March 20: Down time


This morning was another gift with my kids.  Co-parent is on a work-trip and I had them with me.   I normally work ½ day at home and then pick them up in the afternoon, but today since I have them in the AM, we needed to get up and out – and I am working now at a Starbucks while my kids are at school/daycare.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up after only one “snooze” on the alarm.  I didn’t bother to shower since I was going to be at Starbucks.  I’m not trying to impress anyone.
  • Twin Husky was up first and in an amazing mood.  For some reason the others were still sleeping soundly so it was just Twin Husky and I alone.  I let the others sleep.   I rarely have alone time with Twin Husky so I gladly took it with him this AM.  We ate breakfast together.  I made coffee and packed Big Bro’s lunch.   Twin Husky was in a goofy mood and trying to make me laugh.  He was pretending to dance and then also making goofy faces.   Lifting his leg up in the air for no reason.  It was working.  I was cracking up.   We talked about school and his friends.  He said his only friend is Twin Crazy (I will need to ask his daycare about this).   He talked about his bagels and the circle I made on his plate with the pieces of bagels.  He talked about how he likes cream cheese and he saw one of the next-door chickens that escaped and was at our back door.  He finished his breakfast fast so we got him dressed.  I wanted him to dress himself.   I spent time with him talking him through getting undressed.  He is great with his shirt.  He needed to be talked through the rest, especially his socks.  I loved the time with him.  I loved talking him through putting his clothes on.   I was patient with him.   It was just the two of us.  He did everything himself with me just talking him through it and saying “shimmy shimmy shimmy” with his legs going through his pants and his feet going into his socks.  He was grinning and happy and looked proud at his accomplishment.   I am happy that I had the alone time with him this morning to do this with him.
  • Twin Crazy was up and ate breakfast fast.   She changed fast.  Red was slower.  She changed into her new clothes but did not want to eat – she whispered in my ear that she wanted a breakfast bar in the car.  She saw that I did this with Big Bro yesterday so she wanted the same treatment this morning.  I whispered back “OK” and gave her a big hug.  Again, this is time that has been given to me and my hugs felt stronger to me and more meaningful.
  • Big Bro got up slowly again, but was very easy and we were all out the door without any problems.   Shoes were set up, jackets set up, and kids in the car when they were each ready.
  • During the drive we talked about the new goats at the neighbor’s across the street, how their family is having a divorce and how we don’t know what schedule they have for their family, the rain drops on the cars, the traffic, the accident on the side of the road, how kids get “owies” and that is just part of their job being kids.   I was joking about “PLAY PLAY PLAY BANG OWWWWIE!!!!” and the kids were cracking up.
  • Drop offs went fine.  After Big Bro’s drop off we went to see the Ferry pull away.  I like not having a strict time schedule over my shoulder.  I like relaxing with the kids and taking in these moments.  We sat in the van and watched the ferry head into the city until we couldn’t see it any longer.
  • Red was less clingy – but Twin Crazy was extremely clingy – did not want to let go of me and kept grabbing my clothes.  Poor thing.  I will see them all soon.

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I’m at Starbucks right now and feeling really good.  I am close to the kids.  They are all nearby.  I am at work at a Starbucks in a comfy chair with internet access and power outlets.  I have work to do today that is very relevant for remote work…. Emails, etc.   It will be a good day and I will see the kids at 1:50 PM today.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I made some progress on the Agendas for the two meetings coming up and confirmed details with certain speakers.  I reached out to others as prospective members and invited them as guests.
  • I did some background research on LinkedIn for business development and other potential targets.

I was feeling like shit.   I’ve been coming down with a cold from the kids.  Bad, bad cough.  One that keeps you up at night.  And a headache.  I wasn’t sure if I was hungry or needed to throw up.  I felt week.  I grabbed some lunch and headed out for the kids.

But I was early.  One hour too early to be exact.  So Red, Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and me hung out in the mini-van in front of Big Bro’s school until he came out.   Red was busy doing math equations.  She frightens me a bit.  She loves to learn.  You see it in her face as she figures out a math problem.  She is thirsty for more equations, more equations.  “Mommy, these are easy for me.”   WTF?!??!?!?

Twin Crazy was getting bossy and yelling at me and I told her I don’t like that.  That made her feel worse.   My head was pounding.

Big Bro ran to the car when he saw us sitting there.

The ride home was really, really hard for me.  I couldn’t wait to get home with everyone.

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Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I informed the kids that I was feeling really lousy and that I needed their cooperation for the rest of the day.  I suggested it would be a lounge on the couch movie kind of afternoon.  It was raining and the kids eagerly agreed.
  • I think I dosed with all of my kiddos around me.   Twin Husky even dozed on me a bit.  I loved it.
  • Big Bro and Red were playing “Math Bingo”.  Then Twin Crazy started playing it by them telling her what numbers to press.  It was cute seeing them play this game together.
  • I felt better and went out to water my garden and check on the growth.  It is amazing what is going on in there.  I’m not sure when to “harvest” but I will figure it out.
  • Dinner was home-made mac-n-cheese, spinach, broccoli.  I started doing an “eating broccoli” dance as each kid ate their broccoli.   The boys totally got into it.  I don’t think I’ve seen Big Bro dance that much but he was going crazy dancing tonight.   The kids were cracking up and we were holding hands in a circle jumping up and down to “eating broccoli”.
  • We had fruit for dessert; watched a movie.  
  • Kids were tired and I got Twin Husky down in about 30 seconds.  Twin Crazy was a bit longer.  She gets scared these days.  I allowed her to sit at the edge of the living room during my “alone time” with Red and Big Bro.  I’ve been doing “alone time” with them since they feel a bit jealous about the home time I get with the younger ones on Thursdays and Fridays.  So we hang out a bit, read, and talk.
  • The topic of conversation tonight was evolution.  I think it was because we watched the movie “Ice Age” earlier.   So I showed the kids the theory of evolution in pictures; that got us talking about tailbones.  Then Red found some funny pictures and the kids were laughing so hard they were almost gagging.

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I told Red how I love that she loves to learn.  And how you can still stay like that even when you are not a kid anymore.  You are never too old to learn new things.  I told her that I see her face light up when she is learning and that she is special because of this.

I told Big Bro how much fun I had with them today.  How I loved hanging out with them and spending time with them.   And I thanked him for cooperating today especially when I felt sick.

*****

I’m in bed now.  Showered.  Tired.  Happy.

–        Mama K

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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

Goodbye November – Recap


I feel like I’m slacking in capturing the highlights from these four kids. There’s just too many of them that I fall behind – here’s a recap from last week

Thursday:

  • Big Bro helped Twin Husky get dressed when he started having some problems
  • Drop offs were fine for Big Bro and Red; on the way back home Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and I went food shopping. They love the “car cart”.
  • We drove around the neighborhood looking for a reservoir that should be close-by (I am still extremely fearful of earthquakes and I want to know where this reservoir is… it should be walkable from the house) and we saw some stunning decorations; one that caught our eye was this low, low tree with RED red leaves and HUGE ornaments. It was gorgeous. I’m noticing that Twin Crazy is using the word “gorgeous” a lot recently. She cracks me up.
  • We relaxed on the couch by the fire and read books; kids played with stickers
  • At night we did homework, and then the kids turned the living room into a “campsite”. Big Bro and Red were the mommy and daddy, and everyone had blankets and pillows out. They were teaching the little ones their numbers and the alphabet, and then they said it was time for night-night. They were going to pretend that dinner (that I was cooking) would actually be breakfast. They were having a ton of fun together. Twin Husky was a bit left out (as usual) but he did make his way into the group a bit. He was very particular about how he was positioning his “animals” for sleep on his blanket. Too cute.

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Friday:

  • RAIN RAIN RAIN; it was crazy wet outside. Big Bro was shuttling the kids from the house to the van with an umbrella.
  • After dropping off Red, the Twins wanted to stop by their classroom quickly to say Hi to their friends and show their teachers their bears and fluffy pillows
  • The three of us went to Home Depot for some gardening tools – a cheap rototiller and I found some pots on sale
  • Bathtime! Lunchtime! Naptime! While the kids napped, I tilled the entire garden area and broke the tool that I just bought.   It was actually a great activity.  It was only lightly raining and the sun was out – so it was really nice being outside and getting physical with my new project.
  • After picking up the kids we went to Home Depot to replace above rototiller. We looked at the HUGE holiday light decorations and the kids got a bit sidetracked.
  • We then went to buy rainboots for Red and Big Bro. We went to TWO STORES with NO LUCK. I wound up sitting with them on the floor using my phone with the Amazon app and bought them boots for our “farm”
  • On the way to the car we were surprised by Santa Clause! There was no one there! It was like he was just waiting for us and only us. At first the kids were apprehensive about sitting with him but then I announced that who-ever got a picture with Santa while SMILING would get an ice-cream/or dessert immediately afterwards. Suddenly Santa was rushed by the kids.
  • We went to Starbucks and split a bunch of rice-krispie treats and hot chocolate.

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I had a great end of the week with the kids. Fridays are not a bad night since we know we will see each other the next day. When I got home by myself, I went to work on some cedar gardening beds in my living room – this required drilling that I had never really done before and I worked until 11:30 PM.

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The rest of the weekend:

The next AM I put mole-wiring all over the garden area and then got showered and shopped at Trader Joes’ in enough time to have some friends over with their kids. We had a great time and I loved their visit. The kids had soooooooooooooo much fun that Twin Husky was even walking around saying how much fun he was having – and Red drew a picture of their family that she wants to send to them.

Last night during book time Red announced that someone in her old classroom was dead — ugggh I knew this was going to come but it took me by surprise; I didn’t know that her teachers had told her anything yet. I wound up sitting with her past bed-time for close to 2 hours, being with her while she thrashed around (and hid her face from me), sat quietly, then we talked, she asked a TON of questions, and then we drew pictures together for this child’s family. She happily went to sleep (thankfully) with smiles from ear to ear. I’m not sure if it was the talk that we had, the way her questions were answered, the drawings that she did for the family, or the time that I spent with her, but I’m just glad this kid went to sleep with a smile on her face and a gleam back in her eye. She is the one that worries me.  In fact, looking back at the pictures of her shows a girl who is a bit “off”.  I didn’t pick up on anything unusual, which bothers me a bit.

Today, Sunday was a rain downpour again in the AM. Our backyard was a river. It was exciting investigating the river with the kids. We had neighborhood kids over all day today and Red seemed to be back on track. Big Bro was having the time of his life with some boys in the neighborhood. Today they are finding worms (and getting soaked)… tomorrow….???!???!?! They were too cute.

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Sunday nights are harder for me since I do not see the kids until Wednesday afternoon. Twin Crazy screamed the entire way to co-parent’s. The rest of the kids were quiet. I returned home and just had to put my head down to take a breather. The weekend was more emotional than I would have liked; I’m thinking of the kids now and hoping they are OK as they go down to bed.  I’m worried about my girls.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: Not-so-Small Blessings


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

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

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

It was amazing.

*****

These are the things that I LOVED about this trip:

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

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

*****

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

These are the things that I LOVED about this weekend:

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

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*****

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

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

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

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

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

November 15: NO HIGHWAYS!!!!


Co-parent and I are splitting the parenting responsibility into kid “pairs” to accomodate a trip I am taking to the East Coast next week. So, I was alone all day today with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, AND HAD NO TRIPS ON THE HIGHWAY to shuttle Big Bro and Red back and forth. Woah. What a difference. I didn’t realize the strain the driving has taken on me (and the kids) until today.

  • We woke up at a luxurious 8 AM and didn’t get out of bed until 9 AM. The kids were with me “working” in their notebooks in bed which was really, really, cute.
  • Chocolate Thursday! Nutella tortillas for three.
  • We dressed and headed outside. Kids were riding bikes and also helping me with some work for the winter garden. We fed the chickens some weeds. Twin Crazy was very busy taking care of her baby doll. Everyone (including me) was in an excellent mood.
  • We then headed out to a museum where they take in injured wild-life. We got there early so headed to the outside playground for a bit. Twin Crazy was going crazy on the swing. She was flying so high and loving it. She reminds me so much of me it is scary. Inside the museum, the kids had a great time looking at owls, foxes, rabbits…. looking under micro-scopes and they even have a “flight simulator” where you lay down and spread your arms like a bird – they loved that, as did I.
  • We had a good lunch; they were very well behaved and ready for a nap.
  • WE ALL SLEPT FOR THREE HOURS
  • We got up and Twin Husky reminded me that we needed to go food shopping for food for Cocoa and he wanted to ride the “car cart”. I can’t believe the memories these kids have. So off we went, food shopping for the guinea pig. The kids were great and had fun.
  • I cooked a quick dinner – fresh fish and lots of veggies that was a hit. We all ate everything. I guess sleeping makes you hungry.
  • Afterwards the kids continued to do art in their notebooks, and I hung up some of the art.
  • Twin Husky bonded with Cocoa. He wanted to hold her in his lap and feed her. He did really well with her. Twin Crazy was a bit freaked out by Cocoa’s nails so didn’t do as well.
  • I played a dancing game of “pee pee, brush your teeth, and book” where I would toss them up in the air after each task was completed. They enjoyed that and I think I’ll have to continue it since they got ready so fast. They decided to sleep in the girls room tonight. So sweet.

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After they went to bed, I cleaned up a bit and then did some work. I had a number of business development things to attend to; I don’t think I have anything tomorrow except getting extra keys made, getting a neighbor set up to watch Cocoa, and getting packed for my trip. We leave tomorrow night on the red-eye.

I had such a great day today. There was no rushing, no driving. Just being. The day unfolded and we had the opportunity to actually go out and DO something since we didn’t have all of the driving to compete with during the day. Being outside with the kids was great; play time at the playground was great; talking and learning about the animals was great. The kids talked about how they miss Red and Big Bro (and I do as well) but we talked to them tonight on the phone. I am really going to miss these kids next week – leaving them for a whole week when they are not even three is sad for me. They are really blossoming as people and I love each day with them. Twin Crazy can now spell her name as well as her Twin Brother’s. I just can’t believe it. They are so big now.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

November 14: Twinkles and only two of them


Wednesday AM, the morning after an AMAZING girls night at my home. I finally found it. A community where I feel like I belong. These are all hard working, strong women. Women who are real. Women who are fun. Women who choose to live in this neighborhood for the relaxed lifestyle it offers and the great schools for their kids. We went through quite a bit of wine last night. There were lots of laughs, and also lots of tears. We talked of loss, of grief. We talked about what each of us could do for the other. I have some ideas for my own situation that were offered by these women. I will take them up on their offers. Seeing how these women came so freely to my home and stayed so long (1 AM!!!) and were so natural – I feel very lucky.

I woke up just in time to start my working day.  I forgot to put out the trash the night before so ran out with the cans just in time (again). As I got my coffee ready, I saw the most beautiful reflections on my ceiling… the sun was hitting a candle holder in a certain way that cast so many colorful specks all over my ceiling. It was beautiful. This just made me happier — feeling somehow even more secure in my new surroundings. This sounds so naive but I really do think that I am being watched from up above and being directed/guided along the way; seeing these reflections and the wonder it brought to my eyes really made me feel like I am heading on a good path.

 

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I actually got a lot of work done. I lead an internal conference call at 8 AM.  I received one contact from an ex-colleague for consulting work he needs help with and got a team together to create a proposal for him. I received an unsolicited inquiry about the forums that I lead which now lead to the idea of yet another forum that I will try to launch (so now that is 3 getting started, and 2 currently under management/growth). I felt good today on the work front – despite my headache and generally feeling like ass.

I picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. This is an unusual division of the children, since I left Big Bro and Red for co-parent tonight. I will be traveling back east all of next week with the older two, so we are straddling our time with the “left behind” pair on the front end and back end so that we each can have enough time with both sets of kids. I am used to spending alone time with the Twins, but not at night. So tonight was special with them.

  • We talked about scary witches and pumpkins on the drive home. Also birds and trucks.
  • We got home and played outside until the sun went down with our next door neighbors; they were running and laughing and kicking balls.  I noticed that Twin Crazy kicks the ball with her left foot.
  • Twin Crazy was “hopping like a froggie” and Twin Husky was running down the driveway. They were both so good keeping their feet within my driveway and not stepping into the street.
  • Twin Husky did some “work” in his notebook as I was cooking dinner.   Twin Crazy wanted to wear her pink “princess” dress that she wore for Halloween.
  • We ate a fast dinner and they devoured everything. I think it was the exercise they got from all of the running and jumping.
  • After dinner we ate dessert (pudding), did some puzzles (Twin Crazy is actually doing them herself now), read books.
  • We tried to call co-parent on FaceTime so the kids could say goodnight to each other but it didn’t work out.
  • The kids were asleep before 8 PM.

 

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It is amazing how quiet it is with 2 kids versus 4. It was actually relaxing. I miss Big Bro and Red. I have not seen them since Sunday night. I hope they are doing OK and managing their feelings OK.  I am looking forward to my “alone time” with them all of next week.

I’m extremely tired and will likely pass out early tonight; before doing so I will do some work on personal things and then hopefully get some extra hours of sleep. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. A day with the Twins, no driving back and forth… this means we get to do things together again; like how it used to be together. We already made out our list and I’m looking forward to sharing the day with them.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

October 26: VERY busy and happy with the kids


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

Highlights of the Morning:

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

 

 

Highlights of the Afternoon:

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

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

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

Have a great weekend everyone –

– Mama K

October 17: Full day, except for the corn…


I love Wednesdays! This one was JAMMED PACKED. A very full day at work, and a very good day with the kids. Yeah!

Highlights of my working day:

  • Got cracking at 8 AM at home. Was well fed and had lots of coffee. Very comfortable on the couch.
  • Had amazing business development phone calls to convert members to the meeting we recently had. There is a lot of excitement with the new members! So far I think I have four of them and I need to get our membership agreements in order! YEAH!!!!!!!!!
  • I have another big meeting next week and have TWO presentations to develop and deliver. I worked on each in parallel today with consultants helping me with each. The day consisted of me checking in with each of them, getting drafts, reviewing/refining/revising, sending back, receiving back, sending to Directors for review. Getting comments, answering comments, and getting them out again. We need them out to the clients this week, and we are way ahead of schedule for that. Plus we are doing things in terms of analytics that we NEVER did before, which is making my boss HAPPY. YEAH!
  • I received a lead for a potential consulting project based upon relationships formed through the meetings I lead. This is positioning me well in terms of sales and cultivating relationships for the firm. I feel very secure in my job right now. I gathered the proposal team and we are talking with the potential client tomorrow to better understand what they need so we (not me) can develop a thoughtful and compelling proposal to get their work.
  • I spent the “non working” part of my day in the car on phone calls coordinating all of the above.
  • I started the “second shift” of my work day after the kids went to bed. Reviewed and edited the two presentations for the big meeting next week. I feel good about them.

Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I went food shopping with Big Bro before getting the rest of the kids. This is becomming our little routine together on Wednesdays. I enjoy the time with him alone, and I like how we work together to come up with our list and how he helps me pick out the stuff. He also asks questions about the food he sees (like eggplant… that was new to him today).
  • I had fun throwing Ritz Crackers to the kids on the way home for snacks
  • I FOUND MY WALLET! YEAH!!!
  • We picked some weeds and fed the chickens together.
  • I brought up the garbage bins with Twin Husky. That is becomming our routine together.
  • We opened up packages from Amazon and Big Bro received his Halloween mask and Star Wars gun. He immediately put on the rest of his costume. Twin Husky then put on his Buzz Lightyear wings. Red and Twin Crazy put “jewels” on their headbands for their “crowns”. They all looked so cute and were so excited.
  • We picked our corn!!!! It looked a bit ridiculous – some looked genetically-challenged. But the kids had fun picking it and seeing that it looked like the stuff they see in the store!
  • We ate outside. The corn sucked.
  • After dinner we cleaned out Cocoa’s new cage; I put in a rug and fleece in her “living area” and a towel and bedding in her “food and shit/pee” area. Right now she is running around and jumping in her cage. She loves it. A friend called it a “condo” which cracks me up.
  • I spent some time coloring with Red.
  • Books and bedime was FAST. I love having the kids back with me.

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I had such a full day – and actually put in almost a full day of work along with being reunited with the kids – and having FUN with them instead of being stressed about work. There is no stress at work now. We are so ahead of where we need to be for the meeting next week. There is just a lot of other stuff going on now too (like wrapping up our last meeting and selling memberships) that are important to me. But when the kids got here the calls stopped. I still checked and responded to emails where needed, but there were few.

I HAD AN AMAZING DAY EVEN THOUGH THE CORN SUCKED!!!!

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

October 11: Fog and fire


On this Thursday morning I woke up to two Twins in my bed since both of them made their way in their in the middle of night because of their being sick. So the bed seemed smaller, yet fuller.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Waking up with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky’s bodies fighting for space in the bed; Red coming in and asking me to get Cocoa
  • Chocolate Thursday, with Big Bro helping to get breakfast ready for everyone
  • Everything already packed to go… I did lunches and snacks for the day the night before… so there was not much for me to do except make/drink my coffee and direct the kids
  • On the ride we talked about birds sitting on electrical lines and also the fog. We couldn’t believe how foggy it was… even in our neighborhood, past the hill that normally keeps the fog back. It looked like it was going to be a dreary day….
  • Drop of for Big Bro was great; drop of for Red was really, really difficult. She actually had big tears. I had not seen her for quite awhile and all of the kids were acting a bit clingy, but Red is always the most difficult. It broke my heart. She was clinging to my leg and she had these big, wet tears rolling down her face. I told her that I promised I would pick her up early today. Her friends were laughing and shaking their heads and I was laughing how when they smile their hair flies in the air… so then I did the same and lifted up hair with Twin Husky to be funny and also Twin Crazy and then Red… this made Red laugh but she still had those tears… uggggh.
  • Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and I went to the dealership where I bought my car to get a copy of the sales contract; I still can’t believe I am waiting for co-parent to settle up our agreement on the mini-van after over four months.
  • We then went to the auto mechanic to get a check for the same minivan. We were there awhile but the kids had so much fun; we were talking about the cars, how the mechanics fix the cars, how the cars go up in the air so the mechanic can see and work underneath, how the tires were getting moved around… and how they didn’t want to get to close so they would not get “cut” and “hurt”. So cute. It was freezing outside from the fog. We set up camp in the driveway with sleeping bags and we played, talked, looked at cars, danced, jumped like frogs, snacked…. for close to 1 1/2 hours. The kids were great despite the cold.
  • We then went to pick up Red before her nap, as promised. She was settling in to her nap so I scooped her up.
  • We went over to Big Bro’s school, I parked the car, and set up camp. This involved me getting car seats out, moving the seats back, setting up blankets and pillows, and then setting all of us up in the back bed of the car to take a nap. Just call us gypsies.

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Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • The kids were sleeping and I worked for a bit. I had one conference call with our law firm, and then another staff call that lasted one hour. During the staff call I sent out lots of emails related to the forum that I am leading two weeks from now. I also answered a bunch of emails. So it felt good to get some stuff done during nap time and also multi-task during a staff call.
  • Pick up from Big Bro was fine; he was laughing at us and the sight of the van when he came over to greet us. He fell asleep on the way home – the poor kid I think is sick… coughing.
  • It was really cold by the time we got home. I put on the fireplace and the kids had a snack. I did laundry and Red of course played with Cocoa. The kids were making forts on the living room couch. Lots of forts. All of the kids getting involved.  I also did a “calendar” project with Red where we made an October calendar together.  She is really into the days of the week and the calendar lately, due to her pre-school.
  • We had a great dinner and a great pudding dessert. We watched 1/2 a movie while I colored with Red.
  • Bedtime was fine; we read Halloween books and all went to sleep easily tonight.

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I had a reasonably good day but let me tell you being gone all day long and being a gypsy is exhausting for me. I’m not sure if the kids got the sleep that they needed; I felt cold all day today. Even though I packed tons of food I was not prepared for the cold. The fireplace at the house tonight felt extra special because of this.

I’m looking forward to Friday and being with the kids again. I didn’t realize how much I missed them. I kissed them longer tonight, held them more during the day, and spent extra time with each of them during bedtime. I feel really good inside.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

October 3: Anyone want any of my kids?


I usually love Wednesdays since I get to be re-united with the kids.   The time with them started off GREAT and then for some reason all hell broke loose.  I’m so glad they are in bed right now.

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I woke up later than I would have liked; got set up in my kitchen and enjoyed lots of coffee and actually ate breakfast.  I watered my plants and stretched in the sun.  It was a beautiful, hot day.
  • I had some conference calls and tried to get some stuff done but could not get motivated – I honestly did a lot of nothing today.  So I will likely work after I get this post out since I feel a bit guilty and I do need to get some stuff done.
  • 12 noon hit and I was on the road to get the kids!   I really enjoyed the ride.   It was beautiful out, there was great music on the radio, and I was in an EXCELLENT mood.

Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I volunteered in Big Bro’s classroom today during “Science Time”.   We planted two different kinds of seeds (alfalpha and grass) in little cups and watered them with fertilizer water.    I worked with two kids at a time.   We were asked to ask them to investigate the seeds and talk about how they were the same and different.  I loved it.   I called all the kids “farmers” and gave them fist-pumps when they were done.   Big Bro was all smiles.    I couldn’t believe how many kinds of responses I got from the kids when asked about the differences in the seeds.   It went beyond shape and feel to even the different sounds that the seeds made when falling like rain; way to cute.
  • It was still a bit early so I took Big Bro with me to the store to get some food.  He kept drawing himself closer to snacks and candy and was joking putting sweets in the cart and then putting them back.   He cracked me up today.  I’m glad I had the time alone with him.
  • Pick up for Red was great; her face was beaming.   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were busy painting.  Twin Crazy had two pig-tails in her hair and I never saw it like that before; she looked so cute; they were so proud of how they put their paintings in the drying rack, washed their hands, and gathered their things all by themselves.  They love it there – as do I.
  • On the ride home they all ate snacks and we called my brother and sung “Happy Wedding to You’ – he got married yesterday in city hall [a different story for a different time].   None of the kids wanted to sing with me.  Twin Crazy had her hands on her eyes.  But both twins were swaying and dancing to the song.  Again, I was cracking up.
  • When we got back we saw the school bus and two new kids that we have not met before – a set of twins aged 6.   We said we would visit them over the weekend.   As far as I know now, we have 16 kids on our block, all aged 8 and younger.   Big Bro wanted to play with the new kid across the street (Legos) so we dropped him off.
  • Twin Husky helped me with the garbage cans and picked out the color can he wanted to bring up next.
  • Red and Twin Crazy were bonding as sisters and were doing each other’ hair.   Then they all played house in a HUGE box from Amazon.  We looked at wedding pictures.  We sang again to my brother.   The girls did a felt project with cut out shapes of felt.   Twin Husky was busy watering the garden.   I drew a picture of Dora for Red on felt.
  • It was all great until Big Bro came back.  Then the trouble started.  Teasing, crying, bikes crashing into each other, more crying, fighting, pinching, throwing things, hitting heads with water bottles, hiding toys….   there must have been at least 50 times tonight where there was a kid crying or fighting.   I couldn’t take it.   I thought that dinner would help but it did not.
  • At least the highlight of dinner was eating outside with citronella candles so we had no bugs for the first time.   The kids ate well and they wanted to talk about Halloween.  They are excited about Halloween in this neighborhood with all of the kids.  So am I.
  • After dinner we made pudding but then Twin Husky threw a beer opener and it hit me in the chin, hard.   So he lost dessert tonight.  More crying.   I can’t win.
  • Twin Husky and I cuddled more tonight during booktime; I think he felt bad about throwing (hopefully he learned something).   The kids were still causing problems for me during bed…. fighting over space, asking for more water.  I told them I was at my breaking point and for everyone just to go to sleep.  I’ve had it.

How does a day start out so great with the kids and then suddenly fall to pieces with ALL FOUR of them??!!??!!??   This was crazy today.   I can’t figure it out.   I spent REALLY good one-on-one time with Big Bro, Red, and Twin Husky.   But still Big Bro was such a pain in the ass!!!!!   They are at least quiet now so hopefully I can get some work done.   This was a day I’d like to remember and forget at the same time.   Hopefully it will be better tomorrow —

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

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