November 17: Too good to be true???


Today was a day home for me, off from work, but working as a Mom for my kids. I had a wonderful, fullfilling day, and am ending it with several glasses of wine with/after dinner. So I’m a bit loopy while writing this.

There was a lot happening today – tickles, clothes changes, stroller rides, water spills, throwing food/toys, playing with puzzles, spilled coffee, running around the house, reading books, and more books, and pointing at the things in the books, and talking about the books, napping, …… below are some of the special moments of the day:

  • I walked with the Twins along with Big Bro on his scooter to school. He was so excited. The weather was crisp but he still wanted to wear a short sleeve shirt and no jacket. It was beautiful. The trees are turning colors here and there are so many leaves on the ground. The Twins were talking about everything they saw…. dogs, leaves, cars, balls… they are so observant and they really enjoy the stroller rides in the morning. Big Bro was a whiz on his scooter. I kept looking at him scooting ahead of us and just kept thinking about how fast time goes by. I look at his face and I still see aspects of his features from when he was a baby. But here he is. On a scooter. Whizzing by. And swerving. And headed to school. I just can’t believe it. 5 years. So much has happened over these 5 years and now we’ve gone past this one serious baby with a ton of hair to a kid – a kid going to school – with 3 siblings. Twins no less. I just can’t believe it. How fast will the next five years go? Big Bro will be 10!!!! Red will be 8!!!! The Twins almost 7!!!! I honestly cannot even imagine what my life will be like then – it seems so far away and we are not rooted now so who knows where we will be….. so much to look forward to. But I knowt the time will go by quickly.
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    The biggest look of accomplishment was probably Big Bro rigging up his scooter to the fence with his bike lock and setting the lock so that his scooter would be safe. He was so happy. What a prize that must have been for him after that long ride and bout of exercise!

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  • The Twins and I then strolled home in the crisp air. I loved the walk on the leaves. I loved the stroll with both kids so alert and pointing and talking about things. They are so sweet and I feel like this really is a different experience for them compared to the daycare they receive during the other days of the week.
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  • When at home, we had snacks and played…. but then I saw something that really surprised me. I thought that the little ones were getting into places they shouldn’t…. but now I know the reason why. Twin Crazy has learned how to open doors!!!! She can swiftly open a door while Twin Husky waits, and then they both get themselves into trouble. Partners in crime…./li>

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  • We then went to the beach. We had so much fun there. The kids just explored and played and poured sand and walked around and found treasure and fed seagulls and ate bananas and felt the sun and looked at the water and laughed. There were definitely some special moments during our time there. Twin Crazy sharing her banana with Twin Husky. Both of them feeding the seagulls and almost engulfed in all of the flying wings (with NO poop accidents!!), and also finding a hole that was previously dug and sliding into it and laughing and giggling and then the other sliding into it. I’m not sure who found it first, but the pure joy and laughter and interaction between the two of them was just too amazing to put into words. Both were seriously laughing to the point of their throats getting sore, I’m sure. And there I was, probably 30 feet away and just observing, laughing as loud as they were. It was fantastic. I felt relaxed and breathed in deeply and felt the warm sun on my body and watched my beautiful twins interact in a way that I really don’t understand. I couldn’t have planned a better trip./li>

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  • We then went to lunch at Chipotle. They were both dancing to the music. I overheard people saying that I have “two of them”. They have no clue. We had a great time and the kids were perfectly behaved. Except that Twin Crazy kept trying to steal her brother’s food. I felt very in control at that moment. I was enjoying the kids and did not feel any stress at all. Couples with young kids and especially a child 21 months old can get very stressed especially in restaurant settings. I feel so at ease with these children. I treat them like people and not like babies. They respond so well to that. We had fun together. All of us bouncing our heads to the music. Twin Husky trying my burritto. Twin Crazy drinking her milk to the point of her cheeks getting so filled up like a hampster’s set of cheeks. Too cute. I had a great time with them. They were more than readyt for anap by the time we got home.
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  • After naps we headed back in our stroller to pick up Big Bro. We strolled/scootered back home and then got immediately in the mini-van to pick up Red. Red was in the playground and when she saw me she bounded across the playground and threw herself at me with such force that I almost was swept backwards. She hugged me and laughed with such conviction that I wanted to freeze the time and hold her longer, longer, longer. Her teacher said to her – “see Jessica, you’re mommy DID pick you up early today!!!”. I love being able to do this with both Red and Big Bro. It makes these days special for each of them. We played around in another playground at her school for awhile afterwards – just the four of them – our own private playground. They really enjoyed being reunited and I enjoyed watching them.
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  • I then made a fabulous dinner when all of them were playing in the house. I took breaks to play with them; I also had to take breaks to console them – nighttime can be rough for tired kids. Once Hubby arrived we ate and ate and ate and I drank too much red wine. I will need to drink a gallon of water to save myself tomorrow. I had to do many jumping jacks to get Big Bro and Red to try their pork/meat. Once they tried it they loved it and kept eating it, but I still did like 75 jumping jacks anyway – probably a feeling of needing to get in shape, but also the wine had something to do with it I suppose. Bedtime was great.
  • So now I’m sitting here on the couch, listening to U2 and feeling the buzz from the great wine I drank too much of. I really had a wonderful day. I need to figure out a way to spend more time with Big Bro and Red. I want to devote Wednesday’s for them, while the Twins are at daycare and after my 1/2 day of work. Maybe I can switch off between the two and do something special, one-on-one for each. It is becoming clear to me that the older ones need more of my time, and that the younger ones need more time with BOOKS. They can’t get enough of them.

    And I can’t get enough of days like this.

    Til tomorrow –
    – 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

    September 7: “Happy Wednesday Mommy!”


    This morning was rough. I don’t usually say that, but it was. We were still coordinating the fact that there is no parking at the ferry station, and we’re still getting used to three separate drop offs for the kids. Here it goes:

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • Red wakes up first and I wake up to her wanting me to help her with her pony-tail. She wanted a green band today. She then gets dressed by herself (I love you I love you I love you thank you thank you thank you!!!)
    • We forgot that yesterday was Tuesday because of the holiday weekend so we forgot about the Chocolate Tuesday nutella breakfast. We make it up to them this morning and both Red and Big Bro are quietly eating their Nutella breakfasts when I come down.
    • Twin Husky and Twin Crazy are busy sitting at the dinning room table eating cereal and spilling milk. It now also looks like Hubby is trying the cereal with yogurt on top to reduce the mess. This seems to be working well.
    • We figure out that I will take Red and then go to the ferry. Hubby will take Big Bro and Twins and he will not take the ferry since he has a meeting that he must drive to. Sounds good.
    • I diaper Twin Husky and kiss his feet and his toes. He really likes this. He keeps motioning with his feet for me to do it again and again and again. So of course I give in.
    • Twin Crazy is cranky this AM. She is in a stage where she likes being held to see what’s going on. I don’t like that stage very much since we have four children. I try to give her some “up” time and talk about the things around us, but then I quickly tell her that I need to put her down, OK?
    • I run upstairs to get Big Bro’s clothes (he’s very particular and we are running out of clean stuff). While doing this the Twins have figured out how to break through the stair “gate” (essentially a board we put across the bottom of the stairs). This is the second “gate” they’ve figured out. So now both are running around upstairs getting themselves into trouble and laughing. Twin Husky in Red’s bed (Red HATES this), Twin Crazy in the bathroom on the stool playing with cups of water and straws. I need to bring each down individually which throws both of them into tantrums.
    • We all look at Big Bro’s booster seat that we got for the 2nd car for when we have to divide and conquer. He loves it. Red also loves her pink booster – this will be her 2nd day driving with it.
    • OK time to go!!! I kiss all the kids in the van goodbye. I tell them to have fun and learn a lot.
    • I drop off Red and she is the first one there. Her teacher is setting up 3 different activities (pegs, number pegs, rubber band boards). I am so happy that she is in this environment now. It was an easy goodbye. Red is also happy that I’ve picked out a green pony-tail holder for myself. We both match.
    • I have time to drop the car off at the house to make it easier for Hubby. I walk to the ferry and get there in plenty of time. I enjoy the walk since it is sunny out and not windy.

    So, on the ferry by myself. No make up, no breakfast. Thinking about today and what I will do. Probably get myself started on the new role with all the forums. We have a busy few weeks of conferences that I will need to continue to organize and facilitate. I guess I better get started and ready for that.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

    I had a reasonably good day today. I left the office feeling valued and not too stressed. WE are having a Strategy planning session tomorrow and I will be speaking on two agenda items (that I just found out today) so that should be fun.

    • I started the day getting ready with make up etc. in ladies room. I picked up a HUGE Starbucks coffee and a cheese danish. I hope this does not become a habit or else I won’t be able to fit into all the new clothes I just bought.
    • I fixed a billing issue with accounting and prepared an invoice for a project we completed
    • I did some outreach to confirm attendance at a key meeting we are having in October
    • At lunchtime I stopped at the Farmers Market and bought freshly picked apples, prunes, and grapes.
    • I crafted two presentations for our planning session for tomorrow; one is a featured case study from a recent project I lead, the other is our thinking about the forums our firm conducts and the go-forward strategy — this would be my new proposed role going forward
    • I talked to a friend/colleague about the new role and she thinks it is a great opportunity for me; she also thinks the firm would agree to a reduced workweek
    • We had a planning meeting for the meeting in October – key participants, speakers, and next steps

    I am on the ferry now; I just realized I forgot all the fruit I just bought; it is actually hot outside. I can’t believe it. Hubby is home picking up the kids so I didn’t need to take the earlier ferry. I am really looking forward to seeing the kids tonight. Particularly the Twins. They are becoming little people so quickly that I just can’t wait to see how they play tonight, how they interact, and what new words I can pick up from their “conversations”. With a first child, you are so in tune with each new word they say…. I have a feeling with the Twins that they’ve probably been saying so many words for so long but we’ve just been too busy to focus on each child and their development. Pity. But I see how they are developing into strong, independent people and it makes me smile.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I arrive home and Hubby already has all kids sitting down eating. Mommy!!!! Even the Twins are now able to say Mommy. I love it. What a warm welcome.
    • After dinner Big Bro helps Hubby wash the car, while Red and the Twins help me wash the clothes. I show them the water, how it fills up in the basin, and how the machine goes around and around to clean the clothes. Twin Husky is curious. Twin Crazy is scared. Red helps to explain it to them too. From here on I love being a mom to these kids. I love teaching them new things. I love stopping what I’m doing to sit down and explain how things work and why we use them the way we do. It is just so sweet.

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    • We run outside for a little bit; the kids are good and not going into the street; they are generally following directions which is encouraging.
    • I try to get them inside which works, sort of. Twin Husky was having too much fun and he tried to bite me. That didn’t go over very well.
    • OK! Time to go up! We work together to clean up the train tracks that are everywhere. We read to Twins; Big Bro and Twin Crazy are playing though which is so cute how they are interacting but so frustrating at the same time. Big Bro can’t stop himself and Twin Crazy is just acting crazy and not settling down. Twin Husky is pointing to pages of books and saying words. This is so surprising to me, I just assumed Twin Crazy would be talking first – she might be but she mumbles everything. He says things in one word…. but his words are very well-formed already. “Sun”. “Tree.” “Shoes” “Circle”. It is amazing. I love this age.
    • Red and Big Bro get banished from the Twins’ room but they brush teeth, do PJs, and pee all by themselves without ANY direction from us. We read books to them (I’ve read “Pinkalicious” now about 100 times) and commend them for being so independent and making it so much easier on us.
    • Kisses goodnight — I play the game:  Did I tell you how much I love you??? Red asks what day it is. I say Wednesday. She says “Happy Wednesday Mommy!” and I want to melt into her arms.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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