January 6: Long overdue recap


Hi Mamas.    I’ve  been silent for about two weeks.   I guess the “winter break” for the kids was also my break from this blog and other facets of my life.  I’ve really enjoyed myself and feel incredibly well rested, full, and happy.   Some of the highlights from the past two weeks:

  • Seeing Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky in their holiday performance.  All stood up on “stage” with their “classrooms” and participated.  I was so proud of them.   Big Bro was a big supporter.
  • Putting up Christmas decorations with the kids.  Likewise, taking them back down two weeks later.
  • Christmas morning with the kids squealing at the four bikes that Santa left for them.   The fact that co-parent stayed over my place the night before to participate in Christmas Eve tradition and also the next morning festivities.  He made homemade waffles and I homemade whipped cream.   It was really great for the kids.
  • Making pumpkin muffins with our pumpkins from Halloween, and then distributing them to the neighbors up and down our street.
  • This year’s photo shoot with the kids all dressed up and including Cocoa the guinea pig.
  • NOT getting holiday cards sent out this year, for the 2nd year in a row.
  • Spending New Year’s Eve over a neighbor’s house with two kids Big Bro and Red’s ages.   Us kicking back, the kids playing, and all of us celebrating East Coast and Mountain New Years eve with champagne and sparkling blueberry juice for the kids.   Getting to know them better and feeling at home in their home.
  • Random dinner invitations with other neighbors and getting to know their kids and friends so well.   Big Bro and Red becoming better friends with the kids (also twins, six years old) and Red actually saying that her new friend is her favorite friend in this neighborhood.  Seeing Red’s face light up and smile, well GLOW actually, while playing with these new friends.
  • Dancing with Twin Husky and feeling his body move and head move to the music.  He loves Shania Twain’s “Forever and For Always” and he kept asking for us to dance to it again.  It is now “our song” and he is happy with that.
  • Playing “I love you” games with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.
  • Finishing the winter garden – everything is planted including onions, yams, mint, garlic chives, brussell sprouts, kale, carrots, sweet snap peas, fava beans, oregano, string beans, garlic, shallot, and beets.
  • Learning that Cocoa the guinea pig can eat the dandelion weeds on my property.  She loves them.  And I love that they are free and gives me a reason to weed briefly on a daily basis.
  • Red riding her bike with Big Bro over to her new best friend’s house.  She got a bit scared and I had to run over to her, but it was a HUGE milestone for her in my opinion.
  • Going to Target to buy balloons so Big Bro could show us how he can blow them up by himself.
  • NO DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAYS TO GET THE KIDS BACK AND FORTH TO SCHOOL/DAYCARE!!!!
  • Watching the girls play with their dolls together and do tea parties and care for the dolls.  Watching Twin Crazy care for her Baby Alive.   Seeing their friendship with each other grow before my very eyes.
  • Big Bro receiving a HUGE Lego set from my dad and step-mom and then him staying up (way past me) to complete the ENTIRE set.   When we all woke up the entire thing was finished and he was smiling not sure if I would be upset with him or not.
  • Going to a few outside activities (museums, farm/petting zoo) but mostly just staying near home, playing with friends, enjoying cooking and our fireplace.
  • Cooking with herbs from my garden.
  • Waking up to frost on the grass and even the winter garden.  The plants are doing fine.
  • On my off-night from the kids, watching my FIRST movie from my DVR.  Underworld.  I love vampires.  I can’t believe it took me 6 months living here to actually watch T.V.
  • Going to a yoga class yesterday morning and LOVING IT.
  • Signing myself up for an oil/acrylics art class and also a class for Big Bro…. soccer.  Going shopping for his shin-guards and also my paint-brushes, paints, and other supplies.
  • Working just a little bit.  Doing what I had to do, taking some vacation time and also some “sick” time since Twin Crazy had a fever and could not go to daycare.


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To be honest, I feel a bit “out of balance” in a good way.  I am totally vacated.  I’ve really enjoyed the time with the kids and also with myself.  I’m looking forward to 2013.  It’s already shaping up to be a good one.

– Mama K

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Random Thoughts: Organizing, and Donating to Extended Family non-profit


Hi there.   Quick note to let ya’ll know that I am still here.  It has been a long time since I’ve posted anything.

Maybe it’s because there’s just a lot going on.   Maybe because I’m finding other outlets to feel good about myself.  Maybe because I’m emotionally drained thinking about the past few weeks of tragedy – that in CT as well as one that touched my daughter too closely (remember my post about her 4-year old “classmate” in her daycare center that fell ill and died).   She talks about this still, asks questions, and yes, she breaks down and sobs about death and loss.  She has felt loss this year in other ways as well.

So, I just have not been writing as much.

But I’ve been having fun with the kids.   I’ve given and received more hugs and kisses to/from them than I ever thought possible.   I’ve been excavating my backyard and building my winter garden.  I’ve been getting ready for Christmas and am looking forward to making it special for the kids this year.   I’ve been cooking.   I’ve been organizing and shedding.   Going through closets and purging.  It feels good.  Feels good to get organized and make room.

An organized closet

During this process I collected quite a bit of usable, good clothing that others could get use out of.  I wanted to find homes for old suits that have been hanging around in my closet for longer than I care to admit.  I started a search to find a non-profit that directly benefits working mothers – and I found exactly what I was looking for.

Check out Extended Family.   Essentially they are a non-profit that assists single, working parents who are in need.   Unlike many other non-profits, 100% of all donations go to the single working parents and families in need – the organization does not fund its overhead with your donation – it is operated by volunteers and lead by Mark Carmer who backs the organization with his own money.   Look at their site, they do a much better job at describing themselves than I can.

According to Mark Carmer, Founder and President of Extended Family,

“We assist single parents who are truly alone and have no assistance from the other parent. These single parents are employed and working hard for their families, but find it’s still not enough.

We have found that single parents who are employed, in an effort to improve the lives of their children, often fail to qualify for government or charitable assistance… because they are earning an income.  Extended Family believes these are the people who should be supported the most.  We believe in helping those who are working hard to help their family, but are alone in doing so… and need a little help from Extended Family.”

Quite impressive, huh??!?!?!??!?    I quickly packaged up my piles of suits and shipped them off to Mark at Extended Family.   I am confident that they will find good homes for them.

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So, now I feel much better that I’ve written something.  And something that hopefully you can act on – if you are in search of a great non-profit to make a donation to before year-end, please consider Extended Family.

I may write another post before the end of the year, but I don’t want to promise anything.   In which case, be merry with your loved ones and gear up for 2013!!

Best to all –

– Mama K

January 20: Christmas again


I had the day off with my mom, brother , and kids. It is late now and we finished up setting gifts near a decorative Santa for tomorrow am. We are celebrating christmas with them tomorrow morning and the kids agreed to pretend that santa is arriving tonight – so we will wake up to presents tomorrow It should be fun.

Today? Had a blast with the kids. My mom and brother are surprised at how well the four of them can play together. They have their moments of fighting but then the next minute they are caring for each other.

  • we saw a rabbit
  • kids ran around the house
  • each kid opened up one gift and then they did so great all playing with each others gifts. It is so sweet to see them all together
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    I’m going to call it a night. I am physically and mentally drained. Have a great weekend everyone!!!

    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: Developing Traditions


    I’ve been writing about Chocolate Tuesdays in my daily journals and I also recently wrote about a rainy weekend when I took the kids out for ice-cream. I received a request from a fellow Mama to spend some time writing on this subject and also getting feedback from our Mama In Motion community on traditions that they do with their families, no matter how big or how small. This really does help keep sanity. It helps to promote stability and respect and positions the family as a unit, versus individuals “at odds” with one another. And this is perfect timing….

    Some of our day-to-day traditions:

  • I do “hugs and kisses in the morning” each and every morning with each of the kids. When Big Bro and Red were little babies, I used to make a song of it; but now at least its a round of hugs and kisses for each child and a big “good morning” for each of them.
  • I also play a “love” game with the kids – I try to do daily with Big Bro and REd, and would like to start it with the Twins now too since their old enough to get it. It goes like this: Me: “Did I tell you yet today how much I love you?!?!?”. Kid: “No” (or sometimes they say yes mommy…”. Me: “I love you so much that I am going to [kiss your ear], [pull your toe], [squeeze your nose], [mess up your hair], [tickle your belly] etc. etc. etc. And then as I do these things I say “THAT’s how much I love you, I love you, I love you so much…..”. It really is fun, because they know the game but don’t know how I’m going to express my love, whether its picking them up and spinning around, or chasing them, etc. They also do it back to me from time to time.
  • Each day and in relation to school/pre-school, I ask each kid to make sure that they 1) learn something new today; 2) exercise their bodies; and 3) laugh really hard about something. Then at the end of the day I ask them questions about what they did today to learn something new, exercise, and tell me a funny thing that made them laugh.
  • Chocolate Tuesdays – I found Nutella as another breakfast option that is really easy to put on bagels, toast, tortillas, etc. A good source of protein since it is made of hazelnut – and the kids love it because it really does taste like chocolately goodness. The problem was that they wanted it all the time. So we asked them to pick only ONE morning to have it – that day was a Tuesday so of course Big Bro suggested Tuesdays. So the tradition was borne.
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  • Movie Fridays – as a family we are a bit restrictive on the kids watching TV. Big Bro is the kind of kid that if he watches something in the day he will waste the day away (like me). So we have one night devoted to movies and popcorn: Friday nights. We love it as a family. Even the Twins now are getting into the popcorn even if they don’t have the attention span for the whole movie. I have lots of pictures of the four of them lined up on the couch eating popcorn and mesmerized by the movie – although this is fleeting and Red and the Twins tend to get bored and move on to other activities.
  • Saturday AM pancakes
  • Sunday AM waffles
  • Bathtime/ showertime is big in our house. We may not be able to do it as frequently as we would like, but all of the kids together is too much fun. The four kids used to bathe together in the one big HUGE tub in our room; now Big Bro takes a shower while the other 3 take a bath together. They LOVE it.
  • If the kids eat “two colors” at dinner, they get chocolate milk afterwards. I tell them that they have to listen to their body to know if they are full or not. I don’t force them to eat. But they must at least try two colors of food to get the milk at the other end.
  • Bigger traditions:

  • Christmas Eve: We make home-made pasta together. This is something my grandmother used to do whenever we would visit her, but I wanted to make it a tradition on Christmas eve. The thought is that we can make homemade linquinine or other shapes, and then diversify year by year with different sauces. It is hard work and takes time (even with a Kitchenaide mixer), but my thought is that as the kids get older, they will take over and with four of them they will be able to work together to get the job done faster, or at least switch off when they get tired.
  • Christmas eve: we also bake Chocolate Chip cookies during the day for Santa. We leave these out at night along with a cup of milk and carrots for the reindeer. We take baths and get into our chistmas pajamas, take pictures by the tree, and I have each of the kids draw a picture for Santa. It is the cutest thing to see each of them in their PJs busy at work, creating a special picture for Santa. In years past we’ve had pictures of airplanes, choo-choo trains, circles, and scribbles. I think it will be wonderful for them to have when they get older… so they get to see what meant so much to them when they were little and how they gifted their creativity to Santa each and every year while they believed.
  • Each year right before 9/11, we go to the store and buy gifts for the firefighters. We wrap them up and then on the day of 9/11 we visit the firestation and give them their gifts. Last year we got a crazy tour of the truck, they got to go inside the truck, and we all got a tour of the fire-house.
  • For Easter, the easter bunny not only gives them candy, but also TOOTHBRUSHES. The kids absolutely love getting them in their baskets.
  • We also do TOOTHBRUSHES in stocking stuffers at christmas time.
  • Things I’m thinking of:

  • With four kids, I’m thinking of having a poliana at Christmastime that the kids can do with each other.
  • Also with so many kids, I’m thinking of toning down Christmas (to one gift each) and spending the real celebration on their birthdays – which are more meaningful to me. The thought of celebrating a person’s life…. the fact that they are who they are…. and celebrating their uniqueness and what they mean to you, seems so much more worthy in my mind than the pile of presents at Christmastime for EACH child….
  • What are some of YOUR traditions? Big or small — share them all!!!!

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