April 30: Gifts


It has been awhile since I’ve written anything on this blog. I guess it is because I’m feeling a bit lost as to my own relevance with the role of being a “working mother”.   This is because of the divorce and shared physical custody.  The first half of my week I am a “worker” without kids, and the second half of my week I am a stay-at-home mom. So, I really am not faced with the day to day challenges that “real” working mothers experience.

Until this week. Co-parent is on a work trip and I have the kids all week. It feels like a gift to me. I’ve been smiling most of today and I feel so much stronger now that my kiddos are with me. So, I feel the need to write.

Highlights of the Morning and the Commute:

  • I woke up earlier than usual to get the routine going while the kids still slept. I showered the night before so getting myself ready was a snap. I took the opportunity to start my coffee, change a load of laundry, and start to pack Big Bro’s lunch.
  • Twin Crazy woke up first. We had a fight the night before because of her not wanting to go to bed. She lost dessert tonight. So we talked about that and I told her that I still loved her even though I was mad at her. She hugged me hard. It was just me and her for a long time this morning. Chocolate Tuesday. And her stuffed animal duck which she was caring for, kissing, and making sit up to look at her. She kept me company as I continued to pack Big Bro’s lunch.
  • Twin Husky was up next. He was confused about the day of the week. He didn’t realize it was a school day and went over to the couch to lay down and cuddle with his Tiger. I held him in my lap (I LOVED that part!) and explained Chocolate Tuesday but he wanted a breakfast bar “on the road” just like his big brother does. So I worked with him to get dressed instead. He is really liking pants/shorts with pockets so I had them ready. We counted the pockets and he had fun putting his stuff in his pockets.
  • Red was up next and sleepy (due to Twin Crazy keeping her up last night). I sat with her on the couch, again her on my lap (I LOVED this part!) and held her until she woke up more. She was smiling for Chocolate Tuesday.
  • Red and I were laughing at how much chocolate she was putting on her tortilla
  • Twin Crazy went off to get changed by herself and she picked out a skirt because she “wants to look pretty”. Lately she is picking out multiple shirts, multiple underwear, multiple shorts, multiple socks. She often looks silly but I encourage her creativity and love of clothes. Today she surprised me with a headband and tap-dance shoes. Her hair was all over the place with the headband and she actually looked like a muffin-head.  She looked ridiculous but also adorable.
  • Twin Crazy had a screaming incident due to too many shirts on. I ran in to get one shirt off. At the same time, Red started screaming about a spider. I then ran with Twin Crazy’s shirt and smashed the spider. I was out of breath and exaggerating the whole scene as I shook the spider from the shirt at the back porch. The kids were giggling.
  • Twin Husky was excited to be holding a breakfast bar for the ride like his big brother.
  • Kids were great getting dressed and shoes on.
  • Big Bro woke up quickly and got out quickly, breakfast bar in hand.
  • As I walked outside another spider was caught onto me from its web. So I was busy dancing and swatting outside of my house while all the kids were in the car waiting. Again, they were giggling at me. I had so much fun.
  • I watered parts of my garden before leaving. Some of my sprinkers need to be adjusted.
  • On the way we talked about the funny morning, the breakfast bars, the night before and how the girls did not want to go to sleep, Twin Husky’s pockets, garbage trucks, how the hills are starting to turn brown because of the sun, and how I was likely going to be late for the ferry and therefore have to work at Starbucks. Big Bro quickly requested hot chocolate for the pick up, with whipped cream. Unbelievable.
  • Big Bro was on time.
  • Drop offs for Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky were great. Twin Husky was clingy, but got through it.
  • I drove to Starbucks with a HUGE smile on my face. I love being their mother. I love these kids and how we make each other laugh. I love how they will be waiting for me to pick them up. And yes, I will get hot chocolate for them to divide and share on the long commute home.

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Highlights of My Working Day:

  • Got set up at Starbucks with a plug for my computer AND a plug for my phone.
  • Figured out billing/invoicing for one of the big meetings that just passed.
  • Called speakers to personally thank them for attending and speaking at the meetings that just passed.
  • Left messages and sent invitations for membership for several organizations that attended the meetings. Hopefully I can convert some of these relationships into members…
  • Did other administrative things that needed to get done.
  • I decided to pack up and get the kids a bit early. I grabbed a large hot chocolate divided into 4 little cups with some whipped cream on the side. I knew the kids would be psyched.
  • It was a great, productive work day.

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Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • Pick ups were easy – they were excited about hot chocolate. Red was busy at school today. She had tons of art ready as well as a beaded necklace that she made. She asked me to wear it. I happily put it on. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky also had tons of art
  • There was lots of discussion about hot chocolate on the way home. There was some discussion on who was saving theirs, drinking theirs the longest, not drinking at all and saving for dessert since the girls were not getting dessert tonight from me (bad behavior from the night before), how we could make hot chocolate at home, etc.
  • Twin Crazy was singing particularly loud on the way home.
  • I saw Big Bro swat Twin Husky from the rear-view mirror so he got a 7 minute “rest time” in his room when we got back. Then Twin Crazy was showing some attitude so she got 3 minutes. I even think Twin Husky was banished for 3 minutes for something.
  • Afterwards, Big Bro sat with me in the kitchen while I cooked dinner. We listened to music. He does not like U2’s “zoo station”.
  • I went to the garden to pick stuff for dinner. Kale, sweet peas, herbs. I picked a broccoli leaf for Cocoa. I had to chase a chicken from next door out of my garden yard. It kept running into the deer netting that I put up which made me laugh.
  • The rest of the kids were playing with forts, and also hand-me-down “Lincoln logs” that we got from a friend. They were all busy building and using their imaginations. There were little fights but it was manageable. Big Bro joined the fun with side walk chalk.  Twin Husky wanted to water the garden but I got him to water my newly planted bushes in the front yard instead.  He looked so happy.  He came in when he was done and even said that he turned the water off by himself (he did, succesfully). 
  • We ate dinner outside and loved it. They all ate well.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky decided to go and pick “flowers” (weeds).
  • After dinner I sat with Big Bro so he could finish his homework. The rest of the kids were playing Lincoln logs.
  • Time for bed happened on-time tonight; little ones went down relatively easily; Twin Crazy was a bit scared about alligators but stayed in her room. Twin Husky kept coming out for water. It was hot and he asked for a wet paper towel for his back (I do that instead of air conditioning). He then asked for two more for his two Tigers.
  • Talk time with Red and Big Bro was fun. We also received a “latch hook” set from our neighbors and I showed them two sets that I did as a kid. Believe it or not, my mom sent them to me when I turned 40. The kids were interested in my projects as a kid. Big Bro said that he would show these to his kids someday and then started to pretend that he had kids, showing them my latch hook projects and then telling them to go to bed, laughing. He cracks me up.
  • We talked about birthdays and the unopened Amazon box in my room. That kid knew it was the Lego sets that I bought for him for his birthday and he was jumping up and down.
  • We talked about mosquitoes for a bit.
  • I gave the older ones piggy-back-rides to their beds; Red tried to ask me who was my “favorite” out of all the kids but I kept skirting her question.

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They are all asleep now, I am showered to get a jump start on tomorrow, and am feeling great. I loved today. The entire day was a gift to me. I don’t usually have this much time with them. I survived getting four kids in / out and working and going through long commutes on two highways. I feel lucky that I have a job that can offer me so much flexibility and the ability to work out of office at the last minute. I feel lucky that I have families that support us and think of us – we appreciate all that they give. I feel lucky to have this home where we can eat outside, eat the food that the garden provides to us, and gives the kids a chance to explore the yard and pick flowers. I feel lucky that I have reminders from my past that the kids are interested in them – they are getting to know me in new and different ways.

But most of all I feel lucky to have four little pumpkins/monkeys/sweeties in my life.  I can’t get enough of them!!!

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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Staying Sane: Couch monster


This past week involved a lot of shifting around my little living room.   This was to make room for the Christmas tree.  I bought the cheapest, fake tree I could find.  So, it is actually quite long and skinny.  Which is AOK by me, since my little living room can’t really hold a lot of tree.   Anyway, dealing with the small space and trying to free up room by the windows to make room for a gorgeous, decorated, tall skinny tree was in order.  And guess what we found while moving the couch sectionals around the space…

  • 1 remote control
  • 1 piece of art from the kids – a picture of a hand-drawn fire truck that was beautifully drawn and colored
  • 5 bouncy balls, 1 golf ball, 1 other random ball
  • an assortment of Lego pieces
  • 1 pair of rabbit ears
  • the equivalent of a bowl full of popcorn and unpopped popcorn seeds
  • a hair clip
  • countless bits of crayons
  • some plastic toy bugs
  • about 5 marker caps
  • 1 empty bottle of children’s play nail-polish
  • some kids books
  • a few puzzle pieces
  • massive amounts of fuzz
  • likewise, lots of hardened coal-like guinea pig poop

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So, if you are driving yourself crazy trying to find that little “do-dad” that either you are missing, or worse yet, your child is missing (and thus throwing a tantrum and falling to pieces), there could be a possibility that the couch monster that was at my place is now at yours.   It might be worth a look under the couch to see what kind of gold could be lurking…

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

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

November 28: Lovely rain


Today was a good day of rain with me working from home and then reuniting with the kids.

  • Woke up to the rain; looked outside at the yard and the trees and fell in love with this house again
  • Got ready for work which meant comfy clothes and slippers.   Working by the fireplace with Cocoa who kept me company while she ate and played all day.
  • Work was good.  Conference calls.  Client follow ups.   A good day.

  • Went to pick up Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky early because of a doctor appointment later that day.   Bad move.  All had interrupted naps which caused problems later.  BUT – the reunions were priceless.  I hugged Red for I think 5 minutes non-stop just outside of her classroom; Twin Husky woke up to see me and grabbed my nose and hugged me.  Twin Crazy couldn’t stop yelling “Mommy”, “Mommy”, “Mommy” even though I begged her to whisper since her other classmates were sleeping.
  • I took a conference call on the way, during, and after Big Bro’s pick up.   I love “mute”.
  • We went to the pediatrician for Big Bro’s wellness visit.  The kids played great in the waiting room.  Big Bro was awesome during the visit.  The doctor mentioned that he is doing really good at being dirty.   How embarrassing.
  • The kids got to pick from a trunk full of crap toys – these crap toys really caused me issues when we got home; kids were tired and cranky, and these crap toys I’m sure were made in China and self-destructed within 2 minutes of play.

  • When we got home Twin Husky helped me with the garbage bins (our thing together).   Red played with Cocoa.  Big Bro did 2 pages of math homework and then went out looking for friends.  No-one was home so he took a shower and then watched some TV as I made dinner.   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky by this point were acting crazy.  No naps kills us.
  • Dinner was fine; dessert was fruit
  • Afterwards I colored with Red, Big Bro played with Cocoa.  And the Twins were going nuts.
  • Booktime was fine; we read a book about divorce and in the story the kid looks up to the moon when he misses the other parent.  I said that’s what I do too…. in fact that’s what I did the night before.  The kids were intrigued by this.  I showed them the photograph that I took… a big, full moon with little clouds scattered everywhere that picked up the moonlight and actually looked like lace… I took a photo and showed it to them tonight.   I asked them that whenever they miss me at night they should look up to the moon because I am doing that too.  And whenever they miss me by day, they should look up to the sky because I am doing that too.

I wish it were that easy.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Not-so-Small Blessings


Let’s be honest. Holidays are stressful times. I’ve made it through this one – my first as a divorce, sharing my kids. What had started as an unbelievably frustrating experience with co-parent, wound up as a week+ of adventure, re-connections, and more focused time with the individual kids. I am ending an amazing Thanksgiving holiday, newly divorced, and feeling the fullest I have in years.

Some background: I had planned a trip back east to take part in my brother’s wedding celebration the weekend before Thanksgiving. As the time got closer, me and co-parent had to ask for the help of a child mediator to help us sort through the holidays (ridiculous, I know). I wound up with this first Thanksgiving. But at this point, it was too late for any of my family to fly out. Despite this, I was convinced that I could still make this a fun Thanksgiving for the kids so I agreed to this arrangement.

As time drew near, it hit me. Take Big Bro and Red with me, and keep Twin Crazy and Twin Husky behind with co-parent. We worked out a schedule where I stayed with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky (two on one) the time immediately before and immediately after our trip – And me, Big Bro, and Red had a full week away two-on-one. So each parent had two-on-one time with pairs of kids during the 10-day time span.

It was amazing.

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These are the things that I LOVED about this trip:

  • Big Bro’s defiance and self-assertion removing the jeans that I packed for him. He only likes wearing shorts now (West Coast, I know). He wound up a week in Philly with shorts on freezing his little ass off.
  • Big Bro and Red’s amazing enthusiasm for the trip, and helping every step of the way. I told them that travel days are difficult and that we have to help each other out when we need to. Big Bro was defiant in wanting to pull our one piece of luggage, and Red carried the toy roller bag that she and Big Bro packed together.
  • WE ALL SLEPT ON THE RED-EYE PLANE! We somehow arranged ourselves to all be horizontal and sleeping on each other and actually getting sleep. I loved cuddling with my little kiddos this way and feeling so close to them.
  • I know this is bad for me to say, but yes, I enjoyed sharing a bed with both of these kids for the ENTIRE week. Somehow traveling makes it sort of OK, but I know a hard habit to break.
  • Running at my Aunt’s house in her backyard with each of the kids. I wanted to get their bodies moving after our nap at her house. I wanted some exercise. We had a great time playing tag, chasing after each other, me running against Big Bro while having Red on my back… I loved it and they were giggling like you wouldn’t believe.
  • Seeing my brother and extended family and welcoming his wife and son officially into our family. I am so happy for them. It was also wonderful to see so many of my extended family in one setting – I so rarely am able to do this. So at least two of my kids got the opportunity to see my aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends of family. It is unbelievable to me that the Twins are almost 3 and have yet to meet so many of my family…
  • Dancing with Red and Big Bro at the wedding celebration.
  • Seeing Red and Big Bro interact so well with everyone at the wedding celebration.
  • Connecting with so many that are now so far away from me.
  • Cheesesteaks and pizza. The way they were meant to be.
  • Being able to do work and have productive days while at my mom’s house. She was able to entertain the kids and I was able to be productive and actually work remotely on those days. In fact, I talked to two prospective clients and they have decided to join our forums… so this was extra big for me this past week.
  • Playing “War” with Big Bro and Red.
  • Walking with Big Bro and Red and Nana and her dog and collecting leaves along the way. The leaves were gorgeous. Bright reds. Bright yellows.
  • Running with the kids up and down hills in my mom’s neighborhood.
  • Playing chase and hide and seek with the kids in my mom’s neighborhood.
  • Doing homework and daywork (he missed two days of school for this trip) with Big Bro. I love spending time with him and these activities. He really enjoys the work and learning. I love being there with him and encouraging him to learn.
  • Working with Red on her letters; she wants desperately to mimic her brother with his schoolwork. We wrote out the names of her classmates and used those letters to create words. We drew out a number line and Big Bro taught her how to use it for simple arithmetic. She was hooked. She kept craving more and more and more equations to work on and she did SOOOOOO amazingly well at them. I am so unbelievably proud of her.
  • My mom’s dog finally accepting these kids and letting them pet her gently and her kissing each of them and interacting with them; seeing Big Bro and Red every now and then simply reaching out to her when they were in the middle of doing something to pet her and acknowledge her existence and show their affection to her. I thank Cocoa for this and having them had some experience with a pet of their own.
  • Trying to see Santa but we were first too early and then too late. Big Bro’s response: “Great! Now we get to go home and have ice-cream!!”. He was not upset at all. We all laughed.
  • Big Bro’s response to my step-father’s pancreatic cancer: “He did not look as sick as I thought he would.” So I guess the little guy was preparing himself for the worst and thinking of my step-dad looking more sick (he is thinner, but does look great otherwise). Afterwards, we talked about cancer, what it is (cells that are growing too fast and they crowd out the good, healthy cells), and how you can’t really cure it. You can either take it out, or use medicine to help control the growth. Big Bro understood and said that Joe-Joe Pop was not going to get better, but the medicine he was taking would help to keep him feeling better longer. I wanted to reach out and squeeze this kid so badly then.
  • Red playing with her toy “pets” that Nana gave her and her sharing with Big Bro. Both of them caring for these “pets” during the trip and also drawing yards and even GARDENS for the pets to live in. I love the fact that the garden I am trying to build is making an impact on them. They drew the things in the garden that they wanted to grow that they thought would be good for the pets.
  • Spending Thanksgiving with family. It has always been my favorite holiday, before the kids arrived. It was such a better way to spend the day – with my mom, my uncle, my brother, his family, and Big Bro/Red. It felt right.
  • Seeing Big Bro and Red play so well with their cousin. The twins have yet to meet him.
  • During a conference call, I spent time cutting out hand-drawn “carrots” and “apples” for above mentioned pet gardens.
  • Ice-cream each night with Nana and the kids.
  • Big Bro taking a shower by himself.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and donuts.
  • Two plane rides back with absolutely no tears or breakdowns. These kids are seasoned travelers. Playing “war” with them while they enjoyed their drinks of apple and orange juice with two straws.

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I absolutely loved the time I had with these kids. I did miss the Twins, but it was so amazing to spend so much one-on-one time with these older kids. When one kid would ask me to do something with them, I was actually able to respond with “Yes, I’d love to do that with you“. I saw the impact in their eyes and still feel so lucky to have shared this time with them.

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When we returned, I dropped Red and Big Bro off with co-parent and picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky for the weekend.

These are the things that I LOVED about this weekend:

  • Twin Husky saying “Let’s go!!!” when I picked them up.
  • Twin Crazy saying “I’m glad that you came back” when we drove home. Twin Husky repeating and agreeing with her.
  • Walking into my first home after my first personal travel trip away. It smelled good; different; I felt completely at ease. The rest of the weekend I enjoyed doing house projects and cleaning. I love this home.
  • Waking up late with only two of the kids. Waking up to Twin Husky (as usual) and then Twin Crazy in my bed. Them understanding that we would get up at 8 AM.
  • Twin Crazy looking at me and just smiling ear to ear.
  • Playing loud music and dancing along with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky for most of the weekend. At one point, I was only holding Twin Husky’s hands and he was holding back smiles (embarrassed) as I told him that I loved dancing with my son. He is so sweet. They both sang and danced most of the weekend.
  • Taking them to Cold Stone Creamery after their naps on Saturday, before dinner. This was a BIG hit.
  • Then going to Trader Joe’s and having them actually remember what was on the list of things to get.
  • Them singing “baby beluga” and swimming like fish in the bath
  • Puzzle time – Twin Crazy actually doing the puzzles by herself and BEAMING with pride. Twin Husky getting frustrated with his puzzle, but I was able to spend time with him to work through it and the look on his face when he was actually getting the pieces together.
  • Bedtime books with two. It makes a difference.
  • Waking up to their warm bodies again in the morning
  • Picking weeds and Twin Husky saying that he wanted me to do that with him. Working in the garden with them and discovering worms together.
  • Twin Crazy dancing like you wouldn’t believe. Shaking her little shoulders and head. Knowing that it completely cracked me up.
  • Twin Husky pulling me by my hand “Mommy, come with me.“….
  • Each of them wanting to cuddle with me on the couch. Each of them soaking in mommy-time.

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Tonight I drove them home, and picked up Red and Big Bro for one hour of together-time before I dropped them all off for good at co-parent’s. I took them ALL out for ice-cream. There is just something about holidays/vacations and ice-cream with me. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t get enough ice-cream during vacations. So this was my last hour of vacation/holiday time with all four of my kids together. They had a great time re-uniting with each other. I actually heard squeals and saw some hugs. And I had a brief time with all of them together before ending this holiday break. I couldn’t be happier.

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So now I’m getting ready for the week, a normal week, and I’m not down that the holiday time is over. I’m OK with it. It feels good to be back home. I am glad that I was able to reconnect with my family on the east coast and also bring some kids with me. I’m glad that I was able to spend REAL time with the kids. I am glad that I was able to TALK to them and learn with them and celebrate their growth. And talk to them about missing people and how I know that it hurts and sometimes can be sad, but then you get a chance to see them again.

It breaks my heart when I leave them, but then I think of the next time I will see them and then it’s not that bad.

So it was the many, many, many small blessings that I had over the past 10 days that I am SOOOOOOOOOO grateful for. And I know that there are few people besides myself that can get this much of a charge out of each of these four little people. I know that these kids can light me up in such a special way that others simply cannot – and vice-versa. And this comforts me in some strange way when I am not with them.

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

November 8: Back to my new normal


Thursday is my day with the Twins and early pickups with Big Bro and Red.
Things I loved about today:

  • Waking up to Twin Crazy and his “Zebra” and having me kiss he Zebra on demand to his feet, ears, nose, etc. etc. etc.
  • Chocolate Thursday for breakfast, the kids happy, Cocoa sitting on the ottoman, and the fireplace on.  Two huge cups of coffee and feeling really good for the drive to Big Bro’s school
  • The soft rain outside, the smell of the trees, and the smell of someone’s fireplace. I feel like I am in a ski town now
  • How Big Bro and Twin Husky were doing great together today sharing balls; Big Bro was amazing with him today
  • Finding Red snuggled on the couch with Cocoa when I thought she was still sleeping in the van from the drive home
  • Dealing with Twin Husky after he found his rainboots; then Twin Crazy found hers. They were wearing them ALL DAY LONG and loving it
  • Having a little potty in my van; Twin Crazy needed it on our drive back to our house
  • Tickling Twin Husky and hearing his laugh
  • Pulling weeds and feeding the chickens with the Twins; feeling how soft the ground is and how easy the weeds come out with the root; the smell of the ground and the chill in the air and the clovers and green grass growing everywhere
  • Receiving unsolicited kisses from Twin Husky and then Twin Crazy when I tucked them in for their naps
  • Seeing Big Bro after school looking REALLY well rested; I had him sleep in as long as I could (7:30) so he got close to 12 hours of sleep last night. I could tell that it did him good today – he was so well behaved, fun, and so good with his brother/sisters
  • Doing homework with Big Bro after we got home
  • Playing kickball with a huge blue ball with the kids after getting home; Big Bro laughing and then gagging and then throwing up after the laughter. “I’m glad there were no other kids here”.
  • Having some neighborhood kids come over and kick the ball around, and then play Legos with the kids; watching Big Bro with his new best friend laughing on the top bunk of his bed as I took pictures of them
  • Seeing Twin Crazy and Twin Husky dancing non-stop when I turned the radio on in the van
  • How Big Bro is taking showers now in my room and is completely independent for this type of care
  • Seeing Red wash Twin Crazy’s hair; she is a wonderful big sister
  • Seeing Red’s beautiful ringlets of curls spiral around her face after her bath
  • Hearing Big Bro read the “book” that he created called “The Five Little Pumpkins”. How he created the book after dinner, and then offered to read it to everyone during bedtime routine
  • Flipping the girls each into bed and hearing their squeals
  • Having the kids go to sleep peacefully as soon as I tucked them in

 

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The kids were WONDERFUL today; I am HAPPY and relaxed. I’m looking forward to the Fall in this new home with them.

– Mama K

October 26: VERY busy and happy with the kids


It’s Friday and now I am home alone after dropping off the kids at co-parent’s house.  Looking back, I cannot believe how much we did today.  I loved it.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Twin Crazy was sick the night before with a high fever so I brought her into my room.   However, when I woke up this morning, not only did I have her in my bed, but I also had her twin laying across me as a pillow.   He usually wakes up earlier than the rest, but for some reason I think he came over in the middle of the night.  Strange.  I woke up to Red asking me to get Cocoa.   Climbing back in my bed I was saying to everyone that I will need to go out and get a bigger bed.  How am I going to fit me, 4 kids (older and bigger over time), a guinea pig and possibly a dog in my Full bed??!?!?!?   No way.    We were all laughing.
  • Breakfast was touch and go today.   Red requested pancakes (I made home-made pancakes last Friday) but I tricked her and pulled some out from the freezer.  She tried to eat them but noticed the difference immediately and was completely pissed off at me.   She sulked for most of the breakfast, until the end, when she caved out of hunger and ate what was given to her.  Then she was all smiles.
  • It was a nice ride dropping off Big Bro and Red.   The sun was shining.  I was feeling great.    Drop offs were uneventful.  Except that Red was happy (I brought Twin Crazy and Twin Husky with me).  I think bringing in the twins makes a difference for her during drop offs.
  • On the way home the Twins were talking about having grapes.  There was traffic.  They fell asleep.
  • Once we got back we had our grapes and then our activity.  I loved it.   We worked together in the back yard.  We were raking leaves, transporting leaves, picking “good” leaves from the weeds/sticks and putting them in our tumbler composter, then gathering more leaves around the back yard.  Twin Husky was TOTALLY into it.   He loves the outdoors.  I think this will be “our thing” together.   He is very much a wanderer; a seeker; he wandered off to see the chickens and he loves working in the yard.   I couldn’t tear him away from his little wheel barrel.  I think this garden that I want to build will be special for me and him alike.   Twin Crazy on the other hand had trouble walking up the hill, trouble raking leaves, and wanted to ride her tricycle down on the patio.  To each her own.  It’s just not her thing.  I’m OK with that.
  • After that hard work we had lunch and then naps.  I even took a nap as well.

 

 

Highlights of the Afternoon:

  • My phone alarm rang at 1:50 PM.  I jumped out of bed and gathered extra clothes, 4 water bottles, 3 fans (see Halloween gifts from Nana from  yesterday), and snacks to last 4 kids and one tired Mommy for 3 hours.  I scooped up the kids and told them to go back to sleep on the ride.   They did.
  • Pick up for Big Bro was great.  I got a chance to see their gardening project, with above-ground planting beds made out of wood.  I was totally  impressed.   I asked them how they made it and if they have plans.  The teacher said that boy-scouts made it for her.  A parent from Big Bro’s class asked me if I even have ROOM for a planter like that…. I said yes, we are divorced now… I live in [XXX] and have 1/2 acre of property and am starting a garden.  She grew up in that town.  She knows that I can grow things in the summer and in the winter.  She said she was jealous.  She does not have space for such a planter at her house.  I was beaming.
  • We picked up Red.  She is adorable.  Her smile lights up the room and my heart.   She put away her things and ran to me.   She held my hand tight as we ran to the van together.
  • Once we were all together I took out the snacks and drove to our first destination:  the airplane museum.  There is a part of the museum where you do not have to pay anything to enjoy.  So we stayed outside for free, and the kids had fun climbing into the airplanes and pretending that they were air traffic control.   Big Bro stole my phone camera and took some pictures of things that were important to him, like his hurt finger with a band-aide on it.  I read about the planes and gave the kids their snacks.  The owner came out and I explained my story, about living paycheck to paycheck and being divorced with four kids.   He gave me his card and told me to call in advance if I ever wanted to bring the kids inside.  He was very sweet.   We used the restroom and there was a water cooler outside with cone-paper cups.  The kids went crazy over this and I just couldn’t believe the joy and wonder that can be brought to a child without paying for anything.  It really is the simple things in life.
  • After the airplane museum we went to buy Red her shoes.  Her old sneakers were embarrassing.  She even mentioned that people in her class have been telling her to get new shoes.  I was appalled.  We went to Payless and even Big Bro was picking out some choices for her from sizes 11 and 11 1/2.   He was great.  They all knew that the only thing on the list was Red’s shoes.  So all in all they were very well behaved.  Except for Twin Husky.  He found a pair of blue rain boots that he fell in love with and was totally upset when I told him that they weren’t on the list.  We paid for Red’s sneakers and off we went.
  • Our next stop was a cove where you can see tide-pools, lots of birds, and huge rocks with sea-weed.  The kids had a great time.  Big Bro, Red, and Twin Husky kept scrambling up rocks, Big Bro and Red adventured out towards the bay and collected treasure (shells), Twin Crazy collected her treasure of rocks, and Twin Husky was so adventurous.  At one point he decided to take off his socks and shoes and start wading in some of the tide pools.  I was not thrilled with this but I loved his sense of adventure and he was safe.   I didn’t care if his pants got wet.   The kids were great when I said it was time to go.   I love giving them these kinds of experiences.  And it didn’t cost me a thing.
  • Drop off was fine.  I will see them tomorrow at 4 PM.

After dropping them off I went food shopping to prepare for next week.  I will have more time with them since co-parent will be traveling for work.   I only buy things that are fresh veggies / fruits, and other things on sale.  I do not buy anything (besides fresh fruits / veggies) if it is full price.  I just can’t these days.  There was a snag at the register that shorted me $2 and I am not proud to say that I waited for another transaction to get my $2 back.  That will pay for 2 days of parking next week at my train station.  I am living paycheck to paycheck these days, but still probably the happiest that I’ve ever been nonetheless.  I am making it on my own.  As a single mother of four kids, working part-time, in a god-awful expensive part of the country.  I have my own, beautiful (small) home with lots of land for me and these kids.   And I am making it.

Tonight I will need to do some work related to the divorce.  I cannot wait for this to be finalized and have this leech off of my back.  I was carrying him for too long in the past and he is still sucking whatever he can out of me and I need to rid myself of him legally and financially.   That is my priority now that my big meetings for work have passed.

Have a great weekend everyone –

– Mama K

October 25: Rain, hot, cold


It is the end of a Thursday, one that I shared with my kids. I love working part-time. Twin Crazy had a fever last night so we did not sleep well. I was excited since I used my heating system in the house for the very first time. It is very cool. Programmable for different sections of the day. I am new to all of this. I love owning this home and being able to set the heat at whatever temperature I feel is appropriate for the kids and me.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Nutella “Chocolate Thursday”. The kids were pumped. Of course Twin Husky and Twin Crazy needed to spread the chocolate by themselves.
  • It was raining outside. It feels like fall. Foggy, raining. My grass is turning brown to green.
  • On the ride we saw a huge amount of pigeons on the electrical lines. I don’t think we’ve ever seen so many. Big Bro said that they need to put up more lines so that the birds could have more room for their “meeting”. Twin Husky called it a “party”. We made it in time for Big Bro’s drop off. Drop off for Red went much better this week. I think it is easier for her when Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are with us during the drop off. Afterwards, Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were playing with chairs and kitchen sets and climbing structures at school. It was hard to get them out of there. Twin Crazy was talking about how her “vagina hurts” in front of everyone which made me laugh and also indicated to me that she needed to take a bath.
  • On the ride back Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were singing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. I love that they are in a proper daycare environment where they are learning these things. Twin Husky was fully potty trained his first week of being there.
  • I took them to the library in my neighborhood so we could return some borrowed DVDs. We got there too early so we talked about flowers, looked at worms, and they balanced on low walls around the bushes and flowers and had a great time. Once the library opened, we went in and they each returned one of the DVDs with the automatic return center, where they put the book/DVD in and it scans the bar-code. They loved it.
  • We went back to my place and took baths. I pulled out “new” (hand me downs from a neighbor) bath toys that the kids loved. A watering can, Dora and Boots, pots with spouts. Twin Husky needs to shampoo his own hair by himself. Afterwards he wanted to get dressed in a bathing suit top and a bathing suit bottom since they are very soft and silky.
  • Lunch and naps!
  • While the kids took naps, I had a conference call and sent out some emails to prospective clients.

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Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I swept the kids up and drove in to pick up Big Bro and Red.  It was hot outside.  We were early so Twin Crazy and Twin Husky had fun playing in the playground while we waited. They both liked the swings. Twin Husky liked the play structure and the structure where you throw a ball in… but we didn’t have a ball with us so he was throwing his Tiger. It was very, very cute.
  • Twin Crazy was not feeling well by this point and felt feverish to me – and it was hot outside in general so I’m sure she felt like crap. She was very cranky. We grabbed Big Bro and fled to Red. Pick up was fast since Twin Crazy was feverish. I told Red that I was going to buy her shoes today, but asked her if it was OK if we did that tomorrow since Twin Crazy was sick and needed medicine. She was agreeable.
  • When we got home Big Bro was sleeping in the back seat. I gave Twin Crazy medicine. It was cold outside.  I turned the fireplace on. Red and Twin Husky were playing with LeapPads. I was holding Twin Crazy to comfort her and check her fever. She felt good in my arms.
  • Big Bro woke up; the medicine kicked in and Twin Crazy was happy. The kids opened up a care package from my mom with Halloween cards, “fans” with candy in the arms, and two baking sets with haunted house brownies and skull cupcakes with brains. We will do these on Sunday.
  • Red and Twin Crazy were busy with scissors and cutting out pictures out of magazines.
  • Dinner was fast and good.
  • After dinner, we colored together while I also did laundry.

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I read to Twin Crazy and Twin Husky and put them to bed. Then Red, solo. And then Big Bro. I’m not sure if they like reading all of them together (then they get to hear 4 books) or if they like the one-on-one time. I think it depends on their mood. I just need to remain flexible with them.

I loved today. It was a great way to spend my time after the intensity from work at the beginning of the week.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

October 18: Are you kidding me??!?!?


It was a reasonably good Thursday because of the kids; but the day sucked due to the divorce. I need to be done with this already – I am soooo over it.

Highlights of the Day:

  • I of course woke up to Twin Husky climbing into my bed. He is like a living alarm-clock. His routine is so predictable.
  • Chocolate Thursday! Kids were helping themselves and spreading their own Nutella on their tortillas. We were running a bit late.
  • Out of the driveway I ran over my side lawn and got stuck. One neighbor and one stranger walking down the street helped to push me out. It was pretty funny when my bumper almost got pulled off of my car. It’s just a piece of metal.
  • Drop off for Big Bro was fine; Drop off for Red was TERRIBLE. Lots of hugs, clinging to legs, tears. This happens every Thursday now. I hate it.
  • I took Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to a science museum in a closeby neighborhood. They had a great time playing with balls/air, floating things/air, tumbling, riding bikes with square wheels, doing puppet shows, etc. etc. etc. They really had a great time as did I.

It was an early pick up day for Big Bro from school. So at 12:30 we picked him up, and then Red. We headed back to my place and had a great time.

  • We painted fingernails.
  • Got the mail, watered the plants front and back
  • Dressed in Halloween costumes
  • Had a smoothie snack outside on the steps
  • Twins took a bath, I gave Twin Husky a haircut (he looks very handsome)
  • Had some neighborhood kids over to play
  • Played with Cocoa
  • Ate a fast dinner outside with our new patio furniture
  • Cleaned up, read books, scratched backs, tickled and hugged and said lots of “I love you”s.

In between all of this were emails and phone calls/ conference calls for work. Both related to the big meeting next week, and a new client project that we will likely bid on. It was great from a work perspective even though it was my day off.

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In between all of this also were emails and phone calls from co-parent related to the divorce. He wants to be reimbursed for his out of pocket healthcare expenses – is still on my health plan. Are you kidding me?????? I need to be rid of this. I want to move forward but he keeps holding me back. I can not wait to be free of this. I have never met such a cheap man before in my life. He would fight you for a roasting pan, believe me, he is fighting me for ours and the majority of our wedding gifts.

Ok, now that’s off my chest, I breathe deep and let it pass. I am in my own home now. And my children are sleeping happily in their rooms. They ate well tonight. They had two different houses of neighborhood friends come over. They are clean. They were playing with each other and the girls were laughing and playing tonight like best friends.  I received a TON of hugs from them and lots of good conversation with each of them tonight.  I look at them in their eyes when they talk to me and they are able to finish their sentences and thoughts with me and get a reaction from me.   I drank good, cheap wine tonight.  I have a guinea-pig who is running around her cage right now and who kisses Red non-stop and obviously loves Red the best.  The crickets are chirping. And work is going well. So I really can’t complain. I’m moving forward and am ready for what is ahead and I am hopeful that it will be wonderful and worth the journey.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

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