October 5: Home with three


It’s Friday and the end of the week.  Today is my day to be home with the kids.  Co-parent is taking the kids for a full weekend, so I will not see them again until Wednesday afternoon. What to do between now and then? Relax and get some “me” time in, I suppose.

Highlights of the Day:

  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are sick. So I wound up to both of them in my bed this morning. They all got ready so quickly and helped with their own breakfasts. I love this. The mornings are getting very easy with them. They love the independence and doing things for themselves. The fact that the Twins are potty trained with few accidents helps as well. They like doing the same routine as the “big kids” and I love directing all four them of them now as equals.
  • Twin Crazy picked out her clothes and she wanted to wear a long sleeve black shirt with light jeans. She looked soooooooooooooo New York City to me. Upper East side. I was calling her my “city girl” all day today.
  • Big Bro decided to put some finishing touches on his “house” made from an Amazon box. He wanted to draw more things to make it more like a house. He drew a garden with corn, broccoli, strawberries, and apple trees. I love the fact that he connects the garden with the concept of home. That’s meaningful for me, too.
  • The ride was fine; we talked about fog, made a game where we had to catch up to certain cars on the highway, I sang to AC/DC for a bit, we saw Twin Crazy’s “castles” in the city and they had their lights on for the fog.
  • I decided to “steal” Red from daycare today since it would be awhile since I saw her. She is the most emotionally needy of the four, I think. She had a great time with us. During the day she asked me if this is what we always do together while she is at daycare – if we go anywhere. I told her honestly that no, we really just hang around the house and play while I also do things around the house. She had a great time today with her siblings and me.
  • The kids were very creative today. There was lots of cutting with scissors, coloring, and doing “paperwork”. I read to the Twins several books. Snack time was the “yogurt bar” with three different kinds of yogurt and fruit that is quickly going bad. Red got lots of time in with Cocoa.
  • I wanted to start my “renovation” of the office to organize the kids bins of toys and redo the entire closet. While I attempted to do this they played kitchen and Red also did “work” at her desk. I played music from my Apple and danced with Twin Husky and then Twin Crazy. They love this. Or maybe I love it more.
  • I caught Twin Crazy “reading” a stack of books outloud by herself in the backyard. She said that now since she read her books she was ready for a nap. The kids played with tricycles and scooters as I got lunch ready. They were playing follow the leader and singing songs together. Twin Husky was on a two wheeled scooter and was really good at balancing.
  • While the Twins took naps Red was very anxious to do something “just with” me. We made a calendar together. She drew the boxes and the numbers in the boxes, cut the boxes out, and then I taped them back together in calendar format. It was a project that took awhile which was nice. It looked and felt like rain outside so we did this together in the living room with the fireplace on. I loved it.
  • Red got more quality time with Cocoa so I think she’s feeling sufficiently loved. Hopefully enough from me and Cocoa to last her for the next several days.
  • Co-parent picked up Big Bro from school and swung by my house to pick up the rest on their way to their weekend getaway. I was grateful for two drives back and forth that I did not have to do. I am in relaxation mode now.

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After they left I slept for 2 hours. I did not sleep well the past few nights because of sick kids. This weekend will be a lot of time alone for me. I’m struggling with what to do. Maybe I’ll go to the movies along with house stuff – I need to venture out of this house and throw myself out there. I’m ready for that.

Have a great weekend everyone –

– Mama K

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Staying Sane: CHEAP creative arts


This past week I was thrilled/astonished/surprised/amazed to find a blow out sale happening at the daycare center where we take Red and now Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.  They are completely renovating the space, and they are going “room by room”, ridding themselves of old, battered toys by selling them at HUGE discounts to the parents.

I couldn’t stop myself all of this week.  If I would have been faster and earlier, I would have wound up with so much more… but alas…

Anyway, I’ve always been a big fan of creative arts activities for the kids.   I’ve done this ever since Big Bro was a baby.   There comes a point where kids just get bored and cranky and they need something to do.   The kids would walk around saying “activity”, “activity”, and I knew I had to grab something to occupy them for 30 minutes or so.  I’ve had bins and bins of all kinds of things for kids – mostly generated from ideas I’ve stolen from daycare centers.

Some ideas:

  • playdough, or even make playdough with the kids to save money and have a different kind of fun
  • stickers (I grab these whenever I see them on sale.  I even save return labels given to you from charitable organizations)
  • water color, finger paint, sponge paints
  • scissor fun, cutting, cutting out shapes or pictures in old magazines
  • planting seeds
  • puzzles
  • blocks
  • stamp sets
  • tattoos
  • glue sticks, glitter, confetti
  • painting t-shirts with fabric paints

But now I also have deep discount toys (e.g., $2 a bin!!!) to add to!!!!  This week I purchased:

  • bingo with “sight words” ($2)
  • pattern wooden puzzle — all of the shapes are the same and fit together, but the designs are different ($2)
  • Lego-like set ($2)
  • plastic shape sticky velcro thingie set ($2)
  • Plastic connector thingies to build ($2)
  • wooden jenga-looking like thingies ($2)
  • 1 felt board ($2).  I’m planning on using this as a big activity for the kids.   Cutting out shapes and objects from colored felt and letting them use their imaginations with the shapes and designs on the felt board

And there will be much more over the next several weeks….  🙂    Yes, the stuff is battered.  Yes, some of the pieces look like they have been chewed on or are missing parts.   But they are new to these kids.   And they are good toys to help them learn how to put things together, create something from nothing, work together, and yes…. negotiate with each other for the right pieces.
I guess the point is that these kinds of things are great for kids and parents alike.  You can sit down with your child and play, or take a break and watch them play with each other, or watch them parallel play.   It’s all good.   I spent time doing a bit of all three this weekend.

  • When the kids arrived for their visit last night, I had some of these new activities set out for them and away they went… immersed.   I played with Big Bro with “sight word” bingo while Twin Crazy and Twin Husky built things and played with puzzles.

  • This morning all of the kids were fully entertained by themselves.  They were building “roads” with the pattern puzzle and cars with the blocks and using other toy cars.   Big Bro was directing the play, of course.  But they were all playing together and there were lots of sounds of pretend cars zooming around the house.  And I got to sleep in a bit and hear them play from outside of my room.

  • And this afternoon, I do not kid you, I had the neighborhood kids over and I’m not kidding, but including mine there were 10 kids here.  All playing EXTREMELY well and using their imaginations and playing together.  And the little ones were learning from the big ones.   And as the kids played I cleaned up the kitchen and did laundry, just watching and laughing at their fun.

It was actually relaxing.  Yes, relaxing.  10 kids.   Believe it or not.   AND CHEAP.

So I guess the recommendations are to 1) buy in bulk when you see things on sale; 2) keep stuff stored away for those times when you need to pull out something new to entertain the kids, either on their own or with you; 3) take advantage of hand-me-downs — a different toy is a new toy to your child, whether it is opened from a new box or taken out of a recycled bag; and 4) take advantage of the daycare blow out renovation sales, when you are lucky enough to stumble upon them….  🙂

Where do you ladies find good deals on creative stuff for the kids to do?  

Have a great weekend everyone.

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: Creativity that calms


At our core, people are driven to create.

Image source:  BrainyQuote.com

I’ve often said to myself and others that having children is the best thing I have ever “did” in my life; in terms of doing something.  Creating something.  Bringing something to be that once was not.   I still believe this to be true.  I bet many of you do as well.  Creating our children is probably the ultimate. 

And then there is our work.  We create things there too.   For me, I create ideas out of information –  it is very abstract but it does come along with a lot of paper, PowerPoint presentations, and reports.    Some of you may be like me, working in an office “creating” services or products that you really can’t touch or feel.  Others of you may create actual, physical things.  

And then there is our down-time.  We may not have much of it.   You may have found that your free-time comes back as your children age.  I find that the baby / toddler years are very demanding but as the kids get older you get some of your time back.  But I’m finding myself with more and more of it lately for other reasons.

I’ve been spending a great deal of this time organizing and re-assembling because of my move.  But I’ve also been spending time tearing out my yard and yearning to build a garden.   To create food from the earth.  To see something grow.   To see plants flourish.  To see fruit form.   I guess you would say that this is my new hobby – but one that I’ve been thinking about for years.   For me, a part of the hobby is the relief and the physical part of tearing the weeds from the earth.  Ridding my property of infestation of “yucky stinky weeds” as the kids call them.  Taking something away that should not be.   But then fixing the earth so that good can grow.  I now have 4 trees that are planted in huge pots waiting for the right spots in the yard.  I have strawberry plants that are drooping from their weight.  I have corn stalks given to me by my neighbor.  I have raspberry and blackberry vines thriving.  I now also have a home full of houseplants – and I’m loving it.   It’s a great release for me at this point in my life – a combination of physical and mental energy – a combination of taking away the bad to make room for the good.   To create.   To create good for the family.

Which leads me to thinking… do you also find a cathartic calm from creating?   What is your channel for this creativity?  Please share!

Thanks for listening and sharing –

– Mama K

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