December 30, 2009

A Short Break

Things have been crazy here the last week trying to entertain four toddlers on break from preschool, prepare for Christmas, keep the house in order, work and blog. Soooo.... I'm taking a break from blogging until next week. I need to regroup, refresh and come up with some ideas.
Happy New Year! See you all in 2010!

December 29, 2009

The H1N1 Saga

Who knew it would be so difficult to schedule H1N1 shots for my daughters? OK, those of you who have tried to schedule appointments probably knew it would be difficult. First, I tried to make arrangements for us to go to one of the free clinics offered by our local health department. I nixed that when I learned they were only offering the nasal spray. I just didn't like what I read about the spray. Plus, after hearing what other parents endured I wasn't sure my daughters could patiently stand in the long lines at the clinics. Then I tried to make an appointment through our pediatrician, but was told since my daughters are 4 years old they're not "high risk."
Finally, the pediatrician's office received a big supply of the vaccine and started scheduling all its patients. We went for our first shot. I took them by myself. Big mistake. The entire drive to the office they talked about their shot. They were mellow... until we walked in the room for the shots. All four of them started screaming and crying hysterically. Roo tried to kick me. Can you blame her? These same girls had five vaccinations each a few months ago. They really wanted nothing to do with needles. Fortunately lollipops after the H1N1 vaccine helped.
Now I'm trying to discreetly schedule their second dose. I can't even say "shot" around them without having someone eek out a few tears. I keep calling it "H1N1." Have you seen the Chef Boyardee commercial where the mom starts banging pots and pans when someone mentions vegetables? That's how I feel when someone says "shot."
The pediatrician's office offers the follow up on two days... not easy to manage when you're juggling preschool and work. Right now we have an appointment scheduled and I'm frantically trying to find a "volunteer" to come with me. Hubby has to work and I just can't do it by myself again. My hope is to have someone stay in the waiting room with the girls and I'll take them back one at time. I'm hoping this will eliminate some of the trauma. Wish me luck!

December 28, 2009

Recovering from Christmas

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm exhausted! Christmas can take a lot out of a parent, but it's well worth it.
Can you believe Hubby and I actually had to wake our girls up on Christmas morning? They stayed up late on Christmas Eve, and the next morning I rolled over, looked at the clock and discovered it was 7:30 a.m. Definitely time to see what Santa brought.
The Pillow Pets were a huge hit. Tortilla found them first... and found hers last, so it was slightly comical to watch her excitement and then disappointment as she discovered each of her sisters' Pillow Pets. She was overjoyed to finally find her purple unicorn. They've each been using their Pillow Pets at night.
After all the presents were opened we had our traditional cinnamon roll breakfast and then I set about trying to straighten the house.... or at least clean up all the wrapping paper and stray boxes.
Then it was time for round two when grandma and grandpa came to visit. I gave up trying to keep the house clean. After two days of stepping over toys, I finally made the girls sit on the couch until I could make things look presentable again.
It was definitely a magical Christmas. They finally understood all the fuss. It was so much fun watching their sheer delight as they discovered the treasures Santa left for them. It's also the first year they sat through the entire Christmas Eve service without fussing or fidgeting, which I think is pretty impressive.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to start shopping for next year!

December 22, 2009

The Pillow Pets are Here

Last night when I drove home from work, I passed the UPS truck. It was just leaving our neighborhood. Could it be? Were the Pillow Pets finally here? Yep!!!!!
I was so excited to see the box, but a little concerned. It was an awfully small box to be holding four Pillow Pets. I couldn't wait. I grabbed the box, dashed into the den, shut the door.... and found four Pillow Pets crammed into the box. They fluffed up the second I took them out of the box. They're soft. They're cute. They're just what my girls want for Christmas.
Am I excited? I cannot wait for Christmas morning. It's going to be a truly magical day... and not just because the Pillow Pets arrived in time!
(And just a reminder from my original post about Pillow Pets: I was not paid to write about these things nor was I given any free Pillow Pets. My daughters saw a commercial a few months ago and have been telling me Santa's going to bring them each one. And he is!)

December 20, 2009

I Need a Bigger Bed

When Hubby and I bought our first house we were overwhelmed by the amount of space we had. The home included our "master suite" and two other bedrooms, plus a den downstairs. We turned one of the extra bedrooms into a "reading room" and the other into our guest room. We decided to upgrade our own bedroom furniture. I really wanted a King size bed. I grew up sleeping on a double bed and really like, want, need the extra space. I wanted to be able to sprawl out, roll around and sleep without running into Hubby or any cats. Hubby argued that a King size bed wasn't practical for the size of our bedroom. I relented and went with the Queen. I wish I had fought harder.
A King size bed absolutely takes up a lot of space. But it's space well worth it. Since we bought this bedroom set approximately six years ago, I have spent countless nights kicking Hubby's legs off my side of the bed and shoving cats toward Hubby. I often wake wondering how I managed not to fall out of bed given the fact that I'm practically clinging to the side of the bed.
Having four preschoolers makes me want a bigger bed even more. When everyone became 100% potty-trained, the gate over their bedroom door had to come down. Now it's at the top of the steps, meaning the entire upstairs is fair game.
It's actually pretty fun to have my daughters come in my bedroom to "check on me." I pretend I'm still sleeping while they climb into the bed and crawl under the covers. Then I'll open my eyes and feign surprise that four little girls are in my bed. On these mornings we'll stay in bed for awhile just being silly and giggling. Still, we could use more space because those mornings often end with arguments over who is going to sleep next to mommy and whose turn it is to lay on one of the pillows.
Hubby's work schedule has changed again and he's now home in the mornings. I know the girls are excited to "check on" both mommy and daddy in the morning. We may have to be like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and have a huge bed custom-made for us!

December 18, 2009

What if There's No Chimney?

Much to my dismay, our house does not have a fire place. Our home in northern Michigan did and the cats and I were quite spoiled by it during the winter. When we moved, a fire place wasn't a deal breaker, but it was on my list of "wants." Unfortunately, it just didn't happen. Now my daughters want to know how Santa will get in the house.
When the question came up, I gave them the first explanation I could think of: Santa will knock softly on the front door and mommy or daddy will let him in. They liked that idea but were still concerned Santa might not find our house since there's no chimney. Then their preschool teacher came up with an excellent project: Magic Reindeer Food. Each child filled a small baggie with "reindeer food" (oatmeal) and "magic dust" (glitter or small shiny ribbon). On Christmas Eve my daughters will sprinkle the food on our sidewalk. When the reindeer see the food, they'll know to come to our house. I thought it was a really cute idea. Oh, but if you try this at home, remember the teacher's final words: the reindeer will be eating lots of food that night, so there might be some left on your sidewalk and lawn in the morning!

December 17, 2009

Pillow Pets Update

They shipped today!!!! Now it's all in the hands of UPS. Now I guess I need to get a move on and start wrapping the other gifts. Where did December go?

December 15, 2009

Opinions are Like....

If you are a parent and you have never been given unsolicited advice, you are a rare commodity. Family, friends, neighbors, complete strangers have taken it upon themselves to tell me how to raise my children. I know I am not alone in this situation.
The first time a stranger gave me unsolicited advice, I was floored. My daughters were released from the NICU just before Christmas. We were living in northern Michigan and it is cold, cold cold during that time of year. To keep them warm and to prevent looky-loos from touching my daughters with germ-infested hands, I made the decision to use a product called Bundle Me. It's a cover that goes over infant car seats. It was wonderful. It kept my daughters warm when we had to venture out and I could simply pull the cover over their faces to keep them hidden if people so much as thought about sneezing in our direction. Then it happend. I was sitting at a medical appointment with Cakes, minding my own business. Truly, we only ventured out that winter for appointments, but with four preemies we had plenty of appointments to go to. As I sat waiting for our name to be called, a woman came over, sat down next to me and started lecturing me on the dangers of my Bundle Me. She said she was a NICU nurse and has seen children suffocate in these things. (Oh really? Then why is the product still on the market? Yes, you have to be careful when covering an infant with a blanket, but PUH-LEEZ). I let her blab for awhile. Then I looked at her with an amused expression and asked her if she was a NICU nurse at the local hosptial. No, she replied, a bit confused, she worked in a different state, why? So I proceeded to politely tell her that if she was from northern Michigan she might recognize me (you know, TV anchor and all) and would know that all four of my newborn daughters had just spent a significant amount of time in the NICU. During that time, I explained, I had many lessons on the special care preemies need and had gone through infant First Aid and CPR training as well. I showed her that Cakes was in fact breathing, picked up the infant carrier and moved to a different seat.
I'm sure some would argue that if you think a child is in danger you should speak up. I don't disagree, but to this day I do not appreciate the way that woman handled the situation. Essentially, she spoke to me like I had no idea what I was doing as a parent. Parenthood isn't easy. It's a lot of learning on the fly. There are dozens of proper ways to do the same thing. I don't have my daughters nap any more. It doesn't work for us. But I don't judge parents of other kids who aren't willing to budge on nap time. I let my daughters watch TV, other parents think TV is corrupting our kids. I could go on and on about the things I do that you may do differently.
I'm curious how many other parents have found themselves on the receiving end of awkward, inappropriate, unsolicited advice.

December 14, 2009

Look Ma! No Tears!

Over the weekend we had the opportunity to go to our local zoo to see the Christmas lights set up throughout the facility. The added bonus? Santa was there. All day long, all four of my daughters kept talking about how excited they were to sit on Santa's lap.
When we got to the zoo, we went searching for the big guy. A moment of panic set in when a zoo volunteer gave me a blank look after I asked him where to find Santa. Fortunately, someone standing nearby knew just where Jolly Old St. Nick was. We arrived at a good time and didn't have to wait too long. Santa's helper was in awe over seeing quadruplets. Sometimes I dread the unwanted attention, but the elf's excitement ensured she would let each girl sit on Santa's lap by themselves, and then regroup for a shot of all four of them. (Did I mention you got to take your own pictures? Yippee!!!) There were other families taking individual pictures of their non-multiple children, so it's not like we broke any rules.
Sue Sue and Roo had a slight disagreement over who would go first. In years past, this argument would have been something along the lines of "no, YOU go first." This year, however, the two of them couldn't wait to climb on Santa's lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Sue Sue went first, smiling in delight the whole time. Then Roo followed, grinning from ear to ear. Then it was Cakes' turn. She looked a little skeptical. She held the elf's hand.... climbed on Santa's lap... and gave a huge smile. Then I looked at Tortilla. She was trying to hide behind the nearest adult. Not good. So I crouched down and quietly asked her if she wanted to talk to Santa. She shook her head no. I asked her if she could just jump on his lap really quick for a picture and told her she didn't actually have to talk to him. She nodded her head. When it was her turn, she shyly took the elf's hand, walked over to Santa, got on his lap and practially buried her head in his beard. He said something to her that I couldn't hear... she smiled and then proceed to tell him what she wanted for Christmas. After she received her candy cane, her sisters joined her for a group picture. Tortilla is the one with the biggest smile in that picture.
It's the first year we've made it through our visit to Santa without a single tear. All four girls keep talking about how much fun it was to see Santa and how nice he was. They keep asking if they can see him again and I've had to gently remind them that other children need their turn to visit with the big guy.

December 11, 2009

Trimming the Tree Preschool Style

I love decorating the Christmas tree. Each ornament brings back great memories. I remember when I was growing up, my sister and I each had certain ornaments that we wanted to put on three tree. Hubby and I both have ornaments for our tree that we've had since birth. Some of our ornaments are family "treasures," passed on from our grandparents to our parents to us.
It's hard to tell four preschoolers that they need to sit still while you tell them about each special ornament. Instead, I showed them their special ornaments, which they thought was really exciting. They each have ornaments with their names, or pictures, or ornaments they made last year in preschool. They had a blast trimming the tree yesterday.
When I was little, the bottom part of the tree was for me. I was allowed to decorate it however I wanted. It may have looked like sheer randomness, but when my grandmother would visit and try to "straighten things out," I immediately knew when something was out of place. So I let my daughters have at it. This is the result.
Sure, there are spots where you can tell the tree was decorated by preschoolers, but that's the beauty of decorating the Christmas tree. A perfectly decorated tree is just no fun.
We actually managed to get through the entire process with only one broken ornament (so far). Believe it or not, the ornament jumped off the tree all by itself. No one was standing near the tree and then I heard a thud, gasps (all of us), and finally shatter. I think in my haste to get the breakables out of reach I made a major mistake. I put some of them up first, rather than last. In all the excitement and jostling the ornament fell off, hit the carpet (where it did not break) and then bounced to the wood floor where it met its inevitable fate.
One broken ornament could not ruin the day, though. The sheer joy and delight in my daughters' eyes when the tree was finished and lit up was priceless. We still have decorations to put up throughout the house and they cannot wait to see what's inside all the boxes and tubs sitting in our dining room.

December 10, 2009

Popular Daddy

With his new work schedule, Hubby had time yesterday to volunteer in our daughters' classroom. You would have thought he was Santa Claus, based on the stories I've heard. Throughout the morning little girls were clamboring to sit on his lap... including our four girls who were slightly miffed that they had to "share" Daddy. Little boys begged him to make Play-doh shapes during indoor recess. One little girl insisted on holding Hubby's hand on the walk to the front of the school for pickup and almost missed her bus because she didn't want to part ways with Hubby and walk with the bus kids.
It would be easy to say these kids are starved for attention or need a good male role model. I don't think that's the case. I've seen lots of dads picking up their kids, attending holiday parties at school, etc. Still, the dads seem to always be considered more fun than the moms. During the Thanksgiving party, one dad was sitting in the book nook reading to his son... suddenly every boy in the class and one of my girls, circled around him to hear the story. There were other parents reading books, but it was the dad who was the most popular.
Hubby is goofy and can be a kid himself at times, which explains why he relates so well to preschoolers. I'm glad he had a good time in school and I know the teacher is looking forward to his return.

December 09, 2009

The Santa Card

I have turned into that parent. You know... the one who uses Santa as a threat. As in: if you don't behave Santa will know.
I didn't want to do it, but I was at my wit's end. Hubby and I think our daughters have realized they outnumber us and are using this fact to their advantage. How else to explain why that "magical switch" everyone told me about didn't get flipped when they turned four? I was promised by numerous people that four would be so much nicer than three. Eh. Not really. They're more defiant. More willing to test boundaries. More likely to make me want to pull my hair out.
So then it happened. The other night Sue Sue was testing my patience and I told her Santa might have to put her on the naughty list. "No!" she wailed. "I want presents." (OK, I might have also mentioned that kids on the naughty list only receive lumps of coal for Christmas). BUT... ever since the threat of being on the naughty list was tossed out there, all four of them have been a little better behaved. Some days. Now what will I use when Christmas is over?

December 08, 2009

The Coveted Gift of the Season Pt. 2

I lamented last week about my stress related to Pillow Pets. My daughters each want one of these stuffed animals that unfolds to be a full-size pillow. My order is "back ordered" and I'm stunned by the number of people who want these things. A search on the Internet yielded numerous sites with parents talking about how desperate they are to get their hands on these things. All of this has given me a new appreciation for my parents and grandparents.
When I was somewhere between the age of three and five I wanted a Whoopsie doll. Maybe it was a regional thing because whenever I talk about this doll people look at me like I'm crazy.
When you squeeze Whoospie's stomach, her little pony tails fly up and she says "whoopsie." But, according to my mom, finding this doll was like trying to find a Cabbage Patch Kid when those first came out. Whoopsie was the hot toy one Christmas, at least for little girls in Ohio. Then one day my grandparents heard on the radio that a toy store about an hour from their house had just received a "Whoopsie shipment." They called the store and begged the workers to put one aside for them. No luck. They jumped in the car and raced to the store. I can just picture my grandfather on his CB talking to the truckers and asking them to alert him about any "Smokies" up ahead. Guess what? Christmas morning Whoopsie and I became fast friends. I still have that doll.
As for the Pillow Pets... I found out cyber friends can be awesome. Stephanie B from Ask Me Anything and Rocket Scientist went to her mall and found the Pillow Pets my girls want. She talked with the kiosk worker and found out I could have all four for $140. Stephanie was willing to buy them and ship them to me. After a long discussion with Hubby and an update from the site where I placed my order, we decided that we'll take a gamble and wait for our original order to arrive. Still, Stephanie deserves a HUGE thank you (THANK YOU!!!!) for her willingness to help. I like to picture her speeding along a crowded highway talking on a CB to truckers about the "Smokies." I'm pretty sure that's not how it happened, but it could make for a good story to tell my daughters one day.

December 07, 2009

Different Ways to Do the Same Things

We have a standard set of rules in our house. No hitting, no biting, no sassing, etc. Still, I think it has to be confusing for our daughters to try and figure out the subtle differences between the way Hubby does things and the way I do things.
It's not that Hubby and I have drastically different ways of doing things, it's just that we prefer different methods when it comes to certain things. For instance, in the mornings Roo is often the first one up. She'll use the bathroom and then look around her room to see if anyone else is awake. If everyone is awake (or if she thinks they should be awake) she'll turn the bedroom light on. I don't have a problem with that, since everyone's going to be up soon anyway. Hubby, however, makes her keep the light off on the mornings he's in charge, so her sisters can savor every millisecond of sleep. I've started trying to do it his way, just so she's a little less confused.
After meals I usually have the girls stand on their chairs so I can wipe off their hands and faces. It's easier on my back. I realize I'll have to stop this practice one day, but for now it works best for me. Hubby does not want them standing on their chairs after meals. I have been told by my daughters "You like us to stand. Daddy doesn't." At least they're figuring it out.
I know we're not alone with this dilemma. Every parent has different styles of doing things. I don't think it's a bad thing. Yes, it can still be confusing at a young age, but it's teaching our girls to adapt to different environments and go with the flow. Either that or I'm just a big pushover.

December 03, 2009

The Coveted Gift of the Season

This is the first year my daughters have a good understanding that Christmas is important. I think for the most part they understand Santa is coming, but I'm trying to teach them about the true meaning of the holiday. Still, they like to discuss what Santa might bring them.
For the first time they have actually requested something from Santa. In years past I would just put ideas in their head. Something along the lines of "Wouldn't it be nice if Santa brought you Tinkerbell pajamas?"
This year, though, they know what they want. Pillow Pets. What is a Pillow Pet, you ask? It looks liked a stuffed animal and unfolds to a full-size pillow.
*DISCLAIMER: I am NOT being compensated by the makers of Pillow Pets to write this post. In fact, the makers of Pillow Pets probably don't know that this blog even exists. My point? I didn't receive any freebies, money, or anything else to talk about how much my girls want Pillow Pets this Christmas.
First I looked up Pillow Pets online. Roughly $20 each when you count shipping costs. Then I emailed the company to see if any stores in my area carry the animals/pillows. I'm still waiting to hear back. Then I emailed someone who loves shopping for my daughters and asked her to be on the lookout for these mysterious creatures. She actually found two: The bumblebee Sue Sue wants and the ladybug Cakes requested. But what if I bought two and never found Tortilla's unicorn or Roo's dog?
After much searching, I realized my best option was to order them online. I waited until "Black Friday," in hopes of finding a good deal. Amazon? Yeah, they're being sold for $150. I am not joking. So back to the official website I went. Sold out until Dec. 1. Then I checked the website shown on the TV commercials. Bingo. Placed my order... and then received a confirmation email telling me I'll receive my four Pillow Pets in two to four weeks. No, I'm not stressed out that they might not arrive in time. The one gift my daughters are convinced Santa will leave under the tree and I'm relying on some corporation to make that wish come true. So if by some miraculous reason someone connected with Pillow Pets is reading this blog (ha ha) then please make sure the order with the unicorn, bumblebee, dog and lady bug is shipped soon.

December 02, 2009

The Bed Time Snack

It was bound to happen. I didn't think Hubby would be the one to do it. However, based on experience, I should have known it was coming.
The other night, while I was at work, Hubby introduced our daughters to the bed time snack. OK, not RIGHT AT bed time, but you know what I mean. He was making Chex Mix (he makes a KILLER Chex Mix) and decided to share its fresh-out-of-the-oven goodness with the girls. They were ecstatic to receive a snack after dinner.
Little do they know, they used to get a night time snack. When they were one and two, about an hour after dinner I would load them up with Kix and other cereal to fill them up and send them to bed full and sleepy. I'm not really sure why the bed time snack disappeared. I think bath time just got in the way and these days we're scrambling to give them dinner, bathe them and get them in bed at a reasonable time.
Then Hubby messed it all up. He essentially told them that it's OK to eat after dinner. Now every night they want a bed time snack.
Yet, who am I to argue? When I was little, my grandma gave me ice cream after dinner, not at dessert time but as a bed time snack. It drove my mom crazy. After having ice cream (we're talking a full-on ice cream cone here, not ice cream in a bowl), I expected ice cream before bed every night! Hubby said his grandma did the same thing. It wasn't always ice cream, but when she babysat him she gave him a snack before bed.
Hubby pointed out that he and I STILL have a snack before bed. Old habits are hard to break. We try not to make it a disgustingly fattening snack, but sometimes that's hard to do. As for our girls, well, last night they each had a slice of cheese. That seemed to appease them. We'll see what happens though when "someone" gives them ice cream before bed time.

December 01, 2009


At age four are my daughters still toddlers? I don't know, but I've dubbed some of the hilarious things they say to me as "Toddlerisms."

Me: Do you remember what the dentist said?
Sue Sue: Don't suck your thumb.
Me: OK, so please stop.
Sue Sue: But then my thumb will be cold.

Cakes: Mommy Mommy! She used the potty. She gets a sticker! (referring to a visitor)
Me: No, honey, she's a grown up. She doesn't get stickers.
Cakes: Oh.... because she pooped and she gets candy instead??

I've been working with Roo on "sm-" words (smell, smoke, smash, etc) because she tends to leave off the "s." We have some flash cards from her speech therapist.
Me: What is this?
Roo: Smile
Me: How about this?
Roo: Smash
Me: This one?
Roo: S..... little
Guess we need to work on "small."

Me: (singing "Jingle Bells") Laughing all the way... ha ha ha
Tortilla: Mommy, we don't say ha ha.
Me: It's part of the song, honey, we're just laughing, not being mean.
Tortilla: Well that's a naughty song.