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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Birthday Celebrations!

Last week our baby turned 6 & our quadlings turned 2!!!!!  I have never, ever, ever had 2 of the hardest years go by so fast in my life!  The quads had their 2-year Well Child visit this week, and we have quite a (healthy) range!  I will put them from biggest to smallest:
Drinking their morning milk, from L-R:  Tanner, Tyler, Hannah & Lauren
Lauren:  Weight: 25.15# (41%)            Height:  2' 10" (53%)
Hannah:  Weight:  25.13# (39%)          Height:  2' 9" (13%)
Tanner:  Weight: 24.7# (11%)              Height: 2' 9.5" (24%)
Tyler:  Weight: 22.8# (1%)                   Height:  2' 9" (15%)

Looking at all 5 children lately, I have been blown away by God's goodness.  We have five healthy, normal, lively, curious and crazy-busy little people.  The whole pregnancy with the quadruplets and their first few weeks were very touch-and-go regarding whether they would even live or not.  Their first year of life my therapist eyes were always "on" for any signs of developmental delays, knowing I would love them just the same but also knowing there was a greater chance of that due to their early & tumultuous start in life.
Our little lady Lauren... she & Tanner had tubes put into their lungs and had serious problems.  Tanner almost lost his life that first night.  Lauren was on a ventilator and I was unable to hold her her first 9 days of life.
BUT- To look at them now, one would never guess they had such a start to life!!!  God is good regardless of life's blessings or sorrow, I can personally vouch for that.  But ohhhhh how He has demonstrated His goodness in our miracles thus far!  I always tell our children, "God has such amazing plans for you, I can't wait to see what He has planned for your life!"  Blessings or sorrow, I will continue to praise Him daily.  And today, we celebrate the blessings.

For everyone's birthdays, we kept it low-key and just had cake and ice cream with family and our neighbors on a sunny Sunday evening.  I made a semi-homemade Frozen cake, meaning Costco made it & I decorated it.  Best of both worlds, since I love to decorate but don't have time for all that kitchen baking & cleaning!

On July 17, Lauren (baby A) Tyler (B) Tanner (C) and Hannah (D) officially turned two.  We started the day with a baked french toast & sausage breakfast, and after naps all five kids went crazy for an hour at a local gymnastics open gym.  I thought I did good bringing Courtney to help out, but lesson learned:  if EVER we do an open gym again, we need at least one or 2 more helpers- it was hectic keeping up with them in a busy gymnastics room!  Courtney & I were drenched in sweat at the end, but thankfully no children were harmed in the craziness ;).  Everyone got presents and it was a fun day.  I did not take any photos of open gym, but here are some fun recent candids.

A glorious moment:  all four playing well together!

Silly Kiddos!  Prince Tanner & Princess Hannah

An impromptu picnic in the front yard

On Friday, July 18 Jenna Joy turned 6 (snif, snif!).  To celebrate, I took her & the babies to my sister's in the afternoon to swim in the pool (well, Jenna swam, and the others chased cats and got their feet wet).  We had a nice Arby's dinner (a very special & classy dinner for a 6 year old!) and rounded out the evening with gifts and a watermelon "cake".  One of the COOLEST things was this beautiful Elsa shirt hand-crafted by my friend (and fellow quad-mom Ashley) who is the owner of Sweet Dumpling Boutique.  She does the most high quality, beautifully embroidered items.  Please stop by & visit her site by clicking here!  Jenna loved it.  I love it, and I will definitely be having Sweet Dumpling Boutique make more personalized items for us in the future!

On the home front, Andy & I are getting ready to have a huuuuuuuuge adjustment coming soon:  we have decided to do an addition to the house so we can add another bedroom & a little more living space.  Over the last year, we have prayed, contemplated, and gone back & forth on what to do.  We have looked at moving and almost went that route, but in the end we LOVE our location, setting, and house.  We just wish it had one more bedroom!

Currently all four kids share the same bedroom and while it still works fine, I must say at night, in the morning & during naps, when one is awake he/she wants everyone else to be awake, too.  And that gets old fast!  So we are *suppose* to start the addition in 2 weeks.  Which is great because our family will be away on our annual week-long vacation in Holland, Michigan.  The kitchen will be renovated first (since it is still in its original state 30+ years later), and I am really not looking forward to the mess but people keep telling me it will be worth it.  I am praying already for it to go smoothly and stay on schedule!  More to come on that in the future.

Until then, I hope you are enjoying the sounds, smells, sights & tastes of Summer!



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Campin' with Gram & Gramps

Last week, I packed enough stuff to go on a cross country vacation for a whole year.  Thankfully, that was not what we were doing.  Actually, the kids & I went on a 3 hour drive up north to go to Grandma & Grandpa's cottage for 4 days!  We deliberately went when Andy had to work back-to-back third shifts so we could keep the house nice & quiet (for once)!

I drove up over nap time and only had to handle everyone crying in the van for a little bit.  Once we arrived in Elk Rapids, Grandma, Grandpa and their neighbors Nels & Donna (who were on-loan grandparents for the week) were eagerly awaiting to take the kids & play!  The kids kept busy, slept good (except for the first night) and everyone had a great time!
~Playground Fun~
Upon arrival, the kids quickly noshed on some snacks and then played their little hearts out!

Sweet, Handsome Tanner

The boys loved going down the slide and having Grandpa catch them!

I think we need one of these in our yard!
Jenna went fishing a few times with Grandpa, Grandma & Nels.  She caught 8 fish the first day and 3 the next!  We went swimming at a local beach with a playground one day, went to the library one rainy afternoon, went to the Farmers Market one morning, played at the playground in the campground several times, went on boat rides, played in the lake, went out for ice cream, and did a lot of playing, eating & relaxing.
~Go Fish~
Jenna shows her brothers & sisters the fish she caught!
The kids were not quite sure what to think of the fish.
This is how I always serve up meals.  It pays to have been a waitress!
Ahh, a relaxing moment where I get to enjoy my morning coffee!
~Pontoon Boat Ride~

Nels let Jenna "drive" the whole time!

Our beautiful almost 6 year old!

Super Jenna!

~Life's a Beach~

All 3 girls LOVE the water.  Donna was a sport with going in the water with all of them!
The boys- well, digging in the sand is just fine for them.

Grandma surrounded by her biggest fans

Tyler & Tanner thoroughly enjoying themselves in the sand.

Who needs photoshop?  This picture cracks me up because it looks like Tanner has sprouted arms from his ears and is grabbing at my sunglasses.
The perfect way to end a day: with ice cream!
Things are never really too relaxing with 5 little kids, but for naps each day I stayed in the trailer with the quaddlers so I was able to do things I never get to do, like paint my toes, read books, do my bible study, surf Facebook, and oh yes, relax!  Jenna stayed nights in the cottage with the grandparents, so nighttime was also very relaxing.  Grandma or Grandpa would quietly bring a glass of wine to the trailer's door each night for me, which was awesome!  The first night was not a good night sleep for any of us since I was up at least 3-4 times for each child, but after that slept went great!
~Lake & Cottage Fun~
Jenna is such a fish!

The kids are wearing Puddle Jumpers.  Because we swim so infrequently at this point and often go to the lake when we do,  there's an assurance for me that all my kids are safe in the water (even though they are always closely monitored).  

Our cool cats Lauren & Hannah

A neighborly fish fry at Nels & Donna's to round out the vacation.  We definitely will be back soon!

Hope you are able to enjoy some slices of vacation this summer!