Feel Good Days

This weekend has already been just what we needed. The husband and I have both been so busy that it's been nearly impossible to sit down and catch up with each other lately. Which is hard, since we're normally pretty attached at the hip. We still crave that one-on-one time and prefer not to reserve that simply for special occasions. We treasure our time in the evenings when we get the kids to bed and are all caught up and can sit down on the couch together with a TV show. We relax, drink a glass of wine then talk before bed. Some nights we're too tired for it or one or both of us have late-night work to do, but our time together sure is important. We try to book the nanny or grandparents so we can head out to dinner or the movies at least once a month and we do an overnight getaway at a nearby hotel probably twice a year right now. But nothing beats simple days dedicated to being together as a family of six. Especially with little on the agenda and the time and energy to get a few of those small odd-and-end projects done while the quads play or take their nap.

For Thanksgiving, the husband has been off work—after being out of town numerous times in the past two months—and we're enjoying a fantastically long, family-oriented weekend and we still have a whole other day to go! I need to start wrapping gifts as I only have one more Christmas gift left to purchase and then I'll be making the remainder of my gifts next week. To think, this is late for me! The last two years I had Christmas wrapped before Halloween!




This morning, after breakfast, we dressed the kids in adorable new outfits I scored at Carter's Black Friday sale (it was 60% until noon, so I got there at 10am...I do not do early!). We wanted to get them out and we hadn't gone for a family meal in awhile so it was Texas Roadhouse for steaks for lunch. The kids were so well behaved and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Daddy got a big margarita and the babies gobbled down rolls, green beans, steak and fries! It's such a point of prideful accomplishment right now for us to get to take the kids out on our own. :)




The rest of the day we've worked around the house and spent time playing with legos and building blocks in the play room. A shrimp scampi dinner and four baby baths in the kitchen sink later, and we got the crew put to bed and then laid in our bed talking. You know, those conversations about our kids, how amazing they are, our plans for the future, our plans for tomorrow, looking at the big picture, admiring the small picture. Those conversations are priceless. Plus it feels good to rest. I've still been recovering from the husband being out of town for a solid week recently. It leaves me wiped out when he's gone for only a few days!


And now I'm making a late-night cup of dark hot chocolate in my snowman mug after a hot shower and plan to watch half a movie in bed before falling asleep in cozy sheets. It feels good to have feel good days, doesn't it?
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{Daily Pics} Scenes from the Week & a Video!

i'm in love with my festive stair banisters and the stockings there
(instead of near 40 curious fingers on the fireplace mantle in the play room!) 
breakfast for five! waffles, fruit, scrambled eggs and turkey bacon

fleeting fall foliage in my backyard

made these pumpkin cupcakes with applesauce instead of oil and extra chocolate chips
ps - they call for honey, no sugar!

my sweet logan bear ready for the holidays!

the new portraits of the kids i had printed on canvas and hung in our living room - LOVE!
(portraits by ryan moeller)
reading a bedtime story to my babies,
easily one of the best moments of my life every day! my heart is full!

And here's a lil video of my funny, funny kiddos:




Now it's time to get ready for our Turkey Day festivities! Have a great holiday week!
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{My Recipes} Egg Noodle Chicken Soup

I'd been craving a really good, homey chicken noodle soup and I really wanted it with egg noodles. For whatever reason that was. So I put together a recipe loosely based on all the traditional ingredients one expects to find in chicken noodle soup and simmered it on my stovetop.


5 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped
96 ounces or 12 cups chicken stock
Poultry Seasoning
Mrs. Dash
Dried parsley
Freshly ground sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked diced chicken OR shredded rotisserie chicken

While I waited on a pot of water to come to a boil for the noodles, I filled a second pot with the chicken stock and dropped in my chopped carrots and celery, brought it to a boil and simmered for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, I cooked the pasta, drained it and added it to the stock and veggie mixture as well as all the seasonings and the chicken. I lowered the heat and covered the pot and simmered on low for about another 45 minutes. Done!


It was really good served with garlic crostinis, but you could also do crusty French bread, homemade garlic bread or big croutons. I strained the soup and served it to the quads, who loved the flavorful noodles and Kailey ate her weight in carrots. Yum!

Happy eating :)
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{Weekend Recap} Thanksmas, anyone?

Yesterday was like "Thanksmas." It seriously felt like whatever the results would be if we combined the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays into one. Which is really awesome. I truly love the holiday season. I actually enjoy the hustle and bustle, the anxiousness of everyone out at the grocery stores and shops, the decor everywhere, the food, having lots of friends and family around. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside—which is especially beneficial since the high yesterday and today is 34F. And that's cold for Texas, y'all.


This is the first Thanksgiving in about 10 years that the husband and I didn't have to pack up a million things and drive just over four hours to make the rounds for as many as five holiday gatherings + parties and meet-ups with friends in a single weekend. In fact, it's the first time in about a decade that we've lived in Dallas! We were so excited to not only celebrate in town, but to have lots of family over this particular year. My side of the family joined us yesterday (Sunday) for dinner at our house and two of my little nieces came as well and had a blast in the play room and hanging out with the quad squad!






I had lots of cinnamon swirl and pumpkin pie candles lit, the house was (fairly) clean, holiday decorations were up (except for the tree - that comes on Thanksgiving) and the smell of a honey baked ham was wafting from the oven in the kitchen. Everyone showed up with their favorite holiday dish—from my mom's delicious brown sugar-topped sweet potato casserole to homemade banana pudding, charro beans, sausage balls and more—and the husband and I whipped up green bean casserole and garlic mashed potatoes to go with the ham. I must add the husband's got that brown sugar honey glazin' down. ;)





The quad squad loved all the attention, no doubt, and got the run of the house since there were enough people on hand to watch each kiddo individually! We also figured out they the babies think banana pudding is one of the tastiest things ever, and Logan was especially a fan. The play room was a big hit, too, and two of the girls (Logan and Kailey) went on a somersault spree when they realized each one earned them a round of applause from all the adoring onlookers. My nieces, Raynie and Andie, had a great time playing and neither wanted to leave when the time came. Now that's the sign of a successful family gathering!





Logan took a little catnap on her daddy's chest while he watched part of the Cowboys football game, and then daddy got a break when he laid on the floor of the play room and watched the crew for a little while. They were cracking us up with all their antics! At one point, I started tickling Harrison and then all the other babies wanted a turn too. So they all lined up in a row and momma went to town with four times the giggles. I LOVE my sweet babies!





It was a great celebration and we were so grateful to everyone for making it out to our house and bringing such yummy food! The husband and I definitely worked hard to get everything ready—from cleaning house to prepping food to taking care of the quads—but it was totally worth it and we were able to sit down from time to time and enjoy the company. Although when we sat down at the end of the day, my legs were screaming from exhaustion and I'll admit to moving pretty slow this morning. We have a couple days to recoup and get ready for "round two" when the husband's family comes over on Thursday. We're really looking forward to that and spending the day everyone. Meanwhile, I'm on my second Coke (one is usually my limit) and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to the leftovers piled up in my fridge. It's definitely the holidays!

How are you celebrating this year?
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{Five Things} A Little Holiday Cheer

Everyone knows it's all about the little things. Hell, little things are what totally get me by in the week when I'm knee-deep (literally) in taking care of all my kids. You know, little things like my little glass of wine, little pieces of chocolate, little candles that smell fantastic, little movies that make me smile, little songs that bring cheer. Here's five little things that I've been enjoying...

1. A blood red pedicure with a white and crystal design - 
I always like having something pretty on my toes to look at!

2. Home Alone 2 - one of my favorite Christmas movies! We already played it 
once this season while we started putting up the first decorations 
and the quads loved dancing to all the festive music!

3. No Boundaries Yoga skinny pants with sequins and, believe it or not, they came 
from Walmart for just $12!

4. Loooove this mini Christmas tree from Hobby Lobby! They come
in three sizes and I've already got two of them. :)

5. A chevron ceramic vase was the perfect addition to my kitchen and
helped me organize all my cooking utensils before holiday meal prep! 
Also from Hobby Lobby.


What holiday items are bringing you cheer?
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World Prematurity Day, November 17


Today, Nov. 17, is World Prematurity Day. According to March of Dimes, 15 million babies are born prematurely worldwide every year and premature birth kills one baby every 30 seconds.



Those preemies in your life are little angels in disguise, they impact all those around them from the second they are born! I am BEYOND grateful and blessed for my own four miracle preemie babies and not a day goes by that I don't look at them in amazement for all they've overcome. God bless all the parents and families who have or have had preemies in their life! And to those who were blessed with full-term babies, just hug them extra tight today and thank Him for their health!




I'm buying my purple t-shirt online today and funds go to help support the cause. To get involved and learn more about World Prematurity Day, visit http://www.marchofdimes.com/mission/world-prematurity-day.aspx.

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{Quad Squad} Getting By With Four Sick Babies

This post should automatically come with about a million sad faces attached to it. I've been making them for the past week, every time I look at my sniffling, whimpering, croup coughing little kiddos I feel so bad for them.

Thank God for Benadryl.

Except that one of them, Harrison, has been so angry and cranky today I really want to put him in a soft padded room with a snack and shut the door for a little while. I mean, I would never really do that, of course, but momma is tired, ya know?! And when they get cranky like he is, they get mad which means they catapult themselves against the wall or onto the floor or over a toy in order to outwardly display just how much they despise you and all the mean things you're trying to do to them. Like offer them a sip of Pedialyte or a handful of teddy grahams or a Kleenex. I mean, really. The horror.

the quad squad after a nap

Patience is always tried when kids are sick. True story. Whether you've got one sick kid or eighteen, it really sucks all the way around. What is frustrating for me is that they all want to be held, cuddled or consoled all at the same time. And it's not all day, just parts of it and usually when one sees the other getting it, the remaining three want it. Who can blame them? I need Stretch Armstrong's arms to accommodate my brood these days, my babies are growing up...

The husband and I don't really have any secrets or short-cuts to handling four sick babies. I just know a lot of people ask me or are curious as to what our lives are like when all four come down with a cold or something at the same time. Logan always seems to get it first, whatever it may be. She'll show symptoms at least a full day prior to anyone else. You know that feeling what your stomach falls when you walk into their room in the morning to get them up and their voice is hoarse or their nose is crusted and you can see the feel-bad in their eyes. Poor babies.

playing with magnets
grandma letting the girls try on clip-on earrings

Our lives go into a bit of an overdrive when sickness ensues. There's a lot of extra steps added to our day that makes each 24 hours more exhausting than the norm—also to be expected with sick kiddos in general, I know. I immediately give everyone a dose of Infant Advil as soon as I spot them getting sick to help ward off any fever and alleviate any discomfort. This has helped so much, I can't even tell you. No, I don't overmedicate my kids or use Advil as a blanket solution to the problem. My pediatricians have recommended it and I've seen it really help time and again. My kids are apparently unaffected by the sedative-like effects of Children's Benadryl, so for colds and allergy-like symptoms I give them a half-dose after lunch before their naps and a regular dose right before bed at night. This makes ALL the different in them being sick versus just downright miserable.

Lots and lots and loooooottttssss of nose wiping is expected. Four noses every two to three minutes to be more exact. I've started stocking up on Kleenex's Cool Touch tissues, because they don't irritate their face with repeated use and the kids don't seem as bothered by all the nose wiping. We slather Aquaphor all over their noses and cheeks a couple times a day to keep them from getting raw. Warm baths are given a tad more frequently, occasionally with extra steam and a longer soak in the bathtub or using Johnson's vapor bath wash. And we do lots of cups of half water-half Pedialyte to keep them hydrated. They drink a ton when they have runny noses. Sticking to the schedule is still key for us as well and we try to make bedtime a bit earlier than the norm since they are pretty worn out. Distraction also works wonders if the kids just truly aren't having it and Baby Einstein videos or Bubble Guppies are played frequently on sick days.

miss kailey loving her piano time
me with trystan and harrison

All the extra steps just to get them in bed—give Advil and/or Benadryl, brush teeth, give water, wipe noses, give more water, wipe noses again, apply Aquahor, carry everyone up to bed, put in sleep sacks, wipe noses again, cuddle whoever's giving us sad eyes, wipe noses, more aquaphor, turn on sound machines, turn off lights, one more nose wipe and goodnights with possible added rocking if someone wakes up later—is exhausting. I'm honestly never so relieved to have them all in bed. And thank God they've still been sleeping their usual 11-12 hours, I credit Benadryl for that at night. It lets them be able to breathe so once they fall asleep, they are able to stay asleep with minimal coughing and hacking in the night!

My goal becomes to simplify things as much as possible, catch breaks where I can and make things as easy on myself as is feasible. That means no cooking complex meals, chicken nuggets and pizza are totally acceptable. I drink Gatorade to keep myself hydrated during the day, and wine at night to keep myself sane. I don't worry about extra cleaning around the house and I do enough laundry just to break even—usually sheets and towels since I change the babies' bed sheets more frequently when they're sick and Lysol their rooms. Their nap time is my official break time and I try to sit down and either watch TV or work from my computer instead of running around the house trying to get eight million things done. It's no secret that taking care of sick babies versus healthy ones is much more taxing and I know I'll be more wiped out at the end of the day than usual, so I've got to reserve some energy to make it to bedtime!

logan
harrison
trystan putting rice in her hair, daddy asked if she was going to a wedding

As soon as the kids are well, we're off and running again. They've likely been cooped up in the house for close to a week and I immediately plan play dates at our local mall's play area, with other multiples friends or a meal out somewhere. It's hard, because I'm personally still recovering, but the babies light up when they head off somewhere new or special. Sometimes I'm a little slower to get moving if it's been a particularly trying week.

These next seven days are going to be long ones for details I won't get into on here, and I woke up this morning almost dreading all the work and exhaustion I know I'll have to endure. Don't get me wrong—I love my kids fiercely and feel so blessed to be at home with them. But I'm not iron clad either and have days, like any parent, where it all feels like too much. I feel trapped and helpless, with so few options. My chest got really heavy and I'm pretty sure I had a mild panic attack. Thankfully my nanny was here and was helping me get breakfast ready and she encouraged me that I could do it! She rarely sees the "cracks in my armor," nor do most folks since I try to keep a tough exterior. But I don't do it all, despite the times I foolishly try!

Trying to work from home and write articles and stories for books and magazines at the bar in my kitchen while my four toddlers screech, yell, babble, cry and laugh in the play room next to it doesn't make for the easiest concentration. In fact, I am pretty sure my brain short circuits all the time and I often don't remember what I was about to say or do. I'll march upstairs with an intense purpose and will have forgotten what I'd barreled up there for by the time I reach the top of the steps. It's ridiculous, yes, yet so realistic for my life these days. I'm constantly in motion. Yesterday I sat down twice between 8am and 8pm.

momma and her quad squad
So I share these real thoughts and tidbits of my life with you on here to let you know that I'm not perfect. And I know no one else is either. Even though some of us nearly have others convinced! Four sick babies makes for one dog-tired momma, four non-sick babies makes for one exhausted momma. And sick or not, momma's been drinking bigger glasses of wine at night.

Cheers to that. ;)
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