Spring Home Tour

It's been a long day. And I just sat down for only the second time since I woke up this morning....and it's 9:56pm right now. My freaking knees and feet are screaming in protestful pain and I'm on my second glass of wine, y'all. Good Lord have mercy.

The best thing that happened today, without a doubt, is the fact that my house got cleaned. I started with a maid service a couple weeks ago because I just couldn't keep up with the cleaning anymore. I don't need to have a spotless house to be happy, but it does need to be clean. And I'm not talking clear of toys and clutter. I'm talking dust, dirt and smudges. The kids strew toys around the place, and there's pretty much always a few piles of laundry waiting to be folded and put away—that's the norm around here. But when I'm constantly seeing layers of dust and grime that I just can't ever get back to in order to clean (or I forget within five minutes because there's a major disagreement over who had the red lego), things get messy. Thankfully the maid service has helped and we're doing the best we can to work it out budget-wise so we can keep up the cleanings every two to three weeks.

I had a lot of clean up to do in order for the maids to actually clean, so I was busy late last night and alllll morning getting stuff put away and counters cleared so they could get to everything. Yes, I literally have to clean up so my house can get cleaned. Ha! But it was worth it because everything's sparkling now. Thus I decided to take advantage and snap some photos for a quick spring home tour. Everything's not perfect like I'd have it if I took the time to style a few rooms or refresh the week-old flowers on the kitchen table, re-situate the pillows and blankets on the couch, put an actual photo into the new frame on the fireplace mantel and so on. But I always like a peek into other people's homes so I figured you'd like to see how Quadville looks in ours!

Off the kitchen, you can access the breakfast area and playroom, which are all the busiest places in our home on any given day.

The pretty spring mantel I put together in the playroom and an Easter banner that the kids helped my mom string while spending a day at her house.

And because there's no better place for it, our two dogs reside in the dining room more or less. There's a patio door right there so they don't traipse through the house every time they go in and out. A nightmare when it's been raining and is muddy outside. I hate all the dust and dog hair that accumulates like crazy because of it, but they like to get breaks from the weather and nap in their kennel during the day sometimes and they typically sleep in there at night as well. 

We also don't have chairs around our dining table right now, those are temporarily at our giant round granite kitchen table until I find more permanent fixtures. 

The image below isn't a great vantage point of our living room since you can't see much and the blankets and things are haphazard, but the setup works. I have a turquoise book case in the corner but don't have it pictured since it's in shambles right now and I haven't decided how to redecorate it yet.

The entry table is one of the few things I'll keep themed to a season or holiday. The white frames hanging on the wall are from Ikea and I took the black and white photos at the Dallas Arboretum one day, while the other images are free printables I found on Pinterest.

Upstairs to the master bedroom (and where the kids rooms are as well)...

Here's the amazing painting my mom did for me to hang above our bed! Love it!!

Not pictures are the kid's bedrooms (they were napping), bathrooms and laundry room and, lest you think everything looks orderly, here's my guest room...

Any type of project I have ongoing gets stashed in here, from toy sorting and laundry folding to decor and gift wrapping. Eek!

Hope you enjoyed the home tour, time to get back to my wine!!
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DIY Bunny Shaped Crayons

So there was a phase that Kailey went through during which she preferred not to color, but rather to tear all the paper off the crayons and break them into pieces. It kept her extremely occupied—sometimes as long as 20 minutes—so I endured because it provided the opportunity to throw dinner together or finish cleaning something. Over time, though, the broken colors all just got shuffled into the mini buckets of crayons I keep handy for the kids to use. I got fed up with it eventually, though, and sorted through everything and tossed all the broken pieces into a ziploc and shoved them into my craft closet.

Thanks to Pinterest, I hung on to the broken crayons so I could try making new ones with them. I found  this Wilton bunny silicone mold, stripped the paper from any pieces that Kailey hadn't already torn off, broke or smashed larger crayon pieces and filled up all the bunny molds. 

I put it on top of a lined baking tray just in case something spilled or melted over, because I had no idea how this would actually go. Turns out, I could have really packed the molds full because the crayons melted waaay down and turned out thinner then I wanted. Next time!

They took 30 minutes on 180F degrees, then I carefully put the silicone tray in the fridge to speed up the cooling but you can just let them cool down on the counter, too. I popped them out and tested them on some paper and they worked great! I'll be putting a handful of bunny crayons into clear cello bags with an Easter gift tag to put in my kiddo's Easter baskets as well as some for cousins and friends.

Check out these free Easter gift tag printables as well as more Easter crafts and decorating ideas on my Easter board on Pinterest!

Update: I put together a page of printable gift tags of my own using some free clipart from the web, you can download them for free right here!
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No More Gates, Diapers or Stroller!

My quadlings are nearly three years old and the time has come to fully embrace the arrival of potty training.


Ever since last weekend—and continuing on with fervor this weekend—we officially began our potty training campaign. Spearheaded by the husband, no less! I was perfectly fine to let the kiddos stay in diapers a little longer, but he was all motivated to start the process and, in turn, motivated the rest of us. We haven't read a single book or talked in depth to any other parents about any particular training process. Instead, we just sort of...started. We'd had a gradual introduction of the whole potty thing over the past many weeks. We had two small ones in the downstairs bathroom that they used of their own will from time to time and we'd purchased underwear and let them wear it whenever they showed interest. They accompanied us on our own, um, visits to the bathroom and we often began discussing how big kids use the toilet and so on.

So last weekend—in place of dressing up in green gear for St. Patrick's Day and venturing out to a bar to indulge in plenty of green beer, as was our former life pre-quads!—we pulled out the pint-sized undies and announced to the kids they'd all be wearing them and using the potty. They were excited and we also had a few disgruntled moments, like when Harrison insisted he wanted to wear a diaper, but we always won out and rewarded successful trips to the toilet with M&M's....because I have no shame in bribes when it comes to serious matters like this! There were several accidents over the weekend, as to be expected, and the kids were certainly unhappy when they happened since underwear doesn't absorb like they're used to with their diapers. But we've maintained our sort of leisurely approach to training and are making continual progress and improvement.

Kailey is 95% trained and Harrison and Logan aren't far behind her. Trystan is still dealing with constipation so we're working through that and giving her a little leeway with pull-ups as needed. We use nighttime diapers at bedtime and pull-ups for naps and some of our outings, and will incorporate undies for outings more frequently as I feel more confident. It was a big deal for me to become comfortable taking the quads out so much by myself, and I'm not willing to sacrifice all my "freedom" with that so pull-ups help me get by so I'm not scrambling for dry pants or worrying about how quickly we can get into a bathroom. Though anytime we do go anywhere, I have the kids use the toilet right before we leave the house, as soon as we arrive at our destination, right before we leave to head home and again as soon as we arrive at the house. I also keep a potty in the back of the suburban for emergencies and situations when a bathroom isn't available—it came in very handy during our visit to the park the other day!

Thanks to a fellow quad mom, I ordered this potty stool and this toilet seat to aid in our efforts and both have been invaluable! I highly recommend them, especially the toilet seat since it keeps you from constantly having to take a removable toddler seat on and off the toilet.

Moving away from toilet talk, we've breached other major milestones in our house! There are no more baby gates on the play room!!! The kids are loving it, even though they'd had a lot of freedom in the house already and we didn't use the gates much anymore. Just having them off the door frames makes the whole area seem so much more open. And we adults are enjoying spending more time in there with the kids now, as I added a recliner for extra seating and a lamp and magazines on the DIY wood crate side table I made on the fly.

We've left our DIY magnetic chalkboard cover on the fireplace for now but will likely relocate it to a nearby wall during the next winter so we can use our fireplace. It'll be a cool wall hanging the kids can continue to draw on and play with their magnet. Here's a closer look at the spring mantle I put together in there...

And since we are potty training we did away with all the diapers and took the changing table out of the kitchen. Not needed anymore! (Still looking for chairs around the table in there, dining room chairs are standing in for now.)

I got each of the kiddo's their own folding kitchen stool—all purchased from Marshall's—so they can join in on cooking or watch what we're doing on the counters in the kitchen. They take them very seriously and tote them around the kitchen frequently. I had to laugh when I walked in the other day and found them all lined up!

The quads took their last ride in the quad stroller, more for memory's sake than anything else. We'd pulled it out of the garage to clean up and list for sale—hopefully another quad family will be in need—and the kids insisted on climbing in and asked dada to push them. They're so heavy all combined that it made the brakes grind on the wheels! We continue to use our two Combi twin strollers for outings as needed, but find we need them less and less.

And the highlight of this current weekend was meeting our good friend's new baby. The kids loved getting to see him, especially Kailey! She was a natural and cuddled him on the couch, giving him his pacifier when he cried, shooshing him and patting his head. It was the sweetest thing. I cooked dinner for all of us and we all eight sat around the kitchen table to eat. Logan smiled and said, "We're all eating together as a family!" Definitely a special and memorable evening.

More tales to come! Happy weekend!
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St. Patrick's Day Tot-Style

Last week, the crew and myself loaded up in the 'burb after naps and headed to our BFF's house for an early St. Patrick's Day celebration! Amber was sweet enough to host since we were in dire need of getting out of the house after being cooped up for so long due to the Great Sickness that plagued our home for over three weeks. (Here's Amber's post about our themed shindig!)

I did my best to dress my kiddos in green but we were mostly sported mint and turquoise since that's the color I buy most clothes in. (Pink and purple are still at the bottom of the totem pole!) I had plans to look festive but time and effort didn't work together so I threw on a scarf and made do. We arrived just before dinner was ready so all the kids plopped down at the table for a spot of painting, thanks to some dollar paint pads I'd grabbed a few days earlier at Target. Love that stuff!

Next was a delicious meal that Amber made included pesto chicken with broccoli and rice and key lime yogurt bites for dessert. Total success with eight toddlers who wolfed it all down—that's impressive for any momma and cook! 

I just love Amber's babies, I've known for them for awhile now and she and I have been fast friends since we were pregnant with our quads—we had our crews seven weeks apart, mine being the first to arrive. But I do have to admit that her little Mason (below) always has a special place in my heart. He's just so sweet and loves to cuddle and is so easy to tickle, which is one of my favorite things to do to toddlers!

After dinner, the group got a little impromptu story time on the kitchen floor when they brought over books to Amber's husband, George, who didn't bat an eye when eight toddlers clambered on top of and around him. That's a quad dad for ya!

Next we headed to their play room for some free play time and eventually stripped down to diapers so the Shawver kids could show their friends their "naked dance" they perform each night. Eight babies in diapers shakin' their booties is a sight to see! 

One of my favorite moments was when Amber read a couple books to the kids after everyone had donned their PJs and they all grouped together to listen. It's just so sweet to see these healthy, happy kids play and learn together after all we've been through with their premature births, NICU stays and intense first few weeks at home. 

So that's how we celebrated, albeit ahead of time! Today hasn't been much of note, I'm not sure anyone even has green on and we've spent our day making a trip to the gym, playing outside in the water table while it's actually warm and dry out and ate our lunch al fresco as well. 

Here's an oldie but goodie of the husband and I in Chicago one St. Patty's Day, as we've always loved the holiday and downing our fair share of green beer. 

One day again someday!
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