Not to say it was a shocking revelation or anything. It was everything I could do to hang onto that pregnancy during the spring of 2012 and after the babies were born on May 31, 2012, our days morphed into one long stretch spent at the NICU as we willed them to grow and become strong and healthy. We rarely even knew what day of the week we were earn and July 4th came and went without hardly a notice. The following summer was still heavily dictated by bottles and a busy schedule caring for the quads and we spent the spring preparing to move from Houston to Dallas, which meant summer was spent crammed into our two-bedroom apartment while desperately house hunting for a place we loved.
Many of you recall our big move into our current home on July 4th, 2013—so we didn't really celebrate again, but we were certainly busy that holiday! Summer ended before we could blink again and the weather transitioned to cold late in the fall and we celebrated a mishmash of holidays with family in our hometown.
Enter this summer. My, what a difference! We are slowly feeling as though we're gaining back portions of "normal life," as we often find ourselves referring to things like swimming, going out with friends in the evening, taking trips somewhere or participating in parties and family gatherings. So many things are becoming options that previously were completely unattainable with four infants! The quads are mobile and increasingly independent on an impressive level, not to mention we've settled into a wonderful home that so perfectly accommodates our family of six and all the things we enjoy doing. The kiddos have spent a great deal of time outside on their backyard play ground that the husband created as a safe, enclosed space for them to run free, we've enjoyed mornings and afternoons on the front lawn playing with bubbles and chalk, we've attended birthday parties and visited grandparents and we've hosted numerous play dates as well!
For a couple weeks and weekends, things stayed busy enough that it was difficult for me to regularly update the blog—which I know you're all just heartbroken about!—so I figured I'd conduct a proper photo dump and title it "Summer Play Dates" to both sum up what we've done thus far this season and also remind myself or all the "normal" we're getting to experience at last. ;)
For starters, this July 4th we suited everyone up and headed to our nanny's apartment where there's a cute little splash pad that was perfect for the kids. I brought lunch and our nanny's boyfriend even came to join the party, meaning we had four adults for four quadlings!
We love the opportunity to catch up with friends who are in town but aren't always able to get a sitter, so it means a lot to us when friends come our way. Which is just what my girlfriend, Alison, did while visiting Texas! She was a bridesmaid in our wedding and I've known her since we were young, dumb teenagers. :) She was amazed at how big the quads have gotten and enjoyed participating in our dinner and nighttime routine before we adults sat down to dinner and wine of our own. And yeah, I'm totally jealous of her awesome tan!
Another dear, lifelong friend also came to visit us while she was in town and I finally got to meet her first kiddo, who was an adorable four months old. My friend, who studied bilingual special education, is a talented teacher and has been sharing many tips and ideas as I begin working with the quads more and more each week on learning and education. I love getting input from my friends who work with kids or are in education as it helps me get a leg up on things with my quickly advancing crew!
Another afternoon was spent with my sweet cousin, Andie, who the quads adore. My beloved Aunt Deanie also came over and brought my Grandma, who loves getting to see the quads and spend time with them at this age. My mom was there as well and brought my older brother's three kids, my two nephews and niece, who enjoy playing with my crew and keep them very occupied! The quads are always fascinated with older kids and Harrison usually follows them around and copies what they're doing or saying. Influence is at its fullest right now!
We got a tray full of chicken nuggets and bags of fries from Chick-Fil-A for lunch, courtesy of my Aunt, and while the babies took their naps, I set up the older kids with the Lego Movie in the living room. Later, we all spent as much time as we could bear in the heat in the front yard and chowed down on fruity popsicles (coconut ones for the adults!).
My quad mama BFF, Amber, and I coordinated a play date at my place one Thursday afternoon and spent nearly the entire time in the backyard play ground with plenty of water to keep the eight two-year-olds entertained! She and I sipped on summer beers loaded with fruit that I'd mixed up while laughing and enjoying watched the kids played. We even witnessed Kailey's first kiss when she puckered up with sweet little Mason!
One Saturday evening, we had friends over—who are also godparents to the quads—along with their two kids and grilled steaks and watched the little ones play. They were all so funny together! It was nice to just relax, open a bottle of wine and hang out with family. Some days, I look around and just can't believe how many kids we "suddenly" have. Just a few years ago, my life was so different! Not only did we not have any kids, but we rarely had kids at our home or entertained little ones. Now it's no big thing to have six, eight or even more kiddos at our place!
We met up with our quad buddies again when they turned two just a few weeks ago and celebrated with a Pirates & Princess party. Parties are a much easier feat now that the kids can walk into places on their own and we don't even have to use strollers for that or infant carriers like once upon a time! I certainly treasure these family outings and am happy to report they are consistently becoming less work and more successful every time.
One lazy Sunday, the husband got motivated and washed all the laundry that was stacking up in the hamper and set out on a folding and organizing mission. I opted for a glass of wine and cuddled with the kiddos on the couch while we watched Cars, which Harrison loved for all the racing action and sound effects.
A more recent Sunday found us hauling four little cuties to our friend's nearby backyard pool for a swim lesson with one of my best friends. She's now the head coach for the synchronized swim team I used to be on and also teaches private lessons—she was great with the quads! They did even better than I expected and we hope to fit in a few more lessons before the weather changes. Next year, I am planning to have more consistency with their lessons so they can really get the hang of swimming and water safety, a very important skill to the husband and I.
Stay tuned for photos and more blog posts over the weekend!