We're Back...

I am happy to report things have improved around here.

Thank God.

Because I was about two glasses of wine away from becoming a raving lunatic. I literally could not take another freaking second of sick kids, home confinement, laundry or whining. It was truly awful. The quads got a terrible cold or virus of some sort—though they tested negative for flu—and two were suspected to have RSV. We were doling out meds, nebulizer breathing treatments and kleenex all day and night. Then sometimes one would have such a bad coughing fit that would cause them to gag which would end up making them vomit. Ugghhhh. And right when we started seeing some improvement, we ALL caught a stomach bug. Despite being indoors and Lysoling the crap out of my house, using hand sanitizer so much it cracked the skin on my fingers and washing sheets every day. So then we were holding puking kids over trash cans, toilets or plastic bags while trying not to be sick ourselves. The husband went down hard for a whole day and night, poor guy, and I had to rally and tend to the quads on my own, and no one was able to come over for fear of catching the sick. Awful, just awful.

My parents jumped to the rescue as soon as they recovered from having been ill for awhile and took the kids for two nights and two days last week. The kids had just gotten well and they needed to get out and I needed to not see them for a little bit. I know some moms are particular about it—for me, I think it's totally fine (and human) to need some space from our kids sometimes. It makes me happier to see them again, gives me a reprieve from being a mom for just a minute and helps me actually do better. So I'm all for it whenever it works out and I'm so glad the kids love going to my parents house. Incidentally, it was their first overnight stay anywhere ever and they did awesome. So awesome that they stayed a second night without issue, and they knew they'd be going home so they never got upset about being away.

I didn't worry about cleaning the house, updating my blog or really working on much of anything those two days. I needed to decompress, lounge around, sleep in (which I did quite well) and recooperate. Because no matter how much I did or didn't do, those four little people of mine were definitely coming back and I was going to have to be ready regardless! So sleep and lounging it was.

Since our return back to the living, the sane and the (for the most part) normally functioning part of society, we've done a couple things that indicate routine is forth coming. And right now I could really go for routine, because it doesn't involve puke or Advil.

It actually really, truly snowed in our area—a rare commodity for Texas!—and the kids got their first experience with the fluffy white stuff. Everyone loved it but two got cold and decided to throw a fit after about 20 minutes so, you know. They all went back out later that evening with the husband once he was home from work and, well, since daddy makes snowballs it was much more fun! And my mom even made snow ice cream, which was quite yummy and a hit with the kids. A snow day or two was fun, but once it all melted, though, it's been back to cold, wet, dreary looking weather.

I was practically giddy with excitement for the kids to go back to school, which they attend one day a week. Just in time for spring break next week so it'll be another hot minute before they get to go again. Win some, lose some.

We have made a trip to the grocery store and restocked our food supply, since everyone's eating more than crackers and jello again. We've done crafts, too. I have barely cracked open a crayon box since the Great Sickness came, so it feels good to actually do some projects with them and avoid the TV.

This evening, before bedtime, there were a few moments of heart melting sweetness. My girls are so beautiful and they look so grown up with their top knots and dresses here. And Harrison gave out a few very loving kisses to his sisters, which melts my heart even more. These kids, though they be a handful so much of the time, are truly my life's greatest achievement and my pride and joy.

Fill me in if I've missed anything important—I've had no knowledge of what's going on in the outside world and am catching up this week! Relishing every minute of our improved quality of life and keeping my fingers all crossed that it doesn't go down again for awhile...
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Mandatory Spa Time, Foundation Work & Sickies

It's been a long, exhausting week...much akin to the weekend we just had, unfortunately. The kids are still sick. And I'm just about to the end of my rope. I'll spare you the excessive whiney details and instead share with you the brief outing I got on my own Friday morning. After I got all the kids up, checked everyone's temps and doled out meds, handed off the reigns to our former nanny (who's back with us on Friday mornings!) and kenneled the dogs so the contractors could access our back yard to fill the gaping holes beneath a few areas of our foundation. Neglect of the backyard prior to us purchasing our home resulted in some serious erosion of all the dirt back there, so every time it rains you can literally see the paths of mud flowing away from our house, down the hill toward the failing retaining wall at the end of the backyard before it drops off to a greenbelt and creek area. Now, however, everything's packed in and good to go so our next big step will be to level our backyard and redo the retaining wall. Nothing major.

But back to my outing! So after handling just a few things that morning, I headed off to the Crescent Hotel for an indulgent pedicure. It was their new "waterless" pedi that I enjoyed in a zero gravity chair that reclines to your liking, complete with a heated aromatherapy neck wrap and my favorite part....peace and quiet! One of the ladies noticed I kept rubbing my temples due to a headache I've endured for nearly 72 hours and brought me some delicious chamomile tea, which I sipped while my newly polished toes dried. The pedicure treatment was perfect—scrubs, spritzes, hot towel wraps and one fantastic leg massage! It was all in the name of research for a magazine beauty feature I'm writing. Sometimes work just has to be done, right??

I lingered for a few moments in the locker room—where they offer more tea, water and fruit—and wished I could've stayed for a dip in the whirlpool and lunch at the cafe, but had to head home to my sick babies. The contractors finished up with the foundation not long after and I got the kids down for naps then sat down on the couch right as the lawn guys showed up. I headed back outside to write their check and kennel the dogs again then sat down for a few minutes before one of the girls woke up. And so the afternoon went.

My Kailey girl actually took the photo above on my phone. She loves to snatch it off the counter and knows how to hit the camera button to activate it. Then she'll find everyone and tell us all to "wook at the camwa" and say "cheeeeeese!" It's really pretty cute and endearing and then I'll go through the 743,239 pictures later and save any good ones. But like the image shows, I've been cuddling sick kiddos all week and doling out breathing treatments and medicine like it's my J-O-B. Which it sorta is right now, aside from the deadline I'm on for this article I'm writing and the Etsy orders I desperately need to package and ship. 

This morning I woke up way too early and headed off to a synchronized swim competition for my local team, the Pirouettes of Texas, who I swam with for 11 years in my younger (athletic) days. My teammate, who's also one of my longest and best friends, now coaches the club and I signed up to become a judge to help support the sport. It's perfect for me at this stage as it's a commitment I can keep, even with quads at home, and I love being able to stay involved.

Unfortunately, by the time I got home the kids were taking yet another turn for the worse. All my hopes of potential improvement for our health were dashed to pieces. Trystan was running a fever again and Harrison began vomiting by the evening, which has continued well into the night. 

And yet sadder still, before I could finish off this blog post, we've added another one to our bedroom floor. Logan woke up covered in puke, so we're still up with the sickies at nearly 2am and are passing some of the "in between" time with an episode of The Tonight Show. I poured a glass of wine earlier tonight that I sipped on until just after 11pm when I decided that this night clearly wasn't over and opted to pour another half glass. The husband mocked my late-night drinking, only to end up pouring himself a glass just after midnight when yet another one bit the dust. He and I have both been sick ourselves for the second time in just over two weeks—sinus congestion and coughs be damned—and we've literally had enough. So whatever it takes to make it through tonight is fine in my book. We've now done five baths since dinner and the wee hours are still young.

Thank goodness for mandatory spa visits...
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Our (Long) Weekend

There's been some highs and lows this weekend. An immediate high that comes to mind was getting out with just the husband on Sunday and watching the new Kingsmen movie—it was a great film! An immediate low is that the kids are all miserably sick, yet again, and we've got at least another week of recovery to go. The pediatrician even suspected that two might have RSV, and we've started breathing treatments to combat the wheezing in their chests. He also suggested a four week quarantine. Sigh.

When did my life morph into a medicine chart and endless bottles of Children's Advil, lukewarm baths to reduce fevers, load after load of laundry thanks to upchucks and whiney, clingy two year olds? Uh, well, technically about two weeks ago I guess. They all got sick then got well for 48 hours then started getting sick again. And now our doctor has advised us to keep them out of the general public and any germ-infested places for the next month. Feels like lockdown all over again. (We kept the babies on quarantine at home for about six months after they first came home from the NICU due to their 10-week premature birth and underdeveloped lungs and immune systems.)

I feel so bad for my babies and we're certainly doing everything we can to keep them as comfortable as possible and to help them recover. Humidifiers are running in the bedrooms at night, I've got peppermint essential oil diffusing during the day to help stuffy noses, we stick to our medicine dosage chart and schedule so we don't miss any—like Zarbee's nighttime cough syrup with honey to help them stop hacking and get sleep at night. We bath frequently to keep germs at bay and have changed bed linens, run countless loads of laundry and gone through about eight boxes of Cool Touch Kleenex so far. (It's the only reason their noses aren't raw.)

In fact, I'll let the kiddos update you as to how they're faring...

Oh yeah, an allergic reaction in the mix of everything right now has me on edge. I'm already paranoid enough when Trystan gets a fever, ever since her seizure in Target, and now I'm paranoid about Kailey sleeping through the night and her throat not swelling up or something in response to the antibiotics she apparently can't take. It's a wonder my eyelids aren't twitching yet and I haven't started going mental.

In between all the crazy, I've lowered my expectations for our days in general. Play time has included lots of lounging atop piles of blankets and pillows or the couch while watching some of their favorite shows, like Shaun the Sheep or Amazon's new exclusive Tumble Leaf (very cute)...

...made trips to the backyard when it's warm for some fresh air and play dough...

...pretended to pack themselves into boxes and bins that resulted in sheer hilarity...

...and multi-tasked, like coloring while doing breathing treatments. :(

We did celebrate Valentine's Day, which you can read about my decision to get on board with the holiday here. The kids loved their gift bags, the girls especially went crazy over the blue princess night gowns they got and have requested to wear them daily. They incur open-mouthed screeches of excitement and also dancing.

The husband and I exchanged some very lovely and meaningful cards after collapsing into bed Saturday night once we'd gotten the kids settled yet again and could finally catch 10 minutes of peaceful quiet in the house. I received a nice gift card to one of my favorite kitchen stores, Sur La Table! And the husband received a personalized pocket knife with a laser engraved rosewood handle, which was a hit. It came from an Etsy shop called Everything Decorated. I'd had plans—and a recipe and all the ingredients—to make a romantic dinner for us that we'd planned to enjoy with wine but we were both just so wiped out we called it a night. 

Since we have no other fun photos of family outings or anything exciting from this weekend I'll digress to the weekend prior. During the aforementioned 48 hours of healthiness, we made it out to the country to visit the husband's grandfather, who's a spry 94 years old and was all too happy to have the quads hug his neck and run around his house and acreage. 

I also made it to dinner with my fellow quad momma buddy, who was just recently in the trenches with a very sick quad squad of her own. And yeeeeeeah, that's a bathroom selfie I took while I was wearing something that wasn't black, yoga material or partially covered in toddler excretions. You can judge, just do it silently!

Needless to say, between all the coughing fits that lead to gagging that leads to upchucks in any random old place around the house, the whiney toddlers that require tons of extra cuddles and TLC and everything else going on in our house right now, I was pretty happy to have the husband home today from work as it was a holiday for his office. Poor guy is also now officially sick, though, but he still held down the fort so I could run some errands and get out on my own before tackling the rest of the week stuck in the house. 

I'm thinking tomorrow morning—since it's too cold for the park and we can't make our usual trip to the gym where the kids play at the kid's club—we'll do some drive-thru errands. And maybe just some extra driving around in general so momma can enjoy a mocha light frappuccino from Starbucks and get my caffeine on. It's rare I get to finish any sort of drink while at home with all four. Unless you count the wine. Wine always gets drank!

So please send prayers and well wishes our way....

Here's hopin' the kiddos will be back to heartbreaker status in no time.
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Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry with Cauliflower Rice

It'd been awhile since I had pulled out my food processor, but I'd been ready to try my hand at cauliflower rice and it was time. A quick search on Pinterest led me to this roasted cauliflower rice method, which sounded easy enough so I gave it a shot and it totally turned out great! (Printable recipe for the entire meal is at the bottom of this post.)

My friend, Medley, came over to help me with the kids this particular night since the husband was out of town for work. While I worked on the cauliflower, she stirred some chicken and cilantro mini wontons (from Trader Joe's) and kept an eye on the chicken and veggies. All I did was saute some chicken in a wok with some teriyaki sauce and seasonings, then added steamed carrots, broccoli and water chestnuts and a little more sauce.

The cauliflower was really simple: I washed one and a half heads of it, then broke into pieces and dropped into the food processor. I pulsed it until it was the size of rice granules and poured it onto a large baking sheet (it took two processor bowls-full to get enough). Then I drizzled the cauliflower with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, baked at 350F degrees for five minutes, stirred, baked another five minutes and it was done! The consistency was light and fluffy, just like tender rice. Even the quads ate it and Medley totally approved. Guilt free "carbs!"

Trystan is my picky eater out of the four and sticks to carbs as much as possible. I told them it was just rice and I'd drizzled a tiny bit of low-sodium soy sauce on it and everyone dug in—even Trystan! That smile after her fourth mouthful is proof enough. 

Get the printable recipe here!

Happy eating :)
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Getting on the Valentine's Day Bandwagon

I have never been a fan of Valentine's Day. Not because something happened that made me dislike it or because I don't like hearts or something weird. I probably fall into that category of folks that says "I don't need a certain day of the year to celebrate my love" because the husband and I do small things for each other at random throughout the year. However, I'm not one of those people that says "every day for us is like Valentine's Day" because that would cause me to gag on rose petals, heart-shaped chocolates and pink tissue paper. Ha.

So a happy medium had to be found. Because now I have these cute little toddlers that make every single freaking holiday infinitely more exciting than it ever used to be—except my birthday. My birthday has always been a very exciting time of year for me, plus this year I want a big party to ring in turning 30! The husband is already feeling the pressure.

Christmas this past year was awesome—the kids were able to understand the concept of gift giving, Santa Clause and all the fanfare. Which means their upcoming birthday at the end of May, when they turn three years old, will be even more amazing than the ones prior. So I decided to get over my dislike of all things Cupid, Valentiney and heart-shaped and to begin incorporating things for the holiday for the sake of my children. The things we do as parents!!

We started off by handing out little treat bags with mini M&Ms and fruit roll-ups to everyone in the kiddos' class at Mother's Day Out on Monday. And handmade Valentine's Cards to their wonderful two teachers!

Then my mother-in-law brought over a super cute Valentine craft she did with the kids this week while she watched them so I could get out for a little bit by myself. (Alone time is one of the most valuable things anyone can ever give me!!)

Then we got an awesome surprise in the mail when I opened up these paint-your-own-cookies from my triplet momma friend, Mary! She even included two maze cookies for the husband and I—and they really work! Her sweet treat biz, Sugar Coma Cookies, is the best and we use her delicious, rockstar-status desserts to celebrate all sorts of occasions in our household.

I added the cookies to the quad's Valentine's bags I'm giving them this Saturday. They turned out super cute and I can't wait to see the kids pull everything out. The girl's peach baskets came from Hobby Lobby, only about $2 for each on clearance! They love having their own bins or containers to haul around so I know they'll love these. I also scored pretty blue princess nightgowns—which they're all crazy about right now—for less than $7 apiece on sale at Carter's—as well as coloring books and mini sticker books for a buck each at Wal-Mart (a brave day that I went there, eek) and puzzle packs and board books for a dollar each at Target.

Harrison is getting a similar gift, but in a manly Transformers bag with the cuuuuutest button-up shirt ($11, also from Carter's) and boy-themed stickers, book and puzzle. I can't wait for the weather to stay warm so he can wear his new shirt with khaki shorts and his Sperry-esque boat shoes!! Until then, jeans will pair just fine. 

In my efforts to establish Valentine's Day as an officially recognized holiday in our house now, I told the husband we should each exchange gifts and a card. His gift came in the mail earlier this week and I just know he's going to love it. But since he actually reads my blog from time to time (I know, right!?) I won't share it here. You'll have to wait for our Weekend Recap to find out! I'll also be sharing the recipe and photos of a special meal I'm making for us, that we'll be enjoying with wine and candlelight after the kids go to bed Saturday evening. 

Now it's time to get a quad-worthy lunch on the table and then cut out paper shapes while they nap later so we can put together a simple Valentine craft this afternoon. Yep, I told ya....I'm really committing to Love Day celebrations! Be impressed.
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