Reader contribution: Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in Your Kids


From time to time, readers reach out to me with topics or commentary that are important to them and that they feel our community of working mothers can benefit from. Because of this, I am encouraging our community to contribute to this blog/website — and the below is our first crack at doing just that.

Children diabetes is something that we as parents should be concerned about. And our society as well. Times have changed since we were children ourselves. I remember as a kid playing and running outside like mad… swinging on swings and running and laughing with friends. But I also remember drinking powdered drinks that were probably loaded with sugar. And lots of “prepackaged” side dish in a pouch type things that were likely loaded with salt. I am wondering that as our society has made it easier for parents to quickly feed their kids, the choices that have been available to us have not had their health on the forefront. I can’t help but wonder if the dilemma of the working mother (shortage of time) has fueled unhealthy eating with our kids – sometimes convenience just trumps healthy because you have to get your hungry/cranky kids fed! Going through that drive thru at the fast food place sure does sound appealing. The prepackaged meals (even at my favorite, Trader Joes!!) sound good, fun, and fast but they are loaded with salt….

Adding to that is the change in physical activity for kids in general. Again, I was not a kid that grew up with “play dates” or organized activities. I was a kid that just played outside. I ran. I ran until my legs were bursting. I rode my bike relentlessly. On winter/rainy days I’m sure I was running around the house driving my mom batty. “Pong” on Atari or whatever the game was just wasn’t captivating enough for hours and hours of sitting. I just remember running. But now. Video games. Computers. DVRs and recordable TV. iPads. iPhones. These kids know how to use the mouse pad before they turn 2!!! Like adults, are kids retreating more indoors because of this….

children_running_lowPhoto source: crs.ymca.org

So, when Carolyn approached me with the below article I was intrigued. She is not a working mother but the topic of children’s diabetes hits home for her. And she knows (albeit second-hand) what it is like for working parents. Sadly it is so hard to have it all… we are not Supermoms. We do not have endless resources of time available to us. So yes we need to do what we need to do. But, raising awareness of the problem may help you make different choices – and/or the below might help you with some ideas of healthy food options and also increasing the exercise levels with your kids – both critical as Carolyn describes below.   Thank you Carolyn!

1/28/13 Update — Reader comment:   “These tips will only prevent Type 2 diabetes, *not* Type 1 that typically affects children. Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder with a genetic component where the pancreas attacks its own cells and ceases producing insulin forever. This happened to me when I was 8, and I was a thin, active kid with a healthy diet before that. It’s bad enough to know that your child will be dependent on insulin for the rest of their life to stay alive; I don’t want people to think that the parents of Type 1 children could have prevented it. All we can do is a lot of work to manage it once diagnosed and pray for a cure”

 

Mamas…. what other thoughts do you have about healthy eating, exercise, or children’s diabetes in general?

“Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in Your Kids

”, Carolyn Fallon

Last November was American Diabetes Month – normally this wouldn’t have had a personal impact on me. However, this year was much different because it just happened to also be the month that one of my young cousins was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I couldn’t believe that someone her age – 13 – could have Type 2 Diabetes, but after talking to the doctor and doing some research, I found out that children are actually the fastest-growing population for Type 2 Diabetes. Also, according to St. Joseph’s Cardiac Services, if left untreated, diabetes can lead to issues later in life such as heart disease, neurological problems, and even amputation.

Since the two biggest factors in Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis is obesity – and therefore, an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity – I decided to work with all of my cousins to get them on the right track for making healthy life choices. All of the changes we have made can be implemented by all families, which I have described below!

Eating healthy
One thing that all families can do together to become healthier is to make eating and being healthy a New Year’s resolution. One of the first steps we did was to incorporate a healthy diet plan into our lives. This seemed a bit overwhelming at first since my Aunt and Uncle both work outside of the home. Since we are a close-knit family, we came together to help them plan meals for my cousin – which not only benefited them in that they got extra help in planning and making healthier meals, but all of the parents (my aunts and uncles) were able to learn healthier tips as well that they could use in their own families.

If there is no junk food in the house, no one will be tempted to eat it. If the entire family follows the same diet plan, there will be no foods in the home that are unhealthy or incredibly high in calories. Sticking to a diet and healthy nutrition plan will be a lot easier for all of you so that it is not as big of an issue. I’ve noticed with the rest of my cousins that this has helped them to stay healthier and lose some weight as well.

Some easy changes we made right away:

  • cut out sugary and salty sweets for healthier, creative snacks. **note: this may seem time-consuming, but these are the types of things we like to do when we get together as a family, so it helps my Aunt by having more hands to help prepare them!
  • use whole wheat pasta, bread and crackers
  • use stringed squash over regular pasta
  • substitute mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes
  • make baked chicken strips with baked sweet potato wedges instead of fried chicken tenders and french fries

Making Meals by Busy Moms (for those who find it difficult to always make the amazing 3-course meals that all the “perfect moms” somehow manage to make every night):

  • prep ahead of time if possible – while the kids are playing on Sunday afternoon, use this time to prep food for the upcoming week
  • make extras when prepping and freeze them for later use; some great examples include: pasta and noodle dishes, meats, soups and stews, quick-cooking grains (like quinoa)
  • learn to embrace your crockpot! I swear you will never go back…

Getting healthy through exercise
Getting regular physical activity is very important. Create an exercise plan that you all can enjoy on a regular basis. Just because the word exercise is used, that doesn’t necessarily just mean going for a run or to the gym. Get creative! For example, you might want to make it a habit as a family to take walks around the block after dinner when the weather permits. You might even want to play video games that encourage physical movement so that you really have fun together (my cousins like to use Wii Fit and play Dance Revolution).

Again, my Aunt and Uncle work full-time, which can make this somewhat of a challenge each night. I am nearby so many nights I will come over and make sure to do an activity with the kids. When I was growing up, both of my parents worked full-time but they were adamant about us kids staying active and healthy. They used to let us play outside for hours before it got dark out, and we learned to like playing outside and being active instead of being inside for all hours of the night. Also, getting kids from the neighborhood together to play games outside allows the kids to get exercise without the parents having to always be with them.

Additional activities we have used include:

  • neighborhood games of soccer, kickball, tag, capture-the-flag, etc. **these are great because the kids don’t even realize they are “exercising!”
  • family nature hikes in the nearby woods
  • swimming at the indoor pool at the local college
  • family scavenger hunts and obstacle courses
  • family “Olympics “that use all kinds of activities

Exercise can help to bond your family and aid in weight loss for those who are struggling with their weight. 

Getting healthy can be very difficult, but it’s important to get healthy as a family so that it is easier for you all to do. You might even find that your family exercise nights are a lot of fun and are something that you actually look forward to. The key to establishing a diet routine and exercise program for your family is to make plans and to create a schedule that will work with everyone in the family. Even though you all live busy lives, this does not mean that you should give up on your health and avoid losing weight.

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!

Advertisements

March 12: Not a bad Monday


Monday, after a long weekend, with little sleep. And I will be busy today. Not good. Last night’s sweet reunion with the kids was at 8 PM – Twin Crazy was acting silly and saying “Hiya”. Big Bro was tired, as was Red and Big Bro. I had all four kids on the floor with me as they came back into the house. Twin Crazy and Red on my lap, Twin Husky half on my lap and the floor, and Big Bro in a fetal position laying next to me on the floor. It was a late night for them. By the time Big Bro went to sleep, it was past 10:15 PM.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up to Red screaming between 5 – 6 AM. I went up several times to soothe her.
  • Big Bro was excited about leading the pack of the Motley Crew today. His day is Mondays.
  • Red was fine after she got dressed into her favorite Dora shirt.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were busy eating breakfast, and talking alot. Talking about how their bowls were circles and how tangerines are balls. Twin Crazy brought Red her hot pink phone, and brought Twin Husky his bear stuffed animal. She is so sweet.
  • Twin Husky was acting goofy and sticking pieces of bread crusts out of his mouth like two teeth.
  • All kids were having fun this AM. Interacting with each other and taking care of each other. Twin Husky needs to have his pile of things with him (basketball, tigers, rubber snake, bear) and the kids were helping him organize his stuff next to him.
  • Getting out of the house was easy today. Big Bro was eager to leave on his bike. I found Twin Crazy and Twin Husky playing with their scooters outside in the driveway, laughing. Twin Crazy is REALLY good at the scooter. She glides and everything.
  • We drop off Twins first; then Red. It is picture day for Red and we forgot. Her hair looks like Einstein and I ask the teacher to please comb it before the pictures.
  • 20120312-210026.jpg

    20120312-210041.jpg

    20120312-210057.jpg

    Now I’m on the ferry and I have so much to do today – I have a 9 AM conference call that I have to lead and I need to figure out where I’m going to go for quiet space to have this conversation – the ferry gets in just close to 9 AM so I need to figure that out. I have 4 [update; no make that 5] other meetings/conferences calls after that. I need to figure out what work I need to do between those and need to get organized when I get into the office.

    I’m attending to emails already while on the ferry and getting myself ready for the day.

    I am in reasonably good spirits today. I am looking forward to my mother’s visit this week. I’m also looking forward to getting this divorce process done. I want to get out of this house. There is no soul/charm/personality and I really am looking forward to moving on.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    OMG busy! Again!

  • Worked on client deliverable
  • 5 meetings! 1 project team meeting, 1 staff meeting, 2 speaker planning meetings, 1 internal planning/agenda meeting. Whew!
  • I will need to get real work done tomorrow.

    I’m on the ferry now, riding home. Tired. But it is sunny outside. I’m looking forward to picking up the kids. Looking forward to catching up with them since I did not see them this weekend. The Twins were very talkative this morning… its amazing how quickly they change. I can see the difference in them from only being away for 2 1/2 days! So I’m looking forward to learning about them tonight. And hearing about Big Bro’s Monday as Leader of the Motley Crew. And hoping that Red had a good day despite her lack of sleep last night.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Red first, then the Twins. We picked up Big Bro last so he could ride his bike from school to home. I suggested that he take an alternate route… a path that winds around a man-made lagoon which is really pretty. We’ve gone on it many times before. When he got to that part of the journey, he wasn’t sure where it would lead and he decided to come back up on the sidewalk and me follow him home in the van. So cute. He was brave, then backed down to the safety of what he knows. That’s OK. I had fun following him and the kids had fun cheering him on along the way.
  • At home I cooked; Big Bro helped with parts of the dinner. He also helped clean up some spilled water (Twin Crazy). Red helped set the table.
  • Kids ate well, except for Twin Crazy. She got cranky later so I brought out milk for everyone.
  • We played outside since it was light out from the time change. Big Bro and I played “kick back” which is just kicking a ball back and forth. Twin Husky was busy throwing a basketball in the air. Twin Crazy was frustrated with her pretend stroller, and Red was trying on shoes.
  • Twin Crazy was playing with her milk and I eventually took it away from her. She gets so upset when you are mad at her. I asked her if she needed some mommy-time and she said “Yeah…. Mommy time…..”. So I sat with her in the hallway, talked with her about how I felt mad at her. And why I felt mad at her. That she was playing with her milk and not listening. But that it’s OK, that people get mad. It’s OK to feel mad. And even though I was mad at her, I still love her. And then Red added in: “yeah mommy, and you love her so so so so so so much”. So cute. I guess Red remembers similar conversations with her.
  • Bedtime – I had Big Bro and Red. They got ready really quickly. Red asked me to pull something out of her jacket that she forgot downstairs so I did and almost shit my pants when I saw and felt a squishy fake bug. So of course I made a big deal out of it upstairs with them. Then Big Bro started picking his toes and I had Red cracking up about how gross that was. Yuck. They were both reasonably ready for bed, Big Bro with a Lego project so I asked him to get into bed when he was ready. Goodnight guys. I love you so much.
  • Kisses for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. “I……. love…… you” whispers. “Sweet dreams”.
  • Afterwards, I made some “mail” for Red for her pre-school class. I printed a picture of Dora, Princesses, and Mini-mouse. Then made little notes and made envelopes to her. One from mommy, one from daddy, and one from Big Bro, Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.
  • 20120312-210129.jpg

    20120312-210152.jpg

    20120312-210211.jpg

    20120312-210224.jpg

    20120312-210235.jpg

    20120312-210246.jpg

    I’m now sitting in bed, listening to quiet kids in the monitor. I think Red finally quit the “hold my hand until I fall asleep” routine. That one was tough. I think we did it. I can’t believe how good Big Bro and Red were tonight. They were both so helpful. It’s good to have them around again. I don’t know if they were so good because I was away this weekend, or maybe Big Bro felt like he was happy from his bike ride…. I’m not sure but I need to figure it out. They were all wonderful tonight.

    I had a great Monday.
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: Start your morning the night before


    This is something so obvious and already known to be true by all working mothers out there. So I really don’t know why I’m going to write about this. You already know it. But maybe it is a rule that is so important that it is I guess good to reinforce from time to time.

    Getting out of the door is not easy with kids. Hell, it isn’t easy by yourself sometimes (e.g., where did I leave my keys? I don’t like this outfit… maybe this one…. I didn’t charge up my phone…. ugh). Add kids to the mix, and add a busy commute, multiple drop offs to daycare/school, some crankiness (from you and/or the kids), runny noses, temper tantrums, milk spilt on the floor, lunches, and kids hanging onto your legs… now THAT’s a recipe for disaster.

    It is clear to every working mother that the most obvious thing to do when you are faced with situations that can so quickly go out of control, is control whatever you can in advance to hopefully streamline and make your life easier when you know you will need it.

    In our house, the LAST ferry leaves at 8:30. There are THREE drop-offs for our FOUR children. Not fun. Plain and simple. Actually, it sucks. That’s all there is to it. But, I’ve managed to put some structure in place the night before to make things easier for us in the scramble of the morning… .if you’ve been reading the daily journal here, you already be familiar with much of the routine. The list below is a full list and I certainly do not follow everything at all times…. although I probably should.

  • Sunday nights involve packing the daycare bag for the week. All clothes and socks that Twin Husky and Twin Crazy will need for the week are in there. Diapers, wipes, you name it. The bag is packed and in the hallway waiting by the garage door.
  • Similarly, Red’s linen bag for daycare is also ready to go the night before. It sits right near the daycare bag.
  • Older kids clothes are picked out by them, and placed in piles on their floor so they can get
    dressed themselves in the AM. When they were younger, just having the piles ready for us to change them were good enough.
  • When I was on lunch duty, I also started thinking about the lunch the night before; anything I could do in advance I did (e.g., juices in thermos cups).
  • All jackets and shoes are in their proper place. This has always been hard for us. No matter how hard I try to have the kids take off their shoes and keep them in one place, one child forgets and then the routine is hammered the next morning. This includes jackets. This has really caused beautifully smooth mornings unwind into stressful teary experiences for everyone involved…. all it takes is one damn lost shoe out of eight feet and your timing is totally messed up. So, all shoes and jackets need to be accounted for and immediately accessible. Our new, ingenious system was a suggestion from our child custody mediator. Put hooks up and bins and get the kids trained to use them. I went a step further and put pictures of them and also name tags in big letters. It is working great with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. Twin Crazy really enjoys putting things away and comes back to be with a huge, proud look on her face when she succeeds. Red is accustomed to this at school, as is Big Bro. But he, as usual, is always the one to say “where is my jacket? Where are my shoes??” Uggh. I do believe that we will get there though, eventually.
  • 20120304-213651.jpg

    20120304-213800.jpg

    20120304-213857.jpg

  • I also make sure that my own bag is ready…. iPad, phone, wallet, and work computer if I brought it home. Keys are always in one place ready to go.
  • If I am having a big meeting the next day, I think through what I’m going to wear the night before. This is particularly important during PMS. This can REALLY throw you off.
  • I sometimes set the coffee machine on the night before on timer.
  • On good nights, I even think through the next day’s dinner and take out whatever I need from the freezer to defrost overnight.
  • All lunchbags, backpacks, etc. are in places that are easy to find (e.g., backpack by the back door near the garage).
  • When the Twins come downstairs, I make sure they also bring what they will need for daycare that day – Twin Crazy’s lovey blanket and Twin Husky’s “Tiger”. That way I know these items are somewhere on the first floor before we leave.
  • So, that is just a summary of the run-down that you may have read before in some form or another. This is the easiest rule as ANY parent knows when you are trying to leave the house with a child. Make sure that anything that can be organized and put together is done so the night before the morning rush with the child. You learn this very quickly. And I guess managing the diaper bag is the first part of training for any working parent.

    As a working mother, what other things do you take care of the night before to make your commute easier??? Or to make your morning with your kids run smoother and less stressful???

    Sorry for this cop-out of an entry. I know you did not learn anything new. This is Working Mother 101 here. But, maybe we can learn a few more tricks from other mamas out there….

    Thanks for listening –
    – Mama K

    Recipe: Chicken thighs with mushroom and wine sauce


    This recipe was submitted by fellow Mama Jeanette from Long Island, NY.   Thank you Jeanette!!!   I miss NYC!!!

    Chicken thighs with mushroom and wine sauce

    “I got this from the internet awhile ago and it is delicious! Easy too, not many ingredients and quick. Recipe says to serve with rice or potatoes. I usually use egg noodles.  Recipe serves 4.  Hope you like it!”

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 pounds boneless,chicken thighs
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 TBS. olive oil
    • 2 TBS. butter
    • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1/3 cup dry white wine such as chardonay
    • 1/2 cup of cream or half and half
    • 1-2 TBS. chopped fresh parsley

    Directions:

    • Wash chicken, pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and butter.
    • Add chicken and cook, turning until browned. Remove to plate and set aside.
    • Add mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring until mushrooms are tender and browned.
    • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
    • Stir in flour until blended.
    • Stir in chicken broth and wine until blended.
    • Add chicken back to the skillet, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
    • Stir in the cream and parsley and heat through.

    Preparation Time: 10 minutes

    Cooking Time: 45 minutes total

    November 11: Off, but at work?!?!?!?


    Veteran’s Day today. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the meaning of these holidays in mind – I woke up this morning with just the idea that I had all four kids today since Big Bro and Red’s schools were closed. It wasn’t until later at lunch that the meaning came to me since Applebee’s was giving free lunches to Veterans (yes, I’m in the burbs and went to Applebee’s for lunch….).

    Anyway, I was looking forward to the day. I woke up first and was showered and ready to go before kids got up. I made homemade oatmeal which was rejected but all kids even the Twins. All kids were excited about the day. Big Bro and Red were busy packing up their roller-bags for the things they wanted to bring for the day. Big Bro even made sure to pack the “sleeping loveys” for Elena because he knew that she would need them. My grand plan was to go into the city to a HUGE museum that is amazing for kids – I figured I would stop by my office and bring the kids for a quick visit.

    The quick visit to the office turned into 2+ hours. Kids were shy at first but as soon as we did apple juice and fruit the smiles were coming out and the kids were having a blast with everyone; there was lots of chasing, eating, throwing balls, playing with rubber ducks, kisses, squeals, etc. (even my co-workers). One of my colleagues also brought in her 6 year old son so Big Bro made a new friend and they played Legos together. So cute.

    20111111-211016.jpg

    Twin Husky was hanging on by a thread so I decided to skip the museum and instead take them to lunch closer to home. On the way out, we stopped by Big Bro and Red’s old daycare; the workers there could not believe how big they have grown and could not believe how big Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are – on the way out the kids got side-tracked by the playground.

    20111111-211110.jpg

    Applebees. The kids love the corn-dogs there. There was a wait because of all of the Veterans. They put us in a great round booth and all the kids ate great. Big Bro and Red both had TWO corndogs each and lots of broccoli. The office visit apparently made them hungry. I received lots of looks from people. “You’ve got your hands full”. I get that all the time – even with just the Twins – but when you add Big Bro and Red into the mix it looks very crazy very quickly. All of the Veterans were saying this to me which I thought was pretty amazing. ME having my hands full? Honestly…. it felt awkward receiving those comments from them. Big Bro and Red had fun maneuvering the stroller through the restaurant and getting lots of smiles.

    20111111-211153.jpg

    We then took a short shopping trip to Trader Joe’s. I had to pick up more instant oatmeal there since my homemade version was rejected by all. Red was busy pushing the stroller. There was a guy there dressed as a Turkey. The cashier was amazed at the kids and he even said that they were so well behaved for being four of them. I said I kindof rule with strong conviction and he said that he could tell, and that it was good parenting.

    20111111-211231.jpg

    We got home and all napped from 3 – 5 PM. The Twins were talking and laughing to each other, as usual. It felt good to rest on the couch with Big Bro.

    We had fun at night – playing, jumping, pretending the rug was hot lava, and carrying on. It was a great way to end the day – with lots of belly laughs and my own belly hurting from laughing so much.

    What a great way to end the week – kids all went to bed without any problems; Hubby said I must have worn them out today.

    Great weekend to all –
    Til Monday –
    – Mama K

    November 7: Back together again!


    Back at work after a great weekend with Big Bro, Red, and my father. We woke up to the kids laughing and reuniting with one another, since the Twins came home late last night.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • We woke up to children’s  laughter. Big Bro kissing Twin Husky as Twin Husky rolling around on the floor. Giggles. Red running around laughing. Twin Crazy a bit sick so a bit cranky.
    • Everyone was hungry – Twins are now actively asking for what they want with their words, which is making things much easier.
    • Red gives Twin Crazy her new water bottle and Twin Crazy downs half of the water. Red gets upset but I quickly wash the bottle and get her new, fresh water to stem a tantrum from happening.
    • Twins are getting oatmeal all over themselves.
    • Big Bro and Red are busy eating.
    • I help 3 of the 4 to get dressed.
    • We are early so all leave together – 3 drop offs (Red, Twins, Big Bro) and then me an Hubby to the Ferry.

    Today at work I will be starting a new project, forming a plan for a new proposal, and also tying up loose ends from the meetings we recently had.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

    • Today was a day about business development. We had an internal meeting to plan our response to a Request for Proposal, I had a phone conversation with a potential client as a result of our meetings from last month, and I scheduled a phone conversation to discuss our proposal with another potential client as a result of our meetings last week. My goal out of this new role was not only to generate value for our company and the members for these meetings, but also to walk away with potential consulting projects. My goal was three proposals. Now we’re at 2. I have one more to go to reach my personal goal!
    • I also started to organize my thinking around a project we are starting this week – I had the lead contact so I’m feeling responsible for this one.
    • I also started to prepare for some meetings that I will have on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ve learned through my career to NEVER come to a meeting unprepared. Even having the documents quickly skimmed and some initial questions/reactions is better than nothing. In our company, people remember the meetings where someone does not add anything — then why were they there???!? Not only should you participate, but have your thoughts organized. Contributions should be concise and to the point, otherwise you’re wasting everyone’s time. This gets noticed too.

    I’m now on the commute home – taking the ferry is not as fun when it is cold and gray. And it is cold and gray today. I have some “flat meat” that I bought over the weekend so dinner will be easy.

    Monday’s are always a bit rough for us as a family – and I think tonight will be worse since it will be darker earlier. I envision breakdowns earlier than normal, so am ready to start the bedtime routine earlier if we need to tonight.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I picked up all kids quickly since it was cold and the sun was going down FAST!
    • Dinner took about 10 minutes from start to finish. Flat meat (pork), frozen string-beans zapped in the microwave, and cous-cous. Everyone was at the table eating within 15 minutes!
    • There was lots of fun tonight. I think all the kids were thrilled to be together again. Big Bro acting like a monster under a blanket crawling after his siblings, Red/Twins were doing “downward dog” positions as I cracked up, Twin Crazy didn’t mind me “bulbing” snot out of her nose (she kept laughing), kids were playing with balls all over the place (and then we made a game about working together to clean them up), and even puzzles.

    • There were only a few accidents. Red hit her head on an open drawer. Twin Husky took a swing at a bat and hit Red in the head by accident. Kids were tripping over Big Bro as he was pretending to be a monster under the blanket. And the Twins kept trying to do puzzles but really they were just running around with puzzle pieces getting everyone else anxious.
    • Twins had fun brushing their teeth and reading books. They gave each other kisses and went to bed quickly, saying “Nite nite” over and over again. Too cute.
    • Bedtime routine was terribly long for Big Bro and Red. A lot of time was devoted to “homework” which we probably should move up earlier in the evening.

    It was a fine Monday; I’m feeling pretty relaxed and enjoying my iPad and iPhone. It makes blogging and adding pictures much more fun and efficient.

    Till tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    October ????? not sure what day. I’m on vacation.


    I’m not sure what day it is. I’m not sure what time it is. It doesn’t matter. I’m on vacation. It is night-time though. I’m in bed and the kids are lined up on the floor each one sound asleep with their busy lungs and busy brains, hopefully dreaming about fun things and their time with Pop Pop and Emmy, my step-mom.

    Today was a very normal day. A kind of stay at home while on vacation day. We did normal things. Nothing special. Went to a park. Fed the ducks and egrets. Searched for acorns. Had lunch. Napped. Played with my step-sister’s dog. Lounged by the pool although it was too cold to swim. Yes, I guess it does get cold in Florida. Had happy hour. Had BBQ. Big Bro went with Pop pop and Emmy to Walmart to get some things to entertain the kids on the plane. Twin Crazy took a bath. I did Red’s nails, in red. It was just a very normal day.

    But it was a special normal day since the day to day activities were at my dad’s place – and we are getting the chance to experience each other on an extended basis. Something special happens on these kinds of trips. Once you hit a certain point, there is no need to entertain. No need to force conversation. People just are people with each other. So I am thankful that I have had this chance with my dad and his family and my children.

    Tomorrow I will gather them up and take them to my dad’s office; where I’m sure we will cause quite a scene. They will draw pictures for him and he will put them up on his wall, until they are replaced by new pictures from their next visit…

    I’ve attached a video that was actually not taken today – but several days ago when we were at my dad’s beach condo. At the time I thought I was taking pictures but the iPad was in video-mode so it’s a bit all over the place. This is how I feel this vacation is going. Going with the flow, things not happening as expected, but everyone taking things in stride and still having fun despite the situation.

    I’ll be back at work on Monday and will plan to write something then. I want to enjoy my last day tomorrow and will likely be very busy when I get back home.

    Till next week –
    – Mama K

    October 18: Seashells


    20111018-103212.jpg

    We survived the wedding and the day after, we sat around by my dad’s pool while my aunt and uncle came to visit before they left for the airport. One funny thing to report: my aunt and my dad are twins. I should have known this could happen to us… but I digress….

    My father has a condo on a small island about 1 hour away from Tampa. It is a quiet, surrene setting along the gulf of mexico with a private beach of white, white sand and clear blue-green water. This is only my second time here. I wish I had the luxury of being closer to my family so I can soak in more of these moments that are so important to me. So this vacation is somewhat bitter-sweet. It took us so long to get here and the kids were such troopers, but honestly we cannot do too many of these kinds of trips. Plus there’s so many other places to see. I wish I could just accept the distance but I no longer can. I used to think before that I could. So my face smiles looking at my kids with their Pop-pop on the beach so busy digging sand and investigating how the water works with the sand – but my heart and soul are a bit battered down. I feel too tired to think too deeply about anything anymore. I just feel sad, so misunderstood, and not listened to. But again I digress.

    Today we took a long walk along the beach and all the kids were looking for shells. I love doing this and today was a treat with the four kids. We had two plastic bags and Twin Husky took to carrying one of them. Red also had a bag with her sandals and shells in it. We found so many. It was so wonderful to have the kids scattered and busy at work looking for shells, looking at the waves, talking about the birds – all on private beach so it was just us.

    When we got back to the condo we rinsed them off (just me and them) and put them in a towel to dry. We then noticed that the ground cover near the parking lot was also shells. I thought they would all be broken but there were some really beautiful ones in there – so we went hunting for more. Big Bro’s job was the colander, Twin Husky’s job was the hose, and Red and Twin Crazy were busy laying out the first round of shells.

    It is moments like these that I hope to never forget. How we all worked together. How everyone was busy and occupied. How everyone was grouped together yet each kind of doing their own thing. And how I just let them be kids. Jump in the hose water. Get wet. Search for treasure. And they let me be with them to experience it all.

    How can it be possible that I get so much pleasure out of this moment but yet I can’t help to see myself in these shells – none perfect, some scarred, but all empty. That is how I feel sometimes. Just very empty. And too tired to fight any longer to fill myself up with feelings I once had. I’m just too tired.

    I am typing this now as each is sleeping in the room on the floor. I hear their breathing, and imagine their tired bodies replenishing energy for another busy day tomorrow. And I bet anything that we will be searching to add to our existing bounty of seashells.

    September 23: The end of an era


    This will probably be the last day where I have to work from home, while caring for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.   It is a bittersweet moment.   We have all gotten used to each other, a new routine, and I’ve figured out how to manage work while having them around.  
     
    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:
    • I don’t remember much different happening this morning, with the exception of Hubby springing on me (at the last minute) that he had to drive to Sacramento for work.  That meant that I had to take all kids to all drop offs, which normally wouldn’t be a problem except that the Twins didn’t HAVE  a drop off.   So this meant that I had to gather all of the kids together and drop of Big Bro at Kindergarten with EVERYONE.    That also meant that I actually had to dress the Twins in clothes.   It would be a little to much to walk around with kids in PJs.   So, we were running late.   We miraculously made it to his line-up before the last bell, and I can’t even begin to tell you all of the looks that we were getting from people.  “Are they ALL siblings??!??!?!??!”  “Yes, they are….”.     Big Bro and Red were AMAZING big siblings.   They were so proud.  Big Bro was actually excited to have everyone in line with him — and he was the leader with our gaggle.   We were all following him.   He was so proud.
    Four kids
    Four kids
    • Then we dropped of Red.   Daycare was giving us alot of attention becuase the Twins were dressed in “real” clothes.   When I said it was time to go to the Twins, Twin Husky promptly left the room and wandered into the lobby of the daycare center.   They are well known there so folks knew where to bring him back.
    • We then headed back for my day at “work”

    Highlights of My Working Day:

    • In terms of work, I arranged and re-arranged several meetings, followed up to secure some presentations, and then was wounded when a Director said that several of our forums were “light” on speakers.   How do I secure speakers for a meeting that will happen in less than 2 weeks?    Ugggh!!!!    So we talked a bit and brainstormed some options.  I quickly had to jump on this to set ourselves up for Plan B, C, D to fill out our Agendas.
    • In terms of kids, we had fun.  We had snacks, played with cars, played with musical instruments, walked outside and talked about the flowers, the birds singing, and also picked some apples.   We had lots of apples for snacks, and bananas.  Kids took a long nap in the late morning which gave me time to work.   Lunch was cute.  Hot dogs, broccoli, and tortillas.  Then I took out some peaches and the kids went nuts.   I gave Twin Husky a haircut (he was so good…. he just sat there eating a graham cracker…. no problem at all).   They played with scooters, I read them books, we colored (finally I have some art to save for them).   Twin Crazy hurt her foot a couple of times and I kissed it to make it feel better.   I tried a pony-tail with her and it drove her mad.   Twin Husky climbed on top of the coffee table and stood up and laughed.   We sat on the rocking chair together and rested.   I loved this time with them.
    • Hubby arrived from Sacramento and he offered to pick up Big Bro and Red – and also pick up food.   🙂

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • Dinner was outrageously good — BBQ.  Everyone ate well.  Everyone wanted more mac-n-cheese but they needed to eat meat first.   All kids understood including the Twins.  Hubby and I drank wine.
    • Big Bro kept mentioning a puppet show.   He said it was happening tonight.  I called “after care” and they were closed.  I said I would check the website.  “Yeah mommy, check the website.” (weird how these kids know that kindof stuff).   Low and behold, there was a puppet show happening at the elementary school at 6:45.    But it was 7:00!!!!    QUICK GET YOUR SHOES AND SOCKS ON LET’S GO TO THE PUPPET SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    I ran with Big Bro and Red, while Hubby stayed back with the Twins.  We caught the last 10 minutes of the show but at least we got to see the puppeteer and her demonstration on how the puppets work.  That was an interesting and out-of-the-ordinary event for us.   Just to be cool, Big Bro said that the show was “boring”.   Does he have to become such a tough-guy so soon??!??!?!
    • All kids went to sleep easily.   Big Bro is so tired these days because of no nap.  Red gives me a HUGE hug and grabs my arms so tight.

    Today was a great day, and this week was a great week.   I do hope though that our daycare provider is OK and that her husband is doing OK.   I feel bad for feeling so happy for being with the kids because of the circumstances.  This was a great week for us.   And next week will be a BEAR of a week — the last week that things need to be pulled together since the following week will be a trip to the East Coast for two big meetings.   Ones that I will be responsible for and need to facilitate, present, and make sure that everyone is happy.    Oh, and also try to scout out consulting opportunities too.   The reason why I took on this role was that it seemed like less stress, but also provided me the opportunity to be client facing and sell work.   So I need to make that happen or else this will make me bored after awhile.

    Have a great weekend everyone; Till next week –

    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: Getting Away


    As some of you may know, I was away on vacation for most of last week – and just returned tonight.    What a way to recharge and feel fresh – pulling yourself out of your day-to-day routine. Different place, different bed, different food, different activities – unfamiliar language, customs, and completely different ways of living. Whether alone, with your partner, or with your kids, the experience can vary but is still refreshing nonetheless.

    The gems of my most recent trip included:

    • Swimming in the Caribbean and loving the feeling of warm smooth water while looking down and clearly seeing my feet
    • Many island rum drinks; even starting before lunch
    • Meeting new special people and welcoming them into my life
    • Hearing my kids laugh and seeing them play with a new friend – even though they didn’t speak the same language
    • Late afternoon thunderstorms
    • All you can eat and drink food buffets
    • Beautiful people and gracious hospitality particularly with children
    • My kids laughing and finding EVERYTHING enjoyable
    My beauty and the beach

    My beauty and the beach

    • Taking afternoon naps with my kid(s)
    • The crabs and turtle that my kids always tried to spot
    • Building sandcastles
    Sandcastles

    Sandcastles

    • Feeling the warm sand on my feet
    • Seeing my daughter jump into the pool and look of surprise and pride on her face
    • Hubby encouraging my kids to have dessert and ice cream EVERY night
    • Giving gifts for BIG milestones
    • Just hanging and laughing with my family – my mom, dad, step-mom and brother — and seeing how they play with my kids
    • Seeing Hubby enjoy himself with my family madness and always smiling
    • Seeing my dad wasted before lunch and forcing him to eat pasta and rice to soak it up
    • Chasing the kids along the beach
    • Holding Hubby’s hand and laughing at the silly things that the kids said or did
    • Listening to the kids laugh and giggle as the were going to sleep, sharing a bed for the first time
    • Not looking at the clock except to make sure we weren’t missing a meal
    • Holding the kids on both sides of me as they slept on the plane
    • Playing fooseball
    • Warm air – even at night
    • Walking along the beach with Big Bro at night
    • Big Bro falling out of the bed and him laughing about it – and then all of us laughing about it
    • The little gecko that would appear on our back porch each morning

    I’m finding that these vacations are lifesavers for me these days. And it helps to know when the next trip, the next adventure, will occur. Next month in Florida we will have a family wedding and then extra time on the beach. I can’t wait. That trip will be extra special since it will be our first big excursion with the Twins and as a family of six.

    So remove yourself from YOUR day-to-day reality. Whether a short weekend in Vegas or a trek in the Himalayas or a cruise to nowhere or long weekend in the snow – make it happen and revel in those moments.

    %d bloggers like this: