January 10: A new day.


I was REALLY having a rough time this morning waking up. I went to bed late last night and the past couple of nights have given me spotty sleep. It’s catching up to me now. I had a really sweet morning though with the kids – some really magical moments that still have me thinking that I have the most wonderful kids in the world.

Highlights of My Morning and Commute:

  • I showered quickly and threw on jeans. It will be a jeans day in the office today (self-proclaimed). Red, Twin Husky, Twin Crazy were already at the counter eating cereal. I gave each my morning kiss on their head, and we talked about the shape of the cereal. Are these triangles? NO. Are these squares? NO. Are these circles? Yes these are circles. Good. Circles. The kids are very funny when they really exaggerate the “NO’s” to this routine – shaking their heads back and forth. Then for some reason Twin Crazy started talking about monkeys – “Oooo oooo aaahhhh ahhhh”. I asked her where the monkeys were? Outside? She pointed to Twin Husky. Is Twin Husky a monkey? NOOOOOOOOOOOO says Twin Husky shaking his head back and forth. So cute.
  • I go up to wake up Big Bro and gather the clothes for the day. Big Bro jumps up from his bed, and then proceeds to jump on the bed, straight up and down. He only did it for 10 seconds or so – I asked him if this is his normal wake up routine and he said Yeah, laughing. I laughed too. It was kindof like he was shaking the sleep out of his little body. And then he was ready for the day. Smiling. Awesome.
  • Big Bro remembered that it was Chocolate Tuesday – so Hubby had a second series of breakfast to get ready. Next I looked all kids were devouring chocolate bagels, chocolate tortillas.
  • Twin Crazy coming into my room to show me her tortilla with her chocolate on it. She scrapes off the chocolate and asks for “more chocolate please”
  • I didn’t have my coffee yet but I was trying to help the kids – it looked like they needed some water with all of the bread they were eating so I offered it to them. One of the plastic cups “jumped” out of my hands and there was flying water all over the place. I asked the kids if they saw that and what was that cup doing flying out of my hands? The kids were laughing. I said it was an accident and I didn’t do it on purpose – that it was no problem because I’ll just clean up the mess. I asked if anyone took a “shower” from my spill as a joke and all of the kids said No, seriously. (cute)
  • Kids still laughing about “Fish Ranch Road” and how we didn’t see any fish on the road from the weekend
  • Red asking if I can take her to school today since I took Big Bro and Twins yesterday. Then Big Bro gets upset since he had to share his ride with the Twins. These kids are aching for more one-on-one Mommy time. And they are doing great about talking about their feelings (I am really focusing on that now with them)
  • Red had a breakdown over her clothes; she wanted to wear her butterfly shirt again (it is now her favorite). I was REALLY trying with her but she was being her red-haired fiesty self. One of my tricks was asking if I could take a picture of the butterfly shirt (knowing that I was going to write about this). But then Big Bro came up with something genious. He surprised me. He suggested that maybe she would take off her butterfly shirt if SHE took the picture (IT WORKED). Fist pumps to Big Bro!! I am still smiling at how empathetic he is, and how well we can act as a team – I continuously talk to them about how we have to help each other out – that is what family means; we all need help from time to time and it is our job as family members to help out when we can. These kids get it.
  • As soon as the rest left and it was just me and Red, her mood lifted considerably. We were talking about my coffee, my keys, jacket…. as I was getting things together she was my cute little side-kick. All smiles. Laughing. It’s amazing how quickly those moods can change. From tears to laughs.
  • On the ride to her pre-school, Red asked about the “clocks” on the front of the car. I talked to her about them – that they are not clocks, but each of the dials do measure certain things. A clock measures the time. These dials measure how fast the car goes, how hard the engine is working, how much gas we have in the tank, and how hot or cold the engine is. I love these simple conversations with the kids. But even better, I love the questions that they ask. They are VERY inquisitive and I encourage that. I say that is a great way to learn – to ask questions. That is how they learn about the world around them.
  • Wow. I wrote a lot. I think its because I didn’t get much time with the kids last night. So I always seem to take more in on these mornings… I think I am more apt to pick up on smaller things that I would otherwise overlook.

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    I am on the ferry now – I will have a busy day. I need to get the proposal off to the client today. I really need to get the conference meeting notes done (from 3 months ago, damn it). I have to follow up with some billing issues. I have loose ends hanging over my shoulder that I need to just bang-out.

    And I have a mountain of preparation to do on a personal front. Forensic kind of stuff. Documentation of assets leading up to the birth and ultimate death of a marriage. I’m not looking forward to this at all. Hopefully we treat each other fairly so we can still be good partners for our children in the future.

    I remember walking off the ferry and walking to work. The sun was shining and it felt wonderful on my face. I held my head high, closed my eyes, and looked up towards the sun while walking. I was taking it in. The air, the sun, the walk, the motion. The breeze through my hair. I am ready for the day, and feel much stronger than yesterday. Could it really be the result of the dose of the children?

    Highlights of My Working Day:

    I’m going to keep this part very brief.

  • I worked on the client proposal and it finally went out!! Yeah!! It would be great to win this for my sales efforts, but the delivery of work scares me. I feel like I have a lot going on and a big client project may complicate things a bit. But I need to win it. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
  • I had a conversation with a peer about the meeting minutes… He’s not doing them either!!!!!!!!! Yeah!!!!!!!! Everyone has agreed that they are too detailed, no-one asks for them, and no-one ever has questions with them after they receive them. So why bother??? Yeeeehoooooo!!!!
  • And alas, I hate to say it, but I was sidetracked a lot today on personal stuff. I got the ball rolling with requests of information I need to obtain; but it needs to be well thought out and complete. I only get one chance at this. I need to make sure I capture the right information and its complete. I have a meeting with my lawyers this week and I want to be extremely efficient at this next meeting. I want to have everything organized for them so that they don’t waste time and therefore keep their charges reasonable.
  • I almost missed the ferry. I looked down at the clock and it was going to leave in 10 minutes. I have never tried to make the ferry this late before. I freaked. I shut everything down and hauled ass out of the office. On the elevator I took my shoes off, positioned my bag, shoes, and jacket, and then proceeded to RUN full steam ahead to the ferry. I made it just in time! Whew!

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    I’m on the ferry, and the sun is still shining. My heart is pounding from the run. I sit and catch up with a neighbor. I’m thinking of the kids and also dinner. Chicken?

  • Pick up from Red was terrific – she ran into my arms and actually jumped up onto my body – all smiles, huge hugs. I LOVE THIS.
  • We quickly got Big Bro. He looked terrible. He is sniffling all over the place, and his face was all blotchy and red. His poor nose. And his eye was all red and sore from rubbing it. OMG please tell me no it’s not pink-eye. The daycare provider said that he was not himself all day long. 😦
  • Pick ups for Twin Husky and Twin Crazy were fine. Me and Twin Husky were talking about the beautiful sky. [He repeats, “beautiful sky”]
  • I run in and get the kids unpacked, shoes and jackets off, and set Big Bro on the couch to watch some TV. We don’t do this often but he needed it the poor guy. Twin Crazy and Red were interested in watching some with him. Twin Husky was interested in exploring, turning off the lights, and helping me cook. Then Twin Crazy and Red started to help me cook. So cute. They were smelling spices and stirring and Red was fully responsible for the vegetables, putting them in the bowl and closing up the bag. We made Tandoori Chicken tonight, which again was a HUGE hit. Big Bro had three platefuls. I was amazed. Big Bro and Red were fighting over who could sit on my lap. They are both lobbying hard for more one-on-one time with me; and getting more aggressive about it.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were using children’s knives for the first time. They were soooooooooooooo excited!!!
  • After dinner we rough-housed and I swung them in circles and we were all falling on the floor laughing. Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were busy playing with the kitchen and “eating” ice-cream.
  • Chocolate milk!!!
  • Pink eye medicine! Ugggh. Poor guy.
  • We opened up a package today and it was the kids’ new lunchboxes. Red was thrilled but Big Bro got upset that he didn’t get his backpack yet. Why can’t he ever be satisfied with what we do with/for him? Ugggh. I know he’s sick but this is ridiculous.
  • Kids went to bed quickly because they were tired and not feeling well. Big Bro found a piece of his work that was thrown out by Hubby in the trash can and he started to flip out. I asked him to talk about it with Hubby when he returned from putting the Twins down. Big Bro asked me to help him. So I did. And Big Bro did great at telling the pieces and I commended him for talking about it with hubby, telling hubby how it made him feel, and then coming up with a solution for the future [Hubby ask Big Bro going forward if its OK to throw away certain items.]

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    I had a great day. I am feeling much more on my feet. I am tired, but I somehow feel like things will be OK for us. The hardest thing that I will have to go through is helping my children navigate through this now and in the future. It will not end. I will need to make sure these kids are getting what they need and that they are getting the healthiest environment possible given the situation. I will fight for them. And right now I feel ready.

    Signing off for now to get some sleep –
    Until tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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  • December 13: Reconnecting with my little ones


    Chocolate Tuesday! Last night I arrived late and was not able to spend much time with Big Bro and Red (and no time with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky). So this morning was great for me and I spent a lot of time re-connecting with the kids — I also feel like I have a lot more to say about my morning with them since I missed them last night.

    HIghlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • Twins got up, “Mommy, mommy, mommy!!” I gently kissed their heads, touched their faces, said good-morning to them and that I missed them last night – we didn’t get to see each other last night….. they both seemed to be in an EXCELLENT mood.
    • We all went into Big Bro and Red’s room — Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were having a great time running around while Big Bro and Red were still stretching and waking up. Somehow we got on the conversation of things the kids used to say when they were toddlers. For Big Bro, it was, “OK? OK.” and we were laughing. Then Big Bro got excited to tell me about a story. “Remember when [Red] used to say, “I love play, I love play.”? [She used to say it in a sing-song voice with inflection, so cute]. “Well remember that time when she was saying “I love play, I love play” and you said: “[Red], I know that you like to play. But it’s not time to play right now. Now it’s time to go to bed.” And he started laughing. Both were laughing. I guess it was amusing to him that night long ago as well. How does he remember that? I certainly don’t. But I do recognize how she would have said that, and how that would have been my response to her given that same situation. I had him record the story so I could post it here, but I’m having technical difficulty UGGGGH — I’d like to figure this out so he can start doing more voice recordings… I suspect it would help his story-telling and boost his self-confidence.
    • Big Bro and Red had their clothes all ready for the AM….

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    • Red made her bed and ran into my room to tell me. So of course I had to go and check her work and make a big deal about it….

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    • Downstairs, Big Bro and Red fought over the bar-stool at the corner of the counter. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Twin Husky and Twin Crazy were busy eating breakfast right on top of each other. They really are inseperable.

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    • I made a mistake about referring to Twin Crazy and Twin Husky as “the babies”. And then I immediately looked at everyone and said “wait a minute…. you are not BABIES…. why did I say that???!?!??! You [Twin Crazy] are a little GIRL….. and you [Twin Husky] are a little BOY. Why did I call you babies????!?!!? That is so silly.” And everyone was laughing and then Twin Crazy and Twin Husky in their own little way were participating in the story — Twin Husky by uttering one or two one-word phrases (baby, boy), and Twin Crazy by mumbling something and using inflection and long sentences that are not understandable by anyone (well, except maybe by her twin brother).
    • Twin Crazy told me that Twin Husky’s animal (tiger) had suffered a spill, in her own way….. mumbling, inflecting, “spill”, pointing. I understood and repeated what I thought she was saying and told them that “it’s OK, its just a spill, I will clean it up”…. and then “there, I’m cleaning it up, and that seems better. Is that better?” And both Twin Husky and Twin Crazy agreed. “Better” they both said. I love that we are having “conversations” at this point. I just have to be careful not to make it too easy for them to just mumble something. I want them to try to get the words out. But this stage is honestly a lot of fun. Their development as individuals and hearing and understanding what they are thinking about.
    • We decided to make the drop-offs all together today, but it was going to be tight. I dropped of Red and it went very smoothly. She knew I was in a rush so she went to her teacher with open arms very quickly. We hit traffic on the way to drop offs #2 and #3 so I decided to take Big Bro off at a stop sign and continue with the Big Bro drop off while Hubby took the Twins. Hubby then picked me up and we made it just in time to the ferry.

    The commute on the ferry was interesting today. I’m getting to know the people who make this trip daily. Today I sat with “Joe” who is probably in his 60s but is on his 3rd masters degree – he is a New Yorker who relocated to the West Coast in 1992. He was complaining about his class – something about applied mathematics in physics or astronomy or something – and how it was so over-the-top. I love people like this. Still with energy. Still going for his dreams. Talking with people and interacting and living life. I am automatically drawn to people like this. I love people who LIVE their lives versus those that just go day-by-day. You only get one life in my opinion and you have to make the most of it. It seems like Joe is.

    We couldn’t help but talk about New York City – and how I used to live there and miss it there and how I feel comfort in hearing his voice and hearing his accent. I told him my story about how I knew I would someday live where I am now – and how after my MBA I just picked up and moved cross-country by myself to fulfill that dream. But also how now, 10+ years and four children later, I believe this city is not the best place anymore for me or my family. Joe agrees. He says “Yes, well if you put your children first, there are a lot of other places that you should be looking at to live.” Yes. I agree. 100%. But some things I cannot change. No matter how much reason and logic and communication goes into the effort. Hoooooo hummm. What to do? Go to work and make the best of the situation.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • I had the bulk of my day as quiet time. No meetings scheduled. So I used this time to focus on completing / refining my client deliverable. It was good to get that part done. Once we get feedback from the client I will have an analyst complete the work based upon the structure that I developed today.
    • I also spent some time preparing for my day tomorrow (my work-from-home day). I gathered documents that I will need to reference for some work I plan to do.

    It was a quiet day. It was a relatively productive day. I am on the ferry home now and thinking about dinner. I think we’ll have flat-meat steak tonight. I miss the kids. I miss them from not being there with them last night. I hope to reconnect with EACH of them tonight. And maybe get some more voice recordings out of Big Bro.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I had all pick-ups tonight and got Red first. She was excited to show me Christmas confetti. She told me all about it – how it is smooth, and shiny, and how the pieces are hard to pick up when they fall on the floor. She struck me as such a big girl then – how she was talking, the words she was using, and how she was teaching me something “new”.

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    • I then picked up Big Bro, and Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. There was one house on the cul-de-sac at the Twins’ daycare that was completely drenched in lights. So we went further down the road to check it out. I heard “ohhs” and “ahhhs” and we talked about all of the lights, the trees, the reindeer, how they ran the lights up the driveway, etc. On our way out Twin Husky started the song of “bye-bye lights”.
    • I cooked dinner while the kids entertained themselves. Red shared her confetti with Big Bro after Big Bro asked her politely (and with my guidance and prompting). I am proud of both of them.
    • Twin Crazy kept standing on the stool and turning on and off the kitchen lights.
    • Kids ate well – steak, string beans, cous-cous. Hubby came in and everyone was well behaved and eating great.
    • After dinner was bathtime. I had fun playing with Twin Crazy about “bath, book, night-night”. She was so excited for a bath. She was literally jumping up and down dancing. Imagine each week cutting 80 fingernails and toenails. Yes, I do it.
    • Bedtime was easy for the Twins, but was really rough for Red and Big Bro. Red was cranky when I got to her. I helped her brush her teeth but sat her in water. So we changed. Then I made the mistake of making her laugh while she was rinsing, so she spit the water all over herself. We both cracked up and then got changed again.
    • Now Big Bro is STILL crying outside of my door because of his “owie” skinned knee. I already went in there once to talk about his feelings and how its normal for owies to hurt like this, and that there really isn’t that much that I can do except to tell him that I understand, to tell him that I know it hurts, to tell him that I know he must be mad and frustrated, but to also know that his body is doing its work by healing itself — and the best thing he could do is to get some sleep so his body can be strong enough to heal itself better, faster. Now I know it hurts him, but there’s something more to this… I personally think he needs more “mommy time” – looking back on tonight, I spent a lot of time with the Twins and then with Red since she was cranky. The most he got out of me tonight was the time I had with him cutting his nails! He didn’t get booktime with me or individual time with me… I really need to fix this tomorrow. I’ll pick him up early tomorrow afternoon.

    So today was a long day; filled of things that I am reflecting on. I feel like Tuesdays in particular are intense for me since I’m trying to reconnect with everyone and sometimes I fall short on a child. In this case it’s Big Bro. I need to better figure out how to divide my time and make it seem more equitable – if at all possible…

    Till tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    September 29: Dazed and confused


    This morning was unusual in that Hubby had to leave early for a meeting; so he had to also bring Red with him on the earlier side. This isn’t really much of a problem though since she is usually the first one up anyway.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • Red and Big Bro are up, lounging in their beds. They set out clothes the night before so changes were fast. Big Bro asks me if I will be volunteering in his class today. I say to him that I filled out ALL the paperwork for me to volunteer, and they are asking parents of his class to do lunchroom duty for the month of October. I picked 4 days to do this for him (including Halloween — I will have a blast with this). I also mentioned to him that I will talk to his teacher about other ways I can help in his classroom. I will likely be working from home going forward so this will be completely doable for me. He is psyched. I tell Red that I will have the same conversations with her teachers if she wants me to volunteer in her class too. She does. So it will be done!!!
    • I go to the Twins’ room – and they are just waking up. Twin Husky jumps up immediately and wants to get out of the crib to start his day. Twin Crazy generally prefers to sleep later so she takes some time to roll around, look around, and then get up.
    • Twin Crazy seems cranky. I look down at her pajamas and her poor little legs can’t extend the full way. They are too small! I take them off and talk to her about it and as soon as I get them off of her she is smiling and looking at me like I saved the day. Cute!
    • Red decides to switch out of the dress she had on; I ask Twin Crazy if she would want to wear that dress. Everything is cool. So I put the dress on Twin Crazy and she looks so sweet, so demure – I ask her to show Hubby and her cute little face looking up at him asking for his response back was so adorable.
    • I go downstairs with the kids and everything generally went smooth. REd was ready for the earlier departure. Big Bro was fast with breakfast and very quick at getting changed.
    • The 3 kids were great getting into the van. Big Bro was busy holding his lunchbox and his folder with all the paperwork I completed the night before.
    • Quick drop off for the Twins. I hugged them extra long today.
    • Drop off for Big Bro was great. He was psyched about his folder of paperwork. His teacher gave him a high-five. She also appreciated my offer to help her in any way that she needs.

    So now I’m on the ferry. It is gray outside. I also feel grey inside. I’m hurting and upset about a life that I feel is so out of reach for me and my children.

    Work today will be very busy. I still have some last movements in one agenda, and I still have many presentations yet to receive. I will probably get them at the end of the day and will need to review and provide feedback over the weekend. On one hand I am very excited about being away for a week; but on the other the thought of being away from my kids is heartbreaking to me. I need to get over that feeling.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • As expected, I was extremely busy finalizing an agenda, sending info out to attendees, reviewing presentations, providing feedback, etc. etc.      I feel like I’m doing things that are needed to be done but feel like I have four left feet.   It’s all a bit confusing thinking through all of the play-by-play details and I feel like I’m missing a alot…. I’m a bit confused and trying to get my act together, but falling behind.
    • We had a planning call with one of the Directors who will be attending one of the forums with me, to get him up to speed on the people there, the content to be discussed, and how our company provides value to the audience.
    • I also had a planning call for a separate forum — it looks like the potential speaker has content that actually looks and feels like competing content that we provide…. ugggh.   So now I either stick to an agenda with 3 speakers or I need to find another…. I’ll need to worry about that later.
    • HOWEVER THERE IS STILL A LOT MORE TO DO!!!!!!!!!!!!   Do I work on it tonight after the kids go to bed?   Or do I do it over the weekend?   My preference would be to knock it out tonight but I am so drained, for so many reasons.
    • On the commute home via Ferry I talked with a neighbor – a family who lives behind us with FOUR kids and also a set of Twins!   We were commiserating; I don’t feel as alone.   We promised to get our families together after all 8 of our kids are asleep.  That way we can drink and get to know each other better.  Funny – it’s been over a year and its taken us that long to connect.   People are just so busy out here in a big city to stop what they do and take in the surroundings; I feel like the sense of community is lacking, making it harder to expand beyond our own little part of the world.
    Dinner and Bedtime:
    • Hubby is not going to make it home this evening; he’s spending time with his brother and sister-in-law who is ready to give birth any day now.  So I am with the kids solo – I know I can handle it.   In fact, I revel in it.
    • I picked up Big Bro and spent some time with him at after-care since he was in the middle of a “pom-pom” project.   I thought it was really interesting and SO EASY to make little pom-poms.  I’ll try to replicate it someday and then send out the instructions to the group.  I also wanted to go slow with pick up — mommy-time is on my mind for each of these kids.
    • We picked up Red – she was outside with this HUGE floppy pink hat on, looking absolutely adorable.   She immediately reports on the amount of lunch she ate that day.
    • We decide to go grab take-out food for dinner.   So we drive to our favorite BBQ place to pick up food, and then we pick up the Twins.   Twin Husky is upset because he wants to get in the front seat to drive the car.
    • At home, I get kids organized with eating right away.   Twin Husky is still in the van playing with the steering wheel.   I finally get all kids at the table eating.
    • After dinner Big Bro starts a movie (Friday nights are movie nights) and I play with Red (flying airplanes and general rough-housing) to the point of feeling sick.  I’m not sure if its the rough-housing or the stress I’m under.
    • Twin Crazy is busy wiping her mouth with a little napkin I gave her at dinner.  This was the first time I’ve given them napkins and she was so cute – she’d take a sip of milk, and then wipe her face.  Take another sip of milk, and wipe her face.   I was laughing and encouraging her cleanliness.   She also did some airplanes on me but got a little scared so went back to cleaning her face.
    • We all make it to the living room to be with Big Bro.  I get the Twins changed in PJs.   Twin Husky stands on the coffee table.  Twin Crazy is cleaning her face, and now also her feet.   Twin Husky is also brushing his teeth.
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    Four kids mesmerized by Toy Story

    • I bring up the Twins first — we read a picture book together.  It is amazing how intense Twin Husky is with this picture book.  He MUST point to everything to understand what it is and he repeats EVERYTHING extremely well – he is very understandable.   Twin Crazy however still is very vocal but mumbles everything…. but she is trying.   I encourage both and give them lots of hugs and kisses for reinforcement.  We sing and then they are ready for sleep.   They say “night night” and I also hear some “I love you”s — -I just can’t get over it.   Hearing that from them is a pinnacle moment.   I remember when I first learned I was having twins, seeing their two little spots and heartbeats, and feeling terrified and wondering how were we ever going to do this??!?!?!?!??!?!    And now these children are children…. they are speaking in words… they are active…. they are eager to learn…. and they are so affectionate; and the “I love you”s are beginning for them.   I really am so proud of them and feel lucky to have them in my life.
    • I head downstairs for some mommy-time with Red and Big Bro.  The three of us sit together on the couch bundled under a blanket, watching Toy Story and laughing at the funny parts.   By the time we head upstairs it is late; so I only read a FAST book and then they are both out.
    Today was a day of ups and downs.   Parts of the day just left me dazed and confused.   It makes me want to just go to sleep.  But now I need to work.   So, let me go at it so I can enjoy the rest of my weekend.
    Happy weekend to all –
    – Mama K

    September 28: Feeling valued in all directions


    New seasons. New beginnings. New starts.

    This morning was about reconnecting with my eldest children since I did not spend much time with them last night. They even said that they didn’t get enough “mommy time” that night so I promised them if they woke up early, got dressed, and ate breakfast that I PROMISED that each of them would have special “mommy time” in the morning. They agreed and started to think about what activities they wanted to do with me. They also agreed that it was OK for the other to take part in each other’s selected “mommy time”. How cute.

    Highlights of my Morning and Commute:

    • Surprisingly, BIG BRO is the first one awake. Unbelievable. He starts talking about how he wants me to read the book he has in his hands for his mommy time. I say, OK. We go in to get Red. She is excited about “mommy time” too.
    • Both kids get dressed SO FAST and the three of us head downstairs. The Twins are not even up yet!!
    • We have a guest bedroom downstairs so each of us cuddle in the bed and I read the book to the two of them.
    • Red decides that she wants me to put her kid make up on her for her “mommy time”. I suggest that we eat breakfast first. She agrees.
    • Twins are busy eating cereal with Hubby. They are so cute. Twin Husky is busy pointing at things and saying words. Twin Crazy is just busy trying to balance the cereal on her spoon. Both seem very happy. I can’t believe how big they are getting.
    • I fix Big Bro and Red their breakfast; Big Bro gets a trio of jelly on his bagel and Red eats TWO packages of oatmeal. “Oatmeal, oatmeal” repeat both Twins. So they get some oatmeal too.
    • Diaper changes with the Twins gives me a chance to connect with them too, albeit too briefly. Twin Husky is in such a good mood this morning. Crouching and jumping, crouching and jumping. So active. Twin Crazy is a bit cranky this morning for some reason.
    • I get changed, pack up the daycare bag, and we pack up the kids. Hubby and I are dividing and conquering again today. He’ll take Red, I take the Twins and Big Bro.
    • OK time to go!!!!!!!! Again, I feel like we’re running late, so I’m blasting music and hauling ass. The Doors are on. I’m feeling good. Twin drop off was great; Twin Crazy felt compelled to bring in ALL her stuffed animals from the van into daycare. She is needy today. Twin Husky is all smiles.
    • Drop off for Big Bro is so sweet. He is so big. He towers over most kids in his Kindergarten class – but I know he is so sensitive, reflective. He isn’t a “bully” kind of big boy.
    • I make the ferry in time.

    Today for work I have more to do about the conferences for next week.   It’s coming up!

    Highlights of my Working Day:
    I was so busy today!!!! It was great – got lots done and getting ready for next week.

    • Reworked some agendas, reviewed presentations, provided presenter feedback, finalized one agenda and sent it out to all meeting attendees, etc. etc. etc.
    • Also started refining the two other meetings we will have; finalized presenters, set up meetings to refine content topics
    • Set up “sales” meeting for another initiative we were launching
    • Held an “off the cuff” strategy meeting over lunch with 2 Directors; thinking through who on our team could provide leadership capability and decided on a core group to create and drive strategy. I’m on that team!!!
    • I was in a relatively great mood; I actually belly laughed several times — one time so loudly that even though my office door was shut, and a Director’s office door was shut, the sound of my laughter found its way into his office.    It felt wonderful to laugh like that.

    I’m coming from today’s work feeling very valued and appreciated. Folks internally are pulling together to work with me to make the meetings next week a success; I am the go-to person but we’re all pulling together and I feel very energized.

    I’m on the ferry back and thinking of my children. I love coming home early to pick them up. I’ve discussed here on this blog over the last several weeks/months about going on a reduced work-week; well this will happen after I get through next week’s meetings. I am very much looking forward to that.

    My kids really enjoyed their “mommy time” this morning. I want to think of more “mommy time” stuff for the evenings as well. I want to show them that they each matter individually. I can’t wait to see them now. Now more than ever. I can’t wait to see their faces and I HOPE I see smiles. I need smiles from them today. I want to help create those smiles. Smiles will keep me going.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I picked up Big Bro and he immediately said that he wanted more mommy-time.   Both of us drove over to pick up Red.
    • In the parking lot, I felt like I had a bug bite or something on my butt.   So of course I make a big deal of it – “I think I have a bug bite on my butt.  How silly.  Why on earth would a bug want to bite a butt?????”  Big Bro replies:   “I can check for you when we get home Mommy.”   How cute.
    • Red wanted to hold Big Bro’s hand across the parking lot (one of our rules is that to cross a street or in a parking lot, EVERYONE must hold a hand).
    • Both of them decide that they want us to go home first for a mommy-time activity before going to get the Twins.   How cute.   It was 5:30 so I gave in to them.
    • At home, they decided that their mommy-time activity would be water-color painting.   I really didn’t do much, so I’m not sure how they saw it as mommy-time, but I did help them with paper (Me:  “I’m on paper duty”.  Big Bro:  “I’m on color duty”).  I also helped them with the water changes, and encouraged their art.   They really are creative and I always make a big deal out of the stuff they make.

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    • We then go to pick up Twins.   I make it fun by saying they can get in the van WITHOUT ANY SHOES ON!!  How fun!!!!
    • Twins squeal when they see me – open arms, laughs, and “mommy!  mommy!  mommy!”
    • At home we have to trouble-shoot a bit with the kids.   Red is having a hard time; Big Bro is also teasing her a bit.  Twins are great.  I ask our mother’s helper to help entertain the Twins so Hubby and I can focus on the bigger ones; they seem more needy today.
    • Dinner is a hit; so much so that everyone had vanilla pudding afterwards.
    • All kids went completely crazy next.  There was a lot of jumping, falling on the floor, jumping over the Elmo chair…. I think this was prompted by me asking Twin Crazy to do his “crouch and jump”.   It just cracked me up so much.  Belly-laughs.    This little toddler doing crouch and jump and falling backwards and saying “crouch and jump” the whole time… and then the rest of the kids jumping and running and falling on the floor.   There was “look-it mommy!” going all over the place and I had to make sure I was watching everyone and making my laughs seem like they were for everyone too.
    • At bedtime we changed the Twins and talked about some pictures in a book and sang some songs and did kisses all around.   They go out like a charm.
    • Big Bro and Red were fast tonight too.   I think all the running around wore them out.  Red wanted me to help her with her PJs; she wanted me to look in backpacks to find her favorite yellow shirt; Big Bro wanted me to read the story to them, and he had his head on my lap the entire time.
    I had a very, very, full day.   It was a good day.    Filled with people around me who showed their appreciation and how much I’m needed — both at work and with my little ones.   Honestly a working mother couldn’t ask for much more.
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    September 26: Pretty in Pink


    I’m coming from a bad weekend. On a scale of 1-10, it was a 2. Today I’m groggy, hungry, have no coffee, and am feeling down.  I’m on the ferry now with all the kids at daycare/preschool/Kindergarten. Back to reality.

    Highlights of the Morning:

    • All kids sleep late this morning. We have to peel them out of their beds.
    • Today is a cheerio cereal morning for 75% of the kids. The Twins are doing well with spoons but we had several occurences of spilled bowls and Cheerios/milk all over the place and all over them. Plus, Twin Crazy has a habit of taking her bowl and walking around the entire first floor when we are not looking. So there were also trails of cereal and wet milk all over the rugs.
    • Red is initially upset and yelling when I bring down her clothes. This is because she already picked out her underwear and socks. She is extremely mad at me for this. “No problem! I’ll just put this stuff away and we’ll pick out a pair of shorts together. No problem.” She is a breeze after that. She has 3 bowls of cereal.
    • Big Bro is a handful this morning. He does not want to come downstairs without holding my hand (he needs “mommy time”). But I am in the middle of diapering the Twins and also getting Red dressed (and hugging her for mommy time), so he has to wait. It wasn’t until 8 AM until we walked down together. We dress him quickly (mommy time) and I grab some things that he could eat in the car for breakfast.
    • Hubby and I split the drop offs since we are running late. He takes Red, I take the Twins and Big Bro. The daycare provider seems honestly happy and thrilled to see the Twins again. Lots of kisses.
    • I drive Big Bro to Kindergarten and we quickly force some applesauce down this throat in the van before leaving for the line-up. When we enter his class, he turns to me and gives me a huge hug — even though we are in front of his friends.  How sweet.
    • I just make it to the Ferry in time. They were closing the gate as I ran up. This was a close call.
    • So, it is obvious to me that my kids feel like they need more of me today. I feel bad about that. I’ll need to make it up to them in the evenings this week. Make sure I spend some 1-on-1 time with each of them.

    Today at work will be the first day of a very busy week. I have guest speakers to still book, presentations to review, and final logistics to take care of. We have our two forums next week and this will be my first time doing this. I need to rock this so that I can position myself for a lighter work-week going forward.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • I arrive in the office and have 10 minutes to look at email (some were quite important, dealing with potential presenters at upcoming forums)
    • I then have  a 1.5 hour presentation review; consultants presented to me findings of the data compilation of one of our forums; I give suggestions and probe for the “drivers” and why the data is trending the way it is. If we don’t have the answers, that’s OK.  These are the types of questions that will be PERFECT to the forum to get conversation going.
    • I attend another meeting related to a separate project. I’m not sure exactly why I was there. I didn’t add much to the conversation and I really had a lot of other stuff to do.
    • I arranged/secured two presenters for conferences; I received some presentation from guest speakers and will need to start to review them.

    So, work is busy, but not extremely scary. Next week will be a BIG trip. I will be facilitating and presenting and winging it for TWO forums; I don’t mind getting in front of a crowd; I am looking forward to the networking and getting to know people. I get to get dressed up and maybe I’ll even wear some flashy shoes. 🙂

    So now I’m on the ferry home, missing my kids. I’m also extremely tired today. Emotionally drained.
    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I pick up Big Bro and delay the time with him so he feels good “mommy time”.  Together we go to Red’s pre-school.   I decide to ask him to pick out a book and we lay down on one of the couches and I read to him, and only him.   That is his dose of “mommy time”.  I hope he remembers and appreciates it.   Question to readership:    What kinds of activities do you do 1:1 with your kids that are “quick” and can be done in the daily course of your day??
    • We then find Red.  She is so sweet.
    • Lastly, the Twins. They are back at daycare.  They seem to be happy.   They are eating apple fruit bars.
    • Once at home, I clean up a bit.   I set up all the kids with markers and paper so they can draw and do art.  I think its so much fun now to have the Twins “closer” in capability to the older siblings.   So now they can do art now too when their older siblings are.   This is getting to be fun.
    • As they are creating, I try to decide what to create for dinner.  I decide to cop-out and make pancakes.   And I slice some canned peaches.  Sounds good to me, and the kids think this is funny.  Question to readership:    Have you EVER served breakfast at dinner?   If  so, how often can you get away with it???
    • As I set the kids at the table, I realize that Twin Husky has gotten into Red’s pretend make up.   He is busy applying it all over his face.
    Twin Husky - Pretty in Pink

    Twin Husky - Pretty in Pink

    • Hubby gets home after kids have eaten.  I’m changing ATTROCIOUS diapers.
    • I throw out the diapers outside — that’s how bad they are — and then walk into the sliding door on my way in.  Great.
    • Twins seem a bit cranky so we start bedtime routine early; Twin Crazy is barely holding on.
    • Red and Big Bro decide to do dance routines and acrobatics in their room before going to bed.  They crack me up.
    So now it is the end of my first day back at work after a week of vacation, and after a week of working from home.   It was a tough, tough morning but work itself was OK.  It felt good to be back.   I think I can manage this conference stuff without too much stress (I think — get back to me after NEXT week…..).
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    September 22: A gift with my Twins while working from home


    So another day without a daycare provider for the Twins…. another day working from home while multi-tasking with two toddlers.   At least I don’t have any client conference calls scheduled…

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • Red needs mommy time this AM.  She sees what I’m wearing (blue leggings, white shirt) and she wants to match me.  She heads downstairs for breakfast.
    • I grab clothes for Big Bro and Red.  I try to match her outfit as best I can but it doesn’t match perfectly.  Big Bro is still in bed so I climb in there with him since I know he needs mommy time too.   We talk about the cut on his finger and if it feels better.  It does.  He wants a band-aid for it now.   We spend time together putting a band-aid on his finger.  He seems happy.   I gather his clothes but he is not happy with the shorts selection (they are too long).  We’ll see if there are shorts somewhere downstairs.  I ask for his hand and say that I am doing a “special delivery” of Big Bro to downstairs.  This makes him laugh.  We walk slowly down the stairs together, holding hands, so I can stretch out this time with him.
    • Twins are covered in milk and cereal.   There is milk all over the place.  They are soaked.   They then move on to applesauce.  What a mess.  These kids need to take some serious baths. 
    • Red and Big Bro eat a little.   We have some problems getting changed this AM.  Big Bro REALLY does not like his shorts, and Red completely rejects her outfit I picked out.   So I try another.   She rejects that one too.   She cries for Daddy.
    • Big Bro is on the hunt for a different pair of shorts.  I find one in the living room on top of a stack of clean (I think) clothes.    He rejects those.  Big Bro miraculously finds shorts.   I ask them where he found them and he smiled.   So on the floor of the laundry room, dirty????   “Yeah Mom”.   I just let this one go.   There are some battles that are just not worth fighting for.  He has a smile on his face so that’s good with me.
    • As Hubby is packing lunches he is using applesauce.   Twins see this and start squealing for applesauce.  Twin Crazy eats about 4 bowls of it and Twin Husky doesn’t do too bad either.    Everyone is covered in applesauce.
    • I change Twins’ diapers.   I put on different PJ bottoms for Twin Husky since he is soaked.  I change Twin Crazy’s shirt since she is soaked. 
    • Hubby helps Red.   She is pissed off at me.  
    • 1st drop off:   Big Bro.
    • 2nd drop off:   Hubby at Ferry.
    • 3rd drop off:  Red, with Twins in tow.   Of course they get lots of attention.  The teachers showed me a picture that Red drew of a smiley face.  It was pretty impressive.   The other kids made a lot of scribbles but hers actually looked like a smiley face with a colorful border.  The teachers were proud of her.  I made a big stink about it too.   I asked her if it was OK for me to put in on our refrigerator – and if it was OK for me to leave soon so I could do that for her.   She was grinning from ear to ear.   Melts my heart.

      Red's "Smiley Face"  -- 3 years old

      Red's "Smiley Face" -- 3 years old (notice the orange hair)

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • Pot of coffee, I eat everyone’s leftover breakfast.
    • I play a bit with the Twins.   I then give them a snack as I boot up my computer.   I send some quick emails and organize some meetings.
    • Twins look very tired, especially Twin Husky.   I ask them if its time for an “early nap” and they both run to the stairs.  I thought it was going to be a short one, but they slept for 2 hours!
    • During this time I attended a Webinar, organized some more meetings, and sent out some follow-up emails related to the forums that are coming up.  There are some empty guest speaker spots and I’m hoping to fill them with internal folks which shouldn’t be a problem.
    • Twins wake up at lunchtime.  I make them ground beef, peas, and cheese.   Beef, peas, and cheese.   It rhymes!    So I walk around saying Beef, Peas, and Cheese over and over again until its ready.  They eat well (so do I).   Twin Husky has some problems with forks/spoons but eventually shoves the food in his face.
    • We then play for quite a bit.   It is amazing but I feel like I’m getting to know them better.  How weird.  I am their mother.   For example, all Twin Husky needs to calm down is to be picked up and held softly for 1 minute.  Then he’s fine.   Twin Crazy is definitely the aggressor of the two.  She is spiteful.  She is a trouble-maker.  She will run up to Twin Husky and steal his toys and run away leaving him in the dust, crying.    When I ask her to come back and give him his toy, she listens, but she is definitely the more dominant one of the two, at least for now.   She also likes to invade his space, just for spite.   Just to see him cry.   But then there’s a soft side to her too.   They like to laugh together.  She likes to bring him crackers, his milk.   She is also a caretaker as well.   She is able to drink from a cup (no sippy!).  I didn’t know that about her.  How interesting that I’m seeing these personalities so much clearer now, just because I have more focused time with them.   I’m happy about this yet sad at the same time.

      Twin Crazy can drink from a cup

      Twin Crazy can drink from a cup - this is something I learned today

    • I have a conversation with a Director about immediate issues with the forums, and also hold Twin Husky as I send out more emails.   He says “ball” when looking at my Google Chrome icon on my computer.  So cute.
    • Now they are on a second nap, hopefully a short one.   I threw in some laundry.   I have to start thinking about dinner.   I get Red’s picture up on our refrigerator.
    • Twins wake up; I get them ready to go…

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • 1st pick up:  Big Bro.  2nd Pickup:  Red, with all kids in tow.   Red is in a different playground and it took us awhile to find her class.  3rd pick up:  Hubby at the ferry station.  We saw the boat come in.  Twin Husky:  “Boat.”   Red was hot with her long sleeve shirt so she decided to go topless.
    • We head home, I cook a quick dinner.  We are finished eating by 6:30.  Hubby and I drink beers.
    • Big Bro wants to do a project and I set up a race car painting project for him.   Then Red sees the project so I find a “paint by number” project for her.
    • Twins are having fun running back and forth and jumping on Hubby.
    • I’m having fun playing with all the kids; kissing all the kids; laughing with them.
    • They start to look tired early, so we bring them upstairs.   Twins look at books and point to pictures after we ask them where things are….. all are drinking milk.  All four are winding down.  Kisses to Twins and they are OUT.
    • Big Bro and Red are sweet.  Red keeps jumping on me; Big Bro is tired and already in bed, talking about numbers and letters and his painted racecar.

    Now we’re downstairs – another wonderful day; although not very efficient on the work front.   I feel somewhat guilty that another person’s anguish (our daycare provider’s ill husband) has allowed me a special gift and glimpse into the lives of my youngest children.  After spending so much time with Big Bro and Red while on vacation, I feel so lucky to have this time now with the Twins.   I feel like I know them so much better now; I feel guilty that I’m not in tune with them as much as I was with the first two; but they still seem SO HAPPY and so well adjusted – they are loved and I know that they feel loved.  

    I also know that I want more of this.  More time with all of them.  More time in the mornings to do the drop offs and in the afternoon with pickups from pre-school/school.   I don’t like feeling rushed with them.  It is not fair to them.   I want more time with my Twins.   I am fine working, but after tasting this kind of life I know I need more.   I need to make this happen on my terms at work; after the forums are complete in mid-October, and after I have proven myself to be an indispensible asset, I will lay out a plan with my superiors that discusses how I want to work.   On a reduced work week where most of my work time is spent from home.   I think this will bring much more balance and happiness to my life – despite costing our family in terms of income.

    Till tomorrow –

    – Mama K

    September 21: Can this REALLY be called working???


    OK, so day #2 with no daycare provider for the Twins.   So I am working from home, with two 18 month old Twins…. who are starting…. to fight…. about EVERYTHING….. most often its the toys…. but there is also alot of shoving, pushing, hitting, and BITING.   How much work can I really get done on a day like today????!??!

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • I wake up to Big Bro and Red, coming to my bed and hugging me.  Big Bro is no longer feverish!  YEAH!  Red is so sweet!   They are in my bed now, holding on to me, telling me that I CANNOT get up and take a shower.   They want to keep me there with them.  They start to negotiate.  “You don’t need to take a shower today mommy.”     Ehhhh emmm.. Um, yes I do.  I skipped yesterday.  I stink.  “You do not stink mommy.  You will stink if you go into that shower.”   How cute.  I think they are going through withdrawal of mommy time from our vacation.Twin
    • I get the Twins.  They are cranky.   Twin Husky is hot.   He demands to be held by Daddy.
    • While I am in the shower, Big Bro decides to give Red a “makeover” with the Barbie make up she received from her Nana last week.  So, Big Bro is asking Red which color she wants on her left foot nails, right foot nails, and different colors for her hands.  There is also “eyeshadow” that he is applying for her and lip gloss.  This is too funny.   They are both so interested in the makeup.   THankfully Big Bro is not applying anything on himself, but I would be OK with that if so, I think.
    Pre-school "makeover"

    Pre-school "makeover"

    • Kids eat breakfast, lunches get packed.  Kids get dressed.  We remember vitamins this morning.   I spend a lot of time holding Twin Husky.   I love the way he feels in my arms.  He holds on tight.  His head rests on my shoulder.  He is big and heavy and sick, but feels wonderful and I don’t want to let him go.
    • OK time to go!!!
    • 1st drop off:  Big Bro.  Hubby takes him in while the rest stay in the car.
    • 2nd drop off:   Hubby at ferry
    • 3rd drop off:  Red.  We go in together with the Twins.  Twins are wearing PJs still, and Twin Crazy is carrying all of her blankets and loveys.  It is so cute.   The place goes nuts over them.
    • Pit stop:  CVS to pick up some stuff.  I bring in the Twins.  I buy baby Advil for Twin Husky.
    • We head home and I think about what the heck am I going to do for a client conference call at 10 AM????

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • Make a pot of coffee.   Eat leftover kid breakfast.  Nuke a Trader Joe’s breakfast for me.   Get my computer set up.   Twins are playing.
    • Sent out quite a few emails related to all the upcoming forums; I’m trying to get up to speed desperately since these meetings are happening in two weeks time.
    • Kids get a cracker snack.
    • I decide to throw them upstairs in their cribs for a “short nap” at 9:45 so I can be “ON” for the conference call.   The kids head upstairs and seem OK with this idea.
    • I review the materials I need to walk through for the conference call and think about what I need to talk about – it’s a sales meeting so I have this one shot with them.   Upstairs, I hear the Twins laughing and playing.   At least they’re not crying.
    • I get stood up for the call.  Now I need to reschedule.  I hate that.  Now it’s extra work for me.  I hate having to redo things.   It takes time to reschedule and I feel like offloading it to someone but cannot.  Ugggh.
    • I do some work while I have a chance and then get the kids.  They seem happy.
    • I get them changed into “real clothes” since they’ve been in the same PJs for days.   They are adorable.   I play with them a bit.  Laughing, kissing their bellies.   I love this.
    • Snack time is blueberries.  Twins are now able to get to the short table by themselves and sit in the stools.  They look so cute.  All dressed, and eating their blueberries in their little bowls together.
    • I work while they eat.   I also try to secure back up day care for Thursday and Friday — I’m searching through people who applied for the MOther’s Helper position and mentioned they would be available for babysitting or other help.  Hopefully someone comes through.
    • We play a bit; run around outside in the backyard.  Talk about things.   Twin Husky is singing “Happy Birthday” non-stop.
    • I make lunch while they play with pots and pans.  They eat like champs.  They head upstairs for bed immediately afterwards.
    Future chefs?

    Future chefs?

    • I work while they sleep – coordinate menus, follow-up with guest speakers, follow-up with the analytic team, etc.
    • Twins sleep late – they get up and I give them crackers and we pick up Big Bro and then Red.   All kids are in a great mood.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I am on my own tonight since Hubby has an appointment and our Mother’s Helper took the night off.
    • Kids are well behaved.  Some playing outside, some inside, Big Bro and Red putting on make up again.   Twins are outside with tricycles and scooters.
    • I’m making dinner.  Chicken I defrosted is rancid.  Plan B:  chicken nuggets, broccoli, and side pasta.   ALL KIDS EAT LIKE CHAMPS.  Even the broccoli!!!!!!!
    • Kids play well while I clean up; I didn’t have much time with them tonight – I feel bad for Big Bro and Red since they are craving mommy time and I didn’t have enough of it to give to them today.
    • Everyone heads upstairs for bed.   All kids in one room for PJ changes and songs.  Twins go down SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO easily.  Big Bro a bit harder – he is exhausted despite it being earlier for his bedtime.  Red is relatively good until it is time for me to leave the room.  She would not let go of my arm and she screamed until Hubby came home to soothe her.
    • After the kids were in bed, I worked for another 2 hours to catch up for today.

    Now I feel a bit better about the work I managed to do, but I’m still hoping I can find someone to help out tomorrow.   I had a wonderful day and feel like I’ve somehow captured the kind of life I want — OK, having someone watch the Twins would have been better, but still.   And also having the mothers’ helper would have been good so I could spend some more time with Big Bro and Red.    But I’m getting closer!!!!   Maybe tomorrow will be Nirvana with day help and night help.  And me working from home, dropping off my kids and picking them up, and taking breaks here and there to hug and squeeze my babies.    Bliss.

    Till tomorrow –

    – Mama K

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