Goodbye November – Recap

I feel like I’m slacking in capturing the highlights from these four kids. There’s just too many of them that I fall behind – here’s a recap from last week


  • Big Bro helped Twin Husky get dressed when he started having some problems
  • Drop offs were fine for Big Bro and Red; on the way back home Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and I went food shopping. They love the “car cart”.
  • We drove around the neighborhood looking for a reservoir that should be close-by (I am still extremely fearful of earthquakes and I want to know where this reservoir is… it should be walkable from the house) and we saw some stunning decorations; one that caught our eye was this low, low tree with RED red leaves and HUGE ornaments. It was gorgeous. I’m noticing that Twin Crazy is using the word “gorgeous” a lot recently. She cracks me up.
  • We relaxed on the couch by the fire and read books; kids played with stickers
  • At night we did homework, and then the kids turned the living room into a “campsite”. Big Bro and Red were the mommy and daddy, and everyone had blankets and pillows out. They were teaching the little ones their numbers and the alphabet, and then they said it was time for night-night. They were going to pretend that dinner (that I was cooking) would actually be breakfast. They were having a ton of fun together. Twin Husky was a bit left out (as usual) but he did make his way into the group a bit. He was very particular about how he was positioning his “animals” for sleep on his blanket. Too cute.





  • RAIN RAIN RAIN; it was crazy wet outside. Big Bro was shuttling the kids from the house to the van with an umbrella.
  • After dropping off Red, the Twins wanted to stop by their classroom quickly to say Hi to their friends and show their teachers their bears and fluffy pillows
  • The three of us went to Home Depot for some gardening tools – a cheap rototiller and I found some pots on sale
  • Bathtime! Lunchtime! Naptime! While the kids napped, I tilled the entire garden area and broke the tool that I just bought.   It was actually a great activity.  It was only lightly raining and the sun was out – so it was really nice being outside and getting physical with my new project.
  • After picking up the kids we went to Home Depot to replace above rototiller. We looked at the HUGE holiday light decorations and the kids got a bit sidetracked.
  • We then went to buy rainboots for Red and Big Bro. We went to TWO STORES with NO LUCK. I wound up sitting with them on the floor using my phone with the Amazon app and bought them boots for our “farm”
  • On the way to the car we were surprised by Santa Clause! There was no one there! It was like he was just waiting for us and only us. At first the kids were apprehensive about sitting with him but then I announced that who-ever got a picture with Santa while SMILING would get an ice-cream/or dessert immediately afterwards. Suddenly Santa was rushed by the kids.
  • We went to Starbucks and split a bunch of rice-krispie treats and hot chocolate.







I had a great end of the week with the kids. Fridays are not a bad night since we know we will see each other the next day. When I got home by myself, I went to work on some cedar gardening beds in my living room – this required drilling that I had never really done before and I worked until 11:30 PM.


The rest of the weekend:

The next AM I put mole-wiring all over the garden area and then got showered and shopped at Trader Joes’ in enough time to have some friends over with their kids. We had a great time and I loved their visit. The kids had soooooooooooooo much fun that Twin Husky was even walking around saying how much fun he was having – and Red drew a picture of their family that she wants to send to them.

Last night during book time Red announced that someone in her old classroom was dead — ugggh I knew this was going to come but it took me by surprise; I didn’t know that her teachers had told her anything yet. I wound up sitting with her past bed-time for close to 2 hours, being with her while she thrashed around (and hid her face from me), sat quietly, then we talked, she asked a TON of questions, and then we drew pictures together for this child’s family. She happily went to sleep (thankfully) with smiles from ear to ear. I’m not sure if it was the talk that we had, the way her questions were answered, the drawings that she did for the family, or the time that I spent with her, but I’m just glad this kid went to sleep with a smile on her face and a gleam back in her eye. She is the one that worries me.  In fact, looking back at the pictures of her shows a girl who is a bit “off”.  I didn’t pick up on anything unusual, which bothers me a bit.

Today, Sunday was a rain downpour again in the AM. Our backyard was a river. It was exciting investigating the river with the kids. We had neighborhood kids over all day today and Red seemed to be back on track. Big Bro was having the time of his life with some boys in the neighborhood. Today they are finding worms (and getting soaked)… tomorrow….???!???!?! They were too cute.



Sunday nights are harder for me since I do not see the kids until Wednesday afternoon. Twin Crazy screamed the entire way to co-parent’s. The rest of the kids were quiet. I returned home and just had to put my head down to take a breather. The weekend was more emotional than I would have liked; I’m thinking of the kids now and hoping they are OK as they go down to bed.  I’m worried about my girls.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

Gig tips: Be proactive with your career and set goals

I saw this on twitter and thought it good to share. Have a great week ladies!!!

– Mama K

Staying Sane: “Staycation” with kids and Nana

My life and standard of living has changed pretty dramatically over the course of the year.   In years past, the term “vacation” would have meant an early AM drive to the airport, headed to a far-away place.   Even when the kids entered the world, they did not hold me back.   Now however, I am essentially living paycheck to paycheck, and I also do not have the luxury of having the kids’ time in big blocks.  Except for last week.   From Tuesday night, August 21 through tomorrow AM, Aug 27 it is my time with the kids.   And my mom came out for a visit.

I’m feeling full now.  And happy.  The days were spent doing not that much of anything, but yet doing everything at the same time.   There were no destinations, no special restaurants, no special activities.  Just time together and gearing up for Big Bro’s first day of school, which is tomorrow.   I will be driving him in, and I am soooooo thankful for this change in routine to be able to share this day with him.

Highlights of the past week with Nana:

  • Waiting for Nana in the “park and call” and talking with the kids about their excitement about Nana’s visit.
  • Introducing “Cocoa” to Nana and having the kids show her how they take care of her.
  • Watching a movie and air-popping pop-corn and exploding with excitement and laughter.
  • Early morning sounds of footsteps and Twin Husky coming into our bed at 7 AM, each morning, like clockwork.  No words.  Just him, his Tiger, and him scurrying up on the bed, getting  under the covers.   So sweet.
  • Looking at the bus come for the neighborhood kids for their school (they started this week).  The bus comes to my driveway.   I am hoping the kids have the opportunity to take this bus next year.  Twin Husky was upset that he was not able to go on the bus.
  • Taking “Cocoa” to the vet because of her dry ear.  Watching the examination.  All kids watching and learning, intently.   Looking at the big doggies in the waiting room.
  • Me going to a “lunch meeting” at work and Nana taking care of all kids on her own.
  • Opening a box that arrived that was actually sent by Nana – filled with supplies for each of the kids’ desks, clothes, playdough, and outdoor fun gear….
  • Lots of playdough…. every day.
  • Going to a haircut appointment and deciding to take “my girls” with me; it was so cute to divide and conquer.  And for me to go out and have them watch me get a haircut (which I desperately needed)
  • Filling up our bird-feeder, and then waiting for the birds to come back; hearing birds singing wildly each morning and then counting the bluejays in the back yard.
  • Completing my project of putting deer netting around the final section of my garden.  Maybe now I’ll be able to see/eat a strawberry.
  • Slip-n-slide, blow up pool in our front yard.  Twin Husky going crazy and diving through the water.  Shivering.   Looking like a football player, only 3 feet tall.   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky fighting over a little tiny water shooter, and then Twin Crazy stomping off mad only to return with a HUGE, “Rambo” looking like water semi-automatic.   It was outrageously funny.   A neighborhood friend coming over for a bit after seeing the water slip-n-slide in our front yard from the street as he drove by with his father.
  • Putting together the rest of my blinds in my kitchen.   They look great.
  • Picnics for lunch, outside.
  • Going to Target with Big Bro and Red to do “back to school” shopping.
  • Nana making “icebox cake” with the kids, their little routine together.
  • Cleaning out my storage shed and moving in some file cabinets to make room in the house.
  • We jointly decided that Sunday would be a special “Chocolate Sunday” since that was the last day of vacation and since Nana would be leaving on that day.  Twin Husky remembered this fact this morning when he woke up.  It was the first thing he was talking about.

So, it really was many days of just “existing” but enjoying the time spent together and also apart.  It was a mixture of laughter, tantrums, and quiet time.  It was wonderful waking up to the kids for so many days in a row.  I will never tire of this.   I will never tire of the mornings waking up to the kids and their smiles and their funny words.  It was great to have my mom here.  To share this time with us in such a relaxed way; no plans, no schedules, just doing what we want to do.

Highlights of the Rest of Today:

  • After dropping off Nana, I decided to take the kids to a science museum at a local university.  They loved it.  It was a totally spontaneous trip but they were great.   We played with air and beachballs, balls on ramps, the kids worked together to build foam building structures, … , …, …    They had so much fun.
  • We had lunch, the Twins took naps.
  • Big Bro and Red went next door to play with their friends.
  • I did some more cleaning up around the house.  I did laundry.
  • The Twins woke up and I put on loud music and the three of us danced in the kitchen.
  • A friend came over for dinner and we had a HUGE pasta dinner with chocolate mousse cake afterwards.  We sang “Happy First day of First Grade” to the birthday song tune; The kids were great.
  • We had a photo shoot of the kids to celebrate Big Bro’s first day of first grade.
  • Red wrote out her alphabet letters but kept having a problem with the letter “K”.  I showed her a trick and she wound up doing the “K” perfectly and was very proud of her accomplishment for the entire alphabet, as was I.   Her creation made it to the “art wall” in our kitchen.
  • The kids all went to sleep without a problem.
  • I got myself ready for tomorrow morning…. I will be driving Big Bro to his first day of 1st grade, and also the kids to their daycares.  We will need to leave VERY early to get there on time.  I got the shoes ready, lunch is already made for Big Bro, and the ride is ready for the kids breakfast in the van on the way there.    Wish me luck.

I am sighing now because I feel like its the end but yet a new beginning.  Big Bro in first grade; I can’t believe it.  I wanted so much to be settled for our family for years before Big Bro made it to first grade… there was so much pressure leading up to this event…. and here we are.  Still in the same general location, but our family torn.   It really is amazing.

I feel happy though.   I am settled, but still not really.  So much to do to actually get settled (fence, yard, garden, etc. etc. etc.) but all the rest will just unfold.  There is no rush for anything.   No timeline for anything.   Just living.   Each day.   And I feel good with where I am now.   There is no resistance with anything anymore.  I feel good with the time that I get to spend with the kids.   I feel lucky that I have the time to focus on them when I do have time with them.   I feel good that they listen to me as their mother – we laugh together, but they listen and they are fun for me to be around.   I enjoy being with them.  Talking with them.  Watching them learn.  Watching them care for each other and for other things, like their rooms, Cocoa, the house – our home.

This was a great “staycation” and a vacation that has topped the charts in my mind.   I’m looking forward to many more to come.

Have a great week everybody –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Neighbors as support and friends

No one knows the pains of a juggling, working mom like another working, juggling mom.   And it is a bonus when you have some of these closeby and in your neighborhood.

I left a neighbor and friend in my old neighborhood, with believe it or not… FOUR kids and two of them twins.   Yes, we had quite a bit in common.  And yes, we relied on each other for support or even to decompress with each other as eight kids ran amuck.

I lucked out like you would not believe in my new neighborhood.  I have a CPA mom right next door – with two great kids.  “L” is a girl aged 8; and “Q” is a boy aged 6.   Big Bro and Q hit it off immediately when they met each other and played wall ball within the first 5 minutes of meeting.  That really broke the ice quickly.   Although “L” is a bit older, she is amazing.  She is like a little mothers helper… she is a “child whisperer” and is SOOOOOOOO good with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.   She is a natural.

And within the neighborhood are 3 other families with children in ages aligned well with my family.  I was surprised at the beginning of summer when all of them came over with cake to welcome me to the neighborhood.   I am lucky to have one of these neighbors as a General Contractor and he helped me out with my hot water heater, fence recommendations, and most recently…. fixing my lawn sprinkler system.   Last weekend another neighbor took my girls “shopping” in her daughter’s room for hand-me-down clothes.  Each of the girls had their bag and even now Red wants to wear only the “new” clothes.  We go to the local swim club as guests with these families.   The other next door neighbor (with all of the chickens) feeds my kids fresh tomatoes and blueberries straight off of her garden’s vines.   We have impromptu playmates with blow up pools in the yards and snack-time with 7+ kids.  We watched fourth of July fireworks from our front lawn as the GC neighbor lit fireworks in the street.  The kids make and sell lemonade with one another.  We get invited to last-minute birthday parties and dinner parties – unlike the “super planned in advance” events that I am used to.   The neighbors around here look out for each other and it is soooooo relaxed over here.

Just this past weekend, “Q” was home with his folks at a grown up dinner party without any friends.  So he came over to our house to play and also watch a Frosty the Snowman movie.   Today, Big Bro only wanted to play with Q.   But the rest of the kids wanted to go to the Wildlife Museum in town.   So I dropped off Big Bro at Q’s house for 2 hours while the rest of us went to the museum.   My CPA neighbor had to do some tax returns so “Q” was back over with the kids — who love playing with him — doing Legos and playing outside.

I really like the feel of this; the kids come and go.   I watch them as they walk down the street holding hands to a neighbor’s house.   It feels good for me to see them want to belong to this community… and they are flourishing here.   And the events and interactions just happen so naturally.  No planning.  It just unfolds.   And I love how everything is just unfolding for me here.  This is just the beginning.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

June 28 and 29: Pop-pop and Emmy are here

I didn’t post yesterday since it’s been REALLY busy the past two days.  My dad is here with his wife; I’m thankful for their visit, am psyched for them to see this new life, and excited about the kids and their experiences with Pop-pop and Emmy.   The kids have been talking about the visit and were so excited to see them.



  • Waking up and caring for still nameless guinnea-pig
  • watching “Geek Squad” from Best Buy come back again to program the remote control (by the way – it is busted again and they will need to come out again)
  • Playing computer games on various iPads
  • Holding chickens
  • Making “fart” noises with the air pump hose
  • Making air-popped pop corn and trying to watch a movie with the tv/remote control (NOT)
  • Having my next door neighbor give us little shoots of corn-stalks to plant in our yard since she ran out of room
  • Running around at night before bedtime, through the yards and in parades and laughing and having to take breaks for breath and running running running and laughing laughing laughing with all of the siblings.  Too much fun.  This is the kind of activity that I remembered as a kid.   I just sat on the rocking chair watching their fun



  • Cleaned out still nameless guinnea pig cage
  • Red held another chicken and proceeded to chase chickens around the property trying to hold them some more
  • Fed nameless guinnea pig an apple slice
  • Went to Target and had the kids in two different shopping carts; went shopping for house stuff as well as stuff for the kids; Red had a one-on-one shopping experience with Emmy where she was able to pick out HER OWN shirts and pants.  She never really had this experience before and has always had hand-me-downs; I am grateful for Emmy for giving her this experience; she gave us a fashion show when we got home.  Got “crocs” for all kids to help with the outdoor action and mulch migration into the house
  • Relaxed at home the rest of the day; played Legos
  • Took the kids back to co-parent’s.  Red informed me that we did not have enough time today together.  I felt guilty.  I mentioned the coloring that we did, but she reminded me that was Yesterday, and not today….
  • Went out to dinner with my dad and Marsha.   It was great.  I am tipsy.  I enjoyed the meal, converation, and the dessert.  I will be 42 on Monday!!!!!

I am feeling reasonably good; I feel even better about the decisions I made with this house.  It was the right thing to do given the circumstances.  It is the right thing for our family.   I am ready for this upcoming birthday and feeling reasonably OK with where I am in life now despite the friction around me.

Have a great weekend all –

– Mama K

June 27: Different kinds of Love

Wednesday!   I get to see the kids today!

1/2 day of work.   I banged out a lot of things – getting meetings organized, reaching out for “testimonials” to help bolster some sales materials, planning meetings for next week.   I worked from home so also got the wash done, got the trash bins organized, and did some general straightening up for my guests who flew in today – my dad and his wife – aka Pop-Pop and Emmy!

After work I hit the road and stopped at Home Depot to return some things.  $75 back in my pocket!  Yeah!   Also picked up some things at the old house and dropped off some borrowed things at a neighbor’s house.  Then picked up the kids!


  • Attended a “sea” puppet and dance show with Big Bro and Red.  Both were excited to see me.  Red sat on my lap.  Big Bro wanted to fill me in on all the funny things that I missed during the first half of the show.   They both were really enjoying themselves.  I was happy to be there with them and stayed with them until the show was over.  We were in no rush.
  • Picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky next.  Twin Husky’s first words to me were “Me missed you Mommy”.  OMG my heart melted and I could not stop hugging them and making a HUGE fuss over seeing them.  They were excited to come with me and knew that Pop-Pop and Emmy were coming today.  We all talked about that on the way home.
  • New plates arrived for the kids – helping with portions of fruits/veggies, breads/grains, and meats.   They ate like crazy tonight and really got into their new plates.
  • There was bonding time with the still-nameless guinnea pig.
  • We picked weeds while waiting for Pop-Pop and Emmy.   We filled up a wheelbarrel and then fed the chickens.


  • The kids were pysched to great our visitors and show them their rooms.   Everyone was acting very silly and then it was time for  bed.   Kids were great.
  • Tonight Red asked me if I loved everyone in the family.  I said yes that I loved Nana, Pop-pop, Emmy, …..  She said “Noooooo” and seemed frustrated.  She meant co-parent.  I told her that was a difficult question and explained to her that there are different kinds of “love”.  How the love she has for her blanket is different than that for her friends at school than that for her guinnea pig and that for Mommy or Daddy.  I said it was the same for me.  I love chocolate ice-cream, but the way I love each of the kids is different.  It FEELS different to me.  Like her different kinds of love must feel different to her.  There are different kinds of love.  I did not answer her question head on since that would be un-nessessary.  But I did want to hear her.  I did want to answser her someway.    She is trying to understand and I am just grateful that she feels comfortable enough to ask me those kinds of questions.   I want to keep them talking.  Keep them questioning.  Keep them engaged.

I’m so glad that my family is here.  I’m so glad that this house is full.   Full in many different ways.   Just like there’s different kinds of love.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Acts of Kindness

My mom was here over the weekend to help me with the move and getting the house ready.   A HUGE act of kindness with so many things that she did to help.  My family is always there for each other even when we are far away.   It had been some time since her last visit and of course the kids all seemed different to her.   One of the biggest differences was the growth in personalities of Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.  At almost 2 and a half, they are really little people.   They are talking so much and having conversations – to each other and to others.  It is wonderful to see this in them.  As a mother of twins it is hard to describe and explain the feeling of this stage happening with two of your kids at the same time and with each other.

Twin Crazy is yes, crazy.   Very boisterous.  Very silly.  But also very compassionate.  She is extremely empathetic and watches others around her.  She comes to the rescue.  She comes to me to tell me if a sibling needs my help.   She wants to see that everyone is OK and happy.  This is important to her.

To me, seeing aspects of such kindness and empathy from my children are too good.  I can’t get enough of it.  You teach them these things – “that it is important to treat others as you would like to be treated” – and “it is important that we help each other out as a family” — but when I see it in action, it always melts my heart.  Yes, I can be furious one minute with one of them but then a tiny voice or a tiny act of kindness from one of them, particularly between each other, is enough to put me back on track.

Just over the weekend Big Bro cared for a chicken from next door, Red helped Twin Crazy wash her hands of mud at our hose, Twin Crazy and Twin Husky held hands on a drive, Twin Crazy continuously expressed that she missed “Batman” (our sick pet guinea pig), Big Bro ran after Twin Husky as he was running after a ball towards the street, Twin Crazy let Twin Husky take a nap in her room since he missed her….    it goes on and on.



Acts of kindness are important not only for the receiver, but for the giver as well.  And now I also know that they are good for the observers.

How do you teach your children the importance of acts of kindness?  What things does your family do routinely to instill this value in your children?

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

April 9: Greeted by a chicken

What a day! My work and personal lives just blended together today. As such, as soon as I post this, I will need to get some work done….

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Twin Crazy made it to the potty in the AM
  • I asked each kid where they wanted me to kiss them. Twin Crazy/Twin Husky pointed to specific parts of their heads so I kissed them gently “Good morning” where they asked me to.
  • Twin Crazy wanted a hard boiled egg for breakfast. So Twin Husky wanted one too. They both eventually rejected them saying they didn’t like them.
  • I had to cut up some remaining vitamins since there were only 2 left. Red observed how the inside of the vitamin looks a lot different than the outside of the vitamin – “slippery” is I think what she called it
  • Twin Crazy was playing with a flashlight
  • All kids were ready fast (note: Big Bro and Red pick out their clothes and then get changed into their clothes the night before so that they are ready in the AM faster). I finished getting ready and all kids were in my room, playing with my beads and decorations. They were good when I asked them to put them away.
  • Since we were way ahead of schedule, we all went in the same van. We dropped of twins first, then big bro, then co-parent, then Red.
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    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I had a property inspection scheduled for 9 AM. So I cranked up the music and headed out east. Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock-n-Roll” came on and I couldn’t help but smile. I felt on top of the world.
  • While I was at the house so many things happened for me to write about. I met more contractors. They knew who I was and knew my story. That mine was the lowest offer but it was the one accepted by the sellers because they wanted a family there who would appreciate the house. They knew I would be a single mother of four and that I loved the work they did. My inspector came and we walked the property. We were greeted by a chicken from next door. I did some work while the inspector was doing his thing. I heard voices and thought it was a neighbor but it was one of the sellers…. I looked at him, and he at me, and I just reached out and hugged him and thanked him. I told him how happy I was and how excited I was for the house and for my family. I found out that the general contractor is the seller’s father. So this has been a family project. I found out that the GC made the fireplace mantel, piece by piece. They had another prospective client come over to look at the work and he was so impressed… and he shook my hand and said congratulations and that the work and the house was beautiful. And then the second investor/seller arrived. I again hugged him and thanked him. We talked about the open house day and how I just walked in off the street, not expecting to see that house at all (the house I was going to was across the street). They were all there, and I breezed in and out in about 10 minutes…. thinking whoa this place is small but as I kept walking through it, I kept thinking… and as I walked around the grounds, I thought some more. And as I climbed the backyard stairs to the sitting area looking down, I thought some more. And went through the house. And decided that it was perfect. It took 10 minutes for me to decide that this totally renovated house zoned to the top-rated schools in the area in my pricepoint with the chickens next door and the sitting area on top of the hill was it. And now I’m almost there. Meeting the sellers, they are glad that I’m happy and I am thrilled that the inspector did not find anything that would be a deal-breaker!
  • I worked on a presentation
  • I had a conference call.
  • I bid farewell to my “sellers” and house and drove into the city.
  • I addressed many emails
  • I had a planning conference call
  • I had a team meeting for the client project
  • I spent time gathering and sending more documents to my loan officer for my mortgage.
  • I gathered an office desk and boxes and loaded up my van… headed home with the loot which will be my office when I move into my new house….
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    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Big Bro, then Twins. Twin Husky immediately got into the front seat and started to push all of the buttons. He pretended to drive. I gave him my keys and he wanted to start the car. We laughed and then picked up Red.
  • We made a fast dinner.
  • Red had some issues tonight with Big Bro. I had to sit them down and have them talk about what happened and Big Bro always leaves out crucial information to the story. I eventually get all of the facts but it is a challenge for me to get there.
  • Twin Crazy went poop in the potty and she received 2 M&M’s because of it.
  • I did a lot of hugging and kissing Twin Husky tonight. He looked so cute in his little blue shirt. I also had a lot of consoling time with Red tonight. Big Bro was being mean to her.
  • We watched a movie and had popcorn.
  • I had the Twins tonight and they were fun. Laughing and kissing and taking off their clothes and whispering “I….. love….. you…… Sweet dreams…..” So cute.
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    So now I’m downstairs, with my computer on my side and a list of things that I MUST get done tonight. This is such a busy week – Two big conferences next week, one other meeting that I am responsible for, and then a client final presentation the following week. Oh, and a divorce to go through and a House closing to manage. BRING IT ON!!!!

    I am so happy right now. I’m thinking of the things that I would like to do with the house and it’s the very first time that I’m thinking to myself that there is no rush. I will have all the time in the world. There is no rush to get things done. Because it is mine. And I will have the time to enjoy it. Savor it. Root myself. And call it Home. And create a Home for my family. Even though I’m so busy at work right now, I know it’s all going to be OK because I feel like I have my priorities in-line. And I understand myself. And there is no-one to battle anymore. I can take a deep breath and breathe.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: A dose from family

    I just spent the past 5 days with my mother and my brother (and the kiddos) celebrating belated Christmas. They both live on the East Coast so it is always a treat when we see each other face-to-face. We are a close family, despite the distance. During the past year we’ve been on the phone more frequently, and over the past few weeks, we talk daily.

    Given recent circumstances, it is clear that I will be living in a high cost-of-living area for the long-haul and also far, far away from my family. This is not what I wanted for myself or for my kids. Phone, Skype, and Facetime will become standard modes of communication in my house. My kids love my family – my mom, dad, step-mom, step-dad, and brother — and talk of them frequently. The relationships are fun and effortless. The support given is unwavering and consistent.

    My family is my foundation right now – as well as my friends from my roots. They hear me, understand me, and believe in me. They know I can do this. They know this is happening for the right reasons. They cannot believe the story or what I have endured. But they are there — even though they are physically so far away. Me, four children, and no family closeby – if anyone can do this, I can. I know I can. So bring it on.

    So I will treasure these doses of family when I am lucky to get them. And they will help me stay sane and grounded when I feel out of place. And I will take pictures during their visits and use technology for communication to my advantage. And I’ll also sign the kids up for frequent flyer accounts and book my travel months in advance! 🙂

    Here’s to family and the help and support they give – thanks Mom, thanks Michael for taking the trip out here. I’m looking forward to the next visit…

    – Mama K





    December 27: Grief and Goodbyes

    Tuesday. Chocolate Tuesday. Tuesday after Christmas. After anticipating Santa and then saying goodbye. After my father and his wife arrived and left. There is a sense of emptiness in the house. The presents are opened. My family has left. We’re now saying goodbye to out-of-ordinary holiday festivities, to Santa for another year, and trying to get back to a normal routine.
    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:
    • I showered while all kids were sleeping. After dressing and towel-drying my hair, I flipped my head over and there was Red, just standing there smiling. I was surprised that she surprised me. Without a word, I rushed to hang up the towel, sat on the floor, and motioned to her to come over to me. We have a thing together in the mornings. She sits on my lap, and I rock her while hugging her. Sometimes when she is needy during the day, this is the same approach I use with her if she responds to it. Sometimes I softly talk to her, but most of the time I do not. I just hold her gently on the floor, her in my lap, and we rock. That is how I started my day.
    • Big Bro pounced into the room, fully dressed from head to toe, all by himself. I love that and I love that he gets a charge out of doing it.
    • I carried a ton of stuff downstairs – piles of clothes, computer, iPad, chargers, phone, etc. Red wanted me to hold her hand going downstairs. Big Bro waited at the top of the stairs for me to come back up for my second round of piles – and also to hold his hand coming down the stairs.
    • Downstairs, it was Chocolate Tuesday. And now ALL the kids are converts. All kids asking for more. Twin husky loves it. Twin crazy just licks the chocolate off of the bread.
    • Twin Crazy drove me a bit crazy with her hair accessories this morning. Her hair was falling in her face and we pull her hair back. The problem this morning was that she kept pulling them out. Two clips, and then I got a band. She started to pull out the band (one that she wore all weekend, so I know she likes it), and then I told her that “No, I don’t have time to play this game with you all morning – you need to keep that band in your hair”. Because of this, she got extremely mad with me. Her eyebrows furrowed, her face turning red. Thankfully she did not burst into tears. But we did talk about how she was mad at me. And that it was OK to be mad. She got off her stool and ran to Daddy. Later, after being soaked in oatmeal, Hubby was going to change her and then she had a change of heart with me. She started squealing in a happy voice, “MOMMMMMMY!!!!” and running to me with open arms. She bounded into my lap and hugged me real hard. I asked her if she was mad at me anymore and she said “No.”. But then I was a little mad at her since she got oatmeal literally all over my shirt and sweater for the day. That looked just great along with the matching chocolate on my pants.
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    • I spent time with Big Bro helping him to dis-assemble his new Lego space shuttle and sorting the pieces of his Lego sets into different ziplock bags. He is very particular, and very organized. He was excited to be going to “camp” and bringing his new loot with him.
    • For some reason, Red starts to have tantrums over clothes, then socks, then shoes, then her jacket. At this point we are becoming very late. Twin Husky barely gets a diaper change before we’re out the door. Twin Crazy is wearing one shoe and we have the other 3 on the floor. Between all of us we have two computer bags, one clothes back, one backpack, two lunchboxes, and one bag of clothes I need tailored. It really is a bit much. Red is in the backseat sulking with her polka dot jacket. The boys are happy.
    • We do two quick drop offs together. Red is clingy. We race back to the ferry parking lot and screech into a parking lot. We barely make the boat and have to run before it shut its doors. I bought a coffee inside the boat. I am starving.
    On the way to work and during the commute it was foggy, I was tired, and feeling very defeated. Suddenly an overwhelming feeling of grief struck me that is hard to describe. It just hit me all at once. I even cried for a bit. I thought back over the past year and just felt battered. This was not a good way to start my day.
    I decided to treat myself to some breakfast on the way to work. The office was essentially empty. I looked and felt like crap. No amount of make up was going to make me feel right today or mask the way I was feeling.
    Highlights of My Working Day:
    • Needless to say I was not that busy, although I could have been. I returned some phone calls, went through email, and started to look at benefits information (forms are due tomorrow).
    • I realized that I have tons of pictures of my kids but few at work so here is a picture of my cluttered office. I know it looks like shit everywhere but honestly I know where EVERYTHING is. Notice the piles. Notice the heater in the background. Notice the baby clothes on the back file cabinet (clothes I could not bear to give away – keepsakes for memory boxes)
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    • I decided to make it an early day and left for the earliest ferry home.
    Dinner and Bedtime:
    • We picked up kids and while Hubby was getting Big Bro and Red, I talked with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky about how proud I am of them using their words. And how now we can start to have conversations and how they can also talk to Big Bro and Red. This seemed to ignite their need to talk more…. Twin Husky started talking about buses and airplanes, and Twin Crazy started to repeat the conversation that I started with her, about how she will be able to talk to everyone. She paused a lot between her words but I was patient with her and let her answer and go through all of the people….mommy, daddy, [Twin Husky], [Big Bro], [Red]…. even her day-care provider was mentioned. I love this stage and what is to come. I have a feeling we’ll be having a lot of funny conversations in the future.
    • We got home and I slammed together a dinner of salmon, carrots/peas, and also leftover pasta/spinach and a leftover yam. Kids ate well (after I did two sets of jumping jacks as a bribe) and we celebrated with dessert and chocolate milk.
    • Kids were relatively good after dinner. I spent time with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky doing “horsie back rides” which they now wait and take turns for. Big Bro was watching Dora; Red was doing puzzles. I got the Twins ready for bed and then helped with Big Bro and Red. Big Bro was beginning to master his new yo-yo. We were all exhausted.
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    So, a rough morning, a slow day, a better evening. I’m not sure how I feel right now. I guess I’m looking forward to the end of 2011 but also to new beginnings for the new year. Bring me strength through cyber space please, I need it!
    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K
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