Road Tripping: Springfield, MO

When the quads were infants, George’s cousin and his wife came to visit from Missouri.  Unfortunately, we hadn’t seen them in person since.  Life with quads was busy, and they too found themselves busy with life.   A seven hour road trip with four babies never sounded like a good idea.

After our first successful road trip last summer, we decided to take the quads on a spring break road trip- to Missouri.  They were ecstatic!  For weeks they asked when we were going to Missouri, and what states they’d see en route (primarily Oklahoma, and a step into Kansas).  On our way through Oklahoma we decided to skip familiar fast food chains for lunch in favor of something local.  Siri didn’t steer us wrong when she suggested The Chicken Shack off Route 66 in Luther, Oklahoma.  Everything was made to order and delicious.  The kids thought it was fun driving along Route 66 like Lightening McQueen too.

final-49

The kids traveled really well, but were thrilled when we reached our destination and they got to meet their cousins.

final-53

Being the “Show Me State”, Missouri boasts numerous scenic, natural activities.  We planned on exploring the great outdoors and taking the kids on a hike through the Ozarks (their first time in the mountains).  The weather ended up being less than ideal for anything outdoors, especially for Texans who didn’t pack adequate winter attire.  The temperature was below freezing and it snowed enough to keep us inside, but not enough for snow play.   Besides enjoying the company of our cousins, we found plenty to do in Springfield.

The World’s Largest Fork

Okay, we didn’t get out of the car for this one because it was freezing and snowing, but the kids got a kick out of seeing the World’s Largest Fork.  It’s an impressive 35 feet tall and 11 tons!

final-55

Bass Pro Shops

Admittedly, I was not excited about visiting the Bass Pro shops since we have them in Texas, and I’ve been.  I learned, however, that Springfield is home to the original Bass Pro Shop and is known as the “Granddaddy” of them.  It is notably larger than the others and includes numerous family-friendly wildlife attractions, shows, museums, and other activities.  Even if you’ve seen a Bass Pro Shop elsewhere, it’s worth stopping by the Springfield store.  Best of all- it’s FREE!


Discovery Center

The Discovery Center was the highlight of Missouri for the kids.  We were able to use our museum passes from home for free admission with to the ASTC travel passport program.  At the Discovery Center, the kids enjoyed exploring numerous hands-on activities and learning about the five senses with larger than life displays.

 

final-64final-63

Lambert’s Café 

Lambert’s isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience.  Due to it’s popularity, the wait time for a table is usually at least an hour, but it’s worthwhile!  Lambert’s serves up southern comfort food with family style sides.  They are best known for their scrumptious warm rolls, which aren’t handed to you.  They are thrown!  That’s right, if you want a roll with your dinner, you’ll have to catch it, or hope someone will share with you.  Harper attempted catching a roll with his t-ball skills, but discovered it was a tad hot for him.

final-54

Fantastic Caverns 

The Missouri landscape conceals thousands of caverns, many of which are open for tourists.  Given the age of our kids, we decided to visit the Fantastic Caverns, which is America’s only ride through cavern.  We learned about the history of the cavern, conservation, and experienced complete darkness.  Following the tour, we were happy the kids found affordable souvenirs in the gift shop ($2-10 each).

final-56final-57

Hurts Donut Company

Though there are other locations, Hurts Donut Company opened it’s first shop in Springfield, and

there’s always something fun about visiting the original.  We enjoy donuts for breakfast on Saturday mornings, but these are better served as dessert.  At Hurts Donut Company, you’ll find a wide assortment of cake donuts slathered in delectible frosting and sprinkled with everything from familiar candies to cookies.

final-50final-51

We had a great time in Springfield, and look forward to returning when we can enjoy the great outdoors!  If you ever pass through Springfield, or stop for a while, maybe you can visit one of our destinations.

 

hugs!

 

Amber


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.


 

Mental Declutter

HELLO!!!

I know…. It’s been months since I last spent time here, and coming back was surprisingly hard.  After Christmas I was feeling “cluttered” by not only physical things, but mentally.  We tackled a few home organization projects, which helped ease my anxiety about stuff.  The mental clutter was far heavier for me, creating feelings of angst and discomfort.

In this season of life, my mind is constantly racing. At any given moment my brain whirs, I might be thinking about

homeschool activities

social commitments

keeping up with household chores

impending deadlines at work

the political climate

home maintenance

our budget

Each of these things is important, but the list is literally endless.  IT’S TOO MUCH!!! I’ve found that my mind needs time to rest, space to be silent. Knowing this, I finally returned to my yoga practice. Prior to having the kids, yoga was part of my life- I came to my mat several times weekly, nurturing my body and mind.  Unfortunately, life got in the way. I allowed barriers to keep me from yoga: my new body, childcare, to-dos, budget, and of course time.

I struggle with practicing yoga independently and need an instructor, but getting to a studio wasn’t in the cards (remember those barriers?!?!?)  I checked out a few DVDs from the library and wasn’t impressed.  Next, I started streaming videos from Amazon Prime and discovered Yoga Merge.  I’ve found a good variety of practice options with Yoga Merge that I chose based on my time and particular needs (e.g. stretching, relaxation, restoration, ect).  During my practice, I finally let go of my to-dos and worries.  After practice, my mind feels clear and I’m energized, ready to tackle what awaits.

img_4095img_4314

I know this mental clutter is not a struggle for me alone.  I see it on the weary faces of my friends, family, and co-workers.  In this society, we are constantly bombarded by stimuli and pressure to do.  If you don’t already have an outlet for mental clutter, I encourage you to try yoga at a gym, studio, or at home.  If you’ve never practiced yoga, it can feel awkward at first, but don’t give up too quickly.  A good place to start is Beginner Yoga | 10 Yoga Poses Every Beginner Should Know, or you can visit Yoga Merge where you’ll find basic information about yoga and a few free videos to stream. Please don’t let barriers keep you from trying yoga, or finding another outlet for letting go of mental clutter.  You deserve it.

Namaste!

Amber

 

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for sharing my experience.  If you choose to make a purchase through Amazon, I will earn a small commission through the Amazon Affiliates program. 


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.


Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

O’ Christmas Trees

Before our wedding, my cousins hosted an ornament shower in my honor.  I received a gorgeous collection of ornaments reflecting the love of our friends and family.  George and I bought a lovely prelit tree for our apartment and it was bursting with gifted ornaments. The tree was the perfect size for our cozy apartment.  We moved that tree to our first house, and then to our next house. Our perfect little tree somehow seemed dwarfed in a house with a larger den and higher ceilings.  Nonetheless, our tree adorned with ribbon and ornaments and looked pretty.

02-IMG_7713

Last year the lights finally stopped working so we added strands of lights and pined for a taller prelit tree.  Before decorating this year, we snagged a nine foot slim tree on black Friday. The new tree has a very small footprint in the den so we have plenty of space and it draws the eye all the way up to the ceiling.  This tree is filled primarily with shatterproof ornaments since it’s in our main living area and the kids helped decorate it.  Despite being kid friendly, I think it’s gorgeous!

img_3662

img_3652img_3649

Since our original tree was in decent condition, moved it to the front room so there’d be a tree in the window.  We had plenty of heirloom and handmade ornaments to fill this tree and it serves as a Christmas card display.  I really appreciate receiving Christmas cards and each year try to find a new way to display them.  I think this is my favorite so far.  The kids often slip into the study to admire the ornaments and to check out the cards.  They especially like seeing the ornaments with their tiny baby handprints on them and others they painted.

img_3698

img_3706

In addition to our large trees, the kids have miniature trees in their rooms.  The girls chose a sparkling pink tree, while the boys inherited my old silver one with vintage ornaments from my childhood.  All four kids took great pride in filling their own trees and have not bothered them since we finished decorating.  A year ago, the boys’ tree would have been pulverized, but this year they enjoy looking at it and showing it to house guests.  It’s amazing the difference a year makes.

img_3688img_3681

How many Christmas trees do you have?

 

hugs!

 

Amber


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.


 

A Fancy Nancy Banquet

 

 

Before Thanksgiving, we borrowed Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet from the library.  Fancy Nancy is among our favorite book characters.  She inspires the kids to use sophisticated vocabulary words and to behave with their best etiquette. In this particular book, Nancy has the opportunity to dine with the adults, away from the “kid” table.  Naturally, our kids wanted to do the same.  Just before packing away our fall decor, we decided to have a family dinner in our formal dining room with ceramic plates instead of our usual plastic fare.  The kids relished every second of it, and we were pleasantly surprised with their outstanding table manners.

When I set the table for Thanksgiving, I realized the table stayed pretty all season and didn’t collect junk.  I wanted to do the same with Christmas décor, so I set out to create an elegant Christmas tablescape.  George and I have twelve place settings of fine china, flatware, and crystal.  Over the course of our marriage, we’ve used it on special occasions such as anniversaries and holiday meals.  In twelve years we’ve probably used them no more than once a year.  Why?  Mostly because I don’t like hand washing dishes and our china isn’t dishwasher safe.  That’s ridiculous.  I decided that not only was our dining room table going to be set using our fine china, but we were also going to use it!

I gave the chandelier my usual dressing, garland adorned with my Old World Christmas Wedding Ornaments.  They are among my favorite ornaments, but are also quite delicate and are best away from little hands.  I then created a table runner with lime deco mesh, which I brightened with hurricane glass filled with candles and silver ornaments.  I thought our silver plated nativity was the perfect finishing touch and compliment to our china.

img_3628img_3631

We’ve already used the formal dining room twice this month and hand washing the dishes wasn’t such a hassle either time.  First, we celebrated my mom’s birthday with my parents, sister, and brother in law.  There was room for all ten of us at the table, and even the quads were allowed to use the china.   Then, my college room mates joined us for brunch.  On each occasion, our guests presumed the beautiful table was for show, and felt honored when they discovered it was for them.  If a milestone birthday and nearly two decades of friendship aren’t worthy of china dining, I don’t know what is.

img_3636img_3637

I’m not sure whether we’ll have more guests over before Christmas or not, but our table is gorgeous and awaiting another meal.  Even if we don’t have guests over, our family will enjoy it at least once more before I come up with a winter tablescape.

Do you have a formal dining area or fine china?  Do you use it?

hugs!

Amber


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.


In Celebration of Fall

I really love fall with it’s crisp weather, lingering pumpkin spice scent, and rich traditions.  This year Texas weather has been insanely warm hot so it’s been a little harder for me to get in the fall spirit.  Seriously, my kids were wearing shorts last week and the air conditioner has been running.  Nonetheless, I filled our home with warm fall décor in hopes fall would one day appear.  We aren’t hosting Thanksgiving this year, but I decided to set our new dining table anyways.  It was begging for a little splash of fall.  Since having the table fully decorated, I realized it stays looking pretty and never collects random items like usual.  From here on out, I think I’ll have to keep seasonal tablescapes out.

On the table, I pulled together an assortment of glass hurricanes and filled them with items I had including cranberries, wine corks, and coffee beans (the aroma is fabulous).  Deco mesh and heirloom monogrammed chargers completed my table scape.  To fully enjoy our fall table, we may have a family dinner there this week.  I’m certain the kids would enjoy a “fancy” meal. img_3457

img_3465

 

 

I kept the entry way simple with a collection of antique books, a fresh pumpkin, a framed fall printable (a gift from my friend, Amber), and a pumpkin spice candle.  Did I mention I adore pumpkin spice?!?!  Even with summer like heat, the scent feels like fall.

img_3459img_3460

 

This was the first year the kids each chose their own Halloween costume and weren’t part of a theme.  Long before Halloween arrived, they determined exactly what they would wear and proudly stood out as individuals- Rainbow Dash, a pirate, Rapunzel, and Spider-Man.  George and I pulled together coordinated costumes, however.   Complete with bowl cut wig and fitted red pants, George dressed as Howard Wolowitz while I was his wife, Bernadette from the Big Bang Theory.

img_3416

 

Though the kids celebrated their fourth birthday this summer, we still hadn’t taken four year photos.  We decided it was better late than never so we staged a fall DIY photo shoot.  One of the kiddos (I won’t name names…) may not have cooperated with my Pinterest-y clothing scheme, but we managed to get some great shots and had fun taking them.

img_3174img_3210img_3260

The individual photos capture each child’s personality perfectly…

 

Happy fall, ya’ll!

 

hugs,

 

Amber



For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.


 

Making this Year’s Halloween Party a Standout   

 

Halloween is such a festive holiday and, if you’ve decided this is your year to take the party to your house, a few tips will help make it a ghoulishly good time. Sure, you can phone it in with some chips, a case of beer, and a few decorations, but you don’t want to throw just any party for your fellow ghosts and goblins. And that doesn’t mean you have to grow your own money tree either, as a successful soiree doesn’t have to break the bank. Read on for tips on making this year’s Halloween party a standout.

Go Big on Your Costume

If you’re hosting the party, you cannot—and I repeat, cannot—opt out on the costume. You also don’t want to do something lame (hello, ghosts made with sheets). You and your fellow host/hostess should go for hilarious Halloween costumes or, at the very least, something quite creative. Of course, there are costume stores on nearly every corner during the season but, if you’re more of a DIY type, simply check out Pinterest for plenty of inspiration. Impress people with your pop culture wit by going as Eleven and her waffle from the smash hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, or go with an impressive couple’s costume. Either way, you’ll get major props for going beyond last year’s “Salt & Pepper” costume.

©FourtoAdore.com©FourtoAdore.com

Haunt Your Halls in Style

There is no other holiday that calls for decorations at a party more than Halloween. It really makes the ambience that much more fun when guests enter a house filled with spooky spiders, malevolent monsters, and other gory goodness. Once again, when it comes to Halloween decorations, Pinterest will be your best friend. From the Wicked Witch’s legs coming out of your potted plants to spider light-up mason jars, it has everything you’ll need to make your event something spectacularly spooky. If you want to go all out, convert your entire pad into a haunted house. For added ambience, have a scary movie playing in the background. Of course, this is only if your guests are adults, as you don’t want to scare your wee witches and warlocks for life.

Serve Terrifying Yet Tasty Treats

When it comes to Halloween food, the grosser the better. And, wait; have I mentioned that Pinterest is your friend? Seriously—all you need to do is simply enter “Halloween food” in their search bar and your brain might explode from the plethora of ideas. For appetizers, try Frankenstein chips ‘n’ guacamole (Frankenguac!), and crescent mummy dogs (kids love these!). If you’re serving a main dish or dishes for your guests, consider slow cooker pumpkin soup, or the dead man meatloaf. For dessert, the possibilities could follow you into the afterlife. From severed ladyfinger cookies to dirt pudding pumpkin patch and pumpkin rice krispie treats, devilishly delicious desserts are the perfect way to cap off your freakishly fun fiesta.

When it comes to a Halloween party, you can’t forget the BOO-zy concoctions. Of course, beer and wine will please the pickiest of palates but remember, you want this party to stand out. Go with the theme and serve things like a caramel apple or vampire kiss martini. Talk about leaving an impression on your guests!

09-IMG_7317

 

Play Hauntingly Good Music

No party worth its salt goes off without music. You could hire a DJ so you don’t have to worry about a thing, or simply hook up your iPod to some Bluetooth speakers. Either way, guests will love doing the Monster Mash love into the evening. As we all know, it’s a dead man’s party. Check out the Bluetooth audio options from JBL to ensure your playlist bumps all night long.

Want your party to be special and spooky? Follow the tips mentioned for a ghost of a good time.

 

hugs,

 

Amber

[Post sponsored by Purple Camel Media]


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.


 

Slow Cooker Meal Roundup

img_1348

After our babies were born, meals were one of the most needed, and appreciated gifts we received.  Having multiple infants at home meant providing around the clock care, which left very little time for our own self care.  Simple things like a hot shower or warm cup of coffee became luxuries and having a nice meal together was a rarity.  When someone delivered a meal, we were oh-so gracious.  After our gifted meals were depleted, I was faced with the challenge of putting a decent meal on the table.  Out of necessity, I learned how to cook more than queso in a slow cooker. With a lot of trial and error, I rounded up a handful of our own family’s favorite slow cooker meals, which I typically prep as freezer meals.

To pay it forward, freezer meals are now our go-to gift for families welcoming new babies.  Rather than sending a cooked meal, I add all the raw ingredients into a gallon Ziploc bag and freeze it. Then, when the family is ready to use the meal, they can add it to their slow cooker.  To make a complete meal, I also send a whole grain and steam in bag vegetables.  Everything is packaged in a plastic bag with a label, directions, and use by date (three months after prep).  Before prepping freezer meals as gifts, I always check with the family dietary restrictions and preferences. If you’re looking for some tasty, easy to prep meals for yourself or to gift to others, give our favas a whirl!  The last batch of meals I prepped took me 90 minutes and I ended up with 10 meals (half for our family and half to share).

img_2061

Chicken Taco Bowls

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 can Rotel (mild if your family is sensitive to spice)
  • 1 t. minced jar garlic
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • ½ Tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 t black pepper.

Cook on low 4-6 hours, or high 2-3 hours.  Shred chicken with a fork.  Serve over long grain rice and garnish with shredded cheddar, sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), and salsa.  Or, make tacos instead!

**This recipe is good for families on dairy free (without garnish) and gluten free diets.

Adapted from Budget Bytes

Curry Chicken

img_1744

 

  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 13.5oz can of coconut milk
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 14.5oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp minced jarred garlic
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  •  2 tbs. curry powder
  •  1 tsp. salt
  •  1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (adjust heat as needed)

Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.  Serve over basmati rice or with naan.

img_3119

** I like this recipe for families on dairy or gluten free diets.  You can omit the chicken and add chickpeas for a vegetarian version.

Adapted from from New Leaf Wellness

Orange Chicken

  • 2-4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup  orange marmalade
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce

Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours. Serve over steamed brown rice with Asian stir fried vegetables.

img_7547

Adapted from the Frugal Girls

Creamy Pesto Chicken

img_1741

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 3 Tbs. Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup water + 1 tsp. Better than Bullion OR 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 oz. cream cheese cubed
  • 1 small package of frozen broccoli florets (reserved)

Cook on low 4-5 hours or high 2-3 hours.  Shred chicken then add frozen broccoli and cook an additional hour.  Serve over long grain rice pasta.

**Avoid this meal for families with tree nut allergies.  For a lower fat version, substitute 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt for cream cheese.

Adapted from The Picky Palate

White Chicken Chili

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cans white beans (drained)
  • 1 can mild Rotel
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2-3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.  Shred chicken.  Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, and green onion.  Serve with cornbread, tortillas, or tortilla chips.

Adapted from Texas Tales 

Italian Chicken

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. cream cheese cubed
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 package of Zesty Italian dressing mix

Cook on low 4-6 hours or high 2-3 hours.  Serve over pasta with a salad or steamed green beans.

Adapted from  Stick a Fork in It.

We are currently in a season of welcoming new babies, but freezer meals also make excellent gifts for families grieving a loss, following a hospitalization or surgery, etc..  A homemade meal is a wonderful gesture to warm a friend’s heart.

 

img_3126

For other slow cooker and simple meal ideas, check out my slow cooker meals board and Mom & Kid Approved Meals board (this board consists of meals vetted by fellow moms of multiples) on Pinterest.

hugs,

 

Amber

Related Posts:


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.


 

 

 

 

 

‘Tis the Season (for sneezing & wheezing)

Before our babies were born, we started taking precautions to protect their fragile respiratory systems.  All newborns are susceptible to respiratory illness such as the flu, RSV, and pneumonia, but preemies are at an even greater risk, and when they become ill it is often severe.   George and I both received our flu and tDAP vaccines, and asked anyone who wanted to visit the babies during the first year to do the same.  After the babies’ birth we were diligent about things such as hand washing, not wearing shoes inside, staying away from people who had been sick, and not taking the babies into public.  Though difficult, our efforts proved successful.  We did not have a sick visit for any of the babies until after their first year, and have had only a handful in their four years of life.  After a seven week NICU stint, we had no hopes of returning.

Last month, our healthy track record was blemished.  The kids all demonstrated allergy symptoms: runny noses, drainage coughs, and itchy/ watery eyes, but all went to bed seemingly healthy.   The next morning, both George and I left for work early while the kids slept and my mom babysat.  About halfway into my commute, Mom called telling me Sydney was having a hard time breathing.  I presumed her allergies were worsening and she just needed Zyrtec, but I called the pediatrician and got an early appointment anyways.  Because my workday was booked with meetings, I sent George back home to take Sydney.  During my meeting, texts starting pinging and I started struggling with not being there.  Sydney had a nebulizer treatment for low blood oxygen something in the 70’s.  I remained hopeful the nebulizer was all she needed.  After a second treatment, things weren’t improving.  With two liters of oxygen Sydney’s oxygen saturation was only in the 80’s.  This meant an ambulance ride to the emergency room.  Feeling helpless, I rushed to the ER to meet the ambulance, but I beat it by nearly an hour.  I knew she was in good hands, but waiting to meet your child at the ER is painstaking.  As Sydney’s gurney wheeled through the waiting room, I knew she felt awful.  She barely noticed me.  Her face was pale and she appeared limp as she clutched a small tan-colored teddy.

final-32

My usually garrulous little girl sat silently in bed as nurses buzzed about her room. After having an X-ray and multiple lab panels run, we waited for answers.  Sydney dozed off trying to steal some rest as the hours passed.   Meanwhile, my mom dutifully held down the fort at home.

Before the dinner hour, Sydney’s attending physician came in with the final result: pneumonia.  Though her symptoms presented as pneumonia, it was somewhat surprising considering she hadn’t been sick prior.  No fever, no changes in appetite or sleep.  Just mild allergies.  There are two types of pneumonia: community acquired (e.g. contagious resulting from infection in public place) or aspiration (e.g. foreign matter such as food, liquid, saliva, or vomit is inhaled into the lungs).  The only way to determine and appropriately treat pneumonia is from lab work that indicates if microplasmas are present.  Though the type wasn’t yet known, Sydney was immediately put on IV antibiotics as a precaution.  She was still very sick, but within several hours, Sydney started talking again and could sit up for short periods.   Despite marked improvement, Sydney still needed oxygen to maintain healthy levels of oxygen saturation so we were in for an overnight stay.

Once settled into our room, Sydney was excited to choose her meal from room service (she hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours).  We had one slight problem when ordering: her egg allergy.  Last year, a mild egg allergy showed up on Sydney’s panel along with dogs and cats.  She doesn’t demonstrate any symptoms after eating foods containing cooked eggs, but we always disclose the allergy in case medication is derived from eggs.  If you have a food allergy of any type, you are given a rather restricted hospital menu.  An egg allergy means NO baked goods of any type and NO pasta, which are among Sydney’s favorites.  She finally settled on French fries and chicken nuggets though she filled up on Oreos snuck in by her nurses instead.   Sydney happily passed the evening hours watching movies from bed and listening to stories.  The night was difficult with hourly nurse’s checks, IV adjustments, and general hospital noises.  I managed to get a little shut-eye curled up next to Sydney while George snoozed on the oh so comfy hospital sofa.  After breakfast, Sydney finally needed to use the restroom and when we unhooked her oxygen tank, noticed her oxygen was in the 90’s!  This meant we could start the clock towards release.  She could go home after six hours without oxygen and no other concerns with her vitals.  We still didn’t know which variety of pneumonia little bit had so a mask was necessary for us to leave the room.  Sydney was not pleased with this, but she clamored to get out of her bed.  The little tan teddy who comforted Sydney during the ambulance ride helped convince her to wear a mask as well as take medication and cope with hospital life.

final-27

final-37

By late afternoon Sydney passed her six-hour test, and we learned she developed pneumonia from aspiration.  This meant she was not contagious (HOORAY) and we were headed home with a round of antibiotics.  Going to the hospital is always a humbling experience.  We are grateful Sydney’s stay was brief and that we managed to go four years without anyone going to the hospital.  Though we do not hope to repeat this ever again, we admittedly savored the individual time with Sydney.

final-28

Sydney was soooooo happy to be discharged she struck this pose with the enormous hospital toy teddy.  After coming home, Lovey, has been instrumental getting Sydney to finish her medicines.  Lovey takes a tiny bit then Sydney hesitantly finishes it.

A week after this hospital stint, Sydney returned to the pediatrician for a follow-up visit and got a clean bill of health.  In addition to being a preemie, having pneumonia puts Sydney at risk for further respiratory illness.  Therefore, all four kids, mom, and dad got flu shots.  Exactly one week following discharge, Sydney was covered in hives.  Thankfully, a friend warned us that it was possible.  Apparently following serious illness, the body can have a histamine reaction resulting in hives.  Sydney handled the itchiness well and tolerated a few rounds of Claritin and clear calamine lotion.  Within three days they disappeared as quickly as they appeared.

We are oh so happy to be home and healthy again, and are taking as many precautions to keep things this way as we can.  I’ve since gotten a pulse oximeter to help us monitor oxygen saturation should there be another scare.

Hugs!

Amber


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.


Wee Volunteer

Last month we were invited to participate in a preschool philanthropy program through Wee Volunteer . Though Wee Volunteer offers a variety of projects, this one was for Meals on Big Wheels where preschoolers help deliver meals to the elderly.  We were available on the scheduled day, but I was hesitant to commit.  It was 45 minutes from home and over the lunch hour.  I envisioned schlepping four winey, hangry kids, and hot meals in sweltering heat.  Misery, it seemed.  In my heart, I knew it was an excellent opportunity and decided to accept the invitation despite my reservations.   I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but had been told we would ride a bus then deliver meals in apartment complexes.

The kids weren’t terribly excited about being mini couriers, but the idea of riding a bus for the first time was enough to get them dressed and out the door.  Thankfully the bus exceeded their expectations (and mine)!  We rode in style in a charter bus complete with picture windows and purple party lights.  It was the first time the kids could really see outside the windows of a vehicle, and they were in awe.

final-16



While we traveled, the program founder, Michelle Chase, told us about Wee Volunteer.  Five years ago, she started the organization to help teach her young girls about serving others.  The program has grown to include projects involving animals, children in need, gifts of gratitude, elderly, the environment, homelessness, and hunger.   Our project included a route that is typically covered by paid employees of Meals on Wheels.  As a result, our service saved enough funds to feed 20 clients for an entire week.  In addition to the monetary support of our service, Michelle pointed out that many Meals on Wheels clients have very few, if any visitors.  Whoever delivers the meal could be their only visitor and contact with the outside world.  Because of this, we encouraged the children to be friendly and smile.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

final-9

final-10

final-11

Every client received a meal resembling a TV dinner with a piece of fruit and a drink.  Each child was responsible for carrying and handing over about two meals. All of the kids really enjoyed getting to knock on doors and shout, “MEALS ON WHEELS!!”  Sometimes, we had to practice patience as the client took a little time to reach the door.

Overall the kids did really well making deliveries, and seemed to enjoy serving others.  Towards the end, things became challenging.  The kids became thirsty, hungry, and hot, and they let this be known.  Service isn’t always easy, it involves making sacrifices to help others.  Both the kids and I learned a lot from this experience and look forward to more like it.

All of the wee volunteers weren’t willing to be photographed, but included in the group were 18 kiddos ages two to four years old.  Wouldn’t it brighten your day to have these guys deliver your lunch?

final-12

 

 

What is your favorite service project or charitable organization?

 

hugs,

 

Amber


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.