Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prayer Request

Hey everyone,
A fellow quad mama, Jenn from OK, emailed me earlier today about sending some much needed prayers her way. She and her husband, Rick, have 3 boys and 1 girl quadruplets that are just a titch younger than the Graf Quads. They also have an older son, Parker. Three of the four babies are in the hospital right now with HUS (hemolytic-uremic syndrome) and are pretty sick lil pups. They would appreciate any and all prayers to help them kick this illness and for a full recovery. You can read more about this sweet family on their blog:

Thank you for your prayers!


Saturday, August 22, 2009


Well, ladies and gentlemen, the day has finally come.....the blog redesign is complete (mostly)! While there are still a few small things to be fixed or adjusted, this is IT and I'm so excited to unveil it to you all. I think it suites us well.

HUGE thank you to Jaclyn Tubre for this much needed blog-lift. It was my birthday present from her all the way back in JANUARY. Yes, I said (typed, really) January. I'm sure you are all fully aware of my procrastination problem by now, but I'm making every effort to change my ways. I'm even considering starting up a Procrastinators Anonymous group......but I'll get to that later ;) Procrastinators....UNITE (tomorrow)!!!

The masterpiece you see here was all made possible by Leelou Blogs. She took my ideas and RAN with them. I don't know how she did it, but it's like she pulled the vision directly from my scatter-brain. Then she washed it, trimmed it, embellished it, rotated it and developed it into the perfect blog for my family. I'm sure it would have been easier trying to herd a bunch of Mountain Dew-laden squirrels, but Leelou worked her booty off to get everything just right. If you're a little confused about the theme, think way back to circa 1989 and the movie Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Party on, dudes!

I do believe this makeover will get me motivated to post more often. I just can't stop looking at it! I'm especially fond of how she was able to get the Choo Choo Wagon in there and then all the little characters. Each one of the "kids" is holding something so dear to them personally. Pius LOVES his sports balls and claims each one in our house as his own. He's even getting really good at playing catch right now (and actually catching the ball from a good distance away)! Forrest and his green blankie are pretty much inseparable. You'd think it was glued to his left hand and left shoulder by the way he carries it around with him all day and night. Danna Lynn is perfectly content sitting amongst a pile of books and reading to herself in the sweetest voice you've ever heard. The Lainerzinski is gonna be our little race car driver, for sure. He sees a steering wheel and that's the only thing in the world that's important to him at that time. I swear he says, "Cah! Cah! Cah!" at least 50 times a day on average.

And then, of course, you've gotta admire all the clothing the characters are wearing. Denver Broncos for all the boys and Alabama Crimson Tide for Danna and me. The Grafs are representin'! We're looking forward for football season to f-i-n-a-l-l-y start back up again.

Besides the new blog design, I've decided to shake things up a bit in other venues as well. You may have noticed the Avon button on the left side of the screen. I am proud to say I am an official Avon Representative......again. I originally started selling it several years ago before the quads were even a twinkle in their daddy's eye. I continued being an Avon rep even while up in Phoenix during the pregnancy. However, I just didn't have the time to devote to it once the chitlins were born. Now that the babies aren't such demanding "babies" like they used to be (they're more demanding "toddlers" now), I wanted to try my hand at it another time.

I've always loved Avon because they are so much more than just makeup (but I really like their make up, too....especially the new mineral line that works just like Bare Escentuals but is MUCH less expensive). There's a little bit of everything available to cater to every member of the family, and the prices just can't be beat. So, if anyone is in the market for some great products and want to help support the Graf Quads while they're at it, I'd love to be your "lady"! You can browse the brochure at my Online Store and purchase some goodies for yourself, your kids, the spouse, parents and anybody else on your list (it's not too early to start thinking about Christmas....eeeeek!). When you order online, the items will be shipped directly to your house, whether you live near by or far away from me. And right now, you can even take advantage of FREE SHIPPING! Score! So please check out my store and look around. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about Avon. Just shoot me an email (nursemoni at gmail dot com) or give me a call. And thank you for even considering making me your own, personal Avon Lady!

Hope you're liking the new Graf blog as much as I do! Let me know what you think!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

We Interrupt This Series.... bring you details on the girls' weekend Dallas trip!

At the end of July, my mom (Marsha), my mother in law (Vicki), my sister (Rachel), my sister in law (Lainie) and I all decided to pack up and drive down to Dallas for the weekend. With the school year fast approaching, and with 4 out of the 5 of us having to start school in one form or another soon, we wanted a little R & R before all the chaos began. And because we all have WONDERFUL men at home, they made it possible for us to get away and enjoy ourselves!

After "naming our own price" for a 3.5-star hotel ($42.00/night!), calling up some special friends that live in the Dallas area and packing for the weekend, we were off on our adventure. It was all smooth sailing on the way down there.....that is until we hit a little bump in the road that some people may refer to as "Oklahoma". No offense to any Oklahomans out there, but the OK highways leave MUCH to be desired! I swear, once we hit OK City at about 2:00 pm, it was gridlock traffic that moved at snail's pace. There were construction cones everywhere, lanes blocked off for no apparent reason, and absolutely NO construction workers to be seen. Completely frustrating, but the standstill on the highway did afford us the opportunity to take some self portraits while we waited!

Trying to find the humor in Oklahoma's delay of our getaway! Left to right: Marsha (Budda), Vicki (Grammy), Lainie, Rach and Moni.

After hour 4 of sitting in Oklahoma traffic and growing increasingly anxious to cross the state line into Tejas, we became a little slap-happy and delirious. I spotted this license plate, thought it through for a second, then wondered aloud for the benefit of my partner's in crime riding with me. I asked, "Hey ladies....what do you think that plate says?! Quick, just blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind!? Go ahead readers.....take a gander and see what you think.

Well, my mom and Vicki certainly didn't let me down with their assessment of the tag. Mom started sounding it out and came up with "Gray", to which Vicki promptly finished it by saying "Knockers". Yep, that's what the 2 puerile elders of the group came up with.....Gray Knockers. We couldn't stop laughing (like I said, we were getting a little wild-eyed and crazy by this point), and it was even more funny when I still had to decipher it for them 5 minutes later. "Geez, you old ladies! It's freakin' GREEN ACRES! Get your minds outta the gutter!" Leave it to the "masked" gray hairs to come up with gray knockers. Sheesh. Now I guess anyone who knows Billy or me can see where we get "it"!

At any rate, we brought up this license plate several times over the course of our trip and had many laughs at it's expense. Definitely a memorable moment.....but I guess you had to be there.

As you've probably already guessed, we made it to Dallas safe and sound. I'm not going to include information about the near-death experience in the HOV lane just 5 minutes from our destination! Maybe I should be more familiar with my surrounding first before I go hopping on the express lane! It ended up taking about 7.5-8 hours when it normally should only take about 6 hours.

We decided to hit up Cheddar's for dinner, then headed back to the hotel to lounge around, talk and enjoy ourselves. After getting back to our room, someone had the hare-brained idea of running to Wal-Mart (we spotted one not too far away from our hotel) for a deck of cards. As with any trip to Wally World, it ended up taking us much longer than expected to find a simple deck of cards. We got a little distracted......

This Hannah Montana helmet was on clearance for only $4.00! I decided not to get it because I don't think Billy would've appreciated his boys being in girly helmets....and even though it fit me (snugly) I'm quite sure this would've been too small for Forrest's giant head!

We had a great Friday night relaxing and carried it over to Saturday morning, laying out around the pool. Ahhhhhhhh! The rays felt SO nice. Plus, we didn't have to worry about 4 toddlers running around, trying to drown themselves.....which is always good.

Me and my baby sister, Rach

Saturday afternoon, we got cleaned up and navigated our way to the beautiful home of a fellow quad family. Robbie and Casey Gerwer (and their foursome: Brady, Reid, Cameron and Trey) were gracious enough to open their house to my family and me for an afternoon and evening of pure quad-delight! We were met there by some more TX Quad Mama friends Suz Steece (plus Ben, Ethan, Andrew and Savannah), Misty Urech (plus River, Rayne, Skye and JuJu) and Amy-Jo Sather (plus her hubby, Brandon). I got to meet 12 of my best friends' kids that day.....what a trip! I was so glad to be able to play with and help out and I can't even begin to imagine if the Graf Quads would have been part of the chaos. Fortunately all the family I brought are certified, experienced quad-wranglers. Pius, Forrest, Danna and Laine made sure THEY were the first set of quads to break them in!

Suz, me, Case, A-J and Mist......would you ever believe we had to crop about 6 kids from this shot? I felt like I was at home with all the little hands tugging on my hems!

It was a HOT afternoon, but the kids had so much fun playing together! We enjoyed some tasty munchies, drinks and frequently-interrupted but great conversations....and I wouldn't have had it any other way. I especially enjoyed eating from Casey's plastic green chip bowl. That thing (or one very similar to it) has been a staple conversation starter for MONTHS among the quad mamas! I almost took it while she wasn't looking to keep as a souvenir.....but I chickened out at the last minute. Oh well, there's always next time.

The infamous green chip bowl!

My buddy and me.....Drew Steece. This little dude knows how to capture the ladies' hearts! What a sweetheart! I think I fell in love with him the second he smiled at me.

"Now settle down kids. There are plenty of sippies to go around. Nevermind that Trey just snatched Sav's cup.....what's a little spit swap among quads?!?!" Note: Trey did not actually steal Sav's cup....I made that up.

"Okay, girls....Aunt Moni's gonna show you the plan of attack. River, you distract your mom by spilling your drink on your shirt. When her head is turned, Skye and Rayne will go the opposite direction and give JuJu a boost so she can climb the fence into the pool. Savannah will provide back-up distraction if needed. Okay, girls.......scatter! Ethan's coming!

Gettin' some playhouse play-time with the Steece's Pieces. Miss Priss and Ethan are in front. I'd have felt really bad if my big booty broke the Gerwer's toys! this time around. I probably would have tried blaming it on Savannah anyways.

The Trey-ster! I don't quite know why he reminds me soooo much of Pius....but he does. Trey and his seedy side kick Brady make quite the duo-team performance act when it comes to entertaining the masses! I see a lucrative celebrity opportunity awaiting them when they get a little when they quit the diapers. Those 2 are natural-born charmers!
HOLY LOTS OF KIDS! In some semblance of order from left to right: Cameron and Trey (by Robbie), Brady (drinking), Ethan (in front), Andrew (back), Rayne (pink cup), JuJu (playing with the 2 cups), Savannah (owning that chair and those sunglasses in the back like a true diva), and River (green cup).
Not pictured because they were out looking for mischief to get in to: Reid, Ben and Skye.
The kids are all down for the count, the ladies are hanging out....perfect opportunity for a self-portrait! Casey, I love you,'re such an amazing mother and friend! Our little Mother Hen, you are.

Robbie and Casey, thank you so much for letting us all come crash your crib! I had an awesome time hanging out with such good company. We've really gotta start working on finding a suitable location for the "Quad Family Commune" we're all going to live in one of these days. Can you imagine the block parties?! And the future nuptials?! Ha!

The next day, the moms, sisters and I took our time packing up and checking out of the hotel. When we were sufficiently prepared to take on the heat, the traffic and the google map, we headed to the outlet malls. I found some good buys at Carter's for the kids. When we had about all the fun we could handle, we hung up our shopping shoes and decided to head back home sweet home.

I was really wishing that the 'ol "click your ruby heels three times while repeating there's no place like home" thing was going to work for us. But, alas! It didn't and we had to drive all the way back. That's okay because the drive home gave me ample time to think about the injustices that fiction stories like that inflict on it's fans.

I'm happy to report that we had a rather uneventful trip back home, with the exception of a surprise encounter with a HUGE insect while driving. I'll say this about it: It's okay to question a flapping noise sounding similar to a plastic bag being stuck in a car door and zipping around in the wind. However, when it's dark out, you're pulling out of a shady gas station, picking up speed to merge onto the highway and already distracted by four other women in the's probably NOT a good idea for the driver to do the noise investigation. You know what they say about hindsight......So I rolled down my window a little, blindly tried to reach up by the door frame to let loose the "trash" that was causing all the noise, felt the "trash" grab my hand, immediately pulled my hand in and let out a blood-curdling scream while the car is swerving. An insect the size of a BIRD was sticking to my hand! I threw my hand back out the window and shaked, pounded, flicked, cussed, probably peed a little.....whatev. I finally freed my left hand from the monstrosity but then had to tend to the other 4 people in the car who were suffering from mild myocardial infarctions. What an adrenaline rush! Pretty sure I had to peel my mom off of the ceiling, too! All in all, we were fortunate that nobody sustained real physical or emotional damage.....well, except for the gi-normous arthropod....pretty sure that booger is scarred for life if not dead. Then, we all laughed about it the rest of the way home! Just another memory to put in the bank....
Vicki and Lainie, I'm SO GLAD you thought this trip up! Rachel and mom, I'm genuinely happy you were both able to make it work too! You are 4 of my favorite women to be with and I'm so blessed to have such great relationships with ALL of you. I love you! Can't wait for our next excursion....whenever that may be.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

You Say Ketchup, I Say Catch-Up....Zoo

In June, the doctor group that I work with, ESPA (Emergency Services PA), sponsored a day at the Sedgwick County Zoo for all the ER staff and families at my hospital, Wesley Medical Center. It was so much fun! Not only are they exceptional physicians and healthcare providers, but they also know how to treat the nursing staff and make us feel appreciated. Either that, or they know how to butter us up! Because let's face it...if the nurse ain't happy, ain't NO BODY happy.

It was an all-day affair, but we decided it would be best for us to go in the morning after breakfast. Then we could stay for as long as the kids would allow before they suffered a complete breakdown from needing their naps. They did very well and lasted much longer than I anticipated. Probably because they had so many neat animals to look at.......or because the other zoo-goers treated my kids like they were the most popular zoo attraction. True story: We were standing behind a small crowd of people, waiting to see the grizzly bear exhibit. The small crowd caught sight of us in the Choo-Choo (patiently waiting to see the bear, might I add). They all turn around from the front row to look at US, while we're straining our necks to try to see the BEAR around them. AWKWARD! I wanted to say, "Why don't you let us in the front to see the darn bear, then you can get behind us and stare at us all you want!" It's hard being the circus sideshow sometimes. I felt like all we were lacking were a few clown-driving mini cars bleeping around us to make the scene complete. Oh well. Such is life with quads.

Pius getting jazzed about seeing REAL animals in action....not just his crazy siblings.

Laine doing his morning calesthenics. Gotta warm up before each public quad performance.

Forrest getting ready for the action. Sorry but there's no "Danna in her carseat" picture. She was still rear-facing at the time and in the back row. My camera angle was limited.

Here comes Super Dad and his quadlings. Speaking of Super Dad....Billy has taken our quartet to the zoo several times since this outing....SOLO! They have their little excursions on mornings when I work the night shift before. Isn't that so sweet? He loads them all up and gets them out of the house so I can sleep.

Danna acts like she doesn't care about anything that we try to point out to her. But we know she's paying attention because she'll say or do something about 10 minutes later that is related to what we were showing her. What a little "b"!

Danna, Laine, Forrest and Pius checking out the new Penguin Cove. It's hard to see in the pic, but there were penguins swimming back and forth right in front of them.

ESPA even provided a tented picnic area and served drinks and snacks. The Graf Quads were the 1st to arrive and they chowed down on bananas, animal crackers, cookies and juice....the good stuff!

Forrest is probably the most observant of the group. He could spot every animal every time. He'd see it and usually point to it (as seen above), or just start smiling. He's a smart one, that little guy. We knew there had to be SOME reason for his gigantic head!

Danna with the evidence on her face.....the bananas didn't last long around the kids.

Pius: "And that's all, folks! Check ya later, dudes!"