Happy Halloween from Four Little Birdies!

Have you seen my four sweet birdies? They're adorably cute and have been getting an unprecedented amount of butter cookies and chocolate chip treats this week, thanks to the sugar binge momma and daddy have been on in honor of Halloween.

I bought four bird costumes a LONG time ago, when I was still very early in my pregnancy. They were  on clearance for $2 apiece and I thought they were cute and appropriate. When she was in the NICU, we always called Trystan our little owl since she was constantly awake and alert with big bright eyes watching everything and everyone. So naturally she had to be one of the two owls along with Logan and Kailey and Harrison were tall, lanky red birds.

Being their first costumes ever, it was hilarious. I wasn't sure they'd like the idea but they loved being dressed in them. And they loved the hats. Not one of them took theirs off! They would point at each other and giggle and belly laugh, then run around and point some more. Later in the afternoon, they saw their costumes stashed on the easy chair in their play room and all grabbed one and brought them over to me, holding them out and grunting and moaning for me to put them back on! I settled on putting their bird hats back on and they've been wearing them all evening. They've also had a blast playing with the mini pumpkins I gave them to distract them during the photos, and have lined them up on the windowsills, in front of our magnetic chalkboard fireplace cover and rolled them around the carpet. Logan was even brave enough to straddle one of the big pumpkins and attempt to ride it!

My mom emptied all the candy I bought into bowls so I've got a whole stash by the front door, ready and waiting. We'll put the kids to bed (they'll go trick-or-treating next year!), then man the porch with sweet treats—and empty wrappers from the few pieces that definitely need to be taste tested first.

Happy Halloween!
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P.S. A big thanks to my mom and step-dad for helping entertain the quads while I snapped pictures. Sometimes it takes a village and a half.


{Quad Squad} DIY Discovery Boxes + Video

After half a Sunday spent out of the house, I'd planned to keep the quads home on Monday. Though I've eyed a couple sensory bin ideas on Pinterest, I didn't feel like going through all that effort just so the quads could throw rainbow spaghetti or uncooked beans all over the floor. But the DIY sensory ziploc bag we did was a success, so I decided on something easy. Easy is always good.

I conducted my own scavenger hunt around the house and came up with a piece of burlap, a large Christmas bow, an LED votive candle, plastic whistle and mini car toy for each bin. Turned out, it worked! They took all the items out, then put them back, then took them out again, messed with each one (the burlap was of great interest) and switched objects with each other. Lots of stuff got thrown on the floor, which is typical for us at this stage, so I'd just gather things up and put them back in the boxes occasionally. But I was able to do some dishes in the kitchen and vacuum their adjoining play room while they were occupied!

I got a solid 30 minutes of entertainment out of a five-minute assembly so that's an even return in my book. (And as with all small objects and child play, I was sure to use common sense and supervise the discovery box session!)

Other items I intend to try include spiky rubber balls, wooden clothes pins, wrapping paper (ripping that is fun!) and velcro. The dollar bins at Target are also a great option—that's where I got the LED votive candles, two for a buck! You could always do a color-themed or object-themed box, too. What discovery activities have you enjoyed with your tots?
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{Weekend Recap} Babies, Beer + Family Sunday

This past weekend was a really nice one. The kind where you just go with the flow, with a minimal amount of plans to adhere to but just enough on the schedule to keep life interesting. Plus we're realizing how it's truly getting a tad bit easier to take the kids out and be gone for more than a few quick hours. It's still a big push to rush around and get them dressed, diaper bag stocked, two car seats loaded and two kids loaded in their big seats, two twin strollers in the back of the 'burb and mom and dad being sure we've got everything else we might need for a sudden change of plans, backup plans, backup clothes, materials to clean up any potential spills or accidents in the car and so on. Though most  of the time we're sort of wingin' it and hoping for the best!

Friday I was so happy to see the husband return from yet another trip out of the U.S. for work. It's always, always harder when he's gone. We make the best team and having him home even for just those two hours in the evening before the kids go to bed makes all the difference for me. And the way we relax together is just easy, it is relaxing. Thankfully between our nanny, a good friend of mine and the grandparents, we rally the help we need to make it while daddy's out of town and everyone survived.

On Saturday morning, the husband got up and made breakfast then got all the babies' diapers changed like he always does. French toast, fruit and turkey bacon made a good start to the day, which was immediately followed up with cartoons. The quads have taken a liking to Bubble Guppies, an adorable fish/mermaid show on Nick Jr. They still don't watch much else besides Baby Einstein DVDs but momma doesn't mind this particular cartoon since it's actually pretty catchy. They each had their own chair to sit in but for some reason Logan threw a dramatic fit on the floor and laid there while I tried to get a photo of all four. After that, they peacefully watched for another 30 minutes and the husband and I got a chance to catch up on things around the house.

That afternoon I headed to a dear friend's baby shower for her first, a little boy due in February. It was also a nice reunion with all my teammate and BFF's that I swam with for years while a synchronized swimmer. Love those girls! The shower was best followed by a few beers with two of my girlfriends, which provided some MUCH needed gal pal time and a kid-break for me. ;)

I got home after the husband had all the babies in bed and we made some late night pasta and watched TV before crashing. Unfortunately, a few days ago I slept wierd on my hip and my hip flexor muscle is so sore it's excruciatingly painful to walk up and down our stairs, sit and stand, cross my feet and even put socks on. Sunday morning it had worsened dramatically, so I did my best to stretch it out since we loaded up all the kids after breakfast and took them to the indoor play area at our nearby mall. It's the perfect solution for rainy days like yesterday, but also meant it was hard for me to run after anyone. So the husband took care of any speedy rescues and I walked around keeping an eye on the quads one at a time. (Please note we're all outfitted in our Dallas Cowboys gear!)

We had most of the play area all to ourselves for the hour we were there and Kailey learned how to slide down the slide all by herself! I was so impressed! Afterward, we buckled them all back into the two twin strollers and headed over to the food court for grilled cheeses and fries for lunch at Sonic. We returned several smiles and answered a few questions while we ate then headed back out to the car and did diaper changes before putting everyone back in their seats.

Next was a quick trip to Tom Thumb for a couple groceries and some very nice compliments from a few of the shoppers. The kids were starting to fall asleep once we got home so we took them all upstairs to their cribs for naps and they konked out for nearly two and a half hours.

This afternoon was spent in various places, in between consoling the babies who get grumpy on and off since they're all cutting molars, top and bottom! Sheesh, it makes for some rough afternoons. But we spent some time in the play room then moved outside on the driveway in their play corral while daddy worked in the garage and his dad and brother helped us switched out refrigerators in our kitchen. We had to re-employ the one that originally came with the house since the fridge we'd been using since our previous home decided to pretty much stop working. I'm so tired of ruined food and running out to the garage for ingredients! Alas, our fridge switch means no water or ice since the ice maker doesn't work, but we'll make do with bags of ice and ice trays and focus on replacing it later down the road. Priorities, right?

Some Chili's to-go for dinner and the quads were asleep in bed by 8pm and now I'm about to finish my glass of wine and watch Revenge on the DVR. It'll be Monday when this posts and I'll be elbow-deep in tackling yet another new week. I found this handy weekly cleaning routine chart that I printed out and intend to try out this next month. I'm hoping it'll help me get a grip on organizing all the things that tick through my head day in and day out and keep me a little more focused and accomplished during the week. How do you handle Mondays?
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Quad Momma Style

Most of the time, I am sporting workout pants, a random t-shirt and bare feet or flip flops. Keeping up with the kids all day—of which most is spent at home, anyway—doesn't require a very kept up appearance! But I try not to let it all go, I still get pedicures every two to three weeks, get my hair done every few months and, on days I feel especially ghost-like, apply self-tanner. Oh, and makeup if I'm going somewhere besides the grocery store, ha! 

A quad momma by day...

...and regular little ol' me by night. Sometimes. 

necklace: target / top: from a random shop overseas / jeans: kohls
boots: langford market / bag: jessica simpson at stein mart
the husband and i before dinner for our seven year anniversary last month
my top: target (love the faux leather!) / black jeggings: target / shoes: steve madden
necklace & clutch: sam moon

When I do get dressed up (aka something more than yoga pants and a bun), I've really been favoring black. And all black, too. I've been pinning a couple outfits for winter on my Pinterest Style Board and am loving all the black and brown combos. How do you feel about mixing the two colors? Found some style examples you love? Share a link with me in the comments section or send a pin to me via Pinterest!

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{DIY} Magnetic Chalkboard Fireplace Cover, aka Baby Proofing the Fireplace!

Fireplaces always create a hazard for little kiddos, especially if they happen to be in their playroom. And especially if you have four busy, curious tiny people all at once. Before we ever moved the kids into the new house, I'd already come up with a way to block off this potential safety hazard. A chalkboard fireplace cover! Then I went a step further and made it magnetic. It's been a genius addition to our house ever since!

What you need:
1 large piece of thick plywood cut to fit fireplace opening
2 cans magnetic paint
1 can chalkboard paint
1 roller paint brush
2 roller brush refills
2 small paint pans
sander or sand paper or sanding block
Large screws

Measure your fireplace opening exactly then head to Lowe's or Home Depot and have them cut a piece of plywood to your specifications. This was so much easier than my husband having to mess with it himself and saved him searching through tons of boxes for the right tools anyway. The custom cut is free and you just pay for the plywood. I chose a particularly thick piece so that when the quads leaned on it or pushed toys up against it, the wood wouldn't crack or warp easily. 

I hauled that bad boy home and the husband made a setup on the back patio so I could paint it. We sanded it down a little bit but I wasn't overly concerned with turning it into some super smooth chalkboard. If you do want it really smooth, I'd highly suggest a sander. By the time our kids are able to successfully use chalk without eating it, it'll probably mean we don't need as much babyproofing around the house and the fireplace cover will come down—hence the reason I didn't sweat over it being perfect.

The board takes three coats of magnetic paint and then two coats of chalkboard paint on top of that. It's a bit of a timely process so be patient and wait for those coats to dry in between.

And yes, that's a chandelier in the background above, lying in the grass. I'd spray painted it for a little makeover in our dining room. Multi-tasking, baby! You can find that DIY project here.

Once the board was dry and we'd tested out the magnetic hold with a couple magnets, we brought it inside and the husband used thick wood screws with a flat head to attached the board to the mantel. We have brick around the immediate outside edge of the fireplace, but the wood on the mantel made it easy to screw and unscrew the board. There is a thin strip of wood that runs around the perimeter of the fireplace, right beneath the board you see. That's what we attached it to and it'll be no problem to remove the board when we're done with it.

It's held up great to the kids and has been the perfect solution to blocking off the fireplace. We're a little sad we won't be able to use the fireplace this winter (our first in the new house), but we spend all our time in our "adult living room" on the other side of the kitchen anyway. One day, when the quads are bigger, their playroom will revert back to a living room/study area. We are always in transition around here!
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