October 26: VERY busy and happy with the kids

It’s Friday and now I am home alone after dropping off the kids at co-parent’s house.  Looking back, I cannot believe how much we did today.  I loved it.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • Twin Crazy was sick the night before with a high fever so I brought her into my room.   However, when I woke up this morning, not only did I have her in my bed, but I also had her twin laying across me as a pillow.   He usually wakes up earlier than the rest, but for some reason I think he came over in the middle of the night.  Strange.  I woke up to Red asking me to get Cocoa.   Climbing back in my bed I was saying to everyone that I will need to go out and get a bigger bed.  How am I going to fit me, 4 kids (older and bigger over time), a guinea pig and possibly a dog in my Full bed??!?!?!?   No way.    We were all laughing.
  • Breakfast was touch and go today.   Red requested pancakes (I made home-made pancakes last Friday) but I tricked her and pulled some out from the freezer.  She tried to eat them but noticed the difference immediately and was completely pissed off at me.   She sulked for most of the breakfast, until the end, when she caved out of hunger and ate what was given to her.  Then she was all smiles.
  • It was a nice ride dropping off Big Bro and Red.   The sun was shining.  I was feeling great.    Drop offs were uneventful.  Except that Red was happy (I brought Twin Crazy and Twin Husky with me).  I think bringing in the twins makes a difference for her during drop offs.
  • On the way home the Twins were talking about having grapes.  There was traffic.  They fell asleep.
  • Once we got back we had our grapes and then our activity.  I loved it.   We worked together in the back yard.  We were raking leaves, transporting leaves, picking “good” leaves from the weeds/sticks and putting them in our tumbler composter, then gathering more leaves around the back yard.  Twin Husky was TOTALLY into it.   He loves the outdoors.  I think this will be “our thing” together.   He is very much a wanderer; a seeker; he wandered off to see the chickens and he loves working in the yard.   I couldn’t tear him away from his little wheel barrel.  I think this garden that I want to build will be special for me and him alike.   Twin Crazy on the other hand had trouble walking up the hill, trouble raking leaves, and wanted to ride her tricycle down on the patio.  To each her own.  It’s just not her thing.  I’m OK with that.
  • After that hard work we had lunch and then naps.  I even took a nap as well.



Highlights of the Afternoon:

  • My phone alarm rang at 1:50 PM.  I jumped out of bed and gathered extra clothes, 4 water bottles, 3 fans (see Halloween gifts from Nana from  yesterday), and snacks to last 4 kids and one tired Mommy for 3 hours.  I scooped up the kids and told them to go back to sleep on the ride.   They did.
  • Pick up for Big Bro was great.  I got a chance to see their gardening project, with above-ground planting beds made out of wood.  I was totally  impressed.   I asked them how they made it and if they have plans.  The teacher said that boy-scouts made it for her.  A parent from Big Bro’s class asked me if I even have ROOM for a planter like that…. I said yes, we are divorced now… I live in [XXX] and have 1/2 acre of property and am starting a garden.  She grew up in that town.  She knows that I can grow things in the summer and in the winter.  She said she was jealous.  She does not have space for such a planter at her house.  I was beaming.
  • We picked up Red.  She is adorable.  Her smile lights up the room and my heart.   She put away her things and ran to me.   She held my hand tight as we ran to the van together.
  • Once we were all together I took out the snacks and drove to our first destination:  the airplane museum.  There is a part of the museum where you do not have to pay anything to enjoy.  So we stayed outside for free, and the kids had fun climbing into the airplanes and pretending that they were air traffic control.   Big Bro stole my phone camera and took some pictures of things that were important to him, like his hurt finger with a band-aide on it.  I read about the planes and gave the kids their snacks.  The owner came out and I explained my story, about living paycheck to paycheck and being divorced with four kids.   He gave me his card and told me to call in advance if I ever wanted to bring the kids inside.  He was very sweet.   We used the restroom and there was a water cooler outside with cone-paper cups.  The kids went crazy over this and I just couldn’t believe the joy and wonder that can be brought to a child without paying for anything.  It really is the simple things in life.
  • After the airplane museum we went to buy Red her shoes.  Her old sneakers were embarrassing.  She even mentioned that people in her class have been telling her to get new shoes.  I was appalled.  We went to Payless and even Big Bro was picking out some choices for her from sizes 11 and 11 1/2.   He was great.  They all knew that the only thing on the list was Red’s shoes.  So all in all they were very well behaved.  Except for Twin Husky.  He found a pair of blue rain boots that he fell in love with and was totally upset when I told him that they weren’t on the list.  We paid for Red’s sneakers and off we went.
  • Our next stop was a cove where you can see tide-pools, lots of birds, and huge rocks with sea-weed.  The kids had a great time.  Big Bro, Red, and Twin Husky kept scrambling up rocks, Big Bro and Red adventured out towards the bay and collected treasure (shells), Twin Crazy collected her treasure of rocks, and Twin Husky was so adventurous.  At one point he decided to take off his socks and shoes and start wading in some of the tide pools.  I was not thrilled with this but I loved his sense of adventure and he was safe.   I didn’t care if his pants got wet.   The kids were great when I said it was time to go.   I love giving them these kinds of experiences.  And it didn’t cost me a thing.
  • Drop off was fine.  I will see them tomorrow at 4 PM.

After dropping them off I went food shopping to prepare for next week.  I will have more time with them since co-parent will be traveling for work.   I only buy things that are fresh veggies / fruits, and other things on sale.  I do not buy anything (besides fresh fruits / veggies) if it is full price.  I just can’t these days.  There was a snag at the register that shorted me $2 and I am not proud to say that I waited for another transaction to get my $2 back.  That will pay for 2 days of parking next week at my train station.  I am living paycheck to paycheck these days, but still probably the happiest that I’ve ever been nonetheless.  I am making it on my own.  As a single mother of four kids, working part-time, in a god-awful expensive part of the country.  I have my own, beautiful (small) home with lots of land for me and these kids.   And I am making it.

Tonight I will need to do some work related to the divorce.  I cannot wait for this to be finalized and have this leech off of my back.  I was carrying him for too long in the past and he is still sucking whatever he can out of me and I need to rid myself of him legally and financially.   That is my priority now that my big meetings for work have passed.

Have a great weekend everyone –

– Mama K

November 14: All of us getting into a new groove

Today is a workday in the city after coming off of a 4-day chunk of time with my kids. I feel OK coming into work. One reason is I guess that I actually have a lot to do today. The other reason is that I know it is short – today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. I can do that…. easy shmeasy.

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • We woke up to Red again singing softly to herself after climbing into our bed. Her sweet voice is the perfect way for me to wake up. She then started to play a game with me about now its “wake up time”. She gently pulls up my eyelid from my eyelashes and peeks into my face, laughing uncontrollably. She keeps doing this, alternating eyes, and then starts doing both at the same time. I was laughing too and it was so sweet of her to help me wake up.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky wake up and I give them their morning hugs and kisses. Twin Husky leans in and out over and over again to softly put his forehead on mine and give me a soft kiss. Too cute.
  • Red proceeds to do a puzzle over and over again until I’m out of the shower and dressed. The rest are downstairs eating. She was waiting for me. She asked me if we could do the puzzle together upstairs later that night. Do it over and over again and spend alot of time doing it. I’ll have to remember that because I said I would. I really take these promises seriously. I don’t like saying something to any of the kids and then not following through. Sometimes I forget, but then they remind me, and then I apologize for forgetting. But I really want them to trust me when I say I’m going to do something.
  • Downstairs was the normal routine. Diaper time – both Twins listened to me without a problem. I love that. I thank them for listening so well to me. Big Bro already dressed himself by himself upstairs before he came down. I made a HUGE deal about this. I gathered Red’s clothes and she seemed OK with what I picked out. It was a very easy morning.
  • Twin Crazy kept sneezing. Each time she would sneeze the snot would be everywhere on her face and she would just stop and look up at me 1/2 smiling but with her mouth shut. I would run for a tissue while Twin Husky would make “ich” sounds which got us all laughing.
  • We were running late so Hubby took Red while I took the Twins and Big Bro. Twin drop off was great; Drop off with Big Bro was great. We actually got there a bit early since there weren’t that many kids in the playground. He was a bit shy as we walked along the playground, and quiet as he went into line. But he looked ready for the day of school.
  • I’m on the ferry now, thinking about my day to come. I have several phone calls related to the client project that we are working – interviews with the market to get a sense of the issues we need to address for our client. These meetings are always so informative. You learn so much more in such a short amount of time versus surfing the web trying to figure it out on your own. I also have to lead a lunch meeting with our team, which was my boss’s suggestion to keep me front and center in firm leadership even though I’m taking a reduced work-week. I think this is a great idea to keep me in people’s minds and also play an active voice with the team. I am thankful for my boss’s foresight into thinking of these potential issues and also coming up with a solution to help me make this new arrangement successful.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    I was VERY busy today – client work, business development, other initiatives….

  • I had two interviews with market participants related to the one client project that I am currently working. In those two interviews, and with the existing materials we have, and with our own common sense, we have probably 80% of the content that we need for this project. I will need to shift my focus from data gathering to documentation and preparing the client deliverable over the next several days.
  • I finalized a proposal for my client lead; it will be a big project if we win it. I hope we win it!
  • I lead a “lunch meeting” with our team to get our folks together and talk about the work we are doing, any related issues, and things we need to address going forward. One thing is that we have A LOT of proposals in the pipeline. If we win even a few of these projects, we will have a problem with staffing. So we also talked about recruiting efforts underway and also discussed a need to start thinking about ways to fill the staffing gap with contractors that we’ve worked with previously if need be. We talked about ways/tactics to expand our relationships with existing clients. Some things we can put into practice immediately. I also talked about my new working arrangement and how people should be assured that I am flexible if need be and also reachable on my “off days” if anyone needs to talk to me for any reason. Management asked me to lead these meetings so that I am still viewed as an integral part of leadership in the office.
  • There is still alot more that I wanted to accomplish today but did not. I’m finding that these working days are flying by. I want to accomplish so much but have 1/2 the days to do it – I need to recalibrate expectations of myself but also be more efficient with how I schedule my meetings. For example, tomorrow I have 4 1/2 hour meetings scattered throughout the day. It would have been MUCH more efficient to have the meetings back to back for 2 hours and then spend 1 hour to determine the learnings from the meetings. Instead, I’m going to be starting and stopping throughout the day which is much more inefficient and a waste of time. I’ll work on getting better at that in the future.

    So tonight for dinner… hmmmm…. I’m not that prepared. Maybe quesadillas. I need to remember to work with Red on her puzzle tonight since I promised her this morning. I need to help Big Bro find his new “Lightening McQueen” car since he was looking for it this AM. I need to ask Twin Crazy how her nose was today and if she sneezed a lot. I’ll have to come up with something special for Twin Husky too. I don’t want him to be left out of “mommy time.”

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Big Bro first – he was tracing super-hero figures with his friends from books. We then picked up Red. The kids were all playing with pretend food and I went over there saying how yummy it all looked at then sticking all of the pieces of food on my belly. I had quite a pile of food there – tacos, pasta, cheese, ears of corn, etc. etc. and the kids were really getting into it. Red was CRACKING UP. We then picked up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. I made a big deal out of their big boy/girl sneakers. The sneakers are a bit big for Twin Husky but he seemed to manage well. Both toddlers seemed excited about the sneakers – and Big Bro and Red also chimed in about how cool those sneakers are.
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  • I prepared dinner (pasta) while Big Bro and Red were playing with playdough. Both Twins are getting into a habit of standing on the little chairs or the little table itself to reach up to the counter – a big NO NO. Twin Husky also moves the chair around to get to where he needs to go, like underneath the light switch to turn on and off the lights.
  • I had dinner cooking and wanted to get changed. Twin Crazy seemed needy so I took her up with me. Within 2 minutes I heard a huge crash and Twin Husky crying. Apparently he was standing on the chairs but when I found him he was on the floor tangled in the chairs, wailing. Once i got him unstuck though he seemed fine. Just a little hug and his head on my shoulder briefly did the trick.
  • Dinner was great; all kids were perfectly behaved and ate well.
  • After dinner I got Big Bro to do some homework; got the Twins ready for bed in PJs, got all of their milk together, and started on a puzzle with Red. When Hubby arrived he played with the Twins and then we all got them up to bed rather easily.
  • So it feels like there are some transitions going on with all of us – me and work and trying to figure out how to recalibrate my own expectations as well as getting more efficient; the Twins getting used to new shoes; Big Bro getting used to my “home days” and when I can walk / ride with him to school, Red becoming more and more independent each day.

    We’re settling in but it feels good –

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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