August 28, 2014

Dear Summer,

I really wish I could love you unconditionally but there are a couple traits of yours that are standing in the way. I am hoping over the next six months you can work through some of these issues so that nothing will stand in our way next June. I know they say you can't change a person but I am really hoping this is not the case here and that you will see where I am coming from.

First I want to let you know that you really are my favorite. There is something about your carefree days that just make me smile. I love that fact that I really don't have to get dressed, or even shower, when you are here. Make up and having hair that is styled are only done on days that I may run into people that I actually know. There is nothing better than an afternoon nap with a light blanket and the ceiling fan spinning around and around, except for maybe waking up with the windows open and the sound of birds chirping. I love the fact that time seems to slow down and there are more hours in the day to get things done. Bedtime often slips by unnoticed because there were too many giggles happening to really pay attention to time. Your warm sunshine invites us to dine al fresco for the majority of meals which makes clean up a snap. The bulk of my laundry when you are visiting are towels and swim suits. Adventures of bike rides and walks are daily occurrences and with those come more skinned knees than I have band-aids for.

Yes Summer, you have so many amazing qualities that I adore but there are just a couple of things we need to discuss. First, just because you are an early riser does not mean you need to wake my children up at 6am on the dot every single morning. Yes I understand the mornings are beautiful but my kids are not awake to enjoy this aspect. Instead they are at my bedside telling me they are hungry about every 3 minutes until I tell them they can have a breakfast bar or a gogourt. They then start asking when I am going to get up once they have finished their pre-breakfast snack. Though I do enjoy summer mornings I prefer to spend them crawled under my sheets without little ones pestering me until at least 7. So Summer can we compromise on this one and I will spend 2-3 days a week with you at 5:20 on the days I must go to work and the remaining days you allow me to sleep peacefully til 7?

Fresh  juicy fruit, cold ice tea and bare feet are some of the joys you bring with you but this also brings along dirty fingers that like to touch every window in my house and floors that are always sticky. This is not the end of the world and I understand that these messes can all be cleaned up but can I please just have a house that stays clean for 5 minutes? Someday I will be wishing my kids were back in my house leaving behind fingerprints on the windows but when I get that urge I will invite my grandchildren to visit so they can cloud my view from my patio windows and then I will send them back home so I can wash my windows that will stay clean until they visit again. The messes you make around every corner of my house makes me crazy. I often feel I make no head way in getting my house in order and if I do the second I turn around another mess is made. Can we agree on one day a week in which my house stays clean from sun up to sun down?

Let's talk food...I am so thankful that I have a fridge full of food and that I am able to provide my kids with healthy choices but the appetite my children work up while spending time in your company can be way too much at times. I am happy to provide breakfast, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack and dinner. Allowing me to get the dishes done from the meal we just finished would be so much appreciated before someone is telling me they are hungry. I love being in the kitchen but sometimes I just want a break from it. There is no way a person who has just eaten a breakfast full of protein and fruit can be hungry by 9:30 in the morning. I am lucky if I have even started on my coffee before someone is asking me for a snack. Also all this "I'm hungry" leads to more dishes and clean up and I am again finding myself with the task of cleaning once again. A vicious cycle that I do not enjoy in case you have not caught on.

Now for the big one that I feel is really getting in the way of the unconditional love I want to have with you; attitude, sass and bickering. I can not do this one again next summer at the level we had this summer. I use to fight with my brother so I get that siblings are not always the best of friends but I always thought my kids would at least have a couple nice things to say to each other throughout the day. I do not expect perfect children but I do not understand how my kids can be so wonderful when in school and while out in public but the minute they get in the car or stuck at home they find fault with everything their brothers or sisters do, or someone is sitting too close to them, or someone did something they were not suppose to. My mom use to tell me to watch my tone more times than I want to admit as child and now I know why she use to say this. The tones you bring out in my children's voices is like nails on a chalkboard. I am at a loss on how to correct this behavior of attitude, sass and bickering that we have been dealing with while you have been with us the last 3 months. We have tried time outs. We have tried separating and quiet play time. We have tried naps. We have tried a tsp of vinegar and nothing is helping. I will be reading some self help books while the days of winter are here with us but Summer can you please bring different tones with you next time you come?

"You're o-FISH-ally in 1st Grade"
As you can see there are really not that many issues I have with you, only a handful. We wished you farewell yesterday as I sent my kids off to school. I may have been even more excited than them when we waved good-bye to you. We will have a routine again. My kids will be able to play with others than just their brothers and sisters. I will have a couple hours each day that my house stays clean. I will be able to stick to 3 meals a day and one snack without hearing 'I'm hungry' the minute everyone has left the table. I know I will get to a point when I am tired of packing lunches, tired of loading everyone up to drop & pick kids up, tired of finishing homework assignments with kids who say they don't know how to do it; but at those moments I am going to remember the sticky hands, the constant fighting among siblings, the threats of timeouts and be happy that winter is staying with us for just a little longer. I hope in six months I will have a love for you that is unbreakable and that things will work out between us but until then I am off to wash uniforms because tomorrow is another school day! Hallelujah...

A Mom Who Is A Tad Excited Her Kids Are Back In School

August 26, 2014

Summer Recap

We can really call this what it is, summer pictures that didn't qualify for a post of their own. We are on our last day of summer because the girls start 1st grade tomorrow and once school begins summer has ended in my book. I may be counting down the hours until I send them into their classroom in the morning but more on that this week in an upcoming back to school post. So for today enjoy the highlights of our summer in pictures and if you want to truly experience our summer add in screaming quadlings, bickering 4 and 6 year olds and lots of attitude and you have pretty much enjoyed the last 3 months right along with us. 

Drew's love for soccer
Starting about February Drew started asking when he got to play soccer again. He did a 4 week camp last summer and even though it took him 3 of the 4 practices to warm up to it he fell in love with the game. He is actually quite good at it too. The town we live in does not have the typical one night a week for a month camps that our old town did but instead have a week long camp with players who actually come from South America. It was the best camp ever and Drew agreed. Next year he will do both the June and July camp and get to practice for 2 hours each day. Now if only I found watching soccer exciting!

Having so much fun doing something without any of his siblings.

This summer Paul's mom spent 7 weeks with us. The kids loved having their Grandma here and they all had a very hard time when she left. We keep hoping that someday they will leave those cold Minnesota winters and join us out here in California for good. When Grandma Lynn came she also brought along Grammie, the kids great grandma. And when she left Grandpa Rick came out. Lots of company which also meant more people to play with than just mom and dad. I have to say it was nice having others around for so long. I don't think I got the quads dressed once the entire time Lynn was here.

Grammie and Drew building Legos. Drew may have been assisting Grammie!
Happy '42' (or close to) Birthday Grandpa
I find it so funny how excited they are to see what is in each bag even though they wrapped them.

Timber (& other outside happenings)

Love that I find him more handsome each year.

Aubrey loves her baby brothers and sisters. Kenzie is still her favorite even though Kenzie would often wish someone else would fill that roll.

A couple months back Drew had insisted I take his training wheels off and it lasted all of 5 minutes before he told me he was going to put them back on. Once again he was adamant that he was ready to have them off. They came off right before nap time and we told him we would practice after he woke up. Aubrey and Drew got up and went outside and since they were playing so well together (as in we could hear no yelling taking place) we decided it was best to not check on them. After a while they came in and wanted to show us something. Aubrey all by herself taught her brother to ride his bike without his training wheels. He was so proud of himself and she may have even been prouder. I would not be surprised at all if Aubrey is a teacher when she grows up. She has more patience and the gentlest of voices when she is in a teaching moment. Drew now cruises around on his bike without any fear. And yes he is wearing princess protective gear, he has two older sisters.

When we moved into our house the front oak tree looked as if it could be dying. We were hoping that would not be the case and were really happy when it started leafing out this fall. Unfortunately after about a month we lost those leaves and we were left with a dead tree. When Paul's dad came out he told us he could take it down and both Paul and I were very nervous and I think Rick knew we were so he waited for a day when Paul was at work and then he got the chainsaw out.

This is the point were I texted Paul asking him if our home insurance was paid up. I took pictures and then headed inside because I could not watch the tree drop on my house. 

Down and not on top of my house. Of course I had confidence in his ability the entire time!

Tate kept pointing towards the tree all night. I  think he was worried that grandpa did something he was not suppose to.
Grandpa and Rylan having a celebratory drink.

Practicing present opening
Grandpa and grandma started the kids little people collection when the twins were very little. I love how well they hold up and even I have fun playing with them. I had mentioned that a farm would be awesome to add to the sets we already have. All 7 of the kids have enjoyed the quads gift this year.

Coppertone Babies
Since the majority of our waking hours this summer were spent in our pool the kids are sporting great tans. Thankfully we have no neighbors who can see our backyard because clothes may or may not have been optional. Underwear also classified as swim wear on more than one occasion. I think having a pool has made our warm summers so much more enjoyable. Plus the fact that I love water has made for a very happy momma.

This has to be one of my all time favorite pictures of Isabella.

My little brother and sister spent a couple of days with us and I am not sure if Paul and my brother in law had more fun or if Ella and Conner did. 

Talk about a skinny kid. I promise she does eat!

We have showered outside almost every night this summer.  After naps we spend the entire afternoon outside. We swim, eat dinner and shower to then come in the house to be tucked in. Amazing how clean the house stays when no one is inside it!

Discovering Parks
I was a bit nervous taking the quads to the park with just Drew because I had no idea if I would have four kids running in 50 different directions. Much to my surprise they all stayed with me. I have been very fortunate that none of my kids have been runners when we are not contained in our own yard. We are working on having the quads hold onto a rope that has rings for when we must walk in a parking lot and I am by myself. Run away 2 year olds and parking lots fill me with anxiety.

Swim team
From April til July, Natalie and Aubrey were on swim team. We of course had the occasional morning where we heard the 'I don't want to go' but as soon as we got to the pool they took off and were all smiles. Now at the beginning keeping 4 toddlers entertained was not bad. A couple snacks and a stroller and we were good. This lasted til about mid-May when they boycotted said stroller. Water and non swimmers makes me nervous so I was incredibly happy when Paul's mom was here and I could leave the quads home with her and I could take just the girls to practice. N & A loved having my full attention as they swam back and forth down the lanes. Going to the pool each morning was relaxing and therapeutic for me as long as I was not having to chase after little munchkins.

Being Kids

'I love everybody more then a princess. I hope you had a great day at work.'
This outfit belongs to a doll I had as a child and somehow my 2 year old fits into it. Time to grow little one...
She thought it was funny that her dress fit onto her dolly.

NICU hats still getting use two years later.
A typical Saturday morning
Jelly Belly Factory

Play date with a singleton, a set of twins, 2 sets of triplets and quads. What was even more amazing is that the moms even got to sit and chat even though we had 13 kids among us. 
This girl and her beads. 
Every morning the first thing she looks for are her necklaces.

County Fair
We have a county fair not far from us that reminds Paul and I so much of the kind of fairs we grew up with back in MN. We look forward to going every summer and it is amazing how much the older kids remember about it each year. They remember exactly what they did and what they got to eat from the year before so there is no telling them that they really did not get ice cream last year because they will even remember which booth we got it from. This year we told the kids early in the week that we would be going Thursday after everyone got up from their naps. Around 2pm Paul texted me telling me there was no way he would be getting home anytime soon because he was stuck at work. I had two choices; 1) tell the kids we couldn't go and hear the biggest sobs every or 2) take all 7 kids by myself. Well I decided #2 was going to be the easiest route and so I loaded everyone up, made sure I had enough snacks to keep the babies content and put a smile on my face because I had no other option. In the end we had so much fun. The kids were all excellent and on the way home I had a satisfied grin on my face. I had done the county fair alone with 7 kids and I never once had a kid complain, throw a tantrum and I kept my cool when we quickly became a main attraction. "They are not all yours, are they? Two sets of twins? You are alone with all those kids? I have never seen a stroller like that. I can't handle my two at the fair, how in the world do you do it with that many? Was that stroller expensive? What the f*** are those (Luckily for this person I was far enough from him when he said this otherwise I would have kindly informed him that they were called children and each of them was a gift from God. Seriously who even says things like that and out loud?)." And the top comment 'You have your hands full.' As far as how the kids respond to comments, some days they will answer and others they just keep on walking like they have heard it all ten million times. I am usually right with them on the smile and continue walking response. Sometimes it gets old and if I have to hear I have my hands full one more time I may just let them push the stroller so my hands aren't quite as full. Next year we hope daddy can join us because he was the only thing missing on our summer night at the fair.
The moment when I had everyone out of the stroller and I realized 'Holy cow I have a lot of kids!'

The kids are asleep in bed, uniforms are ready, lunches will soon be packed. We will be saying farewell to summer in about 10 hours but you can bet as long as it is still warm we will enjoy as many hours as we can soaking up the sun, splashing in the pool and enjoying everything summer until winter is upon us.

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