Our Weekend

On Saturday morning, I had a bridal shower to attend for a good longtime friend of mine but didn't want to leave the husband with all four kids so we split the ranks. I took two of the girls—Logan and Trystan—with me and the husband took the other two—Harrison and Kailey—since they were a bit under the weather and we wanted to avoid them being around too many people. Little did I know that the husband would get motivated and take them to Home Depot with him followed by their first adventure in putt-putt! My cuties look so serious in the photo below, clutching their clubs and thinking of game strategy perhaps? Ha! Either way, it was awesome that they got a new and unique experience with their daddy and one that he could enjoy with only two kiddos in tow.

I enjoyed briefly catching up with my friend and the girls liked watching her open gifts and also indulged in a cupcake or two. Afterward, we went over to my mom's house and ate a afternoon snack followed by naps for everyone. I passed out on the couch—third day in a row I've napped! That is so not normal for me. But I have been exhausted every day for the past week or so, like I wake up in the morning and am super tired before I ever get out of bed. Nobody has time for that! I've been sure to take my daily dose of B12 and my prescription dose of Vitamin D this week and drink lots of water, I think I've just been a little more run down than usual. That happens every now and then, like hitting a wall when I've run out of gas and I have to catch up on some extra R&R to recharge then I'm good to go again. What are your energy-boosting tricks??

The kids enjoyed some sticker action later on thanks to fun little sheets of stickies that my Aunt Deanie sent them for Easter. I quickly printed out coordinating coloring sheets (thanks Google!), like a monster truck page for Harrison to accessorize with his monster truck stickers. They loved it and asked me to hang them each on their art boards in the play room when they were done.

And it's safe to say that Bandit, our recent new family addition, is adjusting to life here quite well. He's had no qualms about spreading out and getting comfortable. ;)

After church on Sunday, I met up with some of my girlfriends for a little wine tasting followed by Mexican for dinner followed by a few leisurely drinks and more girl time and convo! It was so needed and I loved getting to catch up with one of my besties who was in town for the weekend. Good friends and down time are often the perfect remedy for anything, right!?

It's felt like a long weekend though, because the husband had today off from work. Perfect! I could sooo get used to this. He took our suburban into the shop for new tires while I worked from home this morning then we went to lunch together followed by (bulk) grocery shopping at Costco. I went back to work on my computer afterward and he picked up the kids at school for me, snapping this adorable photo of them lined up for story time with their wonderful teacher. (I blurred her face for privacy reasons, but trust me, we love her and she's awesome with our kids!) 

They were listening intently to the book she was reading when the husband showed up and he hung back to watch for a second. They have a larger class during regular hours, but they stay in after-school care for a little bit after so there's only a few kids left by then. This gives me a whole day on Mondays to accomplish things child-free. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful Mother's Day Out program at our church and look forward to them starting pre-school there this fall!

Now I'm gearing up to tackle a busy albeit short four-day week and am grateful that the kids ran it out on the play ground today and shall sleep deeply tonight...
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Stopping to Smell the Roses & a Video

I threw myself a little pity party yesterday afternoon. It seemed like the perfect time, anyway, since the kiddos were at my mom's house for the day (I take them over there every Wednesday) and I had a quiet house to myself. It was only for a few hours since I'd spent several hours at the dentist getting a cracked tooth fixed. I have major anxiety with doctor's offices—made even worse after my extensive hospital stay while pregnant with the quads, our time at the NICU and several surgeries I've endured over the past few years. Needless to say, I don't like the dentist either and my anxiety was extremely apparent right down to my shaky hands. I had to get extra shots in my mouth to numb things since the first one didn't do enough and they were able to fix my cracked tooth that had taken me months to get around to treating. Mommas stay busy working around the clock, am I right!?

I'd already gotten two injections, one in each knee, on Monday morning as well. I have advanced arthritis in both knees that was a result of my pregnancy. A long stint of bed rest, atrophied muscles and the quads sucking up a large portion of my calcium and vitamin D certainly had its effects. Even my orthopedist feels for me! He's in sports medicine and has worked with me to try every possible treatment for my aching knees that sometimes hurt so bad they make it difficult to walk around my own house. I've had steroid injections, various medications and two knee scope surgeries to snip torn meniscus and clean out the arthritis. The latter part only helped for a few weeks before the arthritis started creeping back in. So now I've tried something new—synvisc injections that are literally like a joint lubricant that I hope will give me some relief! I need to be able to stay active and keep up with my kids! Thankfully my mom went to the doctor with me and helped me hobble out afterward. We enjoyed a lunch out and then hung out together at my house while the kids were at school before going to pick them up.

So yesterday I'd had enough misery and grabbed a chocolate shake on my way home from the dentist, pulled out my favorite blanket and made a dent in my DVR show lineup. Bandit kept me company too, finding a nice little spot near my legs to curl up and purr away.

This morning, I had plans to meet a friend of mine and her sweet baby boy at an indoor trampoline park so the quads could bounce out all their energy. Unfortunately, I discovered they were all sick. Harrison had thrown up all over his bed at some point in the night but hadn't woken us up and actually went back to sleep but he definitely required a bath this morning and a change of linens. He was all upset that he'd gotten them dirty but was very impressed when momma produced clean, sweet smelling linens from the dryer before naps this afternoon. I love that at this age they truly believe mommy can fix anything! 

So instead of the jumpy house, I offered Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and that brought around a few smiles. We loaded in the car and grabbed our sugar rush (donut holes and a kolache each for the kids) then I indulged in some Starbucks, too, and we all got some tea. For the kids, I order two tall lightly sweetened green teas and two waters then mix half tea-half water in each cup so they can enjoy the flavor and still stay hydrated. For myself, I get a trenta-sized half-green half-black iced tea with one sweet n low! We parked in a large lot near Starbucks, next to a big field with lots of cows. (Gotta love Texas!) The kids enjoyed looking at them and also watching the Mickey Mouse DVD I put on in the car while I enjoyed my own tea and donut with a side of peacefulness. 

When we got home, the rain was still at bay and it was nice out so we hung out in the front yard for a little while. It's so nice to see everything turned such bright shades of green and all my rose bushes are now blooming! I cut two bouquets and the kids all enjoyed watching me and looking for caterpillars among the flowers, as well as smelling the super sweet blooms.

(red roses in the backyard)
Our front yard is looking better now, too, since the husband put down enough grass pallets to cover the entire yard that was formerly weeds and dirt. And the flowers the quads helped me plant have taken root and provide a nice little pop of color.

I wanted to get a photo of all four of my babies in front of the rose bush and asked them to gather around. Harrison didn't miss a beat. He walked up and casually hoisted his arm around Kailey and Logan, then Logan put her arm around Trystan and they all looked at the camera and said "Cheese!" Naturally, I wasn't ready for such blatant cooperation and missed the perfect moment but snapped a pic right after. It was so cute how they all came together and posed! I think we are reaching a point where group photos won't always be such a challenge. That or I just take so many freaking pictures that my kids know what to do, ha!

Despite feeling bad (mostly low grade fevers and sniffles), the crew has all been very well behaved today. Pretty laid back and lots of lounging around since they're tired. I sat down the vases of freshly cut roses on the porch and the girls wanted to smell the flowers, since they always see me doing it whenever I walk by whatever vases of blooms I have on my kitchen counter for the week. What a precious little moment!

One vase went on my kitchen island and one went on the entry table by the front door, a nice colorful addition. The "BELL" blocks were made by the kid's while at meemaw's house last week! Every time they walk by them, they say "I made these for you, mommy!"

I like walking by the new kitchen towels hanging from my oven handle. Wine makes everything better! I regularly drink a glass or two in the evenings. My favorite wine is Cupcake malbec or cabernet, but I also drink the Bota Box malbec often.

Once we came inside, I could tell the kids were tired so we sat down and watched a little Shaun the Sheep (the kids love it!) and the girls wanted to help mommy by folding some laundry. They got their little orange baskets and would fill them up with clean clothes from the laundry basket then lay them all out and "fold" them. Kept them occupied, even if I did end up with some clean clothes laying around the house!

We ate lunch and they went down for naps very easily and quickly, which only confirms that everyone's feeling under the weather. I've enjoyed the quiet time and have been working on this blog post as well as a few articles for a couple bridal magazines I write for. I loved how the style and beauty awards feature I penned for Dallas magazine turned out! The pages are below and you can view the article online here.

In the meantime, here's a quick video for everyone, both longtime followers and new! It's a bit blurry and out of focus, but that's okay since I don't have any makeup on. Enjoy...

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A New Family Member

I've always loved having pets and they've been a part of my family since I was a small child. My last two cats, Snowball and July, were very much family members as they lived to be 22 and 18 years old. I lost them both last year and it was really hard on me and also difficult adjusting to life without them. I knew eventually I'd like to adopt another kitty but wasn't ready for quite some time. I'd admire all the adorable cats up for adoption at PetsMart and other places yet still hadn't felt that I'd found the right one or that it was the right time. Until last week...

Meet Bandit! He's a one and a half year old mackerel tabby cat that I adopted through Texas Cares (texascares.org) via our local PetsMart. I walked by while at the store last week to get dog food and noticed the little guy. Something about him captivated me. Now he has found a new home with us and is fitting in so well. He's already convinced the husband to let him sleep on the bed! He curls up by our feet every night and has taken to his new surroundings with very little issue. He comes out and about when it's on the quieter side in the house, and takes to hiding a bit more when the kids are running wild. He'll tolerate hanging out with them and let them pet him as long as they don't scream or yell in his face—which naturally they always tend to do right in his face two seconds after I remind them not to. Toddlers!

Whoever had him before the adoption center cut his whiskers off, which is a very cruel thing to do to a cat. They're growing back, but sometimes you can tell his balance is a bit wonky and he misjudged a jump or something the other day because I noticed a big scrape on his nose. It hasn't slowed him down a bit, though, as he's back to scaling all our tables, counters, the top of the piano and bounds up and down the stairs while chasing invisible prey. It feels so good to have a cat running around the house again, especially one who's personality fits right in!
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Our Weekend...

I do love a good weekend. Especially when it kicks off with wine and girlfriends! Which is exactly how mine started off Friday evening. The husband got home from work, took over quad duty and popped a pizza in the oven for dinner and I headed to a friend's house for some vino, food and relaxing with some of my BFF's. Known the girls in the photo below for more than 20 years!

Saturday morning began slow enough, with no further plans whatsoever for our weekend. The husband and I hadn't even gotten out of bed, when I told him that I'd really been wanting us to take the kids to the zoo together and perhaps we could go soon. He pulled up the website on his phone and noticed that kids two and under were free. Since the quad squad turns three next month—eek! and birthday plans are in the works!—we both threw off the covers and hit the ground running. Impromptu zoo day! I packed lunch for six and grabbed our souvenir zoo cups from our last trip we took two whole years ago, which turned out to still be good for $1 refills...score! Trystan had been the only kiddo awake that whole time so she palled around with us while we prepped, but we had to wake up the other three who were still sleeping at 10am! I seriously have sleepy head babies.

Highlights at the zoo included the moment we were at the gorilla exhibit and the big guy lumbered out right in front of the window we were all watching from, sat down to eat his celery stick and Harrison appeared completely unimpressed, shrugged and said, "I wanna see somethin' else." Kids!

They enjoyed petting the goats in the children's area until Trystan got head butted over by one, which the husband and I both found way more hilarious than she did! That night I asked Logan what her favorite part of the zoo was and she said, "The fa-mingos! And they were pink!" Girl has her priorities. ;)

We took pictures of the kids with the dinosaur sculpture before we made our exit at the end of the trip and Kailey ran right up to it's face and roared at it with all her might, then stuck her head in its mouth and requested a photo. Next she began singing a rocked-out version of Old MacDonald while she climbed onto the dino's tail before raising one arm up in the air and yelling "yee haw!" All of this was within a 10-second time span. She was tired but wired, to say the least!!

Fortunately, since everyone was so well rested they lasted the day very well. We stayed at the zoo for about four hours, I think, and the quads loved it all! Our pair of twin strollers made it easy to maneuver the place, even though they left both our calves and quads feeling like we'd hit the gym instead. Pushing 60+ pounds of kids in each stroller uphill and down bumpy paths is work! They walked some of the time and got in and out often, depending on what exhibit we were at and how crowded it was. We found the perfect shaded lunch spot and then reclined the seats on the strollers so the kids could lay down and rest for a few minutes while we scoured the map and made our way to the other size of the zoo for the last half of the afternoon.

Feeling empowered by a successful zoo trip, we opted to drive by my parents house and surprise them for a visit. Unbeknownst to them, we came with tentative plans to stay for dinner and be the guests that stick around for awhile. They didn't mind! The kids played and played outside between all the walkways in the backyard, the custom oversized sandbox that Louis Dean built and the gazebo where my parents sit nearly every morning and evening. The husband picked up a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner—something we hadn't eaten in years!—and we all ate on the back patio in the cool air. Then we gave the kids baths and dressed them in fresh clothes before making our way home. By then we were all exhausted, so we quickly got the quads in bed then took hot showers and watched an episode of CSI Cyber before drifting off to sleep.

By some miracle, we made it to church only 15 minutes late despite our tardy wake-up time—and mom and I nearly matched with our zebra stripes! The husband said we must've still had "zoo" on the brain. Church was a really empowering sermon that reminded us to set a good and positive example to all those around us as someone is always watching! My parents joined us at our house for lunch afterward (I love family lunches on Sundays) and I made steamed carrots, sweetened with brown sugar and a little butter, pasta with olive oil and seasonings, salad and pan-cooked chicken. I seasoned it with ginger, salt, pepper, orange peel, fresh orange juice and honey...turned out delish!

Naps followed so the husband and I could tackle a few to-do items on our lists while the kids slept, but unfortunately Kailey didn't comply and played for awhile then screamed and cried until I got her out of her room. I finished our meal plan and grocery list for the week then took Kailey and Trystan with me to Target, got a much needed coke and cruised the aisles. I had to keep things moving to prevent Kailey from having a meltdown but got it done!

Back at home, the kids all emptied my shopping bags for me and set all the groceries on the counters, which they absolutely love doing because it seems to make them feel very important! I managed to clean and disinfect every shelf in the fridge before putting all the fare away and we made quick work of dinner and bedtime. Whew!

Monday morning was a busy one and I've got some recipes, crafts and an exciting update to share this week—more soon!
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Happy National Sibling Day & Quad Squad Update

While families can be a strange bunch, they'll always be just that—family. I'm so glad that my kiddos will have a strong sibling bond and we celebrate that just a tiny bit more on days like National Sibling Day.

The kids are growing up! They'll be three next month and I just can't believe it.

Personalities have matured exponentially, grown wings and taken flight. Trystan is still a sweet little redhead with a twang to her words; Kailey is head strong, independent and literally never quits (and is the reason I'm so tired much of the time!); Harrison is a loving, sweet, laid back and very intelligent boy; and Logan is a caretaker, cleaner upper and thoughtful. All take initiative to do things on their own, whether it's work out a new toy or clean up a mess in the house. Harrison grabbed the broom and dust pan the other day and actually managed to sweep up some goldfish he'd spilled! They know where some of their snacks are and retrieve them on their own for a post-nap nosh. They pick out their clothes to wear for the day about 80 percent of the time. They sit in grown-up chairs around our grown-up kitchen table and the mess has definitely improved. They get out and put away their own coloring papers and crayons and are much more interactive about what they want to do and play with. Other chores they do around the house: set the table with napkins, utensils and milk cups, clear their dishes from the table and empty them into the sink and put their milk cups on the counter, help empty the dishwasher, take out the trash and put in new trash can bags, pick up clutter from the floor and put into toy bins, pull the sheets and pillow cases of their beds to prep for new ones, fold towels from the laundry, spray and wipe down the table and clean windows. Their language has also improved drastically over the past several months and we carry on conversations all the time!

More importantly, they are potty trained! We chose to approach it very casually and gradually, introducing the toddler potties, then the act of going, followed by underwear and actually wearing it for small increments of time. We use Target-brand training pants for nap time and some outings, though they're continuing to improve so we opt for under wear for car rides and outings much more. And we still use Huggies overnight diapers for sleeping because there's no way I can expect them to stay dry at the moment with as much as they pee while they sleep (which averages 10-12 hours). At first we were asking them every flippin' two minutes if they needed to pee. Now it's every 20-30 minutes or so and they initiate it most of the time, thankfully. Accidents still happen (probably 1-3 times a day among all four) and we just try to take it in stride. Extra pants stay in my bag and a potty stays in the back of the suburban as well, so we're never stuck somewhere without options! Hello peeing in the parking lot.

Naps are, sadly, not what they used to be. Originally, I'd get an incredibly awesome three-hour break in my day because they'd easily spend that amount of time playing and sleeping in their rooms. Now it tops out at about an hour and a half, since they typically play for a few minutes then snooze for an hour then scream through the crack at the bottom of the door. Since both the kids and our daily schedule stays much busier than before, this isn't the biggest issue but it is when they fight it and refuse to nap (Kailey). She becomes downright difficult if she doesn't get at least an hour. I shudder at the thought!

Outings are soooo much more frequent than ever before. I take all four places by myself all the time—usually Target, Costco, the grocery store, play dates, the library, our local park. I'm still hypersensitive when I'm alone with the quads since I'm vastly outnumbered and they're quick as hell sometimes! We tend to go in the mornings when everyone's happiest, though afternoon outings are fine too as long as everyone's napped and we have snacks in tow.

Right now, our daily schedule looks something like this:

8:30am - wake up, potty and underwear on...unless we're going somewhere, the kids sleep till they wake up. occasionally this is as late as 9:30 or 10am!

9-10am - breakfast....I'm always cooking—check out some of our go-to meals!—so we take our time. If we have somewhere to be, we'll opt for Nutrigrain bars or something quick they can scarf down or even eat in the car

10am-12pm - free play time (coloring, blocks, legos, baby dolls, backyard playground, chalk, dress up, lacing shapes, crafts, puzzles, flash cards, etc.) or we go on an errand or to the gym and they play at the kid's club. Occasionally we'll change things up and head to the mall for play time at the kid's area and grab lunch at the food court in between a quick stop at a store or two.

12-1pm - lunch

1pm - naps (it could take an extra 30 minutes to get everyone situated due to continuous trips to the potty or if we're late getting home from somewhere)

3:30pm - get up from naps, change back into undies and go outside to play or do a group craft. I also allow a TV show or two in the afternoon if we're just hanging out. (Our favorites include Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies, Mickey Mouse, Tumble Leaf, Shaun the Sheep, Daniel Tiger and a new addition, Super Why.) The kids also hang out with me in the kitchen and help empty the dishwasher and watch me prep dinner or help throw clothes into the dryer and such.

7pm - dinner. Always a family event! Family dinners are very important both to myself and the husband and the kidsddddfcfghy261seem to treasure the experience, as well. Every time we sit down, Logan will smile and say, "We're all eating together as a family!" And of course, dinner always gets dessert.

7:30-8:30pm - play time, baths, change into pajamas and hang out with daddy. Since the husband usually doesn't get home until right at dinner time (or even later if he's working late), this is a special time for us all to be together and hang out. We read books, talk about our day's events and start the bedtime process.

8:30-9pm - bedtime. This has started to take awhile between lingering over books, brushing everyone's teeth and, again, repeated trips to the toilet. Ay yi yi! It's enough to make me want to pull my hair out some days but we try to grit our teeth and plow through.

So that's the typical schedule we follow, with exceptions for activities we choose to do. Monday's the kids go to Mother's Day Out (sort of like an introduction to pre-school) and on Wednesday they spend the day at my mom's house. Those days are both awesome because I get invaluable time to myself to run errands solo, knock out cleaning and work in peace on my computer at home! (I still write articles for magazines and books on a freelance basis.)

Got questions? Want to hear more about a particular topic? Dying to see posts on something special? Drop a line in the comments!

And don't forget to hug your siblings!
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