February 15, 2015

All I Did Was Blink...

and I went from 27 to 34. Not exactly sure how I feel about getting another year old. Maybe indifferent is the right word? My 30's have been way better than my 20's so I am okay for the moment but next year I may not feel the same since I will then be closer to the 40's than the 30's. For some reason 40 sounds too old for me to have already reached so for now I am going to enjoy just being 34. Celebrating my birthday has never been a big deal for me. It probably started when I was young since my parents owned a flower shop and you can just about imagine how busy my parents were leading up to my big day since it happens to be on Valentine's Day. Most likely I got to have my cake and presents on the 15th because my parents were completely worn out on my actual day and I kid you not when I say every birthday until I was a teenager I was sick. I don't think there is a picture of me opening presents without a red nose and a Kleenex in hand.

Once Paul and I started dating it was more fun to celebrate Valentine's Day than my birthday. It was a bonus though that we could go out to dinner to celebrate our love for each other and get a free meal or dessert with it! After we got married February 14th once again became a day to celebrate my birthday because Paul and I decided V-Day was a commercial holiday and an expensive one at that. In the end I usually ended up disappointed in how my birthday played out and I always had different expectations on how it should have gone so in my mind my birthday is just another day.

This year it was different though because I have had 3 kids who have been ecstatic it since the month of February rolled around. By Thursday, Drew could hardly contain himself because he knew mom's birthday was only 2 days away. Not sure exactly what he thought was going to happen but he was thrilled. Paul and I had celebrated my birthday/valentines day on Friday with a whole afternoon & evening out together. There were no flowers, chocolates or cards but instead time together watching 50 Shades of Grey (my choice not Paul's!) and eating sushi until we were stuffed.


My gifts from the big kids were their stuffed animals wrapped up. I exclaimed with each one how perfect it was.
So Saturday was all for me and I didn't have to share it with the competing love holiday. I had told Paul the only thing I wanted for my birthday was to sleep in and not have to get up with the kids or have them bugging me to make them their first meal of the day. Of course it was also the one night that not a single kid got up to be tucked back in or to tell me they had to go potty or that their throat hurt. Why does it always happen that way?? And for some reason I was wide awake by 6:30am but it was so awesome to just lay in bed and listen to the kids talk to Paul while he made breakfast. The best part was hearing Aubrey read the birthday card she had just made for me. I wish I could have recorded her voice reading it to her daddy because it made me cry and was the best part of the day. After I got out of bed at 7:30 it was a typical morning of breakfast for 9 with over crabby 2 year olds but then we organized the play room and got the upstairs prepped to paint. I think it is a sign of getting older when that kind of stuff makes one happy. Natalie had also informed me about 30 seconds after getting up that I had a massage to go to at lunch time. Daddy may not have been thrilled that she had already spoiled my one and only gift but she was so excited to tell me what was on my agenda.

Homemade cards. Paul had written Drew's message on a piece of paper and he then wrote it on his card. He has never done letters as well as he did  on the card. I was shocked when I was told he wrote it all by himself.
(Aubrey's bottom left, Natalie bottom right)
(Back of Aubrey's card)
My afternoon went a little like this: massage, iced coffee, picking out a cake that I have been wanting from Whole Foods and then I returned home to a little boy who had pinched his finger in the closet HARD. I hadn't been informed that a run to urgent care was going to be part of my birthday day but a middle of the night emergency room visit for a broken finger didn't sound fun either so we went and waited two hours in urgent care. After about an hour I knew his finger was fine but since we had already waited an hour I figured it was better to get it checked out so I didn't have mom guilt if something really was wrong. We made it home in time for Tate to have bacon and apples for dinner since his siblings ate the rest of the leftovers and it was already way past the babies bedtime of 6pm we decided to forgo cake with them and blow out candles with just the big kids. They had a blast singing Happy Birthday and I think they ended up singing four rounds of it.

Though an urgent care visit isn't the most fun it sure is a blast to have two hours of individual time with a kiddo. One thing I learned about Tate is he only has one voice: LOUD.
They were not happy that they were limited to 3 candles each. They did not understand why I did not have 34 candles in the house. After so many I think it becomes a fire hazard.



The joy the kids got out of mom turning 34 was so worth getting another year older. I am actually really excited to see where Paul and I are at when I hit the age of 35. This could be another adventurous year for us and we can't wait. We've been kind of boring for the last two years so it's time to shake things up again. As they say, 'your only as old as you feel' and thankfully I still feel young and that is what matters.


video

January 30, 2015

Good Bye Diapers

I have been in no hurry to potty train the quads because really it is easier to have everyone in diapers who I can change when convenient for me and besides a couple leakage issues there are never accidents that I have to clean up. But about a month ago I needed to restock the girls' closet with diapers because we were pretty much completely out. So I was off to Target to spend a small fortune in diapers. I never added it up but I am sure we were spending $300-350 on diapers every month and it was only getting more expensive as the kids needed bigger diapers because they charge the same amount for fewer diapers as the sizes increase. And buying diapers didn't just mean buying one brand and one size. All diapers are not created equal for each child. This is what our diaper selection looked like:
     Daytime
         Kenzie- Up & Up size 3
         Tate, Rylan, Isabella- Up & Up size 4

     Nighttime
        Kenzie- Up & Up size 4
        Rylan & Isabella- Huggie size 5
        Tate- during the last month we had done Huggie size 6 with major leak issues, 
                 Up & Up size 4 with a Huggie size 5 but still with leaks, 
                 then Huggie overnights size 5 with only occasional leaks.

So if you are confused with who needed what and where all of the different sizes were stored so was anyone else who came over and had to diaper our kids. When I went and bought diapers it was a game of figuring out if Costco was cheaper than the promotions Target was having and then I had to figure out what diapers I needed to buy and what could wait until the next diaper pick up. My last run to Target had me frustrated when my bill was around $150 and it included diapers and 2 other small items. I was literally spending money to have it pooped and peed on and then thrown away. I left the store frustrated.

About a week later someone in my twins group mentioned the '3 day potty training method' and I decided to read the pdf version of the book. I have always been one to say never to potty train until your kids are showing signs because it just wasn't worth putting oneself through the stress of potty training your toddler who wasn't ready. At 27 months Aubrey told me one morning she wanted to wear panties. I told her she couldn't pee in them and she told me okay, she was trained both daytime and night time that day. Natalie, who is my 'if something is working don't change it' child, was just fine that her sister got an M&M every time she peed in the big potty and had no interest in getting rid of her diapers. Three weeks after Aubrey became a 'big girl' I told Natalie we were out of diapers because I knew she was ready and from that day she was a 'big girl' too. The girls were so easy and only required us to get them up at 10pm to go one more time before we went to bed and I could count on my hand the number of accidents they had.

Drew took a bit longer to become potty trained because when he turned 2 he had absolutely no interest. After the quads were born I hardly had time to pee myself so there was no way I was going to add in the extra stress of running a 2 year old to the bathroom while I was bottle feeding 4 babes. Right around Drew's 3rd birthday he told me he wanted underwear like daddy and he was day time potty trained from the moment he put on his little boxers. Night time was another story and I did have to resort to pull ups even though I vowed I would not spend money on them. Even waking Drew up at 10pm didn't ensure he would have a dry bed in the morning. He was almost 4 before he was fully potty trained at night and even now we occasionally have a little boy who comes in our room in the morning telling me he wet his bed. That boy sleeps so hard and the house could be crumbling around him and he would still be sleeping soundly.

So with the quads I was fully intending on waiting for them to become 'big kids' because the thought of having to make sure everyone goes potty before we leave the house sounds like more work than changing diapers a couple times a day and the thought of 4 toddlers in a public restroom checking everything out was enough to make me shiver in grossness. But after spending money on diapers once again I decided the extra work was worth the money we would save each month. The only kid who I knew was ready was Tate. He peed and pooped on the big toilet more than any of them even though the others tried often. The issue with only training Tate was that every time he went I had 3 others who wanted to pull down their pants and have their turn on the porcelain thrown. If I am already letting everyone have a turn I may as well train them all.

What I got from reading the 3 day method wasn't rocket science but basically a potty training boot camp. For 3 days one did nothing but encourage fluids which would then promote the need to pee which then lead to parents scooping up kids in hopes that the pee would go in the potty because then those same parents would do the happy dance and reward with sticker and/or treat. All of this is done in high hopes that after the 3 days of literally never being more than a couple feet from the john one's child(ren) will be masters at the whole potty training thing. Sounded great and totally doable so I picked a date two weeks later which I knew we had nothing going on for a 3 day period. What I didn't plan on was two weeks after the initial Day 1 I would still be nervous to leave our house. I have decided there is no '3 day method' instead I have renamed it '3 exhausting weeks when the biggest thrill in life is when one checks for dryness and a kid is actually dry'. It has been a long two weeks already and I think we probably have another week to go before I say we are daytime trained but that said I have not once been tempted to put a diaper back on!


Day 1: This was a day from hell and I will admit it. I was alone for the first day of this process and because of mine and Paul's schedules I knew we would never get 3 days in a row when we were both home. When the babies woke up we made it a huge deal that today was the day that they were big kids. No more babies. We had been telling them for two weeks that diapers were going bye bye because they weren't babies anymore and only babies wear diapers. As soon as I got Tate up I knew it probably wasn't the best time to start potty training because I could tell he was getting sick but at the same time we had been talking this whole situation up so I needed to follow through. By the time the 3 days were over I had 4 quadlings all running fevers of 103-104 with coughs that would not stop. It was probably the sickest all of them have ever been so I have a feeling this did not help us one bit.

Big Kids!

We moved the rugs in our family room because I knew there would be accidents an I didn't want to be scrubbing pee out of the rug.

After getting the kids out of bed I brought all the kids downstairs and donned underwear and shirts. Kenzie immediately peed in the potty and then we waited and waited and waited......before finally we had someone else earn a sticker. During that time I probably said the phrase 'don't forget to tell mommy when you have to go the bathroom' a hundred times. Leading into lunch time we didn't actually do too bad; only 3 accidents and then lunch happened when I had 3 pee while eating their meals and I was so happy naps were next. I had already decided that I was not going to do diapers at naps and just stick with underwear knowing we would have accidents. What I learned that first nap was to strip everything out of their beds I could so I had less to wash because even if they went potty right before naps they would still wake up wet. They were left with a waterproof mattress pad, a pillow and a small blanket. After stripping everything and starting the washer once again the big girls arrived home from school and they were so excited to help with this whole adventure. It didn't take long to realize 2 more kids helping added a new level of stress. By the time Paul came home from work Tate was the only one to earn a couple more stickers while the others helped get more areas of the floor mopped. By this time I was pulling my hair out and not enjoying this at all. Dinner time was another flop as pee dripped from 3 dinning room chairs. I literally wanted to cry and was so excited for bath time because after naps I had quickly decided we would be wearing diapers at night. That night I wanted to give up but at the same time I knew we needed to stick with it. I probably cleaned up 20+ accidents during Day 1 so that evening I hibernated in my bath tub until the water was way to cold to be bathing in it.

I did not want to have to spend 3 days sitting in our bathroom so we brought the bathroom out to the family room which is right off of the kitchen. One potty has now found its way to the car and the other is in an upstairs bathroom.
We set up many different activities that were all very close to the 'bathroom'. There is just something so adorable about toddlers in underwear.
My little helper on Day 1
We upped the anti and added in a marshmallow plus a sticker if they peed.


They were already getting antsy by 10am so we had a popcorn party.
Drew and I both felt this way by nap time.

Day 2: I was so excited when right away in the morning the boys both peed in the potty which earned them a sticker and a marshmallow. It hadn't taken me long to realize I needed to up the anti the day before from stickers to a treat and a sticker. After the first M&M was handed out which left a chocolaty mess on a face I decided that mini marshmallows would be the prized reward because I did not need more messes to clean. Day 2 was a million times better than Day 1 with only 5 accidents throughout the day plus wet beds at nap time. Isabella finally peed in the potty at 5:30 on Day 2. She was not afraid of the potty because she spent more time than anyone sitting on it but the girl could not figure out how to release her pee. We did the biggest pee dance and celebration hoping that she would realize she could do it instead of peeing in her pants when she finally went. When we tucked the kids in this night I think Paul and I may have actually had smirks on our face because we knew we had said good bye to diapers during the day.





I wouldn't be surprised if her babies peed more than she did during the first 3 days.
We had many plasma car races and it was a toss up between Tate, Drew & Dad for 1st place. 
Day 3: Today Paul was going to be tackling alone because I had to work. Thankfully when I got to work they were overstaffed and I was able to go home. I picked up donuts for the kids and Starbucks for me before arriving home to 7 very excited kids. I was actually looking forward to Day 3 because of how well Day 2 had gone. Unfortunately the babies were getting sicker and the husband spent the morning at urgent care. The nice thing about sick kids is they are happy to just cuddle and play quietly which is great when you only have one sick kid, but when you have 4 who all want mom's lap to themselves and scream the minute anyone else even dares to touch mom, you have 4 very crabby kids. My ten o'clock I had to get the kids outside. We had spent over two days cooped up in our house which is not our norm. We took the nebulizer outside and one by one I gave treatments while constantly reminding kids to use the little potty I had brought outside with us. At one point Rylan went off with Drew and to be honest I didn't even care if he had an accident because for 20 minutes he was not picking on his siblings which he does so well. And of course he had our first accident of Day 3 while riding in the jeep with Drew. Day 3 proved to be just a tad bit better than Day 2 but we felt no where near ready to leave the house. Isabella didn't have a single accident that day except for nap because the girl held her pee all morning til nap when she emptied her bladder on her bedding and then she held it again until bedtime. I now knew who my trouble child would be during this adventure while Tate proved to me that he was ready to be trained because the boy didn't have a single accident since Day 1. He was even waking dry at nap time.


Many hours sat waiting for someone to go potty.
The peanut is so tiny that finding underwear to fit her is tough and now without a diaper 12 month pants are falling off of her. Skinny girl problems...
Can you guess who was ready to be trained?!?
Day 14: I so wish I could tell you that we are fully day time potty trained but we are not there yet. Some days are better than others but we still have accidents. All of the kids will pee and poop on both the little and the big potty. I have had to quite the marshmallow game because Rylan and Kenzie both quickly learned that peeing even a teaspoon would get them a reward. This got super old very quickly. Now I only give them out right before naps because I need them to go potty at this time. We still stick pretty close to home because there is no way we could go to the mall and shop without bringing a potty with us. Once someone says they have to go potty they need to go now. I did finally adventure to the gym this morning and made it 30 minutes before I got called because Tate told them he had to go potty. I would have loved a longer workout but the fact that Tate was able to relay he had to go and then have the other 3 also go pee was a huge step. Naps are still an issue and we still are washing someones bedding every day. The girls still take at least a 2.5-3 hour nap and I don't think they even care they are sleeping in wet clothes. Rylan sleeps hard but the minute he starts peeing he wakes up screaming so I am hoping his nap wetting will end soon. Tate woke dry for almost 2 weeks and then the last couple of days has had accidents. Isabella we are still trying to figure out what we need to do for her. She seldom tells us when she has to go and so we have to be good about sitting her on the potty and she will happily sit there for 15-20 minutes when eventually she will go. She does get the worlds biggest smile and even claps for herself when she goes which you can't help and get excited with her but this is frustrating when I had to sit with her at the gym before dropping her off at kidcare because otherwise I knew I would be called for wet pants. I know many would say to just put her back in diapers but I just don't feel she needs them. She simply has a hard time releasing when on the toilet. Maybe wishful thinking but hoping she will soon figure it out.

Even with the accidents we have daily it is still better than diapers. I will never say the '3 day method' is easier than waiting til the kids are truly showing interest but my budget is going to look so much nicer each month. My best advice if you are thinking about trying this method is to have more than one parent home for the full three days, to strip the bed of everything except for what you really need, have plenty of underwear for the child, realize it takes 3 days for the child to understand they are suppose to pee on the potty but it will be many more days/weeks before they are full potty trained and to adopt the idea that it is only pee every. single. time you have to clean it up.

January 26, 2015

One Single Phone Call....

can change your entire path in life. I should be writing about the latest adventure of potty training 4 two year olds but tonight is not the night. All day I have been thinking about how this day 3 years ago, four of our kids were frozen in a straw and were waiting in a lab to be thawed the next morning. Science and the advances it has made to help those suffering from infertility is amazing but that is not what has weighed so heavily on my heart today. It is the fact that a phone call I answered 3 years ago changed mine and Paul's life more than any single moment in our life so far. That phone call is the reason we had 4 babies at one time instead of 2. It is why I got to tuck in 7 kids tonight when if we had gone with what we had discussed with the doctor we would have only tucked in 5. It is so hard for me to even imagine how with the doctors words of "two of your four embryos are non-viable" we were only planning on putting back 2 of our 4 frozen embryos. Why wouldn't we believe the doctor? He was an expert in his field. It took us 8 embryos of good quality to get the twins. Why would we put 2 embryos that would not produce a pregnancy back in? Yet, all it took was a single sentence from the embryologist, "occasionally in my career I have seen this grade of embryo take" for us to know it wasn't about us and all about those 4 babies who were frozen six years earlier. IF they had any chance at life there was no way I could just throw two them away.

As I watched my 4 miracles play today I couldn't imagine only having 2. I thought over and over, who were the 2 non-viable ones? Who was I going to discard? In a way it is almost painful for me to even think about. The emotions I feel on the anniversary of the quads transfer is so much more than the transfer of the twins (I actually can't even tell you when the twins were transferred!) because it is the day I almost lost the chance to be a mom to 2 of my kids. I can't even tell you how often I think about the embryologist who called me 3 years ago. I will forever be thankful for her and she is the reason why all 4 of my babies were given a chance at life.

Kenzie, Isabella, Tate & Rylan; you were our 4 remaining embryos. There is never a day, even in the middle of chaos, that I would ever chose not to put all 4 of you back in. You have made me a better mom, wife and person. Your dad and I are closer and more in love because of you. You have showed us what is important in life. Today I am grateful that a single phone call changed the path I had planned for myself in life because this journey is so much better than anything I could have planned.

Three years ago you were frozen in 2 straws, tonight you are 4 amazing brothers & sisters.

January 20, 2015

Wrap up of 2014

I have been asked to go watch Planes: Fire & Rescue with an adorable little man and I am so going to take him up on his invitation but before that I want to wrap up 2014. Since the movie has already started I am leaving you with a bunch of holiday family togetherness. Even though my family was all born and raised in Minnesota it is so awesome to have us all together as we have all begun or own families. My mom, brother, sister and I all live within 25 minutes of each other. These days that is not very common but when one does have family close by there is nothing than can beat it.

You know it's going to be a good day when you get away with eating M&M's before breakfast.
"Oh you got these for the little girls?"
Isabella loves any kind of baby. Little mommy in the making.


"Spinach dip anyone?"



Sometimes the safest place is under the cabinets in our house.


Cousin Axel
Sleeping away his 1st Christmas

I was so over nerf guns after this weekend. They were non stop.

Uncle Connor & Rylan
Natalie & Aubrey both learned to knit. Someday they can teach their mom...

Auntie Ella & Aubrey
It didn't take long to tear down the fence around our yard with lots of helpers. So windy and cold that day.
Missing the peanut who was having a complete meltdown because she couldn't open all of the gifts.
Paul and I may hog the baby when he comes over. Shocking since we have 7 under our feet at all times.
The artistic one just like big sister Aubrey.
Cousin Evan
I am calling this post complete, bread is baking in the oven and I am off to tuck myself under a blanket to cuddle with a cute 4 year old. After this weekend of potty training 4 miserably sick two year olds, I have no guilt about going to lie down til the big girls need to be picked up from school. Next up: how to potty train way too many toddlers at one time....

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