I work out.

I work out

There’s a cute little t-shirt design circulating around my moms of multiples group with vinyl lettering stating, “I work out.  Just kidding!  I have quadruplets.”  I’ve informed hubby this would be an excellent gift for me because it’s quite accurate.

After people discover I have quadruplets, the next question is often “How are you so small?”  I don’t have a gym membership, and I don’t work out,  but seriously I don’t need to.  I HAVE QUADRUPLETS.  It’s a workout every. single. day.  all. day.  I don’t have a FitBit or similar gadget,  but if I did, it would most certainly indicate that I walk a gazillion steps each day.  I literally do not sit down until I’m going to bed, and when I do I conk out fast.  When when we sit down for family meals, I find myself getting up numerous times to take care of various things.  If you’d like to know what a typical “easy” day for me is, check out my diary on Fort Worth Child, here.  (my entry ends at 9:15, but at that point in the day I’m usually up tackling chores or whatever until at least 11:00 pm, sometimes even midnight.)  Before Christmas, we went to ICE! at the Gaylord with my sister and her fiance.  Much to our chagrin, each of us ended up toting a child clad in a huge parka through the line and exhibit.  It was undoubtedly a challenge for all of us.  I got a huge chuckle days later when George, Matt, and Courtney all complained of burning biceps, but I didn’t even notice.  I’m apparently used to lugging an extra 25-40 pounds and my biceps are well conditioned.

Sydney at the Gaylord Texan ICE exhibit

Gaylord Texan ICE 2015

A typical day for me is a decent workout, and then I have intense weight training and cardio days, like Monday.  Harper and Mason bounded into our room at about 6:30 am, and we immediately noticed Harper’s eyelashes were covered in gunk.  Pink Eye.  Definitely pink eye.  After peeling myself out of bed, I logged onto the computer and requested an 8:00 am appointment with the pediatrician.  It was the first one of the day, early, but I wanted to knock it out.  Plus, we had a play date planned with our quad buddies, the Bells.  There was a miniscule chance this gunk was non-contagious allergies, and if so I wanted to keep our playdate.  After requesting the appointment, I started scrambling to get everyone ready for the day.  I was feeling pretty accomplished.  All kids were dressed and fed by 7:15 am, and I donned my “mom uniform” aka yoga pants and a pullover (perfect for a work out!).  At about 7:30 am, George called and in a flustered tone said, “You’re going to kill me!”  I couldn’t imagine what sin he’d committed so early.  In a rush to get to work, he mistakenly took my car keys instead of his own.  This would be fine except there is only ONE key to my Explorer, and even worse, George was too far from home to turn around.  Scenarios began rushing through my head.

  1. I could cancel the appointment.  It was probably allergies anyways.  Right?
  2. I could insist George take a half day, and request a later appointment.  I wanted this to be a good solution, but I knew it wasn’t.  He’d waste over half the day driving.
  3. I could load the kids into our EasyGo Foldable Wagon and pull them to the pediatrician.

Which would your choose?  Being a workout buff, I obviously chose #3!   I pulled the wagon from the garage and loaded the four into it and began huffing it.  I started strong, the sidewalk was smooth and flat, and I was energized.  And then I realized we live in a rather hilly mountainous neighborhood.  Heaving a wagon that outweighs oneself uphill most certainly counts as cardio and weight training.  Wheesh!  We made it to the office in 15 minutes, which wasn’t shabby.  I probably smelled awful and looked like I’d run a marathon, but we made it.  As we waited for the doctor to check Harper, I started wondering if she’d say it really was allergies or nothing to worry about.  I’d be seething if so….I’d loaded four kids into a wagon, walked uphill (both ways), and paid our copay.  This was one of those moments  when the kid needed a legitimate diagnosis.

quadruplets in the foldable wagon

This wagon was a Christmas gift from some friends, and it is nifty!  We parted ways with our quad stroller because the kids were unwilling to ride it in, but for long walks lost stamina.  This wagon folds flat and fits easily into our trunk, but fits all four kiddos!

When the doctor walked in she immediately noted, “I know which child I’m seeing today!”  She then examined Harper’s ears, eyes, and throat.  It wasn’t long before he had a diagnosis of conjunctivitis and a double ear infection.  Poor guy!  I felt bad that he was really sick, but it did legitimize our morning jaunt.  Since Rylin was beginning to show symptoms, a prescription was also called in for her (A-M-E-N).   With diagnoses made and prescriptions written, we were headed back home at last.   Pink eye is terrible, people.  Just terrible.  Sydney was taken victim two days later, and Mason is holding out but is probably doomed to the same fate.

We have two tiny bottles of eye drops to be administered one drop per eye THREE times per day PER kid.  Of course, these little drops while miraculous with their healing powers, are not appreciated by the children.  When they spy the bottle, they take cover and have to be wrestled like crocodiles.  We then drop one droplet onto closed lids because nobody will open their eyes for this fun.   Then we pray something gets onto the eyeball banishing the eye goop from our home.

In case you wondered how I stay slim without a gym membership, I have quadruplets.  It’s a workout just managing the day to day.

What’s nuts is I’ve walked the kids to the doctor and dentist on my own volition, not just because I didn’t have keys.  There was a time when the kids were so difficult to load into car seats that loading the stroller and walking was easier.  Plus, it was a workout.





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“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” – William Shakespheare

When Sydney was a mere two-pound preemie fighting for her life, a friend sent me this quote “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  How well it captures Sydney!  She’s always been the smallest of the clan, but meek she is not.  While I’m proud of her tenacity, she scares the fire out of me.  She scales furniture in our home with the grace of a ballerina and befriends strangers wherever she goes.  I’m certain she’d attempt to cuddle a deranged mutt wandering the street or scale the fence if she wanted something.  It can be terrifying.  Consequently, one of her goals for Early Childhood Intervention  is to demonstrate caution around dangerous situations (e.g. hot stove, strangers, animals).  I manage Sydney’s shenanigans in the house, but venturing outside the home poses clear dangers.  In order to help her master this goal, I begrudgingly knew it would mean practice.   Her trainer suggested we begin by checking the mail daily.

Insignificant as it seems, checking the mail was a monumental task for us.  It meant single-handedly teaching four two-year olds how to walk together and also recognizing the dangers of the driveway and street.  I began tackling this task with Sydney and one other child at a time.  With just two, it was relatively simple.  I’d hold each little hand as I led them to the mailbox, quickly snatch the mail and lead them back.  Sometimes Sydney resisted hand holding and attempted to bolt, but with just two kids I could grab her easily.

After a week or so of that, it was time to go as a whole group.  In time the quads started pairing off and holding each other’s hands as they followed me to the mailbox.  Once we reached the mailbox, I taught them to wait within a square on the sidewalk while I retrieved the mail, giving a piece (usually the junk mail) to each child before I instructed them to bring it inside.  Although the quads are doing a fabulous job at this new daily chore, I continue to remind them of the boundaries and show them where cars drive, ect.  Occasionally, Sydney threatens to dart off, but she recognizes the street is a place for cars and not kids, which is a piece of mind.

Teach multiples how to hold hands and walk together

Since we conquered mail checking, visiting the park was next on my agenda for helping Sydney master her goal. Together, George and I took the quads to our neighborhood playground in our stroller.  As soon as we unloaded the four, they darted to the stairs and gave the toddler slides a try.  In the beginning, I was concerned Sydney (or really anyone) would leave the toddler area and attempt the section for older kids.  For the most part they all stayed within eye shot and didn’t push the boundaries too much.  With a good bit of prompting, Sydney learned to safely manuever the equipment.  At one point she tripped and fell off a small set of stairs and landed on her back (taking my breath away).  Thankfully she didn’t have a scratch and quickly returned to playing.  Going to the playground proved good for the whole family.  We enjoyed a bit of fresh air, and were able to meet other children the same age that live nearby.

Everyone bravely attempted the toddler slide.



Much to my chagrin, George guided each of the quads to the "big" slide.  While the others were slightly reticant, Sydney managed this slide with gusto.

Much to my chagrin, George guided each of the quads to the “big” slide. While the others were slightly reticent, Sydney didn’t miss a beat.

After the neighborhood playground was a success, we later took the quads on a picnic to a city park without strollers.  All four walked alongside us down a meandering path, over a bridge, and through a meadow to our chosen picnic spot.  Once we settled, they all stayed on our quilt as we nibbled our dinner.   It turned out to be a lovely Sunday afternoon.  





We are finding that with continued practice getting out to enjoy the world is much easier.  In fact, we’ve gone to several restaurants without using strollers.  We can unload the quads from the van and they walk with us.   It’s liberating!




Four Two Year Olds

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


Pirates and Princesses birthday

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

Princesses and Pirates birthday.





Puddle Jumping

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

Family picture in the pool.

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

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


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




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

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

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

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










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









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Play Date for Eight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mason and Trystan cozied up in the mini pool.

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

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

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

Amber helped dole out ice water to little beggars.

Amber helped dole out ice water to thirsty little beggars.


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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What’s the Magic?


terrible twos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawnmowing counts as a helper task and gross motor activity!

Lawnmowing counts as a helper task and gross motor activity!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Provide 2-3 acceptable choices.

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

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

The quads chose their hats for this one.

The quads chose their hats for this one.

8. Use first/ then statements.

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

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






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

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


George supported himself in college by answering phones and taking orders for a local florist.   The hours were ideal for a college student, he went in sometime after lunch and was off by six.  Except for two weeks of the year: the week of Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.  During those weeks, it was not unusual for him to work overtime until 11 pm later.  Even though both weeks were flooded with orders, George once mentioned how Mother’s Day was far busier because everyone doesn’t have a Valentine, but everyone has a mother.  It made sense to me at the time.  A decade later, I see Mother’s Day through new eyes.

Just like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day has become somewhat of a commercial holiday where people feel obligated to honor certain people in their life, and people feel entitled to recognition on these particular days.  What about the other 364 days of the year?   Shouldn’t we let the people we love know how much we care on a daily basis?  Even though they’ve become commercial holidays, I’m not most bothered by that aspect.  I’m far more concerned about the people who won’t be celebrating.   To many, Valentine’s Day is only a painful reminder that they are lonely hearts.   Where Mother’s Day is wrought with pain for those who grieve for their mothers or children and for those who yearn to become mothers.   It’s a day they can only hope will pass with haste.

This pain is something familiar to me from the years I grasped at every shred of hope that Mother’s Day would finally hold meaning to me.  In 2012, Mother’s Day was one of juxtaposed emotion for me.  At that time, I was expecting the quadruplets, but everything was uncertain and I still felt pangs of grief from miscarriage.  Not only was it my first Mother’s Day since miscarrying, but also my due date for that baby was on Mother’s Day.  I felt empty still.

Last year when my first Mother’s Day with children came around, I raised the bar high.  Too high.  George didn’t roll out the red carpets and shower me in the lavish gifts I expected, which hurt my feelings.  I was entitled because it was MY day!  I remember lashing out at him before going to bed.  Seriously where were MY gifts???

The day after Mother’s Day he presented me with a custom made cross necklace surrounded by four rubies representing the quads.  It was extremely thoughtful, but I felt ashamed for expecting it.  While we have not perfected it, George and I are working on appreciating each other on a daily basis and not putting stalk into material things.  I had everything I could have ever wanted on that Mother’s Day and more, our four beautiful children.  Just one year prior, I would have given up both arms just to have children.  While my heart is full of love for them, I am also aware of the despair some will experience today, and I pray they never lose hope.

While I was undergoing fertility treatments, I attended monthly support group meetings at our clinic.  There, I found a sisterhood of others experiencing the same emptiness and longing I felt.  At one of the meetings, we discussed the “survivor guilt” that occurs when one transitions from infertility patient to pregnant patient.  A common sentiment experienced by women experiencing infertility is one of emotional pain upon seeing expectant mothers or receiving pregnancy announcements.  It could be viewed as jealousy, but that’s not exactly the emotion.  I’s more of a reminder of what is missing.  At that particular meeting, we discussed how it would be nice to know when another woman was part of the sisterhood, someone who also experienced the pain of infertility.  Someone mentioned how it would be perfect if there were a secret signal that projected “I’m your sister, I was once in your shoes.  There is hope.”  After that meeting I secretly began imagining that every expectant mother was indeed part of the infertility sisterhood, and it helped that nagging feeling of pain subside.  Little did I know that I would someday wear a blaring sign that I was once a member of the infertility club, and it would come in the shape of four same aged babies.

When the quads were about six months old, I began taking them for walks in the quad stroller almost every evening.  It was a fantastic way of managing “witching hour” with four cranky babies.    One evening as I strolled about the neighborhood I remember a red Ford Explorer passing us, and then looping back around very slowly.  I was taken aback as the driver eventually pulled over, parked, and got out to approach me.  There were many people outside at the time.  Parents supervised their children, joggers passed, and people returned home from work.  I also had wasp spray ready to attack anyone who seemed dangerous.  I felt at ease even a the driver approached me.  I remember him making eye contact with a look of pain and sincerity in his eyes.  He told me that he would understand if I didn’t want to answer, but inquired whether we needed fertility treatments.  Because I felt safe, I admitted we did.  This now vulnerable man now faced me as he sighed and confessed that he and his wife were undergoing treatments.  At this point, they knew the bitter feelings of repeated and failed treatments.  They were quickly approaching a crossroads of deciding whether or not to continue treatments.  We spent a while sharing our experiences, but before parting ways the gentleman said, seeing you and the babies restored my HOPE.   Hearing that struck a chord with me because at that moment I knew that I wore the sign for other people experiencing fertility that says, “I’m your sister, I was once in your shoes.  There is hope.”  I’ve addressed what to say to parents of multiples and what not to say to parents of multiples, and in both articles I shared that it is impolite to inquire whether the babies are “natural” because it is such a personal question.  However, when someone divulges to me that they are undergoing fertility treatment or once were, I’m usually open to sharing because I want them to feel HOPE.   So if you are reading this and for whatever reason feel the pangs of grief or despair, please never lose hope.  Hope really is one of the most valuable treasures we possess.

In honor of my mother and grandmothers, the quads helped me create a visual representation of HOPE, after all they are the most powerful reminder I have of hope.



These were my four favorite outtakes.

These were my four favorite outtakes.



For my mother, I painted the babies’ feet and stamped them onto a Terra cotta pot in the shape of butterflies. I added a sign that reads, “Where flowers bloom so does hope.”


While George worked at the floral shop, I recieved more than my fair share of flowers.  Consquently, George stopped wanting to bring home flowers when he no longer worked there.  I was ecstatic when he brought these home for Mother's Day.  They were his way of letting me know he appreciates me.

While George worked at the floral shop, I recieved more than my fair share of flowers. Consquently, George stopped wanting to bring home flowers when he no longer worked there. I was ecstatic when he brought these home Thursday evening. They were his way of letting me know he appreciates me, and it was perfect.


What are the symbols of hope in your life?






P. S. Through mutual acquaintances, I learned that the driver who stopped me that day is expecting a baby boy in June!

Daddy’s Weekend

Before I headed off to Gruene to meet up my quad mama friends, George had a trial run of being in charge. It went surprisingly well, which was a good thing because it made me feel confident leaving him for a whole weekend. While I knew he could handle the fort and he told me repeatedly he could do it alone, I rallied the troops.  Nisey came Thursday evening to spend the night just like she does every week.  On Friday, Nisey and her sidekick, Terri, cared for the quads while George worked.  Nisey and Terri sent me these precious snapshots from their day together.



I haven’t the foggiest idea how she managed it, but Nisey put Rylin’s hair in legit pigtails.  I’ve since attempted to replicate this hairstyle and failed several times.




I can’t be certain what happened the rest of the time I was away, but I found miscellaneous videos and pictures waiting for me on the camera….


I can only assume there was a great toddler flick showing.  Elmo, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Baby Einstein or Bubble Guppies perhaps.  Nothing else could convince these three to sit perfectly still long enough for a snapshot.



Sydney typically sings all day long until someone pushes “record” on a device, in which case all singing ceases.   George was able to ambush her before dinner and captured her ellusive version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the Alphabet Song.  My favorite part is when she catches him recording and instructs him to turn it “off”.  He also managed to record a few other tricks courtesy of the quads.


Friday night, Nisey helped George get the quads to bed and then he was left to his own devices on Saturday morning.  Aunt CiCi and Matt came later in the afternoon as fresh troops. Again, George had assistance with bedtime, but managed the night and Sunday morning solo.  Early Sunday morning I received a panicked text from George because his morning help had to cancel.  He muddled just fine, but I think appreciated all the helpers I sequestered after all.  By lunchtime Sunday, George had fresh help and was able to run a few errands.  I believe he now understands why cherish running errands run alone and count them as “me time”.   Although these pictures show kiddos donning jammies, George texted me a few of the quads in coordinated outfits throughout the weekend.  I’m not posting them because they are so blurry the babies are almost unidentifiable.  Apparently no one was willing to strike a pose for Daddy.




Before returning home, I wanted to offer George a small token of my gratitude.  When Amber B. and I stopped at a favorite roadside stop, Buc-ee’s, I immediately cruised the candy aisle in search of George’s beloved sour belts.  When I found a bag of “Sour Power Quattro” I knew it was meant to be!



While I had a spectacular time in Gruene, I was ready to return home to George and my littles.  I was gone just long enough to really miss them.  When I opened the door, the dogs excitedly greeted me with wagging tails and excited yelps.  Rylin rushed to the gate exclaiming, “Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!”, but I’m not sure the other three noticed my return at all.  Apparently Elmo was far more exciting than Mommy.  I was slightly disappointed that the welcoming committee’s lackadaisical attitude, but I know George was more than ready for my return.





Moms of Multiples: “I Bet You Were as Big as a Beluga” and Other Verbiage to Avoid

In honor of Multiples Awareness Month, the Fort Worth Mom’s Blog asked me to write an article about what NOT to say to parents of multiples.  I cannot express how happy I am with the positive response I’ve received so far.  In this day and age so many families are different from your average 2.5 kid household with one dog and a two car garage.  As it turns out, what makes families unique is also what falls under public scrutiny.  I don’t believe people intend to be rude, but are often taken aback when they see something different.  They really have no idea what to say and they unintentionally offend and hurt others.

A couple of days before my post on Fort Worth Mom’s Blog, an adoptive father published a video about what to say (or not) to adoptive families.  He came up with the rule of thumb, “If you wouldn’t ask it about a boob job, don’t ask it about adoption”.  It’s a humorous way to remember our manners, and it works for a multitude of situations where someone is different.   The video is really hysterical; if you’ve got two spare minutes take a peek!

Here’s my piece, Moms of Multiples: “I Bet You Were as Big as a Beluga” and Other Verbiage to Avoid as published on the Fort Worth Moms Blog.  Please take time to read it, and share with others.  Knowledge is power, right? Happy Multiples Awareness Month!

George and I are developing a thick skin when out in public with the quads and ignore much of what is said.  A friend snapped this photo and later I noticed the woman in the background with her mouth gaping open while she chats on the phone.  I didn't hear her, but I"m certain she was saying, "Gladys, you will not believe this...I am looking at quadtriplets.  Yeah, four babies the same age.  I can't wait to tell Brittany that she's got it easy with the twins."

George and I are developing a thick skin when out in public with the quads and ignore much of what is said. A friend snapped this photo during the March of Dimes.  Later, I noticed the woman in the background with her mouth gaping open while she chats on the phone. I have no idea what she’s saying, but the expression is all too familiar.