November 28: Lovely rain


Today was a good day of rain with me working from home and then reuniting with the kids.

  • Woke up to the rain; looked outside at the yard and the trees and fell in love with this house again
  • Got ready for work which meant comfy clothes and slippers.   Working by the fireplace with Cocoa who kept me company while she ate and played all day.
  • Work was good.  Conference calls.  Client follow ups.   A good day.

  • Went to pick up Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky early because of a doctor appointment later that day.   Bad move.  All had interrupted naps which caused problems later.  BUT – the reunions were priceless.  I hugged Red for I think 5 minutes non-stop just outside of her classroom; Twin Husky woke up to see me and grabbed my nose and hugged me.  Twin Crazy couldn’t stop yelling “Mommy”, “Mommy”, “Mommy” even though I begged her to whisper since her other classmates were sleeping.
  • I took a conference call on the way, during, and after Big Bro’s pick up.   I love “mute”.
  • We went to the pediatrician for Big Bro’s wellness visit.  The kids played great in the waiting room.  Big Bro was awesome during the visit.  The doctor mentioned that he is doing really good at being dirty.   How embarrassing.
  • The kids got to pick from a trunk full of crap toys – these crap toys really caused me issues when we got home; kids were tired and cranky, and these crap toys I’m sure were made in China and self-destructed within 2 minutes of play.

  • When we got home Twin Husky helped me with the garbage bins (our thing together).   Red played with Cocoa.  Big Bro did 2 pages of math homework and then went out looking for friends.  No-one was home so he took a shower and then watched some TV as I made dinner.   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky by this point were acting crazy.  No naps kills us.
  • Dinner was fine; dessert was fruit
  • Afterwards I colored with Red, Big Bro played with Cocoa.  And the Twins were going nuts.
  • Booktime was fine; we read a book about divorce and in the story the kid looks up to the moon when he misses the other parent.  I said that’s what I do too…. in fact that’s what I did the night before.  The kids were intrigued by this.  I showed them the photograph that I took… a big, full moon with little clouds scattered everywhere that picked up the moonlight and actually looked like lace… I took a photo and showed it to them tonight.   I asked them that whenever they miss me at night they should look up to the moon because I am doing that too.  And whenever they miss me by day, they should look up to the sky because I am doing that too.

I wish it were that easy.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

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Random Thoughts: Give and Take


Another season of giving is here.  This time of year always strikes me as a bit comical.   So much focused energy on give, give, give that the spirit of giving loses its meaning.    This notion of giving and taking intrigued me today because I was thinking about something to write about.  I was thinking about how these actions are at some level taught – or at least the recognition of these actions are taught at some level.  I’ve long believed that some people are just natural Givers, and some are natural Takers.   But thinking about it more, of course there is a balance between the two.   We give and we take.   I was thinking about this and how I, as a “newer” mom, would like to teach these concepts to my own kids or at least influence how they learn about giving and taking.   What a great time of year to do this… but yet, this time of year is so focused, so concentrated, so frenzied…. The “Giver and Taker” lesson is one that is so much larger – one that spans years, if not a lifetime.  How one gives, how one takes, how these roles change given certain situations and relationships, over time as you grow through experience.

I’ve also been thinking of “give and take” a lot during the breakdown of my marriage and this entire past year of the divorce.   But that is a different discussion and don’t wish to focus on that today.

We teach our children how to be polite when they are in the roles of Takers — “please“, “thank-you“… it starts early and at a very young age.   I guess it is much easier to learn how to take than to give.  As infants, all they do is really take take take, right?   But then as these little beings age we also teach the virtues of sharing and friendship.   We teach the importance of communication – of talking and listening.    To me, happiness is seeing empathy from my kids and seeing the interactions they have with one another.   Seeing the give and take of communication, sharing, problem solving, and yes of course fighting with each other.   Someone may need help – the other sibling is there to offer help.   I guess it is this balance between give and take that I see in my children that really, really, really, intrigues me.   I will want to explore this further at some point….

So, back to my point.  I was originally going to post something that in retrospect seems so trite… I was going to write about and understand how other parents are teaching their kids the virtue of giving during the holiday season.  For example, going to soup kitchens, giving away favorite toys to those in need, shopping for Toys for Tots, etc.    But when I started to really THINK about give and take – and the complexity of roles, and how there is give and take all around you – and the importance of give and take over the course of a lifetime (and NOT just for one month of a year) – my original thought of a posting just seemed so ridiculous.

And then I was looking through the web for images for Give and Take and found an artist that I think is incredible.  Lorenzo Quinn.   Please visit Lorenzo Quinn’s website, particularly his Give and Take III series.    He is a sculptor and his work Give and Take III caught my eye.   It is beautiful.   It is human.    It softened me from my original standpoint of Givers and Takers.   I see that we are all givers and takers.   We are all at some point in a position where we NEED to take – where we need help.   There are lines in these hands.   There are years of living in these hands.   At some point, you become a Taker.   You need to be a Taker and accept the help of the Giver.   The hands are so close.   There is a connection between the two even though they are not physically connected.   This piece is just simply beautiful to me.   I am now a big fan of this artist.   And he did change the way I originally thought about Giving and Taking.   This has softened me and I am thankful for this influence.

“It is vital to find a balance in life. Nature has been trying to teach us that lesson since the beginning of time. All opposites meet in their extremes.

You cannot fully enjoy receiving if you have never given, because you will not recognize the gift you have received if you value only what is difficult to obtain.”

source:   Lorenzo Quinn website

So I think what I would like to do is actually just talk about this picture with the kids.  And talk about the giving and receiving – and how each of us does both of those things every day in our lives.   And give them examples in day to day life (e.g., “you tell me you are hungry, I give you a snack“; “your sister wants to play with your toy, you let her play with it“; “you see your brother needs help to push in his chair, and you push his chair in for him“, etc.).    And I think I will ask them that at this time of year, people enjoy giving things to others and also receiving what others want to give.   And I think that’s all I want to write about right now.    And yes, I probably will still do something like go shopping for Toys for Tots, or a kid polyeana or something, but honestly this concept of Give and Take is so compelling to me that I feel the need to explore further in my own thoughts and in my own relationships with others, and think about how I teach this to the kids.

What are your thoughts on this?   How do you teach your kids the deeper meanings of Give and Take, particularly during this time of year when it is overly-commercialized?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

Gig tips: Be proactive with your career and set goals


I saw this on twitter and thought it good to share. Have a great week ladies!!!

http://bit.ly/1128mXw

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Not-so-Small Blessings


Let’s be honest. Holidays are stressful times. I’ve made it through this one – my first as a divorce, sharing my kids. What had started as an unbelievably frustrating experience with co-parent, wound up as a week+ of adventure, re-connections, and more focused time with the individual kids. I am ending an amazing Thanksgiving holiday, newly divorced, and feeling the fullest I have in years.

Some background: I had planned a trip back east to take part in my brother’s wedding celebration the weekend before Thanksgiving. As the time got closer, me and co-parent had to ask for the help of a child mediator to help us sort through the holidays (ridiculous, I know). I wound up with this first Thanksgiving. But at this point, it was too late for any of my family to fly out. Despite this, I was convinced that I could still make this a fun Thanksgiving for the kids so I agreed to this arrangement.

As time drew near, it hit me. Take Big Bro and Red with me, and keep Twin Crazy and Twin Husky behind with co-parent. We worked out a schedule where I stayed with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky (two on one) the time immediately before and immediately after our trip – And me, Big Bro, and Red had a full week away two-on-one. So each parent had two-on-one time with pairs of kids during the 10-day time span.

It was amazing.

*****

These are the things that I LOVED about this trip:

  • Big Bro’s defiance and self-assertion removing the jeans that I packed for him. He only likes wearing shorts now (West Coast, I know). He wound up a week in Philly with shorts on freezing his little ass off.
  • Big Bro and Red’s amazing enthusiasm for the trip, and helping every step of the way. I told them that travel days are difficult and that we have to help each other out when we need to. Big Bro was defiant in wanting to pull our one piece of luggage, and Red carried the toy roller bag that she and Big Bro packed together.
  • WE ALL SLEPT ON THE RED-EYE PLANE! We somehow arranged ourselves to all be horizontal and sleeping on each other and actually getting sleep. I loved cuddling with my little kiddos this way and feeling so close to them.
  • I know this is bad for me to say, but yes, I enjoyed sharing a bed with both of these kids for the ENTIRE week. Somehow traveling makes it sort of OK, but I know a hard habit to break.
  • Running at my Aunt’s house in her backyard with each of the kids. I wanted to get their bodies moving after our nap at her house. I wanted some exercise. We had a great time playing tag, chasing after each other, me running against Big Bro while having Red on my back… I loved it and they were giggling like you wouldn’t believe.
  • Seeing my brother and extended family and welcoming his wife and son officially into our family. I am so happy for them. It was also wonderful to see so many of my extended family in one setting – I so rarely am able to do this. So at least two of my kids got the opportunity to see my aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends of family. It is unbelievable to me that the Twins are almost 3 and have yet to meet so many of my family…
  • Dancing with Red and Big Bro at the wedding celebration.
  • Seeing Red and Big Bro interact so well with everyone at the wedding celebration.
  • Connecting with so many that are now so far away from me.
  • Cheesesteaks and pizza. The way they were meant to be.
  • Being able to do work and have productive days while at my mom’s house. She was able to entertain the kids and I was able to be productive and actually work remotely on those days. In fact, I talked to two prospective clients and they have decided to join our forums… so this was extra big for me this past week.
  • Playing “War” with Big Bro and Red.
  • Walking with Big Bro and Red and Nana and her dog and collecting leaves along the way. The leaves were gorgeous. Bright reds. Bright yellows.
  • Running with the kids up and down hills in my mom’s neighborhood.
  • Playing chase and hide and seek with the kids in my mom’s neighborhood.
  • Doing homework and daywork (he missed two days of school for this trip) with Big Bro. I love spending time with him and these activities. He really enjoys the work and learning. I love being there with him and encouraging him to learn.
  • Working with Red on her letters; she wants desperately to mimic her brother with his schoolwork. We wrote out the names of her classmates and used those letters to create words. We drew out a number line and Big Bro taught her how to use it for simple arithmetic. She was hooked. She kept craving more and more and more equations to work on and she did SOOOOOO amazingly well at them. I am so unbelievably proud of her.
  • My mom’s dog finally accepting these kids and letting them pet her gently and her kissing each of them and interacting with them; seeing Big Bro and Red every now and then simply reaching out to her when they were in the middle of doing something to pet her and acknowledge her existence and show their affection to her. I thank Cocoa for this and having them had some experience with a pet of their own.
  • Trying to see Santa but we were first too early and then too late. Big Bro’s response: “Great! Now we get to go home and have ice-cream!!”. He was not upset at all. We all laughed.
  • Big Bro’s response to my step-father’s pancreatic cancer: “He did not look as sick as I thought he would.” So I guess the little guy was preparing himself for the worst and thinking of my step-dad looking more sick (he is thinner, but does look great otherwise). Afterwards, we talked about cancer, what it is (cells that are growing too fast and they crowd out the good, healthy cells), and how you can’t really cure it. You can either take it out, or use medicine to help control the growth. Big Bro understood and said that Joe-Joe Pop was not going to get better, but the medicine he was taking would help to keep him feeling better longer. I wanted to reach out and squeeze this kid so badly then.
  • Red playing with her toy “pets” that Nana gave her and her sharing with Big Bro. Both of them caring for these “pets” during the trip and also drawing yards and even GARDENS for the pets to live in. I love the fact that the garden I am trying to build is making an impact on them. They drew the things in the garden that they wanted to grow that they thought would be good for the pets.
  • Spending Thanksgiving with family. It has always been my favorite holiday, before the kids arrived. It was such a better way to spend the day – with my mom, my uncle, my brother, his family, and Big Bro/Red. It felt right.
  • Seeing Big Bro and Red play so well with their cousin. The twins have yet to meet him.
  • During a conference call, I spent time cutting out hand-drawn “carrots” and “apples” for above mentioned pet gardens.
  • Ice-cream each night with Nana and the kids.
  • Big Bro taking a shower by himself.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and donuts.
  • Two plane rides back with absolutely no tears or breakdowns. These kids are seasoned travelers. Playing “war” with them while they enjoyed their drinks of apple and orange juice with two straws.

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I absolutely loved the time I had with these kids. I did miss the Twins, but it was so amazing to spend so much one-on-one time with these older kids. When one kid would ask me to do something with them, I was actually able to respond with “Yes, I’d love to do that with you“. I saw the impact in their eyes and still feel so lucky to have shared this time with them.

*****

When we returned, I dropped Red and Big Bro off with co-parent and picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky for the weekend.

These are the things that I LOVED about this weekend:

  • Twin Husky saying “Let’s go!!!” when I picked them up.
  • Twin Crazy saying “I’m glad that you came back” when we drove home. Twin Husky repeating and agreeing with her.
  • Walking into my first home after my first personal travel trip away. It smelled good; different; I felt completely at ease. The rest of the weekend I enjoyed doing house projects and cleaning. I love this home.
  • Waking up late with only two of the kids. Waking up to Twin Husky (as usual) and then Twin Crazy in my bed. Them understanding that we would get up at 8 AM.
  • Twin Crazy looking at me and just smiling ear to ear.
  • Playing loud music and dancing along with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky for most of the weekend. At one point, I was only holding Twin Husky’s hands and he was holding back smiles (embarrassed) as I told him that I loved dancing with my son. He is so sweet. They both sang and danced most of the weekend.
  • Taking them to Cold Stone Creamery after their naps on Saturday, before dinner. This was a BIG hit.
  • Then going to Trader Joe’s and having them actually remember what was on the list of things to get.
  • Them singing “baby beluga” and swimming like fish in the bath
  • Puzzle time – Twin Crazy actually doing the puzzles by herself and BEAMING with pride. Twin Husky getting frustrated with his puzzle, but I was able to spend time with him to work through it and the look on his face when he was actually getting the pieces together.
  • Bedtime books with two. It makes a difference.
  • Waking up to their warm bodies again in the morning
  • Picking weeds and Twin Husky saying that he wanted me to do that with him. Working in the garden with them and discovering worms together.
  • Twin Crazy dancing like you wouldn’t believe. Shaking her little shoulders and head. Knowing that it completely cracked me up.
  • Twin Husky pulling me by my hand “Mommy, come with me.“….
  • Each of them wanting to cuddle with me on the couch. Each of them soaking in mommy-time.

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*****

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Tonight I drove them home, and picked up Red and Big Bro for one hour of together-time before I dropped them all off for good at co-parent’s. I took them ALL out for ice-cream. There is just something about holidays/vacations and ice-cream with me. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t get enough ice-cream during vacations. So this was my last hour of vacation/holiday time with all four of my kids together. They had a great time re-uniting with each other. I actually heard squeals and saw some hugs. And I had a brief time with all of them together before ending this holiday break. I couldn’t be happier.

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So now I’m getting ready for the week, a normal week, and I’m not down that the holiday time is over. I’m OK with it. It feels good to be back home. I am glad that I was able to reconnect with my family on the east coast and also bring some kids with me. I’m glad that I was able to spend REAL time with the kids. I am glad that I was able to TALK to them and learn with them and celebrate their growth. And talk to them about missing people and how I know that it hurts and sometimes can be sad, but then you get a chance to see them again.

It breaks my heart when I leave them, but then I think of the next time I will see them and then it’s not that bad.

So it was the many, many, many small blessings that I had over the past 10 days that I am SOOOOOOOOOO grateful for. And I know that there are few people besides myself that can get this much of a charge out of each of these four little people. I know that these kids can light me up in such a special way that others simply cannot – and vice-versa. And this comforts me in some strange way when I am not with them.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

November 15: NO HIGHWAYS!!!!


Co-parent and I are splitting the parenting responsibility into kid “pairs” to accomodate a trip I am taking to the East Coast next week. So, I was alone all day today with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, AND HAD NO TRIPS ON THE HIGHWAY to shuttle Big Bro and Red back and forth. Woah. What a difference. I didn’t realize the strain the driving has taken on me (and the kids) until today.

  • We woke up at a luxurious 8 AM and didn’t get out of bed until 9 AM. The kids were with me “working” in their notebooks in bed which was really, really, cute.
  • Chocolate Thursday! Nutella tortillas for three.
  • We dressed and headed outside. Kids were riding bikes and also helping me with some work for the winter garden. We fed the chickens some weeds. Twin Crazy was very busy taking care of her baby doll. Everyone (including me) was in an excellent mood.
  • We then headed out to a museum where they take in injured wild-life. We got there early so headed to the outside playground for a bit. Twin Crazy was going crazy on the swing. She was flying so high and loving it. She reminds me so much of me it is scary. Inside the museum, the kids had a great time looking at owls, foxes, rabbits…. looking under micro-scopes and they even have a “flight simulator” where you lay down and spread your arms like a bird – they loved that, as did I.
  • We had a good lunch; they were very well behaved and ready for a nap.
  • WE ALL SLEPT FOR THREE HOURS
  • We got up and Twin Husky reminded me that we needed to go food shopping for food for Cocoa and he wanted to ride the “car cart”. I can’t believe the memories these kids have. So off we went, food shopping for the guinea pig. The kids were great and had fun.
  • I cooked a quick dinner – fresh fish and lots of veggies that was a hit. We all ate everything. I guess sleeping makes you hungry.
  • Afterwards the kids continued to do art in their notebooks, and I hung up some of the art.
  • Twin Husky bonded with Cocoa. He wanted to hold her in his lap and feed her. He did really well with her. Twin Crazy was a bit freaked out by Cocoa’s nails so didn’t do as well.
  • I played a dancing game of “pee pee, brush your teeth, and book” where I would toss them up in the air after each task was completed. They enjoyed that and I think I’ll have to continue it since they got ready so fast. They decided to sleep in the girls room tonight. So sweet.

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After they went to bed, I cleaned up a bit and then did some work. I had a number of business development things to attend to; I don’t think I have anything tomorrow except getting extra keys made, getting a neighbor set up to watch Cocoa, and getting packed for my trip. We leave tomorrow night on the red-eye.

I had such a great day today. There was no rushing, no driving. Just being. The day unfolded and we had the opportunity to actually go out and DO something since we didn’t have all of the driving to compete with during the day. Being outside with the kids was great; play time at the playground was great; talking and learning about the animals was great. The kids talked about how they miss Red and Big Bro (and I do as well) but we talked to them tonight on the phone. I am really going to miss these kids next week – leaving them for a whole week when they are not even three is sad for me. They are really blossoming as people and I love each day with them. Twin Crazy can now spell her name as well as her Twin Brother’s. I just can’t believe it. They are so big now.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

November 14: Twinkles and only two of them


Wednesday AM, the morning after an AMAZING girls night at my home. I finally found it. A community where I feel like I belong. These are all hard working, strong women. Women who are real. Women who are fun. Women who choose to live in this neighborhood for the relaxed lifestyle it offers and the great schools for their kids. We went through quite a bit of wine last night. There were lots of laughs, and also lots of tears. We talked of loss, of grief. We talked about what each of us could do for the other. I have some ideas for my own situation that were offered by these women. I will take them up on their offers. Seeing how these women came so freely to my home and stayed so long (1 AM!!!) and were so natural – I feel very lucky.

I woke up just in time to start my working day.  I forgot to put out the trash the night before so ran out with the cans just in time (again). As I got my coffee ready, I saw the most beautiful reflections on my ceiling… the sun was hitting a candle holder in a certain way that cast so many colorful specks all over my ceiling. It was beautiful. This just made me happier — feeling somehow even more secure in my new surroundings. This sounds so naive but I really do think that I am being watched from up above and being directed/guided along the way; seeing these reflections and the wonder it brought to my eyes really made me feel like I am heading on a good path.

 

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I actually got a lot of work done. I lead an internal conference call at 8 AM.  I received one contact from an ex-colleague for consulting work he needs help with and got a team together to create a proposal for him. I received an unsolicited inquiry about the forums that I lead which now lead to the idea of yet another forum that I will try to launch (so now that is 3 getting started, and 2 currently under management/growth). I felt good today on the work front – despite my headache and generally feeling like ass.

I picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. This is an unusual division of the children, since I left Big Bro and Red for co-parent tonight. I will be traveling back east all of next week with the older two, so we are straddling our time with the “left behind” pair on the front end and back end so that we each can have enough time with both sets of kids. I am used to spending alone time with the Twins, but not at night. So tonight was special with them.

  • We talked about scary witches and pumpkins on the drive home. Also birds and trucks.
  • We got home and played outside until the sun went down with our next door neighbors; they were running and laughing and kicking balls.  I noticed that Twin Crazy kicks the ball with her left foot.
  • Twin Crazy was “hopping like a froggie” and Twin Husky was running down the driveway. They were both so good keeping their feet within my driveway and not stepping into the street.
  • Twin Husky did some “work” in his notebook as I was cooking dinner.   Twin Crazy wanted to wear her pink “princess” dress that she wore for Halloween.
  • We ate a fast dinner and they devoured everything. I think it was the exercise they got from all of the running and jumping.
  • After dinner we ate dessert (pudding), did some puzzles (Twin Crazy is actually doing them herself now), read books.
  • We tried to call co-parent on FaceTime so the kids could say goodnight to each other but it didn’t work out.
  • The kids were asleep before 8 PM.

 

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It is amazing how quiet it is with 2 kids versus 4. It was actually relaxing. I miss Big Bro and Red. I have not seen them since Sunday night. I hope they are doing OK and managing their feelings OK.  I am looking forward to my “alone time” with them all of next week.

I’m extremely tired and will likely pass out early tonight; before doing so I will do some work on personal things and then hopefully get some extra hours of sleep. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. A day with the Twins, no driving back and forth… this means we get to do things together again; like how it used to be together. We already made out our list and I’m looking forward to sharing the day with them.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

November 13: 4 years old is too young to die


I’ve had a very unusual day.   It’s a Tuesday, so I do not have the kids but I do have work.  But today I worked from home in the morning.  And then attended a funeral for a four year old child.  And then did some shopping for a Girls night that I am hosting tonight.  And then did some more work from home, with a splitting headache, bulging eyes, and cracked nose from crying so much today.

Working mothers.  What do we do with our kids when we work?   Some of us have family members, some of us employ nannies, some of us drop our children off at daycare.  Ours has always been a “daycare family”.   And through the years you get to know the other children, know the parents, and know the teachers.   In fact, daycare does become a pseudo-family for your children when you are away at work.

*****

Let’s turn the clock back a bit.  On Halloween day, me and Big Bro attended the Halloween day parade for Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky at their daycare center.   All was normal.  The kids were out and joyful in their costumes.   The very next day, a child in Red’s old classroom woke up from a nap not feeling well.   Maybe a little warm.  Not a high fever, but just “off”.  The mother was notified and she promptly picked up her four year old child.  The next day, the child was not at school.    Over the weekend, unbeknownst to us, this child was admitted to a children’s hospital.  This entire past week, unbeknownst to us, this child suffered in the hospital with the flu, a strange unidentified infection, pneumonia, and appendicitis.  An operation removed the appendix.  The family hoped  the blood pressure and kidney function would improve.    This child passed away on Friday…. days after turning four years old.

Photo source:  ecolibris.blogspot.com

*****

Our daycare center is our pseudo-family.   I went to the service to support this family and the teachers who were also Red’s teachers this past year.   This is something I never want to have to do again.   Four years old is too young to die.   It is too hard to see parents say goodbye to their child.  It is hard to see the teachers in such a different setting and under such a different set of circumstances – and see them raw, as people, as people that you want to reach out to and nurture as they have nurtured your own.

The sermon was well done and I found myself strangely at peace listening to the words.    This life is given to us.  Each of us will have our day.   In the father’s words, he had four glorious years with this child.   And what the family went through over the past week was so difficult that today actually felt like a good day for the family.   I strangely felt a bit better.   Calm.   But numb.

But when the casket wheeled by, I couldn’t help but lose myself to despair again. I cannot imagine losing a child. I cannot imagine losing a child. I CANNOT IMAGING LOSING A CHILD.    I cannot understand.  I CANNOT UNDERSTAND.   Looking at pictures of the smiling child was heartbreaking.   Seeing a casket entirely too small was heartbreaking.   Looking at the parents of this child and the strength and grace that they portrayed was heartbreaking.   How can a child be laughing in a Halloween costume one day, then a bit ill the next (same as all of our kids this time of year…) and then wind up in a hospital for one week fighting to stay alive and losing this fight?   How can a child be there one day and gone the next?   How do we tell our children?   How can this happen to our daycare family?   What can I possibly do for this family?????????

I thought of Big Bro and how this child will never reach Big Bro’s age and ride a bike and have a debate with family members.  I thought of Red.  The same age.   The same teachers.   The same size.    Do I dare say that she would fit in that casket?!?!?!?!?!?!   I thought of Twin Husky and the little brother that this child left behind.  I thought of Twin Crazy and how this child was described to be, well, “crazy energetic”… possibly just like my own crazy energetic child.

I am strangely glad that I am not with my own kids tonight.   I feel too raw and I want some separation between this feeling and them.  I don’t want them to be too close to “it”.  I need some distance from them, some time.   I will see them tomorrow and that is OK with me.  I will walk into that daycare center tomorrow and likely cry again with the staff and pick up my kids and hug them hard.

But now, in just 2 more hours, I will host a “girls night” with my new neighbors.   A first for what hopefully will become a tradition in this neighborhood.   I am thankful for having this support system but definitely do not want to bring the party “down” with this news but it is impossible for me to hide it from my face.   I will put some music on, light some candles, and warm up this little place to be inviting.   And hopefully not drive anyone away should I suddenly burst into tears.

Til tomorrow

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: Forget it! There is no way to stop time


A friend of mine sent me the below article link tonight and wanted me to share with you.  Thank you Mama G!  I agree that this is worth sharing – I believe it will strike a chord in you.   It’s something that we all know, something that we may wish away, and something that we may try in our own way to slow.   But you and I both know that you can’t stop time from passing us by.

Photo source:  inasinglestroke.com

I think of myself – how I try to document the kids’ milestones, how I take pictures endlessly, and how I do hope if I am lucky enough to live to an old age, that I can somehow, some way, remember what it is like now to be a mother to my children.

This post says it well:

http://www.blogher.com/letter-my-51-year-old-self?page=full

In my case I think I’m a bit older than this author 🙂   For me it might be a letter to my 65ish old self.   🙂   But still…. a good read and a good reminder to stop and simply enjoy your kids.

It’s hard as a working mother.  The weekends are not long enough.  And the weeknights are entirely too short.   But take in that time with your kids and leave the dishes aside.   Watch them interact and play.    Try to take that picture in your mind.  Or better yet, stop to think about the way these kids make you FEEL.   Because it’s probably not the minutia of the day that you will remember.  It won’t be the milestone of when the child lost that first tooth.  It will be the way you FEEL around your child that you will (hopefully) remember.   The fierceness of love, the never ending desire and dedication to do anything and everything that you can for that child.  The way that child could make you laugh from the deepest parts of your being.  The way you FEEL when you look into your child’s eyes.  The PRIDE you have for your child as you have a conversation with your little (or not so little anymore) one.

Take notice of those things.  Take mental notes — no “heart notes” of these FEELINGS.   Some will be good, crazed, anxious… but you will likely treasure those just as you do the pride, joy, admiration, connection, and undying love for each of your kids.

That’s all I will say for now –

I will have an emotional day tomorrow and I will likely need to write about it; so, until then;

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Give it a second chance


If you’ve been reading this regularly you know that I have thrown myself into a new hobby:  gardening.  This is understandable for many reasons.  I’ve been craving a home of my own, a place where I can establish myself and my family in a community, tearing out the old decay from a massive yard and the planning to rebuild and cultivate and grow.   This is also something completely within my control.  If I see a weed, I pick it from the root and it is gone.  If I want to design or plan or hatchet dead branches, I do it and I only have myself to answer to.    So, this new hobby is not too surprising to me – I am enjoying myself despite by pathetic summer crop.

Yes, I tried strawberries, blackberries, blueberries.   All eaten by varmin in the area.  Once I got smart enough to solve the problem with bamboo stakes and deer netting, the season had passed.    My neighbors came over with corn-stalk seedlings.   And these actually grew.  And grew BIG.  Each with several ears of corn.

I would water this corn religiously.   The kids also took part in this duty.   We picked the corn together.   It looked a little suspect, but I was still hopeful.

At dinner, we all bit into our bounty.   And…. it sucked.  Royally.  Even my 2 1/2 year old son who eats dirt, hated this corn.  I didn’t blame the kids.  It was pasty.  It tasted like nothing.   It looked like “Three-Mile-Island corn”.  I cursed at the price of corn in the supermarket (dirt cheap) and the fact that I spent so much time and hope on such a poor crop of anything.

But after dinner, instead of tossing into my compost pile, I decided to cut the corn from the cob and give it a second chance on my own.

Afterwards – I had 3 amazing meals:

  • a corn, black bean and cheese burrito for lunch (delicious)
  • a rice, black bean, and corn combo (used above) over a kale salad
  • brussel sprouts, corn, and kale sautéed with white wine

ALL OF THESE DISHES WERE AMAZING!   Could I have been imagining it?  Yes.  Could my hope been masking the pastiness of the corn?  Yes.  Is it the fact that I buried the corn in other more flavorful foods?   Possibly.   BUT:   Take note.  I ate the corn, and I honestly enjoyed it.

So is there a point to this story?

Give things a second chance.  Take a break and walk away for another day when you have a fresher perspective.  Be persistent but lenient when needed.  Be hopeful.   Or maybe, just drink a lot of white wine.

I hope you all have a terrific week –

– Mama K

November 9: Stealing leaves


Fridays are always a bit bittersweet for me. It’s a day where I can spend the entire day with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, but my time with Big Bro and Red is short since they have school/pre-school. Plus, there is that 3 hour timespan where we are gypsies, hanging around co-parent’s neighborhood for the drop off.

Today was a great day for me in the old neighborhood. During Red’s drop off, I saw guys blowing leaves to tidy up the neighborhood. Little did they know that I just bought another Tumbler composter and am in the process of building a winter garden. I asked them if I could take the leaves off their hands on my way back. They laughed.

There were so many leaves in the car you could barely make out Big Bro’s bike, and also his entire spot in the car (no carseat, just booster which was easy to get out of the way). Twin Husky was laughing while Twin Crazy slept. When we got home, we had 3 trips from the van to the backyard to spread out our bounty. Of course they both wanted to wear their boots. This will be my project tomorrow – getting the second compost tumbler ready and shredding the leaves with the lawnmower.

 

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Pick ups for Big Bro and Red were fine; we went to the zoo and then went to Home Depot to return a holey hose and buy a new one. “Yes, they are all of my kids”. The kids were great and they helped me pick out a hose that they liked.

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I’m looking forward to digging into the earth tomorrow with mole netting, the Tumbler composter project, and also seeing them in the afternoon.

Have a great weekend everyone!

– Mama K

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