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

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September 24: Getting ready


So I am in the hotel, a suite, the night before one of the conferences that I have been organizing. I am giddy from the great dinner and wine. I am ready for entertaining my “guests”. I am ready for listening to my many clients and navigating through the day. This is when I believe that having four kids benefits me. It makes me laugh in the face of obstacles, trudge through minutia, and keeps me on my feet.

Bring it on! I am ready for this!!!!

Til tomorrow,
– Mama k

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April 16: No kids and no make up


Today I leave for a work trip… a very big week for me where I will be leading 3 different forums – between all three, it will involve collaborating with over 70 clients and/or speakers and/or prospective clients.

Highlights of My Morning:

  • I woke up at 6 AM and showered; all of my bags were packed with the exception of my iPad, computer, and phone, which were all charging.
  • Car service arrived at my house at 6:30 AM. I left the house without seeing any of the children. But I have my dogtag necklace on, and I also have each of their birthstone rings on [gifts that I bought for myself to myself at the birth of each of the kids].
  • I checked email and responded to many work and personal mails. I chatted with a friend who was also traveling for work today. I closed my eyes briefly until the next “ping” on my phone was heard, indicating another email. I spoke with my Admin Assistant who is helping me big-time with the logistics of all of these events. She is a rock-star and I appreciate all that she does for me.
  • The airport was busy. I was comfortable and not wearing makeup. I was surprisingly awake.
  • I had a great breakfast, and sent out some more emails. I spoke to my AA again and gave her some instructions while I was in the air. We still have one speaker to confirm today [yikes] so she will hear before I do.
  • I talked briefly to my mom.
  • I saw a sign in the airport and I thought of my children. It was something that I would have pointed out to them if they were with me. From afar it looked like colorful balloons…. but up close they were round candies. Even better. Just what kids love and I’d take the sugar over helium any day of the week. And I think my kids would too. I’ll show this picture to them when I get home. Or maybe I’ll email it to co-parent and he can show it to the kids for me. It would be good for us to start to do things like that – even during separation once the separation actually occurs.
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    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I reviewed the two presentations that I will be presenting on tomorrow. And I found some numerical errors. BIG ones. So I started my iPhone with a string of email messages to fix errors and also gather more data for me
  • I also organized some materials for the forum on Wed. The Agenda needs to go out today and also the list of Attendees so I need to confirm with my team that everyone is OK with my changes to timing on the Agenda. Again, I sent an email on my computer that is sitting in my Outbox.
  • I started my timesheet and documenting expenses – this will be important during the week since I’m looking at my personal cash flow as tightly as ever right now.
  • So, I essentially need to power up my phone AND computer when I land, immediately so that these emails go out. I also need to check email and call my AA to see where we stand on the outstanding speaker and if there are any other issues I need to be aware of.

    I also need to talk to my lawyer on various issues.

    It will be a busy week, starting now. This is the calm before the storm. My time on this airplane. It gives me time to think about the week, think about the potential issues that can arise, and also think about my life.

    What a difference one year makes. It was this time last year that I essentially was falling apart. So upset about the resistance of my husband and the inability for him to understand my feelings, my anxieties, my need to create a better life for our family. It was such a difficult time. And now. I feel stronger. I feel happier. I feel like my life is headed in a direction. I’m not sure if the direction is the RIGHT direction, but at least it is headed somewhere. I am not in limbo any longer. This is the only direction that I see possible given the current circumstances. I no longer have options in front of me/us. Now it is me, and the kids, and California. I know this now. I have few choices. So I work with what I have. I set a direction and now I am already happier.

    In a few weeks I will [hopefully] have a house and will start to build it into a home. I myself am happier. But I do mourn for my kids. Their lives will soon be turned upside down. I need to get through this crunch time at work. I need to get through these hiccups in the divorce process and secure this house for my family. Once I get through the next two weeks, I can focus on the divorce, and focus on the children. Focus on their emotions and being honest with what it is that they need and what I can do to optimize what I can give to them. Just get me through this week and next. Just get me through it…. I feel good, I feel strong. But this is Monday, on the plane ride over there. It will be a whirlwind as soon as I land…

    Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

  • I landed, made phone calls on the plane, sent emails from my phone. Exited the plane and took a pitstop to the restroom before booting up my computer in the airport. Made more phone calls. Tried to secure a speaker. Failed. Tried for Plan B. Timing won’t work. Went back to Plan A. Tried to call him. He was gone for the day. F! Talked to team-mate about errors in presentation. They will fix and send me an updated version. Whew.
  • Got to hotel late. Arrived at meeting time. Still had to check in. Quickly checked in. My hotel room is a suite! Out of control! Bigger than my new house! 🙂
  • Tried to get ready [quickly] for dinner. Realized I left my make up bag at home. F!!!! Got dressed quickly and applied lipstick. Took a pitstop to the Spa to see if they sell make up [failed]. Found mascara in my handbag [miracle.]. Went with the “natural” look.
  • Met my clients; had a great dinner; talked about the conference; talked about the other meeting I am planning; talked about fun stuff; I laughed out loud real hard many times. This is a fun group. I’m enjoying myself. The food was outrageous. I am still full.
  • Went to front desk to get a new room key (left mine in the room) and also to talk about make-up predicament. They went off to a drug store and bought me some supplies – eyeliner and face powder. Whew. That will make me at least feel a bit better tomorrow.
  • Called the kids to see how they are doing. They were excited and eating ice-cream. Twin Husky was crying in the background. It was a quick call. I let them get back to their ice-cream and told them that I missed them and was thinking of them.
  • Downloaded new presentations, sent them out to the group.
  • Got feedback on Agenda for other meeting; looks good so sent that out to the attendees, along with attendee list.
  • Reviewed my presentations one last time.
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    I’ve got to get some sleep. This is the beginning of a non-stop trip for me. It will involve client interaction non-stop and I will need to be “on” in terms of personality and presentation and meeting facilitation.

    I should have taken some vitamins last week. 🙂
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    December 5: A day of Balance!


    Another Monday. And it is a cold one. Red woke up screaming in her sleep (nightmare – she never woke up from it) so I did not get a good night’s sleep. I’m headed on the ferry now to work.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I had a race with Big Bro to see who could get dressed first. Big Bro and Red picked out their clothes last night so it was easy for him to pounce on his pile and change. He won.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky started screaming at each other over a roll of wrapping paper. I think Twin Crazy had it first, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I grabbed the paper and put it in the garage to avoid further conflict.
  • Twin Husky has a rash that is progressing across his body. I will call the doctor today and if it does not clear up by Wednesday I might take him in to see her.
  • It is frigid outside but Big Bro insists on wearing shorts and a short sleeve (superhero) shirt. I tried to get him to wear a long sleeved shirt under his spiderman shirt, but he rejected it. The poor kid is going to freeze his ass of this morning – hopefully it warms up in the afternoon.
  • Red was cute climbing from chair to chair today – the floor was “hot lava”
  • Twin Crazy was covered in oatmeal and seemed cranky until I cleaned her off. She is particular with dirt and gets really upset if her hands are dirty.
  • It was a rush to get out this morning; Hubby took Big Bro and Twins, I took Red. Red was clingy but smiling.
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    For work today I have some debrief conference calls and I also want to create a good first draft of the client deliverable. We have a meeting with the client on Thursday so I need to get the first draft done for a detailed review by the Partners. It will be a busy day.

    I’m on the ferry, it is cold outside, and I am tired. And hungry. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a hot breakfast this AM – that way I can fill up and focus on what I need to accomplish for the day.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I led several “debriefing” conference calls related to our forums and we continue to get great feedback and are thinking of ways to change the services and agenda for the forums. So these discussions have not been a waste of time.
  • I also had a good chunk of time to work on the client deliverable for our meeting on Thursday. I have only one meeting scheduled for tomorrow so will have more time to do the finishing touches.
  • Someone brought in a small holiday tree and I promptly began decorating it with office supplies, and a rubber chicken that was handed down to me from a retiring Director several years ago.
  • Work was great today. I like the office environment and people around people, the energy of the rush between meetings, coupled with several hours of “quiet time” where I can devote to getting work done. This was a working day with great balance between meetings and put your head down and work time.

    I’m now waiting for an appointment so will not get to see the kiddos tonight. Well, maybe Big Bro and Red if they are up by the time I get home. I will likely get a beer from an old fishing bar that I love while waiting for the ferry. It will be a Guinness. And I will love it. And will hopefully feel content with my life and how things are going.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    October 3: Off to the races….


    I am coming off of a wonderful weekend with the kids. On Sat we went to a fishing pier, looked at fisherman and their crabs, ate snacks, and ran away from bees. Later that night we went out to dinner. People were looking at me like I was crazy — one woman and 4 kids out to eat??!?!?!? They were all great; coloring all around and they devoured their food. Then we went to feed the ducks. On Sunday, I took them to a museum along the coast and learned about crabs – we walked out on tide pools and slipped in seaweed (Twin Crazy and Twin Husky slipped and wiped out head first – their hands and feet reaching in the air – it was too funny – I would have taken pictures but they were so upset I didn’t have time. I needed to rescue them). We had long naps and a quiet rest of the day.

    Today I had to wake up extremely early and leave for the airport – my flight was at 8 AM so I missed seeing everyone get up. I’ll be gone through Thursday evening – and will probably not see them in time before they go to bed.

    This is a week of two big meetings that I am responsible for, starting with tonight’s dinner all through Thursday afternoon. I’m ready, I think. I’m actually tired before it begins. I should have tried for more sleep last night.

    Well, that’s about all for now; I am in a taxi now headed to the hotel, will have a conference call in about 8 minutes that I will likely take from the taxi, need to meet with the consultant who is helping me with logistics and the data, get ready and go to a cocktail reception for attendees and then stay awake and get to know everybody over dinner. And THEN…. prepare my self to be “on” for tomorrow AM.

    Missing my kids already –

    – Mama K

    September 28: There’s nothing like a good Guinness


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    It’s fall. There are leaves on the ground. And our family is new to elementary school since Big Bro is 5 and new at Kindergarten. There is something so exhilarating with change. The change of the leaves, the crunch on your feet, the hustle and bustle of families with their children and backpacks getting ready for a new day at a new school. It brings back memories. I am so proud of my son and looking forward to his ever growing independence.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:
    * Red wakes up first, as expected. I sit with her for a while. We like it when I sit on the floor, her in my lap but facing me, cuddled into my body – her arms wrapped around me tight. If I’m wearing a pony-tail she playfully tugs at it or runs her fingers through my hair. We sit in silence as I rock her forward and back. This is our special time. This is her mommy time. And I give it to her every morning.
    * Downstairs, Twins and Red are eating oatmeal. This is fun now for the Twins. They each get their own bowls and spoons and really enjoy eating what their big sister eats. Red eats two whole bowls. The Twins are not far behind. Twin Husky is laughing and having fun – looking into his spoon at his reflection and enjoying himself. Twin Crazy needs some help. She asks for more but she already has stuff in there. She needs help tilting her bowl to scoop up the rest. I teach her this and then she seems happy.
    * Big Bro is having a hard time coming downstairs. He is just so tired in the morning. And this is true of this morning, despite his earlier bedtime. The lack of nap in Kindergarten is killing him. I need to find a way to get this kid to rest more, besides just earlier bedtime; the change in time will help, but it saddens me to think that my kids will be going to bed too early, after not interacting with them during the day. This is something I need to figure out.
    * Diaper changes with the Twins are their “mommy-time”. I REALLY enjoy this time with them. We get to look into each others eyes, I get to play with them and tickle them and talk to them. Twin Husky is busy practicing his new words and I tickle him to encourage it. I love their bellies. I love how Twin Husky is ticklish under his neck, and how Twin Crazy is ticklish in her thighs. As I diaper them, Big Bro is laying down on the floor with me, with his head in my lap. He needs more of me. I hug him intermittently as I diaper the Twins.
    * We are running REALLY late. I help to change Red and Big Bro. We get a bagel ready for Big Bro to eat in the car. I get their vitamins.
    * I can’t find the day bag for daycare; I can’t find Red’s jacket. I can’t find my shoes. I try to make instant coffee. OMG it is past 8 AM we are so late……
    * Hubby takes Red; I take Twins and Big Bro. I basically take the van and HAUL ASS to daycare. I mean, there were screeches from the tires of this minivan. I need to make up time! Twin Husky says “Bye Bye” to Big Bro on the way out. My heart melts.
    * I head to school to drop of Big Bro. While parking I screech on the curb. “Uh oh”…… I look in the rear-view mirror and Big Bro is laughing and so am I.
    * We head to the playground where the kids line up and it just looks so cute with all of these kids and their backpacks. Happy parents. I hug Big Bro and then run to the van so I can make the ferry on time.

    So now I’m on the ferry – it is a pretty day. I will need to lead several meetings today – one to sell membership into one of our new conferences, and one to review all the presentations for our first conference next week. This will be a good day – the logistics and securing speakers is something that has to be done, but it doesn’t really excite me until we actually secure the spot. The content is much more interesting to me and thinking through the implications to the audience – what does it mean for them? I hope I can see the connections today – if not, I’ll have to circle back with the presenters and make sure they draw those connections clearly during their presentation to the group.

    I will have a meeting tonight so Hubby is solo with the kids. These nights are hard for me since I miss out on the children and I get emotionally wiped out. But I need this meeting tonight.

    Highlights of my Working Day:
    I had one “sales” meeting for another forum we are launching. We received good feedback but need to re-evaluate the content for focus. I spent the rest of the day coordinating logistics, working on Agendas, reviewing presentations, and asking for more presentations. I’m looking forward to next week.

    Dinner and Bedtime:
    * Is a beer. I am mentally exhausted. The beer is cold, refreshing, and making me feel better. When I get home, hopefully the kids will be awake but I am not sure about this since they are getting tired earlier, and it is getting darker earlier.
    * Given that, I’ll probably just go to bed when I get home.

    Here’s to Guinness!

    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

    September 26: Pretty in Pink


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

    Highlights of the Morning:

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

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

    Highlights of my Working Day:

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

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

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

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

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