What I Didn’t Know About Juneteenth

Yesterday afternoon, George announced to me, “Tomorrow I’m getting off work early in honor of Juneteenth!”

I replied, “I know some about Juneteenth, but I don’t remember really learning about it in school.”

George, “I think it was ONE sentence at the end of the chapter about the Civil War.”

That speaks volumes. We’d both taken history classes throughout public education and also in college and we knew so little. Time to dig deeper. What exactly is Juneteenth?

  • The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863.
  • Despite the Emancipation Proclamation, many slave owners continued to hold their slaves captive after the announcement for continued harvests.
  • On June 19, 1865 (2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation), Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX to announce the end of both the Civil War and slavery.
  • On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth officially became a Texas state holiday.
  • Juneteenth is currently recognized as a state holiday in 47 of 50 states.

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

General Order Number 3 as read by General Granger

Juneteenth has been a state holiday in our home state of Texas our entire lives and not once have we celebrated it. As neighbors to Mexico, Texans celebrate Cinco de Mayo with gusto. Yet, many of us haven’t given much thought to what marks a national historical event (not that we all know what Cinco de Mayo is really about, but I digress). I feel confident in saying Black Americans are well versed in the history of Juneteenth and have been celebrating it every. single. year. It hurts my heart that this holiday has been seen as something for black people when we should be unified celebrating this day together.

Today marks the first year my family is celebrating Juneteenth. We’re having conversations about history, ordering dinner from a local Black owned restaurant, and signed this petition to make Juneteenth a national holiday. In addition, we are continuing to do the work to better understand race.

Sources: Junteenth Fact Sheet, Junteenth World Wide Celebration

If you are ready to embark on the journey of anti-racism, here are some places to begin.


Black Lives Matter – I have read a lot of misinformation about this particular organization. Also, after a thoughtful debate with a Facebook friend, I realized that this organization is perhaps too liberal for some conservatives. If that is the case for you, I encourage you to look at the big picture goal of ending white supremacy/ racial oppression. Perhaps you do not fully align with the organization itself, but might be able to consider ways to advocate for social justice and anti-racism and recognize that black lives matter? I implore you to do the research.

Be the Bridge

Be the Bridge Facebook Group


White Fragility

Waking Up White: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism


The Uncomfortable Truth

On my reading list:

Raising White Kids

Me and White Supremacy

Be the Bridge

Color of the Law

Tears We Cannot Stop

The Nickel Boys

How to Be an Antiracist

If you are a person of color,

I want you to know, I am leaning in and listening to you. I hear your stories, I see you. To you, I make these promises:

I will continue to learn and grow in my awareness of race.

I will engage in conversations about race.

I will be your ally.

I will advocate for social justice.

I will vote for social justice.

I will model for and teach my children all of the above.

in peace,


Top 5 Ideas To Use Your Kid’s Mismatched Socks

Hello there! Here on quarantine day 32 (I think, but have lost track!) we’re constantly looking for new ideas to keep busy at home, with supplies we have on hand. Today Wendy Dessler is collaborating with Four to Adore with some great ideas for using mismatched socks.

When doing laundry, it is almost customary to lose socks here and there. In fact, some data has shown that the average person will lose more than 15 socks in any given year. If you have kids, there is a chance that this number will be even higher. While there are ways to help them stop losing things, these aren’t always effective.

When you lose socks, you are often left with a pile of mismatches that sit around and never get used. Eventually these will likely just find their way in the garbage. However, before you toss them in the trash, there are some things that you can do with them.

Whether you get your children some new socks from Elite Sports Socks and can get rid of their old ones, or you simply have no more room for those mismatched socks, this article is for you. Without any further ado, let’s look at a few unique ideas for using your kid’s mismatched socks, instead of simply throwing them away.

Cleaning Rags

Instead of tossing out these old socks, consider using them as rags for cleaning up various messes and spills around your home. Socks can be quite absorbent and should be able to clean messes from cola spills to dusty countertops. Best of all, these can easily be washed, dried and reused. 

Using these socks will stop you from ever having to buy rags or paper towels ever again. You won’t even have to cut up or alter the socks at all. Simply make sure they are clean and then feel free to start cleaning with them anytime.

Make a DIY Scent Bag

(via: https://pixabay.com/photos/lavender-purple-tender-romantic-823584/

Everyone wants their homes to smell great, but that isn’t always possible. Cat litter, gym bags, strong-smelling foods and many other things can easily spread throughout your home. If you want to eliminate this issue and ensure your home is always smelling great, you can make a DIY scent bag using your child’s mismatched socks.

By adding some rice into the sock, as well as your favorite essential oils, you will have a scent bag ready to be put in any room that you want to smell great. Simply stitch up the sock and you are done, that’s all there is to it. Feel free to create as many as you’d like, and there are dozens of potential scents out there that you can use.

Keep Valuable Items Safe During Transport

(via: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/moving-boxes-mover-moving-truck-3671446/

Moving is inevitable for most of us at one time or another. Whether it is just down the street or to a new state, most of us will need to move homes at one point. The worst part of this move is surely the packing and unpacking. You want to make sure that you not only have everything, but that everything is safe and protected.

Using old socks is one of the best ways to protect glass and other types of fragile valuables. If you put these items inside a sock or two, it can soften any impact they may suffer through during the moving process. While these are guaranteed to stop things from breaking, they will contain the mess if they do. 

Build Crafts or Toys

One of the best uses for these old and mismatched socks is to create things like crafts or toys with them. This puts them to good use, and also allows you to spend quality time with your child. You will only need the sock itself, and potentially a few other affordable crafting materials.

The opportunities here are endless. You can cut up the socks and use them as a craft, can stitch together numerous socks to make a toy or do dozens of other things. Be sure to speak with your child and see what they would like to make out of their 

Make a Stress Ball

In our busy lives, it is normal to be stressed from time to time. Between work, cleaning the home and several other things, it can be tough to take a break and let off some steam. As a result, having stress-reduction techniques is incredibly important. One of the best and easiest is to use a stress ball.

While you can buy many different kinds of stress balls out there, why not use an old mismatched sock to make your own? All you need to do is put some play dough or rice in a small plastic bag, put that in the sock and then get squeezing! It will work well and should help to reduce your stress almost instantly.

In conclusion, hopefully the information in this article has inspired you to use your kid’s old and mismatched socks in brand new ways.

Uncertain Times

Almost exactly eight years ago to the day, I started writing Four to Adore. It became my place to share our story, one of uncertainty with our friends and family. I also hoped to reach others who may be in a similar position. In February 2012 we found out that we were expecting quadruplets. It was a joyous, exciting time, but also one that was riddled with unknowns and fear. We did not know whether the babies and I could all survive the pregnancy, or after. We did not know if we could support four infants financially. We did not know what the future held for our family. Yet, we held close to our faith and prepared in ways we could, letting go of what was outside of our control.

A poster on my office wall read,

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of it’s troubles.  It empties today of it’s strength.”

Corrie Ten Boom

I thought of this often as my mind constantly tried to shift from optimism to a mindset of fear. I continued working full time and things seemed to be going well, until they weren’t. At 21 weeks, I began showing signs of early labor and was put on strict bed rest. I was to stay at home, in bed, all day. The only exceptions were to use the restroom and shower. Otherwise, it was me alone in bed. This went on for TEN grueling weeks.

At first, bed rest sounds like a nice opportunity to catch up on reading, to binge watch Netflix shows, and to nap leisurely. It’s none of those things, ya’ll. Bed rest is lonely and isolating. It’s hard giving up the normal things you manage independently: working, cooking, exercise, shopping, etc. Plus, it’s a lot of time spent alone. I was fortunate to have friends and family who periodically stopped by, often bringing food, but I was solo more often than not. I quickly learned a few tricks to help pass this time.

  • Developed a schedule: I woke up about the same time daily I ate meals, completed tasks like reading and writing, and took a nightly bath.
  • Let the light shine: I couldn’t get outside, but I made sure to open the windows letting the sun bathe my room signaling when it was daytime.
  • Contacted others: I played a lot of Words with Friends, found other moms expecting quads, and of course chatted with my friends and family.
  • Took care of my appearance: Few people saw me, but each day I always got dressed into actual clothes in the morning, brushed my hair, and sometimes applied make up. It just feels better to take care of these things!
  • Stayed healthy as possible: I couldn’t follow my normal exercise routine, but I continued trying to eat healthy foods, drank water, took vitamins, and followed a modified exercise routine from bed.

I will never forget the ten weeks I spent on bed rest, they were extremely humbling. I do not take my health for granted because of that time.

Following my ten weeks of “house arrest” as I called it, we were thrust into NICU life with four infants born nine weeks too soon. They were all fragile, requiring a staff of nurses and doctors to oversee their care. We quickly became enmeshed in hospital life, scrubbing in and out when visiting our children and managing cares. Upon the babies’ discharge we had not only become institutionalized, but were were again terrified.

We didn’t want the babies returning to the hospital so we took extreme precautions known as “lock down” to keep them healthy at least until they developed stronger immune systems. Visitors were extremely limited and required a protocol. We only allowed visitors who were vaccinated, had not been ill or show signs of illness, hands had to be washed, shoes removed, and if anyone had smoked, they had to change clothes. It was stringent, and it offended some of our friends and family. In fact, we lost some friends due to the measures we required. In addition to these Draconian rules for visitors, we went very few places and almost no where with the babies.

We felt it necessary to protect their health, but also because taking four infants anywhere is practically an Olympic sport. For the first two years of the kids’ lives we went to work, grandparents houses, and the grocery store. Otherwise we were mostly home. It was not easy, but somehow we managed to weather those difficult times, and to fill them with happy memories. When I think of our kids as babies and toddlers, I do remember everything I just described with vivid detail, but I also remember the sound of their belly laughs, them exploring the world with wonder, and watching them thrive. If we could rewind time, I think we’d take the same precautions again.

Here’s the irony….in many ways we are doing it all over again. I feel as though I’m repeating the experience of bed rest followed by premature infants with the current state of our nation. At this time, most of our state is closed from schools to gyms and restaurants due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. Our county is under shelter in place, severely limiting anyone from leaving home except for medical care and groceries. No more than ten people should gather, and in public people should maintain a distance of at least six feet.

Everything is uncertain, particularly our health and the economy. It is unsettling and stressful for everyone. Each person has a different experience with the state of things, but I am certain it is easy for no one. Unlike my past experience, we share this experience. My hope is that like with my bed rest, this is a temporary situation that one day we can reflect upon as something that helped us grow. From this, I hope we learn gratitude, humility, and grace and that one day it is part of our history no longer our normal.

In the meantime, please stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary and WASH YOUR HANDS.



P. S. I realize this blog is LONG forgotten. Once the kids started kindergarten and I increased my hours at work, blog time diminished. As we figure out this work and school from home bit, I’m hoping to carve out a little time to blog, and perhaps share how we’re coping with COVID-19 quarantine. After all, writing is my unicorn space. We shall see!

This is how the kids have play dates these days….remotely via Zoom.

How Dance Can Benefit Your Child’s Early Development

When the kids were almost three I enrolled them in dance lessons for a myriad of reasons. I’m glad I did as today guest writer, Wendy Dressler, shares the benefits for dance for children.

Children develop at an incredible rate, especially when introduced to stimuli that encourage targeted use of their motor skills and minds. Dance is one of the many extracurricular activities that can assist with early childhood development and perhaps one of the most versatile.

If you’ve been looking for ways to help your child develop and reach their full potential, consider enrolling them in dance classes. Here are a few of the ways dance assists with development.

Social Engagement

While not viewed as a traditional team sport, dance necessitates a combination of both independent development and collaboration. Everything from syncing movements during a choreographed performance to sporting matching accessories for dance from Just for Kix helps your child become an active member of a community of like-minded individuals. The shared effort, passion, and teamwork helps a child develop social skills that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Bring a part of a dance class also teaches social behaviors like respect for authority figures and mutual respect among peers. Dancing helps develop emotional intelligence and the ability to empathize with others.

Physical Wellness

An appreciation for physical health and wellness should be cultivated at an early age, and dance can make that possible. At a base level, dance helps young children develop an awareness of their body and how they fit into the space around them. It assists with developing coordination and balance through the application of gross motor skills, plyometrics, and isometric holds.

As physical fitness is essential for improved cardiovascular health, disease prevention, and the development of muscular strength and endurance, the benefits of starting dance at a young age are immeasurable. This form of art in motion helps counteract the time spent sitting at school or on mobile screens that have become so accessible in recent years. As the disruption caused by blue light becomes more evident, movement and screen-free time is becoming more important for overall health and wellness.

Emotional Intelligence and Expression

Dance is a powerful way to express emotion through movement. Anger, sadness, joy– the whole spectrum of human emotion can be conveyed during the dance. For children, identifying emotions is a learning process. Figuring out how to express them is another task entirely, one that many adults never learn. With dance, children can learn how a certain emotion sounds, feels and looks.

Not only does learning to identify and convey emotions benefit the child as they learn to communicate and interact with the world around them, but it also helps them identify emotions in others. This will help them develop emotional intelligence and empathy.

Learning How to Learn

Dance isn’t always fun and games. Your child will have to learn how to follow directions and focus on the task at hand. This requires listening attentively to their instructor and paying attention to the instructions. In other words, your child will learn how to learn. This valuable skill will carry over to the school and beyond.

Finally, through the process of learning how to learn, your child will learn that perseverance is the key to success. Mistakes will be made, but so will progress. With time and dedication, a seemingly insurmountable task will become routine, and your child’s confidence will blossom.

Dancing benefits both the body and the mind, creating a strong foundation for early childhood development.

About Wendy 
Wendy is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

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Traveling On A Budget: Family Strategies {Guest Post}

George and I enjoyed traveling together long before we had kids.  We’ve taken road trips on shoestring budgets across the United States and have also traveled abroad.  When the quads were three, we took our first family vacation to the beach.  Since then, we’ve taken a few trips each year.  Seeing the kids explore new places brings us such joy! However, traveling with a family of six can be quite costly.


Today, guest blogger, Stephanie, from Military Travel Mama has tips for traveling on a budget with a family.

If you can save more money on trips, you can spend it doing more fun things. It’s difficult to cut costs when you travel, but it’s not impossible. What’s fundamentally necessary is a mindset composed of two parts. The first part should be preventative measures, the second part should be living beneath existing means. Both will be explored here.

Preventative Measures
First, plan your trip out well in advance. How far are you planning to go? If you’ve got a trip that will cost you around $100 in gas one way, and $100 the other, that’s $200 round trip. You’ll probably have at least four trips to the gas station. If you’ve got family, they’ll have to use the restroom, they’ll get hungry, and the young ones will ply you with puppy-dog eyes for candy.

If you get away for $30 in addition to gas for the whole family at four different convenience stores, that’s $320 on the whole trip. Meanwhile, for $20 or $30 spent at the local grocery store beforehand (where you know the specials, have coupons, and have backlogged some discounts) can get you better snacks for the whole trip. Spending $30 to save $120 leaves you sitting $90 better than you would have been otherwise.

You can enjoy the same kind of savings from hotels and restaurants if you are careful to look ahead. Figure out the most cost-effective hotels, and whether booking early will give you a discount. Determine if there are available continental breakfast options, and what sort of entertainment there is.

The kids will love a pool! Look at dining around town, and figure out an ironclad budget beforehand. For less than $500, you can spend a week somewhere comfortably—maybe even longer, if you’ve got relatives with whom you get along.

Living Beneath Existing Means
Your next tactic will be living beneath existing means. Beyond buying things in advance, you, your spouse, and your children should exercise an attitude which doesn’t expend available resources simply because they are there. Money won’t burn a hole in your pocket; you can keep it there for a while!

So maybe you want to have a vacation at some well-known resort, and taking out a loan could get you there. Sure, you’ll be an extra $5k in debt, but at least you had an experience, right? Or, you could book bottom-dollar last-minute flights to exotic locales seldom-traveled, have an off-the-hook adventure, and save thousands of dollars.

Or how about medical tourism? Oftentimes first world countries are encumbered by law and bureaucracy forcing medical institutions into an expensive corner. You might be able to travel somewhere like Taiwan, and save thousands of dollars on a necessary procedure that would have been two or three times as much locally–including travel, dining, and the cost of a hotel.


See The World Without Breaking The Bank
Vacations are absolutely necessary, even if you don’t go anywhere you’ve never been before. You’ve got to take some time off. Sometimes a staycation is the way to go: you spend next to nothing, and just enjoy your family. Regardless, you don’t have to spend as much money as the jet-setters in your circle of friends to enjoy similar vacations. In fact, you may enjoy them more as you know you’re saving money.

Live beneath your means. Have a preventative mindset, and think outside the box in order to take advantages of opportunities like medical tourism. Tactics like these will expand where you can travel while simultaneously saving you money.

Stop by Military Travel Mama for more travel tips!



P. S. Stay tuned to find out how we managed to fly with four five year olds to the east coast.



Before the quads were born, George and I were really into fitness.  We worked with a personal trainer for kickboxing and practiced yoga several times a week.  When I was pregnant with the babies, I was put on strict bed rest but even prior to that my exercising came to a screeching halt.  After the babies made their debut, our priorities obviously changed drastically.  We considered ourselves lucky if we clocked a few hours of sleep and took a shower.  In addition, the pregnancy took a toll on my body.  I had severe diastasis recti, which not only caused me pain, but also restricted my activity levels.  As the babies grew older, we started being better able to care for ourselves.  I found therapeutic exercises to reduce the size of my diastasis and sought chiropractic care to relieve back pain.  I started streaming Yoga Merge from Amazon Prime for exercise a few days per week.  Nonetheless, we were no where near our previous fitness level…until this summer!

Life Time opened near our home and although I didn’t think we could afford it, I asked for a membership quote and an amenities tour.  The price tag wasn’t small, but I was S-O-L-D when I learned about the kid’s enrichment classes.  For less than we paid monthly for any of the kids other extracurricular activities, the six of us could take unlimited classes and enjoy indoor and outdoor pools.  Over the summer, I took the kids swimming several times a week then showered them in posh showers before heading home.  It was so nice I dubbed it our “country club”.   We’ve since developed a habit of going to the gym about three times per week.  While I’m enjoying a yoga class or even time in the spa, the kids have been taking dance, yoga, and other classes in the Kid’s Academy.  Joining the gym has made our family so much healthier!



Yoga has improved the kids’ balance/ coordination and has helped them learn how to breathe mindfully.  Yoga has so many heath benefits, Cook Children’s Hospital is prescribing it!


We don’t go as often as we’d like, but the indoor pool has helped the kids maintain swimming skills in the off season.  In the past, they went to lessons then developed swimming amnesia before summer returned.


One of the best perks of the gym is 2.5 hours of childcare per day.  Usually I take a yoga or barre class, BUT it’s also been nice for trips to the salon/ spa (hello, facial!) and kid free time at the pool and café.

img_8882 (1)

On occasion, we’ve taken family Zumba classes with the kids.  I think I worked up more sweat in family Zumba than heated yoga!

Now that the new year has arrived, what healthy habits are you starting or maintaining?





P. S. Life Time did not solicit a blog post or compensate me for this writing.  I just LOVE Life Time and sharing our fitness story!  However, should you decide to join Life Time (there are locations throughout the United States and Canada) and mention me as a referral, I may earn gift certificates to be used at the salon/ spa (this mama always enjoys that precious time!) Life Time – Amber Shawver referral code

Tried and True Morning Routine

According to Facebook lots of kiddos started school today, but my crew starts in two weeks.  We’re trying to soak up the last bits of summer here, but I’m also gradually preparing the kids to return to our school routine.  Last year when they started kindergarten it was imperative for us to have a solid routine that would help get them to school before the 7:40 am tardy bell.  George leaves for work at 6:30 am so it is my responsibility to make sure everyone is ready and at school on time.   This is a tall order, but we managed with a few tricks.

We start by prepping as much as we can the night before:

  • check the weather then choose clothes and lay them out
  • pack lunches and store in the fridge
  • put folders, books, etc. into backpacks
  • set the table for breakfast

Getting to bed on time is another critical part of the morning routine.  We try very hard for the kids to get at least 10 hours of sleep (see American Academy of Pediatrics Sleep Guidelines.  Sleep is important not only for helping everyone wake up chipper in the morning, but also for optimum learning and behavior throughout the day.  When the kids aren’t in bed on time, they go crazy-hyper-nuts and have a hard time falling asleep.  The next day, they are cranky, short fused and difficult, which I do not want teachers to experience.

As part of our sleep routine, we start dimming lights and shutting curtains shortly after dinner.  We also transition to quieter activities such as coloring, puzzles, or reading.  There is no screen time two hours prior to bedtime because screens stimulate them and discourage sleep.  We wrap up with pajamas, brushing teeth, and then reading a bedtime story before lights are out.  Long summer days put a monkey wrench in our early bedtime routine, but we are working on getting in back in order for school.

Even with a good night’s rest, the girls are slow to rise in the morning, especially when it’s still dark outside.  We started using a sunrise alarm clock“>sunrise alarm clock, which simulates the sunrise in the girls’ room.  A soft light shines thirty minutes before the alarm is set to sound and it gradually brightens.  Pachelbel’s Cannon in D begins to play when it’s time to wake.  This helped tremendously!  I started setting their alarm clock a few weeks back to get them used to waking up early and getting ready.

To foster independence with getting ready (and to free up precious time for myself), we use a simple visual checklist.  It identifies things I expect for the kids to do mostly by themselves.  I make sure everyone is awake and then prompt the kids to “check the list”.  As they complete tasks, they move a color coded magnetic push pin into the box showing it’s done.   If I notice someone is dawdling, I remind them, “check the list”.  As an incentive for kids to get ready quickly, if there is spare time, they can use their Kindle to read or play a game until we leave.


I laminated the checklist and hung it on the side of our refrigerator where the kids can easily reach it.


Once everyone is ready, we have the challenge of loading the car and buckling all of the five point harnesses.  At the start of kindergarten, the kids could not fully buckle or unbuckle their seats, which meant extra steps for me.  OYE!  As the year progressed, they began practicing buckling and unbuckling their seats and by the end they could manage them.  Hooray!  If you have a new kindergartener, I highly recommend practicing this handy skill.

Do you have any hacks for getting kids to school on time?



Must Haves for Back to School

As far as consumable school supplies, I have it relatively easy.  The kids’ school sells classroom supply kits, which I order online and have delivered directly to the classrooms.  The supply packs aren’t overpriced and it saves me the hassle of searching all over town for specific items like red pocket folders with brads.  However, in addition to school supplies, last year we invested in well made personal supplies.  Everything I bought last summer for kindergarten lasted all year and will be used for first grade if not longer.  If you’re on the hunt for school supplies, check out our list:



  1. Pottery Barn Fairfax Back Pack & Lunch Bag

During a 60% off sale, I snagged each child a Fairfax backpack and lunch bag for about $30, which rivaled even Target’s prices.  Pottery Barn is currently running the same sale with different patterns.  I ordered the kids size small backpacks and they were big enough for  their daily folder, library books, and lunch bags to fit inside.  Anything bigger would’ve been too large for their tiny bodies.  Mid way through the year, I learned that both backpacks and lunch bags are machine washable and they came out of the wash looking new.

2. Ty Clip on Mini Beanie Baby

The kids loved choosing their own mini beanie baby to clip onto their backpacks to personalize them.  These are all the rage in elementary school!  Throughout the year, the kids collected a few more of these little cuties.

3. Easy Lunchboxes, 3 compartment container

While the kids thought it was really cool to buy tray lunches, and it was sure easy, it was also costly for us.  I packed lunches most of the time and found easy lunchboxes were perfect for dividing food, not wasting baggies, and for the kids to quickly/ easily open during their short lunch break.  Silicone baking cups helped further divide the larger compartment, and made everything look festive.

4. Thermos Funtainer water bottle and food jar

It’s H-O-T in Texas most of the year, especially when school starts in August.  I knew our old favorite Contigo water bottles wouldn’t keep water cold so I replaced them with Thermos stainless steel water bottles.  The kids were allowed to keep them in the classroom for hydration and refill from the water fountain, which was great.  They kept ice cold during the school day and were sturdy.  A few times, the kids chewed the silicone straw too much, but I was able to easily replace them.  The kids also liked an occasional hot lunch (e.g. macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, fried rice) in the Thermos food jar.

5. Bentgo Ice Packs

To keep lunches cold, we used Bentgo ice packs, which fit right under the easy lunchboxes.  These were still cool even at dismissal.

6. Mabel’s Labels Mabel’s Labels

Before the kids were born, I ordered each of them a set of skinny labels from Mabel’s labels to keep bottles sorted.  Guess what-  We still have them!  These labels were perfect for labeling water bottles, lunchboxes, containers, etc. as they are waterproof, dishwasher, and microwave safe.  The kids’ school has a massive lost and found, which is often stocked with Thermos water bottles among other items.  If students or parents don’t find their own things, the student council returns labeled items to classrooms at the end of every six weeks (cool service project!!)


Happy back to school shopping!




I Sent Five Year Olds to Kindergarten

It’s mid-July and as much as I hate to admit it….back to school is just around the corner.  Swimsuits and  beach toys are being marked down while school supplies and uniforms are filling the shelves at Target and Walmart.  For many families it’ll be the first time sending kids off to kindergarten.  Last summer, that was us.  The kids were turning five in July and  were already registered for kindergarten.  I had done my best to prepare them for school, was familiar with research, and had 12 years of experience practicing school psychology in public schools.  They were going to kindergarten.  Yet, I questioned my once certain decision to send the kids to kindergarten at five instead of waiting another year.  Many people assumed with the summer birthday I’d hold the kids back.  I kept hearing friends, neighbors, and acquaintances on the internet saying they kept their summer birthday kids home until they were six.  I didn’t realize that there was such a debate about whether to send kids to kindergarten at five or six years old, but it is apparently a thing.  I began to wonder, “WHO sends a five year old to school?!?!” and started seriously questioning myself, and then worrying and maybe panicking a little.  It wasn’t good, ya’ll.

I worried that no matter how much we prepared, they’d be too little.  After all, they barely made it on the growth charts and still wore toddler sized clothes.  I worried that there wouldn’t be any other kids who were barely five in their class.  Most of all, I worried that they’d struggle and fail at life because I sent them to school at five instead of six.  Again, I thought, “WHO sends a five year old to school?!?!”  Nonetheless, I stood by my instinct and the kids started kindergarten in August.


They were itty bitty kindergarteners. See that red mark on Rylin’s red check? It was a huge mommy kiss.

A year later, I do not regret my decision.  Yes, the kids were small compared to their peers.  Some kids towered over them by at least five or six inches.  There were kids in their class that turned seven, but guess what?!?!  These six and seven year olds didn’t bully my babies or run circles around them academically.  They were simply older peers in the class.  Not such a big deal as I anticipated.  I was also pleasantly surprised at how many other young five kindergarteners were in the kids classes, and how many other petite kids were at school.  It was reassuring knowing mine weren’t the lone five year olds in kindergarten.

In the end, the kids learned how to function in a classroom, the school rules, respect of school staff,  navigate a large building, be independent, make friends, to read and write, count to 100, and so much more.  They finished kindergarten loving school and their teachers.  Of course they had rough patches, tears and failures, but that’s part of life isn’t it?  Kids have to experience the bitter taste of defeat to persevere and to one day become independent adults and good humans.  So, mamas of summer babies who will start kindergarten at five, I know it’s hard, but it will be okay!  You’ll both learn and grow so much this year.  Trust your gut, and have fun buying school supplies and clothes.   If you’re five year old is staying home another year, that’s okay too!  You do you.  🙂

last day of kinder

These four were so sad to say good bye to their beloved kindergarten teachers.  Rylin is really hoping she’s in the first grade class adjacent to her old kindergarten teacher’s room.



I’m most proud of the kids’ behavior at school.  I was concerned about a few of them before they started, but school staff was nothing but complimentary about them.  One day all four kids earned a “blue” meaning their behavior was exceptionally good!






P. S. Stay tuned for a list of our favorite school supplies.

One Massive Challenge

As a mom of quadruplets, I’m accustomed to questions from curious a passersby, friends, and co workers.  I think I’ve heard or  been asked *almost everything.  Many people marvel at the amazing aspects of having quads, “One and done!” and “They always have a friend”.  This is all true!  Parenting quadruplets is wonderful, and we enjoy these perks.  Most people also anticipate the obvious challenges inherent with raising quads: what it was like caring for four infants, diapering four infants, the expenses, etc.  These all challenges we face, but there really is one massive challenge we face: being first time parents to four children at the same time.  There is no learning curve for us, we have to figure everything out for four children simultaneously.  For us, the first time is also our last time.  With each stage, we learn new things, conquering new challenges, and feeling confident in our parenting skills.  But, almost as soon as we figure it out, that stage is gone.  Just. Like. That.

Tomorrow these sweet babies will graduate from kindergarten and this phase too is gone.  I’m oh so proud of these once itty bitty preemies who can now read, write, and count to 100, but it is bittersweet indeed.   Please excuse me while I ugly cry.

Way to go, Rylin, Harper, Sydney, and Mason!