Staying Sane: Take it in and celebrate the Now


How many times have you heard, “Enjoy it, it goes by so fast.”.   And at the time, it is usually when one of the kids is acting up, or maybe if you’re lucky, the kids are acting like angels and you have a quick chance to catch your breath.    With four kids over 6+ years, I’ve heard this more than I would like to admit.   And yes, I get it.   Of course the years go by fast.   I can see it in my skin, my body, my hands.   The way I get tired so easily.    The way I’m starting to forget simple, insignificant things like the names of bands or actresses/actors.  Yes, the years are going by quickly.   We can see it in ourselves and the way we, ourselves, are changing as people.

And it is even more extreme with children.  Yes, we know time is going by fast.  These little people are pushing that fact in our faces every single day.

*****

How is this supposed to make you feel better you ask?  How is this supposed to make you feel more at ease?  Doesn’t this kind of create an anxiety?

Not if you choose to look at it from another angle.   Time does not have to go by so quickly.   Instead of grasping at the past and the now, you can choose to let it unfold and celebrate the people your children are becoming.   Time will come and go, but enjoying the Now and celebrating the Now with them, at least for me, has become an amazing way to feel connected to them and proud and excited for what may lie ahead.

*****

My little girl was born over four years ago and she was a bald baby but had enough hair for me to know that she would be a red-head.   She was my first girl.  Her squeaks as a baby were different than those of her older brother.  She was softer.  She smelled sweeter.  She would point to her crib when I would sing to her at night to let me know that she was ready to go to sleep.   She started laughing early… and most of the time it was while looking up at her big brother, who was trying desperately to interact and play with this little baby.

She grew into her red hair quickly.   ..scaling fire escapes before she could even walk…  throwing her body over the bathtub wall fully clothed so she could jump in with her brother.   Growing into her laugh.  Growing into her excitement and her personality and her body.   Feeling thrilled by standing by herself.    And taking those first steps.

And now my little girl is over four years old.   And she still looks up to her big brother.  He teaches her to push herself, and her red hair, feisty personality fuels this desire.   She is so fragile yet so strong, at the same time.  She is caring, intuitive, empathetic, silly, and so so energetic.   She is an artist.   She feels deeply.   And she laughs loudly.   And she takes risks.   And now she rides a bike by herself…. years before her brother did.  This does not surprise me.   The glow in her eyes and the smile across her face is too good to be true.   She is my Red.

*****

So yes, time does go by quickly.   We hear it from everyone and of course this is something we already know.   We do not need to be told this simple truth.  We see it daily through our children.

I choose to spend the Now with the kids and celebrate with them.  Laugh with them.   And of course cry with them.  With the new skills our children learn come the scraped knees, the fear of the dark, the frustration of learning something different.   But it is FEELING this with them that is so, so good.   Such passion.  And how they grow, and how they learn, and how wonderful it is to be a part of it and to see it unfolding right before your eyes.

I choose to not fear that time will go by fast.  I choose not to let the craziness of four kids and work get the best of me, and what I believe are the best years of my life.   I choose to stop and feel the Now with the kids and appreciate the time that I have with them and make as much time as I can with them.   Knowing that I’m doing this makes me happier and excited for what is left to come.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

 

 

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August 31: Waiting for Big Bro


Big Bro woke up EXTREMELY talkative… seems that the good sleep did him good.   He had a slight fever, not nearly as bad as yesterday…. so I decided it was time for him to go to school.   Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky were home with me all day.
Highlights of the Morning:

  • Big Bro’s hair was enormous this morning – possibly from all of the laying around the day before.  I had to completely spray his hair down and suggested that he use my robe so he doesn’t get too cold.  He thought this was completely hysterical.   It took a lot of sprays and also hair gel to get it back under control.  He was still concerned about some pieces that were still sticking up.   So cute.   The peer pressure is getting more intense.
  • Big Bro noticed that my alarm clock and my T.V. both say “SONY”.   I love how the kids pick up on things like that.  So new yet obvious to them… so overlooked by me.
  • Twin Crazy woke up cranky and a bit warm.  I gave both her and Big Bro some more medicine.
  • We were running late; I made Big Bro’s  lunch quickly and warmed up some tortillas.  I grabbed some string cheese and off we went.
  • The drive was not that bad; but we were running late and I got him to his class just in time!
  • The rest of us headed back home.   It was cold outside and I did not plan enough in advance for an activity, so I just decided to get back to my place – as soon as we got in, we put on the fireplace and (the kids) ate some oatmeal to get warm.
  • Afterwards, we relaxed a little bit on the couch and under some blankets.   I had quiet cuddle time with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky as Red colored and also played with Cocoa.
  • I did laundry; kids played.  I cleaned up kitchen; kids played.   Red took care of Cocoa.  Cocoa is now licking Red, the way she has been licking me too over the past several days.  Red is in love with that guinea pig.
  • Twin Husky went pee-pee in the potty.   That meant more chocolate chips for everyone.  Red and Twin Husky were both concerned about Big Bro since he was not there.   I saved his chocolate chips in a baggie for later.
  • Twins were getting tired/cranky… time for lunch!   After lunch the kids were getting crazy; I had to get them to sit and be still on the couch to settle down.   They all did.  This worked great as I organized bags of stuff for our afternoon outing.
  • We were off!!!   Kids were excited for the ZOO.

Highlights of the Rest of the Afternoon, with Big Bro:

  • We picked up Big Bro – no traffic at all.  I got there and was able to meet his teacher and sign up for weekly volunteering on Wednesdays, when I work a 1/2 day and also go to pick up the kids.  That will be a great day to do something in Big Bro’s classroom.
  • We headed to the ZOO.   So many highlights…. first hanging out in a playground just outside the zoo, running in the play area, climbing on spider nets, running around in the field, seeing insects/tarantulas/ants/cockroaches, crocodiles, frogs, lizards, turtles, pigs, rabbits, bats, brushing goats.   At one point the kids saw the bats and we really loved it…. 10 seconds later Big Bro and Red were both hanging like bats on the handrail and I was cracking up yet asking them to get down.  I’m so glad I took a picture before I reprimanded them.   It is hysterical.   Then another kid started doing it and his parents got pissed.  “But they’re doing it…” the other kid replied.   “You don’t do what other kids are doing… it’s not OK”.   Uggggh.   I turned into having “the other kids”.   I agree, but it was funny.   🙂     Why didn’t this same family see the kids just seconds prior, all of them clustering together and looking out for each other, and pointing to the animals when they spotted them and showing the other siblings, and being wonderful little people?   Oh well.   I’m still glad I got the picture with them as “bats”.
  • We were the last ones to leave the petting area with the goats.   We ran around the field and I chased the kids.  It was so much fun.    Suddenly we were the only ones there besides one other child, who was actually running around with us too.    It was 4:30 and the zoo closed at 4:00 PM.   OMG.   The personnel were letting us have fun but we really pressed the limit of closing time.   We got tons of exercise in.
  • The kids wanted to go back to the playground so we did.  I had 1 1/2 hours to spend before drop off time.
  • We headed back to co-parent’s but were still really early for drop off so we went to Big Bro’s school to check out the new play structure.  It was freezing.  I happened to have a blanket with me, thank goodness.  Twin Husky was busy watching boys practice soccer.   Big Bro was on the new structure.  The girls were with me, cuddled in the blanket.   I loved it.
  • Drop off went fine.  I will see them again tomorrow afternoon.

After drop off I did some shopping for myself at Kohl’s, and got a landslide deal on end of summer shorts, shirts, and dresses for me.   I bought gas at Safeway and saved $0.80 per gallon from the food shopping I do there.   I then returned a huge ladder that I still never opened from Home Depot – and got a big credit to my account.   This will help with the balance I owe.  I am watching money so carefully these days.

I got home and went nuts attacking my room and the placement of furniture… it feels better now; a better flow.  I need to go through my closet, get rid of stuff I don’t use.  So I can get the new stuff there.   I’ve neglected my room during the move and I need to catch up on myself.   This will be my sanctuary and it is coming together much better now.   I’m tired though and will call it a night.

Have a great long weekend everyone!

Til next week –

– Mama K

August 3: My summer day as a SAHM


Amazing day.   Amazing.  Filled with kids’ laughter, my chores, kid interaction, and yes some fighting and challenges along the way.

I actually had an outing in mind, but decided not to do that since I still did not get a proper answer from Big Bro about the haircut.   [Note:  I found hair pieces under his desk in his makeshift “trashcan” so it really is incredible.  Either he DID cut Red’s hair, or someone else did and he just threw the pieces away.   I don’t know what really happened.  Still.]

So I didn’t want to treat them to a “trip” that I had planned.  We stayed at home.   So what happened during the day?

  • Woke up to Red, Twin Crazy, Twin Husky in my room.   Twin Husky now visually can recognize the numbers and he said that it was time for me to get up since there was an “8”.  He was correct.  8:03.  Time for me to get up.
  • I made them a pancake breakfast
  • Afterwards kids had pillow play in the living room.   Kids covering bodies with pillows.  Hide and seek.  Playfulness.
  • We got dressed; I did manicures and cut nails on the front porch
  • I did TONS of laundry.   With sheets and blankets and such I think about 6 loads in total.  The kids, in turns, helped to either change loads or help sort.
  • Girls played Legos together
  • We all had office time together.  I did a bit of work, rearranging meetings and setting meetings up for next week.   Kids were drawing.  Red was practicing her letters.   I played “African Playground” kids music and started dancing.  Twin Crazy danced with me and cackled she was having so much fun.
  • Snacktime:  Yogurt bar.   I had 3 different kinds of yogurts for the kids to pick from.  I had 6 bananas at the beginning of the event and zero bananas at the end.  I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH THESE KIDS EAT
  • We did some gardening; Twin Husky helped me to water our fruit trees and plants
  • We spent time outside but I’m not sure doing what.  I think we picked weeds and fed the chickens several times
  • Lunch:  build-your-own burrito bar.   The kids ate well.  Twin Crazy ate I think an entire can of black beans by herself.   My stomach hurt just watching her go.
  • Twin naptime.  They actually had a great nap today.   A proper nap.  During their nap Red and Big Bro did an outdoor finger painting project.
  • I vacuumed the entire house, and the couch.  My days with this vacuum may be limited so I wanted to make good use of it.   All cobwebs are now gone.  The house just breathes better.  Or maybe its my imagination.
  • During the couch vacuum kids of course had more cushion/pillow play.
  • Snacktime:  smoothies.  We had frozen bananas, fresh strawberries, left over peach slices from yesterday, and a handful of leftover carrots from lunch.   They loved it.
  • Kids had outside playtime – sidewalk chalk and bubbles; while I did some weeding and also cleaning up twig and branch debris from the yard.    I filled up a garbage bin.  I then also started to dis-assemble the long box of blinds that has been blocking the kitchen floor for weeks.  I guess putting up the blinds is my next project for the weekend.   During outside play time Big Bro had some issues with siblings so he was banished to his room for quiet time.  I brought him his Star Wars book that he loves and also suggested that he play with Legos.  That’s when he dumped them on the floor.  I demanded that he pick them up before coming outside to join us.  He stayed back there for quite awhile but then finally cleaned up, I think when he heard the commotion going on in the living room that he wanted to take part of….
  • Kids jumped on bubble wrap from said packaging of blinds.
  • Then it was time to go.   I packed them up and all seemed quite happy.  There was no whining about the drive and I told everyone that I had such a good time with them today.
  • After I dropped them off I headed over to a neighbor’s house and picked up some things she left for me
  • Once at home, I sat on the couch with the directions for the blinds and totally fell asleep.
  • Now I’m here, wrapping up the day and getting ready for bed.

I loved today.  For so many reasons.   It was a carefree day with just me and the kids.  We sortof just carried the day away.  No real plans except for feedings and nap time.  But everything in-between was just unplanned.  And the kids were kind of doing their own thing while I was also doing my own thing but then our worlds would intertwine throughout the day.   It was a day where I heard a lot of laughter.  And at times I just stood there, listening, and laughing to myself.  The kids really enjoyed this time today with each other.  They were all playing with each other, and even Twin Husky was largely accepted in the day’s play.

I feel like I had really good one-on-one time with each child at some point during the day.   I was able to connect with each one separately – either dancing, or talking about my owie (I got a bad finger cut today), or talking about the mysterious haircut…. I gave lots of hugs and kisses and look in your eyes smiles today.

I didn’t have a care in the world.   I was feeling like a mom with my kids and we were enjoying a summer day without interruption.   The only thing missing I suppose was a home cooked dinner.   But I can’t complain about that.

I feel fortunate for having this day with them.   And feel really full inside.

Have a great weekend everybody!

– Mama K

August 1: Getting a boost from the kids


Let me tell you I woke up with a terrible hangover this morning.   I did not have the kids last night and met up with a long-time friend and laughed and cried the night away.   Anyway, I was not in good shape this morning but thankfully became energized in the afternoon as I picked up the kids.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Woke up late to the sound of a garbage truck.  Shit!   I did’t have the cans out.  I ran outside and down the driveway in my pajamas lugging garbage bins.
  • Took Advil.  Drank lots of water.  Went back to bed.
  • Woke up again 15 minutes before a conference call.   I had several calls this morning with potential speakers for the meeting I am planning in September.  All three calls went well.  The agenda is almost completely set.
  • I set up some meetings for next week.
  • I took a break between calls to go outside in the sun and water my garden.   And drink water myself.   I forced myself to eat something and felt a bit better.
  • I took a short nap.

The Rest of the Day:

  • I jumped out of bed at 2 PM and felt invigorated.   I did the dishes.  I did some laundry.  I packed up some snacks.  I went to pick up the kids!
  • I picked up Big Bro and Red at daycare and it felt so good to talk to them and also look into their eyes and talk to them.
  • We picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky and the daycare provider handed out balloons to them.  I started to blow them up and as I blew them up I bonked each kid in the nose with the balloon.  They were cracking up and totally anticipating the next balloon, the next bonk in the nose.  This took awhile with four balloons.
  • We then looked at the workers outside with the blue wheel barrel.  Twin Husky said we have one at my house that is red and I agreed.   He is so talkative now.  I love it.
  • Twin Crazy apparently bit Twin Husky on the face today.  I’m not sure exactly what happened.   They are totally bored there and they fight like a married couple.  I can’t wait to see them in Red’s daycare program.
  • On the ride home I told everyone that I missed them.  Twin Husky replies “I miss du too Mommy.”  My heart melts and I reached back to grab his foot.  He smiles at me.
  • At home the neighbors came over – really nice kids.  We all went over to their house since they have two new kittens.  So the kids were having a great time watching the kittens pounce and were very gentle with them.
  • I cooked some dinner and Big Bro immediately asked what kind of vegetable were we having.  The new regimen of “lots of fruits and vegetables” is going over very well with these kids.   We ate our entire dinner and then had papaya for dessert.
  • We went outside to play.  I started to plant some remaining plants outside.  Twin Husky was helping me with the mulch.  The kids were playing with balls.  And scissors.   I went to water a new plant that I planted several nights ago and found that it was given a good “cut” by Twin Crazy.   I was not that happy about that.  So the kids know now NOT to cut the plants, only the grass or the weeds.
  • Big Bro asked me to chase them and tickle them.  So I did.  Big Bro asked me not to tickle him so hard that he farts.  I agreed.  Red was laughing so hard during a tickle that she almost threw up.  That got her smiling and running for me – glad she can bounce back so quickly.
  • The boys were playing with drip hoses gone awry.  I need to figure out how to get the spouts on the end to stay on.  Maybe some special tape.
  • I picked weeds and then we fed the chickens.
  • Twin Husky helped me gather the balls when it was time to go in, and also helped me bring up the garbage cans from the street.  I thanked him and told him he had strong muscles.  He commented that the garbage bins were very heavy.  I agreed.
  • We quickly got ready for bed.  I read 3 books I think.   They took awhile to go to sleep and were wired up and playing with each other.

 

 

I’m happy that they are here with me.  I feel so tired now and looking back am actually surprised at how much we did after dinner.   I feel reasonably good with what I did for work today.  We are way ahead of the game in terms of scheduling and setting up speakers.   I may actually need to slow down a bit at work or else I will run out of things to do.   🙂

Feeling good, feeling much better than this morning, and ready to go to bed.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

March 26: Stealing time


Back to work after a rainy/overcast weekend. I had a great time with the kids. We spent the time together at the house and didn’t really do any destination excursions. Us playing play-dough, playing kickball in the neighborhood, watching the Discovery channel, potty-training Twin Crazy. Now headed into work and I feel good about the time I spent with each child. I really feel like I connected strongly with each, giving them undivided time and attention.

I’m on the ferry now, feeling pretty good.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up to Red in my room at 6:40 AM. I was snoozing and found it hard to get up. It was easier for me seeing her smiling face and telling me “time to get up!!!”.
  • I ask the kids now if it is OK for me to kiss them good-morning – mostly for Twin Husky’s sake. He is cuddly but not kissey. I love how he picks a specific spot on the side of his head above his ear for me to kiss him. “Here”. “Here?” I ask. “No. Here.” as he moves his finger a little bit over his head. I kiss him. And he smiles.
  • Twin Crazy went to the potty, I changed her in underwear and packed underwear (and lots of extra pants) for her at daycare today. I’m hoping the daycare provider keeps up the routine with her. She was doing great this weekend. She looks up at me with those huge eyes looking for expressions of approval and I tell her how happy I am and how proud I am of her. How well she is doing (there were of course some accidents but nothing monstumental).
  • I packed up the other bags of clothes and needed items. Red was excited about packing up her backpack for school. She says that there are other kids that are bringing in backpacks to school so she wanted to do that too. So she spent the night before getting everything ready (her baby doll, her Jessie doll, her blanket, her jacket, her raincoat) and setting it out by the back door with all of our other things.
  • Big Bro was excited about wearing sweatpants to school. We tried them out over the weekend and he loves them. I love them because they don’t have any holes in the knees. He wanted to wear the matching soccer ball sweatshirt top that goes with the pants so I made sure it would be cleaned by this AM so that he would be ready to go. He woke up later than normal (did not nap at all over the weekend) but got ready by himself and was so excited when he came downstairs wearing his outfit. Today is Monday and his day to be “leader”, the first in line with the Motley Crew in bikes. It makes Mondays easier for us.
  • Big Bro headed out on his bike, Twins went with co-parent, and I took Red in upon her request. She was very excited with her backpack. I could tell she wanted the attention of her classmates and teacher.
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    Now I’m on the ferry and will be very busy at work today. I have back to back meetings for much of the day, I remember. I don’t remember what they are though. I need to get back on track with where I am with work today. After looking at my calendar, I have 7 meetings scheduled, 2 are in conflict with one another. THere are meetings related to the client project, recruiting feedback, and planning for the forums in one months time. PLUS I have work to do. How is it possible? Every 15 minutes of uninterrupted time makes a difference. I’ve learned to use that time to my advantage. Attacking the time and the task and getting it OFF of my plate as soon as I can so I can move on to the next thing. I checked my emails this morning and there is nothing urgent that will distract me (yet).

    I have my meeting with my therapist tonight so will miss the kids this evening. Hopefully Big Bro and Red will still be awake (likely) so I can catch up with them and their days.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    Busy busy busy….

  • I walked from the ferry, grabbed a coffee and a chocolate croissant.
  • Made it to the office and went directly into a conference room to catch up with the project team for a meeting that I knew I would be late to (the ferry gets in just before 9 AM and it takes me 15 min to walk to the office). We talked about the analysis and refined our thinking – I think the work is in a better place.
  • Immediately after this meeting we had a conference call to debrief on the interview candidates from last week. I suggested we bring one back for one of the Directors to interview, versus tossing him out of the picture completely. There was something about him that folks liked.
  • We had a primary interview/conference call with a market player related to our one project. We learned some new perspectives we have not heard of before which is the beauty and value of having these kinds of discussions.
  • We had our Monday office lunch and I had to leave a bit early to prepare for another conference call.
  • I was surprised by a call from my dad in India through Ooovooo. It was 1 AM his time. I spent 1 month in India over 10 years ago and loved the experience although the first week was very difficult because there’s no way to prepare yourself for the poverty, how children are used, and how loud/dirty/smelly everything is. He is loving his time there so far (thank goodness). It was fun to talk to him and see him through my PC.
  • I had a planning conference call related to one of the forums I am leading.
  • I reached out to several CEOs for guest speakers and potential members.
  • We had a separate meeting relating to the Agenda and guests for a separate forum; also sat in on a call with a potential participant/speaker.
  • I followed up with some emails and outreach; addressed some random items in my Inbox.
  • It was a mind-blowing busy day with meetings – but I feel like I did not get much work done! There is still client work to prepare for tomorrow, and a whole binder of client-related materials for me to plow through. Plus finalizing speakers and Agenda and details details details.

    I’m glad work is busy. It is a diversion for me.

    I am on the ferry home now, and I am hoping that I get home in time to see the little ones. I have a feeling at least some will be up since it is only Co-parent at home with them, alone. So I’m fairly certain that the older ones will be up, and hopefully the littler ones too. I hope Twin Crazy was still encouraged to use the potty today. I worked really hard with her over the weekend and want for it to continue. I hope Big Bro had a good time on his bike – it will likely rain the rest of the week. I hope Red is happy. I hope Twin Husky has both of his Tigers with him.

    I’m hoping my children are going through this the best they can, and that I am doing all that I should be doing to protect them and get them through this. My focus is on them and being there for them and being happy for them.

    *****
    [8:30 PM]
    OMG I had a great time with the kids just now. Twin Crazy was finishing going to the potty (she only had ONE accident today!) and I told her how proud of her I was. Twin Crazy was running around laughing and then jumping on Big Bro’s bed. Red was excited to see me and clung to my leg like a monkey. Big Bro was busy with Legos.

    Then all kids were going nuts and running around and I was trying to separate the Twins for their bedtime routine but the big kids kept wanting the little kids in their room and then the big kids would come into the little kids room and they were all hugging and hiding in the closet and being kids. Being siblings. Laughing and hugging. And I was there to see it!

    The twins and I whispered “I…… love…. you” and also blew kisses. Red came downstairs to me to talk about a milkshake recipe ingredients. I wrote them down as a shopping list. Big Bro came down to talk about his sweatpants. How kids thought they were pajamas but his response was that “pajamas don’t have pockets”. He wants to wear them again tomorrow, but he also wants to wear them to sleep. He’s addicted. OK, I have to go deal with this now…

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    [9 PM]
    OMG now they are both down here, Red with her head burried in my blanket like an ostrich.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: LAUGH


    My “Staying Sane” series of posts have changed somewhat over time. At first I was trying to write about things or information that I thought would help the working mother in her very hectic life. Now, I find that I am writing about things that I am doing in my own personal life to help me get through the day – in in particular, the weekends. So yes, this is selfish of me. Yes, I know. But please bear with me. This is one of the only channels I have to express what I am feeling and going through right now. This weekend was divided, as it needs to be, but I felt like a child and crammed in some belly laughs along the way.

    This weekend was filled with laughter – I had Twin Crazy and Twin Husky on Saturday morning, Big Bro in the afternoon, Big Bro and Red on Saturday evening, and most of the day with Big Bro and Red on Sunday.

    Saturday:

    • Took Twin Crazy and Twin Husky on a “steam train” ride; they wanted to wear some goofy hats and had a good time; Twin Crazy was a bit scared but I had them with me and they clinged to me so I knew they were safe. They were busy looking around and I was busy hooting it up to get some excitement going.
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    • Big Bro came with me to get some eyeglasses and he told me that I look strange in them.
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    • He also came with me to go food shopping and he had fun picking out the fruits all by himself.
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    • Big Bro, Red and I had movie night and Red was hysterical when sharing her popcorn with me. She would ask me how many I wanted, I would say three, she would give me two, and then both of us would CRACK UP. I guess you had to be there. During the movie I was busy folding laundry with the kids in the same room but Big Bro wanted me to sit in between them and watch the movie with him. He needs to be doing something with me — I am the same way (refer to Languages of Love post)
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    Sunday:

    • After feeding the kids and getting them dressed I headed off with Big Bro and Red – we went to the zoo. But, we never went INTO the zoo. Instead, we rode on the little amusement park rides just outside of the zoo. I rode on a “roller coaster”. Twice. I screamed and laughed. It was the fastest ride I’ve been on in 10+ years, I think. It was a baby roller-coaster. But I had fun. AND NO ONE CRIED!!!
    • We took a train ride and actually saw some animals.
    • I watched the kids on a spin-around ride and had to laugh just looking at their faces.
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    • Afterwards we went to a birthday party at a gymnastics studio and I was one of the only parents jumping on the trampolines, jumping into the foam pit, etc. I LOVED IT.
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    So it was a weekend of laughter. My throat actually hurts (yes I have a cold, but I’d like to think the laughter had something to do with it).

    I feel like this is a calm before the storm. The children, particularly the older ones, are more clingy than I would like to see. I know they can pick up on the tension. There were several times this weekend that Red just needed to be held, and rocked. She woke up sooooooo early this morning crying for me. I sat with her in my room on the floor, on the big fuzzy rug, and rocked with her. She wrapped her arms around me and played with my hair along my back. We sat in silence. And then we rested on the rug and waited for the others to wake up.

    It kills me that the joy they have in their eyes will be tarnished somewhat in the near future. I want them to laugh uncontrollably and lose themselves in their laughter. To be kids. Not to suffer the feeling of loss or worse, think that they had ANYTHING to do with it. It kills me that these days of free laughter may be limited…. that somehow, they will forever be changed – being touched by loss and grief and that parts of their joy, innocence, and security will be damaged.

    I will try my hardest to shield them from what I can; and prove to them that I am a mother they can all count on.

    Til tomorrow,

    – Mama K

    January 9: Busy and Broken


    I had a bit of a stressful morning, coupled with lack of sleep. Big Bro woke up in the middle of the night with a horrendous cough and was crying. I stayed up with him a bit, got him to take some medicine, and got him back to bed. There’s been a lot on my mind lately so it was hard for me to go back to sleep.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up and got ready quickly. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were eating cereal. I started helping with lunches and also started an instant coffee for myself.
  • I set out all the piles of clothes with the kids last night, and also packed the daycare bag for the twins the night before, so that was already taken care of.
  • I cared for Big Bro, getting him medicine and trying to get him in a better mood. I need to get to work today and cannot stay home with him.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were both chanting for “Bagel, I want Bagel”. It took us awhile to figure out what they were saying but once we did they were smiling ear(s) to ear(s)
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  • Big Bro got dressed without a problem. Red, as usual, was tough despite picking out her own clothes the night before. She rejected four shirts, one pair of pants, and one set of socks before she settled on her outfit.
  • Red and Big Bro were singing and chanting “Kick the morning” for some reason. I have no idea what they were singing about. But they were hysterical laughing. And then Twin Husky started chanting it too. All three of them chanting “kick the morning” and laughing….. I love it. But where was Twin Crazy???!!??!……..
  • Twin Crazy disappeared and it was quiet. That’s when I know she’s up to no good. I found her playing with Big Bro and Red’s LeapPads in the other room – SNAGGED!!!
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  • Hubby and I split the drop offs. He was taking Red. She broke down. She was grabbing hold of my leg the whole time I was running around. Hubby left with her crying, and also forgot her lunch that I packed this morning, which I had sitting by the front door for him.
  • My drop off with the twins was fast, my drop off with Big Bro was rushed – but he looked happy and ready for school (whew). He will most likely be tough tonight and not feeling well.
  • Now I’m on the ferry headed to work. I already checked work email and it will be a busy day. We have some more work to do with a proposal that is due tomorrow. I think some of the changes will be significant. I also have been dragging on getting those damn meeting minutes done – that’s been hanging over my head for awhile. I also have some personal things to attend to so hopefully that will not take too much time or drain my energy – I need it today!

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I spent the majority of the day working on the proposal that is due to our potential client tomorrow. There is still more that needs to be done. It’s off at a Director now for review, and I’ve lined up our Assistant to do cosmetic “clean up” of the document first thing tomorrow. That way I can look and work off of a client-ready document tomorrow when I get in.
  • I followed up with our client on a project we are wrapping up – there is a second Phase which requires work on their end to be completed first – so I just did a quick check-in to see how they are doing.
  • I followed up with a potential client related to a proposal we provided to them several weeks ago. He was waiting to discuss with his boss (Head of Corporate Strategy, and this is a MAJOR company with a very well known brand – I would love to win this work) and we were going to connect this month. Again, this was just a check-in to see if he had a better idea of when to schedule a conversation based upon his boss’ feedback.
  • I spent more time that I would like to admit on personal matters. This will be a busy week for me.
  • So now I’m on the train, headed to an appointment. I will miss the kids tonight and I feel bad about that. Especially since Red was hanging on to me for dear life this morning, and since Big Bro came down with a fierce illness (bad, bad cough – poor guy). I also feel bad about it for selfish reasons. I want to hold them. I want to hug them. When I am with them I feel strong. When I am with them it feels right. I feel like I need one of their hugs, smiles, squeals, or songs to make me better. I feel broken inside – I know I will heal and I’ll be stronger on the other end, but it is tough right now – and its just the beginning.

    Here’s to 2012!
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    November 21: A day of pure silliness


    I’m feeling very relaxed from the four days with the kids. We had an active and lazy weekend which was nice balance. This will be an out-of-the-ordinary week for work because of Thanksgiving – one where I feel a bit under-the-gun to complete certain things at work.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • We all woke up very early this morning. Big Bro and Red set up their clothes the night before – many of which were “new”. We get a lot of hand-me-downs from other families and I took the time to bring out some of the bigger stuff for both Big Bro and Red. I made a big deal out of their “new clothes” and we looked at everything together as it all came out of the wash. Both kids were pumped. Both kids put piles together of things that they liked and didn’t like (the didn’t likes went back into the bin for the next generation of kids, Twin Crazy and Twin Husky). So, they were completely excited about picking out their outfits for today, laying them out on the floor, and getting dressed by themselves before we even went downstairs. It was great. I made a REALLY big deal out of it.
  • While I was getting ready I heard Twin Husky calling for “Mommy. Mommy.” All of the sudden he was upstairs and said “Hiya” and then there was Twin Crazy right behind him. Then I think Red came in. It is too funny. I love how they seek me out – even though sometimes it is nice for the quiet and my time alone. But then there is always a child, a set of hands reaching out to me, a conversation that must be started, or some tears that need to be attended to. I really can’t complain.
  • The rest of the morning was pretty standard – Twins climbing up on chairs to reach the counter, all kids eating, some fighting over toys, some tears. The only thing that was reasonably funny was when I gagged on my coffee (full mouthful) and tried to keep it in, but found it impossible and wound up spitting all of it all over Big Bro’s drawing. I laughed, told the kids about it, apologized to Big Bro, and they laughed about it. Thank goodness.
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  • We had only TWO drop offs today. We dropped the Twins off without a problem. They had fun looking at a garbage truck and saying goodbye to the garbage truck.
  • Our only other drop off was for Big Bro and Red, together. This is because Big Bro’s public school is CLOSED all week. We had to sign him up for “camp” for two days at Red’s school, Big Bro’s old school. I think he was nervous about a different routine / day, but excited at the same time. THey did great at drop off. I could tell that Big Bro was a bit anxious because of the different teacher and he didn’t know the only other kid there, but he quickly sat down and started playing dominos with them. No tears, no apprehension, no prolonged hugs or grasps at the hands. He’s really doing better at new experiences such as this.
  • I’m on the ferry now into the city, wearing some new courdoroy pants that are too long at the leg. They were on the pile at my new sewing machine [link] but I have not gotten to them yet. It is a short week and it is cold outside and I felt like wearing cords. So I just cuffed them and they look ridiculous. I will try to work on that over the upcoming break. So besides me feeling a bit self consious about the look of my pants, I am thinking about what I have to do today. I have too many meetings scheduled for me to feel like I’m going to get much done for the client deliverable I need to get done this week. I am over-booked for one hour with two different meetings so I need to get that fixed. I’m a bit nervous about getting this first draft of the client deliverable done. I find though that when I feel like this I focus beyond belief and I somehow plow through it. I’m hoping that kicks in for me today that way tomorrow and Wednesday I can scale back a bit.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

  • I started the day with my Admin to help me work through two conference calls that were booked at the same time. She handled it well, thank goodness.
  • I had a conference call for my client project where we interviewed a key market player. The call was EXTREMELY short, but extremely informative. They also pointed us to other sources of information which was helpful.
  • I had a follow up one-on-one phone call with a participant from one of our forums from our last meeting; we received good feedback and ideas for our next meeting.
  • I lead another staff meeting where we talked about what we are working on, the proposals we are working, and if there were any issues we needed to discuss as a team. I think these meetings are going really well and bringing our people together more.
  • Immediately afterward, we had a client conference call and organized a face to face meeting for early December. I think I’ll have my shit together before then — HOPEFULLY.
  • The rest of the day was devoted to my deliverable but somehow I didn’t make any progress on anything. I organized myself for meetings for the next day and did some admin items. It would have been great to get some of the client deliveralbe finished, but again I’m procrastinating for some reason……
  • Now I’m on the ferry home – the sun is still out and I’m looking forward to only two pickups for the kids. I miss them on Mondays. I wonder about their days. I always ask them if 1) they learned anything new today; 2) how did they excercise their bodies today; and 3) what they laughed about during the day…. laughing so hard where their bellies hurt. I mostly just like to catch up with them on Monday nights after being away from them during the day.

    Dinner and Bedtime:
    The kids were acting EXTREMELY silly tonight. There were lots of laughs and interactions between all of them. It was an unusual Monday since Monday’s they are usually cranky. That was not the case tonight. They were lively, adventurous, playful, interactive, and full of giggles… completely egging the others on…

  • While I was cooking our “real” dinner, I quickly warmed up some leftovers from the weekend to get them started on something. I’m not sure exactly what they were doing in there, but there was lots of laughter, and at one point Twin Husky was on top of the table and all of the plates were all over the place. I think there was some food consumed, but it was minimal.
  • At the “real” dinner, all kids ate really well. Carrots are a big hit in our house lately. And everyone for some reason wanted to drink from MY waterglass instead of getting their own water.
  • After dinner Hubby gave the kids cookies and ice-cream; that may explain some of the silliness from tonight.
  • There was puzzle time with Red, tickles with the Twins and Big Bro. Big Bro knows that the secret to get me to STOP tickling him is to say “You’re GREAT mommy!!!. So I started to teach the Twins that to get me to stop tickling them they have to say “I love you Mommy”. They caught on really quickly but after I was winded with tickling laughter.
  • Red I and bumped heads while doing puzzles. We also bumped heads when I got her in her car seat earlier in the evening, and later at night when I was reading her a book. My head hurts now.
  • I repremanded Twin Husky for hitting Red and he did the silliest, cutest thing. He stood there, then blew air through his pursed lips real fast, clapped his hands real wide once or twice, and then threw himself on the floor and started to roll around. This got everyone in hysterics. I started to mimic him and he was cracking up.
  • For bedtime, Big Bro and Red wanted to read to the Twins. “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” is a favorite of theirs. Big Bro read the whole book through, but when it came for Red’s turn, the Twins were already bored so it was hard to keep them in the same spot. This again got everyone in hysterics and the kids were basically running all over the place and poor Red was trying real hard to get the kids back to her. The look on her face when the Twins were running away was too cute. It was kindof like, “What are they doing? I’m ready to give up here” kind of look. She is so sweet and she just started giggling with everyone too.
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  • Bedtime for Red and Big Bro was fine. Big Bro started talking about the words he knows how to spell — and then he started to string them into sentences. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted him to show me. The below is his attempt to write “I like my school.”. I am really looking forward to this next stage of his development. You can tell that he’s thinking and trying with his words and really gets into putting the words to paper. I love that about him. His energy at figuring it out.
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  • Another thing that impressed me tonight was when we were reading “No David.” There is a part of the story where David is in a time out and the kid does look sad with a tear going down his face. Big Bro went back to that page and said he gets sad too. I probed and wanted to know if he gets sad when he gets in a time out, or if he meant that he feels sad for David. He said the latter. I breathed a sigh of relief. He explained that looking at the picture, and looking at his face, and the tear on his face, makes David sad and Big Bro gets sad for David when he sees it. Big Bro is VERY tall for his age but he is very gentle. And I am soooooooo thankful and happy that I see so much empathy in him – how he looks out for his siblings and how he also expresses his feelings to books that are meaningful to him. It was a great way for me to end the day with the kids.
  • So, I’m a bit tired today, feeling a bit behind at work, but feeling very satisfied with the kids, their happiness, and personalities. And I truly believe its going to get better from here.

    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

    October 24: Giggles at 5:30 AM


    Today is the first day back from a 10 day vacation and a day at home yesterday with my kids, solo. We decided to go shopping for Halloween crafts and spent the day building haunted houses and decorating plastic pumpkins with stickers. So cute. They generally worked together, except for Twin Husky who was just wanting to get into things and throw things around. Big Bro was so excited about his costume (Batman) that he wore it all day yesterday and slept in it last night. Last year, he did this for the entire month of October in his Spiderman costume.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • We are still on East Coast time. Twin Husky was the first to get up at 5:30. Then Red came into our room at 6:15. They were quiet at first, but then they started interacting with each other and playing that I could hardly contain my laughter. Red was trying to get Twin Husky to say different words…. and he would try to repeat everything that she said. And she used inflection in her voice like a little teacher. After that, she began singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” while he held on to her feet — “Hold on to my feets, my two feets”…. and then she was singing Ring around the Rosie”. Twin Husky knew the tunes and I think some of the words and he tried to sing along too. They were both cracking up within minutes. I was smiling in the dark and trying my best not to giggle, or even chime in with their tunes. This was a great way to start my morning.
    • Our routine was standard; dressed for work while on the floor changing poopy diapers, negotiating with kids to get their clothes on, packing clothes bags for the week for the Twins, etc. etc. etc. Big Bro was excited about bringing in his haunted house to school so he was the first one dressed, fed, and ready to go. Then Red wanted to bring something to school too. So we packaged up a ziplock bag of pumpkin stickers. She was now excited too and ready to head to the van.
    • We had our normal 3 different drop offs for the kids; I feel like a shuttle bus. I also dropped Hubby off at the ferry. I am working from home now since I’m waiting for an important package to arrive; but I will later drive to the office and hopefully get there by 11 AM.
    Highlights of my Working Day:
    • At home, a start a pot of coffee, dry my hair, and pop in a Trader Joe’s egg quiche (these things are awesome, in moderation. I like to have several of these in the freezer on days when I work from home. They cook in 2.5 minutes and then you are full and ready to get things done. Much better than having to cook for yourself in the morning.
    • I then go to Safeway.com and order food for the house. We literally have no food in here. I think we have two lemons, some jelly, and canned goods. I have no idea what Hubby was able to manage for their packed lunches today.
    • I check work email and start to respond to what I can, easily. I get rid of all the junk and flag the mails for follow up. This took some time since I was away for 10 days (I go OFF THE GRID when I am on vacation and on weekends…. folks at work know this about me).
    • Then the moment arrives. Just as expected, and right on time. THE UPS MAN ARRIVED WITH MY NEW IPHONE!!!!!! I was literally jumping up and down and up and down saying “it’s here! It’s here! Yeah!!! I stayed at home for this! It’s here!”. Think back to the movie “The Jerk” with Steve Martin when he got all crazy about the new phone book. Well, that was me when I signed for the iPhone from UPS.
    • After setting up the iPhone, I drove in to work. This is unusual for me but the iPhone kindof put a wrinkle in my normal routine. I LOVED blasting my music on the way in and probably driving a little too fast.
    • I spent the rest of the afternoon reaching out to conference participants, sending out materials and presentations, and getting ready for the next meeting to be held next week. I also followed up with 4 different business development opportunities, one of which was a potential client from one of the last big meetings — instead of joining the membership of the forum, he specifically reached out to me for consulting work related to our area of expertise. This was a goal of mine…. sign new members to the forums AS WELL AS generate proposals from the meetings. I AM PSYCHED. I need to schedule a call with him and after I post this I’ll need to get on to work email to get that set up.
    • I ran out of work at 4:15 to drive back and pick up Big Bro; I essentially worked a 1/2 day today. I need to figure out my reduced workweek schedule and get that put in place. I’m excited about the prospect of doing so – I’ve been at the company for over 8 years and they are willing to work with me to arrange something more manageable for a burnt-out consultant with four small kids.
    • I take the opportunity to go shopping for halloween shirts for the kids. This is something I completely forgot about this year. Last year I was so on top of things… shirts were ordered for all kids and they were excited about them. This year everything is just springing up by surprise. Old Navy did the trick. I stopped in “The Spirit Halloween” store and THANK GOODNESS I did not take the kids there over the weekend like I intended. The place was so spooky it even scared the crap out of me with the “Friday the 13th” music and all of the moving dead people. Creepy. I love it.
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    • I picked up Big Bro and grabbed the van. He made a quick change into his Batman costume and then we picked up Hubby at Ferry Station, then Red, then Twins. I guess we’ll be seeing Batman all this week and possibly even after Halloween.
    Dinner and Bedtime:
    • We had NOTHING in our refrigerator to eat. Safeway food was not arriving until tomorrow. I broke out frozen bagels and leftover chicken and that’s what we had. The kids enjoyed themselves. Now we just have to get through breakfast (cereal, all OK) and lunch….
    • Our mother’s helper arrived and she almost fainted at the amount of clothes that needed to be folded and organized from our trip.
    • The rest of the night just disappeared. Twin Husky was doing alot of climbing. Climbing on the toy refrigerator set, climbing on the kiddie table, coffee table, etc. The kid is getting very squirmy and wirey and moves around non-stop.
    • Bedtime was uneventful, thank goodness. All kids are now enjoying brushing their teeth, now even the Twins. They both showed me how they brush their teeth and then let me help them finish up their work. I had them both giggling with pride.

    So now I’m exhausted in bed, still on East Coast time myself, thinking about the day. It was 1/2 work 1/2 my time, but I am still very tired. But I’m not feeling stressed or tense. I’m thinking it still has to do with the time change adjustment. I do have to check on some work, but it won’t be much. And then I can have the rest of the evening to play with my new toy iPhone and figure out how to Tweet….

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K