December 14: A lllllloooooonnnnnnngggggg Day


Wednesday. I usually work a 1/2 day from home. This was not one of those days. A meeting with a potential client could only be scheduled for today at 4 PM (we’ve been trying to schedule it unsuccessfully up til this point) so since I had to have the meeting at 4 PM, I decided to keep all kids in daycare/after-care and simply put my head down and get work done. But it started early, and it ended late – it’s 9:30 PM right now as I try to pull this post together.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Woke up extremely early since I had a 8 AM conference call scheduled with a client. I ran to the shower and tried to boogie to get myself together.
  • Red came into my room and was so cute how she was playing with her Christmas confetti from yesterday. She was treating each piece like it was gold. She spread all of the pieces out and then sorted them by color, then by shape, then made shapes out of the pieces…. all the while treating each piece carefully and not losing track of any of her treasure. It was so sweet how meticulous she was and how enraptured she became of the pieces and the games she was creating with the pieces. She’s getting savvy with me and my phone camera so refused to smile for a picture so I decided to capture her only her treasure in a photo, alone.
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  • I tried gently to get Big Bro up. He is not a morning person. The poor guy is always so tired in the morning; I’m convinced that this kid still needs an afternoon nap. In fact on weekends, he can nap for 4 hours without a problem (except getting him to fall asleep) on a Sat or Sun. The poor guy. I gathered clothes for Big Bro and Red, and then asked him to come downstairs with me and hold my hand. That seemed to work. I’m trying to be extra-sensitive to the “mommy-time” I give to each kid.
  • Once downstairs, the concept of a child’s “treasure” intrigued me. So I wanted to capture Twin Crazy’s treasure of thumb-sucking blankets and her bears that she needs for comfort, as well as Twin Husky’s “tiger” (he has two, one tiger and one white leopard). I was successful at capturing Twin Crazy, but she figured out her zippers so she is 1/2 clothed. As for Twin Husky, he started to unzip his PJs too but you can’t see it – the picture is awful because he was playing hard-to-get with me. But nonetheless, here are the Twins with their “treasures”.
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  • For Big Bro, I really didn’t capture any of his treasures but I can talk to them. He is very particular and an extremely opinionated and loyal child to his treasures. His Hess line of toy trucks, airplanes, race-car and digger are some of his favorites. He also treasures his scooter and the freedom it gives him to ride to school with him up ahead of me, but me close-by and following his lead. He likes to collect things and organize them. He also is into beads lately. He keeps his smaller treasures in an old diaper wipe container, the plastic kind with the push-top lid. He needs to sleep with a big pink teddy bear (that was given to us when Red was born) and Bullseye, the trusted horse in Toy Story (I call him “that horsie-guy). And now I know what images I can share with you:
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  • We were very rushed this morning. Running around like mad trying to get kids fed, dressed, and out of the door in a reasonable time so Hubby could do the three drop offs, I could make my 8 AM call, and he could get to the ferry by 8:30. Thankfully my phone was on and I noticed that my 8 AM call was pushed to 8:30; So I gathered Red, and Hubby gathered Big Bro and the Twins, and we were off. There was no way Hubby would have ever made it if my call was not pushed back. Tension was high particularly between Hubby and Big Bro — being rushed while tired is not a good combination for the little guy.
  • Red’s drop-off went great. Her performance at pre-school is tomorrow where they sing songs for the parents. I encouraged her to sing real loudly so that the back wall can hear her. I told her I was proud that she knows all of the words and am so excited for her – it will be a fun game for her and her friends to sing real loud and let the words just come out of their bodies. I hope she does OK….. this will be the first time for her in this sort of thing…..
  • I raced home and refilled my coffee, booted up my computer, and started to dial-in to the conference call that I was leading – hoping that my computer would get going already so I could access the key document that I need to have on hand….

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • 8:30 conference call with a client to get feedback from our meetings; again, he offered good, practical suggestions to provide more value to him and likely the group at large.
  • 9:00 conference call with a potential partner who we may be working with to develop a new forum which we are pretty excited about. If it succeeds, it can be a game-changer in the industry. This person called me so we could talk about what the day could look like and what story needs to be communicated to get these potential participants to agree to collaborate and work together — if so, we create another forum for our firm, one which could actually get a lot of visibility in the market…. I really want and need this to happen. So will work hard to make this first meeting (hopefully in the Spring, aligned with our other forums) a success.
  • 10:30 conference call with a Director about logistics, hotel deposits, and how much we are willing to “invest” in the above mentioned effort should our participation rate be lower than expected. Sounds like we have a good plan.
  • In between meetings I started pulling meeting minutes together from our last forums – these really should have been done much, much earlier but I got side-tracked on the one-on-one debrief sessions with our clients. I get much more charged out of speaking with clients and getting frank feedback to make things better, versus putting boring meeting minutes together. But they are important. And must be done. Soon. So I started on them.
  • Had breakfast/lunch. Soup and leftover cous-cous from the night before.
  • 1:30 conference call with a client; he wants more specifics and detail in the deliverable I sent to him, which will require more time – I thought about the extra time and decided to make him happy. I’d rather have a happy client versus one that is disgruntled, especially if it is only going to take me 4-6 extra hours of work. I can deal with that. I mobilized an Analyst to help me with some of the tactical things of converting PowerPoint content to Excel and then I started fleshing out one area of the deliverable to send to the client to see if the further detail was what he was expecting. Hopefully he won’t require much more. If he is OK with it then I will finish of the work with him next week.
  • 2:30 conference call with a Director and an Analyst to talk about a proposal we are completing. We got the Analyst to start pulling the proposal together based upon prior work that we did for the client 2 years ago. Essentially they want the same work but “refreshed” so she can leverage that first proposal as a starting point for us to review early next week.
  • 4:00 conference call with a prospective member of one of our forums. So it was a debrief session as well as a “sales” meeting. He cannot commit just yet, but needs more information from us; I invited him to come to our next meeting again as a guest to hopefully push him over the line. I need to convert these “guests” into real clients!!!
  • I was tired from the day. I didn’t eat much. I was tired and starving. I got the kitchen ready for cooking for when I came home with the kids. A pot of water was sitting on the stove, chicken nuggets were waiting in the toaster oven, the frozen veggies were sitting in a bowl in the microwave. All ready to go for when I arrived with four little ones…

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Red. She was busy with her friends and they were “reading” books. She was holding a book like a teacher with the pages facing outward and “reading” to her friends. I heard her little, loud voice from across the room. I couldn’t get my camera ready in time to take a picture though… pity – it was too cute.
  • The ride with Red was beautiful since the sun was setting. We pulled over to enjoy the view.
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  • Pick ups for the rest of the kids went fine; we looked at the holiday lights on the houses. I gathered all the kids inside and powered up the stove, microwave, and toaster oven. I was solo tonight since Hubby was out after work and I wanted things to go smoothly. All kids ate an enormous amount of food – I couldn’t believe it. I had to tell them to listen to their bodies and stop eating when you feel full. They were just going nuts. They started eating off of my plate – Twin Crazy, Big Bro, and Red as a joke but they kept going. It was seriously out of control.
  • After dinner they played around a bit while I started clean up; I also started to put together a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda for chemical-free cleaning. The problem was that I didn’t know the correct measurement. So the bottle seriously started to expand and almost explode. The tension inside of the bottle was fierce. I loosened up the cap and it was a volcano. The stuff was exploding through every single crevice of the bottle. I thought a small piece like a nozzle or something was going to fly off. Me and Big Bro were mesmerized by it. He thought of the volcano experiments we did in the summertime and both of us started laughing. We had a few squirts left of the cleaning mixture when all was said and done, and we had a good time explaining the story to our mother’s helper when she (finally) arrived.
  • I played with the kids. We did horsie-back rides. The kids were waiting in line on a chair waiting for their turn. This is the only exercise I get. Running around the house with kids on my back. They were really cute though all screaming for horsie-back rides (even the Twins, saying all three words) and waiting their turn.
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  • We then cleaned up all of the toys – I put each kid on a “job”. Twin Crazy was on balls, Big Bro was on folding blanket, Red was on kitchen toys, and Twin Husky was just wandering and trying to help but taking things out instead. The “responsibility boards” are working REALLY well – “pick up toys” is one of the things that we are tracking so all kids were eager to do this activity, with my guidance and encouragement….
  • Bedtime was a breeze with everyone. I felt like I really spent good, quality of time with each of the kids which helps out a lot. I took my time with them, read stories and kept the routine on track. Twins were asleep in no time. Bigger kids were completely cooperating with me – no tantrums, no power-plays. Teeth brushed, PJs on, responsibility board discussed and magnets given out, and books being read when Hubby came in. I spent extra time with Big Bro’s book talking about the characters and situations and their feelings. I asked him to talk about situations when he had those same feelings. This is hard for him to do, as his teacher discussed in our parent/teacher conference. I need to pull more out of him through story-time so that he can practice more and build his self-confidence so he can better participate at school. I’m really working on this with him and am hoping that he’s not “on” to me too much; I don’t want to pressure him.
  • After the kids were all in bed I ran to a neighbors house and grabbed some clothes for Big Bro and Red (thanks Mama L!!!). By the time I was home it was 9 PM. And I started this at 9:30 PM. And now I’m off to sleep!

    So it was a very busy day, but I really enjoyed getting work done while at home, and also enjoyed my alone time with the kids tonight. They were great – ate like champs, listened, and we had minimal fights tonight. I think I’ll get a good night’s sleep, which I will need for tomorrow….. a big day. Red’s performance. Yikes!

    Until tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    December 6: Morning glory, busy afternoon, unknown evening…


    The kids woke up very needy for Mommy this AM since I was not able to see them last night. I took it all in and reveled in it.

    Highlights of the Morning and My Commute:

  • I woke up with Red in the bed. She crawled in, in the middle of the night. I remember A LOT of tossing and turning, so I didn’t sleep well again last night.
  • Big Bro and Red got dressed without a problem. The kids setting out their clothes the night before really seems to help. There are no arguments over clothes and the kids are eager to dress themselves.
  • There was a feather on Red’s leg (pillow?) and I made a joke about “what is THAT doing there? Are you turning into a bird??!??!?” She giggled and Big Bro chuckled.
  • Chocolate Tuesday! All kids were lined up at the kitchen counter. Twin Husky was playing peek-a-boo with his bread. Twin Crazy was double-fisted with spoons, one for each cereal bowl (hers, her brother’s), Big Bro and Red were eagerly eating their chocolate and all were really quiet.
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  • I helped with lunches and Twin Crazy helped me put things away. She loves doing that with me. I pick her up to the cabinets and she helps put the packages of stuff away.
  • Red had some breakdowns this AM over drinking cups, her bread being served to her with the crusts on, food containers in her lunch, her forgetting her lunch box at school, etc. I think this was the affect of her interrupted sleep. I understand how she feels and I told her that.
  • I took Twins and Big Bro while Hubby took Red. Big Bro is looking forward to tomorrow, since I told him we would buy sneakers after his school. His soles are coming apart so he is psyched for that. Another trip to Kohl’s!
  • I’m now on the ferry and I’m actually looking forward to work. Today will be the day where my client deliverable takes close-to-final form. I’m looking forward to that. After procrastinating for so long looking at white pages, now there is actual thinking and content and information to work with and refine. Unfortunately, we will be telling our client something that he does NOT want to hear, so we need to think through the delivery of the presentation since it will be a difficult one to give on Thursday.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I spent the majority of the day working on my client deliverable. There is work that still needs to be done — I will likely work after the kiddos go to bed since tomorrow I have meetings during the day and our client meeting is on Thursday! I must get a draft sent to my Partner for his review TONIGHT or else we will not meet our deadline and will not be as prepared as we should be for the meeting. Ugggh. This means that I know I will have this hanging over my head tonight. I will be with the kids but not “with” them 100% – which I hate. I will be anxious as they get ready for bed and will be thinking of this work. I’ve been here so many times in the past over the past 5.5 years of management consulting with kids. It’s hard. It’s very hard. I want to be 100% connected with them tonight but I know it will be hard if not impossible for me to do.
  • I also wanted to share a picture of our office holiday tree. I am the one responsible for the rubber chicken, binder clips, post it note, and blue “flags” (particularly the ones on the breasts of the rubber chicken). A bit of comedy infused in a busy day always helps.
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    I’m on the ferry now and am solo tonight with the kids. My goal tonight is to be as present as I can possibly be, and not worry about cleanup – rely on the Mother’s Helper as much as I can. I will try not to think about work. I will try to get the kiddos to bed earlier (which benefits them anyway). I will try to get this post out quickly tonight so I can focus on my deliverable and get to sleep by a decent hour. So, I will call it a night from here. You won’t hear from me again until tomorrow.

    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

    p.s. at home now making dinner with the kids — having fun, drawing, blogging, and connecting, talking….. so far going GREAT!!!! 🙂

    August 11: Flying high and evening reunion


    Today will be a very unusual day in our household.   I am taking a day-trip flight to present our findings and recommendations to a client audience of 15 people including the Senior EVP.   This means that I had little to no time with my kids this AM – only Red was awake (sortof) when I left the house…and hubby had to do the morning routine and get 4 kids out all on his own…

    Highlights of the Morning and “Commute”

    • I woke up much earlier than normal.   Showered, and ran downstairs to make some instant coffee.  I got dressed in a dress and black blazer, and actually blow dried my hair to make it more presentable.
    • Red woke up during this time.   She is always the early riser of the bunch.   She was a bit cranky.
    • Big Bro last night asked me to leave him a note with the names of the games on my iPad – I downloaded some and then wrote the note as I promised.   So I left the note for him by his bed.  I also left a note for Red – “I ♥ you   – Mommy
    • Since she was cranky we went back into her room to find her note.   I sat with her and read it to her and told her Big Bro received a note so I HAD to leave a note for her too.   She looked at me and started to smile – still holding it in but then jumped on my lap and gave me the biggest hug.    That made my morning and the feeling will help me through the morning since I didn’t have time with my other children.
    • The ride to the airport was easy – we live very close.  I parked in the hourly parking lot.
    • Got the ticket at the kiosk – business select – breezed through security
    • Grabbed fruit, yogurt, coffee, and juice – the best breakfast ever.   I ACTUALLY ATE!!!    AND I DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANYONE EXCEPT FOR MYSELF!!!
    • Make up in bathroom (this I guess was part of my usual routine — but there was lots more counter-space and lots more light)
    • Now on flight.   And its quiet!   I don’t have any kids jumping around or trying to run down the isles or looking behind or kicking the seat in front or needing an activity or complaining that they are hungry/thirsty/tired!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • However, I do need to prepare for a major presentation I will give 3 hours from now.
    • Text from Hubby:   “Everyone was in a bad mood.   [Red] crying and not eating.  Twins fighting over yogurt…. spilling all over.   Dad exhausted and heading into long day.  [Big Bro] was sleeping in and ok.”
    • And another coffee on flight… my third…. yes I’m flying high at this point
    Highlights of my Working Day:
    • Met up with Director and grabbed a taxi to the client.
    • Looked through presentation and made some last notes to myself for talking points.
    • Met with client 1/2 hour before the meeting so she could give last minute guidance; also sold the concept of another project to her and she is excited and completely on board.  She needs to coordinate with some others in the organization but it looks like we can add them to our list of interested participants in the study we are jointly conducting with our partner.   YEAH!!!
    • Had a 1 hour presentation where we presented some very sensitive material.   I tactfully handled areas of sensitivity that I knew of, however there was a person on the phone who was not part of the process at all and was extremely defensive.   We were challenged by him since 1) we tried to include him in our previous interviews/discussions but he sent a proxy instead — so he was working with us on the first time with a lot of these issues; and 2) he was on the phone and not face-to-face.   Face to face with these kinds of meetings is so much better so you can establish actual connections to the people.   In the end though the leadership gave us high accolades, again, so we felt good about the work.
    • At this point it’s 1:30 — grab taxi to airport.   We’re at different terminals, so I’m on my own.  Go thru security, I’m starved…
    • Grab lunch — pizza, and a BIG heffeweisen beer.   I’m psyched.    During lunch/beer I start writing the proposal that is due this week.   I actually made a lot of progress and then realized my flight was boarding so quickly closed down and ran to the gate

    Work and beer go together wonderfully

    • Continued the proposal on the plane; talked business with the guy next to me — he had some ideas for this Blog so I am grateful for meeting him.
    • Grabbed another beer — the day is getting better and better.
    • Grab car – head home.   I go to ferry station to drop off the Audi and pick up the mini-van.
    • Head home and continue to work on the proposal for another hour.   Get it to a point where I can email to a Director on East Coast so he will look at it and then give me his feedback (he is 3 hours ahead of me which works well).
    • Talk to Hubby.   The plan is for me to pick up the kids and get to the ferry station in time for them to see the boat arrive.   I’m on my way!!!
    Dinner and Bedtime:
    • Pick up kids — WHAT A REUNION.    I did not see them a lot the previous night, and definitely didn’t see them in the morning.  So this was fun.  Big Bro was talking about the note I left for him.  He likes it and said he’s always going to keep it.   I have to write him more notes [feeling guilty…]
    • Red was wearing her pajamas from the night before – I guess Hubby had a hard time dressing her this AM.    Then I notice that Big Bro is wearing the same shirt as yesterday (that he also slept in).   I’m wondering if he at least changed his underwear and socks?   Oh well.
    • Ferry came in and all kids were fixated on the boat, and seeing Daddy.
    • At home with everyone!    I played with kids; tickled, hugged, laughed, ran, I love the reunions.
    • Red needed to pee and wanted privacy; Twin Crazy was running around; Big Bro was playing with a beach-ball “globe”; Twin Husky was cranky — wanting Daddy and his doggie blanket.
    • Dinner went great; Big Bro ate like a champ.   Hubby brought out mangos which were a hit
    • Afterwards we played – animals, balls, cars — and the kids all helped putting toys away
    • All kids went to sleep quickly
    So, it was an unusual travel day with significant work presentations… hubby had to pick up the slack in the AM for me to be able to even do any of this.    The kids looked good and healthy – they were a bit smelly from old clothes but that is the least of my concerns.   We were happy to be back together and getting back into our normal routine together.
    All in all a very good day –
    Till tomorrow,
    – Mama K
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