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Friday, June 3, 2016

Quad-Mama Vacation #3

It has taken me over a month to write this, because somehow life speeds up with every stage of life! Over a month since I was able to meet up with some of my favorite fellow moms-of-quadruplets and just relax, refresh, and laugh a lot...
On Our Third Annual QMBFF getaway.  
Krista, Amber B, Amber S, Ashley & I posing for the camera in South Haven, Michigan

A little history....
Say you're expecting your first child- you might want to connect with others in the same stage of life to compare, share, and learn.  It's good to have community.
Now say you find yourself expecting high-order multiples.  After the shock and hormonal happy/sad/elated/devastated weeping that ensues (hypothetically), you might desperately try to connect with others in your situation because you are quite sure this is not your average pregnancy and you indeed will need a whole new layer of community to do this.

Well that is what I did four years ago.  Locally I connected with some ladies who had multiples.  After more connections & some digging, I was able to virally "meet" tons of ladies in a group who have twins and more and a group of ladies who have quads and more.  I was so relieved and excited to see I was not the only person going through this, and I love the connections I still share with these amazing moms of multiples!

Over the years, a tight friendship has developed between four other quad ladies and myself.  Amber B, Amber S, Krista, and Ashley are my sounding board.  My rocks.  The reason we all are so close is simple: we all were pregnant with quadruplets at the same time and desperately reached out to one another.  We have literally problem solved, cried with, prayed for, supported, vented to, encouraged, and walked in the same trenches together.  Since our children are all very close in age we share the same crazy raising-quadruplet seasons, from high-risk pregnancy & NICU life x4 to where we are today.  We talk daily in an ongoing, rambling messenger chain of conversation. 

 Together we have 20 children that were born within 3 months time in 2012.  A few of us have other kids too- so in all we have 25 kids, with 20 children basically at the same age & stage.   Sadly we live in different states, but once a year these ladies and I have an annual get together.  This year, it was right here in Beautiful Michigan.
Clockwise from center:  me, Ashley, Krista, Amber S & Amber B
Thanks to this guy and our parents, I was able to get away!  I was so glad Andy finally met them all.
Our cute cottage we stayed at.  It was walking distance to the town and beach, and we found it on VRBO.
We decided to rent an adorable cottage in South Haven, just 3 blocks from Lake Michigan and walking distance to the quaint little town.  The girls were also able to finally meet Andy, Jenna, Lauren, Tyler, Tanner & Hannah in real life!  I was so happy to bring them to my house and share this part of my life with them (again, in real life!).  They stayed for dinner, met my sister & mom also, and then we trekked to South Haven and got settled.  
Right after I picked up Krista, the first to arrive.  Hello, friend!  I love the joy in our eyes :-)

I was so glad Jenna got to meet them and vice versa!
Cheers to the start of our getaway!

One tradition we have created is our "Quad Mama Christmas".  Each year we all get or make special gifts for each other, and on the first night we share the gifts & enjoy them immediately.  This year, our gifts included amazingly delicious cookies from Sugar Coma Bakery, one-of-a-kind design necklaces made by Amber B, personalized coffee mugs made by Amber S filled with goodies, really amazing homemade deodorant by Krista along with chocolate salted carmel balls & Norwex window cloth, die cut stencils for our Keurig machines from Ashley, and jeweled headbands and Cindy's Suds sugar body scrub from me.  

Amber B made these beautiful necklaces!  Shop her etsy store here.
There are no words to describe the deliciousness of these cookies.
Best.  Cookies.  EVER!
Feel free to drool over Mary's creations by clicking here

Our agenda was very lax.  Priorities focused on drinking hot coffee, chatting incessantly, hot-tubbing, shopping, wine tasting, and relaxing.  Mission Accomplished!

Relaxing in a hot tub mid-day after a nice walk and taking time to primp are truly amazing things!
Not the most flattering picture (the wind was whipping in our eyes here, and we were doing a few miles walk) but this was along Lake Michigan one morning.
Shopping the streets of South Haven
Once the shop owner of this cute store found out we all had quadruplets, she immediately offered us 20% off anything in the store and snapped this picture of us- she was such a sweet lady!
Ashley & Amber B by the docks



I just love these girls so much!

We also did some crafting, a large tote bag to decorate any way we wanted to.  It was fun working on these during the day & I love how everyone's bag turned out!

This is the bag I made- top is one side, bottom is the other

Like an extended kid-free slumber party.  Awessssssome.
On Sunday morning, we sadly left the cottage but then had one last exciting rendezvous where we met my local quad mama friend for brunch.  Jen has 8 month old BBBG quads and is totally rocking quad-mommyhood!  It was so neat to have her meet other quad moms, and just as fun for them to meet her in real life too.  If you're taking notes, we are 6 moms who have 29 kids and don't look too worse for wear, in my humble opinion!

It was an awesome vacation and I miss these ladies already something awful.  I thank God all the time that He put us together.  Even as I type this we have been chatting so thankfully distance does not impact our friendship.  I plan on visiting The Ambers this summer on a quick trip to Texas, and Jenna is pen pals with one if Krista's oldest daughters so we talk about a trip someday so the girls can meet.  And I am so thankful Jen lives close by!

I love these ladies and value their friendship immeasurably.  They are part of my community.  I am so thankful our friendship was born when we found ourselves thrust into crazy circumstances and said to one another: 
"What?  You too?  I thought I was the only one."

Thanks for allowing me to share my friendship story.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Break (Staycation style)

We had been having a mild Spring... until Spring Break!  The week was filled with wind, rain, cold weather, and this:


No worries.  
A week off is what we had, so the kids and I kept busy trying to have some fun with inexpensive outings.  

Thanks to 5 free Open Gym passes and a grandma willing to be an extra set of eyes and hands, the kids had fun at GRG Gymnastics that first morning.
We need to invest in an indoor foam pit! 

The weekend was filled with normal things, play, family time, cleaning, church.
I took the kids to the library for story time and play.  They love picking out library books so it was a great time! (even though I forgot to take photos).

Jenna is ducking behind me, because apparently she doesn't like van selfies
Another home day, but I did take all the kids with me to the doctor that afternoon to look at my nose.  Tyler is a fun boy but dang his head is hard (both literally and figuratively).  Two weeks ago he head-butted me during some fun cuddle tickle time play (we were having so much fun!).  While my nose didn't bleed or bruise, it hurt a lot.  Even now, 3 weeks later, it is tender.  I heard a crack when it happened and had head aches for many days after it, but life is too busy to be concerned with things like broken noses or concussions...
I wanted to go to the doctor last week because of a bump I felt that seemed new.  Why the wait?  Well, I didn't dare touch my nose until last Monday, and that was when I noticed the bony bump where it hurt. I was concerned that perhaps it was a bony fragment that would stick out more as time went on.  The doctor wouldn't issue an X-ray until she personally saw it, so to the doctor's office I took my 5.  They actually did amazing!
Jenna, Hannah, Tyler, Lauren & Tanner
In the end, no x-ray was needed because frankly it wouldn't change anything.  They said the bony piece I felt shouldn't be concerning and shouldn't get worse, that I had a partially separated septum but it was an old injury and not recent, and there was no arterial damage.
My sweet boy has been very concerned about this.  Every day he asks me how my nose is feeling, and you can tell he feels awful about it.  I smile and reassure him it's better.  Some day we will get chuckles over this ("Remember that time when you broke mama's nose, Tyler?"), but for now all is fine.  Motherhood has all kinds of joys I never could have imagined!!!

Grandma came with us and we met friends at the Children's Museum.  It was very busy and very fun!

My childhood friend, Shawna, had her oldest daughter Sammi's 4th birthday party at Playworld!
Top picture is Shawna and I at my 4th birthday (circa 1982).
Bottom is Shawna and I at her oldest daughter's 4th birthday!
(we haven't aged a bit, right???)
The kids had a BLAST.  I think this was the highlight of their week for them, because they keep asking if we can celebrate Sammi's birthday again!!!

I took the crew to a local greenhouse where they had lots of activities for kids, including planting their own watermelon seeds, petting animals, tasting and smelling fresh herbs and veggies, and riding a bumblebee go cart at the end.  I am so glad the quads are finally at the age where I can realistically take all 5 on outings like this without it going terribly wrong!!!

Friday afternoon, our neighbors invited Jenna to go to a rollerskating party and she was so happy to get out and be active.  

Another day at home.

Banana Zucchini Mini Muffins-- yum!
After church, we went to see the butterflies at Fredrick Meijer Gardens for the afternoon with grandpa and grandma.  It is always so much fun to see the butterflies and bask in the warm, humid air!

We ended Sunday with pizza at Mimi & Grandpa Ted's place.

Engrossed in the golf game on TV

Monday was back to work for me, and Tuesday everyone is back to school.  Hopefully this weather will improve enough for us to put up the trampoline soon (which WAS the plan over break, but doing it in rainy/snowy 30 degree weather didn't sound fun to any of us).

If you had a Spring Break, hopefully you were able to enjoy some good weather or at least good company!  If you did not have a Spring Break, just remember- perhaps you didn't get a break, but at least you probably didn't get a nose break- haha!   :-)