Staying Sane: Take it in and celebrate the Now


How many times have you heard, “Enjoy it, it goes by so fast.”.   And at the time, it is usually when one of the kids is acting up, or maybe if you’re lucky, the kids are acting like angels and you have a quick chance to catch your breath.    With four kids over 6+ years, I’ve heard this more than I would like to admit.   And yes, I get it.   Of course the years go by fast.   I can see it in my skin, my body, my hands.   The way I get tired so easily.    The way I’m starting to forget simple, insignificant things like the names of bands or actresses/actors.  Yes, the years are going by quickly.   We can see it in ourselves and the way we, ourselves, are changing as people.

And it is even more extreme with children.  Yes, we know time is going by fast.  These little people are pushing that fact in our faces every single day.

*****

How is this supposed to make you feel better you ask?  How is this supposed to make you feel more at ease?  Doesn’t this kind of create an anxiety?

Not if you choose to look at it from another angle.   Time does not have to go by so quickly.   Instead of grasping at the past and the now, you can choose to let it unfold and celebrate the people your children are becoming.   Time will come and go, but enjoying the Now and celebrating the Now with them, at least for me, has become an amazing way to feel connected to them and proud and excited for what may lie ahead.

*****

My little girl was born over four years ago and she was a bald baby but had enough hair for me to know that she would be a red-head.   She was my first girl.  Her squeaks as a baby were different than those of her older brother.  She was softer.  She smelled sweeter.  She would point to her crib when I would sing to her at night to let me know that she was ready to go to sleep.   She started laughing early… and most of the time it was while looking up at her big brother, who was trying desperately to interact and play with this little baby.

She grew into her red hair quickly.   ..scaling fire escapes before she could even walk…  throwing her body over the bathtub wall fully clothed so she could jump in with her brother.   Growing into her laugh.  Growing into her excitement and her personality and her body.   Feeling thrilled by standing by herself.    And taking those first steps.

And now my little girl is over four years old.   And she still looks up to her big brother.  He teaches her to push herself, and her red hair, feisty personality fuels this desire.   She is so fragile yet so strong, at the same time.  She is caring, intuitive, empathetic, silly, and so so energetic.   She is an artist.   She feels deeply.   And she laughs loudly.   And she takes risks.   And now she rides a bike by herself…. years before her brother did.  This does not surprise me.   The glow in her eyes and the smile across her face is too good to be true.   She is my Red.

*****

So yes, time does go by quickly.   We hear it from everyone and of course this is something we already know.   We do not need to be told this simple truth.  We see it daily through our children.

I choose to spend the Now with the kids and celebrate with them.  Laugh with them.   And of course cry with them.  With the new skills our children learn come the scraped knees, the fear of the dark, the frustration of learning something different.   But it is FEELING this with them that is so, so good.   Such passion.  And how they grow, and how they learn, and how wonderful it is to be a part of it and to see it unfolding right before your eyes.

I choose to not fear that time will go by fast.  I choose not to let the craziness of four kids and work get the best of me, and what I believe are the best years of my life.   I choose to stop and feel the Now with the kids and appreciate the time that I have with them and make as much time as I can with them.   Knowing that I’m doing this makes me happier and excited for what is left to come.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

 

 

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April 30: A Mama Bear alone with her cubs


Monday. I decided to work from home 1/2 day today (instead of Wednesday) because I THOUGHT the mortgage would be ready for me to sign and then put $$$ in escrow for closing. I was wrong…

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • My first encounter with a child was with Big Bro. I was in the shower and he was downstairs and already dressed for the day. He wanted to go pee-pee and was upset that I was in the bathroom. I suggested that I turn the other way while I was in the shower and not look so he could have some privacy. He told me to promise not to look. I did, laughing.
  • Big Bro literally had all of his things ready to go at 7:30. Back packed, shoes found and ready, helmet set to go. It was Monday and he was the leader for the Motley Crew bike ride to school… AND he had his NEW bike so he was really looking forward to getting started today. So cute.
  • Red put on a necklace and said it looked like mine. She was so cute and I told her that she was my “twin”. Her birthday is coming up and I keep calling her my sweet little birthday princess. She really looked like a princess today with her shiny necklace.
  • I held Twin Husky as I made my coffee. We talked together about the steps of making the coffee and where the grinds go and the water goes. He knows exactly where everything goes and what happens next. We then went into the laundry room to check out the washing machine.
  • Twin Crazy saw the attention received by her brother and then asked for me to pick her up. I can’t resist. She looks at me with those big round eyes and then sings “mommy, mommy, mommy….” and my heart melts.
  • We got ready really quickly today for some reason. While we were finishing gathering our things, Red, Twin Crazy, Twin Husky played with a puzzle. Its sweet how they all communicate now… sometimes for the good, sometimes for the worse. Their laughter with each other is growing more intense by the day… as is their fights with one another. It’s now going in all directions…. between the older ones, between the littler ones, and across all of the ages. Siblings.
  • I took the twins in the stroller and participated in Big Bro’s leading debut of the Motley Crew bicycle gang. The Twins looked at the sprinkler system as we were waiting for everyone. I told them how it works.
  • I overheard one of his friends telling his mom that he wanted a bike just like Big Bro’s. It was “so cool”. I can’t believe I’m hearing this already. I didn’t think I would hear this peer pressure so soon. They are in Kindergarten for goodness sakes!
  • I strolled the Twins to daycare. They were OK with going there and seemed happy as I left.
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    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I made it back in time to rearrange some meetings and let work know that I was working from home today. They all know of my house purchase and process of the mortgage…
  • I had a debrief meeting on the candidates we interviewed. I believe we are going to move forward with one, and I fully support that decision. She was a rock-star candidate.
  • I had a conversation with a Director about two forums we are trying to launch; we determined go-forward plan for both.
  • I followed up for the status of our client project. I’m starting to get worried.
  • I followed up with some work we need to circle back for one of the forums. I need to organize the info so I can thoughtfully articulate it back to our clients.
  • The Rest of the Day:

  • I did spend time trying to figure out the status of my mortgage and signing of loan docs. It seems like we are delayed again. I kept waiting for the green light as the deadline for the bank wire approached and then passed. I went to the bank to get a certified check in case the green light came through in the afternoon. I started to drive to the title company. Once I got there the green light still was not in, nor was it coming today. So I drove home, just in enough time to pick up Big Bro.
  • While picking up Big Bro I spoke with the agent and the Seller. They realize this is not my fault and are working with me and being unbelievably patient. I lost the connection but got it back while I was picking up the Twins. I reiterated my appreciation to the seller for his patience and indicated that women are strong and NEVER get in between a mama bear and her cubs!!!!! I see this house as an opportunity for better things for my family. I’m doing this for my children and want to see this happen for them.
  • We got to Red’s and then Big Bro rode his bike home.
  • We had a great dinner, and then had some dessert… leftover cupcakes from Red’s school. All kids were following me around like “dawn of the dead”…. I cut up the cupcakes, dished out the pieces in paper plates, and asked the kids to sit at the table. THEY RAN. I distributed the dessert AND THE PLACE WAS SILENT as they were busy gobbling up their dessert. I cleaned up as they enjoyed their sugar.
  • Afterwards, there was a lot of running around upstairs. I finished cleaning up and made it upstairs and told the kids to calm their bodies down… threatening loss of bike privileges if they do not listen. They eventually calmed down, I had Twins ready in their room for books, and invited Big Bro and Red to join us. They were wonderful. I had all kids around me and quiet. And Big Bro and Red were excited about sharing in the routine with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. Big Bro even read a book to them. I am so proud on so many levels.
  • Twins did their kissing routine, as did I. “I….. love….. you…… sweet dreams….” Blow kisses.
  • Big Bro read a book to me, and then I did the same for him and Red. I am stunned at the fact that he is now reading. I just can’t believe it. It seemed to happen so quickly. He’s only in Kindergarten!!!! I don’t remember doing this in Kindergarten. Are we pushing our kids to hard to fast??? I wonder… But he is like a sponge and he is so quick and logical and questioning and a person learning about who he is and HE LOVES BOOKS!!! 🙂
  • I am typing now in the hallway since Red was scared and needy. Big Bro passed out asleep in about 2 minutes and I hear his deep breathing now.
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    Tonight went well. I was on my own and it went fine. I am a bit worn out from the shear emotional exhaustion that comes from buying a house. And also the various aspects of the divorce. I am not too concerned about work right now but I should be. Our client final deliverable is next week and my head is NOWHERE near that project right now. That needs to be fixed tomorrow. I also need some closure on my mortgage. I need that green light. That mortgage approval is coming between my cubs and their new home and I don’t like the feeling of being in limbo.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    March 6: Cooking, cleaning, and clobbering


    It is a windy Chocolate Tuesday! It was a good morning – all kids were obviously excited about their Nutella chocolate breakfast. Twin Crazy first said that she wanted oatmeal and then changed her mind (rightfully so) when she learned from her older siblings that it was Tuesday.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I checked work email first and responded to some messages related to some work I was doing on behalf of our Europe office. I also gave some feedback to client team members on some deliverables that I reviewed last night, that way they have this feedback first thing in the morning when they get to their desks.
  • We woke up to a cold house this morning – 64 degrees. The heat was not turned on last night.
  • Twin Crazy peed through her diaper so her bed was soaked. I have to buy night-time diapers for these two.
  • Big Bro was hiding under his covers. At first we didn’t think he was in his room, but he wasn’t in my room either. Where is Big Bro? I admit that I was a bit nervous. I changed Twin Husky quickly and went to his room and quickly felt ontop of the bundle of covers and hit a knee or leg or something. He’s here! Whew. He was laughing since he tricked us.
  • Big Bro asked to see a picture of a Batman lego so he could color in his batman picture. I googled it and found an image for him. He knows about how I can do this on my phone and makes these random requests to me all the time.
  • Downstairs Red said that she was going to eat 100 pieces of bread for chocolate tuesday. Big Bro said that that doesn’t make any sense. If she were to eat 100 pieces of bread her stomach would explode. I laughed and told him that I absolutely LOVE this stage that he is in. He reasons all of the time. He challenges you when things make sense or they do not. He comes up with alternatives. He negotiates. He manipulates. He is on his toes and it keeps me on mine.
  • Twin Husky was shoving his face into his cereal bowl to lick up the milk. Eventually he figured out how to lift the bowl to drink the milk. So cute. He was in a great mood this morning.
  • Vitamins! All kids went nuts. One of the brands offers “fish” and “star” shapes and Big Bro wanted a “star” so Twin Husky asked for a “star” too. Then they both started dancing around chanting “star! star! star! star!”. It was so cute. Brothers. Male-bonding. Over a star vitamin.
  • I put Vitamin E on Twin Crazy’s owie on her nose. It is a really bad scab now and I’m concerned that it is going to fall off too fast. It would be a shame to have a scar on that cute little face of hers. We talked about Big Bro’s scabbed knee and how nicely it healed. And Big Bro noticed it too and was going to say something about it… how his skin is clean and how you can’t see much of a scab anymore.
  • Red got changed without a problem. She has a new “system” for putting on her socks which she was explaining to me. I was only half listening.
  • Big Bro was ready to ride with the Motley Crew. He called for me and said goodbye and I called for him and told him I loved him and for him to have a great day. He was off.
  • Even though we were early, we divided up the drop offs. Red requested me since she did not have me yesterday. I said goodbye to the twins and told them to have fun today. Twin Crazy wanted me to sit in the front seat and drive. So sweet. So nice to feel needed. I told her I would pick her up after school.
  • Red looked so cute in the back seat of the car. She was sitting there with her baby doll all smiles. I love how she looks at me when we have this time together. I called her my little buddy. Drop off went very smoothly and it looked like she was excited to be with her friends.
  • On the way to the car I checked email and found out that I secured a very, very difficult organization who will participate as a speaker at one of the forums. YES!!!! I am psyched. Apparently our firm has tried in the past without much success but I was able to land it through LinkedIn of all sources! YES!!!
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    I will be very busy today. Back to back meetings with some breaks in between where I will need to get work done. It will be fast and furious today. I will need to get a good breakfast on the way to work.

    I’m on the ferry now and feeling good. There was good separation between us this morning so I feel stress-free. I got a tremendous night’s sleep. My plans are coming together for my solo weekend. I’m am feeling good (as of now).

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    Another busy day….

  • The office move is still going well. I am “squatting” in someone’s office until my furniture arrives. No problem. I’m easy when it comes to stuff like that. I saw an equipment cart and thought it was great… it was for one of the contractors who are working on our space. The cart made me laugh which was a great way to start my working day.
  • I followed up with some emails regarding the forums we are having in April, in terms of guest attendance and also potential speakers.
  • I had a primary interview with the project team with one of our client colleagues. It was a good meeting.
  • I met with an ex-colleague who works at a company that we would like to invite as a guest for one of our meetings in April.
  • I met with the team in the AM to go over what we were going to review with the client during our status meeting in the afternoon. I added some content and made some suggestions — they handed it off to the client in time for their review.
  • We had our client review meeting and it went REALLY well. They appreciate the tangible work provided to them so far, and they understand the methodology of market sizing we are using. Our first “interim” project review will be next week and we will be so far along with the client – we can use the time together to go over scenarios and impact versus showing them analysis for the first time.
  • I requested my admin to schedule some meetings for planning purposes for the forums; speaker requests and content that the audience will want to have covered.
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    The ferry home was enjoyable. I feel good about the day and feel like I’m making progress on many fronts at work. I also feel good about the kids and am looking forward to what this year will bring, once we get passed the storm and once we know that the kids will adjust.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Red first. She was busy playing with a friend in the playground. Her smiling face is so sweet – she shows so much joy. She is so playful and free-spirited.
  • We picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky next. They were excited to show me the little cars they were playing with. I noticed that they always were right near each other… parked together either side by side or in a line together. I wonder if all kids in small daycares behave like this together or is it the fact they are twins? I can’t tell.
  • We picked up Big Bro and again he rode his bike home. I asked him earlier in the trip if he was OK and if it was OK for me to go ahead without him. He excitedly reported back “YES Mommy!!!”. I turned the hazards off and slowly accelerated, looking at him in my rear-view mirror.
  • As I pulled into the garage, Red stated that tonight is my night with Big Bro and Red for bedtime routine. I unpacked the kids and the stuff and waited for Big Bro’s return. He came back all smiles, gave me a fist-pump, and pushed the button to close the garage door.
  • Inside, I gave the kids a small gold-fish cracker snack. Then started dinner. I made chicken cutlets with homemade breadcrumbs. The kids helped me make the breadcrumbs and also made a mess on the floor which Big Bro vaccumed up. Big Bro also pounded the chicken. They set the table. They were amazingly cooperative. I think the snack helped, along with keeping them busy and keeping them feeling useful.
  • All ate well. Red was a scavenger and ate up everyone’s string-beans. Big Bro, despite helping to cook the chicken, rejected it completely.
  • Afterwards Big Bro and Twin Husky had an issue with a ball – Big Bro grabbed the ball away from Twin Husky and actually hit him on the head. I couldn’t believe it. I think it even surprised Big Bro. I sent him upstairs. He kept coming down. I threatened his bike ride for tomorrow. He came out again. I threatened his bike ride for Thursday. He finally stayed quiet and sulked with Legos. He wound up losing his two bike rides.
  • After cleaning up, I went upstairs because I wanted to read with Big Bro. I think he felt bad and needed some reinforcement. He was playing Legos so I let him be. I changed Twin Crazy into pajamas, put some Vitamin E on her scab-less face to hopefully avoid a scar, and then everyone wound up coming upstairs.
  • I had Big Bro and Red tonight. I read to them. They were great with their teeth. We did “magnets” (responsibility boards) and Big Bro insisted that he did not earn magnets for several of the items — even those that I would have given to him…. He felt guilty about hitting Twin Husky. We talked about it. He said he felt bad. I reassured him that even though his behavior was bad tonight that he is still loved. And Red even said that “You still love us even if we have bad behavior”. I also wanted to make sure that he FEELS loved. Its one thing to say it all the time but its another thing to really FEEL loved. And I asked him if he felt loved and he responded yes. So I think we ended on a good note despite the hitting and not listening episode. It really is a shame since he was SOOOOOOOOOOO cooperative after school. Riding his bike home, helping with dinner, cleaning up, setting the table. He was a dream tonight. I don’t know what went wrong.
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    I wound up holding their hands as they went to sleep. I’m downstairs now thinking about the day and feeling good. I’m thinking about the work I need to do tomorrow and feel like it will be a good day.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    February 28: The first of many skinned knees


    Nutella “Chocolate Tuesday”!!!! There were no breakdowns this morning. All kids were cooperative and EASY!!!! I missed out on most of them last night since I had an appointment. I walked into the house into an eruption of “Mommy’s home Mommy’s home!!!”. I kissed and hugged each of the twins goodnight. Sweet dreams. I…. love…. you!!!! Big Bro was already asleep. Red was up and hugging me hard and smiling that I was home. I helped her with her teeth, read a book to her, tucked her in. She was smiling from ear to ear. I felt bad that Big Bro was waiting for me but fell asleep before I got there.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red and Big Bro were already dressed and ready. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were ready for chocolate! All kids were singing Chocolate Tuesday Chocolate Tuesday Chocolate Tuesday…. even the twins. They’ve really taken to this weekly tradition. Twin Husky was acting goofy again and smiling with the chocolate and was acting so cute.
  • I talked with Big Bro about him being the “leader” during the Motley Crew ride into school. He told me the assignments of the kids and the days of the week. He will be leader each and every Monday. I asked him how it went and he said “fine”. I asked him if he liked being the leader and he nodded yes but didn’t talk much since his face was full of Nutella tortilla.
  • We also talked about his new book for school – their homework is to read one book a night and they are easy readers. There is a set of them that are so cute because they are small and square and the pictures just crack me up. So this morning we were looking at the book and all the kids wanted to see the book and the picture.
  • I packed up Big Bro’s lunch and had to hide what I pack. Otherwise he throws a fit over something if he doesn’t agree with it and I just don’t need that kind of argument in the morning.
  • We were all ahead of schedule. Big Bro was waiting for us to tell him it was OK to go over to the Motley Crew street. Red was putting on her shoes and jacket. The twins put on their shoes (and Red helped Twin Husky). I gathered jackets and blankets and Tigers. We were ready. He was calling for me and told me good bye Mommy! We drove the van around the other part of our street circle so we could follow Big Bro over to the Motley Crew. I wish I would have taken a picture of his face. He was riding so fast and keeping up with the van and laughing and smiling and having fun being on his own.
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    Now I’m on the ferry and thinking about work and thinking about lawyer bills and how the hell are we going to get through this divorce without going broke. We honestly cannot agree on anything. Something that should be so rational becomes a power-play. I’m glad that there is a mediator involved since we will soon reach the point where she has authority to make the decisions on our behalf. We need to do the same on the financial front. We need to get that process started ASAP.

    I will be busy at work. I need to refine the materials that we will review with our client today. I need to work on the questionnaire for the surveys we will be doing and presenting on in April [top priority for today]. I have a status call for another forum but I am not excited about it since we are not getting ANY traction. Lastly, I need to start reaching out to speakers for both forums since that takes lead time and I am concerned that I am running against the clock – we have two months to go and I need to get the draft agendas together ASAP.

    I’m looking forward to being in our new office. What’s for lunch today???!!?!?!?!?

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    OMG so busy!

  • The walk to the NEW office was great. Lots of people, walking by stores, restaurants, activity. And bars! Irish Bars!!! Yeah! I took a picture and later emailed it to the entire 15-person office.
  • I led a meeting with our partners on go-to-market activities for a potential new forum. I suggested just picking a date and a place for a “formation meeting” that way we can go forward more forcefully for participation. We could also go-to-market with the meeting date and place more prominent and talk about who has already committed to further prompt interest. I asked one of the newer people on the team to look at our existing materials to see if the message could be made more compelling.
  • I then switched gears and focused on deliverables for our client meeting today at 2 PM. I reviewed, edited the discussion document with our preliminary findings and also refined the interview guide (our first interview is tomorrow). They loved the work so far. We have to keep them liking our work….
  • I spent time doing outreach for another forum we are trying to launch.
  • I also spent time refining the survey instrument for one of our meetings in April. We need to get that done and fielded so we can have 2 presentations underway.
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    It was very busy, I felt very productive. And I am happy to be headed home. I have fish defrosting in the refrigerator and a lemon on hand so I am expecting a great dinner. Can’t wait to hug my kids and make up for lost time!

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Big Bro first. I stayed by the van as he ran down to the other side of the school to pick up his bike and ride it back. I watched him run away from me, but he stopped two or three times to look back in my direction. There was a period of one or two minutes where he was out of my sight. Getting his helmet on, getting on his bike, and riding through the playground (probably in loops) and through corridors on the outsides of buildings and weaving in and out…. and then he came into my sight. He is AOK and having fun. He was having so much fun that he wouldn’t stop riding. He just kept going and going despite my calls to him. So when he approached at full speed I jumped in his path (big mistake). We crashed and he wound up with a scraped knee.
  • It was a loud ride over to pick up the Twins. And still a loud ride when going over to get Red. We were quick so we could get him taken care of back at home.
  • At home, all kids got shoes and jackets off; I quickly threw on some rice and put the almost defrosted salmon in the microwave to thaw. Then I tended to Big Bro – cleaning his scraped knee, putting on ointment, and then helping him with a huge bandaid and tape around the edges. This is his war wound. We both apologized to each other.
  • Dinner was great. Red ate most of the salmon. Big Bro was able to eat. Twin Crazy was showing us her belly. Twin Husky is in his “throwing” stage and he just kept throwing food, to our dismay.
  • After dinner I cleaned up and then got Twin Crazy changed into PJs.
  • Then it was time to get upstairs…. I got Twin Husky changed while kissing his belly and having him jump into the air and giggle.
  • I then took care of Big Bro and Red, per their request. It was a good night. They were both cooperative. We talked a lot.
  • I’m in bed now, feeling tired – feeling like I have a lot to do on a personal front but feeling like I just don’t have the energy in me to attend to it. But I should. So I will. I’ll call it a night for now.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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