December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Since I don't want to end 2010 on my vent from yesterday, I thought I would briefly blog today. It has FINALLY snowed where I live. Considering some years we have a blizzard by Thanksgiving, this has been a much delayed winter. My daughters wanted to make snow angels at the first sign of snow. 
I hope 2011 brings all of you good things. I am excited by the new year. I'm making some changes (think eating healthier, exercising more) and I hope I can stick with them.
(There's still time to enter my Purex Complete Crystals Softener giveaway).
Happy New Year!

December 30, 2010

Jazz Hands

We've all worked with someone who is an expert at "Jazz Hands." My friend coined this phrase and I love it. It totally describes a manager I can't stand working with. He is great at making it look like he's working but really isn't doing much. He looks like he's busy on the computer but is really just answering personal email. He sounds like he's involved in a serious phone conversation, but he really just spent a half hour chatting with his wife. He's great at delegating, not supporting. 
I don't work retail because it's fun or even because I want to get out of the house. I work retail because it accommodates my crazy life. It is not my goal to work in retail management. If I wanted endless hours during the holidays I would still be in television news. I am not saying my job is beneath me. It provides me a pay check and a discount. But I bust my butt when I'm there and I expect a "thanks" every now and then, or at least a "hey, things were really crazy when you came in tonight. Thanks for doing what you could to restore order."
I'm just so tired of one particular manager treating all of us like dirt. I think he takes pleasure in making my female coworkers cry. At least I'm "older" (most of my coworkers are in their 20s) so I've been around enough to know what is acceptable and what is not. I'm not afraid to stand up for myself and point out when people are being treated poorly. He does the jazz hands, we do the work, he gets the credit. Can you tell I had a rough night at work last night?
On a lighter note, take time to check out my review for Purex Complete Crystals Softener and enter my giveaway.
 

December 29, 2010

Taming the Clutter

One of my daughters' favorite activities is playing with dress up clothes. We have old Halloween costumes, as well as assorted princess dresses, shoes and accessories. We have been storing them in a small box, but when more dress up clothes showed up under the Christmas tree, Hubby and I knew it was time to take action.
After a little brain storming, Hubby came up with a great idea. He put a coat rack in our living room/play room. It has worked wonders. All the costumes go on the rack. All the shoes, purses, jewelry and other accessories go in the aforementioned box. 

It's a small step toward "decluttering" our house. My girls have been so excited by the coat rack that they've been much better at cleaning up. For now, it's still fun to hang things up. OK, so based on the picture, the rack is a tad cluttered, but at least the costumes aren't scattered around my house.It's only one little corner of my house that actually has some organization, but we have to start somewhere!
Don't forget to check out my Purex Complete Crystals Softener giveaway and enter for your chance to win a free bottle of the softener.

December 28, 2010

Giveaway: Purex Complete Crystals Softener


As you can tell from the title of my blog, I do a lot of laundry. In a good week (meaning no emergency loads due to illness, etc.) I do 12 loads of laundry. I do my daughters' laundry every other day, plus have a "family laundry day" to wash my clothes and Hubby's clothes. 
I'm always looking for ways to simplify this dreaded chore. The main lifesaver was receiving a "hand-me-down" front loading washer and dryer set from a relative. She upgraded. We benefited. It has definitely made laundry day easier. Still, as someone who uses liquid fabric softener, I've struggled with how much to put in my front loader. In a "standard" washer I would fill the designated area with softener, top the rest off with water and... done. The way my front loader is set up it's not as easy, that's why I was eager to try Purex Complete Crystals Softener. As a member of Purex Insiders, I'm among the first to give it a try. In fact, it just went on sale today at Wal Mart (other retailers will begin carrying the product in January and February).
As the name states, it's a crystal, not a liquid or a powder. It goes directly into your washer, which took a lot of the guess-work out for me. A few sprinkles and I'm done. According to Purex, the Purex Complete Crystal Softeners are 92% natural and, unlike oil-based liquid fabric softeners, won't coat your laundry with oil. The product goes in the washer, rather than in a dispenser cup, to penetrate the fabric. According to Purex, this is the first major fabric softener that is 100% safe to use on children's sleepwear, as it does not impair these flame retardant qualities.
I've used the crystal softener a few times now. My initial reaction is a little goes a long way. The smell is nice, but strong. You really need to pay attention to how much you use. My first load I didn't feel like my clothes were as soft as they have been with liquid softeners, but after putting in fewer crystals in the next load I was satisfied. The smell wasn't as overpowering and my clothes were soft.
I'm giving away one coupon for a free bottle of Purex Complete Crystals Softener.
To enter the giveaway: (A valid email address must be left in your comments)
  • Visit the Purex site and leave me a comment telling me which scent you think you would like to try. This step is mandatory.
For additional entries: (leave a separate comment for each entry)
  • Become a follower of Buried in Laundry (or leave a comment telling me you already follow)
  • Blog about this giveaway and link back to this post
  • Follow me on Twitter (@Quadmamablog) or leave a comment telling me you already follow me on Twitter
  • Tweet about this giveaway (include @Quadmamablog in your tweet)
The deadline to enter is 9 am MST Monday January 3, 2011. Three winners will be chosen. A valid email address is required to enter. This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. The winner has 48 hours after notification to provide me with a mailing address or a new winner will be chosen.
(Disclosure: As a Purex Insider, I was provided a complimentary sample to review. Purex also gave me a coupon for a free bottle which I will be passing on to the winner. No monetary compensation was provided for this post. All opinions are mine).

December 27, 2010

What I Learned from Christmas

This was supposed to be the best Christmas ever. It wasn't. There were lots of things that happened bringing tears and frustration throughout the day. I won't say Christmas was horrible, but I will say it didn't go the way any of us thought and that made us all a little sad. Here are the things I learned:
  • Illness is inevitable in our family during the holidays
It started the morning of Christmas Eve. I woke up to one of the girls throwing up. She has been battling a cold and made herself sick from her continuous coughing. Fortunately, she was better almost immediately. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for me. I woke up Christmas morning raring to go. Soon after the gifts had been opened and the cinnamon rolls devoured, I started feeling cold. Eventually I was freezing. I was so chilled that even sitting in the sun wrapped in my Snuggie wasn't helping. Soon, my stomach started churning. By the time my in-laws showed up to give the girls their gifts and eat lunch, I was ready to retreat to my bed. A few hours later, I started feeling a tad better and we managed to spend the night playing all our new games. (This, of course, caused huge drama with a relative who invited us over to dinner at the last minute and was beyond angry that Hubby refused to go. He didn't think it was appropriate to leave me alone on Christmas and I'm grateful that he stuck to his guns).
  • My closet is not a good hiding spot for gifts
My girls aren't old enough to know gifts are hiding somewhere in our house. My closet seemed like a good spot.... until the night I wanted to wrap presents. I had to walk by each of their rooms with the gifts, so Hubby and I had to wait until they were sound asleep. Next year, the gifts will be stored in the basement!
  • Bike helmets should be bought sooner, rather than later
The big gift this year was big girl bikes. They were a hit. Somehow we avoided a white Christmas and instead had a 50 degree Christmas... perfect for testing out the new bikes. I couldn't buy helmets before Christmas without giving away the surprise (I need the girls with me to make sure the helmets fit), but after Cakes took four spills yesterday, I've decided we'll be going to the store in the next few days for helmets.
  • You need to go with the flow
Yes, there were some disappointments, namely the illness and drama, but overall we still had a good Christmas. Things didn't go as planned/hoped, but we were all together, we're all healthy (well, we are now) and we managed to share more laughs than tears. Months from now when I look back at this Christmas, I won't look back at the drama. I'll look back at the smiles and excitement as my girls figured out how to maneuver their new bikes. I'll look back at their delight realizing the game Pretty Pretty Princess involves wearing tons of jewelry. I'll look back at the fact that all six of us found a way to salvage a day that could have been a disaster.

December 22, 2010

There's a First Time for Everything

Yesterday was a "first" for me. It was the first time I took all four of my girls to the grocery store to do a week's worth of shopping. I've taken them to run in for a few things, but this was different. I often take one with me to the store. The most I had previously taken was three, which was easy. I used one of those "car" shopping carts, put two in the car and one in the cart seat and it was easy. This time, though, I knew all four of them would have to.... walk. 
It actually wasn't a bad experience. I don't know if it's something I want to repeat any time soon, but at least I know it's doable. They (mostly) stayed with me. They helped put things in the cart. We only ran into a handful of cranky shoppers who didn't want to wait for our parade to pass by. For the most part, the other shoppers were friendly and accommodating. 
I ran into a minor crisis going back to the car. On the way into the store, we could all hold hands in the parking lot. On the way out I was suddenly burdened by a shopping cart full of groceries. I instantly regretted not accepting the bagger's offer to help me out to the car. I had each of the girls hold onto the cart and we slowly made our way to the car. Somehow we managed to make the journey without a single car driving by.
Like I said, I don't know if I'll do it again anytime soon, but at least I know it can be done!

December 21, 2010

Are You Ready?

I don't like leaving things to the last minute. Ever since my girls came along, my Christmas shopping takes place year-round. I start as soon as the January clearance sales begin and I finish in mid-November. Still, this year I feel like I'm missing something.
I can't put my finger on it. I've done a mental inventory of everything I've purchased. Everyone is accounted for. Sure, it still needs wrapped, but that I can leave for the last minute (mainly because wrapping is so tedious).
Maybe it's the lack of snow. By now, the area where I live has typically had at least one major snowfall. This year... nada. We will likely have a brown, crunchy Christmas instead of a white one. It makes for safe travels for those driving to see us, but also makes it hard to be in the right mood.
Either way, the big day is almost here so I guess I had better make sure everything is in order.

December 20, 2010

A Heartbreaking Conversation

In the last few days, one of my daughters has been, well, let's just say "grumpy." She fought with her sisters. She yelled at her sisters. She stomped around when things made her mad... and everything seemed to make her mad.
At first I chalked it up to a growth spurt. When they're going through a growth spurt, my girls tend to be tired and cranky. However, when this behavior continued over the course of several days, I found myself ready to snap. At one point, I took her to another room, away from her sisters and asked her what was wrong. She kept talking about a toy that she wanted to play with that one of her sisters had. Slowly, I started to realize what was happening. "What is it like being a quadruplet?" I asked her. Her response? She began to cry and said "It's hard. I always have to share everything." 
I can't begin to imagine what it is like to be a multiple. You do share everything. In our house not only do you share mom and dad, toys and clothes, you also share classmates and a bed room. We will likely never be able to afford a house in which all four of them can have their own room. We will likely never live in a school district which has four classes of the same grade level.
I really need to get back to our "one on one" time. I took the daughter in question to the grocery store with me the next day. She talked about how much fun it was to go with me. In the car I asked her if she could be a little happier since she had the chance to get out of the house by herself.... and ever since then she has been a much happier little girl.

December 15, 2010

A Fun Break

I'm tapped out when it comes to "kid" posts this week. I think I'm just too focused on work and Christmas to think of anything else. So, I thought I would have a little fun with today's post. While I was working out yesterday, I realized some people would likely be surprised by the music on my IPod. It's not really "mom" music, if there is such a thing. Keep in mind, it's an IPod shuffle, so you can't create any playlists. So, I keep this as my "workout" music and not my "everyday music." I'm putting it on shuffle right now (since that's my only option) and I'm going to tell you the first five songs that come on.
  • "Come on Eileen" Saving Ferris
I am a child of the '80s. I love '80s music and spent as many Thursday nights as I could in college at the local bar that had "80s night."  This cover of the song is fabulous because I can actually make out most of the lyrics!
  • "Handsome Man" Robbie Williams
I can't get enough of Robbie Williams. I don't know what it is. He's arrogant and it makes me laugh.
  • "You Don't Know What You Got" Joan Jett
Remember my earlier reference to being a child of the '80s? Joan Jett is a rock goddess. One of my first records (boy I'm old) was a 45 of "I Love Rock and Roll." I'm pretty sure this song was the "B side." (Wow, I seriously dated myself!)
  • "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" Cage the Elephant
Hubby put this on my IPod. I like it. He and I agree on some things (Jimmy Buffett, Barenaked Ladies), but typically our tastes in music aren't similar. This is one of the songs he put on that I didn't end up taking off.
  • "My First Kiss" 3oh!3
I've enjoyed 3oh!3 before their hit "Don't Trust Me" started getting mainstream air play. It kind of goes back to the whole Robbie Williams thing. When I'm working out I want a little "smart ass" to my music and this group definitely achieves that.


Hmmmm, well, this list isn't as surprising as I thought it would be. Kid Rock, Eminem and Lady Gaga just weren't destined to come up in my shuffle today. So, what are you listening to that you think would surprise me?

December 14, 2010

Same Rules, Different Reactions

I am always amazed by the different reactions my daughters have to the rules at school and the rules at home. The rules are basically the same: clean up your mess, be nice to your siblings (or classmates), use your inside voices, etc. Following the rules at school is a piece of cake. At home? Not so much.
At school, my daughters will start cleaning up the minute the lights flicker (that's the sign for clean up time). They will even help their classmates clean up. At home I am regularly greeted with choruses of "I'm too tired to clean" or "I didn't make that mess."
I feel like I'm fighting a losing a battle when it comes to chores. I tried the chore chart. The novelty wore off in a few months. I've threatened to throw away any toys that aren't picked up. The other day Hubby and I did an intense cleaning and purging of the toys. We separated. We organized. We threw away broken toys, toys beyond repair. We made a pile of toys to donate and toys to sell at my next moms of multiples sale. This might actually work. Every toy has a place and so far, has been put back in that place at the end of the day. Yet, I have a feeling a week from now I'll once again be complaining that I'm not receiving any help when it comes to cleaning up.

December 13, 2010

Board Games

My recent post about board games received some feedback, including questions about what games my daughters can comprehend. I thought I would share some of the games that seem to work for us.
Memory: They were able to start playing this around age 3. I rarely used the whole deck. I found our version at Pottery Barn. The cards are big (about the size of a coaster) and colorful.
Candy Land: This game took some time for them to understand. Still, it was a good way to work on recognizing colors.
Chutes and Ladders: We're still mastering this game. It's a little harder because they're still trying to figure out the concept of "sliding" and "climbing," so I haven't even started to tackle the lessons you learn along the way. (Good deeds get your closer to the end, naughty behavior means you have to slide back toward the beginning).
Yahtzee Jr.: We just started playing this game a few weeks ago. The scoring system is difficult for a five-year-old to comprehend. Unlike traditional Yahtzee, where each player strives to roll varied combinations, in this version once any player obtains a score no one else can receive that score. Since I don't make a big deal about scores anyway, this isn't a huge deal. They still enjoy trying to roll matching dice (should I be saying die? I can never remember) and counting the number of matches when they're done.
 We've attempted Operation, but it's still a little advanced for them. I wanted to buy them Perfection for Christmas, but Hubby vetoed that idea. He's right. They're probably not quite old enough for that game... and I'm not sure I'm ready to constantly hear the timer!

December 08, 2010

Oh, the Drama

Why does it seem as though women just can't get along? I know, I know, it seems so stereotypical. Unfortunately, my experiences in organizations made up primarily of women, make me wonder what's going on.
A friend of mine recently had a Facebook status post, an innocent question, which quickly blew up into a full scale war of words between some of her "friends." Later, my friend posted that her previous post had inspired her to block some of the offenders because she realized some of these "friends" were the same people attacking her on other message boards. Long story short, these message boards are support groups for moms of multiples.
It didn't surprise me that she has been attacked by other moms. I once was part of a moms forum for a national magazine. I posted an answer in response to a "how to" question and was met by other moms saying "I would NEVER do that." I let it roll off my back, rather than start an argument. I don't know these women personally, so what's the point in responding to criticism? Even within my local moms of multiples group I've seen clashes of personalities that resulted in hurt feelings and even some withdrawals of memberships. One mom said it gets worse as our kids get older and are involved in more activities.
It's not just "moms groups" that are full of drama. I work primarily with women and I'm not sure I've gone a day without listening to some type of drama. I try to stay away from it, do my job and go home. You could argue that you'll have this drama in any type of working environment, male or female, but consider this: Hubby works primarily with men and rarely comes home with tales of drama. Are men more likely to let things slide? 
I like the fact that everyone, male or female, has their own opinion. It's part of what makes this country so great. You don't have to agree with me... I don't have to agree with you... but do we really need to attack one another for not believing the same things?

December 07, 2010

The Phrase I'm Banning from My House

I used to think Not Me was the phrase I want extinguished from my daughters' vocabulary. Not Me is the child responsible for every naughty thing in my house. Who made this mess? Not Me. Who pulled this decoration off the tree? Not Me. You get the idea. But I say bring back that demon child and her naughty ways if it means I can ban a different phrase: But mom!
It never fails. Whenever I tell my daughters to do something, I am greeted with a resounding chorus of "But Mom!!!" You need to go to your room for a five minute time out. But mom! It's time to clean up. But mom! I could tell my daughters it is raining lollipops and they would still answer me with "But mom" before running to the window to see this once-in-a-lifetime event.
I finally reached my breaking point one day. I told my daughters I did not want to hear them "But momming" me. (If they were just a few years older, I'm sure that request would have been met with a chorus of giggles or snide comments). I might actually be making some progress. The other day one of the girls gave me her standard "But mom...." reply. I looked at her and said "Excuse me?" She thought about it for a minute, rolled her eyes and did what she was told. Hmmmm.... eye rolling. It's not a phrase, which means I could ban "But mom" (phrase) and eye rolling (gesture) for life.... right?!

December 06, 2010

Double the Birthday Fun

Yesterday was our first time attending a party for multiples. It was interesting to be on the "other side" of things for once. It gave me some insight on how parents of singletons must feel when they're invited to parties for my daughters.
The invitation arrived a few weeks ago. The party was for a girl in my daughters' preschool class and her twin sister, who is in another class. I have to admit, the invitation stressed me out. It was for both of the girls, but we only know one of the girls. Did the mom just not want to print separate invitations? Should I buy a present only for the one we know? For both? Auggghhhh! You think as a mom of quadruplets I wouldn't have to think about this. I should just know what to do. In my defense, when we've had birthday parties I have either made it clear that the party is for all four or I've instituted a "no gifts" policy. In the end I bought coordinating gifts for both of the girls. One received a Disney Princess tea set with some other Disney Princess gifts (a paint set and some puzzles), while the other sister received a Tinkerbell tea set with Tinkerbell gifts (paint set and puzzles). I'll be honest, I was quite proud of myself for being able to find the exact same things but different characters. Shopping for and coordinating gifts for twins is so much easier than doing it for quadruplets!
It was nice to be at a party where the "quad factor" wasn't a big deal. Everyone was so used to seeing twins (the birthday girls) that it didn't phase them to see another set of multiples running around. (I'm pretty sure many of the guests thought I brought two sets of twins). Besides, there was yet another set of multiples... a set of nearly-one-year-old triplets. (I just have to throw in a side note that the triplets were born via a surrogate... who just happened to be the mom of the twin birthday girls!!! I tried not to ask "annoying" questions since I know how that feels, but I was fascinated by it all. So know I also know now how strangers feel when they're asking me questions. Most of the time they likely feel how I did... fascinated and trying not to come across as intrusive).
In closing, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me in the Second Annual Multiples and More Blog Awards. I won!!!! Thank you for your support. It truly means a lot to me to have faithful followers, whether you're friends, family or just enjoy my blog. I would also encourage you to check out the other two blogs nominated in my category, as they are both outstanding. It really was an honor to be nominated alongside Two Little Monkeys and Silly Precious Piggies.
Oh, and I've decided to give Twitter one more try. I deactivated my account awhile ago after it was hacked, so let's hope this time around goes a little smoother. You can follow me here. (Thanks MaryAnne for being my first follower!)

December 03, 2010

The Winner Is...

The winner of the Bryan Adams Bare Bones CD giveaway is:
entry #1 MaryAnne
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated. Also, don't forget there's still time to visit Multiples and More and vote for your favorite blogs about multiples, including yours truly who is nominated for "Most Creative Blog." Have a great weekend!

December 01, 2010

Feeling the Love

Multiples and More is hosting its annual Blog Awards. I'm a regular visitor to the site and have found some great "blog friends" through the network as well. Imagine my shock when someone within the network nominated me for one of the awards. I'm up for "Most Creative Blog." Since I don't consider myself a crafty person, I'm hoping the person who nominated me thinks it's the topics of my posts that are creative. Either way, as cheesy as it sounds, I'm flattered to be nominated. When I started blogging, I figured only my family would take time to read what I  have to say. It's nice to know I've built a small following and made some cyberfriends along the way.
Here are some of my favorite blogs among the nominees:
  • Sadia of Double the Fun: Sadia is up for "Best Attitude." She has a wonderful attitude... along with some 'tude! Her husband is in the military. Her twin girls are 4-years-old. Sadia tells it like it is. She doesn't sugar-coat anything, but she also tends to be a "glass half-full" type of person. She just chooses to serve it with a side of sarcasm.
  • Christina of Our Life With Multiples: Christina is also nominated for "Best Attitude." I'm exhausted just reading her blog. She's always up to something with her twin girls, whether it's baking or moving into a new house.
  • Mandy of My Life as Described by Twin Trials and Triumphs: Mandy is nominated for "Best Writing." I couldn't agree more. She always has great stories to tell and, often times, cute pictures of her twin girls to go with the stories.
If you're interested in voting or visiting some of the nominees, click here. You can vote once a day (hint, hint) through Dec. 5.
(Don't forget: You still have time to enter my Bryan Adams Bare Bones giveaway!)

November 30, 2010

The Perfect Tree

Trimming the tree is no fun when you're the only one doing it. When I landed my first job out of college and moved several states away from my family, I didn't buy a tree. I lived in a small apartment. I'm allergic to real trees and the fake ones are expensive, especially when you're a recent college grad trying to make ends meet as a news reporter. And, quite frankly, I thought the whole process would be lonely by myself. When Hubby and I married, one of our first purchases was an artificial tree. Finally! A tree of my own to decorate and someone to help me do it.
Decorating the tree is one of my favorite things about Christmas. I love unwrapping each ornament and remembering certain events... the penguin driving a car that I received right after obtaining my driver's license, the ornaments that hung on my grandmother's tree, the ornament my sister and I fought over every year because we both wanted to hang it.
This year's tree trimming was a fun day. My daughters are now at an age where they want to hear about the ornaments. They understand that some decorations are fragile and no longer complain when Mommy hangs them high so no one can touch them. They even have ornaments of their own... special mementos from their first Christmas, decorations they made at school (I don't save very many things from school, but the ornaments are a must-keep).
You can definitely tell which parts of the tree were decorated by a bunch of five-year-olds. This is what you'll see throughout our tree:
It would be easy to redo all their hard work and make the tree look organized, but what's the fun in that? When I was little, my mom let me (and later my sister) have free reign decorating the tree. Whenever my grandmother came to visit she would try to de-clutter the ornaments. I could tell right away if she moved something and would always move it back to the spot where I had it. So to me, this tree with several ornaments hanging together is perfect.
(Don't forget to check out my review of Bare Bones, the latest album from Bryan Adams. You can also enter for your chance to win a copy!)

November 29, 2010

"Bare Bones" CD: Review and Giveaway

I always enjoy hearing an artist do a stripped down version of his or her work. Some of my favorite CDs are unplugged compilations, so I was quite excited to review the new Bare Bones CD from Bryan Adams.
Adams says Bare Bones is inspired by his 1996 MTV Unplugged album. After that experience, he wanted to pare it down even more and just use a guitar and his voice. While on tour singing acoustic versions of his hits, he had so many requests for those arrangements that he decided to record a few shows.
I think you have to be a fan of Bryan Adams to truly appreciate this album. I'm a fan, so this wasn't a problem. You'll find all his biggest hits on here, including"Cuts Like a Knife," "Summer of '69," and "(Everything I Do) I Do it For You." It was really fun to hear his acoustic version of all these songs. He relies only on his guitar, a harmonica and a piano.
I will admit, I'm not a huge fan of "concert" albums. I want to enjoy the music. I don't want to hear fans screaming in the background or singing along. Fortunately, the concert setting doesn't take away from the overall experience of this album. Besides, I think some of the "rawness" of this album would have been taken away if Adams had recorded this in a studio, rather than during a performance.
Want to hear this album for yourself? Decca Records is giving a copy to one lucky Buried in Laundry reader. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents. The deadline to enter is 9 am MST Friday Dec. 3, 2010. To enter you must have a valid email address. The winner will have 48 hours after notification to provide me with a mailing address or a new winner will be chosen. 
To enter (this step is mandatory) leave me a comment telling me what artist you would like to hear do an acoustic version of his or her work.
For additional entries: (leave a separate comment for each entry)
  • Become a follower of Buried in Laundry (or leave a comment if you already are a follower)
  • Blog about this giveaway and link back to this post
Again, please remember to leave an email address in your comment.
Disclosure: While no monetary compensation was given for this post, Decca Records provided me with a complimentary copy of Bare Bones and is providing a copy of the album for the winner.

November 24, 2010

The Board Game Dilemma

I enjoy a good board game. A holiday in my family was not complete without a fun game after the big meal. My daughters, thank goodness, enjoy games, too, but I have a feeling I'm teaching them some bad habits.
The best example is Candy Land. If you have played the game, you probably know what my big pet peeve is... the dreaded card that takes you to Candy Cane Forest. I hated that card as a kid, I hate it as an adult. One of my girls will be soooooo close to winning and them BAM! she draws the candy cane card. I've started taking it out of the deck, along with some of the other picture cards that take you back near the beginning... but lately they've started questioning why they never seem to draw that card.
My daughters have, fortunately, reached an age where they can make it through a board game without becoming distracted. They're really starting to grasp the concept of games. The problem is, if the game is taking too long, I won't point out when they skip a square here and there. I know I need to start becoming a stickler for rules, but for now, I guess we'll just make up the rules as we go.

November 23, 2010

A Fun Thanksgiving Treat

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook page and I just had to give it a try.
 The picture is my creation. As you'll read later, my girls had some issues with theirs, but the cookies were still tasty. It was a pretty fun and quick treat to make. 
You'll need:
  • Oreo cookies (Double Stuff works best... I chose the non-chocolate version)
  • miniature peanut butter cups
  • candy corn
  • white frosting (the directions call for white gel icing, but it didn't hold the peanut butter cups in place, which is why pictures of the girls' creations are not on display)
Take an Oreo apart. This will be the base of your turkey. Stick another Oreo into the "base" cookie. (Remind your children to be gentle, as the frosting easily "cracks"). Use the icing to secure a peanut butter cup to the cookie. (This might work better if you set the head on the "base". It will still look like it's near the middle of the "body"). Insert candy corn, pointy piece down, into the filling of the Oreo "body." (This is another "gentle" task or your cookie will break, which happened to us). Use gel icing to make the eyes on the peanut butter cup. Break a piece of candy corn and use the pointy end for the beak. Use the icing/frosting to secure the beak on the peanut butter cup. Enjoy!

November 22, 2010

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

The other day I was reading a blog by a mom of triplets, who also happens to in my moms of multiples group. A repairman was at her house and asked her if she was running a day care. This inspired her to make a video with some of the funny and/or annoying comments she has heard about having triplets. Since I know I've written multiple times about the comments that have annoyed me, I thought I would share some of the humorous things I have heard (or overheard) when I'm out with my girls:
  • So, are you a nanny or something?
  • Woman 1: Look, quadruplets! Woman 2: No, one of them looks smaller. I think it's triplets, but they didn't want the younger one to feel left out so they dressed her like the other three.  (You think I'm joking about this one, don't you?)
  • How much do you charge for babysitting?
  • (seeing me load up on milk) You must have a house full of teenagers! At least they'll be out of the house soon. (nope, so imagine how much milk I'll be buying in 10 years!)
OK, so those are the only ones that stand out in my mind right now... but I wanted you to know I do have a sense of humor. It's actually very rare that someone's comments truly annoy me.

November 18, 2010

I'm Making a List and Checking It Twice

Ever since my daughters were born, Christmas cards have been a big deal. Their first Christmas I think I sent more than 150 cards. I didn't include a picture with their birth announcement because they were still so tiny. So at Christmas I sent a photo card to everyone I knew.
This year I've really been trying to cut costs and trim the list. But I may not have to trim it as much as I thought. Shutterfly is giving bloggers 50 free cards in exchange for writing about the company. Since I already use Shutterfly, this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
I actually started using Shutterfly long before my daughters came along, mainly to print my pictures. One year I made a calendar using a bunch of pictures my dad had taken while visiting us in Michigan. After my girls arrived, I made photobook. It took a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun.
I like the ease of Shutterfly. I organize my pictures by month (and year), so it's really easy to find and print older pictures. I also appreciate being able to have my title printed on the back of each picture... no more going through a stack of pictures with a pen trying to document who is who.
Each year, I try to put some thought into what our card will look like. This year, I'm thinking about having my girls pose in their Christmas dresses. My favorite card, by far, is this one... but I think I'll keep it simple. I like to do a card that allows people to cut out and keep the picture (which then cuts down the number of school portraits I have to buy!), so I'll probably choose this one. 
For all you bloggers out there, there's still time to participate in this promotion. Just click here for more details. (Disclosure: I was not given any monetary compensation for this post. Shutterfly is going to provide me with 50 free for writing this post).

November 17, 2010

A Pregnancy Counted By Weeks.

Today Bloggers are taking time to raise awareness about prematurity. When I found out I was pregnant with quadruplets, I was told my babies would be born early. How early was hard to predict. There are so many "magic numbers" when you're dealing with multiples. My pregnancy became all about countdowns to various weekly milestones.
The first countdown was to week 5. This is the week I went for my first ultrasound to see how my pregnancy was going. It was also the week we found out I was carrying quadruplets.
The next countdown was to week 10. This is the first appointment I had with my obstetrician since becoming pregnant. He took one look at me and I could see the panic on his face. Since week 5 I had not been able to keep down much food. I was rapidly losing weight. He was concerned on a personal level because a close friend and patient had just lost her triplets at 19 weeks.
I tried not to focus on 19 and instead counted to 18 weeks... when we could find out the genders. My perinatologist jumped the gun at 16 weeks and excitedly announced one of the babies was a boy. At 18 weeks we found out all four babies were girls. This was a fun revelation, but meant the names Gavin and Wyatt were no longer on our short list of potential baby names.
Then I nervously counted to 19 weeks. It came. It went. We made it.
The biggest "week" was yet to come. We were informed from the beginning that I had to carry these babies to 28 weeks in order to deliver them at our local hospital. If I went into labor earlier than that I would be transferred 2+ hours away to the nearest facility with pediatric specialists. There was no way I was going to have my babies in a hospital so far away. Two hours? No, I wanted my babies to be delivered 20 minutes from my house so I could visit them every day once I was discharged.
At exactly 28 weeks we toured the NICU and talked with someone from the hospital about the "quad delivery game plan." Then I went home to begin my countdown to my scheduled c-section at 32 weeks. I made it two days into that particular countdown before my four fragile little girls arrived in this world.
It has been a crazy ride, full of ups and downs. In that first year, I never would have imagined having four five-year-olds. Now my countdowns are to fun milestones... such as the first day of kindergarten next year!

November 16, 2010

All I Want for Christmas is.... Everything!

Last year was the first year my daughters grasped the concept of Santa. They finally understood that if you ask him for something, it's probably going to be under the tree Christmas morning. Last September they started asking for Pillow Pets and never strayed from that request. So, Christmas morning, they each found a Pillow Pet under the tree.
This year is proving to be tricky. They are constantly seeing something they want... a bike, a scooter, a doll, you name it. I've tried explaining to them that just because you want something, doesn't mean you will get it... you need to pick one thing and stick to it. Frankly, Santa is done shopping in our house. I buy throughout the year and purposely try to finish shopping before the crowds are out.
It doesn't help that a certain relative essentially told my daughters that Santa is going to bring them the stuffed animals you see at the registers at Kohl's. When I told her I had no intention of buying them, she told the girls "You can ask Santa for whatever you want, just don't expect him to give it to you."
Before you think my daughters are spoiled, I should point out that I know they'll be happy with whatever they find under the tree Christmas morning. I've also talked with them about the less fortunate and how we can help. Our finances are tight, but I'm hoping I can take them to pick out a gift for Toys for Tots or a similar local organization.
Still, the fact that they believe in Santa has its upside. I can still say "You need to behave because Santa is watching," and find myself faced with four well-behaved girls!

November 15, 2010

The Sacrifices Finally Paid Off

About a year ago, we were struggling on the job front. Hubby's then-employer had forced numerous unpaid furloughs on employees. Then, in the final quarter the company decided that having employees take extra time off at the holidays wasn't a good idea. So the powers-that-be instituted a mandatory pay cut. Fortunately, Hubby found a new job. Unfortunately, while the job brought many perks (better pay, overtime opportunities, free cable, free internet), it also required Hubby to work nights and weekends. 
At first, the new schedule was kind of fun. Yes, five nights a week I tackle the nightly routine by myself, but once my girls are in bed, I can read, watch whatever movie I want (I think I watched The Proposal more times than I can count when it was offered On Demand.) or secretly indulge in reruns of The Jersey Shore. Plus, it was kind of nice (for awhile) that Hubby's days off fell during the week, rather than the weekend. Trips to the zoo, or anywhere else for that matter, were a lot less crowded.
Still, when you only see your husband two nights a week, the antics of Snooki and company quickly wear off. On Saturdays, I go to work long before the rest of the family is awake. I arrive back home about twenty minutes before Hubby needs to head out the door to work. It's basically enough time for me to get the rundown on whether the girls have misbehaved or been perfect angels all morning. On Mondays, I see my husband for ten minutes. I'm not joking. I typically get up and leave for work while Hubby is getting the girls ready for school, so I see him at home for about five minutes. I have to drive the "work" car, as we only have one vehicle that accommodates all four girls. Then, after driving the girls to school, Hubby swings by my work to switch cars because his work if a lot farther away and we don't want him driving our "family vehicle" that far. So as long as things are slow at work I can chat with him for about five more minutes. Then I see him again Tuesday morning.
But finally, FINALLY the last year of sacrificing our family time has paid off. Hubby just got a new job within his current company. He interviewed for the position three months ago, so we had pretty much given up hope on this ever coming through. Then last week, he got the call. The job is his. It's a Monday through Friday, "normal hours" type of job. I'll have to rearrange my work schedule and work two nights a week, but I would rather go two nights each week without seeing my husband, than five. He'll be home for dinner. He'll be home to help put the girls to bed. Every day they say "does Daddy have to go to work?" They (and I) will be thrilled to have him home more often.
The sacrifices were certainly our decision. We thought it was better to do this now, while the girls are still too young to be involved in after school activities, etc. We knew eventually the schedule would change for the better... thank goodness it happened sooner rather than later!

November 10, 2010

Time for the Hair Dryer

It snowed yesterday. Ugh. On Saturday it was nearly 80 degrees... now it's not even 50. I guess I was spoiled by the lingering warm weather.
The cooler weather means it's time to break out many things: the shovel, extra blankets and the hair dryer. I actually use the hair dryer on my own hair every day (shhhh, don't tell my stylist. She thinks I should only wash my hair every other day. She, however, does not have crazy, uncontrollable waves that will not be tamed by a measly water bottle). Anyway, once it becomes cold outside, I have to start using the hair dryer on my girls. This, of course, makes our nightly routine a little longer. They take a shower every other night (baths on the "off" nights if they've been at school or playing outside, etc). I can't send them to bed with wet hair. Their hair dries pretty fast in the summer, but in the winter, I don't think it would ever air-dry. So, out comes the hair dryer and they are suddenly treated to salon-type pampering. Their hair is combed, tangle-free and nice and shiny.
I figure I could open my own at-home salon with all the work I do on the girls, especially once you factor in the "mani/pedis" I give them in the summer!

November 09, 2010

Movie Night

When I went on my DST Rant yesterday, I touched on Movie Night. I instituted our first ever Movie Night in hopes of getting some extra sleep. It didn't work (the sleep, that is), but movie night was fun.
We watched How to Train Your Dragon. I had put my name on the wait list at our local library, so it took awhile to get the movie, but the timing was perfect. Now my girls can't wait to have another Movie Night.
The library has been a great resource of free movies. We've checked out other movies to watch during the day. I've given up using Red Box. Why pay $1 to return a movie the next day, when you can check out a movie from the library for free for a week? Hubby and I still use Netflix for ourselves in order to get new releases in a timely manner, but my girls don't know the difference.
We're patiently waiting for our next Movie Night. We are on the wait list for Ramona and Beezus, Toy Story 3, and Shrek Forever After. Between those movies and some of the movies we already own, our Movie Night lineup is set for a few weeks. I'm still trying to figure out, though, if it's the movie that has my girls excited or the prospect of eating popcorn right before bed!

November 08, 2010

My DST Rant

Twice a year,  you get the privilege of reading my Daylight Savings Time Rant. I hate "falling back." When I was younger (ie: any time before kids), I appreciated the extra hour of sleep. I do not like the shorter days. I don't care if the sun comes up earlier, it goes down earlier, too, and it's no fun having it be dark by 5 pm. I like seeing the sun until well into the evening.
Now that I have children, there is no such luxury as an extra hour of sleep. They have their internal clocks programmed to "butt crack of dawn" year-round. Twice a year I am in a no-win situation. When we "spring forward," no one is ready for bed. When we "fall back," everyone is up way too early.
This time, though, I was ready. I knew just how to get that extra sleep. Thanks to our local library, on Saturday I armed myself with a copy of How to Train Your Dragon. After an afternoon at the park, a meal of make-your-own pita pizzas and a bubble bath, the girls were treated to our first every Movie Night. We popped pop corn and settled into the couch for the movie. By the time the movie was over, all four girls were bleary eyed and asking if they could go to bed. By "regular time" they stayed up almost an hour later than usual. They were up by 5:30 am. I wish I were joking. 5:30 am! Even without DST, it would have been 6:30 am, which is still earlier than they typically wake up on the weekends! 
So, for whatever reason, my plan was foiled. I am storing this, and other "early morning incidents" in my Mommy Memory Bank. Don't think I won't use this against them when they are teenagers and finally appreciate the luxury of sleeping in!

November 03, 2010

Thinking About Kindergarten

Next week I'll be meeting with a principal at one of the schools I'm considering sending my daughters to next year for kindergarten. I sound so posh, don't I? Like I have all this disposable income to send four children to private school or something. No. I've got three choices: go to kindergarten at the school we're zoned for, apply for open enrollment at the school where they currently attend preschool or apply for the charter school.
At this point I've pretty much ruled out the charter school. It's free and it's all day kindergarten, but I just haven't heard too many great things. 
Next week I'll be meeting with the principal at the school where my daughters currently go to preschool. We're not "zoned" for that school, but it offers tuition-based all day kindergarten. (It's a public school, so it also has free half-day kindergarten). The principal said he wants to "talk" to me about our options, so I'm hoping this means he's thinking about giving me a huge break on tuition so full day kindergarten would be an option. Either way, I want to hear what he has to say and get his take on how to split my daughters up for kindergarten. (The charter school basically said it's their policy to split. My feeling is I should have some say in how it's done). Next, I'll be making an appointment to talk with the principal at the school we're zoned for.
So, all you parents out there... what questions did you ask or will you ask as your children prepare to enter kindergarten?

November 02, 2010

Vivid Nightmares

I'm pretty sure I've posted before about my nightmares/night terrors. I'm not sure my bad dreams even fall into either of those categories. I often wake during a bad dream and am convinced I'm still in that dream. Typically it involves spiders or people in my room. For instance, I'll be convinced a huge spider is coming down on me from the ceiling...and I'll wake up in a dark room with zero visibility and be convinced I can see the spider. Or I'll be having a dream (not even a nightmare) during which someone is talking to me. I'll awake thoroughly confused and cannot figure out how/why that person is in my house.
For awhile, I was convinced Sue Sue had inherited my sleeping habits. She would regularly whine in her sleep and I couldn't wake her from her slumber to help her feel better. She hasn't done that for months, so I'm hoping whatever was bothering her has passed. For me, these vivid dreams happen mostly when I'm stressed or really tired. Some nights I even mentally prepare myself before I go to bed, knowing I'll likely have some type of vivid dream.
Last night, something fairly bizarre happened. I went upstairs to go to bed and was giving each of my daughters a final kiss. Cakes sat up in bed. I leaned over and asked her if she was OK. She started hitting me and scratching at me. She grabbed my glasses and threw them on the floor. I actually had to grab her arms to stop her... and then she went back to sleep. She claims to have no memory of this incident.
I'm not surprised by her actions. Who knows what she was dreaming about, but I'm convinced whatever it was carried over into her seeing me in her room. I once was having a bad dream, felt myself waking up from it screaming, but then became terrified because in my dream/reality someone was holding me down. Hubby had felt me start to go into a panic over my dream and in his sleep-induced state, thought the best thing to calm me down was to put his arm over my chest so I wouldn't start flailing around. Let's just say he is under strict instructions to never, ever try that method again.
Nightmares, night terrors, vivid dreams, whatever you want to call them, they're no fun. I just hope for my daughters' sakes, these tumultuous nights are few and far between.

November 01, 2010

I'm Not Trendy

When I was growing up, my parents reluctantly allowed me to keep up with the trends of the time... sort of. I received a Cabbage Patch Kid at Christmas, but only by default. If I remember the story my mom later told me, one of my aunts worked at a toy store and bought some extra dolls. One of my friend's moms wanted one of the dolls to give my friend for Christmas, but changed her mind at the last minute. My parents, who had spent months assuring me I would never, ever in my entire life get a Cabbage Patch Kid, decided to give me the "unwanted" one. Score.
In middle school, everyone wore a Coca-Cola rugby shirt. If you're in your 30's or beyond, you know the shirts I'm talking about. They were red and white and in the white stripe said "Coca-Cola." I'm a little fuzzy on the details of how I got mine. I either received it as a birthday gift or a hand-me-down. Either way, it wasn't bought during a back-to-school shopping spree, like the rest of my friends.
It's not that I grew up without "things." I just think my parents tried to draw a line. Sure, they indulged me, but if it wasn't a birthday or Christmas, chances are I was going to have to wait, trendy or not.
So here I am trying to keep up with the "must haves" for my daughters and I've learned I'm woefully out of the loop. Sure, somehow last Christmas I managed to figure out Pillow Pets would be THE gift of that year... and this year, too, based on the number of kids I've heard asking for them for Christmas already. But other than that, I guess I need to start paying attention. 
A few months ago I bought my daughters back to school shoes. They were on clearance and I had coupons. They were a bargain. They're cute. They have sparkles. When I showed my girls, one of them said "Oh, I think they're Twinkle Toes." I thought she was saying that because they're sparkly. Nope. I found out later there's an actual brand of sparkly shoes called Twinkle Toes... but that's not what I bought. (Nor would I because there is no way I am spending full price on four pairs of shoes!)
Last week, Halloween cards arrived from my aunt. Tucked in each card was a bracelet for my daughters. Each bracelet was a shape. "Snap bands!" they cried. What? I did some investigating at work and found out Snap Bands are quite popular right now... even among older kids. In fact one mom was telling me they've been banned at her daughter's school because they're too "distracting." Kids are trading them and arguing over them. 
So here I am, with four five-year-olds, realizing that I'm going to be in big trouble when I have four teenagers. I'll have no idea what's "hip"... and that probably won't be an acceptable term by then!

October 26, 2010

The Preschool Troublemaker

Every class has a troublemaker. Sometimes it's a class clown who likes the attention. Sometimes it's a child who has behavioral issues. Sometimes it's a child who just can't get her act together.
Within the first few days of this school year, I knew "Becky" would be the troublemaker. Becky runs around while all the other kids are lined up at the fence in the morning. Becky pushes kids on the playground. Becky doesn't stay in line while walking to the classroom. Becky just bit one of my daughters.
Yes. She BIT one of my girls. Hubby called me at work yesterday to tell me the teacher had left a message indicating Roo was bitten by "another student." (Well, duh, if she bit herself you wouldn't be calling). Becky was at the top of my list of culprits. 
At first, I took it all in stride. OK, so in the history of preschool, my daughter is not the first child to be bitten. The message indicated the skin hadn't been broken, so the risk of infection seemed slim. But since I had to finish my work day, I had plenty of time to start stewing. Someone BIT my daughter. She didn't hit her. Didn't pinch her. She bit her. 
My daughters have never bitten any child... other than their sisters, of course. So I'm trying to remind myself that it's a learning process. Becky doesn't have siblings close to her age. She's learning how to get along with her peers. I'm willing to overlook this and not bring it up again. I'm hoping the teacher follows through on her promise to talk with Becky's mom. (Hey, if my kid bites someone, I want to know so I can do some disciplining at home, too).
Except this morning, Roo said she hoped Becky was sick and not at school today. Then Cakes said Becky yelled in her ear and pushed her the other day. I told each of my daughters that if they want to play with Becky at school, that's fine. But if they don't want to play with her, that's fine, too. Part of preschool is learning how to get along with everyone... but it's also learning how to start standing up for yourself and making decisions about right and wrong. Let's just hope the rest of the week goes on without any incidents.

October 25, 2010

Jack-o-Lanterns

We finally had some time to carve pumpkins. I've realized that for kids, pumpkin carving is a lot of fun. For adults... maybe not so much. It's exhausting! It took us two hours to get all four of our pumpkins gutted and carved!
Actually, it was pretty fun. Hubby and I stipulated at the beginning that we wouldn't be doing anything too elaborate. No Dora (yes, one of them requested that), no cats, nothing but easy shapes. Each of the girls picked a pumpkin (we couldn't remember who picked which one at the pumpkin patch the week before) and gave us directions on the "shapes" they wanted. Sue Sue and I had fun making a "surprised" face. She also requested "star eyes." The other three girls stuck to circles, triangles and squares. The bonus? While Hubby and I did the knife work, the girls wore themselves out riding bikes and playing in our driveway.
Eventually I'll give them more opportunities to help with the carving, but for now they're happy just giving directions. Unfortunately, I forgot to buy votive candles, so our Jack-o-Lanterns have yet to light up. Here's our finished work:
 Spooky, huh?

October 19, 2010

Sponge Bob and Madonna

When I was growing up, my parents didn't care what "everyone else" was watching. They made decisions about what I could watch (movies and TV) and made it clear that there were reasons behind those decisions. For instance, I remember in either fifth or sixth grade, a classmate had a slumber party. Excitement built as she informed us that we would be watching Desperately Seeking Susan. Then my world shattered when my mom told me I couldn't watch the movie. (Hey, I was in elementary school. It seemed like a devastating thing at the time). She called the host's mom and after a long discussion, the mom agreed to switch movies. I think we ended up watching Hairspray (the original version). I remember my mom explaining to me that Desperately Seeking Susan just wasn't appropriate for elementary school kids and, quite frankly, there wasn't really room for me to argue. Every now and then the movie is on cable. I still have not been able to bring myself to watch it. Here I am my 30's and I'm afraid I might get grounded for watching it!
Now it's my turn to police what my children watch. I don't want you to think we're glued to the TV. We're not. We do get out. We spend time at parks. We go to the library. There are days the TV is never on. But there are days it is on... and that's where it becomes my job to figure out what they can and cannot watch. My biggest "no" is Sponge Bob Square Pants. I will be honest here. I have never sat through an episode of this show. It appears to be ridiculous and that's enough for me. Plus, I'm just not keen on a character whose butt crack is always showing. My girls know they're not allowed to watch it and will even tell me if it's coming on next. At a birthday party a few months ago they were concerned they wouldn't be allowed to have cake because it was a Sponge Bob cake. I explained to them that while I think it's a silly show, they can certainly enjoy a Sponge Bob party... and I've even told them if they watch an episode here and there I'm not going to be upset. (For all you Sponge Bob lovers who are getting ready to leave me comments about why he's so great, just consider this... do your kids watch Yo Gabba Gabba? I can't tell you the number of parents I've met who think YGG is creepy but looooove the sponge who lives under the sea).
A week ago, grandma brought over the movie Matilda. As politely as possible, I explained to her that my girls aren't ready for this movie... and it's not just because I can't stand Mara Wilson. (Seriously, child actors who try to be to cutesy by lisping in movies, such as her role in Mrs. Doubtfire, are near the top of my list of pet peeves.) While I haven't seen the entire movie, I've seen bits and pieces of it, and it just seemed too dark for five-year-olds. I know what frightens my girls and I think this movie would disturb them.
Eventually, I won't have as much control over what they watch. They'll go to friend's houses and do as they please. But who knows... when they're adults they may see an episode of Sponge Bob on TV and, like my Desperately Seeking Susan moments, remember that Mommy said "no."

October 18, 2010

This Was Bound to Happen

I knew this day, or perhaps I should say "night," was coming. For several years running, I have had four little girls who would go to bed at 6:30 pm, settle down by about 7 pm, and not wake until 7 am. Yes, I was spoiled. During the summer, I started thinking the early bed time might be on it's way out, but with our days packed with swimming, trips to the park, etc., usually everyone was worn out and ready for bed. I didn't want to tweak the schedule until after school started, so I could get an idea of whether school would wear them out. They need to be up by 6:45 am on school days, so I wanted to make sure they were getting enough rest.
Apparently they were, because for nearly a week they were rising by 5 am. After a few days of that, and realizing it was no freak occurrence, I took immediate action. First I pushed bed time to 7 pm... meaning going upstairs at that time, changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, telling stories and getting tucked in, a process that can take up to 30 minutes. This resulted in a 5:45/6 am wake up. Still too early for my taste. I pushed it to 7:30 pm. They now sleep (most mornings) until 6:30 am or 7 am. Score! 
You may recall I was reluctant to change bed time because I have two good sleepers and two not-so-good sleepers. Cakes and Tortilla are out like a light, regardless of what time they go to bed. In fact, Cakes now asks around 7 pm if she can go to bed. Sue Sue and Roo, though, like to read books, talk, get a drink, go to the bathroom... anything to avoid going to sleep. This later bed time has been good for curbing the nightly mischief. They're asleep within a half hour.
It makes for a hectic nightly routine for me. By 8 pm I'm exhausted, ready to sit down and veg out. But, the trade off is nice... no more rising before the sun!

October 17, 2010

Date Night

****I have no idea why, but this post never posted on Wednesday. And I was too busy to notice!
For the first time in eight months, Hubby and I have a date night tonight. I won't get into the reasons why it has taken eight months for us to go out because it will just reek of stress and drama. We are going out for his birthday, but I will be the one celebrating!
So, lest you think my marriage is in trouble. Hubby and I are, by nature, homebodies. Yes, we need date nights more often than every eight months, but we'll survive. We enjoy watching movies together. We have certain shows that we just HAVE to watch each week. (Right now our obsession is Eastbound & Down. It's hilarious). Still, it's going to be nice to get out and have an uninterrupted conversation!

October 12, 2010

My Matching Days are Over

Throughout their lives, I've tried not to overdo "matching outfits" for my daughters. Sometimes, though, I just couldn't help it. Professional portraits always called for matching outfits. It just looks better that way (in my opinion). Christmas always meant matching dresses.... such beautiful pictures. Halloween was a no-brainer: Go with a theme so no one fought. At the tender age of five, my daughters have decided they don't always want to match.
In hindsight, it all began two years ago. As we prepared for preschool, I took them shopping for backpacks. There were several designs. As each girl picked, I made sure to tell the next sister that she could pick the same thing. There, in the back pack aisle, I swear all four girls rolled their eyes at me (and they weren't even three years old!) Their expressions seemed to say "We CAN'T have the same backpack!" Now, as we approach Halloween, not a single one of them has requested the same outfit... not even a theme! (If you'll recall, I will be walking the neighborhood with Sleeping Beauty, Tinkerbell, Minnie Mouse and a ballerina). Over the weekend I let the girls go online and pick out their Christmas dresses (coupons and free shipping made it the perfect time to look). I took each of them into the living room one at a time, sat them down in front of the computer and let them look at their choices. My only rule? No short sleeves. They all picked really cute dresses and none of them chose an identical dress.
Don't get me wrong. I truly don't mind that they aren't picking the same things. When my daughters started preschool I made it a rule that they can't wear matching outfits. I want them to be seen as individuals, rather than "The Quads." (OK, on school picture day I still dress them alike because the photographer does a family group shot if siblings attend the school. One day out of the year won't lead to an identity crisis). So while my holiday pictures will no longer include matching dresses or costumes (well, not this year. Who knows what they'll pick next year), at least my daughters are starting to express what they like... even if their sisters have a different opinion.

October 11, 2010

I Need More "Adult Time"

When you are a parent, you quickly realize things change. Your priorities, your desires, and, inevitably, the way you speak. I am constantly using "preschool language," even when I'm only in the company of adults.
For instance, just the other day Hubby was helping me put the girls to bed. I asked him to take over brushing their teeth because, and I quote "I need to go potty." Keep in mind, none of the girls were around when I said this. About a year ago, I told Hubby "You need to call your mommy." These words have become such a major part of my language that I don't even think twice about using them. I've caught myself just as I'm ready to "shush" an adult for not using "inside voices." After I drop my girls off at preschool, I will be blocks away before I realize  not only am I still listening to their CD, but I'm singing along!
I once brought this topic up on a message board. A mom of triplets said she was driving somewhere with a friend... no kids in the car. Suddenly, she pointed "Look! A train!" Her friend was a mom and understood. 
I don't even find it embarrassing any more when I have these slip ups. It's all part of hanging around preschoolers.

October 06, 2010

The Dynamics in Preschool

Yesterday I had the chance to volunteer in my daughters' preschool class. I like doing this every now and then to see what they're learning and how they're adjusting. It's fascinating to see how much they've changed.
Two years ago, my daughters began their preschool experience. They attended twice a week. They were the youngest and the smallest in their class. They didn't interact a lot with the other kids, simply because the other kids were bigger and played rougher. Last year they attended four days a week and started making friends beyond their "sister-circle." This year? They don't need one another at all. They sit with friends during circle time. They play with friends at recess. They don't care if they're not sitting next to one another at snack time. They pick different "creative centers." It's really nice to see them gain some independence from one another and know they'll be OK when I do separate them in school.
As I've mentioned, their class is made up mainly of girls. A few new students have joined the class and the ratio is now 13 girls and 3 boys. Since little girls are known for their dominating personalities, I wondered what recess would be like. For the most, they all got along. Sure, there's the girl who wants to be in charge and the girl who wants to pester everyone, but all in all they seemed to have fun playing together. All of them. The boys weren't as willing to engage with the girls, but when they did, it wasn't a big deal.
Next week I'll be attending parent-teacher conferences. It will be interesting to get the teacher's take on how my girls are doing. My personal opinion is that they're thriving and loving every minute of it. Now if I can just get that feeling to last through high school we'll be set!

October 05, 2010

Where's the Q?

Last Christmas, I spotted the cutest ornaments. They're meant to look like decorated gingerbread cookies in the shape of letters. I saw them too late and they were picked over, so I was unable to find an ornament for each of my girls. 
Since most stores are already decked out for Christmas, the ornaments are out. Guess what? There's no "Q." I realize names that begin with Q are rare. I can think of a handful. But still... if you're going to have alphabet ornaments, don't you think you would include them all? (Except maybe X, although there are plenty of boys out there named Xavier, so maybe X shouldn't be excluded, either).
I grew up rarely being able to find personalized items. When Katie, Molly and Matt were cruising around on bikes with little personalized license plates, I got nada because everyone felt my name should be spelled KristEn. Nope. Two "i"s. Even now when I make appointments and such over the phone I'm greeted with either "Ok, so it's K-r-i-s-t-e..." "No, i-n" or "C-h..." "No, it starts with a K." 
I didn't realize when my daughters were born that I saddled them with somewhat common names but with "different" spellings. It wasn't until I started looking at personalized cups, pencils and stickers that I realized I will likely never find these items for my daughters unless I go through a "do-it-yourself" company. Still, I never thought a line of alphabet ornaments would only include 25 letters!

October 04, 2010

What Happened to September?

Time is going by too fast these days. I feel like just the other day I still had time to plan our mid-September 5th birthday. The celebration is long over and now I'm concentrating on Halloween.
Despite my best intentions to make our Halloween costumes, I broke down and bought them. I only had to buy two, so I felt justified in the purchase. Tortilla received a Sleeping Beauty dress for her birthday and wants to wear that for Halloween. Done. Cakes wants to be a ballerina, which I can easily put together from our gymnastics leotards and poufy skirts from a different costume. So, armed with my 30% off at Kohl's and my employee discount, I agreed to buy Roo a Minnie Mouse costume and Sue Sue a Tinkerbell costume. (Clearly there have been some changes since I last posted about Halloween, considering one of them originally wanted to be a pirate). I felt OK with the purchases, since they can be used for dress-up clothes when Halloween is over.
This weekend we'll be headed to the pumpkin patch for my mom's of multiples group's annual Halloween party. I told Hubby to get some rest this week, since last year the girls' each picked pumpkins that weighed a good 20 pounds. I tried to carry one back to the car and made it about 10 steps before giving up. At least we had lots of pumpkin seeds to roast after the pumpkin carving.
I'm hoping Hubby gets our Halloween decorations up soon. It's hard to get into a "festive fall mood" when I'm already seeing Christmas trees everywhere I turn!

September 29, 2010

We Survived Another Year of Flu Shots

I try to have our flu vaccines near the beginning of October. I was stunned to see some pharmacies offering it in early to mid-August, but I still waited.
Yesterday, much to my girls' disappointment, we went for our shots. (Hubby received a free vaccine at work. Lucky!) When I picked the girls up from preschool I was informed by their teacher that they were nervous about their shots. Apparently that's all they talked about all morning. I had told them in the morning in hopes of letting in sink in.
Needless to say, there was lots of crying during the actual process. Sue Sue, ever the actress, went last and was "crying" loudly. When I pointed out that she didn't even have tears, she started laughing and was pretty much still laughing during her injection. She tried to squeeze some crocodile tears, but was too interested in the prospect of receiving a sticker to pull it off convincingly. As we left, she told the entire waiting room "I really liked my shot." Now as long as we stay healthy the tears (and the ice cream treat afterward) will have been worth it.