January 6: Long overdue recap

Hi Mamas.    I’ve  been silent for about two weeks.   I guess the “winter break” for the kids was also my break from this blog and other facets of my life.  I’ve really enjoyed myself and feel incredibly well rested, full, and happy.   Some of the highlights from the past two weeks:

  • Seeing Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky in their holiday performance.  All stood up on “stage” with their “classrooms” and participated.  I was so proud of them.   Big Bro was a big supporter.
  • Putting up Christmas decorations with the kids.  Likewise, taking them back down two weeks later.
  • Christmas morning with the kids squealing at the four bikes that Santa left for them.   The fact that co-parent stayed over my place the night before to participate in Christmas Eve tradition and also the next morning festivities.  He made homemade waffles and I homemade whipped cream.   It was really great for the kids.
  • Making pumpkin muffins with our pumpkins from Halloween, and then distributing them to the neighbors up and down our street.
  • This year’s photo shoot with the kids all dressed up and including Cocoa the guinea pig.
  • NOT getting holiday cards sent out this year, for the 2nd year in a row.
  • Spending New Year’s Eve over a neighbor’s house with two kids Big Bro and Red’s ages.   Us kicking back, the kids playing, and all of us celebrating East Coast and Mountain New Years eve with champagne and sparkling blueberry juice for the kids.   Getting to know them better and feeling at home in their home.
  • Random dinner invitations with other neighbors and getting to know their kids and friends so well.   Big Bro and Red becoming better friends with the kids (also twins, six years old) and Red actually saying that her new friend is her favorite friend in this neighborhood.  Seeing Red’s face light up and smile, well GLOW actually, while playing with these new friends.
  • Dancing with Twin Husky and feeling his body move and head move to the music.  He loves Shania Twain’s “Forever and For Always” and he kept asking for us to dance to it again.  It is now “our song” and he is happy with that.
  • Playing “I love you” games with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.
  • Finishing the winter garden – everything is planted including onions, yams, mint, garlic chives, brussell sprouts, kale, carrots, sweet snap peas, fava beans, oregano, string beans, garlic, shallot, and beets.
  • Learning that Cocoa the guinea pig can eat the dandelion weeds on my property.  She loves them.  And I love that they are free and gives me a reason to weed briefly on a daily basis.
  • Red riding her bike with Big Bro over to her new best friend’s house.  She got a bit scared and I had to run over to her, but it was a HUGE milestone for her in my opinion.
  • Going to Target to buy balloons so Big Bro could show us how he can blow them up by himself.
  • Watching the girls play with their dolls together and do tea parties and care for the dolls.  Watching Twin Crazy care for her Baby Alive.   Seeing their friendship with each other grow before my very eyes.
  • Big Bro receiving a HUGE Lego set from my dad and step-mom and then him staying up (way past me) to complete the ENTIRE set.   When we all woke up the entire thing was finished and he was smiling not sure if I would be upset with him or not.
  • Going to a few outside activities (museums, farm/petting zoo) but mostly just staying near home, playing with friends, enjoying cooking and our fireplace.
  • Cooking with herbs from my garden.
  • Waking up to frost on the grass and even the winter garden.  The plants are doing fine.
  • On my off-night from the kids, watching my FIRST movie from my DVR.  Underworld.  I love vampires.  I can’t believe it took me 6 months living here to actually watch T.V.
  • Going to a yoga class yesterday morning and LOVING IT.
  • Signing myself up for an oil/acrylics art class and also a class for Big Bro…. soccer.  Going shopping for his shin-guards and also my paint-brushes, paints, and other supplies.
  • Working just a little bit.  Doing what I had to do, taking some vacation time and also some “sick” time since Twin Crazy had a fever and could not go to daycare.

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To be honest, I feel a bit “out of balance” in a good way.  I am totally vacated.  I’ve really enjoyed the time with the kids and also with myself.  I’m looking forward to 2013.  It’s already shaping up to be a good one.

– Mama K

Random Thoughts: What does Labor Day mean to you?

I must confess.  I still get confused between Memorial Day and Labor Day.   I guess the “Ms” stick together, Memorial Day happens in May.   So today is Labor Day.  Hopefully this trick will stick for me going forward.

Historically, the holiday came about and was initiated by labor unions.  There is no real substantive underlying “movements” or monumental meaning for the holiday.  But in modern times it does signify, at least informally, the end of summer, parties, BBQs, being with family, taking it easy, shopping….

It seems like for working mothers there is a twist on words – laboring to bring our children into the world and also playing a role in the workforce.    It seems like this should be an extra-special day for us working mothers.  A day where we get to take a break from the juggling act and spend extra time with the family in a relaxed way.   A way for us to celebrate another year of working hard and surviving another year of the “grind”.   Yet also celebrating family, your kids… possibly the main reason you work so hard now to begin with.

Photo source:  milagrosboutique.com

For me… well what did I do?   I did not have the children today.   So I celebrated solo – not bad though.  I’m not complaining.   I woke up late.   I cleaned Cocoa’s cage.  I went food shopping.   I bought a patio set (taking advantage of 50% off end of summer clearance!!!!  I am psyched!).   I ate a lot of vegetables, but the smell of BBQ in the air made me think of cheeseburgers for most of the day.   I hacked down more dead raspberry bush vines to prepare for garbage pick up.   I am going to open up a Guinness and begin my “clean out my closet” project.    So, I think I had a pretty good variety of activity today – the only thing I missed was BBQ and the kids.    But I will see them tomorrow.

What does Labor Day mean to you?   How did you spend the Labor Day holiday?

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

Staying Sane: “Staycation” with kids and Nana

My life and standard of living has changed pretty dramatically over the course of the year.   In years past, the term “vacation” would have meant an early AM drive to the airport, headed to a far-away place.   Even when the kids entered the world, they did not hold me back.   Now however, I am essentially living paycheck to paycheck, and I also do not have the luxury of having the kids’ time in big blocks.  Except for last week.   From Tuesday night, August 21 through tomorrow AM, Aug 27 it is my time with the kids.   And my mom came out for a visit.

I’m feeling full now.  And happy.  The days were spent doing not that much of anything, but yet doing everything at the same time.   There were no destinations, no special restaurants, no special activities.  Just time together and gearing up for Big Bro’s first day of school, which is tomorrow.   I will be driving him in, and I am soooooo thankful for this change in routine to be able to share this day with him.

Highlights of the past week with Nana:

  • Waiting for Nana in the “park and call” and talking with the kids about their excitement about Nana’s visit.
  • Introducing “Cocoa” to Nana and having the kids show her how they take care of her.
  • Watching a movie and air-popping pop-corn and exploding with excitement and laughter.
  • Early morning sounds of footsteps and Twin Husky coming into our bed at 7 AM, each morning, like clockwork.  No words.  Just him, his Tiger, and him scurrying up on the bed, getting  under the covers.   So sweet.
  • Looking at the bus come for the neighborhood kids for their school (they started this week).  The bus comes to my driveway.   I am hoping the kids have the opportunity to take this bus next year.  Twin Husky was upset that he was not able to go on the bus.
  • Taking “Cocoa” to the vet because of her dry ear.  Watching the examination.  All kids watching and learning, intently.   Looking at the big doggies in the waiting room.
  • Me going to a “lunch meeting” at work and Nana taking care of all kids on her own.
  • Opening a box that arrived that was actually sent by Nana – filled with supplies for each of the kids’ desks, clothes, playdough, and outdoor fun gear….
  • Lots of playdough…. every day.
  • Going to a haircut appointment and deciding to take “my girls” with me; it was so cute to divide and conquer.  And for me to go out and have them watch me get a haircut (which I desperately needed)
  • Filling up our bird-feeder, and then waiting for the birds to come back; hearing birds singing wildly each morning and then counting the bluejays in the back yard.
  • Completing my project of putting deer netting around the final section of my garden.  Maybe now I’ll be able to see/eat a strawberry.
  • Slip-n-slide, blow up pool in our front yard.  Twin Husky going crazy and diving through the water.  Shivering.   Looking like a football player, only 3 feet tall.   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky fighting over a little tiny water shooter, and then Twin Crazy stomping off mad only to return with a HUGE, “Rambo” looking like water semi-automatic.   It was outrageously funny.   A neighborhood friend coming over for a bit after seeing the water slip-n-slide in our front yard from the street as he drove by with his father.
  • Putting together the rest of my blinds in my kitchen.   They look great.
  • Picnics for lunch, outside.
  • Going to Target with Big Bro and Red to do “back to school” shopping.
  • Nana making “icebox cake” with the kids, their little routine together.
  • Cleaning out my storage shed and moving in some file cabinets to make room in the house.
  • We jointly decided that Sunday would be a special “Chocolate Sunday” since that was the last day of vacation and since Nana would be leaving on that day.  Twin Husky remembered this fact this morning when he woke up.  It was the first thing he was talking about.

So, it really was many days of just “existing” but enjoying the time spent together and also apart.  It was a mixture of laughter, tantrums, and quiet time.  It was wonderful waking up to the kids for so many days in a row.  I will never tire of this.   I will never tire of the mornings waking up to the kids and their smiles and their funny words.  It was great to have my mom here.  To share this time with us in such a relaxed way; no plans, no schedules, just doing what we want to do.

Highlights of the Rest of Today:

  • After dropping off Nana, I decided to take the kids to a science museum at a local university.  They loved it.  It was a totally spontaneous trip but they were great.   We played with air and beachballs, balls on ramps, the kids worked together to build foam building structures, … , …, …    They had so much fun.
  • We had lunch, the Twins took naps.
  • Big Bro and Red went next door to play with their friends.
  • I did some more cleaning up around the house.  I did laundry.
  • The Twins woke up and I put on loud music and the three of us danced in the kitchen.
  • A friend came over for dinner and we had a HUGE pasta dinner with chocolate mousse cake afterwards.  We sang “Happy First day of First Grade” to the birthday song tune; The kids were great.
  • We had a photo shoot of the kids to celebrate Big Bro’s first day of first grade.
  • Red wrote out her alphabet letters but kept having a problem with the letter “K”.  I showed her a trick and she wound up doing the “K” perfectly and was very proud of her accomplishment for the entire alphabet, as was I.   Her creation made it to the “art wall” in our kitchen.
  • The kids all went to sleep without a problem.
  • I got myself ready for tomorrow morning…. I will be driving Big Bro to his first day of 1st grade, and also the kids to their daycares.  We will need to leave VERY early to get there on time.  I got the shoes ready, lunch is already made for Big Bro, and the ride is ready for the kids breakfast in the van on the way there.    Wish me luck.

I am sighing now because I feel like its the end but yet a new beginning.  Big Bro in first grade; I can’t believe it.  I wanted so much to be settled for our family for years before Big Bro made it to first grade… there was so much pressure leading up to this event…. and here we are.  Still in the same general location, but our family torn.   It really is amazing.

I feel happy though.   I am settled, but still not really.  So much to do to actually get settled (fence, yard, garden, etc. etc. etc.) but all the rest will just unfold.  There is no rush for anything.   No timeline for anything.   Just living.   Each day.   And I feel good with where I am now.   There is no resistance with anything anymore.  I feel good with the time that I get to spend with the kids.   I feel lucky that I have the time to focus on them when I do have time with them.   I feel good that they listen to me as their mother – we laugh together, but they listen and they are fun for me to be around.   I enjoy being with them.  Talking with them.  Watching them learn.  Watching them care for each other and for other things, like their rooms, Cocoa, the house – our home.

This was a great “staycation” and a vacation that has topped the charts in my mind.   I’m looking forward to many more to come.

Have a great week everybody –

– Mama K

August 21: A working mother again!

I spent the day in the office but bar-belled in the AM and in the PM with kid-related stuff – so for the first time in a very long time, I actually felt like a juggling, working mom today.

Highlights of My Morning and Commute:

  • I woke up later than usual for some reason.  I’m usually leaving my house at 7:15 but this is when I was just getting up.  Oh well.  I have a conference call at 8 AM so I’ll just have to take it from home or on the way to the train.
  • At around 7:45, I heard kids.  This is unusual.  I usually don’t hear kids this early.   Wait a minute, it is the first day of school for the kids in my neighborhood.  Wait a minute, their bus-stop is right at the foot of my driveway!   I ran outside, dressed but without make up, and took pictures of my neighbors and their kids waiting for the bus on their first day of school.  It was “Q”‘s first day of 1st grade.  Big Bro’s friend.  And “L” is going into 3rd grade, I think.   They were so proud of their brand-new clothes – sneakers, pants, shirt, jacket, backpack…. haircuts….. so much fun.  I remember the first days of school.  How much excitement it brings and also the jitters.
  • THEN THE BUS CAME!!!!   Right at my driveway!   I can’t believe it.  I was excited for my neighbor’s family, but inside I ached for my kids.  I wish they were able to experience this.  Hopefully they will, someday.  Their school year starts next week in co-parent’s neighborhood.
  • I ran inside in enough time to take my conference call (on mute) while finishing getting ready.   I drove to the train and sat in the car in the parking lot until the call was over.   When it finished up, I headed up to my commute.
  • I listened to music on the way in on the train.  Another first for me.

Highlights of the Working Day:

  • I continued to sell participation as Guests to many prospective members for the first forum coming up.
  • I had a conference call with a different prospective client for a different forum that I am trying to set up.  It was a great call.
  • I then got a text from co-parent saying that they were 2 hours away and on their way to my house.  Wait a minute!!!!   I did not know they were going to be that early.   I still have work to do!  I have some meetings I need to re-arrange!   I’m not quite ready to leave just yet!   Just another reminder to me at how bad the communication is between us.
  • I printed out materials quickly, packed up, and hauled ass out of the office — delegating some tasks on my way out, and connecting briefly with a Director on some points that we needed to talk about face-to-face.

The Rest of the Day:

  • It was so good to see the kids.   They were all so happy and in great moods.  They were coming back from a vacation with co-parent, and starting a vacation with me.
  • They brought in extra food and a huge watermelon which I proceeded to quickly scoop into balls for their snack.   What a hit.  The kids were having a blast.
  • While they were eating the snack, co-parent helped me to put up the rack to my set of vertical blinds in the kitchen.   This was extremely helpful.  There was no way I would have been able to do this on my own.   The rack would have been too difficult for me to maneuver on my own while installing it.  So, thanks to co-parent.  We have our ups and downs.
  • The kids had a great time riding bikes, checking out the chickens, investigating in the shed, pulling out (big) tennis rackets, hitting balls all over the place, and then EXERCISING.   Big Bro cracks me up.  He is a leader with the kids all the time.  He instructed them with a whistle that “Now its time to run”.  And they ran around the house.  “Now its time to drink”.  And they drank water.  “Now its time to play tennis”.  And they hit balls with their rackets.  Over and over again there was this drill-sargant leading the pack of kids to activity to activity.   They were laughing so hard, having a ball.
  • They ate like champs.  All food was gone, and I made A LOT.
  • Afterwards they played outside some more.  I was getting ready for trash night.  This is the first time I’m doing this with the kids, I thought to myself.  I broke down card-board boxes and they were busy stamping on the bubble wrap.  I bought more step-stools for them, a light-weight vacuum cleaner, and other items; great timing!
  • I cleaned up from dinner as the kids brushed teeth with their new stools.   Twin Crazy was very clingy and she chose to be with me while the kids were playing.
  • We had more fruit for dessert and then the kids were cranky for bed.
  • They got changed without a problem, we read without a problem, I scratched their backs without a problem, and I talked to Twin Crazy about the foxes and the animals outside and she told me that they are outside and not coming inside.  I said that I was going to be in the kitchen and she would be able to hear me so for her not to feel like she was alone.   This worked.
  • I cut up the rest of the watermelon, fed my compost tumbler with the rinds, cleaned up the floor of sticky watermelon juice, used the new vacuum  on the dust, and hung up the blinds.   The place is coming together.  Each week it looks more and more like a home.  I will have the kitchen table delivered next week which I am PUMPED about.

Now I’m at my home office desk, with the kids sound asleep.  I feel like I have work to do, but it is late.  I don’t know how I’m going to work my 4 hours tomorrow with 4 kids in the house.  We already lined up things to do.  See the neighbors off on the bus, feed the guinea pig lettuce, have the kids take turns using the vacuum, go food shopping, pick up Nana…..   whoa.  I might need to take the day off.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull off four hours of real work, unless I get a jump on it tonight.  Or, not.

Til tomorrow,

– Mama K

October ????? not sure what day. I’m on vacation.

I’m not sure what day it is. I’m not sure what time it is. It doesn’t matter. I’m on vacation. It is night-time though. I’m in bed and the kids are lined up on the floor each one sound asleep with their busy lungs and busy brains, hopefully dreaming about fun things and their time with Pop Pop and Emmy, my step-mom.

Today was a very normal day. A kind of stay at home while on vacation day. We did normal things. Nothing special. Went to a park. Fed the ducks and egrets. Searched for acorns. Had lunch. Napped. Played with my step-sister’s dog. Lounged by the pool although it was too cold to swim. Yes, I guess it does get cold in Florida. Had happy hour. Had BBQ. Big Bro went with Pop pop and Emmy to Walmart to get some things to entertain the kids on the plane. Twin Crazy took a bath. I did Red’s nails, in red. It was just a very normal day.

But it was a special normal day since the day to day activities were at my dad’s place – and we are getting the chance to experience each other on an extended basis. Something special happens on these kinds of trips. Once you hit a certain point, there is no need to entertain. No need to force conversation. People just are people with each other. So I am thankful that I have had this chance with my dad and his family and my children.

Tomorrow I will gather them up and take them to my dad’s office; where I’m sure we will cause quite a scene. They will draw pictures for him and he will put them up on his wall, until they are replaced by new pictures from their next visit…

I’ve attached a video that was actually not taken today – but several days ago when we were at my dad’s beach condo. At the time I thought I was taking pictures but the iPad was in video-mode so it’s a bit all over the place. This is how I feel this vacation is going. Going with the flow, things not happening as expected, but everyone taking things in stride and still having fun despite the situation.

I’ll be back at work on Monday and will plan to write something then. I want to enjoy my last day tomorrow and will likely be very busy when I get back home.

Till next week –
– Mama K

October 18: Seashells


We survived the wedding and the day after, we sat around by my dad’s pool while my aunt and uncle came to visit before they left for the airport. One funny thing to report: my aunt and my dad are twins. I should have known this could happen to us… but I digress….

My father has a condo on a small island about 1 hour away from Tampa. It is a quiet, surrene setting along the gulf of mexico with a private beach of white, white sand and clear blue-green water. This is only my second time here. I wish I had the luxury of being closer to my family so I can soak in more of these moments that are so important to me. So this vacation is somewhat bitter-sweet. It took us so long to get here and the kids were such troopers, but honestly we cannot do too many of these kinds of trips. Plus there’s so many other places to see. I wish I could just accept the distance but I no longer can. I used to think before that I could. So my face smiles looking at my kids with their Pop-pop on the beach so busy digging sand and investigating how the water works with the sand – but my heart and soul are a bit battered down. I feel too tired to think too deeply about anything anymore. I just feel sad, so misunderstood, and not listened to. But again I digress.

Today we took a long walk along the beach and all the kids were looking for shells. I love doing this and today was a treat with the four kids. We had two plastic bags and Twin Husky took to carrying one of them. Red also had a bag with her sandals and shells in it. We found so many. It was so wonderful to have the kids scattered and busy at work looking for shells, looking at the waves, talking about the birds – all on private beach so it was just us.

When we got back to the condo we rinsed them off (just me and them) and put them in a towel to dry. We then noticed that the ground cover near the parking lot was also shells. I thought they would all be broken but there were some really beautiful ones in there – so we went hunting for more. Big Bro’s job was the colander, Twin Husky’s job was the hose, and Red and Twin Crazy were busy laying out the first round of shells.

It is moments like these that I hope to never forget. How we all worked together. How everyone was busy and occupied. How everyone was grouped together yet each kind of doing their own thing. And how I just let them be kids. Jump in the hose water. Get wet. Search for treasure. And they let me be with them to experience it all.

How can it be possible that I get so much pleasure out of this moment but yet I can’t help to see myself in these shells – none perfect, some scarred, but all empty. That is how I feel sometimes. Just very empty. And too tired to fight any longer to fill myself up with feelings I once had. I’m just too tired.

I am typing this now as each is sleeping in the room on the floor. I hear their breathing, and imagine their tired bodies replenishing energy for another busy day tomorrow. And I bet anything that we will be searching to add to our existing bounty of seashells.

October 12: Too busy, getting ready for vacation

I’m sick and had little sleep last night – very, very tired and worn out. Running at work, packing/doing laundry, and getting ready for the vacation is tiring me out!

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • I have alone time with Red this morning. She sits in my lap and we talk about me going to her school all day and her picking me up. She thinks this is funny; we keep going back and forth with this. She seems in a really good mood. I hold her, rock her, talk to her, hug & kiss her.
  • I scurry around after my shower trying to grab more of the kids clothes from their rooms to pack — bathing suits, dress shirts, socks, etc.
  • Downstairs the kids are eating; Twin Crazy and Twin Husky are both eating cereral with milk and yes they are spilling all over the place. I spend some time cleaning up milk and refilling their bowls.
  • I gather clothes for Red and Big Bro while they are eating.
  • Diaper changes with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky — he is moving around and wants to play with choo-choo trains so we need to do a “stand up” diaper change. He also says he “hurts” so I scurry looking around for diaper cream. I come back and Twin Crazy is busy cleaning Twin Husky with wipes. Her change is great; she reads a DVD cover and is still.
  • I help to change Red and Big Bro. We are running late. I still do not have any coffee or any breakfast – and am very groggy from the cold medicine I had last night.
  • OK time to go! We’re behind schedule! We gather their shoes, jackets, lunches, our bags. I change the last load of laundry. From this we have what we need to finish our packing tonight. Drop offs are going to be very hectic.
  • 1st drop off: Twins. They wave goodbye to us.
  • 2nd drop off: Big Bro. A huge problem. This switch in drop off messes him up; there are no teachers out there and just parents – but I don’t have time to wait for the teacher… there are some moms there that I know but he didn’t feel comfortable with them – he chased after me, crying. Finally another mom arrived with his REALLY close friend – we’ve been over to their house for playmates and dinner so he feels really comfortable with her – she saves me and grabs Big Bro’s hand. My heart hurts as I run back to the van.
  • 3rd drop off: Red. It goes fine. We find the kids in her class looking at books from the book fair. She has her own book with her that we bought yesterday and she is happy.

Today is the last day of work before vacation. I need a vacation desperately. Today will be busy. I really need to focus on getting materials out from the meetings last week, and starting preparations for the meeting we will have after I return from vacation — Getting the Agenda nailed down and distributed. I also have some business development items that I need to follow up with and also admin items like time sheets and expenses. Plus some various meetings in my calendar today so hopefully I can focus around these meetings.

I was running like an idiot all morning, with no coffee, no breakfast, 3 drop offs, and work — all after traveling last week and not having our mother’s helper around. I feel like I’ve regressed a bit. Once this last meeting is finished I need to scale back to a 3 or 4 day work week. This must happen. Please encourage me with this – it is scary for me to take a step back!

Highlights of My Working Day:


It was crazy busy today.

  • Two debrief meetings post-event from the meetings from last week; we discussed how things went and things to do differently, and also specific follow up things we can do as a result of the meeting
  • I had a business development call with a potential member of a new forum we are launching. It went well but we need to think through how to position/frame this particular forum
  • Sent off materials for the conference I will be missing next week while I’m on vacation.
  • Spoke with a guest speaker for an upcoming meeting to help her frame her presentation

I am also walking away with a TON more work to do tonight – I have to send out meeting materials from last week, complete and submit my timesheet, organize sales meetings for a new forum we are trying to sell, and make introductions to specific forum members on behalf of another Director. I will need to do all of this tonight when I get home, and before finishing packing.

I am on a train now headed to a meeting. So Hubby is home with the kids (and hopefully the mother’s helper). I will miss them tonight. I might be able to see Big Bro and Red before they go to sleep. But tonight is honestly going to be crazy with the work I have to finish and the packing I have left to do….

Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I drank a Guiness.  Did some work at the bar.
  • Got home and read some books to Big Bro and Red.
  • Did some more work.  Finsihed up work at 9:30 PM.
  • I will post this by 10 PM.
  • I will then need to pack — the rest of the kids stuff and also my own.

My dinner consisted of a Guiness.  I might eat some Cheerios before I go to bed tonight.  I am exhausted.  Physically, mentally, emotionally.

I plan to send infrequent posts during vacation, but I can’t make any promises!!!!


Until later,

– Mama K

October 11: Running, running, running….

Today was a hectic and bit stressful morning. As I write this now I am on the ferry drinking my first cup of coffee, no breakfast, feeling tired tired TIRED, hair wet, no make up, and headed into a day of work that I know will be more stress than I would like – nonetheless, here are some highlights:

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Wake up very groggy, Big Bro’s owie feels a lot better so we high-five. He claims that he does not even need any medicine on it or a new band-aid.
  • Red on the other hand starts throwing a tantrum as I am about to get in the shower. She was waiting for me to help her get dressed, NOW. So I stop the shower and go with her to her room to get her dressed.
  • All kids at this point are downstairs for chocolate Tuesday.
  • Big Bro has already eaten and we pick out some clothes from the mountains of clean folded clothes in the guest bedroom (thanks to our Mother’s Helper).
  • Diapering Twin Crazy is fine; she is pointing to her leg saying that it hurts and that she needs medicine (copying Big Bro – so sweet). Big Bro comes out with an open umbrella during Twin Husky’s diaper change is not so fine. He’d rather look and investigate the umbrella since he’s never seen one inside the house before. That was a bit of a struggle for me.
  • OK get your shoes on and time to go!
  • Twin Crazy jumps off of the one stair into the garage while holding all of her animals and blankets and then falls into the wall and bangs her head. I need to console her.
  • I gather up the bags and try to get the kids in the car.
  • Twin Husky finds the cookie container and is sitting there eating a fist full of cookies. At least he’s not exploring in the street. I let him go at it and ask Hubby to get him in his seat.
  • I throw in another load of laundry – we NEED to pack TONIGHT for our trip
  • I find a rain jacket for Red but I really can’t find any sort of proper jacket for Big Bro. I really need to get one for him. This can be a mommy-time activity if I can find the time – most likely after our vacation.
  • We head off – 3 drop offs. First is Red, then the Twins (I realize I forgot Twin Husky’s medicine), then Big Bro. He wants to bring the umbrella (big, adult) and I instinctually say No. Then he gets upset and starts with an agonizing cry. I look around and all the other kids have cute little tiny kid umbrellas so I give in to him. I’ll need to add this to the shopping list. Big Bro needs a jacket, and an umbrella.

It’s a rainy day today. I’m not looking forward to work. Maybe this coffee and some breakfast will help. I think it will be rough today. My head is still asleep and I look like ass — completely not together. I buy some coffee and a book of ferry tickets – the attendant is apparently as tired as me because she gave me an extra book of 20 tickets by accident ($100 value). I correct her mistake and she thanked me over and over again. I think of my grandfather. His good deed that I remember as early as 5 or 6 years old still stays with me when I am faced with similar situations. I will need to write separately about that.

Highlights of my Working Day:

I couldn’t stop all day today. It started with me grabbing a breakfast sandwich and eating it on my walk from the ferry to work.   The day was so crazed that I couldn’t leave for lunch. A colleague was kind enough to bring me back something/anything (it turned out to be a great salad – thank you!). Let me see. I spent the day confirming speakers, finalizing an agenda, communicating with speakers, conducting a business development meeting for a separate initiative, reviewing a presentation that we will give and provided feedback and guidance to the person who will present in my absence, gathering our distribution lists for the prior meetings so I can distribute the appropriate materials, and coordinating with all team members to make sure that the next big meeting is a success (from Director to administrative assistants). We are all pulling together and hopefully it will be a great meeting. I’m also looking towards the NEXT meeting in November. So am doing the legwork to get the agenda drafted and presenters organized.   Oh.  And also trying to get other things finished/taken care of before I leave for vacation.

Now I’m on the ferry back home. I am sweating and exhausted from the day. Our mother’s helper texted me today and will not be here tonight. Hubby is also going to be late. So I will have all kids by myself until probably after 7. So I’ll be running, again. Non-stop!!!! I decided to order a pizza for tonight. I just can’t deal with cooking. And then after the kids are in bed I will need to pack for our 10 day trip!!!!! Today will be the longest day EVER….

Dinner and Bedtime:


I knew going into tonight that I was going to be on my own.  Our mother’s helper cancelled due to school and Hubby said he needed to take a later ferry.   But he didn’t get back until 8 pm so I had the entire night on my own.  We had our ups and downs – but again there was activity/laughing/crying non-stop:

  • I pick up Big Bro first.   I always ask the kids to learn something new, laugh, and excercise your body each and every day.   So I asked him what happened today that was funny.  What made him laugh today?    He thought for a bit, and said that the class was asked to think about things that started with the letter “T” and the teacher would then draw a picture of it so that everyone understood the word.   Big Bro raised his hand and said “toilet”.   So the teacher indeed drew a toilet for the class.  He said that made him laugh pretty hard.
  • 2nd pick up was Red.  It was also book-fair this week so I had Big Bro and Red pick out a book.  Together we picked out books for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky.
  • 3rd pick up:  Twins.  They were so good.  All laughs and smiles.
  • I got everyone home and helped to get their shoes off and started to unload the bags.   While I was getting Twin Husky, Twin Crazy wound up climbing back into the van and got to the front seat and honked the horn, scaring all of us silly.
  • Once inside, I ordered pizza ASAP.  In the middle of this call I think 2 of the kids were crying.  I’m not sure who.  But there was screaming.  I just went into another room to finish the order.
  • I changed my clothes fast.  Started the dishwasher.  Unpacked their lunches.   Started another load of laundry.   The kids were playing and also eating some Cheerios.   They were also dumping Cheerios on the floor.
  • Then they got quiet.  I think it was when I was changing the laundry.   Too quiet.  I enter the kitchen to find Twin Husky holding the sugar bowl, with a pile of sugar on the counter.   He had sugar all over his hands and in the corners of his mouth.   Twin Crazy just had sugar on her hands.  Red had sugar on her hands but she “wasn’t playing with it”, she was “just touching it”.   I take Big Bro’s hands and they are sugar-free.  “I didn’t do anything.”
Twin Husky gets snagged sugar-handed

Twin Husky gets snagged sugar-handed

  • I sit and read the new books to Big Bro and to Red.   Twin Crazy and Twin Husky get into some fights over toys.  Twin Crazy is starting most of them.
  • Pizza comes.  The guy looks sorry for me.   They all eat a ton.
  • Then playtime while I clean up a bit.   Twin Crazy is busy stealing Twin Husky’s toys and running away from him and making him cry.  She did this literally all night.
  • I then propose some milk.  All kids agree.  They all down the milk and we head upstairs for bed.    Twins are tired.  Twin Husky is even asking for his crib.
  • Teeth and storytime is great with Big Bro and Red again with their new books.   Big Bro has memorized two poems that he has to recite to the class at the end of the month.  He recites them for me and he has them both nailed.
I head downstairs to start packing — I am called up there 2x and now I’m sitting here typing and Red is still screaming her head off for some reason.  I don’t know why she’s so clingy.  Maybe she didn’t get enough of me tonight since I was busy with house-hold stuff.  I need to spend more time with her.  Even if its having her sit on my lap and rocking her a bit.  I’ll try to do that for her tomorrow.
OK, gotta go now to finish the laundry and start to pack.   I’ve been running since 7 AM and its now 9:30 PM.   And my day is still not over….
Til tomorrow,
– Mama K

Random Thought: Vacationing with Children

I just returned from vacation with Hubby and a subset of my kids. This got me to thinking about vacations in general and the extent to which families choose to vacation alone and/or with their kids. Before Hubby and I got married and before the children arrived, we were avid travelers. We both share a drive to recapture and foster the same sense of adventure with ALL of our children in tow. We’ve already done camping trips as a family of six, day trips to the beach, slumber parties, and next month we will all be going to Florida. When we had only two kids, I made multiple trips to the East Coast solo with the kids and we also traveled to Mexico, Seattle, more trips to Florida. I honestly cannot wait for the day when Hubby and I are trailblazing with our backpacks and we have our gaggle of little explorers right behind us carrying their “gear” in their backpacks and writing in their travel journals. I feel like we have so much to look forward to, together.

Which leads me to thinking about how your family approaches vacations –

I think me and Hubby are more on the adventurous side but the Twins have slowed us down a bit, at least for the time being… I’m looking forward to reviewing your responses….

Staying Sane: Getting Away

As some of you may know, I was away on vacation for most of last week – and just returned tonight.    What a way to recharge and feel fresh – pulling yourself out of your day-to-day routine. Different place, different bed, different food, different activities – unfamiliar language, customs, and completely different ways of living. Whether alone, with your partner, or with your kids, the experience can vary but is still refreshing nonetheless.

The gems of my most recent trip included:

  • Swimming in the Caribbean and loving the feeling of warm smooth water while looking down and clearly seeing my feet
  • Many island rum drinks; even starting before lunch
  • Meeting new special people and welcoming them into my life
  • Hearing my kids laugh and seeing them play with a new friend – even though they didn’t speak the same language
  • Late afternoon thunderstorms
  • All you can eat and drink food buffets
  • Beautiful people and gracious hospitality particularly with children
  • My kids laughing and finding EVERYTHING enjoyable
My beauty and the beach

My beauty and the beach

  • Taking afternoon naps with my kid(s)
  • The crabs and turtle that my kids always tried to spot
  • Building sandcastles


  • Feeling the warm sand on my feet
  • Seeing my daughter jump into the pool and look of surprise and pride on her face
  • Hubby encouraging my kids to have dessert and ice cream EVERY night
  • Giving gifts for BIG milestones
  • Just hanging and laughing with my family – my mom, dad, step-mom and brother — and seeing how they play with my kids
  • Seeing Hubby enjoy himself with my family madness and always smiling
  • Seeing my dad wasted before lunch and forcing him to eat pasta and rice to soak it up
  • Chasing the kids along the beach
  • Holding Hubby’s hand and laughing at the silly things that the kids said or did
  • Listening to the kids laugh and giggle as the were going to sleep, sharing a bed for the first time
  • Not looking at the clock except to make sure we weren’t missing a meal
  • Holding the kids on both sides of me as they slept on the plane
  • Playing fooseball
  • Warm air – even at night
  • Walking along the beach with Big Bro at night
  • Big Bro falling out of the bed and him laughing about it – and then all of us laughing about it
  • The little gecko that would appear on our back porch each morning

I’m finding that these vacations are lifesavers for me these days. And it helps to know when the next trip, the next adventure, will occur. Next month in Florida we will have a family wedding and then extra time on the beach. I can’t wait. That trip will be extra special since it will be our first big excursion with the Twins and as a family of six.

So remove yourself from YOUR day-to-day reality. Whether a short weekend in Vegas or a trek in the Himalayas or a cruise to nowhere or long weekend in the snow – make it happen and revel in those moments.

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