October 30: Short day

I usually work from home the first 1/2 of the day and then pick up the kids from co-parents. Today was unusual in that I was asked to come into the office – I still took a 1/2 day and was back by 1 PM to become a full-time mom again…

Highlights of the Commute:

  • Woke up early, showered the night before. Cleaned up and dressed quickly. Wore comfortable clothes. It was a leggings type of day.
  • Everyone was fed and dressed by the time the nanny got to my place. She helped finish Big Bro’s lunch packing. I finished getting ready while quizzing him with his spelling words. Red was brushing her hair non-stop but still waited for me to brush her hair. I love that time with her in the AM. Her gorgeous red hair. She wants it straight and is trying to brush it out daily.
  • Twin Husky dumped over the Halloween bin. He was then wearing Buzz Lightyear wings and a masquerade mask.
  • We made it outside to see the kids off at the bus-stop (end of my driveway) and pet the dogs. I love this neighborhood.
  • Drop offs were fast and fine. Nanny dropped me off at the train station. Twin Husky wanted to know again when we would all take the train again. I’m thinking about a train trip into the city during Christmastime to see the lights. And Santa.
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    Highlights of the Working Day:

  • Had three meetings. One conference call where I am trying to negotiate prices down for meeting space. Updated some documents. Need to send some presentations to clients. Will do that later tonight.
  • I left by 12 noon, worked on the train, and arrived at home by 1 PM to release the nanny.
  • Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I had help taking the garbage bins up. Me and Twin Husky like to do this together on Wednesday afternoons.
  • Penny the chicken came back! Twin Crazy was very worried about her and is much happier.
  • We picked up Big Bro from school together. His spelling quiz was post-poned until tomorrow.
  • Big Bro did his math page in 7 minutes flat. They need to be able to know standard addition and subtraction facts within 10 minutes. He was fast and accurate. He actually can deliver when he puts his mind to it. He is too lazy too often though which really drives me nuts.
  • Big Bro disappeared to see his friends.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky napped.
  • Red snacked. Red played with Cocoa the guinea pig. Red napped on top of me while I napped on the couch.
  • All awoke (including me) at dinnertime. We had pasta and stringbeans from our garden.
  • After dinner Big Bro wanted to play with the iPad. I said no. He whined. I suggested vaccuuming instead. He got so excited and proceeded to vaccuum the entire (small) house). It was too funny.
  • While Big Bro vaccuumed I was horseplaying with the kids. I had one girl on each ankle and was walking around with them, tickling them, and dragging them around. Then I was on the floor with kids at my ankles and Twin Husky on my belly. Big Bro was still vaccuuming.
  • We locked up the chickens. Penny was loose again but will hopefully return again tomorrow.
  • We had dessert while watching a new Wild Kratts cartoon – this one about skunks. I pulled up images of skunks on my iPhone and Twin Crazy needed to hold the iPhone, look through the pictures, and kiss them.
  • Bedtime was great with all of them. We were doing lots of talking. I talked too much with them and it was really late by the time they settled down. We talked about teasing, about moths, about growing old, about big brothers, about how little brothers may someday grow taller and stronger than their big brothers, about the passage of time, how in 10 years Twin Husky will be 13 and Big Bro will be 17… how this will happen faster than we realize… … … … I had a great night with them.
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    I loved today. Simply put. I had a few hours at work in the office, was productive, but was back home before I knew it. Then I had the kids. I’m tired from working and doing this at the same time. I don’t know how I did it for so long and at such intensity before. I cringe thinking about it. It was so hard for me. So much has happened since then. The passage of time has been good for me, I think. I still am unsure in many ways. I feel good knowing that I am at least headed in some sort of direction. And that I’ve right-sized my life. I’m not totally there yet, and am still very much work in progress. Today was a good day. And this week has been amazing for me.

    But there is still so much happening in other parts of my head; issues with my family, feeling like a decade of my life is being burried, fighting for strength for my kids, struggling but being happier with less.

    I will be a bunny tomorrow since Red asked me; I’m looking forward to the simplicity and wearing comfortable bunny slippers, all day. This is how I pamper myself these days.

    I’ll try to write tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    October 29: One roast and one lost chicken

    I work a full day on Tuesdays. But usually I work from the office. I was asked to be in the office on Wednesday, so I decided to stay home today and work. But, since I have the four kids with me due to co-parent’s work trip, today was quite unusual.

    Highlights of the Morning Commute:

  • I woke up to little pitter pat steps through the kitchen and into my room. Twin Husky was great and slept all night in his bed and made it into mine shortly before the alarm rang. He had his duck with him. He had his duck kiss me. I kissed the duck back. I kissed him. He smiled. He kissed me back. We called each other by our names. We tickled. I love waking up like this.
  • I got ready quickly. Twin Husky found my feminine hygiene products. He’s extremely talkative and we have conversations all the time. He of course asked what those were for. I said they were for women. “Not Daddy?” “No, not Daddy”. “Only for women?” “Yes, only for women. Like mommy.” “Oh. I didn’t know that you’re a woman.” Thanks Twin Husky. Thanks a lot.
  • I decided to honor the Chocolate Tuesday tradition. It was a quick breakfast. Thank goodness since we were running late.
  • The outside bus came and went… all of us missed the neighborhood kids. Now we know we’re really running late.
  • Lunches, getting dressed, combing hair, getting shoes, getting in the car…. off we go!
  • Drop off was great for Red and Big Bro. I forgot to mention yesterday that their school is about 2 miles from my house. Co-parent bought a house about a mile away from that school. So we’re finally all close, and now able to settle. I am able to breathe so much better now. Writing about it also makes me feel so much better. These kids are able to root. They are able to grow up with their friends. We know what school they are going to. We know what middle school they will go to. And High School. This is the best school district around, with somewhat affordable housing (all is relative). I did the absolute best that I could do as a single mother, four kids, working part time. I still can’t believe I am able to pull this off. It does not come without its sacrifices though. But I am getting used to this way of living.
  • Twin Crazy, Twin Husky, and I met the nanny back at my house. I was not sure if I was going to have my car today – the plan was for her to take care of the kids at co-parent’s house since I was going to work from home. She would use my car. So, I took the opportunity to go food shopping to buy a roast. I felt like taking advantage of working from home, and also for this extra time with the kids. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky had fun in their “car cart”.
  • I dropped them off at co-parent’s house. They didn’t want me to leave. I gave them piggy back rides. They gave me kisses. They watched me drive off. I honked the horn for them.
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    Highlights of the Working Day:

  • I got home and let the chickens out of the coop. It is strange that the one chicken Penny is still not around. She usually shows up in the morning…
  • I had much more coffee and got at it.
  • A few conference calls, lots of emails, some re-working of presentations. Planning for some transitions. I’ll be taking on more work but hopefully we will be hiring good resources on the data side of the job to free me up for client management and planning.
  • During breaks I started the roast, did some dishes, took down the trash, enjoyed the sun.
  • I picked up Big Bro at 2:30. The rest of the kids were with the nanny at co-parents. I wanted to do this for some alone time with him, and since he prefers (“thrives on”) playing with his friends. We did homework. I tested him at math for 10 minutes and he did pretty well. I quizzed him at spelling. He hit the road like a bat out of hell to play with his friends.
  • I did some more work. Nothing eventful. I decided to pick up the rest of the kids at 4:30.
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    Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I arrived at co-parents with the nanny outside doing crafts with the kids. This is good. But…. they were cranky and fighting. This is bad. They had no naps. This is really bad. And Twin Crazy has a bite mark on her arm. This is terrible. I don’t understand. How do 3 year olds have control over this woman? Are there no boundaries? Why does Twin Husky bite? I don’t see this anymore. I am angry; these kids should have slept. Now I have to deal with the cranky kids.
  • At home I decided that resting on the couch was the answer for the kids while I wrapped up dinner. I went to the garden and picked a ton of carrots. Big Bro was in and out with his friends. We received a care package of left over vegetables for Cocoa our guinea pig from one of the neighbors. We sat down to an outrageous dinner.
  • After dinner I quickly cleaned up. I downloaded workbooks for Red for her cutting project (she makes up projects for herself). I worked with her on the project which involved putting her cut-outs in a zip-lock bag and also her pieces of trash in a trashcan. She would hand me the paper and say “ding”. I checked email while working with her.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were passed out immediately after dinner. I let them sleep on the couch while the rest of us were up, and then carried them into their rooms for bed.
  • Bedtime was easy for Red and Big Bro. Red was fine because I had a lot of alone time with her and her workbook projects. Big Bro felt the need to clean up his entire room. He was proud of his work and wanted me to see it.
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    I loved being a mom to these kids today. I loved cooking a real dinner. I felt needed by the kids.

    I have some work to do to prepare for some meetings tomorrow but I think I’ll be able to handle it in the AM when I get in the office, first thing. So I’m not going to work tonight. I’m going to watch some more “The Good Wife” and maybe wonder where Penny the chicken is. The kids already think she’s dead. No tears have been shed, yet.

    I’m hoping to write again tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    October 28: Feeling back at it

    It has been an extremely long time since I have written anything here. I’m glad I’m back. Co-parent had a work trip so I have the kids this entire week, which is too amazing for me to actually digest. I feel compelled to write about this; about feeling like a working mother again; and I feel lucky to be in such an amazing situation in my life.

    There’s a lot to fill people in on. But I will likely do that later; now I just want to capture my day as it is with little explaining as to how my life has changed…. so here it goes.

    The Morning Commute:

    I had a head start by getting ready the night before. Showered, set out my work clothes; the pan with the chicken food was out and ready. The kids shoes were where they should be. The backpacks were ready.

  • I woke up to hugs and kisses. Twin Husky made it into my bed early this morning. I was laughing and tickling him. His husky laugh began to wake the rest of the kids up.
  • I was dressed and ready in no time. Kids were starting to mobilize.
  • It was cold outside. I flicked the switch and put on the fireplace.
  • Big Bro was “booed” at school, which meant a kid from his class dropped off candy treats as a surprise. The kid’s mom reached out to me for my address since we are new to the neighborhood and not in the directory. Apparently the kids here pick friends to surprise and leave treats. This child was allowed to “boo” two friends, and he picked Big Bro. I set the package out for Big Bro this AM on his breakfast stool and he was so excited opening it. He guessed who it was after several tries. I’m proud of how he is adjusting in his new school.
  • Breakfast was fast; cereal. Apple butter on toast.
  • Packing lunch was what it was. This is always frustrating for me. Big Bro needs more diversity. Toast and apple butter it was for today, and some candy from his Boo treat bag. While we were all together in the small kitchen, me making lunches, downing instant coffee, and kids at breakfast, I was quizzing Big Bro on his spelling. He had a quiz today and he answered all the words correctly. The trick with this week was words ending in “ck”. Once he got the hang of it, it became easier for him.
  • Twin Crazy was the first to get changed and wanted to go outside to take care of the chickens. She wanted me to come with her in case there were ghosts. I gladly held her hand while also carrying the chicken food in the other hand. It was grey outside and cold. In a strange sort of way it did look like Halloween. Twin Crazy took care of the locks all by herself and welcomed the chickens out of their coop. We held hands on the way down the backyard stairs together and went back into the warm house.
  • The bus outside was here. The neighborhood families were all outside at the end of my driveway with their kids, coffees, and dogs. Twin Husky and Twin Crazy wanted to go down to see everyone. Twin Crazy because of the dogs. Twin Husky because of the little girl on the street a bit older than him that I will call “Lisa”. Yes, my littlest one has his first crush. The neighbors all greeted us and Twin Crazy had her chance to squeeze some dogs good morning. She is so nurturing.
  • Kids were ready in the car and I spent some time with Red. She and I like this time together in the morning alone. I brush her hair and give her a huge hug.
  • I drive all kids to Big Bro and Red’s new school. I’m proud of them. During Red’s drop off the cute divorced father was there. That sort of surprised me. I’m not used to being there on Mondays. I don’t even know his name but I do know that he misses his kids and hugs them hard in the mornings.
  • Big Bro drop off was essentially him walking away towards the playground, waving goodbye. He used to need me with him. And now he happily starts his day with his new friends. I walk away happy.
  • I meet co-parent’s nanny at my house. I have her drive me to the train station. I write directions for her to and from the school to my house. I instruct her to give the twins naps. I am shocked that she does not do that for them and listens to their protests against naps and believes them. I ask her to make sure Big Bro does some homework before going out to play with his friends. Before I get on the train, I go into the back of the van and squeeze the faces of Twin Husky and Twin Crazy. I ask them to take care of the nanny and for them to have fun. I feel good walking through the lot and to the train.
  • On the way to work I did not think about much. My big conferences finished last week so this is wind-down mode. I have things to do but nothing pressing. I got to work at 10 AM.

    Highlights of the Working Day:

  • I spent most of my time organizing my expenses, downloading credit card transactions, and making sure my timesheet was complete. I’m living paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to have a reimburseable expense slip by.
  • I wrote a good list of tasks to do during the day. I didn’t really address any of it.
  • I took care of daycare reimbursement, travel reimbursement…. all “cash in” activities.
  • Had a birthday lunch for a co-worker and ate an outrageous cake.
  • I signed up Twin Crazy for the rest of her dance class. Pre-ballet/pre-tap. She loves it.
  • I set up some meetings.
  • Honestly this was wind-down mode after a crazy stress month of conferences. They all went amazingly well. And I am taking on more in the upcoming months. I’m looking forward to it and feel like my job security is rock-solid. I’m enjoying the “catch my breath” time at work now. Nothing too pressing, but still things to do to wrap up this cycle of events. Luckily nothing is too time-critical. I needed the quiet time today. I decided to leave at 4 PM.

    Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I arrived at home at 5 PM, to a quiet house. Big Bro was at a neighbor’s house playing. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were aslieep. That meant I had the chance to have “alone time” with Red. She was beaming. The house looked great. Everything straightened up, all dishes washed. I never had a nanny and I can appreciate the luxury of one.
  • Me and Red hung out alone for a bit. She showed me her cutting project. She asked for a “workbook” and I downloaded a new one from http://www.education.com. She was thrilled and got to work right away.
  • Twin Crazy got up. We checked for eggs. Of course there were none. The chickens have stopped laying eggs since it is colder out. Marge and BiBi were already in their coop for the night. Penny, the wild alpha hen, was on the loose again. She can take care of herself. I joke that she hangs out and parties with the Roosters all night. Twin Crazy said goodnight to the chickens and then locked them up. I commented on how much I like how she takes care of things. She smiled and we walked downstairs to the house again.
  • I went to the garden to pick food for the guinea pig. On my way back I saw Big Bro running down the street with his friends. I smiled. Then I turned around and Twin Husky was out to greet me. It was freezing out and he didn’t have a jacket on. He said he wanted to help me in the garden. He is my little farmer buddy.
  • I grabbed the defrosted chicken from the fridge and started at it. Big Bro requested a salad so I went back to the garden to pick some.
  • I was cooking and talking with the kids; they were playing and there were some neighbors over. It was lively. I loved it.
  • We ate quickly and I couldn’t believe how the kids ate.
  • There was plenty of time left over for me to do some wash, organize a closet, and still be with the kids since there is basically one room in my house besides the bedrooms. Even though I was doing other things we were still all together.
  • A neighbor came over to pick up some baking pans. I love my neighborhood. There are so many supportive families and kids here. I feel very, very lucky.
  • I sat with the kids for awhile and then off to bed. The new pull ups are soft and fit Twin Husky and Twin Crazy. Big Bro helped me with the cool-mist humidifiers. I brushed Red’s teeth for her bedtime “alone time”. I sewed the band to a sleeping mask for Red so that the girls could both be comfortable with the amount of light in their room. The boys were play wrestling and I let them. I love seeing the boys interact and laugh with each other like that. Big Bro told me a bad Halloween joke and I laughed at it.
  • I showered, it is still early, and I decided to write.
  • I loved today. I love this week already. I had the kids on Sunday night and had everyone bathed and wound down for the week. This AM was a breeze. Work was not stressful one bit. The kids are happy. My house is warm. And I am cozy in bed and will likely watch some old episodes of “The Good Wife” thanks to Amazon Prime and free streaming. I decided to work from home tomorrow since I need to be in the office on Wednesday. I’ve arranged for the nanny to watch the kids at co-parent’s tomorrow so that I can actually work from my own house un-interupted.

    I’m feeling at peace right now; work was intense last week, and there were some intense things happening in the neighborhood too; but we’re through that now and getting ready for one of my favorites… Halloween. I’m here with the kids, and this week is a gift with them. They are happy and there were no real problems or issues/fights with them today. I’m feeling well rested and ready for some T.V. There is a lot on my mind but I just want to tune out.

    I think I’ll write tomorrow too.
    Til then,
    Mama K

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