The Age of Defiance

Age three has been a tough age. They’ve been 3 since October, but January is the month where they are technically 3 had they been born at 40 weeks gestation. What we are seeing: More pushing back (much more telling us no), they are acquiring and refining new skills and learning at a faster clip, much much much more talking, and other new challenges. And unfortunately (for Angelique) Costco decided to stop selling the holiday egg nog already – boo! 👎🏽

Each of their unique personalities is branded with its own flavor of defiance – and they all manage to pull this off with style and grace.

It is important to note that they do all of this stuff while getting ridiculously cuter by the day. They each insist on challenging our patience daily. Angelique, being home all day long with them, takes the lion share of it. They save some for me in the evenings and on weekends. What they don’t realize (that we do) is that it is all part of the process of growing up. Also, they don’t realize that we are actually very patient people – we waited patiently for 7.5 years to have them, so the stuff they put us through is cake compared to the frustrations that come with trying to conceive and not succeeding for as long as we did. I don’t wish that reality on anyone.

As a manager/leader, I am firm, but fair. As a parent of multiples, the key is consistency. It’s one thing to have an older child and the youngest can learn from the mistakes the older child makes, but in our case, given they are all the same age things tend to have a cascading effect as everyone is observant. Someone is either good or bad by example. Michaela tends to be the first to do everything, and leads the way in the trouble department. Emma tends to learn from the other two’s mistakes and not make the same ones, much like I did growing up. Christopher tends to get sucked into the trouble vortex as he is Michaela’s partner in crime. Needless to say age three has found those two on timeouts the most. They try and pit their parents against one another, running to mommy for sympathy, but that doesn’t work…ha!

However, things change as the venue changes. For example, we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s for Christmas Eve dinner and Emma found herself on timeout repeatedly because she was throwing toys over her shoulder over and over and they came close to hitting folks several times.

Reading this probably brings back memories for you parents that have long since graduated from these challenging times. Accordingly, you’re welcome for the walk down memory lane 😊


Merry Christmas from the Cave Family! 🎄

We are preparing for Christmas, which will be hosted at our home this year. Yesterday, the kids spent the day at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It was supposed to be Christopher and I doing some male bonding, but when he saw his sisters hopping in the van without him, that was that. This left me alone to clean up the aftermath of their daily play carnage.

I thought I did a good job…

And then they woke up the next morning…

Merry Christmas! 🎁

I know the kids are looking forward to it this year.

Phew! It’s Normal

The follow excerpt is from, and our three year olds do most of the bulleted:

3 years old.

• Will experiment with independence. May lead to tantrums.👈🏾

• Will want increased control. May lead to tantrums.👈🏾

• Will become frustrated when disappointed. May lead to tantrums.👈🏾

• May see an increase in tantrums.👈🏾👈🏾👈🏾

• Will flip between wanting to be independent (‘I do it!’, or ‘by myself’) and wanting to be treated like a little person (‘carry me’ or ‘you do it’). 👈🏾

• Will form a special attachment to the word ‘no’ and will practice it often. Even when they might mean ‘yes’. (Ahhhh toddlers! Fortunately, evolution has given them a profound capacity for cuteness while they are sleeping. This is important for those catastrophic events, such as when you miss the notification that sandwiches are now to be served as little triangles, not little squares as was previously deemed acceptable. If this happens, just go with it – you’ll need your energy for when they realise you haven’t bought the toothpaste with Elsa on the tube.)👈🏾

• Might stutter or stammer.

• Will start to assert control over their environment by wanting to plan activities, do things by themselves, try challenging things.👈🏾

• Might keep calling you back when they are put to bed.👈🏾

• Might develop sudden fears and phobias.👈🏾

Note: we’ve dealt with some serious meltdowns over chapstick. These three love to keep their lips moisturized. Exotic flavors as Christmas gifts would be a hit!

New Job, New Beginnings

On Thursday, November 30, 2017, I concluded my 5 year tenure at the State Treasurer’s Office. In 2012, I took the job when the previous incumbent had retired and the internal person that was offered the job turned it down. It was a good move for several reasons. First and foremost, Angelique worked there at the time in Business Services. It was an opportunity to be nearby as she recovered emotionally from some recent and very difficult pregnancy losses. The job was doing things I had done already at previous jobs. It was also a fresh start at a new organization run by an elected official. So that would be an opportunity to learn how to do things already familiar to me under a different and more political lens. I had great staff and a supportive boss. Two years into my tenure at the STO, the triplets arrived. Over the next 3 years, I experienced a great deal of success at the STO. I went through the highly coveted IT Leadership Academy, and my class project idea (California Mentor Program for Information Technology) was one of the projects selected for the class and was very successful. A document management system landed in my unit’s area of responsibility to manage in 2014, and it came with several challenges that needed to be overcome before real change could happen. In my final two years at the STO, I graduated from the IT Leadership Academy, and picked up a 2017 IT Leadership award for my efforts improving customer efficiencies using document management solutions. In October 2017, I was also selected as one of 3 employees of the month. The other two folks were members of my document management team. We were nominated by two different commissions for document management solutions we delivered that significantly improved their efficiencies. I will really miss the STO. I met some great people there, and it is a very family-oriented environment. Angelique and I were one of the “super couples” that were married and worked in the same organization. I think we both left behind a very positive legacy as two service-oriented professionals with a passion for people.

Ten months prior to starting at the STO, I had attempted a fresh start at a different organization. It turned out to be a terrible time to pursue a job with promising opportunities. The main reason is because we were just starting to experience the challenges associated with our path to starting a family, and didn’t yet realize how difficult it would end up being emotionally. It turned out that it was not the right time to be trying to learn a new organization and job and be 100% emotionally invested in fertility treatments and without a supportive boss to boot. Lesson learned, and enough about that misfire 🙂

On Friday, December 1, 2017, I started a new job as a section manager over Document Management Systems infrastructure operations at the Employment Development Department. It is a promotion, and I will be overseeing the infrastructure operations of a massive document management solution that has its own building.

My success in the document management arena at the STO told me that this was something I would be comfortable specializing in. The job comes with several perks, such as free parking, more money 💵, closer to home, and an opportunity to (most of the time) be home earlier to spend quality time with the kids. My last year at the STO, I was taking the Amtrak Capital Corridor train from Roseville to Downtown and back, a 30 minute commute each way. The evening train was often late arriving in Sacramento, which resulted in me getting home as late as 6:30pm if I didn’t have shopping 🛒 to do after work, which is at least 3 days a week. Also, there was only one morning and evening train, and the evening charter buses departed at varying times. I will miss the great people I met on the train. Some of my commuter friends helped me solve a work problem once!

One trade off is that I lost my big office and now have a cubicle. It’s a different culture and managers at my level in such a large organization don’t get offices. Oh well, I will not be at my desk often anyway! Another is that I will no longer be downtown, so I will need to make an effort to stay connected and not completely disappear. I am on this year’s CIO Academy Advisory Board, and hope to continue in that capacity. There are, however, contacts I made during my time in the Leadership Academy that also work in Rancho Cordova, so I will be able to connect with them more often.

My first day was mentally draining. I was in a lot of different meetings all day. And most of the day I was only at my desk long enough to accept the newest wave of meetings that came in. When I got home, I was so tired I think I passed out about a hour after getting home. There is a significant amount of information to absorb in my new job. It’s not just the document management technology or the massive infrastructure that supports it. There’s also the holy IT trinity to master – the people, the processes and the technology of the organization as a whole. I will be dusting off old skills and leveraging recent experience in my new role. I’ll have more staff than I had at the STO, and it’s a matrix’s team operation so I will be involved in everything the document management applications development group is working on. There are many active concurrent projects, and dozens in the queue. I will be very busy all the time!

It seemed like the right time to take on a new job. The kids are here (hooray! 👏🏽🙌🏽👏🏽) and with great help early on, Angelique and I weathered the first 18 months, followed by age 2, 2 and a half and now 3. I will have to recalibrate the work-life balance piece, as being an infrastructure operations manager once again comes with specific expectations, but I’m happy to have been given the opportunity to grow even more professionally.

Eventually the new job will make sense and I will settle into a rhythm. I’ll be using the kids as my motivation to be the best manager I can be in my new home. After all, it’s all about them!

Gotta run – 3 kids running around screaming as they play!