August 30: A sick kid

Big Bro stayed home today, along with the siblings (who did not have daycare today).   Big Bro stayed home because he was sick.

  • Everyone was eating breakfast, “Chocolate Thursday”, and Big Bro was still in his room, complaining of a stomach ache.
  • I got everyone together…. dressed, vitamins, shoes, tigers, blankets, etc.    Big Bro was still going in slow motion.  Still not eating.  I felt his head.  Warm.  But it was hot outside.   This is the benefit of having four kids:   I grabbed some other kids to compare temperatures.   Big Bro was definitely warm.   I grabbed two thermometers.   Both not working.  Trashed.   I looked at Big Bro.  Bloodshot eyes.   Refusing chocolate thursday.   I medicated him and sent him back to bed.  He actually slept.
  • So, its his first week of first grade, and he’s already missed one day of school.   This reminds me of his first week of daycare… he was kicked out by Thursday… his fourth day… for fever.  Seems like we are repeating history.
  • Big Bro lounged about the entire day.  He was feverish and needed alternating ibuprofen, Tylenol, ibuprofen, …. … all day long.  He ate little.   He fell asleep for the night at 6:30 PM, a first.
  • The rest of the kids did well today, and played quietly.   Lots of coloring, building Legos, taking care of Cocoa.   Red was SUPER helpful and cleaned up her entire room, put away her and her sister’s clean clothes, and even started vacuuming up the house.   She helped set and clear the table for dinner as well.  She was amazing today.  And I told her so.
  • So, right now Big Bro is isolated from the rest.   I set up a small sleep area for Twin Husky in the girls’ room.  And the girls let him in there since they all sort of bonded today.    Everyone was sound asleep by 8:15 PM.  Another first.

It was a relatively good day all things considering, but I really felt bad for Big Bro.  He seemed so out of it.  And I’m not sure what tonight will bring.  Hopefully nothing too eventful.

Wish us luck tomorrow.  Hopefully he sleeps this off, and did not pass it to anyone…

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

August 27: Big Bro’s first day of First grade!!!

I wake up at 6:15 to quickly grab a shower before the kids wake up.  This is a BIG day.  For many reasons.  This is the first morning that I will be driving the children in early morning rush hour traffic to co-parent’s neighborhood for school and daycare.   This is the first day back after my mini “staycation” with the kids and my mom.   But most importantly, this is Big Bro’s FIRST day of school and FIRST day of FIRST grade!!!!

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • During my shower I faintly saw a 3 foot tall body through the textured glass.  It was Twin Husky, usually the first of the four kids to wake up.  He was standing there, smiling, thumb in mouth and Tiger tail in hand.  He was talking about how my closet door does not close (because there’s too much stuff in it) but how the bathroom door DOES close and he shows me.   How can kids be such conversationalists as soon as they wake up?
  • We whispered to each other so the other kids would be able to sleep as long as possible.  I had already set up the shoes for the kids the night before, and also organized Big Bro’s lunch, but this AM I also organized:  four piles of vitamins, an “on the road” breakfast (grapes and tortillas), four water bottles, Big Bro’s lunch in the lunchbox (along with a note from mommy), jackets.    I also promptly put on the kettle so I could brew my own luxury… Boden coffee.
  • The kids started to wake up.  Big Bro and Red were already dressed from the night before (they were very excited).  I just had to do diaper changes for the Twins since they would be dropped off to their old daycare in PJs.
  • The kids seemed ready to go and excited.  I prepared them for this morning.   They eagerly ate their vitamins.  Brushed teeth.   I helped zipper jackets.   I wet, combed, and put gel in Big Bro’s enormous head of hair.  And off we went.   I got the kids belted in the van, and then distributed their water bottles and breakfast.   We were off.   On the road.   In motion.   The kids not skipping a beat.
  • It took about 30  minutes of highway driving in rush hour traffic but it was moving and not bad at all.  We talked about the fog, how it hugged the trees ahead of us.   Twin Crazy was very talkative, as usual.   By the end of the ride, Red was asleep, and Twin Husky was close to it.   As we got closer Twin Husky started to cry.  He said he didn’t want to go to “school”.   He starts pre-school with Twin Crazy on Wednesday and we’ve been talking about that.  I guess he feels a little bit nervous.  How sweet.
  • Twin drop off was quick, efficient.
  • Red drop off was slower, a bit clingy.  She looked gorgeous in her new clothes and short hair.   I informed the teacher that she was having a hard morning so she took some extra time with Red as I was leaving.
  • Big Bro drop off.   I loved it.   We parked the car, and walked together to the school.  I talked about how proud I am of him.  How great First grade will be.  How pretty soon he will be reading so much more and learning so much about things.  How this is a big day for him.  How it might feel different compared to Kindergarten but he will have his friends there and his teacher will likely be very nice.   I told him that I was so happy to be walking there with him.  Just me and him – no one else.   And I asked him if I could hold his hand as we walked through the streets of a quiet neighborhood – since I knew he would not want to hold my hand as we got closer to the school.   I apologized for the long ride in the morning.  He said that he actually liked the long ride.    I was surprised by this and want to explore it further with him….  
  • We arrived and there were lots of families there with their kids.  Lots of smiles.   The pledge of allegiance was over and announcements were over, so it was time to go to the classrooms.   His teacher did not want the parents inside – so she greeted each child at the door and the parents said their goodbyes at the door.   Big Bro went in without a problem.  No tears.   I sneaked a peek into the classroom once he got seated, and caught him looking back towards the door to sneak a peek.   I did not want to cause a commotion and quickly left.  
  • I felt really good on the way to the car.   The kids were great this morning and the ride was manageable.  Now I just need to do some thinking of fast breakfasts that can be “on the go” that all will like.   This will be my new project.   Any suggestions Mamas?


Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I drove back home instead of going into the city, since I needed to be there to accept a furniture delivery.  I received my kitchen table today!   Yeah!!!
  • On the way home, I received some calls from potential clients related to the forums I am organizing.   I am inviting “guests” in hopes that they will see the value of the meeting and convert to paying members.   The Agenda is working as a sales tool.  It’s generating interest and I received two phone calls on my way home.
  • At home, the table arrived shortly after I did.   It looks big.   But I think it will work (it has too).   I was just used to open space, and now it is filled.   It is very “barnlike” which I love – it feels comfortable, low key, and functional for the space.   I can’t wait for the kids to see it and to have our first meal together.

  • I spent the day a bit in a daze.   Organizing meetings for tomorrow, handling some logistics.   Delegating some tasks. 

The Rest of the Day:

  • I decided to call a quits at 5-ish.
  • I pulled weeds, put the pool and slip-n-slide in the back of the house, and put some logs in my trash bin.
  • I left a message for Big Bro to call me when he got home.
  • I ate left over cheese and tomato salad for dinner.
  • I talked to Big Bro.  It was mostly me asking questions and him saying “yeah” but he sounded VERY happy.  I told him again how proud of him I was.  I asked him if he felt nervous at all and he said No.   We talked for more than 20 minutes which I thought good for a kid of six.   He was the most talkative about his lunch.  How I put in a napkin, a note, and chocolate cake.  I’ll pull more out of him when I see him.  I can’t wait.

So now I’m chilling out feeling good about the day; I miss the kids but they need their time with co-parent.  It is so quiet here without them.  The sun is setting and the crickets are chirping.  I will have a busy day of meetings tomorrow, but I am glad about that since I feel like I was in a daze today.  

My first born had his first day in First grade today.  And there were no tears.  And he was excited.  And he sounded so happy when I talked with him at the end of the day.    And this room is coming together – the kitchen table is finally here.  What a milestone.  Now it will really feel like a home.  

I am looking forward to watching True Blood on the DVR.   And getting an early night’s sleep.   This is shaping up to being a really good week, so far.

Til tomorrow –

– 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

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