Uhhh, thanks for the confidence booster Kailey Poo! We were getting ready for a family outing and I'd opted to try and look more presentable than my usual workout attire. But I hadn't picked out clothes yet and still had on sweat pants. I pulled on jeans and a top and checked myself out in the mirror when she exclaimed, "Mommy, you look so pretty now!"
Holding me to a standard already at just three years old! The kids are most definitely at that age where we never quite know what they're going to say or do, and their level of independence is reaching an all new high. They put on their own socks and shoes much of the time and when people ask if I still dress them, I quickly inform them that the kids have been picking out their own clothes—with just a little guidance from mama—for awhile now! They ask to be excused from the table after a meal and clear their dishes to the sink and put their milk in the fridge. They take dirty clothes to the laundry hamper downstairs and put their shoes away in their own individual shoe bins. It's our latest shoe storage system, complete with name tags to identify each other's bins, and it's been working out pretty well so far. I added a basket to collect dirty socks because those were just getting scattered on the floor.
We are all still enjoying their two days a week at pre-school, which they love and are learning so much so fast. Their teachers are great and they do all kinds of fun projects and really blossom in a class setting! After I picked them up on Thursday we came home and they helped me sort all the clean laundry into two piles: one for Harrison and one for the girls. Meanwhile, Kailey worked in the kitchen and emptied all their lunch bags. She puts the cold packs back in the freezer and the tupperware in the sink for me to wash. They are very helpful around the house and I've seen each of them voluntarily clean something up on more than one occasion without any direction from myself or the husband! I think eventually we will start chore charts, but I've got to get a little more organized for that to happen.
Most days I still feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants, but I still will get a productive afternoon here or there to make up for the mess. I've recently come to realize that I thrive somewhere in between the neatly organized and the organized chaos. If I had everything in a place and a place for everything, I think I would go a little crazy and feel too categorized. But if my house gets super messy or everything is out of control and nothing is in its semi-rightful place, then my left eye starts twitching. You know, that whole balance thing.
All four kids were laughing hysterically and having a grand ol' time earlier this morning. When I went to investigate, I discovered they'd dragged pillows, blankets, books and a bunch of random toys to the landing in the middle of the stairs. They asked me "not to touch it, mama" during their nap time so they could play there some more when they woke up, because they had plans to have a tea party together. Needless to say, I've stepped it over many times and haven't moved a thing! Happy laughter and four three-year-olds getting along is worth a mess any day. (And let's be honest, that mess is the least of my problems when you look at the pile of laundry and dishes that have accumulated.)
We've had a busy start to fall and plenty of fun so far. Not long ago, we hosted a Halloween party at our house for our quad buddies, the Shawvers, complete with a festive-themed lunch! I made English muffin "mummy" pizzas, ghost bananas using chocolate chips, pumpkin oranges (the stem is a piece of celery) and Mickey-shaped veggie chips I found at Target. My quad mama buddy, Amber, brought some pumpkin books to read and the kids did a great and after lunch they got to eat popcorn, watch a Halloween Mickey Mouse episode and exchange treat bags. They had a lot of fun!
I was super excited to have my long time bestie (and former college roomie) Lisa and her son, Warren, come stay with us for awhile. They currently live in Malaysia so time with them is very treasured. Warren is 16 days older than the quads, so they are perfect playmates and five fast friends!
The husband has pulled out all the Cowboys and A&M gear he can find in the kids closets for them to wear during the games and the kiddos have all learned to cheer at the TV—Kailey is the loudest!
Kailey also has an affinity for mommy's shoes, she's always traipsing around the house in whatever pair she can find. Flip flops, house shoes, wedges and, lately, my boots. Because of the cooler weather that's finally arrived, the boots have been pulled out from the back of my closet and put back in rotation!
Lately, rainy weather has kept us a bit more house bound. But it's actually a welcomed change of pace, since we normally get out every day. Which still isn't always a simple undertaking with my foursome and often I'm completely exhausted by the time we've come and gone. I still do grocery shopping trips, Target outings and afternoons at the library with my crew on my own, and did several swim lessons at the end of summer and attend play dates regularly with no assistance. Anything bigger, and I like to have an extra set of hands!
When it's dreary out though, the answer is to make a run for Sonic ice and shakes then head back home to dry off, light some pumpkin candles and snuggle under blankets while watching movies. Or a Paw Patrol marathon, since we're talking about real life, ha!
Most importantly in the middle of all the chaos—especially as the holiday season kicks off—is time with my husband. Our relationship is still our number one priority, because happy mommy and daddy equal happier, better parents for the quadlings! We try to manage a date night once every two to three weeks, even if we're exhausted (like we were at dinner in the photo below taken earlier this week!). Time alone together to have an entire conversation without being interrupted by little voices, a chance to sip an adult beverage and relax or simply sit together and hold hands while watching a movie at the theater are all important opportunities for us to reconnect and prioritize our relationship. It's vital for us to survive! Some folks ask how we manage it and others assume we get frequent breaks all the time and it's no big deal. We usually plan an outing one to two weeks in advance and schedule kid care with the grandparents or a baby sitter or with a close friend. I prep everything needed before leaving, like laying out PJs, setting out dinner supplies and sometimes even bathing the kids beforehand to make it easier on the folks that are watching them while we're gone. It can be hard work to get a "break" but is always worth it!
I snapped the picture above last Sunday when the husband took the girls to church while I stayed home with Harrison who was under the weather. They looked so grown up in their dresses and boots! Someone suggested that was a good look for our Christmas card photos this year, and I'm thinking that's a great idea...
Onward to the next project on my list and another day as a quad mama. To borrow a phrase from Paw Patrol, "Do my best and forget the rest!"