April 20, 2014

Easter Shenanigans

Holidays with school age kids is so much fun. I have always enjoyed the festivities of each holiday since having kids but as the girls have gotten older I have started having more fun mainly because they have a better understanding of what we are celebrating. Also their enthusiasm tends to spill over and gets Paul and I a little more in the spirit of things. The effort we put into making the day special does not go unnoticed by two 6 year olds, where the babies could care less with all of our hard work we put into making the day special. My oldest 2 have pointed out repetitively that I am majorly slacking on decorations though so Pinterest will be in my future and I will have to start preparing more than a week beforehand. Guess I better start looking for ideas for 4th of July now because it won't be long before we start decorating in red, white and blue!

Usually we end up dying eggs the Saturday before Easter. It is a rushed event right before bed which means mom is a tad frazzled and just ready to have it over so kids can be tucked in. This year because of my work and not knowing if I would get Friday off and the fact that we were celebrating Easter on Saturday with  my family we ended up doing eggs Thursday afternoon when the babies were taking a nice long siesta. Two mistakes I made were 1) not buying eggs early enough. I hate when you buy fresh eggs and they are a pain in the bunny's behind to peel. 2) don't tell kids when you are going to dye eggs. They will remind you for days that you are going to color eggs and not just once a day, like every single minute of the day.

I have to say I was grumpy when we started eggs. Why? Because I wanted to be and I was tired and I was so over kids asking when we were going to dye eggs. But by the end I was laughing and actually just hanging out with the kids because this was the first year they pretty much did all the egg coloring by themselves. We had one huge splatter when Aubrey dropped her egg accidentally into the cup but Natalie was right there helping Dad and Aubrey clean up. We also had a couple eggs that were still a tad 'runny'. I did 4 dozen eggs using the oven method (I will never boil another egg) and I think I needed to cook them a couple more minutes because of how many there were in the oven. But in the end we had some pretty great eggs of many different colors.
After the first egg the uniform came off and she dyed eggs in undies which I was extremely thankful for when she was covered in green.

My grumpy face. It took a while for me to enjoy the moment.

Saturday we had a very small family get together for brunch. We had one sick Grandpa who kindly stayed home to not get us all sick, an uncle who stayed behind to shingle his roof and an aunt and uncle who went to the coast for the weekend. Luckily my mom, sister and her mother in law came to celebrate with us. Of course the kids were looking more forward to the egg hunt than the company but they brought the plastic eggs so they couldn't wait for them to show up. We may have started a new tradition of having brunch the day before Easter because it was easy, relaxing and allowed my sister to spend Easter day with her husbands family.

Kenzie hiding eggs around the house with her sister Aubrey.

This picture just melts me. Love these boys, chocolate lips and all. 
After the girls had been tucked in they sneaked into the bathroom and wiggled Aubrey's loose tooth until it came out. She was so excited to lose her first tooth and then she started crying right after because she realized she was in pain.  
Today is the day that Jesus Christ has Risen and we have spent it just with our little family of 9. It has been a day with absolutely no stress which says a lot for a holiday. The Easter bunny along with the tooth fairy came during the night. Three big kids couldn't wait to find their baskets but within 5 minutes were near tears because the Easter bunny hid them too hard. It amazes me we literally have to tell them where their basket is. "Drew is their anything under the fireplace?" "Natalie can you go fold all the blankets in the basket in the living room?" "Aubrey can you help dad pick out a pair of pants for church?" Amazing when I give them these chores they come out all smiles afterwards but somehow the tasks never get completed!

So glad the Easter bunny takes a picture of the baskets before he hides them!
Didn't take long for Rylan to spot his basket. 

First taste of jelly beans and I think they were a hit. 

Lego building
Church with four 20 month olds was interesting today. We got there 30 minutes early and there were still seats but I could not get anyone to move into the center so that we could park our stroller next to us but not block anyone's view of the alter. A tad frustrated I found a row for us but we had to have the babies sit with us. They were content for oh 5 minutes and then they wanted be up, then down, then next to mom and the game went on for the entire mass. All in all they were excellent for four toddlers squished in a pew but by communion time they were DONE. I carried a screaming Rylan down the aisle for communion and I am sure everyone stared but oh well. I just pray Paul and I received many graces for attending mass today because it was not the easiest of Sundays.
The best we could get with all 7 when in a hurry. 

We have all shared in a meal of mac & cheese and deviled eggs, a family nap and now the kids are happily playing outside together (an Easter miracle) while dad works on the chicken coop. It has been a great Easter filled with mass, time together and way too many jelly beans for some cute little kiddos. The kids are now all tucked into their beds and sleeping bags for a very sound sleep. It was very different than our past Easters but I have to say it was probably our most enjoyable one yet. Well I am off to start searching Pinterest for decoration ideas so I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.

A neighbor had this bike at the end of their driveway with a 'free' sign on it when we drove home from church. You have never seen a little boy more excited. I told Paul we could have bought him a new bike and he would have rode it for 5 minutes. Give him a free, used bike and he rides it all afternoon. 

Camping in the living room. Daddy won major 'coolest' daddy points tonight. 

And a little glimpse of daddy silliness...

April 05, 2014

Why We Participate in March of Dimes Walk For Babies

In three weeks our family will once again participate in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies. It will be our 3rd year participating but it is the 2nd year in which this organization truly means so much to us as a family. We have 4 very healthy 20 month olds who may have had a very different outcome if it were not for the March of Dimes and the research that they do. Many babies benefit each year because of the research and advancements the March of Dimes has been able to do with contributions from people like you and I. Unfortunately there are still way too many babies who never feel the warmth of their mothers arms which also means too many moms and dads are having to say good-bye to their children before they even get to say hello.

Our quad (and quint) community has been brought to tears frequently this past year. While I was pregnant with the quads all of us who were pregnant at the same time delivered four babies, who all made it home from the nicu and are now healthy toddlers but that has not been the case in recent months. We have had a 1 mom who delivered her four beautiful children but all too quickly one was called home to heaven. Another mom lost 2 of her babies during the nicu stay when they contacted an infection. Recently another mom lost one of her unborn children in-utero. And during the last 6 months three of our moms delivered their babies around 20 weeks gestation and had to say good-bye as they took their last breathes. Days when I hear of another mom losing her baby(ies) I am in a state of disbelief. These moms are so much stronger than I am because I don't know how they continue to go on. It also makes me so grateful for every single one of my healthy children and for the strides that the March of Dimes has made over the years. But the research can not stop because as you see babies are still being born too soon.
I want to introduce you to Chris & Jen. They are amazing parents of quadruplets. But the difference between them and us are they have already had to say good-bye to their little loves and have to wait until they get to heaven to hold them again. 
At 17 weeks Jen went into pre-term labor, she was having contractions and her cervix was shortening. She had a successful surgery at this time to allow the babies to have more time to grow inside their mommy by keeping the cervix closed with a stitch. But at 20 weeks Baby A's water broke. Delivery of Serenity Brooklyn Monroe could not be stopped and she was delivered in attempt to save her sister and brothers. Serenity lived for 2 hours in the arms of her mom and dad before she gained her angel wings. Jen spent the next two days doing everything she could to keep her three unborn children safe.
But then the unthinkable happened again. Baby D's water broke and labor again could not be stopped. Only half way into the pregnancy Chris and Jen experienced the birth and the last breath of their three remaining children; Jaxon Joseph, Gianna Charlotte Faith & Gage Christian Thomas. Chris and Jen have an amazing faith in the Lord and know they will one day hold their children in their arms again but until then they have had to watch their babies gain their angel wings way too soon.

I am writing to each of you today to ask for your support as our family Walks for Babies on April 26th. All donations make such a difference to this organization and over time even pennies add up. We will be walking proudly for our 4 children who were born 9 weeks too early, for those who are currently in the nicu and for all those who have had to say good-bye to their little miracles because the research has not advanced enough to save them.Thank you for your support as we Walk for Babies.

To make a contribution to the March of Dimes in honor of Serenity, Jaxson, Gianna & Gage please go to (all donations are tax deductible):  

April 02, 2014

How One (or 2) Celebrate Turning 6

As Drew exclaimed as he was crawling into bed tonight, "That was the best birthday ever." Even though it was not his birthday I think the girls would say the exact same thing. I am not the best at going all out on birthdays mainly because for some reason they kind of sneak up on me. Yes, I know how many days are in each month and that when March is coming to an end the girls birthday is right around the corner but for some reason it always gets here sooner than I expect it to which means I am caught with little to make their day extra special. Also we do not do birthday parties so there is no count down to the two hours of craziness with everyone from their class in which during those 2 hours the parents shell out way too much money to have kids climb on bounce houses or shoot laser guns at one another. I know that is only our opinion so please no one needs to explain to my why it is essential Kindergartners must have a party.

But this year I had 2 five year olds who have told us each morning how many days it was until their birthday. I couldn't help but get a little excited with them and so this year we really did try hard to make it a birthday they would remember. It started out on Sunday with an afternoon for just two little girls with  their mom and dad. We went out to lunch at their restaurant of choice, Boudin Bakery (think clam soup in bread bowls), followed by shopping for summer clothes and a trip to the candy store. Before heading home we met Grandma Pat for some more shopping and lets just say the girls have plenty to wear this summer. Drew had no complaints about us being gone when the girls handed him an assortment of candy from our favorite candy store.

Sometimes they act so much older than they really are and then other times it is easy to remember they are still my babies.

Natalie was way more interested in her bag of candy than taking pictures!
This morning the girls woke up to balloons and banners leading them downstairs to a table filled with confetti, gifts and a birthday chair decorated with more balloons. Natalie was so excited to see Momma Bear's Porridge was cooking in the crock pot. The girls go to mass the first Wednesday of each month and so they asked Paul and I if the whole family could go to mass today for their birthday. It is pretty hard to say no to that request so by 7:45 all 9 of us were heading out the door for school/mass.

Their birthday song and prayer at school. Their classmates back and forth as the girls turn around in circles. I would have been sick by the end of the song from all the circles but they did just fine!
Birthday treats
The evening consisted of a birthday dinner request of taco salad, their first day of swim team for the year, presents and of course ice cream cake. The night will be completed by a visit from the tooth fairy since Natalie's 3rd tooth finally fell out in class today. She has been asking Paul to pull it for the last week and he was able to find a reason each night to pawn it off to the next day and I am just thankful I don't have to experience the e-b-jebees night after night when I floss her teeth. There is just something this momma can't handle about wiggly teeth!

Love that that they happily allowed Drew to open one gift and one card. It made his day.

A very cute garbage boy!
Aubrey reading her new book to Grandpa & Grandma

I think the girls will be sad tomorrow when they wake up and realize their birthday is not for another 364 days but at the same time I think they would agree with Drew that "that was the best birthday ever." Now hopefully daddy will be saying the same thing 9 days from now!

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