Fireworks, Water Pistols, Sparklers, & S’ Mores! {Summer Bucket List}

Several years before the quads debut, our friends, Billie & Bob began hosting an annual Fourth of July pool party.  We spend the entire afternoon poolside enjoying beverages a la carte with assorted snacks followed by dinner from the grill.  Two years ago, the quads attended their first pool party, but we left several hours prior to the fireworks display.  This year, we borrowed a library book about July Fourth that mentioned fireworks, and it peaked the quads interest.  Because they usually startle at unexpected noises (e.g. the blender, toilet flushes, hair dryers), I wasn’t convinced fireworks were a prudent idea. I did not make any promises to the quads.


Fourth of July pool party 2013


Before letting the quads outside the confines of the house, I began strapping each one in a puddle jumper.  Naturally, Rylin protested her aqua colored version, stripping it off multiple times.  Billie happened to have a hot pink one available and a disaster was averted.  I’m nervous about the kids near water with puddle jumpers, having them near water without them is a total nightmare.  At first, the kids were hesitant to get into the pool, but with many familiar adults handy, they decided it was worthwhile.

pool party

The day prior to the party, I stumbled upon an eight pack of water pistols on sale at Kroger.  They ended up entertaining kids and adults at the party.  At one point, a duel between Kristin & Aunt CiCi vs Harper & Sydney ensued.  I think the kids won.

In 2013, Ashley and Rylin looked adorable in matching bikinis.

Rylin and Ashley both wore their

This year, Ashley had her own adorable little guy by her side who enjoyed his first Fourth of July pool party.

Ashley & Maddox

And next summer, there will be another cutie at the pool!  Congratulations, JW & Kristin!!!

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Once everyone’s fingers and toes had a raisin like appearance, we bailed out of the pool for an evening picnic.  Apparently the quads worked up an appetite splashing around.  They devoured dinner and had plenty of room for dessert!

Since all four kiddos were in good spirits after dinner, we changed them into pajamas and decided we could stay for fire pit s’ mores and sparklers, both of which were new experiences for them.


s'mores

There’s nothing better than watching your children experience the joys of childhood for the first time.  The looks of awe were priceless.

sparklers

As we enjoyed our s’ mores, several of the neighbors began shooting off small fireworks, and I braced myself for pandemonium.  Much to my surprise, the quads seemed okay with the commotion.  By then, they were already up at least an hour past bedtime and seemed content, so we let them gaze at  poolside fireworks.  Sydney became upset at some of the loudest fireworks, but was content to snuggle with me.

fireworks

How did you celebrate the Fourth of July?   For our readers in other countries, do you observe a similar holiday?

Hooray for another item marked off our summer bucket list, and the bonus items we experienced!!!

  1. Movies
  2. Sea Life Aquarium
  3. Train ride
  4. Fire station tour
  5. Library story time
  6. Splashground
  7. Zoo
  8. Bahama Buck’s
  9. Frozen yogurt
  10. Community pool
  11. Grill dinner outside
  12. Water Table
  13. Inflatable Pool
  14. Sprinklers
  15. Ice Cream
  16. Indoor playgrounds
  17. Lee’s Grilled Cheese
  18. Blow bubbles
  19. Chalk drawings
  20. Board games
  21. Play dates
  22. Summer Reading Club
  23. Dance classes
  24. Fireworks
  25. Sleep over with grandparents
  26. Nature Walks
  27. Bounce house
  28. Popsicles
  29. S’mores
  30. Sparklers
  31. Water pistol duels

hugs,

Amber

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

Fire Station Tour {Summer Bucket List}

Several months ago, the quads developed an interest in emergency vehicles, signal lights, and first responders.  Every single time they ride in the van, they inquire about the meaning of various colors of lights and point out when they see a fire truck, police car, ect.  I suspect these new-found interests developed after they watched a few episodes of Paw Patrol and Fireman Sam.   With this budding obsession, I thought it fitting to arrange a fire station tour where my uncle, Dale is fire chief. The quads could hardly contain their excitement when they discovered we would see inside of real fire trucks and meet firefighters.

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After a brief tour of the firefighter’s dorm area and living space, we had an opportunity to learn about the large fire trucks.  Dale showed us how the trucks are filled with water and where cameras are located on the truck.  Then, Sydney seized the chance to touch one of the hoses.  Everyone (except Rylin) sat inside one of the trucks and even wore headphones as Dale rattled off pertinent emergency information.

fire truck

fire truck hose

Sydney in the fire truck

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MFD truck

MFD

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In the event of an emergency, young children are often frightened by the sight of first responders, namely firefighters dressed in protective gear.  Dale asked one of the fire fighters to wear his full gear, including oxygen mask and to talk to the quads through the mask.  I have to admit, seeing someone dressed this way can be intimidating, even to an adult.  I’m grateful the quads had a chance to see this firsthand under controlled circumstances.   We will be having many more conversations about safety, reviewing these photographs, and will revisit the fire station.

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MFD tour

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Following our fire station tour, we grabbed a quick lunch and spent the afternoon with my grandmother.  There’s something special about the way young children and elderly interact.  My heart melted as I watched Harper tell Grandma about everything imaginable from his wardrobe to his dimple and eyelashes.  I think he may have a calling to work with the elderly as he gets older.  In addition to entertaining Grandma, the quads doodled pictures to share with her neighbors and participated in afternoon music time with her.  My mom later told me Grandma recanted details from our visit so I know she appreciated it.

visiting grandma

visiting grandma

Thank you, Dale and the firefighters of Midlothian for allowing us to tour the fire station and teaching us about your duties.  We are grateful for the many brave men and women who serve our communities and our country.

If you are interested in taking a fire station tour, check with your local fire station for tour details.  For Dallas-Fort Worth locals the following cities have tour information available on their websites, which are linked to this blog Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Keller, Southlake, Carrolton, Frisco, and Allen.

Cheers for another item marked off our summer bucket list!!!

  1. Movies
  2. Sea Life Aquarium
  3. Train ride
  4. Fire station tour
  5. Library story time
  6. Splashground
  7. Zoo
  8. Bahama Buck’s
  9. Frozen yogurt
  10. Community pool
  11. Grill dinner outside
  12. Water Table
  13. Inflatable Pool
  14. Sprinklers
  15. Ice Cream
  16. Indoor playgrounds
  17. Lee’s Grilled Cheese
  18. Blow bubbles
  19. Chalk drawings
  20. Board games
  21. Play dates
  22. Summer Reading Club
  23. Dance classes
  24. Fireworks
  25. Sleep over with grandparents
  26. Nature Walks
  27. Bounce house
  28. Popsicles

hugs,

Amber

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

Bahama Buck’s- Original Shaved Ice {Summer Bucket List}

The quads sampled their first snow cones at our annual NICU reunion this spring, but hadn’t gone to a legitimate snow cone place (you know the kind with shaved ice and a gazillion flavor options?!?!).   After hearing locals buzzing about Bahama Buck’s and George and I were dying to give them a whirl.   Bahama Buck’s is a bit more refined than the old snow cone shacks I remember enjoying as a kid, but they boast just as many decadent flavor options.  George and I both ordered our old school favorites: Ninja Turtle (not technically on the menu, but they created one for George with banana, blue coconut and lime) and Tiger’s Blood.  In good quadruplet fashion, the kids chose their assigned colors rather than favorite flavors: Rylin- Pink Princess, Harper- Blue Coconut, Sydney- Purple Grape, and Mason- Green Lime.  Even though we ordered the “baby” size, these snow cones were mammoth, and thankfully the quads did not even try to finish them.  If they consumed all of the sugar they never would have gone to bed that night!
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Sydney had a sensory experience with her shaved ice, spreading it onto her face and the table…baby wipes came to the rescue.

Bahama Buck's

What is your favorite snow cone flavor?

Here’s to another item ticked off our summer bucket list!  Check in later for more summer fun.

  1. Movies
  2. Sea Life Aquarium
  3. Train ride
  4. Fire station tour
  5. Library story time
  6. Splashground
  7. Zoo
  8. Bahama Buck’s
  9. Frozen yogurt
  10. Community pool
  11. Grill dinner outside
  12. Water Table
  13. Inflatable Pool
  14. Sprinklers
  15. Ice Cream
  16. Indoor playgrounds
  17. Lee’s Grilled Cheese
  18. Blow bubbles
  19. Chalk drawings
  20. Board games
  21. Play dates
  22. Summer Reading Club
  23. Dance classes
  24. Fireworks
  25. Sleep over with grandparents
  26. Nature Walks
  27. Bounce house
  28. Popsicles

hugs,

Amber

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

Summer Bucket List 

This summer the quads will turn three years old (SERIOUSLY, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!?!).  Being curious preschool aged kiddos, they enjoy exploring the world, and I’m actually getting brave enough to take them on outings myself.  Last Tuesday marked my five-week summer break from work and I thought it was time to jot down a summer “bucket list”.  We’ve already tackled a few, but have quite a few more to enjoy before summer comes to a close.

Summer bucket list for toddlers and preschoolers

library time

  1. Movies
  2. Sea Life Aquarium
  3. Train ride
  4. Fire station tour
  5. Library story time
  6. Splashground
  7. Zoo
  8. Bahama Buck’s
  9. Frozen yogurt
  10. Community pool
  11. Grill dinner outside
  12. Water Table
  13. Inflatable Pool
  14. Sprinklers
  15. Ice Cream
  16. Indoor playgrounds
  17. Lee’s Grilled Cheese
  18. Blow bubbles
  19. Chalk drawings
  20. Board games
  21. Play dates
  22. Summer Reading Club
  23. Dance classes
  24. Fireworks
  25. Sleep over with grandparents
  26. Nature Walks
  27. Bounce house
  28. Popsicles

Stay tuned as we knock items off our list.  What summer activities are nostalgic for you?  Anything we should add to our list?

hugs!

Amber

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

We said, “Yes!”

During the early part of my childhood I was an only a lonely child. Around four years old, I started asking my parents for a little sister. Apparently I wanted a built-in playmate beyond belief. I recall begging for pennies to toss into wishing wells so I could make my wish of finally getting that sister I wanted so badly. Bedtime prayers often included hopes of sister, but she just wasn’t coming.  When I was nearly eight years old, my little sister, Courtney made her debut. I was ecstatic, but also slightly disappointed at her wrinkly newborn appearance and inability to play with me.  Since she was so much younger, I doted over Courtney and behaved like a mini mother most of the time.  During some phases of our lives, the age gap was a challenge for our relationship.  When she started dating, I was excited for her, but couldn’t help but feel protective.

Two years ago, we planned a Father’s Day barbeque at the house and she asked if she could bring a new guy along.  We said, “Yes.”  I knew that if this guy was being invited to an intimate family gathering he was special.  This marked the first time our family met Matt.  At this first meeting, we were all thoroughly impressed with Matt’s ability to mesh with our family, especially infant quadruplets.  It seemed as if Matt was lifelong family friend.  He didn’t fluster being around four often fussy babies, and even took a hands on approach by getting in their inflatable pool.  In my heart, I recognized that this guy was “the one”.

Meeting Matt

Father's Day 2013

Father's Day 2013

First time in a pool

Over the course of the year, Matt and Courtney’s relationship flourished.  In fact, he became a seamless member of our immediate and extended family.  He accepted the uniqueness of our family too, which meant the world to me. Whether our family was celebrating a birthday, heading to the zoo, or walking in the March of Dimes, Matt was present for us.

We Said Yes

Zoo trip

Zoo

March of Dimes 2014

March of Dimes 2015

Matt embraces the usual chaos our family brings to the table.

Christmas 2013

And is one of the guys…

Mother's Day 2014

Father's Day 2015

Courtney’s circle of friends also accepted Matt into their group.

Court's Bday 2013

court's bday 2013

After nearly two years of courting, Matt decided it was time for the relationship to progress.  Last winter, when Matt asked my parents for Courtney’s hand in marriage, they elatedly said, “Yes!”  In late February he made arrangements to pop the question at a local brewery with a close circle of friends and family present.  Matt’s parents, Jack and Julie made the trek from Connecticut for the occasion.

Cici & Matt's engagement

Cici & Matt's engagement

Following the proposal, the immediate family enjoyed a Texas style chic dinner at Tillman’s Roadhouse.   After spending an evening together, it was clear that Jack and Julie’s influence shaped Matt into the Man he has become.

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Last week when a priority mail box showed up on the porch, I assumed I ordered something and forgot about it.  I was delighted to find an intricately wrapped package for the quads and me asking if we would be part of her wedding party.  When the quads finished watching Curious George, I invited them to open their respective packages and then we made a little video with our answer for Aunt CiCi, we said, “Yes!”  Courtney and Matt plan to exchange vows in the spring of 2016, and we could not be happier for the pair of them.  They bring out the best in each other, and accept each other unconditionally.  We are honored share their special day by standing next to them as they unite.   Congratulations, Matt & Courtney!!!  We love you two.

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We also sent her this photo collage with our answers printed on it.

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Let the wedding planning commence!!!

hugs,

Amber

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

I CAN do that!

During the first year of the quad’s life our family was on lock down to protect the babies’ premature immune systems from attack.  That meant we left the house primarily for doctor’s visits, and visitors to our home were required to satisfy a laundry list of requirements.  After the babies turned one, we began slowly venturing out into the world.  Leaving home with four babies in tow is a monumental task, therefore we preferred being home bound.  Whenever we took the babies outside our home, there were always at least two adults.  Honestly, I was overwhelmed with the notion of taking four babies out alone.

Last summer as the crew approached two, I finally harnessed enough courage to take them on errands by myself.  It took the encouragement of other quad moms and prep work to take this leap.  Over this past year, I’ve mastered the art of cart containment at our favorite retailers: Target and Costco.

Target's carts are perfect for multiples!

Despite my willingness to run errands alone, I’ve been uneasy about field trips that would not involve containment.  Our kids are typically well-behaved, especially when we’re away from home.  Yet, I couldn’t help but envision the crew turning into ornery monkeys darting into harm’s way as I panicked in front of a mass of irate bystanders.  At the suggestion of an Early Childhood Intervention therapist, I starting taking the kids to check the mail each day, and then on walks down our street, and eventually around the block.  They understand the rules of staying on the sidewalk and staying within about 20 feet of me.  Knowing the quads were willing and able to obey clear-cut boundaries outside the home helped me entertain the idea of bigger jaunts.

walk

My pal, Amber, who has quads a smidgen older than ours has been managing solo trips to the gym, library, restaurants, and such for a while.  A few weeks back, I thought “I CAN DO THAT!”  I started small by taking the kiddos to our neighborhood McDonald’s for an afternoon snack.  Before setting out, I laid out the boundaries about staying near me and waiting in line to order food, ect.  Once settled, the four noshed on fruit and yogurt parfaits and “golden” fries (as they call them) while sitting on big kid stools.  When we finished up snack, they had a blast in the play area, even climbing up to the top without my assistance.  They behaved beautifully until it was time to leave.  Harper and Sydney decided they were NOT coming out of the play area and forced me to climb up to retrieve them.  Once I pulled both down, they decided they’d oblige me and head to the van (thankfully).

    

Not long after our McDonald’s visit, Harper was showing unmistakable signs of an ear infection.  He’d become irritable and nearly intolerable, plus he complained of not hearing.  I managed to get him an appointment to see the doctor, but no one was available to watch the remaining trio.  I’ve always cringed at the notion of taking three well kids to the sick side of the doctor’s office, especially alone.  I envisioned them licking germs off toys and running a muck.  Yet, I knew it was imperative that poor Harper see the doctor ASAP.  Just like with McDonald’s, I  reviewed the boundaries and set off to the pediatrician.  I could not believe how smoothly the visit went, and I’m not sure the kids realized we were at the doctor’s office. Upon our arrival, they filed in behind me and obediently sat on a bench where they could watch “Nemo” and “Dori” in a large aquarium.   Not one child moved until Harper’s name was called and they all lined up behind me like baby ducklings.  In the exam room, they agreeably sat together on the exam table while watching a kiddie flick.  As expected, Harper was diagnosed with an ear infection and given a new set of prescriptions.  The four were delighted to receive a sheet of stickers and prizes from a vending machine.  To them, this trip was a fun adventure.  For, me another solo trip win!

pedi visit

With several successful trips under my belt, I started feeling confident about my ability to take the quads places alone.  When Amber invited us to meet at Chick Fil A, I decided it was a go!  Unbeknownst to us, the local schools had an early release and Chick Fil A was unusually packed.  My heart fluttered when I spotted a line wrapping around the restaurant to place orders.  Amber’s GPS misguided her, which meant I needed to get food for all of us.  I inhaled slowly as I led my crew to the end of the line.  Shockingly, they patiently waited through the winding line, and while I ordered 8 kid’s meals and two adult combo meals (that’s A LOT of Chick Fil A, by the way).  Staff kindly delivered our food to the nearest open tables.  After polishing off our meals, both sets of quads ran off energy in the play area.

Chick Fil A

quads x 2 at CFA

Before parting ways, Amber and I took all EIGHT kids into one restroom stall for a potty break (another fear of mine is taking a gaggle of little kids into the public restroom).  Chick Fil A has a generous sized bathroom, which made the process much easier.  As we filed out of the bathroom I spotted a couple eying us trying to make sense of the scene.  For some unknown reason, I muttered, “Field trip.”  Upon hearing that, they grinned and nodded in understanding.  After all, two teachers taking eight preschoolers on a field trip makes far more sense than two moms taking two sets of quadruplets out to lunch.

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About after our successful Chick Fil A excursion, we coordinated another play date meet up.  This time, at a local church play scape followed by a picnic in the cafe area.  Just like at Chick Fil A, we managed a group restroom break, which included hand washing with soap and water.

White's Chapel Wesley Playground Southlake

Feeling self-assured in my field trip skills, I thought it was time to tick off another bucket list item: a visti to the public library.  The first time we visited, the foursome enjoyed perusing board books in the children’s section.  They were fascinated by the endless book choices, and having a little table to themselves.  That day, each child chose one book and a movie to borrow.

library time

Later in the week, we met a few of our twin friends for library story time, which was a huge success.  Everyone listened intently to the story, participated in songs, and completed a monkey puppet craft.

story time

craft at story time

story time

I’m starting to get into a groove with taking the quads new places solo, and it’s boosting my self-confidence.  I still prefer to go places I’ve previously scouted and where I can easily keep tabs on everyone, but I’m far more adventurous than before.

hugs!

Amber

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

Commence the Extracurricular Activities

For Christmas, the quads received a generous monetary gift from a dear family friend to be spent on activities.  Originally I intended to buy a family membership to the zoo or children’s museum.  I did some preliminary research and decided memberships weren’t prudent since the quads have free admission most places until their third birthday, which isn’t until July.  When I found a dance studio offering summer dance lessons buy one, get one free I decided it would be a fabulous way to use the gift. Long before the quads arrived, I hoped to one day enroll my own children in dance lessons, and recently I’d begun thinking of enrolling the girls when they were ready.  Though I’m not planning on keeping the boys in dance lessons (unless they request them), I figured it would be a fun summer activity for all four, and an excellent opportunity for them to practice gross motor skills, following directions, and being separated from us while also being away from home.

In the weeks leading up to the first dance class, I rummaged in the attic and unearthed my first pair of tap shoes, which I wore at about three years old.  I was delighted when they fit Rylin perfectly.  I managed to find a secondhand pair of tap shoes for Sydney at Kid to Kid, and surprisingly we had hand me down shoes from my cousin’s kids that fit the boys.  Though the dance studio indicated tennis shoes would suffice, I wanted the girls to have their own classic pink ballet slippers.  Being short on time, I ordered ballet slippers and black leotards from my favorite go-to retailer, Amazon.  The quads proudly schlepped their dance shoes in toddler backpacks given to them by my grandmother,

Toddler Dance Bag

toddler backpacks

I allocated about 30 minutes to get everyone ready for class, and felt accomplished when everyone donned dance garb in 15 minutes.  That pride faded when I noticed Harper removed his shoes and Rylin pulled her hair out.  At times like that, I feel as though I’m in a constant game of Whack a Mole.  As quickly as possible, I put Harper’s shoes back onto his chubby feet and re-styled Rylin’s hair before ushering everyone to the van.

Much to my surprise, we arrived at the studio in ample time for me to complete registration and pay for lessons.  Once everything was settled, the quads waited with me for their class to begin.  More importantly, they did a stunning job staying seated the entire wait.

dance class

Sydney is fascinated by taking selfies and snapped this photo during the wait.  She really has a knack with the camera, sometimes snapping better photos than me.

When it was time for class, the quads were called by name and given a name tag.  Then, they were led into the studio and were assigned a cubby to house their backpacks.  Once they were settled, I made a quick escape so they could attend to the teachers.  Rylin was notably hesitant to participate, and I knew if I lingered she’d cling ferociously.  I didn’t hear any screaming or crying, which I figured was a good sign.  Towards the end of class, parents were invited to the studio to watch the kids demonstrate the “freeze dance”.   Of the four, only Mason and Sydney were willing to partake in this demo, and they seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.  Rylin outright refused even with me cajoling her and Harper seemed oblivious as to what he should do.  At the conclusion of class, each of the students received a sticker.  Rylin wasn’t keen on dancing, but she was rather articulate about which sticker she wanted, and where it should be placed (sigh).

dance class

freeze dance

dance class

Though I was responsible for getting the crew to dance lessons, George met me at the studio after work and helped me load the van for home.  As we approach the next dance lesson, Rylin’s been telling me she has no intentions of going.  I sincerely hope she’ll fall into place when she sees the other kids.  The boys are humoring me with these dance classes, but on several occasions Harper blatantly stated, “I’m doing baseball in the fall!”  I’m not sure he knows what baseball, or t-ball entails, however.

dance class

What extracurricular activities did you enjoy as a child?  Did your parents force you to participate in any?

hugs,

Amber

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

Suburban Farming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urban Farming

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

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

bantam chickens

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

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

bantam chickens

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

bantam chickens

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

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

hugs,

Amber

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Calling All Superheroes

NICU reunion super heroes

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

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

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

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

NICU reunion 2015

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

NICU reunion 2015

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

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

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

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

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

NICU reunion 2015

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

NICU reunion 2015

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

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

NICU reunion 2015

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

hugs,

Amber

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

QMBFF Christmas Morning

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

QMBFF trip

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

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

Texas Take handstamped necklaces

facebook.com/sugarcomacookies

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

custom made QMBFF shirts by Apple Dumpling Boutique

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

No More Perfect Moms and Cindy's Suds

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

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

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

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

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

DIY sharpie picture frames

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

Texas Tales by Amber

Our Multiples Journey by Becky

The Littlest Lesnaus by Krista

hugs!

Amber

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

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