This is my first post in over two months. Yikes. To say that life has been busy is an understatement. Many of my working-mom/dad friends out there will completely understand the daily juggling act of morning routines, drop-offs, pick-ups, office work, work calls during kung fu class, homework, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, work emails in the evening, etc. The list is endless. But the past ten days has been crazy on a whole different scale, for in addition to the usual mix of competing priorities and tasks, multiple other factors–none of which on their own or even combined with another one is usually disruptive in any significant way–converged to create the perfect storm. Allow me to elaborate:

– Day ten: Arrival of grandparents to celebrate Soup-er Girl’s third birthday. They stopped to have lunch with Mr. No Nom at his state-of-the-art tech company east coast headquarters (you’ll have to guess the company). Dinner was Indian takeout from Punjab.

– Day nine: Day one of Soup-er Boy’s soccer tournament in Natick, a 30 minute drive. There are two back-to-back matches and the female half of the family can only make the second game–just in time to experience some truly horrific behavior on the part of the opponents’ parents and coaches. There were loud, obnoxious, aggressive, and sometimes even profane-laced shouts and admonishment, all of which were addressed to their own team! Ugh. I hate to generalize, but there is a BIG difference between the urban and suburban cheering crowds. Soccer was followed by lunch at the Sichuan Gourmet outpost in Framingham, MA. Dinner was chicken pho at home.

– Day eight: Soup-er Girl’s birthday and the second day of the tournament. Two more back-to-back soccer matches followed by lunch at Oga’s in Natick, MA, where the service staff surprised Soup-er Girl with some deep-fried ice cream, candles and a rendition of Happy Birthday. We had a family celebration for Soup-er Girl, which included long-time family friends and their children. All in all, I made dinner for 10 adults and five children. Dinner was a Turkish feast, with red lentil soup (from the Sultan’s Kitchen cookbook), lamb meatballs (from the NYT), herb-stuffed tomatoes (from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty), greek salad, and a birthday cake (from Tous Les Jours).

– Day seven: While most folks had the day off, I woke up at 4:30 AM to make a 7:00 AM flight to DC for a conference in Bethesda, MD. Ugh. I spent the day exhausted and trying to hide it. Alas, while I was attending dry sessions on patient centered medical homes (full of acronyms that I have not yet mastered), things at home were getting a little, um, complicated. From a series of texts and phone calls Mr. No Nom informed me of the adventures he was having on the home front. Taking advantage of some lovely fall weather, he and the grandparents took the kids to the Boston Common, where Mr. No Nom lost his keys, which meant that he could not retrieve the car from the parking garage. With tired kids in tow, the group took a taxi home just in time for the grandparents to pack, hop back into the taxi, and head to the airport for their return trip. Alas, some good Samaritan found and turned the keys into the Park Rangers’ office and Mr. No Nom made plans to retrieve keys and cars the next day. Have no idea what they ate for dinner.

– Day six: Second day at the conference and things are beginning to make a little more sense to me. But my phone continues buzzing with text messages, I hear that unfortunately, things were getting more exciting on the home front. Without a car, Mr. No Nom had arranged for Mrs. Next Doors to take Soup-er Girl to school with her little one. With the kids all strapped in, Mrs. Next Doors discovered that the car wouldn’t start. D’oh! Next Doors’ other car was already in the shop–apparently with a mouse nest inside the engine. Uh oh. Little ones get to daycare a bit late via stroller. Mr. No Nom manages to get keys and car via bike and Mrs. Next Doors rents a car. I straggle home on a late flight from DC in time to tuck the kids in and collapse on the couch with a gin and tonic.

– Day four: Frantic day of driving all over Cambridge to make and miss appointments. Mr. No Nom’s cousin was visiting us for a few days and I needed to pick her up in Cambridge on my way home. No problem, right? Wrong. First I had to get to a long-standing and oft-postponed lunch with a friend. But due to traffic, she is late and lunch finishes late. Throughout lunch, I get texts from said cousin about various difficulties locating her luggage, etc. and have to re-arrange pick up time and location. All in all, I spent over an hour navigating Cambridge traffic (and major road work) to get to the cousin and bring her home, where I feed the poor famished soul with some leftover chicken pho. Lucky cousin.

Day three: This was supposed to be my day off, so I made plans with the cousin to head to the Museum of Science in the morning. Gah. While cousin skipped about excitedly–did I mention that she’s a grown woman in graduate studies?–from one geeky exhibit to the next, I fielded work calls amongst the throngs of screaming children. I felt really old and full of responsibilities. Next, I drop her off for lunch with Mr. No Nom at the aforementioned state-of-the-art tech company. I spend the rest of the afternoon trying to catch up on laundry and housecleaning. Dinner was the cousin’s introduction to Bon Chon. We all went to bed happy, tired and full.

Day two: And the lull ends. There is a packed schedule that includes a soccer game, getting cousin to the airport, babysitter for Soup-er Girl, and my participation in the interview process for the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative’s State House Fellowship program. Exhausted (but incredibly inspired and humbled by the AAWPI candidates and alumnae) I stumble home and order Thai for dinner. After getting the kids down, I spend the next three hours baking cupcakes for Soup-er Girl’s belated birthday party with her little friends.

Which bring us to today, day one. After staying up late to bake cupcakes, I am up early to deal with the usual kid morning routine while Mr. No Nom is off at a pick-up soccer game. Oy. Mrs. Next Doors soon drops off her little one as we will take her to the party with us while Mrs. Next Doors is otherwise occupied. Double oy. As the kids take in some Sesame Street, I whip up pink frosting for the cupcakes–Soup-er Girl had requested pink Yoda cupcakes. Alas, the stencil wouldn’t cooperate and with less than hour to party time, I aborted Yoda and went with sprinkles. I don’t think she even cared. Sigh. The party went off without a hitch–12 little girls jumping and twirling about in purple and blue tutus is a sight that would make even the most tired mom smile. I can’t believe my baby is three… sniff, sniff.

So there you have it. After such a crazy ten days, this afternoon was blissfully quiet, which is how I have time to compose this post. Dinner–marinated flank steak, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and arugula salad–is being prepared by Next Doors, so I won’t even have to worry about clean up. And, there’s leftover cupcakes for dinner. All is okay for now.

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