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
  • 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.










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.


Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

December 14: A lllllloooooonnnnnnngggggg Day

Wednesday. I usually work a 1/2 day from home. This was not one of those days. A meeting with a potential client could only be scheduled for today at 4 PM (we’ve been trying to schedule it unsuccessfully up til this point) so since I had to have the meeting at 4 PM, I decided to keep all kids in daycare/after-care and simply put my head down and get work done. But it started early, and it ended late – it’s 9:30 PM right now as I try to pull this post together.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Woke up extremely early since I had a 8 AM conference call scheduled with a client. I ran to the shower and tried to boogie to get myself together.
  • Red came into my room and was so cute how she was playing with her Christmas confetti from yesterday. She was treating each piece like it was gold. She spread all of the pieces out and then sorted them by color, then by shape, then made shapes out of the pieces…. all the while treating each piece carefully and not losing track of any of her treasure. It was so sweet how meticulous she was and how enraptured she became of the pieces and the games she was creating with the pieces. She’s getting savvy with me and my phone camera so refused to smile for a picture so I decided to capture her only her treasure in a photo, alone.
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  • I tried gently to get Big Bro up. He is not a morning person. The poor guy is always so tired in the morning; I’m convinced that this kid still needs an afternoon nap. In fact on weekends, he can nap for 4 hours without a problem (except getting him to fall asleep) on a Sat or Sun. The poor guy. I gathered clothes for Big Bro and Red, and then asked him to come downstairs with me and hold my hand. That seemed to work. I’m trying to be extra-sensitive to the “mommy-time” I give to each kid.
  • Once downstairs, the concept of a child’s “treasure” intrigued me. So I wanted to capture Twin Crazy’s treasure of thumb-sucking blankets and her bears that she needs for comfort, as well as Twin Husky’s “tiger” (he has two, one tiger and one white leopard). I was successful at capturing Twin Crazy, but she figured out her zippers so she is 1/2 clothed. As for Twin Husky, he started to unzip his PJs too but you can’t see it – the picture is awful because he was playing hard-to-get with me. But nonetheless, here are the Twins with their “treasures”.
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  • For Big Bro, I really didn’t capture any of his treasures but I can talk to them. He is very particular and an extremely opinionated and loyal child to his treasures. His Hess line of toy trucks, airplanes, race-car and digger are some of his favorites. He also treasures his scooter and the freedom it gives him to ride to school with him up ahead of me, but me close-by and following his lead. He likes to collect things and organize them. He also is into beads lately. He keeps his smaller treasures in an old diaper wipe container, the plastic kind with the push-top lid. He needs to sleep with a big pink teddy bear (that was given to us when Red was born) and Bullseye, the trusted horse in Toy Story (I call him “that horsie-guy). And now I know what images I can share with you:
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  • We were very rushed this morning. Running around like mad trying to get kids fed, dressed, and out of the door in a reasonable time so Hubby could do the three drop offs, I could make my 8 AM call, and he could get to the ferry by 8:30. Thankfully my phone was on and I noticed that my 8 AM call was pushed to 8:30; So I gathered Red, and Hubby gathered Big Bro and the Twins, and we were off. There was no way Hubby would have ever made it if my call was not pushed back. Tension was high particularly between Hubby and Big Bro — being rushed while tired is not a good combination for the little guy.
  • Red’s drop-off went great. Her performance at pre-school is tomorrow where they sing songs for the parents. I encouraged her to sing real loudly so that the back wall can hear her. I told her I was proud that she knows all of the words and am so excited for her – it will be a fun game for her and her friends to sing real loud and let the words just come out of their bodies. I hope she does OK….. this will be the first time for her in this sort of thing…..
  • I raced home and refilled my coffee, booted up my computer, and started to dial-in to the conference call that I was leading – hoping that my computer would get going already so I could access the key document that I need to have on hand….

Highlights of My Working Day:

  • 8:30 conference call with a client to get feedback from our meetings; again, he offered good, practical suggestions to provide more value to him and likely the group at large.
  • 9:00 conference call with a potential partner who we may be working with to develop a new forum which we are pretty excited about. If it succeeds, it can be a game-changer in the industry. This person called me so we could talk about what the day could look like and what story needs to be communicated to get these potential participants to agree to collaborate and work together — if so, we create another forum for our firm, one which could actually get a lot of visibility in the market…. I really want and need this to happen. So will work hard to make this first meeting (hopefully in the Spring, aligned with our other forums) a success.
  • 10:30 conference call with a Director about logistics, hotel deposits, and how much we are willing to “invest” in the above mentioned effort should our participation rate be lower than expected. Sounds like we have a good plan.
  • In between meetings I started pulling meeting minutes together from our last forums – these really should have been done much, much earlier but I got side-tracked on the one-on-one debrief sessions with our clients. I get much more charged out of speaking with clients and getting frank feedback to make things better, versus putting boring meeting minutes together. But they are important. And must be done. Soon. So I started on them.
  • Had breakfast/lunch. Soup and leftover cous-cous from the night before.
  • 1:30 conference call with a client; he wants more specifics and detail in the deliverable I sent to him, which will require more time – I thought about the extra time and decided to make him happy. I’d rather have a happy client versus one that is disgruntled, especially if it is only going to take me 4-6 extra hours of work. I can deal with that. I mobilized an Analyst to help me with some of the tactical things of converting PowerPoint content to Excel and then I started fleshing out one area of the deliverable to send to the client to see if the further detail was what he was expecting. Hopefully he won’t require much more. If he is OK with it then I will finish of the work with him next week.
  • 2:30 conference call with a Director and an Analyst to talk about a proposal we are completing. We got the Analyst to start pulling the proposal together based upon prior work that we did for the client 2 years ago. Essentially they want the same work but “refreshed” so she can leverage that first proposal as a starting point for us to review early next week.
  • 4:00 conference call with a prospective member of one of our forums. So it was a debrief session as well as a “sales” meeting. He cannot commit just yet, but needs more information from us; I invited him to come to our next meeting again as a guest to hopefully push him over the line. I need to convert these “guests” into real clients!!!
  • I was tired from the day. I didn’t eat much. I was tired and starving. I got the kitchen ready for cooking for when I came home with the kids. A pot of water was sitting on the stove, chicken nuggets were waiting in the toaster oven, the frozen veggies were sitting in a bowl in the microwave. All ready to go for when I arrived with four little ones…

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Red. She was busy with her friends and they were “reading” books. She was holding a book like a teacher with the pages facing outward and “reading” to her friends. I heard her little, loud voice from across the room. I couldn’t get my camera ready in time to take a picture though… pity – it was too cute.
  • The ride with Red was beautiful since the sun was setting. We pulled over to enjoy the view.
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  • Pick ups for the rest of the kids went fine; we looked at the holiday lights on the houses. I gathered all the kids inside and powered up the stove, microwave, and toaster oven. I was solo tonight since Hubby was out after work and I wanted things to go smoothly. All kids ate an enormous amount of food – I couldn’t believe it. I had to tell them to listen to their bodies and stop eating when you feel full. They were just going nuts. They started eating off of my plate – Twin Crazy, Big Bro, and Red as a joke but they kept going. It was seriously out of control.
  • After dinner they played around a bit while I started clean up; I also started to put together a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda for chemical-free cleaning. The problem was that I didn’t know the correct measurement. So the bottle seriously started to expand and almost explode. The tension inside of the bottle was fierce. I loosened up the cap and it was a volcano. The stuff was exploding through every single crevice of the bottle. I thought a small piece like a nozzle or something was going to fly off. Me and Big Bro were mesmerized by it. He thought of the volcano experiments we did in the summertime and both of us started laughing. We had a few squirts left of the cleaning mixture when all was said and done, and we had a good time explaining the story to our mother’s helper when she (finally) arrived.
  • I played with the kids. We did horsie-back rides. The kids were waiting in line on a chair waiting for their turn. This is the only exercise I get. Running around the house with kids on my back. They were really cute though all screaming for horsie-back rides (even the Twins, saying all three words) and waiting their turn.
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  • We then cleaned up all of the toys – I put each kid on a “job”. Twin Crazy was on balls, Big Bro was on folding blanket, Red was on kitchen toys, and Twin Husky was just wandering and trying to help but taking things out instead. The “responsibility boards” are working REALLY well – “pick up toys” is one of the things that we are tracking so all kids were eager to do this activity, with my guidance and encouragement….
  • Bedtime was a breeze with everyone. I felt like I really spent good, quality of time with each of the kids which helps out a lot. I took my time with them, read stories and kept the routine on track. Twins were asleep in no time. Bigger kids were completely cooperating with me – no tantrums, no power-plays. Teeth brushed, PJs on, responsibility board discussed and magnets given out, and books being read when Hubby came in. I spent extra time with Big Bro’s book talking about the characters and situations and their feelings. I asked him to talk about situations when he had those same feelings. This is hard for him to do, as his teacher discussed in our parent/teacher conference. I need to pull more out of him through story-time so that he can practice more and build his self-confidence so he can better participate at school. I’m really working on this with him and am hoping that he’s not “on” to me too much; I don’t want to pressure him.
  • After the kids were all in bed I ran to a neighbors house and grabbed some clothes for Big Bro and Red (thanks Mama L!!!). By the time I was home it was 9 PM. And I started this at 9:30 PM. And now I’m off to sleep!

    So it was a very busy day, but I really enjoyed getting work done while at home, and also enjoyed my alone time with the kids tonight. They were great – ate like champs, listened, and we had minimal fights tonight. I think I’ll get a good night’s sleep, which I will need for tomorrow….. a big day. Red’s performance. Yikes!

    Until tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    November 8: So much happening!

    Chocolate Tuesday! That meant that Big Bro was up and ready. We woke up to all of the kids up at the same time.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • I gave big hugs and kisses to everyone in the morning. This is a little thing that I do without fail, for each of them, every day. I even used to sing a song for it, but now with so many kids it would take too long….
    • At one point in the morning before I got into the shower, I looked at the kids and it was the funniest thing. They were all standing shoulder to shoulder, just watching me as I got my things together to get ready to get to the shower. It was so strange yet so cute. 8 big eyeballs focused on my every movement. I felt like I was on stage. I thought a perfect picture opportunity but by the time I got the camera the older ones (wiser) were out of there and I only had the Twins left in position.
    • Breakfast was great for all; Chocolate Tuesdays are always a bit easier than the other days. Twin Crazy was already dressed but she had oatmeal all down herself. She is getting very particular about being dirty, especially her hands. So she was reasonably upset. I gathered another set of clothes for her and got her changed when she was ready.
    • I gathered clothes for Big Bro and Red and had such a hard time getting them dressed. They kept rejecting the outfits. I know we have better luck when they pick out their clothes, but we will need to do this the night before just for logistics. I’ll try that tonight. Get them to pick out their stuff and I’ll have everything ready downstairs for the next morning.
    • We were running a bit late so we divided the drop offs. Hubby did Big Bro and the Twins. I dropped off Red. We took our time. I had a alot of extra hairbands on my wrist so I had her pick out her hairband for today and also she wanted extras to be kept at school. We wet her hair in her school bathroom and she showed me all of the pottys. And the wall where you line up and wait. She had fun showing me these things. I wet her hair and then I sat her down and took my time putting her hair into a pony-tail. Probably too much time. But I enjoyed this time with her. She then picked out the hairband for me to wear today. She gave me lots of hugs on my way out. I told her I wanted to “bottle them up”. She wouldn’t stop. I then suggested she give her teacher some hugs. That was a good transition for me to leave her room.
    • Her school is closed this Friday so I am looking forward to spending more time with her. I will take the day off if my reduced work-week is not approved by then.

    Now I’m on the ferry, the sun is out but it is cold. I feel like I had sufficient time with Red today but felt rushed with the rest. I feel a bit empty on those mornings when I do not connect with each of them in some special way. I helped Twin Crazy get clean, and joked with Big Bro about how he doesn’t want to kiss or hug me in front of his friends, but poor Twin Husky was a bit out of my reach this morning. I helped him when his leg get stuck in a chair but that was basically it. I’ll want to spend extra time with him tonight.

    For work today, I have several meetings set up but I don’t remember what they are for. I will also need to start on project work, and I really need to close up loose ends with the meetings that just passed. It should be a busy day.

    HIghlights of My Working Day:
    OMG so much happened today that I am really not sure where to begin. I just walked onto the ferry for home with the biggest smile on my face.

    • I had a quick meeting today to plan for a client project that I will be delivering. We talked about potential sources of information and people in the industry that we need to talk to, to get the information we need to complete the project. My colleague also found an AMAZING source document that will be the basis from which to start the work. I was drooling over it. It was the kind of thing that I want to close my door and read and immediately create the working documents that will serve as our deliverable. It was terrific. I will have fun with this project.
    • I also lead a team meeting for a firm initiative that we are partnering with; essentially we need to rethink our approach to our service offering based upon conversations we’ve (I’ve) had with potential members/clients. We need to think through the target audience and also clearly define how our offering will be different from others based upon our new thinking of approach. I put myself on the line to modify our sales materials and distribute to the team so that we can secure more clients to participate in the effort. It was another successful call and I feel hopeful for this initiative. It would involve more meeting planning and travel – but more client facing and relationship building, which I am excited about. I would also get credit for the sales initiative and developing a service offering from scratch.
    • I spent some time looking through a “Request for Proposal” and thinking through our firm’s questions for clarification, which are due on Thursday. The Director has asked me to consolidate the questions and send off to the client by due date — so he is pointing to me to lead the client management for this proposal.
    • I had a discussion with two Directors about my proposal for reduced workweek. Both support what I want to do, but both raise risks/concerns about me being out of sight out of mind. They therefore want me to be in the office for 2 of the 3 working days. They also want me to continue being aggressive with sales – this will be important for my personal development as well as the growth of the office. They see me as part of our office/firm leadership and they want me to make sure that I am aggressive and use my time wisely to be client facing and team facing. They don’t want me to back down on my approach to sales. They think I have what it takes play a bigger role in office management – even with the reduction in work week! I am so psyched about how things are working out for me – they definitely value my contribution and they NEED ME and WANT ME to stay, to continue to grow, and continue to work with our clients to build a strong management presence in our office. So happy. Really. So happy.

    So I am on the ferry now with a huge weight lifted off of my chest. This has been a long time coming. My company has been so patient with me. I have devoted 8 1/2 years to them and had to prove myself in different ways but also prove that I am VALUED, versatile, and willing to work together as a team to think through a working arrangement that will benefit me, my family, my children, and the company. I FEEL LIKE CELEBRATING!!!!!!!!!!

    Hoooo-hummm. But now what do I do for dinner?!?!?!? My poor kiddos. I’ll get better at this, really. What do I do with my Twins this Thursday and Friday?!??!?!?! The zoo, visit to the city, aquarium, hmmmmmm – the possibilities are ENDLESS.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I picked up Red first and for some reason she burst into tears. She must have had a hard day for some reason. The teachers couldn’t really explain it. Then was the pick up for Big Bro and the Twins.
    • I cooked a REALLY quick dinner of mac-n-cheese, frozen peas, and frozen shrimp. Big Bro made “name tags” for the family and set them at the table where each person would sit. Red helped mix the cheese powder with milk. Twin Crazy was busy drinking (and spilling) water out of a cup. Twin Husky was playing with a pot and had some water in it so he felt like he was cooking too. Before you knew it, the dinner was ready and the kids were done eating at 6:15!!!
    • Afterwards we colored (Twins!), did puzzles, ran around with soccer balls, danced, and drank chocolate milk.
    • The Twins love brushing their teeth.
    • Red got upset that I forgot to give her a second half of a banana. My heart broke because of HOW she said it. The anguish in her voice and her face just broke my heart. I had to explain to her that I forgot to give her the other half of the banana — it wasn’t HER, it was ME. I forgot by accident, not on purpose, and that I was so sorry. I held her in the kitchen as she ate a banana and she looked at me with such a smile on her face. I wanted that moment to last so I was slow as I walked her up the stairs.

    Now I’m on the couch thinking back on the day, thinking about tomorrow (I will be quite busy), and also thinking about Thursday and Friday — what to do with the kids?!?!?!?! I’m excited.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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