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

    I am long overdue for a post – I will explain shortly. For now, I wanted to share this smoothie recipe I sent out this time last year. Good for your kids (actually it is downright delicious) and fun for St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!

    Mama In Motion™

    This recipe is a bit different from those I usually post. It actually came from a National Geographic Kids magazine that we received back in March (not sure if this year or last year… ). Anyway, it sounded like a really healthy treat for the kids and it was fun to do with them. The kids loved putting the stuff into the blender and there were enough ingredients for the four of them to “take the lead” in something. Best part about it was that IT IS EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!! We couldn’t get enough. It was so good that the next day I had to go shopping again for a refill of the ingredients. Try it!



    Red’s Green Smoothie


  • 1 peeled, sliced, frozen banana
  • 1 cup of frozen green grapes
  • 1 peeled and sliced kiwi
  • 1 cup of washed baby spinach
  • 8 oz of lime yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of limeade
  • Directions:

    View original post 29 more words


    Gig Tip: “We”, not “I”

    My career consists of 20+ years of project-related work, so this point of view might be irrelevant for those of you not in this kind of work. Anyway, through the years, it has been beaten into me and actually part of my DNA now at work to always refer to projects, results, findings, work, analyses, as “we” when presenting to outsiders — most notably clients, and to a lesser extent when presenting to colleagues in large group settings.

    Not so good phrases:

    • In my opinion, the biggest opportunities for your company are X, Y, Z….
    • I researched high and low and couldn’t believe it when I struck gold with this source!
    • It is a very complex excel model that took me several weeks to set up
    • The report had many complex issues and was difficult for me to write
    • You are my client and it is my job to make you successful

    Better phrases:

      • We believe the biggest opportunities for your company are X, Y, Z… OR, better yet…. We believe The biggest opportunities for your company are X, Y, Z.

      • The team researched high and low and we couldn’t believe it when we struck gold with this source!

      • It is a very complex model that took us several weeks to set up

      • The report had many complex issues and was difficult to write

    Of course, there are times that it is most appropriate to recognize the accomplishments of others who worked for you on your team. You need to talk them up internally and also to your boss. It is only right to give them credit and motivate them. However, in front of CLIENTS, it is best to represent the work product as a team work product – if you are the one presenting the work, it is obvious that you were the one that conducted the work… especially if you are fielding questions about it. But in the end, it is more professional to represent the analysis, findings, and recommendations as coming from the TEAM, or your company.

    This simple advice was provided to me many years ago. And something that I continuously share with feedback to others that are new to our company. And it goes a long way to present a unified front to your clients. Find other ways to self-market and promote yourself. Do it internally, but certainly not with clients in team settings.

    Any thoughts on this one???

    Thanks for listening –

    – Mama K

    Goodbye November – Recap

    I feel like I’m slacking in capturing the highlights from these four kids. There’s just too many of them that I fall behind – here’s a recap from last week


    • Big Bro helped Twin Husky get dressed when he started having some problems
    • Drop offs were fine for Big Bro and Red; on the way back home Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and I went food shopping. They love the “car cart”.
    • We drove around the neighborhood looking for a reservoir that should be close-by (I am still extremely fearful of earthquakes and I want to know where this reservoir is… it should be walkable from the house) and we saw some stunning decorations; one that caught our eye was this low, low tree with RED red leaves and HUGE ornaments. It was gorgeous. I’m noticing that Twin Crazy is using the word “gorgeous” a lot recently. She cracks me up.
    • We relaxed on the couch by the fire and read books; kids played with stickers
    • At night we did homework, and then the kids turned the living room into a “campsite”. Big Bro and Red were the mommy and daddy, and everyone had blankets and pillows out. They were teaching the little ones their numbers and the alphabet, and then they said it was time for night-night. They were going to pretend that dinner (that I was cooking) would actually be breakfast. They were having a ton of fun together. Twin Husky was a bit left out (as usual) but he did make his way into the group a bit. He was very particular about how he was positioning his “animals” for sleep on his blanket. Too cute.





    • RAIN RAIN RAIN; it was crazy wet outside. Big Bro was shuttling the kids from the house to the van with an umbrella.
    • After dropping off Red, the Twins wanted to stop by their classroom quickly to say Hi to their friends and show their teachers their bears and fluffy pillows
    • The three of us went to Home Depot for some gardening tools – a cheap rototiller and I found some pots on sale
    • Bathtime! Lunchtime! Naptime! While the kids napped, I tilled the entire garden area and broke the tool that I just bought.   It was actually a great activity.  It was only lightly raining and the sun was out – so it was really nice being outside and getting physical with my new project.
    • After picking up the kids we went to Home Depot to replace above rototiller. We looked at the HUGE holiday light decorations and the kids got a bit sidetracked.
    • We then went to buy rainboots for Red and Big Bro. We went to TWO STORES with NO LUCK. I wound up sitting with them on the floor using my phone with the Amazon app and bought them boots for our “farm”
    • On the way to the car we were surprised by Santa Clause! There was no one there! It was like he was just waiting for us and only us. At first the kids were apprehensive about sitting with him but then I announced that who-ever got a picture with Santa while SMILING would get an ice-cream/or dessert immediately afterwards. Suddenly Santa was rushed by the kids.
    • We went to Starbucks and split a bunch of rice-krispie treats and hot chocolate.







    I had a great end of the week with the kids. Fridays are not a bad night since we know we will see each other the next day. When I got home by myself, I went to work on some cedar gardening beds in my living room – this required drilling that I had never really done before and I worked until 11:30 PM.


    The rest of the weekend:

    The next AM I put mole-wiring all over the garden area and then got showered and shopped at Trader Joes’ in enough time to have some friends over with their kids. We had a great time and I loved their visit. The kids had soooooooooooooo much fun that Twin Husky was even walking around saying how much fun he was having – and Red drew a picture of their family that she wants to send to them.

    Last night during book time Red announced that someone in her old classroom was dead — ugggh I knew this was going to come but it took me by surprise; I didn’t know that her teachers had told her anything yet. I wound up sitting with her past bed-time for close to 2 hours, being with her while she thrashed around (and hid her face from me), sat quietly, then we talked, she asked a TON of questions, and then we drew pictures together for this child’s family. She happily went to sleep (thankfully) with smiles from ear to ear. I’m not sure if it was the talk that we had, the way her questions were answered, the drawings that she did for the family, or the time that I spent with her, but I’m just glad this kid went to sleep with a smile on her face and a gleam back in her eye. She is the one that worries me.  In fact, looking back at the pictures of her shows a girl who is a bit “off”.  I didn’t pick up on anything unusual, which bothers me a bit.

    Today, Sunday was a rain downpour again in the AM. Our backyard was a river. It was exciting investigating the river with the kids. We had neighborhood kids over all day today and Red seemed to be back on track. Big Bro was having the time of his life with some boys in the neighborhood. Today they are finding worms (and getting soaked)… tomorrow….???!???!?! They were too cute.



    Sunday nights are harder for me since I do not see the kids until Wednesday afternoon. Twin Crazy screamed the entire way to co-parent’s. The rest of the kids were quiet. I returned home and just had to put my head down to take a breather. The weekend was more emotional than I would have liked; I’m thinking of the kids now and hoping they are OK as they go down to bed.  I’m worried about my girls.

    Have a great week everyone –

    – Mama K

    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

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