Random thoughts: using good judgment

As working mothers we hope that we are always using good judgment in the decisions that we make – and the implications to our family in the short and long term.

As you know, I’ve made some recent decisions in my own life that have forever changed how I lead my life – and these changes will obviously have an impact on me and the kids in the shorter as well as longer term. I can only hope that I used good judgment when I had the ability to make a choice.  For example, scaling back at work, settling in a new community, trying to right-side my life on my terms…. All difficult choices that, at the time, were based upon critical thinking and judgement on my beliefs, my personal experience from the past, and thoughts on the potential implications to myself and my family.

image source:  warren-walker.com
Think back at different decisions in your own life.  Looking back, when have you used good judegment ? Bad judgment?

I believe it is important to teach kids early the importance of using good judgment. Of recognizing when they are faced in a situation where there are choices that need to be thought through and decisions made. We need to help them along in this learning… Help them hone in on the skills needed for decision making and exercising good judgment. We cannot always be there for them.  And we will not always be making decisions for them. They need to learn this on their own. They need to practice this and be faced with life situations and experiences where they can develop these skills – experiences of success and of failure. In the midst of drugs and peer pressure and the overwhelming need to fit in, teaching the importance of using good judgment is just a necessity.

I remember several years back being at a campsite with a family with children older than our own. One of the children came over and asked their mother if it was ok to play with the fire with the s’mores sticks the way that the other kids were doing. I was amazed and taken back when her response was “I’m not going to tell you what to do. You use your own judgment as to what to do. You know the fire and the smoke and the length of the stick and you use your own judgment. Don’t look at the other kids to give you that judgment. They are standing in a different spot than you and they have different sticks so you need to use your own judgment.”

I loved this conversation with her child. I was not expecting it. I was expecting a “NO”.  I vowed to myself that this would be a lesson that I would teach the kids. And in those words and in that “matter-of-fact” way.

This past weekend we had a great time with a new blow-up pool that I bought from Target. It was over 90 degrees and it pissed me off knowing that this same pool would be on deep discount in 2 weeks time, but I digress. I also bought Target-brand aerosol sunscreen. I promise that this is important to the story.

Many neighborhood kids had the benefit of playing in this pool over the weekend…. In fact 3 different families… But I digress, yet again.

On Sunday, we had only one other child with us. So, it was relatively relaxing. All was great until I went inside to make pudding as a snack…. Instant pudding no less. So seriously, I was gone for literally 5 minutes and during that time I also checked in on them from my office window to make sure that everyone was safe.

I came back outside to see a pool filled with white murky water

  • “What is this?”
  • “Sunscreen.”
  • “How did it get in here?”
  • “We sprayed it.”
  • “Are you kidding me???!?!?!? Who did this? Whose idea was this???? Does sunscreen belong in a pool???” … [Thinking to myself (*&^(*&^*(^)… )*(&^*&^(*&^)… ]

Needless to say, Big Bro was exiled to his room, the neighbor was sent home and instructed to tell his parents what happened, the pool was dumped out, pool time was over for ALL kids, and the blown up pool was shoved in my shed.

I let the rest of the day proceed with Big Bro in his room and the rest of the kids were angels, on purpose I believe.

Later that day, I brought all the kids together for a conversation. I talked about judgment and the importance of using good judgment. Big Bro asked “What us judgment?”  It’s the decisions you make in situations. It’s how you think things are going to happen if you make certain devious or do certain things or behave a certain way. For example, feeding Cocoa every day is using good judgment. Changing your clothes, underwear, and socks each day is good judgment. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables everyday is using good judgment.  But sometimes people, and kids, use bad judgment. Today, putting sunscreen in the pool was bad judgment. It is sooooooo important for each of you to try to use good judgment. And if you see someone using bad judgment around you, you have to speak up and say so.

Big Bro asked, “Well, what are we supposed to say?”

I told him that he can say that’s not ok. Or that he doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Or if it’s easier, just blame it on me “my mommy is going to be soooo mad”.

I looked at all the kids when I was explaining judgment. And looked at each of them when I described examples of good and bad judgment. And asked them if they understood. I think at 6, Big Bro gets it. I am not certain of Red, age 4. The 2 year old twins were there for completeness sake. I’m not sure they picked up on a thing. But sometimes Twin Crazy REALLY surprises me.

So that was the beginning of a life lesson on judgment. One that I will reinforce with each of them as time goes on. One that I myself and as an adult continuously question as well. Am I making decisions for myself and my family based upon good judgment? Is it truly good judgment or just what I believe to be good judgment? Am I rationalizing the choices I make or justifying them in any way?

I can point to PLENTY examples in my past where I KNOW I used poor judgment. Like the time I stole a Christmas tree from a college dorm lobby and shoved it in a shower stall.  Like the time I signed up for Debt Markets in my M.B.A. program, a course that I am convinced will never help me now or in the future.  Like the time I sold Starbucks stock in 1994 so I could earn a whooping $300 profit [ugggh, that one hurts].

But as time goes on, I like to think that I have more life experiences to draw from and inform decisions.  But I also know that 20 years from now (if I am lucky to have the opportunity 20 years from now), I will likely look back on my life in my 30s and 40s and question my judgment. This is part of living and life and growing. But it is important for me, for people, and for kids as little people, to understand and recognize that we have choices, our decisions have consequences, and it is important to try to use good judgment.

What situations have you faced with your kids on the value of using good judgment? How have you reinforced this concept? At what ages do kids really start to understand?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Reviving dead bananas

Let me pass on a trick that has saved me on many a hot afternoon… on many an after-dinner meltdown… on many times when the kids are bored, hungry, or all of the above.

Frozen bananas.

If your house is like mine, you buy bananas with the intension of eating them before they turn into black, wilting, melting messes on the countertop.  But ultimately, at least one winds up that way.   Yes, you have probably heard of making banana bread, or muffins, or something of the sort.

I am not much of a baker.   And I sometimes do not have patience to deal with the rotten mess and turn it into a Martha Stewart recipe.   But, I do have time to chuck the damn things into the freezer for a later day.

And then… when the kids are hot… when they are cranky and need a snack… or when you are thinking of an after-dinner healthy treat…. TAKE OUT THOSE BANANAS and make a smoothie out of them, OJ (or water, or milk) and any other fruit you are thinking.  Sometimes I add ice.  Sometimes I add other frozen fruit.   Simply delicious.

The best way I think is to peel the bananas first and then just put them in a ziplock bag for your freezer.  I’ve tried freezing them with skins (too difficult to peel when they are frozen) and also cutting them up before putting them in the bag (winds up with a big mashable frozen mess).

This weekend we had two kinds of smoothies:

  • frozen banana, ice, fresh strawberries, some water
  • “banana ice cream”:   frozen bananas, milk, ice — make thick so it has the consistency of soft-serve

And let me tell you.  What a hit.   And it was quiet in my house for at least 10 minutes while the kids enjoyed their black, wilting, smashable bananas in disguise.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

Aug 9 and 10 recap: SAHM in the summer

It has been a busy two days for me so I collapsed into bed each night without a post.  I had the kids and wanted to take advantage of the summer time with them before school starts.   The school year for us will involve many highway trips in early morning rush-hour traffic so I wanted to enjoy this time with them on my days off before the school year begins.

Thursday, August 9:

  • We woke up to chickens.
  • Chocolate Thursday at Mommy’s house!   Red teased a chicken with her chocolate tortilla roll-up

  • We hit the road to get Big Bro’s backpack which we forgot a daycare the day prior.   I took the opportunity for us to introduce Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to their new daycare room when the “school year” starts.   Red showed Twin Crazy the potty (very small!  Very cute!) and they used it.   Red helped her wash her hands and showed her where the soap was and the paper towels and trash can.   Big Bro showed Twin Husky the kitchen set (Twin Husky loves playing kitchen) and they all experimented with the couches and the books.   They were having a great time.  We showed them the cubbies for their “stuff” as well as the hooks for their jackets.  Both indicated that they would like to come here for the day and play and learn.

  • From here, I was spontaneous and decided to take them on a train ride.  We talk about the trains all the time when we are commuting on the highway.  I talk about how I take that train to work and how it goes into the city to my office.   They have been asking about going on a train ride and going to my new office.  Big Bro and Red did not have the opportunity to see my new office and they wanted to see it.  So I called in advance and then we headed over.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!  The kids were great.  We all stayed together.   We parked and remembered the number of the parking space. We paid for parking together and then we went through the turnstile and up the escalator to wait for the train.  On the train we stood up and looked outside and also had some time underground.  They were very brave.  And the older kids looked after the little kids.   I told them how many stops and when to get ready for the next stop.  THey were excellent and followed directions so well.

  • Along the street we had a long 5 blocks to walk, but again, we stuck together, held hands, went slowly.   It was lunchtime and there were lots of people walking about but all were generally good / patient with us.  I got a lot of comments.  I love going places with all of these kids.   I love being able to do things with them in tow.    Especially when they are so good and are able to take in so much.   We talked about the city, the big buildings, how people move fast, how we used to live here, the streets where I used to move the stroller with Big Bro and Red.

  • In the office we were surprised to learn that there was a birthday that day.  So they brought lunch in, and better yet, cupcakes.  That was a huge hit with the kids.   They were extremely talkative with my co-workers and very lively and funny.  Big Bro was showing off his Lego plane.  Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were busy playing/talking/fighting like twins.   Red was quiet, but cute – we talked about her “sibling haircut”.   Twin Husky asked my boss “do you have a penis?”.    He is on the boy/girl thing and yes, they talk about penis and vagina body parts all the time.  My boss (who is kidless and in his 60’s, about to retire), indicated “Yes, I do have a penis.”.  OMG.

  • The kids made it back AOK on the 5 block walk to the train station and on the ride back.

  • When we got home it was dress up time.  I tried to get the Twins down for a nap but it was impossible.

  • We headed next door to see the neighbors and the kittens.  They invited us over to the pool.  We gladly accepted.
  • At the pool the kids were having an amazing time.  My other neighbor showed up at the pool with beers and pizza so we made a night of it.  We met more friends of neighbors and more kids that are Big Bro’s age.  Nice kids.  They hit it off.  I love it here.  I gave big hugs to all when I left.  The folks were great going into the big pool with Big Bro and Red while I kept my eyes on Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.  Big Bro wants me to get the phone number for the new kid he met so he can continue to play with him.  He had a great time with him tonight.

  • We saw deer as the kids were getting ready for bed.  A mother and her baby.  The baby has gotten much bigger since we’ve seen it last.

  • The kids slept well.   (As did I).  It was a full day.

Friday, August 10:

  • We again woke up to chickens.
  • The kids did art activities while I straightened up the house a bit.   I started a lot of laundry.

  • After snack I took the kids to the playground.  A part of the playground where there is sand and a structure with a water pump and spouts and pipes.  The kids had a great time.  Big Bro was in his Batman costume.  Twin Husky was completely immersed in his building, pounding, scraping, water activity.   He was in his own world.  Twin Crazy had fun playing a little more conservatively than her brother.  But she loved the sand and the water.   Red was very apprehensive about the sand at first.  She didn’t like the feeling on her hands.  But once she got into it she loved it.  She was making me sand meatballs.

  • We headed home for lunch and naps.  Again, the Twins refused to nap.
  • We played outside in the blow up pool since it was so hot outside.   They were enjoying it but Big Bro was having a hard time.  He dumped the pool upside down.   I don’t know what his problem was but I sent him inside.  I set up the kids again, and then I went in to get Big Bro.  We sat on the rocking chair together, with him on my lap.  He was cranky at first but we had a conversation.   How I thought his behavior was not that friendly and if there was something wrong.   He wouldn’t answer.   We then just talked.   Talked about school, about how much fun that will be, about math, and science… and he told me he didn’t want to go to aftercare since you can’t bring your toys out.  So I told him that Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday there would be no aftercare.  I would pick him up from school and did he like that?   His face smiled.   And on Monday and Tuesday, we were going to see if he could go home with the Motley Crew (friends behind co-parent’s house).   He seemed much better then.  He was ready to play with his siblings again.

  • We played in the pool.   Red asked me to sit in the pool.   The kids were all pouring water on me and I was carrying on enjoying myself with them.  They were laughing.

  • I took the opportunity while Red’s hair was wet to actually try to cut it to even out the sibling haircut.   I think it looks OK.   She doesn’t seem to care.

Before you knew it, it was time to head to co-parent’s.   On the way, we drove by the parking lot where I park for my commute, and also the train station where I go on Mondays and Tuesdays.  The kids wanted to see that.

The kids were in good moods.  They had very active days and I had a lot of time to spend with them collectively and individually.

I went food shopping and bought gas and then headed home – doing these activities helps me to avoid the rush-hour commute traffic on the way back.   I was tired when I got back.  I played with Cocoa a bit.   Did some gardening/watering.   Did some work on my computer with photos.   Then called it a night.

I had an amazing two days with the kids.   I was able to get things done and also spend a lot of time with them.   They are feeling more and more comfortable here and I love it.

July 8: Back in the saddle again

I’m feeling much better today.  Thank you to those that reached out.   Today was a great day.   The kids are here and the crickets are chirping outside and I’m sitting in my home office with new desks and computer and I’m feeling at ease.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up early and got ready for my “work at home” day.  Showered, made coffee, grabbed a box of cereal, and booted up in the office.   Did you ever notice how Safeway brands call their products?   The Safeway line of cereal modeled after “Life” is called “Live it Up”.   Isn’t this hysterical?    I have to check out other products.   I’m buying very frugally these days, can’t you tell??!?!?
  • I got a lot of work done today.   Started organizing our focus-group for our meeting in September, sent out planning status to our membership, did some admin items like billing.
  • I would step outside in the sunshine and stretch for a break.  Water the garden.  Look at the bluebirds flying.
  • I started working on a sales document for another forum I am building.  We have lunch meetings next week that this needs to be ready for and I also have a list of REAL contacts at potential members so I need this to get that part started.

The Afternoon:

  • I grabbed Cocoa and headed to the van.   I stopped at the pet store and they did nothing for me.   The last guinea pig had ringworm, with the symptoms of a dry ear.   And they took the animal back and brought it to their vet.   Cocoa, 2nd guinea pig, has a dry ear.  One person told me to bring her in.  I did.  Then the manager said they wouldn’t do anything since it was past 15 days.  But it was past 15 days with Batman, the first guinea pig.  There was nothing they would do.   I absolutely detest big chain animal stores.   I am officially anti-PetCo.   From here on out.   I have a sweet guinea pig that may have ringworm suffering from an itchy ear.   Ugh.
  • I headed to a gyno appointment in the city, with Cocoa in tow.  She sat in a cool, indoor parking garage while I was violated upstairs at the gyno.   Note the plastic model vaginas on the windowsill.

  • We headed to get the kids!
  • I decided to bring Cocoa into the daycare.  Red was excited to see me with Cocoa.  Her friends were excited and so were her “teachers”.   It was so sweet to see Red so nurturing.   She is wonderful with that little piggy.
  • Big Bro was also excited to see Cocoa but he wanted to hold her and pay attention to her away from his friends.  He had no interest in showing the piggy to his friends.
  • We picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky; they were busy riding tricycles.
  • We headed home and hit some traffic along the way.  Big Bro fell asleep first.  And then Red.   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were wide awake.  We were talking about the sunshine, flags, trains, counting, smelling their feet.  They were both very talkative.
  • When we got back the box with Cocoa fell off of Big Bro’s sleeping lap.   Cocoa tumbled out along with her food and hay everywhere.  She hid under his seat but he was able to pry her out.


The Rest of the Night:

  • Big Bro threw a fit that we forgot his backpack at daycare.   I think Cocoa threw our routine off.
  • The rest of us went outside to clean Cocoa’s cage.  Big Bro came out when I asked him if he wanted to use the hose to hose down the bottom of the cage.
  • I started cooking dinner.  I decided that pasta stars were in order since Big Bro was upset, and rightfully so.
  • The rest of the kids were outside looking at the chickens.
  • The doorbell rang and it was the grandchildren of our chicken/farmer neighbors.  They had a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes for us.  I was thrilled.  The kids were adorable.   I walked them back to the front of the house so they could walk along the street to their grandmother, my neighbor.  I love this place.  3/4 of the kids were loving the tomatoes.
  • I asked Big Bro if he wanted to go get the mail for me.   He’s such a big guy.  He went without hesitation.
  • All kids ate like champs.   I couldn’t believe it.  All food was finished.  Even vegetables and fish.
  • Dessert was cherries and mango smoothie.
  • Big Bro, Red, and Twin Husky knocked next door to see if the kids would come out.  They were getting ready for bed.
  • The kids did some manicures with each other while I was cleaning up.
  • Then it was PJ, teeth, and book-time.   I’m getting each kid to pick out a book and meet me in the living room and I read to them all of the books all at once.  The great thing is the kids are all fast at picking out their books since the first one back gets to sit on my lap and read with me first.
  • Bedtime was AOK.  Twin Crazy was scared again of the dark, the kitty-cats, the foxes, the doggies.   I reassured her that the house was safe and she was safe.  She walked with me as I locked the doors and put on the house alarm.  She fell asleep soon thereafter.



It feels good to have them back over again.  Tantrums, tears, and everything else in between.   They are teasing each other a lot more now, but they are also playing together so well.  They look out for each other so well.  And the older ones, for the most part, are really good role models for the younger ones.

I’m feeling like myself again.  Thank goodness.   I’m ready to hit the sack.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K


August 7: The tears that wouldn’t fall

I usually try to post a “Gig Tip” on Tuesdays but I just don’t have it in me today.

I’ve had a hard day.   It started with a headache this morning and missing the kids.   And also thinking about some of the challenges that they are facing which makes me sad.

Then I had lunch with an ex-colleague from over 12 years ago.   It was wonderful to see her.   It was wonderful to TALK with her.  She has gone through a divorce and there is so much in what she was saying that was EXACTLY like how I have been feeling.  It was sooooooooooo good to talk to her.  To actually TALK and have a conversation and FEEL and feel sympathetic and understand.   She is wonderful.  Her outlook is wonderful.  How she expresses herself is wonderful.  And how she captured how I am feeling was eye-opening.  I am not used to talking to people who understand me.   I’m really not.  I was so pleasantly surprised today at lunch – even through the sadness – the connection I felt so strongly with someone whom I have not seen in over 12 years – I am not sure just how much we actually have in common.   There is probably close to a decade of years between us… she has no kids…. she is early in her career… yet we shared a connection and a conversation that resonated so strongly in me that I was almost swept off of the booth I was sitting in.

So it was a good lunch, but also a difficult one that opened me up leaving me exposed.

I tried to do some work – I actually had a really productive day.

Tuesday is trash day at home.  So my normal routine is to go through the yard and fill up that Green bin as much as I can.  There is so much in my place in terms of weeds and yard work that honestly I need more bins.  So I went around with my wheel barrel and started to pick up the piles of old branches and dead leaves from my hedge-clipping frenzy from several weeks ago.   I was sad picking up the dead decaying branches and getting them ready for trash.  Clearing out my space, my yard, getting rid of the branches that do not fit in this yard anymore.

I felt like crying.  I wanted to cry.  I even tried to force the tears.  My eyes would well up but the tears would not fall.  I need to get this out….

On my way to the bin I stopped at my compost tumbler and added the decaying leaves.   I then decided to take some of the leaves and crumble them on top of some of my garden – my garden that has yet to bear ANY fruit for me.   Am I watering for nothing?  Am I trying too hard with this new distraction/hobby?   Can ANY of these plants PLEASE create a freaking berry or something that I can eat?!?!??!?!   And then on my way crumbling up those leaves, I stopped when I got to my corn.  The 3-inch seedlings that my neighbor gave to me are now more like 3-4 feet high.  And I looked down and couldn’t believe it but there is this little corn-cob thingy starting to grow out of the biggest of the stalks.   I am amazed.   I then become hopeful, a little.

I feel like so much of what has happened in my life is such a waste.   I feel like those dead branches and I feel like those crumbling leaves being tossed aside but still I guess useful in some way for other things living.   I don’t know how I got here.   I don’t know how the essence of who I am got so misguided and depleted.    How can this happen to me?  When I try so hard?   How?   How did I let it happen?

And now the tears are finally falling.  So I’m glad I did not try to force a Gig Tip tonight.  I’m glad that I’ve had this chance to get this out.   I’m so happy that I had a chance to connect with my friend today at lunch.  I am so thrilled that she was speaking sentences that I could have said myself.  I am so happy that I found someone who understands.

I am thankful that I made a real connection today with someone.   But I am alone here now.   I am trying to see the potential for something new and something positive – like those damn corn stalk thingies.  But it is so hard.  So hard when you feel so alone and misunderstood by so many.

Random Thoughts: You and electricity

The massive power outage that happened in India recently affected over 600 million people and lasted for days.  Imagine that.  Have you ever BEEN to India?  I have… I enjoyed my month traveling throughout the country but I can honestly not imagine the place plagued with no electricity.  No lights.  Darkness.  Going further back to basics than the country already is.

image source:  http://www.inflexwetrust.com/2012/08/01/indias-power-restored-after-historic-blackout/

This got me thinking about our world and our reliance of electricity.  We had our own issues in early 2000 – the Bay Area had several outages.   And in 2001/2002 there were problems in NYC as well as Chicago, I believe.  And recent outages last winter due to snowstorms and downed power lines…

No traffic lights.  No elevators.  No air conditioner.   No trains.  No TV.  No radio.  No computers… Silence, or perhaps… panic?

Think through your power usage in the morning while you’re getting yourself and your kids ready for the day…. think about your day at work… and then again about your evening at home with the kids – and how many devices requiring electricity you use in the normal, daily routine…. what would your life look like if power went down for 1 day?  2 days?  How long could you last?

Humor me and take these polls:

Thanks for listening!!

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Neighbors as support and friends

No one knows the pains of a juggling, working mom like another working, juggling mom.   And it is a bonus when you have some of these closeby and in your neighborhood.

I left a neighbor and friend in my old neighborhood, with believe it or not… FOUR kids and two of them twins.   Yes, we had quite a bit in common.  And yes, we relied on each other for support or even to decompress with each other as eight kids ran amuck.

I lucked out like you would not believe in my new neighborhood.  I have a CPA mom right next door – with two great kids.  “L” is a girl aged 8; and “Q” is a boy aged 6.   Big Bro and Q hit it off immediately when they met each other and played wall ball within the first 5 minutes of meeting.  That really broke the ice quickly.   Although “L” is a bit older, she is amazing.  She is like a little mothers helper… she is a “child whisperer” and is SOOOOOOOO good with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.   She is a natural.

And within the neighborhood are 3 other families with children in ages aligned well with my family.  I was surprised at the beginning of summer when all of them came over with cake to welcome me to the neighborhood.   I am lucky to have one of these neighbors as a General Contractor and he helped me out with my hot water heater, fence recommendations, and most recently…. fixing my lawn sprinkler system.   Last weekend another neighbor took my girls “shopping” in her daughter’s room for hand-me-down clothes.  Each of the girls had their bag and even now Red wants to wear only the “new” clothes.  We go to the local swim club as guests with these families.   The other next door neighbor (with all of the chickens) feeds my kids fresh tomatoes and blueberries straight off of her garden’s vines.   We have impromptu playmates with blow up pools in the yards and snack-time with 7+ kids.  We watched fourth of July fireworks from our front lawn as the GC neighbor lit fireworks in the street.  The kids make and sell lemonade with one another.  We get invited to last-minute birthday parties and dinner parties – unlike the “super planned in advance” events that I am used to.   The neighbors around here look out for each other and it is soooooo relaxed over here.

Just this past weekend, “Q” was home with his folks at a grown up dinner party without any friends.  So he came over to our house to play and also watch a Frosty the Snowman movie.   Today, Big Bro only wanted to play with Q.   But the rest of the kids wanted to go to the Wildlife Museum in town.   So I dropped off Big Bro at Q’s house for 2 hours while the rest of us went to the museum.   My CPA neighbor had to do some tax returns so “Q” was back over with the kids — who love playing with him — doing Legos and playing outside.

I really like the feel of this; the kids come and go.   I watch them as they walk down the street holding hands to a neighbor’s house.   It feels good for me to see them want to belong to this community… and they are flourishing here.   And the events and interactions just happen so naturally.  No planning.  It just unfolds.   And I love how everything is just unfolding for me here.  This is just the beginning.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

August 3: My summer day as a SAHM

Amazing day.   Amazing.  Filled with kids’ laughter, my chores, kid interaction, and yes some fighting and challenges along the way.

I actually had an outing in mind, but decided not to do that since I still did not get a proper answer from Big Bro about the haircut.   [Note:  I found hair pieces under his desk in his makeshift “trashcan” so it really is incredible.  Either he DID cut Red’s hair, or someone else did and he just threw the pieces away.   I don’t know what really happened.  Still.]

So I didn’t want to treat them to a “trip” that I had planned.  We stayed at home.   So what happened during the day?

  • Woke up to Red, Twin Crazy, Twin Husky in my room.   Twin Husky now visually can recognize the numbers and he said that it was time for me to get up since there was an “8”.  He was correct.  8:03.  Time for me to get up.
  • I made them a pancake breakfast
  • Afterwards kids had pillow play in the living room.   Kids covering bodies with pillows.  Hide and seek.  Playfulness.
  • We got dressed; I did manicures and cut nails on the front porch
  • I did TONS of laundry.   With sheets and blankets and such I think about 6 loads in total.  The kids, in turns, helped to either change loads or help sort.
  • Girls played Legos together
  • We all had office time together.  I did a bit of work, rearranging meetings and setting meetings up for next week.   Kids were drawing.  Red was practicing her letters.   I played “African Playground” kids music and started dancing.  Twin Crazy danced with me and cackled she was having so much fun.
  • Snacktime:  Yogurt bar.   I had 3 different kinds of yogurts for the kids to pick from.  I had 6 bananas at the beginning of the event and zero bananas at the end.  I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH THESE KIDS EAT
  • We did some gardening; Twin Husky helped me to water our fruit trees and plants
  • We spent time outside but I’m not sure doing what.  I think we picked weeds and fed the chickens several times
  • Lunch:  build-your-own burrito bar.   The kids ate well.  Twin Crazy ate I think an entire can of black beans by herself.   My stomach hurt just watching her go.
  • Twin naptime.  They actually had a great nap today.   A proper nap.  During their nap Red and Big Bro did an outdoor finger painting project.
  • I vacuumed the entire house, and the couch.  My days with this vacuum may be limited so I wanted to make good use of it.   All cobwebs are now gone.  The house just breathes better.  Or maybe its my imagination.
  • During the couch vacuum kids of course had more cushion/pillow play.
  • Snacktime:  smoothies.  We had frozen bananas, fresh strawberries, left over peach slices from yesterday, and a handful of leftover carrots from lunch.   They loved it.
  • Kids had outside playtime – sidewalk chalk and bubbles; while I did some weeding and also cleaning up twig and branch debris from the yard.    I filled up a garbage bin.  I then also started to dis-assemble the long box of blinds that has been blocking the kitchen floor for weeks.  I guess putting up the blinds is my next project for the weekend.   During outside play time Big Bro had some issues with siblings so he was banished to his room for quiet time.  I brought him his Star Wars book that he loves and also suggested that he play with Legos.  That’s when he dumped them on the floor.  I demanded that he pick them up before coming outside to join us.  He stayed back there for quite awhile but then finally cleaned up, I think when he heard the commotion going on in the living room that he wanted to take part of….
  • Kids jumped on bubble wrap from said packaging of blinds.
  • Then it was time to go.   I packed them up and all seemed quite happy.  There was no whining about the drive and I told everyone that I had such a good time with them today.
  • After I dropped them off I headed over to a neighbor’s house and picked up some things she left for me
  • Once at home, I sat on the couch with the directions for the blinds and totally fell asleep.
  • Now I’m here, wrapping up the day and getting ready for bed.

I loved today.  For so many reasons.   It was a carefree day with just me and the kids.  We sortof just carried the day away.  No real plans except for feedings and nap time.  But everything in-between was just unplanned.  And the kids were kind of doing their own thing while I was also doing my own thing but then our worlds would intertwine throughout the day.   It was a day where I heard a lot of laughter.  And at times I just stood there, listening, and laughing to myself.  The kids really enjoyed this time today with each other.  They were all playing with each other, and even Twin Husky was largely accepted in the day’s play.

I feel like I had really good one-on-one time with each child at some point during the day.   I was able to connect with each one separately – either dancing, or talking about my owie (I got a bad finger cut today), or talking about the mysterious haircut…. I gave lots of hugs and kisses and look in your eyes smiles today.

I didn’t have a care in the world.   I was feeling like a mom with my kids and we were enjoying a summer day without interruption.   The only thing missing I suppose was a home cooked dinner.   But I can’t complain about that.

I feel fortunate for having this day with them.   And feel really full inside.

Have a great weekend everybody!

– Mama K

August 2: Haircuts and sibling solidarity

Today was a full, great day… we did A LOT and also had some mishaps along the way.   My daughter looks trendier than I (not really that hard to do) because of this awesome haircut that one of her siblings gave her… but she keeps changing her story to protect their identity.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up to Twin Crazy, and then Red, and then Twin Husky… he is so sweet.  He climbs in smiling and cuddling and quiet.
  • Red wanted to “do something with me”.  Your kidding me.  I haven’t even been out of bed and my bladder is ready to burst and my breath stinks.  Plus I’m half asleep.  I suggested drawing/coloring something together and that worked.  She wanted a princess, prince, and castle.   She helped me draw it and then colored some of it in.
  • The kids talked me into making Thursdays “chocolate day” at mommy’s house.   I suggested Sundays, but Big Bro was violently against that since he likes the pancake routine on Sundays.  I suggested Friday, and he said that movie night is Friday night and that Thursday has nothing special.  This little guy should be a lawyer when he grows up.  The art of negotiation.  He can argue anything with sound logic.  Very persuasive.  So I broke out the Nutella and the kids went nuts.
  • I was getting the kids ready and in between one of the children changes Twin Crazy decided to give herself a haircut.   No, this is NOT the haircut that I referred to in the title of this post… it was just a few strands but still.  I couldn’t believe it.  So I took the kid scissors out of the office since the little ones “do not know how to properly use them yet”
  • The ride to their daycare was fine.  We talked about some funny things but I can’t remember what.   We talked about a food shopping list, and also played a spelling game.
  • On the way in we drove by a field that used to have wild rabbits but now is infested with moles.  They are so cute (when they are not in YOUR yard).   We saw so many… standing up, running, scurrying, jumping into the ground.  I stopped for a bit, and also drove very slowly down the side street so we could look at them.
  • Big Bro did not want to be dropped off with the siblings around.  So I left them in the front office of the daycare center so Big Bro could have his privacy.
  • Red’s drop off was great.  She knew I was going to pick her up early and was all smiles.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky drank some water and Twin Crazy went to the potty.  And then we hit the road for our errands.
  • I had a work conference call so got to a playground just in time for me to take that call.  The kids were great – playing on the play structure, little tiny merry-go-round, playing in the sand.  I had a great call.
  • Afterwards we went food shopping.  They were in a “car cart” and they had a blast.  We did our shopping quickly.
  • We picked up the older siblings, got gas, and then headed home.  I had another conference call while on the road – this was a big “sell” meeting for a new member to the “established” forum that I manage.  This was a BIG win for me.   It was awesome.  I felt great.    Here I have four kids in a car (the majority of them sleeping) and am able to also land a deal.   On my day off.   And headed home to play with the kids.   It was great.



The Rest of the Day:

  •  Big Bro, Red and I went “hunting” for several spiders in the house.  I have to remember to close the screen door and front door in this place.   We have lots of cobwebs in here and I’m not a fan of bugs in general.  The kids examined the spider in the “bug vacuum” which was cute.
  • It was hot outside.  WATER PLAY!
  • That is when I noticed that there was a lock of red hair floating in the pool.  And it had a curl in it.   So I asked about this hair.  And I looked at Red’s head.  And couldn’t believe what I saw.  The back of her head is cut really short, but the sides are long and curly.  It almost looks cute, like it’s supposed to be like that…. but still… how did it get this way????   She kept changing her story.  Big Bro…. Twin Crazy… .then everything always gets blamed on Twin Husky.   I have no idea what to believe but I do not believe her.  And she is protecting her sibling.  Most likely an OLDER sibling.   Most likely the sibling who could get to scissors on his own since everything was taken away earlier in the day.  I asked where the missing hair was.  She said in the backyard.  Yes, she was right.  Various locks of red curls.   In my dead grass.  I was pissed, to say the least.
  • This put a damper on my mood.   I kept the older kids inside and let the younger ones play outside.   The older kids said they wished they were at daddy’s.  I wished they were too at that very moment.
  • We ate an amazing dinner and they all ate like champs.   I love how they know to expect vegetables and tonight we had sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and fresh broccoli.  Along with chicken and rice.    Lots of fruit for dessert.  My belly is still full.
  • After dinner I boycotted Big Bro’s request for a movie.  We went outside, I picked some weeds while talking to my mom, there were several kid breakdowns over shoes.
  • Big Bro and Red broke out the sidewalk chalk and that gave them all something to do while I cleaned up from dinner and also swept the outside.   It felt sooooooooo good to be doing that.  Sweeping in the evening after dinner while the kids were right there with me playing on their own, together.   I loved it.   I fed my compost bin and commented on the chalk “dust” that they were busy making.
  • Bedtime was fine.
  • After the kids went to bed I had some more work to do, following up and sending information to the folks I had on the calls today.

My day was really busy and extremely diverse.   Hunting for moles and spiders — two different haircuts — playground — shopping — driving and working and making money for the company — being tricked by the kids and witnessing fierce protection between them — and enjoying a suburban summer evening with the kids and the crickets.

I’m feeling really good now.   I loved today.   And the crickets are singing loud right now and I feel so happy to hear their song.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

August 1: Getting a boost from the kids

Let me tell you I woke up with a terrible hangover this morning.   I did not have the kids last night and met up with a long-time friend and laughed and cried the night away.   Anyway, I was not in good shape this morning but thankfully became energized in the afternoon as I picked up the kids.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Woke up late to the sound of a garbage truck.  Shit!   I did’t have the cans out.  I ran outside and down the driveway in my pajamas lugging garbage bins.
  • Took Advil.  Drank lots of water.  Went back to bed.
  • Woke up again 15 minutes before a conference call.   I had several calls this morning with potential speakers for the meeting I am planning in September.  All three calls went well.  The agenda is almost completely set.
  • I set up some meetings for next week.
  • I took a break between calls to go outside in the sun and water my garden.   And drink water myself.   I forced myself to eat something and felt a bit better.
  • I took a short nap.

The Rest of the Day:

  • I jumped out of bed at 2 PM and felt invigorated.   I did the dishes.  I did some laundry.  I packed up some snacks.  I went to pick up the kids!
  • I picked up Big Bro and Red at daycare and it felt so good to talk to them and also look into their eyes and talk to them.
  • We picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky and the daycare provider handed out balloons to them.  I started to blow them up and as I blew them up I bonked each kid in the nose with the balloon.  They were cracking up and totally anticipating the next balloon, the next bonk in the nose.  This took awhile with four balloons.
  • We then looked at the workers outside with the blue wheel barrel.  Twin Husky said we have one at my house that is red and I agreed.   He is so talkative now.  I love it.
  • Twin Crazy apparently bit Twin Husky on the face today.  I’m not sure exactly what happened.   They are totally bored there and they fight like a married couple.  I can’t wait to see them in Red’s daycare program.
  • On the ride home I told everyone that I missed them.  Twin Husky replies “I miss du too Mommy.”  My heart melts and I reached back to grab his foot.  He smiles at me.
  • At home the neighbors came over – really nice kids.  We all went over to their house since they have two new kittens.  So the kids were having a great time watching the kittens pounce and were very gentle with them.
  • I cooked some dinner and Big Bro immediately asked what kind of vegetable were we having.  The new regimen of “lots of fruits and vegetables” is going over very well with these kids.   We ate our entire dinner and then had papaya for dessert.
  • We went outside to play.  I started to plant some remaining plants outside.  Twin Husky was helping me with the mulch.  The kids were playing with balls.  And scissors.   I went to water a new plant that I planted several nights ago and found that it was given a good “cut” by Twin Crazy.   I was not that happy about that.  So the kids know now NOT to cut the plants, only the grass or the weeds.
  • Big Bro asked me to chase them and tickle them.  So I did.  Big Bro asked me not to tickle him so hard that he farts.  I agreed.  Red was laughing so hard during a tickle that she almost threw up.  That got her smiling and running for me – glad she can bounce back so quickly.
  • The boys were playing with drip hoses gone awry.  I need to figure out how to get the spouts on the end to stay on.  Maybe some special tape.
  • I picked weeds and then we fed the chickens.
  • Twin Husky helped me gather the balls when it was time to go in, and also helped me bring up the garbage cans from the street.  I thanked him and told him he had strong muscles.  He commented that the garbage bins were very heavy.  I agreed.
  • We quickly got ready for bed.  I read 3 books I think.   They took awhile to go to sleep and were wired up and playing with each other.



I’m happy that they are here with me.  I feel so tired now and looking back am actually surprised at how much we did after dinner.   I feel reasonably good with what I did for work today.  We are way ahead of the game in terms of scheduling and setting up speakers.   I may actually need to slow down a bit at work or else I will run out of things to do.   🙂

Feeling good, feeling much better than this morning, and ready to go to bed.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

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