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Sunday, February 24, 2013

A week of yuck!

Someone reminded me the other day it had been a while since my last post.  2 words:

Stomach Flu.

"Mom, I don't feel good!"
As of last Sunday, all 5 kids have been sick.  Jenna is finally better now, and I thought the babies were better a few days ago, but then yesterday was a doozy of a poozy day-- so not so much!

On one hand, I am so glad the babies lasted 7 months before they got sick.  Also, very glad they still have not had any upper respiratory colds.  This one was strictly fever, throwing up & diarrhea (babies).  Jenna's sickness was pretty tame, too- she had a fever all week long, lethargy, no appetite and a sick stomach & head, but thankfully nothing else!  But still, no fun.  Yesterday we changed 11 very nasty nappies (in addition to the regular 16+ diaper changes).  Poor Tyler alone had 5!!!  The babies are dehydrated and a little more fussy & low key, but not to the point I feel they need to go to the hospital or get an IV.  They no longer have any fevers, so we will continue to keep an watchful eye on them.

Another by-product of sick babies?  Disrupted sleep.  They have been sleeping wonderfully through the night for over 4 months now, but this last week at least one person was up at least once over night (Jenna included).  We certainly have lived on sleep deprivation before, but when you're not us to it it is hard!  Normally if a baby fusses (a lot) at night, we calm them, change a diaper if necessary, rock them a few minutes, and then put them back in the crib.  This (normally) works great.  But with them sick, we have totally inconsolable babies & all that went out the window... this morning Andy & I had all four in our room by sunrise!  Not normal.  Like, ever.  We do have 2 rock-n-plays in our closet we can place a baby in if really fussy overnight, but this morning we ended up with that plus an additional 2 in our bed!  It was truly an "oh my goodness we have 4 sick babies" moment.  I think I even muttered that to Andy as he got #4...

So that & my vain attempts to sanitize everything in my house over and over again has kept me busy.  The babies turned 7 months old last week, so I have some great pictures despite them feeling under the weather.  They are growing more curious & independent daily.  Eating solids is getting better, even with the sickness (I am all about pureed bananas this week to help bind them up!!).
Tyler, Hannah, Lauren & Tanner. They are getting so big & chunky!
Big sis and the quadlings

"Seriously mom?  Stop taking photos and put me in jammies!"
The kids in super cute outfits from their Cousin Danni who was visiting from China  

Tanner:  still the leader of the pack & very charismatic.  Loves to jump, explore, roll & play with toys.  Still not a fan of food.  Always has the sweetest handsome smile for me, even when he feels yucky!
Tyler:  such a sweet boy, loves to cuddle, and also has the most handsome, full smile for me, even when he feels yucky!  He loves to explore and play with toys, will roll but more often will curl on his side and play with toys or look around.
Hannah:  our sweet girl is far more happy with Similac Sensitive and nothing else.  Trust me, we tried several other formulas!  The girl knows what she likes.  She does like spoon-fed food now and is a riot to watch, as she tongues out most of the food but really seems to enjoy it.  Lately Hannah rolls & rolls around to get to certain toys and often will wind up under a bouncer or other toy and be perfectly content exploring the undercarriage of it.  Big girl!

Lauren:  is the definition of a sweet, happy, content little baby.  Will chortle infectiously when kissed on her neck and like Tyler, plays with toys curled on her side.  She CAN roll, but mostly she ALMOST rolls.  She has a smile that blossoms slowly like a flower and is so beautiful.  She is our best eater & loves most everything so far!

Finally & sadly, another "yucky" thing happened this week.  My friend Stefanie Hearing lost her courageous battle with breast cancer unexpectedly last Sunday.  She was one of the most strong & beautiful women I know, and one of those people you strive to be more like.  I met her at work almost a decade ago, she being a speech therapist and me an occupational therapist.  We shared a passion for kids and both had husbands working in the same police department.  She was an amazing mentor and role model for countless young girls in the community.  She was just so amazing... beautiful, strong, generous, kind, sincere, courageous, inspirational... a wonderful friend, speech therapist, wife & mother.
Stefanie has a daughter Iman who was born at just 26 weeks, but is now the most beautiful, strong, smart 11 year old (you would never guess she use to be a teeny preemie!).  When I found out I was pregnant with quads, Stefanie gave me tons of NICU and preemie advice!  She was also amazingly generous.  Just this fall Stefanie came over several times to help clean my house so I could spent hours in the NICU.  Her generosity, love & zest for life cannot be understated.  Graciously, her husband Michael allowed me to visit and say goodbye to her the day before she died.  Yesterday her funeral was truly a celebration of life.  You made the world a better place, Stefanie.

Stefanie holding Jenna when she was a day old
Life is so precious.  Even after a week of having five sick kids and being in a season where I don't go out often, the passing of Stefanie had me remembering just how awesome life really is and how blessed I am to have health, family, my husband, and beautiful children to hug and kiss.  I fully owe God all the glory for these gifts.  How long I will have them, I am not guaranteed, but I need to remember to be thankful for these gifts daily and to glorify Him with my words & actions towards others daily.

I do not know when I will die.  But I know I will, and I know where I will be going.  I am secure in this.  But, when I do die, will I have honored God as much as I intended to?  Will I have lived a life where people saw my love for Christ in my actions towards others?  Will I have lived a life that mattered?  Will you?  Much to ponder as I close tonight.  Much work to be done with this broken, selfish, irritable, and entitled spirit of mine that likes to rear its ugly head more often than not.

That old country song "Live like you were Dying" comes to mind as I think of these things.  Stefanie was not a perfect person, nobody is, but she does leave behind a legacy.  For her, it is partly because she cared enough to DO things.  She did not sit idly by.  She worked, sacrificed time, money, energy & effort to serve others, and thrust herself into causes she believed in.  She often thought of other people's needs & had the heart of a servent.  She would often give lots of people, myself included, small but thoughtful gifts.  Things like Iman's old toys to use with my kids at school, or even just a coupon with a sticky note on it saying she thought of me & thought I could use it.  She made people feel loved, valued, and respected.  I want to be more like that!  Not that we all should focus on our death, but sometimes it is good to think of these things.  I don't know where this leaves you today, but thank you for caring enough to read this.  Stay healthy, friends, and God Bless.

Hugs, Becky

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Food, Teeth & Snow

We are into week 2 of eating with a spoon, and I have to say all 4 babies still find food a little weird.  However, every day they seem to eat more and more.  They spit a ton out (as babies do), and sometimes gag when food is in their mouth--- but--- at least now they do it with a happy face!  The four bottles/day schedule is working great and right now they eat after the noon bottle.  
Tyler is just a happy man because he is experiencing whirled peas (get it? anyone?)
Ready to eat, mommy!

Sweet Lauren takes food happily and then tongues most of it out.  She seems to like the tastes, though.

Tanner being charismatic as always.  I think he is learning to like food (i.e. he gags less)
Hannah is overall not fond of spoon feeds, but OH MY we have a new girl on our hands!  We switched her to a sensitive formula now, and she is happy, happy, happy and does not have tummy pains anymore at all.  Yeah!  

However, something else is now causing some drama....

Mommy, it hurts!  It hurts!

I feel so bad for them!  Tanner and Hannah have pains the worst right now, especially Tanner poor dude.  All four are sticking fingers in their mouth all the time.  A fellow mom of multiples swears by Amber teething necklaces, so I think I need to order a few.  In the meantime, I am giving him Tylenol a lot and trying icy chewy things, but they just make him more mad!

Lastly, it finally feels like winter!  Last winter was kind of a "dud", as it was unseasonably warm and the snow was weak.  I myself am not a cold-weather fan at all, but my dear little daughter is!  She has been loving going out and playing in the white fluffy fun!

"Mom, this is the best weather ever!"

making a snow angel

My cute little snow bunny


Sunday, February 3, 2013

All kinds of newness!

The babies are officially growing, and all kinds of new fun and exciting things are happening in the Niemeyer household these days!  At the babies' 6 month doctor appointment, I was thrilled to see that 3 out of four of them are now on the "normal" 6 month growth chart!  Although Tyler is still a peanut, the doctor was very happy to see all of them growing like they should and had no concerns.  Here are the stats from the appointment last week:
Tyler:  12#, 23" long (not on charts... yet!)
Tanner:  13.5#, 24 1/4" long (1%)
Lauren:  14# (15%), 24 3/4" long (10%)
Hannah:  14.1# (15%), 24" long (2%)
Tyler, Lauren, Tanner & Hannah at the doctor.  My mom was my helper that day!
One of the most exciting tidbits of information this week is that we dropped another bottle!  So, WE ARE DOWN TO (only) 16 BOTTLES A DAY!  The transition has been awesome and they have transitioned to the new schedule amazingly well.  As always with 5 kids, everything is give or take an hour.  We are still figuring it out, but this is pretty much our new and improved schedule:

8/8:30- Babies wake & bottle feed;  Followed by play
10/10:30- Naptime
11:30/12- Bottle feed, followed by cereal feed & play
1:30-2- Naptime
3:30/4- Bottle feed, followed by play
5:30/6- Naptime
7:30/8- Bottle feed & time for bed.  Everyone sleeps a solid 11+ hours of sleep each night!!!

Can I just say this is amazing.  While I probably only have an "extra" 2 hours a day now, it's amazing how free my schedule feels now.  For example, the other night I actually made dinner, ate dinner (at a normal pace), cleaned up after dinner, and played with Jenna before her 7:30 bedtime.  This was in lieu of rushing through dinner to feed 4 crying babies.  IT IS AMAZING!!!!
Yeah...  I realize how ridiculous I sound.  It's the little things, people.

Also, did you catch that new thing in the schedule?  Yes, a cereal feed!!!  That's another fun thing we started this week.  On Monday we started with rice cereal, and I introduced applesauce a few days ago.  The crew is not sure what they think of food via a spoon, but it's fun to watch them explore and try it!

It's nothing fancy, but right now I found the best set-up is to sit the babies in a semi-circle of bumbo's around me on the floor.  I whip up one large batch of food & use one spoon (figuring they all share germs anyways and there is NO way I would be able to keep track or juggle 4 spoons.)  I go down the row mouth to mouth to mouth.  I am done, fairly mess-free, in 10 minutes or so.  When they get bigger we will go to high chairs...  someday!
Hannah is undecided whether she likes rice cereal or not.

Tyler loved it when I added applesauce yesterday!

Lauren is undecided too, but I think she likes it.

It's official:  Tanner hates cereal.

 These days I also am noticing the babies are so curious and love exploring and seeking out toys!  The favorite right now is the Jumparoo.  Tanner is always reaching & seeking out toys.  He also is the crazy jumper.  That boy would jump for 10 hours straight if we let him!  Lauren would rather sleep in one, and Tyler & Hannah love it but are done after a while, too.  So different their personalities are!

So in my little world right now, we are loving the new changes!  And for big sister?  She has solidified her status as the Best Big Sister Ever.  She is not only a huge help, but she is very loving, kind, and sweet to the babies.  Today she was entertaining the babies with her (quite amazing!) hula hooping skills.

Jenna likes to help dress the girls, bows and all.
Some days I still can't believe we have 5 kids, but I am so glad we do.  And I feel amazingly blessed that all are healthy, seem developmentally on track, and doing so good!

naked babies in the morning...

and all dressed for the day!
To finish, some candid snapshots of our life!

Daddy & Tyler watching TV.  Comatose, I think.
Our happy man Tanner.  Love him!

Da boyz.  They might be identical, but in my opinion they don't look a bit alike!
Smiley Hannah!
Sweet girl Lauren in her cupcake jammies
Mr. Tyler, my snuggabug
Daddy snuggling with a sleepy Lauren
Feet on the head?  Totally normal here.

A challenging game of 4-Square:  Baby-style.