{Quad Squad} The One Year Birthday Party!

I spent about three, nearly four, months planning the quad's one year birthday party. Even in our cramped two bedroom box apartment, I stashed party supplies, cake mixes and decorations weeks ahead of time. It was a major event for us, marking the survival of our first year with quads, the babies' own huge milestone, my birthday—which was a few days before the party—and a chance to get out of the apartment and enjoy time with friends and family. So we loaded up our suburban (with the babies) and a small U-Haul (with our, um, haul for 2.5 days) and headed to Cedar Creek Lake!

the home owners were gracious enough to provide four high chairs.
after the cake smashing, they got hosed down and left in the sun to dry :)
It had already been a colossal week of preparations. My nanny and I had worked hard to make extra baby food, both to pack for the weekend and to be stocked up on when we returned home so I didn't have as much on my plate. (Whenever I travel, the conditions upon returning home are almost as important to me as the condition in which we depart.) I'd been hoarding party supplies in the babies' tiny closet in their room at the apartment and packed bags by category, so all the paper goods were in one bag, decorations in another, etc. It made set-up easier when we started hauling stuff out later!

the best shot i could get of all four at the party without them being held. wiggle worms!
I'd already bought all the non-perishable food items about a week before and two days prior to leaving for the lake house, I made a big trip to Sam's and Walmart for the rest. The morning of,  I went to pick up the sheet cake I'd ordered from Sam's for all our guests....only to find they had no cake and no record of an order anywhere. I was both very upset and disappointed, since we've gone through many sheet cakes from Sam's for various family events with no problems at all. They've always looked nice, tasted great and been very affordable. After giving me lip and asking repeatedly when I'd placed the order (like I was the one who lost it), the bakery lady I was dealing with finally said she'd throw something together. And throw, she did. She spelled Kailey's name wrong, put the punctuations in the wrong place and didn't do the cake decorations how I'd asked. She even argued with me about the colors! Finally I got it close enough—but it still wasn't what we'd originally ordered—and the bakery manager gave me a 50% discount with her apologies. I was livid by the time I left but decided upon arriving home that if that was the worst thing I had to deal with all weekend, I'd survive!

the "disaster" sheet cake for the birthday party
The husband and I long ago had decided we wanted to do a lake house party for the big event. First off, it just sounded fun. Secondly, we knew we wouldn't have a house ready to host a big shindig. And thirdly, not only did we end up not having a house yet, we were living in a small apartment. After tossing around a few weekend dates and various locations, we settled on a newly rented-out casa right on the shores of Cedar Creek. When we walked in, I was smitten with the wall-to-wall view of the lake right through the oversized windows. Loved it.

sunset view from inside the house

It was Friday afternoon when we arrived, so we set the babies up in their new play area and unloaded and unpacked everything. Our friends arrived soon after, which included my roommate from college, Lisa, and her husband and their baby (who is 16 days older than the quads!), the husband's brother and, later, the husband's parents. We grilled fajitas for dinner after the babies all went to bed and drank cold beers on the patio then played a rousing game of Mad Libs in the living room while I decorated—and occasionally hooked someone else into hoisting a banner or setting up a few odds and ends with me.

me with my crew!
Unfortunately, our babies didn't take to their new nighttime surroundings flawlessly, despite our best efforts. It'd be hot in the house all day because the a/c had been set high, so it had finally cooled off but teething had also recently hit a crescendo among the group and Logan wasn't having it. The others had finally fallen asleep but she kept waking up off and on, even though we'd given her Advil earlier. She spent some time in bed with us, cried in her pack-and-play some more, spent more time in bed with us and by 3am had to work it out in her pack-and-play while we held pillows over our heads and tried to rest.

our sleeping arrangements
Morning came far too soon and, of course, all the quads were sleeping peacefully as their normal breakfast time of 8am came and went! We decided we could all use a few extra minutes so none of us got out of bed until after 8:30. I had my nanny help me prepackage their frozen pureed foods into ziploc bags, labeled by day, so all I had to do was microwave it to melt, add rice or oatmeal cereal or yogurt or whatever and we were good to go. I'd also prepackaged finger food snacks for the babies, like bags of cheerios, animal crackers, graham crackers, fruit pieces, etc. Made meal times a cinch so I could concentrate on everything else!

pre-packaged pureed meals for the quads made feedings easy!
The adults ate homemade breakfast tacos then I got to work prepping food for the birthday party and making sure stuff was as ready as it could be. Those around us were so sweet to pitch in with anything and everything and our former nanny we had in Houston and her fiance showed up late morning and she was all too excited to see the now-toddler aged quad squad!

i hung several banners i'd handmade for the event

a display table with items from the quad's stay in the NICU, like preemie-sized pacifiers and onesies,
teeny tiny diapers and their decorated name tags (in the frames) that hung on their isolettes

the coffee table held scrapbook-like albums i've made
for every three months of the babies' first year of life...one left to go for the 9-12 month stage!

When the first guests began to arrive, I was still getting food and drinks ready and it was a mad dash to get the chicken and hot dogs grilled—the husband did a phenom job on those, by the way—all the fare spread on the table to serve, beer iced down, wine and soft drinks, tea and lemonade set out, bake the babies smash cakes (I totally should've started those earlier in the day but was still tired from someone who didn't want to sleep in their pack-and-play!) and greet everyone who came through the door. But a sweaty, hectic hour or so later and I sat down to eat a plate myself and chat with family and friends. It was also so awesome that so many folks brought appetizers or drinks to contribute, and we definitely had a feast!

i'd had caprese skewers on the menu from the beginning, they are simple toothpick skewers of grape tomato, mozzarella and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar. my friend lisa sat and assembled them all. ;)

daddy and kailey

grandpa and logan
After everyone had eaten, April helped me ice the smash cakes. There were two things I forgot on this particular event: the sprinkles to decorate the top of their cakes with the numeral "1" and to empty the video camera memory card so it wasn't full. Alas, the babies had to get yellow cakes iced with plain white icing and the video stopped recording about five seconds after everyone started singing Happy Birthday. I wanted to be upset and was very frustrated with myself, but at the end of the day we got tons of photos and snippets of video and it ended up working out just fine. Some things you just have to let go, so I did. Albeit with a white-knuckled, clenched fist. ;)

We had stripped the babies down to their diapers for the cake smash, which was one of the smartest decisions I'd made all day. Trystan took to cake smashing like a fish to water. In went both fists, grabbing and squishing as much cake as she could muster. She smeared the icing on her face, her arms, her diaper, legs and even my shirt. I also had a streak of cake icing in my hair, which I'm sure is all the rage these days. Kailey was a little more timid but did get the hang of it and became a bit more ambitious with her cake smashing after Trystan reached over and took some of it. Harrison was slow to destroy his dessert but also enjoyed it once he got steam rolling. Meanwhile, Logan was very calculated about she wanted to tackle her cake and Grandma eventually gave her a spoon, which Logan stuck in the icing and then licked it off. Smart girl!

Smash Cakes! from Texas Take on Vimeo.

April and I tag-teamed baths so once the cake smashing was done, we took two babies at a time and bathed them in the tub—in what, inevitably, became sugary cake water—then dried and dressed them. They smelled like baby lotion and sweet icing. Yum.

Next were gifts, of which everyone was incredibly kind and thoughtful to even bring and the kiddos got some great stuff. We're so excited they are becoming mobile and are able to play with more toys, ride around on their little toddler rides and climb on anything they can manage a foot hold! They helped the husband and I tear the wrapping paper and eat pull tissue paper out of the gift bags. We can only imagine the excitement that will continue to mount over the next couple years as they grow older and understand gift giving, opening presents as well as birthdays and holidays!

Shortly after, we put the babies down in their pack-and-plays to cool off and rest for awhile. They all took naps (their third for the day!) and we got a chance to sit down and have a beer and chat with guests. That evening, after the babies had their dinner and were off to bed, we baked French bread pizzas in the oven and sat around a patio table outside with the remaining group playing Mad Libs, drinking and eating. It was the perfect way to unwind and enjoy our scenery!

Our getaway on Sunday was quick. We had breakfast, fed the babies breakfast, I made pink lemonade cookies for my niece's birthday party that afternoon and we loaded. And loaded. And loaded. It was no secret we took a ton of supplies with us to the lake and we knew it'd be a lot of hard work, but it definitely paid off to have everything we needed and it was nice to have the space to host family and friends for the celebration we knew we wanted. Plus, the lake views were beautiful!

We stopped by my sister's house for her daughter's birthday party on the way home and let the babies roam around and play with their multitude of toys. They had a blast, which wasn't a surprise since they inherit the majority of their toys from my sister's house once her kiddo has outgrown them! We fed them their 3:30 bottles then packed them back in the suburban and headed for the apartment. I can't quite end that we drove off into the sunset and fed the babies dinner and put them to bed without including this photo...

...because that's what it looked like when we unloaded most of the stuff we'd packed. And by most, I mean some of it went to storage that same evening and isn't even pictured. Why yes, we live in a shoe. But it's only for a few more weeks and then those one-year-old babies of mine will have a wonderful new home to roam and grow up in. One year down, many more to go—and I'm loving every second!

mom & dad with our kiddos
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P.S. Upcoming posts: a new house progress report with room sneak peaks for the quads and a "12+" month update...are bottles truly over?!


  1. Great Great post, looks like it was a grand party, beautiful home, yummy looking food, and 4 beautiful babies.
    Sooo happy for all of you, cant wait to hear the 12 month stats, and get sneak peeks of the rooms and you new home.
    Thanks for sharing:)
    Along with your writing,you should go into party planning, your a whiz at it;)

  2. AnonymousJune 19, 2013

    I'd love to know how to rent that lake house! It's gorgeous!
    Your entire weekend seems like it was absolutely wonderful!

  3. Wow! Everything looks spectacular from the party decor to the sunset view of the lake house. What great memories you all are making.

  4. I think I will just pick up and move to the lake house. We may need just a tad bigger uhaul though! I am so glad you had a great time celebrating the huge one year mark. You and Mike have done amazing and you have four beautiful babies to show for it.

  5. Wonderful party! You are so organized with everything. Looking forward to seeing the new house updates and you moving in. What a beautiful life you are making for my favorite quads.

  6. Looks like an awesome birthday party for 4 sweet kiddos for sure. To help you feel better about the cake maybe you should check out the website Cake Wrecks know those are some bad cake designs all due to the person making them. You have such a beautiful family. Sherri

  7. Wow,you do continue to amaze me and this was no exception! I can't beleive the babies are already one.....they are all so precious, sound like really good babies, and of course they have great parents! I love the house on Cedar Creek Lake, looks like the inside of ours looking out at the lake, I'll have to send you a picture! We took our boat to a place a Cedar Creek lake for some repair work on the body, it's a neat little place, didn't get to see the lake but would like too. If you don't mind, can you let me know the name of the rental place you rented from....we always like to try out new lakes.....headed to Lake Hamilton this weekend. Enough about me and questions.....you did a fantastic job with their birthday and good luck with the move, can't wait to see pictures of the new house and your moving organization skills! Have a great weekend.....a friend in East Texas, Pam!

  8. Wow what an adventure. A uhaul? ;o) The wonders of having quads. The lake view pictures were really pretty. Glad it all went off as planned. You're good


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