July 25: Reuniting with the artists

Wednesday is the only day of the week that I am truly a “working mother”, where I actually have chunks of my day devoted to both roles.   Let me tell you.  It started out good, really good.  Then sucked.  Really sucked.   Then OK.  And then I got the kids and my day turned completely around.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up and immediately started organizing and taking out the trash bins.   I got home late last night, in the dark, so couldn’t get to this last night.  So there I was in my PJs walking my grounds grabbing gardening clippings and old sprinkler hoses and looking at the morning sun and breathing the crisp air while dodging the chickens.   I also packed down boxes from the IKEA office that is being assembled.
  • I got through a LOT of emails since I worked late last night to organize these upcoming meetings in Fall.  I received a speaker confirmation from a big industry player so am thrilled – and had a great conversation with him on the phone.  I love the fact that these people call me.  They call me back!   And I can sell the opportunity on-the-fly and convince this industry leader that it makes sense for him to come to MY meeting!   I love it.  I was pumped.
  • And then I had to leave for a mediation appointment.   I just can’t go there.   I completely do not trust this man.   And now our agreement on an improved daycare situation for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky is in jeopardy because of cost.  No kidding it’s expensive to live out here with daycare with four kids.  NOW HE GETS IT???!?!?!?!??!?!?    I sat there and all of the arguments that I was trying to convince him of about the unaffordability of this place were thrown back at me during this meeting.  By him AND our mediator.   Our mediator was shocked at the amount of money we spend in daycare.  No kidding.    It’s again like throwing salt in the wounds that are trying to heal.  I know this already.  I was pleading for years.   And here we are.   No resolutions so we may be in court next week.
  • Afterwards, I drove to the kids neighborhood but I worked in a local Starbucks.  I love that place.  I got a TON of stuff done.  Lots of coordination and follow up that I needed to attack and I really was so productive.   I then went to pick up the kids.

The Rest of the Day:

  • I showed up at Big Bro and Red’s daycare and was a bit shocked at their art fair.  I didn’t know it was happening.  But the classes each created art for auction to raise money for the school.  Big Bro’s class did photography.  He took a picture of ducks swimming.   Red’s class did pasta painting.  She created a colorful flower out of colored pasta.  They were more interested in eating the food (grapes and goldfish) but they also were proud of their art.  So was I.
  • Pick up with the Twins was hysterical.  Both were screaming Mommy Mommy Mommy!!!!!!   Twin Husky was so excited that he kept throwing his Tiger up in the air.  He kept doing it over and over again and his little body was catapaulting the stuffed Tigers all over the place.  So cute.  Twin Crazy was also excited and giving lots of hugs and kisses.  Twin Husky is using more of his words and he said “Mommy come over here” and he wanted to show me a bug.  It was a rolly-polly.  I told them that if they touch it, it will turn into a ball.  So I did and we were all laughing.  And then Twin Husky, clueless as usual, tried it as well but wound up smashing it all over the sidewalk.  Poor thing.
  • On the ride home we did not have any music but all talked.  Twin Crazy is amazingly verbal.  She was having full blown conversations about the guinea pig and the animals at the house and how we lock the doors to stay safe and how foxes eat chickens and on and on and on….   We talked about the motorcycles and how they weave along lanes of cars in traffic and how that can be dangerous.  We talked about the commuter train.  We talked about motorcyclists who were driving more safe than others.  We talked about how I saw deer on the road the other day.  We talked about the fog.  We talked a lot but I think Twin Crazy honestly did most of the talking.
  • At home I started on dinner and the kids went with me to get the mail.   We met neighbors walking their dog Rocco – a huge friendly dog that scared Twin Husky but thrilled Twin Crazy.   Red kept wanting to “do something” with me; we settled on Legos and I was going back and forth with Big Bro and Red while the Twins were outside talking and raking chicken poop.
  • Kids ate well.   We had smoothies for dessert.
  • Afterwards we did more Legos, and also drew.  Twin Husky and Twin Crazy were very proud of their art.  We hung everything on an “art wall” that I have in the kitchen and they were excited.  Red was coloring and I handed her the colors for her work.
  • Bedtime went really well.  They all listened with brushing teeth.  Twin Crazy and Twin Husky can now “spit” so I guess I can start them on real toothpaste tomorrow night.   All kids were good with books and all kids settled into bed reasonably fast.   It was a good night.

One thing that I’m really struck by is the difference in the Twins each Wednesday when I see them.  Only 3 days have gone by, but they are different.  Honestly.  I can’t believe how talkative Twin Crazy was tonight.  

I got soooooo much attention from all the kids.  I love Wednesdays.   I felt super productive at work – even though it was only a 1/2 day for me – and was reunited with the kids.   I can go to sleep happy tonight despite the mediation morning, which sucked royally.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

September 19: Sweet reunions

Today was amazing because our family was re-united after our vacation with only a sub-set of our kids.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Both Hubby and I shower and get ready very quickly this AM because we both want to see Twin Husky and Twin Crazy together.   We were not able to see them last night when we returned from vacation – it was too late and it was past their bedtime.  So this morning is our reunion.
  • We are a bit disappointed when we find out that Big Bro and Red stole our thunder…. they are already in the Twins’ room playing and carrying on – the Twins are squealing with delight at them.  It seems like they have forgotten about me and Hubby altogether but then Twin Crazy clues in and gets very excited to see us – all smiles.  Twin Husky is a bit subdued – it turns out he is feverish (poor guy).
  • The morning was fun – I am having a great time with the kids, taking it slow since I will work from home today.   This means a more leisurely pace in the AM.   More time to connect with each of the kids.   They are all eating together at the kitchen table and honestly seem so happy to be all together again.
  • I organize clothes for Big Bro and Red; I help Big Bro with finding directions for his new Transformer toy; I kiss the Twins’ bellies during their diaper changes.   It is a wonderful morning – kids are cooperating.
  • Big Bro is a bit feverish so I give him some medicine; I plan to pick him up after Kindergarten and before after-care so he can get more rest.
  • OK time to go!   All kids run to garage; big kids are in their seats and buckled in; Twins are cooperating with shoes and getting into their seats easily.
  • 1st drop off:  Twins.   Twin Husky bursts into tears and he does not want to be separated from us.   😦
  • 2nd drop off:   Big Bro.  Hubby runs him in while I wait in the car with Red.
  • 3rd drop off:  Hubby at Ferry terminal.
  • 4th drop off:  Red.   I stay with her for a bit but she has a hard time saying goodbye.  She is in tears and I have to pry my arm away from her.   😦
  • I head home to start my working day.   First I make a huge pot of coffee and then start some laundry.  I call my mom to check in.  I eat the kids leftover breakfasts.  I organize my work and computer – I’m ready to begin my workday.
Highlights of my Working Day:
  • Anytime I return from a vacation I have to plow through a lot of emails; however this time was unforgiving since my predecessor has left the company and I am now taking over her role.  I did not realize all the communications she has managed.  We have two forums coming up VERY soon and there is a lot of communication going on in all directions over that (now all sent to me).  We have another two forums next month which I’m also getting emails on.  Finally, there are several forums in development so I’m involved in all of that too.   There are a slew of emails as well from my predecessor so that I have everything I need.   The problem is that I feel a bit overwhelmed.    I know that it is just a matter of organizing everything and figuring out what needs to be done with each forum, but coming back to all of this on the first day back is a bit frightening…. so I dive in.
  • I spent several hours going through the email box and figuring out which items are “FYI” versus those that I needed to act upon.   I then slowly tried to address the items one by one.   I was going slowly…. kind of like learning how to ride a bike.   It is easy once you have the system down but getting used to it takes some time and you fumble a bit… that was me today, fumbling around a bit unorganized.
  • I put in more laundry when I need a break.
  • I pick up Big Bro from Kindergarten at 1:30; he watches movies and plays with games on my iPad while I continue to work/sludge through emails.
  • I update go to market activities for two newer forums – and prepare for a conference call that I will need to lead for tomorrow.
  • I review contracts from the consultancy we partnered with last month – it seems like we are formalizing our working relationship with one another.
  • I think about dinner and start the prep before picking up any kids; I defrost some meat, organize a pot with water for a side pasta, and get other items ready and cleaned up before the rest of the kids get here.
  • OK – time to get the rest of them!   Big Bro is excited to get them too.
Dinner and Bedtime:
  • Red is leaping with joy and all smiles when we pick her up.  She loves her pre-school.  I am so happy for her.  Everyone was asking about our vacation and they mentioned that she was talking about swimming A LOT during the day.
  • Twins are happy to see us but poor Twin Husky looks miserable.  He is sick.  He is also asking for Daddy and walks right past me!!!
  • During dinner prep the kids are all playing with each other – Twin Husky tends to wander off by himself since he’s a bit out of it.   They generally though are laughing and playing and reconnecting.   Twin Crazy is squealing and laughing with her older siblings.
  • There are some tears from the Twins when they hear words like “Daddy” and also “bath”.   They repeat these words very clearly and cry — expressing their desires.   They are such little people and I am so proud of them!!
  • All eat well.   All food is consumed and there is nothing left.   Twins are very talkative.  Twin Crazy:  “I did it” as she uses her fork.   Twin Husky:  “Spoon” when he gives up on his fork.   How much they’ve changed in the 6 days we’ve been away!!!
  • Hubby comes home and now we are all together
  • We play and laugh and hug a bit; but the kids seem tired (especially Big Bro and Twin Husky)
  • I give them medicine; Big Bro runs right upstairs to bed and is the first to pass out.  Twins are next; they are eager for sleep.  Red is last, very spunky and sassy.   We whisper in her room so as not to wake up Big Bro.
So all kids were down by 7:45 PM tonight; I feel bad that both my boys are sick.  I will probably work from home again tomorrow if either of them needs medicine in the middle of the night or are feverish in the AM.   It is on days like this when I love the flexibility of my job.
I had a wonderful day today.   I had a leisurely morning, was able to spend extra time with Big Bro, started my new responsibilities at work, and orchestrated all kids by myself at the end of the day including dinner prep.  The kids seemed VERY happy despite being sick and it just feels so good to be back together again.    I can definitely feel a difference in my stress and happiness levels on days when I am able to work from home; I need to build this into my new job description more formally over the next several weeks.
Gotta go and relax now with Hubby.
Till tomorrow –
– Mama K

August 11: Flying high and evening reunion

Today will be a very unusual day in our household.   I am taking a day-trip flight to present our findings and recommendations to a client audience of 15 people including the Senior EVP.   This means that I had little to no time with my kids this AM – only Red was awake (sortof) when I left the house…and hubby had to do the morning routine and get 4 kids out all on his own…

Highlights of the Morning and “Commute”

  • I woke up much earlier than normal.   Showered, and ran downstairs to make some instant coffee.  I got dressed in a dress and black blazer, and actually blow dried my hair to make it more presentable.
  • Red woke up during this time.   She is always the early riser of the bunch.   She was a bit cranky.
  • Big Bro last night asked me to leave him a note with the names of the games on my iPad – I downloaded some and then wrote the note as I promised.   So I left the note for him by his bed.  I also left a note for Red – “I ♥ you   – Mommy
  • Since she was cranky we went back into her room to find her note.   I sat with her and read it to her and told her Big Bro received a note so I HAD to leave a note for her too.   She looked at me and started to smile – still holding it in but then jumped on my lap and gave me the biggest hug.    That made my morning and the feeling will help me through the morning since I didn’t have time with my other children.
  • The ride to the airport was easy – we live very close.  I parked in the hourly parking lot.
  • Got the ticket at the kiosk – business select – breezed through security
  • Grabbed fruit, yogurt, coffee, and juice – the best breakfast ever.   I ACTUALLY ATE!!!    AND I DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANYONE EXCEPT FOR MYSELF!!!
  • Make up in bathroom (this I guess was part of my usual routine — but there was lots more counter-space and lots more light)
  • Now on flight.   And its quiet!   I don’t have any kids jumping around or trying to run down the isles or looking behind or kicking the seat in front or needing an activity or complaining that they are hungry/thirsty/tired!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • However, I do need to prepare for a major presentation I will give 3 hours from now.
  • Text from Hubby:   “Everyone was in a bad mood.   [Red] crying and not eating.  Twins fighting over yogurt…. spilling all over.   Dad exhausted and heading into long day.  [Big Bro] was sleeping in and ok.”
  • And another coffee on flight… my third…. yes I’m flying high at this point
Highlights of my Working Day:
  • Met up with Director and grabbed a taxi to the client.
  • Looked through presentation and made some last notes to myself for talking points.
  • Met with client 1/2 hour before the meeting so she could give last minute guidance; also sold the concept of another project to her and she is excited and completely on board.  She needs to coordinate with some others in the organization but it looks like we can add them to our list of interested participants in the study we are jointly conducting with our partner.   YEAH!!!
  • Had a 1 hour presentation where we presented some very sensitive material.   I tactfully handled areas of sensitivity that I knew of, however there was a person on the phone who was not part of the process at all and was extremely defensive.   We were challenged by him since 1) we tried to include him in our previous interviews/discussions but he sent a proxy instead — so he was working with us on the first time with a lot of these issues; and 2) he was on the phone and not face-to-face.   Face to face with these kinds of meetings is so much better so you can establish actual connections to the people.   In the end though the leadership gave us high accolades, again, so we felt good about the work.
  • At this point it’s 1:30 — grab taxi to airport.   We’re at different terminals, so I’m on my own.  Go thru security, I’m starved…
  • Grab lunch — pizza, and a BIG heffeweisen beer.   I’m psyched.    During lunch/beer I start writing the proposal that is due this week.   I actually made a lot of progress and then realized my flight was boarding so quickly closed down and ran to the gate

Work and beer go together wonderfully

  • Continued the proposal on the plane; talked business with the guy next to me — he had some ideas for this Blog so I am grateful for meeting him.
  • Grabbed another beer — the day is getting better and better.
  • Grab car – head home.   I go to ferry station to drop off the Audi and pick up the mini-van.
  • Head home and continue to work on the proposal for another hour.   Get it to a point where I can email to a Director on East Coast so he will look at it and then give me his feedback (he is 3 hours ahead of me which works well).
  • Talk to Hubby.   The plan is for me to pick up the kids and get to the ferry station in time for them to see the boat arrive.   I’m on my way!!!
Dinner and Bedtime:
  • Pick up kids — WHAT A REUNION.    I did not see them a lot the previous night, and definitely didn’t see them in the morning.  So this was fun.  Big Bro was talking about the note I left for him.  He likes it and said he’s always going to keep it.   I have to write him more notes [feeling guilty…]
  • Red was wearing her pajamas from the night before – I guess Hubby had a hard time dressing her this AM.    Then I notice that Big Bro is wearing the same shirt as yesterday (that he also slept in).   I’m wondering if he at least changed his underwear and socks?   Oh well.
  • Ferry came in and all kids were fixated on the boat, and seeing Daddy.
  • At home with everyone!    I played with kids; tickled, hugged, laughed, ran, I love the reunions.
  • Red needed to pee and wanted privacy; Twin Crazy was running around; Big Bro was playing with a beach-ball “globe”; Twin Husky was cranky — wanting Daddy and his doggie blanket.
  • Dinner went great; Big Bro ate like a champ.   Hubby brought out mangos which were a hit
  • Afterwards we played – animals, balls, cars — and the kids all helped putting toys away
  • All kids went to sleep quickly
So, it was an unusual travel day with significant work presentations… hubby had to pick up the slack in the AM for me to be able to even do any of this.    The kids looked good and healthy – they were a bit smelly from old clothes but that is the least of my concerns.   We were happy to be back together and getting back into our normal routine together.
All in all a very good day –
Till tomorrow,
– Mama K
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