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

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.


 

The Circus

Shortly after the quads were born, we sent letters to companies who have multiple birth programs.  Within a few months, we received a handful of coupons and product samples.  With our multiple birth offers, we also heard about the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Baby’s First Circus program.  Since Ringling believes that all children should experience the joy of the circus, every child under 12 months old and living in the United States is entitled to receive his or her first ticket for FREE.  After receiving our vouchers, I cached them away to use when the kids could appreciate them.  This summer proved opportune for the kids first circus.  Shortly after celebrating the quads fourth birthday carnival style, Ringling’s Circus Extreme was in our area.

Despite seeing books and pictures about the circus, they really had no idea what to expect.  After arriving at the venue, we saw the animal encounter exhibit where you can see all of the animals that will appear in the show (a lot like the zoo).  Then, we headed to the area for the pre-show where we could see the performers and some of the props.  None of the kids wanted to be too close to a clown, but Sydney tried on a cape from wardrobe.

final-25final-24

As soon as we settled into our seats, the kids started complaining of hunger so I set off to grab the best concession for the price: popcorn and water.  Harper made sure we got our money’s worth and didn’t miss a single kernel.

final-19

Once the show began, it was a tad dark and loud for the kids so I passed out ear plugs and glow sticks, which eased anxiety tremendously.  In hindsight, I wish I’d brought flashier glow items too…the kids begged for the many light up souvenir items, but the price tags were ridiculous.  The would’ve loved our dollar store wands just as much.  Next time..

final-26

We were all thoroughly impressed and entertained by the eclectic performance which included everything from the traditional circus clowns to magical mermaids, trampoline gymnasts, and poodles.


img_2765

What’s your favorite circus act?  I was a bit partial to the poodles.

 

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.


 

Step Right Up {Carnival Party}

As the quad’s fourth birthday approached, I decided it was prudent to host at a party venue rather than at home.  Last year we rented a playscape and it was fabulous not having to clean the house before or after having a slew of preschoolers at the party.  I was ecstatic to find a similar venue that included fresh popcorn and cotton candy with their party package.   Since we’d be serving carnival fare, I decided to run with that theme.  Once again, I commissioned my friend, Amber , to design custom invitations that I had printed at Costco.

IMG_0681

The week of the party, I had the kids create carnival themed crafts to hang as banners.  As center pieces, I used Dollar Tree Mylar balloons arranged in popcorn containers.  Since our party overlapped with the dinner hour, we served hot dogs from a crock pot along with fresh fruit.  It was a super easy way to feed a crowd and keep with the theme.   Since George is a cupcake connoisseur, we never order bakery cakes.  This year, we used a rainbow cupcake recipe from Just a Taste and it was ahhhh-mazing!  Whether or not we actually make rainbow cupcakes again (the rainbow part was slightly tedious), it will be our go-to recipe for from scratch cupcakes and frosting.  The cake was dense and sweet, but not overly so and the frosting complimented it perfectly.  For this particular party, the rainbow color in the cake was a fun touch.

IMG_0562

IMG_0565

To cook hotdogs in a slow cooker, spray your slow cooker with cooking spray then fill it with hot dogs (mine held about 50).  Cook on low for 4 hours.

IMG_0572

For party favors, I filled cello bags with animal crackers and fruit snacks then embellished them with a printable gift tag from We Heart Parties.

IMG_0680

Before our guests arrived, we snapped a family photo, and I was glad we did since there was never another opportunity.  The kids filled their time bouncing in the bounce houses, playing in the kid town, exploring the train, and playing games as the adults mingled.

IMG_0579

It probably  feels redundant for guests, but to make each of the kids feel special, we sing happy birthday to them individually, in birth order.  It doesn’t take a lot of time, but I know it means the world to them.

I’m quickly noticing the challenges of this new season with four year olds, but am appreciating the end of the threenagers reign.

hugs!

 

Amber

Related Articles


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.


 

Morning Ride 

final-4In the past few weeks we’ve been struggling with a lot of sibling bickering, sassy backtalk, and physical aggression. I’ve done my best to redirect this behavior and to keep toys and activities fresh, but the behaviors persisted. As a result of these challenging behaviors, my own patience is dwindling.

When mentioning my frustrations to a friend, she kindly asked how much outdoor play the kids were getting.  With triple digit heat, outdoor play has also been a struggle.  Unless there is water involved, we have to be out early and truthfully, we haven’t been getting a full hour daily.  Some days, after 30 minutes we are headed in to escape the heat.

Today I was set on getting at least an hour of outdoor play and sunshine, but we had to beat the heat to do it.  When I heard the boys wake up at 6:40 am, I immediately asked them to get dressed.  Bum-fuddled, they obliged.  Then, I ushered them to the backyard where I served breakfast.  It wasn’t long before a pair of sleepy headed girls joined us.  After about 20 minutes of outdoor play, we decided it was time for a morning bike ride.  Once all four were helmet clad, we set out to burn some rubber.  There was nice cloud cover so we stayed out riding for about an hour.  It was glorious!   There was some bickering and pushing later in the day, but it was better.

Tomorrow we will repeat this extra early outdoor play and see if it continues to improve everyone’s mood and behavior.


 

What are your favorite outdoor activities?

Hugs,

 

Amber

Related Articles

 


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.


 

Klyde Warren Park 

Last weekend we savored family time in Klyde Warren Park with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law.  Despite being open only a few years, Klyde Warren Park proved itself an urban oasis.  I was surprised to find a sea of lush green grass and tall shade trees surrounded by the world renowned Dallas skyline.  Naturally we spent the majority of our time in the Children’s Park, but we also relaxed in the reading and games nook as the guys played a bit of frisbee in an open field.  In the Park, the kids had a great time climbing the “spider webs”, exploring the tree house, creating music, and spinning on merry go rounds.

final-8

final-6final-5final-2final-1

 

As a mom of preschoolers, I was impressed with the cleanliness and ample size of the restrooms.  When the kids ask to use the restroom at a park, I cringe, but this one was on par with popular restaurants and shops.  Because we had brunch plans, we only spent a few hours in the park, but there is much more to do- on another visit.  For instance, the kids could splash in the fountains, visit the butterfly garden, wander the botanical gardens, participate in story time, or bring the dogs to the bark park.  We could also nosh on food truck delights.  If George would agree to watch the kids for a bit, I might enjoy a little yoga in the park too.   There are plenty of free things to occupy us for hours!

final-9

As the weather began to heat up, and we worked up an appetite, we retreated to LARK on the Park for Sunday brunch.  The chalk art and natural light in the restaurant were stunning, and the food was delicious.   I later learned the chalk art is rotated quarterly based on artist submissions. We especially appreciated the #DallasStrong piece, honoring the five police officers tragically lost earlier in the month.  Dallasites are proud, and I believe will continue working to make necessary change and heal.

lark on the park

You can dine at LARK on the Park while artists create these stunning chalk drawings.

 

final-10final-11

If you live in the Dallas area, and haven’t been to Klyde Warren Park, I promise it’s worthwhile.  If you live afar, but happen to visit the Big D, Klyde Warren Park is a Dallas must see attraction.

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.


 

Big Vehicle Day 

This summer, I didn’t create an official summer bucket list, but we’ve had plenty of summer fun. We’ve enjoyed library story time each week, which includes stories and songs followed by a literature based craft.  Last week, story time was cancelled for Big Vehicle Day at the library.  Since there are typically about 20 kids at story time (with four being mine), I wasn’t expecting much from the event.  I anticipated a slightly larger crowd than the regulars, and a parking lot with perhaps a garbage truck, school bus, and a construction vehicle.  I grossly underestimated the library!  Big Vehicle Day was quite an event.  Upon or arrival, I instantly regretted not making the kids dress alike as I spied a sea of preschoolers and their parents scattered around a lineup of vehicles.  Since it was a sweltering hot Texas day, we did a quick stroll past each vehicle, and then each child choose one vehicle to explore further.  We saw everything from mounted police to a street sweeper and an ambulance.

It was no surprise that the girls chose to check out the pink glitzy limo from a local children’s salon.   The kids had never seen a limo before and were thoroughly impressed with the sparkling interior lights and countless drink holders.  Harper was underwhelmed, however. As we exited the limo, the girls had a shiny star painted on their cheeks and fairy glitter spritzed in their hair.  The boys opted out of this sparkle treatment.

final-40

Mason chose to tour a recreational vehicle and Harper wanted to check out the wrecker.  Since we couldn’t go inside the wrecker, Harper was allowed a second choice.  He quickly settled on the Dan Dipert tour bus, which turned out to be a lovely reprieve from the heat with its blasting air conditioner.

final-39

final-38final-37

Before heading home, I thought it was important for the kids to thank the police officers and see one of the squad cars.  Much to my chagrin, the kids were totally uninterested in seeing any of the police vehicles, aside from the horses.  Since my uncle is a fire chief, they’ve seen the inside of many fire rescue vehicles and have even used the radio in the chief’s car.  I can only assume the police cars didn’t seem novel, that or it was just too hot. Sydney was the only one to go inside the squad car, but all four obliged me for a photo with one of the officers.

final-34

final-35

#backtheblue #DallasStrong

 


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.


 

hugs!

 

Amber

 

Sand Bucket List

This summer, we took our first family vacation with the quadruplets.  In fact, we took them to the same beach and condominiums where my grandparents took my mother and her siblings, then all of their grandchildren for decades.  While we were on Mustang Island, we made sure to introduce the quads to our tried and true family traditions.  We also added a few new items for our future family trips.

20160617_222900

1. Stuffed the car before bed and departed before daybreak at 6:00 am.

My dad has always been an early riser, waking up before dawn on regular days.  On the eve of a vacation, he’s generally awake giddy with anticipation while some people are just going to bed.  We ALWAYS left for a road trip between five and six am.

IMG_1409

 

2. Stopped at Czech Stop for kolaches

George introduced our family to the Czech Stop, which is located just north of Waco, Texas.  There you’ll find a variety of fruit and sausage kolaches (the most authentic you’ll find!) as well as other tasty treats.  The kiddos all enjoyed free M & M cookies.

20160615_072207

3. Snapped a picture with Buc-ee

I learned about the goodness of Buc-ee’s on my way home from our first annual Quad Mom trip.  It’s a family-friendly gas station designed to meet the needs of travelers.  They have spotless bathrooms complete with attendants and sanitizer as well as an array of tasty treats, supplies, and Texas memorabilia.  If you ever travel through or to Texas, it’s a must stop shop.

IMG_1427

4.  Played in the sand

Of course no beach trip is complete without playing in the sand.  Sydney had some difficulty with the dry variety, which posed a few problems, but damp sand was okay in her book.  We ordered an incredible Sand-Free Multimat, which is designed to repel sand, but it arrived about six hours after our departure.  I guess we’ll have to try it next year!

5. Caught sand crabs

If you wait until dark and bring flashlights, you can easily spot and capture sand crabs darting along the sand.  The kids had a blast chasing the little guys then setting them free.  Whenever anyone in our family mentions catching crabs we all have a good chuckle.  When my Uncle Dale was a little boy, Grandma chose a shirt for him at the souvenir shop that read, “I Caught Crabs on Padre Island”.  Thanks to the family tradition of catching sand crabs, Grandma thought it was perfect.  When Dale returned to school after summer break donning his new shirt, the principal called Grandma in a tizzy due to the vulgar connotations…..Poor Grandma didn’t realize the shirt wasn’t referring to sand crabs….

IMG_1519

6. Visited the Bob Hall Pier

I recall my dad and Grandpa taking us to the pier at night to see creatures including sea turtles, dolphins, and sharks swimming in the sea.  This time, we visited during the daytime and instead watched fishermen reeling in their daily catch.

IMG_1458

7. Enjoyed ice cream at Scoopy’s Veranda

George and I started this tradition with the kids.  Next door to Scoopy’s is Snoopy’s restaurant, which is where our family enjoyed sea food on the water for decades.  We thought the kids would enjoy a sweet, summer treat more though.

20160618_170912

8. Constructed sand castles

Rylin insisted we build a “large sandcastle” before departing from the beach each day.  This particular one was the largest of our structures.

IMG_1608

9. Fished off the Red Dot Pier

My father’s favorite pastime is fishing, and he’s been itching to take the quads fishing to share his passion since they were infants.  For Father’s Day, we gave him a pair of Mickey Mouse fishing poles and a pair of Frozen fishing poles.  He was ecstatic to have four kiddie fishing poles and to take the kids on their first fishing trip.  Rylin wasn’t terribly keen on the process, but liked her “girlish” pole.  Sydney appeared bored until she reeled in a perch, which excited her.   The boys really tuned into the process and seemed to enjoy themselves.   Harper caught the largest fish of the bunch, a mangled looking dogfish.

IMG_3082

10. Bought souvenirs at Ocean Treasures

I fondly remember browsing Ocean Treasures with my sister in search of the best bit of memorabilia.  The kids had an equally good time cruising the long aisles for something of their own.  Harper traveled all the way to Padre Island only to find ANOTHER fire truck for his burgeoning fleet.  He later regretted his choice and begged for a submarine instead.  The best part of our shopping adventure was seeing the magestic sandcastle.

 

IMG_1466IMG_1459

11. Cooled down in the pool

It’s family tradition to take a dip in the pool after a day at the beach.  The first day, the quads were uneasy in the baby pool, but quickly learned to steady themselves and splash around with their older cousins.

IMG_1547

12. Played in the surf

With close supervision, the kids learned to enjoy jumping the waves and watching the tide come in.

20160618_193926IMG_1535

13. Took a cousin picture on the seawall

Before departing and heading to our separate homes, we’ve always snapped a photo with all of the cousins.  This year we had the largest group of cousins ever, which included my cousins, Jennifer and Lindsay with their children.  A total of ten kids under ten outnumbered the nine adults.

20160619_092120

14. Took a stroll down the beach to collect shells

It’s always interesting how the tide brings in different things each year.  Over the years, I’ve visited this particular beach many times and it’s never exactly the same.  This year, there were a few scattered sea shells but many blue crabs, which I’ve never seen before.

20160618_175846

15. Fed the seagulls

The seagulls are a ravenous lot.  If you toss a bit of food into the air, they’ll artfully scoop it up before it touches the ground.

IMG_1452

20160619_091315

16. Snapped family photos at sunset

We’ve always taken family beach photos, but this year I wanted them to be more than just random shots.  I hoped to snap a few worthy of hanging on the walls or putting on  a Christmas card.  I charged our DSLR camera and meticulously coordinated the family wardrobe.  I also heeded Lindsay’s tips for taking excellent beach photos. I made a grave error, however.  I did not leave the DSLR camera outside long enough for it to fully acclimate to the humidity.  Much to my dismay the lens was horribly foggy.  Thankfully, George’s Samsung Galaxy 6 takes excellent photos, and was able to capture these.  Despite being a phone camera, I was able to enlarge and print several for our gallery.  Sydney wasn’t willing to let her precious toes touch the sand so we either carried her, or we improvised and sat on a table covered in an aqua picnic blanket.

20160617_19365620160617_193515

20160617_194647

I was admittedly concerned about how the quads would handle a long road trip, and sleeping away from home, but they surprised me. We stopped only twice each direction and whining was minimal.  Of the in car entertainment items I packed, the Melissa & Doug On The Go Water Wow Books kept the kids occupied the longest by far. Our trip was such a success, we are already making plans for next year, and hope to include the family members missing from this trip.

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.