Dec 5 – 7 Recap: Short school days


I’ve had a busy rest of the week with the kids.  Big Bro has had early dismissal all week because of parent-teacher conferences.  I reaped the rewards for this.

Wednesday:

  • Worked from home in the AM but I had to leave on the early side due to Big Bro’s pick up at 12:30 AM!   🙂
  • We went to lunch together.  I learned that he likes cranberry juice.
  • We then went food shopping together.  He helped me pick out the things on sale and I showed him the prices by the ounce for comparison.  Which is higher, lower, etc.
  • Then it was time for his conference!   He needs work with his writing and reading; but is great with comprehension; his math is good.  He’s on track.  He is “social”, and “chatty”.  He was caught passing a love note to a girl in class (teacher admits that she is a cute one and many boys also like her).  He was shy at first and took a month to open up – but in her opinion it was on the “normal” side and not out of the ordinary.  Whew!
  • Pick up for Red, Twin Crazy and Twin Husky was great.  I missed them so much.   Huge hugs.
  • We went home and the kids were having a great time wearing boots – Red’s came from Amazon and Big Bro was wearing mine.  Twin Crazy and Twin Husky already have some.  They were going nuts with each other.
  • We finished the evening playing hide-and-seek in my little house.   Too funny.

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Thursday:

  • Drop of for Big Bro was fine; I decided to “steal” Red for the day since we would have to pick her up at 12:30 anyway.  We stayed local to avoid too much back and forth.
  • I took the kids to a science museum.  They had a great time learning about ghekos’ feet, tumbling, playing with balls and ramps, looking at dinosaur bones, playing with computers and pegs, and climbing on structures outside.  They were great.
  • We picked up Big Bro and when we got back we started to put the Christmas decorations up.  They worked together and were so cute.  Twin Husky kept saying that he “loved” certain things about the decorations – so sweet.
  • Afterwards they went crazy with blankets and sheets – tearing everything off and creating a mountain.  I was disgusted.  I reminded them that this was a lot of work to put back together and they were responsible for it.  Red and Big Bro worked as a “team” (in their own words) to put the sheets back on the bed.  They did both beds so I was amazed.  They agreed that it was very hard work.  They also agreed that it was “bad judgment”.

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Friday:

  • Another good drop off; another stolen day with Red.  We went to a “farm” where you can give the animals lettuce.  We fed cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, lots of goats, and a ram.   We all wore our boots.   Then we went to a playground on the grounds.
  • On the way back, I stopped at a nursery and bought lots of seedlings for the winter garden.  I hope I’m able to plant them soon before they die.
  • Pick up for Big Bro was great – I love these early days.  We headed home since there was still lots of time until drop off to co-parent.
  • We finished decorating the tree since I bought hooks today.   We put up the balls and only a few crashed.   They each settled on “jobs”.  Red took out the balls from the package, Big Bro put the hooks on, and Twin Crazy put them on the tree (kind-of).  Twin Husky participated when he wanted to.  He was more interested in playing with cars.
  • They played with Legos, cars, and magnet dress up dolls.  Big Bro then went to a neighbor’s house to play soccer and ride bikes.
  • Then it was time to go!!

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I got back home and cleaned up a bit; organized the tree and moved some of the decorations around since it was very bottom-heavy.   I put together some more of the planter boxes for the garden.   My goal tomorrow is to set up the boxes and then carry down some dirt.   I’d like to get the boxes filled between this weekend and next so I can plant next weekend.  Very excited.

Have a great weekend –

– Mama K

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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

Thursday:

  • 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.

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Friday:

  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

November 15: NO HIGHWAYS!!!!


Co-parent and I are splitting the parenting responsibility into kid “pairs” to accomodate a trip I am taking to the East Coast next week. So, I was alone all day today with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, AND HAD NO TRIPS ON THE HIGHWAY to shuttle Big Bro and Red back and forth. Woah. What a difference. I didn’t realize the strain the driving has taken on me (and the kids) until today.

  • We woke up at a luxurious 8 AM and didn’t get out of bed until 9 AM. The kids were with me “working” in their notebooks in bed which was really, really, cute.
  • Chocolate Thursday! Nutella tortillas for three.
  • We dressed and headed outside. Kids were riding bikes and also helping me with some work for the winter garden. We fed the chickens some weeds. Twin Crazy was very busy taking care of her baby doll. Everyone (including me) was in an excellent mood.
  • We then headed out to a museum where they take in injured wild-life. We got there early so headed to the outside playground for a bit. Twin Crazy was going crazy on the swing. She was flying so high and loving it. She reminds me so much of me it is scary. Inside the museum, the kids had a great time looking at owls, foxes, rabbits…. looking under micro-scopes and they even have a “flight simulator” where you lay down and spread your arms like a bird – they loved that, as did I.
  • We had a good lunch; they were very well behaved and ready for a nap.
  • WE ALL SLEPT FOR THREE HOURS
  • We got up and Twin Husky reminded me that we needed to go food shopping for food for Cocoa and he wanted to ride the “car cart”. I can’t believe the memories these kids have. So off we went, food shopping for the guinea pig. The kids were great and had fun.
  • I cooked a quick dinner – fresh fish and lots of veggies that was a hit. We all ate everything. I guess sleeping makes you hungry.
  • Afterwards the kids continued to do art in their notebooks, and I hung up some of the art.
  • Twin Husky bonded with Cocoa. He wanted to hold her in his lap and feed her. He did really well with her. Twin Crazy was a bit freaked out by Cocoa’s nails so didn’t do as well.
  • I played a dancing game of “pee pee, brush your teeth, and book” where I would toss them up in the air after each task was completed. They enjoyed that and I think I’ll have to continue it since they got ready so fast. They decided to sleep in the girls room tonight. So sweet.

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After they went to bed, I cleaned up a bit and then did some work. I had a number of business development things to attend to; I don’t think I have anything tomorrow except getting extra keys made, getting a neighbor set up to watch Cocoa, and getting packed for my trip. We leave tomorrow night on the red-eye.

I had such a great day today. There was no rushing, no driving. Just being. The day unfolded and we had the opportunity to actually go out and DO something since we didn’t have all of the driving to compete with during the day. Being outside with the kids was great; play time at the playground was great; talking and learning about the animals was great. The kids talked about how they miss Red and Big Bro (and I do as well) but we talked to them tonight on the phone. I am really going to miss these kids next week – leaving them for a whole week when they are not even three is sad for me. They are really blossoming as people and I love each day with them. Twin Crazy can now spell her name as well as her Twin Brother’s. I just can’t believe it. They are so big now.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Give it a second chance


If you’ve been reading this regularly you know that I have thrown myself into a new hobby:  gardening.  This is understandable for many reasons.  I’ve been craving a home of my own, a place where I can establish myself and my family in a community, tearing out the old decay from a massive yard and the planning to rebuild and cultivate and grow.   This is also something completely within my control.  If I see a weed, I pick it from the root and it is gone.  If I want to design or plan or hatchet dead branches, I do it and I only have myself to answer to.    So, this new hobby is not too surprising to me – I am enjoying myself despite by pathetic summer crop.

Yes, I tried strawberries, blackberries, blueberries.   All eaten by varmin in the area.  Once I got smart enough to solve the problem with bamboo stakes and deer netting, the season had passed.    My neighbors came over with corn-stalk seedlings.   And these actually grew.  And grew BIG.  Each with several ears of corn.

I would water this corn religiously.   The kids also took part in this duty.   We picked the corn together.   It looked a little suspect, but I was still hopeful.

At dinner, we all bit into our bounty.   And…. it sucked.  Royally.  Even my 2 1/2 year old son who eats dirt, hated this corn.  I didn’t blame the kids.  It was pasty.  It tasted like nothing.   It looked like “Three-Mile-Island corn”.  I cursed at the price of corn in the supermarket (dirt cheap) and the fact that I spent so much time and hope on such a poor crop of anything.

But after dinner, instead of tossing into my compost pile, I decided to cut the corn from the cob and give it a second chance on my own.

Afterwards – I had 3 amazing meals:

  • a corn, black bean and cheese burrito for lunch (delicious)
  • a rice, black bean, and corn combo (used above) over a kale salad
  • brussel sprouts, corn, and kale sautéed with white wine

ALL OF THESE DISHES WERE AMAZING!   Could I have been imagining it?  Yes.  Could my hope been masking the pastiness of the corn?  Yes.  Is it the fact that I buried the corn in other more flavorful foods?   Possibly.   BUT:   Take note.  I ate the corn, and I honestly enjoyed it.

So is there a point to this story?

Give things a second chance.  Take a break and walk away for another day when you have a fresher perspective.  Be persistent but lenient when needed.  Be hopeful.   Or maybe, just drink a lot of white wine.

I hope you all have a terrific week –

– Mama K

November 9: Stealing leaves


Fridays are always a bit bittersweet for me. It’s a day where I can spend the entire day with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, but my time with Big Bro and Red is short since they have school/pre-school. Plus, there is that 3 hour timespan where we are gypsies, hanging around co-parent’s neighborhood for the drop off.

Today was a great day for me in the old neighborhood. During Red’s drop off, I saw guys blowing leaves to tidy up the neighborhood. Little did they know that I just bought another Tumbler composter and am in the process of building a winter garden. I asked them if I could take the leaves off their hands on my way back. They laughed.

There were so many leaves in the car you could barely make out Big Bro’s bike, and also his entire spot in the car (no carseat, just booster which was easy to get out of the way). Twin Husky was laughing while Twin Crazy slept. When we got home, we had 3 trips from the van to the backyard to spread out our bounty. Of course they both wanted to wear their boots. This will be my project tomorrow – getting the second compost tumbler ready and shredding the leaves with the lawnmower.

 

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Pick ups for Big Bro and Red were fine; we went to the zoo and then went to Home Depot to return a holey hose and buy a new one. “Yes, they are all of my kids”. The kids were great and they helped me pick out a hose that they liked.

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I’m looking forward to digging into the earth tomorrow with mole netting, the Tumbler composter project, and also seeing them in the afternoon.

Have a great weekend everyone!

– Mama K

August 7: The tears that wouldn’t fall


I usually try to post a “Gig Tip” on Tuesdays but I just don’t have it in me today.

I’ve had a hard day.   It started with a headache this morning and missing the kids.   And also thinking about some of the challenges that they are facing which makes me sad.

Then I had lunch with an ex-colleague from over 12 years ago.   It was wonderful to see her.   It was wonderful to TALK with her.  She has gone through a divorce and there is so much in what she was saying that was EXACTLY like how I have been feeling.  It was sooooooooooo good to talk to her.  To actually TALK and have a conversation and FEEL and feel sympathetic and understand.   She is wonderful.  Her outlook is wonderful.  How she expresses herself is wonderful.  And how she captured how I am feeling was eye-opening.  I am not used to talking to people who understand me.   I’m really not.  I was so pleasantly surprised today at lunch – even through the sadness – the connection I felt so strongly with someone whom I have not seen in over 12 years – I am not sure just how much we actually have in common.   There is probably close to a decade of years between us… she has no kids…. she is early in her career… yet we shared a connection and a conversation that resonated so strongly in me that I was almost swept off of the booth I was sitting in.

So it was a good lunch, but also a difficult one that opened me up leaving me exposed.

I tried to do some work – I actually had a really productive day.

Tuesday is trash day at home.  So my normal routine is to go through the yard and fill up that Green bin as much as I can.  There is so much in my place in terms of weeds and yard work that honestly I need more bins.  So I went around with my wheel barrel and started to pick up the piles of old branches and dead leaves from my hedge-clipping frenzy from several weeks ago.   I was sad picking up the dead decaying branches and getting them ready for trash.  Clearing out my space, my yard, getting rid of the branches that do not fit in this yard anymore.

I felt like crying.  I wanted to cry.  I even tried to force the tears.  My eyes would well up but the tears would not fall.  I need to get this out….

On my way to the bin I stopped at my compost tumbler and added the decaying leaves.   I then decided to take some of the leaves and crumble them on top of some of my garden – my garden that has yet to bear ANY fruit for me.   Am I watering for nothing?  Am I trying too hard with this new distraction/hobby?   Can ANY of these plants PLEASE create a freaking berry or something that I can eat?!?!??!?!   And then on my way crumbling up those leaves, I stopped when I got to my corn.  The 3-inch seedlings that my neighbor gave to me are now more like 3-4 feet high.  And I looked down and couldn’t believe it but there is this little corn-cob thingy starting to grow out of the biggest of the stalks.   I am amazed.   I then become hopeful, a little.

I feel like so much of what has happened in my life is such a waste.   I feel like those dead branches and I feel like those crumbling leaves being tossed aside but still I guess useful in some way for other things living.   I don’t know how I got here.   I don’t know how the essence of who I am got so misguided and depleted.    How can this happen to me?  When I try so hard?   How?   How did I let it happen?

And now the tears are finally falling.  So I’m glad I did not try to force a Gig Tip tonight.  I’m glad that I’ve had this chance to get this out.   I’m so happy that I had a chance to connect with my friend today at lunch.  I am so thrilled that she was speaking sentences that I could have said myself.  I am so happy that I found someone who understands.

I am thankful that I made a real connection today with someone.   But I am alone here now.   I am trying to see the potential for something new and something positive – like those damn corn stalk thingies.  But it is so hard.  So hard when you feel so alone and misunderstood by so many.

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