June 30, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

As the mom of four very fair-skinned children I've always slathered them in sunscreen. Better safe than sorry, right? Now information is coming to light which makes me want to pull my hair out. It all started when I read a recent post from the mom blogger at Jungletwins. The sun is dangerous, but now my sunscreen could be, too? What is a mom to do?
We have, so far, avoided sun burns. That in itself is amazing, considering my daughters seem to turn red if you even mention the word "sun." Hubby jokes that he burns faster than an Irish vampire. We are very conscious of how much sun we all expose ourselves to.
My daughters will wear sunglasses with no problems. Hats? Those stay on for about five minutes before I'm suddenly carrying them.
Do I want to protect my daughters from the sun? Absolutely. I just may need to rethink how I'm going to do that.

June 29, 2009

Toys for Boys and Girls

With our fourth birthday quickly approaching, I've been trying to make a list of things I think the girls would like for gifts. Actually, I do a combined birthday/Christmas list since the holidays sneak up right after their birthday. This year I've realized how much easier it is to buy for girls than it is to buy gifts for boys.
I've always known little girls have a better selection of clothes. Dresses, skirts, pants, shorts.... don't tell my daughters, but sometimes I even scour the boy's clearance racks because the shorts and pants are cheaper. At this age, who's going to be able to tell the difference?
It's the selection of toys that makes everything a little unfair. My daughters have their fair share of baby dolls, Care Bears, dress-up clothes, fake food, etc. They also have cars, fire trucks, soccer balls. These days no one thinks twice about buying little girls toys that are traditionally associated with little boys. It doesn't bother me that my daughters don't always want to play with dolls. Some days they want to splash in the mud or race their cars around. But think about buying a boy a doll or a pink Care Bear and you may be setting yourself up for an argument. Now let's face it, not every boy wants to play with a doll, just like not every girl wants a baby doll. But why is it much more acceptable for girls to play with "boy" toys? Why do we even have "boy" and "girl" toys?
I did notice one exception to this "rule" many years ago. When I was in third or fourth grade, Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage. If you had one, you brought it to school. Suddenly it wasn't just the girls bringing their dolls to school... boys were receiving Cabbage Patch Kids and proudly bringing them to school, too. They, of course, always had boy dolls. It is the one time I can remember when it was acceptable for boys to own and play with dolls.
Boys want to have as much fun as girls, even if it means stomping around in dress up shoes. Have you heard the noise those shoes make on wood floors? What kid doesn't want to drive his or her parents crazy with those loud stomps?
On the flip-side, I don't push things on my daughters. If they want to wear pink and play with baby dolls, rather than cars, go for it. But on the days they want jeans and their fire truck, I'm all for that , too.

June 28, 2009

Out of Sorts

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can't get yourself on track? It all started in the middle of the night. Even though we had the air on, I just couldn't cool down. Then I woke up and went to check on one of our cats. Sometime during the night he was sick in every imaginable way. Granted we've been keeping him in a crate at night because we know he's not doing well, but the poor guy was just miserable. It may be a matter of days before we need to say good-bye to him. I took a walk to clear my head, but now, once again, I can't cool down. Not the happiest of posts today... I'll work on lightening up for tomorrow.

June 24, 2009

Let's Go to the Movies

A few weeks ago I blogged about trying to figure out a good age to take children to their first movie. After much deliberation, Hubby and I decided to make yesterday our first official "family movie outing." We had two options: we could see Igor for free at a nearby Kerasotes owned theater or we could see Kung Fu Panda for $1 admission at a local AMC theater. Since I've never heard of Igor and didn't have time to research it, we opted for Kung Fu Panda.
Overall, we had a good time. The theater was surprisingly crowded, but when you think about it how much it would typically cost a family to go to the movies, it makes sense that a lot of parents were treating their kids to the $1 selection.
Tortilla was happy as long as she was holding someone's hand or sitting on a lap. Sue-Sue was entertained for the first half of the movie, but then wanted to go home. She settled down once I told her she needed to be quiet so the other kids could hear. Cakes wanted to walk around the whole time. She was more into watching the other movie-goers than watching the actual movie. Roo seemed to do the best. She changed seats a lot and had a few questions, but overall she stayed quiet and glued to the screen.
My daughters will be four in September. I think this was a good age to try our first movie. If they had been much younger I don't think they would have had the attention span necessary to sit through a movie.
My advice: try a free or discounted movie for your first few outings. If we had left at any point during the movie I wouldn't have felt like we wasted money. Six dollars for all six of us to see a movie is a bargain. Also, arrive at least 20 minutes early. The later you arrive, the harder it is to maneuver through the crowd and find a seat. Talk about your expectations ahead of time: we need to be quiet, whisper if you have a question, the lights will need to be turned off so we can see the movie, etc. You may also want to consider taking a snack with you. We seemed to be one of the only families who by-passed the line at the concession stand. I didn't take any snacks from home and my daughters didn't seem to mind, but for other children this could really be a deal breaker. Finally, don't be afraid to leave. I really wanted to get through the entire movie, but had my girls started acting up we would have left. I saw several families leave... some simply because their kids didn't have the attention span for the movie.
I don't think it's something we'll do on a regular basis this summer, but it was definitely a positive experience. I'm glad movie theaters offer these free or discounted films in the summer because there's no way all six of us could afford to see a "typical" movie.

Let Kids Be Kids

Yesterday we went to our neighborhood pool. It was a fun experience.... Sue-Sue kept experimenting with going underwater. She was very proud of herself. Of course, a trip to the pool wouldn't be complete if I didn't end up getting splashed repeatedly... but you should expect to be wet when you go to the pool, right? Not according to one grandmother there.
Our neighbor was at the pool with her grandmother. The 2-year-old rotated between the big pool with her older sister and the "little pool," where my daughters and I happened to be hanging out. Every time the toddler ventured into the "little pool" (sorry, I can no longer call it the baby pool or my daughters will catch on that they're supposed to be in the big pool) her grandmother would immediately warn her "no splashing." What? Granted I can only take so much splashing. Eventually I'll tell my daughters to splash in another direction or see if they can splash the flowers near the fence, rather than soak me. But isn't a pool made for splashing? The little girl wasn't splashing anyone in the face or acting out of control, she was simply doing what kids do in a pool... having fun. My daughters kept splashing away. The only time I told them to stop was when their splashing looked like it was getting too close to the "no splash" grandmother.
Another little boy wanted to tell his mother something. He used that loud outdoor voice that most parents are so familiar with. His mother actually "shushed" him and told him to use a quieter voice. Let me clarify... he was not yelling. He simply was speaking in that loud, excited voice kids have. I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of time encouraging my daughters to use their "indoor" voices when we're in the house. When they're outside I expect them to be loud... although I discourage them from screaming.
There are certain rules that absolutely need to be followed at the pool: don't run, don't push, don't drink the water in the little pool. Unfortunately, it seems as though some parents are so concerned about how their children appear to others that they're stopping them from being kids. I try not to judge other parents. There may be good reasons for implementing rules that seem extreme to me. Just know this: while other kids sit by the side of the pool whispering so as not to offend others, my daughters will be splashing away, laughing at the top of their lungs.

June 23, 2009

There Will Be Blood

There are certain noises which make most people cringe: nails on a chalk board, for instance. But as a parent, there is one noise that makes me close my eyes and hope when I re-open them I am not faced with a gruesome scene. I'm talking about the sound of flesh connecting with cement, usually a sidewalk.
There's really no way to describe it, but if you have ever raised a toddler, then there's a good chance you've heard the sound plenty of times. I try not to be an overprotective parent. Children should run, jump and, yes, fall down. But that sound... oh that sound. As soon as I hear a knee, palm or elbow scrape across the cement I want to run and hide. Inevitably there will be tears and most likely there will be blood.
I remember the first time one of my daughters skinned her knees. We were at a cookout and all four girls were running around with their cousins, having a grand ol' time. And then it happened... scraaaape.... waaaahhhh. Fortunately I had already stocked up on Care Bear bandages, so when we arrived home the girls without bloody knees were wishing they had been the one who had fallen.
Just a few weeks ago we were outside having a fun afternoon filled with sidewalk chalk and running around. Hubby had been doing some yard work and turned the sprinklers on, so of course everyone had to run through them. I turned my head away for a fraction of a second and then I heard it... scraaaape... waaaahhhh. I didn't want to look, but I knew I had to. Tortilla had fallen and now had two skinned knees.
My daughters believe every little "owie" requires a bandage. In their minds, even bruises need bandages. Sometimes I'll humor them, which is why we now have a medicine cabinet full of Dora, Snoopy, Tinkerbell and Disney Princess bandages. The good thing about this bandage obsession is that I can usually stop the flow of tears in a matter of seconds by promising them a bandage.
As much as I can't stand the sound of flesh on cement, I would much rather hear that over the sound of breaking bones. Hubby, even for the daredevil he was as a child, has never broken a bone. My sister and I, however, each broke our left arm when we were four-years-old. I'm fully prepared to have at least one broken bone in the bunch... but would rather deal with scraaaape.... waaaahhhh than a toddler in a cast.

June 22, 2009

What Goes Down Must Come Up

You think I've simply mixed up a well-known saying, don't you? If that's the case then perhaps you have never experienced the "joys" of motion sickness. I am seriously afflicted with this condition and seem to have passed it on to my daughters, much to Hubby's dismay.
I remember when I was little and I looked through a photo album from my mother's childhood. There are pictures of a family vacation and she's stretched out on a blanket on the side of a highway. She was so car sick her family had to pull over and let her rest until she felt well enough to travel again. So you see, my daughters and I have essentially inherited this urge to purge when in a car.
Growing up, long trips inevitably ended in me barfing. We rarely stopped to eat when traveling, regardless of how long the trip was. It was better to arrive at our destination hungry than covered in vomit. Eventually Bonine and Dramamine made traveling so much easier for me. It seems to only be the car (or a boat) that gets to me. I have never had issues when I fly. Of course I always pop a Dramamine prior to a flight, so that may have something to do with it. I can handle roller coasters with no problems, which makes Hubby laugh. I can go upside down on a roller coaster, but I turn green just looking at a boat.
My daughters always pick strange times to become car sick. On long trips they tend to be fine... and I have never "drugged" them. But on short day trips we find ourselves wishing we had packed extra clothes. About a year ago we spent the day driving through the mountains to go elk watching. It was a great trip. Then as we drove down the mountain Roo started crying. I turned around and frantically instructed Hubby to pull over as soon as possible. As an expert on motion sickness I knew that look in her eyes. We managed to find a pull off spot, but not before Roo became sick. She spent the rest of the car ride in just a diaper... and we spent the rest of the trip with the windows down. A few months ago I was driving around with all four girls looking for an out of the way store. The roads weren't curvy, but we were in the car for about an hour. Cakes suddenly made a gagging sound and... well, I'll spare you the details. We never found the store in question.
Traveling with four little ones who have the potential to become motion sick makes every trip a little dicey. We've learned on long trips to eat light and always have a "run around stop." If the girls have a chance to stretch their legs they seem to be in a better mood and have a better chance to making it to our destination without being sick. At the very least it wears them out and they can sleep for awhile. My family will never take a cruise, but at least my daughters will have some great traveling stories to tell when they are older.

June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

I've never understood why people are impressed, stunned even, when fathers have a hands-on role in raising their children. It couldn't happen any other way in our house. Sure, Hubby works 40+ hours a week, but his work is just starting when he walks through our door. There are toys to put away, meals to make, pajamas to be put on... it's not easy to come home from a long day of work and have chores to do, but with four toddlers underfoot, there's ALWAYS something to do. I wouldn't be as sane as I am without an equal partner.
With four little girls it would be easy to raise them as "girlie girls." Oh, don't get me wrong, they like pink, rainbows and dolls. But Hubby is a great male influence. They play with his old toy cars. They're not afraid to try new things (well, except when it comes to food). They want to get dirty when they play. They still shriek when they see bugs, but we'll figure that out one of these days.
Everyone makes a huge deal out of Mother's Day. Yes, we moms are extremely important... but so are dads. So make sure you take time to tell your dad and/or husband how much you appreciate him.

June 17, 2009

Who Needs the Neighborhood Watch?

I don't need the Neighborhood Watch with my daughters around. They notice every little detail and every small change. From our back room/dining area we can see the next street over. One of our neighbors drives a van and if it's gone in the morning I receive a running commentary. "Mommy, our neighbor's car is gone." As soon as he returns for lunch I'm informed. When he leaves again I'm put on notice and I know as soon as he comes home for the day. I also know when our other neighbor is outside and what he's doing (mowing the grass, feeding his dog, etc.)
I think my daughters could easily serve on our Home Owners Association board. When we take walks they are quick to point out who is violating the covenants. OK, so they don't really understand HOA by-laws, but maybe our neighborhood manager should take them along on her weekly inspections. "Mommy, they still have up their Christmas lights." "Mommy, look at all the trash in their yard." "Mommy, the garbage man came yesterday. Why do they still have their trash cans out?"
Their observations extend past home, too. When their preschool teacher added a new table to the classroom, my girls noticed it the minute they walked in the door. They talked about how "teacher got a table" for the rest of the day.
Hubby and I actually work to teach them to be observant. For their third birthday their aunt gave them each a small monster doll. At night the monsters would "hide" in our play room. It took the girls awhile to figure out the game, but once they did they would rush down each morning to see who could find the monsters. We mix it up. Sometimes it's the Fisher Price Little People who are hiding. We've stopped doing it every night, so they never know what's coming.
I'm confident that if something is out of place in my house I will have four "helpers" making sure I know what's wrong.

I Do Not Have a Green Thumb

Gardening has never been a big hobby of mine. If someone gave me a plant I did what was necessary to keep it alive, but most times it still ended up being a wilted mess. I have always wanted to plant a rose bush, but have never had the confidence to try it.
Near the end of preschool my daughters learned about plants. They each brought home a small pot with seeds they had planted. I really wanted this to work. We watered the plants when needed and put the plants outside each day for some sunshine. With all the rabbits in our neighborhood I didn't want to leave the plants outside overnight, for fear they would make some bunny a tasty breakfast. Then one day a huge gust of wind came along and knocked over two of the plants. There was no way to save them. All the soil fell out of the two pots. The girls were devastated since the flowers had just started to sprout. Within days the other two plants seemed to give up and die... or perhaps I gave them too much water.
Then for Mother's Day each of the girls gave me a hand-painted flower pot and a packet of seeds. We had a great time planting the seeds. I even bought a large "trough" and more seeds so we could really get our "flower garden" going. Unfortunately, these plants may be doomed, too. After a huge rain the trough was flooded with water. I poured out what I could and the plants actually survived. Then the bunnies became brave and have apparently been sneaking onto our porch in the middle of the night to taste the flowers. We still have some surviving flowers, so at least the girls are happy. If this keeps up I think I'll just buy them a cactus. You can't kill those, right?

June 16, 2009

You Just Ate What????

My daughters are constantly suprising me with the foods they will (and won't) eat. Sue-Sue used to scarf down mac and cheese like it was going out of style. Then one day she decided it was "yucky." A few months later she decided she liked it again.
The biggest surprise though has been that my daughters now love salad. They think it's great and what parent doesn't want their children to eat (gasp) vegetables??? They'll eat bagged salad. They'll eat baby spinach salad. They'll eat a "spring mix" salad. What do they want on these salads? You name it, they'll try it: carrots, cucumber, blueberries, strawberries, onion. Who are these pod people and what did they do with my children?
Keep in mind these same girls have a problem eating all the previously mentioned vegetables individually. Tortilla will chew carrots and then refuse to swallow them. Put carrots on a salad and she barely blinks as she eats them. The first few times they ate salad they begged for Ranch dressing. Then one time I offered them a light raspberry vinaigrette, my personal favorite. Now I'm regretting letting them try it because there's rarely any left for me.
I'm sure there are plenty of "food surprises" to come... let's just hope they're all as healthy as this one!

June 15, 2009

Thunderstorms, Tornadoes and Hail... Oh My!

The last two Sundays have been very interesting where I live. The day starts out beautiful and by mid-afternoon the skies are dark and the tornado sirens are sounding. I have lived in this house for nearly two years and didn't even know until last weekend that we have tornado sirens in our neighborhood.
My daughters used to be terrified of storms, which I think is pretty typical for infants and toddlers. They would scream and cry each time the thunder "roared." These days they're fairly mellow. We play a game when we see lightning. We start counting because we know a "thunder boom" is on the way. Making it a game is definitely better than listening to them scream.
Last week we had a lot of hail. It wasn't very big, but it covered the grass and my daughters thought it was snowing. Yesterday there was hail again, but so much lightening that I had to keep my daughters away from the windows, which bothered them because they wanted to see the storm.
So far we have been lucky in all this severe weather. Our neighborhood has not seen any damage and none of the funnel clouds in the area have been near us. The forecast seems better for the next few days so hopefully the severe weather has blown out of our area.

June 14, 2009

Sunday Suppers: Simple Lasagna

I know I posted this recipe on my old blog, but it's such an easy favorite that I wanted to put it out there again.

You'll need
  • 15 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb. ground turkey, browned and drained
  • 12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 2 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 c. parsley
  • 26 oz. (one jar) spaghetti sauce
  • 1 c. water
Mix ricotta cheese, 1 1/4 c. mazzarella cheese, 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, parsley and egg until well blended; set aside
Pour spaghetti sauce into meat in skillet; pour water into empty sauce jar; cover jar and shake well; pour into skillet; stir until well mixed
Place 1 c. meat sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 baking dish; layer 3 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of ricotta cheese mixture and 1 c. meat sauce; repeat layers 2 more times; top with remaining 3 noodles and sauce; sprinkle with remaining 1 1/4 c. mozzarella cheese and 1/4 c. parmesan cheese; cover tightly with greased aluminum foil; bake 45 minutes at 350 then remove foil and bake for 15 minutes; let stand 15 minutes

June 11, 2009

Those Pesky Butterflies

A few weeks ago a moth took up residence in our house. My daughters were terrified of the moth, just like they're inexplicably terrified of all bugs, including gnats. Once I explained the moth was just like a butterfly they were no longer concerned. So it seemed like a good idea to go to our local butterfly pavillion.
We actually have taken the girls two previous times. The first trip they were about one-and-a-half. Everyone liked it, but Sue-Sue had the most fun. She wanted to see each and every butterfly. The second time we went my daughters were about two or two-and-a-half. Most of them were scared of the butterflies and it turned into a less than enjoyable experience. Roo would freeze whenever a butterfly flew near her.
This time I specifically asked them if they wanted to go see butterflies. I even told them the butterflies would be flying around and might land on them. Everyone wanted to go. Roo, Tortilla and Cakes held up pretty well. They thought it was a lot of fun, although they didn't really like it when the butterflies dive-bombed them. Sue-Sue, however, was not into it. Every time I pointed out a butterfly to her she would cover her eyes or shout "no." A butterfly landed on my back and she wouldn't hold my hand until it flew away. After awhile, though, she realized the butterflies weren't so bad. She would point out all the butterflies to me, but she just didn't want them to get too close to her.
Strangely enough, the thing they asked to see the most was the bug room. They liked seeing the huge spiders and cockroaches. No one, including me, was brave enough to hold the trantula, yet all of my girls kept wanting to see other kids hold it. I think they simply wanted to keep the trantula in their sites to make sure it hadn't somehow escaped.

June 10, 2009

Transitioning to Toddler Beds

First a bit of housekeeping: I have family visiting from out of state this week. I am going to do my best to keep up with posting, but may not be as good at visiting my favorites. Please forgive me... I will resume visits by next week.
Perhaps the biggest challenge we've faced during the toddler years is the transition to toddler beds. This isn't just a "multiple" problem. I know parents with singletons who have been ready to pull their hair out during this phase. But put four little girls in the same room with no rails to keep them in bed and you might as well declare every night a slumber party.
At first, Hubby and I took turns staying in their room until every last girl was asleep. We had to do this or the "last girl standing" (usually Roo) would climb in the beds of her sleeping sisters and try to wake them up. I'm not making this up. On numerous occasions I found her in Tortilla's bed trying to shake her awake. This meant we were in their room until at least 9 p.m. most nights. We would take turns eating dinner. While I ate, Hubby would sit in their room and vice versa. It was no way to live.
This went on for at least a month. Finally I reached my breaking point. I would stay in their room for a half hour and then leave.... or so they thought. Really I would just sit outside their room and at the first sound go back in and startle whoever had climbed out of bed. Slowly, they started realizing bed time meant exactly that... time for bed.
I'm not sure what the turning point was. Exhaustion? (on both their part and ours). Somehow we managed to convince them to stay in bed. Now one of us stays in their room for about five minutes to make sure everyone settles down and then they're good for the night. Now if I can just figure out how to keep them from singing "wake up mommy" at 6:30 a.m. I'll feel like I have really mastered this whole sleeping thing.

June 09, 2009

Backseat Drivers

When my daughters first started talking, car rides were a great teaching tool. "What color is the car next to us?" "What is that animal in the yard?" Once they started learning their colors they liked to point out all the colors they saw. Traffic lights became a great way to brush up on colors. "What color is the light right now?" But then we started talking about how red means stop and green means go. I now travel with four backseat drivers.
It started innocently enough. "Mommy the light is red. Red means stop." "Go mommy go. It's green." Then things became complicated. A right turn on red usually elicits this response: "No!!! Mommy the light is red. Red means stop. You are being naughty." I have tried explaining that sometimes you can go when the light is red, but it's a concept they haven't been able to grasp just yet. Sometimes red means stop and sometimes it means go? Too much for a toddler to wrap her head around.
Yesterday Roo pointed out some colorful flags we saw on our car ride. She was talking about how she wanted the yellow one. Then Cakes started yelling "Orange, orange, orange." Hmmm... odd, because there weren't any orange flags. She likes the color orange so I figured she was simply saying she would pick an orange flag if she could. Then she starts yelling from the third row "Mommy, that light was orange. You were supposed to be ready to stop." I've been trying to explain the caution light to them, but this wasn't a typical traffic signal. We had just driven through those flashing yellow/orange lights you sometimes see near fire stations. "Well, Cakes," I tried to explain, "when the orange lights are blinking you need to slow down but you don't have to stop." At this point she had lost interest in the flashing lights and was now focused on the traffic light we were approaching. "Mommy it's red. Stop!!!!" We were a block away. I can't wait to have my revenge as a backseat driver when they have a driver's license!

June 08, 2009

Kids and Movies

I'm trying to decide what the best age is to take children to a movie theater. Is three-and-a-half too young? My daughters can sit through a feature length movie on DVD... when it keeps their interest. I just don't know which movies will keep their interest. Some days they can't get enough of Tinkerbell, yet the next time I ask them if they want to watch it, they answer with a resounding "NOOOOOO!" I would hate to take them to a movie and waste money because we have to leave halfway through.
I'm not necessarily worried about them talking or even being antsy. I think if you go to a children's movie you have to expect there will be children there and they will be loud from time to time. However, if a child wants to run around the entire time or simply
won't stop talking, then perhaps he or she is still not ready for the movie theater experience. I'm interested in feedback from other parents. At what age did you successfully take your child to a movie theater?
Several theater chains are offering free or discounted movies this summer, so I may use those opportunities for our "trial run." If you live near a Kerasotes theater, you might want to take advantage of the 2009 Free Summer Movie Series. From June 24-August 6, select Kerasotes theaters will show a children's movie at 9 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays. Admission is free and is on a first come, first seated basis. AMC theaters have a simliar program. The Summer MovieCamp runs June 17-August 5. Admission is $1, with proceeds going to two different charities. Fandango has a section on its website for its free summer movies, but there's no information, so I don't know if that company is actually offering free movies this summer. So if you go to one of these movies and see a harried mother of quadruplets trying to keep her children in their seats... yeah, it's probably me!!!!

June 07, 2009

Sunday Suppers: Ice Cream Balls

Since we've finally had some warm weather I thought I would share this recipe. OK, so it's not supper (although what kid wouldn't love to have ice cream for a meal???), but it is yummy and easy to make. So easy your kids may be able to help.

You'll need:

  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 7 graham crackers
  • 2 Nestle's Crunch candy bars (full size)
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
Crush the graham crackers and candy bars in a bowl, add peanut butter and mix together; roll balls of ice cream in the mixture and place in cupcake holders; keep frozen until ready to eat (makes about a dozen)

June 05, 2009

Drumroll Please

It's time to announce the winners of my Pay It Forward challenge. There weren't as many entries as I had hoped for, but I didn't think it was fair to extend the deadline. So, without further ado, the winners are Laura C. and LeAnn. Congratulations!!!! And for the rest of you, I have a long day of work tomorrow and plan to be back at full blog-strength on Sunday. Have a great weekend.

June 04, 2009

Last Chance...

Don't forget you have until 11:59 pm (MST) tonight to enter the Pay It Forward Challenge. Click here for details. I'll be announcing the winners some time Friday evening.

June 03, 2009

Tales of a Bed Rest Survivor

Who among us has not had a day, maybe even a weekend, where you just don't want to get out of bed? Maybe you've had a bad day, maybe it's rainy and gloomy outside, maybe you just want to be lazy for a day. Sounds nice, right? Imagine having your doctor tell you to stay in bed. Still sounds nice, right? Staying in bed on doctor's orders? Sure... until one day turns into 23 weeks. Ask anyone who has been bedridden for more than a day and they will tell you it isn't as fantastic as it seems. (For the record, that is not a picture of me.)
From the minute I found out I pregnant with quadruplets I was told to prepare for bed rest. The average estimate was around 18 weeks. OK, not bad, so I could work until then, prepare a cute nursery, buy all the gear I needed, enjoy being pregnant.... that noise you just heard is me shrieking with laughter, imagining what would have happened if that had been the reality.
Five weeks into my pregnancy I had my first bout of morning sickness. At this point I knew I was pregnant, but that's all I knew. I came home from work on a Thursday night nauseous beyond belief, amazed I had managed to work my full shift, and promptly fell into bed. I stayed there until mid-morning the next day when we had to embark on a two hour drive to the reproductive endocrinologist. As soon as I walked in the office I asked for an area to lie down. From that day until I delivered I did everything from a horizontal position.
I was never on a strict bed rest. I was told I could pretty much do whatever I felt up for... walking up and down steps, sitting outside... but it was a lot easier saying those things than actually doing them. For the first few weeks everything made me nauseous... thinking about food, talking about food, eating food... and hearing noise. Yep. Noises made me hurl. For about a month all I could do was lay in bed and either sleep or stare at the ceiling. I am not exaggerating. I was so thankful when I could finally sit up and listen to the TV. Yes, listen because watching the screen made me nauseous. Eventually I was able to actually watch TV and read a book or magazine.
I still live with the consequences of bed rest. I lost a lot of muscle strength in my legs. If I sit for long periods of time my legs ache when I finally stand up to walk. In the mornings I walk like a stereotypical old lady as my muscles fight my efforts to use them.
Still, there is an upside to my bed rest. Except for one week at the beginning of my pregnancy I never spent any time in the hospital until I gave birth. I was fortunate enough to be able to serve my time on bed rest at home... in my own bed, using my own shower. Twenty-three weeks of bed rest was certainly difficult, but I'm grateful I could do it on my own terms.

Confessions of a Cat Owner

I'll confess I hated cats until I met Elwood and Hootie. They were part of a package deal with Hubby. Until I met those two, the only exposure I had to cats was my grandparents' cat. I can't remember her name but every time we visited she would pee in our suitcase and chew holes in our socks. She didn't like us and I didn't like her.
Elwood "claimed" me as soon as he met me. Hootie was another story. He is one jealous guy. He destroyed some of my things in protest and I've never let him forget about it. Now the cat accepts me and we have a decent relationship. He knows who buys the cat food so he pretends to like me.
Two cats were plenty... but then along came Sebastian. Hubby and I are suckers for animals in distress. Hubby found Sebastian on our porch during a heat wave. He gave Sebastian some water and made a friend for life. Sebastian simply decided to stay put and he's been a great pet. He is incredibly skittish around the girls, much to their disappointment. Whenever Tortilla sees Sebastian she runs toward him, hoping to pet him. She's getting better at realizing he's timid.
Three cats... sounds like a good number. Then came Morton. He had been hit by a car and our vet worked on him for free. Then the vet needed to find him a home and decided we looked like pushovers. She was right. He's the only cat we own that has his front claws, but it has never been an issue. He doesn't scratch the girls and that's what counts... but he will thump them on the head if they pester him.
Before our daughters were born Hubby and I both volunteered at an animal shelter. I can't tell you the number of times we wanted to bring home "just one more." Fortunately we had enough sense to realize five is too many. Four is probably too many for most people but I can't picture our house without any of these guys.
Pets are a huge responsibility, especially when kids are in the picture. My cats were pretty neglected for the first year of my daughters' lives. Oh, they always had food and water as well as a clean cat box, but they didn't receive a whole lot of attention. Fortunately my daughters are now at an age where they take an active role in caring for our cats. They help put out the food. They ALWAYS tell me when a cat has coughed up a hairball. They play with the cats and even give them hugs. It's pretty cute to see. Unfortunately they've been asking when we're going to buy a puppy....

June 02, 2009

Cleaning Up the Clutter

Hubby and I have lived in our house for nearly two years. Not only are we buried in laundry, we are still buried in boxes. Some days I feel like 10 years from now we'll still be trying to unpack. It is all I can do to keep my daughters' closet organized and right now I'm failing in that area, too.
We're slowly making progress. Most of the boxes in our guest room, den and bedroom have been unpacked, so at least the other boxes are "hidden" in the basement. This weekend Hubby was able to unpack a few boxes and I managed to sort through baby clothes. Yes, my daughters are almost four and I still have boxes of baby clothes. No, I am NOT holding on to them "just in case." My moms of multiples group has a sale twice a year and you are only supposed to sell seasonally. I have only participated in two sales and I just didn't have time to tag everything. This weekend, though, I managed to sort most of the remaining clothes into "sell" or "donate" piles. I ended up with five boxes of clothes to donate and it took just a half hour for some triplet moms to claim those boxes.
My daughters' closet is another story. I can only keep things "in season" in their closet or it becomes an overflowing mess. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to take out the winter clothes, so it is now an overflowing mess of winter and summer. Hubby is so fed up that he insists I pick out clothes the night before if it's his job to dress the girls in the morning. (Really, I think this is just an excuse and he simply doesn't want me giving him a hard time for dressing them in polka dots and plaid... together. His fashion sense is a little off.)
So, my goal for this next weekend is to organize that closet. I may literally be buried in laundry before this is all said and done.

June 01, 2009

I Drive a Big White Car

If you watch the Wiggles, you'll know I'm paraphrasing Sam and his big red car. But, yes, it's true, I drive I big car... an SUV to be exact. Before you light your torches let me explain some things. First of all, my SUV, a Chevrolet Suburban, is the only vehicle we own that can seat our entire family. The six of us cannot fit in my husband's current vehicle. Our Suburban is used primarily when our children need to go somewhere with us. Call my Suburban a gas guzzler, but I fill it up on average, just once a month because Hubby's car is used whenever possible. Running to the grocery store sans kids? Hubby's car is used... which is a huge sacrifice on my part considering we live in a desert climate and the A/C in his car doesn't work.
If you have ever put an infant or child car seat in a vehicle, you know they tend to take up more room than just one seat. In theory, our Suburban seats eight people. With car seats we have room for the six of us and no one else. (Actually, if you sit at an angle in the third row you can squeeze yourself between the two car seats back there, but it's not a comfortable or safe way to travel). We had a lot of trouble finding a vehicle that would fit four car seats and still leave us room for "stuff" (strollers, etc). Minivans tend to have room for all the people but not a lot of space for any miscellaneous gear.
Where am I going with all of this? Well, on the heels of the GM bankruptcy announcement I've heard many automakers are going to stop making "big" vehicles. I get the environmental impact of that. A family of three may not necessarily need a huge SUV that seats 8. But a family of six (or more)... we need something we can all get around in. I'll be curious to see what type of vehicles are on the market the next time we need to buy a new car... which could be soon because we are pretty much driving Hubby's car into the ground.
(Don't forget you have until Thursday night to enter the Pay It Forward Challenge.)