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Sunday, June 30, 2013

It takes a village...

They say it takes a village to raise a child... well, we may not live in a village but it certainly takes a community to help us with our quadruplets!  
 This post if a far too belated Thank You to all you in the village.
Thank You!!!  (yes, you)

Throughout this journey, there have been legions of people helping us out everywhere from the front lines to behind the scenes.  Some people we know dearly, some we have never met.  The very fact that you are reading this blog post right now causes me to suspect you have, at the very least, thought about us and perhaps said a prayer or two along the way.

This blog, friends, is for you.  

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to send out some much, much well-deserved thanks!!!

Thank you for the PRAYERS...
Andy and I have been astounded and incredibly humbled with the amount of people who have prayed for us (and continue to) in this journey.  From the moment we started tentatively sharing with people that I had 4 babies growing in my belly, countless prayers have risen up on our behalf.  One thing we know: God is honored with prayers.  And prayer works.  We have a beautiful daughter & four healthy, developmentally on track, nearly one-year old quadruplets.  And we attribute that completely and utterly to Jesus Christ's amazing grace.  

Thank you for the MEALS....
From about the time I became short of breath in my pregnancy and couldn't fathom the daunting task of (huff, puff) getting pots and pans out to (huff, puff) think about meals, literally dozens and dozens of you sprung into action:  you made us a meal, brought us food, and gifted us with amazing plastic cards that we used to BUY food!  Oh.  My.  GOODNESS the meals were so very helpful to us!
When the babies were in the NICU and I was driving back and forth and trying to mommy Jenna and babies and pump milk for them... Oh. My. GOODNESS did those meals come in handy!
When we had 4 babies home and fed them every 3 hours around the clock and it took up to an hour and a half to feed them and we went through 32 bottles a day and I still had to be a mommy to Jenna and a wife to Andy and a mommy to the babies... Oh. My. GOODNESS did those meals come in handy!
Not until the babies were about 5 months old or so did I feel like I could finally prepare & cook meals again without the anxiety and tension of knowing I had to feed the family again-- and the funny part is, I love to cook!  I guess what I'm saying is for everyone out there who ever brought food over, prepared a meal for us, gave us a food gift-card, or even just made us cookies--- THANK YOU!  

A big thank you to this lady:  Mickey made a delicious meal for us faithfully EVERY WEEK for  over 4 months- Mickey, not only are you an amazing cook, you are a cooking ROCK STAR!
Thank you for the gifts & donations!
A large number of you that we may not even know or only have an acquaintance with did something amazing- you gifted us with new & used clothes and items needed for the task of raising four babies!  Clothes, strollers, jumpers, bouncers, bibs, swings, bottles, onesies, jackets, baby food, sheets, coupons, cribs, carseats.... phew.  And that's just off the top of my head!  We literally have had mountains of items given to us.  I can't even begin to thank you enough.  You know who you are, and just know we are so humbled & thankful for your generosity.  Thank You.  We will pay it forward, friends....

Thank you for the DIAPERS & WIPES!
We had a wall full of diapers gifted to us that we have been chipping away at since the babies came home.  Although not a fun gift to give, we have been SO THANKFUL for each and every box of diapers & wipes we received!   There are just a few boxes left that should last another month or so.  What that means is that we were gifted diapers that lasted the quad's entire first year!  That's a lot of diapers.  I also used cloth diapers gifted to us from Cheryl from Happy Bums, but even with those to help we have gone through-- uh, a poopload--of diapers!  So thank you SO much to everyone who helped us out in the bum department!

Connie, a.k.a. "Mrs. Cupcake", gave us lots of boxes of diapers & wipes during my pregnancy!  Awesome!

Thank You to ALL the HELPERS!!!
My sister & mother-in-law took to setting up and managing a care-calendar the first few months of our quad-craziness.  People signed up to help out with meals and to come over and clean.  Some people (that we knew personally) signed up to help with bottle feeds & household tasks.  Friends helped out by taking Jenna out on play dates or by coming over to help.  A few amazing individuals came week after week to help out doing whatever needed to be done, but rest-assured washing bottles and laundry were (and still are) at the top of the list.  Here are just some of the helpers (that I actually was able to remember to snap pictures of!):
Andy & I with Jenna and a couple nieces, Anna & Julia.  Julia is helping out this summer and is so great with the babies!  She thinks she might want to be a NICU nurse some day, so we are giving her baby experience!
Julia & Anna with their mom, feeding a gaggle of babies
Kathy V came weekly for months to help with the babies, bottles & laundry.  It was so busy I never got a picture of her with the babies, but she was such a help!
Sharon C came weekly for months also, and was such a help with the babies, bottles & laundry!  She still comes sporadically and the babies love playing with her!

Our awesome neighbors, the Schmidts!  Diane & Courtney help out frequently and their house is often our destination during walks so we can see them & the other family members.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors!
Courtney LOVES our little Tyler man!
My friend Lindsay helped out weekly for months!  She would come after work and help out on the evenings Andy was working.  It was SOOOO helpful knowing I had an extra set of hands to help feed & put 5 kids to bed!

Big sister Jenna has absolutely been the biggest helper.  The older she gets, the more she really, really helps, too!  She just started feeding the babies bottles and doing it as good as we do.  She helps at play time, bath time, with feeds,  etc.  Hmmm- maybe I should teach her to change a diaper...
We would be remiss if we didn't thank the powers that be for our monthly benefits provided this first year through the WIC program.  Due to the babies' severe premature birth and low birth weights, they qualified for an entire year of benefits.  We have received baby formula & baby food and it has helped out so incredibly with grocery bills!
And Last but CERTAINLY not Least, a huge thank you to our parents!!!
Ted & Karen, John & Margaret, you all have supported and helped us out in so many countless ways this past year.  You have personally cared for us and the babies on almost a daily basis, and we are so thankful that you live close enough to be an integral part of all our lives.  
We love you all so much and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  God knew what he was doing when he chose you to be grandparents to quadruplets!
Ted & Tanner
Jenna & her Papa!
John feeding Lauren
Grandpa & Jenna
Margaret doing double-duty!
My mom feeding Tanner

Karen feeding Tyler
Andy's mom is excellent at feeding the babies!
I know there are more of you we should mention.  I know we missed thanking someone inadvertently, so if you don't yet feel thanked, please know you are!    

As our quadruplets near their first birthday, we are so thankful for a community that cares, supports & helps us and for a God who continues to provide for all our needs.  May God bless you richly.

Becky & Andy

Monday, June 24, 2013

Big Kids!

We are 11 1/2 months old and mommy is too busy to write a post so we will.  Our names are Tyler, Tanner, Lauren & Hannah.  Big sis Jenna is almost 5 and typing because we don't have the dexterity to do that yet.  ;)

This is what big sister Jenna has been doing lately:
Playing outside and finding all kinds of critters like this snapping turtle:

Having friends over:
Getting clean with friends Blake & Brooke
Cuddling, playing, & helping take care of us:

And enjoying the outdoors & warm weather:
Yes, she went in the water with all her clothes on.  It was warm!
At Lake Michigan with Aunt Cindy 

We are feeling much better, thank you very much, and we think mommy is happy we are too.  It was a LONG week.  Mommy seemed a little crazy towards the end there, with that "weird look" in her eyes...

Between the 4 of us, we have 14 teeth (Tanner has 6!).  The girls love to talk and say lots of things, but "Dada" is a favorite.  Tyler likes to say "Baba" sometimes.  Tanner grunts and gurgles.
We all are pulling ourselves to stand and get around really super fast.  Tyler & Hannah like to climb on things.  Lauren & Hannah like clapping their hands.  Us boys think that is wussy so we just shove or grab things to chew.  We all really, really like to eat, even Tanner.  We will be 1 year old in a few weeks and feel really proud of what we can do!  
We all love life and really love mommy, daddy & Jenna.  We also love our friends & family that visit often.  

OK, Jenna's hands are tired so that is all for now. 

Mommy and her troops when they were still on the up & up
Lauren is such a happy girl and has found her voice!

Tyler showing off his daredevil skills

Tanner is now happy to eat puffs too, even when it's off the floor! (only manly boys can get away with wearing pink bibs)
So funny how we all clamor for the same toy in a room filled with toys!

At a pool party this weekend- what fun we had in this pool!
Tanner & Tyler playing at the water table- splish splash!

Lauren & Tanner at the water table
Tyler & the sisters

At the pool party- lots of sets of twins here!

We tried talking mommy into feeding us this way at home, too.  Easy clean up!
 OK, nap time!  Bye!

all of us

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Best. Daddy. Ever!

Happy Fathers Day to all you men out there!  
I love this picture.  Andy kissing Lauren right after she came home from the NICU.

To all the dads, grandfathers, step-fathers, father-in-laws, fathers-to-be... Happy Day to You!
My step-father John cradling Tyler buster.  What a great grandpa!!!
The grandkids visiting my dad & Nancy in Arizona
Father-in-law Ted holding Tanner & Tyler- the kids love you so much, Papa!

And, of course, Happy Fathers day to our Best. Daddy. Ever!

Daddy with Jenna when she was an itty-bitty

Daddy with an adoring Jenna as a baby
Daddy with an adoring Jenna as a pre-schooler
This has been one heck of a year for my man, and I couldn't be more proud of him.  Andy-- you are the BEST daddy to our five miracles.  I think God had a chuckle every time you alway use to declare, "Two, then we're done."  Not only have you bravely stepped up to the plate, I think you have done an amazing job with our unexpected "Buy one, get 3 free" deal God handed us!  Being a daddy to quadruplets +1 ain't no easy task, and you do it well!

Andy, with every life event we encounter my respect for you only grows deeper.  I love you more deeply than when we said our "I do's."  In our nearly 10 years of marriage I can genuinely say we have had more ups than downs, and I can't wait to see what God has for us around the corner.  You are my best friend and the best daddy to Jenna, Lauren, Tyler, Tanner & Hannah.  I love how the kids smile at you adoringly whenever you are around.  You are a rock star in their eyes and in mine, too.

Here's to all you dads out there... your job is tough and never-ending, but it's the most important and and life-altering job you ever will have.  Thank You!