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.

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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.

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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

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indoor camping

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

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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.

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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

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

Here Comes the Bride

On Good Friday, our friends, Kristin & JW tied the knot, and we had the honor of participating in their special day.  George officiated the wedding and the quads served as ring bearers and flower girls.

Several months ago when Kristin & JW asked us to be part of their wedding day, we gladly and confidently accepted.  As the big day approached, I think George and I both became a bit nervous about committing.  In fact, when we attended another wedding in September, George observed the ceremony and hesitantly proclaimed, “I can do this!”  At that point, I made it clear that our friends were counting on him and if he didn’t feel confident in his ability to officiate he’d better let them know right away.  However, when George puts his mind to something he perseveres and he was going to deliver.   For the past few months, George conferred with a pastor about officiating and began practicing.  In time, his confidence grew.

In the meantime, the quads wedding day threads arrived.  When I pulled them out of the boxes, Rylin squealed in delight at her wardrobe.  Once I put it on her she began twirling and swaying as if the den was a ballroom.  Sydney, on the other hand, had a different perspective.  As I pulled her petti romper up, she instantly squealed in disdain and stripped it from her body.  I knew it was problematic. Feeling deflated, I put Sydney’s outfit back on the hanger and put it away to try later.  While Sydney seemed to loathe the frilly little number, it was a battle getting it off of Rylin for bedtime.  She would have worn the flower girl garb to sleep if I’d let her.

About a week later, I tried the petti romper on Sydney again and got the same reaction, but this time she was more passionate about her disapproval. She stamped her feet and waved a finger at me as she told me “No, Mommy.  No!!!!”  Knowing that Sydney tends to be sensitive to textures and clothing, I ran my hands on the inside of her outfit and agreed it was slightly itchy.  At this point, I consulted Sydney’s occupational therapist for advice.  She suggested that I hang the outfit in the girl’s room so Sydney could explore it daily, put a compression garment underneath, do a brushing technique to Sydney’s skin, and let her use a pacifier while wearing it.  I managed to find a nude colored leotard at a local dance studio to put underneath, but Sydney still told me she itched.  I followed the other advice and Sydney tolerated the dress for up to 20 minutes at a time.  I knew that wouldn’t be long enough for an entire wedding and reception, but hoped she’d wear it for the ceremony.  Just in case, I picked up a back up dress in the same color as the original frock.

Wardrobe aside, we had another challenge: to get four two year olds to walk down the aisle each carrying a sign.  I assumed they’d willingly do this for the rehearsal, but wasn’t sure how they’d manage with 300 people staring at them.  In preparation for this, I offered up some positive reinforcement (individual Pez dispensers) if they did their job as asked. I knew photographers liked using Pez with children since it doesn’t stain faces, and I thought it would take them time to empty the dispensers during the ceremony.  We talked about this reward all week long, and these kids were thrilled about it.

Prior to the ceremony, both boys happily suited up in their khaki pants, white dress shirts, pink bow ties, suspenders, and boat shoes.  They were dapper little guys no doubt!  Rylin happily put her outfit on and danced about the room.  Sydney was adamant she was not getting dressed.  In fact, she intended on wearing only diaper.  GAH!!!!

Kristin & JW's wedding

The bride and the mother of the bride told me numerous times Sydney didn’t have to be in the wedding, and I wasn’t planning to force her.  However, I was not about to take a screaming child clad in only a diaper to a wedding ceremony.  I knew she needed to be calm and wearing something, even if it was the back up dress.  At this point, we turned on a cartoon and as Sydney became captivated, I quietly slipped her petti romper on.   When she noticed she protested a bit, but was far more interested in the television than what I was doing.  It wasn’t long before I had her fully dressed and hair done.  It was as if a load was lifted from my shoulders!  We had a wardrobe victory.

Kristin & JW's wedding

Kristin & JW's wedding

Being a little ladies man, Mason snatched a kiss from the bride before the wedding.

Kristin & JW's wedding

With the pressure of having all four kids and the husband in the wedding, I enlisted the help of Nisey and Terri to manage the little people.

Kristin & JW's wedding

Kristin & JW's wedding

Nisey and I left the quads in the care of the bridesmaids and Terri while we made our way to the front of the congregation with Pez in hand.

Kristin & JW's wedding

As music began to play, I crossed my fingers everyone was cooperative.  When I spied Harper walking down the aisle with his “Here” sign in hand I felt confident about the others.  Oftentimes it only takes one to take the lead and the others will follow.

Kristin & JW's wedding

Kristin & JW's wedding

Sydney refused to walk, but was okay to be carried.  Thankfully, Nikki is a rock star who obliged.

Have flower girls and ring bearers hold signs saying "Here" "Comes" "the" "Bride"

Kristin & JW's wedding

Once all four kiddos were in my clutches, my nerves eased.  However, George still had a ceremony to perform and I had four kids to supervise.  Much to my dismay, they quads devoured every single row of Pez within a couple of minutes.  It would have been okay except that they started chattering LOUDLY.  They weren’t trying to be disruptive, but have no clue how to whisper.  I knew the people sitting nearby would be disturbed so Nisey and I ushered all four out of their seats to the outskirts of the congregation.  There, Rylin and Mason cut loose and began running with joy.

Classic Oaks Ranch Wedding

Kristin & JW's wedding

Kristin & JW's wedding

Thankfully, it was an outside venue so running around didn’t really cause a ruckus.  Once the ceremony ended it was time for post wedding pictures.

Kristin & JW's wedding

Classic Oaks Ranch Wedding

Kristin & JW's wedding

Sydney held it together all she could and was not happy when I requested a family picture.

Kristin & JW's wedding

At the reception, the quads took charge of the dance floor and had fun in the photo booth.

Classic Oaks Ranch Wedding

reserved seating signs and flower arrangement

Kristin & JW's wedding

ten gallon hat

photobooth with quads

kristin photobooth cici and matt

Looking back at the day, I am so proud of my family.  George received many compliments about the ceremony, and I think he delivered just what the couple wanted.  The quads managed to stay clothed the entire time, went down the aisle, and carried their signs as asked.  I am grateful for all of the help we had to make those things happen too.  Most of all, congratulations, Kristin & JW…we love you!

hugs,

Amber

On the Hunt

Since the kids were about 16 months old, I’ve been a member of our local mothers of multiples club.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know some of the families with multiples that live within our community via an online group, play dates, and events.  The family events are a really nice way to enjoy toddler friendly entertainment nearby while also mingling with the group.  This weekend with the help of my friend, Jen, we went to the group’s annual Easter egg hunt.

In the week leading up to the event, we talked about the egg hunt each day.  In fact, we got our Easter baskets out of the attic and did a little egg hunting practice at home.   We also had fun creating Easter themed crafts (please visit my post on Twiniversity for our craft tutorials).  All of this pre-hunt chatter had the kids stoked for the big day.  The weather was stunning with sunshine and moderate temperatures.

The event coordinators did a great job organizing everything.  They cordoned off parts of the lawn by age group and spread out over 600 eggs!  Instead of filling these all the eggs, they set up a prize station where the kids could exchange the eggs for prizes. As we waited for the egg hunt to begin, the kids were entertained with a craft station where they decorated bunnies and eggs.

After the egg hunt, the kids exchanged empty eggs for prizes.

It was rather impressive how so many little ones stood behind the line awaiting the countdown for the egg hunt to begin.  Countdowns can be confusing…Sydney with her newly acquired counting skills counted up from one to ten.

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

Yes, your eyes are correct, Sydney has a huge bruise on her cheek and a Cinderella tat on her bicep….She looks like a scrapper, I know.  Honestly, I don’t know where the bruise came from and the tattoo was a reward for using the potty.

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

After counting down from ten, it was a mad dash to collect the eggs.  The only problem is that my children seemed to think they should only grab their assigned colors, and therefore were off to a slow start.  They eventually got into the groove and found plenty.

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

After the hunt, Harper wasn’t too happy as his allergies flared up from all that time on the lawn.

Easter Egg Hunt 2015

Of course, snack time brightened everyone’s day.  The crew enjoyed packages of Annie’s bunny crackers and applesauce pouches poolside.

lcmom egg hunt snacks 2

LCMOM egg hunt 2015

If I were left to my own devices, there would have been no pictures of this day.  Thankfully, several of the moms at the event and Jen snapped these.

With all of this practice, the quads will be professional egg hunters by Easter Sunday at Nisey’s house.

hugs!

Amber

Sweet & Sassy

About a year ago, the boys enjoyed their first day in the salon, while the girls hair continued growing longer.  With their long wavy locks, they’ve become interested in choosing hair styles from pig tales to buns and embellishing with barrettes and bows.  And, I’ll admit I have fun styling them.  Even though we’ve been letting the girls hair grow, it started becoming scraggly and unkempt looking.

Next week the quads have the honor of serving as flower girls and ring bearers in a friend’s wedding, which meant it was time for the girls to visit the salon.  I wanted it to be a special day for them so I booked appointments at Sweet and Sassy, which specializes in children’s haircuts and princess glam.  Of course, I was also sure to print coupons from their website for $3 off weekday cuts!

A few weeks back I told the girls they would be getting haircuts, and Rylin jabbered about it almost daily until the big day.  Every time she brought it up, her eyes widened as she clasped her hands saying, “We’re going to the salon!”  Her excitement about receiving a beauty treatment was contagious, but can you blame her?  A trip to the salon is exciting.

Sweet & Sassy

When we arrived at the salon, each of the girls was greeted by her own stylist and situated in a chair with purple cape.  To sweeten the deal, the girls received sparkling pink lollipops to enjoy during their treatment.

Sweet & Sassy

Poppa and the boys tagged along for the event, and happily enjoyed lollipops in blue and green while they waited.

Sweet & Sassy

Since the girls were only getting a tiny trim to even their baby locks, the actual cuts probably took about two minutes apiece.  However, their beauty treatment was not yet done (thank goodness!  I wanted my money’s worth on this deal).  After receiving hair cuts, the girl’s hair was braided to look like Anna and Elsa from Frozen (their absolute favorite movie characters!)  To finish up the princess look, each girl’s hair was dusted in silver glitter and a sparkling star was affixed to their cheek.  Knowing these braids would be adorable for the wedding, I watched the process of braiding hoping to learn the technique.  Unfortunately, I’m inept at braiding so we will be doing something else.

Sweet & Sassy

Sweet & Sassy

Once the girls were finished, they couldn’t wait to have pictures snapped with Elsa and Anna.  To prove I was part of this day, they had their picture taken with me too.

Sweet & Sassy

Sweet & Sassy

The best part of this day is that the girls clearly felt beautiful following the experience.  They beamed all day long and were thrilled to show Daddy their new hair dos when he got home.

hugs!

Amber

Class Party

The last time we enjoyed a play date with the Bell Quads, I mentioned feeling a bit sad that my kids don’t have the opportunity for class holiday parties. I don’t know why, that just seems to be something fun for little kids to do. Noting the fact that between us we have a full capacity Mother’s Day Out class, Amber suggested we have a little class party of our own for Saint Patrick’s Day.  Brilliant!

Originally, Amber intended to hostess this shindig.  However, her crew became extremely ill last month and was under quarantine orders for four weeks!  I started feeling a bit loony after our week-long escapade with a stomach bug so I can only imagine what she experienced.   I invited the Bells to our house in hopes of providing fresh scenery.

Keeping up with the party theme, I dressed everyone in assorted Saint Patrick’s Day attire.  Oddly enough, several of them came from hand me down bins.   Amber and her crew also dressed the part in shades of green.

Saint Patrick's Day

Amber brought themed plates and party decor while I served a green meal.  For the main course, I wanted to serve a new family favorite (it is a super easy recipe that also happens to be green in color #WINNER).  The recipe originally came from Picky Palate, but my family wasn’t fond of it as is.    After making several tweaks to the recipe, I came up with one my family demolishes.  Seriously, my kids eat 3-4 servings each when I make this meal so I knew Amber’s kids would approve as well.  To make the green menu complete, I served steamed broccoli, a tossed green salad, and key lime yogurt bites.

While I was tossing ingredients together for our class party, I prepped two more batches for freezer meals.  We have several friends with new babies, and I know freezer meals are among the most appreciated gifts for new moms.  In case you want to give this recipe a spin…

creamy pesto crock pot chicken

While I plated dinner, Amber introduced paint with water books she scored at Target’s One Spot.  It was shockingly quiet as these little artists went to work.  It really resembled a little preschool class.

Paint with Water is a low mess toddler acvity

When dinner was ready, both Amber and I marveled at how big our kids have gotten.  I couldn’t help but reminisce about our first play date that involved doling out several rounds of bottles, assembling four pack ‘n’ plays, and alternating kids through the quad table.  It was A LOT of work in those days.  Now the eight of them can gather around a dinner and feed themselves using utensils.

Green Dinner for St. Patty's Day

St Patty's Day1

Amber’s party plates were really cute, but I really loved them when it was time to clean up after dinner.  I simply tossed eight plates into the garbage instead of washing them.  After dinner, the kids spent time in the playroom before we changed all eight into pajamas.  And, just like “school” all eight gathered on the playroom rug for story time.  It was absolutely precious watching all eight sprawled out or crouched around to listen.

bed time story

bedtime story

When the bedtime hour approached, the quads bid their buddies farewell with hugs (ADORABLE!).  George and I tucked our four in, and then I helped Amber load her crew into the Suburban.  I’d say it was a “class party” quad play date success!

farewell hugs

Do you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day?

Hugs!

Amber

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Toddler Beds, Take Two

big boy beds

At the start of the year, Sydney forced us to transition the girls from cribs to toddler beds.  Being a daredevil, Sydney escaped from her crib, which meant keeping the girls in cribs was no longer safe.  Since the boys are rather mischievous and had not attempted such an escape we kept their cribs intact. I was absolutely content with this arrangement.

Since moving the girls to toddler beds, they’ve done well, but naps are sporadic at best.   They tend to gab to each other as if it’s a constant slumber party.  Recently, Mason began trying to go to bed in the girls rooms and occasionally asked for a big boy bed.  He really tugged at George’s heartstrings on this one.  After some thought, George and I decided spring break week would be best for this change.  It meant I’d be home all week as we eased into toddler beds.

The day prior to the big change, George inspected the boy’s room for final toddler proofing measures.  All furniture was secured to the wall, latches were installed to the closet door and cabinets, electrical cords were secured, outlets covered, blind cords clipped, and the chair removed.  George then removed the front panel on both cribs.   We introduced the OK To Wake! Owl, and explained that the boys were to stay in bed until the owl illuminated green in the morning.

George read bedtime stories to the crew before tucking the boys into their new beds.

George read bedtime stories to the crew before tucking the boys into their new beds.

Following story time, both boys scrambled into their respective beds as if they’d done it a million times.  It was so easy.  Too easy.

toddler beds

toddler beds

Once prayers were said, I flipped off the lights and both boys snuggled under the covers.  About 30 seconds after we left the boy’s room, they both came charging into the playroom.  I’d forgotten to secure the door knob cover.  Once I wrapped it in a few layers of packing tape, they were set for the night.  George and I retreated to the den for some television watching and braced ourselves for protest.  I checked the baby monitor multiple times, and instead of finding distraught boys, I found two sweetly sleeping boys.   Much to my surprise, we didn’t hear a peep out of them until 7:30 am when Mason proclaimed, “It’s okay to wake!  The owl is green!!!”    I was even more surprised when I found their room totally undisturbed.  Though the room was toddler proofed and immediate hazards were removed, I anticipated a few trouble spots.  Fully expecting these things, I begged George to install latches on EVERY drawer.  His reply, “Let’s see what happens.  Give them the benefit of the doubt.”  While I want them to learn independence, sometimes my sanity is worth taking extra precautions.  I had a little side of crow for breakfast the first morning after toddler beds.

The first day they went down for nap without too much trouble, except they never actually fell asleep.  Instead they had great fun swapping beds and playing all sorts of imaginative games.  At the end of nap quiet playtime, everything in their rooms was in order.

When I went to get the boys up the second morning, I was greeted with a light citrus fragrance trailing from their room.  Undeniably familiar…GermX hand sanitizer.  Inside, I found Harper squirting the last few drops of a once full bottle of GermX all over the dresser.  It was one germ-free dresser that’s for sure.  Aside from the sanitizer, things looked good.

When I opened the bedroom door, I found Harper squirting the last few drops of a once full bottle of GermX all over the dresser.

On the third morning, I discovered socks in the diaper champ and diapers/ swim suits strewn about the room.  I was fed up with these shenanigans especially considering at least one was preventable with a strong latch.  I shot off an angry text complete with pictures for George to see.  His reply, “Mismanagement???”  Oh no, mister!  I was NOT pleased with this response.  I wanted some serious latches.

toddler bed mischief

The boys were different size diapers, which meant I had to sort through each one.

toddler bed mischief

On day four, the morning went smoothly even though George hadn’t yet installed any new latches.  I crossed my fingers for nap, but it did not go well.   About an hour into nap, I heard something suspicious.  Harper managed to dismantle the diaper champ and shredded the garbage bag inside.  Thankfully I emptied it just prior to nap so there were no diapers inside.  I suspected they may put things in the Diaper Champ, but never thought they could take it apart.  I ended up locking the Diaper Champ in the closet, scolded the boys, and put them back to bed.

diaper champ dismantle

The rest of nap did not go any better, the boys finagled a cabinet door open where George had installed a latch.  Once inside the cabinet, they had a hay day scattering undies, socks, and pajamas everywhere.  Harper informed me he was making a train.  To his credit, he lined the baskets up and it did resemble a train.   The only good thing about this mess is that it forced me to do a little spring cleaning.

toddler bed mischief

Despite the now daily shenanigans, George didn’t see a need for additional latches just yet.  On the fifth morning of toddler beds, I woke up to find all of the dresser drawers pulled out with pants scattered about the room.  The drawers aren’t terribly big, but for toddlers are slightly heavy so George finally agreed to latch them.  AMEN!!!!

toddler bed mischief

During nap on day five, Poppa stayed home with the boys so I could run errands.  According to Poppa, the boys sounded rather rowdy.  When he checked on them, both mattresses were off the beds and the boys were jumping wildly.  After a stern talk from Poppa, both boys fell asleep.  (I think I need a recording of Poppa telling the boys to go to bed.)

Today was the first morning when things were not in shambles.  Instead of trouble, I found Mason holding the owl so it would cast light on the door as Harper created shadow puppets.  That charade warmed my heart. The morning was smooth, nap not so much.  This time time they removed the sheets from their beds and got into the diapers again.

toddler bed mischief

Desperate for the boys to take a nap, I settled them onto pallets and rubbed their backs to settle them.  It worked like a charm!

sleeping on pallets

After a full week of toddler bed mayhem, I harassed George enough for him to install latches on the remaining accessible drawers.  Of course, these guys are a clever pair so I’m sure they’ll discover more mischief.  At least I can rest knowing we really exhausted all toddler proofing options available, and George can rest knowing I won’t pester him anymore.

toddler proofing

Even though the boys have created far more messes than the girls could ever imagine, I have to give them kudos for going to bed easily and staying asleep through the night.  The girls keep their room tidier, but getting them to bed is a bit more problematic.

hugs!

Amber

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