2.28.2014

{Home Decor} The Evolution of Our Living Room

My sense of home decor has certainly changed over the years. And it's extremely accurate to say it's matured as I have, since the husband and I moved into our first house just after our wedding in September 2006. It was a great little starter home in a quiet suburb and we'd scraped together a few pieces of new furniture and repurposed many of our pieces from college. I was only 21 years old (he was 24) and we were thrilled with the simple fact that we had a home of our own and it came with a backyard.

Here's how our current living room looks...


...and here's what we were working with back in 2006!



In 2009, we rented out our home, packed all our things into storage and set out to live in Scotland for a year. Our flat overseas came with green walls and odd furniture, but it was home to us for 365 adventurous days. :)



When it was time to pack up our things and head back to Texas, we spent four months living in the guest room at our good friend's house while we searched for a new home (we'd decided to leave our previous one rented out). Finally we found a space we loved in December 2010, just in time for Christmas, and were excited to put down roots once again.




Though most of the time after the quadruplets arrived, our living room looked like this...


And then it was time to move yet again. The addition of four babies meant we needed to head back to our hometown in the Dallas area and be closer to family, much earlier than we'd originally planned to. So we put our house on the market in early 2013 and sold it within the week, then packed up a couple weeks later and made our big move! The next four months we lived in a tiny two bedroom apartment while we searched for the perfect home for our family of six.


At last, we found a home we fell in love with and we excitedly moved in on the 4th of July in 2013. Now our living room looks like this...







Better, don't ya think!? There are, of course, various changes and improvements we hope to accomplish over the coming months and years. (Nothing moves fast when you have four toddlers taking up 99.999% of your time and attention!) For instance, I'd love to replace the curtains and drapes eventually, refinish the floors, get a pad for under the rug to make it softer, mount the TV on the wall and add new lamp shades.

It's so fascinating how the evolution of our living room has reflected such a journey in our lives. We feel that we make any place we land a home, but are especially happy to be in a home we love and that has plenty of room for our thriving quadruplets and visiting family. Here's to whatever styles and decor the future may bring!
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2.25.2014

{Tyke Bites} PB&H, Lemon Salt Zucchini & More!

Welcome back to the second installment of my new series, Tyke Bites, where I occasionally share what the quads eat in a particular day. Some meals are more creative than others, some are healthier than others, but it's all in a day's work!

This day's meals started off with buttered biscuits, clementines and bananas for breakfast along with a community bowl of vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt that I mixed with a chocolate-flavored packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast. The quads were a little hesitant about the choco flavor, but we're working on it!


Mid-morning snacks are typically handed out to the babies while they're in the play room and I think they had graham crackers this day. Lunch was one of the quad's favorites: peanut butter and honey sandwiches (cut using an apple corer to make little button sandwiches!), hardboiled eggs, fresh strawberries and pomegranate fruit bites and a couple Cheetoh puffs (they go crazy over those).


This day's snacks included strawberry-banana flavored teddy grahams, honey nut cheerios and cranberry-flavored raisins.


Dinner was a refreshing meal on the grill! I made grilled chicken—flavored simply with garlic powder, sea salt, pepper and a little red pepper flakes—and grilled zucchini with Pioneer Woman's lemon salt. So good! The quads also got raspberries, apples and cheese with their dinner and gobbled it all up pronto.



And that's Tyke Bites!

What's your kiddo's favorite snack?
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P.S. Posts you may have missed about my fave new face, hand and body lotion products and the quad squad's 20 month update!

2.23.2014

{Weekend Recap} Flowers, Fun, Family & Food!

There wasn't a single thing on our agenda this weekend that we had to do. And it was great. Oddly enough, sometimes those are the types of weekends you end up being unexpectedly productive or end up tackling some random project that's been hanging over your head. Like a work bench and laundry room!

Saturday morning the husband snuck out of bed and got the babies all changed and fed before I even woke up. Sweet! I came downstairs and dressed them all for the day and he headed out to the garage to start building his work bench—a project he's been dying to do ever since we moved into this house! He made some awesome headway, too, and will probably have it done soon. Which makes me happy because that'll mean a more organized garage!


The babies played well with each other all weekend and even posed for silly pictures with momma...




Then I posed for a picture with my momma when we enjoyed a movie date Sunday afternoon...


The husband and I indulged in a snack of mozzarella sticks and Cokes from Sonic....


I enjoyed my gorgeous fresh flowers from a recent trip to the grocery store (loving the color combo!)...


We kept up with all the daily doses of Infant Advil for low-grade fevers and Baby Benadryl for the quad's colds...


And I organized our laundry room at long last! At least it's miles better than it was, that room was a disaster. It will get a coat of navy-ish colored paint in the near future and custom shelves above the washer and dryer for more convenient storage and access. The white board calendar serves as a sort of command center for everything going on in our lives and upcoming dates and appointments!





We cooked and I tried out this grilled zucchini with lemon salt on my trusty stovetop grill pan, which I've had since we were married over seven years ago (from Bed, Bath & Beyond!)...


Logan drank lots of tea whilst sitting in the ball pit...


Snowball went into the play room for the first time (voluntarily!) and realized she could squeeze back out into safety through the bars on the gate (after getting hug-mauled by four toddlers, ha)...


And I rearranged the play room and took down the corral fence we had surrounding the recliners, moved them against the wall (to prevent kids from flipping themselves off the top) and switched out all the toys. Whew! I probably switch out toys and do a minor makeover every seven to 10 days.



Kailey got her first bandaid for a little finger cut...


We watched four more episodes of Homeland (we're still working on the first season and are definitely addicted!)...


Everyone read books...


Logan helped clean up the kitchen while I cooked and was the most adorable little girl!...


The husband and I enjoyed our family time...


And my whole house smelled like fresh, clean laundry thanks to the Downy Unstoppables I melted in my wax warmers.


Hope your week is a good one!
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{Five Things} Lotion Commotion

1. Bath & Body Works Amber Blush lotion - This stuff smells amazing! Not too floral, not too light and sticks with me all day. And the name is amazing, too. ;)

2. BLISS Blood Orange+White Pepper Hand Cream - I'm constantly searching for good hand lotion that doesn't have a greasy affect, absorbs well and keeps my always dried-out hands moisturized. This stuff does the trick and I carry it in my purse at all times!

3. Suave Moroccan Infusion Body Lotion - A new addition to the Suave body care line, this stuff is awesome. It smells great and is a very light weight lotion that packs some serious moisture punch. I grabbed my bottle at Target for less than $5! Will be trying their Moroccan Infusion hair shampoo and conditioners next...

4. Boots No 7 Beautiful Skin Day Cream for Normal/Oily Skin - So, funny story. Boots is a big beauty brand for the UK and the entire year I lived in Scotland, not once did I try anything from their line. I was missing out! Among other stores, Target carries a fair selection of their stuff and I was in need of some good daytime face lotion, my skin just felt "thirsty" and like it wasn't getting enough from thin, watery day lotions. Picked up the day cream for normal skin (although they also have one for dry skin, which would be good throughout winter) and it has an SPF in it as well. It really is a creamy consistency and absorbs very well and I can feel it working all day. The dry spots on my cheeks are gone and my skin has a smoother appearance overall. Definitely a fan!

5. L'Oreal RevitaLift Triple Power Intensive Overnight Mask - Another reason my skin has felt so even toned and moisturized lately is this miracle worker. I love something that works on my skin all night while I sleep and read about L'Oreals new overnight mask in a magazine and decided to give it a try. It's not actually a mask but rather a slightly heavier cream that doesn't end up greasy or oily at all. I rub it in before bed, wash my face in the morning, apply my No 7 to my face and neck and I'm good to go! I truly feel my new skin care regime has helped a lot.

What lotion do you love?
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2.21.2014

{Quad Squad} 20 Month Update!

The babies are doing so well these days! I'm one proud momma, for sure, and amaze even myself that I continue to find ways to challenge them in every area. As any parent can relate, it's hard to stay ahead of your kids and be sure that they have new things to explore and discover at appropriate times. And of course we're always worrying if we're doing enough or choosing the right things or planning the best activities! But the fact that we, as parents, are even thinking that way and fretting about those things means we are actively being the best parents we can be. At least that's how I view it!


These days, words are coming fast and furious. In fact, the babies are starting to repeat a lot of things we say so the husband and I have officially entered the s-p-e-l-l it out phase. Eek! Pretty sure it's only a matter of time, though, before one of my kiddos is running around the house happily saying, "Shit, shit shit!" Ha, because that's honestly an issue around here for us adults. ;)


Either way, aside from the ever-increasing vocab, motor skills are on the rise as well. Puzzles have taken front and center, especially for Harrison, who absolutely loves putting them together at record speed. You can see the quads trouble shooting things frequently, even together. They will spend great deals of time figuring out how things fit together (especially pieces that click or stack) and will help each other often. They also give out hugs all day long and hug each other all the time now, it's the cutest!





They can imitate animal sounds for around 15 to 20 different animals and find great joy in this and laugh afterward nearly every time. Grandma taught the babies to do "Ring around the Rosy" and the girls will do it on their own, hold hands, turn in a circle and everything! Harrison often hums the tune to "Wheels on the Bus" and has been mimicking the ABC song whenever I sing it as well. Plus he's started saying "thank you" when you give him things and I'm ecstatic about that! We always say "thank you" when we give the quads things, especially food/snacks, gifts, toys, etc. Seems to be working!



Harrison's teething has been absolutely terrible lately and he's been miserable. Top it off with a cold that the babies are fighting right now and he's just downright pitiful. He's been getting lots of TLC and cuddle time with momma, even at 1am this morning in my bed. A rare event, since we discourage them from sleeping with us, but was needed for my little boy since he just couldn't sleep well. His last two eye teeth are about to pop through the gums then he'll have everything except his two-year molars! The girls aren't far behind him either, and I can't wait until the days of teething are behind us. It's exhausting, especially with four!!

The kids are still very good eaters and favorite meals include PB and honey sandwiches, pizza, Annie's organic mac and cheese, turkey sausage, raspberries, cheese, apples and honey nut cheerios, among other things. I've started a new series on my blog called Tyke Bites where I'll be sharing what the quads are eating in a day now and then.

The exceptions to the schedule are that Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are bath days and we typically do those in the morning before or immediately after lunch. (My nanny comes Mondays and Fridays for a couple hours in the morning so I'm excited to have the extra help! She's amazing!)


Often, we do field trips, play dates or other outings in the morning hours during the week. Sometimes on Wednesdays we visit the toddler area at our local library or Monday or Friday morning we'll go to the grocery store with the babies or take them to the play area at the mall. I also schedule all the babies' doctor appointments on either Monday or Friday when I have my nanny to help out, and sometimes we go to lunch afterward. On weekends, the husband and I often take the quads to lunch with us somewhere then bring them home in time for naps. And both our parents are fantastic for coming over periodically for a couple hours on a Saturday or Sunday to give the husband and I a chance to get out for a date night or daytime errands.

The beauty of having such a "scheduled schedule" is that it actually provides us a good deal of flexibility to fit in other things as needed. If we're running behind for naps, it's usually not a big deal. If the quads are distracted with what we're doing they don't get too grumpy, and they just sleep later. Then we get back on schedule by dinner time. Sometimes we wake them up early and start breakfast by 7:45 or 8am if we have an appointment we need to get to and just do an early lunch and nap time. There's certainly a lot of structure to our day but it makes my life so much easier and having a certain amount of predicability when it comes to managing multiples makes a world of difference!


All in all, things are going very well with our quad squad and I have fun getting creative with them and coming up with activities, outings, meals and more for my crew. Often, we have to think of things to do indoors—whether it's stacking blocks on the quad table or coloring with our new Melissa & Doug crayons—since getting out of the house every single day isn't an option. And the husband and I will be installing a mini pool of some sort in our backyard for the summer so the babies can swim and splash around in the water frequently. When we do go on outings, organization, preparation and the willingness to break a sweat are key! (I'm planning a post, actually, on what all is entailed with quadruplet field trips...)



I wouldn't trade my life for anything. Sure, there are moments that are really tough. Teething has really thrown us for a loop sometimes and made some afternoons feel like the seconds were ticking by at a snail's pace. On occasion, I have to go upstairs and sit in my room for a few minutes to regain my cool and keep from yelling at the kids who are driving me crazy. It's all real and we face the same challenges and complications that any parents experience with their kids, whether it's one or eight! I've truly come to appreciate fellow moms who blog and post ideas, schedules, recipes and so on that they use in their homes. It's a great way to swap inspiration and Pinterest is the perfect way to keep all those things organized and not forgotten!

And now I have to start planning a second birthday! As much as I can't believe it, my babies are growing up...
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