Texas Tales

http://bellsandkilts.blogspot.com/

A Texas couple right down to our roots (and boots!), my husband, Mike, and I share our daily tales of raising our nearly one-year-old quadruplets. It's chaotic, it's funny, it's real and, most importantly, it's the story of our lives.

Amber is a winner of Top 25 Moms of Multiples - 2013

Between getting kids dressed, fed and out the door on time mornings can be hectic! What tips do you have for making morning routines easier?

Because my quadruplets are only a year old, we haven't experienced the daily morning rush to get out to school and work. But we've certainly had our fair share of early morning doctor appointments and other events, which have all required the did-I-brush-my-hair-your-diaper-stinks-jeez-we're-already-30-minutes-late frantic dance.

The best thing I've found for aiding in fast-paced mornings is to be prepared. Setting things out the night before—even small things, like outfits for the babies—shaves off minutes and helps you go through the motions quickly. I select an outfit before I go to bed as well as shower and blow dry my hair or anything else I can do to lessen my list in the AM. And following the same sort of routine certainly helps, because you know what to expect, what you'll need (for the most part...extra outfits for the kiddos doesn't always make my list!) and how long it'll take you to get going.

If all else fails, caffeine is a great fallback.

People often say twins and other multiples have an extra special bond. Has there ever been a time when you noticed an especially unique connection?

Absolutely. It was amazing when we watched the quads begin to truly first take notice of each other. It was like, "Hey, I know you! What are you doing over there? Let me stick my hand in your mouth."

In the womb, they were certainly up close and personal and were used to being in tight quarters and always touching. Even at a year old, they still sleep two to a crib (for the time being, until we move into our house and have more space) and they're just about always touching the whole night.

Observing them now is the sweetest thing. They steal toys from each other and barrel over each other, but they also have those small, fleeting moments that they smile or laugh at each other. They don't even have a language they speak amongst themselves yet, but they take comfort in the close presence of their siblings and when one is upset, the other three immediately become concerned about what's going on.

From personal experience with my own brothers and sisters, I know that siblings who are closer in age tend to grow up with a strong connection. I cannot wait to see how these babies grow up with siblings their same age. They experience most everything for the first time together and I can only imagine that pattern will continue into their adult lives. It's incredible, fascinating and heart warming to watch it evolve from day to day.

What are your tips for celebrating joint birthday parties?

Ask me again in three years! I've just recently embarked on my first joint birthday party as the quadruplets turn one year old on May 31. It's taken me nearly four months of on-and-off planning to pull together and I couldn't be more excited. We also had a bit of a monkey wrench this year since the husband and I moved from Houston to Dallas (yes, with four babies in tow!), and have been crammed into an apartment while we house hunt.

I do intend to be as creative as possible with the kids' birthday parties moving forward. It'll be fun to incorporate different requests, obsessions (Barbie versus GI Joe?) and themes. This year, I kept it simple. We rented a lake house and I've kept all the decorations, cake and details in the same color scheme: mint green, lavender and light blue. I am ordering a sheet cake for guests but will be making their smash cakes myself, then we'll have gifts, easy foods to serve a crowd, beverages and lawn games. Sometimes the simpler affairs are the ones to remember, especially because you then have time to enjoy more of them and stress less about elaborate plans.

It's almost time to break out the grill! What's your family's best recipe for grilled meat, seafood or veggies? Please share a link to your recipe and image if you have one.

Amber Bell

I love throwing all kinds of veggies on the grill—plus I have a grill pan that works great. Most of the veggies like squash, asparagus, peppers, etc. I brush with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. I also like to toss broccoli with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic and throw into my grill-top pan for a fresh take on a healthy side dish.
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What's your favorite guilty pleasure snack? Please share a link to the item or, if homemade, to your recipe and photo.

Amber Bell

I'm a lover of cookies and cake. It didn't happen until post-pregnancy and then I wanted to gobble up every sweet treat I found in sight. But I had to quickly learn to curb my cravings—especially post-quadruplets!—so I often have just one mini York peppermint pattie with a small glass of wine in the evenings. It's my crutch. I also recently discovered sea salt caramel gelato by Dreyer's.
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