Gearing up for the Holidays

20141125_122031

As you can probably guess, we have been so busy lately.  Sorry for the lack of posts and updates!  Between Brian’s erratic work schedule, his ice hockey, my soccer, Easton’s school and swimming, and some minor colds thrown in, we seem to always have something going on!  Even when we are home, there is so much going on.  Never a dull moment!  The quads are all walking, running, climbing, singing and yelling, just like their big brother.  With four of them, you can imagine that they are into EVERYTHING.  Just when you think it’s safe, and you’ve childproofed everything, they reach a new height or figure out a handle.  I’ve had to move all my plants upstairs and empty out the changing table cabinet.  They can reach onto the dining room table, and they climb onto the hearth and up to the phone table too.  It’s impossible to block everything!  Right about now I wish I had a giant room with padded walls and floors.

20141119_113946

Brian and I took the quads to their 15 month doctor’s appointment.  It takes an hour and a half!  And a lot of sweat lol.  The quads got two shots in their arms, poor babies.  But the good news is that they are all meeting all of their milestones for their age.  Yay!

20141210_155408

As a group, they are all sleeping great at night and for their naps.  We would love to be able to sleep in just a tad more in the morning, but 6:45 is not too bad.  We went through a little cold and some teething that threw off their sleep a bit, but we seem to be settling back in nicely.  They are all awesome eaters, and pretty much just eat what we eat now, which makes life much easier.  Daddy doesn’t like feeding them anything with messy sauce, but they love it!  And we can always throw them in the bathtub after.  Baths are much easier these days too.  We are using the big tub in our master bathroom, and everyone goes in together.  Then one by one I take them out and dress them.  Then Grammy and Pappy entertain them until they are all done.  It’s tiring, but manageable.  I’ve even bathed them all by myself!  It’s a workout.

20141031_180149

Individually, they are each growing and developing at their own rates and in their own ways.  I love how they are all so different physically as well as their personalities.
IMG_5522 IMG_5557
Brody still wears the crown for heaviest, although he’s not the tallest.  He is 32 inches long (50-75th%) and weighs 23lbs10ozs (50th%).  Poor Brody slipped on the floor and scraped up his lip just before we left so he arrived at the doctors with a big fat lip.  Brody is into everything.  He’s always looking around for what he can get his big paws on.  If you left a gate open, he makes a beeline for it.  He also wants whatever anyone else has, and will just take it right from them! Brody is a flirt with the ladies, and smiles and laughs often. He’s a goofball! Lately Brody dances a lot, though he doesn’t quite have Hayden’s rhythm. Brody has most of his teeth, including 3 molars! Brody will sign “more” and “milk”, and he also says “more”, “mommy”, “book”, “bye-bye”, “uh oh” and “night-night.”
IMG_5524 IMG_5576
Hayden is not the shortest, but she is the lightest. She’s like a feather compared to Brody and Emerson! She is 31 inches tall (75th%) and weighs 20lbs2ozs (25th%). Hayden is such a sweetheart. She seems very serious, and she makes you work for it, but when she smiles, her whole face just melts into happiness. Hayden is our little climber!! She can walk, run and climb now, and there’s no stopping her! She’s got 4 teeth now, and will say “hi”, “night-night”, “that”, “uh oh” and “bye-bye.” Hayden seems to prefer being held by men, and she loves her Uncle Bob!
IMG_5521 IMG_5543
Emerson is our big girl!! She is a little lighter than Brody, weighing 23lbs4ozs (50-75th%), and is our tallest, at 32 1/2 inches (95th%). She’s wearing 2T clothing now! Ems always wants to be held, and is definitely Daddy’s girl. She’s our only thumb sucker, and is happy to settle in on Daddy’s lap with her thumb in her mouth. Emerson is a big eater, and no longer has only vampire fangs. :) She now has 6 teeth, and will imitate so many words, including two-syllable words. She can also independently say, “mommy”, “cat”, “shoe”, “book”, “up”, “bye-bye”, “uh oh” and “night-night.” She’s always pointing to things, saying “that”, and will greet everyone (and no one) with a big “hi!”.
IMG_5525 IMG_5537
Deacon is our little peanut, although I’m guessing not for long, because he’s been eating a ton lately! Once he gets a little pot belly, we know he will be shooting up soon! He is 31 1/2 inches tall (50-75th%) and weighs 21lbs8ozs. (%). Deacon is such a sweetheart. I always say he doesn’t have an evil bone in his body. Poor Deacon is usually the victim, getting taken down and having his toy stolen, but he will occasionally go on the offensive. Go Deacon! He has 6 teeth now, and will wave and say “night-night”. Deacon is more of the quiet type, and will play a lot by himself. But you get him laughing, and it’s the greatest sound! When it’s time to go to the kitchen for a meal, Deacon will giggle and run away to get you to chase him. It’s adorable!
IMG_5528 IMG_5566
Easton is a typical three year old. LOL! When he’s nice, he’s so sweet and affectionate, but when he hasn’t had enough sleep, he’s a terror! Indecisive, saying “NO! I DON’T want snack.” And then a minute later crying “I want snack!!” It’s super frustrating, and we are just riding out this phase, waiting for it to be over. Brian and I are trying to spend more alone time with him to give him more attention away from the quads, so hopefully that helps. The recent full moon really sent everyone into a tailspin, combined with a cold, and now I think we are getting back to normal. Easton loves school, and is making lots of friends.  He is still into any vehicles, especially monster trucks, but really, ANY VEHICLES. He will name all types of trucks, what their parts are called, and what they do (Thank you Twenty Trucks!). His teacher is quite impressed! He takes swim lessons once a week, and now is in the Pike class, where no parents are in the pool. He’s definitely getting used to that! Easton is having fun finding his elf Blizzard every day, and looking forward to Santa coming. Me too!

20141212_162918
This post has taken me so many weeks to write, that the kids are knocking on 16 months now. We are getting more and more independent and mobile, but still I am stuck in the house a lot, without the energy to attempt taking them out by myself!! But I still get out to play soccer (thank you Brian!) and to the store sometimes, or occasionally out with a friend. In the winter though, I’m happy to snuggle in with a fire and a cup of tea. I just wish the kids could get out more and burn all that energy and get a change of scenery! But it gets easier every day and springtime should be great for them.

20141122_084304

It was so fun to dress them up for Halloween… Superman got to trick or treat with his bff cousin Colby, while the Ninja Turtles hung out at home.

IMG_5504 IMG_5429

We also had a great Thanksgiving…

IMG_5590

Dresses and headbands made by HomeSpunWhit on Etsy

IMG_5594

IMG_5623

I only caught a sweaty Easton as he quickly ran by with his cousins!  They had so much fun playing with their cousins and their aunts and uncles.
Scan_20141213Scan_20141213 (2)
I was so proud that we got our holiday card out so early this year, so enjoy it if you haven’t already seen it. It was actually pretty easy to get the pictures! Also, here is our Santa picture from this year:
Scan_20141130
We hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

World Prematurity Day

images (3)

Today, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day.  I can’t think of a better post than to bring some attention to this important day!  My four little ones arrived 7 weeks early last August, and without research and medical advances, they might not have survived.  Thank goodness we didn’t have to face that, but many parents do.  Spread the word today and every day about prematurity and the importance of research to help future babies born too early.

Here are my sweet babies, in the first few hours of their lives.

IMG_3674 IMG_3675 IMG_3676 IMG_3677

It brings tears to my eyes to look back on these pictures, and remember how it felt to see them in their isolettes, so tiny and fragile.  But thankfully, they received excellent care, tons of prayers and so much love, and they are now running, climbing, loud little one year olds!!

Scan_20141014 (3)

One Year Portrait – a little late!

For those of you in quad withdrawal, I wanted to share the portraits we had taken of them after they turned a year.  Just a quick post – I’ll update with what they are up to soon, I promise!

We took them to Picture People, which took over from Shooting Stars in our local Buy Buy Baby.  I was so disappointed!  I always had great experiences taking Easton to Shooting Stars (and I took him a lot!) and I am not a big fan of Picture People.  But they had this great deal, so I did it.  I had to just choose one photo, which is TOUGH, but really, there were only a couple I liked so it wasn’t too bad.  I did go back and purchase a second one, which you will see below.  *A little note to other moms of little ones – interview photographers and see their work first!  Find one you like that is competent with a group of little ones and stick with them!  The girl we had was so slow, and you have to be fast with one year olds!  She was trying to set each child, and actually expected them to stay while she set the rest!  Are you kidding???

Despite this, we managed to get a good photo of the babies in their birthday outfits, and they are super cute.  No smiles, but they are all looking and not crawling away, so that’s a success in my book!

Scan_20141014 (3)

(L to R) Hayden Victoria, Brody Wayne, Emerson Renee & Deacon Robert

This is the one I just had to go back and buy – seriously one of the best outtakes I have ever seen!!

Scan_20141014 (2)

It really just captures the essence of the quads, don’t you think?? :) I just love it – makes me smile because some days, this is just how it is!!  And if you don’t laugh at it, you will cry.

Hope you enjoy the pictures – more to come soon!

Easton Turned Three!

I can’t believe my little (big) boy turned 3!  Really, I can’t believe he’s ONLY 3 because I just can’t even remember life before him.  Not that I’d want to.  Easton is just – he’s my heart.  I love him so much I can’t even describe it.  He is the most amazing little being and every day (even the rough ones) I’m amazed that I had a hand in creating this wonderful boy, and even more amazed that I’m lucky enough to be his mom.

Scan_20140923 (3)

So this little big boy remains off the charts, and weighs 42 pounds for his 41 1/4″ height!!  We always figured he’d slow down at some point, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.  Guess we are looking at size 13 shoes and special ordering long length pants like his daddy!  He’s meeting all his developmental milestones appropriately, and is a healthy kid!  Who could ask for more?

IMG_5326

Easton has started preschool twice a week.  It took him a week or two before he was comfortable going, but now he’s running into the classroom no problem!  There are 8 boys in his class, and his teachers seem really impressed at how good of a group they have and how well they get along.  Yay!  I look forward to projects coming home (where will I store all these finger paintings???) and participating in all the school activities.  I love this stuff!

IMG_5344

Easton is also taking swim lessons at the Y now.  Mommy or Daddy go in the pool with him and he is learning to be comfortable in the water.  He’s great while clinging to Daddy!  Hopefully going every week will help him.  It’s nice for him to get out!

On the home front, Easton is slowly getting used to all these babies taking his stuff.  It’s hard for a 3 year old to share what has always been strictly his!  But he is working on it, and we are trying to give him plenty of Easton time.  Easton is also in a big boy bed now, which is great!  The transition was simple, and now he sleeps in a full-size bed with his big boy comforter.  So cute!

We had a nice little party to celebrate Easton’s birthday, and he had a blast!!  We did a train theme, with sort of a fall twist.

IMG_5339 IMG_5340 IMG_5343 IMG_5347 IMG_5349 IMG_5351 IMG_5371 IMG_5383 IMG_5402 IMG_5403

Sadly, that post took me a month to finish!!  I was having trouble with one of my photos, and it was such a cute one I really wanted it in the post.

Scan_20140923 (5)

Hope you enjoyed it!

Wow Cups – not so wow

image

Based on recommendations, we decided to try these Wow Cups.  I bought them at Buy Buy Baby, where they were $9.99. If you’re smarter than me, you’ll remember your coupons and get them a little cheaper.
They claim to be spillproof, so I gave them to the quads to test out. Turns out they are not quad proof! Sure, if they fall straight down and land on their bottom, they don’t spill. But nine times out of ten they fall on a side or the top and milk splatters. Luckily I have a dog who will lick the milk off my ankles. Thanks Yoshi!
The cups are heavy, but my one-year-olds can pick them up okay. It took some help to get the hang of drinking it of them but they can do it independently now. Don’t ask me how the cup works because that’s not my forte. My husband well be happy to give you the lowdown on that :)

image

image

image

image

Bottom line: I’ll keep using them because they are no worse than other cups, but I won’t buy more! And I will remain on the hunt for a truly spillproof cup.  (Although I don’t know if that will ever exist!) In the meantime, it’s water only outside of the kitchen!

Partying like Rock Stars

we survived

Credit for this awesome edit on the Survivor logo goes to our friend Brian Dunbar

On Saturday we celebrated the quads’ first birthday, Survivor style!!  Ok, not everything went according to plan, but I think everyone had fun and it was a success.  As the hostess, I wasn’t able to snap more than a couple pictures, but luckily a friend took my camera around to capture some of the fun.  Hopefully other guests took some great shots also, and will send the pictures to me!!  But here’s a little glimpse of the babies and some of the fun.

IMG_5165

Brody

IMG_5169

Emerson

IMG_5170

Hayden

IMG_5171

Deacon

Here are the four guests of honor, sporting their awesome personalized shirts made by a fellow quad mom.  (Check out her Etsy shop Sweet Dumpling Boutique!). The girls also had tutus specially made by their Aunt Crystal (you can check out her handiwork on Facebook – see InspiredbyCourtney) This was the best I could do in the minutes before I brought them downstairs because once everyone saw them, there was no chance on taking a nice group picture!!!  The babies were all amazing at the party, and were more than happy to be passed around and to be entertained until bedtime!

We had a bounce house and an inflatable water slide, and despite the rain at the start of the party (it was POURING as I was putting tablecloths on the tables!) the kids could not get in there fast enough!!  Some even jumped in with their clothes on! 

IMG_5250

Here is the slide – the babies’ gift from their Grammy and Pappy – the day after the party

Here are some more pictures from the party:

IMG_5242

Our tiki piñata, filled with tiki gummy snacks, plus tiki and tropical-themed toys

IMG_5249

One of the favors, filled with a beach ball, a fan, a tropical tattoo and a tropical stamper. Our infant-aged guests each got an Oball toy instead :)

IMG_5244 IMG_5245

IMG_5202

The candy buffet

IMG_5201

The beautiful cupcakes, made by Walmart of Hamburg, PA – thanks Aunt Kristy for picking them up!

IMG_5204

We also had a chocolate fountain (thanks Aunt Kelly!) and a bunch of treats to dip… we couldn’t get a picture before everyone started digging in!

Oh and by the way, we had Famous Dave’s cater, and it was amazing!!!  Not to mention a reasonable price.  Go Dave’s!

Hope you all enjoy this glimpse into our celebration.  It was crazy, but I’m glad we celebrated their first year (our surviving the first year, I mean!) in such a big way.  Can’t wait to see what the second year has in store for us!

 

 

Happy First Birthday!

IMG_5159

We made it through a year!!!  In some ways, it feels like an eternity, but in some ways it feels like, “They’re one already??”. Someone told me this, and I totally get it: The days are long, but the years (or weeks or months or whatever) fly by.  My mom was here for the quads’ big day today, and for some reason we decided to give the babies cupcakes… in the high chairs, fully clothed, after the cleaning lady had just left.  What were we thinking???  Should have put a tarp out on the lawn with naked babies!!!  Well, in any case, they enjoyed their cupcakes, and I hope you enjoy the before and after shots of their enjoyment.

 

Brody

IMG_5140IMG_5148

OK so maybe Brody wasn’t super into his cupcake… he ate some, but left most of it.  Surprising from our heaviest dude!  Brody weighs 22lbs10ozs; a big leap from his last weigh-in at nine months.  He is 30 inches tall, putting him in the 50th percentile for both length and weight.  Brody is super fast walking around!  He will also be the one to help you figure out what you forgot to child proof… if there’s a remote left out or a cup of water, he makes a beeline for it!  He’s still such a happy baby, with a great toothy smile, but lately is a bit of a momma’s boy (not that I’m complaining!).

Hayden

IMG_5142IMG_5147

Hayden thoroughly enjoyed her cupcake!  However, we’re not sure how much actually made it into her mouth!  Hayden is a tall skinny girl, in the 75th percentile for length at 30 inches, and the 25th percentile for weight, at 19lbs10ozs.  She feels like a feather after holding Brody!  Hayden is still such a sweetheart.  She’s also quite the imitator, and continues to add new dance moves to her repertoire, like the booty shake and the duck face.  It’s great!  Hayden is cruising the furniture a little now, and is working on standing on her own.  She is also babbling all the time, and loves bling.  She’s our little princess!!

Emerson

IMG_5133IMG_5144

Em was so excited to get her cupcake!!  But after cleaning out her high chair, I don’t think too much made it in her mouth!  She is by far the messiest eater, but also the one who eats the most, which is why she also had a huge jump in length and weight.  She is the second heaviest now, at 22lbs (75th percentile) and the tallest at 31 inches (90th percentile!!!)  She has certainly caught up in size, and then some!  Em has taken her first steps, but she’s in such a hurry to move, she doesn’t take the time to steady herself.  She’s just gonna take off running when she finds her balance.  Emerson is still our outspoken quad, and has recently learned to make this awesome high-pitched, shrill scream.  Wonderful.  Make sure you don’t delay in giving her food!  She is a bottomless pit, and would eat all day if we kept feeding her!  Em will never need her brothers to beat up anyone for her; she will be able to take care of herself.  I see Emerson wearing pink cameo, driving her quad through the mud someday.  Tough girl!

Deacon

IMG_5138IMG_5149

Deacon eats slow and steady, and made his way through most of the cupcake.  He is still our little preppy GQ guy, with his great head of hair and to-die-for lashes.  He is such a chill boy, and is usually content to play by himself.  Deacon is 30 1/2 inches tall, which is the 75th percentile, and weighs 21lbs3ozs (25th percentile), so he’s just a little smaller than Emerson.  Deacon took his first steps today on his birthday, towards his Grandma, so that was really exciting!  He’s still a little sensitive, but has toughened up a bit.  He doesn’t cry all the time when someone touches him!  Just when they steal his toy :) Deacon loves kisses still, and will give them too!

IMG_5160

Here’s the winner of the messy cupcake award… Hayden!!  But she’s cute and she had fun, so it’s ok!!

 

Well, there you have it… our babies have survived a year, and Brian and I have too!!  It’s a major accomplishment, and I’m excited for what’s in store for us.  Sure, lots of chaos, noise, and herding kids, but for me it gets easier when they walk on their own.  It’s TOUGH to load up 4 babies in the van and take them out again!!!  I welcome the day when they can climb in on their own and I don’t have to break a sweat before we even leave.  Then maybe we will get out more!! 

IMG_5104

Here’s their 12 month picture – it’s hard to believe that just one short (or long) year ago, they were in isolettes in the NICU, with IVs and CPAPs.  Now you would never know they ever arrived too early!!  I’m thankful that I was able to carry them so long, which gave them such an amazing start at life.  Though they each have their own distinct personality, they are all strong little fighters, and hopefully will carry that trait through their lives. 

My wish for them, as I reflect on their birthday, is that they will be happy and healthy throughout their lives, and successful in whatever they want to do.  If their first year is any indication, they can overcome whatever they are faced with, and apparently so can Brian and I!  I look forward to the upcoming year, and all the wonderful memories it will bring.