September 28: Feeling valued in all directions


New seasons. New beginnings. New starts.

This morning was about reconnecting with my eldest children since I did not spend much time with them last night. They even said that they didn’t get enough “mommy time” that night so I promised them if they woke up early, got dressed, and ate breakfast that I PROMISED that each of them would have special “mommy time” in the morning. They agreed and started to think about what activities they wanted to do with me. They also agreed that it was OK for the other to take part in each other’s selected “mommy time”. How cute.

Highlights of my Morning and Commute:

  • Surprisingly, BIG BRO is the first one awake. Unbelievable. He starts talking about how he wants me to read the book he has in his hands for his mommy time. I say, OK. We go in to get Red. She is excited about “mommy time” too.
  • Both kids get dressed SO FAST and the three of us head downstairs. The Twins are not even up yet!!
  • We have a guest bedroom downstairs so each of us cuddle in the bed and I read the book to the two of them.
  • Red decides that she wants me to put her kid make up on her for her “mommy time”. I suggest that we eat breakfast first. She agrees.
  • Twins are busy eating cereal with Hubby. They are so cute. Twin Husky is busy pointing at things and saying words. Twin Crazy is just busy trying to balance the cereal on her spoon. Both seem very happy. I can’t believe how big they are getting.
  • I fix Big Bro and Red their breakfast; Big Bro gets a trio of jelly on his bagel and Red eats TWO packages of oatmeal. “Oatmeal, oatmeal” repeat both Twins. So they get some oatmeal too.
  • Diaper changes with the Twins gives me a chance to connect with them too, albeit too briefly. Twin Husky is in such a good mood this morning. Crouching and jumping, crouching and jumping. So active. Twin Crazy is a bit cranky this morning for some reason.
  • I get changed, pack up the daycare bag, and we pack up the kids. Hubby and I are dividing and conquering again today. He’ll take Red, I take the Twins and Big Bro.
  • OK time to go!!!!!!!! Again, I feel like we’re running late, so I’m blasting music and hauling ass. The Doors are on. I’m feeling good. Twin drop off was great; Twin Crazy felt compelled to bring in ALL her stuffed animals from the van into daycare. She is needy today. Twin Husky is all smiles.
  • Drop off for Big Bro is so sweet. He is so big. He towers over most kids in his Kindergarten class – but I know he is so sensitive, reflective. He isn’t a “bully” kind of big boy.
  • I make the ferry in time.

Today for work I have more to do about the conferences for next week.   It’s coming up!

Highlights of my Working Day:
I was so busy today!!!! It was great – got lots done and getting ready for next week.

  • Reworked some agendas, reviewed presentations, provided presenter feedback, finalized one agenda and sent it out to all meeting attendees, etc. etc. etc.
  • Also started refining the two other meetings we will have; finalized presenters, set up meetings to refine content topics
  • Set up “sales” meeting for another initiative we were launching
  • Held an “off the cuff” strategy meeting over lunch with 2 Directors; thinking through who on our team could provide leadership capability and decided on a core group to create and drive strategy. I’m on that team!!!
  • I was in a relatively great mood; I actually belly laughed several times — one time so loudly that even though my office door was shut, and a Director’s office door was shut, the sound of my laughter found its way into his office.    It felt wonderful to laugh like that.

I’m coming from today’s work feeling very valued and appreciated. Folks internally are pulling together to work with me to make the meetings next week a success; I am the go-to person but we’re all pulling together and I feel very energized.

I’m on the ferry back and thinking of my children. I love coming home early to pick them up. I’ve discussed here on this blog over the last several weeks/months about going on a reduced work-week; well this will happen after I get through next week’s meetings. I am very much looking forward to that.

My kids really enjoyed their “mommy time” this morning. I want to think of more “mommy time” stuff for the evenings as well. I want to show them that they each matter individually. I can’t wait to see them now. Now more than ever. I can’t wait to see their faces and I HOPE I see smiles. I need smiles from them today. I want to help create those smiles. Smiles will keep me going.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Big Bro and he immediately said that he wanted more mommy-time.   Both of us drove over to pick up Red.
  • In the parking lot, I felt like I had a bug bite or something on my butt.   So of course I make a big deal of it – “I think I have a bug bite on my butt.  How silly.  Why on earth would a bug want to bite a butt?????”  Big Bro replies:   “I can check for you when we get home Mommy.”   How cute.
  • Red wanted to hold Big Bro’s hand across the parking lot (one of our rules is that to cross a street or in a parking lot, EVERYONE must hold a hand).
  • Both of them decide that they want us to go home first for a mommy-time activity before going to get the Twins.   How cute.   It was 5:30 so I gave in to them.
  • At home, they decided that their mommy-time activity would be water-color painting.   I really didn’t do much, so I’m not sure how they saw it as mommy-time, but I did help them with paper (Me:  “I’m on paper duty”.  Big Bro:  “I’m on color duty”).  I also helped them with the water changes, and encouraged their art.   They really are creative and I always make a big deal out of the stuff they make.

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  • We then go to pick up Twins.   I make it fun by saying they can get in the van WITHOUT ANY SHOES ON!!  How fun!!!!
  • Twins squeal when they see me – open arms, laughs, and “mommy!  mommy!  mommy!”
  • At home we have to trouble-shoot a bit with the kids.   Red is having a hard time; Big Bro is also teasing her a bit.  Twins are great.  I ask our mother’s helper to help entertain the Twins so Hubby and I can focus on the bigger ones; they seem more needy today.
  • Dinner is a hit; so much so that everyone had vanilla pudding afterwards.
  • All kids went completely crazy next.  There was a lot of jumping, falling on the floor, jumping over the Elmo chair…. I think this was prompted by me asking Twin Crazy to do his “crouch and jump”.   It just cracked me up so much.  Belly-laughs.    This little toddler doing crouch and jump and falling backwards and saying “crouch and jump” the whole time… and then the rest of the kids jumping and running and falling on the floor.   There was “look-it mommy!” going all over the place and I had to make sure I was watching everyone and making my laughs seem like they were for everyone too.
  • At bedtime we changed the Twins and talked about some pictures in a book and sang some songs and did kisses all around.   They go out like a charm.
  • Big Bro and Red were fast tonight too.   I think all the running around wore them out.  Red wanted me to help her with her PJs; she wanted me to look in backpacks to find her favorite yellow shirt; Big Bro wanted me to read the story to them, and he had his head on my lap the entire time.
I had a very, very, full day.   It was a good day.    Filled with people around me who showed their appreciation and how much I’m needed — both at work and with my little ones.   Honestly a working mother couldn’t ask for much more.
Til tomorrow –
– Mama K
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September 27: Solo with the children and myself


Today is Chocolate Tuesday! Whew. This will make the morning easier!

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I wake up to Red asking me if it is not wake up time since it is not 8 AM. I explain that yes, it is wake up time, 8 AM is only for the “home days” or weekends. So then she says, “OK so GET UP mommy!!!” She asks for a pony-tail and looks soooooooooooooooo sweet.
  • Twin Husky is clingy today. Needing Hubby. I also think he may be going through a growth spurt because it seems like he is hungry non-stop. Cereal. Oatmeal. Bread. MORE, MORE, MORE….
  • Twin Crazy is sweet. She squeals when I pick her up. We talk about what she wants for breakfast and I talk about cereal, bread, oatmeal…. this piqued her interest. Oatmeal it is. She loves it.
  • Big Bro is busy eating is bagel and chocolate.
  • I bring clothes down but Red already brought some down too. She wants to wear a yellow shirt. So now she has a choice between two sets of clothes. She is laughing at this.
  • Big Bro and Red finish their breakfasts – TIME TO GET DRESSED! Big Bro likes for me to help him even though he can do it all himself. I think it’s his way and manipulating more “mommy time”. I always give in since we have fun together.
  • Twins get diaper changes and are ready to go.
  • Hubby and I do split drop offs again today since it is past 8 AM. He drops of Red, I take the Twins and Big Bro.
  • Hubby drives in to work today and asks if I will join him. I opt for the Ferry instead.

I am feeling so down today. For personal reasons I feel frustrated, patronized, and am just flat out mad.

I will be busy at work today. I think if today goes well, I’ll feel much better about the upcoming conferences. Once the agendas are finalized and the guest speakers are all confirmed, I will feel less anxiety. And then I’ll be able to focus on the content part of the work, which is more interesting for me.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I thankfully secured one of two open speaker slots for the two conferences (whew).
  • I found out this morning that one speaker I thought was unconfirmed is actually about 90% confirmed; the problem is that we already have a replacement so if she actually winds up coming, the Agenda will be PACKED.
  • I started to read/review presentations and worked with our admin for final logistics.

I’m on the ferry now alone, Hubby is going out for dinner/drinks after work. I’m looking forward to the kids, but I’m also so emotionally drained. I’d like to go to sleep tonight right after the kids do and after I get these posts out.

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I pick up Big Bro first and then we get Red. Then the Twins and we are all together.
  • I bring in an “activity” to keep the kids entertained while I make dinner.  Hubby is out with friends so I am solo.   The activity for this evening is “stamping”.    Big Bro and Red quickly get organized and start stamping away.  The Twins don’t know what the hell is going on and they have ink all over the place and they don’t know what to do with the stamps.   So they of course get frustrated.  And then Twin Crazy steps in a big pile of old oatmeal that was left on the floor from this morning’s breakfast.  I quickly bring out the markers for them.  Note to readership:  what other quick “activities” do you do with your kids to keep them occupied when you are preparing dinner?
  • Dinner prep is easy and fast; but the Twins are having issues.   Twin Husky wants to be held up high so he could look at things and point and ask questions about what these things are.   Twin Crazy is very particular about the cup she is drinking from.   I’m on the 3rd cup with her when I quit.
  • Kids settle down when they are at the table.  There is laughing and eating.   Twin Husky needs to see the pepper-mill so I give it to him.   I think he wants it because he sees Hubby with it all the time.
Twin Husky needs that pepper-mill

Twin Husky needs that pepper-mill

  • After dinner we start to clean up the kids.   Twin Husky has mysteriously found the pretend make up and put it all over his face — I don’t know HOW he did it so quickly from table to kitchen, but he did it.   Trying to get the stamp ink and marker ink off the Twins was a challenge and we didn’t do a good job at it.
  • Then they have a good time playing – Big Bro sets out the “car mat” for Twin Husky.  I pull out cars for him.
  • There is still more crankiness and tears so I decide to start PJs.   Big Bro and Red are so cute since they are trying hard to clean up Twin Crazy from the marker on her face and hands.   Big Bro just started doing this on his own, and Twin Crazy looked up at him and let him.   Then Red joined in.   She had two older siblings working on her at the same time.   How sweet.  Twins are in bed at 7 PM which is much earlier than usual.
  • Big Bro and Red just walk right into their rooms so we go through with bedtime routine with them too — earlier than normal, but honestly poor Big Bro is so exhausted all the time that I think he needs an early rest.
So now I’m alone and it is VERY early — trying to decide what to do with myself.  I think I’ll just go to sleep and call it a day.
Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

September 26: Pretty in Pink


I’m coming from a bad weekend. On a scale of 1-10, it was a 2. Today I’m groggy, hungry, have no coffee, and am feeling down.  I’m on the ferry now with all the kids at daycare/preschool/Kindergarten. Back to reality.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • All kids sleep late this morning. We have to peel them out of their beds.
  • Today is a cheerio cereal morning for 75% of the kids. The Twins are doing well with spoons but we had several occurences of spilled bowls and Cheerios/milk all over the place and all over them. Plus, Twin Crazy has a habit of taking her bowl and walking around the entire first floor when we are not looking. So there were also trails of cereal and wet milk all over the rugs.
  • Red is initially upset and yelling when I bring down her clothes. This is because she already picked out her underwear and socks. She is extremely mad at me for this. “No problem! I’ll just put this stuff away and we’ll pick out a pair of shorts together. No problem.” She is a breeze after that. She has 3 bowls of cereal.
  • Big Bro is a handful this morning. He does not want to come downstairs without holding my hand (he needs “mommy time”). But I am in the middle of diapering the Twins and also getting Red dressed (and hugging her for mommy time), so he has to wait. It wasn’t until 8 AM until we walked down together. We dress him quickly (mommy time) and I grab some things that he could eat in the car for breakfast.
  • Hubby and I split the drop offs since we are running late. He takes Red, I take the Twins and Big Bro. The daycare provider seems honestly happy and thrilled to see the Twins again. Lots of kisses.
  • I drive Big Bro to Kindergarten and we quickly force some applesauce down this throat in the van before leaving for the line-up. When we enter his class, he turns to me and gives me a huge hug — even though we are in front of his friends.  How sweet.
  • I just make it to the Ferry in time. They were closing the gate as I ran up. This was a close call.
  • So, it is obvious to me that my kids feel like they need more of me today. I feel bad about that. I’ll need to make it up to them in the evenings this week. Make sure I spend some 1-on-1 time with each of them.

Today at work will be the first day of a very busy week. I have guest speakers to still book, presentations to review, and final logistics to take care of. We have our two forums next week and this will be my first time doing this. I need to rock this so that I can position myself for a lighter work-week going forward.

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • I arrive in the office and have 10 minutes to look at email (some were quite important, dealing with potential presenters at upcoming forums)
  • I then have  a 1.5 hour presentation review; consultants presented to me findings of the data compilation of one of our forums; I give suggestions and probe for the “drivers” and why the data is trending the way it is. If we don’t have the answers, that’s OK.  These are the types of questions that will be PERFECT to the forum to get conversation going.
  • I attend another meeting related to a separate project. I’m not sure exactly why I was there. I didn’t add much to the conversation and I really had a lot of other stuff to do.
  • I arranged/secured two presenters for conferences; I received some presentation from guest speakers and will need to start to review them.

So, work is busy, but not extremely scary. Next week will be a BIG trip. I will be facilitating and presenting and winging it for TWO forums; I don’t mind getting in front of a crowd; I am looking forward to the networking and getting to know people. I get to get dressed up and maybe I’ll even wear some flashy shoes. 🙂

So now I’m on the ferry home, missing my kids. I’m also extremely tired today. Emotionally drained.
Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I pick up Big Bro and delay the time with him so he feels good “mommy time”.  Together we go to Red’s pre-school.   I decide to ask him to pick out a book and we lay down on one of the couches and I read to him, and only him.   That is his dose of “mommy time”.  I hope he remembers and appreciates it.   Question to readership:    What kinds of activities do you do 1:1 with your kids that are “quick” and can be done in the daily course of your day??
  • We then find Red.  She is so sweet.
  • Lastly, the Twins. They are back at daycare.  They seem to be happy.   They are eating apple fruit bars.
  • Once at home, I clean up a bit.   I set up all the kids with markers and paper so they can draw and do art.  I think its so much fun now to have the Twins “closer” in capability to the older siblings.   So now they can do art now too when their older siblings are.   This is getting to be fun.
  • As they are creating, I try to decide what to create for dinner.  I decide to cop-out and make pancakes.   And I slice some canned peaches.  Sounds good to me, and the kids think this is funny.  Question to readership:    Have you EVER served breakfast at dinner?   If  so, how often can you get away with it???
  • As I set the kids at the table, I realize that Twin Husky has gotten into Red’s pretend make up.   He is busy applying it all over his face.
Twin Husky - Pretty in Pink

Twin Husky - Pretty in Pink

  • Hubby gets home after kids have eaten.  I’m changing ATTROCIOUS diapers.
  • I throw out the diapers outside — that’s how bad they are — and then walk into the sliding door on my way in.  Great.
  • Twins seem a bit cranky so we start bedtime routine early; Twin Crazy is barely holding on.
  • Red and Big Bro decide to do dance routines and acrobatics in their room before going to bed.  They crack me up.
So now it is the end of my first day back at work after a week of vacation, and after a week of working from home.   It was a tough, tough morning but work itself was OK.  It felt good to be back.   I think I can manage this conference stuff without too much stress (I think — get back to me after NEXT week…..).
Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

September 22: A gift with my Twins while working from home


So another day without a daycare provider for the Twins…. another day working from home while multi-tasking with two toddlers.   At least I don’t have any client conference calls scheduled…

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red needs mommy time this AM.  She sees what I’m wearing (blue leggings, white shirt) and she wants to match me.  She heads downstairs for breakfast.
  • I grab clothes for Big Bro and Red.  I try to match her outfit as best I can but it doesn’t match perfectly.  Big Bro is still in bed so I climb in there with him since I know he needs mommy time too.   We talk about the cut on his finger and if it feels better.  It does.  He wants a band-aid for it now.   We spend time together putting a band-aid on his finger.  He seems happy.   I gather his clothes but he is not happy with the shorts selection (they are too long).  We’ll see if there are shorts somewhere downstairs.  I ask for his hand and say that I am doing a “special delivery” of Big Bro to downstairs.  This makes him laugh.  We walk slowly down the stairs together, holding hands, so I can stretch out this time with him.
  • Twins are covered in milk and cereal.   There is milk all over the place.  They are soaked.   They then move on to applesauce.  What a mess.  These kids need to take some serious baths. 
  • Red and Big Bro eat a little.   We have some problems getting changed this AM.  Big Bro REALLY does not like his shorts, and Red completely rejects her outfit I picked out.   So I try another.   She rejects that one too.   She cries for Daddy.
  • Big Bro is on the hunt for a different pair of shorts.  I find one in the living room on top of a stack of clean (I think) clothes.    He rejects those.  Big Bro miraculously finds shorts.   I ask them where he found them and he smiled.   So on the floor of the laundry room, dirty????   “Yeah Mom”.   I just let this one go.   There are some battles that are just not worth fighting for.  He has a smile on his face so that’s good with me.
  • As Hubby is packing lunches he is using applesauce.   Twins see this and start squealing for applesauce.  Twin Crazy eats about 4 bowls of it and Twin Husky doesn’t do too bad either.    Everyone is covered in applesauce.
  • I change Twins’ diapers.   I put on different PJ bottoms for Twin Husky since he is soaked.  I change Twin Crazy’s shirt since she is soaked. 
  • Hubby helps Red.   She is pissed off at me.  
  • 1st drop off:   Big Bro.
  • 2nd drop off:   Hubby at Ferry.
  • 3rd drop off:  Red, with Twins in tow.   Of course they get lots of attention.  The teachers showed me a picture that Red drew of a smiley face.  It was pretty impressive.   The other kids made a lot of scribbles but hers actually looked like a smiley face with a colorful border.  The teachers were proud of her.  I made a big stink about it too.   I asked her if it was OK for me to put in on our refrigerator – and if it was OK for me to leave soon so I could do that for her.   She was grinning from ear to ear.   Melts my heart.

    Red's "Smiley Face"  -- 3 years old

    Red's "Smiley Face" -- 3 years old (notice the orange hair)

Highlights of my Working Day:

  • Pot of coffee, I eat everyone’s leftover breakfast.
  • I play a bit with the Twins.   I then give them a snack as I boot up my computer.   I send some quick emails and organize some meetings.
  • Twins look very tired, especially Twin Husky.   I ask them if its time for an “early nap” and they both run to the stairs.  I thought it was going to be a short one, but they slept for 2 hours!
  • During this time I attended a Webinar, organized some more meetings, and sent out some follow-up emails related to the forums that are coming up.  There are some empty guest speaker spots and I’m hoping to fill them with internal folks which shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Twins wake up at lunchtime.  I make them ground beef, peas, and cheese.   Beef, peas, and cheese.   It rhymes!    So I walk around saying Beef, Peas, and Cheese over and over again until its ready.  They eat well (so do I).   Twin Husky has some problems with forks/spoons but eventually shoves the food in his face.
  • We then play for quite a bit.   It is amazing but I feel like I’m getting to know them better.  How weird.  I am their mother.   For example, all Twin Husky needs to calm down is to be picked up and held softly for 1 minute.  Then he’s fine.   Twin Crazy is definitely the aggressor of the two.  She is spiteful.  She is a trouble-maker.  She will run up to Twin Husky and steal his toys and run away leaving him in the dust, crying.    When I ask her to come back and give him his toy, she listens, but she is definitely the more dominant one of the two, at least for now.   She also likes to invade his space, just for spite.   Just to see him cry.   But then there’s a soft side to her too.   They like to laugh together.  She likes to bring him crackers, his milk.   She is also a caretaker as well.   She is able to drink from a cup (no sippy!).  I didn’t know that about her.  How interesting that I’m seeing these personalities so much clearer now, just because I have more focused time with them.   I’m happy about this yet sad at the same time.

    Twin Crazy can drink from a cup

    Twin Crazy can drink from a cup - this is something I learned today

  • I have a conversation with a Director about immediate issues with the forums, and also hold Twin Husky as I send out more emails.   He says “ball” when looking at my Google Chrome icon on my computer.  So cute.
  • Now they are on a second nap, hopefully a short one.   I threw in some laundry.   I have to start thinking about dinner.   I get Red’s picture up on our refrigerator.
  • Twins wake up; I get them ready to go…

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • 1st pick up:  Big Bro.  2nd Pickup:  Red, with all kids in tow.   Red is in a different playground and it took us awhile to find her class.  3rd pick up:  Hubby at the ferry station.  We saw the boat come in.  Twin Husky:  “Boat.”   Red was hot with her long sleeve shirt so she decided to go topless.
  • We head home, I cook a quick dinner.  We are finished eating by 6:30.  Hubby and I drink beers.
  • Big Bro wants to do a project and I set up a race car painting project for him.   Then Red sees the project so I find a “paint by number” project for her.
  • Twins are having fun running back and forth and jumping on Hubby.
  • I’m having fun playing with all the kids; kissing all the kids; laughing with them.
  • They start to look tired early, so we bring them upstairs.   Twins look at books and point to pictures after we ask them where things are….. all are drinking milk.  All four are winding down.  Kisses to Twins and they are OUT.
  • Big Bro and Red are sweet.  Red keeps jumping on me; Big Bro is tired and already in bed, talking about numbers and letters and his painted racecar.

Now we’re downstairs – another wonderful day; although not very efficient on the work front.   I feel somewhat guilty that another person’s anguish (our daycare provider’s ill husband) has allowed me a special gift and glimpse into the lives of my youngest children.  After spending so much time with Big Bro and Red while on vacation, I feel so lucky to have this time now with the Twins.   I feel like I know them so much better now; I feel guilty that I’m not in tune with them as much as I was with the first two; but they still seem SO HAPPY and so well adjusted – they are loved and I know that they feel loved.  

I also know that I want more of this.  More time with all of them.  More time in the mornings to do the drop offs and in the afternoon with pickups from pre-school/school.   I don’t like feeling rushed with them.  It is not fair to them.   I want more time with my Twins.   I am fine working, but after tasting this kind of life I know I need more.   I need to make this happen on my terms at work; after the forums are complete in mid-October, and after I have proven myself to be an indispensible asset, I will lay out a plan with my superiors that discusses how I want to work.   On a reduced work week where most of my work time is spent from home.   I think this will bring much more balance and happiness to my life – despite costing our family in terms of income.

Till tomorrow –

– Mama K

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