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Monday, August 26, 2013


Change, change, change.  I am a creature of habit, so change does not always come easy to me! However, after the last year and a half I think I am tolerating change a little more.  More importantly, I am anticipating it and finding regularity in it!
But change can be good, too.  And nothing is more sweet than seeing the "typical" developmental changes in our miracle babies at just the right times.  Maybe partly because I am an OT, and partly because we prayed for these children so long, I never quite feel blessed or thankful to God enough for the transitions and changes in our life right now.

Here are some of our transitions at the moment:
School & Work Transitions
Our girl showing off her new backpack and working on some self-appointed "homework"
Jenna is starting Kindergarten next week!  All day, every day.  I could say a bunch of mushy stuff about how fast it went, but: 1.  I think I would cry 2. It sounds so cliché & 3.  Every parent reading this gets it.  They grow up waaaay too fast!
I am also very excited to be going back to work next week.  It is so ideal:  I will be working as a school OT in the same district I have worked the past 10 years, but only 1.5 days a week.  I will be working with a new population & staff.  I am looking forward to the newness of it, getting out of the house regularly, and using my brain professionally again!  I feel like I have worked harder this last year and a half "not working" than I ever have in my life, but at the same time I have been blessed so abundantly  that I can't complain.  More to come once we roll into our new routines...

Andy & I on a date night, Jenna climbing trees with daddy.  For those of you that don't know, he owns a tree business where he cuts & prunes trees.  Andy is clearly training Jenna to be his helper someday, and she is a natural!  I Love my Tree Monkeys!

Food Transitions
Baby food is basically extinct in our house.  It didn't take the babies long to realize food is much more exciting when it has texture and can be fed to oneself.  This is awesome, but the downside is I am constantly cleaning up food from the floor, high-chairs, bibs, hair, & clothing!  They are very messy babies and I am SO GLAD the weather is good, because they eat and bathe outside on nearly a daily basis!

Even the boys, who took longer to like finger foods, turn their nose up on baby food now!  Big Kids!

 Snacks:  Instead of eating inside & messing up the high chairs & floor again, they have been eating the after nap snack outside.  In a pack n play.  Watching big sister play.  Perfect for eating veggie straws & drinking water!  When they are done, I simply shake the crumbs out of the p & p and keep it out for a holding cell after baths later on (at the water table, outside).  Since they don't go in one very often, it is a novel thing to do and they don't mind sharing one p & p (after all, they did all share the same belly!).
Bottles & milk:  We still are in the process of transitioning the babies from bottles to sippy cups, and they seem to do better during the day but the morning & night bottles they like to use- well, bottles!  Hannah drinks 100% milk now, but since the other babies still qualified for formula this month, I am using up the free formula before transitioning them to milk.  I still mix in 25% milk so they are getting use to the taste but boy will I be happy when I don't have to mix formula any more.

---But, good news!!!  I was still feeding the babies their  bottles 2 at a time.  Early on, I facilitated all 4 babies taking bottles propped up using the "quad-feed" style.  However, when the babies got older and more wiggly (around 5 months), I became frustrated in this method because they would wiggle around, drool out the milk, meaning more laundry for me and less milk in their bellies.

Even though it took up way more time, I actually ended up liking this method because it was semi-personalized time with them.  I would use this time to sing & talk to the two I fed, making eye contact and snuggling with them.  Well, this method worked great until about 2 weeks ago.  Suddenly they all wanted bottles at the same time.  They were pulling hair, poking eyes & noses, and being bothersome to the 2 trying to drink.  With caution, I tried the quad-feed again.  Amazing!  In 10 minutes, four babies were fed and happy.  They boys hold their own bottles, the girls sometimes do but need a little prop up still.  Now, they refuse to take a bottle unless it is this style.  YEAH!!!

Mobility Transitions
First off, we are moving to big carseats!  Because the girls are definitely over 20 pounds but the boys are not quite there yet, we still have 2 old baby seats and 2 next-step-up seats.  I will be ready to be done with those baby carriers for good!
We also have had mobility transitions in play.  I have switched a lot of our "baby" toys over for bigger toys that facilitate climbing, walking, cruising, language development and problem solving.  I also have been having to keep an eye on them.  These monkeys like to climb on EVERYTHING!  (I am sure someday they will also accompany daddy in the trees, ha!)

The babies are definitely getting mobile in so many ways.  Hannah is all-out walking.  Lauren is "Finger Holding Walking", meaning she can do it but only with the confidence of holding onto someone's hand or finger.  She does walk a few steps without help and is just so proud of herself!  Tyler cruises well but is NOT interested in walking holding onto my hands or a toy yet.  Tanner pulls himself to stand and is starting to cruise, and he also is starting to regular crawl instead of army crawl (especially when mommy is around, because we have been working on this!!!).  Here is a video clip that shows their mobility and a little slice of our life!  (hope it works, if not, sorry!)

The babies have also been learning to crawl up the stairs.  I figure the sooner they learn, the better!  Lauren is actually scarily proficient and they all are fascinated with stairs, however they haven't quite realize the dangers yet!  I usually only have 2 practice at a time so I can save a faller if needed.

I am sure there will be more changes as soon as I get use to these, but that's life, right?  Transitions are good.  Change is good.  Let me say it again, cause I need to hear it. good.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

This & That

I have about 5 blog drafts but nothing ready yet, so instead I will just post some recent fun pictures of our everyday life!
Only Classy Kids can pick noses with their ring finger and look this cute.
Hannah LOVES to walk!!  I need to take video of it, but here she was in action.
Jenna being a monkey.  She is very ready to start Kindergarten in 2 weeks!

Sometimes "dinner" means feeding the kids early, getting everyone cleaned & off to bed, and then we have alone time and eat a nice, quiet, relaxing dinner together.  Almost like a date :)
On this night, I believe Andy & I did something rare:  we went out to a movie while his mom put the kids to bed!  Date nights are fun at home, but even better when we can actually "get out"!
Oh boy.  Here we go.

At our neighbor's house.  I don't have to hold a single child whenever we go there!

Daddy lovin' on the boys & our climber girls below

Jenna took a bowling class with the neighbor girls this past week.  She seemed to keep up with the big kids!

Tyler & Hannah were yucking it up inside the tunnel!  I love how they all interact!

"Well, if Tyler won't move it's his fault if he gets stepped on."

Getting EVEN SMARTER with this whole bath at the water-table thing.  Jenna helps me shampoo & clean them quick as a whip, and then they go naked & clean in a pack n play filled with warm towels until I can bring them in to get dressed one at a time.  Safe, easy & can be done solo without difficulty!
Singing to my crew after they all were crazy howling a "symphony of quadstruction".  Their teeth are to blame, and sometimes only a mommy's lap will make things better.
Even if there are four children on that lap.

So what "everyday" things have you done this week?



Thursday, August 15, 2013

1 year Stats & Schedule

So I like to chronicle things (obviously) and since this blog also serves as the baby books, I just realized I didn't plug in the babies' stats from their 1 year doctor appointment 3 weeks ago!  Slacker!

Lauren:  28" tall, 20# 2 oz, head circumference 44 cm
Tyler:  27 1/2" tall, 16# 13 oz, head circumference 45.5 cm
Tanner:  28 1/4" tall, 17# 5 oz, head circumference 45.5 cm
Hannah:  27 3/4" tall, 20# 4 oz, head circumference 45 cm

And this is what our schedule currently looks like.  All Day.  Every Day.  :)

6:30/7- wake & coffee made!
7-8- morning diaper changes, bottles, hot cocoa for Jenna
8-9:00- breakfast for all
*babies are basically all "real" food now, with pureed food & baby cereal at the end of some meals only to appease Tanner and ensure full bellies.  This is good for them, but waaaaaay more messy.
9-10- clean up, change babies into clothes, play
10-11:30 Babies nap!  Jenna plays!  I actually shower!!!
11:30-12:30  Lunch
1-2 play time, clean-up time, sometimes walks
2-2:30  Babies get another bottle (I am currently transitioning from bottles to sippy cups, so hopefully this bottle will phase out once they get more liquids in throughout the meals & daytime.  I am also transitioning from formula to milk.  And transitioning from warmer to cooler temps....)
2:30-4 nap time!
4-5 play, snack if dinner is later than 5
5-8- Dinner is made, eaten, cleaned up, all kids get baths every other day, we play if we have time, babies get bedtime bottle and Jenna & babies are all in bed by 8.  Phew.  It's a zoo.

After that you would think there was time to rest and relax, but there is always so much to do!  Dishes, clothes, floors, toys & counters need cleaning, putting away, sanitizing & organizing.  Meals or bottles need prepped.  Beds need to be made.  Shopping and schedules need to be figured out.  The list is never-ending and tomorrow always has spill-over things not accomplished from the day before.  BUT.... having said that, there is always room for fun.  I am going to end this post now because tonight I will have rare snuggle-time with Andy at our campfire in the back yard with beers in our hands.  Ahhhh.....

Life is definitely busy with 5 kids 5 & under, but this is the season we are in & I wouldn't change a single thing.  I like our life, and love my family deeply.  I think this season will go by so fast, and I remind myself that THIS is what God made me for--- I want to do the best job I possibly can, even in the mundane busyness of quaddlerhood.



Monday, August 12, 2013


 Last week Andy's family relaxed at our annual family vacation at the beach.  His parents usually rent the same cottage the first week of August in beautiful Holland, Michigan.  No fail, it seems the weather is always wonderful and the time is so relaxing!

Our annual "Girls Night Out"- the ladies get all pretty and we go out for dessert.
This year we allowed Tanner & Tyler to crash it :-)


Last year, I remember countless drives between the cottage and the NICU, straddling 2 lives, wondering if four little miracles would live, frazzled, hormonal and hanging on literally only by many of your prayers.  This year, I breathed a sigh of relief and said many prayers of gratitude that we have four healthy, active, lively babies!
Playing with Daddy in the cottage living room

The beach resulted in mixed reviews by the babies.  Jenna, of course, LOVES it.  The girls LOVED it too!  The boys?  NOT fans!!!
What's the best way to keep 4 babies/toddlers contained on the beach?  A playyard, of course!
Jenna & Elizabeth splashing in Lake Michigan
Tyler & Lauren checking it out

At first I thought Tanner might like it, but he soon decided NO.

Tyler seemed to be open-minded at first, but I think some sand in the eye ruined it for good.  He didn't like anything about the beach AT ALL!

Our Sand-loving girl

Instead of taking the babies all week long, this year just Jenna & I went on Sunday for Anna's 13th 14th birthday (lol, Anna) and then I took all 5 kids Wednesday morning thru Friday evening.  There was SOOOOOOO much to pack and thankfully Andy was there to help Wednesday & Friday, but it was well worth it!
Happy Birthday Anna!  Even with a sad looking birthday cake, it was still fun!
One blessed mama & her boys

Auntie spoiled generously gifted her nieces with ipads!  What an awesome gift, Auntie Kim!!!

Seriously this girl can hula-hoop for over half-an-hour without dropping it.  I am jealous.

Jenna had a blast with her cousins, and the babies did wonderfully!  There were always lots of hands to hold them, and they slept like a dream!
Our sleeping arrangement: the room fit 2 twin beds & 4 pack n plays well!  The babies slept like a dream.
Why?  They are on a rockin' schedule and they were pooped, people!


(how ridiculous does he sleep?  So funny!)


Lots of holders were available all the time!

 Does your family have any vacation traditions?  Andy's dad told me he believes they have been renting a summer cottage on Lake Michigan for 46 years now.  Now THAT's a great family tradition!