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Monday, July 29, 2013

Belated Birthday Wishes & Pics!

It's been quite a busy past few weeks.  The kids are slowly getting healthy again and (gasp!!) our computer broke and was out of commission all week.  I am sooooo glad we have it back,  and THANK GOD for our external hard drive that saved everything (I hope!)!

Because of the sicknesses and sick computer, I am a little late with this post but better late than never. About a month ago we had the wonderful Dan Johnson from come and capture pictures of the family.  Here is a shameless, non-solicited and free plug for Dan & his wife Jodi--- they do amazing work!  Thanks again, Dan.  If you live around the Grand Rapids area and need professional photos, I highly recommend him!

Ok, so I can't believe a year has come & gone since giving birth to quadruplets.  It has been a busy, sleep-deprived & difficult year... and yet a year so filled with blessings, joy, happiness, miracles, and amazement.  Lauren Faith, Tyler Allen, Tanner Andrew & Hannah Grace are officially ONE.  Jenna Joy is officially 5.  Where does the time go?  Craziness.

To Our Children: 

You are all amazing and beautiful hand-crafted gifts from God.  Whatever He has in store for you is part of His Holy plan, and for whatever magical reason, Christ picked us to be your mommy & daddy, a role we are honored, humbled, and delighted to accept.  Happy Birthday, Niemeyer children.  We love every one of you so fiercely and tenderly.


Jenna, this morning I brushed your hair and was telling you how pretty you were (and you are!), we also talked about how Jesus finds beauty on the inside.  He measures beauty with how well we love, have joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, self-control, mercy & grace-- in our hearts.  I told you that He finds you beautiful for these things, to which you smiled and said, "I am going to be really kind today in my heart so Jesus thinks I'm beautiful!".  Oh, He does Jenna.  He does.  You are so beautiful, on the inside & out.  You are smart, creative, thoughtful... and we absolutely, positively, without a doubt, are so humbled and proud of who you are.  We pray for wisdom as we continue to raise you and our prayer for you is that you grow up to be a woman who has a heart for Christ- that you love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength in the generation He has placed you in.  We love you, Jenna Joy.  So much.


Babies (as in, all four of you), you are indeed individuals, but what makes you all very special is that just as you shared the same womb, you share life together.  When one of you is not with the others, you notice and I think you miss that person.  We are use to 8 eyes following our every move whatever we do.  Normalcy is watching you all interact together, play together, snatch toys from each others and clamor to play with the same one in a sea of toys.
You give each other joy & communicate in special ways, especially girl to girl and boy to boy. When we come to your bedroom in the morning or after naps, we are always greeted with 4 standing children gabbing in a 4-square of cribs.  Normalcy is using 4 diapers at once, going through 4 bottles every feed, making giant portions of baby food or mass amounts of chopped up food to be split by you.  On rare occasions when I have just one baby to feed, I get thrown off and have to actually think about how much food to give an individual. 
God has indeed given us the grace to raise 4 babies at once.  For example, He has given us the ability to tune out 3 (sometimes 4) other screaming kids to attend to the most prioritized one (quickly) and then go from there without us joining in on the crying or screaming (most of the time).  I think I have become ambidextrous in the last year and often utilize my feet, knees, shoulders, neck, etc. to help me do tasks.  Two years ago we wouldn't have been able to fathom the idea of raising quadruplets, and now we can't fathom the idea of not having every one of you.  You are our special 4-pack and we love that you all share this unique and special privilege of  being quadruplets, of which there are only about 300 births a year in the USA.  We love you all collectively and individually so much.


You are still the tiniest, but you eat like a horse and love all kinds of food.  You crawl like you are in the Indy 500 and you have the most hilarious sense of humor.  You crack yourself up!  You are always laughing or giggling, and you even think its funny when mommy scolds you for trying to stand up in your high chair.  You are a daredevil.  You have fallen out of your crib, off the changing table, and out of your high chair (so far).  You love to climb on things, come what may.  You just learned you can climb the play-yard & those holes are great for toes to latch into.  Oh, boy.  Even when you fall and hurt yourself, you go right back and try it again before the tears are even dry.  You are all boy.  You babble a lot and cruise on furniture.  I caught you trying to stand like Hannah yesterday.  You like to steal toys from Tanner and you talk to him a lot.  I think he gets your sense of humor because he laughs at your jokes & you amuse him.  You still like to snuggle with me but already life is becoming more interesting to you than mommy.  You are one busy little man!
Our sweet little Tyler at just 1 week old
Tyler, I can't believe you were born at only 1# 14 ounces.  You've come so far, our little fighter.  We love you so much.  You are our strong, feisty, sweet and silly Tyler Boy!


You are still our little sweetheart.  You are also a complete Daddy's girl.  There is a special bond between you two.  You seek out & smile so big for him, and in response, daddy will look at me and gush, "Isn't she just so beautiful, Beck?".  He says that about all of you, but I think every single time you smile he has that amazed, in-love response.  I think it's safe to say when you get older and want something you will know who to ask first!  You have found your voice and love to talk, babble, and make all kinds of sounds.  You love food, and have an affinity now for only "real" food.  During spoon feeds, you have a tendency to turn your cheek as if to say, "I'm not a baby anymore, mom.  No.  Thank.  You."  You are the first to get sleepy and have nodded off in the high chair a few times when I am not fast enough.  You cruise on furniture and also have stood without supports a few times like Hannah.  You are the most content baby, and you LOVE it when I kiss your pudgy neck.  You have the most contagious laugh and sparkle in your eye when we play!  
Lauren, our first baby delivered!  
You are so loved, our Little Lady Lauren.  I can't believe the first week of your life I couldn't even hold you or hear your cat-like cry because of your phneumothorax and being on a ventilator.  We are so glad those scary NICU days are over and you are perfectly big & healthy!  We couldn't imagine our family without you, sweet girl!


You are so full of life, little Hannah.  You are full of joy and remind us so much of Jenna when she was a baby-- curious, enthralled with new discoveries, and always happy!  When you smile, your whole body smiles!  When you are upset, your whole body is upset!!!  What we use to describe as "diva-ish" behavior has now melted around the edges as you have turned into just the sweetest little girl.  However, I do think (like Jenna!) I will soon need to pull out my "Strong Willed Child" book by Dobson.  You absolutely love food- sliced, diced, pureed, whole... whatever, however.  You will eat it.  You have amazing balance when you stand and have taken a few steps before you either fall or delicately decide you would rather sit.  You don't miss a thing and you say "Hi", "all done" & "Dada!" accurately.  You babble a lot and I love how you are always intently watching my mouth when I talk to you or make mouth sounds.  You practice them inaudibly but I know you are figuring out this whole speech thing.  

Hannah, it amazes us that you were the last to graduate from the NICU, because you are so spot-on developmentally!  You are a blast and we love you and your intensity so much, Hannah Grace.    


Our sweet little Man!  Lauren may be daddy's girl, but Tanner is a mommy's boy all the way, and I love it!  Tanner, whenever I go in the play area, no matter what you are doing, you make an army-crawl B-line straight up & into my arms. The other day as I was sitting on the sofa feeding 2 other babies you actually climbed up & perched yourself on top of the footstool, within arm's reach!  Your big, blue eyes are mesmerizing and you stare so adoringly at me.  Melts my heart.  You are the least vocal of the crew but grunt and definitely still let your needs be known.  You are making good motor progress and every day you seem to have a messier face during mealtime, which means you are indeed enjoying a variety of foods!  You still have some difficulty grasping food with a pincer grasp, but between hand scooping and mommy popping nuggets in your mouth, you get plenty of grub.  You have turned into my snuggle bug!  Your favorite spot is curled onto my lap, and you hold on so tight like a little monkey.  
Tanner getting bilirubin light treatment those early NICU days
I remember being so scared those first few days that we might loose you, Tanner boy.  Today you only have a distant scar on the left side of your ribs, and we thank God daily for His mercy allowing you to heal and grow.  We couldn't imagine our life without you, sweet boy, and we love you so much.

Tyler & Tanner

I have heard God typically answers prayers in 3 ways: with a yes, a no, or a not yet.  This morning as I was feeding the babies, it occurred to me that all those years where I prayed for a child: girl, boy, natural, adopted, whatever and however, that the whole time (unbeknownst to me), He was saying, "Not yet my child, but someday I will bless you with not just a girl or a boy, but with 3 girls and 2 boys!"  All I could understand was the answer was not yes.  Until... finally He blessed us with Jenna on July 18, 2008!  What an amazing YES she was!
However, I still had an innate desire to be a mom again.  Don't get me wrong- Jenna was so perfect in every way, and I was so overwhelmingly happy and thankful to be a mommy.  But the desire was there.  So I earnestly started praying again, and even prayed that if He wanted us to just have one child, to take my desires away!  He did not, and it often left me confused and heartbroken.  I didn't realize what an amazing journey he had in store for us and that His "not yet" would someday pack a punch!  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever realize He would seem pleased to bless us with quadruplets! All I knew was that I blindly clung to my life-verse:

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you put your trust in Him, so that your hope will overflow with the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13)

I have done several bible studies over the years by Beth Moore, and I think it was Believing God where she suggested that if your desires are in line with God's desires for you, to humbly and prayerfully claim it as truth and just believe he will answer with a yes in due time unless He tells you otherwise.  So that is what I did.  Please don't misunderstand and think I am saying that you can pray your dreams true, or that I didn't struggle with unbelief.  God is so much more complex and all-knowing than we ever could be, and I most certainly did struggle with doubts (I prayed "I believe-- Lord, forgive my unbelief!" derived from Mark 9:24 just as much!!!).  It took a lot of faith and prayer, but eventually I believed fully in my heart that if He had indeed given me this desire (which He did), then He would one day fulfill my urge to be a mother to more than one child- a desire that burned in me- unless He told me otherwise.  And that is precisely what He did.  Praise Jesus, that is precisely what He did.

Jenna, Lauren, Tyler, Tanner & Hannah, this is the story of YOU.  God has been and continues to be intricately interwoven in your story and we can't wait to see how your lives unfold.  We pray the year ahead will be filled with blessings, joy, happiness, miracles, and amazement.  It will likely be even more busy, difficult, and possibly sleep-deprived.  But we love this exciting ride and we love you.  What a journey!

mommy & daddy

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Donkey on the Edge

Lest you think I have it all together or that I am "supermom", let me dispel the myth:

I am a donkey on the edge!!!!!
This phrase, taken from the movie Shrek, is one Andy & I often use when hanging on a thread.  The babies got a head cold around Wednesday, and I have been kicking myself that I wasn't more hyper-vigilant with Hand Sanitizer last weekend with the parties.  it just slipped my mind and now I am reminded why I am so crazy over washing my hands, asking Jenna to wash her hands, and in general being over-protective of the babies regarding germs.

Because it just ain't no fun with sick quadruplets.  

I am learning that when they are sick, I usually do fine days 1-3.  But then, watch out.  They get sick of being sick, I am sick of them being sick, Jenna is sick of them being sick & too needy, Andy is usually working, I am grouchy, I loose my patience all too easily, snot is everywhere, I have too high of expectations on Jenna and too little patience.  So there you have it.  When I blog I normally focus on the good things, but lets be real:  life can be difficult.  I try to pray for patience, but seriously 5 seconds later I am yelling at Jenna for something so not yell-worthy.  Sigh.  
All I can say is Thank You Jesus for coming to die for my sins because you can bet I will be needing His mercy, grace & forgiveness yet again in the next 5 minutes.  Ok, 2 minutes... or seconds.

At least I will end with some cute pics :).

Jenna & a tree frog.  No fear!


Don't let these smiles fool you:  the babies are all snotty, have fevers and feel terrible, but this is their first time eating mac n cheese (with ham pieces & carrot puree in it).


The food is especially good when big sister eats it, too.  They feel so big and grown up!  Mom likes it too because she can sneak veggies into Jenna's carb-loving diet.  Shhhh-- don't tell!


I think it's safe to say we will go through thousands of boxes of mac n cheese the next few years!

These kiddos LOVE the water table grandma & grandpa got them for their birthday!

It made for the perfect set-up for giving them a bath.  I just grabbed a bucket of warm water, towels & shampoo, and voila!  Outside bath time.  Only problem is they like to crawl away fast and eat acorns & gravel.  I think next time I will set up a pack n play to put them in after getting cleaned up so they don't scamper off, because that is no fun trying to wrangle up four clean babies all at once when they are scampering off to the dirt.
It makes me turn into a Donkey on the Edge REALLY quickly.

-Becky (aka D.o.t.E)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Birthday Celebrations!

What a weekend!  Saturday we had a blast celebrating Jenna's 5th birthday.  I am filled with a mixture of happiness, gratitude, and yet sadness that she is (almost) 5!!!
"Happy Birthday to you..."
Family & friends (babies too!) enjoying the beautiful weather during the party
We had a dozen or so of Jenna's friends over and had perfect weather for the summer birthday activities!  We rented a popcorn machine, had water-balloon fun in the front yard, a treasure hunt, a Tinkerbell piñata, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, tire swing fun, and of course Tinkerbell cupcakes & presents.  It was a blast and Jenna felt so loved & special.
Piñata Fun! 
Finding necklaces, toys & bubbles on a scavenger hunt 
Jenna was serious about breaking open that Piñata! (probably because she helped me stuff it with sweets!)

Hannah showing off her standing skills

Jenna's good friends Blake & Reagan taking a ride int he jeep!

The grandmas were awesome and took care of the babies so we could be outside for the party
Jenna and her cousin Autumn (from Texas!) being Arabian Princesses 
Cooling off with daddy in our deluxe family pool
Our birthday cake on Sunday celebrating all 5!
Then on Sunday we had our neighbors & family over for dinner and cake as we celebrated the Babies' First Birthday (July 17, 2012) and Jenna's Birthday (July 18, 2008)!  A couple behind me in line at Costco were stunned by the cake & asked if indeed all names were "mine".  They were shocked to find we had 5 birthdays in 2 days, but shared a laugh with me when I joked that, "Yes, we totally planned to have quadruplets and have them born the day before our daughter's birthday to condense the amount of birthday parties."
Babies cuddling with Aunt Cindy & cousins Grace & Kayden.  Kayden was a HUGE help getting the yard and everything set up for the birthday parties!
I love how kids can find fun while the adults talk!
We had a nice dinner and the babies joined in- the girls especially loved all the food!
Babies with uncles & cousin Julia.  In case you're wondering, Andy is wearing a muscle shirt that reads, "BEEF CAKE."  It was given to him as a gag gift from my sister & brother-in-law, and he gets a chuckle wearing it!

"Happy Birthday to you, TylerLaurenHannahTannerJennaAuntWendyGrandpa!" (oh yeah, it's their birthdays too!)

They had no problems tearing into the cake!

Hannah with crazy cake hair.  Lauren showing off her double fishy lip

Julia & Aunt Wendy talking girl talk with Hannah
Presents!  We were ecstatic that we got boxes and boxes of the best gift ever: diapers!
I think the ribbons and paper were waaaaay more exciting to the babies than the diapers!
Tanner playing peek-a-boo in Ms. Diane's arms!
The post-cake clean-up.  I think I will use this pool to give baths again!  They loved it!

So that was our birthday celebration!  As for their "real" birthdays, I think it will be much more low-key and our family will just quietly enjoy and savor all the blessings of the year/years.  That, and I don't think I have it in me to plan & execute another birthday party for at least another year or so!