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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel- which means, 'God with us.'"  
Matthew: 20b-23

Happy Birthday Jesus Christ, Son of God!  

And a very Happy New Year!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Wonderland!

As I quickly pluck this on the keyboard, our generator is humming in the background.  Nothing says Tis' The Season like an ice storm a lovely Winter Wonderland!  Where we live in Michigan we have had a mix of rain, freezing snow, melting and more rain that has produced some of the most magical scenes.  The trees look like they are made of glass and snow gently falls... however, this beauty also has wreaked havoc on power lines and Mr. Consumers Energy says it may not be until Dec 26 until we get power again--- so for the second time this season so far, we Thank God for our generator!

 I can't believe it is almost Christmas!  I have meant to do so much blogging but alas, the best laid plans can easily fall to the wayside when life is unbelievably chaotic, and I know we ALL felt the pinch of a quick Christmas Season this year!  So, get ready for a very abridged blog about our last month.  I probably will not have time to proof-read this as I need to hand wash dishes before the babies wake up, so bear with me!
Thanksgiving:  We had a lovely time at my parent's the week before, and then for Thanksgiving Andy's parents rented a cozy cottage on Lake Michigan for 2 days over Thanksgiving.  Here is the gang!
 Nutcracker:  Jenna & I started a tradition last year that will continue for years to come and will eventually also include Hannah & Lauren.  We go, GIRLS ONLY, to see the Nutcracker performance (right now the GR Youth Ballet is the perfect thing, but maybe in years to come we will go check out the GR Ballet's performance). Jenna LOVE LOVE LOVES the Nutcracker and I kid you not, from the end of November until well after Christmas, she dances to the Nutcracker music almost every night (most of the times complete with a change of clothes into something swirly and dance-worthy).  The babies love the entertainment as I wipe them off from dinner!

Babies Expanded Boundaries + One Nap Schedule:
Well, our 17 month old quaddlers have finally decided to go down to 1 nap.  Well, the boys were ready for a while and while Lauren would still LOVE two naps, majority wins and when one morning they all suddenly weren't tired for that first nap, I knew we were at the changing point.  It has been about 3 weeks and they are mostly adjusted to the 1-nap schedule, but mama certainly wishes they would still sleep a little longer.  They were sleeping (2) 1.5 hour naps, and so I thought they might sleep one good 3 hour nap:  uh, no.  I am lucky if they all sleep 2 hours, on lucky days they sleep 2 1/2, but sometimes it's only 1.5 hours still.  No worries because they go down like a charm at 7 PM and sleep a solid 12 hours, so I can live with that!

And the Expanded Boundaries?  The animals have outgrown their cage (ha ha, joking... kinda).  So I decided to give the babies basically half of our house.  Since we have an open floor plan, I decided to re-arrange the furniture yet again and block off the kitchen, fireplace, computer and dining area for safety reasons.  We put mesh backing behind our not-quite-standard-hallway-railings, close the bathroom & bedroom doors, gate off the stairs, and viola!  New and Improved Baby Boundaries.
The only problem is, there are FOUR very little and curious munchkins.  And so every day hour minute is interesting!!!

This photo was taken right before the expansion.  It needs an explanation:  the kids love to climb on me and I bounce them.  It starts with one, then another climbs on, then another... I am laughing hysterically because Lauren decided to sit on my face.  This is her falling off because of my uncontrollable laughing at me literally being swarmed by them!

Jenna's Christmas Party!  She made this beautiful Snowman decoration for us and I loved being able to go to her Christmas Party at school.  Jenna enjoys Kindergarten now and has become the most impressive little reader!!!
Schmidt Sunday Dinners
Our amazing, wonderful neighbors have us over every single Sunday night for dinner.  It started a few months ago and while we always enjoyed their company, we have grown even closer to this amazing family.  It is really the only time the babies get out of the house and everyone loves everyone else's company!  This past Sunday we celebrated Christmas with them and snapped some pics.
Let me say it again: we LOVE our neighbors!
Mike & Diane with our kids and some of theirs (they have 8!)

And that brings us up to the present!  
Hope you have a Wonderful & Merry Christmas Eve & Christmas Day!  


Monday, December 9, 2013

Snow Exploration Lite

I have literally "met" tons of other moms-of-multiples via online forums since I found out I was having quadruplets.  Two of them are also quad-mamas, both have babies near ours' age, both blog, both are named Amber, and both live in Texas.  I know, a little confusing.  Well, Texas has been having some crazy snowy weather.  Amber B recently blogged about their Texas snow here.  Amber S blogged about getting her kids out for some snow adventures here.
A beautiful view of our backyard.
I decided that if my Texas Quadmamas could enjoy some snow exploration, their Northern neighbor could, too.  HOWEVER, unlike brave Amber S, I decided to let the children explore snow in a "Lite" version first, before going through all the trouble suiting up 4 toddlers!

The kids were very curious and happy to play with snow!

I took a few plates of snow from our deck and let the kiddos explore after breakfast.  At first they were not quite sure of the white fluffy stuff, then they loved exploring and playing with it, but after a while the cold set in and they let me know they were "ALL DONE" with snow.  Sure was fun while it lasted!  And a bonus:  the snow cleaned up breakfast from their trays like a charm!
Lauren was surprised at how cold it was.

Tanner & Tyler were amazed that it squished into balls & towers!
Hannah has a snowball for YOU!
There is so much more I could blog about: Our family's Thanksgiving, Jenna & my second annual date to the Nutcracker, how the babies are doing so much more & are down to 1 nap/day... but for now, hope your Season is Merry & you get out and enjoy whatever the weather brings you!



Monday, November 25, 2013

Thumps, bumps & giggles

I would love to write a nice, interesting & insightful blog post.  I have lots of topics that float in and out of my mind all the time.  And then they float right away!  Life is so crazy busy and my brain & time is so limited.  So instead, I will quick send some pics of our everyday slices of life, just in case you want a peek into our craziness!

Jenna was looking over the house yesterday and said, "Mom & dad, it hurts my feelings that there are lots of pictures of the babies and not as much of me."  Oh, that girl!  Seriously, there are tons of pictures of her all around the house but lest I focus more on the quads in this post, here are some pictures of our 
Very-busy-smart-creative-sassypants-lovely-heart-of-gold-Jenna :)

And now some pictures of our diabolical very independent quads.  
I think they will be causing me a heart attack soon.  
They are not very containable these days.  YIKES!!!!!!!

"Look Mom!  We can climb on the sofa now!"  
-So far, 2 have decided to see what's on the other side.  Big thumps.  Not cool.-

 "Look mom!  We know how to open these tricky cabinet doors now!  We like playing with those fun DVD's in there."

-And now the DVD's have been re-arranged and put into containers.  Trouble is, this cabinet is the only place my 12"x12" old scrapbook albums fit.  
So should I box them up now or hope they leave them alone?  
Unfortunately I know the answer all too well.  Sigh...-
At least no DVD's were actually harmed during this episode.
"Look mom!  I can easily climb over this armchair of the sofa, and climb onto the changing table behind me.
It's fun to escape!"
"Look mom!  We can scale this wall and get to the other side!"
-Again, there have been some thumps.  I think these guys are made of rubber and yes, I think they dare each other to do it-

When we let the kiddos go "free range", there are four little ones who like to show me just how un-childproofed our childproofed house is.  Trash cans & toilets are so much fun.  As are keyboards & cabinets.  And drapes, high chairs, bar stools, and oh!  That fun little lazy susan.  And whatever big sister Jenna has laying around.  And shoes- shoes are fun to chew.  And....(the list goes on & on)...

At least they are just the cutest quads around, right?!?

We are one happy bunch of kiddos!

Despite all the re-arranging, changing, cleaning, re-cleaning, re-re arranging, rearing & gearing, these kiddos put a smile on my face all the time and at the end of the day I still snuggle them tight and realize how unbelievably blessed we are to have them.

Having said that, they probably will give me a few gray hairs & thousands more near-heart attacks over the years...  



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baby Dedication

Two Sundays ago, Andy & I did something we have been meaning to do for over a year now: get the babies dedicated!  A child dedication is actually more about the parent than the child: it's for parents to commit to dedicating their children in the way of Jesus.  We dedicated Jenna five years ago, and were so honored to dedicate not one, but four children this time!
Look at all the babies getting dedicated that day!  So much cuteness in one room!
Even though it looks like a crazy baby circus, every family was only up front to introduced themselves.  We then all left the stage and returned to our families for an intimate blessing over the children. There was a lot going on, but I snuck a peek around the room during this time and it was so neat how every family was clustered together around their loved ones having their own intimate prayers over their babies.

Knowing children are a gift from God is all the more apparent when you struggle with infertility.  We firmly believe God chose us to be the parents to our children & He has entrusted us to raise them, but they do not "belong" to us: they are His.  We believe God desires us to raise adults who are responsible, loving, and know Jesus.  Thankfully, He also gives us the grace & gifts needed every single day to do this and we believe He will continue.

The babies surrounded by family as we say our blessings over them.
I love how we all are praying and there is Jenna, posing!
It doesn't feel that long ago when we all surrounded her as a baby and prayed over her...

~The kids before the dedication~

We are so in love with our five.

When we all got together, Andy & I quickly said a blessing over them and thanked our family for all their support and help over the years.  Mimi then said a prayer, and we all finished by saying the Lord's Prayer together.  It was so intimate and special.

This is our blessing for our four:

Lauren Faith, Tyler Allen, Tanner Andrew & Hannah Grace,

It’s not, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”, but rather “God helps us handle what He has given.”  From the very moment we learned we were pregnant with quadruplets, we were absolutely amazed, shocked, and definitely scared, but still utterly certain that God knew what He was doing, even if we didn’t! 

Your very existence is evidence of God’s Blessings in our family. Just like your amazing big sister Jenna, we know God saw it good to create you and He has a purpose for your lives.  You are all such miracles!  We love each of you so individually and so fully.  
Hannah, you are our intense child.  When happy, you exude JOY!  When you are upset, you let everyone know!  You have a passionate personality, and we love that about you.
Lauren, you have a sweet soul and are very gentle natured.  You are kind, loving, and joyful, and we just love that about you.
Tyler, you are our jokester!  You are silly, playful, tough, and all boy.  We love you so much.
Tanner, you have the most good-natured personality and definitely go with the flow.  You are sweet, loving, and playful.  We love you so much!

Just like Jenna, we believe God has placed you in our family and entrusted us to raise you, but you are on loan from Him.  Today we dedicate you, Lauren, Tyler, Tanner & Hannah to Christ.  We vow to raise you in His love.  We pray God gives us the guidance, wisdom, energy, patience & perseverance needed to raise you the best way we can.  We desire Christ to be a visible, daily presence in our family.  We pray He helps us raise you all to be strong men and women who choose to joyfully obey & boldly loves Jesus, that you love God with all your heart, soul, minds, and strength.  We are so very honored God chose us to be parents to you all. 


Mom & dad