Gig tip: Remember

I’ve been dreading this day; it honestly feels like the tragedy has just happened each time this day rolls around.    And it makes me feel farther away from my family and friends; here on the West Coast I’ve felt that attitudes and feelings are not as raw as they are on the East coast.  This is just my feeling, I know a large generalization.

I left this morning feeling subdued.  I did not put the radio on.   And then I passed by an overpass, literally 1/4 mile away from my house.  I pass this overpass everyday, several times a day.  And there was a parked van, and a man walking along the overpass with a flag, and the overpass completely decorated with flags.    And cars underneath honking.  And honking.  And honking.  Let me tell you, people do not normally blow their car horns in California.    But today they did as they went under those flags.

We will never forget, even out here on the West Coast.   But I miss everyone back East, more so today than ever.

I guess what I want to say is there are tragedies in this world.   The shuttle explosion, the shooting of JFK, the shooting of MLK, the war, 9/11.   But the 9/11 tragedy feels so different.   It is the blending of tragedy and workplace on such a large scale.   It is something that somehow we can personally relate to… we each go to an office each day.  We each start off our day with our own simple routines.   It almost feels like we can put ourselves in that position – if we try to use our imagination.  I do not know what it was like.   But I can imagine.  And it touched normal, American families.   This we can relate to.   Maybe this is why it hurts so much when we think back.   And scares us so much when we look forward.  For us, for our children.

And when we go to work each day, we need to be aware that our co-workers can be suffering with their own tragedies in silence.   So on this day, Remember.  And be sensitive.  And remember to be sensitive going forward to those around you who may be suffering in their own way.

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: Funding the Tooth Fairy for 80 teeth?!!?!?!?

About this time last year, I wrote about how Big Bro was on the verge of losing his first tooth and I wanted to understand what the going rate was for teeth for the Tooth Fairy.   See my original post.   

If you have been following this blog, you know I have four children.  That’s 80 teeth in total.  And if you’ve been following this blog recently, you are aware that Big Bro had his first adult tooth growing right behind his baby tooth —

Which led us to the Dentist, some laughing gas, hoses attached to his face, the other kids being swept away to a “play area” in the dentist office so they would not be scared about Big Bro, numbing swabs, several injections, a mallot, other small knife-looking instruments, what looked like plyers, and a very nervous mommy.     X-rays showed that his other adult tooth right next door was growing in the same way.   He was fearless.  He stayed still.  He was so brave.  I was shocked.  So, TWO extractions later, Big Bro’s mouth looked like this (self portrait):

So, the Tooth Fairy came to my house for the first time.  And, I was limited to what was in my wallet at the time.  I had normally envisioned brand-new silver dollars for each tooth for each kid… alas, those dreams swept away due to me not being prepared.    He received a $5 bill for the first tooth and a $1 bill for the second tooth.    All in all, 4 kids and less than $100 seems reasonable.    But that obviously does not include my stress level nor the cost of the Dentist visit, the majority out-of-pocket.  I guess that’s a subject for another post at another time.   🙂

I’d like to get your thoughts on what the Tooth Fairy is doing in your homes!    Take the poll!

Thanks for listening ladies and being there for this HUGE milestone for our family!

– Mama K

Staying Sane: CHEAP creative arts

This past week I was thrilled/astonished/surprised/amazed to find a blow out sale happening at the daycare center where we take Red and now Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.  They are completely renovating the space, and they are going “room by room”, ridding themselves of old, battered toys by selling them at HUGE discounts to the parents.

I couldn’t stop myself all of this week.  If I would have been faster and earlier, I would have wound up with so much more… but alas…

Anyway, I’ve always been a big fan of creative arts activities for the kids.   I’ve done this ever since Big Bro was a baby.   There comes a point where kids just get bored and cranky and they need something to do.   The kids would walk around saying “activity”, “activity”, and I knew I had to grab something to occupy them for 30 minutes or so.  I’ve had bins and bins of all kinds of things for kids – mostly generated from ideas I’ve stolen from daycare centers.

Some ideas:

  • playdough, or even make playdough with the kids to save money and have a different kind of fun
  • stickers (I grab these whenever I see them on sale.  I even save return labels given to you from charitable organizations)
  • water color, finger paint, sponge paints
  • scissor fun, cutting, cutting out shapes or pictures in old magazines
  • planting seeds
  • puzzles
  • blocks
  • stamp sets
  • tattoos
  • glue sticks, glitter, confetti
  • painting t-shirts with fabric paints

But now I also have deep discount toys (e.g., $2 a bin!!!) to add to!!!!  This week I purchased:

  • bingo with “sight words” ($2)
  • pattern wooden puzzle — all of the shapes are the same and fit together, but the designs are different ($2)
  • Lego-like set ($2)
  • plastic shape sticky velcro thingie set ($2)
  • Plastic connector thingies to build ($2)
  • wooden jenga-looking like thingies ($2)
  • 1 felt board ($2).  I’m planning on using this as a big activity for the kids.   Cutting out shapes and objects from colored felt and letting them use their imaginations with the shapes and designs on the felt board

And there will be much more over the next several weeks….  🙂    Yes, the stuff is battered.  Yes, some of the pieces look like they have been chewed on or are missing parts.   But they are new to these kids.   And they are good toys to help them learn how to put things together, create something from nothing, work together, and yes…. negotiate with each other for the right pieces.
I guess the point is that these kinds of things are great for kids and parents alike.  You can sit down with your child and play, or take a break and watch them play with each other, or watch them parallel play.   It’s all good.   I spent time doing a bit of all three this weekend.

  • When the kids arrived for their visit last night, I had some of these new activities set out for them and away they went… immersed.   I played with Big Bro with “sight word” bingo while Twin Crazy and Twin Husky built things and played with puzzles.

  • This morning all of the kids were fully entertained by themselves.  They were building “roads” with the pattern puzzle and cars with the blocks and using other toy cars.   Big Bro was directing the play, of course.  But they were all playing together and there were lots of sounds of pretend cars zooming around the house.  And I got to sleep in a bit and hear them play from outside of my room.

  • And this afternoon, I do not kid you, I had the neighborhood kids over and I’m not kidding, but including mine there were 10 kids here.  All playing EXTREMELY well and using their imaginations and playing together.  And the little ones were learning from the big ones.   And as the kids played I cleaned up the kitchen and did laundry, just watching and laughing at their fun.

It was actually relaxing.  Yes, relaxing.  10 kids.   Believe it or not.   AND CHEAP.

So I guess the recommendations are to 1) buy in bulk when you see things on sale; 2) keep stuff stored away for those times when you need to pull out something new to entertain the kids, either on their own or with you; 3) take advantage of hand-me-downs — a different toy is a new toy to your child, whether it is opened from a new box or taken out of a recycled bag; and 4) take advantage of the daycare blow out renovation sales, when you are lucky enough to stumble upon them….  🙂

Where do you ladies find good deals on creative stuff for the kids to do?  

Have a great weekend everyone.

– Mama K

September 7: Boogies, bottles, and boats

Fridays are fun.  I get to be a stay at home mom.  But this morning was absolutely RIDICULOUS.   I mean, seriously, seriously ridiculous.   I am getting sick and I slept through my alarm.   All hell broke loose this AM as I was trying to get four kids out of the house and drive on two highways to get Big Bro to school on time….  the rest of the day made up for it.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Woke up at 6:55 AM to Red, Twin Crazy, and Cocoa.  Realized what time it was.  Sprang out of bed like a bat out of hell.
  • There were no clothes set out the night before… and loads of laundry that still needed to be organized, dried.  I grabbed clean clothes from the dryer onto the floor so I could put the wet stuff in – otherwise Big Bro would have a problem with shorts.
  • I tried to make myself coffee to get through this.
  • Twin Crazy was hungry.  There was no way I could put her off.  I try to do breakfast in the car but only when we leave at 7 AM.   Oh shit.  I had to make breakfast now too for everyone or else there would be meltdowns.  I made 3 oatmeals pronto.
  • Big Bro came out quietly, fingering two bills (a $5, a $1).  The tooth fairy came last night, for the first time ever.  I tried to make a REALLY big deal about this but it was more rushed than I would have liked.  Big Bro was silent but smiling.
  • Twin Crazy was having issues with her nose.  Sneezing and snot all over the place.
  • Red was having breakdowns over pants, …. or then over socks…. , but then she figured it out and was OK when I checked on her.
  • I was running around trying to get kids clothes together.  Never, never, never will I ever have them go to sleep the night before without picking out their clothes.  Ever.  I promise myself now.  EVER.
  • Big Bro was hungry and wanting to eat; he requested bread and butter.  I softened some butter for him in the microwave and asked him to spread it himself.  He did great.
  • Then the kids said they wanted toast.  F!!!    I threw in some bread in the toaster to take in the car.
  • Twin Husky is throwing a fit because he’s trying to get socks on by himself and is getting stuck.  I help him through it.
  • Oh shit.  I have to do Big Bro’s lunch.  F!!!   You know this again is something that could be done the night before damn it.  I cursed myself.  Soft foods for his teeth.  OK.  Leftover pasta, yogurt.   He also packed up two slices of bread and butter.   This is good.  He’s helping to pack his lunch.  Awesome.
  • Twin Crazy sneezes again all over the place.
  • I finally got my coffee together.   Kids with shoes on.   I remembered to pee.   Twin Crazy is screaming for her blanket.    Twin Husky is having problems putting two Tigers into his little backpack.  OK, out the door.
  • Twin Husky falls down a step because his shoes are on backwards.   He is screaming outside but OK after 1 minute.  He told me that he was OK but it was “scary”
  • Once we got into the car it was great.  I dished out the toast.  We talked about the colors of cars and trucks.  It was actually relaxing.  I actually enjoy this time with the kids.   We are able to talk about things, they joke with each other and me, and it honestly is fun.  I keep the radio off so we can talk and hang out.
  • Drop off for Big Bro happened right on time.  He left the van like a big kid and made his way to his class.  I told him again how proud I was of him and his behavior at the Dentist yesterday.  He had his two teeth taped up in a tooth-shaped container with him.
  • Drop off for Red was great.  We were laughing with her friends about the rules: 1) Learn; 2) Laugh; 3) Exercise your body.    Her teacher said she is doing great with her letters, doing Upper and lower case letters and writing extremely well.  My god do I love this kid.
  • On the way out I again bought some things at the “everything must go” sale… some Jenga and wood blocks, and a bingo game with little words in the grid.   Big Bro and I can play this together.
  • The ride home was uneventful.  We stopped for gas, then I stopped at Walgreens to get a nose plunger for Twin Crazy.  Twin Husky looked a bit out of it.

Highlights of the Afternoon:

  • Twin Husky was in a foul mood.   I decided to feed them.  That worked a bit, but not really.   I looked at his face… his eyes were bloodshoot.  He said he wanted to take his Tigers into his room and go to sleep.   He put himself to bed after I gave him some Motrin.  Something is going around with these kids and I’m not sure if he’s getting something.  I thought it was so cute how he put himself to bed.  He slept for 3 hours.
  • In the meantime, me and Twin Crazy had some time to ourselves.  I plunged out her nose and she gladly let me.  It didn’t really work.  I taught her how to blow her nose.  We had fun with that.  That worked a little.  I gave her a haircut and cut her hair into bangs and angled the sides so she could see better with her “long hair”.  I watched her play castle and use her imagination with the dolls.  I took movies of her doing this.
  • We napped.   I felt like crap too.
  • We all got up, snacked, and I packed for the rest of the day.   The kids were excited and looking great.   I packed some bags, but this time much more leisurely.
  • The ride was completely traffic-free.  We talked about the water in the distance.  We got to Big Bro’s in plenty of time.   We picked up Red no problems.    We were off on our afternoon adventure – I had three hours with them before transition time to co-parent’s.
  • We were missing two waterbottles so we went to CVS.  The list was:  2 waterbottles, and a bottle of water.  The kids know about my lists.   That means we cannot get ANYTHING else.   They stopped me several times in the store from buying other items (it backfires on me but I can live with that).
  • We headed to a playground that I’ve never been to with the kids.  They had a blast.  Twins were sliding down slides and catching each other.  Red was running around.  Big Bro was talking on the phone (Nana, co-parent I think), taking pictures, and taking movies.   We snacked.  I enjoyed relaxing, eating fruit, watching the kids, and running after them.  It was a great afternoon.
  • Then the real adventure:  “Ferry-ride to nowhere”.  I took them on the commuter ferry and we headed to the city.  Stayed on the boat and then headed back.   A one-hour trip in total.  Kids were great.   We talked about boats, the bridge, the pelicans and how their beaks are big enough for an entire fish to go in there, the sound of the boat, the feeling of the waves… the kids ate graham crackers and drank from their water bottles.  They shared water and shared seats.   Big Bro and Twin Crazy were the best behaved so I gave them the tickets to give to the operators.  This made Red mad at me.
  • Drop off to co-parent’s was great.  We had a lot of information to exchange – dentists, teeth, who is sick and with what and at what time their last medicine was given, Red’s letters, Twin Crazy’s haircut, how great Big Bro was at the Dentist, the tooth fairy…
  • I made sure that Red was not mad at me anymore.  I talked with her at my car.  I said it was OK for her to feel mad at me.  I said I knew she still loved me.  But she needs to talk about it… get it out of her body.  I asked her a question, “Are you mad at me because I did not give you a ticket?”   and then I nodded her head for her up and down to say “Yes”.   She started to laugh.   She decided to get out of the car and asked for a piggy-back ride.   She was all smiles.   I told her how important it is for her to talk about her feelings and I asked her if we were “OK” with each other now.   She was all smiles.   Whew.   Last week I had a bad day with the kids because they were not listening to me and I swear those next few days were brutal for me.   I promised myself never to leave any of the kids with either me being mad at them or them being mad at me.   Never.  Ever.

I’m feeling like shit physically – sore throat and headache.  But I honestly am so full inside – little by little I am making my way at having one-on-one time with each of the kids; maybe not EVERY day, but at least weekly I am able to carve out good, quality time with each of them.   I’ve had them since Tuesday night and this morning was a nightmare.  So I’m ready for a night to myself.   I will see them tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM.   I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep, hopefully getting rid of whatever germ is inside of me, and seeing them tomorrow afternoon.

Have a great weekend all –

– Mama K

September 6: Goodbye to TWO teeth – and no tears!

This was a busy Thursday; I was off yet “working”, very tired from a poor night’s sleep with Twin Crazy, feeling like a stomach bug was coming on, and getting Big Bro to the dentist… I had no idea what was in store for the day when I woke up this morning…

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • We were kind of “off” this AM.  I did not sleep well last night since Twin Crazy was sick with a bad head cold.
  • Chocolate Thursday – that made things easier.
  • Cocoa was enjoying her salad breakfast with us.  Twin Husky got a kick out of her this AM.
  • We left a bit late, but the traffic was not bad.  We talked about the colors of the cars – how some were unusual for cars (e.g., bright green, bright blue PG&E trucks, etc.).   We also played games about who can see the cars or not… it passed the time and we arrived in no time.
  • I made it in time to drop Big Bro off at school in the driveway drop off area.  He would walk to his class from there.  A friend of his walked by and told me “You’re not married anymore”.  Thanks for reminding me kid…. He said this in front of Big Bro, who laughed a bit… I now realize that this laugh of his could be a nervous laugh reaction; I’ve been upset at him in the past for laughing at me when I discipline him.  This may just be how he handles situations like that?
  • Drop off for Red was a bit tough; she was clingy and complaining about her shoes.  As soon as I got her set up with her friends she was fine.  They were playing with tiny “whiteboards” where I wrote out the 3 things that they each need to do today at school (my normal mantra to the kids):  1)  Laugh; 2) Learn; and 3) Exercise your body.   That seemed to work with everyone and Red was much happier as we left.
  • The school will be renovating and is therefore selling a lot of stuff at rock bottom prices.  I picked up 3 sets of educational games, one felt board, and one pretend vacuum cleaner (that Twin Crazy and Twin Husky have both loved through the years of drop offs/pick ups), all for $11.   I was pumped.  There will be more to come as they continue with the room renovations.

Highlights of the Day:

  • On the drive back home I had a conference call which ended with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky crying.   Wonderful.
  • We snacked, which made things better.
  • I cleaned up the kitchen while the kids played with the vacuum cleaner and new toys from daycare.
  • Then it was random playtime:   pretend play with horse stables and castles, coloring, watering the garden, getting picked up and tickled, trying to use the potty (for chocolate chips), watering the front yard plants and fixing the pressure of the drip system while the kids helped to water the plants, finding and chasing a baby lizard…
  • The drive back was uneventful as the kids were napping.
  • I arrived at Big Bro’s school 1 hour early – the end times are staggered at the beginning of the year and I messed up.  At least I was early and not too late.
  • We picked up Red.  Looked at more stuff on sale and picked up a wooden puzzle and a 2 gallon drink thermos.
  • Big Bro was happy to see me during pick up.   I told him we were off to the dentist – his first adult tooth is growing in BEHIND his baby tooth…

Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • The dentist was fine for 3 of the kids, who got to go to a play room while me and Big Bro remained in the exam room while he had two baby teeth extracted.   OMG I needed the laughing gas more than he did.  He was so brave.  2 baby teeth pulled from his mouth, and not one tear shed.  He handled it like such a man.  He did not flinch, did not whine, did not complain.  He laid there – as still as a rock – listening and following instructions the whole time.  I was / AM so proud of the little big guy.   He is sleeping right now with his teeth in a container under his pillow.  I MUST not forget to be the tooth fairy tonight.  This will be my first time in this role.
  • By the time we got back to the house I was exhausted and Big Bro was also wiped out.   I gave him Motrin.  We all rested a bit and played with the new stuff from daycare.
  • I cooked pasta and pudding for dinner.  Soft stuff that Big Bro’s mouth can tolerate.
  • Red was sooooooooooo helpful again tonight.  Caring for Cocoa, helping set the table, asking me “what else can I help you with?”.  OMG how cute.  She is so sweet how she wants to get involved.  I love her more and more each day.  I don’t know how this is possible but it is.
  • Cocoa was very tolerant of us tonight.  She was out of her cage for most of the evening – ate a lot of salad, got handled a lot by Red, went on a stroller ride….  so cute
  • Kids were playing with daycare toys.  Love it.   I loved it when they were all there playing side by side.  No teasing, no crying, no hitting, little talking even.   I think that was my highlight of the day.
  • Twin Husky is still trying to go potty every 5 seconds – he does this for chocolate chips.
  • Book/bedtime was rougher since Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were over-tired; plus poor Big Bro was out of it; he was still in an amazing mood and there was still no whining coming from him.  He was a dream child tonight.

I’m tired but happy.  I’m hoping I can get some sleep tonight.  Sleep makes a big difference when you are caring for four kids.   I can’t handle their yelling at each other with little sleep.  And they know that of me.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K (aka “first time tooth fairy”)

Recipe: Sloppy Joes

I’ve been delinquent in my postings of fast, kid and mom-friendly recipes for the working mother.  SORRY!!!

This recipe was submitted by Mama J from Islip, NY.  Sounds downright delicious!   Sorry for getting to this so late Mama J… I’m getting myself back on track.  🙂

Name of Recipe Sloppy Joes
Background description of recipe, any comments This recipe is from the Every Day food “Great food Fast” cookbook. Very easy and yummy. recipe serves 4. I double the recipe and freeze the leftovers. You can also use any leftovers over pasta or a baked potato. I like to serve with pickles and chips or sweet potato fries. Enjoy.
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce,
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
Directions In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes.Add the ground beef to the skillet and break up with a spoon. Cook until meat no longer pink, 6-8 minutes.

Stir the tomato sauce, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce into the beef mixture in the skillet. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over buns.

Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 25 minutes

September 5: Playdough, pizza, and puzzles

Amazing day.  I worked remotely, half day, and had the morning with the kids and the long afternoon and evening with the kids.   We played and worked in the afternoon, ate early, went to bed early.  The kids need their sleep and we needed the time together.  So, so happy.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I got up early and got things ready; Big Bro’s lunch, all shoes/jackets, vitamin piles, toast for breakfast.  
  • One by one they got up.  Twin Crazy was in a bad mood and clingy.  She wanted oatmeal.  I gave in since she was the first up.  Then Twin Husky came out, wanting me to hold him.  He also asked for oatmeal.  OK.  So it goes.  Then out came Red.  Again, oatmeal.  So there I was making breakfast at home anyway.   That’s OK.  We still have time…
  • Big Bro was moving slowly.  He wanted to make sure that Cocoa had fresh salad for breakfast.   Seems reasonable.
  • All were dressed and then we were out; I packed Big Bro toast and butter for breakfast (for the car), along with a banana, and all kids then wanted toast.   NOTE TO SELF:   NEVER make a take-away breakfast for one kid.  ALWAYS make enough of the take-away breakfast for several kids.   Big Bro proceeded to “tease” the rest of the kids with “mmmm.    toast and butter.”    Me:  “stop that [Big Bro], you’re teasing.   Him:  “but what do you want me to do mommy, lie?”   Ugggh.
  • Traffic was not bad at all – it kept moving.  Despite our late start we had enough time to drop off Red/Twin Crazy/Twin Husky first, and then me with a solo drop off for Big Bro.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were excited about “school”.  There was playdough set out and Twin Crazy started jumping up and down – she almost knocked me over to get to the table with the playdough.  Both kids sat in their own seats for playdough play.  Twin Husky even had a blue tray, his favorite color.
  • Drop off for Red was sooooooooooooooooooooo easy.   Having her friends there makes it easier for her.
  • I parked the car in a nearby neighborhood and me and Big Bro walked to his school.  We laughed about how Twin Crazy and Twin Husky love their new school and the playdough.   We talked about how I enjoy walking him “solo” to his classroom.  We talked about his homework and how proud I was of him and how fast he can count and also how he writes sentences.   He talked about how he likes stepping on the crackly leaves.   I watched him as he walked along the leaves.   I gave his homework to his teacher and seemed more proud of it than he.   He told me to go once he got settled in the group of his class.
  • I walked to the car feeling really good.   I was ready to go the 5 minutes to Starbucks to work.   Close to the kids; and only for a couple of hours.



Highlights of My Working Day:

  • Starbucks.   Another big coffee.  Setting up my computer and phone.   Ready to go.
  • It was a slow start to be honest.  I was cold.
  • I had some conference calls; confirmed attendance for the more recent forum; followed up on invoice payments, arranged conference calls for selling new memberships.
  • I packed up around 1 PM and headed to the school.  
  • I took another conference call from the car at 1:30 but finished it up in time to get Big Bro.

Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I smiled and clapped my hands when I saw Big Bro.  He smiled back.  I feel like I will never forget that expression on his face.  He looks like he’s having fun.  He let me hug him and kiss him and hold his hand to the car.
  • On the way over to pick up the rest of the kids he told me how he has physical ed now that he’s in first grade. 
  • He was excited about picking up the siblings.  He gets a kick out of all of them being there.  He gets a kick out of Red being in his old classroom – how he knows the routine.  He wanted to get there in time to still see the kids sleeping… he wanted to see where Red’s mat was.
  • We picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky first since their classroom light was on.  Twin Husky came out first and ran into my arms and onto my lap, hugging me.  The other kids then started to cry for their mommies.   Twin Crazy was still going potty so she came out several minutes later.  Both running in my arms.  Both in my lap.  Slow hugs to both since they were still groggy.  Both sucking their thumbs.  One blanked, one borrowed stuffed animal.  Then we said goodbye to their new friends and said we would see them next week.   I will have them on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • Pick up for Red was fine; she was groggy and her hair all over the place. 
  • Kids had a good time at the water fountain.  The boys were happy to be reunited.
  • The ride home was fine; not much traffic.  I took a conference call with a Director to catch up on a number of things and then also had a call with my Admin (who is wonderful).   I will need to do some tidy-up work tonight… things that cannot linger to next week.
  • At home, we colored, took in the trash bins (Red was so proud), had a snack, and then got ready for dinner.  I also called for a dentist appointment for Big Bro since his first adult tooth is coming in behind his baby tooth.  A botched tooth fairy moment!!!   We never even got a wiggle!
  • Red was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO helpful… she started with the trash bins but then she went to caring for Cocoa (getting food, re-filling water), helping with Twin Crazy/Twin Husky, cleaning up her room, etc.  She couldn’t stop.  I had to hug her.  I missed her so much.
  • We had home-made pizza tonight; Red had peaches.
  • After dinner Big Bro relaxed; he is still not feeling well.   I need to make another doctor appointment for him.  He’s had this stomach thing now for a week.  Not normal.   The rest of us did puzzles.  I am fairly certain that this was the first time Twin Husky did a puzzle.  I had fun teaching him but he has little patience.  Twin Crazy was much more persistent.  Both were extremely proud of their progress.
  • Twin Husky was on a roll and then decided to go pee-pee in the potty about 5 times non-stop.   He is still talking non-stop about which family members have vaginas vs. penises (or peni?).  I broke out the chocolate chips for the kids.
  • PJs.  Then books for the boys.  Books for the girls.   Big Bro’s belly ache.  Twin Husky loves books about balls.   He told me that there is a basketball net at school and he played basketball.  He threw it into the net and the ball went down.   He showed me over and over again about the ball and the net.   He is such a guy.
  • Nightime was a bit long since the kids went down much earlier than normal – plus the chocolate chips did not help.  There was a lot of back scratching, belly aching, and talking about vaginas (the girls are already doing girl talk).   I just had to laugh and go to my room.


I just took a shower, and finished up some work.   The house is so quiet, with the exception of the crickets chirping outside.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow.  Chocolate Thursday.  I will have to take Big Bro and Red to school/daycare, but will have Twin Crazy and Twin Husky with me all day.  I will also have some conference calls that I scheduled during highway travel time, when the kids are quieter.  That seems to be working well.   It also helps me take advantage of the commute time and grab some extra hours that I need.

It was a great day of multi-tasking – having the kids all together, yet also having some one-on-one time with Big Bro and each of the other kids.   It was a full day and I feel like I used my time wisely.   I had fun with the children and honestly I am not worn out from today.  The 1/2 days actually make a big difference for me.   I was able to have a leisurely afternoon and evening with them.  Nothing rushed.   Time to “exist” with them versus running around like an idiot.   It makes a huge difference.  I feel it myself and I think the kids can see the difference.  Comparing last night to tonight is like two different families… we had time tonight to play, laugh, and be.    It was a great day.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

September 4: First days!

Today Twin Crazy and Twin Husky started “traditional” daycare, versus the “home” daycare that we’ve had them in since they were babies.   And it was Red’s first day in a new “classroom” at daycare – “Pre-K”.   I decided to drive down to co-parent’s neighborhood to see their first days in action…
Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up early and left the house at 7 AM, with my phone free of pictures and fully charged.
  • I got there way early – there was hardly any traffic.  So I went to co-parent’s at 7:45 AM.   Red was having problems with socks.   I offered to take her into school and meet the rest there.
  • Red and I waited for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky and I took lots of pictures of her.  For some reason I missed her like crazy yesterday.    I just kept thinking about the times she says “what can I do with you” and I’m always too stretched to really spend any time with her.   All I wanted to do yesterday is sit down and color with her.   I missed her so much; so this morning I grabbed extra hugs and kisses and tried to make her feel extra special.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky came in, with their little backpacks.  Sooooooooo cute.  They were really excited.  They checked out their cubbies, the sofa, the potties, a crayon activity (and talked to each other about the colors), the play-kitchen, the doll house….   Twin Husky carried his Tiger non-stop and even took off his shoes when he sat on the little couch.   They had no problems with our leaving.  They looked like they were already having a blast.
  • Red’s drop off was fine.  She was shy at first, but then warmed up when she saw some friends.   Her face was glowing and she jumped right into activities with her friends.
  • I missed the ferry, so I decided to work from Starbucks.   The commute was literally 5 minutes.


Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I set up at Starbucks, got another coffee.   I was actually very productive.   I had several conference calls and got closer to firming up the Agenda and attendees to the forum we are having later this month.
  • I followed up on old invoices
  • I started to confirm the Agenda for the other forum we will have in October.
  • I did some admin items such as timesheets


The Rest of the Day:

  • I called a quits at 4 PM and went clothes shopping at Kohl’s with $3o Kohl’s Cash.  I spent an incremental $2 on 2 dresses and a pair of “skorts”.  I’m psyched about the killer deal and will wear one of the dresses tomorrow.
  • I did some food shopping – again with coupons.  Safeway’s deals are great and they give you discounts on gas which I really appreciate these days.   But, I saw that they double charged me for bread and believe it or not but I actually spent the time to go back to get the $5 returned to me.   Again, watching every dollar.   Oh how my life has changed.
  • I had the kids tonight since co-parent is on a business trip.   So this Tuesday night with them was a gift.
  • Pick ups were EXCELLENT!   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky looked tired, but very very happy.  Again, Twin Husky was carrying around his Tiger.   They were eating snacks.  They seemed really happy – each with their own seat right across from each other.  I asked if they were set up next to each other for naps and the teachers confirmed yes.   There were no tears.  I am thrilled.  They had a great first day.
  • Red was excited at pick up too; she had a great day and I came back with lots of art.
  • Pick up for Big Bro was fine; he goes with a neighbor who is a life-saver to me.
  • On the way home we reconnected and caught up with each other.  We talked about the past few days and the birthday party they went to and Big Bro’s owie and the first days of school.  I talked about the guinea pig and how I bought her different greens and how big she’s getting.   It was a great ride home, but we hit traffic.   The kids were happy despite this.
  • I started dinner as soon as we got in; the kids were playing with Cocoa.  And drawing.  And cutting pictures out of magazines.
  • I did homework with Big Bro.  He read some words, counted to 100, and wrote a sentence about the drawing of his family.  His sentence was “I have a new pet.”  He spelled out all the words and the sentence by himself.  I can’t get over it.
  • We ate well except for Big Bro.  He still has stomach issues.   This has been going on way too long… almost one week.  I think I need to take him to a doctor.
  • After dinner Big Bro took it easy on the couch while the rest of us took out the garbage.  I usually don’t have them on these nights so this was fun with them.  They “helped” me carry the bins down to the street.
  • We all picked out the clothes for the next morning so we can get a jump on that without hesitation tomorrow.
  • Bedtime was great; they got changed without a problem.  Books were no problem.  Getting them to sleep was a minor problem – the girls wanted to talk.   They talked about what scares them.  Red is scared of alligators but I assured her that the zoo is very far away and there is absolutely NO WAY that the alligator is going to escape his tank and walk all the way over here.   Twin Crazy agreed that the alligator does have a big mouth and could eat us.   And bugs.   And that the bugs would be mad if the alligator ate the other bugs.   Big Bro was busy looking at Cocoa eating her new dandelion greens.  We sat there for awhile looking at her eat.  I asked him if he likes having a pet and not only did he say “Yes” right away, but he immediately said that he wants to have a dog too.   Twin Husky was excited about the day and kept saying that he is a big boy.

It was a great day; I was actually a working mom again which feels good but also extremely exhausting since I am out of practice.   We are going to have a VERY early morning tomorrow so I need to get some things done tonight.   I will work from Starbucks again tomorrow but for only 1/2 day; I’m looking forward to getting home with the kids at a more reasonable time tomorrow so we can eat earlier, spend more time together, and not be stuck in commuting traffic…  I want to talk to them more since their conversations either crack me up, surprise me from the intelligence, or both.

It was a GREAT day.  One that I will remember because of the “first days”.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: What does Labor Day mean to you?

I must confess.  I still get confused between Memorial Day and Labor Day.   I guess the “Ms” stick together, Memorial Day happens in May.   So today is Labor Day.  Hopefully this trick will stick for me going forward.

Historically, the holiday came about and was initiated by labor unions.  There is no real substantive underlying “movements” or monumental meaning for the holiday.  But in modern times it does signify, at least informally, the end of summer, parties, BBQs, being with family, taking it easy, shopping….

It seems like for working mothers there is a twist on words – laboring to bring our children into the world and also playing a role in the workforce.    It seems like this should be an extra-special day for us working mothers.  A day where we get to take a break from the juggling act and spend extra time with the family in a relaxed way.   A way for us to celebrate another year of working hard and surviving another year of the “grind”.   Yet also celebrating family, your kids… possibly the main reason you work so hard now to begin with.

Photo source:

For me… well what did I do?   I did not have the children today.   So I celebrated solo – not bad though.  I’m not complaining.   I woke up late.   I cleaned Cocoa’s cage.  I went food shopping.   I bought a patio set (taking advantage of 50% off end of summer clearance!!!!  I am psyched!).   I ate a lot of vegetables, but the smell of BBQ in the air made me think of cheeseburgers for most of the day.   I hacked down more dead raspberry bush vines to prepare for garbage pick up.   I am going to open up a Guinness and begin my “clean out my closet” project.    So, I think I had a pretty good variety of activity today – the only thing I missed was BBQ and the kids.    But I will see them tomorrow.

What does Labor Day mean to you?   How did you spend the Labor Day holiday?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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