March 30, 2010

Rearranging the "To Do List"

Tomorrow we have family arriving for a brief visit. Grandma and Grandpa haven't been here for six months, so it's a visit my girls are eagerly awaiting. I had a huge list of things to get done today: grocery shopping, cleaning the bathrooms to name a few. Then life got in the way.
First, Hubby's car had some major issues and we spent nearly three hours at the dealership this morning hammering out a deal for a new vehicle. Then, it was time for lunch. After lunch I set the "To Do List" aside. A week ago today we were getting blasted with a massive snow storm. Today? The snow is gone and it's 80+ degrees. Why in the world would I keep my daughters cooped up in the house? So we went outside, drew with sidewalk chalk, played hopscotch, played jump rope, took a walk and ate popsicles. I might be able to clean the bathroom tonight after their baths. They're covered head to toe in chalk and popsicle slop, so the tub is going to need a good scrub! Tomorrow morning I'll have to wake up early to do the grocery shopping and be sure I get to the airport in time. It's a small price to pay for an afternoon of big fun!

March 29, 2010

Can I Have That?

Shopping with my daughters used to easy... well, relatively speaking. It wasn't easy piling them into a wagon and dragging the wagon around a store, but it was a fairly stress-free event. We would look at toys and then move on to the real purpose of our trip with no tears shed. Not any more.
Now when I go to a store, I am bombarded with "Can I have that?" It can make for a frustrating outing. The other day, one of my daughters ran some errands with me. She was looking at a princess birthday card and was disappointed that I didn't buy it. She cried all the way home when I refused to buy a balloon at the grocery store. I tried explaining the concept of money, but it's point she hasn't mastered. Can I blame my daughters? No, they're only four. We don't give in to their every whim, so it's not as though they're given treats on every outing. I'm just trying to figure out how to get over this case of "The Gimmies."

March 24, 2010

I Love Cleaning the Toilet Now

OK, so that title is an exaggeration, but I have found the best toilet cleaner ever. So, let me be clear... this is not a paid or sponsored post. I simply like this product and felt the need to share.
Hubby and I have always lived in houses with hard water. This is typically solved by a water softener, but our toilets have always developed deposits in the bowl from the water. It drives me crazy. Cleaning the toilet once a week is a gross enough task.... having to do it more than that is just ridiculous. For awhile I used Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Max cleaner. I like that you can just toss the part that attaches to the wand and not have a dirty toilet brush hanging out in the bathroom. But for the last year or so I have only been able to find the Fresh Brush flushable pads, which don't work as well as the Fresh Brush Max.
Then a few months ago I was picking up more of the flushable pads when something caught my eye: Kaboom's Scrub Free Continuous Toilet Cleaning System. It was on sale so I decided to give it a try. Thank goodness I did.
The product snaps in your tank and somehow releases Oxiclean each time you flush. It lasts about three months, which takes some of the sting out of the price (I bought it for $7.99. The Kabooom website lists it at $9.99). It truly keeps the toilet clean until I can scrub it. Now I can use the Fresh Max flushable pads, since the toilet bowl doesn't need a tough scrubbing. On the occasion when I skip a week of cleaning, the toilet is no worse for the wear. Even when I do clean, the bowl no longer has hard water build up.
I like anything that makes my housework easier, so I thought I would share... even if I still don't like cleaning the toilet.

March 23, 2010

I Don't Have Time to Be Sick

I remember a commercial where a mom goes to the doctor, he tells her she's sick, she flips through her calendar and says "Not this week" (or something like that). This is exactly how I feel about illnesses. I don't have time for it.
I have time to care for sick children. I don't have time to be sick myself. Fortunately, most of the time, the bug waits to get me until all the girls are healthy again.
We have our schedule down to an exact science. A sick child makes me have to tinker with the schedule. A sick parent throws the whole thing out of whack.
Right now we have a cold working its way through the house. Nothing too traumatic. The girls are home from school today because they're hacking away. I figure today is a good day for all of them to rest and regain their strength so tomorrow they're ready to go back to school. Unfortunately, I woke up sniffling and sneezing, so I figure it's not long before I start feeling the effects of this cold, too. Oh well. We've been germ-free for a few months, so I suppose it's about that time.

March 22, 2010

The Battle of the Thumb

Once upon a time there was a woman who had four little girls, all born on the same day. None of the babies liked pacifiers. They used pacis briefly in the hospital, but rarely used them at home. They just weren't interested. Then one day, Mommy made a startling discovery: Three out of her four babies sucked their thumbs. (Why the fourth baby never sucked her thumb is a mystery that will likely never be solved).
Mommy appreciated the fact that her babies self-soothed. She knew they would outgrow their thumb sucking habit before their adult teeth grew in.
Eventually, Mommy took her little girls to the dentist. He complimented Mommy and Daddy on how clean and pretty their little girls' teeth were. He then warned Mommy and Daddy that their adorable little girls will all likely need braces. In fairness, the braces will be necessary because their mouths are crowded, not because they suck their thumbs. BUT.... the thumb sucking isn't helping. It is causing the shape of their mouths to change and effects how their tongue sits in their mouth and, thus, how it touches their teeth.
Mommy tried bribing her thumb suckers with special treats. They didn't care. She tried gently reminding them not to suck their thumbs. It didn't work. Her three thumb suckers would go all day without putting their thumbs in their mouths, but by the time night rolled around, the tired little girls would give up their quest to go thumb free.
One day, Mommy came home from the store with the brightest, prettiest, pinkest nail polish she could find. The deal? No thumb sucking with fingernail polish on. The thumb suckers readily agreed to go cold turkey. The fourth little girl also got to have her fingernails painted. Then bed time rolled around. Two out of the three thumb suckers had picked the polish of their "sucking thumb." The third thumb sucker dissolved in tears. "Take my fingernail polish off," she cried "or the tears will keep coming." After listening to this for awhile, Mommy caved. She removed the polish from the third thumb sucker's thumb. Just the other day, all four little girls asked to have their fingernail polish re-touched. Three of those little girls requested to leave one thumb polish free.
Thumb suckers: 1 Mommy: 0

March 17, 2010

It's Finally Warming Up

I'm not a cold-weather person. I like snow on Christmas, but that's about it. Before our daughters were born, Hubby and I lived in a house with a gas fireplace. On cold days I liked to turn the fire on and curl up with a good book. We live in a house now with no fireplace and, quite frankly, no time to curl up with a book.
Thank goodness it's finally warming up. We don't go out much in the winter. When it snows, it's just too frigid here to play outside. But now it's time to get out of the house.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. It's one of the messiest activities, but so much fun. The girls wanted me to draw a Hopscotch board for them, then spent a long time hopping around. They don't have the hang of, but it's their game, so it's their rules. Then we took a walk around the block to burn off more energy.
During the winter months, we tend to be sedentary. Now that it's warming up, we're looking for ways to get active again. We just bought a zoo membership and plan to take advantage of it. An hour or two here and there should be just what we need to get out of the house and have a good day.

March 16, 2010

An Interesting Conversation

My daughters always keep me on my toes. Here is a conversation I had with them the other night:
Me: Cakes, you can't wear that necklace to bed.
Sue Sue: You wear a ring to bed, why can't she wear a necklace?
Me: Necklaces can be dangerous when you're sleeping. Besides, this ring was a special gift from Daddy.
Cakes: When you got married?
Me: Yes.
Cakes: Why does Daddy wear a ring?
Me: He also got a ring when we were married.
Cakes: I thought boys were supposed to get skateboards when they get married.

Oh wait, it gets even better.
Roo: Where were we at your wedding?
Me: You weren't born yet.
Roo: We were at grandma's?
Me: No honey, you weren't even in my tummy.
Tortilla: Oh. Because we have to get married before we put babies in our tummies?
Me: YES!!!!

March 15, 2010

Baby Proofing... Not Just for Babies

The other day I was shopping for a baby gate. I had to laugh at the age recommendation "0-2 years old." Does that mean my four year olds are too old for this stuff?
I still have my outlets covered. In truth, though, I sometimes forget to replace the covers and the girls have left them alone. Maybe I can remove those.
I still have locks on my cabinets. From the beginning, the locks have been more of a sanity-saver than a safety issue (except for the lock on the cabinet with the cleaning supplies, of course). As toddlers, my daughters felt any cabinet was an open invitation for play. Any pot? A drum or cymbals. I don't regret putting a lock on each and every cabinet within their reach.
Baby monitor? Still use it. Their room (nope, the big split still hasn't happened, give us a few weeks) is at the opposite end of the hallway from ours. I'm a deep sleeper and rely on the monitor for alerts to nightmares and vomiting.
Back to the gate... I was in the market for a gate with a swinging door. I still put a gate at the top of the steps at night and I'm tired of climbing over it. It's becoming a safety issue... for me! In the middle of the night while getting up for a drink I've nearly taken dives down the steps trying to get over that thing. Having a gate with a door is so much more convenient. So why not ditch the gate? About a month ago I went into my daughters' room for their "final check." Roo woke up and needed to use the bathroom. I watched her stumble down the hall (she was practically still asleep) and had I not been there, I'm confident she would have fallen down the steps. She staggered by the staircase, lost her bearings and I had to dive to catch her. She forgot about the incident by the morning, but it has stuck with me. The "accordian" gate went up that night. In my defense, that's the only gate we still use.
Am I the only one with a preschooler (or four) who can't bear to give up all the baby proofing?

March 10, 2010

Those Pesky Leprechauns

To hear my daughters tell it, St. Patrick's Day is going to be something straight out of a horror movie. I'm partially to blame. To get them ready, I told them all about how they'll be wearing green to school next Wednesday. Then I mentioned leprechauns. Oops.
My intention had been to use green food coloring in their milk next week. To prepare them, I told them leprechauns come and play tricks... nothing mean, just silly pranks. Big mistake.
First, they were terrified at the prospect of little "things" coming in their house. They're convinced that if the milk is green it will taste like broccoli. They are now discussing what treasured items they need to hide so the leprechauns won't steal them (blankies, toys, etc.).
So, I'm looking for suggestions. Green milk is out. What simple, fun thing can I do to show them leprechauns mean no harm?

March 09, 2010

When School Budget Cuts Hit Home

Last Thursday I attended parent-teacher conferences with our preschool teacher. During the conference I expressed my desire to have my daughters be in her class again next year. She made a comment along the lines of "well, you never know what's going to happen, but I fully intend to be here next year." Yesterday morning I called the preschool coordinator and left her a message with my request. Three hours later when I picked my daughters up from school, Ms. Melissa told me she was informed on Friday that she (and two other teachers at the school) will be laid off at the end of this school year. I'm angry on so many levels.
Our time in preschool has been wonderful. I was anxious about navigating through school with quadruplets. Instead, Ms. Melissa made it a warm and welcoming process. Last year, she always sent a helper to unload and load the girls from the car, a small gesture, acknowledging how time consuming it can be to get four children unbuckled. She has always treated my daughters as individuals rather than "the quads."
I appreciate her teaching style. She is not critical. When one of the girls struggled with a homework assignment and simply couldn't complete it, Ms. Melissa emailed me and told me not to worry. She had gone over the work with Roo, who did everything with no problems. Ms. Melissa is "on" from the minute children are dropped off. She starts the day with songs to get everyone moving. She gently reminds the students to follow the classroom rules. Her class if often the last to arrive at the pick-up spot because they are learning until the last minute. Even recess and snack time are teaching tools. At the end of recess, each student has to help do the head count. During snack time, good manners are encouraged, including saying "please" and "thank you."
It saddens me that a good teacher is being let go. I realize someone had to go, but part of me wonders if the right choice was made. I know I'm biased, it just seems ridiculous to lose someone who has had an impact on so many young lives.
To add insult to injury, I just spoke with someone else in the school district. She said this is likely just the beginning of the cutbacks.

March 08, 2010

Icky, Sticky Bubble Gum

Roo: "Mommy, Sue Sue has (garbled word) in her mouth."
Me: "She has what in her mouth? Sue Sue are you chewing on something?"
Sue Sue: (muffled) "No."
I look up. She is covering her mouth with her hand.
Me: "Come over here for a minute." I look in her mouth. "What is that?"
Sue Sue: "It's candy. Daddy gave it to me."
Me to Hubby: "What did you give them after lunch?"
Hubby: "Tootsie Pops... but only Sue Sue and Roo got them because they're the only ones who finished their lunch."
Me: "Oh (pause) wait a minute... did you give them the Blow Pops?"
Hubby: "Ummm... no? I guess. There were Blow Pops in the cupboard? Oops."
Sue Sue agrees to spit out her gum and then....
Hubby: "Roo... where's your gum."
Roo: "In my tummy."

Yep, there's never a dull moment in this house.

March 04, 2010

The Winner Is...

The winner of the Rhythm & Blues giveaway is:
  • comment #4 Meg
Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who entered.

March 03, 2010

Thank Goodness They Like Books

I am a bookworm. I love to read. I can devour books. When I was younger, my mom took me on weekly treks to the local library. I loved finding new books or even revisiting old favorites. Some people can watch the same movies over and over. I enjoy reading the same books over and over. I don't care if I know what's going to happen, I like being lost in a book.
From a young age, my daughters have been surrounded by books. We have pictures of them sitting together, pouring over picture books. Sure, many times the books were upside down, but it's the thought that counts.
As part of our project to split the girls into two bedrooms, our guest room is on the verge of becoming their second room and our den/office/room for storing junk is now the guest room. It took several hours, but the new guest room is complete. In order to do this, a large futon had to be moved from the room. This futon was my couch for many years. It's still fairly comfortable, but over the years has mainly been a giant cat bed. Hubby asked what I wanted to do with it. He suggested moving it downstairs in our front room/play room (really, in our house what room isn't a play room/toy storage area?!). I told him that was fine with me, but if he felt it wouldn't work then I wanted the futon donated or pitched. We don't need to store anything else in our basement.
So, a week ago today we moved the futon in front of our large picture window in our front play room. The girls have officially dubbed it "the book couch." When Hubby moved the futon downstairs, he also moved a book case down there. It is now filled with books for children. My daughters are quite content to sit on the couch all day long, looking at books or looking out the window. Sure, they still get up and play, too, but they're so quiet. It's amazing. I'm looking forward to digging out more books for them... and maybe curling up on the futon with a book of my own!
(You still have time to enter the Rhythm & Blues giveaway).

March 02, 2010

Pajama Day

When my daughters came home from preschool yesterday, they excitedly told me that their teacher is having a pajama party at school. It is now my belief that every day should be pajama day at school. Everyone was on their best behavior last night (I may have told them that if they didn't behave then they couldn't wear their pajamas to school). This morning all four of my daughters quickly dressed themselves in their clean pajamas. In general, they are not morning people. Even if they rise at the crack of dawn, they refuse to get out of bed to get dressed for school. I didn't have to say a thing this morning. They were changed before I could find the comb and detangle spray. I'm sure the novelty of pajama day would wear off eventually, but it would be nice to cash in on this just a little longer!
Don't forget to check out the Rhythm & Blues giveaway.

March 01, 2010

Giveaway: Rhythm and Blues

Wouldn't it be amazing if I could actually give away rhythm or give someone the ability to sing the blues? Well, I've got the next best thing. Putumayo World Music recently provided me with a complimentary copy of Rhythm & Blues. It's a pretty fun listen.
The CD has recordings from artists I'm already familiar with (Angie Stone and Keb' Mo') and some I've never heard of (James Hunter and The Quantic Soul Orchestra). Keep in mind that just because I've never heard of some of these artists doesn't necessarily mean they're new to the scene... it could just be a reflection on my knowledge of R&B music.
The tag line of Putumayo World Music sums it all up: "Guaranteed to make you feel good." Rhythm and Blues has numerous uptempo songs. It's hard not to get up and dance or at least tap along as you listen. One unique feature is the liner notes contain information about all the artists... and the information is in English, French and Spanish. I enjoyed reading about each of the performers while listening to the disc.
My daughters loved "Wang Dang Doodle," performed by Sam Moore, Keb' Mo' and Angie Stone. This song has been covered by many artists, including Ted Nugent and the Pointer Sisters. I truly have no idea what a Wang Dang Doodle is, but my girls love to yell out "Wang Dang Doodle" when it comes up in the song.
My favorite song of the disc is Catherine Russell's "Put Me Down Easy." I wasn't sure at first what drew me to the song, but I figured it out when I read the liner notes. The song was written by Sam Cooke, an artist I grew up listening to. Perhaps the style resonated with me? Either way, Russell gives this tune a passionate turn.

So, want to hear Rhythm & Blues for yourself? Putumayo World Music is providing one lucky Buried in Laundry reader with a copy of the CD. To enter the giveaway:
  • leave a comment telling me what artist you've dreamed of seeing in concert, especially if money were no object. Please be sure to include a valid email address in your comment.
  • earn a second entry if you become a follower of Buried in Laundry or are already a follower (you MUST leave a separate comment for your additional entry to be counted)
  • earn another entry if you blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post and a link to Putumayo World Music (again, leave a separate email if you do this)
The giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. The deadline to enter is 9 a.m. MST Thursday March 4, 2010. The winner will be chosen by and will have 48 hours after notification to provide me with a mailing address, or a new winner will be selected.