This is Real Life

"This is real life, and I'm totally cool with it."

me and the kiddos after a typical trip to the gym

I'm not kidding when I tell you those were my exact thoughts—verbatim, y'all—this morning when I looked up from my station at the kitchen island where I was dutifully preparing four lunches for the quads day at preschool. Normally they're made the night before but I decided to gamble with my life time this morning and do them on the fly.

our cat, bandit

I was slicing off pieces of Colby jack cheese when I heard a racket and looked up to see our cat, Bandit, feverishly batting around a ball that had joyously found its escape path from the playroom only to end up in the puncture-happy claws of a rough and rowdy male feline.

Then Harrison proudly marched into the kitchen, nearly tripping over the cat, to show me his three-foot-tall Lego tower he had just completed which then, honest to God, started looking like the leaning Tower of Legos before breaking in half and shattering into individual foot mines all over the floor. "Uh oh, guess I'll have to make another one!" At least his dreams weren't shattered this particular morning.

Meanwhile, Logan is asking me to look at her epic and colorful Crayon masterpiece of Minnie Mouse at the kitchen table, but doing it at about 35 volume bars above necessary and someone hit her "repeat" button. Kailey is singing a song known only to her fast-paced little mind at the top of her lungs. My feet hurt and I've only been awake for an hour.

It wasn't the breath of fresh air I'd been hoping for on a new day, after the extensive authority-negating tactics the kids had exerted the entire evening before. Granted, it was mostly because Kailey and Harrison had been gone for an entire weekend with my parents at their camper in the country. (It was an awesome experience, they loved every second and you can read about it on my mom's blog here.) Akin to any other time the kiddos have spent an overnight somewhere and been with doting grandparents for a spell, they always tend to come home and become extra challenging for a day or two for some reason. The husband and I refer to as it as a time we have to reassert our authority. My parents had dropped off Kailey and Harrison yesterday afternoon upon returning from the camper and within an hour "it" started.

I was going to give all the kids a shower with me in our master bathroom to lessen the to-do list when bedtime came around and I had them all stripped down and ready to get in the water when I turned around and realized at least 75% of the troops were missing. Then I heard Trystan hollering from the kid's bathroom and go in there to find Kailey standing on a stool in front of the toilet and she'd peed everywhere. All four are potty trained and proficient in using a toilet anywhere we go, so why she hadn't bothered to stoop her hind end onto the pot I'll never know. So I clean that up and we get through the shower, with my head threatening to explode the whole time from the merciless screams, yells and rants that echo between the walls from the tiny army invading my hot water.

new big kid beds for everyone! the two mattresses on the floor will go 
on bed frames later after paint and carpet work has been done.

I figured once they were all clean and in fresh pajamas, they'd have fun playing with each other for awhile while I cleaned up the kitchen and prepped dinner. After all, they'd been separated from each other in pairs for a whole weekend! It went well enough for a bit until Harrison started hitting his sisters and being unruly.

Punishment and time out.

Then Kailey started launching large objects from the top bunk in her room—the bunk bed being a surprise addition to their room upon their return from the camper! They were excited about it and loved it but lack of sleep and readjusting to being home is apparently a recipe for toy bombardment.

Punishment and time out.

Her reign of terror wasn't done, though, because she got in trouble a second time for throwing toys again. Next Harrison whacked her a good one.

Punishment and time out.
Punishment and time out.

Then she bit her brother (not too bad, but still...) and as I was coming up the stairs to get her I must've surprised her and she tried to bolt and ended up falling down four stairs before I caught her. No punishment on that one because it all ended rather tumultuously enough for her, I figured, but we still had a chat.

So basically I was trying to make a decent dinner for everyone to enjoy so we could eat right when the husband got home from work and the kids could go to bed on the early side. But every time you read "punishment and time out," I had to drop what I was doing and haul it upstairs or to the playroom or wherever they were congregating to handle the situation. And every other time, when I got back to the kitchen I'd forgotten what I was doing. Even with all the awesome memes and laughable photos going around on the Internet, I still don't think mom's get enough credit for all the multi-tasking we do! In the span of 30 minutes, we've already conquered the world and made cookies. Next, please.

But I digress...back to this morning. I'd finally gotten the kids dressed, fed, lunches packed, bag packed and everyone into the suburban. We were running late and I was feeling bad, because I'd really wanted to get there on time today and start on my own list of to-do's. As we pull up to school, I do that simultaneous turn-off-the-car-open-my-door-and-start-unbuckling-car-seat-belts move that only moms can do. You know the one. We were headed inside as quick as possible if it killed me, dammit. One by one, I lift each kiddo out of the car and onto the sidewalk where they so patiently and obediently wait next to each other. (My kids are typically polite and well-behaved and adorably cute, in my opinion. The last day was an abnormal revolt.) I grab their school bag and we make for the door, where I greet a familiar face with a smile and herd my crew inside.

On my way back out, a wonderful little moment happened. My friend—who sings in our church's praise team every Sunday morning with a most beautiful voice—had been chatting with a fellow mom who'd since departed. As I wished my friend a great week, she told me that after myself and the quads had walked inside, her friend mentioned how together I seemed. That I "always have it so together," to quote her words. I beamed but mimed looking at where a wrist watch would be on my arm and tapped the imagined dial while laughingly joking about how late the mom "who has it together" was today. Then I added that while having it together is certainly not the case for me every day, it sure gives me inspiration on the days I feel like my "together" is falling apart.

As I drove out of the parking lot and headed toward my first errand of the day, her words stuck with me. And, honestly, they really made me feel good. Because I realized the mom who'd complimented me sees me nearly every morning we drop off our kids at preschool. I recognize her though I don't know her personally, and her child is in a younger class than my crowd. But the fact that even though I'm pretty much always in my "mom uniform" of leggings or workout pants, a t-shirt or sweatshirt and tennis shoes with no makeup, and I'm herding my four three-year-olds with barely enough time to exchange pleasantries with anyone, and I'm often late, she still thought I had it together. It made me realize that the way we feel isn't how others always perceive us. And that we're often—especially moms—way too hard on ourselves.

the "mom uniform"
skechers sandals (similar)  |  VS PINK t-shirt   |  Nike capri leggings (similar

In the challenges, blessings and chaos that come with having quadruplets (or just any number of kids, really), I've learned to make peace with a lot of things and I'm still constantly working on others. Early on, when the quads were still babies and had all come home from the hospital and we were doing 32 bottles every 24 hours, I learned to accept the fact that we needed help and that help involved having other people (mostly family members) in our house all the time. Having others in your home on a constant rotation takes some getting used to, and I know the control-factor part of my personality struggled with it greatly. From wanting to tell someone they were putting the laundry away wrong or weren't loading the dishwasher very well, I had to realize those were insignificant factors when it came to my sanity, health and well being. Because those family members were there to help us survive and to help care for my four babies.

Additionally, I've also learned to let unplanned alterations in my days roll off my back. Take yesterday for instance. I get a sparse number of hours each week to myself—thanks to two wonderful days of pre-school and my mom, who's a saint and watches the kids once a week—and they're typically planned out down to the minute with errands, grocery store run, work (I'm a freelance writer and often work out of my home office or Starbucks!), cleaning, organizational projects and the list goes on. So running late to school drop-off by a whopping 15 to 20 minutes can affect those plans, for example. But I just alter what I need to, move faster or cut something off the list to accommodate whatever changes have affected my day because continuing to stress over it or change the situation doesn't do anyone much good. Plus I've got enough stress in my life and don't need more!

And with that long post, my friends, I'm back on the blog and hoping to keep at it. I had to take a break I hadn't really planned on but, as you just read, I try to take the day-to-day in stride and focus on whatever's most important.

my "awesome" new wine glass - $2.99 at Marshalls

In the meantime, my kids have pretty much demolished the downstairs portion of my house with toys and other potential tripping hazards while I finished off this post. It's time for damage control and dinner prep.

"This is real life, and I'm totally cool with it."

Damn, go me.


  1. I absolutely LOVED reading every word!! You really and truly DO 'have it all together!'
    I don't know how you do it but you DO! I am so enormously proud of you!

  2. I really do not know how you leave the house!!! I am glad you are back to blogging, it gives me hope since I will be a parent to a newborn and 12 month old in 2 weeks.

  3. Yea you are back!!! Hope you are teaching the quad who occupies that top bunk how to make it;)
    Thanks for sharing:)

  4. I am always amazed at all you do and get done. you have a blessed life with a beautiful family. Remember in the difficult hard times "this too shall come to pass". Thanks for sharing!

  5. So glad you're back! Real life and all ;) I miss you, friend and cannot wait until our play date.

  6. I love your mom's blog and love hearing about her quad day! You do have well behaved kids, who are normal and push the boundaries, and get tired. You and your husband have done/are doing a great job! I love that you have figured out how to have some time to write and to do some needed things.

    I'm going to bookmark your blog. I enjoyed every bit of this tale!

  7. Y'all do an excellent job! I think I started to sweat while reading all that was going on while you were making lunches. Then with the leggo mines & thinking about all the problems w/ your feet I just clinched my teeth. Then you still had to take them to school. I'm so happy that you had such a nice compliment from someone you don't really know. Amber you started out w/ a smart plan in the beginning. This is the reason you have 4 well mannered all same age beautiful & smart children!
    Yep you are a ROCK STAR 😊❤️😘

  8. I agree, you are amazing and Go You!!! great story and i enjoyed it and i am so glad it is yours not mine.


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