Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017 - Be Still (No seriously, be still!)

Whew! I tell ya, I am exhausted! Trying to make Valentine's Day special for the four little hearts closest to mine can sure be a lot of work. Although, if I'm honest, it wasn't that much more work than a normal day. Where do they possibly get all of this energy?

I woke up at a quarter of six this morning to two little monkeys snuggled up as close as they could on either side of me. Soon after, the other two monkeys joined us in bed. Once they were all in there, I know it's time to give up. They're not going back to sleep and five people, no matter if four of them are pint-sized, do not fit in a king-sized bed. Soon after, my phone sent off a severe weather alert which prompted me to look outside and see the ominous dark skies. I knew this meant that our Valentine's date for donuts would have to be postponed and breaking the news to four pint-sized dictators would not be an easy task. Fortunately for me, they still didn't really know about Valentine's Day! We spent a few minutes watching the rain and then I told them I had presents for them. I presented each of them with a gift: a small box of chocolate and a toy truck for the boys and a watch for the girls. They were in heaven. 

Then, since donuts were not in store for us, I set about making breakfast. One of their favorite breakfasts, and by favorites I mean the four of them can devour close to an entire pan, is a pretty simple recipe. I use the refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Dough (don't buy the generic, it doesn't taste as good nor does it cover the pan as well). I bake one later on the bottom of an 8X11 pan for about 5-7 minutes. While it's baking, I brown a roll of bulk sausage. Once it's done, I add to it a package of cream cheese. I pour all of that goodness on top of the first layer of crescent rolls and spread it out evenly. Then, I take another can of crescent rolls and put that over the top. Pop it in the oven for about 10-12 minutes and voila! Instant breakfast. This morning was no different. I caught Daniel taking the last piece out of the pan about an hour after we finished!

Eventually, the rain did clear. I loaded everyone up just in time for lunch. We headed to a favorite of ours, McAlister's Deli, where, I learned that kids ate free for Valentine's Day today so it was basically like hitting the lottery for me! The kiddos had their favorite: macaroni and cheese with fruit and I had my favorite, the Savannah Chopped Salad and sweet tea! Mmm! Delicious! 

After our yummy lunch, we had just a couple errands to run. Fortunately, most were the drive around town kind so they got a tiny nap in while I got a few moments of quiet. Then we headed to a park down the street to burn off some energy! A couple hours later, and one bump on the head, they were finished playing and I was ready to put them to bed! We came home, had a simple dinner and then took baths and boy were they needed! Together, the five of us sat on the couch and watched an episode of our favorite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, before readying a book, saying our prayers, and snuggling into our beds! 

All in all, I'd say today was a good Valentine's Day! We didn't go over the top, didn't spend a ton of money, but we had fun and we shared love. After all, isn't love what it's all about? 

Hope you had a great day too! 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Happy Third Birthday, Not So Babies Anymore!

Before I continue my story, I just couldn't go on any further without writing a post to acknowledge a huge milestone, one that admittedly, often in this journey I wondered if we'd see. My babies are three years old!! Those teeny, tiny preemie infants are now, fully-thriving, interactive, off-the-walls, question-asking three-year-olds! I am beyond proud of how far we've come on this journey and I am incredibly thankful to God and all of the people who've prayed for us on this journey.

To Daniel, Evelyn, Waylon and Ellie:

On your actual birthday this year, we woke up, got dressed, and Mommy took you to Shipley Donuts for our first donut outing together. You guys were awesome and it tickled my heart watching the four of you run up to that counter and tell the lady "we need donuts". After donuts, we trekked over to Oso Bay Wetlands and played on the playground and went for a walk on some of the nature trails with some friends that we met up with. For dinner, we had chicken, green beans, and macaroni and cheese but you were more interested in the cupcakes we picked up at H-E-B. The Saturday after your birthday, we had a party for you. It ended up being rainy and cold, so we moved it from being outside at our house to the church. (Now, you guys randomly ask to go have a party at church.) You had so many people who love you show up! Mommy was there, Pa, Grammy, Auntie Jennifer, Uncle Wayne, Aunt Laurie, Cousin Aubrey, Abby and Pastor, and some of the bestest friends your Mommy could ever ask for! You each had your own cake, themed tractors and tiaras, and you guessed it, Mommy made everybody sing "Happy Birthday" four times because I feel like you each deserve your own cake and song! 

Turning three is huge! Currently, we're fighting for more independence, which is a good thing, but it's also very stressful on a mommy!

Daniel: My first-born (by sheer determination), you are turning into such a sweet, sweet little boy. You have the softest, sweetest voice and I love to hear you tell me "I love you soooo much, Mommy". You are amazing. You are still fascinated by cars and by this point, I'm fairly certain you always will be. When everyone else is fighting or finding mischief, more often than not, I can find you in the living room playing cars or with your car track toy moved into your bed so you can easily drive through the car wash. You told me the other day that we needed to buy gas. I asked you who would pump it for me and you're response was "I will, Mama". Little boy, you are a dream. I am so thankful for you and your loving heart. I pray you never lose it. 

Evelyn: My sweet, sassy, ring-leader. You held everyone in before you guys were born and you continue to hold everyone accountable. You fight me for your independence regularly and I pray that is a sign that you will always be true to yourself, and that you will one day lead others. You are so smart and you're really amazing at solving problems. You still love your bunnies and you're now a HUGE fan of Frozen. You would sit and watch Frozen a dozen times in one day if I would let you. You also love to be held and tickled. You love to play Giddy-Up with your Abby along with Ring Around the Rosy. Water fascinates you and there's a lot of days that you and I fight because I find you playing in the bathroom sink using up all of the hand-soap. I pray for you to remain true and strong above all else. You are strength, Evelyn. You come from a long-line of strong women. Please don't forget that. 

Waylon: You are my rough and tumble boy but you are amazing and you are love. Your love language is touch. You come up to me throughout the day and randomly ask me for hugs and kisses and I love that about you. You love to be outside and fishing seems to be your passion. You also love to play in the dirt with your tractors and I am amazed as I watch you learn and grow. We read tractor books together and you love to sit on the couch with Mommy while everyone else takes a nap and watch Monster Machines until you fall asleep. You still struggle at nap time to be still so I'm okay with holding you for those few quiet moments we have together to help you relax. You love with your whole heart, Waylon and I love that about you. You feel so much empathy for other people and for such a little boy, I am amazed by your compassion. I pray that you never lose that about you and you always put others first. 

And Ellie, I hate that you always end up being last, but you know, your sweetness is compared to none. You are an absolutely delightful little girl. Your pretty red hair, although we fight because your scalp is sensitive and your bright blue eyes combined with your sweet smile, light up a room instantly but your heart, Ellie, your heart is what is so full. You love people and have a strong desire to make those around you smile. You have a helper spirit. As you get older, you will read stories about looking for the helpers in bad situations. Ellie, in my heart, I know you are going to be one of those helpers. You are going to go on and do amazing things for other people in this world. You love to read books, but you also love to play outside with your brothers. Like Evelyn, you are huge Frozen fan. You and your sister often fight over ballet outfits and dress-up costumes but you also share which is so special for me to watch as your mother. Hopefully soon, I will be able to find a way to put you both in ballet lessons. 

I love all four of you beyond imagination! Like anyone, we have our good days and our bad days. Life is hectic, life is stressful. Your world and my world is changing significantly and at warp-speed lately and we are all grasping for straws trying to succeed. I promise you all, we will and I pray that I make good decisions for you guys. You're my world here on Earth and together, we will cling tight to God and let Him lead our journey. I hope your third year is blessed beyond measure and I can't wait to see where we are a year from now. 

I love you to the moon and back!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I Have A Story

Where will you be when you wake up? Have you ever had a dream that felt more like a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, just running to keep up and never ever feeling like you can get ahead? That has been my life for the last three and a half years. Someone put it best when they compared it to running a sprint, but a marathon of sprints. There's never any rest, and as soon as you put out one fire, another one is popping up. It's exhausting. At some point, you begin to wonder if you'll ever get off or how this all ends. 

I am preparing to tell you a story; a long story, one we can't possibly cover in one blog post. The past few months of my life have by far, been the hardest. On December 10, 2016, my mom went to be with Jesus. Christmas came and went and most people, including my own four children, didn't feel the huge hole in their heart that I did. We rang in the new year, 2017, with cupcakes, party hats and noisemakers and we prayed for a good year, one that would bring our family peace and resolution. Just the past week, the kids celebrated their third birthday (I still have a birthday update post coming), and yesterday, I achieved getting one year closer to the big four-oh. 

As most of us do when we start to near middle-age (geez, who ever thinks of themselves as middle-aged), I've started to step away and look at where I am in my life. How many more struggles must I endure before I enter a period of peace and calm?

When we found out I was having quadruplets, once we moved past the initial shock and panic, I grew ecstatic. From the time I was a little girl, I dreamed of nothing more than being a Mommy and having a family of my own. I wanted a husband and babies and lots of animals and a big, pretty house with a kitchen where I'd cook and serve my family amazing meals (hey - it's my dream, don't tell me I can't cook). My kids are the culmination of that dream. I'll admit, I never dreamed I'd have four at once, but after battling infertility and one failed marriage because I wanted nothing more than a family, when my dream came true, my heart was full of excitement. My Mom talked to me over and over again about how excited she was that I would finally have my real-life baby "dials" (I had some trouble saying "doll" as a little girl). Those four have truly brought so much happiness to my life and I am forever grateful for the prayers that got them here and got them here safe. 

What I didn't know is the trade off that I was taking by seeing my dream come true. Even though I'd always secretly kind of hoped to be able to stay at home at least for a few years with my children, I didn't know that I'd end up having no choice but to quit my career and my job that I loved to serve as a full-time, around the clock nurse, nanny, cook, and mommy. When I was told how little moms sleep, I had no idea that it would mean that for close to three years, I'd get by on just 2.5-4 hours of sleep a night on average (not due to their lack of sleep, but due to having to find time to fit my life in somewhere). I didn't know that most of my friendships would start to exist solely online and via text messages. I had no idea that I'd eventually go almost an entire year without even once having an actual date or night away from home without my children. I didn't know the struggles that my marriage would face. Nor did I ever expect that I'd soon lose my Mom. I never expected to have to make some of the toughest decisions in my life under some of the most intense pressure imaginable. Knee-jerk reaction, after knee-jerk reaction has been what's sustained my family for the last few years. And I'm tired.

I have a story to tell. It's not pretty. It's not the kind of story that gets circulated in viral Facebook and YouTube videos. It's not the kind of story that gets GoFundMe pages dedicated to saving a family and it's not the kind of story that gets you on Ellen for a trip to Hawaii. It's the kind of story that gets hidden deep away so nobody will know the real struggles one faces. It's the kind of story that a Christian woman goes to great lengths to hide out of fear of stigmatization due to the very real truths that she keeps inside.It's the kind of story people whisper about but nobody wants to tackle and face head on because someone might judge them. It is the kind of story that you never think you will become a part of. It's the kind of story that you just don't understand, until you're living it. 

In the coming months, I plan to open up. I plan to slowly peel away layers of this facade I've built around myself and my family in order to protect us. The truth is, I'm not really sure what I'm protecting us from. Our world has become so full of chaos, anger, and fighting, that it seems like there can't possibly be much more I would even want to try to protect myself, my husband and my children from. It is said that the truth shall set you free. Well, after three years of feeling like I'm living tied to a rope that's slowly hanging me, I'm ready to be free. I hope you'll stick around to hear it but I'll understand if you don't. We don't like messy. As a culture, we've learned to run from messy. And that's okay too. Messy may not be for you. But somewhere out there, there's a woman just like me, fighting a similar fight who needs to hear she's not alone. And to that woman, sharing my story will have been worth it. Also, if you are that woman, I love you. Don't forget that.