Dec 5 – 7 Recap: Short school days


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

Wednesday:

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

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Thursday:

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

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Friday:

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

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

Have a great weekend –

– Mama K

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October 26: VERY busy and happy with the kids


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

Highlights of the Morning:

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

 

 

Highlights of the Afternoon:

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

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone –

– Mama K

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

Staying Sane: Enjoy nature


Sometimes getting back to basics is just what the doctor ordered. Being outside. Breathing in fresh air. Listening to the birds sing. Hearing a wave against a rocky shoreline. Even if the kids are acting up you can still steal a moment to yourself to close your eyes, breathe in the air, and feel the sun on your face.

Some ideas –

  • go on a picnic.
  • teach your child about flowers, how they grow, how they live. See how many colors you can find in the flowers around you.
  • go for a walk/hike/bike/scooter ride.
  • Investigate bugs in your backyard.
  • start a garden.
  • take a few minutes and don’t think about skin damage and lay on the lawn towards the sun. Feel the sun on your face and on your body.
  • go to a farm and u-pick the fruit/veggie featured
  • take a walk along a babbling brook
  • take a hike and look at the tall trees
  • sidewalk chalk/waterpaint/kick balls outside in your yard with your kids. Take a break and sit down to watch their play.
  • go outside in the rain and jump in the puddles. Look up to the sky and feel the rain on your face.
  • What else can you add to the list??!?!??! What small moments of outside activity bring peace/relaxation to break up your busy week?

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    Have a great week everyone –
    – Mama K

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