Making a Splash at the New Pad!

One of the selling features of our new home was the yard. It doesn’t boast acreage or anything, but it has ample space for the quads to jaunt around, and eventually for us to add a small playground. Although the garden needs a little a lot of TLC, the previous owner had the yard fully landscaped with many ornamental plants and trees.  Every morning after breakfast and in the evening before bed, we enjoy a little time outdoors.  On most mornings, we have a little splash party using the water table followed by a bubble bath.   In the evenings the quads dart around as we weed the once neglected flower beds.  A few mornings ago, I captured some of our morning shenanigans.

Rylin took it upon herself to water the rose bushes with her pink watering can.    She refilled it multiple times to make sure the roses got a nice drink.

 

20140606-105831-39511059.jpg

We received this pewter wind chime as a gift from a family friend.  It was in her family for years because there were two girls and two boys in the family, just like ours.  It made the perfect addition to our new yardscape.  The quads are fascinated by the mellow tinkling of the chime dancing in the breeze.

20140606-105832-39512177.jpg

A few months ago, I purchased faux crocs for the quads to wear in the yard.  They’ve proven themselves as yard must haves for us.  They protect tender baby feet and rinse off easily with the garden hose.  I stumbled upon a pair on clearance at Marshall’s in my size and snagged them.  While I’m not hip to the fashion statement they make, I am in L-O-V-E with these shoes.  Oh how I’ve been missing out on the goodness of Crocs for the yard.  They are ohhhh sooooooo comfortable and yard work friendly.  The fact that they are violet and ballet slipper style helps my inner fashionista to appreciate them.

20140606-105831-39511580.jpg

We have an assortment of inflatable baby pools from the quad’s first birthday party last summer.  However, I didn’t have the patience to inflate one of the larger ones so settled for the tiniest pool ever created.  It served as a “Go Fishing” pond for the party, and was never really intended for wading.  It began as extra splash space alongside our water table until someone took a dip….then another….and another….and then all four.

If two’s company,

20140606-105829-39509461.jpg

 

And three’s a crowd….

 

20140606-105830-39510009.jpg

 

 

What’s four???

 

20140606-105830-39510501.jpg

 

A spoiled party perhaps?

 

We enjoyed nearly a full hour of splishing and splashing before the dog pile resulted in cranky babies.   When the party ended, I stripped all four babies down in the yard, hung the soppy clothes on the swing set and wrapped each one in a dry towel.  I took a tip from fellow quad mama, Amber, and lined each baby up as they waited for a diaper and outfit.  Much to my surprise, they waited perfectly still for their turn!  Of course, the episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse helped my efforts.

 

20140606-105832-39512744.jpg

 

 

Once the babies are snuggled into their beds for the night, we often enjoy a glass of vino or iced tea from our front porch.  The sunset is gorgeous!

 

20140606-091143-33103022.jpg

 

Have you ever owned a pair of Crocs?   If not, would you consider it?

 

hugs!

 

Amber

The Guest

I’m anxious to share our moving saga and updates on the new digs, but we are totally swamped with the settling process.  While George and I are tackling boxes, I thought you’d enjoy my latest guest posts, both of which posted today.

On the Mothers of Supertwins blog, Stories from the Heart, I shared my tips for getting out with multiple toddlers.

 

Most people would expect me to use a giant diaper bag, but I prefer this Vera Bradley bag instead.

Most people would expect me to use a giant diaper bag, but I prefer this Vera Bradley bag instead.

IMG_9150

 

Our neighborhood Kroger has carts which seat all four babies.  Scoring one of these sweet rides usually involves me stalking the cart corral, however.

Our neighborhood Kroger has carts which seat all four babies. Scoring one of these sweet rides usually involves me stalking the cart corral, however.

I also made a second contribution to the Fort Worth Moms Blog about how we sleep trained the quadruplets. 

On the Fort Worth Moms Blog, I reviewed how we sleep trained the quads as infants.  I eventually would like to share how their sleep has evolved with toddlerhood.  I snapped this particular picture when all four awoke from naps extremely early and were cranky.

On the Fort Worth Moms Blog, I reviewed how we sleep trained the quads as infants. I eventually would like to share how their sleep has evolved with toddlerhood. I snapped this particular picture when all four awoke from naps extremely early and were cranky.

 

hugs!

Amber

 

 

 

 

Impromptu Parade

We were lucky that our house closing happened to align with Memorial Day weekend.  It afforded us an extra day off work to unpack and settle.  We didn’t have Memorial Day plans since we intended to be working on the house, but by Monday afternoon we had E-N-O-U-G-H already. After two days of moving, our bodies ached while bruises lined our legs and biceps. It was clearly time for a break so I invited us to my Aunt Linda’s BBQ.   Although taking four toddlers anywhere is a lot of work, getting out for a few hours proved refreshing.

I managed to pull four patriotic looking outfits from the quad's closets.  The previous homeowner left behind four small flags so we had an impromptu parade.

I managed to pull four patriotic looking outfits from the quad’s closets. The previous homeowner left behind four small flags so we had an impromptu parade.  Please excuse Harper’s faux pas of letting his flag touch the ground.

 

Since we are in the middle of moving, we didn't pack the quad's booster seats.  Linda had two already, but two kids were left to regular chairs and they did great!

Since we are in the middle of moving, we didn’t pack the quad’s booster seats. Aunt Linda had two already, but two kids were left to regular chairs and they did great!

Later, Mason shared his chair with me.

Later, Mason shared his chair with me.

 

George and I manned the kiddie table while the rest of the family enjoyed fine dining.

George and I manned the kiddie table while the rest of the family enjoyed fine dining.

20140529-131619-47779935.jpg

After dinner, Uncle Clarke entertained the quads with his banjo.  The loud creshindo of the insturment initially startled them, but it wasn't long before they sang along.

After dinner, Uncle Clarke entertained the quads with his banjo. The loud strums of the instrument initially startled them, but it wasn’t long before they sang along.

I captured Rylin’s rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

 

We may not have been on the initial guest list, but I think the quads did a fine job of entertaining the great grandparents.  They have a way of brightening the day of others with their antics.  How did you celebrate Memorial Day?

 

hugs!

 

Amber

 

P.S. Stay tuned for the low down on the BIG move and the gazillion projects we’d like to tackle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boxes….Boxes…Boxes

When George and I bought our first house eight years ago we never could have fathomed four children living in it. At the time of purchase, our house was far more square footage than two people needed.  We bought it as a “five-year house”, and anticipated living in it for several years, then maybe adding a baby (or two) to our family before up sizing. In time, we fell in love with our neighborhood and added our own special touches to our home. After discovering we were expecting quadruplets we knew our house couldn’t be a forever home. Yet, the prospect of buying and selling during a quadruplet pregnancy was not going to happen. Once the babies came home we made do by adding storage and getting creative with furniture arrangement.  It was working surprisingly well.  However as our babies transformed into busy toddlers, we knew it was past time to find a house better suited to our burgeoning family.

This spring we finally pulled the trigger and interviewed with real estate agents to discuss our property value and desired features for a new home.  Initially we planned to move out of our neighborhood where we could find more square footage for our money.  However, multiple real estate agents reminded us why our neighborhood is ideal for our family.  Great schools, family friendly, close proximity to many amenities.  I began feeling anxious about sacrificing our beloved neighborhood for more space.  We found a gorgeous home in a nearby neighborhood with almost every item ticked off our wish list.  It was a five bedroom turnkey house with an over sized kitchen and pantry, it was dreamy.  One bright Sunday afternoon we hauled the quads to see this particular home.  As soon as our agent opened the doors the quads dashed upstairs.  This would have been fine except the shiny wooden staircase was adorned with wrought iron spindles, which overlooked the den from about 25 feet off the ground.  While the house was stunning, I immediately knew it was not our house.   All I could envision was toddlers catapulting themselves over the stair railing and subsequent ER visits.

Our real estate agent urged us to visit an open house in our neighborhood, but I wasn’t enthusiastic.  It looked drab and small, but to appease our agent we walked the quads over for the event.  After about five minutes, George and I looked at each other and both agreed it was perfect for us.  It boasted all the features of our current home, but was a somewhat improved version.  It had more space inside and out, and best of all there was a dedicated playroom space for the quads.  That evening we made an offer on that house, which was accepted contingent upon the sale of our home.  Within a week’s time, our house was decluttered, spiffed up, and market ready.  Thankfully, we received a full price offer with just six days on the market.  The only catch we are now amidst moving a house that’s accumulated eight years worth of stuff, two dogs, and four kids.  Even though the new house is just around the corner, we still have to pack, update utilities, and situate ourselves in a new home.  I’m over the moon about the new digs, and slightly extremely anxious about managing the mayhem.

In order to keep it manageable, George and I set daily goals for packing, and elicited the help of the quads.  They’ve proven themselves as unreliable help, however.  They tend to unpack things after us, and add their own accouterments to boxes.  On the bright side, packing materials are highly entertaining toddlers.

Four little people make for interesting helpers.

Sydney read the newspaper for at least thirty minutes while Harper added books to my kitchen box.

 

At one point, I had four boxes set up for each of the quads.  Yet, they insisted on pairing off, and the dogs ducked in with them a few times.

At one point, I had four boxes set up for each of the quads. Yet, they insisted on pairing off, and the dogs ducked in with them a few times.

IMG_9487

 

 

The quads enjoy taking rides a top the boxes.

The quads enjoy taking rides a top the boxes.

Moving with multiples is proving difficult for my Type A personality. Before boxing anything, I prefer to ensure that all parts are accounted for, and boxed together (the idea is extreme organization now will help with unpacking later). With eight helping hands, parts tend to go missing. One evening the quad’s clock puzzle was strewn about and three pieces weren’t found. I put this clock on the counter and feverishly searched every imaginable place for them. Finally one night George admitted tossing them into a random box. I found enough self-restraint not to rip into boxes, but I assure you I wanted to. If I thought I’d actually find all three pieces I might do it, but the prospects are slim.  Don’t assume I’m the only Type A personality in our house though. Every night, George scours the house with touch up paint in hand, masking our previous short cuts and damages.

 

EAch night, we heave another set of boxes to the garage.  It won't be long before we are engulfed in boxes.

Each night, we heave another set of boxes to the garage. It won’t be long before we are engulfed in boxes.

Unfortunatley, moving is uncovering some of our Shawver Shortcuts in home renovations.  We apparently have a bad habit of painting around things.  There was a shelf hanging in this particualar spot.

Unfortunately, moving is uncovering some of our Shawver Shortcuts in home renovations. We apparently have a bad habit of painting around things. There was a shelf hanging in this particular spot.

My den looks like a stick of dynamite hit a toy store...and it makes me anxious!

My den looks like a stick of dynamite hit a toy store…and it makes me anxious!

I can't explain how crazy seeing this clock with three pieces missing makes me feel!  If these pieces don't resurface, I may have to donate it.

I can’t explain how crazy seeing this clock with three pieces missing makes me feel! If these pieces don’t resurface, I may have to donate it.

This morning the buy and sell were official and the ink is now dry on our paperwork!  Our agent, Tommy graciously volunteered to babysit Sydney and Mason during closing while Rylin and Harper stayed behind with George's aunt.

This morning the buy and sell were official and the ink is now dry on our paperwork! Our agent, Tommy graciously volunteered to babysit Sydney and Mason during closing while Rylin and Harper stayed behind with George’s aunt.

 

What is your best moving tip?

Hugs!

Amber

 

Hope

George supported himself in college by answering phones and taking orders for a local florist.   The hours were ideal for a college student, he went in sometime after lunch and was off by six.  Except for two weeks of the year: the week of Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.  During those weeks, it was not unusual for him to work overtime until 11 pm later.  Even though both weeks were flooded with orders, George once mentioned how Mother’s Day was far busier because everyone doesn’t have a Valentine, but everyone has a mother.  It made sense to me at the time.  A decade later, I see Mother’s Day through new eyes.

Just like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day has become somewhat of a commercial holiday where people feel obligated to honor certain people in their life, and people feel entitled to recognition on these particular days.  What about the other 364 days of the year?   Shouldn’t we let the people we love know how much we care on a daily basis?  Even though they’ve become commercial holidays, I’m not most bothered by that aspect.  I’m far more concerned about the people who won’t be celebrating.   To many, Valentine’s Day is only a painful reminder that they are lonely hearts.   Where Mother’s Day is wrought with pain for those who grieve for their mothers or children and for those who yearn to become mothers.   It’s a day they can only hope will pass with haste.

This pain is something familiar to me from the years I grasped at every shred of hope that Mother’s Day would finally hold meaning to me.  In 2012, Mother’s Day was one of juxtaposed emotion for me.  At that time, I was expecting the quadruplets, but everything was uncertain and I still felt pangs of grief from miscarriage.  Not only was it my first Mother’s Day since miscarrying, but also my due date for that baby was on Mother’s Day.  I felt empty still.

Last year when my first Mother’s Day with children came around, I raised the bar high.  Too high.  George didn’t roll out the red carpets and shower me in the lavish gifts I expected, which hurt my feelings.  I was entitled because it was MY day!  I remember lashing out at him before going to bed.  Seriously where were MY gifts???

The day after Mother’s Day he presented me with a custom made cross necklace surrounded by four rubies representing the quads.  It was extremely thoughtful, but I felt ashamed for expecting it.  While we have not perfected it, George and I are working on appreciating each other on a daily basis and not putting stalk into material things.  I had everything I could have ever wanted on that Mother’s Day and more, our four beautiful children.  Just one year prior, I would have given up both arms just to have children.  While my heart is full of love for them, I am also aware of the despair some will experience today, and I pray they never lose hope.

While I was undergoing fertility treatments, I attended monthly support group meetings at our clinic.  There, I found a sisterhood of others experiencing the same emptiness and longing I felt.  At one of the meetings, we discussed the “survivor guilt” that occurs when one transitions from infertility patient to pregnant patient.  A common sentiment experienced by women experiencing infertility is one of emotional pain upon seeing expectant mothers or receiving pregnancy announcements.  It could be viewed as jealousy, but that’s not exactly the emotion.  I’s more of a reminder of what is missing.  At that particular meeting, we discussed how it would be nice to know when another woman was part of the sisterhood, someone who also experienced the pain of infertility.  Someone mentioned how it would be perfect if there were a secret signal that projected “I’m your sister, I was once in your shoes.  There is hope.”  After that meeting I secretly began imagining that every expectant mother was indeed part of the infertility sisterhood, and it helped that nagging feeling of pain subside.  Little did I know that I would someday wear a blaring sign that I was once a member of the infertility club, and it would come in the shape of four same aged babies.

When the quads were about six months old, I began taking them for walks in the quad stroller almost every evening.  It was a fantastic way of managing “witching hour” with four cranky babies.    One evening as I strolled about the neighborhood I remember a red Ford Explorer passing us, and then looping back around very slowly.  I was taken aback as the driver eventually pulled over, parked, and got out to approach me.  There were many people outside at the time.  Parents supervised their children, joggers passed, and people returned home from work.  I also had wasp spray ready to attack anyone who seemed dangerous.  I felt at ease even a the driver approached me.  I remember him making eye contact with a look of pain and sincerity in his eyes.  He told me that he would understand if I didn’t want to answer, but inquired whether we needed fertility treatments.  Because I felt safe, I admitted we did.  This now vulnerable man now faced me as he sighed and confessed that he and his wife were undergoing treatments.  At this point, they knew the bitter feelings of repeated and failed treatments.  They were quickly approaching a crossroads of deciding whether or not to continue treatments.  We spent a while sharing our experiences, but before parting ways the gentleman said, seeing you and the babies restored my HOPE.   Hearing that struck a chord with me because at that moment I knew that I wore the sign for other people experiencing fertility that says, “I’m your sister, I was once in your shoes.  There is hope.”  I’ve addressed what to say to parents of multiples and what not to say to parents of multiples, and in both articles I shared that it is impolite to inquire whether the babies are “natural” because it is such a personal question.  However, when someone divulges to me that they are undergoing fertility treatment or once were, I’m usually open to sharing because I want them to feel HOPE.   So if you are reading this and for whatever reason feel the pangs of grief or despair, please never lose hope.  Hope really is one of the most valuable treasures we possess.

In honor of my mother and grandmothers, the quads helped me create a visual representation of HOPE, after all they are the most powerful reminder I have of hope.

 

Hope-001

These were my four favorite outtakes.

These were my four favorite outtakes.

 

IMG_9374

For my mother, I painted the babies’ feet and stamped them onto a Terra cotta pot in the shape of butterflies. I added a sign that reads, “Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

 

While George worked at the floral shop, I recieved more than my fair share of flowers.  Consquently, George stopped wanting to bring home flowers when he no longer worked there.  I was ecstatic when he brought these home for Mother's Day.  They were his way of letting me know he appreciates me.

While George worked at the floral shop, I recieved more than my fair share of flowers. Consquently, George stopped wanting to bring home flowers when he no longer worked there. I was ecstatic when he brought these home Thursday evening. They were his way of letting me know he appreciates me, and it was perfect.

 

What are the symbols of hope in your life?

 

hugs,

 

Amber

 

P. S. Through mutual acquaintances, I learned that the driver who stopped me that day is expecting a baby boy in June!

The Sisterhood

Just a little over two years ago, I became part of a group of expectant quad moms who connected online.  In a situation that could be otherwise isolating, we found ourselves sharing our experiences weathering quadruplet pregnancies.  We encouraged each other and commensurated.  After the babies were born, we maintained close contact, celebrating the small victories and sharing the challenges of raising quadruplets. Since there is no book about parenting quadruplets this group has become the go-to resource.   About a year ago we began toying with the notion of taking a girls weekend trip to finally meet in person and to relax.  At first it seemed like an unlikely scenario.  After all, we don’t exactly live in the same neighborhood.  Literally states and thousands of miles separate us. 

Several months ago, Amber B. took the reigns as travel agent and coordinated our very first girls getaway weekend.   She scored a condo in Gruene, TX, which is nestled down in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  In the months leading up to our trip, we communicated almost daily (sometimes several times a day).  It wasn’t solely about the trip, but was more about sharing our daily lives, which made each of us feel “normal”.  As each day passed leading up to the trip, our sisterhood grew stronger.  I felt like a child anticipating Christmas morning as the trip grew nearer.  Since this trip would mark my first time away from both the quads and George, I wasn’t sure what feelings it might bring.    My thoughtful child decided to throw some whopper tantrums earlier in the day, which helped stave off any mommy guilt associated with my departure.

Once my bags were packed, they were waiting by the front door.

 

 

My sweet Rylin wanted to ensure I would have zero mommy guilt for leaving, and threw whopper tantrums all day before I departed,

 

As soon as all husbands were firmly posted at their respective homes, the journey began.  Amber B., Griselda, and I carpooled from Dallas.  Meanwhile, Krista caught a flight from California and Becky from Michigan. Ashley headed from Houston to Austin to pick up our flying sisters from the airport.  To our surprise, all six of us arrived at the condo within five minutes of each other!

Road trip!

Road trip!

 

The moment when all six of us united in person for the first time, can only be described as surreal.  It played out like a movie scene full of heartfelt embraces, shrieks, and laughter.  Although we’ve shared some of the most intimate aspects of our lives, meeting in person was all new.   Even away from home, Amber B. was an expert at hospitality.  After everyone was settled, she presented each person with a goody bag consisting of some of her favorite R & R  items  (e.g. Moroccan body lotion, Texas Trash trail mix, stationary, bath soak, body spray, peach tea, and facial masks) as well as hand crafted cookies from a mother of triplets.

In utter excitement, we chattered away until the wee hours of the morning.  Despite only clocking a few hours of sleep for the night, we awoke refreshed the next morning as we sipped hot coffee together.  It’s amazing what uninterrupted sleep without any responsibilities can do for a person.

 

United at last!

United at last! Back Row: Me, Krista, Becky, Griselda Front Row: Amber B. & Ashley

 

 

 

These cookies were so beautiful, I refused to gobble them up too fast and brought several home.  George was impressed.

If you are dying to sink your teeth into some of Mary’s gorgeous cookies, please visit Sugar Coma Cookies to order your very own.  She can ship to you!

In order to give our out of state visitors a taste of Texas, we headed to Saltgrass Steakhouse for lunch situated along the Guadalupe River.   The spring weather was as stunning as our table side view.  Much to our dismay, Griselda started feeling bad shortly after lunch.  Although we begged her to stay and recover in the condo, Griselda opted to go back home.  We missed having her for the remainder of the weekend, but we genuinely appreciated her commitment to keeping the rest of our group from experiencing quad mom contagion.  Between the six of us, there are 29 children whom we hope to keep well. 

20140505-221017.jpg

20140505-221040.jpg

Amber Squared

 

After lunch, we meandered through Gruene and became accustomed to taking “selfies” of the group.  When we saw a beautiful view of the river, decided it was time to trouble another tourist to take a group shot.    Up to this point, we kept our identities as quad moms a secret.  It was all too nice not having to field questions or remarks.   For some reason, Krista felt compelled to reveal our little secret to the kind woman who snapped our photo.  Instead of asking questions or making crass remarks, the woman stood quietly as she pulled an odd expression.  It was as if something had gone terribly wrong.  To our surprise, the woman casually revealed that she was a surviving quadruplet!  I’m not sure who was more surprised at our unusual connection, the quad moms or the quadruplet herself.  She graciously allowed us to take a picture with her to commemorate the moment.   As the evening came to a close, our stroll through Gruene landed us at a serene wine bar, which served as the ideal spot for relaxation and more girl talk.

20140505-221052.jpg

 

 

20140505-221101.jpg

 

 

Our second day consisted primarily of pool time followed by a group dinner at the famous Grist Mill.   Everyone found something they felt confident wearing at the pool, but Krista and Amber B. rocked bikinis!  While at the pool, Becky demonstrated acrobatics from her former life as a competitive gymnast.  This little quad mama can still do the splits!

 

poolside

quad mamas rocking bathing suits

20140505-221126.jpg

 

As we took turns showering and getting ready to pain the town, we found quiet moments to relax and actually read magazines!  My magazine stockpile usually becomes a fine motor activity for the quads and I never get a chance to skim them.  It was a nice change of pace to say the least.

DSCN2093

20140505-221147.jpg

Ready to paint the town

The power of Four!

The power of Four!

Gristmill

Gristmill

Gristmill

Gristmill

Joy filled hearts!

Joy filled hearts!

 

A girl’s getaway is never complete without a spa visit.  Though we weren’t willing to sacrifice a day of togetherness, we still managed a spa experience, DIY style.  Krista, Becky and I used parts of our goody bags to create a foot soak and cucumber facial, which went awry when the mask didn’t peel as anticipated.  It may not have been the relaxing “spa experience” of our dreams, but resulted in laughter and memories to last forever.

What have I gotten Krista into?

When we realized the masks wouldn’t peel off easily, Krista leaned over asking, “What have you gotten us into???” as if I offered them illicit drugs or something.

Looks like Becky has a skin condition.

It took the better part of 20 minutes to peel the masks from our faces, but it was all in good fun.

 

 

As the weekend came to a close, the emotions were bittersweet.  It was undeniably  hard to leave such dear friends to return to our normal lives.  Yet, I was more than ready to return to my family back home.  On Sunday afternoon, I returned refreshed and rejuvenated.  I’m not sure George had the same sentiment after a weekend of holding down the fort.  He’ll be sharing his weekend stories soon…stay tuned!

 

hugs!

 

Amber

 

P.S.  This trip was such a success, we have grand plans of making it an annual thing.  Don’t tell George though, I’m not sure he’ll agree to staying behind again.  I am encouraging him to take a camping trip in the near future.  He deserves time to recharge too!

Daddy’s Weekend

Before I headed off to Gruene to meet up my quad mama friends, George had a trial run of being in charge. It went surprisingly well, which was a good thing because it made me feel confident leaving him for a whole weekend. While I knew he could handle the fort and he told me repeatedly he could do it alone, I rallied the troops.  Nisey came Thursday evening to spend the night just like she does every week.  On Friday, Nisey and her sidekick, Terri, cared for the quads while George worked.  Nisey and Terri sent me these precious snapshots from their day together.

20140505-221756.jpg

 

I haven’t the foggiest idea how she managed it, but Nisey put Rylin’s hair in legit pigtails.  I’ve since attempted to replicate this hairstyle and failed several times.

20140505-221809.jpg

 

 

I can’t be certain what happened the rest of the time I was away, but I found miscellaneous videos and pictures waiting for me on the camera….

IMG_9265

I can only assume there was a great toddler flick showing.  Elmo, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Baby Einstein or Bubble Guppies perhaps.  Nothing else could convince these three to sit perfectly still long enough for a snapshot.

IMG_9266

 

Sydney typically sings all day long until someone pushes “record” on a device, in which case all singing ceases.   George was able to ambush her before dinner and captured her ellusive version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the Alphabet Song.  My favorite part is when she catches him recording and instructs him to turn it “off”.  He also managed to record a few other tricks courtesy of the quads.

 

Friday night, Nisey helped George get the quads to bed and then he was left to his own devices on Saturday morning.  Aunt CiCi and Matt came later in the afternoon as fresh troops. Again, George had assistance with bedtime, but managed the night and Sunday morning solo.  Early Sunday morning I received a panicked text from George because his morning help had to cancel.  He muddled just fine, but I think appreciated all the helpers I sequestered after all.  By lunchtime Sunday, George had fresh help and was able to run a few errands.  I believe he now understands why cherish running errands run alone and count them as “me time”.   Although these pictures show kiddos donning jammies, George texted me a few of the quads in coordinated outfits throughout the weekend.  I’m not posting them because they are so blurry the babies are almost unidentifiable.  Apparently no one was willing to strike a pose for Daddy.

IMG_9270

IMG_9271

 

Before returning home, I wanted to offer George a small token of my gratitude.  When Amber B. and I stopped at a favorite roadside stop, Buc-ee’s, I immediately cruised the candy aisle in search of George’s beloved sour belts.  When I found a bag of “Sour Power Quattro” I knew it was meant to be!

IMG_9279

 

While I had a spectacular time in Gruene, I was ready to return home to George and my littles.  I was gone just long enough to really miss them.  When I opened the door, the dogs excitedly greeted me with wagging tails and excited yelps.  Rylin rushed to the gate exclaiming, “Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!”, but I’m not sure the other three noticed my return at all.  Apparently Elmo was far more exciting than Mommy.  I was slightly disappointed that the welcoming committee’s lackadaisical attitude, but I know George was more than ready for my return.

 

hugs!

 

Amber

Moms of Multiples: “I Bet You Were as Big as a Beluga” and Other Verbiage to Avoid

In honor of Multiples Awareness Month, the Fort Worth Mom’s Blog asked me to write an article about what NOT to say to parents of multiples.  I cannot express how happy I am with the positive response I’ve received so far.  In this day and age so many families are different from your average 2.5 kid household with one dog and a two car garage.  As it turns out, what makes families unique is also what falls under public scrutiny.  I don’t believe people intend to be rude, but are often taken aback when they see something different.  They really have no idea what to say and they unintentionally offend and hurt others.

A couple of days before my post on Fort Worth Mom’s Blog, an adoptive father published a video about what to say (or not) to adoptive families.  He came up with the rule of thumb, “If you wouldn’t ask it about a boob job, don’t ask it about adoption”.  It’s a humorous way to remember our manners, and it works for a multitude of situations where someone is different.   The video is really hysterical; if you’ve got two spare minutes take a peek!

Here’s my piece, Moms of Multiples: “I Bet You Were as Big as a Beluga” and Other Verbiage to Avoid as published on the Fort Worth Moms Blog.  Please take time to read it, and share with others.  Knowledge is power, right? Happy Multiples Awareness Month!

George and I are developing a thick skin when out in public with the quads and ignore much of what is said.  A friend snapped this photo and later I noticed the woman in the background with her mouth gaping open while she chats on the phone.  I didn't hear her, but I"m certain she was saying, "Gladys, you will not believe this...I am looking at quadtriplets.  Yeah, four babies the same age.  I can't wait to tell Brittany that she's got it easy with the twins."

George and I are developing a thick skin when out in public with the quads and ignore much of what is said. A friend snapped this photo during the March of Dimes.  Later, I noticed the woman in the background with her mouth gaping open while she chats on the phone. I have no idea what she’s saying, but the expression is all too familiar.

 

 

hugs,

 

Amber

 

Toddler Tips #701: Civilized Dining (sort of)

With each passing day, I find myself trying to solve some new challenge with raising four toddlers, aka “quaddlers”. They are a cunning lot who inspires a little ingenuity on my part (and George’s) just to manage day to day life. While my ideas are born from being surrounded by four toddlers, I think many of them could be helpful to any parents of little ones so I'm sharing.

With each passing day, I find myself trying to solve some new challenge with raising four toddlers, aka “quaddlers”. They are a cunning lot who inspires a little ingenuity on my part (and George’s) just to manage day to day life. While my ideas are born from being surrounded by four toddlers, I think many of them could be helpful to any parents of little ones so I’m sharing.

 

We are far from a perfect mealtime at our house, but we are diligently working on it.  At around 15 months we began serving the babies meals on plates (we ordered the Boon Saucer Edgelesss Stayput Divider Plate, Multi
as seen on Texas Tales), and we gave them toddler utensils.  At that age, they refused to let us spoon feed them, and attempted to self feed by grabbing our spoons.  They didn’t yet have the dexterity to feed themselves with utensils and instead relied upon finger feeding.  Dinner finally became family mealtime where all six of us ate at the quad table, which allowed us to model utensil use for the quads.  It wasn’t long before they made crude attempts at spearing and scooping food.  Despite their interest level and best efforts, the process was frustrating to say the least.  They’d chase their food and poke, but rarely got food onto their forks.   I bought metal toddler forks, but they are so dull even I struggled to stab food.  Sydney’s Occupational Therapist suggested using cocktail forks instead of toddler forks.   The next time I was out shopping, I scoured Home Goods and found a four pack of cocktail forks that closely matched our flatware.  I couldn’t resist buying the matching cocktail spoons as well even though they probably weren’t necessary.

 

I scored these at TJ Maxx for $6.99.  They are a close match to our flatware so I could probably use them as cocktail forks if we ever had a cocktail party.

Since these are a close match to our flatware so I could probably use them as cocktail forks if we ever had a cocktail party.  If that ever happens.

 

I excitedly presented the new forks at our next dinner.  The results were magical.  With small, yet sharp utensils, the quads easily speared food AND the food stayed on their forks.  They were so proud of their newly acquired skill that they beamed.  We’ve been using cocktail forks for a few months now, and for the most part the quads use their forks instead of fingers.  It’s still messy, but I attribute better success to our new forks.  I wouldn’t recommend offering cocktail forks to very young toddlers since they are a little sharp.  They are probably best for toddlers who have the concept of self feeding and won’t poke their hands or faces.  I might start with spoons and when the concept is mastered, offer cocktail forks.

They are messy, but really using their new forks!

They are messy, but successfully using their new forks!  In the picture, Rylin is using her right hand, but 95% of the time she uses her left and does a much better job when using the left.  I wonder if she’l be a lefty.

 

Are you left handed or right handed?

 

Hugs!

 

Amber

What Twin Epidemic?

This week, Time, published an opinion article entitled, “The Problem with America’s Twin Epidemic”.

As a mom of multiples the title alone was an outrage.  By definition, epidemic refers to “a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time”.   Twins, or any other multiple birth are far from a disease or contagious.  I felt completely affronted and absolutely insulted at the very notion that my children could be likened to an infectious disease.   I promise, you will not be stricken with a horrible illness or conceive multiples by being in the presence of my family.

On the other hand, one reason for an increase in multiple births is more likely an epidemic: infertility.  According to RESOLVE (The National Infertility Association), infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system” that is “directly due to some malfunction in the body, whether it be hormonal or structural.” Many sources estimate that one in six couples will experience infertility.  The World Health Organization, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recognize infertility as adisease.  While infertility isn’t contagious, it is in fact a disease; a disease where the necessary treatments are rarely even covered by insurance.

Title aside, the article was a callous attempt at criticizing infertility patients with whom the author is obviously not familiar.  She quoted an array of research articles covering in vitro fertilization (IFV) outcomes, including potential risks common with multiple births, which were factual.   The numbers weren’t the problem; it was the assumptions that were made about patient intentions.  She portrayed IVF patients as greedy and short-sighted.  She presumed that since many patients cannot afford multiple IVF cycles they transferred multiple embryos hoping to get “two for the price of one”.  It’s true, IVF cycles are extremely expensive, often costing an upwards of $15,000 per attempt.  There is far more than money involved in any infertility treatment, however.

Anyone who has experienced infertility knows that they have about as much control over whether or not they have a baby as they do winning the lottery.  Much like the lottery, you have to play to win, but there are no guarantees.  Many IVF patients prefer to hedge their bets by transferring two embryos instead of just one.   Ironically, in a separate article written in 2011, the author stated, “IVF is largely a numbers games. The more embryos doctors put back in you, the better chance you have of one implanting and growing into a baby.”  BINGO!  That’s precisely the reason many IVF patients choose to transfer two embryos.

Furthermore, the author mistakenly states that patients are “authorizing how many embryos to have implanted”.  Instead, patients determine how many embryos will be transferred to the uterus, but medically there is no way to implant an embryo, that part is left up to the human body.  Consequently, many of these very patients do not come home with twins or a singleton, and instead face failed cycles and empty arms.

Every single time an infertility patient undergoes a treatment, they are rolling the dice, hoping and praying they will conceive just ONE baby that is carried to term.  Don’t get me wrong, many infertility patients (me included) may casually hope they’ll be so lucky as to conceive twins because it could mean the end to the pain and struggle of infertility.  They aren’t counting on twins, and certainly aren’t trying.

To prove that infertility patients are set on the notion of an “instant family”, the author cited a study where 40% of couples given a financial incentive to transfer one embryo declined and transferred two.  As an infertility patient, that speaks volumes to me.  Let’s get this straight, EVEN WHEN GIVEN A FINANCIAL INCENTIVE, couples still chose to transfer two embryos.  To me, that suggests that it’s not about getting more for your money.  Rather, the choice comes from a place of emotional turmoil and heartbreak.  It comes from years of failure, dashed hopes, and immense losses that infertility patients hope to avoid undergoing any more treatments than necessary.   They hope this is the last cycle they ever have to endure.

I agree with the author that fertility treatments should involve ethical practices that reduce the chances of conceiving multiples, as the risks for carrying more than one fetus are greater than with only one.  Thankfully, advances in medical research are helping change protocols and improve outcomes for infertility patients.   I can only hope that someday every infertility patient who seeks treatment experiences a healthy pregnancy with a full term single baby.

I may be a day late and a dollar short, but I felt compelled to write my rebuttal as April 20-26th is National Infertility Awareness Week.   Let’s all RESOLVE to know more.

Another blogger responded to the same Time article, dissecting each point.  Stop by Grounded Parents if you are curious about an IVF patient’s response.