Friday, November 25, 2016

Thankfulness 2016

The kitchen is clean, leftovers put away, kids are in bed asleep and my feet are up. Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. And another anniversary too. In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving, my husband and I celebrate four years of marriage on this day. Unfortunately, my sweet, hard-working husband had to leave right after our meal to go work for our family. He works so hard to support us and I'm so thankful for that. 

We had a very low-key, family Thanksgiving this year. Even so, I have to blog about it because for some reason, neither of us can recall our Thanksgiving from last year. (We are thinking Adam must have had to work and maybe we skipped it last year, but you'd think I'd remember spending it alone with kids.) Either way, these Thanksgivings with our kids are fleeting so I want to be able to keep these memories in my mind forever.  

When I was pregnant, Adam and I spent our first Thanksgiving alone. We kind of procrastinated and ended up buying a turkey the night before. Knowing we didn't have time to thaw one, we bought a "fresh-brined turkey". Then we Googled our way through frying that baby up. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Since, we've been on the quest to recreate that turkey but haven't been able to find a grocer that carried fresh brined turkeys. So this year, we bought a frozen one and defrosted it and then brined that baby ourselves. It turned out wonderfully. While Adam fried the turkey, I whipped up some sides and pies. We spent at least four hours in the kitchen, set up our spread only to gobble it up in less than about 10 minutes. 

Even though our meal was quickly devoured, we still reflected on all we have to be thankful for this year. 2016 hasn't exactly been an easy year. We've still faced our share of challenges and struggles. Yet, through it all, we have each other and are surrounded by family and friends who love us and that is a blessing. We are blessed that God always seems to provide for us in our time of need and somehow, just at the perfect time, the exact help we need always seems to appear at the exact right time. 

As we start into this years' holiday season, we are filled with love, hope  and thankfulness. We are excited to celebrate Jesus' birthday and share the true meaning of Christmas with our children.

Modeling their t-shirts made by Mommy

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Essential Oils: Tiny Little Bottles, HUGE Changes in my Family's Lives

So this is the post that I promised over a month ago. Remember when I told you something big was happening in our family? Well, I'm finally sitting down to tell you about it and I'm really hoping that I don't go overboard because to me, this is SUPER exciting. It's no secret that I love modern medicine. I am eternally grateful to all of the doctors and medical professionals who played such an important role in getting my babies here and their thriving in spite of being 28 weekers. Modern medicine does amazing things. I'm thankful for it and for the many men and women who've dedicated their lives to helping save and support the lives of others. That said, I've always leaned in a natural direction when it came to products I use and now my family uses. 

Two years ago, a friend and fellow quad mommy introduced me to essential oils. She shared with me the many benefits of oils and told me all of the wonderful changes she was seeing in her family. "Wow! That's amazing" I said, the skeptic in my laughing on the inside. I started digging deeper though and eventually started thinking "hmm, maybe there's something to this". Fast forward nearly two years, and I FINALLY became a member of Young Living in July of 2016. It only took me a few times of using them for various troubles that popped up in our lives for me to realize, I'd stumbled upon something really wonderful! What took me so long? Well, I was hesitant because of the cost. We watch every single penny very closely here so I was scared to invest very much money in something I didn't know if I'd use. Eventually though, illness after illness and watching my family sink deeper and deeper into misery, I knew something HAD to be done. Essential oils just made sense!

All I can say now is that I'm kicking myself for not doing this sooner. You see, for the past two years, our family has been in such a reactive mode. So many areas of our lives have been in chaos and personally, I've been shaken to my very core. Life has been a challenge. I've adjusted to not only motherhood, but motherhood as a mother to quadruplets. If you've known me for long, you know that I've always thrived on fitting in and I've always wanted to be like everyone else. Learning and then accepting that you life just took a turn that means being like everyone is not going to be possible takes some work. Long-time blog readers and friends know that soon after we came out of the NICU, my own mom went into the hospital with what ultimately was diagnosed as Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that attacks the lymphatic system. I quit my career after working for the same company right at ten years. We relocated to a new city with no family and knew no one upon arrival here. My husband has spent a lot of his time working out of town leaving me to raise quadruplets alone. The oil field tanked in early 2015, causing massive job loss across the industry which directly affected my family. Meanwhile, we've faced other struggles such as illnesses, addictions, and family quarrels. I'm using these oils in our lives every single day and I get more excited every time I use them!

You already know I have quadruplets; so you can probably guess that I have some pretty special hormones along with that. These oils have been instrumental in helping me to balance my hormones and stabilize my mood. I've been able to boost our entire family's immune system and instead of being reactive, we're talking a proactive approach. Even my skeptic husband now comes to me asking what oil to use to supplement different areas of his health because he knows they work too.

So why is Young Living? In my opinion, Young Living is simply the best essential oils company there is. Young Living is the only company that offers the Seed to Seal Guarantee? What is that you ask? Watch this video to learn about Young Living's promise to families:

One thing that I feel worthy of talking about here, is that when I first dipped my toe in the oily water, I was somewhat intimidated. I still love my Whataburger, Sweet Tea sweetened with refined sugar, and I won't walk away from Degree deodorant anytime soon (you're welcome for that - quadruplet toddlers make you sweat, like, A LOT). What if I didn't fit in  with other oil users. Would people take me seriously if I shared oils with them? Would I need to lose weight and take up running marathons? Would I have to find a way to put in a garden and some chickens (which I'd love by the way)? The answer, is no. I'm just starting on my journey. I don't know where it will ultimately lead or what other lifestyle changes it will become a catalyst for, but I do know this: Young Living Essential Oils are changing my family for the better and to keep this to myself would be awful! I'm excited and I want all my friends and family to experience this gift too.

I would love to post more about Young Living Oils and truthfully, I probably will in future posts, because these oils literally ARE THAT exciting to me! If you'd like to learn more, please comment here, message me, catch me in person or email me. I'm offering a number of classes in the month of November, many online, and I'd love for you to be a part of them so you can decide whether or not Young Living is something that may benefit your family!

Already convinced Young Living is the right choice for your family? You can click here to sign up as a member and get started on yoru oily journey right away

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Happy Halloween 2016 - The Year of the Cards

Confession:sometimes, I draft blog posts from my phone. I'm sure many can relate. Sometimes, it's just easier since my phone is already in my hand, my pictures are there and can easily be uploaded and I don't have to go drag out my laptop. My kids already know my phone is off limits to them (except at doctor's visits and other long waits when they're allowed to watch YouTube videos) but my computer comes out so rarely around them, all they want to do is watch videos.

Well, bad news! The Blogger app has not been updated. After several days of trying to make a Halloween blog post, I gave in and woke up extra early to bang this out before the monsters awake.

We are so fortunate to live in a community that places value on children and goes above and beyond to offer fun activities for them. This was really our first year being able to be out and about around Halloween and boy did we take advantage of it. I think in total we hit five different events on four different night. Let's just say I didn't feel bad about putting the kids to bed early yesterday!

This year, we were the four aces! I borrowed the idea from a quad mom in the East. The costumes were super simple: a white pillowcase, arm and head holes cut. I cute out the card shapes and the a's using my Silhouette Cameo and pressed them onto the fabric with my heat press. (Soon after having quads, I learned that buying holiday shirts was expensive and there had to be a better way! For all of my holidays last year, I asked for these two items and that's all I got for the year but the savings have sure paid off!) On another note, any quad mamas out there reading this, these are up for grabs for next year if you'd like them! They're homemade, but they do the job and they'll be free! 

Halloween with the Hooks

The kids absolutely LOVED trick-or-treating. All through the month of October, I spent time reading books about fall, and talking to them about trick-or-treating. We watched the Great Pumpkin when it came on TV and I was able to get them super excited about "getting candy". Our first event was a trunk-or-treat at a local church and they had a blast. It took only a couple tries of learning they could walk up to people and say "trick-or-treat" and get candy for them to run ahead of us. The following night we took them to "Halloween with the Hooks", an event our local minor league baseball team puts on. They entered the costume contest and even though they didn't win, they had a blast. The next night, we went to a fall program put on by a ministry we're a part of for learning games and pizza and then stopped by another local Trunk or Treat function. After that, as parents, we'd had enough trick or treat fun and took a few days off until the actually day of Halloween when we took them trick or treating in our area. They had a blast! But as we went on, those buckets got heavy, they started dragging, and were ready to go home! We let them have a few pieces of candy each before bath and bedtime and then the tax man came to go through their candy, check it, and put it away. They were so sad the next morning when their buckets were empty and said "Daddy took my candy". We explained that it was time to put the buckets away until next year and that their candy was in a safe place and we'd give it to them when they needed it. Of course, they "needed" it a lot yesterday! :)

Our 1st REAL trick or treating at someone's door!

We have many pictures like this! When you've gotta check your loot, you stop anywhere!
Did you celebrate Halloween this year? If so, what was your costume? And what's your favorite candy?

Friday, September 30, 2016

We're still here...(sort of)

This is probably going to be a long one.I have a lot of catching up to do. In spite of my best efforts, it seems there's never enough hours in the day. This will probably be the theme to a lot of the major points in this post. In fact, now that I think about it, I might be able to get away with posting: "Four toddlers: no time, no money, plenty of stress" and I think most of you would get the point. However, that makes for kind of dull reading and since, as most of you have probably noticed, I like details, I'd feel like you were missing out (although, I highly doubt that to be true in most people's realities).  

If I'm completely honest, I'm over here kicking myself. Remember those days when I complained about waking up throughout the night to give four snugly little babies diaper changes, hug them, and snuggle them while I gave them bottles and then they basically napped all day? Remember that? Yeah, well I was crazy. I take back every single complaint that ever fell of my lips. And also, I'm sorry.

I had no idea. None. I swear. Please be gentle. Remember, I'm a first time mom after all. You know what they say about terrible twos? And threes? It's legit. By all means is it ever legit. This age is by far the toughest I've encountered yet. I'd be totally lying if I told you I wasn't fearful that this age may break us. And then, I think about all those teenage years to come and just cringe. We shall persevere. 

This age, though, it's tough. While we are starting to reap the benefits of what we've worked so hard for over the last 2 years and 8 months, there's so much growing and changing, mixed in with four little growing egos, mischievousness, testing, and clashing of wills, it certainly makes for a stressful day. They learned how to crawl out of their beds; which meant we had to convert cribs into toddler beds which means they can now get in and out of their beds at will. I had hoped to keep them in cribs until adulthood. Clearly, as evidenced by the number of blinds we've replaced in their bedrooms, along with the messy dresser drawers, I have officially lost that war. You know the running joke about how moms can never use the restroom in peace (ie ALONE)? Well, I have that problem. Imagine having four toddlers constantly underfoot in all that you do. ALL. DAY. LONG. While we're learning so much and I try my best to see everything task as a learning opportunity, sometimes, it's really challenging not to want to just hurry up and be done so I can move on to the next things that has to be done. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done, which is why I rarely get much scratched off my to do list. 

It's also no secret either that having quadruplets definitely puts a strain on the old pocketbook. Add that combined with the fact that while we're trying and we're so, so close, child care costs are still out of the question in regard to our budget. This means, as much as I'd like to work outside the home to get a break and some me time, it's just something that's out of reach for us right now. 

And while I'm being honest, I'll also confess that little by little, as the stress and strain of living life magnified, seem to consume our lives, Adam and I are each seeking coping mechanisms on our own to deal with the pressure we face versus focusing on our marriage and the overall success of our family. We know that we need to seek help immediately and it's definitely something we are working on carving out time for. 

All that said, there are some exciting (and a little scary) changes that our family is going through right now. I can't wait to share with you one of the biggest, most exciting things, but I'll save that for another post! But, as a parting gift, I'll leave you with this precious photo that I've waited over 3 years to get:

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Day I Quit Potty Traning

Go ahead; judge me all you want. My kids are nearly two and a half years old and they are not potty trained. In spite of my best effort, they aren't. They're not ready. And I don't care. You see. For the past few months, the time I've spent in the bathroom fruitlessly has ticked by faster than I care to even think about. Trying to train four kids at once to use the bathroom is exactly what I expected: hell. 

I should point out that those hours have not been completely fruitless. If I'm able to stay on top of them, the boys actually will go in the potty. The girls however, have no interest. I say this only because I feel like it's important for moms to hear that what other people tell you will happen with your kids is not always right. You have to do what is best for you and your kids; nobody else's. 

I'm sure I'll catch flack for this post but you know what, I don't care. Most of those people speaking their opinions have never in their lives attempted to potty train quadruplets.  Alone. I spend a minimum of 60 hours a week completely alone with four toddlers and the remaining hours are mostly still spent with them. You see, there are no breaks for me. None. 

Do you know what toddlers do? I'll tell you what they do. They push their limits. When there's four of them, they eventually realize they outnumber you and they gang up on you. While you tend to one's needs (or their messes), the others are making a mess in another room or learning cool ways to get into things they shouldn't. It's a never-ending story. I promise. 

Why can't the toys stay in the toybox?

Little by little, I slowly feel my sanity slipping away. In the last week, we've had two broken windows and a broken TV. After the second broken window, we decided that we would only allow toys in their bedrooms from now on. I spent an entire morning culling through toys and relocating them to the respective bedroom. Then, as I had one child in the bathroom on the potty, another ran to me yelling "uh oh, broke". I knew something was wrong and came in to find the television talking, without a picture. We've had countless accidents in our beds, on the couches, on the rugs, and on the floor. I'll never get back the hours I've spent cleaning up those messes. I've been so desperate that I've spent hours on the phone with people I'm closest to trying to figure out what to do. 

Ouch! Anybody want to come replace glass for us?

I can only be in one place at one time. If I'm in the bathroom encouraging one child to use the potty, I cannot be in the living room supervising the other three. And since potty training requires consistency, I spend a lot of time in the bathroom which creates more disasters in the other rooms. Thankfully, we've been able to childproof enough of the house so we haven't had any major disasters, involving injuries, but it's only a matter of time. Therefore, I'm done. It shouldn't be so difficult. Not only is it stressful for me, it's stressful for my kids. When my kids are ready to use the potty, they'll tell me. We'll put them in underwear, and they'll go on the potty. Nobody goes to college in diapers. So with this post, I officially quit worrying it. 

They were supposed to be napping. The room was picked up before nap. He climbed out of his crib. Total destruction!

Ironically, as I was searching through my phone for applicable pictures to add to this post, I came across this article on Facebook further reinforcing my decision:

In the meantime, I'll spend my days acting as a drill-sergeant 24/7 and my nights and naps trying to raise money to replace our family's television and a window.  My sanity and my children's overall discipline are much more important than stupid potty-training! I'll continue to spend $250 a month on diapers. It's a small price to pay for my sanity after all! And if anyone has anything to say about it, I dare them to speak a word to me before they've spent a week (or even a couple days) in my shoes!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Beachin' It - Quad Style

I keep receiving emails proclaiming "summer's best beach reads". I don't know about you, but I don't see myself being able to sit on the beach and read a book for a very, very long time. Don't get me wrong. We LOVE the beach. At least once a week during the summer months, we are there. Sometimes we spend a Sunday afternoon there, other times, we take a quick jaunt over to the beach after dinner and let the kids frolic in the sand and splash their feet in the water before we take baths and crawl in bed. Our floors seem like they're always covered in sand this time of year but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

We're beach people. Adam and I have always loved the water. We chose our city because we fell in love with the beach here. We definitely have dreams of raising beach babies so this year, our plan is to make frequent visits and have tons of fun on the beach with the kiddos.

Our beach with a summer storm brewing! It passed quickly but was really awesome to watch!

That said, taking four two-year-olds to the beach is no "day at the beach" (forgive the pun). Like most outings these days, trips to the beach require careful planning and scheduling. They have to be timed perfectly to avoid nap and meal times (or else beach friendly meals must be packed). We have to pack enough towels for a small army, beach towels, life jackets, toys, chairs, snacks, sippy cups, drinks, swimsuits, sunglasses, hats, sunblock... Do you get where I'm going with this? We pack a ton of junk, unload it at the beach, load it back up, only to unload and have to wash it all and put it all away again a few hours later. All in all, while a day at the beach is fun, it's also a LOT of work for us. Not to mention, the time actually spent at the beach requires us to be 100% alert at all times. Water is dangerous, we don't always trust people around us, and Texas beaches allow vehicle traffic so we are constantly on guard and operating at 400%. I promise, it's beyond exhausting but it's so worth it to give our kids fun childhood memories. 

Still, summer is supposed to be easy! We relax a little with bedtimes and nap times and focus more on making memories, doing fun stuff, and spending time outdoors. So we are constantly on the lookout for high-quality, yet affordable products to make our lives easier, save time, and simplify life with quads. We recently learned of a wonderful product called NoZone Sun Protection Clothing. Where has this been all my life? The best way to explain it is to think about a swimsuit with the sunblock already built in. 

Any idea how hard it is to capture four toddlers in one shot at the beach? 

NoZone has actually been around for  much longer than I thought. Founded in 1996, NoZone products are all made of high-quality materials and independently certified SPF 50 or greater, even when wet.That's right, let me rephrase. I put my kids in a swimsuit made of high-quality fabric and it protects them from overexposure to the sun without me having to spend time applying sunblock that I have to worry about missing spots on slippery, wiggly toddlers (times four) AND reapplying with water exposure. My exact words when asked to try them and give a review "sign me up"! 

Brotherly beach play! You can't beat it!

Our boys were fitted in the Fiji suits while the girls were fitted in the Kailua Sun Protective Hooded suits. (We opted not to try the hoods on the boys because they're generally more curious and exploring more than the girls and I worried about the hoods getting hung with them). The kids were immediately excited to put on their new suits. So excited in fact, that we showed them off while we lunched at Peter Piper Pizza. (You can only imagine the looks we got...four swimsuit wearing toddlers all the same age marching into the pizza buffet and devouring their favorite pizza.)  Almost immediately, I learned just exactly how much has gone into this design. Both designs of the suit feature a zippered bottom allowing easy access for diaper changes and/or trips to the potty. 

Sneaking up on the sea gulls!

Soon, it was time to test out the suits at the beach. Previously, and even still on occasion, we wore traditional swimsuits and swim trunks, often with a rash guard top. Both options required liberal application of sunscreen and neither option was diaper change friendly, especially when wet. The NoZone suit comes in attractive bright colors and prints, and my favorite part is that the colors are bright and easy for me to keep an eye (and count) on all four kiddos at once as I constantly stand guard on the beach. I also like the fact that the bright neon colors also make my children noticeable to drivers on the beach just in case someone should dart in the direction of traffic. Once they were zipped in the suits, we did apply sunblock to faces, the little bit of arms/hand and legs/feet that remained exposed. The girls were happy to wear their hoods which made me particularly happy when it came to my little fair-skinned redhead. At the end of the day, the real proof came at bath time. We stripped everyone down and bathed everyone. I am happy to report, not a single sunburn, not even tan lines. These suits really work and they seriously cut down on the stress of making sure everyone is protected from the sun.  They're attractive, cute, and completely functional! Not to mention, after a full afternoon of swimming in the ocean, playing in the sand, snacking, and all that being a toddler entails (times four), they washed up nicely in the washing machine and were ready to wear again! Also, because they're "all natural" with no chemicals built in to provide added sun protection, I didn't have to worry about them losing their SPF factor. I like easy!

Free to run and splash! This is the life!

Summer is all about taking it easy and these suits definitely make our life easier! Since we frequent the beach these days, I plan on buying another set! If you'd like to learn more about NoZone, in the United States, visit their website at They do have a separate website for Canadians which you can easily reach by Googling. In the meantime, what's your favorite time-saving summer tip?

**Disclosure** I received four Infant Sun Protective Suits from NoZone in exchange for writing a review on the blog.   

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (AKA The Plague AKA The Pits of Hell)

I've held off on posting this update for a few reasons. Namely, because the last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for us and my goal here was to craft an update that will (hopefully) eventually be of some use to a parent facing the awful virus incorrectly named "Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease" (I'll explain why it's named wrong later in this post, but I think a more apt name would be HELL). 

Because things can never be easy around here, we thought it would be fun to go through a week of complete and utter torture. As a result, through tireless Internet searches, advice from other moms who've been there and done that, as well as one weekend call to the pediatrician's cell phone, I feel like I'm well versed in all things Hand, Foot and Mouth. And let me tell you, it is a BEAST! 

Adam and our yorkie comforting Baby C
Can you tell our dogs are very bonded with our entire family?

The tricky part about it is that I never even saw it coming. The kids had been sick the weekend prior and we kept them home from church (thank heavens). On Thursday, Baby C woke up from an unusually restless afternoon nap and felt warm. I took his temperature and it came back close to 102°. We've never had a fever that high so I knew something was up but because there was so much drooling, I thought perhaps he was cutting a molar. He didn't eat very much at dinner that night and I spent most of the night holding him in the recliner as every time I put him in his crib, he'd cry and cry which is completely unusual. The unusually high amount of drool really had me convinced me that it must be his teeth. Still, the next morning was Friday and I knew going into the weekend like this was risky and I could possibly regret not getting immediate medical care for him. I called at 9:00 to see if I could schedule an appointment. The earliest we could get in was 2:45 that afternoon. Throughout the day, Baby C was uncomfortable, crying often, and generally grumpy, not to mention, the drool continued to be incessant. By 2:00, when he and I left for doctor's office, his adopted grand-ma noticed that he was starting to develop sores on his feet. We live about twenty minutes from the pediatrician's office and when I took him out at her office, I noticed what looked like large fire ant bites starting to pop up on his hands and face. I knew immediately what I was dealing with. As I huddled in the corner, holding my sick, drooling, crying child and trying to shield other patients from him, I texted my husband and our adopted grand-ma that I bet she was going to tell me he had "hand, foot, and mouth disease". And that's exactly what happened.

I left the pediatrician's office with instructions to give Tylenol and Motrin for pain, lots of fluids (the real risk to HFM is dehydration), Pedialyte Pops and to watch the other three kiddos. Of course, by the time we made it home, Baby D was already showing signs of having it as well and we knew we were in for a time as we dealt with not only one case, but four. What ensued in the next few days is possibly summed up in one word: "hell".  I had seen other mothers in social media groups I participate in post pictures and updates in regard to their children having HFM and honestly I had prayed that we'd never get it. When we did, I was left with no choice but to face it head on. 

I spent that entire Friday night on the couch, often with three crying babies clinging to me at once (there would have been four but luckily I was able to manage to keep one asleep at all times). Sitting there hearing my children cry and yell that "bees" are getting them and knowing there's pretty much nothing (or so I was told) was the worst feeling in the world. I experienced a multitude of emotions including anger, fear, and guilt. The next day, I made it my mission to do whatever I could to make them comfortable. What follows is an accumulation of my research as well as what worked well for us from personal experience.

A few facts about HFM: 
  • Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (Coxsackie Virus) is a common viral infection.
  • It is most common in children under age five.
  • Adults can contract the virus, although the effects are usually milder than those seen in young children. (I am able to personally vouch for this one.) 
  • It begins with a sudden high fever and pain and is followed by a terrible rash on as the name suggests, the hands, feet, and mouth but also in the throat and the genital areas. A sore throat and mouth are also symptoms due to the sores the virus causes.
  • It is extremely contagious. The virus is carried by saliva and feces primarily but in the early stages, children can transmit it to one another just by being in the same room. It can also be transmitted by contaminated drinking water in rare cases. 
  • It cannot be transmitted from people to animals or vice-versa and should not be confused with the animal virus of a similar name. 
  • The virus can actually often be found in a patient's feces for two to three months following the initial infection!
  • At this time, no vaccine is available. 
  • The disease is similar to chicken pox, in that once you catch it, you generally build up immunity to it. However, there are multiple viruses that cause it and each one requires it's own immunity, so it is possible to catch it more than once.

Here are some of the tips I learned through researching the web, talking with our pediatrician, and talking with other moms who've been through it:

  • Pain Medication: I rotated Ibuprofen and Tylenol for the painful course of the illness. I kept a paper chart (although I'm told Walgreens has a good app for managing meds) on the kitchen counter with each child's name and the time and dosage given. This way, I was able to know when to give the next dose so that they were always covered with some sort of pain relief. Once I was able to get the rotation going, and able to maintain it around the clock, their level of pain was much more manageable.
  • Magic Mouthwash: By Saturday, the mouth sores had overtaken Baby C so badly that he couldn't even drink water without crying. Knowing that risk of dehydration was high, I phoned our pediatrician on her cell phone. She could hear the crying in the background and told me she was going to call in a prescription for Magic Mouthwash. This is a mixture of Mallox, benedryl, and lidocaine which coats the sores and numbs the pain in the mouth. You have to apply it carefully and make sure they don't swallow it but we were able to apply it gently with a q-tip and it gave relief for about 30 minutes at a time so that we could at least get water and some source of nutrition in them. 
  • L-Lysine: L-Lysine is an amino acid. I was given this suggestion from another multiples mom. Because this isn't a traditional treatment, I will not list dosages but one can easily find such information on their own should they wish to go this route. My husband was only able to find the pill form of just the lysine so we crushed them up and administered in ice cream or yogurt. I will say that the ones who we were able to get to take the medicine seemed to have less severe sores on their bodies and the ones they did have cleared up much faster than the ones who would not eat it. 
  • Essential Oils: I know essential oils are all the rage right now and to be honest, I've dabbled a bit but never really been a big believer. But after a few nights with absolutely zero sleep due to the pain my kids were experiencing, I would have given both arms to find something to help them. Out of desperation, I was able to find some oils locally. I administered the two oils I used in a carrier oil to the bottoms of their feet and up and down their spines three or four times a day. After the first time we used it, I knew I was on to something all four soon began to come and lay down in front of me to show me the bottoms of their feet saying "metcine, mommy" and asking for more.
  • Avoid citrus fruits and fried foods: their mouths (and later mine) were basically a raw open sore. I was careful to make sure we only served foods that would feel good on the sores. Lots of cold or room temperature foods went over best. 
  • Sleep: I'm almost hesitant to actually write this here, but we've always been blessed with good sleepers for the most part. Sleep is important in our household and we've always had a pretty strict schedule for them to adhere in regard to wake and sleep times. We are still in cribs but when I found them actually asking to get into their beds at weird times, I knew that sleep would make them feel better. Our schedule got off a little bit as a result, but the quads took longer naps at different times of day, sometimes not waking up until six or seven in the evening which meant they didn't go to bed until nineish but they always went back to sleep when expected so we were able to tolerate it. Sleep heals the body and I fully feel like it definitely helped them. Never once while they were sick did I wake anybody up because I was afraid they wouldn't sleep at night. If it happened, I was prepared that I'd stay up/sleep on the couch with them but fortunately, it didn't happen. 

We are now close to two weeks into this and the kids are feeling much better. I even got to join in the fun for a few days with my own version that consisted of a really bad sore throat, fatigue, and a few little sores popping up on my hands and feet as well as in my throat. The kids' appetites have returned and are bigger than ever and while there's still a lot of crying and whining going on in our house, it's now related to the ever-present sibling battles that occur when there are four of them or else because well, there's four two-year-olds living here and that's just part of our life. The last of the sores are healing up nicely and as a precaution on a few that looked a little suspicious, I'm treating appropriately with antibiotic ointment. The skin on their hands and feet is now peeling off as a result and I'm told it's highly likely they may also lose their finger and toenails in the coming month or two. None of us are looking forward to that!

Per the pediactrician's recommendation and out of respect to all the other parents out there, we are erring on the side of caution and not taking them around other kids until a week after the last rash started erupting or until all of the sores have completely healed. Which will be nine days from today. Ouch! 

While I really hope that if you're reading this far your little one isn't experiencing this awful childhood virus, hopefully at least a little bit of the information I've compiled will serve as comfort for both you and your little one(s) if you are. If I can help you, please don't hesitate to reach out and if you have a tip or a trick that worked for you, please leave it in the comments below so that others can see! 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Corpus Christi Water Boil (And T-Shirt Order Form)

Hi Corpus Christi! Like so many of you, our family has been affected by our city's third water boil in less than a year's time. It's frustrating as a parent not to be able to provide your children with easy access to clean water to drink, cook with and bathe in. Many of you may be visiting my blog for the first time. We are the Archibeques and we have quadruplets. As if life isn't crazy/busy enough chasing after four two-year-olds, it's been aggravating to us not knowing whether our children will/have caught any illnesses that could have been prevented had action been taken sooner and I know that I'm not alone. We ALL NEED CLEAN WATER!  Citizens of Corpus Christi of every age, gender, race, and make-up are affected.

Me talking with the local news about my shirts.
 As a mom, I consider it my duty and honor to raise happy, healthy children so that they will become happy, healthy and productive citizens when I'm done (as if a mother's work is ever done). I feel that everyone in the world is entitled to basic things such as clean, fresh water and in Corpus, we are counting on our city to provide just that for us. It is an outrage that we are now on day SEVEN of having to boil (or buy) drinking water and that when I put my babies in the bathtub at night, I grimace worrying about whether or not they may catch something by drinking bath water or through an open wound. The fact is, we just don't know what's in our water and that is unacceptable. 

It started as a way for me to express myself with a simple t-shirt proclaiming "I survived the Annual Corpus Christi Water Boil 2016". Initially, I posted it on my personal Facebook page with the caption "too soon??" and within hours, I had friends and family encouraging me to make more and take them public. At first, I was hesitant that people may not take it seriously. After all, it did start as a bit of sarcasm; but within minutes after I posted that I was taking orders on a local Facebook Trash to Treasure site, I started receiving orders. Now that people are ordering, I think it would be really cool to see people all over the city wearing shirts I created as a way to bring awareness that we will NOT tolerate the lack of clean water in our city and that we demand that the City of Corpus Christi correct all issues and restore our city's most valuable resource immediately.

Shirts are printed on a high-quality cotton t-shirt for comfort.
If you'd like to order more than two shirts or are looking for children's sizes, please fill out your request in the comments section and I will contact you.

UPDATE - I am just a mom, with a blog, who makes t-shirts for my family and friends, and a heart to see my children and other children grow up healthy and happy. I never expected the news to reach out to me over a silly shirt I posted on Facebook. Since yesterday's broadcast, I've received a substantial number of responses, more than I ever expected. As a result, my family has decided that a portion of all proceeds from any shirts sold will go towards a donation to "I Am Waters", a Texas organization which aims to provide clean drinking water to the homeless. 

To order a shirt, please submit your information here. You will be contacted as soon as the minimum batch order of 20 is reached. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Quad Potty Training: Take One (And Other Significant Milestones)

Eating dinner like big boys and girls

This morning in HEB (our grocery store), the cashier asked a question I hear often: "what went through your mind when you found out you were having quadruplets"?  The irony in this particular instance of this question was not lost. As I piled up pull-on diapers, big kid wipes, and a book about potties onto the conveyor belt, I gave her my best smile and politely answered "I was just shocked". 

The truth is, while initially so many things went through my mind, my biggest fear has always been potty training. As I connected with many moms of multiples on social media and pictures of four potty training chairs, little training pants, and other potty training equipment filled my Facebook newsfeed, I grew more and more paralyzed with fear that this would really be happening for us soon. When the kids were just a year and a half old and a cashier in Walmart informed me it was time to start thinking about potty training, I did what any mom with a $250 a month diaper bill would do when someone who didn't know her or her children beyond the 3 minutes she'd watched them in line and didn't even know the proper term for four babies born at once is not "quatriplets" piped up with parenting advice that I needed to potty train them would do: I politely asked her if she was volunteering to do it. 

Yet, the time has come. In a few short days, we will be 27 months old (yes, I hate people that use months beyond two years but for this milestone, it's relevant). My goal has always been to wait until the kids told me they're ready to use the potty. I knew they wouldn't go to school wearing diapers. 

 I'm not sure why, but I always just assumed that I would be potty training four kiddos at once. Now that the time has come, that's just not reality for us. I've spent the last week doing some research on the best ways to potty train. What I've learned is what I feel will work for us, as of right now. I'm going in with an open mind and a flexible approach. One thing I've learned is flexibility is what will keep me sane in all things. Initially, my goal was to use the three-day potty training method on each child whenever he or she told me they were ready. As I have one who is ready now, I figured I'd start with her and go from there. Then, I sat down and read the ebook completely. I no longer feel like that is the method for us. That method requires serious dedication to nothing but potty training. I'm serious. The book even recommends you have meals made in advance so you're not even distracted by cooking.  It even recommends that you have your spouse or a grandparent on hand to help with anything not related to potty training that specific child. If you've met me or talked to me lately, you know that I'm always going a million different directions and my life pretty much always feels like I'm juggling 15 basketballs at once and I struggle to keep them all in the air. My hands are full as it is and with Adam's work schedule frequently calling him away, I have no way of knowing when we will have three consecutive days to focus solely on potty training. So that nixed the three-day potty training method in our home.

Another quad mom I've grown close to over the past few years recommended that I Google "Potty Learning" instead of potty training. The result is that I've created an approach that I feel is going to work for us and is easily adaptable depending on where it takes us.

Where we are starting:
One of the girls is ready. She verbally tells us when she has used the restroom in her diaper. Recently, she's begun taking matters into her own hands. Yesterday, I found her completely naked, picking out a new outfit from the dresser and upon further investigation, found her dirty diaper on the floor of the bedroom next to her. She even tries to put on her own diapers. She can pretty much put on and take off her own clothes by herself and only needs a little bit of help getting her legs and arms into the right hole (though she will try on her own). The other three all know the terms for #1 and #2 and are all able to take off their clothes on their own but aren't as skilled with putting them on just yet. Everyone knows the poo poo and pee pee goes in the potty and that when you flush is goes "bye bye" but so far, no one has expressed an interest in sitting on the potty. My gut tells me that when I put pull-ups on one of the girls, the other is going to want to start wearing them too, but this is all just my speculation and what really happens remains to be seen. 

The plan:
I just can't bear the thought of four small potties sitting in my living room. We live in a relatively small duplex and we also have a dog. Personally, I felt that training them to use the actual potty from the start will work best for us. We purchased this potty seat from Home Depot to install in the kids' bathroom which also serves as our guest bathroom. We will use this potty in the van for times when someone has to go when we are out and about. When we start, we will introduce our rockstar little girl to her new "big girl panties" and teach her how to pull them up and down. We've laid the groundwork for the past few weeks by having her go to the bathroom with me and verbally explaining what I am doing. We've also begun making a big deal about diapers being "ack" and how pee and poo goes into the potty. The morning of the day we start, I plan to introduce her to the potty when she wakes up and we will try to go every 30 minutes to an hour that day, while offering constant praise and reminders. I realize this may be a long process but this is where will start and we will go from there. Initially, I plan to focus on potty training during the day and not worry too much about nighttime. In the meantime, we'll be making some adjustments to try to make waking up dry a more realistic possibility for us, by cutting out drinking later in the day and dropping our nighttime cup of milk. Initially, I do not plan to use any rewards other than praise. While tempting, because I'm doing the one at a time approach, I don't think a jar of skittles of lollipops will help the process as when one sees another get candy, they all think they need candy and it seems like more work for me than anything! Verbal praise feels like it can be just as motivating in our case so that's what I plan to start with and go with from there.

I can't believe we're actually about to try this but now that it's really happening, I'm excited! I feel so lucky to get to teach these little turkeys this new life skill. The past few months have just been an eruption of growth and development for us and it just keeps coming. As I write this, Adam is out in the garage working on refinishing our dining room table that's been in storage the last few years so that we can bid farewell to the quad table and sit down as a family of six to meals at a real table. We're making other changes so that Adam will not be traveling for work but will be home at night and be able to play a more active role in rearing our children. And just yesterday, we woke up to the pitter patter of little feet running up and down the hall which signals that our cribs will soon be transforming into toddler beds as well. It seems like just yesterday that I paced the floors of the NICU stressing and worrying about my babies and only days ago that I was up doing feedings around the clock. The old saying that the days are long but the years are quick is really true. I feel like those last little moments of infancy are quickly fading away and before I know it, these precious babies will be running off as little boys and girls. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Product Review: Temp Traq Wearable Thermometer

The days have been stressful lately. Very stressful. And not just the "I have four two-year-olds" kind of stressful. We are talking it seems like every week there's a new "fire" for me to put out. When I say it feels like I'm operating at 110 miles per hour all day and all night, I'm not kidding.

Lately, we've had an unusual bout with illnesses in our home. In January, all four "babies" caught RSV. I blogged about that in my birthday post but what I haven't talked about yet (basically because I'm drowning over here y'all) is that in February, we got hit again. This time, it was a common cold (rhinovirus) but all in all, it was a doozy of one. So much that it ended up putting our Baby C in the hospital! (I'll blog about that later when I feel that I'm recovered from the trauma of all that went along with that.)

Today, I want to introduce you to my cool new friend. Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to meet TempTraq  the world’s only wearable, wireless thermometer in the form of a soft, comfortable patch. Temp Traq has been featured on TODAY, in TIME and The Wall Street Journal. It’s designed to ease parents’ and caregivers’ worries by continuously monitoring body temperature for 24 hours. It even sends alerts to mobile devices through the specially designed, free TempTraq app. (Seriously, how cool is that?) Temp Traq was awesome enough to send me four single-use patches to try out on the quads and during our bout with RSV, I was no only excited to test them out, I ended up being so grateful for having them!

I'll admit, I was nervous about trying out a gadget like this with my sick babies BUT, I also admit that I HATE my traditional thermometer and the fact that I often have to take multiple readings before I get an accurate temperature. 

If you've ever had a sick child before, you know the stress that entails. For me at least, with four sick children at once, it's pretty much guaranteed that I will go days with little to no sleep at all. So, when given the chance to have one less thing to worry about (fevers), I jumped.  

After a nice warm bath with Johnson's Vapobath to try to open up airways, I decided that I didn't want to be up all night checking for fevers. I pulled out the box that had been sitting in the cabinet for a couple months but hadn't had the opportunity to be used yet. I read through the directions and it seemed pretty clear. Open the pouch, press down on the button to activate the unit, connect it to my phone via BlueTooth, enter my child's information, and prepare to sit back and have actual temperatures sent straight to my  phone in an easy to read format that can even been sent to our pediatrician via email. I was even able to set up alerts so that I would receive a notification on my phone when one or more babies temperatures exceeded a number that I set! Seriously? Why aren't they using these in hospitals yet? Do you know how many times I was woken up the night we spent in the hospital with Baby C for temperature and blood pressure?

Really y'all, it was that easy. I applied the patch to each baby just as the directions say with a specific corner in their armpit. I put them all in zippered pajamas to prevent them from messing with it and down they went! A few minutes after they were in their beds, I sat down on the couch and watched the Temp Traqs do their magic and had temperatures populated in easy-to-read charts on my phone. There was no going in and waking up sleeping babies to check their temperatures. There was no worrying in my mind about what if fevers were returning. I had peace of mind all night long! It was bliss!

Now, I will admit. Baby B didn't take very well to the "sticker" being under her arm. I had to go in a couple of times before she fell asleep and retrieve hers from under her crib and reapply it. I'm not sure if this was a phase or if she truly was more sensitive than the other. She didn't have any "reaction" or rash where the sticker was so I feel like it was more her decision to take it off than anything. The patches are able to be reapplied and they did stick almost as well as the first application when I had to restick them. 

Baby B trying to hide from the thermometer.

Obviously, this is an electronic gadget so you aren't going to want to get it wet so if you need to bathe in between applications, you gently remove it and then just reapply. Each patch is good for 24 hours and then you just throw it away and start over again with a new patch. It really is as easy as it sounds!

You can learn more about the product and order your own at and as a special incentive, my readers can use the code LotsOBabyLane to receive 10% off their order! 

Overall, I loved my experience with the Temp Traq single use thermometer patch. This is definitely a product we would use in our home. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Is this a product you'd be interested in trying?

*** DISCLOSURE: I was not financially compensated for this post. I did receive samples of the product for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based upon my experience.