{Weekend Recap} The Good & The Sad

This past weekend (or week, really) hasn't been the easiest. Things have been challenging off and on ever since we moved into our temporary apartment. We knew it wouldn't be easy and we knew house hunting while the husband began his new job, I continued to recover from my surgery and we took care of four growing babies in a small space was asking a lot. But, in our well-established style, we went for it and set out to make the best of it.

Late last week, I was scheduled to go look at a few houses since we still hadn't found anything we loved. My mom and a friend had arrived to babysit while I was out and I went to go get in the suburban when I noticed one of our twin stroller frames laying in the grass in front of it. Extremely confused, I picked it up to put it back into the rear of the vehicle, only to discover someone had popped the lock on the back hatch window and stolen our entire bench seat right out of the car. I could not believe it. I started tearing up because it had already been a hard week and I just didn't think I could take anything else. On my way back into the apartment to figure out what to do next, I spotted our other twin stroller frame abandoned in the outdoor hallway area. Thankfully they did not take anything else out of the car, like car seat bases, sunglasses, etc. so I still had the rest of my stuff.

A phone call to the insurance company and 30 minutes later, I was on my way to the nearest dealership where I got the window latch repaired and the bench seat ordered. I had decided it did no good to mope around and be upset, instead I was pissed off angry and decided to get things taken care of. Next on my list, while still waiting on our bench seat to come in, I'll have a very loud, annoying alarm installed on the suburban. The whole event did make me feel violated. I mean, when someone breaks in and takes an entire piece of your car, it's not the smallest event to recover from. We cannot take the babies anywhere unless we drive both vehicles, but that plan doesn't exactly work out well during the week when the husband is at work. And I've got doctor appointments coming up for the kiddos (thankfully I think it's only two at a time) and I'd like to not be a captive in the apartment, but all I can do right now is deal with, so that's what I'm doing.

Right about the time I was feeling better and motivated to find ourselves a house and get the flock out of the apartment, I had to go through a much more personal loss. My sweet, old cat, July, passed away Saturday morning. She would've been 22 next week. I know she was very old and lived such a long, healthy life. She was loved every second and she was content and happy. She'd made nine moves over the years with me, including my first apartment, my first house and more. I got July at a Fourth of July picnic when I was seven years old. These folks were giving away kittens and I'd spotted an orange one I really wanted. By the time I went to get my mom and brought her back, it was gone. But then I saw July and my heart melted. She was a cute, tiny little thing and she came home with me that night. She's been with me ever since.



It was a traumatic loss for me. Like my husband said, having any kind of pet for that long is a major milestone. She was definitely a very meaningful pet and one that I'll think of every day. It's hard to look around and see her empty cat bed or to know that I'll never have her walking around with the babies or that I'm not getting to take her to our new house one day. But I'm grateful for all the years she was with me and for the wonderful impact she made on both my life and that of my family.

My younger brother and I the day we got July 22 years ago.

That afternoon, I knew I needed to get out of the apartment and the husband and I had some houses to go look at so we went to check them out. We found one we loved and now have it under contract. Things are far from finished though, so I won't say more for the time being but I'm very hopeful for the outcome.

Afterward, we met up with Amber and her husband George (you can read about their life with quads here) for the first time. It was great to put real-life faces with the names—and Facebook and blog posts!—and we really enjoyed our evening out with them. Unfortunately, I didn't think to snap any photos but I'm sure we'll have a Round Two in the future. Afterward, the husband and I decided we wanted to relax with one last cocktail or two but in a nice place so we stopped by the Four Seasons near our apartment. The bar was the perfect amount of lively-but-not-too-busy and we grabbed some Crown and Cokes and sat by the outdoor fire pit to wind down our night. It was just the decompression I needed—even if I did have to pay for it with a headache all day the next day.

Teething has reached new heights in our house apartment and my day-to-day is so repetitive and exhausting and never-ending that some mornings I'm tired before I even get out of bed. My energy levels still aren't back up after my last surgery and I'm still having to pace myself, if that's even possible anymore, so I don't overdo it. I know in life there are definitely ups and downs, and right now it feels like we're experiencing the full gamut of them. Right as I pick myself up from one let down, it seems like something else is happening. Granted, I'm trying my best to keep it all in perspective. I think back to the days of my quad pregnancy or just after, in the NICU, and know that I would've traded it all to be where I'm at now with four healthy babies and making ourselves at home in Dallas after all these years away.

Then there's always the motto we've come to live by: Take it one day at a time. And although these words still ring very true, the husband and I are both becoming very tired of one day at a time! We want to make plans, we want to know what to expect, what's coming. It's been hard, for instance, to plan the babies' first birthday party. For awhile we didn't know if we'd still be in Houston or not and now that we're in Dallas, we don't have a house yet and we need a place that can accommodate our foursome and be worth an outing. Fortunately, we both agreed that renting a lake house not too far away was the perfect idea and just booked one yesterday. I'm really looking forward to that and spending the weekend with friends and family.



I think this is one of those times where the repetition, the holding pattern and the exhaustion from it all just sort of weigh down more than usual. Like trying to keep your head above water, but you just need a rest. A break from the world for a little while. Slowly, I know we'll begin to reemerge and things will come together—as they always seem to do—and we'll begin to feel whole again. God always has a plan and, while I don't understand the last few weeks of it, it's not my job to figure it out. I just have to trust Him to hold me up when I get weak.

As I write this, I realize its Monday and it's the start of a new week. And while I was sitting at the dealership last week waiting for them to order a new bench seat and dealing with the insurance company, angry at the world and at whoever it was that saw it worthwhile to dump out FOUR car seats and take the damn thing, I discovered a quote that helped me buck up and deal. From Martha Stewart of all people. Instead of "take it one day at a time," I think I will adopt this as my new mantra moving forward. After all, as things evolve so must we and our life is certainly changing by the minute...






{My Recipes} Shredded Chicken Cheater Tacos

Sometimes I get a craving for tacos. I have come to love corn tortillas for their small size and delicious flavor. Typically, I go for fajita tacos, shrimp tacos or pulled pork tacos. But I didn't have time for the crockpot and I only had enough energy for a simple meal. I had purchased a rotisserie chicken earlier yesterday (my second this week!) and decided that would work just fine. I pulled off chunks of meat, shredding them with a fork as I went, then threw it into a pan with some olive oil and seasonings and it turned out delish. Here's your quick-hit recipe for cheater tacos that taste like the real deal!

Shredded Chicken Cheater Tacos
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 tbsp minced garlic (fresh or jar)
Lawry's seasoning salt
Salsa, whatever is your favorite
Black pepper
Olive oil
Black beans, 1 can
Shredded cheese
Corn tortillas
Half a lime
Avocado or guacamole, optional


Heat a pan over medium and add chicken then drizzle with about 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Add garlic, squeeze in lime juice and season to taste with Lawry's and pepper. Add about 2 tablespoons of salsa, or at least enough to distribute throughout the chicken. Heat thoroughly. Heat black beans separately—add a couple dashes of hot sauce and a few leaves of fresh cilantro to really kick 'em into gear.

Warm tortillas in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds, then build taco with chicken, beans, cheese and extra salsa if desired. Top with avocado or guacamole. (A squeeze of fresh lime juice and/or cilantro is good, too!)


See? Couldn't get any easier.

You're welcome.


The Quad Squad Needs Votes!

Alright, y'all. I don't normally do competitions and such, but I am pretty proud of my blog so (at the last minute) I decided to join the Circle of Moms' Top 25 Moms of Multiples blog contest.

Every day, I receive more than 2,000 visitors to my blog—and also enjoy reading countless comments and emails from friends around the world, whether it's Texas or Paris, France. Every month, I rack up an average of 50,000 page views...which lets me know people are reading what I write. They're looking at photos and following along on our amazing journey, however small or large it may be sometimes. And it makes me smile to know that I'm successfully sharing my little slice of life in a way that others enjoy. :)

That said, I need some votes to really get into the competition. I think the current blog in first place has just over 1,500 votes and I've got until May 8 to earn myself some points. So if you have a second, click on the circle below and go vote for my blog!! Tell your family about it, rally your friends to vote, send the link to your grandma. In other words, well, spread the word. You can vote once every 24 hours.

***Currently, you'll need to click the gray box that says "Pending Approval" and you'll find our blog there, listed as Texas Tales. In about a day or so, it should move into the "Top Blogs" list on the main page.


   
   
There's no prize in particular for winning, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be darn proud to have the blog recognized for being a great resource and forum for sharing about multiples and more. So...VOTE! Please and thank you. :)

{Quad Squad} Meeting Great Grandpa!

This past Sunday, the husband and I decided to load up the babies and take them on a short road trip to Weatherford to meet their Great Grandpa for the first time. He was so excited to see so many babies! The quad squad did wonderful on the trip there and back and napped in the car but they were definitely ready to get out and explore when we arrived. We turned 'em loose in the living room (at his home that he built himself and where he raised his family) and set up makeshift boundaries out of car seats and pack-and-plays and let them crawl around to their heart's content. Grandpa, who's a spry 92 years old, kept saying over and over he couldn't believe how well they played and how happy they were. That's my babies!





what a symbolic photo! harrison using great grandpa's cane to stand
while grandpa gives him a helping hand. love.


We figured out how to turn on his (very) vintage oven and I baked chocolate chip cookies while we were there. He loves to eat them with his coffee in the morning so I figured he could use a fresh stash. Plus, what's better than babies happily playing and the smell of yummy cookies in the air? And yeah, the babies all got their first taste of chocolate chip cookies. I may have created four little monsters.



As a bonus, our former Houston nanny, April, was able to come by and hang out for awhile. She actually nannies for a family in the nearby area (she and her fiance relocated so we're able to see each other on occasion now!) and the quads were super excited to see her as well.


The husband popped up the pack-and-plays for their afternoon bottle feeding and Grandpa just looked on in amazement. He asked many eager questions about if we had four of everything, how the babies did during the daytime and their activities, how they slept at night and how they interacted with each other. He doted on each one and admired all their very individual personalities. The babies definitely shared tons of smiles with him, especially Harrison!





After we fed them, we took the crew outside to meet the goats that live next door. Right as we got to the fence line, the biggest goat of them all came up and gave Logan a good sniff! She spent most of her time talking to them and the babies were totally enamored with the scene.






It was a truly great afternoon and we got back to the house just in time to get the kiddos ready for their dinner feeding and bed. It was obvious they had really enjoyed the outing and getting to experience a new environment. But best of all was the photo we got with the husband, his grandpa and his great grand-quads. One in a million!



Apartment Life

Cramming a family of six into a small two bedroom apartment wasn't exactly our dream situation. But we've been avidly house hunting and moving on with our newly relocated phase of life as best we can. This is our third house to purchase so it's definitely not our first rodeo and we're on the search for a house that feels like home, can comfortably accommodate our (instantly) large family and has a spacious backyard. In the meantime, here's a glimpse inside our itty bitty living space!

our living room, dining room and part of the kitchen—all still very colorful thanks to baby paraphernalia everywhere ;)

the notorious "quatro corral" where the crew plays so well together

our wet bar...for diaper changes

a corner of the kitchen used for making 16 bottles a day

the babies' room—they sleep two to a crib at night, but we incorporate the pack-and-plays for naps during the day

a peek into our (super messy) bedroom, where most of the unpacked boxes reside

a very crammed closet and master bathroom space, and a howdy doo from yours truly!

As you can see, not much of a tour to give 'round these parts but it gets us by and brings us all closer together every day. *Smirk* Okay, so it's not heavenly each second of the day. "I love four crazy, cranky crying babies," said no one ever. However, it is only temporary and after taking a serious timeout for some "me time" last night, I'm feeling better and ready to check out some more houses. Onward...

Sometimes you just have to be done...

It's been a hell of a week so far. I'm exhausted. There's so much I want to share with y'all, though. So many adorable photos of the babies, how we're managing our daily life in a small space. There's thoughts and feelings that I want to talk about, difficult things I'm having to work through and sort out for myself in this new stage of our life. Giving up things, taking on more things, finding a balance in it all. Not losing myself in the chaos. But sometimes...just sometimes...you have to turn out the lights and the call the day done. So I did. Because I'm dangerously close to slipping off an emotional cliff—the kind where you've stretched yourself too thin—and I'm working on taking advantage of moments that will help me recollect myself and start again the next day. Because, in the end, there are four sweet innocent little people that rely on me to make their world go 'round.



Here's to self-made moments of relaxing and recharging.

Look for new posts coming this weekend!

Saturday Freedom

I'm counting down the minutes. My mother-in-law and her mom are coming over this afternoon to watch the quad squad for a couple hours while the husband and I go look at an open house, find lunch somewhere and maybe do a little shopping. Ecstatic would be the word you're looking for. I'm not gonna lie, I feel like I haven't had much freedom lately, which is definitely made worse by living in an apartment with the babies. The rooms are getting smaller by the day. House hunt is on, baby.

Friends and family are making our world go 'round right now. My mom and sister took over the dinner feed and putting the crew to bed the other night so the husband and I could get out for dinner and a movie. We were so tired we barely stayed awake through the movie, but it was so nice to be in a dark, quiet (other than the movie!) place with no kiddos to keep us occupied.


This morning, breakfast got a do-over. I made two bowls FULL of oatmeal, Greek yogurt and mixed fruit. I set them on the quad tale for a second while I took a sip of my hot tea. When I turned back around, Logan had grabbed one of the bowls and dumped it all over the table! We even caught a photo of the travesty. She was looking at the pile of food like she was trying to figure out how she could eat if off the table. I'm pretty sure she was considering just sticking her face in it.


After I got a new bowl of food made, the babies ate like champs and have been playing really well this morning.


Kailey's chillin' pose during every meal at the table
me with the big man this morning
I'm about to put them down for a morning power nap (we've added this in addition to our post-lunch time nap and it's made for happier happy babies) so I can get ready. The husband is out viewing a house right now that I found for sale by owner. When he gets back, we'll feed the quads lunch and head out.

FREEDOM!

{Quad Squad} 10 Month Update!

At the beginning of the month, my adorable little quadlings turned a whopping 10 months old. I mean, I'm starting to think about planning their one year birthday! I can't believe it! Time hasn't exactly flown by (sometimes the slow tick-tock of the clock has echoed in my brain), but I truly can't believe it's nearly been an entire year since I was wheeled into the operating room, nervous of the final outcome, and delivered four beautiful babies. Two months later, we brought the last of them home and completed our new and instant family!


the babes at one month old

Now we have four healthy, happy 10 months old who are getting more and more active every day! Everyone but Kailey has sprouted two teeth and are working on more. Kailey's are just under the gums but have not broken through yet. We're going through a lull in the teething action at this very moment, but I'm sure it'll pick up again soon. When it does, we keep frozen teethers in rotation ALL day long, administer Infant Advil as needed and do a little extra cuddling and rocking throughout the day. Overall, the teething hasn't been as bad or difficult as I imagined it would be—but it ain't always easy!




We've adjusted our feeding schedule a little bit to reflect their growing interest in finger foods and their desire to eat more during spoon feedings and less formula. They get breakfast—oatmeal with greek yogurt and fruit mixed in—at 8am followed by a 6oz bottle. At 11:45am, we feed their lunch spoon feeding (usually a veggie/fruit combo with rice) followed by another 6oz bottle. They get a plain ole 8oz bottle at 3:30pm then a third spoon feeding for dinner at 6:30 or 6:45 followed by a 6oz bottle. We just began this new system a few days ago and they seem to really appreciate that third spoon feeding. We also have been practicing with sippy cups of water during the day, and I predict in a few weeks they'll have those down. They're also really improving with finger foods and their ability to pick them up and put them in their mouth. They love puffs! Every time we put them in their quad table and scatter some puffs in front of them, they squeal and bounce around in their seats then stuff their mouths as fast as they can. Today I gave them each a Ritz cracker for the first time and they loved that, too. I pureed some fajita chicken and Mexican rice the other day then mixed in some rice/formula to weaken it a little and we fed that for dinner. They downed a couple spoonfuls then started getting a little mouthy so we switched to applesauce then finished dinner off with bottles. Soon we plan to puree spaghetti with meat sauce!


Life in an apartment is definitely cramped. Some times the walls start closing in on me a little and the weather has been cold and rainy a lot lately, so walks haven't always been an option. Plus I'm using a lot of my "spare time" (aka, when I have babysitters) to go and view houses for sale. So it's a tight cycle I'm repeating day to day right now. We're in a two bedroom so the babies are in one room and the husband and I in the other. We still only have two cribs and they share those at night and do great. But for nap times, we've set up two pack-and-plays in their room as well, this way they can all sleep individually. A week or so ago, I introduced "mandated nap time" after the lunch feed and it's slowly getting better. At first, they went hog wild and Harrison screamed and yelled so much I had to eventually go get him. Now they're beginning to sleep for 1-2 hours and I'm so glad when that happens! Some days it still doesn't go as well as I want, but I'm sticking to my guns. They occasionally take a nap mid-morning, but other than those two sleep times they are awake the rest of the day and still sleep a solid 12 hours at night. Every evening when we put them down, the husband and I relish the fact that we have a little time to finish chores, eat dinner together or relax and watch TV. 



The babies are definitely moving into explorer modes. They love when we pull them out of the play pen and let them crawl around the (vacuumed and Lysol-ed) carpet! Harrison and Logan have both reached out and pawed at an unsuspecting cat—no animals were harmed in the process—and they're all four pulling themselves to standing like pros. Sitting and crawling has been going on for awhile now, and we're expecting Kailey to take her first steps any day. She's been standing up then letting go of you, the play fence or whatever she used to pull up. She's stood on her own for as long as 30 seconds already! With two months to go until the one year mark, I'm pretty sure we're going to have a walker by then. ;)






We're just now moving into 9 month clothing. My kiddos are skinny, shorty little things! Kailey and Harrison are both very long and need the length, but are so thin there's always lots of spare room. Trystan and Logan can fill clothes out better but tend to be a little short in bigger sizes. Currently, they weigh between 16lbs 8oz (Kailey) and 17lbs 3oz (Harrison).

the perfect faces that greet me every morning!
It's weird to be living back in my hometown and I have to admit, it's extremely nice to be close to all our parents, who've been great in coming by with helping hands or food and supplies. Currently, I also hired a part-time nanny to come help me M/W/F mornings and a friend of mine frequently comes T/TH mornings. It's awesome! Since I'm still recovering from that last surgery I had just over 3 weeks ago, it's great to have help with all the things I have to do every day. Just having help lifting and moving the babies around makes a big difference. My mom often comes to help with baths (those are M/W/F) and the husband's mom will come by and watch the babies if I need to get out or help us in the evening and my dad plans to come a few afternoons when I'm on my own to help now and then. I'm also still making all the quad's baby food myself, running 8 million loads of laundry each day and writing and working with a couple deadlines each month. Whew!


The husband is loving his new job, he's a few days in and it's going great. I'm so proud of him and how he's strived to provide so well for our family and support me every minute that he's not hard at work in the office. It's been a busy few weeks trying to get adjusted in the apartment, loading excess things into storage, finding new doctors for the babies and myself and continuing our house hunt. All in a day's work!

Next up: my newest recipe for spicy garlic lime chicken + funny details about apartment living with quads. Stay tuned...
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