{Quad Squad} Two Years Old!

If you've been wondering where I've been the last week, I've been lounging on my couch watching movies and eating candy.

Just kidding. Because we all know that isn't true!

I've been busy with four busy toddlers who seem to be keeping me very occupied these days! And I've also been prepping for their BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!! Which is today. :)

Here's some sneak peeks at what mama was setting up late last night....

The big bash is this afternoon and I'm as giddy as all get out. Because it's totally as much my party as it is theirs, right!? Ha. But seriously, it's shaping up to be adorably cute and I can't wait for the kids to see their cakes, the decorations, their friends—we've got a set of quads and a set of triplets coming today, amongst other guests!—and to rip open their presents with unfettered excitement. Yup, it's gonna be a good day.

Here's what I posted on Facebook this morning in tribute to my precious crew's second birthday...

On May 31, 2012, after 13 hours of contractions that we were unable to stop, my wonderful doctor delivered my sweet quadruplets at just 29 weeks 5 days. Trystan, Kailey and Harrison were born at 12:55 and Logan was pulled out of the top of my ribs at 12:56! I heard the tiniest of cries before they were whisked away to the NICU, where they spent the first two months of their lives. Logan was the first to be held the next day and the other two girls followed closely after, but I was not able to hold my little boy until he was 15 days old. Mike and I are so grateful for our four miracles that God has blessed us with and now we have not only survived the first year with quads, but the second one as well!! Happy birthday babies, you are all amazing!!!!!!

Soon as the excitement dies down, I've got lots of great posts in the works for the blog including their two year update, a Memorial Day weekend recap, new recipe posts, a Five Things: Quad Squad edition and more!

Now excuse me while I go make sprinkle pancakes for my fab four and finish the party prep!!!
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{Home Decor} New Additions!

There's about 567 things around the house that have landed on my "to do list," but which will likely continuing going undone for quite some time. It takes the husband and I forever to get around to the simplest tasks of fixing, upgrading or organizing something. We stay pretty busy throughout the day and week just by keeping up with the "must dos" like laundry, dishes, cooking and babies. Anything in addition to that is extra and thereby dubbed less important.

What's that? Welcome to your world?! Well, so glad to know I'm in like company! Whether it's spray painting the crap out of something, tackling a craft project I spied on Pinterest four months ago or redecorating the mantel for spring, it all has to take it's lowly place on the lengthy to do list until such a day arrives that I actually have a few spare minutes and I'm motivated to accomplish something extra.

Fortunately, a couple of those days rolled around recently and I actually knocked out several things on said list over the past couple weeks. And since I'm so proud of those small details that equal big accomplishments in my world, here's the run of the upgrades...

  • In Harrison and Kailey's room, I finally got around to hanging the turquoise mirror and a few boyish football accents on the wall. A few months ago, I added the cardboard letters that spell their name, which I painted in an ombre pattern with simple craft paint, and decorated them with stickers and a burlap pennant banner for Harrison's name. This room has come a loooong way from it's original red, gold and green walls!

  • On top of the dresser, I replaced the bulky tray that held all the diaper changing essentials with a small basket that holds wipes, butt cream and hand saniziter. Then I used the top two side drawers to hold regular diapers, overnight diapers and extra baby wipes. (We usually change them upstairs in the morning and after naps.) 

  • In our bedroom next door, I nailed four little star-headed nails into the wall above our bed and below the wall decal inscription. Naturally, Bam Bam was there to witness the hammer action and also decided to hide in the pillows. Boo! (You can see more of our master bedroom here.)

  • Outside the bedroom doors and at the top of the stairs, I hung a piece of turquoise cross wall art that I got for $20 at Hobby Lobby recently, as well as a photo frame that was gifted to me last Christmas. Now I just need to add some family photos!

  • And down the stairs, past my collection of crosses that I adore looking at every day, I added two candle wall sconces on either side of the window, as well as our diplomas on the adjoining wall space. We moved my desk upstairs awhile back so we don't have an official office anywhere, but I certainly don't want our diplomas gathering dust! I personally take a great amount of pride in that piece of paper since I self-funded and managed my entire college degree. ;)

  • Back downstairs, I updated the fireplace mantel in the play room since I was tired of seeing the bookends and huge row of books I'd originally stashed up there. It looks a little more spring-like to me, with both real and faux greenery, a cowboy boot that was gifted to us, a small sheep I bought in Scotland and a ceramic owl from Hobby Lobby. I also stored chalk, crayons and paint brushes in glass mason jars for easy access!

  • Nearby in the laundry room, I hung the framed photos of our beloved pets. The two cats at the top are July and Snowball, both of whom I lost within the past year and miss dearly. The bottom row are our two dogs, Shiner and Jersey, who rule the backyard. I really enjoy seeing these photos every day, especially while I'm doing laundry! The room has a pet-theme going on and will hopefully soon have a coat of some sort of dark blue-green paint in the future. The frames were sale finds at Ross.

  • Down the hall in our "adult living room"—where not a single baby toy resides!—I added a table runner from Ikea to the top of the piano where I display all my fancy frames with some of my favorite keepsake photos. I like the subtle color accent, since the room is pretty neutral!

  • In the opposite corner of the room, I added a turquoise bookcase I scored at a little boutique that shared the same parking lot of the condo that myself and five other quad mamas stayed in for a weekend! It's the perfect souvenir for an unforgettable trip. :) 

  • The husband has been busy with projects of his own, completing a perfectly built work bench in the garage, a play ground in the backyard, and now he's begun work on the fence to surround the latter so the quads stayed contained and momma doesn't sweat buckets chasing everyone around the yard and through dog poop (true story)!

  • I added a little backyard addition of my own with some freshly potted flowers and a fern—all done with the dirt tossing, petal pulling aid of eight little hands—which I can both enjoy outside and also from the view in my kitchen. I love flowers.

  • Last but certainly not least, I've wrapped the quad's birthday gifts for their rapidly approaching party! I cannot BELIEVE they turn two next weekend (May 31) and we can't wait to celebrate! Since the kiddos adore Bubble Guppies, that's the theme we chose for the shindig we'll be hosting at home. Stay tuned for some cute party details. And read all about their arrival into this world here and their first birthday at the lake here!

What small details have you feeling accomplished lately??
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{Weekend Recap} Six Quad Mamas, One Condo, Three EPIC days...

Yeah. You read that title right! Six quad mammas. It was like movie magic. Couldn't believe we'd all united for the first time as a group—some of us meeting for the first time in person ever—and feeling like we were living out a dream. Pretty sure the phrase "Is this real life?" was uttered many times!

I'd begun prepping for the trip weeks prior, since getting a head start is the only way I can ensure I get things done in a timely manner these days. I made a grocery list and purchased all the fare the day before we left, packing an ice chest and cooler bags with eats and drinks, as well as all the necessities for a weekend away from home that comes equipped with a bare kitchen. Including my Keurig machine!

My local quad mom buddy, Amber—yes, we referred to ourselves as Amber Squared all the time!—and I drove down to the beautiful Texas Hill Country along with a newcomer to our group, Griselda, whose quads are eight months old. We talked and talked the entire drive and only stopped at Starbucks for bathroom breaks and drink refills. I hadn't sat in one place for that long in ages, so my muscles were pretty cramped when we arrived at our condo four hours later. But excitement took precedent and we raced inside to check out our digs, then ran back outside to welcome the second vehicle arriving that brought the other half of our group...three more quad mommas!

top row, l to r: amber s, krista, becky, griselda
bottom row, l to r: amber (me) and ashley
I think my absolute favorite moment of the entire trip were those first few seconds when we all laid eyes on each other. It almost didn't feel real! Becky had flown down from Michigan while Krista had joined us from California and the rest of us Texas gals had been pumped to meet them in person for the first time. Amber and Ashley and Griselda had never met each other, either. And Ashley and I had been extremely excited to reconnect since I left Houston and moved to Dallas. We miss our regular lunch dates!

We all looked at each other then the music reached a rousing crescendo and we ran into each other's arms with shrieks of joy and pure excitement. Okay, so maybe not the music so much but the rest is pretty accurate. It literally felt like a reunion right out of a best-girlfriends type of movie. I still couldn't believe we were all together in a wonderful place with a weekend before us and not a single one of our kids in sight!

After snapping our group picture, we checked out the rest of the condo and unpacked food, snacks, booze and even the flowers and candles I'd brought for everyone to enjoy! I also gifted everyone with cute little goody bags and my triplet momma friend made the most amazing cookies for us to indulge in over the weekend!

As soon as we had all adjusted to the sheer adrenaline rush of being together at last, we began talking. And talking. And talking. We discussed our disbelief that we'd finally pulled off a quad mom retreat of our own, we chatted about babies, motherhood and parenting, our love lives, our busy lives, lack of sleep, kid-friendly meals, personal aspirations, challenges and more. And that was just the first hour! ;)

I think the only quiet time amongst our group was when everyone was sleeping. The condo would be quiet and still, smattered with evidence of a fun day's worth of relaxation and girl time from the magazines on the couch to the beach towels drying on the bar stools and the purple tulips blossoming on the counter to the bottles of slowly disappearing wine. We stayed up until 3am that first night, gabbing away and trying to cram in every conversation we could think of to make up for the fact that we don't get to be together in person very often!

The next morning the girls all helped themselves to a variety of coffee k-cups I'd brought while I caught a few more winks! Though I don't drink coffee, I know those who do relish a steaming hot cup and I knew these quad mommas deserved that during our getaway. They clutched their mugs over bowls of cereal or blueberry scones and we all admired the view overlooking the Guadalupe river from the balcony of our condo.

After a very lounge-around morning, we saddled up and headed off to San Marcos, about 15 minutes away from the town, Gruene, we were staying at. San Marcos is home to my alma mater, Texas State University, and it's gorgeous campus. I was excited to show the girls around a little bit and we decided on a river-view patio lunch at Salt Grass Steakhouse so the Northerners didn't have that option at home! 

Lunch was perfect followed by a stop for me to buy some collegiate t-shirts then we headed back to Gruene and perused all the cute little shops that line the streets. I ended up getting a great turquoise book case that has now found a new home in my living room! (You better believe we hoisted that thing into the back of my Avalanche and squeezed it in!)

the turquoise bookcase i hauled home as a souvenir!
After shopping we decided to walk down to the river for a few scenic views and the coolest thing happened. We asked two ladies walking by if they would take our group photo, and one quipped that it looked like we were on a girl's getaway. Krista decided to let the cat out of the bag and said we were all quad moms (we'd been keeping mum about that fact everywhere we went!) and one of the ladies gave us a deadpan look. Worried, we paused and she revealed that she was in fact a quadruplet herself! She and her siblings had been born 53 years ago and she and one of her brothers were the only babies that survived infancy. She was in town for a family wedding that was setting up across the river bank and we wished her a wonderful weekend, as she had certainly made ours!

our quad mom group with a 53-year-old quadruplet (far right) that we met by chance!
Still buzzing about that random, very memorable moment, we landed ourselves at a little wine bar down the street from the condo. We each got three samples of vino before choosing a glass and settled in at an outdoor table because we still had more talking to do! 

Afterward, we all changed into comfy clothes at the condo and I pulled out all the making for chicken fajitas and homemade guacamole. Unfortunately Griselda had to head back home, but the remaining five of us kept the party going until midnight!

Our second morning was greeted with more happy hot coffee drinkers, I was the last to rise again and more chatting over breakfast. Then we headed down to the river bank for a brief walk and back to a few of our favorite shops before setting up shop of our own at the pool! Now that's a vacation treat!

Yup, you're seeing that right. There's two Ambers in the photo below and I wore my new two piece swim suit! It took a very brave moment for me to walk out of the condo and into "public" baring my midriff after carrying quadruplets and undergoing abdominal surgery to try and fix the damage, but I did it! And I enjoyed every bit of the tan I got in the process. :)

becky, a previous gymnast, still has her flexibility! a favorable trait when keeping up with quads!

We were doing our best to relish each second of our weekend at this point because we only had the evening left. After having drinks at the pool, we cooled off in the condo and got ready for dinner. I had planned for us to eat the Gristmill, a former cotton gin turned delicious authentic Texas resto, and we enjoyed frozen sangrias while waiting on our table. I think four out of five of us ordered chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes, all smothered in gravy!

One more late night chat and DIY cucumber masks and we called it a day. The next morning parting was such sweet sorrow, but we had already decided on the date for next year's retreat and had officially started the countdown! Amber and I smushed our bags into my truck around the bookcase I'd stashed in the back and made for home. Of course, a Texas road trip is never complete without a stop at Buc-ee's gas station!

The entire weekend I'd been receiving photos and updates from the husband, who had been taking care of the quads with a little help from our nanny and, later, his parents. I was all too happy to kiss him hello and then go hug on my crew!

The weekend was certainly predicted to be the first of many and was such an incredible event. We all agreed it had gone even better than expected, and we'd been harboring high expectations! It's such a treasured feeling when you are able to unite with friends that you've become close to via various methods of communication. We all had shared quad pregnancies, struggling to become parents to quads, endless sleep deprivation and more. While our common ground certainly brought us together, our absolute love, admiration and support of each other drew us close. I continue to talk to all the girls daily through text messages and Facebook, and we look forward to future memory making!
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P.S. Read the other quad mommas recount of our weekend together! Amber writes at Four to Adore, Becky pens her stories at Our Multiples Journey and Krista shares her quad tales at The Littlest Lesnaus.
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