June 30, 2010

What We Learned From Elwood Blues

A year ago tomorrow marks a sad day for us. We had to put down our beloved cat Elwood. I still think about him a lot. He was my first pet. From the minute he, Hubby and Hootie moved in with me, Elwood claimed me as "his."
Putting him down was not something we did lightly. He had been battling health problems for months, but seemed to be getting better. Then, almost overnight, he took a turn for the worse. Saying good-bye to him was the humane thing to do.
The girls still talk about Elwood and I think that's a good thing. They constantly say "I miss Elwood" or they ask what happened to him. They can tell you that Elwood was very sick, went to the doctor and is never coming home. Sometimes, though, I think they need to hear it from me or Hubby... to be reassured that they have the facts straight.
Elwood's memory has stayed alive. The girls know it's OK to say they miss him or to ask us to tell stories about him. He supplied us with an endless amount of giggle-inducing stories, so it's fun to recall those times... such as the time I was convinced he had a terrible injury on his paw due to the dried blood on it. Then I realized he had jumped on the counter overnight, chewed through the plastic on our morning chocolate pastry and eaten some of said pastry. The dried blood? Chocolate.
Elwood's death has somewhat helped the girls put the death of family members into perspective. They've started asking questions about why Grandpa is my daddy but Grandma isn't my mommy. I've shown them pictures of my mom and explained to them that she became very sick and died. Their response? "Oh, like Elwood.... do you think she and Elwood are playing together in Heaven?" She wasn't a cat person, but it's easier to say yes then to try to have that discussion. They have a similar response when they see pictures of their great-grandma. She died just before the girls' second birthday. They see themselves in pictures with her and slowly comprehending why they don't get to visit with her any more.
I definitely miss Elwood... but I'm glad we continue to talk about him. I'm grateful that he has helped my girls understand that losing a family member, friend or pet isn't easy, but that it's OK to grieve and it's also OK to laugh. We miss you, Elwood!

June 29, 2010

Sugar Babies

I am not anti-sugar. After lunch, I'm happy to give my daughters a little candy or "fruit snacks" as a dessert. I let them have cookies every now and then. When I give them juice, it's not always 100% natural... mainly because the real stuff seems to upset their stomachs.
Still, I try to limit their sugar intake. Sue Sue has decided she wants Pop Tarts every single morning. Every two or three days I steer her toward something else... French toast, waffles with peanut butter, regular toast, anything but Pop Tarts. When the girls do have Pop Tarts, I try to level the playing field by also giving them some fruit... raspberries, blueberries, grapes... it's still sugar, but it's natural so that has to be better, right?
Unfortunately, the occasional sugar rush is inevitable. Take the other day, for example. We went to an early morning birthday party. In my opinion, all birthday parties should be held at 10 am so kids have a chance to run off the sugar! The birthday girl had a beautiful butterfly cake. I swear the pink and purple frosting was two inches thick. Most of the kids had a few bites and then ran back to the attractions of the children's museum where the party was held. My girls, however, were full of bliss... they ate every stinkin' piece of their cake. The casual observer would think they never get sugar. Anyway, the party favor was a huge butterfly cookie which coordinated with the cake. As soon as they finished their cake my girls asked to have the cookie. Not. A. Chance. We saved the cookies for the next day. They had a slight sugar crash after the cake and after the cookies, but it wasn't anything too dramatic.
The interesting thing is my daughters are getting to the point where they sometimes stay away from sugar. Sue Sue is now requesting options other than Pop Tarts without prodding. Sometimes after lunch they don't want candy. Some days they'll turn down popsicles. So while I doubt they'll ever turn down birthday cake, I'm hoping they're starting to learn it's OK to say no to sweets... no matter how tempting they may be.

June 28, 2010

Summer is Exhausting

I think I finally understand why some parents can't wait for summer break to be over. We are constantly on the go. Whether it's swim lessons, recreational swimming or day trips, we rarely have a day when we simply stay at home. The only thing that has slowed us down is Tortilla's two ear infections within three weeks of one another (different ears).
In past summers my girls and I spent a lot of time at the pool. This year is a little different. We still head to the pool quite often, but I'm trying to find other things to do. I want to take advantage of having kids who are ready for adventures. We've visited new parks, gone to some of the local tourist destinations and spent plenty of time at the zoo. I've already used an entire bottle of sun screen keeping everyone protected this summer.
We're having a good time. I'll miss this when we're buried in snow this winter! What about you? Are you finding time to enjoy summer, too?

June 23, 2010

Leave McDonald's Alone

I just read an article that has me shaking my head. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is threatening to sue McDonald's if the restaurant doesn't stop putting toys in Happy Meals. The group claims the toys are "luring" children to McDonald's and the restaurant is deceptively using the toys to market to children.
OK, first of all, toys in Happy Meals are nothing new. I'm in my 30's. When I was a kid, Happy Meals had toys. I think they had cookies, too. Plus people of my generation know who Grimace is, a character I never see in McDonald's advertising any more, but that's a different topic.
I think we can all agree McDonald's has plenty of unhealthy choices. But I think we can also agree, the options are getting better. Sometimes I do opt for apple dippers instead of fries in the Happy Meals. You see, it's not the fault of the toys or the meals themselves. Let's face it, parents are to blame.
Growing up, McDonald's was a treat. It wasn't something you ate all the time. Hubby and I still try to practice that policy with our children. Yes, for awhile they were going once a week with Grandma... but even then, a trip with Mommy and Daddy was special. Why? Because we splurge for Happy Meals. We don't go often, so when we do, Happy Meals are in order. Hubby is disappointed when a "lame" toy is offered. Hey, if we're going to go once every other month or so, we want to walk away with a fun toy.
I watched a documentary recently about the evolution of McDonald's. One mom said she takes her son two or three times a week so he can have a new Happy Meal toy. Her reasoning? She didn't want to put up with his whining and tantrums if they didn't go. I'll admit, that seems to weaken my argument. But why are we so willing to point the fingers at everyone except ourselves. Wake up, parents. When did we decide it's easier to cave than to say no?! Probably about the same time we decided it's a good idea to sue fast food restaurants for handing out toys that keep children occupied during long car rides. I doubt doing away with toys would hurt McDonald's in the long run. We are a nation of convenience-food cravers.
I'm not saying McDonald's is the healthiest food out there. I know it's not. But I don't think the toys are to blame for obesity and poor food choices in this country.

June 22, 2010

Stray Cats Have Us on Speed Dial

I'm pretty sure that among stray cats there are whispers and secret maps leading them directly to our house. They show up on our porch, throw a few cute looks, beg for food and will us to take them in. Basically, they think (know) we are suckers.
It all started the month before Hubby and I got married. I came home from work late one night. Hubby had a strange look on his face, a look I would later realize was him suppressing laughter. I headed upstairs to change and was greeted by a surprising sight: a small kitten with ears too big for his head. My response? "Who are you?!" Earlier in the day we had experienced a typical midwest heatwave. Hubby had the front windows open to our townhouse. Our cats Hootie and Elwood were relaxing in the windows, trying to find a breeze. Hubby noticed Elwood was irritated by something. Hubby went outside and found a kitten under the window trying to play with Elwood through the screen. Hubby hung out with the kitten for awhile. When the kitten wouldn't leave and started panting in the heat, Hubby gave him water and food. He still wouldn't leave. Hubby made the decision to take the kitten inside to the air conditioning because it was HOT, HOT, HOT outside. For the next few days he played outside with the kitten, hoping a neighbor would claim him. Sebastian has been with us ever since.
A few months later, a black kitten showed up on our porch. She wouldn't leave. She would wail outside our door until Hubby would go outside and give her attention. We might have been convinced to take her in, after all, we only had three cats at that point, but the second she saw one of our cats she hissed and swatted. Hubby took her to the shelter in hopes that she could find a loving family.
Soon after that we moved to a different state and spent a year in an apartment. No unexpected visitors that I can remember. Then it happened. We built a house, found a new vet and out of the blue... the vet realized we are suckers. She called us because a client brought her a cat that had been hit by a car. He was fine but needed a home. Naturally she thought of the suckers who already owned three cats. No way, I said. Then, somehow, Hubby convinced me to go meet the cat. Morton has been with us for approximately six years.
At four cats I put my foot down. Hubby and I got our fix by volunteering at an animal shelter. Unfortunately, we would compare notes at home and we each loved the same cats. There is a female cat named Isabelle that I still think about. She was the sweetest, cuddliest cat ever. If we didn't already have four cats she would probably have joined our family. Unfortunately, the sweet little thing couldn't have stood up to our "manly" boys. She was eventually adopted, which makes me happy.
We've gone a few years with no visitors. And now.... there's a cat that is just BEGGING to join our family. He shows up every night when Hubby comes home from work. Sucker...oops, I mean Hubby, gives him food and water. (You can argue that he wouldn't show up if Hubby didn't feed him, but how do you turn away a hungry animal. Sorry, it's not going to happen). The cat scarfs it down. He's declawed, which annoys me. I'm not annoyed that he's declawed. I'm annoyed that someone either abandoned a declawed cat (a possible scenario because the juvenile delinquent who shot out our window with a BB gun and his family just moved out and it wouldn't surprise me if they left their cat behind) or lets their declawed cat stay out all night to go against coyotes. I refuse to have anything to do with this cat. One of us has to be strong and say no. Yes, we had to put Elwood down last year, so we "only" have three cats... but three is enough. Unfortunately, the cat was sitting on our porch when I left for work yesterday morning. He's cute. Still, I'm standing strong. Go find another sucker. (Actually, if he shows up again Hubby is going to try to crate him to take him to the shelter and see if he's microchipped. Keep your fingers crossed).
Oh, and if he moves on to another family of suckers I'm hoping he will take the SNAKE that was sunning itself on our sidewalk yesterday afternoon with him. I would be forever grateful. If he shows up on our porch with the snake dead in his mouth, heck, I might even agree to take him in!

June 21, 2010


All six of us are fair skinned. We can burn in the shade. I'm already close to finishing off a bottle of sunscreen for the girls this summer. Fortunately, they've never been opposed to sunscreen. I hear horror stories from other moms about squirmers who refuse to have sunscreen applied.
I quickly learned not to put sunscreen from a bottle on their faces. Two years ago I made this mistake. By the time we got to the pool everyone's eyes were swollen and bloodshot. None of them had rubbed their eyes, so I'm guessing the sunscreen ran into their eyes. I now use a stick form of sunscreen on their faces.
At a recent appointment with my dermatologist, I asked her about SPF. Her opinion is that anything over 30 is pretty much the same (funny, because she gave me samples and they were 50 SPF). I think for now I'm going to stick to 50.
I'm diligent about putting sunscreen on the girls. Unfortunately, I tend to overlook myself. Just a few weeks ago I wound up with a painful sun burn because in all the commotion of getting the girls ready I forgot to put any on me. I now apply my sunscreen first so I don't forget.
Now I'm off to replenish our supply so we can continue enjoying our summer.

June 19, 2010

Why Dads Rock

I wish I could show you Hubby's current Facebook profile picture. We have some strange security setting on our computer that won't let me "see" his pictures when I'm logged in as me. Trust, me, this one is a keeper. Hubby is dressed in the girls' ladybug costume, while the four of them are in various dress-up clothes, including a beret and deep red "whistle" lips.
I must, without a doubt, dedicate today's blog to Hubby. I remember soon after my girls were born a co-worker who had a baby a few months after me talked non-stop about her husband. She called him "superdad." I'm not joking. The guy changed one diaper a week and was a hero. Hey, I'm not knocking it. HE CHANGED A DIAPER. That's awesome, considering I've witnessed dads who don't know the difference between toothpaste and butt paste.
Hubby, however, changed diapers in the double digits each day, never complained and knew it was what it took to make our marriage work. I can tell you that I would not have survived the "early Quad years" without Hubby. He has changed diapers. He has cleaned up spit up... my goodness, he once had to clean up "morning sickness" on our bedroom carpet.
Hubby is a great male role model. He could care less that he has four girls... he teaches them to build forts, he tries to teach them his "sense of humor" (I put that in quotes because while the girls may find him funny, I tend to find him exasperating). He encourages them to get dirty and not worry if their hair is combed every day. (You think I'm joking? Come over here on a Saturday morning. I'll be at work and you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone with her hair combed). Hubby and I may not see eye to eye every day, but we agree on several things... we love one another and we love our daughters. So, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the dads out there. Keep making your daughters realize how awesome you are.

June 16, 2010

The Bedtime Battle

Some nights my daughters... all four of them... go to sleep before their heads hit the pillow. Nearly every night, Cakes and Tortilla are out fast. Roo and Sue Sue are another story.
They want to talk... and talk... and talk. In a perfect world, they would go to bed later than they currently do. Unfortunately, Cakes and Tortilla can't handle it. They need to go to bed at their current bed time and it would be a nightmare to try to convince them that their sisters should be allowed to stay up later.
I've tried everything. I try to wear them out during the day, but not make them "overtired." I tuck Roo and Sue Sue in last. I've let them read books. I've let them whisper to one another. It always results in them becoming loud and out of control. I'm ready to pull my hair out. It doesn't matter what I threaten them with: taking away coveted stuffed animals at night, taking away their Pillow Pets if they misbehave, even revoking a privilege for the next day... in that moment in time they simply don't care. In fact, they usually just laugh at me. Not every night is a disaster, but it seems to happen more and more often.
So please, please, please, provide me with some sanity tonight and tell me what you do to get your kiddos to stay quiet in bed.

June 15, 2010

We Love to Grill ( My Review of CSN Stores)

I was recently approached by CSN Stores to do a review on my blog. I had never heard of this website, and, I must admit, it can be an overwhelming place to visit. The stores sell everything from cookware to lighting to cat climbers.
CSN Stores provided me with a $60 gift certificate to select and review whatever I wanted. It took me several weeks to settle on something. Should I buy something for my girls? Should I buy something for me? Hubby and I considered a cat climber because our cats would be over the moon to have something just for them. I finally settled on an early Father's Day gift for Hubby.
For as long as I've known Hubby he has been a big griller. Oddly enough, he claims he didn't starting grilling until he met me. We grill all year round, regardless of the weather. A few months ago, our neighbor called during a huge snow storm. "Where's your husband" he asked. "He's out back grilling," I answered. I was greeted with the sound of laughter. Apparently the neighbor had looked out the window and saw Hubby, but couldn't believe anyone was silly enough to actually grill in a snow storm. Yep, that's how we roll. Anyway, I settled on the Cuisinart 14 piece Grilling Tool Set with Aluminum Case.
The ordering process was a tad complicated. I entered my gift certificate code, but was unable to finalize the order online. However, I called Customer Service and the woman who assisted me was quite nice. I had zero wait time to reach a representative, too.
The grilling set arrived in about week and I received numerous updates throughout the processing and shipping phase. It was nice to have the tracking number and know exactly which day the package would arrive.
My girls couldn't contain their excitement, so we decided to let Hubby have his gift early. He was quite pleased that I had thought to use the gift certificate on him. The set includes corn holders (a favorite of the girls), tongs, a basting brush, a grill brush and replacement head and a spatula. Hubby's take on it all? He likes the spatula because it has a built-in bottle opener. He thought the tongs were too flexible, but decided it might just be a matter of getting used to using something different.
From my perspective, the tools are easy to clean and they seem durable. Also, I think it's nice to have an aluminum case to hold everything. We're constantly searching though drawers to find our grill tools. My only complaint is that the set comes with what's described as a "$20 Omaha Steaks Gift Reward Card." Unfortunately, I didn't find out until we received the package that you have to spend a minimum of $80 to redeem the "reward card."
All in all, I had a pleasant experience ordering from CSN Stores and encourage you to check out the site for yourself.

June 14, 2010

I'm a Big Liar

Remember when I blogged about my "End of School Blues" and said I would be teaching my daughters how to swim? Yeah, feel free to call me a big liar. I had every intention of taking on this task by myself, with some help of Hubby, of course. That went out the window about a week after my post.
We had friends visiting us from out of town. We used their hotel pool and I quickly realized I am not the best swim instructor for my daughters. They didn't want to try anything I suggested: floating on their backs, going under water (which they love to do), heck, even hanging to the side of the pool without my assistance.
I was somewhat frustrated, not because they weren't good "students" but because I wasn't a good teacher... at least not for my own flesh and blood. Then my stepmother found a fantastic website. It's a website made just for swimmers. You can go to the site and find profiles for private swim instructors in your area... they come to your pool, whether it be in your back yard or your neighborhood pool. Some of them also have access to their own pools. I gave it a go and found someone who seemed like a good fit: previous experience with children, CPR certified and decent rates. (Turns out, she does "semi-private groups" with three or more kids so BINGO!)
We had a free evaluation last week. She was amazing with my girls. Within minutes they were floating on their backs, with minimal assistance from her, blowing bubbles in the water and begging for another turn. I'm hooked! I'm also willing to be called a big liar if it means my daughters are learning how to swim!
DISCLAIMER: I am not endorsing this website or any of the instructors. It is up to you to research any instructors you may find on this site.

June 10, 2010

Speech Therapy

Every time I turn around, I feel like I'm facing another headache involving health insurance. For the longest time, I was battling our previous carrier over coverage for Sue Sue. Basically, the customer service agent I spoke to on the phone gave me the wrong information. When our astronomical bill arrived the company told me I should have looked up the coverage information on their website rather than rely on what I was told over the phone. Yeah, I won that appeal.
Due to Hubby's new job, we now have a new carrier. I will say I am very pleased with the coverage. We have a much lower deductible and the company pays a much higher percentage after we meet the deductible. Unfortunately, I just found out this particular carrier does not cover speech therapy.
All of my girls have received speech therapy through Early Intervention and preschool since age two. At the end of this recent school year, everyone but Roo was discharged from speech therapy. Roo has made great strides, but still has some work to do on her speech. My thought was to get her speech therapy over the summer at our local children's hospital. It looks like that won't be happening for so many reasons. Our insurance won't cover the therapy because it's not a "medical necessity." After speaking with the speech clinic, we were given a few options. If we pay in advance we would receive a 50% discount. This sounds great until you realize each session is $300 to $600, so we could still shell out $300 per visit. Not really an option on our budget. The Shriner's offer scholarships for speech and learning therapy, provided through the Scottish Rite Foundation. Based on your income, if you are approved for a scholarship, the Foundation will determine your monthly co-pay and then the Foundation will cover the rest. Roo was approved for one of these scholarships, which is a great thing. Unfortunately, even though she has been approved, she's on a waiting list until a scholarship is available. She's also on a waiting list at the speech clinic until an appointment time is available. Sooooo... it looks like my hopes of summer speech therapy won't be happening, but at least she'll resume therapy through school in just a few months. In the meantime, I have some worksheets and materials from the school therapist to work on this summer... you know in all that free time we have!
I'm curious... I know some of my readers have children who also receive speech therapy. Does your insurance cover these services?

June 09, 2010

Who's That Knocking On My Door?

Warm weather means it's that time of year... the season of door-to-door salespeople. My neighborhood is one of the few in this area that doesn't have a covenant against soliciting, so we tend to be inundated with salespeople.
When we first moved to this house, my daughters still napped. Many an afternoon they were jolted from their peaceful slumber by the doorbell. I finally wised up and put a sign by the doorbell, instructing visitors not to ring the bell between 1pm and 4pm (a mom can dream of daily three hour naps, right?). The sign rarely worked. From time to time I would point the sign out to offenders, particularly if my daughters had just settled down after a rough morning.
I try not to be rude. A job is a job. My cousin was a successful door-to-door salesman in college, selling encyclopedias... although I imagine today he wouldn't sell as many, due to the growth of the internet. When people come to my door selling vacuums, cleaning services, meat from a truck (I'm not talking Schwan's here people, I'm talking steaks out of the back of a pickup...ewwww) I try to politely say no. But there's always that one person who won't take no for an answer.
Unfortunately, my daughters are usually right on my heels when the doorbell rings. They think every visitor is here to see them, just like they think every UPS delivery is for them. (OK, they're actually right on that last one). I've had sales people try to get me to buy something by targeting the girls. Last summer two local dairies were trying to drum up customers. They stopped at our house within weeks of one another. Each of them gave me a gallon of milk for my girls and let the girls sample their chocolate milk. I'll admit... the chocolate milk tasted like a chocolate bar. It was delicious. I'm sure when each salesman saw my girls he immediately started seeing dollar signs. We go through 3-4 gallons of milk a week... imagine the commission.
My least favorite solicitors are these young adults who sell magazines. Their latest technique is to claim they're students in a communication class sent out to speak to the public. I listened to the spiel once to figure out their game. They talk and ask questions (Do you have kids? What do you do for a living?). Then the ball drops... they say to get credit for their "class" you need to sign your name next to a magazine title. So I asked "And then what?" "Well," I was told "You'll get a subscription." My answer was something along the lines of "I have a journalism degree and I never took a communication class that required me to sell magazine subscriptions. Have a good day!"
The last straw came last week. A solicitor showed up during lunch. He wanted to spray our house for bugs. He told me "a lot of your neighbors have been seeing things like this" and he whipped out a brochure full of pictures of mice and spiders. Spiders!!! Huge spiders!!!! I hate spiders with a passion... and to use that against me was offensive... show the poor, defenseless housewife pictures of icky spiders and you'll make the sale?! OK, I realize that might not have been his intention, and I wasn't actually offended... but I'm fed up with these interruptions. Now I'm on the hunt for a "No Soliciting" sign. I wonder if that will also deter the religious-types who routinely stop by?

June 08, 2010

What I Dislike About Summer

I love summer. I am not a cold weather girl. After growing up in the midwest, I've logged enough blizzards to last a lifetime. I like the fact that where I now live we can have a huge snow storm one day and 60 degree weather the next in the winter. I could do without the blistering summer heat, but I can deal with it. Warm weather means my daughters and I can get out and run ourselves ragged.
So now you're wondering... what's up with my title if I like summer? Easy... summer means virtually every night is bath night. It's a hard enough task with four... now couple that with the fact that Hubby's new work schedule has him working nights and I'm sooooo over bath night.
When my daughters were in the NICU, the nurses stressed that a nightly bath isn't necessary for babies. Really, it's best not to do a daily bath if you want to avoid dry skin. I had a rigid every other night bath schedule in place, which worked great until my daughters started preschool. I couldn't stand the thought of them going to bed without a bath after playing outside and being around other germy kids. So bath night became every night that they had school the next day. Every other night I washed their hair. Now it's summer. I think I can count exactly two non-bath nights since school has been out. We've been to the pool nearly every day, or we've played in the back yard, or we've gone to the park, or we ran through the fountains at a cool water park (yes, that's my girls in the picture). They're covered in sunscreen and chlorine. Skipping baths really isn't an option.
Still, I'll gladly bathe them every night if it means we're having fun and not buried in snow!

June 07, 2010

I'm Not A Babysitter

Some people likely think I'm too protective. I keep a close watch on my daughters when I am out and about with them. At the park, I'm not sitting on a bench. I'm right there keeping an eye on my girls. Sometimes I wonder if other parents think "She's already watching four, so she can watch mine, too" because I always seem to end up watching every child in the vicinity.
Here are some examples of this: The other day we went to the park. Hubby and I stayed close to our girls. There were tons of kids at the park. Most of the moms sat together and chatted away, while their children darted here and there. I realize older children don't necessarily need as much supervision, but I'm talking about five and younger. A large portion of these children were at the park for a preschool field trip. If they had been my kids I would have been furious at the lack of supervision. This wasn't a fenced in school playground. It's an open, public park.
At our neighborhood pool yesterday we were hanging out in the "little pool" (don't you dare call it the baby pool) with another family. It just so happened they have twins the same age as my girls. So our six girls played together and we all played with them. Then another little girl came and joined in the fun. No big deal. She was about the same age as all the other girls, fourish. Eventually I looked around. I spotted her mom on the opposite side of the pool, laying on a towel reading a book.... clearly not concerned about where her preschooler was... AT THE POOL! Come on. This has to be one of the most dangerous places to lose track of your child. She came over once, sat for a few minutes and then left. I think she wanted to make sure we had it all under control. Keep in mind our pool does not have a life guard and the little girl didn't know how to swim (early I saw her in the big pool using water wings and clinging to her mom).
I realize everyone has different ways of parenting. I try not to judge because what works best for my family won't work for the next family. I just have a hard time understanding parents who are so oblivious to what their children are doing. The former news reporter in me has seen what can happen to children when their parents turn their heads for an instant. Maybe that's why I'm so protective. But I would rather be safe than sorry.

June 03, 2010

Happy Quadruplet Day!!!!

Did you know today is a national holiday? OK, so maybe it's not celebrated nationally, but today my family celebrated Quadruplet Day. Hubby and I have been so busy with "stuff" lately (housework, yard work, work in general), that we needed a day just for our girls.
I had promised the girls that we would go to the pool today, so of course we woke up and it was overcast and breezy. Change of plans. They were given the option of visiting a new park or going to the zoo. In the end, the park won. This park was, in a word, AWESOME. It had mountains made of rubber throughout the park and the girls had a blast climbing them. Plus, it was fun just to explore a new play area. The park also has fountains shooting out from the sidewalk. We weren't in bathing suits and, again, it was a tad breezy, so we went and looked at the fountains and got our feet wet, but that's it. I promised to return on a warmer day so we can run through the water.
The girls were a little disappointed that we didn't pack a picnic lunch. But I made up for that when I told them we were going to McDonald's for lunch. (Thank you Grandma and Grandpa P. for the gift cards). Each of the girls got to pick what she wanted.... Happy Meals with Shrek toys, of course. When they opened the boxes, three girls had Donkey. One had Rumplestiltskin (I think that's who it was). The cashier was happy to trade the troll for a fourth Donkey and help us eliminate arguments.
Then we went home and I agreed to let the girls go swimming. I figured if they were cold we would just leave. The pool was surprisingly crowded. We lasted about 20 minutes. When we came home I gave them each a small container of ice cream. Our grocery store has these cool little containers of Ben and Jerry's for $1 each. Then they ran through the sprinklers. They were so cold after that that they went straight to the bathtub.
Our night is winding down and everyone is appropriately exhausted. I would say our first ever celebration of Quadruplet Day was a success... and I challenge you to have a similar celebration with your own family, quads or not. It was definitely worth it!

June 02, 2010

Flipping the Switch

Call me spoiled, I don't care. I love central air. I live in an area where we see upper 80s to mid 90s and beyond all summer long. The nights are typically cooler, but it's not uncommon for the temperature in my house to reach close to 90 degrees.
I could cool down my house if I could sleep with the windows open. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why this is not possible. The first reason is my allergies. If I sleep with the windows open, I am guaranteed to wake up stuffed up and with my eyes matted shut. Another reason is the neighborhood dogs. We are surrounded on all sides by dogs. There are two neighbors in particular who never let their dogs inside. The dogs would prefer to be indoors and they let the entire neighborhood know this all night and all early morning long. The final reason... Cakes and Tortilla's bedroom is at the front of our house. I can't leave their window open because some of our neighbors feel every night is a good night to tap the kegarator, set off fireworks or just be obnoxiously loud. These are not "young" neighbors, mind you. They are adults in their 30s who have young children who apparently are able to sleep through the noise.
Window units are out of the question. Our windows open side to side rather than up and down. Plus window units violate our HOA covenants.
When we lived in Michigan we did not have central air in our house. When we built the house we were looking for ways to cut costs and central air didn't seem like a priority in Michigan. There were maybe two weeks each summer when we lamented not having air, but we could manage to survive those two weeks. And then I spent a summer on bed rest. I vowed I will never ever ever go without central air again. You try being in bed all summer long with fans blowing on you from all directions and yet you still feel no relief.
Don't get me wrong. I don't flip on the AC at the first sign of heat. Last week we had record setting heat and I tried to hold out. I finally turned it on at 8:30 pm when the temperature in the house was still 89 and the girls were sleeping in pools of sweat. I turned off the air as soon as I woke up the next morning and we haven't had it on since... I'm sure it will be on again in the next few weeks.

June 01, 2010

How the Gosselins Affected My Grocery Shopping

About two years ago, after being constantly asked if I watch Jon and Kate Plus 8, I finally broke down and rented the first season through Netflix. Hubby would have been happy to call it quits after the first disc, but I made him sit through the whole season. It's the only season we watched. Lots of scenes stand out in my mind and occasionally still make me roll my eyes. One scene in particular was hard for me to grasp... until now. The family went to Sam's Club and left with a flat bed full of groceries. A flat bed. We're not talking about a month's worth of groceries here or a food for a party or something along those lines. This was a typical Sam's Club outing for the family. Yes, they were a family of 10 at the time, but I just couldn't wrap my brain around it.
Then, a few weeks ago, Hubby and I compared our grocery store receipt to the online prices advertised by Sam's Club. We immediately took note of the items we need to buy at Sam's. Chicken nuggets, fish sticks, three packs of frozen pizza... OK, just writing that makes me realize we rely a lot on convenience foods. But last week I decided to take a stroll through Sam's by myself and realized even milk is cheaper there.
We haven't reached flat bed level, yet. But we're definitely buying more in bulk than we used to. It may seem like a no-brainer, but Sam's used to simply be the place we ran into for a month's supply of diapers and baby wipes. When we stopped using diapers, our trips diminished. I've never had time to do much comparison shopping. I'm all about saving a buck, though, and I'm already seeing a difference in our grocery bills (yes, I'm combining the grocery store AND Sam's bills to come to this conclusion). So, Jon and Kate, I may not have enjoyed the show, but apparently I learned a valuable lesson from you: buy in bulk!