Our Halloween Weekend

Halloween was an exciting event this year! It was the first time for two things: for the kiddos to select their very own costumes, and for us to go trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. The past two years we dressed them up in outfits of our own choosing and last year we took them to each of the grandparents house to trick-or-treat there and visit for a little while. That was enough excitement to wear them out and don't you know they still got plenty of sweet treats!

This year, though, we've mastered going on group walks throughout our neighborhood and they totally get the whole concept of Halloween, costumes and trick-or-treating so we went with the whole shebang!

I can thank Target for making most of our costume search easy—we scored a Spiderman, Rapunzel and Ariel costume there at 50% off with a coupon on my Cartwheel app—and then Kailey picked out her cute little Minnie costume when she was with me on a shopping excursion at Costco a week before. They'd worn them a couple times before the big night, once for a Halloween party with our quad buddies, the Shawvers, and once earlier this week when we visited the husband's parents for an pre-Halloween outing and they trick-or-treated there then stayed for dinner while the husband and I got a date night!

After naps, all four were super excited to start putting on their gear and get ready to go. We'd picked up four dollar pumpkin buckets earlier that day and reviewed how trick-or-treating works and that they only take a piece or two of candy from each house—not handfuls! They did AWESOME. They traipsed all over the neighborhood and had an absolute blast the entire time, with not one complaint about all the walking, carrying their pumpkins (that got heavier with every door knock!) or getting tired. In fact, they were doing so well that when we got back to the house we loaded up in the suburban and headed to my mom's house for a surprise trick-or-treat visit there!

I brought pajamas with us, so once the fun was over we dunked them in the bath tub and got everyone dressed for bed then drove our wired but tired and very happy four little pumpkins home. They slept right up until the last minute on Sunday but thanks to the time change and falling back an hour, we made it to church only a little late. My mom sat with us then we all went to lunch afterward before heading home for naps. The kids didn't exactly cooperate on the latter, but they did get some quiet rest time in their rooms while the husband and I got a break to watch a show together on the couch and relax for a minute. 

To cap off our weekend focus of spending special time with the kiddos (which included our first-ever date day!), the husband took Harrison to an indoor bounce house for a couple hours while I stayed at the house with the girls and had a fun afternoon with them. I painted 70 nails—including my toes!—then we had cupcakes and watched Frozen Fever and a couple episodes of Team Umizoomi. They really enjoyed all the attention, and I was so glad we had been able to carve out time with all the kids.

Now I just need to check myself into Binge Candy Eaters Anonymous and find a better hiding place for my sugar stash....like the trash, if we're being honest.
post signature


Fall Days & Big Kid Update!

Kailey was sitting on my bed in my room, absent-mindedly flipping through a book when she looked up and eyed me questionably. I figured it was because I had makeup on (the kids always love seeing me get "done up" since it doesn't happen everyday) but instead she said, "Mommy, you're not pretty yet!"

Uhhh, thanks for the confidence booster Kailey Poo! We were getting ready for a family outing and I'd opted to try and look more presentable than my usual workout attire. But I hadn't picked out clothes yet and still had on sweat pants. I pulled on jeans and a top and checked myself out in the mirror when she exclaimed, "Mommy, you look so pretty now!"

Holding me to a standard already at just three years old! The kids are most definitely at that age where we never quite know what they're going to say or do, and their level of independence is reaching an all new high. They put on their own socks and shoes much of the time and when people ask if I still dress them, I quickly inform them that the kids have been picking out their own clothes—with just a little guidance from mama—for awhile now! They ask to be excused from the table after a meal and clear their dishes to the sink and put their milk in the fridge. They take dirty clothes to the laundry hamper downstairs and put their shoes away in their own individual shoe bins. It's our latest shoe storage system, complete with name tags to identify each other's bins, and it's been working out pretty well so far. I added a basket to collect dirty socks because those were just getting scattered on the floor.

We are all still enjoying their two days a week at pre-school, which they love and are learning so much so fast. Their teachers are great and they do all kinds of fun projects and really blossom in a class setting! After I picked them up on Thursday we came home and they helped me sort all the clean laundry into two piles: one for Harrison and one for the girls. Meanwhile, Kailey worked in the kitchen and emptied all their lunch bags. She puts the cold packs back in the freezer and the tupperware in the sink for me to wash. They are very helpful around the house and I've seen each of them voluntarily clean something up on more than one occasion without any direction from myself or the husband! I think eventually we will start chore charts, but I've got to get a little more organized for that to happen.

Most days I still feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants, but I still will get a productive afternoon here or there to make up for the mess. I've recently come to realize that I thrive somewhere in between the neatly organized and the organized chaos. If I had everything in a place and a place for everything, I think I would go a little crazy and feel too categorized. But if my house gets super messy or everything is out of control and nothing is in its semi-rightful place, then my left eye starts twitching. You know, that whole balance thing.

All four kids were laughing hysterically and having a grand ol' time earlier this morning. When I went to investigate, I discovered they'd dragged pillows, blankets, books and a bunch of random toys to the landing in the middle of the stairs. They asked me "not to touch it, mama" during their nap time so they could play there some more when they woke up, because they had plans to have a tea party together. Needless to say, I've stepped it over many times and haven't moved a thing! Happy laughter and four three-year-olds getting along is worth a mess any day. (And let's be honest, that mess is the least of my problems when you look at the pile of laundry and dishes that have accumulated.)

We've had a busy start to fall and plenty of fun so far. Not long ago, we hosted a Halloween party at our house for our quad buddies, the Shawvers, complete with a festive-themed lunch! I made English muffin "mummy" pizzas, ghost bananas using chocolate chips, pumpkin oranges (the stem is a piece of celery) and Mickey-shaped veggie chips I found at Target. My quad mama buddy, Amber, brought some pumpkin books to read and the kids did a great and after lunch they got to eat popcorn, watch a Halloween Mickey Mouse episode and exchange treat bags. They had a lot of fun!

I was super excited to have my long time bestie (and former college roomie) Lisa and her son, Warren, come stay with us for awhile. They currently live in Malaysia so time with them is very treasured. Warren is 16 days older than the quads, so they are perfect playmates and five fast friends!

The husband has pulled out all the Cowboys and A&M gear he can find in the kids closets for them to wear during the games and the kiddos have all learned to cheer at the TV—Kailey is the loudest!

Kailey also has an affinity for mommy's shoes, she's always traipsing around the house in whatever pair she can find. Flip flops, house shoes, wedges and, lately, my boots. Because of the cooler weather that's finally arrived, the boots have been pulled out from the back of my closet and put back in rotation!

The husband still travels often enough for work, so we enjoy family activities on slow weekends when he's home. The kids watched him carve our first family Jack-O-Lantern this past weekend and we've been enjoying walks in the neighborhood, too. They've done so well staying on the sidewalk, watching for cars and keeping the pace! And bedtime stories with Dada is always a highlight. :)

Lately, rainy weather has kept us a bit more house bound. But it's actually a welcomed change of pace, since we normally get out every day. Which still isn't always a simple undertaking with my foursome and often I'm completely exhausted by the time we've come and gone. I still do grocery shopping trips, Target outings and afternoons at the library with my crew on my own, and did several swim lessons at the end of summer and attend play dates regularly with no assistance. Anything bigger, and I like to have an extra set of hands!

When it's dreary out though, the answer is to make a run for Sonic ice and shakes then head back home to dry off, light some pumpkin candles and snuggle under blankets while watching movies. Or a Paw Patrol marathon, since we're talking about real life, ha!

Most importantly in the middle of all the chaos—especially as the holiday season kicks off—is time with my husband. Our relationship is still our number one priority, because happy mommy and daddy equal happier, better parents for the quadlings! We try to manage a date night once every two to three weeks, even if we're exhausted (like we were at dinner in the photo below taken earlier this week!). Time alone together to have an entire conversation without being interrupted by little voices, a chance to sip an adult beverage and relax or simply sit together and hold hands while watching a movie at the theater are all important opportunities for us to reconnect and prioritize our relationship. It's vital for us to survive! Some folks ask how we manage it and others assume we get frequent breaks all the time and it's no big deal. We usually plan an outing one to two weeks in advance and schedule kid care with the grandparents or a baby sitter or with a close friend. I prep everything needed before leaving, like laying out PJs, setting out dinner supplies and sometimes even bathing the kids beforehand to make it easier on the folks that are watching them while we're gone. It can be hard work to get a "break" but is always worth it!

What's really cool is that I feel like we are already setting a good precedent for our kids to follow. They know that daddy takes mommy on dates and understand that it usually involves going to a restaurant and a movie. We have explained it's our special time together and they always see me get dressed up and put on makeup and dada puts on nice clothes and drives mama in the car. In an effort to begin establishing healthy relationship goals early on, we've decided to take our kids on "dates" periodically. For instance, tomorrow the husband is taking our three girls out on a lunch date and I'll be taking Harrison on a date with me! They are so excited and have been talking about it all week! We'll let them all pick out some dress clothes to wear, I'll braid the girls hair and the husband and I will dress up as well. We're both taking our respective parties to real restaurants, not fast food joints, and are excited ourselves at the opportunity to spend some special time with them. I am beyond grateful God blessed me with such an amazing man as my husband and the father to my children, to teach them what a true, Godly man is like. Harrison has a pretty awesome role model!

I snapped the picture above last Sunday when the husband took the girls to church while I stayed home with Harrison who was under the weather. They looked so grown up in their dresses and boots! Someone suggested that was a good look for our Christmas card photos this year, and I'm thinking that's a great idea...

Onward to the next project on my list and another day as a quad mama. To borrow a phrase from Paw Patrol, "Do my best and forget the rest!"
post signature


Five Things

When I first started my Five Things series, I intended to just randomly share, quite literally, five things of note. Whether it was a great meal, a new purchase, a one-off thought I had or something I was wanting to do. But over the past year or so it's really morphed into a round-up of my current favorite products—and mostly beauty, at that. Since my blog is so full of cute little quadlings and lots of mom-related talk, I figure that a style + beauty themed post now and then is a good change. And I do love my makeup and products, especially when it's something that works and I'm passionate about. 

So I revamped a little image to drop into each new Five Things post I share with y'all—which also will make it easier to pin these posts and share them—and look forward to lots of fun products and shares in this category. Keep in mind that some of the products I share might be new, but most of them are just things I've come across and added to my repertoire and love. I only include and talk about products that I've been using for probably at least a few months and I'm never compensated for my Five Things posts, inclusions or opinions. 

And before you ask, yes that's my bathroom counter in the photo below and yes, that's a note on my mirror that says "you look amazing." Because, let's face it, there are plenty of mornings when I stumble to my sink and get that first morning glance into the looking glass that I feel like I look a thousand times less than amazing. What you can't exactly see are the words written to the right of it in a light pink lipstick my husband found in my drawer. He added, "Love, Your Husband" because he likes to remind me that I look just fine. And, other than that initial glance of my just-awoken mug, I always end up believing him. ;)

1.) Eos shaving cream. Really never thought about trying this one until another blogger I read occasionally talked about it and I decided to give it a go. I really like their lip balms, so figured the shaving cream might be pretty nice. It's not a foam, it's almost more creamy and clay-like and it's been great on my skin and gives a nice, close shave without the occasional razor burn I used to get with typical shave creams. I liked it enough that I bought a new one when I ran out instead of moving on to the next thing!

2.) Keeping up with my kids and stressing out over something (or four or 12 things) every day definitely has upped my perspiration and I always am looking for a deodorant that can truly do its job and also smell nice and not fade away before my day is done. I actually already had Degree MotionSense Dry Spray in a different scent and was due for a refill so I opted to try the sheer powder scent and this one has been so awesome. Refreshing smell that has lasted all day long that even I'm impressed!

3.) With my new shorter 'do and my love of big hair, I picked up Big Sexy Hair's Powder Play during a Target run several weeks ago and was pleased at it's effect. Just a very light sprinkle on my roots has provided lift and fullness, even on second or third day old hair. Because a little goes a long way, this tiny container will last a long time. I sort of divide my hair into three layers horizontally and sprinkle across my roots on each layer than tousle my fingers through my hair to let it absorb. Style and go. Done!

4.) I have long been a fan of John Frieda products, especially anything in his beach style line, so when I spotted this Beach Blonde Cool Dip Purifying Shampoo during my same aforementioned Target trip I immediately added it to my cart. Obviously I was in my hair care restocking phase, as I'd just squeezed the last few drops out of my OGX Coconut Water shampoo. The mint smelled so good when I flipped open the top of the Cool Dip shampoo, and I loved how clean and light my hair felt after just the first use. It's meant to help detoxify hair and I think it truly achieves that. Plus the mint on your scalp feels heavenly and it has some detangler mixed in for less "knottiness" when you brush out your way.

5.) Did I mention I love John Frieda's beach hair products!? Because I really, really do. The Beach Blonde Sea Waves has been my go-to sea salt spray now ever since it hit shelves a little while ago. The Frieda line used to have the most amazing beach hair spray that I used religiously back when I was a teenager and then for some reason they quit making it. Finally, after all these years, they released one again. It's not as great as the original but it still beats out the million other brands I've tried. It's not overly sticky nor does it have too much gel in it that ends up making your hair crunchy instead of soft and wavy. Plus I can do some great styles or braids with my hair the day after using this because it provides such good texture and grip in your strands.

Now repeat the words "you look amazing" every morning until you believe it (or your makeup is done) and you'll start the day a little more ahead than you were...
post signature


One Big Hack

Scoot that graphic to the right a tad, alter the size of the font in the middle, flatten all the layers aaaaannnnnddd.....done. I'd wrapped up a new custom invitation for a client—I've been churning out print-your-own invites in all sorts of fun themes and hope to list revised versions in my Etsy shop soon!—and despite the late hour, I still had a little more homework to do. Hair.

My computer screen looked like this for over an hour...

...and I still couldn't decide whether to chop it or not!! A long a-line bob was looking better and better. So I scrolled and browsed some more, enjoying this....

....drinking this...

...and ignoring all this. Pretty much like Bandit, he didn't care for the laundry pile much either.

The next morning came early and I got my whole crew up, fed, dressed, prepped, shoed and out the door for a photo shoot my mom had scheduled with a friend of hers who dabbles in photography. The kids enjoyed a lush, green park setting and I think some good pictures were had. I love these two that we snapped on my phone—one of them with my beloved step-dad who they call "granddad" and one of them with mama. My babies are growing up!

My mom and I swapped vehicles and she and my step-dad took the kiddos to eat at an old-fashioned diner then back to their house, while I made a beeline for a few quick errands then totally splurged on a lunch menu steak and potatoes. While updating my fantasy football line-up for the next week because, you know, priorities. 

Afterward it was time for the big whack! I sat down like this...

...and finished like this!

My uber talented stylist did the perfect cut and color just like I'd hoped for, taking a whopping eight inches off the back of my hair. I'm excited I can donate it and will be sending the strands to the non-profit, Children With Hairloss

When I got home, I had just enough time to buzz around and clean up a few things, like breakfast dishes still sitting out from the morning because some days there really isn't two seconds to spare. I dislike a messy house as much as the next gal, but I've learned to relax a little about the chaos because it truly is a sign of four active, healthy kids and I'd trade a spotless pad for them any day. ;)

Before I knew it, it was time to pick up the kiddos from my mom's and I tried to leave in my house shoes with no keys. Not the only time I'll lose my mind for a minute! Now if I can just stop running my fingers through the imaginary extra eight inches of hair I keep thinking are still there, I'll look just a wee bit less crazy...
post signature


Our Weekend


I know it's been a little while since I've posted and I've got so many updates, new posts ideas and even a new design in the works to share on here. But lately it's been everything I can do to find five spare minutes to get anything done. And then I have to decide what is the highest priority at the moment and go with that. Kids, husband, deadlines for work, events and so the cycle goes.

I figured I'd jump back in with a quick weekend update, despite the fact that it's after midnight and now Monday, technically, and I really should be sleeping. You know, priorities.

Oh, and lest I forget...you can now follow Texas Tales on Instagram! I was on the 'gram awhile back when it first started becoming popular. But I had a few issues with privacy and some people stealing photos, so I deleted my account and stuck to my private social media outlets and the blog. I also started watermarking all my photos, which you've likely noticed if you're new here! Watermarking seems to have made a big (and positive) difference in the safety and ownership of my photos—something I take very seriously as many of my photos now include my babies! So I simply apply my watermark to my Instagram photos as well and you can now catch glimpses of our day-to-day life, plus a bit of creative home decor, recipes, outfits and other fun little details.

This weekend was both busy and great. We started off with a family movie night at home on Friday evening, complete with pizza and popcorn. The kids love it as much as we do, and this time we'd chosen The Lion King for our film. It was a library DVD, though, and the freakin' thing stopped working about halfway through the movie so we had to abort and go to Plan B. And that was basically two bonus episodes of Paw Patrol to appease the kids then off to a late bedtime. We'll have to wrap up The Lion King later!

Saturday morning we were out the door by 10am for a sweet second birthday party for one special boy at the park and enjoyed slides, cupcakes and a fun Mickey Mouse theme. Straight from there we met up with several girlfriends of mine and ate a delicious lunch and the kids ran around the house, played, colored, built with blocks and bugged me with 21 questions while I had static conversations with all my buddies while sipping wine. The husband even got to watch a little football, though no photos were taken as evidence.

sure sign of a good time at a toddler birthday party - multiple water bottles, the wife's purse,
at least one kid to carry, party favors and grubby hands!!
When it was time for my little crew to get home for dinner and bedtime, the husband graciously offered to take them himself so I could go with two of the girls for a couple beers and some dinner. We really enjoyed it but didn't get too crazy, calling it a night be 8:30pm!

Sunday morning we attended our church—we absolutely love it there and it was a wonderful service, as always—then took the lunches I'd scrambled to pack before we'd left the house and headed to the pool for the kid's swim lessons. We are very grateful to my former synchro coach, Patti, who is accommodating our crew for lessons in September. Not a strange thing for Texas as the weather is easily still mid-90s much of the time right now, though hopefully it'll be cooling off more by October.

In the meantime, the husband and I are so glad the quads are getting such expert instruction and more experience in the water! He and I both spent much of our time growing up around pools. Myself, especially, since I was a synchronized swimmer for the Pirouettes of Texas for 11 years. Then we both worked as lifeguards and swim instructors for many, many years after that. The water has long been a part of our background and we are so happy to pass that love onto our kiddos! They are thrilled every time they get to be in the water and have done great with their lessons as well. I'll actually be heading back to my old stomping grounds at the pool later this week for a masters practice (for older and/or retired swimmers) to see how I feel in the water, as I'm considering joining the masters team. But no one's jumping to conclusions yet, since I'm pretty sure my efforts at synchro will end up more floundering then flattering. It could be a toss up so I'm not holding my breath...unless I lose my nose clip.

I'm happy to report that the day got even better when the kids took a nice long nap and the husband and I sat on the couch and watched an entire movie before they woke up! Then we caught most of the Cowboys vs. Giants football game later and were relieved the Dallas Cowboys won—if only by a point! I'm in a Fantasy Football league again this year and now have a more vested interest in the sport, so I try to keep up. Ya know, in those spare five minutes I can find. ;)

our little cowboys fan in his jersey 
And that does it for our weekend recap. I'm off to get some shut-eye so hopefully I can get moving in a timely manner tomorrow. There's a trip to the gym and grocery shopping to be done, all with my four three-year-olds in tow, meaning it's both time consuming and tiresome but doable! Which is why I've already got my canister of grape-flavored Spark sitting on the kitchen counter to give myself an extra boost before I head out the door. That and the fact that I truly believe the kids are getting easier, especially these past few weeks and months. The husband and I have heard so many wonderful things about the magic age of four and as we get closer to our crew being three and a half, I can honestly say I think we're nearly there. I'll have to post an update soon as proof that miracles do happen. And that the "why" stage has also arrived. "Why are you doing that? Why are you sitting there? Why are you opening it? Why are you moving that? Why, why, why, WHY!?!?!"

We haven't decided whether it's effective to pawn off some of the "why" questions onto the other siblings, or whether that ultimately creates more "why's" all the way around. I've read snippets of articles that claim young children ask anywhere from 288 to 437 questions per day, making that anywhere from 1,152 to 1,748 questions for us as quad-parents to field on the regular. Yowza. Kinda feeling like that might be true right now! Whhhhyyyyyyy???

More answers to all your questions coming soon, be sure to stop back by later this week for some fresh new posts and don't forget to check out my Texas Tales Instagram page and you can also find me on Pinterest!
post signature
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...