Aug 9 and 10 recap: SAHM in the summer

It has been a busy two days for me so I collapsed into bed each night without a post.  I had the kids and wanted to take advantage of the summer time with them before school starts.   The school year for us will involve many highway trips in early morning rush-hour traffic so I wanted to enjoy this time with them on my days off before the school year begins.

Thursday, August 9:

  • We woke up to chickens.
  • Chocolate Thursday at Mommy’s house!   Red teased a chicken with her chocolate tortilla roll-up

  • We hit the road to get Big Bro’s backpack which we forgot a daycare the day prior.   I took the opportunity for us to introduce Twin Crazy and Twin Husky to their new daycare room when the “school year” starts.   Red showed Twin Crazy the potty (very small!  Very cute!) and they used it.   Red helped her wash her hands and showed her where the soap was and the paper towels and trash can.   Big Bro showed Twin Husky the kitchen set (Twin Husky loves playing kitchen) and they all experimented with the couches and the books.   They were having a great time.  We showed them the cubbies for their “stuff” as well as the hooks for their jackets.  Both indicated that they would like to come here for the day and play and learn.

  • From here, I was spontaneous and decided to take them on a train ride.  We talk about the trains all the time when we are commuting on the highway.  I talk about how I take that train to work and how it goes into the city to my office.   They have been asking about going on a train ride and going to my new office.  Big Bro and Red did not have the opportunity to see my new office and they wanted to see it.  So I called in advance and then we headed over.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!  The kids were great.  We all stayed together.   We parked and remembered the number of the parking space. We paid for parking together and then we went through the turnstile and up the escalator to wait for the train.  On the train we stood up and looked outside and also had some time underground.  They were very brave.  And the older kids looked after the little kids.   I told them how many stops and when to get ready for the next stop.  THey were excellent and followed directions so well.

  • Along the street we had a long 5 blocks to walk, but again, we stuck together, held hands, went slowly.   It was lunchtime and there were lots of people walking about but all were generally good / patient with us.  I got a lot of comments.  I love going places with all of these kids.   I love being able to do things with them in tow.    Especially when they are so good and are able to take in so much.   We talked about the city, the big buildings, how people move fast, how we used to live here, the streets where I used to move the stroller with Big Bro and Red.

  • In the office we were surprised to learn that there was a birthday that day.  So they brought lunch in, and better yet, cupcakes.  That was a huge hit with the kids.   They were extremely talkative with my co-workers and very lively and funny.  Big Bro was showing off his Lego plane.  Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were busy playing/talking/fighting like twins.   Red was quiet, but cute – we talked about her “sibling haircut”.   Twin Husky asked my boss “do you have a penis?”.    He is on the boy/girl thing and yes, they talk about penis and vagina body parts all the time.  My boss (who is kidless and in his 60’s, about to retire), indicated “Yes, I do have a penis.”.  OMG.

  • The kids made it back AOK on the 5 block walk to the train station and on the ride back.

  • When we got home it was dress up time.  I tried to get the Twins down for a nap but it was impossible.

  • We headed next door to see the neighbors and the kittens.  They invited us over to the pool.  We gladly accepted.
  • At the pool the kids were having an amazing time.  My other neighbor showed up at the pool with beers and pizza so we made a night of it.  We met more friends of neighbors and more kids that are Big Bro’s age.  Nice kids.  They hit it off.  I love it here.  I gave big hugs to all when I left.  The folks were great going into the big pool with Big Bro and Red while I kept my eyes on Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.  Big Bro wants me to get the phone number for the new kid he met so he can continue to play with him.  He had a great time with him tonight.

  • We saw deer as the kids were getting ready for bed.  A mother and her baby.  The baby has gotten much bigger since we’ve seen it last.

  • The kids slept well.   (As did I).  It was a full day.

Friday, August 10:

  • We again woke up to chickens.
  • The kids did art activities while I straightened up the house a bit.   I started a lot of laundry.

  • After snack I took the kids to the playground.  A part of the playground where there is sand and a structure with a water pump and spouts and pipes.  The kids had a great time.  Big Bro was in his Batman costume.  Twin Husky was completely immersed in his building, pounding, scraping, water activity.   He was in his own world.  Twin Crazy had fun playing a little more conservatively than her brother.  But she loved the sand and the water.   Red was very apprehensive about the sand at first.  She didn’t like the feeling on her hands.  But once she got into it she loved it.  She was making me sand meatballs.

  • We headed home for lunch and naps.  Again, the Twins refused to nap.
  • We played outside in the blow up pool since it was so hot outside.   They were enjoying it but Big Bro was having a hard time.  He dumped the pool upside down.   I don’t know what his problem was but I sent him inside.  I set up the kids again, and then I went in to get Big Bro.  We sat on the rocking chair together, with him on my lap.  He was cranky at first but we had a conversation.   How I thought his behavior was not that friendly and if there was something wrong.   He wouldn’t answer.   We then just talked.   Talked about school, about how much fun that will be, about math, and science… and he told me he didn’t want to go to aftercare since you can’t bring your toys out.  So I told him that Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday there would be no aftercare.  I would pick him up from school and did he like that?   His face smiled.   And on Monday and Tuesday, we were going to see if he could go home with the Motley Crew (friends behind co-parent’s house).   He seemed much better then.  He was ready to play with his siblings again.

  • We played in the pool.   Red asked me to sit in the pool.   The kids were all pouring water on me and I was carrying on enjoying myself with them.  They were laughing.

  • I took the opportunity while Red’s hair was wet to actually try to cut it to even out the sibling haircut.   I think it looks OK.   She doesn’t seem to care.

Before you knew it, it was time to head to co-parent’s.   On the way, we drove by the parking lot where I park for my commute, and also the train station where I go on Mondays and Tuesdays.  The kids wanted to see that.

The kids were in good moods.  They had very active days and I had a lot of time to spend with them collectively and individually.

I went food shopping and bought gas and then headed home – doing these activities helps me to avoid the rush-hour commute traffic on the way back.   I was tired when I got back.  I played with Cocoa a bit.   Did some gardening/watering.   Did some work on my computer with photos.   Then called it a night.

I had an amazing two days with the kids.   I was able to get things done and also spend a lot of time with them.   They are feeling more and more comfortable here and I love it.

August 2: Haircuts and sibling solidarity

Today was a full, great day… we did A LOT and also had some mishaps along the way.   My daughter looks trendier than I (not really that hard to do) because of this awesome haircut that one of her siblings gave her… but she keeps changing her story to protect their identity.

Highlights of the Morning:

  • I woke up to Twin Crazy, and then Red, and then Twin Husky… he is so sweet.  He climbs in smiling and cuddling and quiet.
  • Red wanted to “do something with me”.  Your kidding me.  I haven’t even been out of bed and my bladder is ready to burst and my breath stinks.  Plus I’m half asleep.  I suggested drawing/coloring something together and that worked.  She wanted a princess, prince, and castle.   She helped me draw it and then colored some of it in.
  • The kids talked me into making Thursdays “chocolate day” at mommy’s house.   I suggested Sundays, but Big Bro was violently against that since he likes the pancake routine on Sundays.  I suggested Friday, and he said that movie night is Friday night and that Thursday has nothing special.  This little guy should be a lawyer when he grows up.  The art of negotiation.  He can argue anything with sound logic.  Very persuasive.  So I broke out the Nutella and the kids went nuts.
  • I was getting the kids ready and in between one of the children changes Twin Crazy decided to give herself a haircut.   No, this is NOT the haircut that I referred to in the title of this post… it was just a few strands but still.  I couldn’t believe it.  So I took the kid scissors out of the office since the little ones “do not know how to properly use them yet”
  • The ride to their daycare was fine.  We talked about some funny things but I can’t remember what.   We talked about a food shopping list, and also played a spelling game.
  • On the way in we drove by a field that used to have wild rabbits but now is infested with moles.  They are so cute (when they are not in YOUR yard).   We saw so many… standing up, running, scurrying, jumping into the ground.  I stopped for a bit, and also drove very slowly down the side street so we could look at them.
  • Big Bro did not want to be dropped off with the siblings around.  So I left them in the front office of the daycare center so Big Bro could have his privacy.
  • Red’s drop off was great.  She knew I was going to pick her up early and was all smiles.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky drank some water and Twin Crazy went to the potty.  And then we hit the road for our errands.
  • I had a work conference call so got to a playground just in time for me to take that call.  The kids were great – playing on the play structure, little tiny merry-go-round, playing in the sand.  I had a great call.
  • Afterwards we went food shopping.  They were in a “car cart” and they had a blast.  We did our shopping quickly.
  • We picked up the older siblings, got gas, and then headed home.  I had another conference call while on the road – this was a big “sell” meeting for a new member to the “established” forum that I manage.  This was a BIG win for me.   It was awesome.  I felt great.    Here I have four kids in a car (the majority of them sleeping) and am able to also land a deal.   On my day off.   And headed home to play with the kids.   It was great.



The Rest of the Day:

  •  Big Bro, Red and I went “hunting” for several spiders in the house.  I have to remember to close the screen door and front door in this place.   We have lots of cobwebs in here and I’m not a fan of bugs in general.  The kids examined the spider in the “bug vacuum” which was cute.
  • It was hot outside.  WATER PLAY!
  • That is when I noticed that there was a lock of red hair floating in the pool.  And it had a curl in it.   So I asked about this hair.  And I looked at Red’s head.  And couldn’t believe what I saw.  The back of her head is cut really short, but the sides are long and curly.  It almost looks cute, like it’s supposed to be like that…. but still… how did it get this way????   She kept changing her story.  Big Bro…. Twin Crazy… .then everything always gets blamed on Twin Husky.   I have no idea what to believe but I do not believe her.  And she is protecting her sibling.  Most likely an OLDER sibling.   Most likely the sibling who could get to scissors on his own since everything was taken away earlier in the day.  I asked where the missing hair was.  She said in the backyard.  Yes, she was right.  Various locks of red curls.   In my dead grass.  I was pissed, to say the least.
  • This put a damper on my mood.   I kept the older kids inside and let the younger ones play outside.   The older kids said they wished they were at daddy’s.  I wished they were too at that very moment.
  • We ate an amazing dinner and they all ate like champs.   I love how they know to expect vegetables and tonight we had sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and fresh broccoli.  Along with chicken and rice.    Lots of fruit for dessert.  My belly is still full.
  • After dinner I boycotted Big Bro’s request for a movie.  We went outside, I picked some weeds while talking to my mom, there were several kid breakdowns over shoes.
  • Big Bro and Red broke out the sidewalk chalk and that gave them all something to do while I cleaned up from dinner and also swept the outside.   It felt sooooooooo good to be doing that.  Sweeping in the evening after dinner while the kids were right there with me playing on their own, together.   I loved it.   I fed my compost bin and commented on the chalk “dust” that they were busy making.
  • Bedtime was fine.
  • After the kids went to bed I had some more work to do, following up and sending information to the folks I had on the calls today.

My day was really busy and extremely diverse.   Hunting for moles and spiders — two different haircuts — playground — shopping — driving and working and making money for the company — being tricked by the kids and witnessing fierce protection between them — and enjoying a suburban summer evening with the kids and the crickets.

I’m feeling really good now.   I loved today.   And the crickets are singing loud right now and I feel so happy to hear their song.

Til tomorrow –

– Mama K

July 26 and 27: Stabilizing

This is going out totally late, but I’ve been SUPER busy the past few days but still wanted to share some highlights:

Thursday, July 26:

  • Woke up to the kids each pattering into my room one by one and landing in my bed.  I love this time with them in the AM.   We ate a great breakfast, played with the chicken (she gave Twin Husky a peck/kiss through the screen door), and Red taught me how to dim the lights.  I never knew the lights could do that here.  She figured it out and taught me how she did it.   We got dressed and out the door.
  • There was no traffic and we talked about food shopping for the day and what kind of food we needed from Trader Joe’s.  Drop off for Big Bro and Red was fine; all kids looked at art from their art show.  I told them I would pick them up super-early – after lunch, but before nap.
  • Twin Crazy and Twin Husky and I hit the town and ran some errands in my old neighborhood.  I bought gas, and then we headed to the Main Library, which was new to us.  I needed to work a bit so the kids “read” some books, played, colored… while I sent out numerous emails for work.   This trip was essentially a disaster.  I know we won’t be going back there again.  They were at first very well-behaved.  And then I’m not sure what happened.  Maybe the snack kicked in, but they were running, scrambling on the seats, and causing a huge scene because they were laughing so hard.  All of this happening of course while I was working.   We (me and Librarian) tried to divert their attention to coloring, which lasted for about 5 minutes, but then there were back on the scrambling seats again but this time with crayons in their hands, running around in circles and drawing on the seats.  I gave them a time-out while I frantically cleaned up the crayon from the cushions.   We then fled.
  • Afterwards, we went shopping at Trader Joe’s.   We talked about the list of what we needed.  I am amazed at the memory of these 2 1/2 year olds.  They recited the entire list and even reminded me of some things I missed!    I had fun shopping with them.
  • We then went to pick up Big Bro and Red.  We headed back in no traffic.
  • At home, me and Red did our fingernails.  All kids played with bubbles.   We then took a stroll around the corner from the house where there are wild blackberries; we picked a bunch but poor Twin Husky kept walking on top of the thorned vines and hurting himself.  After a lot of other complaints it was time to go home.
  • Dinner was uneventful – except that I’m getting the kids to load up on fruits and vegetables.   Do you know that you’re supposed to have that be like 50% of your daily intake of food??!??!!?
  • We experimented with the Twins with spitting out toothpaste.  They both know how to spit so we’re graduating to the flouride-kind used by Big Bro and Red.

Friday, July 27:

  • I had to wake up super-early.  I had a court date for child custody and child support.  Therefore, kids had to be up and ready too, and all of them were going to daycare.  The kids put up a fight at first, but after they got started they were actually in great moods when we got into the car.  The ride was not bad; early enough in the summertime so the traffic was manageable.  We talked about fog.
  • Drop offs were all fine.  I hugged the kids a bit harder that morning.
  • Went off to the courthouse and met up with my new lawyer.  This will be the day that I will see what she is made of.   She had great ideas to protect me in certain areas and we showed up very well prepared.  I presented co-parent with several options that would be acceptable for me for child support decisions.  So essentially it was left to him.  We struck an agreement that is reasonable and fair.   My lawyer is great.  I wish I found her sooner.  I burned up too much money with my old lawyer and all he wanted to do was go to court.  What a waste.
  • I picked up the kids immediately afterwards.  We headed back to my house even though I had to drop the kids off at co-parent’s later that night.  I wanted to be with them and relax at my home.
  • It was hot so we did water-play.  It was fun.  I loved it actually.   I honestly needed to sit back, relax, and feel the sun on my body.  I needed to lay down and hear the kids laugh and play.   I needed to sit and not think.   I felt so much better after just 10 minutes being outside in the warm air.
  • Big Bro was a bit of a “teaser” so I sent him inside.  I then noticed that the blankets were torn off of my bed and the girl’s bed and I talked to Big Bro about it.  He claimed it wasn’t him.  I didn’t believe him since the acts would have required muscle.   I left him alone to sulk inside and was hoping he would just tell me the truth that he was mad at me.  But he wouldn’t.  He kept his story straight the whole time.  So then I asked Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, and they admitted it.  They were a pair acting together and ripped the sheets off the bed.  I felt so bad.  I apologized to Big Bro.  I said that he must have felt so frustrated at me, when he was telling me the truth and I was not listening to him.  I felt so bad for the kid.  He did so good though, staying inside and not putting up a fight with me.  I was actually very proud of him.  He told me his side of the story, and then accepted my apology with grace.
  • The ride back was fine.   Friday’s are good since I know I’m going to see them on Saturday afternoon.

Afterwards, I drove back and went to the Apple store.  I bought a new computer.  I went home.  I proceeded to put together the IKEA desk furniture.  I drank one beer and ate 1/2 box of Life cereal.  I worked until midnight.  I fell into my bed, exhausted but strangely at peace.

There are now quite a bit of the divorce process behind us.   We’ve physically separated, the kids now have two homes, I bought a house and have managed to furnish it and put it together as best I can, we battled on child custody, mediated child custody, and had a child custody evaluation for the next school year.   We mediated child support and came to an agreement.  I had one lawyer, and then another (and am much happier now).   Although it would have been nice to have an extra stream of money over to me, I think the arrangement that we came up with is good.  The money is going to childcare.  And we’re now getting the best childcare for the kids.   And I still get to feel like I’m doing this on my own.  I am fiercely independent and the thought of child support paid over to me honestly felt funny.   I don’t think I like that arrangement.   With this, we each are invented to optimize what we can earn to do the best for the kids.   And I get my autonomy.   And independence.  And ability to work the way I need to, so I can be there for the kids and take care of myself in the process.

Have a great weekend everyone

– Mama K

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