Personalized Pumpkins

After visiting the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch, we amassed a variety of pumpkins, which needed decorating, and of course personal touches.  Pumpkin carving is a festive tradition, but in the Texas heat they grow mold almost immediately, and you can’t appreciate them long-term.  Instead of carving, I prefer a little paint and a few stickers.

With the first found of pumpkins, we let each child choose a tempera paint color to slather on a pumpkin.  It was an utter mess, but they had a blast expressing their creative sides.  Plus, it was a full on sensory experience; they covered their arms, hands, and cheeks before they finished.  After our little art extravaganza, I used copious amounts of Shout and washed clothes multiple times to rid them of bright paint splatter.  Thankfully, there’s no remaining evidence of art on their clothes.

painted pumpkins painted pumpkins

For the second set of pumpkins, I created a monogram for each child using the same process I used to make cookies for Santa plates.

First, I printed individual letters in 300 pt French Script font from Microsoft Word.

DIY monogrammed pumpkin

Then, I flipped the paper over and rubbed pencil over the area where the letters were.

DIY monogram pumpkin

I pressed the letters, print side up onto a smooth part of the pumpkin and traced over it with heavy pressure using a pen.

DIY monogram pumpkin

This left a faint outline, which I filled in with a paint pen. It’s very faint in the picture, but there is a light outline of the “R” on the face of this pumpkin.

DIY monogram pumpkin

 

When I was finished, we had four handsome monogrammed pumpkins.  I let the kids loose with Halloween stickers so they could leave their own flare.

DIY Monogram pumpkins

The best part about pumpkin decorating is displaying them on the porch for others to admire.  The quads beamed with pride when I let them carry their own pumpkins to the porch.  I helped with arrangement of course.

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We placed the tempera paint pumpkins under the covered part of the porch since rain tends to wash them clean.  Each time we go out the front door, the kids point out their personalized pumpkins with their “letter”.

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Fall porch decor

On Halloween Eve, we’ll carve the largest pumpkins together and cross our fingers they last 24 hours.  What is your favorite way to decorate pumpkins?

 

Hugs!

 

Amber

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch {Spot to Visit with Tots}

Lists of places to take toddlers in Dallas Fort Worth

You may recall several months ago, I shared a listing of toddler friendly places we’ve visited with the quads.  After writing that post I was eager to begin a new list, but a compilation of ten places may take another year.  Instead of waiting for a list I’m starting a series, sharing as we go.

Last weekend we joined our local mothers of multiples club at the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch, and I believe we began a new fall family tradition.  George had to work, but Nisey and Poppa joined us for the experience and helped me manage four two year olds sans strollers.  Here’s the scoop:

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

Location:

Double Oak Ranch
5100 Cross Timbers Rd
Flower Mound TX 75028
(817) 430-4536

Hours:

Seasonal from October 1st – 31st
9:00 am – 7:00 pm

Cost:

Parking is $5 and ALL activities (e.g. train ride, hayride, corn mazes, bounce houses, photo opportuniites) are included

Buses and walk-ins are $1

Favorite Features:

Our crew enjoyed running through the rows and rows of pumpkins as well as the hayride.  For older kids, there are bounce houses and corn mazes.

 

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

Running in a pumpkin patch can be dangerous business.

The pumpkin patch is a fantastic place for snapping photos.  During our visit it was overcast, which made for great fall pictures.

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

 

There are hundreds of character cut outs perfect for photo ops.  Our attempts to convince the quads to pose with the cut outs were futile, however.

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

Since the quads were unwilling to sit next to the cutouts, this is the only picture we snapped of them. This is a mere fraction of the cut outs we admired.  Literally every popular children’s character is represented somewhere on the farm.

There isn’t a petting zoo, but we had a blast watching the farm animals.  The main attraction? Horses snacking on pumpkins of course.

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

Tips:

On weekdays only drinks are sold on site, so pack snacks or a picnic to enjoy during your stay.  On Saturday and Sunday, vendors sell seasonal favorites such as kettle corn, grilled burgers, corny dogs (Fletcher’s!), and pumpkin bread.

Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

After nibbling at our picnic lunch, these four gobbled bright, festive cupcakes provided by our local moms of multiples club.

Radio Flyer wagons are provided free of charge, you can borrow one to cart any bags, snacks, ect as well as any pumpkins you plan to purchase.  No need to bring your own wagon!

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Bathrooms are port-o-potties so plan ahead the best you can…I personally avoid those at all costs.

The Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch gave us a fantastic, nostalgic fall experience. What is your favorite fall activity?

hugs!

Amber

Leftover Oatmeal Cookies

Since we are feeding a family of six now, wasted food makes me cringe.  Our grocery bill is high enough without also being wasteful.  Unfortunately feeding toddlers with finicky palates means food gets wasted far more than I’d like.  One day they’ll scarf a bunch of bananas then refuse bananas for six weeks straight.  I do what I can to reinvent leftovers so we waste less.  For instance, leftover taco meat becomes spaghetti and meat sauce, grilled chicken is great in quesidillas, and pot roast is perfect for French dip sandwiches.  Some leftovers pose a greater challenge.

One of my favorite go-to breakfast meals poses such a challenge.   The quads typically devour crock pot oatmeal.  In fact, they love it so much I double the recipe to make sure we have enough for second, third, and sometimes fourth helpings of it.  Yet, sometimes there is leftover oatmeal, which doesn’t keep and reheat well.  Yesterday, I decided to try using it to make cookies.  I searched Pinterest for such a recipe, but came up short.  I ended up creating my own recipe, and ended up with rich, chewy cookies.  The quads demolished them during afternoon snack- a clear indication of a keeper recipe.

Make cookies using leftover oatmeal

Leftover Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups cooked oatmeal

1 stick of butter softened

1/4 c. brown sugar

4 eggs (the cookies turned out a bit fluffier than I prefer so I think I’ll try fewer eggs next time)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. baking soda

freshly grated nutmeg

2 c. chocolate chips (raisins would work to create a healthier version, but we LOVE chocolate here)

4 c. flour (I added flour gradually until I had a soft dough, you may need more or less depending on the consistency of your oatmeal).

bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until cookies are golden brown

Serve with cold milk!

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Do you have a favorite way to reinvent leftovers?

 

Hugs!

 

Amber

 

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” – William Shakespheare

When Sydney was a mere two-pound preemie fighting for her life, a friend sent me this quote “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  How well it captures Sydney!  She’s always been the smallest of the clan, but meek she is not.  While I’m proud of her tenacity, she scares the fire out of me.  She scales furniture in our home with the grace of a ballerina and befriends strangers wherever she goes.  I’m certain she’d attempt to cuddle a deranged mutt wandering the street or scale the fence if she wanted something.  It can be terrifying.  Consequently, one of her goals for Early Childhood Intervention  is to demonstrate caution around dangerous situations (e.g. hot stove, strangers, animals).  I manage Sydney’s shenanigans in the house, but venturing outside the home poses clear dangers.  In order to help her master this goal, I begrudgingly knew it would mean practice.   Her trainer suggested we begin by checking the mail daily.

Insignificant as it seems, checking the mail was a monumental task for us.  It meant single-handedly teaching four two-year olds how to walk together and also recognizing the dangers of the driveway and street.  I began tackling this task with Sydney and one other child at a time.  With just two, it was relatively simple.  I’d hold each little hand as I led them to the mailbox, quickly snatch the mail and lead them back.  Sometimes Sydney resisted hand holding and attempted to bolt, but with just two kids I could grab her easily.

After a week or so of that, it was time to go as a whole group.  In time the quads started pairing off and holding each other’s hands as they followed me to the mailbox.  Once we reached the mailbox, I taught them to wait within a square on the sidewalk while I retrieved the mail, giving a piece (usually the junk mail) to each child before I instructed them to bring it inside.  Although the quads are doing a fabulous job at this new daily chore, I continue to remind them of the boundaries and show them where cars drive, ect.  Occasionally, Sydney threatens to dart off, but she recognizes the street is a place for cars and not kids, which is a piece of mind.

Teach multiples how to hold hands and walk together

Since we conquered mail checking, visiting the park was next on my agenda for helping Sydney master her goal. Together, George and I took the quads to our neighborhood playground in our stroller.  As soon as we unloaded the four, they darted to the stairs and gave the toddler slides a try.  In the beginning, I was concerned Sydney (or really anyone) would leave the toddler area and attempt the section for older kids.  For the most part they all stayed within eye shot and didn’t push the boundaries too much.  With a good bit of prompting, Sydney learned to safely manuever the equipment.  At one point she tripped and fell off a small set of stairs and landed on her back (taking my breath away).  Thankfully she didn’t have a scratch and quickly returned to playing.  Going to the playground proved good for the whole family.  We enjoyed a bit of fresh air, and were able to meet other children the same age that live nearby.

Everyone bravely attempted the toddler slide.

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Much to my chagrin, George guided each of the quads to the "big" slide.  While the others were slightly reticant, Sydney managed this slide with gusto.

Much to my chagrin, George guided each of the quads to the “big” slide. While the others were slightly reticent, Sydney didn’t miss a beat.

After the neighborhood playground was a success, we later took the quads on a picnic to a city park without strollers.  All four walked alongside us down a meandering path, over a bridge, and through a meadow to our chosen picnic spot.  Once we settled, they all stayed on our quilt as we nibbled our dinner.   It turned out to be a lovely Sunday afternoon.  

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We are finding that with continued practice getting out to enjoy the world is much easier.  In fact, we’ve gone to several restaurants without using strollers.  We can unload the quads from the van and they walk with us.   It’s liberating!

 

hugs!

Amber

His Name is Elmer

Our neighborhood has a hopping Buy, Sell, Trade site, which may be a slight addiction for me.  George and I check it frequently for the latest deals.  We’ve scored everything from free moving boxes to board books, and sold our share of goodies too.  Several months ago we removed the builder grade mirror from the quad’s bathroom and replaced it with an ornately framed version.  Once the old mirror was removed, we posted it as free on our Buy, Sell, Trade site.  A firefighter snatched it up for the firehouse workout room, and George set it out for porch pick up.  Unbeknownst to me, the same firefighter posted a Halloween decoration for sale at $10.  Being a Halloween aficionado, George asked if this particular item was still available, and naturally it was.  However, instead of charging $10 for the gem, the altruistic firefighter decided it was a fair trade for the mirror.  Worst trade ever!

When I came home from work one evening, I was greeted by a life-sized skeleton dangling in a cage.  This guy was a grisly, unwelcome sight!  Not only was it realistic and enormous, but it also lights up and chatters spooky things.  I was certain it would terrify the quads and therefore be unacceptable at our house.  The next day, I ushered them into the foyer were our new resident perched, fully expecting shrieks of terror.  Instead, all four squealed “pirate!” as they inspected this guy, going right up to the cage and poking him with their little fingers.  Apparently all the preparations for their Pirates & Princesses birthday party created an immunity to skeletons.  Ugh.  Over the years, I’ve accepted the fact that in October George will put out an array of kitschy decorations that I don’t prefer, but this one really made me cringe.  I’d do about anything to banish him from our home, but I knew it wasn’t happening.  George’s eyes glistened like a child on Christmas morning.  As much as I loathed this decoration, I knew he would stay.  However, he could only stay under a few conditions 1. He would be banished to the attic 364 days of the year 2. He could only post on the porch Halloween night 3. We could dress him in pirate attire to make him a bit more kid friendly.  Against my demands, George kept his new friend in our study for several weeks, and became so attached he named him Elmer.  I’d cringe every time I entered the study and laid eyes on the wretched beast so I eventually heaved him upstairs myself.  Instead of stuffing him deep into the attic, George placed him directly at the entry of the attic so whenever anyone opens the attic, Elmer is staring back with his empty eye sockets.  It’s horrific!

Halloween decoration, life size caged skeleton

Even though I despise old Elmer perching in my attic, I’ve settled with the fact that he’s a permanent family member. Last weekend, George and I began hauling our fall boxes from the attic, and against George’s wishes Elmer stayed up. We didn’t have time to begin decorating so the boxes stayed in our dining room. The next day was like any other, George changed the quads while I prepared breakfast, he set off to work as we nibbled our meal, yada yada yada. After breakfast, I began tidying up while the quads entertained each other. After a few minutes, all four ran into the breakfast nook proclaiming there was a monster upstairs. I recalled reading a Halloween book before bed and thought their imaginations were really running wild. I made a futile attempt to convince them we were monster free upstairs. Eventually, they led me by the hand to the foot of the stairs as they pointed to a tall dark silhouette of a witch.  I had to conceal my laughter because I knew they were genuinely scared.  Harper refused to step foot out of the kitchen and instead peered at the witch from around a corner.  The others were only slightly more brave and approached the witch with fingers covering their eyes.

Halloween decoration, witch siholette

 

quads reaction to finding Halloween decorations

I spent the remainder of the day trying to prove that the black figure was only made of wood. I turned her over to show the wood grain, laid her on the floor, and even walked along the surface of it. Rylin, Mason, and Sydney eventually believed it was no monster, but Harper could not shake the fear. Even after I moved the witch out of sight, Harper fearfully inquired about her all day and shielded his eyes.

That evening, George and I situated our witch in the bushes outside and adorned our porch with friendlier fall decor including warm orange lights and grinning pumpkins. Harper still isn’t a fan of the witch, but he tolerates her the way I tolerate Elmer.

fall porch decor: orange lights plastic bats

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fall porch decor

Fall wreath with burlap ribbon and monogram

What are your favorite fall decorations? Do you appreciate the grisly variety or prefer subdued, friendlier fare?

Hugs!

Amber

These Shoes were Made for Wearing.

Several months ago, Harper developed a bit of an obsession with shoes.  It started with his shoes.  He wanted to wear shoes most of the time, and loved changing into different pairs multiple times daily.  Since he wasn’t independent with putting shoes on himself it was sometime a hassle for me. However, he always sat patiently while I crammed his chubby feet into narrow shoes or used a shoe horn to help the process so I’d oblige him.  It wasn’t long before his interest in shoes progressed to any and ALL shoes.

Currently, if Harper spies a vacant pair of kicks, without fail, he’ll remove his current pair and slip into his new find.  It doesn’t matter who owns the shoes, what size they are, or even the style.  Seriously, he can strut around effortlessly in anything from my 4″ wedges to Poppa’s work boots.  It’s a futile effort, but he will attempt wearing his siblings too small shoes as well.  He snags my shoes on a regular basis, and even the shoes of visitors.  The day I take him into a shoe store he’ll be in hog Heaven.

 

These red Converse are among my favorite shoes for Harper, but he and I don't always agree about when they "go" with the outfit.

These red Converse are among my favorite shoes for Harper, but he and I don’t always agree about when they “go” with the outfit.

Harper chose the entire outfit here from pirate hat to Daddy's yard shoes.

Harper chose the entire outfit here from pirate hat to Daddy’s yard shoes.

I'm not sure an outfit is complete unless you have a fedora and Eeyore slippers.

I’m not sure an outfit is complete unless you have a fedora and Eeyore slippers.

Honestly, I can’t blame Harper for his passion for shoes.  I have a rather extension collection myself.  In fact, I’ve commissioned George to build storage for them in our new closet because I can’t locate every single pair with ease.  Mint strappy sandals found at Target are my among current faves.  I wore them with most everything all summer…mint pairs surprisingly well with many colors.  I’m sad they’ll soon be out of rotation, but looking forward to boot season.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes?

 

Hugs!

 

Amber

 

P.S. Should you ever pay Harper a visit, please keep your shoes away from his reach.  Otherwise he’ll assume they are for him and off he’ll trot!

Gather ‘Round the Family Table

When we were newlyweds, I was still in grad school while George was a novice in his field earning a small pay check.   That meant our apartment was furnished solely with hand me down pieces and thrift store finds.  There was no way we were going to let our nest LOOK like it was a thrift store, however.  Instead, we learned how to bring new life to dated or worn pieces.

Our first piece of furniture to renovate was a dining room table and chairs.  I can’t remember, but it may have cost $75 for all  five pieces.  The table was a classic, sturdy pedestal design with two leaves, but we didn’t care for the oak finish.  The chairs had lovely lines, but the upholstery was tattered and the wood frames were rickety.  After spying a Pottery Barn table far outside our budget, we used some paint, fresh fabric, and elbow grease to inspire our own design with our thrift store find.  This project was the first of many similar re-designs we’d tackle.

black Pottery Barn Inspired Table and chairs thrift store redo

After the purchase of our first house, our little Pottery Barn inspired table found a new spot in our dining room.  It was later relocated to our breakfast nook in that house.

Pottery Barn inspired black table, thrift store redo

The buffet behind the table was also a furniture redo we eventually painted solid black.  It is currently functioning as a changing table/ dresser for the boys nursery.

Countless meals were enjoyed around this table.  However, when the quads were old enough for spoon feeds we needed something to accommodate them.  Our solution was to build our own quad feeding table and store our original table in the attic.  With four infants being spoon fed, the quad table proved ideal.  I could easily reach each little birdie for meals, and clean up was a breeze.

quadruplet feeding table/ toddler table

This was the first time the quads ever sat in their table.  At the time, they weren’t sitting independently so I used baby towels to pad them in.

toddler table

Little dangling feet were always my favorite view of the quad table.

When we moved to our new house the quads were 22 months old and still getting good use out of the quad table.  By that time, they were self feeding using utensils and spoon feeds were a thing of the past.  Yet, we still used the table for instructional activities, story time, and art projects.

I could easily facilitate story time from the quad table.  However, the quads do reasonably well sitting in child sized chairs or in a semi circle on the floor too.

I could easily facilitate story time from the quad table. However, the quads do reasonably well sitting in child sized chairs or in a semi-circle on the floor too.

It was relatively simple to clean up after the messiest of art projects at the quad table.

It was relatively simple to clean up after the messiest of art projects at the quad table.

When the quad table was originally built, we hoped to get two to three years use from it. However, as the quads grew it became clear that the quad table’s days were numbered.  Harper grew dangerously close to the 30 pound weight limit for the quad table seats, and he seemed uncomfortable being crammed into it.  Furthermore, the quad table became a point of stress during meals.  All four of the quads could reach anything on the table, which meant they snatched food from each other (and our plates), poked each other with forks, and created numerous shenanigans.  Clearly, the quad table served it’s purpose and it was time to move onto something new.

DIY quadruplet feeding table/ toddler table

This photo was snapped the last night we used our beloved quad table. I’m amazed at how much they’ve grown.

Oh how they've grown!

Little dangling feet will always be my favorite view of the quad table.

In a pinch, we can pad the quads into adult sized chairs, but it’s not good for everyday use.  It’s difficult for the quads to see and reach their food, let alone use utensils.  Consequently, we piloted booster seats attached to our dining chairs.  After trying several designs, we realized booster seats were even more problematic than the quad table.  Booster seats nearly destroyed our dining chair’s upholstery and the quads could easily push their feet against the table and tip backwards.  We considered serving their meals at a child sized table, but that would mean we couldn’t enjoy family dinners.

Even when it was only two of us, George and I ate the majority of our dinners at the table together.  During family meals, we take time to converse with each other about the day’s events and future plans.  We take time to enjoy the meal before us and reconnect as a family.  Because family dinners are of the utmost importance to us, we needed another plan.   After dining out, it occurred to us that restaurant high chairs would be perfect.  They are easy to clean, sturdy, stackable, and include seat belts for safety.  Once I found decent priced chairs, I ordered four from Amazon Prime.

Since the quads still bash the table with their utensils, there was NO way we were spending money to buy a new kitchen table.  It was time for our very first dining table to return from storage.  However, the black paint was nearly a decade old and looked haggard.

We are gradually changing our color palate in the new house from dark colors to lighter hues and accepting them in cheery colors such as butter cream, aqua, and orange.  Our dark table was given a clean coat of aqua paint then distressed using a stain technique that could withstand quads.  In fact, we used the same color and technique we used on our coffee table.  We then painted the chairs white and distressed them with the same technique to give them an antique appearance.  The dingy crimson wall was covered by a soft gray, which effectively brightened the room.

Our accessories didn’t look quite right with the new wall color, but cans of chrome and sunshine spray paint helped coordinate the look.  And, a bold floral fabric on the chairs pulled the entire room together.  Ta da!

Thrift store table and chairs given a distressed finish using stain

We used glitzy letter decals to decorate each high chair.  Since the seat belts are adjusted differently for each child, it helps us remember whose chair is whose.  Plus, we move the chairs around and the quads enjoy searching for their new place at the table.

aqua table, antique white chairs, gray wall

Aside from the fact that I adore the fresh new look of our breakfast nook, it is working beautifully.  Since it’s a traditional family style table, we face each other for conversation.  (I should record some of our dinner conversation with the quads…they are generally humorous).  Also, the center of the table is outside the reach of little hands.  This allows us to serve food from the table instead of getting up to refill little plates thousands of times.  Seriously, with the quad table I’d get up every few seconds to bring more food to the quads and I rarely sat down to enjoy my meal.  Another bonus of the new set up is we can move the high chairs to create space between kiddos or away from the table itself (this is handy if someone is starting to make a mess with their plate).

When we have company join us for dinner, we have room for a few extra chairs so we can all dine together.  Nisey and Grandpa enjoyed dinner with us on Grandparent’s Day last Sunday, and there was ample room for the eight of us.

family dinner

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I was slightly sad to see our quad table go, but it has been re-homed to a family with infant quads. Knowing it will help feed another set of quads makes my heart happy. In fact, this family plans to pass it down to the next generation so who knows how many quad families may enjoy our table.

Where do you dine?

Hugs!

Amber

 

P.S. This post contains affiliate links.  Please visit my disclaimer page if you’d like more information about links.

Conquering My Fear

I remember the days B. Q. (before quads) when I yearned to have a baby and had all sorts of notions about what motherhood would mean.  At that time, I’d see mothers out and about with their littles in tow.  It seemed that every woman I passed had an adorable “mini me” clad in Janie & Jack attire with a winning toothless grin.  I fantasized about dressing my own baby up in itty bitty boutique outfits and having a chubby cheeked baby sitting in my shopping cart.  Of course, my baby would never wail, smell rotten, or spit up.  My baby would be perfect at all times.  (A girl can dream, right?)

When our instant family of quads arrived, I found myself getting plenty of baby snuggles but I was also marooned.  My fragile babies couldn’t go anywhere besides the doctor for a full year.  When the days of lockdown ceased, George and I seized every opportunity to let the quads explore their world.  We toted them to museums, stores, restaurants, and anywhere else we thought we could safely take them.  Many of our field trips involved other friends and family members to help wrangle the tots.   No matter where we ventured, it was always a four ring circus for many reasons.  It wasn’t quite what I envisioned in my fantasy world.

Despite our many family adventures, I had never loaded the quads into the van myself and taken them out in public.  Not once.  I’ve taken them out alone, or in pairs myself.  And, we’ve enjoyed many play dates on our own and taken trips to the neighborhood strip mall in our Runabout, but never a legit outing just the five of us.

The notion of being alone with four babies in a public place terrified me.  Each time I considered a quick errand with them on my own, I immediately conjured up a laundry list of scenarios from downright embarrassing to horrific.  I thought surely before they were two I’d have the courage to take them out own my own,  just once, but I didn’t.  Their second birthday came and went, but my fears paralyzed me still.   Every last one of my quad mama pals took the plunge and flashed pictures of their success stories with a pile of kids in a cart somewhere.  They could do it, why couldn’t I? Thursday morning I decided it was time.  We were going to Target.  After all, Target boasts triple seater carts, sells most anything my heart desires, and it puts people in a trance with its merchandising tactics.

Thursday morning after breakfast, I scribbled a quick list of items we needed and scrambled to get everyone dressed.  Naturally, everyone was uncooperative.  All four were whining without mercy.  Entire bins of toys were dumped and strewn about the house creating landmines for me.  Though I felt discouraged and now concerned about how they’d behave, I was also determined.  As soon as everyone was sufficiently dressed, I hustled the crew to the van where I strapped everyone in.  Much to my chagrin, everyone settled once the van was in motion and I revved up our best kid tune playlist.  I thought, “Okay, we CAN do this!”, and made a beeline to Target.

Upon our arrival at Target, I circled the parking lot for THE cart.  I spotted one in the back corner of the parking lot and parked beside it.  I loaded Harper and Sydney in the harnessed seats, Mason in the main cart seat, and padded Rylin in the buggy with threats to her life should she stand. (Rylin is by far the most opinionated and strong-willed of the quads, but she’s also the most obedient of the pack, which makes her trustworthy with responsibility.)

I strutted into Target with my brood of smiling toddlers and it felt darn good.  I know the layout of Target like the back of my hand so  I started tackling each item on the list and making sure to skim end caps for clearance finds.  Thirty minutes into the trip and all four were chipper and clearly enjoying the scenery.  In fact, I hadn’t offered a single snack to anyone.  I ponied on, grabbing more items off the list.  At 45 minutes of Target time, all items on the list (plus a few extras) were loaded into our cart and I had four happy children.  WOW!!!!  At that point, it was time to check out, but they earned their individual baggies of Fruit Loops and loads of praise for their upstanding behavior.   I checked out, loaded our goods into the van, and loaded four toddlers without incident.  SUCCESS!!!!

It feels liberating to finally conquer my fears of taking the foursome out own my own, and I feel encouraged to try more things myself.  I know every trip out won’t be so easy, (and it wouldn’t be if there were just one toddler either) but at least I know successful trips CAN and WILL happen.

 

Triple seater carts work great for multiple toddlers

One of my many fears about solo outings was handling the public Q & A sessions. I don’t mind answering questions, but being alone meant we needed to stay the course. Interestingly enough, at 10:00 am on a Thursday our local Target was primarily populated with moms that had full carts of kids. I saw at least five other moms with more than three kids. It seemed that most shoppers at that day and time were on a mission of their own, and didn’t have time to worry about my crew. Dare I say it was peaceful?

It wasn't long before Rylin realized the diaper bag doubled as a pillow.   She was very cooperative with me piling things all around her too.

It wasn’t long before Rylin realized the diaper bag doubled as a pillow.

 

After our successful Target jaunt, I rewarded myself with a salted caramel frapuccino.  I won a giftcart at our last Moms of Multiples meeting and i thought of no better occasion to enjoy it.

After our successful Target jaunt, I rewarded myself with a salted caramel frappuccino. I won a gift card at our last Moms of Multiples meeting and thought of no better occasion to enjoy it.

What fears do you need to conquer? What encouragement do you need?

 

Hugs!

Amber

Four Friends

Although our home is often filled with piercing shrieks of, “MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and sibling scats, the quads are finding playmates in each other.  For every shrill scream that makes me cringe, toddler cackles and chatter warm my heart.  When I feel exasperated by the bickering, I see what close bonds are rapidly forming and I am grateful.  I only hope that as the quads grow they continue to enjoy each other’s company and love each other fiercely.

These two ladies cheered on their brothers during the riding toy races.

These two ladies cheered on their brothers during the riding toy races.

The compassion they have for each other is undeniable as well.  It’s a well-known fact that a kiss from Mommy or Daddy heals any boo boo, but a sibling’s kiss will also do the trick.  If someone is picking at their dinner, it’s not uncommon for someone else to spoon feed them with a little airplane “zoom zoom” for fun.

Best of all, they inspire each other to use their imagination during play and invite each other to try new things.

Mason and Harper think it's hysterical to walk around the kitchen on their knees.  As I cook dinner, one of them will start this antic and it's not long before two boys are strutting along the kitchen floor on their knees.

Mason and Harper think it’s hysterical to walk around the kitchen on their knees. As I cook dinner, one of them will start this antic and it’s not long before two boys are strutting along the kitchen floor giggling the whole way.

 

The four pack practiced setting their table for tea time.  They served quite the spread of plastic food.

The four pack practiced setting their table for tea time. They served quite the spread of plastic food.

 

I can only imagine what is in store for these four little people.

 

hugs!

Amber

The Inevitable

Much to my dismay the quads aren’t babies anymore, and they’ve verbalized this fact. Numerous times. This year will bring about many changes from toddler beds to potty training and increased independence.  Knowing these changes are upon us, we are always trying to bob and weave in anticipation of the next phase.

I’m clearly anxious about toddler beds because I have a recurring nightmare.  One, or more of the quads escapes their crib, opens their bedroom door, opens the playroom gate, opens our bedroom door and jumps into our bed.  I then frantically dart around trying to figure out the cause of the security breach.  It may not be nightmare caliber, but this is certainly not a welcome scenario for me.  I’m currently relishing these days where all four are safely tucked into cribs during naps and at night, and I know these days are finite.

Ideally, we will transition to toddler beds when the quads are mature enough to manage the responsibility and freedom that comes with toddler beds.  I also know that any one of them could climb out at any moment.  Consequently, we toddler proofed the rooms by strapping furniture to the walls, covering outlets, securing blind cords, and latching drawers.  Yet, I still feel angst about four toddlers having free reign in their rooms.

In preparation for toddler bed transitions, I started “room time” five to 15 minutes daily.  I split the pairs into their respective rooms with a few safe toys and go about my business while they play.  I use the baby monitor to spy on them periodically, and they’ve done well.  I’ve overheard bickering, but they’ve proven themselves capable of resolving issues on their own.

Today as room time approached, the four pack paired off independently and shut the doors themselves.  Rylin and Harper retreated to the girls room with the Klip Klop stable while Mason and Sydney flipped through a stack of books.  I typically take the girls to their room, and the boys to their room since that’s how it will be with toddler beds, but this arrangement seemed fine.  I thought it an ideal time for me to brush my teeth and tidy the kitchen.  As I brushed my teeth and odd scratched permeated the girl’s wall and I knew mischief was in the making.

As soon as I flung the door open, Rylin proclaimed, “Harper did it!”  Harper flashed a blue toothy grin as he revealed a bath crayon masterpiece all over the girl’s wall and dresser.  Rylin maintained her innocence as Harper took full credit as he squealed, “Harper draw it, blue!”  He was oh so proud.  I took a deep breath as I fished blue bits from Harper’s mouth and tried my best to explain that paper is the place for drawing.  Thankfully, we had one Magic Eraser that Harper (and I) used to wash the walls.

I don’t think a day will pass that I’m not organizing and preparing for the next phase.  Yet even with the best laid plans parenthood holds many inevitable moments.  Today it was our first crayon on the wall.    I’m sure many more will unfold and I’ll just try to preserve these moments in time as the inevitable.

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Yes, there is an exposed outlet. Toddlers can remove the covers…must find more….

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The Magic Eraser mostly removed the blue crayon, but I think we’ll need another to get rid of the blue haze.

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This was a while after the blue crayon clean up, but there is still evidence wedged in Harper’s cheese face smile.  That grin makes Little Man easy to forgive.

Have you ever tried a Magic Eraser?

 

Hugs!

 

Amber