October 19: A good friday


Today was unusual. Big Bro did not have school. So we all had a “home” day at my home and LOVED it.

Highlights:

  • Woke up to Twin Husky (as usual) and cuddled in bed. Red came in with Cocoa (guinea pig).
  • Breakfast included the fireplace, oatmeal, home-made pancakes, and bread and butter (their new favorite).
  • Bikes outside; kids were in a great mood. Halloween costumes were on again. I showered while they had fun.
  • We went to Target to return some lightbulbs and get the right size. They loved the escalator ride. I loved that they know about the “list” and that they didn’t even waver towards any toys or ANYTHING else since it was not on our “list”. We were in and out in 5 minutes. On the escalator down, Twin Crazy had a spill and hurt her knee which fouled things up. Red was left up top, scared, but I asked her to hold tight and I’ll come back for her. Big Bro stayed with Twin Husky at the bottom and I carried Twin Crazy up the escalator again and we rescued Red. The girls were now laughing.
  • We went to the library afterwards. The kids picked out books almost immediately and 2 DVDs too; Big Bro checked out the books by himself with the bar-code reader. Red decided she wanted to be “old school” and go to the librarian to check out her books.
  • We went to the playground afterwards and the kids had fun climbing on trains, swinging, going down slides, and scaling structures.
  • We had a great lunch;
  • Twins were great taking their naps. Big Bro watched a Tinkerbell DVD while Red and I colored.
  • We had a delivery from Amazon – a guinea-pig play pen. I think she likes it. The kids do at least.
  • There was another delivery – the Buzz Lightyear t-shirt for Twin Husky to go with his blow-up wings. He was psyched.
  • Big Bro went over to a neighbor’s house to play Legos.
  • The rest of us were at home riding bikes, sweeping leaves, and decorating the house for Halloween.
  • Before you knew it, it was time for me to take them to co-parent’s. It turned dark and foggy on the way. As did my mood. So typical.

I spent other times during the day on email and on the phone with my office. A big meeting is next week that I will be leading; the heavy lifting all has been done. Now it’s just getting there, being smart, connecting with my clients, trying to “sell” membership to two different guest organizations, and facilitating 1 1/2 days of meetings and speakers. I am not concerned at all for this – I’m actually looking forward to it.

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After dropping off the kids I needed to sit in the ferry parking lot with the car (and heat) on and cry. There are so many things about all of this that are so unfair. After I let it out I got back on the road. I felt much better as soon as I got on the highway and got closer to my house. I pulled up to the house and saw the decorations hanging from our trees and I couldn’t help but smile. I love it here. I felt so much better as soon as I pulled up the driveway. I came inside with a fresh perspective. I made a great dinner of sauteed brussell sprouts, baby kale, leftover rice, and some Guinness poured in. It was amazing. And drank the rest of the Guinness. Yes, feeling much better now. So much better in my own space, with my own things, and with memories of each of my kids with so much joy here.

I can not wait until this divorce is finalized. Being entwined with him is damaging. I know that there will be better days for me ahead. This is a bump in the road but hopefully this bump will not last for long.

Have a great weekend everyone –

– Mama K

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September 21: Feeling free


Happy end of the week!   I was a stay-at-home mom today, well, sortof.   Despite my flex-time work schedule, I actually worked quite a bit – last preparations before the first conference next week…
Highlights of the Day:

  • The kids helped to get each other ready this AM.  Big Bro also helped pack up the breakfast, and got the vitamins ready for all kids.  It was ridiculous, and I will NEVER do this again, but I left all of me until the end and I wound up brewing my coffee in the french-press in the car on the drive.  Stupid.  Silly.  Ridiculous.  The coffee pot thing was rolling all over the place and I have coffee everywhere.  Oh well.  It can get cleaned up.
  • The ride was fine; we talked about Twin Crazy’s buildings in the city that look like castles, Twin Husky was busy singing into a traffic cone (I recently purchased for the kids bike riding in the street)… that’s all that I can remember.  Big Bro got there on time.
  • Drop off for Red was fine.   I took a phone call with a Consultant who is helping me with the conference.  I need changes made to a survey that we are sending out.   I need him to make the changes so I can send everything off this afternoon.
  • I took Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to Petco to buy Cocoa some hay.  I took advantage of the time there and we went to see ALL of the available animals there were to see.  Hamsters, rats, turtles, snakes, tarantulas, lizards, fish…  it was really fun.
  • We went back home since yesterday’s gypsy-living was too exhausting.   I picked up a chair to complete the outdoor patio set.  I am so psyched.
  • We watered the garden, played “castle” with the couch cushions, had some pee-pee accidents, cleaned up the floor appropriately, etc.  I made a quick lunch and we ate outside (loved it).  I again had to take some work phone calls.
  • I tried to get Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to take naps.   They were having too much fun.  I separated them but still they would not give in to sleep.  I worked, sent out emails, had phone calls.  More changes to the survey.  Then off everything went to all conference participants.   We had to boogie to get packed up and get Big Bro on time.
  • Big Bro pick up was fine; Red pick up was fine.  She pulled me to see her old teachers who are much more nurturing than her current teachers.  I think it makes a difference to the teachers to get so much love from these kids.
  • I took the kids to a playground until the transition with co-parent.  Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were scaling rock-climbing walls.  All were having fun.  Big Bro was watching an older kid on the swing, twisting the swing and spinning around and he tried to do the same.  I can’t believe my little boy is a bigger boy than I would like to admit.   Red was a total monkey, climbing all over the place.
  • We went to get gas and I cleaned down the windows at the gas station.  The kids love that.
  • We waited at co-parent’s driveway until transition.  Once he got there the kids got their bikes.  Red wanted to show me how she could ride her bike without the training wheels.  I am so proud of her.  She is so determined.  She just keeps on trying and trying.  And she went far.  The look on her face was stunning.   I wish I could bottle it up.  She made me so happy today.
  • I gave the kids kisses and went on my way.  I will see them tomorrow night.

At home, I immediately started some physical work in my backyard.  I attacked the dead pile of blackberry vines with a hedge-clipper.  I did this until it was dark.  In between I was able to catch a beautiful pink in the sky above.  It was gorgeous – a flaming sky behind the decay of blackberry vines.   I felt hopeful.

I just now finished up cleaning up inside the house while blasting music.   I ate red chard and green chard – I never had this before.  A new taste; different.  I’m not sure I love it but it is different.   I think I will do a bit more work tonight so I can feel free over the weekend.  I don’t want to spend the weekend thinking about this conference.   There is no need to since we are prepared for it and I know it will be just fine; and even if there is a glitch, it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

Have a great weekend all –

– Mama K

September 13: 10 days to go


It’s the end of a Thursday, a day where I have the “day off”, but I just finished 3 hours of work after the kids went to bed.   My first big meeting is 10 days away and I am getting down to the wire.

HIghlights of the Morning:

  • Chocolate Thursday – kids ate great
  • Twin Husky was pretending to fix a broken handle on one of the kitchen drawers.  And then Big Bro tried to play and fix it too, causing friction between the two.   Ugggh.  Big Bro is in a foul mood this morning.
  • Everyone got dressed quickly.  Red helped Twin Crazy get dressed into a cute little dance / ballerina outfit.  I had no idea what they were doing.   Twin Crazy looked so adorable and was trying so hard to hold back the smiles when I saw her.   Red is an amazing big sister.
  • It was Big Bro’s picture day.   He sprayed his hair down and I put in some gel.  He picked out a Star Wars shirt to wear.
  • On the ride to school, we talked about colors, fog, factories, and saw a car with a little tiny ball on its antenna that looked like a sun wearing sunglasses.  That made us all crack up.
  • Big Bro had a hard time leaving the van to get to his class.  There were tears.  It was hard for me.
  • Red’s drop off was great.  I set her up with her diva friends and she barely looked back at me.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were happy to be headed home with me.
  • We went food shopping which was a hit.  They both loved the “car cart” and were very helpful to me for the entire trip.
  • Afterwards we played outside, I cleaned up a bit, and I heard them laughing a bit too hard.  Their “devious” laugh.  They had filled up the bathroom sink with hand soap and water.  Uggh.
  • Lunch.   Books.  Bed.

The Afternoon:

  • I had to lift Twin Crazy and Twin Husky as they were sleeping and put them in the car to pick up Big Bro and Red.
  • Pick ups were fine; ride home was fine.  I had some conference calls related to the forum coming up – coordinating with one of the speakers.
  • At home we saw a new delivery that happened while we were out…  our new patio dining set!!!!   IT LOOKS GREAT  and can seat 10 people.   I am pumped.  The kids were excited about eating outside from now on.
  • We played ball a bit, picked some weeds and fed the chickens.   Red played with Cocoa.  We had a snack at the patio set.   Big Bro and Red built a fort in the living room.   Twin Husky kept going pee pee and even went into the potty by himself when he had to poop.   No one knew he was in there until later – Red found him first and called out to me that he was going poop all by himself.   I had fun relaxing at the patio table reading a magazine while the kids played.
  • Dinner was great.  
  • I cleaned up the kitchen as the kids played.   Fired up some smoothie and the kids watched the rest of “A Bug’s Life”.
  • Got ready for bed; read books; kids were good.   Red was a bit sad at bedtime and needed some help.  

After the kids went to bed, I worked on conference stuff for a good 3+ hours.   This is stuff that cannot wait.   I am under the wire now and will likely be working on and off the entire weekend.   This upcoming week is my last week before the big meeting.   I’m feeling good though.  We have a killer Agenda, and a lot of Guests coming to the meeting that will likely become members.  I am hoping to convert 5 – 8 organizations as new clients which will make me look like a star.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

April 16: No kids and no make up


Today I leave for a work trip… a very big week for me where I will be leading 3 different forums – between all three, it will involve collaborating with over 70 clients and/or speakers and/or prospective clients.

Highlights of My Morning:

  • I woke up at 6 AM and showered; all of my bags were packed with the exception of my iPad, computer, and phone, which were all charging.
  • Car service arrived at my house at 6:30 AM. I left the house without seeing any of the children. But I have my dogtag necklace on, and I also have each of their birthstone rings on [gifts that I bought for myself to myself at the birth of each of the kids].
  • I checked email and responded to many work and personal mails. I chatted with a friend who was also traveling for work today. I closed my eyes briefly until the next “ping” on my phone was heard, indicating another email. I spoke with my Admin Assistant who is helping me big-time with the logistics of all of these events. She is a rock-star and I appreciate all that she does for me.
  • The airport was busy. I was comfortable and not wearing makeup. I was surprisingly awake.
  • I had a great breakfast, and sent out some more emails. I spoke to my AA again and gave her some instructions while I was in the air. We still have one speaker to confirm today [yikes] so she will hear before I do.
  • I talked briefly to my mom.
  • I saw a sign in the airport and I thought of my children. It was something that I would have pointed out to them if they were with me. From afar it looked like colorful balloons…. but up close they were round candies. Even better. Just what kids love and I’d take the sugar over helium any day of the week. And I think my kids would too. I’ll show this picture to them when I get home. Or maybe I’ll email it to co-parent and he can show it to the kids for me. It would be good for us to start to do things like that – even during separation once the separation actually occurs.
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    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I reviewed the two presentations that I will be presenting on tomorrow. And I found some numerical errors. BIG ones. So I started my iPhone with a string of email messages to fix errors and also gather more data for me
  • I also organized some materials for the forum on Wed. The Agenda needs to go out today and also the list of Attendees so I need to confirm with my team that everyone is OK with my changes to timing on the Agenda. Again, I sent an email on my computer that is sitting in my Outbox.
  • I started my timesheet and documenting expenses – this will be important during the week since I’m looking at my personal cash flow as tightly as ever right now.
  • So, I essentially need to power up my phone AND computer when I land, immediately so that these emails go out. I also need to check email and call my AA to see where we stand on the outstanding speaker and if there are any other issues I need to be aware of.

    I also need to talk to my lawyer on various issues.

    It will be a busy week, starting now. This is the calm before the storm. My time on this airplane. It gives me time to think about the week, think about the potential issues that can arise, and also think about my life.

    What a difference one year makes. It was this time last year that I essentially was falling apart. So upset about the resistance of my husband and the inability for him to understand my feelings, my anxieties, my need to create a better life for our family. It was such a difficult time. And now. I feel stronger. I feel happier. I feel like my life is headed in a direction. I’m not sure if the direction is the RIGHT direction, but at least it is headed somewhere. I am not in limbo any longer. This is the only direction that I see possible given the current circumstances. I no longer have options in front of me/us. Now it is me, and the kids, and California. I know this now. I have few choices. So I work with what I have. I set a direction and now I am already happier.

    In a few weeks I will [hopefully] have a house and will start to build it into a home. I myself am happier. But I do mourn for my kids. Their lives will soon be turned upside down. I need to get through this crunch time at work. I need to get through these hiccups in the divorce process and secure this house for my family. Once I get through the next two weeks, I can focus on the divorce, and focus on the children. Focus on their emotions and being honest with what it is that they need and what I can do to optimize what I can give to them. Just get me through this week and next. Just get me through it…. I feel good, I feel strong. But this is Monday, on the plane ride over there. It will be a whirlwind as soon as I land…

    Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I landed, made phone calls on the plane, sent emails from my phone. Exited the plane and took a pitstop to the restroom before booting up my computer in the airport. Made more phone calls. Tried to secure a speaker. Failed. Tried for Plan B. Timing won’t work. Went back to Plan A. Tried to call him. He was gone for the day. F! Talked to team-mate about errors in presentation. They will fix and send me an updated version. Whew.
  • Got to hotel late. Arrived at meeting time. Still had to check in. Quickly checked in. My hotel room is a suite! Out of control! Bigger than my new house! 🙂
  • Tried to get ready [quickly] for dinner. Realized I left my make up bag at home. F!!!! Got dressed quickly and applied lipstick. Took a pitstop to the Spa to see if they sell make up [failed]. Found mascara in my handbag [miracle.]. Went with the “natural” look.
  • Met my clients; had a great dinner; talked about the conference; talked about the other meeting I am planning; talked about fun stuff; I laughed out loud real hard many times. This is a fun group. I’m enjoying myself. The food was outrageous. I am still full.
  • Went to front desk to get a new room key (left mine in the room) and also to talk about make-up predicament. They went off to a drug store and bought me some supplies – eyeliner and face powder. Whew. That will make me at least feel a bit better tomorrow.
  • Called the kids to see how they are doing. They were excited and eating ice-cream. Twin Husky was crying in the background. It was a quick call. I let them get back to their ice-cream and told them that I missed them and was thinking of them.
  • Downloaded new presentations, sent them out to the group.
  • Got feedback on Agenda for other meeting; looks good so sent that out to the attendees, along with attendee list.
  • Reviewed my presentations one last time.
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    I’ve got to get some sleep. This is the beginning of a non-stop trip for me. It will involve client interaction non-stop and I will need to be “on” in terms of personality and presentation and meeting facilitation.

    I should have taken some vitamins last week. 🙂
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    April 11: Sweet reunions


    What a day. I’ve been going non-stop. I have more left to do. So this will be short.

    Highlights of the Morning:

  • Twin Crazy was clingy. I held her and rocked her for a bit.
  • Twin Crazy wanted her rainboots. We put them on and she seemed much happier.
  • Big Bro went riding again with the Motley Crew. He was excited to be doing that again.
  • We dropped off the Twins, and then Red. One of her teachers was back from vacation and Red and her friend ran to the teacher with open arms. It was so sweet. How they loved to see her return and how pure their excitement was. I was thinking that the teacher has a VERY difficult job dealing with 3-4 year olds…. but the emotions — both bad and good — must make her job very fulfilling; to receive those hugs so freely and with such intensity. She was missed.
  • I dropped of co-parent at the ferry and then drove home just in time for the beginning of my working day…
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    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • …. I had a conference call at 8:30 AM to introduce panel members to one another and also organize some “seed” questions just in case the forum is not engaged at first. It was a good call and I’m looking forward to their session next week.
  • I spent the rest of the day modifying agendas, confirming speakers, looking at presentations, modifying our own presentations, sending out pre-conference surveys, trying to find Plan B speakers, getting biographies and phone numbers for speakers, etc. etc. There is still a lot more to do.
  • I also spent time on our client project, reaching out to market leaders for us to interview. This process takes up so much time. I’ve been using LinkedIn with great success. It’s amazing how helpful that channel is to me and my work.
  • In between the above, I straightened up the kitchen, barely ate breakfast/lunch, did some laundry….
  • The Rest of the Day:

  • I called it a day later than I wanted to. I picked up Red first. Then the Twins – they were sitting on chairs waiting for me like two little bookends. So cute. And then Big Bro so he could ride his bike back home. He took the lagoon route home, and I met him at the end. Our house is on a street that is a circle, and he decided to go the other way around the circle and meet us at the house. He’s doing so well with being brave, being by himself, testing the waters, growing his independence, conquering his fear. He’s making me proud – and I like encouraging him to do more because I know he can do it.
  • I made dinner – I had Big Bro set the table. Red was busy cutting. Twins were busy going potty and playing.
  • After dinner we made banana-strawberry smoothies. The kids were all excited. I need to go out and buy more fruit for smoothies since this is becoming a ritual.
  • I was with the twins tonight for bedtime. It was fast and easy. They love reading books and I love asking them questions about what they see. We count the things together. They’re getting much better at counting.
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    Red is crying right now. Co-parent just says its time to go night-night. He doesn’t even try to understand what could be wrong, or talk to her about it. He just wants to push the problem away and pretend its not there. But meanwhile she is still up there now crying.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    March 5: Balloons, boots, and bicycles


    It’s a beautiful Monday morning and despite my post about being completely ready for this morning, we still had our issues… you never can really be completely prepared (as you know). Red woke up in the middle of the night last night so I’m dragging a bit.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up to a discussion through the “kid monitor” about Daddy night versus Mommy night (from Daddy) which really bothered me since we both agreed that the kids should not be put into the middle of such discussions.
  • I then walked out of my room to Twin Crazy crying since Red accidently hit her with a baby doll. Accidents happen. Daddy was consoling Twin Crazy and asked Red to apologize. Red did nothing and eventually Daddy just walked away. This “discipline” drives me crazy. I am very focused about the need to follow through with what I start since it teaches kids authority and to actually listen to what we say. So after greeting the kids for the morning, giving them kisses, I asked Red what happened and if she by accident hit Twin Crazy and made her hurt. I asked her to apologize to Twin Crazy as Daddy had asked. She sat there, motionless. I said she needs to apologize since she hurt Twin Crazy but didn’t mean it. Twin Crazy was on my lap at this point. So I suggested giving her a big hug as a way to apologize. This, she agreed with. So both girls were on my lap with Red hugging Twin Crazy and Twin Crazy’s tears a thing of the past.
  • Big Bro was having a problem upstairs. He lost his Star Wars “Storm Trooper” lego and was fighting coming downstairs because of this. He needs to get his own way and little things like this just throw him into a REALLY nasty mood. I tried to get him to come down and said he needed to get downstairs to eat his breakfast for energy so he could ride his bike. After several minutes, he was still not downstairs. We were running late at this point. I gave him until the count of 5 for him to come downstairs or else he was going to lose his bike privilege for the morning. He got up, was wailing, but made it downstairs by the count of 3.
  • Vitimans for the kids all around. Big Bro was getting happier.
  • Red got dressed without a problem. Big Bro was going slowly. Needing help (Mommy time). He didn’t like his jeans which threw him back several minutes. He was running late. The thought of missing the bike drove him past his issue with the jeans and I was feeding him toast and jelly as I was helping him with shoes and jacket and backpack and helmet. He finally made it out of the house to catch up with the Motley Crew.
  • Red wanted to ride with me to daycare. Daddy wanted to ride her in. She was hanging onto my sweater. Daddy had to pry her off. Daddy talked to her saying that he wanted to drive her in and that he wanted a turn to drive her in. She was still crying and throwing a fit and clinging on to my leg and my sweater. It turns my stomach to hear him beg for the children’s attention.
  • So that was my morning. I have 3 months left to stay in this house. This will be a hard 3 months. And it will get worse from here on out.

    I think I’ll have a good day at work today. A colleague is returning from maternity leave so I will be able to get her up to speed with one of the forums we are working on together and will be able to delegate some of the survey work to her. She was involved with the previous work so it will be more efficient for her to take this piece on. I will continue to focus on securing speakers and also selling additional guests/ memberships. I’ll do some more outreach for the other forum as well. Finally, I need to connect with my team for the client project I am leading and I want to see their progress in applying the market sizing methodology to several segments as a test. I want to see if it is working, believeable, and defensible. I’m hoping they come to the meeting with me prepared, since we need to put this work in front of the client tomorrow. If the work is seriously flawed, this will throw a wrench into my working day and I will not be able to accomplish everything that I want to.

    My goal over the next few months is to shelter the kids and be successful at work. I will need to go through the divorce process which will bring its ups and downs but I need to be resilient and strong. I can do this knowing that there will be better and brighter days awaiting me on the other side.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    So busy!!!

  • I met with a colleague who is back from maternity leave and got her up to speed with a conference we are having in April. I delegated the survey work to her – it needs some focused attention up front so this is perfect for her to get involved with.
  • I continued with speaker outreach for the two conferences. I secured one speaker and need to set up details to confirm story and content to be discussed.
  • I arranged for a conversation with one of the speakers to set expectations on content.
  • I spent a good 2 hours on sales outreach for one of the forums, now that I have the topics/agenda almost settled. The best way to sell new membership is to invite the organizations as guests and then they (hopefully) convert to members.
  • I led a team connect over lunch and we talked about the office move and also staffing needs.
  • I met with my team on the client project to review and vet the methodology they came up with for market sizing. I think it’s good. It’s creative. I made some suggestions to make it better and it is headed in the right direction. We will be ready for our client call tomorrow – we need just two PowerPoint pages…. one page on methodology and another page on how we tested the methodology with real data and the results. I will review with the team tomorrow AM before sending off to the client.
  • I did some personal things…. setting up some activities for myself for the weekend since ex-Hubby is taking all the kids away to his folks’ house for the weekend. My plans are falling into place and I am looking forward to the weekend.
  • So now I’m on the ferry. The sun is out. I’m feeling good. I need to think about dinner. I’m thinking cheese quesadillas with a mixed combo of side dishes of shrimp, black beans, sliced cucumber, olives. And anything else that I have leftover in the refrigerator.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Red first, then Twin Husky and Twin Crazy. They were talking about how Twin Husky lost his helium balloon during the day. How it went up in the sky. And how he said “bye bye balloon”. The kid didn’t even cry. He just waved goodbye to his balloon.
  • We picked up Big Bro last. I did this on purpose. I knew he would want to ride his bike home. So we all waited for him to get his bike. While waiting, Twin Crazy was looking at her balloon and Twin Husky requested to wear his boots (instead of his sneakers). Big Bro arrived with his bike and we talked about the route home. So again we followed him in the van with hazards on, in our slow neighborhood streets. When we got to the last 5 minutes of the ride, Big Bro asked me to go ahead without him. He said he was OK. So I did. I turned the hazards off, pulled into the street, and drove away at a normal pace….. looking at him in my rear-view mirror until he was a speck. As I got the kids out of the van and gathered the bags, Big Bro came riding on into the garage, with a smile ear-to-ear. He was cooperative the rest of the night.
  • I got dinner ready. Warm tortillas, grated cheese, shrimp, black beans, olives, cucumbers. corn. It was a make your own quesadilla/burrito kind of night. Very easy. And the kids like the variety.
  • Afterwards the girls were loud and rambunctious. The boys were quiet. A balloon was floating. I changed the Twins and made them jump. Red put up some pictures in my clip-frame in my room. I love this thing… the kids pick what art/pictures they want to hang/clip and it goes on my wall on display.
  • I had the Twins for bedtime tonight. They went down easily. Big Bro cried “why do we have to take turns?” and then settled in to the routine with Daddy.
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    I’m in bed now decompressing from the day. I will have a very busy day tomorrow with back to back meetings and I’d like to also get some more work done in between those meetings…. I’ll need to get a good night’s sleep tonight. Hopefully the kids stay asleep. I also need to get some personal things done and meetings set. It seems like everything is happening all at once… everything hitting from now until end April… and in the meantime living in this house and trying to keep my distance.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    October 11: Running, running, running….


    Today was a hectic and bit stressful morning. As I write this now I am on the ferry drinking my first cup of coffee, no breakfast, feeling tired tired TIRED, hair wet, no make up, and headed into a day of work that I know will be more stress than I would like – nonetheless, here are some highlights:

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • Wake up very groggy, Big Bro’s owie feels a lot better so we high-five. He claims that he does not even need any medicine on it or a new band-aid.
    • Red on the other hand starts throwing a tantrum as I am about to get in the shower. She was waiting for me to help her get dressed, NOW. So I stop the shower and go with her to her room to get her dressed.
    • All kids at this point are downstairs for chocolate Tuesday.
    • Big Bro has already eaten and we pick out some clothes from the mountains of clean folded clothes in the guest bedroom (thanks to our Mother’s Helper).
    • Diapering Twin Crazy is fine; she is pointing to her leg saying that it hurts and that she needs medicine (copying Big Bro – so sweet). Big Bro comes out with an open umbrella during Twin Husky’s diaper change is not so fine. He’d rather look and investigate the umbrella since he’s never seen one inside the house before. That was a bit of a struggle for me.
    • OK get your shoes on and time to go!
    • Twin Crazy jumps off of the one stair into the garage while holding all of her animals and blankets and then falls into the wall and bangs her head. I need to console her.
    • I gather up the bags and try to get the kids in the car.
    • Twin Husky finds the cookie container and is sitting there eating a fist full of cookies. At least he’s not exploring in the street. I let him go at it and ask Hubby to get him in his seat.
    • I throw in another load of laundry – we NEED to pack TONIGHT for our trip
    • I find a rain jacket for Red but I really can’t find any sort of proper jacket for Big Bro. I really need to get one for him. This can be a mommy-time activity if I can find the time – most likely after our vacation.
    • We head off – 3 drop offs. First is Red, then the Twins (I realize I forgot Twin Husky’s medicine), then Big Bro. He wants to bring the umbrella (big, adult) and I instinctually say No. Then he gets upset and starts with an agonizing cry. I look around and all the other kids have cute little tiny kid umbrellas so I give in to him. I’ll need to add this to the shopping list. Big Bro needs a jacket, and an umbrella.

    It’s a rainy day today. I’m not looking forward to work. Maybe this coffee and some breakfast will help. I think it will be rough today. My head is still asleep and I look like ass — completely not together. I buy some coffee and a book of ferry tickets – the attendant is apparently as tired as me because she gave me an extra book of 20 tickets by accident ($100 value). I correct her mistake and she thanked me over and over again. I think of my grandfather. His good deed that I remember as early as 5 or 6 years old still stays with me when I am faced with similar situations. I will need to write separately about that.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    I couldn’t stop all day today. It started with me grabbing a breakfast sandwich and eating it on my walk from the ferry to work.   The day was so crazed that I couldn’t leave for lunch. A colleague was kind enough to bring me back something/anything (it turned out to be a great salad – thank you!). Let me see. I spent the day confirming speakers, finalizing an agenda, communicating with speakers, conducting a business development meeting for a separate initiative, reviewing a presentation that we will give and provided feedback and guidance to the person who will present in my absence, gathering our distribution lists for the prior meetings so I can distribute the appropriate materials, and coordinating with all team members to make sure that the next big meeting is a success (from Director to administrative assistants). We are all pulling together and hopefully it will be a great meeting. I’m also looking towards the NEXT meeting in November. So am doing the legwork to get the agenda drafted and presenters organized.   Oh.  And also trying to get other things finished/taken care of before I leave for vacation.

    Now I’m on the ferry back home. I am sweating and exhausted from the day. Our mother’s helper texted me today and will not be here tonight. Hubby is also going to be late. So I will have all kids by myself until probably after 7. So I’ll be running, again. Non-stop!!!! I decided to order a pizza for tonight. I just can’t deal with cooking. And then after the kids are in bed I will need to pack for our 10 day trip!!!!! Today will be the longest day EVER….

    Dinner and Bedtime:

     

    I knew going into tonight that I was going to be on my own.  Our mother’s helper cancelled due to school and Hubby said he needed to take a later ferry.   But he didn’t get back until 8 pm so I had the entire night on my own.  We had our ups and downs – but again there was activity/laughing/crying non-stop:

    • I pick up Big Bro first.   I always ask the kids to learn something new, laugh, and excercise your body each and every day.   So I asked him what happened today that was funny.  What made him laugh today?    He thought for a bit, and said that the class was asked to think about things that started with the letter “T” and the teacher would then draw a picture of it so that everyone understood the word.   Big Bro raised his hand and said “toilet”.   So the teacher indeed drew a toilet for the class.  He said that made him laugh pretty hard.
    • 2nd pick up was Red.  It was also book-fair this week so I had Big Bro and Red pick out a book.  Together we picked out books for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.
    • 3rd pick up:  Twins.  They were so good.  All laughs and smiles.
    • I got everyone home and helped to get their shoes off and started to unload the bags.   While I was getting Twin Husky, Twin Crazy wound up climbing back into the van and got to the front seat and honked the horn, scaring all of us silly.
    • Once inside, I ordered pizza ASAP.  In the middle of this call I think 2 of the kids were crying.  I’m not sure who.  But there was screaming.  I just went into another room to finish the order.
    • I changed my clothes fast.  Started the dishwasher.  Unpacked their lunches.   Started another load of laundry.   The kids were playing and also eating some Cheerios.   They were also dumping Cheerios on the floor.
    • Then they got quiet.  I think it was when I was changing the laundry.   Too quiet.  I enter the kitchen to find Twin Husky holding the sugar bowl, with a pile of sugar on the counter.   He had sugar all over his hands and in the corners of his mouth.   Twin Crazy just had sugar on her hands.  Red had sugar on her hands but she “wasn’t playing with it”, she was “just touching it”.   I take Big Bro’s hands and they are sugar-free.  “I didn’t do anything.”
    Twin Husky gets snagged sugar-handed

    Twin Husky gets snagged sugar-handed

    • I sit and read the new books to Big Bro and to Red.   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky get into some fights over toys.  Twin Crazy is starting most of them.
    • Pizza comes.  The guy looks sorry for me.   They all eat a ton.
    • Then playtime while I clean up a bit.   Twin Crazy is busy stealing Twin Husky’s toys and running away from him and making him cry.  She did this literally all night.
    • I then propose some milk.  All kids agree.  They all down the milk and we head upstairs for bed.    Twins are tired.  Twin Husky is even asking for his crib.
    • Teeth and storytime is great with Big Bro and Red again with their new books.   Big Bro has memorized two poems that he has to recite to the class at the end of the month.  He recites them for me and he has them both nailed.
    I head downstairs to start packing — I am called up there 2x and now I’m sitting here typing and Red is still screaming her head off for some reason.  I don’t know why she’s so clingy.  Maybe she didn’t get enough of me tonight since I was busy with house-hold stuff.  I need to spend more time with her.  Even if its having her sit on my lap and rocking her a bit.  I’ll try to do that for her tomorrow.
    OK, gotta go now to finish the laundry and start to pack.   I’ve been running since 7 AM and its now 9:30 PM.   And my day is still not over….
    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

    October 5: Self Realization and Coming Home


    I am on a plane right now headed home from my business trip. I’ve been gone since Monday early morning, and my kids will certainly be asleep when I return tonight. So, Friday morning will be our reunion – ending our entire 4 day separation from each other. I’m looking forward to seeing their sweet faces.

    Let me quickly recap today’s work activities. It was a really big day. We had 5 hours today to wrap up our event — and today was much harder because it involved MUCH more facilitation and work on our (my) end — a good part of the day went beyond managing speakers but instead managing brainstorming sessions with the ENTIRE group to 1) progress further in mapping out plans for a potential service offering for the group and 2) to identify key areas of concern/interest to be addressed the next time we meet, 6 months later. On my end, this was also my last real opportunity for face-to-face “selling” of the forum to our many guests, and building those relationships to position our company well for consulting services even if they chose NOT to join our forum. So the pressure was on. I think it went VERY well today and I took total control over the meeting, leading the entire group through the day:

    • the presentations went well. For one presentation I needed to help facilitate and support the presenter to make him and the session successful.
    • the brainstorming session and planning session were extremely interactive and the group came together to identify great areas of focus for our next meeting. It was great to see the participants interacting and feeding off of each other. And I had fun helping them spur their thinking by making references and comparisons to the presentations as well as their brainstorming work. I think we’re in great shape to start planning our next meeting 6 months from now.
    • Our team received great feedback and handshakes from the participants — the members as well as the guests. I even got a few hugs! It was great to see the energy and enthusiasm from them, and to FEEL appreciated and successful.

    So overall, today and the previous days went very well. I leveraged skillsets developed over my career such as detailed planning, problem solving and thinking through implications of the many presentations to the two different groups, facilitating discussion and drawing out different perspectives, listening to what the groups were saying, selling and proving the concept to our guests — while also letting my personality shine… showing warmth, hospitality, empathy, energy, and FUN. But I obviously did not do it alone. I had help from a great team of people to make it all come together.

    And I think everyone from both sessions knew about my four small kids waiting for me at home. I find that my story is so unique that it is a VERY effective “ice breaker” for me to connect with people. I play it up. I talk about the craziness of my life and actually thank them (jokingly) for giving me the chance and a break from my day-to-day chaos. I have a great picture of the kids on my computer “wallpaper” that came up when I was starting and ending the day, and sometimes even during the day. It was great to share that part of my life with them and helped me connect with them on a more personal level.

    Kids - Christmas 2010

    Kids - Christmas 2010

    This picture is also funny because the boys were dressed similar as were the girls, and also because it is obvious that Red was in a hiatus of a crying fit when it was taken. In fact, this one quick click is one of hundreds that we took in the span of 5 minutes — between Twins taking every opportunity to crawl away, all kids crying at some point during the photo session, and us “bribing” them with props and cookies. Even though Red is obviously upset, Twin Husky has his thumb in his mouth, Twin Crazy looks startled, and Big Bro is smiling yet his eyes are looking away and his image is fuzzy, it is a PERFECT picture because each of their faces are facing the camera, they are all together, and you can see the diversity of personality between and across them. And this one quick click captures this point in our lives so perfectly.

    So this is what my clients and prospective clients from both forums saw during the past 4 days. But they also witnessed how I was 100% “on” with all of them during this time away from my children. This was proof of what a working mother can do. Maybe they even recognized some of my traits that make me a good mother but also cross-over into my working world — how I hustled, how I multi-tasked, how the details were thought through in advance, how I tried to make them feel at home and appreciated, how I managed differing opinions, how I looked into their eyes when I had conversations with them, and how I dedicated myself to them to make their experiences good ones. I wonder if some of them (particularly the women) actually imagined me in the mothering role with my children. And it occurs to me that it isn’t until now that I can fully realize how I’ve grown professionally because of these children. I sort of felt it (or at least I’ve said it to feel better about the working mom struggle), but actually thinking about it now and writing the specific ways I’ve grown in black and white proves it. Wow. This is sort of a breakthrough to me.

    These last few days have also proven to me that this role could possibly be perfect for me at my company. It allows me more stability and consistency, but still keeps me in front of clients and also lets me stretch into sales for our firm. My skillsets are completely aligned with the needs for this position. And I believe that I can take this existing baseline and structure and twist it a bit — bringing fresh ideas to the table. Although I will need to travel, it will be contained and COMPLETELY predictable. And I do believe contained travel in small spurts is win/win/win/win for everybody involved – me, my work, Hubby, and the kids. This was the right decision for me at my work – and I have proven over the past 4 days that I am doing a great job – I’ve already received this feedback directly from the clients as well as from firm leadership.

    I have two more forums to finish planning for and one more to personally attend. After that I will go on a reduced work-week schedule. I’m feeling really good about the past four days and am looking forward to getting home. I won’t feel completely grounded until tomorrow when I reunite with the kids.

    And it won’t be long now until I can see them sleeping, feel their warmth, and give them lingering kisses as I smell their hair. Honestly, too good to be true.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    September 20: Working from home with TWO energetic toddlers???!?!?!? What???????


    Today was odd.   Very odd.   I decided to work from home again today since the boys were still both on the sick side – thankfully I made this choice, since the Twins’ daycare provider called me as I was headed home since her husband had a heart attack.  I quickly had to pick up the kids and give her a hug as she gathered her things for the hospital, where her husband was already taken.  So, I had to work from home but with two toddlers in tow.   So as you can imagine, today was just odd.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • The girls are generally cooperative and in good moods however the boys are struggling.  I give them medicine at 7:30,  hoping they snap out of it.  They do, thank goodness.
    • The morning routine is really quite ordinary – kids eat, bags are packed, kids get buckeled in, and are excited for school.   One funny thing that happened was that the Twins must have eaten at least 5 mini-muffins each and while in the van Twin Husky accidently stepped on Twin Crazy’s muffin that dropped on the floor.  He says “Uhhhh ohhhhhh”.  Twin Crazy still eats the decrepid muffin after I smash it back together.
    • 1st drop off:   Twins.   Twin Husky goes inside without a problem even though he is subdued.  He is still excited to go inside and play.
    • 2nd drop off:  Big Bro.  Hubby walks him in while me and Red wait in the van.
    • 3rd drop off:  Hubby at the Ferry station
    • 4th drop off:  Red.  So cute.  I play with her a bit and then leave.  Today there are no tears from her.
    • 1st pick up:   Twins.   I can’t believe it.  I feel so bad for our daycare provider.    And I also feel bad for me.  How am I going to work today?   Thank goodness I decided to work from home!

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • By the time we returned, the Twins were cranky and it was getting to be time for a snack.   Peaches!   What a treat.
    • I started with emails, going through and addressing what needed to be answered, and also trying to set up conference calls for guest speakers at some of the conferences.   I also had to look through some menu choices that our administrative assistant was working – which was fun but also rushed since I had two toddlers running around and getting themselves in trouble.
    • In between work emails, I had to work with the Twins.   This consisted of:   looking at a cat crawling through our yard and chasing it and pulling Twin Husky out of some rose bushes while doing so, seeing the kids covered in blue marker and also seeing that Twin Husky had a BITEMARK from Twin Crazy over said blue marker, making train tracks, playing with felt and saying the colors and putting them on our heads as hats, and doing just normal trouble shooting that is required with two 18 month old twins (which is A LOT).
    Blue marker wins, Twin Husky loses

    Blue marker wins, Twin Husky loses

    • 11:30!   Time for lunch!   They ate a tremendous amount of food.  I pulled back Twin Crazy’s hair in a hairclip and then Twin Husky started playing with HIS hair so I put a hairclip in for him as well.
    Toddlers in bows over lunch

    Toddlers in bows over lunch

    • I mentioned that after lunch we were going to have milk and then get ready for nap.  I gave them milk and then I lost them!!!    They had actually pushed back the gate on the stairs and were already headed upstairs for their naps.   I thought this was unbelievable.  I thought they would at least play first for a bit.
    • I sat down to get prepared for a conference call I had to lead at 1 PM.  While doing this I heard the window blinds upstairs banging and laughing children – Twin Crazy was standing up in her crib playing with the blinds and both her and Twin Husky were laughing hysterically.   I proceed to push back the chest of drawers and push her crib in a spot where she can’t reach the blinds.  I make sure she can’t reach out to anything on top of the chest of drawers in its new location.   She gives me a sly look as I leave the room.  She is trying to hold back a giggle.
    • I send out materials for my 1 PM call and we are finished it by 1:20.   I make some updates and send out to the team so we are all aware of next steps.   The call went very well.
    • I again attacked emails for as long as I could.  Setting up meetings, going over menus, trying to solicit guest speakers, etc.
    • Then the Twins woke up from their 2 hour naps.   I got them ready, had a cracker snack, and then we picked up Big Bro and then Red.  Everyone at Red’s pre-school (Big Bro’s old pre-school) went nuts over the Twins.   It was so cute seeing them all walk together holding hands.  I love seeing them do this.  Twin Husky always reaches out for Big Bro.  Male bonding is so sweet with your kids.
    • Twin Crazy said “I did it” a lot today.   She is wonderful.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • We head home and kids are either on the  couch resting or outside, or playing with trains, or fighting, or chasing each other.
    • I think about dinner; we will do home-made pizza tonight.
    • The kids eat all the sliced olives even before I’m able to put them on a pizza.  I have about 5 slices of mangled olives for myself.  Big Bro and Red roll out their own doughs for their own pizzas.
    • Everyone eats well.  Hubby and I each have a beer.
    • After dinner, Twin Crazy is acting crazy.  She continuously holds her sippy cup over her head and her hair and clothes are soaked.  I chase her around.
    • Hubby plays with Big Bro with sticks.
    • Big Bro says he didn’t have a lot of “mommy time” today… not even in the morning.  My heart sinks.
    • We give the boys medicine and prepare everyone for bed.  Again, both Twins start their way up the stairs, unprompted.
    • Big Bro gets ready quickly since he feels tired and just wants to go to bed.  Red is being her sassy self.   We read a book and both of them are almost out by the time I leave their room.  So easy tonight.

    So now I may have to do something about back-up childcare — I wish I had a list of names already organized, but I don’t.   Why am I not prepared for this situation?   Or I’ll have to work again like this tomorrow (which was tremendously enjoyable for me, but still….).  Or I’ll need to take the day off.

    I had such a great day today.   I lead a good call to orchestrate sales efforts and I also had so much time with the Twins.   I am usually terrible at combining my worlds of work and home, but for some reason it just worked out fine today and I was not stressed about it.  I think it’s because my calls were few and my day was generally open.   Plus, the Twins had each other.  I could do emails while they entertained themselves (or fought).   This makes a huge difference – but still the day was not as productive on the work front as it should have been.   I also feel bad that Big Bro felt neglected today — I think he got spoiled from all of the one on one time during vacation and also yesterday.   But still…. 😦

    Tomorrow I have a client call that I’ll need to think about; maybe I can put them down for an early, short nap during that time??!??!?!     Uggh!

    I’m thinking of my daycare provider’s husband and their whole family and really feel for them; I also don’t know what implication this will have on her ability to care for the kids – especially if she is caring for a sick husband….

    Til tomorrow,

    – Mama K

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