Five Things

1. I love the way our home looks at night (photo above taken yesterday evening) and I am so grateful to be in a place we feel comfortable. There's still so much work to be done, but it's a process we can invest in and appreciate.

2. The babies started another round of teething yesterday and it's making me v e r y t i r e d.

3. Tonight, the husband and I watched the first two episodes of Season 1 from Game of Thrones. Verdict's still out, I'm hoping we get hooked.

4. For dinner, I made this crock pot balsamic chicken and it was delicious. Definitely use chicken thighs.

5. I'm pretty sure I walked around my kitchen island three times today because I forgot what I was doing in about three seconds flat....multiple times. I could barely leave the babies sight and it had me all frazzled and completely incapable of completing my chain of thoughts. Though, I'm not really sure how often I truly complete my chain of thoughts, er, what were we talking about?
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{Daily Pics} Smiles & Moments

gorgeous roses (my fave flower) from the husband
trystan being silly
a fun pedicure
harrison having a laugh
the husband and i took all four kids to the grocery store
this morning... they were SO good
kailey checking out the camera
a few quiet moments drinking hot tea on the back porch while it rained
logan tunnel exploring

What moments have you enjoyed in your past week?
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The Way We Are Now

Yesterday I had a few quiet moments and I stood outside on the back patio watching all the trees and leaves creak and sway in the wind while the locusts buzzed their warnings about a summer's end approaching. In what was probably a mere 30 seconds, my mind flashed through the last two years of my life. The struggle to become pregnant, the shocking surprise of quadruplets, the difficult pregnancy and recovery and our first year as parents to four. I've never been so tired yet so happy as I am in my life right now. Nothing is perfect, lots of things aren't as I thought they'd be (who thinks they'll have quads? Not I). Some things are better than I'd hoped and other things are still a work in progress. But I want to remember to remember how far we've come and how much the future holds and to appreciate the moment I'm standing in right now.

Having kids certainly changes your life. I don't feel as though my life wasn't worthwhile before I had kids but they've undoubtedly added a richness and a passion that comes specifically with parenting. There's been a lot of phases and decision making in our past year, like deciding to move from Houston to Dallas and my choosing to stop working for a few months while we got settled into a new home (it had all just become too much to keep up with). The babies are basically toddlers now. They walk and talk—at the same time, ha—and reach their arms up to you to be held. They point at things of interest like the fan, or their cup of milk when they want more. They mimic our facial expressions and even pick out syllables in the words we're saying. Today, Harrison repeated "pie" after I said "surprise" a few times in a row. Be still my fluttering heart. 

I really wasn't sure how I'd take to parenting. I was even less sure when the plan quadrupled. And on a daily basis, I'm figuring things out and trying to sort out the next step, the best way to help them continue to grow and learn, to challenge four impressionable minds and 40 curious fingers. My husband is busily adapting to a new job with a new company (it's going great and he loves it so far) so we only have a little time in the evenings together right now. We've begun putting the babies to bed a little bit later, letting them have extra playtime after dinner. They run around the room clad only in their diapers, to their complete delight. They pat their stomachs like they've just eaten a huge steak and pull and poke at their diaper tabs, each other's mouths or their toys with unfettered curiosity. They screech and smile and jump into your lap, then rush up again to chase one another around the recliners and stop to tap their fingers on the windows overlooking the backyard. I'd do anything for these kids, I'd give my life for them. Nothing is ever too much, every day I wake up completely full of excitement about what they'll do next. My heart overflows with a passionate, bonding love for my children. They are my life's work and always will be, from the moment I saw their four tiny heart beats on the screen.

Things lately are good. The house has turned out to be exactly what we'd hoped for, though a bit more work to get into then we'd initially planned. Now that we're here, though, we slowed down. There's no timer ticking down that mandates all the boxes be emptied by a certain date. We take turns reminding each other that we promised to enjoy the settling in process and not get stressed over things that didn't really matter. We have all the necessities unpacked and have been functioning since Day 2 in our new home. We love the woodsy view into the backyard, it's very serene and calming. And we love having a real living room with our couches and a coffee table and not a single baby toy in sight!

The babies have, in turn, come to love their new space as well. We finally got two more cribs and they all began napping and sleeping alone at night—though two each share a room—and it didn't phase them one tiny bit. I'm so glad that we transitioned to one solid nap time a day before we moved. It's made all the difference in my sanity. By 11:30am, I'm usually getting very tired and the babies are getting to be a bit much. At noon, they go down for two hours (crying, playing, sleeping, whatever) and stay in their cribs. They usually sleep and then wake up and quietly play with the non-musical toys I put in their beds for them. Sometimes they last even longer than two hours. Then I retrieve them all and we either play in one of their rooms for a change of scenery (I rotate all their toys between their two bedrooms and play room to keep things fresh) or go downstairs to the play room for a Baby Einstein video. 

With new experiences and outings becoming more commonplace for us now, the husband and I both continually look forward to the next great thing. Without ever getting too caught up in our expectations that we miss the time being. The first year with our kids went very s l o w l y. They were preemies for the first four months of their life, then they entered the newborn stage and it seemed ages before we were out of that and onto being babies. And all those feedings every three hours, diaper changes around the clock, making baby food every day and doctor appointments out the wazoo...it was the most unhurried, lethargic year of my life. But yesterday the husband and I agreed that things are picking up now. The pace is quickening and the kids are reaching milestones much more quickly and the days are passing with more intensity. 

Right now, my life is raising my four babies, settling into and decorating our home, finding ways to interact with friends and family we'd missed while in Houston and, eventually, kickstarting my business again with Dallas-based clients. I want to reopen my Etsy shop where I sell my handmade jewelry and I'd love to continue to improve and expand my blog as well. It feels good to have priorities with goals to meet, creative junctions to reach. Even if all I did that day was chop food into bite-sized portions and change diapers, it still matters. These are truly the days of my life!
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{Weekend Recap} First Swim & A Quad Birthday Party!

As a new weekend rapidly approaches, I thought I'd share a couple photos from this past one that included some fun firsts—the babies' quad buddies first birthday and our crew's first swim in the pool!

The quad's birthday party came first, on Saturday afternoon, and we were running late...then even later since we took a wrong turn onto the highway and had to backtrack a ways. We missed the smash cakes and the outdoor baby pool and splash activities, but the babies looked cute as ever when they arrived. You might remember a few play dates I've chronicled with our quad buddies, the Shawvers, and we were thrilled to celebrate with them. Logan's always expressed a fair bit of "stranger danger" when around unfamiliar circumstances and loads of people, and their house was packed full of friends and family. But both Logan and Kailey stood between my knees while I sat and let them get acclimated and after a few minutes, they both began walking out into the crowd, seeking toys or smiling faces for entertainment. In fact, all four babies did awesome and Harrison had a blast! As soon as his feet touched the ground, he was zooming all over the place, deftly maneuvering in between people's legs and feet, around other kids, checking out toys, the play room, the birthday babies opening gifts and occasionally coming back to mom or dad for a bite of cake. I was so proud of my little man!

The next day, we woke literally two minutes before it was time to feed breakfast and went scrambling to prepare food, pack diaper bags, towels, clothes, rubber duckies for the pool and package a birthday gift for their cousin, Hailey, who turned five. We were late to this party, too, but still had a little over an hour to get the babies in the water and swim around. It was their first time in a real bonafide pool and they all ended up loving it. (So much that I made them a little splash pad at home this week.) Kailey took to it instantly. I held her hands and she went kerplunking through the shallow water, wading all the way up to her waist without a single concern. Grandad B took Trystan, who required a little more time to sit with her ankles in the water and ponder the scenario, Grandma C had Logan, who was fine for the most part as long as she was allowed to pinch the living daylights out of your sleeve or arm, and daddy had Harrison, who also didn't take long to warm up to the water. And they all looked so adorable in their swim outfits and hats (and loads of sunscreen).

By the end, Harrison let me help him take a few trips down the slide in the kiddie pool area and Logan was up for walking around with just a little assistance. Kailey got cold so she was wrapped up in a towel with Grandmommy B and Trystan took up residence with Grandma C on the side of the kiddie pool watching everyone. We later dried them off, changed their diapers on a chaise lounge, put dry t-shirts on 'em and stuck them in the quad stroller where we fed them lunch (squeeze pouch meals, applesauce, goldfish, animal crackers and cupcakes!). Then it was time to load up—thank goodness for the helping hands of family!—and they all passed out on the way home.

The husband and I really enjoyed the weekend and relished all the "firsts" that came with it. We made a pact to not work on a single thing at the house and rather just focus on the activities with the babies, which made things less stressful and (slightly) less exhausting. It's still a feat for us to pack up the quads and their supplies and participate in any kind of event for several hours, but it's important to us to have the babies out and about and enjoy normal experiences that other kids their age get to do. Every time we have a new experience with them, we do our best to soak it in and observe it as much as possible, because there's four "firsts" to watch at one time!

This weekend we have kept plans simple and are meeting up with friends for an adults-only dinner tomorrow evening, working on the house some more and unpacking boxes and I've got a baby shower to attend on Sunday. What are your weekend plans? And how do you make time to enjoy the little things in life?
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{Quad Squad} Water Works on the Back Porch + Video!

Some days I get a really great idea and just run with it, which is what I did this morning with the babies. It's always nice to change up the pace now and then and do something different—but it's not always possible to get out with the four babies somewhere, so I have to get creative. I also get really tired, because any deviation from the norm calls for extra energy, extra work, extra cleanup and so on and so forth. But on and forth I went and came up with an adorable little backyard splash pad for the crew.

While my nanny fed the babies breakfast, I put down our floor mats over the brick on the patio, which was perfect because several kiddos went slippin' and slidin' but no one got hurt. Success! Then I threw up our play fence to keep them contained, since there's a big drop off from the porch down to the ground. Plus the yard slopes and I just wasn't in the mood to chase a rolling baby down the hill. ;)

We stripped the babies down to their diapers and sprayed them all with bug spray, and I also had the outdoor patio fan on to help keep biting insects at bay. Just forgot to spray myself in the process! Y'all, I must add that in all these photos and videos, I'm sweating my a$$ off, my hair turned into a poof of frizz and I've not a stitch of makeup on. So be kind, friends, when you look at the quad mom!

The husband and I had got a water table for the babies for their birthday and this was their first time to use it. The newness of something is always exciting and they swarmed to it big ol' smiles on their face and busy hands. So cute! I had also set up two tubs of water and brought out nearly every floating bath toy they have and dumped them in the tubs and water table. The kids went after everything like they knew just what to do with it all. Before long, Kailey climbed into one of the tubs of water to sit for a spell and then Logan later followed suit...with a poopy diaper, of course. So we just dumped out the water and put fresh in it and were good to go again!

After playtime started winding down, I took the lid off a large tub with a little water in it that I'd had sitting in the sun so it'd warm up a bit but also keep the bugs out. I stood the babies in there, one at a time, and gave them a quick shampoo and body wash then wrapped them up in a big ducky towel and dried them off on the patio table we'd relocated into the grass. I put down an extra floor mat for cushion on the metal table top and they absolutely loved watching the tree branches above them sway in the breeze while I lotioned, diapered and dressed them.

Kailey wasn't a fan of the water being cooler than her usual hot bath, but she was happy as soon as I'd scooped her up in a towel. And is that not the cutest little (muscular) baby bottom you ever saw?!

Trystan loved laying on the table the most and was all smiles and four teeth the entire time, my sweet thang.

Four clean babies got transported into the playroom while my nanny and I made lunch—grilled cheeses with ham (they'd fish out the ham with their tongue and spit it out!), berries, crackers with almond butter and rotisserie chicken—then put them down for naps. A quick clean up and nanny was on her way and I sat down to eat...and rest. Because now I'm tired. After cleaning off the back porch and putting everything away again, it's recovery time for mommy!
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Sanus TV Mount Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for the Sanus TV mount! I tallied up the entries, accounting for any duplicates, and used random.org to generate the winning number:

#19 is Thao Nguyen!

Expecting our first child and would love to have this TV. Love your blog!
Thao Nguyen

Thao, I'll be emailing you for details to claim your prize. Congratulations!
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A Night Cap

It's been a long, busy weekend. I have many wonderful photos to share, including the babies first dip in a pool! But for now we've abandoned the kitchen, dirty dishes and all, and retreated to the living room. The adult living room with no baby toys in it, comfy blue jean quilts and reclining couch seats. The quads are asleep in their beds upstairs and the husband just turned on the DVD. Time to pop some popcorn and enjoy a little nightcap of our own...

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

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{Daily Pics} An Impromptu (Messy) House Tour

If I waited to show you more pictures of our new house until everything was in its place and all cleaned up and decorated juuuustt the way I wanted it, well, you'd probably never see a home photo again. Earlier this week I felt like I was making barely any progress unpacking, then I remind myself I have four babies taking up 98% of my day. And then on days like today, I feel like I've finally killed off more cardboard boxes and fed the empty containers to the darkest corners of the garage. Nom nom nom.

Either way, here's what some of our spaces are lookin' like right now. Approximately two weeks after move-in. And six days after our storage units were delivered. And three days since I started working out again. (Sore muscles make for less box lifting and stair climbing and result, rather, in a sort of piling of things.)

my mess of a kitchen! the most used room in the house right now. cabinets are nearly all full and everything out-of-sight is organized and stored. clean-up will be next! 
our breakfast area, which houses the quad table and changing table

the dining room, which became a temporary holding area for many of our boxes from storage

the "adult" living room in progress, with my new paisley-print rug from lowe's that love

entry way, aka shoe storage, laundry storage and dust catcher

our master! got our texas fan installed, bed assembled and hand-me-down love seat moved in. woop!

trystan and logan's room, which will be decorated with pinks, greens and owls. you can see the owl clock and plaque i need to hang up and curtains i need to trim

harrison and kailey's light, bright room with turquoise accents.

my kitty, snowball, loves her home on the landing of the stairs

the second most used room in our house - the play room! kid-proofed and with a beautiful view into the backyard :)

Other areas, like the utility room, guest bedroom and closets, are also in progress of getting organized or decorated. We have plans to paint the utility room a gray blue color and install shelves above the washer and dryer. We still love that we have the space we finally need to store (or create storage) all our stuff. It's been a challenge to start unpacking while functioning in the house, especially the kitchen and play rooms that are in near constant use throughout each day. What's the most used room in your home?
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P.S. Don't forget to enter my Sanus giveaway and win a free flat screen TV mount for your home!


Sanus TV Mount Giveaway!

There's no secret that having little kids loose in the home calls for a lot of baby proofing. With quadruplets on our hands, we're constantly looking for ways to keep things safe. Right now, they spend most of their time in the play room since that room is completely baby-friendly. Once they're bigger and older, they'll eventually get more free roam in the house.

We've always been a fan of TV mounts and when the folks at Sanus contacted me about trying out a baby-safe Sanus TV mount, I was all too happy to give it a whirl. They're mailing ours now and we'll get our large flat screen mounted in the living room once it arrives. I read through some of the stats Sanus sent out about TV-related accidents with kids and thought I'd share them here.

For many Americans, a flat panel TV is a great way to enjoy family time and entertainment. However, most parents are unaware of the safety risks that flat panel TVs pose for kids. Due to increasing size and new ultra thin designs, today’s flat panel TVs can easily tip over when bumped or pulled, toppling off of furniture and causing injury or even death.
Bringing this risk to the forefront, SANUS, the leading designer and manufacturer of flat panel TV wall mounts, has partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide. By educating consumers on the risk of unsecured flat panel TV’s, SANUS and Safe Kids Worldwide offer safe solutions for families across the nation by reducing TV tip-over related injuries and fatalities.
A 2011 US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report on flat panel TV safety revealed:
· A child is killed every three weeks from an unsecured TV
· Every 45 minutes a child visits an emergency room due to a TV tip-over related injury
· Between 2000 and 2011, 215 fatalities have resulted from TV tip-over
· An estimated 17,000 people each year, the majority of which are children, are treated for injuries from TV tip-overs
· Reported cases have increased almost 25% from 2006 to 2010, and over the last 10 years, injuries have increased by 31%
Check out a Sanus TV safety video here.

Need a TV mount for your home? Win one here! Sanus has offered to give away a complimentary flat panel SANUS TV Vuepoint Mount F180 to one lucky reader, which will be ordered based on your personal TV size and mounting preference (stationary, tilt or full motion—installation not included). The contest is open to US residents only, all you have to do is leave a comment with your email on this post between now and midnight CST on Sunday, July 21. Anonymous comments may not enter, you must leave a name or identifying username and your email so I can contact the winner for details! Winner will be announced Monday, July 22 and will be chosen using random.org. You'll have 48 hours to respond to the email to claim your prize! 

(Pssst. Don't have time to wait? Purchase your own Sanus TV mount at Wal-Mart!)

Good luck and safe TV watching!
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Disclaimer: Sanus provided Texas Tales with a product to review in the coming weeks, and all specific facts and Sanus information were provided by the company. Any other opinions stated are my own. Contest open to US residents only.
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