Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wednesday Series - Ask the Quad Mom (Week 4)


Wow! Can you believe it's Wednesday again? You know what that means! Another round of questions. I had some fantastic questions arrive in my email this week so let's just dive right in!

Q: Where do you look on those days where you just really need an extra push to help keep you going?
A: I love my babies! I really do. It is truly a joy to be their mommy. I cherish every smile, every laugh, new development, and yes, every dirty diaper, every cry, and every spit-up. Every missed shower, every spit-up on shirt, and every unclean floor, is an extra minute I have with them. On the rare occasions that I find myself wondering what I've gotten myself into, I think about the day, after all of my tests were done, when I was given a 0.5% chance of ever conceiving. I think about the 52 days spent in NICU having to ask a nurse permission to change my babies' diapers, hold them, or put clothes on them.  My babies are miracles. No doubt about it. I love them and it's hard to feel defeated when they truly are my dream come true.

Q: Do you ever think "how am I going to keep doing this day in and day out for the rest of my life?" I'm sure its exhausting....
A: You're right. It is exhausting! That's why they make coffee! I guess I don't really think about it as every day for the rest of my life. I think of it as a small season and just a brief window of time to enjoy them. They change so much every week and I truly feel as if there's a clock ticking on the time I have to squeeze little baby cheeks and enjoy belly laughs from tickle time. I try to focus on the moment and not long-term. The thought of them growing up before my eyes really does make me sad. 

Q: Do you every worry that people will label them as "the quads" and only view them as a group opposed to individuals?
A: My gosh. What could be worse than people calling my quadruplets "the quads"? I'd much rather people call them "the quadlings". Just kidding. Sort of. People are going to call them that regardless. It's a part of their identity and it always will be. I spend a lot of time talking to older multiples and moms of older multiples. It sounds like the time they're known as "the quads" will be brief, especially for fraternal quads like ours are. Once we get to be kindergarten age, our looks and our personalities will really begin to differ and I feel like they'll really come into their own identities at that point. They'll always be quadruplets so they'll be faced with questions (some insensitive) and fascination for their entire lives. It's our jobs as parents to teach them that their worth is in Christ as well as help them to reveal their own identities all while fostering their unique bond and teaching them to be patient with the questions they are asked and to answer with kindness. 


Q: Do they all act mostly alike or do they each have their own little personality? What are your favorite things they do?

A: Great question! They are NOTHING alike except that they all like to eat and they all make dirty diapers. Quad A is my smiley baby! He loves to laugh and will flirt with you when you talk to him. He's also pretty quiet and he loves his sisters! He sleeps with Quad B every night and every morning, even though I put them in the crib apart from one another, they're always cuddled next to each other and often, his legs are wrapped around her. Quad B is a little diva! She is prim and proper and all girl in everything she does. She prefers adult conversation but loves to watch her brothers and sister and is starting to interact with them more. Quad C is ALL boy! He's so strong physically but he also has a very strong personality. He's my best spoon feeder and will let you know when he's unhappy with you for not moving a spoon fast enough through the group! Quad D is our quiet little princess. She prefers to observe and is shy around strangers but with Mommy, she loves to laugh and talk and carry on. She also melts my heart because she's the only one who will put her head down on my shoulder right away when I pick her up. (*Real names not used to protect identities.)

Q: How did you find the most AMAZING NANNY ever??!?!?! 
A: I wonder who submitted this question! Well, you see late one night, I was stressing about what I was going to do for childcare after my Mom was admitted to the hospital. This fairy came down and granted me one wish. Poof! The next day, we had the most awesome nanny ever! Okay, maybe that didn't happen but it sounds much better than reality! The truth is, I used an online site to find her. But even though she came through that tool, without a doubt, I know that God sent her to us. I've known in my heart she was perfect for us and not only that, so many people who had the pleasure of meeting her have told me how she was an absolute match for us and a complete sweetheart. We love our Nanny! We hate to move  because we will really miss her! 


That's all for the questions this week, but I want to take just a quick minute to thank all of my blog followers who have joined me in prayer for my Mom. She is home! We had a wonderful welcome home reunion! She went from not being able to walk or eat for months, to RUNNING into her house and JUMPING on her bed. God is so good! We could definitely feel all of your prayers throughout this ordeal and are thankful for each and every one. We know that thanks to prayer, Mom is going to kick cancer's butt and enjoy every second with her "quadbabies". She still has several more rounds of chemo to endure, but she just completed her second round with very very little side effects! We are so thankful and praising our heavenly father for this true miracle!

Until next time,
Love and Prayers,
Misty

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Forgiveness

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness. Let me take a minute to be honest here. I am, by far, not a perfect person. It took me a long time to get to the point in my life where I realized that being imperfect isn't such a bad thing after all. I've made mistakes in my lifetime, many that I am quite ashamed of. When I think of the terrible things I've done in my life, it amazes me to think that someone would say, you know what, I love you so much, that I'm going to give my own life to pay for your sins.  Wow! Talk about mercy. 

But what about when someone wrongs me? How do I handle that? Like most of us, I've had plenty of bad experiences in life. I've battled family dysfunction, lies, abuse, and even rejection. I've gone through several very painful breakups. I've experienced several life altering events that few people ever experience in life. I've learned that having four babies at once it one of the best experiences in life, but there's also a down side that doesn't feel so good but does make us stronger. 

The Bible tells me that I have to forgive those who've attacked us personally, those who've spread nasty rumors about us, those who've acted out of selfishness and anger, even those who've said words so unkind and untrue they've moved me to sobs. But you see, the Bible doesn't understand that I've already forgiven them once and they came back not one time again, but twice, three times, even four times and sinned against me repeatedly. Surely, there's somewhere in the Bible to address these repeat offenders. Oh...here it is! Matthew 18:21-22:
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times". 

What? Surely somewhere it is written that my situation is different, that I don't have to forgive in THIS situation. Nope - nowhere does it give exclusions for my particular case. No matter what, I must forgive the offender(s).

But finding forgiveness is a different story. I've turned to God for the strength to forgive in spite of all of the hurt this situation has caused me. Repeatedly, I've asked God to help me resolve a situation we've been struggling with.

 I've said foolish things like "I'll forgive them, but, they have to come to me and apologize first. This isn't the case with forgiveness. One should forgive anytime they are ready. While "I'm sorry" is nice to hear, it's not needed in order to forgive another. I've also realized that you don't have to tell the other person you've forgiven them. There's no need for it. Silent forgiveness is still forgiveness. 

But it's also important to distinguish that forgiving and forgetting are two very different things. It's not forgiving as much as it is refusing to recall the offense. Forgiveness means not bringing it up to the offender, others, or yourself. It means only bringing it up to God when you're asking Him for help. This can be challenging; especially when others think that forgiveness means the relationship is restored. Forgiveness does not mean the relationship is magically restored. You can forgive someone without ever speaking to them again. Just because you release the pain they caused you, does not mean you restore the relationship. It's okay to take a break until you are ready. You can choose to forgive someone but keep your distance to prevent further hurt. Forgiveness does open up the possibility for a relationship in the future. Perhaps with time, forgiveness can eventually lead to stronger relationships, however, this is determined by both the offender and the offended. It's not for someone else to say or to push for reconcilliation. Often, if someone interferes in the healing process that is a part of forgiveness, it can lead to further hurt. Pressuring someone who is in the midst of this process and struggling to forgive can lead to further unforgiveness and often brings the offended back to the place they were struggling to leave. 

Forgiveness is something so beautiful, yet so complicated. Forgiveness is written all through God's Word. According to Pastor Schuler at Harvest Bible Chapel in Cypress, "Forgiveness is the highest human characteristic". We should forgive all the time. I've been struggling with forgiveness on some issues lately and am praying for strength, courage and the ability to break this hurt and pain that's leading me to unforgiveness. What about you? Is there a situation in your life that has you struggling to forgive? How do you focus on overcoming unforgiveness? I'd love to hear your stories and I'd love to pray for you as you pray for me.

Until next time, 
Love and Prayers,
Misty

Friday, August 22, 2014

Praying for a place to call home...

A little over a year ago, Adam and I found out we were expecting quadruplets. I don't think I have to say it, but that news definitely sent us scrambling to figure out so many changes we had to make in preparation. We were praying for one baby, but never in our lives thought we'd be preparing for four. 

We knew right off the bat (when the specialist told us immediately after we heard the heartbeats for the first time that he recommended we reduce the pregnancy to two for both my sake and the babies' sake; that's a story for another day), that my pregnancy was going to be high-risk and a lot of work. We had recently moved into a home we were leasing in a suburb of Houston. When the pregnancy hormones kicked in, so did my sense of smell. I began telling Adam repeatedly that something was off in that house. I kept smelling mildew throughout the entire house. Eventually, it got bad enough that Adam could smell it too. However, when I started having nosebleeds every single day, we started to put two and two together and realized there was a very real possibility the house had mold and the mold was affecting my health. We knew we had to move out of that house for my sake and for the babies' sake as soon as possible no matter the cost. 

We prayed and sought counsel from people we trusted immensely. Eventually, we came to the decision that we wanted to raise our family in the small Texas town where I grew up. My family owns land here that's been in the family since 1878. (Yes, you read that right. 1878!) Knowing our time crunch, we spoke to my aunt and uncle to see if they would let us live in their farmhouse on the property for a few months until we could move a modular home in on the land. They were so kind and gracious to offer it up to us and we are so grateful for all of the help we've received from them. We were ready to sign the papers on the home we picked out (it was gorgeous by the way with a fireplace, HUGE kitchen, and a room for each baby).  Then at the last minute, we got some opposition to our plans that we just weren't expecting. 

Long story short, we ended up NOT purchasing the home nor did we build a home as we had also considered. My aunt and uncle have been so gracious to allow us to remain in this house as long as we've needed. However, the time is close approaching that the babies will be mobile and even though we don't dare think about it in the middle of August in Texas, soon it will be cold again. Old farmhouses weren't exactly built to be the warmest and with four preemie babies in the house, we know we need a place that's warmer and not to mention bigger for them and all of their stuff.

So...for the past several months, Adam and I have been back to praying about where we should build our family. The community where we are has been amazing! They have blessed us with help and even helped us to purchase the four-seater stroller that I desperately needed for when Adam is at work. During my Mom's illness, several ladies have stepped in and provided me with tremendous help by washing the babies' clothes for me and just giving me their company for a few minutes a day, often, helping out with holding babies or feeding bottles. One special lady has even helped me go grocery shopping with them. However, property in our area is expensive and Adam's work is also far away so it's made for a huge decision to be made! 

After several months of searching for a place to call home, we narrowed our search down to two cities: Corpus Christi, Texas or San Antonio, Texas. We visited both cities and completely fell in love with one. On our first visit to Corpus, we had the van loaded down with babies and our yorkie and planned to just drive around, get a feel for the city, check out the beach and maybe eat a quick supper. As we pulled onto Ocean Avenue (the main street that goes by the bay), we took one look at the water and exchanged glances with one another. Adam drove us down to a beach area, where we saw the pretty white sand and gorgeous blue water. This was a beach that looked like what a beach SHOULD look like! And it was right here in Texas! We both looked at each other again to see what the other was thinking. Without even a word, we both knew, THIS was home. FINALLY! 


Our first trip to Corpus and the first time to see the pretty blue water!


The next step was to find a house. We searched and searched and a few times, we got frustrated because nothing seemed to meet our needs. We looked at quite a few homes. Adam started getting frustrated with me because he felt like I found something wrong with each house. When all of a sudden, unexpectedly, we found THE one! The first time we viewed it, we took turns going in to look. Adam went first while I waited in the car with the babies. We thought it was too good to be true so I didn't get my hopes up. I saw him come out and go over to speak with the neighbor who was working in his yard. Adam returned to the car and said nothing but "you need to go look at that house". So, away I went. I walked through the front door to see a HUGE open living area on the first floor and immediately imagined my four soon to be toddlers crawling around and teeter tottering with plenty of space. I had not been able to envision that in ANY of the other homes we'd toured. We left there, knowing we'd found our HOME! We went back once more, this time, standing in the middle of the downstairs and praying over the home.



The open downstairs area in our new home.

And now, it's time to begin packing up our life yet again to move with our family into our home. Moving with four seven-month-olds will definitely be a feat in itself but we know it can be done. As I type, I'm surrounding by empty boxes and a few packed ones along with tons of "clutter" I'm working on removing from our lives. We are sad to leave the wonderful community and this sweet house where I have so many fond memories, but we are very eager to finally feel like we have a home. We still aren't certain on our exact move date because of Adam's work and some prior engagements but hopefully soon these boxes will be headed south to Corpus and the babies will be on their way to having plenty of room to crawl around, learn and explore! 

It's been a long journey to get to this point. There's been a lot of challenges over the past year, some expected and some that just hit us out of left field but we've overcome. I'm sad that I won't be next door to my Mom and able to call her over for help whenever I need to, but I know this is where God is calling our family. Looking back, maybe He's prepared us for this all along. He gave us opposition to our original plans that was strong enough to bring them to a screaching halt. Then, he ripped away my Mom, my rock through my pregnancy, for the fight of her life just as we were coming home from the hospital for what I truly believe was to teach me that I can do this on my own; that Adam and I have what it takes to do this and we can survive with God's help alone without someone always there to hold our hand. 

Please pray for us as we prepare to open this new door on our journey. Moving will be stressful, especially with four babies. It will take some time to get situated in between feedings, diaper changes, play time, and snuggles but soon, we will be home, and we're really looking forward to it! I can't wait to share our journey with you!

Love and prayers,
Misty

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday Series - Ask the Quad Mom (Week Three)



Hey y'all! I hope that everyone's week is going well! Can you believe we're already halfway done? It's time  for another week of question and answers in our weekly series! We had some really good questions again this week so I'm excited to have the chance to answer!

Q: What formula do you use?
A: This might be a short answer but, we use Similac Advance. It's sweeter than the 22 calorie Enfacare we were feeding so when we transitioned over, we REALLY started going through the formula! We've also started going through the equivalent of about 2 jars of baby food a day! So far, we've tried sweet potatoes, avocado, banana, and apples! At this point, bananas and apples were clearly the winners! (The babies MIGHT take after their Mommy with their sweet tooth.)

Q: Do they all cry at once? What do you do?
A: Okay, this one made me giggle. Nope. They never cry! Okay. Okay! Just kidding. The truth is, yes, there are times when all four are crying at once. When this happens, I simply wave my magic mommy wand and voila, no more crying! Okay. You got me again. When "the choir" as I like to call them starts going off, I have to take a deep breath and then just focus small; figure out why everyone is crying and through process of elimination, I always figure it out and we get everyone quiet and happy again! Usually, it's one baby who works everyone else up so the main goal is to figure out the guilty party and solve their problem first! 

Q: Do you hate it when people with one baby complain? 
A: Wow! That's one I haven't thought of. I almost left this question off, but my promise was to answer your questions and in an effort to be truthful in blogging, I won't hold back. No, I do not hate it when people with one baby complain. Is it hard to hear sometimes? Maybe. But everyone is fighting their own battles and raising one baby or a dozen babies is work and trying and every new mom deserves the right to complain! Sleep deprivation is no joke! You only know what you experience. I once had a friend with infant twins and a toddler tell me she felt guilty complaining when she thought of me. I told her not to feel guilty at all. I know without a doubt her job is challenging and she definitely should reserve the right to complain! In the end, we're all here doing some of the most important work on Earth and yes, it's going to be tough. I always think about the fact that there is always someone out there who has it worse. On days when I feel like this is the hardest job on Earth, there's a few special mommies that I always think off and know they'd give anything to be in my shoes and that gives me the strength I need to go on. 

Now, you didn't ask me if we secretly race families with fewer babies than us in parking lots to see who can get everyone loaded, strapped in, and strollers secured first. That answer is a resounding yes. And a game we love when we win! Okay, okay. Adam isn't as into the game as I am. But seriously, if you see us out and about and you're pushing a baby, chances are, we are I am racing you!


That's all for this week's questions but keep them coming for next week! I love the questions you guys submit! Now, be ready because in the next few days, I've got a review of my Bluum Box to share, BIG news to share, and an AWESOME new product to tell you all about! It's a big week! Get ready!

Until then, love and prayers,
Misty

Monday, August 18, 2014

Never Say Can't - Anything CAN happen, you CAN do it, and just keep pushing!

It's official! I am no longer a recruiter. I am now simply "wife" and "mother". Simply? Maybe not. You see, for the past two days, while I've been excited to be able to focus on my family now, I've struggled a little bit with feeling alone, overwhelmed and not knowing where to focus first. 

My journey to this point has been a very long one. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this day would come. When I turned in my laptop of Friday and hugged a few close coworkers goodbye the moment was one that I never dreamt I'd experience. 

In high school, our coach used to make us run extra horses for using the word "can't". Back then, I didn't understand why saying I couldn't lift five more pounds or run 100 more feet or jump 50 more times was a bad thing. Today, I stand before you and say there isn't much that I "can't" do. I never became the college athlete that my mom or my coach or even myself may have wished I'd become. But the lessons I learned then have helped to carry me through so much in life. As humans, God makes so much possible for us. Our perfectly designed bodies and minds are capable of so much more than we often believe. This past year has proven to me just how far I can stretch both my body and my mind. 

There was a day in the not so distant past when I didn't know if it was possible for me to ever become a mother. Adam and I knew that getting pregnant would be a challenge for us but Adam knew that my dream in life was to be a mother and he wanted to do whatever he could to help me achieve that dream. Little did we know the ride we were in for to achieve that dream. When we first learned we were having quadruplets right at a year ago, one of the first things Adam told me was that we weren't going to allow any negative thoughts into our lives regarding the pregnancy. There was no option for anything but the two of us going home from the hospital with four babies. In fact, we were so focused on this that as silly as it sounds, in never crossed my mind that I might not go home with all four babies. It pains me to say that since my babies were born, I've learned that many quad mommies cannot say the same. I wasn't so naive that I didn't know the risks I was taking in regard to my body being able to sustain four new lives and to this day I still feel the effects of that pregnancy on my body and I probably always will. There were days when it took every ounce of energy I had just to get out of bed and push myself to the couch to work from home. There were pains I had no idea could ever happen. There was itching. There was swelling. There were headaches. I couldn't breathe. There was exhaustion. There was dehydration. There was a flu illness. My poor husband had to help me with almost every aspect of life -- cooking for me, cleaning for me, shaving my legs, helping me get dressed, you name it, he's done it and I'm forever grateful.

It was never an option in my mind for me to stop working. In fact, I worked up until 28 weeks and four days into my pregnancy and I fully intended to return to the office, have my Mom and Adam's Mom help watch the babies and possibly hire someone to assist my Mom with them long-term. After all, with four babies, we knew our budget was going to take a huge hit.


I'll never forget the moment that my water broke at 28 weeks and 1 day. I was home alone that day. I had told Adam earlier in the morning that I didn't feel good and he wanted to come home from work to take care of me. I told him not to, that I would probably be fine but if something happened, I'd call him. I had no idea that that something would come at about 1:00 in the afternoon when I stood up from the couch to go make me some macaroni and cheese. I never got that macaroni and cheese and I wouldn't get to eat again for about 36 hours. My Mom got me to the ambulance on the side of the highway and after that, my panic was gone. I was able to remain calm the entire ambulance ride by texting Adam and talking to the EMT. When I arrived at the hospital, my MFM was there waiting to access me.  The news wasn't bad. Baby A's (now Baby B) water had broken but as long as we could prevent infection in both her and me, she'd be fine with a tear in the sac. I got another round of steroids that day to help the babies' lungs develop and 24 hours of magnesium to give them neural protections.  I was ready to go for another month in the hospital. But...five days later, the babies had other plans and when I suddenly went into full-blown labor, we knew we weren't going to try to stop it. 

My delivery happened fast. It was my first day knowing I was officially on maternity leave and work wasn't lingering in the back of my mind.  It was a Saturday and around 3:30 in the afternoon. I told Adam to get the nurse because something was wrong. They opted to watch me for a little while but notified the resident on duty. When the resident arrived to check on me around 5:00 PM, it was determined that the babies were for sure going to be born that date. They immediately began rolling me down to labor and delivery and poor Adam was left in a panic to pack up everything in the room. I had no idea that I'd be met with complications in delivery when preeclampsia suddenly hit. I didn't know what was going on at the time nor did I know how serious it actually was. All I knew was that my belly HURT, my babies were coming, and the anesthesiologists kept stabbing my arms because they couldn't find a vein; there was also a woman in there shaving my belly for the incision and this MAY have been the most painful experience of it all (this poor unidentified nurse also happens to be the only person I let know they were hurting me except for the one who wouldn't allow me any water after delivery). I was in too much pain to realize how swollen my body was and too excited to meet my babies that I didn't realize my own body was trying to shut down. I'm not sure at what point when I actually realized that I was actually being treated at the same time my babies were but I think it was around the time I also realized that I wouldn't be able to see my babies for the first 24 hours of their lives because I was on magnesium again and they don't let patients on mag attempt to stand. 

It was about two weeks into our NICU stay when it hit me. We were going to be in the NICU for a long time and there was even a chance that one or more of the babies wouldn't be home by the time my maternity leave was up. I remember sitting across from Adam at a table in the dining area at Texas Children's Women's Pavilion and telling him that maybe I didn't want to go back to work after all. I struggled because for the first 52 days of their lives, my babies were cared for by someone who wasn't me. How could I ever abandon them again to go back to work? But how could we afford for me to not work? Our situation really meant we both needed to work to be able to provide for the babies. Over and over again, I was met with statements from others that automatically assumed I would be staying home with the babies. When I told nurses that I would be going back to work, I could always sense their shock. The day we came home, the plan still was that I'd go back to work. And I did. Fortunately, my employer was sweet enough to allow me to work from home for the first six months. 

As time went on, things got harder and harder. When we had to hire someone to come in and help care for them while I worked, we realized just how silly it was to be paying someone because that basically cancelled out my salary. Not to mention, it was hard to even work at all because of the little amount of sleep I was getting. So Adam made some changes and along with some help from God, found a position that meant I would be able to stay at home. I requested a time to speak with my boss and broke the news to her. When she asked me to stay on for three months to help hire and train my replacement, I knew it was going to be a stretch for me, but I also knew she needed my help so I agreed. 

And here we are. On Monday (when this will post), my alarm will go off at six AM as usual, but instead of feeding the babies and then setting about all of the work stuff I have to get done on top of my mommy responsibilities, my focus will be on my family. We've got a lot going on right now so having the time to do that is such a blessing. I know God is with me and that He's going to lead me through this journey. I'm trying very hard not be afraid or to feel alone in this. I feel like I've had so much on my plate for so long that to have such a large amount of responsibilities removed, really should allow me to just knock out so much more but I'm afraid that if it doesn't, I'll be let down. 

Adam and I have been through such an emotional roller coaster ride together over the past year. Of course, there are many battles we've been fighting together that most people don't know about. The road has been hard both emotionally and physically. But never once did we give up. We always continue to push through the fight with everything we've got. There are days when both of us are drained of every single ounce of energy and patience we have, but we know that with God's grace, we will live to fight through yet another day and another and another. One thing is for sure, you will never hear the words "I can't" slip from my mouth in regard to all of the heavy physical and emotional burdens being a parent to quadruplets entails.

So as I start my first week of no longer working outside of the home, I am praying for God's help. I pray that He will guide me and help me learn a routine that serves my husband and my children well and allows me to begin to put some much needed organization into our lives. I pray that in moments when I doubt myself, He will provide me with the strength to press on. 

If you have time today, would you mind saying a quick prayer as well? You have no idea how thankful I am for all of the prayers we've received during this journey.

Wishing each of you a beautiful Monday full of love,
Misty

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Series - "Ask the Quad Mom" Episode 2


Oh boy! Another week in the "Ask the Quad Mom" Series! I'll keep this one going as long as I keep receiving questions. This week, I was really excited to be asked some awesome questions. Way to go guys!

Question: What was your pregnancy like? Were you sick a lot?

Answer:    I love this question! Fortunately for me, this was my first pregnancy so I didn't have a lot to compare it to.

Right from the start, we knew something was up. Even before we saw two pink lines, I'd been having severe abdominal pain and had to start wearing my pants unbuttoned due to something called "Hyperactive Ovarian Syndrome". 


Once I recovered from that, my biggest complaint was fatigue! I was so tired! It took all of my being to get out of bed in the morning, I was tired all day and could fall asleep at my desk in the office, and would usually fall asleep while Adam drove us home and immediately hit the recliner the minute I walked in the door. Adam captured some really unflattering pictures of my snoozing away during pregnancy. But it was for good reason, my body was making FOUR human beings! That takes a lot of work which can be exhausting! Don't judge! 


I asked Adam to send me a pic off of his phone of me sleeping during pregnancy. Apparently, I slept A LOT. But so did our yorkie. She's in every picture whether you can see her or not! 


I was however, very blessed not to suffer from a lot of nausea. Smells would however send me into gagging fits that did result in vomiting but that phase didn't last too long thankfully! 

As for cravings, I was convinced we were having all boys because everyone says if you crave spicy or savory, it's a boy and sweets are a girl. My biggest cravings was chips and salsa. We ate so much Mexican food but mainly just for the chips and salsa. My favorite during the first part of my pregnancy was Chili's Chips and Salsa. Seriously, if you haven't tried their chips and salsa, you're missing out. Go try it. Now! And bring me back some, please! Later in the pregnancy, I started craving more sweets too so I guess the girls were finally speaking up and telling me they needed some love too!

As my pregnancy progressed, I did develop a few other side-effects/illnesses that were unique to the quad pregnancy including pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome (ouch), cholestasis (talk about a killer case of the itchies), and in the very end, preeclampsia (yuck/scary) but overall, I was blessed to have a healthy pregnancy and even more blessed to bring four babies home! 



Question: Last week you shared the schedule that the babies are on at six-months old. Is there a reason you follow such a strict schedule? Is it hard to stay on routine?


Our 6-Month Schedule


Answer: Again, another great question! The truth is, the schedule is not ONLY for the babies! It's also to help me maintain my sanity. Just about everyone, including both the babies and me, seems to do better on a set schedule. It just helps to know what's going to happen next and when something has to take place. We operate on a pretty tight schedule around here. I have it written out on a white board (pictured above) in the babies room to keep everyone on the same page (yes, this means me too) and we keep track of dirty diapers and feedings on a chart we keep in a binder. You can see a general format of the chart (we personalize it for our needs) in the Resources for Multiples Section or by clicking here. I'll admit, there are days when we just can't keep on schedule and we do get off but I always try to get back on track as quickly as possible because it seems as though staying on track definitely makes for happier babies.  That said, we still have lives to live so there are times when we are out and away from home where we aren't 100% on schedule but we try our best to adhere to it as much as we can and if we get off for a day or two, it's important to get right back on track as quickly as we can! It definitely means less fussy babies (times four)!

I love the awesome response and excellent questions you guys are sending in! I'm looking forward to another round next week! Again, feel free to submit your questions directly through the blog, in the comments section, on Facebook, or via direct email to lotsobabylane@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mommy Obsession - Subscription Boxes (Birchbox and Blumm - One for me, One for them!)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
If you know me, you know that for a couple of years, I've been obsessed with sample boxes subscriptions. The two that I've been subscribed to have mainly been Birchbox and Ipsy. The concept is pretty simple, for a nominal fee ($10 in the case of both of these boxes), every month, a cute little box or a cute little bag (depending on the service) arrives crammed full of 5-6 new products to try and sometimes full-size products or lifestyle items). Birchbox and Ipsy are both beauty subscriptions. After having quadruplets, these subscriptions became even more important to me. I look forward to them arriving each month because let's face it, I don't get out much and these provide me with my own little "getaway". 

My Birchbox arrived today and I couldn't wait to tear into it! Here's what all I got this month:




  • The first thing I noticed were the nice size samples of Neil George Shampoo and Conditioner. I LOVE trying out new hair products and these sizes are perfect for some upcoming trips we have planned (look forward to those blog posts). These products are created by Beverly Hills stylists and are anti-oxidant rich. I am really looking forward to trying these. Here's what my Birchbox Card tells me about these two products:
    • Shampoo: Antioxidant-rich cleanser promotes shinier locks. Full Size - $9
    • Conditioner: Paraben-free hydrator that detangles and smooths strands with antioxidants. Full Size - $9
  • Next up, I smelled an amazing new fragrance, a Birchbox Exclusive, by Catherine Malandrino called Style de Paris. Catherine Malandrino has created her first fragrance mingling summery fruits and florals for an elegant vibe! I love fruits and florals so this perfume is right up my alley! I can't wait to wear it to mask some of the baby spit-up smell I'm normally sporting! Full Size $110
  • Another Birchbox Exclusive followed with Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow. Out of everything in the box, this is probably the item I'm most on the fence about. I've tried several BB Creams and they all seem to break me out. However, the Birchbox card says this is a multitasker from the Chicago-founded brand that is rich in antioxidants and hydrating aloe so it might be worth a try! I'll probably try it on a less noticeable place and see how my skin reacts before I try it all over. Full Size $27
  • Finally, the last item in my box was ModelCo's Shimmer Bronzer. I'm excited about this product because I am scraping the edges of my current brozer. I use bronzer in place of blush so I can't wait to test this out. The card says it's a lightweight pressed powder that gives skin a natural-looking glow with a hint of shimmer. Full Size $22
All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with the box and I can't wait to try out the products! For $10, I definitely got some nice products. Now, if I could just find a use for reusing the cute little boxes and pocket packs that arrive each month. The cool thing about Birchbox is they also have a box designed for men as well now (although, I've yet to get Adam to sign up)! To learn more about Birchbox and to subscribe, click here


http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=583151&U=985762&M=52431&urllink=
Now, the next thing I want to tell you about is new to me! I just got word that my newest subscription for both the babies and me has shipped! I'm super excited to see what arrives by the end of the week from Bluum. Bluum is another monthly subscription box full of goodies for both mom and baby. This subscription is a little bit pricier at $24.95 for a month-to-month subscription. The service goes all the way from pregnancy through pre-school. Basically, they have three different lines: one for pregnancy, one for infants, and one for toddlers. While the infant and toddler line are geared more with items targeted for use by child, the company promises to always include one or two items for mom. 

The boxes have at least $40 worth of full-size products and always five or more products so seeing what I receive in my first box will definitely play a role in whether or not I keep the subscription. Unfortunately, I did read some reviews where individuals boxes only came up to at $22 value or so and that is kind of disheartening.

The products are supposedly hand selected (or at least selected by technology matching products to my profile) based on info I provided when I signed up. The boxes are hand-packed in Connecticut and items are selected from the US so at least I know they're coming from the US and creating jobs here versus sending them overseas. They didn't ask for a lot of information to complete my profile except for my child's name, age and gender. Of course, since I have four babies and four boxes are pretty expensive, I decided to go for the gender neutral box and roll the dice! I think it would definitely be a cool option for the company to offer boxes geared towards multiples!

Hopefully, my box will arrive in a few days and I can't wait to share it with you guys! I'm also working with the company to see if we can get a special coupon code for readers of LotsobabyLane! And perhaps even a special giveaway for one lucky reader! If you'd like to find out more about Bluum in the meantime, click here!

That's all I've got for you guys today but check back for Wednesday's "Ask the Quad Mom" and later in the week for my review of the Bluum box!

Until next time, love and prayers,
Misty


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Retirement

I've been keeping quiet about something, but as the big day approaches, I’m ready to share my news publicly. It’s official! On Friday, August 15, 2014, I will end my almost 10 year career in commercial real estate and recruiting. Whew. I've known it was coming for several months, but had some loose ends to clear up before I could actually leave my position.
Several weeks ago I received an email from a candidate saying he had heard about my upcoming “retirement” and wished me all the best. “Hmm”, I thought to myself. “Retirement?” “Really?” I have not really thought of it as retirement, but more of a complete career change.

When we initially found out that we were going to be parents to four babies, I never dreamt that it would be an option for me to not to work outside the home (babies are expensive after all). Even after the babies were born, I fully intended on going back to work (even though after eight weeks of maternity leave, the babies were barely coming home from the hospital). Things have slowly fallen into place and have led us more and more to this place. Working and caring for babies is HARD. I had to work hard to find someone who was able to assist with caring for four infants. Remember that part above where I mentioned that babies are expensive? You know what else is expensive? Childcare! I was blessed to find fantastic help to provide excellent care for our babies but it’s costly! So costly in fact that my paycheck has basically been going to pay our nanny with pretty much nothing left over. (Talk about losing motivation to work!) Seeing this expense begin around the same time my husband took a new position was enough to really make us reconsider what we were doing? What would we be accomplishing by my working outside of the home? Would it be more beneficial to our family and to our children if I were to stay at home and care for them? We feel the answer is a resounding “yes”!

I can assure you that caring for four infants and in the near future, toddlers is a full-time job in itself. Many of you may not have even known that I was working. However, I've managed to care for four infants, maintain a house, and work 30 hours a week for the past few months. It’s taken a lot of sacrifice from my husband and my family in order for me to do so. Not to mention, it hasn't been the easiest for me. The blog posts you've been reading have basically been my down time. I love to write and blogging serves as a release to me.
So what happens after I leave my career? I’m hoping that I’ll be much more rested and not as flustered! My plans are to put caring for my family first. Adam and I have big plans on the horizon which I’ll share with you at some point in the future. However, I also plan to put more emphasis on my blog. I've been encouraged by several friends to really pursue my love of writing and perhaps I’ll even be able to turn Lotsobaby Lane into an income source for my family at some point. Adam and I know that in order to make things work with one income and six people, there will be cutbacks and that we will have to be extremely frugal but we know The Lord will provide and our babies won’t go without. We know that our sacrifice will pay off down the road for our babies’ futures and for the legacy we will leave behind.

As I round up my career during the next week, I reflect upon all of the memories and all of the experiences I've gained in the last 10 years. Never in a million years did I think I’d be at this point, but here I am! It’s a very scary and exciting time, but as we have for pretty much all of our relationship, Adam and I are grabbing on with both hands and holding on tight with faith that our God will provide and just seeing where the ride takes us! We hope we’re able to share this journey with you for many years to come!

Love and Prayers,
Misty


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday Series - Ask the Quad Mom

Whenever someone finds out that we have quadruplets, we get a lot of questions! So I thought it would be fun to start a weekly "Ask the Quad Mom" series where readers can send in questions, and I'll answer them! Here's our first week's edition:

Q: "Quadruplets? Wow! What's it like?"
A:  Well, since this is all I know, I don't know any different. It's basically the busiest, most hectic, most rewarding, fun time of my life. The truth is, we have no idea what it's like to raise just one baby. This is all we know so I'm really not able to compare it to anything. I would guess that it's basically everything you do with one baby, times four. So my life pretty much means all I do is care for babies (at least for right now).

Q: "The babies are six months old. What's their schedule like now?"
A: You mean are the sleeping through the night? I'm happy to report they are. I usually wake them up at 6 AM for their first bottle of the day, then they go back to sleep until around 9 or 10 when I wake them to change their diapers. After that, they do some tummy time with toys until 10:00 when they have another bottle. At noon, they have their spoon feeding and we spend time practicing sitting up in our Summer Infant Seats.  At 2 PM, they have another bottle followed by tummy time, swing time, and play time with each other (we usually rotate among the swings and toys we have for entertainment). At 5 PM, they wake up and we change their diaper. We try to go for a walk outside or some form of interactive entertainment. At 6 PM, they have their last bottle followed by baths at 7 PM. By 8 PM, everyone is in bed, We read a couple of story books and say our prayers and then I play their CD and it's "night night time". 

Archibeque Quads in Summer Infant Activity Seats

Q:  How many diapers a day do you go through?
A: It depends on the day! In a typical day, we will go through about 30 diapers. That number may vary though depending on "surprise" needs for diaper changes. We have been blessed to have wonderful family and friends who've helped us defray the cost of diapers. Amazon also allows us to order diapers online at fairly decent prices so I don't have to squeeze a million diapers AND four babies into our van. I've been buying these for daytime use and these for nighttime use as they last up to 12 hours. 


Keep those questions coming! Feel free to submit them via the comments section of my blog, on our Facebook page, or email directly to lotsobabylane at gmail!