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
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!
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.