Staying Sane: Celebrate the keepsakes of who you are

Sometimes with work the years go by and you don’t realize how many have passed. The same thing with being a mom… so busy, so little time, giving so much and feeling “selfless” you lose yourself. At least I know I did.

I think it’s important to think back of the experiences you’ve had prior to being a mother. It’s all of these experiences that have brought you to who you are today. I’m a visual person. I am like this with work, with home… I think that’s why I love lists. Anyway, I digress….

Being a visual person has also lead to a small collection of items from my travels over the years. I don’t mean rooms of stuff. I mean certain pieces of things that make memories flood back and make me feel like me. Like a photograph (which I also take a lot of, as you know), just looking at these things bring me back in time – and having the chance to pick them up and hold them and display them for all to see – what liberation.

I’m in the process of divorce and recently moved into my own space. So, the memories are flooding back as I unpack my life that has been boxed up for so many years (different story, for another time… let’s just say that I’ve boxed up pieces of my life in storage and in a garage for the past 8+ years). It feels good to have these things in my hands again. It feels good to have these things on display again. It feels good to look around and see ME. It feels good to have parts of me out in the open again – not closed away, not shoved aside, out for all to see.

  • A mask from South Africa
  • A carving of a sun from Mexico
  • A steel bottle opener from Prague
  • A pottery vase from Portugal
  • A rug from Morocco which is now being used in my living room for the very first time! It is amazing! The colors all blend with what I have and it is PERFECT for this room!!!!
  • A small, small oil painting (2 inch by 3 inch) that I’ve had since a child – probably one of my oldest artifacts from my life
  • A teapot from London
  • A little toy from Switzerland that sounds like a cow’s moo when you turn it upside-down
  • Lots of prints/reproductions that I have yet to get back – I’m looking forward to their return
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    I’m feeling more myself. It is a terrible feeling to feel like your life has been swept away. I believe many working moms probably feel swept away many times. Like you’ve lost yourself. So maybe it’s the simple things you can do to remind yourself of who you are and what you’ve done to bring you to this point today. Hopefully you have small mementos from your past out in the open… not stuffed away in boxes somewhere. Celebrate who you are!!!

    What kinds of things represent parts of your life, parts of your past? Are they visible for you to see and enjoy?

    Have a great week everyone –
    – Mama K

    June 14 & 15: Settling in

    June 14:

    Thursday.  Big day.  Child custody evaluation, which was strange.  Outside of that, the day consisted of me with the kids but an evening alone, after dropping them off at co-parent’s house.


    • We woke up to a chicken at our back door.  I think it was looking for breakfast.  There is no way we are going to start giving away food to this chicken.  I have enough mouths to feed.
    • Custody evaluation… strange.   I was myself.  What more can I do?
    • Afterwards, Twin Crazy and Twin Husky napped.  Big Bro and Red were exploring and creating art with sidewalk chalk and water.   They REALLY got into this activity.
    • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky woke up from their naps and explored the water and “sidewalk chalk soup”.
    • The kids from next door came over and it was fun watching them play; then the chicken came over which added more life to the party.
    • I drove the kids back to their dad’s.  It was a long ride.   Twin Crazy hates her car seat.  Big Bro and Red both fell asleep on the ride.
    • I felt exhausted on the ride home.  I made myself dinner.  A grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a beer.  I sat on my front “porch” on my rocking chair.  I tried to relax.   I felt better after filling my belly.   I decided to start my evening watering routine and then started to pull out some weeds.  It felt good to pull them out.   I discovered I have crab-grass.  Lots of it.  It is tough and takes a long time to really get at it by the root.  I decided to get my gardening tools out and gloves and proceeded to attack my ground of the crab-grass.   It took so long just to cover one little plot.  So I decided to boost my esteem by weeding some of the easier weeds.  That made me feel a bit better.   I wound up weeding until the sun went down.   My neighbors (with the chickens) also garden at night so I kindof felt good with the company, hearing them talk on the other side of the fence.   I weeded until my hands were raw.  I filled an entire wheelbarrel of weeds.  Digging into the earth.   Pulling each one out with the root.   I can’t believe how many weeds I have and how this feels like a never-ending project.   But I don’t mind it….. yet.
    • I showered and had the best sleep ever.

    June 15:

    Friday.   My day off.  But I didn’t have the kids today.  Today was co-parent’s Child Custody evaluation.  I decided to work a bit to keep my mind off of the divorce and also to get some real work done since this entire week was consumed by personal things.   It was difficult for me to work.   I did, but accomplished just a tiny bit.   The ADT security guy came and now my house is secure.  That feels good and it also felt good to have some company in the house while he was working.   After he left I tried to work more, talked to my mom and dad; I felt a bit down so took a nap.

    Afterwards I grabbed a snack and decided I needed to get out of the house and also accomplish something that needed to get done for the house.  I headed to Best Buy to set up Geek Squad installation of my TV and sound-system.  They will come on Sunday.   I don’t watch a lot of TV but am excited about getting it set up.  If everything is hooked up properly (which is why I outsourced it to Geeks), I will be able to hook up my iPod, iPhone, etc. and get my music through the system/surround sound too.  The TV is also Internet-enabled so I will be able to explore Pandora.  This is all new to me.  I’m excited about getting into music again.  It makes a big difference.

    So, I headed home feeling good.  I drove through the neighborhood and felt happy.   I ate dinner – another ham and cheese sandwich and a beer.   I told myself that I wouldn’t weed because my hand still hurts but I did anyway.  I talked to my chicken neighbors and asked about my wild raspberry plants.   I learned that the chickens love to eat weeds and I feed them.   I’m looking forward to introducing the kids to this new routine.   They will love the idea of picking weeds and then feeding the chickens.  I think Twin Crazy will actually explode with excitement.

    Afterwards I showered and decided to work on my Internet, and also my printer/fax/copier/scanner.   I realized I need a power surge strip.  I have too many cords.  That will be on my list for tomorrow, after the washer and dryer gets delivered and installed.

    My home is coming together.  I’m getting to know the neighbors more.  I enjoy the evenings outside and the warm air.  I don’t mind the weeding (for now).   I’m looking forward to tomorrow to get more of the house together, run some errands, and be reunited with the kids.   For some reason co-parent has a “work” event on Sunday so I will have the kids then.  On Father’s Day.   I hope Big Bro and Red are not upset about this.  I think they are too young but sometimes they surprise me.  

    Have a great weekend –

    – Mama K

    June 12: My last night

    Chocolate Tuesday.  My last one at this house.  After this week, I will officially be living in my new home.   And my kids will need to deal with this divorce in a different way than they have experienced in the past.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • I woke up on the couch, again.  I woke up and showered quickly.  I was going to be working from home today due to divorce-related meetings so there was no need to get dressed in work attire. 
    • Twin Crazy was excited about wearing tights.  So I helped her in them and helped her pick a dress.  She picked a halter-top number with butterflies and she looked ADORABLE.
    • The rest of the kids were in great moods as well because of Chocolate Tuesday.  My last……
    • Big Bro had to wear a white shirt for school today for special outside events so I found a “shark” shirt.  Twin Crazy was at first extremely scared of it (and we talked about those feelings) but then she had a change of heart and decided that she loved the shark and wanted to give it kisses.   She proceeded to get chocolate Nutella all over Big Bro’s shark shirt.
    • Drop offs were fine; I dropped off Red and she was in a reasonably good mood, but very clingy.





    Highlights of My Working Day:

    • I got in the car and loaded up more things and headed out to my house.  I needed to be there for a furniture delivery.   So I was busy cleaning up the floors and also getting my trash ready for trash night.  
    • In the meantime, I hooked up my modem so that I could get Internet access and be wireless.  No problems so far!
    • Macy’s came and gave me the red carpet treatment.  Then one of the chickens came by and the delivery guys (and me) were laughing.  I guess the Chicken does not see red carpets too often and was curious as to what was going on.
    • The living room furniture looks great; after the delivery I just sat there for a few moments and relaxed.  I mean REALLY relaxed.  I strangely felt at peace, despite how my life was being torn and the events that I needed to get ready for this week.   The house is coming together.  And it feels comfortable.  It feels good.   I feel good in it.
    • I quickly had to get ready to leave for an appointment related to the beginning of our Child Custody evaluation.  I can’t believe we are going through this – but we couldn’t agree with anything while we were married, why would I think that we would be able to agree to anything now.   It is terrible that 3rd parties are deciding on what is best for our family.   How can me and co-parent think so differently??!?!?!?!
    • On my way to my appointment I called the office and told them I’m just going to take the day off.  I got NOTHING done but a few emails – I can’t claim that I did any real work today.   The same will go for tomorrow.
    • The meeting was emotionally exhausting.  The same rehashing of events and feelings of lost dreams and disappointment.  
    • I got back to pick up the Twins; co-parent picked up Big Bro and Red.



    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I cleaned up the last of my room while co-parent cooked dinner.  I had a lot of time with Twin Crazy, who was helping me sort through stuff to keep vs. stuff to throw away.  She seemed very needy tonight.  It must have been hard for her to see me packing up in this way.
    • I vacuumed up the room and the kids helped.
    • We ate pizza outside.  We ate cherries.  Twin Crazy sat on my lap the entire time.
    • Red sat on my lap next.   Both of my girls are needy tonight.
    • I played “wall ball” with Big Bro.  He had me cracking up with all of the lingo and terminology to this game.  I really had a good time and I’m glad he kept asking me to play with him.
    • We went inside and co-parent was watching TV with Big Bro and the Twins as I was packing up some things with Red.    Then there was an issue with the remote control and Twin Crazy accidently turned off the show that Big Bro was watching.  Big Bro of course had a tantrum and threw himself on the floor.  This scared Twin Crazy who came running over to me.
    • I drew some firetrucks with Red and Big Bro.
    • Upstairs, it was my night with Red and Big Bro.  Big Bro read us a book.  I talked with them about it being my last night here.  Big Bro cheered, saying that for now on we will get to spend more time at my house.   Red looked at me and said that she likes my house but does not like that it is far away.  My heart sank.  I can’t take too much more emotion right now.  She asked why did I pick that house even though its far away?   I picked it because of the schools.   To give my kids the opportunity to go to the best public schools in this area (and because of affordability, but I didn’t get into that with her).    I told her that her brain and the rest of the kids’ brains deserve the very best schools and they will be able to get them with that house.   Big Bro was an optimist and said that it just feels like the house is farther away than it really is because you have to get on a highway.  But the cars go fast so it really isn’t that long of a trip.   Ugggh.  My heart breaks again.




    So I kissed them goodnight and told them that I really enjoyed my last night with them in this house.  I then went to see Twin Crazy and Twin Husky and whispered my normal “I….. love….. you.     Sweet dreams.  Bye-bye.”  

    I went downstairs and headed to a neighbor’s house to close out the evening.  We talked about kids in general (they also have four) and laughed.   I enjoyed myself and will miss them.   But I already know they will be visiting and I have so many ideas of things to do with the eight kids… most of them involving weeds.   J

    I’ll be honest – I am so disappointed at how things have turned out for me and my family.  We moved into this house temporarily and I had such high hopes – I really felt like we were moving in the right direction as a family.   I was so hopeful.  And excited for our future.    I spent my marriage putting my family first above my own needs – and did this for so long that I eventually broke.  I have found much better balance now and am happier in a much different way; but this happiness has come with many trade-offs.   A significantly reduced standard of living.  The loss of a marriage and partnership.  The strain on the children, now and in the future.   And a future that is unknown.    But, all futures are unknown.   I am trying to do my best with the cards that have been dealt to me.   And I am hoping that things will work out for my family and that the children will be taken care of and given what they need. 

    I have another big day tomorrow and a bigger day on Thursday.   I’m going to hunker down now on the couch and finish this last day.   I’m feeling down and terribly disappointed; I’m hoping that tomorrow I will feel stronger.

    Til tomorrow –

    –          Mama K

    June 11: Running towards the end or the beginning?

    A sunny Monday, after a great weekend and extra days with my mother at my new house.   The day so far has been good.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • I woke up on the couch.  All of my bedroom has been moved over to my new house.  So the couch was my bed.  I showered the night before so woke up at 7 AM and got ready in record time.
    • Twin Husky and Twin Crazy were still sleeping when I got to their room.  Butts in the air – I love that position of toddlers/young kids.
    • Red and Big Bro were likewise still slumbering.  Big Bro was completely hidden under his covers except for his one leg and foot.  Red was bundled up and her face reminded me of when she was a baby… all scrunched up and lips pouting.
    • Twins woke up in great moods; I wish I could say the same about Red.   Co-parent started to take her things downstairs but she was thrown into a fit over something.  I tried to calm her but it took awhile.  I saw her baby on her bed and I think the issue was that her “stuff” was not taken downstairs as a collective package.  Once I grabbed her baby and her blanket, she calmed down, and took my hand to go downstairs.  She has become quite a handful.  She has always had trouble using her words when she is angry – and now at four years old her tantrums are becoming fierce.
    • She sulked downstairs over her chair, her clothes, her EVERYTHING.
    • The rest of the kids ate well; Twin Husky and Twin Crazy wanted to be held.
    • I packed up Twin clothes for daycare and got the rest of the kids things by the door.
    • Big Bro was getting ready for his last day as “leader” of the Motley Crew bike ride – this is his last week of school.
    • After everyone left, I was with Red, alone.  She happily got changed, happily went over to her seat, and happily ate her cereal.   She needs to be handled very carefully these days.  Her drop off was fine – she was clingy, but went to her teacher.

    The ferry ride to the city was fine; it was sunny and I was talking with a neighbor.  My work is not that busy right now so I am not feeling stress on that front.  There are things for me to do but none are time-critical right now.  But that can be a problem sometimes.  I need to set my own deadlines when work gets like this – otherwise I get lazy and nothing gets done.

    This is my last week living in this house.  The last week of Big Bro’s school.  The last week of our dysfunctional family lives as we currently know it.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

    • It felt good to be in the office.  I missed some important meetings last week on my days off so I got caught up with a colleague.
    • I ramped up planning for one of the forums:   sent out “Save the Date” emails to the members, and also started the outreach for speakers for that meeting in Fall.   I also asked my admin to schedule a planning meeting with a subset of members for planning purposes – I already have the agenda set so am hoping to get this meeting complete soon so I can get things accomplished.
    • I started to think through sales efforts for the above forum.
    • We need to change the date for another forum I am working on.  It is a big conference week in the location we are looking at so the original dates will not work.  I need to make sure that our proposed revised date does not have any conflicts before reaching out to our members…
    • I had a fantastic lunch and enjoyed walking outside in the warm weather
    • I spent time going through admin items – clearing out emails and also going through some personal items.

    I am on the ferry now and it is bittersweet.  One of my last times in the afternoon picking up all the kids.   My time here is ending and I hoped to be moving on with my husband.   I wish things could have worked differently but they did not.  I was hoping to experience this transition with him – honestly I was.   So now I face this week by myself.  And my children are in the middle.  And I wish it could have been different.

    I feel happier, but lonelier, and also wondering if things will be OK for the kids.  I feel the need for positive reinforcement.   I know they will be better for me – anything will be better compared to 2011.   I recently read a quote “sometimes things have to fall apart for better things to come together.”  I am hoping that is the case for me and my family.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • Pickups were great.  Red ran into me and grabbed my leg like there was no tomorrow.  Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were jumping up and down as my van pulled up.  They were jumping with such gusto that I laughed out loud.  Twin Husky needed to run off extra energy before getting into the van.  Big Bro was happy to get his bike but wanted it loaded into the van.
    • Red was crying because of a hurt finger.  Once she got a band-aid on it she was fine.
    • Red and Big Bro were lobbying for boxed mac-n-cheese.  I said “no way”.   Twin Crazy found two boxes hidden behind our rocking chair later that night.
    • I started dinner and threw in some laundry.   The kids were playing.  I then read Twin Crazy a book.  She asked me to read it again and again.  I think I went four times until the dinner was ready.
    • We ate.  I did more laundry.  I started to pack up some of the kids’ toys for my house.
    • I was with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky tonight.  Big Bro was upset.  He said he wished that he could switch back and forth between being himself and Twin Husky that way I could read to him every night.  I told him that I love him no matter what though.  He said he knew that.  I said “seriously” while looking into his eyes.  I need for him to know that he is loved no matter where I am and no matter where he is.  He knows this.


    So I’m now sitting in an empty bedroom, listening to my laundry spin.  I’m packing up some last items.   I’m getting ready for a drive to my house first thing in the AM to accept a furniture delivery and also get my TV installed.  I bet I won’t be able to get any work done so I think I should just take the day off.   I will try to get Internet installed tomorrow AM (by myself – they sent me a kit) so that hopefully I can try to be a bit productive.  If I can’t get anything done I will just take off.

    I’m feeling good, I think.  The transition is finally happening this week.  I spent 5 ½ months living in the same house as co-parent while going through a divorce process.  While listening to my children cry at night.  While standing by and forcing myself to stay out of his parenting.   While trying to work with 3rd parties but not being heard; while fighting financial aspects (much less important to me) and also child custody aspects – the latter ripping my heart out in the process.   I’ve come to accept a lot through this time; things that I took for granted I’ve had to fight for and be rejected.  I’ve even fought with my own lawyers.    But again – things sometimes have to fall apart for better things to come together.   I can only keep thinking that as I finally move from this house.   As things get better for me it will get tougher for my kids – I know this.   But the most important thing, I believe, is that they FEEL loved and that I know I can give to them.

    Til tomorrow –

    –          Mama K

    Staying Sane: Acts of Kindness

    My mom was here over the weekend to help me with the move and getting the house ready.   A HUGE act of kindness with so many things that she did to help.  My family is always there for each other even when we are far away.   It had been some time since her last visit and of course the kids all seemed different to her.   One of the biggest differences was the growth in personalities of Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.  At almost 2 and a half, they are really little people.   They are talking so much and having conversations – to each other and to others.  It is wonderful to see this in them.  As a mother of twins it is hard to describe and explain the feeling of this stage happening with two of your kids at the same time and with each other.

    Twin Crazy is yes, crazy.   Very boisterous.  Very silly.  But also very compassionate.  She is extremely empathetic and watches others around her.  She comes to the rescue.  She comes to me to tell me if a sibling needs my help.   She wants to see that everyone is OK and happy.  This is important to her.

    To me, seeing aspects of such kindness and empathy from my children are too good.  I can’t get enough of it.  You teach them these things – “that it is important to treat others as you would like to be treated” – and “it is important that we help each other out as a family” — but when I see it in action, it always melts my heart.  Yes, I can be furious one minute with one of them but then a tiny voice or a tiny act of kindness from one of them, particularly between each other, is enough to put me back on track.

    Just over the weekend Big Bro cared for a chicken from next door, Red helped Twin Crazy wash her hands of mud at our hose, Twin Crazy and Twin Husky held hands on a drive, Twin Crazy continuously expressed that she missed “Batman” (our sick pet guinea pig), Big Bro ran after Twin Husky as he was running after a ball towards the street, Twin Crazy let Twin Husky take a nap in her room since he missed her….    it goes on and on.



    Acts of kindness are important not only for the receiver, but for the giver as well.  And now I also know that they are good for the observers.

    How do you teach your children the importance of acts of kindness?  What things does your family do routinely to instill this value in your children?

    Have a great week everyone –

    – Mama K

    I wanted to repost this Recipe and “formula” for good marinades… just in time for BBQ season. Enjoy!

    Mama In Motion™

    I was going through an old Bon Appetit magazine on a recent flight and I came across a great series on marinades – essentially including a number of great marinade ideas that you can use to marinade meat in for 3+ hours or overnight, while reserving 2/3 of the creation as a sauce after the meat is grilled.

    I thought this would be a great combination with the Mama K Flat Meat recipe.   Also, most of these marinades can be mixed in the evening and you can marinade your meat overnight (the recipe below calls for an eight hour marinade, so it may be possible to mix the marinade the night before but don’t put in your meat until the AM).  So I thought this would be great for working mamas.

    I’m going to give you the formula below, and a sample marinade to follow.   I will follow…

    View original post 236 more words

    June 6 & 7: Thank goodness Nana is here

    I missed yesterday’s daily journal posting.  Sorry.  Really.  I’ve just been a bit crazed lately.  Moving.  The arrival of my mom (YEAH!!).  So I fell asleep just before typing it out.  Sorry again.  So I’ll recap the last two days.

    Wednesday was a 1/2 work day for me.  I remember being busy.  Sending out lots of emails and sales outreach for a forum we are trying to launch.  Getting conference calls set up.  I was very productive.   I was also excited about the day ahead.   My mom was flying in for a couple of days.  I was excited to see her and show her the new house.  I need some reinforcement in my life (and help with the move) so was glad for her visit.

    After work I picked up Big Bro.  We went to Toyota to get some floor mats installed.  Now the car REALLY looks good.   Big Bro was excited about the free bottles of water and the granola bar snacks.  I was excited about the Starbucks coffee.   After that, we went to pick up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.   We then went to Red’s daycare.  I had a short conference with her “teacher” which went well.  She is right on track.  While I was doing the conference the 3 other kids played.   Afterwards we picked up Red and then headed to the airport.  My mom arrived just as we did – great timing!   We headed out to the new house and the kids were all talking and telling Nana about it.  About the chickens, their new rooms, the planting, and their new friends.  They were all excited.

    As soon as we got there the kids wanted to show Nana their rooms.  So cute.   Then of course we took the trek up to see the chickens.  Red was following one around that was cruising in our back yard.   We did some lawn watering, talked with the neighbors, and got my mom settled.  Before you knew it I had to get the kids back — I had co-parent order a pizza; poor Big Bro fell asleep in the car and didn’t wake up for dinner. 



    I woke up and started to dismantle my bed.  The kids were enthralled.   The rest of the morning was uneventful, I think.  I played with the kids and felt good.

    Big Bro went to school on his bike.  I took the rest of the kids to my house.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The place looked incredible.  My mom was up until 1:30 AM the prior night (4:30 AM east coast time after flying all day!!!) cleaning and organizing my kitchen.   The place was really straightened up everywhere else.  Boxes were stacked and there were clear paths to walk.  Whew.  Thank goodness my mom is here.

    We spent the day eating, organizing clothes, finishing the kitchen, clearing a path to the chickens, picking up Big Bro, accepting package deliveries from Amazon/UPS and FedEx, receiving my shed, almost receiving my washer/dryer (I need to reorder — GAS dryer…. damn it), getting AT&T to install a phone jack, getting ADT to install a security system….. more playing, more eating, …. we went out to dinner and all kids ate like champs.  Then they started acting crazy so we fled.

    I left my mom at the house to enjoy peace and quiet.   She looked exhausted.   She was thinking about more work with kids clothes but I really hope she hit the sack instead.

    Once we got home the kids went to bed and I went to Home Depot.   It is amazing the $$$ you can spend there.  I have to cut myself off soon.  I think I should be good to stay clear away from there for awhile (I hope).

    I got home and showered.  It was badly needed.  I smelled like ass.  I mean, I actually smelled myself so you know it was bad.  I hadn’t showered in 2 days and essentially was wearing the same clothes so it was really, really, bad.  I’m now typing this freshly showered, body very sore, with wet hair.  I love the smell of my skin right now.   I’m really happy.   Things are coming together and I love my house.  I love the space.  I love the yards.  I love the neighborhood.  I love how it looks, how it smells, and how it is mine.   And how my mom approves of it (at least she says).   Yes it is small but it is all that we need.   And it is beautiful.  And we are making it a home.   And I can’t wait to get there tomorrow to start another day there.

    Til tomorrow –

    – Mama K

    June 5: Getting ready for country living!

    It was an early night for me last night and a late start for me this morning.   Things are catching up with me.   I’m not able to keep up the pace and my body is telling me so.   The sleep felt good.  

    Highlights of the Morning:

    • Chocolate Tuesday!   Kids were demanding MORE, and MORE, and MORE
    • Twin Husky was hiding from me when I tried to find him to wipe his face of Nutella.  We were cracking up when I found him in a corner of the toy room hiding behind the toy kitchen doors.   I love his laugh.  It comes from deep down, in his belly.   His laugh will always make me laugh.  A child’s laugh is special, but what Twin Husky has is different.  It honestly brews up from his toes to his belly to his throat and comes out as a chuckle/giggle/belly laugh.  I love it.   It is something very special about him.
    • Twin Crazy got mad at me when I asked her not to wear daddy’s shoes upstairs.  She was walking towards the top of the stairs and a little pint size girl in man-shoes on top of the stairs is a disaster waiting to happen.  Because of this reprimand she threw her body on the floor in a tantrum, kicking her feet and looking at me like I took away her favorite toy.  I explained my reasoning to her, that it was dangerous near the stairs and I didn’t want her to get hurt, and moved on downstairs to deliver clothes options to Red and Big Bro.
    • Big Bro did well picking his clothes from the options I provided.  So did Red.  They are both so picky but I think it’s because they have too many clothes to choose from.  If they had less, I think they would be easier to deal with in terms of clothes.   When faced with just 2 or 3 choices they do much better.
    • Big Bro was ready for his bike ride.  He always asks me first if it is OK for him to go.  I run out to him and kiss him and say “Yes, have fun, I love you.”
    • Twin Husky was in the street for some reason near trash cans sweeping up some of the remnant trash.  Maybe some weeds didn’t make the trash pick up.   Did he really get a broom from the garage and decide to sweep on his own???
    • I was taking Red to school this morning so that alleviated a tantrum.  I gathered her things and she seemed happy to go to school.


    I am really sluggish now.  I had no coffee or breakfast this AM.  Coffee is a must but the coffee maker is at my place and I ran out of the instant stuff.  I need to get more instant coffee for me to get through this week and next.  

    I have work to do this morning and would like to actually have some focused time to work on something and feel like I’m getting something complete.   I need to feel like I’m accomplishing something today at work or else it weighs me down – I think nailing down a date for one of the forums in Fall and reaching out to speakers for those dates will be a good project for me to accomplish today.  I’ll focus on that and then work through other things that need to get done afterwards.

    I’m going to head to my house tonight to take the garbage bins to the road.  I know that this is something one of my neighbors would easily do for me but I want to go there myself.   Maybe if I go without the kids I can also get some work done there like unpacking my room.  We’ll see.


    Highlights of My Working Day:

    • Don’t tell anyone – but I spent a lot of time today shopping.  They are having a 20% sale in the gardening section and I went a little crazy.  I bought more hand weeders, new gloves (I already have holes in my other pair), gloves for all of the kids, 2 sets of kid hand tools, a bird feeder, 2 windchimes, deer netting, bamboo poles for the deer netting (I’m thinking of my poor twig trees that got attacked by those 2 cute deer in my neighborhood)…. And then I kept going and got a tumbler/rotator compost container.  Am I going overboard?  Yes.  But that is how I am.  Extremes.  I’m REALLY into this gardening thing and I can’t stop.   I’m looking forward to setting up an area in the yard to plant these trees.  I want to see the leaves come back.  It would be wonderful to actually see these trees grow and maybe throw off some fruit next year?
    • I did some sales activities for one of the forums – trying to set up sales calls
    • I started to get materials ready for a survey we are going to launch for another forum
    • I had a conference call with our partners for a different forum we are trying to launch – they are such slackers.  I have some to-dos as a result and I want to focus on that tomorrow.

    I am on the ferry now and it is sunny.  I am happy with my purchases today.  I am happy to get to the house tonight to take out the trash.  I am happy that my mother is coming tomorrow to stay with me for a few days.  I am happy to be working from home tomorrow.   I’m feeling really good right now.  


    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I picked up Red and she ran to me from the playground.  We gathered her “stuff” and head to the car.  When we got to the twins, they were going for a walk towards the house.  Twin Crazy saw me and ran for a tricycle.  She began pedaling it with her feet… before she could only scoot around with her legs.   She was so proud of herself and was squealing with delight.  I had to get a movie of it.  Twin Husky was also riding around on the pedals – he is a pro at that now.
    • We picked up Big Bro and headed home.   I mentioned having a FAST dinner and for Big Bro to promise NOT to get the neighbors tonight… I wanted to finish early so that we could get to my house afterwards.  Everyone agreed.
    • We ate super-fast; I took down my bedroom curtains and we hit the road
    • I was taking care of trash bins and sweeping up a bit.  Big Bro watered the outside plants.  Red watered the inside plants.  Then they found cubby shelves that I bought for each of their rooms, still in boxes.  They proceeded to rip open the boxes and start to organize the pieces while I was doing the outside work.   I asked them if they wanted me to put them together while they were at school or if they wanted me to wait for them – they both wanted me to wait for them so they could help but they REALLY wanted to start the project tonight.  I denied them their wish.
    • The place is completely disheveled and I hope my mom isn’t too frightened but she will feel good about helping me out.  I’m so glad she’s coming.
    • On the ride home, Red kept talking about the new girl in her class.  I was having trouble understanding why.  When we were at home she asked me to bring up to her the book that she left in the garage, the same one she took to school today.  It is called “The New Girl” and we got it from a cereal box.  I think it is amazing how she has a new girl at school today and she brought in that book to school to show her teachers.  Her one teacher read it to the whole class.  Is it a coincidence or did she really make that connection between the book and the new girl in her class?   She was proud that her teacher read her book to the class.  And I was proud of her for empathizing with her new friend at school.



    I’m tired but content.  I looked through email and Amazon was having a 25% patio furniture sale so I bought a glider bench for my front yard “porch”.  This is out of control.  I have to stop myself.   I can’t wait to open up all of these packages and start my country living!!!

    Til tomorrow –

    Mama K

    June 4: Rain, rain go away

    A rainy Monday.   After an amazing weekend with the kids, in duos.   Last night when I came back with Twin Husky and Twin Crazy, the reunion with Red and Big Bro was fun – lots of chatter and banter.   The children miss each other when they are away, but I can also tell that they like the more attention that separation from their siblings brings.

    Highlights of the Morning:

    • All of the kids were still snoozing past 7:10 AM.  Quite unusual.  I guess that’s what good baths and full weekends do; plus rainy Monday mornings.
    • Twin Husky looked confused when he got up; Twin Crazy was immediately playful.  Playing hide-and-seek, talking, laughing, … what a difference in personalities
    • I dressed Twin Crazy and got rid of her “dirty stinky diaper” – she’s regressed with potty training which is understandable with the changes in her life right now.
    • Red was waking up slowly; her hair all over the place but clean.  When her eyes were finally focused, she woke up and out of bed just fine.  Fixing her sheets, and asking (demanding) me to gather her things (backpack, baby, seal animal, jacket…..).  This is our routine together.  Me and her joking about all of her stuff.
    • Big Bro got up without a problem.  He wanted to bring his “bad guy” Legos to school today and bring his “good guy” Legos tomorrow.  
    • The kids were all laughing about a small rubber chicken keychain toy that Big Bro pulled apart.  You can now see a hole in it and they were laughing about the “chicken’s butt”.
    • The kids were walking around on tippy toes which I thought was cute.
    • Big Bro wanted to tell me about rainy days at school and what they do at recess if its raining.  How they watch movies instead and how today he hopes that it rains all day so he can watch two movies.
    • Red wanted me to help her find her favorite clothes in the dryer.   She was happy.
    • Big Bro needed help finding clean socks.  We went “fishing” together for clean socks out of the dryer. 
    • I started a load of wash and then we were off.  Big Bro rode today with the Motley Crew.   I packed up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.   Red wanted to go too and was upset.  I said I would pick her up from school today.   It’s hard to hear their cries when they can’t come with me.  If it were up to me I would take all of them.

    I’m on the ferry and it is gray.   I have certain things that I want to focus on for work to prepare for the Fall forums and also turn to sales for new memberships.    I also need to attend an internal meeting related to these forums with a Director from another office that I’m not excited about.  He will likely play a larger role in my forums since the Director that is involved with them now is retiring at the end of the year.   This other Director is moving in and managing him will be a challenge.

    I also need to organize some things for home:   order a garbage bin, call to check on Batman (the sick guinea pig), order service to hook up my TV and run wires for surround-sound.   Follow up with the fence and hand-rail project.  Confirm schedules for Custody Evaluation.   I think that’s it on a personal front. 

    Highlights of My Working Day:

    • I decided to buy a HUGE breakfast sandwich as I was dodging the cold rain to the office. 
    • I got through a ton of emails and sent out an invoice for our project which just ended. 
    • I received word that our client that requested a high-level proposal checked internally and they do not need our help at this time.  🙂
    • I went through some financials of the forums we are running to see how profitable they are; and also thought through approach for sales
    • We had an internal meeting where we talked about the accounting and how to standardize some of the work that we do with the forums; also an approach to reach more prospects to generate new members.

    The day went by quickly but I feel like I did not accomplish much of anything.    Hopefully tomorrow I’ll feel more productive.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I was so exhausted on the ferry home that I did not write but instead slept.  I am drained.
    • I picked everyone up and was surprised to see Twin Husky in a brand new outfit – cute little jeans (with pockets) and a collar polo shirt.   Their daycare provider purchased it for him; he looked so handsome and even repeated that over and over.  He loves the pockets.
    • I got home and started to boil water for pasta.  As this was going, I started to break down cardboard boxes to recycle, related to my move.  The kids were all outside playing and the neighbors were out there too so it was nice.  I enjoyed myself but found I was running into the street WAY to much to fetch their balls.  
    • Dinner was fast and the kids ate well.
    • All were fighting and cranky so we started bedtime earlier; I had the younger ones but the older ones wanted to be with me; co-parent was completely frustrated.  I dressed the younger ones, read to the older ones, sang to the younger ones, and am in bed now. 


    My plan for tonight was to start dismantling my bed.  I just don’t know if I’ll be able to start this project.   I can also do the curtains so I might just do that instead.   Red is now crying and I just can’t take this.  I cannot wait until June 15th when I can be free from this sterile house and remnants of lost hopes and dreams.   I’ve completely let go and need to move on and staying here through the end of the school year is really hard.   I can’t wait until the 15th when I can start to breathe again.   I’m missing my house and I want to be there.  And be there with the kids in their laughter and fits of cranky rage.   And of course, the weeds.

    Til tomorrow –

    Mama K

    Staying Sane: Just make a list and bang it out

    For those that are following this blog, you know that I have more on my plate now than 1) working; and 2) being a mother.   I’ve also got 3) a move; 4) a divorce; and 5) child custody efforts.   I separate # 5 from #4 because dealing with the kids, their emotions, and the thought of these descisions into the future are soooooooooooooooo critical; money and things can be replaced (e.g., divorce); but the relationships and the safety net you provide to your children are just too important to overlook.  So I need to give that the special focus it deserves.

    Anyway, the topic of this post.   How to manage all of the things going on right now…. how to keep it together without falling to pieces or feeling like a deer in headlights.  Well, I do feel like that sometimes.  But then my Type A personality kicks in and I just hunker down, focus, make my lists, and bang them out.   You can probably tell that I am a big “list maker” just by the way that I write.  Most of the time, I do this work at night.  After the kids go to sleep.   And online.   I cut corners and probably sacrifice cost to save me time.  I do not have time to bargain-shop when I have so much to get finished.

    For example, in the last say 2 weeks, I’ve had to:

    • buy a minivan
    • sell a car
    • start my move
    • buy two bedroom sets for two rooms for the four children (and put together said furniture….)
    • buy a refrigerator
    • buy a washer / dryer
    • buy a kitchen set
    • buy a livingroom set
    • buy a shed
    • organize a fence/handrail installation
    • deal with court deadlines and paperwork deadlines
    • deal with a summer custody schedule that is ambiguous in some of its language
    • deal with back and forth between lawyers on said ambuiguity
    • fight with lawyer/ terminate relationship with said lawyer on dealings with said ambuiguity
    • lead a selling webinar for a forum at work that we are trying to launch
    • finish a client project and complete a Final Deliverable for our client
    • weed, weed, weed, weed, weed the grounds of the new house; I mowed a lawn for the very first time ever
    • buy things I never imagined I would ever own (e.g., electric drill) at Home Depot – make multiple trips to home depot
    • Start to think about financial mediation and then put that on backburner

    I am not saying that I am super human.  I am not.  And I am floundering in many of the above.   But what I am trying to do is compartmentalize the aspects of my life that require ACTION.  And also figure out which of the items NEED to get done IMMEDIATELY versus which can wait a bit.  Which involve 3rd parties?  Which have deadlines?  Which do I need to work together with someone else versus what can I do on my own?  What can be accomplished at night, on-line, and executed through on-line shopping and delivery to my house?    Are there people who can help me (and YES there are and YES I take the help when offered, with MUCH appreciation).

    And all along all of this is focusing also on my kids.  This must be hard for them.  This must be confusing for them.  But they are troopers and handling it very well – better than I expected.  I guess having four children is great in that they help each other… they look out for each other… they are a bit stronger I suppose than children of smaller families.

    And in the list there is the recurring theme of getting the house ready.  Inside and out.   And I find great pleasure in the outside work.  Mowing the lawn.  Weeding.  I joke about all of the weeds but I think it therapeutic for me to actually do it.   I find that attacking that earth in the early morning before it gets too hot is the best time.  It is quiet.  And I fill up those wheelbarrels and I have time to think about my to-do’s… or not.   And many times I have helpers and workers (AKA the kids) and also friends and neighbors.   THANK YOU EVERYONE.

    So… the things left to do…

    • hire someone for fence/railings [NEED TO DO SOON]
    • put shed together [OUTSOURCE… FIND SOMEONE TO DO IT]
    • hire another lawyer [backburner for now….]
    • complete the move
    • get internet set up [installation set….]
    • get washer/dryer, furniture delivered in one piece [delivery dates set… ]
    • organize kitchen [Mom to help]
    • focus on getting some work done at the day job

    Have a great week!

    – Mama K

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