Merry Christmas!

Its inevitable. No matter how simple you vow your holidays will be this year, there's always legwork involved. We dramatically pared down our Christmas schedule--I've mentioned we opted out of hosting our big annual bash, and also cut down on all the family events we typically rush around to attend--in an effort to accommodate our tired selves. Any parent will understand how exhausting a two and a half year old can be...now just multiply it by four! Or you may have kids at various ages requiring a hodge posse of activities and accommodations. The parentingn badge ain't earned with blood, sweat and some tears...am I right?!

Either way, when we found out our church was doing some special holiday child care this week I signed up the quads and wrote a check for their stay faster than you can say "sanity." Yesterday (Tuesday) they attended from 9:45am until 6pm and it was glorious! The husband and I dropped them off then went straight to the movies, indulging in popcorn and coke. Then we headed home and tackled various sundry projects and I wrapped or bagged ALL our Christmas gifts and stashed then under the tree! 

No seriously, it was a showdown. My living room went from this...

....to this!!

I made sure to have dinner mostly ready before we went to pick up the kids, so we could eat as soon as they came home. Then we gave them baths and read some more Christmas books before bed.

As they simultaneously learn about Santa Clause and, more importantly, the story of Baby Jesus, it's made this holiday one of the most exciting ones yet. They understand now that they are receiving presents and get ecstatic at the very thought. It's taking every ounce of their self control (and constant reminders from mama and dada) not to tear into those goodies under the tree! Especially when they're wrapped in adorable Christmas Bubble Guppies, Cars and Frozen paper. I can practically see them drooling and their eyes glaze over.

Yesterday morning, Christmas Eve, we were shamelessly reminding them they will get gifts after dinner at Meemaw's house that evening if they behave well. It's been a handy bribe thus far! They were all cranky and hangry before breakfast, but tears soon dissolved into smiles and they obediently helped clean the table and put their shoes on after we ate. Then the husband and Harrison dropped the girls and I off at the gym while they went on to get hair cuts. I love those sweet guys and how they get to do things together!

The girls were excited to go play at the kids club in the gym and Logan escorted Kailey and Trystan inside then turned around and said, "You go work, mommy?"

"Yes, baby, mommy is going to go work out and I'll be right back!"

"Okay, see you later!" 

She happily closed the door and ran off and I am still relishing the fact that they don't cry or get upset when we go to familiar places like the gym, church and school. It makes me feel so much happier when I drop them off knowing they are happy!

Fun fact: my crew loves looking thru all my magazines, though sometimes they get too excited and pages get ripped. Needless to say, my latest issue I wanted to read while on the bike yesterday morning was a bit tattered. It's cool.

Afterward, the husband did lunch and naps and I darted out into the madness for one final gift we added to the roster last minute. We made it to dinner at my parents house last night in the nick of time, enjoying a fun-filled night of delicious food, camaraderie and gifts. The kids are loving it all!

my mom and all her grandkids

myself (in white) and my three siblings with my mom
funny faces!
When we got home, the quads excitedly helped us set out cookies and milk for Santa. They may have tried to eat the Oreos a couple different times, but we just kept explaining it's a snack for Santa when he comes to leave their gifts.

The stockings are stuffed and laid out for little hands to explore. Gifts are ready and waiting. We're hurriedly preparing breakfast and can hear the quads rustling around in their rooms already—a rare thing since they normally sleep in late, especially after such a late bedtime! They must know it's Christmas!

We'll have Christmas at home this morning followed by Christmas dinner at the husband's parents tomorrow evening. How are you spending the holiday this year?

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!


Weekend Recap

So our weekend sorta kinda started on Thursday, when we rallied the Quad Squad Fan Club to attend the kid's first ever Christmas program. Make that their first ever program of any kind. I was so excited and very proud! My preemie babies have come so far, now they go to school one day a week and know their teachers and talk about their class and get to be in a holiday program. What a different life we lead these days. (You can flash back to the beginning here. Talk about exhaustion!!)

i put a crudely drawn circle around my fouresome.
harrison's in a checkered shirt and the girls have on purple polka dot skirts :)

Their age group, the 2's, only came out on the stage for two songs and I think only Harrison sang a couple of words. The girls cried most of the time and Kailey progressively picked up steam as she started repeatedly wailing "mammaaaaa, dadaaaaaa"—which was clearly heard by all during the quiet pause in between their pair of songs. Yep, that's my girl right there in front with tears streaming down her face!

I hosted a play date for our fellow quad buddies later that afternoon. We had so much fun! I cannot tell you how well all eight two year olds play together. It was pretty peaceful the whole time and my quad momma friend, Amber, and I were able to enjoy a large glass of wine together. I made crock pot ranch chicken, steak fries and green beans for dinner and it was a hit for everyone!

I had just settled down onto the couch after our pint-sized guests had left, the kitchen had been cleaned and my own crew had donned pajamas and gone to bed. I relished a sip of wine then exclaimed to my husband, "No where to be tomorrow, nothing to get up and rush around for! Ahhhh!"

"Uh, babe, aren't you doing Santa pictures tomorrow with the kids?"

"Crap. Yes. Yes I am."

Thankfully my mother-in-law had planned to come help me out with that endeavor and we ended up having a great afternoon! The kids slept late and we didn't eat breakfast until 10am—not an uncommon occurrence in our house right now. By noon, everyone had finally been dressed, put their shoes on, kept their shoes on and been loaded in the car. We headed to our nearby mall for photos with Santa and I was relieved to see there was no line since the holiday school rush hadn't started just yet. The kids played in the faux snow in the winter wonderland display before we were ushered on to the bench with Santa. Three out of four liked the powdery white stuff, but when I asked Kailey if she wanted to get out of the stroller and play in it, she quickly muttered no and snapped her harness back on!

Trystan's face is my favorite part of the whole photo. She just looks pissed. Which is actually the exact same expression she had last year, too. And I had to join Santa because Kailey and Logan were going nowhere near his lap. Meanwhile Harrison thought everything was all great fun and did just fine.

After photos, we ate Chick-Fil-A in the food court, stopped off for diaper changes, then headed over to the play area for some run-around time. Then it was on to Bath & Body Works for a delicious Confetti Cupcake candle and Twisted Peppermint body lotion, followed by Macy's where Grandmommy spoiled the kids with some new fleece pullovers and a few other cute clothing finds. It was her first time to get to shop with the quads, something she'd been wanting to do for a long time!

The next morning, our former nanny came over to watch the kiddos for a couple hours so the husband and I could enjoy a morning time date. We started off with breakfast at La Madeleine, followed by a $1 movie showing of The Maze Runner. 

Later that afternoon, I took Kailey with me for a run to the library and she was thrilled to "go bye bye with momma." For all her crazy ways she is my little lovebug. :)

This morning, Sunday, started off early as I arrived at church in time to volunteer for the nursery during the Sunday School hours. Which meant at one point I simply sat and rocked a sweet sleeping baby for 30 minutes! Easy peasy. The husband got the kids ready—I'd laid out clothes, socks, shoes and breakfast—and brought them up to meet me at church. They went to the children's class and we headed into the service. After lunch at home, my mom decided she'd love to take two of the girls back home with her for the day so Logan and Kailey piled into Meemaw's car and away they went!

The other two went for down for their naps in a different sibling's bed and I took off for a late lunch date with some close gal pals and two of their adorable babies. More sweet cheeks loving!

The husband and I have enjoyed a very low-key evening at home with Harrison and Trystan. Two toddlers is such a piece of cake when I'm used to four! Everything is so calm and quiet. They've eaten dinner in the living room with us and we're all hanging out watching some Christmas shows on TV. I think the other two are headed back soon, so I'd better start getting things ready for bedtime...

Happy Christmas week!
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Nativity Toddler Book & Craft

As the Christmas season gets in full swing, I've been keen on teaching the quads about Baby Jesus and His birth, the manger and the nativity scene. Though they might not fully grasp the concept of Jesus and what His birth signifies, they can certainly learn that He's a special person and that we celebrate him always, especially at Christmas. Here's a quick book and craft combo I put together for an afternoon at home! They really enjoyed it.

I printed this coloring page of Baby Jesus in a manger, then while the kids put their crayons to paper I cut up some raffia I had in my craft closet and pulled out a package of colored craft sticks I got at Wal-Mart.

Then we read one of our books before gluing on the craft sticks in each kid's chosen color and then spotting on glue and adding raffia as the hay in the manger.

Afterward, we set the papers aside to dry and read the remaining two books to help solidify the concept. They really listened intently and now readily identify Jesus in the manager in photos, tree ornaments and more. Plus their time at church reinforces these Biblical learnings. Mission accomplished!

How do you share Jesus with your tots?
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Holiday Home Tour 2014

Welcome to my holiday home tour! Uh, well, half of it anyway. I only decorated the downstairs portion of our house, and not every single room of the downstairs at that. Let's just say that going from having one-and-a-half year old quadruplets to two-and-a-half-year-old quadruplets means mommy and daddy are waaaaaay more tired this year. We've decided not to host a Christmas party—something we've done religiously nearly every year since we got married—and we haven't been participating in any of the holiday events around our neighborhood, church or city in general because a) it's really hard to get to anything during the week and b) like I said, we're exhausted! So I've been struggling to get into the Christmas spirit a bit this season and would probably have been totally fine if we'd only put up the tree. But I got randomly motivated a couple days ago and my parents were watching the quads at their house for the day, so decor got decked. Done and done.

So anyway, here's some photos of the holiday-outfitted lower level. And please note I tidied up a few spaces to snap these photos while the quads ate lunch but didn't exactly clean. Which means there's lots of surface mess, but I won't draw any more attention to it than that! Let's not forget the eight little hands I've got roaming around the house, too. They help move ornaments around on the tree, leave cookie crumb trails through the dining room and squish their little fingerprints onto the piano. It might mean I never have a clean house, but it means I've got four active, healthy two year olds and I'll take that any day. :)

C'mon in! 

I decided to accentuate our usual lighted garland around the front door with big swags of red mesh, which was super easy to wind into the garland. Finished it off with a couple decorative picks from Hobby Lobby I purchased several years ago. 

The entry way now features nine white frames, some of which are waiting to be filled with new photos. I got them on the cheap for $2 each at Ikea, and plan to add some thick matting to several of them to make them look a little nicer quality. (This is a look I'm trying out, but might not stick with. I need to add a much larger rug to the entry area and will have some new decor to put out on the table in the spring.)

The table, a long ago Craiglist purchase, holds a table runner and an assortment of Christmas trees. This was done for the quads, as they love looking at all the decorations this year and are especially fond of pretty trees.

A sprig of mistletoe hangs from the doorway that bridges the foyer and living room, and more red mesh snakes its way up the garland on the stair banister. I used more picks from Hobby Lobby to add a finishing touch, and hung the stockings from the garland as I did last year. I love how it looks! The stockings were a great deal at Hobby Lobby and I simply ironed on letters for the monograms.

It's a pretty view from the stairs!

The living room is light and bright, with the tree as a focal point. We haven't mounted our TV to the wall yet so I hung our newest family portrait above it. A $3 basket from Target serves as a centerpiece on the coffee table, filled with scented pinecones. 

Each year, I order a new family photo ornament from Snapfish that's printed on tin and I add the year to the image. It's a great keepsake that can't be broken! I also gift the husband a new ornament each year, which are usually hunting-themed, and the "hunting" license plate was his for this year.

We moved the piano to the back wall of the living room so that the tree could go in its place, so it's a bit crowded next to my bookcase back there. But I decorated it all anyway with a few knick knacks I found in the bottom of one of my Christmas bins—including a random string of red lights!

The adjoining dining room was kept simple—a small garland and some reindeer on the hutch, a red poinsettia cut-out runner, votives and jingle bell tree on the table, and a wreath on the door.

The kitchen was kept simple as well. A garland over the sink, a wreath on the window in the breakfast area above the quad table, a candle holder on the island and holiday cards displayed from ribbon on the cabinet doors. I love seeing those every day. :)

I used some fun colors in the play room and the kids adore the Frozen-inspired hues. My sister strung the plastic ornaments (from Wal-Mart) onto ribbon for me so I could hang the garland on the mantel. Love it!

All that's left are a couple trees in the guest bathroom, and that's it!

Have you finished decorating for the holidays? Posting a tour? Leave a link in the comments section, I'd love to see it!

Merry Christmas!
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