Four Two Year Olds

It’s official, four two year olds now reside in our home!   It’s unbelievable to me.  Today we celebrated the momentous occasion with a Princesses and Pirates birthday bash.  This mama is quad-exhausted so enjoy these snippets from today, and stay tuned for more.

 

Pirates and Princesses birthday

Mason, Rylin, Harper, and Sydney on their second birthday.

Princesses and Pirates birthday.

 

 

Hugs!

Amber

Easy Literacy Based Crafts for Toddlers

Any craft can be literacy based, all you need to do is read a related book first, and introduce new vocabulary/ concepts. Pairing books with crafts helps make concepts and vocabulary salient for little ones.

Last week Rylin casually informed me that she’s not a baby.  She very earnestly said, “Mommy, I not a baby.” as she furrowed her brow.  It was like daggers to the heart, but she was right.  The quads aren’t really babies anymore.  They are transforming into children with opinions, thoughts, and voracious appetites for learning.  They never cease to amaze me with bits of knowledge they absorb.  I want to nurture this love of learning, and literacy in particular so I’ve begun literacy based crafts.  It sounds fancy, but I promise it’s simple.

Part of our day is devoted to semi structured learning activities such as flash cards, songs, and story time.  A few times a week we do a craft, most typically one I remember doing from my days in the classroom and sometimes a Pinterest find.  Crafts in themselves are fantastic for toddlers; they can teach direction following, concepts (e.g. shapes, colors, counting, alphabet recognition), develop fine motor skills, and inspire creativity.    However, children learn and recall new concepts best when associations are presented to them.  Therefore, I’m now pairing our craft activities with literature (aka toddler appropriate board books).  When I have a craft project I’d like to do, I peruse our library to find a book that coordinates with it (or a favorite book inspires a craft).  I read the book to the quads as I present new vocabulary and concepts related to the book.  As I read, I also ask many “wh” questions (e.g. who, what, when, where).  Of course, these questions are all asked with toddlers in mind.  For instance, I may say, “what animal is this?”  I also try to help the quads draw connections between the book and their world by pointing out things in their environment or that they’ve seen other places.  Following the story, we do the craft, which I hang in the quads new “art gallery” (aka a wall in their playroom).  As days and weeks pass, I continue to ask the quads about their art and the corresponding story.  When I re-read the story, I bring up their art and they proudly tell me about it.

Does it still seem complicated?  I assure you, it’s not!  Here are two recent crafts:

1. Coffee Filter Butterflies

I remembered doing this craft while working in a daycare and found two books from our shelf related to butterflies.  We happened to have The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Caterpillar Spring, Butterfly Summer so I chose those for our literature. Any book related to caterpillars or insects would suffice.

Vocabulary Introduced: Butterfly, Caterpillar, Cocoon

“Wh” Questions: What did the caterpillar eat? What did the caterpillar turn into? Where did the caterpillar sleep?

Butterfly Summer and The Very Hungry Caterpillar were both in our library so I pulled them for this activity.

First, the quads scribbled on their coffee filters with maker.  I used Sharpie to write their names.

First, the quads scribbled on their coffee filters with maker. I used Sharpie to write their names.

I sprayed the coffee filters with water to make the marker run, creating a watercolor effect.  Then I pinched the middles together and wrapped them with pipe cleaners to create our butterflies.

I sprayed the coffee filters with water to make the marker run, creating a watercolor effect. After the filters were dry, I pinched the middles together and wrapped them with pipe cleaners to create our butterflies.

Simple toddler craft: coffee filter butterflies.  Scribble on coffee filters with washable marker, spray with water, allow filter to dry then pinch together with a pipe cleaner.

I love how every time I ask the quads what a butterfly used to be they say, “caterpillar”.

2. Muddy Car Tracks

One of the quad’s favorite books is Little Blue Truck.  Again, it reminded me of working in day care and painting with car wheels.  I read the book as well as another related to cars and spent time discussing mud.  It was fitting that it was a rainy day so we peered out the window and watched the raindrops create mud in the yard.  Afterwards, I explained that my plate was covered in mud (brown tempera paint), and our toy cars got stuck.  The quads then had a great time dislodging the cars and creating muddy tracks on construction paper.  It’s been at least three weeks since we did this project, and the quads still talk about their muddy tracks, and tires getting stuck.

Vocabulary introduced: mud, stuck, tracks, tires

“Wh” Questions: What does blue truck say?  Who helped push the trucks? Where were the trucks stuck?

The Little Blue Truck was ideal for introducing the concept of mud.  However, any book related to vehicles would work for this project, and the paint could be any color to create tracks.

For this project we used: construction paper, tape, brown tempera paint, and Little People cars.

Toddler craft: roll cars through paint to create tracks.  Brown paint looks like mud.

I taped the edges of the paper down to keep it in place as they rolled cars.

Chikldren's art gallery wall using picture frames.

This is our new art gallery wall in the playroom. I used the frames from our old study, and found another to expand it. The quads LOVE seeing their materpieces and telling about them. It probably doesn’t hurt that I constantly ask them to talk about their art.

Anytime we do a craft, I try to keep it simple using basic supplies we already have, most of which I collected from the Dollar Tree.  There’s no need to make things complex or expensive for toddlers.

What is your favorite toddler craft and/ or book?  Any we should try?

 

Hugs,

 

Amber

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  For more information, please visit my disclaimer page.  

Toddler Tip #457: Improvised Seats

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.

This weekend, we headed to Nisey and Poppa’s for a family dinner. In the past, we brought our Super Seats for mealtime away from home.  It was easy to line the babies up for a spoon feed, or to pull them right up to the dining room table for finger feeding.

The Super Seats are amazing for traveling spoon feeds!  Love them!

However, we recently parted ways with our beloved seats as the quads were getting too big for them, and I was tired of storing them.  I refuse to spend money on any more booster seats because I know they would be short lived.

Instead, we improvised at dinner using an old trick I learned from my cousin, Jennifer. We boosted each child with a floor cushion.  We then tied the apron strings around the back of the chairs to keep each child seated.  This little tip worked especially well since I forgot to put bibs in the diaper bag. The aprons covered the majority of the quad’s clothing and laps.  For some reason, by parents happen to keep four aprons, which was perfect.

Use an apron and a pillow/ cushion/ phone book to make a booster seat when eating away from home with toddlers.

Phone books would have worked well for boosting, but Nisey and Poppa only had one remaining. I think the internet made phone books nearly obsolete.

Use an apron and a pillow/ cushion/ phone book to make a booster seat when eating away from home with toddlers.

The quads didn’t stay at the table as long as they have in booster chairs or the quad table, but our improvised seats enabled them to self feed and for the adults to enjoy dinner.  A win-win in my book!  After dinner, I just shook the crumbs off the aprons and hung them back in the pantry for next time.

Hugs!

 

 

Amber

 

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Puddle Jumping

As soon as the temperatures rose to the 90’s we started enjoying water play in the back yard almost daily.   Between our water table and inflatable pools, the quads have passed many hours of splishing and splashing.  However, Fourth of July weekend marked their first time in a full sized pool since last summer.  When they were little babies, we bought Swim Ways inflatable baby floats, which worked great for water exposure.

Family picture in the pool.

This summer, the quads would have fit easily into their old floats, but as busy toddlers, they would have been irritated by the constraints of a float.  Instead, I decided we’d try the Puddle Jumpers, which were given to us by the Crisanti Quads earlier this year.  Before heading to the pool, I attempted to get the quads to wear their Puddle Jumpers around the house, but only Harper agreed to this idea.  The others fought me tooth and nail so I wasn’t expecting much at the pool.  In fact, I braced myself to sideline at least three toddlers at the pool if necessary.

On July Fourth, we visited our family friends, the Turner’s.   Since they have a beautiful pool, it was time for the maiden voyage with the Puddle Jumpers.  Although they initially resisted, each of the quads eventually donned a Puddle Jumper.  The next problem…getting them to wear them in the water.  Initially all four were extremely timid and hesitant to touch the water.  After all, the water was cool in comparison to the Texas heat and they were wearing foreign devices.   Each of the quads was paired with an adult who coaxed them into the water and showed them how to splash and blow bubbles.  Of the quads, Sydney proved herself to be brave.  She happily jumped to us, back floated, and kicked her legs about.  In time, the others enjoyed themselves and worked up hearty appetites for our barbecue.

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They had a second opportunity to use Puddle Jumpers at Grandaddy’s house later in the weekend.   This time, all four were more eager to enjoy the pool.  To my surprise, they all seemed to appreciate the goggles I scored at the Dollar Tree earlier in the week.  Keeping their eyes free of water seemed to really help ease them into the pool.  Even with a healthy fear of the water, all four enjoyed lots of jumping and kicking around the pool.

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Even with the Puddle Jumpers, we watched the quads like hawks since they could easily face forward in the water.   This year we opted out of swimming lessons since we’d probably only visit a large pool a handful of times at best, and the quads wouldn’t be able to recall skills learned next year.  When they are old enough to participate in a class and develop salient memories, we will absolutely enroll them in swim lessons.  Swimming is a critical life skill.  In the meantime, we are fans of Puddle Jumpers!

Just for fun, George and I took snapshots of the quads on the Fourth of July using our color accent feature on the camera.

I realize it's not kosher to allow an American flag to touch the ground...but with four almost two year olds around, they may have grazed the ground a bit.  Please forgive us.

I realize it’s not kosher to allow an American flag to touch the ground…but with four almost two-year olds around, they may have grazed the ground a bit. Please forgive us.

Rylin

Rylin

Harper

Harper

Sydney

Sydney

Mason

Mason

 

How old were you when you learned how to swim?  Who taught you?

 

hugs!

 

Amber

 

 

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Play Date for Eight

We finally settled into our new digs enough to host our first play date with none other than our quad buddies, the Bells. After several trial and error play dates, Amber and I discovered that evening play dates are pure genius. Initially we tried the traditional daytime rendezvous and failed repeatedly. The babies usually played happily until nap time.  However at nap time, the visitors protested voraciously and the host babies were upset by wailing visitors. This left two frazzled mammas with eight grouchy babies.  It wasn’t pretty.

We now meet up after all babies are refreshed from naps and have several hours before bedtime. The hostess serves up dinner for everyone and the mammas enjoy a glass of vino while the kiddies play in harmony. I can honestly say this is the only way to have a relaxing play date with so many little ones.

Despite a week of flash flooding, we opted for an evening of water play.  What better way to celebrate summer?  In preparation for the event, I littered our backyard with water tables, a mini pool, slide and an assortment of water toys.  While my quads snoozed, I prepared a picnic for everyone: P B & J triangles with berries and veggie sticks for the quads, pimento cheese for the adults, and cakeys for dessert (cake bars Rylin dubbed “cakeys”).

During the day, I showed the quads pictures of the Bell family and explained they were coming over.  After nap, I dressed everyone in swimsuits and doused them in sunscreen as I reminded them of our company.  Clearly they knew it was time to parr-tayy because all four began running circles in the den as they squealed in delight.  When Amber and her crew arrived, I gave her the quick house tour then we ushered all eight babies outside.  Thankfully, George was home from work a bit early so he helped set up the goods for water play (he was also instrumental in clean up efforts).  Everything went swimmingly!  All eight babies scampered around, finding ways to entertain themselves.

It didn't take long before all eight babies were fully entertained with water play.

It didn’t take long before all eight babies were fully entertained with water play.

This is like a game of Where's Waldo....can you spot all eight babies?

This is like a game of Where’s Waldo….can you spot all eight babies?

Mason and Trystan cozied up in the mini pool.

Mason and Trystan cozied up in the mini pool.  Aren’t they adorable together?

I dropped some of our Color Dropz into the water tables and mini pool for a little pizazz!

I dropped some of our Color Dropz into the water tables and mini pool for a little pizzaz!

Amber helped dole out ice water to little beggars.

Amber helped dole out ice water to thirsty little beggars.

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It looks like someone found the mud.  No worries though, Amber and I had a solid clean up plan.

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All eight of the quads now interact with each other, and don’t always stick to their familiar siblings, which indicates play date success in my book.

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Look carefully in the background and you’ll see Harper bailing water from the mini pool to the galvanized bucket. He managed to fill it halfway with just that little red scoop!

As the dinner hour approached, I gathered our picnic trappings and brought them outside along with plastic dinnerware.  Within seconds, all eight babies gathered around our Little Tykes picnic table where we dished out dinner.   Our quads don’t have the best track record for eating meals away from their quad table so I wasn’t really sure what eight would do.  They amazed us as they sat for the entire meal and gobbled up dinner.  I suppose they worked up hearty appetites playing outside.

I couldn't squeeze eight plates around the picnic table, but sharing is commonplace for multiples so it wasn't a problem.

I couldn’t squeeze eight plates around the picnic table, but sharing is commonplace for multiples so it wasn’t a problem.

As the babies noshed on their picnic, Amber snatched ice water for everyone.   She's a pro at this!

As the babies noshed on their picnic, Amber snatched ice water for everyone. She’s a pro at this!

After dinner, George became very popular as he was the cakey server.

After dinner, George became very popular as he was the cakey server.

When the sun began to set, George, Amber, and I created a pioneer style wash basin for the babies with our toy bucket.  George filled it with warm water then Amber and I took turns sponge bathing our respective babies and wrapping them in dry towels.  As each one was wrapped tightly, we lined them up in the den for a Veggie Tales movie.  Amber and I managed to “bathe”, dry, and dress eight babies in pajamas (complete with lotion) in a matter of minutes.  Impressive, I think.  I turned on our classical lullaby playlist as everyone enjoyed perusing a few books and novel toys before bed.  George tucked our babies into cribs as Amber and I loaded hers into the Suburban before we said farewell.  Another successful play date for eight!

Ahhh, clean, dry and jammied babies with a few good reads before bed.

Ahhh, clean, dry and jammied babies with a few good reads before bed.

hugs!

 

Amber

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

What’s the Magic?

 

terrible twos

I practice school psychology, and have for nearly a decade now. Even before I began my graduate program, I worked as both a nanny and daycare teacher. And that’s not to mention the fact that both of my parents were teachers.  Based upon those experiences, I have all the knowledge and skills to mold my children into well-behaved little people. Except, I don’t always use the tools sitting in my toolbox. In the heat of the moment, when four toddlers are shrieking at the top of their lungs and I’m covered in food splatter, my skill set tends to go out the window. I’m not implying that my training hasn’t gone to good use or that I never use my toolkit. Rather, I’m admitting that I am indeed a human being and just like every other parent, teacher, and caregiver, I lose my cool sometimes.  I don’t always make good use of the skills I possess because sometimes I forget.

As the quads are getting older, more independent, and smarter, it’s clear that it’s critical that I work harder on doing the exact things I recommend others do. Of course, it’s always significantly easier to give suggestions to others than yourself isn’t it? Nonetheless, I’m making an effort to take my own good advice and use it on my own children.

Years ago, I was trained in Teaching with Love and Logic: Taking Control of the Classroom. It’s a program that I frequently recommend to parents and teachers.  When one of my colleagues informed me that there was a toddler version, Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood, I found it on Amazon and placed the order. As I read the book, it brought all of my training to the forefront with toddlers in mind. If you have a toddler, or toddlers, I highly recommend snagging a copy for yourself to see if you can adopt some of the concepts within it.

When I consult with parents and teachers, I find myself offering many of the same recommendations time and time again. It’s not because I’m lazy. Instead, it’s because I’ve seen particular strategies work time and time again for many different types of kids. During my days with the quads, I’ve been taking time to pause and consider what I might tell a teacher or parent in my position. The same tried and true school interventions work at home, and I’m seeing positive results.  Some of my go-to suggestions include:

1. Set clear, consistent boundaries, and follow through with all consequences immediately.

After we moved into the new house, I seized the perfect opportunity to establish new house rules in order to break some bad habits. In addition to the rules, we are teaching the quads to be responsible for their actions. For instance, they often think it’s a lot of fun to toss food and utensils during mealtime. If someone drops something from the table, we say, “Ooops, all done”. Then, after everyone is finished with the meal, the offender picks up anything thrown and wipes up spills. In a nutshell, the rules are something to the effect of “If you make a mess, clean it up. If you break something, fix it. If you hurt someone, apologize…ect.”

The quads are well aware that they must sit in order to enjoy a drink.  When they request a drink they now say "sit down" as they comply with our house rule.

The quads are well aware that they must sit in order to enjoy a drink. When they request a drink they now say “sit down” as they comply with our house rule.

It’s important that consequences occur immediately after an offense otherwise, they think they can get away with rule breaking anytime. I know we are making headway in this arena because when a rule is broken, I sometimes hear the renegade say, “Uh oh!  Time out?” or another child will say, “Uh oh!”

It's not unusual for our kitchen floor to look like this during or after a meal.  However, I'm done cleaning up everyone's messes.

It’s not unusual for our kitchen floor to look like this during or after a meal. However, I’m done cleaning up everyone’s messes.

Instead, the quads are now responsible for cleaning up their messes.

Instead, the quads are now responsible for cleaning up their messes.

Time out is among the consquences in our house.  When I first introduced time out, I set the offender in my lap as I held their arms across their chest and counted aloud.  We have since progressed to nose to the wall or corner.

Time out is among the consquences in our house. When I first introduced time out, I set the offender in my lap as I held their arms across their chest and counted aloud. We have since progressed to nose to the wall or corner.

2. Provide sensory motor breaks throughout the day, especially between transitions.

With toddlerhood, our schedule is much more flexible than it once was. However, we still maintain quite a bit of structure in the day, which helps make things predictable and comfortable for everyone. Of the quads, Harper tends to have more energy to burn. With him, I make a point to integrate physical activity into our day, several times. Often times, he has days where he pushes the others or runs around destructively. When I notice that type of behavior, I know it’s time to either go outside, or to use some of our gross motor toys (e.g. mini trampoline, slide, riding toys).

Lawnmowing counts as a helper task and gross motor activity!

Lawnmowing counts as a helper task and gross motor activity!

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3. Allow the child to participate in “helper” activities aka chores.

Everyone likes to feel important and valued, toddlers are no different. As the quads receptive language skills have improved, they’ve been very capable of carrying out simple 1-2 step directions. With supervision, they clean up their playroom, put laundry in the hamper, throw trash away, and feed the dogs. I find that they do best when I am very specific about what needs to be done. For example, I may say, “Please put the blue plate in this basket”. If a verbal direction doesn’t work, I sometimes model what I’m asking for, or help them complete the task hand over hand.  After they’ve helped complete some task, I offer ample praise, and they always beam in delight.

The quads are always proud of themselves after completing a chore.

The quads are always proud of themselves after completing a chore.

4. Provide TONS of praise, which is specific to the behavior. (Praise should ideally occur four times more than redirection. So, if you reprimand a child, he’ll need to be praised for about four appropriate behaviors).

When the quads have done something I like, it’s important to know exactly what they did right so they do it again. For example, they are trying really hard to use their manners so if I hear someone saying “please” or “thank you”, I try to jump in immediately and tell them how well they are doing with using manners.  I may say, “Wow, Mason!  Great job saying thank you!”  or “Oh Sydney, I love how you said please.”

5. Phrase redirection and rules in positive terms (e.g. Say, “Our feet go on the floor” instead of “No standing on chairs”.

Little kids often hear the last thing you said so if it’s in negative terms, they may misunderstand you. You don’t want a toddler thinking you told him to “Stand on the chair”!  Again, with little ones or kids with developmental or language delays a verbal message can be lost.  Sometimes modeling or showing pictures of what the rule is can help.

6. Empathize with an upset child and allow cool down time.

The quads are toddlers and they have tantrums A LOT. Toddler tantrums are never pretty, and they are exacerbated with multiples. Even though toddlers are not generally rational, they have feelings too. If someone is upset I try to tell them I am sorry they are feeling angry/ mad/ upset. This doesn’t mean I try to rescue them or coddle them. Most of the time, tantrums occur because they were denied their way. Giving them what they wanted (e.g. a cookie, a particular toy) to stop a tantrum will make it significantly worse. Giving in would be counterproductive because it would teach them to have tantrums to get what they want.

When someone is having a very difficult time, I offer them cool down time by taking them to a quiet place and encouraging them to take slow deep breaths. If me facilitating cool down time is unsuccessful, I typically leave them alone for a minute or two, allowing them to calm down independently.  I find that placing them in their crib with a preferred toy or book can help them regain composure.

Cool down time is different than time out in that it’s not punitive, rather it allows everyone time to become calm.   Sometimes cool down time is needed before a consequence can be implemented.  Take the example of making a mess at the table.  Sometimes being asked to clean up spurs a tantrum.  I may allow time to cool down before I expect a clean up effort to occur.

7. Provide 2-3 acceptable choices.

Everyone likes to feel as if they have control and power.  However, it’s not wise to let toddlers and children rule a home.  Instead, it’s better to give them parameters for decision making.  This can actually be very simple.  For instance, at meal times, I let the quads chose between two bibs to wear and two colored plates.  A choice can also be between having something or not such as “Do you want to wear socks or no socks.”  This empowers little ones and helps prevent future meltdowns.

I also offer choices in the heat of a tantrum as a means to help redirect them.  Let’s say Rylin had a tantrum because she wanted strawberries instead of blueberries and we have no strawberries.  I may say, “Would you like blueberries or no berries?”  This type of choice can help refocus her attention from the strawberries we don’t have.

The quads chose their hats for this one.

The quads chose their hats for this one.

8. Use first/ then statements.

Kids often want instant gratification and become upset when something doesn’t happen immediately.  With the quads, I often use first then statements to let them know the order things will happen.  For example, if someone approaches me and says, “Read it” while I’m busy.  I may reply, “First, I’m washing dishes then I’ll read it”.  It also works to get them to comply with something undesirable.  For instance, the quads resist diaper changes because they want to do something else.  My response is usually something like, “First I’m going to change your diaper, then you can do your puzzle.”

Even though I’m making an effort to utilize these particular tools as well as my training and experiences, I won’t get it right every single time. There will be times I will make a mistake with the quads, and that’s okay. In those moments, it’ll be important for me to apologize to my children and explain to them that Mommy is a human too. After all, grace is a virtue I want my children to learn too.

 

hugs,

 

Amber

 

Note: This post is in no way sponsored by Love and Logic, but it is a parenting book I feel is beneficial and wholeheartedly recommend.  Also, my tips are not a summary of Love and Logic.  Instead they are based upon my professional training, continuing education, and experiences, which include Love and Logic training.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

Home Sweet Home


After nearly a month in the new digs, it’s finally starting to feel like home.  All of the boxes (except George’s garage stuff) are unpacked.  We are struggling a bit with organization, and we have a laundry list of DIY projects to complete in the next few months and even years, but it feels like home.  The aroma of our Scentsy fills the air while our lamps cast warm pools of light in each room.  The toys strewn about and photographs adorning the walls make everything feel cozy.

 

At one point we thought we were done unpacking, only to remember all of the boxes in storage from when we "decluttered" to put the old house on the market.  I nearly cried!

At one point we thought we were done unpacking, only to remember all of the boxes in storage from when we “decluttered” to put the old house on the market. I nearly cried!

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This was our kitchen the week of move in.

Ta da!  We have counter tops!

Alas! We have counter tops!

 

Well before I started feeling at home, the quads began enjoying the new digs, especially their dedicated playroom.

The playroom was the perfect spot for the quad's table and chairs.  They've been making me "hot coffee" nearly every morning.  They even remember to add a little cream and sugar, just the way I prefer it.

The playroom was the perfect spot for the quad’s table and chairs. They’ve been making me “hot coffee” nearly every morning. They even remember to add a little cream and sugar, just the way I prefer it.

One morning, Mason busily punched letters on his LeapTop as he sipped piping hot imaginary coffee.

One morning, Mason busily punched letters on his LeapTop as he sipped piping hot imaginary coffee.

Long tiled hallways make for perfect motorcycle races. Long tiled hallways make for perfect motorcycle races.

Our larger breakfast nook better accommodates the quad table.

Our larger breakfast nook better accommodates the quad table.

Indoor tents made the perfect refuge for reading on a rainy day.   Notice Rylin's "Elsa dress", she wears it almost daily.

Indoor tents made the perfect refuge for reading on a rainy day. Notice Rylin’s “Elsa dress”, she wears it almost daily.

 

When rainy days resulted in a sloshy back yard, we discovered the front porch as a play space.

When rainy days resulted in a sloshy back yard, we retreated to the covered front porch.

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I most certainly would not chose “Gold Brown” as the accent color for our home, but it’s there and we are embracing it for the moment.  Painting is not a top priority at the moment.  These portraits were done by Preemie Prints shortly after all four babies came home from the NICU.  They mark special moment in time.  Since George and I do 90% of our organization and decorating after the quads are off to sleep, they don’t see us in action.  The day after we hung these, the babies honed in on them immediately.  They can now identify who is who in every picture.

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There’s no better way to feather a nest than to brighten the front door with a cheery wreath. I reinvented the wreath I created for autumn by changing out the “S” for a crisp white version, adding spring floral picks, and moving the lime chevron burlap bow. It makes me happy each time I pass it!

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What makes your house feel like home to you?

hugs!

Amber

We have a hero, and we call him Daddy

Dear George,

 

You are among the ranks of a small group of men who are better known as Quadfathers.  Going from being a Dad to a pair of fur babies to four children is no easy feat.   You work tirelessly to provide for our family and to make our home a perfect place to live. I doubt you remember what it feels like to savor “me time” because it’s illusive here.  Toddlers are a thankless lot who demand things like, “DADDY HOLD YOU!!!” and squabble mercilessly.  Undoubtedly, being a Quadfather is the most difficult challenge of your life, but also the most rewarding.

A year ago, you were a professional formula mixer, baby burper, and infant soother.  With the change of seasons, you are now a hero to four little people.  You are the center of their universe and are held in the highest regard.  Believe me, they are watching your every move.  It’s apparent when I’m frantically searching for something and Harper correctly proclaims, “It’s right here.”  You may not realize it, but that’s one of your signature phrases.  I’ve heard you mutter it while looking for something many times over.  It’s now a common phrase for little big man too.  I know you are a powerful influence when the garage door creaks open and four little people exclaim, “DADDY!!!!”  as they bull rush the gates to reach you.  I promise, when I arrive home from work the welcoming committee is not half as excited as when Daddy returns.

As soon as the quads 5were mobile, you had a stunning welcoming committee,

Because of you, Mason knows it’s Jesus is on the crucifix in our entry way and Rylin distinguishes between an iguana and a gecko.  Since I can’t carry a tune to save my life, you are to thank for Sydney’s sweet singing.  Of course you aren’t the only one with influence around our house, four little people have quite the effect on you  too.  I know this when I catch you singing from their itunes playlist or reciting Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  You are beginning to see the world through new lenses and it’s beautiful.  Even when the days seem eternal and thankless, I hope you never forget the way you family adores you, and the many reasons why.

You model how to be a strong husband and father.

You model how to be a strong husband and father.

You have fun with them.

You have fun with them.

You appreciate their personalities.

You appreciate their personalities.

You share the value of knowledge.

You share your love of learning.

You show them how to explore the world in new ways.

You show them how to explore.

You are affectionate with our children.

You rock them (this is one of the most common requests for the moment).

You contribute to all of our family's needs, great and small.

You contribute to all of our family’s needs, great and small.

You enjoy time for rest and relaxation with our children.

You enjoy time for rest and relaxation with our children.

Happy Father’s Day!

xoxo,

 

Amber

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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,

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And three’s a crowd….

 

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What’s four???

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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.

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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