{Daily Pics} An Honest View

Here's some photos I gleaned from our camera over the past week. All honest glimpses into our home and life with quadruplets. :)

kailey asleep for a nap = one happy momma 
harrison and trystan were so cute with their faces pressed together looking at me

we mix four of these pitchers of formula for our daily bottles

my playtime with the crew

daddy and trystan...she's such a cute mini-person!

all eyes on momma


{My Recipes} Easy 3-step Salmon & Veg

I've been really into roasting veggies right now—there's just something about the flavor that's so much better than steaming or sauteeing. And the husband and I are also trying to eat healthier at home now that I'm able to cook a few dinners a week, so this easy three-step salmon and veg meal I threw together was perfect.

Step 1: Scatter a selection of fresh vegetables (be sure you've washed them, chopping is optional) on a large baking sheet. I used freshly peeled garlic cloves, broccoli, asparagus, carrots and grape tomatoes. On a smaller baking sheet, place your salmon. As you can see, I lined my sheets with foil for easy clean-up.

Step 2: Season. I love our local grocery store's (HEB) selection of self-imported olive oils, like Spanish, Italian or Greek. I give a healthy drizzle to both the veggies and salmon then season liberally with freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. For the salmon, I also topped it with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and lemon pepper seasoning.

Step 3: Bake! I turned my oven to 425 degrees and baked everything about 15-20 minutes. The veggies might take a bit longer, depending on what you've used, and may need closer to 30 minutes. The salmon is cooked when it flakes and is opaque pink through the center. Check it often if needed to avoid overcooking. I served ours with a little brown rice and a sprinkle of shredded cheese.



Things You Shouldn't Say to a Mom of Multiples

Some things just shouldn't be said out loud. Sure, we all know you're thinking 'em when you see a mom with four or five or even six babies—all clearly the same age and immediately striking a complete and ferocious curiosity. So many questions. I've been told before that life with multiples means learning how to deal with onlookers who may or may not see fit to ask appropriate questions, and who may or may not share menacing stares. For whatever stupid reason they may have. Curiosity trumps manners. Big time!

My 8 month old quadruplets. 
But while I learn to deal with those folks with patience, grace and the occasional "bite me" attitude, there are some things I can share about manners toward families with high order multiples. Following are questions or phrases that shouldn't be said aloud...but that I've either been told or asked to date, with the answer I usually retort with below it—if I don't just roll my eyes and walk off. And yes, some things required a two edged sword. ;)

(Please note that people who are polite and ask genuine questions do not receive the same type of short, snarky answers in the examples below. I do not make a habit of being rude to others just because I have four babies!)

* * * *

Stranger: Oh, wow. So did you do IVF? (Often said with a "knowing" nod and a sad expression.)
Me: Did you take a poop this morning? I mean, I just figured we were exchanging super personal information.

Stranger: Better you than me! I don't think I could handle that.
Me: Exactly. I'm handling this just fine.

Stranger: So which one is your favorite?
Me: Well, it's certainly not you right now.

Stranger: Are they all identical?
Me: Last time I checked they were not. (It's painfully obvious at this point. I mean, one has red hair and they are all distinctly different.)

Stranger: Are they natural?
Me: They are 100 percent real babies, yes.

Stranger: Did you mean to have four?
Me: Yes. I totally on purpose planned to have a pregnancy with four babies. And then endanger both my life and theirs in the process. Made perfect sense to me.

Stranger: Wow. You must have done something wrong in a past life to end up with quadruplets!
Me: As far as I'm concerned, we've done everything totally right.

Stranger: You're so lucky. You got your whole family at once and you're done having kids now!
Me: Thanks for making that announcement for me.

* * * *

And then there's some things people say that you don't even respond to. Like one woman who told me, while I was early in my pregnancy, that she was going to go home and cry for me. Thanks lady, that should, uh, really help things.

There's plenty of people who cast adoring glances on our crew when we've been out for doctor's appointments and there's others who share their respect or admiration for raising quadruplets whenever we decide to share it in conversation. I do realize that all of this comes with the territory, so to speak, and will just become something we have to get used to. I resort to similar answers for similar questions because it's so easy to get caught off guard when you're distracted with the babies while out in public. And don't even get me started on the people who rush over and just start trying to reach their hands into the strollers to touch them! 

I hope we're able to handle it well as our lockdown ends and we begin taking the babies out with us to do "normal" things more often. It'll be a challenge, no doubt! I want to set a good example for our kids and I also want them to grow up without feeling like they're stared at everywhere they go or that they're different from other families and siblings. It's all part of our adventure!

In the meantime, I've answered frequently asked questions over two blog posts in the past, which you can find here and here. Perhaps it'll squelch some of that curiosity. ;)


DIY Chalk Labels

I'm all about keeping things organized and neatly stored in canisters and containers. But I typically don't leave them out unless they're somewhat decent looking. However, when you have quadruplets and you are making 16 bottles every day, mixing oatmeal and fruit for their breakfast each morning and adding rice cereal to four bottles in the evening, it's key to have certain things within easy reach.

I bought two glass containers at TJ Maxx for around $4 and $6, then decided that rice cereal and oatmeal cereal look way too similar and created some easy DIY labels for them. I've actually used chalk paint before, like on a clay flower pot that sits by the front door. I can write "welcome" or other seasonal greetings on the label I painted on—in the exact same fashion as I did these canisters. I've also painted frame backings, removing the glass and using it as a mini chalk board for decorative purposes.

For the canister labels, all you need are your containers, chalk spray paint, paper towels and painter's tape (any kind will do).

Using the paper towels and tape, section off the shape and size you want to spray with chalk. Keep in mind the paper towels are just to protect the vessel, the tape dictates straight lines and size. Be sure the tape is pressed on very securely.

Apply a coat of chalk spray paint, being sure you've evenly covered the exposed surface. After about 5-10 minutes, apply a second coat and then let dry completely. It takes about an hour or less, at which point you can carefully peel off the tape. You don't want to wait forever or the tape could accidentally peel off dried paint.

I had a few "oopsies" spots where the paint had leaked past the tape, but I simply used a knife to gently scrape it off. Another good reason why you don't want to let the paint sit for hours, in case you need to correct a spot!

Then I used a white chalk marker to write my cereal labels on and added a few dots and curls for flair.

And that's it! Now my jars are easy to read but if I ever need to change the content, I can just wipe off the chalk marker and rewrite a new label. Easy peesy!


{Daily Pics} Week In, Week Out!

Peekaboo, I see you Logan!

Kailey has been very interested in pulling herself up on anything she can. She may well be the first to walk.

Sibling disagreements.

They love watching their Baby Einstein and Baby Genius DVDs.

The grandparents (my in-laws) came to visit!

Home after getting their fourth round of Synagis shots, to protect against RSV. Typically you do five rounds, but this will be our final one as warmer weather and summer approaches.

"You should taste this," says Trystan.

One crashed little man.

I just love his baby blues.

We started out with the diapers on the far left, tinier than half the size of a remote control. We've now graduated to size 3 diapers. It's little things like this that always remind me how far we've come.

Cutie patooties.

Giant bibs for the messy eaters.
Needless to say, it's been yet another busy week in Quadville and we're anticipating the end of "quarantine" on March 1. Then the husband and I will have to learn how to manage four babies in the general public and tackle a dinner out somewhere and a shopping excursion with the quad stroller. I know you all wait with baited breath.

My recovery is still going well. I'm not wearing my compression garment around the clock anymore, though I do still have some swelling to lose. I hope that next week I can start going to the gym here and there for walks on the treadmill or elliptical. Nothing high impact as that still hurts like the dickens. I've still got a ways to go, but I'm so glad I did this surgery and that I'm now able to operate better and do more every week. I have (secretly) promised myself that at three months post-surgery I'll post a before and after picture in regular clothes—both to show what a drastic difference it is and to encourage others who may be considering the procedure!

Next post: DIY chalk labels!


5 Ways I Make My Life Happier

The saying that it's all about the little things in life couldn't ring more true for me. With a busy lifestyle that includes quadruplets and working from home, it's become infinitely important to me to make my house a place I enjoy being in. It does not mean, however, that my home is professionally designed, decorated to perfection and immaculate. (It actually sort of means the opposite sometimes. But that depends on the time of you day you decide to stop by or the amount of energy I woke up with. Meh.)

As I walked into my living the other day—which is ridiculously crowded with baby paraphernalia from swings and bouncers to jumperoos and a massive fenced-in play area with more colors than a freaking rainbow—I realized that I still take much pleasure in the things I have around because I enjoy them.

This is the entry table right by our front door, so it's the first thing you see when you come into our home and it's something we see everyday walking back and forth from the babies' room. I love the color turquoise and so I keep those bright turquoise candle sticks (which I bought while living in Scotland and later spray painted), they feel cheery and make me remember our time overseas often. The numeral 4 was a gift from my dad and his wife, as they know it's an important number for our family now! The photo of the quads was their very first picture together and was taken at one month old in the NICU. Myself and the nurses did our best to hide their wires, monitors and feeding tubes and it was such a momentous occasion to see all my babies together like that for the first time. The "relax" slogan came from a trip to Galveston a couple years ago with my mom and my sister and reminds me daily to focus on the important stuff and not sweat the little things. Lastly, the slate plaque was a gift from some very good friends of ours. We joked that it needed one more "always" to represent the quads, but the saying could not ring more true for us. Catching a glimpse of all these every day is refreshing, motivational and very personal. It's an easy way to group things together that are important to me! 

When you spend a lot of time in the home, I've found that it's very uplifting to keep fresh flowers on hand. I grab a bunch nearly every time I go to the grocery store. I even buy the cheap carnations and cut them short and group them together in a tight closer in a pretty, low-rising vase for a modern look. Sometimes I buy flowers I've never heard of before and sometimes I go for a traditional bouquet of roses. Colorful petals always make me feel good.

Framed photos are one of my all-time favorite ways to both decorate and to display places and people I want to remember all the time. This wall is our only real portion of "hallway" in our small house and it sits just outside the babies' room. It's become a collective space for all my black and white frames filled with photos as far back as 10 years ago. Instead of replacing old pictures with newer ones, I just add more frames with recent photos—like the babies' six month pictures toward the bottom or the incredible birthday card a hospital friend made for me a week after the quads were born. I can't tell you how many times both my husband and I pause at this wall to admire all our memories, past and present.

This sentiment is one that's never outdated. Doing something nice for someone does not have to be a huge event, by any means. It can be as simple as mailing a note old-school style or picking up an extra coffee during your Starbucks run for a buddy. The photo above shows a pair of coffee mugs I had made on Snapfish for my mom and step-dad, which I gifted with one of their favorite coffees. It was just a small expression of thanks for all they do to help with the babies!

Seriously. Go to bed. Some things really can wait until tomorrow. You may not require a full eight hours like I do, but every now and then you gotta let it all go and hit the sack. There are many nights after the babies go to bed that I finally feel "free" and my to-do list is about a hundred miles long. But I know that those 20 minutes I spent goofing off with the quads earlier instead of doing laundry were so worth it. So I pick one thing to finish, take a hot shower and go to bed. Starting off the day without dragging never makes me regret it!

So there you have it. Some easy peesy ways that I try to improve my life on a daily basis. Have some cheerful tips for your day-to-day? I'd love to hear in the comments section!


Day of Hearts

I'm not normally a fan of Valentine's Day. The pink, the hearts, the Cupids with their bows and arrows. Meh. Buuut I happen to have four little people who look pretty adorable, so I decided to spare a bit of sentiment and snap a V-Day photo. Wishing you a day, and a year, full of love.


{Weekend Recap} Feeling Accomplished!

This past weekend, my dad and his wife came in town to visit and help with the babies as I continue my recovery from surgery. It was perfect timing since it was just the extra hands the husband needed to be sure the quads stayed content and got plenty of lovin' and that some household to-do's also got done.

The grandparents arrived Friday evening so Saturday morning started with plenty of smiles and well-rested babies. This was a relief. About three weeks ago, Kailey decided she didn't like going to bed very well. She would start screaming bloody murder just minutes after we put her in the crib every night. We would go back in to pat her (meanwhile, the other babies were going to sleep just fine) and she seemed to fall asleep after about 10 minutes of this and we'd leave again. About 10 minutes later, the cycle would repeat. And repeat. Until it'd been about an hour of this before she was truly asleep and she still might wake up once or twice throughout the night and cry and whimper for a few minutes.

So a few nights ago, after ruling out issues with the crib, the dark, indigestion and the list goes on, the husband and I knew we needed to just let her cry it out. Whenever we'd pick her up in the past, she'd grin and coo and act just fine. Clearly, this is one smart little baby we're dealing with. She always knows just how to get what she wants. She's the most energetic and vocal of the bunch, as well. It was a bit perplexing, though, because we'd already gone through those stages where we ended night feeds and, later, sleep training. Not one of the babies, including Kailey, screamed and protested like this. I consulted with some other quad mommas and it did indeed sound like she'd gotten older and wiser and knew how to get the individual attention post-bedtime that she wanted! The first night she cried for 45 minutes. And by cry, I mean scream and wail like she was dying. We did NOT go in there. At last she went to sleep and didn't make a single peep all night.

The second and third nights she went down without a single word of complaint. The fourth night, when the husband's mom arrived to replace my dad and his wife, Kailey screeched and hollered for about 15 minutes then went to sleep. Hopefully we're rounding the bed and can soon put this behavior behind us! All aside, at least it doesn't bother the other kiddos. They sleep through it. How they do this, I know not.

Kailey (left) and Trystan ready for the day!

The babies are slowly getting more and more mobile, and we've noticed a definitive love of books. They really enjoy looking at them!

My dad got right to work on some home improvement projects the husband had been hoping to get done before long. The most important included replacing the lights in my kitchen as well as the plastic cover beneath them. The last one was the home's original and it was yellowed and gross. I HATED the yellow light in my kitchen! Now the space is lit like the sun and it's awesome. Not so much for cleaning, though, as I can now see every speck of dirt formerly hidden in the shadows.

There were plenty of feedings to go around! I loved watching their faces mimic the babies, trying to get them to eat. Ha!

Notice the husband has his mouth open willing the babies to open theirs, ha!
Food fight?
Bananas and avocados are Harrison's FAVE.
I was able to take a break and rest a little during parts of the day, since my dad and his wife were able to help with feedings and moving the babies around. My swelling seems to have increased a bit so I'm taking that as a sign to back off a little and not be quite so active when I can help it. Otherwise I'm still feeling good and improving every week!

Harrison got a little extra loving, too, since he is cutting his first tooth! It's on the bottom gums and is just below the surface. I'm desperately hoping it breaks through soon, though he's handled it very well. For the most part, he's pretty happy. And since he never whines or cries unless something's wrong, we know he's in pain when he does. He gets Hyland Teething Tablets and Infant Advil as needed, which seems to be working great. Frozen teethers are also a favorite with our crew. I can't believe we'll have four teething babies soon, here we go!

We also got 95 ounces of baby food made, all butternut squash and apples. They also washed and prepped some fresh green beans so they were ready for me to steam and puree the following day. I love making all my baby food for the quadlings, it tastes so good and fresh and they gobble it up!

We all watched a movie Sunday afternoon in between feedings and baby food making. It was Clint Eastwood in Trouble With the Curve, can't believe he is still making good movies! Then my dad and Cynthia bid their goodbyes and the husband and I got the babies ready for bed, with his mom showing up just before they went down in their cribs with mashed potatoes, chicken strips and corn nuggets from Chicken Express. The perfect ending to any weekend in my book. :)
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