsp. light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
    • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro [I use chopped cilantro cubes in the freezer section at Trader Joes)
    • 2 TBsp. chopped peeled fresh ginger [You can use jarred Ginger, or I use ginger powder these days too)
    • 4 red Thai chiles or 6 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
    • 3 Tbsp. minced lemongrass (from peeled bottom 4″ of 2 large stalks)
    Ingredient information:  palm sugar is available at Indian and Asian markets.  Fish sauce is sold at Asian markets and better supermarkets.

    Directions:

    • Stir palm sugar and 3 Tbsp. water in a small sauce pan over low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.
    • Combine lime juice, fish sauce, and 3 Tbsp. water in a medium bowl.  Whisk in 1/3 cup palm sugar syrup (reserve remaining syrup for glaze).
    • Stir in cilantro, ginger, chiles, and lemongrass.
    • Put pork or seafood in a glass, stainless-steel, or ceramic dish.  Toss with marinade.
    • Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
    • Remove pork or seafood from marinade, pat dry, and grill.
    The finish:
    Simmer marinade and reserved palm sugar syrup n a small saucepan until reduced to 3/4 cup.  Brush glaze onto meat or fish during the last few minutes of grilling.

    source:  Bon Appetite, July 2011

    *****

    “Marinade Math”

    + Acid (citrus juice, vinegar, or wine tenderizes and focuses the flavors)

    + Salt (Kosher salt – or soy or fish sauce – allows seasonings to penetrate)

    + Alliums (garlic, shallots, or onions are a must for a muscular marinade)

    + Sugars and & Syrups (Used judiciously, sweetness balances all the flavors)

    + Chiles (where there’s smoke there should be fire)

    + Herbs (fresh, summery herbs – like cilantro, oregano, and basil – work better than dried)

    source:  Bon Appetite, July 2011


    March 22: Museums and milkshakes


    Home Day! It was a good day. Lots of activity and even a trip into the city!

    Highlights of the Morning:

  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were both wearing their new backpacks from Nana. Red, or even Big Bro, were likely helping them to fill them up and put them on.
  • Everyone got ready easily. Big Bro gathered his shoes, jacket, backpack, and helmet and had everything out and ready. He waited for the go-ahead (8 AM) and then he was off, after I kissed him goodbye.
  • The rest of the kids were ready to go. I was taking Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to an activity museum and I asked Red if she wanted to go to, or go to school to play with her friends. She opted to come with us so I gathered more food/snacks since my group expanded.
  • We went to the museum and had fun painting on see-through walls, playing with water spray bottles, molding with silly-puddy-play-dough stuff, investigating a pretend ship, jockeying for position near the toy train tracks, jumping on water bed lilli-pads, climbing on structures, jumping, and playing with stuffed animals. The three of them had a blast.
  • Afterwards, I made a trip through the city to stop at my new office. The kids were great. They were great on the busy streets and crossing at the light, and holding hands and going through the lobby and being scared on the elevator and checking out our new office space. They received lots of hugs from co-workers. We ate tangerines and drank water. I picked up lots of paperwork that I needed. This will save me a trip to the office tomorrow.
  • Nap time; kids were asleep on the way home. I love that feeling of them sound asleep transporting them from car to bed. They napped well since there was so much activity in the morning.
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    Highlights of the Evening:

  • We had snacks after nap and then went to pick up Big Bro.
  • He again decided to take the lagoon-route home. Brave boy. He was faster this time. It feels strange saying “goodbye Mommy” to him at the crossroads but the look on his face of excitement is awesome. He says goodbye, and I say “have fun. I’ll see you on the other side”.
  • I ordered a pizza and the kids were in great moods while we were waiting for it to arrive. They ate like champs. We finished the night with banana milkshakes so we could use two brown bananas that were decomposing on the counter and also some new straws that I just got for the kids.
  • Hide and seek! All kids were running around playing together which is great to see.
  • I had Big Bro and Red tonight. They were great. They are doing great now. I hear them on the kid monitor and they are busy talking about letters of the alphabet. I think Red is telling Big Bro the letter she wants and he is writing it down on something. So cute. No tears yet. No screaming yet. I hope tonights goes well. They are laughing.
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    Today was really nice. I love my time with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. They are both so cuddly and interactive. Big Bro had lots of bike-time in so he was cooperative and not teasing his siblings. They were just really getting along well and enjoyable.

    I’m relaxing now listening to them. I have some work to do. Uh-oh. through the kid monitor: “Mommy…. I’m scared….” . Whew. They’re talking about letters again, for now. She’s scared. I say “relax”. She says “come upstairs.” I say “No. You can do it”. Now they’re talking about what I said, and letters.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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