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?