Friday, September 25, 2009

Confessions of a Quad Mom

Being a mother of quads is no easy task. People are always saying to me, "I don't know how you do it!" Well, there's a difference between doing it (surviving the day to day chaos) and doing it well (making the chaos look easy), and despite the calm and collected front you usually see, I don't always do it well. Here are my confessions:

1. I once insisted that Jonathan drink the milk in his sippy cup, only to later open the cup and discover that the milk had curdled. Sorry Jonathan!

2. I've decided that showers are overrated. I only take one every other day or so because I simply don't have the time to do it more often than that or the energy to GET UP EARLY to take one before the start of my day. Face it, you haven't noticed, so it must not be a big deal.

3. There are still a few maternity clothing pieces hanging in my closet, and I really do still wear them, even though I haven't been pregnant for over three years.

4. One Sunday at church another mom congratulated me on being pregnant again. I have never worn THAT shirt again!

5. I use the TV as a babysitter. I know, I'm horrible, but I don't care. What would take me 2 hours, I can accomplish in 20 minutes, if the kids are watching TV. It makes us ALL happier people!

6. I really do like to talk to people, but when I'm out with the kids, I simply cannot pay attention to you and still keep track of all of them. I'm not a snob, and I really do care about what you have to say. I'm really, really sorry for always coming off so rudely.

7. If I can put it in birth order, I do. Jonathan, Zachary, Reagan, Thomas. Everyone who has ever helped out regularly with the kids knows that I do this. Cups in the fridge in birth order. Pajamas in a stack in birth order (Jonathan on top). I'm not completely obsessed with this to the point of seating them that way in the car or insisting that they always be their order in a group photo, but it does make me happy when it just works out that way. Oh, look! The kids are in birth order! Yea!

8. Sorry, Facebook friends, but I ignore almost every single one of your requests. I just don't have time to be a part of any of it. Feel free to continue to send them, just know that I'll be ignoring them. It doesn't mean I don't love you!

9. I hate brushing my kids' teeth. I hate it more than any other child-related tasks. I would rather change poopy diapers than brush teeth. I do it, of course! But I hate it! I HATE IT!!!

10. I am not a supermom. I do not have a bright red costume with matching knee-high boots hiding under my regular clothes. I'm just a regular mom. I scream at my kids when I'm angry. I don't always read to them like I should. I let them watch too much TV. I don't feed them enough vegetables.

But you can continue to TELL me I'm a supermom because it certainly makes me feel like I've got everything under control, even if I haven't showered in 2 days and I'm struggling to brush my kids' teeth while they watch TV and there's a sippy cup of milk curdling under the couch.

Disclaimer: These confessions are true, but this is not my original idea. I got this from Multiples and More, and they got it from The Hughes Triplets. Many thank to them both for this brilliant post idea!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who Knew Eating Would Be the Highlight of Their Day?

The kids are cracking me up over preschool! They LOVE preschool! When they wake up in the morning, it’s the first thing they ask about.

Are we going to pweschool today?!?

If I answer yes, they jump out of bed and head for the potty, ready to get the day started. (Well, everyone but Zachary. He’d rather sleep a little longer!) If I answer no, they start crying. And then they want to know where we’re going to go instead or who is coming to play at our house that day because heaven forbid they are stuck at home all day with just boring mom to play with!

When I pick them up after preschool, I always ask them what they did that day, and they always have the same answer:

We ate!

Then they list off all the food they ate that day and whether or not they finished all their sandwich or their peaches or whatever I happened to pack for them. When they are finally done giving me the lunchtime stats, I might be able to wrangle out some other info about coloring or playing a game, but often my question, “What else did you do?” gets answered with more food consumption statistics.

Once a week, they are supposed to bring in a Show and Share item (like show and tell, but with the understanding that the item will be passed around and shared with all the other kids). The day before this event, I remind my kids that the next day is Show and Share and they need to pick what they want to take. Every one of them will then start scanning the room and grab the first object their eyes fall upon and clutch it like it’s a prized possession. Then I spend the rest of the afternoon in conversations like this one:

Child: I want to take THIS!

Mom: Honey, that’s a spoon. Why don’t you take this tambourine? All the kids can take turns making music with it!

Child: No, I want to take this spoon! It’s my favorite! I love it!

The first time, Reagan attached herself to a little plastic puppy which I feel certain she had never once played with before. It came as an accessory to a Strawberry Shortcake doll which she has also never played with. But she swore it was the best thing ever, refused to be talked into taking something else, carried the puppy around with her the rest of the day, had a meltdown when I wanted to put it in her school bag that night so we wouldn’t forget it, insisted on taking it to bed with her, and remembered it the second she woke up the next morning so she could put it in her bag herself.

We’ll be picking new items this afternoon. I want to take this block! I’m going to share this empty envelope! I want to take this Mr. Potato Head arm! I’m going to take this ball of fuzz! (That last one will be Zachary. He likes fuzz.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Run Around Like Crazy and then Beat Up a Tree

Just two of the many things my children have come up with to entertain themselves this summer. Well, running around like crazy is not new, but tree-beating is. Just watch!

Run around like crazy…

…and then beat up a tree!

Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the production of this video. Although the tree seen above is indeed a real tree, the weapons used against it are only inflatable swim rings and caused no physical damage to the tree. Emotionally, we believe the tree enjoyed the attention. Thank you.

Eye Injury, Take 2

As Queen of Blog Procrastination, I would like to share an eye injury story. Luckily, this has nothing to do with Thomas’ eye injury two and a half months ago, but rather with Jonathan who injured his eye only ONE month ago!

Also, luckily, this eye injury was not nearly as dramatic, and really only bears noting because Thomas’ WAS so dramatic. We’re not really sure what happened. Bedtime was drawing near, the kids were chasing each other around the living room, and suddenly the peals of laughter were interrupted by a thud and cries of pain.

We believe Jonathan either tripped and fell or (with some unintentional sibling help) was pushed into the entertainment center. Either way he somehow managed to hurt his eyelid while the rest of him remained surprisingly injury-free! It really looked like he pinched his eyelid somehow because the skin didn’t seem to be broken. There was no bloody mess like with Thomas, thank goodness! Here he is the next day:


So you can see that it wasn’t too bad, but it was VERY CLOSE to his eye which was really the scariest part. When his eyes were open, you couldn’t even see it! In fact, I can’t even tell you if there’s a mark left from it because I never think to make him face me with his eyes closed so I can check.

There IS still a scar from Thomas’ baseball bat run-in, but that’s to be expected. Maybe in a couple of years it will have faded to a less noticeable shade of pink! If people are still noticing it when he’s a teenager, I feel certain he’ll talk about it like this:

Cute girl: Ooo, Thomas, how did you get that scar on your eye?

T: Well, you won’t believe it, but when I was a little kid, this older kid came at me with a baseball bat! I didn’t even do anything to him! But he came at me and hit me one good time in the face and cut my eye, but I didn’t care! I turned around and grabbed ahold of the bat and wrenched it from his hands, and I was gonna hit him with it, but my brothers grabbed me and stopped me! And he ran off crying like a baby. My mom went crazy when she saw me cuz there was so much blood. It was everywhere! But I didn’t cry. It didn’t hurt at all. The dr gave me 22 stitches and said it was the worst cut he’d ever seen and I could have lost my eye!

Cute girl: Oh, Thomas, how awful! I can’t believe you were so brave as a little kid!

T: That’s nothing compared to how brave I am now!

Cute girl: (giggles) Oh, Thomas!

I’m not kidding. This will so be Thomas one day!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Quiet of an Empty House

I stand in my living room and listen to the eerie quiet of my house. It’s different from the quiet of naptime. Naptime can be a quiet time, but always with the knowledge that a child’s voice could burst through the quiet at any moment. There is no chance of that on this particular day while I stand in my living room. There are no children in my house. They aren’t just sleeping. They aren’t out back playing under the supervision of someone not me. They aren’t here…at all.

They are at preschool!

Last Friday marked the end of the kids’ first week of preschool. This is a whole new chapter of life for them and for me, but we have all embraced it with joy! The kids love it! I wake them up in the morning and they squeal excitedly, “Are we going to school today?!?” (Okay, it’s really just Reagan who squeals excitedly. The boys don’t wake up quite as perkily as she does!)

We have developed a pretty nice morning routine, one that is time-efficient. This is important since I have to get up between 6:30 and 6:45 in order for us to get to school on time. Before I even enter their room, I am ready to go and so are their lunches and school bags. I take their breakfast with me into their bedroom, but they can’t have any until they have used the potty. This makes the pottying process much faster! While they eat breakfast, I pick out their clothes and lay the outfits on the appropriate bed. When they finish eating, they get dressed. They can’t leave the room until their shoes are on. Then it’s just a matter of combing hair and we’re ready to go. So far it has been a very smooth process. Yea!

Here are the kids on their very first day, so proud with their new bags!

DSC_2707 Jonathan, Reagan, Thomas, Zachary

I swear it was totally a coincidence that the boys’ outfits matched their bags! The bags are a little big for them, but we had a hard time finding any that came in three coordinated but not identical boy versions. We really prefer for the boys not to be identical. My wonderful friend Michelle took on the mighty task of bag-hunting (as their birthday presents) and would call me to relate her frustrations: one style of bag with 2 vehicle designs, one style in 2 primary colors, one style with 2 cartoon character choices, never with three! And then she happened to find these at Old Navy. They are perfectly suited to the kids’ selves, if not their sizes. Jonathan’s has a crest on it, perfect for the first-born! Thomas’ is camo like his bib and some of his outfits. Zachary’s has 2 guitars on the front, perfect for Mr. Every-Object-I-Pick-Up-Becomes-A-Guitar. And Reagan, well, as long as it’s pink, she’s delighted!

The kids go to school 3 days a week. When I drop them off, they leave me with barely a glance back. They are SO excited to be there! No crying, no leg-clinging, no dragging them in kicking and screaming while they beg me not to leave. And I’m quite okay with it! We did the cry-every-time-Mommy-leaves thing at the church nursery, and I much prefer this! I know it doesn’t mean they don’t love me! I’m glad that they are confident enough in their own abilities and the belief that I will indeed return for them that they can simply go enjoy themselves.

And I don’t cry either. I know what a fabulous experience this is for them and for me. I am so grateful to all the people who have helped to make this possible (because preschool for four kids isn’t cheap folks!), and I don’t want to take one second away from their happiness and excitement by being weepy myself.

Whether I will be so strong when they start kindergarten remains to be seen!

And so I stand in the living room of my quiet empty house with all the possibilites of time at home to myself, and I get busy with the many projects I have swirling in my mind.

But first, I turn on the radio!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Memphis Trip, Finally!

Our trip to Memphis was a quick one. We left Friday morning and arrived in Memphis that afternoon. The kids were great in the car! Easily our best trip yet, especially since no one threw up!

Our reason for going to Memphis was so that I could go to the Sycamore View Children’s Clothing Sale, a consignment sale that Bud and KayKay’s church holds twice a year. It was great! I love consignment sales!

After shopping we all (Bud, KayKay, our family, and Jodie's family) went to The Big Back Yard exhibit at the Memphis Botanical Gardens, as I mentioned in a previous post. Here’s a shot of the music house. There were several other little houses all in a row for kids to play in too and one big two-story playhouse that we didn’t go in.


Across from the line of little houses was this stage with room to dance and instruments to play.


There were also lots of objects to climb on and through, like these giant earthworms…


…and their worm tunnels!


There was a really nice picnic area beside a giant rope spider web and a small maze for exploring. Another area had all these wooden objects to play with: blocks, a balance beam, a puppet theater, etc.


There was even a water feature; every so often it would thunder and then start “raining” and the kids could run around and get wet, although mine didn’t seem to want to. They claimed they needed bathing suits!

It was great fun for us all! It was also really well-shaded which was an extra bonus! I highly recommend going if you’re in the Memphis area!

Saturday night we went to the cousin’s house. The motorized vehicles were again a big hit, especially with the boys, but the kids still weren’t real great at steering. Mostly an adult had to walk along beside the cars and constantly turn the steering wheels so they didn’t run into people or off into the street.



Even Bud was busy, helping Thomas try out a real bicycle!


Kinley had a short chance to show off her new soccer skills before one of her cousins ran off with the ball. Below, Kallen demonstrates her goalie growl, sure to scare off the whole opposing team when she’s old enough to play!


And Daddy wore himself out giving the kids airplane rides! Wheeee!


Then it was time for popsicles and home to bed. Here, a mostly decent shot of all the cousins:


Jonathan, Thomas, Reagan, Zachary, Kallen, Kinley

On Sunday we went to church, out to eat, and then it was time to hit the road and head for home! It was a busy, quick trip, but packed with fun! In fact, the kids are still talking about it. Nearly every day one of them asks when we are going back to Bud and KayKay’s house. What’s the biggest draw? Big beds! Oddly, it seems to be what sticks in their mind the most, the fact that they got to sleep in big beds! (That is, twin beds! When your normal bed is a toddler one, even a twin seems huge!)

Monday, September 7, 2009

The New Room

We’ve recently added a new room onto our house. We just felt like the kids needed some more space. This is a really special room just for them! We think once you’ve seen ours, you’ll want one for your kids too!

Ha ha! Just kidding, of course! No parents in their right minds want this anywhere near their house! Actually, this is just one of many little houses for kids to play in at The Big Back Yard, a new children’s exhibit at the Memphis Botanical Gardens. We got to go check it all out on a recent trip to Memphis to see Bud and KayKay anf the rest of the fam.

There are more pictures to share. This is just Part 1! Part 2 coming soon!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Look, Mom! I Got Cheese!

You know how on the Charlie Brown Halloween special all the kids go trick-or-treating and each time they leave a house they stop for a moment to look in their treat bags and announce what they got? Well, that’s how my kids are with bags of groceries…only no one gets a rock!

They LOVE to help bring in the groceries! They come hurrying into the kitchen with their bags wide open so they can see what’s in there and make an excited announcement to me of the contents of each bag!

Momma! Look! Apples! Crackers! Pizza! Waffles!

It doesn’t matter what’s in the bag. All items are equally exciting at this point. It’s even exciting when the bag contains something unidentifiable.

Momma! What is it?!?

Maybe this year I’ll skip costumes altogether, and we’ll just take the kids grocery shopping for Halloween!

Yeah, right!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Go Vols!

Well, it’s almost kick-off! Better get a Vol post up!

Daddy and Uncle Clay have gone to the big opening game, and we have it on the TV! We have high hopes for Coach Kiffen and the UT Vols this season! Today should give us a good idea of how high they’ll stay!

Good luck! Go Vols!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Little Snippets

The mind of a young child is a curious thing. Everything is so new to them. All the knowledge we adults take for granted, is something they are learning for the very first time!

For example, about a week before the kids' birthday (I know, I know! One of the days I'll actually be current!) they each received a birthday card in the mail. Exciting, right? Kids love mail, right? Except for this...

In the mind of a child not quite three, a birthday card means it is your birthday. If it is your birthday, there will be presents and cake.

Only it wasn't their birthday yet and there were no presents and cake.

Four excited squealing children turned into four wailing, disappointed children as they learned the hard lesson that just because you get a birthday card, that doesn't mean it is actually your birthday. Sometimes, life is so hard.