October 12: 132 miles


Friday! This day of the week is always a bit difficult for me and winds up in fights with Big Bro with me leaving angry at him, yet trying to resolve things before I leave. This Friday was no exception…
Highlights of the Morning:

  • Kids were up early and Red of course wanted to start the day with Cocoa the guinea-pig. So I had 3 kids and a guinea-pig in my bed as I woke up, which was perfectly fine with me.
  • Breakfast was smooth sailing, except for the fact that Red requested pancakes. I’ve stopped buying the instant stuff so there I was making home-made pancakes on Friday morning (a school day) with Big Bro making butter and bread and Twin Crazy wanting to be close to me since her “nose was sick”. As you could imagine with four kids and trying to get out the door, there were several batches of pancakes that were forgotten on the stove and burnt to a crisp. Red thought this was particularly funny.
  • I sent out some work emails as I was getting stuff ready for the morning.
  • It was a normal routine with the kids and getting out the door – kids were great. Got dressed, got shoes on, out the door and to the car quickly. We were actually VERY early today.
  • It looked like rain. In fact there was a little bit of rain when we went outside. The kids were excited by this. They wanted to show me the drops and also how the ground looked wet. It was cold. I got all the kids in the car and bundled them up with blankets and jackets as blankets. They were ready and eager to go.
  • We talked about the rain, the fog, the tunnel. We got to the intersection with all of the pigeons and there were tons on the electrical lines again. Big Bro said that it looked like they were having a “meeting”. That just cracked me up.
  • Red was talking about bridges and we actually drive over two small bridges on our way to their school/pre-school. So we started talking about the kinds of bridges there are and how the one bridge we were going on sometimes goes up to let big boats and sailboats by.
  • Twin Crazy was busy “reading” and making up stories with her notebook.
  • Drop offs were great.

 

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Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • Twin Crazy, Twin Husky, and I made it back and it was cold. I turned the fireplace on. The kids were hungry again so I made them oatmeal.
  • They were busy playing and coloring as I was cleaning up a bit. Twin Crazy wanted to wear her Halloween costume which essentially is an Asian-looking dress that is pink and shiny. She looked gorgeous in it.
  • We then went to Target to get toilet paper in bulk (I still can’t believe my Costco card got cancelled by my in-laws while I’m still paying for their son’s health insurance) and some other needed items. I got some stuff in bulk on sale like vitamins, cold medicine, band-aids. The kids were great and then started to get cranky so I fled. They loved the escalator and were squealing on their way up and on their way down.
  • At home we ate a good lunch – left overs from last night. I microwaved a frozen fish fillet and after 2 minutes the thing started exploding all over my microwave. The lunch was good but I spent way too much time cleaning up the microwave for fear of fish stench.
  • We received a new guinea-pig cage that I ordered through Amazon. I was excited to give Cocoa some more space in a new cage.
  • Naptime!
  • Woke up and hauled ass to pick up Red and Big Bro. Got Red quickly, got Big Bro, and then DROVE BACK TO MY HOUSE instead of staying local before dropping the kids off at co-parents. The past few Fridays have just been tough for us. I pack like we are pack of gypsies and we sometimes have fun things to do but most times the kids just wind up fighting and I wind up mad at one/more of them. And it was rainy/cold today so I grabbed all of them and headed back to my place for an extra 2 hours before dropping them off.
  • We put together the guinea-pig cage and watched her explore her new surroundings. It is big. I have no idea where we are going to put it. But I think she is happy. I think.
  • I read to Twin Crazy and Twin Husky while Big Bro and Red disappeared playing Legos.   Twin Husky wanted to hold the book like a “teacher” with the book facing me and Twin Crazy while I was reading.   I read several books this way.  One was a counting book and he seriously knows all of his numbers, the way they look, how to count…. it is amazing how they are twins and he is so skilled at numbers and she is so skilled at communication/reading/storytelling.   Twins are amazing.
  • We had pudding as an afternoon snack.
  • Big Bro and Red then went to play at a neighbor’s house… when I went to go get them they were not there and at a DIFFERENT neighbors house. I like the fact that they have lots of friends and everything, but MAN they were in TROUBLE when I got them. I was so angry with them. At least tell me where you are! Have the mommy/daddy send me a message! I need to know where you kids are!!! Ugggh.
  • The drive home was very quiet as a result. Except for me talking about it from time to time and letting them know that they should come and tell me where they are going to be if their plans change, or tell the parents to send me a message. Red understood. Big Bro was making excuses.
  • As we were waiting for co-parent to come home, I wanted Red and Big Bro to be sure they knew that I still loved them even though I was mad at them. Red thought that this whole concept was “funny”. How can you love and be mad at the same time? But she took my hugs with smiles. Big Bro was a bit embarrassed by all of it. Why can’t I have a Friday where I leave the kids without frustration?
  • I drove back home in silence and did not even put the radio on. I felt in a funk.

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So today I did SIX trips between my house and co-parent’s house. That’s 132 miles. But there was lots of conversation on the way, and I did not have to pack up like a gypsy and try to occupy the kids with activities. We had a day that was generally relaxing but also stressful. The tension of independence and trying to teach the kids good judgment was put to the test today. And the emotions of having to leave the kids on a down note was saddening to me.

I arrived to a package of bulbs from a neighbor for flowering plants. That is how this neighborhood is. The folks here are incredibly giving. This will be my activity for tomorrow.

I slept for 2 hours on the couch, in front of the fireplace and watching Cocoa’s huge cage. I woke up to a dinner of a bagel, oven-crisped kale, fist-fulls of Life cereal, a cheese stick, and 1/2 bottle of white $2 Chuck. Now I’m feeling much better.

Have a great weekend everyone

– Mama K

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May 9: The birth of a homeowner…


Fast morning! Since my day yesterday was so funky in terms of work, I am working from the office today so I had a normal routine with the kids and all of the drop-offs.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up and got ready, packed up Big Bro’s lunch before anyone else got up.
  • I went to get Twin Husky and Twin Crazy. “Mommy!!!!!!!” So cute. Twin Husky is so cuddly. He always wakes up so happy. I held him for a bit while sitting next to Twin Crazy’s crib – she takes a bit longer to wake up. She was then ready and we grabbed up all of her “stuff” (blankets, babies, stuffed animals). She had a dry diaper!!!! I’m so proud of her.
  • Red was awake and happy. But she rejected her clothes and requested that we see what was downstairs in the laundry room. I did a load of wash yesterday so there was plenty there for her to choose from.
  • Big Bro picked out a new short set outfit he received from Nana for his birthday. He looks awesome in it and he loves it. He looks like a full-fledged boy and I just can’t believe that he is 6 years old. So much has happened in my life and my relationships over these past 6 years.
  • Downstairs the Twins and Red all wanted cereal. They all ate well with no issues. I got Big Bro’s toast ready while dishing out vitamins to everyone.
  • Everyone was ready so quickly. We were doing great on time. There were no breakdowns with one exception – Red was asking for more “sunscreen” for school but I had a hard time understanding her. So that got her upset for a bit (but no tears). She did great and she tried again a few moments later, really trying hard and slow to say the word “sunscreen”. I understood her. She smiled. I said I would buy some today on my phone and it would get here tomorrow (thank you Amazon!!!)
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    I am now on the ferry thinking about what I need to do today. I have to debrief from the client meeting from yesterday and there will be more to do but not much. I also have to get our materials organized for our forum sales meeting next week. That will be top priority today. So I think today will actually be quite smooth. I feel much more relaxed, less under-the-gun. I may work on some personal items as well which need some focused thinking. I am closing on the house today but will likely not be able to pick up the keys until tomorrow. I’m looking forward to getting that set of keys in my hand!

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I worked on survey materials to sent to participants of our sell meeting on 5/15 and worked with a consultant to get it loaded in our survey tool
  • I reviewed my notes from our client meeting yesterday and wrote up what our team needed to do, changes to make to the Final Deliverable, and areas of follow on work for the company.
  • I scheduled some prep meetings over the next several days
  • I worked on personal items today as well – I’ll likely book this as 1/2 day work.
  • I CLOSED AND RECORDED ON THE HOUSE TODAY!!!! I will go there tomorrow and pick up my keys, measure the rooms, and start to line up appliance purchases, a shed, and I also want to get a fence and handrails put in. Oh… .and furniture. For the kids, kitchen, and living room. And maybe a rocking bench for the front yard. Lots to buy. I’m excited.
  • So now I’m on the ferry and feeling giddy. I’m looking forward to being with the kids tonight and also seeing them with Batman. I feel better when co-parent is not around. I enjoy these times alone with the children. I can’t wait until I’m in my own space and I’m able to make it comfortable so that the kids feel like it is their space too. I want them to be part of this even though they will likely be crushed when we tell them what is happening. We are going to talk with them this Saturday morning about the divorce. And we will go on a road-trip to see the house the following weekend. This is the calm before the storm, but to be honest its been feeling pretty stormy already. But today is a ray of sunshine. I am happy. I am a homeowner. And I am working towards a better life for me and I’m hoping for the children as well.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I went to pick up Red first. I told the teachers and directors there about my home purchase and the fact that we are going to tell the children this Saturday. So to be there for Red if she is having a tough time next week. The Director broke out in tears. She doesn’t understand how anyone cannot put their children first. I can’t either.
  • I picked up the Twins next. They were both excited; Twin Husky sitting in Big Bro’s seat and Twin Crazy running over to a tricycle to show me how she can ride it.
  • I picked up Big Bro next. Everyone else wanted to come inside too. They found the cupcakes and had the birthday celebration today. The pan was put on top of the refrigerator – I still don’t understand how they got lost. oh well. I’ve been talking to Big Bro about it and how I’m sorry about it and how he must have been disappointed since he was expecting them. He doesn’t say much. I’m not sure if it’s because he doesn’t really care or if he just doesn’t like talking about it.
  • I ordered a pizza and then we headed home.
  • We played with Batman for a bit and even fed him a carrot. He LOVED it. Twin Husky held him and he was so cute looking down at Batman. So sweet. Twin Crazy was busy trying on my shoes. Each of the kids took a turn at holding him. The novelty of picking out the poops has already worn off for them.
  • I can’t believe it but Twin Husky had yet ANOTHER kitchen flooding incident. This was not as bad as the first two, but still….. I need to figure out how to disable the ice/water dispenser.
  • I was cleaning up downstairs a bit, waiting for the pizza to come when I realized that all of the kids were upstairs and it was WAY to quiet up there. So I went up, but they were all being good! They were all in Big Bro and Red’s room together. Big Bro was doing Legos, Twin Husky was laying on Big Bro’s bed, and Red and Twin Crazy were playing together. They were all so quiet. They were all so good! And they were all together! I loved it. So I sat with them for a bit and then heard the doorbell ring. Pizza was here.
  • All ate well. I asked “raise your hand if you want desert tonight” and the kids were all raising their hands. Twin Husky was raising both of his hands REAL high and shaking them back and forth which made me laugh.
  • We then had baths and a round of cupcakes.
  • I started Twins bedtime routine; they love the book “The Hairy Toe” and I read it so that it’s scary and then funny at the end. They love it. They went right to sleep, no problems.
  • I then sat with Big Bro and Red for a bit. Big Bro wanted me to help him find the Lego pieces as he was putting the set together. Red sat on my lap and we found the pieces for him. It was our quiet time together.
  • I showed Red the sunscreen that I ordered for her from Amazon. We then ordered bandaids for the kids since we are out. Again, I love Amazon.
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    I am now outside of their room finishing this up; I feel like I have so much on my mind. I’m worried about money. My cash flow situation is so scary these days. And there’s a lot going on with the divorce. I’m feeling strong again. I’m OK when he is not around – I get angry and strong. I’m looking forward to the house but also concerned for the children. I just want things to go as easy as they can for them. They are so happy now and it crushes me to know that it will end in just a few days. I’ve had a great week with them so far – they respond to me (except for Twin Husky and the water). Big Bro is a breeze. No whining or tantrums. It is just easier.

    Tomorrow I will get my keys. Tomorrow I will walk the house and measure the rooms. And start to go online and shop for a refrigerator (probably with no water/ice dispenser) and washer / dryer. Then furniture — I think bar stools first since I can probably get away without the rest for the time being…. I also need to buy a mini-van. Again, cash flow is scary now. Somehow I’ll make it work out. I know I will.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Random Thought: Adding animals to the mix – should we get a pet?


    After writing my post about my “Need To Nurture”, I’m wondering how other families approach the topic of pets. We are juggling so much right now with four little kids ages 5 and under, but I would imagine that we may not be “pet free” indefinitely.   According to the American Veterinary Medical Association 2007, pets are found in almost 68% of households with children under the age of six, and more than 74% of households with children over the age of six.  I believe the value that pets can bring to a family and the sense of responsibility they can offer to children — but I shudder at the thought of ANOTHER mouth to feed and being to care for.

    So I have some questions for the group:

    There are obviously many benefits that pets give children – and I’ve always been a big believer in pets and had a series of them growing up.   But the thought now with four kids 5 and under with a pet just scares me; it’s just not right.   I think any big animal (dog) would need to be cared for by kids maybe 10 years or older…. younger kids may fare better with a hamster.  I’m looking forward to hearing your experiences!

    Thanks for participating –

    – Mama K

    Retrospectives: Pets and my need to nurture


    Yes, I have four kids now. Did I EVER think I was going to have so many kids? No. Was I particularly good with kids growing up or even as an adult? Absolutely not. I never was good as a babysitter. And I never really ever wanted to hold my friends’ babies when they became mothers. I just wasn’t into the “baby” thing. I guess I thought I would break them.

    But that doesn’t mean that I was uncaring – in fact, just the opposite.   From a very early age as a child, I have always had an undeniable urge to care for things. So don’t think babies… think animals.  Just to give you a GLIMPSE of how insane I was (am) about dogs and puppies, I was a complete sucker for ANY puppy walking down the street – even when I was living in NYC. Yes, I would get on the sidewalk and play with strangers’ puppies on the urinated streets of NYC. In fact, one night at about 1 AM I was waiting for a bus on the upper West Side with my boyfriend. Along came a stranger with a cute little lab puppy. I was immediately on the sidewalk playing with the puppy, rubbing his belly, scuffing his ears, wrestling with it, and talking to its owner — “what’s his name? How old? oh my goodness how cute this puppy is!!!” Over and over and over I was rolling around on the sidewalk with this puppy and loving life. Then the bus came, and I heard my boyfriend say, “Thank you very much….” to the man. When we got on the bus I asked him why he acted like that and he said, “Do you know who the f&%* that was? That was Conan f*^%*&%ing O’Brien!!!!” So there I was talking with Conan O’Brien for about at least 2-5 minutes playing with his puppy and I never even looked up at him or even noticed who he was. Maybe that’s why he stayed so long because I honestly did not give Conan the time of day…. just his puppy. So, that’s how crazy I am about animals.

    My childhood was filled with little hairballs and fecal matter –some were official pets, some were orphaned wildlife. Some were saved because of my care, and some were lost because of my carelessness. But they were special to me and it’s because of my experiences with them that helped to build the kind of mother that I now am.

    • My first pet was a sorry excuse for a dog — a “peek-a-poo”. I didn’t like him. He was ugly and smelled bad. We “gave” him to my grandmother and she claimed he ran away. To this day I don’t know the truth behind that story.
    • We looked after guinea pig from school for a summer when I was about 8. He was missing a foot. He was cute and cuddly.   But I had to give him back to the school when summer was over.
    • We then progressed to a series of hamsters. “Rocky Balboa” was our first (I grew up in Philly) and lasted for 3 years which is actually a long time in hamster years. There were many times when I would forget to latch his cage but he always managed to come back… except once…. the poor thing made it to the basement but I guess drowned in the sump pump.
    • We also tried fish — Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. I think they died pretty quickly.
    • I adopted a baby wild rabbit from our backyard.  What a terrible idea. We had no idea what to feed it. After several days being trapped in a shoebox, the poor fuzzy guy died. I remember we had a funeral for it in our backyard. What a shame. I’m not proud of that story.
    • I once saved a nest of baby robin birds – there was a huge summer storm and their nest had collapsed outside of our door. I grabbed s shoe box and swept them up. We had to feed them a concoction of soft dog food, wheat germ (i think) and some other stuff by toothpick every several hours. I did this even throughout the night — I set my alarm and everything. It was such a strange feeling to lift that shoe box top up and to have these baby birds opening up their beaks real wide and chirping for me and my toothpick. I really felt like their mommy bird. After 3 days the birds flew away – I was so proud, but a bit empty inside.
    • When I was about 10 years old, I’ll never forget the day when my dad came through the door with this LITTLE puppy cocker spaniel, SOOOOOOO cute, with her little face and droopy ears hanging. She started running and jumping all over the place and then quickly pooped on our living room (white) carpet. We named her Lady (Lady and the Tramp) but then her nickname quickly turned to Aldo for no clear reason. She was beautiful.  We loved her. We teased her. She became a solid member of our family. She wasn’t that bright. We over-fed her and she became heavy. She lived to be about 15 years old (I think she started to small bad too towards the end). I heard of her death when I was at work — and was surprised by my reaction – I was sad, but I did not cry. I don’t think I ever cried over her because she lead a very long life and we were good to her. She was loved. I didn’t see her too much towards the end since I was living on my own in NYC so I hope she didn’t feel too lonely. I do feel bad about that.

     

    Aldo, a cocker spaniel who was part of our family

    Aldo, a cocker spaniel who was part of our family

     

    • We had a rabbit once that overlapped with Aldo. It was a lopped eared bunny and was beige, with hanging hears, so the rabbit actually looked like Aldo’s twin. This rabbit was great. He actually would hop over to me for attention and love. I would give him a bath which was totally unneccessary but again, I had a need to nurture. This rabbit did not last long – about 6 months — he was put outside one summer day and we thought he would enjoy it and had lots of water – but I guess the sun was too strong for him and he had a heat stroke or something. His name was Cupid.  I’m not thrilled about that story either.

      Cupid, a mini-lop rabbit who loved to give and get affection

      Cupid, a mini-lop rabbit who loved to give and get affection

     

    • I went back to fish when I went to college; it was very pretty and very colorful with hanging, flowing fins and a tail. I took him/her home on Thanksgiving break and was planning on giving him extra fish flakes for the holiday but he didn’t seem right after the car ride to mom’s house. I think he got tossed around too much with my driving. He wound up down the toilet before the turkey even came out of the oven.
    • When I moved to the West coast by myself I got lonely and decided to get TWO mini-lop rabbits — Lenny Kravitz and Sarah McLachlan.  I got two so they could bond while I was away traveling for work. I had them “fixed” so that the pair would not propagate. My experience with them was terrible. Instead of bonding with me, they bonded with each other and rejected me. So I had to deal with rabbits that hated me but still clean up after their hair, their poop, and they smelled terrible. When I started to date Hubby and then moved in with him, the rabbits made their exit. I interviewed several people until I found the right home for them.

    Despite not being all that great with kids while I was growing up, having experiences with pets groomed an inner need to nurture – to care for another being, to be responsible for that being, and to say goodbye.  I guess some could say that these experiences got me started on a much bigger (and longer) road to the challenge and joys of REAL children.   But honestly nothing could prepare me for the real thing, let alone four of them!!!

    When I was younger and thought about what my life would be like with kids, I always assumed that a dog would be part of that story…. but what a change of heart I’ve had. It is so much easier for me to say, “No more dogs!  I have enough mouths to feed!!”  Imagine my reaction when Big Bro innocently said just the other day, “Mommy, when are we going to get a dog for a pet?”   Of course I’m at some point going to give in to HIS “need to nurture”…. Uggggh.    But maybe we can start with a goldfish or something.

    So, I guess the moral of the story is 1) listen and cultivate to that need to nurture; and 2) people’s attitudes change!   Any advice from moms who have been there with their kids??!?!??!

    Thanks for listening –

    – Mama K

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