May 27, 2009

Pay It Forward Challenge

I had a nice long Memorial Day weekend capped off with a pleasant surprise. I was one of the winners in the "Pay It Forward Challenge" from My Life in the Fishbowl. Sherri's wonderful package of goodies arrived yesterday and my daughters and I had a grand time going through the stash this morning. The point of the challenge is to acknowledge fellow bloggers with some tokens of appreciation... then they pass on the recognition to three others.

Sherri's package was quite fun to open. Inside I found a Starbucks gift card, a photo album (considering how many pictures I take I'll have it filled in no time), a beautiful notepad, a cute flowered nail file, some post-its and cucumber melon hand sanitizer (how she knew that is my favorite scent is beyond me). Best of all there was a nice note from Sherri. I feel as though I know her even though we've only met in cyberspace.
Now it's my turn to pay it forward. Before I go through the rules, let me say this: if you decide to take part, you don't have to go to grand levels to pay it forward if you are a winner. The point of this challenge is to simply let others know they are appreciated. You don't have to put a lot of money into this, just do something to say "hey, thanks for being you" and brighten someone's day.
So here are my rules: To enter, leave a comment telling me your favorite TV show. Your entry must include an email or blog address so I can reach you. If you are a winner you will have 48 hours after notification to claim your prize. Want an extra entry? Follow this blog. Want another entry? Twitter about the challenge and include @quadmama in your tweet. Be sure to leave a comment for each additional entry. To keep shipping costs down this is only open to U.S. addresses. The deadline to enter is 11:59 PM (MST) Thursday June 4, 2009. Now if you'll excuse me I need to figure out what I'll be putting in the goodie packages for my lucky winners.

The Trouble With Pictures Pt. 2

After looking at pictures over the weekend I realize I have been in denial for 3 1/2 years. You see, I have always believed I came through my pregnancy and my daughters' first year with flying colors. Then I looked at pictures from the week two of my girls came home from the hospital (they were approximately 60 days old) and I now know I have been fooling myself.
I cannot begin to tell you how scary it was to see myself in those pictures. I knew the pregnancy was rough. I knew the time spent traveling back and forth to the NICU was exhausting. I never knew just how much of a toll it took on me physically until just now. (What, you think I'm going to SHOW you those pictures? Yeah, right).
I spent 23 weeks on bed rest. During that time I lost 30 pounds because I could not keep anything done for several weeks. Nothing. Not even popsicles. By the time I delivered my daughters I gained back 28 pounds. I was exhausted. I had low muscle tone. I'm surprised I still knew how to walk once I was done with bed rest, although, truth be told, walking through the grocery store was quite an effort for several months.
Here's what I saw in those pictures: a gaunt face, dark circles under the eyes, clothes falling off of me. But here's what I realized from those pictures: my life will always be a sacrifice to do what I need to do to raise my children. That's not me being a martyr, that's me being realistic. Their needs come before mine... but I need to take care of myself to make sure I'm around to take care of them.

May 26, 2009

The Trouble With Pictures

People often want to know how I tell my daughters apart. It's a legitimate question. Most people are curious how twin parents tell their kids apart, so when quadruplets come into play it can seem like an even bigger challenge. Roo and Sue-Sue are not identical to any of their sisters, so, clearly they are the easiest to tell apart. Sue-Sue has a small hemangioma by one of her ears, making her the easiest for others to identify, although that birth mark has nearly faded. Roo now wears glasses. Tortilla and Cakes are another story. As my "identicals" they have always been the toughest to "sort out." In the beginning, Tortilla had a slightly rounder face, so you could instantly tell them apart when they were side-by-side. Now that Tortilla wears glasses it's not really an issue... unless they both have their backs to me.
I've always chalked it up to parental instinct. I'm their mom... OF COURSE I can tell them apart. Until I looked at some old pictures this weekend. When Hubby and I took pictures in the NICU we always made sure to have some type of identifier (a stuffed animal, a name plate, something) so we would be able to tell who was who. I carefully and studiously went through all our Shutterfly pictures before printing them to make sure each and every picture was labeled. Then this weekend we went through pictures someone else took. Part of me wanted to cry. Roo and Sue-Sue were easy to pick out. But is this picture Cakes? No it's Tortilla. No it's Cakes. It was a tad heart-wrenching. After looking through all the pictures and putting it with a time frame I finally figured out who was who. Initially, though, I felt bad when Tortilla would say "is that me?" and my answer was "I'm not sure."
I'm pretty sure this is a common problem for parents of twins and more, possibly even when you have mixed-gender multiples. Afterall, in the infant stage boys and girls have such similar features. This weekend was truly the first time I looked at pictures and struggled to identify my girls. Now I think I had better make sure my photo albums are up-to-date.

May 25, 2009

I May Need Earplugs

Why do little girls shriek? Little boys may do it, too, but my only experience, of course, is with girls. One minute I can be minding my own business putting away laundry in another room and then I hear it... a blood-curdling, send-chills-up-your-spine scream. I used to run in a panic to the room where my daughters were playing. "Who did that? What's wrong? Does everyone still have all their fingers and toes attached???" The screams are typically the result of a stolen toy or a dirty look from another sister.
I've tried working on "inside voices." It doesn't help. I've watched my daughters at preschool. There they are the masters of "problem solving" and "inside voices." Bring them home and they think the rules no longer apply.
It's not as though just one of my daughters is a screamer. I think it would be easier to solve the issue if that were the problem. The screamer rotates on a regular basis. They don't scream each and every time they don't get their way, so there's no way to predict when they screaming may happen. We can go days with no screams and the suddenly "EEEEEE" there it is. All I know is when you multiply the "little girl screams" by four, well, I'm about ready to invest in earplugs.

May 24, 2009


I've been wanting to give my blog a little more "flair" ever since I launched it. Not being very tech-savvy I finally asked Stephanie at Ask Me Anything how to go about doing a makeover. She gave me the starting point I needed to give "Buried in Laundry" a new look.
I wanted pink (for my four girls) and I wanted bubbles (for the laundry theme... maybe a bit of a stretch) and I stumbled upon this template by Made By Madeline. I'm happy. I may customize the site down the road, but for now this works.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

May 22, 2009

Blogging for Freebies

I recently read an article about moms who blog and the freebies they receive. Essentially it discussed the ethics of receiving products from companies and then blogging about the products. Apparently the Federal Trade Commission is reviewing its advertising guidelines to figure out how to police people who are compensated to promote or review a product.
It's an interesting issue. Journalists are not supposed to accept any type of gifts because of the conflict of interest it would pose. But are bloggers considered journalists? When I read a blog I don't take everything as fact. When I have written product reviews I have written about products I use. I make it clear I have not been compensated for talking about the product. The majority of blogs I visit are very upfront as to whether they received the products from a company or whether they bought the product themselves. I guess I don't have a problem with it. When I'm thinking about buying something big I tend to search the internet for product reviews... but I take everything (good and bad) with a grain of salt until I do my own research.
The bigger issue probably goes beyond product reviews. If I write a blog about finding a quick snack for the summer and somebody posts a comment about Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers (no compensation I swear!!!) is that person making a suggestion or do they receive free snacks from the company? But how do you control that? I don't think the FTC can say we have to blog about things in generic terms. "Hey Quadmama, maybe you should try crackers shaped like animals that swim in water." I'll be keeping an eye out to see what new guidelines are put in place.
I'm interested to hear what other bloggers think about the issue.

May 21, 2009

Jon and Kate: The Backlash

We live in a culture where reality stars are elevated to celebrity status simply for being on TV. An unknown rocker-wannabe can become a household name in a matter of weeks. So I guess it should come as no surprise to me that a couple raising twins and sextuplets can have their marriage dissected in public.
Don't get me wrong... Jon and Kate Gosselin agreed to put their lives out there. By the time
Jon and Kate Plus 8 went on the air, the Gosselins had to know they would be given the same celebrity status as most other reality show participants. Their every action is criticized or praised... but they allowed the cameras in their home, so I would hope they thought this through.
They have certainly had a good ride. The show, along with its undisclosed salary as well as speaking gigs, book deals, etc, has allowed the couple to not work outside the home and instead focus on their children. In a recent article, Jon pointed out that because of the show they're able to start saving for their childrens' college education. They also receive some products as a result of product placement during the show. For the record, Hubby and I have had opportunities to audition for similar shows, but chose not to. I am not judging the Gosselins for doing their show. But now it seems Reality has become blurred with reality.
Suddenly, everyone from the media to the people reading gossip mags in the grocery checkout lane want this marriage to fall apart. On the message boards I've read numerous comments with people saying they wouldn't blame Jon for cheating based on Kate's personality. On
Entertainment Tonight yesterday their "evidence" of a rift was that Jon and Kate do individual interviews for their show now. Jon and Kate may be unscripted, but it is a show. In other words, it's not just the family involved in this. There are producers, directors, camera operators... people who know what sells. People who could be making suggestions, such as "let's do one-on-one interviews tonight" and then selling it as a "rift" to the media. They're taping the next season and look at the hype it's receiving.
I hate to go here, but I wonder how much of this backlash is a response to "octomom." She seems to have disappeared, or is at least less visible. Now we have a couple who seemed on top of the world for awhile, so let's bring them back to reality. For the sake of the children involved, I hope Jon and Kate can figure out a way to resolve
whatever is going on in private so they can get back to entertaining us with Reality.

May 20, 2009

Get Out the Tissues

I love warm weather. When the snow is gone and the days are longer I am much happier. But I dread one thing about spring and summer: allergies. I'm a long-time seasonal allergy sufferer and it appeafs at least some of my daughters are, too.
When I was in junior high and high school I spent my summers at camp, either as a camper, a counselor or an employee. After my first summer in the woods I knew I needed allergy medication. All through high school I gave myself allergy shots. Then in college (and beyond) I was busy and just never got around to following through with the appointments necessary for shots. I now self-medicate with over-the-counter drugs when necessary (Claritin-D) and that typically works. These last few days, though, I have been miserable. It's beyond hot, so we have the fans working over-time. Yes, as an allergy-sufferer I know it's better to run the air-conditioning, but if we turn it on now it's going to be on until the end of August or September. I'm holding out as long as possible.
So far it appears Roo and Tortilla have seasonal allergies. Last summer Roo constantly had a runny nose. This year Tortilla has "goopy" eyes when she wakes up. The pediatrician suggested an over-the-counter medication for them, but isn't on-board with allergy testing just yet. I'm doing what I can to keep them comfortable and if it's too windy I shut their bedroom window to keep potential allergens out.
If I had the money I would rip up all the carpet in our house and put in wood floors. Some day I think that will happen. For now, I'm just hoping for a good rain storm to keep some of the dust and dirt from flying around.

May 19, 2009

Bubbles, Snow Cones and Water Balloons

Who knew preschool could be so exhausting? Today marked the end of year party at my daughters' school and I am wiped out. They had a big party with a bucket full of bubbles, a yummy snow cone machine and a water balloon toss. The water balloon toss ended up being more of a water balloon fight, but would you expect anything less with preschoolers? Surprisingly, the bucket of bubbles was never tipped over. I was convinced the soap would end up all over the ground... instead, most of it somehow ended up in Tortilla's hair, so I guess we'll be taking a bath pretty soon!
Most of the parents became teary. Their "babies" are growing up and getting ready for elementary school. Out of the class of 20, all but 6 of those children are moving on to kindergarten. My daughters are among the 6 who will return to preschool next year. They won't even turn 4 until mid-September. The other two girls who will go back to preschool have birthdays after ours. I think it will be pretty interesting to see my daughters in preschool next year, since they'll be among the only ones already familiar with the routine.
For now, Hubby and the girls are camped out on the couch. Did I mention we took them to McDonald's after the party? Yep. We're all exhausted. Now we have until August to rest up until the whirlwind of preschool begins again!

May 18, 2009

The Fab Four

My daughters will turn (gasp) four in a few months. I really want to make a big deal out of the four turning four. One mom I know suggested a golf theme, as in "Fore!" I thought maybe a mini-golf party would be fun, but then I realized it's probably not a good idea to give a group of preschoolers golf clubs. I can just imagine the injuries.
Another mom of quadruplets said she did a Beatles theme (the Fab Four), which we may go with, too. I'm thinking an "under the sea" decor (to go with "Octopus's Garden") and maybe a yellow submarine cake. We're considering looking at whether the local aquarium has birthday packages.
Clearly I need more ideas. Are there other "four" themes you can think of? We did a Fantastic Four cake for their first birthday, so that option is out. Let me know if you have any ideas.

May 17, 2009

Sunday Suppers: Use What You Have

If you're like me, then you have some nights where you open the refrigerator, stare at its contents and wonder "what in the world am I going to make for dinner?" My aunt sent me a link that I thought I would share with you. It's called Cooking By Numbers.You click on the items you have in your fridge and pantry and the site gives you some suggestions and recipes. Some of the suggestions are a tad disappointing. For example, among the things I checked off in my refrigerator was "apple." The number one suggestion? Eat the apple. A great idea... unless you're looking for meal suggestions. At the very least the site gives you some reminders of old stand-bys (omlettes or sandwhiches). It's worth checking out when you're at a loss to see if there's an option you overlooked.

May 15, 2009

Random Observations

When my daughters made their first trip to the dentist they each received a new toothbrush and brush cover. I can't decide if Sue-Sue's is an alligator or a crocodile. Apparently I've called it both, because yesterday she asked me where her "crocagator" was.
The other day Roo had her mouth stuffed with chicken nuggets and kept asking grandma for "baby socks." We finally figured out she was saying "barbeque sauce," but now we call it baby socks just for the laugh.
I took the girls for a walk yesterday and we when we stopped to look at some flowers we realized we were standing next to a rabbit. Tortilla didn't see the rabbit and nearly stepped on it. The rabbit ran away and for the rest of the walk Tortilla called herself the "bunny chaser."
Cakes refuses to wear pants unless they're rolled up above her knees. She apparently wants to wear shorts and thinks this is the next best solution.
Just some random things that have been making me laugh... have a great Friday!

May 14, 2009

Bad Dreams

My daughters have always been good sleepers. I chalk that up to all the time they spent in the NICU. If you're constantly surrounded by crying babies, there's a good chance you'll be able to sleep through anything. Sometimes, though, bad dreams are inevitable.
I still have a baby monitor in my room. Our girls sleep at the opposite end of the hallway, so I want to be sure I hear any and all noises. Most nights I don't hear a thing until Roo wakes up at the crack of dawn and starts singing to everyone. But every now and then I hear whimpering. Usually it's Sue-Sue. She never wakes up from these dreams, but she'll whimper until it's over. Our pediatrician recommended not waking her up (I tried, but she won't stir from these dreams), saying she's likely to be more terrified if she wakes up mid-dream. In the morning, Sue-Sue can tell me she had a bad dream, but rarely says what it's about. I would love to say the bad dreams have a pattern (busy days, stressful days, etc), but they're few and far between, so there really is no rhyme or reason... at least not that I've detected.
I can sympathize with my daughters when they have bad dreams, as I have these spells every now and again, too. When I'm really tired or really stressed out I prepare myself for a rough night. I occaisionally have dreams where I wake up screaming, scaring the pants off Hubby.
For now, whenever any of the girls have bad dreams, I simply rush to their room and rub their back until it's over. If they wake up and need a hug, I'll be there for that, too.

May 13, 2009

Fighting with the Insurance Company

I've discussed this issue before, yet it seems to be a recurring problem. Until my daughters were born I could count on one hand the number of times I needed to call my health insurance company to question/dispute a claim. Since their birth... well, I lost track of the number of calls I've made.
For the first month after my daughters' birth, the hospital billed all their claims as "Baby A," "Baby B," "Baby C," and "Baby D," even though I named the girls the day they were born. So I spent months sorting out all the denied claims I received, all the while trying to convince the hospital to resubmit the claims with the girls' actual names. It took me until they were 1 1/2 to stop receiving bills from their birth.
Then this past January Hubby's employer switched its insurance carrier. The benefits are the same, but the service leaves a lot to be desired. Sue-Sue has a weekly physical therapy appointment to help with low-muscle tone issues. She receives this therapy through our local children's hospital, which is considered "in-network" by the insurance company. Yet every month I receive an explanation of benefits (and then a bill from the hospital) for hundreds of dollars because the therapy is incorrectly applied to Sue-Sue's deductible, rather than the straight co-pay we should be charged (which I pay at each appointment). Every month I call the insurance company, it's corrected and no one can tell me what the problem is. Yesterday I called to sort out the claims from April. The customer service representative actually said "I see you call about claims for Sue-Sue every month. Why is that?" Since I knew she wasn't responsible for taking care of the claims I simply laughed and said "I don't know. You tell me." First she tried to tell me that the hospital bills the therapy as an "outpatient" service rather than an "office" service, so she didn't know if the claims adjusters would even reconsider the claim. (WHAT??) Then she looked at our benefit terms and realized it didn't matter "where" the service took place as long as it was an in-network provider. She immediately transferred me to a claims adjuster who took care of the issue. This person told me he has no idea why the claims are being filed incorrectly, and warned me I should be prepared to call again next month.
I've always wondered what happens to the less informed in these situations. Certainly there are people who either a) don't know how to read an explanation of benefits, b) believe there is no way to dispute the explanation of benefits or c) simply don't read the forms and just pay what they're told. Taking care of my daughters' medical needs has taught me to read each and every form I receive and file them away for future reference.

May 12, 2009

You're My Best Friend

(First a little housekeeping note: for those of you "following" this blog through Google, I intend to follow each and every one of you, but I'm having trouble uploading my profile picture. I hope to have that taken care of by the end of the week)
The dynamics of siblings who are multiples can be fascinating. It's not unusual for twins to be best friends. The bond between multiples can be quite different than the bond between siblings of different ages. When you throw higher order multiples into the mix it becomes a little trickier. The "best friends" change on a regular basis.
Take Cakes and Tortilla, for example. They are my "identicals," so they certainly have a different bond with one another than they do with Roo and Sue-Sue. When they went through their "twinspeak" phase (creating their own language), Cakes and Tortilla could understand each other with just a few grunts and gestures. Don't worry... Roo and Sue-Sue weren't left out. They knew enough of the "language" to leave me in the dark. But when it comes to being "best friends," Cakes and Tortilla aren't always drawn to one another.
My daughters have been learning about family and relationships in preschool, which, I think, is where this whole idea of best friends is coming from. Last week Tortilla told me Cakes was her best friend. Yesterday Cakes told me Sue-Sue was her best friend. It is not my place to encourage them to be just as close with one sister as they are with another. I simply hope as they grow older they realize picking a best friend among siblings could cause hurt feelings. In the end, I think all four of them will naturally share a bond that will be hard for others to understand.
When it comes to picking "best friends," Roo has been the most consistent. She routinely tells me our cat Elwood is her best friend.

May 11, 2009

The End is Near

The last day of preschool is next week. I think it's going to be difficult for my daughters to understand the concept of summer vacation. Now I need to find some activities for us to do in order to fill the "gap."
I've looked into story time at the library, but I don't always want to be inside. The "nicer" library near us actually requires you to register for story time, rather than just show up at will.
I know we'll spend lots of time at the neighborhood pool. There's a decent size baby pool, but I'll have to refer to it as "the little pool" this year. I've been reminded too many times that "we're not babies, we're big girls." The pool rules are changing this summer... some good, some bad. Instead of being closed on Mondays for maintenance the pool will now be open 7 days a week. Unfortunately, food is no longer allowed at the pool, so there go my plans to arrive mid-mornings with a packed lunch. Oh well, we're close enough to the pool that we can just run home for lunch. Summer should be interesting this year since my daughters are more active than ever.

May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today has been an interesting day. All morning the girls were very excited to celebrate "Mommy's Day." Then by this afternoon the novelty had worn off. They have been cranky and irritable... but they're trying so hard to be "good listeners." Overall, we have had a fun day. The weather didn't cooperate, so we stayed inside. Hubby, however, plans to either brave the rain and grill on the patio, or drag the grill to the garage. I've been asking him to grill for a few weeks now and for some reason every Sunday it has rained. Today he promised he'll do it. Since he's a grill master it's bound to be a treat. Happy Mother's Day to all you moms and moms-to-be!

My Mother's Day Gift

What did I receive for Mother's Day? A chance to launch my new blog. Welcome to the new site for Got Quads? I've changed the name, changed my host and tah-dah, here I am. It's a work in progress, so you'll need to bear with me. I'm still the same 'ol Quadmama and I hope to be back to basics fairly soon.

May 09, 2009

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aka Quadmama, the author of "Buried in Laundry"