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Friday, December 28, 2012

QuadFeed: Revisited!

Tyler, Tanner, Hannah & Lauren

Feeding four babies at a time is a little daunting, but out of necessity I was doing it...until they grew out of the system I was using!  In a nutshell:  it got way too frustrating!  
The babies went from feeding in a side-lying position to sitting up so that was different; they needed to be burped more often and spit-ups (um, like... major) were becoming very common with all feeds; they started wiggling around more; & the bottle props got un-propped too easily causing the bottles to slip.  With the holidays around the corner, I put the QuadFeed on hold until I could figure out a new system.
In the meantime, we fed only 2 at a time, and our babies grew!

Look at smiley Tyler!
 We went to the doctor today to get shots (to help prevent RSV), and they weighed:
Lauren:13# 3 oz
Hannah: 12# 12 oz
Tanner: 12# 12 oz
Tyler: 11# 4 oz
Biggest Baby on the top!

Tummy Time!

OK, back to the QuadFeed... I bought bottle props recommended by a fellow quad mom, and waited for a night when Andy was at work and all was quiet.  I put the babies in bouncers (but tried to stifle the "bounce"), got all set-up... and it was a success!

I certainly don't like feeding all four if I can help it: feeding 2 at a time is much easier.  They all need to be burped regularly, the boys definitely have a VERY sensitive gag reflex and spit-up and choke often, it's stressful coordinating 4 bottle feeds at a time, and I also don't get as much "quality time" with them... but it trims down the feeds from an hour (or more depending on spittiness) to only 20-30 minutes start to finish!  WhooHoo!  So for that reason the QuadFeed needed and has been officially revisited.  And hopefully we all will get better at it as time goes on!
Silly Tyler with a bottle prop propped in front of his face!
Lauren resting after a satisfying QuadFeed
RaisingQuads: it ain't easy, but it's extremely rewarding!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

So many things to be thankful this Christmas season!  
Merry Christmas from our Niemeyer Family of 7!

(so much has changed in the past year!  This was our Christmas card photo from last year!)

Have a Wonderful Christmas!
Peace on Earth & Blessings to all.  
Remembering this season is about a very special baby born 2000 years ago, 
God in Flesh coming in the most humble of ways.

Wishing you a very Happy Holidays!

Love, Andy, Becky, Jenna, Tyler, Tanner, Lauren & Hannah

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

5 months!

Life here seems to FLY BY at warp-speed (like, five times fast!)!  I can't believe our babies are 5 months old (2 1/2 months adjusted) and that Christmas is almost here!  As I do the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas, I have been hugging my kids close to me and saying countless prayers for the community and families in Newtown, CT.  Life is so precious.  We continue to pray for them.

This past weekend, our family was able to celebrate something very sweet: Andy's parents 50th wedding Anniversary.  On Sunday, we all (babies, too!) went to their church and then spent the afternoon celebrating them.  Fifty years of marriage is such an accomplishment!  We are so grateful for all they have done and continue to do, and our family is so blessed by them.  What a wonderful example they have set as a couple.  We love you, Mimi & Papa!

As for our family, life hustles by for Andy & I, Jenna is smart as a whip & a busy girl, and the babies have been growing amazingly well and gain new developmental milestones every day!  They all are about on the same track, so here are some of their grand accomplishments!

First our girls were the smiley ones, and they still will give you the most killer smiles, but recently our boys have also become social smilers!
Tyler smiling!
Both girls have smiles that can brighten up a room, just like their big sister Jenna.  Hannah looks hungry here- don't eat Lauren's arm, Hannah!
The changing table is my favorite place to glean smiles.  Tanner started a couple weeks ago with a side smirk, followed by Tyler doing the same side smirk.  Then their smiles became like rainbows:  they didn't happen very often, but when they did it was priceless.  Then, last week, Tanner decided he wanted to be in the smiley club.  A few days ago, suddenly, our serious Tyler became a smiley boy, too!  All babies lock eyes and connect when smiling with you.  I just love having four social, smiley babies (five, including Jenna Joy)!
Along with the smiles, our children are very talkative.  Tanner is actually one of our most frequent coo-ers, and talks all the time.  Some of his favorite sayings are "Ahhhboo" and "umma".  The other 3 are also cooing, Tyler just started a few days ago (along with that smile) and actually as I type this he is in a swing saying, "Hoo, ahgoo.  Ummoo."  Which means something really, really intellectual in baby talk! Earlier today Hannah was all out having a conversation with me.  I just LOVE this stage!
Tanner & Tyler resting in a boppy on my lap.  Tanner loves to talk to me!
Tanner, Hannah, Tyler & Lauren have all shown imitations skills already when it comes to facial expressions!  Tanner loves to smack lips when I do.  Hannah likes to stick out her tongue.  Lauren and Tyler don't imitate as often as the other 2, but all are so fun to talk to and play with!
Our crew is definitely outgrowing the pack-n-play basinnette!

Our babies all have great motor skills that continue to develop daily.  When holding them, they can hold up their neck, shoulders & upper body against gravity well.  I also introduced the Bumbo last week as a alternative position for them to be in for short amounts of time.  It was hilarious the first couple times I had the babies sitting in them!  I quickly got a good feel for who had stronger upper body muscles and who seemed weaker.  As an OT, I am not a fan of Bumbos for long-term use (in a nutshell they don't do much to help develop independent sitting).  However, for short spurts of time, for their age & developmental stage right now, and because I have 4 kids, Bumbos are a great option!!  The babies sit in them once or twice a day and it really does help in upper body development against gravity when I simply can't hold them!  That, and they look darn cute sitting up.  See?
Tyler doesn't know what to think

I think Tanner likes it!

Spit Happens.

This is what happens when they are DONE with Bumbo time!
All our babies are excellent at tummy time and all lift up their heads well, with Tanner being the strongest in this area.  In fact, today he rolled over from tummy to back for the first time!  WAY TO GO, TANNER!  We even got it on video!

All kids during tummy time are gaining strength in their upper bodies and are learning & practicing the skills needed for rolling over, which I'm sure will come soon for the other three--- the competition is on!  They all bring their hands together in midline and look both ways easily on tummies or back.  They like to kick and are are starting to bat at objects.  They are starting to grossly grasp at objects and put one hand on the bottle when eating (or hold my hand!). They are all doing so well, and I am SO proud of my quad squad!
OK, I felt like I had to include this because it is one of the areas we look at in kids.  Not much to contribute here other than ALL babies have a very good demeanor and people often comment that they "are so well behaved".  They know their routines and stick to them well, and they are all simply adorable and the best babies!  Their little personalities are starting to shine.  I praise God daily for every one of them.  I just love them so, so, so, so much!

Tanner is laid back, not much ruffles his feathers, and when he is hungry or upset he does the BEST lower lip pout!  He seems to be the leader of the pack and yet is calm, cool & collected.  My little man!
Tanner.  Serious face.

The boys are definitely identical!  Tanner & Tyler :)
Eeny, meeny, miney, moe- catch a Tyler by the toe!
Tyler is starting to become more smiley and social, but is still a little more serious and sometimes needs  more cuddles (because NOW as I type this, he is sitting on my lap.  A swing, bouncer, and bed simply would not do.  He needed some mommy love!).  I happily oblige when I can!  Love my snuggle bug!

Cuddling with my boys

Daddy doing double duty

Hannah is still our diva in the evening hours, but let me tell you she is the most smiley, talkative, and beautiful girl!  She is bright eyed and lovely.  Don't let the diva behaviors fool you.  ;-).  She is my beautiful, sweet Hannah Bean.

Lauren is just a happy, smiley, chubby, lovely little baby!  She has a good demeanor and is almost as laid back as Tanner, but not quite as much.  We just love our Joyful Lauren!  She is my little ladybug!
Lauren is the Queen of Nonchalant Spit-Ups

Big girl Lauren with Tanner (& his serious face again)
Some of our favorite NICU nurses came to visit, Kathy & Michele
A little too big there, kiddo!

Of course, big sister Jenna is always a part of the gang also and is so very helpful and loving to the babies.  She is so big and smart and independent, that sometimes I feel she is older than her 4 1/2 years!  But let's not rush things... I'm not sure I want her to grow up yet!  I mean, she was just a baby- where does the time go?  Yup.  Warp speed.

As we prepare for Christmas, I am thanking God for so many things.  I hope you and your family can find Joy & Peace in this Holiday season.  Many Blessings to you.


Monday, December 10, 2012

The Good, The Bad, & The Adorable!

The Good!
Babies are growing so well and developing excellently!  All babies are 2 months gestation, almost 5 months old.  They are smiling and cooing, and have really good head, neck & trunk control.

Tyler falling asleep during tummy time.  Awwww!
We do get spit-up on several times a day (sometimes its more like The Exorcism-level puke several times a day!) but they are overall really good babies.  Hannah continues to be our Diva and has really good temper tantrums, mostly in the evening.  However, she is really smiley too.  The OT from Early On suggested she has a "low threshold"-- I agree 100%!  When she is happy, she is really happy!  When she is not, SHE IS NOT!

Oh, the DRAMA!
They have excellent visual tracking skills and just seem to love to look and interact with people.  This makes Jenna very happy when playing with them!  Speaking of Jenna, she enjoyed our very first Nutcracker show Saturday.  We went with a friend and Jenna's only complaint was that she couldn't go on stage and dance with everyone else.
Princess Jenna on a date with mommy!

The Bad!
In November, I found out someone stole some pictures & posts from this blog and used them to create a fake blog.  MY posts, MY pictures, but this person had changed a few things (like our kids' names & date of birth)!  Andy and I were obviously not happy, and we got the blog site removed fairly quickly.  I think my blood was boiling even more than Andy's was, and I spent a few days angrily saying to others or even just to thin air, "SERIOUSLY, who does that?!?".

Well, we had a computer savvy friend come over and he said it was most likely not a malicious thing (as in the person was not a weirdo with four fake babies at their house, or he/she not doing it to try to steal our identity, but more likely he/she was using my info to try and make earnings).  I guess I should find it flattering that someone finds my blog so interesting as to steal parts of our journey!  Regardless, I am now doing a few preventative things, including watermarking every picture on this blog & going back to watermark all from the beginning.  It does not protect us 100%, but it does make it more difficult for an individual to (illegally, I should note) do what he/she did.  Thus, you will find my blog under construction and if you go back to older posts, some pictures are not yet back in.  In all my spare time, I am working on that--- ha!

The Adorable!
Early October was the "original due date" of our quad squad and we celebrated with a professional photo session.  Our photographer was Dan Johnson, who did a fabulous job!  I met Dan & his wife Jodi 10 years ago when I became a Senior High leader at our church.  They were fellow leaders and had lots of energy (mandatory for youth ministry).  It was great having Dan capture our beauties!  These photos are already 2 months old and the babies have grown a ton, but they turned out so great!

The Boys
Our Fab Five
What an arm-full!