March 27: Lots of rain but no heat.

Rain! Rain! Rain! I’m moving slowly this AM. A bit from the rainy gray day, and also lack of sleep. Red was up crying last night at 1 AM and co-Parent was barely getting out of bed. She went right back to sleep but the heat was not on!!! [How much money does it really save to keep the heat off during the night?] It was 62 degrees in the house! So we were moving kindof slow today, and now ALL FOUR KIDS are sick. Sneezes, runny noses.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Chocolate Tuesday!! Twins were happy eating, even though they were sneezing intermittently.
  • Red and Big Bro were still upstairs, slumbering. It was hard to get Red up. She was moody. I had trouble with her picking out her clothes [this should be done the night before]. She had issues with the shirt, the pants. I sat with her and talked with her. I told her I felt tired. And a little bit sick. And that sometimes its hard to get moving in the morning when you feel that way. But I said I was going to eat breakfast to give me some energy (I usually don’t eat at home – lack of time). I asked her if she could help me pick out my breakfast (cream of wheat packets) and that I would eat if she would too. That seemed to work. She embraced me and we went downstairs together with her pile of clothes.
  • Red picked out my breakfast and she got ready for Chocolate Tuesday.
  • I took Twin Crazy to the potty for positive reinforcement. I told her how proud of her I am. Her face squishes up in a big smile whenever I say that. She is doing soooooooo good with potty training. Hopefully she does well today.
  • I next went to work on Big Bro. He was upstairs still in bed. I mentioned Chocolate Tuesday. He still wasn’t moving quickly. I talked about last night and how he went to sleep late and that’s why he must feel a bit tired this morning (and I do too). Then we started talking about the funny things from last night… how Red was asking in the monitor “[Big Bro], where are you?”…. and “Mommy….. I’m scared.” And we talked about how I hear them at night when they are talking to each other as they go to sleep and how I laugh when I hear them laugh and say funny things. We both were laughing at that. I put a pile of clothes together for him (favorite pair of jeans) and gave him privacy to get changed upstairs by himself.
  • I ate breakfast!!!
  • Got Big Bro’s breakfast
  • Dished out the vitamins for all of the sick kids
  • Helped Big Bro with his sneakers (our little together time)
  • Helped Red get changed; she had her backpack ready.
  • Found out that the Motley Crew was still going to RIDE today so we got Big Bro’s helmet on and off he went. I text with the other mommy which makes things really easy in the morning.
  • I packed up the Twin bag and Co-parent dropped off Twins.
  • I dropped off Red and we made a quick pit-stop to the bathroom to wipe off the chocolate off of her face. I like this one-one time with her. I took my time wiping off her face and was gentle with her. We talked about how Twin Crazy likes to wipe our faces and laughed about that. We walked into her classroom and again she was proud of her HUGE backpack. Once we got there, I realized that she showed up to school with FOUR jackets…. two spring jackets, one fleece, and one raincoat. All but one shoved in her backpack. Too cute.
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    I arrived in the Ferry parking lot a bit early, was able to get a parking spot without a problem. Then the rain started. I sat there for a bit since I was early. I checked my email. I wondered how Big Bro’s ride was going and that hopefully they reached the school in time.

    Now I’m on the ferry and it is bumpy. It’s supposed to rain the rest of the week. I will be busy again today. I have seven meetings today and am overbooked for two of them — 3 related to forum planning, 2 related to client project, one performance review (mine), one firm-wide staff meeting/conference call. PLUS I need to still get work complete for a different client project. It will likely be quite impossible. I’ll have to lug that binder back home and focus on that tomorrow, I betcha.

    Highlights of the Working Day:
    Another busy day —

  • 2 planning meetings for forums;
  • 1 interview with a potential speaker – we are going to bring her in for the Fall, but not for the Spring since her data will be more relevant then
  • 1 primary interview for the client project
  • 1 status meeting with the client to preview initial insights from interviews and our refined thinking of the quantitative analysis
  • my annual review. It was OK. 2011 sucked and my review reflected that. But my new role with the forums is working and they will continue to focus me in that area, while allowing me the time to cultivate client relationships/project sales, but also reducing my direct involvement with project delivery. I have to keep myself focused on work and on the kids. I need for both of these aspects to stay on track – I will worry about myself later. Overall I’m pretty satisfied with the discussion.
  • So now I’m on the ferry and it is a completely rough ride. We are tossing and turning all over the place and its actually quite fun. We’re hitting big swells and I’m getting that negative g-force feeling in my stomach. Fun.

    I’m looking forward to an evening with the kids. Not sure about dinner – I have not planned that far in advance. Maybe fish since that cooks up quickly in the oven, even frozen.

    Dinner and Bedtime:
    Rain, rain, rain…

  • I picked up Red in a downpour. She wore her cute little cat raincoat.
  • We picked up Twins next. And then Big Bro. Big Bro and I ran through the rain to get his bike. We were both soaked by the time I loaded it into the trunk. Looks like we’ll be dropping him off tomorrow – we’re expecting rain the rest of the week.
  • I got everyone home and started dinner. Red was having multiple breakdowns. Crying and not talking. Not communicating the issue. She gets that way sometimes. I think the lack of sleep and feeling sick are impacting her today.
  • We found two different spiders and the kids went nuts looking at them each. I was brave and got some paper and collected the scared creatures and returned them outside. I probably drowned the poor things – they were probably escaping the rain; we rarely see spiders at all inside the house.
  • Kids ate reasonably well. Red had one or two tantrums.
  • Twin Husky has been crying on and off all night too.
  • Big Bro has been teasing a bit.
  • Co-parent is playing with the kids on the floor. He’s actually awake. No… wait… he just put his head down and is now snoozing with the kids around him. Typical. He’s just laying on the floor with his eyes closed with all of these kids surrounding him. It makes me ill.
  • Twin Crazy just came over to me for a visit. I’m going to play with her now.
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    I’m sitting down, feeling like crap. I can barely swallow. My head is pounding. My throat hurts and my nose is running. I’m achy. I want to curl up and make this go away. I can’t stand the sound of his voice.

  • I had bedtime with Big Bro and Red. It was really fast. Twin Crazy paid us a visit and sat on Big Bro’s lap for a bit during booktime. Big Bro was trying to get me to read a second book and I wouldn’t give in. Red was acting playful despite the lack of sleep. Big Bro looked exhausted. I tucked them both in, gave them their kisses, and headed out the door.
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    So I’m downstairs now, feeling like poop. I just ate a huge bowl of ice-cream with Rice Krispies mixed in (my favorite). This is not a very healthy living environment. I feel like this is my bear den and my cubs are upstairs too far away from me. I want to fast forward. Red is crying. Let me go to her.

    After talking, reassuring, laughing, more hugging, and I love yous, it is now 9 PM and this child has started to cry again. Wish me luck tonight.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    March 21: Big milestones!!!

    Red is screaming for me right now as I type this. Ugggh.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Twin Crazy was excited to wear her new shirt from Nana. Red picked it out for her and Twin Crazy was acting silly and waving her arms wearing it.
  • Big Bro was trying to scare her along the way.
  • Kids got dressed and ready without any problems.
  • Big Bro rode his bike with the Motley Crew, I dropped of Twin Crazy/Twin Husky, and then Red.
  • I drove back home to work for the 1/2 day.
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    Highlights of My Working Day:
    [note: Red is still screaming for me….]

  • I made a pot of coffee, ate breakfast, loaded the dishwasher, and got my computer and phones out.
  • I had a conference call regarding a survey that we need to do for one of the meetings in April. I suggested ways to improve efficiencies and then lined up a resource to load the questions into Zoomerang. I need to look at the output PowerPoint pages since there seems to be a lot of manual, tedious work there that doesn’t need to be done…. I need to focus on presentation in the next week. But for now, the questionnaire will be executed through Zoomerang.
  • I secured a speaker and potential new member for one of the forums!!! YES!!! I’m psyched.
  • I had to answer numerous emails related to client work and forums. This trouble-shooting occurred throughout the day.
  • [Red is still screaming…. Mommy, mommy, mommy….. my Co-parent assumes the crying will just stop]

  • I had some appointments the rest of the day.
  • Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Red, Twins, and Big Bro. While waiting for Big Bro to get his bike, Twin Husky pointed to the part of his head where it was OK for me to give him a kiss. I ask the kids if it is OK for me to kiss them.
  • Big Bro had a HUGE milestone tonight. Instead of taking the sidewalk the whole way home (with me tailing him in the van with hazard lights on], he decided for the FIRST time to take the “lagoon trail” by himself. It’s about 1/4 mile and I met him with the van on the other side. I was so proud of him. And the rest of the kids were also anxiously awaiting him to come into eyesight. So cute. He’s getting bigger, braver. I love that. Independence. Conquering fear, the unknown.
  • Kids ate really well. Twin Husky wanted to serve himself and cut his own meatballs. All kids wanted to put their own grated cheese on their dinners. Kids were getting their drinks of water. So independent. I love it. You have to be patient at this age (2 yrs old) but you need to let them do these things for themselves.
  • Afterwards, Red and the Twins were crawling around under the table and I was making jokes about them being “doggies”. Red was my Irish Setter, Twin Crazy was my Jack Russell Terrier, and Twin Husky was my Bassett Hound. They were all laughing and going in circles and shrieking and acting like doggies. So cute.
  • Twin Husky and Twin Crazy were pretending to cook.
  • Red was on my lap using a spoon to drink water and kept spilling it on me. I joked with her… “is THIS the thanks I get for making you dinner? Thanks for making me dinner mommy, now here is some water for your lap…” She was cracking up. We had a great time.
  • Hide and seek!
  • Bedtime – I had the Twins. Twin Crazy went pee-pee in the potty; I told her to hold it in when she wakes up and in the AM I would get her and bring her to the potty right away. I was so proud of her. We read books, kissed goodnight (especially the twins to each other) and then night-night. She said she was scared of the dark and I said that it is OK to be scared and also suggested clapping her hands real loud to make the scary things go away.
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    [Red is still crying for Mommy….]

    [I just went up to her. Got her into bed. Calmed her down. Asked her to relax her neck, shoulders, arms, fingers, legs, etc. Told her it was OK. Let her know that its easier to go to sleep when your mind and your body is relaxed. I asked her to relax and I promised to check in on her in 2 minutes. She agreed. I will go up to her soon, as promised.].

    I had a good day. I am really busy at work. And things are going so crazy at home. This is not a good situation for any of us. I wish it were May and not March. There is too much for our family to endure during this time. And I’m busy at work and wanting to do the best for the kids. I feel like I’m being pulled in all directions – but need to stay focused on making my work successful and protecting my children the best way I can. And that means letting go a bit, I know.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: Read

    “We should read to give our souls a chance to luxuriate.” – Henry Miller

    I remember several years ago when Big Bro ALWAYS had problems going to sleep at night. He would either fight with us or play or talk or sing himself to sleep. That issue seemed to fix itself when he stopped taking afternoon naps and now, falls into bed exhausted. He often is snoring as Red is still awake. I remember my mother talking to him about it and saying that she sometimes reads books to help her relax to go to sleep. He replied back to her that “I guess I’m just going to have to sing until I am able to learn how to read.” I thought that response was so cute. And now we’re on the cusp of him having to be able to do this… he’s reading beginner books from school and is also busy learning how to write. I’m excited that we have books to rely on if he becomes difficult at bedtime. And maybe I’ll get him a booklight for his birthday in May.


    Well, now Red has been our “problem child” in terms of transitions and sleep. I’ve been writing about this for several days/weeks now, since it’s hard to ignore when you feel like you’re dealing with a newborn again – one who refuses to sleep at night and also wakes up in the middle of the night. It’s difficult trying to manage this while co-parenting since we likely have different approaches. She got used to holding a hand (which did not come from me, but was still something that I’ve had to deal with). Over time Red and I have started with a consoling “rock” to sleep and have migrated to a quick “rock” and then me watching her, and then leaving her to come back and check on her, to last night….. I suggested that she look through a book to help her relax. She decided on a “princess” book and she obliged my request. She lay in her bed, quiet and still, while holding and leafing through a book looking at pictures and likely re-telling the story to herself inside her head. She drifted off to sleep by herself. She is having a problem with nap time now and I again suggested a book. So sweet. She is flipping through the pages, relaxing her body, and is close to sleep. [Update: She is now snoring. Books by her side.]


    And I’m sure many if not all of us have instituted a nighttime ritual with our children of reading a short story or book before their bedtimes. It winds them down. It signals a break from their day. It is quiet and engaging and peaceful.


    So for working mothers: When is the last time YOU’VE actually read a book? I mean from beginning to end? And not an article about baby food or pediatrician advice or anything baby related, child related, or pregnancy related? Or even Blogs. I mean a good old fashioned hardcover, softcover, or maybe iPad or Kindle version of words into sentences into stories…..???!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I know that our time during the day is an issue. I recognize that. But for those that are not imbibing in the written word maybe there’s a way to make the time at the end of the day? Or maybe sneak in some time during a commute to work? Maybe the trick is to find books with short chapters, or short sub-chapters, or simple easy to digest books? Or are downloadable books really the way to go?

    Over the last two years I’ve read lots on kids, babies, even some People mags…. but there have been a few books that have made my list as well:

    – The Twilight Series. All four books. A very easy read and I personally love vampires. The only thing about this was that it was extremely difficult to relate to the high-school characters. I had a hard time dealing with the petty drama that came along with the characters but overall, it was entertaining.
    – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson. I highly recommend these. Short chapters. Interesting story. Interesting, likeable characters. You can squeeze in 10 minutes at the end of each day and make progress through the books since the writing is easy to follow and the sub-chapters are short and manageable.

    – Ann Rice Vampire books – these were heavier in terms of writing style but extremely enjoyable reads. Again, my vampire facination is coming out a bit so you’re seeing a part of me that is new.

    I’m thinking about looking into the True Blood novels next.

    So anyway, I’m finding through my kids and through myself that reading does relax. It obviously transports you into a different world which can be a godsend when times seem too difficult to navigate. Escaping in a good book, or at least an easy book, might be the cheapest medicine (and therapy) one can buy.

    What are you Mamas out there reading? Any suggestions for other Mamas on books that you think are easy to get through and worth a try to keep you calm and centered?

    Thanks for listening –
    – Mama K

    December 9: Tantrums, sickness, lack of sleep X FOUR

    Happy Friday! Today is a “stay-at-home” day with me and the Twins. It has been a bit of a rough day so far…

    Highlights of the Morning and Early Afternoon:

  • I woke up a big hungover to three kids in my bed – Red, and the Twins. What was absolutely adorable was Red was reading to each of them.
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  • Big Bro put on a t-shirt and shorts. Mind you, it’s 37 degrees outside. I pleaded with him to think about the cold outside and think about pants. The problem is that it does actually warm up during the day, and he is very hot-blooded. So my pleading went ignored – but I left it up to him to make his own decision.
  • Everyone was a bit cranky this morning. The Twins both are sick. Sneezing and big red rashes all over the place. Roseola? Not sure. But they are cranky and clingy. Big Bro is whining about everything. Red starts her whining when it came to her socks. By the time we were on her jacket, she was in full-fledged tantrum. I think the Twins’ bad moods for being sick kindof rubbed off on the older two who maybe didn’t get enough sleep last night. Anyway, all four of them were not very enjoyable this morning. Or, maybe was it the wine I drank last night??!?!?!?
  • Big Bro scootered to school while I strollered the Twins. We were extremely late. By the time we got there he was the last one in but at least we caught up with the group. He then runs outside to me in tears because he forgot his library book. I said I would go back and get it. I looked into his eyes and he looked terrible. I’m putting these kids to bed early tonight.
  • On the stroller ride home with the Twins, I took it slow. We talked about things that we saw. I miss this with them. When Big Bro and later Red were small and we were living in the city, I would stroller them to daycare which was in my office building. So at that time, I had the opportunity to talk about so many things with them – it was city living so there was just a lot to look at and teach. Water fountains, big buildings, lights (and counting the lights), going into building lobbies and talking about the holiday decorations, pointing out the flags, etc. Now with the Twins, we commute primarily by mini-van. On days that I stroll with them, particularly on Thursday and Fridays when we are coming back home, I really want to take it slow with them. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do with these two. We talked about the crows and how they fly away and how big their wings are. We saw two dogs playing so we pulled over to watch them play and we talked about how funny it is to see dogs and how they play and wrestle and run around in circles. We talked about the holiday decorations that we saw. Twin Husky initiated conversation about the playground and the slides. Twin Husky is still pointing out all of the basketball nets. We talked about the busier road and how cars drive fast on that road. We talked about flowers and spent some time looking at them. I talked with them the whole way home and felt better that I am doing more now to teach them about the world around them.
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  • I started looking for Big Bro’s library book and found it. I threw 2 diapers and a small package of wipes in my handbag. Also two little cars to keep the kids entertained. I’m taking them out to breakfast! I went to drop off the book, and Big Bro’s class was not there – so I left a present for him….
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  • Then we headed out for breakfast. I parked and decided NOT to stroller them, but to walk the two blocks. The kids had a great time and Twin Crazy almost looked proud to be walking with me, holding my hand, and crossing the street like a big girl. While at breakfast, our table was close to all of these holiday decorations and the board underneath a HUGE penguin kept getting pushed in by Twin Husky, therefore leading the penguin to almost coming crashing down on us twice. He is such a boy. He needs to touch everything. The penguin incident happened TWO times so he didn’t even learn from the first time. We had a good breakfast nonetheless, and the twins had lots of fun things to look at in this greasy spoon of a diner.
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  • Once we got back I had to care for sick twins. Both were extremely cranky. I had snot to deal with, red skin to deal with, sore noses to deal with, and medicine to give. It took about 15 minutes for the caregiving to kick in and after that they were much more pleasant.
  • We headed upstairs and I read them books. I love how they get so excited over the books. They each run for a book for me to read. Sometimes I read to them, and sometimes they read picture books to me. They love it. They love turning the pages. They love making the sounds that animals make. They love talking with me about what they see on the page. Once I say that the books are done and its time for their nap, they don’t even fight it. They welcome it. I kiss them and they grab hold of their stuffed animals and blankets and begin to doze.
  • They’re down for a nap now and I am getting some things done around the house. I enjoy this quiet time where I can focus on things that I normally would not be able to. The sun is out and I’m feeling good. The twins are quiet so it seems like they are busy sleeping.
    • The Rest of the Day:

    • The twins both woke up in foul moods. Twin Crazy was having a hard time sleeping the entire time because of her stuffed up nose. They’re both sick and struggling. I packed them up, picked up Big Bro, and headed out to a friends house who had a HUGE hand-me-down dollhouse and lots of hand-me-down clothes for all of the kids.
    • The dollhouse was bigger than expected. I thought I’d be able to slip it in the back and cover it up quickly before Big Bro would see it, that way it could be from Santa. No such luck. This thing was HUGE. Four feet tall, at least. I think 4 floors. It wouldn’t fit in the trunk of the mini-van. I tried over and over to shove it in. Of course Big Bro saw it. So I tried to get one of the seats to fold under to give more room. It was stuck. Me and Big Bro were trying to figure it out. He noticed that his car seat was in the way. I eventually got it. Both of us were excited and proud. What a team!!! The thing took up a big part of the van on the way home. Too funny.
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    • Hubby picked up Red while I cooked dinner; Flat Meat with chicken and I did a marinade with mango jelly and basil. Big Bro was throwing tantrums left and right. He was really, really difficult to deal with tonight. The dinner was very good. The kids ate well but it took them awhile to get started — again, their crankiness was a bit too much to bear. I started to drink a Guinness..
    • After dinner we brought out the dollhouse and Big Bro, Red, and Twin Crazy had fun cleaning it. The three of them seem really excited about it. I would have loved it if I had it when I was a kid. Maybe Santa can get Red some proper dolls to play with it, and maybe some more furniture.
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    • There were huge tantrums tonight with the older kids about graham crackers, going to the potty, etc. I just think that both of them were way too tired.
    • So, today was great in that we have all of this new “loot” in the house – clothes, dollhouse, etc. But honestly ALL of the kids were so hard today. All the result of too little sleep and being sick. I really need for Big Bro to nap this weekend. And I hope the kids sleep in a bit tomorrow. Because I know I’ll be moving slowly…

      Have a great weekend everyone –
      Til next week –
      – Mama K

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