Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!

As I spend my last minutes of 2015 reflecting on the year we had, I saw it only fitting to sit down and draft at least a short blog post. I've been meaning to post a new one for a while now, but December (and even November) have been a blur for us. 

It wasn't all that long ago that on New Year's Eve at about this time, I'd definitely be in an altered state of mind and celebrating amongst friends. I must admit though, relaxing in my pajamas at home with my family and Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve is definitely a more comfortable way to ring in 2016 (although it may be a direct result of having quadruplets and my level of sheer exhaustion that I'd rather put on my pajamas and blog so at 12:01, I can go to sleep). 

I will be the first to say, 2015 has not been kind to us. We have faced challenge after challenge and we spent most of our year surviving on our faith in Christ alone. 2015 has tested us with an oilfield crash, job loss, untruthful employers, financial struggles, moving, stress on our marriage, illnesses, and more. And while Adam and I have spent a lot of time in the last couple months focusing on how hard this year has been, there's also a lot of good to reflect on. All four of our children learned to walk this year and have pretty much caught up with full-term babies their age. Overall, we are healthy, our marriage is still in tact in spite of being put in the blender on high and while we had to move out of our two-story home in a quiet, kid-friendly neighborhood, we did get to move to what we like to refer to as "vacation". We have amazing family (and friends we consider family) that have been there for us in REALLY big ways. We made lots of new friends and got connected to a small group in our church. And probably the most important lesson of all, came during this holiday season when we were remembered by so many people who love us and may not even realize just exactly how much they did for us. 

As we turn our back on 2015 and look towards what 2016 will bring for us, we are full of hope. We are armed with the lessons we've learned in 2015 and look forward to a new year, a new beginning, and changes that go with it. (It doesn't hurt that I've made sure every member of our family will be eating some form of black eyed peas and cabbage tomorrow just for good measure.) Personally, my goal for 2016 is to focus more on forgiveness and connecting with friends and family I've lost touch with. I'd also like to focus more on the ones that I love, and less on technology. What about you? Do you think 2016 will be a great year? Are you planning to make any changes?  Do you have any traditions/foods that you eat on January 1 to ensure a good year? 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Learning to count on others...and finding friends you can count on!

On the day we found out we were having quadruplets, Adam and I knew that our lives were forever changed but we didn't really have a clue what things were going to be like. We left the fertility clinic in shock and confusion and didn't really know what to do or where to turn, other than God. I remember sitting in my husband's tiny red Honda Hatchback and praying over the four little heartbeats we had just heard and then going back to my office, closing the door, and the feeling of pure panic overcoming me. 

Growing up as what some have termed the MTV Generation, I immediately did the only thing I knew to do, I googled "what to do when you're having quadruplets". If you clicked on the link, you'll see that there's not a whole lot of information to rely on. After much searching, I finally stumbled upon the blogs of several amazing quad moms that I am not proud to call "friends". 

Early on, I learned that things would be different for me and fitting in was something that I'd have to give up on. This wasn't easy for someone who'd spent pretty much their entire life trying to do just that. I had stepped onto a very real roller coaster ride that didn't have a way off. I was made very clear of the very real dangers of higher order multiples to both their health and mine from the get-go by various doctors but one thing remained constant in both my and Adam's mind: God gave us four babies for a reason. Almost immediately, my entire focus became doing whatever I could to keep them safe and help them develop properly. Having an established career (I'd been at my company for about 9 years), I knew finances would play a huge role in providing for my family that was growing by eight feet practically overnight. I focused heavily on my job and trying to keep up even though what I really wanted to do was sleep! Growing four babies is really as much work as it sounds and my body was working overtime. I was constantly tired and constantly hungry. 

We were overwhelmed by the sincere desire of so many people truly wanting to help us, praying for us, and offering their love and support. As the pregnancy progressed, things got harder and harder. At 12 weeks, it became difficult and uncomfortable for me to drive or sit upright for long periods of time. By about 18 weeks, it had become difficult for me to breathe. Walking became painful and my ligaments stretched and tore. With each passing week, I grew more excited and more anxious to meet the four people I now affectionately call "my turkeys". Eventually, I couldn't ride in a car or sit in traffic for long periods of time and I moved to working from my couch which was still uncomfortable yet manageable (my couch still shows the wear from the hours I spent on it during my pregnancy too as it quickly became the only comfortable place in my life). We did everything we could to prepare for having four babies at once but as you can imagine, other than a few books, and the doctors' advice, there wasn't much to go on. Adam and I went to some pretty drastic measures trying to relate and understand what we were really in for. I remember curling up in bed with him one night to watch National Geographic's Multiples in the Womb which turned out to be a huge mistake because we both walked away from it terrified of the c-section we knew was to come eventually.  

I remember very clearly how alone I felt. Even though I had so many people who loved me praying for me, encouraging me, and surrounding me, I felt completely isolated. So many people could share their pregnancy stories with me and give me their advice and while I was truly grateful and clung to every word, none of them had ever carried four babies at once. I tried so hard to relate to mothers I knew that had twins, but even their stories were so different than mine because I had two extra living beings inside of me that I was responsible for. I longed so desperately just to meet one other person who'd actually delivered quadruplets.I just wanted to hear from someone who'd done it and lived to tell the tale. And then, someone I will always keep in my heart found another quad mom on social media. This quad mom was linked to an entire network of quad moms. She was able to verify that my story was legitimate and I soon joined an online group of women who are also quad moms. I was among my people. 

Finally, I could open up about all of my fears, the pain I was experiencing, the questions I had about what to expect, what equipment I needed most, logistics, how to handle the NICU and so much more. Things that I'd kept bottled up for months because no one could understand, were finally able to be released, answered, and dealt with.  

Eventually, at 28 weeks and five days gestation, having already spent several days in the hospital, the moment I'd both longed for and feared at the same time arrived and my beautiful babies were born. Thanks to those women, I was mentally prepared that I may not see my own babies for several days after they were born. I got to briefly see all but the most critical one as they wheeled them from the operating room and a full 25 hours later, I finally got to meet them in person. 

I had the support and encouragement of women who'd been in my shoes throughout the 52 days in the NICU. When the babies came home and reality set in that we were on our own with four babies, I STILL had their support, tips, tricks, and encouragement at my side. When I questioned something like how on earth do you feed four babies bottles at once, if I was being overprotective, why people I truly thought would be by my side through things weren't there, if it's okay to put up childproof locks or what to do about biting one another, how to break up arguments, when and when not to intervene, or even how to juggle quadruplets and a marriage, these women are the women that I turn to. 

But here's the crazy part: in person, I've met three of them. We are spread out all over the United States and the globe. We all live our crazy lives on our own. We all have the same nightmarish shopping experiences and get pounded with the same crazy questions every time we go out in public, yet few of us live in the same city. We have different lifestyles, different setups, different levels of help, different stories about how we became quad moms, we did different things before we had quadruplets yet we all come together with very similar stories and experiences. And still to this day, when I feel like I am completely alone in this world with no one who gets me and no one who has been in my shoes, I can turn to one of them in confidence, spill my guts about what is really going on and be met with "I've been there sister; all of us have". Those words...I cannot tell you the sweet music to my ears they are. 

Having a strong support system is so important to everyone no matter what you're going through. Just knowing there's someone to call, can make a world of difference. I am blessed. Not only do I have my quad mom friends to help, I also have the love and support of my husband, my parents, my in-laws, a really, really long-term best friend, an adopted quad-grand mommy and new friends God brought to me to help me down this road. After I had the quads, I later found an amazing group of triplet moms who all gave birth in the same year as me. Sometimes, things do get overwhelming. Sometimes, at the end of the day, I want to throw in the towel. More than once, I've made calls and had to be talked down off the ledge. Sometimes, I'm stretched so thin in so many areas that I forget about things I need to do, people I need to call/text, or I lose things like my wedding ring, credit cards, or other important papers. It's those times when you realize just how important friends are! So in this season of thankfullness, I just want everyone reading this that has ever prayed for me, helped us prepare for our babies, hosted or attended a baby shower, encouraged me, given me advice or counsel, talked me down from a close call breakdown, washed the babies' laundry, brought us a meal, sent a care package, helped out in an emergency, carried a baby to the car,  or any other of the numerous kind acts of love we've received to know, near or far, close or not, I appreciate you! Without your act, no matter how tiny or grand, I don't know if we'd be at the point where we are. Thank you! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

20 Month Update And Our First (TWO) Real Illnesses

I'm not as behind as I have been before, but it's time! I'm late, as usual. I spent the last week and a half battling our first real illness - five cases of strep (counting me) and four upper respiratory infections. Still, I wanted to give an update in regard to where we are at now that we're 20 months old (it's so hard to believe they'll be two years old in a few short months)! And then, I spent another week battling six cases of a stomach virus. Blogging, while I've missed it, just wasn't on the priority list. Instead, I decided it was best to focus on keeping my family alive. Now, I'll go back through a blog post that I began drafting almost a month ago to try to make it relevant! 

The past month has been a vocabulary explosion! So many new words are being learned and used properly that my heart is just aflutter. We've also learned how to climb up and sit on the couches like big boys and girls. Boy is it a weird feeling to walk into the living room from changing morning diapers to find four little people lined up on the couch, remote in hand, watching cartoons they turned on by themselves. Getting used to sharing a home with four little people and not four little babies is definitely an adjustment but it's so much fun seeing them know they're home and feel comfortable lounging on the couch or closing cabinet doors and pantry doors that are left open. 

Baby A: Baby A has always been the most independent of the four. I often wonder if it is because he spent the first few days of his life in his own room until the hospital was able to get a room large enough to accommodate all of us. He loves to play independently and his favorite toys are Hot Wheels, big trucks, and anything with wheels. Anywhere he goes, you'll see him with at least one car in his hand. He also likes ride on toys and our dogs. His favorite phrase is "what's that" and has recently started getting very attached to his mommy. He's learned to give kisses and loves to give hugs. He's also a big fan of tickle time and has the most adorable laugh. His favorite foods are, well, he loves anything that doesn't eat him first. 

Baby B: Baby B is probably the most loving little girl ever. She is still very smart and seems to pick up on things quickly and on her own. She is compassionate towards all of her siblings and towards me and Adam. She does whatever she can to try to be helpful, always helping to pick up toys when it is time, picking up things that should not be on the floor and handing them to me, bringing toys to her siblings when they are upset, sharing her food, and the list could go on. The girl is sweet and I couldn't be more proud of her. She learns new words almost daily including "grapes", "nose", "eye", "belly button", "bird" and her all time favorite is still "BB" - what she calls every animal she sees. She loves to give kisses and will say "mmm" expecting you to kiss whatever toy she's holding or her. She loves fruits and vegetables and string cheese but is NOT a huge fan of meats. 

Baby C: Baby C is still our active boy. He has learned to climb things, especially chairs and furniture. He knows how to push the kitchen chairs over to the light switches so he can turn them on and off. And on and off. Over and over and over again. He's absolutely fascinated by the washing machine and dryer. He's also learned to give out kisses which is really sweet except he uses them when he's in trouble to distract you from punishing him! He's also turned into somewhat of a parrot. He seems to repeat everything I say lately. Just the other day I caught him giving out instructions to his brother and sisters as if I were talking to them. Baby C is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He will eat vegetables if you bribe him and he sometimes loves to munch on apples, strawberries and bananas depending on the mood you catch him in.

Baby D: Baby D is quite possibly our "free spirit". She's very comfortable being herself and I love seeing her happy in her own skin. She will tell the others exactly how things are. I've caught her following each of the others around "talking" to them in what I can only describe as "twin talk" or their own language. It looks like she knows exactly what she's saying and often, it seems like the others understand her and respond accordingly. I just wish I knew what she was saying. She has grown attached to a little yellow blanket and it goes pretty much everywhere with her. It's already stained and after it's last bath, I noticed there are two holes forming from some wear and tear. When you ask her where her blanket is, she usually immediately runs to wherever she last had it and brings it back. On the off chance she doesn't know where it is, you should hope you do because the world must stop until it is found. Baby D is also a huge fan of baby dolls. She sleeps with five of them currently and will bring them to you if asked about a baby. They were all four Facetiming with their Grammy and Granddad recently when Grammy asked Baby A if she had a doll. Immediately, Baby D ran to her crib and brought back a doll (that I still don't know how she got out of the crib) to show Grammy. Baby D is a carb addict. She loves crackers and cookies but she also likes to eat fruits and vegetables.

Twin Talk - There's a lot of fighting and chaos in our home, but there's also moments of love in one of its' purest forms!

Some might say our first illness warrants it's own post. I however, like the idea of it being grouped with our 20 month update because it did last for 2.5 weeks in the midst of their 20th month on Earth. 


When we developed a case of the sniffles, I started to worry about what "could" happen. Long ago, when I was still pregnant, I learned of this thing called RSV which is basically what nightmares for parents of premature children are made up of. They warned us about it while I was pregnant, while we were in the NICU, we received special injections to guard against it both in the NICU and after we were discharged, and it's scary. So every cough and sniffle sends me into panic mode thinking we have RSV. I immediately envision all four of my children back in the hospital with tubes and machines attached to help them breathe. (PTSD much?) Still, I don't like to let it show on the outside that a common cold basically turns me into a basket case so I tried to remain a normal appearance, loving my children, giving them Tylenol and making sure they drank fluids when every bone in my body wants to load them up and rush them to the nearest emergency room. Then, it happened. We woke up one morning and I saw Baby B retracting (for those of you unfamiliar, retracting is when the area between a child's ribs and the neck sinks in when they attempt to inhale or in other words they're having trouble breathing). Immediately, I knew this was the moment I'd been dreading. I quickly called Adam who rushed home from work and took her to the emergency room where she tested positive for strep and received breathing treatments to help with the retractions. An x-ray of her lungs proved that they were at least still clear. She tested negative for RSV. The breathing treatment seemed to immediately help her and she was breathing normally before she went to sleep in the ER. It seemed like things were going well. She'd go on antibiotics for the strep and get an inhaler to help with breathing and steroids to knock out whatever was in her chest. Whew! What a relief! While Adam wrapped up things at the ER, I took advantage of the time and called the pediatrician to see about getting medicine for the other three. No sooner did I hang up with an appointment time for first thing the following morning, Adam was calling me back. "I'm sad" he said. It turns out, when Baby B was asleep, her oxygen levels were dropping into the 80s which is dangerous. They would not let her go home with us from the ER and thus, Baby B had her first ambulance ride to the children's hospital. Fortunately, our stay was brief, lasting only the afternoon and Baby B got to come home that night. She began her antibiotic, steroid and breathing treatments immediately while the other three had to tough it out until their 8 AM doctor's appointment. Of course, that appointment revealed what I already knew: three more cases of strep and three more upper respiratory infections. The doctor we saw (our regular pediatrician wasn't available) sent me on my way with a book of prescriptions and I began about a week's worth of what can only be described as "nursing school by fire". Should you ever find yourself with sick quadruplets, here's a tip to remember: REQUEST THAT YOUR DOCTOR PUT EVERYONE ON THE SAME MEDICATION WHEN THEY HAVE THE SAME ILLNESS. I kid you not, four kids all sick with the same thing, yet each had their own regiment (and I'm not talking dosages, I'm talking entire medicines). Just trust me here. 

After about a week, we were finally on the mend! The kids were doing well and weren't needing breathing treatments anymore. We decided to celebrate (ok, really, I was just too tired to cook) with dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants to take the quads to. It was a Friday night, we let them know ahead of time we were coming and they had a table for us up front in a corner where we had privacy waiting. It was the perfect dinner. We all left feeling full of yummy delicious food, there was no kitchen mess to clean up, and we got to go home, bath the kids, put them to bed and then drag ourselves to bed.  Fast forward to Sunday night: after a full day with church and an afternoon at the beach. At 1:00 AM, I was awakened by the terrible sound of my poor Baby D screaming in her crib. When I made my way to check on her, I was surprised to see she and her bed were covered in vomit. It was definitely a first for me but we got through it. I held my beautiful baby girl close to me and allowed her to use me as her bedside pail more than once as I stroked her back and hair and tried my best to make her comfortable. I didn't sleep and neither did she until the next morning when the vomiting passed. After sleeping for most of the day, Baby D went to bed that night without any problems and seemed fine. I breathed a sigh of relief that we were in the clear. Too soon. That night, I woke up around midnight because I was sick. From my position on the floor of our bathroom, I could hear Baby A whimpering in his crib. As soon as I could make my way, I went to check on him where I found him in the same predicament his baby sister had been in the night before. By now, I was a pro and had learned that it wasn't a good idea to be a human bedside pail so I worked out alternate arrangements for my first born son. Little did I know, it was only beginning. That night...October 12, 2015 was quite possibly one of the worst nights of my life. I'm not kidding when I say this is the stuff they make horror movies out of. One by one, within a matter of hours, all three of my remaining children woke up to projectile vomiting. I tried to care for them amidst my own illness...changing sheets, diapers, pajamas and giving baths as best I could. We suffered through that next day together. Baby D was already better so while the other three slept in their cribs, I tried to stay alive on the couch while I let her play on her own in the living room. watch endless cartoons and eat Cheerios straight out of the box by herself. It was touch and go for a while, but I'm happy to report that as you probably guessed since you're reading this, we lived to tell the tale! Here's the free advice I learned from our stomach virus for the next time it strikes your family: use every towel you own if you have to. Changing sheets is hard when you're dying. Towels can be put down on the bed and you can remove them in layers which is much easier. Also, laundry doesn't wash itself. If you really love someone, and I do mean REALLY, next time they're sick, offer help with laundry. It took me close to two weeks to get caught up with all the illness going around. I also spent the entire next day and the one after that disinfecting our home. I may wish for a maid in my mind very often, but I promise I had never wished for a cleaning fairy to randomly show up as much as I did in the midst of all this! 

We had our 18 month well-visit at 20 months. I was tired that day and took a nap during this picture. Also, I'm so thankful that we were able to find our pediatrician back! From left to right, the first three babies weigh 26 pounds. The one Adam is holding weighs 24. She is also the tallest! The one I am holding is the shortest.

I'm hopeful that we are now completely on the mend and since our 21 month birthday is in three days, I'm just proud of myself for actually getting this posted ahead of time. In my mind, we're still 20 month olds so technically this is not late! I promise, I'm working on that!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Take Your Vitamins! I'm Talking to YOU Mommies!!!!

This post is one that I wish I could broadcast into the lives of every single pregnant woman on Earth but ESPECIALLY moms of multiples. Seriously, this is that important.

While I was pregnant with the quads, nutrition was obviously a major concern during pregnancy and making sure I got enough calories (seriously at one point they had me on a 7,000 calorie diet) and ate the right foods. From my very first appointment at Texas Children's Pavillion for Women, I was in the Multiples Program there which included regular visits with a nutritionist. One resource I was given on my first visit was this book, titled When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads by Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein. 

I found the book to be a tremendous resource but I have heard other MoMs state otherwise. (Some of the illustrations in the book can be a little scary.) What was most helpful about the book to me was the meal ideas and recommendations for what to eat at various stages of gestation for proper nutrition and growth/development. 

In addition to diet and nutritionist visits, I was put on a prescription prenatal vitamin that contained folic acid and was put on additional folic acid as well. Wanting the very best for my brood, I took them every single day of my pregnancy even on days when the thought of swallowing a pill completely grossed me out. 

However, once the babies were born, the shift and my focus suddenly turned all towards them and seeing their nutritional needs were met. There wasn't a lot of guidance anymore on what to eat and how to care for my body. In the beginning, I followed breast feeding advice of high protein and lots of water and kept taking a prenatal vitamin to help with that but eventually the demands of caring for four infants, my own mom in the hospital in very critical condition with what we later learned was cancer, and a husband working out of town got to me and I gave up breast-feeding and along with that, the vitamins and well, if we're honest, pretty much taking care of myself. Instead, I began to exist on a diet that consisted of mainly coffee, lots of good old Coca-Cola, and grabbing whatever food I could grab and eat without requiring any cooking. 

I didn't immediately feel the affects but over the course of several months, I started to feel worse and worse. I gained back weight I had lost after my pregnancy. My ankles hurt. The bottoms of my feet hurt. I had constant carpal-tunnel pain and my hands were constantly numb. My hair fell out by the fist fulls. If I sat down for even a few minutes, when I tried to stand up again, I walked like a 100 year old woman. I didn't want to do anything but sleep and I had constant headaches but when I went to bed at night, I couldn't get comfortable to sleep!

When the quads were about 16 months old, I finally broke down and went to the doctor, convinced that I must have a thyroid problem or else diabetes. When my blood-work came back just fine, I was puzzled and angry at my doctor for refusing to do additional tests and sending me on my way with the advice to sleep more, eat better, get as much exercise as I could and put the quads in a mother's day out program and just go home and sleep! Frustrated with this answer and still feeling terrible, I turned to the only place left: my Moms of Multiples groups on Facebook. One group is filled with women who all had multiples around the same time I did. Many of them suffered from many of the same symptoms that I had and one mom in particular had fought her doctor on it for many months and FINALLY gotten answers! The root cause: vitamin deficiency!!! At her advice, I immediately went out and bought a prenatal vitamin, Vitamin B-12, and Vitamin D and began taking them daily. After only a couple weeks of taking them, I began noticing improvements in my symptoms. My carpal tunnel improved, I had more energy, and I didn't feel like I needed to be headed to a nursing home instead of chasing around four toddlers! 

I'll be honest, these days, I do good to remember to feed myself and there are times that I do forget the vitamins sometimes for a week, or maybe even more if I'm really honest. I can tell when I don't take them and after I start back up again, it usually takes a week or two and I'll start feeling better again.

I'm no doctor by any means, but I truly feel like my body had to work so much overtime and gave so much of my own nutrition to support four lives that it depleted a lot of nutrients and has done something that makes it difficult for my body to extract those vitamins and nutrients from food. 

The more I've shared my story, the more moms I meet who've gone through the same thing! Pregnancy is hard on your body. Therefore, my plea is that all new mothers, but especially new mothers of multiples, continue to take at the very least a multi-vitamin long after your pregnancy and after you stop breast-feeding. You have nothing to lose and take my word for it, you DON'T want to feel like a 100 year old lady who needs a walker WHILE you're chasing toddlers! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Mom Badges

Every single night the last thing I do before going to bed myself is one last check on all four sleeping babes. Often, I sit and stroke each of their heads for a few minutes, pray over them and revel in how sweet and peaceful they are when they're sleeping (all while praying they don't wake up). Last night, when I walked into the girls' room, I was greeted by a familiar smell (if you're a mom, I'm sure you know the smell well). This wasn't the first time I've been poised with this dilemma and the age old adage to "never wake a sleeping baby".  Last night however, I knew there wasn't a chance I was going to let my daughter sleep all night in a dirty diaper so I did what any mom would do. I grabbed a fresh diaper and the wipes and went to work. I'll have you know, I changed my daughter's diaper, in her crib, in her sleep, without waking her. I thought to myself, "wow, there should totally be a mom badge for this and I should really be eligible for a promotion in rank". 

While my thoughts were definitely just ramblings in my sleep-deprived, sanity-seeking mind, as I lie awake later on,  with tons of thoughts and ideas running through my mind, I couldn't seem to get the image of "mom badges" out of my head. I mean, what would life be like if motherhood worked like girl scouts or other organizations where for each meaningful achievement/step in motherhood, you earned a badge which you got to wear with pride? Can you envision all the mothers of the world comparing their "mom badges"?  " got sleepless nights for 4 months straight"! "Look, she survived terrible twos and threes"! There's the "I manage to take all my kids to extra-curricular activities" badge. Then there's the "I'm a working mom badge".  There's a "I'm a stay-at-home and I just want to talk to someone who's not pint sized mom" (this could be me on more than one occasion in the past month).  "Oh my! She survived her entire living room being covered in baby powder" (you know you've seen the YouTube video) or the "I grocery shop with six kids badge"! Then what about the mothers who had the "I lost a child" badge. Or the mothers who have the "my child has cancer badge". What about the mothers who've struggle with motherhood in their hearts but not in their hands yet? 

In the crazy world of high-order-multiples where I suddenly live, some of my best friends are women that I've never met IRL (in real life). The bond we share with one another is strong. We have laughed together, cried together, celebrated and mourned together. Sometimes, we may have disagreements among us and we may annoy one another occasionally. We've watched out for one another, prayed for one another, counseled one another and even come together to help in times of need. Just as I am thankful for all of my IRL friends and the valuable advice and support they provide, these women are able to relate to me on a different level and have probably saved my sanity over the last two years or so. One of the most valuable lessons they've taught me is that while we all share something in common, we're all different too and what works for me, may not work for you. 

My point is, it's probably not a good idea for us to wear our "mom-badges" on our sleeves yet often, it seems like that is exactly what we do. Motherhood is a tough job as it is and comparing ourselves to one another will not make it any easier. We're all doing our very best with the resources that we have and what works for one person, may or may not work for another. Like so many other moms, I'm guilty of comparing myself to others and feeling as if I lack even when I know I'm doing my best. While it's always good to be able to turn to other moms for advice or even to vent, be careful not to take everything personally. And always remember that you never know everything that person is going through in their life or the battles they are fighting. No matter what, if you're a veteran mom, first time mom, mom in the middle of it all, a mom battling a fight you don't know if you can handle, a mom who's suffered loss, a mom at heart, or any other kind of mom, know this: you're amazing and you are loved! Make today a great day!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Got Mom Guilt?

"I'm at Starbucks. Alone. And blogging. Help me! Do you have mom guilt?" 

The statement above is a true statement I just texted to my best friend. I am at Starbucks. I have an entire afternoon that I can sit here alone blogging, drinking yummy coffee and writing until my heart's content. And I feel terrible about it. 

Let me be clear. My kids are with my husband who is an amazing dad. They look up to him and truly WANT to be the center of their daddy's world. He's fully capable of caring for them without me and I know they'll be entertained, fed, changed, and cared for. However, even though I know they're safe, there's a part of me thinking "but that's your job". 

Before I had kids, I had a career with daily adult interaction, fancy lunches, regularly ate out with my husband, and took fun trips with him. We went out on dates at least once a week. I had a dog but rarely went anywhere I couldn't take her and when I did, while I missed her, I always found someone I knew would take excellent care of her. Rarely did I ever feel guilty for anything. Now, it's a regular feeling for me. 

My friend's response? "Of course! Every time I have a free moment I'm constantly worried I'm forgetting someone. But what kind of mom wouldn't have mom guilt"?

She's right! Why wouldn't I have mom guilt? There's so many things to feel guilty about:

  • I didn't spend enough time playing with the kids.
  • I should read them more books.
  • I cleaned the house but I didn't spend enough time playing or working with the kids.
  • I played with the kids but the house is a wreck, the dishes aren't washed and the laundry isn't done.
  • I didn't take them outside to play.
  • I took them outside to play and Daniel cut his foot open and Evelyn got bit by ants.
  • I took them outside to play and they cried when we had to come inside.
  • I let them eat cookies before supper. 
  • I never let them have treats. 
  • I'm not strict enough with them.
  • I didn't hug that one enough.
  • I yelled.
  • I use the TV as a babysitter sometimes.
  • I would be a better mom if I got out of the house more often.
  • So many people would kill to be a stay at home mom. I am and sometimes I wish I could work. 
  • I'm at Starbucks so I can sit and do what I enjoy but they cried when I left. 
  • I spent $20 on a new outfit for me but the kids could really use some new pajamas.
Basically, anything I do or think about doing can turn into a reason for me to feel guilty. When my husband told me to leave today, he did it because he knows I've talked about wanting to get a few hours alone a week to focus on my blog, writing and doing things that I enjoy and love. Yet when he told me to go, I imagined that most women probably would have grabbed their purse and laptop, given everyone a kiss goodbye, and then let the tires squeal on their way out of the driveway. At least, that's what I wanted to do. Instead, I dawdled. I probably asked him a thousand times if he was serious, if he would be mad, if he felt like he could handle it, etc.! The truth is, a few hours to myself will probably do all six of us some good so I can come back feeling refreshed, relaxed and be a better wife, mother, and person in general. 

Often, we're told not to feel guilt as mommies. I disagree. I think Mom Guilt is something that God gives to us to help us be better moms. When I sit and think about my own mom, my friends who are AMAZING moms, and other mom role models in my life, I can see how they too have struggled with guilt that comes with the job description. The way I see it, when I stop feeling the guilt, that's when I have a problem because it means I've stopped caring. And I'm okay with the guilt. I will continue to question every decision I make for the rest of my life because there are five other lives it affects. And the wife and mother in me chooses to put them first even when I struggle with jealousy and yes, sometimes selfishness. 

What about you? What are your biggest sources of mommy guilt?

Monday, August 31, 2015

19 Month Update - Learning to Talk!

It seems like it hasn't been that long since I posted our 18 month old update. Oh, that's right. I was super duper late on that one, so I guess I should feel good that I'm only a couple weeks late on the new one. 

Things have been moving along fast and furiously as always. We moved very recently and I've been busy unpacking and getting our new home in order which is no easy feat considering I have four little "helpers" who can destroy a room in 0.001 second flat if left unattended for even a fraction of time. That said, we are finally settling in, boxes are all unpacked and now it's just a matter of slowly accumulating the finishing touches to make our house into a home. The good news is, we've  downsized into something much smaller, there's no stairs, and we LOVE our comfy new home and it's location that basically feels like we live in vacation.

The kiddos are doing wonderfully.  Every day is like a brand new adventure and I enjoy watching all of the new things and words they are learning. Each day it seems like they learn a new word or trick and it amazes me when I wake them up the next day and I can test them to see if they remember it and the do! Just the other day, Adam was working out of town so I was having dinner alone with the quads. As I sat across from them, prompting them to say "please" and "thank you" and watching them use their little forks as best they could, I was reminded of a time not so long ago when Adam worked out of town that I sat on the floor with them in their infant seats spoon feeding them and feeling so proud when they finally swallowed a bite of baby food that I had painstaking made for them. It amazes me that how much they now resemble little people and how far we've come from those early days.

We've dropped to one nap from two for the most part. Unfortunately, that one nap seems to come in the middle of the day and lasts much less than the two naps used to so it seems like I have to cram everything I can into those precious moments so that I can focus on them and teaching and playing with them when they're awake (on top of making sure they destroy everything in their path). The good news is, they usually go to bed around 7:30 and sleep until sometime around 8. We typically have three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) along with an afternoon snack. Because I still have a bunch of toddler formula, they also get a cup of toddler formula at bedtime as well. Toys that are the biggest interest are the ride on cars, Hot Wheels, the slide, and four new popcorn popper push toys that Grammy and Granddad took them to Walmart to buy on a short visit. They love the outside and will do anything to get to play in the water!

Practicing using utensils

Baby A - Baby A has become very interested in speech development. He loves to listen to animal sounds and repeat them back. His two favorites are the sheep's "baa" and the bunny's "hop, hop, hop". (They get an extra kick when we read a book about Nicholas the Bunny and Mommy shows them "hop, hop, hop"). He is most in love with toy cars and spends most of his days pushing them around the house making the "vroom" noise. Yesterday, while Mommy sent Daddy to the grocery store, I taught him how to push the cars down the Step 2 slide which provided hours of entertainment. Baby A is my tickle boy and will crack up laughing when I tickle him. He's also learned to give me kisses and hugs and will even do so unprompted from time to time. Baby A loves his brother and sisters so much. After breakfast this morning, he was busy cleaning up the leftovers for everyone when his sister (Baby D) and brother came over and started tickling his feet. He thought it was hilarious and didn't want to get out of the table because he enjoyed the game so much. Another love of Baby A's is our dogs. He loves to hug them and play with them. He'll take their toys and run with them in an effort to make them chase him. He was most of upset with Grammy and Granddad visited for a quick visit last week and their dog wouldn't give him the time of day!  His other current fascination is the cabinets and taking out mommy's pots and pans to make beautiful "music". Speaking of music, this guy's a fan! Anytime any music comes on, Baby A drops what he's doing and dances. Boy's got moves too! 

Good morning messy hair!

Baby B - Baby B is still the "mother hen" of the bunch. She keeps her brothers and sister in order and will definitely let me know if something isn't right. She has a heart of gold and if she sees one of her siblings upset, she will kindly bring them toys to try to make them feel better. Her current love is bead necklaces and putting them on and off. She will walk around in a diaper and a pajama top sporting her beautiful jewels and feeling glamorous.  She also loves her stuffed animals and has developed quite a collection in her crib. She loves to give kisses and will make kissy sounds to get me to kiss her when she's sitting on my lap. Baby B is such a helper. Currently, we get ready for bed in the boys' room and then the girls walk over to their room which is usually scattered with toys. Every night, she will help me pick up the toys one by one and put them into the toy box before we put her in her bed. Vocally, Baby B likes to say "hi" and "hey" whenever anyone walks into the room. She won't stop until she is acknowledged either! Her other favorite words are "Daddy" and "BB" (a pet name for one of our dogs). She also has started saying the phrase "take a bath" and on the visit from Grammy and Granddad, was able to say "hi, granddad" with a little bit of prompting from Grammy.

Sliding after some outside play in the water!

Baby C - Baby C is still fast and busy! He loves the slide, will climb up it any way he can, slides down on his own, uses it as a ladder to get onto the couch, and loves to push cars down it. He gets upset if his Dad leaves him for any amount of time and wants to be with him at all times. Over the weekend, Adam was washing and detailing the van and I took all four outside for a popsicle while Adam worked. It didn't take long before Baby C had climbed up in the van with him, was sitting in the drivers' seat and playing with every switch he could find. Baby C's favorite word is "uh oh" which can also be turned into "oh, oh, oh". He also likes to say and wave "bye, bye" and is a fan of the word "go". Last week, I took all four with me to Target (because Target has shopping carts that are more accommodating than most of the carts in town).  Baby C pitched a fit that he was not the one who got to ride in the basket part of the cart so I finally gave in and let him have a turn. He no longer has that privilege because it made my trip a nightmare. Everything I put into the cart, was promptly inspected and then "tossed". I spent the majority of the trip picking up items that were thrown and am now the proud owner of numerous dented cans thanks to my handy helper! Baby C is a fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and will now actually sit and watch for several minutes before he's distracted by his toys or anything else he can find!

Ice Cream - I kind of like this stuff!

Baby D - Baby D is the comedian of the group. She's got an awesome smile and has learned to pose for the camera too. She loves to climb on the furniture and has given her mommy a few mild heart attacks. It's basically the cutest thing ever to watch this little girl walk around in her little footed pajamas swinging her arms and looking for what she can get into next! One of her favorite things to do is to help me unload the dryer. One by one, she pulls out every single article in the dryer and hands it to me so that I can put it into the laundry basket. It's a time consuming chore but seeing her heart so happy and feeling so helpful is worth every single second. Her favorite toy is her dolls and her favorite thing in life is her yellow blanket. She can't leave her crib without it in the morning and she can't go to sleep without it. She basically reminds me of Linus dragging the blanket around the house morning, noon, and night. The threads around the edge have already frayed and had to be removed so I'm starting to grow concerned about how long the blanket will be with us. Baby D finds delight in pretty much everything. She had the best time ever when Granddad wanted to take them for ice cream and he shared a banana split with her. She's also busy learned new words but not knowing words doesn't stop her from having full blown conversations with anyone and everyone. This little girl LOVES to talk! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

18 Month(ish) Update - We're all walking!

Fourth of July Parade - Round Top, TX

I'm very behind (what's new?). It's been a while (again) since I last posted and so much has changed. I've actually drafted several blog posts but by the time I got around to actually publishing them, it was a little late and I felt like I should just go ahead and write a new post. In fact, this original post was actually done a day or so ago and in the time between drafting and proof-reading, we have even more growth and development!

My last published post was about Adam losing his job in the oilfield. I am happy to report that he's since found employment but we haven't been without struggles. Most importantly, we have learned some very hard lessons this year about sacrifices and savings and therefore, we are making huge changes in our lifestyle. I'm sure I'll blog about that more later.

Today's blog is an update on where the babies are at developmentally at 18 months for posterity's sake.

We've had a summer of firsts. 

Quadller Antics

Baby A - Baby A has been walking for several months. He's also working on his vocabulary with phrases like "what's up", "what's that", and "bad dog" not to mention the favorites of "Momma" and "Daddy". (Can you tell what he hears a lot in our house?) He also knows that sheep says "baa".  His favorite foods are anything that doesn't eat him first! Seriously, this kid is a BIG eater. His favorite toys are trucks/cars and he can often be seen pushing them on the floor making go noises. He loves to climb things and often tries (with no success thus far) to get on the couch by himself. He absolutely loves his siblings even though they do make him mad. One recent morning, his brother was particularly upset about something so I was trying to comfort him. Baby A, ran as fast as he could to his brother, gave him a big open-mouthed kiss followed by a hug and then put his forehead to his brother's forehead as if to say "I got you bro. It's alright". Water is a huge interest: he loves the beach, the kiddie pool, and yep, the bathtub! Baby A also loves music. When certain songs come on, he will stop whatever he is doing and dance. In the car, he almost always has his hands in the air and jams out to what's on the radio. 

Baby B - Baby B spent most of the summer walking around on her knees. In fact, the only time we could get her to walk on her feet was when one particular therapist came. She was able to convince her to walk on her own or holding hands but Baby B when I would try to walk with her, her legs would suddenly "break" and go limp. A favorite was to walk was using the giant exercise ball that we used for occupational therapy to push while she walked. About a week after turning 18 months old, I was able to finally get both girls to walk unassisted. On the same day. They say women have to do everything together...I guess our girls are no different when it comes to milestone. Baby A loves stuffed animals more than anything else. She has a collection of them amassed in her crib and she loves to pull them out one by one. Often, she'll be spotted dragging them around the house along with her favorite blanket (which she stole from one of her brothers). We've also found where one of her "bunnies" took a swim in the toilet. While Baby B thought said "Bunny" could swim and go, she was quite distraught when she learned that Bunny had to go through a full-service bath in the washing machine prior to returning to her side. She loves to wear pretty clothes and loves to wear her shoes. She knows how to brush her own hair. Her vocabulary consists mostly of "BB" (what we affectionately call our dog and she since has started calling all animals - real or stuffed), "no", "Daddy", "Mommy", "uh oh", 'hello", "hi" and "ball". Her favorite foods are cheese and fruits. She also loves most vegetables but will often leave meats on her plate and head straight for the fruit. She is not such a fan of the beach, but is warming up to it. She does however love the pool and on most nights, she's somehow able to be the last one in the bathtub giving her plenty of room to splash and laugh.

Baby C - Baby C was our first walker and is now an accomplished runner, spinner, and climber. He can climb in and out of the bathtub on his own. An accomplishment, but one that can be quite frustrating for his parents considering he even knows how to turn the water and the shower off and on on his own. (Don't worry, we keep the bathroom doors shut for this reason along with drowning of stuffed rabbits.) Baby C is quite possibly his Dad's biggest fan. He can often be spotted with his Dad working on projects in the garage or around the house and gets his feelings hurt if he's not including. Baby C's vocabulary consists of "no" (he hears that a lot), "Daddy", "Momma", "uh oh", "hello" (especially on his toy phone) and "Go". He also repeats phrases. There's a particular short we've grown fond of from Disney Jr. in which the chorus goes something like "Oh, oh, oh! You'll never guess what I put in the soup." (You can see the video here if you're really into it: We play with him often with the phrase "look what I put in the soup" and he responds with "Oh, oh, oh".  He also has taken to the movie Rio and will sing along to a song from it with the phrase "Hey, hey, hey". He still loves Mickey Mouse and is taken with turning on and off the TV (until recently, I honestly had no idea how to do it on our flat screen which we've had for years). Baby C, like most mean, is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He'll eat his veggies and fruits, but not near as fast as the  meat!

Baby D - Baby D is our perfectionist. She wouldn't even try walking on her own until she knew she'd get it right. She'd walk holding on to furniture, walls, etc but wouldn't try on her own. Then, the day that her sister started walking, she decided, "well, I can't be the only one still crawling so I better walk too." And that was it, she's walked ever since! Her favorite phrase is "Momma" but she also knows "Da da", "no", "shoes", "hi", "hello",  and "socks". Baby D is a great eater but her favorite food is probably cookies! Uh oh! Her favorite toys are baby dolls and she will hug them and kiss them. Baby D is definitely a Mommy's girl and loves to climb on Mommy's lap or try to convince Mommy to carry her. She loves to wrestle with her brothers in their cribs during our bath/story/prayer routine every night and she also loves to brush her sister's hair. Another favorite game is to get in the dresser and take out all of the clothes Mommy has matched together in pairs and carefully folding and throw them out all over the room. She also loves the water and has no fear of the beach. We have to keep a very close eye on her at the beach because she will take off in the water if you aren't watching. She loves to swim! 

As for us as parents, each age comes with new challenges and new rewards. We're now officially entering the toddler phase and if I'm honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I honestly thought the newborn phase was tough at the time going on essentially three hours of sleep a night in one hour spurts was brutal, but honestly, those days seem like a cake walk compared to chasing after four toddlers. Our therapists have told us that while these "throw myself on the floor" temper tantrums may seem brutal to us, they're actually very good developmental milestones indicating that each of them has the ability to recognize their frustrations and take any action is a good thing. I choose to focus on the blessings of each age and try hard not to "wish away" any single day with them. As I watch many of my friends whose "babies" are getting ready to start high school, or graduate high school, it's hard not to think about how fast the moments will go away. I'm having a hard time adjusting to calling them "quadlers" (coined word for four toddlers) versus "babies" and often find myself looking back at pictures of them since birth and thinking how fast it all (including the pregnancy and NICU time) has flown by. As our life seems to be coming back online, we are settling into much more of a routine and adjusting to being able to get out and do more with them after spending the greater part of the last year and a half confined to indoors activities out of the sheer logistics of leaving the house with four infants in tow! But just like one of my favorite summer TV shoes, I'm quickly learning that in this quad life, you've got to "expect the unexpected".

This is how you handle quad lunches at the mall when there aren't enough high chairs!

That's all for now but I look forward to hearing from you guys and posting more soon!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

15 Month Update

Whew! Yesterday, the babies turned 15 months old. It feels like it's been forever since I've been able to give an update on where we are developmentally. Why? Because we've been so busy developing that there's never any time. Seriously. Ever. Things are non-stop and these guys pretty much take up every ounce of energy, time, and money we have!

Since their birthday in January, we have been receiving services through ECI (Early Childhood Intervention). Three of the four babies qualified for services based on developmental delays. I'm so happy to say that it looks like we probably won't be in the program for too much longer.

Baby A was barely crawling at their first birthday. At 15 months, he's pulling up, cruising the couch, climbing up on the stairs, and can stand on his own for about 30 seconds. He's very close to walking and I am expecting it any day. Lately, he does this little move where he plants his feet and his hand on the floor and pushes up into a "V" position with his rear in the air. I'm pretty sure he's trying to get himself into the upright position because Baby C did the same thing for about a month before he started walking on his own. Vocally, he's making a lot more sounds. He can sign the words "more", "milk", and "all done" with some prompting and is learning to sign "eat". He loves his toys and he loves to play independently. His favorite toy lately has been a red teething ring. It's pretty funny to see him carry it around in his mouth while he crawls around FULL SPEED (and by full-speed, I mean FAST. You'd be amazed to see how fast this kid crawls). He hates when his siblings take something of his and will definitely let us know he's been robbed! He loves animals especially our dogs. He can often be found playing and laughing with one of them and they're so sweet to him even when he ends up with a big clump of their hair in his hand. Baby A was also our first to discover the downstairs bathroom. Needless to say, one toilet adventure was enough to make us remember to close that door each and every time. Baby A is also our flirt. When we take them in public, he always mesmerizes women with his blue eyes and blond hair and this little half smile/half laugh that he does. 

Baby B has always been our smart little girl. Although she's not walking yet, she makes up for it with her vocabulary and her conversational skills. She too was not really crawling on their first birthday, but with the help of ball therapy, she's now crawling on all four, pulling up, and cruising the furniture. She has a pretty extensive vocabulary and can say "uh-oh", "Momma", "Daniel" and "Dada" on her own. She knows the signs "milk" and "more" and can use them accordingly on her own. She also knows the signs "all done" and "eat" and can use those with some help. She has this amazing little "ha ha" laugh and when she hears adults laughing she'll say "ha ha ha". She also loves to have conversations with anyone who will listen. Her part mostly consists of what sounds like "tickle, pickle, tickle" but she knows what she is saying! She is also the one who will tell her siblings when they're doing something wrong and will get on them and correct them. Her latest discovery is sitting on the couch. She loves to be on the couch and will make no effort to try to get off on her own but will sit through an entire episode of "Daniel Tiger" on the couch by herself. But once she's there, don't take her off or you'll never hear the end of it! Baby B has also always been our diva. After an early disaster wearing shoes out the house, I decided that we wouldn't wear shoes until we were walking. When Baby C and D needed them, Baby B was fascinated by her sisters shoes so much that she even had to have them on her feet. While Baby D could care less about shoes, we were forced to go back the next day and buy two more pairs so Baby B could have her own pair of shoes. She loves to wear them and is the only one who wants her shoes on first thing in the morning and won't take them off until it's time for baths. 

Baby C is our muscle man. He's so strong and we've known he would be the first to walk and he is! He took his first steps unexpectedly one Thursday while our Occupational Therapist was here and never turned back. He's now teetering around the house on his own. We were told by our therapists that babies typically only focus on one thing at a time which was true for Baby C because he was so busy learning to walk, he wasn't talking at all. Now that he's getting that walking thing down, he's also making a lot more sounds. He can say "uh oh" and "Mom" on his own and knows the signs for "milk", "more", and "all done" with some encouragement. Baby C is also a Daddy's boy. He has been for some time but when he sees his Dad, he gets super excited and wants to always be by Dad. He loves getting to crawl in bed with his Dad for a few minutes when he wakes up in the morning. Baby C is a HUGE fan of Mickey Mouse and whenever we put on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for a few minutes so we can get something done, Baby C will stop whatever he's doing and look at Mickey. Because he's so strong, one of the struggles we face with Baby C is that he tends to be a little bit of a bully and will take whatever he wants from his brother and sisters. We're usually alerted that Baby C has snatched a toy (or my cell phone) by a squeal from one of the others and while we're working hard to teach him not to take things others are playing with, it's definitely proving to be a challenge. It seems a little bit easier to teach that point when there are four of something and each one is assigned their own color but trying to teach four toddlers how to share with community property as this age is WORK! 

And then there's our beautiful Baby D. Baby D is a smart little girl. She was our tiniest when she was born, but she's now our mightiest. Out of all four babies, she's the only one that does not receive ECI services. She was on the path to walking but currently is taking a break from that to work on her vocabulary. She's mocking sounds that she hears and we really have to watch what we say now because there's a parrot in the room! Her two favorite words are "Momma" which usually comes out "Mom Mom Ma" and "shoes". She also knows how to sign "milk" and "all done" on her own and can sign "more" and "eat" with a little bit of prompting. Recently, Baby D, has figured out how to take command of her world and since she doesn't have the words to demand what she wants, she's taken to crying or whining. It's a challenge as a parent because our hands are so full already that sometimes it's just easier to give in and pick her up or give her what she wants but we're working hard at teaching her words and teaching her that as soon as she stops whining, she can have what it is (if appropriate) that she's wanting. Baby D has claimed her own little spot in the window sill to sit. Every morning we have to open the blinds so they can see outside and she will take her perch next to the recliner. We can often find her sitting there with her cup or with a toy while she watches cartoons. She's also discovered the stairs which has meant yet another baby gate has had to be purchased. The other day, everyone was downstairs with Dad and playing just fine while I took a shower upstairs. I suddenly heard her "I'm in a perdicament" cry" and could tell she was closer to me than she should be. I jumped out of the shower, grabbed a towel, and sure enough, I found my baby girl on the fourth stair with a look on her face that said "I almost made it to you but it was too far to get to you and too far to turn back". It only took a minute while Dad was tending to another baby for her to get there so we've since had to install gates at both the top and bottom of the stairs. (And Adam will vouch, those things are pain for adults to maneuver, especially when we're often carrying more than one baby.)

At 15 months actual (12 adjusted), we have weened everyone down to only the nighttime bottle. Within the next month, the plan is to finish with bottles. I did try weening the amount of formula they were getting down in preparation for taking the bottles away completely however, when I did that, they suddenly started waking up at 3 AM hungry and this Mommy needs her sleep like you wouldn't believe so we are back to an evening bottle during story time for now while I work to make sure they eat more during the day. 

We work very hard to make sure we are giving them a wide range of activities and exposures. My biggest fear is that because there are four of them, they will miss out on things that other children take for granted and end up living a sheltered life. It's hard work taking them out, but after spending all of the winter months cooped up, with basically no human interaction or any resemblance of a life we once lived, it's a welcomed change to get out of the house. 

Last weekend we took them to Wings Over South Texas in Corpus Christi at the Naval base. We slathered them in sunblock, put their sun shades on the strollers, along with sun hats on them, packed lots of toys and snacks along with a big blanket and whisked them away. They had fun watching the planes and even though I was worried the noise might scare them, it only did when it happened when they weren't expected it. They watched for the planes and would clap for the pilots. They also got to meet a few of the Blue Angels which was pretty cool.

I've never before this willingly let five men command control of the quad stroller!

This weekend, another neat event took place at Whataburger Field in Corpus called Pops in the Park. The Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra put on a concert in the baseball stadium synchronized to a laser light show on the Harbor Bridge and ended with a fireworks show as the finale. The theme was Oil Fields to Sea Shells and all of the musical selections tied into the Texas culture. I was really worried since it didn't start until later in the evening but we tried to prepare with carefully timed naps and extra sleep during the day. Three of the four managed to stay awake (and not overly fussy) through the entire show and the fourth slept through about the second half of the performance before hearing the fireworks and waking up to watch them. It was definitely fun. They gave away tambourines to the audience and the quads enjoyed shaking them but their favorite part was clapping. When the audience would clap, so would the quads sometimes even keeping rhythm during the music. 

Pops in the Park with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra at Whataburger Field. (Aren't we an entourage?)

Having Adam home has been both a blessing and a curse. While it's hard with him not having a job, I can't help but think how I would not be able to do this age alone as I had been with him working out of town. Our days are filled with taking care of the quads, teaching, and coordinating their many appointments for therapy as well as other doctors appointments and such. While one of us prepares meals, the other tends to the quads and their needs. We share the housework and have even managed to get some of the things unpacked that I was never able to do when I was doing this alone as he worked away. Still, last night, as we returned home from our outing, Adam and I peered into the open garages of some of our neighbors as we passed them and Adam said, "Oh what I wouldn't give you have such a nice, neat garage like that". Followed by, "if we just had another set or two of hands". Of course, he wouldn't come right out and say it, but I know it finally hit him after being home with us for a month and a half; there's only so much a person can do and when you're caring for four little people's each and every need, you pretty much don't get a break and by the time they're asleep, you're too exhausted to do anything more than wash the dishes, clean the table, pick up their toys, and run a quick mop underneath the quad table. For now, our house is what I can only describe as (semi)organized chaos. We do what we have to to get by, but focus primarily on our babies and their needs. They won't be this young forever so we're trying hard to savor it while we can. 

I'll be honest, never in my life have I ever been so exhausted, stressed, and disorganized. Sometimes I feel like I am one thrown cereal bowl, one dirty diaper, or one whine away from the funny farm, BUT never in my life have I ever been so richly blessed and rewarded for all of the sacrifices we've had to make. I love being a mommy and although I never ever dreamed I'd be parenting quadruplets, it's by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Making Your Own Laundry Detergent

Since having the quads, one of the things we have continuously worked on has been trimming our budget wherever we can. Surviving on one income (and now no income) proves to be a lofty task in today's society but it can be done. 

While we've had to sacrifice in multiple areas, one of the things I've been able to do is learn how to make things myself versus paying sometimes three times the cost or more what I'd pay to buy it. One such item I've learned to make myself is laundry detergent. Within a multiples group I network with online, a triplet mommy shared that she'd been making her own laundry detergent to save money. I was intrigued so she sent me a sample of hers to try and I loved it. It worked ALMOST as good as the name brand detergent I've been loyal to my entire life. I've posted about it before, but I have always been very brand loyal to Tide detergent and it's done a great job at keeping my kiddos clothes clean since the day they were born. I still use Tide for the really tough or really stinky loads, but for our easy loads, I only use my homemade version. 

I think it's really easy to make. I hope you'll feel the same! Here's how:

Homemade Laundry Detergent

(You can find all of these in the regular laundry detergent aisle. Usually, they are not at eye level. They'll either be on the very bottom shelf or at the top.)
**Note** - As a quad mom, I buy as much as I can on Amazon so it's shipped straight to my door. These are NOT available at a good price on Amazon and I highly suggest you buy these locally because the price is about 1/3 of what Amazon charges.

  • 1 bar shaved bar soap. (I like Zote but Fels Naptha is also commonly found in our grocery stores. Other brands include Ivory and Dr. Bronner's.)
  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer)
I start out by "shaving" (or in my case grating) the bar of soap. You could easily take it to a hand grater and knock it out but I opted to use my food processor. I just chopped into large chunks and threw it in. Next time, I'll probably just go ahead and grate it by hand because of the clean up time getting it all out of the food processor. Then, I mixed the grated soap, the Borax, and the washing soda all in the blender until it makes a fine powder.

Store in a sealed container with a small scoop (a formula scoop just so happens to be perfect)!

To Use
Use 1 Tablespoon per load or 2-3 Tablespoons for heavily soiled loads.

Let me know it you try it! I'd love to hear what you think?