Suburban Farming

We live on a small lot, but manage an herb garden, veggie garden, and bantam chickens.

The name George means “farmer”, and I suspect that farming is somewhere in George’s genetic code. Just like his father, George has a green thumb and a love of being outdoors.  When George was growing up, his family enjoyed time hunting, fishing, and camping on acreage they owned outside city limits.  Though George knows it’s not realistic given our time and finances, he’d love nothing more than to live on a ranch with easy access to city conveniences.

Since ranch living is not in our foreseeable future, we’ve settled for “suburban farming”.   On the side of our house where the weeds once thrived, George built two raised bed vegetable gardens filled with summer squash, tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, and onions.  A fragrant herb garden is nestled in our flower beds.  While the quads play outside, I sometimes help weed the gardens, but that’s about the extent of my green thumb and “farmer spirit”.  Any foliage at our house is compliments to George.  Even if I’m not the resident gardener, I am the household chef and I make good use of our bounty.

IMG_2035

It’s been fun for the quads to watch the garden come to life and to participate in the process.  We are working on teaching them when to harvest vegetables, however.  I have a few green tomatoes to content with right now…

IMG_2049

IMG_2033

IMG_2029

In the days long before children, George had this cockamamie idea that we needed farm fresh eggs, and he didn’t want to buy them from the farmer’s market.  Instead, he wanted to raise bantam chickens right in our zero lot line backyard.  Being fixed on this plan, George contacted the city code compliance officer to ensure it was acceptable, and much to my dismay it was.  I thought it was absurd, but went along with his little plan.  His enthusiasm was beyond measure and I couldn’t stifle it.  Somehow he bamboozled me into picking up a set of four (interesting that it was exactly four….) hatchlings and then nurturing them to maturity.  Seriously, we had to keep these yellow fluffy chicks under a heat lamp in our bonus room upstairs for several weeks and it was months before they could lay.

Much to my chagrin, I actually liked the little buggers.  Unlike standard chickens, Bantams are half the size and twice as cute and docile.  Since we started with hatchlings we didn’t know if we had hens or roosters.  As luck had it, we ended up with three roosters and one hen.  Given that we dwell in suburbia, the roosters were a bit of a nuisance and of course couldn’t provide those farm fresh eggs.  Thus, they found new homes with a coworker of George who lives on a working ranch.  Being persistent, George replaced the three roosters with three more Bantam hens who were fabulous at providing gorgeous brown eggs daily.  The only problem was the coop George built was not a run and the chickens had to be free range all day.  We felt really good about having totally free range chickens except that they were messy pets and destructive to boot.  That year we had no landscaping in the yard and our veggie garden was pulverized.  Feeling defeated, George eventually sent all four chickens to his coworker.

img_0356

When I stumbled upon these old pictures from 2008, I thought the fried egg picture was interesting…it looks strikingly similar to our first ultrasound picture when one baby was almost impossible to detect.  Foreshadowing perhaps?!?!

Urban Farming

About six months ago George got stars in his eyes and started talking about how wonderful it would be for the kids to grow up with chickens.  I tried to stomp this notion multiple times.  After all, we have FOUR kids and TWO dogs, which are more than enough to care for.  More days than not I’m exhausted by the day’s end.  Adding four more needy creatures to our family did not sound appealing.  At all.  George did not give up easily and reminded me that Bantam chickens provide fresh eggs, are nice companions, are easy for kids to handle, would teach the kids responsibility, eat insects and weeds, and most importantly deter small garden snakes from hanging around.  I was still hesitant to start this endeavor.  When given the opportunity to get a chicken coop from my sister’s company for free, I couldn’t stave him off any longer.  Almost as soon as the coop was in our possession, George had it assembled and ready for it’s residents.  I knew it was time to let him try chicken farming again.  This weekend we took the quads to a small farm and let each of them choose their own fowl.

Rylin chose a small white Silkie, which we named Diamond.  I suggested “Pearl” but pearls are not near blingy enough for our little princess.   Rylin is extremely gentle with the chickens and they let her catch them sometimes.

bantam chickens

Harper also chose a white Silkie that’s slightly larger than Rylin’s and we call her Opal.  So far, Opal darts around lightning fast and is near impossible to capture.   I suspect Opal isn’t a hen after all…

bantam chickens
Sydney’s pick was a small brown specked Cochin, that is extremely gentle and sweet.  Keeping with our precious stone theme, Sydney’s chicken is Ruby. You may notice Sydney’s eye is puffy as if she got a shiner.  We weren’t sure what happened, but we suspect it was an insect bite.  It cleared up after two days and she didn’t seem bothered by it at all.

bantam chickens

Finally, Mason picked the only black plumed bird, which we dubbed Onyx.  I think Onyx could be a rooster too.  This one is dodgey and evasive.

bantam chickens

Every evening, we let the chickens roam the back yard to consume as many bugs as possible before bedtime and the quads help us coral them when free range time ends.

IMG_2066

It’s apparently near impossible to sex Silkie Bantam chickens so we aren’t sure if we have hens or roosters, and George better hope we have four hens.  If we have a flock of roosters his chicken farming may once again come to a halt.  I’ve also made it clear that should these chickens become bonified family members, we may become vegetarians.  I’ve already had a difficult time preparing chicken since their arrival Sunday afternoon.

hugs,

Amber

PS- If you can’t get enough of Four to Adore, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Calling All Superheroes

NICU reunion super heroes

Three years ago, George and I began researching Neonatal Intensive Care Units in our area in preparation for the quads arrival.  Knowing they would be delivered prematurely meant they would have a NICU stay, and we wanted to be educated with our options.  When we toured Cook Children’s we were thoroughly impressed and knew it was the place to care for our babies.  After the babies were delivered, they were immediately transported to Cook and it did not take us long to bond with the staff there.  While NICU life was stressful and emotionally charged, our experience was a positive one because of the care we received.

Each spring, the hospital hosts a NICU reunion where families get the opportunity to see the staff who cared for their once tiny babies as well as other patients who were in the NICU at the same time.  Shortly before the babies turned one, we were able to attend our first annual NICU reunion.  Because we were in the process of moving last year, we missed the annual reunion.

Thankfully, this year the weather was nice and we made it to the shindig.  The kids were stoked about going since it was a super hero themed event.  A few days prior, I managed to grab Batman and Batgirl shirts for the quads and a Wonder Woman shirt for myself to wear.  Instead of wearing his Avengers shirt, George sported a Star Wars tee to which Rylin remarked, “That is NOT a super hero shirt!”  Although we don’t let the quads watch Justice League shows, they are fascinated with superheroes and recognize the high-profile ones.  At the advice of readers, we started watching Super Why on PBS kids; it’s a beloved, age-appropriate show about a super hero.

Upon our arrival at the event, on of our primary nurses, Tiffany, spotted us in the crowd.  Ironically, a few days prior I found a scripture containing each of the quad’s middle names given to us by Tiffany before discharge.   It’s clear that some people are put into our lives for a reason, and touch our hearts forever.  Tiffany was one of several nurses we will always cherish because of the nurturing touch given to our babies.

NICU reunion 2015

After reuniting with Tiffany, it was time to meet and greet a band of super heroes.  Despite being enamored with super heroes, meeting them in the flesh proved a bit too intimidating for everyone except our tiny powerhouse, Sydney.  She strutted right up to Batman (who was a rather tall guy) and examined his gloved hand.  The other three only approached the super heroes while being held by Mom and Dad.

NICU reunion 2015

Next, everyone sat curbside to enjoy their first snow cone.  I was amazed at how long these four were willing to sip and slurp snow cones.  As we enjoyed this little treat, we stumbled upon our triplet buddies who were born just five days after the quads.  Over the years, we’ve maintained contact and held a few play dates, which we call “Quatriplet” play dates.  It’s always nice to be around other families with high order multiples because we feel “normal” together.  Getting seven toddlers to sit next to each other was quite a task.  Perhaps one day we can a few of them to also look at the camera.  Out of seven kids, you’d think at least one would be looking, but not one did.

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

Even though the quads are usually reticent to try new things, Harper, Mason, and Rylin each conquered the ginormous bounce house slide.  Harper went so quickly, I missed his adventure, and he was not willing to repeat it.

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

Before leaving the party, each of the quads received a super hero mask kit and a set of stickers, which Sydney instructed the volunteer to “put on my cheek, and here on my arm.”  Of course the other three then made the same request and left with a nice collection of stickers.

NICU reunion 2015

On our way out, we stopped on our favorite hallway in the hospital to watch Tinkerbell dance on the wall (there is a silhouette of a castle affixed on he wall and a fairy is projected to the roof of the castle).  The quads were absolutely fascinated by this little pixie, and seeing them in awe reminded me why Cook is the place for children.  It doesn’t seem like a hospital….it’s almost magical.

NICU reunion 2015

Back at home, we assembled the masks and the quads had great fun modeling them.  The girls had even more fun looking at each other in the masks.

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

As the years pass, the memories of NICU life fade every so slightly, but going back to reunions like this is a good way to remember that time in our lives, and thank those who touched our family.

hugs,

Amber

PS- If you can’t get enough of Four to Adore, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

QMBFF Christmas Morning

I am grateful for the time I recently spent in Lake Tahoe with four of the most incredible mothers I know.  The bond between us is unique and unparalleled.  Now that we are back home, I’m really appreciating the gift exchange we had while in Tahoe.  After we settled into the cabin, we used the dining room table to splay out piles of gifts for each other.  We only see each other once each year so I suppose it’s like Christmas/ Birthday/ Thinking of You gifts all rolled into one. And, we were like a gaggle of children on Christmas morning as we ripped through tissue and proudly displayed our goodies.

QMBFF trip

Amber made handstamped necklaces like the ones crafted for her Etsy Shop, Texas Take and ordered gorgeous cookies from a triplet mom, Sugar Coma Cookies.   Ashley designed custom shirts that read

Amber created beautiful hand stamped necklaces reading “QMBFF”, which is the acronym we created for our little group (e.g. “Quad Mom Best Friends Forever).  We proudly wore our necklaces the entire trip, and I wear mine almost daily now.  She has a knack for jewelery making and sells customized pieces in her Etsy Shop,Texas Take.  In fact, the girls proudly wear the bubble gum Minnie Mouse necklaces I ordered as stocking stuffers.  She also ordered an assortment of personalized cookies made by a mother of triplets at Sugar Coma Cookies.  Mary, the cookier, has been crafting gorgeous cookies for only about a year and I’m always blown away by not only the art involved, but the fact that they are delicious.  I often find that pretty cookies don’t necessarily taste great, but hers are buttery and thick with a hint of citrus.

Texas Take handstamped necklaces

facebook.com/sugarcomacookies

Ashley embroidered custom t-shirts that read “Raising Quads. #neveradullmoment #qmbffs get it”, which we wore on our Treetop Adventure.  Other custom items can be purchased from her shop, Sweet Dumpling Boutique.

custom made QMBFF shirts by Apple Dumpling Boutique

Becky packaged a trifecta of goodies including a book she’s raved about, No More Perfect Moms. I haven’t cracked it yet, but “No more perfect moms” has become a bit of a mantra for us.  Amongst our group, we are totally open with each other about our day to day struggles, misgivings, and frustrations.  We accept each other for who we are, and inspire each other to be strong mothers and wives without having unrealistic expectations.  When one of us feels down, another will restate, “No more perfect moms!!!”  In addition to the book, she gifted us healing salve (I later learned works wonders on ezcema and my uuber dry hands) and body butter from her sister’s shop, Cindy’s Suds.

No More Perfect Moms and Cindy's Suds

Krista’s gift bag consisted of some of her favorite items including a Norwex baby microfiber wash cloth, Signature Soy Island Coconut candle, eos Organic Lip Balm, and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish. I’m admittedly impressed by the wash cloth.  It’s a microfiber cloth that with warm water alone removes water soluble make up while gently exfoliating. It was serendipity for me since I didn’t have space in my quart size bag for face wash.  I used my cloth the entire trip.   Apparently it’s also antimicrobial so it doesn’t get that funk rags usually harbor.  I should really order a set for the quads.

We burned one of the candles during the trip and the aroma is now nostalgic of our trip for me.  I’ve burned mine daily so only about half remains…I’ll be hitting Target for another soon.  Please note, if you put such a candle in your carry on luggage, TSA will search your bag and riffle through your dirty laundry. Not cool.  Not cool at all.

I’ve been a huge fan of the insta dri nail polish since the girls were about a year old and I started painting their toe nails.  Rylin was ecstatic to find we had a new color in our collection.  In fact, I’ve already painted her finger and toe nails twice.  Rylin also loves using my special lip balm from Krista.  She often requests to use “that lipstick from Krista”.  I can’t blame her though, the strawberry scent is divine and it’s really smooth.

coconut candle, norwex cloth, insta dry nail polish, EOS lip balm

Of course, my gift to the girls was a picture frame decorated with our respective states that read, “Distance meas so little when friendship means so much.”  They displayed their picture frames on the window sill behind the dining room table during the trip, and it made things seem cozy.

DIY sharpie picture frames

Don’t forget to pop by the girls’ blogs for their versions of the trip:

Texas Tales by Amber

Our Multiples Journey by Becky

The Littlest Lesnaus by Krista

hugs!

Amber

PS- If you can’t get enough of Four to Adore, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Psst…Included links to the products mentioned in case you’d like to snag something for yourself or as a gift.  Please see our affiliates page for further information about links.

QMBFF Annual Trip

One year ago, I took a risk and took a road trip with my friend, Amber to meet up with three other quad moms we’d only met online.  Despite forming incredible bonds with these women online through a shared experience, we had not met them in person.  We presumed we’d hit it off, but it was uncertain, and I was slightly nervous.  What if these girls were nut jobs?!?!

Within five minutes of meeting each other everyone was at ease and we all felt as if we’d been long time friends.  Our girl’s weekend in Gruene, TX was such a success we immediately began planning a second annual trip.  Over the course of the year, we maintained our daily chats and dubbed ourselves “QMBFFs”, meaning Quad Mom Best Friends Forever.  This time, we decided to head Krista’s direction to Lake Tahoe, California.  A friend of hers kindly allowed us to stay in her gorgeous, cozy cabin for the weekend.  Despite a year of planning and daily chats, we couldn’t believe when it was finally time to meet in person again.  Honestly, the five (Amber, Ashley, Becky, Krista, and me) of us would be happy anywhere so long as we had time together, but this cabin and it’s tree scape was stunning.

tahoe cabin

I had to chuckle upon entering the cabin when a set of quadruplet dolls situated in double strollers greeted us!  (The owner of the cabin is the mother of twin girls, hence the twin dolls and strollers.)

QMBFF trip

The first night we settled into the cabin and exchanged gifts amongst each other.  I think all five of us had the same sentiment to share a token of friendship with the friends we only see annually.  It was such an event, I am actually writing a separate post about all of the goodies we received.  Stay tuned!

QMBFF trip

Our first full day of the trip was devoted to relaxation!  Ironically on a day we could sleep late, Becky and I were both up by 5:50 am.  Taking account the time difference it was nearly 8:00 for me, but still, who wakes up at 8:00 am on vacation?!?!?  After enjoying cups of warm coffee, three of us set off to enjoy a scenic walk.

IMG_4313

Later in the day, Krista arranged for a massage therapist to see each of us.  Goodness was I overdue for a massage!  The last one I had was prenatal, which means it was THREE years ago and oodles of stress later.  The knots in my neck were so bad she advised icing them for the rest of the day.  While we waited for our respective turns getting a massage, we chatted, snacked, played games, napped, and just enjoyed being without responsibility or stress.  In the evening we enjoyed a little time in the spa while sipping smuggled in vino.  I’m notoriously rule bound and had to get over the “No alcohol beyond this point” sign, which proved rather humorous for the girls.  We weren’t discovered so it was all good!

QMBFF trip

QMBFF trip

QMBFF trip

That evening, we snuggled up on the couch for a movie.  I may or may not have fallen asleep during the movie at about 9:30 pm…Again…it was 11:30 pm central time, which is my typical bedtime.

QMBFF trip

After a full day of relaxation, we set out for an adventure the next day.  When we made reservations at the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park, some of us thought it was a zip lining tour.   Instead, it was what I’d consider a “high ropes course” with some zip lining opportunities.   As it turns out, Amber, Ashley and I have an almost crippling fear of heights we needed to conquer.  At one point, Amber and I were in near tears as we navigated a tight rope that seemed to be about 200 feet from the ground.  There were no escape hatches so we worked together and finished what we started.  Despite some fearful moments, it was a wonderful team building experience.  Also, we learned that Becky and her family could start a circus act together.  Being a former gymnast, Becky gleefully soared through the course.  I think she also learned to embrace her children’s antics in acrobatics once she realized it’s in their genes to climb.  Coincidentally, her husband is an arborist who spends his days hanging from the trees!

DSCN3349

We were clad in matching shirts made by Ashley that read “Raising Quads #neveradullmoment #QMBFFSgetit”.

After being outfitted in the necessary gear we were ready for “ground school” where we learned how to use our equipment safely.

QMBFF trip

QMBFF trip

QMBFF trip

Ashely is considering taking up a career as a lumberjack….

QMBFF trip

From left to right the arrows indicate our locations- Amber B., Me, Ashley, and Krista.  At this point, I am warily managing the tight rope that in-sighted so much fear.  Thankfully for me, I witnessed Ashley successfully managing it so I knew I could too.

ropes course tight rope

tree top adventure

It may not have been 200 feet up, but if you look down it is terrifying!!!

tree top adventure

And this is what Becky thought of the same challenge…she’s grinning from ear to ear!  This earned her the nickname, “Monkey”.

QMBFF trip

IMG_1872

After about 2.5 hours of exhilarating fun and terror, we were greeted by this little monkey…

QMBFF trip

We worked up quite an appetite while monkeying around so we grabbed burgers and beer.

IMG_4317

IMG_4378

As always, parting ways at the end of the trip was bittersweet.  I was ready to be reunited with my little munchkins and George, but sad to bid my friends farewell.  I wholeheartedly believe little getaways like this recharge us so we return as better wives and mothers.  I’m grateful for these friends and the opportunities to spend time with them in person.  To ease the sting of leaving, we naturally began planning the next grand adventure.  In 2016 we are headed north to Becky’s home state of Michigan, which she lovingly calls “The Mitten”.

custom made QMBFF shirts by Apple Dumpling Boutique

hugs!

Amber

Don’t forget to pop by the others blogs for their accounts of the trip:

Texas Tales by Amber

Our Multiples Journey by Becky

The Littlest Lesnaus by Krista

PS- If you can’t get enough of Four to Adore, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

No Skid Toddler Slippers

We have A LOT of tile in our house, which tends to be cold underfoot, and I hate having cold feet.  I wear slippers a lot of the time, especially during the winter. Apparently the kids took note and developed and minor obsession with slippers. In fact, they wear slippers in the house almost daily. The girls were ecstatic when they received princess slippers from our quad buddies, The Bells. However, these adorable slippers were a bit eh, slippery on our tile. The girls practically ice skated all over the place and hit the ground a bit too much for comfort.  I’m admittedly over anxious about head injuries since I had a concussion at age six from slipping in a pair of socks on the hardwood floors.

Use fabric paint to make toddler slippers no skid

Use fabric paint to make toddler slippers no skid

After the quads were tucked into bed, I rummaged through our craft cabinet and found some Tulip dimensional fabric paint.  In about five minutes time, I dotted the paint over the preexisting dots on each slipper.  I then let them dry overnight.  By morning the girls donned no skid slippers!   It was such a simple fix.  I haven’t tried this on socks, but I’m sure it would work on any soft soled shoe or sock that needs to be skid proof.

Use fabric paint to make toddler slippers no skid

Use fabric paint to make toddler slippers no skid

hugs!

Amber

PS- If you can’t get enough of Four to Adore, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

DIY Friendship Picture Frames

It’s been a year since I met with my quad mom best friends for girl’s getaway in Gruene, TX.  Though we span three states, the five of us communicate almost daily and often multiple times throughout the day.   A few times we even Face Timed each other for “remote play dates”.  At the conclusion of our trip last year, we began planning the next one, which is this WEEK!  As our trip drew nearer, I decided I wanted to make a little gift as a token of our friendship.  I’m not the most artistic person and I cannot sew, but wanted it to be something handmade that was meaningful to the five of us.  Initially, I thought I’d make Sharpie mugs (thank you, The Cozy Old “Farmhouse” for the inspiration!), but I travel using carry on bags.  Packing four ceramic mugs in a carry on wasn’t ideal.  Eventually, I came up with a picture frame design commemorating our long distance friendships.

To make your own picture frame you will need:

  • 4 x 6 or larger picture frame (I learned that flat front frames in light colors were easier to design)
  • Sharpie markers in your desired colors
  • Your desired designs printed from Microsoft Word or a similar program
  • A pencil
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors

You will need one 4 x 6 or larger picture frame Your desired designs printed from Microsoft Word Clear tape Scissors A Pencil Sharpie markers in your desired colors

First, create a design template from Word using whatever font and clip art you’d like on your frame.  I wanted my design to reflect how our friendship spans three states so I used silhouettes of each state, but you could do whatever speaks to your friendship.

Using Microsoft word, or a similar program, create a page of the clip art you and text you want to draw on your picture frame.

Next, press your design template onto a window with the font facing the glass.  Then, using heavy pressure shade over the design.  This will create DIY tracing paper unique to your design.

DIY tracing paper

Once you’ve created tracing paper, cut each individual design out and tape onto your picture frame.  Then, using heavy pressure trace over the outline of each design with your pencil or a ball point pen.

IMG_1763

When you are finished tracing, remove the taped on designs.  There should be a very faint outline of the designs.  It’s so faint you really can’t see it in my picture, but it’s there.

IMG_1764

Finally, trace over the outline of each design using your Sharpie markers.  Voila!

DIY Sharpie Picture Frame

For the girl’s picture frames I included a design of the three states where we reside then wrote, “Distance means so little when friendship means so much.”

For presentation’s sake, I printed some of our favorite group photos from our last trip to put in each frame.  However, I intend for them to update the photo annually.  I know we will have good shots for 2015!

hugs!

Amber

P.S. Stay tuned for details on our 2015 trip in Tahoe.  And if you can’t get enough of Four to Adore, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Indoor Camping

On a rainy day, we

“April showers bring May flowers” seems to be a a theme at the moment.  In North Texas droughts are typical in the warm months so rain is always considered a blessing.  Except that unending rain holds the quads hostage inside.  And, cooped up toddlers quickly turn into cranky, bickering toddlers.  After several weeks of rainy days I was running short on patience and knew it was time for a novel activity.  We’d run through my arsenal of  indoor activities several times over.  On the fly, I decided we’d camp inside.  I dashed into the playroom closet and snatched the quad’s backpacks, which I stuffed with toilet paper binoculars (made by Poppa a while back), mini flashlights, and magna doodles.  I also riffled through our bookshelf and scouted three books related to camping: Charlie Goes Camping, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and Let’s Go Camping. To create a “campsite” I quickly set up the our play tents and Ikea play tunnels.   Once everything was ready, I announced it was time to camp and handed each kiddo a backpack.  With camping gear in hand, all four enthusiastically slithered through the tunnels and into their tents.

Indoor camping

indoor camping

indoor camping

When everyone was cozy in the larger tent, I read the camping books and we talked about what it’s like to camp.  While reading, I realized that making s’mores is an integral part of camping and would be the perfect afternoon snack.  The only problem was we didn’t have two of the main ingredients: graham crackers or Hershey’s bars.  Of course, not having the right stuff never stops me once I have and idea in my head.  I remembered a finding a recipe for home-made graham crackers, plus we ALWAYS have chocolate chips.

indoor camping

IMG_1738

indoor camping

The kids weren’t the only ones to enjoy the tents….

IMG_1746

Before nap, the quads helped me make the graham crackers by dropping in pre-measured ingredients then cutting rolled dough into shapes.   When they woke up, we had some makeshift s’mores for snack.

making graham crackers

Our s’mores were no traditional with homemade graham crackers, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows.  Nonetheless, they tasted pretty good and the quads learned about s’mores!  To wrap up our camping day, I found a short cartoon about camping, Olivia Goes Camping, on Amazon Prime. (When we do “themed” activities, I always to a quick search on Prime to see if there’s a related television show, and I almost always find one that’s age appropriate.) This particular episode was really cute and the quads seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.   In fact, the Olivia series is one of their favorites.  I often spy them acting out scenes together after watching an episode.

improvised s'mores

s'mores for afternoon snack

What’s your favorite rainy day activity?  It looks like we have more to come…

hugs,

Amber

P.S. I have provided Amazon affiliate links should you choose to make purchases via Four to Adore.  Please visit my disclaimer page for further information regarding affiliate links. 

Psst….If you can’t get enough of Four to Adore, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

March for Babies

March of Dimes

This year as we prepared for our third March for Babies, I felt compelled to do a little more research about the background.  I always knew it was an organization we supported due to our personal experience with premature birth and stint in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but didn’t know (or perhaps had forgotten) the full history.

The March of Dimes was originally founded by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 as National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) due to his personal experience with paralysis from polio.  Through research grants, the polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk, MD and Albert Sabin, MD.  Once the original mission as accomplished, the organization later changed its mission to the prevention of birth defects and infant mortality.   Since that time, March of Dimes has supported research into the cellular and molecular basis of genetic diseases, developmental processes and abnormalities, and the epidemiology of premature birth to improve medical diagnosis and develop treatments for a wide range of birth defects and developmental disorders.

The March of Dimes is credited with leading the way to discover genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy. They were instrumental in the research for surfactant therapy to treat respiratory distress and helped initiate the system of regional neonatal intensive care for premature and sick babies.  These two initiatives  were critical to our family since all four babies were born in respiratory distress and immediately admitted to the NICU. Finally, the March of Dimes Folic Acid Campaign achieved a dramatic reduction in the incidence of neural tube defects, birth defects of the brain and spine.  Due to my diagnosis of MTHFR, early folic acid supplements helped me carry the quadruplets as long as I did.

Today, the March of Dimes official mission is,

“To improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, infant mortality, and premature birth.” 

In case you wonder exactly where donations are used, The March of Dimes spends 76¢ of every dollar raised in March for Babies to support research and programs that help babies begin healthy lives.

MoD support

This year marked our third year to walk as a family team.  Our first walk was a bit impromptu, but we found the walk to be an empowering experience.   Last year was the first year we rallied a team to join us and purchased team t-shirts, which gave us a sense of cohesion.  This year, I was hesitant to walk knowing George couldn’t join us due to work, but our family and friends promised to help me and rally around our family team.  With that spirit, I ordered custom-made t-shirts from Custom Ink that would help identify our team members during the walk.  Seeing our small sea of sapphire blue in the crowd warmed my heart and reminded me why we walk each year.

circle_team_years_3

MoD2015

Friends from all aspects of our lives joined us for the walk, and we appreciated their support immensely.

Twins, triplets & quads, oh my!

Twins, triplets & quads, oh my!

MoD2015

Unfortunately, Custom Ink didn’t have infant t-shirts available. My artistic friend, Jen, hand painted a custom tank dress for this beauty.

MoD2015

Nisey and Poppa were a huge help to me. Without George by my side, they helped me get everyone ready and off to the walk.

MoD2015

Along with my parents, my sister, sister’s fiance, aunt, and two younger cousins joined us for the walk.

MoD2015

The front of our shirts read, “March for Babies. Saving lives one step at a time.” The back read, “Shawver Quads Family & Friends. March of Dimes 2015.”

I would like to extend a special thanks to our friends and family who supported our March for Babies this year by making a donation to our team, purchasing a team t-shirt, and/ or walking with us.  In no particular order: Steve, Denise, Courtney, Matt, Tiffany, Landry, Luke, Haylie, Ryleigh, Jason, Matt, Natalie, Molly, Sadie, Brandi, Garrett, Seth, Terri, A’ Lysia, Emmerson, Mina, Laayla, Jen, Priscilla, Marco, Sydney, Kristen, Alan, Devon, Marianne, George Jr., Carol, Lindsay, Sara, Billie, Guadalupe, and Karen. 

hugs,

Amber

Psst…..If you would like to make a donation to our team, it’s not too late!  Please visit our team page to make a donation here. 

Sources:

History of the March of Dimes

The Origin of the March of Dimes

March of Dimes FAQ’s

March of Dimes Research Breakthroughs

My Best $4 Investment

While buying Easter basket goodies for the quads, I spied small colored spray bottles at the Dollar Tree. I wasn’t sure quite how we’d use them, but grabbed four different colors and added them to the baskets.  I’ve been making my own produce wash and counter top spray and pouring them into empty spray bottles for a while.  Every single time the quads see me spraying something they request a turn.  In fact, they can spray the kitchen table down after dinner and any other area that needs attention.  They are expert sprayers!  I knew they’d appreciate having their very own spray bottles.

One morning I decided it was time to fill the new bottles with tap water and take them in the yard.  I laid down a few simple rules: NO spraying people, animals, or bugs.  Anything else in the yard was fair game.  The kids all nodded in agreement and set off to spray whatever their hearts desired.

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

I knew spray bottles had potential entertainment value, but seriously I had NO idea how much fun spray bottles would be for a bunch of toddlers.

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

They sprayed my Gerber daisies…

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

They spritzed the flower beds…

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

They splattered the fence…

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

They bathed our caterpillar climber, “Happy”…

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

They misted the herb garden…

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

They washed the windows…

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

They cleaned the sidewalk chalk from the house…

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

Though they looked menacing armed with spray bottles, they followed the rules really well- NO spraying people, pets, or bugs.

Dollar Tree spray bottles entertain toddlers and help with fine motor skill development

These spray bottles were some of my best $4 investments to date.  They’ve entertained the quads for HOURS!!!  The first day they played a solid TWO hours with them, the next day another 90 minutes (they may have played longer, but I got bored watching them spray), and they’ve asked for spray bottles every single day since I introduced them.  The best part is they enjoy spraying so much that bickering is minimal.

hugs,

Amber

PS- If you can’t get enough of Four to Adore, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Hopping Down the Bunny Trail

Last weekend felt like a whirlwind.  We started off by participating in our friend’s wedding, then we had our usual weekend errands followed by a birthday party, and Easter Sunday rounded it off.  In the midst of loading and unloading, one of the kids apparently switched an interior light on in the van.  Unbeknownst to us, it stayed on all night long.  After dressing everyone in Easter attire for dinner at Nisey and Poppa’s house our van battery flat lined.  Since the van is our sole family vehicle, either we’d go in the van or be marooned at home.  Naturally, the van was parked safely in the garage rendering the battery inaccessible for a jump.  Loading four toddlers into car seats isn’t an easy task so we had no intention of unloading until we arrived at our destination.  With all four kids loaded in the van, George pushed it down the driveway onto our street for a jump.  Though it was a bit of an ordeal, it did the trick and we were on our way.  The kids were good sports about it and sang the alphabet repeatedly while waiting.

IMG_4195

Easter 2015

Easter 2015

Almost immediately after arriving at Nisey and Poppa’s house the quads set out on an Easter egg hunt.  Thanks to the previous week’s practice, they knew exactly what to do.

Easter 2015

Rylin

Harper

Sydney

Mason

Even though he was capable of finding and collecting eggs independently, Harper asked GiGi to hold his hand, and she didn’t mind obliging him.

Easter 2015

Unlike last year when Rylin and Mason found the lion’s share, everyone collected a fair amount of eggs.

Egg hunt 2015

Easter 2015

Easter was the ideal opportunity for the boys to re wear their wedding threads, and the girls donned their wedding “back up dresses”.

Easter 2015

How did your family celebrate Easter?

Amber