Recipe: Sloppy Joes


I’ve been delinquent in my postings of fast, kid and mom-friendly recipes for the working mother.  SORRY!!!

This recipe was submitted by Mama J from Islip, NY.  Sounds downright delicious!   Sorry for getting to this so late Mama J… I’m getting myself back on track.  🙂

Name of Recipe Sloppy Joes
Background description of recipe, any comments This recipe is from the Every Day food “Great food Fast” cookbook. Very easy and yummy. recipe serves 4. I double the recipe and freeze the leftovers. You can also use any leftovers over pasta or a baked potato. I like to serve with pickles and chips or sweet potato fries. Enjoy.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce,
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
Directions In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 5-7 minutes.Add the ground beef to the skillet and break up with a spoon. Cook until meat no longer pink, 6-8 minutes.

Stir the tomato sauce, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce into the beef mixture in the skillet. Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, 6-8 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over buns.

Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 25 minutes

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.
  • 20120417-002820.jpg

    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.
  • 20120417-002851.jpg

    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

    November 15: A hard night for some


    Today was a day of extremes – either the kids were belly laughing or they were screaming in rage. I either felt in control at work or I felt under the gun. And our routine was out of whack because of an early morning conference call. So, I’m glad that the day is almost finished.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • The kids were all up at the same time, and at one point everyone was in Big Bro and Red’s room. The Twins were excited. Red was in a great mood. Big Bro was sluggish. But it was Chocolate Tuesday!
  • I showered quickly and ran downstairs. I was going to take a conference call from home after the kids were already dropped off, and then drive to work — so I didn’t need to do anything with myself in the AM.
  • I helped to get the bags ready, clean up the Twins from oatmeal, dress Red, etc. It all happened very quickly and they were all out of there before I knew it.
  • I took a conference call at 8 AM from home. After the call, I quickly got myself ready and drove into the city.
  • I loved my commute to the city this morning. I remember blasting AC/DC — Dirty Deeds, and Highway to Hell. I got pumped up for the day. It felt good to be mobile. It felt good to me listening to this music and at high volume.
  • Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I had several other conference calls related to the same topic as the call from the morning. Essentially, I am connecting one-on-one with each of the meeting participants to understand from their perspective what worked well, what could have been done differently, and what they want to see out of the next meeting to make that meeting the most valuable to the collective group and to their own organization. Our firm has not done these one-on-one discussions before and they are working out well. It’s also a great way to further and deepen our relationship with these individuals which is always a good thing.
  • I also spent time refining the go-to-market materials for another initiative. I’ll need to reach out to my contacts to describe the change in approach we are taking.
  • I also spent time organizing market interviews for the client project I am working on. We are in deliverable development mode now and I’ve been putting it off. It won’t be hard to do, it’s just hard to start. Once I sit down un-interupted, I should be able to get going on it. I just need the jump-start. This part of my job is always difficult for me – just getting started. Looking at the blank page and knowing that it has to be filled with something intelligent.
  • I spent the rest of the day doing admin items like my timesheet and expenses; and also looking at my workload and hoping that I can become more efficient.
  • Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Since I drove in this morning, I had to drive back from the city. This is what my commute was like (below). Needless to say, I was late getting back to pick up the kids and thank goodness Hubby made the ferry to start the pick-ups. I picked up Red but he got the rest.
  • 20111115-205409.jpg

  • We had an “all-orange” dinner tonight. Mac-n-cheese, carrots, and goldfish crackers. The kids thought it was fun. I thought it was easy. I was amazed at the amount of carrots that were consumed.
  • 20111115-205619.jpg

  • Twin Husky was climbing everywhere after dinner. Moving his little chair around and standing to grab at counters, turn on/off lights. He was also climbing on the dinner table and on the coffee table. We’ve reached that phase where discipline is necessary and stern “No. That’s not OK”.
  • Red wanted to do a puzzle and finish her mac-n-cheese at the kitchen counter. I helped her with the top of the puzzle as I was multi-tasking with other kids. We did the puzzle 3 or 4 times tonight.
  • I changed Twin Crazy and Twin Husky in PJs and we had a blast. Kissing bellies and playing games with the clothes and tickling them silly. We were laughing so hard that Big Bro asked us to quiet down.
  • Getting them to bed was so easy. They love brushing their teeth and they ABSOLUTELY LOVE their books. They pick out what they want to read and I love the time with them. They are both so interactive. Twin Husky repeats everything I say.
  • Big Bro was watching a movie and threw a tantrum when we said it was bedtime. It was so bad that I had to sit him down and tell him to stop, and look into my eyes and tell him to stop it and to listen and to walk up the stairs for bed. It was rough.
  • So now I sit here, with my throat hurting from laughter, but my nerves also on edge. Maybe I’ll grab a Guinness.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Recipe: Citrus-Garlic Roasted Chicken


    This recipe was submitted by “Mama S” from Orinda, CA and she cites Claire Robinson, Food Network.   This is in her weekly rotation now and her kids love it.   She claims it is easy so don’t let the ingredients scare you.   The prep/cook time is a little longer so use this on a night when you have extra time and do not need to feed your kids immediately.   I’m thinking that you could also use this same marinade on boneless breasts that have been “flattened” and then cooked quickly on the stove.  Thank you Mama S!!!

    Ingredients

    • 4 large bone-in, skin on chicken breasts, about 3 pounds (I use skinless & boneless thighs)
    • 4 large whole chicken thighs, about 2 pounds
    • 1/2 navel orange, zested, plus the juice of 1 whole orange (I zest whole orange)
    • 2 limes, 1 zested, both juiced (I zest both limes)
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I use 1 TBSP)
    • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (I use 6 cloves)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
    • Freshly cracked black pepper

    Directions

    Put the chicken in a large nonmetalic bowl. Put the orange and lime zests in a small bowl and add the fruit juices. Whisk in the olive oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and a generous grind of black pepper.  Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss until well coated.  Marinate for 20 to 30 minutes but no longer than 45 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put a rack on a rimmed baking sheet. With tongs, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and arrange them on the rack leaving space between each piece. Drizzle a small spoonful of the marinade over the top of each chicken piece; season well with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when meat is pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes.

    Cooks well on grill too.

    Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Cool slightly before serving or let stand until room temperature before refrigerating for later use.

    Prep time – 10m + 30m to marinade

    Cook time – 45m

    August 24: Happy kids, unsure Mommy


    I had a great day with the kids; work is still in flux which is causing my head to spin a bit…

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • Kids were waking up and in good moods; I did not hear any tantrums.
    • While getting ready, I hear a little voice “Mommy, can you help me with this?” It was Red, and she wanted to wear her new halter dress again. She needed help with the halter part and the button. “Of course sweetie. This part is hard. There’s a button all the way in the back and that would be really hard for you to do.”
    • She requested a pony-tail so I tried the best I could with what I had to work with. Hubby calls it her “Steven Segal” look.
    • She helped me fetch my lotions and creams – I used to do make up at home but now I wait for that at work. She likes to help me get the items out of the drawer and give to me.
    • I’m picking out my clothes and looking for leggings. Red asks me to wear a dress that way both of us could “match”. I honor her request and then have to “dry-shave” my legs since I was not preparing to wear a dress today.
    • I check in Big Bro’s room and it does not look like he’s in bed, but he is. He’s all curled up in a ball. I ask him if he wants to get dressed upstairs, or downstairs. Downstairs it is. OK bud, time to wake up. Let’s go downstairs now. I bring his pile of clothes down, along with Red.
    • Twins are running around having fun eating berries and cereal, and playing. Big kids get set up at the counter for breakfast.
    • I keep helping Twin Crazy with her banana during the morning. She needs help with the peel.
    • Diaper change with Twin Husky was so cute. He’s really talking now and loving the feet and toe games I play with him. And the tickling the belly and all the kisses.
    • Twin Crazy did not want me for her diaper change – she kept requesting Hubby so he honored that request. I still went over there to kiss her face and her nose and do a quick tickle. Now she’s laughing at me again. I’m not sure why she was mad at me earlier.
    • Vitamins and kisses. I like this routine.
    • OK! Time to go!!! Big kids get their shoes on. I pack up shoes for the Twins. All are in car and ready to go. I’m still scurrying around getting instant coffee, taking my vitamins, finding my shoes, finding my keys.
    • First drop off with Red and Twins was great. Red loves her dress. We told her daycare that this will be her last week. She will start pre-school on Monday.
    • 2nd drop off: Big Bro’s last day of pre-school. There are older kids in there with “DS” games. I ask them if they have kick-ball games on the DS. Or hide and seek. Or kick the can. Or climb a dirt pile. No. They have Sponge Bob goo or doom or something and lots with Star Wars. I ask Big Bro if his friends have DS toys and he says some. I say, “Hmmmmm. If we get you a DS you’ll have 15 minutes on the DS and then you have to go outside and run for 45 min. OK?” He laughed.

    Now we’re on the ferry, and I’m still thinking about the new job opportunity; Hubby is giving advice on staging of my communications with the Firm, first telling them I’m interested but saying I need to think through how I want it to be structured. Over the weekend thinking about it and then next week talking about my needs to work from home more often, etc. I think this is a good plan and makes sense. Improves my negotiating power.

    It is sunny but a bit chilly. I did not bring a jacket and now I’m wearing a skirt because of Red. I hope I don’t freeze my ass of today. I’m going to be working today a bit differently since I will have a “new lens” on. I will probably need to think about a trip to our office on the East Coast to work with the person who is leaving. I’ll need to get a serious brain dump from her… she’s been doing this for 11 years and has a lot of institutional knowledge that will be difficult to transfer to me.

    I’m hopeful again today. Hubby and I are working together on thinking through this new opportunity and he’s also reading books I’ve bought on financial planning for the family. I feel like we starting to head on the right track together.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • Had a conference call to discuss go to market sales tool for the partnering initiative
    • Went immediately into another conference call to discuss our sales pipeline for consulting services for our offices in the U.S. I suggested adding three “unqualified” opportunities for big relationships in our city; I would like to own the sales go-to-market efforts and coordinate with our team to drive sales within these companies.
    • Talked off-the-cuff with one of the Directors about my potential change in role and the different path this would take me at the firm. He believes that this path would be an easier way to promotion to Director compared to the alternative…. long hours, unpredictable travel, multiple projects, individual project sales, etc. that is typically required to make Director. I trust his opinion and feel better about my prospects at the company; I can actually get excited about this new role since I would be given leeway to do things differently – this would be the part that would excite me. But I am confusing myself – just last week I was about to demand reduced work week by hour and also a day off; so this is really a whip-lash decision for me.
    • Went to a great lunch; I’m trying to splurge every now and then – it was outrageous. The sit-down fancy cloth napkin kind of lunch.
    • Worked on the Best Practices document as a wrap up for our last project
    • Organized a trip to our East Coast office for next week — will need to be there physically to best transfer knowledge and learn for preparation of my new role.

    Now I’m on the ferry – I will be solo tonight with the Mother’s Helper; I’m thinking about a VERY kid-friendly dinner tonight since I am still stuffed. Pasta! I’m looking forward to picking up the kids. It is Big Bro’s last day of pre-school so we’re entering a monumental milestone for him. I hope he transitions smoothly. I think he’ll do great (maybe me not so much so).

    Dinner and Bedtime:

     

    • Picked up Big Bro and took pictures of him near his favorite sections of his classroom. They had face-painting today; he had a spider on his face
    Big Bro's last day at pre-school

    Big Bro's last day at pre-school

    • Picked up Red and Twins; Twin Husky climbed up by himself into the van and then crawled into the front of the van, behind the wheel, pretending to drive and pushing all the buttons. It was hard to get him out of the front seat.
    • At home we played with balloons. Each kid had one and some extra; all started popping. Big Bro was upset that he didn’t get the color he wanted; Red caved in and gave him her balloon and asked for a different color. He later admitted that he’s trying harder not to have these breakdowns. And he knows that Red gives in to his tantrums because she doesn’t want to hear him cry.
    • Big Bro was in the bathroom doing his business; then Red had to go so she went on her little potty; Twins were extremely interested in all of this so everyone was in the bathroom looking at poop and pee. There was a lot of saying and waving “bye bye” and Twin Crazy was insistent on flushing the toilet multiple times. I think she’s ready to start potty training.
    • Made mac-n-cheese; Big Bro and Red helped stir the powder cheese and milk; all kids ate well
    • I started PJs and milk early so there was time to play; the four of them played with kitchen food and they were serving each other food and me too; it was really cute. We all cleaned up and then headed upstairs.
    • Big Bro took the Spider off of his face as the other kids explored my make up drawers.
    • All kids then wanted to brush teeth together. Twin Crazy really goes nuts over brushing teeth. She shared a stool with Red. Then Twin Husky shared a stool with Red.
    • Books, sing songs with Twins. Kisses goodnight.
    • Big Bro and Red played with the story cards – went to bed very quickly.
    • Big Bro admits that he’s scared about Kindergarten. I may try to take him to the school either tomorrow or Friday so that he can look around and feel more comfortable before his first day.

    I had a reasonably good day; the kids were great; work was still unclear and I’m not sure if this will be adding to my stress or containing it… I guess there’s only one way to find out….

    Til tomorrow –

    – Mama K

    August 12: Taking my crew on the ferry


    I decided to work from home today since I went out-of-town yesterday, and I have my work computer with me.   This changed things up a bit:

    Morning and Commute:

    • Red remembered about my promise of going to Big Bro’s school on a day when I work from home.    When she found out I was working from home today, she started to get excited and slowly started to communicate the change in routine.   I was patient with her and let her finish her thoughts…..”Mommy… you work from home today?   So [Twin Husky], [Twin Crazy] and me go to [Big Bro] school?    And we look at Daddy go on Ferry?”    “Yes sweetie.  We can do that if you want.”   She was excited.
    • Big Bro was still sleeping hard because there was a pee-pee accident last night.   He downed 3 glasses of milk before bed — poor kid.   Accidents happen.   Because of this we let him sleep a bit longer – we also had more time since we didn’t need to make the drop offs before the ferry left.
    • I got four sets of clothes ready for the day; changed everyone, got on shoes, everyone’s excited.
    • We get the kids in the car and drive to the ferry station.  The kids go wild when they see the boat.  I get reprimanded by a “rent a cop” that I’m blocking the way where I am parked.   “Come on man, I got four kids that are excited to see their daddy get on the Ferry.”   No luck.  I loop around and find another spot, less conspicuous.   The ferry sounds its horn and begins to back up.  Smoke fills the sky.  Twin Crazy says “hot”.   Twins are pointing to the boat.   We all wave bye-bye to daddy.
    • We all drop off Big Bro.   All kids go onto sidewalk and hold hands.    Big Bro wants to get dropped off in privacy so I set up the other kids in the “community play room” and drop of Big Bro solo.  He appreciates this.
    • I play with the Twins and Red at the daycare center for about 45 min.  They loved it – legos, baby dolls, doll house — we received a lot of attention.   We want to send Red here in September although it will be much more expensive for us.
    • OK time to go!   On the way out I see some legos in little hands so we go back and put everything back.  Twin Husky was not a fan of this but he soon got over it.
    • Drop off at daycare went fine.   They all looked a little tired and maybe needed a snack.
    • I’m back at home and will start my day – I will need to finish the proposal and send out to the client by end of business tonight; I would also like to start on the “best practices” deck as the hand-out to those people we interviewed during the last project as a “thank you”.  It should be easy to do.   I already know how I’m going to set it up.
    Highlights of my Working Day:
    • Ate a yogurt; set up for the day in my home-office.  This included my iPad, my work computer, and the Apple home computer.  I also had my cell phone nearby and my home phone.   It looks like I’m a day-trader.
    • Wrote commentary on my morning, since I did not have a commute trip this morning
    • Discussed status of proposal with two Directors.  Made some last changes and I sent out to the client.   I at least know that he read my email because I received a “read receipt”.  Hopefully we’ll hear something back soon.
    • 1:30 PM:  Went out to lunch by myself and brought my iPad.   Wrote a piece that I will post on Sunday night.
    • Started and finished the Best Practices document that we can send to interviewees from our last project.   I think it’s ready to go but I sent it to a Director for comments/feedback.
    • I plan to wrap up early today….   get the kids, head to the ferry, and meet Hubby in the city for dinner.   If we leave early enough we’ll all be able to make the 7:30 Ferry from the city back home.   Kids are free on the ferry on Fridays.   They absolutely love it.
    • OK, gotta run and get myself ready and also pack a bag for the kids!    Some PJs, diapers, 4 small cars for entertainment at the table.
    Dinner and Bedtime:
    • I picked up Big Bro and told him that we were going on a ferry and we both started running to the van
    • I picked up the rest and told them the same thing — -“Daddy… daddy…. boat….”   How cute.
    • Got to ferry parking lot in plenty of time — they looked so cute and anxious waiting for the boat.    They went nuts when it arrived.

    My crew waiting for the ferry to grab dinner with Daddy

    • They were great on the ferry — standing up on the cushion seats looking out onto the water.   We were in the front of the boat so they had a great view of the city.   They were great.   Red gave the ticket to the ferry guy.
    • We met hubby and headed out for Mexican food — rice, beans, chicken, enchiladas, quesadillas, and BEERS.   All kids ate well.   Twin Husky sat in a booster seat while Twin Crazy was in a high chair.   We had a great time.   The kids were so well-behaved.
    • We walked a bit — Big Bro and Red pushing the stroller.   Twin Husky was mellow and Twin Crazy was going nuts jumping back and forth in her seat and laughing and cackling.
    • We shared two cookies from Subway since all the ice-cream stores were closed.   Big Bro took control of the water cup and all kids shared their water.   So cute.
    • Ferry ride back was fun; all kids tired.
    • As soon as we made it back the toddlers went upstairs.   I got milk for all; quick routine for Twins and they were out.   Quick routine for the big guys and I think they’re sleeping.
    IT WAS AN EXCELLENT DAY….   felt productive at work and I had A LOT of quality time with the kids.   I absolutely LOVED today.
    Going to watch a movie now with hubby –
    Till Monday –
    – Mama K

    August 9: Too much laundry but we’ve been saved by another “New” Mother’s Helper!


    Today was a bit rushed; we woke up later than normal – 7:20 AM and we need to leave by 8 AM with 4 kids! We posted for another ad in Craig’s List so hopefully we’ll find someone soon. OUr place is a wreck – we tried to keep up last summer when I went back to work but it was physically and emotionally depleting. I just couldn’t do it with four kids and work FT. Hopefully someone good answers our ad soon.

    • Twin Crazy was playing with a brush, and Red was also with her. Twin Crazy trapped Red in the closet – she is getting very good with her muscles and she loves to open and close sliding closets (to my fear)
    • Twin Husky then comes out and the four of us start playing with puzzles on the floor. That was really sweet.
    • Everyone heads down for Chocolate Tuesday!
    • I can’t find my brush so I head downstairs and there it is on the floor.
    • I take out dry stuff out of dryer and put on top of the growing mountain of clean clothes to be folded in the back bedroom
    • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are eating yogurt for breakfast so I clean them up and get them out of their chairs
    • Twin Crazy “helps” me put the wet clean clothes into the dryer. That was cute.
    • I put in another load of wash.
    • Red and Big Bro are REALLY busy with Chocolate Tuesday – they are eating their faces off.
    • I make Big Bro’s lunch and pack up the bag for daycare.
    • We change the Twins and then help Red and Big Bro change. They are old enough, and they can do it by themselves, I think they just want the attention from us so I can’t help but give in. Big Bro and I discuss the system we had where he picked out the clothes by himself and came downstairs already dressed, and how great that was. We’re going to try that tomorrow.
    • Twins are playing with the stereo components and wind up turning it on. Big Bro laughs at this — he is so sweet; he looks at what they do, but hangs back. Will only intervene if their safety is in question. Otherwise, he enjoys seeing them develop and do funny things, just as I do. I’m so proud of him as a big brother.
    • OK – 8 AM!! Time to go! Everyone get their shoes on!!! Twin Husky went to the garage and found his shoes so I could pack them in the bag. How cute.
    • Twin Husky was difficult getting into the car seat today. He kept wanting to turn around and laugh at Big Bro. You can really see the development between the two brothers recently. It is so sweet.

    So now I’m on the ferry, no makeup, no breakfast, and no coffee. I feel like shit.   For work today, I will need to:

    • Work with one of the directors to map out one proposal. We need to complete it by today or tomorrow – So I’ll need to focus on that.
    • Think about high level approach for the big proposal we will submit in two weeks.
    • I will need to participate in a coordination/status meeting for the big meeting in October. THis will take 1 hour out of my day
    • I will also likely lead a different meeting for the firm initiative with our partner – I’ll need to walk through the go-to-market materials I sent out yesterday.

    So, lots to do today. I think I’m going to treat myself to a big breakfast and HUGE coffee on the way to work today.   On the ferry the people around me are talking about t-ball, swimming, soccer, baseball, and birthday parties, and camps. The people around here are so Type-A and everything appears to be done to the extreme. Giant trampolines. Swim lessons since they’re 3. Hearing this makes me feel so guilty that we’re not able to do this with our kids – there just isn’t enough time and the last thing we want to do on weekends is run around with extra activities and/or formalized commitments.   I’ll probably post something on this topic at a later time.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • I grabbed an excellent breakfast this morning on the way to work – breakfast tacos, a HUGE coffee, and I decided to splurge on orange juice.
    • Got myself together in the ladies room before going to office. Now I feel more like myself.
    • Rearranged some meetings today
    • Started to work on the presentation for Thursday’s huge meeting with the folks from the project that just wrapped up. I had no fear going in to present to the Senior EVP of the bank, but these types of meetings where you need to present to the workers… the doers… is very stressful for me. Everything in black and white is a critique on how they do their jobs – sometimes they react favorably to this type of work because maybe their fighting for investment budget for automation and to make their jobs easier — however sometimes it just looks like plain criticism — and in this case we were evaluating potential areas for outsourcing so some of these people will be fearful of their jobs (or their teams) as a result of this work. So, I’m not really looking forward to Thursday’s meeting. It will be tougher. It will be harder emotionally.
    • Ate fig newtons for lunch. Sent out a Random Thoughts post during lunch.
    • Sent follow-up to our Whitepaper partner to see if she is happy with the results; I’d like to get more work from her. The work is not complicated and it would give us a great way to supplement our existing work and keep our junior staff busy.
    • Started working on a “Best Practices” document to send to the institutions we interviewed for our last project.
    • Started fleshing out the objectives for one proposal – we are supposed to deliver it to the prospective client this week but I don’t know how that is going to happen… I have face-to-face business development meetings tomorrow and I am traveling on Thursday…..
    • Conducted the touchpoint status meeting for the initiative with our partners; there are some updates to the go-to-market materials which I incorporated and then re-sent everything out to the team so we can begin our sales efforts. I will need to start reaching out to companies before the next status meeting in 2 weeks.
    • Fired our undependable Mother’s Helper, and arranged for someone who answered our ad to come visit with us tonight. I’m going to put her to work with all of our laundry and all of our hand-washables. Our house is a disaster.

    I had a good day today but am still feeling down – I am not recovering as quickly as I would like from my bout of depression from the weekend. I can’t shake this. The city where we live is too stressful and extremely expensive. I have no choice but to work the way I do. I feel like I have no choices at all anymore. I’m feeling alone again and need to snap out of this. OK I’m off to the Ferry. Will likely start to write-up another blog entry on the way home.

     Dinner and Bedtime:

    • Red came out of daycare today with her hair pulled back in a pony-tail (she has very, very little hair so I’m always amazed when people are able to do this for her – I certainly cannot).  I made such a big deal out of this.  We later kept giggling to each other that we both have pony-tails and we put them together and said how our pony-tails were mixed together.
    • Twin Husky absolutely loves Big Bro.  It is tough to get him in the car seat because he’d rather stand up and look at Big Bro.   We talk about what kinds of toys they can play with each other when we get home and Big Bro decides on “cars”.   Then Red proclaims that she wants to play “Princess” with Twin Crazy when we get home.
    • Twin Husky and Twin Crazy have a blast on the slide structure.   They keep taking turns and running around — one slides while the other climbs up the structure… on and on and on and on…..  Too cute.  They were laughing their butts off.
    • Our potential new mother’s helper came over.  She is great with kids and works in summer camps and social work programs with kids for a living.  I think she’ll be great with our family.  Red took to her right away and we had fun showing her around the house.  We went outside (all the kids) to show her the apple tree.  I picked an apple for each kid and used that as leverage to get them to eat their food.
    • A conversation with Big Bro went like this tonight….     Big Bro:  “If you had a monster, what would you do with it?”  “Well, is it a good monster or bad monster?”   “It’s anything you want it to be.” “OK.  I’d like it to be a good monster.   But would you kids be scared of it?”   “I wouldn’t, but Red might, and Twin Husky and Twin Crazy would be too.”  “OK.  Well in that case, on a day when I work from home and you kids are at school and daycare, I would invite the monster over for lunch.   That’s what I’d do with the monster.”
    • And yet another conversation with Big Bro….  Big Bro:  “I’d like to have a dinosaur and have them in the house.   I’d like to ride them.”   He then starts to mention all of them by name and I don’t remember what they are but we did have a long conversation about the ones that fly and how we would love to fly on them if they were nice to us and kept us safe when we were in the air.
    • All ate well.   Big Bro ate so many carrots I thought he was going to turn orange. Big Bro and Red wound up on my lap after dinner eating apples.  I loved it.
    • Big Bro wanted to play a game with me where you connect “dots” to form squares and the person who forms the most squares wins.   I’m telling you, this kid was strategizing.   I actually had to pay attention to what I was doing.   Hubby thinks that I’ll be no match for this kid in 1-2 years.
    • Twin Crazy started to do something funny with her sippy cup tonight — shaking the milk out into a spoon and then drinking the milk from the spoon
    • MH puts the Twins down for bed – everything seemed to go well.
    • Big Bro had a tantrum about a blanket.   Red is still saying she’s scared.  I think she’s at the top of the stairs again now….
    The older kids are just so funny at these ages.   I feel like Big Bro and Red are full-fledged people.   The way they banter, the way they joke around with me, the way they interact and the give and take to the conversations.   I love it.   I sometimes get side tracked and forget things for them when too much is going on, but I ask them to PLEASE remind me when that happens.   They are so good with that.   For example, Big Bro had to remind me that I didn’t answer his question about what I would do with a monster.    I love how he accepted that I got pulled away, was mature enough to wait, and then approached me when he knew he could get my full attention.   It is so easy with him and with Red sometimes but then just 10 minutes later they regress and throw tantrums about a blanket of all things.   So I guess I have some more time to wait but by then it will be a different issue so I just have to be happy for what I have now!!!    AND, I AM THRILLED AT THE POTENTIAL OF OUR NEW MOTHER’S HELPER!!!!    There is a mound of I think 5 loads of laundry that she will need to conquer…. I’m going to sit down now and maybe watch some True Blood.
    All in all, a good day.
    Till tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    August 8: Busy at Work, Busy at Home, and NO Mother’s Helper (again!)


    Oh, Mondays. These used to be really rough for me but my weekend was not that spectacular so I welcome getting back into a normal routine. We did not do much of anything on Sat or Sun. The highlight was taking the kids to a nearby park and having all four of them tear down the little, medium, and big slides. Twin Husky was flying down the medium slide head first, laughing his butt off. Both Twin husky and Twin Crazy would go down the little slide and then topple over onto the bark ground which they thought was hysterical, and me and Big Bro thought even more hysterical. The weekend was very cold and gray. Twin Husky got some more biting practice in. Poor Twin Crazy, and also Red. They are beginning to fear him.

     Highlights of the morning:

    • Red woke up first and climbed into our bed, playful. She seems like in a great mood
    • Red and Twin Husky make it down with Hubby for breakfast
    • I hear Twin Crazy screaming… because she woke up alone in her room.  She was really pissed off that she woke up and her brother was not there.  She feels like she’s missing out on something.   I fetch her and she has a good time combing her hair and my hair.
    Twin Crazy is pissed that everyone is downstairs except for her
    • I wake up Big Bro and start to gather clothes for the day. He has definite opinions. He needs to have a picture on his t-shirt or else it is rejected. We have so many plain t-shirts that just never get used.
    • downstairs the Twins are busy eating applesauce, bananas and Cheerios. They are talking up a storm and having fun with Red.
    • Big Bro is in a great mood.
    • Getting them dressed was no problem. Red and I played a game where I was helping her with her socks but she kept giving me the foot that was already “socked”.. “I don’t need THAT guy [referring to her foot], I need THIS guy [referring to her other foot].” “I’m giving you THIS guy”. “No, I need THAT guy.” It was really cute. She is in a great mood. She even had time to put on a tattoo that she was excited about.
    • I gathered clothes for daycare for Twin Husky [this is something that I should do the night before to make the time more efficient in the morning….]
    • Shoes on! Let’s go!!!
    • Red says she wants to see Daddy go on the ferry and then all of us go to Big Bro’s school. I say we can only do that on days that I work from home. That does not seem to satisfy her much.
    • Drop off #1 went without a problem. She whisked them away because it’s really cold outside
    • Drop off #2 went well. Big Bro brought in a book “101 Dalmatians” and his teacher said “Cool! Great book. Do you want me to read it?” I love that place. We will likely have Red start in the same school in September.

    Today for work I will need to double-task and hustle. I am double-booked in the AM where I need to get a deck ready for distribution for an internal team, yet I also have an internal call to strategize for a new proposal we will be developing. It will be hard for me to multi-task on this so I need to hit-the ground running when I get into the office to get the first done before the second begins. But I’m hungry. I guess it will be more coffee and trail mix. Later in the day I will need to reach out for more business development for the meeting in October. WE have a status call tomorrow that I will need to be ready for.

     

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • Ran into the office, did not have time to eat (trail mix) or put on make up…. I updated the go-to-market materials and quickly sent off to our internal team – I had just 20 minutes to do this since I had a call at 9:30
    • 9:30 conference call to discuss the potential proposal that we will likely bid on; it will be a very big project across regions and we have 2 weeks to pull it together. Three directors and I got together to talk about the business need and think about what work we’ve done that we can leverage approach / thinking of the business issue. It will be very interesting if we get it.
    • Quickly put on some make up and grabbed trail mix. Headed to next conference call
    • Internal call on the go-to-market materials I sent that AM. I received some great feedback and spent the next several hours incorporating. Grabbed some lunch take-out and ate at my desk while working. Sent all materials to our team and our partner.

     

    Today went reasonably well. I think I do better (mentally) when working in the office vs. at home. I was busy, had the heater on in my office so I was nice and toasty, and I was extremely comfortable in my garb (nice soft long sweater, leggings, high heels — sexy but comfy).

    Me and hubby are headed home now; ferry is great, sun is finally out. Dinner? Just talked about this with hubby and we are leaning on spaghetti and meat balls (Costco). I’m looking forward to pick up with the kids and hearing their squeals (Twins) when we arrive.

     Dinner and Bedtime:

    • Pick up for Big Bro went great; Pick up for Twins and Red went fine. Today they drew outlines of their hands. Our daycare provider does the minimal in terms of creativity so I was surprised at this and made a huge deal over it.
    • We started dinner – pasta and meatballs. Kids were really hungry/cranky so we gave them some raisins and crackers to hold them over.
    • While it was cooking I started to dance and play follow the leader with all the kids to our electric keyboard. It was a lot of fun.
    • 6:30 came and went. It looks like we were stood-up again by our new Mother’s Helper. I have two loads of laundry in our back bedroom that need to get folded, more laundry to start, and an entire sink of hand-washables. *I&^$*&^(*#^$)(&^
    • Everyone ate well. Even Red. So much so that Hubby made the kids ice-cream cones. Ryan was very frustrated that he wanted more. Threw himself down on the ground with a tantrum.
    • Hubby went out front with the kids so Big Bro could ride his electrical jeep and the rest of the kids could run off the sugar. It was freezing. It’s so cold out here where we live.
    • I in the meantime cleaned up from dinner, started doing more laundry, and got the PJs and milk out for the Twins
    • Bedtime for Twins was fine. Singing twinkle twinkle and itsy bitsy spider. Twin Crazy likes to take part with her hands. Twin Husky was too cranky to participate. Both “brushed their teeth” which was cute.
    • We usually do a round of kisses with the Twins but Twin Crazy did not want to get near Twin Husky. I guess they were fighting a lot today and I think she may be scared of his biting. When he gets pushed to far he lashes out with his teeth and does a throaty grunt.
    • Big Bro was great tonight at bedtime. I read him a book and he caused no problems. He laid down with his head in my lap and I was loving it. Red was a different story. There were issues with her and the potty, and issues with her getting into PJs. Then she came in and out and put the hallway lights on. Then she came out and needed a towel to dry her hands. As I type this she is now out saying that she is scared. “Just pull that blanket up to your chin honey…. you have to go to sleep now.”  I think I hear her now sighing and dreaming, upstairs, at the top of the staircase landing.    Don’t tell me that she’s asleep in the hallway!

     

    Today ended just fine. The house is a mess but we had fun with the kids. Laundry is going, this post is done, and I will now put another ad in Craig’s List for yet another Mother’s Helper. This time I’m going to stress dependability and will probably ask for references.

     

    Till tomorrow –

     

    – Mama K

    August 5: Extra time with my pumpkins but still so depressed


    Today I was lucky to have some extra time with Red, Twin Husky, and Twin Crazy – their daycare provider had a doctor appointment so I had to bring them in later.   Because of this I took the liberty to work from home.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • I got up a big slowly (drank too many beers the night before) but made it to the shower and downstairs in time to organize a few things before the kids were up
    • I took it slow.   There really was no rush since I did not have to take the ferry.   I enjoyed the kids.
    • I had four piles of clothes today, versus the normal two.   This is because daycare usually changes Twin Husky and Twin Crazy into day clothes for us – it makes our morning routine easier that way.  But today, we had four piles which was fun.
    • The kids cooperated with breakfast.   I made a full pot of coffee for my day at home.
    • When it was time to go, I had all kids get ready with shoes etc.  Twin Husky and Twin Crazy both came to me, one by one, to get their shoes on.
    • We dropped of Big Bro at school – he knew we were all coming in but he specifically requested that not everyone come into his classroom.   I agreed to this.  So the plan was to get the siblings set up in the “common room” at pre-school with toys and then privately drop of Tyler.  He was happy with this plan.
    • When I got them out of the van they were all well-behaved and stayed on the sidewalk holding hands.   The group knows to do this, especially if we are in a parking lot or crossing a street.
    • We got inside and the siblings were excited about the toys which were new to them.   Big Bro was happy that he had me to himself for drop off, and that his friends didn’t have to look at a huge group of kids (his kids) as they welcomed him into the room.
    • Red, Twin Husky, and Twin Crazy had a blast at pre-school.  We stayed there for an hour, playing with dolls, legos, plastic animals — playing make-believe in a kitchen area — climbing/sitting/getting down from chairs and doing it again, and again, and again.   They really had fun.
    Kids playing with "new" toys at Big Bro's pre-school
    • When it was time to leave they were great.   Again, they stayed on the sidewalk until I shuffled them in the van.
    • We cruised by the library but it wasn’t open yet, so we went home.   Had a blueberry snack, watched our landlord mow our lawn, colored with markers, played with a keyboard, and did a puzzle.    There was only one problem (a BIG one)…. Twin Husky bit Twin Crazy’s finger.   I couldn’t believe it.   We’ve never had a biter.   I reprimanded him with a very harsh tone and he looked down but did not cry.   He took it like a man.   Then about a minute later Red came screaming over to me saying that Twin Husky tried to bite her.   Oh shit.   I can’t deal with this.  Daycare then called at 11:30 so I happily dropped them off.
    • After their drop off I headed to the food store – bought a chicken for dinner and a lot of other stuff.  Picked up a burritos for me for lunch.
    I love experiences like this.  It gives me a glimpse of what it is like to be a stay at home mom.   I really had fun.  The kids had fun.  They were so well-behaved, with the exception of the bite incident.   But I was ready to give them to daycare.   I was ready to head home and get some work done.   So I know that I do want to continue to work, but I guess just a bit more time with my kids is all I need to feel more balanced, more happy.
    Highlights of my Working Day:
    • I essentially sat on my couch with my feet up and worked on the go-to-market materials for the start-up initiative; we need those materials complete for a progress call next week AND for a client meeting next week.
    • I threw in a load of laundry.  I ran the dishwasher.
    • I booked a flight for a client presentation for next week – we were asked to go and present our findings and recommendations to a much larger audience… essentially all the people who were involved in the internal interview process and they are the ones whose jobs will be impacted as a result of the work.   This meeting by far will be the most stressful of any we’ve had to-date.   I will need to refresh the presentation deck to make sure the tone is proper so as not to offend anyone in the room on that day.
    • I threw the chicken in the oven at 4 PM.   I started to cook some beets.     I set the table.  I got the pajamas ready for the kids.   I confirmed that our Mother’s Helper was planning to show up tonight.   YEAH (there’s a whole pile of clothes to do, and a whole sink of hand-washables for her to attack).
    Dinner and Bedtime:
    • I was on my own tonight since Hubby was at a baseball game.    This was fine since dinner was done and I was ready for them.
    • All ate well.   Twins liked the beets.   Big Bro and Red at least tried them.   The chicken was a hit.
    • Afterwards Big Bro and Red watched a movie and ate popcorn (we like to do this on Friday nights).  Twin Husky was having fun rocking back and forth and talking on our rocker.   Twin Crazy had a great time on the slide structure.
    • Pajamas were fun; the Twins were ready.   I got them milk and they took the milk and their blankets over to the stairs.  They were so ready.  Up they went – books, sing a song, kisses, and in their cribs — butts in the air, blankets in hand, thumbs in mouth.   Out.
    • Red and Big Bro were fine with teeth brushing, etc.   They both sat in my lap for two books.  Big Bro looked exhausted and was out within 5 min of getting into bed.
    • Red came out saying that her finger hurt – so I looked at it, found nothing, but offered her a band-aid.  She proceeded to put it on the wrong finger (wrong hand even) and I caught her in the act and mentioned it to her.   She looked at me, put her chin down and eyes up, and tried to hold back a smile.   She knew I was onto her.
    I had a great day, but for some reason I was still extremely depressed in the afternoon and even now.   Spending too much time in an empty, soul-less house is really disturbing for me.   We are renting our place and it was meant to be a temporary spot for us (for a year or so) until we figured out where we REALLY want to settle.   But Kindergarten is getting underway soon, our place is so empty (no pictures up, bookshelves empty) and it feels like my life is in a holding pattern with no time horizon for any decision to be made.  It is so disturbing to me.   I find it so hard to believe that despite my working from home and having time with my kids (and kind of feeling like a stay at home mom today), I am still so unhappy.   I feel so misplaced.   And I think my meeting my old high-school friend last night had a lot to do with it.   I miss my home.   I want a home for my children.  I want less stress and less pressure.   I want simplicity.    I want to enjoy my time and live my life with my family – and get on with establishing a home and rooting for the sake of them and myself.   I will need to write more on this at another time – but I’m just feeling so down right now.    So empty despite having so much.
    I think I’ll call it a night, check in on my sleeping kids, take my meds and go to sleep –
    Till next week –
    – Mama K

    August 4: Old routine, old friend, and too many beers…


    Today is a bit unusual since Red woke up in the middle of the night and Hubby went downstairs to sleep. So, I woke up early and handled most of the morning routine with the kids – like I used to do before I “hit the wall”:

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • I woke up first and ran to the shower; I got showered and dressed within 10 min
    • Ran downstairs and then did the following while all kids were still upstairs sleeping / in their beds:  packed Big Bro’s lunch, got breakfast ready for Twins (blueberries, cherries, pears, raisins), got Big Bro’s bagel ready in the toaster, got Red’s oatmeal ready in the bowl, gathered everyone’s’ jackets and shoes in the daycare bag and put everything by the garage door.   All of this time I was running, running, running through the kitchen… best to get everything set up before ANY of the kids come down, otherwise you have to stop in your tracks for any little distraction
    • put a cup of water in the microwave so I could make instant coffee, I am feeling very slow from Glam night – drank too much; I drink water, take Advil and hope the coffee kicks in soon.
    • went up stairs and got both twins up. Decided to diaper them in their room since it is easier and faster with a captive audience. They did great. Laying down on different blankets each having their own turn
    • Gathered clothes for Big Bro and Red and then we all came downstairs
    • everyone ate well, with few issues/fights.   Note; there were lots of leftover pears that were not a huge hit a “glam night” – so this AM everyone went nuts over the leftover pear slices
    • there was a small fight with Red and Big Bro over seats, but that quickly got solved when I brought out vitamins for later.
    • When I was gathering shoes, Twin Husky ran into the garage and then got extremely pissed when I tried to bring him back – I thick he was looking for the climbing structure. He threw himself down in a fit. “I know you want to go in the garage and play. I know, You want to go in the there NOW. But the slide is in here honey…. look… there’s the slide“. And then he ran off happily.
    • Gathered everyone in the car — no issues. We were running very late since we got a late start but all kids were cooperating which was a blessing for us this AM.
    • Drop off with Twins and Red went fine.
    • Big Bro drop off went fine. I asked him if it was OK for us to spend some time together tonight since I didn’t have a lot of time with him last night. He said Yes. I got a hug from him and then he decided to come back for another one. I love him so much it hurts.

    It is gray, and cold. I am a bit slow today from Glam night. I met some great people and am glad that I went. I will need to get my ass in gear though for work today. Today I will need to:

    • work on proposal from yesterday
    • participate in client business Development call for a proposal that we will be writing soon
    • develop the go to market materials for the firm initiative; it has to be done TODAY or else I’m dropping the ball.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • Had the business develop call with the potential client; the project is much bigger than I originally anticipated. We will start eth proposal next week
    • found out that the client for our last project that just ended is requesting me/partner to present the recommendations to a much larger audience – they are going to pay extra for this since they want us there in person. This was very flattering for me and I’m actually looking forward to the trip — will require a day trip via plane but that will work just fine.

    I met a very close friend from High School after work and had an amazing time.  I literally have not seen this person in close to 20 years and it was great to see him again.  Reconnecting with people after so much time passes really blows my mind. It is like living a different life – but then going full circle and going back in time. He is the same – a bit older, but still the same smile, same gleam in his eye, and it was wonderful to get together with him.

    I am definitely impaired while I write this (I’m on ferry to home now) and hope that Hubby takes the lead during the pick ups for the kids!!!! He brought me sunflowers tonight and I was so surprised.  So beautiful.  And so sweet of him.  I feel like a very lucky woman right now.

    sunflowers

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • Pick ups were great
    • got home and hubby started to make pizza; I played with twins; they had fun on the slide
    • Big Bro and Red helped to make dinner — they rolled out dough and made their own little pizzas
    • dinner was fabulous. I was spinning – I drank too much at “happy hour”
    • Big Bro played Red Birds after dinner (looks like we didn’t do the puzzle)
    • I went to get mail with Red and Twins.    Twins made a break for it and ran down the sidewalk a few houses away.  They were both laughing their butts off while I was trying to be firm with them (but then smiling when they weren’t looking and laughing inside)
    • I tickled the Twins for a long time
    • then bedtime! Whew!!! I’m tired

    BY THE WAY — NO MOTHER’S HELPER AGAIN TONIGHT. WE ARE DISGUSTED WITH THE HOUSE RIGHT NOW. AND TIRED. I hope she shows up tomorrow night or else we may have to go somewhere over the weekend to escape the crud. 🙂

    Today was an excellent day. I’m going to drink some water now.

    Until tomorrow –

    – Mama K

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