{Daily Pics} Four Peas in a Tub, Shopping Haul & Other Things

After a busy Memorial weekend, the husband and I finally trekked home with the quad squad eager to get them fed and in bed. But first we had to do baths. Before we pulled up to the apartment, we were strategizing to see if there was any way to speed up the process. Typically, when I'm not doing baths alone and have a second person, I bathe the babies one at a time then hand them off to get dried, lotioned (is that even a word?) and dressed. This time, we decided to both man the bath tub and put all four kiddos in at once. Surely it would go a tad bit faster and could be kinda fun to have them all splashing around together.

The water was drawn and Logan was already in the bathroom with daddy, when Kailey decided to go check out the scene....

(fyi - the cord is our video monitor into their room,
we don't just leave safety hazards lying about unattended!)



We added Harrison to the tub and all three were happy little fish playing with their toys in the water. Then Trystan wanted in on bath time and we added her...




...and that's the last photo we got. Trystan decided she wanted to stand up and even attempt to crawl part of the tub, which knocked Harrison over then made both him and Logan want to stand up, which meant babies were slip-slidin' all over the place and mommy and daddy's hands couldn't keep up fast enough. Because they were getting water all over their faces, they began to scream. All four of them. And it echoed like banshees in a cavern in that tiny little hollow bathroom. Quickly we pulled them out and put them on top of towels on the bathroom floor. The husband dried off a couple and threw on some diapers, while I finished bathing the one baby I kept in the tub. Even if it was Bam Bam, and even if she kept screaming bloody murder. Let me assure you... ain't nothing cute about shampooing a screaming, slippery wet baby's head at a 45-degree angle with one hand while holding them by the elbow with your other hand so they don't drown in two inches of water. Contortionist I could become.

To wrap up my story, the husband and I were laughing but in that frantic holy-shit-this-didn't-work-out-at-all sort of way and moving as fast as we could to get the job done. We ended up having to do baths the traditional way—one at a time—and didn't really stop to catch our breath until all four were dry and sitting at the quad table for dinner. Note to self: do not bathe four babies at once unless I've grown eight extra arms, a spare set of eyes and am wearing ear plugs.

Yesterday, my mom came over in the late afternoon to help me with the quads since the husband was working late and had a dinner to attend with the company. (The night before as well, and his mom came to help me with that one. I'm so glad we're now living close to grandparents, hallelujah!) The babies were all being really good and I enjoyed some play time with them—I love to lay on my stomach on the floor and let them crawl all over me. They get such a kick out of it! Next on their gift list needs to be a soft jungle gym of sorts because they want to climb on everything.


Grandma also brought a couple new toys for the quads that she'd scored while thrifting and one of them was this cute Tonka truck. The other kids were figuring out how to get the better of it, when Logan crawled over and sort of pushed them out of the way in an "I've got this" fashion. She stood up, swung her leg over and crawled on top. Then started clapping her hands. It was to die for, so cute!



This morning, I got a rare chance to take care of some shopping while my nanny stayed at the house and the babies napped. I had a couple returns to make, then hit up Carter's, Old Navy and American Eagle in lightening fast form. It's awesome what you can get with coupons, outlet mall prices and clearance racks. I scored lots of brand name stuff, everything in the photo below was $150!

shopping excursion gets a thumbs up!


Now it's time for afternoon naps and to clean up and prep things for the last half of the day. I just made some black iced tea (hello, caffeine) and there's piles of laundry making dirty faces at me. But every couple of minutes today, I am shaking my head and smiling as I think back upon this time last year. I was hanging by a thread, not sure how much further I could go with the quad pregnancy. I'd already been in the hospital for 56 days, had extremely blurred vision, intense bodily pains, couldn't walk, my skin was on fire and I felt like death from the magnesium sulfate I'd been on for eight weeks. Plus, I'd started contracting a lot and they were starting to hurt. And then those four beautiful babies arrived the very next day and changed my life forever.

momma with kailey and logan
They will be a year old tomorrow and it's such an incredible milestone for both us as parents and them as premature multiples. While we'll be enjoying a low-key day since their birthday party is the following weekend, I look forward to giving them a little cake and putting together a blog post with a few photos looking back on the last year, plus some new ones, and their 12 month stats. One year (nearly) down!

{Weekend Recap} Houston, Weatherford & Quads Doubled!

When Memorial Weekend rolled around, we'd heard that our good friends back in Houston had rescheduled their annual crawfish boil to this past Saturday. So, a couple weeks ago, the husband and I talked it over with our parents and put it to a schedule so we could get away to H-Town overnight and surprise our buddies. I worked hard to get everything ready and prepped in regards to the quad squad, so that things were straightforward and simple while we were gone. The revised daily schedule was printed and stuck on the fridge, their spoon feedings were pre-bagged in the freezer and only needed to be thawed, snacks were planned and set out and bottles were made the morning we left. The grandparents did a fantastic job taking care of the fab four, who also did a great job themselves sticking to the schedule!

harrison and grandpa
We fed the babies in the morning and packed our tiny overnight bags then bid the husband's parents good luck and goodbye and hit the highway! It was awesome to cruise for a couple hours, listening to music, talking, stopping for a quick lunch and not having to worry about eight little hands and feet in the car, who's watching them, is it feeding time yet, who makes a run inside first while you stay with the car and so on. We pulled up to our friend's house about 3pm, after stopping to pick up the husband's younger brother. They were shocked to see us walk in the door and everyone gave us a blank stare for a couple seconds until it registered we'd actually come in town!






We had a great time catching up with everyone and in our new constant state of change it felt good to be around familiar faces and surroundings for a little while. Midnight rolled around pretty quick and we hit the sack, waking up about 7:30am to shower and get on the road back home. A couple hours drive, a lunch stop and we were back at the apartment in time to put the babies down for their afternoon nap. My mom and step-dad gave us a good report and headed back home while we took our own naps while the babies slept. It was a good thing, too, since that evening Kailey decided she was not going to bed until three hours after their usual bedtime. She hung out with me, cried and fussed on and off and finally went to sleep around 10pm. I'd rather it be then and not at 3 in the morning!




Monday we decided to buck up and join the husband's family in Weatherford at his grandpa's house for fried chicken and homemade peach ice cream. Plus it was the quad's first time to meet their cousins, the husband's older brother and his wife's two cutie girls—with red hair just like Trystan! The babies got to crawl all over the place and received plenty of attention and even logged some time outdoors. We only stayed just over two hours and it was a 40-minute drive each way plus loading and unloading time, but it was definitely worth it to spend the afternoon with everyone and get the babies out.




memorial day with the family!
Then this morning I loaded up the crew myself and drove out to our friends, the Shawver quads, for playdate number 2! (The kiddos all met once already.) I think today went much easier since Amber Squared—yes, that's really how we refer to ourselves—knew what to expect. Logan's "stranger danger" upsets and crying came and went a couple times, but at least it didn't last the entire day! She even slept for nearly 2.5 hours during naptime, which was awesome. Actually, it's awesome that we even put eight babies down for naps and they all go to sleep while Amber and I eat lunch. I love that we have little opportunities throughout the day together to chat, swap ideas, discoveries, experiences and inspiration and just talk about what's going on in our lives. We instantly relate to pretty much everything we're both dealing with right now and there really is strength in numbers. Knowing someone else is surviving the same day-to-day reality that you are helps you feel normalized, like you're not the only person you know that's going through that right now. And normalization with quadruplets is a major thang.

amber s with seven of the babies 
nobody said nap time was easy!

my little trystan girl
eight babies at play :)

As our lunch winds down and we refill our tea or curl up on the couch to rest a few moments, the action starts again. One by one, the babies awake and we bring them back into the living room for more playtime. At one point, I laid on my stomach, covered my head with my hands (to protect my hair from 80 prying, pulling little fingers!) and let the babies crawl all over me. I'm pretty sure my little Lolo Bear needs a jungle gym soon, I caught her standing on her chair in the middle of her play pen at home the other day. Sneaky little baby...

'hey mom, look what i can do!'


'you mean, sit like this?'
Whew - so that was the weekend + a day! Tomorrow my nanny is back for a few short hours in the  morning and I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't looking forward to it. It'll be nice to stay at home without the hassle of loading up the quads and I can recover a little bit from the weekend. I've had to wear an abdominal binder again lately as I've overdone things a bit and have been having some pains in my stomach, but they do seem to be improving already. Pacing myself hasn't always been my strength but I'm working on it! Having quadruplets, as Amber and I talked about today, certainly helps you come to terms with the day-by-day concept much more quickly. Plus, the husband and I are waiting to hear news about a house we've been pursuing and hope to move forward with, so I look forward to sharing that with everyone before long.

Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

{Quad Squad} Triplet Friends & Family

Earlier this week we went to a triplet friend's house for a play date and lunch. The quads loved all their fun toys and getting to be around "big kids" as the trips are 15 months. I have known their mom for most of my life, though it'd been about 16 years since we've seen each other! She's a twin herself and we'd never have guessed she'd end up with triplets and I'd have quadruplets...

 
me and my little big man at play date

how you feed 7 babies!!

It's been great having family come visit us now and then since we're back in town. This week, my mom brought over my aunt and my grandma, who came for lunch and to see the babies. It's so cool they have great-grandparents who are still able to spend time with them!

harrison quickly reached out to greet his great-grandmother. pure affection.

my sweet aunt deanie came bearing early birthday gifts for the babies!

the babies tore into their bags and tissue paper with great interest. can you see logan ready to pounce? :)

momma and quadlings

i am never ceased to be amazed by my grandma, who was all to anxious to get down on the floor and play with the kiddos. she soaked up every second.

kailey lee striking a pose

logan and her grandma

HAPPY WEEKEND!

{Weekend Recap} The Lunch Rush!

A week or so ago, the husband and I wanted to get out. With the whole family. We were tired of running errands separately, cramming for one to get out but back in time for the next feeding. And we knew the babies needed to get out of the apartment as well and a simple walk in the stroller wasn't going to cut it.

So we concocted a crazy plan that made our eye twitch a couple times then barreled on before we could  change our minds. It was a busy Saturday and we decided to meet the in-laws for lunch at Red Lobster. Then we went to Sam's. All of us. And it went so well! I have to admit to being totally wiped out afterward—my endurance and stamina still isn't what it used to be. But it felt so good to have all of us out together.



The babies did great at the restaurant. It was our first time to take them out to eat with us when they could sit in highchairs. We had to unsnap and pull them out of their car seats then pass them out the car door to the waiting arms of the grandparents, so it was a bit of an effort to get everybody inside but it worked out great and we had a spacious table. I had bought some suction toys that mount with a suction cup to the top of the table, hoping they'd help keep the babies entertained. And they did...for about three minutes. Which is when Trystan yanked hers off the table and tossed it a couple feet away. After that, they mostly played with their paper place mats and I did attach a toy or two to their high chairs (which I wiped down with Purell upon arrival, by the way, since we forgot to bring our high chair covers). When they did start getting a little fussy, we pulled out the food distraction. Turns out, our crew loves Red Lobster's cheddar biscuits and bathed their faces in all the crumbs.




After lunch, we changed all the babies diapers on the tailgate of our suburban. In the parking lot. Facing a busy intersection of the nearby highway. I'm sure we encouraged quite a bit of rubbernecking but I didn't care! Freshly diapered, we buckled them back into their car seats and headed off to Sam's. We got lots of curious onlookers, tons of smiles and happy comments and one new twin mom that literally ran up to me to ask if they slept at night. (I'm always so proud to reveal they happily sleep for 12 hours and shared some of my sleep training advice and encouragement. She was relieved I didn't have nighttime horror stories!)


The crew started getting a little cranky by the time we reached check-out, so I produced my miraculous baby mum-mums (rice cake snacks) and they were quickly occupied again. I snagged a delicious fountain Coke on my way out the door—caffeine, people, it's key!—and we loaded everybody back in the car, then crammed in all our purchases in the leftover nooks and crannies of the suburban. The in-laws thoughtfully chose to follow us back to the apartment and help us unload everything since they knew we had to also get ready for a feeding as soon as we walked in the door.

It's certainly a lot of work taking four babies out, there's no denying it. In fact, it's a lot of work taking babies or kids out in general! I'm continually grateful for family members who are always keen to put in a little time with us and give us a hand, even if it just happens once a week or every other week it makes all the difference. Simply loading and unloading four car seats multiple times in a short period is a workout, and with extra hands everything moves so much faster and you don't feel completely drained afterward. However, I'm getting to the point where I'm strong enough to begin getting the babies out on my own—like play dates, trips to Sonic, Starbucks or drive-thru errands and other small bits of freedom. It's been a lifestyle adjustment, to say the least, to have such an enormous responsibility to take with you every time you want to leave the house. Or an army of volunteers, family members or baby sitters to arrange when you want to leave without them. Little by little, we're conquering each new chapter of our quadruplet adventure. Thanks for reading along!

P.S. Here's some of the info I shared with the twin mom on our sleep training.

{My Recipes} One-Pot Chicken Tetrazzini

Earlier this week, I was really wanting some pasta for dinner but something out of the ordinary. A recent weekly email in my inbox linked me to this Potluck Chicken Tetrazzini recipe that I followed, with a few tweaks of my own. 

I made some room in my matchbox-sized kitchen and pulled out my recipe book laptop and got cookin'. 


I don't know about you, but I'd never thought about cooking asparagus in the last few minutes of boiling pasta.


The husband and I don't eat mushrooms so I subbed in frozen artichokes. Those or marinated artichoke hearts worked great for the recipe. I also used a few extra sweet peppers.


The sauce (chicken broth and milk) worked out well, even with 86'ing the mushrooms, and it starts out very liquid but soon thickens up with constant stirring.


I used a little less lemon peel than called for and a lot more freshly ground sea salt and pepper.


I also didn't have sourdough bread or any other bread, really, on hand. But my husband saved the day when he suggested I use the two extra biscuits I'd saved from breakfast the previous morning. Perfect!


Everything baked up just like it was supposed to and the biscuits turned a nice golden brown.



Happy eating!

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